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. JMCastro,

    No, Lozada clearly lied…no ifs ands or buts. Read if you want to see all the details.

    In sum —

    FEB 11 (in the Senate):
    “Yes sir [said to Sen Arroyo]. You called me to your house.”

    FEB 11 (on ANC):
    “They [the Arroyos] invited me to go to their home in Dasmariñas Village and at the end of the meeting Ms Arroyo told me not to appear, not to speak in the Senate anymore.”

    FEB 18 (in the Senate):
    “I never said that Fely Arroyo invited me. It was Tony Abaya who asked me to go to the place of Senator Arroyo to meet with Fely Arroyo. I did not say that Fely Arroyo invited me.”

    …and he admitted that Abaya’s written description of the events was completely accurate. Translation — Mrs Arroyo siad that if he wasn’t invited, he didn’t have to attend.

    Now, did San Miguel lie? I don’t know yet. I’m open to the idea that he has. Has someone actually seen the original “received” mailbox on Madriaga’s computer yet? All I know of is a print out shown at the Senate. Anything further? Cuz a hard copy printout means nothing.

  2. Maginoo, i think Guingona is being mismanaged, but that’s his problem. Our Society’s problem is located at the other end of the continuum.

  3. Geo:

    Only the staff of Senator Lacson, who helped Mr. Madriaga download the email, saw the actual mailbox. Are you implying that they altered the email after retrieval? And while we’re at it, Mr. Madriaga is willing to have his Yahoo email Inbox examined by the Senate, with accompanying video recording of the email retrieval process. Would that satisfy you?

    Also, can you offer a considered competent opinion regarding the Yahoo email service? Its reliability and security features?

  4. JM Castro:

    Try this experiment.
    1. Read an e-mail message from Person-X.
    2. Press on the “forward” button.
    3. Now, edit the content of the message being forwarded
    “Elect Obama!!!” somewhere in the third or 4th line.

    4. Enter your e-mail address (and AbeMargallo’s email id, if you have it)
    in the TO: line.
    5. Press enter or send.

  5. to cvj, who said : “UPn, so far you haven’t disputed the truth of the message…”

    Go read this; tell me what you see in the picture.
    “You’ll earn better money in Singapore. You should stay there forever.”
    “You’ll earn better money in Singapore. You should work there for 6 or 7 years, then return to Pinas.”
    “You’ll earn better money in Singapore. I will get you there. Let’s have sex.”

    “There is extreme poverty in Pinas. Action-a”
    “There is extreme poverty in Pinas. Action-b”
    “There is extreme poverty in Pinas. Action-c”

    The problem is not “extreme poverty”; the problem is Action-a versus -b versus -c.

    The message? Go figure. Caveat Emptor!

  6. I think mlq3 wants me to do “equal time”, which I will because it is right.

    Passivity of the people is not necessary, in fact, DEMOCRATIC LEADERS wants the people to be mesmerized and inspired. And you do this, to inspire them, by repeatedly showing them/the people the inequities and sins committed onto them, and then that it is the democratic leader who has the way across the desert.

    Passivity of the people is not necessary, in fact, fascism wants the people to be mesmerized and inspired. And the fascist leader does this, to inspire them, by repeatedly showing them/the people that they are victims, and then the fascist leader claims that his way that is the path across the desert.

    Passivity of the people is not necessary, in fact, MERCHANDISING wants the people to be mesmerized and inspired. And you do this, to inspire them, by repeatedly showing them/the people that their lives are incomplete, and then that it is your NEW PRODUCT that is the path to better.


    Go figure. Caveat emptor.

  7. UP n student:

    Can you forge meta-data generated by servers? Can you forge time and date stamps? Can you forge SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) email routing information?

  8. Anthony:

    Training our guns at our congressmen to impeach the president will only be a pipe dream. With most of our representatives’ loyalty on loan to their political party or the person who can deliver their pork barrel, instead of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, we can only expect the impeachment to end up at the House abattoir for the third time. We tried it twice but all we saw were carcasses. Should our politicians have the same statemanship like leaders in the US, allowing the impeachment to take its course, this growing call for GMA’s resignation could had been a whisper by now.

