Sunday, December 24, 2006
We wish you and tour families not only a cool Yuletide Season, but also the blessings, joy, hope, and peace that come from celebrating it!
Happy Holidays to all of our regular visitors, like Schumey, John, Karl, Manuel, Manolo, Toots, Erwin, Dawin, Yuko, Anna, Dana, CVJ, Jester, Dean, Vic, Marvin, Justicialiga, Ellen, Nursing1998, Ricelander, EngineerOFW and you!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Most of us were still tired, having worked for a week or more to make sure we went to Luneta in good numbers. We are not known for mobilizing thousands, as our competence is more grounded on up close and personal work like forums and assemblies. Quality as opposed to quantity. Whatever. Anyway, we believe that B&W and STOP Cha Cha got more of the recognizable faces of the middle forces to attend along with the "usual suspects".
We were honored to march with our urban poor arm, B&W Katipunan; with folks from Alabang, Quezon City, the enclaves of Makati; the Liberal Party; Senators Drilon and Osmena; the members of the Makati Business Club and friends from media. Best of all, there were people we had never met before (was that you, cvj?). To all of them we give thanks for joining our ranks.
The next day the papers were full of criticism - the numbers were disappointing, the act of "archiving" Con-Ass helped lower the enthusiasm, the CBCP messaging was diluted and unclear. But Vergel Santos said, and I paraphrase, "This is the way things are in the beginning, the awakening of our people takes time, this is as good start as any". And he's right. There is no hurrying awareness. The people that attended the prayer rally were the ones that wanted to be there. There is always the hope that many others will multiply our numbers, leave it to Gloria and her henchmen to see to that.
You see, disappointment has a way of turning into joy. Just as we were bemoaning the "flop" that was Luneta, lo and behold! Gloria saw the low numbers and less than powerful utterances of our bishops as a signal to forge ahead with her plans of keeping ensconced in power via Cha-Cha, who cares if she said she was abandoning it. Ah, she is so predictable. She will now continue to ram Cha-Cha down our throats with "urgency and fervor". Think of the audience she was targetting at the time - the foreign community. Who told her that would win her brownie points?
And so, allow me to end with the explanation of this post's title, a term coined by a couple of good friends - SAKAPANG. Gloria and her ilk are "Sakim sa Kapangyarihan". How apt.
Friday, December 15, 2006
- Quezon City: Parking Lot Gate 3, Ateneo Loyola
(Note: Enter gate 3, then turn left on the first road and proceed to parking lot on the left)
Assembly Time - 11:00 am – 12:00 nn
Departure Time - 12:00 nn
- Makati City: Thailand (formerly Rada St) cor Legaspi St.
(Note: Thailand St is one-way towards dela Rosa St)
Assembly Time - 11:30 am - 12:20 pm
Departure Time - 12:20 pm
- Alabang: Parking lot of SNR (formerly Price Club) along Zapote Rd. Filinvest
Assembly Time - 12:00 nn – 12:20 pm
Departure Time - 12:20 pm
Meet in front of Malate Church beside Aristocrat Restaurant
Target time of convergence: 1:00 pm
March towards Luneta Park: 1:30 pm
Quezon City: Ateneo – Katipunan – Aurora – Nagtahan – Quirino – San Andres – Malate Church
Makati: Rada – de la Rosa – Buendia – Ayala – Metropolitan – Vito Cruz – SS Hiway – Quirino – San Andres – Malate Church
Alabang: SNR parking lot - Festival Mall – SS Hiway (Filinvest entrance) – Quirino – San Andres – Malate Church
•Black and white ribbons on car antennas
•Black and white balloons
•Flaglets – print the downloadable Black&White flaglets and attach to barbecue stick. To download, please visit http://BlacknWhite-movement.com/download/flaglets.pdf
(Note: We will wave these as we march towards Luneta Park)
Please wear black, white, or combination black and white shirts.
Please use the comment box to request more information and coordination details.
Everyone is invited to join and be counted. Let’s all watch and pray. Let’s all be vigilant. Let’s all declare through our presence that we will not take brazen attempts to destroy our democratic processes and institutions sitting down.
Please invite friends and relatives to be a part of this event.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Despite what Malacanan says, despite malicious rumors that the event may be scuttled by dark elements and by the participants themselves, the prayer rally set for Sunday, 17 December, at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta is still a go. Treat this event like a roll call - if you believe that the attempts to revise our Constitution are ill-timed, please join us.
We will be posting our final arrangements for our motorcade and march to Luneta by tomorrow at the latest. Your participation will be very much appreciated.
And in case you haven't read these statements by Archbishop Tony Ledesma of the CBCP, the Makati Business Club, and the Bishops-Businessmen's Conference, here they are:
A WRONG MOVE BY THE WRONG PEOPLE AT THE WRONG TIME
The events in the House of Representatives last week that unfolded over TV and other modes of mass media have triggered such a widespread outcry that the proponents for a Constituent Assembly have backtracked from their original position. But the challenge is not yet over.
It is well to ask ourselves why there was such a swelling of righteous indignation in the first place. This was expressed by various sectors ranging from Civil Society groups that characterized the House proceedings as “garapal” (i.e., brazen, callous, desperate) to the CBCP statement that bluntly described the actuations of the House majority as “fraudulently illegitimate and scandalously immoral.”
First, it was the wrong move. The Lower House cannot blithely bypass the Senate in a duly constituted bicameral Congress. It cannot simply change house rules to rush the revision of the basic law of the land. And it should not dispense with the principle of checks and balances in our democracy; otherwise, as has already happened too often in the past, one party may issue all the checks while the people are left with a zero balance.
Secondly, it was the wrong people. Congressmen are elected by districts to represent primarily the interests of their constituents; they cannot be expected to transform themselves overnight to have a broader outlook for the entire nation and to be divested of their localized, much less personalized, interests. The suggestion of postponing the May elections and extending their terms is a blatant manifestation of self-serving interests on the part of the representatives. Even players in a basketball game cannot be their own referee to declare overtime.
We should also be reminded that the present Administration that backed the Con Ass still has to give a full accounting for the “Hello, Garci” tapes, the Bolante fertilizer fund scam, the Mayuga report, extra-judicial killings, etc. Going beyond political partisanship, these are moral issues that continue to prick the Christian conscience. Charter change cannot be made a diversionary tactic to leave unanswered these prior questions on the credibility of the present leadership.
Finally, it was the wrong time. Just when the issue of the People’s Initiative had been resolved by the Supreme Court, the hurried move for a Constituent Assembly raised anew fears of manipulation and railroading (as indeed descriptive of the Cha Cha train). Why the haste in revising the fundamental law of the land? Why not allow the holding first of May elections that are constitutionally mandated and can indeed provide the genuine people’s initiative in retaining or replacing the present leadership?
What then are some lessons we have learned?
First, that we want the rule of law and not of men. Our law-makers should not be seen as law-breakers, or people who bend due process to suit their own interests.
Secondly, that democracy is not only a matter of numbers, but of moral principles. For the thoughtful observer, a well-reasoned objection is more convincing than a hundred “ayes” on the floor.
And thirdly, we can indeed heed the dictum that politicians look to the next elections, whereas statesmen look to the next generation.
It is in this light that as citizens we must maintain our vigilance. On December 17th, there is a call for inter-faith prayer rallies in
This would also provide an appropriate occasion for us to start forming engaged (and enraged) citizens’ groups in our parishes to prepare for the next elections or referendum. These groups should first enunciate the moral principles they want to be embodied in the leaders that they choose. Moreover, it is perhaps time to look for a new crop of leaders with ideals and Gospel values that can give hope for a brighter future for our country.
Together with other faith communities and people of goodwill we can all join hands and hearts to build the City of
+ Antonio J. Ledesma, S.J.,D.D.
Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro
12 December 2006
A STATEMENT ON THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MOVE TO PURSUE A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY
In utter disrespect for the rule of law, Administration allies in the House of Representatives have voted to conveniently amend their own rules in order to pursue their scheme of a Constitutional Amendment through a Constituent Assembly. The move sets a dangerous precedent and does not augur well for the future of democracy and the prospects of policy formulation, predictability, and stability.
Consider the following –
1. The Administration attempted to push for Charter Change through a "people’s initiative". The initiative was struck down by the Supreme Court which referred to the signature collection campaign as a deception, as it was led by the government itself.
2. Public opinion runs strongly against Charter Change, especially by means of a people’s initiative or Constituent Assembly.
3. A Constituent Assembly is fraught with conflict-of-interest issues because Congressmen themselves may be strongly tempted to propose changes to the Constitution which would benefit their political careers (e.g., changes such as term limits, district representation, and others).
4. In order to railroad the change, the House had to first amend its own rules which stipulate that a Constitutional Amendment through a Constituent Assembly requires a vote of the House and Senate voting separately – the method prescribed to pass ordinary laws. This is an open admission that its own argument that a mere joint vote is constitutionally sufficient was flawed to begin with. It also reflects the penchant for changing rules midstream when the rules suit those in power.
5. In order to create a workable timetable for a Constituent Assembly, proponents have proposed that the 2007 elections be postponed to a later date. Should that happen, elective officials whose terms are supposed to end on June 30, 2007 would all be overstaying and therefore illegitimate holders of public office.
6. The move to railroad Charter Change through Constituent Assembly has obviously been timed to coincide with the retirement of the Chief Justice, a pillar of strength in upholding the rule of law.
Such a brazen and desperate act to amend the Constitution in the face of legal defeat and strong anti-Cha-Cha public opinion indicates that the administration and its allies will stop at nothing to bring about changes which may have questionable benefit on the country. We appeal to the Senate and the Supreme Court to unequivocally reject these undemocratic acts.
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
NOT THIS WAY
With the failure of the people’s initiative, there has been a suspiciously mad scramble to pursue charter change, particularly before the May 2007 elections. Why the rush?
We believe that the changing of the House Rules allowing for a Constituent Assembly without the Senate was a shameless act of manipulation and self-preservation by the charter change proponents, an act which Archbishop Lagdameo accurately described as “fraudulently illegitimate and scandalously immoral.”
We are not against charter change per se. We are against the unduly hasty and underhanded way that the Administration Congressmen are pushing for a constituent assembly. Their desperate and calculating actions are indicative of the considerable vested interests at stake. The haunting possibility of the postponement of May 2007 elections would undoubtedly benefit no one but the congressmen and politicians proposing it. All roads are sure to lead to the extension and expansion of powers for the current administration and its allies.
We echo the CBCP’s call for us all to be vigilant, be involved, and act now. We call on BBC’s members in Metro Manila and in the regional chapters to support activities in their parishes to inform the parishioners about these immoral actions by many of their representatives in Congress, and to condemn those acts. We cannot turn our backs and allow charter change to be railroaded by self -serving politicians. We can not allow charter change by this constituent assembly. Not now. Not by them. Not in this way.
December 9, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
They blinked. After realizing that a great number of our people were angered by their show of arrogance and hubris, the House Majority is literally dancing the “cha-cha”. Like the seasoned grifters (con artists) that they are, the House Majority has once again tried to bamboozle the people into believing that they have abandoned their dreams of a Constituent Assembly without the Senate in exchange for a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con). During their press conference, they shocked the nation by issuing a “challenge” to the Senate to reply within 72 hours or the House shall revert to Con-ass as usual.
What gall! Do they think we will meekly accept this “back step” and follow their lead? The Black and White Movement is not at all inclined to dance to this tune. We see right through their deception. They hope to pin the blame for all this trouble on a recalcitrant Senate but the truth is that they alone are truly responsible for the myriad missteps and miscalculations brought on by their greed for power, hope of No-El, and the dream for an end to term limits.
If the House Majority were so sincere in their claims of “accommodating” an irate republic, they would not have imposed conditions and should have abandoned their illegal Con-Ass dreams altogether. It is clear they do not have the people’s interests at heart.
“Rats on a sinking ship have no right to demand which side of the ship should sink first”, declares co-convenor Atty. Edwin Lacierda.
“To restore what’s left of their credibility, these Congressmen should apologize to the Filipino people for the wrongs they have committed against them and the valiant House Minority. They should return the House Rules to status quo and rethink their choice of leadership”, says co-convenor Leah Navarro, “They should explain why they found it so easy to trifle with our Constitution”.
Enteng Romano, Black & White Movement lead convenor says, “We call on our people to be vigilant and not be deceived by a House Majority that seeks to perpetuate itself in power. Together with our people, we will continue with our planned week long activities in the Batasan, and around the country, culminating in the inter-faith prayer rally at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta on Sunday, 17 December”. -- END
Thursday, December 07, 2006
There’s a gathering storm – but not the kind typhoon Reming is made of. It’s one induced by the airheads at the Batasan.
They finally passed House Resolution 1450 which authorizes Congress to transform itself into a constituent assembly (CON-ASS). That it took them up to dawn of Thursday is a vain attempt to project that it passed the requisite process of debate and due deliberation. Nothing can be further from the truth.
I was at the Batasan last night to catch a segment of the moro-moro. I watched with amusement as Teddy Boy Locsin interpellated Villafuerte – the resolution’s sponsor. Locsin asked, “Does this mean we’re doing this alone?” He was, of course, referring to the fact that Congress will push through with changing the charter even without Senate’s concurrence – totally ignoring traditional practice in a bicameral legislature.
Locsin may not even realize that he hit the nail on the head – they are doing this alone. Outside the halls of the Batasan, formerly reticent folks are coming out with indignant voices.
Bro. Mike Velarde, spiritual leader of El Shaddai, proclaims “We have to warn our people of the dangers of this parliament by the House alone. The public has to be warned about [their] hidden agenda.”
Even the CBCP, usually reserved in their statements, came out headstrong. Lagdameo, CBCP president urged the faithful “to be vigilant, [and] to express their opposition to Con-ass.” He describes the current Cha-cha steps of Congress as “fraudulently illegal and scandalously immoral.”
But there’s something even more interesting going on. I have been to many forums, both online and offline, over the past year and I have never seen any conversion. Anti-GMA proponents, no matter how logical and passionate their presentations are, could not convince even a single pro-GMA person to switch side, and vice-versa. But now there seems to be a breakthrough. It is not uncommon to hear some people say, “they have crossed the line”, or “sobra na, bastusan na, garapal na!”
A posting by Bart at the elagda-forum best expresses this change of heart: “I totally agree. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! It is becoming more obvious what GMA has been trying to do and we can no longer doubt her intentions.” He continues, “I thought that we should let GMA finish her term in 2010 and focus on economic recovery by avoiding protests and demonstrations that could further compromise the economy of the country. But I was wrong because GMA is apparently working tooth and nail to continue in power beyond 2010.”
Thank God we have a brief respite. Congress requires a 3-day notice before they can convene Con-Ass. It’s the proverbial calm before the storm.
As the administration lackeys prepare for a blitzkrieg revision of the charter, civil society is gearing up for the biggest show of force since the Garci scandal broke out. This time, it’s the CBCP, Bro. Mike, and other conservative leaders at the forefront.
We better all brace up for the coming storm. It has all the markings of storm signal number 3. It may even be codenamed “EDSA 3”.
God bless and God save our country.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The blow by blow live blog by Manolo is pretty accurate, so please check it out here.
