My column in today’s Business Mirror (HERE) is a response to an appeal by my favorite women’s group.
Who’s your mama?
“Let’s not b lyk gud brother of d prodigal son hu resented his father’s pardon of d wayward son hu returned. Let’s bow to wat was don n w8 4 wat lys ahed. PGMA has bitten the bullet wich she must hav prayd over. Let’s not pretend we know better. Let us hope 4 nat’l interest.”
That was a text message I received last Saturday. It was from a sweet, well-meaning but clueless lady who belongs to a civil-society women’s group notorious for taking out full-page newspaper ads supporting Gloria Arroyo, no matter what.
The text message came as a pleasant surprise because Gloria’s society ladies have been eerily silent over the ZTE broadband scandal, the fake Roel Pulido impeachment complaint and the cash gifts from the Palace to governors and congressmen.
At first, I was worried something bad had happened to those otherwise nice ladies. I thought they had become speechless and paralyzed.
And then I thought, they had finally come to their senses!
But I was wrong on both counts.
Our cartoonist Philip Gilmore sent in the following links. He says we need a break.
2 spoofs of a typical CNN talking heads show:
2. Popularity polls (VIEW HERE)
Plus 2 on C-SPAN coverage of the US Congress at work. Warning: Slightly offensive language.
1. An internet bill (VIEW HERE)
2. The ocular penetration restriction act (VIEW HERE)
Here’s an interesting bit of news from Business World about Toyota’s problem with reduced tariffs and what it’s threatening to do if the government does not act favorably. (READ HERE)
Toyota threatens to close facility
LOWER IMPORT duties within Southeast Asia are threatening local automotive production in the Philippines, which could lead to a closure of its manufacturing plant, Japan’s top car maker Toyota Motor Corp. said.
Tokuichi Uranishi, head of Toyota’s global planning operations, said the company has been having “difficulties” with regard to maintaining competitiveness due to lower tariffs.
“I understand your government reduced the import tariff to 5%, that means the local production cannot compete with the importation from other countries,” he told reporters.
“If import duty is drastically reduced, local production cannot have enough competitiveness against importation. What may happen is a serious problem in the business of the local production activity,” he added.
Actually, the question “can he save her?” is wrong.
The right question is: “will he stay loyal?”
Methinks this puppy, Hermogenes, comes from the same kennel as Fidel Ramos and Angelo Reyes. Their breed is known to bite masters who run out of doggie biscuits.
Canine loyalty died with Fabian Ver and that, in an odd sort of way, signalled a turn towards something worse : the glorification of treachery.
Do you think Hermogenes will stand by his master?
Mangar Mangahas of SWS tears apart a press release from NEDA. (ORIGINAL AND RELATED ARTICLES HERE)
The deceptive NEDA press release
by Mahar Mangahas
Here is how bad economic news from one agency was disguised as good economic news by another agency two days later.
I was truly amazed to see the deceptive title “FIES results show improving incomes” on the Oct. 11, 2007 press release of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which dealt with the very same 2003 and 2006 Family Income and Expenditures Surveys, reported by the National Statistics Office on Oct. 9, on which I based my last column “GNP grew, but incomes fell.”
The deception in the title is repeated in the first sentence of the said NEDA release (www.neda.gov.ph/ads/press_release/pr.asp?ID=904): “The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the 2006 Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES) show [sic] that the average income of families has been improving alongside economic growth.”
This lead sentence deserves a failing grade in elementary economics, because there is absolutely no way that a survey finding of a drop in real income per family between 2003 and 2006, i.e., after correction for inflation, can be considered an improvement. A mere increase in peso units is not an improvement when, as computed by NSO itself, the peso amount in the end year buys less than it did in the beginning year. It is an out-and-out worsening, not an improvement.
At the last Senate hearing on the ZTE broadband scandal Joker made a big fuss about the Inquirer’s story on his successful effort to obstruct the testimony of Romulo Neri in an executive session. (READ HERE)
In addition to calling the Inquirer story false, he said the Inquirer should reveal its sources, the four senators who allegedly broke the confidentiality of an executive session.
Joker described that confidentiality as akin to one between a lawyer and his client, a doctor and his patient, and a priest and one who makes a confession.
He read the Senate rule that says members who break that confidentiality can be expelled from the Senate.
Thereafter, Johnny Ponce Enrile, in his eagerness to support Joker’s contention that he said nothing to discourage Neri from testifying, made a fatal booboo.
He said he was sitting beside Joker at the executive session and he heard nothing of the sort described by the Inquirer from Joker.
Mang Johnny revealed something that transpired in an executive session. And that’s explicitly forbidden by the Senate rules on executive sessions and punishable by expulsion.
So, in the interest of moral consistency, Joker should start with moving for the expulsion of Juan Ponce Enrile from the Senate.
Enrile’s statement was heard by those who were at the hearing and those who followed it on TV. It should be in the official transcript of the hearing. It’s a cut and dried case.
Joker should start with Enrile. It’s easier to resolve than getting the Inquirer to reveal its sources and getting those sources to admit that they were indeed the sources.
