Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jun Lozada and the search for truth

All through out my years of study at the University of Sto. Tomas, I was taught that telling the truth was no extra-ordinary act and that it was something commonly expected of everyman. Yet today, people are rallying behind a fellow Thomasian and calling him a hero for telling 'the truth' about the National Broadband Network deal.

Veritas chooses no particular time and place, sir.

I don't believe Lozada should be called a hero or treated like one. If we should at all call him a hero, perhaps we can do so only in the limited literary sense of a lead character in a story about a people's search for justice against a corrupt regime. He is a hero, also, in a darker sense -- that of an immoral man who discovers his conscience while being in the middle of committing a crime.

He admits to acting as a broker between Abalos and De Venecia. As we all can assume, brokers earn money when deals come to fruition and Lozada had probably even offered his services to Neri in return for a commission -- not a balato, which in ordrinary words means a small sum of money voluntarily given to friends of one who may have earned a huge sum. When things got too hot, that was when he surfaced. (And he wouldn't have even surfaced if his name had not been leaked to the media, a ploy which some say was perpetrated by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.)

In any case, we need not listen to the NBN hearings at the Senate to find out the truth. The truth is already out for everybody to see.

Gloria and her men are robbing us blind. The people charged with prosecuting such offenses won't move against Gloria. The Supreme Court will not render a decision that in its mind would do harm to the state -- which currently refers to both the politician and not the office of the President. The Lower House has been bought by the devil and her minions. The Senate is inutile and powerless against the Executive, none of the resolutions that have come out of the termination of investigations has been followed.

And yet, there may be some hope as Salonga, the former Senate President during former President Cory Aquino's time, files a plunder case against Gloria. Perhaps, other men and women of every means can file similar cases against Gloria... If only to drive home the point that she must answer to the people.
Salonga files plunder case vs Arroyo
By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:59:00 02/28/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may be immune from court suit but that doesn’t mean she is beyond the reach of the law, former Senate President Jovito Salonga said after two civil society groups filed another complaint of graft and plunder against her at the Office of the Ombudsman Wednesday.

“The President can invoke immunity from suit but she has no immunity from investigation. [These are] two different things,” Salonga told reporters at the Kilosbayan headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

“Under the Constitution, any official can be sued in the Ombudsman. There is no immunity from the investigation of the Ombudsman,” he explained.

Kilosbayan and Bantay Katarungan, both founded by Salonga, filed the three-page complaint against Ms Arroyo for violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Anti-Plunder Law, and Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The latest complaint is the eighth to be filed in the Ombudsman in connection with the corruption-tainted NBN contract and the second case naming Ms Arroyo as respondent.

In October last year, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona charged Ms Arroyo with “dereliction of duty and obstruction of justice” by signing the deal.

Salonga said the complaints against Ms Arroyo were “impeachable offenses” but that he was not expecting the administration-controlled House of Representatives to move against her.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo: Resign or confess?

Between mounting calls for her resignation and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) late night call for her to let her officials spill the beans on corruption in her administration, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will perhaps do what she does best which is to IGNORE IT ALL.

Philippine Bishops Slam Corruption

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Influential Philippine Roman Catholic bishops slammed endemic government corruption Tuesday but stopped short of urging President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign.

The statement by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, issued after a 10-hour emergency meeting, was a small victory for Arroyo's efforts to serve out the last two years of her term amid widespread calls for her to step down.

The bishops' group has played a key role in nonviolent revolts that ousted two leaders in the last two decades, and a strong statement against Arroyo could have bolstered protests against her.

"We strongly condemn the continuing culture of corruption from the top to the bottom of our social and political ladder," the bishops said in a pastoral statement.

"We must seek the truth and we must restore integrity. We are convinced that the search for truth in the midst of charges and allegations must be determined and relentless."

The statement urged Arroyo and her government to fight graft "wherever it is found" and for the president to rescind restrictions on officials testifying without her permission.

One journalist at the Senate pointed out that if Gloria didn't do anything about the IMPSA deal at the start of her assumption after President Joseph Estrada was ousted, what is to say that anyone in her Official Family will get prosecuted and convicted for graft and corruption?

One judges the character of a politician by referring to their actions in the past and Gloria's past goes all the way back to when her own father's (President Diosdado Macapagal) cabinet had been wracked by the Blue Book scandal. Journalists of that day exposed cabinet officials who were receiving bribes from a foreign owned company and before the truth could be known, before the Poor Boy from Lubao could be impeached, those involved in the bribery scandal were sent abroad. It is an old template for covering up corruption but one that sees its use again most especially with the case of Joc-Joc Bolante who is rumored to be still at large and hiding in the United States. At the height of one controversy among many controversies that persistenly hound him, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo was himself sent abroad. Consistently, Gloria's response to allegations of corruption is to hide them in other countries and the most recent example of this maneuver was Jun Lozada -- who had been sent to Hongkong just as news of his testimony at the Senate NBN deal hearings surfaced.

The sad and sorry fact about these current state of affairs is that graft and corruption in government will not stop with the ouster or resignation of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The President is the highest manifestation of our graft ridden and corruption blighted culture and if we want an end to graft and corruption, each one of us has to start with ourselves. After all, despite it being said that she cheated in the 2004 elections, no one really voted for the candidate with integrity and principles. People voted for the candidate who either had money or power or popularity. Ergo, Gloria and if Gloria lost in 2004, we would have had FPJ as President.

The much vaunted search for truth ends no further than from where you are standing right now. Corruption exists in the highest office of the land because Filipinos tolerate it as long as they can benefit from it.

Stop asking or accepting favors from politicians. Stop giving or accepting bribes. Start following rules, regulations, and laws, whether they are traffic rules or bidding rules. Pay the right taxes on every transaction you make. Start reporting and filing complaints against erring government officials and employees.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

President GMA and First Gentleman got $5 million -- Madriaga

At the senate hearing on the NBN deal, Dante Madriaga, testified saying that the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and First Gentleman Mike Arroyo received at least $5 Million dollars as an 'advance' on illicit commission on the NBN deal.

Madriaga is an electrical engineer and the so-called "head designer" of the Filipino group that came up with the project, is said to be the next witness to face the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the NBN scandal.

Need an emergency loan? Call Secretary Gaite!

Are you a fugitive on the run and badly need quick cash?