Haste makes waste, and the minority made sure that the various missteps of the majority were brought out into the open. "Open" was an understatement. The House Tragicomedy was live on ANC, and by virtue of The Filipino Channel, seen all over the world. I couldn't have produced a better show. We were receiving texts from all over, all of them from the irate and incensed. One text wonderfully worded described the proceedings as "rivetting and revolting". Thanks, Toots! Another was one that said we should all bestow the rank of "lance corporal" on all the majority Reps.
Watching the minority Reps adroitly challenge every move the majority made was sweet. Feeding off their commitment to truth and the need to keep the dignity of their elected office intact, they all, to a man and woman, fought with their hearts to defend the rape of our Constitution. They moved as one unit, agreed on every move as one. We couldn't have been prouder of them.
The majority, on the other hand, was made up of buffoons, each one thinking his or her idea was better than the other's. That's why the suspensions took so long, none of the majority members could agree on what to do. It was fun watching each of them posture against their fellows.
It was also very sad. Edsel Lagman of Albay and Luis Villafuerte of Camarines Sur were both there, so obviously far and away from the disastrous tragedies wrought by Reming on their provinces. What were they thinking? Why weren't they shoulder to shoulder with their provincemates, digging for the fallen, caring for the survivors? Many of us have donated assistance of all kinds to the poor victims, but these guys should be right there with them offering full support.
What makes the majority so confident and callous to public abhorrence? The sweet, beguiling promise of No-El. The hubris was palpable. Pride goeth before the fall.
Whoever wishes to join us today, proceed to the House Plenary Hall before 4pm. If you're in a marching mood, Akbayan will lead a march from St. Peter's Church on Commonwealth at 1pm. We'll see you there.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Once more, the silence of our people has allowed these congressional cretins to hinge our political future on mere numbers. As we batten down the hatches of our homes, tape up our windows, buy necessities we cannot do without in the face of the coming typhoon, we should also think about the damage that will be wrought by a Charter Change that will do us no good. The transitory provisions prove only one thing - that Gloria Arroyo can only find safety from accountability through delay and obfuscation.
Along with the storm comes a stench. The terrible smell of fear reeks from the arses of Gloria and her Congressional cohorts. The fervent wish of Gloria and every one of her Batasan lackeys is not to have elections in May because they know the surveys are right - none of them is assured of a win should she endorse any of them or their family members in the coming elections. The national abhorrence and distrust of Gloria can only grow and insure her becoming a lame duck president, vulnerable to impeachment like never before.
And even if the surveys bear out the latter, no one seems interested enough to outwardly call her bluff. And when shall we do that? It may be too late once a Con-Ass stinks up the Batasan, too late when OFWs realize that the dollars they send home are no longer enough to keep their families happy, too late once those with something to hide use their guns to keep their secrets safe.
The answer to the question of who will replace Gloria is simple - we are the answer. Quit looking for leaders to be bestowed on us. We have been able to suspend our disbelief in the claim that the Filipino is spineless and gutless several times before. Don't fall for the excuse that we have been betrayed by our revolutions. We can begin another peaceful revolution through the elections. Fight for your right to send Gloria a clear message through your power to vote.
KICK Con-ASS! I WANNA VOTE IN MAY!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
What fun! We began with a parade up the street as Bgy. Poblacion's drum and lyre corps played while Chiz Escudero led the way. The PUP Pep Squad performed their acrobatic moves to get us all energized. The fora began soon after, lots of interested folk surrounded our resource persons. Former VP Tito Guingona, Senator Serge Osmena, Representatives Noynoy Aquino, Neric Acosta, Alan Peter Cayetano and Chiz Escudero, Mayor Jojo Binay, RC Constantino, Conrad de Quiros, Pen Medina, Josie Lichauco, Dinky Soliman, and our lead convenor Enteng Romano were more than happy to engage the people. The discussions were intense, the questions direct and to the point, the answers honest and insightful. Many people came away fortified with the knowledge that their distrust and doubt about this version of Charter Change, as well as the rule of GMA, were justified.
The First Time Voters Project did not disappoint. The youth were there in force, giving out information on the power of the vote and how the youth can change their political world through elections. Even the spokesperson of the COMELEC, James Jimenez, was there with his information team, to explain the mechanics of registration to anyone who asked. Thanks to our visitors, they didn't get much "down" time.
Scattered among the tents were vendors that sold food (shawarma, bibingka, squid and fish balls, to name a few), dry goods like handicrafts and tee shirts, and one table was manned by a massage group that gave them for free! Our BnW Katipunan arm presented a street tableau - drop a coin in the basket, and the "mannequins" would move. They came away with a wealth in coins!
Our interactive offering was a "Graffiti Wall" that was actually put on the ground so people could step on it and write whatever they wanted. The comments were decidedly severe. No wonder the Palace pooh poohs the surveys, the truth really hurts.
To cap the affair, we had a mini concert at sundown that featured cool Cookie Chua (Color It Red), Akbayan's Crazy as Pinoy and Reggae Mistress, school band Village Idiots, up and coming rock band Paramita, and the great Dong Abay. Their wonderful music eased our tiredness and gave us all a second wind. We cannot thank these talented musicians enough for gifting us with their music.
In the end, we believe that we kicked Con-Ass good via this unprecedented creative protest. There were no cops to disperse us with truncheons and water cannon despite the deadly serious subject matter - the political future of our country. There was no anger, only joy at being able to enlighten through a different and more acceptable activity. We hope you will find time to join us at the next mounting of "KICK Con-ASS! I WANNA VOTE!".
Here's a link to our photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/blacknwhitemovement/
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Congratulations all 'round to those who have worked tirelessly to make sure the bogus people's initiative railroad was stopped in its tracks. No matter, at least for now, the worry warts and those who say that the over-inflated Singaw ng Bayad still have a chance to harangue the Supreme Court with yet another MR, we should savor victory and go on to the next challenge. Con-Ass.
To further apprise our people, especially our youth, of the nefarious move that is Con-Ass by a majority in the House that seems to be salivating at the prospect of eternity in office together with their Head Honchess, we are mounting "Kick Con-Ass! I Wanna Vote!" this Saturday, the 25th of November, on one lane of Paseo de Roxas in Makati, between Ayala and Makati Avenues.
This is an event with three components:
- Street Fair - we have invited NGOs and commercial vendors to sell their wares to those of you who are in a Christmas gift buying mood
- Kapihan - we will set up a cafe tent wherein you may find a "notable resource person" like Alan Peter Cayetano, Dinky Soliman, or Frank Drilon throughout the afternoon; they will be more than happy to engage you in discussions on Cha-Cha, Con-Ass, or other burning issues
- Mini Concert - we have asked a few bands and performers like Reggae Mistress, Noel Cabangon, Cookie Chua and other great talents to perform while you laze around on your banig as the sun goes down
We hope you and your families will find the time to visit us, we need your soles to kick Con-Ass out of the House!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Not to be outdone, the majority in the House, led by the diminutive Joe De Vee, has loudly vowed to railroad a Constituent Assembly through it, never mind the Senate.
As our co-convenor, Edwin Lacierda, declared by text, "Oh, what a tangled web they weave!". You betcha - a tangled web of lies and double speak. At last night's MOPC party, JDV moaned and groaned about the petition's defeat, making sure the media heard him, just in case his true boss, Gloria, was listening while in China. Hmmm, he's probably lost his leadership, so watch for Pichay, the vegetative Rep from Surigao, to traipsy in to save the day.
Want more lies and deceit? All you have to do is visit Singaw's site, it's rife with 'em. ULAP is pretty much right up there with the best of benders of truth, check out this article, http://www.mb.com.ph/MAIN2006102978353.html
Not to be outdone, check out the DOJ's most eminent prevaricator and rumormongerer. Raul should give lessons. He's a master. There is no need to provide links in this regard, just read any of his quotes.
Gird your loins, my friends, we are about to be avalanched by another plethora of non-truths, half-truths, and gossip. The Congress' lie fest is set to reach a new high next week.
