February 2011

ON DISTANT SHORE
By Val G. Abelgas

During the term of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, she and her minions tried to downplay People Power and bury it into oblivion. Despite their yearly efforts to ignore it, however, people power is far from dead and the spirit of EDSA will continue to live for as long as there are people who are willing to stand up against tyranny and oppression, and to fight injustice and corruption.

Arroyo, who was the accidental beneficiary of the second EDSA People Power Revolt, wanted us to forget EDSA because she feared being engulfed by its awesome power. She feared the very forces that catapulted her to power, a power she just as soon abused. She feared the very people that gave her their trust, albeit hesitantly, in EDSA 2 in January 2001. Her fear had grown so much, she couldn’t stand to see people gathering, especially at EDSA, and she soon turned to the same oppressive tactics and policies that the people repulsed at EDSA in 1986 and 2001.

While the Filipino people seemed to have abandoned the spirit of EDSA, because of their perception, rightly or wrongly, that their efforts and sacrifices in the two peaceful revolutions have not brought positive changes to their lives nor to the country’s political and economic well-being, the world obviously has not forgotten.

The recent people power revolutions that have engulfed the Middle East and Northern Africa in recent weeks are testimony to the legacy that those four days of People Power Revolution at EDSA, starting Feb. 22 until Feb. 25, left to the world. The recent revolutions are a repeat of the uprisings that rocked and democratized communist Eastern Europe, starting with the fall of the East German government and the eventual dismantling of the Berlin Wall in late 1989, and the lifting of the mythical Iron Curtain, both longtime symbols of communism in the region.

The people power uprisings spread all the way to the once mighty Soviet Empire, with the former Soviet republics declaring their independence from Moscow.

Now, the EDSA People Power-inspired revolts are spreading all across the Arab World in the Middle East and North Africa, toppling dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and threatening to oust tyrants and monarchies in Libya, Iran, Algeria, Bahrain and Yemen. The tyrants of the world are shaking in fear.

These recent events lend even more significance to the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution the past week. Although the two People Power revolts led to two failed governments, the first because the installed leader was obviously unprepared for the humongous task of rebuilding a severely damaged nation, and the second because the installed leader betrayed the people, the lesson that EDSA left must not be lost on the people – that the power of the people is supreme, and that the answer to tyranny and injustice is people power.

While nearly all people power uprisings led to the downfall of long-entrenched tyrants and dictators, or the downfall of inept and corrupt leaders, people power need not be limited to the toppling of tyrants and dictators. The people must not wait for another abusive president to relive the spirit of EDSA.

People power can also be harnessed to pressure the existing government to go after the corrupt and abusive officials of both the past and present administrations. People power can be rekindled at EDSA to stop the evil designs of national leaders to perpetuate themselves in power, to stop Congress from passing unfair legislations, to pressure a callous Ombudsman to resign, to pressure government to act against human rights abuses and injustice, and to air their legitimate grievances.

EDSA must live on to be a constant reminder to corrupt and abusive officials that if they do not mend their ways, they would pay the price at the altar of freedom and justice. EDSA must not only rise to topple tyrants, but must continually be on the go to prevent leaders from becoming tyrants, and to make sure that the nation’s leaders remain answerable to the people.

That is the spirit of EDSA, and it lives on.

(valabelgas@aol.com)

by Mohammadnur A. Ajihil

Twenty five years after the 1986 People Power or EDSA revolution, the country is still mired in multifarious problems, such as: massive graft and corruption, rampant crimes and unstable peace and order particularly in Mindanao, deeply rooted poverty and marginalized economic existence of majority poor Filipinos right in the heart of Metro Manila, weak governance direction, lack of educational opportunities in the countryside, and the most pernicious practice of political debt and accommodation of who helped me financially, who are my friends, classmates and family members being the priority of selection into the mantle and clout of power. The people are again taken for granted even those who did something to help.

Yes, we have removed a perceived dictator. We have regained back democracy though its strength and popular support was tested when certain elements in the Armed Forces tried to seize power but failed; then our adherence to the Constitutional process of compliance using an impeachment on a former President accused of abusing power and authority had resulted in his removal backed up by a second wave of people power and withdrawal of military support on his leadership; and the ascendancy of another President who every Filipino taught would be the savior but turned out as the master tactician that even bled the country dry under nine years of corruption unprecedented in the country’s history.

