Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Ampatuans' Rise to Power Via Gloria Arroyo

It has come to our attention that several opinion editorials and blog posts have been spreading the erroneous claim that the Ampatuan family owes its rise to power to former President Cory Aquino after she assumed power in 1986. On the contrary, Cory removed Andal Ampatuan Sr., a known Marcos loyalist, and replaced him with his more benign relative, Datu Modi (or Bohdi) Ampatuan. We borrow from Ellen Tordesillas' blog a note from Fr. Eliseo "Jun" Mercado that clarifies things:

Note from Fr. Eliseo “Jun” Mercado:

Datu Andal Sr. was the henchman of Marcos in Maganoy in 1986.. He also was de facto mayor… acting since he was the vice mayor and already appointed as OIC.

Cory removed him from Office!!! I was a witness to that!

The Chief of Police, another Ampatuan yet non political and decent by the name of Datu Mod Ampatuan was appointed by Cory as OIC! I was the one who recommemnded for Datu Modi. He is an Ampatuan so he could maintain order and rule of law being the modest and clean chief of police in the place.

But in the first election post Cory, Datu Andal, Sr was back in power… since he was and still is the undisputed power in Maganoy.

I was the parish priest of Maganoy at the time and NAMFREL chair of the Province.

Although we believe that opinions should be respected, we must ask that these articles be based on the fair exposition of facts. Here are links to opinions on the Ampatuans, the family's warlord dominance, and its relationship with various presidents, particularly Gloria Arroyo, that do not distort:

The Long View: Playing to the gallery, Manuel L. Quezon III
Ampatuan dynasty grew under Arroyo, Gotcha By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star)
More to the Point - The police and private armies, By Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid
The Maguindanao Massacre, Part 2, Fr. Jun Mercado, OMI

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Proclamation 1959 – Less Than Good Intentions

There must be better than good reason to declare Martial Law. The Black and White Movement wholeheartedly supports the clamor of our people for justice regarding the brutal massacre of innocent people in Maguindanao. We condole with the victims’ families, and we share in their grief. There is no doubt that the whole country was appalled and horrified at the brazen act, but we strongly urge caution at the use of such extreme measures as martial rule and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to enforce the rule of law.

Our constitution allows martial rule only if there is lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. The “massing up of armed groups… the imminent threat of violence”, as mentioned by Armed Forces Chief of Staff, General Ibrado during a press conference, do not provide enough bases for this extreme action. Our constitution no longer allows martial law based on imminent threats.

We do not believe that this heinous crime warrants the imposition of martial law because the prerequisites for it have not been satisfied. Is the government so weak that it cannot enforce the arrest of those implicated without it? Is this the only way Gloria Macapagal Arroyo can deal with her friends, the Ampatuans? Does she really need to wield such vast powers?

The respect for human rights is of the utmost importance and should never be sacrificed for the sake of expediency, to cover up the inability of our police and military to affect these arrests, to keep peace and order in place.

We demand that Congress heed the Constitution and convene to revoke this proclamation. The declaration of a state of emergency should have been enough.

We cannot help but suspect that this government has more in mind than just imposing justice on one family, albeit a powerful one, in Maguindanao. The end does not justify the means. The danger is in the perceived comfort level that the public may at first experience from the strength of such an action.

We caution, and remind, that this was the initial reaction to the imposition of martial law when the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, announced it in 1972. We urge vigilance. Let us not be lulled into complacency, beguiled by seemingly good intentions. - END

Monday, November 30, 2009

GMA: Prime Minister for Life

Like the Filipino people, the Black & White Movement is not surprised that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is running for a House seat as she herself suggested a year ago. We ask our fellow citizens to ponder why this is the price the country is paying, and will pay, for the “let’s move on” crowd that insisted on giving GMA the benefit of the doubt in 2005 onwards.

We entreat all voters to take a long, hard, look at their congressional candidates. Voters should ask themselves whether they would support Arroyo’s bid to amend the Constitution or hold her successor prisoner by means of creating an Arroyo funded impeachment bloc. If the public is not careful and brings her allies to control both the Senate and the House in 2010, she can attempt to become Prime Minister for Life.

The fight is not over, the battle lines are drawn, and they get clearer by the day. Be forewarned - there are those pretending to seek the presidency seriously only to surrender it to her, others seeking it only to cut a deal with her as Prime Minister.

Those who know that while going into 2010, with “tried and tested” allies running for House seats and the Senate amid proposals to declare martial law in Mindanao, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has decided to push for a coalition of impunity to prevent change.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Hinda Ka Nagiisa - A Tribute to Noynoy Aquino

Congratulations to Ogie Alcasid who wrote a wonderful song, to Regine Velasquez for singing it beautifully, to Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda for producing this video with love, to the stellar cast that made it shine. And finally and most importantly, kudos to Sen. Noynoy Aquino for providing the inspiration!

