Uniffors


Noli De Castro’s game

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

President Benigno S. Aquino gave former vice-president and TV Patrol anchor Noli de Castro a verbal spanking in a keynote speech on the 25th anniversary of the ABS-CBN news program TV Patrol.

De Castro whose term as Gloria Arroyo’s vice president and housing czar became noteworthy only because of the multi-million peso Globe Asiatique housing scam that happened under his watch was conveniently out of the room when Aquino delivered his speech.

He should thank the president for focusing only on his biased newscasting and not his slimy reputation.

Here is the president pointing out specific instances of De Castro editorializing while reporting the news:

    Huwag po sana ninyong mamasamain, tutal kaharap ko na po kayo ngayon, at one night lang naman sa 365 days ng isang taon ko kayo makakausap. Tingnan po natin ang paghahayag ng inyong institusyon.

    Noong Oktubre ng nakaraang taon, may isang reporter kayo ang nagbabalita sa NAIA 3. Ang sabi niya, sa puntong iyon, tumaas ng dalawampung porsiyento ang passenger arrivals sa paliparan. Magandang balita, at higit sa lahat, fact po iyan. Sa kabila nito, nakuha pa pong humirit ng isang anchor n’yo at ang sabi po niya, and I quote, “Nasa NAIA 3 ka kasi; kung nasa NAIA 1 ka, doon malala.” Sa loob-loob ko po, anong kinalaman ng ibinabalita sa NAIA 3 sa NAIA 1? May nagsabi po bang ayos na ayos na ang NAIA 1? Kung mayroon man ho, hindi kami. Nakaligtaan niya atang mahigit 30 anyos na ang istrukturang ito.

    Napapaisip nga po ako: ‘yung nagkomento nito, hindi ba’t anim na taon ding tumangan sa renda ng gobyerno? Sabihin na po nating minana lang din nila ang problema; ‘di hamak mas luma naman ang ipinamana nilang problema sa amin. Anim na taon ang ipinagkaloob sa kanya para tumulong sa pagsasaayos ng mismong inirereklamo niya. Pero ngayon, tayo na nga ang may bitbit na problema, tayo na nga ang tutugon dito, pero, masakit nga ho, may gana pa tayong hiritan ng nagpamana?

    Naalala ko rin po nang na-recover ng NBI ang isang banyagang bata na nakidnap. Ang ganda na po sana: Nakakuha ng tip ang awtoridad, kumilos sila, at na-recover ang bata. Masaya ang mga magulang na kapiling na muli nila ang kanilang anak; masaya ang bata na kayakap niya ang kaniyang ama’t ina; masaya ang awtoridad na maayos at matagumpay ang operasyon nila. Mukhang ang hindi lang masaya, ito nga pong anchor natin na nagawa pa uling humirit na baka raw na-set-up lang raw ang rescue operation, at binayaran lang talaga ang ransom. Kahit anong pilit ng reporter na malinaw ang operasyon; nag-surveillance ang mga taga-NBI, at talagang natiyempuhan nilang walang nakabantay sa bata, pilit pa rin po nang pilit ang anchor. Sabi nga ho ng nanonood kong kasama, “Naman.” Kami pa po mismo ang magagalak kung makakapaghain kayo ng kapirasong ebidensya ukol dito, at kung mayroon nagkamali, usigin natin ang mga nagkamali.

    May naitutulong po ba ang mga walang-basehang spekulasyon, lalo na kung lumalabas ka sa telebisyon at sinusubaybayan ng sambayanan? Kung nagbabangkaan lang tayo sa kanto, hindi problema ang mga walang-basehang patutsada. Pero kung alam mong opinion-maker ka, alam mo rin dapat na mayroon kang responsibilidad. Sana po, sa tuwing sasabihin nating, and I quote, “magandang gabi, bayan,” ay totoong hinahangad nating maging maganda ang gabi ng bayan.