Then Benigno’Noynoy’ Simeon Aquino III was elected last May 2010 elections as the President popularly supported by the people because he is the son of a fallen hero Ninoy Aquino and former president Cory, an acknowledged icon of the People Power revolt against a dictator that catapulted her to power. Noynoy’s ascendancy was more of sympathy for her mother’s death from colon cancer and the anger and protest of the people over massive corruption during Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s nine years in office more than anything else. The people thought Noynoy then was a better alternative than his opponents who were known allies of Macapagal-Arroyo and a former president who have already been tried and tested. His political entry came at the right time because Filipinos were hungry for one leader whom they could identify with in their aspiration for clean, honest and all encompassing and embracing leadership.

Senator Mar Roxas was then the looming candidate for President of the Liberal Party before Noynoy even had the inkling of running for the presidency. Mar had long prepared and planned for the presidential race, in fact, had already executed his plan through massive media exposure and propaganda blitz as ‘Mr. Palengke’ and other attention getting means to win hearts of the people. Noynoy’s luck came because Mar was a good friend and partyman when he yielded the official candidacy for president to him. In effect, Mar made him president because of one singular act of giving way and instead settled to be Noynoy’s running mate as Vice President but unlucky did not make it. Too bad Noynoy won but Mar lost, so there were many stories to this as we have learned.

Now as president, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino in today’s celebration has rekindled to the Filipino nation the spirit of EDSA talking about responsible leadership in his speech marking the 25th Anniversary of EDSA People Power celebration. He is asking for UNITY so the country can move forward. He has again emphasized that his government will erase graft and corruption and make people responsible be held accountable and that his governance would always recognize the people’s sentiments and aspirations asking them to join him and achieve his ‘ang daan matuwid’ and ‘kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.’ On face value what he’s been saying is good, and cannot be argued upon. Yet is it true?

On the contrary, are we seeing something truthful and credible on the things he has been saying like for example on unity and transparency? I don’t think so, because on the issue alone of the ARMM election, there’s no transparency to what he says

because what he wants done to postpone the election denying the people the right to exercise their free will in an honest, clean and credible elections is undemocratic. And his desire to just appoint officials of ARMM disregarding the mandate and legal intent of RA 6734 as amended by RA 9054 providing for democratic elections smacks of a leadership that wants to dictate and be followed instead of him following the law.

And on unity, how can he unite the country when he cannot even show respect to the ARMM constituents by disregarding their sentiments because they were not heard and given the chance to be consulted since Malacanang already certified a bill as ‘urgent’ calling for the ARMM election postponement without the benefit of any public consultation on the matter? And Congress already approved that the ARMM election shall be postponed because Malacanang wanted it that way.

Shouldn’t unity start from the action of the President by listening and respecting the wishes of the people rather than the people following his wishes even if its against their will? Shouldn’t transparency be shown by actions of Malacanang allowing democratic processes to flourish and prosper not curtailing people’ rights since those are among the values and principles that we all fought during the EDSA People Power Revolution to restore back freedom and democracy?

UNITY and TRANSPARENCY, Where Is It? Posted by Nung’s Through and True at 10:52 PM

By Edwin D. Bael*

Democracy is ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ according to President Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address (1863).

At EDSA I (1986), we Filipinos and our military toppled a long-standing dictatorship. Critical masses of people filled the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA); our people’s pent-up desire for freedom and their longsuffering patience – broken by the last straw of rigged elections (1986) on top of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination (1983) and more than two decades of dictatorship – found a ‘break in the dam’ and a ‘trigger to come together’ in the initial military revolts in Camp Aguinaldo (Enrile) and Camp Crame (Ramos) both along the EDSA. “People Power” became a global byword, capped with a flight to Hawaii, courtesy of the USA. Democracy returned to our shores, though not without wrinkles wrought by military adventurism.

