July 2010

PerryScope
by Perry Diaz

If we have to believe — and I do — president Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s mantra, “Kung walang corruption, walang mahirap” (No corruption, no poverty), then the government should get out of the gambling business including “legalized” jueteng in the guise of Small Town Lotto (STL). History has proven that where there is gambling, there is corruption. And among the “games of chance,” jueteng is arguably the most corrupt gaming system in the Philippines.

When P-Noy gave his marching orders to Jesse Robredo, the newly appointed Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), to stop jueteng, Sen. Edgardo Angara said that P-Noy might have given Robredo a “mission impossible.” Is it really a mission impossible? My article, “Jueteng: A Way of Life” (February 4, 2005), might provide the reader an idea whether it is a “mission impossible” or not.

Jueteng: A Way of Life

“Church admits it accepted money from gambling lords,” the news headline says. Responding to a congressional inquiry , a lawyer of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), admitted that the “Church accepts money from whatever source, whether lawful or illicit.”

Gambling is the favorite past time of most Filipinos. The term “anak ng jueteng” — son of a gambler — is as popular as its American counterpart, “son of a gun.” When former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada fell from power because of the jueteng-gate scandal, a joke was circulating around Manila: “Why are all the names of the sons of Erap start with the letter J?” The answer was: “They are all anak ng jueteng.”

Erap’s fall began when he illegally implemented — without the required Congressional approval — “Bingo 2-Ball,” a numbers game similar to jueteng. He forced the government-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to take Bingo 2-Ball under its control. And then he appointed his friend Charlie “Atong” Ang to the Pagcor Board of Directors and put him in charge of Bingo 2-Ball operations.

Ang awarded Bingo 2-Ball franchises to some of the existing jueteng operators. Why not? After all, they had experience in the business. In return, Ang’s personal consulting firm received 27 percent share of the total collections from the gambling lords.

In August 1998, two months after he won the presidency, Erap met with then Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson of Ilocos Sur, Ang, and Bong Pineda — the biggest jueteng lord in all of Central Luzon. It was alleged that Pineda was instructed to deliver Erap’s share — 3% from the gambling profits — of the jueteng protection money to Ang.

A few months later, Ang had a falling out with Erap and Erap asked Singson to take over as the collector of the jueteng “payola.” A “blue book” — found by the police who raided a gambling den in Ilocos Sur — provided details of jueteng payoffs in 34 towns in the province. That was the time that Ang was working on “Bingo 2-Ball.” The “blue book” contained valuable information about jueteng “payola.” Coded names of mayors and police officers were found on the “blue book.” Singson alleged that Erap received 32 to 35 million pesos in jueteng collections.

Then Singson decided to sing and expose the jueteng-gate. His exposé shook Congress and Malacañang. The people were enraged. On Jan. 20, 2001, Erap was forced to step down when the military withdrew its support and then Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. swore in then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as president.

Gloria’s ascension to power didn’t put a dent on the lucrative jueteng operations which was estimated to generate at least P30 billion a year. All it did was remove Erap. Bong Pineda was alleged to be a “kumpadre” of Gloria. Both of them are from Lubao, Pampanga. However, there was no verifiable information that could connect Pineda’s jueteng operations to Gloria.

How jueteng works

What exactly is jueteng? Jueteng is an illegal numbers game played in almost all of the provinces of the Philippines. The word “jueteng” originated from the Chinese word “hue” (flower) and “eng” (to bet). Jueteng has been around since the Spanish era. The game is played by picking two numbers and placing a bet on those two numbers. Bets can be as low as 25 centavos. It is more popular with the poor and middle class Filipinos.

The numbers 1 to 37 marked in small wooden balls called “bolitas” are placed inside a bottle-like container usually made of rattan. The drawing is performed by a “bolero” and witnessed by “cabos.” The “bolero” shakes the bottle and takes out a “bolita.” The number on the “bolita” is recorded and the “bolita” is returned to the bottle. The “bolero” shakes the bottle again and takes out another “bolita.” The numbers from the two drawn “bolitas” are the winning combinations. Some operators pay P700 to P900 for the winning combinations for each one-peso bet.

In most towns, jueteng is played two or three times a day. The Las Vegas Gambling Magazine claims that jueteng “generates an average of P6 million daily per province, with 25% or P 1.5 million of collection going to “payola” — protection money — for law enforcers and public officials.” The 25% “payola” is distributed as follows: 60% to local and provincial officials and 40% to national officials.

Jueteng has been a way life for the poor Filipinos. They know that jueteng will never make them rich. However, they know that if they win, it will give them happiness even for just a day. Yes, to the hopeless poor, jueteng gives them a glimmer of hope… to dream for a better day. But to the jueteng lords, their profits provide them with high-flying lifestyle and the means to propagate a corrupt “padrino” system, and lord over the people they bleed with their meager earnings who barely make their ends meet.