    May isa pa po: Ang pagtaas-baba po kasi ng pamasahe, dumadaan sa mahabang proseso. Minabuti po nating makipag-ugnayan sa transport groups, sa pangunguna po ni Secretary Mar Roxas, upang bumuo ng kasunduang makatuwiran. Dahil sa kaguluhan sa Gitnang Silangan, malaki ang naging gastusin ng mga tsuper sa pataas na pataas na presyo ng krudo, kaya oras na umabot ang diesel sa napagkasunduang presyo, ibibigay sa kanila ang kanilang fare hike para matulungan naman. Ngunit sang-ayon sila na kapag bumalik ang presyo’t bumaba rin ang presyo ng krudo, magkukusa rin silang ibaba ang pamasahe. Ika nila, imbes na sumobra ang tubo, bilang Pilipino ay magmamalasakit kami sa kapwa Pilipino.

    Ibinalita po ito ng field reporter ninyo. Good news po talaga: Ang risonableng mungkahi, napagbigyan; ang pamahalaan, grupo ng tsuper, nagtulungan. Panalo ang sambayanan. Ang problema, nagawa pa rin itong sundutan ng komentaryo. Matapos i-report, ang pambungad na tanong ng inyong anchor: Ano raw ba ang angal ng mga grupo sa akin po. Ang reaksyon ko, “Saan naman nanggaling ‘yun?”

    Nagkasundo-sundo na tayong tugunan ang isang problema, mayroon pang naghahanap ng angal.

    Nagkakasundo na nga, para bang gusto pa ring pag-awayin. Mahirap pong isipin na bahagi ito ng inyong job description. ‘Di po ba kung umangat ang ating kalagayan, tayo ang panalo; at kung lumubog naman ito, tayo rin naman ang talo? Bakit parang mas gusto ng iba na makita tayong lumulubog?


ABS-CBN will not fire Noli De Catro from TV Patrol
. The show is a cash cow. News programs are not about the news. They are about profits.

By the way, during the Senate probe on the multi-million peso Globe Asiatique scam Noli de Castro denied that he was a good friend of its owner Delfin Lee. Really?

Chay F. Hofileña of Rappler raises serious issues about the revolving door of media and politics.

    Let’s be clear about the issues. It’s not about press freedom. It’s about conflict of interest, truthfulness in reporting and commentary, and ultimately, media credibility.

Short and curlies

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 27th, 2012

In an interview at an evening program on Interaksyon radio, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz wondered whether Pres. Aquino understood the meaning of responsible parenthood. He said one can’t endorse the Reproductive Health Bill and talk of responsible parenthood at the same time because responsible parenthood is the term used by the Catholic Church to denote family planning through natural methods and not through condoms and pills. Unfortunately, Cruz’s interlocutors did not ask him if coitus interuptus was natural or artificial.  
 
Be that as it may, Cruz pointed out that the Catholic Church is not against family planning. He said that like advocates of the RH Bill, the Catholic Church also believes couples should not have more children than they can afford to feed and raise properly. Now if everyone agrees that family planning is the responsible thing for married couples to do then why does the Catholic Church oppose contraceptive methods that are more effective than the rhythm method? It all comes down to control of behavior.

Lyndon B. Johnson who dominated the US Congress for decades said the secret to his success was “If you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their heart and mind will follow.” That is the same axiom that the Catholic Church has followed since time immemorial. If there is any area that the Catholic Church will never cede control over, it is the genital area. 

The Catholic Church allows mass murder in the guise of just wars. It allowed torture during the Inquisition. It will tolerate practically anything including accepting donations from vice lords to cheating in elections as was so ably demonstrated by Archbishop Arguelles of Lipa when he justified Gloria Arroyo’s cheating in 2004 but it will never give up its “moral standing” in the regulation of the affairs of mankind through the control of its sexual behavior. It will never let go of your balls.

Catholics believe their church is the appointed representative of the Supreme Being who holds the keys to perpetual happiness and damnation, that it is deputized to exercise sole power over the enactment, enforcement, prosecution, judgment, and execution of His laws, and that it is the only one with a direct line to Him (that’s what that infallibility thing is all about).

