Who’s lying?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 30th, 2009

The question should be who’s more credible not who’s lying.

Mike Defenseor says Jun Lozada lied to the Senate when he testified that Mike Defensor forced him to lie about being kidnapped by government officials upon his return from Hongkong in February 2008. Jun Lozada says he was telling the truth.

Mike Defensor was a Palace official when he called a press conference to debunk the Garci’s tapes as fake. His famous line was, ‘It’s Mrs. Arroyo’s voice but she’s not the one talking’ or something to that effect.

So I guess that settles the question of who is more credible.,

Now who’s lying among these three Palace mutts?

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that two Palace officials claimed they have nothing to do with Defensor filing a perjury case against Lozada.

Malacañang distanced itself Wednesday from the arrest of whistleblower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, saying the matter was between him and complainant Michael Defensor, former chief of the Presidential Management Staff.

Remonde and Gabriel Claudio, presidential political adviser, also denied that they had attempted to convince Defensor to withdraw the perjury complaint he had filed against Lozada.

Remonde admitted meeting with Defensor two or three days ago and discussing the Lozada case with him “in passing.”

“I just asked about his take on it,” he recalled. “But it was not meant to impose on him.”

Claudio said he ran into Defensor last Sunday, but “never advised [him] on any particular course of action.”

Defensor contradicts the two on the following day.

“Cerge Remonde called me up last Saturday, and Gabby Claudio called me up on Sunday. Cerge again called on Monday evening. They asked me to withdraw the case, because the Lozada issue was dead but is being revived,” Defensor told reporters.

. They all admitted to a conversation. They contradict each other on the topic they discussed/

Can you tell who’s lying?

Mon Tulfo and the Manangs

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 29th, 2009

My column in Business Mirror shows why machos are manangs at heart.

    Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom
    Manangs acquit rapist, Macho Mon applauds

    “Girls just wanna have fun. Without being raped.”—Philip Gilmore

    I never thought macho Mon Tulfo was a manang at heart. Until I read his column applauding the Court of Appeals (CA) decision to overturn the rape conviction of Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith.

    I became a fly on the wall at a parlor where Mon and the CA manang were having their hair and nails done:

    Said the manang:

    “This court finds it deceptively posturing Nicole’s portrayal of herself as a demure provinciana lass, going on a first-time vacation to Subic and expressed her disgust to see an American guy with a Filipina girl, seated on his lap, cavorting in the bar, and another couple kissing amid those people around the club. That was what she did later in the Neptune Club.”

    Tulfo nodded his head and told the salon employees who were obviously for Nicole:

    “If the ‘not guilty’ verdict by the Court of Appeals on US Marine Cpl. Daniel Smith shocked you, you are either a xenophobe or leftist. Why should you side with ‘Nicole’ who wanted a ‘quickie’ with a handsome stranger and then complained of being raped?”

    “Rumampa daw si Nicole?” said the manicurista.

    “Echoz ng echozera! Akala ko pang mga manang lang ang face ni Danny Smith. Eh super-keri gwash din pala siya kay Mang Monay,” replied the hairdresser.

    Tulfo ignored the comments.

    “If Nicole claimed she was drunk at the time, and so was Smith, who is younger than her,” he continued.

    “Ngek, take advantage pa daw ang chipanggarutay sa fresh seafood,” said the hairdresser.

    The manang spoke up:

    “She did not drop on the floor, nor did she vomit. When a woman is drunk, she can hardly rise, much more stand up and dance, or she would just drop. This is a common experience among Filipino girls. The curious thing is that she danced non-stop to the urgent beat of rock and hip-hop music in an inebriated state for 15 minutes without stumbling clumsily on the floor. This gap in her narration with the malingering explanation that she was dizzy and could not remember is dubiously fanciful for being what the court perceptively describes as contrary to ordinary experience of man.”

    “Isn’t that right, Mon?” asked the manang.

    “Any person who drinks will tell you that when one gets tipsy or drunk he knows what he’s doing but that inhibitions fly out the window,” he replied. And he piled on.

    “Why did she engage in ‘dirty dancing’ with a complete stranger whom she met for the first time?” he asked rhetorically.

    “Mang Mon,” replied the manicu-rista, “I understand that dirty dancing is in the eye of the beholder, but ‘a complete stranger whom she met for the first time’ makes no sense to me. Parang ulyanin ka with your pa-emphasis. Next time, just say ‘dirty dancing with a complete stranger,’ the slander is no less effective.”

    “Gaga!” said Mon.

    “Chervalou,” said the hairdresser.

    The manang insisted it was “a spontaneous, unplanned romantic episode with both parties carried away by their passions and stirred up by the urgency of the moment caused probably by alcoholic drinks they took, only to be rudely interrupted when the van suddenly stopped to pick up some passengers.”

    “Anong ibig sabihin nun?” asked the manicurista.

    “Chika lang,” explained the hairdresser. “Enggaloid daw sila at nadaot ang lapchukan kasi yun bobita jones na driver biglang namulot ng pasahero.”

    “Kawawa naman si Smith, inapi ng mundo,” said the manicurista.

    “Crayola ako sa awa,” sobbed the hairdresser.

    “It was probably the first time for the American, and definitely not for Nicole as many Zamboangueños who know her will tell you,” speculated Morality Mon.

