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Friday, February 29, 2008

The traitor is the plague.

(Herman Tiu Laurel/ Infowars/ 2-29-2008 FRI.)

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely… For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation… A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague." - Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, philosopher.



Senator Antonio Trillanes IV issued a statement frontally accusing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of selling out the country to foreign interests in the ZTE bribe for Spratly rights of China. Vietnam is also involved in the Spratly's issue, though not in ZTE. As Senator Trillanes charged, Arroyo has ceded exploitation rights to the area rich in oil and gas resources, in exchange for a package of $ 1-billion loan for various milking cow projects of the Arroyo regime; including the ZTE, CyberEd, the South Rail and last but not the least, the North Rail project where former Speaker Jose de Venecia was also embroiled in a controversy for. It seems that treason permeates so many sides to the controversies.

Cicero's reflection over two thousand years ago also describes the situation of the Philippines today. We are indebted to Senator Trillanes for bringing up this aspect of the ZTE deal and Arroyo's actuations in exchange for dollars from China. Corruption from the Latin corruptus which literally means "to destroy" is only in regard to dishonesty or breach of trust in public officers. Treason, in a Republic and for officers sworn to defend the Republic, is the highest form of corruption for it destroys the sovereign will and weal. Treason is a plague that permeates the whole of the Philippine ruling class, government bureaucracy, business and professional leadership.

Corruption merits the death penalty of reclusion perpetua only in amounts over fifty-million pesos, according to the Philippine's anti-plunder law. Treason is universally penalized with the heaviest punishment. Our dilemma is, if all traitors in Philippine government leadership, i.e. the ruling political and economic class, the various religious leadership of various denominations and sects, leaders of "civil society" – if all are put on trial few would be left running society after the executions. There is a pressing need to mold and training nationalistic professionals to govern when the national revolution comes.

Today, success in politics, government and big business and finance in the Philippines often require the enterprising individual to accept some degree of treason to the welfare of the nation. Legislators pass the globalization laws that surrender economic sovereignty; professionals and academics work for foreign consultancies that undermine economic nationalism, journalists take funds from foreign NGOs to subvert a genuinely elected government like Estrada's administration; businessmen connive with international financial institutions and foreign companies to take advantage of "sovereign guarantees" to swindle the country in power, water, road building and other projects.

Aspirants to the Philippine leadership must genuflect before the bastions of U.S. policy guardians, i.e. Ninoy had his virtuoso performance at the Asia Society to launch his comeback, Joe de Venecia is with the Heritage Foundation, even Nur Misuari the Council of Foreign Relations. These foundations vet Philippine leaders for their support to positions in Philippine politics. Many Philippine coup plotters first knock on the U.S. State Department to divine the inclinations of officials there. In Cory Aquino case, her survival in the 1989 coup needed FVR to call Colin Powell who, as head of the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff, sent out F-14 "persuasion flights" from Clark to stop Honasan.

Many professionals rise on credential from collaboration with foreign political-corporate mafias. Of the finance secretaries we can identify Jose Cuisia becoming Philam chief, controlled by the American International Group, after a pro-financial liberalization stint in Finance; Bobby Ocampo crashed the Peso in the Asian Financial Crisis but gets to head AIM which has the global corporations as it major patrons; former NEDA chief Romulo Neri was with the AGILE group which subverted the Philippine Congress inserting pro-free trade and globalization laws, legitimizing the destruction of Filipino industries.

Intellectuals, professionals and leaders who stood by their loyalty to the Republic are ostracized from power – from Mabini to Luis Taruc, from Recto to Diokno. Those who begin to stands up for the country start having troubles. Like Marcos pushing ahead with "rental" instead of accepting "aid" for Subic and Clark, and in pushing the Eleven Industrial Project. President Estrada demolished the MILF Buldon headquarters over objections of President Clinton who in a personal note carried by then Secretary of State William Cohen wanted it halted. Estrada opposed issuing "sovereign guarantee" to BOT projects – pretty soon he was deposed.

Vic Agustin in his Inquirer column in the Inquirer recently wrote that it was Victor Corpus, suspected U.S. agent of influence, who prodded Jun Lozada to expose the ZTE deal for "regime change". Lozada's exposé brought a chorus of indignation from different voices singing different interests – the trapos,for money; the U.S., to limit Chinese economic incursions; ordinary suffering citizens oblivious to the more complex interests involved. They just happen to converging with the nationalist interest now to remove a corrupt and treasonous political ruler patriots have fought the past seven years. But when Gloria is removed already, will the country already be free of the decay and suffering?

Senator Trillanes did the country a signal service in charging Gloria Arroyo with treason in the ZTE and other deals. Treason – the plague in this country that brought the cancer of U.S. sponsored globalization, the flood of Chinese onions and sell off of Spratly, sovereignty guarantees to BOT projects that drain consumer pockets, the invasion of Hollywood and American Idol into our media that eat away the character and identity of this nation. Treason is really the central issue. The only inoculation against the treason plague is love of country – i.e. Nationalism, born of an understanding of its indispensability in the survival, welfare and prosperity of citizens of this Republic.

Nationalism binds a people and empowers them to great feats. Nationalism is only taught by example, by evident sacrifice for the vision of a common good - by leadership. Senator Trillanes and the Bagong Katipuneros has been unfailing in setting the example of genuine love of country and, hence, abhorrence in action of corruption and treason. Let them lead the way. "Walang tutulong sa Pilipino kundi kapwa Pilipino" as Estrada says – but nationalist Pilipino, to be sure. (Tune to "Kape't Kamulatan, Kabansa" 8:30 to 9am, Monday to Friday on 1098AM) ###

Treason!

by Ricky Carandang

Allow me to expound a little on a story I did for The Correspondents on February 19th.

Seven countries claim ownership of the disputed Spratly Islands, just off of Palawan. China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines all claim to own part or all of the Spratlys. These overlapping claims have been a source of tension over the years since the Spratlys (we Filipinos call them the Kalayaan Islands) are believed to contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas. China was the most aggressive in pursuing its claim. In 1999, the Philippines--under
President Joseph Estrada--led an effort to prevent tensions by getting all the claimants to agree not to take actions to provoke other claimants.

GMA embraces China

But in 2003, the Philippines--now under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo-- rocked the boat that it previously steadied when it signed an agreement with China to jointly undertake seismic studies of the Spratlys and explore for oil and natural gas. Naturally, the other claimants were angry. After getting them to agree not to rock the boat, the Philippines sucker-punched them with the China deal. China's traditional ally, Vietnam was so angry it had to be let in to the deal to appease them.

Angers neighbors

Aside from angering our neighbors and potentially undermining regional stability, Arroyo's action may also be illegal. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez--who was then acting justice secretary--told former Senator Frank Drilon, who was then allied with the administration, that she believed that the deal violated the constitution, because while it was a deal between the state owned oil firms (PNOC of the Philippines and CNOOC of China) of the two countries, it implicitly gave China access to our oil reserves. Officers of the Foreign Affairs Department were also upset because the deal effectively strengthened China and Vietnam's claim to the Spratlys.

Why GMA embraced China?

What would compel Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to sign a deal that potentially undermines regional stability, possibly grants China parity rights to oil reserves in the Spratlys that we claim to be ours, and likely violates our constitution? How about $2 billion a year? After the Spratly deal was signed, the Chinese government committed $2 billion in official development assistance a year to the Philippines until 2010, when Arroyo is supposed to step down from office. My sources tell me that the Spratly deal was an explicit precondition to the loans.

Why China loans are tempting

A sizable amount to be sure, but for the Arroyo administration the China loans are particularly appealing. Not so much because the interest rates are so low and the repayment terms so lenient, but because Chinese loans do not have the cumbersome requirements that loans from the US, Japan, the EU, and big multilateral lenders have. Requirements for documentation, bidding, transparency and other details that make it very difficult for corrupt public officials to commit graft. In fact, in
November of last year, those cumbersome requirements made it impossible for some government officials and private individuals with sticky fingers to avail themselves of the World Bank's generosity.

Loans from China are good for sticky hands

It had gotten to the point where a corrupt government could no longer make a dishonest buck. That is until China's generous offer came along. Given China's laxity with certain conditions, it's no wonder why almost every big ticket government project funded by Chinese ODA has been the subject of allegations of graft and corruption. There's Northrail, Cyber Education, the Fuhua agricultural projects, Southrail, and of course the ZTE National Broadband project.

Until the ZTE National Broadband scandal, the Chinese government has had little official reaction to any of these allegations. Why should they? The $8 billion is a loan, not a grant. It enhances their influence in the region, strengthens their claim to the Spratlys, and expands their influence in the Philippines. The best part is, regardless of what Philippine officials do with the money--whether they put it to good use or steal it--it still has to be paid back. Its no wonder that anytime
some midlevel Chinese official comes to the country, congressmen and administration officials literally trip over themselves to roll out the red carpet.

For corrupt Administration officials and their cronies, $8 billion represents unprecedented opportunities for graft on a scale that would shock ordinary Filipinos.

Filipinos will pay for $8 Billion loans

And at the end of the day, that $8 billion is going to be paid back. Not by the grafters in and out of government; not by the Chinese citizens; but by the millions of ordinary middle class Filipinos who go to work everyday, pay their taxes, struggle and to keep their small and medium businesses afloat. The price will also be paid indirectly by tens of millions of poor Filipinos who will not have access to health care, quality education, and a functioning court system because those resources are not going where they should be going.

There's a word for that. Its called Treason.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Today the Spratlys, tomorrow Palawan

The Long View

By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:11:00 02/27/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- His Excellency Diosdado Talamayan can still bask in being able to “Oye-Oye” the President, while His Excellency Fernando Capalla can still dream (of what, of Cristina Ponce Enrile securing him a red hat from the Pope?). The President can thank them for their intervention in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and say, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

And thanks to the good bishops, the latest assurance that a future Arroyo Presidential Library can be built in the Ateneo de Manila University will be a suitable monument to Jesuit principles in action. Senators Joker Arroyo and Juan Ponce Enrile may have failed to derail the Senate hearings, as they mightily tried last Tuesday, but as they say, God works in mysterious ways.

