Saturday, June 07, 2014


By Raul Socrates Banzuela

Ang puno ng manggang hitik sa pamumunga...pinupukol.

During the Langkaan Controversy in 1990, the peasant movement was deeply united to defend Butch when he was being bypassed each time by the powerful Committee on ConfIrmation of Congress.  The public debate then was raging whether or not the piece of prime agricultural land (Langkaan) in Cavite should give way to Joe Concepcion-supported Marubeni industry.

Having been among the staunch proponents of HB 400, which later became the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), together with Edcel Lagman and the late Boni Gillego, Butch becoming Secretary of the DAR after the coup of 1989 and the ouster of Miriam as DAR Secretary, was received by the peasant and the NGO movement with great enthusiasm and anticipation of great things to come in the agrarian reform front.  It was no surprise then that even Jimmy Tadeo of KMP who REJECTED CARP, came to join us in the gallery in the Senate supporting Butch's confirmation and to witness the gallant defense for Butch's confirmation by some Senators like Nene Pimentel. 

The rest was history...and tragedy.

After a series of bypass, and an expected awkward situation in the Cabinet where Joe Concepcion, DTI Secretary, and Butch Abad, DAR Secretary, would be sitting side by side with President Cory, he finally succumbed and resigned.  It was among the saddest moments in the peasant movement, feeling a great loss amidst the advance of the anti-reform forces.  Twenty four years hence, almost all prime agricultural lands in CALABARZON has been wiped out, prime and precious limited alluvial soil cemented to subdivisions and factories. Meanwhile the peasant movement has remained in the streets, many of its leaders, now senior citizens, still pushing, even pathetically just so Congress would extend the life of CARPER two more years and Notice of Coverage could still be issued to hundreds of thousands of hectares of land left uncovered, including the 14,000 hectares of grabbed land (by Danding) in Bugsuk Island in Balabac, Palawan.

Far from its original vision, a government centerpiece program not very much unlike that which catapulted Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to industrialization and modernization, CARP did not get the Presidential leadership it badly needed (except, perhaps during Ramos). Some 4 million farmers who received land (some 7 million hectares reportedly distributed) remained un-attended with the necessary support services (credit, extension, market, etc.), mostly still living below poverty line.

Butch, as DBM Secretary, and with strong support from PNoy, could have the second chance to help ensure funding availability to support millions of agrarian reform beneficiaries achieve their historic nation building role.

We just hope and pray, he does not experience another awkward situation in the Cabinet and succumb the second time...and resign. 

We encourage him to stay put and stand his ground, and remain united with reform forces in government, and to continue to join the march of a people who has finally decided to take head-on the scourge of patronage politics. A new day is dawning...three Senators will soon be in jail. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Corazon Juliano Soliman
15 May 2014

Last April 27th, Sunday, the homily of Fr. Francis really struck me.  He spoke about our hesitance to talk about our wounds and encouraged us to do so.... as Jesus did when he showed and invited the apostles to touch his wounds... It was not easy to listen as he shared and he spoke about his dilemma when he wrote a book about the son of a priest, that it takes courage and humility to talk about our wounds even with our family members and closest friends.

It has taken me almost two week to write this reflection piece because I was afraid that it may be misinterpreted or even derided and twisted to allude meanings that are far from my own thoughts.  I have been nudged every day since that homily to write, by my conscience.

As public servants we live in a fish bowl.  We cannot separate most of our public life from our private life, thus our family and friends are always affected by public perception - negative or positive feedback.

I have known Butch Abad since the 1970's.  Together with his wife Dina we were part of the movement for democracy.  He was jailed together with Dina and their baby Julia in the late 70s because of their involvement in the anti-dictatorship movement.  After temporary release he took up law while he continued to contribute to the effort of conscientization and mobilization of the Citizens for Democracy.

Butch worked with Atty. Hector Soliman, my husband, to initiate and organize an alternative law practice - as mentored by Sen. Pepe Diokno - wherein people's organizations were assisted by lawyers who provided legal support during their struggle for their right to development.  This blossomed and grew into the Alternative Law Groups we know today.

Butch entered the legislative arena as congressman and he initiated laws: supported legislation that institutionalized reforms such the agrarian reform law, and the people's participation bills. Those actions were consistent with the values and the principles we stood for.  Again, as evidence of his commitment to social justice and truth, whenever faced with a cross road of actions that could compromise his principles and values, Butch always took the difficult path by following his conscience - he resigned as Secretary of Agrarian Reform during Pres. Cory 's administration - a very difficult decision because he loved Pres. Cory; he chose to leave the Arroyo administration when again truth was compromised and suffered the consequences of this action such as the marginalizing of their home province Batanes... Butch has stood for his principles by taking the difficult path instead of the easy path of compromising principles.

