Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Murder of the 2008 Impeachment - List of Justice Committee Members & How They Voted

We have acquired the Justice Committee Official List of those who voted for and against dismissing the impeachment complaint lodged against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for insufficiency in substance.

We laud the courageous defense by House Minority members led by Rep. Ronaldo Zamora. They were impassioned, committed to truth, could not be bought, bowed or cowed. Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. was a revelation in his spirited recital and appeal to his colleagues. We thank all of them for living up to their designation, for not being blind, deaf or silent to the truth.

Against Dismissing the Complaint
1. Minority Leader and San Juan Ronaldo Zamora
2. Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo
3. Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza
4. Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casino
5. Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona
6. Makati Rep. Mar-Len Binay
7. Paranaque Rep. Rufus Rodriguez
8. South Cotabato Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio

As for the members of the Majority, they certainly played to character. This segment of the list was at first unavailable because the Committee Secretariat was instructed to omit listing the names of those who voted against the complaint, further proof that these GMA sycophants knew their actions were despicable, their behavior indefensible. Remember their names. If we can inform and educate our electorate (and we will do our best to achieve this) to make better choices of their leaders, these guys will be yesterday's garbage.

For the Dismissal of the Complaint
1. Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro
2. Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman
3. Baguio City Rep. Mauricio Domogan
4. Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz
5. Iloilo Rep. Raul Gonzalez
6. Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia
7. Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco
8. Antique Rep. Exequiel Javier
9. Apec Rep. Edgar Valdez
10. Bohol Rep. Edgardo Chatto
11. Lanao del Sur Rep. Faysah Dumarpa
12. Leyte Rep. Eufrocino Codilla
13. Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Belma Cabilao
14. Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao
15. Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Antonio Cerilles
16. Masbate Rep. Rizalina Seachon Lanete
17. Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison
18. Bohol Rep. Roberto Cajes
19. Tawi Tawi Rep. Nur Jaafar
20. La Union Rep. Victor Ortega
21. Lanao del Sur Rep. Pangalian Balindong
22. Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona
23. Isabela Rep. Giorgido Aggabao
24. Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas
25. Quirino Rep. Junie Cua
26. Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga
27. Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Matugas
28. Sultan Kudarat Rep. Arnulfo Go
29. Manila Rep. Theresa Bonoan-David
30. Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas
31. Paranque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita
32. Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar
33. Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong
34. Cebu Rep. Pablo Garca
35. Iloilo Rep. Arthur Defensor
36. Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin
37. Quezon City Rep. Bingbong Crisologo
38. Misamis Occidental Rep. Herminia Ramiro
39. Bukidnon Rep. Candido Pancrudo
40. Manila Rep. Zenaida Angping
41. Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Maranon (for Occidental Mindoro Rep. Amelita Villarosa)
42. Agusan Del Norte Rep. Jose Aquino

Lastly, we thank Jose de Venecia III for the invitation and the opportunity to affix our names to this latest Impeachment Complaint that was so skillfully written and airtight.

We may have been beaten this second time, but as Rep. Zamora vowed, our day will come.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” - Adolf Hitler

There is a confluence of events that belies the latest claims of disinterest on the part of the GMA administration concerning Charter Change and its evil twin, Term Extension. Her allies in the House of Representatives (HOR) have made short shrift of junking the Motion of Intervention filed by BnW co-convener Manuel L. Quezon III and fellow bloggers. The HOR is now poised to kill the latest impeachment filed by lead complainant Jose de Venecia III. The ill-timed election of administration collaborator, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, as Senate President hobbled Senate opposition ranks. Finally, that terribly unfunny prayer by Press Secretary Dureza beseeching God to allow GMA to rule beyond 2010 was a trial balloon raised to gauge the people’s response.

The Black & White Movement strongly condemns this latest naked attempt of GMA and her congressional lackeys to perpetuate their administration in power through Cha Cha via a Constituent Assembly. Dureza’s prayer was no slip of the tongue, and the imagined lukewarm response was enough to propel the HOR into Cha Cha motion. Never mind that GMA’s trust ratings continue to flounder below sea level, that the HOR does not mirror the true feeling of its constituents, and that the people’s eyes are trained on seeing elections in 2010. GMA’s contempt and disdain for the Filipino people allows her to focus on clinging on to power as a defense against accountability, and so the Cha Cha Train will reach the station, by any means.

All afternoon, as of this writing, various GMA cohorts in the HOR have disavowed being responsible for gathering at least 163 signatures to a resolution calling for a Constituent Assembly, as if it was a leprous animal, consigning blame to one or another House leader. These disingenuous declarations can only mean that they are embarrassed at being found out, but more than willing to be accomplices to a self-serving end.

Our warnings are justified by these latest actions on the part of this bogus administration; we thank GMA, her family, and her arrogant coterie of sycophants for their lack of ‘delicadeza’ for giving credence to our fears.

We beseech our religious leaders to speak out against this latest betrayal, to reiterate their call for radical reform and God-fearing liberators. We plead with the Supreme Court to continue to be a defender of the people’s trust.

We continue to warn our people – if we do not show our indignation, if we continue to ignore these moves, if we do not make our loathing known, we could wake up one day finding our freedoms forfeited and our democracy trampled.

Our collective heart believes that GMA betrayed the public trust and should not stay a day longer in office.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bloggers File Motion of Intervention to Include MOA-AD in 2008 Impeachment vs. GMA

12 November 2008

Hon. Ronaldo Zamora
Representative, Lone District, San Juan
Minority Leader, The House of Representatives
Batasan Hills, Quezon City

Dear Rep. Zamora:

Today, together with fellow interveners, I have filed an intervention to add the Memorandum of Agreement concerning the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity to the impeachment charges being considered by the House.

We base our intervention on the following premises:

1. That the House of Representatives, in deliberating upon the charges against the President of the Philippines, should strive to put together as strong and comprehensive a case as possible, in order to properly and thoroughly address all the issues that demand accountability from the chief

2. That the citizenry is obligated to do its part to help fortify the case against the President of the Philippines.

We are of the opinion, and submit for your consideration and endorsement, that:

1. The President of the Philippines must be held accountable for violating her oath of office in authorizing and supporting an agreement that has been proven to be contrary to the Constitution. Any President is duty-bound to operate within the parameters established by the Constitution, and when a President deliberately disregards our Constitution's provisions, there must be an accounting made to the citizenry.

2. The President, therefore, must be held accountable for what the Supreme Court has ruled to be an agreement that violated our Constitution.

3. That furthermore, the President must be held accountable for setting back the peace process; and for placing ordinary citizens, Muslim and Christian alike, in Mindanao, in peril because of the recklessness and faithlessness, with which she conducted the negotiations for the agreement. She has done grievous harm to the prosperity and tranquility of Mindanao and the entire country and her doing so is a violation of public trust and her Constitutional responsibilities. She betrayed the public, and all the parties that participated in the peace process in good faith and with a historic resolution of ancient grievances in mind.

We believe that we have made a strong case for including the BJE-MOA among the charges against the President. We believe that this is a matter of such seriousness as to require the House of Representatives providing the President with an opportunity to explain herself to you, our representatives, and through you, to an alarmed and outraged public. We further believe that the President will find it impossible to satisfactorily explain herself and that, as a consequence, the House will find it necessary to include our intervention among the impeachment charges.

May I respectfully invite you, then, to endorse our intervention, so that ample opportunity may be provided for the President of the Philippines to air her side, and for the public to be informed, through you, once and for all, about the circumstances surrounding the agreement.

I am confident that you will respond to the overwhelming clamor of the citizenry, throughout the country but particularly in Mindanao, for public policy to be conducted in good faith, without recklessness and imprudence, and with the true interests of the nation at heart and not just partisan political convenience for the administration.

May I also invite you, on behalf of myself and my colleagues, Jarius Bondoc and William Esposo of the Philippine Star, Ellen Tordesillas of Malaya, and Manuel Buencamino of The Business Mirror, to state, for the record, your response to these two questions:

1. How do you intend to vote on the impeachment complaint already filed before the House? Will you be present at the committee level and plenary voting on these charges?

2. Are you in favor of including the BJE-MOA among the impeachment charges, and why or why not.

We trust you will give your answer to us by Wednesday so we can publish them. And, we further trust that you will find our intervention meritorious and worthy of your endorsement.

Respectfully yours,

Manuel L. Quezon III, “The Daily Dose,”
Marck Ronald Rimorin, “The Marocharim Experiment,”
Arbet W. Bernardo, “,”
Richard M. Rivera, “New Philippine Revolution,”
Edwin Lacierda, “San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet”
Jeremy Gatdula, “Blurry Brain,”
Maria A. Jose (in Davao City), “Alleba Politics,”

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's Not Funny, Joc Joc!

BnW PR, 3 November 2008

Another suspected government con man tries to escape accountability. The Black & White Movement is appalled at the latest ploy to keep Joc-Joc from the Senate by means of another petition, this time to the Court of Appeals, for habeas corpus. Was Joc Joc Bolante joking about his intention to answer questions about the Fertilizer Fund Scam that robbed the Filipino farmer of PhP728M? If his petition's granted, will he suddenly regain robust health and take the first plane out of Manila to more favorable climes?

This latest petition claims that the Fertilizer Scam investigation is over, the Senate's Committee on Agriculture and Food has submitted its report and Joc Joc should be a free man. We dispute that claim as the report itself states that the issue remains unresolved without Bolante's testimony. The ninth recommendation in the report asserts, "Although this is the Final Committee Report, the fertilizer fund scam will never be closed without the testimony of its brains and implementor - Jocelyn Bolante. Thus, the order of contempt against Jocelyn Bolante must be enforced" (Committee on Agriculture and Food and the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations Report No. 54). We couldn't agree more.

Bolante's lawyer, Antonio Zulueta, close associate of Mike Arroyo, says the proper forum for Bolante’s testimony is at the Ombudsman's office. How convenient. That agency has been sitting on the Fertilizer Fund Scam for the last two and a half years, ignored by the Ombudsman herself, close Mike Arroyo associate Merceditas Gutierrez. The outright disinterest of Sen. Angara to reopen his committee's hearings and his opinion that the issue is best left to the Ombudsman smells more like a conspiracy among three GMA allies than coincidence.

We are of the opinion that if the Court of Appeals decides in Bolante's favor, and we certainly pray that it does not, this sordid tale of flimflamming our farmers will be swept under the Ombudsman's proverbial rug, to be unresolved, festering in the dark, like all the other high profile corruption cases that this administration has been accused of perpetrating.

We remind our people what is at stake here ­ the accountability of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The senate committee report also avers that GMA had to be aware of the suspicious fertilizer fund disbursements during harvest time and must be made to account. This is probably why Bolante is so afraid of testifying. It is believed that he can tie GMA, perhaps even her husband, to the fraudulent scheme.

We support the decision of Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano to reopen the Fertilizer Fund Scam hearings, but we plead that he act with dispatch lest the terrible pressures put upon certain institutions yield success. We insist that the Senate Sergeant at Arms be allowed to perform his duty and haul the purportedly malingering Joc Joc Bolante to his Senate cell lest St. Luke's Hospital be accused of being a party to this conspiracy to keep the truth from the Filipino people.- - END

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Is There a Storm on the Horizon?

By Joel Rocamora

The bishops did it. Their call for a “new government”, then building hope around “liberators” who are “just around the corner” got everyone worked up. A “new government” in advance of the 2010 elections, of course, means the extra constitutional removal of the Arroyo administration. Everyone assumes the bishops are not talking of the Second Coming. Maybe those knights in shining armor who are a long time coming.

Conspiracy theorists are having a field day. The impeachment initiative, chacha, and the arrival of Jocjoc Bolante primed the public for the bishops’ statement. Are these moves linked? Is there a master conspiracy behind these linked moves? Did the bishops light the fuse for a coming explosion? Is it a short or a long fuse? The nice thing about conspiracy theories is that we can enjoy dramatic tension even if we cannot find out if there’s anything to the theory.