Till then, have a great Halloween, and celebrate your departed with the remembrance they deserve.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The Black & White Movement lauds the Supreme Court for strengthening our faith in the rule of law by junking Sigaw ng Bayan’s petition regarding a People’s Initiative. The majority opinion confirmed our longstanding charge that the Lambino petition is a bogus people's initiative of which the people were never apprised.
Enteng Romano, B&W lead convenor was elated, saying, “We commend the Court for this momentous decision, most especially the women Justices of the Supreme Court, whose dedication to the preservation of the Court’s independence of thought and judgment led the way to agree on an informed and rightful ruling.”
B&W convenor, Atty. Edwin Lacierda says, “The people were never made to read the proposed changes to the 1987 Constitution when asked to sign the petition. The Court was right, this endeavor was never a people's initiative from the get go.”
But the war is far from won, much work is left to be done. This renewed confidence in the third bastion of government should be viewed with restrained joy, as the decision was far from unanimous.
“We should view this as a tactical victory that allows the democratic forces some breathing space to press on”, says Chito Gascon, B&W co-convenor and Managing Trustee of the National Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS). “We must keep vigilant and remember that the enemies of democracy will stop at nothing to get what they want. Even now, they plot – as long as GMA remains, our freedoms and institutions are at risk”, he cautions.
In closing, as a reminder to those who wish to continue this weird push to Cha-Cha via a Constituent Assembly, our next arena of opposition, the Black & White Movement hopes our solons heed the concluding words of Justice Antonio Carpio:
“The Constitution, as the fundamental law of the land, deserves the utmost respect and obedience of all the citizens of this nation. No one can trivialize the Constitution by cavalierly amending or revising it in blatant violation of the clearly specified modes of amendment and revision laid down in the Constitution itself.
To allow such change in the fundamental law is to set adrift the Constitution in unchartered waters, to be tossed and turned by every dominant political group of the day. If this Court allows today a cavalier change in the Constitution outside the constitutionally prescribed modes, tomorrow the new dominant political group that comes will demand its own set of changes in the same cavalier and unconstitutional fashion. A revolving-door constitution does not augur well for the rule of law in this country.”
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This forthcoming decision from the Justices is being viewed very closely by all sides. Today, the nation waits with bated breath, relying on the collective wisdom of the Supreme Court to do the right thing. Prior to today, at no other point in our nation's recent history has a decision by the Supreme Court been so ardently expected by the people.
Various sectors have weighed in on the issue, such as the Association of Concerned Teachers. It has seen through the alleged deception and is against participation in a Plebiscite should the Initiative pass the Court’s muster. A recent survey shows that swaths of people from across social classes view with reluctance the independence of the Supreme Court as the last bastion of democracy to preserve the constitutional principle of checks and balances. It is clear that people are suspicious about recent news on lobbying efforts by pro Cha-Cha forces, and cannot discount the declarations of Chief Justice regarding pressure. One only has to read the newspapers and notice the recent plethora of articles and ads sponsored by petitioner Sigaw ng Bayan.
The Black & White Movement has always maintained that this initiative is the engine of a Cha-Cha train seemingly piloted by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, while the caboose is her version of Charter Change as championed by Rep. Pichay. The route of this railroad ends with her perpetual protection from accountability.
But the decision to derail this railroading is out of our hands. All we can do is reaffirm our faith in the justice system and express our unequivocal trust that the Supreme Court will be true to their calling: to uphold the rule of law and defend our democracy against those who wish to pervert it for their personal, evil ends.
We continue to believe that the present Supreme Court will arrive at the right decision because they are mindful not only of their rightful legacy in our nation's history but because their primary obligation is to see that justice be done though the heavens fall, pressures notwithstanding.
It’s in God’s hands now, and we pray that the Court be blessed with discernment, clarity of thought, and the courage to do the right thing at this critical point in our nation’s history.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
"In favor of Sigaw - Puno, Santiago, Tinga, Corona, Cancio, Nazario. Two undecided. Seven against. Fearless forecast is 8-7 in favor of PI."We have all heard the rumors, and on the morning of oral arguments for and against the Singaw petition at the Supreme Court, texts like this are unnerving. If the information is true, then we are once again going to be terribly disappointed. Real constitutional law experts (as opposed to Raul Lambino) like Edwin Lacierda and Adel Tamano believe that the Supreme Court would be hard pressed to reverse itself in this matter. But we all know stranger things have happened in this Kingdom of the Possessed.
In dire times, most of us turn to God for comfort and blessings. This morning, at 9:00 am, Fr. Bernas will officiate mass at the Ateneo Law School (Rockwell) for the oppositors to the Initiative. Apart from praying for the strength of those who will represent us in the Supreme Court this afternoon, we will pray for the Justices. We will also pray for our apathetic people, the need for their hearts to be opened to the truth and the importance of justice and accountability.
But there still that pagan side to us. The side that can't help but wager bets. Wanna bet the SC will reverse itself? This is one bet I desperately want to lose.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Riots are rife in the Hungarian capital, Budapest. People are irate over an audiotape wherein their Prime Minister, Gyurcsany, admitted to lying about Hungarian the country's economic situation. Gyurcsany's refusal to resign over this scandal has angered the people even more, and the riots have worsened.
The actions of the army in Thailand and the enraged people of Budapest are indicative of just how much each people value their national dignity. The coup in Thailand proves that changing the form of government does not ensure peace and prosperity. I truly wonder what pro-Cha Cha folk will say to that.
Now what do these international events have to do with us? The parallels between the Philippines and Thailand, our country and Hungary, are eerie. In Thailand, the PM has been accused of several anomalies, the Hungarian PM of lying. I don't have to list the Philippine similarities here, we are all aware of them. What does our collective apathy say about us as a people? Because a majority of Filipinos seem not to care about what has happened, what is going on, right under our noses, does this mean we are flawed? Flawed by utter selfishness (me first, then my family, then my business, my neighbor next to last, my country last), the dismissive attitude towards accountability, guilty of the refusal to admit responsibility, and the terrible sin of omission.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
So, I thought it was great that ANC was covering the lively Senate hearing on the PCGG this afternoon. But as Sen. Serge Osmena was asking questions of Camilo Sabio, I was surprised when ANC cut its coverage in favor of a lifestyle show, "Shop Talk". Don't get me wrong, I think "Shop Talk" is an informative show. But when it takes precedence over a news event such as a hot topic like the Senate versus the PCGG, that confuses me. Is faux jewelry and ceramic art more important than alleged anomalous dealings by the PCGG?
With all due respect to Maria Ressa, who did answer my text, saying their EP (Executive Producer) was "watching and will go back if it (the hearing) moves", it seems that ANC has re-ordered its priorities when it comes to the coverage of news events. ANC touts its capability of giving us the news as it breaks (Ricky Carandang speaks about that in an ANC ad), as seen in last's year's impeachment hearings in the House (Pinky Webb alludes to it in the same ANC ad, saying that's what "made" them, and that's true), the coverage of last February's events, etc. There is nothing better for anyone interested in the news than breaking news. And I really thought that was ANC's core competence as a news channel, in fact, as the only all-news channel in this country.
The news is important to me. As Maria says in their ad, without ANC we wouldn't be able to get local news as it happens. And I do depend on ANC for this strength, not for its lifestyle programming. But that's just me, and I'm just one viewer.
Monday, September 11, 2006
One Voice has been in our sights lately, and we all gain from their visibility. Meanwhile, the STOP Cha Cha campaign continues everywhere around the country, quietly doing the work we're good at - spreading the word about the bogus benefits of Gloria's version of Charter Change. To further bolster our ranks, it's time to focus on Manila and its environs through another get together:
This time, the half day workshop aimed at assessing the current situation regarding Cha Cha and formulating do-able action plans is being convened by highly respected individuals. Former VP Guingona, former Sen. Ting Paterno, Bro. Eddie, Nini Quezon Avancena and Bro. Armin have taken it upon themselves to gather civil society, business, religious, academic, political galvanizers together to plot out a unified strategy against Cha Cha.