When he took up the challenge of being DBM secretary to manage the coffers of the government, Butch opened up the systems, information and the processes so that our citizens could track budgets and expenditures, participate in the budget process and ensure that the funds are spent in a judicious and responsive manner.

And yet today he is maligned as the person who taught Napoles the tricks about stealing via NGOs... I am sure it hurts him, the wounds cut deep and wide... and yet he will not speak about his wounds.  He continues to do his work, silently bearing the pain even as he tries to show the public that he is a person of integrity and principle.

Most of us in public service carry the same wounds.  Maybe not as big and deep as those suffered by Butch, but we all feel that there are many times that we are sacrificial lambs on the altar of political ambitions of those who may not necessarily be acting on behalf the common and highest good.

This reflection piece is for all of us who are wounded public servants.  It is good to talk about our wounds and let our loved ones, family and friends touch them. Their loving touch provides the gentle healing we need to carry on our mahusay, matapat and magiliw na paglilingkod sa sambayanan. -- END

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


"I have never dealt with Janet Lim Napoles or any of her fake NGOs in any way throughout my career in public service: either as representative of Batanes, as Budget and Management Secretary, or as an official of any other public office that has been entrusted to me. I have spent my professional life—inside government and in civil society—working to improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos by pushing for reforms in public governance.

“Moreover, all projects I sponsored under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) when I was a legislator are above board—none have been coursed through any fake NGO. Unlike other personalities dragged into the PDAF Scam of 2007-2009, who have been implicated by evidence and testimony by whistleblowers, nothing credible has been brought against me – but rather, unfounded allegations and malicious name-calling.

“I find it amusing, if not outright revolting, that I am once again in the crosshairs of those who want the Aquino Administration to fall. Matagal ko nang tanggap na idadawit ako kung saan-saan gawa ng aming trabaho sa DBM bilang tagapangalaga ng kaban ng bayan at tagasulong ng reporma sa pamahalaan—lalo na’t pinaiigting ngayon ng Administrasyong Aquino ang Daang MatuwidHabang lumalapit ang 2016, tiyak na marami pang lalabas na absurdong alegasyon. Tiwala akong masasala ng publiko ang mga kuwentong imbento lang, at maninindigan sila para sa katotohanan."

"Until the public sees the true affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles, and until hard evidence supports the statements in this affidavit, everything is speculation, if not total fabrication, at this point. I ask the public not to immediately believe these allegations, but to weigh the only thing that matters in the end: the evidence. I urge the Department of Justice and the Ombudsman to continue their investigation, follow the evidence wherever it may lead them, and take appropriate action on behalf of the people.”

For inquiries, further questions and requests for interview, please contact:
OSEC-Public Information Unit 
490-1000 local 2602; 0908-869-8170;
Facebook: /DBMphilippines
Twitter: @DBMph

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Case You Missed It - Like Father, like Son? by Yoly Ong

Citizen Y 106      10-16-12      Yoly Villanueva-Ong

Like Father, like Son?

Just when we were about to forgive-and-forget Juan Ponce Enrile’s checkered past, he himself reminded us of what a wily, shifty chameleon he truly and naturally is. His stellar performance at the Corona impeachment leveraged enough glory for his son and namesake to become a strong contender for the Senate. Then he launches his autobiography and bio-documentary that attempt to revise history.It’s almost as if he can’t help but shoot his own foot.

And as history and some unassailable sources avow, this would not be the first time Enrile “shot himself’. In Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir, and bio-documentary “Johnny” that aired in ABS-CBN--- he recants his previous recantation of the assassination attempt on him, which Marcos used as one more reason to justify Martial Law.

“This accusation is ridiculous and preposterous. What would I have faked my ambush for?” By that time martial law was already an “irreversible fact” since documents had been signed and the military operation to implement it had started.

“I honestly did not know why Marcos suddenly decided to cite my ambush in justifying the declaration of martial law when he made his public statement on September 23. There was absolutely no need for it.”
Did he expect national amnesia to afflict Filipinos who know the truth? Are we expected to forget the press conference that he and and then Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos called on Feb 22,1986 in the Ministry of National Defense when they withdrew their support for the dictator Ferdinand Marcos?In that life-and-death instance, he confessed that the attempt on his life was bogus. The following day, the headlines blared: “Enrile, Ramos lead ‘revolt’ against FM.” One of the subheads read: “1972 ambush fake—Enrile.”

