Friday, May 28, 2010

Foreign Powers Coercing the Filipino Masses for a Noynoy "Presidency"?

 (Modified May 29, 1010)

THE history of the Philippine Islands is a rather pathetic and protracted story of foreign domination. Some four centuries since the natives were first subjected to colonization, the aftermath of the May 10, 2010 presidential elections shows a much more subtle and different assertion of hegemony upon the Filipino masses. In an astounding breach of diplomatic protocol, the ambassadors of the powerful countries led by, who else, the United States, are paying courtesy visits to front runner but far-from-proclaimed Sen. Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III--this, amidst allegations of massive automated poll fraud.

Philippines as Subject, Always?

From the time, at least, that the Spaniards began the colonization of the archipelago some 400 years ago, Filipinos have never been quite able to entirely free themselves from the yoke(s) of foreign domination even after its two episodes of "Independence" half a century apart. Controversial historical figure Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent on June 12, 1898, only to be invaded by the then-emerging imperialist power that was the United States. After a brief period of Japanese Occupation, the Bald Eagle nation regained control. Soon, it granted the Filipinos "independence," but with usual help from the coop-ted elites, was able to extract burdensome neo-colonial deals, most infamous of which were the Parity Rights Agreement and the RP-US Military Bases Agreement.

From then till now, American de facto influence has never really left the country, influencing Philippine foreign policies, apparently being involved with the killing of nationalist, anti-Bases Senator Claro M. Recto, and simply meddling in internal affairs in other ways, sinister and otherwise. Perhaps, the most obvious expression of continuing US influence, if not control, over its former Southeast Asian colony is its traditional say over who will sit as Philippine President. This fact is most dramatically seen in the covert campaigning of the Central Intelligence Agency for the presidential bid of then-Defense Minister Ramon Magsaysay and in the US role in the forcible exile of President Ferdinand Marcos to Hawaii during the 1986 "People Power" revolt.

America's flex of its hegemonic muscles over the country is being seen once more as it subtly twists the Filipinos' arm into blindly accepting Aquino as the next "President." How to? By conspicuously expressing its biased and improper show of support for their incoming 'puppet' of choice well before Congress has done its job of canvassing the votes and settling the issue of electoral credibility.

"President Apparent"

The media has eagerly reported on how Noynoy Aquino has led second front runner ex-President Joseph Estrada by a wide margin in the tabulation of the election results beginning from the early hours of the quick count, hailing the recent elections as swift, orderly, and credible. As reports of poll irregularities and fraud came in, the yellow media began carrying stories of electoral fraud, albeit with begrudging reluctance.

At any rate, Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party has not yet been proclaimed president-elect. In fact, it is a big question whether he will indeed be proclaimed by Congress, given the many reports of irregularities and fraud allegations at the presidential level in the country's first national automated elections.

New US puppet?

How is it then that the new United States Ambassador to the Philippines already paid courtesy call to Noynoy Aquino? Congressional canvassing has only started yesterday but a week earlier, Harry Thomas Jr. met with Aquino in his house at Times St. Funny thing is, the development came amidst the recognition that Aquino is, at best, only "President-apparent."

Why should any foreign government render a premature courtesy visit to a presidentiable who has not been proclaimed by Congress and whose apparent lead in the poll tabulation has been marred by serious questions on the integrity and credibility of the recent automated electoral exercise? That is, if the former colonial master is not subtly bamboozling the local population into accepting Noynoy Aquino as the presidential winner, and to hell whether the elections has been rigged.

This (un)diplomatic action of the US smacks of foreign meddling because it is an affront to the Philippine Congress that was, at the time of the courtesy visit, hearing statements on the reported massive electronic election fraud. Was the US sending signals to Congress that Aquino is their chosen man so legislators better proclaim him?

The same diplomatic faux pas has elicited a defiantly patriotic reaction from Nicanor Perlas, one of the presidential contenders who have admitted to their defeat but chose not to concede to Aquino amidst the many reports of automated poll irregularities and fraud. In his Facebook account, Perlas remarked: "US congrats for Noynoy premature. Congress has not declared Noynoy as president. Media spin wants Pinoys to accept US judgment. Why? Are we under the US?"

Besides, just what if, based on widespread electronic fraud, Congress decides there was failure of elections and thereby calls for a run-off polls, with Estrada emerging the victor? Wouldn't that be so embarrassing on the part of the US having paid courtesy visit to the wrong president-elect? So why is the Bald Eagle nation risking a diplomatic faux pas of sorts by being much too supportive of Aquino?

The truth is that there's hardly any question that Aquino has the blessings of good old ex-colonial master Bald Eagle. During the election campaign, Sen. Edgardo Angara actually advised Aquino against "social meetings" with foreign diplomats. Certain officials of the US embassy, in fact, had actually sought meetings with key members of the Liberal Party standard-bearer's staff as Aquino himself admitted that he met with former Ambassador Kristie Kenney.

American Interference in the 21st century

Apparently as if on cue from the US, Japan and China followed suit, paying courtesy visits to a man who has not even been proclaimed Philippine's next President and whose apparent electoral victory is in serious question. So why are these powerful nations sending their ambassadors to openly (and with partiality) support Aquino amidst the brouhaha over automated "Hello Garci"? Meddling again?

Isn't it basic international political correctness to wait for the official settlement of a contest, especially if a dispute is involved, before extending any congratulatory message to one of the competing parties? Isn't it diplomatically obnoxious that the US ambassador, along with those of China and Japan, paid Noynoy Aquino a well-publicized courtesy visit at this time?

By making its ambassador pay courtesy call to President-apparent-cum-possibly-Presidential-cheater-apparent at this time, isn't America subtly twisting the arms of the Filipinos to stop questioning the validity of the recent presidential elections? Showing partisan preference for Noynoy is an insult to Philippine sovereignty. Unless, of course, the country has never really been truly free. Free but not quite free of meddling hands….


Presidential candidate JC De Los Reyes, another admitted "loser" in the elections who withdrew his concession to Aquino following reports of automated poll fraud, shares Perlas' sentiment, remarking in his Facebook account that the American ambassador should have been "'diplomatic' enough not to preempt the process."

by Jesusa Bernardo

References & Images @ SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A primer on koalas

“The koala [Phascolarctos cinereus] is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia, and the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae. It is found in coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia. It is not found in Tasmania or Western Australia.”—Wikipedia

The koala, Your Honors, is not a bear. It is a tree-dwelling plant-eating marsupial.

What is a marsupial? A marsupial, according to my laptop dictionary, “is a mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother’s belly.” Marsupials, adds Wikipedia, are “the dominant group of mammals in Australia, though there are also a number of species found in the Americas, as well as on the island of New Guinea.”

There is no mention anywhere that koalas are native to the Philippines, so it was quite astonishing to see one talking in Pilipino.

The discovery of a talking koala is comparable to the discovery that planets revolve around the sun. One can only imagine the consequences of such a discovery on scientific knowledge, morality, philosophy and theology.

Sadly, but not in the least bit surprising, members of the House of Representatives and commissioners of the election body ignored the earth-shaking significance of the event they saw on video. They went straight to arguing over and debunking the koala’s credibility, as if a talking koala were as normal as a 40-percent kickback on projects funded by pork barrel.

“He’s wearing a mask. Take it off!”

“He is not wearing one, Your Honor.”

“His exposé is based on hearsay!”

“From other koalas, Your Honor?”

“His story is illogical!”

“Is it not enough that a marsupial can utter words and connect them into sentences and paragraphs, Your Honor?”

