Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To The Gods of Status Quo and Apathy

How many deaths will it take till he knows
that too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
The answer is blowing in the wind.

So goes Bob Dylan's Vietnam War protest song that became popular in the mid-sixties.

On 09/28/09, President Arroyo admitted that her government cannot cope with the disaster caused by typhoon Ondoy. After almost ten years in power and hundreds of typhoon flooding occurrences, now she says, We cannot cope. After repeated State of the Nation boasting of economic recovery and growth, now she says, We cannot cope. After spending billions in infrastructuring, now she says, We cannot cope. If this is not an admission of irresponsible or at the very least ineffective governance, I don't know what is.

While her personal and extended family's wealth went through the roof, 300 more Filipinos had to die in the storm. Half a million more Filipinos had to be displaced from their homes and packed like sardines in 600 makeshift evac centers. God only knows how many more will die of diseases due to the unsanitary condition in these emergency shelters.

Like a working parent who cannot discipline her children, President Arroyo was not able to get Filipinos to stop clogging esteros with their garbage and to stop building shanties that serve as deathtraps during a storm. Like a great majority of national and local government officials, President Arroyo does not have the political will to say, Enough is enough!

Like parents, like children. See no evil, hear no evil, say no evil.

Unless conscious decision to commit to change takes place on a massive scale, people will keep dying during a storm. Unless dedicated and qualified public servants who have the guts to enforce unpopular laws get elected to positions of power, people will keep dying during a storm.

What goes around, comes around.

The headline should read: 300 human sacrifices made to the gods of status quo and apathy.

They did not have to die.

Top 10 Reason Why You Shouldn't Give or Volunteer

I'm borrowing this blunt but realistic post from my friend Ganns on why we should (or not) consider helping those affected by the Ondoy floods in the Philippines. I also posted a Paypal donate link on the right side of this website in case you want to give.

You should also be aware that natural disasters also hit Indonesia, Vietnam at Samoa days after Ondoy. Hope you'll also remember them in your prayers and giving.

These are the top 10 reasons you shouldn’t volunteer for any Typhoon Ondoy relief operation:
(Warning: some links contain graphic materials)

10. You’re not getting anything out of it.
You’re scheduled to go to Caliraya in a motorboat.
Yuck, make tapak in the putik? Kadiri, noh.
You’d rather go shopping for alcohol.
You’re too emotionally attached to every single item of clothing in your closet that you can’t part with them. Every t-shirt. Every sock.
You can’t find a volunteer center nearby.
God doesn’t care, even if his people do. Why should you? (I’m doing something productive praying for whoever made this sign.)
You can’t live without your daily Starbucks.(Php100 x 30 = Php3000 / Php23.00 (per 1.5L bottle of mineral water) = 500 bottles of water, enough to properly hydrate a four-member family for one month)
You’re having a hard time breathing.

… and the number one reason why you shouldn’t volunteer for any Typhoon Ondoy relief effort…

1. The government isn’t working. Why should you?

Your country needs you. The Philippines needs you. Not everyone gets a once-in-a-lifetime moment to change someone’s life and to make a difference. This is your moment. Please volunteer or donate.

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Only Pinoys can make light of a serious situation..."

I got this picture from an email with a comment from a German national who saw this particular Reuter's photo. Look closely at the picture, she thinks "only Pinoys can make light of a serious situation, they look happy," she says.

A sign that Filipinos will overcome this calamity. Do you agree?

Predictions, Part 2

A prediction could simply be an optimist's sword thrust through the fog of uncertainty. If I have become more optimistic about our future as a people of God, then be that as it may.

Immediately after I heard President Marcos reacted to the prodding of ABC's Sam Donaldson by announcing that he will call for a snap election, I turned and said to my wife that only Corazon Aquino can unite the opposition that would put an end to the conjugal disctatorship of the Marcoses.

The culture of shameless corruption nurtured and grown by the past two administrations can only be reversed by the tandem of Noynoy and Mar. We are talking of at least 12 years of government systems rehabilitation. I believe the Filipino people see that as well.

Yesterday, Senator Legarda has hinted that she will be withdrawing from the presidential race. In an interview, she said that it's better not to run anymore and instead use campaign funds to finance humanitarian works and that it bothers her to think of spending millions for political ads while so many are badly in need of help.

Surveys show that Senator Legarda does not stand a chance of winning. So, she is right in thinking that it would be a waste to spend millions in a losing battle. This was part of my prediction early on.

I believe, though, that Senator Legarda can still do a lot of good in her current position. If I were a friend of hers, I would urge her to join the Liberal Party and its reform movement. We are at the gates of a turning point in the history of our nation and she, with her brains and beauty, fame and fortune, could be a significant part of it by inspiring Filipino women to be masters of their patriotic fate and not be servants in foreign soils.

I am glad to hear that Governors Padaca and Santos-Recto are staying put as leaders of their respective provinces. Governor Panlilio should seek reelection, as well. We need good governors, good mayors and good barangay chairs as much as we need a good president to accomplish a national transformation that will make our nation great.

I am predicting good governance under the Liberal Party's moral leadership and homecoming for millions of Filipinos now working abroad - - in the next 12 years.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Philippines Worst Flood in 42 Years

It is now reported that the Philippines has been declared a "state of calamity" when nearly a month's worth of rain fell in six hours in the Philippines - the country's worst flooding in more than 42 years, killing several people in Metro Manila and stranding thousands on Filipinos on rooftops.

It's a good time to pray for the country and if you're a Filipino abroad, the Philippine National Red Cross has information on how to help.

(Image from Yahoo News)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God's Gift of Intimacy

Manila Standard Today reported on 09/24/09 that Catholic bishops stepped up the pressure yesterday and urged congressmen not to attend sessions to pass a family planning bill that they oppose, but 170 lawmakers showed up to answer the quorum call anyway.

