OnlineJobs.ph

Monday, April 13, 2009

“Third Force” looming in the political horizon

Panlilio eyes Presidency
by Tina Dumlao
from Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines – This early, pledges from overseas are coming in for Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio.

An elderly gentleman has expressed his intention to part with $100 from his budget for hypertension and diabetes medicine. A Filipino in New York is also putting in $100, and another is contributing $5.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983 has pledged an initial $100. A contract worker in Jordan is investing $1,000.

Pledges like these from ordinary Filipinos clamoring for good governance and willing to put their money where their mouth is are serving to encourage Panlilio to seriously consider seeking the presidency in 2010, with Isabela Governor Grace Padaca as his running mate.

“I am open to taking up the challenge,” Panlilio told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday in an interview at the newspaper’s main office in Makati City.

The Catholic priest-on-leave said that while he was still in “a period of discernment,” he had taken steps to get civil society groups, non-government organizations, and even military officials together and gather support for a reform candidate.

“I will go for whoever will represent a genuine reform constituency,” he said. “It does not necessarily have to be me. If there is a more appropriate candidate, why will I present myself? I look at my role now as more of one of the convenors of a genuine reform coalition.”

Biggest issue: Corruption

Panlilio said he had been telling various groups “that we should have one reform candidate; otherwise, we will get a president that we do not like.”
He said he had to help solidify a reform movement for 2010 because he believed that Filipinos were desperately seeking candidates who were not steeped in traditional politics and were willing to stamp out graft and corruption.

“Corruption is the biggest issue of the 2010 elections. People are tired of it and it is really the reason behind all of our problems,” he said.

Panlilio said he had realized that he would face an uphill climb if he decided to run for president.

But he said his spirits were buoyed by the expressions of support from diverse groups committed to devote not only time and effort but also money to his and Padaca’s campaign.

Big backer

One such supporter is former Chinatrust Philippines president Joey A. Bermudez, who told the Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net, in a separate interview that he would actively campaign for Panlilio and Padaca and would help raise funds for their campaign.

“I will support them because they represent a different kind of politics. They are the right candidates because they are reform-minded and they have the actual hands-on experience in running their local governments,” said Bermudez, current president of the Management Association of the Philippines.

“They are not just mouthing off theories,” he said.

Bermudez said he would not back any of the names being floated as possible presidential candidates because they were “traditional politicians.”

“I would not put the future of the country in their hands,” said Bermudez, who was active in the late Raul Roco’s campaign for the presidency in 2004.
“The 2010 election presents another opportunity for us to correct mistakes,” he said.

Ifugao gov’s support

Also supporting Panlilio is Ifugao Gov. Teodoro B. Baguilat Jr., who expressed the belief that a “silent majority” would come out in 2010 to vote for a reform candidate.

Baguilat, who may also seek reelection as governor in 2010, said he was taking a risk by supporting Panlilio.

But he is convinced that it is the right thing for him to do.

“As corny or as cliché as it may sound, I am doing this for the country,” said Baguilat, who is actively gathering financial, technical and even moral support for Panlilio and Padaca.

“I am helping lay the groundwork for their campaign. The dynamics should work itself out later on,” he said, adding:

“I am really just tired of hearing people say that they are tired of corruption and yet do not do anything about it. Now, I am asking people to be part of the campaign and not just complain.”

Baguilat, like Panlilio and Padaca, is a member of Kaya Natin!, a movement that seeks to propagate the gospel of good governance.

Among the other members are Mayor Jesse Robredo of Naga City and Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija.

Alternative to ‘trapo’

Early in 2007, Panlilio, then 53 and backed by a ragtag army of volunteers, campaigned for the governorship of Pampanga as an alternative to traditional politicians.

He defeated the incumbent governor, Mark Lapid, and provincial board member Lilia Pineda, wife of alleged “jueteng” lord Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda.
He won over Pineda by only 1,147 votes.

Panlilio spent 26 years in the priesthood. He decided to cease performing priestly duties in March 2007 to run against Lapid and Pineda.

Just a month after assuming office after the May 2007 elections, Panlilio was able to collect for Pampanga P29.4 million from quarry operations on volcanic ash from Mt. Pinatubo.

It took his predecessor one year to collect about the same amount.
In October 2007, Panlilio told the media that he was handed a paper bag containing P500,000 right after a meeting between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and local officials in Malacañang.

The distribution of money was suspected as a move by Malacañang to drum up support for the dismissal of an impeachment complaint against her.

Recall election

Panlilio, who was named the Inquirer Filipino of the Year for 2007, has lately faced a challenge.

In October 2008, the group Kapanalig at Kambilan ning Memalen Pampanga Inc. filed a petition for a recall election to unseat him.

The petition was anchored on four cases – the complaint of two workers terminated for alleged corruption in quarry fee collection; Panlilio’s refusal to enforce an ordinance that would ease restrictions on quarry tax collections and increase mayors’ access to these funds; a perjury case; and a case against Panlilio’s decision to change the assignments of district hospital heads.

But last February, a budget-deficient Commission on Elections ruled that the holding of a recall election might no longer be possible.

With a report from Cyril L. Bonabente, Inquirer Research

For those who wish to support or volunteer to help push for a Panlilio-Padaca alternative and reform ticket in the 2010 elections, please get in touch with Atty. Eirene Aguila by sending an email to graceamong.thebetterchoice@gmail.com

Group urges Panlilio, Padacá to run for top posts
by Ruben D. Manahan 4th
and Angelo S. Samonte
from Manila Times

Several groups are forming a coalition to push Governors Eduardo Panlililio of Pampanga and Grace Padacá of Isabela to run for president and vice president in the 2010 national elections.

During the weekly media forum Balitaan sa Tinapayan, running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, lawyer Eireene Aguila of Kaya Natin Movement, Philippine Alliance of Ex-Seminarians (PAX) and the farmers’ group PAKIKISAMA expressed support on the Panlilio-Padacá Tandem. They added that they have had enough of traditional politicians.

But the group has not yet determined which of the two governors should run for president. For now they just want the two on a national ticket for the top-two posts.

Although the group has no name yet for the movement, Aguila said they would be meeting this week with various organizations that shares their vision of a corruption-free Philippines.

“We are here because we believe that the time for change is now,” she added. “We believe that Governors Panlilio and Padacá could lead the country.”

Aguila is also the moderator of graceamong.thebetterchoic@gmail.com, an email address urging the people support to the two governors in the next national elections.

In an open letter by Aguila, she said Filipinos deserve better options for their top leaders.

“We believe that Filipinos are not stupid—not bobo,” she wrote in the open letter. “Given the chance to vote for leaders who have an uncompromising stand against graft, make the most use of our scarce and limited resources, not for personal gain but to deliver services needed by the people; [possess the] political will to make difficult and unpopular yet much-needed decisions for the good of the country; will not coddle and protect the corrupt consistently embody ethical principles; practice good governance and endeavor to be effective public servants; have a heart genuinely for the people, we Filipinos will go out and vote—and vote wisely. Given the chance, we will do what is right.”

Showing support

Aguila explained that her group is starting the movement to let the two governors know that they have the support of Filipinos—not only those in their respective provinces. “I’ve only e-mailed [the open letter] last Wednesday, and I’ve already received around 400 replies.”

She and Reyes said critics have told them that they were “dreaming” about having Panlilio and Padacá run for the top-two posts next year. “But we are dreaming with ours eyes wide open,” Aguila said, echoing a similar statement by Reyes.

Reyes, who is famous for running as a means of political protest, added that the time is ripe for national leaders who are morally upright, rather than those who are skilled.

“Ang mabuting leader is values-centered and is principle-driven while ang magaling is magaling manakot, mangurakot, magsi­nunga­ling, etc. [A moral leader is values-centered and is principle-driven, while skilled leaders are good at threatening people, corruption, lying, etc.],” he said.

He added that the group would be putting up a website to be called “Piso at Pangalan para sa Pagbabago [Peso and Name for Change],” where people can offer support for the two governors.

Panlilio is only in his first term as governor, while Padacá is finishing up her third and last term.

Panlilio told The Manila Times that he is still considering his options for 2010, although he had said earlier that his preference would be to return to priesthood.

Good for democracy

Malacañang, meanwhile, welcomed the reported plan by Panlilio to run in the 2010 presidential elections, adding it is “good for our democracy.”

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said in a state-run radio interview Sunday that Panlilio’s entry to the 2010 race would give people more choices and the priest-turned-governor could even get the Palace backing in case he runs.

“In politics everything is possible. But for Malacañang to endorse him, he will have to jibe with the vision and programs of President [Gloria] Arroyo,” Remonde added.

And to get the Palace endorsement, the secretary said Panlilio must have “proven” capability, competence and integrity.

Panlilio won in the 2007 gubernatorial elections in Pampanga, President Arroyo’s home province, beating the President’s political allies there.

Also in the same year, Panlilio bared receiving a P500,000 cash “gift” to governors from Malacañang at the height of an impeachment bid against Mrs. Arroyo.

The governor recently accused President Arroyo’s son, Pam­panga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, of turning a blind eye to the rampant jueteng operations in his province.

His relationship with Pampanga local officials, majority of whom are President Arroyo’s allies, has been strained because of his anti-corruption programs.

Recent efforts to recall the governor have been linked to Representative Arroyo, who denied the allegations.