Maybe I’m making too much of a talking koala. After all, the Philippines is an enchanted kingdom where crocodiles deliver speeches and address each other with honorifics. Maybe I should just play along.

The koala said vice-presidential candidate Jejomar Binay paid him and his koalahorts over a billion pesos to shave votes from other candidates to ensure his and Noynoy Aquino’s victory.

“Si Legarda, wala namang pera iyon eh, pero malaki ang nabawas sa boto sa kanya. More or less 4 to 5 million. [Legarda, she had no money anyway, lost a lot of votes, more or less 4 to 5 million]…. 5 or 6 million ang nabawas kay Gibo [Teodoro]. Kay Eddie [Villa-nueva], almost 2 to 3 million. Si Erap [Estrada], 4 million yata. [5 or 6 million were deducted from Gibo. Eddie lost almost 2 to 3 million. Erap, about 4 million].”

Granting, for the sake of argument, that Binay had the motive and the means to do it, why didn’t he ask the koalasortium to deduct votes from Villar and Roxas? Why would Binay pay over a billion pesos for Noynoy Aquino to win by over 5 million votes while his margin over Roxas is less than a million? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to do it the other way around? Why would Binay buy a win for Noynoy, when he could just as easily have bought it for his running mate Erap?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, I don’t know why the koala said those things, I didn’t even know a koala could speak, all I can say is the only one who has all the answers is his mother, the female who carried and suckled him in her belly pouch.

Source: Life in Gloria's Enchanted Kingdom

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Nicanor Perlas: Beware and Overcome Media Manipulation re May 10, 2010 Election Fraud Reports

READERS beware! If you want to get the truth regarding the recent national elections, go beyond what you get from the mainstream media. Do your own research. Check the facts on the ground. Ask what your friends experienced. Connect the dots yourself. Come to your own conclusion. In this way, you will protect your mind from being manipulated by unseen powers that lurk behind the country’s media establishment.

Immediately after the May 10, 2010 elections, the Filipino public was brainwashed with stories about a stunningly successful election. “ ‘Birth pains’ of poll automation over”. “Fast count stuns nation”. “Stocks surge as markets cheer successful elections”. “ ‘Villar conceding proves Comelec credible’ “. “Take a bow, Filipino voters”. “US, EU praise RP for elections; peso, markets buoyed”. “Comelec proves critics wrong”. “Filipinos carry on love affair with PCOS machines”.

The “Good job” editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) captures the euphoria over the rapid success of the elections. In its May 12, 2012 editorial, two days after the elections, PDI wrote the following:
“Contrary to the most dismal expectations, . . . the country’s first nationwide automated elections have turned out to be a success. . . . the May 10 vote marked a true rite of passage. Our electoral system has finally caught up with the 21st century. . . . . For now, and while taking into consideration the remaining uncertainties in the election, our civic duty is to commend the many people who helped turn the first computerized polls into a success.”

PDI then thanked the presidential candidates for conceding to apparent winner Benigno Aquino III. PDI had special words for Manny Villar. PDI called his “gracious” concession a “class act”.

Understandably, amidst this sudden euphoria, when I did not concede victory to Aquino due to evidence of massive fraud in the elections, the gatekeepers in media started framing my decision as “sour grapes” or “sour loser”. They also distorted the facts in my press release or media interviews. And, if I did come out in the media, they would often attach “losing” presidential candidate to my name, to implicitly emphasize that I was a “sour loser”. They did not want to bring out that I was questioning the outcome of the elections, not for myself, but because it was the product of a fraudulent process and thereby endangered our democracy. (See my press statement, “I am not conceding”) Oftentimes, they would simply censor my comments and give a one-sided account of subsequent events that followed.

However, no one can suppress the truth. No one can overcome the truth. And indeed the truth regarding massive fraud in the elections started to surface all over, despite media bias against incidents of fraud.

News surfaced about 60 PCOS machines stored illegally at the private house of one Smartmatic technician. Irregular transmission dates were found in one of these PCOS machines. Reports also came out about flash cards found in the garbage dump in Cagayan de Oro City, implying an attempt to remove evidence of fraud. Alert citizens and IT experts also discovered that all election returns (ERs) were transmitted without the required digital signatures, a clear violation of RA9369, the law that authorized the establishment of the automated election system. Canvassing of votes cannot take place because the ERs are not valid. Further research by various groups has also revealed that COMELEC has violated more than 50% of the provisions of RA9369. This meant that the recent national elections were fraudulent, thereby also making the election results illegal. Then recently, several whistle blowers surfaced claiming massive fraud in the recent 2010 elections.

With these developments, media headlines started to slowly change, albeit begrudgingly and reluctantly and even antagonistically. They started carrying stories of fraud. “Erap focuses on ‘hocus PCOS’, an ‘electronic Garci’ system”. “Watchdogs call for probe of ‘poll irregularities’”. “Three losing pres’l bets troop to SC”. And so on.

Until finally, on 18 May 2012, PDI writes an editorial: “Reviewing the polls”. PDI wrote:

“Now, some people are having second thoughts: the automated elections system may have its faults, after all. . . . . The most prominent of the critics is deposed President Joseph Estrada . . . Estrada is refusing to concede saying that he is gathering evidence showing discrepancies in the transmitted results and other alleged irregularities. Three other presidential candidates, Senator Maria Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, Nicanor Perlas, and JC de los Reyes, have not conceded either saying that, while they may not win the presidency, they want to know the whole truth about the results of the presidential elections. . . . .
“That the new automated election system is being subjected to a thorough examination and critique by various sectors of society is a healthy sign for our democracy. It shows that voters are not content with just voting and receiving fast results; they want to be assured that the entire process is fair, accurate and credible. Elections are the instrument by which the will of the people is expressed. If the electoral system can be subverted, then we will not know how the people really decided.”

The PDI editorial marked the passage of the country from misinformed and naïve euphoria of a “stunning” “successful” election, to the messy reality that massive fraud may have been perpetuated in the recent national elections.

No matter what happens to the fate of the whistleblowers who have recently surfaced and the increasing number of impossible results being uncovered, one thing is clear. Mainstream media is not neutral. They have their preferences and interests to protect. They wield massive cultural power to convince millions that their interests and preferences are the truth, are the reality.

Do not yield to their mind games, to their mind manipulation. Stand firm. Make your own independent decisions. The emergence of truth about the national elections will depend on our collective deprogramming from the frontal mental attacks of media. And this truth will determine the future of our country.



Perlas, Nicanor. Beware and Overcome Media Manipulation. 21 May 2010.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alan Paguia on the Appointment of Renato Corona

“Chief Justice”?

Alan F. Paguia
Former Professor of Law
Ateneo Law School 
University of Batangas 
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila
May 18, 2010

              Is Associate Justice Renato Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice valid or invalid?


              1. On January 20, 2010, the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) formally announced “the opening for application or recommendation, of the position of CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT, which will be vacated on 17 May 2010 upon the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice, HON. REYNATO S. PUNO.

2. Subsequently, on May 5, 2010, the JBC submitted a short list of four (4) nominees, namely Supreme Court Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Renato Corona, and Sandiganbayan Acting Presiding Justice Edilberto Sandoval, to the Office of the President. Earlier, the JBC excluded two (2) other nominees – Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales – who had maintained that Mrs. Arroyo is barred by the 1987 Constitution from appointing Chief Justice Puno’s successor, and that they would not accept such an appointment from her. SRG

3. On the morning of May 17, 2010, Mr. Justice Renato Corona took his oath as the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court before Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the Malacañang Palace.

