Thursday, December 29, 2005
Hope you are all having a fabulous Christmas holiday. We apologize for the slow down in posting, but we need to bond with our families, take a little time off, and re-energize ourselves for the year ahead just like everyone else.
We thank you for visiting our blog, whether you agree with our views, hopes and aspirations, or not. Your comments are appreciated, and read with much interest. We hope you continue to visit, and that some of you will leave a comment or two for us to enjoy.
There will be much to watch out for in the first quarter of 2006, the year of the Fire Dog. We await FVR's next move, Garci's next hearing, the return of Jocelyn Bolante, the latest on the No-El scenario. That's just our shortlist. Most especially, we await the day Gloria decides that it is time to pack up, unstick her fingers and leave the presidency she doesn't deserve.
MALIGAYANG PASKO AT MANIGONG BAGONG TAON!!!
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Just a few weeks ago, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee released Senate Report No. 44 recommending that all COMELEC Commissioners involved in the “COMELEC modernization scam”, should resign.
A group of us concerned Filipinos, who also happen to be IT practitioners and are very familiar with the facts of the case, decided to prepare a statement in support of the Senate Report. Our plan is to send this statement to the COMELEC, the Senate, Congress, the Ombudsman and the Solicitor-General, about the middle of January, 2006.
Before former Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo resigned, he mentioned that their office had already finished its report and that such will soon be submitted / elevated to the Sandiganbayan. This has not happened. We therefore need to exert pressure on their office to speed up the process.
The Office of the Solicitor-General, whose task it is to run after the money which was illegally disbursed, has not progressed much in that effort. We need to highlight this anomaly in order to recover the P1billion that had already been paid. Many say that in the Philippine context, this is an impossible task. But these things only become impossible tasks because we readily accept them to be such. In fact, it is apathy that makes these tasks so impossible.
If conspiracy between the COMELEC and the winning bidder could be proven, then recovery of the money could be achieved. We believe there is a paper trail that can prove such conspiracy.
Anyway, first things first: we have opened up a page in PetitionOnline with a copy of our statement of support for Senate Report No. 44. If you agree with the statement, then we encourage you to sign the petition with us. Just click on the following URL to access the petition page:
Thank you very much. May we, even through incremental efforts and gains, finally achieve what we all aspire for --- clean, honest, orderly and peaceful elections. And ultimately, a better
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The undersigned Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP) and individuals (IT practitioners), including those who filed the case in the Supreme Court in August, 2003, causing the eventual nullification of the contract signed by the COMELEC with Mega Pacific eSolutions, Inc., strongly support Senate Report No. 44 of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee recommending that all COMELEC Commissioners involved in the “COMELEC modernization scam”, resign.
The COMELEC committed many sins against the Filipino people. In the bidding for Automated Counting Machines (ACMs):
n The bid specs asked for 3 years Financial Statements; but the winning bidder was only incorporated 11 days before the submission of bids; the COMELEC therefore awarded the contract for ACMs to an unqualified bidder.
n The bidder claimed they were a consortium and therefore carried the track record and financial performance of the consortium members; but considering that it was a P1.3 billion project, all they had was a verbal agreement among them!
n The bid specs asked for 99.9995% accuracy level (1 mistake in 200,000); both bidders failed. Then the COMELEC reduced that to 99.995% in midstream (1 mistake in 20,000). Changing the bid specs at the middle of the evaluation is in violation of procurement rules. In spite of this change in specs, both bidders failed!
n The Bid and Awards Committee (BAC) should have declared a failed bidding right there and then, but no! they went on and awarded the contract to Mega Pacific.
n What’s more, the COMELEC en banc awarded the contract on
Mr. Abalos cannot claim that they only made an honest mistake in awarding the contract. In May, 2003, the ITFP sent a letter to the COMELEC recommending that they declare a failed bidding, but such recommendation was ignored. This was what prompted the ITFP and eight individuals, none of whom was a bidder, to file a Petition with the Supreme Court in August, 2003, for the nullification of the contract.
