Friday, February 29, 2008

For Whom do We Fight For? (Conclusion)

(continued from For Whom do We Fight For? (Part 1))

Photo by Kabayan

What am I talking about here? Is it social welfare? Is it socialism? Is it enlightened capitalism? None of those mentioned. This is a system of Common Sense; simple principles like; do not seek what is really far in excess of what you need, do not steal even if the one you’re robbing is rich, do not steal even if you claim you’ll give the funds to the needy, do not kill including those babies in the womb for the sake of population control, do not force people but rather teach and enlighten them, be a good example so that people will emulate your goodness.

As such I would like to throw all those violent and twisted philosophies which encourage greed, violence, absolute political control whether by an individual, junta, clique, an oligarchy or Politburo. For those light on their tongue, do not criticize the people as stupid but rather be there and patiently teach them and lead them by example.

Going back to my interview of Aling Cynthia and Buboy, why do I even bother with what some consider as “small people”? In truth the moral backbone of a government is how much and how efficient is it in helping these people grow and stand on their own two feet. A caring government is a powerful government as it draws its power from the virtues of the ordinary man; not from man-made laws, legalism, strategies, manipulation and hypocrisy. The same is true for society, the moral backbone of society is how much and how efficient is it in helping these people have a better and stable life.

Photo by Kabayan

How are we faring so far, have we done enough? How about for these destitute mothers with their newborn children, have we done enough?

Photo by Kabayan

Is it enough to criticize, point out philosophical and political imperfections caused by what some considered as a dumb sector of society then huffily go back to posh homes, snazzy cars, DVD, TV, PC, IPOD, PDA or whatever acronyms which are synonymous with the good life? Is working 10 hours a day for one’s personal benefit really necessary while one already earns millions on interest deposits alone? Do we feel that we solely deserve what we have because we’re smart and others dumb? Do you feel pricked by these previous questions I gave? If you are, then probably need to reflect your life and basic common sense values. For me being rich gained through honest work is acceptable, but let us not forget that even the crumbs we nonchalantly waste are actually enough to create a small vibrant business for others.

As such I offer a new paradigm, to make yourself rich you must make those below your economic standing richer so that they can afford to buy what you’re selling or offering. In effect they are rich and as natural consequence, you too get richer. For example, San Miguel beer commercials waste hundreds of millions of pesos for a grand advertisement which simply makes rich hired celebrities even richer. They would have fared better in marketing their beers if they aid farmers to plant more coconut trees and other farm products.

Jet Li, superstar of a San Miguel Beer commercial

How about us? Do we really need to spend tens of thousands to have front row seats of concerts just to be near enough to see the sweat of foreign singers? Do we really need that new cell phone just because it has a small extra feature or because it carries an electronic chip model 8.071 instead of a model 8.07?

Beyonce Knowles in Manila

(photo from

For whom do we fight for then? It is not for a President or representative of our government. It is not for big business or helping another country fight its wars. It is not for a kind or system of government with all its “isms” (Capitalism, Socialism, Fascism etc.) and struggle for control of politics, influence, money and power.

We fight for our own development and upliftment as a people.

We fight for those who have lesser in life so that they too can feel what it is to have freedom from extreme poverty.

We fight so we have a good moderate living where life is more valuable than money, where values count more than wealth.

We fight so as we could go back to the roots of why we really are here in this Earth. To help one another, to enjoy each other’s company, to have relative freedom from want, and to put it in a more spiritual context, to Love God, Love our fellow human beings and Love Nature which sustains and nurture us. For some a billion dollars is not enough, but for others P 50 pesos is the world to them since that is the budget of a poor family’s daily meal.

We fight in a way were as much as possible, no blood will be shed since sometimes those whom we fight are fellow Filipinos who are just as trapped in an evil system as we too are.

We fight for society and we fight with out ideas, our words, our courage, our strength, and in extreme instances even with our lives.

In retrospect, have we given our small share to raise up these people till there be no more dregs of society? As such I do not talk only about money here but also service, have we truly been patient enough to educate them on the right way of life and living? But then that begs the question, are we also doing right and good living ourselves?

When I started to leave, Aling Cynthia offered to sell her softdrinks, while Buboy offered his hopia, I was not thirsty and I do not really like hopia but I bought them just the same. Buboy passed the Sparkle softdrink to me and mistakenly undercharged me by half, Cynthia lightly castigated him while the apprentice scratched his head. I finally waved and bid them farewell.

Some people were leaving now but more are still arriving. Those who have arrived many hours early were replaced by newcomers. I suspect that the 8 pm deadline for the rally permit cannot be imposed.

As I walked back home, I saw and picked up a 10 centavo coin. It has been a strange occurrence in my life that every time I did something good or worthwhile that I pick up assorted type of coins, colorful marbles and nice curios after my deed. I mused upon the coin; I guess it was a job well done. Getting my camera batteries drained may simply have been an opportunity to know and touch the lives of people whom society has taken for granted. Perhaps losing my opportunity to bring back quality photos of the momentous event was not such a bad thing after all.

*** Fin ***

For Whom do We Fight For? (Part I)

(story continued from Amid the Flags and Banners)

Jostling for a space to pass through, I was briefly distracted by some pretty girls in the group warily guarded by nuns. Pushing and squeezing to my destination my head turned on another comely batch of ladies from UP. Focus, I said to myself. Finally I arrived to the place I wanted, a middle aged softdrink vendor with a gangly “blondied” teenage assistant. We exchanged pleasantries and given the crowd, music, the general festivities and the feeling that we as a people have the power, they were animated and more than willing to talk.

