The Original Sin and the Continuing Crime

080308_03co_640.jpgMy column for today is Cory, Erap, Binay, Noli, Satur and J-Lo, which discusses the question of whether united front politics have any value at this time (a very observant peek at the administration’s coalition building was in Patricia Evangelista’s Sunday column, Gangs of Manila). In my column, I point to Hello, Garci as the Original Sin and the abduction of Jun Lozada as the Continuing Crime (see Reflections on the Bangsa Moro here and here).

Concerning the Original Sin, it’s frustrating to me that much of the refusal to take the issue seriously comes from the childish argument “they all cheat anyway,” which, even if true, is beside the point: a generalization is as nothing when confronted by a specific case of someone caught.

Anyway, it also frustrates me that people insist there is no evidence, or that what evidence is hearsay, only. For their part, supporters of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. have been doing a thorough study of the fraud in the 2004 elections, and doing so, mind you, without attracting publicity or calling attention to themselves. Generally, their efforts have identified the fraud as having had three phases:

1. The disenfranchisement of voters in areas that were opposition-inclined, and the increase of voters in administration bailiwicks.

2. The systematic padding and shaving of votes, particularly in Luzon and the Visayas, to preserve the expected percentages of the candidates but which would result, over-all, in decreasing opposition votes and shifting those votes to the administration.

3. An emergency, in many ways, ad-hoc effort to secure a winning margin of votes after the results of voting in Luzon and the Visayas showed that the first two phases still hadn’t managed to obtain a winning margin for the President; in the emergency operation in Mindanao, the President micromanaged the effort, which was clumsily undertaken, and the first to be exposed.

The research of the FPJ supporters took two years to undetake, particularly because phases 1 and 2 were quite sophisticated. But they cracked the system and I’ve been nagging them to circulate their findings so the public can study their arguments. Finally, they’ve begun doing so and here’s the first of several PowerPoint presentations you can download, study, and dissect (and rebut, if you wish).

Here it is, examining phases 1 and 2 of the 2004 cheating: 2004 Electoral Fraud PPT Presentation 1 (click the PCIBChartsData12.ppt link)

Yesterday’s Inquirer editorial called the administration Spratley’s policy a Slithering policy.

As I mentioned in my entry Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan (updated) , it’s well worth reviewing our Constitution. I’d referred to the relevant article before, but not the crucial last sentence which I’ve highlighted, see this extract from Article 12: National Economy and Patrimony:

SEC 1. The goals of the national economy are a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the nation for the benefit of the people; and an expanding productivity as the key raising the quality of life for all, especially the underprivileged.

The State shall promote industrialization and full employment based on sound agricultural development and agrarian reform, through industries that make full and efficient use of human and natural resources, and which are competitive in both domestic and foreign markets. However, the State shall protect Filipino enterprises against unfair foreign competition and trade practices.

In the pursuit of these goals, all sectors of the economy and all regions of the country shall be given optimum opportunity to develop. Private enterprises, including corporations, cooperatives, and similar collective organizations, shall be encouraged to broaden the base of their ownership.

SEC. 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State. With the exception of agricultural lands, all other natural resources shall not be alienated. The exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources shall be under the full control and supervision of the State. The State may directly undertake such activities, or it may enter into co-production, joint venture, or production-sharing agreements with Filipino citizens, or corporations or associations at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens. Such agreements may be for a period not exceeding twenty-five years, renewable for not more than twenty-five years, and under such terms and conditions as may be provided by law. In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of water power, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant.

The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.

The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons.

The President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical of financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of minerals, petroleum, and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, based on real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country. In such agreements, the State shall promote the development and use of local scientific and technical resources.

The President shall notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision, within thirty days from its execution.

The Secretary of Justice says he read the agreement and that nothing in it violates the Constitution. As far as his statement goes, he is correct. But as Carandang suggests below, it’s what the President did, after the agreement was signed, that could open up Constitutional questions. If the Constitution requires the President to inform Congress of any contract, then the question is, did she inform Congress? The contract itself pledges the parties to secrecy, except for authorized government agencies, clearly adhering to our own Constitution requirements; but did the President then comply?

In his entry yesterday, Ricky Carandang continues his ongoing investigations into what, really, the Spratleys deal is all about, and its potential infirmities, constitutionally and otherwise. It was an effort to wiggle out of constitutional requirements by calling a spade a preliminary earth-moving device:

Note that the President is allowed to enter into agreements with foreign corporations to explore for oil, provided this is done in accordance with the law and provided Congress is notified of the agreements within 30 days of its execution.

Congress was never notified of the agreement and the Palace had no intention of doing so. In fact, the agreement has never been released to the public. So how did the Palace lawyers get around this?

