Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gloria Arroyo Schmoozes With Bill Clinton To Cozy Up To Hillary; But the Senate Again Rises

(Well, President Bush, "a lady can always change her mind" as you once said.)
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President Arroyo is in the United States for a three day "working visit". Yup,she's working alright, she's working on Hillary Clinton already as she immediately cozied up to the prospective First Gentleman, Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting (LA Times reports) and they talked hotly of geothermal energy just before she met with lots of Filipino American voters to defend her Mindanao policy. I am not sure exactly what she told them, but the true situation is this. Last April 19, 2007, the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped for ransom and eventually beheaded five students working on a summer road construction job in Sulu to earn money for college and a fish vendor who they happened to be with, dumping their severed heads in a burlap sack outside a Marine base in Sulu. That's part of them on the back of a truck. The picture is from Adrian Ayalin's blog. On July 10, Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerillas ambushed and killed fourteen Marines who were looking for the kidnapped Italian priest Fr. Giancarlo Bossi near Tipo-tipo, Basilan. Ten were later beheaded by what the MILF claimed were "unknown forces". After a Basilan judge issued arrest warrants against 130 suspects, the Peace Processors Jesus Dureza and Gen. Rodolfo Garcia stepped in, delayed service of the warrants, blamed the beheadings on "Abu Sayyaf bandits". Six weeks after the Basilan beheadings, the President supposedly launched an all-out war, but not against MILF or the MNLF who together with the Abu Sayyaf have now killed 57 uniformed Philippine soldiers. NOT A SINGLE SUSPECT in these terrorist crimes has been arrested, though the Philippine Military just yesterday reported killing 10 Abu Sayyaf gunmen in a violent encounter, (but without recovering the bodies.) The President has also announced her intention to grant, without plebiscite, 1000 barangays and all of ARMM to the MILF as their own Muslim Juridical Entity. This is Bangsamorostan for sure.

Recent Philippine Commentaries on Mindanao, the Basilan Beheadings and terrorism are numerous.

THE SENATE AGAIN RISES Meanwhile, it has been a momentous week in the Philippine Senate with two high profile investigations in aid of legislation: first into the role of major telecomms Globe and Smart in the illegal wiretapping of President Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano by the Intelligence Services of the AFP in 2004, and then into the National Broadband Network bribery scandal, at the heart of which also happens to be a telecommunications project involving China's 3rd largest telecomm player, Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation. The controversy may have been a factor in the just announced plunge of the Philippines to No. 131 in Transparency International's 2007 corruption ranking (down from No. 121 least corrupt in 2006).

Nota bene: Both controversies involve the telecommunications industry and government officials allegedly working together in the commission of crimes of serious crimes.

WHAT'S IN A HAND GESTURE? Language Trainers Blog has an excellent post on the The Top Ten Hand Gestures. Here is Number 3:

3. The “Moutza”
Opening your palm to your target and stretching out your fingers seems harmless enough to most Westerners. Most of us would think you’re waving. In Greece, however, the gesture is known as a moutza, and is one of their most traditional manual insults. With fingers slightly apart, you thrust your hand into your target’s face, usually coupling the gesture with a brash “na!”, meaning “here you go!”. The basic suggestion is something like “eat shit”, implying that you’re not particularly impressed and would rather the target of the moutza leave you alone – comparable to the American interpretation of the same signal as “talk to the hand, because the face isn’t listening”.

The gesture is also an insulting one in Pakistan and many parts of Africa. The Japanese use a very similar sign to insult their old enemies, the Koreans. Roughly translating as ‘animal’, the signal is similar to the moutza in every way except they tuck the thumb into the palm.

Amusingly, Microsoft used to use a very similar-looking hand signal as an icon for warning dialogs in previous versions of Windows – what Greek users must have thought of that, I don’t know… “This application has performed an illegal operation - now, eat shit!”.

In the most severe fallout over the ZTE scandal for the Arroyo administration, an impeachment case has been filed in the House by Gov. Rolex Suplico and endorsed by Rep. Teofisto Guingona III against Benjamin Abalos, chairman of the Commission on Elections for bribery, corruption and breach of public trust. Although Presidential Legal Counsel was bravely predicting a "lack of numbers" in the House for the case to prosper, Gov. Suplico told media today that his evidence against Abalos was strong since two accusations of attempted bribery against him have been given under oath and before the Senate by no less than Joey de Venecia III, the son of the House Speaker Jose de Venecia, in addition to former Neda Director General Romulo Neri. In some ways, Abalos' fate is in the hands of Speaker Joe de Venecia.

Aside however, from Neri's accusation against Abalos, he also testified to something that has gotten the attention of a lot of ordinary people. This was his revelation that Filipinos are paying US$20 for every Megabit-per-second of bandwidth, compared to 11 cents in the US and 22 cents in the Philippines, even if the technologies being used are the same: DSL, cable and wireless delivery modes. Obscene profits are thus being made, but then again it may have something to do with the fact that the Philippines has no anti-trust law, and even if it did, it is also the Archipelago the Artful Areglo. Neri's revelation was done to justify the concept of a National Broadband Network, which no one buys, but it does point to a real problem: the telecommunications industry in the Philippines is cartelized, as charged several years back by the United States Dept. of Justice.

