Friday, January 08, 2010

Excerpt from Emil Jurado's A legacy of greed and betrayal

When you know that something bad is about to happen to your country, you have to do everything that it will take to avert disaster.  Everything.  
Nothing is too much to give to this cause.  And one of the lessons I've learned is that you cannot enlist the support of people who really don't give a shit about your country.

Even if I know that in the end, my country gets plunged into six more years of one catastrophe following the next under a leadership that is ill prepared and ill equipped to hold the reigns of government, I will fight on with all my strength.

This is not just about me.  This is about forging a better future for my child and yours too.

Noynoy Aquino talks about his parent's legacy and I alluded to it in Asian Correspondents.  More people who lived through Cory Aquino's Presidency are coming out with their stories.

Emil Jurado, in his column on Manila Standard, points to book written by Cecil Arillo and perhaps it would be good thing to actually read the book as it supposedly contains accounts of the excesses of the Aquino administration.

I took time out during the holidays to read veteran journalist Cecil Arillo’s book, Greed and Betrayal, a sequel to Breakaway, his book about the 1986 People Power Revolution. The book talks about how the Reform the Armed Forces Movement or RAM succeeded in mounting a mutiny against then President Ferdinand Marcos, and how the late President Cory Aquino benefited from it.

Arillo’s sequel is about the six years of the Cory Aquino administration. It details the sins of a vindictive regime, including well-documented instances of greed and betrayal of those who catapulted Cory to power in 1986.

The Hacienda Luisita and the Mendiola massacre were also forms of betraying the trust of the tenants and farmers.

More importantly, Arillo’s book also tells us how the so-called “Kamaganak Inc.” tried to surpass the Marcos plunder in scams and anomalies. The cannibalization of so many Cory administration-sequestered corporations by the Presidential Commission on Good Government’s fiscal agents also come to fore.

I suggest the camps of Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Senator Manuel Villar, former President Joseph Estrada, administration candidate former Defense chief Gilbert Teodoro, Senator Richard Gordon and even Jesus Is Lord Movement top honcho Eddie Villanueva get hold of Arillo’s book. It shows that the legacy Mr. Clean is riding on is one of greed and betrayal.


Arillo’s book is well-researched but I still have a few stories of my own that I’d like to add.

Once, an Aquino Cabinet member came out with a report that a Cory kin, together with a Kapampangan Customs broker and a spouse of a former senator, were involved in smuggling activities, specifically containers full of Mercedes Benz cars. Oldtimers at Customs are aware of this.

When this Cabinet member handed the report to Cory, she reportedly just browsed over it and then put it aside. The same Cabinet man was so disgusted that he resigned, but Cory prevailed upon him to accept another Cabinet portfolio.

There was also the takeover of some 37, I repeat 37 corporations, suspected to be that of Kokoy Romualdez, brother-in-law of the late dictator, by the in-laws of Cory.

I know this because one of the corporations taken over was Erestores Inc., a structural steel company. It was founded by the late Marcos’ Minister of Transportation Totoy Dans, who was close to Imeldific.

For the record, I was one of the incorporators of the company. I was founding director. That’s why I knew it all.

There was also the takeover of a motor and vehicle corporation with a license to import British Range Rovers and Land Rovers. The in-laws of Cory used this license to import Simba armored cars for the Armed Forces despite recommendations that they were inferior to US-made armored vehicles.

I recall that when I started to expose this anomaly, I was approached by the PR man of Cory’s in-laws. I was invited to go to London, all expenses paid for, to visit the Simba plant. I refused.

And then there was this sweetheart deal between Cory and Shell that exempted Shell from income tax payments in the multi-billion Malampaya project off Palawan. This still holds true today and the amount involved is P70 billion, according to records.

Cory was said to be very close to the then-Shell president who showered her with attention and flowers daily.

A legacy, indeed, of greed and betrayal. And Mr. Clean thinks this legacy will be his ticket to Malacañang?

Jaundiced Fridays

Today, Noynoy Aquino's supporters have been asked to wear yellow today.

The more hardcore supporters will attempt to get jaundice, hepatitis, and malaria (or yellow fever).


What else is yellow?

Some squashes are yellow and lemons are yellow.

Kamote is yellow.

Men who love Dick

The question is, would you wear this shirt?

Jaguar Motorcycle looks cool, but riding it looks like you're boinking a huge cat

Just saw this picture of a Jaguar Motorcycle over at Mo Twister's blog, the popular FM DJ and Smartbro endorser thinks it is very cool.
"it looks like a damn sexy bike that even I would consider riding on a regular basis.  But when you look at a man riding it from behind, well, it just looks like mating season in the wild."

I don't know if Mo noticed it, but riding the Jaguar bike makes the rider look like he's boinking a huge screaming cat.

If you want to get in on the joke, it's really a Freudian word play.  Think of other words for cat and you'll figure it out.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pinoy Buzz no longer at Asian Correspondent

I tried logging into my blogger dashboard at Asian Correspondent this morning and found out that my password no longer worked.

It's final folks!

Gordon to Noynoy: It's not your face that matters, it's the book of accounts!

Having been quite a bit buried in the work needed to resurrect this blog, I think I missed the bit of news about Dick Gordon issuing a statement about Noynoy Aquino having the largest number of fans on Facebook -- which on the face of it, is really just another one of the many claims of being the most popular Presidential candidate.

Here's the juicy part of that statement as it appeared in GMANEWS.TV:
The statement, released at about 10:43 a.m., was questioning the qualifications of Aquino to lead the nation. “Ano ang kakayahan ni Noynoy Aquino sa local government? Hindi pa siya nasubukan ni sa barangay captain. Even in legislature, ano ang batas na nagawa niya na nararamdaman na ng taong-bayan?" it read.

(What are the abilities of Noynoy Aquino in local government? He has not been tested even as a village captain. Even in legislature, what law has he crafted that has already made an impact on the people?)

It also scored the Liberal Party standard bearer for allegedly being too ambitious.

“How many more chances do you want? You have had in your family a president, a vice president, four senators, congressmen, governors, lahat ng pwesto sa (all the government positions in) Tarlac, but how is Tarlac?"
the press statement read.

"It is not Facebook that matters here; it is not your face that matters. It is the book of accounts,"
it further read, referring to Aquino's noticeable presence in Internet-based social networks such as Facebook.
Just today I found out that GMANEWS.TV came out with a report under the by-line of Amita Legaspi which made a bit of a fuss over an alleged attempt to withdraw this press statement on Noynoy Aquino's Facebook success.

Here the part of that report by Legaspi:
But some 15 minutes after the statement was emailed to journalists, Gordon’s staff sent another message withdrawing the press release, saying “a mistake" was made “in posting the message."

Gordon’s correct press statement, his office said, was about the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) implementation of the total gun ban starting January 10. It was based on the statement Gordon made when he was a guest at a weekly news forum in Manila last Monday.

Having worked in the Office of Senator Richard Gordon, there have been a number of times when we actually released a press statement but later decided to take it back.  This usually happens for a number of reasons and members of the Senate Press Corps don't make a fuss about requests to withdraw certain press statements for whatever reason.

I am sure the offices of other senators have also issued statements that, perhaps upon further reflection or advice, shouldn't be released and these offices likewise have requested that the statement not be printed or aired by the reporters.  Usually, members of the Senate Press Corps also heed such requests.

