Friday, January 30, 2009

Senator Richard Gordon's anti-corruption work doubles favorable ratings

My fellow Filipinos ought to demand more from their Presidential candidates than the proliferation of paid for TV and Radio Ads from sun up to sun down.

It is a good thing that there is some indication that people are beginning to favor Presidential candidates who demonstrate good performance in their current position. Is meritocracy gaining currency in the Philippines? I hope so.

In a poll conducted from Jan. 6-9, 2009 by The Issues and Advocacies Center (The Center), Senator Richard Gordon registered a two percent increase in voters’ preference for president as compared from the previous survey on October 2008.

The Center attributed the increased preference for Gordon’s Presidency to the hearings conducted by the Senate blue ribbon committee he chairs on the P728-million fertilizer fund scam, which he recently concluded after having obtained enough evidence to pin down key personalities involved in the allegedly anomalous project.

Ed Malay, a member of the World Association for Public Opinion Research, says that "The hearings into the celebrated P728-million fertilizer scam have also boosted the political stock of Senator Gordon.”

Gordon, who has not yet declared his Presidential candidacy, described the survey as indicative of what people are demanding from their leaders.

“I am glad and humbled that our people appreciate the work we do in the Senate. This modest gain however validates what the people demand from their leaders, that is to lead a no non-sense fight against graft and corruption.”

The independent survey firm explained that people are more likely to choose leaders who actually work on curbing corruption in the country, given that the present administration fared poorly on its fight against corruption.

Following the Senate revamp in November, Gordon immediately held his first hearing into the fertilizer project where his committee charged former agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante for disobedience to summons and false testimony.

Gordon's colleagues at the Senate, most notably Senator Panfilo Lacson, spoke favorably of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee's performance under Gordon's chairmanship.

Gordon implemented a number of changes in the conduct of Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, among the most noticeable was the abandonement of the time limit imposed on Senators during questioning.

In the past, the time limit itself had sparked a number of arguments and stalled the proceedings. Gordon did away with the time limit to enable his colleagues to pursue their line of questioning to its conclusion, thereby making for more productive time as far as discovering facts or testing testimonies were concerned.

The hearings have also shined a spotlight on Gordon's ability to work well with all of his colleagues in the Senate.

During the Senate Christmas recess, Gordon summoned personalities who would be implicated by other witnesses. Threatened by the arrest orders issued by the panel to those who refused to obey summons, the witnesses surrendered one by one.

Last Jan. 26, Gordon temporarily concluded the probe with enough testimonial and documentary evidence and recommended to the Ombudsman the filing of plunder charges against Bolante and other alleged conspirators of the project.

Aside from his track record as a lawmaker, the Center noted that Gordon’s gain in the survey can also be attributed to what it called his “no-nonsense style of governance,” notably as Olongapo City mayor and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman.

“Gordon is largely credited for the transformation and development of the SBMA as an investment destination. He is also credited for having transformed Olongapo into a model community,” the Center’s report stated.

As Olongapo mayor, Gordon implemented a public utility color code, traffic management and waste management system which earned the city national and international awards such as the UNESCO Cities for Peace representing Asia and the Pacific in 1997 and the Konrad Adenauer Local Medal of Excellence in 1999.

He is also largely credited for the development of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority when, in 1992, after the United States military left Subic Bay, Gordon led 8,000 volunteers to protect and preserve the $ 8-billion facility left by the US navy, and eventually transforming the place into a premier investment hub.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Philippine Daily Inquirer Blinks on 'Red Cross under fire' Editorial

This is a personal reaction to a rejoinder to an editorial of the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled "Red Cross under fire".

Corazon Alma De Leon, secretary general of the Philippine National Red Cross has already issued a rejoinder to the Inquirer editorial (posted 23:57:00 01/26/2009) with particular reference to its last paragraph:

“If this is so, this will have an effect on domestic humanitarian workers, particularly as the emerging presidential candidacy of the current Red Cross chair, Richard Gordon, might provide a pretext for such syndicates to think Red Cross workers are actually campaign workers — and so subject to the ‘usual’ election-related violence and intimidation.”
De leon asserted that:

First, Red Cross staff and volunteers are not Gordon’s campaign workers. And those who were kidnapped are ICRC members, not PNRC’s; they are not the least bit interested in the political developments in this country. In fact, as humanitarian workers, they are not allowed to engage in any political activity.

Second, the insinuation that Gordon is using the PNRC or the ICRC for his political ends may severely undermine our operations and fund-raising efforts and prevent us from addressing the humanitarian concerns of numerous communities and victims of war, disease and abuse. Since its establishment in 1947, the PNRC has been relying on donations for our humanitarian activities.

Third, Gordon has been a Red Crosser for 40 years. Since he became chair of the Red Cross, he has raised hundreds of millions of pesos to help alleviate human suffering in this country. Not a single centavo was ever used to promote Gordon’s political ambitions.

Under Gordon’s watch, the PNRC has become a donor society (having given relief assistance to Burma, Indonesia, China and Louisiana, USA) and the leading international humanitarian organization in the country, in terms of quality services provided and the number of people served. And Gordon has made the PNRC modern and efficient. He was awarded the 2001 Silver Humanitarian Award for his outstanding volunteer efforts in alleviating human suffering and the 1991 Aurora Aragon Quezon Peace Award, Philippine National Red Cross (Highest National Award). His accomplishments speak for themselves. They are not political gimmicks.

The Inquirer had what it thinks is the final say stating that:

The editorial merely pointed out that with Gordon being talked about as a possible presidential candidate, terrorists may use this “buzz” as an alibi to justify “an evolving tactic of assaulting even humanitarian workers.” It did not mean to insinuate that Gordon is in fact using Red Cross people for political ends. We regret that Ms De Leon and others in the PNRC came away with this interpretation. — Editor, Philippine Daily Inquirer
In my view, I think the Inquirer may have conveniently reached into the realm of the hypothetical without any basis in fact.

It appears to assert what is clearly an insinuation that Gordon as Red Cross Chairman and Gordon as emerging Presidential candidate equals assaults on humanitarian workers.

The thing is, if this can be said of Gordon as an EMERGING Presidential Candidate, proof of this line of thought would be found if Mar Roxas' Botika ng Bayan or Markets were attacked. Or perhaps if Manny Villar's Villar Cup Billards competition were attacked.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bambee dela Paz Blog yields unsolicited medical advice and an offer of free prescription drugs

Bambee dela Paz's blog continues to draw a lot of comments.

At this point, the comments are coming from bloggers who are arguing over whether or not she's as pure as driven snow or if she faces some manner of culpability in the Valley Golf Brawl.

Her entry, which gives an account of how the brawl transpired, now has over 1,000 comments and her following entry which expresses her gratitude to readers of her blog, has around 500 comments.

It has a deeply committed following and at least three bloggers have gone to extreme lengths to defend Bambee.

I've gotten my share of flak from a few by commenting that Bambee's blog is basically a one-sided account of the Valley Golf Brawl. Of course, I expected to get flak but what I didn't expect was medical advice and an offer of free prescription drugs from a blogger who claims to be Ronald Fronda MD.

I have a mind to ask if this violates any law or body of ethics for medical practitioners.

Here are comments from the blogger claiming to be Dr. Ronald Fronda.

Blogger ronaldfronda,md said...

Paul Farol,

.... bisita ka na lang sa office ko bigyan kita ng pangpakalma at konting antipsychotic para naman maka cope ka sa mga problema mo. Don't worry para sa yo free, bigyan pa kita ng sample na libre, yan naman type nyo eh magpalibre.