You're problems are as good as solved. Just give Deputy Executive Secretary Manuel Gaite a quick call from wherever you are and he'll spot you up to Php 500,000 or US $12,200

Here's his office address and land line:
New Executive Bldg., Malacañang Manila NCR 1501
+63 (2) 735 5334 ; +63 (2) 736 1076 (F)

No collateral needed. Pay when able.

(Just kidding.)

At the Senate hearing on the NBN deal, Deputy Executive Secretary Manuel Gaite put through more than two hours of questioning regarding the Php 500,000 he had given to NBN whistleblower Jun Lozada.

Gaite: I can't rationally justify giving P500,000 to Lozada

Deputy Executive Secretary Manuel Gaite on Tuesday admitted he could not give a "rational justification" for his move to "give" P500,000 to Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr - which the ZTE witness later claimed was a bribe offer meant to prevent him from testifying before the Senate investigation.

In the Senate hearing on the government's controversial national broadband network deal with China's ZTE Corp., Gaite said his actions to give money to Lozada was guided only by his conscience and faith, even as he admitted that he met Lozada only twice before.

Gaite said he pitied Lozada who sent him a text message saying he was having a hard time abroad, prompting him to decide to give the money to Lozada. The official said the money was supposed to be used for the renovation of his parents-in-law's house.

"If you’re asking for a rational explanation… I can’t provide a rational justification for my act. My action at that time was moved by my conscience and my faith," Gaite told senators during the hearing.

"It did not occur to me whether to treat it as a loan. I pitied him," he added.

He noted that Lozada did not ask for a particular amount of cash and that it was his own decision to give Lozada P500,000.

Gaite said he was actually surprised when Lozada came out in the media, claiming that the money he received from Gaite was a bribe.

"Ang masakit dito, after 12 days, he’s saying it was a bribe for him not to return... He texted me saying he was in dire need of funds. I pitied him. When he got the money through his brother, I did not even get a ‘Thank you,’" Gaite said.

I've said it before and I will say it again, some good men in government are being put through the wringer all in the name of defending President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo against accusations of corruption. If they know the President is guilty of corruption, why defend her? May kapalit ba?

Did President Macapagal Arroyo know of NBN irregularities before she signed the deal?

It seems that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's crisis management and damage control teams are mixing messages.
Villar: Arroyo 'admission' on ZTE, a case of 'I'm sorry part 2?'

Mrs Arroyo, in an interview on dzRH radio Saturday, said that she was told of irregularities in the NBN deal with ZTE Corp the night before the contract for the said project was signed on April 21, 2007 in Boao, China.

She said she could not immediately call it off because it would put the Philippines and China in an embarrassing situation.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye sounded tired and ragged on radio as he explained that the President never said that she intended to cancel the NBN deal.

This morning, Senator Manuel Roxas called up the time line of the ZTE and demonstrated that Malacanang had no intention of scuttling the NBN deal at all until the Supreme Court came up with a Temporary Restraining Order.

While scanning the internet for the timeline mentioned by Roxas, I came across this article.
Roxas: Arroyo should suspend officials in NBN irregularity

Sen. Manuel Roxas II on Tuesday called on President Arroyo to suspend those who were believed to be involved in the alleged irregular national broadband network (NBN) deal with China’s ZTE Corp.

Roxas also said that in order to bring back the credibility of the government, officials should be ordered to testify in Senate hearings on the scrapped $329-million deal by removing Executive Order 464 which has been used by members of Cabinet from refraining to attend the inquiry.

"Ang maganda ay ibalik ng Pangulo ang kredibilidad sa tanggapan ng Pangulo. Yan ang pinakamahalaga sa pamahalaan natin. I-suspend niya ang may kinalaman. Kapag tinanggal ang [Executive Order] 464, utusan niya lahat na may kinalaman na pumunta sa Senado at magsabi ng katotohanan. Doon maibabalik niya ang credibility sa pamahalaan," Roxas said.

(The best thing to do is for the President to bring back the credibility of the Office of the President. That’s the most important thing right now. She should suspend those who were involved in this deal. She should lift the Executive Order 464, order her officials to attend the Senate hearings and tell the truth. Through this, the government can regain its credibility)

However, in my view, nothing can restore Gloria's credibility and she will not allow people to find out the truth.

Friday, February 22, 2008

What should President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo do now?

In Metro Manila, the number of students that staged protest actions against along Katipunan avenue, Espana blvd., Taft Ave., and Recto must have reached a thousand or more. Bearing placards and streamers, they expressed their outrage against corruption in the highest office of the land and support for NBN deal whistle blower Jun Lozada.
Metro Manila schools hold noise barrage
Students from various colleges and universities in Metro Manila carried out noise barrage in an effort to encourage those involved in the ZTE-broadband scandal to tell the truth.

The Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College along Katipunan in Quezon City expressed their dismay over Malacañang’s alleged cover-up to conceal the truth by using car horns. At the St. Joseph’s College in E. Rodriguez Avenue in Quezon City, an estimated 200 consisting of priests, faculty members and students joined the noise barrage followed by a candle lighting event to support Lozada.

Students of the University of the Philippines meanwhile expressed their support to Lozada with a walkout from their classes. Lozada was warmly welcomed by students during his visit at the UP Malcolm Hall. From the balcony, Lozada delivered a short speech about his testimony "in the name of truth" which aptly applies to the theme of the gathering set by organizers which was for "truth, accountability and reform." A short program was followed by a candle-lighting ceremony to condemn the series of issues against the Arroyo administration.

At the UP Manila campus, students went from room-to-room to encourage other students to join the protest while the White Ribbon Movement and Health Alliance for Truth and Justice tied white ribbons along Taft Avenue. At 6 p.m. around 500 students from De La Salle Manila, College of St. Benilde and St. Scholastica’s College also gathered and used car horns to create noise as they called for the resignation of President Arroyo.

Thomasians also did their part by persuading motorists to join in their noise barrage along España. The University of Sto. Tomas will also hold a Mass for Truth scheduled on March 2. However, the turnout on the planned meet among law students from different universities in Metro Manila was less than expected.

People in other provinces of the Philippines have more or less the same sentiments but not much was seen on television last night.

On Monday, a rally in Mendiola is all set to take place. Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has granted permits to rally to various groups following a rule that mass actions would only be permitted in the area on holidays.