I just wonder why, in this instance, the editors of GMANEWS.TV decided to run a story about members of Gordon's staff asking for a withdrawal of the press release.

Anyway, whatever the reasons that GMANEWS.TV for coming out with this report, they did so out of what they believe was a good judgment call.

Personally, if I were still connected with Gordon's office, I might have advised that the statement be released and would have found one reason or another not to take it back.

It seems that Noynoy's camp is hellbent on pushing the propaganda that their candidate is the most popular, as if popularity were the end all and be all of leading a country. 

Over at Asian Correspondents, I have actually received a comment that claims that Noynoy Aquino's popularity has unified the country!  Wow! That guy must be on some kind of medication.

Anyway, for the next few months, reporters and editors will be under steady pressure as will the candidates.  PR agencies, advertising agencies, media consultants of all sorts, and even the publishers/owners of the media companies themselves will be calling for "meetings" with them.  The challenge will be to keep one's integrity through all of this.

Below is the copy of the GMANEWS.TV report.
Oops! Gordon's office sends wrong press release

A case of second thoughts, or just a simple mistake?

The office of presidential aspirant Sen. Richard Gordon on Wednesday morning released a strongly worded press statement against rival presidential bet Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy" Aquino III – only to withdraw it later on.

The statement, released at about 10:43 a.m., was questioning the qualifications of Aquino to lead the nation. “Ano ang kakayahan ni Noynoy Aquino sa local government? Hindi pa siya nasubukan ni sa barangay captain. Even in legislature, ano ang batas na nagawa niya na nararamdaman na ng taong-bayan?" it read.

(What are the abilities of Noynoy Aquino in local government? He has not been tested even as a village captain. Even in legislature, what law has he crafted that has already made an impact on the people?)

It also scored the Liberal Party standard bearer for allegedly being too ambitious.

“How many more chances do you want? You have had in your family a president, a vice president, four senators, congressmen, governors, lahat ng pwesto sa (all the government positions in) Tarlac, but how is Tarlac?" the press statement read.

"It is not Facebook that matters here; it is not your face that matters. It is the book of accounts," it further read, referring to Aquino's noticeable presence in Internet-based social networks such as Facebook.

"Cut above the rest"

The statement also described the tandem of Gordon and former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando as “a cut above the rest."

“A cut above the rest of the candidates with their formidable track records, Gordon and Fernando, have committed to make the nation great and make life better for Filipinos so they could find their futures here in their own land and not in foreign shores," it read.

But some 15 minutes after the statement was emailed to journalists, Gordon’s staff sent another message withdrawing the press release, saying “a mistake" was made “in posting the message."

Gordon’s correct press statement, his office said, was about the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) implementation of the total gun ban starting January 10. It was based on the statement Gordon made when he was a guest at a weekly news forum in Manila last Monday.

Ely Maraon, Gordon's media relations officer, clarified to GMANews.TV that they did not withdraw the press release, saying there was just a “misunderstanding" among them. He did not elaborate.


Aquino’s spokesperson, lawyer Edwin Lacierda, shrugged off Gordon’s withdrawn press statement, saying that the Aquino camp is more focused on how to change the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“We just pray that he (Gordon) be enlightened," he told GMANews.TV in a phone interview.

He said he was not surprised with the senator's statement that the Aquino family has had several opportunities to serve the country but failed to deliver.

"Obviously, Gordon will say that. He will not appreciate the efforts of former President Corazon Aquino because he is a [President Ferdinand Sr.] Marcos and GMA [President Arroyo’s initials] ally," he said.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Paid Anti-Noynoy Propaganda

Jose Ma. Montelibano calls Noynoy Critics paid hacks

(This is in reaction to Jose Ma. Montelibano's article on Inquirer Politics and all recent appeals directed at me to stop being critical of Noynoy Aquino,the most prominent one being Random Salt's Open Letter to Dick Gordon.)

A number of lawyers who claim to be part of Noynoy Aquino's inner circle have said that there is hardly any need for them to hire an agency to do PR for Noynoy.  The news media come at him in droves and they say that they actually have to be fended off.

It was also said that there are hundreds, if not thousands of volunteers, ready to make Noynoy Aquino win.  The Noynoy volunteers, it was said would be available to do everything including, perhaps, populating the internet with social networking site users, bloggers, and commenters to propagate Noynoy's message.

I am actually impressed by the fact that every time somebody writes something that is critical of Noynoy Aquino, there is almost always a storm of reactions defending him. 

(read full story)

However, there are some indications that most of the comments are coming from just a couple of IP addresses and one commenter was actually caught in another blog posting comments using different aliases.  There is even one commenter who was apparently smart enough to use some sort of anonymizer  service because the IP address recorded on the blog was traced to a company that leases out scores of IP address.  These guys know their stuff, I wonder how they can do this full time.

Be that as it may, I have no doubt that Noynoy is the most popular choice for President.  As I have said before, even The Center's survey says that Noynoy Aquino is still in the lead - despite losing a couple of percentage points.

It reminds me of the time when Joseph Erap Estrada ran for President, the support for his candidacy was overwhelming to say the least. 

This time around, I don't think my idol Conrado de Quiros will be writing a column similar to the column that he wrote against Erap.  If I am not mistaken, like Bart Simpson, he wrote over and over again that "Joseph Estrada is unfit to be President of the Philippines" or something like that.  Perhaps he'll do the opposite and write that "Noynoy Aquino is fit for the Presidency" till he fills his column -- I don't know if it will help, but I don't think it will be necessary.

When it was made clear that Joseph Estrada was running for President in 2010, articles started coming out about his sloth, his mediocre intellect, his chronic drunken carousing, his mistresses, and his gambling when he was Vice President which was caught by Edgar Bentain -- who disappeared and is believed to have been killed.

The same is happening to Noynoy Aquino as the more critically minded are voicing their concerns and sometimes vehement objection to a looming Noynoy Aquino Presidency.  While some have done so in a "civil and moderate" manner, others opted for the more extreme route in characterizing the inadequacies of a Noynoy Aquino Presidency - some are funny and some are just downright nasty.

Anyway, given the supposed overwhelming number of people who are freely volunteering to campaign for Noynoy, there is a slant being fed that those who oppose Noynoy are only being paid to do so. 

Jose Ma. Montelibano in his opinion piece that basically brands all those who criticize Noynoy Aquino as being paid hacks:
The Hired Guns of Slant and Spin
December 17, 2009 22:07:00
Jose Ma. Montelibano
Philippine Daily Inquirer

It is hunting season, and there is only one target – Noynoy Aquino. It is unfortunate for him that he leads the pack, and it is a hungry pack. Combine hunger with money and power and you will be amazed to see how creative even in the dark ways. Thus, Noynoy has to steel his emotions and leave his mind clear. The further down the stretch it gets, the dirtier and sharper the darts will be aimed his way.

