Life worth living

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Gloria Arroyo threatens critics

August 19, 2006 at 5:43 pm

Statement of Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye: First Family will not take viciousattack sitting down
We demand a full and unconditional retraction from the person who made thatstatement, and a public apology to the First Family.
If that is not forthcoming, the proper charges shall be filed and fulljustice and retribution shall be sought for the damage done.
The President and the First Family will not take this vicious attacksitting down.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oposisyon daw si Kiko Pangilinan

September 3, 2006 at 10:43 am

Ang lumabas sa survey ng Pulse Asia na topnotcher ang mga oposisyon sa mga gusto na mga tao para senador sa susunod na eleksyon ay nagpapatunay lamang na galit na talaga ang taumbayan kay Gloria Arroyo at kasama na doon ang mga taong nakadikit sa kanya.
Ang nasa top 15 ay sina Loren Legarda, Francis Pangilinan, Ping Lacson, Manny Villar, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (anak ni Sen. Nene Pimentel);
Alan Peter Cayetano, Gringo Honasan, JV Ejercito-Estrada, Imee Marcos, John Henry Osmeña, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Loi Estrada, Joker Arroyo.Ang pinakamataas na masasabi nating kaalyado ni Arroyo ay si Sen. Edgardo Angara na nasa no. 16, na sinundan ni Rep. Chiz Escudero na nasa no. 17.
Masyadong maaga pa para magsaya ang oposisyon. Unang-una, may eleksyon ba?Kapag manalo ang Singaw ng Bayan sa Supreme Court, patay na. Walang eleksyon na sa Mayo 2007 at tuloy-tuloy na ang ligaya ni Arroyo at ng mga kampon.
Nababahala ako sa mga pangalan na nasa top 15 kasi, marami diyan ay hindi naman talaga totoong oposisyon. Marami diyan ay oportunista na kunyari lamang ay nag-oposisyon ngayon dahil alam nga nila na mabaho si Arroyo. Ngunit hindi yan sila mag-aatubiling dumikit ulit kay Arroyo kung makakabuti sa kanilang personal na interes.
Katulad na lamang kay Pangilinan, na kaya lang naman naging senador dahil asawa ni Sharon Cuneta.
Hanggang ngayon hindi pa humihingi ng tawad si Pangilinan sa taumbayan sa kanyang ginawang pagkuntsaba kay Arroyo noong congressional canvassing ng 2004 elections.
Ang lahat na lumabas sa Hello Garci tapes at sa mga pahayag ng iba’t-iba pang mga witnesses ay nagpapatotoo sa mga protesta ng oposisyon katulad ni sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta, Sen. Serge Osmeña, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel at Rep. Digs Dilanggalen na garapal na dayaan sa Mindanao noong congressional canvassing.
Anong ginawa ni Pangilinan noon? Di ba “Noted” na “Noted” sila dalawa ni Raul Gonzales na ngayon ay justice secretary na? Kung nabuksan noon ang mga ballot boxes at pinayagan ang oposisyon mag-presenta ng mga ebidensya, dapat hindi naproklama si Arroyo.
Kaya malaki ang papel ni Pangilinan sa pandaraya ni Arroyo at sa kaguluhan ngayon sa bayan. Ngayon, sumasali siya sa oposisyon dahil sa kanyang pagsama sa Drilon wing ng Liberal Party?
Kailan ba talaga yan nag-oposisyon kay Arroyo? Kung suriin ang mga pahayag ni Pangilinan hanggang ngayon, malapit pa rin yan kay Arroyo.
Hanggang hindi siya humingi ng patawad sa taumbayan sa kanyang ginawang “Noted”, dapat kasama yan si Pangilinan kay Arroyo.

Mlaking papel ni Ebdane

August 20, 2006 at 12:51 am

Madaling paniwalaan ang pahayag ni Arsenio Rasalan tungkol sa papel ni dating PNP chief Hermogenes Ebdane na ngayon ay public works secretary, sa pandaraya noong 2004 elections para kay Gloria Arroyo.
Matagal nang usap-usapan yan. Wala lang gustong magkumpirma.
Ito ngayon si Rasalan na kasama sa post-election operation ni Ebdane at ni Atty. Roque Bello ang nagkwento ng buong detalye kung paano nila pinalitan ang mga election returns para mag-match sa mga dinayang COCs (certificate of canvass) na siyang ginamit ng Congress sa pag-proklama kay Arroyo na nanalo sa 2004 elections.Sinabi ni Rasalan na sinabi sa kanya ni Bello na si Ebdane ang kanyang kausap at ang operasyon ay order ni Gloria Arroyo para magplano ng isang malawakan ngunit patago na operasyon para mapigilan ang isang nakaambang krisis para kay Arroyo.
Ang krisis na yun ay ang pagkatalo ni Arroyo kay Fernando Poe, Jr. sa election. Krisis personal ni Arroyo, hindi ng bayan.
Para lamang manatili sila sa kapangyarihan, gumawa sina Arroyo at Ebdane ng isang napakalaking kasalanan sa bayan. Dinaya ang buong sambayanan. Gamit pa sigurado ang pera ng taumbayan.
Ang masasabi lang ni Ebdane sa akusasyon ni Rasalan ay, “Kung may pruweba siya, dalhin niya sa korte. Wala akong alam sa kanyang sinasabi.”
Siyempre alam naman natin kung ano ang mangyayari sa korte. Tatakutin at bayaran ang judge. Tapos ang buto-buto.
Kahit ang abogado ni Arroyo na si Romulo Makalintal, hindi makapagsabi na hindi totoo ang sinabi ni Rasalan. Sabi lang niya, tapos na raw ang prescribed period para mag-question ng resulta ng presidential election. “Nobody can undo President Arroyo’s victory anymore.” (Walang makapagbaligtad ng panalo ni Pangulong Arroyo).
Aling panalo? Kailan siya nanalo?
Talagang maasahang kamay ni Arroyo si Ebdane. Nabanggit siya sa “Hello Garci” tapes tungkol sa balak na pagkidnap kay Rashma Hali, ang election officer sa Tipo-tipo na ayaw pumayag sa kanilang pandaraya.
Doon sa “Hello Garci” tapes Sinabi ni dating Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano na sa isang Boy Macarambon na tawagan si Gen. Lomibao dahil “siya ang pinadala kahapon ni Ge. Ebdane…”
Binanggit rin si Ebdane ni Michaelangelo Zuce, ang pamangkin ni Garcillano, na kasama sa operasyon ng dayaan. Sinabi ni Zuce na kaya siya lumabas at nag-kwento tungkol sa kanilang ginawang pandaraya dahil nalaman niyang hinanap siya ni Ebdane. Natakot siya.
Siyempre ang suspetsa ni Zuce, gusto siyang patahimikin ni Ebdane. Kaya nag-desisyon siya na magsalita. (Kaya lang, balik administrasyon si Zuce ngayon. Kinuha siya ni Edward Hagedorn ng Puerto Princesa.)
Kaya hanga ako kay Rasalan at kay Clinton John Colcol, and project development officer sa South Upi, na lumabas at nagsabi ng katotohanan. Mahirap yata bumangga sa pader.

It's Arroyos who should apologize

August 21, 2006 at 6:36 am

News item in Malaya today (Aug. 21, 2006)
TAGUIG-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano yesterday. brushed aside Palace demands for an apology, saying it should instead be President Arroyo who should say sorry “for cheating, lying and stealing the (2004) elections.”
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye has demanded from Cayetano a “full and unconditional retraction” and a “public apology to the first family” after the latter accused the Arroyos of maintaining an account with a German bank.“If that is not forthcoming, the proper charges shall be filed and full justice and retribution shall be sought for the damage done,” Bunye added.
Cayetano on Friday said a bank deposit was traced to members of Arroyo’s family in Hypo-und Vereinsbank in Munich, Germany, under account No. 87570-23030-32100-6271-571. He said the documents on the deposit are contained in one of the seven boxes of evidence on the impeachment complaint, which the President’s allies in the House refused to open.
Opposition sources said the documents showed movements of unusually huge amounts of money to the German bank through a member of an armed department of government closely identified with “an immediate member” of the Arroyo family. The amount allegedly involved is in the range of $500 million.
Although he was not named by Cayetano, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo (Lakas, Pampanga) last Friday denied the allegation. “Haka-haka lamang yan,” he told a radio interview. “These allegations are just mudslinging tactics,” he said.
Cayetano said in a radio interview: “This is not a wild goose chase because, one, there is an account number and, two, this has been going around in official circles. This is being investigated and is going around not only locally but internationally. So, I’m just giving them the opportunity to clear themselves.”
Hypo-und Vereinsbank (HVB Group) is Germany’s second largest bank after Deutsche Bank with 8.8 million customers. It operates 2,000 branches in more than 40 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Germany, which is part of the global anti-money laundering network, requires reporting of deposits amounting to 15,000 euros or more. (A euro is equivalent to P65.93).
Cayetano dismissed the challenge of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo to accompany him to Germany to claim the account.
“Dapat sumagot sila (Arroyos). Dalawa lang ang paraan para malaman ang totoo dito. Una ay ituloy dapat ang impeachment. Ang ikalawa ay ang ginawa ni Sen. Panfilo Lacson na pumirma ng waiver upang mabuksan ang ano mang bank account na mai-uugnay sa kanya,” he said.
“We can start with the one in Perea street in Makati,” Cayetano, said referring to a deposit at the BPI-Family Bank in the Makati-Perea branch under account No. 661-5-00497-7 under the name of Jose Pidal.
The junked impeachment complaint accused the President of “engaging in graft and corruption, entering into illegal government contracts and criminally concealing her conjugal assets.”
It said the President and Mike Arroyo concealed their conjugal assets through the Jose Pidal accounts and acquired money from the Piatco bribery, the Northrail project, jueteng and as well as the illegal withholding of interior revenue allotments of local governments.
Upon the respondent’s assumption to the presidency in 2001, the complaint said “she restored and allowed the proliferation of jueteng nationwide, and appointed law enforcement officials who acted as conduits in the payment to her of jueteng payola.”
“Respondent received monthly jueteng payola amounting to at least P 1 million per region through her spouse/congressman-son/brother-in-law (Rep. Ignacio Arroyo of Negros Occidental). The respondent used jueteng proceeds to bankroll her 2004 presidential campaign, to finance massive electoral fraud, and to bribe government officials,” it said.
The complaint said that when Arroyo filed her statement of assets and liabilities and net worth in February 2001, “she concealed ownership of various properties and business interests pertaining to her and her spouse, and willfully failed to pay the taxes due on these properties and the income derived from them, in violation of the disclosure requirements under the code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees, applicable tax laws, and the constitutional provisions on the accountability of public officials.”
The alleged concealed conjugal properties and business interests include real estate properties and the money realized from the re-sale of several of the properties located in California acquired and managed though LTA Realty Corp., which include a five-story apartment building at 737 Bush St. in San Francisco; a condominium unit a 1176 Sacramento and Van Ness in San Francisco; a residence at 2425 Tipperary ave. also in San Francisco; a building at 727 Gellert blvd., Daly City, California, and a 24-room building at 151 Austin st. in San Francisco.
It also said that the President owns a 60,758-square meter parcel of land in Caloocan City covered by TCT No. 153151 and titled to Mike Arroyo and to herself.
It also alleged that the Arroyos have business interests in DM Press Inc., Raco Trading Phil. Inc. Trans Realty Co. Inc., Aviatica Travel and Management Corp., Eva development corp. and Pacific Mint International Corp., JMA Agricultural Development Corp. and Alaja Agro-industrial Corp.
WITCH-HUNT
Majority congressmen slammed the opposition for engaging in a “fishing expedition” against the first family.
The lawmakers said the opposition has grown increasingly desperate due to its failed impeachment bid, thus, it is resorting to trial by publicity against the President and her family.
Kampi Rep. Rodito Albano lll (Isabela), Nationalist People’s Coalition Reps. Eduardo Veloso (Leyte) and Douglas Cagas (Davao del Sur), and Lakas Rep. Monico Puentevella (Bacolod City) said if Cayetano’s exposé is an example of the evidence in the impeachment complainants’ seven boxes, then the contents belong in the San Mateo landfill.
“The opposition is just doing a Pandora’s box thing. First they claim to have their evidence in the seven boxes and now they alleged the First Gentleman to be owning bank accounts in Germany. They are just inciting public curiosity to mislead the people that the Arroyos have committed wrongdoing. That is unfair,” said Albano.
Veloso, a member of the justice committee, said the opposition is growing desperate after the justice committee junked the impeachment complaint for insufficiency in substance.
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said Cayetano must be ready to prove his “irresponsible” statements.
“If he cannot prove that, he will be liable for libel,” he said.
Gonzalez said Cayetano committed grave abuse of his parliamentary powers for smearing the President’s name.
“He (Cayetano) knew fully well that for any speech or statement he made on the floor of Congress or anywhere, even if there’s not an iota of truth in it, he cannot be arrested while Congress is in session,” he said.
“It’s nothing but a cheap propaganda stunt,” Gonzalez said.
Presidential adviser for political affairs Gabriel Claudio said Cayetano’s baiting of congressmen to open the opposition’s so-called boxes of evidence will not work.
He said Cayetano could either file charges and present evidence in court or file an appropriate case of money laundering abroad.
“As First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has challenged him, he must now prove his allegations or else raise and donate the amount he claims to be illegally possessed by the First Family to the Filipino people and be proven the biggest grandstander of Philippine politics,” he added. – Ellen Tordesillas,Evangeline de Vera and Jocelyn Montemayor