By simply referring to the agreement as a pre-exploration activity.

The palace geniuses and their allies pushing for the deal argued that by labelling the seismic study as a pre-exploration activity, it did not constitute exploration per se, and therefore they had no obligation to notify Congress. But others raised the issue that seismic mapping was in fact already part of the process of exploration. In their eagerness to sign the deal, they said by simply referring to it as a pre-exploration agreement that would be enough to circumvent the constitution. The problem is simply declaring it as pre-exploration doesn’t necessarily make it so. But that’s why the text of the agreement refers to it as a pre-exploration activity. And that’s why the [Palace] press release above made it a point to say that the agreement was not an exploration agreement, but merely a study.

The problem is that any oil industry expert will tell you that seismic mapping is in fact, part and parcel of exploration activity. In the oil exploration business, pre-exploration activity consists of mostly of studying the regulations, lining up the financing, and obtaining the licenses and the other government approvals necessary to begin exploration. Again, don’t take my word for it. Do the research. Talk to oil industry experts. Google “oil exploration” or “seismic exploration” and you’ll see ample literature out there on seismic studies and how they constitute part of exploration.

Case in point: In 2002 the Department of Energy granted an oil exploration company called Forum Energy a license to explore for oil and gas in the Reed bank of Western Palawan. The license was called Geophysical Survey and Exploration Contract (GSEC) 101. A GSEC, as its name implies, is a license to explore for oil or gas in our territorial waters. As you can see, seismic surveys are part and parcel of exploration activities. Their exploration gave them enough reason to believe that GSEC 101 contained oil and gas in commerical quantities, so Forum applied to convert their GSEC into a Service Contract (SC). Normally, having given a company a GSEC, the DOE would grant the SC as a matter of course. After all, if you let them explore, you would also let them drill. But unexpetedly, te DOE balked at convefting Forum’s GSEC into a SC, something that almost never happens.

The problem with Forum was that after the Philippines and China (and later Vietnam), signed the Spratly deal the Chinese government began to apply pressure on the Philippine government not to convert Forum’s GSEC into a SC, because GSEC 101 was part of the area included in the joint exploration deal. In asserting its rights under the Spratly deal, China is now questioning the granting of exploration licenses in an area where we were already granting drilling licenses to private companies. As far as I know, China did not contest the granting of the GSEC to Forum in 2002, but the Spratly deal has emboldened China to do that now. Forum saw the writing on the wall and sold its stake in GSEC 101 to Monte Oro Resources and Energy, a local firm partly owned by Walter Brown of Philex and and reportedly, Enrique Razon of ICTSI (yes, there’s a story here which I will save for a later date).

As we can see from this example, the Spratly deal has already weakened our claim on certain territories we claim as our own, like Palawan.

In view of the preceding sentence, see RP knew Spratlys exploration ‘too close’ to Palawan. See also 6 Philippine-occupied islands covered in Spratly agreements. As with all the ongoing scandals, the net keeps catching more than the usual flotsam and jetsam: De Venecias, Razon behind oil, gas extraction by UK firm. The only question is, as Senate to start new probe on Spratlys exploration, is, will it serve as a distraction from the NBN-ZTE deal? Perhaps not, as it’s all related, anyway.

And as usual, it’s the behavior of the Palace that validates the old saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Instead of asserting that its embarked on a visionary initiative, the Palace’s reaction is to duck responsibility: Spratlys project put on hold as Chinese ODA mess rages. And not only ducking, but it’s trying to pass the buck: Palace: Let De Venecia explain Spratlys deal. But the problem with this is that if the ex-Speaker acted as the broker, his brokering the deal required presidential approval. The Palace is probably calculating that de Venecia will not want to incriminate himself and so, won’t incriminate the Palace. And others who may be considered collateral damage in the deal, won’t spill the beans either: Mañalac knows more than Spratlys deal: The hotshot geologist was fired for allegedly blocking Palace interest. But by all accounts, even if summoned to the Senate, he won’t talk beyond confirming that the contract he signed was, to the best of his knowledge, constitutionally-sound (and as I’ve pointed out, probably so, up to the point of signing but not thereafter).

The Palace itself has acknowledged what’s at stake: Gonzalez: 3 trillion cubic feet of gas at stake in Spratly deal.

For reference, since Text of Spratlys agreement disappears from DFA site (sourced from Newsbreak):

Agreement-Bilateral Marine Seismic Undertaking.pdf.


Tripartite Agreement-Marine Scientific Research.pdf.

