April 2010

Balitang Kutsero
by Perry Diaz

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

During President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s last junket to the United States, she decided to have another dining experience with just a few friends at the posh Le Cirque Restaurant in New York. She ordered orange-glazed duck with Port wine sauce and a bottle of vintage Chateau Lafite Rothschild. When her order arrived she was shocked, “What’s this?” she asked the waiter who then called the chef. The chef came and said, “Kumusta ma’am? I’m Pedro Pipit, the best Pinoy chep here at Le Circo. Do you have a question, ma’am?” “I ordered an orange-glazed duck and look what I got?” Gloria said. Pedro replied, “Well, ma’am, I prepared it especially for you. It’s a pekeng duck.” “Pekeng duck? A fake duck?” Gloria said. “No, ma’am, it’s not pek, it’s real, it’s named after China’s capital, Pekeng,” Pedro replied. “Oh, you mean, Peking,” Gloria laughed. Then she became serious and asked, “But how come it has only one leg?” “You see, ma’am,” Pedro said, “since you’re now a lame duck president, I thought it would be nice to serve you a lame pekeng duck.” “Gago! Let’s get out of here, girls!”

                                                                          ***
Presidential wannabe Manny Villar — a.k.a. “Money Villarroyo” — has been getting a lot of endorsements lately. Columnist Billy Esposo refers to them as “killer” endorsements. Villar didn’t particularly like what Billy called them. But when Villar was endorsed by the Maguindanao massacre suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr., he hit the roof — he knew it was a “kiss of death” endorsement! Then a day later, Junior Andal changed his endorsement to Noynoy Aquino. The word was that Villar paid Junior Andal a hefty sum of money to switch his endorsement to Noynoy! Yup, what Manny wants, money gets.

Well, it turned out that Villar’s alter ego, Gilbert Remulla visited the detained Andal Ampatuan Sr. in Davao last month. When the visit was leaked out to the media, Remulla claimed that it was just a “social visit.” The plot thickens when it was revealed that Remulla is married to the sister of Sigfrid Fortun, who is the lawyer of the Ampatuans. Connect the dots and there’s only three degrees that separate Manny Villar from the suspected masterminds of the Maguindanao massacre!

Junior Andal got an idea on how to make a big bundle of money by selling his “kiss of death” endorsements. Yup, for a certain amount, depending on the position the candidate is running for, Junior Andal will endorse the candidate’s opponent for a price. As starters, Junior Andal offered to Dick Gordon’s opponents, at a discounted price, his “kiss of death” endorsement to Flashy Dick. There were no takers.

                                                                         ***
Presidential wannabe Dick Gordon sued survey-takers SWS and Pulse Asia for damages. He claimed that the methods they were using were “flawed and inaccurate.” He demanded that they stop the surveys. I don’t blame him for his actions because both pollsters show Flashy Dick’s poll ratings anywhere from one to three percent. Well, there was one brave pollster who had the guts to tell the hot-tempered Flashy Dick: Don’t blame surveys, fix your campaign. With two weeks left to campaign, it would be futile for Flashy Dick to fix his campaign. Perhaps, he should fix his head and quit while he’s still a head.

                                                                         ***
Gloria’s candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro seems like he’s in a trance. Everything looks deceiving. People around him used to wear green, his campaign color. Now, some are wearing orange (Villar’s color) and some are wearing yellow (Noynoy’s color). But when he started seeing some people in black, he got scared and asked them why? “Sir, when we saw Gloria wearing orange, we were happy because Gloria’s ‘kiss of death’ will kill Villar’s campaign.” “That’s great,” Gibo said, “but why are you wearing black?” His supporters said, “Sir, it’s because all your Cojuangco cousins are now wearing yellow so we thought your campaign is dead.”

Gloria cracked the whip on members of Lakas-Kampi-CMD, urging them to deliver victory to Gibo and end the “defections.” She asked the defectors, “Why did you defect?” “Ma’am, we defected when your husband Mike Arroyo ordered us to defect,” said one of the defectors. When Gloria asked Mike if it was true, he said, “Hell, no! They were belly aching about a lot of things in your party, so I told them to defecate so they’ll feel better.”

                                                                        ***
Recently, Gloria appointed her manicurist to a cabinet position as a trustee of the Home Development Fund (Pag-IBIG), a government body that loans millions of dollars for housing. She also appointed her gardener as deputy director of Luneta Park Administration. The former manicurist will earn P130,000 a month (that’s twice the salary of the President) while her former gardener earns a little less. This reminds me of the Roman Emperor Caligula who appointed his horse as Consul of Rome. I’m beginning to suspect that Gloria is the reincarnation of Caligula.

                                                                         ***
Nick Perla, who’s just a tad below Flashy Dick in the poll surveys, filed a petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to postpone the holding of the May 10 elections until such time Comelec can assure clean elections. Nick must really be naïve. If he wants clean elections, he should file a constitutional amendment to dissolve Comelec. And he should remember that to get votes he has to buy them.

                                                                         ***
Time to cry… It seems to me that it is becoming fashionable for certain people to cry in public. First, it was Flashy Dick Gordon who broke into tears at a gathering with his supporters. He said that he “could no longer bear seeing the suffering of the people.”

The second was Justice Renato Corona who, during his interview with the Judicial Bar Council, paused and wiped his eyes in the middle of his speech: “I always believed Mr. Chief Justice that there are two greatest gifts God can give a man in his lifetime: A faithful and dedicated wife, number two, a happy family. I have both. I don’t really need anymore, not even to become Chief Justice.”