I am happy Bishops Talamayan and Archbishop Capalla successfully bought the President time, because only time can further expose the reasons why she is undeserving of continuing in office.

In Genesis, chapter 25:30-34, a mess of pottage (lentil soup) is what Esau gets from his brother Jacob:

“And Esau said to Jacob, feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint...

“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

“And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

“And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils....”

On Tuesday, a witness told the Senate that the Chinese insisted that the President leave her husband’s sickbed, because they were skeptical of the seriousness of the government with regard to the national broadband network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp. She complied, returning the favor of commissions being released in time to help the administration election campaign last May.

After repeatedly playing the China card, eventually the Chinese have to collect. What’s in it for them?

Recently, in “The Correspondents” program, the television news channel ANC’s Ricky Carandang began to zero in on what is ultimately at stake for China: the Spratlys. And what the President’s ultimate concession has been: to abandon, at least partly, the Philippine claim to part of that island chain. What Carandang reported locally has been investigated internationally, too.

Barry Wain, writing in the Far Eastern Economic Review (Jan-Feb 2008), puts it this way in “Manila’s Bungle in The South China Sea”: “What most observers don’t realize is that in the last few years, regional cooperative efforts to coax Beijing into a more measured stance have been set back by one of the rival claimants to the islands.”

Our government left its regional partners in the lurch: “[T]he Philippine government has broken ranks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which was dealing with China as a bloc on the South China Sea issue. The Philippines also has made breathtaking concessions…”

How? “President Arroyo’s agreement with China for a joint seismic study was controversial in several respects. By not consulting other ASEAN members beforehand, the Philippines abandoned the collective stance that was key to the group’s success with China over the South China Sea. Ironically, it was Manila that first sought a united front and rallied ASEAN to confront China over its intrusion into Mischief Reef a decade earlier. Sold the idea by politicians with business links who have other deals going with the Chinese, Ms Arroyo did not seek the views of her foreign ministry, Philippines officials say. By the time the foreign ministry heard about it and objected, it was too late, the officials say.”

And our government did so, by means of withholding information from its own people and its neighbors: “Beijing and Manila did not make public the text of their ‘Agreement for Seismic Undertaking for Certain Areas in the South China Sea By and Between China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company’… signed on Sept. 1, 2004…”

However, the cat’s out of the bag, and it includes, not just the Philippine claim to the Spratlys, but our own iron-clad territorial limits: “Now that the location is known, the details having leaked into research circles, the reasons for wanting to keep it under wraps are apparent: ‘Some would say it was a sell-out on the part of the Philippines,’ says Mark Valencia, an independent expert on the South China Sea. The designated zone, a vast swathe of ocean off Palawan in the southern Philippines, thrusts into the Spratlys and abuts Malampaya, a Philippine producing gas field. About one-sixth of the entire area, closest to the Philippine coastline, is outside the claims by China and Vietnam. Says Mr. Valencia: ’Presumably for higher political purposes, the Philippines agreed to these joint surveys that include parts of its legal continental shelf that China and Vietnam don’t even claim.”’

And so the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has issued an open-ended demand for the President to revoke Executive Order 464. Can she? Will she?

The official response says it all: “This deserves very serious consideration.” Which means hell will freeze over first. Give an inch and the President is ever ready to take a mile.

What she needs is an ultimatum. Who will deliver that ultimatum? Not the hierarchy, but the public. How? The Inquirer editorial put forward a suggestion yesterday. A nationwide stay-at-home strike: Leave the streets to the government’s “hakot” [hauled-in crowd] or the politicians aching for media mileage.

Will the citizenry step up to the plate? After 2010? By which time the Chinese Jacob would have secured the Philippine Esau’s birthright -- for a mess of potage for Arroyo’s political party Kampi?

* * *

Ricky Carandang’s report is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcQaa6IUiR0.

You can read the Far Eastern Economic Review story on the Philippine sell-out of the Spratlys to China at http://www.viet-studies.info/kinhte/Manila_South_China_Sea.htm.

Bayan Ko

Dear Kababayans,

With the sad things that are happening right now in our beloved Filipinas, please reflect for a moment and listen to Kuh Ledesma's renditon of "Bayan Ko." Click the link below.

The great Filipino painter Fernando Amorsolo's priceless paintings of what it was like in the Philippines when it was still called the "Pearl of the Orient Seas" are shown in the background while Kuh is singing.

I want to thank Dan Orosa for forwarding this beautiful video presentation.

Best,
Perry
Enjoy this version with Amorsolo's paintings in the background.. .



BAYAN KO
Ang bayan kong Pilipinas
Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak
Pag-ibig ang sa kanyang palad
Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag.
At sa kanyang yumi at ganda
Dayuhan ay nahalina
Bayan ko, binihag ka
Nasadlak sa dusa.

Ibon mang may layang lumipad
Kulungin mo at umiiyak
Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag
Ang di magnasang makaalpas!
Pilipinas kong minumutya
Pugad ng luha ko't dalita
Aking adhika,
Makita kang sakdal laya.

Your Size Doesn’t Matter; What Matters Is The Size Of Your Dream

By Bo Sanchez

I just read the biography of John Gokongwei, The Path of Entrepreneurship.

It’s an incredible story.

Did you know that on his 80th birthday, he gave away half of his billions to charity? I want to do exactly the same thing when I reach 80. (I’ve got a few more years to earn my billions.)


(To continue reading Bo's inspiring article, click here.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fear is the perpetrator of evil rulers

AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A female Swiss exchange student once asked me: "How come the Filipinos don't rise up and fight? Most of them have nothing to lose except their lives."

She asked me this in 1980 after traveling all over the Philippines during the one year that she spent here. She saw first hand the social injustice under martial law and was appalled by the human rights abuses wrought by the military, especially in the countryside.

This 24-year-old girl came from an upper class Swiss family. Her father was a successful businessman while her mother was a doctor. Where she comes from, everybody is presumed to have the wherewithal to live decently. The unemployed among them happened to be those who chose not to work.

It surprised me that this Swiss exchange student could so easily suggest the option of giving up one's life for the sake of straightening the crooked in order to cure the nation's ills. It surprised me because it is almost unthinkable for anyone here to risk comfort, much less one's life, to assert the people's sovereign will over tyrants.

But then I realized that democracies in Western Europe were won by their homegrown national martyrs and sustained by people who would not think twice about losing their own lives to defend their way of life. This was 1980. The world was in the midst of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain still shrouded Eastern Europe.

In Western Europe, up to today, the smallest infraction and scandal of a government official, especially those at the top, will result in an immediate public outcry. A mega scandal like the ZTE deal will fill their streets with protestors and the government will change hands overnight. Public opinion is so powerful that public officials are compelled to preempt the outrage by resigning and vanishing from the scene.

Because Western Europe's leaders know that their citizens can and will take the ultimate risks to keep their national birthright, they act with transparency and full accountability.

Jun Lozada's favorite hero, Jose Rizal, wrote: "There are no tyrants where there are no slaves." Filipinos today make it appear that Rizal died in vain.

Over here bitches and evil rulers manage to hang on to power because people are afraid to take a stand. Let's face it — Romy Neri, the Blue Chicken, epitomizes most Filipinos. Jun Lozada captured the hearts of many because he dared where others failed.

Heck, we cannot even take it upon ourselves to join a prayer rally. Many Filipino mothers would be the first to prevent their sons and daughters from joining any public assembly to express outrage over the transgressions of our rulers.

Led by then PM Tony Blair, the Brits were among the first to jump into the bandwagon of George W. Bush's War on Terror and Iraq Invasion. But when it became obvious that WMD was pure US rubbish and concoction, the Brits immediately took to the streets to express their outrage. British mothers even brought their babies and their cribs with them to rally and demonstrate.

Later on, Tony Blair got the ultimate punishment from the British voters and was forced to abdicate to the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in order to save the Labor Party from suffering a big election loss.

Ours is a case of gross mismanagement from evil rule. It has all the manifestations of wicked autocracy — the arrogance, impunity and utter contempt for public opinion and the law. Yet we waffle over whether or not it is worth joining prayer rallies.

We take the coward's route by rationalizing that "there is no viable alternative anyway." Our population has ballooned to nearly 90 million and we have no alternative to this?! God help our race if that is the case.

What about Richard Gordon, Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, Sonny Belmonte — are they not better than this present ruler? How can a right thinking Filipino say that there is no alternative to this evil?

How about Tony Meloto and Manny Pangilinan if you've had it with politicians? Don't you think they will manage this country better? Good people like them are never elected because voters of a damaged culture prefer to elect the "lesser evil" instead of the nation's finest men.

I was for Raul Roco in 2004. But to those lame brains who voted then according to their perceived lesser evil, let me ask: could your perceived "greater evil" (Fernando Poe Jr.) have done worse than what we now have? If in 2004 you voted for the "lesser evil" – don't moan now that you've realized that evil rules the land.

I enjoyed reading the recent essay of Blue Eagle Harvey Keh that a friend forwarded to me. But are Harvey and his Team RP willing to undertake what are beyond the acceptable, safe and comfortable? Are Ateneans still taught to emulate Jose Rizal and Gregorio del Pilar?

A pack of sheep never liberated an oppressed people. Tyranny and evil rule where people are only willing to pray in order to remove them.

Arroyo caught in web of own lies

By Neal Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:18:00 02/26/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- So she did know. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was finally forced to admit that she knew as early as last April that the ZTE national broadband network (NBN) contract was anomalous. (My column last Monday, which asked if she knew, was written on Saturday. She made her admission last Sunday.) She said in a radio interview she "moved swiftly" to cancel the deal "the moment I learned there was the slightest suspicion of anomaly" in the project.