Will all of this amount to something more than hoarse voices and weary feet?

It is a romantic notion that the minutes or hours spent marching on the streets bearing placards and shouting on the top of our lungs will somehow fix our broken government.

Protest actions are just the first stage of action towards change as it has the capability of making people aware of the wrongs that are being done. But, assuming that all 80 million Filipinos now know the wrongs and ills of government, what do we do next? Does our quest for change stop when we leave the streets? Do we really have a vision, as a people, of what we want our country to be?

Professor Randy David, in his Saturday column titled 'Bonfire of Institutions',
had begun describing all the things that are going wrong in our country today.

MANILA, Philippines -- Because it is easier to imagine it, corruption has taken center stage in the public’s appreciation of the current national crisis. Against the backdrop of mass poverty, the quantities are truly mind-boggling: $130 million in kickbacks for a government project worth $329 million, a bribe offer of P200 million for a single signature, cash gifts of half a million pesos each for politicians who attend a breakfast or lunch meeting with a President facing impeachment, half a million pesos in pocket money for a government functionary who flies to Hong Kong in order to evade a Senate inquiry, and many more. But it would be a mistake to think this is just about corruption. This is, more importantly, about the long-term damage to a nation’s social institutions.

The damage to government institutions has been the most extensive. Far from being a neutral arbiter of disputes and a source of normative stability, the justice system has become a weapon to intimidate those who stand up to power. Far from being a pillar of public security, the military and the police have become the private army of a gangster regime. Instead of serving as an objective referee in electoral contests, the Commission on Elections has become a haven for fixers who deliver fictitious votes to the moneyed and the powerful. Instead of serving as the steady backbone of public service through successive changes in administration, the government bureaucracy has been turned into a halfway house for political lackeys, misfits and the corrupt. Instead of serving as a check on presidential power, the House of Representatives has become its hired cheering squad.

We know the many things that are going wrong with this country, but do we know or do we even have an idea of how things should be? (Simply figuring out the opposite of each wrong stated will not amount to a vision for our country.)

Supposing, against all probability, that we can get Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do what we think should be done... What would we tell her to do?

Do we tell her to step down and allow Vice President Noli De Castro to assume the Presidency? Okay. Fair enough. But then what? This is when romanticism meets realism and probably begins to fester into skepticism. (This ain't as sexy as storming the Bastille, my young ones.)

Nevertheless, let's imagine one foreseeable consequence.

Perhaps the order of the day will be to clean up government, probably meaning that people will be fired and new people taken in. (This was done in 1986. Then again in 2001.) Maybe this time around the Secretary of the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman will be the first to go, their replacements would then be tasked to lodge cases against those involved in various government transaction anomalies including the NBN deal. Breakthroughs will be announced at various intervals while the cases go through Sandiganbayan. Gloria, along with the first gentleman, Abalos, Neri, Lozada, DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, etcetera will be indited.

Joseph Estrada will be smugly issuing statements against Gloria, probably with Senate President Manuel Villar.

Mar Roxas won't be too far away.

Meanwhile, the case will plod on... or meander for five years in various issues of technicalities. Lawyers will have their heyday (and I know a few who will want to make their name from some of the cases that will be lodged.)

Perhaps the Senate and Congress will also try to get into the 'New Deal' spirit of things and brand itself (since ito ang magiging uso) as bastions of the new morality in government. Hahaha!

Anyway... my baby is in need of some fatherly attention. will blog some more when time permits.

ZTE warns Philippines of foreign investment slowdown due to NBN cancellation

It seems that ZTE is now speaking for the Chinese government and other foreign governments as it issues a warning that the cancellation of the National Broadband Network could lead to a slowdown in foreign investments in the Philippines.

Kabayan! Tinatakot tayo nitong mga dayuhang ito! Ano ba ang masasabi ninyo? Kapag hindi daw natuloy ang NBN deal, matitigil ang foreign investments sa Pilipinas. Anak ng tokwa! Eto na nga at nagkakagulo na ang bansa natin dahil sa korupsyon, nangungulit pa ang mga hinayupak na ito at gustong ituloy ang overpriced na deal nila kay Abalos at Big Boy! Puro pera lang ang nakikita.
Philippine ZTE Scandal to Affect Foreign Investment
The cancellation of a national broadband network threatens the confidence of investors from China and other countries, says Chinese gearmaker ZTE

by Melvin G. Calimag

China's network equipment maker ZTE, last week issued a strongly worded statement noting that the cancellation of the national broadband network (NBN) contact "will not only play down the confidence of companies from China, but also from other countries to invest in the Philippines".

The Philippine government in April 2007 awarded CTE a US$300 million-contract to build a broadband network to connect all government agencies and offices across the country. The project was later scrapped after allegations emerged that the deal had benefited high-ranking officials through commissions and kickbacks.

"This episode certainly brings unforeseeable negative influence on bilateral economic co-operations between China and Philippines," ZTE said. "So far, almost every project undertaken by Chinese companies has been put into inequitable suspicion, including agricultural project, tele-education project, railway projects, power plant project and elevated highway project in Manila."

Someone ought to haul these ZTE officials over to the Philippine Senate and get them to explain why it was necessary for them to bribe Filipino government officials into signing a deal which would force 80 million Filipinos to pay over $300 Million.

If these ZTE SOBs weren't so pre-occupied with money and only money, perhaps they would see the social irresponsibility -- not to mention the immorality -- of pressuring the Philippine government to push through with the NBN deal given the fact that a number of its high ranking officials are facing allegations of corruption in connection with the deal.

Maybe, if they were truly keen on having the NBN deal push through, they should:
  1. Help the Philippine government fight corruption by naming the Filipino officials who had received bribes from them.
  2. Reduce the total project cost of the NBN deal by half or to $130 Million, since this -- according to NBN whistleblower Jun Lozada -- is the approximate real market value of the project.
And as for other foreign investors, the NBN deal is a signal for them not to deal with Filipino officials who ask for bribes or kickbacks or any form of payment, other than what is required by Philippine law.

The scuttling of the NBN deal is actually a positive sign that foreign companies who are pursuing business in the Philippines using unethical and immoral means are not WELCOME.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Senate to subpoena police, airport security that snubbed investigation into Lozada abduction

Tuesday next week will definitely keep people glued to their TVs and radios as members of the police, airport security and Presidential Security group are called to the Senate.