The quote that accompanies this video says it all:

A love offering to Senator Noynoy Aquino from entertainment and advertising professionals
Agency: MAD888
Director: Onat Diaz
LP: Red Romero
ECD: Nonon del Carmen
CD: Connie Lazaro
DOP: Shayne Sarte
PD: Ben Padero
AD: Juno Gallardo, Tonipet Gaba

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This is to refute the malicious allegations raised in an article entitled "Noynoy's Dark Secret" written by Alfred Dalizon and published in the October 26, 2009 edition of the People's Journal.
This is an old story and it is unfortunate that Mr. Dalizon's article got the facts completely wrong. A certain "Charlotte Marie Datiles" indeed died during the August 28, 1987 coup d'etat. She was not the girlfriend of Senator Benigno "Noynoy" S. Aquino III nor was she in the same car as the senator.
According to Ramon Tulfo in his September 9, 1987 column "On Target" that appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, she was the 19-year-old girlfriend of a certain Lt. Teodoro Sanchez, an undercover operative of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Tulfo wrote: "Sanchez and Datiles and another ISAFP agent were passing by Malacañang aboard a car during the attack on the palace. They came from a mission following up a lead in the slaying of Local Government Secretary Jaime Ferrer. Sanchez’s car was sandwiched between the Palace guards and the rebels firing at each other."
A copy of the said article is attached. While we all expect evil propaganda of this nature to continue as the election nears, we have no doubt that truth will prevail in the end. We must not be distracted in the campaign to fight for what is right. The Filipino people deserve nothing less. Our call remains: "Tanggalin ang tiwali, itama ang mali!"


Florencio "Butch" Abad
Campaign Manager

On Target by Mon Tulfo
"Palace Guards shot Noynoy?"
September 9, 1987

There's a new twist to the ambush of presidential son Noynoy Aquino and his bodyguards outside the Malacañang gates in the early morning of Aug. 28.

Our sources in the intelligence community say some members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), not rebel soldiers, fired on Noynoy and his bodyguard. It was either a mistake encouner or a deliberate act.

If it was the latter case, then renegade Col. Gringo Honasan is telling the truth about some PSG elements. Honasan, in a taped message aired over dzRH radio, said many PSG members empathized with the rebels' cause.

* * *
On the other hand, if PSG soldiers mistook Noynoy andhis bodyguards for enemies, then something's wrong with the security setup at the Palace. It was like a trained dog biting its master, which it mistook for a burglar.

* * *
We give credence to the claim that PSG soldiers fired on Noynoy and his party.

Remember Noynoy's conference with newsmen the day after he survived the ambush?

In that news conference, Noynoy said he saw soldiers positioned on the street bend near the St. Jude's church, a stone's throw away from Gate 4 of Malacañang.

And take note of his succeeding statement: The soldiers were prone in an ambush position on both sides of the road facing Sta. Mesa rotunda instead of the Palace.

* * *
The rebels came from Sta. Mesa rotunda or were in Sta. Mesa rotunda when they attacked Malacañang.

Following Noynoy's statement that the soldiers he saw were facing Sta. Mesa rotunda instead of Malacañang, then the soldiers who shot him and his bodyguards were Palace guards.

If they were rebel soldiers, they would naturally have been facing Malacañang because that was the object of their attack.

* * *
Lt. Teodoro Sanchez, an undercover operative of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces (ISAFP), and his girlfriend Charlotte Marie Datiles, a 19-year-old Maryknoll student, were at the wrong place at the wrong time Aug. 28.

Sanchez and Datiles and another ISAFP agent were passing by Malacañang aboard a car during the attack on the Palace. They came from a mission following up a lead in the slaying of Local Government Jaime Ferrer.

Sanchez's car was sandwiched between the Palace guards and the rebels firing at each other.

Datiles died on the spot. Sanchez is still fighting for his life.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Noynoy Aquino Tops Latest SWS Survey

The Black & White Movement fully supports the intentions of Noynoy Aquino to run for President and Mar Roxas to run for Vice President in the May 2010 national elections. We laud their lead in the polls, and pray that good news like this serves as inspiration for their supporters to continue to work hard for their victory.

Here is the SWS Survey as it appears in its website.

14 October 2009

Third Quarter 2009 Social Weather Survey: Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar top the people's "three best leaders to succeed PGMA in 2010"

Social Weather Stations

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III took the top spot in the people's three best successors to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2010, according to the Third Quarter 2009 Social Weather Survey, fielded over September 18-21, 2009.

