March 2010

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

Photo by Equalizer Post

Photo by Equalizer Post

With the recent announcement by former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson of his support for Sen. Manny Villar’s presidential bid, it signals the final movement of the allies of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from Lakas-Kampi-CMD (LKC) to Villar’s Nacionalista Party (NP). Although the exodus has been going on in earnest for sometime now, Chavit’s coming out for Villar is timed to coincide with the start of the local campaigns which began last March 26.

Why Chavit?

If there is one politician that can claim closeness to the First Family, particularly Gloria, it is Chavit. Chavit has been an ally and a friend of Gloria since she was a Senator. When Gloria became vice president, they remained very close, politically and socially. So it did not come as a surprise that Chavit turned against — or betrayed — his other friend, President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, whom he accused as the “lord of all jueteng lords” in October 2000. Chavit’s whistle blowing led to the impeachment of Erap by the House of Representatives which was then headed by Speaker Manny Villar.

But before the Senate could remove the impeached Erap, Erap was deposed in a “people power” revolution which many believed was actually a coup d’etat involving Gloria herself, backed by the military and members of the Supreme Court.

In addition to Chavit, several high-ranking and powerful families have endorsed Villar. Recently, Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri and the Garcia dynasty of Cebu openly supported Villar. Zubiri, to the dismay of his sons Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Rep. Jose Ma. Zubiri III — who are steadfast supporters of LKC’s standard bearer Gilbert Teodoro — brought with him 22 mayors to the Villar camp.

Money Villarroyo

The exodus of Gloria’s allies to the Villar camp lends credence to the belief that Villar and Gloria had forged an “unholy alliance.” People are convinced that Villar is Gloria’s “secret candidate.” As a consequence, Villar is called “Money Villarroyo,” a moniker that stuck to him to this day.

If you really look at the trail Gloria’s allies have taken, they’re all leading to the Villar camp. It did not come then as a surprise that Gloria did not attend the kickoff rally of LKC’s standard bearer Teodoro. To date, Gloria has yet to be seen campaigning for Teodoro.

With Gloria’s allies now rooting for Villar, the presidential derby is turning out to be a battle between Villar as the “de facto” administration candidate and Sen. Noynoy Aquino as the leading opposition challenger.

Zombie Voters

Although Noynoy’s lead over Villar in recent poll surveys had been increasing gradually — it is now 13% over Villar — there are some serious concerns that election cheating similar to the “Hello Garci” massive cheatings in 2004 in Mindanao would be repeated in the May 10 elections. In my article, ‘Zombie Voters’ Could Cause Failure of Elections (March 17, 2010), I wrote: “A recent news report stated that Comelec disclosed the discovery of 704,542 voters with double or multiple registration records. However, Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Kontra-Daya watchdog group said that ‘the voters’ list is padded by no less than five million.’ That’s 10% of the total registered voters. Could this be a harbinger to a massive cheating operation in the forthcoming elections on May 10?”

If there is going to be election cheating on May 10, Mindanao — like in 2004 and 2007 –would most likely be the place for a massive “dagdag-bawas” (add-subtract) cheating operation. In 2004, Gloria’s rival Fernando Poe Jr. got zero vote — which is statistically improbable — in many towns in Maguindanao. With the recent dismissal of rebellion charges against Gloria’s political allies, the Ampatuans, I wouldn’t be surprised if the suspected Comelec “cheating syndicate” would once again generate the necessary number of votes for Gloria’s “secret candidate” to win the presidential elections.

With the newly forged “unholy alliance” between Gloria and Villar, all that stands between them and colossal political power is the election of Villar to the presidency and Gloria to a congressional seat representing Pampanga’s second district. Gloria is expected to win handily and, consequently, would be chosen Speaker of the House Representatives in the next Congress. In the case of Villar, since he is lagging behind Noynoy, cheating in the election would be his ticket to power. With Gloria’s help, he just might succeed in pulling it off.

Axis of Power

With Villar as President and Gloria as Speaker of the House, an “axis of power” — never seen before in the history of the Philippines — would emerge. And soon after, with Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s dream of amending the constitution to change the form of government to a parliamentary system coming to fruition, the Arroyo-Villar “axis of power” would be formidable and their political machine would be impregnable. Indeed, like most parliamentary forms of government, Villar as head of State and Gloria as head of government could be in power for as long as their “unholy alliance” maintains its supremacy in the Parliament. With Villar’s and Gloria’s billions, their “axis of power” could dole out patronage and wealth to their allies in the Parliament. That’s cheaper to buy than the 50 million Filipino voters.

But that would not happen if Villar was defeated in the presidential elections. A few days ago, Noynoy said that “President Arroyo’s reported plan to become House speaker is possible only under a Villar administration because of the ‘unholy alliance’ between the government and the camp of Nacionalista Party’s Sen. Manuel Villar.” Noynoy said that under his administration, “there is no way Arroyo will become Speaker because the LP’s allies would not allow it.”

As the presidential campaign enters its final month, the people will soon exercise their sacred right and supreme power to elect their next president. However, this may also be the last time for them to vote directly for a president because if Villar and Gloria won in the elections, an Arroyo-Villar “axis of power” would — once and for all — supplant the sovereignty of the people.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Balitang Kutsero
by Perry Diaz

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

“If Noynoy has Kris, I have Pacman,” says Manny Villar, a.k.a. “Money Villarroyo.” Thus began the battle royale between two Titans in the entertainment industry. Yup, it’s going to be Pacman vs. Kris, folks. Pacman has 48-3-2 stats (confirmed) while Kris has 36-24-36 stats (unconfirmed). Kris is brainy and beautiful, Pacman is brawny and loves beautiful women. Kris is good at acting, Pacman is acting like he can act good. Kris sings and dances on stage, Pacman sings in a karaoke bar and dances in the ring. Well, folks, may the best woman win!