Street Vendor

The object of my informal interview was Aling Cynthia, a 37 year old vendor, unusually bouncy and youthful looking for her age. I could sense a positive aura from her, perhaps it was because of the general vibrant atmosphere of the massive protest rally. Beside Cynthia was her 19 year assistant “padawan” apprentice, Buboy, gamely pushing his hopia in a box for sale to those who approached. Aling Cynthia was already 15 years in the business and been the breadwinner of the family for 12 years.

Her husband, now 45, suffered a partial paralysis of one of his legs which resulted from a series of bad luck where a leg boil got infected by a powder spark from a firecracker. Her husband’s leg got swollen expanding to about 3 times its size. Finally when the boil burst and oozed its unsavory contents, complications arose which nearly killed her husband. In short, her husband was unable to properly walk and took care of their children and house chores while she had to be the family breadwinner for more than a decade. I wondered how she managed to survive on sidewalk vending alone since she has 4 children, one of them in 2nd year high, while the others in grade school. What’s more she has to pay rent for living space in a squatter shanty in Divisoria for P 1,000 a month. (Her landlords is Buboy’s parents so I kidded Buboy as being a “rich kid” which he replied with denials and a toothy grin)

Asking her what she expected of these rallies, she said that she hopes that Gloria Arroyo will be removed from office and things would get better. Buboy echoed the same sentiment. I then asked the two whom they wish to replace Gloria Arroyo with. I was half expecting they were going to choose Noli de Castro but their answer differed. Buboy chose Mayor Alfredo Lim; that was unexpected. On the other hand Aling Cynthia chose Erap Estrada. Buboy chose Lim as he expected better things for his community which is in Divisoria. Understandable since it was a local choice with him expecting better benefits to be given to his own community. For Aling Cynthia, I asked why she chose Estrada. Her answer was that they get better benefits and that if it were not for Chavit Singson, he would not have been deposed. I then asked her several times about the ex-president’s involvement in mulcting funds from illegal gambling activities; Cynthia never really answered the question.

Mayor Alfredo Lim
(Image from ABS-CBN news online)

So going to specifics, I shifted my tack and asked what do they REALLY want after Gloria resigns and is replaced. Their answer took me aback. They simply wanted a place where they can sell their wares. They intimated that there was just no space available in the city for them and they were constantly being chased by the authorities each time they set up shop. I asked them if they were willing to pay for the location if indeed they get one, the unified answer was yes. Buboy said they would pay if they were issued a “ticket”, I guess that means a payment for a day’s stay and vending in a particular area. Deep in thought, I had no heart to say to them that it is unlikely that even a new president would be able to think much less prioritize such an “insignificant” request. So I went along with their simple dreams, so I asked them if they are willing to be relocated in that Reclamation Area facing the Manila Bay, even though it is not exactly a place where people frequent. Still they agreed.

Thinking about it more, it is still possible for these people to business in a semi-desolate place if they would be there in greater numbers, set it up like a flea shop, set up something unique to promote the place and of course the occasional traveling carnival may help. However this would definitely entail the help of the local or even national government. Here are people willing to work just as long as they have a place to stay and are not lacking in drive and enthusiasm in their own little way. Governance for many decades had been more focused in dole-outs and social help, which is good. But there still an apparent lack of projects which promotes development where the ones who would design and spearhead these economic development are the people themselves. A softdrink vending cart is still a business; a small one but still a business.

A poor family economically improved in practical terms actually also means more business for those higher up in the totem pole. If made economically strong and independent, they can begin to afford to buy things that only the middle or even upper class people of society can buy. Economy and manufacturing becomes vibrant. Everyone will feel good about themselves. Debilitating poverty, ignorance, and despair will be reduced to a minimum if not eradicated completely. These are supposed to be the goal not only of governance but of society as well. We, who have a bit more than those in the slums have the capability of making things better. Not necessarily through dole-outs but also through the proverbial “teaching the people to fish, providing them the fishing reel and rod, and give them a week supply of food while the newly trained fisherman tries to catch adequate fish supply for himself and his family.”

(Image from Yahara Fishing Club)

(Continued to article - For Whom do We Fight For? (Conclusion))

Amid the Flags and Banners

Strolling leisurely and expectantly last February 29, 2008, I had a silly grin on my face. It was getting dark but a lot of people were busy walking to and fro; after all it was Protest Day in Makati. Photo exposure was bad but still took a shot of police vehicles, its occupants relaxed and seemingly indifferent to the masses of people in Paseo de Roxas corner Ayala Avenue.

Photo by Kabayan

As I rounded the corner, I was pleased to discover that compared to the last Feb 15, 2008 rally where I had to walk a kilometer before seeing any sign of a substantial gathering, this time I was immediately greeted by the sight of these line of jeepneys with flags stuck out from different places of its body. There are indeed signs of far more numerous protesters this time around.