Senate President Manuel Villar this afternoon signed 18 subpoena for 18 officials of the Philippine National Police and the Airport Security Group that snubbed the Senate's invitation to appear at the NBN hearing to answer questions regarding whistleblower Jun Lozada's alleged abduction.

Among the 18 summoned to appear before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee are Brigadier General Angel Atutubo (Assistant General for Airport Security), Police Superintendent Romeo Hilomen (Chief of Police Security and Protection Office), Chief Supt. Atilano Morada (Chief of the Aviation Security Group) and SPO4 Rodolfo Valeroso (PNP ASG).

Also issued subpoena were members of the Presidential Security Group. It will be remembered that during a visit of Senators to the NAIA last week, an entry in a security guard log book was discovered and it revealed that members of the Presidential Secrity Group had been part of a group that fetched and allegedly detained Lozada.

Villar threatened that the Senate would issue arrest orders if the people named in the subpoena don't appear before the Blue Ribbon committee on Monday.

So, if they don't appear at the Senate, will there be a man hunt for these men in uniform?

Senator Chiz on 'President Evil' and 'The Luckiest Bitch'

Out of sheer boredom at the Senate today (it's a relatively slow day without the NBN investigations), I'm trying my hand at 'reporting' a few juicy tidbits on the reactions of various Senators to the round of name calling inspired the NBN mess. (With a little help from my wife's notes.)

This morning at the Senate Kapihan, Senator Chiz Escudero said that the opposition can no longer be stopped from criticizing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Escudero pointed this out after two of the President's men had taken to describing her using unsavory terms. Yesterday, Albay Governor and Economic Adviser Joey Salceda was caught by TV cameras describing the President a 'very lucky bitch'. Before this, NBN deal whistleblower Jun Salceda had told senators that former NEDA and now CHED Chairman Romulo Neri had called the President evil. Both colorful descriptions had come after President Macapagal Arroyo led her official family in what was called a 'unity walk' from the Presidential Guest House to the Malacanang Palace building.

This morning Escudero said that Salceda’s description of the President is already an attack on a personal level. He said that he found it amusing that the harsh words like “evil” and “ the luckiest bitch” could come from the President’s allies and not from her enemies.

After the Kapihan, Senator Pia Cayetano unleashed her own take on the backtalk of two of the President's men, saying it is “reflective of her personality’. Cayetano did not elaborate further.

Meanwhile, in a text message, Senator Panfilo Lacson said “Secretary Neri said GMA is evil. Albay Governor Salceda called her a bitch. If these are the high praises she gets from her paid help, GMA must really be hopeless.”

In another text message, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel commented that Salceda’s use of the phrase “luckiest bitch” is “binabaeng linguwahe.”

VP De Castro orders bodyguards to kill reporter

Just found this article in SEAPA ( or the South East Asian Press Alliance. I don't know if it is true but it should be looked into. If true, the Vice President should be castigated.

Vice president "jokes" about killing reporter
20 February 2008
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR)

The Philippine's second highest government official said that he was just joking when he ordered his bodyguard to "kill" a tabloid reporter on 13 February 2008 after the latter repeatedly asked whether he was ready to assume the presidency if President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo resigned or was removed from office.

Another article today, this time Philippine Daily Inquirer, has Vice President De Castro denying that he gave a girlfiend lavish gifts amounting to P200 Million. He says that there is a demolition job against him and I have to agree with him.

Before this, there was the issue of his marriage under Moslem law to Arlene Sinsuat. His children from his first wife charged De Castro in court with bigamy, citing that De Castro is a devotee of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo Church and that moslem law strictly prohibits idolatry, much less participating in rites of other religions.

Other barbs and spears have been thrown at De Castro, including charges that as a broadcast journalist he had been in the AC/DC racket or Attack and Collect, Defend and Collect. This is a known unethical practice done by some corrupt journalists where they expose the wrong doings of public officials or private individuals and then ask for or receive money in exchange for stopping the expose.

Oh well...

LAKAS to endorse VP Noli De Castro for 2010? A story of a fading party's survival.

Here's a bit of news from the Philippine Daily Inquirer which shows a political party's struggle to maintain its existence:

Executive Director Ray Roquero of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) Wednesday told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the stage was being set for (Vice President Noli) De Castro to be endorsed by Ms Arroyo as her presidential candidate in 2010.

News of De Castro topping an SWS survey on who Filipinos prefer among 'Presidential Candidates' for 2010 is riding on the tail of the NBN investigation in the Senate. LAKAS-CMD's avowal of an endorsement comes at a time when De Castro's 2004 running mate, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, seems to be barely maintaining her white-knuckled hold on the reins of power by sheer dint of will as opposition personalities fire broadsides at her administration with charges of corruption amounting to tens of billions of pesos. The impending endorsement from the so-called ruling party may be a minus, instead of a plus for De Castro and the former top rating newsreader, radio commentator, and public affairs TV host will have to math with integers - where the impact of the positive value of De Castro's SWS survey may be weakened by the negative value of an endorsement from either LAKAS-CMD OR Macapagal Arroyo.

LAKAS-CMD and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo are two separate entities as political parties and the politicians who declare their membership to it often become diametrically opposed on certain issues sometimes leading to break away factions under the same name. As in the case of the Liberal Party when it came to the crossroads of the 'Hello Garci' scandal, thereafter splitting itself into the Atienza wing (allied with Macapagal Arroyo) and the Drilon wing (opposed to Macapagal Arroyo).

We have to remember, also, that in the 1998 Presidential elections LAKAS-CMD (then fielding Jose De Venecia as Presidential Candidate) joined up with KAMPI (who fielded Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Vice Presidential Candidate) to form the RAINBOW COALITION against LAMP (which held up Joseph Estrada and Edgardo Angara as its standard bearers). De Venecia lost to Estrada in that Election where as Macapaga Arroyo was elected as Vice President. The LAKAS KAMPI coalition however had all appearances of continuing on through Estrada's impeachment which ended in his ouster and Macapagal Arroyo's assumption to power in 2001. In 2004, Macapagal Arroyo ran for President under the a broader coalition (K-4 as it was called, this time including the Liberal Party and other parties) but as early as 2005 the seams of the coalition seemed to give way with Macapagal Arroyo declaring herself being more KAMPI (her real party, who also had former Tito Sotto as Macapagal Arroyo's Vice Presidential Candidate in 1998 before he was linked to drug dealer Alfredo Tiongko) than LAKAS.