Vicious cycle

For as long as there is poverty, jueteng will be around. But jueteng breeds corruption which is the root of poverty. Indeed, it’s vicious cycle that perpetuates a vice that is eroding the moral fiber of our society.

I must say then: “Kung walang jueteng, walang corruption, walang mahirap” — no jueteng, no corruption, no poverty. Is it an impossible mission? Not, if we try.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

On Target
by Ramon Tulfo
from Philippine Daily Inquirer

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/metro/view/20100721-282432/The-simpletons-at-Comelec
 

THE LATE Speaker Ramon Mitra once said he would not shave his beard so long as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “did not know how to count.”

Mitra was speaking during the time of the unlamented Marcos martial law regime.

If he were alive today, which hair in his body, apart from his beard, would Mitra not shave, given the mentality of the present crop of Comelec commissioners?

If the Comelec during the Marcos era didn’t know how to count, the present Comelec is worse: Most of the commissioners are simpletons.

Of course, not all of them are simpletons. The others –
Chair Jose Melo, Commissioners Rene Sarmiento and Gregorio Larrazabal are, well, a bit bright.

* * *

Why are most of the Comelec commissioners simpletons?

Because they ruled that former presidential and wealthy scion Mikey Arroyo can represent security guards and tricycle drivers, but disqualified another rich businessman, Teodorico Haresco, from representing small entrepreneurs in the House of Representatives.

What’s the difference between Arroyo’s case and Haresco’s?

Money, tons of it, sometimes makes some people stupid.

* * *

If the Comelec ruled Arroyo, who’s worth millions of pesos and even dollars, can speak for security guards and tricycle drivers, why can’t former Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes represent the transport group 1-UTAK in the Lower House?

Haven’t these commissioners come across the saying, What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander?

Baka hindi sila marunong magbasa because they’re illiterate.

* * *

Sarmiento and Larrazabal, who dissented from the Comelec decision allowing Mikey Arroyo to become a party-list representative, said the ruling went against the “spirit of the party-list law.”
|
Obviously, Election Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, Elias Yusoph and Armando Velasco don’t know the meaning of what their two colleagues said.

They probably equate “spirit” used in that context with “ghost.”

Holy ghost!

* * *

Chief Justice Renato Corona is not ordering an inquiry into accusations that some portions of materials in a decision by Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo were plagiarized.

Not just yet, anyway.

To plagiarize means to copy word for word the work of another author and present it as one’s own.

Lawyers Harry Roque and Romel Bagares said the high court’s unanimous ruling on Vinuya v Executive Secretary were lifted without attribution from the Yale Journal of International Law, the Western Reserve Journal of International Law and a portion of the book by the Cambridge University Press.

In fairness to Justice Del Castillo, he probably didn’t write the ruling but his “ghost” writer.

Justices employ researchers and writers who do the work for them.

Del Castillo’s case is very similar to billionaire tycoon Manny Pangilinan who delivered a speech at the Ateneo de Manila University which, his critics said, was copied from the speech of another person.

Pangilinan resigned from an honorary position at the Ateneo in shame even if it was the fault of his speechwriter, not his.

Del Castillo should do a Pangilinan.

* * *

Lawyers Roque and Bagares are admirable because they dare to question the gods at Mt. Olympus.

They’ve probably prepared for the consequences of their action.

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Arnold Schwarzenegger
The People’s Governor

PRESS RELEASE
July 21, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye as his choice for chief justice of the California Supreme Court.

“Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has a distinguished history of public service and understands that the role of a justice is not to create law, but to independently and fairly interpret and administer the law,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “She is a living example of the American Dream and when she is confirmed by the voters in November, Judge Cantil-Sakauye will become California’s first Filipina chief justice; adding to our High Court’s already rich diversity.”

Since 2005, Cantil-Sakauye has served as an associate justice for the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. Previously, she was a superior court judge for the Sacramento County Superior Court from 1997 to 2004 and a municipal court judge for the Sacramento County Municipal Court from 1990 to 1997. Cantil-Sakauye worked for the Office of Governor Deukmejian as a deputy legislative secretary from 1989 to 1990 and as a deputy legal affairs secretary from 1988 to 1989. She was a deputy district attorney for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office from 1984 to 1988.

Cantil-Sakauye is a member of the California Judicial Council, and is vice chair of the Rules and Projects Committee and Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group. She is a member of the Commission on Impartial Courts, chair of the Judicial Branch Financial Accountability and Efficiency Advisory Committee and president of the Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court.

“It is a privilege and a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to serve as chief justice of the California Supreme Court,” said Cantil-Sakauye. “I have had the distinct pleasure of being a municipal court judge, a superior court judge and an appellate court justice. Being nominated to serve on the highest court in California is a dream come true. I deeply respect the inspirational and visionary work of Chief Justice Ronald George and hope to build upon it. As a jurist, woman and a Filipina, I am extremely grateful for the trust Governor Schwarzenegger has placed in me. I hope to show young people what they can achieve if they follow their dreams and reach for their full potential.”