    “Hah?!?” reacted the manicurista.

    “Wala, wish lang ni Mang Monay na virgin pa si Danny Boy,” explained the hairdresser.

    The interrupted manang continued:

    “Resistance by words of mouth” is not enough. She could have used “her hands and nails, her limbs or even her pelvic muscles.”

    “Ganun? Kulang pa pala sa laban si Nicole?” reacted the manicurista. “Anong gagawin niya sa pelvic muscles niya, muscle control?”

    “On hindsight, we see this protestation of decency as a protective shield against her own indecorous behavior,” added the manang.

    “What is indecorous behavior?” asked the manicurista.

    “Indecorous is the behavior of one of the manang justices in the GSIS-Meralco-Court of Appeals bribery scandal. The Supreme Court admonished her for allowing herself to be rushed by Justice Roxas to side with Manila Electric Co. against Government Service Insurance System,” explained the hairdresser. “And Manang Justice got what she deserved for not resisting Justice Roxas with her hands and nails, her limbs or even her pelvic muscles.”

Waging on the war on hunger

Posted in Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the April 27th, 2009

Mike Arroyo’s “Free dentures for the toothless masses charity”


And in Business World’s Yellow Pad, Nepo Malaluan, one of the strongest advocates for transperency in governance, writes a timely piece on the Asian Development Bank’s information disclosure policy

ADB Must Overhaul Its Public Communications Policy

Nepomuceno A. Malaluan

On May 4-5 2009, finance and economic planning ministers gather in Bali for the 42nd annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Aside from tackling the impact of the global financial crisis on Asia, the ADB will forward its Strategy 2020, its new long-term strategic framework for 2008–2020. The ADB foresees that as the Asia and Pacific region moves to a higher level of economic development by 2020, it may become increasingly difficult to reach those who remain excluded from the economic growth’s benefits. Thus, one of its strategic agenda is “inclusive growth”.

To be credible with its inclusiveness thrust, the ADB would do well to improve inclusiveness in its own backyard. One way to do this is to recognize the right of people to have access to information that it holds. This is a just and reasonable proposition, considering that the ADB, by virtue of its membership, resources, influence, functions and operations, exercises tremendous powers that partake of a governmental nature. The exercise of said powers affects the lives of millions of men and women.

The right of people to information held by ADB also finds support in law. It is not contested that the ADB, like similar international financial institutions, has international personality. As a subject of international law, it not only possesses rights; it is also bound by obligations incumbent upon them under general rules of international law. Among such obligations are human rights norms that can be considered as having attained the level of customary law or general principles of law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966 are considered by many to be a codification or evidence of international custom or general principles of law binding even upon non-state parties such as the ADB.

Article 19 of the UDHR states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The same is also embodied in Article 19 (2) of the ICCPR.

In his fifth report as UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Abid Hussain (India) stated that “the right to seek and receive information is not simply a converse of the right to freedom of opinion and expression but a freedom on its own.” While the report addresses mainly the right to information as it relates to nation states, this should apply with equal force to international organizations such as the ADB.

To the credit of ADB, it has a Public Communications Policy (PCP) that provides access to information about ADB operations. But is the PCP a good policy from the perspective of the right to information?

One way we can answer this question is to evaluate it against the Transparency Charter for International Financial Institutions developed by the Global Transparency Initiative. This Charter enumerates standards, drawn from best practices adopted by democratic states, to which GTI believes the access to information policies of international financial institutions such as the ADB must conform to:

1. The right to access information is a fundamental human right that applies to information held by international financial institutions.

2. International financial institutions should automatically disclose and broadly disseminate, for free, a wide range of information about their structures, finances, policies and procedures, decision-making processes, and country and project work.

3. International financial institutions should disseminate information that facilitates informed participation in decision-making; they should also establish a presumption of public access to key meetings.

4. Everyone has the right to request and to receive information from international financial institutions, subject only to limited exceptions, and the procedures for access should be simple, quick and free or low-cost.

5. The regime of exceptions should be based on the principle that access to information may be refused only where the international financial institution can demonstrate (i) that disclosure would cause serious harm to one of a set of clearly and narrowly defined, and broadly accepted, interests, which are specifically listed; and (ii) that the harm to this interest outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

6. Anyone who believes that an international financial institution has failed to respect its access to information policy has the right to have the matter reviewed by an independent and authoritative body.

7. Whistleblowers – individuals who in good faith disclose information revealing a concern about wrongdoing, corruption or other malpractices – should expressly be protected from any sanction, reprisal, or professional or personal detriment.

8. International financial institutions should devote adequate resources for the effective implementation of their access to information policies, and for building a culture of openness.

9. Access to information policies should be subject to regular review.

A simple textual analysis of the PCP against the GTI Charter already reveals numerous limitations. For one, it falls short of expressly recognizing the applicability to it of the right to information. PCP adheres only to a policy-based approach where adherence to any known rights–based standards remains discretionary.

For another, while many documents are identified to be publicly available, “publicly available” means available through the ADB website. In poor communities, access to internet facility remains a luxury, thereby limiting the extent of the information dissemination. Also, instead of a limited regime of exceptions, the PCP provides a long list of exceptions. Not all exceptions identify the serious harm to a clearly and narrowly defined, and broadly accepted, interest that is sought to be avoided by non-disclosure.