Whether or not the bishops are, consciously or unconsciously, part of a conspiracy, what they’ve done is important because it reminds us that moral outrage does not recognize the political calendar. Practical politicians on both sides of the pro-anti-Gloria divide say talk of liberation have to make way for preparations for the 2010 election, only a year and a half away. The moral sensibility asks why we have to wait. If we can, let’s get rid of her now.

Which bishops set the impact. Bishop Oscar Cruz, the constant warrior, tilting endlessly against jueteng. Bishop Angel Lagdameo, president of the CBCP, perennially frustrated by the CBCP’s conservative majority. Bishop Socrates Villegas is bishop of Balanga-Bataan, but he is well known to Manila reform circles from serving as the late Cardinal Sin’s able assistant. Two others signed the statement, Masbate Bishop Joel Baylon, and Legazpi Bishop Emeritus Jose Sorra.

Who was not with them might also be revealing. The bishops of KME who were not there have in the past been accused of supporting coup attempts. If the KME bishops have been the more public of the Catholic church’s progressive section, the AMRSP has more resources. AMRSP sisters have been Jun Lozada’s bodyguards for most of the last eight months. The bishops’ initiative was apparently at the behest of the AMRSP.

Whether intentional or not, the bishops also weighed in on the 2010 elections. Two presidential contenders, Vice President De Castro and Senate President Villar, are clearly not in the bishops’ support list. The two leaders they prefer, Chief Justice Puno and AFP Chief-of-staff Yano, are not running for elective office, but could come in as leaders of an extra-constitutional post-GMA leadership.

On its own, the bishops’ initiative is not likely to result in the kind of change they hope for. But it does raise the incendiary potential of other ongoing developments. Bolante’s return has been avidly anticipated. His attempt to avoid having to talk, resulting in two years of imprisonment in the US, indicates the explosive potential of his telling the truth. But early indications are that he’s not going to talk.

There’s an apparently coordinated effort to prevent his testimony in the Senate. Even before he returned, his lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court to prevent the Senate from reopening hearings on the fertilizer scam, arguing that the investigation is finished. This argument is backed up by administration allies in the Senate led by Sen. Angara who says that the Senate long ago submitted its recommendation to the Ombudsman for Jocjoc’s prosecution. For two years, the Ombudsman did nothing, acting only on the day after Jocjoc returned.

The positioning of administration lackeys in the Senate is understandable. What needs explaining is the hesitation of Senate President Villar who only moved to have Jocjoc arrested by the Senate the moment he arrived after LP senators threatened to attack him. Villar is also problematizing what committee would investigate. Since the Committee on Agriculture is headed by Sen.Angara, the only logical committee is the Blue Ribbon Committee headed by Villar party mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. Senator Mar Roxas has proposed that the Senate convene as a committee of the whole.

Maybe this is where the explanation for Villar’s hesitation lies. He does not want to give Mar Roxas a platform. Villar supporters might also be worried that a Bolante expose would put some life into the impeachment complaint. In the unlikely possibility that GMA does get impeached, it would greatly strengthen the position of another Villar competitor, Vice President De Castro, who would become president. A combination of administration senators and Villar allies, together with the more than one week lapse before the Senate reconvenes could defuse the Bolante issue, even if the Supreme Court refuses to act on Bolante’s petition.

The competing political calculations of 2010 election coalitions is also likely to determine the fate of the impeachment complaint. The minority in the House has not, so far, endorsed the complaint. While there is no such thing as impossible in the shifting coalitions of Philippine politics, the complaint is not likely to get the one third of House members needed to move the complaint to the Senate. If its proponents succeed in at least debating the substance of the complaint, that will, under current circumstances, already be a victory.

The administration’s move to advance its chacha agenda is potentially more explosive. The attempt, whether it succeeds or not, is proof of opposition suspicions that GMA intends to stay in power beyond the end of her term in 2010. Led by House Speaker Nograles, the administration is mobilizing to secure charter change without involving the Senate. Quite openly, administration stalwarts are saying that if they can get three fourths of the members of both the House and the Senate, they can pass constitutional amendments.

For now, the amendment would only remove the prohibition on foreign ownership of land. If Nograles succeeds in getting the 196 votes of House members he needs, the issue will then be raised to the Supreme Court. If GMA allies in the SC affirm the constitutionality of this mode of amending the constitution, there will then be no legal obstacle for GMA and her allies to make the kinds of changes that would keep GMA in power past 2010. The conditions for maximum polarization will then have been set.

These kinds of conditions should facilitate the revival of the mass movement. Whether they like it or not, the anti-GMA opposition will be forced to reunite as the likelihood of 2010 elections recedes. It will also force leaders of key political institutions, in particular the SC and more importantly, the AFP, to decide whether their allegiance to the constitution extends past its being mangled. If the Chief-of-staff decides he has no obligation to obey a mangled constitution, the door will be opened for “liberators”. It could then be “a walk in the park”. #

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Black & White Movement welcomes the Senate President’s enforcement of the longstanding arrest order on Mr. Bolante as he continues to hold the Senate in contempt. Mr. Bolante has insulted the Senate with his arrogant defiance and decision to evade accountability completely by seeking asylum in the US. We regard the silence of the Supreme Court on Bolante’s request for a temporary restraining order on the Senate’s warrant of arrest as a tacit decision to let the lawful arrest order stand.

There is no better time than now to reopen the Fertilizer Scam hearings, either via the Senate Committee on Agriculture or its Blue Ribbon Committee. Mr. Bolante should be made to account for the PhP728 million meant for Filipino famers. Doing any less would send the wrong message to our people and cast doubt on the integrity of the Senate.

In investigating the Fertilizer Scam, the Agriculture Committee headed by former Sen. Jun Magsaysay uncovered evidence of wrongdoing against the Filipino farmer, but also, the Filipino nation. It is regrettable that the hard work and dedication of Sen. Magsaysay and his colleagues, their staff, and so many concerned citizens in and out of government, has led to so little action. The Anti Money-Laundering Council has taken some praiseworthy steps, but the Ombudsman shows little inclination to do her job and bring people like Joc-Joc Bolante before the bar of justice. We are mystified at why it has taken this agency over two years and half to begin a preliminary investigation.

We question the propriety of Atty. Antonio Zulueta’s defense of Mr. Bolante. Atty. Zulueta is known publicly to be a lawyer for the First Gentleman, Mike Arroyo. We ask - what does Mr. Arroyo have to gain by supporting Mr. Bolante with legal aid?

Ramon Magsaysay said he who has less in life should have more in law. Joc-Joc Bolante, who has been given so much in and out of government, cannot turn his back on the law, and that includes lawmakers who have a mandate to exercise oversight over officials, past and present. Justice delayed is, indeed, justice denied, and Bolante has denied the Filipino people a just resolution of this scam for three years now. Enough is enough. Let him face the Senate or be compelled to tell the truth.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Open Letter to Joc Joc Bolante from Jun Lozada

October 24, 2008

Dear Joc-Joc,

Allow me to call you Joc-Joc as you are known in the media and by many Filipinos, too. As of this morning of the 24th of October 2008, news about your lawyer petitioning the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the implementation of the arrest warrant issued by the Senate upon your arrival, hugs the headline of the major dailies together with the radio and TV news broadcast. The whole country seems to be anxiously awaiting your return, I am sure your family is also eager to see you back as well.

It is about your family that I am writing you, because of what my own family went through when I was in a similar situation that you are in now. Being a father myself, I know that the welfare and safety of your family are your foremost concerns in the middle of all the controversy and the uncertainty that you are facing.

There is so much fear right now that pervades your life along with your loved ones. Questions such as, how safe are you in Manila? Is there a possibility that someone may attempt to harm you or your family? How are the people that you are covering for going to help you? How are you going to answer questions from media? How can the people you are covering up be trusted with their dilatory tactics to get you off the hook, away from the prying questions of the opposition senators?

We’re caught up in all of these questions and an “us versus them” way of thinking, that we almost forget to ask the right questions anymore - right questions such as: how are my children hurt with the truth that I am generally perceived as a corrupt criminal by the Filipino nation? How are my children going to explain my involvement in this fertilizer scam to their friends? How is my wife going to face our friends and still be seen as a person with integrity? What legacy am I leaving my children? Is leaving them with millions and big houses in Ayala Alabang better than leaving them with a good name?

I am sharing these insights with you, because if there is one thing that I did regret in telling the truth about how this Arroyo administration has been stealing from the very people it is supposed to serve, it is that I was not able to prepare my wife and my children well enough against the backlash of this government’s wrath against me for telling the people about their crimes. You still have time to discern your next move, whether or not you are going to tell the people the truth about the fertilizer scam or bring the secret to your grave, just like Romy Neri.

As a father, I am asking you to please think about your children, please consider the legacy you are going to leave to them. Are you going to forever leave them as pariahs branded as children of a thief--or as children of someone who did wrong and yet chose to serve his country in the end, rather than to be a captive forever of the dark forces he used to serve? And, please prepare your family whatever way you may wish to choose. Discuss this together with them because at the end of it all, they will suffer or be affected more as a consequence of your decision.
Secondly, as a fellow Rotarian, how about taking the Four Way test as part of your discernment process? Is it the Truth? Is it fair to everyone concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to everyone concerned? You have been a good Rotarian for many good years of your life. Will you now turn your back on these ideals in the biggest test of your Rotarian values?

Lastly, let me share with you one of the most profound lessons I have learned in my own journey towards the truth, a truth not as a goal to be reached but rather as a way of life to be lived. I have found that the opposite of all the fears I am confronted with is not courage but faith. It is faith in a God who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, a just God who will judge us not in terms of the wealth we have on earth but in terms of what we did to our fellow human beings. It is my faith in this God that allowed me to face all the fears that I am confronted with when I decided to tell the truth that I know about the NBN-ZTE scam. May you find the faith to lead you to the Light of God’s love that no darkness can ever defeat, not even a President of the Republic of the Philippines.

May God bless you with the wisdom to choose your path.


Jun Lozada

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The current leadership of the Philippine government rode on the wave to power through the people's desire to have transparent and honest government. Good governance was the promise of EDSA II. In the last 8 years, we have seen the betrayal of that promise and the horrific erosion of the democratic institutions of the republic. People are disillusioned and cynical; apathy has seeped into the fabric of our civic life. Poverty has increased and all too often, we read stories of mothers or fathers killing their children as the only way to end their misery. At least half a million people in Mindanao have been displaced and live in constant uncertainty about the future. More and more people are leaving the Philippines and we have Filipinas as domestic helpers in Cambodia. What has become of us?

The constitution provides an impeachment process that allows the people to hold a sitting president accountable for her actions. This process is the responsibility of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and the SENATE. These institutions make up a third, co-equal branch of government. They are supposed to be part of the check and balance in our democracy. These politicians were elected to uphold the voice of the people.

When Speaker Nograles says (as if warning those who filed the impeachment procedure) that impeachment is a political process, he has forgotten that it is also the only recourse for accountability of a sitting president. He seems to have forgotten that he was elected to uphold democratic processes; he has forgotten that his first level of accountability is to the people, not to the President and her cohorts. All of the Representatives of the House must recognize and act as agents of the people who want to hold this government accountable.

There are those who say that filing an impeachment complaint is a futile exercise. They say the complaint will only make the administration-allied Congress people richer because they will allegedly be asking for a fee or a Christmas gift in exchange for voting down the impeachment case. If we review news footage of that fateful day last year, then we have seen it happen before and it will probably happen again.

This is a challenge to the REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE - whether you are opposition or administration - is our democracy worth your pork barrel fund? Is the blatant corruption and erosion of our constitutional rights worth the one million or two million pesos that may be offered to you? Is the endorsement of GMA going to make you win? Can you really close your eyes to all that is wrong and accept it so that you can take care of your "constituency"? Face your God and reflect on the answers to these questions.

And to those of us who are wringing our hands, rolling our eyes and saying that this is too much! She is strong and lucky...let’s just grit our teeth and wait for the end of her term… Well, it seems recent moves of Malacanang are clearly geared toward not ending this regime. We should ask ourselves - why is this happening? The answer is that we allow it; we shrug our shoulders and say, this too shall pass.