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, of Sacramento, earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis. Cantil-Sakauye is a Republican.

The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Chief Justice Ronald M. George on January 2, 2011. The compensation for this position is $238,010.

The Governor’s nomination for chief justice must be submitted to the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. Once confirmed by the commission, the nominee will appear on the November 2nd ballot for voter approval.

AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
by William M. Esposo
from The Philippine Star

Thanks to the inherited superb political instincts of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) and the well-meaning efforts of mutual friends from the Gawad Kalinga (GK) — a vital state was accomplished for our nation. This is the now secured state of political peace and harmony between our President and his Vice President — Jejomar C. Binay (V-Nay).

Despite the decision of V-Nay not to take a cabinet post in the P-Noy administration, Tony Meloto and the GK pushed for the appointment of the vice president to chair the HUDCC (Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council). Both P-Noy and V-Nay are big GK supporters and the GK appeal softened V-Nay to relent and accept last Thursday the HUDCC cabinet post.

Your Chair Wrecker had written several columns about the dangerous political situation which the camp of defeated Aquino Liberal Party (LP) running mate for vice president, Mar Roxas, had created. Instead of acknowledging their failure to secure what many considered was a won vice presidency, the Roxas camp opted to blame and badmouth everybody whom they suspected had promoted a Noy-Bi (Noynoy Aquino-Jojo Binay) tandem.

The Roxas camp mega fumble had eclipsed the Toting Bunye political blooper of presenting two Garci Tapes to media which spawned the Garci scandal that will hound Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) all the way to the pages of our history books. As with many Larry, Moe and Curly Joe acts, it is hard to determine if losing the vice presidency or the subsequent badmouthing constituted the more stupid act of the Roxas camp.

The badmouthing would appear to be the more serious fault because of its potential damage – the creation of a dangerous rift between P-Noy and V-Nay. No plurality elected president in the post-Marcos era can feel politically secure in a situation where the vice president is hostile and therefore becomes a rallying point for the opposition.

This emotional blackmail of the Roxas camp on P-Noy could have destroyed the P-Noy presidency and all the hopes of the Filipino nation that are riding on it. Your Chair Wrecker sees this Roxas camp game as nothing short of emotional blackmail. This perception was confirmed by no less than LP Senator Frank Drilon who said that any cabinet appointment for Jojo Binay must take into account the feelings of Mar Roxas.

You know if the people around you are your real friends or concealed enemies by what they make for you. If they make friends for you or transform your enemies into your friends — then they are your best friends. If they make enemies for you or transform your friends into your enemies — then they are your worst enemies.

Now, thanks to men and women of goodwill like Tony Meloto and the GK, this potentially dangerous rift between our president and his vice president has been averted. Not only that, the friendship between the Aquino and Binay families has been restored and reinforced.

P-Noy is one person – no different from his mother — who has a difficulty in hiding his feelings. P-Noy’s body language reveals what he is thinking and feeling. During the June 30 inauguration we all saw a different body language between P-Noy and V-Nay which contrasted with their body language during the proclamation rites in Congress.

Mutual ill-at-ease best describes their body language when P-Noy and V-Nay sat together in Congress before they each ascended the podium to be officially proclaimed. During the inauguration, they were relating with each other like the old friends that they are. The warm rapport was personally witnessed by your Chair Wrecker in a July 3 party where P-Noy sat between me and V-Nay.

It was a jovial occasion and the biggest laugh was generated by P-Noy when he shared with us how Jojo Binay used to send him wedding cakes every year during his birthdays. P-Noy claimed that Jojo Binay was sending him a not too subtle message every time he received that wedding cake for his birthday. Apparently, the gesture had little effect on our bachelor president.

Chair Wrecker reliable sources say that the emotional blackmail no longer works and is now seen as a counterproductive and corrosive factor. It has also been observed that some of the smarter members of the Roxas faction who are now cabinet secretaries have been sending peace overtures to fellow cabinet members whom the Roxas camp have been vilifying, most notably Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa.

That would be a smart move because a president will always tend to be most comfortable with the people he grew up with. Cory Aquino felt closest to those who were with them during their darkest hours — when Ninoy was in jail and being persecuted. Fidel V. Ramos felt closest to the generals he brought along with him to the Ramos administration. Joseph Estrada felt closest to his friends in showbiz, most notably Fernando Poe Jr.

GMA was an exception to the rule but that was because GMA had very few real friends. GMA was known to replace her inner circle when the political situation called for it.

* * *

Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: macesposo@yahoo.com and www.chairwrecker.com

Dispatches From The Enchanted Kingdom
by Manuel Buencamino
from Business Mirror

http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27946:robbery-in-band&catid=28:opinion&Itemid=64

No people is wholly civilized where a distinction is drawn between stealing an office and stealing a purse.—Theodore Roosevelt

The latest development in the election protest of Aquilino Pimentel III against Juan Miguel Zubiri brought me back to a jam-packed press conference held in Club Filipino five years ago. An indignant Susan Roces is telling Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: “The gravest thing that you have done is that you have stolen the presidency, not once but twice!”

