Monday, January 30, 2006

A Pastoral Statement from the CBCP

We are reprinting the latest Pastoral Statement from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. For more of the CBCP's statements and views, visit CBCPonline.


A Pastoral Statement

Beloved People of God:

We, your bishops, have collectively discerned in the light of the Gospel what our mass media, our political leaders and, above all, you parishioners in our various dioceses have been telling us. What clearly emerges is the continued and urgent need for renewal in the public life of our country.

I. Our Pastoral Situation: What Our People are Saying

We have all observed the failure of political processes to make public servants accountable for wrongdoings. What we have seen instead are acts of evasion and obstruction of the truth, as in the case of the wiretapping and Garcillano tapes controversy. While we acknowledge that patriotic and sincere Filipinos have heeded our call in July 2005 for accountability in public office and sought means for the truth to emerge, we also witness those who seem to use “the search for truth” as a means of furthering their political ambitions. Pressure is thus brought on the ordinary citizen to take sides on the basis of speculation, whether this be with regard to destabilizing alliances, armed insurgency, or a brewing coup d’etat. Have we become a nation of rumors and untruths?

As a result of all this, there seems to be a paralyzing gridlock in the political sphere, as partisan interests prevail over the demands of the common good. Enough of this destructive politics, we hear our people declare. In this situation of widespread confusion, it is not surprising that apathy and cynicism with regard to politics have taken hold of the minds and hearts of many Filipinos. Tragically, many Filipinos have lost trust in political leaders from left, right, and center, and worse still, in the political institutions themselves which are perceived by many to be corrupted. Among an increasing number of our people, there is a sense of hopelessness about our country and the possibility of genuine reform.

While the economy at the macro-level seems to be moving along, the benefits are not sufficiently shared by the poor. What the people in our dioceses are experiencing and saying informs us that their most immediate and urgent priority is their daily struggle to earn a livelihood. Poverty remains the heaviest burden our people bear. They wonder if the political priorities that preoccupy our leaders are merely “Manila-magnified” problems foisted upon those in the provinces. They are seriously concerned that in 2006 we shall be repeating the same kind of chaotic politics that we all suffered in 2005.

II. The Root of the Crisis: Erosion of Moral Values

As bishops, we believe that at the bottom of our political chaos is a crisis of moral values, a crisis of truth and justice, of unity and solidarity for the sake of the common good and genuine peace. Truth has become a victim of political partisanship as well as of transactional politics. Moral accountability and justice for crimes, such as the killings of journalists and labor leaders, are yet to be realized.

Because of this crisis of values in our public life, the common good and the plight of the poor are being ignored. We witness the anguish of poor farmers affected by rising prices of farm inputs and decreasing prices for their products. Indigenous people, farmers and fishermen in our dioceses are filled with anxiety about the negative effects of mining, commercial logging, illegal quarrying and fishing, and the continual threat of displacement from one’s ancestral lands. More regrettable is the common knowledge that many of our politicians are behind such ventures that disregard the common good.

As Bishops, we realize that the root cause of our debilitating situation is the erosion of moral values. Its external manifestations are deceit and dishonesty, corruption, manipulation and a deadening preoccupation with narrow political interests, perceived in practically all branches and at all levels of government. Pope Benedict XVI cites St. Augustine’s observation that “a State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.” (Deus Caritas Est, 28).

But we also recognize that our situation is not one of utter darkness. We are encouraged and inspired to see so many good and decent Filipinos, of different faith traditions, working selflessly and sincerely to build up our nation. We see public servants struggling for integrity and the authentic reform of the corrupted institutions they are part of. We acknowledge groups of dedicated laity, religious and clergy, NGOs and various associations, including police and military personnel, giving of themselves to improve the governance, education, health, housing, livelihood and environmental conditions of our people. These people, united by a vision of heroic citizenship, are reasons for hope, even in the midst of the political crisis we find ourselves in.

III. What We Need to Do

The mission of the Church includes the renewal of the social order and public life through the teaching and inculcation of the values of the Gospel. Because of the moral dimensions of our political and economic life, “The Church has something to say about specific human situations, individual and communal, national and international.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 521) “Any authentic search for peace”, the Holy Father stresses, “must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman.” (In Truth, Peace, No. 5) Let us all therefore address the urgent issues facing our country from this moral standpoint:
  • We recommend that the search for truth be relentlessly pursued through structures and processes mandated by law and our Constitution, such as the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights, the Sandiganbayan, and Congress itself as well as other citizens’ groups. This requires that such bodies be led and run by credible people, persons of integrity and probity.

