Monday, December 10, 2007


As soon as the Manila Pen siege was over, there was a flurry of pronouncements from just about every political group as well as personalities from both sides of the political divide. Invariably, the statements depicted Trillanes and Lim as misguided, military adventurists, rebels, criminals, or arrogant fools for repeating the same mistakes in Oakwood and in 2006. At best, some would say they sympathized with Trillanes’ and Lim’s cause, but did not agree with their methods.

But why did they have to wait until the standoff was over before they spoke their minds? Simple. They weren’t really sure about how the incident would turn out and they didn’t want to be caught with their feet in their mouths just in case Trillanes et al prevailed.

This is the same reason why no politician of significant stature came out during the siege. Most of them were probably somewhere in Makati, on standby, monitoring how things would develop. And if it looked like regime change was imminent, they were ready to make a grand appearance, abandoning all current loyalties, reminiscent of EDSA 2.

Even more worrisome, at least to the administration, was the non-appearance of military top brass during the critical, early hours of the standoff. The most natural thing for the administration to do in order to show that it was still in control of the chain of command was to arrange for some star-studded generals to declare their unequivocal loyalty. Esperon was in Mindanao. But where were the service commanders? They, too, were on standby, caught by surprise, unsure if Lim and Trillanes had the numbers. They did not declare loyalty for either side, not wanting to be caught on the wrong side when the dust settled.

There was one text message I received from an unknown number that I found rather amusing, “Panawagan ni Trillanes na mag-aklas, dinedma! Sawa na sa gulo ang ating bayan, tama na! Magkaisa na lang sa pagsulong ng bayan.”

I think that declaration was way off the mark. How do you explain the spontaneous show of support from office workers cheering and waving, motorists honking their horns in support as Trillanes and company were marching towards Manila Pen? How do you explain the surveys showing the people outraged at the impunity and brazenness of corruption by this regime?

I get these opinions all the time – text messages, email, or even chance encounters in public places from people I don’t know, “You’re doing the right thing. Don’t give up. Keep the faith!” At times, I’m tempted to ask them, “What about you? What do you plan to do about it?” I don’t bother, because I have an inkling of what they will say, “I’m sorry, but I’m busy… busy trying to earn a living, or trying to make ends meet.”

Was Trillanes misguided? Maybe. But not in the usual sense.

I think he read the people’s mood correctly. They are outraged. They want regime change. But they’re not willing to take an active role in effecting change. They just want to be saved from this wretched regime!

I believe Trillanes was misguided, maybe even betrayed, by people who committed to give their support but did not deliver.

CHED Chairman Romulo Neri, could have been an interested party. It was rumored that he was supposed to join the group at Manila Pen to finally reveal what most people already know anyway – that after he told GMA about the bribe offer by Abalos, she asked him to ignore it and gave specific instructions for him to work on getting the ZTE project approved by the NEDA Board in time for her China trip, which was only 2 days away.

In past interviews, Neri has refused to reveal what he knows, fearing that his revelations might trigger an EDSA-like uprising. He reportedly finds the idea of regime change with the same old, recycled politicians taking over, revolting (pun intended). However, rumors abound that privately, he has intimated to being open to a post-GMA scenario that would include his reform agenda.

I do not know whether Neri has explicitly communicated these ideas to the Magdalo, but let us suppose that he did. These revelations and ideas by an official of this administration probably emboldened them to plot the Manila Pen siege. Now, the Magdalo had a just cause around which to rally the people.

Days after the standoff, there were news reports that there was possibly some unit commanders who were poised to leave their barracks to join Trillanes and Lim. They were perhaps waiting for Neri’s defection as their signal to move. Instead, they saw Argee Guevarra and JV Bautista beside Trillanes at the Pen. To the military, these are the poster boys of communism. Seeing them would have planted seeds of doubt in their rightist hearts. “Are we risking everything, just to turn it over to commies?” they probably asked. The man in the wig was the clincher, turning the whole exercise into a farce.

And so, they all decided to stand by. But they waited too long. Esperon would later report, “the other group was “pre-empted”, whatever that means. The rest of the story you already know.

Trillanes apologists will claim, “the end justifies the means” regarding his latest caper. I do not buy that. But I do believe that this administration has shut off every legitimate venue for redress.

What do you do when the major mode of making a President accountable – impeachment, is bastardized by a rubber-stamp Congress? Where do you go when an unimpeachable witness like Fr. Ed Panlilio testifies that bribery of the highest order may have occurred at the Palace involving scandalous amounts given to political allies? Certainly not to a Department of Justice headed by a GMA stooge.

When you have an administration that selectively applies the rule of law and methodically perverts it for self-preservation, you will, for the same reason always have people who will resort to extra-constitutional means to seek justice.

Personally, I think what Trillanes did at Manila Pen is not much different from what Ramos did at EDSA 1 or Angie Reyes did at EDSA 2. If EDSA 1 and 2 failed, Ramos and Reyes would have been labeled no differently from Trillanes and Lim – misguided, misadventurists, rebels, or even fools.

What a difference success makes! Even heels (remember Chavit Singson in EDSA 2?) can become heroes. Failure does the exact opposite: would-be heroes are called fools.

Digressing a bit, I heard that Manila Pen is planning to sue for damages the rebel group. Nevertheless, the hotel is willing to give a 20% discount considering the participation of senior citizens like Guingona, Dodong Nemenzo, and Bishop Labayen. It would be truly comical, were it not tragic and pathetic, to see octogenarians leading the fight against moral bankruptcy in government.

Where are the youth in all of this?

Most of them are on standby, waiting for their work visas from various embassies. This is proof of the depth of hopelessness when the aspirations of our youth are reduced to wanting to leave the country at the earliest opportunity.

Well… I think I will just join the rest of our people on standby and wait for this regime to crumble from its own weight of greed and corruption. Already, there are cracks in the alliance in Congress, they’re all fighting over the spoils. With Puno now ascendant at the Palace, the other officials will necessarily be diminished, if not completely defrocked. That spells trouble.

Greed and addiction to power will propel them to overstay beyond 2010. Already, charter change is back at the top of the agenda in Congress. I think the administration is already crafting a martial law template that will be declared at the flimsiest excuse. The unconstitutional 5-hour curfew was merely a trial balloon.

And then it will happen. It will reach a breaking point that will lead to a popular uprising. Such has been the cycle we go through in our modern history.

A new order will be established. History will be rewritten, and it will give a kinder account of the Manila Pen siege. It is merely a pre-cursor of things to come. Trillanes and company are not fools after all.

For now, all we can do is pray that God hasten the cycle of change. God bless our country.

This is Enteng Romano on standby.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Center Must Hold

Once more, our country is at a crossroads. Time and again, the administration has said there is no alternative to it, but more of the same: government by intimidation, bribery, and perversion of the rules. Time and again, the transactional, cynical, brazen methods of this administration have pushed every sector and institution to the wall.

Today, after months of indignities and shabby treatment, officers and men who subjected themselves to the justice system, walked out of the court. Every person has their limit. We recognize and sympathize with fellow citizens like them. Even when the thirst for justice has led citizens to submit to the system, the system leaves our country still thirsting for justice.

We call for sobriety. We call for a peaceful resolution to this crisis. We call, most of all, for all our officials to recognize, once and for all, that dignity is not dispensable, that justice is non-negotiable, that if the lying, cheating, killing and stealing continue, peace will not return.

The problem is not the people, it is the President. The first step is for her to resign. At the same time, all sides must resist the temptation to resolve matters in an undemocratic manner.

The Black & White Movement adds its voice to those who want change, and calls on all our countrymen to stand for what’s right: a democracy, unless it has an administration with an unquestionable mandate, cannot endure, and must end up with a people divided against itself. -- END

Thursday, November 08, 2007

True Lies

My Fellow e-Mandirigma,

They must really think we’re all morons!

When they could no longer deny nor explain the money received by Among Ed Panlilio and Bulacan Gov. Mendoza, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) owned up to the money claiming that the disbursement to neophyte governors was part of their “capability building project”. And this came out on the very same day the LPP published full page ads in ALL major dailies declaring unequivocally that no cash exchanged hands during the meeting of Governors and Mayors in Malacanan.

There was one problem – that story could not explain the amounts received by Abante and one other Congressman.