Zubiri’s victory in 2007, like Gloria Arroyo’s in 2004, came from cheating. Pimentel proved it beyond a shadow of doubt.

Numerous instances of fraud—fake ballots, empty ballot boxes and ballots written by one (WBO)—were discovered when the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) revised the 664 “pilot precincts” designated by Pimentel.

The large-scale cheating perpetrated by warlords and Commission on Elections (Comelec) operators bore all the marks of carelessness and stupidity, the byproducts of a climate of impunity.

The fake ballots were a comedy of carelessness. Two municipalities in Maguindanao each had two sets of “official” ballots bearing different names. The municipality of Pagagawan had changed its name to Datu Montawal but the official Comelec ballots still bore the old name, Pagagawan, while the fake ballots were printed with the new name. In Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan, Maguindanao, the official Comelec ballots had Datu Saudi Ampatuan, while the fake ballots carried the name Datu Saudi Uy Ampatuan.

The WBO ballots were an exercise in stupidity. In one precinct, the surname of Team Unity senatorial candidate Mike Defensor was misspelled as Deffensor in ballot after ballot written by one person.

The empty ballot boxes brought the whole circus of carelessness and stupidity under one tent. In Sultan Kudarat, Shariff Kabunsuan, 197 out of 198 ballot boxes were completely empty. The 198th contained 11 fake ballots (Source: www.pimentelprotest.ph).

Perhaps, Zubiri did not orchestrate the cheating. Maybe he was sincere when, following his proclamation, he said, “I just want to thank the Lord above. Thank you. Mama Mary, thank you so much.”

On the other hand, it’s also possible, as many believe, that Zubiri was more than just the unwitting beneficiary of election theft. In which case the Lord he thanked would be a warlord and Mama Mary would be that warlord’s patroness and protector.

The SET’s revision of Pimentel’s 664 designated “pilot precincts” established that he beat Zubiri by more than 85,000 votes. The story should have ended with justice being served. But it did not.

Pimentel’s Senate seat was stolen for a second time when the majority of judges in the SET, five senators and two associate justices of the Supreme Court, went against its own Rule 79 and allowed Zubiri’s counterprotest to proceed, despite the fact that he failed to prove the existence of fraud in at least 50 percent of his designated “pilot precincts.”

Three years ago Zubiri was profusely thanking the Lord above and Mama Mary for his “victory.” Today he is thanking the SET for a resolution that says Pimentel might be a bigger cheat than he is.

“My deepest suspicions have come true. It seems that SET has uncovered the syndicates that operated in the cities and areas perceived to be opposition bailiwicks to enhance the candidacies of certain opposition members,” Zubiri told the press, after he got wind of the SET resolution favoring his baseless counterprotest.

At this point you may be asking, where is the rule of law? Well, the rule of law is hidden in a little known SET rule that legalizes robbery in band. It’s called Rule 22.

“The SET shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of Members of the Senate. It shall promulgate rules to achieve just, expeditious and inexpensive determination and disposition of every contest brought before the Tribunal. However, whenever a majority of its members feel the urge, they may, without any need for an explanation or justification, trash any or all of its rules.”

Zubiri will continue to illegally occupy Pimentel’s Senate seat. Cheating pays.

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph).

by Bernadette E. Tamayo and Joel dela Torre
from Journal Online

AROUND $680 million sequestered Marcos money, which is in an escrow account with the Philippine National Bank, is missing.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. said the Arroyo administration could not explain how the money, intended to compensate victims of human rights during the Marcos regime, disappeared.

“Hindi ko alam kung bakit wala na (iyung pera). Ang balita ginamit noong 2007 elections ang $680 million. Ipagtanong n’yo kung nasaan na kasi kapag nagtatanong kami wala silang maisagot sa amin eh,” Marcos told reporters.

However, the senator said his family is not in a hurry to find out where the money went.

”Ang dami ng trabaho ng gobyerno. Ang daming kailangan gawin. Hindi priority ang problema ng mga Marcos. Unahin n’yo ang problema ng bansa. Huwag ‘yun sa amin muna,” he said.

However, he hinted that some people who claimed to be close to some officials in the Aquino administration offered help to probe the matter. “Meron mga lumalapit na nagsasabi:’Tulungan namin kayo kung gusto n’yo magsettle. Malapit kami sa administration.’ But it’s very casual and informal. Nothing serious.”

He said President Benigno Aquino III has not sent any emissary to talk to them about any settlements. “Nothing like that. They are just saying: Papaano ‘yung mga kaso n’yo? Baka makatulong kami. Things like that kasi malapit nga sa administration. Nababanggit lang.”

by Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
from INQUIRER.net

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100721-282388/Proponents-of-Ombudsman-ouster-to-file-impeach-rap 

MANILA, Philippines – Confident that President Benigno Aquino III is on their side, proponents of the move to oust Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez are hoping that the impeachment case they will file this Thursday at the House of Representatives against her will prosper.