On the important aspect of access by affected people, the ADB passes much of the responsibility for disclosing information to the borrowing government or private sector sponsors. The result is a responsibility far incommensurate to its deep level of involvement in project conceptualization, approval and implementation.

Finally, there is no provision for whistleblower protection in the PCP. And there is no independent appeals mechanism.

One of the provisions of the PCP calls for a comprehensive review after a period not exceeding five years from the effective date of the PCP. The PCP, having become effective on 5 September 2005, will soon be in its fifth year. How ADB will review and reform its PCP will be a test of how serious ADB is about inclusiveness.

Mr. Malalauan, a lawyer with an academic background in economics, is a trustee of Action for Economic Reforms. He is co-convenor of the Access to Information Network (ATIN-Philippines) , which he represents in the Executive Committee of the Global Transparency Initiative.

“Manangs” acquit a rapist

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 25th, 2009

I haven’t read the 71 page decision acquitting Smith because it has not yet been published in any newspaper or blog that I know of. However from excerpts that were published I’m inclined to believe that the decision was penned by three “manangs.”

    “Her going to Subic from far away Zamboanga with her stepsister, (with) two American friends whom they met only about three months earlier and accepting their offer of free hotel accommodations and other things as well—in her words, “to enjoy”—do not coincide with the demure provinciana lass we are talking about,” HOW IS A DEMURE PROVINCIANA LASS SUPPOSED TO BEHAVE?
    “On hindsight, we see this protestation of decency as a protective shield against her own indecorous behavior,” INDECOROUS BEHAVIOR, WHAT IS DECOROUS BEHAVIOR?
    “When a woman is drunk, she can hardly rise, much more stand up and dance, or she would just drop. This is a common experience among Filipino girls,” A COMMON EXPERIENCE AMONG FILIPINO GIRLS?
    “The curious thing is that she danced non-stop to the urgent beat of rock and hip-hop music in an inebriated state for 15 minutes without stumbling clumsily on the floor.This gap in her narration with the malingering explanation that she was dizzy and could not remember is dubiously fanciful for being what the court perceptively describes as contrary to ordinary experience of man,” IT’S CURIOUS THAT THE GIRL COULD STILL DANCE WITHOUT FALLING ON HER FACE?
    “Suddenly the moment of parting came and the Marines had to rush to the ship. In that situation, reality dawned on Nicole—what her audacity and reckless abandon, flirting with Smith and leading him on, brought upon her. HER AUDACITY AND RECKLESS ABANDON, FLIRTING WITH SMITH AND LEADING HIM ON, BROUGHT UPON HER. SHE ASKED FOR IT?

Dear Manangs,

Girls just wanna have fun without getting raped.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper

I come home in the morning light,
My mother says “When you gonna live your life right?”
We’re not the fortunate ones,
And girls,
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have fun.

The phone rings in the middle of the night,
My father yells “What you gonna do with your life?”
You know you’re still number one,
But girls,
They wanna have fu-un,
Oh,girls,just wanna have
That’s all they really want…..
Some fun….

When the working day is done,
They wanna have fu-un,
Just wanna have fun….

They want,
Wanna have fun.
Wanna have

Some boys take a beautiful girl,
And hide her away from the rest of the world.
I wanna be the one to walk in the sun.
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have
That’s all they really want…..
Some fun….

When the working day is done,
They wanna have fu-un.
Just wanna have fun…

They want,
Wanna have fun.
Wanna have.

They just wanna,
They just wanna…..
They just wanna,
They just wanna…..
(Girls just wanna have fun…)

Girls just wanna have fu-un…
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna…
(They just wanna have fun…)
Girls just wanna have fu-un…

When the workin’,
When the working day is done.
Oh,when the working day is done,
Just wanna have fu-un…

They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
They just wanna have fun…

Girls just wanna have fu-un..
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
They just wanna….
(Have fun..)

They just wanna,
(Girls wanna have fun)
They just wanna….
(Wanna have fun….)
Girls just wanna have fu-un.

When the workin’,
When the working day is done.
Oh,when the working day is done,
Girls just wanna have fu-un.

They just wanna,
They just wanna….
They just wanna,
(Have fun….)
Girls just wanna have fu-un

They just wanna,
They just wanna…
When the working day is done…

Slippery as an eel

Posted in Brownman's Posts by uniffors on the April 23rd, 2009

Lito Banayo of Malaya puts the Lacson-Villar fight in the proper context. It also exposes Allan Peter Cayetano, the erstwhile champion of truth and justice, as a hypocritical jerk.

The thing is Villar owes it to the public to answer the charges against him point by point. Right now all I can see is Villar determined to avoid having to answer anything except through generalities and motherhood statements.

Something smells about that insertion and I want to know what it is.


Livid with rage, Manuel Villar last Monday sprang to the floor of the Senate and hurled ad hominems against his “tormentors.” Although he did not mention their names, he raged against a fellow senator, a lady who has been a “defender of human rights” (“tagapagtanggol ng human rights na ang bukang bibig ay puro human rights”), but, “when someone here was accused of murder, she was silent” (noong may inaakusahan na murder ay hindi makakibo”). That of course is a non-sequitur, because the alleged case is in fact with the courts, and the DOJ secretary himself was all over the papers implying that a senator was involved in it.