Then at EDSA II (2001), a “conspiracy among political and business elites, military top brass and Catholic hierarchy”1/ usurped a democratically-elected albeit personally-imperfect presidency. According to critics, the ‘conspirators’ effected a de facto coup d’etat while hiding behind a well-planned and executed smokescreen of bused in and texted crowds forming critical masses of people in EDSA; thus, they ‘deposed and replaced’ a sitting President for a reason not found in the Constitution: the “constructive resignation doctrine” of the Davide Supreme Court. Subsequently, the critics continued, to foil any chance of success for the backlash EDSA III (2001), the usurper’s conspiring military and police violently prevented people from forming any critical mass in EDSA and anywhere else; any groups starting to increase in number immediately got broken up forcefully. They improved on the lessons of Tiananmen Square (1989).

In the 2004 elections, military elements again played a vital role, this time to “further legitimize and consolidate the power” of the usurper. The “Hello, Garci” tapes abundantly showed how massive election ‘dagdag-bawas’ (addition-subtraction) games were played by trusted generals and COMELEC Commissioner Garcillano to distort, replace and defeat the people’s will. The ruling clique maintained itself until 2010 mainly through ‘bagfuls of money’ as the then Governor of Pampanga, Father Ed Panlilio, found out in a 2007 visit to Malacanang and through astutely “holding the balls” of and at the same time “giving rich morsels” to cohorts, all done amidst the disengagement of the masses weary of mass action, yet continuing in vain hopes based on false promises, while muttering the communal sigh: ’what else is new’? Working abroad remained the preferred solution!

We are now hoping P’Noy Aquino III’s administration – swept to power in 2010 by the upswell in disaffection against corruption by the usurper and her ilk – will really bring us the “democracy” we dream of, against the backdrop of gripping dramas within, surrounding, related to or as consequences of “investigations in aid of legislation”.

Now, also, we witness through instantaneous global communications the on-going turmoil and upheavals in Arab streets, bringing out a cascade of EDSA memories upon our consciousness, making us wonder whether they will have “EDSA I” and/or “EDSA II/EDSA III” outcomes.

We have learned that, in “people power” types of actions, success or failure hinges largely on the pivotal role of the military (or the entity with virtual monopoly of arms) in allowing or encouraging the gathering of a critical mass of people for a time, or in preventing or denying the formation of such mass numbers, not unlike the atom bomb which only bursts into vaporizing explosion when a critical mass of fissile materials are brought together and triggered through fission or implosion. In other words, it generally depends on whether or not the military sides with the people.

On what we are seeing unravel then, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, some Filipinos might say: “Been there, done that.” But now what? Do we really have democracy as Lincoln defined it? Or simply a government of representatives, by representatives and for representatives who invariably win elections because of money and media popularity, thereby perpetuating elite rule through bagfuls of lucre? Isn’t this simply the operational manifestation of oligarchy, which is endemic in the third world?

We might be inclined to say no, yes, yes to these three questions. And, yes, we are never finished with the process of achieving true democracy, for “eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty”. 2/

Moreover, we don’t yet have Rizal’s magnificent obsession of “moral and material development” for the Philippines 3/ by which we can behold Inang Bayan with just pride, as the “Jewel of eastern waters: griefless the dusky eyes; lifted the upright brow: unclouded, unfurrowed, unblemished and unashamed!” 4/

But that does not mean we, the sovereign citizens, can do nothing. We, the ultimate stockholders of Republika ng Pilipinas, can choose to focus on the moral aspect of governance; for technocracy without morality has allowed, nay facilitated, the siphoning of public funds into private pockets. If the ‘walang kurap, walang mahirap’ (no corrupt, no poor) slogan can be given any real meaning, it might be done through another type of people power: not so much in asphalt or concrete streets but perhaps more so in the routes, channels, connectivities and hubs of the worldwide web. This way, the people can hold representatives accountable and loosen oligarchic control.

Since “people and government are correlated and complementary“ and “a stupid government is an anomaly among a righteous people” 5/, we the people can use modern tools like facebook, twitter, text, phone cameras, etc. to expose the corrupt. And let’s make sure our military is with us, involved from the beginning; after all, being part of and coming from us, “(their) goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory”6/ based on the principle that “(s)overeignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them”7/.