Groups want Panlilio-Padaca tandem for 2010
by Sophia Dedace
from GMANews.TV

MANILA, Philippines - An alliance of non-government organizations on Sunday started pushing for the Ed Panlilio-Grace Padaca tandem for the 2010 elections.

Speaking at the Balitaan sa Tinapayan in Sampaloc, Manila, Fr. Roberto Reyes of the Kubol Pagasa Group said they believe that Panlilio and Padaca, governor of Pampanga and Isabela, respectively, are the best alternative leaders for the country.

The group is called Panlilio-Padaca Para sa Pagbabago (PPPP).

Reyes said not only the two could stamp out corruption in the government; they could also restore dignity to public service.

“This is time when we will choose the leaders because he/she is honest and because of public trust. I can vouch for these two persons because they are good persons and very honest,” he said.

Lawyer Ricardo Rico of the Samahan ng mga Dating Seminarista said the alliance still believes that there is still hope for the country.

“We all against graft and corruption and we all believe that we have still hope to put good and honest leaders for the president and vice president,” he said.

Other groups that joined that alliance were the Kaya Natin Movement and several farmers’ organizations.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, for his part, said the clamor for Panlilio to run for the presidency in next year’s elections only show the public’s hunger for change in the country’s political system.

“Ito ay maganda sapagkat ang mga tao ay sawang-sawa na sa mga nangyayari. Kaya ngayon kahit pari ay gustong tumakbo. Yan ang dahil na rin sa ang mga tao ay sawang-sawa na sa sistema,” Rosales said.

[The fact that even priests want to enter politics now reflect the overall disgruntlement of the public with the current system.]

Rosales however refused to comment on whether the Church would support Panlilio, who is currently on leave from his priestly duties.

Start getting out of the rat race via the internet.

The Manila & Cebu Manila Internet (14 hours hands on) Marketing Workshop
Resource speaker: Jomar Hilario (http://www.jomarhilario.com)
When: June 12-13 (Cebu), June 26-27,2009 (Manila), 10:30am - 5:30pm, Friday/Saturday
Contact: cebuworkshop@gmail.com / manilaworkshop@gmail.com
Venue: SM City Cebu / Cubao, Metro Manila



A true story: How God found an atheist

AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
by William M. Esposo
from Philstar

Your Chair Wrecker loves to share meaningful stories and articles that improve our values, thinking, perspectives and insights. Today, your Chair Wrecker will share with you this touching true story that a Jesuit from Loyola in Chicago wrote and circulated.

Father John Powell is a professor at Loyola University in Chicago and he once had a student named Tommy in his Theology of Faith class. Tommy happened to be an atheist.

When Tommy turned in his final exam, he asked Fr. Powell in a cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?”

Fr. Powell decided instantly on a little shock therapy. He answered Tommy very emphatically: “No!”

Surprised, Tommy shot back: “Why not, I thought that was the product you were pushing.”

Fr. Powell allowed Tommy to get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: “Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!”

Fr. Powell and Tommy did not see each other for several years. Then, he received a sad report that Tommy had terminal cancer.

When Tommy eventually visited Fr. Powell, this was how the Jesuit described Tommy: “When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe.
Tommy did confirm that he has cancer on both lungs and had weeks to live.
Fr. Powell asked Tommy: “What’s it like to be only 24 and dying?”

Tommy answered: “Well, it could be worse like being 50 and having no values or ideals, like being 50 and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life.”

Tommy added: “But what I really came to see you about is something you said to me on the last day of class. I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, “No! But He will find you.”

Tommy continued: “But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that’s when I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.”

Tommy further narrated to Fr. Powell: “I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: “The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.”

Tommy said that he started to do that. “I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him,” Tommy said.
Tommy described the encounter:

“Dad, I would like to talk with you.” I mean. It’s really important.”

The newspaper came down three slow inches. “What is it?”

”Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that.” Tom smiled at Fr. Powell as he said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him.

The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then Tommy’s father did two things he could never remember him ever doing before. His father cried and hugged Tommy.

Tommy added: “We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.”

“It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years.

I was only sorry about one thing - that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him,” Tommy said.

He continued: “Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.”

Fr. Powell gasped as he heard Tommy’s story.

Fr. Powell said: “I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: “God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.”

The Jesuit then asked Tommy a favor. He said: “Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell it.”

Tommy replied: “Ouch… I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class.”

Fr. Powell persisted: “Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.”

In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for Fr. Powell. So a sharing with the class was scheduled.
However, as Fr. Powell narrated, “Tommy never made it. He had another appointment,” far more important than the one with Fr. Powell and his class.
“Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined,” Fr. Powell added.

Let’s pray that the Good Lord finds the people who plunder in our country as well as those who will kill anyone who opposes them or exposes their high crimes.

* * *

Chair Wrecker website: www.chairwrecker.com

Start getting out of the rat race via the internet.

The Manila & Cebu Manila Internet (14 hours hands on) Marketing Workshop
Resource speaker: Jomar Hilario (http://www.jomarhilario.com)
When: June 12-13 (Cebu), June 26-27,2009 (Manila), 10:30am - 5:30pm, Friday/Saturday
Contact: cebuworkshop@gmail.com / manilaworkshop@gmail.com
Venue: SM City Cebu / Cubao, Metro Manila



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Misinformed people and the Presidentiables of 2010

by Ben Serrano

BUTUAN CITY- What’s the use of a new and shining budget office without a budget to alleviate dire poverty at its worst but only served elite politicians (in reality through big bucks of commissions or kickbacks from budgeted government projects earning kickbacks to buy votes during election day)?

This maybe the reason why the regional director like his politician friends are now extremely wealthy with all the adorning luxury vehicles at their disposal while majority of the people are wallowing in poverty and just walked without slippers even.

What’s the use of elegant government offices when its people are dying of hunger, victimized of fraudulent schemes taking chances they profit but ended up bankrupt not only financially but morally?

This happened because supposed government agencies in their “fiduciary duties” are sleeping in their airconditioned rooms not monitoring what Legacy is doing right smack of their faces yet paid by hard –earned taxpayers’ money?

Why are we building edifices only for the comfort of its occupants while the people who feed and clothed them, paid their salaries are living in misery, diseases and dying and government could not even afford sending sickly and the dying to hospital and providing them medicines because it has no budget?

What’s the use of putting Indigenous People’s office when it can’t feed the hungry indigenous people and heal the sick ergo their number is dwindling as they die without even seeing a hospital and swallow medicines, empower them on their right to live, right to educate and right of their ancestral lands?

What’s the use of putting government information offices, radio and television stations at the expense of hard-earned taxpayers’ money when it can’t even informed the rights of people to think, speak and shout aloud their right for education, justice and to survive and defend their lands?

What’s the use of Agriculture, Health, Housing and offices when people die hungry it has no food laid on table with open eyes and houses without roofs?

Maybe it’s now time for reckoning and people asking, demanding what these government workers and agencies have done and are doing not only on press (actually praise) releases but in actual real life?

Maybe it’s now high time to demand people in government hiding in their airconditioned rooms to go out and go where the people needs them whether in the hinterlands or in the mountains where people hardly saw government men and women where their services are needed most.

The power of information in this age of information must be maximize really of whatever form, substance or medium, whether it is, by talking to farmers, fishermen, upland farmers, urban and rural poor through forums and discussions.

The future of any civilizations lies actually to the informed and empowered people, unless government allowed us to be misinformed people forever.

I have long been an advocate of real and thorough auditing perforrnance while revisiting policies to those people in the government budget, accounting offices for they are the most elusive people to media. Look we can’t even asked documents from them which is supposedly public documents and therefore must transparent.

Why are their documents a matter of national security or are they hiding something eheemm?

Look a mediaman (responsible of course not that attack and collect, defend and collect kind) cannot even interview some alleged high handed officials of the Commission of Audit?

Please don’t misinterpret me for I am only telling the truth and if you only go to depressed areas now, one can see how horrible their living conditions are with many uncertainties on how to get their next meal and I know it because my feet is on the ground and I too belongs to the marginalized sector.

Don’t you know that unrepenting government offices are the number recuriter of NPA?

While it is true that the people is the government coining from the word of late U.S. President Kennedy’s “Asked not what your government can do to you but asked what can you do for the government,” the harsh reality and the inconvenient truth is, crocodiles do not only eat people alive especially the poor ones but swallow all in the government coffers too.

As jokes goes in the bureaucracy which includes “not only under the table, side of the table but sometimes including the table.”

Presidentiables for 2010 election were recent Butuan City visitors invited (or inviting their selves?) as guest speakers of this and that government activities. Among presidentiables who came as far as I know were former President Erap, Senators Chiz Escudero and Mar Roxas and recently MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando.

And the number of Presidentiables to visit Caraga Region and Butuan City will increase as the number of days go near for the November 31 (or 30?) deadline in filing their certificate of candidacies.

I hope the COMELEC will sponsor debates among presidentiables and local candidates to get their views how to solve worsening economic crisis of this country. Filipinos can only elect better leaders if they are well-informed not misinformed.

Finally, President Arroyo did the right thing on Alabang Boys’ case, congratulations Madam!

by Ben Serrano

BUTUAN CITY- There is really also a need to appreciate people who really does his or her homework while head butt those who are sleeping on their duties, the worst is, some are pretending to have fallen asleep when in truth they are fully awake and this kind of people are dangerous. Filipinos call it, “Ang taong gising ay mahirap gisingin.”