  • Confidence and trust in our political processes have to be restored. As a first step we strongly urge our political leaders to undertake electoral reforms posthaste. The Commission on Elections has to be transformed into a competent and reliable body beyond reproach. The call for resignation or even prosecution of a number of the Commissioners should not be lightly brushed aside. The electoral process, including counting of votes, needs to be reformed and modernized before the next elections.

  • Elections in 2007 should not be cancelled. The Church recognizes that in a democracy power emanates from the people “i.e., that the subject of political authority is the people considered in its entirety . . . This people transfers the exercise of sovereignty to those whom it freely elects . . . but it preserves the prerogative . . . [of] evaluating those charged with governing, and replacing them when they do not fulfill their functions satisfactorily.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 395)

  • While we agree that certain aspects of our Constitution may need amendments and revisions, we do not support hasty efforts to change this fundamental law of the land without the widespread discussion and participation that such changes require. We continue to believe, as we did in our Statement on Charter Change in 2003, that changing the Constitution involving major shifts in the form of government, requires widespread participation, total transparency, and relative serenity that allows for national discussion and debate. This is best done through a Constitutional Convention. The reasons for constitutional change must be based on the common good rather than on self-serving interests or the interests of political dynasties.

  • We reiterate our stand in our July 2005 statement that we do not condone any move resorting to violence or counter-constitutional means in resolving our present crisis. These measures would only bring about new forms of injustice, more hardships, and greater harm in the future.
We are aware that the renewal of the Philippine public life will require the transformation of cultural values and structures, and will require more intensive efforts on the part of the Church. We therefore commit ourselves to the following:
  • To adopt a more systematic program of promoting the moral values that are indicated in seven (of the nine) pastoral priorities drawn up at the 2001 National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal. These are: integral faith formation; empowerment of the laity towards social transformation; the active presence and participation of the poor in the Church and in society; the family as the focal point of evangelization; the building and strengthening of participatory communities that make up the parish; integral renewal of the clergy and religious; and our journeying with the youth.
  • To continue the formation of Basic Ecclesial Communities and other faith-communities at the grassroots, towards a deeper spirituality of heroic Christian citizenship, and towards encouraging the laudable efforts of these communities at nation-building, such as the monitoring of the IRA, bidding of public works projects, etc.

  • To promote a spirituality of public service, integrity and stewardship among public servants and citizens’ groups alike. These forms of social spirituality should counteract the persistent evils of gambling, drug-pushing, usury, destruction of our environment, and corruption in public office.

  • To bring together various concerned citizens’ groups that are working for good governance in order to encourage better collaboration among them in the mobilization of the governed to check graft and corruption and to work for better public services.

  • To declare this year 2006 as a “Social Concerns Year” under the auspices of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Social Teachings of the Church, as summarized in the recently-printed Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, may be discussed, internalized, and acted upon in all our dioceses, parishes and Catholic schools.

  • To accompany our efforts with prayer and penance and a deep trust in the transformative power of God’s grace in the lives of individuals as well as of societies. “Restore us to Thee, O Lord, that we may be restored” (Lam 5:21)

In all we have been saying here, we, your Bishops, are seeking to be faithful to the Lord’s command of love, and his call to his followers to care for all peoples, especially those whom he sees as the “least of my brothers and sisters” (Mt. 25, 40). It is this Gospel mandate we wish to see making a quantitative difference in our efforts at healing and renewing our flawed political culture and corrupted public life. In doing this, we show our solidarity with the poor who suffer most from the present state of public life and politics.

May the love of God in Christ, poured out upon all of us in the Holy Spirit, give us the courage and hope to renew our public life and to build up a truly moral society. And may Mary become our guide and model in this renewed pilgrimage towards Truth, Justice, Freedom and Love - the pillars of genuine peace in our Land.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
29 January 2006

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Cry for Justice: An Open Letter to the CBCP

Can. 225.2 They [lay people] have also, according to the condition of each, the special obligation to permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, particularly in conducting secular business and exercising secular functions, they too give witness to Christ.