It has been almost two years since the Supreme Court handed down its decision, yet nothing much has happened. The COMELEC Commissioners and the members of the BAC continue to collect salaries; the COMELEC has not returned the equipment to the suppliers and has not recovered what they paid; and to add insult to injury, they continue to spend millions renting space to warehouse the equipment!
The Ombudsman has yet to elevate the case to the Sandiganbayan; and Congress has yet to initiate impeachment proceedings against the Commissioners. Unless these Commissioners are replaced, we can forget about clean and honest elections, as well as, election automation, in 2007.
Unknown to the general public, these COMELEC Commissioners committed other major sins:
n They suspended the continuous registration in January, 2003, in violation of the law (R.A. 8189) and to the disadvantage of new voters.
n They mis-allocated P1 billion meant for ACMs, to purchase data capturing machines for use in validating voters’ registration, a project that could not be completed in May, 2004, thus violating a Supreme Court ruling.
n They deceived voters by telling them that they should validate their registration, otherwise they would be put in a “watch list”.
n They mis-allocated another P300 million, meant for the purchase of ACMs, for their own illegal quick count (something that NAMFREL does for free). The Supreme Court stopped them, anyway. But they have already disbursed the P300 million by then!
In all, the COMELEC Commissioners wasted approximately P2.6 billion of taxpayer money. Perhaps erring officials of the COMELEC can only be removed through impeachment; but they can RESIGN! They should RESIGN!
That’s the only decent thing for them to do.
Corruption thrives in our country because we allow it. Corruption thrives in our country because we do not punish the criminals.
Amado Malacaman, Jr.
Information Technology Foundation of the
Rex Drilon II
Friday, December 09, 2005
A bit of truth a day, moves us on our way...
Hello? Is that you, Garci?
"We validated the voices on the tape: former COMELEC Chairman Christian Monsod and several other COMELEC staff and officials identified Garcillano's voice and validated the context of conversations. xxxx
"Independent verification confirming the authenticity of the recording was made by two internationally reputable voice experts, who identified the voices as those of the President and Garcillano by comparing the recordings and voice samples submitted to them. These experts also say the recording had not been spliced or tampered with."
-PCIJ, in I-report Special Edition, "The
"I can't make sure that it's my voice."
-former COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, testifying at a hearing of the House of Representatives,
*Truth Bites is an attempt to remind all of us about the truths that remain uncovered.
**By the Citizens for Truth and Resignation, Impeachment or Ouster (C4T) and the Black and White Movement (BnW)
Thursday, December 08, 2005
THE Black & White Movement pays tribute to all those who are relentless in their pursuit of the truth. In particular, the members of the House of Representatives, who have begun to eliminate the bodyguard of lies surrounding Virgilio Garcillano. Despite “Garci’s” peacock-like strutting into the House, his demeanor shows a man fearful of the truth.
But the truth cannot be hidden forever. And the effort to find it can be blocked, delayed, and hindered, but it will always prevail, so long as there are Filipinos who prefer the oftentimes harsh light of truthfulness to the sinister darkness of lies that breed more lies and crimes to cover up the lies.
Garci’s gamble, in league with his patrons and handlers, is that the public will prefer to be blind, mute, and deaf, regardless of what happens. Just in case, they are attempting to use every means, whether procedurally, in Congress, or by the shameless manipulation of the law, to help cover up their continuing crimes. On the verge of obtaining the truth, we must not let the truth escape our people’s grasp. We must remain alert and aware, to prevent the truth being thwarted yet again.
To our representatives in Congress, we ask: be impartial, be fair, and do not be a party to either rabid partisanship, which soils the truth, or be a hindrance to letting the truth come out. To our fellow citizens in the Civil Service, we say: the lies and deceitful conspiracies of the administration are unraveling. Many of you hold pieces of the puzzle; come forward and reveal what you know, so the whole picture can be completed.
Even as the House and Senate investigations expose the truth, we ask all our countrymen and women to stay alert. A government seeing its handiwork falling to pieces will be tempted to resort to its last means of staying in power: brute force. The Black & White Movement believes we must all be conscious of the kinds of terrorism and violence used by governments in the past, in order to provide excuses for the arrest of its opponents, and the spread of fear among the general population. We have seen bombings, strafings, and other violence engaged in by governments desperate to stay in power –and, indeed, extend their power despite constitutional obstacles.