And finally, seeing the worsening illegal drug problems in this country, President Arroyo did the right decision on the “Alabang Boys Case.”
Some may don’ like it but on the other hand it will give them opportunity to prove that accusations were wrong.

Madam, kindly take a second look at Caraga Region’s illegal drugs and illegal gambling problems, they are worsening than ever deep insider and reliable information from the field claimed. I pray it’s not true.

Let’s say take a look on who are law enforcers allegedly protecting, coddling and even in doing the business themselves in all illegalities in the region like maintaining video karera machines themselves.

Take a closer look also on the possibility of Narco-Politics and illegal gambling proceeds that go to the pockets of some politicians that will be used to buy votes in 2010 local elections.

Scrutinized also who are involved in wanton deforestation of Caraga’s forest due illegal mining, illegal logging and even illegal construction of roads in the watershed areas. You will be surprised that maybe, and yes maybe your own local political allies are involved Madam President.

Here are the whole news item published today March 22 that appears at national daily, The Daily Tribune regarding President Arroyo’s call for action:

Malacañang yesterday brushed aside a blunt retort aired by prosecutors whom President Arroyo wanted administratively charged with negligence in handling the “Alabang Boys” drug-trafficking case and reminded them to “respect the President’s order.”
Senior State Prosecutor Philip Kimpo described as “unmeritorious” or without merit the administrative charges that President Arroyo wanted filed against him and two other prosecutors.

Kimpo’s retort followed Mrs. Arroyo’s directive that administrative charges be filed against him and Chief State Prosecutor Jovencio Zuno for negligence in connection with the Alabang Boys case.

Another prosecutor, John Resado, who authored a Department of Justice resolution dismissing the drug-trafficking complaints against the Alabang Boys, was ordered charged with bribery.

“We respect the sentiments of the prosecutors but they should also respect the order of the beloved President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Besides, I read that Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said they will respect the decision. I hope this will be the case,” Remonde said in yesterday’s interview over government-run Radyo ng Bayan.

The President’s directive was based on a report by an independent fact-finding committee composed of retired Supreme Court associate justice Carolina Grino-Aquino as its head and former Sandiganbayan justice Raoul Victorino and priest Ranhilio Aquino, dean of a law school run by San Beda College.

“The buck stops at the Office of the President. If there are loopholes or if there is a need to harmonize agencies under the Office of the President, the President needs to step in,” he said when asked why the President still has to involve herself in the campaign against illegal drugs when she already has her men on the ground.

This developed as Dionisio Santiago, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), said President Arroyo’s decision to order the filing of charges against the state prosecutors was “well-balanced” and in the “lawful exercise of her authority” as the country’s anti-drug czar.” The President named herself as the country’s drugs czar at the height of the “Alabang Boys” controversy.

“We are happy with the decision and we will abide by the directives issued by the President,” Santiago said.

Based on the recommendations submitted by the Independent Fact-Finding Committee, President Arroyo also ordered the filing of criminal charges against the Alabang Boys Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph and Joseph Tecson, a direct reversal of a DoJ Resolution dated Dec. 2, 2008 dismissing the case against them.

She also directed the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission to investigate Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor for possible violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The President likewise ordered that Ferdinand Marcelino, a Marines officer seconded to PDEA, and other agents of the PDEA Special Enforcement Service be investigated following allegations they mishandled one of the Alabang Boys.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The long, long list

by LITO BANAYO
from MALAYA

Those who have been regular readers of Malaya and this space will recall our articles on the ten presidentiables (I still wonder at the grammatical precision of that description, but language and communication is a dynamic thing, so there). It started with “The Hamlet Act” of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, 13th President of the Philippines, (08 Jan 2009) and the second to be ousted from office by what savants call “people power”. It ended with an article on “The atypical Ping” (12 Feb 2009). In all, I wrote about ten of these men and a woman who would be president, if they could.

Many, in person, by mail or phone, have reacted in a variety of opinions. Three embassies have asked for copies of the entire set. I furnished them the articles on the ten, including the two follow-up articles on “The Leader We Need” (13 Feb 2009), and “Is There No one Else?” (17 Feb 2009, the title taken from the daring Achilles in the movie “Troy”). Erap loyalists have debated with me on the “legality” of their champion’s running; many agreed with my observations about Chiz Escudero. Some said I was too kind to the persons they disliked. And while I was particularly harsh against cowboy-in-a-chopper Manny Villar’s credentials for the presidency, no one wrote or talked to dispute my observations. Senator Loren called me to express thanks for an article that was “objective” and “did not pander”, which I truly appreciate. Senator Dick thanked me in writing, while at the same time lamenting that our politics has become as “pera-pera” as I had observed in another article. Common friends I share with Mar Roxas generally agreed with what I wrote. BF personally acknowledged the article on him, but I sensed that he was not exactly too happy with how I assessed his chances. Well, true friends always tell the truth to those they consider their friends. In 2004, I seriously talked to three people about being the vice-presidential team-mate of Ping Lacson. One of them was Bayani, and he retains my personal respect and admiration as the most principled of all three. But politics, as even Andrew Lloyd Weber memorialized in “Evita”, is “the art of the possible”. Still and all, if Bayani wants to buck the odds, and persists in running with his advocacy of “kaayusan”, I will respect that. The arithmetic of winning isn’t all that matters.

In the article entitled “Is There No One Else”, I mentioned the other names being floated — Gilbert Teodoro who on the day the article was printed had not yet admitted he was seriously seeking “GMA’s endorsement”, Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga, Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo. At the time of that writing, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte had already publicly (and wisely) eschewed any presidential plans for 2010. I devoted most of that article to Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the only man for whom a major presidential contender, Senator Ping Lacson, publicly announced his willingness to defer and support. But I also realistically cautioned the highly respected and erudite chief magistrate of the land about my personal experience with the putative presidential candidacy of a predecessor of his, Marcelo B. Fernan of Bogo in northern Cebu.

My good friend and opinion research specialist, Pepe Miranda, who humbly describes himself as a perennial “student” of politics, has a take on Puno’s first name — Reynato, from the root words “rey” which is Spanish for king, and “nato” from “natal”, which speaks of birth. “Reynato—born to be king?”, Pepe asked philosophically in a recent meeting.

Yet, the tale of the survey numbers do not show that electoral probability at this point, even Pepe admits. The mostly uninformed masa of this benighted land can hardly distinguish between a good Puno and another they clearly reject. The Chief Justice and Ronnie the Tree, eminence grise to Dona Gloria y su esposo, are not even remotely related. One is “punong hitik ng bungang matamis”, and the other is well, “basta punong-puno” (of what, ask Mon Tulfo).

But politics is “the art of the possible”, and anything can yet catapult the good magistrate to the highest post in the land, perhaps to put order to the anarchy of hopelessness which has become the indelible legacy of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the fortunate woman who has reigned over this most unfortunate episode in our nation’s formal democracy.

Since those 12 articles written in the space of a month and a half, there have been others who, by themselves or through “feelers” and spokesmen, have admitted their long-held secret desires, their moist eyes, as friend Rene Saguisag used to describe, for the presidency of the land. From ten, it has now become a long, long list.

Gilbert Teodoro, son of the recently departed and highly respected former administrator of the Social Security System, Gilberto Sr., and gentle lady to the manor born, Ditas Cojuangco-Teodoro, sister of empire-builder Eduardo Murphy Cojuangco Jr., has finally thrown his hat into the ring, not under the political tent of the Nationalist People’s Coalition where his uncle Danding is “boss”, founder and owner, but under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s, “his” president’s hem. Can late-comers still outsprint everyone else? Can Secretary Teodoro, pole-vault into the big time, using the awfully short pole of Dona Gloria? Vamos a ver.

There is even Mike Velarde, Brother Mike to his El Shaddai prayer partners, who Bishop Ted Bacani, their adviser, praises as having the makings of “a good president”, but who pines for the formal endorsement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, though none is forthcoming, and none is possible.

There is Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas and the Jesus is Lord Movement, who a confidant told me recently will “definitely” seek the presidency once more, after failing in the same quest in 2004.

Of course there is the ridiculous quest of Ephraim Genuino, once El Esposo’s “best” friend, now probably estranged by “particion de bienes” , which his satraps claim is “for real”. Last Saturday, he fouled up traffic in Manila because of a Pagcor-sponsored “Grand Batang Iwas-Droga” (BIDA) at Roxas Boulevard and the Quirino Grandstand. “Bida” of course was Ephraim the Genuine, with his genuine billions in gambling money. He received a supposed certification from Guinness Book of World Records, that almanac of the abnormal. Maybe Genuino will next get his Pagcor to sponsor the world’s largest calamay (guaranteed to get him the votes of Candon in Ilocos Sur), or the world’s longest bangus grill (not guaranteed to get him the votes of Dagupan, lest Archbishop Oscar Cruz leave his beloved flock to the fires of eternal damnation). This Filipino fascination for the Guinness almanac of the abnormal leaves me cold — it is as absurd as absurd can ever be.