The noose is tightening

August 21, 2006 at 6:45 am

Gloria Arroyo must be feeling the noose tightening around her neck.
It showed in the statement her spokesman issued last Saturday threatening Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano “full retribution” if he did not retract his exposé that some “immediate members” of her family maintain a bank account in Hypo- und Vereinsbank in Munich.
Bunye demanded a public apology from Cayetano to which the young congressman from Taguig-Pateros replied: “You should be the one to apologize to the Filipino public for cheating, lying, and stealing.”Cayetano said the information he has about the German account is in a document inside the boxes that they were supposed to open if the impeachment complaint against Arroyo pushes through. Arroyo’s allies in the Lower House, however, are determined not to have those boxes opened.
But Arroyo is nervous because she knows the documents Cayetano and the opposition have, came from international investigating agencies, which are thorough and uncompromising in their work. As Cayetano said, “this is not a wild goose chase because one, there is an account number and two, this is going around among official circles. This is going around not only locally but internationally.”
Arroyo knows this because some members of an anti-corruption agency of another country met with local officials. If she thought the case would just end like that of former justice secretary Hernani Perez, she has former Agriculture Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante miserable in a Chicago jail to remind her that things could work against her this time.
Early in 2001 Swiss banking authorities informed the Philippines of a suspicious $2 million deposit to Coutts bank in the account of Perez’ wife and brother in-law Ramon Arceo. The money was later traced as having come from businessmen Mark Jimenez and was believed to be part of the alleged payoff of the Argentinean power firm IMPSA in exchange for a government guarantee for its foreign loan.
Despite the Swiss banking authorities’ report and charges filed by anti-graft crusader Frank Chavez before the Ombudsman, Perez was never prosecuted.
In Bolante’s case, however, the US government’s anti-corruption drive snared him. Wanted by the Philippine Senate in connection with the alleged diversion of P728 million fertilizer fund for the 2004 election campaign of Arroyo, Bolante was arrested last month upon arriving in Los Angeles after his business and tourist visa was cancelled.
Bolante is now under detention while his request for asylum is being processed.
The discovery of the German account should tell Arroyo and her family that there is no safe place for kleptocrats, the term used by her friend George Bush.
Two weeks ago, Bush launched his “National Strategy To Internationalize Efforts Against Kleptocracy.”The White House statement on Bush’ anti-corruption crusade said it was built on his commitment with the G-8 leaders at their recent summit in St. Petersburg.
“At the G-8 summit, President Bush committed to promote legal frameworks and a global financial system that will reduce the opportunities for kleptocracies to develop and to deny safe haven to corrupt officials, those who corrupt them, and the proceeds of corrupt activity,” the White House statement said.
The Group of Eight (G8) consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy,Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United Sates. These countries represent about 65 percent of the world economy.
The White House statement also said national strategy against kleptocracy will utilize US-established links with international bodies and connections like UN Convention Against Corruption; OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the OECD Working Group on Bribery; Financial Action Task Force (FATF); Council of Europe Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO); OAS Mechanism for Implementing the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum’s Anti-corruption and Transparency (ACT) Initiative, and Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) “Governance for Development in Arab States” (GfD) Initiative.
Germany is a member of the Council of Europe. A German company, Fraport, would have a lot to say about high level corruption in the Philippines.
Bunye threatened: “The President and the First Family will not take this vicious attack sitting down.”
‘Di tumayo sila

Ang AFP AT npa

August 22, 2006 at 3:17 am
Ang AFP at NPA
Hindi yata inisip ni Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, AFP Chief of Staff, na sa kanyang pagkukumpara ng military sa NPA ay ibinaba niya ang buong sandatahan ng Pilipinas.
Nagreklamo si Esperon sa report ng Amnesty International kung saan binatikos ang pamahalaang Arroyo sa maraming patayan lalo na sa hanay ng mga progresibong organisasyon.
Sabi ni Esperon, bias raw ang AI sa maka-kaliwa. Marami rin daw pinapatay ang mga NPA, ang army ng Communist Party of the Philippines.“Mula 2,000 umabot na sa 1,127 ang pinatay ng NPA sa buong bansa,” sabi ni Esperon.
Akala siguro ni Esperon excused na ang kanilang pagpa-patay ng sibilyan dahil nagpapatay rin ang mga NPA.
Sa isang sibilisadong at demokratikong bayan, walang excuse ang pumatay ng tao na hindi dumaan sa hustisya. Kung may kasalanan ang isang tao, sampahan ng kaso at hustisya ang magbibigay ng parusa. Ang pagbigay ng parusa ay hindi sa kamay ng military o ng pulis porke’t may baril sila, kahit na rin sa NPA.
Ngunit mas malaki ang responsibilidad ng military at ng pulis na pahalagaan ang batas dahil sla ay sinuswelduhan para ipatupad ang batas. Sila ay binabayaran mula sa buwis na binabayad ng taumbayan para protektahan ang taumbayan. Hindi para patayin.
Ang mga NPA ay mga rebelde. Kaya nga sila tinatawag ng mga rebelde dahil hindi sila nagpapasakop sa batas. Kaya sila tinutugis. At kapag nahuli sila, dapat ay patungan ng parusa.
Ang ginagawa ng mga military ngayon ay kahit suspetsa lang, kahit hindi pa napatunayan, pinapatay na. Katulad ng dalawang estudyante na ng UP na si Karen Empeño at Sheryl Cadapan at ang tumutulong sa kanila na magsasaka na si Manuel Merino.
May nakapag-sabi sa amin ng opisyal ng pamahalaan na sa pag-uusap daw kasama si Esperon tungkol sa tatlo, sinasabi ni Esperon na tutmutulong naman raw talaga ang tatlo sa NPA. Ganoon rin ang sinabi nig General Jovito Palparan.
Ano ang ibig nilang sabihin, talagang pinatay nila dahil tumutulong sa NPA?
Sabi na AI, “Dapat mahiya ang pamahalaan ng Pilipinas na ang taumbayan ay hindi malayang makapili ng kanilang pulitika.”
Gumawa na naman si Gloria Arroyo ng commission na mag-imbestiga raw ng mga patayan. Walang mangyari dyan dahil ang ang utos ay galing sa itaas.
Di ba all-out war ang order ni Arroyo. Tumbukin ba ng commission ang responsibilidad ni Arroyo at ng matataas na military officials? Gloryahan na naman yan.

