Life in Pacmanland

Posted in Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the October 28th, 2011




It’s alright Ma (I’m only dying)

Posted in Manuel Buencamino,Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the October 27th, 2011


You get more with a smile and a gun than with a smile alone.” – Al Capone

    What you want to do when savages massacre 19 of your valiant soldiers is to allow the AFP Chief or the Secretary of National Defense to have the first word. Strength is what you need to project at a time like this. Furthermore, you want the military’s narrative and not the enemy’s to become the frame for different reactions to the encounter. What you don’t want to do is send out a castrato to sing “Kumbayah” even before the bodies of some of the slain heroes have been recovered. But this administration runs on good intentions and not much else.

    And so before a proper heroes’ burial could be accorded the martyred soldiers and an investigation into the massacre could begin, it sent out its boyish-looking soprano-voiced peace negotiator to declare, “We are certain that this is an isolated incident. This armed confrontation was not intended by both government and MILF. We’re looking at the larger picture. We need peace in Mindanao. In the meantime, the government panel in talks with the MILF is preparing for a meeting with its counterparts next month.” With that, he demoralized soldiers in the field; pleased the sub-humans protected by ceasefire zones; and made a public already howling for blood even more bloodthirsty.

    The Commander in Chief’s initial statements did not help sort out right from wrong, good guys from bad guys, either. He castigated the military, relieved officers, ordered a stand down, and threw a rotten egg at those who expected him to be on the right side. His response to calls for an all-out war against the MILF was “If there is one rotten egg must we assume the whole basket is rotten?”

    Excuse me poh, Señorito, but yes you might as well assume that they are all rotten because you won’t know if an egg is rotten if you don’t crack it first. The trope you want is an apple because you don’t have to cut it open to tell if it’s rotten.

    If you had used an apple as your metaphor, you could have sent the message that you will pick and choose your apples, meaning you will selectively suspend the ceasefire and hunt down savages in the areas where they roam freely and that if the MILF will not domesticate them then the you will do it, whether the MILF likes it or not. That would have placed the MILF on notice that you will not be pushed around, reassured the public that you know right from wrong, and boosted your soldiers’ morale, knowing you will be with them through thick and thin. Anyway, that’s what we expected from our president, the commander in chief of our armed forces.

    The problem is this administration is treating the MILF in the same way that previous administrations did. When the same gang of sub-humans beheaded 10 Marines four years ago, then Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita dismissed it as an ‘unhappy development’ and reiterated his government’s policy of appeasement, “We are in a very good footing because it’s (peace talks) being moderated by Malaysia and I feel the MILF will not allow this peace process to collapse just because of the action there in Basilan.”

    And you wonder why those friends of the MILF go on with their merry ways looting, burning, bombing, raping, eating human flesh, beheading, and whatever else sub-humans do? It’s because they know they can always count on castrati to do nothing but hold hands and sing “Kumbayah”.

    Señorito, I am not asking for total war. All I’d like is for you to consider the wise words at the top of the page, “You get more with a smile and a gun than with a smile alone.”

    *** As I was finishing this article, the Commander in Chief went on television with a smile, a gun, and a pledge to take down the savages who massacred our soldiers. Better late than never, I guess. The next step is to resettle Metro Manila squatters to Al Barka, Basilan and Payao, Zamboanga-Sibugay and give them money to raise hogs there.

Why their lawyers are all over town (Updated)

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the October 26th, 2011

One of Mike Arroyo’s lawyers accused the Comelec of compromising its independence by participating in a joint investigation panel looking into allegations that his client was involved in massive electoral fraud in the 2007 midterm elections.

Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said it is “legally impermissible” for an independent constitutional body like the Comelec to work together with the Justice Department because it would, for all intents and purposes, be acting as an agent of the president.

    “Chairman Brillantes (Comelec) should have opposed this latest assault on the integrity and independence of the Comelec, but being the former lawyer of the President, he meekly stood by and delivered the Comelec to the Executive branch like a lamb being led to slaughter. This is a less than brilliant stand on his part,” he said.

Is there something to what he said? Let’s break it down.

1. “Chairman Brillantes (Comelec) should have opposed this latest assault on the integrity and independence of the Comelec…”

ASSAULT? Was the Comelec coerced into forming a joint panel with the DOJ or was it exercising its integrity and independence when it decided to form a joint panel with the DOJ? Forming a joint panel to investigate the same charges is common sense, it will avoid redundancy and save time and money for everyone concerned. Topacio should welcome it.

LATEST ASSAULT? Topacio should ennumerate the previous assaults, if any.