These Catholic bishops believe that the only reason why married couples should engage in sexual intercourse is to procreate. They know nothing of God's gift of intimacy to the union of a man and a woman. They need to read the Bible. The Song of Solomon celebrates marital intimacy for intimacy's sake. And think on these words for married men from Proverbs 5:18-19,

Let your fountain, the wife of your youth, be blessed, rejoice in her, a lovely doe, a graceful hind, let her be your companion; you will at all times be bathed in her love, and her love will continually wrap you round.

Wherever you turn, she will guide you; when you lie in bed, she will watch over you, and when you wake she will talk with you. NEB

House Bill 5043 seeks a national policy on reproductive health and population control. It does not seek to legalize abortion in anyway shape or form. What this bill seeks is to allow Filipino married couples enjoy the divine gift of intimacy without feeling guilty that they are violating God’s will.

These Catholic bishops who are putting political pressure on our lawmakers know nothing about marital intimacy because they have taken the vow of celibacy. This is an aspect of life they know nothing about. What they should do is feed the malnourished and hungry among us. They have lots of money. What do you think they eat at the Vatican? Rice and sardines?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting Out Of Debt

In Mark 8:36-37, Jesus asks: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Most of our national and local leaders together with their cronies will end up in hell dahil sa pangungurakot na ginawa nila; unless, they make restoration.

Many of our people believe, as I do, that our country would have remained second only to Japan, economic wise, had our leaders been caring enough for their fellowmen. We know that, once, our people had the heart and mind to be a very successful nation.

What has happened to us? Why is it that so few are megarich while so many are dirt poor in our country today? How can so few lavish themselves with champagne and caviar, steak and lobster while so many exists on rice and sardines?

The answer is simple: The powerful few in government and their conniving cronies in business had sold their souls to the devil. They live in mansions and are chauffeured around in luxury SUVs while the many push and shove their way in and out of mass transit cabs, or stare into nothingness packed inside jeepneys for hours stuck in traffic somewhere, day in and day out.

Filipino life could have been nice. Maybe, even very nice. But as it is, Filipinos continue to force themselves to adopt and adjust to their environment and economic realities, even to the point of subhuman existence while they wait for the opportunity to get out of the shanties they call home and go somewhere - - anywhere that would provide for the prospect of a better future even if it means getting in harm’s way and missing the childhood of their sons and daughters.

Though the light at the end of the tunnel is still nowhere in sight, there is hope. There is hope because 90% of us look upon ourselves as Christians, as followers of Jesus Christ. This means that we can be like Christ. This means that the megarich among us can cause the tide to rise and lift all boats. Jesus Christ had to give up His life, but this is not required from any of us. All that the thieves and crooks in government and business has to do is make restoration. Give back what you stole from our people by paying up our national debt. You can do it anomymously, so that your repentance will remain between you and God.

I Juana Change!!!

It's not the kind of song or music I listen to, but I like the concept and message of the video. Juana Change speaks for a lot of Filipinos at home and abroad. As the song chorus goes, "I Juana Change..." starts with "I" - let true change begins in ourselves first.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Remembering Philippine Martial Law

September 21th marks the 37th anniversary of Martial Law which placed the Philippines under dictatorship rule for 20 years. My friend Tony posted on his blog a 10 year old article from Inquirer on Liliosa Hilao, the first woman detained and murdered under the Ferdinand Marcos regime. No matter what your political affiliation is, “aktibista ka man o hindi” this should be a grim reminder of our dark past that should never happen again. A teachable moment to the next generation of Filipinos to demand or choose a government that will value self-sacrifice, human dignity, justice and respect for a creator.

Liliosa Hilao — tortured, raped, murdered
By Christine Herrera
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sept. 19, 1998

THE FIRST woman and first detainee murdered during martial law inspired the filing of the class suit against the estate of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Liliosa Hilao, then 23, was also gang-raped. Robert Swift, lead counsel of the 9,539 class suit members, described Liliosa his opening statement before the jury at the United States District Court in Hawaii as a “student leader about to graduate college summa cum laude” when she was arrested.

“Liliosa was beaten in her home. She was taken to a military compound, and she died three days later,” Swift told the US jury. “During interrogation, muriatic acid was poured down her throat and burned her throat and lungs.”

The case Hilao versus Estate of Ferdinand Marcos was made to represent the victims of torture, disappearances and summary execution in the human rights litigation.

Her violent death may have saved the lives of her sister Marie, then 20 and her husband Romeo Enriquez, 23; another sister Josefina, then 16; brother Winfred, 26, and his wife, Violeta, 23. Her sisters and brother recalled at the approach of the 26th anniversary of the Marcos proclamation of martial law on Sept.21 that the military would stop their torture wins in the end tactics each time they would be reminded of Liliosa’s death.
The Hilaos never had the chance to grieve for their Liliosa. Truckloads of military men kept vigil during her wake and burial hoping to arrest other so-called “subversives” who might come to condole with her family.

Liliosa’s death was allegedly used by Marcos as a “sample” for other political prisoners to scare them into squealing on their comrades and avail of the amnesty for their release from prison.

The amnesty was rejected outright by the Hilao family. Liliosa’s death also inspired the creation of the Task Force Detainees in 1974. Liliosa was tagged a “subversive” by the Marcos regime because as editor of the campus paper at the Pamantasan ng Maynila, she was critical of martial law.

As a sign of protest, the graduating class of the Pamantasan wore black arm bands and left a vacant, symbolic seat for their absent classmate. At around 11 a.m. of April 4, 1973, seven months after martial law was imposed, intelligence agents from the Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) raided the Hilao residence in Project 2, Quezon City.

Marie, now 46, recalled that she was with her bedridden mother and three male friends when the armed men stormed their house.

She said the raiding team, led by Lt. Arthur Castillo, ransacked their house looking for subversive documents. Castillo remains in active service.
The armed men were looking for Winfred, whom the military tagged as a communist.

