August 2009

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Balitang Kutsero
By Perry Diaz

 

“Palin is a sociopath, shouldn’t have authority in public policy,” says a news item. Holy goat! And Sarah almost became “Numero Uno” in waiting!

In a recent poll taken, “63% of all Americans with favorable opinion of Sarah Palin are Birthers.” Birthers are those who insist that President Obama was born in Kenya. However, my investigative reporter, James Macaquecquec, found out that 32% of the respondents believe that Sarah was born in Russia. The incontrovertible evidence was the birth certificate she posted in the Internet to prove that she was born in Alaska — it was written in Cyrillic script. Da?

“How about the other 5%,” I asked James. “This group believes that John McCain was not born in Panama Canal, which was then a US territory, but in the Republic of Panama,” James explained. I said, “Who cares, at his age he’s not going to run for president again.” James explained, “McCain has been going around with his own version of healthcare insurance.” “So?” I asked. James replied, “Well, McCain’s health insurance plan covers ‘from erection to reincarnation.’ People are saying that he’s thinking ahead into his next life.” Wow! He still dreams of becoming “Numero Uno.”

News item: “Obama also confessed recently that one of his biggest pet peeves is what he calls ‘the shine police’ — aides and makeup artists who powder his face before he does television.” They got it made, that’s easy. Could you imagine if McCain won? They’d have a real challenge in making over all his wrinkles.

James showed me a copy of an unpublished survey of American senior citizens’ reaction to Obama’s prescription plan. According to the survey, 99% of seniors are happy with the way it is. The reason is that they’re getting cheap viagra from Canadian pharmacies in the Internet. And they don’t need a doctor’s prescription. That just proves that Canadian socialized medicine works wonders!

My undercover agent in Northern California just came back from the Philippines and told a story. He said that after prez Gloria Arroyo passed away, hubby Mike Arroyo was despondent and decided to look for her. First, he went to Hell but Satan told him that Gloria wasn’t there. He went to Purgatory and the caretaker told him Gloria wasn’t there. Then, he went to Heaven and asked St. Peter if he could see her. St. Peter looked at the roster and couldn’t find Gloria’s name. He told Mike, “Nope, Gloria’s not here.” Mike was perplexed and said, “but she’s not in Hell or Purgatory, so she must be in Heaven?” “Well, you see Mike,” replied St. Peter, “the reason you couldn’t find Gloria is because she doesn’t have a soul.” Duh?

News item: “Erap faces arrest if he runs in 2010 polls.” Why don’t they let him run and win? Then after a year as president, they can depose him… again.

With Erap and Sen. Manny Villar in a dead heat in recent polls, many presidential wannabes are presenting themselves to be Erap’s running mate. But he should stay away from Sen. Loren Legarda. He’s paranoid that women always want to be “Numero Uno.” I don’t blame him. The first time he was president, his vice president Gloria Arroyo wanted to be “Numero Uno” so she kicked him out of office. And all his wives want to be his “Numero Uno.” Hesusmariahosep!

The other day, Erap announced that he’s 99.99% sure that he’s going to run for prez. Not so fast, Erap! Gloria threatened to arrest him if he runs again. However, Gloria should be careful cuz if Erap wins, it’s going to be payback time… and jail time for Gloria. Like they say in Manila, “Lintik lang ang walang ganti.”

The Liberal Party has a big problem! If Sen. Noynoy Aquino decides to enter the presidential derby, he has to square it off with Sen. Mar Roxas who has laid claim to the party’s nomination a year ago. Would each of them settle to be the veep of the other? I don’t think so. Each of them have probably been talking with Erap as his running mate. Why not? If Erap wins, whoever ends up as his veep will have a very good chance of taking over the presidency within a year. Yep, it’s the “Numero Uno” syndrome!

News headline: “Ramos rains barbs on GMA.” Finally, the honeymoon — the longest in history — between Ramos and Gloria is coming to an end. Ramos should have ended it in 2005 after the “Hello Garci” scandal. This signals the start of the “proxy war” between Ramos’ and Gloria’s secret candidates.

Gloria responded by inviting Vice President Noli De Castro to join PALAKA — officially known as Lakas-Kampi-CMD — so he could be considered as the party’s standard bearer in next year’s elections. To make her point, Gloria said that Noli would make a “good” president. It looks like Ramos’ endorsement of Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro a month ago turned out to be a “kiss of doom.” But if Gloria anoints Noli, it would be tantamount to a “kiss of death.” No wonder Noli didn’t accept Gloria’s invitation. And people would think that Noli is dumb? Hoy, mali kayo, may utak si Noli!” (Hey, you’re all wrong, Noli has brains!)

However, Gibo said that as far as he is concerned, Gloria has not made a decision yet. But it is not a question of whether Gloria has made a decision or not, the question is whether Noli has accepted Gloria’s invitation or not. And I thought Gibo has brains! Hmmm…

Meanwhile, Bayani Fernando is confident of Gloria’s endorsement saying that Gloria’s endorsement is in the bag. Yeah, it’s in the bag alright… Noli’s bag. Stop dreaming, Bayani. For once be a real “bayani” — a hero — and do a good job of what you’re elected to do — clean up the stink in Metro Manila! Then you can run for president.

Finally, the truth is out: Gloria told Obama at their tete-a-tete at the Oval Office that she’s stepping down on June 30, 2010. “But I will be working until the last minute on issues that matter,” she told him. James Macaquecquec heard from his source in the White House that by 11:59 PM on her last day in office, Gloria and her family will be in a U.S. Air Force plane ready to bring them to Gloria’s “Enchanted Kingdom” in Portugal. Well, that’s better than Hawaii where Uncle Sam dumped Marcos years ago.

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Balitang Kutsero
By Perry Diaz

 

“Palin is a sociopath, shouldn’t have authority in public policy,” says a news item. Holy goat! And Sarah almost became “Numero Uno” in waiting!

In a recent poll taken, “63% of all Americans with favorable opinion of Sarah Palin are Birthers.” Birthers are those who insist that President Obama was born in Kenya. However, my investigative reporter, James Macaquecquec, found out that 32% of the respondents believe that Sarah was born in Russia. The incontrovertible evidence was the birth certificate she posted in the Internet to prove that she was born in Alaska — it was written in Cyrillic script. Da?