But if it is misfortune that makes him the primary and, often, the only target of black propaganda, it is greater misfortune to those who have to use their money and power to target Noynoy. They must be wishing with all their might that they instead be in Noynoy’s place and be the primary target of lies and slander. After all, the only reason why a good person like Noynoy whom nobody tried to hurt in all his years in Congress and the Senate I because he is the number one preference among Filipino voters.
From someone who did not earn any significant criticism, thanks largely to a lifestyle that did not merit criticism, Noynoy is suddenly vilified by known operators for pay in the Internet and less-than-respectable media practitioners. In the world of innuendoes and lies, the players surface during election period and then slink away after. Every so often, to defend the indefensible, like the Ampatuans whom a presidential spokesperson said Gloria would not just turn her back to, these paid hacks resurface to ply their trade
The fear of players who work in the darkness of AC-DC media, tri-media and the Internet, is to be exposed to the bright light of the sun. For one, their daily lives and the company they keep cannot be the subject of scrutiny. Thus, they become the masters of deflection or distraction, better known as squid tactics. Their mastery is to point attention to their target and definitely not at themselves. If by their negligence they get exposed, you will be amazed at how many people have so many sad or ugly stories to tell about them. And you do not need to go far – just their neighborhood or their work place.

But, who is Jose Ma. Montelibano? Is he any relation to Jack Montelibano, the husband of Maria Montelibano who now heads the Media Bureau of Noynoy Aquino?

The implied threat here is that Montelibano and the rest of the Noynoy camp will destroy the reputations of those who write critically against Noynoy.  I have already been put on the receiving end of such attacks.
Anyway, as far as sticking it to Noynoy Aquino is concerned, there are a lot of people out there with more or less the same views as mine.  One wonders if Jose Ma. Montelibano can actually name names and point out who it is that is being paid to attack Noynoy.

As I've said before, it's soo much fun making fun of Noynoy Aquino.  I wish I could take the credit for single handedly bringing about his downfall, but I am just one blogger among many bloggers who share the same view that Noynoy is unfit to lead the country.

Utak ng Tilapia, I think, is a frontrunner when it comes to really funny depictions of Noynoy Aquino's inadequacies.  The picture below is an example of their work and is reproduced here with the permission of the creators.

Granted that this humor may not appeal to everyone, especially those in Noynoy's cult of followers, its point is no less valid that the points raised in a more serious manner.

Atty. Jose C. Sison had this to say about the Noynoy-Mar tandem and bitch slaps all calims made by their camp that they are out to change the political landscape:
Comparing their public service record, the Gordon-Fernando tandem seems to have an edge over the Aquino-Roxas team. They also generate a lot more hope for that longed-for change in our government. And this is primarily because the Aquino-Roxas team and their handlers in the Liberal Party have also fallen into the trap of engaging in transactional politics, accepting turncoats and trapos into their fold just to ensure and clinch victory. This is not my assessment only. Several readers have posted on the internet the same kind of observation like the following:

“I agree with the article. If the politicians were sincere in their advocacy for change, they should have done so months before, out of principle. It seems they only jump ship when it is convenient, when they already see the surveys. Noynoy seems to be a trapo. He was holding a meeting with Erap at the height of typhoon Ondoy. He met with Chiz. He got mutineer Danny Lim in his senatorial slate. He was even open to meeting with the Marcoses who ironically had the decency to know the implication of a possible merger. But not Noynoy. The Hyatt 10, Cory’s Bulong Brigade, Kamag-Anak Inc are back in power. If Noynoy cannot control LP, what chances does he have in leading the country?” (Posted November 23, 2009 by a certain “selina_burnett’).

“It is indeed disappointing to see Noynoy and Mar accepting turncoats. The LP will be seen now as a party of trapos. Sad, quite sad. I would not be surprised if Noynoy’s popularity slides because of this” (Posted November 23, 2009 by “keener00196).

“How can Noynoy be the candidate who will lead change for the country when he has on his side all the old trapos and oligarchs who want to maintain the status quo? No transformation in our system of governance can happen as long as a leader is beholden to conflicting interests of the different groups supporting him” (Posted November 23, 2009 by nermd).

Before it is too late, Noynoy and Mar should revert back to principled politics and change their tactics. As another reader writes, “Noynoy honesty ang pinaglalaban natin. Huwag ka nang kumuha ng ibang LP converts. Ikaw at Mar lang panalo na tayo. Huwag ka nang kumuha ng iba na makakabawas sa boto mo dahil sa kanila, kayong dalawa lang panalo na tayo” (Posted by noynoyparapangulo November 23, 2009).

This is just a friendly reminder. While the correct choice is Gordon and Fernando because of their strong political will to transform our kind of governance, it appears to be an unwise choice at this time because only Noynoy and Mar, as shown by the surveys, are in a position to prevent the other leading contenders from winning the race and from further inflicting upon us more of the same kind of inept, inefficient and corrupt government. The element of trust in Aquino and Roxas to bring the necessary changes is still there. But if they continue with their backsliding ways, Gordon and Fenando may be the only good choice left for people to realize that longed-for change.

Patricia Evangelista, "Jesus in Yellow" which comments on the Haciend Luisita massacre by juxtaposing it with the Noynoy Aquino political ad.
In a nation where government responsibility has shifted to the media, and calls for aid are directed to newsroom desks instead of the hotlines of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, this sort of move isn’t particularly surprising. A united GMA7 and ABS-CBN may seem like the best of metaphors for a united nation, but it says very much about the sort of man Noynoy Aquino is. Flanked by stars, surrounded by celebrities, content to ride on the waving banner stamped with his parents’ faces. There is no message, other than that personality is king. There are no voices, not even his. His defenders say it’s not the time for campaign—and yet that video rolls on and on in prime time television. You are not alone, they say, but who stands with you? Anne Curtis? Ate Shawie? Marielle Rodriguez? Just recently, Noynoy promised to give up his share of Hacienda Luisita,and yet denies knowing of eviction notices to farmers even while the case sits in the Supreme Court. Laza continues to march in rallies, five years after a bullet ripped a good man away. Nothing has changed, the same songs, the same names, the same injustices.

They say the miracles are colored yellow now—the yellow of thick lengths of ribbon, the triumphant swags of bright flag, the inside edge of a flame on a bamboo torch held up to a camera lens, the same yellow of grass outside the gates of Hacienda Luisita, where a man named Jesus once walked with his father.

Manila Standard Columnist Emil Jurado also registered how he views Noynoy Aquino in "Noynoy’s supposed integrity"
 Noynoy’s lead, according to his supporters, is due to the fact that he is seen as a man of integrity, different from his opponents who are traditional politicians, some of whom have been involved in controversies and charged with graft and corruption.

I agree Noynoy is untainted. That’s because he did not do anything as congressman and senator. I do not agree, however, that it is synonymous to integrity.

Noynoy’s drum beaters always talk about the legacy of the late President Cory Aquino. But what legacy? Are they referring to the Hacienda Luisita and Mendiola massacres, the Kamaganak Inc. scams, the rampant smuggling of BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes at Customs by Mrs. Aquino’s relatives, the turnover on a silver platter of the Malampaya project to Shell because of her closeness to a Shell executive; the mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant which led to the 12-hour brownouts during the Ramos incumbency, and many more?

* * *

What this country needs is a President with enough experience and know-how. The challenges we face are daunting.

Certainly, anybody who claims he is “clean” is not good enough.

As I have been saying all along, the presidency is not a training ground for someone whose only qualification is that he is the son of famous parents.

Integrity is not enough. Our problems are too enormous and we need the leadership of somebody with experience and expertise.

Other bloggers have similarly posted their critiques of Noyny Aquino as a Presidential candidate:
I have to hand it to Noynoy’s handlers. Aside from establishing Noynoy’s ownership of the ‘honesty’ brand, they also appear to have succeeded in positioning Noynoy as the solution to corruption.