January 24, 2009 6:52 AM

January 24, 2009 4:50 PM

Blogger ronaldfronda,md said...

Paul Farol,


Pinabibisita nga kita sa opisina ko para makita at maiksamen kita dahil mukhang malala na ang problema mo, mukhang hindi lang pangpakalma at antipsychotic ang kailangan mo. Hindi ko naman naisip na sobrang bagal mo pala magisip.


January 24, 2009 5:16 PM

Certainly, in the spirit of things as they happened in the comments section of Bambee's blog, I doubt if any kind of legal action will be forthcoming.

If this is the REAL Dr. Fronda, he should be very wary of the legal implications of what he posts in the internet.

If this is not the REAL Dr. Fronda, perhaps the proper authorities in MIAMI should be alerted that somebody is going on line and impersonating him.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Filipinos celebrate Obama-mania with food

Once you go black, you never go back and Filipinos everywhere may as well celebrate Obama-mania with a festival of food.

For starters, my kababayans may serve up century eggs and jelly fish salad for starters. Or, if you want to go a bit high class, perhaps you can serve up some caviar.

The main fare can consist of Adobong Pusit, Dinuguan, Bistek, Fish Tausi, and Silkie Chicken Soup with a healthy serving of heirloom rice. Perhaps you can have this with a side of talong salad.

For dessert, you can probably have a choice of hot chocolate or kapeng barak-o with ube pie.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Barack's Cellphone

It's called the Sectera Edge.

I spotted this post on Yugatech and I am reposting it here because it is just too juicy to just point a link to it. (My apologies to Yuga.)

The insistence of US President Barack Obama to still carry a mobile phone prevailed over security concerns and he is the first United States president to ever carry one while in the oval office.

Apparently, that means he has to use a secure unit specially made for the NSA — the Sectera Edge {via}. It’s a Blackberry-like device that allows for secure and non-secure communication for making calls, SMS and emails.

There’s no way of knowing what’s inside this celly except for the price tag of $3,500. If you want one, just ring up General Dynamics (the contractor that developed the phone) and ask permission for the National Security Agency to get one.

There is reason to believe that many of our politicians who claim they are like Obama will cough up the almost P200,000 tag price and even bug a couple of people at the National Security Agency to get their hands on a Sectera Edge.

And I would bet Words for Moolah's shift keys that news of somebody here in the Philippines getting their hands on one will make it in the first gap of TV news programs and probably also land in the front page of a major daily broadsheet.

As to whether all its features will work with the cellphone systems here isn't clear. I would assume that special telecoms infrastructure may be needed to make all of its features functional, the most important one being its ability to make calls on it "secure" or untappable. Perhaps Gloria will be interested in having a couple hundred million pesos inserted in the 2009 budget so that she can have the government buy the infrastructure that will support the Sectera's security features. Hmmm...

But certainly, if you were to own one, the act of whipping on out of your pocket will elicit the usual new gadget question, "Hey! What's that?"

And you'd have to roll your eyes, then tiredly reply "It's a Sectera Edge."

And the conversation would go like:

"Ooooh! You mean it's not a Treo?"

"No, but it's exactly like the one used by President Barack Obama. Only ten were made this year and this one is the second that got off the line."


"And now that you've seen it, I'll have to kill you. Hold still while I ram this stylus up your nose!"

Filpino Bloggers Unite in Prayer for CHANGE

Dear Reader,

Blogging, by its very nature, thrives on volunteerism.

We volunteer to provide information and opinions on a wide variety of topics in the hopes of helping other people out.

Pinoy Buzz tries to help people out by giving information and offering opinions about the actions of certain national elected Philippine government officials. Hopefully, in doing so, Pinoy Buzz will help hasten the process of change in the Philippines.

In seeking change for our beloved Philippines, I think praying is as important as taking action.

I ask all other Filipino bloggers, and even non-Filipino bloggers, to say this prayer with me. Also, you may help me out by reposting this prayer on your blog and putting your name, location, and URL at the end of the list that follows this prayer.


Dear heavenly Father, we consecrate to you our beloved country- the Philippines and all the Filipinos around the world.

We acknowledge Father that apart from You, we can do nothing and it is only your divine providence and grace that can unite all Filipinos as one nation. We therefore humble ourselves before your throne.

We confess all our sins to you individually and collectively as a nation. Forgive us our sins Father and wash us clean by the precious blood of Your beloved Son- Jesus Christ. Mend our wicked ways and let us experience a strong and genuine spiritual revival for ourselves and for our country.

Let the Holy Spirit imbibe us with power, love and wisdom to return to Your path of holiness and righteousness. Bless our country, heavenly father. Bless all Filipinos wherever they maybe. Let progress, unity, harmony, stability, justice, peace and prosperity reign in our country.

Bless our leaders, from the President down to the lowest Barangay official. Touch their hearts that they may serve our country with all honesty and with love and integrity. Bless our children and our future generation.