“How about the other 5%,” I asked James. “This group believes that John McCain was not born in Panama Canal, which was then a US territory, but in the Republic of Panama,” James explained. I said, “Who cares, at his age he’s not going to run for president again.” James explained, “McCain has been going around with his own version of healthcare insurance.” “So?” I asked. James replied, “Well, McCain’s health insurance plan covers ‘from erection to reincarnation.’ People are saying that he’s thinking ahead into his next life.” Wow! He still dreams of becoming “Numero Uno.”

News item: “Obama also confessed recently that one of his biggest pet peeves is what he calls ‘the shine police’ — aides and makeup artists who powder his face before he does television.” They got it made, that’s easy. Could you imagine if McCain won? They’d have a real challenge in making over all his wrinkles.

James showed me a copy of an unpublished survey of American senior citizens’ reaction to Obama’s prescription plan. According to the survey, 99% of seniors are happy with the way it is. The reason is that they’re getting cheap viagra from Canadian pharmacies in the Internet. And they don’t need a doctor’s prescription. That just proves that Canadian socialized medicine works wonders!

My undercover agent in Northern California just came back from the Philippines and told a story. He said that after prez Gloria Arroyo passed away, hubby Mike Arroyo was despondent and decided to look for her. First, he went to Hell but Satan told him that Gloria wasn’t there. He went to Purgatory and the caretaker told him Gloria wasn’t there. Then, he went to Heaven and asked St. Peter if he could see her. St. Peter looked at the roster and couldn’t find Gloria’s name. He told Mike, “Nope, Gloria’s not here.” Mike was perplexed and said, “but she’s not in Hell or Purgatory, so she must be in Heaven?” “Well, you see Mike,” replied St. Peter, “the reason you couldn’t find Gloria is because she doesn’t have a soul.” Duh?

News item: “Erap faces arrest if he runs in 2010 polls.” Why don’t they let him run and win? Then after a year as president, they can depose him… again.

With Erap and Sen. Manny Villar in a dead heat in recent polls, many presidential wannabes are presenting themselves to be Erap’s running mate. But he should stay away from Sen. Loren Legarda. He’s paranoid that women always want to be “Numero Uno.” I don’t blame him. The first time he was president, his vice president Gloria Arroyo wanted to be “Numero Uno” so she kicked him out of office. And all his wives want to be his “Numero Uno.” Hesusmariahosep!

The other day, Erap announced that he’s 99.99% sure that he’s going to run for prez. Not so fast, Erap! Gloria threatened to arrest him if he runs again. However, Gloria should be careful cuz if Erap wins, it’s going to be payback time… and jail time for Gloria. Like they say in Manila, “Lintik lang ang walang ganti.”

The Liberal Party has a big problem! If Sen. Noynoy Aquino decides to enter the presidential derby, he has to square it off with Sen. Mar Roxas who has laid claim to the party’s nomination a year ago. Would each of them settle to be the veep of the other? I don’t think so. Each of them have probably been talking with Erap as his running mate. Why not? If Erap wins, whoever ends up as his veep will have a very good chance of taking over the presidency within a year. Yep, it’s the “Numero Uno” syndrome!

News headline: “Ramos rains barbs on GMA.” Finally, the honeymoon — the longest in history — between Ramos and Gloria is coming to an end. Ramos should have ended it in 2005 after the “Hello Garci” scandal. This signals the start of the “proxy war” between Ramos’ and Gloria’s secret candidates.

Gloria responded by inviting Vice President Noli De Castro to join PALAKA — officially known as Lakas-Kampi-CMD — so he could be considered as the party’s standard bearer in next year’s elections. To make her point, Gloria said that Noli would make a “good” president. It looks like Ramos’ endorsement of Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro a month ago turned out to be a “kiss of doom.” But if Gloria anoints Noli, it would be tantamount to a “kiss of death.” No wonder Noli didn’t accept Gloria’s invitation. And people would think that Noli is dumb? Hoy, mali kayo, may utak si Noli!” (Hey, you’re all wrong, Noli has brains!)

However, Gibo said that as far as he is concerned, Gloria has not made a decision yet. But it is not a question of whether Gloria has made a decision or not, the question is whether Noli has accepted Gloria’s invitation or not. And I thought Gibo has brains! Hmmm…

Meanwhile, Bayani Fernando is confident of Gloria’s endorsement saying that Gloria’s endorsement is in the bag. Yeah, it’s in the bag alright… Noli’s bag. Stop dreaming, Bayani. For once be a real “bayani” — a hero — and do a good job of what you’re elected to do — clean up the stink in Metro Manila! Then you can run for president.

Finally, the truth is out: Gloria told Obama at their tete-a-tete at the Oval Office that she’s stepping down on June 30, 2010. “But I will be working until the last minute on issues that matter,” she told him. James Macaquecquec heard from his source in the White House that by 11:59 PM on her last day in office, Gloria and her family will be in a U.S. Air Force plane ready to bring them to Gloria’s “Enchanted Kingdom” in Portugal. Well, that’s better than Hawaii where Uncle Sam dumped Marcos years ago.

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

After 200 days in office, President Barack Obama is under fire over the economy, the war in Afghanistan, and healthcare reform. But it is healthcare reform that has ignited a maelstrom of public outcry. With an uncooperative Congress, Obama took the only road to get the changes he promised the American people; that is, go back to the people.

Never in recent U.S. history did a president interact — directly and indirectly — with the American people than Obama. He is a regular fixture in cable news, has his own radio talk program, and conduct town hall meetings across America. Obama is in virtual “campaign mode” which he is very good at. And when Obama connects his program of government with what he promised the American people during the campaign, how could he possibly go wrong?

But it is not easy for Obama. Being the first president of African-American descent, he walks a balancing act on a tightrope with no safety net underneath. He is cognizant that one mistake could end his credibility and political future. And there were several times when he was teetering with one foot on the rope and the other foot in the air trying to prevent a fall.

But one thing that he demonstrated while trying to regain his balance was his coolness. He never lost his composure. He never panicked. And he demonstrated statesmanship in the face of crisis.

During one of his press conferences, a reporter asked Obama what he thought about an incident in Cambridge where a white police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, arrested a black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, in his own home. Obama responded to the racially sensitive incident and said that Crowley had acted “stupidly.” That one word –“stupidly” — created a torrent of criticism from whites across the country. The Republican Party, sensing an opening to discredit Obama, further fanned the whites’ emotion. I wonder how the whites would have reacted if the president was white?

Obama took the brouhaha over his comment as an opportunity to take charge of the situation. He called Crowley and Gates and invited them for a beer at the White House. Their get-together, which was billed by the media as the “Beer Summit,” was a priceless public relations victory for Obama. Once again, he proved that he has what it takes to be a leader.