He also raged against the “girl friend” of another senator (“wala akong girl friend na bira ng bira”). He of course was referring to a well-known lady broadcast journalist who has been critical of corruption, in the executive agencies as well as the legislature. Apparently, Senator Villar finds it difficult to distinguish between one’s profession and one’s personal life. Surely, Senator Villar would never be too harsh against those in media who attack and collect, defend and collect. As things stand, his “tormentors” in the Senate do not have the wherewithal (the “billions”) to pay up. He has plenty.

He accuses the Senate Ethics Committee chair, Panfilo Lacson, of irrelevant things like his alleged complicity in “Dacer-Corbito.” And he mentioned something about “BW Resources shares na involved” and asks if it is not something the Ethics Committee should likewise investigate. In his rage, Villar probably forgot that the same issue of BW Resources had been the subject of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, when a senator, now deceased, allegedly demanded from Dante Tan millions of shares of the hot stock, yet failed to pay for the same even after the shares were sold for multiples of their value at the time of purchase. Villar, in his rage, probably overlooked the fact that the son of the deceased senator, may his soul rest in peace, has since become another peer of the realm, and is in fact, Villar’s chief second, his vitriolic spokesperson.

But what are the facts of “l’affaire C-5″ and Manuel Villar’s alleged involvement in it?

Sometime in September last year, Senator Lacson inquired about a curious double entry of similar 200 million peso amounts in the budget for the same stretch of road, one described as C-5 and the other described as Carlos P. Garcia, it’s new name. The budget secretary, who Lacson thought was toying with the budget, announced that it was a “congressional insertion”.

An investigation in the Finance Committee followed, where Senator Enrile, its chair, said that the “insertion” was at the instance of then Senate President Villar. Was Lacson the “accuser” as Senator Cayetano, Villar, Arroyo, Pimentel, et al keep repeating over and over? No. He did not identify Villar. Enrile did in the course of inquiry.

Then, Senator Jamby Madrigal revealed in a privilege speech that the C-5 Road’s original site had been shifted from Parañaque City to the boundary of Las Piñas City. That the original site was one where government had already paid road right-of-way compensation to Bro. Mike Velarde whose land was to be passed upon, to the tune of 1.2 billion pesos. And that the new site passed lands belonging to the corporations owned by spouses Manuel and Cynthia Villar, who had, per DPWH records, negotiated the sale of his and other lands, at a time when the male Villar was chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and the female Villar was congresswoman of Las Piñas. So Madrigal referred her findings to the Ethics Committee, then chaired by Sen. Pia Cayetano, who had been chair of the committee for more than a year, and had not done anything about other issues pending before her committee.

In November 2008, a majority of senators decided to replace Villar as Senate President, and in his stead, chose Juan Ponce Enrile. After a month of reorganization, Sen. Ping Lacson was nominated by the majority to chair the Ethics Committee. Lacson, twice on the floor of the Senate, asked the minority to nominate their members. They refused.

The Ethics committee met after the Christmas recess to draft the rules of investigations. The minority refused to participate. People wondered why it was taking too long, but the committee took its time, went through due process step by step, including the publication of its rules in the Official Gazette. All these having been done, with the minority refusing to participate, the first committee hearing to dispose of pending cases before it happened on April 15. There was a case filed by former QC representative Dante Liban against Sen. Dick Gordon, another filed by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago against Sen. Antonio Trillanes. There was also one regarding the executive session of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee where Romulo Neri, witness in the ZTE-NBN investigation, was accompanied by DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya, a breach of the Senate rules. And there was the case against Villar filed by Madrigal.

The minority led by Alan Cayetano and later, minority leader Nene Pimentel questioned why some senators signed an order directing Villar to file his response to Madrigal’s complaint, after the Ethics committee’s general counsel certified that the complaint had form and substance. The order was yet to be promulgated after that 15 April hearing, but the minority twisted the facts and charged that Villar was already condemned by the “committee report.” There was no committee report, and lawyers Cayetano and Pimentel knew that. All there was, leaked by Senator Jinggoy Estrada, was a yet-to-be promulgated directive to Villar to respond to Madrigal within five days.

“Apparently, some equate mere determination that the complaint complied with form and substance with already credible evidence that provides substantial cause for the committee to conclude that a violation within its jurisdiction has already been committed.” Lacson said on the Senate floor.

Pimentel and Cayetano claimed that Lacson was being “accuser, judge and executioner.” Cayetano’s colorful tongue even exclaimed “political rub-out.” So on Monday, Lacson rebutted their claim, point by point. And explained that he had exercised a quantum of caution, lest he be accused precisely of unfairness. Lacson even adverted to an earlier action of then Ethics chair in the 12th Congress, Francis Pangilinan, who, acting purely on the complaint of the sworn statement of one Angelo “Ador” Mawanay, “officially informed me (Lacson) that the Committee had already conducted a preliminary discussion…and that I had to file my counter-affidavit in a preliminary inquiry…No meeting was held to tackle the complaint against me. Worse, the Ethics Committee of the 12th Congress did not bother to inform me beforehand that the complaint filed was sufficient in form and substance. Moreover, the Senate Ethic Committee of the 12th Congress did not care to find out if it had jurisdiction in the first place. Why? (Because) the accusations contained therein, never mind that they were as incredible as they were ludicrous, were supposedly committed before (Lacson) took my oath as Senator of the Republic!”