    * Noynoy = Honesty = Anti-Corruption.

Of course there’s an even bigger equation at play here, which certainly works to the advantage of Noynoy and any other opposition candidate. It is this:

    * Corruption = President Gloria Arroyo.

Considering the above mentioned equations we arrive at this:

    * Noynoy = Anti-PGMA

And that my friends is how Noynoy is perceived by his supporters. Obviously, Noynoy’s handlers want to make sure their candidate will have the best chance of winning and at this point in time the anti-PGMA angle seems to be all that’s working for them.

While I can acknowledge the marketing wisdom here, I’m still of the opinion that an anti-PGMA stance is not enough. So, am I saying that being anti-PGMA is wrong? Of course not. Nor am I saying that we shouldn’t vote for Noynoy because he is against PGMA. What I’m saying is we shouldn’t vote for Noynoy or any other candidate who has nothing to offer but an  anti-PGMA stance.

Well, there’s really much to be said about a candidate who chooses to be vague or silent about what he really stands for and plans to do for the country. From the time he was thrust into the limelight following the death of his mother, former president Cory Aquino, Noynoy has shown nothing but qualities that hardly qualify him as a leader but certainly make him popular with people who refuse to see beyond dramatic devices. For one he has been milking the “I’m not sure I’m the one but with the people’s support I can be” line for all it’s worth. Dear reader, Noynoy is just playing to your emotions. Don’t be fooled.

At the end of the day, what we’re really talking about here is the country’s future not some telenovela. With that in mind please know that what this country needs is a leader who has real plans and the right skill set to carry them out. If you want to see an end to corruption, hunger, poverty, crime, and everything else that ails the country, demand real solutions from Noynoy and all the other candidates. Let’s base our analysis of the candidates on their ideas and not their campaign slogans and gimmicks.

In Noynoy’s case, all this hoopla around his being honest is just a gimmick.

The next challenge is to actually make use of what are really just the beginnings of a growing focus on platforms -- where the ideas of politicians are presumably articulated. And how do we achieve that? Using the same method we have always used -- hammering in the message into the thick skulls of The Pinoy Establishment (and by "establishment" I include the mindsets firmly established in the collective psyche of the land). One way to do this is to expose the empty rhetoric of what can still be considered to be Philippine "politics as usual" (or at least the part of it that constitutes the standard pitch or appeal to the average Filipino). The reason that politics as usual prevails is because there are no real issues relevant to the ordinary Filipino that underpins these "politics" -- and this is what makes these politics "usual" -- because we don't work hard enough as responsible participants in a democracy to look under the shiny hood of mass appeal and clever marketing.

  • What key concepts underpin the politics-as-usual of the moment? Here are some that readily come to mind:
  • Winnability based on pedigree platforms;
  • Anti-Arroyoism (or more generically, anti-incumbentism); ignores the fact that whoever sits in Malacanang seems not to make a difference to the lives of a big chunk of the Filipino population. Indeed, the whole debate around charter changed was framed around anti-incumbentism.
  • Indignation over "corruption". Is removal of corruption the real issue? For that matter what exactly does "removal of corruption" mean?
  • "Good" vs "Evil". Back in World War II, the "good" and the "evil" were quite easy to distinguish. In 21st Century Philippines, however, "good" depends on who says so -- specially during the campaign period.
  • "Hope". Entire campaigns were built around some nebulous concept of "hope". Hope in what exactly? The prevailing or triumph of "justice" and "conscience"? What exactly does that mean exactly?
That is what politics-as-usual means to me -- an inability to move forward beyond the above meaningless platitudes to imagine a specific, more targetted, and clearer goal for our society; goals that are tangible and whose attainment can be measured. Enter the enemies of democratic maturity and the masters of the art of re-packaging the above concepts -- the demagogues.
It is not only unavoidable that Noynoy Aquino will be the next President of the Philippines, it is necessary that he be elected, and by a landslide. In him lies the ultimate salvation of the country, not, as he in his unaccountable hubris believes, because he will be a good leader who will unify the people but because he will fail spectacularly.
Only when this country feels the sting of a shared and bitter error, only when it is brought to ruin as a result of the people’s lack of ambition, honesty, and courage will it have a chance at becoming a real democracy and a true sovereign nation. Like a willful child who will not relent from playing around the stove despite being warned of its danger, the Filipino people will not learn their lesson until they are burned.
I’ll keep trying to tell them to watch their fingers, of course, because to remain silent would be a disservice to the brighter, more thoughtful ones I occasionally encounter. But I no longer hope to change or deflect the catastrophic course this country is on; my only hope is that I and people like me can find enough of the bright and thoughtful who can be inspired to eventually re-float the ship of state after Captain Aquino drives it onto the shoals.
But then, maybe a man like him has no choice but to consult the whisperings of the dead. Like Erap and FPJ before him, Noynoy has not proven that he is anything more than a celebrity. How is he qualified to lead on his own account, therefore? Heck, any decision he makes will be held up to the standard of his dead progenitors, and anyone who’s had a dead anything in the family tree knows that that’s a no-win situation.

Highly likely then, that we will end up with a president susceptible to oracular whisperings that will NOT come from his dead parents from people who will claim to be channeling them – priests, nuns, civil society types, do-gooders of every stripe, and grifters who know which buttons to push. Niiiiice.

Worse, he is a dynast who activates, quite easily, the sleeping serf in all of us. The magic of his name – evoked by even the noted blogger – is an artefact of that part of our psyche that hungers to be ruled by an offspring of the divine Grail Family. We believe on a deep, subconscious , and ineluctably romantic, level that the name carries with it the promise of greatness and that that greatness will be unleashed at the opportune time.

Maybe we need a leader who leads reluctantly, yet finds his place when greatness is thrust upon him.

No need for proof that he is great, therefore; and never mind the apparent mediocrity. All that matters is the faith that when comes our darkest hour, his will be the hand that will lead us out into the light. On this faith – and precious little else – will we stake the future of our country.

And so, if Noynoy does bring anything back to the Filipino people, it won’t be pride.

Maybe we just need someone who will give the Filipino people their national pride back, to be able to say that they FINALLY came together as one to swipe the table clear of the usual suspects and given themselves a fresh start, by choosing least evil of a hundred evils, who just might be the one they can all get behind in reforming the sorry state of government.

It will be the willingness to surrender reason to teary-eyed, chest-swelling, sentimental faith.

If these are the only qualities that commend Noynoy to the electorate, then I sincerely doubt that he will be worth the trouble.

We don’t need a feel-good messiah. We need someone with a vision for the country and a clear idea of what needs to be done to achieve that vision. Someone  with a set of goals, an understanding of where we are right now in terms of achieving those goals; an understanding of what needs to be done, and the determination to get things done. Will that be Noynoy Aquino?

From the looks of things, hardly.