After his easy victory over Joshua Clottey, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao hinted that he might be retiring soon. Makes me wonder why? Is Pacman scared of Floyd Mayweather? Well, like the old saying goes, “Quit while you’re a head.” I’m not sure about that cuz I thought Pacman already lost his head over a young and sexy actress. I’d like to see a match between Pacman (1-0) and Tiger Woods (14-0) at what they do best. That would really be something to watch.

Pacquiao has been promoted to Senior Master Sergeant in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. A reservist, Pacquiao goes to military training once in a while. When he first showed up at the boot camp, Pacquiao gave a salute to the commander. The commander noticed the way Pacquiao saluted so he told him, “You salute with all your fingers straight. You’re saluting with only two fingers. That’s for boy scouts.” Pacquiao was flabbergasted, he said, “Sir, I tut I joined the boy scouts, hindi pala.”

***

With the presidential campaign heating up, the candidates are bringing in top entertainers in their campaign sorties. Money Villarroyo has Comedy King Dolphy campaigning for him. Bur rumor has it that Dolphy told Villarroyo that he can only spend one hour a day on the campaign trail. Villarroyo didn’t give up, he offered Dolphy more money to spend more time campaigning for him. Yup, what Manny wants, money gets.

What do Manny Villar and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have in common? Gloria is the daughter of the poor boy from Lubao while Manny is the son of a poor man from Tondo. Today, both Gloria and Manny are filthy rich. It really pays to be elected in office.

What do Manny Villar and Bro. Mike Velarde have in common? Manny made P6 billion from the C-5 road extension project while Bro. Mike made P1.2 billion. Some people call them business partners, others call them partners in crime. Either way, they made lots and lots of money. Now, Villar is running for president and Bro. Mike for Congress. On to better things; the opportunities never end in the land of milk and honey. Yup, lots of cows to milk and plenty “honeys” of the night.

***

Conversation between Gloria and her granddaughter:

Apo: Lola, I’m very sad.

Lola: Why, my apo?

Apo: Cuz, lolo told me that you’re not going to be president anymore.

Lola: Don’t worry, apo, cuz I’ll be Prime Minister soon.

Apo: What is Prime Monster, lola? Sounds scary! Nakakatakot!

Lola: No, apo, it’s not ‘monster,’ it’s ‘minister.’

Apo: You mean like a church minister?

Lola: Yup, but the church will be very big, it’s the entire country.

Apo: But a church minister doesn’t make lots of money like you did as a president.

Lola: Well, in my church, the minister makes tons of money.

Apo: How?

Lola: Think of the money the people donate to the church.

Apo: I’m confused, lola. I thought the people give money to the church, not to the minister.

Lola: Yes, apo. But you see, I am the church.

***

With all the land-grabbing charges made against Money Villarroyo, columnist Lito Banayo wrote: “

A retired colonel who was once one of FVR’s most trusted managers, and whose integrity has been unquestioned, sent me this funny text message: ‘We need a land grabber to get Sabah. Vote Villarroyo and get Sabah back.’

News Item: “Villar vows justice for Luisita victims.” That is a big piece of land that is ripe for pickin’ and grabbin’ by Money Villarroyo.

***

Mikey Arroyo gave way to his mom Gloria so she can run for his congressional seat in Pampanga’s second district. Mikey said that he did it because Gloria is one million times smarter than he is. Nobody disputed him on that. But when it was announced that he’s the nominee of the party-list Ang Galing Pinoy, a lot of people protested. It turned out that Ang Galing Pinoy is a party-list that seeks to represent the marginalized sector of security guards and tricycle drivers in the House of Representatives.

Critics are saying that Mikey and other alleged “bogus” party-list nominees are “bastardizing” the party-list system. With the numerous “bogus” party-list groups that sprang recently, the House of Representatives would end up as the “House of Inglorious Bastards.” Hey, one of them is called GLOW (Gloria Arroyo). I guess Gloria considers herself marginalized now, huh?

I agree that Mikey can’t represent the security guards — he’s never been a “sikyu,” as security guards are called, all his life. But my investigative reporter James Macaquecquec got a scoop that Mikey is going to prove that he was at one time a tricycle driver. Mikey has an old picture showing him driving a tricycle, a gift from his mom when he was four years old. I’m sure that, with little greasing, he can convince the Comelec commissioners that he is qualified to represent Ang Galing Pinoy.

If Ang Galing Pinoy wins in the May 10 elections, Mikey will join his mom Gloria, who is expected to win Mikey’s old seat, and three other Arroyos: his brother Dato Arroyo, his uncle Iggy Arroyo, and Iggy’s sister Lourdes of Ang Kasangga party-list. Evidently, the Arroyo dynasty will be around for sometime. Wah wah wee! Kawawa naman ang Pilipinas.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Amidst the uproar against appointing the next Chief Justice during the constitutional ban on “midnight appointments,” the Supreme Court by a 9-1 vote authorized President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to make her appointment. The seemingly illegal decision by nine members of the high tribunal to grant Arroyo her wish bespeaks of the violation of the supreme fiduciary entrusted upon the highest magistrates of the land to defend the constitution of the land.

Day of Ignominy

March 17, 2010 marks the transition of the Supreme Court from independent branch of government to an adjunct of the executive branch; from a bastion of enlightened minds to a dungeon of mindless misfits; and from selfless defenders of the constitution to selfish stooges who trample on the law of the land so their master will rule supreme.

What we’re seeing unfold in our country is tyranny that would make the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos look like a Boy Scout. What we’re about to experience within the next three months is the shredding of the covenant of the 1986 “people power” revolution embodied in the 1987 constitution. And what would most likely to happen after that is the imposition of a “new order” — a plutocratic oligarchy — that would transform the government into the exclusive domain of kleptocrats and greedy oligarchs.

“Hello Garci” Scandal

And what is very sad is that the people didn’t do well enough to stop Arroyo when they had a chance during the “Hello Garci” election cheating scandal that erupted in May 2005. However, they almost succeeded in removing her from office on July 8, 2005.