Marie, who was then an urban poor organizer and now secretary general of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (Selda), said the raiding team slapped, kicked and interrogated her to force her to snitch on her brother and Jose Ma. Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Her three friends suffered the same treatment.

Her mother pleaded to stop hurting her daughter and the three young men. She was in a plaster cast due to a hip-bone fracture.

Marie said the raiding team even ate the lunch she prepared for her mother and other members of the family, leaving them nothing to eat.

Shortly after lunch, one of the three men left; another guarded her friends and the other guarded her in the kitchen. But her guard dozed off giving Marie a chance to escape. She scaled the high wall at the back of her house to inform her ”comrades” of the raid and ask them to warn her sisters and brother in school not to return home.

The warning never got to Liliosa and Josefina, who was in high school. Both were already on their way home when the couriers reached their respective schools.

Josefina got home first and was tortured. Her ears were clamped damaging her sense of hearing. Her sight was also damaged from being slapped around several times.

When Liliosa came, she was immediately brought to one room. The raiders raped her; one of them was playing Russian roulette on her. She was injected with ”truth serum” to talk.

Liliosa and Josefina were separately brought to Camp Crame at around 12 midnight for “tactical interrogation.” The travel time from their house to Camp Crame was only 15 minutes because of the curfew. But Liliosa reached Camp Crame at 2 a.m. and no one could tell where she had been and what happened to her during the two hour interval.

When Liliosa was finally brought to her cell, Josefina saw her. She hardly recognized her sister because her face was swollen and disfigured,her body was bruised black and blue.

Josefina was not given a chance to get near her elder sister and that was the last time she saw Liliosa alive. Two days later, Liliosa was murdered.

Apparently alarmed by the first murder of a detainee inside a military compound, the military immediately released Josefina from prison. The military made it appear that Liliosa committed suicide. The police crime laboratory medico legal report was silent about Liliosa having been gang-raped.

The Hilao children went underground. But Marie, her husband Romeo, Josefina, Winfred and his wife, Violeta were rearrested on Oct. 7, 1974 and brought to Camp Olivas in Angeles, Pampanga.

They were not allowed to eat for nine days. They were again tortured and interrogated as to the whereabouts of Joma Sison.
“Nothing could make us talk and if you kill anyone of us, you have to kill us all because if you spare someone, then he or she will be witness to other murders just like what you did to our sister, Liliosa,” Marie recalled telling their interrogators.

At the mention of Liliosa’s name, the water cure and electric shock would be withdrawn

“You owe us because of the murder of our sister Liliosa and you would pay for that crime,” the Hilaos repeatedly told their tormentors. The political prisoners,were all transferred to Bicutan stockade.

Marie bore a child while in detention. The child was named Liza Liliosa Enriquez, in honor of her sister. Liza Liliosa had to bear the heat inside the cell. The child was only allowed to be brought outside for sunlight for 10 minutes everyday. Mother and child were finally released on Oct. 8, 1975.

Swift presented documents in court that showed Marcos was directly responsible for the torture and the human rights violations of political prisoners.

The US court found Marcos liable for torture and human rights violations of political prisoners and awarded the victims $2.5 billion.

But the money is not a priority to the Hilao family. Prosecuting the Marcoses is. “That’s the only time we can seek justice for Liliosa,” said Marie.

[Notice: All rights belong to the Philippine Daily Inquirer and to the author of this quoted article.]

Monday, September 21, 2009

On Automated Election

In his column, There’s The Rub, Conrado de Quiros on 09/21/09 wrote, So far the criticisms of Smartmatic by the candidates have centered on the physical or visible part—the length of the electoral forms, the distribution of the right forms to the right place, the ability of the machines to transmit accurately the results of the voting. The real nightmare in fact is the software, which is proprietary, or the workings of which are known only to Smartmatic. As the IT people have shown, it’s the easiest thing in the world to imbed errant commands in the software that function like malware. These can be imbedded variously in the BIOS, the motherboard, the operating system, the flash card, or all of the above. Commands that will tick off votes for one candidate to another, which will make Garci look like a veritable saint.

I thought that Mr. James Jimenez, Spokesman for Comelec did an excellent presentation at the De La Salle University de las Alas Auditorium on the upcoming election automation last 09/18/09. My conclusion was if all is done on the up and up, we couldn’t ask for anything more regarding vote count efficiency.

But, as Mr. Quiros pointed out, there is the possibility that the software known only to Smartmatic could already contain imbedded malicious commands that will tick of votes from one candidate to another. He suggests switching to an open, transparent, inexpensive and automated electoral count like the Open Electoral System, though the Supreme Court had already ruled in favor of Smartmatic. Otherwise, Mr. Quiros predicted that the next president will be Secretary Gilbert Teodoro of the Ruling Party.

I do not know whether there is still time to make a switch or if this is the advisable thing to do or of not, but I know this: Should there be a significant difference between what the surveys will show a week or so before election day and the official final vote count, all hell will break loose in Pinoyland. Chaos will warrant declaration of martial law - which means GMA wins. UNLESS.

Unless, the electoral process will require the Final Election Returns Report to be submitted by the National Board of Canvassers to Congress be accompanied by an Audited Final Election Returns issued by an independent CPA firm or an election watchdog such as NAMFREL which states that the FERR by the NBC presents fairly the results of the just concluded national elections. For example, such audit will require manual count of ballots fed into the Smartmatic leased Precinct Count Optical Scan machine in say, 5% or about 4,000 clustered precincts chosen in random .

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On Reproductive Health Bill

On 09/16/09, Manila Standard Today reported that Senator Benigno Aquino III said he would not give up his support for the use of artificial contraceptives to curb population growth even at the risk of incurring the ire of the Catholic Church.