The killings continue

August 23, 2006 at 7:32 am

As we were writing this piece, news came in that another person identified with a progressive organization was killed in Surigao del Sur.
Reports said Hermie Marqueza, a member of local farmers group Kapunungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Surigao, was killed inside his home in barangay Maitum in Tandag by unidentified gunmen armed with M-14 rifles Monday night.
That was hours after Gloria Arroyo announced in front of the monument of Ninoy Aquino in Intramuros the names of members of a commission that she has created to “conduct an independent probe on killing of media practitioners and militant activists” which has become a daily occurrence while she continues to hold on to her stolen presidency.Karapatan, a human rights group, said Marqueza is the 729th activist to be murdered under the Arroyo administration since 2001.
The killing of Marqueza bolsters the reading of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel of Arroyo’s pathetic position: She cannot control the military.
“They (military officers) have her by her G-strings and are ready to undress her whenever she displeases them,” Pimentel said.
Many of the ranking officers in the military are where they are now because of their active participation in Arroyo’s cheating in the 2004 elections. She has to satisfy them all the time to keep their mouths shut.
Arroyo’s destructive all-out war against the communists was her way of pandering to the military’s wishes. No way that the inurgency will be eliminated by guns and bullets but that will make the military officers happy and wealthy.
Arroyo’s credibility has sunk so low that nobody expects the Melo Commission to come out with anything expect to absolve Arroyo and her generals.
Rep. Teddy Casiño had a point when he questioned the independence of NBI director Nestor Mantaring and chief state prosecutor Jovencito Zuño. How can these two employees of the government take to task Arroyo and her generals even if they have proofs staring them in their faces?
Bishop Camilo Gregorio saw through the trap and wisely declined the appointment.
The Counsel for the Defense of Civil Liberties urges Arroyo to desist from implementing Executive Order creating ‘The Commission to Conduct an Independent Probe on Killing of Media Practitioners and Militant Activists’ and immediately institute the mechanism for a genuine independent probe acceptable to the victims and the public.
“Absent mechanisms to ensure independence, effectiveness and credibility through transparency and consultations, the latest probe body will be nothing more than a publicity stunt aimed at pacifying the snowballing criticism of the people and the international community over the political killings, without any serious attempt to identify the perpetrators and the masterminds behind these attacks,” Codal said.
Codal finds unacceptable Arroyo’s creation of a probe body to investigate political killings without any consultation from the victims and the human rights sector to assure the public that the body is genuinely independent.
Codal said for any investigating body to be truly independent, it must have fiscal and administrative autonomy from any government institution, especially from the executive.
Codal said: “The Commission must have all the powers under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987 including the power to issue summons and subpoena duces tecum and contempt powers, specifically the power to facilitate contempt sanctions against anyone who refuses to implement that Commission’s order.
” The President must assure that any member of the AFP, the PNP and any official will appear before the Commission, and that any duly notified executive official who fails to appear will be summarily punished by the President herself with suspension from whatever position or rank until that official appears before the Commission.”
Codal also said that “the body must not only have the power to investigate the killings, abductions, torture and massacres but also the power to prosecute the perpetrators to ensure that no one will belittle its authority.”
Codal urged Congress to issue a joint resolution calling for such an independent body.

Libel suits pile up as presidential spouse 'defends rights'

August 23, 2006 at 8:24 pm
Libel suits pile up as presidential spouse ‘defends rights’
(This article by Raissa Robles appeared in the Hongkong newspaper, South China Morning Post last Monday, August 21, 2006)
Presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo is a natty dresser and a man of many suits. But his critics are finding out his favourite is the libel suit.
Mr Arroyo has sued or is suing six politicians, two publishers, and 12 editors and writers. Two weeks ago, he threatened to sue three more journalists and, this weekend, another congressman.His critics say he uses the courts as a political tool. But Mr Arroyo, who could not be reached for comment, has claimed his critics have maliciously and falsely accused him of corruption. The claims include vote-buying for his wife President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 2004 poll victory, money laundering, demanding illegal gambling payoffs and influence peddling.
He has also said they called him fat.
In an 11 million peso (HK$1.68 million) damages suit against Lito Banayo, a columnist and spokesman for opposition senator Panfilo Lacson, Mr Arroyo complained Mr Banayo had described him as el esposo gordo (the fat spouse). This description was “obviously meant to denigrate me for my rotundity”, Mr Arroyo complained.
Two weeks ago, Mr Arroyo showed Mr Banayo he was serious. Appearing in court for a pretrial hearing, Mr Arroyo brought along bomb-sniffing dogs and presidential palace guards, who barred the media from the proceedings. The judge, Concepcion Alarcon-Vergara, ordered Mr Banayo’s lawyer to cross-examine Mr Arroyo without being given time to study Mr Arroyo’s 102-page testimony.
“I want to dispose of this case immediately because the complainant [Mr Arroyo] is a very busy man,” the judge said.
Last week, eight policemen entered the legislature trying to arrest Senator Jinggoy Estrada, son of jailed president Joseph Estrada, over a 10 million peso criminal libel suit filed by Mr Arroyo five months ago.
The young Estrada had linked him to alleged smugglers in a privileged speech inside the legislature.
The arrest was thwarted only by the intervention of Senate president Manuel Villar, who reminded authorities that lawmakers were constitutionally immune from arrest if the crime - like libel - was punishable with less than six years in jail.
Last week, Malaya newspaper publisher Jake Macasaet, along with his editors and reporters, were compelled to attend a pretrial conference after being arraigned on Mr Arroyo’s libel charges. All have pleaded not guilty to maliciously publishing a May 2004 article in which former opposition senator Francisco Tatad named Mr Arroyo as “chief cheating operator”.
Mr Tatad, however, was dropped from the charge sheet after he claimed he was misquoted.
Ellen Tordesillas, Malaya’s chief of reporters, was originally among those accused, but she was dropped from the case for unknown reasons.
The cancer-stricken journalist said the case had shown her first-hand how such suits were “really expensive” in terms of time, money and effort.
“I had to go to court even if I had just finished chemotherapy,” she complained. “Law suits are one way to pressure the media into silence by intimidation.”
Mr Arroyo believes law suits defend his rights.
Shortly after the May 2004 polls, he said: “Enough is enough. I think I could exercise my rights after the elections, and one of these rights is to sue people who malign me.”The litigious nature of Jose Miguel Arroyo
August 2003 Jose Miguel Arroyo sues a congressman, a senator and his spokesman over money laundering accusations. Outcome: Case dismissed.
June 3, 2004 He sues the same spokesman for calling him fat amid accusations of vote-buying. Damages sought: 11 million pesos. Outcome: Case pending.
June 3, 2004 Mr Arroyo sues former senator for calling him a “chief cheating operator”. Also sued were a newspaper publisher, four editors and a reporter. Damages sought: 11 million pesos. Outcome: Charges dropped against the senator.
June 3, 2004 Mr Arroyo sues former chief government lawyer for alleging that he diverted tax money to his wife’s campaign. Damages sought: 11 million pesos. Outcome: Case pending.
June 3, 2004 Mr Arroyo sues magazine publisher and five editors for alleging that the first family had undeclared assets in US and were tax-evading. Damages sought: 11 million pesos. Outcome: Case pending.June 3, 2004 Mr Arroyo sues writer Concepcion Paez for depicting him as “crooked”. Damages sought: 11 million pesos. Outcome: Case pending.
March 2006 Mr Arroyo tries to sue Senator Jinggoy Estrada for accusing him of protecting two suspected smugglers. Damages sought: 10 million pesos. Outcome: Police tried to arrest Mr Estrada last week but Senate leaders intervened.
August 2, 2006 Mr Arroyo announces plans to sue columnist and his broadcaster brothers for claiming he was protecting smugglers. No case yet filed.
August 20, 2006 The Arroyo family threatens to sue Congressman Allan Peter Cayetano who accused them of hiding US$500 million in a secret German bank account. Outcome: Case not yet filed.

Mga pekeng nurses

August 24, 2006 at 1:33 am

Hands-off raw ang Malacañang sa isyu ng dayaan sa nursing exam noong Hunyo.
Siyempre naman. Ano naman ang karapatan o moral ascendancy ng numero unong mandaraya ang magbigay ng kaparusahan sa sumunod lamang sa kanyang ginawa.
Sabi siguro ng mga nursing students na nandaya, ay kung si Gloria Arroyo ay nakalusot sa kanyang pandaraya noong 2004 elections, at ngayon ay nasa Malacañang pa, bakit hindi namin pwedeng gawin yun.Mukhang yun din ang pinapa-iral ni Leonor R. Rocerro, chairperson ng Professional Regulation Commission, na ayaw kanselahin ang resulta ng June 2006 exam at ipinagpipilit na tuloy ang ligaya.
Sa 42,000 na kumuha ng nursing examination noong June 11 at 12, 17, 871 raw ang nakapasa. Malaking RAW kasi naibulgar na mayroon parang leakage ng test questions.
Hindi ngayon malaman kung sino talaga ang nakapasa at qualified maging nurse at sino ang pekeng nurse. Katulad ng pekeng presidente.
Kasi kung hindi pala nakapasa ang isang nurse, ibig sabihin noon palpak siya sa kanyang trabaho sa pag-assist ng mga pasyente. Buhay ang nakasalalay dito. Kung pekeng nurse pala ang magaasikaso sa iyo sa hospital baka sa halip na gumaling ka ay lalo kang mamatay. Gumastos ka pa.
Iba’t-ibang grupo ng nursing associations ang nagbigay ng posisyon na dapat kanselahin ang June exam at pakunin ulit ng test ang lahat. Yan ang paninnindigan ng Philippine Nurses Association. Ganun din ng League of Concerned Nurses at ng Binuklod g Samahan ng mga Student Nurses. Ganun rin si Health Secretary Francisco Duque.
Ngunit matigas si Rocero at itinuloy ang oathtaking ng mga 2,000 na nakapasa kuno. Ang problema lang, nagbigay ng restraining order ang Court of Appeals.
Madaling intindihin ang resistance ng mga nakapasa kuno sa rekomendasyon na ulitin nila ang exam. Panibagong hirap at yung mga pasang awa ay baga malasin at hindi na makapasa ulit. At siyempre panibagong gastos yan.
Ngunit dapat nilang intindihin na ang kanselasyon ng resulta ng June nursing exam ay kinakailangan para mawala ang dagta sa kanilang hawak na lisensya. Wala rin naman kwenta ang hawak nilang nursing license kasi kapag malaman na kasama sila doon sa June 2006 batch, duda na ang tingin sa kanila. Marami na ngang kaso na hindi sila tinatanggap sa trabaho.
Napurnada na ang bid ng Pilipinas na sa Maynila gagawin ang U.S. National Council Licensure Examinations, para sa mga gustong magtrabaho bilang nurse sa Amerika. Walang tiwala ang mga Amerikano na walang dayaan kapag sa Pilipinas gagawin ang test.
May rason naman sila. E kung ang nakaupong president nga ay mandaraya. Mga tauhan pa kaya.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bolante asks for bail