At 5:00 on that fateful Friday afternoon, with Arroyo getting ready to flee Malacañang to follow her husband and son into exile in San Francisco, California, former President Fidel V. Ramos came to her rescue. He made Arroyo an offer she couldn’t refuse: to step down in 10 months after a charter change is achieved that would replace the government with a parliamentary system. Arroyo agreed and her government was given a new breath of life.

But as soon as things settled down, Mike and Mikey Arroyo came back from exile and Arroyo maneuvered to consolidate her power. She knew too well that if Ramos can save her presidency, he can bring it down as well. It didn’t take her too long to strip Ramos of any influence in her government and her party. Ramos probably rue it to this day what he did for Arroyo.

However, Arroyo pursued Ramos’ plan to amend the constitution but with one goal in mind: she’ll be the Prime Minister. She launched a petition drive for a people’s initiative to amend the constitution to adopt a parliamentary form of government. She succeeded in gathering the required number of signatures. All that was needed was the Supreme Court’s approval of the petition.

In November 2006, the Supreme Court, in a 8-7 majority vote, dismissed Arroyo’s petition for a people’s initiative. It was a major defeat for Arroyo. She was back to square one. But her setback didn’t stop her from pursuing her goal; she just had to work harder to achieve it. And achieve it she did. With the subsequent retirement of six Supreme Court justices due to mandatory retirement age, Arroyo appointed new justices who are, without a shadow of doubt, unquestionably loyal to her.

Then Arroyo made the next step that would allow her to stay in the political power game: she filed her candidacy to run for a congressional seat representing a district in her home province which she is expected to win. She made it known that her intent was to work for a Charter change. And then her party leaders announced that they’re fielding her as their candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives next July. And if her plan would materialize, she would be in a good position to become Prime Minister under the new parliamentary system. Machiavellian, indeed!

And to buttress her position and provide her with firepower should she need it, Arroyo appointed Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Bangit was Arroyo’s former spy master and commander of her Praetorian guard. Would anyone question where his loyalty is?

The Supreme Court’s “midnight Chief Justice” ruling would put into place the final element necessary to implement — with a semblance of “legitimacy” — Arroyo’s plan to remain in power beyond her soon-to-end presidency.

Failure of Elections

Two days after the “midnight Chief Justice” ruling, Malacañang spokesperson Charito Planas told the media that there would be no failure of elections in the May 10 elections. However, she warned of the possibility of a military takeover should a failure of elections happened. When Planas was asked if Arroyo was prepared to remain in office while waiting for the new president to be proclaimed, she responded, “Let’s look at the Constitution… It’s not the President who will say, ‘I want to remain here.’ It’s the situation and the Constitution that will dictate what will happen.”

It seems to me that Arroyo’s spin meisters are conditioning the people’s minds of “things to come.” Planas’ reference to the “situation,” provides an inkling of what could happen should there be a failure of elections. Needless to say, the next Chief Justice — whom many believe would be Justice Ranato Corona, an Arroyo “loyalist” — would play a pivotal role in seeing to it that Arroyo’s “game plan” would be within the realm allowed by the constitution.

At about the same time that the “midnight Chief Justice” ruling was made, Comelec Chairman Jose Melo announced that the printing of manual ballots has been stopped and that the automated Elections System (AES) will proceed without any manual system backup. Out of 50 million ballots needed, 17 million have already been printed… and put to waste.

Recently, “Halalang Marangal,” a non-partisan group issued a press release which says, “We sat down to discuss the [Smartmatic] ad and realized that all the information contained there, analyzed carefully and taken together, actually meant that as of March 8, the AES probability of success had become unacceptably low. We even tried to be generous in our assessment, and gave the company some benefit of the doubt (where it was possible to do so!), but the numbers still led to a low probability of success.” The group concluded that “the May 10 automated election has 25% probability of success as of March 8.” That’s abysmally dangerous! And there is no manual system to fall back to.

What would happen then?

A few days ago, I received a cryptic email message from one of my readers in Manila which says, “FYI recent construction in progress of new gates on Mendiola and the perimeter of Malacañang is work in progress to protect Malacañang palace? What for if she is stepping down?” Makes one wonder if Arroyo is preparing for a long siege to defend Fortress Malacañang in the event the elections failed?

Wake up, kababayan!

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

Recently, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) revealed the discovery of 40,000 voters entered as double, multiple, or dead registrants in Region 11 in Southern Mindanao. In Philippine election jargon, double or multiple registrants are called “flying voters” while dead registrants are called “zombie voters.”

PPCRV’s legal counsel Howard Calleja told the media, “what we discovered in Davao City and Davao del Sur is only the tip of the iceberg.” He said that the 40,000 invalid registrants could “make or break a local election.” However, if such a number also existed in all provinces, the nationwide total of zombie and flying voters could reach three to four million, enough to change the results of the presidential elections.

A few days after the PPCRV exposé, the office of Calleja was broken in. He told the media that what the burglars stole was the list of double, multiple, and dead registrants which has taken the PPCRV volunteers lots of time to compile. “There appears to be a concerted effort from some group to ensure that the Comelec’s final but unpurged voters’ list that is filled with double, multiple and dead voters stays unpurged,” he said.

According to sources close to Calleja, Calleja had been “receiving death threats allegedly from a son-in-law of a high ranking City Hall official in Davao City.” Another source said that the bigger suspects in the break-in are members of the Comelec “cheating syndicate.”

A recent news report stated that Comelec disclosed the discovery of 704,542 voters with double or multiple registration records. However, Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Kontra-Daya watchdog group said that “the voters’ list is padded by no less than five million.” That’s 10% of the total registered voters. Could this be a harbinger to a massive cheating operation in the forthcoming elections on May 10?