But Obama’s biggest test in his presidency is how he is going to sell his healthcare reform to the American people? Smart as he is, he knows that healthcare reform is a battle that has been waged in decades past and failed each time. Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. Hillary Clinton and several other heavyweights in Capitol Hill tried but failed. During those battles in Congress, the sitting presidents didn’t take any position knowing that they were threading on dangerous and unpredictable waters.

But this time around, Obama took the bull by the horn. He faced the powerful and influential health insurance cartel who dug in around Capitol Hill ready to fight Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress. They’re well entrenched and have a large war chest that would sustain a long and protracted war with anyone who would imperil their foothold in the health insurance industry.

Had Obama continued his uphill assault on Capitol Hill, he would have lost the battle. The members of Congress are a strange group of people. They would proclaim their loyalty to the president only if the president had total control of the situation. Simply said, a weak president would be rendered inutile in getting his programs passed in Congress.

And it is for this reason that when Obama realized that the House Democrats aren’t solidly behind his healthcare reform — due mainly to opposition from 52 conservative-leaning Blue Dog Democrats — he took his case to the people. And the people are listening. He has brought the war to a battlefield that he unquestionably dominates.

His initial public sorties proved him right. The people were so agreeable that he tried very hard to convince the audience to attack his proposed reforms. He was confident that he can argue his case before the people attending the town hall meetings and the millions watching on television. And that’s the milieu where Obama’s “mojo” — or magic charm — works best.

The most controversial component of his healthcare reforms came out to be “public option.” He argued that a government-run insurance would provide affordable health insurance to the 47 million Americans who don’t have any health insurance and don’t have the means to buy insurance coverage. He said that “public option” would insure that all Americans can afford to buy insurance, arguing that the health insurance provided by private insurance companies is beyond the means of poor Americans including the more than six million Americans who lost their jobs to the worst recession since the Great Depression.

But politics took over and the outcry against “public option” turned ugly and nasty. The Republican Party became the catalyst for dissent against “public option.” Suddenly, small but vociferous rallies mushroomed in various cities. It’s interesting to note that the people in these rallies were virtually all-white. Makes one to wonder who are the people orchestrating these rallies.

Recently, Obama softened his stand on “public option.” He said that it is basically up to Capitol Hill to determine if a “public option” should be included in healthcare reform legislation. His critics were caught off guard. And in a spontaneous outburst, they declared that Obama has lost his “mojo.” But the truth is, Obama just disarmed them with the only weapon they had against healthcare reform.

With “public option” no longer a key component of healthcare reform, the critics were left with nothing to fight against. Once again, Obama proved that he could easily take back control of the debate on any issue.

As to how healthcare reform eventually would look like is now up to Congress. The Senate is against “public option” and the House is for it. If both chambers pass their own version of healthcare reform, then the two chambers would have to meet in conference to work out the differences between their bills. Whether “public option” is to be included or not, Obama will win.

So the battle is back in Capitol Hill. Obama has done his job and he’ll just have to wait for the final product for his signature. Once again, he has shown that he can take the heat without getting burned, he is always in control of the situation, and he is cool under fire.

by Perry Diaz

One of the questions that came to the forefront of debate after the death of former president Cory Aquino was: Who will pick up the mantle of leadership of the unfinished “yellow revolution” that Cory championed? With Cory gone, a power vacuum was created that could easily be filled by those who advocate for “status quo” and “business as usual” way of governance.

The 2010 elections could thus become the battle that would pit the forces of “status quo” against the proponents of genuine change which has gained popular support when Cory passed away last August 1, 2009. Suddenly, the crusade that she started in the aftermath of the “People Power” revolution in 1986 comes to life again. Cory’s last breath of life gave her “yellow revolution” a new breadth of life.

The 300,000 people who joined her nine-hour funeral procession is a testament to the people’s desire for change. But with Cory gone, her “yellow revolution” — leaderless and rudderless — could crumble and disintegrate in the face of a formidable oligarchy that has entrenched itself during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The oligarchs never had it better since the Marcos dictatorship. In fact, during Gloria’s presidency, the Arroyos have nurtured and developed a strong bond — political and economic — with some of Marcos’ former cronies.

It will not then come as a surprise if the 2010 presidential election becomes an “Armageddonic” battle royale: good versus evil… democracy versus oligarchy… compassionate government versus corrupt government… change versus “status quo”… honest leadership versus opportunistic leadership. The question is: Who are the candidates who would lead the opposing forces?

The newly minted Lakas-Kampi-CMD which Gloria forged into a mega political party with 11,000 elected officials under its umbrella — from the national level down to regional and local levels — would be so imposing and intimidating that it could just blow the opposition to smithereens by it’s sheer size.

Strangely, however, Lakas-Kampi-CMD doesn’t have anybody within its ranks who is considered a “winnable” presidential candidate. Recently, Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro bolted his uncle Danding Cojuangco’s Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and joined the Lakas-Kampi-CMD hoping that –with Gloria’s anointment — he would be the party’s standard bearer. But as soon as he joined the party, word started circulating that there were powerful members close to Gloria who would not allow him to be their party’s presidential candidate. The fact that his popularity rating is only 1% further heightened the kingmakers’ negative perception of Gibo.

But what is very strange is that some Lakas-Kampi-CMD stalwarts are still waiting for Vice President Noli De Castro to make up his mind about joining their party and “compete” with Gibo for their party’s nomination. In my column, “Gloria’s Gambit” (May 2009), I asked, “Would De Castro kowtow to Gloria? If he does, he will be taking a great risk of losing his base of support because Gloria’s ‘anointment’ might turn out to be a ‘kiss of death’ which could put an end to his political life. And what would happen to Teodoro? I would not be surprised if Gloria would use him as a pawn to sacrifice in her opening gambit… unless he changes his mind and settles as De Castro’s vice presidential running mate.”

While De Castro was the frontrunner in popularity rating at that that time, his rating has since plummeted down, joining the second-tier wannabes. At this time, his “market value” has gone upside down and I doubt if any other party would take him as its standard bearer. His only viable option would be to kiss up to Gloria and join Lakas-Kampi-CMD. But that would be like getting sucked into a black hole. And Gloria, smart as she is, knows that.

So, who do you think Gloria would support knowing that whoever her party’s candidate will be, would lose. There is only one person who would fit the mold of the candidate that Gloria would support… secretly. And that is Francis “Chiz” Escudero. Your knee jerk reaction might be, “What? Are you crazy!” I am not crazy and I’ll tell you why Chiz could be Gloria’s “secret candidate.”

