Nagdesisyon kamakailan ang sistema ng katarungan ng Estados Unidos, sa pamamagitan ng kanilang mga korte at ng US Assistant Attorney General, na dinggin muna ang “petition for a writ of habeas corpus” ni Glenn G. Dumlao, at ang hiling ng abogado ni Michael Ray Aquino na si Mark Berman (public attorney kung baga ditto sa atin), na pigilin muna ang paglisan ni Cezar O. Mancao dahil kailangan itong maging testigo o “material witness” sa extradition hearing ni Aquino.
Agad bumira itong si Raul Gonzalez, kalihim ng kawalang-katarungan ng saksakan ng korap na pamahalaang Arroyo, at sinabi sa media na ito raw mga pagbinbin sa pag-uwi ni Mancao at Dumlao ay kagagawan ng kampo ni Lacson. May pakana raw na sadyang pigilin ang pagbalik ng dalawa upang humarap sa kasong Dacer-Corbito.
Ini-insulto ni Gonzalez ang Amerika. At ini-insulto niya ang talino ng Pinoy. Akala yata ni Gonzalez, ang sistema ng katarungan sa Estados Unidos ay pareho ng sistema sa kanyang DOJ, na tinaguriang “Department Store of Justice” kung saan, tulad ng malinaw na nakita natin sa kaso ng Alabang Boys, e nabibili ang mga prosecutors at iba pang matataas na opisyal ng kanyang kawanihan. Hindi tulad ng sistema ng katarungan ditto sa rehimeng Arroyo, na nabibili ng mayaman, o naiimpluwensyahan ng mga may kapangyarihan, sa Amerika ay patas ang laban. Isa mang payak na deportee o extraditee tulad nina Aquino at Dumlao ay may karapatang umapela upang mabigyan ng nararapat na “due process”. Maski akusado sa Amerika, may mga karapatang nakasaad sa batas at sa kanilang “Bill of Rights”, hindi tulad dito sa atin na kapag mahirap ka o walang impluwensya ay manigas ka na, wala pang papansin sa iyo mula sa hanay ng pamahalaan. (Isang exception dito sigurong maituturing ay si Atty. Persida Acosta ng Public Attorney’s Office).
Ini-insulto din ni Gonzalez ang utak ng Pinoy. Ang ibig bang sabihin ni Gonzalez, napakalakas ni Ping Lacson sa Amerika, na pati ang sistema ng katarungan doon ay kaya niyang impluwensyahan? Aba’y oposisyon si Lacson, at ang Donya Gloria niya, sampu ng kaniyang DOJ, NBI, DFA at iba pang kawanihan ay siyang opisyal na kumakatawan sa pamahalaan ng Republika ng Pilipinas. Hindi si Lacson. Hindi ang oposisyon.
O nais bang ipahiwatig ni Gonzalez na nilalaglag na ng mga Kano si Donya Gloria niya? Iyan ba ang siyang bumabagabag sa isipan ni Gonzalez?
Mantakin mong para sa isang abogado, at kalihim pa mandin, ay sabihing wala raw kinalaman ang kaso ni Aquino sa pagpapa-uwi kay Mancao, dahil ang kaso raw ni Aquino ay ukol sa kanyang pagkakasangkot sa Aragoncillo espionage case? Aba’y nahatulan na ng matagal sina Aragoncillo at Aquino sa kasong ito. Kaya nga nakapiit sa bilangguan si Aquino ay dahil dito. Nakalimutan na ba, o sadyang uliyanin na si Gonzalez, na ang kanyang pamahalaan ang siyang humiling na i-extradite ang tatlo pabalik sa atin, dahil sa Dacer-Corbito case? Nakalimutan na ba niya, o sadyang uliyanin na siya, na nangangamba silang umuwi dito sa atin dahil hindi nga patas ang laban ng katarungan sa Pilipinas, kung saan, ayon kay Dumlao, e na-torture at na-harrass siya upang ipilit ang nais na ipa-amin sa kanya ng pamahalaang Arroyo, kasama na ang mga nauna kay Gonzalez sa kawanihan ng kawalang katarungan?
Inulit na naman na nagbayad daw ng 100,000 dolyares si Dumlao, e samantalang napatunayan nang ang ibinayad ay 5 dolyar lamang bilang filing fee. At hanggang ngayon ay nakakulong pa rin si Glenn G. Dumlao. Sadyang bulaan itong si Gonzalez. Nasa buto na niya ang magsinungaling, mag-imbento, upang mapagaling siya sa naisin ng amo niyang sinungaling din.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Nagdesisyon kamakailan ang sistema ng katarungan ng Estados Unidos, sa pamamagitan ng kanilang mga korte at ng US Assistant Attorney General, na dinggin muna ang “petition for a writ of habeas corpus” ni Glenn G. Dumlao, at ang hiling ng abogado ni Michael Ray Aquino na si Mark Berman (public attorney kung baga ditto sa atin), na pigilin muna ang paglisan ni Cezar O. Mancao dahil kailangan itong maging testigo o “material witness” sa extradition hearing ni Aquino.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 6:35 PM
Monday, March 30, 2009
Wrote Dennis: “In the guise of being a satirist, this Hong Kong douche bag wants to be controversial and famous at OUR expense. I read this article online, and it got me really upset. This Chip Tsao fella has crossed the line…and it’s time for all of us to unite and work out a plan so that his next meals in this world are spiked with Pinoy saliva, urine, and maybe some salmonella thrown in for good measure --- a eye for an eye!” Well, it’s good I opened his mail after that lunch of home-cooked Chinese food, except for the goose, which came from Yung Kee upon Lan Kwai Fong, the gift of a friend.
The article, printed March 27, is entitled “The War at Home”, by a certain Chip Tsao, who is described as “a best-selling author and columnist, a former reporter for the BBC, whose columns have appeared in Apple Daily, Next magazine, and CUP magazine, among others”. Here it goes:
“The Russians sank a Hong Kong freighter last month, killing the seven Chinese seamen on board. We can live with that --- Lenin and Stalin were once the ideological mentors of all Chinese people. The Japanese planted a flag on Diaoyu Island. That’s no big problem --- we Hong Kong Chinese love Japanese cartoons, Hello Kitty, and shopping in Shinjuku, let alone our round-the-clock obsession with karaoke.
“But hold on --- even the Filipinos? Manila has just claimed sovereignty over the scattered rocks in the South China Sea called the Spratly Islands, complete with a blatant threat from its Congress to send gunboats to defend the islands from China if necessary. This is beyond reproach. The reason: there are more than 130,000 Filipina maids working as $3,850-a-month cheap labour in Hong Kong. As a nation of servants, you don’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn most of your bread and butter.
“As a patriotic Chinese man, the news has made by blood boil. I summoned Louisa, my domestic assistant who holds a degree in international politics from the University of Manila, hung a map on the wall, and gave her a harsh lecture. I sternly warned her that if she wants her wages increased next year, she had better tell every one of her compatriots in Statue Square on Sunday that the entirety of Spratly Islands belong to China.
“Grimly, I told her that if war breaks out between the Philippines and China, I would have to end her employment and send her straight home, because I would not risk the crime of treason for sponsoring an enemy of the state by paying her to wash my toilet and clean my windows 16 hours a day. With that money, she would pay taxes to her government, and they would fund a navy to invade our motherland and deeply hurt my feelings.
“Oh yes. The government of the Philippines would certainly be wrong if they think we Chinese are prepared to swallow their insult and sit back and lose a Falkland Islands War in the Far East. They may have Barack Obama and the hawkish American military behind them, but we have a hostage in the Mid-Levels or higher. Some of my friends told me they have already declared a state of emergency at home. Their maids have been made to shout “China, Madam/Sir” loudly whenever they hear the word “Spratly”. They say the indoctrination is working as wonderfully as when we used to shout “Long Live Chairman Mao!” at the site of the portrait of our Great
Leader during the Cultural Revolution. I’m not sure if that’s going a bit too far, at least for the time being.”
Strangely, while I am angered at the insulting arrogance of this Chinaman called Chip Tsao, my blood did not boil, as Dennis said it would. Instead, I felt sad and depressed. I wondered if those 130,000 Filipina domestic helpers labouring in those cramped Hong Kong flats would not in fact implore their government back home to give up the Spratly claim rather than lose their jobs.
My mother used to tell me how she was spanked by her teacher in Chinese grade school, and was made to endure the ostracism of the entire class when she mistakenly wore a Japanese-made silk blouse to school during the time Japan invaded China. And how my Chinese-Filipino grandfather would contribute heavily to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in a fund-raising campaign to fund the soldiers “back home” in fighting the Japanese, despite the protests of my Filipina grandmother. To this day, hardly any Japanese visitor strays into Nanjing, where their forebears massacred hundreds of thousands in what history recalls as the Rape of Nanking. The Chinese people find it difficult to forgive, and they certainly have not forgot. In 2002, as if to underscore how China had risen like a phoenix from the ashes of oppressed past and the closed economy of Chairman Mao, Zhu Rong Zhi spoke before a congress of overseas Chinese, and chose Nanjing as venue.
Those Filipina domestic helpers are not required to pay income taxes by the Philippine government in recognition for their being part of the “bagong bayani” diaspora that has saved the benighted land from sinking into the pits, so this stupid Chip Tsao does not need to worry about them financing a war against his China. And neither does he have to worry about Barack’s troops. They won’t enter a shooting war against China for puny little Philippines, unless there’s something in it for them.
But while I am mad at the condescension with which Tsao views our country, I truly wonder if our own people, given a choice, would wave the flag as fiercely as Tsao does, because the politics of the stomach of the dependents back home would take precedence. Poverty gives our people little choice, and nationalism always takes a back seat.
In the fifties, and long before that, Chinese flocked to the Philippines like ours was land of milk and honey, and even bribed politicians who possessed immigration quotas, just to be allowed to stay. My richer cousins had “amahs” from Canton and Amoy, now renamed Guangdong and Xiamen.
When I first travelled to Hong Kong in the mid-seventies, shopkeepers welcomed Filipinos like they were manna from some land of shoppers. Now those shopkeepers hire Filipinas, not as salesladies but as domestics in their flats or utility persons in their godowns.. And on the Sundays that I happen to be in Hong Kong, as I leave the Star Ferry terminal for the short walk to my favourite H & M boutique in Central, or the Shanghai Tang beside the Mandarin, I see an army of my poor compatriots huddle like work-worn souls for a few hours of convivial encounter in the environs of Chater Road. And each time, I weep inside.
Good fortune has allowed me these little luxuries of travel every now and then. Most of our people travel not for leisure, not for business, but for almost enslaving work in distant climes. To them, leaving the benighted land is the only chance for surviving the present and their only hold to a possibly better future.
Now it would seem, even loving one’s country and protecting its sovereignty, has become the luxury of a few, and an incomprehensible abstraction for the many whose country is perennially led by the corrupt who do not quite love them back.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 3:17 PM
Ang sadyang nakaiinis sa mga ginagawa ng pamahalaang Arroyo diumano upang mabigyan ng katarungan ang pagkakamatay nina Dacer at Corbito ay ang malinaw na panlilinlang. Noong isang linggo ay tinalakay na natin ang unti-unting pagtatalop ng tinaguriang “Mancao affidavit”. At matapos ilabas na nga ito (bagama’t nakasusi daw sa isang kaha de yero ng bangko), ibinalitang pabalik na raw ang kapwa inakusahang si Col. Glenn G. Dumlao. Nang maudlot ang diumano’y pag-uwi naman ni Dumlao, na pinigil ng korte sa Amerika, sinabing gawain daw ito ng kampo ni Lacson. Kesyo nagpadala raw 100,000 dolyar sa pamamagitan ng tatlong mamamahayag, at binayaran ang piyansa ni Dumlao.