“Garci generals”

This brings to mind the “Hello Garci” election cheating scandal during the 2004 elections when wiretapped conversations between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — who was then running for president — and Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano were recorded wherein Arroyo asked Garci about the status of one million votes he was supposed to deliver to her. Garci was then a high Comelec official in Mindanao who reputedly coordinated the manipulation of votes in the region with the help of other Comelec officials who became to be known as the “Garci boys.” After the 2004 elections, the “Garci boys” were promoted to higher positions in Comelec. Except for Garci, almost all of the “Garci boys” are still working in Comelec.

The “Hello Garci” tapes also revealed the alleged participation of several generals in the cheating operations in Mindanao. These generals — known as the “Garci generals” — included Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who was later promoted to Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Indeed, reward comes with “success.”

The recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new Chief of Staff of the AFP has rekindled fear that the military would once again be involved in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the elections. Bangit’s longstanding subservient association with Arroyo has given rise to the perception that his loyalty to Arroyo was the overriding criterion for his appointment, passing over several senior and more qualified generals.

Bangit served as Arroyo’s senior aide-de-camp when she was Vice President from 1998 until she took over the presidency in 2001. From 2003 to 2006, Bangit served as the commander of Arroyo’s Praetorian guard, the Presidential Security Group (PSG). He concurrently served as Arroyo’s “spy master,” the head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP where he adopted the code name of “Emperor.” Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff, Bangit commanded the Army, the military’s largest component.

Project Full Moon

Sister Mary John Mananzan — who is co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) — suspects that the “Emperor” may have been appointed to manipulate the May 10 elections. She mentioned a code name — “Project Full Moon” — for the alleged plot. She said that it involves the hacking of the Automated Election System (AES) which will be used for the first time on May 10. In a text message to the media, she said: “National Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez will manage the May election cheating through Bangit and Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza.” Prestoza is Arroyo’s current “spy master” — head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP.

With the May 10 elections less than two months away, there is widespread apprehension that things are not going to proceed smoothly. There are talks of “no election,” “no proclamation,” “failure of elections,” and, now, “Project Full Moon.”

Comelec’s decision to provide the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) with a “watchlist” of multiple registrant voters as a preventive measure against flying voters is being protested by members of Congress. They said that the estimated five million “zombie votes” could cause a “failure of elections.” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez told the media: “There is no such thing as ‘watchlist’ in an election and I don’t understand why the Comelec is insisting on this. Kalokohan yan (That’s nonsense).”

Line of succession

Rodriguez said, “it will be very difficult for Congress to make a decision once the issue on these multiple registrants is raised during the canvassing.” Indeed, an impasse could cause an indefinite delay in proclaiming the winners in the presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial races. And this would lead to a “no proclamation” scenario wherein the line of presidential succession is invoked. Since there would be no President, Vice President, and Senate President after June 30, the next in line would be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If Arroyo wins her congressional seat — which is expected — and subsequently chosen by her peers in the House to be their Speaker, then she would become acting President.

Needless to say, the military would play a pivotal role during a constitutional crisis. As the “protector of the people and the State,” the military could impose martial law in the event that things would go wrong. In this case, it doesn’t necessarily mean “to protect the people and the State,” but to provide Arroyo with firepower, if necessary, to get what she wants — political power!

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

Recently, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) revealed the discovery of 40,000 voters entered as double, multiple, or dead registrants in Region 11 in Southern Mindanao. In Philippine election jargon, double or multiple registrants are called “flying voters” while dead registrants are called “zombie voters.”

PPCRV’s legal counsel Howard Calleja told the media, “what we discovered in Davao City and Davao del Sur is only the tip of the iceberg.” He said that the 40,000 invalid registrants could “make or break a local election.” However, if such a number also existed in all provinces, the nationwide total of zombie and flying voters could reach three to four million, enough to change the results of the presidential elections.

A few days after the PPCRV exposé, the office of Calleja was broken in. He told the media that what the burglars stole was the list of double, multiple, and dead registrants which has taken the PPCRV volunteers lots of time to compile. “There appears to be a concerted effort from some group to ensure that the Comelec’s final but unpurged voters’ list that is filled with double, multiple and dead voters stays unpurged,” he said.

According to sources close to Calleja, Calleja had been “receiving death threats allegedly from a son-in-law of a high ranking City Hall official in Davao City.” Another source said that the bigger suspects in the break-in are members of the Comelec “cheating syndicate.”

A recent news report stated that Comelec disclosed the discovery of 704,542 voters with double or multiple registration records. However, Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Kontra-Daya watchdog group said that “the voters’ list is padded by no less than five million.” That’s 10% of the total registered voters. Could this be a harbinger to a massive cheating operation in the forthcoming elections on May 10?

“Garci generals”

This brings to mind the “Hello Garci” election cheating scandal during the 2004 elections when wiretapped conversations between President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — who was then running for president — and Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano were recorded wherein Arroyo asked Garci about the status of one million votes he was supposed to deliver to her. Garci was then a high Comelec official in Mindanao who reputedly coordinated the manipulation of votes in the region with the help of other Comelec officials who became to be known as the “Garci boys.” After the 2004 elections, the “Garci boys” were promoted to higher positions in Comelec. Except for Garci, almost all of the “Garci boys” are still working in Comelec.

The “Hello Garci” tapes also revealed the alleged participation of several generals in the cheating operations in Mindanao. These generals — known as the “Garci generals” — included Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who was later promoted to Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Indeed, reward comes with “success.”

The recent appointment of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new Chief of Staff of the AFP has rekindled fear that the military would once again be involved in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the elections. Bangit’s longstanding subservient association with Arroyo has given rise to the perception that his loyalty to Arroyo was the overriding criterion for his appointment, passing over several senior and more qualified generals.

Bangit served as Arroyo’s senior aide-de-camp when she was Vice President from 1998 until she took over the presidency in 2001. From 2003 to 2006, Bangit served as the commander of Arroyo’s Praetorian guard, the Presidential Security Group (PSG). He concurrently served as Arroyo’s “spy master,” the head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP where he adopted the code name of “Emperor.” Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff, Bangit commanded the Army, the military’s largest component.