There is hope in the people who continue to stand up and hold this government accountable at great cost to life and quality of living. Jun Lozada and his family continue to live in the care of the Catholic religious community. Dante Madriaga cannot pay for the tuition fee of his children as he languishes inside the Senate compound. All the people who have spoken truth to power continue to be harassed and have to constantly look behind their backs because the harassments continue at all levels - from actual threats, the spiking of tires to tapping phones - these remind us of the dark days of Martial Law. We continue to be maligned and are called “de-stabilizers” when the people who really cause instability are those who have lied, stolen, cheated and killed to be able to hold on to power.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must be held accountable. She must suffer her day in court as a sitting president. Let the impeachment proceeding take its course, make the people aware of the facts in evidence and let our democratic institutions do their work. Our ASEAN neighbors are asserting their democratic rights within their own systems and are struggling to unseat corrupt and unjust leaders. We should do no less. We proved that non-violent, citizen-led democratic change is possible. We owe it to ourselves and to the future.

Let us insist on an impeachment proceeding! Let us lobby and hold our REPRESENTATIVES ACCOUNTABLE TO US! Let us make our voices heard...we must hold GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO accountable to the nation.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law
- Sophocles

The Black & White Movement is distressed at the Supreme Court’s affirmation of its decision on executive privilege. Its decision to remain deaf to the motion for reconsideration of the Senate perpetuates the perceived conspiracy of silence within the executive branch and negates the government’s constitutional mandate of transparency and accountability. Moreover, this stifles the people’s right to get the unadulterated truth, not only from Romulo Neri, but also from any member of the present dispensation, concerning burning issues like the ZTE-NBN Deal, the Swine Scam, and Hello Garci.

We agree with the Senate that the answers to the three questions posed to Mr. Neri regarding his conversation with Mrs. Arroyo on the ZTE-NBN Deal would not “subvert crucial military or diplomatic objectives” in any way, the prerequisites for executive privilege. These answers would have provided credence to the testimony of brave Filipinos like Jun Lozada, Jarius Bondoc, Dante Madriaga, and Joey de Venecia. Instead, this unfortunate confirmation will continue to shield an illegitimate president from responsibility and allow Mr. Neri to continue hiding behind GMA’s skirt.

As the whistle blowers in the ZTE-NBN scandal live under the threat of harassment and suffer the loss of freedom, Romulo Neri basks in the presidency of the SSS, his latest gift for unbroken silence. Mr. Neri may be dancing a joyful gig, but he is dancing it on the grave of Justice. - END

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ramdam na Ramdam Na Ang Kahirapan

Yesterday, the Black & White Movement together with Akbayan underscored the sad state of our nation by holding a forum and soup kitchen in Bgy. Tatalon, Quezon City. We were supported by local groups MATINIKK and Tatalon Hunters Group. The women of the barangay took our donated cash and cooked "lugaw" and hard boiled eggs, enough to feed the kids in the area. Among those in attendance were Akbayan's Risa Baraquel and Etta Rosales, BnW's Dinky Soliman and family, Dodo Macasaet, Karen Tanada, Pastor Dong Cusio.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


The State of the Nation According to Former Senior Government Officials
Manila, July 25, 2008

Fellow Filipinos, Friends of the Filipino people:

On Monday, July 28, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will make her 8th State of the Nation Address. The abundance of the number eight may make the occasion lucky for her. We gather today to consider if it marks a lucky day for the rest of the Filipino people.

The President will once again enter Congress with members of both Houses assembled, wade through crowds of costumed officials lined up with hands extended in welcome. She will take the podium and proceed to deliver her State of the Nation Address to cheers inside the hall and boos in the streets outside.

Diminished and trivialized as this political rite has become under GMA, we, former senior government officials, nonetheless persevere to take this occasion seriously. The State of the Nation Address or SONA is an important “ritual of the state” symbolizing the coming together of the nation as one family to hear its head, or Pangulo, speak on how stands our common collective enterprise. It is a unique opportunity each time for the whole nation to take a look at itself, assess its state of well-being and lay out a program of action for strategic priorities to be pursued.

Only the President of the Republic as head of state has the responsibility to address Congress on the state of the nation. This mandate grants our country’s leader the privilege of charting our actions toward our collective future but also demands an accounting of results from actions promised in the past.

Even as Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is poised to make her 8th SONA, she still has to be held accountable for results from her seven years in power thus far.

Seven Years

In our people’s history, periods of productive seven years marked the birth of our country as a free nation. Seven years of publishing La Solidaridad laid the intellectual foundations for imagining a sovereign Filipino nation.

Jose Rizal, after writing and publishing Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, returned to the Philippines, where, within seven years, he was executed at Bagumbayan and thereby triggered the Philippine revolution.

Thereafter, within another dramatic seven-year period, Christian Filipinos revolted against Spain, the Spanish-American war was fought, the Philippine-American war raged, and Muslim Filipinos fought the American occupation of their land. These four wars over a seven-year period defined the country that we are today.

Our founding fathers have shown that so much can be achieved in seven years. What has the GMA administration achieved in seven years?

Being former senior government officials, with our respective experience at different departments and agencies of government, we examined the record of this administration from 2001 to 2007. We reviewed the President’s stated
intentions declared at seven past State of the Nation Addresses on a wide range of matters from managing the economy to fighting corruption to ensuring food security, among others. But our nation’s true state cannot be found in studying the speeches of the President. We must discern it from the evidence around us about the state of development of our dearly beloved nation. We examined the evidence from seven years of her administration.

We hereby report our conclusions to the nation.

Review of Performance

The Philippine Constitution, ratified in 1987 after our people’s victory over the Marcos dictatorship, seeks a society in which exist “a more equitable distribution of opportunities, income, and wealth; a sustained increase in the amount of goods and services produced by the Nation for the benefit of the people; and expanding productivity as key to raising the quality of life for all, especially the under-privileged.” This would be achieved by the State promoting “industrialization and full employment based on a sound agricultural development and agrarian reform.”

The past seven years of this administration have seen repeated, persistent, and gross violations of this Constitutional mandate. The willful and systematic violation has harmed the Filipino nation, and we have identified at least seven curses that harmed us in the past, harm us today, and will continue to harm us in the future. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has used the powers of the presidency so irresponsibly and selfishly that her administration has either inflicted, or worsened, or did nothing about, these seven curses that gravely enfeeble our nation.

We warn our people that in her address to the nation next Monday, the President will blame global causes for higher food and fuel prices and cite how she is spending our money supposedly to alleviate the hardships of a suffering people. We will review the curses that define our shared suffering as a nation these past seven years. We ask the thoughtful citizen to evaluate the Administration’s plans for our country’s future in the light of this past record.

Here are seven curses that seven years of GMA has wrought upon our nation.

A Country Unable to Feed Its People

The first is the curse of a country unable to feed its own people, due to gross neglect of agriculture and rural development.

Since the start of the GMA administration seven years ago, 12 million more Filipinos were added to our already teeming numbers. Millions more are on their way. Yet our vital capacity to feed these more mouths has been left grossly neglected.

In her very first SONA in 2001, she made rice self-sufficiency a priority and even held office at the Department of Agriculture in order to make sure her programs were implemented. She repeated the promise of food on every table in her 2003 SONA. Yet, in every year throughout her administration thus far, the country was importing increasing quantities of rice every year that this year the Philippines achieved an odd milestone in rice self-sufficiency: our becoming the world’s largest rice importer.

Each year our government declares its commitment to implement the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act. Yet in the past seven years, the Department of Agriculture never got the P/17 billion in incremental funds mandated under the law. Reported amounts released were repeatedly puffed up and window dressed to include costs of projects unrelated to agriculture and activities already undertaken. Safety nets promised farmers when tariff protection of agricultural products was lessened were not provided.

Instead of extending adequate funding, the President let loose in the Department of Agriculture people who waste and steal whatever limited funding there is; people like Joc-Joc Bolante who, as agriculture undersecretary, was accused of masterminding the diversion of P/728 million in fertilizer funds to “ghost” foundations and urban congressional districts, thereby denying farmers the benefit of this vital farm input.

Our agricultural trade deficit, that was already just short of a billion dollars in 2000 ($967 million in 2000), ballooned to more than one and a half billion dollars in 2006 ($1,535 million in 2006). Each year we needed to create 1 million new jobs in agriculture and fisheries, but we were able to realize these additional 1 million new jobs in seven years. In 2006, less than 2% of total direct foreign investments went to agriculture and, in 2007, only 6% of all outstanding loans financed agricultural projects.

The high food prices pushing more people into hunger and poverty are a direct result of our government’s neglect of agriculture. This is a fundamental failure because so many of our poor live in rural areas and depend on agriculture, because anemic agricultural production leaves urban Filipino consumers at the mercy of volatile world markets, and because weak agricultural output constrains the overall competitiveness of the rest of the economy.

Worsening Poverty and Increasing Inequity

The second is the curse of worsening poverty and increasing disparity between rich and poor, due to economic mismanagement that ignores the needs of the many to serve the interests of the few.

We acknowledge that many external factors, beyond the reach of government, influence our economy. When global food and fuel prices were low and stable, when the economies of our trading partners were humming along, and when international credit markets were fine, this administration claimed credit for whatever was going right. Now that inflation and interest are rising, this government blames higher food and fuel prices in world markets for our current economic woes. One cannot claim credit for what goes right while avoiding blame when the same things go wrong.

Government policies often affect the economy, when they do, after a lag period. Some policies taken by previous administrations could help or hinder current economic performance. The crucial task of government policies is to build the foundations of sustained economic growth by harnessing our people’s own desire to meet their own needs and achieve their highest aspirations through the good or bad times brought about by changing global economic conditions.

And here we must point out that our present economy was already yielding increased joblessness and widening poverty even before the current worsening of global economic conditions which, we fear, will yield even more job losses and greater hardship in the near future. Despite last year’s much ballyhooed record GDP growth rate, this year we have 2.9 million workers who are unemployed and another 7 million workers who are looking for more work to supplement their incomes.

Some new jobs created in 2007 were good jobs, such as in call centers and their support services and real estate activities, and in teaching. But many more new jobs were in sari-sari stores, bagsakan, namamasukan, katulong, labandera, househelp, trisikad, padyak-cycle, colorum, and FX transport. Apart from unemployment and under-employment, the quality of available jobs in our economy has significantly deteriorated. The loss of jobs is further abetted by rising incidence and volume of smuggling, possible only by those with political connections to the administration.

A major side-effect of the serious failure in job creation, which should be a major policy concern of all government policy, is that poverty incidence increased to 26.9% in 2006 (from 24.4% in 2004). This comprises 4.6 million poor families or 27.6 million poor individuals.

The severe constraints that extreme poverty imposes on many more millions of Filipino families are triggering a process that could transmit poverty into the next generation and become self-perpetuating. Women from the poorest quintile are having an average of six children over their reproductive life compared to women from the richest quintile who have only two children. Children from poorest families are 25 times more likely to die than children from the richest families.

The tragedy of extremely poor families does not end with bearing more children than they can support, more of whom will die in infancy or childhood. It continues on to their surviving children’s reduced access to schooling and education. School attendance levels in elementary have been falling: from 90.3% three school years ago; to 87.1% two school years ago; to 83.2% last school year (2006-2007). These percentages mean more than 2 million children aged six to eleven years old who do not attend elementary schools. Drop-out and repetition rates have increased by 30%.

Public education’s ability to rescue poor families from the poverty trap has suffered due to severe under-spending by government. While enrollment grows at 2.5% each year, the education budget grows at only 2% in real terms. While the Estrada administration with its more constrained budget spent P/5,830 per student from 1998 to 2001 (in 2000 peso terms), the Arroyo administration, with its supposedly stronger fiscal condition, spent only an average of P/5,304 per student from 2001 to 2006. The Philippines remains one of the lowest spenders on education in Southeast Asia. Today, the Philippines, which was a leader in our region in the nineties in education-for-all indicators, has fallen in ranking below such countries as Indonesia, Mongolia, and Vietnam.