Former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, retired military general Danilo Lim, and Felipe Pestano will lodge the complaint at 11:30 a.m. in the office of the House secretary general.

Representatives Walden Bello and Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan, which is affiliated with the Liberal Party of Aquino, will endorse the complaint.
Bag-ao said the complaint would contain the old charges against Gutierrez and new cases to prove that she has been sleeping on the job.

In the 14th Congress, the group also initiated an impeachment case against Gutierrez, but the justice committee, which was dominated by administration allies, junked the complaint.

“She won’t be off the hook, not only for her inaction on the cases involving the Arroyos, but also on other cases pending before her office that have been unresolved for many years,” Bag-ao said in a phone interview.

She said they were more confident that this time the case would be “more solid in terms of presentation of our allegations and evidence.”

“We know this is a numbers game, but we believe too that President Aquino is serious in eradicating corruption and he cannot succeed in this effort if the person that will prosecute the corrupt officials will not do anything or will be so grossly negligent of her duties,” Bag-ao added.

The complaint will cite among other allegations, Gutierrez’s inaction on the national broadband network agreement with the Chinese firm ZTE Corporation that linked then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo to the enforcement of the contract, the case filed by Hontiveros for her illegal arrest in a women’s march in 2006, and the death of Philippine Navy Ensign Philip Andrew Pestano, which has been pending with the Ombudsman since 1995.

Pestano, an alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy, was found dead on Sept. 27, 1995 in his stateroom with a shot in the head. While the Navy stands firm in its position that Pestano committed suicide, forensic investigation supports the theory that he was murdered.

Bag-ao said Akbayan would seek support from their allies in the chamber, especially the Liberal Party.

The LP has yet to support the complaint to be filed, saying it will first look into the case.

PRESS RELEASE
by Jose de Venecia Jr.
July 14, 2010

Asia’s First 7-Day Anti-Poverty Summit of Political Parties in Kunming and Beijing; JDV To Propose Asian Micro-Finance, Anti-Poverty Funds

Asia’s first all-Parties Anti Poverty Summit will convene tomorrow (July 14-21) in an unprecedented 7-day conference to fight poverty starting in Kunming, Yunnan Province and then Beijing with speeches by China’s Communist Party (CCP) international Minister Wang Jiarui and Former Philippine House Speaker Jose de Venecia.

De Venecia is founding chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), composed of more than 300 ruling and opposition parties in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia, which will look into the Chinese model of overcoming poverty and hear poverty alleviation proposals from the other parties.

New reformist Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared that his new government will give priority focus on the battles against poverty and corruption.

Expected to attend H.E. Vice-Minister Hui Liangyu and from the Philippines include delegates from President Aquino’s ruling Liberal Party, Vice President Binay’s PDP-Laban, ex President Estrada’s Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Lakas CMD, NPC and others.

During four day field trips and meetings in under-developed Yunnan province and Kunming City, the delegates will break into two groups to observe China’s successful model in battling poverty, which has lifted more than 300 million people from poverty largely in China’s eastern seaboard in the largest economic transformation in human history. They will now visit underdeveloped sites in China’s western region and consider “Asian approaches for poverty alleviation”.

The conference will then transfer to Beijing for two days of meetings with senior officials of the Chinese government and the Communist Party.

De Venecia and ICAPP first proposed this historic meeting on the sidelines of the Beijing Olympics last year with Chinese Minister Liu Yanshan at the Great Hall of the People, attended by Vice Ministers Ai Ping and Liu Hongcai, now Chinese Ambassador to North Korea.

Before his departure for Kunming, Beijing, and Shanghai, de Venecia said he will propose the creation of an Asian Micro-Finance Fund and an Asian Anti-Poverty Fund to help Asia’s millions of urban and rural families living below the poverty line and who have no access to credit.

He said the rational for these funds is that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development bank, the world’s commercial banks, and the large Sovereign Funds generally finance or invest in Big Ticket items or lend only to governments, to the neglect of small farmers, fisher folks and small entrepreneurs who need funding of as low as $100 to $5,000.

In Latin America, governments keep children from poorest families in school through school-feeding programs and ‘wages for learning’ paid to older potential dropouts.
These anti-poverty programs are now beginning to be widely adopted in Asia. Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines have already developed variations of the Latin-American model ‘invented’ in Mexico.

As a further feature to his two proposals, de Venecia suggested the creation of a state-supported Asian Agri-business Crops Insurance Program to help the tens of millions of farmers and fishermen in the Asian region including the poorest cooperatives to recover some of the devastating losses that may be incurred by their small businesses in the farms, fisheries, riversides and coastal areas when they are struck by floods, storms, drought, or earthquakes.