In that context, the Catholic Church teaches, among other things, that the sole purpose of marital sex is procreation. Marital sex not intended for procreation is sinful. In addition, it sees the pleasure that comes with the act of procreation as an unfortunate side-effect and not even as a reward for doing God’s work, which is to fill the world with people who will adore Him. Procreation not recreation is the Church’s dictum on marital sex. Thus marital sex becomes a guilty pleasure, loosely defined as “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.” 

Anybody who has ever felt guilt knows how vulnerable and malleable it can make a person. That’s why the ability to make somebody else feel guilty and to make him believe as well that one has the power to lift guilt off his shoulders is one of the most powerful tools of control. That’s what makes the clergy so powerful. We have nowhere else to go when we feel guilty over having done something we were led to believe offends God. 

If the Catholic Church relents on artificial birth control then it will be letting go of its ability to pollute the fountain of our pleasures with feelings of guilt. That would be like the US giving up its nuclear weapons arsenal. Married couples will be able to enjoy sex without feeling guilt for having sex without any intention of having babies. 

The conjugal bed will be transformed from a mere baby factory to a nest of marital bliss. What is so evil about that? Or better yet, did God intend the sacrament of marriage to be fraught with fear and worry over unwanted pregnancies? Wouldn’t He be more pleased that we used the intelligence He gave us to invent contraceptives that are more efficient than calendars that time the menstrual cycle of women? Unfortunately, we will never know the answer to those questions because God talks only to the Catholic Church when it comes to matters pertaining to sex, at least that’s what the clergy tells us.

    “It’s too bad, she’s got you by the balls 
    You can’t break loose at all 
    She’s got your name 
    She’s got your number 
    You’re screamin’ like thunder 
    And you’re trapped like a rat in a hole.”

    - from “Short and Curlies” by the Rolling Stones

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Gloria Arroyo posts bail

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 25th, 2012

Judge Mupas of the Pasay Regional Trial Court allowed Gloria Arroyo to post bail for her electoral sabotage case.

She is now free to go to her home in La Vista where she will await the warrant of arrest for the plunder case involving hundreds of millions of pesos in PCSO intelligence funds.

As soon as the warrant is served, Gloria Arroyo will definitely seek either house arrest or hospital detention and she will get it because Erap was allowed to spend his six years trial for plunder in his rest house in Tanay, Rizal because of a serious medical condition called a “bum knee”.

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PCSO: The Philippine Charity Spy Office

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 17th, 2012

Happy days are coming. Five-star hospitals in Metro Manila should start sprucing up their VIP suites in preparation for the expected influx of new guests. Gloria Arroyo’s nine co-accused in the plunder and technical malversation charges filed by the Ombudsman in connection with the misuse of PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) intelligence funds will be requiring hospitalization very soon. Non-bailable offenses have a way of causing medical conditions that require hospitalization.

It may be happy days for hospitals and the Filipino people but it’s “another dark day for the rule of law” for Gloria Arroyo’s lawyer, Anacleto Diaz.

    “In the past, cases were decided solely on the basis of evidence adduced on record. It appears that this era has long time passed,…It appears that the case was filed against the former President to time it with the President’s forthcoming SONA (State of the Nation Address) in which he will be accorded another opportunity to pillory and demonize the former President, and worse, justify her further detention without bail even as a petition for her bail is precisely pending resolution in the court,” Diaz said.

Owws? So if the case is filed after the SONA it will be okay? When is the right time to file charges?

Two separate complaints were filed by private citizens in July and November last year. In January this year, after conducting an intensive investigation in 2011, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee recommended the filing of plunder and technical malversation charges against Gloria and the PCSO officials . It’s now July 2012, isn’t it about time the Ombudsman filed charges?

Lawyer Diaz added however that his client “will avail [herself] of all remedies under the law even as we stand ready to prove that the present charges against her are devoid of merit.”

Well, that addresses the issue directly and that’s all the public needed to hear.

Now Gloria and her cohorts will have the chance to prove that the expenditure of P328 million in confidential intelligence funds went to the PSCO’s intelligence gathering activities, such as keeping tabs on “bomb threat, kidnapping, destabilization and terrorism.”