Sixty percent gave Sen. Aquino's name in response to the question, "Sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang Konstitusyon, ang termino ni Pang. Arroyo ay hanggang sa taong 2010 lamang at magkakaroon ng halalan para sa pagka-pangulo sa Mayo 2010. Sinu-sino sa palagay ninyo ang mga magagaling na lider na dapat pumalit kay Pang. Arroyo bilang Presidente? Maaari po kayong magbanggit ng hanggang tatlong sagot." [Under the present Constitution, the term of Pres. Arroyo is up to 2010 only, and there will be an election for a new President in May 2010. Who do you think are good leaders who should succeed Pres. Arroyo as President? You may give up to three names].

The next most popular successor was Sen. Manny Villar, who was mentioned by 37%.

Aquino and Villar were followed by former Pres. Joseph Estrada at 18%, Sen. Francis Escudero at 15%, and Sen. Mar Roxas at 12%.

The survey found Vice-Pres. Noli De Castro mentioned by 8%, Sen. Loren Legarda by 5%, Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro by 4%, Sen. Panfilo Lacson by 2%, and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay by 2%.

At 1 percent each were MMDA Chairperson Bayani Fernando and Brother Eddie Villanueva.

Six percent could not give an answer, and 4% had no one to recommend.

No list of names was provided to prompt the respondents.

The question wording has been exactly the same in ten surveys since September 2007, with results shown in Table 1.

Survey Background

The Third Quarter of 2009 Social Weather Survey was conducted from September 18-21, 2009, with a sample size of 1,800 adults, for an error margin of ±2.3%.

The surveys of September and December 2007, March and June 2008, and February 2009 had sample sizes of 1,200 adults, for error margins of ±3%. The September 2008, December 2008, and June 2009 surveys had sample sizes of 1,500 adults, for error margins of ±2.5%. The May 2009 survey had a sample size of 7,000 registered voters, for an error margin of ±1.2%.

All surveys were conducted using face-to-face interviews.

Except for the May 2009 survey, all the surveys cited in this release were non-commissioned; they were done on SWS's own initiative as a public service, with first printing rights assigned to BusinessWorld.

All the findings from the earlier surveys have been previously released by SWS.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dear Friends,

The reform movement calling itself PiNOY POWER will stage an inaugural concert on September 21, 2009 at the Theater of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

The General Admission for the Orchestra and Loge of the UP Theater for the concert will be on an "ambagan" basis... just contribute what you can.. this is on a first come first served basis...

The Balcony Section is the only Reserved Section in the Theater for those that are giving a MINIMUM contribution of P2,500 per seat. There are limited seats and as of now there are only about 100 seats left available. Please send an email to JJ Soriano ( so he can reserve tickets for you.

Welcoming and inciting another colossal change in the Philippine national life, PiNOY POWER presents a line-up of artists who can guarantee the high voltage experience that replicates the sentiment sweeping the country: an electric feeling of renewed optimism in our political process.

Aside from the Apo, the concert will feature Aiza Seguerra, Bayang Barrios, Drae Ybañez, Duster, Isay Alvarez, Juana Change, Leah Navarro, Nicole & Carlo, Noel Cabangon, Paraluman, Philippine All Stars, and The Dawn. PiNOY POWER says the concert atmosphere will be charged, the artists will be spirited, and there will be magic in the air.

Attending the event, they let on, is the man of the hour, Noynoy Aquino, who now carries forward their reinvigorated aspirations for emancipation from a corrupt, toxic political life.

PiNOY POWER is setting in motion a cutting-edge kind of organization. Like the concert, which asks no entrance fee for the General Admission Section beyond what the individual can donate in cash at the gate, PiNOY POWER will be inclusive, open to creative inputs from all Filipinos, and intent on having fun while waging a revolution.

That laughing, smiling, and very imaginative revolution begins when the gate opens at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Since 2005 the Filipino people have seen too many leaders excuse ambition on the basis of pragmatism. We have had leaders who turned their backs on idealism on the pretext that there is only one way to gain and hold on to power. However, since then, our people have yearned for leaders prepared to sacrifice ambition to answer the call of duty, who listen to public opinion as an alternative to confusing or buying the electorate.

Senator Manuel Roxas II could not have said it better – country above self. The Black and White Movement salutes Senator Roxas for his statesmanship and selflessness. Senator Mar has demonstrated tonight that his ultimate objective is to be a servant leader by being prepared to follow even at the cost of his campaign to lead the country. We have not seen a leader sacrifice his or her political interests in this manner since Cory Aquino in 1985. This is a reminder for all of us that when country comes first, all other decisions and considerations easily follow.

“I can only imagine how agonizing it must have been for Senator Mar to make this difficult decision. He is blessed with a great sense of nation above self. I sincerely admire him and believe that the Filipino people feel the same way”, says lead convener Enteng Romano.

We are proud to count members of the Black and White Movement Council among the many men and women of good will who selflessly dedicated themselves to advance his reform cause. We admire their unflinching support of Senator Roxas and their graceful acceptance of his decision.