So, the other day, they came out with a parallel storyline. This time, House Deputy Speaker “Girlie” Villarosa, speaking as Secretary of Kampi – the President’s very own political party, owned up to the cash given to Abante and the other Congressman. Of course, she had to qualify that the “President had no knowledge of this, and that Puno – as Party Chair, knew of the funds but not the details of its disbursement.” Puno, on his part, feigned being hurt for being put “out of the loop” of such an important transaction.

I was listening to Anthony Taberna interviewing Villarosa and I was both amused and appalled at her gall in peddling such incredulous lies. She was fumbling all over and could not even answer basic questions like who selects the recipients, who authorized disbursement, etc. They forgot to tell her it takes professionals like Bunye and Puno to lie with a straight face and without mumbling words.

The text-in reactions said it all. To Villarosa, one texter said, “More practice!” and to Puno, another texter said, “Fire your scriptwriter.” But the real clincher was Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol’s reaction. He was visibly irked at the contradicting statements coming out of the Palace and its allies. His advice: “Just shut up!”

My own advice is for them to first agree on which lies they would like as to believe as true, before speaking up.

Tama na! Sobra na! Ginagago na talaga tayo!

If you feel this way, too – I invite you to do something about it:

1. Visit PinoyBigBriber and cast your vote to evict the lone housemate – Ate Glo.

2. If you’re from Metro Manila, join us tomorrow (Nov. 9) for our Black Friday protest action.

  • Wear black
  • Be at the Ninoy Aquino Statue on Ayala Avenue, Makati, by 11:30 AM
  • We’ll give you a Pinoy Big Briber postcard you can personalize
  • We’ll march towards the Makati Central Post Office at Buendia to buy stamps and mail the postcards

3. If you’re outside of the country or you can’t join us this Friday, you can do the following:

  • Download and print the Pinoy Big Briber postcard or greeting card from the same website
  • Snail mail it to: Ms Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Malacanang Palace, San Miguel, Manila, Philippines
  • Before you mail, take a photo of yourself holding the postcard (don’t forget to wear black) and email photo to so we can catalog all who participated in this International Day of Protest

4. Wherever you may be, just wear black going to your office or school. It’s the least we can do to show our disgust over the panggagagong ginagawa sa atin!

Sabi nga ni Abraham Lincoln:

Kaya mong gaguhin ang ilang tao sa lahat ng pagkakataon,
Kaya among gaguhin ang lahat ng tao sa ilang pagkakataon,
Pero di mo kayang gaguhin ang lahat ng tao sa lahat ng pagkakataon.

Please post to all e-groups you are subscribed to, and pass on to your friends and relatives. Together, we may yet rise from this morally bankrupt government.

God bless,


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pinoy Big Briber

I just witnessed Representative Bagatsing say, on ANC's Strictly Politics, that he would neither confirm nor deny that he received a gift bag full of money while at the Palace recently. He also went on to say that the media was blowing the whole thing out of proportion, giving malice to an innocent event. He also said the media and opposition should've taken into consideration the possibility of his family members being maligned and teased because of this misunderstanding.

Well. He should've thought about all that BEFORE he strutted out of the Palace with that doggie bag (host Pia Hontiveros asked him if he was the portly congressman caught on ANC video, as guests left the Palace breakfast meet). Ah, but he is, after all, only a congressman.

Welcome to Pinoy Pinoy Big Briber, Congressman Bagatsing. Nakatanggap ka sa pala sa bahay ni Ate Glo.

With that in mind, let's tell Ate Glo, Rep. Bagatsing and the rest of the 180 or so gift bag carrying congressmen just what we think of them --

Date: 9 November 2007
Venue: Ninoy Aquino Monument, Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas, Makati
Assembly: 11:30am
Attire: Black, please.


  • Assemble at Ninoy Aquino statue on Ayala Avenue between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon
  • Pinoy Big Briber" postcards (see here, and here in case you'd like to print them out) will be distributed as marchers sign up
  • Optional, but a good idea - Bring a used gift bag decorated with your favorite GMA "Sin" slogan, such as – “Hello Garci?”, "Sir, may 200 ka rito", “Joc Joc, umiwi ka na!”, “Patalsikin Na, Now Na”, “Php500000”, etc. for waving around
  • March to Makati Post Office on the corner of Buendia and Ayala Avenues
  • Once at the post office, buy stamps and mail the postcards
  • Some essentials – umbrella, water, camera

Our provincial and international partners will stage their own versions of protest mainly around the signing of the Manifesto. The internationally signed message will be presented to various Philippine embassies and consulates.

The html version of this invitation may be viewed here.

Finally, check out our brand spankin' new Pinoy Big Briber website!!!

We look forward to seeing you on Friday – rain or shine!

Monday, November 05, 2007

International Day of Protest Kontra Sa Panggagago - Update

My fellow e-Mandirigma,

I’m happy to report that our planned synchronized protest action on November 9 is a go!

We have confirmed action in the following locations outside of the Philippines:

1) Riyadh
2) San Francisco
3) Seoul
4) Tokyo
5) Cambodia
6) Hongkong

I’m still waiting for confirmations from other locations. If you’re located in the cities mentioned above and would like to link up, please email me at or text me at 0920-961-5610 so I can link you up with the team leader.

You don’t really have to wait for somebody to organize in your location. If you have a group of at least 10 people – it could be your regular golf or tennis buddies, your trade organization, your high school/college alumni association, etc. – you can simply agree to meet on Friday, proceed to the Philippine Embassy/consular office wearing black, and submit a manifesto. I have attached a draft manifesto which you can freely edit.

Please notify us if you plan to organize your own activity. Email me or text me so we can request media to try and cover your activity if they have presence or an affiliate in your location. Of course, you can take photos /videos on your own and upload it to youtube or email to us so we can post it in our web/blogsite.

Meanwhile, we’re finalizing preparations for our own protest action here in Makati and in other major cities in the Philippines. I will post details of these in the next update.

I must reiterate how important it is to stand up and be counted at this time. Sobra na ang panggagagong ginagawa sa mamayang Pilipino. And if we do not add our voices to the brewing outrage, we will one day wake up under a martial law regime with a new charter that will overextend GMA’s stay in power. Remember Marcos’ martial law and the rubber-stamp Batasang Pambansa? Well… we’re almost there.

It’s up to each and every one of us to prevent this from happening.

God bless,

Manifesto for the International Day of Protest Kontra sa Panggagago

An Urgent Appeal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

We, Filipinos residing in ________________________________, are scandalized by the indecent haste with which President Arroyo granted executive clemency to former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada. It came at a time that we were celebrating the fact that our judicial system could actually work, that we were able to exact accountability from the highest official of the land and convict him of the crime of plunder. The untimely pardon, which came barely 5 weeks after conviction, set aside the decision made by our courts and sends the wrong message to our people, “It’s all right to plunder. All you have to do is make a deal with the ruling power.”

We do not see this leading to national healing as the Palace would like us to believe. Instead, it has opened up old wounds that can only lead to further divisiveness amongst our people.

Neither do we see this as a sincere effort at reconciliation. We believe that this is part of a ploy to deflect attention from the ongoing ZTE scandal and palace payoffs. It merely reflects the culture of transactional politics that has led our country to moral bankruptcy.

We are alarmed at the revelations made during the Senate hearings that seem to indicate the involvement of the First Gentleman in the ZTE deal as well as apparently confirm GMA’s intimate knowledge of the bribery attempt by Benjamin Abalos on Romulo Neri. This administration does not seem inclined to bring erring officials to justice or prevent an anomalous transaction from being consummated. On the contrary, GMA allegedly instructed Neri to fast-track the approval of the National Broadband Network project with ZTE.

We are even more alarmed at ostensibly crude attempts to cover up allegations of bribery inside the very walls of Malacanang with even more bribery.

First, a weak impeachment complaint is filed, one that is doomed to fail and intended only to immunize GMA from further impeachment for another year. In this connection, the Deputy Secretary General of KAMPI – the President’s own party, allegedly offers a P2.0M bribe to Cong. Crispin Beltran to endorse the complaint.

Then, Congressmen and Governors are invited to a meeting at Malacanang, presumably to conduct a loyalty check and support the trashing of the impeachment complaint. Attendees are openly given bags with bundles of cash – as much as P500K each, as “gifts”. And when the “gift-giving” is exposed, the League of Provinces of the Philippines belatedly owns up to giving the cash, a ploy eerily similar to Iggy Arroyo owning up to the Jose Pidal account of the First Gentleman.

To make matters even worse, the Palace actually believes we will buy their excuses and cover up stories. Hindi naman siguro ganyan kagago ang mamamayang Pilipino.