The third was Acting Secretary of Justice Alberto Agra who cried during a press conference. When he was asked why he cried, he said he cried because he remembered his family and his father who had already passed away.

If Gordon wins the presidency, he’ll be known as the “Crying President.” If Corona is appointed Chief Justice, he’ll be known as the “Crying Chief Justice.” As for Agra, he’ll always be known as the “Cry Baby.”

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

In an announcement that shocked the judiciary and enraged the people, Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra issued an order to the government prosecutors to exonerate former ARMM Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and Akmad Ampatuan Sr. of any complicity in the “Maguindanao massacre” last year where at least 57 unarmed civilians were murdered. The two were among several members of the powerful Ampatuan clan who were detained by the government on charges of masterminding or participating in the mass murder.

But the prosecutors defied Agra’s order to clear and release the two suspects saying, “it dishonors the institution’s mandate to dispense justice.” In response, Agra arrogantly threatened to remove them from the case and appoint another prosecutor who would follow his order.

In an apparent approval of Agra’s controversial decision, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was quiet about it. Agra said, “In this case silence means approval unless there’s an explicit directive to resign or report. I like to think I did nothing wrong for her to berate, rebuff or replace me.” Self-glorifying, self-absolving. There is a term for that: arrogance of power.

Agra reasoned that Zaldy had an alibi that placed him somewhere else. Actually, on the day of the massacre, Zaldy was in Malacañang — the Ampatuans are political allies of President Gloria Arroyo — conferring with Arroyo’s political staff. However, Harry Roque, lawyer for most of the journalists killed in the massacre, said, “Alibi is the weakest form of defense.”

Zaldy could have participated in planning the mass murder days or weeks before it happened. And the prosecution had presented witnesses and signed affidavits naming Zaldy as one of the masterminds. It is not uncommon in political assassinations for the mastermind to be far away while hired killers do the job. It’s the “perfect alibi” unless it can be proven with incontrovertible proof and compelling evidence. And the prosecutors have the “ammunition” to blow Zaldy’s alibi to smithereens.

Who is Alberto Agra?

Alberto Agra

Alberto Agra passed the bar in 1991 and taught at the Ateneo de Manila, his alma mater. He served as Arroyo’s lawyer when the House of Representatives tried to impeach her in 2006. In 2007, Arroyo appointed him as head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

On January 8, 2010, Arroyo appointed Agra as Solicitor General. On March 3, 2010, Arroyo appointed him acting Secretary of Justice concurrently. As the head of the Justice Department, Agra sits as ex-officio member of the 8-member Judicial Bar Council which is responsible for vetting and preparing the short lists of nominees for judicial appointments by the President. That’s a lot of power vested on one man. He is, without a shadow of doubt, a rabid Arroyo loyalist, who would gleefully execute her orders without question or reservation.

Midnight appointments

It did not come as a big surprise that as soon as Agra was appointed acting Justice Secretary, he didn’t waste any time peddling the notion that the constitution does not ban “midnight appointments” in the Judiciary.

It is interesting to note what Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc wrote in his column a day prior to the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling allowing the President to appoint a “midnight Chief Justice.” Bondoc said: “As if midnight deals were not bad enough, President Arroyo too is coming closer to naming a midnight Chief Justice. That’s if what a braggart at Malacañang is saying is true.

“The showoff claims to have scored at the Supreme Court for Arroyo. Allegedly he has convinced most justices to rule that the constitutional ban on midnight appointments does not apply to the judiciary. This would let Arroyo name a replacement when CJ Reynato Puno retires on May 17.”

Further, he said, “And the boastful Palace operator claims to have clinched it for her. The next step supposedly is to petition the Court to resolve the issue once and for all.”

The following day, by a 9-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional ban on midnight appointments does not apply to the Chief Justice. Did Agra have a hand in convincing nine justices to turn a blind eye to the law and give Arroyo her last wish to satisfy their “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) to Arroyo for bestowing on them the highest honor a magistrate could dream of?

A week ago, the Judicial Bar Council assailed the Supreme Court’s March 17 decision allowing Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice during the constitutional ban on midnight appointments. The JBC sent its comment to the High Court signed by seven members. The only member who did not sign the comment was Agra. Instead, Agra, in his capacity as Solicitor General, filed a separate comment “asking the high court to state that the President can appoint all vacancies in the judiciary and not just in the Supreme Court during her final three months in office despite the ban against midnight appointments.”

Now, not only did Agra insist that Arroyo can appoint a midnight Chief Justice, but also she can appoint all vacancies in the judiciary including the one soon to be vacated by retiring Chief Justice Puno. Makes one wonder who Agra had in mind to fill the last seat in the Supreme Court?

With the Supreme Court’s final ruling yesterday, April 20, affirming the President’s power to appoint the next Chief Justice, I wouldn’t be surprised if Agra would be Arroyo’s next Supreme Court appointee. Interestingly, the High Court failed to make a “doctrinal ruling” on whether the exemption to the midnight appointment ban applies only to the Chief Justice or to the entire judiciary. But the fact that the justices did not make a ruling would be enough for Arroyo to insist that she appoint a vacancy as soon as Puno retires. What has she got to lose by doing it?

I am pretty sure that Agra had his eyes wide open for that opening. It would seem that he had been “working” on it from the first day he to took over the Justice department. He has served his master very well and appointment to the High Court would be his if he asked for it. The only thing that would stop him from being appointed to the High Court is if a lawsuit or disbarment petition is filed against him.