Senator Roxas has vindicated himself and his family legacy of service to the country. This is a shining moment for him and paves the way for a national campaign of redemption where reconciliation is made possible by justice and where leadership is about serving the people.

Thank you, Senator Mar, tonight you became a statesman. You are truly a servant leader. Mabuhay ka!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

CORY, Hindi Ka Nag-iisa!

The Black and White Movement joins the whole nation and the rest of the world in paying tribute to President Cory Aquino. Our hearts are broken, but the fervor she lit in our hearts will burn forever.

In life, she inspired us to rise above our despair and to regain our dignity as a people. She modeled a life of selfless giving – fighting alongside those who had less, and taking the cudgels for those who are helpless in seeking justice.

In death, she awakens us from our stupor of apathy, reminding us to be steadfast in fighting for what is right and just. And, even if only for a short moment, she unites our people towards the common aspiration for a just and prosperous motherland.

We grieve for her family, and we thank them for allowing us to love their mother, their patience as they shared her with us.

As President Cory meets her Creator, we can almost hear the good Lord declaring, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” The Filipino people and citizens of the world can only say, “Amen!”

Buong bayan. Buong mundo. Nagpapapugay sa isang tunay na bayani!

Cory, Hindi ka nag-iisa.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

PRESIDENT CORAZON C. AQUINO - The State of the Nation Address 1991

Opening of the fifth Regular Session of the Congress of the Philippines
July 22, 1991

This is the last time I shall address you on such an occasion as this. Let us clear the air between us.

I could have made things easier for myself if I had opted for the “popular.”

I could have repudiated the foreign debt, won the passing praise of a greatly relieved people, and the lasting contempt of a devastated country.

I could have opted for outright hostility towards the international banking system and invited its retaliation. But the only result would have been to weaken the present democracy against the conspiracies of the former government with contracted the miserable debt in the first place. I would have taken the chance, if I were the only one at risk, but I had a country to take care of.

I could have called for an elected constitutional convention. Surveys showed that an elected convention was the popular choice to draft a new constitution. But I believed it was more important to draft a constitution and submit it for ratification in the shortest time possible, and hold elections immediately. The people and the army needed a full elected government and a constitution around which to rally in defense of freedom.

I could not afford the luxury of the popular by waiting out the endless deliberations of an elected convention, like the 1971 Constitutional Convention. And besides, what was so great about that experience? After a year of talk and scandal, the final draft was prepared in Malacañang, approved by the frightened Convention, and ratified in a fraudulent plebiscite.

I could have made things easier for myself if I had allowed the Executive to influence the decisions of constitutional commissions. I might have spared myself deep embarrassments by interfering with the judgments of the courts. But I uphold the independence of these bodies. I am convinced it is in all our best interest to respect an independence that may thwart the government’s will from time to time – but is yet our best assurance of justice when we will need justice most.

I firmly believe in the freedom of the press. And I accept the criticisms poured on me, painful as they are, as part and parcel of the hazards of public service, and conducive to its honest performance. True, I have sued for libel, but I did not use the power of the Presidency to advance my cause. And this is shown by the fact that four years later my case continues to drag on. I have not forgotten that what my husband wanted most in prison was for the public to hear the side of freedom, and no newspaper would print it.

I submitted myself to the judicial process as an ordinary citizen, and exposed myself to indignities a president should not endure. But I want to encourage people to seek redress in the law, despite the inconvenience, rather than in vindictiveness, which has no end. I want them to make the cause of justice for one, the cause of justice for all.

I have consoled myself that great men like Gandhi were not spared criticism either, but – regardless of it – he pursued the path he believed was true, mindful only of harmful effects on the people, but not of the consequences to him. He believed that God demands no less of us than that we follow our conscience. God will take care of the rest.

I could have done the popular thing in the last administration, and arranged a nicer retirement for myself. But my instructions to PNB, DBP, GSIS, SSS and Landbank were explicit: no behest loans, and no special favors whether to relative, friend or political supporter. This accounts for their sterling performance, for the unprecedented public faith in their competence and integrity, and for the incalculable contribution, particularly of PNB and the Landbank, to the development of cooperatives and the financing of small and medium enterprises, wherein lies the strongest hope of progress in these times.

We can roll back prices at the drop of a hat and spare ourselves al the aggravation, but we learned that hasty rollbacks exacted a heavier, long-term cost on the economy, and, ultimately, on the people, than they had saved.

I could have done any of the things calculated to win a passing popularity at home. I could have thrown away by so-called popular solutions the goodwill we have built up in financial circles by the strict performance of our obligations. This is the goodwill that accounts for the continued support extended to the Philippine Assistance Program. Anyway, most of the pledges to the PAP are redeemable in the next administration.

I could have said, “Let my successor be presented with the bill for my popularity today.” But it is the people who would pay the price, and I am not made that way.