I bet you didn’t know that the PCSO was an intelligence agency and that its charity services for the poor was only a cover. Who would’ve thunk, right? At any rate, those PCSO spies will now be forced to reveal secret documents detailing their P328-million intelligence operation. Who were the assets they paid? How many field agents did they have? How much did they spend for logistics? Did they engage in the illegal surveillance of suspects? Did they coordinate with other intelligence agencies or did they go it alone? Did their spying lead to the apprehension of suspects or the prevention of terrorist activities, etc. etc?

I have no doubt that defense lawyers will gladly blow the PCSO’s cover and produce documents that will prove the money was actually used for its intended purpose. They will show that the present charges are devoid of merit because the PCSO acted in the pursuit of national security as set forth in the top secret provisions of the PCSO’s charter.

Those provisions are so secret that not even the PCSO’s semi-permanent fixture, Manoling Morato, knew about them.

    “Why persecute me?” he asked. “The use and release of the intelligence funds are between the President and the PCSO president. I’m only a director from 2004 to 2010, (He was either chairman or manager or both during the incumbency of President Ramos) our job is only ministerial. How can we override something which has already been approved by the main parties concerned?”

You see? Not even Manoling knew. That proves Manoling is no Mata Hari.

    “What can I do? What explanation do they want? We acted in good faith in using the funds for blood money,” he added.

Manoling was not referring to blood money for hiring the perpetrators of the wholesale massacre in Maguindanao; he meant blood money for OFWs who were on death row in Saudi Arabia, I presume for crimes involving retail capital offenses.

Now paying out blood money is an altogether different issue because that is not found in either the PCSO charter’s public provisions or in its secret spy provisions. Manoling cannot claim “good faith” because, having been with the PCSO for so long, ignorance would be an absurd defense. But it proves he is not a Mata Hari. Although his attacks on Noynoy Aquino during the 2010 campaign, attacks made on a TV program funded by the PCSO in a government network, makes him a modern day Tokyo Rose.

Anyway, next time a sweepstakes vendor tries to sell you a ticket, make sure to pat him down first. Next time you buy a lotto ticket, make sure to look around for hidden mics and cameras. Check your sweepstakes and lotto tickets for implanted listening and tracking devices. And, finally, don’t forget to thank the Ombudsman for blowing the lid off a clandestine government agency pretending to be a charity.

It’s all in the name

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

For those who like to analyze diplomatese, this statement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be interesting,

    “The United States has no territorial claims there and we do not take sides in disputes about territorial or maritime boundaries,” Clinton told foreign ministers gathered in Cambodia’s capital. “But we do have an interest in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law and unimpeded lawful commerce in the West Philippine Sea.”

Note that she used West Philippine Sea instead of South China Sea.

Statement of President Aquino on the passing of Dolphy

Posted in Uncategorized by uniffors on the July 11th, 2012

Following is the statement of President Benigno Aquino III on the passing of Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon Sr. on July 10, 2012:


    Mabuting tao si Dolphy, at kinatawan niya ang karaniwang Pilipino: malalim magmahal, masayahin, may respeto sa kapwa, at handang harapin ang mga hamon ng tadhana. Nagmula siya sa isang henerasyong dumaan sa maraming pagsubok—at sa pakikipagsapalaran ay natutong maging mapagpakumbaba, matapat, at matulungin. Hindi kailanman niya tinalikuran ang mga kaibigan, at ang sambayanang naging bukal ng kanyang mga tagumpay.

    Sa loob ng mahabang panahon, ipinakita sa atin ni Dolphy na anumang pagsubok ay may katuwang na pag-asa at ligaya; mulat siyang anumang problema ay mapangingibabawan ng positibong pagtanaw sa kapalaran. Binago niya hindi lamang ang kaniyang industriya, kundi maging ang pambansang kamalayan: sa pamamagitan ng kaniyang sining, pinalawak ni Dolphy ang ating pananaw, at binigyan tayo ng kakayahang suriin, pahalagahan, at hanapan ng ngiti ang mga pang-araw-araw na pangyayari sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino.