Una, hindi naman nagpipiyansa si Dumlao, at hanggang ngayon ay nakakulong pa rin sa piitan, bunga ng extradition request ng DOJ ng Pilipinas. Wika nga ng kanyang abogadong si Atty. Felix Vinluan, ang ibinayad niya ay 5 dolyar, limang dolyar lamang, at hindi 100,000 dolyar. Pangalawa, naisip na ba ng mga gung-gong na propagandista na ang bawa’t bisita sa bansang Amerika ay hindi maaring magpasok ng hihigit sa tig-sampung libong dolyar? Kailangan mo ay 10 peryodista na magdadala ng tigsa-sampung libong dolyar. Natandaan ba ninyo ang kaso ng mga anak ni Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, na natiklo sa airport sa Amerika na may dalang 100,000 dolyares? Sino namang tangang peryodista ang papayag na magdala ng malaking halaga? Bayan ang nililinlang, at hindi lamang ang DOJ at mga propagandista ng rehimen ang nakuryente, kundi sadyang nagpapasa ng kuryente.
Pagkatapos nagsampa diumano ng kaso laban kay Ping Lacson itong mga magkakapatid na Dacer, at sinabi naman agad ni Raul Gonzales ng DOJ na uumpisahan ang preliminary investigation ng Dacer-Corbito kung saan ngayon ay sangkot na si Lacson. E wala naman dito ang nag-aakusa, at ang tinanggap ni Gonzales ay sinumpaang akusasyon sa konsulado ng Pilipinas sa Amerika. Pati si Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile ay nabahala, pagka’t nag-shortcut itong si Gonzales, maidiin lang si Lacson. Nagmamadali sila ngayon, base sa isang affidavit ni Mancao na wala namang corroboration, at hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa tiyak na salaysay nitong diumano’y testigo nilang si Mancao.
E bakit pitong taon nang higit na nasa Amerika ang mga akusadong sina Aquino, Dumlao at Mancao, e nun lang Oktubre ng nagdaang taon kumilos ang DOJ at humiling na ma-extradite ditto ang tatlo? Kung sadyang gusto nilang bigyan ng katarungan ang pamilya Dacer, bakit hinintay nila ang halos walong taon?
Malinaw ang motibo ng pamahalaang Arroyo. Nais gipitin at gantihan si Lacson, na gaya nga ng sinabi ni Cezar Mancao sa interbyu niya sa telebisyon noong 2008, ay sinabi ni Hen. Romeo Prestoza, noon ay PSG ni Donya Gloria, at ngayon ay hepe ng ISAFP, na “parang asong ulol---ayaw tumahimik” (kontra sa sobrang katiwalian sa pamahalaang Arroyo).
At sadya rin ang timing: papalapit na ang halalan. Nais lang siraan si Lacson at ang oposisyon. Ngayong muling isusulong ang cha-cha, na ang nais ay palawigin pa ang kapangyarihan ni Donya Gloria, puputaktiin nila si Ping ng kung anu-anong akusasyon upang manghina ang oposisyon.
Tama ang sabi ni Lacson sa kanyang mga anunsyo --- kung siya’y may malaking lihim na kasalanang nais itago, tulad ng pagpaslang kina Dacer at Corbito, e di dapat nakisama na lang siya sa pamahalaang ito . Pero patuloy siya sa kanyang krusada laban sa korapsyon, at ang tumbok ay itong rehimeng Arroyo.
Nguni’t hindi titigil sa panlilinlang ang rehimeng ito at kanilang mga alipores.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 3:16 PM
Friday, March 27, 2009
As the end of power approaches, Gloria, her family and her minions fear not so much the end of happy days, as they are of possible prosecution for crimes against the people. Some of the more glaring crimes I described yesterday. They have long counted the happy days, minus investment losses if at all, and have programmed the looting schedules. Scorched earth is a good description. They are trying to sell everything that can be sold, in the guise of a privatization policy, both crown jewels and baubles. With a 1.4 trillion budget and an economic “stimulus” program that a good bishop labelled “steal-mulus”, they have fortified their armory for pillage.
Her appointees in cabinet and below are preparing to get elected to various posts in 2010, whether as senators or congressmen, so as to afford some mantle of protection for whatever sins they may have committed. Note that only a few have moist eyes for local government posts, because such positions are vulnerable to presidential pressure. For if the elected president in 2010 runs after them, for reasons political or justiciable, they would not have the same kind of leverage that a seat in the legislature provides.
But end days are most horrible to contemplate from the vantage point of the current holder of supreme power. The Constitution secures a sitting president from prosecution for all crimes, but immunity lapses when presidential power is gone. As it was with Joseph Ejercito Estrada, who was hauled off to jail by hundreds of policemen on April 25, 2001, three months after he was toppled.
In the latter half of 2007, publisher Dante Ang, close to the first couple (as of that time at least), told me he would suggest to his principal that in 2010, she does not publicly endorse any presidential candidate. Instead, she could just give each of the “serious” candidates a billion pesos each in contributions, and more to the two top contenders as election day nears. If he said this in jest, he was deadpan. Of course I did not ask the stupid question of where the billions would come from.
These days the story in the House of the Bought is about how Joe de V was approached by Mikey the son and Martin the son of a Marcos crony and relation, who tried to “persuade” Manong Joe to “just be consistent with his long-held penchant for the parliamentary system”. They were not so interested in the number of votes, if at all other than his own, that Joe could add to their 178 signatures. They just wanted a patina of credibility, oxymoronic as that is, behind the multi-millions that they would have to put up to “buy” the margin between 197 and 178. Plan W is cha-cha, and the surreptitious conversion of government from presidential to parliamentary.
Joe de V now says that he was offered the speakership back, if only he would go along with walang kamatayang cha-cha. But he claims to have rejected them outright. Speaker Nogie fears his days are numbered, and if Joe de V does not bite, there is always Louie V or Martin R or whoever, to take up the lease. The Senate keeps saying they will not dance along, and tell us not to worry. But the game plan is not to get the senators to join a rump constituent assembly, but to have the numbers that would precipitate a case filed in the Supreme Court.
If a challenge, as it clearly will, is lodged before the high tribunal, there will only be three non-Arroyo appointees in the Court --- Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Associate Justices Leo Quisumbing and Consuelo Ynares-Santiago. The earliest Gloria appointee to the SC, Antonio Carpio has been showing independence and has refused to toady up to her. By June of this year or thereabouts, it is reasonably expected that only four, perhaps five votes can be counted upon not to pander to Gloria’s desires. And if defeat stares him in the face, not because of the preponderance of reason or principle, but because interpretation of constitutional fiat has become a function of pressure, “pera-pera” or both, then expect the chief justice to resign. He is not likely to relish the “Puno Court” being remembered in history for this perfidious decision.
And unless popular upheaval follows such resignation, then Gloria would have her way --- a submissive Court granting imprimatur to a constituent assembly without the Senate. Expect some senators to then acquiesce, rationalizing submission to the operative law of the land, interpreted by the Court. Now let me tell you a story:
A once-corpulent gentleman held a meeting early this year with two generals. He impressed upon them the plan to cha-cha, and wondered loudly about the probabilities of street demonstrations and protests, especially if the priests and pastors denounce what to him was “necessary to preserve the gains of the economy amid global recession”. Further he asked about the ability of “her” uniformed men to control the situation. From what I gathered, he was not too re-assured with the answers he got. Plan X would be about “controlling the situation”, to the point of precipitating disorder that would justify emergency rule.
So if civil society is able to muster enough strength in the streets, there will always be the police under Versoza (or his replacement), and the military under Gen. Delfin Bangit to be counted upon. Which is why cha-cha’s final push is so timed that public reaction will be reckoned with when there is a new CS-AFP and students are on vacation. And the Dona will have appointed two more new justices to the Court.
Would the realization that they will be robbed of their right to change the present leadership on May of 2010 drive the people into the streets in another display of people power, enough to get the soldiers to withdraw their support, as in Edsa 1 and Edsa 2? I am not a seer. In any case, that is Plan X.
If such should come to pass, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo with the iron will and beyond shame, is able to survive, never mind the billions and billions of public monies she would trade in transaction after transaction, with the generals, with Congress, with the lord bishops of the numerous Church and denominational pastors, then she shall reign, forever and ever, or until the Lord above deigns it in his infinite mercy to end her mortal existence.
But if she and her advisers think twice, and are unwilling to push their envelope to the brink, unable therefore to cha-cha-cha, then the elections of 2010 will perforce have to push through. Thus will a menu of options present itself.
She could opt for the Dante Ang formula, but maybe Mike would rather she did not--- “sayang” the money. So she would anoint someone, maybe Gilbert Teodoro who fawns upon her (Plan Y-1). Or maybe Noli de Castro, who after all leads in the surveys, albeit marginally (Y-2). Who knows what the surveys tell come September or October?
Some of her advisers are pushing for a Noli-Jinggoy tandem (Plan Y-3). It will be billed as the “Unity” ticket, acceptable to those Tony Abaya describe as the “screaming masa”, and Justice Renato Corona (Reynato Puno’s likely replacement if he resigns) calls the “unwashed, the foul-smelling”. In a multi-cornered fight, that lumpen-attractive tandem just might win.
She could also bet along with new best friends, Danding Cojuangco and Ramon Ang. If it’s Chiz they prefer, and Chiz has respectable numbers, why ever not? There will always be a convenient reason for the young Chiz to rationalize his “submission” to the party, his “acceptance of the need to heal the wounds of divisiveness ” (Y-4D). The young Escudero can be relied upon to find the right words at the right moment.
If Erap allows Jinggoy to team up with Noli in a “poor man’s ticket”, that is the end of the father’s quest to retake the presidency he lost. That is also the end of a putative Erap-Loren ticket. But if Jinggoy does not bite, there’s always Vilma Santos-Recto, the husband of E-VAT Recto.
Would Manny Villar then run, and lose his billions? Maybe, and claim to be opposition. Gloria fears him not. If the revelations about C-5 and Taga cannot do him in, he is always open to transaction, at the right time (Y-5V). But then again, since the Philippines is such a “small town” where secrets and side deals cannot be hidden from public attention, the variables of Plan Y require that some potential “trouble-makers” be neutralized first.
Sometime in February, a governor of a dirt-poor province (still depressed despite billions poured into it by both Erap and Gloria, because funds go to deep pockets and not to projects) who is one of the occasional mouthpieces of the Dona and her cabal, was shopping for a “special operations” trickster against, whaddayaknow --- Mar Roxas! Surely the reason is not personal. Neither does it have anything to do with Mar having a Liberal Party candidate against him. All the politicos in his dirt-poor province are with Kampi or Lakas.
And in November last year, Gloria’s regime finally requested the US government, then under her friend George Bush, for the extradition of Cezar Mancao and Glenn Dumlao, eight years after the supposed murders of Dacer and Corbito, seven and a half-years since Mancao, Dumlao and Aquino were charged as participants to the crime.
The reading in the stinking palace is that Mar is not too easy to transact with, and in any case, will listen to those “traidores” in civil society who constitute his core support. And Ping has never been transactional (I have many stories about the efforts of La Gloria’s minions and emissaries, all rejected).
So for a quantum of caution against “flies in the ointment”, Ping is now the object of late-told diatribes, late-extracted “confessions”, with Erap becoming “collateral damage” instead of prime target, so that in the end, transacting with Erap can be facilitated.
See Plans W, X, and Y with all its variables? Every variable must be controllable, as per the Dona’s economics-trained mind and Machiavellian amorality.
But what if despite all the devious plans, a Ping or a Mar (now seemingly low in the surveys) should upset the applecart? Here comes Plan Z:
There is the computerization deal that non-techies Melo and his Comelec are pushing through. The same conglomerate that has bagged the Land Registration Authority computerization deal with Judge Bienvenido Ulep (a once-corpulent man’s nominee) and the Land Transportation Office computerization deal (which former LTO chief and now DOTC Asec-for-nothing Reynaldo Berroya presided over), is touted as best-qualified to supply some 80,000 counting machines.