I did not always adopt the ideal solutions proposed by those who have the luxury of contemplation. Government often had to do what pressing realities compelled it. And if the government sometimes lacked better choices, it never lacked the sincere desire to do good.

I could have promoted only military officers popular with the press, and ignored the experience of a democratic government that has been the principal military objective of the rebel forces and an insurgency that just doesn’t know when to quit. But I chose instead commanders of proven courage, leadership, and fidelity to the Constitution.

I could do the smart thing still, and do the things my opponents unfairly charge me of preparing – rigging the elections in 1992, the way I did not rig the ratification of the Constitution, the national elections, and the local elections. They way they rigged elections from 1969 to 1986. But my instructions to the military and police are explicit. Let them hear it again:

The right of the soldier and the policeman is merely to cast his vote; his greater and solemn obligation is to assure the right of others to cast their votes and get them honestly counted. No soldier has the right to combine with his comrades to campaign for a person or party and deliver to them a block of the military vote. No member of the military shall lend his name, prestige, and the influence of his position to anyone’s campaign. The same holds true for the police.

The military has earned the people’s trust as the spearhead of their liberation and the constant defender of their democracy. To these honors it is my aim to add the distinction of shepherding our democracy through its first political succession, by clean and peaceful elections.

I will not preside as Commander-in-Chief over the kind of military that cheated the opposition in 1978, and me in 1986. That would insult the memory of the man to whom I dedicate this last address to the joint houses of Congress, and stain the proud achievement of this nation in 1986.

I specifically charge AFP Chief of Staff General Lisandro Abadia and PNP Director General Cesar Nazareno with the responsibility to assure clean and honest elections. While they may not fear my displeasure because I will not be president then, they will face the judgement of the disappointed country.

Yes, I could have done all those things that win wide acclaim, exiting as grandly as any president could wish. But while my power as president ends in 1992, my responsibility as a Filipino for the well-being of my country goes beyond it to my grave. A great part of that responsibility is to do the best I can today, according to my best lights, while I have the power to do it.

As President, I have never prayed for anything for myself; only for our people. I have been called an international beggar by the military rebels. Begging does not become me, yet – perhaps – it is what I had to do. I could have kept my pride and held aloof, but that would not have helped our people. And it is for them that I was placed in this office.

Someone who will stand in this place next year, may do better for I believe in the inexhaustible giftedness of the Filipino people. I only hope that he will be someone who will sincerely mean you well.

I hope that history will judge me as favorably as our people still regard me, because, as God is my witness, I honestly did the best I could. No more can be asked of any man.

On June 30, 1992, the traditional ceremony of political succession will unfold at the Luneta. The last time it was done that way was in 1965. I shall be there with you to proudly witness the event. This is the glory of democracy, that its most solemn moment should be the peaceful transfer of power.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat at paalam.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Straight from one of the proverbial horses on which Gloria rides to keep her comfortably on the saddle of power – Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez opines that GMA will run for Congress to avoid accountability. He says threats from civil society and business groups to seek redress for her appalling lack of good governance could be too much for her to face. We thank the erstwhile Secretary of Justice for his candor. We now know why GMA allies in the HOR are hell bent on convening a constituent assembly without the Senate.

Following Gonzalez’s train of thought, the Black and White Movement posits the following - the HOR will convene as a constituent assembly, pray that the Supreme Court sees things its way, and once the Con-Ass is legitimized, immediately amend the form of government to a parliament. Aware of how election results may be compromised in favor of approval, it may not be long before we are saddled with the presence of Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a unicameral congress. Being at such close quarters to her congressional BFFs will make spreading her influence effortless. She could easily win the Speakership. From there, it’s a hop, skip and short legged jump to becoming Prime Minister.

News reports state that Supreme Court Associate Justice Minita Chico-Nazario has inhibited herself from handling the Resolution 1109 matter as brought on by Oliver Lozano. Not unlike the congressional affiliates of the LP, NP, and NPC that threaten to leave the HOR majority coalition if the Con-Ass would institute unpalatable changes to our charter, she is perceived not to be enthusiastic about handling such an unpopular case. It is heartening to know that the Supreme Court is still cognizant of its importance to our history.

The Senate stands united in its abhorrence for a constituent assembly. We hope this resistance continues and that none of its members defects to the “dark side”.

We sense our people’s hopelessness and distrust, hence the cynicism that no matter what we do, things will remain the same. However, if we allow the dire plans of this administration even minimum success, there will be no way for anyone to institute the reforms and renewal we so desperately need. We therefore commit to continuing our fight for justice, to calling for the 2010 presidential elections under the present constitution, to thwarting a dark future through a “Gloria Forever” scenario.