Agra’s “aggravated assault”

Agra’s “aggravated assault” on the wheel of justice could be his Achilles heel. What he did in exonerating the Ampatuans is contemptuous, cowardly, and lacking the balanced mind required of those who dispense justice. Agra has dishonored the legal profession and thus should lose his place among the honorable men and women who are entrusted in upholding the law of the land and in protecting the people from criminal elements. Therefore, he should be disbarred from his profession and barred from serving in the government for the rest of his life. The people deserve no less.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

In an announcement that shocked the judiciary and enraged the people, Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra issued an order to the government prosecutors to exonerate former ARMM Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and Akmad Ampatuan Sr. of any complicity in the “Maguindanao massacre” last year where at least 57 unarmed civilians were murdered. The two were among several members of the powerful Ampatuan clan who were detained by the government on charges of masterminding or participating in the mass murder.

But the prosecutors defied Agra’s order to clear and release the two suspects saying, “it dishonors the institution’s mandate to dispense justice.” In response, Agra arrogantly threatened to remove them from the case and appoint another prosecutor who would follow his order.

In an apparent approval of Agra’s controversial decision, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was quiet about it. Agra said, “In this case silence means approval unless there’s an explicit directive to resign or report. I like to think I did nothing wrong for her to berate, rebuff or replace me.” Self-glorifying, self-absolving. There is a term for that: arrogance of power.

Agra reasoned that Zaldy had an alibi that placed him somewhere else. Actually, on the day of the massacre, Zaldy was in Malacañang — the Ampatuans are political allies of President Gloria Arroyo — conferring with Arroyo’s political staff. However, Harry Roque, lawyer for most of the journalists killed in the massacre, said, “Alibi is the weakest form of defense.”

Zaldy could have participated in planning the mass murder days or weeks before it happened. And the prosecution had presented witnesses and signed affidavits naming Zaldy as one of the masterminds. It is not uncommon in political assassinations for the mastermind to be far away while hired killers do the job. It’s the “perfect alibi” unless it can be proven with incontrovertible proof and compelling evidence. And the prosecutors have the “ammunition” to blow Zaldy’s alibi to smithereens.

Who is Alberto Agra?

Alberto Agra

Alberto Agra passed the bar in 1991 and taught at the Ateneo de Manila, his alma mater. He served as Arroyo’s lawyer when the House of Representatives tried to impeach her in 2006. In 2007, Arroyo appointed him as head of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

On January 8, 2010, Arroyo appointed Agra as Solicitor General. On March 3, 2010, Arroyo appointed him acting Secretary of Justice concurrently. As the head of the Justice Department, Agra sits as ex-officio member of the 8-member Judicial Bar Council which is responsible for vetting and preparing the short lists of nominees for judicial appointments by the President. That’s a lot of power vested on one man. He is, without a shadow of doubt, a rabid Arroyo loyalist, who would gleefully execute her orders without question or reservation.

Midnight appointments

It did not come as a big surprise that as soon as Agra was appointed acting Justice Secretary, he didn’t waste any time peddling the notion that the constitution does not ban “midnight appointments” in the Judiciary.

It is interesting to note what Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc wrote in his column a day prior to the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling allowing the President to appoint a “midnight Chief Justice.” Bondoc said: “As if midnight deals were not bad enough, President Arroyo too is coming closer to naming a midnight Chief Justice. That’s if what a braggart at Malacañang is saying is true.

“The showoff claims to have scored at the Supreme Court for Arroyo. Allegedly he has convinced most justices to rule that the constitutional ban on midnight appointments does not apply to the judiciary. This would let Arroyo name a replacement when CJ Reynato Puno retires on May 17.”

Further, he said, “And the boastful Palace operator claims to have clinched it for her. The next step supposedly is to petition the Court to resolve the issue once and for all.”

The following day, by a 9-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional ban on midnight appointments does not apply to the Chief Justice. Did Agra have a hand in convincing nine justices to turn a blind eye to the law and give Arroyo her last wish to satisfy their “utang na loob” (debt of gratitude) to Arroyo for bestowing on them the highest honor a magistrate could dream of?

A week ago, the Judicial Bar Council assailed the Supreme Court’s March 17 decision allowing Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice during the constitutional ban on midnight appointments. The JBC sent its comment to the High Court signed by seven members. The only member who did not sign the comment was Agra. Instead, Agra, in his capacity as Solicitor General, filed a separate comment “asking the high court to state that the President can appoint all vacancies in the judiciary and not just in the Supreme Court during her final three months in office despite the ban against midnight appointments.”

Now, not only did Agra insist that Arroyo can appoint a midnight Chief Justice, but also she can appoint all vacancies in the judiciary including the one soon to be vacated by retiring Chief Justice Puno. Makes one wonder who Agra had in mind to fill the last seat in the Supreme Court?

With the Supreme Court’s final ruling yesterday, April 20, affirming the President’s power to appoint the next Chief Justice, I wouldn’t be surprised if Agra would be Arroyo’s next Supreme Court appointee. Interestingly, the High Court failed to make a “doctrinal ruling” on whether the exemption to the midnight appointment ban applies only to the Chief Justice or to the entire judiciary. But the fact that the justices did not make a ruling would be enough for Arroyo to insist that she appoint a vacancy as soon as Puno retires. What has she got to lose by doing it?

I am pretty sure that Agra had his eyes wide open for that opening. It would seem that he had been “working” on it from the first day he to took over the Justice department. He has served his master very well and appointment to the High Court would be his if he asked for it. The only thing that would stop him from being appointed to the High Court is if a lawsuit or disbarment petition is filed against him.