For 11.3 billion pesos, we just may wake up on Election Day to find machines that do not work, machines that jam, laying the predicate to a declaration of “failure of elections”. No president or vice-president are elected. No senators are elected. No congressman or governor or mayor and their army of “sabits” in councillors and board members are elected. The Constitution says that in such an event, “Where no President and Vice-President shall have been chosen or shall have qualified, the President of the Senate or in case of his inability, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall act as President until a President or Vice-President shall have been chosen and qualified” (Art. VII, Sec. 7, Para. 5)
Enter the “protectors of Gloria”. This is Plan Z, where Plan Y blends in.
“Ala-Berde”, old-time Manilenos would say. “Gulo” most everyone else would exclaim, which is “gubot” among the Bisaya. All hell breaks loose.
Tony Blair, in his expensive Manila debut, was asked, “When does a leader know it’s time to step down?”
Without much effort, Blair replied, “When you’re no longer doing the right thing --- when it’s just a job”.
But Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a “workaholic”. She loves “the job”, never mind the “right thing”. She will hold on to the job, forever and ever, if she could.
W, X, Y, Z. It ain’t over till the little lady sings. And Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, husband of Jose Miguel Tuason Arroyo, daughter of Diosdado and Eva, brother to Diosdado Jr. a.k.a. Buboy, mother to Mike and Luli and Dato, and lola to various little others, is not about to croak any swan song.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 11:11 AM
She has been president of the country for eight years, two months and four days. No one other than Ferdinand Marcos has presided over the nation’s continuing misery longer than Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, daughter of the man Marcos defeated in the elections of 1965.
In her first three years, five months and nine days of the term to which Joseph Ejercito Estrada was elected in 1998, she had survived several crises of corruption. First was the IMPSA sovereign guarantee extended by her through a Department of Justice opinion, where seven million dollars allegedly changed hands, under the table. Two million dollars of such unexplained monies were traced to a Swiss bank by Swiss federal authorities. The money trail was furnished the Office of the President. The Ombudsman slept for years on the case. Finally, last year the Ombudsman filed a case against the then Secretary of Justice, a case that the Sandiganbayan, protective of “due process” for the accused, dismissed. Clearly the Ombudsman filed a case meant to be lost.
She was accused by Pacifico Marcelo of wanting to take over his telecoms company, 55% or so of it, in exchange for upholding his franchise. Her own Assumption friend and palace confidante, who came from a family of honest genes, was appalled at the display of power for corruption so early. But Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was protected in the Senate by Joker Arroyo. Marcelo fled on a slow boat to China. The Assumption friend died of illness later.
The new management of the Public Estates Authority appointed by her took over an almost finished project of the deposed president, the yet to be named “central boulevard” that was parallel to congested Roxas Boulevard which leads to the international airport. From 650 million pesos, the cost of the project instantly ballooned to 1.1 billion pesos, half a billion more, explained away as for re-scraping the foundation of a portion of the 2.2 kilometer boulevard, plus landscaping and lighting. Half a billion pesos scandalously more. She found little scandal though. She is so proud of it she had it named after her father, Diosdado Macapagal, the once-remembered “poor man from Lubao”, and short bridges spanning sewerage outfalls are named after mother, and grandfather. It is the most expensive boulevard in the universe, meter for meter. Ask Guinness. Or Ripley.
Panfilo Lacson exposed the shady money laundering activities of one Jose Pidal, using the bank secrecy act to transfer monies to a fictitious account named after an ancestor from Iloilo. Who was Jose Pidal? Weeks later, a nervous middle-aged man heretofore unknown except in Negros and the joints of San Francisco during the martial law era, stepped up to the plate and claimed he was Jose Pidal, dubious signatures and all. Again, Joker Arroyo came to the succor of the First Family, and upheld the alleged Jose Pidal’s “right to privacy”. Curiously, records now hidden by the Bureau of Internal Revenue show that in the years when Jose Pidal earned hundreds of millions, his income tax payment was an amazingly low ten or so thousand pesos each year. The alleged Jose Pidal is now a congressman representing the descendants of the benighted sacadas of his family haciendas, but now he is “proudly”, Ignacio Arroyo y Tuason, chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of the Bought.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, with Rizal’s monument as witness, declared before fooled and relieved people that she would no longer run for election, in order to slay the “divisiveness” of which she was a part. Eight months later, before her cabalens in the now decrepit Centennial auditorium in Clark, whose airport she also named after her papa Dadong, she declares she would seek re-election.
What followed was a campaign unrivalled in the breadth of shameless spending of government resources, from Road Board funds to military funds suspected to have been “converted” by a general now in prison, and whose family now languish in American jails, and of course, the infamous Jocjoc Bolante fertilizer scam.
She was proclaimed by Congress, “winning” by more than a million votes over the king of Philippine movies. Everyone thought the king lost because the opposition could not unite behind him, and he had a hopelessly disorganized electoral operation. And so for about a year, people grudgingly accepted Gloria, while FPJ sulked into anonymity, until unfortunate death took him away six months after he “lost”. On June 6, 2005, her own press secretary pre-empted the discovery of a taped conversation between Gloria and a shady character known as “Garci”, unfortunately a commissioner of elections under the equally shady Benjamin Abalos. In those conversations, apparently tapped by ISAFP to ensure Garci made no double-cross, she was heard asking him to ensure she wins by no less than a million margin, at one point muttering, “yung dagdag…yung dagdag”.
Ten members of her cabinet resigned a month later, unconvinced about the sincerity of her televised “I am sorry”. Cory, bishops and civil society asked her to resign, but was saved at the last moment by the reluctance of her Vice-President as well as Lakas stalwarts FVR and Joe de V. An impeachment case was lodged in the House of Representatives, thwarted months later when the chamber was converted into her “House of the Bought”.
On February of 2006, during the anniversary of Edsa One, soldiers led by Scout Rangers Regiment Gen. Danilo Lim tried to launch a massive withdrawal of support, thwarted only by the clumsiness of believing that others with stars on their epaulets understood what honour and patriotism meant. Lim, along with Marine General Miranda and several others, are now in military jails, awaiting court martial proceedings that have taken the longest time. She survived, and how!
Meanwhile, the stealing goes on, as brazen as brazen could ever be. Even the World Bank was appalled, such that it blacklisted contractors who always win, courtesy of the corrupt DPWH and protectors in higher places. An “immoderately greedy” scheme to earn 200 million dollars in “tongpats” was foiled only when Panfilo Lacson delivered a privilege speech denouncing the shameless ZTE-NBN broadband deal which was first exposed by a losing proponent, Jose de Venecia III, son of the Speaker of the House of the Bought, soon decapitated because he could not control a “wayward” son whose scruples were assailed by the awesome greed. The drama of the Senate hearings kept the entire nation in tenterhooks, while they saw a “commissioner”, no less than the Comelec chair, Abalos, nervously twisting in the wind of his own lies. Then a coward, Romulo Neri, invokes “executive privilege” to cover up the whole truth about a mysterious presidential visit to China while her husband lay in almost fatal state, and a signing of an agreement in the wee hours, like “a thief in the night”.
Thereafter, another witness, Jun Lozada, Romulo Neri’s fix-it guy, is abducted at the international airport, taken for a joy ride that could have been fatal had it not been for an alert media. Once more, civil society called for her resignation. But she did not budge. Another impeachment complaint was thrashed, courtesy of her House of the Bought. By the votes of “her” associate justices, Neri’s executive privilege was upheld, and the concealment of truth in the guise of “national interest” has become the lay of the land. To say it is “the law”, because what the Court decides is law, is to accept infallibility from a bunch of incompetents or the intentionally blind, likelier both.
Under her amoral watch, all the institutions of government and formal democracy have been destroyed. The legislature is a pathetic parody of checks and balance, with only a handful of senators and another handful of party-list progressives having the courage of their convictions. The rest are either cretins or bought, many of them, both.
The judiciary is for sale, but for certain rare exceptions, including a Chief Justice who valiantly tries to stem the tide. And the biggest buyer almost always leads to the stinking palace beside the stinking river. Quasi-judicial bodies such as the Commission on Elections have become commercial houses, apart from being a seasonal purveyor of voting fabrication. Another quasi-judicial body, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been quietly commercial likewise, until Mar Roxas and Philip Piccio unearthed their collusion with a big-time crook with big-time connections behind a Ponzi scheme called Legacy. The Bangko Sentral, upon which reposes the fiduciary trust of the benighted land, is likewise compromised.
The military is for sale, honour seemingly thrown out of the window. Some of their generals were bought along with Hello Garci, while promotion to higher rank has become a function of blind loyalty and the willingness to bow to an illegitimate commander-in-chief. Ditto for the police. Values learned at the Philippine Military Academy are conveniently waylaid, because the polity is ruled by lying, cheating and stealing. (I almost threw up when SND Gilbert Teodoro recently addressed the cadets of the Academy, and exhorted them “not to tolerate lying, cheating and stealing”. Hello? What of your president, whose endorsement you seek for your presidential dreams?)
Even the religious institutions are compromised. A Jesuit priest is oblivious to all the chicanery as he partners with a pseudo-ideologue in upholding their queer dogma of justified killings in the altar of national security. They hardly flinch while extra-judicial killings occur left and right, and the country has become, under their combined amoral watch, as the most dangerous peace-time country in the world. Beaten to the distinction only by strife-wracked Somalia, Colombia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Iraq. What a country!
Not to forget our bishops, oh, our lords of grace! When the conscience-stricken cabinet members who later became the Hyatt Ten asked her in the wake of Hello Garci to “save her government” by exiling Mike Arroyo and firing Ephraim Genuino of his and her Pagcor, she acceded to the first, but no, no, no, no, no to Genuino. “He takes care of the bishops for me”, she said without batting an eyelash. But then again, members of the same group once heard her say, during those critical days, “I am beyond shame”.
The economy is supposed to be her ace. She is after all a textbook economist, a professor at that. But in the years preceding the 2004 elections, she racked up the national debt several times over, and after she was “elected” by Garci and her generals, she imposed a “comprehensive tax reform program” (read that as E-VAT) on helpless citizens so they could pay for her over-borrowing, and “save” the moribund economy she herself created. It was indeed saved, acquiring for her dubious international distinction, and making the economy “grow” by figures she crows about at every opportunity. But the human misery index keeps growing, and poverty is hardly addressed. Basic services go to pot, from health to education. Cronyism and regulatory capture of the domestic economy have come back with a vengeance, and the same old faces who were cozy with Marcos are now cozier with Papa Dadong’s little daughter.
Poverty and hopelessness have been kept from exploding in a society of extreme contrasts simply because an escape valve allows the miserable to go on a diaspora towards greener pastures in parched deserts or dreary cultures. They have become the new vaca lecheras (milking cows), whose annual dollar remittances keep their families and extended kin alive, and the local economy register consumer-led growth, buying mostly, imports from Yi-wu and Shenzen, Thailand and Indonesia.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has survived most every threat to her political survival by the sheer combination of nimble brinkmanship, tough personal decisions, and transactions with crucial sectors such as the military generals, Church bishops and other religious leaders, legislators, local government leaders, business oligarchs, even “bought” media. She has done all these through the absolute amorality of “lying, cheating and stealing”. There are no limits, moral or real, to what she is capable of, and willing to do for continued power and the largesse that she and her family can get with it.