The Law

              4. The 1987 Constitution materially provides that: “The Members of the Supreme Court… shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy…” (Sec. 9, Art. VIII).

              5. Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen (14) Associate Justices. They are the fifteen (15) Members of the Court.

              6. The “vacancy” cited by the law refers to the position of “Member” of the Court.

              7. The law mandatorily requires at least three nomineesfor every such “vacancy”.

              8. In other words, the JBC appears to have committed a misstep in its aforementioned announcement. Instead of referring to the position of “Member of the Supreme Court, as expressly provided by law, it erroneously referred to the position of “CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT.

              9. The parties’ intention is clear. The JBC, Mrs. Arroyo, and Mr. Justice Corona all intended to follow the cited provision of the Constitution.

              10. Did the JBC submit at least three nominees for the vacant position of Member of the Supreme Court?

              11. The answer is NO. While it submitted the names of four nominees, only Justice Sandoval of the Sandiganbayan could be appointed to fill the vacancy. The other three are already Members of the High Court.

              12. Under the Civil Code, acts executed against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws shall be void, except when the law itself authorizes their validity (Art. 5). In the JBC’s case, the exception does not apply. The law itself does not authorize the validity of the questioned nominations.

              13. According to the Supreme Court, VOID means: “no legal existence” (Velasco v. Lopez, 1 Phil 720). Consequently, (a) the JBC’s void list of nominees, which was acted upon by Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Justice Corona, also has “no legal existence”, and (b) Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Justice Corona had acted without legal basis.

14. Dura lex sed lex. The law may be harsh to some, but that is the law.

              15. Mr. Justice Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice is, therefore, INVALID.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On the matter of oaths.

I could have subtitled this post as "More ways to get back at the Devil!" But that may too much for our readers!

Sir Thomas More, a.k.a the Man for All Seasons is also remembered as the Man Who Lost His Head for an oath. Of course, it is not JUST an oath for according to More, an oath is nothing but words and by the words it may be possible to take or not to take an oath. Robert Bolt's award winning play (which was turned into an multi Oscar winning movie) A Man for All Seasons has More (played by the great thespian Paul Scofield) say the following

"What is an oath then, but words we say to God?"

And from here is we can take another view of the Noynoy Aquino won't take his oath from Mr Chief Justice Corona but from his barangay captain issue which has hit the social networking sites and has our most esteemed Law deans, law students and interested non-lawyers discussing the issue. Some people say that the Constitution doesn't say that the Chief Justice should administer the oath. The lawyers and even the CJ himself agrees. Others say that by taking the oath from the barangay captain, Noynoy shows humility (which this writer says ...... never mind!). Some who are obviously who are not fans of the Noy say he is a "brat" or more kindly "petulant"! And still others say it is a protest for Mrs Arroyo's appointment of Mr Corona (which is legal and constitutional according to the Court itself). I would agree to that!

Dean Marvic Leonen of the UP College of Law says that this break in inaugural traditions may damage more our institutions of government. Some of my lawyer friends agree. Their point is that the Judiciary (Judicature to the Brits) is an co-equal branch of government. So it seems that by having the CJ administer the oath, the President respects this constitutional arrangement. This is tradition rather than a legal requirement.

But why is there a tradition like this? And here I base my discussion from an excellent, readable and not made for law students book on the Philippine Constitution written byAtty Emmanuel Santos. We have to go back to the Medieval period where philosophers like Thomas Aquinas wrote that man made laws were subject to a higher law. The source of this higher law is none other than God himself who is Perfect Justice personified. Thus the Sovereign took his/her coronation oath from the Archbishop (who gets his authority from the Vicar of Christ the Pope) The idea is this high cleric represents God's Justice.

The Sovereign in his/her oath promises to 1) govern his/her subjects according to their laws and customs, 2) execute Law and Justice with Mercy, 3) Ensure the Establishment of the Church

Most of the modern European monarchies require a similar form of oath with the exception of the third promise in realms where no church is established.

The idea in these oaths is that the people's liberties are respected and the Sovereign receives their consent.

In Republics, there is no Monarch and the people are sovereign. The President takes the Oath and he/she promises to 1) defend and uphold the Constitution, 2) do justice, 3) executes laws and 4) serve the nation. The form of the oath is similar to the Coronation one but without guaranteeing religious establishment (which is not allowed in our constitution).

Since in a Monarchy, the Sovereign is the Fount of Justice and Mercy, he/she needs to take the Oath from the Archbishop. But in a Republic the President is not the Fount of Justice and Mercy (although the power of the President to give pardons and commutations can be argued as the Monarchical prerogative of the President for there is no check and balance to this power). Justice is given by the co-equal branch of government and this is none other but the Judiciary which is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court (which I now call the Supremes) is the last word with regards to the interpretation of the law. It is infallible in this regards. Mr Justice Robert H Jackson (who is remembered by most as the prosecuting lawyer in the Nuremberg trials but we Pinoys should remember him as the Justice who administered the Oath to President Manuel Quezon while in exile) famously summarized the role of the Supremes

"We are not final because we are infallible but infallible only because we are final"

The Supremes are like God with respect to law. They are final and infallible (unless they change their minds and God has the right to change His mind!)

So by taking the Oath from the Chief Justice, true humility is demonstrated. The Head of State is under the law and not above it. Likewise the Sovereign is under the law and not above it. And all are under God's law. This is the essence of that tradition. It need not be written IN the super wordy 1987 Philippine Constitution!

I would agree with many legal minds. Noynoy Aquino by taking his oath from a barangay captain would damage our institutions. The co-equal branch of government, the Judiciary would be snubbed. As a matter of fact, the barangay captain is under the supervision and control of the President for he/she is an elected executive. There is something very silly about a subordinate administering an oath to a superior. A co-equal can administer the oath or a superior but there is nothing more superior than the President in our system of government.

Some legal minds have expressed concern that the soon to be proclaimed President-elect has shown a tendency to be cavalier about the law and the constitution. The question in my mind is echoed in More.

"Will he cut down every law to get at the Devil?" According to More, England was planted with laws from coast to coast. The Philippines which every sane Pinoy knows is more corrupt than England probably has more laws than England! (Recall Tacitus' "the more corrupt the Republic, the more numerous are the laws.")

Son the temptation to cut down the laws to get at the Devil (the big campaign issue here is corruption) is so great. The next President has to resist the temptation.

More advised his son-in-law, Roper to give the Devil the benefit of law for safety's sake.

Now in our justice system, you need the Supreme Court for that.

That's another reason why Noynoy should not snub the court (and say a prayer to Saint Thomas More). The Devil is everywhere you know!

Ben Vallejo

Monday, May 17, 2010

Unpublished comment to Huffington Post's insult on RP politics & "comfort" endorsement of Noynoy Aquino

THE Huffington Post recently published an article that was rather anomalous in its ignorance of current Philippine politics, as reflected in its partisan endorsement of Liberal Party candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, as well as in its condescending remark on the how movie stars and "nut jobs" get to hold elected positions. The particular paragraph that got my ire is this:
"Noynoy is the comfort candidate. In a country where crooks, charlatans, film stars, sportsmen and nut jobs routinely stand for, and get voted into office, Mr. Aquino represented a steady and secure vote."
How ignorant and insulting can Virginia M. Moncrieff get? She's all praises for Aquino, ignoring his extremely poor legislative background of having absolutely no bills passed. What does he mean by "comfort candidate" in the first place? I hope it's nothing like the Filipina "comfort women" of World War II period.