In anycase, LAKAS is no longer the ruling party it used to be when former President Fidel Ramos was in power. It's endorsement virtually has no real strength when it comes to the number of party members and is probably trumping up to the media that it holds influence over Macapagal Arroyo, suggesting that it can convince her to bestow her endorsement on De Castro.

What will LAKAS' endorsement mean with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's endorsement? Nothing, at best.

The ruling political party, for the past several elections, is the party of the elected President. Local officials and so called 'political operators' immediately join the party of the winning Presidential candidate. There is no real support for political parties from the citizenry, all it actually is can be likened to an IPO -- when it is hot, people buy and when it is going south, people sell their shares. Right now, the ruling party is not Lakas but KAMPI and without a winning Presidential candidate in 2010, Lakas will probably just fade away.

And one more thing, VP Noli De Castro's belongs to one of the most powerful political parties -- the Lopez Group of Companies.

In the final analysis, it is LAKAS who needs to De Castro more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

NBN investigation tops Pinoy karaoke music charts

Political observers looking at the Philippine situation right now might as well gauge how seriously affected the country is by the Senate investigation into the anomalous NBN ZTE just by listening to the songs being sung by national figures and politicians.

Perhaps this can give birth to the rise of a blockbuster musicale of epidemic proportions.

During his first appearance at the Senate NBN investigations, Engr. Jun Lozada was memorably quoted as saying he had been given instructions by former NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri to 'moderate their greed' or moderate the greed of Benjamin Abalos and Joey De Venecia. Senate Press Corps reporters were quite inventive in singing the popular phrase 'moderate their greed' to the tune of Billy Ray Cyrus' popular line dance song 'Achy Breaky Heart'.

Last week, while Lozada was at the Senate telling how he was forced by law enforcers to take a tour of Laguna after he arrived from Hongkong, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo broke out into song with no less than Richard Carpenter on the keyboards.

The President, who even as Undersecretary at the DTI, was known for her singing prowess sang the refrain of “I Have You” -- one of the more memorable Carpenters songs. She went solo with the memorable refrain: “Sometimes/ When I’m almost to surrender/ Then I stop/ And I remember/ I have you/ To save my day.”

She says that the song was dedicated to the First Gentleman. Really?

Over the weekend, on Sunday, Lozada was at a Catholic mass in La Salle Greenhills together with EDSA 86 icons former President Corazon Aquino et al and together they sang one of the favorite songs of sandal clad patriots, 'Ang Bayan Kong Pilipinas' with lyrics penned by Jose Corazon de Jesus Melody by Constancio de Guzman. With fists clenched and arms raised, they sang 'Ang bayan kong Pilipinas, Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak, Pag-ibig ang sa kanyang palad, Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag. At sa kanyang yumi at ganda, Dayuhan ay nahalina, Bayan ko, binihag ka, Nasadlak sa dusa. Ibon mang may layang lumipad, Kulungin mo at umiiyak, Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag, Ang di magnasang makaalpas! Pilipinas kong minumutya, Pugad ng luha ko't dalita Aking adhika, Makita kang sakdal laya!'

I don't know when this song was first sung but there are some references to it being sung by nationalists in the thousands of struggles and uprisings Filipinos had to fight in order to gain freedom. I remember hearing Freddie Aguilar singing this song in the heady days after the assasination of former Senator Ninoy Aquino, I was just in Grade 7 then. (Having heard it sung again under current circumstances sends shivers through my very core.)

Anyway, one sentiment in the song refers to the Philippines being pillaged by foreigners. If you think about it and maybe loosely apply the idea to the NBN deal mess, you can probably say that Abalos et al are selling off our people to penury through the NBN loan. It is, apparently, no longer necessary to attack and subdue a nation through military might in order to compel it to give up its resources to the invading country. All you have to do is to bribe Filipino government officials and they'll hand over the lives of 80 million Filipinos to you.

The other day, one her former Tourism Secretary and now Senator Richard Gordon raised a poignant point with regard to the NBN investigation.

Gordon said "We want something to happen in this investigation and I am afraid that we are headed towards nowhere again." and reminded everyone that other investigations launched in the Senate had gone nowhere quickly, even after making recommendations to prosecute people involved in other anomalies.

Senator Gordon could have also burst out into song (and he has a pretty good singing voice), this time with a Diana Ross classic, the Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To?) composed by M. Masser and G. Goffin. The first two stanzas may as well be dedicated to the Filipino people, 'Do you know where you're going to?/ Do you like the things that life is showing you /Where are you going to?/ Do you know...?/ Do you get/ What you're hoping for/ When you look behind you/ There's no open door/ What are you hoping for?/ Do you know...?'

Which brings me to the point of this latest entry in my blog and allow me to address my countrymen in Tagalog.

Mga Kabayan, saan ba tayo patungo nito?

Ayoko nang pumunta sa EDSA ulit, kabayan. Tama na iyong original na EDSA nung 1986. Nung ikalawang beses nating ginawa ito, eh klarong klaro na mali ang pinaupo natin -- mas masahol pa dun sa pinatalsik natin.

Heto ako ngayon kabayan, nagsimula na akong mag-proseso ng papeles para sa Seaman's Book ko at nagdesisyon na akong sumampa ng barko bilang Broadcast Operator sa isang cruise ship. Wala na akong makitang pag-asa para umasenso sa sarili kong bayan.

Kapag natuloy ako, walong buwan akong mawawala sa piling ng kaisa-isa kong anak. Walong buwan sa buhay ng anak ko ang ipapagpalit ko sa dolyares na kikitain ko. Mukhang wala na yata akong ibang pagpipilian kasi, sa tingin ko, kung gusto natin ng pagbabago eh dapat ngayon pa lang lumilitaw na ang magagandang options.

Tignan mo na lang ang mga pangalan na lumilitaw bilang Presidentiable sa 2010, ayon sa pinakahuling survey ng SWS.

"Thirty percent of Filipino adults named Vice-President Noli de Castro, 27% named Senate President Manuel Villar Jr., 23% named Senator Loren Legarda, and 20% named Senator Manuel Roxas II as recommended successors to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to the November 30 - December 3, 2007 Social Weather Survey which asked for up to three names they recommend."