Photo by Kabayan
Walking along the avenue, I saw a clump of seminarians walking along Ayala. I was elated expecting that this trip would produce one of the more prolific photo shoots I ever had. I checked my camera, I got worried as the exposure was poor and the shot results leave much to be desired. Photo by Kabayan

Finally I saw the edge of the gathering of people with flags and banners visible from afar. I also saw some white foreigners with their cameras slung over their shoulders. Either they are reporters or tourists, I thought. Lining up a shot on a large contingent of seminarians, I clicked my camera and then *@#%^&*! I ran out of battery power! I tried resetting the camera several times but to no avail. The battery was dead. Going back home was no option; it was already nightfall and public transports were filled.

Swallowing my chagrin, I just have to make my trip worth my while, after all expressing outrage against massive government corruption and abuses was the main reason I was there in the first place. As I went nearer to the center of the rally, I eventually bumped into a wall of people. This is as far as I can go. The view was exhilarating, flags and banners of different colors. The red banners and flags which is usually seen in former rallies now represent a fraction of the blues, greens, whites and yellows now waving amid the spotlights. A band called “The Woods” was belting out the music of the times. The tune and beat was actually quite good and the message just as penetrating. A section of the song goes … “May kuliling ang pagdinig, May kuliling ang pagdinig,” apparently referring to Gloria Arroyo’s attitude of not listening to people with legitimate grievances. Now the small group of people she ignored before became a massive gathering. This time Gloria took notice and showed this by cowering inside Camp Crame. Hers now, as some describe, is a Throne of Bayonets; for me I can describe her new found refuge more as a Cage of Bayonets. She is now a prisoner of her own making, unable to safely go out without the army of men and steel which used to be the principled Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police. Now many officers in high positions have become beholden to a corrupt person who plays them like a fiddle.

I tried my camera again to capture the moment, the people, the faces and other unforgettable images. No luck. Battery remained dead as a doornail. I just have to make the best of the situation. I looked for a human angle to this mass, trying to look for interesting trees in the thick forest. I spied on a vendor and a curious looking teenager assistant with his hair dyed blonde. Maybe it’s time to focus on people who are most in need yet often ignored in our society. I squeezed through the crowd and headed towards their direction. It’s time to have a chat. (Continued to article - For whom do we fight for (Part 1))

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Resign ! (3rd Blogswarm)

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Resign Now!
Because we're fed up with Buwayas in Government

feed upon the future of people including their children and children's children
Everybody is talking about it and the masses of Filipino people want you out...
He wants you out
We want you out
If it can speak this dog wants you out, you're giving dogs a bad name
Above photos in this article by Kabayan
So Gloria Arroyo, Resign Now!
Blogswarm image below courtesy of Tongue-in-Anew

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Unseen and Unsung Heroes, the Eye of the People

Remember those ubiquitous jalopies which ply places where there seem to be a lot of action? Yes, these are the pride of the news networks. The news van. These vehicles have come a long way from those olden times when reporters run to buses or jeepneys to get their story or "scoop". Some of these TV network vans sport high tech collapsible communication antennas, dishes and a spaghetti of wires and cables which I give a wide berth during rainy days for fear of electrocution (they say its safe but who knows). Some are no frills vehicles commonly used by by radio networks. But whatever high tech gizmos these vehicles carry, I am more impressed with what truly makes these equipment valuable; those who use them, namely the news crew.

For the first part of my coverage of the prayer rally at Baclaran Redemptorist Church last 25th of February 2008, I would like to focus on a different kind of people. For once I wish to do a coverage on people who do a coverage; the news people.

I usually admire news network reporters who go to harms way just to give an accurate, blow by blow reporting at the risk of their own lives; so that us the viewing or hearing public would be informed of an accurate depiction of what happens on the news site. Events which involves action, battles, chases and even rallies or other news of significance are among the top favorites and undoubtedly the same would be true to majority of listeners and viewers. The most influential of the news medias are those in television and the "face" of these medium are the TV reporters. Some of these reporters have become popular as a result; so popular in fact that some even win elected political posts. For many of those who truly put their life in the line especially those in war situations get popular and rightly so, a bullet or shrapnel in the wrong place could end the career or life of a TV reporter.

(Sol Aragones dialing her cellphone after a camera take)

(Ces Drilon reporting)

However, did you ever wonder that every time we see a news reporter in an action scene especially in dire situations (Like the one in the siege of Lamitan where the Abu Sayaff holed up in a hospital, I believe Patrick Paez was there), many forget the person responsible for the action shots which makes the reporter famous. Yes, many forget the man behind the camera, the cameraman. You can only imagine them lugging around a heavy piece of equipment (i.e. the camera), at times through kilometers of jungle, dodge danger and even bullets, and yet be in the perfect position to get an excellent shot?

Considering all these, I learned to admire and love the gallant and courageous cameramen. And thus during the February 25, 2008 Redemptorist church prayer rally, these photos are my tribute to these unusual men.

Above photos in this article by Kabayan

As we watch them from the comforts our computer and virtual world, let us give a collective round of applause to all the brave, dedicated, strong, and courageous people who face real challenges and danger yet still make the news images look good. Our surrogate "eye" which enable us to actually see events that happen all over the world. The Cameramen. Mabuhay kayo.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Rallies

February 25, 2008 -- The activities in Ortigas People Power Monument was stiff and "immaculate". It was organized as if by a military organization and most likely it was. People going in and out of the venue were screened and most not allowed to enter. Gone are the festive crowds who used to grace the celebrations, the event was somber at best. An ominous first sign was evident - there were more policemen than civilian attendees.