  9. UPn, first of all, your formulation of the problem is incomplete. The problem is not simply that there is extreme poverty in the Philippines. The problem is there is extreme poverty in the Philippines because of the Oligarchs. Now the actions to remedy this situation can range from Abe Margallo’s Let’s mobilize People Power to have a Bayanihan Pact to Deviladvc8’s Let’s mobilize the people to roast them alive. You seem to be unwilling to allow for any such distinctions.

  10. The nature of power in RP are in two planes.

    One, there is the zero-sum game with the opposition, “truth” senators (the national political elites). In this i win-you lose game, GMA knows that these actors could shout to heaven high but will not matter. Even if the whole Senate is against her, she will not be unnerved.

    The other plane is the non zero-sum game with the regional political elites and security moguls. In this I win you win dimension, she knows that these are the actors who could initiate impeachment against her, gather the votes for the annointed successor, and unseat her.

    GMA knows which game matter, until 2010 and beyond..

  11. cvj: But there are distinctions!!!

    Action-a : Surge-then-Bayanihan pact
    Action-b : Surge-then-Roast-them-alive
    Action-c : Surge(kuno)-then-let’s-do-Martial-Law
    Action-d : Surge-then-Erap-back-into-Malacanang
    Action-e : Surge-then-a-twist-with-no-not-Noli

    To the people as they surged, People-Power-Get-GMA-Into-Malacanang (Mike version) was indistinguishable from People-Power-because-of-envelope.

    Caveat Emptor!

  12. to JM Castro: weren’t you able to insert an “Elect Barack Obama” into a mail-message before forwarding?

  13. “To the people as they surged, People-Power-Get-GMA-Into-Malacanang (Mike version) was indistinguishable from People-Power-because-of-envelope.” – UPn Student

    Interesting that you use People Power that gave GMA the Presidency as the selling point not to use People Power to eject GMA from the Presidency.

  14. “Interesting that you use People Power that gave GMA the Presidency as the selling point not to use People Power to eject GMA from the Presidency.–cvj to UP n

    cvj, i’ve met salesmen of all colors and persuasions, always, their common consideration is to make the sale pitch interesting in order to make a sale. it’s up to us to buy or not.

  15. jason born,

    that is where working on congressmen will come in. i-people power ang bawat congressman.

    if the two previous impeachment attempts failed, its because the bright boys of the opposition didn’t prepare for the impeachment. what they had in mind then was to stimulate people power, kaya naunahan sila nina Lozano and the Pulido complaint na hindi pulido.

    i still submit that if the removal of gloria is the goal, impeachment is nearer to it than all these pathetic people power attempts. the continuing investigation at the senate isn’t making the snowball wished for by the people power hopefuls

    a people power might have a better chance if all the Genuine Opportunists, Lozada, and the activist bishops will just SHUT UP, stay out of the picture (and background), and really let the people attempt it.

  16. UP n student:

    My point is this: there is meta-data in an email which are system generated, which is put in the email by Yahoo itself, one of which is the date and time that the email was sent. Are you suggesting that the email of Mr. San Miguel was forged last 2006?

  17. UP n student:

    My difficulty with your scenario is that it is not equivalent to the circumstances being debated by Mr. Madriaga and Mr. San Miguel.

    Let me put it this way, UP — you have an email dated a month ago in your Yahoo account. Can you go inside your own account and modify the contents of that email? Can you place “Elect Barack Obama” in any portion of your email? In your attachment?

    I do not think you can, unless the Yahoo email system is accessed at the OS platform level, not through your Web browser. That’s why I categorically said that only legitimate access by those who take care of the system (systems administrators), or those who have “cracked” the system (cyber-warfare specialists) can do that.

  18. JM Castro: got it… the issue is about data elements which are the ‘originals’ stored on the yahoo servers, not downloaded to one’s PC as some mail platforms do, or modified before forwarding.