We decry the blatant and brazen impunity with which GMA, her Cabinet officials, her allies in Congress and local government have lied to the people. In her desperate attempt to cling to power, she has lost all moral scruples.

We declare our loss of confidence in her leadership, and we appeal to her that if there is any sense of decency and patriotism left in her heart, that she should make the supreme sacrifice by resigning now. We believe that this is the only way that healing can truly begin and pave the way for moral reformation for our nation.

We submit this appeal with urgency, before vested interests in our society exploit the situation and lead us to unchartered and bloody modes of regime change.

Tama na! Sobra na! Hindi na kami magpapagago!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

International Day of Protest

My fellow e-Mandirigma,

I believe it is time for all of us to express our indignation over scandal after scandal involving the Arroyo administration, culminating with the indecent haste with which Erap was granted executive clemency.

Some of you might still recall that on December 13, 2000 – at the height of our eMandirigma campaigns during the Erap impeachment, eLagda successfully staged an International Day of Protest with synchronized protest actions in 21 key cities in the Philippines and throughout the world. It only took us 2 weeks to prepare for it and we showed the world that we had the capacity as a people to stand up for what is right. The event caught international attention and was even featured on

We'd like to do a similar synchronized international protest on November 9, 2007.

I know the timing's tight, but there are a few things working for us. First, we've done it before and some of you already know each other enough to quickly organize a small activity. Second, media – particularly TFC (The Filipino Channel), has wider reach now. We can feed them information on the planned protest action in different locations and there's a good chance that the events will be well covered. And third, there's you-tube so you can upload your particular protest action in your locality for every Filipino to see.

We'll keep it simple. All you need to do is gather at least 10 people to go the Philippine embassy or consular office and submit a manifesto. (The Manifesto appears at the end of this post). Wear black shirts. You can print slogans on the shirt, or if possible, on placards. Some suggested slogans:

Patalsikin na! Now na!
Hindi ako gago!
Hindi na kami magpapagago!
GMA – Erap ka rin!
Tama na! Sobra na!
Nakatanggap ka ba? (rhetorically addressed to Congressmen and governors)

How do we operationalize this?

If you're part of an organized group and would like to lead the protest action, just email me directly at so I can direct people in your locality to coordinate with you. Otherwise, you may want to subscribe to any of the location-based elagda egroups so you can work with others in your location. The complete list and instructions on how to enroll are appended at the end of this message.

May I also request those who led the various cell groups in the 2000 International Day of Protest to please email me if you're interested in again leading your group for a similar action.

BTW, our brothers in the Middle East are already organizing in the key cities, while Fr. Robert Reyes will lead activities in HongKong.


For those of you, especially those outside of the country, who have not been closely following the recent events, please refer to a previous posting: "MQ Test". Click this to read the complete post:

Let me just add that after more than 11 days of trying to explain away the payoffs of P500K to Congressmen and Governors attending a meeting at Malacanang through several conflicting stories, the LPP (League of Provinces of the Phils.) owned up to giving out the money. And this happened on the exact same day when LPP came out with full-page ads in all major dailies declaring that there was no such exchange of money at the Palace. Grabe! Ginagago na talaga tayo.

And when the LPP ploy backfired, guess what happened next? GMA pardons Erap. For reconciliation daw. But I think it's more for obfuscation and to shift the public debate away from the scandals hounding her. No, it will not start the healing they proffer; instead, it will open up old wounds that will once again divide the nation.

If you were incensed by the racist slur of Desperate Housewives, you should be even more incensed by a Desperate President who is all too willing to mock our justice system and divide the nation just to stay in power.

To put the famous words of Abraham Lincoln in our local language:

Kaya mong gaguhin ang ilang tao sa lahat ng panahon,
Kaya mong gaguhin ang lahat ng tao paminsan-minsan,
Pero hindi mo kayang gaguhin ang lahat ng tao sa lahat ng panahon.

Tama na! Sobra na! Hindi na tayo magpapagago!

God bless,


The elagda cell groups:

In December 2000, I created one egroups for each possible location for the purpose of mobilizing for the international day of protest. Many of these cell groups are marginally active, but all of them can still be reactivated for the present campaign.

The name indicates the location. For example, for Batangas, I created

To subscribe, you have to send a blank e-mail to the group's subscribe address. In the case of Batangas, you have to send a blank e-mail to To make it easy for you, I've included the "subscribe" suffix in the email addresses below so you can simply click on it, then click send.

To post a message, you need to send it to the egroups address (without the "subscribe" keyword). Again, using the example above, you send it to "".

Here's the list of cell groups with corresponding locations: (for olongapo and subic) (for Cagayan de Oro) (for General Santos) (for Quezon City) (San Francisco) (Los Angeles) (San Diego) (Washington) (Chicago) (Texas) (New York) (Hongkong) (Singapore)

Manifesto for the International Day of Protest Kontra sa Panggagago

An Urgent Appeal to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

We, Filipinos residing in ________________________________, are scandalized by the indecent haste with which President Arroyo granted executive clemency to former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

It came at a time that we were celebrating the fact that our judicial system could actually work, that we were able to exact accountability from the highest official of the land and convict him of the crime of plunder. The untimely pardon, which came barely 5 weeks after conviction, set aside the decision made by our courts and sends the wrong message to our people, “It’s all right to plunder. All you have to do is make a deal with the ruling power.”

We do not see this leading to national healing as the Palace would like us to believe. Instead, it has opened up old wounds that can only lead to further divisiveness amongst our people.

Neither do we see this as a sincere effort at reconciliation. We believe that this is part of a ploy to deflect attention from the ongoing ZTE scandal and palace payoffs. It merely reflects the culture of transactional politics that has led our country to moral bankruptcy.

We are alarmed at the revelations made during the Senate hearings that seem to indicate the involvement of the First Gentleman in the ZTE deal as well as apparently confirm GMA’s intimate knowledge of the bribery attempt by Benjamin Abalos on Romulo Neri. This administration does not seem inclined to bring erring officials to justice or prevent an anomalous transaction from being consummated. On the contrary, GMA allegedly instructed Neri to fast-track the approval of the National Broadband Network project with ZTE.

We are even more alarmed at ostensibly crude attempts to cover up allegations of bribery inside the very walls of Malacanang with even more bribery.

First, a weak impeachment complaint is filed, one that is doomed to fail and intended only to immunize GMA from further impeachment for another year. In this connection, the Deputy Secretary General of KAMPI – the President’s own party, allegedly offers a P2.0M bribe to Cong. Crispin Beltran to endorse the complaint.

Then, Congressmen and Governors are invited to a meeting at Malacanang, presumably to conduct a loyalty check and support the trashing of the impeachment complaint. Attendees are openly given bags with bundles of cash – as much as P500K each, as “gifts”. And when the “gift-giving” is exposed, the League of Provinces of the Philippines belatedly owns up to giving the cash, a ploy eerily similar to Iggy Arroyo owning up to the Jose Pidal account of the First Gentleman.

To make matters even worse, the Palace actually believes we will buy their excuses and cover up stories. Hindi naman siguro ganyan kagago ang mamamayang Pilipino.

We decry the blatant and brazen impunity with which GMA, her Cabinet officials, her allies in Congress and local government have lied to the people. In her desperate attempt to cling to power, she has lost all moral scruples.

We declare our loss of confidence in her leadership, and we appeal to her that if there is any sense of decency and patriotism left in her heart, that she should make the supreme sacrifice by resigning now. We believe that this is the only way that healing can truly begin and pave the way for moral reformation for our nation.

We submit this appeal with urgency, before vested interests in our society exploit the situation and lead us to unchartered and bloody modes of regime change.

Tama na! Sobra na! Hindi na kami magpapagago!

Friday, October 26, 2007


Today will be marked as a miserable day in our nation’s history. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s pardon of former president Joseph Estrada, granted without need of a public admission of guilt, is a mockery of justice and an insult to all Filipinos. It is a reflection of the culture of transactional politics that has characterized GMA’s regime, which has brought our country to a state of moral bankruptcy.

We ask every citizen to join us in mourning the death of justice in our country. Tie black ribbons to your vehicles and wear black every Friday starting today. Let us paint this nation’s heart black, for that is its color at its core. Those in government who often claim respect for the rule of law and who are sworn to uphold it are the very ones who pervert it.