As for what seismic exploration is, it’s explained in See also the Encyclopedia of Earth entry. Greenpeace states, unambiguously, that seismic exploration is “the first stage of oil and gas exploitation in an ocean area.” How everything comes together can be gathered by looking at the processes (and incentives) granted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation:

The investment opportunities in the downstream are many. Some of them are:

Refining, Petrochemicals and Gas Utilization

In order to reduce the investors’ risk, speculative seismic data acquisition is carried out in the deep offshore using the services of reputable data acquisition companies. In the inland area, there is direct involvement in exploration activities.

For his part, Mon Casiple says one problem is that there are oppositionists more interested in dribbling the ball than in going for the game-winning three-point shot:

In the meantime, the Senate plans to continue the hearings–possibly with new witnesses–amidst a spreading and more organized public campaign against the Arroyo administration. This maintains pressure on the president while avoiding an immediate decisive confrontation that forces a GMA resignation.

A prolonged crisis scenario without a decisive ending favors those who do not want GMA to resign immediately and therefore usher in a Noli de Castro presidency. If the crisis does not force their hand, they would want to prolong things and bask in the priceless public fascination with the scandal.

What I think we have here is a dribbling of the ball. Meantime, there are unforeseen consequences–not the least of which is a possible polarization of the situation.

The ultimate futility, politically speaking, of arguing that the economy is doing well to justify turning a blind eye to official corruption,is exposed by Amando Doronila in ADB report links RP corruption to investment dip (here is the ADB paper he commented on:critical-dev-constraints.pdf.) The futility of that argument is further demonstrated by the results of parliamentary elections in Malaysia. No one can doubt that the ruling party had put in place an economic policy resulting in growth. But along with inflation, it was the issue of crime, including allegations of widening official corruption, that forced the Prime Minister to call for early elections and the elections resulted in the defeat of the ruling party -the first since 1967. See Malaysia’s Leaders Suffer Setback in, and Malaysia’s ruling coalition suffers stunning blow Malaysia’s ruling coalition suffers stunning blow and Shock election result for Malaysia’s ruling party in the Financial Times. Incidentally, t seems a blogger, Jeff Ooi, has also been elected as an opposition MP!

People interested in questions of autonomy might want to take a look at The coming pain in Spain in The Economist, which discusses the reasons why Spain’s ruling party faces a tough time at the polls.The problems of bureaucratic reforms is also tackled in another Economist article, What’s holding India back?

In All Roads Lead to Rove, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick looks at a book by one of the attorneys fired for partisan political reasons by the Republicans, an issue the writer says was raised “some zealous congressional oversight and award-winning journalistic coverage” by a blogger. The question of executive privilege has also been raised in the United States, particularly as the present American administration keeps mutating its definition:

As Mukasey has argued and Jonathan Turley has decoded, the Bush administration formulation of executive privilege constitutes a perfect legal möbius strip: “[L]awyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president – and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.”

In Questionable privilege? Alex Pabico of the PCIJ introduces readers to Executive Privilege Versus Public Interest by Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, which provides an exhaustive overview of executive privilege issues that have arisen in the Senate. In his column today, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. dissects the proposed compromise peddled by the Supreme Court in Anatomy of a rejected compromise.

Starting at midnight tonight, there will be a major transport strike: Provincial bus operators to join strike; government fielding free transport. The cost of oil is just one of the bread-and-butter issues of which every government has a horror: today’s Inquirer editorial calls it a Food emergency. See Prices of rice seen high in all of 2008 and RP, others hurting as rice price skyrocket and DTI heeds flour millers’ appeal, but . . . and

And in another triumph of the rule of law, Imelda not guilty of dollar salting.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

304 thoughts on “The Original Sin and the Continuing Crime

  1. Anthony Scalia: “mga engot yung mga senador natin. pinipilit pa ring pakantahin si Neri without the ‘executive privilege’. evidence is already sufficient to file cases against gloria, even without Neri’s further testimony on what gloria told him.”

    I believe you. The NBN “no-deal” as reinforced by the Spratly issue would make a strong case against Gloria, for another round of impeachment. But as usual, once it reaches Congress there are many Villafuertes and Lagmans in that committee quite eager to declare: “dead on arrival.” And the Palace would again get ready with the tons of money bundled in early X’mas gift bags. Sufficient in form, but never in substance, as they are conditioned to conclude.

    Am still watching how the SC will rule on Neri’s petition, which is likely to be granted considering that: (1) the magistrates felt insulted or rebuked by the Senate refusal to compromise, (2) another SC member may soon join their ranks and tilt the balance to the side of the administration, and (3) they may not want to add fire to the already burning situation where Gloria finds herself in (based on Fr. Bernas’s recent article).

  2. hawaiianguy,

    tama naman di ba? the fact that the project proceeded a few steps further after Neri’s advise of a bribery attempt implies that gloria allowed the project to continue with the knowledge of the Neri expose.

    eh bakit insist pa rin ang mga senador kay Neri to talk further? they could have just hyped up the implication

    yun naman sa spratlys – there was no ‘sale’. the constitution allows the president to enter into exploration agreements, as cited by MLQ3.

