Miriam’s primer for illiterate politicians and critics

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 29th, 2012

Sen. Miriam Santiago called critics of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ $1-billion pledged loan to the IMF’s “firewall” program “illiterates”.

Ang dami-daming pinagsasasabi pero hindi naman nagbabasa. (They talk a lot, but they don’t read.) The main problem with some of our politicians is that they are illiterate.”

She was referring to those who denounced the loan for the following reasons:

    1. Why not use that money for infrastructure, education, health, and programs that address the needs of the poor?

    2. Why lend when we have debts to pay? Why not lend the money to the government and earn higher interest at the same time investing in development?

    3. Why was Congress not consulted?

    4. Charity begins at home.

Miriam addressed the criticism in the following manner:

Why is the BSP lending to the IMF, when over 38 percent of the Philippine population are living below the poverty line?

“The answer is that it is the national government and not the BSP which is directly responsible for addressing poverty with resources coming from the budget.”

Why lend when we have debts to pay? Why not lend the money to the government and earn higher interest at the same time investing in development?

“The answer is the legal provision that our international reserves follow an investment guideline mandating that only investment-grade and highly-rated financial instruments of non-residents should qualify. Therefore, the BSP cannot lend part of its reserves to the national government to retire Philippine public debt, and the law prohibits the BSP from engaging in development banking or finance.”

Besides, and this is me, not Miriam, talking: Our debts are at manageable levels so why use our reserves to prepay them ? Better to keep our reserves intact and allow them to grow. It’s always better to have something to fall back on, right?

Why was Congress not consulted?

“At present, there is no such law that requires the President to consult Congress or the Senate. If the Senate wishes to participate in the foreign loan process, then it should pass a bill to that effect.” But Miriam is not in favor of passing a law requiring the president to consult Congress for lending or borrowing money. “We can never tell the magnitude of a financial crisis in the future. Let’s give him enough leeway,” she said.

Charity begins at home.

That is a brickbat that even I can swat away.

The $1 billion pledge is not charity. The BSP is not giving away a single centavo. The pledge is a loan. It will be repaid with interest. The BSP could have bought gold but it chose to place the money in the IMF firewall program because the non-monetary benefits of that transaction cannot be gotten by having gold bars sitting in a vault.

Congress made the central bank autonomous in a rare moment of enlightened thinking. It gave the Bangko Sentral sole authority and power to manage and safeguard our “money, banking, and credit.” It quarantined international reserves and kept it safe from political expediency and the sticky fingers of politicians.

The international reserves, in addition to “preserving the international value of the peso and maintaining its convertibility into other freely convertible currencies”, also serve as our “shit hits the fan” fund. If for some reason, or if another shit happens, and it’s not far-fetched considering the current global financial situation, we will have $76 billion in reserves to help us clean up the mess. Now politicians are using the $1 billion loan to the IMF as a means to get their hands on all of those reserves, to spend on their favorite fetish.

Do you want your $76 billion in the hands of politicians who apparently do not know or care what the reserves are for and whose vision extends only as far as the next election? Are you going to let them blow all of your $76 billion on problems that can be solved in due time or do you want the BSP to grow the reserves so you will have a safety net for when a real emergency occurs?

Sen. Koko Pimentel leaves UNA coalition

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 28th, 2012

Sen. Koko Pimentel announced he is leaving the UNA coalition.

    “Hindi ko talaga masikmura na tumakbo kasama ang kalaban ko.”

Oo naman Koko. At hindi lang si Migz ang mahirap sikmurain diyan sa UNA.

Kahit wala si Migz Zubiri at Mitos Magsaysay in the UNA senatorial slate eh nandiyan pa din si Erap.

Si Binay naman talagang matibay ang sikmura niyan. Kahit ano kakayanin niya basta makatutulong sa pagkamit niya ng pagka-presidente.

Tama ang move mo Koko. Lumayo ka sa mga ganyang uri.

Way to go Koko!

Misleading headline

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 26th, 2012

An anti-Aquino newspaper carried the following headline:

    Noynoy violates Charter, allows nuclear sub in RP

I had to read the report because PNoy could be impeached for violating the Constitution.

Here’s part of the report:

    President Aquino has again violated the Constitution when it allowed another United States nuclear-powered vessel to enter Philippine territory.

    Article ll, Section 8 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, under State policies, mandated by the Filipino people, states that the “Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”

A nuclear-powered vessel is not a nuclear weapon.

So the report adds,

    It is the American government’s policy to neither deny or confirm whether its ships carry nuclear weapons.

    But the USS Louisville certainly is equipped with sophisticated torpedoes and cruise missiles, all of which the Philippine administration and President Aquino are aware.