The transactions have also led to governance held hostage by selfish interests, from legislators craving far more than their usual pork, to positions for incompetents out for quick bucks, to a bureaucratic leadership led by appointees also out for quick bucks, especially as the constitutional deadline of 30 June, 2010 draws nearer and nearer. As that deadline approaches, both Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her circle of power dread the coming of reckoning.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 11:10 AM
Ito talagang bansa natin, walang katapusan ang mga balitang hindi kanais-nais, o tinatawag na “sensational” ng media. Noong Biyernes ay inilabas ng isang pahayagang nasyonal ang diumano’y affidavit ni Col. Cezar O. Mancao na sinumpaan noong Valentine’s Day na nagdaan. Sa huli nating pitak kahapon ay namangha tayo sa mga kaduda-dudang nilalaman nito. Talaga naman itong pamahalaang Arroyo, o… binibiro niyong 2001 pa ng madiskubre ang mga ‘diumano’y sunog na buto at pustiso nitong si Dacer at kanyang tsuper na si Corbito, at sinampahan nila ng mga kaso sina Colonels Aquino, Dumlao at Mancao, e bakit kaya ngayon lamang nila hiningi sa pamahalaan ng Estados Unidos ang pagpapa-extradite ng mga ito? Inabot ng walong taon. Ito ba ang nais magbigay ng hustisya sa pamilang Dacer? Hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman ng nakararami na ang mga ito, partikular si Aquino at Mancao, ay nasa Amerika. Si Mancao nga’y hindi naman nagtatago, at naging malaking negosyante pa sa Florida, bilang realtor. Bakit ngayon lang?
* * *
Isa sa mga laging tinatanong sa akin ng mga usisero ukol sa Dacer-Corbito at ang pagkakasangkot nina Aquino at Mancao ay ito --- posible ba namang kung may inuutos si Pangulong Erap ay hindi dumaan kay Ping Lacson, na siyang hepe ng PNP at PAOCTF? Hindi daw kapani-paniwalang dideretso si Erap kay Aquino o Mancao. Bagama’t hindi ko pinagtitibay ang sabi ni Mancao sa affidavit na may “Bigote” na nag-utos, o naiirita kay Dacer, eto ang dapat na malaman ng mga nagbabasa ng Abante:
Una, sa mga opisyal ng Malakanyang noon, hindi sa amin kataka-taka ang dumiretso si Pangulong Erap sa mga mas mababa na opisyal. Sa DPWH nga, mas malimit na magpakita sa kanya ang Regional Director ng Region IV na taga-Sta. Cruz, Laguna, si Direktor Panganiban, kesa kay Sec. Vigilar. Sa Department of Finance, lalo na noong si Ed Espiritu pa ang kalihim, halos araw-araw ay nasa palasyo si Nelson Tan na Customs Commissioner, samantalang si Espiritu ay minsanan lang sa isang linggo kung pumunta sa Malakanyang. Si NFA Director noon, Edno Joson ay mas malimit na kausapin ni Pangulong Erap kaysa sa dating Kalihim ng DA na si Willy Dar. Walang mataas o mababang opisyal kay Erap. Ang importante, kilala ka niya ng personal, at palagay ang loob sa iyo.
Isa pa, noong Hulyo hanggang halos katapusan na ng Oktubre, taong 2000, hindi nakakatuntong si Ping Lacson sa palasyo, dahil may tampo si Erap sa kanya. Tanungin na lang ninyo si Chavit Singson kung bakit. Eto kasing si Ping, raid ng raid ng mga operator ng jueteng, e nagsusumamo na kay Pangulong Erap at kay Chavit ang mga trapong gobernador na lubayan naman ang jueteng na kanilang pinakikinabangan. Tigas kasi ng ulo nitong si Ping --- basta’t iligal, maski na Pangulo ang makiusap, hindi siya mapasunod.
So, posible bang mag-utos si Pangulong Erap ng deretsahan kay Aquino o Mancao na lingid sa kaalaman ni Lacson? Oo naman.
* * *
Samantala, may mga grupong nagu-udyok kay Among Ed Panlilio ng Pampanga na lumahok sa labanan para panguluhan sa 2010. At mukhang nakikiliti naman ang gobernador. Si Gobernadora Grace Padaca naman daw ang siyang tatakbo nilang bise ni Panlilio.
Wika ng isa nating taga-subaybay, “litung-lito na ang mga Pinoy sa dami ng nais maging pangulo!” Sinu-sino na nga ba?
Si dating Pangulong Erap, si Loren Legarda, Noli de Castro, Ping Lacson, Mar Roxas, Chiz Escudero at Manny Villar, ang pitong nangunguna, hindi sa ganung order. Tapos, andyan pa si Senador Dick Gordon, si Mayor Jojo Binay at si MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando. Sampu na sila. Eto pa si Brother Mike ng El Shaddai at si Bro. Eddie Villanueva ng Jesus is Lord Movement. At si Chief Justice Reynato Puno, bagama’t ito’y tahasan nang tumanggi. At ngayon si Gobernador Panlilio ng Pampanga. Meron pa ba? Balita ko may isang bilyunaryong negosyante na nagninilaynilay rin.
* * *
Samantala rin, abangan ang napipintong pagbuhay na muli sa Cha-Cha ni Gloria kapag nagbukas muli ang Kongreso matapos ang mahal na araw. Mismong si dating Speaker JDV ay inalok na muling ibabalik sa pagiging speaker, basta’t maki-apid lang sa kabaliwang cha-cha. Tutal dati na naman siyang para sa cha-cha, ‘di ba?
Ma-drama na naman ang pulitika natin. Ayon kay Joe de V, tinanggihan niyang maki-apid na muli sa mga Arroyo, so, sino kaya ang papalit kay Speaker Nograles, na siyang makapapangakong kakayanin ang bilang ng 197 na mambabatas na aayon sa constituent assembly maski walang Senado? Abangan.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 11:10 AM
Monday, March 23, 2009
Those who have been regular readers of Malaya and this space will recall our articles on the ten presidentiables (I still wonder at the grammatical precision of that description, but language and communication is a dynamic thing, so there). It started with “The Hamlet Act” of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, 13th President of the Philippines, (08 Jan 2009) and the second to be ousted from office by what savants call “people power”. It ended with an article on “The atypical Ping” (12 Feb 2009). In all, I wrote about ten of these men and a woman who would be president, if they could.
Many, in person, by mail or phone, have reacted in a variety of opinions. Three embassies have asked for copies of the entire set. I furnished them the articles on the ten, including the two follow-up articles on “The Leader We Need” (13 Feb 2009), and “Is There No one Else?” (17 Feb 2009, the title taken from the daring Achilles in the movie “Troy”). Erap loyalists have debated with me on the “legality” of their champion’s running; many agreed with my observations about Chiz Escudero. Some said I was too kind to the persons they disliked. And while I was particularly harsh against cowboy-in-a-chopper Manny Villar’s credentials for the presidency, no one wrote or talked to dispute my observations. Senator Loren called me to express thanks for an article that was “objective” and “did not pander”, which I truly appreciate. Senator Dick thanked me in writing, while at the same time lamenting that our politics has become as “pera-pera” as I had observed in another article. Common friends I share with Mar Roxas generally agreed with what I wrote. BF personally acknowledged the article on him, but I sensed that he was not exactly too happy with how I assessed his chances. Well, true friends always tell the truth to those they consider their friends. In 2004, I seriously talked to three people about being the vice-presidential team-mate of Ping Lacson. One of them was Bayani, and he retains my personal respect and admiration as the most principled of all three. But politics, as even Andrew Lloyd Weber memorialized in “Evita”, is “the art of the possible”. Still and all, if Bayani wants to buck the odds, and persists in running with his advocacy of “kaayusan”, I will respect that. The arithmetic of winning isn’t all that matters.
In the article entitled “Is There No One Else”, I mentioned the other names being floated --- Gilbert Teodoro who on the day the article was printed had not yet admitted he was seriously seeking “GMA’s endorsement”, Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga, Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabela, Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo. At the time of that writing, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte had already publicly (and wisely) eschewed any presidential plans for 2010. I devoted most of that article to Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the only man for whom a major presidential contender, Senator Ping Lacson, publicly announced his willingness to defer and support. But I also realistically cautioned the highly respected and erudite chief magistrate of the land about my personal experience with the putative presidential candidacy of a predecessor of his, Marcelo B. Fernan of Bogo in northern Cebu.
My good friend and opinion research specialist, Pepe Miranda, who humbly describes himself as a perennial “student” of politics, has a take on Puno’s first name --- Reynato, from the root words “rey” which is Spanish for king, and “nato” from “natal”, which speaks of birth. “Reynato---born to be king?”, Pepe asked philosophically in a recent meeting.
Yet, the tale of the survey numbers do not show that electoral probability at this point, even Pepe admits. The mostly uninformed masa of this benighted land can hardly distinguish between a good Puno and another they clearly reject. The Chief Justice and Ronnie the Tree, eminence grise to Dona Gloria y su esposo, are not even remotely related. One is “punong hitik ng bungang matamis”, and the other is well, “basta punong-puno” (of what, ask Mon Tulfo).
But politics is “the art of the possible”, and anything can yet catapult the good magistrate to the highest post in the land, perhaps to put order to the anarchy of hopelessness which has become the indelible legacy of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the fortunate woman who has reigned over this most unfortunate episode in our nation’s formal democracy.
Since those 12 articles written in the space of a month and a half, there have been others who, by themselves or through “feelers” and spokesmen, have admitted their long-held secret desires, their moist eyes, as friend Rene Saguisag used to describe, for the presidency of the land. From ten, it has now become a long, long list.
Gilbert Teodoro, son of the recently departed and highly respected former administrator of the Social Security System, Gilberto Sr., and gentle lady to the manor born, Ditas Cojuangco-Teodoro, sister of empire-builder Eduardo Murphy Cojuangco Jr., has finally thrown his hat into the ring, not under the political tent of the Nationalist People’s Coalition where his uncle Danding is “boss”, founder and owner, but under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s, “his” president’s hem. Can late-comers still outsprint everyone else? Can Secretary Teodoro, pole-vault into the big time, using the awfully short pole of Dona Gloria? Vamos a ver.
There is even Mike Velarde, Brother Mike to his El Shaddai prayer partners, who Bishop Ted Bacani, their adviser, praises as having the makings of “a good president”, but who pines for the formal endorsement of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, though none is forthcoming, and none is possible.
There is Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas and the Jesus is Lord Movement, who a confidant told me recently will “definitely” seek the presidency once more, after failing in the same quest in 2004.
Of course there is the ridiculous quest of Ephraim Genuino, once El Esposo’s “best” friend, now probably estranged by “particion de bienes” , which his satraps claim is “for real”. Last Saturday, he fouled up traffic in Manila because of a Pagcor-sponsored “Grand Batang Iwas-Droga” (BIDA) at Roxas Boulevard and the Quirino Grandstand. “Bida” of course was Ephraim the Genuine, with his genuine billions in gambling money. He received a supposed certification from Guinness Book of World Records, that almanac of the abnormal. Maybe Genuino will next get his Pagcor to sponsor the world’s largest calamay (guaranteed to get him the votes of Candon in Ilocos Sur), or the world’s longest bangus grill (not guaranteed to get him the votes of Dagupan, lest Archbishop Oscar Cruz leave his beloved flock to the fires of eternal damnation). This Filipino fascination for the Guinness almanac of the abnormal leaves me cold --- it is as absurd as absurd can ever be.
Tell you what, Genuine. A creative friend of mine who likes gambling, er, gaming, “enthused” at the prospects of you running for president, has already conjured a campaign tagline --- “Huwag isugal ang kinabukasan!” That is followed by the Pagcor vizier pulling down a slot machine lever, and the words, “Tiyak ang panalo kay Genuino” comes out. He, he, he. That’s for laughs, but can you imagine a country where someone like Ephraim has chutzpah to the max? Only in da Pilipins.
As if Erap, Noli, Loren, Ping, Mar, Manny, Chiz, along with Bayani, Jobama and Dick are not a crowd, we now add to the ever-lengthening list Bro. Mike and Bro. Eddie, Gilbert and Ephraim, for a total of 14. But wait! There’s more.
Over the weekend, the governor of jueteng-ridden Pampanga, the priest who defeated Lilia Pineda of jueteng fame and Mark Lapid of gravel and sand, now confesses that he hears a cacophony of voices urging him to run, and as the people’s voice is the voice of God, who is he to close his ears to that? The man his province-mates call Among Ed is the latest entrant into the sweepstakes.