Let us also stop according our government officials – the President, Vice-President, Cabinet Secretaries, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, and Mayors allied with GMA, the honor they do not deserve. Ginagago na tayo. The least we can do is to STOP calling them “honorable”, refuse to shake their hands, or stand up or clap for them at their public appearances.

Each one of us should ask our Governor, Mayor, and Congressman of whatever party affiliation, “Pumunta ka ba sa Malacanang?” and “Nakatanggap ka ba?” With the ease by which they offend our sensibilities and basic decency, they deserve no less than our ostracism.

To our OFWs who have kept our economy afloat with your sacrifice and hard-earned remittances, we ask that you express your outrage through emails that you are so good at sending out around the world. Please send messages of indignation to Philippine embassies and consulates in your host countries. Work to use your influence over your families to boot out corrupt officials in 2010. Help us express global outrage at the impunity with which an illegitimate president rules.

Sadly, the reason we are in this state of moral bankruptcy today is because we have been indirect accomplices in the past through our silence.

It is time to break our silence. Tama Na. Sobra Na. Hindi na kami magpapagago!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The Black and White Movement adds its voice to mounting opposition against Malacanang's intention to grant former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada unconditional pardon.

Why the gratuitous haste?

We believe this is a political ploy intended to shift the focus of public debate away from the ZTE scandal and palace payoffs towards this potentially divisive issue. It comes at a time when GMA herself is embroiled in accusations of corruption. It reveals this administration’s nonchalant and tolerant attitude towards graft and corruption. It is no wonder that bribery on a grand scale can be allegedly committed with brazen impunity in Malacanan Palace, the proverbial hearth of government.

The bishops were right – we have a morally bankrupt leadership.

Furthermore, we are particularly incensed about the idea of granting Erap an unconditional pardon because this concession will restore his full civil and political rights, allow him to retain the properties and monies he claims are not even his, without public admission of guilt. An unconditional pardon effectively sets aside the Sandiganbayan’s conviction of the former president. The hard work put into six years of litigation by both parties was all for naught.

This irreverent compromise sends the wrong message to our people, “It’s all right to plunder, as long as you can cut a deal with those in power.”

At a time when we can finally celebrate an achievement that proves our justice system works, that our judiciary can exact accountability from the highest official of the land, this single act will irreparably retard the people’s trust in our system.

We are not against pardon per se, especially if it is granted for humanitarian reasons. What we oppose is the timing and the motives behind it. Given the circumstances attending this planned unconditional pardon, the Black and White Movement says, “Hindi pa tamang panahon.” - END

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Black & White Truth Forum on Recent Events

See confirmed guest list below. We look forward to seeing you then. Please invite your friends who normally don't attend these forums but are seething.

Confirmed guests: Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Jose de Venecia III, Carlos Conde (Media, NUJP), Mon Casiple (IPER)

Friday, October 19, 2007

MQ Test

By now, it’s obvious to all that the impeachment complaint filed by Pulido is a sham, intended only to immunize GMA for a year from a more legitimate complaint.

Rep. Crispin Beltran and two other congressmen were offered bribes of up to P2.0M by Kampi Deputy Secretary General Francis Ver just to endorse the complaint. Rep. Cuenca of Cebu and a few other congressmen under cover of anonymity admits having received P200 to P500T after a meeting of pro-admin solons in Malacanang where GMA gave the marching orders in connection with the impeachment, “Do the right thing.” In a separate meeting at the Palace on the same day, governors and mayors were given brown envelopes containing similar amounts.

At first, palace officials denied the payoffs ever happened. But after Fr. Ed Panlilio – Governor of Pampanga, showed to media the envelope and the crisp bills of cash, they feigned ignorance, wondering like the rest of us whodunit. Amazing.

Amidst these brazen and unconscionable acts of corruption and outright lies, we see no outrage – not even a whimper, from people or organized groups.

I am no longer surprised. Jarius Bondoc wrote several articles on the anomalous ZTE deal as early as March. But nobody paid attention. It was only after he exposed the Abalos sexcapades that people took heed. Corruption alone, even on a grand scale, no longer bothers us. It needs a bit of sex, or perhaps murder, to scandalize people.

Our national conscience has been desensitized irreparably and we have lost the capacity for outrage. We have become an indifferent, if not a cynical people. And the few who are incensed by the unfolding events feel helpless, not knowing how or where to vent their anger.

Is there hope? It really depends on each one of us. By now, I hope, we must have realized that the impunity we see today is a direct consequence of our apathy and inaction in the past. If we sit idly by and do nothing, it will only get worse.

First, let’s take stock of how we view things from a moral standpoint, before we even think of what we can and should do. I invite you to take the Morality Quotient Test (MQ test) below.

What is your reaction in each of the situation described below? (Choose one that approximates your attitude)

1. Fr. Ed Panlilio accepts the P500,000 given out after a meeting with GMA by mayors and governors at Malacanang. He said the money did not come from jueteng or from any illegal source, so he decided to accept it. He intends to use it for projects that will benefit his constituents. How do you feel about this?

a. It was naïve of him to accept it. Understandable. He is, after all, a rookie politician. But now that he knows more about the circumstances of the payoff, he should just return the money.

b. I agree with Fr. Ed. Nothing wrong with using “clean” money to help the poor folks of Pampanga.

c. Father Ed, welcome to the world of politics. You should get used to this kind of wheeling and dealing.

d. He should not have received it in the first place. But since he did, then he should shut up. He’s only giving the opposition fodder for their destabilization efforts.

2. Rep. Cuenca admits in a radio interview that he received a P200T “Christmas gift” after the Malacanang meeting. Other congressmen present in the meeting denied there were “gifts” given out. Cuenca later recants and says it was just a joke. How could he receive a “Christmas gift” when it’s not yet Christmas, he argues. Cong. Defensor says, even if it were true, there’s nothing wrong with it. And Sec. Lito Atienza says, that it’s really standard practice for the President to give her allies gifts of up to P200K after such meetings. It was so in the 9 years that he was mayor. How do you feel about this?

a. I am outraged not only by the brazenness of the payoff and how our elected officials are trivializing it, but also by the blatant lying. The mere fact that this happened in Malacanang should compel the President to resign.

b. This should be investigated by the proper agencies (PAGC or Ombudsman or even the Senate) to determine culpability, punish the guilty, and clear the names of Congressmen who did not receive any amount.

c. What else is new? As Atienza says, this has been going on for the longest time. No matter who the president is, this practice will continue.

d. Elected and appointed officials should be more circumspect in their public pronouncements. Reckless statements like these are tainting our image and might scare investors away.

3. Joey de Venecia vividly describes how the First Gentleman points a menacing finger to his face asking him to “Back Off!” The First Gentleman vehemently denies it and says he could not possibly have done it since he didn’t know Joey personally. But he did advice Joey that he could be violating the law which prohibits relatives of the Speaker from entering into a transaction with government. Obviously, one or both of them are lying. What’s your take?

a. I believe Joey. I can’t imagine him having the audacity to invent such a fantastic story. The Senate should compel, if necessary, the First Gentleman to explain his side.

b. It’s really Joey’s word against the First Gentleman’s. Let the investigation take its full course and let the people decide for themselves.

c. It doesn’t really matter who’s lying. They probably both are. As some senators have said, it’s just a quarrel for kickbacks.

d. It’s probably part of a PR demolition job against FG to discredit and embarrass the GMA government.

4. Palace officials and pro-admin senators are saying that the Senate ZTE hearings should now be terminated, having been rendered moot by the resignation of Comelec Chairman Abalos. The Senate should instead focus on legislating priority bills to alleviate the condition of our people. Besides, they argue, Sec. Neri has already said everything he is willing to reveal and will only invoke executive privilege if pressed by the Senators. What do you think?

a. The hearings should continue to ferret out the truth and determine culpability of all officials involved, possibly including GMA. The Senate should challenge executive privilege at the Supreme Court if Neri invokes it. As for Abalos, a criminal case should be filed against him.

b. The Senate should continue the hearings. However, if there are no new witnesses or information, then they should stop and instead legislate laws as they were mandated to do.

c. Nothing good ever comes out of Senate investigations. Senators, especially those with presidential ambitions, are just showboating.

d. The hearings should stop. People are not interested in scandals. They’re more interested in improving the economy. This will give them jobs and food on the table. Senators should instead work double time to pass bills that will improve the economy.