This fact is further documented in various books written by foreign journalists who covered those perilous years. Time correspondent Sandra Burton, wrote in her book Impossible Dream(1989), “Seasoned observers believed from the start that the attack had been staged. Years later, as he was in the midst of his own revolt from the Marcos regime, Enrile would confirm those suspicions.”

Raymond Bonner of the New York Times interviewed Enrile twice in 1985. In his book Waltzing with a Dictator(1988) he wrote, “He was emphatic that the attack on him had not been staged, but in February 1986, after he had broken with Marcos and led the revolt that ousted the Philippine president, Enrile admitted that the attack on his car had been faked”.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Ellison also wrote in her 1988 book, Imelda,“(Enrile) revealed that he had narrowly escaped injury in a spectacular ambush of his car—an event he conceded in 1986 had been staged.”

In his attempt to leave an acceptable legacy for posterity and bequeath a Senate seat for junior, the nonagenarian is sanitizing his recollections instead of asking for absolution. Stem cell therapy can deter dementia but it cannot regenerate an innocent man.

And now the gullible electorate is being enticed to continue Enrile’s political dominion through the son, Jack. By his own narrative, Junior was not close to his father in his younger days. He recalled that as a child, he only watched a movie twice with his dad.The name was a burden for him as he was bullied and beaten up in school for being an Enrile. But today he is closer to his father. “Mas nag-uusap na kami ngayong ako’y nasa 50s, and he is in his 80s,” Jack said. His name is no longer a millstone. He is his father’s son after all.

Jack has his own intrigues to expunge. On December 30,1981, actor Alfie Anido, then the boyfriend of his sister Katrina was found dead. The tale turns murky but Jack was seenin the Anidos’ Bel-Air residence inside the room where the body of the matinee idol and a weeping Katrina were found. The official version, which has not been refuted to this day, was that Alfie shot himself.However, the rumor mill tagged Jackie (as he was known then) as responsible for Anido’s death. This conjecture gained traction and remains an urban legend till now. 

In his book, the elder Enrile said there was no doubt that Jack’s supposed role was the handiwork of Fabian Ver. “No doubt, the only purpose of those who spread that false rumor was to besmirch my family and destroy my reputation rather than to solve a crime for there was no crime at all,” Enrile said.

In the documentary, the young Enrile recalled responding to his sister’s call for help. He said he joined his father’s chief security aide, Gringo Honasan in Bel-Air.That’s when he found Anido dead from a gunshot wound to his head. He explained that his alleged connection in the supposed murder of Anido happened because “I was there. Even the family [of Anido] would say I had nothing to do with it.”

Another misdeed associated with father-and-son is the alleged rampant car smuggling in Port Irene. In 1995, the Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA) was established through Republic Act 7922, authored by Cagayan native JPE. Among the vehicles being sold are Hummers, Porsches, Mercedes Benzes and BMWs, aside from the bestselling vans and minivans. CEZA CEO and administrator, Jose Mari Ponce, swears that the used-car trade was “very open and transparent”.

The flourishing buy-and-sell of secondhand cars in Port Irene  prodded the American Chamber of Commerce to submit a letter of concern to then Finance Secretary Margarito Teves. Despite EO156 issued in 2008, which prohibited such importations, smuggling continued. Enrile countered that CEZA is not covered by the prohibition because the importers pay the correct duties and taxes.Ford reportedly pulled out its manufacturing business to protest the nefarious activities in CEZA.

There’s a father-and-son story that comes to mind---
A father overheard his son pray: Dear God, make me the man my Dad is. Later, the father prayed: Dear God, Make me the man my son wants me to be.

We are being wooed to perpetuate the forty-years-running Enrile saga. Every night we should pray: Dear God, Make all who want our vote, be the men we want them to be.

Friday, October 12, 2012


First, there was KontraDaya. Now, it’s Anakbayan. Both are part of the ultra-leftist coalition of Bayan and the Makabayan Coalition. These groups have waged an all-out campaign to discredit all Party List aspirants not aligned with their Maoist agenda – including Black and White.

Unfortunately, people buy into their propaganda without bothering to check the facts.

Before its creation, the conveners and members of the Black and White Movement were veteran advocates of various social causes. Undeniably, our nominees do indeed stand for their sectors.

They say Leah Navarro cannot possibly represent the urban poor. In our application for accreditation, we never said she did. She represents women – a sector specifically defined by the Party List Law as marginalized and under represented. And, why not? Leah has supported women’s rights causes even before joining Black and White. She is an advocate for responsible parenthood and has actively opposed violence against women. She has represented Black and White at events and projects supportive of various women’s causes alongside fellow conveners Karen Tanada and Beth Yang.