He said since 2000 all governments committed at the U.N. to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) and reduce poverty by 50% by 2015. “We are now in 2010 and we are seeing even some deterioration because of the ongoing wars, the hundreds of thousands of refugees, the global financial crisis, large-scale corruption, the ravages of climate change, and the continuing tragedy of a number of failed states”, he added.

De Venecia said he and ICAPP have proposed that the most heavily indebted nations be permitted by creditors to convert a portion of their debt-service payments to finance anti-poverty projects in the debtor countries where creditors will have corresponding equity under debt-for-equity swaps, already endorsed by the G-77 plus China and by the U.N. but still pending at the G-8 and the Paris Club. Germany, Italy and Norway have indicated willingness to do some debt swaps for anti-poverty, pro-MDG, and hopefully even for anti-climate change projects.

At its last Astana, Kazakhstan Conference, the ICAPP Standing Committee Co-Chairmen de Venecia and South Korea’s Chung Eui Yong transmitted the debt-swaps resolution to U.N. Secretary General Ban Khi Moon for U.N. consideration and transmittal to the G-8, the Paris Club and the G-20.

De Venecia and ICAPP have also pointed out under their earlier 747 proposal, they hoped governments could achieve 7% GDP Growth For at least 7 years, if governments are to make an impact in the poverty of their peoples.

“Indeed as part of our Kunming Declaration, we hope that our political parties in Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and East Asia — the ICAPP parties — working in concert with governments, parliaments and civil societies can mobilize together enough political will to attack poverty, with the maximum of our energies and with the moral equivalent of war”, ICAPP said.

By Cesar D. Candari, M.D. FCAP EMERITUS
Henderson, Nevada 
 

The People Power Revolution in 1986. This was a historical event that could never be forgotten by all Filipinos wherever they were in those days 

   The following is a summary of a very interesting history of the Philippines for your information. These are extracts taken from glimpses of Philippine conditions from Spain’s colonization to the present time.  Although it may appear to be a late story to tell, it may educate many Filipinos wherever they are today.

     The overwhelming events in the Philippines today…the civic, social, political and economic pictures…convey a sad story. From the beginning of the Spanish rule up to the present time, the disparity between the rich and the poor is estimated at 30 percent middle-class and rich and 70 percent low-class and poor of the poorest. In all honesty, the country nowadays is being subjected to serendipity of events that it becomes a less attractive place to live in permanently. It may be a favorite place of retirement for Filipinos working abroad, but it is politically beleaguered that a few are having second thoughts about it.

      In 1521, when Magellan used fire in burning the homes of our forefathers in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu rose and took up arms and killed Magellan and his men along the shores of Mactan Island. Lapu-Lapu was a hero and nationalist. We admitted that a Filipino nation was not born despite the defeat of Magellan. We were under the Spanish rule for more than three centuries (1565-1898). The intolerable abuses of the Spanish regime resulted into the formation of a group of reformists Movement that later paved the way for the Philippine Revolution. Local revolts against Spanish imperial corruption, racial discrimination, and church abuse began late in the nineteenth century. These first revolts called for reform of the economic-political system but not for independence. A young doctor-writer, Jose Rizal, used his pen to expose the brutalizing, depressive and anti-human treatment of the Spanish colonizers. Dr. Rizal was arrested and then executed by a firing squad at Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896. Rizal, who was just 30 years old when he was executed, aroused the Filipinos to rebellion, spurred by the Katipunan that was organized by our heroes Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo. They engaged in an ugly infightings resulting in the execution of Bonifacio. They failed to coalesce their forces and fight side by side against the enemy and the leaders lost their souls to greed and thirst for power.

     In  1898 the Americans led by Admiral Dewey invaded Manila Bay and defeated the lackluster Spanish Navy. The American and Spanish war ensued, and the Spaniards eventually surrendered.

On June 12, 1898 in Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit), Cavite, Philippines, the KKK patriots of Aguinaldo proclaimed the Philippine Declaration of Independence. With the public reading of the Act of the Declaration of Independence, Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain. However, on December 10, 1898, the Americans annexed the Philippines with Spain by the Treaty of Paris. This brought about the Filipino-American war in 1898. The Treaty of Paris, approved on February 6, 1899, made the United States an imperial power. General Emilio Aguinaldo was finally captured. The Philippines then remained an American colony for nearly 50 years. It became a Commonwealth from 1901-1941. Democratic principles, structure and governance were learned during this time.

     In 1935, a semiautonomous Philippine Commonwealth was inaugurated in Manila with Manuel L. Quezon as President and Sergio Osmena as Vice-President. This became the Philippine government in exile during the Japanese occupation.  

    The Philippines came under the Japanese empire from 1941 – 1945, that produced disaster, devastation and annihilation of the Filipino people from the Japanese imperialist. You all remember the death march in Bata-an. General Douglas McArthur fled to Australia with a promise, “I SHALL RETURN.” The American forces returned in 1945 to liberate the country. Manila City was one of the most devastated cities. 