  19. JMCastro,

    All I am saying is:

    a) Lozada and Madriaga have already been proven to be liars…beyond a shadow of doubt. The factual evidence has been demonstrated.

    b)Until now, San Miguel has not been proven a liar. Producing hard copy printouts is not nearly enough. So yes, the investigators should see the original message on the computer or in Yahoo’s archives or whatever.

    Until that happens, let’s make sure we label the liars properly…only after solid evidence has been gathered.

  20. mlq3,

    Lozada and his lawyer are trying to wiggle out of the lie. That’s understandable.

    But why are you trying to sweep Lozada’s lies under the rug. Aren’t you in search of The Truth? Isn’t everything either black or white?

    Yes, Lozada didn’t say Fely invited him, BUT HE SAID (TO JOKER ARROYO): “YOU INVITED ME”…AND LATER (ON ANC) “THEY INVITED ME”.

    Lozada and lawyer’s words now? “I never said Fely invited me”. Sleazy. They pretend they are accused of something else and then deny that something else.

    And you support this lying???

  21. geo, i was watching it on tv. if anyone was being dishonest and abusing their command of the language, it was joker arroyo. and you are relying on solita monsod’s translation of an ambiguous filipino phrase.

    but you know, what i’m trying to do is get a copy of the transcript because what i object to is zeroing on lozada’s answer without providing context into the questioning joker arroyo was attempting. he was pursuing a lawyer’s craftiness and got slapped in the face. deservedly so.


    precisely i am for the truth and the truth is joker was being an ass and solita is is being intellectually dishonest.

  22. The truth, mlq3 is that Lozada perjured himself.

    The context is immaterial. He took an oath and lied. Then repeated the lie on national TV, demonstrating that the lie wasn’t some inadvertent slip of the tongue.

    That’s the truth in black and white. Amazing that you still haven’t acknowledged it.

    But if you want to debate this still…

    a) “Pinatawag ninyo po ako roon sa bahay ninyo” seems pretty clear. Maybe “pinapunta” would have been more accurate, but the idea is clear – no?

    b) The ANC interview was in English. “They invited me to go to their home” seems pretty clear to me.

    c) Joker’s demeanor was accusatory, yes. I watched it, too. But he was nothing like the senators have been…like they were with San Miguel, for example. I don’t recall reading that you condemned this kind of behavior before. Jamby does it as a habit. How about Jingoy? When the Senators act like that, is it ok for the resource person to lie???

    mlq3 — I note that you keep calling San Miguel a perjurer…when there is no proof (yet) that this is so. But with concrete proof in front of you, you refuse to call Lozada a perjurer.

    It seems your actions and your advocacies are in conflict. Maybe I’m wrong, though. Did I miss something?

  23. geo, yes. read the transcript i’m putting up in my next post. lozada said at the time abaya brought him there. the point about an accusatory demeanor is, don’t blame anyone if the one you’re trying to pin down turns the tables on you. san miguel did it to ping, lozada did it to joker.

  24. A seasoned lawyer , who is handling a very controversial case, will not bring a witness in court , especially if his testimonies are so crucial, without first coming into terms of the nature and parameter of the testimonies relative to the case at bar.
    All the more, the lawyer will not show oozing confidence to the media the overwhelming impact on his testimonies if he knows what his doing is just a sheer bluff. Because if it turns out the other way, the lawyer will look like a bubbling idiot.

    As parallelism, the behavior of Lacson before the overly hype cameo appearance of the surprised witness San Miguel as if an angel descended from heaven, and the tragedy the senator suffered, raise more questions the answers. There are two scenarios I could think of.

    (1)Lacson approached San Miguel or the other way around and agreed what the latter would testify in the senate. Like a knight believing the promise of his beloved princess to betray her queen mother, Lacson, overconfident, opened up his assault to the palace. But without knowing, San Miguel, instead of an angel, is a trojan horse, an Arnold Benedict playing double agent with the very purpose to ridicule his recruiter and somehow do damage to other witnesses.
    (2) Lacson and San Miguel both faithfully or unfaithfully or (SMB) under duress agreed on the terms of his testimonies, confirming the bribery but the Palace’s bayonets and cash unleashed in the windup of their tug-of-war proved deadlier than Lacson could muster.