September 1, 2006 at 6:22 pm

Former Agriculture Secretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante, who has been in detention in the United States since July 7, has filed for bail, reported lawyer Harry Roque who has filed an opposition to granting bail and asylum to Bolante with the U.S. court.
Roque said his US-based colleague, Maria Carmen Madrid-Crost informed him that Bolante’s motion for bail will be heard on September 13, 2006 at 2PM at the Basement of 500 Jackson, Chicago, Il.
To support their opposition for Bolante’s provisional liberty, Roque said they sent today by courier to Karen Lundgren, Chief Counsel of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the Department of Homeland Security, through Mary Carmen Madrid-Crost, an authenticated copy of the Senate report on the fertilizer scam, a copy of the COA report on the scam, a copy of the Senate warrant of arrest issued against him which is still outstanding, and copies of the criminal complaints filed against him by former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez and by Sinag, headed by Dr. Minggita Padilla.“Ms. Lundgren’s office represents the US Government and acts as oppositor to whatever relief Joc-Joc may ask. Even if Joc-joc’s motion for bail is granted, Ms. Lundgren’s office could still appeal such an Order and consequently, Mr. Bolante would still be detained pending such an appeal,” Roque said.
Bolante has been detained since July 7, 2006 when he attempted to enter the US without a valid tourist/business visa. He is currently in detention together with common criminals at the Kenosha Rehabilitation Center in Wisconsin, about an hour and half from Chicago.
Bolante’s application for bail comes at the same time when his family had just requested “humanitarian” assistance from the Philippine Government to procure what they alleged was “specialized” medical treatment even as he continued to invoke his ‘right to privacy” when it comes to details of of his case.
Roque, who is director of the Institute of International legal Studies at the University of the Philippines Law Center, said they interpret Bolante’s request for humanitarian assistance as a transfer to a better detention facility, a hospital, rather than in the jail where he currently is.
“We reiterate our previous observation that consular assistance in this regard is unnecessary since all he has to do is to consult the physician at the facility, or ask his expensive lawyers to file the appropriate motion with the immigration court,” Roque said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said they are obliged to assist Bolante because they are required by law to help distressed Filipinos overseas.
Roque said DFA’s collusion with Bolante to keep details behind his apprehension a secret from the Filipino people, “should now end since not only is Mr. Bolante’s continued evasion of the wheels of justice a matter of public interest; the provision of consular services to him now means that public funds are now being spent on him.”
Roque further said, “To date, Joc-joc has insisting on closed door proceedings for his ‘master calendar hearing’ because this is where he will publicly ask for his relief, which could only be for asylum or adjustment of status by reason of an approved immigrant/investors visa.”

Ruffy B replies

September 1, 2006 at 5:10 pm

Here are replies by Rep. Ruffy Biazon to comments in a previous blog (The Gallant 32)concerning him. Since the post is already on page two, I decided to post his comments in the front page.
I appreciate it that Ruffy is taking time to address our concerns about his stand in the impeachment.
ruffyb Says:
September 1st, 2006 at 10:02 am
COntinuation….
Spartan said:““BEING TIRED” IS SUCH AN “UNDER-STATEMENT” TO DESCRIBE WHAT WE TRULY FEELS…you get tired by playing baskeball or exercising, or even after “making love” to your wife/partner….but with such BLATANT disregard by this government in (which you are also a part of) to the well-being and values of the “common” people like Mang Pedro the ice-cream vendor, Aling Juana the mag-gu-gulay, Atong the elementary student having his class under the alatires trees whose father was just killed “for being a militant activist/factory worker”…then seeing the same government officials wining and dining, driving Lexus, Escalades, or BMWs….people like me are not just “tired”…WE ARE SICK TO OUR STOMACK, WE ARE ALREADY VOMITTING, WE ARE ANGRY AND OUTRAGED…and, WE MIGHT BE EVEN ALREADY LUSTING FOR BLOOD…the “black blood” of all the CROOKS, LIARS, CORRUPT public officials and politicians who are continuously “raping” our Motherland”
Yes, I guess saying that the people are “tired of goovernment” (which indeed, I am a part of) is an understatement. BUti pa si Mang Pedro at ALing Juana may pinagkakakitaan at si Atong nakakapasok sa eskwela. Sa aking distrito, marami ni walang pinagkakakitaan at maraming bata hindi nakakapasok sa eskwela dahil walang baon at pamasahe. Sila ang mga araw-araw kong nakakaharap sa aking pag-ikot sa distrito habang nagsasagawa ng konsultasyon.By the way, not all government officials have Lexuses, BMWs, Escalades or other similar luxury vehicles.
******************
Artsee said:“Gaya din ni Ellen, iginagalang ko ang pasya niya kahit na hindi ako sang-ayon. Pero hindi niya maaasahan na karamihan ng taga-Muntinlupa ay igagalang siya.”
Salamat sa paggalang kahit hindi ka sumasang-ayon. Hindi ko naman inaasahan na lahat ng tao ay sasang-ayon sa akin. Sabi nga “you cannot please everyone.” Lahat tayo may sumasang-ayon at sumasalungat sa atin. Kahit nga ang Panginoon meron pa ring sumasalungat.
Ganun din sa paggalang. Hindi lahat ng tao gagalangin tayo. Meron at merong hindi magbibigay galang, kahit na sinabi ng Panginoon na mahalin at galangin ang bawat isa. Sa mga debate sa impeachment nga, pinakita ng ilang kongresista kung paano makipag-debate ng walang galang.
*******************
Spartan said:“artsee, ang susunod na eleksyon sa Muntinlupa ay mahirap maging basehan kung “mahuhusgahan” ng ng TAMA ang mga politikong “lantad na kaanib” at “tagong-kaanib” nina gloria. Ang lugar na ito ay “balwarte” ni toting bunye, at katulad din ng “nabanggit” ni Kagalang-galang na Representate de Kamara R. Biazon, andito din ang mga ELITISTA, may napakalaking Mall si Tabako diyan, andyan din ang mga gusali at opisina ng mga “big-time realtors” tulad ng Presidente ng Senado ngayon, iyong mga nasa “masa level” na ang karamihan ay naninirahan sa baybayin ng Laguna de Bay, tulad ng Bayanan…marami duon ay masasabing mga “paboritong papirmahin” ni Lambino ng SInGAW NG BAYAN, na sa halagang P500 o kaban ng bigas at kahon ng noodles ay handa nang humawak ng ballpen o isawsaw sa tinta ang “hinlalaki” at ibenta na ang kanilang “PRINSIPYO POLITIKAL”…aanhin nga naman ang politika kung KUMAKALAM ang kanilang mga sikmura.”
In 2001, I ran and won under the banner of the opposition (and I served my whole first term as a member of the opposition in the House). My opponent then was incumbent Congressman Toting Bunye. Prior to serving as Congressman, he served 3 terms as elected mayor and 1 term as OIC-Mayor (after the Edsa 1). Ever since he assumed the post as mayor in 1986, his service was uninterrupted and his ticket always won. In that election, the incumbent Mayor was his long-time running mate, vicemayor to him when he was mayor. All the councilors and the barangay captains were with them.
His affiliation and affinity with former Pres. Ramos was definitely instrumental in keeping him in power. In 2001, he was the GMA adminsitration’s candidate, having been a key player in the Estrada impeachment in the House.
The area where Spartan calls “elitistas” was Bunye’s bailiwick, since he had a long standing relationship with them, and, being a former BPI executive, was supported by the professionals and upper class.
When I ran in 2001, all the odds were against me. In fact, the only person who had confidence I would win was my wife. My parents and my inlaws did not think I would win, along with some other well-meaning friends.
In spite of all the odds, I won handily over my opponent, so convincingly that he did not even file a protest (of course, his sportsmanship is one that may be commended).
In 2004, I was once again up against an administration candidate, both local and national. But I won with the biggest vote that any candidate has ever recevied in Muntinlupa’s history, including the biggest lead over my opponent.
This inspite of the fact that I was involved in the Davide Impeachment (which the civil-society sector took against me), my stand on Reproductive Health (which the Catholic church strongly campaigned against) and my joining the Liberal PArty (which then allied itself with the GMA administration, an issue that the Pro-Erap/FPJ were agitated about).
My votes were overwhelming from all classes and all genders, cutting across political persuasions and religions.
I say this not to brag but just to put into proper perspective how the voters in my district decide on who to support.
I believe I was able to achieve those successes because I did the basic thing that people expect from their government — I CONSULT with them directly, I LISTEN to what they have to say (whether it is praise or crticism ), I tell them the TRUTH about issues and reasons for my stand on those issues, I ACCEPT any wrongdoing and ask for their indulgence, forgiveness and understanding, and I DELIVER what I promise.
It does not concern me whether I win in the next election or not. I can always go back to private life and leave in peace minding my own business rather than be stressed and abuse my health or prematurely grow old worrying about my district’s and the nation’s affairs.
What matters is that in the end, I can face my Creator and confidently tell him that I have done my job sincerely and to the best of my ability. I’m not so much concerned about pleasing men than pleasing God. I know that if I serve the people in accordance to His Will, I will not go wrong with Him and it will not matter what people will say. After all, people have their own prejudices and faults, just as I have my own. God is the only judge we have that will not make a mistake (with all due repsects to people out there who ahve different religious beliefs).
Just like what Allan peter Cayetano said, ang takot ko ay nasa Diyos.
***************
Artsee said:“Kung tutoo ang mga sinabi mo tungkol sa galaw ng pulitka sa Muntinlupa at balwarte ng Malacanang, di lalong na-confirm kung bakit hindi sumipot si Ruffyb dahil nga sa influence at pressure mula sa mga makapangyarihan taong binanggit mo.”
Siguro sa paliwanag ko sa itaas, masasabing mali ang conlcusion na ito.
There is absolutely no pressure or influence on my decision. Whenever I am faced with a difficult political decision, I always isolate myself from people who may try to exert influence or pressure, not even my father. He knows that because that’s how he trained me. To make firm decisions based on conviction. The best decisions are not necessarily based on wisdom. The best decision is one that is based on one’s conviction because it is one that you can live with for the rest of your life. Poeple have made wise decisions but lacked conviction. In teh end, they are not sure if they did the right thing, in spite of the wisdom.
In the stand, I made on this recent impeachment, no one influenced or pressured me. NOt my Liberal Party mates, not the memebrs of teh opposition or administration, not my parents, not even my wife, who is my most important confidante and adviser.
********************
norpil said”“silence will always mean yes to status quo. impeachement voting is finished and to borrow some hated persons words, let us go forward, i.e., to the next battlefield.. what does cong biazon think about chacha.”
I don’t my consider my absence during the vote as silence. There is a saying that sometimes the loudest message is the unspoken word. My absence was noted not by a few people. When the questions were asked, that was when I explained that it was an act of protest to the process that was pre-decided and served as an obstacle to truth.
Liek I said, just because we fight battles differently doesn’t mean we’re not on the same side.
With regard to Chacha, I agree that there are amendments that need to be done on the present constitution.
But with regard to the present move the amend or change the constitution, this is my position:
1. I disagree to the reason being given –the main reason being used for the present drive to change charter is that the rpesent system is supposedly the cause of our misery as a nation. I disagree. It’s the people runnning the system that’s to blame. If we change the sytem without pointing out the faults of those running the system, those faults will simply be carried over to the next system.
2. I disagree with the methods being used—-the People’s Initiative as pushed by Sigaw ng Bayan isa farce. It is not the people who are pushing for this but just the Politicians. (P.I. nila ito). In my district, the overwhelming sentiment is against it, and the signatures were either forged or the people were duped into signing it. Besides, the Supreme Court already said the law is insufficient to do the PI, and yet they insist on it. With the CON-ASS (voting as one version), I think it is the height of arrogance to simply ignore the Senate, especially since the present constitution’s spirit is that of bicameralism.
3. I disagree with the timing —- I believe that the correct time in doing a charter emendment or revision is during a time of political peace. Right now, the poltiical atmosphere is highly charged primarily because there are many unanswered fundamental issues. If we proceed with a chrater change at this time, we will only end up with the constitution that will be owned by a particular political party.
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Artsee said:“Basta ang mas importante ang mga susunod niyang gagawin. Kapag ang kanyang mga kilos ay pabor kay tiyanak at hindi para sa opposition at mamamayan, di puwede na natin siyang husgahan at sabihin isa siyang traidor.”
Nauunawaan ko ang nasa isipan ni artsee. Ngunit tanong ko lang, sino ba ang nasa lugar upang humusga kung ano ang pabor lamang kay gma at ano ang para sa mamamayan at oposisyon?
Halimbawa, may programa ng pabahay si gma para sa mga nakatira sa riles ng muntinlupa na aalisin para sa paggawa ng southrail…magiging laban ba sa oposisyon at sa mamamayan na nakatira sa riles kung ako ay mag-cooperate upang maisagawa ang proyektong ito?
O dapat ko bang harangin ang proyekto dahil si GMA ay magkakaroon ng political mileage dito, at hayaan ko munang manirahan ang mga mamamayan sa ilalim ng panganib na masagasaan ng tren ang kanilang mga anak sa pagpasok sa eskwela? Magtiis ba muna sila sa slum areas na may araw araw na bantang sila ay magkasakit ng dengue, cholera, tuberculosis at iba pang mga malubhang sakit? Sino ang magpapagamot sa kanila?
******************************
Myrna said:
“I hope Cong Ruffy won’t take offence if I ask him what his stand or opinion is on the threat of Mike Pidal to file complaint against Cong Cayetano with the ethics committee, and probably expel him”
I don’t see any reason why I would take offence to this question.
I think there is no reason for Rep. Cayetano to expelled or even sanctioned by the COmmittee on Ethics. There is absolutely no reason for him to resign. Rep. Cayetano is working in behalf of the Filipino people who are demanding answers to these questions, which will not be answered by a complaint filed in the COmmittee on Ethics by the First Gentleman.
Sagutin na lamang ang tanog.
*********************
Spartan said:“I just finished watching the tv series of a Story How Singapore Came To Be…Lee Kuan Yew, he may also not be perfect…but by God, if the Philippines could have “someone” like him…I would believe “that miracles do exist”. Would it not be “plausible” to have someone like Lee Kuan Yew in our Philippine politics Honorable Congressman R. Biazon?”
Yes, I believe it is plausible. But it depends not just on the politicians but on the people as well.
FIrst, politicians come from the ranks of the people. We must prove that politicians are not reflections of society itself. Inother words, that corrupt politicians are bred from a corrupt society.
I agree that many polticians nowadays are a bane to the people. But I just request that the people should refrain from lumping all politicians together as a “bunch of crooks”. there are good politicians out there. Let;s not make them collateral damage in our effort to weed out the bad politicians.
If we continue to brand all politicians as bad, how can we expect the sincere members of society to stand up and join the ranks of public officials? Kung matino kang tao, ayaw mo mabilang sa hanay ng mga tinatawag na kawatan.
Who will then be left to serve the nation? Only the thick-skinned and insensitive will have the guts to be in public office. We would have turned away those with potential to be serve sincerely.
*******************
Artsee said:“Hindi ko aasahan na sagutin ni Cong. Biazon ang komento ko dito uli dahil sa lahat na pumuna sa kanya, ako lang yata ang hindi niya kursunada. Pero salamat din sa nauna niyang mga sagot sa akin.”
I do not knnow how artsee got his idea that I don;t like him. I answered all his questions politely, didnt I?
***************
Artsee said:“Binanggit niya na wala naman siya pakinabang sa mga sumusulat dito dahil baka hindi pa nga tayo sa lugar niya. Ibig sabihin kung hindi tayo botante, bakit niya sasayangin ang kanyang oras dito. Pero Mr. Congressman, palagi ka bang magiging Congressman lang? Hindi ka ba gagaya sa father mo na naging Senador? Siguro naman may ambition ka rin maging Senador balang araw at baka Presidente pa. Kaya ngayon pa lang ay tratuhin mo sana ng pantay ang lahat ng tao..ke botante mo o hindi.”
You are correct. I won’t be congressman the rest of my life. I may choose to give up after this term. I might follow my immigrant brother to canada. Yes, I won’t be congressman forever. Yes, I might also be senator, if God wills it.
But just like my fahter said, “Have a vision, not ambition. Vision will give you a reason to serve. Ambition will just make you a hostage of it.”
******************
Diego K. Guerrero said:“The hall of congress is the battleground in case of impeachment complaint against illegitimate President Gloria Arroyo. Pro and anti impeachment congressmen can be compared as “soldiers” in the battlefield. Deserters in the military are executed on the spot. Desertion or intentional abandonment is a serious crime. I think Rep. Raffy Biazon intentionally abandoned his beleaguered comrades in the impeachment deliberations and voting. Where are you Honorable Rep. Raffy Biazon when your comrades needed your support or help? Bakit may sakit ka noon? Non-participation or boycott may only benefits “superior GMA evil forces”. A negative vote can make a big difference in congressional proceedings. The Filipino people want to hear your stand against kleptocracry, election fraud and abuse of power in the impeachment proceedings. I know a tough then Marine Colonel Rodolfo Biazon who stand his ground against R.A.M. superior forces in a failed December 1989 coup d’état. He is a real hero and saver of democracy.”
Sorry, you are incorrect in saying that I was sick on that day. I never said I was sick.
IN order to cut short this reply, I would like to refer you to my blog where I explained my position. If you really want to know the reasons, I suggest you read it. Unless, of course, you’re just taking a pot shot at me. Then, I welcome your posts here.
By the way, please leave my father out of the issues against me. I am my own man and he is his own.
My blog:
http://ruffybiazon.blogspot.com/