In the title, Huffington Post even had the uninformed gall to call Noynoy Aquino "President elect." (Who is this guy? Philippines President Elect - Mr Vanilla of Manila). That is rather based on futuristic, if not speculative, thinking given that the Commission on Elections has yet to proclaim Aquino as the winner of the May 10, 2010 polls. Moreover, since the author was so much in a hurry to name Aquino "President Elect," she has missed consideration of the fact that three of the tail-end candidates who admit their electoral defeat refuse to concede on grounds of what apparent poll fraud.

As a Filipina patriot who feels Moncrieff and her readers ought to be more informed, and who feels slighted by her sweeping, rather disdainful description of Philippine politics, I dutifully posted a comment. Unfortunately, while it got posted in my Facebook account, it was axed by the moderators. I feel that comment ought to see print so I'm posting it here:
Sounds like CIA-type endorsement to me. How haughty can you get looking down on Filipino film stars getting elected. Hey, your country has your share. Remember the Hawk RONALD REAGAN and now, that ARNOLD SWARZENEGGER?
Re Noynoy Aquino, who says he is "comfort candidate"? You? How would an incompetent congressman then senator with ZERO-ZERO bills passed and who was opportunistic enough to capitalize on the death of his mother be a comfort candidate?

Are you aware that his mother Cory Aquino approached the man they helped deposed backed in 2001, ex-Pres. Joseph Estrada, so Noynoy Aquino can be included in the opposition's senate slate in 2007?

And are you even aware of the psychological incompetence issue being thrown at Noynoy Aquino? An issue he skirted by REFUSING psychological testing even when practically all other presidential candidates expressed their agreement to undergo one? And are you aware that many who did not vote for Noynoy Aquino FEAR he is most unfit for the job [supposedly] because he is a bit of a psychologically challenged case?

Also, we may have corruption here in the Philippines but, at least, we DO NOT KILL our presidents, unlike some country I know? :)

Work Cited:

Moncrieff, Virginia. Who is this guy? Philippines President Elect - Mr Vanilla of Manila.
With his penchant for badly fitting shirts, dorky hair style, and complete lack of personal charisma, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino appears the...


by Jesusa Bernardo


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Something the Yellow Media not telling us about the 2010 Elections? (Part I)

THE May 10, 2010 elections, the first automated nationwide polls in the Philippines, have been widely reported to be successful, orderly and honest. Recent developments, however, seem to indicate that there is something about the elections the yellow media ain't telling the Filipino people. For one, international observers have been reported to have been 'shocked by fraud, irregularities, and violence.'

Here's the video of the press conference by the Peoples' International Observers Mission--foreign delegates  made up of academicians, lawyers, law students, journalists, social workers, union organizers, church workers--that documented specific fraud and violence cases in some of the country’s hot spot areas during the polls.

In 10 years of monitoring elections, I've never seen this level of irregularities and fraud that I witnessed on Monday.
- Radhika Sainath from the United States
Last May 10, teachers were scrambling to put together the vote in the face of a skeletal infrastructure provided by Smartmatic....
- Stefan Cristoff
I'm an old woman. I've voted in elections for years. I've served on election boards in my community. What i saw in Payatas was the truly inspirational power of the human spirit of the Filipino people. They eagerly lined up for the 7 am opening of the polls for what they thought, what they had been told, was a planned smooth, orderly process but which became increasingly chaotic as the day dragged on and on and on till 7 pm, and for some, they stayed in schools way after midnight to ensure that the ballots got transferred. If there's some ever grand design for a smooth, worthy election process, I did not witness it here....
- Frances Smith, California

The foreign observers' reports come amidst the refusal of three of the tail-end but just about the most beprincipled of the presidentiables to concede defeat to Sen. Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III, the current frontrunner in the unofficial as well as  Comelec counts. Nicanor "Nick" Perlas, Sen. Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal, and JC De Los Reyes have put up a united front.

 Perlas made a very strong statement why he is not conceding to Noynoy Aquino in his May 12, 2010 press statement:

I am NOT conceding because, at this point, Aquino does not have a clear mandate. He is not yet the undisputed winner of the elections. Joseph Ejercito Estrada may eventually surpass Aquino. Even if this does not happen, Aquino’s potential mandate remains indeterminate due to the partial failure of the automated election system (AES). The AES may have prevented as many as 5-8 million Filipinos from voting. It is premature to say that the elections were fair and honest. Fast returns? Yes. Relatively peaceful? Yes. But accurate, clean and honest? Doubtful.
 (Complete Nick Perlas Press Release here)

Kapatiran's JC De Los Reyes was a shocker when he withdrew his early concession to Noynoy Aquino. He makes no illusion that he will ever catch up, but only wished to expose the apparent poll fraud. He says on Facebook:

i am not claiming to be a winner, not at all, but I am not a I will be, if I cannot even protect the small but valuable votes that are due Ang kapatiran in the midst of all the supposed success of a supposedly clean and honest elections. Do we really think we could have that H.O.P.Elections, free from sophisticated election operators?
JC cites what he viewed as improbable statistics with regards the votes he received: 
Here comes the shocker "PCOS". As of May 11, my hometown of Nasugbu canvassed 11,894 votes in my favor.Too small even, considering the excitement my candicacy generated; everyone get out to campaign. As of May 12, the Comelec Official canvass reported the Batangas votes showing 47 Nasugbu votes in may name....
The devil is in the details! Statistically impossible to have 39k votes. It defies common sense! Just when I thought I did what I should for the nation, God might be calling me back to the war with jamby, nicky, hopefully Gibo, Dick, Eddie... lahat sana sila!!!

 Sen. Madrigal equally makes rather bold statements that raise the probability that poll fraud marked the presidential elections. She questions how a disqualified candidate like Vetellano Acosta even got more votes than her. She says that the compact flash (CF) cards used in the first automated elections " may have been preprogrammed."

Madrigal adds that while Sen. Manny Villar is her political enemy, she suspects that he might have also been victimized by the 'pre-programmed' flash cards, which could have been programmed to read more votes when it was pulled out to be reconfigured days prior to the elections. She also cited how a certain candidate received 99% of all votes in a town in Montalban--an impossibility she said that further shows something was really wrong in the elections.
Bangon Pilipinas' standard bearer Bro. Eddie Villanueva articulates his party's independent assessment of what's likely to be fraudulent elections. He released the following statement:
We have received alarming reports and complaints from a growing number of voters who attest that their choice of candidates in the May 2010 election have not been properly registered or counted by the PCOS machines. They claim under oath that in the precincts where they voted, the election results show a much lesser number of votes obtained by Bangon Pilipinas candidates than the actual number of votes cast in their favor. They also claim that the PCOS machines in their clustered precincts do not provide them with any receipt, record, documentation or any other visible means of verifying the registration of their choice of candidates, thereby clearly violating the requirements of the law and the Constitution. These complaints which could ultimately involve millions of voters are matters of great and urgent national importance because they impact on the right of suffrage of the citizenry and constitute a grave threat to Philippine democracy.
 (Rest of Bangon Pilipinas Press Release here)

Several weeks before the elections, Sen. Jamby Madrigal warned against the hurried implementation of the automation because she feared an electronic "Hello Garci" could effect an automated repeat of the presidential poll fraud of 2004. With the recent 'evidence' of apparent election cheating, she asked the media to stop making it appear that all's well in the recent polls.