While Gloria cannot openly abandon her party’s candidate — De Castro, Teodoro or Fernando — she knows that their chances of winning is pretty slim. Chiz is her perfect candidate for several reasons: (1) Chiz has an Obamanesque charismatic appeal (2) Chiz is NPC’s presumptive presidential nominee; (3) The power behind NPC is Danding Cojuangco who has strong economic link to the Arroyos; (4) The Escudero political dynasty had strong ties to the late dictator Marcos and now to the Cojuangcos; and (5) With the financial backing of former Marcos cronies and, secretly, the Arroyos, Chiz would be a formidable candidate.

Chiz might attempt to assert his independence if he wins but that’s wishful thinking. The Arroyos and the Cojuangcos will own him and nothing will change. It will be “business as usual” with the Arroyo-Cojuangco business empire controlling the government… and the country.

And who would be the candidate to lead the “yellow revolution”? There is a groundswell of support for Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the only son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. Noynoy would be the perfect person to take on the mantle of leadership of the “yellow revolution.”

Noynoy’s experience with the loss of his father by an assassin’s bullet in 1983 and his own survival from near death has tempered his psyche. In 1987, during one of the seven coup attempts by rebel soldiers who attacked the Malacañang Palace, Noynoy was hit by five bullets — a bullet is still embedded in his neck today — which nearly killed him. Three of his four escorts were killed and the fourth was wounded. It must have been fate that saved him that day and destined him for a greater calling.

That “greater calling” came when Cory passed away. While Noynoy is hesitant right now to step up to the plate and run for president, my take is that eventually he will run. And when Noynoy runs, the battle royale will rock the country to its foundations and will change — for better or for worse — the way of life of the Filipino.

Before returning to the Philippines to meet his fate, Ninoy said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.” Would his son Noynoy say that the Filipino is worth fighting for? If so, then Noynoy doesn’t have to blink an eye, he should — nay, must — run!

 

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

by Perry Diaz 

Gloria’s spin doctors said that Congressman Martin Romualdez paid for the $20,000 — one million pesos! — food bill at the posh Le Cirque restaurant in New York. For Martin — Imelda Marcos’s nephew — that’s just loose change from his pork barrel. Oink!

It turned out that the Le Cirque dinner was a dual celebration — Gloria and Mike’s 41st wedding anniversary and Gloria’s appointment as her boss Obama’s errand girl in Southeast Asia. Go Gloria go!

Gloria’s legal counsel challenged the “dinner” critics to file court case. Don’t worry they will… after June 2010 when Gloria steps down from office. That’s when all hell will break loose!

News Item: “ House to scrutinize budget for Palace jet.” Gloria’s allies in Congress are fuming mad cuz she brought only 30 of her allies with her on her US junket. So now Gloria’s going to buy a private presidential jet big enough to accommodate all of them when she goes junketing. Happy days are here again, gang!

After overspending P1.6 billion on her foreign travels since 2003, Gloria believes that it’s cost effective to buy a presidential jet because it would pay for itself when she travels in the next six years. Does that mean she’ll still be prez after June 2010? Hmmm…

Understatement of the Year: “I never profited from my office,” Gloria swore. Well, what she didn’t realize was that her hubby Mike may have taken all the profits. No wonder Mike could afford a $20,000 a night suite in Las Vegas. C’est la vie!

“Gloria Arroyo’s favorite congressmen get the most pork barrel. But it’s no guarantee of their districts’ progress. Bulk of the pork funds only end up in the politicians’ pockets,” writes a Manila columnist. Well, rumor has it that Congressman Martin Romualdez is one of Gloria’s favorites. Yep, his P1.7-billion pork barrel proved that.

It’s no wonder then that Martin picked up the $20,000 tab at Le Cirque. Heck, that’s just a drop in the bucket and besides it’s not his money, it’s the people’s money. So, when Gloria offered a toast at Le Cirque, she said, “Let’s drink to the Filipino people who are worth dining for.” Cheers!

Veep Noli De Castro seems like he doesn’t need Gloria anymore. Pulse Asia’s latest finding is: “If presidential elections were held at this time, administration ally Noli de Castro will win, hands down.” Oh, yeah? Wait till Gloria uses dagdag-bawas in the new automated election system.

Former prez Erap Estrada’s rating in the latest SWS survey showed him jumping to second place behind Manny Villar, from 13% to 25%. Erap achieved that without doing anything. Well, that’s what he did too when he was prez — nothing.By the way, Erap and Loi will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary on Dec. 6. My investigative reporter, James Macaquecquec, reported that several more are being planned for his other wives — numbers 2, 3, 4, 5…Poor Gibo Teodoro… Some of his new party mates in PALAKA — also known as Lakas-Kampi-CMD — are questioning his affiliation with NPC. They want him to “prove in writing that he had resigned from the NPC.” That’s going to be tough cuz he was heard to have told Danding Cojuangco when he left NPC, “See you later, uncle.” Well, it looks like it’s going to be sooner than later.

Gloria’s political operative Gabriel Claudio boastfully announced, “Having 70 percent of the more than 11,000 elected officials in the country in its fold, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD is confident of victory in the 2010 national and local elections.” Oh yeah! After the opposition wins in 2010, there will be 11,000 balimbings who would defect from PALAKA and join the winner. It happens all the time, pal.

Gloria denied former Ambassador Albert del Rosario’s claim that she had considered suspending the writ of habeas corpus in 2005 and tried to seek US approval for such a move. That just proved that Gloria thinks that the Philippines is the 51st state of the US. Perhaps the Philippine Congress should change Philippine Independence Day back to July 4, 1946. It’s all Cong Dadong’s fault — Gloria’s dad — who changed it to June 12, 1898. No wonder Pinoys are screwed up.

Talking of screw-ups… After Sarah Palin quit as Alaska guv, Paula Abdul quit as judge of American Idol, and then Mel Martinez quit as Florida senator. And finally, Bill Bratton quit as Los Angeles Chief of Police! With an ex-senator, ex-policeman, and ex-judge joining a hockey mom, that’s a good mix to start Quitters Anonymous.

The Alaska Legislature overrode ex-guv Sarah’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus funds. Sarah said that accepting the stimulus money would “chip away at Alaska’s right to chart its own course.” Well, many Alaskans believe that with Sarah gone, they can truly chart their state’s course. Bye, bye, Sarah…

James Macaquecquec reported that he heard from the grapevine that Sgt. James Crowley, the cop who arrested a disabled and elderly black professor for “breaking” in to his own house, is going to quit soon to write a book titled, “How to Arrest a Black Man and Get Invited to the White House for Beer.” 