Aquino said Catholic bishops should wake up to the reality that something must be done to arrest the rapid growth of the country’s population, which now stands at 95 million or almost double the 50 million in 1986. “There is really a problem. And I hope that the Church will see that I have the reasonableness of my position on the issue.

He further said that it is the responsibility of the State to remind the citizens of their duty to take care of the needs of their children, including their education. It is wrong for couples to have more children than their income could afford.

On 09/19/09, GMANews.TV reported that several Catholic Church leaders urged the son of former President Corazon Aquino to reconsider his stance on the controversial legislation.

He might be able to get the support of the bishops if he will oppose the passage of the RH bill, Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Collin Bagaforo said in an article on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Earlier, Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal said that he is now considering whether Aquino should be included in the Church’s list of politicians who should not be voted.

GMANews.TV also reported that Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. might be "very afraid" of the Church but he has no plans of withdrawing his support on some provisions of the Reproductive Health bill.

Teodoro said
he is against abortion but he is also against the enforced belief that contraception is bad. “ Contraception, under the Church doctrine, is wrong but it should not be the policy of the State to adopt the view of any particular religion. The state should be non-religious, non sectarian. It should give opportunities to all based on what they personally believe.”

I am glad to realize that these two standard bearers have their own convictions on this matter of uncontrolled population growth here in our country. The Media should ask Senator Villar as to his position on the Reproductive Health Bill. I think former President Estrada will eventually drop out of the presidential race. But even if he does not, I don’t think his view on any ethical issue would carry any weight due to lack of moral credibility on his part.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Is the Catholic Church Slowly Destroying the Philippines?

The following is's current editorial printed in its entirety. I thought this is so important that I would just have you read it for yourself without any comment from yours truly. However, I would like your reaction, please:

Last Wednesday (9/17/2009) Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo issued a veiled warning to presidential candidate Sen. Noynoy Aquino indicating that the senator's support of the Reproductive Health Bill which he co-authored in theCotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo on a bike tour with other prelates. Inset - Archbishop Quevedo's palatial residence in Cotabato City. Philippine Senate could be detrimental to his presidential aspirations. Aquino, who currently leads the pack of presidential contenders is a strong supporter of sensible population control for his overpopulated Philippines.

Bishop Bagaforo, who goes bike touring around parts of the country decked-out in designer eyewear is emblematic of the Bishops, Archbishops, and much of the Philippine Catholic Church hierarchy who seem totally disconnected with the present plight of the nation. These old men of the cloth live lives of relative luxury. They have their assistants and secretaries, eat at least three good meals a day, and regularly hobnob with the rich and powerful. They have as much in common with their poorer parishioners as say a resident of exclusive Forbes Park has with the scavengers and garbage collectors of Smokey Mountain.

The Philippines today is struggling to move forward, but for every step forward it takes—be it in improved farming methods, or conserving its natural resources, or controlling and recycling waste—it is pushed two or three steps backwards by the ever increasing demands of its exploding population. Many Westerners who arrive in Manila are immediately struck by the mass of humanity that they see in the streets. And the worst part is government statistics show that the segments that are increasing the fastest are the poorest segments of Philippine society.

China which has a strict one-child policy in most of its provinces, and until recently an avowed atheistic country, is prospering and may soon eclipse the United States and Europe as the wealthiest and most advanced country in the world. The Philippines on the other hand a deeply religious country, practicing all sorts of esoteric rituals is stuck in a rut and is falling further and further behind even its Asian neighbors.

Joseph Estrada waves to supporters during his trial where he was found guilty of plunderAnother question many are asking is: if the Catholic Church is going after Noynoy Aquino for his support of the Reproductive Health Bill, why has it remained silent about former president—and possible presidential candidate—Joseph Estrada's philandering ways and his many women? Aren't those acts also a blatant violation of one of the Ten Commandments? Does this double standard exist because the Church privately condones such acts for the high and mighty be they inside or outside the Church?

It is high time that Filipinos told their bishops and archbishops to simply concentrate on performing their Confirmations and singing their Gregorian chants and leave politics to those who are actually answerable to their constituents and not to God. Otherwise, the Philippines might soon follow in the footsteps of the United States where a recent American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS), showed a significant increase in the number of people who said they do not belong to any organized religion at all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2010: Martial Law, Pt 3

GMANews.TV on 09/16/09 reported that . . . . .

. . . . . A House panel approved in principle a bill proposing that the Senate's most senior member take over as acting president in case there is a failure of elections in 2010.

The House committee on Revision of Laws, chaired by Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao, adopted in principle House Bill 3194 filed by Nueva Ecija Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson.

The bill provides for the manner in which an acting president will be selected in case the president, vice president, Senate president, and speaker of the House "fail to qualify or is unable to qualify or is unable to assume and discharge the functions of the Office of the President."

The bill however is yet to have a counterpart in the Senate.

Magandang development ito para sa akin. Ibig sabihin mayroong mga congresista who are paying attention to the warning issued by former President Ramos. Kailangan na maging vigilant ang taong bayan. Otherwise, kapag napatunayan na hindi sila kikilos one way or the other mas lalong magiging pursigido ang mga may masamang pinaplano.

. . . . . Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes on Wednesday warned of nationwide power interruptions next year – a problem that could affect the conduct of the 2010 automated elections.

Reyes said Visayas and Mindanao have been suffering from rotating brownouts while Luzon would enter a "critical period" by next year.

"We are already experiencing brownouts in the Visayas since last year and we are already experiencing some brownouts in Mindanao and by 2010 we might be experiencing brownouts in Luzon," Reyes said.

Sa tingin ko, ito ay trial balloon. Kailangang mapulsuhan kung ano ang magiging reaction ng taong bayan kapag nagkabulgaran na na nagkaroon ng malawakang dayaan sa bilangan, automated man o manual. Kaya, kailangan ang mga demonstrations ngayon pa lamang na hindi papayag ang bayan na magkaroon na naman ng dayaan. Sa pamamagitan ng Friendster, Facebook o YouTube, maaaring maipakita na nagmamasid ang taong bayan.