5. PERC – a risk consultancy firm, released its report on corruption among Asian countries. The Philippines garnered the highest index (8.6 on a scale of 10) making it the most corrupt country in Asia. Opposition groups cited this in their information campaign. Malacanang countered with a media blitz saying that PERC never said the Philippines is the most corrupt, and that this was merely the perception of company executives surveyed. It accused the opposition groups of distorting the survey for their own political ends, and that this has set back the economic gains that the administration has worked so hard to achieve. What’s your take?

a. The fact remains that the Philippines is now the most corrupt Asian country. All corruption reports, including those prepared by Transparency International, are based on perceptions. Rather than worry about tainting our image, we should instead work on reducing the incidents and magnitude of corruption. And it should start from the very top.

b. Even if it’s true that we have become the most corrupt, harping on it does not help much. We should instead work together to improve the situation.

c. What’s all the fuss? We don’t need a foreign agency to tell us what we already know.

d. Let’s not nitpick on the issue of corruption. Other countries as corrupt, if not more, than us are prosperous. Let’s focus on improving our economy.

How to score: add 20 points for every (a) answer, 15 points for every (b) answer, 10 points for every (c) answer and 5 points for every (d) answer.

Interpreting your total score:

THE IDEALIST. If you scored a perfect 100, you’re a hopeless idealist. To a lot of people, you’re a self-righteous moralist, out of touch with realpolitik, and uncompromising. While it seems you’re on the extreme, you may just be the right person to countervail what the CBCP now sees as the moral bankruptcy of our leaders. You must be fuming mad by now with the unraveling of one scandal after the other.

THE CONSCIENTIOUS. If you scored between 90 to 95, you have a fairly decent sense of right and wrong, perhaps tempered only by a healthy fear of instability. With the brazenness and impunity you see today, you are probably ready to act on the dictates of your conscience.

THE PRAGMATIC. If you scored between 65 to 85, you consider yourself a well-balanced person, looking at the big picture rather than just the moral dimension of an issue. When scandals first hounded GMA, you’re probably one of those who kept asking, “But who will replace her?” With the magnitude of bribery you now see, you’re probably close to saying, “I don’t care who replaces her. Just get her out!”

THE CYNIC. If you scored between 30 to 60, you are probably snickering and saying, “I told you so.” You are unfazed by current events, and are determined to continue doing what you do best – nothing. Well… you deserve the country we have today.

THE RUTHLESS If you scored between 20 to 25, you have a single-minded tunnel vision towards economic prosperity. Your philosophy in life could be – “Screw morality. You can’t eat morality. It’s the economy, stupid!” To you, the end justifies the means. I can only say one thing. God unleashed His wrath when His people sacrificed at the altar of Baal. I believe God has unleashed His wrath upon our nation because people like you have likewise been idolatrous – worshipping at the altar of economic progress.

What can we do?

For starters, you can forward this email to others. Don’t forget to mention your score and how you feel about the current issues.

Secondly, you can join us. The Black and White Movement is organizing a forum this coming Monday morning, October 22 entitled, “Civil Society Consultation – Ano ang Tamang Tugon kung Ginagago na ang Mamayan?” Email me ( if you want to come so I can send you an invitation. Seats are limited so I can only send out so many invitations. Or if you can’t attend, then just email me your suggested action which I can present at the forum.

Of course, if you’re the cynic or ruthless type, there’s always the “delete” key to deal with this distraction. You might as well throw your TV set out and cancel your newspaper subscription. These issues will simply not go away for days and weeks to come.

God bless and God save our country.


Monday, October 15, 2007


"Loyalty cannot be blueprinted. It cannot be produced on an assembly line. In fact, it cannot be manufactured at all, for its origin is the human heart-the center of self-respect and human dignity. It is a force which leaps into being only when conditions are exactly right for it-and it is a force very sensitive to betrayal." - Maurice R. Franks

Are there still people among us whose value system has not been eroded? Can we still tell right from wrong?

And then there were two. Days after Governor Ed Panlilio of Pampanga admitted receiving a paper bag stuffed with five bundles of thousand peso bills amounting to a cool Php.5M, Bulacan Governor Jonjon Mendoza has admitted to receiving the same amount in a paper bag by an unidentified female Palace factotum as he was leaving Malacanan. Gov. Mendoza also admitted to receiving Gov. Panliliio’s “share” and handing it over to “Among” Ed’s assistant.

The Black & White Movement praises Governors Panlilio and Mendoza for their adherence to transparency and willingness to be held accountable. We also laud Gov. Panlilio’s move to request clarification from the President about what the fund is meant for and the need for an official receipt. It is shocking and highly irregular for public officials to receive money in such a clandestine manner. The lack of proper procedure and transparency taint the act, and so the motives behind these “gifts” and “donations” become questionable.

We have difficulty understanding Press Sec. Ignacio Bunye’s claim that "there is nothing wrong with receiving a donation, provided it is put to good use". Since when is it standard operating procedure for an administration to disburse funds in paper bags? Whose money did they receive? Are these monies public funds? Should these amounts not be properly recorded and receipted?

We are appalled at the apparent nonchalance of some congressmen and governors. Many of them seem to believe that it is a matter of course to receive money from the Palace in this dubious manner. We call on those public officials that still adhere to high moral and ethical standards to come forward and join Messrs. Panlilio and Mendoza as gentlemen.

We are likewise appalled at the stony silence of the bishops who have ceased to be voices in the wilderness, who have become moral dwarfs amongst a conspiracy of the mute. Even the stones cry out for indignation and yet the bishops continue to vacillate and turn a blind eye to the growing festering sight of corruption.

Finally, we are heartened by the call of some senators for an investigation into the allegations that public funds may have been given to public officials as bribes by the present administration. Inaction by government to police itself will further the degradation of our value system.

Loyalty cannot be bought. It must be earned.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain. -- Author Unknown

In the midst of heightened public anticipation of more revelations about the ZTE scandal, and rising satisfaction in a Senate that is exercising its duty to provide us check and balance, there is news that there will no longer be any Senate hearings on this disgraceful issue until further notice. What’s up with that? The momentum is just maxing out. Who wants to pull the plug?

The onus falls squarely on the shoulders of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. As chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, he calendars the hearings and schedules the witnesses. His recent statements in the news have been perceived by many as rather disturbing. Sen. Cayetano indicated that witnesses may be unavailable to warrant the holding of a session, there are no new witnesses to call, that nothing new may be revealed by witnesses like Joey de Venecia. Moreover, he would like to give himself and a number of his colleagues the opportunity to attend the IPU.

With respect, we find these reasons to be rather flimsy. After all, Jarius Bondoc broke journalistic protocol and has published all the privileged communications he had with Romulo Neri to point the Senate in new directions. Regarding Romulo Neri - whatever happened to the Senate’s plan to challenge his invocation of executive privilege? What about Joey de Venecia’s recent claims against a prominent businessman?

In addition, we have yet to hear from First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. His alleged involvement in this scandal should have peaked Sen. Cayetano’s interest.

The final reason of Sen. Cayetano seems to reflect a distorted sense of priority. Is the planned attendance of a few legislators to an international forum so important as to justify the postponement of the ZTE Contract hearings?

These lame excuses are uncharacteristic of the feisty oppositionist. Perception is everything. These excuses seem to lend credence to the flurry of text messages alleging that Sen. Cayetano has discontinued the hearings at the behest of a more senior Senator who is supposedly being pressured by the influential businessman implicated in this scandal.

The announcement by GMA from China saying that the ZTE Deal is finally cancelled should not be viewed as a successful cap on a contentious issue.

The Black & White Movement wants to be proven wrong. We hope to hear that the hearings will be continued as soon as possible. There are many questions left unanswered and the public deserves to know now. Is the First Gentleman really involved and to what extent? How much does the President know? Is she culpable? What actions did she take after Neri reported the attempted bribery? How was the NBN project transformed from a BOT to a bilateral loan agreement? Are there other personalities involved? These questions cannot be left hanging.

When Sen. Cayetano broke ranks with the opposition to support the bid of perceived pro-administration Manny Villar for the Senate Presidency, he argued that he did so because of party affiliation. We understood. But this time, the stakes are higher and people may not be as understanding. The Black and White Movement humbly suggests that Sen. Cayetano heed the example of President Manuel L. Quezon, “my loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.”

Saturday, September 29, 2007


No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. - Buddha

The struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma is a struggle for life and dignity. It is a struggle that encompasses our political, social and economic aspirations. – Aung San Suu Kyi

As we Filipinos fret over domestic scandals under a reign of impunity, another country not too far away is gripped in its own struggle against its government. The people of Burma have decided to reach for liberty after more than forty years of oppressive martial rule.