"Moved swiftly"? "The moment" she learned? It was five months later, on Oct. 2, 2007, that she scrapped the deal, and only after the stink became unbearable when Joey de Venecia III testified in the Senate and exposed the bribe offer to him and the involvement of her husband Mike Arroyo, and Commission on Higher Education Chair Romulo Neri revealed that he was offered a P200-million bribe. That's "moving swiftly" "the moment" she learned?

On the contrary, she still went ahead and took the trouble to go to China to witness the signing of the contract between Chinese firm ZTE Corp. and our Department of Transportation and Communications instead of canceling it "swiftly."

"How can you cancel it on the eve of the signing?" was her lame excuse. "We would lose face."

Why would we lose face if we cancelled an anomalous deal? On the contrary, she should have been proud to cancel it because she was nipping corruption in the bud.

She should not have gone to China to witness the signing in the first place. She had a good reason not to. Her husband was seriously ill, having just survived a life-threatening heart operation. She didn't have to be there. But no, she left his sickbed and took the trouble to go to China to witness the signing of what she knew was an anomalous contract.

She was afraid to lose face before the president of China but not to 90 million of her countrymen? She is not only losing face now but may also lose her presidency because she was afraid to "lose face" before one man.

The ZTE deal was only one of many contracts to be signed that day. The non-signing of the ZTE contract would not have been noticed. As it turned out, the Chinese president didn't mind when told about it later. "He understood," she herself said.

Despite her admission, I think the President is still not telling everything. She did not say that she did not cancel the deal immediately because she was still hoping it would go through. Sayang naman ang $70 million commission that her hubby was promised. At that time, that was worth P3.5 billion (that's billion!), enough to retire on in comfort in Monte Carlo or on a Caribbean island when she is out of power here. In fact, that must have been the reason she took pains to go to China -- to show that she was behind the deal so it would push through.

That is why she used all her subordinates and allies to justify the deal and deny that there was any irregularity. That is why she officially declared in September last year that "after an investigation" they found "no hard evidence for junking the deal." That is why she prevented her Cabinet secretaries, through Executive Order 464, from testifying in the Senate. That is why she used all the President's men to abduct Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., threaten him, force him to sign false affidavits and try to bribe him to prevent him from testifying in the Senate.

Only when the people, after hearing Lozada, demanded her resignation and fearing that the protest movements may escalate into another people power that may force her out of Malacañang did she deign to admit that she knew last April of the anomaly. It was an attempt to defuse the anger of the people and perhaps save her. But it only got her deeper in the muck. That's what happens when you lie. You are caught in the web of contradictions of your own lies.

If she knew as early as last April that the ZTE deal was anomalous, then she must have been lying in September when she declared there was "no hard evidence for junking the deal."

And what happens now to Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza and Undersecretary Lorenzo Formoso, as well as other officials who have been insisting that the ZTE deal is above board? With Ms Arroyo's admission that it was anomalous, it is clear that they have been lying through their teeth all along. They should come out now and make a clean breast of it and apologize to the people. It is obvious that Ms Arroyo will not hesitate to sacrifice them to save her neck.

More and more, the ZTE deal is becoming Ms Arroyo's Watergate. Like US President Richard Nixon then, she is sacrificing her loyal men to save herself. But like Watergate, the investigation is peeling layer after layer of cover-up to reveal the ugly secrets. All that is needed now to complete the picture is for one more official (like Neri?) to be stricken by his conscience (and also to save himself) and tell all. And for her allies in Congress to tell her the jig is up. Then she can take the honorable way out and step down like Nixon did.

Of course, what she did -- allow an anomalous deal -- as well as other illegal things she had done earlier are grounds for impeachment. But those who want her impeached better prepare the impeachment complaint early enough, otherwise another Oliver Lozano may beat them into filing a weak impeachment complaint this July to save her, again, from a more serious one.

Presidential adviser Joey Salceda is right, she "is the luckiest bitch alive." She should have been impeached a long time ago were it not for the quickness of the Oliver Lozanos and the slowness of opposition leaders, the immoderate greed of congressmen, the fear and indifference of public officials in the know, and the apathy of many Filipinos. And having Noli de Castro as the Vice President.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Loyalty now a silent milking cow

By ALFREDO P. HERNANDEZ
LETTERS FROM PORT MORESBY (YEAR 3)

LOYALTY has become a multi-million peso/dollar commodity for those who are close to the powers-that-be. To them, it is their dogged commitment to stick to the seat of power come hell or high water; it is a determined effort to simply play deaf to the prevailing public outcry that clamorously tells them such allegiance has now become a tool of oppression, and to play blind to the overlapping web of blatant corruption in their midst.

While it is inherent in every human being to be loyal in his simple ways to the people he loves, to the persons he respects, to the people, institutions and interests he serves, and to his Motherland, some of those who are privileged to serve the power-holders have dragged it down so low that such dedication only boils down to being morally bankrupt, unacceptable and unconscionable. To them, however, it is big deal. After all, loyalty of this magnitude has its own reward.

The brand of loyalty that the Filipino nation is witnessing right now from the people supposed to uphold and protect the interest and well-being of the people has become some sort of a joke, if not downright ridiculous. Because right within the seat of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's regime are loyalists who remain steadfast in their resolve to prop her regime up, stonewalling themselves from the stinking distrust permeating her administration from 80 million or so Filipinos who feel that it's time for her to go.

This week's display of loyalty to Arroyo by Cabinet members had simply said it all. Through their so-called "solidarity walk", or "loyalty walk" to be more precise, on the Palace grounds, they had clearly demonstrated that they totally ignore a public conscience seeking end to an unparalleled corruption in her government, allegedly involving no less than the her husband - First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo and his cronies - and seeking redress for crimes against the people committed with impunity by the disgraced military, another establishment that continues to be petted by the regime.

Viewed by many as psychological warfare to show how stable the Arroyo government is, the "solidarity walk" has instead betrayed the state of panic now rocking the president's inner circle amidst calls from different sectors of the society for her to step down. The people believe this is the only way to halt the nation's spiraling plunge into chaos which has now reached a point of no return.

Of late, the head of an influential group of Roman Catholic bishops has called on for new brand of "people power" that would spur every Filipino to bring out the truth and end corruption keeping the nation hostage to the "greed of power-holders". Tired of worn-out "people power" that had seen the downfall of two presidents just to thrust the nation later into an economic quicksand, and the government into a cesspool of moral decay, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has called for a "brand new people power". It is one that would snowball from a campaign against corruption in government that lately has emitted obnoxious stench, courtesy of the scandal-tainted US$329 million national broadband network deal with China's ZTE group. In this deal, the brokers could have snatched a whooping US$130 million kickback.

Last Saturday, some 60 former government officials urged Cabinet members "who could not stomach the Arroyo administration's supposed greed" to resign. "It's time to cut clean. It's time to go," they told the Cabinet men. Likewise, the students and professors of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law have called on the president to go on leave, or resign over her continued refusal to publicly condemn alleged corruption and bribery in the national broadband network (NBN) deal.

The First Gentleman and his close ally, the notorious and disgraced former Commission on Elections chairman and "Commission Man" Benjamin Abalos Sr, have been implicated to the scandalous deal, which the Arroyo scrapped after the Senate launched an inquiry. Lately, Arroyo herself has been accused of standing to gain from the NBN contract had it pushed through.

Latest to join their voice to the growing calls for Arroyo to step down was the newly formed alliance of women's organization, BabaLa or the Babae Laban sa Katiwalian (Women Against Corruption). To them, Arroyo has "channeled (funds) originally intended for education, health services, housing programs and other basic needs ...into the pockets of her family and cronies."

They were hammering on Arroyo's legacy of corruption and scandals against which some dictators in other countries would pale in comparison. The list of tainted projects just goes on and on - the NBN-ZTE Project, South Rail and North Rail Project, Transco bidding, among many others, simply showing the impunity in corruption of her regime.

But the Cabinet members' "solidarity walk" with Arroyo the other day simply shrugged off the fast-spreading clamor for her to step down. This goes to show clearly that they continue to stomach the greed of the administration, but which they persistently believe as stable and beyond disgrace.

The feeling of confidence among the Cabinet members could not be over emphasized, with all believing they could weather the political storm hurtling towards the regime. In fact, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez was boasting of the high spirits among his colleagues and their feeling of confidence in everyone. Their "intact and shared steadfast loyalty" will be the backbone that will prop the Arroyo government as it confronts the roaring anger of the Filipino people.

"These are not fly-by-night people," Gonzalez said of the Cabinet members.

True. They have stuck it out with Arroyo ever since she grabbed power from disgraced President Joseph Estrada via "Edsa II". And they will stay put by all means so they could continue to stay in their own zone of power where millions are silently made, millions to line their pockets.

Why the dogged show of loyalty and persistence to cling to power, courtesy of their Cabinet portfolios?

The 20 per cent or so commission in government contracts is one major reason, which, according to whistle-blower and State star witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr, an IT expert who had access to the NBN deal documents, has become a norm in government procurement deals. Since almost all key government departments have million-peso budgets for so-called development projects across the country, the one who affixes his signature on the deal gets the windfall. It is no secret that the head of a department normally decides on what spending to make out of their budget, making him highly important to suppliers wanting to sell their goods and services worth several millions.

And the closer that official gets to the seat of power, the bigger the manna from heaven would be. Abalos used to be one of the closest allies of Arroyo and such closeness was firmed up after the former Comelec chairman assured Arroyo's victory in the 2004 presidential elections, which the nation firmly believed was heavily tainted with anomalies and corruption, highlighted by the "Hello Garci" saga.

Having been close to PGMA and to the First Gentleman, Abalos was able to dictate his cut on the US$329 million BNB deal. Translated into Philippine currency, the US$130 million commission, or 39.5 per cent of the total project cost (as against the "normal" 20 per cent cut) that he was able to hack was supposed to hit 5.3 billion pesos. But of course, Lozada alleged that US$60 million of this would line the pocket of the First Gentleman, which is also the pocket of the president.