When the program started, conspicuously absent was Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She seemed to have waived the tradition that the Presidents of the Philippines should always grace the occasion. She might have been warned of "threats"; in any case it's just as well since many sectors of society question if she is indeed the legitimate President of the Philippines. The shadow of the "Hello Garci" election fraud scandal simply would not go away.

Then the pro-administration's Vice President Noli de Castro,
Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita ; and the politically lukewarm former president Fidel V. Ramos, failed to raise the Philippine flag after the rope got stuck while the national anthem was being sung. The honor guards helped to no avail. Unexpectedly the rope snapped. Bayani Fernando led others in using one of the smaller flag poles flanking the main one and finally raised the flag.

However it did not end there.The sound system broke down while singer Renz Verano sang songs associated with the original EDSA People Power days. At one point he has to sing acapelas. To lessen the embarrassment, the big-shots on stage tried to sing along with him(I fail to see how this would lessen the embarrassment however.) To his credit, Agapito "Butz" Aquino along with a few people on stage, raised their clenched fists in the air while singing; a true symbol of the pre-EDSA 1 to People Power 1 days. Later a helicopter circled above several times and dropped confetti. It missed the stage during its first try, eliciting chuckles from the crowd. Then another attempt for a better drop; this time some of the bundled confetti bunched up and one even landed on one television cameraman's lens. A bombing run couldn't have been better executed.

Secretary Ermita dismissed the unsavory event to "Murphy's Law." However as probabilities go, the series of unfortunate events was as likely as lightning striking several times in one spot. Despite trying to dismiss the unusual snafus, an ominous mood was felt.

Hours later and as if on cue, this sign manifested itself in the form of thousands of protesters demanding for the resignation of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The riot police tried to enforce the repressive No-Permit No-Rally policy in the site but to no avail; they were simply swamped by overwhelming numbers of outraged rallyists. The protesters with their colorful streamers and banners took the EDSA Shrine which was denied them for so long. The weather brightened and the festive mood of multitudes, which the Arroyo administration tried to suppress for so long, returned. The scene now hearkens back to the original People Power; finally the EDSA Shrine belongs to the ordinary man on the street, not to the select influential few - as it should have been and as it should be for a long time to come.


Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Resign!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Blogswarmers of our race Unite! Gloria Arroyo Resign!

Photo by Kabayan

GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, RESIGN ! ... Why, you might ask? For those who for some reason who are unable to follow the multitude of issues and for those who INTENTIONALLY wants to forget; here’s why.

I had once posted this to blogs before it came under the control of the powers that be. No matter, in the administration’s attempt to squash those who oppose the corrupt and hacks protecting these abusers of power, this served only to scatter the posters to spread the word on the sordid state of affairs of our nation. The posters even learned how to make blogs and became bloggers; that made the effort of exposing these corrupt people in power even more effective. To the harebrained schemer who tried to control our posts, Thank you for now we are now more powerful than ever.

An earlier list was posted in the blog courtesy of the Pedestrian Observer (Thanks Jaywalker)

Now a Feb 24 updated list on why Gloria, and/or her administration are deemed not only to be the most corrupt but also either involved, part of, or unable to resolve the following, and is fit to Resign:

  1. Involved in trying to destroy our democracy through numerous Executive Orders like E.O. 464. and E.O. 1017
  2. Part of those who wish to ram Cha-cha down our throats
  3. Massive habitual unresolved election fraud
  4. Involvement in “Hello Garci” Garcillano electoral fraud scandal
  5. Bedol scott free of his involvement in electoral fraud and boasting ownership of an armory
  6. Passports tampering involving the DFA themselves
  7. Cover-ups, protection and worse, giving Coast guard escort to illegal fishermen back to their country (ex. Chinese fishing boat caught at Tubhattaha protected Philippine marine sanctuary - this has happened several times to boot)
  8. Those involved in the Fertilizer scam
  9. Jocjoc Bolante protected by govenment
  10. North Railway anomalies
  11. Policemen serving warrantless arrests
  12. Banning, harassing, and intimidating freedom of speech and assembly
  13. Threats and arrests of media personnel
  14. Those who ignored public bidding (example; like the bidding of the dozens upon dozens of police cars) by abusing “Executive Privilege”
  15. Coddling and protecting corrupt people and criminals (ex. like those who protect and benefited from COMELEC Garcillano, Gambling Lords like the Pinedas, Jocjoc Bolante etc.)
  16. Arresting witnesses to election fraud in Lanao and jailing good soldiers like Gen. Gudani and Colonel Balutan by making the midnight Executive order 464
  17. Arresting of people for simply wearing “Palitan na, Now na” T-shirts
  18. Banning of leaders from making a speech in a Luneta rally
  19. Raiding (without warrant) a house where the opposition were analyzing fraudulent electoral returns
  20. Loss and tampering of ballot boxes in Congressional custody
  21. Assassination or kidnapping of electoral fraud witnesses like Musa Dimasidsing and several teachers for being honest and having integrity
  22. Continued proliferation of Gambling Lords roaming around scot-free like the Pinedas and Singsons.
  23. Military, police officers and government officials who enriched themselves in gambling operations especially those with opulent lifestyles (Maj. Mosqueda, generals and government officials) are still out there enjoying fruits of their crime.
  24. Destruction of the spirit of the law for the ends of the corrupt few especially the one in the top position of the Department of Injustice.
  25. Killing of journalists and people simply because they spoke out against corruption and anomalies.
  26. Allows, participates and abets a host of other crimes by those in power simply because they are allies.
  27. Assigning people who indiscriminately cut trees in City Parks (ex. Arroceros Park) in top level DENR position
  28. Continually try to find ways to do away with public bidding through loopholes in “executive decisions”
  29. Use of public funds for personal election campaigns
  30. Instituted electoral fraud upon our OFWs abroad in the last election (Ahh, those corrupt in power thought this would not eventually be discovered)
  31. ZTE Deal Anomaly and other deals with “Executive Privilege” tag involving billions of dollars (the purpose of which is to enable hook government offices in a secure online infrastructure an unreasonably exorbitant waste of money that the government doesn’t even have which will be financed by China. A burden to the already debt ridden government that will be shouldered by the citizens and future citizens yet to be born, JCPO.)
  32. Questionable “Made in China” deals. (ex. Cyber Ed deal etc.)
  33. Attempting (if not already partially implemented) leasing out of 1 million to up to 2 million hectares of PHILIPPINE agricultural land to a China firm.
  34. Declaring E.O. 464 to prevent Sec. Neri from testifying in additional details in ZTE bribery deal
  35. Bribery in Congress – attempted bribery of Cong. Beltran
  36. P 500,000 Bribery in Malacanang Palace and dispensing other “brown paper bags” filled with money ranging from P 200,000 to P 500,000 to the administration’s political stooges
  37. Quashing of any investigation on the bribery scandal courtesy of the Committee of Injustice in Congress
  38. Arrest and detention of media personnel in Manila Peninsula Hotel
  39. The continuing killings of media men and women along with kidnapping, killing, torture, detention of people and even students.
  40. Attempted revival of the Charter Change
  41. Intimidation and threats by Sec. Puno to media people and networks
  42. Abduction of ZTE anomaly witness Jun Lozada
  43. Threats and moves against Jun Lozada, a whistle blower of the anomalous ZTE transaction.
  44. Attempt to divert funds for housing program for the PNP and AFP personnel to the scandal ridden NBN deal.
  45. Revival AGAIN of the Charter Change issue this February 2008
  46. Allies attempts to remove Fr. Panlilio from office through the COMELEC
  47. STILL unresolved kidnappings such as those of Jonas Burgos, Karen Empeño, Sherlyn Cadapan, Ma. Luisa Posa-Dominado, Nilo Arado, Maguindanao election teachers among others.

Primarily the proliferation, whether directly or indirectly, of continuing support to this corrupt and evil system is made through people who are either:

a. Paid

b. Employees of government.

c. They are relatives and friends of corrupt officials themselves.

d. Those that directly or indirectly benefit from a corrupt system

Recent additions to this:

48. Using the police to block people who intend to go to rallies
49. Using the Air Transport Office to ban helicopters and aircraft from covering the rally
50. Arrest of people in Calamba for participating in rallies
51. Questionable arrest of staff people of Senator Trillanes.
52. Questionable Spratleys deal with China
53. Overpriced Diosdado Macapagal Highway

I’m certain that decent and impartial citizens of the Philippines have something to add to this list. Just enter in the comment section.

An additional reminder to Gloria Resign Blogswarmers; I recommend this suggestion from agnesdv (All That Blogs blogsite) when making your blogs:

I'd like to remind everyone, to use Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's full name in your posts. Let it be known, that her name (however it is Google searched: Gloria, +Macapagal, +Arroyo) will FOREVER be linked and be synonymous to corruption, to judicial killings, to selling her own country to China and to her bad presidency. She not only tainted her name, but also her father's. Let this history not be forgotten again.

Below is improvement of "Gloria Devil" image; from The Bystander site. (With your permission Bystander if it's okay :) )

And another edited image for Grizzy aka
lahingbughaw who also have a blog at Maria Clara in Revolution

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Trying to understand Joker Arroyo

To be a Vader or not to be a Vader, that is the question…

I was inspired by a Cebu Daily News (via links) article by Jobers Bersales titled Joker Arroyo as Darth Vader? With the growing trend of comparing our current national situation with the Star Wars milieu, (thanks to the column of Manuel Quezon III, Live from the Bastusang Pambansa) the cast of charters grew; the unseated Speaker Jose de Venecia as Yoda, Congressman Nograles as Jar-jar, and the infamous Atty. Antonio Bautista as Bautista the Hutt. To this list I too personally added the Emperor Palpakparin Arroyo to the growing number of characters. As for the Malacanang muscle Senior Superintendent Paul Mascariñas, I was considering to put him in as the porcine looking Gamorrean bodyguard usually hired by Hutts, I’m still thinking about it. I was a stumped for quite some time on deciding where to put Senator Joker Arroyo. Initially I though he would fit being a mercenary like Bobba Fett, however I cannot for certain categorize him as one.