Tell you what, Genuine. A creative friend of mine who likes gambling, er, gaming, “enthused” at the prospects of you running for president, has already conjured a campaign tagline — “Huwag isugal ang kinabukasan!” That is followed by the Pagcor vizier pulling down a slot machine lever, and the words, “Tiyak ang panalo kay Genuino” comes out. He, he, he. That’s for laughs, but can you imagine a country where someone like Ephraim has chutzpah to the max? Only in da Pilipins.

As if Erap, Noli, Loren, Ping, Mar, Manny, Chiz, along with Bayani, Jobama and Dick are not a crowd, we now add to the ever-lengthening list Bro. Mike and Bro. Eddie, Gilbert and Ephraim, for a total of 14. But wait! There’s more.

Over the weekend, the governor of jueteng-ridden Pampanga, the priest who defeated Lilia Pineda of jueteng fame and Mark Lapid of gravel and sand, now confesses that he hears a cacophony of voices urging him to run, and as the people’s voice is the voice of God, who is he to close his ears to that? The man his province-mates call Among Ed is the latest entrant into the sweepstakes.

His credentials? He was a giant-killer. Pressed by Pampanga civil society to run for governor because they abhorred the prospect of jueteng queen or another three years of a gravel-and-sand business prince lording it over their flatlands, they came together in 2007, supported by media, and succeeded magnificently. Then, in his first few months in office, Panlilio collected ten times more than his predecessor Lapid ever collected for the provincial coffers in all of one year from the bounty of lahar sand left by Pinatubo’s eruption. But running a province is not just collecting honestly from lahar deposits, it is much more, and many who swore by Panlilio a year ago are now dismayed at his utter lack, or so they say, of administrative capabilities. But his believers are undaunted, and they have already chosen, or so Sunday’s news claim, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca to be Among Ed’s vice-presidential partner. That should be a first in Philippine history, a friend observed — a bachelor and a single lady. We’ve had a widow, we’ve had a widower when they ran for president, but a singles team is something new. Of course, that is really irrelevant.

So Gov. Panlilio is Number 15 in the long, long list. The central pitch of his supporters led by Kaya Natin is for the election of a “non-trapo”. But how does one define the pejorative “trapo”? Does participation in electoral politics on a national scale ipso facto make one a “trapo”? My definition of “trapo”, and I’ve used it often in this space myself, is a politician who uses his office for transactional purposes, mostly for selfish pecuniary reasons, or for more power. Surely there are at least two out of the survey’s seven top-rated contenders who have not enriched themselves in office, and who have not pulled out “cookies” from the kaban ng bayan. One contender has even abnegated himself from the use of the pork barrel, and even as a police chief, was sui generis in refusing jueteng payola. I have not heard that another senator who comes from an old-rich clan has ever made a dirty centavo in his life. Are these two “trapos” by the standards of Kaya Natin and like-minded individuals?

Even Sen. Kiko Pangilinan derides “trapos”, while reacting in support of a Panlilio-led coalition. “We must seek alternatives to trapo politics and politics as usual”, Kiko said. How does Kiko look at himself? He has been using his pork barrel for the last seven years of his life. The gentleman from Pampanga and Pasay (by affinity) has shifted from pro-Gloria to somewhat anti-Gloria, and by dining company, is ensconced in the Villar camp, although he is a Liberal Party member. Is this being “non-trapo”?

But let’s get real, and let’s get back to political arithmetic. In one of the research briefings I recently attended, someone asked a respected purveyor of political surveys if there was a chance for someone like Gilbert Teodoro to yet make it among the lead pack. He asked his assistant to flash the results of the latest survey on senatorial preferences. Senatorial, not presidential. And Secretary Teodoro had awareness of 25%, with only 1.6% of the electorate expressing their willingness to list him among a maximum of 12 choices. I wonder how he would fare if his name is next included in the second quarter surveys, presidential, no longer senatorial.

I may be wrong, but on the assumption that we will have the chance to elect a president in May of 2010, as scheduled by our yet unchanged Constitution, we will have to watch the tale of the surveys between now and September this year, among Noli and Loren, Ping and Mar, Manny and Chiz, not to forget Erap. None of these men and a lady are flawless. Some in my book are too transactional, and some in my book are crooks. Some, to be kind, are with little competence. Now add to that their lack of character, and you have some among the seven one ought never in several lifetimes support.

But some among the seven, taken from the prism of better rather than flawless, instead of using the lesser evil yardstick, are worth pinning our hopes upon. Assuming, as I said, that we will be able to elect a president under this Constitution on May of 2010. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has many tricks up her sleeves, and these should unveil in the next thirteen months.

The sectors who pine for alternative and reform politics, as they alternately call it, really betray a disaffection with the system, and I commiserate. Time and again in this space and in roundtable discussions, I have decried the bankruptcy of the system, especially when it is taken over by incompetents, charlatans, or worst, persons of amoral character, as in the present. What the polity of this land needs badly is some kind of political lobotomy, a temporary catharsis that would presage a genuinely democratic system where meaningful reforms could be institutionalized. But as the electoral fever catches on, the chances of upheaval become more and more remote.

“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”, is a cliché repeated when using opera as metaphor. In the tragic comedy that is the Philippine polity, we will have to watch what the little lady does or hides, says or whispers, assembles or dissembles, as she pirouettes atop the tips of bayonets.

E-mail address: (banayo_at@yahoo.com)
Blog: (litobanayo.blogspot.com)


Sinking Fast

by Antonio C. Abaya
from Standard Today


Unless the Law of Gravity has been revised, repealed or rewritten by the Lakas-Kampi-NPC juggernaut in the Lower House, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is sinking fast into oblivion.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations from February 20 to 23, Mrs. Arroyo’s overall rating declined sharply from a ‘poor’ negative 24 percentage points in December 2008, to a ‘bad’ negative 32 points in February. This was derived by deducting 26 percent satisfied from 59 percent dissatisfied

The sharp decline is attributed to the plunge in her satisfaction rating in the Visayas and Mindanao, where she had in the past posted much higher numbers.

In the Visayas, traditionally her strongest bulwark aside from her home province of Pampanga, her net satisfaction rating plunged 19 points, from a ‘poor’ negative 14 points in December, to a ‘bad’ negative 33 points, with 61 percent dissatisfied..

In Mindanao, her rating plummeted 18 points, from a ‘poor’ negative 22 points in December to a ‘bad’ negative 40 points, with 62 percent dissatisfied.

Her rating in Metro Manila remained ‘bad’ at negative 44 percent from negative 45 last December, with 65 percent dissatisfied.

In the rest of Luzon, her rating fell from negative 23 to negative 24, with 54 percent dissatisfied.

The drop in net dissatisfaction with President Arroyo transcended social and economic class lines.

In the rural areas, her net dissatisfaction rating dropped from a ‘poor’ negative 19 in December to a ‘bad’ negative 33 points in February. In the urban areas, it also dropped from a ‘poor’ negative 29 to a ‘bad’ negative 32 percent.

Only the ABC socioeconomic class, surprisingly, gave President Arroyo a rise, from a ‘poor’ negative 28 in December to a ‘poor’ negative 19 in February.

But among the D class – who have minimum wage jobs - her ratings worsened from a ‘poor’ negative 21 to a ‘bad’ negative 31. And among the E class – who have no regular jobs at all and survive by selling things on the sidewalks or by engaging in petty crime – it went down from a ‘bad’ negative 31 to a ‘bad’ negative 42 points.

What this all means is that if presidential elections were held today under any pretext, and the elections were free and fair, neither President Arroyo nor her designated hitter would win.

If the elections were held in 2010 and they were free and fair, she or her designated hitter could conceivably win if, for example, the economy were to suddenly brighten up and jobs were to suddenly become available, not just to the poorest of the poor, but also to the harried and incredibly shrinking middle-class.

But the chances of that happening are very remote. The global recession has not bottomed out even if the stock markets have had a bit of an up-tick in recent days. The most optimistic prognosis that I have read puts recovery to begin at end of 2009. By the time such recovery hits these shores, it would be well into 2010.

The most pessimistic outlook is painted by doom-and-gloom Cassandras who predict a breakdown in the social order in North America and Western Europe as well as in China, as tens of millions of unemployed people give vent to their frustrations by staging mass protests and food riots and even - fasten your seat belts - civil wars.

I believe that Plan A is still operative, that the move to amend the Constitution to shift to the parliamentary system is still on. It is the simplest and quickest way for President Arroyo to constitutionally remain in power beyond 2010, whatever the surveys may say about how unpopular she is..

The Lakas-Kampi-NPC coalition has a stranglehold on the Lower House. They can and will no doubt revive moves to convene both Houses into a constituent assembly (ConAss) and attempt to vote as one body for charter change. Only the oppositionist Senate stands in the way and it will no doubt insist that the two bodies vote separately, in which case the issue will be deadlocked.

This matter will undoubtedly be raised to the Supreme Court, probably by mid-2009 or later. As long as Chief Justice Reynato Puno remains in his position, the Court can be relied on to block any such moves from the Lower House. But if Chief Justice Puno is removed, for whatever reason, then the way is clear for ChaCha and we will have GMA Forever, legally and constitutionally, no matter what the surveys say about how unpopular she is.

A variation of Plan A – let’s call it Plan A-1 – would be to postpone, not cancel, the May 2010 elections, by as few as two or three months, on the grounds of social unrest because of the continuing financial meltdown. By coincidence, Chief Justice Puno retires also in May 2010.