Let’s see if there’s anything left in Joker.
Why did they prosecute Erap if they never intended to carry out his sentence if he was found guilty?
Erap was detained for 6 years, while going through trial and awaiting his verdict. And now that he has been found guilty and sentenced, he won’t serve a day of his sentence.
So his prosecution was just persecution. Because they never intended to punish and jail him for his crimes anyway.
Why did they charge him in the first place?
Because they needed a legal reason to detain him, to keep him from moving around the country to campaign for Fernando Poe and from rallying the masses against Gloria.
What we have here is not the rule of law; it is the ruse of law.
Congratulations Erap, I can’t blame you for doing whatever it took to win your freedom.
Screw you Gloria, for taking the country for a ride.
By the President of the Philippines
WHEREAS this administration has a policy of releasing inmates who have reached the age of seventy (70),
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has been under detention for six and a half years,
WHEREAS, Joseph Ejercito Estrada has publicly committed to no longer seek any elective position or office,
IN VIEW HEREOF and pursuant to the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution, I hereby grant executive clemency to JOSEPH EJECRCITO ESTRADA, convicted by the Sandiganbayan of Plunder and imposed a penalty of Reclusion Perpetua. He is hereby restored to his civil and political rights.
The forfeitures imposed by the Sandiganbayan remain in force and in full, including all writs and processes issued by the Sandiganbayanin pursuance hereof, except for the bank account(s) he owned before his tenure as President.
Upon acceptance of this pardon JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, this pardon shall take effect.
Given under my hand at the City of Manila, this 25th
Day of October, in the year of Our Lord, two
thousand and seven
Flash Report! Important Announcement from Malacanang!
Bunye announced executive clemency to Joseph Estrada. Civil and political rights restored but all stolen money will not be returned.
Estrada responded, “I’m very thankful for the granting of the pardon. I thank Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for granting executive clemency.”
Now to this morning’s Senate hearing on the ZTE broadband deal..
There were a lot of empty seats in the gallery. The news cameras were there in full force but the news reporters were second stringers.
Manila Standard sent cheesy Fel Maragay whom I saw interviewing Biazon.
The Senate reporters stayed at the media room where they could sip coffee and watch the hearing from monitors.
GMA7 sent a not bad looking reporter whom I didn’t know.
ANC sent RG Cruz who was dressed in his trademark Uncle Fester black trenchcoat.
I texted The Explainer, Manuel L. Quezon iii, “RG Cruz? Why did your station send the in-house expert on upset stomachs?” referring to Cruz’ erroneous report that Mike’s illness last April was nothing but an upset stomach because GMA told him so herself over dinner at the Mansion House in Baguio and she looked so cool, calm, and collected.
“Ricky Carandang is out of the country,” he replied.
“Ya but Uncle Fester? Don’t you have anyone else” I texted back.
The Explainer did not explain.
Before the hearing started, Ruy Rondain, Mike Arroyo’s lawyer, delivered a medical certificate on his client’s health to Senator Cayetano.
A friend who went to the hearing with me commented, upon seeing Rondain, “Akala ko darating si Mike Arroyo eh houseboy lang pala ang pinadala.”
After delivering his client’s excuse slip to Cayetano, Rondain went to the visitor’s box located behind the witness’ table and sat down beside Leah Navarro of Black and White Movement. Hahaha.
I texted Leah immediately. “Katabi mo pala ang muchacho ni Mike. Please tell him to serve us refreshments here in the gallery.”
“Bwahaha,” she replied.
The first hour of the hearing was about the executive session where Joker’s obstruction of justice was leaked and written up by the Inquirer.
Ping Lacson wanted to know whether it was an executive session or not. Joker and Enrile insisted it was.
Joker kept reading the Senate Rule about expelling any member who breached the confidentiality of an executive session.
Then he began to rant about the Inquirer, that the story they published was false.
(I’m beginning to understand why Joker is very angry at the Inquirer. Not only did Inquirer expose his chicanery but it also did not have an utang na loob to him. Joker was the one who helped Inquirer get started. When Joker was the little king and he had the power to return properties Marcos took from businessmen, he offered a printing press to what is now the Inquirer and to Teodoro Locsin Sr., the publisher of Free Press. Locsin refused saying he would rather get his press back through the courts. The Inquirer accepted Joker’s gift.)
Joker said he never told Neri not to testify and he asked each and every senator present if they heard him tell Neri not to speak.
He went around the table, “Aquino… Lacson… Madrigal… Pangilinan… Biazon… Cayetano… Roxas… Pimentel… Enrile… Gordon?”
Then Ping said, “that part about you not telling Neri not to talk is true.”
Nene Pimentel picked up on Lacson and said, “Well, there are verbal and non-verbal ways to express what one wants to say.”
But Johnny Ponce Enrile was really eager to back up Joker so he volunteered, “I know you didn’t say anything. I was sitting right beside you during the executive session…”
And I thought. “Aha! JPE can be expelled from the Senate for revealing something that happened during the executive session!”