Such greed of Arroyo's top allies, which Commission on Higher Education Chair Romulo Neri wanted to "moderate", has actually been given tacit approval by no less than Arroyo herself - her subtle way of buying loyalty. In fact, the bribery saga on the NBN deal was known all along by Arroyo. When Neri, then the NEDA Director General and Secretary for Socio-Economic Planning, told the president about the 200 million peso-bribe Abalos had offered him to facilitate its approval, the president casually told him to ignore it and instead, work for its recommendation and approval. However, Neri suddenly clamped up when the Senators, at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the NBN issue, started asking him about the nature of his conversation with Arroyo. To fend off queries, Neri had repeatedly invoked "Executive Privilege".

During the Marcos regime, cronies with unswerving loyalty were given a free hand to handle their financial deals - from multi-million dollar investment in shell corporations in Nassau, in the Bahamas, and in the Netherlands Antilles, to multi-million dollar kickbacks and stolen wealth stashed in secret bank accounts in Switzerland for themselves and for the First Couple. The only instruction given them by the former dictator was: Avoid compromising him and his wife Imelda and their family. So the stealing spree went on unabated during the Marcos regime and was to stop only at its downfall following the 1986 People's Revolt.

Just like Neri, the rest of Arroyo's Cabinet men could have been offered or had actually received bribes, commissions or kickbacks out of their department's procurement programs, although not in the league of Abalos'. But with the frequency of such deals occurring year-round, the windfall is by all means staggering, considering that government deals nowadays run into several millions per signing.

IN THE ARROYO government, as in previous regimes like that of the deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos, loyalty has its price and the one who is honored to make an offering gets the gold. However, while a show of loyalty deserves praise, the one that is grossly misplaced has no place in a moral society like ours and therefore, should be watched closely - the likes of those we are seeing now in Malacanang.

It is this brand of loyalty that silently nourishes the greed that makes the Arroyo government. Loyalty from her Cabinet men and greed of her regime create the symbiosis that sustains one another, and when lifted to a new level, becomes the silent milking cow. With this harsh reality, there's only one way to terminate such a relationship. There's no better option available.

Email the writer:
jarahdz500@online.net.pg
alfredophernandez@thenational.com.pg

Mayor Lim lauds GOMBURZA

Landscape
by Gemma Cruz Araneta


On that breezy Sunday morning, one hundred thirty six years after three Filipino priests were garroted at Bagumbayan, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim commemorated the nationalism of Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora and connected it to the current "communal action".

Addressing the students in the audience, Mayor Lim said that both Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio were inspired by Frs. Gomez, Burgos and Zamora. Dr. Rizal, a twelve-year old lad when the priests were executed, dedicated to them his novel EL FILIBUSTERISMO. Apparently, the acronym GOMBURZA is attributed to Andres Bonifcaio as it was one of the passwords of the Katipunan.

Fr. Jose Burgos , an Ilocano, son of a Spanish lieutenant was only thirty five when he was killed. He was a brilliant theologian and became the second curate of the Manila Cathedral as well as fiscal of the Ecclesiastical Court. Perhaps, his being a Spanish mestizo helped him attain such elevated positions, denied to indio-Filipino priests who were just as qualified.

Fr. Jacinto Zamora was a native of Pandacan and only two years older than Fr. Burgos on execution day. He became parish priest of Marikina and Pasig and was later appointed to the Manila Cathdral, after passing with flying colors the qualifying examination. At the time of his death, Fr. Mariano Gomez, a mestizo Chino from Santa Cruz, Manila, was already seventy –three.(Mayor Lim took note of the age similarity). He had a Bachelor of Theology and was also a lawyer and parish priest of Bacoor, Cavite. He founded the newspaper called "La Verdad" ( "Truth") where he exposed the abuses of the Spanish colonial government as well as the religious orders.

Why were they garroted by the Spanish colonial government and why didn't the Church object? GOMBURZA were members of the COMITE REFORMADOR which was fighting to secure equal rights for Filipino secular priests who, for centuries, were discriminated against by reason of race in the appointments for parish priests. In the early years of Christianization, friars of the religious orders had to man the newly-established parishes for lack of secular clerics, but eventually, when many native Filipino became secular priests they were considered undeserving to be appointed as full parish curates. Those positions were still reserved for full-blooded Spanish priests most of whom were from religious orders and who had grown accustomed to hold political sway as intermediaries between the State and the native population.

Because the Church and State were one , colonial authorities always took the side of the Church and native priests who clamored for their rights were considered rebels. On 20 January 1872, a mutiny exploded in the Spanish naval base in Cavite and although it had absolutely nothing to do with the activities of the COMITE REFORMADOR, the three priests were deliberately implicated, arrested, charged with sedition, incarcerated at Fort Santiago and two weeks later were sentenced to death by garrote.

A reign of terror followed and many Filipino males who showed talent and courage, like GOMBURZA, were rounded up and killed Many of them went into hiding, some concealed their identities like Paciano Mercado who changed the family name to Rizal because he was a friend of Fr. Burgos and his younger brother a pupil.

After the ceremony, Mayor Alfredo Lim rushed to La Salle Greenhills to attend the protest Mass for "communal action" sparked by the revelations of Eng. Jun Lozada. What a fitting tribute to GOMBURZA! (gemma601@yahoo.com)

Friday, February 22, 2008

'FG heads midnight Cabinet'

By Marichu Villanueva
Thursday, February 21, 2008

He's just an "ordinary lawyer" who does not meddle in affairs of government, according to First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.

But Gina de Venecia, who until recently was a close ally of President Arroyo, said yesterday that the controversial First Gentleman in fact presides over a "midnight Cabinet" that is deeply involved in affairs of state.

The wife of Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. has come out swinging against the administration since his Palace-backed ouster as House speaker.

In separate interviews with The STAR and GMA-7/dzBB yesterday, Mrs. De Venecia said acting Commission on Higher Education Chairman Romulo Neri also described President Arroyo to her as "evil."

Mrs. De Venecia joined the chorus demanding the resignation of President Arroyo, saying this would "cut off the head and not just the tentacles" of corruption.

"She is the head of corruption in the government," De Venecia said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita dared De Venecia to prove her claims. "It's one thing to say something and another to prove with evidence in other fora," he said.

De Venecia claimed that the midnight Cabinet is composed of businessmen-cronies and "alter-egos" of President Arroyo including Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno who is concurrently her presidential political adviser, Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Pagcor chairman Ephraim Genuino, and Manila Economic and Cultural Office director Tomas Alcantara.

She said the midnight Cabinet includes "oligarchs" like port operator Enrique Razon.

Mrs. De Venecia said members of this midnight Cabinet have been helping the President weather one crisis after another.

Mrs. De Venecia traced the roots of the midnight Cabinet to attempts at political troubleshooting by its members shortly after the outbreak of the "Hello, Garci" scandal.

"These people held her (President) by the neck because she was greatly indebted to them who helped her in the 'Hello, Garci' scandal," she pointed out. "But she (President) could not control them anymore."

Mrs. De Venecia echoed the same criticisms reportedly voiced by Commission on Higher Education Romulo Neri against these oligarchs, who she said became very influential in government because the President paid back her deep indebtedness to them by allowing them to corner juicy contracts in government. She added Neri had also described Mrs. Arroyo to her as "evil."

"The problem is the oligarchs. That's why we have all this corruption in government," she charged.

Mrs. De Venecia first publicly aired these accusations over the DzBB radio program of news anchors Arnold Clavio and Orly Trinidad yesterday.

Mrs. De Venecia recalled that President Arroyo used to heed her advice like when she decided to send abroad her husband at the height of the 'Hello, Garci' scandal.

"But when he (First Gentleman) returned afterwards when things cooled down, he came back with a vengeance," Mrs. De Venecia said.

As an old friend, she lamented that President Arroyo refused to listen to her advice and feedback she gave her about the growing perception of widespread corruption in the government that goes all the way to the Palace.

"I was just a friend but she (President) sleeps with her husband. So she listens to him," Mrs. De Venecia pointed out.

But the crisis over the NBN-ZTE deal might spell the end for Mrs. Arroyo, considering the damaging Senate testimony of Rodolfo Lozada Jr.

Joey de Venecia testified at the Senate hearing last year that the First Gentleman allegedly confronted him to "back off" from the NBN project in a meeting at Wack Wack Golf and Country Club after former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos complained about his getting into the NBN-ZTE deal. Joey claimed that the First Gentleman supposedly demanded a $70-million commission from the NBN-ZTE contract.

The young De Venecia tagged Razon as having replaced the First Gentleman in April last year when the latter got seriously ill and had to undergo surgery.

De Venecia's testimony against the alleged involvement of the First Gentleman in the NBN-ZTE deal was corroborated by Lozada who testified last week that Abalos talked to the President's husband over a cell phone about pushing for the NBN-ZTE deal under a Chinese government-funded loan instead of the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract that De Venecia III's company offered but was rejected by the government.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why Is The Philippines Poor?

Dear Friends,

Here is a good article sent by Dr. Arsenio Martin of Fort Arthur , Texas
..
Enjoy reading.

THE DIFFERENCE

The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country:

This can be shown by countries like India & Egypt, that are more than 2000 years old, but are poor.

On the other hand, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries, and are rich.

The difference between poor & rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources.

Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality! It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order & labor, which made it the world's strongest, safest place.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference.

Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries.

What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education & the culture & flawed tradition.

On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich & developed countries, we find that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives:

1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
2. Integrity.
3. Responsibility.
4. Respect to the laws & rules.
5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
6. Work loving.
7. Strive for savings & investment.
8. Will of super action.
9. Punctuality.
10. and of course...Discipline

In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.

The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. In fact, we are supposedly rich in natural resources.

We are poor because we lack the correct attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich & developed societies.

If you do not forward this message nothing will happen to you. Your pet will not die, you will not be fired, you will not have bad luck for seven years, and also, you will not get sick or go hungry.

But those may happen because of your lack of discipline & laziness, your love for intrigue and politics, your indifference to saving for the future, your stubborn attitude.

If you love your country, let this message circulate so that many Filipinos could reflect about this, & CHANGE, ACT!

