Freedom of expression is universal.

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 12th, 2016

Freedom of expression is universal.

There is a debate over the heckling of Bongbong Marcos during the VP debate last Sunday.

The hecklers argue along the lines of freedom of expression. I think they completely lost sight of what freedom of expression really means.

All the VP candidates were invited to speak. They had the floor, not the audience. The audience had no right to deprive any of the candidates their freedom of expression.

By shouting down Bongbong Marcos they deprived him of his right to speak. Not only that, they also deprived the audience of their right to hear what he had to say.

Let everyone speak, allow everyone to hear what each candidate has to say. That way the audience can make up its own mind. That’s why freedom of expression is valuable.

Besides when you shout someone down, it looks like you are afraid to let him be heard.

Heckle, boo, hoot and holler if you are so inclined but do it AFTER he says his piece, do it as a reaction to what you heard.

Don’t shout down anybody and then use freedom of expression as your cover because you are not the only one who is entitled to the right to express yourself.

Freedom of expression is universal, it extends even to those you don’t like.

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How to deliver closing remarks

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 21st, 2016

It’s infuriating that the candidate who gave the best closing remarks was Du30. But hey let’s give credit where credit is due. He hit the bullseye. He said what all voters want to hear from a candidate for president.

“I will provide leadership”

With that one promise – the promise of leadership – he dispensed with having to do a song and dance like his three rivals.

How I wish it was Mar who came up with that leadership spiel.
Oh well… but Mar-Leni pa rin ako.

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Presidential debate delayed

Posted in Manuel Buencamino,Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the March 21st, 2016
    From the Inquirer

    CEBU CITY – Vice President Jejomar Binay traded barbs with Mar Roxas and Grace Poe over whether he is allowed to use the documents he brought during the second “PiliPinas” presidential debates here on Sunday.

    He said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may have disallowed it but TV-5 allowed him to bring his notes. He said Comelec does not have the sole mandate over the rules because the debate is a joint venture.

Simple lang naman ang isyu. Pinahaba pa ni Binay ang usapan.

Comelec made the rules. Luchi Cruz is not a member of the Comelec. Why did they ask Luchi Cruz and not Comelec about the rules?

Bobo talaga ang people ni Binay for seeking guidance from the wrong person. Moderator lang ng TV5 si Luchi, ano ang kinalaman niya sa rules ng Comelec?

Binay had no business blaming Luchi Cruz for giving his debate prep team the wrong information. They only have themselves to blame. They should have known that Luchi Cruz had as much to do with the Comelec’s debate rules as the TV5 security guard.

‘Yan ang mahirap pag ang moderator ay nag-mamarunong at ang campaign staff naman ay mga tanga.

Well at least Steve Harvey is not alone anymore.


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Grace, game ka na ba talaga?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 19th, 2016

At a recent business forum, Grace Poe shared her thoughts and plans about amending the Constitution to relax restrictions on foreign ownership over certain vital sectors of the Philippine economy.

She promised the businessmen,

    “Within my first month in office, it will be part of the agenda, the economic amendments of our constitution. Why not allow more foreign ownership for as long as they employ Filipinos and there is also a technology transfer? I am not for land ownership but I am for media, for certain utilities, for academic institutions and also for the medical profession.”

She did not specify how much “more foreign ownership” she had in mind “for media, for academic institutions, for certain utilities” but I’m sure she meant anywhere from 51% (majority control) to 100% ownership, otherwise why amend the Constitution?

At any rate, what is telling about Poe’s fitness to become President was her caveat regarding foreign ownership of media, certain utilities, and academic institutions – “for as long as they employ Filipinos and there is also a technology transfer.”

Jobs and technology transfer lang ang considerations?

Grace, there is wisdom underlying the placing of limits on foreign ownership in those sectors of our economy that are inextricably intertwined with our national interest and security.

(1) Why is it fundamental that ownership and control of utilities not fall into foreign hands?

TIP: Place the question within the “today’s friend can be tomorrow’s enemy” frame and then try to justify why it is a good idea to allow foreigners to own and control our electricity, water, transportation, and telecommunications.

(2) Why is it vital that ownership of media and academic institutions not fall into foreign hands?

TIP: Think propaganda.

Propaganda, a tool for colonizing minds and cultures, is disseminated through mass media and academic institutions. Effective propaganda is insidious, it proceeds in such a gradual, subtle, and subliminal way that one day you could wake up believing there is nothing inherently insane with consuming enormous amounts of glutathione.

So you see, Grace, there are other more essential considerations regarding foreign ownership of vital sectors of our economy than just “it’s okay for as long as they employ Filipinos and there is also a technology transfer”.