Can. 678.1 In matters concerning the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship and other works of the apostolate, religious are subject to the authority of the Bishops, whom they are bound to treat with sincere obedience and reverence.

Can.747.2 The Church has the right always and everywhere to proclaim moral principles, even in respect of the social order, and to make judgments about any human matter in so far as this is required by fundamental human rights or the salvation of souls.

The Code of Canon Law
Promulgated in 1983

Your Eminence and Excellencies:

St. Thomas Aquinas taught that the function of a moral agent is to do three things: to search for the means suitable in any particular case, to accomplish any particular moral virtue; to judge, in a sound manner, the appropriateness of the outlined path; and, finally, to authorize and encourage the path to be pursued. You did all three: you consulted each other as well as individuals whose counsel you respected; and having decided the case of the President was one primarily of trust, you cast about for the means to determine why that trust was lost; and furthermore, what the country as a whole should do about it.

Therefore the CBCP through its last collective statement, offered to secular society a guide to invoking spiritual principles to accomplish the reconciliation of contending sides, by means that exalt accountability. However: of the means proposed, all have resulted in a perfunctory gesture of interest on the part of the President, and the one means that moved forward the most –impeachment- was entangled in a web of procedures by her allies, and further ensnared in the calculated, amoral dispensation of patronage by the President that killed any possible hope (and semblance) of determining the ultimate facts.

Since you last met, the President has evaded every means to demonstrate her willingness to submit herself to the people. She has, furthermore, used every instrument at her disposal to prevent any semblance of an investigation or an accounting. She has enunciated and enforced a policy of thwarting the freedom to peaceably assemble, by calling for a “pre-emptive, calibrated response” to public assembly. She has gone further than was ever Constitutionally-envisioned, in raising the Executive Department over all other, co-equal departments of our government and blurred the lines that serve as a brake on Executive domination of the armed forces, through her Executive Order No. 464, which at a most basic level, places penalties on public officials who might be inclined to make themselves accountable to the public or follow the dictates of their conscience.

Public opinion has been clearly expressed in support of a fundamental principle of good governance and Christian living in the secular realm: that officials are servants of the people, are answerable to the people, and must take it upon themselves to always be transparent and accountable for their actions. Filipinos from all walks of life and faith have clearly spoken out, not for or against specific political personalities, not for or against certain political factions or interests, but rather, on the burning question of the day: can a President, facing serious and grievous questions concerning not only her mandate, but the manner in which she has exercised her powers, simply brush aside the clamor for answers?

We believe that never, for a moment, did you, the CBCP, believe that life can go on, as if these questions and issues were never raised. We are certain that you hoped and prayed for the President to be able to discern the need to humbly entrust herself to the sovereign people; and for the institutions of government and the faithful to find means to satisfy the need for justice.

But justice has been delayed, and thus, denied. The arsenal of powers –and the arrogation of authority never given the President, but which she claims and wields anyway- available to the President has been utilized to silence dissent, and thwart the process of investigation and questioning. Every institution, from the bureaucracy, to our legislature, the courts, and society at large, has been sublimated to the President’s paramount obsession to remain in power at all costs. Even if the costs include disaffection within the armed forces, demoralization within the bureaucracy, and the intimidation of civil society, the political order, and the public at large.

Jesus Christ (John 21: 15-17) asked Saint Peter thrice, “Do you love me?” And he answered “yes” every time. Jesus instructed Peter to “feed my lambs” and “feed my sheep” each time that Saint Peter replied he loved Christ. As priests and bishops, you bear the staff of office recognizing that you must protect the flock, and yet not leave it vulnerable to the wolves. But now the wolves are amidst the sheep, claiming the shepherds have given them their blessings. Where, we ask you, is the justice in that? The public simply cries out for their grievances to be redressed. Instead, they have had their consciences bound by executive issuances, their liberties curtailed by the same, and their cries for accountability stifled. And all the while, the President has announced a New Order to be born, without consulting the people, and without offering up a genuine means to transform an avaricious political system. What temporal order is this, in which the humbleness, compassion, mercy and justice of Christ is so absent from those supposed to be the servants of the people?

We pray that you will recognize the need for the entire community of the faithful to come together on the basis of Christian principles that bear witness, instead of turning a blind eye to official wrongdoing.