Even if ..it appears

September 1, 2006 at 8:32 am
Now that the Commission on Elections has dismissed the petition of Malacañang’s Singaw ng Bayan to verify the signatures they had resourcefully gathered to change the Constitution through People’s Initiative, the next battleground is the Supreme Court.
Nobody was actually surprised at the Comelec decision. The Counsels for the Defense of Liberties, one of those who opposed Singaw’s petition, said last week: “According to the game plan of pro-Chacha advocates, Sigaw will file a petition with the Comelec which will immediately dismiss it due to the permanent injunction, so that Sigaw can immediately go up to the Supreme Court. They then expect the Supreme Court to immediately abandon Santiago vs. Comelec and hastily allow the setting of a plebiscite without any opportunity for opposition.”
I saw last Tuesday on “Strictly Politics” election lawyer Leila de Lima say the same thing.In fact, Cha-cha oppositors are alarmed by the part of the Comelec decision which said that they were enjoined by the SC decision from entertaining Singaw’s petition, “even if …it appears” that the signatures gathered satisfy the requirements for a People’s Initiative.
The exact words are:
“Thus, even if the signatures in the instant Petition appear to meet the required minimum per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district is represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein, still the Petition cannot be given due course since the Supreme Court categorically declared RA 6735 as inadequate to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution.
“This Commission is not unmindful of the transcendental importance of the right of the people under a system of initiative. However, neither can we turn a blind eye to the pronouncement of the High Court that in the absence of a valid enabling law, this right of the people remains nothing but an “empty right” , and that this Commission is permanently enjoined from entertaining, or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to the Constitution.”
Comelec chair Benjamin Abalos was irritated by the questioning of ANC’s Pia Hontiveros and Tony Velasquez on that “even if… it appears” phrase. In his convoluted explanation, it appears that Comelec is giving Cha-cha proponents the needed tool to convince the Supreme Court to reverse its 1997 decision.
Asked if by saying “even if… it appears” the Comelec took cognizance of the signatures submitted by Singaw, Abalos annoying replied, “If I say, ‘Even if you are ugly, I love you’, does it mean you are ugly?”
It looks like this is indeed going to be ugly.
Cha-cha proponents have reason to be optimistic that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban would reverse the 1997 Supreme Court decision penned by Justice Hilario Davide which granted the petition of Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alexander Padilla, and Maria Isabel Ongpin against Comelec and Pirma (People’s Initiative for Reforms, Modernization and Action).
The High Court said: “The Comelec should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to the constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.”
In that decision, Panganiban had a separate and concurring opinion. He said he agreed with Davide that the Comelec acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining the “initiatory” petition of Jesus Delfin, one of Pirma’s founders.
“Until and unless an initiatory petition can show the required number of signatures – in this case, 12 percent of all the registered voters in the Philippines with at least 3 percent in every legislative district – no public funds, may be spent and no government resources may be used in an initiative to amend the Constitution. Verily, the Comelec cannot even entertain any petition absent such signature,” Panganiban said.
Panganiban, however, disagreed with Davide in his opinion that there is no law implementing People’s Initiative. Davide had said RA 6735, an act providing for a system of initiative and referendum and appropriating funds therefore, is “incomplete, inadequate, or wanting in essential terms and conditions insofar as initiative on amendments to the Constitution is concerned.”
Panganiban said: “While RA 6735 may not be a perfect law, it was – as the majority openly concedes – intended by the legislature to cover and, I respectfully submit, it contains enough provisions to effectuate an initiative on the Constitution.”
Panganiban also dissented with the majority’s opinion that Comelec Resolution No. 2300, “insofar as it prescribes rules and regulations on the conduct of initiative on amendments to the Constitution, is void.”
Panganiban said: “I respectfully submit that taken together and interpreted properly and liberally, the Constitution (particularly Art. XVII, Sec. 2), RA 6735 and Comelec Resolution 2300 provide more than sufficient authority to implement, effectuate and realize our people’s power to amend the Constitution.”
“With all due respect, I find the majority’s position all too sweeping and all too extremist. It is equivalent to burning the whole house to exterminate the rats, and to killing the patient to relive him of pain. What Citizen Delfin wants the Comelec to do we should reject. But we should not thereby preempt any future effort to exercise the right of initiative correctly and judiciously. The fact that the Delfin Petition proposes a misuse of initiative does not justify a ban against its proper use. Indeed, there is a right way to do the right thing at the right time and for the right reason,” Panganiban said.
Since Abalos’ Comelec said the signatures submitted by Singaw even if it contained signatures of the dead and those in prison, “appears…to satisfy the requirements” of the law, would Panganiban’s Supreme Court declare it the “right way to do the right thing at the right time and for the right reason”?