OFWs have been the loudest at complaining about the high telecomm rates charged by Smart and Globe. Clearly some kind of competitive regime needs to be fostered to drive down the obscenely high rates being charged by the incumbent telecomms for broadband and other servies.

Today, the nail on the coffin of ZTE National Broadband Network project may have been hammered in by Deans Raul Fabella and Emmanuel de Dios of the University of the Philippines School of Economics, who delivered a paper analyzing why the deal is GROSSLY ADVANTAGEOUS to the government entitled "Lacking a Backbone."

The wiretapping investigation involves 3 Senate committees led by National Defense (Rodolfo Biazon) and including the Blue Ribbon (Alan Peter Cayetano) and Trade and Industry (Mar Roxas). But I think the tone for the whole week was set by Senate President Manny Villar as he confronted representatives of Globe and PLDT for not sending their previously invited Chief Executive Officers (Globe's Gerry Ablaza and Smart's Roberto Nazareno).

In the hearing it became clear that wiretapping CAN be done quite easily in a number of ways, if there is collusion between wiretappers and insiders within the service provider sensitive operations divisions. However, one thing that Globe's Rudy Salalima said which I found intriguing was his suggestion that ISAFP could have carried out the wiretapping with "spiked" cell phones in which the user is unaware every call he makes or receives is actually a conference call with Vidal Doble or some other agent of the MIG-21 group. This would certainly explain the description put forward by Ping Lacson of conversation signals being "split." The Senate wiretapping investigation resumes Friday.



Bill Clinton smooching with Gloria who has yellow teeth? How disgusting!


Don't understand why Esperon is wasting people's time announcing coup d'état plot every other day when he's got other things to do, i.e., catching 'em bandits.

Absolutely not acceptable behaviour...

DJB Rizalist said...

He certainly has his hands full. He's even sitting on that poor young Senator, Sonny Trillanes. I guees they changed the rules on him and aren't allowing any more senate hearings in the Marine brig. I actually pity the guy, because there are those who say he's a real soldier. it's our confusion you know, about law enforcement, counter insurgency and diplomacy. He is expected to do it all, on top of having had to work with Garci. It's a poisoned job he's got. Like I said I pity him and wish there was more that could be done to help those poor blokes out. They've taken a beating this year. A bad beating made worse by his bad boss.


You meant Esperon? ". I actually pity the guy, because there are those who say he's a real soldier. it's our confusion you know, about law enforcement, counter insurgency and diplomacy. He is expected to do it all, on top of having had to work with Garci. It's a poisoned job he's got. "

Then he's got to be retired... No use having one who can't do it all.

Anyway, with regard, chasing em bandits, I'm talking about chasing them militarily.

The bandits belong to a parallel army, no ifs no buts, apply military solution.

With regard to Trillanes and this apparent snub of the Senate panel that wanted to hold the hearing, Dolorfino said he's merely custodian coz Judge Pimentel had denied motion for reconsideration - could be true. As ever, everything that the military top honchos do today is suspect, can't even believe them when they say that they're merely abiding by court decision. That's alright.

But what I am not impressed by is the Senate panel not having been able to foresee that they could be turned back. Didn't they do their work first? The fact that they were turned back is somehow a slap but a slap they deserved.

If there is this problem, why don't these Senators do something about it? I don't know, pass a bill, ammend the law or whatever - show the frigging Gloria courts that they are an institution that's serious and someone to contend with.

I have a suspicion that once more they simply IMPROVISED, you know just like what they did over at the hearing yesterday with Neri.

Am not impressed by these Senators, not at all.

Would have liked Trillanes to be on that panel hearing Neri - he as a young un would have been more to the point. His military education is not so ancient and therefore he would have been more clear cut in dealing with the e.p. skirt donning Neri!

DJB Rizalist said...

Well an interesting episode in the Senate hearing yesterday arose when Enrile objected to the reading by Mar Roxas of a question sent by Trillanes to be asked on his behalf, and argument he eventually because Cayetano and Roxas are so intimidated by him some times. Anyway, after that exchange, Ping Lacson moved that the Senate hold its next session right in the Marine Brig!

I think THAT is still to come. The theme really is the Senate rising and reclaiming its rightful place in the Govt. They won't stand having Esperson and Dolorfino dissing'em all the time.

Manila Bay Watch said...

By the way Dean, a fellow commenter in Ellen's blog has posted a topic under Topic: Motion to Quash for Trillanes in

which I thought is very interesting - care to read and analyze it? (have posted it as a separate threa in my own blog)

The facts I know about the case of Senator Trillanes are all culled from the web. The facts I consider relevant are as follows:

1. Among the accused are Gary Alejano and Nicanor Faeldon;
2. Both are Marine Captains;
3. The Marine Corps is a service of the Philippine Navy, patterned after the US Marines;
4. The jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is defined by PD 1606 as amended by RA 8249;

If the facts above are true, and there are no amendments to PD 1606 after RA 8249, then I think the motion below will present a good fight.