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Movies are her life

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 19th, 2016

17 members of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) wrote a lengthy letter to the Inquirer to debunk the allegation of media personality Ramon Tulfo that Grace Poe Llamanzares was always absent because of hangovers.

Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column,

    “My sources at the Movie Television Classification Board (sic) (MTRCB), where she was chair before running for the Senate, claimed the chain-smoking Poe was reportedly always absent because of a hangover from drinking the previous night.”

There was no need for the former colleagues of Poe to write such a letter. Obvious naman that Tulfo is lying. Alam naman ng lahat ng tao that Grace Poe is the adopted daughter of movie stars. So she will never pass up the chance to watch a movie. Movies are her life, fer crissakes!

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Tea leaves

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 17th, 2016

In the latest surveys by Pulse Asia (ABS-CBN) with a sample base of 5,000 and Laylo (Manila Standard) with a sample base of 3,000, Mar Roxas is weakest among the ABC economic class (18%) and strongest among the poorest of the poor, the E class (23%). Meanwhile Duterte beats all the other candidates by a mile among the ABC but is the tail-ender among the poorest of the poor.


Has the old adage that the rich vote with their brains and the poor vote with their stomach been upended?

Poe is the strongest contender. She is also coated with teflon. But she may not have the political organization to get her supporters to the polling places come election day.

Binay does not have teflon but his ground game is formidable. It is the most well-funded and organized among all the candidates.

Duterte is pursuing an air war. He relies on mainstream and social media to keep his name at the top of voters’ minds but his ground game is probably the weakest. He, like Poe, might have a problem “getting out the vote” come election day.

Roxas suffers from a lack of definition but he has a political organization next only to Binay’s. But that may not be enough to carry him all the way to victory.

Two things to take note of:

(1) Across all geographic regions and economic classes, there are very few undecideds – around 3% – at this stage of the campaign.

This is quite a phenomenon considering that in previous elections undecideds at this point were quite high, sometimes going up to 30%. So poaching from each other will be difficult.

And so maybe making sure that one’s base gets out and votes will be a crucial factor come election day.

(2) The D class has the most votes and they are distributed as follows: Pulse: Poe (26) Binay (24) Duterte (22) Roxas (18). Laylo: Poe (26) Duterte (24) Binay (23) Roxas (22).

This could be why pundits are saying the election is too close to call at this point.

Still, with voters’ minds pretty much made up at this point, there is very little room for any dramatic changes in standings.

However, something dramatic could happen, like for example if Duterte manages to free the foreigners being held hostage by the Abu Sayaf, he will most likely knock Poe off from the top of the heap.

(I did not include SWS because their findings as reported in their website and in BusinessWorld did not have a breakdown of voter preference by region and/or economic class)

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Who is righter?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 13th, 2016

The Inquirer reported that Sen. Koko Pimentel, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice, said the government had no right to prevent RCBC bank branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito from leaving the country.

    “We have to be strict about this because a fundamental civil right is involved, the right of movement. There must be a compelling reason to deny somebody the right to travel or move around,” he said.

But Sen Serge Osmeña, chair of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, argues that the RCBC bank branch manager whose office is under investigation for involvement in a money laundering scheme was fleeing the scene of a crime in progress.

    “It is a continuing crime because the money has not been recovered,” he said.

So here we have one senator citing one part of Art III Sec 6 and another senator pointing to another part of the same provision.

    “The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.” (Art III Sec 6)

I think they are both right. Pimentel is correct to remind the government that the right to travel under the Bill of Rights is sacrosanct. At the same time Osmeña is also right to point out there are exceptions to that right.

The question then is who is righter in this case – Pimentel or Osmeña?

The Supreme Court will have the final word. But until then, it would be interesting to hear what the public has to say.

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Laundry services

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 10th, 2016

Tony Katigbak, an op-ed writer in Philstar, argued that casinos are not an easy venue for money-laundering.

He said,

    “Once money is remitted into the bank account of the casino for a specific player, this player is given nonnegotiable chips for the money. These chips must then be used to play in the casino. They can’t withdraw the cash and play with that. So if they are trying to launder a large amount of money, they get it via chips that have to be used in the casino. These chips can’t be converted into cash. Only the winnings can be converted. So essentially, if money is to be laundered via a casino through bank transfer, whoever was trying to get the money out that way would have “gamble” in the hopes of winning. And once again, as anyone who has ever frequented a casino knows, it really is the luck of the draw. It seems such a risky and unguaranteed way to launder funds.”

In the first place, why would casinos want to be exempted from the reporting? Because it will discourage gamblers from betting large sums of money?