When the article of Bersales came out, it made me think, Joker as a Darth Vader? Why not? Joker started out his career as a good guy fighting near insurmountable odds especially during the Marcos Martial Law years and now he seem to defend a corrupt administration, striking similarities indeed. An excerpt from the column of Bersales:

“Joker began his career as the Don Quixote of his time, defending Ninoy Aquino before military courts that had long convicted him before the trials began in 1973. With incurable idealism, his impassioned defense of imprisoned political enemies of the Marcoses inspired a generation of lawyers like him to take the lonely and very dangerous road of fighting the dictatorship in the courts of the land.

As executive secretary to President Corazon Aquino, he was fearless in defending the fledgling government amidst coup after coup foisted by the disgruntled elements of the military. His stints at the Senate during the Ramos presidency and at the House during the Estrada presidency were equally sterling in his attacks against corruption, even on mere allegations of corruption by the powers that be. Now, I am disheartened by the sleeping stance of my dragon. On this the twilight of his years, Joker must prove to the generations of young men and women who voted for him that he is no joke, and he means business. Simply put, that he is no Darth Vader.”

Why then did Joker Arroyo in his senior years and coveting the esteemed position of Senator seem to turn a blind eye on the blatant corruption, cover-ups and abuses of the Gloria administration? Could it be he’s on the payroll? Personally I find that hard to believe since he would have easily done that during the Marcos and even the Estrada administration if he really wanted to. Power? Unlikely, he already possess one of the highest position of the land. Connections and contacts? Hmm maybe I could be getting warmer on this. Perhaps it could be that through political connections and contacts that he or his family has built good relations with the First Family or at least with the top executives of the administration. Perhaps it may be because finally the administration of Gloria cared for him more than the others.

In my personal view, it could be related to the built up anger against the last administration, namely the Estrada administration. Let us remember that during the reign of Estrada, the former president too had his own group of boys who force through questionable and even corrupt policies. Estrada’s moral conduct is not exactly admirable and in fact many consider crass or detestable. I would say during this time Joker Arroyo was mad at the shenanigans of President Estrada and was pretty much helpless to stop it. The fall of Estrada however turned the tables and Joker Arroyo had probably vowed that this group of people and their allies would never again be part of governance.

Then years passed and the opposition (which the allies of Estrada are part) finally was criticizing the Gloria administration. It sounded like a whimper at first, even the EDSA III protest they launched was shunned by all except the low to lower middle class. Then came more reports of anomalies and stronger evidence; the husband of Gloria is implicated on many of the high profile corruption charges. The total about-face of Gloria Arroyo came at the time of the ‘Hello Garci’ election fraud scandal and she, to stifle mounting evidences and charges, chose the dark side and start implementing repressive Executive Orders which bred more abuses in government. Corruption grew and was protected. The police and the armed forces high command were used like her personal Praetorian Guard or phalanx of Storm Troopers. The disenchantment towards the Gloria administration grew and the light that shone inside the soul of Gloria Arroyo died.

Could it be that the loyalty that Joker Arroyo built around Gloria could not be extinguished? Was there a debt of gratitude or an “utang na loob” that has to be paid? Could it be that Joker, hoping against hope that Gloria is still the best option against other alternative leaders? When his superior slowly but surely turned to the dark-side, he too now had decided to follow. And when one follows a superior who now trod on the dark path, thus he too trod the dark path as well.

Is this the probable scenario that happened to explain Joker Arroyo’s slow motion fall from grace? I cannot say for certain as I do not personally know him, but whatever the real reason, I hope he would see the situation differently and reflect that perhaps this administration has lost its moral mooring. Loyalty, while an admirable trait has it limits. Loyalty to a personality rather than to a principle is a dangerous thing.

Joker Arroyo may indeed be a Darth Vader. From a follower of light like Anakin Skywalker, he fell to the dark side and became a Vader. Looking at Joker’s past performance perhaps there is still a little light in him left, just as Luke Skywalker felt a remaining goodness in the heart of his father Darth Vader. I could just hope like in the last Star Wars episode, the situation would also be the same for Joker; Darth Vader throwing away the Dark Emperor even at the cost of his life, returning to the path of light. If some say that Joker be a Darth Vader, I hope it follows that he too would eventually throw away the darkness and follow the light just as Anakin Skywalker did in the end; finally attaining peace, saving his soul and the Republic.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

All is not well in Gloria's Paradise, the Middle Class simmers

As if to show detractors and administration apologists that the Friday the 15th initial protest salvo was not a fluke, the protest mass held at La Salle, Greenhills overflowed with people. Not sure of a heavy turnout, the gym where the mass was held was only able to accommodate around half of the 4 to 5 thousand attendees.

The recent composition of the crowd should serve as a warning to the Gloria administration downplaying the events of February 15 protests. The religious sector and the middle and upper classes' vehicles filled opposite lanes of Ortigas Avenue from EDSA all the way to Green Hills Shopping Center as early as 9 a.m. shortly before Sunday's mass. This therefore completes the different strata of society when we combine the largely low to upper middle class composition of the protest rally of the 15th and the largely lower middle class to upper class composition during the mass at the 17th. In both protest gatherings, the religious and the middle class sectors were there; a simmering social brew which composed some of the important elements that allowed EDSA I and II to succeed.

Will this corrupt administration continue its evil ways and use the same old canned Gestapo tactics to intimidate and persecute the political opposition and whistleblowers in government? In all likelihood, arrogance and greed may push them to continue on their wayward ways; and if the consequence of their actions finally catches up with them, they have no one else to blame but themselves.