And bless us all Father in all aspects of our lives. This we pray to You heavenly Father, in the mighty name of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Name Address Name of Blog URL
  1. Mel Alarilla Bulacan, Philippines - Filipinos Unite!!! url -
  2. Angel Cuala Batangas, Philippines Father Blogger dot com url -
  3. Lavern Tan Las Pinas City, Philippines Pinoy Ambisyoso url-
  4. Francis Daniel Maning Cebu, Philippines Istayl Sugbo url-
  5. Snow Philippines Dear Bloggery url-
  6. Bloggista - Marikina, Philippines - Bloggista - url-
  7. Chris A. - Cavite, Philippines - CMAQuest - url-
  8. Aisha - Eugene, Oregon, USA - The Holley Herald - url -
  9. Rowena - Davao City, Philippines - All Out My Naked Truth- Rowena - url -
  10. Icymar Tagimacruz - Cebu, Philippines - Kreative Myndz - url-
  11. Pat Mangubat - Philippines - New Philippine Revolution - url-
  12. Empress - Cebu, Philippines - Empress of Drac.Com - url-
  13. Marilou Domingo - Philippines - Ibanag in the City - url-
  14. Ester Besmonde - Canada - Walk Through Money Online Journal - url-
  15. Ramon Paulino - Quezon City, Philippines - - u rl -
  16. Mindanaoan - Mindanao, Philippines - Mindanaoan - url-
  17. Bloggie - Davao City, Philippines - Davao Bloggers Network - url-
  18. Xerendipity - Dumaguete City, Philippines - Obnoxious Queer - url-
  19. Viviene C. (Bingkee) - Connecticut, USA - I Love/Hate America - url-
  20. Roy - Angeles City, Philippines - The Struggling Blogger - url-
  21. Janette Toral (Ada) - Marikina City, Philippines - Blogging From Home - url-
  22. Milton Coyne III (Bluedreamer27) - Cavite City, Philippines - Bluedreamer's Top Five - url-
  23. Marites dlR - Davao City, Philippines - Me, the islands and the world - url -
  24. Mauie Flores - Cainta, Rizal, Philippines - Living a Sugar-free Sweet Life! - url-
  25. MsRay - Bacolod City, Philippines - Woman on a Journey - url -
  26. Pia Go Olano - Philippines - My Life's Journey - url -
  27. Jena Isle - Pampanga, Philippines - Random Thoughts - url -
  28. Caca - Mindanao, Philippines - Mood Swings - url-
  29. Pinoy Apache - Cebu City, Philippines - Pinoy Apache - url -
  30. Jessie Simbulan - Philippines - The Reporter - url -
  31. Tony Roda - Manila, Philippines - MENstream - url -
  32. Fingertalks - Philippines - Fingertalks - url -
  33. Wendy Lopez-Redaon - Quezon City, Philippines - From The Eyes of My Heart - url -
  34. Marlene - Davao City, Philippines - Potpourri of Ramblings - url -
  35. Liza Cochico - Quezon City, Philippines - A Simple Life - url -
  36. Tricia Mazo-Galvez - Las Pinas City, Philippines - Proud Mommy - url -
  37. Wayne - New Zealand - Affiliate Crunch - url -
  38. Shiera Delusa - Osaka, Japan - Bisdak Babbles - url -
  39. Madz - Lunda Norte, Angola - Things I Did Not Know Before - url -
  40. Kcee - Makati City, Philippines - Barefooted Me - url -
  41. Yani - Davao City, Philippines - Banicmanic - url -
  42. Rodaflip - Ontario, Canada - FlipAntasticWeb - url -
  43. Ramvie Santiago - Philippines - Philippine Blog For All - url -
  44. Russell Bravo - Caloocan City, Philippines - Russell Dot Com - url -
  45. Michelle Valenzuela - San Francisco, California, USA - Tumawa K Kabayan - url -
  46. Pinay Wife - Cambodia - Pinay Wife Speaks - url -
  47. Lei - Pasig City, Philippines - Moon Goddess Lae - url -
  48. Shawie Gick - Orange County, California, USA - A Grateful Heart - url -
  49. Hariette Wendam - Iloilo City, Philippines - Praning's Shoutout - url -
  50. Joan Joyce Absalon - Navotas City, Philippines - Joan Joyce dot com - url -
  51. Rashieka Estelle Absalon - Navotas City, Philippines - My Name Is Rashieka - url -
  52. Darlyn - Gen. Santos City, Philippines - Touched By An Angel With Love - url -
  53. Kate Cancio - Marikina City, Philippines - Becoming Kate Cancio - url -
  54. Ria - United Kingdom - Continental Fairy - url -
  55. Ginoray - Cainta, Rizal, Philippines - Profound Matters - url -
  56. Penlighted - New York, USA - Light It Up (Blogging for Jesus) - url -
  57. Lyn (Moccalyn - Manila, Philippines - Life Spices - url - http//
  58. Ana Lindenhann - Denmark - The Filipina Mom in Denmark - url -
  59. Chris Red - Philippines - Christinchen's Soapbox - url -
  60. Richies 2Ts Inspires - Stockholm, Sweden - Richies Inspirational Designs - url -
  61. Island Angel - Davao City, Philippines - Seashells Of Island Angel - url -
  62. Manilyn Tingcang - Iligan City, Philippines - - url -
  63. Joyoz Obsioma - Melbourne, Australia - Everyday Life...Generally Speaking - url -
  64. Gladita - Bacolod City, Philippines - PromdiLiving - url -
  65. Lesley Cucal - Tarlac City, Philippines - Bottomless Coffee - url -
  66. Rose Cottrill - West Virginia, USA - Rose's Obstacles and Glory - url -
  67. Mys Lyke Meeh - Toronto, Canada - Mys Lyke Meeh - url -
  68. Gloria (Goyz) - Calamba City, Philippines - Good Health - url -
  69. Mitch (Annay Butakal) - Cebu, Philippines - Ramble Baboy - url -
  70. Ria Coleto - Cervantes - Dubai, UAE - It's My Party - url -
  71. Luna Miranda - Makati City, Philippines - Miranda - url -
  72. Kit (Suplado) - Makati City, Philippines - Suplado Reviews - url -
  73. Rachel - Philippines - Heart of Rachel - url -
  74. Josie Santos - Sydney, Australia - Fragments of My Soul - url -
  75. Wella Jane - Misamis Occidental, Philippines - Thinking Pen- Blogging For A Cause - url -
  76. Kelvin Requiroso (Kebelle) - Quezon City, Philippines - Spirituality Page - url -
  77. Pusang Gala - Mandaluyong City, Philippines - Pusang - Gala - url -
  78. Jason - Paranaque, Philippines - Pinoy Updates - url -
  79. Onatdonuts - Taguig City, Philippines - OnatDonuts - url -
  80. Ibyang - NSW, Australia - A Wife's Charmed Life - url -
  81. Mike Avenue - Philippines - Mga Tagalog Na Tula Sa Filipinas - url -
  82. Jhay Gamba - Cainta, Rizal, Philippines - I Blog Mo! - url -
  83. Carla Farnesyl Fundales Idago - Malabon City, Philippines - Heterotripper: Anong Maskara Mo Today - url -
  84. Tet Garchitorena - Naga City, Philippines - The Life Of An Oregano Addict - url -
  85. Rael Denoman - Imus, Cavite, Philippines - Manikang Papel - url -
  86. Liezl F. - Valenzuela City, Philippines - Breezing My Confined Emotions - url -
  87. Kengkay - Germany - Kwentong Kengkay - url -
  88. Earthlingorgeous - Manila, Philippines - - url -
  89. Pinay Key Point - Tarlac City, Philippines - PinayKeyPoint - url -
  90. Ria Stevenson - Texas, USA - Live Love Laugh - url -
  91. Pajay - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Klasrum Ni Pajay - url -
  92. Texas Sweetie - Texas, USA - My Virtual Diary - url -
  93. Aquamarine - Hongkong - Aquamarine - url -
  94. Shemistry - Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines - Foolishly Overacting - url -
  95. Dines - Winona, Minnesotta, USA - Kalei Dines Scope - url -
  96. Che (Chorva) - Philippines - Chorva Entertainment Blog - url -
  97. Arnel Gara Artes - Cebu City, Philippines - A Hunter - url -
  98. Donald Pal (Dhon) - Cebu, Philippines - Life Love Lust - url -
  99. Fermin Absalon - Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines - Beyond Feron Dot Com - url -
  100. Dzerom - Calamba, Laguna, Philippines - Blogging Without A Cause - url -
  101. K (Knoizki) - Hongkong - A Dialogue With K - url -
  102. Orville Hitadle - Cebu City, Philippines - Downloader's Stuffs and Freebies for All - url -
  103. Cindyrella - Hongkong - Cindyrella From Hongkong - url -
  104. Rimewire - Cavite, Philippines - Disproving the Genius - url -
  105. Edelweiza Mabalay - Manila, Philippines - The Life of a Breadwinner - url -
  106. Manolito Montala - Philippines - The Filipino Enterpreneur - url -
  107. Leona Khan - Pasig City, Philippines - Vanidosang Panda - url -
  108. Pepe Mckunat - Philippines - Life is Tough, but prove You are Tougher - url -
  109. Batopik - Taguig City, Philippines - Batopik - url -
  110. Gin E - Manila, Philippines - Mommy in Manila - url -
  111. B'ley Villones (Dyosa) - Paranaque City, Philippines - Blagalag - url -;
  112. Donald Serrano (don_ser) - Philippines - don_ser The Feeling ProBlogger - url -
  113. Love Lot - San Francisco, California, USA - Lov-A-Lot - url -
  114. Enchie - Manila, Philippines - Sweet Nothings - url - http//
  115. Iceah Marie - Gen. Santos City, Philippines - Chicken Heart - url -
  116. Mee*I Velasco - Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines - Waiting On The World To Change - url -
  117. Kuyanin - Philippines - Kuyanin: Starting Afresh - url -
  118. Chyng Reyes - Manila, Philippines - No Spam, No Virus, No Kiddin'! - url -
  119. JuanDerPul - Philippines - JuanDerPul Pinoy - url -
  120. Kenneth Mendoza - Laguna, Philippines - Kenneth Mendoza- Speaking Out, Blogging, Ranting and Fooling Around - url -
  121. Grace - Michigan, USA - We Live To Tell God's "Amazing Grace" - url -
  122. Carnation - Antique, Philippines - Carnation - url -
  123. Jed Chua - Mandaluyong City, Philippines - Reel Advice - url -
  124. Pammyboo83 - Dumaguete City, Philippines - Filipino Lifestyle - url -
  125. Sagada- Igorot - Mountain Province, Philippines/Chicago, USA - Blog of The Sagada-Igorot - url -
  126. Bai Maleiha Candao - Cotabato City, Philippines - Soulful Images - url -
  127. Jehzeel Laurente - Philippines - Jehzlau Concepts - url - Http://
  128. Poohgahk - Philippines - Shout Out - Url -
  129. Norman Novio - Occidental Mindoro, Philippines - Pamatok - url - http:///
  130. Bien Nillos - Negros Occidental, Philippines - The Freudian Slip - url -
  131. Madelyn Basalo-Sells - Cafunfo, Lunda Norte, Angola - "The Pride of Hingotanan, Bohol"- My Life's Journey To Success - url -
  132. Jannesse - Las Pinas City, Philippines - The Wifey Diaries - url -
  133. Willa Stock - Ontario, Canada - Fickle Minded- A Life That Is Less Ordinary - url -
  134. Aihara (Tessah) Ramintessah Sanchez - Japan - The Economics of Life - url -
  135. Ron Albert - Quezon City, Philippines - A Slice of Turon - url -
  136. Elyong - Davao City, Philippines - Elyong - url -
  137. Kokoi - Baguio City, Philippines - Blog ni Kokoi - url -
  138. Fat - Japan - Anything Goes - url -
  139. Mye De Leon - Rizal, Philippines - Blog Appetite - url -
  140. Jan Geronimo - Oriental Mindoro, Philippines - salabasngmandaluyong (Rx For A Better Life) - url -
  141. Chuva - Philippines - Chizmizan With Chuva - url -
  142. E. J. Bautista - Quezon City, Philippines - Bogcess - url -
  143. Maree Tee - Philippines - I Am Mrs. Tee - url -
  144. Alma Cafe - Davao oriental, Philippines - Reach Beyond Your Limits - url -
  145. Arlene Collado - Philippines - Joys in Life - url -
  146. Juvy - Philippines - Pinoy Portals - url -
  147. Jan Mckingley Hilado - Cebu City, Philippines - The Ultralife of Student Nurses - url -
  148. Carlos - Davao City, Philippines - Carlos Ideas - url -
  149. Mentor - Cebu, Philippines - The Image of Cebu - url -
  150. Emma Ballada - Laguna, Philippines - Life Momento - url -
  151. Darkspark - Philippines - Papermills - url -
  152. Jes - Philippines - My Little Angels - url -
  153. Mike Pamero - Laguna, Philippines - Such were some of you - url -
  154. Jerome - Calamba, Laguna, Philippines - Pinoy Blogger Online - url -
  155. Mary Grace - Tennessee, USA - My World is My Family - url -
  156. Luzviminda Gadon (Vhing F) - Israel - Survivor: the Reality of my Life - url -
  157. Marlon Celso - Manila, Philippines - Marlon of Manila - url -
  158. Political Jaywalker - USA - Pedestrian Observer GB url -
  159. Pinoy Buz - Balic-Balic, Sampaloc, Manila - Pinoybiz url -
  160. Your name, location, blog title, and url
...................................... End copy......................................