Comelec junks Sigaw petition

August 31, 2006 at 2:30 pm

As expected by many, Comelec dismissed the petition of Sigaw ng Bayan to verify signatures they have gathered via their spurious version of People’s Initiative to amend the Constitution
The Commission on Elections denied Thursday the Malacañan-backed people’s initiative petition filed by Sigaw ng Bayan Movement and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, ABS-CBN News reported.
“We are therefore constrained not to entertain or give due course to…the petition,” the COMELEC en banc said in its decision.
The announcement was made shortly before noon, hours after the en banc session started.
Go to ABS-CNN website for the rest of the story. Click here.
The ball is now dribbled to the Supreme Court.

Patuloy ang swerte ni Jocjoc

« X for Erap docu
Comelec junks Sigaw petition »
August 31, 2006 at 8:57 am
Talagang sinuswerte itong si Jocjoc Bolante.
Sabi ni Executve Secretary Eduardo Ermita at ng Department of Foreign Affairs, kailangan raw tulungan si Bolante at asikasuhin at kanyang hinihinging “humanitarian assistance.”
Humingi si Bolante, na ngayon ay nakakulong sa Kenosha, Wisconsin sa Philippine Embassy sa Washington D.C. na makipag-usap sa Amerika para raw mabigyan siya ng “medical assistance.”Nang inaresto siya sa Los Angeles airport dahil sa pagtangkang pumasok sa Amerika sa paso ng visa noong July 7, ayaw niyang tulungan siya ng Philippine Consulate doon. Sabi niya kailangan raw respetuhin ang kanyang “privacy” at kung sino raw ang lumabag noon, kakasuhan niya.
Ayaw niya kasi mapag-usapan at mabulatlat ang kaso niya. Alam natin na kaya si Bolante ay nagliliwaliw sa ibang bansa dahil aya niyang umuwi dito sa Pilipinas kung saan may warrant of arrest galing sa Senado kaugnay sa imbestigasyon tungkol sa P728 milyon na fertilizer fund.
Lumabas kasi sa imbestigasyon sa pamamahala ni Bolante, ginamit ang P728 milyon at iba pang pera na umabot sa P3 bilyon na nakalaan para sa magsasaka sa kampanya ni Arroyo noong 2004 elections.
Siyempre protektado nina Arroyo si Bolante, na matalik na kaibigan ni Mike Arroyo. Napabalita na humihingi si Bolante ng asylum sa U.S. dahil isisp niya hina-hunting siya ng New People’s Army. May balita rin na nag-apply siya ng investor’s visa.
Sabi ni Harry Roque, abogado at professor sa Univeristy of the Philippines na nagsampa ng oposisyon sa korte sa Amerika sa pagbigay ng asylum kay Bolante: “Ang saya ni Joc-Joc. Habang ang libo-libong Pilipino ay nagtitiis sa hindi makataong kulungan sa iba’t-ibang parte ng mundo, gusto niya ay special treatment.”
Unang-una, sabi ni Roque, may mga doctor ang Kenosha detention center.
Pangalawa, kung walang tiwala si Bolante sa mga doctor sa Kenosha, ang solusyon doon ay sabihan niya ang kanyang mga mamahaling abogado na bigyan siya ng kailangan niyang medical assistance. Hindi dapat Philippine Embassy, na ginagastusan ng Filipino taxpayers , ang dapat gumastos sa kanya.
Pangatlo, hindi maaring kagustuhan lang ni Bolante ang masusunod. Kung gusto niya ang tulong ng embassy, kailangan rin sasabihin niya lahat ang tungkol sa kaso niya sa embassy officials. Iyan ang kapalit ng gastas ng taumbayan sa pag-tulong sa kanya.
Pang-apat, dapat asikasuhin ng embassy na ma-deport si Bolante pabalik dito sa Pilipinas para madala siya sa hustisya.
Ang gusto ni Bolante ngayon ay lalakarin ng Philippine Embassy na makalabas siya sa kulungan at titira sa isang hospital o isang lugar na bakasyunan.
Hindi naman nakapagtataka na pinagbibigyan ng Malacañang.Gagamitin na naman ang ating embassy at pera ng taumbayan para sa pag-protekta ng mga lumalabag sa batas.

X for Erap docu

August 30, 2006 at 10:00 am
X for Erap docu
X or “disapproved for airing on television.” That’s the final verdict of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board on the docummentary on former President Estrada’s life titled “Ang Mabuhay Para sa Masa.”
You can view the movie at www.erap.ph.
I don’t know how to post it here. But I’ll find a way. Meanwhile click here.

Sigaw's devious gameplan

August 30, 2006 at 9:04 am
The Counsels for the Defense of Liberties (CODAL) filed yesterday with the Commission on Election its opposition against the petition of Sigaw ng Bayan for verification of signatures they have gathered under People’s Initiative.
Like many others, Codal thinks Comelec is going to dismiss Sigaw’s petition which the pro Cha-cha proponents also expect because that’s part of their gameplan to raise the issue to the Supreme Court where they believe they will get a better deal with the Panganiban court.
There is serious concern now that the Panganiban Supreme Court would reverse the 1997 ruling saying, ““The Comelec should be permanently enjoined from entertaining or taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on amendments to the Constitution until a sufficient law shall have been validly enacted to provide for the implementation of the system.”
Codal’s statement:CODAL expresses its commitment to battle the petition for a people’s initiative that Sigaw ng Bayan will file every step of the way. According to the game plan of pro chacha advocates, SIGAW will file a petition with the COMELEC which will immediately dismiss it due to the permanent injunction, so that SIGAW can immediately go up to the Supreme Court. They then expect the Supreme Court to immediately abandon Santiago vs. Comelec and hastily allow the setting of a plebiscite without any opportunity for opposition. This scheme should not be allowed and must be frustrated at every turn. The Commission on Election is urged to allow those opposing the Petition to be heard before it decides on the issue.
SIGAW Petition is Illegal
The Petition of SIGAW is illegal, as many of the signatures it presented to the COMELEC for verification were not only procured though fraudulent means, but also, many of these signatures were manufactured signatures of dead people or those who have migrated abroad. CODAL, even if we do not believe SIGAW is capable of filing its petition today attaching 10 million signatures as they announced, challenges SIGAW to submit to the COMELEC, together with its Petition, all the supposed millions of signature they were able to procure rather than the mere certification from district Comelec officers. This will give Oppositors the opportunity to scrutinize each and every signature to expose the fraud.
CODAL will also prove the illegality of the petition by questioning the funding of Sigaw, an amorphous NGO that does not have a clear office address, but has the capacity to launch expensive media campaigns and hold forums in almost all the cities and provinces nationwide.
CODAL will also contest the public funds used by local officials in traveling to and from Sigaw activities as misappropriation and therefore a violation of the anti graft law. They must be held to account for the sources of their funding.
SIGAW petition violates the Constitution and the Supreme Court Decision in Santiago
Firstly, the Constitution only allows a people’s initiative to amend, but not revise, the Constitution. The Sigaw proposal intends to revise the 32 provisions under Article VI on Congress, 23 provisions under Article VII on the President and Vice President and the 27 provisions under the Transitory Provision or a total of at least 82 provisions. This is an overhaul or revision of the 1987 Constitution, which a people’s initiative does not have the power to carry out. It is impossible for signatories, even if they are lawyers, to comprehend the impact and implications of revising 82 sections of the Constitutions thereby nullifying the signatures attached to the SIGAW petition.
Secondly, there is no enabling law as required by Art. XVII, Section 2 which states that ‘Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise’ of the right to peoples initiative. Even the Solicitor General, Eduardo Nachura, when he was a congressman, filed a bill proposing an enabling law for a people’s initiative. This is an admission by the very person tasked to defend charter change in courts that there is indeed no enabling law for a people’s initiative. It must be noted that Solicitor General Nachura’s bill recommended that the proposed question in a peoples initiative must not exceed 100 words, again an admission that such an initiative cannot propose complicated amendments beyond the comprehension of ordinary people.
Thirdly, the Supreme Court has permanently enjoined the COMELEC from entertaining any petition on a peoples’ initiative absent any enabling law.
Pres. Arroyo cannot be impeached next year under the new Constitution
CODAL asks voters whose names appear on the SIGAW list to immediately go to the COMELEC and withdraw their signatures from the list should SIGAW file its petition.
The Constitution will not only entrench Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s term until 2010 but will also grant her more powers including the requirement of two thirds vote in the House of Representative before she can be impeached, not just 1/3 as currently required, thereby making it impossible for Pres. Arroyo to be impeached next year.
It will also allow her to stay on as Prime Minister beyond 2010. It will cancel the elections in 2007 and will immediately convene the interim parliament to constitute itself as a constituent assembly to further amend the Constitution and provide more damaging economic and political policies.
The battle on charter change therefore, is a battle not only between what is legal and illegal but also on what is moral and immoral, requiring the active participation of the people from all walks of life.