Deteriorating Basic Social Services

The worsening of education indicators is just one among many other symptoms of the third curse, which is, the curse of deteriorating basic social services essential to the survival and welfare of the people, due to callous disregard of the public good. Public money is spent on the wrong things, not enough on the right things, and all with little results, thereby wasting a precious and scarce resource for national development.

Our current fiscal state was improved, not by solid revenue effort, but by deep cuts in social and economic spending. Our national government revenues as a percentage of GDP remain among the lowest among the major economies of Asia since 2001. Our government’s allocation of resources for development expenditures has been the lowest in the region. Our continuing tight fiscal situation constricts the available resources for infrastructure development and educational modernization, the two most important investments we must make as a nation.

The Filipino workers, farmers, professionals, businessmen, and consumers are financing the government from their blood, sweat, and tears. Every centavo and peso the government collects and spends comes from someone’s productive effort. Every legislator’s salary and allowance, every government executive’s budget, and every contract or agreement with government is paid for by the economic output of the Filipino nation. Yet the allocation, management, and use of public funds are marked by such greed and disregard of the public good that can only be condemned as scandalous.

Consider the behavior of this government in the face of the latest typhoon that lashed the Visayas last month.

While homes, farms, and businesses in our country were taking precautions given storm warnings, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, her husband and sons together with a specially selected delegation were packing their gowns and suits for what is always a great treat: visiting friends and relations in the USA.

While they were hosting cocktails for the candidacy of Senator Santiago to join the International Court of Justice, Senator Santiago’s kasimanwa were suffering strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, and the fear of dying in the elements.

While GMA was enjoying the 50 minute meeting with President Bush, that included laughing at a cultural stereotype joke about Filipinos being cooks and maids, sirens were sounding in Iloilo warning that rising flood waters are no joke.

While the President’s staff were chasing Democratic Party Presidential candidate Barack Obama all over the US for a precious meeting, which eventually resulted in a brief telephone call, victims in Iloilo, Capiz, and Aklan were chasing after rice, food, and water in many damaged towns and barangays short of supplies for their essential needs.

While many Ilonggo families were staying on their roofs shivering in the cold and gray daylight and subsisting on whatever food some neighbor or friend could share, our government officials were occupying 30 rooms at Willard Hotel in Washington DC at between $300 to $5,000 a night and having dinners at $400 –$500 per plate.

And as the hungry, dirty, and wet homeowners of farms and subdivisions all over Panay island confronted their devastated neighborhoods caked in mud and strewn with debris, many of our highest officials from Congress and the Cabinet were rushing to ringside seats at the Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas, with the certainty of hitting the shows, gaming tables. and slot machines.

The image of Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned has an echo for us Filipinos today. It is the image of our officials’ downing toasts to the leadership of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in New York, Washington, and Las Vegas while Filipinos were gasping for air and drowning in the Visayas, a region which up to this time had always been a loyal believer in this government.

It grieves us greatly to remember that authoritarian leaders like Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Russian President Vladimir Putin each cut short their respective state visits abroad and returned when their countries were hit by calamities. Yet our President did not see it fit to do the same thing for her people that the Pakistani and Russian presidents did for theirs.

Our back-of-the-envelope calculation is that this Philippine delegation visit to the USA while the Visayas was being visited by calamity cost at least P/300 million. In contrast, how much did our government spend on relief for typhoon victims? While our national treasury was being freely bled by the costs of this particular junket, including the costs of mounting early morning video-conferences to show how high technology can faintly substitute for real sympathy, what stringent restrictions attended every release of every sack of rice and every bag of relief goods provided to our suffering people?

Around 8 million people were affected by disasters each year from 2004-2006. Only half of these affected people received any assistance from government and private sector. Of those who were assisted, presumably among the poorest victims of disasters, the value of the assistance did not even approach 1% of the low average incomes of these poor households during normal times.

And, while we are examining the government’s behavior in the last typhoon, which featured a terrible man-made sea disaster within a larger calamity, let us pause and consider how well the Department of Transportation and Communications under this administration performed. The DOTC was previously occupied with touting the merits of the cancelled NBN-ZTE project, which would have cost $329 million. Yet we now find out that the same DOTC has been neglecting the implementation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System that was started in 1997 and has, in fact, been contracted and delivered but never implemented.

Why does the DOTC persist in pursuing the scandal-ridden NBN-ZTE project while it desists from completing an approved, contracted and implemented project that could make travel on Philippines seas safer? Maybe the answer lies in the far greater opportunities for corruption in starting new projects versus the much less opportunity for bribes in putting on stream a completed project.

Cancer of Corruption

Thus the fourth is the curse of a national government gripped by a metastatic cancer of corruption.

The World Bank reports that in 2007 our country is the most corrupt among ten of East Asia’s leading economies, even worse than Indonesia, and we are among the most corrupt one-fourth of 212 countries in the world. Transparency International in 2005 ranked us among the countries with “severe corruption,” ranking 117th most corrupt among 159 countries. Another World Bank study in 2006 showed a worsening of our control of corruption from an already weak 50% in 1998 to an even weaker 37% in 2005. A global competitiveness survey in 2006 ranked us 60th worst among 61 countries in terms of bribery and corruption.

Corruption has become pervasive, persistent, prolific. And the President, instead of fighting it, has become its prime practitioner and protector. She corrupted the already weak electoral process. She corrupted the already diminished civil service. She corrupted the already politicized public investment and fiscal programs. By committing crimes without punishment, abusing power without restraint, and violating rules with impunity yet suffering no adverse consequence, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has turned our most valued principle of “public office is a public trust” into a perversion: “public office is a key to whatever you can get away with.”

Our system of checks and balance is being torn apart. And a culture of impunity has taken root and grows by the day. Like a crocodile biting its tail, bad government chases after corruption, which drives even worse government grasping after more corruption.

A corrupt president leading a corrupt system of governance to the nation’s perdition spawns many grave consequences in its wake:

There are the enormous financial costs of corruption that increase public spending without corresponding increases in public benefits and make the burden on every Filipino born and yet to be born much harder to bear for being so much heavier and so infuriatingly unjust.

There is the treason of selling off sovereignty to those willing to condone corruption from foreign powers, to large companies, to well-connected persons, to private interests. This involves the systematic sacrifice of national interest for personal gain, the effect of which directly worsens the situation of the poor and marginalized, and further limits the possibilities of a better future for everyone.

There is deepening damage from long-standing crises, unattended by a government whose attention is on committing corruption, fending off exposure of corruption committed, and buying or scaring off those fighting any corruption exposed. Meanwhile the nation’s state deteriorates. Crises in health and nutrition, education, food, water, energy, environment, poverty crisis, urban chaos, rural development, rule of law crisis, human rights, Mindanao.

There is the perpetuation of the cycle of corruption spawning bad government demanding more corruption. Destruction of constitutional bodies. Eroding the independence of the Supreme Court. Turning local governments into puppets. Buying off the military and police hierarchy. Militarizing the bureaucracy. Cultivating a Malacanang wing of the Church. Usurping the House of Representatives.

A very large share of these truly enormous burdens from dysfunctional governance is added to the already heavy burden on the poorer half of the Filipino nation, making their suffering much harsher, their poverty much harder to overcome, and even impeding their own efforts to survive and prosper.

Wanton Abuse of Presidential Power

This corruption is fed by and feeds from the fifth curse, which is the curse of wanton abuse of presidential prerogatives.

We have cited the case of Joc-Joc Bolante who represented the worst of the President’s appointees from 2001 up to the 2004 elections. The President used her prerogative to appoint senior executives of government to put in place someone willing to cut corners to help her secure election in 2004. After she appeared to have obtained a legitimate mandate from the 2004 elections, many more good and capable people joined her government to serve our people.

After the “Hello, Garci” scandal broke in 2005, however, and through the many scandals since then, many good and capable people left the government for various reasons. The balance of power within the GMA administration between its dark and bright sides tipped radically in favor of the dark side. A new type of presidential appointee along the Joc-Joc Bolante brand dominates. The appointments of others already rejected by the electorate in 2007 will further darken the complexion of her Cabinet. You can name your own favorite presidential appointee belonging to the following categories:

a) They have no pretense of serving the nation, just the President. Whatever credentials they might posses to qualify them for the jobs they occupy are secondary to the only real requirement: blind loyalty to the President.

b) They are former politicians who eat scandals for breakfast and have acquired callousness to controversy.

c) They are bureaucrats who see this administration as an opportunity for one more feeding at the public trough before retirement and obscurity.

d) All of the above.

A special place is reserved among the Joc-Joc brand of GMA appointees for Secretary Romulo Neri, former NEDA Secretary, former CHED Chairman, now SSS Administrator and head of the Social Welfare cluster of the Cabinet. After exposing the attempted bribery surrounding the NBN-ZTE deal, he became one of the keepers of evil secrets, protected by the talisman of “executive privilege” as long as he remains in a Cabinet position.

It is bad enough that the abuse of presidential prerogatives in the administration of government hobbles the effectiveness and responsiveness of GMA’s administration. Unfortunately, it also damages future administrations by destroying the norms, standards, and practices essential for a stable and well-functioning professional bureaucracy.

Nearly 60% of the 4,000 positions from directors to undersecretaries belonging to the career executive service are occupied by GMA appointees who do not possess eligibility in the career executive service. She has appointed more than 80 assistant secretaries and under-secretaries whose positions are not even provided by law.

She has usurped the power of government Boards, Councils, and Commissions to appoint their officials by abusing the courtesy previously extended to the president using so-called “desire letters” which essentially intimidate these collective bodies to elect her chosen ones. She has even directly violated the law by such maneuvers as placing a quasi-judicial body like the National Telecommunications Commissions under the control and supervision of the DOTC Secretary.

Her latest machination is the vesting of Cabinet rank to such positions as SSS Administrator, which is a position in a government corporation, and TESDA Director, which is a position in an attached agency of DOLE. These actions destroy institutional arrangements established by decades of practice essential to clear and simple lines of administration in the bureaucracy. The results are predictable: confusion, demoralization, and more opportunities for corruption.

An Illegitimate President

Many of these curses are linked to the sixth curse, which is the curse of an illegitimate president.

In her SONAs of 2001, 2002 and 2003, she promised clean, computerized elections.

And in the 2004 SONA, just after the presidential elections, to an audience that probably included then Comelec Commissioner Garcillano, then Comelec Chairman Abalos, and, maybe, still Comelec employee Lintang Bedol, she said with a straight face: “Thanks to many of you, I emerged from the last election with more votes than any previous president.”

In her 2006 SONA, she once again promised automated elections. And after the 2007 senatorial elections, she delivered another SONA before a Congress that included Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, whose election is still being disputed as tainted with dagdag-bawas. To this day, she has not taken any sure step to clean, computerized elections after seven years of promises. Her recent appointments of new Comelec commissioners of unknown reputations still do not offer any comfort about our future elections.

In her 2002 SONA, she declared: “I will lead our country towards a strong republic.” She defined “a strong republic” as a government making policies independent from such class and sectoral interests, as, for example, Lucio Tan, Ricky Razon, and others. It is also a government with strong institutions, like an Ombudsman that is not headed by a classmate of her husband. It is government with a strong bureaucracy where appointees are chosen free from political consideration and strictly on their merit, not the likes of Mark Lapid at the Philippine Tourism Authority or Tito Sotto at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo promised us a strong Republic. We have realized that she is running a stolen Republic. Thus far, we have seen her trying only to keep what she has stolen.

Many people note that the President works so hard, rising early and sleeping late, hardly resting, following punishing schedules day in and day out, traveling the length and breadth of the land. She goes to every nook and cranny of our archipelago pushing her five super regions, her BEAT THE ODDS priorities. Her appointees and political allies are mystified why she continues to have such low ratings, why people say they are dissatisfied with her performance.

In the five super regions she unveiled at her 2006 SONA, and amplified with scores of projects costing P1.7 trillion pesos during the 2007 SONA, more than half of people are dissatisfied with her performance: 62% in Mindanao, 56% in Visayas, 63% in Metro-Manila, and 60% in rest of Luzon.