Lacson then did not ask his minority leader to intervene, nor did he ask any peer to heckle for him. “I did not cry foul. I quietly filed my reply in the best way I knew how…even when it was obvious that lapses were committed against my interest,” he said.

“Conscious of those lapses, inadvertent or otherwise, committed by some of our colleagues in 2001…I have been very careful not to commit the same (in this instant case)”, Lacson added.

Yet, Villar says he is being unfairly prosecuted simply because he is a presidentiable, and his judges are likewise presidentiables, and calls the Ethics Committee to which his allies were invited to participate, but shunned, as a “kangaroo court”. Oh, for crying out loud.

Last Monday though, he claimed he would answer the accusations. So why doesn’t he just face the music? Why doesn’t he just submit his response? Why is he assiduously trying to project martyrdom in the altar of politics, when he has time and again said that he “was proud of this C-5 project?” The hypocrisy sucks.

Or is he and his political acolytes in the Senate and beyond, simply invoking their privilege, as a member of the “august body” to be spared from investigations by an old boy’s club? That they could, and do, as Cayetano inveterately does, investigate executive agencies, but not one of their own, for acts violative of the laws and proper conduct.

Sila pwede, pero tayo-tayo, hindi. Kanya-kanyang takipan? Is that what Cayetano, Pimentel, Arroyo, and Villar are trying to tell their peers in the Senate? Luckily for the people of this benighted land, Ping Lacson is an atypical practitioner of politics.

Dapat, maging “patas ang laban.” Or as the lawyers love to invoke, “Let justice be done, let the truth come out, though the heavens fall”

Taste it

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 23rd, 2009

173 representatives led by Speaker Prospero Nograles introduced House Resolution 1109.

1109 combines the Nograles’ Resoution 737, the one that would amend economic provisions of the Constitution without going through the concon or conass route, with Villafuerte’s unnamed resolution, the one supposed to trigger “justiciable controversy.” 1109 also includes a “no term extension” pledge.

But Villafuerte, listed among the 173 signatories to 1109, told reporters he will move for the suspension of consideration of the Nograles resolution.

“The resolution of Speaker Nograles et. al., proposing specific amendments already, in my opinion, is seriously objectionable. In fact, I will stand up today if allowed to state a manifestation or interpellation that I am opposed to considering specific amendments now even before we can convene as a constituent assembly.

Since Speaker Nograles himself is also the author of the resolution I drafted, I think the proper procedure will be to suspend consideration of his 737 resolution on economic provision, let go of the resolution I drafted which he principally authored, so we can convene a constituent assembly

But even after convening, we should not consider any specific amendment yet, but trigger a justiciable controversy so the matter can be brought to the Supreme Court with one issue only: how shall we vote in a constituent assembly proceedings. Shall it be 3/4 of the Senate and House separately, or just strike the collective vote of all the congressmen and senators, get the 3/4 percent and that represents the 3/4 Congress as presently worded?”

So Villafuerte insists on seeing his resolution on the Supreme Court’s plate. It looks like shit, it smells like shit still he wants the Supreme Court to taste it and tell him it is shit.

But seriously, doesn’t Villafuerte’s objection cast a doubt over the authenticity of the other 172 signatures?

Villafuerte had 172 backers for his resolution. How many did Nograles have for his?

1109 was pulled out of Nograles’ ass in such a rush it was still warm and brown. I don’t think there were 173 reps who read and signed on to it. I’m sure Nograles just tacked on the no term extension pledge and his economic amendment to Villafuerte’s resolution and introduced it as 1109 with 173 signatures including Villafuerte’s.

Still, this is just a Villafuerte/Nograles/Malacanan moro-moro. If they can get away with cha-cha then hooray! if they cannot then it’s still okay because the controversy over cha-cha would have distracted the public from tackling the real issue affecting the country – the Arroyo Gang,

Tea baggers

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 22nd, 2009

My Business Mirror column, for Wednesday, April,22 2009.

    Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom
    teascreen1 The Republicans were thrilled over the “tea bag” parties last weekend. It looks like they didn’t bother to check what “tea-bagging” means.

    The Urban Dictionary defines tea–bagging as “dipping your testicles into the open mouth of another person. Kind of like dipping a tea bag in and out of a cup of water.”

    When and how did that once respectable political party degenerate into a mob of ignorant wingnuts and religious fanatics who would remake the Boston Tea Party into a “tea bag” protest?

    The decline started in 1968. Richard Nixon won the presidency by appealing to the lowest common denominator of American politics—fear and stupidity. But Nixon was smart enough to recognize a campaign tactic for what it was; he did not allow himself to be held captive by it.

    His successors, Ronald Reagan and the Bushes (George H.W. and George W.), were not as smart. And so what was originally just a campaign tactic to break the Democratic Party’s 40-year dominance over the legislature turned into an ideology that would divide Americans into camps for or against such idiotic slogans like the “Evil Empire,” “Willie Horton” and “The Axis of Evil.”

    The entire American experiment seemed doomed to bumper stickerisms until Americans regained their senses and elected Barack Obama.

    Witness the nuance and intelligence of Obama’s responses at a press conference after the conclusion of the Summit of the Americas. It’s a refreshing departure from the arrogance and vacuity of his predecessor.