From a forwarded e-mail

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where Are the Filipino Youth? ANG SAGOT (The Answer)

By Dave D'Angelo

Nasaan nga ba ang kabataang Filipino habang nangyayari ang mga kontrobersya sa ZTE at ang katakot-takot na pangyayari sa ating pamahalaan? Napagod na nga ba sila o ayaw na nilang kumilos?

Ang mga susunod na kasagutan ay batay lamang sa aking opinyon bilang isang lider na rin ng kabataan at nagmamasid sa mga nakaraang pangyayari kung saan nakilahok ang mga kabataan ng ating bansa at naging sanhi ng mga pagbabago sa ating bayan.

Nasaan ang kabataan? Sobrang busy sila sa pagtratrabaho sa mga call centers at pagtulong sa kanilang mga pamilya upang sila ay hindi magutom. Sa sobrang hirap ng buhay napagtanto ng karamihang kabataan na mas mahalaga ang unahin ang kanilang pansariling kapakanan kaysa ibigay ang panahon sa mga pagbabagong ang resulta ay hindi naman nagiging mabunga.

Nasaan ang kabataan? Sobrang busy at nagalaro ng Ragnarok, Khan, Panya, Rhan Online at iba pang online games. Busy sa pagpapalevel kasi mas mabuti pa dun at nagkakaroon ng katuturan ang kanilang pagtitiyaga kasi kahit papaano nakikitaan nila ang improvement ang kanilang mga virtual characters.

Nasaan ang kabataan? Busy sa pag-aaral at subsob sa mga thesis sa paaralan. Dahil sa globalisasyon kailangang maging competetive ang mga kabataan kung hindi wala silang mapapasukang trabaho.

Nasaan ang kabataan? Busy sa lovelife sapagkat sa pamamagitan ng pagmamahal ay nakikita nila at nararamdaman ang pagmamahal na hindi nila nararanasan sa tahanan sapagkat kailangang magtrabaho ng kanilang mga magulang upang mabuhay sila... minsan pa nga sa malalayong bansa sila nandun.

Yan ang sitwasyong kinakaharap ng kabataan at idagdag pa rito ang parang pagsasawa na sa kawalan ng pagtupad ng mga nalulukolok sa puwesto sa mga pinangako nila. Katwiran ng marami kahit sino namang maupo ganun at ganun pa rin ang mangyayari.

Nawala si Marcos... nawala si Erap... may nagbago ba? Patuloy na naghihirap ang bansa kahit pa ba sabihin ni GMA na umaangat na raw ang mga kung anu-anong umaangat... ang katotohanan may nakakaramdam ba nito. Ako na lang na nagsusumikap magkaroon ng sariling kumpanya at isang entrepeneur ay napapakamot sa laki ng buwis na binabayaran... tapos saan mapupunta? Sa bulsa ng mga buwaya sa pamahalaan.

Ang kailangan ng bansang ito ay isang totoong pagbabago na pasisimulan ng mga kabataan. Mga bagong lider na mula sa hanay ng kabataan... sila naman ang dapat mamunod... huwag na nating ipalit ang mga sinasabing makatao at mga may malasakit na lider na nakaupo sa ngayon. Humanap tayo ng isang lider na maaring magpunyagi sa atin at gamitin ang kapangyarihan ng kolektibong pagkilos at pagbabago.

Asan ka na kabataan? Kumilos ka at bumangon... ibangon natin ang bansang nilugmok ng mga lider na hindi pinagsilbihan ang bayang ito ng tapat!

Oras na ng bagong sistema! Oras na ng pagbabago!

Pagbabagong nakatutok sa konkretong paggawa at mga programa... pagbabagong hindi lamang nakabase sa pagsigaw sa kalsada kundi sa aksyon upang solusyunan ang mga problemang ating kinakaharap.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Let us not be fooled by self- righteousness

KAT'S EYE
By KATRINA LEGARDA

I was supposed to write about another Soroptomist awardee this week, but I was moved to defer that because of the columns of Randy David and Winnie Monsod, published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Saturday (February 16). What IS the truth? How do we judge? And is it necessary that a person be completely blameless, completely without sin, to be believed? Humans are so flawed – let me remind you just how flawed. You judge later what IS the truth? And do you want to know the truth? Are you prepared for it?


A husband comes home very late at night. His wife asks him where he has been. He tells her that he was working late, decided to go out for a drink with his colleagues, and they lost track of time. In fact, he was with his girlfriend. He knows that his wife suspects that he has another woman. His wife struggles with her suspicions, but decides to give him the benefit of the doubt; otherwise the life that she knows (the ideal, "we are so happy" life) will be destroyed. The husband lied: a big lie? A small lie? A convenient lie? The point is: all husbands who have mistresses are liars. When these husbands testify in court against former business partners relative to fraud in business dealings, should we believe them?

A child, suspected of breaking a precious crystal vase, is castigated by her mother. The child lies and says, "But it wasn't me!" (All of us have disclaimed fault at one time or other in our lives.) The same child is known to make up stories about fights she gets into, crayons she has taken from her classmates, and coins she has pocketed from her mother's handbag. The point is: all children learn the art of self-preservation very quickly. When this child complains that her father has sexually assaulted her, should we believe her?

You want to continue with the list? Wives who hide their extravagant purchases from their husbands; girlfriends who date their best friend's partners; parents who abuse their children; teachers who sexually harass their students; corrupt politicians who are holier-than-thou; lawyers who must defend even the indefensible; doctors who are in cahoots with the drug companies which affect what they prescribe to their patients; house help who steal; public utility vehicles drivers, especially taxi-drivers, who demand more than what is due; government employees who do not work the full 8-hour day; private employees who just watch the clock; business owners who do not pay a living wage and do not pay taxes; media people who do not report the other side of a story. As the inimitable Dr. House reiterates: "Everybody lies."

Just like Winnie Monsod, I was angry when Jun Lozada omitted to state that he went to see Atty. Fely Aquino Arroyo last September 2007 long before Jun Lozada was considered by the Senate as a possible witness (note: he met with Senators Lacson and Madrigal only in December 2007). This is a malicious omission. But if you want to rationalize it, you can say he was angry and afraid and just wanted to hit back, the way he was being attacked by Senator Joker. The point is: Jun Lozada made it to appear to everyone who was listening, and he NEVER corrected this lie of omission, that Atty. Fely Aquino Arroyo made him go to her house for the sole purpose of convincing him not to testify.

Jun Lozada is not an innocent in the dysfunctions and corruption of government contracts. You cannot be a whistle-blower unless you are a participant to the contract and its negotiation. Jun Lozada was the bagman of Neri, a man he still seeks to protect lest all his bank accounts be revealed and lost. Joey de Venecia wanted a powerful sponsor too, so he went to the president's brother for help, but because the president's brother was in Canada, Joey de Venecia was sent to Ricky Razon. I am sure, having an idea about how these things work, that Razon was supposed to tell him whether he had a chance in hell of getting his contract approved. Razon was NOT there to be his sponsor or his bagman. De Venecia had no intention of giving one cent to Razon. In short, everything was about the MONEY. Joey de Venecia and his backers and sponsors lost in the high stakes game of procurement. So he cried. And people forget that his contract price was $262 million. And yet he claims that the true cost of the contract was only $132 million. To whom was Joey de Venecia's padded cost going? $130 million din yun.

Randy David said all I have been trying to explain to hot-heads in his column last Saturday too. Those who want to take over the president's seat will be exactly like the president when they come to power. Let us not be fooled by self- righteousness. Let us come to discernment slowly, surely, wisely, with maturity. Any change we seek must endure, and that change must be for the better. To paraphrase Randy David, we must not go back to where we came from, and we must insist that our future leaders do not take on the ways of the old. Watch the moves for charter change. Don't allow yourself to be taken in. In 1987, we could have had a parliamentary system of government. Ironically, Atty. Fely Aquino Arroyo cast the one deciding vote against it during the deliberations of the Cory Aquino-constituted constitutional commission. Do not forget the past.

RECLAIMING OUR HUMANITY

Homily of Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ
MASS FOR JUN LOZADA
LA SALLE GYMNASIUM, GREENHILLS
17 FEBRUARY 2008


On this Second Sunday of Lent, during which we are asked to reflect on the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, I wish to touch on three themes that have to do with our moral transformation as a people: first, Ascertaining Credibility; second, Rediscovering our Humanity; and third, Witnessing to the Truth. In so doing, I hope to invite all of you to reflect more deeply on how we, as a nation, might respond to the present political crisis in which our identity and ethos, our convictions and integrity, in fact, who we are as a people, are at stake.

I. ASCERTAINING CREDIBILITY

Jun, as Sen. Miriam Santiago has grilled you to ascertain your credibility (or was it to undermine your credibility?), allow me to raise some important questions to consider in the very process of discerning your credibility. Allow me to do so by drawing on my own counseling experience.

Very often, a young rape victim initially suppresses his or her awful and painful story, indeed wills to forget it, in the hope that by forgetting, he or she can pretend it never happened. But very often, too, there comes a point when concealing the truth becomes unbearable, and the desperate attempts to supposedly preserve life and sanity become increasingly untenable.

At this point the victim of abuse decides to seek help. But even after having taken this step, the victim, devastated and confused, will tell his or her story with much hesitation and trepidation. It should be easy to imagine why. In telling the truth, one risks casting shame on himself or herself, subjecting oneself to intense scrutiny and skepticism, and jeopardizing one’s safety and those of his or her loved ones, especially when one dares to go up against an older or more powerful person.

Similarly, it is easy to imagine why Jun would initially refuse to challenge the might of Malacanang. Who in his or her right mind would accuse Malacanang of crimes against our people and implicate the First Family in a sordid tale of greed and corruption, knowing that by doing so, one endangers one’s life and the lives of his or her loved ones? We are, after all, living in dangerous times, where the government has not hesitated to use everything in its power to keep itself in power, where it has yet to explain and solve the numerous cases of extra-judicial killings.