Respectfully yours,

The Black & White Movement

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Soldiers and the People Deserve the Same: Justice

HAVING chosen a profession that obligates them to risk life and limb for country and people, the soldiers of our armed forces undertake risks on a daily basis no ordinary citizen does. It is precisely for this reason that our soldiers deserve good governance and the responsible exercise of authority, on the part of their superiors. It is for this reason that civilians must insist on every opportunity being given to our soldiers to be given due process. The redress of grievances and the delivery of justice are not only civilian rights, but the birthright of our soldiers as well. Just as the general population is entitled to expect government to protect and respect basic liberties and rights, so do our armed forces deserve the protections afforded by the genuine rule of law, and the principled observance of due process.

We in the Black And White Movement believe that just as every individual has his or her limit, when it comes to enduring the abuse of power and the violation of the principles of good governance and civil liberties, so too does every human institution possess a breaking point. Once reached, no tradition, no social contract, no government, can prevail in the face of indignation and anger.

We are concerned that appeals to redress wrongs, petitions to rectify injustices, calls for responsibility, accountability, and justice to prevail, have been ignored so continuously and so contemptuously, that our society is reaching a breaking point. The Constitutional Order is breaking down; its every mechanism has been tainted, its every operation compromised. Presiding over this state of affairs is an administration deaf to the public’s clamor for accountability, blind to the widening fractures within society and in every public institution, and mute in the face of the public’s insistence that government respond to its needs.

A country, a people, a society in such a state cannot long endure without some sort of deviation from the existing social contract. Our people are becoming radicalized. Our institutions, in such a perilous state, seem incapable of remaining relevant or deserving of their authority.

The Black And White Movement places responsibility for this state of affairs squarely at the feet of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her officials, who are obsessed with survival at all costs, and whose concern over the crumbling of our society and state extends only to an attempt to craft a new social contract for itself, by itself, and with itself, to the exclusion of all others. She is closing off all avenues to peacefully, and rationally, resolving a crisis of her own making. She is subjecting civilians and soldiers alike to an untenable choice: to abandon their liberties, surrender their rights, abandon their consciences, so that she may remain in power. No people can long endure, or accept, such a choice. She is hastening the day of reckoning, one in which the pent-up frustrations and resentments of a people must be painfully felt.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


As former President Corazon Aquino so clearly explained in her recent statement declining participation in the Council of State, the most pressing problem impinging on the national interest is neither political nor economic in nature. It is a moral issue.” We maintain that Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains the obstacle to national reconciliation, and the strengthening, instead of the erosion, of our democratic way of life, and the return of the optimism, dynamism, and trust, that are necessary to improve the prospects of our country.

Mrs. Arroyo continues to think that democracy is merely about photo opportunities, and that the dialogue of democracy should be replaced by a monologue she delivers from within the comfort of the presidential palace. She continues to turn a blind eye to the moral and political bankruptcy of her government. She continues to play deaf to the consistent, and ever-increasing, clamor for her to make the ultimate and necessary sacrifice of relinquishing power. She continues to remain mute in the face of the public’s demand for her to make an accounting of her actions.

But we in the Black & White Movement believe it is wrong to think that the crisis confronting our country begins and ends with Mrs. Arroyo. It includes a vast army of the corrupt, selfish, and incompetent. The crisis we continue to face requires much more than Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation, impeachment, or ouster. It demands accountability and reforms in other institutions of the state as well.

Among the institutions that require to be cleansed and reformed is the Commission on Elections. We support the call made by so many concerned sectors, for Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and all incumbent Comelec commissioners, to immediately resign. We support the need to have the present commissioners and their predecessors implicated in immoral and illegal transactions, to be brought to justice.

As the Senate of the Philippines has pointed out, the Comelec commissioners must go. A Supreme Court decision has found them culpable for their handling of anomalous contracts. The Ombudsman, however, has failed to follow-up the Supreme Court decision with an investigation and the filing of appropriate charges.

If justice delayed is justice denied, then the refusal of the executive department and of the Ombudsman, to implement the Supreme Court’s decision or heed the Senate’s statesmanlike call for action, can only be assumed to mean Mrs. Arroyo is not interested in fair elections – whether national, local, or in the form of a referendum.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Cory Aquino Declines Invitation to Council of State


I regret that I cannot attend the Council of State meeting on January 24 for reasons of principle. By that action, I do not mean to be disrespectful of the Council nor to renege on one of my duties as a former president. Nevertheless, I apologize to the Filipino people, particularly those whose sense of propriety I might be offending.

