Monday, July 10, 2006

A Response to Conrad - In the Interest of Clarity 2

Better late than never. Have been too busy to update our blog, apologies for the nth time. Black & White's been very involved in the STOP Cha Cha Campaign and Impeachment Complaint, so most of our time's been eaten up along with personal concerns.

Although we believe our press statements and blog posts can speak for us, just to be sure, here is our FAQ, which we think answers most of the questions raised by Conrad De Quiros. If you have the time and patience, plus the interest, please read through our posts for an even clearer picture of what we're all about.

What is the Black & White Movement? What does it stand for?

Formed on August 5, 2005 and formally launched on August 21, 2005 at the La Salle Greenhills Auditorium, the Black & White Movement is composed of groups and individuals who have sought the truth about the allegations that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the 2004 elections since June 2005, and have reached the conclusion, based on the available evidence and the actuations of Ms. Macapagal-Arroyo, and her close allies that the President committed electoral fraud. This is a conclusion already shared by a majority of Filipinos, as shown by SWS and Pulse Asia opinion surveys.

Thus, members of the Black & White Movement are committed to actively campaign, through democratic and non-violent means, for the resignation, impeachment or ouster of PGMA.

What are bases for the Black & White Movement’s conclusion that PGMA cheated?

Our conclusion is based on the following grounds:

  1. Enough (in fact, two) independent verifications by internationally reputable voice experts confirming the authenticity of the “Hello Garci” recording have been made. Said experts have verified the voices in the recording as those of PGMA and Garcillano. These experts have also verified that the recordings had not been spliced or tampered. This is in addition to verifications by former Comelec Chairman Christian Monsod and several other Comelec staff and officials that indeed it was Garcillano’s voice in the tapes and to the context of the conversations.
  1. The conversations between PGMA and Elections Commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano in the “Hello Garci” recording clearly implicate the President in committing electoral fraud during the May 2004 elections.
  1. It took PGMA three weeks to react to the “Hello, Garci” tapes. This is quite unusual since the normal reaction for an innocent person being accused of such a serious issue would be to immediately and strongly deny such allegations.
  1. Malacanang attempted to cover-up the issue. On June 6, 2005, Secretary Bunye released to the media two 16-minute reproductions of the “Hello, Garci” tapes. The one claimed by Bunye as the “original” turned out to have been tampered, as it substituted Garcillano’s voice with that of an Arroyo campaign operative, Edgardo Ruado, who is referred to in the tape as “Gary.” Actually, Ruado’s nickname is Bong, not Gary. Gary” was actually the code name of the ISAFP wiretappers for Garcillano, and Malacanang annotated their recording using this code name.
  1. Refusal of the President to convene an independent and credible Truth Commission or fact-finding body to investigate the issue also points towards her hiding the truth.
  1. President Arroyo’s June 27, 2005 “I am sorry” speech has been worded in such a way as to deceive the majority of the people (who have not yet really scrutinized the “Hello, Garci” tapes) into thinking that the conversations in the tapes were merely about protecting her votes and not about her committing electoral fraud. And that with her humble admission to her “lapse in judgment” the issue should already be put to rest. In essence, the speech was a half-admission and half-denial by the President.
  1. Her strong and even hands-on lobby to “kill” the impeachment process at the House of Representatives even before the substance of the impeachment complaint has been discussed only strengthens our belief that she is hiding something.

So, is the Black & White Movement denying the President due process by already concluding that she cheated during the May 2004 elections? But what else can the people do when all the legal venues for determining the facts on the issue have been shut down?

Why does the Black & White Movement say that it focuses on the middle forces?

The Black & White Movement was convened by representatives from NGOs, business, and professional groups who are mostly from the middle class with moderate or middle-of-the-road political ideologies. We call this particular sector the “middle forces”.