2. “…but being the former lawyer of the President, he meekly stood by and delivered the Comelec to the Executive branch like a lamb being led to slaughter”

Can Topacio show proof other than innuendo by association? Maybe he can cite specific examples where Brillantes as Comelec chairman behaved in a manner similar to former chairman Abalos. That should not be difficult because Brillantes has been in office for a year and that’s enough time to leave footprints.

If sliming by association is okay then let’s cite Topacio’s other clients. There’s police superintendent Cesar Mancao of the Dacer-Corbito murder case whose testimony against Sen. Panfilo Lacson came at the height of Lacson’s exposes against his client Mike Arroyo; there’s former Palawan governor Joel Reyes who is accused of being the mastermind in the murder of Geraldo Ortega, a radio-journalist and environmentalist; there’s Euphemio Genuino, former PAGCOR chairman and friend of his client Mike Arroyo, who is facing multiple charges before the Ombudsman. He was also the election of the late Batangas governor Armand Sanchez, a rumored jueteng lord and ally of the Arroyos.

We can also play the innuendo game,

    “Atty. Topacio should have welcomed the joint DOJ-Comelec panel not as the latest assault on the integrity and independence of the Comelec but as cooperation between two independent agencies to ferret out the truth regarding the 2007 elections, but being the lawyer of Mike Arroyo who reportedly set-aside billions for his defense, Topacio protested and slimed Comelec chairman Brillantes. This is a less than brilliant stand on his part.”

Will innuendos bring us closer to resolving the issues related to the 2007 elections?

Business Mirror reported, “Topacio also assailed the panel for refusing to exonerate Mike Arroyo despite the findings of the joint fact-finding team of the DOJ-Comelec, which found insufficient evidence to place him under investigation.”

Topacio is being specious. The summons for his client is in connection with the election sabotage case filed by Sen. Koko Pimentel. It is an entirely different from the case he is citing.

The lawyers of the Arroyos are preparing the ground work for the application for political asylum of their clients. Newspaper clippings of their statements regarding trumped up charges and delays in granting travel permits to their clients, including the SC decision on the Truth Commission, will be presented as proofs of persecution against the Arroyos. You can be sure the Arroyos have been consulting lawyers abroad.

UPDATE In Malaya Comelec Chairman Brillantes responds to Topacio

    Brillantes said, “Kilala ko naman si Attorney Topacio. Napaka-galing na abugado. Ang problema lang sa kanya, hindi yata niya binabasa ang batas.”

    He said the Poll Automation Law would show that pursuing election-related crimes is no longer the sole jurisdiction of the Comelec.

    “If you read the RA 9369, concurrent ang jurisdiction ng Comelec and DOJ. It means the law itself allows that the Comelec and the DOJ should join,” said Brillantes.

    Section 43 of the law states: “The Commission shall, through its duly authorized legal officers, have the power, concurrent with the other prosecuting arms of the government, to conduct preliminary investigation of all election offenses punishable under this Code, and prosecute the same.”

So there.

Look who’s playing doctor

Posted in Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the October 25th, 2011


Is there a fish there?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino,Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the October 21st, 2011

The Senate smells something fishy about the P660M loan that DBP extended to businessman Roberto Ongpin to acquire the Philex shares that he subsequently sold to another businessman, Manuel V. Pangilinan. A lot of people also smell something fishy although, like me, they are as clueless as the blind man who wandered into a fish market, sniffed, and said, “Good morning ladies.”

Inquirer business columnist Conrado Banal III defended the deal:

    At the start of his takeover bid, MVP already acquired a 20-percent interest in Philex, made up of treasury stocks accumulated by Philex over the years. MVP also announced he would go to the stock market to acquire 20 percent more. It was clear that MVP intended to take controlling interest.

    In such a scenario, the DBP management (led by its former president, veteran banker Reynaldo David) started acquiring Philex shares, garnering about 120 million shares at an average price of P5 per share, about 2 percent of the outstanding shares, meaning, not enough for even just one board seat in the company.

    At the same time, market talk had it then that the GSIS also started to take position in Philex, buying even at a much higher price of P9 per share. When the Philex price reached P11 per share in the market, the DBP unloaded 10 million shares, apparently in a bid to average down its costs.

    In the market, meanwhile, it was known that Ongpin was also buying Philex shares. He even partnered with a well-known mining man, Walter Brown. And so when Ongpin learned that DBP was unloading, he offered a much higher price to the bank (P12.75 per share vs P11 in the market) for 50 million shares.

    Such a “block sale” is always good for the seller that is holding a relatively large chunk of shares, such as DBP. Unloading 50 million shares into the market would always push down the price. Always. If DBP had cashed in it profits by selling the shares in trickles, it would also tend to dampen the market price. No seller would want that, of course.