This is by no means a closed door session, so please join us if you can make the time. The future of our democracy is at stake, apathy is a dirty word. Should most of us remain callous, this is the future we may leave our children:
Thursday, September 07, 2006
"Choo, choo train chuggin' down the trackFirstly, the Majority in the House of Representatives screw us by killing the 2nd Impeachment. Secondly, they screw us again, this time by the deplorable act of House Resolution 1230, paving the way for a Constituent Assembly without the Senate. A member of the House was so scandalized, he said our only hope was to turn to the military, ask them to defend the Constitution from this rape (you should have voted for Impeachment, Teddy Boy).
Gotta travel on, never comin' back
Oh, oh got a one way ticket to the blues" - Neil Sedaka
But do we really care? So blatant a distortion of our Constitution, the bedrock of our democracy, should have us all so enraged, so insulted. But are we? They are getting away with it, as we nonchalantly go about our business of daily life, blithely unaware that we are being assaulted.
Funnily enough, the number 1230 has another terrible significance - On 30 December 2002, Gloria announced to all that she would not be running for president. That was her first public betrayal.
Meanwhile, the Three Little Pig Bullies throw their ponderous weight around, screaming libel at every turn, at anyone who dares question them. And the Usurper with a Speech Defect curls her lip in approval at our seeming acceptance of her evil.
So do we really mind all this? Maybe we have been cowed and bowed, happy to be swimming in a cesspool of iniquity.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Recently, Singaw ng Bayad presented their questionably obtained collection of signatures to the COMELEC amid much hoopla and "hakot", saying that the people have spoken (schumey begs to disagree). Not long after, their petition to the COMELEC was dismissed. This came as no surprise to us, having already heard COMELEC Chair Abalos proclaim that they had no choice. And so, Singaw will now troop to the Supreme Court to beg and plead that the Court reverse itself and make them happy. That part of Singaw's "moro moro" is still up in the air, but am for dang sure they and their supporters are working hard to make their "zarzuela" end the way they wrote it.
Yesterday, on Pinky Webb's and Edu Manzano's Saturday afternoon radio program (dzMM), I finally met Raul Lambino. He was accompanied by pro-Cha Cha columnist Chit Pedrosa, a woman who seems blithely unaware that 67% of our people are against this version of Charter Change. Completing our anti Cha Cha Tag Team was RP Santiago, a member of One Voice's legal group. The back and forthing was lively. Lambino and Pedrosa kept harping on the need for change, that the advocacy for charter change has been going on for decades, that the transitory provisions are just a small part of this initiative and therefore shouldn't really be bothered with, yada yada yada. RP dwelt on the process and questioned Singaw's need for speed. I got to rant on the why - that the Usurper in the Palace by the Pasig with a Speech Impediment was fully behind it to avoid accountability. Am happy to report that out of all the texts sent in by listeners, only one was pro-Cha Cha.
During one of the commercial breaks, trying to elicit sympathy from me, Lambino bemoaned the toll this initiative was taking on him. He sadly spoke about being hospitalized twice. I sympathized, but did say that is what happens when you back a bogus plan. He also said something about the honesty of his advocacy, defending himself by saying that he was an FPJ supporter. Uh... Mr. Lambino, can you say "operator"?
For everyone's refreshment, these are the reasons why we say STOP (Sa Tamang Oras at Paraan) Cha Cha:
- Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants to ensure her hold on power and block all efforts to hold her accountable for alleged lying, cheating and stealing especially since her lackeys don't look like winners should there be elections next year.
- There is no enabling law.
- The change from presidential to parliamentary, bicameral to unicameral are revisions, not amendments, to our Constitution. Like Lagman and Villafuerte of Webster dictionary fame, the proponents say there is no difference between the two words. Duh.
- Should Cha Cha prevail, there will be no need for 2007 elections and the interim Parliament can extend terms for all elected officials beyond 2010.
- We will lose our right to vote directly for our President. We will be allowing the likes of Nograles, de Venecia, Enrile to dictate our nation's directions. To where, pray tell?
- The abolition of the Senate will remove the checks and balance necessary for good governance. We will be loosening the control on the directions of national change instead of strengthening it. We will be opening the door to even more graft and corruption. Do you really want a rubber stamp government? Who will act as fiscalizer?
- Fusing the Executive and Legislative powers will allow for the same people to choose and promote programs of government without question. The entire national budget, except maybe for fixed expenditures (salaries and debt servicing) will be pork barrel.
- The bulk of Representatives in this 13th Congress has shown itself to be terribly loyal to the sitting president. In gratitude to her largesse, they will continue to turn a blind eye to the real needs of our people and allow her and her family to go on raping and pillaging.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Last night's Caravan stop in Bgy. Carmona was a succesful event. There were about 500 people in attendance. Before the main program, the audience watched several videos on the Impeachment charges. Last night's speakers included Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano, Cong. Chiz Escudero, Cong. Risa Baraquel and Mayor Jojo Binay. Apart from the Impeachment issue, Mayor Binay conducted a powerpoint presentation on Singaw ng Bayad's fraudulent gathering of signatures for PIG (People's Initiative of Gloria).
The Caravan moves to Plaza Miranda on Wednesday, Bayan takes over with a pregram at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, the boxes of evidence will be brought to the Ateneo.
Lito Banayo has a simple proposal amidst all the calls for civil disobedience. Let's keep it simple first. Read about it here.
JB Baylon tests our willingness to be good examples to our leaders by asking if we would sign waivers and allow a look-see into our bank accounts. Interesting. Will sign up!
This just in - MTRCB decides with finality to ban the showing of the Erap documentary on TV. Voting 4-1, the most glaring reason for ban is that they're afraid that video may further incense the people! Hmmm... wonder who voted against the ban. Any guesses? Anyway, this has just made the video even more controversial and a must-see!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Sure, we lost. Again. But that really doesn't matter, losing didn't come as a surprise to us. None of the Complainants, Endorsers or Representatives were under any illusion of winning because we knew we were going against a woman backed by power, money and paranoia. We didn't have the money to stuff into brown envelopes that were distributed out of sight in the lounge behind the Speaker's rostrum. We were in no position to promise these men and women of the Majority an appointment to the Court of Appeals, the write off of huge gambling debts, cushy positions in government, or massive support of their wives or husbands in the 2007 elections.
We respect and admire the men and women of the Lower House that decided to choose selflessness over selfishness, the hard right over the easy wrong. They did this for us, we believe that. Here they are:
1. Rep. Henedina Abad
2. Rep. Nereus Acosta
3. Rep. Benjamin Agarao
4. Rep. Mario Aguja
5. Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara
6. Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio
7. Rep. Agapito Aquino
8. Rep. Benigno Aquino III
9. Rep. Teddy Casiño
10. Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano
11. Rep. Justin Marc Chipeco
12. Rep. Francis Escudero
13. Rep. Roilo Golez
14. Rep. Teofisto Guingona III
15. Rep. Mujiv Hataman
16. Rep. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel
17. Rep. Ruy Elias Lopez
18. Rep. Renato Magtubo
19. Rep. Manuel Mamba
20. Rep. Imee Marcos
21. Rep. Rafael Mariano
22. Rep. Liza Maza
23. Rep. Florencio Noel
24. Rep. Saturnino Ocampo
25. Rep. Rodolfo Plaza
26. Rep. Gilbert Remulla
27. Rep. Etta Rosales
28. Rep. Rolex Suplico
29. Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III
30. Rep. Joel Villanueva
31. Rep. Joel Virador
32. Rep. Ronaldo Zamora
The much maligned Impeachment Legal Team must also be thanked. They did their best, and continue to work, gathering even more evidence against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
As for the Majority, there is no need to list them. They are best forgotten. Remember those who supported us instead.