The sad thing about Filipinos is that no matter how much other people try to tell them that they are deluded about their lives as they are with their candidates, they would still persist with their silly ideas. This is where Noynoy comes in.
Over the past few months, I cannot seem to get myself to understand why people, just like when they are watching soap operas, are in a daze with regard to this whole “Noynoy is our hero” or “Noynoy will be a good president because his parents are good people” crap. How on earth can you tell that he will bring change to this God-forsaken country when he himself is from a political dynasty? IS THAT EVEN CHANGE? People think that he can save the country from turmoil for the sake of his dead parents and that he has an amicable spirit. Like what my friend has told me, indeed, Noynoy is the emotional choice and his way of thinking is like that of Charles I who strongly advocated the Divine Right of Kings. Charles I’s way of thinking I can somehow understand because he lived in the 1600’s but Noynoy’s way of thinking is completely deluded and so are the people who support him.
Every time I ask people on why they vouch for Noynoy, all their answers are fantasy – just like telenovelas. Filipinos are full of dramas and it really angers me to a great extent. What’s even more disturbing is that even the middle and upper class of the society support him too for some reason I cannot and will never understand. I thought it was only the members of the lower classes who were fond of dramas. I do believe that now, it is fair to say that Filipinos are drama freaks, thinking that Noynoy is the right choice.
Let me just remind you people that like all trends, this Noynoy Aquino trend will fade away and you people will oust him when he’s not doing any good just like you ousted other presidents. When that happens, I will just laugh my ass of and say “I told you so.”
My reasons are not so complicated. I think Noynoy will not stand a chance against manipulators that surrounds him. His honesty will be no match to the flatterers and whisperers, whose only interest are to collar big contracts from the government.

His utterances  with regards to the structure and system of government, is not even motherhood statements eloquently articulated. I believe that base on the personality that advices him, the Philippines will have the same banana if ever by mistake he becomes the next president of this belleguered country.

My reasons are simple. I do not want another Cory in the making. I do not want a repeat of the Josip Istrada mestik.

One of my reasons; I want a candidate that would offer a new chance base on a fresh ideas, not base on criticism about the failure of other people. Every administration have been  pictured as the evil and criticism is no longer contributing a bit to national progress.

I am looking for real leaders and good managers.  And Noynoy don’t exhibit the leadership traits that I am looking for, and he have nothing to show of with regards to management skills.

Are surveys useful to Filipino voters?

Don't vote for someone just because he or she is popular.
DJ Mojo Jojo, Magic 89.9

Surveys are useless to the Filipino voter
It seems we are being smothered by surveys, but are surveys of any real use or benefit to the actual voter?
As a voter, what you really need to base your decision on are the qualifications of the candidate and his/her platform of governance - if it is at all made available.

Surveys do not give out that sort of information.  Surveys just say that one candidate is popular at the particular time that a survey is conducted. 

Surveys are actually more useful for the candidate who must know how his or her campaign is doing.  Say, for example, the candidate's survey drops significantly or increases dramatically, the survey data can be correlated with elements of the candidate's campaign.  Through surveys, candidates can gain insight into what elements in his campaign are effective, ineffective, and counter-productive. 

If his survey improves or dips and it is traced to an element like a new political ad, then it should guide the candidate's decision on whether or not to pour more money into advertising. 

Moreover, in cases where the candidate has a very good standing, publishing the results of very positive surveys gives the candidate a psychological advantage over his rivals who may have a lower ranking in the same survey. 

In a time of universal deceit,
telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
- George Orwell

Surveys are propaganda tools
Newspaper headlines and first gaps screaming that a candidate has topped one survey or another doesn't just provide publicity for the candidate, it is gives the candidate an opportunity to project himself as the most probable winner of the electoral contest. 

This, in effect, allows the candidate to claim victory long before the first ballot is actually cast.  By constantly hammering on the claim of being the frontrunner of every survey through the media, the candidate can condition the minds of voters into believing he or she is the "sure winner" in the electoral contest.  This helps create a bandwagon effect, which allows the candidate to tap the support of the less critically minded.

Choices are the hinges of destiny. 

~Attributed to both Edwin Markham and Pythagoras

My advice: BE INFORMED

The quality of any decision depends on how well informed you are. 

Perhaps it goes without saying that if you make a good decision, you're bound to achieve good results. And in order to make a good decision, you  need to figure out what your options are and then get as much information about each of the options available to you.

My good friend Magic 89.9 DJ Mojo Jojo says, don't vote for someone just because he or she is popular.  This is just like doing something because everybody else is doing it or joining a group just because everybody is joining.  That's not deciding for yourself, that's allowing others to decide for you.

As it applies to the election in 2010, it is your responsibility as a voter to get to know about each candidate.
Don't just vote for someone because some personal circumstance that they went through tugged at your heart or because their TV commercial repeatedly tells you that they will help the poor or whatever.

You have to be critical about every candidate, find out if they are telling YOU the truth by reading as much as you can about each candidate and seeing if their actions are consistent with their words.

Get to know more about what their qualifications are, look into their track record as public servants, find out about what they intend to do once they are in office,  see if they've been involved in serious misdeeds in the past, and see if they can present a clear and credible plan for doing whatever they say they'll do.

Noynoy Aquino goes Humpty-Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

(Interesting references to Humpty Dumpty here.)

Rather than adopt a romanticized view of Philippine politics as a fight between good and evil or the pure and the corrupt, I try to look at it in terms of how accrues to one group or another.  Why? Because that is all what politics is about, power.

It's all about who has it and who wants more of it. All claims of idealism and noble intentions are mere propaganda until one actually acquires and skillfully wields the power to make it happen.

It would be great, if like in the Lord of the Rings, one could blunder one's way into acquiring power.  Such is the tale of Bilbo Baggins who found a ring of immense power but merely used it to enjoy a rather long life and accrue a certain amount of prestigue in his community.  It is arguable that Frodo Baggins actually wielded the power of the One ring to do anybody any good, he didn't have the skill to use it and was actually frightened to wield its enormous power. If there was actually anybody worth praising in the whole Lord of the Rings saga, it would have been Golem -- he was the one who actually destroyed the ring, the rest of the characters were too busy with their own struggles.

Those who are quite successful at accruing and wielding enormous power are often the deliberate and persistent sort, those who are almost obsessed with making detailed plans or schemes and executing these schemes perfectly down to the last detail.

Noynoy Aquino doesn't strike me as that sort of person.  In the very few times that I had run into him at the Batasang Pambansa and at the Philippine Senate, he struck me as someone who is laid back and easy going.  He was actually one of the very few senators you can chat up while riding the elevator or walking through the hallway.

Proof of his human-ness, I guess, is the time when he burst out of his room on the fifth floor minutes before session was about to be called to order.  He was in such an apparent rush that he forgot to check his fly and his shirt tail was peeping through his zipper.  For some reason, this is one of the images that keeps replaying in my mind whenever his name comes up in a conversation.

As far as Noynoy Aquino's quest for power is concerned, a lot of people have described it as coming out of the blue and landing with a lurch. It blazed the trail, and actually stole Pole Position from top survey contender Manny Villar, probably because Aquino was riding on the huge sympathy people had for him after his mother's death.  Such sympathy had gotten people elected in the past, as in the case of Pia Cayetano who launched her political career after her father died of a liver disease.

Despite all the effort to make it seem like a well orchestrated move (as if one can really orchestrate the vagaries of the human condition, i.e., disease, death, and sympathy being harnessed to further political careers), signs of the Noynoy Aquino campaign faltering have begun to show and the cracks are becoming more evident as the days pass.

I don't know how much planning had been made during the days immediately after Cory Aquino died, but I'd dread to think that the idea of launching Noynoy Aquino's bid for the Presidency was deliberately and extensively plotted while Cory Aquino was suffering on her death bed or even before that.