Agra’s “aggravated assault”

Agra’s “aggravated assault” on the wheel of justice could be his Achilles heel. What he did in exonerating the Ampatuans is contemptuous, cowardly, and lacking the balanced mind required of those who dispense justice. Agra has dishonored the legal profession and thus should lose his place among the honorable men and women who are entrusted in upholding the law of the land and in protecting the people from criminal elements. Therefore, he should be disbarred from his profession and barred from serving in the government for the rest of his life. The people deserve no less.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Balitang Kutsero
by Perry Diaz

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

The rivalry between Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Sen. Manny “Money Villarroyo” Villar has taken a new twist, from civil to ridiculous. It started when a fake psychiatric report came out saying that Noynoy was evaluated by a priest in 1996. Well, Noynoy denied the allegations and the priest denied writing the report on Ateneo de Manila’s Psychology Department. It turned out that the priest was never employed in the Psychology Department. It was fake — a hoax — and it came back at Villarroyo like a boomerang missing it’s target, further reinforcing Villarroyo’s moniker as “Mr. Pekman,” like in “fake man.” Ughhh! That hurts.

Well, that’s not the end of it. A new letter surfaced from a certain “Tomcat” who claimed to be Noynoy’s classmate at Ateneo. “Tomcat” wrote some uncomplimentary remarks about Noynoy back when they were in elementary school at Ateneo. Hello? That was some 35 years ago. Who could remember things their classmates did then? I don’t.

My investigative reporter James Macaquecquec did some investigating and a woman named “Pussycat” surfaced. James got a copy of an unpublished letter signed by “Pussycat” and addressed to “Tomcat.” It says:

My dearest Tomcat,

It’s been quite a while since I’ve heard from you. I’m sure you still remember me especially those days when you’d confide in me about your depression and erratic behavior. Do you remember those times when you’d cry on my shoulder? Or when you’d call in the middle of the night and talk about real estate deals gone awry like when the Norzagaray land that you mortgaged was foreclosed by the bank because you defaulted on your loan? You calmed down only after I reminded you that the land weren’t yours so why worry? You ended up P1.5 billion richer by not paying back the loan!

Recently, I read a nasty letter posted in the Internet addressed to Noynoy and signed by a person who claimed to be “Tomcat.” After reading the letter, I almost fell off my chair! It seems to me that this “Tomcat” was actually the “Tomcat” I intimately know.

Do you remember when I started working as your private secretary? You insisted that I should always close my office door. But what I found really strange was the door had an unusually large keyhole. It was a mystery to me until one day I saw something odd in the keyhole so I looked into it. I was shocked at what I saw, an eye! I opened the door and there you were. You were a peeping tom! That’s when I called you, “Tomcat.” I guess you liked it and you started calling me, “Pussycat.”

Recently, I was surfing the Internet and I saw pictures of a mansion in Utah which some people said was yours. Well, it’s a hoax. The truth is, I own that mansion. That’s where I moved to after I decided to get away from it all. But in a away, it’s your house too because I used the hefty bonus you gave me to buy it.

I heard that you’re now running for president of the country. I don’t understand why you’re doing it? I told you before I left that you should be happy now that you’re one of the 10 richest men in the country. I reminded you not to run for president because you have a lot of skeletons in your closet. I told you that once you run for president, all your shenanigans would be exposed and, true enough, they’re coming out in the open now like a can of worms.

You know from the get-go that Noynoy will be your toughest opponent. And now that you’re double-digit behind him in poll surveys, you’re playing all kinds of dirty tricks against him. Well, all I can advice you now is be ready to face the music.

So much for now. Should you happen to be in the United States, feel free to drop by my mansion. Remember, it’s your mansion too.

Affectionately,

Pussycat
***

 

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was junketing again in the US. She attended the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Barack Obama. I’m not sure what she’s doing their but she was the only lame duck among the 47 world leaders who attended the summit. Rumor has it that she went to Le Cirque Restaurant for dinner with her entourage but they were refused entry. When she asked why, the owner told her, “I’m sorry ma’am but we can’t serve you.” “Look,” Gloria said, “I may be a lame duck but I’m the President of the Philippines.” “Ma’am, it has nothing to do with you being a lame duck but this restaurant has a capacity of only 120 people and there are at least 250 in your party!”

Talking about lame ducks, Gloria finally realized that her presidency is coming to and end. She noticed that most of the Malacanang people were wearing yellow clothes, some were wearing orange, and a few were wearing black. She asked her Executive Secretary to explain why? “Well… ma’am, those wearing yellow are secret supporters of Noynoy and those wearing orange are for Villar,” he replied. “How about those wearing black,” Gloria asked. “Well… ma’am, they’re your loyalists and they are mourning your departure soon.” “Gago! Fire all those wearing yellow!” Gloria shouted. “But ma’am… they’re your cabinet members,” he said. “How about those wearing orange, who are they?” “You family members, ma’am.”

***

Newly appointed Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Delfin “Emperor” Bangit appointed two military spokespersons. It’s a first in military history. He said that “tough times need two talking heads with one voice.” I’m not sure if that’s better than Malacanang where there’s only one talking head and 10 voices. What’s odd is that nobody is talking about a “thinking head.” Welcome to Zombieland! 

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz
 

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”  By these words, Goebbels pursued his work for the Nazis and became the undisputed master of psychological warfare — psy-war for short — during World War II. Indeed, following World War II, psy-war has become an integral part of warfare, whether it’s military or political.

With the advent of the Internet, political psy-war has taken a pivotal — and deadly — role in determining the outcome of elections. Niccolo Machiavelli said more than 600 years ago, “The end justifies the means.” It was true then, it’s truer today.