. . . . . Senator Loren Legarda, another presidential aspirant, said the opposition should not be complacent with Teodoro’s lackluster performance in surveys, adding that the administration’s “cheating machinery" could play a big role in next year’s polls.

. . . . . Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Wednesday said he would soon vacate his post now that the administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD has selected him as its standard bearer for next year's national elections.

But Teodoro said he would have to talk to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo first to ensure an "orderly transition" for the Defense department.

Ang pinakamalungkot na mangyayari sa ating bayan sa susunod na election ay ang magpagamit ang ating mga sundalo at kapulisan sa dayaan. Kinakailangan ang consistent public appeal sa military establishment na nakasalalay sa kanilang mga kamay ang kinabukasan ng ating mga anak at apo, humanly speaking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2010: Martial Law, Pt 2

Manila Standard Today, 9/15/09 reported that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile yesterday doubted the constitutionality of a proposed legislation that would lay down the rules on presidential succession in case the 2010 elections, the first fully-automated polls in Philippine history, should fail.

The measure would authorize 12 senators with terms extending to 2011 to elect a new Senate president within their ranks to assume the role of interim president of the Republic if no new president is proclaimed on or before June 30, 2010 due to the breakdown of the electoral process.

The proposal, as suggested by some legal luminaries, was to fill a leadership vacuum that could trigger constitutional crisis and political turmoil in the country. The potential problem partly stems from the fact that Enrile’s term as Senate President would end on June 30, 2010 although he is running for reelection.

Because of Enrile’s doubts, Senator Loren Legarda withheld filing the bill that would lay down the procedures by which the 12 non-reelectionists would elect the Senate president from among themselves before Congress adjourns in June.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives should decide on such succession scheme, Senator Francis Escudero, chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, said.

The question remains: What can and should our lawmakers do to prevent chaos in May 2010 should the Comelec be prevented from proclaiming winners due to breakdown of the electoral process?

Monday, September 14, 2009

2010: Martial Law, Pt 1

Those contemplating Palace coups or No-elections scenarios in 2010 to preserve the status quo (prolonging GMA's term) are hereby forewarned that these and other variations thereof will surely fail because, among others, the PMA Class of 1978, including its adopted members, does not command the loyalty of the vast majority of our uniformed services. Former President Ramos (Inquirer Northern Luzon 9/14/09).

The military and the police might end up taking temporary control of the country if there would be a total failure of elections in 2010 resulting in a power vacuum. If there would be total failure of elections next year, there would be no civilian authority come 06/30/10 - when the term of PGMA is supposed to end - because there would be no President, no Vice President and no Senate President or Speaker. Senate President Enrile (Philippine Daily Inquirer 9/15/09)

Everything points to a chaotic May 2010 elections. I don't want to seem like some kind of prophet of doom, but the chaotic voting day scenario could lead to a failure of elections. What this can lead to is anybody's guess. Former Speaker De Venecia (Daily Tribune 9/15/09)

A storm is coming. We, the people, must act now and act decisively if this coming storm is to be weakened. First, we must make sure that Comelec installs a manual vote-counting back-up mechanism. Second, the 12 sitting senators in May 2010 must be given the authority to elect a Senate President who will assume the duties and responsibilities of Acting President until such time as election winners are declared by Congress. And third, as a precaution, the 12 sitting senators must also elect a Senate-President-In-Waiting who will immediately assume the powers of the Office of the President in case something happens to the Acting President.

In the meantime, We, the people, must continually appeal to our Armed Forces to remain steadfast in protecting our Constitution. Let us remind our soldiers that the only way how our Nation can weather this storm, and to avoid massive loss of lives, is for us to remain a Nation ruled by laws and not by men.

Trapo: Ibasura Na, Pt.3

Sa pagwawakas natin sa seryeng ito, isipin pa rin natin ang mga turo ni Cristo patungkol sa pag-discern ng character ng tao: Kung ano ang nasasa puso iyon ang lalabas sa bibig at Sa pamamagitan ng bunga makikilala ang puno.

It will be back to broadcast journalism for VP Noli De Castro. I expect him to endorse Senator Aquino. Other than being a good communicator, wala na akong masabing iba pang qualities o abilities ni De Castro para siya maging karapat-dapat na presidente. Walang bunga ang kanyang anim na taong pagka-VP. Ang punong hindi nagbubunga ay pinuputol.

Senator Escudero said "no way" to a possible VP run with Senator Villar. Ang sabi niya masyadong strong ang mga evidences laban kay Villar regarding the C5 controversy. And yet open siya to run with Erap. May wisdom o discernment ba ang ganitong magsalita? He is a man in a hurry. I don't think he is the kind of transformational leader that our country desperately needs.

Senator Legarda was the woman in a hurry the last time around. May paiyak-iyak pa daw siya during the Estrada impeachment hearings tapos tatakbo kasama ang best friend ng gusto niyang patalsikin sa puwesto. A beautiful trapo is trapo pa rin.

Kay Chairman Fernando, bilib ako sa transformation na nangyari sa Marikina when he was the mayor, sa traffic reduction and control na ginawa niya sa Metro Manila, at sa demolition ng mga squatter shanties sa paligid-ligid ng ating metropolis. Proven na that he has the political will to do the right thing. He consistently demonstrates good qualities and abilities befitting a transformational leader. Unfortunately for him, the machinery that the officials of Lakas-Kampi-CMD is so boastful about won't be there for him when it becomes more obvious that Senator Aquino is the people's choice.

Sec. Teodoro is simply ambitious and it seems that Bro. Eddie is not paying enough attention as to how the Lord is guiding His people in this country toward national transformation.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. I don't think the C5 controversy will ever go away before election day. Choosing Senator Estrada as running mate won't help Senator Villar at all.