Anyway, in my mind, political plans of the magnitude of winning the Philippine Presidency aren't so easily hatched and implemented.  Common interests have to be defined, agreements have to be made, alliances have to be validated, and sticky issues have to be sorted out.  Doing this in the Philippine context is an ordeal that not even the most popular contender can breeze through with, you either sort it out before the campaign starts or wait for the problems to crop up during the campaign and after the campaign -- supposing the candidate wins.

Winning the Presidency, girls and boys, will always be about making deals.  Our history tells us that our culture is a transactional culture, I am not saying that this is right -- I am saying that this is the way it is.

It would be great if you can actually make deals directly with each and every one of the 50 million Filipino voters -- then atleast, the candidate can claim to actually represent the the interests of a definite number of people.  But in reality, Presidential candidates make deals with a very small cluster of individuals who may represent the interests of a number of other people.

Considering the deal making that must go on, the quest for power and the fight to keep power is what drives people to commit evil.

Just this morning, I found some information that points to the deal making that may be hurting Noynoy Aquino's campaign.

First is this article from the Daily Tribune:
There are reports that within the Liberal Party (LP) camp that this early, a power struggle is rearing its ugly head among the supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and vice presidential bet Manuel Roxas II.

That is the apparent reason that despite the lead, which, however, is being whittled away fast, of Noynoy in various surveys, the LP campaign seems heading nowhere.

A valid concern about the current LP infighting even before its candidates do win, presupposing that they do, what more conflicts are in the offing when Noynoy steps into Malacañang.

What is apparent in the developing rift between supporters of Noynoy supposedly led by former Sen. Franklin Drilon and the backers of Roxas led by former Education Secretary Florencio Abad is that both camps cannot wait to get their spoils from the victory they are perceiving to be already theirs.

That is apart from the other factions, such as the usual civil socialite-supporter s in one camp, with the Aquino-Cojuangco group working in the shadows.

It was Roxas who was initially groomed as party standard bearer — that was until former President Corazon Aquino, Noynoy’s mother, died.

The Roxas campaign which tried to run on the promise for an honest government as opposed to the corrupt administration of Gloria never found its wings as Roxas hogged the cellar of surveys on the presidency.

The LP then was faced with the problem of devising a more effective persona for Roxas to make him capture the imagination of the public which included squeezing dry his romantic affair with popular news anchor Korina Sanchez, now his wife.

The LP bet was ranged against the very liquid candidacy of Sen. Manuel Villar, the popular pull of former President Joseph Estrada and the then youth favorite Sen. Francis Escudero.

Roxas was getting the support mainly only from the civil socialites, who were, and still are, to blame for imposing the nine-year blight called Gloria Arroyo on the country, and a sprinkling of the Edsa I groups, including some Ayala Avenue businessmen and guess what? The former lawyers of Gloria Arroyo.

The death of Cory Aquino opened the way for an LP shortcut to Malacañang by taking advantage of public sympathy from her death. What happened next was almost too predictable, Noynoy would have to carry the flag for the LP and Roxas would slide down as Noynoy’s vice presidential running mate.

It did happen and in the process created two centers of power within the party. Noynoy was then built up by the civil socialites as the only logical choice in place of Gloria and quickly it seems the machinery that conspired to overthrow Estrada in 2001 was reactivated and Noynoy was immediately publicized to be on top of the surveys.

Floated initially, through the help of Yellow Army media, was a Social Weather Station survey showing Noynoy getting some 60 percent preference for the presidency. What the report on the survey tried to gloss over was the fact that the survey was undertaken in select regions in Luzon where the Aquinos have a sizable following.

Subsequent surveys showed that Noynoy still has the lead, thanks to the boost from the misleading SWS survey, but at far lower ratings.

The early lead of Noynoy, however, is being taken by the groups within the LP to be a sure indication of an Aquino administration in 2010.

Where Gloria will leave off with transactional politics by June next year, the LP seems to have taken over. Politicians perceived to be Gloria’s top butt lickers have jumped to the LP stable, thus creating another group within the party that will stop at nothing to maintain their hold on political power.

Thus, the LP is now divided into groups madly pulling at each other’s hair for being out of the circle of power for so long and those who are fighting to get an assurance that they will retain their hold on power.

That is happening even before the feuding Aquino forces step into Malacañang. Imagine when they do, hopefully not.

The public, if one goes by the suspect surveys, still appears to perceive Noynoy as a worthy alternative to Gloria, but the sentiment is far from him being a leader but an entitlement for being the son of two national figures who have been made larger than life by the same scheming Yellow civil socialites.

It seems that with a lot of help from his circle of power-hungry backers, Noynoy’s candidacy is heading for self-destruction.
And here's another from New Philippine Revolution:
Reason for the implosion---GREED. Yep, Noynoy's inner circle are acting like rapacious wolves salivating for this and that posts, confident that they belong to the right group and their bet is a sure winner. Their greed has definitely overtaken the Cause. It has muddled the real cause why Noynoy ran in the first place.

For example, I know for a fact how certain members of Noynoy's group barred friends of Mar Roxas, some of them, senatoriable material, from being included in the Liberal party official senatorial slate. Reason? They don't want Mar's old circle of friends there, fearing a power struggle.

I know how some of them, members of Drilon's team clashed with Abad's.

Now, these internal clashes and talks about the slowly dwindling funds are affecting Noynoy Aquino's campaign. These talks are spilling over the public sphere and causing demoralization to some.

And when these verified information reaches well-meaning people, true friends of Noynoy and they write about it, people like Montelibano and some fanatical Noynoy Yellow army members act like they're the sages of old and probably felt they are doing good by branding everybody paid hacks.

Let me just say that I now fear what will happen to the government if Noynoy wins. At this early in the game, his close-in advisers are fucking things up, showing their greed and engaging in petty internal squabbles and power struggles.

Let me put on record that I am no paid anti-Noynoy writer. Check my background. I am not even an anti-Noynoy. Most of my friends are in the Liberal Party and I agree with what they are fighting for. Yet, I cannot say , for certain, if I am truly pro-Noynoy. I am pro-Filipino People and the reason why I write is simply to scratch my writer's itch. And I care for Cory Aquino and Ninoy, parents of Noynoy, whom I revere and salute for what they did for the country. It does not follow, however, that I will blindly follow the son. What people ask of Noynoy is get your thing going by publishing your platform and let us discuss them before the people. Until now, however, no platform, no discussions.

I write to warn Noynoy to take a firm hold of the organization and exercise leadership, an enlightened one.Purge your organization of ravenous wolves and vultures. The "cretins" which Montelibano described in his article resides well within Noynoy's circles. Be a man.

Noynoy's Taliban

When Cory Aquino created the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), it seemed everyone lauded the move to seize all the supposedly "ill gotten" wealth of the Marcoses and return it to the people. 

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is responsible for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the takeover or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them, during his administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connection or relationship.
- Department of Budget and Management
More than 20 years after its creation, the success of the PCGG in fulfilling its mandate seems to be plagued with a fair amount of doubt. 

To be sure, when the PCGG was created, there were those who scoffed at the idea that the PCGG could actually fulfill its mandate.  Those who were very well aware of how most disputes over the ownership of property had commented that the PCGG would be tied up with legal cases for decades and by then, the assets it was supposed to have recovered would have been greatly diminished in value or eaten up by the cost of litigation. Those who criticized the PCGG back then said that it was bound to fail to accomplish the more important part of its mandate, which was to return the ill gotten wealth supposedly stolen by the Marcoses back to the government's coffers within Cory Aquino's term as President.