    San Miguel might have come to fore before the senate under pressure from both protagonists. In their dogfight, the Palace prevailed. The Palace apologists can simply tell Ping: Sorry ka nalang, try your luck next time.

  25. mlq3,

    joker, an ass? just because of that one solitary episode? just because his view of Lozada differs from you? and you are even citing that yahoo site to support your point? (its like asking Hilary Clinton what she thinks of Barack Obama)

  26. joker’s been an ass since he ran with the admin slate last year.the yahoo site gives a good explanation of what joker tried and failed to do. you can see the transcript in my next entry.

  27. mlq3,

    Sorry, but I read your entry and didn’t see anything that refutes the fact that Lozada lied. Sure, Abaya brought him, but Lozada said, twice, “they/you invited me”.

    This “Abaya brought him” is just as evasive an argument as is “I never said Fely invited me”.

    Jeez, mlq3, it’s not the end of the world…or even of your main argument(s). But Lozada lied. Under oath. Then reaffirmed the lie hours later on TV. Black and white, my friend…no?

  28. geo, i don’t know why, i don’t see a lie. it’s the nuance or rather, the vagueness of the language perhaps. his story taken in the context of the questions, stands. i am trying to get the transcript of the subsequent hearing where i understand joker accepted his explanation (or lozada at least clarified the context of his previous remarks).

  29. Geo:

    No amount of explaining can open a closed mind. My mind is closed about this because of the reasons I have enumerated. I am confident about every fact and expert opinion I have written about.

    I have focused primarily on the testimony of Mr. Leo San Miguel, touching only briefly on other matters (very briefly). The other elements you introduced (specifically Mr. Lozada’s alleged “lying”) does not diminish the fact that Mr. Leo San Miguel lied, and that it can be proven.

    That Mr. San Miguel even wants to elaborate his lie makes him a brazen stone cold liar in my book.

  30. jmcastro, who cares about your “book”. you can wallow in your prejudice but it’s just like saying “basta, tama ako” ano man ang mangyari”. that kind of mindset doesn’t contribute anything to civilized discourse. the search for truth is not like election where you can express your belief by your vote, misguided though it may be. that’s why the slogan used by so-called interfaith rallyists of the usual suspects, e.g., cory, bishop cruz, and activists “students” and “religious workers” – “interfaith prayer rally for truth” – is actually a prayer for divine help to oust “gloria” (as if God can be hoodwinked to support their malevolent agenda). they are only interested in the “truth” that pgma is guilty, not the possible truth that she is innocent.

    mlq3, i read the transcript of the lozada questioning by senator arroyo. i thought there’s something there that justifies your calling arroyo “an ass”. i was disappointed. from one who has some actual experience in examination of witnesses, i thought arroyo did a splendid job, incisive but fair. lozada was implicating a lot of people by innuendos and conjectures like a shotgun spewing pellets in all directions. his demeanor, alternating between crying, smirking, smiling fiendishly, head-shaking and eyes-rolling, indicate a psychological condition that is not normal. i really am interested in how he would fare in a polygraph test of all the things that came from his mouth.

    how can you conclude that lozada was telling the truth and leo sa miguel was lying? merely saying that it can be proven doesn’t justify your prejudice.

  31. what did Leo San Miguel say? “a thousand people could be repeating the lie, and the lie will still not be the truth” or something like that. how apt, no?

    and the Usiseros’ problem boils down to distinguishing the lie from the truth like TRUTH without letting our biases get in the way…

  32. Bencard:

    I never concluded that Mr. Lozada is telling the truth, because I believe in respecting other people’s opinions regarding JLo’s testimonies. Its strengths and weaknesses stands on its own, and has been over-discussed anyway in other posts already, that’s why I don’t even touch on it a lot anymore.

    I take a solid stance against Mr. San Miguel because in at least one instance — his email to Mr. Madriaga — he is willing to elaborate on his BS. Don’t take my word for it, ask any IT professional regarding what I have written about in my prior posts.