Dentist ni Gloria

August 29, 2006 at 5:24 am
Dentist pala ni Gloria Arroyo itong si Leonor Tripon-Rosero, chair ng Professional Regulation Commission, na ngayon ay pinag-iinitan ng publiko dahil sa palpak na pamamalakad sa nursing board exam.
Kaya naman pala hindi magalaw ni Arroyo kahit nagkanda-lokoloko na ang nursing board exam.
Marami ngayon ang nagde-demand ng resignation ni Rosero dahil sa leak na nangyari sa June 2006 ng nursing at sa kawalan ng PRC ng aksyon. Ayaw ni Rosero na ipa-walang bisa ang resulta ng June 2006 exam at ipinasumpa pa niya ang ilan sa mga nakapasa kahit na alam niyang may naka-pending na kaso.Nagbigay ng temporary restraining order ang korte ngunit naka take-oath na ang 2,000 sa mga 17,000 na nakapasa raw. Gumagamit ako ng salitang RAW kasi hindi natin alam kung ilan talaga ang nakapasa.
Kahit marami ang nagsasabi na dapat mag-resign siya at ang buong board ng PRC para maisalba ang institusyon at maibalik ang pagtitiwala ng publiko, ayaw ni Rosero. “Ito ang aking trabaho at alam ko ang aking ginagawa. Hindi ako susuko sa mga nagpi-pressure sa akin. Hindi ako magre-resign,” sabi niya.
Sabi niya kaya siya linagay siya ni Arroyo sa PRC dahil alam niyang qualified siya. Kung pekeng presidente ang naglagay sa kanya, paano naman siya magiging qualified.
Matagal ng dentist ni Arroyo. Pati rin daw si Mike Arroyo, pasyente niya.
Ang asawa naman ni Rosero ay kasama ni Mike Arroyo sa Rotary Club of Makati Central kung saan miyembro rin si dating Agriculture Undersecretary Joselyn “Joc-joc” Bolante, Pagcor Chairman Efraim Genuino, at iba pang nasa magagandang posisyon ngayon.
Sa artikulo sa Philippine Daily Inquirer,sinabi ni Rosero na nasa Malacañang siya noong isang buwan dahil saw dental check up ni Arroyo ay tinanong siya tungkol sa leakage. Sinabi niyan ini-imbistigahan ay lumabas nga may leakage. Sumimangot raw si Arroyo.
Yun lang?
Malaking palpak na ang nagkaroon ng leakage. Ibig sabihin nun hindi may mandaraya mula doon sa taas. Ngunit mas malaking palpak ang desisyon ni Rosero na hindi uulitin ang exam.
Dahil sa eskandalo, maraming hospital ang ayaw tumanggap sa mga nurses na nakapasa noong June 2006. Malaking bahid rin sa lahat na Pilipina nurses ang nangyayari dahil hindi ngayon malalaman kung sino talagang nakapasa at sino ang bumagsak.
Hindi nakapagtataka na hindi mataas ang standard na pinapairal ni Rosero. Paano nga naman niayng pairalin ang honesty kung ang presidente ay numerong unong dishonest.
Kung ganito ang liderato ng ating professional regulation agency, darating ang araw mawawalan ng kredibilidad and ating mga professionals. Kawawang Pilipino.

Muted response

August 28, 2006 at 3:38 am

My cousins, the Orendains, have a small beach resort in Guimbal, Iloilo and it is in danger of being ruined by the oil spill coming from MT Solar I that sank in the waters off Guimaras.
My cousin, Dolly O. Escobar, whose daughters, Marla and Carla manage Sunrise Beach (about 30 minutes away from Iloilo City), has been texting everybody last week to pray that the government do something to solve the problems that are endangering lives of people in Guimaras and Negros Occidental.
Dolly said the fumes and smell of oil can already be felt in Guimbal. Needless to say, business is down. With the strong winds and waves, they fear that it’s a matter of time before oil reaches their shores. To prevent that, the people in Guimbal are making booms containing feathers and hair to prevent the oil from reaching their shores.Those are community efforts to alleviate the damage. There is the bigger task of cleaning up which should be the responsibility of the Petron, 40 percent owned by the government, and Sunshine Maritime Development Corporation.
A class suit by the affected communities of Iloilo should be pushed through to compel Petron and Sunshine Maritime to accept responsibility for the damage.
So far, the actuations of the government, Petron and Sunshine Maritime have been infuriating.
The accident happened Aug. 11. While the people of Guimaras were hard put in dealing with the oil spill that blackened their shores and their lives, Petron’s initial position was that it is not obliged to shoulder the cost of the cleaning operations nor is it obliged to extend economic aid to the affected communities.
Not much was heard from Sunshine Maritime except a statement from its president Clemente Cancio that the company was in talks with “international maritime experts” to see if the 998-ton tanker can be raised.
Last Thursday, Aug. 24, 13 days after the disaster and continuous coverage by media, Petron chair Nicasio Alcantara issued a statement that “Petron deeply regret this unfortunate incident” and that they “they are doing everything humanly possible to assist those affected.”
Alcantara enumerated what this multi-billion oil company has done: “Under our Ligtas Guimaras program, we have already cleared 25 kilometers of shoreline and we expect the on-shore clean-up to finish in 45 days. We are currently employing 869 people from affected communities daily and we aim to increase this number in the coming days. We have also deployed about 5 percent of the total workforce of Petron to participate in the work being done on the island.”
Should the people of Guimaras thank Petron for that? Petron was paying those people they employed to clean up P200 a day. How can a family live on P200 a day?
A lawyer from Guimaras, Atty. Elijo Herrera, said Petron has promised to make the payment P300 a day. Should the injured people of Guimaras be grateful for Petron’s “generosity”?
Petron is also not providing the displaced farmers and fishermen, who are doing the cleaning up, with the protective gears like masks, boots, and gloves. Health Secretary Francisco Duque himself said exposure of Guimaras residents to bunker fuel oil could lead to a number of ailments and one of then is “neurasthenia” which is manifested through sensation of pain, numbness in some parts of the body, chronic fatigue, weakness, anxiety and fainting.”
Last Saturday, 15 days after the disaster, Gloria Arroyo visited Guimaras. “I am personally pressing the government, Petron, the ship owner and every responsible party to work quickly and decisively to clean-up this ecological mess,” she said.
Press the government? Isn’t that weird coming from someone who grabbed power to be on top of this government?
Actions speak louder than words. So far, her actions have been deafeningly muted.

Petition on Guimaras oil spill

August 27, 2006 at 10:19 am
Fellow Filipinos,We all know so well that a huge oil spill happened in the Philippines several weeks ago now and started to destroy our beautiful beaches and ecology. From the onset until this moment, the government of Gloria Arroyo has not done any action to contain the oil spill or force the owners of the vessel to clean up their mess, nor fined the responsible party. We are petitioning the Government to take action before a total devastation occur in the region.
The site of this petition can be found at http://www.petitiononline.com/Guimaras/petition.html_______________________________________To: The President, Republic of the Philippines, the Honorable Members of the Philippine Senate, and the Honorable Members of the House of Representatives
We, the undersigned, concerned Filipinos of the international Community andour friends all over the world, urge the Government of the Philippines to doall that is possible to abate the worsening impact of the oil spill that isengulfing the beautiful island of Guimaras. The magnitude of the devastationis beyond us to calculate because there is no reliable report as yet despitethe lapse of time that has occurred.
Date of accident : August 11, 2006Name of the vessel : MT Solar ICompany owner of vessel : Sunshine Maritime Development Corp.Insurer Luxembourg)Shipowners Mutual Protection &Indemnity AsociationType of cargo : Industrial bunker oilAmount of cargo : 528,000+ gallons in 10 tanks equivalent to
2 million litersSite of vessel : 3,000 feet or 900 meters under water 24 kms.off west of Guimaras Island
It was reported that Petron Corporation contracted the MT Solar 1 a singlehull vessel to deliver the cargo from Bataan Peninsula in Luzon to WesternMindanao Power Corporation in Zamboanga del Sur (Mindanao Island), but sankon its way to destination
Please visit this link to view the extent of the oil spill around thesouthwest of Guimaras as of August 18, 2006.http://assets.panda.org/img/original/guinaras_map.jpg
So far, the oil spill has extended affecting the eastern town of Concepcion,Iloilo, and more towns as the spill continues unchecked.More southern and eastern/northeastern coastal towns of Panay and thewestern coast of Negro Occidental are threatened.
The spill has already contaminated 240 kms of Guimaras coast, 1,000 hectaresof marine reserves, 60 hectares of seaweed plantations, and 40,000 peoplewhose survival depends upon the integrity of this marine environment havebeen displaced. They have already lost their means of livelihood asthousands more are facing the same fate while the oil spill continues.
We demand for immediate government action in containing this oil spill as weanticipate greater damage to the population and destruction of theenvironment if not controlled.
We hold the Petron Corporation accountable and must answer to rectify thedamage that has been done to the environment and to the people of Guimaras,Panay and Negros Islands.
We deplore the slow response to this emergency situation which increases thedanger and the devastation as it goes unabated.
Therefore, we jointly call for the concerted action of government inresponding to this calamity in the best interest of the people of Guimarasand the surrounding areas that are now being affected and to enlist allavailable help and succor as the case so requires because of its extremestatus as an emergency.
We hereby affix our signatures to attest to our own commitment to help andto mobilize our resources by soliciting the support of all who share ourconcerns; to compel all responsible individuals and entities to do somethingin an appropriate response to this emergency, to save lives, and to savethis environment in peril.
Thank you for your prompt attention on this petition requiring your urgentand immediate action.
Sincerely,
Join OFI BankThe Future Bank of Global Filipinos

August 27, 2006 at 10:19 am
Petition on Guimaras oil spill
Fellow Filipinos,We all know so well that a huge oil spill happened in the Philippines several weeks ago now and started to destroy our beautiful beaches and ecology. From the onset until this moment, the government of Gloria Arroyo has not done any action to contain the oil spill or force the owners of the vessel to clean up their mess, nor fined the responsible party. We are petitioning the Government to take action before a total devastation occur in the region.
The site of this petition can be found at http://www.petitiononline.com/Guimaras/petition.html_______________________________________To: The President, Republic of the Philippines, the Honorable Members of the Philippine Senate, and the Honorable Members of the House of Representatives
We, the undersigned, concerned Filipinos of the international Community andour friends all over the world, urge the Government of the Philippines to doall that is possible to abate the worsening impact of the oil spill that isengulfing the beautiful island of Guimaras. The magnitude of the devastationis beyond us to calculate because there is no reliable report as yet despitethe lapse of time that has occurred.
Date of accident : August 11, 2006Name of the vessel : MT Solar ICompany owner of vessel : Sunshine Maritime Development Corp.Insurer Luxembourg)Shipowners Mutual Protection &Indemnity AsociationType of cargo : Industrial bunker oilAmount of cargo : 528,000+ gallons in 10 tanks equivalent to
2 million litersSite of vessel : 3,000 feet or 900 meters under water 24 kms.off west of Guimaras Island
It was reported that Petron Corporation contracted the MT Solar 1 a singlehull vessel to deliver the cargo from Bataan Peninsula in Luzon to WesternMindanao Power Corporation in Zamboanga del Sur (Mindanao Island), but sankon its way to destination
Please visit this link to view the extent of the oil spill around thesouthwest of Guimaras as of August 18, 2006.http://assets.panda.org/img/original/guinaras_map.jpg
So far, the oil spill has extended affecting the eastern town of Concepcion,Iloilo, and more towns as the spill continues unchecked.More southern and eastern/northeastern coastal towns of Panay and thewestern coast of Negro Occidental are threatened.
The spill has already contaminated 240 kms of Guimaras coast, 1,000 hectaresof marine reserves, 60 hectares of seaweed plantations, and 40,000 peoplewhose survival depends upon the integrity of this marine environment havebeen displaced. They have already lost their means of livelihood asthousands more are facing the same fate while the oil spill continues.
We demand for immediate government action in containing this oil spill as weanticipate greater damage to the population and destruction of theenvironment if not controlled.
We hold the Petron Corporation accountable and must answer to rectify thedamage that has been done to the environment and to the people of Guimaras,Panay and Negros Islands.
We deplore the slow response to this emergency situation which increases thedanger and the devastation as it goes unabated.
Therefore, we jointly call for the concerted action of government inresponding to this calamity in the best interest of the people of Guimarasand the surrounding areas that are now being affected and to enlist allavailable help and succor as the case so requires because of its extremestatus as an emergency.
We hereby affix our signatures to attest to our own commitment to help andto mobilize our resources by soliciting the support of all who share ourconcerns; to compel all responsible individuals and entities to do somethingin an appropriate response to this emergency, to save lives, and to savethis environment in peril.
Thank you for your prompt attention on this petition requiring your urgentand immediate action.
Sincerely,
Join OFI BankThe Future Bank of Global Filipinos