His credentials? He was a giant-killer. Pressed by Pampanga civil society to run for governor because they abhorred the prospect of jueteng queen or another three years of a gravel-and-sand business prince lording it over their flatlands, they came together in 2007, supported by media, and succeeded magnificently. Then, in his first few months in office, Panlilio collected ten times more than his predecessor Lapid ever collected for the provincial coffers in all of one year from the bounty of lahar sand left by Pinatubo’s eruption. But running a province is not just collecting honestly from lahar deposits, it is much more, and many who swore by Panlilio a year ago are now dismayed at his utter lack, or so they say, of administrative capabilities. But his believers are undaunted, and they have already chosen, or so Sunday’s news claim, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca to be Among Ed’s vice-presidential partner. That should be a first in Philippine history, a friend observed --- a bachelor and a single lady. We’ve had a widow, we’ve had a widower when they ran for president, but a singles team is something new. Of course, that is really irrelevant.
So Gov. Panlilio is Number 15 in the long, long list. The central pitch of his supporters led by Kaya Natin is for the election of a “non-trapo”. But how does one define the pejorative “trapo”? Does participation in electoral politics on a national scale ipso facto make one a “trapo”? My definition of “trapo”, and I’ve used it often in this space myself, is a politician who uses his office for transactional purposes, mostly for selfish pecuniary reasons, or for more power. Surely there are at least two out of the survey’s seven top-rated contenders who have not enriched themselves in office, and who have not pulled out “cookies” from the kaban ng bayan. One contender has even abnegated himself from the use of the pork barrel, and even as a police chief, was sui generis in refusing jueteng payola. I have not heard that another senator who comes from an old-rich clan has ever made a dirty centavo in his life. Are these two “trapos” by the standards of Kaya Natin and like-minded individuals?
Even Sen. Kiko Pangilinan derides “trapos”, while reacting in support of a Panlilio-led coalition. “We must seek alternatives to trapo politics and politics as usual”, Kiko said. How does Kiko look at himself? He has been using his pork barrel for the last seven years of his life. The gentleman from Pampanga and Pasay (by affinity) has shifted from pro-Gloria to somewhat anti-Gloria, and by dining company, is ensconced in the Villar camp, although he is a Liberal Party member. Is this being “non-trapo”?
But let’s get real, and let’s get back to political arithmetic. In one of the research briefings I recently attended, someone asked a respected purveyor of political surveys if there was a chance for someone like Gilbert Teodoro to yet make it among the lead pack. He asked his assistant to flash the results of the latest survey on senatorial preferences. Senatorial, not presidential. And Secretary Teodoro had awareness of 25%, with only 1.6% of the electorate expressing their willingness to list him among a maximum of 12 choices. I wonder how he would fare if his name is next included in the second quarter surveys, presidential, no longer senatorial.
I may be wrong, but on the assumption that we will have the chance to elect a president in May of 2010, as scheduled by our yet unchanged Constitution, we will have to watch the tale of the surveys between now and September this year, among Noli and Loren, Ping and Mar, Manny and Chiz, not to forget Erap. None of these men and a lady are flawless. Some in my book are too transactional, and some in my book are crooks. Some, to be kind, are with little competence. Now add to that their lack of character, and you have some among the seven one ought never in several lifetimes support.
But some among the seven, taken from the prism of better rather than flawless, instead of using the lesser evil yardstick, are worth pinning our hopes upon. Assuming, as I said, that we will be able to elect a president under this Constitution on May of 2010. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has many tricks up her sleeves, and these should unveil in the next thirteen months.
The sectors who pine for alternative and reform politics, as they alternately call it, really betray a disaffection with the system, and I commiserate. Time and again in this space and in roundtable discussions, I have decried the bankruptcy of the system, especially when it is taken over by incompetents, charlatans, or worst, persons of amoral character, as in the present. What the polity of this land needs badly is some kind of political lobotomy, a temporary catharsis that would presage a genuinely democratic system where meaningful reforms could be institutionalized. But as the electoral fever catches on, the chances of upheaval become more and more remote.
“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”, is a cliché repeated when using opera as metaphor. In the tragic comedy that is the Philippine polity, we will have to watch what the little lady does or hides, says or whispers, assembles or dissembles, as she pirouettes atop the tips of bayonets.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 8:19 PM
Nalathala sa isang pahayagang nasyonal kamakailan ang diumano’y huling affidavit ni Col. Cezar “Boy” Mancao, nilagdaan noong ika-13 ng pebrero, 2009, kung saan dinawit niya si Senador Ping Lacson at Col. Michael Ray Aquino, sa pagdukot kay G. Bubby Dacer at driver nitong si Emmanuel Corbito, na sumapit sa pagkakapaslang ng mga ito. ‘Diumano’y nasa unahan siya ng kotse ni noon ay PNP Chief Lacson, na katabi si Aquino, at sa pandinig niya at ng driver ni Lacson na si Oximoso, binanggit daw ni Aquino ang pagkaka-irita ni “Bigote” kay Dacer, kung saan inutos daw ni Lacson na tirahin na ito.
Hindi ko maisip na ito’y totoong sinabi ni Mancao sa mga humingi ng kanyang salaysay, o ito’y kathang-isip, pilit na pilit na “script” na isinubo kay Mancao para lang madawit si Lacson sa kasong Dacer-Corbito. Sa loob ng dalawang taong higit na pangulo si Erap, ako’y halos tuwing hapon hanggang hapunan nasa palasyo, bilang Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs. Wala naman sa aming tumatawag kay Erap na “Bigote”. Siya’y si Presidente, Presidente Erap, kung minsan ay Erap lang, o, sa mga PSG at sa mga military at pulis na malapit sa kanya, ay si “Code One”. Isipin ninyo kung ang isang mortal na kawani ng pamahalaan, maging opisyal man, ay ganun kawalang-galang para tawagin ang pangulong “Bigote” sa harap mismo ng kanyang hepe. Bakit, ano ba ang tawag ngayon ng mga opisyal ni GMA, “pandak”?
Matagal na akong malapit kay Lacson, at sa mangilang beses na sumakay ako sa kanyang sasakyan, punung-puno ito lagi ng mga papeles at computer, na ihahawi mo pa o ipalilipat bago ka makatabi sa kanya. At kailanman ay hindi ko nakitang umalis ang kanyang nag-iisang aide sa tabi ng tsuper. Ito nga ang sinabi rin ng dati niyang driver sa interview ng mga media, at tahasang sinabing nagsisinungaling si Mancao.
At hindi naman siguro bobo si Lacson para mag-utos ng isang maselang na kautusan sa abot-dinig ng driver nito, at isang Col. Mancao na hindi naman kasali sa diumanong krimen, batay na rin sa sariling salaysay. Sa katunayan, sinabi pa ni Cezar na “nanlamig” na raw sa kanya si Lacson at Aquino nung mga panahong iyon. E kung ganun, bakit siya pinasali pa sa usapang ‘diumanoy ukol sa maitim na balakin?
He, he, he. Pilit na idinanadawit si Lacson at Erap ng kasalukuyang rehimen, o pinasasakay sila ni Boy Mancao? Kung tutunghayan naman natin ang mga dating salaysay ni Mancao, dito sa Pilipinas noong 2001 at sa Amerika nung 2007, tahasang sinasabi ni Mancao na wala siyang kinalaman sa Dacer-Corbito case. At sa isang interbyu ni Maki Pulido sa GMA-7 noong Agosto 7, 2008, sinabi ni Mancao na siya’y pilit na inaakit ni Romeo Prestoza, na ngayon ay hepe ng ISAFP, na idamay si Lacson, kapalit ang iba’t ibang mga alok ng pabuya.
Matalinhaga ang kuwentong ibinibenta ng rehimeng Arroyo, na nagtatakip sa pagsasawalang-bahala, kuno. Tingnan natin kung ano ang sasabihin at iaasal ni Cezar Mancao kapag siya’y nakabalik na dito sa atin. Sinumang abogado ang aking kausapin ay natatawa sa hibla ng kuwento, at sinabing sa isang matinong korte, tapon agad ang kasong ito. Kanya nga lamang, patas ba ang laban ng hustisya sa rehimeng Arroyo? Kayo na ang sumagot niyan.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 8:18 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
A presidential candidate’s camp did a spin on the findings of the UP mass communication students research on “The Importance of Media Presence on the Bid for 2010 Elections”. Those findings were presented by the university’s Communications Research 165 students last Saturday, March 14. I was invited to the presentation, along with other media persons.
The main objective of the research, both quantitative (survey) and qualitative (focus group discussions) was to assess the identifiability and recognizability of potential candidates for the president and vice-presidential positions up for grabs in the 2010 elections, assuming there will be one. In short, who do you think, at this point in time (survey was done in Metro Manila. Calabarzon and three Central Luzon provinces during the Christmas break of 2008-2009), are running for president in 2010? The results of the survey showed that 79% of the 681 randomly-selected respondents believe Manny Villar would run for president. Why so? His ads are all over the place, dummy, and he himself has declared he is definitely running. Next is Loren Legarda whom 48% of the respondents said will also run. Then there is Kabayan Noli, with 45% saying they believe the Vice-President will also run for president. Why so? He is already VP, the FGD’s said. Then, 34% say Mar Roxas too will run. The field research period probably antedates his “murang gamot” ads. Bayani Fernando, whose tarpaulins are all over the land, and who has not been coy (I think he was the first to declare his intent to run for president) about his 2010 plans, has convinced 26% of the respondents that he is serious. That’s the top 5. Following closely is Ping Lacson, who 25% believe is gunning for the presidency come 2010. And 22% think Chiz Escudero will likewise run for president.
The following day, a broadsheet I read gave a fairly accurate report of the UP MassCom findings, except that appended to the report were the reactions of the topnotcher, thanking the University and the public for having recognized him, oh so humbly kuno, at that. All the findings stated were that 79% believe he is running, period. It does not say, whether in the survey or the FGD’s, that they want him to be president.
In the forum itself, a charming lady who identified herself as being with the MMDA, was so elated that her boss, my friend Bayani, was Numero Cinco in the surveys, while Pulse Asia and SWS rated him somewhere at the tail. Clearly she did not understand what the survey was about, or pretended not to, just so the other MMDA co-employees there present would report her elation to her boss. The following night, Bayani beamed with pride as Mo Twister of IMO on ANC congratulated him. The message they were communicating to the public was that he was Numero Cinco in the voters’ choices!
Then, tabloids and text messages got into the spin. “Villar tops UP Survey!” they said. Read the fine print, and that too was spun to convey voters’ choice, rather than the truth, which is that they know he is running, period.
Thus was the ComRes Department of the UP forced to write all and sundry to clarify that first, UP Diliman students were not included in the multi-stage random sample of respondents; two, that nobody among the potential candidates funded their academic exercise (baka nga naman akalain na pera-pera din sila ni Villar); third, that they did not conduct mock elections, contrary to how spin masters had already spun their research.
They repeated the question asked: “Based on what you see, hear and read in media, who do you think will run for either president or VP in the 2010 elections?” Why, even 6% still believe GMA will run, and the slogan they identify with her is “Gloria Labandera”. Bet you the respondents were not thinking about money laundering.
The moral of the story is this --- that some presidential candidates may have in their employ people who run their campaigns or their attempts at the same, without understanding what opinion research is all about. Or, understanding the same, still pander to their boss’ unquenchable desire to be president at all cost.
The other moral of the story, and this is quite immoral, is that some candidates will willingly distort anything, and create illusory spins about anything, be it an opinion survey or their own life story, just to project “winnability”. And hope to fool the dolts among voters to jump into their “bandwagon” this early in the game.
It’s all right to make a fool of oneself. That is privilege. That is an individual right. But please, don’t use well-meaning students who simply wanted to do honest academic exercise, and proud of what they had done, sought to share it with the public through media. The purpose of quantitative as well as qualitative research, is for candidates and their handlers to be guided, to learn from mistakes they may have committed, and discover that what sounded so brilliant a communications handle in the company of like-minded individuals, may not have resonated well with the target public.