I seriously doubt Senator Villar or be it Sec. Teodoro or Chairman Fernando stand a chance. Naniniwala ako na malaki ang pagtanaw ng utang na loob ng Mamamayang Pilipino kay Ninoy at Cory Aquino, and rightly so. This is not to say that it does not matter kung sino ang tumakbo among their four children. It could only be Noynoy.

Its magic, as in Sleepless in Seattle. You just know it.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

SWS Survey Says...

This just in:

50% prefer Noynoy in vote-rich Luzon areas: SWS survey
By Ricky Carandang, ANC and Isagani de Castro Jr., |

Manila - One out of every two voters in vote-rich areas of Luzon would have chosen Sen. Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III if presidential elections were held in early September 2009, according to a Special Survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) obtained by ANC and

Aquino was preferred by 50% of 1,200 respondents from a pre-selected list of five names that also included ertswhile survey leaders Sen. Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr., former President Joseph Estrada, Senator Francis 'Chiz' Escudero and Vice President Noli de Castro.

Villar, Estrada, and Escudero were statistically tied with 14%, 13%, and 12%, respectively. De Castro was preferred by 7% of respondents.

Ang mga sinali sa survey na ito ay ang NCR, Pangasinan, Region III at Region IV-A. Sometime ago, I predicted that Aquino will get close to 50% sa survey as soon as he announces his entry into the presidential race. Kahit sabihin pa natin na Luzon lang ang coverage ng survey na ito, sa palagay ko indicator na ito ng political sentiment ng mga Filipino nationwide.

Fourth prediction ko na ito na nagkatotoo na. I am beginning to scare myself. But like I've said before, I am not a prophet o may active dead zone o psychic. Binabasa ko lang ang buga ng political wind dito sa ating bayan.

Huwag sana magkamali magpa-draft si Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto sa Ruling Party as VP candidate. Matatalo siya. Kung may name recognition at fan base siya, lalo na si Kris Aquino at Korina Sanchez. At lalo na pag nagkampanya pa si Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan for the Aquino-Roxas ticket ng Liberal Party.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Trapo: Ibasura Na, Pt.2

Sa ating pagpapatuloy, isaisip pa rin natin ang tinuro sa atin ng Lord with regards to discerning character: Kung ano ang nasasa puso iyon ang lalabas sa bibig at Sa pamamagitan ng bunga makikilala ang puno.

Ang tanong ay ito: Sino sa mga tumatakbong pagka-presidente ang may character, may mabubuting katangian at abilidad?

Una, let us first consider Erap. Common knowledge - si Erap ay lumaking siga-siga. Siya ay kinilalang maton. Kicked out sa Ateneo. Galing sa mayamang pamilya. Adored movie superstar. Babaerong maraming mistresses. Naging mayor, senador, vice-president, president. Kicked-out sa Malacanang ng People Power. Convicted plunderer. Tumanggap ng presidential pardon. Still popular enough to be recognized as a legitimate contender.

Para sa akin, Erap is the symbol of what is wrong with our country. He has no character but the Filipino people knew that, still he became president. This tells me that for the Filipino character does not matter. They engage in romanticism. They believe in magic. That was then. How about now?

This is what Erap said to Agence France-Presse shortly after Senator Aquino's declaration to run for president: Let us let the people decide, not the elites and the bourgeois.

Interesting choice of words. Matagal ko nang hindi naririnig ang salitang bourgeois dito sa ating bayan mula pa nang bumagsak ang economiya ng Soviet Union at ito ay nagkawatak-watak. Is this because ang resulta ng analysis ng mga political advisers ni Erap ay mananalo lamang siya if he can turn this election into a class struggle - - the rich against the poor, the wage-earners against the capitalists?

A powerful man without character is a danger to anyone. A charismatic powerful man without character is a danger to the entire country. Napatunayan na yan.

Former President Estrada will sooner or later realize that he has no chance of winning. He will eventually withdraw in favor of Senator Aquino in order to save face.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trapo: Ibasura Na, Pt.1

Tinuturo ni Cristo na kung ano ang nasasa puso iyon ang lalabas sa bibig. Kaya kung nais nating makilala ang isang tao, kinakailangan na pakinggan nating mabuti ang kanyang mga sinasabi. Ang isa pang katuruan ni Cristo ay ito: Sa pamamagitan ng bunga makikilala ang puno.

Ang mga katotohanang ito ay napakahalaga sa pagpili kung sino ang ating bibigyan ng kapangyarihan bilang national leader sapagkat ang ating buhay ay maaapektuhan ng kanyang mga magiging desisyon.

Election season na naman dito sa ating bayan. Sana naman ay natuto na ang sambayanang Pilipino. Otherwise, masasabi na naman na wala na tayong kasawa-sawa. Pahihirapan na naman natin ang ating sarili.

Character matters. Ang dapat nating iboto ay ang mga taong may character. Ibig sabihin, mayroon silang mga mabuting katangian: Karunungan, discernment, integrity, faith in God, katapangan, pagpapakumbaba, pagmamahal at katapatan sa bayan.

Mayroon ding mga natatanging abilidad ang isang chief executive. Tanong: May vision ba siya para sa ating bayan? Meron ba siyang in-sight sa kalagayan ng ating economiya at lipunan? Mahusay ba siyang magsalita at magpaunawa? Marunong ba siyang mag-motivate? Ibig sabihin, sumusunod ang mga nasa ilalim ng kanyang awtoridad dahil sa kanyang galing at hindi dahil sa takot.

Ang tanong sa ating mga botante ngayon ay ito: Kung base sa character ang pagboto mo, sino ang iyong binoto at sino sana dapat ang iyong binoto ng mga nakaraang election?

Sa next presidential election, sino sa mga tumatakbo ang mayroong character?

Itutuloy . . . . .