I am posting this purely for the intellectual exercise. If somebody finds it useful, then I shall have been doubly rewarded.


Accused, through counsel, to this Honorable Court, respectfully files this motion to quash, on the grounds discussed below.


The Rules of Court provide that a Motion to Quash may be filed if it is shown that the Court lacks jurisdiction to try the case [Rule 117 Sec 3 (b)]. A motion to quash based on lack of jurisdiction may be filed at any time, even on appeal. The Supreme Court, in the case of Rosa Uy v. CA (G.R. No. 119000 held that:

“....from the above-quoted law, we can see that even if a party fails to file a motion to quash, he may still question the jurisdiction of the court later on. Moreover, these objections may be raised or considered motu propio by the court at any stage of the proceedings or on appeal

The jurisdiction to try this case, we submit, lies in the Sandiganbayan, not this Honorable Court. Said Court’s jurisdiction, is provided as follows:

"Sec. 4. Jurisdiction. The Sandiganbayan shall exercise original jurisdiction in all cases involving:

a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of the principal accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government, whether in permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the commission of the offense:

"(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional director and higher, otherwise classified as grade 27 and higher, of the Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758), specifically including:

"(d) Philippine army and air force colonels, naval captains, and all officers of higher rank;

"b. Other offenses or felonies committed by the public officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of this section in relation to their office.

“A perusal of the aforequoted Section 4 of R.A. 8249 reveals that to fall under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan, the following requisites must concur:

1) the offense committed is a violation of
a. R.A. 3019, as amended (the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act),
b. R.A. 1379 (the law on ill-gotten wealth),
c. Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code (the law on bribery),
d. Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14, and 14-A, issued in 1986 (sequestration cases), or
e. other offenses or felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes;

2) the offender comitting the offenses in items (a), (b), (c) and (e) is a public official or employee holding any of the positions enumerated in paragraph a of Section 4; and

3) the offense committed is in relation to the office [Panfilo M. Lacson v. Executive Secretary, et al (GR 128096].

With respect to the first requisite, the Lacson case, held that the phrase “other offenses or felonies" is broad enough to include the crime of murder. It certainly is broad enough to include the crime of coup d’ etat. The first requisite is, therefore, satisfied.

The second requisite requires that the offender be an officer holding any of the positions enumerated in Section 4. Section 4 (a) (1) (d) states that the Sandiganbayan shall have original jurisdiction if one or more of the accused is at least a naval captain. Two of the accused, Nicanor Faeldon and Gary Alejano are marine captains. The Marine Corps is a service of the Philippine Navy. Accused Faeldon and Alejano, therefore, are “naval captains” within the contemplation of the law. The second requisite, therefore, has also been satisfied..

The third requisite is satisfied if the offense is committed in relation to the offender’s office. The Amended Information charges as follows:

“That on or about July 27, 2003, and on dates prior and subsequent thereto, in Makati City, a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, above-named accused, all officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), together with several John Does and Jane Does, conspiring, conniving, confederating and mutually helping one another, each committing individual acts toward a common design or purpose of committing coup d’etat, by did then and there, knowingly, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously plan, orchestrate, recruit, instigate, mobilize, deploy and execute said common design or purpose of committing coup d’ etat, swiftly attack and seize by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth the facilities of the Ayala Center, particularly Oakwood Premier Hotel and its immediate vicinity, for the exercise and continued possession of power, directed against the duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines, by did then and there, withdraw support and demand the resignation of PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO and members of her official cabinet and top officials of the AFP and the Philippine National Police, for the purpose of seizing or diminishing state power.

CONTRARY TO LAW.” (quoted in G.R. No. 162318 and G.R. No. 162341, October 25, 2004)

The Amended Information charges that the accused withdrew support from the President. The office and function of a soldier is to support the President, who is the Commander in Chief. The withdrawal of support, therefore, is an element of the offense, committed in relation to the office of said accused soldiers.

It is clear, therefore, that all the requisites for acquisition of jurisdiction by the Sandiganbayan obtain in this case.

Neither may it be argued that the jurisdiction is concurrent with this Honorable Court, for Section 4 further provides that:

“In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to Salary Grade “27” or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may be, pursuant to their respective jurisdictions as provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended.”

By the above provision, this Honorable Court may only acquire jurisdiction if none of the accused have the rank of naval captain.

Furthermore, the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court is defined by Batas Pambansa 129, which provides that:

“Sec. 20. Jurisdiction in criminal cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all criminal cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal or body, except those now falling under the exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan which shall hereafter be exclusively taken cognizance of by the latter.”

The very provision, that defines this Honorable Court’s jurisdiction clearly states that the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan is exclusive.

Considering that this Honorable Court has no jurisdiction over this case, a grant of this Motion to Quash, we submit, is in order.

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