STOP Cha Cha! Kick Con Ass! Now na!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jun Lozada in Hospital

We would like to thank Sr. Mary John Mananzan for this picture of Jun Lozada. Jun is currently resting quietly in the Medical Center Manila after experiencing shortness of breath last night. Doctors from MCM then examined him in his jail cell in MPD and had him transferred to MCM when they diagnosed him with dehydration and noticed a drop in his oxygen levels. He will remain in hospital to be re-hydrated and undergo more tests.

Please pray for the quick return to good health as well as the strength of his family in this trying time. Meanwhile, we are pushing through with a planned candle vigil in the area of MPD and MCM on UN Avenue tonight at 6pm. Please help spread the word.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jun Lozada Arrested

Jun Lozada was arrested today. Tonight, he sleeps in the Manila Police Distict, his family is not with him. He was processed, finger printed, a mug shot was taken. This is what this government does to whistle blowers, truth crusaders.

Those of us that were with him begged that he not be placed in general population, at least for tonight. Jun didn't ask us to do this, we just couldn't help ourselves. We got to stay with him till 10:30.

As if to add insult to injury, Jun's wife, Violet, will be arraigned on a case filed by the cops against her, also for perjury. This is surreal.

Tonight, Mike Defensor flies to San Francisco with his family for a vacation. Tomorrow, Mike Arroyo will go to St. Luke's for therapy, Romy Neri will ride his BMW7 series to work, Ben Abalos will play golf in Wack Wack, Joc Joc Bolante will meet his supporters regarding his run for public office, Garci will probably be doing the same.

Where is the justice in all this?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


It is amazing how the wheels of justice can move swiftly, and with impunity, when applied to GMA critics and oppositionists.

Two years ago today, 21 April, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo left her critically ill husband and flew (according to the Philippine Information Agency, “like a thief in the night”) to Boao, China. Her main purpose was to sign what we all know now as the ZTE-NBN contract. The ensuing scandal made whistle blowers Joey de Venecia, Jarius Bondoc, Romy Neri, and Dante Madriaga, household names. However, the most famous whistle blower of all connected to this drama is the man we fondly call JLo, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada.

On 14 April, an arrest warrant was issued against Jun in connection to a perjury case filed by another household name, GMA “nino bonito” Mike Defensor. Defensor claims that he did not ask Jun to say no such kidnapping took place, and to swear that he, Jun, knew nothing about the ZTE-NBN deal. Although dismissed for lack of probable cause, another judge, Cicero D. Jurado Jr., upheld Defensor’s appeal and gave the go signal for an arrest on 19 March 2009. Any day now, we fear that Jun will be hauled off to jail for telling it “like it is”.

“We will not be surprised if the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Report on the NBN/ZTE investigation will be released soon after Jun Lozada is convicted of the crime of perjury (which may take only a few weeks, given the administration's determination to pin down Lozada). We expect the report to clear GMA, the First Gentleman, and Benjamin Abalos. After all, they will argue, Jun Lozada lied. This seems to be the Palace script”, according to BnW Lead Convenor Enteng Romano.

To date, there are 16 civil and criminal cases filed against Jun Lozada and members of his family. These are in various stages of resolution. All of these charges were filed soon after he testified at senate hearings in February 2008. In contrast, the Ombudsman has yet to file cases against Benjamin Abalos and Jocjoc Bolante despite a preponderance of evidence.

“Crusaders of truth are hunted down, made to suffer while those that play the Gloria game enjoy high paying government positions, perks, and most of all, freedom”, says BnW Executive Director Leah Navarro, “Jun Lozada has been persecuted more than enough. He hasn’t been able to return home in over a year, work a decent job, or visit a mall with his family. Sure, he travels around the country doing speaking engagements, but he does this to stay alive. Jun hides in plain sight and is always in the company of the religious and armed bodyguards. That is not living.”

The Black and White Movement condemns this latest cheap shot by administration henchmen. We find it ironic that the very person who dared to stand for the truth is accused of lying by the very people who patently and routinely lie. Those who followed closely the Senate hearings can readily discern who is lying and who is telling the truth.

We denounce the continuing use of the agencies of justice by the GMA administration in persecuting its critics, particularly Jun Lozada, while at the same time delaying, if not perverting justice to protect its loyal allies.

We staunchly express our unequivocal support for Jun Lozada in his determined struggle to stand for the truth. We call on every Filipino who still values truth and decency to denounce in the strongest possible terms this travesty of justice.

In the end, our silence makes lies permissible. - END

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cha Cha as Zarzuela

We are in the midst of another zarzuela. The resolution of Rep. Louis Villafuerte seeks to waylay us and hide its true intent through the provision prohibiting term extensions. There will be no need for term extension because we will indeed have elections in 2010. The Constituent Assembly he so ardently wants will ensure the transformation to a parliamentary form of government, and so the elections we will have in 2010 will be held to elect members of parliament.