Yes, the President works very hard. But who is she really working for? It is not for us and our future; it is for her and her future. She is like the over-dedicated accountant who is never absent, who always works overtime, who never allows anybody else to do her job, because she is hiding her stealing of the company’s funds. Or the Customs collector who works so hard he returns to his post directly from the hospital even with an IV line still attached to his arm because he wants to keep the bribes coming.

We are witnessing the unfolding consequences of illegitimate politics, which uses incumbent position to secure continuation at whatever cost to country and its institutions. Even as we condemn and resist every unfair and unjust act we encounter, we must work first against the politics of despair, alienation, and cynicism, which this administration has spawned and continues to foster.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the head of our government is the worst threat to the state of our nation. The person pretending to tell us about the dire state of our nation next Monday is the very same person who has done the most to destroy the very foundations of our nation, sell its future to its exploiters and abusers, and consign the poor and middle class to deeper poverty and worse despair.

A Nation Robbed

Finally, we come to the seventh curse which combines the malignant effects of the first six curses. This is the curse of a nation robbed of its dignity, unity, and future.

Under this administration, our country has acquired a global reputation for pervasive corruption which can only hurt and humiliate us. Under this administration, our country has been investigated by international bodies as a violator of human rights for extra-judicial killings and assassinations of political activists and journalists. Under this administration, our national patrimony from mineral resources to possible oil deposits has been put on sale to foreign interests like so much ukay-ukay. The loss of our country’s good international standing and credibility has been a sad victim of GMA’s bad governance. We will suffer from these losses as a people for a long time, just as we suffered from the ridicule and humiliation as the country of Imelda’s shoes.

Our national interest dictates that our most important task in foreign policy must be to restore the credibility of our government as a reliable international partner and as a dependable enforcer of domestic laws and regulations. However fragile our democratic institutions may be, these are in place and must be nurtured through, among others, strong links with other nations.

The President talks and acts as if the thousands of Filipinos who leave for work abroad and the millions of our countrymen already working abroad are an achievement of her administration. Overseas employment is more often an act of desperation and only incidentally an act of heroism. Leaving one’s home, family, and community to seek jobs in strange, difficult, and dangerous places is rarely a decision of visionary enterprise on the part of our overseas Filipinos. Much more often it represents a repudiation of what GMA has wrought on this land and a rejection of the limited choices her policies have created.

It is true that continued growth in the amounts of remittances from overseas Filipinos has benefited many families as well as the whole economy. Poor families with an overseas worker have a 70% chance of getting out of poverty. The foreign exchange flows have financed consumption, growth in retail and wholesale trade and real estate.

But economists Felipe Medalla, Raul Fabella, and Emmanuel de Dios have written recently about looking beyond the remittances-driven economy. The currency appreciation due to remittances has a cost to our economy. It has eroded the competitiveness of manufacturing and all tradeables for both export and import-competing sectors, causing investment and output in these sectors to weaken. Investment has declined from 24% of GDP in 2000 to less than 18% in 2006. Even the families of overseas workers themselves suffer from the consequences of the currency appreciation. They have lost the equivalent of P/188 billion in purchasing power since 2004.

The worst unintended side effect of remittances has been to allow the government to abdicate on doing many difficult and urgent tasks. For example, public investment has perversely become less necessary since the production sector makes less demands on infrastructure. Yet, we must recognize that a remittances-driven economy is limited and self-undermining because remittances cannot be expected to remain high and grow at an increasing rate. We must, therefore, use whatever breathing space remittances provide to accelerate investment spending on infrastructure and education as the common facilities for remittance-dependent and other sectors of our economy.

All the damage we see inflicted on the nation are multiplied and further complicated in Mindanao, where poverty, conflict, corruption, and bad policies have created a permanent crisis zone. Peace and development of Mindanao, with due respect to the democratic strengthening of autonomous Muslim communities, must be a priority.

Reclaiming Democracy

Will we get a government able to lead us through our problems and sensible enough to build on our strengths? Only when it is a government we can trust.

The Jesuit historian Fr. Horacio de la Costa provides us with some guidance:

The survival of democratic government in our country depends on whether or not the people have confidence in the ability of democratic government to reform itself. And they will have this confidence only if they actually see government making a serious effort to reform itself. They will lose confidence, they will lose hope, not only in their government but in themselves if our ship of state continues to be, in the words of T.S.Eliot, “a drifting boat with a slow leakage.” We must stop the leakage; put an end to drift; find a direction, and steer.

We will persevere in working with our political institutions as our instruments for reform and justice, not parties to anomalies and scandals. We will continue to build a government that mobilizes the nation to greater achievements and not a mere machinery for delivering patronage to favored supporters. We will keep looking for a presidency that fights the enemies of social justice and is a reliable platform for serving those who have less in life that they may have more in law; not this one temporarily in Malacanang fighting only its critics and serving only self, family, relations, and cronies.

The Philippines, even under this administration, continues to have the strengths of a democracy: informed citizenry; free media; a robust civil society; communities of decent and civic-minded people; allies of good governance all over the world and throughout our country. We will build institutions that stand solidly for the nation’s interests and resistant to the corrupt and crooked.

We can re-imagine the nation as something far better and more capable than the one that the President will paint in her SONA this Monday. We can find deep and enduring ties and connections with millions of other fellow Filipinos and sympathetic foreign friends around our re-imagined vision of our nation. And we can devote our lives, careers, and resources to the effort to ultimately realize this re-imagined vision of our nation. This is how the Filipino people will prevail over this current patch of bad governance.

This administration may have stolen the Republic, but it will not rob us of our hopes.

Thank you, and good day to all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sama-Sama Sumigaw sa SSS

This Friday, July 18, our Black Friday Protest shall be in front of the SSS Head Office at East Avenue, Quezon City.

We shall assemble at the KFC Restaurant along East Avenue (just before the SSS Building if you're North-bound) starting at 4:30 PM. At exactly 5:00 PM, we will walk towards the SSS front entrance, where we will denounce in the strongest possible voice the appointment of Romulo Neri as president of SSS.

We invite all SSS members to join us in protecting our contributions and funds.

At sa mga tumatanggap na ng pension, isang paalala lang na nanganganib ang pension niyo! Makiisa sa protestang ito kung gusto ninyong maseguro ang patuloy na pagtanggap ng pension niyo.

We all saw how Winston Garcia used GSIS funds in the aborted Meralco takeover bid. Let us not allow the same thing to happen to our SSS funds.

Plan of action:

1) Wear BLACK, preferably the "Patalsikin Na! NOW NA!" T-shirts. You can also design and wear your own shirts with your own slogans.
2) Assemble at the KFC restaurant along East Avenue starting at 4:30 PM.
3) At exactly 5 PM, we will all walk towards the SSS front entrance.
4) On cue, everybody should pose and do the "Patalsikin" sign. Take plenty of pictures we can disseminate to media.
5) On cue, disperse quietly.

Important reminders:

1) Please do not pass leaflets or harass the regular customers of KFC or employees and people transacting business at the SSS.
2) Bring your cameras. The highlight of the protest action is photographing protesters as they do the "patalsikin" pose
Forward this message to as many friends, relatives, colleagues, and egroups.

God bless,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

7-11 @ DOTC

We continue with our Black Friday Silent Protest. For this coming Friday, the activity is dubbed as “7-11 at DOTC”.

This being 7-11-2008, we thought that we might assemble at the 7-11 store at the ground floor of DOTC, which coincidentally also houses the 7-11 Headquarter office. Then, at exactly 5:00 PM, we move to the building entrance of the DOTC where we conduct our usual Black Friday Protest Activity.

The DOTC building is located along Ortigas Ave. besides the POEA building, right across the La Salle Greenhills.

Our message for the event: “Corruption Kills!”. Remember that DOTC is the lead agency embroiled in the NBN-ZTE Scandal. It is the same agency that has oversight over commercial shipping, and its mismanagement resulted in the death of hundreds of passengers of the Sulpicio liner that sank.

Jun Lozada will be joining us in this protest action.

Plan of action:

1) Wear BLACK, preferably the "Patalsikin Na! NOW NA!" T-shirts. You can also design your own shirts with your own slogans like “Corruption Kills!” or “Remember the ZTE-NBN Scandal?”

2) Assemble at the 7-11 store at the ground floor of the DOTC building by around 4:45.

3) At exactly 5 PM, step out of the building, and gather in front of the DOTC building.

4) On cue, everybody should pose and do the "Patalsikin" sign. Take plenty of pictures we can disseminate to media.

5) On cue, disperse quietly.

Important reminders:
1) This is a SILENT PROTEST, not a rally. Please do not shout, sing, pass leaflets, or do anything to disturb the regular customers of 7-11.
2) Bring your cameras. The highlight of the protest action is the picture-taking of us doing the "patalsikin" pose

Forward this message to as many friends, relatives, colleagues, and egroups. I've also included below a brief description of the Black Friday Protest Movement, so those receiving your forwarded mail and hearing this for the first time will understand what we're trying to accomplish.

God bless,



The Black Friday Protest Movement was launched by the Black and White Movement on March 1 to give professionals, students, businessmen, and other sectors a venue to express their protest against the continuing and escalating acts of repression of the GMA administration as manifested in its series of proclamations – CPR, EO 464, and PP 1017 – all designed to curtail basic rights and oppress the people. Even after PP1017 has been lifted, the repressive measures continue.

Patterned after the flash mob concept, the Black Friday Protest calls on people to gather at a designated time and place every Friday wearing a black attire as a symbol of protest. There will be no programs or speeches. Instead, people will be given specific instructions on what to do, and the whole exercise should last about 30 minutes at most. It’s safe, non-confrontational, and within the bounds of the law, even under a repressive one like PP 1017. The mere “flash” gathering of the people is the expression of protest.

Where will people get instructions?

Details of the Black Friday Protest action for the week will be published at its blogsite – every Wednesday evening. Those who would like to receive instructions directly can also subscribe to the movement’s bulletin service by sending a blank email to


BY all accounts, Corazon de la Paz tried to do her job without surrendering the keys of the SSS to the administration. The SSS as a result, has not become a political and patronage tool like the GSIS.

However, something had to give and like most everything involving this administration, what gave out was the public good. Corazon dela Paz had to go. Her caginess regarding the reasons for her departure seems to confirm rumors that she was forced out of office.

The Black & White Movement is dismayed at the appointment of Romulo Neri to the SSS. Mr. Neri’s refusal to implicate his boss has led GMA to show her gratitude by moving him around from one post to another: first from NEDA to CHED and now to the SSS. Mr. Neri must be like one of those cheerful ticks that parasitically infest cattle: happily using his silence to swindle the woman he labels as "evil" into giving him what he wants.

The other "value added" in the latest Neri-related appointment would be the momentary restoration of calm at the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It is no secret, the CHED workforce have no great love for their current commissioner. However, the agency may not be quiet for long ¬- Tessie Aquino Oreta could be assigned to the post. Throw that wrench in along with the appointments of Team Unity also-rans Tito Sotto as Dangerous Drugs czar and Mike Defensor as NAIA 3 Task Force head and you've got a president wielding her prerogative to appoint nobodies to do nothing.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

BnW Black Friday Protests Rise Again

Today, our people are on the verge of desperation, ravaged by calamities, both natural and man-made.

Reeling from the devastation wreaked by typhoon “Frank”, we see not only the ineptitude of the bureaucracy, but also the insensitivity of our leaders, preferring to hobnob with Washington officials and watching the Pacquiao match live, rather than attending to the urgent needs of its citizens. Were it not for the valiant efforts of the private sector, NGOs and other groups, our distressed people would never see relief.

Worse, rather than addressing the core problems and gut issues of the day, our government resorts to gimmickry like dole outs and pretentiously championing populist causes – lower electric bills and free text messaging, to project a false sense of compassion for our people.

But we know better. Our people have lost its trust on our leaders. And now, we risk losing hope.