Postponing – not canceling – the elections by even as few as two or three months would open a window of opportunity for the Lakas-Kampi-NPC coalition to push for ChaCha through a ConAss since CJ Puno would be retiring by May 2010, making possible the appointment of a new Chief Justice friendlier to President Arroyo’s ambition to remain in power beyond 2010.

She may be sinking fast in the opinion polls, but if she really believes that “The Lord put me in this position,” as she told Pope Benedict XIV in the Vatican, she can also conceivably believe that “the Lord wants me to stay here.”

The Lord can revise, repeal or rewrite the Law of Gravity by the mere act of working the miracle of a new chief justice bodily ascending into the Supreme Court.. *****.

UPDATE. By the strangest coincidence, the March 19 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (page 13) asks: “Will President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo run for Congress (in parliamentary elections) in 2010? In the last 22 days, President Arroyo visited Pampanga five times and four of those visits were all in her home province’s second district.”

The Inquire listed down these visits, in each of which she was accompanied by medical and dental missions. Unmistakable sorties to hustle for votes. Feb. 24 in Floridablanca; March 4 in Guagua; March 9 in San Fernando; March 10, Lubao; March 18 in Lubao again, to celebrate the birthday of her bosom pal, Lilia Pineda, wife of alleged jueteng lord Bong Pineda. No doubt the Lord, the real Lord, guided her to these places..*****

Reactions to tonyabaya@gmail.com. Other articles in www.tapatt.org and in acabaya.blogspot.com.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Intellectual dishonesty

by LITO BANAYO
from MALAYA

A presidential candidate’s camp did a spin on the findings of the UP mass communication students research on “The Importance of Media Presence on the Bid for 2010 Elections”. Those findings were presented by the university’s Communications Research 165 students last Saturday, March 14. I was invited to the presentation, along with other media persons.

The main objective of the research, both quantitative (survey) and qualitative (focus group discussions) was to assess the identifiability and recognizability of potential candidates for the president and vice-presidential positions up for grabs in the 2010 elections, assuming there will be one. In short, who do you think, at this point in time (survey was done in Metro Manila. Calabarzon and three Central Luzon provinces during the Christmas break of 2008-2009), are running for president in 2010? The results of the survey showed that 79% of the 681 randomly-selected respondents believe Manny Villar would run for president. Why so? His ads are all over the place, dummy, and he himself has declared he is definitely running. Next is Loren Legarda whom 48% of the respondents said will also run. Then there is Kabayan Noli, with 45% saying they believe the Vice-President will also run for president. Why so? He is already VP, the FGD’s said. Then, 34% say Mar Roxas too will run. The field research period probably antedates his “murang gamot” ads. Bayani Fernando, whose tarpaulins are all over the land, and who has not been coy (I think he was the first to declare his intent to run for president) about his 2010 plans, has convinced 26% of the respondents that he is serious. That’s the top 5. Following closely is Ping Lacson, who 25% believe is gunning for the presidency come 2010. And 22% think Chiz Escudero will likewise run for president.

The following day, a broadsheet I read gave a fairly accurate report of the UP MassCom findings, except that appended to the report were the reactions of the topnotcher, thanking the University and the public for having recognized him, oh so humbly kuno, at that. All the findings stated were that 79% believe he is running, period. It does not say, whether in the survey or the FGD’s, that they want him to be president.

In the forum itself, a charming lady who identified herself as being with the MMDA, was so elated that her boss, my friend Bayani, was Numero Cinco in the surveys, while Pulse Asia and SWS rated him somewhere at the tail. Clearly she did not understand what the survey was about, or pretended not to, just so the other MMDA co-employees there present would report her elation to her boss. The following night, Bayani beamed with pride as Mo Twister of IMO on ANC congratulated him. The message they were communicating to the public was that he was Numero Cinco in the voters’ choices!

Then, tabloids and text messages got into the spin. “Villar tops UP Survey!” they said. Read the fine print, and that too was spun to convey voters’ choice, rather than the truth, which is that they know he is running, period.

Thus was the ComRes Department of the UP forced to write all and sundry to clarify that first, UP Diliman students were not included in the multi-stage random sample of respondents; two, that nobody among the potential candidates funded their academic exercise (baka nga naman akalain na pera-pera din sila ni Villar); third, that they did not conduct mock elections, contrary to how spin masters had already spun their research.

They repeated the question asked: “Based on what you see, hear and read in media, who do you think will run for either president or VP in the 2010 elections?” Why, even 6% still believe GMA will run, and the slogan they identify with her is “Gloria Labandera”. Bet you the respondents were not thinking about money laundering.

The moral of the story is this — that some presidential candidates may have in their employ people who run their campaigns or their attempts at the same, without understanding what opinion research is all about. Or, understanding the same, still pander to their boss’ unquenchable desire to be president at all cost.

The other moral of the story, and this is quite immoral, is that some candidates will willingly distort anything, and create illusory spins about anything, be it an opinion survey or their own life story, just to project “winnability”. And hope to fool the dolts among voters to jump into their “bandwagon” this early in the game.

It’s all right to make a fool of oneself. That is privilege. That is an individual right. But please, don’t use well-meaning students who simply wanted to do honest academic exercise, and proud of what they had done, sought to share it with the public through media. The purpose of quantitative as well as qualitative research, is for candidates and their handlers to be guided, to learn from mistakes they may have committed, and discover that what sounded so brilliant a communications handle in the company of like-minded individuals, may not have resonated well with the target public.

It is sheer intellectual dishonesty to manipulate well-intentioned and honestly done research by the academic community, and use it as spin for their propaganda mill. And to think some of them graduated from the same university.

But then again, how can you expect anything but intellectual dishonesty from someone who pads the national budget with millions and millions, to pay himself for road right-of-way?

* * *

Just as I was about to send this article, an e-mail was sent to me by Grace, from North America, and she quotes wht the Good Lord says:

“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches. But let him who boasts, boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS on earth, for in these I delight”.

How apropos.

* * *

E-mail address: (banayo_at@yahoo.com)
Blog: (litobanayo.blogspot.com)


Sinking Fast

by Antonio C. Abaya
from Standard Today


Unless the Law of Gravity has been revised, repealed or rewritten by the Lakas-Kampi-NPC juggernaut in the Lower House, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is sinking fast into oblivion.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations from February 20 to 23, Mrs. Arroyo’s overall rating declined sharply from a ‘poor’ negative 24 percentage points in December 2008, to a ‘bad’ negative 32 points in February. This was derived by deducting 26 percent satisfied from 59 percent dissatisfied

The sharp decline is attributed to the plunge in her satisfaction rating in the Visayas and Mindanao, where she had in the past posted much higher numbers.

In the Visayas, traditionally her strongest bulwark aside from her home province of Pampanga, her net satisfaction rating plunged 19 points, from a ‘poor’ negative 14 points in December, to a ‘bad’ negative 33 points, with 61 percent dissatisfied..

In Mindanao, her rating plummeted 18 points, from a ‘poor’ negative 22 points in December to a ‘bad’ negative 40 points, with 62 percent dissatisfied.

Her rating in Metro Manila remained ‘bad’ at negative 44 percent from negative 45 last December, with 65 percent dissatisfied.

In the rest of Luzon, her rating fell from negative 23 to negative 24, with 54 percent dissatisfied.

The drop in net dissatisfaction with President Arroyo transcended social and economic class lines.

In the rural areas, her net dissatisfaction rating dropped from a ‘poor’ negative 19 in December to a ‘bad’ negative 33 points in February. In the urban areas, it also dropped from a ‘poor’ negative 29 to a ‘bad’ negative 32 percent.

Only the ABC socioeconomic class, surprisingly, gave President Arroyo a rise, from a ‘poor’ negative 28 in December to a ‘poor’ negative 19 in February.

But among the D class – who have minimum wage jobs - her ratings worsened from a ‘poor’ negative 21 to a ‘bad’ negative 31. And among the E class – who have no regular jobs at all and survive by selling things on the sidewalks or by engaging in petty crime – it went down from a ‘bad’ negative 31 to a ‘bad’ negative 42 points.

What this all means is that if presidential elections were held today under any pretext, and the elections were free and fair, neither President Arroyo nor her designated hitter would win.

If the elections were held in 2010 and they were free and fair, she or her designated hitter could conceivably win if, for example, the economy were to suddenly brighten up and jobs were to suddenly become available, not just to the poorest of the poor, but also to the harried and incredibly shrinking middle-class.

But the chances of that happening are very remote. The global recession has not bottomed out even if the stock markets have had a bit of an up-tick in recent days. The most optimistic prognosis that I have read puts recovery to begin at end of 2009. By the time such recovery hits these shores, it would be well into 2010.

The most pessimistic outlook is painted by doom-and-gloom Cassandras who predict a breakdown in the social order in North America and Western Europe as well as in China, as tens of millions of unemployed people give vent to their frustrations by staging mass protests and food riots and even - fasten your seat belts - civil wars.

I believe that Plan A is still operative, that the move to amend the Constitution to shift to the parliamentary system is still on. It is the simplest and quickest way for President Arroyo to constitutionally remain in power beyond 2010, whatever the surveys may say about how unpopular she is..