While I value the Council of State highly as an institution, I believe that it can only function effectively as a top-level advisory body in an atmosphere of trust. And there lies the problem. At the heart of the crisis besetting the current administration is the fundamental issue of trust.

The very legitimacy of the President’s mandate remains under a cloud of doubt despite the administration’s self-serving statements to the contrary. Rather than resolve the issue in a transparent and forthright manner, the President has opted to muddle it further by insisting that any allusion to the legitimacy issue is part of a grand conspiracy to unseat her.

This is most unfortunate. This posture does nothing to restore the people’s trust in the presidency and in the government. Worse, my presence in the meeting may create more confusion as to where I really stand with regard to my July 8, 2005 statement seeking her voluntary resignation. The absence of trust on both sides gives me great discomfort to even contemplate participation in the forthcoming meeting of the Council of State. I believe that I would be serving the interests of the Filipino people better at this time by sustaining my efforts to help strengthen our fragile democracy.

Over the short term, this entails working to restore confidence in democratic governance by advocating constitutional avenues out of the present political crisis. To this day, I maintain that the least painful path for the nation is for the President to make the supreme sacrifice of relinquishing her office. Short of that, I believe our nation would be due for protracted political turmoil.

Over the long term, my dream is to create an empowered citizenry as the foundation upon which our democracy can endure and flourish. Toward this end, I have reached out to various sectors to undertake major initiatives to improve the lives of the poor, who stand to suffer the most from the persistent crisis. By systematically lifting millions of Filipinos from poverty, we can help them regain their human dignity and make better choices as part of mainstream society.

Let me also ask the Filipino people to join me in praying for our nation at this critical time. For it is my belief that the most pressing problem impinging on the national interest is neither political nor economic in nature. It is a moral issue that cannot be resolved by structural or legal interventions and by government programs endorsed by the Council of State. It can only be addressed by the President herself.

(reprinted with the kind permission of mlq3)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Is Impeachment the Only Way to Remove the Comelec Commissioners?

A Truth Forum on ELECTORAL REFORM sponsored by

The Black & White Movement

Date: Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Time: 1:00 P.M. (Late Lunch)

Venue: Metro Club, Estrella Street, Makati (across Rockwell)

On January 13, 2004, the Supreme Court released its decision nullifying the contract signed by the COMELEC with Mega Pacific eSolutions, Inc., directing the Office of the Solicitor-General to exert all efforts to recover the money and the Ombudsman to “determine the criminal liability, if any, of the public officials (and conspiring private individuals, if any)” involved in the subject contract.

The Supreme Court decision is now two years old, yet nothing much has happened. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has released Report No. 44 which recommends the resignation of the commissioners. The report further suggests that should the commissioners not resign, they can nonetheless be charged criminally by the Ombudsman.

Time is running out. If we want clean and credible elections and ultimately automate the process, then the COMELEC commissioners must resign. For as long as the present Commissioners remain, there is no hope for credible elections.

The Ombudsman must release their report and must elevate the case to the Sandiganbayan. NOW!

Listen to the original petitioners who brought the case to the Supreme Court and to special guests as they expound on the culpability of the commissioners and the options available to us.

Forum Panel:

¨ Senator Jovito Salonga, Chair, Kilosbayan

¨ Dr. Clarita Carlos, Professor, UP Political Science

¨ Atty. Harry Roque, UP Law Center

¨ The original petitioners

o Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines

o Maricor Akol

o Augusto Lagman

o Miguel Uy

o Manuel Alcuaz

o Rex Drilon II

o Miguel Hilado

o Ley Salcedo

o Edu Lopez

RSVP: The Black & White Movement, Tel: 426-6064, 927-6349, 426-5938 or email

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

And the Survey Says...?

The latest survey of Social Weather Stations, taken just last December, says 54% of Filipinos agree that Mrs. Arroyo should step down before the end of her term. Of those asked, 54% said she should've left last year. It will be far more interesting to read the the latest report, here is the link: SWS Events.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Game of Blink

We waited with bated breath as the New Year approached. Apart from being finally rid of 2005, we eagerly waited to see if Mrs. Arroyo would agree to comply with past-President Fidel V. Ramos' ultimatum to quit in 2007 as requested. Instead, we were greeted by a New Year week filled with icy silence from GMA perforated by news of clandestine meetings among FVR and opposition figures.