  3. The historical record is very clear about the difference between Edsa 1986 and 2001. The first was a revolution whose result was eventually ratified by the People in a plebiscite to promulgate a new Constitution (1987). The second was a clerico-fascist coup d’etat that was declared by its leaders to be Constitutional throughout. It was immoral, illegal and worst of all, Edsa Dos destroyed the institution of Congress, the only branch with NO impeachable officials. In particular the Senate as the Supreme Court in all cases of impeachment of those 31 highest Constitutional officers of the land, was destroyed by a Supreme Court that ignored the warnings of Ka Celing Palma against what Davide was about to do at noon on 20 January 2001.

    To me, there has been no greater political evil in the 21st Century than Edsa Dos, because it destroyed INSTITUTIONS and put our greatest thinkers on the false road of intellectual dishonesty and moral inconsistency.

    People Power is the ideological disguise of clerico-fascism in the Philippines.

  4. bencard, grd

    did you hear about the ‘bomb explosion’ yesterday at the Senate hearings?

    my toddler son’s discharge of intestinal gas is much louder

  5. anthony scalia,
    You misapprehend what is going on. The Senate will rise again. It is our best hope right now to get back on track. Democracy is a brilliant invention and is self-regenerating. The whole relationship with China stinks and it involves far more than the fate of the Philippines. The presence of a high level Chinese Communist Party delegation proves this is a serious matter not to be dealt with in the Parliament of the Streets. We must be even bigger thinkers and dreamers than we have been.

    Get your toddler some Bean-oh and pay better attention!

  6. The historical record is very clear about the difference between Edsa 1986 and 2001. The first was a revolution whose result was eventually ratified by the People in a plebiscite to promulgate a new Constitution (1987). The second was a clerico-fascist coup d’etat that was declared by its leaders to be Constitutional throughout. It was immoral, illegal and worst of all, Edsa Dos destroyed the institution of Congress, the only branch with NO impeachable officials. — DJB

    Note how people here who are CLEAR on the underlying principles at stake need only re-iterate CONTINUOUSLY said principles in the face of conintuously modified arguments coming from those who have, shall we say, a more depth-challenged perspective on things.

    You can turn these shallow arguments inside out, upside down, and north to south. But at the end of the day:

    It’s simple, really. 😀

  7. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the most cunning realist of all. She has no illusions about what the non negotiable interests are of every group that supports or opposes her. Her ideology is to divide and conquer. Her administration combines under one big tent, the Clerico-fascists and the military fascists, and together they all rule with her. The Catholic bishops, except for a very very few, and the Military Generals, are well suited to exist under her Regime. After all, they established it together in 2001.

    The problem of course is what principles to unite under in order to bring them ALL to Justice, without which there will never be peace, because those who oppose her are RIGHT, even if they would too easily reach for unfair means to achieve their ends.

  8. Benign0,
    I disagree more with you than everybody else here. I know you. You don’t believe in anything. At least they do. Everything is SIMPLE to you. In a complex world, that is a very strange attitude.

  9. I watched the Senate testimony the whole day yesterday, and Mr. San Miguel is a stone-cold liar. Nung ginigisa siya ni Senator Lacson, he disavowed an email he sent to Mr. Madriaga, claiming that he sent it, but that it was modified somehow. Buti na lang tinago ni Mr. Madriaga yung email niya sa Yahoo, because there is no way anyone can modify a sent email with attachment in Yahoo UNLESS a Yahoo systems administrator does so, OR Yahoo was hacked by a team of cyber-warfare specialists to gain system administrator privileges.

    Either possibilities are EXTREMELY remote, and even a hint of it would bring Yahoo’s stock prices tumbling.

  10. DJB,

    i think the one who needs to pay attention is you.

    the supposed ‘bomb explosion’ was actually the ‘bomb explosion that wasn’t’.

    my comment is limited to that.

    so i’m surprised why you went to the extent of saying ‘the Senate will rise’ etc. as a reply to a simple comment

    but don’t worry. i’m with you in your advocacy. consider yourself the de facto spokesman of bloggers here who share your views

    im an optimist, so yes, the senate will rise again. the presence of certified authentic whiners masquerading as senators will not prevent the resurrection of the Senate

  11. Benign0,
    I disagree more with you than everybody else here. I know you. You don’t believe in anything. At least they do. Everything is SIMPLE to you. In a complex world, that is a very strange attitude. — DJB

    Funny you’d say that Mr. DJB, as I am in fact in agreement with most of what you espouse.