 

 

by Perry Diaz

When former President Cory Aquino passed away last August 1, 2009, some media people made erroneous reports saying that it was President Gloria Arroyo who died.

The first came from Lala Rimando of Newsbreak magazine who reported that Gloria Arroyo passed away. Rimando later apologized saying, “I’m guilty. I killed our president,” which was posted on abs-cbnnews.com. “I wrote an online story about the passing of a former president but inadvertently referred to the current one who’s still very much alive in portions of the story. Instead of Mrs Aquino, some sentences had ‘Mrs Arroyo’…” Freudian slip?

Then in a live ABS-CBN TV coverage showing the military honor guard waiting for Cory’s body to arrive at De La Salle Greenhills, the caption says, “MILITARY HONORS PARA KAY GINANG ARROYO, INIHAHANDA NA.”

Then during Cory’s wake, a story posted on Philstar.com says, “Wearing a white blazer suit, President Arroyo went straight to view the coffin of former President Arroyo and offered a short prayer before joining Senator Noynoy Aquino, who received the president in behalf of the Aquino family.”

And the day after Cory’s burial, Manila Bulletin published a photo with the caption: “WITH UTMOST CARE. Military honor guard carefully moves the coffin of President Arroyo out of the Manila Cathedral.” Was it a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Was there a deliberate effort to put Gloria in a bad light? We can only speculate. But one thing went unnoticed: ABS-CBN and Manila Bulletin did not apologize for these mistakes. It was also evident that nobody was fired or reprimanded publicly which in a way suggests that the publishers might have condoned the faux pas. I could just imagine the chuckling amongst the media top honchos. Why not? After all, the Arroyos have dealt them with hard-hitting blows including more than 40 libel lawsuits filed against them by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo. Well, it’s payback time, folks.

In an attempt to downplay the errors, Gloria’s spin doctors issued a statement which says that they believe that these were “honest mistakes.” But what else can they say… or do? It’s best to just forget about it and move on with the affairs of state.

But there was one event that put Gloria in a very bad light. She just finished her working visit President Barack Obama at the White House when news of Cory’s death reached her. But for a couple of days, she went on with her scheduled activities. On August 3, she decided to cut her visit short and fly back to Manila to attend Cory’s wake.

However, just before flying back home, Gloria and her entourage of about 30 people went to New York City’s upscale French restaurant, Le Cirque, for dinner. They spent a whopping $20,000! That’s almost one million pesos, enough to feed 100,000 poor and hungry Filipinos.

On August 7, the New York Post published on its front page an article, “Eat and Drink,” which says that Gloria and her entourage were “enjoying the good life” and “ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.” Indeed, it was a sumptuous dinner that not even King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette could have afforded it during their time. After all, didn’t Marie Antoinette tell the hungry French people to eat cake when they couldn’t afford to buy bread?

Gloria’s expensive excursion to a posh French restaurant in New York City did not bide well with the people. It was a crass display of insensitivity to Filipinos who were grieving the death of their beloved Cory. Gloria’s haggard “grieving” appearance at the wake was probably the result of eating too much caviar and drinking too much champagne — frolicking while her country was mourning. It was a fake grief and they could see through her.

Cory’s nine-hour 20-kilometer funeral procession from the Manila Cathedral to the Manila Memorial Park was joined by more than 300,000 people, the largest in Philippine history. The mourning people — a lot of whom wore yellow, Cory’s color — braved the rain to bid farewell to their heroine.

It was a final “show of force” by Cory’s loyal followers, many of whom have participated in the “People Power” revolution of 1986. It gave a strong signal to Gloria that Cory’s followers would protect Cory’s legacy — freedom and democracy — which are embodied in the 1987 constitution, oftentimes referred to as the “People Power” or Cory Constitution.

And with Cory’s passing, the political landscape has changed irreversibly. Any attempt to amend the 1987 constitution now would spark the ire of the people which could lead to another “people power” revolt. And Gloria, smart as she is, wouldn’t dare touch Cory’s constitution, not now, not during her presidency.

With the 1987 constitution untouched, any attempt by Gloria to stay in power beyond June 2010 would be futile. The people would resist it. Charter change is not in the cards anymore, not while Gloria is still in power.

And this brings to mind whether the media’s “honest mistakes” announcing Gloria’s death were the result of Freudian slip or self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe that it was Freudian slip. However, I also believe that it was a self-fulfilling prophecy — that of Gloria’s imminent “political death” in 10 months. Cory’s death has sealed Gloria’s fate.

There is an adage that says, “Quit while you’re ahead.” A second version says, “Quit while you’re a head.” Marie Antoinette had a chance to quit while she was a head but she didn’t. It’s a lesson that Gloria should not forget.

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

by Perry Diaz

 

My investigative reporter, James Macaquecquec, reported that President Gloria Arroyo was only allowed to bring five cabinet officials to the meeting with President Barack Obama. Obama’s aides hastily made arrangements for the 30 junketing congressmen and senators in Gloria’s party to be entertained by Bo at the South Lawn. The junketeers got excited and ran to the South Lawn to meet their favorite “10” pin-up star, Bo Derek. Well, it turned out that it wasn’t her, it was Bo, Obama’s male Portuguese water dog. Boo… boo…

At least the junketeers brought home a souvenir. They had photo op with Obama. But they weren’t too happy when they realized that it was not the real thing — it was Obama’s cutout. Well, they should know better that a photo op with the real Obama costs at least $50,000 per person.

Just before flying back to Philippines to attend Cory’s wake, Gloria went to New York City’s French upscale Le Cirque Restaurant with her entourage and spent a whopping $19,866 for dinner! That’s almost one million pesos, enough to feed 100,000 poor and hungry Pinoys.

It was mentioned in a blogsite that Gloria was overheard at Le Cirque to have said, “Magkamukha na ba kami ni Marie Antoinette?” (Do I look now like Marie Antoinette?) No Gloria, you don’t look like her but I hope that you’re not going to tell the poor Pinoys to eat cake instead of “pagpag” when you get back home.

And talking about boo-boos, journalist Lala Rimando of ABS-CBN reported that Gloria Arroyo passed away, instead of Cory Aquino. It’s funny but no world leader sent any condolences. Not even Obama.