Investors beware, warns US investment risk analyst

August 25, 2006 at 10:57 pm
(This is in Saturday’s (Aug. 26, 2006) issue of Malaya.)
Increase in terrorist activities, political instability, and deteriorating economic and credit fundamentals make the Philippines a high risk for foreign investors, a US-based investment risk outfit said in its analysis of the Philippine situation this week.
Condor Advisers’ Aug. 21, 2006, analysis said: “Terrorist strikes in the Philippines are likely to become increasingly frequent over the next 16 months. The alignment between the Abu Sayyaf Group and Jemaah Islamiyah is expected to fuel terrorism as is the growing relationship between these organizations and the Rajah Solaiman Movement.”
The threat of terrorism, Condor Advisers said, “will be further attenuated by weakening governance and increasing political and social instability.”“Terrorism, political instability and social instability will undermine economic stability,” it said.
Jephraim P. Gundzik, president of Condor Advisers, said in an article that appeared at Asia Times Online on August 24 that Philippine security and government officials regularly play down the threat of terrorism. “But the picture could be far less rosy than these officials are willing to admit publicly.”
He quoted Henry Crumpton, US State department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, who said this about the terrorism potential in the Philippines: “The threat is very serious if you look at recent events, the intention of enemy forces, their collaborating with affiliates all around the region, and their technical skills, especially in bomb-making, their tradecraft skills.”
Gundzik said Crumpton was referring to the link between the Abu Sayyaf and Rajah Solaiman Movement with the Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
It is believed that around 40 JI operatives are in the country, training recruits in the finer points of bomb making.
On the political front, Gundzik said that the “Arroyo government’s inroads with the power elite, however, belie very weak popular support.”
Condor Advisers further said: “Economic growth is likely to be much weaker than expected in 2006 and 2007 as personal consumption expenditure weakens and private investment continues to contract. Weakening economic growth will push the public sector borrowing requirement and the debt stock higher. Deteriorating economic and credit fundamentals are likely to trigger significant capital outflows from the Philippines, led by the country’s banking sector, which has turned increasingly toward exchange rate arbitrage for generating profits.”
Condor Advisers said it expects the peso to depreciate sharply in 2007 while the stock market, domestic fixed income market and international bonds will all suffer serious corrections. “Investment risk in the Philippines is high and will remain high through 2007,” it said.
Condor Advisers, incorporated in California with offices located near the town of Mammoth Lakes, has been providing independent, emerging markets investment risk analysis to a select number of institutional investors since 1996. Its president, Gundzik, has worked in the field of international finance since 1987.
Its website says Condor Advisers’ clients include the largest mutual fund companies and hedge funds in the United States. It also says, “Condor Advisers develops its independent research from official statistics, local contacts and in-country analysis.
Its March 2006 analysis of the Philippine situation which was featured in Asia Times Online, said: “Many foreign and domestic investors continue to downplay the economic significance of the growing political and social turmoil. With foreign exchange reserves at a mere $18 billion, Manila’s central bank has little ammunition to ward off a potential foreign or domestic run on the peso - an increasingly likely case scenario once risk perception aligns with actual underlying investment risk. The Philippine peso, stock market and international bonds are all exceedingly vulnerable to sharp corrections in 2006. Investor beware.”

JocJoc to become US investor?

August 25, 2006 at 8:28 am
The latest in the case of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc Joc” Bolante is that he could be requesting the United States government permission to invest there.
This is what Harry Roque, who filed an amicus brief in the US court opposing the Bolante’s petition for asylum, suspects based on yesterday’s report of ABS-CBN correspondent Ging Reyes who quoted Bolante’s immigration lawyer as saying that the fertilizer scam is “not germane to the immigration relief sought by him.”
Roque said: “This would imply that contrary to earlier reports and popular belief, Bolante may not be asking for asylum. Instead he may be asking for an adjustment of status because of an approved application for immigrant visa, which in any case could only be an investor’s visa.”Bolante was arrested on July 7 at the Los Angeles airport when he tried to enter the US on a cancelled B1-B2 (business and tourist) visa. He was detained initially at the San Pedro Detention Center in California. He was transferred two weeks ago to the Kenosha Detention Center in Kenosha, Wisconsin. From the very beginning, Bolante and his family had invoked privacy to prevent media from covering his case. He declined assistance from the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles and forbade the Department of Foreign Affairs to give out any information about his case.
An immigration officer in LA was quoted to have said that Bolante’s visa was cancelled upon the request of the US Embassy in Manila. Unconfirmed sources said the cancellation had something to do with policy of the US not to make their country a “safe haven” for corrupt personalities.
The presumption that Bolante was seeking asylum was based on reports that he was going to attend hearings on asylum.
Bolante is being sought by the Senate in connection with the investigation by the Committee on Agriculture headed by Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. on the alleged diversion of funds amounting to some P3 billion to the election campaign of Arroyo in 2004.
Roque, who is with the Institute of International Legal Studies in the University of the Philippines, said under US laws aliens may be granted conditional residency by investing $1 million in an employment target area and, consequently, creating jobs for at least 10 people in the area where the investment is made. “This could explain why his lawyer stated that the controversy surrounding him has no relevance to his immigration petition,” he said.
Roque said Bolante’s lawyer is not completely correct. He said: “While the commission of a heinous crime such as plunder and being a fugitive from a Senate warrant of arrest may seem ‘not germane’ to a change in status, US laws still require that he must not suffer from any ‘ground for inadmissibility’.
“Assuming US laws to be the same as Philippine law, the pendency of the criminal complaints and the Senate warrant of arrest which makes him a fugitive should be grounds for inadmissibility.
“Furthermore, Presidential Directive 212 dated January , 2004 issued by President Bush would be a sufficient ground for denial of his immigration relief. The said directive denies the grant of non-immigrant or immigrant visa to individuals found by the State Department to be guilty of “kleptocracy”. This directive, I suspect, is why the US Embassy in Manila ordered the cancellation of Bolante’s visa. The US Embassy has neither admitted nor denied this fact, insisting that ‘it does not comment on individual cases’, Roque said.
Roque further said: “This development would explain why the Arroyo administration has opted to adopt a policy of absolute silence on the Bolante issue. By gagging consular officials from making public the nature of Bolante’s relief, it has facilitated yet another means by which Bolante may evade the wheels of justice here in the Philippines. How? By meanwhile quietly sitting on the criminal complaints pending against him with the Ombudsman. Until charges are actually filed against him before the Sandiganbayan, Bolante’s lawyers can still claim that there are no pending criminal cases in the Philippines against him and thereby proving that he ‘does not suffer from any grounds of inadmissibility’”.
Roque is beginning to see why the Department of Foreign Affairs has not ordered the cancellation of Bolante’s passport despite the warrant of arrest against him unlike in the case of Michael Ray Aquino whose passport was ordered cancelled by the DFA even before any criminal charges were filed against him contrary to the Passport Act.
If his passport is cancelled just like Aquino’s, Bolante would be prevented from seeking a change of status.
Roque said Bolante must be compelled to name who ordered him to disburse the fertilizer funds the way he did. The people should now bring the Ombudsman to task for not acting on the complaints against Bolante in the manner required by the Constitution: expeditiously.
“If Public Prosecutors are deprived of their salaries for their failure to rule on cases within 90 days from date of filing, why should the Ombudsman be treated differently? Worse, why should there be a delay in the resolution of the cases against Bolante when in addition to flight which is an admission of guilt, the fertilizer scam is furthermore fully documented through a COA report and a Senate Report?” he asked.
“The filing of charges against Bolante in the Sandiganbayan is thus far the most effective way to deny Bolante impunity for his criminal and unconstitutional acts in the Philippines. Certainly, it has now become very clear that unless the Ombudsman acts expeditiously on the complaints against him, the conspiracy to accord him impunity now includes this office,” Roque said.
This looks like an intricate strategy to deny the people the truth, which has been Gloria Arroyo’s pre-occupation since it was discovered that she cheated in the 2004 elections.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The gallant 32

August 24, 2006 at 7:21 pm
The gallant 32
It takes courage and honor to take a stand against overwhelming odds. We are proud of these 32 who voted to impeach Gloria Arroyo. It doesn’t matter that it did not prosper.
We will remember your names.
1. Rep. Henedina Abad2. Rep. Nereus Acosta3. Rep. Benjamin Agarao4. Rep. Mario Aguja5. Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara6. Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio7. Rep. Agapito Aquino8. Rep. Benigno Aquino III9. Rep. Teddy Casiño10. Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano11. Rep. Justin Marc Chipeco12. Rep. Francis Escudero13. Rep. Roilo Golez14. Rep. Teofisto Guingona III15. Rep. Mujiv Hataman16. Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel17. Rep. Ruy Elias Lopez18. Rep. Renato Magtubo19. Rep. Manuel Mamba20. Rep. Imee Marcos21. Rep. Rafael Mariano22. Rep. Liza Maza23. Rep. Florencio Noel24. Rep. Saturnino Ocampo25. Rep. Rodolfo Plaza26. Rep. Gilbert Remulla27. Rep. Etta Rosales28. Rep. Rolex Suplico29. Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III30. Rep. Joel Villanueva31. Rep. Joel Virador32. Rep. Ronaldo Zamora
For the shameless 173, click here.
For a more colorful and passionate narration of the Murder of Truth , click here.