Yesterday, during a rambling and occasionally rumbling press conference, FVR repeated his challenge to Mrs. Arroyo - quit by 30 June 2007. He said that if she stepped down, among other things, she would avert a possible uprising by long-suffering, poverty-stricken Filipinos.

Today, through Press Secretary Bunye, Mrs. Arroyo has effectively rejected Mr. Ramos' proffer of resignation a second time. Bunye said that Mrs. Arroyo plans to continue as President till 2010 unless she is unseated by the Filipino people via constitutional means. Uh oh.

This is beginning to look like a game of blink between FVR and GMA. And it looks like he's blinked twice. This brings to mind what a friend recently said about this situation, "Watch, ha? He'll (FVR) threaten her (GMA) and say 'O, deadline na 'to'. Then she'll ignore him, so he'll say, 'Sige, bigyan kita ng last chance'. Then she'll ignore him yet again, and he'll say, 'Sige ng nga, this is the last, last chance', and so on". It certainly is looking that way. Some are of the belief that this is showdown time between the Titans, others think that Mr. Ramos no longer has the credibility he used to enjoy with the people, referring to recent surveys that claim that after GMA, he is considered least favored to lead the country at this time.

Are there alternatives left to FVR? Some say that he should just play meek elderly statesman and contemplate on his new tattoo. Others say that he should cut ties with GMA and join the opposiiton, become it's "unifier". There is fear that if protestations to FVR's proposal by Majority Leader Nograles are echoed by many in the Lakas Party, and if rumors are true that GMA's dangling money and manna to keep her hold on power, FVR may find himself left out in the cold come Saturday night. Uh oh.

We in the Black & White Movement hope that Mr. Ramos will ultimately withdraw support from GMA, call for her resignation, as well as the resignation of VP Noli de Castro (Mr. de Castro seems to have painted himself out of the picture, unless he thinks he can win the Presidency or Prime Ministership) and become a champion for truth. Mr. Ramos has the benefit of experience, we hope that his trust in it will show him the right way.

And how do the people feel about all this? We are partcularly interested in the middle force thinking. Sad to say, either way this particular game plays out, the bulk of the middle forces may continue to be disinterested. Many appear unbothered by the danger of a NO-EL situation, the Constitutional Commission's flimflam revisions, the "children" of the "Mother of all tapes". It seems the callous grown from the lack of true change after two EDSA Revolutions has become too thick to file through. The Black and White Movement continues to work hard at breaking through calloused hearts. We are of the strong conviction that despite the power of the enemy, we will stay the course.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Our Media Bureau was surprised by calls from ANC last Friday. The flurry of calls had to do with a statement made by Senate President Franklin Drilon in answer to a question posed by a Philippine News Agency (PNA) reporter. The answer, according to ANC, was that he was not inclined to heed the call of the Black & White Movement to head a transition government (you get the drift of the question, yes?). Now, that was as much a surprise to us as it was to the reporters that heard it.

We have never asked the Senate President to head a transition government, the implication being that we would back a revolutionary transition government. Indeed, Senator Drilon is correct - we have never engaged him, nor have we asked him to join our cause. The current stand of our movement, as of 30 November 2005, is this: in the event that the President and Vice President resign, or are ousted through non-violent means, per Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, the Senate President shall "act as President until the President or Vice President shall have been elected or qualified". As of this writing, although we are studying other scenarios, our stand remains unchanged.

There is no need for us to engage Senator Drilon simply because his role is defined by the Constitution. Far be it for us to tell him what to do. We have not formally engaged the Liberal Party either, but it is common knowledge that we consider Sec. Butch Abad a friend.

All this begs the question - where and how did the PNA reporter, Mr. Louie A. Belmonte, get his information? We do not recall speaking with him of late. We are not "in the dark on whom to tap to simulate another destabilization effort". We believe Mrs. Arroyo is doing a bang up destabilization job herself.

Here is the latest on this little story. We were gratified to learn, as we watched the late afternoon edition of ANC News yesterday, that the PNA acknowledged their mistake and retracted their story. Just to make sure, we checked out their website. Alas, we found no retraction. Where, oh where, can it be?