“The Philippine administration and President Aquino” are certainly aware that “the USS Louisville certainly is equipped with sophisticated torpedoes and cruise missiles” but are those sophisticated torpedoes and cruise missiles certainly nuclear weapons?

The report by the anti-Aquino rag is too timid to make a positive statement. It prefers to hide behind hyperbole and insinuation, tactics most favored by slime.

Where is the violation of Article ll, Section 8?

CBCP joins animal rights advocates

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 26th, 2012

I don’t know why but I think the CBCP, like PETA, misses the point.

    In a letter to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), CBCP president Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said the Church hierarchy was sending its strong support for the retirement of the 36-year-old Mali.

    Palma said he hoped that Mali would soon be allowed to spend her remaining years in her natural habitat where she could freely take mud baths, pluck fruits and leaves from trees, graze and spend hours swimming and playing in the company of other elephants.

    “It is my ardent wish that this initiative be done at the soonest time possible,” wrote Palma. “She might have a few years to live but these remaining years will be more expressive of man’s compassion towards God’s other creatures.”

Palma added:

    “Thanks to a directive from President Aquino and the work of Peta, a sanctuary could offer Mali a chance to save her from years of boredom and misery and, above all, save her life,” Palma said in his letter.

    “The reason is simple: Elephants are intelligent and social animals, and their needs cannot be met in captivity,” wrote the CBCP president, noting that Manila Zoo’s Mali was currently enduring intense confinement, loneliness, boredom and isolation in an area “a fraction of the size of her natural habitat.”

The modern zoo traces its roots to the private menageries of ancient kings. Exotic animals were captured for the amusement of monarchs. “Retirement” is absurd. There shouldn’t be zoos. Period.

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June 22 No panty day?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 22nd, 2012

ABS-CBN News reported that today, June 22, was No Panty Day.

I was indoors all day, busy doing research. :-(

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Definitely senator material

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 20th, 2012
    “Hoy bobo! Mag aral ka nga ng law! Kung anu anong imbento ang pinagsasasabi mo. Niloloko mo na naman ang taong bayan.”
    “Sabi mo di ako marunong mag-Ingles? Tama ka, pero mas matalino naman ako sayo!”
    “Grabe na ang pagka DESPERADA mo dai! Panay ang tweet mo na malapit na akong makulong. Kung ‘di ka ba naman tanga, pano makukulong ang isang tao na nagsasabi ng totoo.”
    “Nagkamali ka, lahat ng televiewers nandidiri sa ‘yo. Di mo kayang lokohin ang mga tao sa mga pinagsasasabi mo. May you rest in peace!”

Pwedeng kapalit ni Miriam sa Senado ito, Dai!

Letter to Sen. Escudero

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 19th, 2012

Sen. Francis Escudero, the most loquacious member, ever, of the Judicial Bar Council (JBC) expressed misgivings about the wisdom of the minimum age requirement for Chief Justice. 40.

    “Isipin mo, kulang-kulang tatlong dekada uupo ‘yon doon, maliban na lamang kung mamamatay, magkakasakit, o mai-impeach. Ang dapat timbangin ng JBC at ni Pangulong Aquino, gusto ba natin gano’n katagal?”

Oo nga, noh? Hmmm (thinking)…(30 seconds pass)…. scalding hot coffee goes shooting out of my nose.

Hence this short letter to the senator from my hospital bed in the intensive care unit for burn victims in St. Lucky’s Medical Center (SLMC).

Dear Sir Chiz,

Mawalang galang lang poh pero tinimbang na yan tanong ninyo 25 years ago. Everyone agreed way back then that 15 years experience as a judge in a lower court or as a practicing lawyer, in addition to being a natural-born Filipino between the ages of 40 and 70, meets the minimum requirement for membership in the Supreme Court. Sa madaling salita, if you can become an associate justice at age 40, you can also become a Chief Justice at age 40. Peryod na yan sana but now you’re arguing that the age of a candidate for Chief Justice still merits serious consideration.

    “It (age) has advantages and disadvantages, which you really have to consider holistically. If you’re after stability and predictability of decisions of the Court that will last a long time, then perhaps, you might want to go for that [a 40 year old Chief Justice)] if you’re after a new perspective every once in a while and not tie the hands of the next President and be bound by the choice of this President for the next four to five Presidents, that will be subject to the exercise of the President’s wisdom and in a way the discretion of the JBC as well.”

Ang galing mo naman mag-Photoshop. You made stability and predictability, qualities valued by anyone whose horizon extends beyond election cycles, look like chains and you turned flip-flopping or, as you call it, “a new perspective every once in a while”, into a cool glass of reinvigorating freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Let it go, Sir Chiz. Focus on “proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence” and not age. There is no formula to figure out the ideal shelf-life for a Chief Justice anyway. Just deal with the known and the knowable, do not start arguments over the unknowable. Buckle down to the work ahead. You have to go through resumés, do face-to-face interviews, and evaluate inputs from those who have something to say about the nominees.