Still, this is a time for renewed optimism and hope. Even as the truth struggles to be free, so are our people coming together to set aside partisan differences in the national interest. We welcome recent statements by prominent political personalities, recognizing that the solution to our nation’s political crisis lies in the resignation of the President and Vice-President. We recognize the statesmanship and principle represented by statements that recognize that our nation’s political paralysis can only end by asking the Senate President to assume the mantle of authority, preparatory to a genuinely free and honest national election, once the incumbent president and vice-president have resigned.
The way forward is opening up; our country is finding a new cause for unity; the work for reform, long delayed, has prospects of resuming very soon.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
By all means, if there is evidence that any of the newly accused may have cheated in the last election, then bring it out, bring it on. But let's not lose focus on what got us into this mess in the first place. Magicians rely on mis-direction when performing their tricks, so beware of being led away from the matter at hand. The real circus stars are the tightrope walker (GMA) and the magician (Garci) - they will have to prove that the tapes are fake, that they never connived to assure a GMA win, that they never betrayed the Filipino people, among so many other things. Theirs is a much bigger show than the side shows the Palace magicians are trying to foist on us.
Filipinos are well known to be discriminating. We love a good show. On the other hand, we always seem to know when we've been tricked into watching bad performances. These days I'm not too sure anymore. It seems that as a national audience we have been hypnotized. Whatever happened to the folks that normally demand a refund after watching a badly produced show? Have we lost our ability to see through the fakery? Have we been lulled into the acceptance of bad taste?
Sunday, December 04, 2005
A couple of days later, we were rather pleased to find out that the barricades that surrounded Malacanan Palace had been removed.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Speaking of heart, and about speaking from the heart, here's a letter of apology from David Martinez which was received via email. Read on...
To All Younger Than Me:
I could have screamed to the high heavens when I saw with my own eyes a political convention in my city brazenly manipulated by a congressman-uncle of mine. I didn't. I was daunted. I could have turned in a cousin who had an illegal electrical connection to his home which bypassed the meter. I didn't. It would have split the clan. I could have paid the right taxes on the income I made running a photography studio to support myself while in law school. I didn't. I thought that since virtually everybody cheated on their returns, so could I. I could have made a big deal of it when I stumbled on our governor utilizing prison labor for his private benefit. I didn't. He was a good friend of my father's. I could have declined defending and obtaining the acquittal of a senator's son charged with illegal possession of firearms. I didn't. I needed to earn the senator's gratitude, even at the expense of my integrity. I could have raised hell against the rampant illegal logging going on in southern
Now as I approach the sunset of my years I make amends. To all younger than myself, I ask you to accept my deep remorse. If the solemn, unwritten task of each generation is to leave this world in better shape for the young than when they first found it, we've accomplished the exact opposite. By design or inaction we've bled the country dry. We've poisoned its rivers, destroyed its coastlines, uprooted its forests, and polluted its air. We've plundered its resources, bequeathing you a barren wasteland. We've politicized the military, nourished a communist rebellion and a separatist campaign, elevated corruption into an art form, and institutionalized an oligarchy in the guise of a democracy. If we didn't actively participate in promoting injustice, we turned a blind eye to it. We embraced the dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself concept as though it were a teaching from Heaven itself. We sanctified the greed of the few in favor of the need of the many. We've managed in the span of one generation to destroy your most precious God-given gift: hope. Because I was party to this merciless conspiracy, if it's pardonable in any way, I seek your forgiveness.
Some of us -- a pitiful few of us -- realizing the true extent of our collective sins, have dedicated the rest of our lives to making amends. Even though we know that nothing we can do will restore Paradise Lost. However awash in guilt and sincere in repentance, we know that we haven't the time. All we can hope for by this humble attempt at rehabilitating ourselves is to minimize the spite our generation has earned so well. So exceedingly well. All we can do, when we're gone, is beg you not to spit on our graves.