Okay lang sana kung parang pagpapatakbo ng isang palabas sa TV ang pagpapatakbo sa bansa. Ano ba ang alam ni Ka Noli sa pagiging Pangulo? Mayroon ba tayong nakitang batayan o track record niya bilang isang government executive? Nag-iisip kaya ang 1,200 na tinanong para sa survey na ito? Malamang, hindi.

Sige, kung hindi okay si Noli, paano naman kaya si Villar? Sinasabi niyang yumaman siya sa Sipag at Tiyaga, ang nakalimutan niyang mabanggit eh iyong parte na yumaman siya sa Sipag at Tiyaga ng ibang tao. Tandaan niyo sana na si Villar ang nagpasa ng impeachment case laban kay Estrada nuong 2001 bilang House Speaker. Nuong 2007 bilang Senate President, siya naman ang humingi na patawarin na si Estrada - kahit pa convicted si Estrada sa salang plunder at ni isang araw ay hindi nakatikim ng buhay kulungan. Tapos nitong 2008, umikot pa sila ni Estrada sa Bataan para ibandera ang kanilang mistulang samahan.

Hindi ba, ayaw natin sa balimbing at higit sa lahat, ayaw natin ng oportunista? Anong paninindigan ang pinapakita ni Villar? Sunod lang ng sunod sa agos ang mamang iyan at kapag ganyan ang naging Presidente natin, ang papanigan niya ay hindi iyong mga kababayan natin -- ang papanigan niya ay ang interes ng mga malalakas, mayayaman at may kapangyarihan. Sabihin na natin ang tutoo, maraming pumapanig kay Villar kasi may nakukuhang grasya at ang grasya na ito ay galing sa kabang bayan -- galing sa bulsa ng taong kinakaltasan ng witholding tax, sa taong nagbabayad ng EVAT, at sa lahat ng taong nagbibigay ng pera sa pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng samu't saring mga sinisingil sa bawat transaction.

Ano ba alam ni Villar sa pagpapalakad ng bansa? Senado nga eh walang direksyon at walang prayoridad. Basta may magandang sakyan na isyu, yun ang pagtutuonan.

Eto namang si Loren Loren Sinta... Ewan. Halo halo na ang pronounciation (hindi malaman kung British o American), mali-mali pa ang mga idiomatic expressions... Umiyak nuong impeachment laban kay Estrada, tumakbo na katambal si FPJ, at kelan lang nasabing babasbasan naman ni Presidente Gloria para sa 2010. Tingin ko, bopols din ito pag naupo bilang Presidente.

Si Mar Roxas naman na hindi talaga namamalengke sa tutuong buhay, kwelang kwela talaga. Iyon lang. Gaya naman din ni Villar, parang hipong tulog at tinatangay lang ng agos. Dating DTI Secretary ni Erap, tapos nung nawala si Erap eh naging DTI Secretary naman ni Gloria. Tumakbo bilang Senador, ka-linya ni Gloria. Tapos, nung makapwesto na bilang Senador, binanatan na si Gloria at nagdeklara na miyembro na siya ng oposisyon dahil sa 'Hello Garci'... Hello, Mr. Palengke, huwag mong sabihin na wala kang alam tungkol sa 'Hello Garci' nung mga panahong nangangampanya kayo ng Ma'am mo na si Gloria. Iyong tinatawag na integrity, ginagawa at pinapakita iyan sa oras na nakita mong may pagkakamaling naganap sa kapaligiran mo.

I know a lot about integrity because I have suffered for it countless of times in my youth and there are many instances in my life today that I have stood up for what is right and what is true.

Dalawa lang ang itinuro sa akin ng buhay:

Una, ang huwag magsinungaling at tratuhin ng patas ang lahat ng makakasalamuha ko.

Ikalawa, ang manindigan ng walang takot o pag-aalala sa sarili para sa tama at para sa katotohanan.

O siya, kabayan. Hanggang dito muna. Sana lagi mong tignan ang blog ko kasi magiging madalas na ang pagsulat ko dito. Sana mag-comment ka din at para maramdaman ko na hindi ako nag-iisa.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Filipino Obama?

A response to Alex Magno's column, where he asked "Can there be a Filipino Obama rising to the challenge of 2010?" (Mr. Magno's column appears below.)

Mr. Magno, there is no such thing as a Filipino Obama but there is a Filipino named Gordon. More than the First Black American President, I think it is more interesting to contemplate having the First White Philippine President.

Richard J. Gordon, Senator and Philippine National Red Cross Chairman. A man who has been a leader all of his life whether he had a position in government or none and a man who has served his countrymen, even to the point of risking his own life -- not once, but many times over the course of 40 years -- all for the cause of alleviating human suffering.

While all the other aspirants for the Presidency in 2010 are promising, Gordon is the only one with the longest track record of success as an Executive. While others are selling dreams, people whose lives he has touched are living the reality of a better life... In Olongapo, in Subic, in all the tourist destinations all over the country promoted through Wowphilippines, in disaster areas rehabilitated through the efforts of the Philippine National Red Cross, and soon, when the Automated Elections system is finally online in 2010, all over the country as they finally do away with the antiquated mano mano system of recording and tallying votes.

You want to talk about inspiring leadership?

Anybody can be inspiring during good times when most people are happy and content. With a very publicized speech, a little advertisement here, a few well placed articles in a well read newspaper or magazine, and a couple of guest appearances with some other popular masa personality 'et voila!' even the do nothing political john doe can become an inspiring brand.

Try being an inspiring leader when the streets are a mess, crime is everywhere, and most people have lost belief in themselves. That was Olongapo in 1980. That was the time when Gordon ran for Mayor. That was the time when things began turning around for the sin city just outside of Subic. The first color coded traffic scheme, the first integrated garbage collection system, community based anti-crime campaigns, legalization of scavenging -- the pre-cursor to recycling, and much more. In less than six years, the transformation was made from sin city to model city. It was awarded the UNESCO Cities for Peace representing Asia and the Pacific in 1997 and the Konrad Adenauer Local Medal of Excellence in 1999. The Asian Development Bank and World Bank recognized its successful urban redevelopment and city development strategy after the US Base turnover.

Sure, you can say that that was just Olongapo City. Okay, then, how about Subic? That's an easy transformation job too, or was it?