So why is the yellow media making it sound that the results of May 10, 2010 elections are something the Filipinos should simply swallow with faith and live with? What is it that the yellow media ain't telling the mainstream?


by Jesusa Bernardo

References @ SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES

Friday, May 14, 2010

Manila heat wave? Not yet but we are almost there

Several people have asked me whether what we have been experiencing in Metro Manila for at least 2 weeks can be considered as a "heat wave". Since I teach a bit of meteorology and climatology for freshies on Environmental Science 1, I had to dig up my notes and find out what the definition of heat wave is.

There is no fast and clear numerical rule for determining what a heat wave is. It is relative. For instance, in Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden, three days of consecutive 28 c weather is officially considered as a heat wave by their meteorological agencies. In these northern European countries where people are used to summer temperatures peaking at 21 C, this is indeed unbearable. Visitors to London from the Southern United States laughed at a Times headline that went "London SIZZLES in the 70s. Southerners are used to having temps that reach above 100 F. In the Southern United States, two days of excessively hot weather is considered a heat wave. The National Weather Services issues the needed advisories as a result.

The World Meteorological Organization defines heat waves as "a period of at least 5 days of consecutively hot weather that is at least 5 C above the average maximum temperature". Now digging up the average max temp for the Philippine summer months for the past 20 years shows that the average max temp in May is about 32.5 C. Last year on May 14, the max temp was at 33 C. Today we expect it at 36.3-36.5 C. This is approximately 4 C from the average temperature and 3.5 C from last year's. This has been happening for at least two weeks. I safely could conclude that Metro Manila is just a degree or less than the 5 C WMO threshold for declaring a heat wave.

The agency in any other country that is tasked with announcing this climate emergency is the weather bureau. So far PAGASA has advised us that the temperatures will be above normal and all time records have not been broken as a result of El Nino but hasn't advised us about a heat alert. However judging from newspaper reports, it seems that heat related illness is on the rise and we have 1 page newspaper ads promoting sports drinks targeted not at athletes but the general public.

To compound the problem, highly urbanized cities like Metro Manila no longer experience substantial nighttime cooling as a result of heat radiated by hot built up surfaces. Thus it can be observed that the average nighttime temps could be 27-28 C. If cities have enough green spaces, the temperature may be expected to go down to at least 25 C. High daytime and nightime humidity makes the problem worse. People can't cool off since sweat can't evaporate in these humid conditions. One of our MSc students did her thesis on the Metro Manila heat island and came out with estimates that actual temps could be 3-4 C higher than what PAGASA records in its weather stations. So if PAGASA reports a temp of 37 C, the actual temp on the street could be 40 C or even higher.

In other countries, heat waves are becoming a yearly phenomenon and mortality statistics are increasing. Health authorities expect this to become worse with heat related mortality exceeding all deaths due to other climate events (tornadoes, cyclones etc). The 2003 European Heat Wave caused at least 37 K deaths and 14 K of these were in France alone.

Colleagues who have worked in desert countries have noticed that the 2010 Pinoy summer is like the usual summers in those countries. They have one experience this year which they never had in the past here. The heat stings the eyes. I have experienced this in a desert summer myself.

More frequent heat waves are predicted by several global warming models. It seems that the hot summer we have is a partner of the deluge we had last year.

The only thing we can do is to hydrate ourselves by drinking lots of water, avoid going outdoors in the hottest times of the day (10 AM - 4 PM), seek cool places and don't overexert. The consuelo de bobo in Metro Manila is that we have an oversupply of "cool shelters". We call these malls! But only until we have MERALCO power!

Ben Vallejo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Adios, Amigo...!

Rizalist has gone off to do something else...You can follow him on Twitter if you ask a guy named SagadaSun where he went...

Monday, May 10, 2010

On the 113th Anniversary of Bonifacio's Tragedy: Rise of the Masses or More of Elite Rule?

ONE hundred thirteen years ago today, a great tragedy befell the Pearl of the Orient Seas. In a mountain of Maragondon, Cavite province, Andres Bonifacio, the founder and Supremo of the Philippine revolutionary movement was executed following a Kangaroo Court military trial by the camp of Emilio Aguinaldo, the man who deposed him by way of an anomalous "national elections." This virtual murder of a man who wielded the revolutionary fire of courage and the great vision of an archipelagic nation free and liberated from the yoke of colonial rule was so tragic it initially "smothered the enthusiasm for the revolutionary cause" of many non-Caviteno revolutionaries such that Aguinaldo's "so-called government had to withdraw to the mountains of Biak-na-Bato in Bulacan."

The Supremo's death represented the tragedy of the Philippine Revolution having been wrestled away from its mass base towards a direction marked by capitulation to foreign rule and dominated by elite interest. Today, May 10, 2010, the country faced an electoral exercise that, from many indicators, pits the masses and the elites. On the occasion of Bonifacio's unjust death, will the presidential race apparently dominated by former President Joseph Estrada and Noynoy Aquino be won by the yellow camp and continue what has been the general tradition of elite rule? Or will the occasion of the Supremo's death finally mark the sweet victory for the Filipino masses when the "Father of the Masses," Joseph Estrada is elected anew nine years after being deposed by a conspiracy of the elite class?

Masses vs. Elites 

The turn of developments in the 2010 presidential campaign have virtually crystallized the race into a strongly class-based fight. Of the top two contenders, Erap Estrada strongly draws from those from the D-E crowd while Noynoy Aquino appeals strongest to the A-B people. Gilbert Teodoro and Manny Villar  are considered to be in the top 4, and shares voting base with Aquino and Estrada, respectively. However, the recent slide of Villar to No. 3 based on mainstream surveys and Teodoro's low and/or erratic standing in pre-electoral survey voting preferences have rendered the presidential derby considerably a two-way fight between Aquino and Estrada.

Aquino Elite's Choice

Aquino is unabashedly the elite's candidate. Anyone who frequents the streets know the yellow display of support in majority of vehicles of the rich--expensive cars and SUVs. No less than 10 brand products support Aquino's candidacy with yellow ribbons stamped on the products or packaging or by selling yellow "commemorative" products--Bench, ODM, Boardwalk, Philip Stein, National Book Store, Mag Net, My Phone, Mongol-Star Paper Corporation, Goldilocks.

More important than these companies are Ayala Corporation, Gateway Mall/Araneta Center ABS-CBN, and Philippine Daily Inquirer which are all-out for the yellow candidate. Most artists of ABS-CBN, and even of GMA-7, also endorse Noynoy. Aside from Kris Aquino's presence, many well-known actors, actresses and singers grace the Liberal Party's sorties and rallies.

That Aquino is the rich Filipino's choice is also seen in his many political advertisements. In fact, there were even reports that the LP standard-bearer exceeded his personal Comelec time in broadcast ads. During the last few days of the campaign, I was witness to how Noynoy's camp peppered the airwaves, with 7 or more LP ads showing in just one commercial break. This went on during a primetime program repeatedly, enough to make me flare up and turn off the television.

Erap, the Poor's Choice

In contrast, very few celebrities endorse Estrada. Comedienne Marissa Sanchez and a less known Inday Garutay are  virtually the only known regular in Estrada's campaign rallies. In the miting de avances of Erap's Partido ng Masang Pilipino, only another comedienne Bayani Agabayani and a few others added to the list. No question about it, Estrada's camp was devoid of superstar endorsement.

In one of the campaign sorties I attended, what I saw with my very own eyes was masa power at work--even in terms of entertainment. While waiting for the senatorial candidates and Estrada and Binay, entertainment came by way of cheap make-do singing, dance, and jokes. It actually struck me as ironic how an actor-politician belittled for his being a "mere actor" has very nil showbiz support.