    Now, a person who is willing to lie in an elaborate manner is a brazen liar — that’s the way I judge character. If that makes me “prejudiced” in your book, then go ahead, I won’t mind being in your “bad” list anyway.

    I’m just a regular Juan who joins legal protests once in a long while, who gets receipts when I buy stuff, who pays taxes but gets it in the ass every time government corruption happens, who prays to God every once in a while for a better Philippines and who joins up with causes I believe in. As Mita aptly put it in her post, usisero lang po ako at hindi naman ako senador. Heaven forbid, I don’t even want to become a politician even if the opportunity falls squarely in my lap. As one of the “little people” where politics is concerned, you flatter me too much when you fulminate against me so.

  33. Bencard:

    “I never concluded that Mr. Lozada is telling the truth”, as in the whole truth, since I sometimes sense that he has interests to protect, too.

  34. Anthony:

    ( …impeachment…pulido, Lozano complaints…Lozada, bishops shut up)

    Since we agreed on the point that the Lozano and Pulido complaints were not “pulido”, i believed they had the imprimatur of the only person who would benefit from it; which is GMA. The dilemma starts here again. It’s an ominous sign the president doesn’t want the impeachment to take its course. And with her Lakas-Kampi party lording over the House, she will use their superior number to thwart the impeachment anew.

    Of course, you proposed as counter move to break the congressmen’s loyalty to the president which is chained by the pork barrel: to have “people power on them”. how are we going to carry it on? Through the same template and vigor like the one we employed on Marcos and Erap? But even if our rage and disappointment reach to flash point, as witnessed by history, congressmen allied with the president, if not all but most of them, will always pledge allegiance to him until the buzzer of power sounded.

    Another point, you believe that if the activist bishops, lozada shut up maybe a “genuine people power” will spring up. But is it not that before lozada’s testimony and the bishops’ open call for GMA’s resignation, she keeps stonewalling while the Palace shock troopers labeled the ZTE investigation as a routine political noise. But after Lozada’ senate testimony and amid the growing call for her to step down, GMA admitted in public that there were irregularities in the NBN-ZTE deal. Lozada’s revelation and the bishops also animated the passive middle class. This was evident during the interfaith rally. Count out Erap and the rabble-rouser, teachers, students, professors from different top universities, surprisingly including GMA’s alma mater, the IBP, professionals, artists, nuns and priests were there.

    Finally, you said in your March 12 comment at 2:24 a.m. “… 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. Are you referring Lozada’s testimony as the source of this sufficient evidence?

  35. jcastro, what is the relevance of that e-mail to the main issues before the investigating committee, i.e., alleged bribery and corruption in the nbn-zte deal, anyway? why do you keep saying san miguel engaged in “elaborate” and “brazen” lying in connection with that e-mail? even if your argument that an attachment to an e-mail could not be changed once it is transmitted is correct, and that san miguel’s claim was incorrect, how could you conclude that he was lying? a mistaken belief is not necessarily a lie. and such isolated inaccuracy does not necessarily render his entire testimony false.

    maybe we are both partisan. but i can assure you that my being pro-administration does not preclude me from giving truth a chance.

  36. Bencard:

    Mr. San Miguel’s statements to the Senate committee, which I endured the whole time, my expertise in my own field, and the way I judge the character of other people, tells me so.

  37. jason born,

    on the failed impeachment complaints – the point there is the bright boys of the opposition were outsmarted by gloria loyalists. the Genuine Opportunists were still busy debating who should be the undisputed opposition leader to lead the fight vs gloria.

    on impeachment itself – for me thats the closest to removing gloria. another people power? forget it

    on how to do the impeachment – gayahin how it was done vs Erap. If an impeachment complaint is signed by at least 1/3 of the House, automatically impeached na si gloria, and the complaint will serve as the articles of impeachment!

    ang ginagawa kasi for the past two years, individual complaint filed, the justice committee deliberates and votes on it, then the plenary decides whether to confirm or reject the committee decision (if the committee votes to impeach, the plenary can reverse. yet if the committee rejects, the plenary can also reverse, in which case gloria is impeached)

    my suggestion is let a complaint be signed by the required number of congressmen, then file it at the House

    on sufficient evidence – no, even without Lozada’s testimony, cases can be filed against the culprits.

    take note the project was by cancelled by gloria because of the controversy. implication – even with the knowledge of the P200M bribe attempt as reported by Neri, gloria allowed the project to continue

    at best, Lozada’s testimony is only corroborative.