Imagine this nightmare – the new parliament opens its first session on 30 June 2010, and sitting happily inside the Batasan is the newly elected Representative from Lubao, Pamapanga, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Black and White Movement reiterates its position clearly – we will not stand for any further desecration of our democratic rights. This blatant move by the House of Representatives to give GMA immunity from accountability adds insult to injury. Let us not forget that she, of all presidents, is the least trusted and loved. We demand our right to have 2010 presidential elections so that we can rid our country of this most unloved of leaders and finally make a move toward positive, meaningful change. Remember, GMA has lied before, and who is to say that she will not invoke divine providence again to justify her pernicious hold on power?

How much more evidence do we need to prove that GMA’s political allies in the House just don’t get the real meaning of politics - the combination of active citizenship and accountable leadership. They have instead initiated moves to save themselves the hassle of good governance.

We have said it before and we say it again – STOP Cha Cha! Ibasura ang Cha Cha! Now na!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can Alternative Reform Candidates for President win in 2010?

An Open Letter to Harvey S. Keh and other friends of reform
Joel Rocamora, Institute for Popular Democracy, March 21, 2009

I understand why you and other friends of reform want "a God-fearing, morally-upright, effective and ethical leader for our country in 2010". The sins of the ruling Arroyo clique are so all-encompassing, so pervasive that our only possible response is moral outrage. But the distance between taking a stance for morality and electing a president cannot be shortened by choosing moral leaders as candidates.

If we float candidates we must make sure they want to run and not feel like people are running after them. If we then launch a candidacy, we must make sure we have the capability to run a serious campaign, not coast on wings of hope and moral fervor. US$5 contributions from overseas Filipinos sounds nice, but to get your US$30 million target you have to get 6 million people to contribute! If you set unrealistic targets, you set yourself up for failure, and the people you inspire, for a hard fall.

We all want a reform president in 2010. Repairing the damage from nine years of corrupt misgovernment by GMA will require leadership from a president who can use the powers of the presidency for reform. To elect such a president, all reformers have to work hard. To begin with, we have to come to an understanding about the nature of the electoral terrain in 2010. Even if the Comelec succeeds in modernizing ballot counting, election contests will remain substantially the same. The Philippine electoral terrain has been shaped by trapos for over a century.

Results of national contests are determined by what some call "trench warfare", the struggle for support among local politicians, and the "air war" of competing TV and radio advertizing. Because we do not have political parties with real programs, there are no issues in national elections. Our task as reformers will be to assert the importance of issues of reform in the 2010 elections. This can best be done by supporting a candidate who is competitive in both "trench warfare" and the "air war", who gets an edge over his rivals by building a new source of votes, people who want reform.

The 2010 election will not be anything like February 1986 when the one-on-one fight between Marcos and Cory Aquino was as close to a fight between "good and evil" as we will ever get. In 2010, there will be at least three and possibly four serious candidates and a bunch of also runs. There will be temptation to take the politically debilitating "lesser evil" stance. As reformers, we should instead look for the candidate who is more likely than the others to organize reform if he wins. We should come in now and help to shape his campaign.

Picking a reform candidate is not enough. We need to build a reform constituency which can do the following interrelated things: (1) Shape our candidate's campaign around the importance of reform, (2) Transform our reform constituency into a factor in the election by forcing other candidates to compete on the issue of reform, and by mobilizing serious numbers of voters. Ten million might be unrealistic, but five million added votes can win the election. (3) Sustain our reform constituency to support struggles for reform after the election. Even if our candidate wins, he will continue to need our support in pushing reform.

I have several problems with your position, Harvey. (1) I agree with Gov. Panlilio “that we should have one reform candidate; otherwise, we will get a president that we do not like.” If you are serious about supporting Among Ed, you should not float other possible candidates. (2) You should make sure the people you float are interested. Governor Padaca and Mayor Robredo are both Liberal Party members who support Mar Roxas for president. Chief Justice Puno has said he is not interested; he is needed where he is.

Among Ed's position is the wisest. “I will go for whoever will represent a genuine reform constituency,” he said. “It does not necessarily have to be me. If there is a more appropriate candidate, why will I present myself? I look at my role now as more of one of the convenors of a genuine reform coalition.” The candidate is less important than the reform constituency. But to get our reforms close to reality, we need to elect a president. The sooner we decide on that candidate, the better. Floating many candidates will not get us closer to that decision.#

Friday, January 23, 2009

Desperately Seeking an Obama But Missing the Essence of the Message of Obama

By Dinky Juliano-Soliman

Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the USA…it signaled hope and change in America…..January 20, 2001 Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in as President of the Philippines riding the on the hopes of a people for a leadership that would practice good governance.

Today, January 20, 2009, Filipinos are searching for an Obama of the Philippines. We are sick and tired of the corruption that confronts us every day, and the cover-ups that this administration pulls off. We complain about the abuse of power that GMA and her cohorts exercise as they slowly slaughter the institutions of democracy in the country. We are frustrated with the opposition because most of them have not demonstrated that they are different from the current administration in their practice of politics.