    Nakikiisa ako at ang aking pamilya, sampu ng ating mga kasamahan sa gobyerno, sa pagluluksa ng Pamilya Quizon ngayong gabi. Ang pagpanaw ni Rodolfo Quizon Sr.—ang nag-iisang Hari ng Komedya—ay tiyak na nagdudulot ng lumbay sa isang bansang matagal niyang pinasaya.

[English translation]

Dolphy was a good man who embodied the common Filipino: he loved deeply, knew the value of humor, respected his fellowmen, and was always ready to face any challenge life threw at him. He came from a generation that went through a lot of trials—and the struggle taught him to be humble, honest, and helpful. He never turned his back on his peers; he never turned his back on the people who had propelled him toward success.

Throughout his life, Dolphy showed that hope and happiness always lie at the other side of adversity; he knew that any problem can be overcome through a positive outlook. He did not only revolutionize the entertainment industry; he also changed our national consciousness for the better: through his art, he extended our worldviews, and gave us the ability to reflect on, value, and find joy in the daily realities of Filipino life.

I, along with my family and the rest of our administration, join the Quizon family in mourning. The passing of Rodolfo Quizon Sr.—our King of Comedy—is a truly sorrowful moment for a nation that, for so long, found happiness in his work.

The Fact Is

Posted in Brownman's Posts by uniffors on the July 8th, 2012

I thoroughly enjoyed the article of Marie Yuviengco of Interaksyon.com on the coming out of Anderson Cooper, war correspondent, CNN anchor, and talk-show host. She’s good!

    The Fact Is

    Now if it were Mike Enriquez who came out and admitted that he was a pink sister, I would have been beyond shock, but since it was Anderson Cooper, I sort of just leaned back and picked at my cuticles.

    Reports of Cooper’s admission say that the TV host’s sexual orientation was the worst-kept secret in the Big Apple, which isn’t to say that what goes down in the New York media scene has ripple effects in Manila, but I got a vibration about Cooper’s truth when he launched his eponymous morning talk show.

    I mean, this was the go-to guy whose business was keeping people honest and now here he was seriously encroaching on Tyra Banks territory. On his show, there was not a limp wrist to be seen or an overly sibilant s to be heard, but Cooper proved to be too good at being a chatty Andy and I feared the day that I would see him with his sweater sleeves tied in front of the chest à la Balanchine. Now that he’s come forward and proudly announced that he was born that way, well, more power to him.

    Cooper says that he was reticent about his sexuality for personal and professional reasons, and rightly so for the latter, since first, as a journalist, he has to cover the news in some countries where homosexuality is a crime, and for his and his crew’s safety, he has to be discreet; second, he covers the news, so that means he isn’t the story. By nature, too, he was a private person, which is difficult for someone in the public eye, but basically, he thought — and I quite agree — it was nobody else’s business.

    When Barbara Walters pointedly addressed the gay question to Ricky Martin, it wasn’t because she had a personal stake in his well-being — it was because she wanted the ratings, however much she would later say that she regretted asking. (Really, dear, I am gratified to see you learning life lessons at the expense of other people.)

    His reserve, however, as Cooper would point out, led some to believe that he was living in shame or fear, which was never the case. That, plus the fact that he realized that his coming out might be beneficial in the crusade against teen bullying, were what convinced him that being forthcoming could actually do some good.

    I think so, too, but for a different reason. Here was a famous person choosing to come out whose career choice was not confected from dreams involving tulle or mascara, in other words, a different kind of role model for young gays. Anderson Cooper presents an unusual image that is yards different from the stereotypes propagated by media about gay people, that they all want to be designers or interior decorators or make-up artists, or worse, the butt of gags on puerile television shows. Not that these aspirations are bad, except that somehow, I refuse to believe that all gay men are inexorably drawn to callings involving the beautification of exteriors.

    For God’s sake, gays — and lesbians — are dying on the battlefield without being able to be open about who they are to their families and to their country, yet there are those who would deny them the right to defend their country on the notion that gays would swoon at the sight of khaki. Fashion and interior design may be respectable professions, but they are not always respected.