Of course, fighting corruption requires that all parties involved should not be spared. But being a tango of corruptor and corrupted danced at various degrees of intricacy – whether one on one, in groups or system wide – at different levels (perpendicular view) and in diverse sectors (horizontal view) throughout our society, corruption seems to have splattered on almost every one. As no one can walk through mud without getting muddied somehow, somewhere, most if not all of us may have been affected by or involved in corruption: whether actor or acted on, directly or indirectly, wittingly or unwittingly, liked it or not, with or without intention. Fighting corruption then is difficult, challenging and needs a systems approach. But, let’s agree and say: ‘Tama na!’ (Enough!) Let’s start anew. There is no obligation to repeat errors or actions that do not redound to the greatest good of our greatest numbers. “Sa ikabubuti ng madla, ‘di lang sa akin” (For the good of most, not just mine) can be our decision criterion.

Wiki-corrupt.ph, any one? Or corruptph-facebook? Or whatever? We call on the youth – “fair hope of this land of mine” 8/ – to lead, spearhead and choose any and all effective weapons. For your age group has the ease, access, competence and facility in the latest innovative technologies; when your parents are gone, only you, your children and grandchildren shall eat of the fruit of your actions, whether for, against or indifferent to corruption. Other age groups with less technical ability can only support you. But with the new and more effective tools now available, which you have the skills and opportunities to wield, let it not be said that you allowed the generational curse of corruption to continue and hobble more generations of Filipinos.

No more undue glory, honor, respect nor value should be accorded the corruptor! As in Genesis, the corruptor Satan bears more blame than the beguiled Eve or the misled Adam who nonetheless adopted the policy of taking the verboten. Through valid evidence, let us uphold our laws particularly those against plunder. But as a general approach, let’s focus on rejecting the sin of corruption (covetousness, avarice or greed combined with the consumerist desires for having-it-all-now and getting-away-with-it in ease, comfort, and convenience regardless of negative outcomes). We need not reject the sinners who must still be loved the way God did and still does. Let’s remember what Jesus told the adulteress whose stoning he stopped by scribbling on the ground ‘Let him without sin throw the first stone’: “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, do not sin any more” 9/ In addition, let’s recall the Islamic teaching: “Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant.” 10/

Worth adopting as our own in this new resurgence for integrity, is Rizal’s firm resolve in ‘Hymn to Talisay’: “There is no darkness, there is no black night that we dread, nor violent storms; and if the devil himself comes forth, he shall be caught alive or dead.”11/ We can use the poster: “Wanted Dead or Alive: CORRUPTION” “Reward: MORAL AND MATERIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES”. And let’s pursue this program declaring to Inang Bayan no longer just “to die to give you life”12/ but rather “to live and to succeed with uprightness to give you a better life”, while hoping that other peoples on the march to democracy will already integrate the moral aspects of governance as they advance.

___________

* Edwin D. Bael is a Knight Commander of the Order of the Knights of Rizal. He was Consul General of the Philippines in Los Angeles, California (2000-2002) and is now the Managing Principal of Bael Consulting, LLC, based in Phoenix, Arizona.

1/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDSA_Revolution_of_2001

2/ Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

3/ Rizal’s Letter to the Governor and Captain General of the Philippine Islands, Hongkong, 21 Mar 1892, Epistolario Rizalino,

III No. 577, p. 306

4/ Nick Joaquin translation: part of 4th stanza, Ultimo Adios: “Joya del Mar de Oriente, secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa

frente, sin ceno, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.”

5/ Rizal’s Essay “The Indolence of the Filipinos”, La Solidaridad, 15 Sept 1890, p. 202.

6/ Section 3, Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution

7/ Section 1, Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution

8/ Nick Joaquin translation: “Bella esperanza de la Patria mia”, 4th line, 1st Stanza, Rizal’s poem “A La Juventud Filipina”

9/ John 8:11; New American Bible; http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/john/john8.htm

10/ Al-‘Araf 7:199; http://www.alquranclasses.com/?p=369

11/ Edwin Bael translation: part of 4th stanza, Rizal’s poem ‘Hymn to Talisay’: “No hay tinieblas, no hay noches oscuras que

temamos, ni fiera tormenta; y si el mismo Luzbel se presenta, muerto o vivo cogido ha de ser.”

