Those damned hackers

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 20th, 2013

I fell for a fake press release while doing research for an article about transparency as mandated by the Fair Election Law. 

There is an interesting controversy over the scope of section 5.2 of that law - 

    “During the election period, any person, natural as well as juridical, candidate or organization who publishes a survey must likewise publish the following information:
    (a) The name of the person, candidate, party or organization who commissioned or paid for the survey;
    (b) The name of the person, polling firm or survey organization who conducted the survey;
    (c) The period during which the survey was conducted, the methodology used, including the number of individual respondents and the areas from which they were selected, and the specific questions asked;
    (d) The margin of error of the survey;
    (e) For each question for which the margin of error is greater than that reported under paragraph (d), the margin of error for that question; and
    (f) A mailing address and telephone number, indicating it as an address or telephone number at which the sponsor can be contacted to obtain a written report regarding the survey in accordance with Subsection 5.3.”

Polling groups argue that 5.2 applies only to published surveys while the Comelec and those who asked Comelec to enforce the said provision insist that it extends to unpublished surveys as well. There is also some disagreement on whether or not the phrase “commissioned or paid for a survey” covers subscribers to a survey as well. Litigating who is right on what is what makes lawyering such a lucrative profession. 

At any rate, Sec. 5.2 is intended to eliminate fake surveys. Subsections “c” to “e” provide for an objective determination of a survey’s credibility and reliability while subsection “a”,  the so-called money trail, provides context to the survey.

Context, by itself, will not prove that a particular survey is fake. Only an objective analysis of a survey as provided by subsections “c” to “e” can do that. However, context can provide the basis for speculation that fuels doubts about an otherwise perfectly legitimate survey. So I began to wonder if that was the reason why UNA spokesman Toby Tiangco – after Social Weather Stations published a survey he did not like – started talking up the issue of survey financiers instead of rolling up his sleeves and dissecting the survey in question. 

I went to the official UNA website (unasasenado.com) to hear it from the spin doctor himself; the website posted his correspondence with Mahar Mangahas of SWS regarding 5.2 (a). After reading their exchange and laughing because Mangahas lectured Tiangco on the science of polling, I went on and checked out the site’s other posts. That’s when I came across a press release that made my steaming hot morning coffee shoot out of my nose.

    “Zubiri vows to make AIDs (sic) illegal,” trumpeted the press release. It quoted Zubiri saying, “I am going to file a bill that will make the acquisition of AIDs (sic) a criminal offense, punishable by imprisonment.” 

“Forget the transparency article and write about this insane campaign promise instead,” I exclaimed to my laptop. It immediately trashed all my notes on transparency and proceeded to search the web for related articles on the new topic, my laptop’s normal pre-writing routine. 

Unfortunately, my laptop’s routine sent coffee shooting out of my nose again. This time because of a headline it found in the national section of this news site: “Zubiri to file charges vs hackers who defaced UNA website”.  

The Interaksyon report quoted a statement from Zubiri,

    “I vehemently deny the statement or press release purportedly posted on the UNA website stating that I will file a bill if elected in the Senate making AIDS illegal. I have never issued such statement nor subscribe to that silly proposal… I am fed-up with these hackers. I had enough. Together with UNA officials, we will file a complaint with the Anti-crime Unit of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to locate these hackers.”

And so I wait with bated breath and scalded nasal passages for a report on the actual filing of the complaint by Zubiri “together with UNA officials” and the results of whatever action  the Anti-crime Unit of the NBI will take. Damned hackers!

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Live and let love

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 11th, 2013

It’s always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia – Barack Obama

I was surprised by the silence of the LGBT community over the statement of Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life (CBCP-ECFL), regarding singer Charice Pempengco’s admission that she is a lesbian.

Fr. Castro said,

    “In this time of her life that she is experiencing an identity crisis regarding her sexual orientation, we would rather not pre-judge her… Let’s hope that there will be people out there that will help guide her with her sexual orientation called same-sex attraction…We should help her journey with this same-sex attraction situation so that she will know that having a same-sex attraction does not mean that she has to engage in a [homosexual] relationship…. This, I think, is where her family and friends should come in and intervene to help her.”

That is prejudice dressed in pseudo-clinical jargon. Fr. Castro’s remarks can be excused if he had clarified that his comment on Charice’s sexuality was based on the teachings of his church. But he did not. Instead he diagnosed her clinically, as someone suffering from an identity crisis because of her sexual orientation and prescribed intervention as the cure for a malady that makes her want to engage in female-to-female sex.