     We celebrated the independence of the Philippines from the Americans on July 4, 1946. During the two decades that followed as a democratic country, six presidents were elected. 17 million Filipinos populated the country then. Since then, there has been was no change in the gap between the rich and the poor…30% rich and 70 % poor.

 In 1969 the Moro National Front was founded and it conducted an insurgency in the Muslim areas. The political violence was blamed on the leftists but it was probably initiated by government agents’ provocateurs. The situation led Marcos to suspend habeas corpus as a prelude to martial law. 

MARTIAL LAW/DICTATORSHP

It was on September 21, 1972, that Marcos issued Proclamation 1081, declaring martial law over the entire country. Under the president’s command, the military arrested opposition figures, including Benigno Aquino, journalists, student and labor activists, and criminal elements. A total of about 30,000 detainees were kept at military compounds run by the army and the Philippine Constabulary. Weapons were confiscated, and “private armies” connected with prominent politicians and other figures were broken up. Newspapers were shut down, and the mass media were brought under tight control. With the stroke of a pen, Marcos closed the Philippine Congress and assumed its legislative responsibilities. During the 1972-81 martial law periods, Marcos, invested with dictatorial powers, issued hundreds of presidential decrees, many of which were never published.

     Years of dictatorial abuse followed, crony capitalism, shackled free enterprise, near economic collapse and a demoralized middle class. The gap between the rich (30%) and poor (70%) remained in a quagmire. Marcos claimed that martial law was the prelude to creating a “New Society” based on new social and political values. Despite Marcos’s often-perceptive criticisms of the old society, Marcos, his wife, and a small circle of close associates, the crony group, now felt free to practice corruption on an awe-inspiring scale. During this time, Marcos called for self-sacrifice and an end to the old society. However, in the “New Society” Marcos’ cronies and his wife, former movie actress Imelda Romualdes-Marcos, willfully engaged in rampant corruption. Although always influential, during the martial law years, Imelda Marcos built her own power base, with her husband’s support. Concurrently the governor of Metro Manila and minister of human settlements (a post created for her), she exercised significant powers. When martial law was lifted in 1981 and a “New Republic” was proclaimed, very little had actually changed and Marcos easily won reelection. 

    The beginning of the end of the Marcos era occurred when his chief political rival, Liberal Party leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who had been jailed by Marcos for eight years, was assassinated as he disembarked from an airplane at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983 after his medical treatment in the United States. Marcos’ cronies were charged with the crime but were acquitted. Aquino, however, became a martyr and his murder became the focus of popular indignation against a corrupt regime.  

EDSA REVOLUTION 

     The Catholic Church, a coalition of old political opposition groups, the business elite, the left wing, and even factions of the armed forces, began to exert pressure on the regime. There was also foreign pressure, and feeling confident with the support given by the Reagan White House, Marcos called for a “snap” presidential election on February 7, 1986. 

   When the Marcos-dominated National Assembly proclaimed Marcos the winner, Cardinal Jaime Sin and key military leaders (including Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and acting Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Lieutenant General Fidel V. Ramos) rallied around the apparent majority vote winner, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, Ninoy Aquino’s widow. 

    In a protest rally held on February 22, 1986 at the Community Concourse in downtown San Diego at the time of the revolution, I was one of the speakers in denouncing President Marcos for perpetuating an atrocious regime and for the mass fraud and terrorism committed during the recent Presidential election in the country. I was appointed by Senator Raul Manglapuz as National Chapter Executive of Movement for Free Philippines (MFP) he founded.  

   The following is to share with you excerpts of my speech that I considered my very important participation in Philippine political history.  

February 22, 1986: SAN DIEGO RALLY- EDSA REVOLTION SPEECH  

    Ladies and gentlemen: We have finally come to the final hour and the election in the Philippines, our beloved country, has ended but not over yet. Democracy has faced the toughest challenge of resurrection in the Island of the brave and the home of the free. It is the Filipino people’s turn to make a judgment wherever they are, whether here in the United States, Canada or other parts of the world…What remains to be done now is to save our people from the continued Marcos rule. The reason you and I are here this afternoon is to appeal to the conscience of the people of the United States, to the leaders of the government, particularly to Mr. Reagan, to stop support of a government that has destroyed and gutted the very main fiber of democratic principles in the Philippines… 

…. Ferdinand Marcos has devoted the greater part of his twenty years of presidency in plundering the economy of the Philippines and corrupting its civic institution. In the ultimate act of greed and larceny, he has brazenly stolen and hijacked the expressed hope of the Filipino people for a return to democratic rule. The hue and cry in the Philippines is for a change to a democracy. The country’s economy is deplorable; peace and order are deteriorating all over the country; the insurgents NPA are becoming stronger. Human rights are destroyed and there is no justice served to those perpetuators of crime who happen to be the supporters and cronies of the Marcos administration. 

…The Filipinos proved beyond doubt to the entire world that they want democracy back. But what had happened?  Mr. Marcos stole the election! The will of the people has been trampled. 