    Goes to show you don’t know me as much as you think you do. 😉

    The reason everything is simple to me is because I am loyal to underlying principles. You get your principles right, and the world makes simple sense.

    And by the way, I wouldn’t call the Philippines a “complex” system. I think CONVOLUTED is the more appropriate term.

    It’s simple, really. 😀

  12. What dismays me about Mr. San Miguel yesterday is his willingness to expound on at least one lie, the one regarding his email to Mr. Madriaga. He even went so far as to point out what he says are “modifications” to the email that he originally sent. Well, pasung-paso siya dun, because he does not have any sound alibi to stand on. As they say in “Limbo Rock”, how low can you go?

    I definitely think that there are enough grounds for a perjury case against Mr. Leo San Miguel.

  13. JMCastro,
    Not to worry, he admitted and confirmed enough to get them all, eventually. If you look hard at the evolving situation, the Senate is regaining vast territories scorch-earthed by GMA and the Fascists she used to gain power. That is all we want: Checks and Balances. The results will take care of themselves. It’s like strengthening our immune system against the social cancer of corruption and dishonesty. I too want to lynch them! But I want them to stay DEAD afterwards, not be resurrected by the evil means employed. Viz: Erap.

  14. By pardoning and releasing Erap, GMA innoculated herself with the “no better alternative” vaccine. Cunning. Cunning!

  15. oh boy. yes, you have to look very hard because the senate is taking out the levity of their own investigation with their grandstanding. leo san miguel, for all his dodging, was even helping them out by suggesting what the senate should be looking at. accusing the witness of bias for some senators was also not good. i did see him raise his hands several times during the hearing, only to be ignored. the senators are the ones in control, they are the ones asking the question. the relevance of the answers depend on the questions that are asked. the senators cut off the witness and dismiss his answer with the pronouncement that he is being “unfair to the Filipino people” or drop the latest catchy phrase or word just for show in their questioning, then they question his credentials as an expert – this only serves to alienate the witness – so we are stuck with “where is this all going?” what conclusions will they arrive at when the senators themselves are showing their bias.

    and can someone please stop the serving of food when the hearing is in session! go for a recess for goodness’ sake. also, please tell your staff to stop taking pictures with their cellphones, stop the giggling and snickering in the background because all that just shows how seriously (NOT) the proceedings are being taken.

  16. abe, nothing new to me. obama’s statement is a summation of modern concepts of governance articulated by legal philosophers throughout the ages from plato to cj marshall and others that followed him. it is nothing but a re-affirmation that in modern democratic society, absolute authority is lodged on the Law that is living and not static, rather on “the king, the oligarch, the dictator, the majority or anyone else who claims to make choices for us”.
    the fact that obama utters it doesn’t give it any more validity than it already has. i still don’t trust him.
    Bencard, if instead of Plato and Chief Justice Marshall you gave us Andrew Jackson, Jefferson and maybe “The Great Commoner” William Jennings Bryan I won’t bother posting a reply.

    Plato’s political thoughts are certainly not the best exemplar of “deliberative democracy” in the sense that I think Obama conceives it. Plato’s contempt for democracy is evident in “The Republic” and there are critics who consider him to have fathered “totalitarianism.” To Plato, kingly government was the best, and the worst (second only to tyranny) democracy. In short Plato has been an enemy of open society.

    And Chief Justice Marshall? If his great (?) contribution to “deliberative democracy” or even “representative democracy is “judicial review” that would be a bit murky. Hasn’t Marshall’s invention in Marbury v. Madison challenged the democratic notion that the people or their representatives, not unelected judges, make the rules by which they are governed, and the belief in government of laws and not of men (especially men in robes who do not behave responsibly as in the Dred Scott case which led to the American Civil War, or in the Philippines as in the Javellana decision which perpetuated the Marcos’ dictatorship)? I can understand why DJB is still furious today with Estrada v. Desierto which has produced the specter of “constructive resignation” that’s haunting the country even now.

    I’m glad the Senate has rejected the SC compromise. It could be a turning point for this once august body.


  17. On a more practical matter about why Obama is looked at less kindly by some from immigrant communities;

    …….shortly before the Texas primary, 84-year-old Clinton supporter Adelfa Callejo told CBS 11 News in Dallas, Texas, that Obama would have trouble attracting Latino support because he was African-American.

    When blacks had the numbers, they didn’t do anything to support us,” Callejo said. “They always used our numbers to fulfill their goals and objectives, but they never really supported us, and there’s a lot of hard feelings about that. I don’t think we’re going to get over it anytime soon.”

    Some thing similar to ” We’ve been had!!! Otra vez? No mas.”

  18. Kudos to PDI for making a more concrete and visible apology. Perhaps there’s still hope for a professional media. A long way to go, though.