The Lakas-Kampi-NPC coalition has a stranglehold on the Lower House. They can and will no doubt revive moves to convene both Houses into a constituent assembly (ConAss) and attempt to vote as one body for charter change. Only the oppositionist Senate stands in the way and it will no doubt insist that the two bodies vote separately, in which case the issue will be deadlocked.

This matter will undoubtedly be raised to the Supreme Court, probably by mid-2009 or later. As long as Chief Justice Reynato Puno remains in his position, the Court can be relied on to block any such moves from the Lower House. But if Chief Justice Puno is removed, for whatever reason, then the way is clear for ChaCha and we will have GMA Forever, legally and constitutionally, no matter what the surveys say about how unpopular she is.

A variation of Plan A – let’s call it Plan A-1 – would be to postpone, not cancel, the May 2010 elections, by as few as two or three months, on the grounds of social unrest because of the continuing financial meltdown. By coincidence, Chief Justice Puno retires also in May 2010.

Postponing – not canceling – the elections by even as few as two or three months would open a window of opportunity for the Lakas-Kampi-NPC coalition to push for ChaCha through a ConAss since CJ Puno would be retiring by May 2010, making possible the appointment of a new Chief Justice friendlier to President Arroyo’s ambition to remain in power beyond 2010.

She may be sinking fast in the opinion polls, but if she really believes that “The Lord put me in this position,” as she told Pope Benedict XIV in the Vatican, she can also conceivably believe that “the Lord wants me to stay here.”

The Lord can revise, repeal or rewrite the Law of Gravity by the mere act of working the miracle of a new chief justice bodily ascending into the Supreme Court.. *****.

UPDATE. By the strangest coincidence, the March 19 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (page 13) asks: “Will President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo run for Congress (in parliamentary elections) in 2010? In the last 22 days, President Arroyo visited Pampanga five times and four of those visits were all in her home province’s second district.”

The Inquire listed down these visits, in each of which she was accompanied by medical and dental missions. Unmistakable sorties to hustle for votes. Feb. 24 in Floridablanca; March 4 in Guagua; March 9 in San Fernando; March 10, Lubao; March 18 in Lubao again, to celebrate the birthday of her bosom pal, Lilia Pineda, wife of alleged jueteng lord Bong Pineda. No doubt the Lord, the real Lord, guided her to these places..*****

Reactions to tonyabaya@gmail.com. Other articles in www.tapatt.org and in acabaya.blogspot.com.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why do Filipinos act like kept harlots?

AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
by William M. Esposo
from Philstar

The Lance Corporal Daniel Smith custody issue triggered rallies in the vicinity of the United States (US) Embassy in Manila against the VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement). Many of these anti-VFA rallies were violently dispersed by the police.

As seen on primetime television, these rallies involved young men and women and it is hard to fathom how the police can perceive them as threats to peace and order. Why then do the police have to disperse the young rallyists with such brutality?

Considering that the Cpl. Daniel Smith custody issue involves Filipino pride in the face of an obviously one-sided VFA, we wonder if there is a tinge of nationalism at all in the Filipino hearts of these policemen.

How come we as a people seem unable to recognize the real damage that the opportunistic foreign superpowers are doing to our country. Instead of protecting our country, how come many of us are stupidly inclined to fight fellow Filipinos instead?

How come we can only see the corrupt practices of fellow Filipinos? But when it comes to superpower exploitation — far more damaging than what all the Filipino plunderers steal — we are indifferent and apathetic.

How come over here it has become legal and popular to protect the interests of foreigners (like passing the Mining Act that promoted foreign development of Philippine ore) and illegal to question these acts of betrayal (like when anti-Mining Act demonstrators are jailed).

Of course, for the majority of Filipinos, that attitude stems from ignorance or what the eminent Professor Emmanuel Q. Yap calls IDIOCY — the inability to know the truth. But then, considering Filipino reaction to the corruption and murders tagged to the government — we wonder if awareness of foreign exploitation will merit any reaction from Filipinos too.

Is it therefore a question of lack of awareness or to be brutally frank about it - the lack of patriotism and nationalism? Is it a case of surrendering to a superpower even before a good fight is fought?

If the SWS or Pulse Asia surveyed Filipinos whether they would be willing to fight exploiting superpowers and their reason for answering YES or NO, will it surprise you if a majority of the respondents will answer NO and state that it is pointless to fight a superior force?

Can nationalistic natives win over a superpower that is attempting to dominate and exploit their country? Of course, they can. It has been done. Over the last four decades, there have been nationalists who fought superpowers and won.

Recently, the Iraqi resistance to the US-led invasion of their country is a good showcase of nationalists who drove away a superpower-led occupation. The US-led coalition is set to leave Iraq.

Not too long ago, the North Vietnamese defeated and expelled the mighty US and before that, the French. After the Vietnam War, the Afghans expelled the hitherto undefeated Red Army of the now defunct USSR.

The Vietnamese and Afghan victories were attained with the support of other superpowers. The North Vietnamese were supported by the USSR while the Afghans were supported by the US. The Iraqi nationalists are said to be supported by Iran and Syria.

It is a fact of life that when natives are fighting a nationalist war for independence and sovereignty against a superpower — a superpower rival will tend to support the nationalists. This is what proxy war is all about.
If the Filipinos decide to fight US domination, especially its sinister agenda in Mindanao and the Spratlys, expect China and Russia to want to help Filipinos wage that war. The big question is: Do Filipinos have the nationalism, the heart and the resolve — like the Iraqis, North Vietnamese and Afghans — to fight the US?

Maybe those Filipinos who are suffering the most from the exploitation — assuming that they finally know the historical truth — will rise and expel the exploiting superpower. But will our leaders have the same resolve to fight?
Going by their track record, don’t you think our leaders will be the first to betray the nationalist cause in exchange for favors from the superpower? They did that before. From all indications, they are still doing it. So how can we expect them to suddenly change their stripes?

In the era of colonization, when the natives win a resounding military victory, the foreign superpower will call it a massacre. Such was the case in the Battle of Little Big Horn and the Battle of Isandlwana.

The superpower also has the habit of branding the natives as ‘savages’ and then uses that to justify genocide. Such was the case of the genocide of the native Americans and the Aztecs of Mexico.

It is not suggested that we recklessly declare war on the US. Considering how we’ve become the biggest fan of anything American, the whole world will likely laugh at us if we suddenly do that.

However, unless Filipinos demonstrate a united national resolve to correct the long lop-sided US-Philippine relationship, unless we produce real leaders who will fight for our national interests, unless we as a nation prove that we are willing to fight and die for our country — we will remain a vassal state of an exploiting superpower.

We will never be accorded the dignity we deserve and will continue to be treated like a kept harlot.

* * *

Chair Wrecker website: www.chairwrecker.com


Legacy of False Hopes and the Investments of No Return

by Ben Serrano

BUTUAN CITY- I had a chance to meet two sales agents of failed Legacy in 2006 and earlier part of 2008 respectively, one with acquaintance businessman in Davao City and the other one in 2008, in Surigao Cty. This time a prominent elected public official who even asked me if I do have some wealthy acquaintances or friends or whatsoever so that I will accompany them (the two) to introduce LEGACY.

They recruited me even to become sales agent saying it really give them good income. By the looks of it and in the way the two already acquired luxury vehicles, the other one a Big Horn Nissan Patrol while that of public official was a Pajero he told me. They must achieved something else, something big.

I jokingly told them never mind I have already my BMW (BAKTAS MINTRAS WALA a Visayan word which means you have to walk while you are still zero) they laughed as I was hiding my rear because my dilapidated blue jeans had huge hole on it (courtesy of the tricycle accidentally slash when I disembarked).

Ashamed from the two friend investment takers with my rubber shoes already worn out (as its soles leaking) I just presume nothing happens in me. Thus I listen and listen to the two while explaining LEGACY.

Actually the public official is an ex-seminarian who was aggressive then about LEGACY, What you hear from his mouth is always LEGACY..LEGACY and the brilliance of investment banker his idol Celso Delos Angeles who was already then elected Mayor of Sto. Domingo.

He extolled the brilliance of Delos Angeles as the one who recently acquired Legacy Motors and other big businesses one can’t imagine. He explained that in credit card investments of Legacy alone, the double your money in three years investments is already assured, a done deal as the sun rises in the East.

He said that Delos Angeles is personal friend of Vice President Noli De Castro and the VEEP himself is very much appreciative of the investment genius of their Legacy boss.

They claimed the minimum investments is P100,000.00 which is ideal for retirees.

When they presented to me the scheme and how it will earn as they showed to me checks after checks (postdated actually) which will be issued to investors as guarantee of the return of investments, I raised some questions;

First, I queried, there’s no such thing as 25% to 30% per annum interest and even time deposits in the bank is not that big as it depends on the amount one will deposit..

Second. Where in the World or in the business of investment you can triple your money in three years? Unless it is illegal? Illegal logging or mining hehehe, They both laughed but still serious in explaining their stuff.

I was not actually convinced besides that I don’t have money and if I have maybe I am interested.

I told them I have some friends and acquaintances who may have money and might be interested to invest. Maybe also I can earned commission if I can sell. I showed enthusiasm to them in order to not let them down as I know they are prominent persons.

And so together with another newsmen who have just arrived as we eat our lunch, they invited us to go their office which is located ground floor (the second floor was actually DTI Provincial Office).