    Reporter Chuck Todd asked Obama about the pillars of the “Obama Doctrine.”

    THE PRESIDENT: “…There are a couple of principles that I’ve tried to apply across the board:

    “Number one, that the United States remains the most powerful, wealthiest nation on Earth, but we’re only one nation, and that the problems that we confront can’t be solved just by one country…. And I think if you start with that approach, then you are inclined to listen and not just talk.

    “…We recognize that other countries have good ideas, too, and we want to hear them. And the fact that a good idea comes from a small country like Costa Rica should not somehow diminish the fact that it’s a good idea.

    “Number two…I feel very strongly that when we are at our best, the United States represents a set of universal values and ideals…. But what I also believe is that other countries have different cultures, different perspectives, and are coming out of different histories, and that we do our best to promote our ideals and our values by our example.

    “And so if we are practicing what we preach and if we occasionally confess to having strayed from our values and our ideals, that strengthens our hand; that allows us to speak with greater moral force and clarity around these issues.

    “And again, I think people around the world appreciate that we’re not suggesting we are holding ourselves to one set of standards and we’re going to hold you to another set of standards; that we’re not simply going to lecture you, but we’re rather going to show through how we operate the benefits of these values and ideals.

    And as a consequence of listening, believing that there aren’t junior partners and senior partners in the international stage, I don’t think that we suddenly transform every foreign- policy item that’s on the agenda….

    “…Countries are going to have interests, and changes in foreign-policy approaches by my administration aren’t suddenly going to make all those interests that may diverge from ours disappear. What it does mean, though, is, at the margins, more likely to want to cooperate than not cooperate. It means that where there is resistance to a particular set of policies that we’re pursuing, that resistance may turn out just to be based on old preconceptions or ideological dogmas that, when they’re cleared away, it turns out that we can actually solve a problem.”

    As to the knee-jerk idiocy that followed his less than unfriendly interaction with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Obama said:

    “…We had this debate throughout the campaign, and the whole notion was, is that somehow if we showed courtesy or opened up dialogue with governments that had previously been hostile to us, that that somehow would be a sign of weakness. The American people didn’t buy it. And there’s a good reason the American people didn’t buy it—because it doesn’t make sense.

    “…Venezuela is a country whose defense budget is probably 1/600th of the United States’…. It’s unlikely that as a consequence of me shaking hands or having a polite conversation with Mr. Chavez… we are endangering the strategic interests of the United States. I don’t think anybody can find any evidence that that would do so. Even within this imaginative crowd, I think you would be hard-pressed to paint a scenario in which US interests would be damaged as a consequence of us having a more constructive relationship with Venezuela.”

    The Republicans tea-bagged themselves when they turned campaign rhetoric based on fear and stupidity into dogma. Instead of tea-bagging, they should smell the coffee.


SC authorizes 32 more party list reps, effective immediately

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the April 21st, 2009

This morning Manuel L. Quezon III sent me a text message that led to an exchange of texts that got me thinking about other things.

MLQ3: Sc hs just authorized 32 more party lisr reps to join the house, effective immediately.

ME: from 2007 elections?

MLQ3: Ya

ME: Mga tao nila?

MLQ3: Mukha or at least this late in the game susceptible to goodies

ME: Dat means she thinks once she gets 197 ayus na ang SC . Pero kung sumakay ang SC pwede na magbuhat ng baril kc yun na lang ang chek and balance

MLQ3: Ya but I think the surveys show not enough will risk life or limb to oppose

ME: Revolutionaries don’t rely on surveys. But ur right popular discontent wont happen soon not while there are jobs abroad

MLQ3: And our soldiers are too dumb too ball less to settle the issue either

ME: Ya and dats good becos ders nothing worse than mil. rule. U cannot reform anything in a country wer mil provides protection for crooks. Dats been d way since 1972

We all saw what happened after EDSA. Was there anybody in the military held accountable for human rights violations, crimes against humanity, graft and corruption during the Marcos years?

The only change that happened was a name change from AFP to “New AFP.” As if a name change were enough to wash away all the sins the military committed against the Filipino people during the Marcos years.

The New AFP could not prosecute anybody because they were just as guilty as the loyalist AFP. The RAM-led New AFP merely replaced Ver’s scalawags with their own.

If today’s military idealists mean business, then they will not mutiny against the civilian government. They will take over military camps, purge and clean up their ranks, and only after doing that would they have the moral standing to tell the civilian government if you don’t do it, we will do it for you.

Satire is alive

Posted in Brownman's Posts by uniffors on the April 20th, 2009

Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III writes a short history of satire in this column from Business World’s Yellow Pad.

Satire is Alive!

by Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III

Tragic it is that many Pinoys condemned the piece that described the Philippines “as a nation of servants.” Being satire, the Chip Tsao column (The War at Home, HK Magazine, 27 March 2009) was actually ridiculing the Chinese government.

Gloria Arroyo—who would forget her “I am sorry”—should again say sorry, this time on behalf of the “nation of servants,” to the misunderstood Mr. Tsao.

Anyhow, Mr. Tsao has said sorry though perhaps his apology was not as sincere as Gloria’s “I am sorry.”

Conrad de Quiros, however, is perplexed. In his Philippine Daily Inquirer column (6 April 2009), he wrote: “Frankly, I don’t know how we can fail to understand or appreciate satire. We have a robust tradition of it. Jose Rizal was past master at it, writing slyly, funnily, and bitingly about the Spanish rulers, especially the rulers.”