Obama keeps his Blackberry or What Philippine President Gloria Arroyo can learn from Obama about transparency

It must have been a poor joke that fell flat, got stomped on and kicked around.

Philippine Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita was said to remarked that US President Barack Obama might have a thing or two to learn from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Ermita said in an article found on

"First of all, our President is ahead of Obama and probably, I would think that if there's anything to be learned, it should be President Obama learning from President Arroyo. And wouldn't we be proud to say that the Philippines continues to be an 'island of calm' because of the present crunches?" he said, when asked by media what lesson Arroyo could learn from Obama.

He said the President could even be a model or the "proper conduct under pressure."

Arroyo had managed to quell all attempts to oust her from power – via impeachment, “people power" uprising or coup plots – despite her very poor popularity rating.

After Arroyo’s allies in the House of Representatives defeated the fourth impeachment attempt against her late last year, it became clear that Arroyo would be able to finish her term until the end of June 2010.

Ermita said Arroyo and her abilities especially in managing the economy and in insulating the Philippines from the full brunt of the economic global crisis had been recognized. And while the US maybe a big country and have the wherewithal to overcome the crisis "being a leader of a nation, President Arroyo has more experience than President Obama."
I don't want to waste my time refuting all that Ermita had said right now because this is not what the post is about.

It is about one word: Transparency.

US President Barack Obama has effectively dealt with the issue of transparency first raised as he insisted on keeping his Blackberry. The second instance that transparency was dealt with was his memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act.

All throughout her term, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has managed to escape attempts at impeachment by simply keeping quiet and blocking all access to all information that would incriminate her.

The 'Hello Garci' scandal which brought up the issue of her direct involvement in wholesale electoral fraud in the 2004 elections was effectively silenced on the grounds that the actual recording of her cellphone conversation with Comelec Official Virgilio Garciliano came from an illegal wiretap.

Then came the NBN ZTE deal which, for some reason, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee under Senator Alan Peter Cayetano stopped investigating. So far, Cayetano has yet to produce a committee report on the investigation which would be expected to recommend the filing of charges against officials involved in the deal, including President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo used measures such as Executive Order 464 to prevent her cabinet members and other government officials from disclosing what they may know about the 'Hello Garci' scandal.

Another measure that she deployed was that of Executive Privilege which functioned as a blanket justification by cabinet officials such as former National Economic Development Authority Secretary General Romulo Neri for refusing to disclose details regarding the NBN ZTE Deal.

The 'Hello Garci' controversy, which has also been referred to Gloria Gate (an allusion to the Watergate scandal which similarly centers around tape recordings of US President Richard Nixon), should have produced legislation similar to what was done with the Presidential Records Act.
In 1978, after Watergate, the Presidential Records Act mandated that presidential records would become property of the U.S. government when the president leaves office. They would be transferred to the federal archives, then become available to the public after no more than 12 years.
This law, if I am not mistaken, basically means that all communication by the US President is recorded and makes it illegal for the US President to conceal any communication.

I think, if my understanding is right, having a law like this would have made it easier to obtain evidence against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In a press release, Senator Ramon 'Bong' Revilla expressed assurance that he will continue to push for the passage of the Freedom of Access to Information Bill even though he is no longer the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media.
"Rest assured that I will exert all possible efforts in support of the Freedom of Access to Information Bill. Transparency of government records is vital in exposing scandals and criminal acts of government officials. It will greatly help to eradicate corruption," Revilla said.

He appealed to newly-installed Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media Chairman Allan Peter Cayetano to start the public hearings on the much-awaited Freedom of Access to Information Bill as soon as possible.
One bill filed by Senator Manuel Villar, SB 1578, basically asserts "Article II, Section 28 of the Constitution which provides: “Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. The State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.”

Likewise, Article III, Section 7 also states: “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents, and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis far policy development, shall be afforded the citizen, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.”

However, the law itself imposes a list of restrictions on to what information can or cannot be accessed in Section 4. This basically, still, just gives the President various justifications to conceal information which can be easily twisted to suit whatever purpose.

There is no mention of any requirement being imposed on the President to have all his or her communications recorded or any prohibition against not recording communications.

The Presidential Records Act of the United States, from my understanding, orders that all communications by the Office of the President be recorded and made available according to certain prescribed procedures.