Mar Roxas explained that in terms of passing remedial legislation it was important for the Senate to get testimony and documents from the administration. He wanted an independent analysis of the ZTE proposal to establish whether or not there was an overprice etc.
Enrile responded by suggesting that the Senate call ZTE to air its side. Joker agreed. He said it should be done in the interest of fairness. Nene agreed, “we should hear from the corruptor and corruptee” or words to that effect.
I guess during the two week Senate break, the administration decided that ZTE should be called to testify because they would get huge media coverage when they debunk the testimony of Joey de Venecia. By the way, ZTE is represented by Angara’s law firm. ACCRA.
Roxas bewailed the capricious cooperation of the administration. He said they show up in full force when it suits them but when it does not, they claim executive privilege, ill-health, or trips abroad.
Jamby Madrigal was on first. She asked Joey to recount his meeting with businessman Enrique Razon, a close associate of the Arroyo couple suspected of providing the private jet that flew Garci to Singapore.
Joey briefed the senators about a meeting with Razon on the ZTE deal.
He said he called Razon after the famous back-off encounter with Mike Arroyo. Razon asked him to go to the ICTSI office in Port Area.
Jamby asked, What happened there?
Joey replied, I told Razon about the back off incident.
He reacted: “Putangina kasi yung Abalos na yan. Sinabi pa niya kay Mike meron siyang 70 million dollars dito, hindi na nakalimutan ni Mike.”
“Pooo…tang…inang baboy na yan! Ang takaw!” commented my seatmate.
Lacson then asked Joey if anybody approached him about keeping quiet. Joey said Ricky Razon asked him many times.
Anybody else? Lacson wanted to know.
Joey recounted his father’s story about a ceasefire meeting arranged by Buboy Virate at the house of Endika Aboitiz in San Lorenzo Village (?)
JDV was told “rendahan mo si Suplico, si Bondoc at ang anak mo.”
JDV replied, “Wala akong control kay Suplico, opposition yan. At si Jarius hindi ko din mapipigilan tinitira ako niyan and Joey is a grown up with his own mind.” Or words to that effect.
Gloria who was at the meeting didn’t like what she heard. She shouted at the Speaker.
The Speaker then stood up, took leave, and headed for the door and Gloria followed pleading, “Joe…Joe…please stay… please stay…”
I’m not sure whether I heard Joey say his father stayed or his father was a sucker for verbal abuse but it amounts to the same thing.
Joey was asked to confirm the death threats. He did.
He was asked if anybody can corroborate his statement. He said his dad, his stepmother Gina, and Raul Lambino could.
The committee asked if he would ask them to testify. He said he would.
There was a short recess and Joey and I saw each other at the Men’s Room. We talked.
My friend commented, “Buddy, si Cory may kitchen cabinet nung araw, ikaw naman toilet cabinet ni Joey…”
He talked about the death threats.
And missing the dinner with Manolo Quezon and me at his dad’s house. (The Speaker had invited Manolo and me for dinner when he saw us at the Batasan during the press conference where he passed the impeachment buck to Raul Del Mar. I guess he wanted to feel the pulse of the anti-Gloria crowd. He gave us a peek at the letter about moral regeneration which he delivered to Gloria a few days ago and he asked us what we thought. We told him exactly what we thought – it was bland. We also noticed that his wife Gina was very close to our position vis a vis GMA – hold her accountable now!)
I told Joey, “we can have dinner with Manolo one of these days.”
He said, “yup when I come back from abroad.”
Then, I thought, “Is it safe to be with Joey?”
I remembered, at the hearing, Joey told the senators that his dad said, “Eric Singson forwarded a text from his brother warning him to stay from me because he might get caught in friendly fire so I’m glad you went to the police to blotter those death threats.”
I told Joey, “let’s meet at a safe place”
Joey, “Okay, where?”
Me, “How about your house?”
Joey, “They want to bomb my house!”
So I texted Leah, “Do you know a safe place where you, Manolo, Joey and I can have dinner?”
She texted back, “Yes at _______”
I texted back, “Okay as long as it’s bullet-proof and has no septic tanks…”
On the way out of the Senate, I saw Rondain talking on his cellphone.
I asked my friend, “Do you think he is reporting to his client?”
He replied, “Didn’t you hear him saying Opo senyorito?”
My column in today’s Business Mirror (READ HERE)remembers the original tune Gloria and her minions were singing.
Former President Estrada abandoned his quest to be vindicated and pleaded for a pardon from the woman he does not, or did not, even recognize as president. (READ STORY HERE).
Gloria loves it. (READ STORY HERE)
But Chavit Singson is pissed. (READ STORY HERE)
And the Inquirer Editorial frames the sordid mess perfectly. You can READ EDITORIAL HERE or at the end of this post, below the fold, if you’re tired of clicking on links.
Meanwhile, FVR plays peacemaker and gets Joe and Gloria on the same page. (READ IT HERE)
Philip Gilmore was hoping for a different outcome in this cartoon below.
Below is the Inquirer editorial that I suspect was writter by Manuel L. Quezon III.