Of course, back then, these people were either ignored or in some cases, eventually silenced - probably cowed by being branded as a Marcos loyalist, therefore a target for persecution.

In my mind, I tend to look at Cory Aquino's creation of the PCGG not really as a means of recovering Marcos' hidden wealth but as a way to economically cripple the Marcoses and their supporters.  Viewed this way, one could say that the PCGG had served its purpose and nothing more needed to be done.

One very telling indication that Noynoy Aquino will take on a hidden wealth recovery crusade was what he said during an interview after he declared his intention to seek the Presidency.
Justice. We talk about the hidden wealth of the Marcoses, with all due apologies to the innocent. It has been 23 years and there is still no closure to all of this. I don’t think justice is swift in this country, and as they say, justice delayed is justice denied.
This time around, if and when Noynoy Aquino becomes President, we can expect his government not to go after just the Marcoses but the Arroyos and their supporters.  As in Cory Aquino's time, this will be hyped up as a quest for justice and a means of getting back ill-gotten wealth so that it can serve the people, but in the end, it will be encumbered by the same problems that the PCGG faced during Cory Aquino's regime and perhaps fail in the same way.

However, the circumstances right now are vastly different from the circumstances during Cory's time and Noynoy may find himself having to resort to "dictatorial means" to speed up the delivery of "justice".

I am not at all fairly certain about how Noynoy Aquino will deal with opposition to whatever he is going to do to apply "political will" in order to deliver "swift justice".  However, just basing it on how Noynoy's propagandists and allies respond to criticisms of their candidate, I think the general approach would be to attack the people putting forward contradictory views and branding them as 'paid hacks' of the former administration - just like what Cory Aquino's minions did to those who opposed her regimes actions, branding them as Marcos loyalists and allies of the deposed corrupt regime.

The article by Jose Montelibano in Inquirer dot Net may be a sign of things to come and certainly, it's only a foretaste.

One wonders if Noynoy Aquino, in order to protect himself from critical members of the online community, will use the powers of the NTC to regulate or in effect, censor content on the internet.

If you haven't noticed it yet, there are a lot of bloggers out there who are becoming openly critical about Noynoy Aquino and his campaign is hurting so much from this negative blogstorm that he has employed Google Ad buys to drive down all dissenting, negative content in Google search results.

A more powerful means of regulating the internet is already present in an NTC circular that requires content creators to register with the NTC.  I can't seem to access the copy of that particular circular right now, however, here is a blog entry from Zaldy Dalisay written in January 2009 that describes it.
According to this document (I don’t know who the hell created this, he should be the first to pay when it’s –, this will be the fees:
a. Filing Fee : PhP 300.00
b. Annual Registration Fee: 6,000.00
c. Surcharge for late : 50% of the annual registration fee if application filing of application is filed within six (6) months from date of expiry for renewal 100% if filed after six (6) months from date of expiry

In that BS document, you’ll come up with a broad explanation of a “content developer” that includes blogging, commenting, posting pictures, uploading ringtones, and the likes, wherein the person doing it have to secure a license first. Imagine millions of Filipino youtube users, millions of friendster, myspace and facebook members lining up in the NTC office trying to secure a permit, that’s horrible and very unacceptable….lol
The ability to create content on the internet at will is a valuable tool in a democracy.  But requiring people to get a license first before one could join social networking sites like Facebook or start up a blog could effectively stifle discussions on the internet, at the very least. 

I don't know if the circular has been revised to take out any ambiguity in its application, but it could be just as easily revised in order to come up with a more draconian policy which may include being locked out of your blog, twitter account, or Facebook account until you supply a license number from the NTC.

Noynoy: Remember mom and dad, vote for me!

How can you lead the country when you can't even stand up on your own?

Apparently, saying that Noynoy Aquino inherited his dead mother's fans and supporters is a bad thing and it drew a lot of interest -- even from people I don't know if I really talked with in real life but friended indiscriminately on Facebook.

Yep Bobby, Gordon's nick name is Dick -- get over it. And yeah, my wife's fine and the kid is doing great after being a bit under the weather these past few days.

Any way, another person who thought that he should react to my blog entry on Noynoy inheriting his mother's Facebook fans and supporters is Eric Pena.  He commented on my blog and introduced himself as an administrator of the Benigno "Noynoy" Simeon Aquino III (BSAIII).  He pointed certain facts that he asked me to issue a reaction to and here is my reaction.

Point one:
Eric asserts that:

1. The press release form Noy's New Media Bureau did mention that it used advertisements (please read it again!). It isn't using Google Ads (if you find one, please make a screen capture and post it on your blog).
I didn't see the Noy Media Bureau's press release as I am not on the mailing list of Noy's Media Bureau.
Anyway, I found out about Noynoy's feat of having the largest Facebook fan page among Presidential candidates through the Inquirer.

When I first read the Inquirer article "Aquino ahead of rivals in Facebook campaign" which was posted 18:41:00 01/02/2010 under the by-line of Michael Lim Ubac, it didn't mention that advertising was put out for the BSAIII fan page.

A second story titled "Aquino leads rivals in Facebook face-off" was posted later on 23:49:00 01/02/2010 still under the by-line of Michael Lim-Ubac.  I don't know if this was because Inquirer's Editors thought that this was such an earth-shaking bit of news and so decided to ask Mike to write a second story.  Or, better yet, perhaps the editors decided to rework Mike's original article and took it upon themselves to fashion a second one with essentially the same details. After all, it was already close to midnight on a Sunday and it's the holidays for Christ's sake! Have a heart!

Oddly enough, this morning, I checked the first story and found that it now mentioned that money had been spent on Facebook ads.  It now includes a paragraph saying, "Some supporters also donated a few dollars a day to widen their reach and advertise their support on the social network."

Now, there are several ways in which this could happen.  The first is that I simply overlooked this sentence. 
 The second way is that the Philippine Daily Inquirer edited the online article and inserted the sentence.

I'd rather believe that I simply overlooked this short paragraph which somewhat downplays the role of Facebook ad buys in driving up the number of fans on the BSAIII Fanpage.  I can't even entertain the notion that somebody got a hold of Mike or his editors in the Inquirer just to insert a paragraph "Some supporters also donated a few dollars a day to widen their reach and advertise their support on the social network."

I can't even begin to imagine that the GREAT INQUIRER can be persuaded!

So, Eric, my apologies for overlooking this.  However, since you seem open to discussing the fact that money was spent to promote the BSAIII fan page through Facebook Ads, perhaps you can enlighten everybody as to:

How much money was spent on the Facebook Ads to promote the BSAIII fan page?

Of course, Eric or Noynoy's media bureau can say that they don't really know who bought the Facebook ads to promote the BSAIII fan page for them and don't have the information.  If at all candidates are really supposed to pay a 5% tax on all campaign expenses, then this really makes it difficult for Comelec, the BIR, or whatever agency is to collect on the 5% owed to the government.  I wonder if Facebook is aware that they could be party to some manner of tax evasion.

Nevertheless, Comelec EID Director James Jimenez says that "All campaign expenditures need to be declared. Donations must be accepted formally by the candidate before they can be published. The publisher is bound by law to require a deed of donation and a formal acceptance."

How many 80,000 additional fans signed up because of the Facebook Ad promoting the BSAIII fan page?