And then in a live ABS-CBN TV coverage showing the military honor guard waiting for Cory’s coffin at De La Salle Greenhills, the caption says, “MILITARY HONORS PARA KAY GINANG ARROYO, INIHAHANDA NA.”  Ooops!

At that time, Gloria was still junketing in the US. She probably thought that the coup plotters had finally caught up with her. She cut her US junket short and flew home after a side trip to New York City for dinner. Upon arrival in Manila she went directly to Cory’s wake. When she arrived at the wake, she had the scariest moment in her life: thousands of Pinoys giving her dagger looks. Araaay, that hurts! She left after seven minutes.

By the way, Gloria’s “public image director” is Lupita Aquino Kashiwahara, Ninoy’s sister. With all the bad image Gloria has been getting, I wonder if… forget it. Maybe Gloria should just hire Manny Pacquiao’s “public image director” and get an extreme makeover just like what’s done to Manny.

Where was First Gent Mike Arroyo? It turned that FG decided to stay in the US to attend to “some personal matters.” James Macaquecquec reported that Mike’s having a “beer summit” with CIA Director Leon Panetta and the FBI Director to discuss… oh, well, that’s none of my business.

News Item: “Palace appeals for unity amidst Cory’s death.” It says, “In a press briefing after a special Malacanang mass, Press Secretary Cerge M. Remonde said the death of Aquino, who was instrumental in bringing democracy back to the country, should be a signal for all Filipinos to unite and set aside political agenda.” Well, if Lala Rimando’s report was correct, that would have united all Pinoys.

The day after Cory’s burial, Manila Bulletin published a photo with the caption: “WITH UTMOST CARE. Military honor guard carefully moves the coffin of President Arroyo out of the Manila Cathedral.” Gee, that’s the second death of Gloria within a week! She’s a cool cat with seven more lives to go. Does that mean she’ll live to see her dream of an “Enchanted Kingdom” and rule till kingdom come?

Sarah Palin is in the FOX News again. Rumor has it that she’s suffering from a malady called Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS). The only other person who’s been diagnosed with PDS is Iran’s megalomaniac president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Shouldn’t Sarah and Mahmoud be quarantined until they find a vaccine against PDS?

Gloria removed the names of four deserving artists for National Artist Awards and replaced them with names of persons who were not even nominated. “Foul!” cried her critics. Not really, it’s called “dagdag-bawas” (add-subtract) and Gloria has been doing that all the time and nobody complained. Why now?

One positive thing that happened during Gloria’s junket to the White House was the signing of the “first joint nonbinding Memorandum of Cooperation between the two nations to address the piracy issue.” The “nonbonding” clause was added at the last minute when Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo realized that there are pirates in Malacanang. Poor Albert, he almost lost his job.

Dyok time… A Pinoy who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS told his doctor, “Doc, what is this HIV / AIDS that I’m diagnosed with? I haven’t been to the red light district for at least a year now. So, how can I get HIV / AIDS? You’ve got to be kidding, doc!” The doctor looked at him and said, “What the heck are you talking about? I know you haven’t been to the red light district because you were ordered by the Superior Court to be castrated for stalking your four ex-wives and three ex-girlfriends. I castrated you myself. You’re now a eunuch, pal.” The dumbfounded Pinoy asked, “But how can I get HIV / AIDS then?” The doctor said, “Well, there are so many other ways you could get HIV / AIDS. But your type of HIV / AIDS is not a sexually transmitted disease. It’s called Hair Is Vanishing and Acute Intelligence Deficiency Syndrome. It’s worse than the other kind because, 1) well, you’re going bald, and 2) you’re a moron. Wala ka nang pagasa sa buhay.”

 by Perry Diaz 

 

 

In the wee hours of August 1, 2009, former President Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino — “Tita Cory” to millions of Filipinos — passed away. Her death was caused by cardio-respiratory arrest, the result of colon cancer she was battling since March 2008.

In the wake of her death, the Filipino people mourned her passing in a way no other leader in recent history was accorded with. It was a testament to what Cory had lived for… and fought for.

Some say that Cory’s presidency was accidental. Some say it was transformational. But many believe that it was divine providence that brought her power. I believe in all three.

Cory’s role in life was to be a “plain housewife.” And she played that role perfectly until her husband, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was incarcerated by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Ninoy’s only crime was his opposition to Marcos. When Marcos declared martial law in 1972, Ninoy was one of the first to be arrested and detained. Cory became the sole provider to her young children, playing the role of father and “plain housewife.”

When Marcos allowed Ninoy to go to exile in the US at the behest of President Jimmy Carter, Cory and the children went with him. They stayed in the US for several years until Ninoy decided that it was time to go back home. However, he was aware that by doing so he would be imprisoned again and probably assassinated. But he was determined to go back home to meet his fate saying that “the Filipino is worth dying for.”

On that fateful day of August 21, 1983, when Ninoy’s plane landed at the international airport in Manila, several soldiers in uniform boarded the plane to take Ninoy into custody. As Ninoy was stepping out of the plane, he was fatally shot at the back of his head and rolled down the staircase onto the tarmac. Someone in the plane took a video as soldiers dragged Ninoy’s dead body to a waiting vehicle. Shown on television, the gruesome scene shocked the world.

That moment changed Cory’s life forever. It was the moment for her to step up to the plate to continue Ninoy’s unfinished mission. It was the moment for her to go back home not only to bury her husband but to lead the Filipinos for their fight for freedom. It was the moment of her calling. And there was no turning back.

The political turmoil that followed the assassination of Ninoy became the turning point of the Marcos dictatorship. Under pressure from US President Ronald Reagan, Marcos called for a “snap election” in February 1986. Anti-Marcos leaders immediately formed the Cory Aquino for President Movement and, within a week, one million signatures were collected. Reluctantly, after meditating for 10 hours at a convent, Cory agreed to run. Little did she realize that she was about to change the history of the Philippines.

The Marcos-controlled Commission on Elections showed Marcos leading in the “snap election.” However, the unofficial tally showed Cory leading. Consequently, on February 15, 1986, the Batasang Pambansa (Legislature) proclaimed Marcos as the winner. Civil unrest ensued and spread throughout the country like wild fire. It was the beginning of the end of the Marcos dictatorship.

On February 22, 1986, Marcos’ key allies, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos staged a revolt which mushroomed into a popular uprising — “people power” — against the Marcos regime.

On February 25, 1986, Cory Aquino was sworn in as president by Supreme Court Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee at the Club Filipino in San Juan. On that same day, Marcos was also sworn in as president at the Malacanang Palace. However, by nightfall, Marcos fled to exile in Hawaii in a US military plane.