In the case of the Hello Garci scandal, the illegally recorded conversations between the President and Virgilio Garcillano cannot be used as evidence. But supposing that we had a law like the Presidential Records Act and all the President's conversations were being recorded officially, then it would not be necessary to divulge the existence of the illegal wiretap and just subpoena the President's official records (of course, this assumes that other causes can be found to initiate an investigative procedure which would make the subpoena necessary).

In the case of the NBN ZTE probe, if the law filed by Senator Villar were improved to state that if evidence were found that a transaction in government were anomalous, all records of all officials pertaining to that transaction would be divulged.

In relation to this, I hope Senator Panfilo Lacson makes good with a commitment to amend the Bank Secrecy law to make the bank records of all public officials exempt from secrecy.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Senators propose summit to stem job losses in the Philippines

Words for Moolah will be amused upon hearing that an old publicity gimmick that creates a lot of noise and a crowd but achieves nothing has resurfaced.

Holding summits to solve pressing problems.

Currently, some newspapers and TV news programs are screaming about "job losses!" after information leaked that Intel was shutting down its facility in Cavite and Accenture reported that some 500 jobs would be cut.

Another big problem in the offing is that of Pre-Need companies (college assurance plans and pension plans) are said to be going under.

To solve the problem of a sharp rise in unemployment, Senator Francis Pangilinan is proposing a "job creation summit".

Senator Alan "Peter" Cayetano, seeing the dire circumstances faced by the Pre-Need industry, wants "an emergency summit" to specifically address their problems.

Meester Eff will probably shout 'DRAMA QUEENS!" and he'd be right, as usual.

Summits are tantamount to shouting 'Looky! Looky! Me solving problem with summit!'.

The question is, have any of the summits in the past achieve what they were supposed to achieve?

During former President Fidel Ramos' time, there were summits of all sorts. There was a summit for agriculture, the judicial system, and even a peace summit. After holding the summits, agricultural productivity stayed the same... the judicial system continued to be slow and corrupt... and the peace summit didn't stop government and rebel forces from engaging in hostilities.

Of the most recent date, former House Speaker Jose De Venecia held a political summit of some sort and politics in the country remains fractured.

In the case of holding a job creation summit, the only jobs it will create are those directly related to holding the summit itself.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, in his usual annoying fashion whines that Congress and the Executive hasn't done anything regarding the reported closure of many preneed companies.

"We should not take this lightly. It's shocking for me that both Congress and the executive will not act right away," Cayetano said.

"Every single minute of uncertainty isn't good for the industry, isn't good for the consumers and is not good for the government, so there should be an emergency summit by the executive and the legislature, or Congress, and solutions that will be felt by those who are already paid for this should come forth from this summit," he said.

My neighbor remarked that the Senator seems great at two things: Pointing out problems for other people to fix and grabbing publicity for it.

Perhaps he should just lead the Pre-Need summit himself.

Did you know that after holding so many hearings regarding the NBN ZTE deal and the Fertilizer Fund Scam, he has failed as Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman to produce a committee report which would have pressured the Ombudsman to investigate cases against Malacanang? All sound and fury signifying nothing.

Anothing thing which a taxi driver once told me about Senator Cayetano was that his tongue is good for two things: spraying saliva all over the place like a sprinkler and licking the butt cracks of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo (whom he once asked for campaign funds) and Senator Manuel Villar (who gave him a high priced election lawyer that helped him in his case with the Comelec and a senatorial candidate who had the same name as his).

So, there, that's what I think about summits.

Tales from Gaza at the Philippine National Red Cross

The war in Gaza became very real to me yesterday.

I didn't expect it but everything started yesterday morning when I got several text messages from my colleagues yesterday morning asking me to be at the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) at 11:30 AM to help prepare press releases for an event that was supposed to take place at 2:00 PM.

I was totally clueless as to what the Press Releases would be about and I guessed that I'd have enough time to figure everything out when I got to the PNRC. After about two years of working with my current boss at the Senate, I had gotten used to figuring things out on the go and writing press releases almost as fast as he talks (almost).

When I got to the Chairman's office at the PNRC, the first person I talked with was Aida Beltejar of the PNRC's Social Services department.

It was from her that I learned that the PNRC was playing host to 14 out of the 34 Filipino-Palistinians who arrived the other night. They had fled to Egypt through the Rafah border.

After our brief conversation, I was able to get a copy of my boss' briefing papers which listed the names and ages of the repatriates plus a little demographic summary.

The most recent batch of repatriates from Gaza consisted of six families. This brought to 50 the total number of repatriates from Gaza, the first batch arrived on January 9 and consisted of 16 people. (Another 20 people were supposed to arrive last night.)

24 of the 34 people in the second batch of repatriates from Gaza were minors, 4 of them children aged between 0 and 3 years old.

In a press conference, the repatriates took turns telling the story of how they got out of Gaza.

Saleh Soliman Wady, a Palestinian doctor who married Filipina Aisha Manlalangit-Wady 21 years ago and is a father of 5 children aged 3 to 15, told about how schools and even hospitals were being bombed by the Israelis.

Aisha Wady told about how food was scare as supplies weren't getting through the border. She even made reference to the kinds of weapons the Israelis were using against Gaza, pointing out that phosphorous bombs were being used. Phosphorous bombs, according to her, look like fireworks when they burst and spread searing smoke that burns up human flesh on contact. She said that a teenager had to have his or her legs cut off after the smoke from the phosphorous bomb cooked her legs through.

Three year old Mohammed Saleh Wady, the youngest in the Wady family, drew a picture of Gaza which made for his own account of what he experienced.

Another child who wasn't there during the press conference, four year old Jeanine P. Abu Shawesh arrived in the Philippine quite traumatized after having seen her neighbors vaporized when a bomb hit them.

There are several dozens more Filipino families in Gaza and the Philippine Embassies in the counties surround the Gaza strip are working like hard to get them out with help from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Perhaps, this is one thing that the kidnappers of the three ICRC workers in Sulu should keep in mind. The ICRC helps people in all sorts of dangerous situations. What if one of their own family members is trapped in a warzone or is a victim of some kind of natural disaster and there are no Red Cross workers to help out? I hope it moves their conscience a bit when they think that Red Cross workers and volunteers put themselves at risk to help people in danger everyday.

One thing that struck me was the account from Aisha that when they were about to cross the border of Egypt, the Israelis stopped her husband from crossing over because he was Palestinian. Aisha and her children were frantic, they didn't want to leave the head of their family in Gaza where he may just become a victim of the deadly violence being wrought on civilians there.

Aisha pleaded desperately with the border guards to allow her to take her husband with her and it was through the intervention of the Philippine Embassy that Aisha's husband was allowed to cross into Egypt.

The Philippine Embassy staff that took them under their care found a way to issue Aisha's husband a Philippine Passport on the spot, saying that it was allowed under such circumstances in order to keep families together.

That really won points with me.

Philippine National Red Cross Chairman, Senator Richard Gordon said that in order for Aisha's husband to stay in the Philippines indefinitely, he'd have to apply for citizenship -- which will take time -- or gain citizenship by legislation. On the second option, Gordon immediately instructed his staff to see into granting Aisha's husband Filipino citizenship through legislation.

Perhaps Gordon couldn't have said it better when he remarked that Filipina wives are very loyal to their families and will never leave a single member of her family in a dangerous situation. She will do everything to keep her family together.

That really choked me with tears.

The Senator has a bleeding heart for families in trouble, I cannot count the number of times that he personally took matters into his own hands just to help people out. And you know what? It is not a put on or a make believe moment for a TV commercial.

In the moments after the press con ended, Gordon took time to be with 3 year old Mohammed. The kid, like my own, was at the height of being precocious (makulit) and was more than ready to horse around with Gordon.