But I will at least say something about the Reps that didn't show up. They should remain absent, there should be no room in the House for cowards. Forgive me, I truly have no more patience for reasons like "kawawa naman ang constituents ko", or "am being pressured by my family", etcetera etcetera etcetera. We gave 13 of them caps that had "bayani" printed on them after last year's impeachment loss. I hope they have the "delicadeza" not to wear them.
Here are some of the sidelights to last night's nominal vote:
- Nini Quezon Avancena held all of us up by refusing to leave and staying till the last vote was counted. She is all of 85 years young, and despite the uncomfortable seats and the 16 hour wait, she showed no signs of weakness or exhaustion. When she first arrived, I had been seething about the Majority's not keeping to their promise of assuring us seats in the Plenary Hall. Tita Nini said, never mind, let's just go up there and find room. She was not about to be intimidated into waiting around the Minority Office. Tita Nini provided us all the strength we needed.
- The galleries were overflowing with people that had been bussed in by Majority Congs, mainly by Marcoleta. They arrived at 9am to make sure we'd have no space. Speaking to RG Cruz, I surmised that none of them knew what they were doing there in the first place. So he went around to get their comments. He returned to report that my suspicions were right - they had no idea about why they were being made to attend.
- Some of you may have heard about Mikey Arroyo's attempt at reconciliation last night by apporoaching us in the gallery. I was the only one that didn't turn away when he came over, Dinky was napping beside me (it was 4am) and Ging Deles was busy with her phone. He said something like, "Tita, come on naman, let's forget this" (I would like to point out that I am not his aunt, and have never had occasion to even be introduced to this boy). Having been raised to give due respect, I politely declined and said, "Kid, I can't do this, sorry. You should have inhibited yourself. Why can't you let this go through so we can be out of your hair? Sorry, I can't shake your hand." And so he walked away to play up the media. For me, there can never be reconciliation without justice.
- Rolex Suplico mentioned brown envelopes that were being distributed to Majority Reps throughout the night. He said they contained the CDF all Reps are entitled to. But none of the pro-Impeach Reps have gotten their allotments. We all saw the Congs saunter into the lounge behind the Speaker's rostrum throughout the night, ostensibly to receive their "pay off". One of them even waved his envelope in Neric Acosta's face. For shame!
- We saw Gabby Claudio lurking around the rostrum, probably sent by Gloria to make sure every Majority Rep remembered on which side their bread was buttered. Guess that was also why Andaya was hanging around.
- We spotted Raul Gonzales on the plenary floor. EEK!
- Cong. Roman tried the dramatic approach by asking to explain his vote early due to a bad heart. We sympathize with his medical condition but are not moved by his plea to be understood for changing his vote. His wife needs his CDF to run for Congress in his place.
- Cong. Susano seemed to be wracked by guilt. She actually greeted those of us who were left in the gallery during her explanation, after which she came over and actually apologized! She even brought over chocolates as a peace offering, which we gave to the media instead. I'm sorry, three chocolate bars and an apology don't erase the fact that she voted to supress the truth.
- While explaining his vote, Nograles said there would be no more chance of another Impeachment against GMA because the Congress would be defunct by 30 June 2007. Watch out, boys and girls - the bogus People's Initiative and Cha Cha are looming. Do you really want Charter Change under GMA and suffer this very group of people in government forever? You just witnessed what a parliamentary government composed of these bozos would be like. Shudder.
And so, the Impeachment was murdered in the House. More importantly, this killing only proves that justice does not reign in the House of Representatives and all constitutional means to redress of our grievances against this administration have been blocked. We remain ready to file another Complaint. But for as long as the terrible apathy that has diseased our nation continues to fester, we are in for an even harder fight.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Some of us felt it was important to listen to Alan Peter Cayetano's privilege speech on the graft and corruption charges in the Impeachment, give him a little moral support. It was also a good day to make last minute preparations for tomorrow's plenary vote as far as the Complainants were concerned.
Walking into the Minority Leader's office is a bit like entering a holding pen before being herded into the lion's den, but more appropriately, in this case, the hyena's lair. The office is in the North Wing, and if there isn't a floor below it, it's in the basement. Perfect.
But, hey, it has it's pluses - the staff is friendly, hard working and courteous, the food's simple but nourishing (we always get our veggies), the coffee's good, and thankfully, in here the company's great.
In the beginning, although enthusiastic about becoming a Citizen Complainant, I was less excited about working with the Minority Congressmen. We all had different ideologies, working styles, and personalities - would we gel? We brought baggage with us, mainly our personal doubts about each other. But it was clear that we had to push our fears about each other aside, give everyone a chance, if we wanted to get justice done. Trust is indispensable in an endeavor like this. So is the need for confidence. And we all knew that if we didn't trust each other, all this would be for naught. And so we just did.
The Citizen Complainants are a motley lot. There are almost 3000 of us, and we haven't met everyone. There just isn't enough room in Chiz's office.
Allow me to tell you about a few of them. I particularly enjoy observing Nini Quezon Avancena. Her elegance, dignity, and commitment strengthen all of us. Tita Nini is certainly not a Complainant for show. She is right there with all of us, attends all the major meetings (they're all major meetings), and she weighs in on the points she finds important. Then there is the irrepressible Josie Lichauco. No one is allowed to call her "Tita", and no one does. Josie has more energy than all of us combined. Except maybe for Dinky, who makes every meeting flow easily because of her sharp facilitation skills. Not everyone is familiar with Beth Yang, our BnW co-convenor who provides us with good humor and wry commentary on the Majority.
Among the gents, Paco Alcuaz is helpful with insight, and the Nats (Nato Reyes and Nat Santiago) always have something constructive to say. Ronald Llamas provides us with things to laugh about, he has great one-liners. Professor Randy's so into his teaching, he can give only a little of his presence, but it is felt in every word he writes. Bien Lumbera strikes you as a mild mannered old gent at first, but when he speaks there is strong conviction.
But the most important Complainants are the mothers, fathers, siblings and spouses of the murdered, as well as the marginalized. They may be overshadowed by the personalities I've mentioned, but they have the most invested in this Complaint.
I have written about Chiz and Alan Peter in an earlier post. They are the captains, so to speak, but their favorite word is consultation. They consult with all of us, and with their fellows most importantly. Our Reps are a feisty crew. And now that I've had the opportunity to work with them, I am thankful that these lawmakers are on our side. None of us doubt their commitment, made at great personal and political cost.
This afternoon, I had another good look at their Majority counterparts. They don't make a pretty sight. There is a patina of sliminess about them, they of the furtive look and leery smile. None of "our guys" wear the heavy jewelry and badly cut suits that make many of the Majority look like bad copies of Leisure Suit Larry. And they certainly aren't very eloquent or erudite speakers. Many of them strut around the Plenary floor, but they never meet your gaze. Well, I can't expect them to be nice, we did wave white envelopes in their faces.
Earlier today, the Majority did their best to show the Minority who was "boss" by railroading the House Committee on Justice's report on the Impeachment Complaint. No ifs and buts, clarifications or amendments, they approved the report, never mind that the pro-Impeachment Reps registered their disgust by not voting. No wonder the adminstration's Reps wanted a closed door meeting. They couldn't stand being watched, knowing that what they were doing wouldn't stand up to the light of accountability.
But Alan's privilege speech on the alleged illegally amassed wealth of the Arroyo's (houses, buildings, land, and more land), in full view on the Plenary floor, managed to once again embarrass the Majority. Interpellated by Teddy Boy Locsin, Alan defended the pro-Impeachment stand admirably. Meanwhile, the Majority slunk in, and it took a while for them to realize what was going on. Finally, Douglas Cagas loudly interrupted the proceedings, citing some infraction or other. Tempers exploded, but everyone was reduced to laughter not long after by Cong. Espinosa, who was acting as Speaker.