12/ Edwin Bael translation: “Morir por darte vida”, 4th line, 5th Stanza, Rizal’s Ultimo Adios

SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
By Ernesto M. Maceda
The Philippine Star

The Aquino government has been hit by a double whammy from the World Bank and the United Nations.

The World Bank quarterly report on the Philippines entitled “Robust Growth, Stubborn Poverty” stated that despite the remarkable rebound, the latest of which was a record 7.3 percent expansion rate for last year, growth continues to bypass the poor.

The report cited the latest official poverty data which it said “confirm a lack of poverty reduction response to economic growth in the Philippines.”

Dr. Sarah Cook, Director of the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) submitted a flagship report to a UP forum expressing the view that P-Noy’s P21.2 Billion Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program also known as PPPP will not reduce poverty.

Add a triple whammy, the price of crude oil has reached $100/barrel which means more price increases.

* * *

NO REVOLVING DOOR. . . President Aquino has said that the next AFP Chief of Staff (COS) will be a younger one who will have a longer tenure as COS. It’s a welcome move.

There is an existing law we authored that no officers can be promoted within one year of retirement. While the law does not apply to the COS position, it would be a good policy for the President to adopt it for Chief of Staff appointments. As shown by past experience, a new Chief of Staff who will serve for only a few months will not be able to implement real reforms. It might even be advisable to appoint one who will serve for at least 2 years.

* * *

P-NOY TO BINAY. . . President Aquino has designated Vice President Jejomar Binay to study and make a decision on the issue of President Ferdinand Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

He said VP Binay will give it a fair hearing. It’s going to be a tough call for human rights lawyer Binay.

At the same time Wednesday, President Aquino told Malacañang reporters that Mar Roxas’ mission to Taiwan was “not successful”. At a Malacañang presscon Roxas tried to save face by claiming he was assured by the Taiwanese government that the rights and welfare of 90,000 OFWs there will be protected. Roxas’ claim is belied by the curt announcement of Jennifer Wang, Chairman of the Taiwan Council of Labor Affairs that serious punitive measures will be imposed on Filipino OFWs.

Binay – 2, Roxas – 0

* * *

CEBU POLICE MISBEHAVIORS. . . Supt. Henry Biñas, Chief of Police of Talisay City, Cebu has been formally accused of a sexual attack by Cebu Daily News reporter Carmel Lois Matus.

In her affidavit, Matus said that after interviewing him in his office on Feb. 8, Supt. Biñas grabbed her wrist, pulled her close, and touched her breast while trying to kiss her. He also punched her hard in the stomach.

The Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists condemned the attack and asked the PNP to fast track the investigation. It’s a big scandal in Cebu. Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia has also asked for the relief of Cebu Provincial Police Director Erson Digal.

* * *

GUESS WHO? . . . A BIR officer demanded P80 million from 2 taxpayers or else they will be closed down. Since it was too big and the BIR officer refused to reduce the amount, the 2 businessmen opted not to pay the amount. The BIR official made good his threat and closed down the 2 business establishments. Another businessman was more fortunate. The same BIR officer demanded a 60 percent bribe out of the 100 percent assessment. He offered to pay 40 percent and 60 percent to be paid to the government. Again, it was refused. But he is more fortunate because a few days later, the BIR officer was shot dead in front of his office. The new OIC is more accommodating.

What this story demonstrates is that while BIR Comm. Kim Henares may be honest, her subordinates have not yet mended their ways. The BIR will miss its target P860 billion collection for 2010.

* * *

ARE WE PREPARED? . . . The destructive earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand with at least 75 dead and hundreds missing and wounded is another wake up call for the Philippine government. Are we prepared to handle such an earthquake happening in Metro Manila which sits in a major fault line? Shouldn’t we now relocate all those living on top of the Marikina fault? . . MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that a 7.2 earthquake can burn down and destroy Metro Manila. . .

Latest reports say that 14 Filipinos are missing, most probably trapped in the 6-story CTV building.

* * *

BLUE RIBBON HEARING. . . Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot was caught lying again when he denied owning a P25 million luxury condominium at Essencia at Global City. Sen. Drilon presented a Deed of Sale signed by his wife Erlinda and himself which he then confirmed was signed by him. The AMLC also confirmed the bank records of his P740 million deposits P300 million of which is in the name of Edgardo Yambao, his brother-in-law.