With the presidential elections less than a month away, campaigning among the nine presidential candidates, particularly the top two contenders, has reached fever pitch and the psy-war is getting more intense — and nastier — every day.

Fake psychological report

On April 8, 2010, a psychiatric report was posted on a blogsite, http://political amateur.wordpress.com, which says that presidential candidate, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, has psychological problems and other disabilities. It was written on the letterhead of the Ateneo de Manila Psychology Department and signed by Fr. Carmelo “Tito” Caluag. Instantly, the document took a life of its own and spread virally in the Internet.Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Network received two copies of the report which it claimed originated from two separate individuals associated with the Nacionalista Party. The network contacted Fr. Caluag to verify the report’s authenticity. Fr. Caluag vehemently denied that he authored the report saying that he wasn’t a psychologist or psychiatrist. He said that his signature must have been lifted from other documents.

Ateneo’s Psychology Department also issued a statement saying that the report was “fallacious.” The statement said, “Department faculty or professionals had never assessed Aquino. Father Caluag, who is not a psychologist or psychiatrist, was never affiliated with the department.”

Noynoy, when shown the psychiatric report by ABS-CBN reporter Ces Orena-Drilon, who was with Noynoy on the campaign trail, laughed it off. Orena-Drilon said: “He spoke openly – no PR spin, no consultations – and denied the document’s authenticity.” After ABS-CBN Network completed its investigation of the psychiatric report, it deemed the report a hoax. Indeed, given that Noynoy and Caluag denied the report, only one veritable conclusion can be drawn: the psychiatric report on Noynoy is fake.

Villar’s attack

That could have been the end of the attempt to destroy Noynoy. But as it turned out it was only the beginning. Noynoy’s closest rival, Sen. Manny Villar took a direct participation in casting doubt on Noynoy’s mental fitness to lead the country. Villar challenged Noynoy to “undergo a psychiatric test and other medical exams to prove his sanity and fitness to become Chief Executive.” Villar said that he’s willing to take “a comprehensive physical and mental examination in order to ascertain (our) fitness to occupy the highest office of the land.” And rubbing it in, Villar mockingly said, “There’s a far more dangerous scenario than the blind leading the blind, and that is for a mentally challenged person to lead a nation of millions.” Are these the words of someone who wants to lead a nation?

In an email message, columnist Rodel Rodis said: “Manny Villar has copied LBJ who once famously told his aides to spread the nasty rumor that his senate opponent in his Texas race had f**ked pigs. When the aides protested that it wasn’t true, LBJ laughed and said ‘Yeah but I want the SOB to come out and deny it to the press.’ ”

In my opinion, Villar’s action was an incontrovertible proof that he had a hand in the fabrication of the fake psychiatry report. It’s already been proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the report was bogus, yet Villar used it to launched a below-the-belt attack on Noynoy. It now appears that the fake psych report’s only purpose was to open the road for a stealthy blitzkrieg attack at Noynoy’s rear knowing that a frontal attack — or even a Hail Mary attack at his flanks — would fail against Noynoy’s formidable defenses.

But Noynoy was prepared for Villar’s attack. Yesterday, he responded to Villar: “Why not a test on who is lying between us?” At a press conference, Noynoy said: “Pasensyahan na lang (I’m sorry), but I won’t agree to that (psychiatric test). But I have no problem with a lie detector test and lifestyle check.” Noynoy then claimed that “Villar himself needed a mental health examination for insisting on a bogus report.” He asked, “Isn’t sanity about accepting reality? There is a fake report where all those who have been [mentioned] in it have claimed it was fake and yet he will insist that I answer that?” And to deliver his point, he said that he was “willing to escort Villar to a mental hospital for the lie detector test.” Touché.Noynoy’s counter-attack

Endgame

With Noynoy’s counter-attack, Villar’s psy-war is coming back at him like a boomerang missing it’s target. And with all the unexplained issues against Villar — C-5 road extension corruption scandal, Norzagaray land-grabbing, Savannah illegal land conversion, San Pedro land-grabbing, and a slew of other issues including “faking poverty,” fake land titles, and now fake psych report, Villar’s credibility and integrity is now the front-burning issue that could make or unmake him. With only three weeks left in the campaign and double-digit behind Noynoy in poll surveys, Villar faces a crucial battle that could either catapult him to power or meet his Waterloo.

Villar’s wife, Congresswoman Cynthia Villar, once said that “they have never lost an election and they certainly have no intention of losing this one.” Indeed, they have so much wealth that they are convinced that they could buy the presidency. But short of cheating at the polls, nobody can buy the presidency today. The people are now more informed and savvy than at any time in the past.

At the end of the day, it’s not money, faking poverty or faking psychiatric reports that clinches the presidency, it’s the character of the candidate. And character is something that nobody can fake, it’s intrinsic in the individual. And that’s what will win the presidency. 

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)
Had Villar taken the high road and put an end to the fake psych report, he would have washed his hands of any complicity and would have earned the trust and respect of the voters, perceived as a statesman and a true leader. It would have been the turning point of his falling campaign and propel him to the finish line ahead of the pack… and clinch the presidency. Instead, Villar took charge and led the psy-war against Noynoy thinking that he if he succeeded, he would have taken personal satisfaction in delivering the coup de grace himself.