    Now, as part of the deal, Ongpin asked for a loan package from DBP, amounting to P660 million. The DBP management committee nevertheless asked Ongpin for P80 million cash upfront to pay for the shares. Also, Ongpin was to pledge the entire block to the bank as collateral to the loan.

    In other words, in case Ongpin went bust and could not pay for the loan, DBP would still have the 50 million Philex shares, and it would even be richer by P80 million, which was Ongpin’s down payment.

    The 50 million shares that Ongpin acquired from DBP, in effect, brought up his holdings in Philex to about 7 percent. So Ongpin could now turn around and offer his swing block to MVP.

    The negotiations between Ongpin and MVP took only two days—on a weekend. In any financial market, that is usually how fast the big players make decisions. For in the market, anything can always happen. Fund managers in fact make buy or sell decisions in a matter of seconds.

    The thing is, Ongpin and MVP agreed on a price of P21 per share—versus the P12.75 per share that Ongpin offered to DBP.

    In effect, our bright senators were saying that DBP should have gone straight to MVP to sell also at P21 per, instead of making the deal with Ongpin. How stupid the DBP management! They could not even look into the crystal ball to predict that MVP would agree on a price of P21 per!

    Nobody was saying of course that the block held by Ongpin was rather attractive to MVP. It would give MVP the controlling interest. For such a transaction, deal makers like MVP and Ongpin are always willing to pay for a premium. I doubt if the DBP shares of 50 million (acquired by Ongpin) could command a similar premium. They were only about 1 percent of Philex, versus the 7 percent block of Ongpin.

    The story goes that the SSS, still headed by Romulo Neri at that time, hearing of the deal between Ongpin and MVP, offered to sell its Philex shares. MVP rejected the offer. He already had controlling interest because of his deal with Ongpin.

    As part of the deal, Ongpin asked MVP to buy the rest of the DBP shares (the remaining 60 million shares, out of the 110 million the bank acquired in the market) at the same attractive price of P21 per.

    Here is the thing: Without the Ongpin deal, DBP would not have been able to ride with his P21-per-share deal with MVP.

    That is clear. Contrary to the bright assessment of some senators, DBP could not have done it alone. It did not have enough shares. It could only be a rider.

    Because the Ongpin deal allowed DBP to sell to MVP at P21 per (which SSS was not able to do) the bank made a cool P1.4 billion in the trading of Philex shares—in less than a year. On top of it, the bank earned P15 million in interest from the loan package it gave to Ongpin.

Meanwhile, former investment banker and management consultant, Leo Alejandrino, asks three questions:

    1. Why did DBP not offer its Philex shares to Pangilinan? The latter had officially announced five months earlier his desire to acquire upto 40% of the company. David, described by Ongpin as “one of the smartest bankers in the country”, had the legal responsibility particularly for an asset this size to get the best price through a transparent and competitive bidding process; yet he chose to deal exclusively with his friend -and now business associate and defender- Ongpin. The haste of the DBP loan further suggests the deal was wired all the way.

    2. Ongpin admits the loan was expedited because the market price of Philex was already at P12.75 thereby threatening the deal. Rather than fast track the loan should this not have prompted DBP to slow the process and rethink the price?

    3. Was there a conspiracy to defraud and by whom?

My take:

Why didn’t Manny Pangilinan buy DBP’s Philex shares at P11? Why didn’t he buy the shares held by GSIS and SSS? If he had done that, Ongpin would have no swing block to pump up the price of his shares to P21.

Thanks to Manny Pangilinan who announced early on that he wanted to acquire control of Philex but did not take measures to ensure his balls would not be caught in the vise of Ongpin and David, the DBP made money and Ongpin made even more money. Pangilinan controls Philex. Everybody happy. But why do I still smell fish?

Toys for idiots

Posted in Manuel Buencamino,Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the October 19th, 2011

Gun control? We need bullet control! I think every bullet should cost 5,000 dollars. Because if a bullet cost five thousand dollars, we wouldn’t have any innocent bystanders. – Chris Rock
Why was the president’s political adviser carrying a machinegun in his car? I presume it’s because he’s been told that anybody who has ever been in a shoot-out armed only with a pistol wished he had a machinegun.

I know Ronald Llamas has a right to self-defense. There’s no question about that. What I don’t understand is why he did not simply get more bodyguards or bullet-proof his car or walk away from his job or take the ultimate measure to frustrate assassins: shoot himself in the head before they get a chance to shoot him. Just kidding.