* * *

TIDBITS. . . The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights headed by Sen. Francis Escudero will investigate the case of the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China.

A retired police General admitted to us that he believes 30 percent of policemen are corrupt but he blames their officers for allowing their corrupt practices. . .

The case of Global Asiatique owned by Delfin Lee is just one of several big irregular projects funded by Pag-IBIG. . .

Greetings to Deputy Speaker Noli Fuentebella (Camarines Sur, 3rd dist.); Cong. Mark Mendoza (Batangas, 4th dist.); Cong. Jose Benaldo (Cagayan de Oro, 1st dist.); Tessie Sy Coson and Marie Singco of Cebu City, who are avid readers of our column.

BY REY O. ARCILLA
MALAYA

‘People, both in and out of the DFA, heaved a sigh of relief when they learned that, finally, Noynoy is about to show Romulo the door.’

WHOSE side is Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. on? People want to know. Why is he soft-pedaling on the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez?

The Supreme Court has finally decided to let the House go ahead with the impeachment proceedings against Gutierrez after months of delay. And now, here comes Belmonte saying the House should wait until the Supreme Court decides on a motion for reconsideration expected to be filed by Gutierrez. None has as yet been filed as of this writing. One may safely assume that Gutierrez will wait until the last minute to file her petition before the high court, if only to further delay her rendezvous with destiny.

To begin with, the Supreme Court had no business telling a co-equal branch of the government what to do and how to go about its business. But Belmonte meekly acquiesced to the Court’s intrusion. And now he wants to further delay the process?

Pay heed, Mr. Speaker. The people are curious about your strange behavior. Are you so scared or influenced by a prominent member in your chamber, namely, Gloria Arroyo? Or what?

***

My take is that Gutierrez will be impeached by the House and subsequently found guilty by the Senate where she will most likely expose herself to embarrassment and even humiliation.

People would not want to see her end up like the late Angelo Reyes.

The best option for her would be to resign immediately.

***

Once Gutierrez is out of the way, President Noynoy Aquino should forthwith appoint a worthy replacement and go full blast in the prosecution of the cases against alleged wrongdoers in past administrations, especially Arroyo’s and Ramos’. Noynoy should forget about the Truth Commission. It is not worth fighting for in the Supreme Court. That commission will end up convicting no one anyway. And with Hilario Davide who himself had been the subject of impeachment for his alleged mishandling of the Judiciary Development Fund during his tenure as Chief Justice as head, the commission is doomed to fail.

***

Wazzup? Why does Noynoy seem to be vacillating in the case of future ex-foreign secretary Alberto Romulo?

Last week, Noynoy said he was going to announce changes in his Cabinet. He even singled out Romulo. Weekend came and no announcement was made. What happened instead was Romulo filed an indefinite leave of absence and, according to the DFA spokesman, “until the appointment of the new secretary of foreign affairs.” (Romulo also named an acting secretary. Since he was going on indefinite leave until the appointment of the new secretary, shouldn’t he have left that for Noynoy to decide? Maybe he had Noynoy’s clearance? And why, pray tell, was he still issuing a statement over the weekend on China’s deferment of the execution of three Filipinos when there is already an acting secretary?)

Now, that’s puzzling. Romulo should have just tendered his resignation effective upon the appointment of his successor. Filing an indefinite leave of absence gives the impression he is still hoping against hope he would be retained further should his purported replacement become unable to take over. The worst kept secret in town is that former ambassador Albert del Rosario, an Arroyo political appointee, will replace him.

The question is why Noynoy wouldn’t appoint Del Rosario now. Could it perhaps have something to do with a possible preference of Del Rosario to being appointed as ad interim secretary when Congress is not in session (beginning March 26)? If so, what difference would it make if he were appointed acting secretary now while Congress is in session? The important thing is that Romulo should be replaced like yesterday. He has done more than enough harm to the Filipino people through his incompetence and horrible performance in the DFA for the last six and a half years.

