Sunday, August 3, 2008

Twice robbed

Twice the Filipino people have been robbed, and in both cases, it had to do with the May elections. A senator elected by eleven million Filipinos was denied his right to attend sessions of the chamber by a judge who sports the same surname as one who was robbed by the "people" of Maguindanao and the Commission on Electoral Cheating.

The DOJ prosecutors whose position was sustained by Judge Oscar Pimentel of the Makati RTC said that if Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV were allowed to perform his functions as mandated by the electorate, it would be like upholding the voice of a mere 11 million over 85 million. That is a quaint political theory that has now been elevated into the jurisprudence of the land. Last time I heard, democracy is the rule of the majority. Which means that even a majority of one represents a constituency of all.

By the same quaint political theory, the gentleman from Maguindanao should be simply that – he represents Maguindanao, and not the entire republic whose votes have been credited to him as Numero Doce by the Commission on Electoral Cheating.

And so have we been twice robbed, by a court, the prosecutors of Raul Gonzalez, and Hermogenes Esperon, in tandem, and by Lintang Bedol and the Ampatuan sultanate, as sanctioned by the Commission on Electoral Cheating, in tandem likewise.

Welcome to the Philippines, the land we love, where we are "robbed" always.


If you are a foreign visitor watching TV Patrol or 24 Oras and you see footages of "double-dead" meat on their way to the markets apprehended by law enforcers, you would be asking yourself, "What kind of people are these?"

In any other country where people have some sense of community, no one would ever sell something that is unfit for human consumption to his neighbor. In this country, "it’s me and my family", and who the hell cares about the others?

That is why greatness, let alone progress, eludes this benighted land. No sense of community. No national purpose. No national discipline. Worse, no love of country.


I should be happy with the recently-proclaimed "holiday economics" law. In Erap’s time, I proposed it, and caused a similar bill being introduced as an administration measure. I was then both the general manager of the Philippine Tourism Authority and the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs. I believed then and now that moving our holidays to the nearest weekend would promote domestic tourism as much as it would increase the productivity of our workplaces.

But my proposal then did not include Araw ng Kalayaan among the holidays whose date of commemoration could be moved. In fact, I believe it the duty of all government employees, civilian or military, to be present at every public plaza in every municipality of the country, to commemorate that one day which memorializes our national persona.

This is perhaps one of very few countries, in the undistinguished company of likely the sub-Saharan nations, where the people and its government treat National Day in so cavalier a fashion. Hey, you guys are paid by the Republic. The least you could do is to give reverence to its National Day.

And Gloria Macapagal Arroyo makes it a moveable holiday, so people, government leaders and employees included, could go to the beaches or to the malls instead of being inspired by the memory of our nationhood. Talagang walang redeeming value.


The guy who claims to be "Jose Pidal" has been named chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. May minang huhukayin, may trosong puputulin, maraming mga lupang pwede pang angkinin.

The gentleman from Lubao, the capital of jueteng and the center of gravel-mining, has been named chair of the House Committee on Energy.

Big-ticket. Wow!

The Lady by the River in her SONAta of last, preened in beaming pride about how lucky her successor to the presidency would be. She laid the groundwork, the foundations, for his "easy" rule, said she.

Scorched earth is more likely what awaits him or her. In Tagalog, "sisimutin lahat".

The late Sen. Raul Roco of respected memory once told a reporter in the campaign of 2004, "sa totoo lang, wala nang mananakaw sa gobyerno after these elections – ubos na!"

Now the "smart" are proving him wrong. There’s the ZTE Broadband mega-deal, there are power contracts all over, there’s mining, there’s land yet to grab, and computerization of Customs, the LTO, DECS, and not to forget, there’s yet another computerization deal at the Commission on Electoral Cheating. Oh how Raul would toss in his grave at realizing how they will scorch whatever is left. Walang kabusog-busog, as the old folks say.


Mea culpa. I am sorry.

There were 24 senators in the Senate prior to martial law. While it started as a Senate of 16 members, elections every two years where senators were elected by the entire nation to a term of six years each, without term limits, gave us 24 honorable men and women. And there were just over a hundred congressmen with four-year terms, also without term limits. Now we have 236 and counting in the Lower House, and save for a few dozens, the prefix "honorable" before their names leaves us cold. Ditto for some senators.

Readers Antonio Figueroa and Atty. Pete Santizo, and my friend Paquito Lirio, the former mayor of great Tanauan in Batangas, took time to write and correct our previous column. Atty. Santizo further corrects our line that party inspectors and not teachers manned the precincts prior to martial law. The chairman of the precinct board and the designated poll clerk were teachers, and with them, the eagle-eyed NP and LP inspectors, all of them given allowances by the government, through the Commission on Elections. Nowadays, candidates have to pay their poll watchers, while the Commission on Electoral Cheating pays the teachers who are the poll inspectors. The new set-up makes it much, much more expensive for political candidates, and much, much more conducive to vote manipulation.

Mea maxima culpa.

Malaya, August 3, 2008