It took rising gas prices to begin their peaceful defiance, apart from decades of tyrannical rule. Fed up with worsening economic conditions, Burma’s Buddhist monks have been leading non-violent marches against the current regime for days, many walking barefoot, with their alms bowls upturned as an insult to the military. They have been joined by civilians; their numbers have swelled daily into the hundreds of thousands. Finally, fearful that it may look weak to a world largely kept in the dark, the military dictatorship responded to quiet disobedience in the way they know best – with truncheons and bullets.

As of this writing, there have been nine people confirmed dead, Buddhist monks and a Japanese journalist among them. Hundreds have been hurt, and many more have been arrested and jailed. Because communication has been blocked, it is difficult to ascertain just how much brutality has been wreaked. The few videos and pictures that have been sneaked out show appalling viciousness by the military. The images bring Filipino memories back to a time rife with similar violence under dictatorial rule.

The Black & White Movement adds its voice to all Filipinos and citizens of the world that are appealing to the Burmese junta to bring an end to atrocities and repression. Democracy and liberty are what the Burmese people deserve.

We send our solidarity and prayers to the brave Burmese monks and citizens standing tall for principles we all hold dear. We pray for their safety and wellbeing.

Let the global demand be, the age of impunity is over (UK Ambassador to UN). For the Burmese people, our fervent wish is freedom.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Romulo Neri - A Major Disappointment

Here are two recent press releases we issued in regard to recent Senate hearings on the scandal-ridden ZTE Broadband Deal. The first deals with our hope that Romulo Neri would find the moral conviction to tell the truth. The second release was sent out today in response to Neri's lack of candor (to put it mildly):

A Prayer for Romulo Neri

Cursed as we are with an administration wherein lying has become official policy, it is refreshing to see a possible exception in the making.

When asked about the controversial ZTE Deal, CHED Chairman Romulo Neri neither confirmed nor denied that, a) he was offered a P200M bribe by Abalos, b) he reported it to the President, c) the President ordered him to ignore the bribe but approve the project, and d) the First Gentleman had nothing to do with the suspicious contract, the people had good reason to rejoice.

Neither confirming nor denying assertions usually means the claims are true.

Our hopes were buoyed even more when he said he would tell the truth if and when asked in the right forum.

Tomorrow, Romulo Neri will testify at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the NBN contract – in our view the appropriate forum for the truth to be laid bare.

Public concern is at an all time high. Being inundated with texts of support from friends, classmates and strangers, all pleading with him to keep strong and retain his credibility by testifying truthfully, the erstwhile NEDA Secretary must be thinking that his declarations under oath may have serious political implications. Being an economic thinker and planner may have caused him to weigh the pros and cons of his potentially explosive testimony, and evaluate several scenarios that might result from his statements.

If we were allowed to read his mind, one scenario he could find nauseating would be that his declarations could lead to the downfall of the GMA administration, only to be replaced by people from a discredited regime, and/or by politicians and vested interest groups who will plunder this nation even more than it has by this incumbent regime. Fears like these may repulse him enough to balk and hold off from telling the truth.

Another guess is Chairman Neri may be asking himself, “Is all this risk really worth it?”

In answer to Chairman Romulo Neri, the Black & White Movement says, yes! Doing the right thing is always worth the risk. Being candid and forthright may not necessarily result in the state of affairs we all desire, but these acts of sincerity may facilitate liberation from the current culture of impunity under which we suffer.

Very few people are given the privilege to change the destiny of a nation. Chairman Neri, as they say in baseball parlance, “batter up”!

The Black and White Movement joins the rest of the nation in praying that Romulo Neri will be blessed with the courage and patriotism to do the right thing and give us the home run we all pray for. Let the truth set you free! Mabuhay ka! - - END

Of Truth and Heroic Acts

What we heard from erstwhile NEDA Secretary Romulo at yesterday’s senate hearing on the ZTE Deal was not exactly the entire truth. Whatever the amount of truth told, the result was glaring – truth diluted, if not polluted.

When witnesses are sworn, they are asked to tell “the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Partial truth telling is never good enough.

When Neri fearlessly revealed the bribery attempt of Abalos during a golf game, we exulted. Finally, the truth from a credible person, an alter ego of the President, we all thought. Maybe Neri would ultimately live up to being the hero the people hoped he would be, was the following thought. But the second he started invoking executive privilege on behalf of his “principal”, all notions of Neri being a hero quickly vanished.

Why would Neri be completely truthful regarding the alleged bribe attempt by Chairman Abalos, but terribly evasive when it came to his conversations regarding the bribe with GMA? Was he trying to protect his President? Or was he cowering in fear for his life? We’d like to think that his reticence was for the latter reason.

We surmise that he fears, if not for his life, then for the possible national instability that his testimony might trigger so Neri decided to mitigate the imagined risk by invoking executive privilege.

The Black & White Movement wishes to let Romulo Neri know that his risk-aversion strategy really sucked.

Executive privilege and its mean sisters, EO 464 and MO 108, hinder our search for truth. The Senate should exorcise timidity and legalistic stonewalling from the body politic. Astute legal observers opine that GMA has already been implicated in a betrayal of public trust.

It took some time for Joey de Venecia to find the hero inside him, to muster the courage to implicate the First Gentleman and Chairman Abalos as part of the ZTE deal. It takes soul searching and earnest resolve to overcome fear under extraordinary circumstances. There is still time for fearless candor from Neri. Careful thought might direct him to follow Mr. de Venecia’s example.

Senator Lacson prodded Neri, counseling that Neri might be squandering his defining moment, Neri curtly replied, “Let me be the judge of that”. The Black & white Movement disagrees with Chairman Neri. It is ultimately history that will judge your actions. And you, Chairman Neri, may still have an opportunity to shape that judgment – whether to be a hero or a heel. - - END

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


We respect the decision of the Sandiganbayan in regard to the plunder case against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

We presume the court arrived at its decision after careful evaluation of evidence presented during the trial.

The Black & White Movement, however, laments the selective application of justice – expedient and with a heavy hand for those perceived to be enemies of the GMA regime, while slow and protective toward those allied with her.

What is the difference between Jose Velarde and Jose Pidal?

Why has this government not pursued the cases against Nani Perez, Joc-Joc Bolante, Virgilio Garcillano, and more recently, Benjamin Abalos’ alleged complicity in the ZTE deal? Instead of pursuing these cases, this administration has stonewalled through gag orders such as the illegal EO 464 and questionable MO 108.

This reflects the sad state of our justice system where political patronage is the rule of the day. Those out of favor with the powers that be are prosecuted while those in the inner circle are beyond the reach of the long arm of the law. As former President “Erap” himself has put it… “weather-weather lang.”

We can only hope that when the political winds change direction, those who are currently in the circle of power, who are allegedly involved in crimes more sinister and heinous than Erap’s plunder, will have their day in court.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Faulty Logic

Here's a recent post from Enteng. I tried posting it two weeks ago but was prevented by a Blogspot glitch.

Math was my favorite subject. I still remember an exercise where, using theorems and postulates, you had to prove that 1+0=1. That was fun.

That’s probably why I was gravitated to a career in computer programming, which required a rigid discipline in logic. Faulty logic can prove disastrous.

Consider, for example, the following instructions for an ATM machine: “If requested amount is not less than the minimum amount or requested amount is not more than the maximum amount, then dispense cash requested.” No matter what amount you request, it will always dispense cash – probably not what the programmer intended. Think about it.

When I became active in political advocacy (which started only during the anti-Erap campaign), I realized that people easily fall prey to faulty logic, especially if it conveniently aligns with their own biases.

The classic example is the law of transitivity. A simplified application of this law works this way: If A likes B, and B likes C, then A will most probably like C. In advertising, this translates to the power of endorsements. If I like Piolo, and Piolo says he wears Bench, I will most probably consider buying Bench. Logical.

Here’s how it gets distorted: If A dislikes C, and B dislikes C, then A likes B. Let’s frame it in more real terms: Enteng dislikes GMA, and Erap dislikes GMA, therefore Enteng likes Erap. Not necessarily true. To prove the point, consider this: Enteng dislikes fish, and Hitler dislikes fish, does that mean Enteng likes Hitler? Absurd. And yet, many EDSA 2 veterans who fought for the removal of Erap have bought the palace line that anyone who criticizes GMA is pro-Erap.