We wonder why they never mention our second and third nominees because, like Leah, they represent their sectors.

Our second nominee is Marco Cabrera – a leader of our Black and White Youth chapter. This segment of the Black and White organization started in 2009 in the Camanava area where it has been actively involved in engaging the youth via community service projects and involvement in political issues, focusing on truth, accountability and good governance. Again, the youth is one sector specifically defined by the Party List Law as marginalized.

Our third nominee is Ka Jose Morales – a leader of our Black and White Katipunan – an urban poor group based in the Taytay-Antipolo area, which has been part of Black and White since its inception in 2005. A tireless campaigner for the rights of our impoverished, Ka Jose is a convener of AKKMA (Aksyon sa Kalamidad at Klima), Ugnayang Lakas ng mga Apektadong Pamilya sa Baybaying Ilog Pasig (ULAP) and the Urban Poor Alliance (UPALL). Definitely, the urban poor are marginalized.

While it is true that some of our conveners are now in the Executive branch of government, it does not change the fact that Black and White has been actively engaged in advancing the causes of sectors considered as marginalized – women, youth, and urban poor. If given the opportunity, we are committed to protect and advance our multi-sector interests through responsive legislation.

We appeal to everyone to check the facts before buying into these groups’ Maoist-communist propaganda. Let us not leave the Party List system in the hands of leftist extremists that are hell bent on blocking the daan na matuwid. -- END

Sunday, September 30, 2012


BnW Media Press Release
29 September 2012

A leftist, anti-Aquino administration group purporting to be a non-partisan citizen’s group named Kontra Daya has called on the Black and White Movement to withdraw its application for accreditation as a Regional Political Party participating in the 2013 Party List election. It claims our close alliance with President Aquino makes a mockery of the Party List system.

To Kontra Daya, which is led by Fr. Joe Dizon, a close associate of the Bayan coalition and Bayan Muna Party List, we have one simple question: With due respect to Sen. Manny Villar (and the NP, now in coalition with the LP for the upcoming elections), whom Bayan allies supported in the 2010 presidential election, if he had won – would Bayan Muna withdraw its participation in the 2013 Party List election?

For the record, ever since our inception in 2005, the Black and White Movement has always worked with the urban poor sector. They were with us in our mass actions against the excesses of the GMA regime. In fact, the lead convener of Black and White Katipunan (our Urban Poor cluster), Ka Jose Morales, is our third nominee.

For the record, we also have a very active and passionate youth group – the Black and White Youth Movement and one of its leaders, Marco Cabrera, is our second nominee.

For the record, many of our conveners – Karen Tanada, Elizabeth Yang, and Leah Navarro are prominent advocates of women’s rights and issues.  We have chosen Leah Navarro – our first nominee, to represent the women’s sector. Her current appointment as MTRCB board member ends on 30 September 2012 and does not conflict with this advocacy. She cannot be reappointed when our accreditation is approved.

These sectors – women, youth, and urban poor - are specifically identified by the Party List law as marginalized.  We have meticulously complied with the requirements for a Regional Political Party (NCR) participating in the Party List system. All of our nominees belong to the sectors being represented. And none of them are former politicians. None of them are associated with any business interest or political clan.

WE ARE QUALIFIED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PARTY LIST ELECTION.  And if elected, we are committed to sponsor and support legislation that will protect and advance the interests of the sectors we represent.

Contrary to what Kontra Daya thinks, you do not have to be a leftist to qualify in the Party List system and fight for the marginalized. - END

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Encore: BnW & Operation Compassion Join Forces

The Black & White Movement and Operation Compassion joined forces in 2009 during Operation Tulong Bayan. Once again, in the spirit of Bayanihan, we are partnering to augment relief efforts in the wake of the Habagat.

We have received requests for aid through our chapters in Quezon City, Tondo, Valenzuela and Zambales.

We appeal to you for financial donations as it will be easier for our BnW Youth and OC volunteers to purchase ready to eat food, pack blankets and other necessities for distribution. Moreover, some areas within Metro Manila are still impassable to light vehicles.

We appeal to you for help that will be much appreciated by our countrymen in those affected regions.

Here are the details:

The Black & White Movement Inc.
Bank: Banco de Oro (BDO)
Account Number: 006478007634

BP Operation Compassion Inc.
Bank: Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
Account Number: 3321-0178-34

Contact Persons:
Philip Castillo - 0917-568-8443
Susan Cucio - 0917-843-3041

Twitter: @BnWMovement

Thank you for your kind attention and look forward to your positive responses.