Project Full Moon

Sister Mary John Mananzan — who is co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) — suspects that the “Emperor” may have been appointed to manipulate the May 10 elections. She mentioned a code name — “Project Full Moon” — for the alleged plot. She said that it involves the hacking of the Automated Election System (AES) which will be used for the first time on May 10. In a text message to the media, she said: “National Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez will manage the May election cheating through Bangit and Brigadier General Romeo Prestoza.” Prestoza is Arroyo’s current “spy master” — head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP.

With the May 10 elections less than two months away, there is widespread apprehension that things are not going to proceed smoothly. There are talks of “no election,” “no proclamation,” “failure of elections,” and, now, “Project Full Moon.”

Comelec’s decision to provide the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) with a “watchlist” of multiple registrant voters as a preventive measure against flying voters is being protested by members of Congress. They said that the estimated five million “zombie votes” could cause a “failure of elections.” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez told the media: “There is no such thing as ‘watchlist’ in an election and I don’t understand why the Comelec is insisting on this. Kalokohan yan (That’s nonsense).”

Line of succession

Rodriguez said, “it will be very difficult for Congress to make a decision once the issue on these multiple registrants is raised during the canvassing.” Indeed, an impasse could cause an indefinite delay in proclaiming the winners in the presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial races. And this would lead to a “no proclamation” scenario wherein the line of presidential succession is invoked. Since there would be no President, Vice President, and Senate President after June 30, the next in line would be the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If Arroyo wins her congressional seat — which is expected — and subsequently chosen by her peers in the House to be their Speaker, then she would become acting President.

Needless to say, the military would play a pivotal role during a constitutional crisis. As the “protector of the people and the State,” the military could impose martial law in the event that things would go wrong. In this case, it doesn’t necessarily mean “to protect the people and the State,” but to provide Arroyo with firepower, if necessary, to get what she wants — political power!

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Balitang Kutsero
by Perry Diaz

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

After being sworn in as the new Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit declared: “I will allow only God to use me.” President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was seated next to him, was smiling when he said that, after all Gloria is treated like a “Czarina” by her underlings. Yup, she’s the Czarina of the “Enchanted Kingdom.”

Bangit used to be Gloria’s spy master when he was head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP. He used the code name “Emperor” in his cloak-and-dagger work. In 2006, he hosted a lavish Christmas party where he threw bills as the merrymakers chanted, “Long live the emperor!” Makes one wonder how much a spy master earns spying on people.

The Czarina gave her first order to the Emperor: “Suppress insurgency before my term ends on June 30.” “That’s impossible, ma’am,” the Emperor protested. “How can I suppress in three months an insurgency that has been going on for more than 50 years? That’s a very tight deadline you’re giving me, ma’am. You only have three months left in your presidency!” The Czarina responded, “Gago! I’m going to be Prime Minister after that. Do you have any problems with that?” The Emperor quivered. “No, ma’am. Your wish is my command, ma’am,” the Emperor replied and then bowed his head down.

The Emperor told the media later, “The reason why I have so much respect for President Arroyo is because after all these years, never have I received illegal orders from her.” Not yet. Just wait, it will come at the opportune time.

Meanwhile, Sister Mary John Mananzan — who is co-chair of the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines — suspects that the “Emperor” may have been appointed to rig the May 10 elections. She mentioned a code name for the alleged plot — “Project Full Moon.” She said it involves the hacking of the Automated Election System (AES) which will be used for the first time on May 10.

The plot thickens… It was also reported in the news that Sister Mary John said that she received an anonymous text message saying the Emperor may have been appointed to aid an administration cheating scheme. She passed the message to Henrietta De Villa of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), a Catholic Church-backed election monitor. Father Jose Dizon of the Kontra Daya (anti-fraud) multi-sector poll watchdog also expressed concerns about the Emperor’s appointment. He said, “It exacerbates fears that the AFP will again be used to cheat,” as he alleged Gloria did in the 2004 elections. Well, it looks like the “Garci boys” are still around to do their dirty work.

In the news… “President Arroyo encouraged foreign observers to come to the country and monitor the May 10 elections as she vowed that her greatest legacy would be ensuring honest and orderly polls.” Hmmm… And I thought that her greatest legacy was the “Hello Garci” election cheating in 2004? It changed the way elections are fought in the future; that is, survival of the “cheatest.”

Then she said, “For myself, I will be staying out of the election process. I will trust the Commission on Elections to ensure the new voting machines work, the votes are protected and counted and the results are delivered in rapid manner to the satisfaction of voters.” Yup, just like in 2004 she stayed out of the election process and just let the “Garci boys” and her generals do the work for her.

***

A few days ago, I received this unaccredited story: The Philippine Postal System has created a new stamp displaying a picture of Gloria Arroyo. However, Gloria was told that the stamp was not sticking to envelopes. Enraged, Gloria demanded a full investigation by a special commission After a month of testing and spending P8 million, the special commission presented the following findings: (1) The stamp is in perfect order, (2) There is nothing wrong with the adhesive, and (3) People are spitting on the wrong side of the stamp.

***

Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, head of a sect called “Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name Above Every Name,” was fuming mad when presidential candidates Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar didn’t show up at the “lawyers and businessmen’s forum” he organized in Davao City. Pastor Q, as he’s called by his six million followers, called Noynoy and Villar as men with “no word of honor.” Noynoy apologized and explained that he had a cold. Villar also apologized and explained that he had a “hundred reasons” why he skipped the forum. One of these reasons could be that Villar got cold feet about facing the lawyers and businessmen who might be asking too many questions about his involvement in the C-5, Savannah, Norzagaray, and San Pedro scandals. Yup, that would be more than enough to deep-six “Money Villarroyo,” as Villar is called by some people who believe that he is Gloria’s “secret candidate.”