Palace sources say that Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa has been partly responsible for the delay in Romulo’s exit. The same sources say that as early as last December, Noynoy had already instructed Ochoa to prepare the appointment papers of Del Rosario but Ochoa reportedly “forgot” to do it. Some say Ochoa had been approached by the Iglesia ni Kristo (INK) and prevailed upon him to “forget” Noynoy’s instructions. This allegedly led to a “quarrel” between Ochoa and his boss (or is it buddy?). Apparently, Noynoy wants to get rid of Romulo but doesn’t seem to have the heart to wield the axe himself. He’d rather that Ochoa do that for him. Unfortunately, however, Romulo seems to have gained the sympathy of Ochoa.

In any case, now that Romulo has gone on indefinite leave “until the appointment of the new secretary”, it behooves Noynoy to appoint as soon as possible a successor. I understand Noynoy is slated to go shortly on state visits to Indonesia, Singapore and possibly Brunei. Also, a trip to China in May is in the works. I believe Romulo’s replacement should already be in place by now so that he can prepare for those engagements of Noynoy.

***

When Romulo’s departure finally happens, it will be due to his incompetence. Never mind that he has violated certain ethical standards expected of government officials. His inability to uphold the dignity of his position through his actuations here and abroad will also be a reason. Too, his blind submission to Gloria Arroyo’s whims and to his own, I might add, on matters of promotion and assignment of DFA personnel and the indiscriminate appointment of political envoys.

And so, after nearly eight months, people in and out of the DFA heaved a sigh of relief now that Noynoy is finally about to show Romulo the door.

But wait… Noynoy seems determined to keep Romulo in government and, in the process, go against the principles and standards he claims to stand for when it comes to government service. He says Romulo may be appointed to another government position.

For goodness’ sake, why?! The man has proven himself incompetent. He has also demonstrated his lack of delicadeza a number of times and his tendency to set aside government rules and regulations!

Word is Noynoy is thinking of, among others, appointing him Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York! Good grief! Does Noynoy know what that job entails? How physically and mentally taxing it is?! And Romulo is close to 80!

Does Noynoy realize that our post in the UN is our show window to the world? It is the only post we have where all the members of the international community are represented. It is where member nations send their best and brightest for that very same reason.

No, Mr. President, please do not commit another blunder by appointing Romulo to the UN post in New York or, for that matter, to any position in government. The Commission on Audit? No way! The man has been known to disregard proper disposition of government funds. The Monetary Board? Geeez! The man knows nothing about monetary matters except the allowances he used to get when he traveled abroad.

Some people say Romulo “has no money,” that he needs a job. But where does it say he should continue to be employed by the people, notwithstanding his dismal on-the-job performance?

On a couple of occasions at least, I suggested that Noynoy should give Romulo a sinecure, like board membership in a government-owned or -controlled corporation, instead of retaining him as foreign secretary. I take that back.

The best thing to do really is to allow him to go to pasture. Or if he really needs a job, let Noynoy’s sisters and/or the INK who batted for him to keep the DFA post give or find him a job. He’s had nine uninterrupted years of making hay under the Arroyo regime and nearly eight months under Noynoy’s watch. Enough is enough! The people have no responsibility to employ him indefinitely, just because “he has no money”! There are tens of millions of other Filipinos without a job or money. That is why Noynoy instituted the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program under the DSWD. Hmm… that’s a thought…. Nah!

***

Warm congratulations to President Noynoy on the decision of the Chinese Government to defer the execution of three Filipino drug mules!

Some people, particularly his supporters, will tend to attribute the reprieve to Vice President Jejomar Binay. Although he deserves some credit for the role he played as Noynoy’s messenger, let us not forget it was the latter’s earlier decisions on matters pertaining to PH-China relations that did it. So there….

Oh, thanks to the Chinese Government for its “gesture of friendship”. May that gesture ultimately extend to a commutation of the death sentence meted out to our nationals.

***

There are very strong winds of change blowing through the Middle East. They started in Tunisia, then on to Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and now Bahrain, Libya and Morocco.

Nobody knows when and where the winds of change will dissipate. But one thing is for certain – our government will have to be ready to meet any contingency that may affect our people in those parts.

***

From an internet friend:

A woman goes to the doctor, with some bruises.

Doctor: “What happened?”