Balitang Kutsero
by Perry Diaz

Illustration by Dave San Pedro

It must be destiny that brought them together. Both claimed they came from dirt poor families. Both became filthy rich. They’re tocayos, named Manny. And they believe that they’re destined to make history. Yup, Manny Pacquiao already made history punching his way to fame. Meanwhile, Manny Villar’s critics were saying that he wants to make history by faking poverty — or as one columnist said, “PEKENG MAHIRAP” — to become president. Pacquiao’s fans call him “Pacman” while Villar’s critics call him “Pekman,” like in “fake man.”

Pacman and Pekman hit it off and off they hit the road entertaining enthusiastic crowds. But it’s beginning to look more like a Pacman show when the people shouted, “Pacman! Pacman! Pacman!” Poor Pekman, he should have brought the octogenarian comedy king Dolphy instead of the macho and mean-looking Pacman who’s getting all the attention especially from the women. Hey, his friends didn’t call him “chickboy” for nothing.

***

The other day, the fearless Sen. Jamby “Indiana Jones” Madrigal accused Villar and Bro. Mike Velarde — head of the religious sect El Shaddai — as “partners in crime” in the controversial C-5 road extension project. Jamby said that Villar made P6.2 billion from the realignment of C-5 while Bro. Mike made P1.2 billion in right-of-way payment. Indeed, Villar is very good in mixing business with politics while Bro. Mike is very good in mixing business with religion. Now, they can be called the “Villarde” partners.

Gloria’s “kiss of death” is hurting Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro’s presidential bid. The word is that Gloria is now supporting Villar… secretly. And guess what? Villar is now called “Money Villarroyo.” But it seems like he’s been smacked by Gloria’s deadly kiss because his poll rating has mysteriously began to go down.

Gloria didn’t like the talks about “Villarroyo” so she ordered her PaLaKa party members to stop talking about “Villarroyo.” But the problem is that most of the PaLaKa party members have already defected to the Villarroyo camp. PaLaKa was designed like the “unsinkable” Titanic but it turned out to be more like Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, a humongous seaplane that couldn’t fly.

And then Gibo quit as PaLaKa’s chairman when he heard that First Gentleman Mike Arroyo had been calling PaLaKa members to switch to Villarroyo. And guess who took over the chairmanship? Gloria’s good friend, House Deputy Speaker Amelita Villarosa. Gibo is now seeing “VILLAR” written all over. And when Gloria ordered the PaLaKa troops to “circle the wagons” around him, Gibo knew the end is near. Wasn’t that what the Seventh Cavalry did for Gen. George Armstrong Custer at the battle of Little Big Horn? The buzz now is: “Giba na si Gibo” (“Gibo is finished”).

With Villarroyo’s poll rating lagging behind Noynoy Aquino, Noynoy would likely be the first bachelor president of the Philippines. Noynoy said that he’s not going to marry right away. Lucky for his sister Kris, she’d be the First Lady and, sadly, Noynoy’s girlfriend Shalani Soledad would have to contend as the First Lady-in-waiting. And if there’s another one, Second Lady-in-waiting and so on. However, I don’t think Noynoy is that kind of a guy. I could be wrong though ‘cuz I used to say the same thing about Tiger Woods… and Pacman, too! Didn’t someone once say, “All men are the same”? Yup, but different sizes… ahem, I mean… like heights and weights.

Reminds me of former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Before he became president, he reputedly built identical houses for his five — or was it six or seven? — mistresses. He could then sleep in any one of them and he’d always feel at home. But when he moved to Malacanang when he was elected president, his real wife moved in, too, and immediately took the title of First Lady. Like they say, “it comes with the territory.” His mistresses had to settle for First Mistress, Second Mistress, and so on.

***

Presidential wannabe Richard “Flashy Dick” Gordon asked voters to make a principled choice on May 10. For once, the voters believe him. Yup, his poll rating is still stuck at one percent, never went up a bit. Maybe, he should tell voters to forget about their principles and vote for him. But that’s too risky though, he might end up with zero vote.

Recently, Flashy Dick and his side kick Bayani Fernando met their supporters at Barbara’s Restaurant, owned by Flashy Dick’s sister, in Intramuros. I’ve been to that restaurant before and I believe it only has a seating capacity of no more than 50 people. His event was graced by comic Moymoy Palaboy (who?) and several other lesser-known celebs. Well, it really takes money to get known celebs like Dolphy. Supposedly it cost Pekman P30 million to get the octogenarian comedy king to just wave his hands at his rallies.

But Flashy Dick has been winning in mock elections in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, two countries each the size of Intramuros. Seriously, I think he should expand his campaign to big cities like Quezon City and Davao City.

Former prez Fidel V. Ramos, an octogenarian who looks like a young tiger in the woods as he puffs an unlit Churchill cigar, gave advice to the “tailenders” like Flashy Dick, Gibo, and Jamby Madrigal. He said they shouldn’t be discouraged by their poor performance because he too was a tailender when he ran for prez in 1998. And he won!

***

After clobbering Joshua Clottey but failing to knock him out, Pacman hinted that he might be retiring soon. While Pacman earned billions of pesos punching other people’s faces, he must have figured out that there was a better way of becoming rich without getting hurt. I’m beginning to suspect that Pekman had been mentoring Pacman on the “fine art” of grabbing land and building homes using other people’s money. My investigative reporter James Macaquecquec found out that Pacman has been going to Norzagaray, Bulacan lately looking for land to grab. Attaboy, Pacman, you’re learning fast!

Watch out, folks! Here come Pacman and Pekman! Rockin’ and grabbin’!

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

A little over a week ago, columnist Billy Esposo’s article, “How Manny Villar lied and used the death of his brother Danny,” created a maelstrom of controversy that unleashed a torrent of criticism against presidential candidate Manny Villar for his claim that his family was so poor that his brother died because they couldn’t afford to buy him medicine.