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whiter Skin is Beautiful

UPDATE: I went on Youtube to view the latest skin whitening products in the Philippines and I was appalled how blunt many skin whitening commercials has become in giving Filipino women the wrong message about their skin. Here's an example from Ponds:

(the article below was originally posted on The Point blog)

Chris Rock’s new documentary, Good Hair, tackles an issue I was clueless about until I saw the film's preview, below. (Note: It contains occasional profanity and sexual references.) The movie is the comedian’s perspective on black hair and shows what black women go through just to have relaxed and flowing straight hair.

The preview clips were hilarious in a way that only Chris Rock can pull off, especially on a subject that may be sensitive to many African-American women. I could not speak for the black community, but Good Hair reminded me of the appearance issues we have in my own culture. Growing up Filipino, we viewed people with white or light skin as more beautiful and attractive than those with a darker skin tone. In fact, skin-whitening is a big industry in the Philippines and I once fell into that idea. Centuries of Western colonization brought about this mentality in the Philippines; a certain “caste system” was introduced, labeling the dark or brown-skinned natives as Indios who belonged to the bottom of the social hierarchy. To this day, we look up to Hollywood as the perfect standard for what is beautiful and admirable.

Whether reinforced by historical events, traditions or media, every culture has its own issues of inferiority. It’s human brokenness that manifests itself in a culture’s quest to change its appearance because of a notion that a certain skin color or physical feature is unattractive. The good news is that only God holds the true standard of what is attractive and acceptable. Until we know whose eyes we first need to please, our efforts to look new and different will be short-lived and insufficient.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Real Solution to Organ Trafficking in the Philippines

A friend posted my article on organ trafficking in the Philippines on Facebook and it generated some good comments from people. What came out was a discussion on poverty which was pointed as the main reason for some Filipinos to sell body parts to strangers.

But is alleviating poverty the solution to this problem? Would it guarantee a stop to organ trafficking? Poverty is just one component of this issue and I believe the real solution to this problem is not found through livelihood or any legislative reform alone. Its through spiritual renewal that we can see real and long-lasting solution to this problem. Ultimately, if all Filipinos know how to make strong moral choices and believe their bodies are sacred and made by God, then no amount of money should ever be enough to buy or sell a part of the image of God.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Christian Responsibility

If you are a Christian and interested in growing in knowledge of the Christian Wordview, I suggest you visit

In his viewpoint on August 31, 2009, Colson stated that, "An informed public is essential to the notion of self-government. We need to be able to make educated political decisions. That means - at a minimum - knowing who our representatives are and what they stand for. The whole process of representative democracy collapses without our participation."

This is one of the issues that you and I need to get others thinking - What do our representatives and senators stand for? We already know that massive cheating happens during elections so that our votes are not reflective of the final tally issued by the Comelec. So we ask ourselves, Does it really matter who wins? Particularly in the local elections? Or, will elected legislators end up in the pocket of the executive through the power of pork barrel, anyway? And will enough of these elected legislators effectively reduce the Congress to a mere extention of the executive department?

We stand at a crossroads. There is a small window of opportunity. I believe that Senator Aquino and the Liberal Party have the right stuff to force this coming elections issue-based and get our electoral process back on the right track.

I also believe this: Without the college and tech students and young-adult-earners' participation in engaging Philippine political and electoral issues of the day, we may completely lose our right to self-government.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Philippines, a "Hotspot" for Organ Trafficking

Our friends at the Online Nursing Programs blog sent me some interesting and shocking facts about organ trafficking. On my previous post on the subject, I mentioned that the Philippines rank 5th in the world for organ "hotspots" - a recognition no country should be known for.

Here are the facts that may also be truth to our Filipino brothers and sister. Please click on the link for more information. You can read the entire article here.
  1. People seized against their will
  2. Organs harvested from children
  3. Outrageous price of kidneys
  4. Sellers denied money and care
  5. Go in for an exam, leave without a kidney
  6. Detained and executed for organs
  7. Only legal in one country
  8. American rabbis selling organs
  9. Babies auctioned for organs
  10. Transplant tourism

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"How Do You Earn Millions Congressman?"

A friend posted this on Facebook and thought Ill post it here. I must admit, I found some pleasure watching Winnie Monson and Igan grill and lecture Rep. Mikey Arroyo on his personal wealth.

As I said before, our government leaders are instituted by God and should be above reproach and set to a higher ethical standard. Be the judge if the clip busted Rep. Arroyo for not meeting those standards.

Part 1

Part 2

Reviving the Two-Party System

Philippine Daily Inquirer | 09/03/09: Former Sen. Ernesto Herrera expected Sen. Manuel Villar, the Nacionalista Party standard-bearer, to slug it out with Aquino.

He described Villar as a "credible opponent" whose "track record as an entrepreneur and able leader speaks for itself."

"Owing to his integrity, Noynoy offers real hope for change, especially in ensuring honest and upright governance, just like his mother," said Herrera.

"What we are witnessing now is the up-and-coming revival of the great rivalry between the LP and the NP, and the renewal of the system of two parties dominating our political affairs," Herrera said.

Truth be told, this is exactly what I am hoping for - - the two-party system making a comeback. Let party coalitions formed for the sake of political expediency fall by the wayside. Let it be the Nacionalista Party versus the Liberal Party.

What needs to be done is to get both the NP and the LP spell out their reason-for-being. Who is for big government or for limited government? Who is pro-Management or pro-Labor? Who is for Federalism or not? Who is for abolishing the Senate or preserving our bicameral Congress? Who is for tax reform or tax increase? Who leans toward more socialism or toward more free enterprise? Who is for a balanced budget amendment or not? These are issues aspiring national leaders ought to be discussing in public.

If this happens, those who do not have the necessary qualification will be weeded out early on giving way to meaningful presidential and vice-presidential debates for the benefit of the voting public.