Your work is very important, don’t trivialize it. President Aquino cannot appoint anyone outside the shortlist of nominees that you will submit to him. Thus, his wisdom is limited by your wisdom, his discretion by your discretion. He cannot rise above your level even if he wants to because it is forbidden by the Constitution. So do your job well or it’s going to be garbage in, garbage out. Kawawa naman kami.

I was going to comment on your proposal that nominees for Chief Justice waive their right to secrecy but Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile beat me to it. He said you’re grandstanding.

    “Masyado naman yatang OA ‘yun. It’s like telling the nominee we do not trust him so he needs to waive his right. It’s like telling would-be public servants we do not trust them.  Maybe it would be better to just dissolve the republic. There is no hope if we do not trust our elected and appointed officials occupying powerful positions.”

Okay, medyo nag over-react din si Enrile. Sobra nga naman yung “just dissolve the republic.” But essentially he’s right. OA ka talaga because we can have transparency without treating those who want to serve as suspects. But I digress. Let’s go back to the top.

Sir Chiz, your job is to submit a short-list to the president. That’s it. Why can’t you do it QUIETLY for crying out loud? Far too many nostrils get scalded every time you open your mouth.

Still having to breathe through my mouth but hugs and kisses anyway,


PS. SLMC will forward my medical bills to your office. Thanks in advance.

The Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 18th, 2012

Kabataan party-list Rep. Raymond Palatino recently filed the “Religious Freedom in Government Offices Act”, a law banning religious symbols and ceremonies in government offices.

Palatino cited Art. 5 of the Bill of Rights as the basis for his bill,

    No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

Palatino is disturbed not only by the religious symbols displayed in too many government offices and pubic buildings but also with the “religious ceremonies undertaken preparatory to the conduct of state affairs, such as the recital of ecumenical prayers before court hearings, flag ceremonies, government meetings, among others.”

    The state cannot be seen to favor one religion over the other, in allowing the prominent conduct and display of religious ceremonies and symbols, respectively, in public offices and property. However,despite the clear provisions and jurisprudence on the non-establishment and non-sponsorship of the state of any religion, it has been observed that religious ceremonies and symbols are prominently done or placed, respectively, in several government offices.”

Palatino is right but I’m afraid his bill won’t be passed. People just don’t see why what they are doing violates the rights of those who do not subscribe to their religion.

How can Palatino make those people see that they are imposing their religious beliefs on others? How can he show them that what they are doing is religious discrimination?

I think the best way to expose religious discrimination is for Palatino to display Satanic symbols in his office and to ask that Satanic prayers and ceremonies be included in all ecumenical services performed before any official function. A perfect occasion would be this year’s State of the Nation Address. The entire nation will be watching and they will see in living color that what they have been taking for granted as right and permissible is wrong and should not be allowed. Seriously.

More Migz vs. Koko

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 14th, 2012

On TV, Sen. Koko Pimentel’s nemesis, the inexplicably popular Migz Zubiri, threatened to sue Koko for libel if he did not stop calling him a cheater. (Migz made the same threat to Koko and Sen. Trillanes in 2007.)

Legally, Migz has a point: he has not been convicted nor is he a defendant in any electoral sabotage cases arising out of the 2007 election in Maguindanao so why call him a cheater?

But let’s go back to 2007. Migz’s Team Unity running mate Mike Defensor conceded defeat before the Maguindanao votes came in.

    “I concede to enjoin my allies and friends who may want, in their desire to have me win, commit acts inimical to the essence of democracy and fair play in an electoral battle,” said Mike Defensor.

Migz, on the other hand, said in an interview in Magandang Umaga Pilipinas that he was not conceding. He boasted he would beat Koko even without the votes from Maguindanao. He said he had enough votes just from Barira, Sharif Kabunsuan; Pantar, Lanao del Norte; and Bogo, Cebu. Well, those votes were counted along with those from Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Surigao and Migz was still a hundred thousand votes behind Koko.

That’s when Migz suddenly started singing a different tune. He said Maguindanao voters could not be ignored, they had a right to elect a senator, and what happened to democracy?

    “May chance pa tayo. Malaki pa ang chance. Pero iyong sa akin lang naman huwag sana [i-exclude ang boto sa Maguindanao] dahil sila po ay Filipino. Sila po ay may boses. Sila po ay may karapatan mag-halal ng senador. Yan ang pinaka-importante.” (I still have a big chance. And I hope the Maguindanao votes are not excluded because they are Filipinos too. They have a voice. They have a right to elect a senator. That’s the most important.)