With Noynoy and Villar out of Pastor Q’s good graces, Erap Estrada, Gibo Teodoro, and Bro. Eddie Villanueva are still hoping to get Pastor Q’s endorsement and three million “command votes.” Pastor Q — who bandies himself as the “Appointed Son of God” — said that God revealed to him in 2004 that Gloria was anointed to lead the country. Now, you can see why the wannabes are kissing Pastor Q’s behind.

Meanwhile, it was reported in the news that the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) showed that Pastor Q’s name was among some 40,000 voters entered as “double, multiple, or dead registrants” in Davao City and Davao del Sur alone. Interestingly, PPCRV showed that “two voters were registered as Apollo Carreon Quiboloy with the same birthday on April 25, 1950.” One resides in Barangay Buhangin Poblacion and the other supposedly resides in Barangay Tamayong. It’s not clear though if Pastor Q was the same person registered twice.

A lawyer pointed out “that the estimated 40,000 bogus entries on the Davao voters’ list could ‘make or break a local election.’ Assuming that such a number also existed in other provinces, he said the total could reach more than three million votes nationwide, which would be enough to manipulate the results of even the presidential race.” Now, I can see the big picture. It could be 2004 all over again. The question is: which presidential candidate would benefit from this potential “massive election cheating operation?” Is this part of “Project Full Moon”? If so, who is behind all this? Abangan!

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

Dumagat couple

A few weeks ago, a group of mostly Dumagat farmers made allegations that presidential candidate Manny Villar and his wife Cynthia grabbed 480 hectares of their land in Norzagaray, Bulacan. According to the farmers, Villar and his wife Cynthia — through their companies, Capitol Development Bank and Manila Brickworks, Inc. — obtained a loan from the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) and secured it with the farmers’ land. When the Villars failed to repay the loan, BSP foreclosed the property. In September 2008, the farmers filed a plunder case against the Villars with the Office of the Ombudsman. They also filed criminal charges against them for swindling which is still pending in court.

Capitol Development Bank (now Optimum Development Bank) and Manila Brickworks, Inc. have interlocking directories. Mrs. Villar was the president of Capitol Development Bank at the time the Norzagaray property was mortgaged to BSP.

The Dumagats

Dumagat children

The indigenous Dumagats — taken from the words “gubat” (forest) and “hubad” (naked) — were a nomadic people who, in earlier days, moved from forest to forest using “kaingin” (slash-and-burn agriculture) to survive. However, they always went back to Sitio Karahume at the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountains. It was their home.

The Dumagats have been cultivating their Norzagaray land since the 1960s. However, their ancestors have occupied the land since time immemorial. In 1960, they applied for free patents to their ancestral land. In 1964, the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources awarded them an “Original Certificate of Title” (OCT No. P-858/ Free Patent No. 257917). It was issued on April 27, 1964 by the Register of Deeds of Bulacan. With a title to their land, the Dumagats felt secure. Little did they realize that it was the beginning of a long struggle with land-grabbers.

Enter the Puyats

According to the Bulacan Special Task Force on Ancestral Domain (BSTFAD), “everything changed when the late businessman Vicente Puyat of Manila Brickworks Inc. came to set up business in the area. In no time red brick structures of the Puyat ranch replaced the thick forest cover. The ranch was set up to raise cattle.”

Marcelino San Jose, a former Dumagat chieftain said, “Puyat bulldozed the mango trees that grew beside every hut.” Then the Puyats brought in armed men to guard the ranch. The Dumagats were forcibly driven away from their land. Fearing the armed guards with Armalites, about half of the Dumagats in Sitio Karahume left their homes and moved to the hills. Those who chose to stay had to pay an exorbitant “rent” to the Puyats.

The Puyats’ cattle ranch didn’t prosper too well. They converted their business into pineapple farming and poultry-raising. But that failed too. Makes one wonder if it was bad karma that caused their misery.

Exit the Puyats, enter the Villars

Manny Villar

Then in 1995, according to BSTFAD, “Manila Brickworks was forced to sign an agreement with Camella & Palmera Homes to pursue a housing and development project.”

In April 1998, the Villars’ Capitol Development Bank (CDB) obtained two loans totaling P1.5 billion, payable after 180 days, from the Bank Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The loan was secured by nine “Transfer Certificates of Titles” (TCT’s) which covered the parcels of land held by Manila Brickworks.

During that time, the Villars closed CDB and transferred all its assets and liabilities to another bank they owned, the Optimum Development Bank (ODB).

In 2001, ODB signed a “deed of real estate mortgage” for the Norzagaray property in favor of BSP. Two years later, BSP foreclosed the Norzagaray property when ODB defaulted on the P1.5-billion loan originally taken by CDB which was used by the Villar to build homes on the Norzagaray property.

What happened?

Evidently, there were two Original Certificate of Titles (OCT’s) for the same property. On the one hand, the Dumagat farmers held OCT No. P-858 which was awarded to them on April 27, 1964 by the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. However, in March 1987, a fire gutted the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan destroying all copies of land titles in their vault. When the Dumagat farmers filed for a reconstitution of their “Original Certificate of Title” in 2004, they were told that the property was already foreclosed by BSP and that the bank had taken possession of the titles of the land.

On the other hand, Manila Brickworks claimed that its “Transfer Certificate of Title,” TCT T-1182 (M), emanated from OCT No. 287 dated July 25, 1944. It was alleged that OCT No. 287 was issued under a sales patent authorized under Sec. 122 of Act 496 of the Land Registration Act of the US Government. But the Philippines then was under Japanese wartime occupation. So how could an OCT be issued when the Philippine commonwealth government was not in existence at that time? It is the opinion of many that if an OCT was indeed issued during the Japanese occupation, it would be deemed fake; therefore, null and void. And all TCT’s that emanated from a fake OCT would also be deemed fake.