We are looking for an Obama, a person who will be nothing like the current leadership in Malacanang. We are searching for someone who stands for truth, does not buckle to bribery to become a candidate for the highest authority of the land. We are yearning for a leader who will perform well in his or her mandated function and conduct himself or herself with integrity. There were even suggestions that a certain sports champion can be a legislator or a local chief executive because he unites the country every time he wins.

In our desperation, we are missing the essence of the message of Obama.

It is not one leader; as Obama says ” it is not about me, it is about us”. My interpretation of his message is that we should wring out from the depths of our collective consciousness values that have withstood the test of time – the ability to respond to crisis with calm and the capacity for celebration. In his inaugural speech he called for the return of ” hope and virtue”, these which their founding father, George Washington, called on all citizens to hold on to in order to move forward during a desperate time.

Obama is mindful of the American people’s wishes and aspirations. He acted on the willingness and desire of the people to effect change; he touched on that social energy and the people responded, got involved and made the change. Thus, the repeated message of Obama is - the people made the change and they will remake America.

Therefore, in our case, the people of the Philippines have to demonstrate that we are ready and willing to make change happen; that we know what is right and wrong; we know truth from lies and that we want the return of freedom and democracy. We have to tell each other, show each other, that we are willing to invest to make the change; take risks to correct wrongs and stand up against corrupt politicians. We have to take back politics from the hands of people who betray the public trust and make politics respectable again- a sacred covenant between leaders and constituencies. We the people, cede part of our power to people we elect. Thus, if they do not act on our behalf, we should take back the power we entrusted to them.

When we act in great numbers and insist on truth and justice, transparent and honest governance at the local and national level from those we elect, the Obamas of the Philippines will emerge. There will be leaders who will demonstrate servant leadership; there will be leaders who will facilitate processes that will forge unity; there will be leaders who will be bold and daring to innovate with the people in creating solutions to systemic problems; there will be leaders who will account to the people their governance practice.

This is what Obama was referring to as “the promise of citizenship…” We, the people, must have a frank talk with each other to collectively act and organize a force that will transform our politics and set our democracy right again.

Monday, January 12, 2009


12 January 2009

As the “Alabang Boys” telenovela continues to unravel, we begin to see the flaws within our justice system. This ongoing fracas between two government agencies seems to confirm what most of us fear about the Department of Justice. For as long as you are rich, connected and power drunk, you can shop for the kind of justice you want.

This tip in the scales of justice and the disjoint between PDEA and the DOJ would have escaped finer scrutiny were it not for media attention on the impending release of the so-called “Alabang Boys” and subsequent House hearings. We would never have heard of an appalling act - the counsel for the accused composing a release order on official DOJ letterhead and delivering to the DOJ Secretary for approval.

Worse, the lawyer, who we believe deserves disbarment for his “overzealousness”, had the audacity to say that he just “borrowed the stationary and returned it to the DOJ” (he saw the stationary lying around, he typed up the letter on it, then “returned” it via Sec. Gonzalez) as seen and heard on ANC’s “IMO” last night. Amazing. Even more appalling was Sec. Gonzalez’s tepid reaction to this act of thievery. This only validates our suspicion that this is common practice.

How can we not esteem the men and women of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency when compared to the members of the DOJ? Major Ferdinand Marcelino is fiercely dedicated to his mission – to free this country from the consuming and destructive stranglehold of illegal drugs. Through the House hearings, we learned that he spearheaded the weeding out of bribed members of their task forces. We admire that kind of “tough love”.

The Black and White Movement expresses its unequivocal support for incorruptible people like Major Marcelino and enjoins every decent Filipino to do the same. That is the least we can do for him, General Dionisio Santiago and their associates within PDEA.

We are not surprised that the public has taken the side of PDEA in this issue. In their eyes, and ours, too many of our people have received unequal justice from the DOJ, too many associated with the present and past dispensations have gone on to escape the courts, and no one believes that justice cannot be bought in the Philippines.

Finally, a comment on the ongoing “silent protest” at the DOJ and its prosecutors going on leave - the wearing of red armbands to disprove unequal dispensation of justice doesn’t mean it never happens. A stunt like this is about as believable as GMA linking arms and strolling with her cabinet members to prove her administration is above reproach.

DOJ prosecutors going on leave won’t change the low opinion of many. That’s about as productive as shuffling Romy Neri around different government agencies. As a major part of government, the DOJ should be falling all over itself, investigating alleged bribe takers, expelling and charging them, healing the pathology that thrives within.

But, wait! Can the DOJ investigate itself? Its current silent protest means that the DOJ believes it is infallible. What else can you expect from this administration? -- END