I don’t know if my colleague who is publisher of a local weekly newspaper with whom I convinced to invest because he is already wealthy as I have seen his bank book with long list of deposit items than withdrawals, have invested or not. He however secretly told me that her wife may have invested to LEGACY.

After that meeting I was supposed to e-mail for inquiry to respective websites of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Central Bank of the Philippines and the PDIC or Philippine Deposit Insurance Commission). But time caught me up, and even if I have I should have wasted my time because I knew the beforehand some defect which give some degree of doubts.

I was wondering why such scheme go on for years right smack on the faces of lawyers who invested on it, bright and intelligent people and right in front the eyes of government agencies as investors out of their hard earned savings withdraw it and invest it to LEGACY.

The rest is now history I said to myself secretly I feel vindicated. I sent text messages to the sales agent. He replied at first but in the following text messages I sent just to say hello he never replied again.
Senator Mar Roxas, Chair of the Senate Committee of Trade and Investments have clearly explained to Butuan victim of investors during March 19 forum that the whole thing was a SCAM and the possibility of return of investment is remote. I admire Roxas for telling the truth even how inconvenient it is.

I then recall in the early 80’s where similar scam do happened in Agusan and Surigao provinces that even reached to some urban areas in Mindanao where a certain Menel invented the alleged Pyramiding Scam.

Menel who hails from Surigao City guaranteed times six or seven return of investments (if my memory serves me right) The very enticing scheme of Menel created a bandwagon effect that farmers, even soldiers and their officials, traders, teachers had to mortgaged their salaries just to invest to Saidecor. (I don’t know where did Menel coined that word)

As a high school student then, I was curios how it works. I was valedictorian then in my elementary days at Santiago Central Elementary School, I studied how it works. I discovered it was pure and simple pyramiding that at the end of the chain the losers are those who invest at the tail end whose chain will already be mess up thus it is called pyramide.

I presented it in one of my classes in high school but they just ignore it (I told o myself I will have my last laugh). I was informed then that some of classmates’ parents invested heavily to SAiDECOR.

Those who invested early got appliances instead of money and invested more after collecting profits.

I just keep quiet then as my father told me to keep quiet because I was then young to know its intricacies.

The last thing I’ve heard from SAIDECOR was that a bank of a prominent family here in Butuan City where investment of SAIDECOR where brought for safety was hoarded by lots of complaining investors who cried they already did not received their return of investments after 45 or 90 days of waiting for their money to mature.

When it was about to collapse, I accidentally accompanied my father riding in his old American U.S, Army Willis private jeepney (as we were then living in Santiago, Agusan del Norte then) to take a look at the troubled Rural Bank where SAIDECOR investments were kept.

A relative of his (if memory serves me right was allegedly right hand man of Menel). Concerned of what will happen to his cousin my father visited him but we never saw him again.


At the Rural Bank, we saw many people mostly farmers, retirees crying with some arguing with the bank’s personnel and security guards.

.I recalled my father then saw a military man carrying a sack (allegedly filled with coins and other currencies with his armalite tucked in) alighting from the bank. That military man with uniform who looks like an official was heard murmuring he invested that’s why he has to get his investment back.

When somebody from the huge crowd outside the bank shouted how about us? The military man with armed escorts replied “BAHALA NAMO DIHA” (Take care of your selves now!)

During Senator Mar Roxas’ forum with Legacy Investors of Butuan City and some parts of Caraga Region at SJIT school auditorium March 19, 2009 evening by which a public school retiree nearly got collapse after losing P600.000 of her husband’s retirement benefits.

I saw same military man again (now retired) who losses his more than P1-M cash money to LEGACY. Call it Karma, I don’t know! He may have not gotten a sack this time!

According to Leah Medado, Butuan Chamber’s secretary general who is helping the Legacy victims, more than 600 investors (the lowest investment is P100-T) were allegedly duped by Legacy and 60% of it were from Butuan City.

Filipinos really never learned lessons.

This is maybe because our basic foundations of being a nation and people which is education, church and family that are suppose to glorify, honor value of hard work, patience , perseverance and industry, be proud of sweat and toiled labor and simple living with no end are maybe marred with uncertain values and crampled realities.

Unfortunately, what is now left with us is the Legacy of False Hope and harsh realities of false dreams in the investment of no return.

My sympathy to those who lost their hard earned money and may justice served upon them the soonest as I pray their hard earned currencies be return to them ASAP.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tenacity

by Lito Banayo
from MALAYA

My congratulations to Philip Piccio and his band of tenacious victims of greedy pre-need plan buccaneers. Years back, Philip and some parents who lost much of their hard-earned savings with the fall of Pacific Plans grouped themselves together under the PEP Coalition, to fight the powerful Yuchengcos after the collapse of their pre-need satellite corporation.

They wanted the Yuchengcos, regardless of the already moribund and hollowed-out Pacific Plans, to redeem their pledges of sending their planholders’ children to school. They filed case after case in the courts. As far as I know, no clear resolution has yet come out.

Under normal circumstances, and the examples are legion in a country where justice is almost always denied the poor and middle class and almost always favors the rich and the influential, litigants lose hope amid the rising legal fees of protracted battle. But not Philip and his tenacious PEP.

When word got around that a Bicolano businessman close to the Lakas originators and close to the powerful first couple bought whatever was left of the net worth of Pacific Plans from the Yuchengcos, PEP inserted itself and asserted the parent-planholders’ rights. Noel Onate, the new controlling owner of Pacific, promised to redeem their obligations under the contract sold by the Yuchengcos. Or so he says, at least for now.

But then a curious thing happened late last year. It all began with the declared insolvency of a bunch of rural banks, from Paranaque to Cebu to Negros to Batangas, all under the flagship of a certain Legacy controlled by one Celso de los Angeles, AIM graduate, Marikeno turned Bicolano, who was once upon a time the Boy Seseng of jueteng infamy. Hollowed out of funds, depositors who were promised double-your-money in a few years suddenly realized their petty greed was gone forever, with an exceedingly and immoderately greedy man (and his cohorts) having purloined them of the dreams he purveyed.

And then again, weeping mothers suddenly realized that what they thought would be their hard-earned and long-saved legacies to their children or themselves, in the form of pre-need educational plans and pension schemes, were also fast vanishing, gone with the wind, if we may borrow from Atlanta literature.

They turned to Philip Piccio for help, this little toughie who had the courage to fight against the windmills of greed in an ever-benighted land. And thus came the phenomenon of focused people power. Victimized parents enabling other victimized parents, with Philip their earnest poster boy and unflagging, pugnacious defend dog.

After watching the Legacy scam unfold layer upon layer in Mar Roxas’ Committee on Trade and Commerce, with the usually unflappable Juan Ponce Enrile himself scandalized at the effrontery of Celso de los Angeles and the rank incompetence of government regulators called the Securities and Exchange Commission, I felt nauseated. Yet last Monday’s hearing provided a ray of hope, because Philip Piccio and his PEP were able to show that the SEC was not being just plain incompetent or stupid. They were incompetent and stupid for millions and millions of reasons.

I called Philip to thank him for the spadework and the dedication he displayed. How he got Celso’s executives to rat on his nefarious practices, and how he uncovered a slimy SEC commissioner and pinned him down, on the spot. But Philip told me it was the work of all those victimized parents. They were the ones who searched for clues, for somehow long family relationships that brought them to the doorsteps of the key witnesses they presented to Mar. They chipped in little sums of money, brought pot-luck food for endless meetings, and secured by themselves in their obscure homes the conscience-stricken witnesses they brought to fore.

Philip promises there will be more coming out of the woodwork, now that Celso’s band of immoderately greedy cohorts are being unmasked layer upon layer. When I congratulated Philip for the tenacity, he chuckled and said, “You know what our self-description was of what we were doing, investigating and putting pieces of the puzzle together? We kept saying, a-la-Lacson.”

Yes indeed, PEP and Philip, along with the nanays that Mar Roxas concluded last Monday’s hearings with, simply have to collect their tenacity together. That, in truth, is people power.

Yet in a larger sense, people of the benighted land do not seem to realize that the Celso’s and SEC with its Martinez atbp, along with the Congress of the Bought and their buyer in Malacanang, are all using our money — people’s money.

When PDIC pays, if it can, that is people’s money. When Bangko Sentral pays, that is people’s money. When the budget is used to cover the losses, that too is people’s money. And when people of this benighted Philippines finally wake up from the stupor of a decade, as it woke up from the stupor of two decades of Marcos, and realize that it is their money and their children’s future that is being stolen by buccaneers in government and buccaneers in business in cahoots with each other, then people power will yet be reborn. Hopefully, the next people power will throw out a hopelessly rotten system, along with the maggots and vultures that have feasted upon its carcass.

* * *

The powerful head of the American Insurance Group, Maurice Greenberg, a permanent fixture in Philippine-American business relations, has lost most of his wealth, along with the collapse of America’s largest insurance conglomerate. Forbes magazine, almanac of the world’s wealthiest, recently said that Greenberg, who used to be worth 1.9 billion dollars (about 92 billion pesos), has a net worth depreciated to less than 100 million dollars. Wow!