Another important factor is that the Norzagaray property was a “forest land” before it was awarded to the Dumagat farmers. As a rule, a “forest land” is deemed public domain and therefore it is NOT an “alienable and disposable” property. In layman’s term, it means that a “forest land” cannot be transferred or sold to a new owner. How could OCT No. 287 then be issued legitimately to a “new owner” — whoever that may have been — and consequently “transferred” to Manila Brickworks, Inc.? The only exception to the rule that a “‘forest land’ is not an ‘alienable and disposable’ property” would be when the government recognizes the “ancestral domain” claims made by indigenous tribes as was the case of the Dumagats in 1964.

Land-grabbing

In essence, the Puyats and Manila Brickworks, Inc. couldn’t possibly have taken title to the Norzagaray “forest land” because Philippine law would not allow it. Therefore, the OCT No. 287 that was issued in July 1944 was probably a fake title and the nine TCT’s that emanated from it and used by the Villars’ companies to secure their P1.5-billion loan from BSP would be deemed fake titles as well. In the opinion of many people who have looked into this matter, this was a classic case of land-grabbing.

The question is: How much did the Villars pay the Puyats for the purchase of Manila Brickworks? Since they defaulted on their P1.5-billion loan from BSP, they could have gained a lot of money if they only paid the Puyats a fraction of the loan they got from BSP. To a shrewd and astute businessman like Manny Villar, it’s called “leveraging.” To others, it’s called “profiteering.” But to the deprived Dumagat farmers, it’s called “land-grabbing.”

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Balitang Kutsero
by Perry Diaz

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

First, there were allegations that Manny Villar — a.k.a. “Money Villarroyo” — tried to bribe Joseph “Erap” Estrada to withdraw from the presidential race. Then Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile exposed an attempt by Villar last year to bribe him to go easy on him on the C-5 road extension investigation. And then Dick Gordon exposed Villar for offering a bribe and a cabinet position in Villar’s administration if he withdrew his signature from the Senate committee report recommending censure for Villar in connection with the C-5 road extension controversy.

Recently, Nicanor “Nicky” Perlas revealed that two leading rivals have tried to buy him out of the race by offering a spot in their senatorial line-up, including an all-expense paid campaign. I don’t think Noynoy Aquino would want to buy him out. Not with his frontrunner status. Besides, Noynoy — unlike Money Villarroyo — doesn’t have the kind of moolah to bribe anybody.

With news reports about Money Villarroyo bribing (lagay) his rivals to withdraw from the presidential derby, it reminds me of King Louis XI of France who had a proclivity for buying out his enemies instead of fighting them. Money Villarroyo’s similarly strange behavior seems to manifest a new kind of disorder: “Villalagay Syndrome,” which is, “if you can’t beat them, buy them; if you can’t buy them, cheat them.” 

A few days ago, Comelec chairman Jose Melo told politicians to forget about cheating in the coming elections because the Automated Election System (AES) is tamper-proof. He suggested, “It’s better for them (candidates) to just buy the election by paying their rivals to withdraw.” Asked if he would give the same advice to Villarroyo, Melo said, “Even if he has the money, he can’t buy everything.” Oh, yeah? What Manny wants, money gets.

My investigative reporter James Macaquecquec got a inside scoop from “Deep Truth,” his informant in the Villarroyo camp. According to “Deep Truth,” Villarroyo is putting together a plan to buy out all his rivals in the race. But Gloria found out about his plan and demanded that he pays her a “tongpat” (commission) of 25% of the lagay to ensure that the AES machines will not be tampered by the notorious “Garci Boys.” “But Melo said the AES machines are tamper-proof,” Villarroyo protested. “Ha ha ha,” Gloria laughed. “Listen, did you read what that whistle-blower Joey de Venecia say about the AES machines?” “Yeah,” Villarroyo responded, “Joey said that ‘one need not be a rocket scientist to maneuver the outcome—and some 30 people can do the job.’ Is it really that easy?” “Yup, it’s that simple,” Gloria quipped. “Okay, I’ll pay you your tongpat then,” Villarroyo said.

***

A few days ago, the Comelec agreed with Noynoy to disqualify presidential candidate Vetellano Acosta. Rumors were going around that Acosta bribed the Comelec commissioners P5 million each to be certified as a presidential candidate. Now that he’s disqualified, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants his lagay back. Sorry, pal, but in this business, lagay is not refundable.

Noynoy must be ecstatic right now. First he was chosen among the top five “most trusted” Filipinos in a recent Reader’s Digest Poll while Villarroyo placed 60th in a field of 80 known personalities. Secondly, Pulse Asia’s new survey showed his lead widening over Villarroyo by 7%.

But the most improved is Nicky Perlas whose rating increased by a whopping 400% from .05% to .2%. Nicky should be able to catch up in 10 years. He should drop out of the race though; otherwise, he’d become known as “dakilang panggulo” (magnificent spoiler).

Dick Gordon’s rating remains at 1% while his nephew John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes dropped from 0.3% to zero! I think it’s about time for Flashy Dick and JC to drop out of the race; otherwise, they’d become known as the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza of politics.

Erap Estrada’s rating increased by 6%. He’s confident that he’ll win. He said that the “Erap magic” is still alive. Well, Noynoy claims that the “Cory magic” can work miracles for him. But the people should be wary about Villarroyo because his “money-making magic” has been working wonders for him… like the C-5 double insertion magic, the Savannah land conversion magic, and the Norzagaray land grabbing magic.

Meanwhile, Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro is making a lot of promises. He promised to work to sustain an economic growth of 8%. I think he’s beginning to think like Gloria where she would add 5% to everything, including her “tongpats.” Gibo also vowed not to appoint any of his campaign contributors to his government. Huh? Do you think that they would want to be appointed to his government? Hindi sila lokoloko (They’re not crazy). But what they want is to get a part of the action. Hey, they’re all businessmen, so they’d want a return of their investments! Right?