It is sheer intellectual dishonesty to manipulate well-intentioned and honestly done research by the academic community, and use it as spin for their propaganda mill. And to think some of them graduated from the same university.
But then again, how can you expect anything but intellectual dishonesty from someone who pads the national budget with millions and millions, to pay himself for road right-of-way?
* * *
Just as I was about to send this article, an e-mail was sent to me by Grace, from North America, and she quotes wht the Good Lord says:
“Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, or the strong man boast of his strength, or the rich man boast of his riches. But let him who boasts, boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises kindness, JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS on earth, for in these I delight”.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 1:05 PM
Former Manila councilor and authentic man of the masa, Rogie de la Paz, called me last Monday for his observation on the Dacer-Corbito “sensation” of the month. Said Rogie:
“Simple lang sa utak ng masa ‘yan, sir. Kung may madilim kang lihim na itinatago, a-areglo ka agad sa may kapangyarihan” (If you have dark secrets, you immediately come to terms with the powers that be).
So Rogie asks, “if Ping Lacson is guilty of masterminding such a horrendous crime as the double-murder of Dacer and Corbito, why does he keep fighting corruption? E ‘di noon pa, umareglo na ‘yan kay GMA, who controls the DOJ, the police, the courts --- everything.”
Indeed. Oo nga naman. Truth is, as reader Manny (not Villar) wrote by e-mail: “Among all the presidential aspirants, only Ping has been the most vocal and the most consistent oppositionist. That’s why he is being demonized by the minions of GMA. Who hate him with a passion. If Lacson has done such a crime, it would have been too convenient for him to cozy up to the regime, both for protection and financial rewards. When you are part of GMA’s camp, you get both protection for anything you did in the past, and you even get rewarded with positions and projects. Pero kung lumalaban ka kay Gloria --- patay kang bata ka”.
“Former DOTC Secretary Josie Lichauco stated “that the best evidence of the alleged involvement of Senator Lacson is the affidavit itself. Where is this affidavit? Why does not this administration finally release it to shed light on this latest controversy?” asks Lichauco, a Yale educated lawyer (not necessarily simple folk but a Filipino with the highest credentials for patriotism). She added though that affidavits in this country “are suspect given the fact that we have ceased to put a value on the truth.”
“Dinky Soliman, a member of both eye FSGO and the Black and White Movement and a former Arroyo cabinet member, also said that this latest vilification campaign against Ping Lacson is simply “squid tactics” meant to dirty and discredit those who criticize the many anomalies being committed by this administration. “This is a disservice to those seeking the truth. If the DOJ really has the affidavit, they should make it public as it is a public document.” Dinky, former DSWD secretary until she realized she was working for an evil regime, knows how the simple folk think.
* * *
Ronald Roy, writer and lyricist, son of the late Sen. Jose Roy of Tarlac, writes in his personal encounter with Bubby Dacer days before he was abducted along with his driver Emmanuel Corbito:
“The all-in-white moustachioed press relations consultant hummed along “A Touch of Summer” (which Roy composed) at the Manila Hotel, when I played it one day at the lobby lounge’s keyboard on request of Lulu Casas-Quezon, The melody made her misty-eyed, and also buoyed up Bubby’s spirits, who was then having a bad day.
“Bubby had just received a final eviction notice from the hotel if he did not settle his rental payables. “They are going to eject me if I cannot pay by 5 pm Friday next week. President FVR, my client, refuses to pay the fees for services already rendered by me. He can come to my rescue, if he wants to. Pero ayaw magbayad ni Tabako”.
“I then interjected, why don’t you see Erap for a public relations retainer? I’m sure he will help you. Thoughtfully looking up, he replied that Erap would surely help him. “He is generous and he’s my kumpare”, Bubby said.
“Then, when I asked him how he was doing with his other clients, he said, “In this business, be ready to get caught up in conflict-of-interest situations. Bubby narrated about two brothers, both his clients, one a congressman and the other a retired police colonel, who were both eyeing the same gubernatorial post. “Their rivalry reached a point where their bodyguards shot in out in the market. Do you know they are both blaming me now for their differences? Look brother, I don’t want to get hurt here” , Hmmm, were his words ominous? He had other conflict-of-interest cases.
“Oh by the way, how beautiful your Touch of Summer is, brother!” That was his parting shot, humming its melody as he walked from lobby to his (second floor) office. That was also the last time I saw Dacer. Little did I know he would soon be pleading for his very life.”
Ronald Roy then suspects others, neither Erap nor Ping, but I do not want to engage in speculations at this point. Let us just wait for Cesar Mancao, Glenn Dumlao, and Michael Ray Aquino, and watch for the “truth”, if ever.
* * *
In the heat of the 2001 senatorial campaign, what were supposedly the charred remains of Dacer and Corbito were “discovered” in a ravine in Indang, Cavite. Since PAOCTF men were supposedly involved in the abduction, the new government of GMA, through its minions, particularly an ISAFP colonel and an NBI director (now deceased), speculated against then senatorial candidate and former PNP director general Lacson. As I was managing the Lacson campaign, I called for a meeting of the PNP-PAOCTF men close to Lacson, among them Cesar Mancao and Michael Ray Aquino, to elicit facts for a crisis management situation.
“Tell me, what happened there?”, I asked. Both were silent, until Mancao said that the events happened so fast, and the impeachment case against Erap had caused demoralization in the bureaucracy, especially among Erap’s men, like them. “In-assign po ‘yan sa CIDG to investigate, tapos, on Rizal Day a month later, sumabog ang LRT, kaya gulung-gulo kami”.
“Yes, but what were the leads in the early investigation ?”, I pressed. It was Ninoy (Michael Ray’s monicker) who answered: “Madami ho kasing kliyente si Dacer na galit yata sa kanya. Among them is a (Southern Luzon politician) who he was serving as a PR man, and then, Dacer also got his rival politician as a client. Pati ho si (a palace functionary, now a congressman) ang sama ng sinasabi tungkol kay Dacer”.
Still, I was facing a blank wall, because the leads were just suspicions, even speculations at best. I could not use these leads, which is why I have also blanked-out in this article the names mentioned to me then. The Dacer-Corbito case stymied Lacson’s campaign, and he even had to attend Senate hearings chaired, if I remember right, by Sen. Barbers and Sen. Arroyo, taking away precious days in a short campaign period. I could only watch helplessly as the double-murder case caused our survey ratings to drop. Yet, Lacson still managed to win, number 10 in a field of 13 senators in the 2001 elections. My target was to get Ping in the top five.
Then, right after he was elected, Lacson became the object of a contrived black propaganda campaign participated in by ISAFP chief Victor Corpus, a certain Ador Mawanay, Mary Ong Gaba alias Rosebud, NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco (now deceased), and a host of other characters. Lacson had stashed away hundreds of millions of dollars in the US, the banner headline of the Inquirer screamed. Days later, the banks denied even the existence of the account numbers concocted by the demolition team of GMA. Years later, NBI’s Wycoco could only show a few thousand dollars having crossed the accounts of former US resident Alice Lacson (Ping’s wife), the result of an exhaustive FBI investigation done upon the request of the Philippine government.
The malicious Corpus, with the help of Joker Arroyo and the late Robert Barbers, presented obviously incredible witness after witness in televised joint hearings of their committees. Almost always, the hearings showed the falsity of the charges against Lacson, including a comic situation where Corpus showed the picture of an alleged friend of Lacson who was allegedly a drug lord, only to discover that the picture was that of Steve, a long-time Senate employee who was then the head executive assistant of Senator Barbers. Ha, ha, ha!
Since then, Ador Mawanay has confessed to media that he lied under pressure from Corpus. Blanquita Pelaez, sometime last year, also confessed she was used, and that the charges against Ping were all lies.
When will all the lying, used to deflect and cover-up the more important issues of corruption so gross --- end? Only when the stealing ends, which for as long as GMA and her esposo are in power --- never will. That’s the story state of our benighted lives in this benighted land.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 1:04 PM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Kawawa naman itong si Lacson. Hindi na tinantanan ni Donya Gloria y su esposo. Kasi nga, banat ng banat laban sa korapsyon at katiwalian. At wala namang tigil sa korapsyon at katiwalian ang pamahalaang ito.
Ngayon, ibinalik na muli ang multo ng Dacer-Corbito double-murder na nangyari noong taong 2000, kasagsagan ng impeachment ni Erap. Nasa Malacanang ako mga dalawang araw bago dinukot si Dacer sa may boundary ng Makati at Maynila, dakong tanghali ng Nobye,mbre 24, 2000, ayon sa mga reports noon. Kasama ni Dacer pumasok sa palasyo si Cong. Baby Asistio, matapos silang maghintay sa holding room sa kabilang gusali, bagama’t si Asistio ay matalik na kaibigan ni Pangulong Erap, at kasama-sama niya sa tinaguriang “midnight cabinet”.
Matapos ang siguro’y kalahating oras o higit sa loob ng silid ni Erap, lumabas sina Dacer at Asistio, at nang ako’y makita ni Dacer, niyakap ako, at sinabing, “Brother, magkasundo na kami ng boss mo!” Tumango at ngumisi lang ako dahil bagama’t balita sa palasyo noon na may hinanakit o galit si Pangulong Erap kay Bubby, hindi ko naman alam kung gaano katindi iyon.
Kinaumagahan, tinawagan pa ni Dacer ang kaibigan kong si Nixon Kua, na noon ay humalili sa akin bilang GM ng Philippine Tourism Authority, dahil nagbitiw ako sa mga opisyal na posisyon sa pamahalaan noong Nobyembre 3, 2000. “Nakita ko ang “boss” mo sa Malakanyang kagabi. Okay na kami ni Presidente, magkakasama na tayong muli”, wika ng PR man na si Dacer, na alam naming ginagamit ni Pangulong Erap, nguni’t nananatiling tapat kay dating Pangulong FVR.
Pagkabagsak ni Erap noong Enero ng 2010, matapos ang isang linggong pagkakapahinga, tinawagan ako ng kaibigang Ayong Maliksi, na kinatawan ng ikalawang distrito at ngayon ay gobernador ng Kabite, at inanyayahang makipag-hapunan sa kanila ng kari-resign lang na hepe ng PNP na si Ping Lacson. Nagiisip pala si Lacson na tumakbo bilang senador noong palapit na halalan ng 2001. Higit isang linggo na lamang ay mag-uumpisa na ang kampanya. Tinanggap ko ang kanilang alok na maging campaign manager ni Lacson, at akala ko’y magiging madali ang pagpanalo nito, dahil nga sa sikat na sikat ito dahil sa matagumpay na pangangasiwa niya ng PNP.
Nguni’t wala pang isang buwan mula nang mag-umpisa ang kampanya, binanatan na ng katakut-takot si Lacson nina Rosebud, Wycoco (na siyang itinutulak ni Jinggoy Estrada na maging hepe ng PNP noon, samantalang si Lacson ang siyang manok ng nakababatang kapatid nito na si JV Ejercito), Nani Perez, pati na ang mga tsutsuwa, kasama si Pastor Saycon. At nakita pa ang sasakyan ni Dacer sa Indang, Cavite, at sa imbestigasyon ay lumilitaw na mga batang-PAOCTF ang nadawit. Kaya’t pinutakti na naman si Lacson, na naging hepe ng PAOCTF bukod sa PNP. Sumadsad si Lacson sa surveys dahil sa mga nakasisirang propaganda laban sa kanya. Nguni’t sa kalaunan, nanalo pa rin si Lacson at naging senador.