  38. jmcastro, if i may say so, i don’t know who or what you are but i think you are a not a very good judge of character. an erroneous technical belief doesn’t necessarily indicate a flawed personal trait.

  39. jason born,

    maybe an inspiration to the people power hopefuls:

    EDSA 2 took place in the midst of Senate impeachment proceedings.

    Senate impeachment proceedings is the biggest arena, where any cover-up attempts – like the refusal to open the envelopes – is magnified and can trigger another people power.

    if a similar cover-up is attempted at that point, and still no people power, that is the final undeniable proof of the Pinoy’s people power fatigue

  40. anthony scalia, i wouldn’t go so far as to say “gloria” let the project continue even with the “knowledge of the bribe offer”. even if it was alleged by neri, it was still an allegation. no responsible official worth her salt would cancel an important international agreement (important because it was for the modernization of government’s communication facilities, among other things) instantaneously on a mere hint of bribery, i.e. “may 200 ka dito”). the right course of action was to have it investigated and verified (which she said she did) but not to disrupt the scheduled process – at that point the first one among a series of signing documents. afterall, it was a transaction among adults, not irresponsible kids.

    once she had reasonable ground to believe that the deal was indeed tainted, she ordered its cancellation. what is so irregular or anomalous about that?

  41. Bencard,

    on San Miguel’s ‘bomb’ – its salvage time, the ‘scrap’ can still be worth something

  42. Bencard,

    I acknowledge the possibility of the scenario pointed in your first paragraph

    gloria could have told Neri “wala yan, di tutoo yan. ipatuloy mo lang.” then she asks “DOTC, meron bang attempt sa inyo?” Sabi ng DOTC “wala po ma’am.” gloria can say that “in my due diligence i never saw bribery/potential kickbacks”

    “once she had reasonable ground to believe that the deal was indeed tainted, she ordered its cancellation. what is so irregular or anomalous about that?”

    no, i would not call that anomalous/irregular. its just that she waited for the controversy to be the circus that it is now when she ordered its cancellation. the project was already moving (though preliminaries pa lang, wala pa talagang contract on the project itself). so the knee jerk reaction of hoi polloi is ‘pinayagan nya ang project to move on despite Neri’s disclosure’. of course gloria can validly doubt Neri’s claims on Abalos

    gloria may be off the hook in terms of personal involvement, but why is she so slow in investigating the people involved? i think thats the point of the ‘ex-men’

    listening to the Senate investigations, the whole NBN-ZTE thing is actually just about attempts at bribery and kickbacks. no government money is spent yet nor paid to ZTE. whether ZTE money actually found its way to the pockets of key DOTC and other government officials is another matter. thus far, no one has ‘admitted’ receiving ZTE money.

    due to the seriousness of the allegations, gloria should have ‘urged’ or ‘requested’ the PAGC to investigate if ZTE money already flowed into the pockets of government men. maybe a lifestyle check of DOTC people is in order

  43. until neri answers the ‘3 questions’ truthfully under oath in the senate investigation, speculations on gloria’s culpability regards nbn are just that, speculation. until then, ‘the knee-jerk reaction of the hoi polloi’ will remain as credible as the truth.

    btw, let me take this opportunity to say that I no longer suspect anthony scalia to be a government person.

  44. bert, elementary fairness dictates that, in the absence of proof, speculation has no value in terms of credibility. how can you say “it will remain as credible as the truth”?

  45. It seems that Team Unity and the Genuine Opposition are not different from two rival criminal gangs fighting over an innocent lady representing the Philippines.

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