All surveys consistently show that a majority of Filipinos believe that PGMA cheated during the May 2004 elections. Yet, they remain indifferent. This, we believe, is mainly due to the absence of an acceptable and viable “alternative” to PGMA and the lack of a “vehicle” for less extreme protest actions where the middle forces can participate. The Black & White Movement seeks to provide this “vehicle” for the middle forces. It also aims to further organize, expand and mobilize middle forces within the ranks of the anti- GMA movement.

What is the alternative of the Black & White Movement to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?

The Black & White Movement stands by constitutional succession as the main viable option for resolving the current leadership crisis of the country. That option is a Special Election as provided in our Constitution. We also believe that a Snap Election is also possible via a Bullet Amendment by Congress. However, we believe that whoever succeeds PGMA should immediately institute basic reforms, including electoral, judicial, economic and political reforms.

To ensure that all these reforms are implemented and institutionalized, the Black & White Movement also demands that a “council of advisers” coming from a broad cross section of Philippine society be established by the constitutional successor to pave the way for the political and economic recovery of the country.

Why the colors black & white?

The choice of black and white as the movement’s colors is to emphasize that the specific issue we now face is as clear as “black and white” – that the issue is about GMA committing electoral fraud during the May 2004 elections to win the Presidency. It is not about labeling individuals or groups as either representing the sides of good or evil.

However, having been convinced that she did cheat during the recent elections, the question now is, should GMA be allowed to continue to govern the nation? And, our answer to this is a “clear as black and white” - NO!

We also believe that the issue of cheating, being a moral issue, has no gray area. It is either right or wrong. It’s either black or white. No justifications. No rationalization. Only admission, penance and acceptance of sin’s consequences are acceptable. There can be no compromise solution that will keep her in office. The colors black and white are in contrast to attempts by GMA and Malacanang to muddle the issue by raising the matters of her credentials or the lack of it by her successor or her detractors. We cannot justify the act of cheating by invoking the need to make a choice on behalf of the lesser evil.

It’s about cheating. It’s as simple as black and white.

What are the plans of Black & White Movement?

The movement is convinced that PGMA must vacate her office immediately, either by voluntary resignation or ouster through peaceful, non-violent means. This will require the participation of the people, especially the middle forces.

To engage the people, we need to:

  1. Focus on the core issue: Did she cheat or not? We believe, as do majority of our people, that she did. But we have to keep reminding our people.
  1. Sensitize a seared national conscience that has lost its sense of morality. Most believe that PGMA cheated, yet are not doing anything to remove her from office, or are so indifferent that they are willing to let her stay.

The Black & White Movement plans to undertake a wide-scale information and dissemination campaign to expose the truth revealed in the Garci tapes. It will organize truth forums nationwide to reach out to the youth, businessmen, young professionals, and other concerned citizens. Not only will it be a venue to expose the truth, it will also be the means to organize people for future concerted action. The movement will also use traditional and non-traditional media – print, broadcast, SMS text messaging, Internet, blogging and other technologies, to deliver its core message: GMA cheated… she should go. NOW!

How do I join? How can I help?

You can be involved several ways. You can start your own chapter (with at least 10 initial members) or enlist in an existing one. You can do both through our website or call our Secretariat to find a chapter near your area.

As a member, you will be updated of the various activities of the movement and you can participate in areas where your skills can best be used.

You can also help by providing financial support. Please contact our Secretariat for details.

Contact Information:





B&W OFFICE ADDRESS & NUMBERS: 2nd Floor, Hoffner Building, Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, QC
Tel/Fax (632) 426-6064, Tel. (632) 426 6001 local 4826


Bangon Pilipinas · Citizens for Truth (C4T) · DLSU Brothers · Manindigan! · The Moral Majority · People's Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network (AR Now!) Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) · Citizens for ConCon (C4CC) · Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI) · Local Governance Citizens Network (LGCNet) · National Institute for Policy Studies (NIPS) · National Peace Conference (NPC) · People's Alternative Study Center for Research and Education on Social Development (PASCRES) · Philippine Community Organizers Society (PhilCOS) · Social Democratic Caucus (SDC) · Women's Action Network For Development (WAND)

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