In my heart, it may be better this way so that finally the crashing fall of the administration's Mafia Paradise would be resoundingly heard and they would reap the whirlwind from the people of the Philippines whom they wantonly exploit.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dark Army Rising, the Emperor and her Orcs

With Gloria’s continuing push for a zombie-like resurrection of Charter Change exposed several weeks ago, she has no choice but to admit “supporting” moves to rewrite the Constitution. As with all half-truths, we must also recognize the lie.

She said that she would not “spearhead” the Charter Change initiative; however, how many times in history does a general physically spearhead the attack of an army? A commanding general is nearly almost always at the rear or if in a forward position have a vanguard of crack bodyguards hacking a way through.

Beware of the twisted statement, while for most of us we can see the frontline of this Orcish horde led by Local Government Officials, rest assured that behind them issuing the orders is Emperor Palpakparin herself.

Of course the assertion of her Praetors that she is not interested in extending her term beyond 2010 is a flat faced lie. Not less a lie than Gloria a year or two ago was saying that Charter Change was “dead”. Her habit of lying then stabbing in the back is obviously showing.

Tactical movements toward the Charter Change objective have already started. JDV is out (though he is still self-deluded), Local Government orcs fired the opening salvo, and the latest is Gloria’s statement of “supporting moves” in rewriting the Constitution revealed by no less than herself to Reuters seal the devil’s pact.

As such, organizing must not only go on but must be expanded, the clear and present danger patiently explained, and more people mustered against the creeping army of darkness marching towards Charter Change. We must build this up in a steady yet strong growth, let us discard the “instant gratification” syndrome, learn from the lessons of the past and renew our push against the approaching army of darkness.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Protest Rally, Makati Business District and SC decision on airing of 'Hello Garci' tape

(photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

A first step on the road to remove corruption and abuses in governance; got tired in the protest but truly fulfilling. Let us not all fall back into the illusion that because we were there that we can now forget the coming responsibilities and further steps to take. Darkness may withdraw for a moment but when they think it is "all clear", they go back to their old foul habits.

On another note, a decision was late in the coming but it came nonetheless, from the dated today Feb. 15, 2007;



SC allows airing of 'Garci tapes'
High Court votes 10-5
by Tech Torres

Manila Philippines - The Supreme Court has voided and order by the National Telecommunications Commission prohibiting the airing of a wiretapped conversation between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and a former elections commissioner over alleged plans to rig the elections in 2004.

Voting 5-10, the high court favored the playing of the "Hello Garci" tapes that recorded Arroyo talking to a male voice, who reports have identified as former Commission on Elections Chairman Virgilio Garcillano, but which the poll official had denied...

...Concurring with Chief Justice Reynato Puno in granting the petition were Senior Justice Leonardo Quisumbing, Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Antonio T. Carpio, Ma. Alicia Austria-Martinez, Conchita Carpio Morales, Adolfo S. Azcuna, and Ruben T. Reyes.

Those who dissented were Justices Renato C. Corona, Minita V. Chica-Nazario, Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, and Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro.

Justices Gutierrez, Carpio, Azcuna, Nazario, and Nachura wrote seperate opinions.

Justice Dante O. Tinga, voted to grant Chavez's petition insofar as Gonzalez's warning was concerned, saying it constitutes 'prior restraint'.

However, Tinga voted to dismiss the petition insofar as the NTC's warning was concerned because the commission has the authority to issue such warnings, being a regulatory body.

Justice Presbiterio V. Velasco Jr., voted to grant Chavez's petition as far as the NTC warning was concerned but voted to dismiss the petition on Gonzalez's statement.


Let us list down, put on file, study and remember the Justices who voted for or against the decision and see what their reasons are.

Civil-society should be more pro-active nowadays and monitor the Justices themselves whether they are properly doing their job or not; or if they have become biased like the DOI (Department of Injustice). Are there villains or are there heroes; or are there shades of gray?

Many Filipinos have become lazy, taking things as they come; wanting things to fall on their lap in this age of instant gratification. It is time to critically analyze the events and the people involved.

This is our nation, we live in it; we as a people are responsible for what it is now and what it will become in the future. Be pro-active, be vigilant, support and spread the light and rail against the coming of the night. Your future, your children's, your grandchildren's, is in your hands.


"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Emperor Palpakparin Arroyo, Resign!
(Darkness creeps into the Republic)

We don’t want you anymore Emperor Arroyo so save the nation a lot of grief and just resign; don’t forget to take that Joker with you. We know of your Charter Change/Prime Minister for Life strategy, your colors and the colors of your hacks are showing so early in the game. Do you still intend to deny this while your minions pushed the Chacha button? Why so early Madame, did you panic?


"While the mages in their ivory towers argue the color of the fiery dragon's breath, the dragon destroys the people, burning them to death"


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Blogswarm on Friday the 15th

Sometimes it takes a swarm of angry Filipinos for the corrupt and power hungry to understand that we are serious when we say to the Gloria administration to STOP INSTITUTIONALIZING CORRUPTION and STOP MOVES TOWARD DICTATORSHIP.
It seems these words fall in deaf ears and perhaps these corrupt in power are banking on the fact that Filipinos usually take the meek quiet way of convincing these thick faced people. However these hacks forgot that despite the patience of Filipinos, we also have a timed fuse and once the fuse is blown, its consequence is pretty hard to stop.