There is no denying that the Philippines is a poor country when you look at the number of people who have to eke out a living. But, if you look at our willingness to help other people out (even at the expense of risking our own lives)... if you look at our compassion and our ability to care, WE ARE THE RICHEST PEOPLE ON EARTH.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

National Printing Office Chief accused of raping 13 year old

After the Valley Golf Brawl and the Alabang Boys, perhaps the newest government teledrama will be the case of National Printing Office Director Enrique Agana.

Parts of it have the flavor of the Valley Golf Brawl, especially after the Dela Paz's are allegedly negotiating with the Pangandamans for a settlement which may or may not include a several million pesos. Delfin has been said to go around the offices of various senators demanding that they give money to support his daughter's golf training and now is said to be using the charges filed against the Pangandamans as leverage to get funding for his daughter's golf training.

Anyway, the story from the Philippine Daily Inquirer says that Agana faces the charge of raping a 13-year-old girl after Concerned Citizen Napoleon Bunagan Jr. filed a sworn statement at the Department of Social Welfare and Development on January 16. The statement was the DSWD's basis for taking the girl into custody.

Agana has denied the charges and said that a syndicate in the NPO was behind the smear campaign against him because they stand to lose at least P300 million worth of contracts from the NPO.

Agana explained that the design of all government account forms are going to be standardized and this would do away with the services of private printing firms. He said that the move would reduce the expenses of local government units as well as curtail graft and corruption.

He admitted, however, that he was a close friend of Carmen, the victim’s mother, and that he had grown fond of the young girl whom he had known since she was just 4 years old. He added that he was even planning to adopt the girl, which was probably why the syndicate was trying to use her against him.

Carmen said the accusations against Agana were concocted by Bunagan, Francisco Datu and a woman identified only as Yanni.

Bunagan, she told the Inquirer, has a printing company. She further claimed the three tried to take advantage of her naivete and closeness to Agana.

Carmen said that she was convinced to blackmail Agana after she was offered P10 million. They said that the money would be given to her when the contract for printing was awarded to the group.

She said that she backed out of the group's plan when she learned that they intended to hurt her daughter to make it appear that she was raped.

The mother sought help to locate her daughter after DSWD workers took her from her school. She, however, failed to find her daughter in several DSWD offices.

Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral, in a phone interview, confirmed that the girl was in their custody. Cabral said the department’s National Capital Region office, with the help of the National Bureau of Investigation, carried out the “rescue operation.”

She assured Carmen, however, that the DSWD would get in touch with her once it has finished interviewing her daughter and studying the complaint against Agana. Cabral identified Carmen, the mother, as being part of the problem.

Bunagan, meanwhile, denied that he had concocted the rape story through his lawyer.

Oh well! Is this a sign of some new kind of extortion? I only wish that the child really didn't get raped for P10 million.

Iba iyong magpabugbog ka at ipabugbog mo anak mo sa golf club para makahingi ng golf scholarship sa US or pangtustos sa golf training. Iba iyong ipa-rape mo anak mo para sa sampung milyong piso.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Does the Philippines have a leader like US President Barack Obama?

I've got two answers right now: No and maybe.

My answer is NO, because all the comparisons made between President Obama and any politician running for the Philippine Presidency is going to end up as a joke.

On one hand, I've heard enough jokes about Jojo Binay being a Philippine analogue to Obama. The idea is so revolting it's enough to make me snort squid ink and dance the Macarena in a bikini in the middle of EDSA at high noon.

On the other hand, can any of SWS Presidential Survey frontrunners lay a claim to being the bringer of hope and change? Of course they can! Silly! They can claim anything under the sun but will it do us any good to believe them?

My answer to 'Does the Philippines have a leader like Obama?' is also MAYBE, because there are still choices outside of the current crop of Presidential survey frontrunners.

I don't think money and popularity should be considered when making a choice for President. The only thing you have to think about is if the person presenting himself or herself as a Presidential candidate can do the job.

You can look at the Philippine Constitution and it lists the basic qualifications for a President. The qualifications aren't that hard to measure up to, because apparently all you have to do is to be born a Filipino and reach a certain age. This is both good and bad because it means anybody can be a President and that anybody can be an individual with exceptional qualities or it can be just the worst choice anybody can make.

In anycase, what a President actually does or what a President ought to do depends largely on the situation that the country is in.

It's not hard to figure out what kind of situation our country is in right now because we've been in the same situation for decades and most of our problems stem from this situation.

The situation is easily described with four words: The Philippines is poor.

The job, therefore, of the President (at least in my opinion) is to lead the country out of poverty.

Have any of the so-called frontrunners in Presidential surveys proven that they can lead people out of poverty?

How many people has Senator Manny Villar helped out of poverty? How about Noli De Castro? Loren? Lacson? Bayani Fernando? Mar Roxas?

Obama in the Philippines

I missed the live TV coverage of President Barack Obama's Inauguration last night.

After waiting around two hours for it (switching between CNN, Fox, and BBC), I found myself fighting vainly against what would become the irresistible pull of sleep.

I snored through the first black US President's inaugural address and now have to content myself with just reading the text of his speech.

It is a great speech and from the snippets being replayed on TV news, I can gather a sense of how truly thrilling his delivery was.

The question now on my mind is what this historic US Presidency will mean for the Philippines.

Being great at mimicking or aping whatever fad there is in the US, I am sure our own politicians will present us with their INNER OBAMA and certainly, they will find a way to make the masa lap it up or at least, make it seem that they are lapping it up.

Will the Philippine Presidential Elections in 2010 be like a talent show where the winner will be the candidate who can come up with the best imitation of Obama?

It was a joke then and still is now, but Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay referred to himself as the first Black Filipino Presidential candidate. He refered to himself as Jejoma and the joke got a few laughs before people got tired of it.

Other politicians who are eyeing the Philippine Presidency are trying to project an Obama-like image, with some blatantly claiming to represent change. From the top of my head I can cite at least Loren Legarda and her pagbabago TV Ad, Mar Roxas and his Oras na campaign (Our time has come), and perhaps even Chiz Escudero.

Survey frontrunners Vice President Noli de Castro and Senator Manny Villar haven't associated themselves or their looming candidacies with the message of change. De Castro is or was largely seen in TV ads hawking Pag-IBIG Fund (though it was unnecessary to spend tens of millions of pesos sourced from contributions of members on a tri-media campaign just to have his face all over the country). Villar crows about helping OFWs (about a few dozen out of the 8 million Filipinos that have sought employment abroad).

Bayani Fernando, the pink loving MMDA Chairman, was last seen on TV hanging on the barong sleeves of Former President Fidel Ramos. As to what this signifies is something that I have yet to decifer.

Former President Joseph Estrada is still peddling the idea of running again for the Presidency and it seems that this is gaining some traction in the surveys.

Given the way things are, I doubt if we will have a President like Obama with the way a great number of our people think about how the political game ought to be played.

Politics in the Philippines, for the most part, is not based on values or ideals but opportunism -- which some times is brazen and sometimes is well camouflaged as a sincere bid to help people out.

If there was someone among our politicians who is truly like Obama, I doubt if people will vote for him.

Filipinos in the Philippines love having it easy and having their way (even if it is the wrong way) about things. Filipinos here will vote for a politician depending on what they can get from the politician whether it's a few hundred pesos for voting for them or a job after they are elected or a fat government contract.

(More later, I have to give my kid a bath)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AMLA keeps mum on everything

At the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing today, it seems the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has effectively stonewalled investigations into the status of the bank accounts allegedly belonging to former Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante.