Espinosa is known as a likable fellow, even by the Minority, but he is also rumored to be a bit of a tippler. Have no idea about the veracity of the claim, but he was pretty funny while having a difficult time trying to control the proceedings, not quite taking the verbal cues from the Reps on the floor. He kept confusing the words "aye" (Boying Remulla pronounced it with a long "a" sound at first) and "nay", and wondered why they had to call the roll before taking a vote. Hmmm... no wonder we're in such big trouble.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Today, on his 23rd death anniversary, we honor the memory of Senator Ninoy Aquino - son, husband, father, uncle, friend, and Filipino hero. Among many other values he strove to live up to, Ninoy embodied the value the great majority of us seem to have lost - unselfish devotion to his country coupled with bravery against all odds. Till the end, his unflinching belief in his people gave him the strength to say that we were worth dying for. We cannot let that challenge go unanswered.
Although we cannot compare ourselves to Ninoy, the convenors of the Black & White Movement, on this our first anniversary, continue to try to embody and keep alive the values Ninoy stood for. For as long as we must.
To our friends and supporters, including readers and commenters on this blog, who have stood by us throughout this struggle, you have our deep gratitude and respect. May you continue to walk this difficult road with us.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Was awakened this morning with a text from my brother informing me that I am on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The bottom banner read, 'Finally, APO's Jim Paredes gives up on RP.' It was datelined Melbourne.
While APO was doing our shows in Melbourne and Sydney, Gerry Lirio from the Inquirer was interviewing me about my new life in Aus. I talked to him how we were adjusting to everything, the joys and tears experienced by all immigrants, etc. I also talked about my reasons for leaving (personal growth mostly) and my frustrations with the political situation. I said that I was tired. But not once did I ever say that I had given up on the Philippines. More correctly, I have always said I would fight another day. Everyday in Sydney, I wake up to discover the things that work well and wonder how we can do it back home.
I am not one to trash the Philippines just to feel good about migrating. In a country already reeling from so much self-inflicted wounds and pessimism, I don't know how editors and writers can continue twisting things around. I am, to say the least very disappointed with the Inquirer. I just don't know how they can come to such a conclusion based on the interview with me. Sure, I expressed disappointment with the politics of the country just like everyone else but to say I have given up on the Philippines is to put it mildly, a naked lie. It seems that the one who thought of this headline feels the best thing this country needs is a daily fix of despair and gloom.
I believe the truth will set us free, but sadly, there is also power in falsehood. Apparently it sells more than good news.
I remember reading an analogy about spreading falsehood and it compares it to going on top of a windy hill with a feather pillow and a knife. While there, slash the pillow and let all the feathers fly out to where the wind takes it. If a newspaper wishes to make amends about a false report later on, it becomes as futile as picking up all the feathers again to restore the reputation of anyone.
Alas, I've just been had. If I had a newspaper right now, I would be tempted to run a the banner which reads, "Should we all give up on the Inquirer?'
Other strange facts on the article;
-I was never a member of the MTRCB
-APO did not sing Handog Ng Pilipino sa Mundo in the concerts.
Sorry Gerry. I think you already had a headline in mind even before the interview. You 'cherry picked' to fit words and impressions to the headline and so missed the true story. OK Inquirer, you can headline that Jim Paredes has given up on the Philippines. Just as Bush claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
We have to hand it to the pro-Impeachment Reps. It is hard to mount a fight like this without sincerity and commitment. Many detractors have said that the likes of Chiz and Alan Peter are doing this to further their political careers. Who cares? There are easier ways to doing that, just ask the anti-Impeach group. We care more about the passion and dedication they and the rest of the pro-Impeach Team have poured into this fight. Their careful planning, employing, pretty much, a no-frills strategy, paralleled our aims. These men and women gladly joined us in this undertaking, choosing, as Neric Acosta said, "the hard right over the easy wrong" at great cost to themselves, their families and constituencies. And we still have a ways to go.
We cannot thank them enough, our champions, our voices in the House. We salute their resolute resolve. Through them, we got to prove that justice does not reside in the House of Representatives. It is true that our institutions have been eroded and made ineffective. It is true that in this country, lying, cheating, stealing and killing are not impeachable offenses.
After the ruckus, as we hugged and shook hands with our Reps, I spotted Chiz, alone in a corner. Amidst all the hullaballoo, there he was, smoking a cigarette, quietly thinking ahead.
But you didn't expect the white envelopes, did you?
One of the most rigid rules a citizen must endure while in the House gallery is the imposition of silence. That restriction's harder to take than not being able to bring in water (imposed during the last SONA) or food. The audience is muzzled, unable to comment on the proceedings, at most able only to whisper comments among themselves. A Congressman was heard to have said that people in the gallery are "guests". In one sense that may be true, but who really "owns" the House of Representatives? But that's another idea to be fleshed out another time. The point is this - no matter how much you want to join the "discussion", you can't or you'll be thrown out.
So how do you show your support or disgust? How best to make your feelings known and not get booted out? The CEGP unfurled poster sized slogans which were torn from their hands. If it wasn't for the intervention of some Reps, they'd have been made to leave. Applause is a no no, tsk tsk. Even the taciturn duo of Randy David and Bien Lumbera, irrepressible Josie Lichauco, and the elegant Nini Quezon Avancena need to express their indignation.
And so, in tribute to "the second envelope", we brought out our white enve... este... fans! Although broken later, we agreed not to write anything on them. They were just your run of the mill postal envelopes. When asked to explain, we complained that the airconditioners weren't doing their job, the "hot air" was stifling, so we needed to fan ourselves. Imagine our surprise when the anti-impeachment Reps took offense! At what? Empty white envelopes? They were so insulted, they actually walked out! But not before Luis Villafuerte did a "Tessie Oreta" and waved his handkerchief around to taunt us.
Another much aggrieved Rep was Rudy Antonino. Standing a good fifteen feet away from us, he bellowed, "I dare you to accuse me on camera!" to no one in particular. No one in particular bothered. The media ignored him because Sandra Cam was much better copy at the time. Super K, aka Mikey Arroyo, fled to the other end of the hall, standing around, looking unsure of where to run. Uncle Iggy was nowhere to be found! Seemingly too overwhelmed by being confronted with some uncomfortable truth, the Gloria Mob fled!
So how do you empty the Plenary Hall of pro-Glo Representatives? You wave white envelopes.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Tomorrow, the House Committee on Justice will tackle the "substance" question. Well, how can the Justice Committee judge the Impeachment Complaint as either sufficient or insufficient in substance without studying each of the charges contained in the Complaint as well as the accompanying evidence? Aren't they even a tad curious about the evidence we may have? Aren't you?
What's in the boxes? Tons of good stuff! There are records of, and a paper trail leading to, multi-billion peso bank accounts, and eyewitness testimony in audio tape and video form. Regarding electoral fraud, there is visual evidence like election paraphernalia, photographs, videos, sworn statements by individuals directly involved in cheating. There is documentary and testimonial evidence on politial repression, extrajudicial killings, and enforced disappearances. There is much more.
Nogie Boy can only say this a "cheap gimmick". He says the move has no probative value. How can he say that without even taking a peek? Is he as paranoid and afraid as his political mistress, Gloria?
We say open these boxes, compare the evidence against the charges. We say transmit the Impeachment Complaint to the Senate so that the evidence may be proven or refuted under oath, not in other environments like forums, TV shows or the street.