In the sticker wars, as Noynoy has expensive vehicles, Erap has passenger jeepneys, tricycles, and ‘padyaks’ (pedicabs). The poor character of Estrada's campaign, of course, betrays the lack of support from the business community. Erap was apparently never once reported to have exceeded Comelec air time limits for political ads. Even during the final run to the campaign, his camp still released few political ads.


That Noynoy has abundant political ads, of course, reflects business support for his campaign. If he wins, then that only means that the Filipino people got swayed by the business-backed campaign of the politician who took part and remain proud of his role in the elitist, EDSA II of January 2001.

Since the forces of EDSA II deposed Estrada and even acted to squash what should have the corrective Masa-powered EDSA III of May 2001, then a Noynoy win means that the people have embraced elite rule. On the other hand, an Erap victory clearly shows that the Filipino clearly reject elite rule and assert populist leadership by way of reelecting a man overwhelmingly voted by the masa and deposed (and incarcerated) by an elite conspiracy.

Will the 113th anniversary of the tragic death of Gat Andres Bonifacio reflect the tragedy of the masa decapitation during the Philippine Revolution, or will it spell the rising of the Great Plebeian's mass-based libertarian, nationalist and mass-based aspirations? Will the 15th President be the "Father of the Masses," Joseph Erap Estrada, or the 'hacendero son of the hero Ninoy Aquino and saintly Cory Aquino'? We will soon find out.


by Jesusa Bernardo

Sobriety for the Philippines

The Power of the Vote

May 10, 2010, election day in the Philippines is historic in several ways. First of all it is the first time that the national elections are automated. Secondly, it is a chance for the electorate to get rid of the Glorious disaster of the last 9 years and thirdly it shows us that religious command votes no longer matter much.

Besides the heat (and I was not that hydrated, stupid me and got a mild case of heat fatigue!) I noticed that even in precincts where the heat index would have reached 43 C, hardy anyone wants to leave the queue. It took many voters 4 hours (leading prez contender Noynoy Aquino not exempted) cast their vote. Congratulations Filipino electorate. Your vote was read by the PCOS machine.

Some PCOS machines conked out apparently due to the heat. But equipment failure contrary to pessimists was estimated at less than 1%

Within a minute after the polls closed, it seems that PPCRV has got a few results in its parallel count. Expect this to snowball as time passes.

Electoral exercise is the distillation of what democracy is. We have been voting for more than 100 years and we tend to be a bit blase about the whole thing. But I am always reminded of and even haunted by the photo in the "Australian" newspaper more than 10 years ago, showing the people of East Timor voting in their first national elections. East Timor was and still now a poverty stricken country. But what struck me is the hopeful faces of the voters who were clutching their voter's certificates. East Timor has had a history of, colonialism, violence, neglect and betrayal worse than what the Philippines had. And yet the citizens of this young nation were hopeful.

We are not as young as East Timor but still we have problems. Can we be as hopeful still as the East Timorese?

Why I'm Voting Joseph "Erap" Estrada (Part II)

(Continuation of "Why I'm voting Joseph "Erap" Estrada")

2. Erap is an Effective, Patriotic Leader

 Contrary to the demonized picture his elitist and hypocritical, unpatriotic enemies paint him out to be, Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada has proved to be an effective, truly patriotic leader that has the heart for the masses. The "Father of the Masses" has carved for himself a rather outstanding track record throughout more than three decades of executive and legislative service.

Outstanding, Nationalist Mayor

In 1971, the Inter-Provincial Information Service voted Erap as Outstanding Mayor and foremost Nationalist. The following year, also for his record as Mayor of San Juan, Manila, he was chosen as Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in Public Administration by the Philippine Jaycees in 1972. The same year, he also won recognition by the Philippine Princeton Poll as the "Most Outstanding Metro Manila Mayor."

Infrastructure development was a mark of Estrada's administration as mayor--including the construction of the first San Juan Municipal High School and concreting of nearly all of San Juan's alleys and roads; renovation and improvement of other school buildings; and building of artesian wells, among others. Erap was so effective an administrator that, even with his accomplishments in infrastructure developments, he left San Juan with P24 million in savings.

Erap also exhibited vision, even early on. he first mayor to computerize assessment of the Real Estate Tax in the Municipal Assessor's Office. He established several foundations and trust funds aimed at providing scholarship and other assistance to the poor. In the movie industry, he is credited with the establishment of the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND), Inc. which has now become a robust organization that provides industry workers with financial and professional assistance.

Outstanding Nationalist Senator

As Senator, he chaired and co-chaired the Committee on Public Works and Committees on Health, Natural Resources and Ecology and Urban Planning, respectively. Among other bills, he was responsible for the passage of the he bills on irrigation project and the protection and propagation of carabaos, the beast of burden in the rural areas. Many farmers continue to benefit today from his so-called Carabao Bill.

He also proved his nationalism once more while in the Senate, being one of the "Magnificent 12" who voted against the extension of the onerous, imperialistic RP-US Military Bases Agreement. Additionally, even before the vote proper, he produced the anti-Bases film "Sa Kuko ng Agila" in his crafty move to stir nationalist sentiments in a people long mired in 'American worship' miseducation. In 1989, Free Press magazine cited him as one of the Three Outstanding Senators of the Year.

Vice-President and Anti-Crime Czar

As Vice-President under the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, concurrently served as Chairman of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC), in which capacity he ran after kidnappers, illegal recruiters, bank robbers, hoodlums both "in uniform" and "in robes." Unfortunately, when Ramos issued Executive Order No. 221 which significantly clipped the PACC'S operational control over is varied task forces, Estrada was forced to later resign as its chairman on June 4, 1997.

Presidential Accomplishments

As President, Estrada was able to increase the Gross National Product up to 3.6% while raising agricultural growth rate to 6.6% from virtual 0% growth. He was also able to lessen inflation rate, registered at 12% around the time he first occupied Malacanang, by some 3%. All these happened within only 2 1/2 years--and despite the fact that the Ramos administration exited with ZERO savings in the national treasury. AND also despite the fact that Erap took over during the time that the Philippines and practically rest of countries in Asia were still reeling from the Asian crisis.

Another important, but much overlooked, accomplishment of Estrada was his removal of sovereign guarantees on public project contracts, thus freeing the sovereign Filipino people the unjust responsibility of assuming private companies' financial losses while doing business with government. One of the onerous contracts his administration canceled was the $100 million customs contract with the Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS  S.A.) contract. Forged under Ramos' term, it involved  "pre-shipment inspection" (PSI) which has been described as a "global racket" involving players, some of which have been convicted of bribery of high Third World officials.

Estrada showed commitment to cleaning government by ordering wide-ranging investigations of all government contracts from previous administrations and all suspected big-time tax evaders, as well as ordering the immediate relief of corrupt military and police officials. True to his pro-poor campaign line, the deposed and defamed President also undertook an aggressive nation-wide housing program targeting low-cost homes for the poor.

Kind, Self-Made and with Strength of Character

Estrada, in contrast to his Yellow opponent, is a self-made man who built his name all on his own. He built his name as actor all by himself. He won overwhelmingly as Mayor, Senator, Vice-President, and President without his mother or father campaigning for him.