The status of Joc-Joc's bank accounts once again came up as an issue after the AMLA purportedly notified the banks with accounts supposedly belonging to Bolante that the freeze order on them already lapsed as of December 20. But at the same time, neglected to inform the Senate about the lapsing of the freeze order.

AMLC Executive Director Vicente Aquino however said that he expected the bank accounts to remain intact. But could not say for certain except for that their rules of procedure implied that the banks could not allow the accounts to moved in any way unless

Only an attachment proceeding or the filing of a case against Bolante would have prevented the unfreezing of the Bolante bank accounts.

Ostensible but true, the Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera said that the bank secrecy law prevented her from divulging if cases had been filed against Bolante.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama fights to hold on to his Blackberry while Senator Gordon raves about his Nokia E90

It's just about two days before President Elect Barack Obama takes over from President George W. Bush and even in the Philippines, most of the people I know are anticipating the live coverage.

Just about everything about Obama right now draws attention, if only to provide an inkling of what kind of Presidency the United States will be having. On one hand, some reports say that Obama will be facing a 'perfect storm of crises' when he steps in as President. Then there are news items that make the President Elect a bit more endearing, such as a report that says he is fighting to keep his personal Blackberry.

Here's an excerpt from a report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer's site:

Interviewed by CNN Friday, Obama said the smartphone was among the tools that he would use to stay in touch with real Americans and avoid becoming trapped inside the presidential "bubble."

"I think we're going to be able to hang on to one of these. My working assumption, and this is not new, is that anything I write on an email could end up being on CNN," he said.

Why is this a big deal?

Perhaps not a lot of Filipinos are aware of the implications of the Watergate Scandal which caused President Nixon to resign. One of the implications or results of this controversy was that it prompted the creation of a law that requires that records be kept of every communication made by the White House -- including those of the President.

Here's another excerpt from that report:

Obama did not divulge just how he will overcome legal constraints, given the requirement of the post-Watergate Presidential Records Act of 1978 to keep a record of every White House communication.

A page from describes the Watergate Presidential Records Act of 1978:
The Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, 44 U.S.C. ß2201-2207, governs the official records of Presidents and Vice Presidents created or received after January 20, 1981.

The PRA changed the legal ownership of the official records of the President from private to public, and established a new statutory structure under which Presidents must manage their records.

Specifically, the Presidential Records Act:
  • Defines and states public ownership of the records.Places the responsibility for the custody and management of incumbent Presidential records with the President.
  • Allows the incumbent President to dispose of records that no longer have administrative, historical, informational, or evidentiary value, once he has obtained the views of the Archivist of the United States on the proposed disposal.
  • Requires that the President and his staff take all practical steps to file personal records separately from Presidential records.Establishes a process for restriction and public access to these records.
  • Specifically, the PRA allows for public access to Presidential records through the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) beginning five years after the end of the Administration, but allows the President to invoke as many as six specific restrictions to public access for up to twelve years.
  • The PRA also establishes procedures for Congress, courts, and subsequent Administrations to obtain special access to records that remain closed to the public, following a thirty-day notice period to the former and current Presidents.
  • Requires that Vice-Presidential records are to be treated in the same way as Presidential records. Amendments Executive Order 12667
Our own experience with the so-called Gloria-gate or the 'Hello Garci' controversy has not produced similar legislation or even caused Philippine media organizations to push strongly for a Freedom of Information Act.

The Hello Garci controversy stems from a taped conversation between a woman who sounded very much like President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and a man whom she referred to as Garci (gar-see) whom others said was a shorted version or nick name for Comelec official Garcillano.

The illegally taped cellphone call purportedly between the President and the Comelec Official happened at a time when the 2004 election votes across the country were being counted. One exchange in that conversation had the woman asking for assurance that she would win by a margin of 1 million votes. If it was President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, then it would have been proof -- inadmissable as it may have been -- that she had led the whole sale manipulation of votes that eventually led her to win over contender Fernando Poe Jr. by a margin of 1 million votes.

All the Filipino people can show for it is a message from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo saying 'I AM SORRY' which sounded insincere and rehearsed. Moreover, she was not definite about what she was saying sorry for and could not therefore, make any commitment to perform amends for it. There was no contrition on her part.

After the Hello Garci controversy, the Senators who investigated it should have speedily drafted a law that would require the President (and even those in her family, including First Gentleman Mike Arroyo) to keep records of every phone conversation and all manner of communication she makes.

Perhaps, in so doing, we could have prevented another scandal -- the NBN ZTE deal. Or at least, would have evidence that would lead to the conviction of economic plunderers.

Going back to Obama's Inauguration, the masa (masses) or at least a larger number of them, will probably wonder what the big fuss is all about but certainly the crowd (politicians, their staff, and reporters) at the Philippine Senate will either be leaving early from work or staying on over to catch the live coverage on cable.

I just saw HBO Asia's ad announcing that it will be showing Obama's Inauguration at 7:30 PM on January 21. My wife and I have already marked it down on our calendars.

I don't know if my boss, Senator Richard Gordon, will be able to hold everything off to watch the tube for about an hour or more. The Senate will be in session this week, apart from that there is still more work at the Blue Ribbon Committee where he is hearing the case of the P732 Million Fertilizer Fund Scam and then there is the case of the 3 abducted workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross. (It is just simply amazing just how much work he can pile on his shoulders and still make time for other engagements.)

One more comparison I'd like to make between Gordon and Obama is that both people are connected to their constituents through technology. He is actually one of the very, very few public officials you can send a text message to or even call in the middle of the night if you are in trouble.

Being directly in touch with your Senator is a great thing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Get paid to blog. No ads, no clicks. Just money for blogging.

So you've tried Adsense, Kontera, Chitika, Performance Ads, Review Me, Private Ad Sales, and whatever else but haven't earned more than a few dollars.

You feel like you're giving these companies and their advertisers a free ride on the traffic you've built up after blogging your brains out.

Why hasn't anyone come up with a program that pays bloggers in a straight up way for blogging about products, services, or events?

There fact is, one such company already has come up with a program and if you are interested in getting hired, leave your URL and E-MAIL on the comment section of this entry.

Stinky Filipino food can get you sued

My brother Gene who is in Toronto raved about Filipino food when he made a short visit here last year.

One of our running conversation topics all through out his 3 week stay centered around Canadian Dollar conversions of the prices of Filipino food here. For the life of me, I can't remember all the conversions we made for stuff like Muhlach's ensaymada, San Miguel Beer, siopao, barbecue, and other food items. But what sticks to me is that favorite Filipino food, when exported to countries like Canada, really become quite expensive.

Apart from the high price of Filipino food abroad, another deterrent to satisfying Filipino food cravings is the smell of some of the items.

A TV reporter friend, Sherrie Ann Torres, emailed me an article from Philippine News about New York City Nuns suing a Filipina over the smell of frying tuyo.

NY nuns sue Pinay over 'tuyo'
By Cristina DC Pastor Philippine News
Updated January 15, 2009 12:00

AM NEW YORK – It may be a cultural thing, but when you're up against a congregation of nuns and your neighbors in an apartment building in Manhattan, a lawsuit would make an interesting anthropological study in ethnic tension.

The Missionary Sisters of Sacred Heart (MSSH) in Manhattan has filed a complaint against a Filipino-American couple, Michael and Gloria Lim, over a Filipino delicacy called tuyo (dried fish), and its funky cousin, the tinapa (smoked fish). The case is now with the Manhattan Supreme Court.

Reports say Gloria was smoking fish outside her apartment window when the smell – noxious stench to the nuns, divine aroma to the Lims – of the salted fish wafted throughout the Gramercy apartment building.