The Erap camp is guilty of distorted logic as well. The more logical reading of the GO win in the last elections should be: People disliked GMA, GMA liked (and endorsed) TU, therefore people disliked and DID NOT vote for TU candidates.

But they intentionally misread it as: Erap endorsed GO candidates, people voted for GO candidates, therefore people still like Erap. Using this conclusion, they warn government that people will not take too kindly an Erap conviction. The biggest counterargument to this is the debacle of John Osmena. Erap endorsed him and he still lost badly.

People chide me for the things I do, unfortunately, based on wrong logic. Some would say: I opposed Erap, I oppose GMA, therefore I’m a communist... because that’s what communists do – oppose and attempt to topple government. Many don’t know that when we started the Heal our Land Movement in 2003, we prayed for GMA every week. It was only after the Garci scandal that I started advocating accountability from GMA.

Others taunt me for endorsing some GO senators only to decry their betrayal of the people’s mandate in the process of selecting the senate president. Well... election is the season to be partisan, and I believe that more than just voting, we should campaign for candidates whom we think can serve the people best. And if they later turn out to be deficient or deceitful, let us not tire in denouncing their misdeeds. The alternative – to sit idly by, will not do much good either.

While on the subject, I cannot fathom the logic of Villar’s unholy alliance with the Senate administration bloc. I know he had to do it to secure the senate presidency, and enter the 2010 presidential derby with an edge. But does he really think the advantage of the office can outweigh the stigma of being identified with GMA? Didn’t he learn from the last election? Or does he really believe that our people have such short memory?

Maybe it’s true – politicians are a different species altogether... the kind that’s immune to the laws of logic.

Finally, there are things we do that defy logic. Some people ask why we even bother to pursue impeachment when we don’t have the numbers in Congress. Logical question. The short and simple answer is: because it’s the right thing to do. Had we, as a people, stuck only to what is logical– EDSA 1 and 2 would never have happened.

More than logic, our actions should be guided by a sense of right and wrong. If you bothered to listen to the Garci tapes or read its transcript, you will reach only one logical conclusion: that GMA most probably cheated. In fact, very few (including the most avid supporters of GMA) will deny this.

Yet, they will not act on it and will offer you all sorts of reason to rationalize their position. Everybody cheats anyway. She would have won just the same even if she did not cheat. I’m glad she cheated- she saved us from an FPJ presidency. Who will replace her. Would you rather have Noli. The economy is doing well – why rock the boat.

It’s a long list of reasons, each with a veneer of logical infallibility that makes it seem right. But at its guts, you know it’s neither logical nor right. It’s sad to see how years of despair and disillusionment with our leaders have made our people morally callous and all too willing to accept the lesser evil rather than fighting for what is truly right.

There is an important lesson in this last election. You let cheating of the magnitude revealed in the Garci tapes go unpunished, expect the next wave to be more brazen and rampant. That is the logical progression.

For the benefit of the logically impaired amongst you, let me end this piece with a reiteration of my position on key issues today:

1. Yes, I believe GMA cheated and I will continue to ask for accountability because it is the right thing to do.

2. No, it doesn’t mean I’m pro-Erap, much less support any effort to restore him to power. I still believe we did right at EDSA 2. But it’s in the hands of the court now. And unless there are clear indications of deliberate efforts to subvert justice, we should all accept the court’s verdict, whatever it may be.

3. Yes, I agree that the constitution should be amended, but only after GMA’s term lest it be misused to extend her term of office.

4. No, I am not an obstructionist who will oppose any and all initiatives of GMA. Neither will I support everything from the opposition.

5. Yes, I can sense that the economy is doing well. But it is no excuse to condone the cheating or to be silent in the face of unabated killings, rising levels of corruption, and imposition of the anti-terror law. It’s quite possible that the economy might do even better if the issue of legitimacy is finally settled. After all, our neighbors in the region – including Vietnam, are faring much better than we are.

6. Yes, I will continue to campaign for and against candidates in future elections, even when some whom I campaigned for in the past turn out to be disappointments, ever hopeful that we will one day have the right mix of leaders who will lead the path to a better Philippines. And yes, I will probably campaign against Manny Villar in 2010 if he aligns with the administration this early.

7. YES, I will continue to pray for our country. In the end, kingdoms and nations rise and fall not by man’s wisdom or folly, but according to God’s sovereign will.

God bless the Philippines.


Sunday, July 15, 2007


GOD helps those that help themselves. So when Migz Zubiri thanked God, he was also thanking Gloria, Garci, Bedol, and Abalos: the faces of our modern "democrazy".

Imagine that. The power and the glory now belong to Migz, now, if not forever. We commiserate with Chavit Singson ­ how in heaven's name could Chavit have lost his top rank to Migz? Poor guy must be really depressed. What a difference a month makes. Chavit was once upon a time first in Maguindanao: but as we now know, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Even the improbable ones.

Now, Migz owes a lot. When he thanked God, Mama Mary, and all the saints, he was being a grateful person. Grateful, maybe not to the people of Maguindanao, but definitely thankful to all those who helped make his election as credible as Mrs. Arroyo's 2004 victory. As the second most impoverished province of ARMM, we can only hope Maguindanao gets the attention it deserves from him and that it's not just the usual suspects, who get to enjoy the blessings helping Migz win will give.

As for the millions of us that voted for Koko Pimentel, we had it coming. We were old-fashioned enough to believe what mattered more was a genuine mandate, that our votes would count as much as the votes for Migz. How were we to know, that neither our votes nor Migz' votes, mattered at all? What mattered most was never in the public's hands: it was the counting, and who did the counting, that mattered. It didn't even matter if the votes were there, and it didn't matter if all anyone wanted was a chance to vote again, without terrorism and manufactured documents substituting for an election.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


"Muslims cannot dishonor a treaty; they cannot mutilate the dead; they cannot kill women, children, the elderly or any person who does not carry weapons" - Quote from a Khutba (sermon during Friday congregational prayers in the mosques) prepared by the Mufti's of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
The Black & White Movement condemns in the strongest possible terms the beheading of ten marine soldiers following a firefight with members of the 8th Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT). "It is an inhuman and barbaric act that has no place in any civilized society and we ask that all means be exhausted to bring the perpetrators to justice", says BnW lead convenor Enteng Romano.

Islam condemns decapitation or mutilation of human beings. Filipinos of all faiths decry this brutal act. We condole with the families of the dead.

We are likewise dismayed and horrified at the substandard equipment with which the marines were made to defend themselves. TV news footage showing the failure of a trench mortar to fire as the marines fought for their lives was pitiful and heartrending. We place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the AFP leadership and the current administration for its failure to curtail widespread corruption in military procurement. Once again, the lowly soldier pays the ultimate price for greed and corruption in the military establishment.

We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and urge the protagonists to return to the negotiating table to pursue a long term solution to the armed struggle that roils Mindanao.

We are one nation yearning for peace.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

An Urgent Appeal to GO Senators

This is a letter we sent to GO Senators, particularly Senators Escudero and Cayetano, last 28 June. For the record, we have spoken with Sen. Escudero about this but have yet to receive a response from Sen. Cayetano.

Dear Senators

We are alarmed at the way the fight for the Senate presidency is developing. The 14th Congress has not yet opened, and already we are seeing the people’s mandate for an opposition-dominated Senate being squandered.

We view with grave concern that because of a factious opposition bloc, it is ultimately the administration bloc who will determine the outcome of the senate presidency. And the next senate president is inevitably allied, if not beholden, to the administration.

We, therefore, urge the opposition senators ‐ if not the whole bloc, then at least those who won under the GO ticket, to hold a caucus and decide exclusively among yourselves who the next senate president will be. We call on each and every one of you to rise above personal ambitions and loyalties for the higher interest of the people who have pinned their hopes and aspirations upon you in the last election.

The worst thing that could happen is for the opposition to win with an overwhelming mandate the majority of the 12 seats contested, only to end up as the minority in the 14th Congress.

We were one with you when you fought the good fight and celebrated a well‐deserved victory. We pray that you will not fail us on this very important issue.

Vicente R. Romano III
Lead Convenor – Black and White Movement

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

About the Party List Black List

Remember this list? It was circulated via the internet a couple of weeks ago, and I received it from a friend. Now I am posting it so even more people can read it:

Below is a list of "partylist groups" that are fronts of the Arroyo regime and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This list was prepared by KONTRA DAYA (a broad-based election watchdog formed to expose the very possible repeat of wholesale election fraud in the May Philippine elections). Please circulate widely to expose these groups. REJECT these groups in the coming elections!!!