    The Senate? That’s another story. Rude, uninformed and more interested in air time than hard work. We’ll hopefully see some wiser choices/votes in 2010.

  19. DJB:

    I watched the whole proceedings, and it was long and exhausting.

    The outlines of the government administration’s defense is clear in the responses of Sec. Favila and Mr. Leo San Miguel. According to Sec. Favila, they looked primarily at the finance level, NEDA approved it as a program (socio-economic implications, environmental impact, etc.), and the implementation details were fleshed out by the DOTC. Mr. Leo San Miguel claims that the price of the project can be substantiated by: expanded coverage of the nationwide broadband network (more barangay coverage, more CPE [prolly Customer Premises Equipment] coverage), and increased margin by ZTE.

    My problem with Mr. Leo San Miguel is that he made a blatant lie — what pressures were exerted on him to make him look like a fool on TV? Was he even screened by the Senate before his appearance there?

    Given ample time and opportunity, I’m sure the executive branch of the government can make a convincing case. The testimonies of Sec. Mendoza and Asec. Formoso are increasingly becoming important to determine the “defense” of the executive branch of government in this whole affair.

    So what was gained in yesterday’s hearings? A businessman’s reputation took a massive hit, the Senate’s witness screening procedure for the NBN Senate testimonies is found to be questionable, and the outline of the GMA administration’s defense can now be seen. Overall, I don’t think this was a good day for check and balances, and we are nowhere near to getting to the bottom of things.

  20. If anybody was watching before the beginning of the Senate hearings with San Miguel, he got a call before the hearing started and if you pay attention there was a look of worry (fear?) in his eyes. I think there may not be a smoking gun but all the evidence put together should be enough to file a case against the personalities involved.

  21. and we are nowhere near to getting to the bottom of things — JMCastro

    This is a microcosm of Pinoy society. Lots of form, lots of noise, but zilch when it comes to RESULTS.

    It harks back to what the venerable Nick Joaquin said in his brilliant essay “A Heritage of smallness”:


    The Filipino who travels abroad gets to thinking that his is the hardest working country in the world. By six or seven in the morning we are already up on our way to work, shops and markets are open; the wheels of industry are already agrind. Abroad, especially in the West, if you go out at seven in the morning you’re in a dead-town. Everybody’s still in bed; everything’s still closed up. Activity doesn’t begin till nine or ten– and ceases promptly at five p.m. By six, the business sections are dead towns again. The entire cities go to sleep on weekends. They have a shorter working day, a shorter working week. Yet they pile up more mileage than we who work all day and all week.

    (My boldface for emphasis)

    Check out the full essay here:

    As I said before, you gain clear insight on some fundamental principles and they apply across the board to any permutation of Pinoy dysfunction.

    It’s simple, really. 😀

  22. “Passivity of the people is not necessary, in fact, fascism wants the people to be mesmerized and inspired. And you do this, to inspire them, by repeatedly showing them/the people that they are victims, and then that it is your way that is the path across the desert.” – UPn Student

    UPn, are you saying that the people are ‘not victims‘ or that we should not show them that they are victims?

  23. JMCastro,

    I missed some pieces of testimony yesterday. What lie did San Miguel obviously make? The email thing? Or was there something else (other than the he said/she said deadends)? Also, is he the businessman you refer to who had his reputation massively hit?

  24. EQ POLLS results to-date

    Do you believe Gloria’s promise to step down in 2010?

    88% said NO!
    (52 votes so far)

    Which TV News do you Trust the most?

    55% said ABS-CBN 2
    (29 votes so far)

    Which Philippine Newspaper do you Trust the most?

    56% said Philippine Daily Inquirer
    (25 votes so far)

    Who is the most Credible Filipino Leader today?

    20% said Ping Lacson
    18% said Mar Roxas
    (93 votes so far)

    Who should be the NEXT President of the Philippines?

    37% said Chiz Escudero
    (91 votes so far)

    Which are the most Trusted Philippine Institutions?

    41% said The Senate
    (90 votes so far)

  25. cvj: It is a seduction. The fascist will repeatedly say that the current crisis is beyond reach of traditional solutions, that the people have been victimized as the fascist seduces the people to believe that the fascist has the way and the path across the desert.

  26. this is all well and good, but ignores how perfectly constitutional the succesful fascist states were: hitler, mussolini, both came to power by constitutional means and franco fought a civil war to uphold traditional notions of the social and political order.

  27. UPn, but are you disputing the truth that people are being victimized or are you saying that their victimization is an illusion conjured up by the ‘seducers’?

  28. mlq3: Hitler played “… the people have been victimized by the Jews and the gypsies”, “.. the people have been victimized by the Treaty of Versailles”. There was a seduction. And Hitler had to tweak and finagle with the Constitution to make a version that was more Enabling of his plans.