The Black and White Movement condemns both the callousness of our leaders, and the policy of deception in addressing our problems. To reawaken our people to these stark realities, we will resume our Black Friday Silent Protest actions on July 4, 2008.

We will gather every Friday at a pre-determined location at a specified time, all of us wearing black. There will be no placards or flags, no speeches, and no program. Our presence will be our message of protest. We will quietly disperse after 30 minutes.

This Friday, the designated time and place is the COMELEC Headquarters, Intramuros, Manila, at 5 PM. This is to dramatize where our problems all started – the cheating in the 2004 elections. With 3 commissioners still to be appointed by GMA, we may see the same transgressions being executed in 2010 due to a lack of qualified overseers.

We call on every Filipino to join us. Let us not lose hope. Together, we can yet make a difference for the brighter future of our children.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


"The love we give away is the only love we keep." - Elbert Hubbard

It's been over a week since Typhoon Frank wrought havoc upon our nation. While news of the sinking of Sulpicio Lines' MV Princess of the Stars continue to occupy the front pages, the pleas for help from storm ravaged towns and provinces are beginning to fade from the headlines. Unfortunately, this lack of attention aids in the natural and rapid decline in donations and relief operations. Donations usually peter out within two weeks of a disaster, and this is the period wherein our help becomes vital.

There are a few dozen provinces in desperate need of attention and relief - Aklan is one of the hardest hit. Flashfloods and mudflows have claimed 50 lives and destroyed more than 40,000 homes. The estimated damage is now more than PhP1.5B. Ten days after the typhoon, many areas are still buried in mud, an outbreak of diarrhea is plaguing displaced residents, and the province still has no electricity. Relief workers say they still have enough rice to distribute for the next four days, but contributions and relief work are beginning to dwindle. What Aklan urgently needs at this time are canned goods and construction materials for Aklanons to start rebuilding.

Aware that as Filipinos we all have to pitch in and give life to the spirit of bayanihan, the Black and White Movement is doing its part. We have already given cash donations to Operation Compassion, an organization dedicated to this kind of work, to buy canned goods, enough to tide over some Aklanon families for a day or two. But there is still so much work to be done, lives to be saved, and spirits to be raised.

We cannot do this alone. We urgently appeal to your hearts for much needed support. We will be working with Operation Compassion, the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR), and other allied networks to channel your contributions, in cash or in kind, to the hardest hit areas so that relief goods and construction material can be delivered by relief workers.

For cash donations, you may deposit directly to the following Bank Account:

Account Name: Black and White Movement, Inc.
Account Number: CA 000712-01751-1
Bank: Equitable Savings Bank, Moonwalk-Merville Branch

After you have made your deposit, please write us at to inform us of the details so we can properly account for all donations. We shall keep a running tally on our website/blogsite so that you can keep track.

For the donation of goods, you may deliver them to drop-off points set up by CNDR:

• Petron Stations
• Ayala Foundation drop-off points at Glorietta 4 and Ayala Malls
• ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya at #11 Examiner St. in Quezon City
• Manila Water offices

As the initial outpouring of aid and support begins to slow down, the cries for help and relief continue unabated. Let our individual contributions sustain the much-needed relief effort. It is in times like these that we need to stand united as Filipinos, roll up our sleeves, and save lives.

Please pass this on to fellow countrymen. Together, we may yet see a better Philippines.

God bless,


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Once again, the Macapagal Arroyo administration dances around new evidence pointing to lack of decorum and transparency regarding the ZTE-NBN Deal.

As photos of GMA and the First Gentleman playing golf in Shenzen, China, in November 2006 surfaced, together with claims by the whistle blower named “Alex” that GMA not only played golf but also met with erstwhile Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos and ZTE officials, the Palace went into its usual denial mode. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye denied the story as reported in the Inquirer and ABS-CBN. Bunye said no such golf game ever happened because he had no knowledge of the event. That doesn’t mean it never happened.

A few hours later, the claim was buttressed by an unnamed ZTE official who told the Inquirer that no such meeting at ZTE headquarters ever happened at the time. But then, a new report now says that another Palace spokesperson, the seemingly in the dark Lorelei Fajardo, has admitted to the Inquirer that there was a “meeting but that it was ‘not a secret meeting’ and that there was ‘nothing irregular’ about it”. All this tiptoeing around the facts begs the question – will we ever get the truth from this government regarding the massive corruption alleged in the ZTE-NBN Deal scandal?

The Black & White Movement condemns Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s continued evasion regarding her alleged involvement in the ZTE-NBN Deal. Daring the new witness to go to court with his photos and story is an empty challenge – we all know GMA is immune from suit until after her term is over. We decry this act of impropriety – the president meeting with a ‘potential’ investor’ without formal pronouncement. This meeting, certainly not a run of the mill business conference, has stripped the presidency of any dignity and has reduced the position to a shady, deal making office.

We insist that GMA come clean about her asserted participation in the ZTE-NBN Deal. To wait until 2010 gives her the time to continue to obfuscate, evade the truth, avoid justice and make the Filipino people look like dim-witted fools.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Heroes Happen Here

Yesterday, April 10, Microsoft launched their new wave of technologies in the Philippines using their global theme, “Heroes happen here.”

I can’t help but think how inappropriate the theme is for our country.

After reading Fr. Intengan’s ZTE Primer document, I find it hard to imagine how heroes can ever happen in this country. In the guise of shedding light on the controversial deal, Fr. Intengan suggests 3 things:

1) That Jun Lozada lied when he claimed he was abducted; this, of course, assumes that the government account of the incident is true

2) That Jun Lozada’s and the other whistleblowers’ testimonies are all hearsay and therefore have no value

3) That the Senate hearings should now be stopped and charges in court should be filed instead.

Under ordinary times, Intengan’s primer might resonate among peace-loving and decent people. But when you have a president embroiled in serious charges of corruption and cheating, and who uses stonewalling, lying and deceit to respond to these charges, it takes an extraordinary leap of faith or supreme naivete to expect relief from a dysfunctional judicial system.

I have 3 simple questions for Fr. Intengan: If the First Gentleman threatened you by shouting in your face “Back off”, will you have the courage to make it public, considering that he is the husband of the most powerful person in the country? Will you file charges of grave threat in a court of law? Or will you wait for a signed confession by FG or affidavits by others present during the incident attesting to the truth of your charges before filing a case in court?

Incidentally, the ZTE Primer was distributed to students of Fr. Intengan’s class on Sexual Ethics at Ateneo some time in March. During the class, Intengan declared that Lozada was part of a destabilization plot and his kidnapping was a hoax. He also played the wiretapped conversation between Jun Lozada and Joey de Venecia. And to think that Intengan advocates the rule of law in his primer (see the last paragraph of the attached primer).

What saddens me is the fact that there are actually some people who believe Intengan. And for what reasons? Because Jun Lozada is always smiling when on TV? Because he seems to be enjoying the limelight and his newfound celebrity status? Because he is going around the country to share his story? Because he has gone beyond the Probinsiyanong Intsik image that has endeared him to the people?

Because of these, you are all too willing to gloss over the truth he has revealed and the heroic sacrifice he and others before him had to go through as the price for the truth.

And yet, we are quite liberal in making heroes of other people with less than noble purposes.

We reluctantly accepted Chavit Singson as a hero, because he conveniently supported our desire to rid our nation of an immoral president. But we cannot accept Jun as a hero, because we’re not ready to rid our nation of an amoral president. Why? Because GMA’s successor could be worse. Because the economy is doing well, at least on paper. Because 2010 is just around the corner. Why can’t we just wait? And these, even if we believe that she probably cheated, that she and FG are probably involved in corruption, and that she and her cabinet members have lied brazenly to cover up the truth.

We routinely make a hero of taxi drivers who return oodles of money left by passengers in their cabs. It is the most unnatural thing to do in this country, and is therefore considered heroic. But we cannot make Jun a hero for telling the truth at heroic costs, even though that too has become the most unnatural thing to do in this country. Why? Because it might lead to a regime change. Because GMA’s successor could be worse. Because…

We proudly call our OFWs our modern-day heroes for their heroic sacrifices, although I have yet to hear an OFW say, “I will work abroad so I can help make the country better”. For the most part, they do so for the survival of their family. But we cannot proudly call Jun a hero, even though the easiest thing for him to do for the survival of his family was to keep silent. And yet he spoke the truth, precisely to do his share in making this country a little better. Why can’t we make Jun a hero? Because the country may not end up getting better. Because GMA’s successor could be worse. Because…

We lavishly praise Pacquiao to be our hero, for indeed he gives pride to our country every time he wins. But he trains and fights hard to win, mostly for the prize money (that’s what professionals do), and reaping pride for the country is an incidental, though happy, consequence for our nation. But we cannot praise Jun, not even scantily, to be our hero, even though he inspired pride for our country amongst the youth for rejecting the prize money offered him in exchange for his silence. Why? Because it’s possible we may not be proud of what happens after a regime change. Because GMA’s successor could be worse Because…

I share with you Jun’s reflections 2 months after he came out (see attached document below) so you might understand a little better the suffering he continues to go through as the cost of doing the right thing. I echo Jun’s challenge: before you judge him, you should ask yourself – “What have I done for the country?”

If you say you contribute to the well-being of this nation by, first, being a good provider for your family, and then, by contributing to the community through Gawad Kalinga and other civic projects – that’s well and good. And you might even add, let’s not get involved with politics or anything that might imperil the perceived stability of our government.

Jun, too, could have done the same thing – avoid the Senate at all cost so he can continue to be a good provider for his family, so he can help the underprivileged through his work at PhilForest, and so he might not shake the perceived stability of our government. That would have been well and good. But he decided to go beyond what is good. He decided to do what is right by exposing the evil and demanding accountability, even if it meant instability to his life, to wake up a people in stupor – ready to accept evil, thinking that doing good will drown out the evil.

And so I ask the final question – If you were in Jun’s place, would you have done good or right?

The advertising application of Microsoft’s launch theme is quite interesting. “Heroes happen here” is usually followed by a pair of curly brackets like this { }. Visually, the brackets are used to frame an ordinary person, to single him out of a crowd. The message is simple: ordinary people can do extraordinary things when equipped with the right tools (of course, from Microsoft).

That can very well apply to our times. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, propelled by the right heart and mindset – to do, not just what is good, but what is right. And it starts with you and me.

Are you ready to put your name inside the curly brackets?

Heroes happen here { }

God bless,


My reflections on my 2nd month of Calvary
Paying the price of Truth
By Jun Lozada

Life in the Hot Seat

I left Manila for Hong Kong upon the instruction of the office of the Executive Secretary with the person of Deputy Executive Secretary Gaite arranging the ante‐dating of my documents with DENR Sec. Lito Atienza to legitimize my travel to avoid my appearance at the Senate last Jan. 29, 2008. It is now exactly two months from that fateful January morning to today March 29, 2008, two calendar months time but almost equivalent to an entire lifetime for me and my family, for our former tranquil family life is now like a mirage in the desert, it may appear to be there but only to disappear when you come closer to it.

Why did they want to kill me?

The GMA administration must have really feared so much what I know of the corruption under her administration that when I came back to Manila last Feb. 05, 2008, I was taken forcibly by unidentified men led by a man which I would know later as Gen. Atutubo, the Asst. Gen. Mngr. Of the NAIA for Security, the same man who made a slashing gesture on his neck when turn around to face the CCTV camera at the NAIA, I was brought by these mystery men to Cavite and Laguna with intention to kill me and silenced me for good. How I survived was a story of grit and divine grace, how my wife and my sister was able to contact & be put “on the air” by the radio stations after they were alerted by our brother who was trying to pursue me from the NAIA, how the religious reacted when I was lost and how the Senate President demanded from the PNP to produce me was something that nobody can put together , but in the end it was Media that actually saved my life as I have heard it myself “Ibalik na natin to at masyado na raw mainit ang media”, Thank you Media, especially the AM radio and TV for looking for me that fateful afternoon of February 05 of 2008.