The EDSA 2 and Plunder charge chapter of his life also undeniably reveals his uncanny strength of mind, will and character. Beyond, he showed a level of kindness and forgiveness that most mortals can hardly give to their neighbors. To borrow Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile's words:

Despite all the betrayal, the public humiliation, the most vicious and meanest attacks upon his person, name and honor, and the long years of confinement and restriction on his freedom, what I saw in Erap was an inexhaustible capacity for kindness and forgiveness.
Many times when I would visit him under detention, I would be surprised by the people who I found there in his company, enjoying his generosity, hospitality, and even seeking his help and support. I just quietly said to myself: "How can this man bring himself up to even feed these people who betrayed his trust and those who were instrumental in his painful and illegal ouster?"

Such a man able to withstand what he went through, still forgive and hold no rancor, and still run for President not only to redeem his name but also to resume his pro-poor projects is a gem hard to find.

I'm not saying Estrada was flawless. He had his share of what ails Philippine politics but overall, he had the guts to implement a pro-Filipino, pro-poor policy that does not tolerate business shenanigans. A media practitioner Facebook friend sums it up: "Estrada went to jail for loose change, sent by a conspiracy of bigger crooks involved in the counterfeiting of bills, drug and human trafficking, dollar salting etc."

Looking back to the elitist, haughty, derisive, bad-mouthed, judgmental, undemocratic, not spontaneous but conspiratorial impostor "People Power" that was EDSA 2, Estrada can perhaps be faulted for caving in to the seditious mob. In his great respect for the lives of the common masa, he sacrificed his position and the vote of the sovereign people. The result is nine years of reign with impunity by Gloria's cabal of thieves, cheaters, and liars. An evil Illegitimate's reign that not only smashed the Filipinos' moral fiber but, as well, led to unparalleled hunger and killings, and death from extrajudicial executions, warlord-perpetrated massacres or negligence by sheer misappropriation of disaster funds. By opting not to confront the EDSA 2 conspirators and mob, Estrada ultimately did not save Filipino lives but perhaps lost more.

During the campaign, Estrada promised that next time he sits in Malacanang, such a power grab won't happen again. From experience, the modern-day champion of Filipino masses has grown wiser. I believe him and I believe his vow to continue with his pro-poor, practically patriotic programs. That's why I have cast my vote for him and his entire PMP slate.


by Jesusa Bernardo

Sobriety for the Philippines

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Countering Jinggoy's 'Alternate' Endorsement of Gibby a.k.a. Gibo

I AM voting Jinggoy Estrada for senator for two compelling reasons: (1) my appreciation of his manifested legislative competence, and (2) as an act of my support for his father Joseph Estrada who was unjustly victimized by the elite-maneuvered power grab of 2001. However, I express disgust over his apparent exhortation before a mammoth crowd to vote LAKAS candidate Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. in case they're not inclined to vote Erap for President instead. Gibo, whose real nickname is "Gibby" by the way, may be a perfect picture of shallow qualifications but is a very poor choice in terms of patriotic executive service.

 Gibo Bio

The "official" LAKAS standard-bearer seems on the outset a powerhouse of competence, much helped by his "Galing at Talino" presidential campaign packaging. He graduated top of his law class at the University of the Philippines, being even awarded with the Dean's Medal of Academic Excellence. He then topped the bar in 1989 with a score of 86.185%. In 1997, he obtained his Master of Law degree from Harvard Law School in Boston, Massachusetts. "Very cool" and "very unassuming" he was in college and apparently even up to now.

After graduation until 2007, Teodoro Jr. served as Congressman for Tarlac's First District. He was apparently so good he even became the Assistant Majority Leader in the 11th Congress. He passed quite a number of bills. Very impressive intelligence and performance as solon. 'Matalino' indeed he is. 'Magaling' he also is based on his legislative record.

In August 2007, "President" Gloria Arroyo appointed him Secretary of National Defense, remaining in that position until the administration LAKAS party drafted him as its standard-bearer for the presidential race come May 10, 2010. It is the executive branch record of "Gibby" a.k.a. Gibo that I find disconcerting.

No one is perfect but, to my humble mind, the endorsement of Gibo by Jinggoy is rather sick. The least the former  DND Secretary should have done for his presidential race is declare loyalty to the country by showing independence from the Illegitimate President--something he adamantly refuses to do based on his ridiculous claim that he is bound to bestow loyalty to Arroyo as a way of observing  the Filipino value of utang na loob (sense/feeling of gratitude or indebtedness). Doesn't it sound crazy to hear loyalty being professed in a company of thieves, cheaters, liars and simply, masters of impunity?

Gloria's Impunity Deserves No "Utang na Loob" from Gibo

Lest anyone forget, Gloria Arroyo--the object of Gibo's 'loyalty' has marked a legacy of immoral governance unparalleled in the entire history of the Philippine Islands. In her nine-year reign, she has been variously called unpalatable terms that anyone with even an iota of another Filipino used-to-be-cherished value of delicadeza would have found extremely repugnant. The widow of Fernando Poe Jr., the real victor during the 2004 elections, alluded to her as liar and thief and called her power grabber" not once but twice." Her own man, former NEDA Executive Director and CHED Chair Romulo Neri supposedly described her as "evil, with another even calling her a "lucky b_tch."

In late 2007, she was adjudged the "Most Corrupt President in Philippine History" during a nationwide survey. Lately, she's been described as responsible for greatly damaging the moral fiber of the nation. As the religious-clergy group Filipinos Sunday charged, Arroyo and her minions "lie and cheat with impunity," as ""No institution of our democratic system has been spared. No sector of society left unmolested. Long standing traditions have been violated."

Arroyo's also a constitutional violator, not limited to electoral fraud. Adding to her almost endless litany of corruption-laden deals was her entering into the multi-billion-peso Northrail Project without prior Monetary Board approval and the hugely scandalous-before=being-cancelled NBN-ZTE broadband project. Based from the 2005-2008 articles of unsuccessful impeachment proceedings, she also engaged in the misuse and abuse of presidential powers, including acts of the unconstitutional transfer of funds between government agencies, or from a government entity to political partisan projects.

Perhaps worst, from the perspective of human rights, is her conspiring and tolerating of extrajudicial killings that have victimized Filipinos from pretty much a broad spectrum of political colors. Even before the infamous Ampatuan massacre took place in late 2009, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines already described Arroyo's administration's legacy as one of "bloodshed and repression, its acts of omission and commission nurturing the impunity with which the enemies of press freedom have operated." As of 2009, the alternative media entity Bulatlat counts "more than 200 Filipinos--mostly activists--[who] have disappeared" under her reign. The most infamous of the desaparecido cases involve those of Jonas Burgos, son of Malaya founder and publisher, and University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Disrespect with people's lives, unfortunately, did not stop with the activists and critics. The height of impunity would come by way of the heinous mass murder of 57 individuals, including some 31 journalists and 26 women, children and other relatives and friends of the Ampatuan's rival clan of Mangadudatus on November 23, 2009. The Ampatuan massacre perhaps best symbolizes the callous, fraudulent rule of Gloria as the killing en masse actually ties to the 2004 travesty of the democratic process.

As revealed by the "Hello Garci" wiretapped evidence of 2004 electoral fraud, Arroyo spoke with former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano over details of efforts to manipulate the outcome of the presidential race in her favor. Playing a critical role in the poll manipulation that deprived FPJ of his rightful place in Malacanang was the Ampatuan warlord clan of Maguindanao province. In the official vote tally, Arroyo's lead over opposition bet Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ)  in seven towns controlled by the Ampatuans had the incredible average ratio of 99.83% to 0.17%; in two towns, FPJ even got a near-impossible zero vote each, with all votes going to Arroyo.