Hindi pa umuupo si Lacson sa Senado, binanatan na naman nina Rosebud, Ador Mawanay, Victor Corpus, atbp. Kawawa talaga si Lacson. Wala namang kinahinatnan ang mga bintang, kasama na ang kesyo nagkamal daw ng sobra-sobrang kayamanan si Lacson na nakatago sa Estados Unidos, at mismong FBI at mga naturang bangko ang siyang nagsertipika na hindi totoo ang mga akusasyon. Nguni’t gayunpaman, idiniin si Lacson ng mga kasamahan niya sa Senado, lalo na ang yumaong Sen. Robert Barbers, na kailan lang ay nabanggit sa World Bank Report.
Nagpalit na ng testimonya ang mga ginamit ni Corpus at ng Malakanyang na mga “testigo” tulad nina Mawanay at Blanquita Pelaez. Ginamit lang daw sila, at pinapagsinungaling. Ngayon, matapos ang walong taong singkad, kinausap ng mga ahente ng palasyo si Cesar Mancao sa Amerika, nag-file ng extradisyon, at diumano’y babalik na raw si Mancao at nagbigay na ng sinulat na salaysay. Kung ang salaysay ay sinumpaan o hindi, wala pa ring linaw.
Sa pamamagitan ng walang tigil na pagkukwento ng affidavit na ayaw namang ilabas, sinisiraan si Lacson ng DOJ sa pamumuno ni Gonzalez. At naki-picture pa ang na-convict na kidnapper na pinalusot ng SC noong huling taon ni FVR, na si Reynaldo Berroya, ngayon ay DOTC assistant secretary na walang katungkulang malinaw, matapos sipain sa LTO ni GMA. Samantalang itinatago ni Gonzalez (ayon sa kanya mismo) ang naturang affidavit ni Mancao sa isang kaha de yero ng bangko, sumali naman ang isang walang kredibilidad (dahil sa dami ng kaso bilang manunulat na sinipa sa Journal noon), si Tony Calvento, na nagwawagayway ng diumano’y kopya ng affidavit ni Mancao. Akala ko ba nakatago sa kaha de yero? E bakit nagdadadakdak itong si Calvento?
Pinagpipiyestahan na naman si Ping ng mga nakabangga niya o may hinanakit sa kanya, sa malinaw na pagdidirihe ng mabahong palasyo sa tabi ng mabahong ilog.
Simpleng-simple ang aking katanungan --- kung sadyang may masamang lihim na tinatago si Lacson, tulad ng pagpapakitil sa buhay nina Dacer at tsuper nitong si Corbito, hindi ba mas malamang na “nakisama” na lang siya sa pamahalaang Arroyo, na walong taon nang higit sa kapangyarihan? Kikita pa siya sa pork barrel at higit pa. Pero hindi siya tumitigil ng paghanap at pag-expose ng walang katapusang mga katiwalian sa administrasyong Arroyo. Iyan ba ang gawi ng isang may tinatagong lihim na krimen?
Isipin ninyo, mga tagasubaybay. Ang marami ay umareglo at nakipag-aregluhan sa bulok na rehimen, pero si Ping Lacson ay hinding-hindi.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 5:05 PM
Monday, March 16, 2009
That Cesar Mancao wrote an affidavit and confessed its contents to Ms. Carina Dacer was first revealed by her lawyer a day before I was to leave for a long-scheduled four-day trip. And so, I watched with interest whatever the net and text served me about the return of my friend Boy, whom I last saw on April 2, 2006, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mancao’s cousin has a department store in our adopted city, and I even filed a case against Boy’s cousin in FVR’s time, on a property dispute which we eventually settled out of court.
After listening to the unfolding of “revelations”, what came to mind was a show I watched in the summer of 1978, on my first visit to lovely Paris. On the way to Montmartre and the Quartier Pigalle, I took the metro and stopped at Abbesses. What greeted me was the monumental Sacre Coeur atop the hill, the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Oh my God, I thought. Why did the French put up a grand cathedral so close to the Quartier where sexy shows were shown. I asked myself. How irreverent.
I walked down the narrow streets to the Place Pigalle, and had such a delightfully sinful spectacle of painted ladies of the night beckoning so openly. The street “promoters” were inviting, “Le strip-teez!”, they whispered, along with a tawdry pamphlet of wares they purveyed. And so I entered one club, not the Crazy Horse where reservations were required.
There was a front act. There were some comedians even, whose humour I hardly appreciated, my “baon” of French words being so limited. And then there was not-so-wild applause when a woman’s name was announced. She was the star of the show ---“L’etoille de Marseilles” they billed her. But I was sorely disappointed when I saw l’etoille (star). She was probably in her early thirties, more than twice as young of course as Raul Gonzales, but hey, in Manila by night, you saw them in their early twenties, at the very oldest. But her “le strip-teez” was pure art form. Despite her age, and her sagging front, the act was enchanting. It told a story in lyrical cadence.
Why do I remember that now? Because Raul Gonzales is doing a striptease, but such a lousy one. He probably never watched a Montmartre show, what with wife Pacita lovingly around all the time. (Ikaw gid, Doctora Pacita, ihaboy na ang mga Marzotto, nag-tigulang na sobra si Manong Raul ka sina nga bayo.)
First Raul tries to give hints, as if peeling the shoulder straps of his cheap gown. “Someone ordered the crime but Mancao did not take part in the operation”, or words to that effect. Asked “who” by inquisitive Jucra reporters, Raul rolls his eyes as if to say, “search me”. The Jucra reporters recoil. Ano? Hihipuan natin si Gonzales?
Meanwhile, the audience is fidgety. Is it Ping? Is it Erap? Is it Erap ordering Ping to order Aquino? Or is it Erap ordering Aquino without a by-your-leave to Ping, then the PNP Chief?
And Ping, who sat in the audience, recounts that Mancao called him late last year, before he was apprehended by American law enforcers because of an extradition request of Raul’s DOJ. A certain General Prestoza of the ISAFP (formerly Dona Gloria’s presidential guard, just like Delfin Bangit, the next CS-AFP) called Mancao, and inveigled him to pin down Ping on the Dacer-Corbito crime, in exchange for cushy benefits. So what else is new, the audience asks? You’ve been accused of every crime in the book, but hey, you’re still around. You were accused of drug-dealing, of money laundering, of kidnapping, of murder, even a helicopter rub-out, everything except stealing the people’s money, you pork-less Ping, and nothing has been proven beyond slapdash accusation.
Erap spent “sleepless nights”, reports Mon Tulfo in his column at the Inquirer. Is Mon suggesting it was Erap who ordered Dacer rubbed out?
Back to Manong Raul’s striptease act. Soon after, Ping and the crowd was yelling “take it all off”’. Raul shies off to backstage. “Ilabas mo na ang affidavit”, Ping dares the “casa” de justicia. But Raul of the “casa” plays “jele-jele”. I have kept my undies in the safe, and I will show them only when the “proper time” comes, Raul swears.. What proper time, the crowd yells? When Cesar gets back from Florida, he says. “Bitin naman”, the audience roars.
Then Raul of the “casa” de justicia is called by his little lady boss y su esposo. “Ano ka ba naman? What’s this about your refusing to strip? Unti-untiin mo, so the audience will be titillated. Hala, balik ka sa stage, at mag strip-tease ka ulit”, the dona ordered. “Pero boss, nasabi ko nang itinago ko ang bikini ko sa “caja”, Raul of the “casa” protested.
“Basta ya! Gusto mong palitan ka namin? Dami yata d’yang bata!” So Raul had to eat his “intact in a safe” pronouncements. “Jele-jele” becomes “quiere”.
Then someone hissed, “Pwede akong supporting cast, para umanghang naman ang striptease”, he volunteers. “Oo nga pala, isali mo na ito sa script, tutal wala naman siyang ginagawa, Asec for nothing --- sinuswelduhan ko pa rin”. Raul is hesitant. The lawyer in him knows Berro is useless. He has an axe to grind against Lacson, because the latter had him jailed in FVR’s time for the kidnapping of a Taiwanese businessman named Jack Chou. And Raul also knew that Berroya was the head of PNP-IG (that’s intelligence group, which is rather oxymoronic in this case), who “investigated” Glenn Dumlao on Dacer-Corbito. Now, eight years late, Berro wants to join the act, and be another “stripteaser”. But nobody says no to the Dona, so Raul allows “Berro” into the act, while Stephen Joshua Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” (A Little Night Music) plays in the background.
“Isn’t it rich? Are we a pair?”, as both re-enter the stage, an aging stripteaser with the pot belly, and an aged primadonna with measured steps. Well, Send in the Clowns is as hauntingly melodic as the Sonata Pathetique.
“Making my entrance again with my usual flair, Sure of my lines, No one is there…Don’t you love farce?”
The pathetic Raul was groping throughout the latest act. Pilit na sinasama ang alalay na si Berro sa picture. Berro says Raul asked him to enter the picture. Raul flatly says Berro volunteered. And alalay Berro suddenly pirouettes on stage, “remembering” scenes nine years after Bubby and Emmanuel disappeared. He was the “IG” when they apprehended Dumlao, reinstated into the PNP by Dona Gloria, misma, after he was sacked for being AWOL in Lacson’s time. To make his act more “maanghang”, Berro now warbles that he was the prime target. He, he, he… “Losing my timing this late, in my career”, Sondheim laments.
“Puro panis na kayo! Style n’yo bulok!”, the audience hoots.
Meanwhile, with the ersatz waterfalls of Dodong Alegrado’s Inland Resort Hotel in Butuan City as backdrop, Erap, designer sunglasses covering his eyes, says, “Dacer is my compadre, twice over. This is all demolition think-tanks” (sic), he snickers.
“Estrada said he and Berroya are still friends and “little misunderstanding” caused what had transpired between them. “He is also my kumpare. Well, I know, although I have not talked to General Berroya, I thank him for the good words that he has for me. Although I have not seen him yet,” Estrada said. (But Erap has been drinking since last year with Berro. Umiinom na rin ng Chateau Petrus si Berro? Wow!)
The boss woman’s street “promoter, a guy named Cerge, cautions ---“Ma’am, nasuko na ra ba ang audience. Bitin kayo”. But the boss thunders, “A basta ya! Just tell Raul and Berro to keep the audience panting in anticipation. If need be, and just to stretch the torture further, send in more clowns. Hanapin mo si Rosebud, si Corpuz, si Ador, maski si Udong, baka mabigyan ng papel”. And Cerge wonders, “unsa may akong buhaton?” “Yawa, kagamay ra sa akong kumisyon kada customer”.
And so the agonizing striptease of Raul of the “casa” de justicia grinds, exceedingly slow, waiting for the return of the comeback. He keeps whetting the crowd’s prurience, saying, “It will all hang out” --- soon, a la Dolly Parton this time. He even gets a forgotten crime reporter once fired from the Journal because of you-know-what, through his Atty. Alex Tan (ask DOJ insiders, even Usec Exconde, whose family mausoleum in San Pablo City is beside ours, who Tan is), to intercalate a 2007 affidavit executed by Mancao in Broward County, Florida, with Berro’s “insertion” of himself as a potential “victim”. Ha, ha, ha, and a broadsheet gives Tan and Tony Calvento’s concoction, banner treatment, citing “reliable” sources. (Read Philippine Star, Sunday and Monday, 15 and 16 March) Who are the reliable sources, Tan and Calvento?
But what happens when the promised “star of the show” arrives --- Boy Mancao? What secrets will he reveal? Hintayin na lang natin. Meantime, tiisin na lang muna si Raul, si Berro, si Cerge, si Calvento, at kung minsan, si Ed Ermita, atbp. Or, close your eyes, cover your ears, and wait for the real thing.
But what if Cesar, or Glenn, or even Michael Rey strips? E mga macho dancers pala! Ha, ha, ha.
Back to Place Pigalle, circa 1978. After consoling myself with “art” in le strip-teez, and forcibly ejecting from mind less than standing boobs, I walked back to the Metro. Then, when I was about to board the train, a well-dressed man and his equally haute couture-dressed companion shouted. Pickpockets had robbed them!