    One of the funnier sidebars of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment involved my law school classmate, Court Administrator Midas Marquez, and a displaced microphone. Video of the incident shows Midas’s reaction to be priceless but as soon as the footage aired, samizdat inquiries via SMS circulated swiftly and on the Internet, uniformly asking what do you think?

    Personally, I wouldn’t know and, fact is, I doubt if he is, and furthermore, I really couldn’t give a shit, but the surprising reaction from some gay friends was that, assuming that the Court Administrator was indeed ehem, they were proud to claim him because, presumably, here was one of their own attaining a position of great responsibility and renown, in government, no less. Not one to worry over hemlines, this one. It quickly dawned on me that gay people need role models, at least of perceived substance and prestige, that the current icons of fashion and entertainment have failed to provide. In other words, gay people need role models who rightly belong in the front pages, not the fashion or gossip columns.

    Who do we have to look forward to here who will bravely own up to his or her truth? The actor formerly known as Rustom Padilla did so, but that was ages ago. Isn’t there anyone man enough to come clean and out?

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May or might?

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the July 6th, 2012

A Reuters report that said President Aquino may ask the United States to deploy spy planes over the South China Sea to help monitor the disputed waters” gave Beijing and our native ultra-nationalists the fits. President Aquino had to explain that what he said was, “we might be requesting overflights.” 

It seems that I’m not the only one confused by “may” and “might”.  For example, I don’t know how I should react if someone tells me, “I might shoot you.” Is it the same as being told “I may shoot you?” The correct reaction could make the difference between life and death.

But Beijing’s poobahs don’t have the same problem that I do. After reading the Reuters report, Beijing immediately warned Pres. Aquino about making provocative remarks. Or else they may or might do what? 

Of course one may (or is it might?) assume that Beijing probably never bothered to find out if the Reuters’ reporter knew the difference between may and might. But they might have if they had bothered to read “The Grouchy Grammarian” by Thomas Parrish.

    “For some reason, reporters, broadcasters, and people generally, have progressively assigned to the word may much of the work that might has long and faithfully performed. This change has tended to blur a highly useful distinction and to produce confusion and doubt where we need clarity. In other words many contemporary sentences with may in them don’t make sense.”

Here at home, Salvador France, the vice chairman of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), does not seem to care about highly useful distinctions between words. He is more bothered by cooperation between the Philippines and the US than clarity. He said, “It is tantamount to US military takeover of the Philippines in de facto form” and that President Aquino “effectively ceded the country’s national sovereignty to Washington D.C.”

The Grouchy Grammarian will not help Salvador who thinks ideologically rather than rationally. But reading the Mutual Defense Treaty Between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America might. The title alone is a pretty good indication of a joint and shared commitment to each other’s defense. So how does a request for assistance under the MTD make it a cession of sovereignty? 

One highly respected columnist argued along the same line as Salvador,

    “Just consider this: US spy planes that would be operating over South China (if Aquino’s request is granted) would be under the command of the United States Armed Forces. The US will never allow their military operations to be under another country’s command. What would happen to Philippine sovereignty then?” 

Request is the operative word. We can request the US to conduct surveillance flights and share the intelligence gathered without asking them to let us fly their planes as well. The request is pretty much like asking a friend for a ride home. Literally you give up control and your friend can take you anywhere he wants to but reason dictates that he will do as you asked because there is an underlying relationship of trust and confidence between you. The MDT is a written understanding of that relationship between the Philippines and the US. We can ask them to do things for us and they can ask us to do things for them without the condition that the requesting party also has to have his hands on the wheel. 

As for Beijing, I wonder what it will do if the US does conduct surveillance flights over the disputed areas with or without any request or permission from the Philippines. Is it going to shoot down those planes? What will they tell the next Reuters reporter who parachutes into Beijing, will it be, “We may shoot down those planes” or will it be “We might shoot down those planes”? Honestly I think Beijing will not fuss over grammar, it will simply say, “We’ll hold the Philippines responsible for any American intrusion into our territory.” That’s what a bully would say.