The lies begins

I was forced to write in my own handwriting an official request for security addressed to the Chief PNP Gen. Sonny Razon by the unidentified men upon instruction given over the phone by their superior, who was the same person who angrily told me to stop texting my location and turn off my phone, who introduced himself to me as George. I remembered Sec. Atienza calling up the man and asked that the phone be handed to me, to tell me that everything is ok and that I am free to go home, then Sec. Neri called me up as well to tell me to calm down my wife because its creating a media hype already. But my captors have a different idea, they brought me instead to Libis, Q.C. and there I met a lawyer hired by Deputy Executive Secretary Manny Gaite of Malacaňang to draft my false affidavit and be forced to sign it under duress of Col. Paul Mascariňas of the PNP the following day, while at the same time, Gen. Razon the PNP Chief was busy changing his story of where I was and how I ended up in their custody, up until the very end when I spoke with Mike Defensor who was convincing me to have a press conference to deny that I was abducted and deny any involvement with the NBN ZTE deal, kasi nasasaktan na si Mam o kung kokontra ka eh “tatrabuhin ka lang naman naming sa media!”, a threat which is in full steam and venom right now, courtesy of malacaňang mercenaries disguised as journalist and their special operatives handlers. This highly paid group has successfully buried the kidnapping and attempted rub‐out case under a rubble of lies that they unceasingly manufacture against me, from poison letters, komiks, media attacks to black propaganda special operatives, waiting to pounce on every opportunity they can to destroy the trust that the public may have given me.

The Reluctant witness, I do not want to be a Hero!

The first Senate hearing was really a gut wrenching experience, I was physically exhausted from lack of sleep for almost a week, I was not able to eat well for two days before the hearing, my nerves are wracked from psychological tension, I was afraid of the consequences of what I am going to say for myself, my family, my career, my reputation and my future. And I was fearful of what the GMA cabal will do to me for what I was about to do, knowing fully well their vindictiveness on their enemies which I was to become.

My hands were shaking when I was taking the oath to tell the truth to God and to the country, it was almost ten hours of agonizing discourse with the senators, with questions ranging from the profound to the ridiculous, some with empathy some with malice and spite, altogether it was an experience that I do not wish upon anyone else.

The succeeding ones were not as grueling as the first but as demanding in terms of defending the truth from those who attacked it and wish to destroy it with their lies, I was at first polite being once a colleague of these men, but was forced to be more resolute in rebutting their lies when they shamelessly heaped upon the senators and the viewing public lies upon lies upon lies, which they themselves were contradicting in their own testimonies. I must admit that I was ambivalent between having pity on them for what they were doing against their conscience and scorn for them for blatant kapal ng mukha in telling all of these lies as if all the Filipino are stupid, at the end, I just left all to God who knows the truth even in the hearts of men and prayed that I just be left in his peace despite all the fury around me.

The Days between the hearings, invitations to speak!

The Association of the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, known as the AMRSP, who provided the Sanctuary to my young family and moral support to me during the entire period from Feb. 05, 08 to the present, started receiving invitations from the different schools and universities beginning initially from members of the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines, known as CEAP, then even from non-sectarian universities such as the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the Phil. Normal University (PNU), then a series of Sunday masses called the “Mass for Truth” was launched by the Watch, Pray and Act movement (WPA), The Religious of the AMRSP consulted the Blue Ribbon Committee if I would be allowed to go to these activities, which the senate agreed to allow under the condition that the Senate Security be given the overall security responsibility for my safety.

No Strategy, No Campaign

There is no strategy or a campaign, it was just a spontaneous response to an outpouring of support from the different sectors of society particularly from the youth. We don’t even have a prepared speech when we go to the schools just for me to be physically present is sometimes enough for the youth to feel in solidarity with what I did and what I stood for and that is “No more to corruption and greed!”.

There is no guideline either, sometimes we get to face a boisterous mob, sometimes we get to face a few people listening intently. Government propagandist are alarmed with the kind of warm reception I am having from the young people and they are immediately countering with all sorts of black propaganda that I am now on the political campaign trail for 2010, and to my surprise many people did actually buy this propaganda until they actually spoke with me and realized that they were again fooled once again by the sorcerer of the administration. As I have said many times over, all I want is to do after this is over and I’m hopefully in one piece is to put up a chicken inasal business, but on a more serious note, let me categorically state that I am not running for any electoral position on 2010.

No Politico, No Funding

One of the favourite lie by the GMA administration that is being ably spread by the National Security Council and its religious cohorts headed by Norberto Gonzales, is that I am a pakawala of certain politicians particularly Lacson & De Venicia, that I am receiving funds from these politicians handlers. I use to take it lightly until some of my close friends in the religious community who were attending theology classes being handled by the ideological twin of Gonzales in a university in katipunan, started telling me of how this Priest professor was actually using wiretapped conversations of me to deceive his students in moral theology that Jun Lozada is such a wily person who has outwitted the entire nation by staging his own kidnapping, rescue and even his senate appearance, and in the process has fooled the entire government machinery and its big wigs such as Sec. Atienza, Mike Defensor, Manny Gaite, Atty. Tony Bautista, Gen. Sonny Razon, The PSG, The PNP’s Col. Mascariňas and his minions, what a tall tale this religious is telling, sobrang galing ko naman na malansi ko lahat itong mga madudunong na taong ito at sabay sabay pa. Then I was told that he is doing the same presentation when he does the retreat for some religious congregation, that is why I am now not surprised when officiating priests in our celebration of the mass will show me texts from their brother priests telling them not to be used by Lozada and his politician handlers, and much to my relief these priests who have actually heard me share my personal reflections would assure me that they will be the one to set right their misinformed brothers of their community.

In fact one of the best kept secret of my present predicament which I was not sharing with the public until I had the permission of the AMRSP is that one of the conditions of their sanctuary protection being provided for my family, is that I should not be associated with any political party or with any political figure or else they will be forced to take us out of their sanctuary program. I am 24/7 together with the religious brothers and sisters of the AMRSP who monitors who comes to visit and where I can go, I guess those who are not sure if they are being misled by these government propagandist can easily verify this information by calling the AMRSP National Office at 725-3478 and look for Sr.Estrella Castalone, FMA, Sr. Cres Lucero, SFIC or Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB.

All expense for our trips are to be paid for by the organization who invites us, is one of the major conditions for our acceptance of an invitation.

Public smiles, Private agonies

The media portrays me in a smiling and seemingly enjoying a new found fame in the public eye, but what media fails to portray is the private sufferings of myself and my family from the ceaseless harassment from death threats, character demolition, legal suits to black propaganda, the pain of seeing my children crying their hurts out upon seeing the news of my past mistake, the frustration to see my boys lost out their academic honors because they were able to go school for almost a month, to share the pain of my children who were ostracized by their barkada’s parents at baka madamay pa sila sa gulo ni Lozada, the discomfort of not being able to stay in your own home, the fear for the physical security of my family, the insecurity of not being able to work out a living with a family to raise and the uncertainty of having a normal family life ever again.

To those who gets turned off when they see me on media portrayed like a politico, ako po ay humihingi ng paumanhin dahil ako ay walang training o pagsasanay, pero kayo kaya lumagay sa kalagayan ko? Pinagdudusahan ko na nga at ng aking pamilya ang pasiya kong maglingkod sa Bayan, ako pa ang sisihin ninyo dahil nakangiti ako pag nasa labas? I do not want to be self righteous, but may I ask you to reflect on these questions before you judge me?

• What have you done to correct corruption?
• What have you given up to fight corruption?
• What have you gained from corruption?
• What have you done to uplift the victims of corruption?

Or are you one of those who will simply turn your back on corruption without trying to correct and you rationalize your inaction to fight corruption with such thoughts as “basta ako mabuti, hayaan mo na silang masasama dyan” or “Hayaan mo na sila baka madamay pa tayo sa gulo” and other similar excuses?

Sharing my Personal Reflections, Let the light into the Dark

Let me share with you now in writing my personal reflections similar to what I share with the students and parishioners when I talked to them during my visit, an act purely out of my own personal conviction as a Christian, of living up to the teaching “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”.

What is it in these reflections that the administration propagandist find so alarming I really do not know, although I suspect that they are afraid that these reflections may encourage many more people to go to the Light and uphold the truth that they know as well, and in the process shed light on the darkness that pervades the government and expose more of these corrupt transactions that has long been kept from the people.

Here is the first of the four lessons that I share with the people that they may avoid the same suffering that I am undergoing through right now because of my decision to tell the piece of truth that I know about the NBN ZTE deal.

1. If you know someone who wants to tell the truth, encourage them – Because from my own personal experience, nobody told me or encourage me to tell the truth when I was seeking the advice of my family, friends, colleagues, including the religious. What was worse is that I was even the one that was being asked to defend and justify my position why I wanted to tell the truth. I felt so alone then and sad that in our society, kung sino pa ang gusting magsabi ng totoo, siya pa ang dapat magpaliwanag bakit, hindi ba baliktad? Hindi ba ang dapat ay ang mga nagsisinungaling ang dapat pinag papaliwanag natin? Katulad ngayon, ako ang nagsabi ng totoo pero ako ang nagtatago kasama pati pamilya, samantalang yung mga nagsisinungaling ay malayang nakakauwi sa mala‐palasyong bahay nila, malayang nakakapunta sa mga gusto nilang puntahan, malayang kasuhan ako ng kahit na anong kasinungalingan, pero walang humihingi sa kanila na ipaliwanag nga nila yung mga balu‐baluktot na testimonia nila sa Senado. Napakalungkot na kalagayan na ito para isang bayan naturingan pang karamihan ay Kristiyano. Ipakita po natin sa ating kapwa na tayo ay handang sumuporta at umalalay sa mga gustong gumawa ng mabuti at mag sabi ng totoo.

2. Do not tolerate corruption, because by tolerating it you are actually participating in it – The second lesson I have learned is that in our Filipino society of today, we tolerate corruption and crime as long as our family is not affected. We tolerate corruption and crime in the name of peace, yung attitude na huwag ka ng makialam at baka madamay pa tayo. We tolerate corruption and crime by rationalizing that as long as we mean well to our fellowmen & in all self righteousness washed our hands with these crimes by saying “basta tayong pamilya ay mabuti hayaan mo na silang masasama gawin ang kalokohan nila!”. It is similar to turning your back when you see a victim being raped, you knew a crime is being committed but you did nothing dahil baka madamay ka pa sa gulo, at nagsawalang kibo ka ulit nung nakita mong ninanakawan at pinapatay yung ibang tao sa ibang parte ng bansa, tapos nagsawalang kibo ka ulit nung ninakawan at napatay yung kapitbahay mo, ng dumating ang araw na ikaw at ang pamilya mo naman ang nabiktima ng mga magnanakaw at mamatay tao, nakita mo na wala ring kumibo para tulungan ka at iyong pamilya. Ganito na ang kalagayan n gating lipunan, wala ng Samaritanong gusting tumulong sa mga nabibiktima ng mga magnanakaw at mamamatay tao. What is worse with tolerating corruption is that those who tolerate it later on becomes part of the corruption, after a little more while then they become the purveyor of corruption themselves, kasi yan na lang ang paraan para umasenso. Ipakita natin na tayong mga Pilipino ay kayang kumilos laban sa mga masasama at pwedeng mamuhay ng marangal at Malaya laban sa korupsyon.

3. Teach the children to listen to their conscience and model to them acts of integrity – This is one of the lessons I learned from my interaction with the young people during my initial school visits and this question was commonly asked by the youth in different schools, “Sir Jun, among all the people we saw and heard on TV regarding the NBN‐ZTE deal, you are the one naman that we believe who is telling us the truth, but what we can not understand is why are you doing it? You have put your life in danger, you have put your family in harms way, you have lost your job, even your future is uncertain, why are you doing it? What will you get something in return? This question which is often asked with curious innocence and with no evident malice, which often will lead me to answer them that in life, there are certain things you must do because it is the right thing to do, because it is what your conscience dictates to be the right thing to do and often lead you to act in an honourable way, into an act of integrity and you do it without any consideration of money or material things in exchange. In fact, when I asked them if they still talk about honour & integrity with their parents, most of them will say “no!”, that is why it is important that parents should provide the children with a good role model. Although it may true that I did not receive money, material things or power in exchange for what I I did, I told them that I have receive something that is more valuable in return and that is the genuine affection of strangers, including the trust and respect of many people particularly the youth, I told them that no amount of money can ever buy the affection, trust & respect of the people.