   Cory Aquino, the 52-year-old widow of the fallen leader Benigno Aquino, has shown a mandate of the people had it been a free and fair election. There are rampant intimidations of pro Aquino supporters and in some cases murder. A good friend of mine, Evilio Javier from the province of Antique where I came from, was murdered in broad daylight at the Provincial building where he was watching and safeguarding the ballot count for Mrs. Aquino. I lost a great friend, the youngest governor ever elected in the Philippines at age 29 . He was murdered because he is anti-Marcos…

…What we want from you Mr. Reagan is to stop military and moral support of a man who has betrayed that legacy of liberty.  Only then will the Philippines become a true heir to our legacy of liberty. Only then will the shadow of blood vanish from the face of the sun. We will and must continue to seek for that wonderful dream—a return to democracy. Marcos has deprived the Filipino people of that democratic right in the last 20 years and finally the people have awakened.

The People Power Movement— a popular uprising of priest, nuns, ordinary citizens, children, and supported by military units— ousted Marcos on the day of his inauguration (February 25, 1986) and brought Corazon Aquino to power in an almost bloodless revolution. People Power was our shining glory! The whole world applauded our saintly courage, our dignified defiance, and our bloodless solution to expel a dictator. We were the toast of all freedom-loving countries, the envy of all oppressed people. These made news headlines as “the revolution that surprised the world”. The majority of the demonstrators took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, known more commonly by its acronym EDSA, in Quezon City, Metropolitan Manila, and involved over 2,000,000 Filipino civilians as well as several political, military and religious figures.

    In 1986, we placed Cory Aquino, Ninoy’s widow, in Malacañang. She was virtuous, full of probity, sincere and with good intentions for the country. But what happens under Cory? Coup attempts by Honasan, power struggle, political squabbles, and the infighting for juicy deals harassed the amateur Cory presidency. 
The land reform was going good at first, but after she found out her Hacienda Luisita will be greatly affected, that program became in oblivion.

    After Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos was elected as the President. But all of Ramos’ gains during his presidency fade away into thin air. The poor became poorer than ever.



    Because he was a popular movie actor, Erap Estrada was elected President to manage the country. He enjoyed widespread popularity, particularly among the poor moviegoers. In October 2000, however, Estrada was accused of having accepted millions of pesos in payoffs from illegal gambling businesses. To quote an anonymous writer, “The jueteng bombs exploded! People were aghast at knowing the bizarre drama of alleged bribery, gambling, drunkenness, womanizing, deceit, and corruption.” Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives, he was forced from office on January 20, 2001. He was imprisoned. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (the daughter of the late President Diosdado Macapagal) was sworn in as Estrada’s successor on the day of his departure. We thought effulgent, eternal splendor finally arrived. We were inspired that Malacañang regained its honor and dignity. But more total failure happened instead! The peso plummeted to a horrifying US$1 to P51. Graft and corruption, plunder, scam, thievery ruled the country. Estrada was pardoned and now running again for President of the Archipelago. C’mon a former impeached president and served in prison to run again?

  Again, the whole nation was witnessing sickening crimes attributed to the inept people in the government.     

     As of 2008 there are 90 million Filipinos in the country. The poor still remained 70% of the population. Now, for the election for May 2010, what we are about to experience is the shredding of the covenant of the 1986 “people power” revolution. Politically, it is a despicable country. To win an election you must be filthy rich. I’m referring to an English slang. Call it the way you think. Is politics in the Philippines simply filthy? Filipinos in general have to be responsible; however, they are noted to be openly immature in our politics. A lot of stupidity: a handsome movie star versus an honest and brilliant political scientist, they will vote for the movie star.

     Whoever wins in this election, what, then, does the future hold for Filipinos? The question was posted by a columnist: “How much lower can a people and nation fall before the shame of dishonesty and thievery awakens the comatose integrity and honor of the Filipino race?”

    Quo Vadiz, Filipinos? I put this question to the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines. He must know this brief history.

EXCLUSIVE
by Perry Diaz

I was just informed from very reliable source that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will nominate a Fil-Am to the California Supreme Court on Thursday, July 22, 2010.

This is to fill up a vacancy that will occur with the retirement of California Chief Justice Ronald M. George on January 2, 2011.  However,  Schwarzenegger has to nominate the next Chief Justice no later than September 16, 2010 in order for George’s successor to appear on the November ballot for the position of Chief Justice.

To fill up the position, Schwarzenegger could elevate another Supreme Court justice or nominate someone from the Court of Appeals, the lower courts or even outside the California judicial system.

My source did not specify if the Fil-Am nominee would be for the Chief Justice or Justice position.  However, I predict that Schwarzenegger will nominate the Fil-Am as the next California Supreme Court Chief Justice. Either way, this would be the first for a Fil-Am in the U.S. mainland.  The first Fil-Am State Chief Justice was the late Chief Justice Benjamin Menor of the Hawaii Supreme Court.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)