Oh well, they probably enjoyed Le Saloon Crazy Horse, and I my strip-teez joint. Meanwhile, they get robbed, just as we in these benighted lands get ripped-off, day-in and day-out, night-in and night-out, by boss woman and her ilk, by Celso’s and Jocjoc’s and Garci’s and Pidal’s, while we enjoy the spectacles of Raul’s lousy striptease. Ripped off our tax money, ripped off our quotidian amenities, ripped off our future.
While we focus on who ordered the killing of FVR’s publicist and Joe Almonte’s best friend Bubby Dacer, we forget all about Legacy and Jocjoc, Mercy’s merciful cover-ups, Abalos’ borjer joints, Jun Lozada’s calvary for truth, journalists and activists getting killed, jobs by the thousands getting lost each day, because Circus, Circus re-runs the Dacer-Corbito case. Ang galing talaga ng mga evil geniuses sa palacio!
And meanwhile, the money bags are being filled up in Malacanang for charter change. They’ve already re-invented lawyer Manny Gaite, the fabulously wealthy Usec in Malacanang who thought nothing of giving half a million smackeroos to Jun Lozada (remember?) into the newest SEC Commissioner, there to oversee, along with Fe Barin and Raul Palabrica, the mind-boggling and fantabulously powerful (therefore resource-full) nest-egg that regulates corporate malpractice.
What a country!
* * *
A school chum from way back, friend of Noel Onate, the new kid on the Pacific Plans bloc, asked me to be fair. Reacting to our Friday column “Tenacity” about Philip Piccio and the PEP, he hastened to assure me that Noel already has a business plan to offer full buy-back of all the problematic educational plans sold by Pacific at the time when tuition fees were yet regulated.
“No plan holder will lose a dime of their investment”, the new owners of Pacific promise. In 2010, they claim, Pacific Plans’ dollar-denominated Napocor bonds covered by sovereign guarantee will mature, and they will have the wherewithal to redeem their pledge.
Posted by Lito Banayo at 5:10 PM
Kamakailan ay nabalitang may balak na magdagdag ng isang daang mga kinatawan sa Kamara de Representantes. Diyos na mahabagin naman!
Kasi raw, marami na ang mga Pinoy, kaya dapat ay dagdagan ang mga kinatawan nilang mambabatas. Siyamnapung milyong higit na tayo, at sa loob lang ng ilang taon, lalampasan na natin ang 100 milyon. Kasi nga, ayaw nating matutong isa-ayos ang patakaran sa populasyon, at nang hindi lubhang mabigatan ang ekonomiya sa paglobo ng populasyon.
Ano ba ang ginagawa ng karamihan sa mga mambabatas ngayon (236 na ang bilang nila) liban sa magbutas ng upuan, at asikasuhin ang kanilang mga “projects” na sinusuportahan ng pork barrel at iba pang alokasyon mula sa mga ahensya ng pamahalaan? Vamos a ver, kuentahin natin ang pork barrel na lamang. Sa tig-pitumpung milyong pork barrel, ang alokasyon para sa Kamara ay umaabot na ng 16.52 bilyung piso taun-taon. Iyan yung hating kapatid. Kung dadagdagan ng 100 miyembro pa, mag-aalokasyon na naman ng 7 bilyong dagdag. So, 23.52 bilyones, para sa hating kapatid pa lamang. Liban pa diyan yung mga masigasig na mga beteranong mambabatas, na kayang-kayang sindakin ang mga namumuno ng ahensya para sa karagdagang mga proyekto --- DPWH, DA, DAR, DOH, DECS, DOTC, atbp.
Napansin na ba ninyong sa mga debatehan sa Kongreso, iilan lang ang nagsasalita? Karamihan pa nga ay mga taga-oposisyon, at para sa administrasyon, pare-parehong mga mukha --- si Villafuerte, si Puentebella, si Lagman, at ilan pang mabibilang mo sa daliri ng dalawang kamay. Ang karamihan, napapanis ang laway sa katahimikan.
Kung ako ang tatanungin, kapag panahon na upang amyendahan ang ating Saligang Batas, mabuti pang magkaroon ng iisang kamara, at gawin na natin itong Senado. Kanya nga lamang, imbes na inihahalal ang senador ng buong bansa, gawin natin itong batay sa rehiyon. Mayroon tayong labing-anim na rehiyon. Bigyan natin ng tigatlong senador ang bawat rehiyon, kaya’t ang bilang ng mambabatas ay magiging 48. Tapos, gayahin natin ang sistema ng Amerika kung saan ang bise-presidente ang awtomatikong tagapangulo ng Senadong ito. Tatlo bawa’t rehiyon, malaki man o maliit ang populasyon. Sa ganitong paraan, magkakaroon ng pantay na pagkakataon ang mga mahihirap na rehiyon, tulad ng CAR, ARMM, Caraga, Rehiyon 8, at iba pa na magkaroon ng sapat na pondo at atensyon. (Sa kasalukuyan, wala ni isang senador ang nanggaling sa hanay ng mga kaawa-awang rehiyon na mga ito.) Sa Amerika nga, bawa’t estado ay dalawa ang senador sa Kapitolyo sa Washington DC, ke maliit na Rhode Island o Misissippi o malaking California o Texas. Pantay-pantay, at di naaayon sa populasyon.
Huwag nating alalahanin na mawawalan ng proyekto ang maliliit na lalawigan, sapagka’t ang ehekutibo naman ang siyang nagpapanukala ng badyet. E di isaayos ang alokasyon ng pondo ayon sa sadyang pangangailangan ng mga serbisyo at pangkabuhayan ng bawa’t lalawigan. Hindi naman tiyak na papayagan ng 47 senador kung suswapangin ng isang kapwa senador ang pondo para lamang sa kanyang lalawigan, at gugutumin ang mga karatig lalawigan. Kapag ganoon rin, tiyak na pagkakaisahan siyang talunin ng mga botante ng ibang lalawigan sa susunod na halalan.
Menos gastos na, mas maganda pa malamang ang mga batas na gagawin at magiging malalim ang talakayan nila. Magkakahiyaan kasi kung tatanga-tanga ang senador ng iisang Batasan, at magkakabistuhan dahil 48 lamang ang suma total ng mga mambabatas ng bansa. At sa lebel ng rehiyon, hindi naman siguro makalulusot ang mga walang sinabi at walang “k” na mga kandidato para senador. ‘Di ba’t mas maganda itong panukala nating ito?
Posted by Lito Banayo at 5:08 PM
Thursday, March 12, 2009
My congratulations to Philip Piccio and his band of tenacious victims of greedy pre-need plan buccaneers. Years back, Philip and some parents who lost much of their hard-earned savings with the fall of Pacific Plans grouped themselves together under the PEP Coalition, to fight the powerful Yuchengcos after the collapse of their pre-need satellite corporation.
They wanted the Yuchengcos, regardless of the already moribund and hollowed-out Pacific Plans, to redeem their pledges of sending their planholders’ children to school. They filed case after case in the courts. As far as I know, no clear resolution has yet come out.
Under normal circumstances, and the examples are legion in a country where justice is almost always denied the poor and middle class and almost always favors the rich and the influential, litigants lose hope amid the rising legal fees of protracted battle. But not Philip and his tenacious PEP.
When word got around that a Bicolano businessman close to the Lakas originators and close to the powerful first couple bought whatever was left of the net worth of Pacific Plans from the Yuchengcos, PEP inserted itself and asserted the parent-planholders’ rights. Noel Onate, the new controlling owner of Pacific, promised to redeem their obligations under the contract sold by the Yuchengcos. Or so he says, at least for now.
But then a curious thing happened late last year. It all began with the declared insolvency of a bunch of rural banks, from Paranaque to Cebu to Negros to Batangas, all under the flagship of a certain Legacy controlled by one Celso de los Angeles, AIM graduate, Marikeno turned Bicolano, who was once upon a time the Boy Seseng of jueteng infamy. Hollowed out of funds, depositors who were promised double-your-money in a few years suddenly realized their petty greed was gone forever, with an exceedingly and immoderately greedy man (and his cohorts) having purloined them of the dreams he purveyed.
And then again, weeping mothers suddenly realized that what they thought would be their hard-earned and long-saved legacies to their children or themselves, in the form of pre-need educational plans and pension schemes, were also fast vanishing, gone with the wind, if we may borrow from Atlanta literature.
They turned to Philip Piccio for help, this little toughie who had the courage to fight against the windmills of greed in an ever-benighted land. And thus came the phenomenon of focused people power. Victimized parents enabling other victimized parents, with Philip their earnest poster boy and unflagging, pugnacious defend dog.
After watching the Legacy scam unfold layer upon layer in Mar Roxas’ Committee on Trade and Commerce, with the usually unflappable Juan Ponce Enrile himself scandalized at the effrontery of Celso de los Angeles and the rank incompetence of government regulators called the Securities and Exchange Commission, I felt nauseated. Yet last Monday’s hearing provided a ray of hope, because Philip Piccio and his PEP were able to show that the SEC was not being just plain incompetent or stupid. They were incompetent and stupid for millions and millions of reasons.
I called Philip to thank him for the spadework and the dedication he displayed. How he got Celso’s executives to rat on his nefarious practices, and how he uncovered a slimy SEC commissioner and pinned him down, on the spot. But Philip told me it was the work of all those victimized parents. They were the ones who searched for clues, for somehow long family relationships that brought them to the doorsteps of the key witnesses they presented to Mar. They chipped in little sums of money, brought pot-luck food for endless meetings, and secured by themselves in their obscure homes the conscience-stricken witnesses they brought to fore.
Philip promises there will be more coming out of the woodwork, now that Celso’s band of immoderately greedy cohorts are being unmasked layer upon layer. When I congratulated Philip for the tenacity, he chuckled and said, “You know what our self-description was of what we were doing, investigating and putting pieces of the puzzle together? We kept saying, a-la-Lacson.”
Yes indeed, PEP and Philip, along with the nanays that Mar Roxas concluded last Monday’s hearings with, simply have to collect their tenacity together. That, in truth, is people power.
Yet in a larger sense, people of the benighted land do not seem to realize that the Celso’s and SEC with its Martinez atbp, along with the Congress of the Bought and their buyer in Malacanang, are all using our money --- people’s money.
When PDIC pays, if it can, that is people’s money. When Bangko Sentral pays, that is people’s money. When the budget is used to cover the losses, that too is people’s money. And when people of this benighted Philippines finally wake up from the stupor of a decade, as it woke up from the stupor of two decades of Marcos, and realize that it is their money and their children’s future that is being stolen by buccaneers in government and buccaneers in business in cahoots with each other, then people power will yet be reborn. Hopefully, the next people power will throw out a hopelessly rotten system, along with the maggots and vultures that have feasted upon its carcass.
* * *
The powerful head of the American Insurance Group, Maurice Greenberg, a permanent fixture in Philippine-American business relations, has lost most of his wealth, along with the collapse of America’s largest insurance conglomerate. Forbes magazine, almanac of the world’s wealthiest, recently said that Greenberg, who used to be worth 1.9 billion dollars (about 92 billion pesos), has a net worth depreciated to less than 100 million dollars. Wow!
A hundred million dollars is just about 4.8 billion pesos --- can you imagine that? How much did Celso de los Angeles play with? Much more than that surely. And how many Filipinos have net worth much larger, whether legitimately earned by them and their forebears, or the net result of plundering government coffers? There are congressmen and ex-congressmen of this benighted land who are wealthier than the great Maurice Greenberg now. And surely, a “golden” couple have ten times more, at the very least.
Wait! I may have said that too soon. Let’s see how much is left after deducting losses from Merrill Lynch and Lehmann Brothers. In any case, I heard over the air, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, that financial task forces of the American government are keen on asking somebody for explanations about some 700 million (dollars, not pesos).
See why we must all be tenacious? See why we must never again allow the plundering species ever again to rule over the desperately benighted land? When, oh when, will God in his infinite mercy, open the clouds, and let the sunshine in?
Posted by Lito Banayo at 9:09 PM