4. You must accept your own truths as you go to the light of truth – More than the fear for my life, more than the fear for the safety of my family, more than the fear for my career and my livelihood, was the fear that if I decide to hold the light of truth, I cannot avoid being the first one to be shone upon by its light, I cannot avoid that my own blemishes in life, my secrets be exposed to the public. It was this fear of laying the truth of your entire life to the public, of accepting with humility the confession of your own truth to the entire nation, it was the greatest fear I have to overcome in wanting to tell the piece of truth that I possess in the NBN‐ZTE deal. Sino ba namang tao ang tumanda na walang nagawang kasalanan? But go on ahead with the truth, no matter how painful and difficult it may be, because based on my experience I have found that people and God are willing to forgive as long as you decide to go to the light, as long as you decide to tell the truth.

These are my reflections of my ordeal and the lessons I have learned over the last two months as a result of my decision to tell the truth of what I know about the NBN‐ZTE deal, with the aim of encouraging other people as well to come to the Light and allow the Light into their hearts that have been darkened by lies, evil and deceit, which has contributed to the poverty and suffering of our people.

Seeking the truth & Demanding for accountability & justice

I want to end this reflection paper with the same thought that I started with Seeking out the Truth, the people should exercise their sovereign right, the highest right of a Nation for this administration to put out the remaining pieces of the picture of truth of the NBN‐ZTE deal, I have paid and I’m still paying a very high price for the piece of truth that I have put out for the people to see. The failure of this administration to let out the other pieces of truth being held by the government, should lead to a demand for accountability by those who will be found betraying the trust of the people, for without truth and accountability there will be no justice in the land.
I have now come to realize, this is not about Jun Lozada, it is about every Filipino fighting for what is right against an unjust order, it is about every Filipino demanding from its government the truth amidst the lies & deceit, its about every Filipino rallying to battle against the evil that has long imprisoned the Filipino people.

And I have now finally understood what is the meaning of my sufferings for, I have paid the price of telling the Filipino something they have known all along and yet do not want to be told.


In sifting through the cacophony of accusations, countercharges, claims, denials, news and commentary regarding the NBN-ZTE controversy, it is essential to keep in mind certain facts and issues, to find truth amid conflicting allegations and hidden agenda.

What is the NBN-ZTE project?

• The national broadband network (NBN) was a project of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTe), which contracted the Chinese telecom company ZTE last April as supplier chosen by China under the loan accord for NBN.

• NBN-ZTE would set up a nationwide computer and telecom network linking national government agencies, state corporations and financial institutions, local governments down to 5thand 6thclass municipalities, and 23,000 barangay internet centers.

• Before it was canceled last October amid bribery allegations, NBN-ZTE was intended to cut government telecom costs, estimated by the Commission on Audit at P4 billion in 2004 for national agencies alone, with billions more for state firms and local governments, also to be covered by NBN.

• A government-only broadband system would also reduce calls and messages through public telecom networks, which are more prone to security breaches. And NBN-ZTE would bring information services to far-flung villages not served by private networks.

Why was the NBN-ZTE canceled?

• Through unproven, allegations of overpricing and bribery led President Gloria Arroyo to cancel the ZTE contract on October 2, 2007, with not one cent spent on it. She told DOTC to explore other ways to cut telecom costs, working with local firms.

• Overpricing and bribery charges were made mainly by Jose "Joey" de Venecia III, son of then Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and failed proponent of a rival broadband proposal from his Amsterdam Holdings Inc. (AHI), which DOTC did not favor.

• Commission on Higher Education Secretary Romulo Neri, former head of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which evaluated major projects including NBN, also alleged a P200-million bribe offer to approve it.

Was the national broadband project overpriced?

• DOTC and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), which first evaluated NBN-ZTE, AHI and a third national broadband proposal, have maintained that NBN-ZTE was the best proposal in design and price.

• Comparing NBN-ZTE's $329-million cost with Joey de Venecia's $242-million AHI proposal, it should be noted that AHI would cover only 30% of municipalities up to 2nd and some 3rd class, against all municipalities up to 6th class for NBN-ZTE.

• The actual cost to the government of NBN-ZTE would be about $247million, which is the value in present-day money of repayments on the loan that would fund NBN, over 20 years at a low 3% interest with nothing to pay in the project's first five years.

• To reach all municipalities, the first ZTE proposal was expanded to 300 base stations from 40, and nearly 26,000 connections from 320. For this 80-fold expansion in facilities, the cost went up by just 25%, to $329 million from $262 million originally.

• Joey de Venecia argued that AHI's build-operate-transfer (BOT) project was cheaper because no public funds would be spent on it. But DOTC said the telecom fees that AHI would charge the government were more than the NBN-ZTE loan payments.

• Being a private venture, AHI must make a profit and would use commercial loans costlier than the China loan for NBN-ZTE. Moreover, since AHI would be an open public network, it is less secure that the government-only NBN-ZTE system.

• DOTC found AHI lacking in financial capacity with about $250,000 capital for its $242-million project, no technical expertise, and no telecom franchise. ZTE is a global telecom systems giant with huge broadband projects in different countries.

• Joey de Venecia and former broadband project consultant and resigned Philippine Forest Corp. president Rodolfo Lozada Jr. claimed that NBN-ZTE was overpriced to give resigned Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos a $130-million commission.

• No impartial study has been done to assess if NBN-ZTE was overpriced. Neri asked Lozada to do one, but the latter had not done so before he left the project. Joey de Venecia did his own report, with no industry data or supporting documents.

What about bribery?

• Three people linked to the project made bribery allegations, all denied by the accused. a) Losing proponent Joey de Venecia accused Abalos, reputed backer of the winning ZTE project, of offering him $10 million to withdraw his rival AHI proposal. b) Neri alleged that Abalos told him in a golf cart chat, "Sec. may 200 ka dito," which he believed was a bribe offer of P200 million for NEDA to approve NBN-ZTE. c) Lozada claimed that Abalos told him of the P200-million bribe offer to Neri.

• There is no other direct testimony of payoffs offered, sought or received. Amid the bribery allegations and a looming impeachment, Abalos quit as Comelec Chairman on October I, 2007. No non-partisan body has verified the accusations or subjected the accusers to cross-examination. Nor has any documentary proof of bribery been given.

Are there national leaders mentioned in the controversy?

• DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza said Speaker de Venecia asked him to meetings at his home, where his son lobbied for AHI. The Speaker admitted advocating a BOT mode for the broadband project. In his petition against the Speaker dismissed by the House, Atty. Roel Pulido cited Joey de Venecia's lobbying as violating the Constitution's ban on close relatives of high officials seeking government contracts.

• In his first Senate hearing, Joey de Venecia accused the First Gentleman (FG) of telling him to "back off' the broadband project. Weeks later, he claimed that tycoon Enrique Razon said FG would get payoff. FG and Razon denied these accusations.

• Lozada said Abalos spoke on the phone about NBN to someone who he said was Mike Arroyo, but Lozada did not hear the voice on the phone. FG denied involvement in NBN-ZTE, and DOTC and CICT officials said he never contacted them about it.

• Neri said he told the President about Abalos's apparent bribe offer. She instructed him to reject it, but continue evaluating the project. The Palace said she also ordered a discreet investigation of the bribery claim, which found no corroborating evidence. (A full probe would have put undue pressure on the Comelec head in an election year.)

• Lozada said Neri told him that the President removed water and housing from China loan projects to accommodate NBN. In fact, housing agencies did not use China funds because the interest rate would have increased their low mortgage charge. And the Laiban bulk water project for Metro Manila is still under evaluation.

• Joey de Venecia and Lozada have presented no evidence to corroborate their hearsay testimonies, and have yet to face cross-examination in a non-partisan judicial inquiry.

Is the government withholding information?

• The government says it has provided as much information as it can without violating laws and proprietary rights. DOTC even ran newspaper ads and was sued by the opposition for discussing the subject of its High Court petition to void the ZTE deal.

• Due to the opposition suit, the government was reluctant to discuss the project even in Congress, and the opposition repeatedly accused it of hiding the truth. Eventually, Neri, Mendoza, former CICT chairman Ramon Sales, and Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya appeared in marathon Senate hearings, plus an executive session with Neri.

• Executive privilege and proprietary rights restricted some of the information from the government. As the Senate refused to do for its own executive session with Neri, the government does not disclose confidential discussions of the President and the Cabinet. This executive privilege also cloaks Supreme Court deliberations and Congress executive sessions, to allow full, free and unfettered discussions In shaping policies, laws and rulings. Such secrecy is lifted only when there is solid evidence of wrongdoing. In the Estrada plunder trial, presidential instructions to SSS and GSIS were revealed, but only after there were verified deposits of illicit stock commissions.

• Executive privilege was invoked for Neri's discussions with the President on NBN, and minutes of Cabinet-level meetings on it. Sen. Jamby Madrigal asked Neri if secrecy should be used to hide high crimes; Neri said he was not hiding high crimes.

• DOTC gave the Senate copies of the ZTE contract, including annexes containing proprietary information from the company, and the itemized list of all equipment to be purchased with quantities and unit prices. Despite ZTE's fears of its technology being disclosed, the Senate made those annexes public with the rest of the documents.

Was Lozada protected or abducted?

• There are two conflicting accounts of Lozada's trip abroad and return. One account, which some of Lozada's own statements affirm, is that he did not want to testify in the Senate due to death threats, and sought government help to legally avoid it. He went abroad on an official trip planned before the Senate's arrest order, and faxed a letter to Senator Juan Ponce Emile for the order to be lifted. He was provided security upon his return, requested by his direct superior, Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, his sister Carmen, and himself. At his request, his escort brought him to La Salle Greenhills, where his family saw him hours after his arrival on Feb. 5. The next day, with a private lawyer, he made an affidavit to limit his testimony to technical matters.

• However, in his Feb. 7 early morning press conference and his Senate testimony the next day, Lozada said Atienza, Palace officials, and former Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor tried to stop or restrict his testimony. He and his family claimed that military and police abducted him upon arrival and held him against his will. He said the government made him do a letter and an affidavit limiting his testimony. He added that police forced him and his sister Carmen to sign requests for security.

• A thorough, unbiased inquiry and due process can help show which account is true. But even now, there is one indisputable fact, which Lozada himself has confirmed: he was brought by his escorts to La Salle at his request in the evening of Feb. 5, and his family saw him there that same night. Yet the family loudly proclaimed in media the next day that they could not find Lozada, and accused the PNP of kidnapping. They even petitioned the Supreme Court for writs of habeas corpus and amparo, demanding that the police produce Lozada. Some commentators now wonder if the family maligned the PNP to get back at it for the police killings of Lozada's brother in 2001, and to make the public pity him and accept his testimony even without proof.

What next for the NBN-ZTE controversy?

• Besides Abalos, the Senate may look into the de Venecias' involvement in NBN as well as Northrail and other China projects cited by Lozada. Sen. Emile once related that the former Speaker had asked him to let the Northrail project proceed.

• The Senate committee report on the aborted project may include proposed bills and recommendations for further investigation and prosecution by an impartial body.

• The Ombudsman can use the findings in probing the complaint filed last August against Abalos by opposition Congressman Carlos Padilla, over the project.

• As the President ordered last week, the Department of Justice will probe individuals with possible criminal liability in NBN-ZTE. DOJ expects to begin hearings using the transcript of Lozada's testimony and the Senate committee report.

• In weighing the highly politicized NBN-ZTE issue, rule of law and careful assessment of hard evidence by non-partisan bodies, are crucial. Revered legal luminary Jovito Salonga has called for charges to be filed in court. Let due process now shed light on NBN-ZTE.