I saw Cory when she visited San Francisco in September 1986 on her way to address the US Congress. The Fil-Am community of the Bay Area held a reception for Cory at the cavernous Moscone Center in San Francisco. It was an emotional visit for Cory because it was in an apartment in suburban Daly City that Ninoy plotted his return to the Philippines. At the packed Moscone Center, thousands came to see Cory. She stirred up the audience when she said, “You can take the Filipino away from the Philippines but not the Philippines from the Filipino.” It was a call to all Filipinos to be proud of their motherland once again. And they heeded her call.

I saw Cory for the second time when I joined a group of about 12 Fil-Am community and political leaders who accompanied then Gov. George Deukmejian of California on an official visit to the Philippines in 1988. When we went to pay a courtesy call on Cory, I was surprised that she was not staying in the Malacanang Palace. She occupied a modest sized two-story building next to the palace as her office. She chose not to live in Malacanang and commuted daily to her private residence. I understand that she never set foot in Malacanang. It is then understandable why Cory’s children refused to have their mother lie in state in Malacanang. After all, it was the place where Marcos stayed for 21 years.

Last July 19, 2009, when Cory was near death, I was interviewed by Ging Reyes of ABS-CBN about my thoughts of Cory. After several minutes of talking about Cory’s legacy, Ging pointedly asked me, “And what do you think was the difference between Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo?” “Day and night,” I replied. Ging asked, “Why?” And I said, “Cory brought the brightest days in the lives of Filipinos while Gloria brought the darkest days in their lives.”

Cory will be remembered for generations to come. She changed the constitution in 1987 to make sure that martial law will not happen again. “People power” was embodied into the constitution and gave the armed forces the supreme duty to defend the people and the state. The 1987 constitution is sometimes referred to as “Cory’s constitution.” Yes, it was her baby maturing into adulthood. But some politicians want to change it for reasons that a large majority of Filipinos do not agree with.

It did not then come as surprise that Cory made a wish not to change the 1987 constitution. With Cory’s passing, the move for charter change might eventually die. And each time somebody would attempt to change it in the future, I am pretty sure that the people would defend “Cory’s constitution,” our constitution. And Cory lives in our constitution.

As Ninoy proved that the Filipino was worth dying for, Cory proved that the Filipino was worth living for. And she left a lasting legacy that freedom is worth fighting. In her memory, let’s live up to that legacy.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

 

 by Perry Diaz 

 

 

In the wee hours of August 1, 2009, former President Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino — “Tita Cory” to millions of Filipinos — passed away. Her death was caused by cardio-respiratory arrest, the result of colon cancer she was battling since March 2008.

In the wake of her death, the Filipino people mourned her passing in a way no other leader in recent history was accorded with. It was a testament to what Cory had lived for… and fought for.

Some say that Cory’s presidency was accidental. Some say it was transformational. But many believe that it was divine providence that brought her power. I believe in all three.

Cory’s role in life was to be a “plain housewife.” And she played that role perfectly until her husband, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was incarcerated by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Ninoy’s only crime was his opposition to Marcos. When Marcos declared martial law in 1972, Ninoy was one of the first to be arrested and detained. Cory became the sole provider to her young children, playing the role of father and “plain housewife.”

When Marcos allowed Ninoy to go to exile in the US at the behest of President Jimmy Carter, Cory and the children went with him. They stayed in the US for several years until Ninoy decided that it was time to go back home. However, he was aware that by doing so he would be imprisoned again and probably assassinated. But he was determined to go back home to meet his fate saying that “the Filipino is worth dying for.”

On that fateful day of August 21, 1983, when Ninoy’s plane landed at the international airport in Manila, several soldiers in uniform boarded the plane to take Ninoy into custody. As Ninoy was stepping out of the plane, he was fatally shot at the back of his head and rolled down the staircase onto the tarmac. Someone in the plane took a video as soldiers dragged Ninoy’s dead body to a waiting vehicle. Shown on television, the gruesome scene shocked the world.

That moment changed Cory’s life forever. It was the moment for her to step up to the plate to continue Ninoy’s unfinished mission. It was the moment for her to go back home not only to bury her husband but to lead the Filipinos for their fight for freedom. It was the moment of her calling. And there was no turning back.

The political turmoil that followed the assassination of Ninoy became the turning point of the Marcos dictatorship. Under pressure from US President Ronald Reagan, Marcos called for a “snap election” in February 1986. Anti-Marcos leaders immediately formed the Cory Aquino for President Movement and, within a week, one million signatures were collected. Reluctantly, after meditating for 10 hours at a convent, Cory agreed to run. Little did she realize that she was about to change the history of the Philippines.

The Marcos-controlled Commission on Elections showed Marcos leading in the “snap election.” However, the unofficial tally showed Cory leading. Consequently, on February 15, 1986, the Batasang Pambansa (Legislature) proclaimed Marcos as the winner. Civil unrest ensued and spread throughout the country like wild fire. It was the beginning of the end of the Marcos dictatorship.

On February 22, 1986, Marcos’ key allies, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos staged a revolt which mushroomed into a popular uprising — “people power” — against the Marcos regime.

On February 25, 1986, Cory Aquino was sworn in as president by Supreme Court Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee at the Club Filipino in San Juan. On that same day, Marcos was also sworn in as president at the Malacanang Palace. However, by nightfall, Marcos fled to exile in Hawaii in a US military plane.

I saw Cory when she visited San Francisco in September 1986 on her way to address the US Congress. The Fil-Am community of the Bay Area held a reception for Cory at the cavernous Moscone Center in San Francisco. It was an emotional visit for Cory because it was in an apartment in suburban Daly City that Ninoy plotted his return to the Philippines. At the packed Moscone Center, thousands came to see Cory. She stirred up the audience when she said, “You can take the Filipino away from the Philippines but not the Philippines from the Filipino.” It was a call to all Filipinos to be proud of their motherland once again. And they heeded her call.

I saw Cory for the second time when I joined a group of about 12 Fil-Am community and political leaders who accompanied then Gov. George Deukmejian of California on an official visit to the Philippines in 1988. When we went to pay a courtesy call on Cory, I was surprised that she was not staying in the Malacanang Palace. She occupied a modest sized two-story building next to the palace as her office. She chose not to live in Malacanang and commuted daily to her private residence. I understand that she never set foot in Malacanang. It is then understandable why Cory’s children refused to have their mother lie in state in Malacanang. After all, it was the place where Marcos stayed for 21 years.