If this happens, we will see a significant increase in public interest as to who gets elected resulting in greater citizens' involvement in ballot box protection and poll watch, effectively making it harder for incumbents to cheat.

If this happens, it will be less difficult for educators to raise more intelligent voters.

If this happens, and the likes of Aquino, Roxas, Pangilinan, the Cayetanos, Escudero, Santiago and Gordon in the Senate along side Party list representatives in the Lower House apologetically debating such issues, there will be reason for national optimism.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seeking Divine Guidance

Balita ng on 09/02/09: Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on Wednesday announced that he will be going on a retreat this coming weekend for "divine guidance" for his plans on the 2010 presidential elections.

Tanong ko lang, "Bakit nakapaloob sa quotation marks ang phrase na divine guidance?" Para bang hindi naniniwala ang reporter na ito na naglalaan ang Diyos ng gabay para sa mga naghahanap sa Kanyang kalooban.

Nang ma-assasinate si Ninoy noong August 21, 1983 nasa America ako noon at namamasukan sa Prison Fellowship, ang ministry na itinatag ni Charles Colson na siyang Special Councel ni President Nixon nang pumutok ang Watergate scandal. The day after that turning point in the history of the Philippines, Colson, before we began our director's meeting, shared with us how he met Ninoy. They shared the same flight once and Ninoy introduced himself and shared with Colson how his book, Born Again, helped him during the days of his confinement. Then I was asked to lead in a word of prayer. I remember praying for Ninoy's family and the freedom fighters of the Filipino nation. Chuck understood why I had to leave my job and join the Movement for Free Philippines in Washington, DC.

I must have viewed the tape of Ninoy's final hours a hundred times. I read every newspaper and magazine article about Ninoy that I could lay my hands on. And I began to greatly admire the man.

Those were the days when I learned how to seek for divine guidance, the days when I learned how to pray. Rather, when Jesus taught me how to pray. And I know now that it was also Jesus who taught me how to seek God's guidance.

Some people might interpret seeking divine guidance as a sign of weakness. That waiting on the Lord is pussyfooting. Well, some people might never had an encounter with Jesus. I wanted so much to return to the Philippines at that time. But the Lord had another plan for me. I had to wait 20 more years before God's word, godly counsel, preparation, peace of heart and open door lined up and guided me back to the land of my birth that I may serve God's Filipino people.

Noynoy is doing the right thing. One can never go wrong seeking for divine guidance. It's all good. Seeking divine guidance requires humility, faith and courage; qualities a president must have if he is to govern wisely.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


On August 27, 2009, I predicted that Mar Roxas will give way to Noynoy Aquino's candidacy. On September 1, 2009, Roxas did so. I believe that he did indeed make a sacrifice. But may I say that it was also the best and wisest decision he could make. The Filipino people will remember what he did today come 2016. Kiko Pangilinan will likewise be rewarded for his part. A Roxas-Pangilinan ticket in 2016 will be unbeatable (if they do not drop the ball, that is). I suppose, the Liberal Party has been reborn.

I also predicted that Bro. Mike Velarde will withdraw. He did.

Okay two down. The following to go:
  • FDR and Erap will endorse Noynoy.
  • Escudero and Legarda will aspire for VP.
  • Villanueva will withdraw and endorse Noynoy.
  • Fernando will quietly withdraw.
  • De Castro will go back to newscasting.
  • Madrigal will not go away and contribute to Villar's defeat.

How Pinoys Vote: The Hard Truth

If professional survey groups are right that 55% of the Philippine electorate belongs to the low-income but non-poor group and 32% of the population is living below the poverty line, then I can understand how FPJ could have actually won the last presidential election; why Erap in spite of having been convicted of plunder is still popular among the Filipino people; and why Filipinos are still singing David Pomeranz' Got to Believe in Magic.

This means that a great majority of our people are either uneducated or undereducated. They are those who live in multi-family dwellings. The rest are either educated enough to have landed good paying jobs that enabled them to afford a home mortgage or rent a decent house for their family. Those who belong to the critical thinking educated group are, politically speaking, insignificant in number. Hence, should they wish to influence the way people vote, they need to work very hard in educating them.

When the late Senator Roco was a presidential candidate, he said that what Filipinos need most is kaalaman. He was right on the money. It behooves moral movements and non-government corporations concerned with crime and corruption to seriously focus on values formation first, then teach our people basic politics, sociology and economics.

To expect today's Filipino electorate to understand different socio-politico-economic philosophies and how decisions based on them affect public policy is unrealistic. Lets observe: Survey says that if elections were made today, 28% of the vote will be for Villar. This is because Pinoys are fast becoming familiar with his face and name that depict Wealth and they would want to be identified with his success and argue that the man knows how to get things done. 19% will vote for Erap - because they still believe that he can feel their pain. 16% will vote for De Castro - due to party loyalty. 12% will vote for Escudero - because they are attracted to him. 11% will vote for Roxas - on account of his prestigious name and/or their affiliation with the Liberal Party. While Fernando, Gordon and Panlilio, who appear to have the most to show for their long standing and fruitful public service will garner less than 3% of the vote.

I am not a prophet but I am willing to predict that as soon as Noynoy Aquino announces his candidacy, all bets are off and his initial rating would be close to 50% because of a certain Filipino trait - utang na loob. Ninoy and Cory made Filipinos feel good about themselves albeit for just a little while. Nothing will be lost in translation here: A vote for Noynoy is a vote for Ninoy and Cory. Regardless of how sophisticated or naive Pinoy voters are, majority of them will vote for Noynoy because of utang na loob. And in this case, it is not bad at all. The absence of scandal or controversy associated with his track record is making it less difficult for the undecided to finally make the choice to support him. Case is closed. Noynoy will be the next President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Again, I am not a prophet. This is not an endorsement. This is merely a humble prediction made by a political observer.