The "foul smell" was too strong the nuns suspected it was coming from a decomposing body and called in the Fire Department.

According to reports, the firemen searched every unit of the building and were able to trace the source of the smell to the Lims' unit. They knocked, and when no one came to the door, the NYFD came barreling in.

Gloria, a nurse, found her door knocked down and was obviously peeved.

It appears the MSSH leases the unit to the Lims and may have authorized the assault.

"I cook dried fish," Gloria defiantly declared to the NY Post.

The average American may find it puzzling how one can derive pleasure of the palate from dried fish. Foodie Andrew Zimmern, who has been to the Philippines and braved balut (fertilized duck egg with an embryo) and Soup No. 5 (bull's rectum and testicles soup, believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac), might be able to share the gustatory experience.

Gloria was referring to the tuyo, a Philippine staple usually eaten with steaming hot rice and fresh tomatoes. Some eat theirs dipped in vinegar and crushed garlic paired with fried rice and sunny side up egg.

Dried fish is not a Philippine exclusive. It is an essential in the traditional Chinese and Malaysian fried rice along with chopped spring onions, garlic and chili.

Sometimes, it is pulled and sprinkled on chocolate porridge or champorado. Food with a strong salty taste like tuyo or tinapa might be too intense for the morning stomach, but many Filipinos would never leave for work in the morning without having it for breakfast.

In the lawsuit filed by the nuns, Gloria was even more adamant. She was quoted as saying that "she is causing the smell by cooking and/or smoking fish, and she is going to continue to do it."

The complaint appears to divide the apartment tenants, some finding themselves squarely on the side of the sisters who find the smell "potentially dangerous to life and health," and some defending the FilAm family's right to eat their own ethnic food in the privacy of their home.

"This is plain racist," comes a shout-out from a supportive blogger. The complaint says some tenants closer to the Lims' unit have moved out, and that the Lims have been warned repeatedly about the smell emanating from their 16th floor apartment unit.

Gloria, a 30-year resident of the US, denies this. Which side to take, undecided tenants turn to what's stated in the housing rules: Cooking smelly food is not allowed.

The nuns are seeking $75,000 in damages. They made it clear that they have nothing against Filipinos as a people.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno as Philippine President?

Thank God he nixed it.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno turned down an offer to be a Presidential Candidate in 2010 and said that he would be content to be the catalyst for the creation of a "moral force" movement to help solve the country's problems rather than seek the presidency in next year’s elections.

Yesterday, Senator Panfilo Lacson was on DZMM saying that he would gladly step aside and abandon any Presidential ambition he had if Puno would run for the Presidency in 2010.

Puno, thanked Lacson for his endorsement but said:

"I don't want to be pretentious. I will be happy if I will just be a catalyst of this movement. I am willing to be one of the foot soldiers. But perhaps it may not be appropriate to take leadership while I am in the government acting as Chief Justice."

Fine, except for his use of the word 'pretentious' instead of the more correct 'presumptious'.

Nevertheless, what he said may be indicative of the Supreme Court Chief Justice's view of what will be best for the national interest. Perhaps he knows that it takes more than morality to lead a country as morality can always be questioned. Also, if you want strict morality in government, you'd be in the same basket as Islamic fundamentalist states -- think Afghanistan before the US invasion.

Perhaps, also, he saw through the political gimmick pawned and pumped through the media by Senator Lacson. After all, it was Lacson who donned the image of Mr. Clean when he ran against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after refusing to relinquish his Presidential bid in favor of supporting actor Fernando Poe Jr. The ploy (if it is a ploy) would have been aimed at making people remember what Lacson stands for -- anti-corruption, an end to criminality, etcetera.

This comes at the beginning of the year before the 2010 elections when Presidential Candidates (declared and undeclared) are now all trying to place themselves in the minds of people.

If the SWS survey results on choices for Presidential Candidates are to be believed, Lacson is fifth (with 14 percent drafting him as they choice for President) from pole position which is currently owned by Vice President Noli De Castro. Coming in second and third were Senators Loren Legarda and Manny Villar with 28 percent and 27 percent, respectively, followed by Senators Francis Escudero (19 percent), former President Joseph Estrada (11 percent), and Sen. Mar Roxas (10 percent).

Going back to Puno and the idea of a moral Presidency, Cory Aquino was the moral choice in governance, but the years that followed her rise to power proved that mere morality will not cure all that ails our government. It takes so much more.

We've had moral choices offered to us too in the 2004 elections. When Lacson ran in 2004, there were other moral choices including Raul Roco and Eddie Villanueva. The immoral choice was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the popular choice was Fernando Poe Jr., and the insane choice was Eddie Gil.

But were these choices really choices? Did they represent real options and real directions for governance?

I am not saying that morality has no place in politics, the romantic ideal of a benevolent and powerful leader still appeals to me. However, morality ALONE does not make for effective political leadership.

If you asked me, I'd rather go for a candidate with a track record for being a builder of new beginnings rather than one with an image of a destroyer or preserver of a status quo. I'd go for a candidate with a clear plan, a vision, for the country's future.

That's Dick Gordon.

Sure, he isn't in the surveys and the Pedestrian Observer may chide me -- as he or she already has for comparing Gordon with Obama.

Was it a story in the Bible or a often quoted phrase that says he who can be trusted with a portion, can be trusted with the whole.

Gordon began his political career as a Constitutional Convention delegate in 1971, the youngest ever to be elected. He had no political backing (which should have come from his mother, Amelia Gordon) and no funds, but he won and became the youngest delegate.

He didn't run for his own sake. He was actually part of the generation that led the First Quarter Storm and in the Con-Con, he opposed a term extension for then President Ferdinand Marcos. This was apart from introducing the idea of the Philippines sharing control over the US Naval base in Subic, which in those times was considered visionary.

He became Mayor of Olongapo and everybody knows about how his small town became a model for city governance. If New York City had Rudolf Giulliani, the Philippines had Richard 'Dick' Gordon in the very real sense of transforming a filthy and crime infested town into a model city that had color code jeepneys, effective neighborhood anti-crime patrols, a garbage collection and segregation system that was the first in the country, a good samaritan program where all the rich citizens of Olongapo generously gave to the needy, and other city programs that were emulated all over the country.

He became Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman. When he was put in charge of Subic, it was a wasteland with almost nothing in it. After a couple of years of hard work with no guarantees, he turned the former Naval base into what then President Ramos called a new engine for growth and a magnet for investment in industry and tourism.

He became Tourism Secretary with no promotion budget and all sorts of negative news about the Philippines. Instead of saying 'Kawawa naman tayo', he shouted 'Wow Philippines' in almost every major tourism marketing event there was and brought in a whopping 2 million tourists a year by the end of 2003-- straight up from less than 1 million a year in 2001.

Right now, he is a Senator who is known for a couple of important things --

He is the father of Automated Elections in 2010. He virtually dragged his colleagues at the Senate to amend the existing Automated Elections law to make it work and dragged a couple more people in the Comelec to make sure we will no longer have Hello Garci in 2010. He is working to make sure that every body's vote will be counted in the coming elections.

He is also the author of the Text for Change bill, a proposed law that will get 10 to 50 centavos out of every peso earned by Smart, Globe, and Sun and pour these funds into public education. At the current P 2 Billion text messages a day, this will generate as much as P70 Billion in funds that will be added to the budget for public education. This means an end to classroom and teacher shortages, better books, science and computer laboratories in all public schools, higher teacher salaries, free food all year round for students, free medical and dental services, and to top it all off, scholarships for 100,000 college students -- 10,000 of which will be sent abroad to study in Ivy League Universities.
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