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -

1. AT (Aangat Tayo) connected to PITC Usec. Teddie Elson Rivera

2. Abono connected to House Speaker Jose De Venecia

3. Agbiag! Timpuyog Ilocano, Inc. connected to Office of External Affairs Asec. Marcelo Farinas II

4. Aging Pinoy (Aging Pilipino Organization, Inc.) connected to Norberto Gonzales

5. Ahon (Ahon Pinoy) Dante "Klink" Ang II (1st nominee)

6. Ahonbayan connected to Norberto Gonzales

7. APOI (Akbay Pinoy OFW-National, Inc.) DILG Usec. Melchor Rosales (1st nominee), DILG NCR Dir. Rodolfo Feraren (2nd nominee)

8. AKSA (Aksyon Sambayanan) connected to Norberto Gonzales

9. ANAD (Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy) supported by the AFP

10. ANAK (Angat Ating Kabuhayan Pilipinas, Inc.) Supt. Eduardo Octaviano, NCRPO-PNP (1st nominee)

11. ANC (Alliance of Neo-Conservatives) Usec. for Presidential Appointments Liel Cordoba

12. Ang Kasangga member, Sigaw ng Bayan

13. ARC (Alliance of Rural Concerns) Archie Santiago (son of Sen. Miriam Santiago)

14. ATS (Alliance Transport Sector) Ariel Lim, Presidential Assistant for Public Transport Affairs

15. ABA-AKO Percy Chavez, chairperson, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor

16. Babae Ka (Babae para sa Kaunlaran) member, Sigaw ng Bayan; Sally Dagami (1st nominee), Ruth Vasquez (2nd nominee)

17. BANAT (Barangay Association for National Advancement of Transparency) Raul Lambino (1st nominee)

18. Bantay Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan (1st nominee)

19. Bigkis (Bigkis Pinoy Movement) connected to PAGCOR Chair Ephraim Genuino

20. BP (Biyaheng Pinoy) Dr. Arsenio Abalos, Jesus Cruz (vice-mayor of Mandaluyong)

21. Kalahi (Advocates for Overseas Filipinos) Poe Gratela, former Office of External Affairs coordinator for OFW concerns (1st nominee)

22. VFP (Veterans Freedom Party) supported by the AFP

Well, it seems that this list and our Black List of party list groups have pissed off a few people. The email I circulated among my e-groups went a long way around, and into the inbox of a certain Peri Resabal, who decided to send me this denunciation:

Cheers to that Sonny and Gloria Rutaquio!!! It just shows that the organization that Leah Navarro adheres to is an organization out to topple a government not by elections but by impeachment.

Lahat na party list na walang balak magpatalsik kay Gloria in the next 3-years are all Gloria’s party lists. What a logic!!!

They are a bunch of one track minded individuals who after a change in leadership by people power or otherwise start another impeachment proceeding for the same leader that they help put to power. Kaya di tayo umaasenso.

Pinatalsik si Marcos, pinalit si Cory, tapos gustong patalsikin si Cory kasi walang alam. Nanalo si Ramos, gusto ring patalsikin kasi nangugurakot. Pinanalo si Erap (for his popularity), tapos pinatalsik kasi kurakot, pinalit si Gloria, gusto tanggalin kasi nandaya. Sino ba ang di nandadaya? Sino ba gusto nilang ipalit. Si Noli de Castro? Baka di na umabot si Noli nang 2008, gusto na naman nilang palitan kasi bobo. Leah Navarro, wake up but shut up. Buti pa kumanta ka na lang!

Let’s vote for candidates whom we know who can help stabilize our country!!! We are fed up with chaos. Tama na. Sobra na ang gulo. Isulong ang pag asenso ng ating bayan.

This is what Mr./Ms. Resabal was cheering about:

From: [] On Behalf Of sonny matula
Sent: Monday, April 23, 2007 3:55 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Fw: [civilizing_politics] Fwd: Pls circulate this: ARROYO'S PARTY LISTS

I am the legal counsel of AKSYON SAMBAYANAN (AKSA) and I protest the allegation that AKSA is an Arroyo's Party-list group.

AKSA is a social democratic party-list organization. AKSA advocates authentic politics of clear ideologies and developed programs of government. AKSA works for concrete reforms that empower the ordinary citizens such as workers, farmers, small businessmen and professionals.

AKSA has an award-winning and record in advancing women's rights and gender justice, and has a strong youth program.

AKSA is clearly at the forefront in the struggle for democracy & Christian-Muslim friendship and cooperation, and against the communist extreme left fronts, against the fascist extreme right,& against extremest Islamist terrorism.

AKSA programs addresses six (6) basic aspects of national security: defense, internal security, food, water, environment. For reforms toward a peaceful, secure, educated & prosperous Philippines, for a society that cares for all its members.

AKSA nominees: (1) Elizabeth Cunanan-Angsioco , 49 years of age, National Capital Region. She is the Chair of the Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines (DSWP); NGO Executive Director; Recipient of the International Silver Rose Award for her advocy for women's right. (2) Timoteo Aranjuez, 67, from Bohol, President of the Union of Filipino Workers (UFW) and Chair of the Congress of Labor Organization (CLO). (3) Mao K. Andong, Jr., 55, Cotabato City, peasant organizer and Bangsa Moro Community organizer. (4) Fernando D. Gana, 32, Quezon city, urban poor community organizer, field educator and youth leader. (5) Donna Antoniette A. Casio, 40, Capiz, Research Director of Filamer Christian College, her fields are in community development, microfinance, livelihood. (6) Hadji A. Balajadia, 27, Davao City, intructor of the Ateneo de Davao University,youth leader and Secretary General of the 6th National Youth Parliament.

Atty. Sonny G. Matula
Counsel for AKSA

National Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel of the Federation of Free Workers (FFW), an affiliate of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

It is unfortunate that the impeachment paranoia infecting this administration has caused it to lure party list representations into becoming Mrs. Arroyo’s tag teams if they happen to win seats in Congress. It is also unfortunate that these groups don’t realize that their good intentions and past good deeds (speaking mainly of the incumbent), if any, are erased by their alleged backroom deals, and more importantly, by their willingness to turn a blind eye to the search for truth.

Another sad truth is that the party list system is a convenient back door entry into Congress if you haven’t a snowball’s chance in hell to win a seat as an individual running in your district. It’s also a lot cheaper to buy a nomination into a party list than to parlay tens of millions into a district race.

Our criteria for getting on either the Black List or White List are very narrow – for incumbents we study their voting record regarding the last two impeachments and Constituent Assembly. If you voted for impeachment and against Constituent Assembly, you qualify to be on the White List, and vice versa.

As for newbies, we do as much research as we can on the candidate or party list. Some candidates and party list groups have met with us and defended their positions. Depending on how the consultations go, we make our decisions. Sure, many will say the decisions are subjective, but how would you decide if the conversation with a candidate went like this:

Q: What is your view regarding the alleged cheating in the 2004 elections?
A: That’s an old story. The allegations have never been proven. We should move on.

Q: Would you consider voting in favor of impeaching GMA?
A: That’s an issue that we’d rather not discuss right now, we have to consult with our constituents. You see, we are all about our sector’s needs; it’s not an important issue for us.

You get the drift.

Monday, April 16, 2007

After A Long Spell - The Black & White Lists

Greetings! Yep, I'm back after a protracted hiatus. My absence was partly due to a lot of work, both personal and BnW. It was also due to being just too angry to write. Sometimes it's good to take a step back, recover your well being and refresh yourself.

Another good reason to post is our Congressional and Party List Black List / White List. This is our way of getting involved in the coming local elections. We believe that the road to political and governmental accountability begins in the Lower House. If we want answers to all our questions about scandals like "Hello, Garci", the Fertilizer Scam of Joc Joc Bolante, and burning issues like extra-judicial killings, then we must elect men and women of courage that are willing to impeach Gloria Arroyo in the next Congress. Even more importantly, we must elect Filipinos that will return our badly battered and misused institutions to respectability.

Even now, the battering continues - COMELEC continues to delay the publishing of candidates' names, even Party List nominees. The military is conducting smear campaigns against those they fear, fueled by the paranoia of their civilian leaders. We have witnessed the blatant bias of legislators in exchange for pork and the like, do we really need any more of that? The list goes on and on. And so we have decided to fight back with our own Lists.

Please take the time to visit our website,, weigh in and spread the word.