The Americans left the Subic Naval base practically bare and it happened hardly a year after Pinatubo buried most of Central Luzon -- including Olongapo -- in ash. Think about just how inspirational you have to be as a leader when you are trying to get your people, just barely recovering from the biggest natural disaster in Philippine history, to volunteer to maintain the base and its facilities for nothing but the promise of maybe someday attracting investors and tourists. (The idea was so far fetched at the time that you might as well have been talking about promoting tourism in Basilan and Sulu at the outbreak of full scale military operations.)

You know what, despite the naysayers, Gordon made Subic into a premiere tourist and investment destination. Some 40,000 jobs were lost when the Americans left, 80,000 new and higher paying jobs were created when Gordon tookover Subic. Tens of millions of pesos of income were lost when US servicemen stopped coming, but billions of dollars flowed when Gordon started promoted Subic to the world.

He did such a good job at Subic that the next President after Ramos kicked him out with administrative order number 1 -- all because Gordon picked up a cigarette but from the street he swept thousands of times himself.

Still easy? Okay, how about promoting Philippine tourism at a time when there were coup attempts, terrorist threats, negative travel advisories weekly, a scant tourism promotion budget, a lazy Tourism bureaucracy, and whatever else.

A year into his job, Gordon reversed the shrinking tourist arrivals and by 2004, the country played host to two million tourists a year. The success continues as the country continues to draw 3 million tourists and if the tourism bill Gordon is working on gets passed into law, that figure might double or triple in no time at all.

He's no superman, that is for sure. In fact, the truth is, he is hard of hearing. He can't hear the word IMPOSSIBLE. He can't hear the phrase IT CAN'T BE DONE. He just goes ahead and does it.

There is one more flaw that Gordon has: He is white.

It is true that his father was an American.

James L. Gordon was so much of an American that when time came for him to chose between retaining his American citizenship and becoming a Filipino, he did what a number of Filipinos would not do if given a choice: He CHOSE to be a FILIPINO.

He was so much of an American that he spent the best years of his life serving his countrymen of choice, Filipinos, as mayor. He was shot dead by an assassin just when he was about to succeed in having Congress grant Cityhood to Olongapo. As tens of thousands marched in his funeral procession, Senator Jose W. Diokno paid tribute to him with these words: "He was born to an American father, chose to be a Filipino, raised his children as Filipinos, served his country as a Filipino, and died a Filipino hero"

Yes, Richard Gordon is white but the only thing American about him is his work ethic and his straightforwardness.

So, going back to where I started. There is no Filipino Obama, but try this parallelism on for size: How about electing the first WHITE Filipino President?


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Barack Obama had the odds stacked against him all his life. He said so himself as he celebrated his sweep of four state primaries last weekend, bringing him in dead heat with his rival for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton.

Born to a Kenyan father and a white American woman, he was abandoned by his father when he was two. His teenage mother and his grandparents raised him in humble circumstances. He spent a few years of his youth in Indonesia and served poor communities as an activist in his early adult years.

He served as state Senator before winning a seat at the US Senate three years ago. Charismatic and articulate, Obama sought his party’s presidential nomination even as everybody considered the Democratic Party apparatus firmly under the stranglehold of the Clinton couple.

Until the onset of the primaries season, Obama was considered an outside runner, a novelty at best. There was no way, everyone thought that an African-American, one with few friends in the nation’s capital, would have very poor chances in this game.

But when the primaries began to be held, Obama turned in more than a respectable performance. He pulled off a couple of upsets in the early races, gradually built momentum on his side and, last weekend, swept the four states that were contested.

The Democratic Party base is now divided right down the middle. Hillary Clinton is popular among lower-class women voters, Hispanics and those on the lower end of educational achievement. Obama attracts African-Americans, the college-educated and, overwhelmingly, the young voters.

In an unprecedented way, the primaries in the US has generated worldwide interest mainly because the probable Democratic nominee will either be a woman or a black man. The US presidency has, heretofore, been a post for white males.

Over and above considerations of race and gender, the Obama campaign appears to have animated a movement that now seems highly inspired and determined to challenge the insiders in the party as well as existing paradigms of what politicians should do or say.

Obama appears to have detected a strong undercurrent in American society. It is an undercurrent of discontent with politics-as-usual reflected in rising political apathy. Electoral participation among young voters has been declining. Significant minority groups have not been participating at all in the democratic exercise.

He has tapped into this undercurrent and tapped it well. The undercurrent itself now appears to be much more powerful than anyone calculated. Much more powerful, in fact, than maybe Obama himself ever imagined.

In the Democratic Party fund-raising dinner last Saturday, people turned up as early as dawn to ensure seats for themselves so that they can listen to Obama. Across the US, an army of young volunteers has been making the phone calls and knocking on doors to campaign for Obama.

This campaign is unusual, to say the least. It is no ordinary contest for one party’s presidential nomination. It is a movement of the discontented attracted to the promise of change. More than that, it is an open rebellion against the entrenched political aristocracy in Washington DC.

It is not just the unpopularity of George W. Bush that is driving this phenomenon. It is the unpopularity of the political establishment no less that is driving this rebellion.

The Other America, the one that shunned the political process before, has now barged into that process, responding to Obama’s clarion call for a sweeping change of how America has been run and how it has been governed.

What started out as a seemingly quixotic campaign has now become an intensely passionate political force. It is a force that will, at the very least, change the way the Democratic party deals with its constituencies. At its very best, it will change the way America chooses its leaders.

This phenomenon is not led by a John, a George or a Ronald. It is led by a Barack, one who has managed to inspire with words and move people with a compelling vision for his country.

Color of skin aside, Obama has been compared to John F. Kennedy. The comparison has served the candidate well and he has made it a point to quote the well-loved Kennedy extensively in his speeches as well as match the polished prose.

Kennedy, in the early sixties, rocked the political establishment, redefined the office he eventually occupied (albeit briefly) and awakened an entire generation of Americans. The young Americans today who volunteer for the Obama campaign are the children of the generation JFK animated.

There is, to be sure, a lot of energy in the Obama campaign. But there is a lot of talent there as well, enough to enable this campaign to carefully calibrate its moves and sharpen its rhetoric. Enough talent to enable this campaign to overcome the entrenched party bureaucracy, outwit the rival campaigns and nurse a certain tone essential to keeping a movement animated.