But Jun is in his right mind. His story rings true especially in the face of the perils that he has had to face. And by his courage, Jun has also shown that it is not only that he is in his right mind; his heart is also in the right place.

Hence, my personal verdict: Jun, I believe that you are a credible witness. And if hundreds have gathered here this morning, it is probably because they also believe in you. Mga kapatid, naniniwala ba kayo kay Jun Lozada? Naniniwala ba kayo sa kanyang testimonya? Kung gayon, palakpakan po natin ang Probinsyanong Intsik, si Mr. Jun Lozada.

Jun, we hope that by our presence here, you may find some consolation. Pope Benedict XVI writes that “con-solatio” or consolation means “being with the other in his or her solitude, so that it ceases to be solitude.” Jun, be assured that your solitude is no longer isolation as we profess our solidarity with you. Hindi ka nag-iisa. We are committed to stay the course and to do our best to protect you and your family and the truth you have proclaimed.


II. REDISCOVERING OUR HUMANITY

What makes Jun a credible witness to us?

I think Jun is credible not simply by virtue of his being an eyewitness to the unmitigated greed of some of our public officials. Perhaps more importantly, Jun is credible because he has witnessed to us what it means to be truly human.

Which leads me to my second theme: What does it mean to be human? How might we rediscover our humanity?

Allow me to quote Pope Benedict XVI, who in his latest encyclical, Spe Salvi, has written: “the capacity to accept suffering for the sake of goodness, truth and justice is an essential criterion of humanity, because if my own well-being and safety are ultimately more important than truth and justice, then the power of the stronger prevails, then violence and untruth reign supreme. Truth and justice must stand above my comfort and physical well-being, or else my life becomes a lie. . . For this … we need witnesses—martyrs …. We need them if we are to prefer goodness to comfort, even in the little choices we face each day.”

Our Holy Father concludes, “the capacity to suffer for the sake of the truth is the measure of humanity.”

Isn’t this the reason we emulate our martyrs: Jose Rizal, Gomburza, Evelio Javier, Macli-ing Dulag, Cesar Climaco and Ninoy Aquino? They have borne witness for us what it means to be truly human—to be able to suffer for the sake of others and for the sake of the truth.

I remember Cory recalling a conversation she had with Ninoy while they were in exile in Boston. Cory asked Ninoy what he thought might happen to him once he set foot in Manila. Ninoy said there were three possibilities: one, that he would be rearrested and detained once more in Fort Bonifacio; two, that he would be held under house arrest; and three, that he would be assassinated.

“Then why go home?” Cory asked.

To which Ninoy answered: “Because I cannot allow myself to die a senseless death, such as being run over by a taxi cab in New York. I have to go home and convince Ferdinand Marcos to set our people free.”

Witnessing to one’s deepest convictions, notwithstanding the consequences, is the measure of our humanity. Proclaiming the truth to others, whatever the cost, is the mark of authentic humanity.

Jun, we know you have feared for your life and continue to do so. But in transcending your fears for yourself and your family, you have reclaimed your humanity. And your courage and humility, despite harassment and calumniation by government forces, embolden us to retrieve and reclaim our humanity tarnished by our cowardice and complicity with sin in the world. You have inspired us to be true to ourselves and to submit to and serve the truth that transcends all of us.


III. WITNESSING TO THE TRUTH

This leads us to our third and last theme: witnessing to the truth. In his encyclical, Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII exhorts that it is the fundamental duty of the government to uphold the truth: “A political society is to be considered well-ordered, beneficial and in keeping with human dignity if it grounded on truth.” Moreover, the encyclical explains that unless a society is anchored on the truth, there can be no authentic justice, charity and freedom.

Every government is therefore obliged to serve the truth if it is to truly serve the people. Its moral credibility and authority over a people is based on the extent of its defense of and submission to the truth. Insofar as a government is remiss in upholding the truth, insofar as a government actively suppresses the truth, it loses its authority vested upon it by the people.

At this juncture, allow me to raise a delicate question: At what point does an administration lose its moral authority over its constituents?

First, a clear tipping point is the surfacing of hard evidence signifying undeniable complicity of certain government officials in corruption and injustice, evidence that can be substantiated in court.

Hence, during the Marcos Regime, the manipulation of Snap Election results as attested to by the tabulators who walked out of the PICC was clear evidence of the administration’s disregard for and manipulation of the collective will of the people in order to remain in power..

During the Erap Administration, the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, claiming that Pres. Erap had falsified Equitable Bank documents by signing as Jose Velarde, was the smoking gun that triggered the rage of our people.

Allow me to respond to the same question by pursue an alternative track of argument: an administration loses it moral authority over its people when it fails in its fundamental duty to uphold the truth, when it is constituted by an ethos of falsehood. When a pattern of negligence in investigating the truth, suppressing the truth and harassing those who proclaim the truth is reasonably established, then a government, in principle, loses its right to rule over and represent the people.

Regarding negligence: Do the unresolved cases, such as the the failed automation of the national elections, the fertilizer scam, the extra-judicial killings, and the “Hello, Garci” scandal, constitute negligence on the part of the GMA Administartion to probe and ferret out the truth?

Regarding covering-up the truth: Does the abduction of Jun Lozada and the twisting and manipulation of his narrative by Malacanang’s minions constitute concealment of the truth? Was the padlocking of the office of Asst. Gov’t Counsel Gonzales who testified before the Senate regarding the North Rail project anomaly an instance of covering-up the truth?

Regarding the suppression of the truth: Does the issuance and implementation of E.O. 464, which prevents government officals from testifying in Senate hearings without Malacanang’s permission, constitute suppression of the truth? Was the prevention of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Senga and six other officers from testifying before the Senate with regard the “Hello, Garci” scandal tantamount to a suppression of the truth? Was disallowing Brig. Gen. Quevedo, Lt. Col Capuyan and Lt. Col. Sumayo from appearing before the Lower House an instance of hindering the truth from surfacing?

And regarding harassment of those who proclaim the truth: Are the abduction of Jun Lozada and the decision to court-marshall Gen. Gudani and Col. Balutan for disregarding Malacanang’s order not to testify before the Senate examples of punishing those who come forth to tell the truth?

By conflating one’s responses to all these questions does one arrive not at hard evidence showing culpapility on the part of some government officials, but a ghestalt, an image which nonetheless demands our assessment and judgment. I invite all of you then to consider these two methods of evaluating and judging the moral credibility of any government, the moral credibility of our present government.

Allow me to end with a few words about an Ignatian virtue, familiaritas cum Deo. To become familiar with God involves the illumination of the intellect, coming to know who God is and what God wills. But it also involves the conversion of the affect, the reconfiguration of the heart. Becoming familiar with God entails trasforming and conforming my thinking, my feeling and my doing in accordance to the Lord’s, which can only be the work of grace.

Familiarity with God thus entail rejoicing in what God delights—the truth; abhoring what God detests—falsehood; being pained by what breaks the heart of God—the persecution of truth-seekers. Familiary with God means sharing the passion of God for the truth and the pathos of God whenever the truth and the bearers of truth are overcome by the forces of the lie.

On this Second Sunday of Lent, as we contemplate the transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Horeb, we pray that our hearts and minds be so transfigured and so conformed to the mind, heart and will of the Jesus, our way, our life, and our truth.

May the Lord bless and protect you, Jun, and your family. May the Lord bless and guide us all into the way of truth. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Lozada crisis: Diversion follows the failed cover-up

AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
Sunday, February 17, 2008

Seven men of the same ilk peddling a big lie cannot overturn the credible story of one simple man.

But seven not-so-wise men tried. They were Secretary Lito Atienza, former Secretary Mike Defensor, Deputy Executive Secretary Manny Gaite, PNP Director-General Avelino Razon, PNP Sr. Supt. Paul Mascarinas, Airport AGM Angel Atutubo and lawyer Antonio Bautista.

They comprise the loyal choral group of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime who tried to dispute the Rodolfo "Jun" Lozada kidnapping story during the February 11 Senate ZTE hearing.

Two geriatric senators even attempted to derail the February 11 Senate hearing. Sen. Joker Arroyo raised a potential conflict with the court once those implicated go on trial. But thanks to the superb stewardship of Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, the Senate Hearing proceeded as planned.

Sec. Lito Atienza and Atty. Antonio Bautista depicted themselves as the victims. They completely disregarded the agony of the man who was spirited away against his will upon arrival at the airport and was subjected to the scariest car ride of his life.

By the time Senators Alan Cayetano, Ping Lacson, Dick Gordon and Mar Roxas were through grilling the incredible seven, their demeanor looked sapped and shrunken.

Bautista was particularly forceful — vehemently resenting being dragged into the controversy when all he did was to "serve" Jun Lozada's interest. His attempts to paint himself in the high ground only gave him a higher platform for his fall when Sen. Lacson asked him to comment on a dossier that reported on Bautista's dark past — he was fired as dean of a law school over a sexual harassment case. Bautista lamely explained that it was about a libel case, not sexual harassment.

A very reliable source told me that there indeed was a libel case, except that this resulted from the sexual harassment issue.

Atty. Bautista's legal knowledge was even placed in doubt when he averred that Lozada should have signed the Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo that were filed in the Supreme Court. Sen. Rodolfo Biazon pointed out the ridiculous scenario depicted by Bautista in asking for the person who was missing to sign for these writs that were meant to account for his own whereabouts.

Airport Assistant GM Angel Atutubo and PNP Sr. Supt. Paul Mascarinas were tongue-tied and could hardly answer questions. If they did, they seemed to recite memorized programmed lines. Several of the senators had to say to them: "You did not answer my question!"

From where I sit, wrecking another chair, the biggest loser in this cover-up conspiracy was my EDSA 1986 comrade — Joker Arroyo. His precipitate outburst when Lozada mentioned having met with his wife Fely Aquino-Arroyo in their house raised a lot of eyebrows.

What was that outburst for? How can one claim to be a champion of human rights and be such a bully to one who was merely trying to explain that he is open to talking to everybody?