Here’s the weakness of Katigbak’s argument. The player can withdraw the chips and he can sell those chips at a discount. Say I have P100M in chips, I can sell them at a ten percent discount or less to a gambler or an entrepreneur who will break up the 100M and sell to various gamblers.

    (1) Who is the gambler who will not buy gambling chips at a discount?

    (2) Why would I give 10M discount for my 100M? My 100M is dirty money, if I want it cleaned then I have to pay for the laundry service, right?

    (3) Would I prefer 100M that I cannot spend or would I settle for 90M in cleaned cash?

Now that’s just money remitted from bank accounts. Eh paano kung I walk in with cash and buy chips?

It can be done, it has been done, and will continue to be done. And casinos will not surrender the opportunity to earn extra money from offering laundry services.

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Context, my dear boy

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the March 1st, 2016

In an op-ed piece, newspaper columnist Rigoberto Tiglao asked,

    ”If human rights violations during Martial Law were as horrible as Aquino claims, then why did her mother Cory appoint Ramos first as her AFP Chief of Staff and then Defense Secretary?”

Taken in isolation, Tiglao’s question seems reasonable. However, in real life, the question is naive. Decisions are not made in isolation. There is always context to every decision.

    (1) At the time, Enrile and Ramos were also being hailed as heroes of Edsa. Neither Enrile nor Ramos offered to resign or retire from public life to give Cory and her new government a free hand. They wanted and expected leadership roles in the new government. Recall the negotiations between the mutineers and Cory’s group as to where she would take her oath of office? The AFP and the PC were behind Enrile and Ramos. Cory had no armed force, constitutional or otherwise, to back her up.

    Ironic as it may be, the survival of the post-Marcos government depended on the support of the same armed forces – AFP and PC – that once supported the dictatorship. And so, circumstances forced Cory to appoint Enrile and Ramos to her administration.

    (2) Should Cory have fired both Enrile and Ramos and gambled with what at the time was the only way to give democracy a chance?

    If she sacked them both, would it not have been likely that the armed forces would oust her and return the country to martial law?

    (3) Maybe because of the euphoria of Edsa, Cory and her advisers really believed that Enrile changed for the better. Enrile proved them wrong a year later.

    But her endorsement of Ramos as successor, I can only attribute to utang na loob for sticking with her and, more importantly, for standing up for democracy during all those coups aimed at establishing a military junta headed by Enrile and his chosen ones.

    Ramos proved that he was committed to democracy. He resisted the temptation of joining the coups and becoming a leading player in a post-Cory military junta. Maybe he could not stomach the idea of serving with or under Enrile in a military junta, who knows? But the fact is he stood by his Commander in Chief and the Constitution when it mattered most to the nation.

The answer to Tigalao’s seemingly naive question is:

    what realistic option did Cory and her people have at the time?
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Fact-checking fact-checkers (UPDATED)

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the February 23rd, 2016

Sometimes you have to fact-check the fact-checkers.

According to a GMANews fact-check on the Laguindingan airport:

    “VERDICT: TRUE, the airport became operational in 2013 under the Aquino admin BUT…
    Data shows that the project’s timeline stretches much further back. The feasibility study and master plan of the airport was originally submitted to President Corazon Aquino in 1991. But it wasn’t until the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that the project was approved and began construction. Construction of the project was reported to be in full swing on April 12, 2008, two years before Aquino took his oath as President on June 30, 2010.”

A critical fact was left out of the GMNews fact-check.

A commercial airport is not a commercial airport if it has no air navigational equipment. No commercial planes will land there.

The air nav equipment should have been bought and installed in time for the original 2012 target completion of the airport. (Note that GMANews reported that construction was in “full swing on April 12, 2008″)

But air nav equipment still had not been purchased when Mar assumed his post at the DOTC. Ano yun, Inaprub at inumpisahan ni GMA ang construction ng airport in 2008 pero bahala na kung paano at kelan bibilihin ang air-nav equipment?

What did Mar do to make the airport functional?

He immediately got the budget for the air navigation equipment, had it bought and installed.

Laguindingan airport is now a functioning commercial airport.

And yet, Mar’s detractors want to deprive him of any credit whatsoever for fast-tracking the crucial missing element that would make Laguindingan a commercial airport and not just a strip of tarmac with an empty terminal.

Always fact-check those who claim to be fact-checkers.


As originally DESIGNED and CONSTRUCTED air nav or Instrument Landing System was not included in Laguindingan airport. So, can’t Mar Roxas be credited for making Laguindingan a modern airport that meets world aviation standards?

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