Perhaps more than the Americans, there is a lot of discontent among Filipinos over the quality of governance they have been forced to accept and the quality of political leadership that has been available. There is discontent over how we do our politics and how power has been wielded.

There is no shortage here of people who seek to win the highest elective post. But there is scarcity, obviously, of real leaders emerging from the margins and challenging the system. Leaders who can inspire and arrest the drift of public cynicism. Leaders who can make us hope again.

Can there be a Filipino Obama rising to the challenge of 2010?

Monday, February 11, 2008

All the President's ASS men


"Ako lang yata ang VIP na nagpapahatid sa Pasig na dinala sa Los Banos."

-- Jun Lozada, answering Sen. Loren Legarda on whether or not he believed he was abducted, 5:35PM February 11, 2008

Let's call this day at the Senate, "The President's Ass Men", not to be vulgar but to highlight the role played by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's men in what appears to be an attempt to cover up and deny an abduction try on former Philippine Forest Corporation CEO Jun Lozada -- allegedly in an attempt to silence him before he testifies at the Senate on the ZTE NBN Scam.

Covering ASS, as well as perhaps, taking it in the ASS (as in being the President and the First Gentlemen's whipping boys or girls), seems to be a qualification for being a General or Secretary these days.

I switched on ANC just in time to catch Senator Mar Roxas and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile having a heated discussion over how the NBN investigation at the senate was being handled. Roxas was apparently miffed at Enrile's comment that some of the questions raised by Roxas et al were a waste of time. Taas tuloy ang kilay ni Tide, este, Mr. Palengke.

I guess the verbal wrangling had been started off by Senator Joker Arroyo's manifestation telling Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano that the job of the committee chairman was to ensure the orderly flow of the proceedings and not to take part in questioning the witness or resource person, which in this case was Lozada.

In anycase, right now, most of the discussion today is centered on finding out whether Lozada was abducted or not.

All of the President's men had been denying that they had abducted Lozada, while Lozada maintains that he had been taken against his will upon arrival at the NAIA.

While this may be a serious transgression on the part of the state, it is also the lesser issue at hand. Senators against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may concentrating on this issue because, unlike the allegations of plunder made by Lozada against the First Gentleman and ex-COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos, the allegation of being kidnapped by agents of the state has actual physical evidence and a paper trail.

Lozada seems to be livid at the repeated denials of the minions of Malacanang that no abduction try was ever committed.

In anycase, the whole thing is just dragging on.


I would be perfectly willing to file a taxpayer's lawsuit against Abalos et al. Will anyone else join me?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Lozada, a hero?

By his own admission, resigned Philippine Forest Corporation CEO Rodolfo 'Jun' Lozada believes he is not worthy of being called a hero. But just as in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king; so it goes that in the land of the hopelessly corrupt, the man with even just a bit of conscience is a saint.

The begrudging attempt by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to 'test' the credibility of Lozada was hardly enough to cover up the stink of the ZTE National Broadband Network deal. I don't think we should look over the irregularities and possible cases of graft perpetrated in his office as Philforest CEO, the Ombudsman should with all haste lodge a case against Lozada but only after it files appropriate charges against all those whose names cropped up at the ZTE scandal hearings.

Perhaps it's just me but I sensed that Senator Defensor-Santiago had begrudgingly tried to defend Gloria and her First Gentleman by impugning the Lozada's character. She spent a good part huffing about how she only had five minutes to spare on questioning Lozada, telling everyone that she had just come from some meeting with foreign diplomats and was about to attend another meeting with another group of foreign diplomats. She did some fast and systematic work dishing out the dirt on Lozada, exposing his own corruption by breezing through a number of official documents.

This leads one to wonder, why was it so hard for Senator Mar Roxas and Senator Noynoy Aquino to get a transcript of the Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting where the ZTE deal was discussed, while it is so easy to obtain documents pertaining to irregularities in the transaction of the Philippine Forest Corporation?

Two words. Executive Privilege. It has become a new way of hiding the dirt or using Lozada's lingo, the bukolan in Malacanang palace. The way Gloria and her men use it, Executive Privilege can be used to mean any attempt to cover up facts that will perhaps lead to some form of truth.

(Er, oo nga pala, meron na palang kopya si Senator Ping Lacson nung hinahanap nung dalawang lolo na naka-salamin. Ito naman kasing si Senator Lacson, hindi pagsabihan ang staff na i-share sa mga ka-chokaran niya ang mga dokumento -- then again, baka naman pa-epek lang iyong pagsita niya sa staff niya.)

(I remember how effective Miriam had been at weeding out corruption at the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. I was a college student when she gained national fame for writing the book on ferreting out graft and corruption. I was one of those who voted for her when she ran as President, because I felt what we needed at that time was to put an end to corruption in government. It is rather sad that she hasn't trained it on Gloria, the first gentleman, and the rest of the Official family.)

Even Manong Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Gringgo Honasan did their share to pry into Lozada's intentions and examine his sense of morality. But then again, it seemed half hearted.

Joke Arroyo and Dick Gordon weren't even at the hearing.

Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales has threatened (and will make good on his threat) to investigate Lozada for possible graft. This is like running after the petty thief instead of the bank robber. The Justice Secretary has no sense of justice.

In anycase, all this reminds me again of the Blue Book scandal during President Diosdado Macapagal's time (you will find the account in the college history book written by Agoncillo).

Lozada's testimony, for all it is worth, is just testimony and the lawyers in the Senate, including in Gloria's cabinet, will attack Lozada's credibility -- even attack Lozada himself. This is the problem with most cases where the accused is prosecuted on the basis of testimony alone, even if it is corroborated by the testimony of others. All one has to do is to intimidate or liquidate the witness or let the case drag on for years until the witnesses are senile or near dying or dead.

Moreover, at the end of it all, the Senate (despite all the claims of its Majesty as the checker and balancer of the Executive) will not produce a conviction of those accused of plundering the nation's coffers and sending the Filipino people to suffer decades of penury -- tayo ang isinasanla sa iba't ibang mga bansa para makautang ang gobiyerno at ang perang nauutang ay ibinubulsa lang ng mga kawatang opisyal.

If at all the Senate investigation terminates with a report, all the report will do is recommend prosecution and prosecution is the job of... you guessed it... he DOJ and the Ombudsman.

Anak ng...
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