Tony Abaya (husband of Belle) was identified to have brokered that meeting. He later confirmed to media that he brought Lozada to Fely Aquino-Arroyo but that he did so only because this was requested by Lozada and Romy Neri.

That was challenged by information going around that the meeting was not a "private" matter as Joker claimed, but that it had something to do with the ZTE controversy and a supposed client of Fely who was also mentioned in the ZTE hearings.

Last Thursday, my good friend Mariasun Azcuna (wife of Supreme Court Justice Adolf Azcuna) relayed to me a message from Fely Aquino-Arroyo regarding that meeting. Adolf Azcuna and Fely Aquino-Arroyo were once law partners.

Fely's message was: "Wow, what a sordid story! Whoever is peddling these lies must have a diabolical mind. I met Jun Lozada in September 2007. The meeting was requested and arranged by Tony who is an old friend, who was a classmate of Neri in college. Tony said Neri and Lozada needed legal advice. Lozada told me he did not want to appear before the Senate. At that time there was no warrant of arrest against him yet. Since there was no compulsory process issued against him, I said there was no compulsion for him to go to the hearing. At that time, he did not have to testify if he did not want to. I know Razon (referring to Arroyo crony Ricky Razon) only casually. I am not his lawyer, neither am I his consultant. They give me too much credit, in terms of my convincing powers and connections!"

Last Friday, during my four-hour interview with Jun Lozada in his La Salle sanctuary, I asked him how the Fely Aquino-Arroyo meeting materialized. According to Lozada, he never asked for the meeting. He said that Abaya called him that day to urge him to proceed to Fely Aquino-Arroyo's house in Dasmarinas Village to listen to what she has to say about the ZTE hearings.

We wondered how a supposed brilliant lawyer like Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE) could not see the lies being peddled by the incredible seven not-so-wise men of GMA. He insisted on pressing Lozada to identify each and every lie made by the seven not-so-wise men. Exposing the promoters of the big lie would have been a breeze after seeing how they have been stumbling over each other like the 3 Stooges and the Marx Brothers.

Now that the attempt to cover up the Lozada kidnapping has failed, expect the regime to employ diversionary tactics. New issues will be manufactured to divert public attention elsewhere.

Perhaps there'll be renewed bloody fighting in Mindanao or with the Communists. Maybe big bombs will detonate here and there — who knows what is in the planning board?

Glorietta II was bombed (I subscribe to the Ayala version and not the PNP manure blast theory) when the ZTE contract became a hot potato. Who knows, maybe two malls will be bombed this time.

Even the sudden revival of Cha-cha (Charter change) reeks of an attempt to shift the public focus to a new political arena.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Joke Time - Rest muna from ZTE-NBN Deal

Nay? bakit po VICTORIA ang name ni ate?
Kasi anak dun namin siya ginawa ng itay mo...
Eh bakit si kuya, ANITO?
Ay Naku, tumigil ka na nga Luneta at baka mapalo kita!
tawagin mo na si kuya FX mo !

Two nurses on duty...
Nurse 1: Hoy! Gaga, bakit may thermometer sa tenga mo!
Nurse 2: Ha? susmaryosep! kaninong pwet ko kaya naiwan
yung ballpen ko!!

Juan: San ka galing?
Pedro: sementeryo, libing ng byenan ko.
Juan: E bakit puro kamot ang mukha at braso mo?
Pedro: Mahirap ilibing eh... Lumalaban!!

Pedro: Pare galing ako sa doctor, nakabili na ako ng
hearing aid...
Grabe ang lakas na ng pandinig ko!
Juan:tlaga?! ?! Magkano bili mo?
Pedro: Kahapon lang...

AMO: day, gamitin mo itong chalk pamatay ng ipis,
sulat mo sa pader.
Maid: yis ati!........ ...
NEXT DAY nagulat ang amo, nakasulat sa pader:
EPES MAMATAY KAUNG LAHAT! SYET PAKYO!

Husband: Kung di ako makaligtas sa operasyon ko bukas,
ikaw na sana ang
bahala sa lahat lahat... I LOVE YOU!
Wife: Tumigil ka! wala pang namamatay sa TULI!

Mommy 1: Ano ang pinapainom mo sa baby mo?
Mommy2: Promil para Matatag na Pangarap! eh ikaw?
Mommy3: Ako? Emperador, sa Totoong Tagumpay!

Three girls make paalam to their Dad...
Girl 1: Dad, I'm going out with Pete to Eat.
Girl2: I'm going out with Lance to Dance.
Girl3: I'm going out with Chuk to...
Dad: Ah, Hinde! Dito ka lang sa bahay!!!

Teacher: Sino pumatay kay Magellan, may initial na LL?
Student: Lito Lapid?
Teacher: Inuulit ang pangalan nya...
Student: Lito Lito?
Teacher: Mahaba buhok nya!
Student: Lot Lot?
Teacher: Madami sila...
Student: Lot Lot And Friends?

Anak: Itay, bibili ako ng band paper
Itay: Anak, wag kang bobo ha? hindi "BAND paper" ang
tawag dun!
Anak: Ano po ba?
Itay: "Kokongban"

Bakla at Macho nagkasabay sa CR...
Bakla: Ang laki naman nyan sayo...
Macho: Wala na tong silbi kasi iniwan na ako ng GF
ko... puputulin ko na
lang at ipapakain sa aso!
Bakla: aw! aw! aw!

Pedro: Pare bakit malungkot ka?
Juan: Asawa ko nag hire ng driver, Gwapo, Bata, Macho!
Pedro: Nagseselos ka?
Juan: Nagtataka lang ako kasi wala kaming sasakyan!

Mister: Di ko na kaya problema ko!
Misis: Hon, problema natin ito, tayo ang magkasama sa
buhay, lahat ng
problema mo problema ko... ano problema natin?
Mister: nabuntis natin si Inday, tayo ang ama!

A Husband came home 4AM and saw his wife in bed with
another man...
His wife shouted at him, "Where have you been?"
Husband: "Who is that man?!?"
Wife: "Grabe ka! Dont change the topic!!"

Wife: Dear, ano regalo mo sa 25th Anniversary natin?
Husband: Dalhin kita sa Africa...
Wife: Wow! How sweet naman... eh! sa 50th Anniversary
natin?
Husband: Susunduin na kita!

Biyaya na makukuha sa Gulay:
AMPALAYA, pampapula ng dugo KALABASA pampalinaw ng
mata TALONG pampatirik
ng mata MANI pampatirik ng TALONG. Ay! nalito na ako.

American guy named Paul challenged a Filipino:
American: Use my name 4 times in a sentence!
Pedro: Paul, be carePaul, you might Paul in the
swimming Paul

Sabi Airforce: "No Guts No Glory!"
Sabi Marines: "No Retreat No Surrender!"
Sabi Army: "No Pain, No Gain!"
naks! ayaw patalo
Security Guards: "No I.D. No Entry!"

HONEYMOON:
Wife: Hon wag mo ako bibiglain ha? I'm still a virgin
Husband: You mean ako ang una?
Wife: Yes, do it na
Husband: I did it na, kanina pa!!
Wife: ah ganon ba? Aray pala

Ama: Buntis anak ko, panagutan mo!
BF: May asawa na po ako!
Ama: Pano 'to?
BF: Areglo na lang po... 2 M pag Boy, 2.5M pag Girl
Ama: Ok, pero pag nakunan. GIB HER ANADER CHANS ha?

BALIW (tumawag sa mental hospital):
Hello... may tao po ba sa Room 168?
Telephone Operator: Wala po, Bakit?
Baliw: Check ko lang kung nakatakas talaga ako!

Misis: lolokohin ko mister ko, magpapanggap ako na
prosti dito sa kanto
namin>(dumaan ang mister nya...)
Misis: Pogi! available ako ngayon, pwede ka ba?
Mister: Yoko sayo kamukha mo misis ko!

Maid: Sir sinong mas yummy? si mam ba o ako?
Sir: Syempre naman ikaw day! bakit?
Maid: Naguguluhan lang po kasi ako eh... sabi kasi ng
driver, eh mas yummy
daw talaga si mam!

A chinese and Steven Spielberg were drunk in a bar...
Spielberg hit the chinese...
Chinese: why you hit me?
Spielberg: coz you bombed Pearl Harbor, my father died
there.
Chinese: but I am chinese not Japanese, stupid!
Spielberg: Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese... all the
same!
.... chinese punched Spielberg
Spielberg: why you hit me too?
Chinese: Thats for the sinking of TITANIC.
Spielberg: but the Titanic was sunk by an iceberg, you
fool!
Chinese: Iceberg, Carlsberg, Spielberg... you are all
the same!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where are the Filipino Youth?

by: Harvey S. Keh

The past weeks we have witnessed yet another political scandal that has rocked our country, the ZTE Broadband Scam wherein former COMELEC chairman Benjamin Abalos with the apparent blessings of the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo was said to have asked for a commission of US$ 130 Million or a whopping 6 Billion Pesos in exhange for his influencing our government's decision to award the broadband deal to ZTE, a Chinese Telecommunications Company. To make this happen, the ZTE Broadband Contract was greatly overpriced at US$ 329 Million and worse, the government to be able to make this deal push through would have to loan this amount from the Chinese government. In short, the US$ 130 Million kickback of Abalos and his cohorts will have to be paid for by our tax money.

To make things even worse, the govenrment tried its darn best to cover this deal by pressuring Joey De Venecia, the first star witness to stop talking abouit this in the Senate and in public, Joey didn't want to cover up the truth thus, Malacañang led by the congressman sons of President GMA led a revolt at Congress which ousted Joey's dad, then Speaker Jose De Venecia. The next star witness whose courage we so admire, Jun Lozada initially didn't want to go to the Senate and take part in their investigation because as he said, if he ends up in the Senate, he will be forced to say the Truth. Again, our government tried every trick to ensure that Lozada wouldn't be able to testify in the Senate, leading to his alleged kidnapping as soon as he arrived from Hong Kong where he hid for a few days. Two men picked up Lozada as soon as he got out of the plane and brought him around Metro Manila and even to Laguna against his will. If that can happen to Jun Lozada, that can happen to every Filipino in this country. In Jun Lozada's words, when he was picked up against his will, he already thought about the late Bobby Dacer who at the height of the Erap impeachment was also picked up by unidentified men and after weeks of looking for him, they finally found his body along with the body of his driver.