A hundred million dollars is just about 4.8 billion pesos — can you imagine that? How much did Celso de los Angeles play with? Much more than that surely. And how many Filipinos have net worth much larger, whether legitimately earned by them and their forebears, or the net result of plundering government coffers? There are congressmen and ex-congressmen of this benighted land who are wealthier than the great Maurice Greenberg now. And surely, a “golden” couple have ten times more, at the very least.

Wait! I may have said that too soon. Let’s see how much is left after deducting losses from Merrill Lynch and Lehmann Brothers. In any case, I heard over the air, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, that financial task forces of the American government are keen on asking somebody for explanations about some 700 million (dollars, not pesos).

See why we must all be tenacious? See why we must never again allow the plundering species ever again to rule over the desperately benighted land? When, oh when, will God in his infinite mercy, open the clouds, and let the sunshine in?

E-mail address: (banayo_at@yahoo.com)
Blog: (litobanayo.blogspot.com)


Mutualism

EDITORIAL
from
Tribune

When it comes to media exposure, First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo definitely hits the headlines more than President Arroyo, his wife, and not for good reasons.

Mrs. Arroyo’s public acceptability is considered to be the worst ever for a president of the country and her poor image is partly the result of her own doing, such as the now infamous conversations she had with a poll commissioner where she told him to make sure her votes would be padded by over a million, for her to win the presidential elections in 2004 through electoral fraud.

But part of her negative image also can be attributed to an almost daily dose of scandals, courtesy of Big Mike.

That Mike is a big liability to Gloria, who is just as much a liability to the Filipino nation, has long been accepted.

A recent report of Pacific Strategies and Assessments (PSA), however, said political backers have suggested that Gloria cut her marital ties with the First Gentleman. This is nothing new since a similar suggestion to Gloria was made by some of her Cabinet members in 2005, after the “Hello Garci” scandal exploded, when they asked her to have her husband go into exile. She did, and he left for the United States, but was back soon enough.

That suggestion for her to cut her marital ties to Big Mike is something that is not expected to happen.

The reason is fairly simple: Gloria needs Big Mike and his soiled image to divert her own scams and scandals and create a “better” image of herself.
This was much the same style then President Ferdinand Marcos adopted. It was his wife Imelda who took the brunt of the Marcos regime’s negative image of greed and power. She was the lavish one, he, the thrifty. People blamed her, not him, for the regime’s excesses, although in the case of the incumbent presidential couple, both are perceived to indulge in excesses and feed their obsession for money and power.

The report also stated that it was a miracle the First Couple maintained a united front through the years.

The institution that conducted the analysis on Big Mike seems way off target when it comes to the First Couple’s mutual dependency.

The resiliency of the duo, so it is surmised, had more to do with political necessity rather than any social or intimate reasons. From the start, Gloria had to contend with political survival after obtaining the presidency outside of the constitutional norm, through a coup d’ etat dressed up as a popular revolt in 2001.

Most Filipinos cannot fathom the fact that a sitting President elected overwhelmingly to the position can be simply booted out by a clique and install Gloria in Joseph Estrada’s stead.

Except for a flash of public acceptance shortly after grabbing the reins of power from Estrada, Gloria was forever grappling with an illegitimate mandate of which she was able to maintain a semblance of “constitutionality” by buying political support at a huge expense.

Years of mismanagement and her exercise of manipulative power made her more disliked by the public.

Maintaining patronage among the most vicious predators in Philippine politics comes with an expensive tag for which Gloria had to constantly pay out.

Imagine a situation where Gloria needed to live in a Palace packed with wolves and vultures and her only way to survive is to constantly feed these creatures with fresh meat.

Big Mike serves his purpose by providing Gloria the endless supply of fresh carcass to allow her tenuous political existence, which he in turn needed to maintain his body of influence.

Disposing one would necessarily lead to the demise of the other.
The suggestion for Gloria to disassociate with FG simply won’t fly since her continued hold on power may depend largely on his next caper.
In terms of political survival, Gloria and Big Mike co-exist and their affliction on the country depends on how strong such a mutation of conjugal relationship lasts.

The only solution, thus, for the nation is not to rid one but both of the parasitic creatures.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Second Chance

GLIMPSES
by Jose Ma. Montelibano

After visiting the United States more frequently in the last two years than ever before in my life, I have consistently experienced the deep nostalgia of Filipinos who have become American citizens. Although I first noticed this nostalgia visibly manifesting in the 90’s, I had stopped going to the US because I had no more business affairs to justify the trips. I simply discovered email and learned that, with technology, oceans are not vast enough to separate friends and family from active engagement. Joining Gawad Kalinga, though, brought back focus on Fil-Ams and America. Not only were resources from the US funding a substantial part of the work for the poor but the influence of Fil-Ams on their own families causes even more sympathy and support for GK.

It was just over ten years ago when I noticed a subtle but dramatic expansion of the spirit and form contained in email messages of Filipino Americans. Traditionally, the messages would center totally on family matters, their different jobs and how much they earned, their new cars and houses, where they went and would go next on their vacations, where their children went to school and their accomplishments, and the schedule of their next visit to the motherland. The new messages contained a few remarks beyond family, about a certain event or comment about the Philippine government, about the Philippine economy, about Philippine politics. It could have been triggered by the preparations for the Philippine Centennial of 1998, or it was simply time.

What began, though, in the late 90’s was not just the expansion of topics from their traditional subjects, it was a ripple that is now a wave. In fact, it is a wave that appears so inevitably tidal in spirit and shape. It is a resurgence of patriotism or the breaking open of a dam that had suppressed so much outpouring of how Filipinos miss the homeland, of how Filipinos remain attached to their roots, of how what they could not express all these years, these decades in America, just show in their faces as balikbayans - Filipinos going home.

It was nostalgia in its strongest form. It was unmitigated homesickness that saw planeloads of balikbayans land in Manila, only grew in number and show no signs of slowing down. Even in the current slowdown, the spirit remains committed to visit home, to enjoy the place of birth, their birth or their parents’ birth. The nostalgia is so massive, so visible, and so predictable that businesses are built around it, tourism programs developed for it, condominiums and real estate companies selling to it, laws created to accommodate it, and soon, perhaps, some elections to be decided by it.

Many say that a full 10% of our population are now overseas, spread in several countries, Filipinos as the global worker, immigrants whose intermarriages produce Filipino blood mixed with American, European, Australian and Asia DNA. But it is the Filipino American who leads the immigrant sector in new citizenship, in family income inside their adopted country, in education and political maturity, and in accomplishments in various fields of endeavor. It is no surprise that Filipino Americans will lead in nostalgia as well.

What emerges, though, is now beyond nostalgia. It is not a question of whether a Filipino misses home despite success in America, despite an oath of allegiance to a second country. It is now a growing reality that memories of yore are not the only reason for a stronger re-connection. It is not just retirement, it is not just a warmer temperature for older bodies, it is for a second life, for a second chance at being Filipinos.

What unfolds is an awesome story that has just begun and will continue on for a purpose. It is not just nostalgia anymore, not just an emotional pull by memories of home, not just missing relatives and friends left behind, it is Filipinos loving a country they thought they would not, or could not, love anymore. It is love the second time around.

It was one and a half years ago when I visited America after a twenty year absence. I thought it was especially spectacular because I experienced snow for the first time – in the middle of a snow storm! Somehow, in those years in another lifetime when visiting America for business and pleasure was a regular annual event, I never saw snow, never made a snowball and threw one, never experienced its natural majesty and power.
In that end 2006 visit, I felt the nostalgia; I felt the renaissance of patriotism for a motherland among the few Filipinos I met then. Now, I feel it everywhere, in the Internet, in the community centers, in the airports, and even in Seafood City. The circulation of the Inquirer.net is bigger than the circulation of the print form of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Filipinos are connected not only in spirit but in the daily news as well.

This resurgence of patriotism will manifest itself more powerfully and visibly with every click of the clock. It is so powerful that even the young generations are being affected by it. The mere frequency and massiveness of Filipinos visiting their motherland impact on their children and grandchildren. Just visit the terminals of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. There are senior citizens galore, but more babies and children add color and noise to the pandemonium.

Going home is not just a journey, it is also a story. It used to be that grandparents would take the very young ones, place them on their knees, and then tell them about their ancestry, about their history, and provided the vital mechanism by which culture is passed on from the first to the third generation. That happens even more now, and more.

Today, it is less a story of what had happened and more a story of what will happen. Patriotism is different from nostalgia in that patriotism demands action more than just basking in the beauty and memory of land and home. Patriotism is the call of the moment, not just for a second chance at being Filipino, but a second chance at being a hero for the motherland. Today is not about leaving the country but giving back to it.
When grandparents tell their story, they will not be content about their role in the history of their native land. Filipinos overseas are keenly aware, and even more keenly concerned, at what is happening in Lupang Hinirang, the poverty and the corruption, the violence in the countryside and the unresolved conflict between brothers of the same blood. They are not just telling a story, they know they will be part of the story. And when they tell their children and grandchildren of their love for the Philippines, they will encourage them to help those left behind, to change the ugliness to beauty, to clean politics and to recover honor, build the country of their dreams and a future full of hope.

Responses may be sent to jlmglimpses@gmail.com

Confucius: “Cowardice is seeing what is right, and failing to do it.”

”In bayanihan, we will be our brother’s keeper and forever shut the door to hunger among ourselves.”