Can Fr. Castro prove that sexuality is a choice rather than inborn? Besides, why does it matter if sexuality is inborn or a matter of choice? Outside of religious beliefs and ignorance, can one say that one form of sexuality is superior to another and that one is wrong and the other right? Why is sexuality even an issue in a pluralistic democracy? I’m at a loss as to why Fr. Castro felt impelled to comment negatively on Charice’s sexuality. Was he afraid that an epidemic of lesbianism will follow in the wake of Charice’s admission?

My online encyclopedia says “Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior.”

Heterosexism leads to non-heterosexuals being regarded as second-class citizens who deserve to be deprived of “various legal and civil rights, economic opportunities, and social equality.”

Fellow columnist Marie Yuviengco pointed that out in her essay, Marriage Pinoy-style. She cited legislated discrimination against non-heterosexuals. What kind of society would enact laws that legalize and legitimize discrimination? Ms. Yuviengco urged Charice to “campaign for the changes that have been so long overdue.” Rightly so.

In this country, the wall separating Church and State is porous; laws that are based on religion-specific values are enforced on both believers and non-believers alike. We are not the only democracy struggling with this problem. US president Barack Obama’s speech explaining his personal position on abortion and the role of the religiously motivated in a pluralistic democracy showed that America is also in the same bind.

    Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It’s the art of the impossible,” he said.

Obama’s formulation also applies to the religion-specific opposition to same-sex marriage, divorce and the RH Law.

Charice knew her sexuality at age five but she was forced to hide it until she was 21. She was locked up in a closet for 16 years! There are many Charices out there who are also locked up, unable to live and love freely, because of the intolerance and narrow-mindedness of our society. Fr. Castro encourages that mentality and in so doing fuels and perpetuates the prejudice and discrimination—the injustice—that non-heterosexuals have to suffer. Where is the outrage?

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It was a fat joke not a rape joke

Posted in Manuel Buencamino by uniffors on the June 1st, 2013

The political correctness police was outraged by Vice Ganda’s joke – it would take a gang to rape a woman as fat as Jessica Sojo. They thought Vice was making a joke about rape and they attacked him mercilessly for it. It was a fat joke in the genre of “You’re (She’s) so fat…” It was not a rape joke. What’s wrong with you anal retentive people?

    Imagine niyo kung paano kaya kung nag bold na din si Jessica Soho (laughter) Ang launching niyang pelikula ay “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Sobra” (laughter)

    Napanaginipan ko rin yan din si Jessica Soho nagpapatimbang, nakakatawa nung nagpatimbang kami…

    Umakyat si Jessica Soho sa weight scale.Pagakyat ni Jessica Soho tumunog ang weight scale (bell rings) “One at a time, one at a time, one at a time” (laughter)

    So bumaba ulit si Jessica Soho. Nagalit, “Hay! Baka sira, ay hindi, ta-try ko pa ulit.” So umakyat ulit ng weight scale si Jessica Soho.

    Tumunog ang weight scale (bell rings) “Please don’t play with machine, (laughter) don’t play with the machine, one at a time, I told you one at a time, don’t play with the machine!” (Laughter) “Hay!” (Laughter) Nagalit si Jessica Soho, “Ano ba naman ito. Last try na talaga.”

    So umakyat ulit si Jessica Soho sa weight scale. Tumunog an weight scale (bell rings) “You weigh 180 per kilo.” (Laughter) (Theme music up) So ayaw na niya magpatimbang ulit.

    Ang hirap nga kung si Jessica Soho magbo-bold, kailangang gang-rape lagi. (Laughter) (Toink sound effect) Sasabihin nung rapist, “Ipasok ang lechon!” (Laughter) Sasabihin naman ni Jessica, “Eh nasaan any apple?” (Laughter) (Theme music up followed by “Toink” sound) Nakakatawa nng iyun.

    Meron daw boyfriend dati yan si Jessica narinig ko lang naman sa mga hindi mapagkakatiwalaan. Ninakaw daw hung boyfriend yung panty ni Jessica (laughter) Tapos pinalabahan, nung dinala sa laundry any chineckan… comforter!” ( Laughter and theme music and “Toink”)

    Si Mam Charo tuwang-tuwa pagkabilang channel niloloko”.


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