Indeed, the way Rizal described and developed some of the characters in Noli Me Tangere—the likes of Capitan Tiago and Doña Victorina—is satire at its best.

And let’s not forget Marcelo del Pilar and his satirical works. Dasalan at Toksohan, written with Rafael Enriquez and Pedro Serrano, is perhaps del Pilar’s most piercing librito, so called because its size is as small as the novena’s.

Among the prayers in Dasalan is Ama Namain (Our Father). The prayer’s first line: Amain naming sumasaconvento ka, sumpain ang ngalan mo, malayo sa amin ang kasakiman mo, quitlin ang liig mo ditto sa lupa para nang sa langit.

Del Pilar dedicated Ama Namain to the friars. Today, we dedicate it to the First Gentleman who married the little girl from Assumption Convent. It is but proper to offer prayers to the Gentleman because he proxies for Santa Teresa de Avila, who he claims is a blood relative.

Another prayer in Dasalan is titled Ang Aba Guinoong Baria (from Hail Mary). Its first passage: Aba guinoong Baria nakapupuno ka nang alcancia ang Fraile’I sumasainyo bukod ka niyang pinagpala’t pina higuit sa lahat, pinagpala naman ang kaban mong mapasok.

Today, we offer the prayer to the First Gentleman’s convent girl.

But let’s return to de Quiros’s point that satire has a robust tradition in the Philippines. It may seem ironic that during the Filipino-American War, an American writer by the name of Mark Twain attacked United States imperialism and defended the Filipinos through satire.

Among his many satirical essays is A Defence of General Funston (North American Review, May 1902). Frederick Funston became an American hero for his exploits during the Filipino-American War, including the capture of the first Philippine president, Emilio Aguinaldo. But Funston was notorious for the atrocities he committed. Funston even had the gall to tell the American public that he “personally strung thirty-five Filipinos without trial.“ In the same breath, he said “all Americans who had recently petitioned Congress to sue for peace in the Philippines should be dragged out of their homes and lynched.”

Said Twain, “It is plain to me, and I think it ought to be plain to all, that Funston is not in any way to blame for the things he has done, does, thinks, and says.”

Funston’s reincarnation on Philippine soil, I guess, is Jovito Palparan. The little convent girl made Palparan a hero. But human rights want Palparan in jail. I encourage de Quiros to write A Defence of General Palparan.

With respect to the war against Japanese aggression, I am ignorant of how Filipinos used satire as a weapon. The celebrated propagandist then was Carlos P. Romulo, the little brown American. Maybe I should read his war memoirs to find out whether he employed satire. Nevertheless, I already find the title of his autobiography funny: I Walked with Heroes.

Another well-known propagandist during the war against Japan was Raul Manglapus, whose voice with the Arrneow accent was heard in radio broadcasts. Yet his most unforgettable remark came many years later, which got him into trouble. It was said in the context of smoothening the complex relations between the US and the Philippines: “If rape were inevitable, one should relax and enjoy it.”

During Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorship, the Left and fellow travelers made extensive and effective use of satire to mock the Marcoses, the cronies, the military, and the bootlickers. I recall the semi-underground paper titled Sick of the Times and the spoofs written by anonymous individuals called Los Enemigos.

History validates de Quiros’s statement that satire has “a robust tradition” in the Philippines. But I disagree with de Quiros’s opinion that we might be losing that tradition.

Well, de Quiros is one of the best contemporary satirists in the country. I try not to miss reading his April 1 columns. In the wake of the controversy generated by Tsao’s The War at Home, de Quiros wrote a satirical piece titled The War Abroad.

To be sure, many Pinoy writers excel in satire. In our group alone, we have a number of fellows who are satirists. There’s Manuel Buencamino, a contributor for the other business paper, who is second to none when it comes to writing humorous, witty and comic “dispatches from the enchanted kingdom.” And among the women, I mention Guy Estrada Claudio who knows how to produce “militant irony.” See her blog titled Pleasure and Subversion. I likewise cite the young Krupskaya Añonuevo, who just wrote a satirical piece about Manila’s metro rail (BusinessWorld, Traveling Mercies, 13 April 2009).

Outside the circle of wordsmiths, we can find people who can deliver good satire, even without trying.

Mike Defensor is one of them. He may have developed his liking for satire from his association with his fraternity brods. Defensor belongs to Alpha Sigma, which can stand for Association of Satirists. The fraternity has a bunch of satirists or serious writers capable of doing satire—Sol Santos, Randy David, Raul Pangalangan, Butch Dalisay, Ome Candazo, Joy de los Reyes et al.

Why Defensor? He has quotable quotes that can be considered satirical. A famous one: “That is the president’s voice, but that’s not the president speaking.”

On second thought, I doubt if he acquired his inclination for satire from his brods mentioned above. His boss, the little girl schooled by the convent, influenced his type of satire.

The convent girl does satire though unintentionally. Read her speech during the 2003 vin d’honneur. She wasn’t intoxicated with wine when she declared: “As you know, I have decided not to seek the Presidency in 2004. This decision wasn’t easy, but it was the right one. She, too, said: “I sow, my successor reaps.”

It took us about a year to realize that her speech was clever and funny.