I can go on and on about this but the point is, this government has continued to steal our people's money from under our nose and they continue doing this because they know they can get away with it. Just look at the many scandals that have rocked the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which we already have no idea what happened like the 1 Billion Peso Fertilizer Scam and the Hello Garci Scandal. As Jun Lozada further said in his testimony at the Senate, the Standard Operating Procedure in our country now is that every government contract is overpriced by 20%, the 20% goes to the pockets of our government leaders who helped in pushing the deal. This is indeed very disappointing since 6 Billion Pesos can help build so many classrooms for our public school students, it can provide so many college scholarships to deserving students, it can help build public hospitals so people can receive proper health care and it can provide adequate housing to thousands of families. But in this case, 6 Billion Pesos will just end up in the pockets of one or maybe a few families and worse, we will all have to pay for their greed.

Nakakainis at Nakakagalit ang nangyayari sa ZTE Deal na to, harap harapan na tayong ginagago ng gobyerno natin and as one of my students in class said, he wouldn't be surprised if another scandal comes out within the next few months... it seems that Malacañang is already so used to scandals because they know they will eventually get away with it once media and the public grow tired of hearing about these scandals. Pero para sa akin, mas nakakalungkot na parang walang pakialam at walang ginagawa ang karamihan sa kabataang Pilipino sa mga nangyayaring ito, it seems that the Filipino Youth which led the charge in EDSA 2 is nowhere to be found. Could it be that the Filipino Youth has given up all Hope for making this country great again? Could it be the Filipino Youth has given up in its fight for a clean and effective government? Has the youth given up on our future? I hope I am wrong because what is at stake here is not just my future or the future of the poor, it is our shared future that we have to continue to fight for. Ayaw ba natin na dumating ang araw na bawat Pilipino pwede nang magkaroon ng kalidad na edukasyon? Ayaw ba natin na dumating ang araw na hindi na natin kailangang mag abroad at mahiwalay sa pamilya para magakaroon ng magandang trabaho? If we can all work together and join forces, we can show this administration that we will not just sit idly while they continue to corrupt and destroy our future, remember that in 2010 the Filipino Youth will be able to elect the next President of our country. Let us not wait till then to make a change, let us act now, our country needs US Now!

If you want to help and be part of a youth-led initiative that will push for genuine and lasting reforms in our government, please email me at harveykeh@gmail.com or you can help by forwarding this email to your friends who might be interested to help. Let's meet, Let's Talk and Let's all work together for our country.

*Harvey Keh is Director for Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship of the Ateneo de Manila-School of Government and a Lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University-Loyola Schools' Development Studies Program and Department of Theology. Harvey is also Executive Director of AHON Foundation, a corporate foundation of Filway Marketing, Inc. that helps build public elementary school libraries.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The True Story

Shared by Aurora Pijuan. Enjoy reading!

From: Manuel Buencamino/ Business Mirror

Au; Here's my article today.

The Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. saga is unprecedented. Nothing in the history of man or beast comes close. It is the first and only recorded instance of a witness asking those he is about to testify against to protect him from those who want him alive and well.

The following is the true version of Mr. Lozada's amazing journey:

We took custody of Mr. Lozada when he debarked from a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong.

"Who are you?" Mr. Lozada asked us.

"We are the police protection you asked for," we replied.

"I don't remember asking," he said.

"Your brother did," we replied.

"Oh, I see. And whom are you protecting me from?" he asked.

"Those people who are waiting for you at the arrival area," we replied.

"But they're my family and friends. Is my brother with them?" he asked.

"We have to leave the airport immediately," we replied.

"Where are you taking me?" he asked.

"We don't know yet but right now we have to take evasive action. We will drive around Villamor, C-5, Slex, Cavite and Laguna," we told him.

We drove around for hours, always on the lookout for nuns, La Salle brothers and Leah Navarro. They wanted to take Mr. Lozada and coerce him to bear false witness against the principals of the ZTE-NBN project.

Mr. Lozada could hear us communicating with command center the whole time. He heard the order for us to surface him because media was raising a fuss about his "disappearance." It seems destabilizers had fooled media that we were holding Mr. Lozada against his will. We were not.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Lozada was in constant communication with his family. He was even playing
cell-phone hide-and-seek with his wife.

"Where are you?" his wife texted.

"Triangulate my signal, if you can, LOL," he teased his wife.

Mr. Lozada thought he impressed us by that bit of techno-speak but he was floored by our wizardry when we told him we could read his texts before his wife got them. That's also why we allowed him to keep his cell phone while he was under our protective custody.

Mr. Lozada also spoke on the phone with Lito Atienza and Romy Neri. They assured him he was in good hands.

Mr. Atienza even told him that "Ma'am" and "ES" were directing the operation. Lozada was delighted.

"I can't wait to go home and tell my wife that 'Ma'am' and 'ES' are actually managing my protection!" he said.

We reminded him how much "Ma'am" cares for the little guy.

"Remember how 'Ma'am' kept Garci safe for months?" we said.

We were all hungry from hours and hours of driving around so we decided to stop somewhere for a bite. We went to the Outback restaurant in Libis.

At Outback, we ran into a lawyer who just happened to be there. . . with papers for Mr. Lozada to sign.

"Hi Jun," said the lawyer, "What a surprise to see you. Anyway, it's good you're here because I just happen to have a couple of papers for you to sign. These papers will provide some comfort to the Palace because they show how much you appreciate all the trouble they went through just to protect you."

Mr. Lozada read the papers and said, "These are antedated and false."

"No, Jun. Those are just typos. Sign them and I'll have the typos corrected as soon as I get back to the office," the lawyer assured Mr. Lozada.

Mr. Lozada complied. But his sister, who was asked to sign a separate letter saying she requested police protection for Mr. Lozada, refused.

"I am 60 years old and I won't destroy my name now. I won't allow myself to be mistaken for my brother. Ano ako, mukhang lalake? [Do I look like a man?]" she said.

The lawyer looked confused so we explained to him that our superiors mistakenly announced to the press that it was the brother who requested protection for Mr. Lozada.

We cleared up that slight misunderstanding, assuring the sister she didn't look like her brother.
Thereafter, Mr. Lozada and his sister signed the papers, typos and all.

By the way, Mike Defensor was also at the Outback and, like the lawyer, he had a bundle of papers for Mr. Lozada.

"Pare, I have some papers for you," said Mr. Defensor.

"Something else for me to sign?" asked Mr. Lozada.

"No Jun, these papers are for you to spend," said Mr. Defensor.

We don't know if Mr. Lozada used those papers to pay our tab.

From the Outback we took Mr. Lozada to La Salle Greenhills. We thought he would be safe there. But we walked into an ambush.

We surrendered Mr. Lozada to nuns and La Salle brothers because our conventional arms were no match for their supernatural weapons.

At about 2:30 a.m. Mr. Lozada, surrounded by a phalanx of nuns and brothers, held a press conference where he twisted everything that happened to him while he was under our protection. Our hearts bled when we saw him break down in tears. We knew he was terrified of nuns.

After Mr. Lozada's press conference, his captors turned him over to the Senate security forces.

He is now a captive of the Senate, forced to tell lies about innocent people and patriots whose only desire is to serve their country to the best of their abilities.

Believe it or not.
__._,_.___

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Joke Time: Sulat ni Mama

Anak,

Medyo mabagal akong magsulat ngayon dahil alam kong mabagal ka ring magbasa. Nandito na kami sa Estados Unidos para bantayan ang bagong biling bahay ng kapatid mo. Pero hindi ko maibigay sa iyo ang address dahil dinala ng dating nakatira ang address para daw hindi na sila magpalit ng address.

Maganda ang lugar na ito at malayo sa Manila. Dalawang beses lang umulan sa linggong ito, tatlong araw noong una at apat na araw noong pangalawa.

Nakakainis lang ang mga paninda dito katulad nun nabili ko na shampoo dahil ayaw bumula. Nakasulat kasi "FOR DRY HAIR" kaya hindi ko binabasa ang buhok ko pag ginagamit ko. Mamaya ay ibabalik ko sa Walmart at magrereklamo ako.

Noong isang araw naman ay hindi ako makapasok sa bahay dahil ayaw bumukas ng padlock. Nakasulat kasi ay "YALE", eh aba namalat na ako sa kasisigaw ay hindi pa din bumubukas. Magrereklamo din ako sa nagbenta ng bahay, akala nila hindi ko alam na SIGAW ang tagalog ng "YALE", wise yata ito!

Mayroon nga pala akong nabili na magandang jacket at tiyak na magugustuhan mo. Ipinadala ko na sa iyo sa "Federal Express" medyo mahal daw dahil mabigat ang mga butones kaya ang ginawa ko ay tinanggal ko na lang ang mga butones at inilagay ko na lang sa bulsa ng jacket. Ikabit mo na lang pag dating diyan.

Nagpadala rin ako ng tseke para sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo, hindi ko na pinirmahan dahil gusto ko na maging anonymous donor. Nakakahiya naman kung ipagkakalat ko pa.

Ang kapatid mo palang si Jhun ay may trabaho na dito, mayroon siyang 500 na tao sa ilalim niya. Nag-gugupit siya ngayon ng damo sa memorial park, okey naman ang kita above minimum ang sahod.

Nakapanganak na rin pala ang ate baby mo, hindi ko pa alam kung babae o lalake kaya hindi ko pa masasabi na kung ikaw ay bagong uncle or auntie. Wala na akong masyadong balita. Sumulat ka na lang ng madalas.

Love,

Mama

p.s. Maglalagay sana ako ng pera, kaya lang ay naisara ko na ang envelope. Next time na lang ha.