It all started when Villar, in his “PANATA (Advocacy)” TV commercial, said: “Nakaranas na ba kayong … mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot (Have you experienced losing a brother because you did not have the money to provide him proper medical care)?” It was a tear-jerker “testimonial” of how poor Villar’s family was when he was growing up. It earned him sympathy and respect. His poll ratings started to shoot up and came to within two percent of presidential frontrunner Noynoy Aquino. Instantly, Villar’s rags-to-riches life story became the talk of the town. His success became everybody’s dream. He was believed, emulated, adored, and loved. Suddenly, poor people were captivated by Villar’s magic, enthralled in virtual reality of a good life under the presidency of the man who broke the yoke of poverty and became one of the ten richest men in the country today. And captivated they were… until the truth set them free.

Faking Poverty

Truth came in an outpouring of articles written by some of the country’s best journalists: Billy Esposo, Lito Banayo, Solita Collas-Monsod, Conrado de Quiros, Manuel L. Quezon III, and many more. Their articles tell incontrovertible proof and compelling arguments that Villar lied about the death of his brother.

But what is sad is why Villar used the death of his brother to gain sympathy to increase his chances of winning the presidential elections? It was a calculated risk realizing that if he pulled it off, he would fulfill his dream of becoming president of the country. However, I’m pretty sure that he was also aware that if the truth came out, it would bring him down.

He took the gamble… and lost.

In an attempt to control the self-inflicting damage to his candidacy, Villar’s media people started spinning stories insisting that Villar was dirt poor. They’re saying that Danny was admitted to the charity ward of FEU Hospital. If that was the case, then Villar’s family didn’t have to worry about buying medicine for Danny — the charity ward would have provided for all the medicine Danny needed to recover from his illness.

But Danny’s illness was a complication from leukemia which at that time was incurable. Danny was terminally ill when he was admitted to the charity ward. So when Villar said in his TV commercial, “Nakaranas na ba kayong … mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot,” he lied. It was farthest from the truth.

Plagiarizing campaign ads

Recently, another controversy arose from one of Villar’s ads. Journalist Toto Causing exposed another Villar “fake” when he posted, “Manny Villar has been accused of plagiarizing the television advertisement campaign of a presidential candidate of Argentina, Lopez Murphy.” Causing stated: “Dubbed as the ‘upside-down’ advertisement, Villar’s TV ad narrated lines as each line is highlighted downwards and after reaching the most bottom line he narrated it again but reading each line in the upward direction. It turned out that Villar actually copied the advertisement of Argentina’s presidential candidate.” The Villar ad and the plagiarized Murphy ad can be viewed at www.GlobalBalita.com, “Did Villar commit plagiary in his campaign ad?”

Now, not only is Villar faking poverty, he is plagiarizing campaign ads.

Politics of ‘identifying with the poor’

Identifying with the poor is a popular election campaign strategy particularly in a country where the people are predominantly poor. “I’m poor, I’m one of you,” would resonate well with the marginalized sector.

Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada successfully used that strategy when he entered politics. He used the moniker “Erap,” which is “pare” spelled backward, to identify with the poor, whose men commonly used “pare” — a contraction of “kumpare” — to address each other.

When he launched his presidential bid in the late 90s, he used the slogan, “Erap para sa mahirap” (Erap for the poor). It catapulted him to the presidency garnering the highest margin in presidential elections since the time of Marcos. The fact that he was born in Tondo, an impoverished district of Manila, helped seal his identification with the poor. But, most importantly, he showed a genuine sincerity in his sympathy and concern for the poor.

The late President Ramon “Monching” Magsaysay was the most successful politician in terms of identifying with the poor. Although he came from a middle-class family, Magsaysay projected himself as coming from humble background — he once worked as a car mechanic. When he was Secretary of Defense under President Elpidio Quirino, he started the “Land for the Landless” which eventually broke the backbone of the communist Huk insurgency. With the slogan, “Magsaysay is my Guy,” he won the presidential elections in 1953 defeating his former boss Quirino by 68.9% of the vote.

Politics of ‘faking poverty’

It did not then come as a surprise that Villar used the same strategy that Magsaysay and Estrada used successfully to win the presidency. However, Villar had a big problem: he is filthy rich. And that would not bode well with the poor. But he had one thing that he could use to his advantage: like Erap, Villar was born in the poor district of Tondo. All he had to do was embellish his life story.

To make the story short, Villar fashioned, or faked, a new image of himself — a rags-to-riches success story: the poor boy who fulfilled everybody’s dream of becoming rich. He would have succeeded had he not falsely used the death of his brother in his campaign commercial. That fake campaign commercial opened a can of worms that eventually gnawed acidly at the manufactured façade he built around his persona.

As a result, his campaign started to crumble. The latest Pulse Asia survey conducted on March 21-28 showed Noynoy Aquino pulling ahead of Villar: 37% for Noynoy, 25% for Villar. There is a trend that is showing a steady support for Noynoy. However, Villar’s ratings continue to slide from a high 35%, which was within 2% of Noynoy’s 37%, in the January 22-26 Pulse Asia survey.

In politics, once your ratings start to fall, your challenge is how to stop the gravitational pull. And like a meteor falling from space into the stratosphere, gravity takes over and what happens next is the spectacular disintegration of the meteor.