    The conundrum with a fascist is less that they seduce (very likeable those fellows who tell us that we are handsome and intelligent and can sing like an angel) and more of the damage they cause, after the people have been seduced.

  29. upn, what is the difference between that and the anti-communism of the 1940s and 1950s, the creation of the national security doctrine, and its most recent manifestations concerning islam and rendition, assertions of unprecedented executive power, etc. under bush?

  30. UPn, even J.M Keynes in his book “The Economic Consequences of Peace” made the case that the Treaty of Versailles that was imposed on Germany after World War I was ruinous to that State. That gave Hitler some legitimate ammunition to use.

    As for hatred Jews and Gypsies, that was a feature of Nazi ideology so bringing that up is a Strawman argument. I don’t think the proponents of People Power in the Philippines share in that view. If anything, it is the Admin with its ‘Imperial Manila’ rhetoric that is whipping up regional rivalries. (By contrast, Cold King’s divisive rhetoric has been rejected by the anti-Gloria’s in this blog.)

    As Manolo mentioned above (at 11:42am), using the rise of Hitler as an argument against people power ignores the historical fact that he assumed power via elections. After he took power, he successfully embarked on his own Charter Change exercise.

  31. cvj: do you not know what a seduction is? I doubt you can get a Filipina in bed by lying that her hair is blond or that she is an Olympic-class basketball player.
    But a few young Filipinas women have taken off their panties, and then some, after they heard truths of their beauty, their intelligence, their lovely hair, how sweet they smell, the glory of the warmth of their body.

  32. Every high school female student should know these words —- the conundrum when we hear a likeable fellow tell us that we are most beautiful and intelligent and can sing like an angel is that while we know he tells the truth, we don’t know why.

    Caveat emptor! And wear protection.

  33. UPn, i hang around the internet most of the time, do you think i’m the type who knows what seduction is?

    From your response, i take it that you do not dispute the truth of victimization. What you take exception with is that act of making such victimization known.

  34. cvj,
    I would say that the manner in which Joseph Estrada was maligned by the Philippine Daily Innuendo and all the Roco-rocos of that period, including all the supporters of those who lost badly to him in 1998 was equivalent to the use of Jews as a scapegoat for German miseries after WWI.

    Without that highly prejudicial campaign in which the newspaper and its allies in the Church and Civil Society perfected the Art of Innuendo, there could’ve been no “uprising” which consisted of Catholic Schools bussing in their students and the elites feeding the crowd with food and 24/7 media coverage.

    Edsa Dos was like Hitler’s Krystallnacht–it was the victory of a small elite group.

    mlq3: the doctrine of national security was first invented when? 1950s? I would say around the time of King David, if not millenia before that, say 3000 BC.

  35. UPN Student,
    Victimology is certainly a big part of the “seduction” that liberal fascists use to justify their undemocratic methods. Take a look at the abominable interpretation that SWS has been giving its own data on hunger and poverty. Filipinos are told they are poor and hungry because of corruption, even if the data shows a clear and consistent downward trend since 2000! But not their own corruptions, like shabu, gin capitan, prostitution, tobacco, jueteng, masiao, and every other vice in which the common tao indulges. The message is, none of this is your fault or responsibility. Let us take care of the problem for you!

  36. djb, we’ve been down this road before. the national security act of 1947 and how it radically changed american principles of government, etc., etc., etc. and from which many governments including our own have taken their cue, which is different from older notions of national defense.

  37. DJB, it turns out that Erap eventually got convicted in Court. Was he convicted on the basis of innuendo?

  38. Geo:

    Mr. Leo San Miguel is the businessman I am referring to. By his own account, his verbal agreement with ZTE covers compensation as follows: a.) liquidation of out-of-pocket expenses, and b.) a success incentive of 0.5% of the gross price of the NBN project (which he will not get if ZTE does not win the the NBN project).

  39. cvj: you should spend some of the time you spend on the internet getting more information about the ways of seduction. Many of those who do not know what seduction is get victimized. Ask Smoketalk about the seduction played in Jonestown…. really tragic.

    But you are not totally an innocent. You do know some of it — seduction — in the context of propaganda. Some scripts begin with a believable lie while other propaganda scripts begin with a believable truth, then with sleight-of-hand, the victim gets fooled into making a leap into quicksand.

    It is a challenging world, cvj. There are cases where knowing truth from fiction is not good enough.

  40. Benigno,
    Gusto ko sanang sabihin na buti ka pa walang problema dahil lahat simple sa iyo. Ayos yan di mo kinukumplika ang buhay pero alam ko na alam mo na hindi kasimpl,e ang buhay,kaya nga before iT is really simple ang tagline mo getreal. If reality for you is that everything is simple,how I wish na ganyan talaga ang buhay.