To cut the long story short, why would any decent, morally upright, intelligent, be principled man feel indebted to a political creature like Arroyo--enough to swear unfaltering loyalty to the Illegitimate? If Teodoro Jr. were truly decent, really morally upright, and genuinely be principled, why does he feel he has to reciprocate his appointment as DND chief with unwavering loyalty undeterred by reports of Villar/Aquino as the incumbent's "secret candidate." Amidst Arroyo's wickedness, the utang na loob line definitely does not fly. Unless Gibo is wicked himself and secretly in on Arroyo's evil schemes.

Gibo's Culpability and Incompetence as DND Secretary

While it is true that Gibby alias Gibo joined Arroyo's government only in August 2007 and, therefore, he was not part and parcel of much of her reign of impunity, the official LAKAS standard bearer is not entirely free of culpability. The Ampatuan massacre, it should be noted, occurred in 2009, over two years after he assumed leadership of the Defense department. How is it that under his very nose, the Ampatuans managed to grow (or continued to grow) too powerful and confident enough to have the temerity to perpetuate such a heinous, big-scale crime?

Simplistic clan vendetta the massacre was not because no warlord would dare include 31 or so innocent media people in any mass killing--unless he is confident of political support from the national government. What is more, regional policemen were reportedly involved and that the mass grave was supposedly dug days before the mass murder. What was Gibo doing in all these--sleepin on the job? He might not be the chief of the Philippine National Police but with his military connections, he should have been aware somehow of the movements prior to the massacre.

In fact, beyond incompetence, Gibo could be liable for abetting and tolerating the abuses and crimes of the Ampatuans. Maguindanao's infamous warlord clan has long been well known to be operating a private army that includes deputized paramilitary members and have controlled the province and even the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The existence of private armies is directly the DND secretary's concern. While Arroyo probably nurtured Ampatuan's warlordism in 2004 or earlier as a way of securing guaranteed (translation: fraudulent) Maguindanao votes, Teodoro should have been able to address the problem pretty soon after getting the DND portfolio.

Obviously, Gibo failed to carry out his duties as defense secretary when the Ampatuans seemingly even became bolder when they committed the heinous Ampatuan massacre. Under the incompetent watch of the presidentiable who has built his campaign on the Galing at Talino slogan, the dreadful Maguindanao warlord clan utilized its paramilitary-powered private army to commit the worst crime ever wrought on journalists. According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, the Ampatuan massacre holds the record of having the greatest number of media people ever killed in a single day. .

Gibo's Ineptness as NDCC Chief

The Ampatuan massacre was not actually Gilbert Teodoro's first show of incompetence. Who among the less gullibles could really forget the ineptness of the National Disaster Coordinating Center, which he concurrently headed as DND chief, during the Ondoy typhoon tragedy last September 2009? How many lives could have been saved had the NDCC been prepared for such a contingency and acted more swiftly in its rescue efforts?

 Amidst the pleas for help, the cries of despair and drowning deaths of many, it was primarily the non-governmental entities, the media people in particular, who supplanted Gibo's missing hand when they set out to rescue and assist the affected Filipinos during the crucial initial hours of the flooding. The feeling of the Metro Manilans during those early hours of the Ondoy disaster was one of helplessness--spurred by the marked absence of government.

Teodoro defended the late government response to the flash floods by reasoning that the country only had 13 rubber boats at that time. So where did the $1.9 million emergency response official development assistance (ODA) and $6.6 million disaster preparedness allotment that Gloria's government received in 2007 go? The LAKAS presidentiable may arguably not have had a say in the nearly $1 million and reconstruction relief and rehabilitation funds the government got in 2006 but what of the huge assistance funds around the time he took office?

Is the lack of rubber boats a case of disastrous ignorant planning by Gibo's NDCC team? How is it that the entire government pitifully only had 13 rubber boats when three years ago, the government already recognized the dangers of climate change as evidenced by its creation of the Presidential Task Force on Climate Change (PTFCC)? As quoted by, the PTFCC's creation was spurred by the recognition that the archipelago "is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects resulting from climate changes and has been experiencing unusual number of high-intensity typhoons that have wrought devastation and anguish to our people."

The need for more life boats in the face of the adverse impacts of climate change on our archipelagic country--is that so hard for Gibo to figure out? Or is it a case of misappropriation, if not corruption of funds sanctioned or even helped perpetuated by then-NDCC head Teodoro Jr.?

When Gibo's camp and his deluded partisans take pride in his Galing at Talino, it makes one wonder whether they're purely buying his campaign line. Did they even consider his entire track record in government service, which includes his performance in the executive branch under which the position he is aspiring for falls under? For the "silent" supporters of Gibo, it seems that his Galing at Talino packaging got the better of them such that they skipped the part on the former DND Secretary's gross ineptness in, if not culpability for, the Ondoy disaster and Ampatuan massacre.

Why Jinggoy's Endorsement

Instead of Gibo, perhaps Jinggoy should have recommended instead Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus is Lord Movement, or green advocate Nicky Perlas, or even outspoken and nationalist-inclined Jamby Madrigal? These three underestimated presidential contenders deserve more the coveted Malacanang position over that of Gibo in terms of being free of wicked Gloria's corruptive influence.

Then again, it is possible Jinggoy and Erap's camp is only wisely splitting the votes of strong rival presidential candidates Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino to ensure the deposed President's victory in the polls? Besides, to endorse Bro. Eddie instead of Gibo may be unwise because despite what the mainstream conditioning surveys say, Bro. Eddie, with his command vote provided by his organized and several-million-strong religious group, seems to be already a silent force to reckon with.

Another possibility is that despite the supposed falling out between Gibo and his uncle Danding Cojuangco, the former could just be serving as a link of sorts to the latter's protracted friendship with President Erap. Didn't the former president remark in a television interview that one thing he misses during the current presidential campaign as compared to the 1998 campaign is the presence and support of Danding?

The presidency is not just about shallow qualifications. To echo columnist Herman Tiu Laurel's argument, the presidency is, above all, governance fueled by "love for the people and standing by a firm conviction." Ideally, a conviction marked by "strong belief in his own cause to risk and actually suffer detention for it." Erap has shown his conviction and lover for the Filipinos, the masa in particular but Gibo, with his unfaltering loyalty to Gloria and dismal performance as DND/NDCC chief, has not.

At any rate, whether Gibo showed incompetence and/or corruption in preventing or handling in the Ondoy flooding and Ampatuan massacre, or whether he deserves Jinggoy's endorsement or not,  it will not be good for the country to have another Cojuangco for president. Another Cojuangco--another member of an illustrado family, of Chinese variant though the family may be--being in a powerful position will represent not only the continued perpetration of political dynasties but, worse, continued elite control or influence on the reigns of power. During President Ferdinand Marcos' time, there was Gibo's first degree uncle, Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco as influential crony. Then with Marcos's ouster came President Corazon "Cory" Cojuangco Aquino, Danding's cousin. These two Cojuangco branches continue to be influential and rather powerful up to now. Then again, Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party, Cory's son, is also a Cojuangco.

The Cojuangcos, especially the Danding branch may be friends with the Estradas, in particular Erap, the "Father of the Masses." Jinggoy's support of sorts for Gibo (as alternative to a vote for Erap), however, does not bid well for the masa and the Filipino people in general. In short, a Teodoro Jr.  could virtually spell another six years of the wicked Illegitimate's rule. No to Gibo please....


by Jesusa Bernardo

References & Images: SOBRIETY for the PHILIPPINES