Is Villar’s meteoric rise going to disintegrate like a meteor falling from the sky?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

A little over a week ago, columnist Billy Esposo’s article, “How Manny Villar lied and used the death of his brother Danny,” created a maelstrom of controversy that unleashed a torrent of criticism against presidential candidate Manny Villar for his claim that his family was so poor that his brother died because they couldn’t afford to buy him medicine.

It all started when Villar, in his “PANATA (Advocacy)” TV commercial, said: “Nakaranas na ba kayong … mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot (Have you experienced losing a brother because you did not have the money to provide him proper medical care)?” It was a tear-jerker “testimonial” of how poor Villar’s family was when he was growing up. It earned him sympathy and respect. His poll ratings started to shoot up and came to within two percent of presidential frontrunner Noynoy Aquino. Instantly, Villar’s rags-to-riches life story became the talk of the town. His success became everybody’s dream. He was believed, emulated, adored, and loved. Suddenly, poor people were captivated by Villar’s magic, enthralled in virtual reality of a good life under the presidency of the man who broke the yoke of poverty and became one of the ten richest men in the country today. And captivated they were… until the truth set them free.

Faking Poverty

Truth came in an outpouring of articles written by some of the country’s best journalists: Billy Esposo, Lito Banayo, Solita Collas-Monsod, Conrado de Quiros, Manuel L. Quezon III, and many more. Their articles tell incontrovertible proof and compelling arguments that Villar lied about the death of his brother.

But what is sad is why Villar used the death of his brother to gain sympathy to increase his chances of winning the presidential elections? It was a calculated risk realizing that if he pulled it off, he would fulfill his dream of becoming president of the country. However, I’m pretty sure that he was also aware that if the truth came out, it would bring him down.

He took the gamble… and lost.

In an attempt to control the self-inflicting damage to his candidacy, Villar’s media people started spinning stories insisting that Villar was dirt poor. They’re saying that Danny was admitted to the charity ward of FEU Hospital. If that was the case, then Villar’s family didn’t have to worry about buying medicine for Danny — the charity ward would have provided for all the medicine Danny needed to recover from his illness.

But Danny’s illness was a complication from leukemia which at that time was incurable. Danny was terminally ill when he was admitted to the charity ward. So when Villar said in his TV commercial, “Nakaranas na ba kayong … mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot,” he lied. It was farthest from the truth.

Plagiarizing campaign ads

Recently, another controversy arose from one of Villar’s ads. Journalist Toto Causing exposed another Villar “fake” when he posted, “Manny Villar has been accused of plagiarizing the television advertisement campaign of a presidential candidate of Argentina, Lopez Murphy.” Causing stated: “Dubbed as the ‘upside-down’ advertisement, Villar’s TV ad narrated lines as each line is highlighted downwards and after reaching the most bottom line he narrated it again but reading each line in the upward direction. It turned out that Villar actually copied the advertisement of Argentina’s presidential candidate.” The Villar ad and the plagiarized Murphy ad can be viewed at www.GlobalBalita.com, “Did Villar commit plagiary in his campaign ad?”

Now, not only is Villar faking poverty, he is plagiarizing campaign ads.

Politics of ‘identifying with the poor’

Identifying with the poor is a popular election campaign strategy particularly in a country where the people are predominantly poor. “I’m poor, I’m one of you,” would resonate well with the marginalized sector.

Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada successfully used that strategy when he entered politics. He used the moniker “Erap,” which is “pare” spelled backward, to identify with the poor, whose men commonly used “pare” — a contraction of “kumpare” — to address each other.

When he launched his presidential bid in the late 90s, he used the slogan, “Erap para sa mahirap” (Erap for the poor). It catapulted him to the presidency garnering the highest margin in presidential elections since the time of Marcos. The fact that he was born in Tondo, an impoverished district of Manila, helped seal his identification with the poor. But, most importantly, he showed a genuine sincerity in his sympathy and concern for the poor.

The late President Ramon “Monching” Magsaysay was the most successful politician in terms of identifying with the poor. Although he came from a middle-class family, Magsaysay projected himself as coming from humble background — he once worked as a car mechanic. When he was Secretary of Defense under President Elpidio Quirino, he started the “Land for the Landless” which eventually broke the backbone of the communist Huk insurgency. With the slogan, “Magsaysay is my Guy,” he won the presidential elections in 1953 defeating his former boss Quirino by 68.9% of the vote.

Politics of ‘faking poverty’

It did not then come as a surprise that Villar used the same strategy that Magsaysay and Estrada used successfully to win the presidency. However, Villar had a big problem: he is filthy rich. And that would not bode well with the poor. But he had one thing that he could use to his advantage: like Erap, Villar was born in the poor district of Tondo. All he had to do was embellish his life story.

To make the story short, Villar fashioned, or faked, a new image of himself — a rags-to-riches success story: the poor boy who fulfilled everybody’s dream of becoming rich. He would have succeeded had he not falsely used the death of his brother in his campaign commercial. That fake campaign commercial opened a can of worms that eventually gnawed acidly at the manufactured façade he built around his persona.

As a result, his campaign started to crumble. The latest Pulse Asia survey conducted on March 21-28 showed Noynoy Aquino pulling ahead of Villar: 37% for Noynoy, 25% for Villar. There is a trend that is showing a steady support for Noynoy. However, Villar’s ratings continue to slide from a high 35%, which was within 2% of Noynoy’s 37%, in the January 22-26 Pulse Asia survey.

In politics, once your ratings start to fall, your challenge is how to stop the gravitational pull. And like a meteor falling from space into the stratosphere, gravity takes over and what happens next is the spectacular disintegration of the meteor.

Is Villar’s meteoric rise going to disintegrate like a meteor falling from the sky?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)