    I admire you being an electronic book worm,but sometimes like in the exchanges with someone who happens to have more knowledge,there is nothing wrong with acknowledging it, rather than fight it out one to sawa.I only address this to you, because we go a way back in the blogosphere and I can’t forget the way you stuck it out with me on numerous occassions na sa tingin ko,mali naman yata talga ako.regards and please don’t get me wrong.


    Napanood ko sandali ang interview ni Ricky Crandang and Senator Pangilinan and they were talking about institutions and Thailand.
    Kung ganun nga ang mangyari dito at walang accountability,Thakshin back agin on Thailand,
    Alam ko expert din tayo dyan tulad ng Imelda’s aquittal,Erap’s pardon.
    On scalia’s point on the senate and rely on gthe court, agrreable pero pano ng ba natin istrenthen ang institutions, should I need to redownload Benigno’s book and find the answers there?
    Shall we just have direct democracy without the fascists or what?Bloody revolution????

    Ang dami daming magandang views dito lang sa thread na ito ,I reiterate,how I wish everything is as simple as in Benigno’s world.

  41. Karl, advice well taken, but i take with a grain of salt those who bolster their arguments by appeals to their own authority. I trust that you know who i’m referring to.

  42. UPn, so far you haven’t disputed the truth of the message, only the way it is being propagated. Calling proponents of People Power ‘fascists’, ‘Hitler’, ‘communists’, ‘seducers’, ‘Jim Jones’ may score rhetorical points but does nothing to address the truth (or falsity) of the underlying message(s).

  43. To a certain extent, ‘insurgents’ should remain insurgents to keep the politicians honest and focused. – cvj

    but over-rebelling is outrageous. look at former vp guingona. a problem, for every solution. rebel with too many causes?

  44. @equalizer

    “Who should be the NEXT President of the Philippines? 37% said Chiz Escudero”

    YUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This frigging moron of a senator (who was once a mediocre congressman) at one point stood up to give a speech on removing BASIC science and maths subjects!!!!!!!!!!!! He said the only thing he ever used math on was the game of billiards (geometry). Potang-enang shet niya. Bobo! We are not talking about specialised maths and science subjects here…he wanted to eliminate BASIC maths and sciences in the curriculum….


    Can you please put some ‘technocrat’s on this informal survey of yours (Manny Pangilinan for example…)

  45. JMCastro,

    Sorry, I really didn’t understand what you were referencing.

    Re San Miguel’s email — I think the email itself was acknowledged; it was the attachment that he claimed was altered…which, of course, is quite doable. I don’t think we have enough to call him a liar (with proof, that is).

    In contrast, Senate records already show that Lozada has lied (re Joker and his wife) and that Madriaga has “inconsitencies” (FG was in the hospital when claimed he was elsewhere). Let’s call them liars once they are proven to be so…not before.

    Re San Miguel’s supposed ZTE biz arrangement — I don’t see how that ruins his reputation; it is a common one for this kind of international business. His role is a rather necessary one…and it is win-win for both the supplier and the consultant.

    Anyway, a lie detector test should be entertaining. A waste of time, probably…but fun for all watching TV.

  46. Geo:

    Mr. Lozada’s lack of care in the way he speaks his mind can be construed as lack of prudence, deplorable, but not exactly the same as lying. Mr. San Miguel’s statements regarding his email is a different matter altogether.

    Mr Leo San Miguel admits that the email was sent to Mr. Madriaga, who received it in his (Mr. Madriaga’s) Yahoo email account. A sent email and attachment, once sent, cannot be altered once it is in the Inbox of a user. Not even Mr. Madriaga, who owns the account and has the password, cannot alter the email in any way.

    ONLY the systems administrators of the Yahoo email service, OR a team of cyber-warfare specialists who can gain Yahoo system administrator privileges, can go into Mr. Madriaga’s email account and alter its Inbox content. There is even the possibility that even the administrators of the Yahoo service CANNOT alter the Inbox of Mr. Madriaga if their information assurance and security level is high enough. This, by the way, is how sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, should be handled. You can ask any IT professional regarding this, and I’m fairly certain they will tell you the exact same thing.

    This is already in the realm of the real world information systems, Geo, and the denials of Mr. Leo San Miguel does not fly in the light of this.

  47. “CVJ,
    I admire you being an electronic book worm,but sometimes like in the exchanges with someone who happens to have more knowledge,there is nothing wrong with acknowledging it, rather than fight it out one to sawa.I only address this to you, because we go a way back in the blogosphere and I can’t forget the way you stuck it out with me on numerous occassions na sa tingin ko,mali naman yata talga ako.regards and please don’t get me wrong.–KG


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