I’m also baffled why the president turned himself into an echo chamber for the pro-gun lobby. “He (Llamas) received threats to his life. The right to self defense is accorded by the Constitution,” the president said, ala Wayne La Pierre of the National Rifle Association of America. Wayne La Pierre. That sounds like the name of a French bakery or a hair salon. That bulge under Wayne’s jacket is probably a baguette or a hair dryer. I think David Letterman said that first. But it could also have been me.

Local gun advocates pick up their mantras from their American counterparts. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” So what do we get rid of first, guns or hands that shoot guns?

“We have to carry a gun because cops are never around when you need them.” Yes, show the world you can draw your gun faster than it will take anyone with a gun already drawn to pull the trigger. “When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.” And if everybody has a gun how are we supposed to tell who is an outlaw? Simple. We tattoo “Good Guy” on the forehead of every gun-toting law-abiding citizen, right?

At the beginning of martial law, Ferdinand Marcos, the smartest politician since Manuel Quezon, decreed a total gun ban. Gun-related crimes and deaths ground to a halt. Unfortunately, Marcos granted exemptions before a no-gun society could take root.

His successors could have reinstituted the gun ban but not one of them did. So here we are today. A presidential adviser armed with a machinegun and passion-shootings inside shopping malls. And still gun advocates insist, “It could have been prevented if the victim also had a gun” or “That only means there is an urgent need for stricter gun controls.”

Only Nandy Pacheco points out the obvious, there are no shootings where there are no guns. If only he can think as clearly when it comes to the RH Bill…well, we all have our blind spots.

Both pro and anti-gun groups can produce reams of statistics and studies to support their respective advocacy. But I don’t care about their studies and statistics. And neither should you. Because the real issue is about fundamental fairness, parity, if you will. That’s what we should be talking about. If some people can have guns, albeit after meeting certain strict criteria, and others can’t, for whatever reason, then we are creating a situation where a select few enjoy an unfair advantage.

What’s the justification for that? Doesn’t everybody deserve an even break? Why don’t we level the playing field, either guns are available to everyone or nobody is allowed a gun. Let’s debate that and decide which situation we prefer, guns for all or no guns at all. And we can also cut right through that crap about the right to bear arms. That right exists in Wayne’s world not in ours.

(also in: Interaksyon.com)

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Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the October 18th, 2011

In a two-part Bloomberg article reprinted in Business Mirror last Saturday, Rhacel Salazar Parrenas summarizes the findings of her nine-month study (2005-2006) on japayukis.

Parrenas argues that the US government’s campaign against global sex-trafficking “poses a setback to the emancipation of women. It has stripped thousands of migrant women of their livelihood, forcing them to stay at home, often in impoverished conditions. I challenge the identification of migrant Filipina hostesses as sex-trafficked persons.”

Ms.Parrenas speaks from experience.

    I SPENT nine months in Tokyo working as a hostess in a working-class club in one of the city’s many red-light districts, frequented by members of the yakuza, the Japanese crime syndicates. This type of place, in a seedy location, owned by a proprietor with a questionable background, was often assumed to be a site of forced prostitution.

    “In 2005 and 2006, I resorted to this work as a way of gaining access to the world of Filipina hostesses in Japan.During my first three months in Tokyo, I had struggled to meet hostesses willing to participate in my study of their conditions.

    “After I began working as a hostess, every person I approached agreed to talk to me. By the end of my study, I had completed interviews with 56 Filipina hostesses: 45 females and 11 male-to-female transgendered individuals. After working just one week in a hostess bar, I realized I had entered an unfamiliar sexual world, where people are more open about their sexuality, where both customers and hostesses seem to be ready for extramarital affairs, and where men can sexually harass women with no punishment.

    “This world has been condemned not only for its debauchery and criminal elements but also for “crimes against humanity.”

    “What I discovered, in fact, was that these women come to Japan voluntarily and gratefully, knowing what their jobs will be.

She concludes,

    “Unsubstantiated claims of the forced prostitution of Filipina hostesses are morally charged, and divert attention from the need for regulation and protection of sex workers.

    “Hostesses don’t need to be rescued. They need the empowerment that comes from being independent labor migrants. Only then can they remain gainfully employed, free of migrant brokers, and have full control of their own lives.”

I wonder how women’s groups will react to her study. Check out the article. HERE.

Pimping the country through charter change

Posted in Manuel Buencamino,Philip Gilmore Cartoons by uniffors on the October 13th, 2011


My vagina is like New Jersey, everyone knows where it is but no one wants to go there. – Joan Rivers

    US Ambassador Harry Thomas got into trouble for pointing out something that no one likes to admit is true: many tourists come here for sex. He cited the number as 40 percent. It does not matter where he got his data or how accurate it is. What is important is that his observation is essentially true. However, by the same token, 60 percent of tourists do not come here to buy sex.