What I am getting at is whether the substantial rise in the number of people who signed up on the BSAIII fan page did so out of some level of political conviction or did so because everybody else was joining or if they were merely bored or curious.
Anyway, the Inquirer article notes:
The fan page amassed more than 80,000 new supporters in 20 days. After midnight, the 201,000 target was easily surpassed, further widening the gap between Aquino and his rivals by more than 50,000 supporters.

It remains to be seen, however, if online fans and supporters would translate into votes come election day.

All five candidates uploaded photoshop-edited pictures, but only Villar was smiling; the rest were in a pensive or serious mood.
This reminds me of the Anti-Chacha cause on Facebook which had more than 70,000 members.  It was quite active in calling people to join an anti-Cha-Cha rally in Makati and it actually convinced me to join the rally.  I'd say of the 70,000 members of the cause who were invited to join the rally, only about 1 to 5 percent actually came.

Point two:
Eric asserts that:
2. What multiple accounts are you saying? Please present proof!
Actually, it's actually quite difficult to prove that a Facebook user actually made up several dummy Facebook Accounts and used these accounts to swell up the BSAIII Fan Page.

Unless, of course, one actually pore through each and every member of the BSAIII Fan Page and tries to figure out if one account is a dummy or genuine.

Dummy accounts can actually be made very convincing.  However creating a lot of dummies in a short span of time cause the creator to create accounts that have sparse details, few friends, and very sparse activity or almost no other activity other than joining the BSAIII.  I know this for a fact because I made a lot of dummy accounts to boost the number of my mafia members in Mob Wars.

Suffice it to say, I have more than one FB Account. In fact, a couple of my friends also have more than one Facebook account -- nearly all of them are members of BSAIII and they have enlisted more than one account in the fan page just incase one of their accounts gets banned.

Perhaps it would be best if a member of the BSAIII Fan Page came out to admit that he or she actually made up as many as 20 dummy Facebook accounts. Who knows, maybe that person or those persons will make themselves known in the coming days.

However, just because one BSAIII fan page member did this, it doesn't mean that scores of other BSAIII fan page members did the same thing under orders from the BSAIII fan page administrator.
The point is, the fact that dummy Facebook accounts can be made as easily as multiple e-mail addresses is already fair indication that the 211,000 members of the BSAIII fan page may not all be real people.

Like this guy:

I mean, if that were a really his face, I'd be very concerned.  Sorry for sounding mean, but I'd probably call an ambulance if I bumped into him in a dark alley.

Point three
Eric asserts that:
3. If you just check the Facebook page title, you'll see it's not the same Facebook page. The one you're referring to is a Personal Page called "Benigno Noynoy Aquino III". The Official Facebook Fan Page of Noynoy is called "Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III. It even has a different profile picture (I wonder why you deleted the picture in your screen capture)

Furthermore, the Official FB page is a Fan Page. You know what that means? A Fan Page has no way of changing it's name. Not even Facebook will change it for you. You can fact check it with Facebook. Or read complaints from users why they can't change the page name:

Also, the site you're referring to isn't owned by the Noy New Media Team so it has no control over it. It is a personal site and we have no idea who owns it.

The Official Noy FB Fan Page was created in Sept 3, 2009. If I can post a screenshot here, I'll show you a graph of how it started from zero fans.
The point IS whether fan pages purportedly created for Cory Aquino can or is being used to draw people to pages that openly campaign for Noynoy Aquino.  The point is whether or not Noynoy, having no real accomplishments of his own, are borrowing the accomplishments of his dead parents to prop up his bid for the Presidency.  The point is whether or not NOYNOY AQUINO IS ENGAGED IN NECROPOLITICS.

But before that, let me tell Master Facebook Pagemaker Eric that AS FAR AS FACEBOOK IS CONCERNED there is no distinction between a Personal Page and an Official Fan Page on Facebook. 

There is just a Facebook Page and that's it.

Is there actually an option that allows you to can get Facebook to distinguish a Personal Page from an Official Page, I'd like to know about it and find out if there are special options that you can get in an Official Fan Page that doesn't come in a Personal Page.

Anyway, Eric is correct that the name of Fan pages cannot be changed.  So this means that the commenter who claimed that the Noynoy Aquino fan page ( was originally a Cory Aquino fan page is wrong.  Great, but that's not really the point.

But, why does the "personal" Benigno Noynoy Aquino III ( have the Facebook username "cory.aquino"? 

Oh yeah, Eric, you conveniently don't know who made it and can't possibly tell me why the page has the cory.aquino username.  Convenient, very convenient.

"....the site you're referring to isn't owned by the Noy New Media Team so it has no control over it. It is a personal site and we have no idea who owns it."

Then again, that doesn't mean that the Benigno Noynoy Aquino III wasn't able to harness the benefits of having the "cory.aquino" user name to amass 200,000 fans as claimed by my anonymous commenter.

Going back to my point, fan pages purportedly created for Cory Aquino can be and is being used to campaign for Noynoy Aquino.

Case in point is the Yellow Ribbon for President Cory Aquino with 68,268 fans and now carries a picture of Cory and Ninoy Aquino below which are the words "Ipagpapatuloy ko."

Now, it can be argued that the words "ipapagpatuloy ko" (I will continue) are attributed to Cory Aquino, but then again, how can a dead woman continue anything? So, most likely, "ipapagpatuloy ko" is better attributed to Noynoy Aquino and is a rather subtle attempt at saying that Noynoy Aquino will continue the legacy of Cory and Ninoy -- which ain't all that great.

Judging from the wallposts, the Facebook page Yellow Ribbon for Cory Aquino is no longer a page devoted to the memory of Cory Aquino.  It is now a campaign page using the memory of Cory Aquino to get votes for Noynoy.

Just to provide some contrast, the Cory Aquino page which has 177,958 fans (which is oddly about 40,000 less than BSAIII), contains comments mostly about the memory of Cory Aquino.

I think the Cory Aquino page is a more genuine fan page because it drew fans not because it was being actively promoted, but because there was a genuine outpouring of affection and admiration for Cory Aquino during the time of her illness and death.

Now, owning the Facebook user name cory.aquino presents a distinct advantage, especially during the long weeks when people followed updates on her health, the day when she died, and the days when her funeral was shown on TV.

During that time, people were really looking for Cory Aquino on Facebook and so having cory.aquino as a username means drawing all the traffic for Facebook searches using the words "cory aquino".

However, a visitor upon landing on a Facebook account/page/group that is different from the one he or she is searching for may lead to two things: The visitor may still go ahead and friend/join the account/page/group or go to a Facebook account/page/group.

But supposing that the were a Facebook account and this was actually a Cory Aquino Facebook account with the appropriate username, the account would then draw traffic and it would quickly reach its 5,000 friend limit.  Upon reaching this limit, the user controlling the Cory Aquino Facebook account could then post a status update recommending that those who want to friend Cory Aquino can just join a page -- hmmm, like the BSAIII Official Fan Page.

I've heard of the phrase "failure to launch" (which refers to children who fail to live independently even after coming to age), but using your dead mother to gun for  the highest office in the land is a whole new level of pathetic.  If the meaning of the word pathetic had a rock bottom, you'd have to dig under that to get to the new level of pathetic I am talking about.

How can we expect Noynoy Aquino to lead the country when he can't even stand up on his own accomplishments?
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