Gloria said she was game for a fight. She said she could defend herself. Yet Gloria hides behind these men and women in the House, allegedly buying their protection through bribery. Nini Quezon Avancena is right. Gloria and her lackeys must be very afraid indeed.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
“We enjoin all other Citizen Complainants to work with us toward the successful transmission of this Impeachment Complaint to the Senate”, said lead convenor Enteng Romano. He also said that all Filipinos should consider it their duty to monitor the proceedings of the House Committee on Justice to safeguard our right to hold our leaders accountable.
As to possible conflict of interest regarding the Fertilizer Scam, a charge contained in this present Impeachment, co-convenor Leah Navarro appeals to the Representatives’ sense of decency and fair play. “It is only right and just that a Congressman or Congresswoman, whether part of the majority or minority, not vote in the Justice Committee if it is found that they may have accepted Fertilizer Funds. This will remove any suspicions about their bias regarding the Impeachment. We would also like to know that upon receiving these funds, if any of them went on to campaign for Mrs. Arroyo in the last election.”
They also pointed out that Congressman Mikey Arroyo, son of the President, should have recused himself from the proceedings for obvious reasons.
Today’s theatrics notwithstanding, the Black & White Movement commends the members of the House Minority for reinforcing our belief in the rule of law and for their staunch support of our search for the Truth.
Monday, August 07, 2006
August 7, 2006
Mr. Isaac G. Belmonte
The Philippine Star
Dear Mr. Belmonte:
The article "Hyatt 10 Member Gets Petron Seat" in Philippine Star August 7 issue, elicited quite a number of questions from several quarters, my friends included. While I have retired from public life since I resigned from the Dept. of Budget and Management more than a year ago, the article compelled me to respond in the interest of clarity and fairness.
With your indulgence, may I therefore state the following:
1. I have accepted the membership in the Board of Directors of Petron
Corporation upon the invitation of the Chairman to serve as independent
Filipino Director and Chairperson of the Board Audit Committee.
2. The opportunity to serve in one of the leading corporations in the country is one that I welcome. I spent all my professional career in the government since graduation and I believe that joining a private corporation which has been named one of the "Best Governed Corporation" in the Philippines is a distinct honor and an exciting professional opportunity. As most of you know, however, I am presently a Professor of Public Administration of the University of the Philippines, a post that I resumed since my resignation from DBM.
3. Petron Corporation is a private corporation listed in the stock exchange. It is 40% owned by the Philippine National Oil Company, 40% by Aramco Oil Company of Saudi Arabia and 20% by the general public. I am one of about 200,000 small stockholders of Petron with 3,000 shares (including stock dividends) to my name currently valued at approximately PhP12,000.00. I bought the shares sometime in the 1990's after Petron was privatized.
4. As Independent Director and Chairperson of the Audit Committee, my duty is to serve in my professional capacity and not as a representative of any interested party, certainly not the National Government. I have understood this to be so and that is how I intend to perform my responsibility to the company.
5. On allegations that I am returning to the government fold and have abandoned my former colleagues in the cabinet who resigned last July, 2005, I say firmly that I have no intention of returning to any post in the bureaucracy, other that my present academic post in U.P. I am convinced that sharing my experience in public life to young minds and drawing some lessons from that experience is the best that I can do to serve my country.
6. As to my "Hyatt 10" colleagues, I take off my hat to them for their commitment, courage and patriotism. The desire to institute reforms in the bureaucracy will continue to burn in the hearts of all who have faithfully served the government. I wish that the voice of reform will be heard in its proper context and not be drowned in malice.
Finally, I would like to say that I still and will always consider my government
service a great honor.
Thank you for granting the space to clarify the issue.
Very truly yours,
EMILIA T. BONCODIN (Sgd.)
"A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places."
Isabelle Eberhardt (1877 - 1904) Russian-born traveler
The Passionate Nomad, 1988.
The second was to ask members of the Justice Committee that received millions from the Fertilizer Scam Fund, one of the major charges included in the Complaint, to inhibit themselves from the hearings. This is only right and just, as these Representatives have a clear conflict of interest. Would it not be in their best interest to junk the Complaint instead of giving a chance? Here are those Representatives as listed in the COA Report:
- House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.
- Emilio Espinosa Jr.
- Gerry Salapudin
- Eric Singson
- Artur Defensor
- Fred Castro
- Oscar Gozos
- Abraham Kahlil Mitra
- Hussin Amin
- Salacnib Baterina
- Marcelino Libanan
- Isidro Real Jr.
- Roque Ablan Jr.
- Abdullah Dimaporo
- Aurelio Umali
- Constantino Jaraula
- Benasing Macarambon Jr.
- Edgar Chatto
- Augusto Baculio
- Reynaldo Uy
- Eladio Jala
- Monico Puentebella
- Faysah Maniri Racman Dumarpa
- Eufrocino Codilla
- Laurence Wacnang
- Belma Cabilao
- Felix Alferor Jr.
- Luis Villafuerte
For more details on our press conference, please read here.
An interesting development after our press conference - the House Deputy Secretary General announced to media that coverage of the Justice Committee hearings would be restricted.
Friday, August 04, 2006
The situation being endured by our OFWs is heartbreaking. While politicians bicker about money, two women die, one surely because she needed to escape not only a dangerous country but despicable employers as well. And what does Gloria do? She makes plans to produce "supermaids" to send abroad. As Conrad de Quiros mentioned to Billy Esposo, the problem with Gloria isn't her liver, it's her gall.
Here's a heads up on Cha Cha - rumors are rife that next week, Singaw ng Bayad goes full throttle. We've heard that new ads are coming out, this time with celebs like Pacquiao endorsing Cha Cha. Not too surprising, since he already announced this morning that he's running for Vice Mayor of Manila. Great.
As for the Impeachment, the first meeting of the Justic Committee is on Tuesday, 8 August, in the Andaya Hall of the Batasan, 1pm. Several actions are planned for the day, please check this blog for a schedule. We hope to offer you several activities you may find worthwhile. Perfumed and botoxed Powder Blue Ladies need not apply.
Meanwhile, we ask anyone who would like to help us to please write their Congressman. Especially if that Congressman is anti-Impeachment. All it takes is love of country, follow through and around Php7 for a stamp Here's an example of a letter, feel free to cut and paste:
The Honorable __________________________
Representative, ____ District, _______________
The House of Representatives
Batasan Road, Quezon City
Citizens of the Philippines have filed a new and official Impeachment Complaint against Pres. Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo. This Citizens’ Impeachment Complaint has been enthusiastically endorsed by various groups representing a broad spectrum of Filipino society.
As part of your constituency, we wish to convey to you our strongest sentiments in favor of this action.
We believe that Impeachment is the only legal avenue left to allow Pres. Macapagal Arroyo to answer her detractors and clear her name. Most of all, it is the best way to get to the Truth so that we may all move on and return to normalcy.
We also believe that your vote in favor of Impeachment will help restore trust and belief in the House of Representatives as well as disavow us of the idea that our Congressmen have turned a deaf ear to us.
In closing, we respectfully expect you – in your capacity as our representative and voice in Congress – to please bear in mind and take into consideration our views in this regard.
Thank you very much.
In case your Congressman happens to have signed on to last year's Impeachment, here's a letter you can write to him or her:
Warm greetings! I am _________________________________, a voting constituent in your district, with address at __________________________. ____________________________________________________________.
I would like to congratulate you on your courageous stand in last year's impeachment proceedings against Pres. Gloria Macapagal -Arroyo.
As one of your constituents, I take great pride in the fact that my very own representative was one of the 50 congressmen who stood up against the powers-that- be in the interest of truth, justice and honest governance.
Today, even as the House minority files a new impeachment complaint, I hope and pray that you will remain steadfast in our common resolve to oust a corrupt and illegitimate president.
Regardless of the outcome, we shall have achieved a historic moral victory in refusing to compromise our integrity and the well-being of the nation.
Thank you and more power to you!
One last thing - are you really going to sit idly by and allow Garci to run for Congress? How many liars, cheats, and thieves can you stomach?