As we can observe, obviously it takes a lot of outraged Filipinos for our indignation to be heard, so let us express this as a group, as a swarm, BLOGSWARM.

Tomorrow those with blogsites and forums are enjoined to post their favorite picture of Gloria Arroyo and express their outrage. Gloria Resign! or a similar title for your article is suggested.

As a bonus, those who have "nice" pictures of Gloria would earn the silent accolades from the multitude of our countrymen who had enough of her shenanigans.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Unwitting Hero

How can such a diminutive man with fear in his eyes suddenly become someone who is able to spill the beans regarding corruption commited by the most powerful men and women of the land? Philippines is full of strange events and this incident is no exception. Jun Lozada is such a man. Although initially fearful of the Senate, he became more terrified of the underhanded and dark ways of the Executive Branch.

Lozada's abduction (some say he was under duress or what not but the fact that he has no freedom to move to a place where he wants while under "escort" plus he was pressured to sign documents that he supposedly requested for "security" simply smacks of an abduction. I've not even mentioned the forged signatures among the documents yet) made him decide to run to the Senate and tell the truth so it will be moot for the ZTE deal gangsters to kill him to prevent information leakage.

On another point, my prediction came true, they're now pushing for Charter Change once more. It's shaping up to be a Prime Ministership or a Dictatorship at all cost installed on or before year 2010. If by this incident the skeptics still do not see the writing in the wall, I guess nothing will. Some are more enamored of discussing the issue rather than acting on it. This led me to compose a saying:

...While the mages in their ivory towers argue the color of the fiery dragon's breath,

the dragon destroys the townspeople burning them to death...


I also warned all the posters in Manolo's site that the pieces of the Dictatorship puzzle are visibly coming together.


Other watermarks regarding the Orc army’s march toward a de facto Martial Rule:

Status Check:

1. Joe de Venecia would have to go since he is a rival for a Prime Minister position - Check, Objective Achieved

2. Charter Change must still push through so that term limits would be removed for the future Congressmen (or the future Parliament Members for that matter) and the position of Prime Minister must have unlimited term. - Objective Ongoing

4.The COMELEC must be controlled and manipulated. - Largely Achieved

5. Maintain a Praetorian guard among generals in the PNP and Armed Forces - Check, Objective Achieved

6. Maintain the “Destabilizer” and “Communist” bogey so as to justify crackdowns of legitimate protest including opinions published by legitimate media. - Objective Ongoing

7. Emasculate the media so that those currently in power can be corrupt and abuse power without chastisement. - Partially Achieved

9. Make inroads and as far as possible to try to control or at least heavily influence the Judicial Branch of government. - Partially Achieved
Other Objectives (On Hold):

3. The position of Prime Minister should be a post that would be chosen by a small group (i.e. Parliament) so that only a few need to be convinced and as a consequence would have lesser bribes to dispose to get favors. - On Hold Till Objective 2 is Achieved

8.If unable to push through the above agendas effectively, they will fabricate a reason or a scenario to declare Martial Rule, or at least put in the mechanisms for a de facto Martial Law. - On Hold just in case Objective 2 and other measures fail


My gut feeling says these things may come quickly, unless we as a people throw a monkey wrench into their evil plans.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Of Communists, Destabilizers and Senator Joseph McCarthy

In the coming protest march this February 15, 2008 against severe corruption in the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Philippines), one Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is sure to be implemented. Intelligence "reports" of Communists coming in to infiltrate and create destabilization within the ranks of the demonstrators in any protest-rally, is as certain as the sun rising from the east every morning. This is designed to give the police and soldiers "guarding" the area a thin excuse and an open hand to crackdown or forcibly disperse rallyists any time they wish and for whatever reason they want. Before this event however, it is also certain that indoctrination of police and soldiers, speeches, and even forums and blogspots would put in remarks that "Communists" will be leading rallies even if centrists and rightist forces are found to be in the majority. It is as if it is a given that violent protests and consequent crackdown is a certain thing to happen.

Surprisingly, this "communist bogey" or red scare technique was used to its fullest not in some Third World country. Incredibly it began in the United States, honed to perfection by Joseph Raymond McCarthy a US Senator who served his state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. According to wikipedia;

"He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, McCarthy's tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led to his being discredited and censured by the United States Senate. The term "McCarthyism," coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist pursuits. Today the term is used more generally to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents."

Wikipedia on McCarthyism:

McCarthyism is a term describing the intense anti-communist suspicion in the United States in a period that lasted roughly from the late 1940s to the late 1950s. This period is also referred to as the Second Red Scare, and coincided with increased fears about communist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet agents. Originally coined to criticize the actions of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, “McCarthyism” later took on a more general meaning, not necessarily referring to the conduct of Joseph McCarthy alone.

During this time many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees, and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators, and union activists.

For McCarthyism to be effective, a propaganda technique termed as “Labeling” is established to give an “us versus them” indoctrination and using terms such as “leftists”, “communists” and such to justify violent and unjust acts upon them. This labeling of supposed enemy forces (as indoctrinated in certain elements of the armed forces and police forces in the Philippines) have expanded from the mere Communist label to the Destabilizer label. The Destabilizer label refers to anyone who criticizes or opposed the policies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose legitimacy as a President is still under question due to unresolved issues of cheating in the last Philippine presidential elections.