    Prostitutes are not our main tourist attraction. And prostitutes do not depend on tourists for their economic survival. They do well enough servicing the libido of locals. Tourists are just icing on their cake. The fact is every country in the world gets sex tourists, some get more than others. The only destinations where nobody goes for sex are the Vatican and Mecca. There is absolutely no getting sex in those places unless one looks like an angelic choir boy or a camel with long eyelashes.

    It is ironic that the same politicians offended by the ambassador’s observation about sex tourism want to amend the economic provisions of the constitution to make the country sexier for foreign businessmen. They believe the country will entice foreign businessmen if it puts on a new dress and spreads its legs wide open. That mentality reminds me of the story about the clueless pimp.

    Juanito, the pimp, was wondering why his whore was not as popular as Lee’s, the pimp next door. He reviewed his marketing strategy and concluded that his girl needed a make-over to make her competitive. On the way to the store to buy new clothes and make-up for his girl, Juanito ran into Lee.

    “How’s business?” asked Lee.

    “Very slow,” Juanito replied morosely. “I’m on the way to the mall to buy new outfits for my bitch. She’s not attracting any tricks.”

    “I may be crossing the line here but I have to tell you that it has nothing to do with her clothes,” said Lee.

    “Are you telling me that my woman is ugly?”

    “Of course not. She’s actually better looking than my girl,” Lee replied.

    “That’s true,” Juanito agreed. “But why is she not getting any clients? What can I do to bring in more customers?”

    “Buying her a new dress won’t work,” replied Lee. “The problem is she stinks. Give her a long hot bath and a good scrubbing.”

    Sa madaling salita, simply changing certain provisions of the constitution is like putting on a new dress over the same nasty body. The country will still reek of the odor of corruption and criminality and no investors are going to come knocking on its door asking to be let in.

    What is it about politicians that they cannot see what everyone else does? A fresh clean woman with her knees together is far more attractive than a skanky foul-smelling woman with her legs spread wide open.

Steve Jobs and LSD

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the October 10th, 2011

The New York Times’ obituary of Steve Jobs included this interesting bit of information:

“After dropping out of Reed College, a stronghold of liberal thought in Portland, Ore., in 1972, Mr. Jobs led a countercultural lifestyle himself. He told a reporter that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he had done in his life. He said there were things about him that people who had not tried psychedelics — even people who knew him well, including his wife — could never understand.”

Jobs was never shy about taking LSD. He credited the drug for playing an important role in his success.

He also said that Microsoft’s Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.”

Maybe that would explain why Microsoft products were never as exciting as Apple’s.

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Saddam on the future of America

Posted in Brownman's Posts by uniffors on the October 10th, 2011

The current issue of Vanity Fair reprints a transcript from the forthcoming The Saddam Tapes: The Inner Workings of a Tyrant’s Regime, 1978–2001.

In this conversation he muses over the US foray into Somalia in the early 1990s.

    Saddam: “If the Americans continue such politics, they are going to face major troubles. Why would anyone want to elect an American? What did he say to him to influence him? He will probably say to him that he promises to improve the economic situation. How could he improve the economic situation with American soldiers spread all over the world?

    Their economy will never improve with the expenses they spent in the Gulf and in Europe. They spent $68 billion in the Gulf, and in Europe, they spent $128 billion. If America does not withdraw its troops from all over the world, its economy could never improve. America is not in its youth phase. America is at the edge of elderliness and at the beginning phase of old age. This is nature, once you reach [inaudible]. The man might delay the deterioration; however, I cannot imagine the deterioration continuing. I mean it is impossible to give up its role of interference and influencing, and the latest foolishness made people apprehend it more and forced the blocks to move faster than before.

    If America implemented a good policy, made a political difference in the world, emphasized improving the economy, etc, America would earn more respect from the rest of the world; however, it is not afraid at all. This means it is not aware of the consequences. That might result in close relations with China, the Soviet Union and India, Japan with Asia. Germany will develop to be an industrial threat and France will overspread the world markets. It will cause a major chaos all over the world.”

    Unidentified Man: “Sir, yesterday, as Your Excellency knows, the American president stated that the first thing he needs to do is allocate funds for the American troops overseas, [inaudible]. He made such a statement yesterday at the conference.”

    Saddam: “It is impossible for him to do that in order to improve his economy. He could save a billion dollars from here, a million dollars from somewhere else, another two million from another place that could be useful, but it would not heal his wound that is so deep it cannot be healed unless he turns to the military budget.”

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