We already know that the little girl’s former allies, now her enemies—that is, the communists—are adept at using satire for propaganda. Take their latest statement dated 6 April 2009. Its opening sentence: “The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today extended greetings to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for its successful launch into space of a communications satellite yesterday.”

Won’t you, dear reader, agree that the CPP message is catchier, thanks to satire, than the plain statements of condemnation coming from the usually eloquent Barack Obama and the rest of the world?

Lest I be accused of favoring the communists, I will acknowledge that their enemies at the battlefield, the Philippine National Police (PNP), have learned to use satire impressively. Installed near the front gate of its headquarters at Crame and facing busy EDSA is a billboard that calls our attention to the PNP’s badge of honor. In big letters, the message is that the PNP is “the protector of the weak, defender of the innocent, and advocate of human rights.”

Related to this, we learned from Philippine Star (5 March 2009) that the National Capital Regional Police Office held a competition on reciting the badge of honor “in an effort to promote the PNP virtues of service and to instill in the hearts of every men and women in uniform the honor and pride that comes with donning the police badge.”

That the police have memorized by heart that they protect the weak, defend the innocent, and advocate human rights explains their dogged determination to immediately nab suspects and resolve the killing of Ted Failon’s wife Trina.

With all the examples above, I assure my friend de Quiros that the Pinoy tradition of satire lives on.

Cops gone wild

Posted in Brownman's Posts by uniffors on the April 18th, 2009

No one knows if Trinidad Arteche Etong committed suicide. The QCPD criminal investigation and detection unit is trying its best to find out. To find a way to hang a murder or parricide rap on Ted Failon, that is. The PDI editorial explains why.

April 18, 2009 at 9:16 am
Inquirer Editorial

After watching the way the police have been handling the investigation of the death of Trinidad Arteche Etong, ABS-CBN news anchor Ted Failon’s wife, Filipinos have reason to be afraid — very afraid — of their so-called protectors.

From the time the Quezon City police began working on the case, it was clear they wanted to pin down Failon in a murder charge.

With little to go on but a fertile imagination, Superintendent Frank Mabanag, chief of the Quezon City Police District’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, theorized that Etong could have been killed in their Pajero and brought up to the bathroom where Failon claimed to have found her lying in a pool of blood.

Right in his own house, Failon was made to undergo a paraffin test as police investigators gleefully posed behind him for souvenir photos.

Even as Etong was undergoing emergency treatment for a bullet wound to her head, the police “invited” Failon to submit to an investigation that would drag through the night up to the early hours of morning. Eight hours later, the investigators finally let him go.

But soon after that, Mabanag announced that a “manhunt” had been launched for the broadcaster who, it turned out, had just gone back to the hospital to be with his wife.

When the paraffin test yielded a negative result, a gentler and more humane police force would have taken it as a cue to ease up a bit and give Failon, his kin and his household some space to rest and maybe try to come to terms with the tragedy.

But no, the frustrating outcome seemed only to have roused the Quezon City police to intensify their persecution of everyone closely or remotely involved in the case.

In a series of operations, policemen arrested first, Failon’s two maids, his driver and a utility man, and later, two of his in-laws.

Especially brutal was the arrest of Failon’s sister-in-law, Pamela Trinchera, who was dragged protesting and screaming out of the hospital where her sister was being treated.

The police recommended that all, except Failon’s brother-in-law, be charged with obstruction of justice, an offense the police were hard put to define.

The four house help stand accused of tampering with evidence because they cleaned up the bathroom where Etong was reportedly found and the car in which Etong was brought to the hospital.

All claimed they did it on their own (to spare Failon’s younger daughter the trauma of seeing her mother’s blood, according to the maids) and without any intention of hiding a crime.

It seems not to have occurred to the investigators that if indeed Etong died by her own hand — a possibility they say they have not ruled out — then no crime was committed, in which case they will have to explain what kind of evidence was tampered with — evidence of a non-crime, perhaps?

The case against Trinchera (which the prosecutor mercifully dismissed) was even curiouser. The police wanted her charged for blocking a procedure that the policemen themselves described as inconclusive.

That was what they said when the paraffin test on Failon yielded a negative result. Why did they insist on doing a test that has been discredited (according to one forensic expert) on a woman who was fighting for her life?

It is not for us to say whether Etong’s death was suicide or murder.What we can say is that what the Quezon City police have done is an overkill.

Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales, the National Capital Region police chief, says the investigation is being conducted carefully and by the book.

But as crime investigations go, this one has been going at lightning speed for a police force that remains clueless about assassinations of two Cabinet undersecretaries, not to mention the murders of scores of journalists and activists.

It is clear that the investigators are rushing to implicate anyone and everyone on anything, and especially Failon if they can.

And the reason is obvious: Failon has been a thorn in the side of the Quezon City police, with his biting radio commentaries on the rubout of suspected car thieves on EDSA a couple of months ago and the recent upsurge of carjacking cases in the city.

This is sweet revenge for some city police officers, and they don’t care who gets hurt.
Neither do they care if the whole nation watches as they wage their vendetta in the glare of television cameras.
Their message to the media and the public is unmistakable: Don’t mess with us or else…

Perhaps it is time Filipinos began to ask whether they should continue to support with their taxes an organization that is going berserk.

Continuing to do so is beginning to look like suicide.

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