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.”