Villarroyo boasted that because he’s spending his own money in his campaign, he doesn’t have to repay anybody when he’s elected President. Sino ang niloloko niya? (Who is he fooling?) Of course he will repay himself, he’s a businessman!

***

Noynoy invaded “Marcos country” the other day. He told Imelda’s province mates that Gloria is the issue today, not Marcos anymore. But didn’t Noynoy promise last year that if he’s elected President his first act would be to recover the Marcos loot and return it to the people? Well, that was last year. Recently, Noynoy found out that Gloria had already recovered the Marcos loot… and she hid it. That is why Noynoy is going after Gloria’s loot.

Talking about the Imeldific… Imelda is running for Congress but not to represent her home province Leyte. She is running for her late husband’s Ilocos Norte district. She’d better watch out! She may consider herself an “Ilocana by injection” but unless she can drink basi and eat kilawen, kaldereta, jumping shrimps, and fried beetles, she won’t be accepted as an Ilocana.

Meanwhile, Villarroyo promised the Ilocanos that if they vote for him, he will transfer Marcos’ remains to the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Metro Manila. He was shocked when he found out that the Ilocanos didn’t want Marcos’ body removed from his mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte. The Marcos mausoleum — air-conditioned with piped-in music 24/7 — is Batac’s number one tourist attraction. Villarroyo should learn how the Ilocano psyche works before opening his mouth.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

Last February 24, 2010, on the 24th anniversary of the People Power Revolution of 1986, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivered her final message to commemorate EDSA 1. She repeated the same cliché that she had been telling the people in the past several years: “The world embraced EDSA 1 in 1986. The world tolerated EDSA 2 in 2001. The world will not forgive an EDSA 3 but would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable.”

She said that the “glorious revolution” of EDSA 1 had deteriorated into partisanship over the years. “The Philippines has come a long way since 1986. We regained our freedom and our national pride, but somewhere along the way we became complacent. People Power gained a partisan meaning that started to divide the nation once more,” she said in her speech.

The glory of EDSA 1

Those who have been at Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) on that fateful day 24 years ago would agree that it was indeed a “glorious revolution.” They would agree that they have regained our freedom and our national pride. And they would also agree that the world embraced EDSA 1. Indeed, not only did the world embrace EDSA 1, it emulated EDSA 1. EDSA 1 inspired the people of Eastern Europe to break loose from the yoke of communism. And like dominoes, the Soviet client states freed themselves one by one and established democratic governments. That was the glory of EDSA 1.

EDSA 1 restored the democratic institution that we lost when the dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposed one-man rule under martial law in 1972. Cory Aquino, the widow of the martyr Ninoy Aquino, took over the presidency. The following year a new constitution was fashioned with a provision that would prevent any form of dictatorship from emerging again.

The new republic under the 1987 constitution survived several coup attempts during Cory’s presidency and stabilized during President Fidel V. Ramos’ term. But Ramos’ successor, President Joseph “Erap” Estrada didn’t do too well. Once again, corruption started to show its ugly head in the government.

The EDSA 2 of Gloria

After 18 months in office, Erap was ousted under “mysterious” circumstances. On January 19, 2001, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Angelo Reyes withdrew his support for Erap and joined Gloria’s supporters. Gloria’s group then linked up with people who were rallying against Erap at the EDSA Shrine. However, they were unaware that something was cooking up. And — bingo! — you have “EDSA 2 People Power.”

The following morning, Gloria faxed a memo to Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. informing him that Erap “is permanently incapable of performing the duties of his office resulting in his permanent disability to govern and serve his unexpired term.” An hour later, at high noon, Gloria took her oath as President before Davide. That was the EDSA 2 of Gloria.

Was EDSA 2 a “people power” in the true meaning of EDSA 1? Or was it a coup d’etat? If EDSA 1 was the “Glorious Revolution,” EDSA 2 may very well be called “Gloria’s Revolution,” or, more aptly, “Gloria’s Counterrevolution.” Isn’t that what really happened in EDSA 2?

What we gained in EDSA 1 was reversed in EDSA 2. Within four days after Gloria took over the presidency, the first act of corruption was allegedly made by no other than her old friend, the newly appointed Secretary of Justice. It was downhill since then. Corruption scandal after corruption scandal followed. As poll surveys showed a few years later, Gloria presided over the “most corrupt government in Asia” and she was deemed as the “most corrupt President in the history of the Philippines.” Once again, the country was divided. People rallied against her and called for her resignation. Impeachment petitions were filed against her in Congress. However, her allies in Congress thrashed all the petitions.

EDSA 3

Gloria’s oft-repeated cliché, “The world will not forgive an EDSA 3 but would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable,” has been her defense against any attempt to remove her from office. The truth is: the world couldn’t care less if there was EDSA 3. The world has already condemned the Philippines long time ago as the “Sick Man of Asia.” And, lately, derisively as the “Armpit of Asia.” And the United Nations chastised Gloria’s government for not doing anything to stop the extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances of dissenters, activists, and media people.

The Philippines doesn’t need forgiveness, it needs redemption. It needs EDSA 3 to put the country back on the road to peace and progress, a detour from the road to perdition that Gloria’s EDSA 2 has taken us. I am talking about a new “people power” revolution — using ballots, not bullets — at the polls on May 10, 2010.

The elections on May 10 would give the people a grand opportunity to change the government and unravel the Gordian knot of corruption and poverty. What the country needs is an “Alexander” who will not be deterred by the overwhelming power of those who will defend the status quo in a land ruled too long by plutocrats and kleptocrats. What the people need is a leader who is guided by the spirit of EDSA 1 and lead a peaceful “people power” revolution to free them from the yoke of poverty. That leader would emerge if the people would flex their collective strength at the polls on May 10 to elect the candidate who will fulfill the promises of EDSA 1 and not a candidate who will make promises to fulfill his personal ambitions.

That would be the glory of EDSA 3.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)