And Migz went on to ask Koko,

    “I don’t understand why you want this excluded. How undemocratic are you?”

After four years of protest by Koko and a ridiculous counter-protest by Migz, Zaldy Ampatuan confessed that the voters of Maguindanao were actually just him and his family.

Upon hearing this and after he saw that he could not put out the flames caused by Ampatuan’s confession, Migz resigned from the Senate… and immediately started campaigning for the 2013 election. He began by claiming innocence in his resignation speech.

    “I am resigning because of these unfounded accusations against me, and this issue has systematically divided our nation and has cast doubts in our electoral system which have affected not only myself, this institution but the public as well….Kung may nandaya po sa 2007 elections, wala po tayong kinalaman diyan…Hindi po tayo nandaya. Wala po tayong kinausap na mandaya para sa atin. Hindi po namin tatanggapin ang boto ng pandaraya.”

It seems Migz was the only one in the country who believed the 2007 election in Maguindanao was above-board.

That could explain why he fought tooth and nail against Koko’s protest. That could also mean Migz is an idiot. Or blind. He could not see what everyone else could see.

Either way, without a conviction in a court of law, Migz can continue to claim that he was an unwitting and unwilling beneficiary of dagdag-bawas in Maguindanao. Even if everybody, except his family, friends, and UNA, thinks otherwise.

The sad thing is he will be elected to the Senate next year. That would mean that millions of voters are idiots… or they don’t care… or both…no it can’t be both because idiots through no fault of their own are incapable of knowing what to care about.

Binay takes care of Binay

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 12th, 2012

In a letter shared with media, former senator Nene Pimentel, a co-founder of PDP-Laban, showed his disappointment, that’s putting it mildly, with UNA’s decision to include election-cheat Migz Zubiri in its senatorial slate.

    The UNA decision to accommodate Migs Zubiri as a 2013 senatorial candidate weakens its pretentions that it will set the tone for the reformation of our country’s corrupt political system. 

    By welcoming Migs into its fold, UNA has unequivocably put itself on the side of electoral cheats and sends the message that it will do anything to propel itself into power.

    That attitude will set back the cause of the transformation of the country that some political figures mouth so easily to lure the gullible to board their bandwagon.
    To UNA, the principles that Koko Pimentel is fighting for: clean and honest elections, transparency and accountability especially of public officials are useless and irrelevant. And should be substituted by what is politically practical and expedient.

    It seems that money is now the principal measure of what is right and good in the political arena.
    But if UNA will not stand for principles, who will?

    And if not now, when?

UNA spokesman JV Bautista pointed out that the PMP did not consider Zubiri a cheat. (Note that he excluded PDP-Laban.)

    “PMP answered it this way – if Migs Zubiri was in fact or indeed involved in electoral sabotage, he would have been one of the accused in the case, the criminal case, against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former Comelec chief Benjamin Abalos. Because he is one of the big personalities he would have been investigated and charged but he is not an accused,”

Bautista, who is also Binay’s spokesman, then added that it was Erap not Binay who insisted on including Zubiri in the UNA slate:

    You cannot disrespect your partner… Migs Zubiri applied with the PMP, was examined by PMP and was accepted by PMP.

    PMP stood by that and asserted its prerogative to name and endorse its own candidates for the UNA senatorial slate. That was exercised and no less than former president Estrada made the endorsement to include Migs Zubiri in the UNA senatorial slate

Sa madaling salita, walang kasalanan si Binay dito. He fought for his PDP-Laban party-mate Koko Pimentel but his hands were tied by the coalition agreement.

    It was a spirited discussion. It was not frivolously set aside. It was not disregarded by UNA leadership. It was painstakingly taken up. Now, of course the final decision boiled down to the prerogative of a party to endorse and nominate its own member. PMP asserted – we cannot be dictated upon by the other party.

Bullshit. Binay threw Koko overboard. Proof of this is the useless life-jacket that he asked JV Bautista to offer to Koko,


    “There was an offer – you (Koko) don’t have to stand on the same platform with Migs Zubiri. You can stand with one group and Zubiri will be in another group. If you are speaking, we can ask Migs Zubiri not to arrive yet during the course of your speech and probably Zubiri, while he is speaking you will be advised not to come yet. It can be adjusted,” said JV Bautista.

Binay takes care of Binay. In the 2010 election he junked Erap for Noynoy. Remember the Noy-Bi ticket? Now he sacrifices Koko because he believes Erap is more valuable.

Binay will do anything, sell out anybody, if it will help his 2016 presidential bid. That is his all-consuming ambition. You can see it in his eyes. The hunger.

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