Last July 19, 2009, when Cory was near death, I was interviewed by Ging Reyes of ABS-CBN about my thoughts of Cory. After several minutes of talking about Cory’s legacy, Ging pointedly asked me, “And what do you think was the difference between Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo?” “Day and night,” I replied. Ging asked, “Why?” And I said, “Cory brought the brightest days in the lives of Filipinos while Gloria brought the darkest days in their lives.”

Cory will be remembered for generations to come. She changed the constitution in 1987 to make sure that martial law will not happen again. “People power” was embodied into the constitution and gave the armed forces the supreme duty to defend the people and the state. The 1987 constitution is sometimes referred to as “Cory’s constitution.” Yes, it was her baby maturing into adulthood. But some politicians want to change it for reasons that a large majority of Filipinos do not agree with.

It did not then come as surprise that Cory made a wish not to change the 1987 constitution. With Cory’s passing, the move for charter change might eventually die. And each time somebody would attempt to change it in the future, I am pretty sure that the people would defend “Cory’s constitution,” our constitution. And Cory lives in our constitution.

As Ninoy proved that the Filipino was worth dying for, Cory proved that the Filipino was worth living for. And she left a lasting legacy that freedom is worth fighting. In her memory, let’s live up to that legacy.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

 

by Perry Diaz
Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

Here’s a song for ex-guv Sarah Palin to the tune of Doris Day’s famous song:

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mommy, what will I be
Will I be governor, will I be president
Here’s what she said to me
Que Sarah, Sarah
Whoever will be, will be
But president you will not be
Que Sarah, Sarah
Who will it be, will be.

There is news report saying that Sarah may have her sights on a radio show. Now, the Republicans will have two pit bulls, one with lipstick, on the attack. Prez Obama shouldn’t worry about Russ Limbaugh, he’s toothless. But he should watch out for Sarah. He wouldn’t want Michelle to see him with tooth marks and lipstick on his neck.

And talking about Russ, David Letterman has this to say: “An interesting reaction… Rush Limbaugh says that the solar eclipse proves the unreliability of solar power.” There goes Obama’s solar energy program.

News item: “Critic files another Palin ethic complaint.” Poor Sarah, it’s the 19th ethics grievance against her. If there is any consolation at all, she just might establish a Guinness world record for the most complaints filed against a governor. 

Talk show host Conan O’Brien said, “Today, President Obama spoke to the Massachusetts police officer who arrested the black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. they had a conversation. Yeah. And Obama says the conversation went well, but there was an awkward moment when the cop arrested Obama.” Obama was finally convinced that he was racially profiled by the police.

After chasing Obama for two years, Gloria Arroyo finally met Obama at the Oval Office last July 30. My correspondent James Macaquecquec reported that the meeting went real well for two minutes until an aide came in and informed Obama that Prof. Gates and Sgt. Crowley were waiting at the South Lawn for their “beer summit.” Obama stood up and said, “Excuse me Madame President but you may have to come back another day, my drinking buddies are waiting for me. You see, I can’t afford to lose the black vote and the police vote.” And Gloria didn’t even have a photo op with Obama! Shuck.

While in Washington DC, Gloria planned to confer the Philippines’ highest award on Senators Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Richard Lugar for advancing the cause of democracy in the Philippines during the Marcos regime. She wanted to make sure that none of them would visit her one day and tell her to “cut and cut it clean.”

Some Gloria watchers noticed that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo was always within five feet of Gloria when they were at the White House. James Macaquecquec did some investigative reporting and he found out that CIA Director Leon Panetta had requested the FBI Director to go easy on Mike while he was in the US. The FBI’s top honcho grudgingly agreed. “As long as he stays within five feet of her, okay?” It was no wonder then that every time Gloria went to the bathroom, Mike followed her in.

On her way back to the Philippines, Gloria, as usual, made a stopover somewhere. This time it was Guam. Well, she was disappointed when she found out that Guam is a US territory and that its banks have a strong anti-money laundering system. Ooops! Wrong island.

 

Back home, Gloria has to deal with squabbling among members of PALAKA — short for Lakas-Kampi-CMD — which is threatening to split the party. To prevent defections, PALAKA said that it was open to “adopting” Manny Villar or Chiz Escudero if one of them would show strong chances of winning the presidential derby. Poor Gibo Teodoro. And he thought that the presidential nomination is already in the bag. Watch out for Noli too, Gibo.

Gibo wanted the presidency so bad that he’s being repackaged using former prez Fidel V. Ramos as model. In 1992, FVR lost his own party’s nomination, ran as an independent, and won the elections. Well, its not as simple as 1-2-3. FVR won cuz Imelda Marcos ran and took votes away from Danding Cojuangco. Gibo has to look for a spoiler who would take votes away from Villar. He might want to convince former prez Erap Estrada to run.

But Erap has something hot going on! He’s going back to acting. He finally figured out that movie acting is better than acting as president. He’s going to start shooting “Tanging Ama Mo” (Your Only Dad) with comedienne Ai-Ai De las Alas. Erap, who is now 72, said that the first scene is a bed scene. Would the movie show him taking his viagra? With all his beautiful wives before, Erap has to settle for a comic whose name rhymes with “Malas” (bad luck). I think he should stay out of politics for good.

News item: “SC justices raise poll automation doubts.” It says that Associate Justice Antonio Carpio raised the specter of the machines getting hacked because of Smartmatic’s use of loose memory cards instead of embedded data cards for the precinct data. What if the memory card is hacked into and is programmed [in such a way] that after a candidate receives 10 votes, the 10 votes are taken away and given to the other candidate?” Carpio said. Sounds to me like an automated “dagdag-bawas.” It is said that in Philippine elections there are no losers, only the winners and those who were cheated.

On a serious note… A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed by Ging Reyes of ABS-CBN about my thoughts on Cory Aquino. After several minutes of talking about Cory, Ging pointedly asked, “What do you think was the difference between Cory Aquino and Gloria Arroyo?” “Day and night,” I replied. Ging asked, “Why?” and I said, “Cory brought the brightest days in the lives of Filipinos while Gloria brought the darkest days in their lives.” Ging responded, “Ikaw talaga.”

Cory passed away last August 1st of cardio-respiratory arrest. Let’s remember her for inspiring our people during her presidency and for keeping the spirit of freedom alive during the darkest days of the Filipinos. She left a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come. In he memory, let’s live up to that legacy. May she rest in peace.