Woman: “Doctor, I don’t know what to do. Every time my husband comes home drunk he beats me up.”

Doctor: “I have the perfect medicine for that”, he said. “When your husband comes home drunk, just take a glass of sweet tea and start swishing it around in your mouth. Just swish and swish but don’t swallow until he goes to bed and is asleep.”

Two weeks later the woman comes back to the doctor looking fresh and reborn.

Woman: “Doctor, that was a brilliant idea! Every time my husband came home drunk, I swished with sweet tea. I swished and swished and, sure enough he didn’t touch me!”

Doctor: “You see how much keeping your mouth shut helps?”

***

Warm congratulations to Donito Donaire Jr. for his impressive victory over Fernando Montiel of Mexico.

The Mexicans must “hate” us now. He and Manny Pacquiao have made it a habit to demolish top Mexican fighters.

***

Today is the 302nd day of the fourth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.

***

Email: roacrosshairs@yahoo.com

Landscape
By Gemma Cruz Araneta

Today, there are thousands of Filipino overseas workers in Cairo and Alexandria keeping out of harm’s way as Egyptians do their version of “people power” against Pres. Hosni Mubarak. In June 1882, Jose Rizal was among the few Filipinos who sailed through the Suez Canal and like today, there was political turmoil in Egypt.

On 2 June (Friday) at precisely half past twelve, Rizal’s ship arrived at Suez , “between Africa and Arabia”, a small town by the right bank of the eponymous canal. They were quarantined for 24 hours and were served cherries and dates . That night the moon was “beautiful and bewitching, it reminded me of my native land…” and Rizal in anguish beseeched the moon to “reflect loving sentiments “ on his beautiful country.

At about eleven the next day, doctors came to disinfect the ship and one of them, whom Rizal had already met, spoke about political turmoil in Egypt. Rizal wrote: “The Khedive, according to what I have heard, is a prisoner of the Minister of War Arabi-Bey who, it seems, wants to execute a coup d’etat. Everybody, the troops and the youth, seem to be on the side of this young man who has won the goodwill of all.” Rizal’s incisive comments elicited a “Bravo, that is good!” from the Egyptian doctor who was a fan of Arabi.

As the ship entered the canal, Rizal mused about “the work which immortalizes Lesseps and yields incalculable benefits… ” Indeed, it shortened travel time between Europe and the Philippines and hastened the influx of liberal ideas which inspired Rizal and his contemporaries. He took note of the canal’s dimensions, its lakes, the surrounding desert, “sandy, yellowish, devoid of any vegetation.” He spotted “a wretched young man running alongside the ship, picking up pieces of bread which the passengers threw to him…”and felt that “was enough to sadden even the happiest man.”

There was traffic in the Suez Canal and they were grounded; Rizal was getting restless, “Who knows how long we shall remain here?” he wrote. But on 5 June, an unusual experience: ” We have seen a mirage, a spectacle which is rare in other countries but very natural here. In the distance we could see islands, seas, which are none other than the sky and the mountains.” After five days in the Suez Canal, they finally sailed to Port Said.

We know of that memorable trip because Rizal was an indefatigable writer. The daily entries in his travel journal were factual but with sudden pangs of nostalgia whenever something reminded him of the native land. In contrast, a letter to his parents, also about Suez, was affectionate and reassuring, enough to warm the cockles of one’s heart. ( Reminiscences and Travels of Jose Rizal, NHI, 1977)

(gemma601@yahoo.com)

By Tony Meloto

It always feels good to visit the Vatican when I am in Rome. I need to be constantly reminded that the causes that are precious in my life come from God especially at times when the waves get rough. The sacrifice I put into Gawad Kalinga is meaningless if it is not anchored on a firm belief that it is not God’s plan for my country to be poor and I have a sacred responsibility to help make it un-poor.

The Vatican is holy ground where sacred oaths are made by serious Catholics like me who mean to keep them.

I am here in Europe again after barely four months since my last visit in October in my relentless pursuit of a better life for our people as my highest aspiration, my greatest legacy to my heirs and the best exit strategy of a grace filled life.

I try to remain focused by not allowing myself to be distracted by enticing global events around me like the people power struggle in Egypt or the local drama ushering the painful birth of honor and courage in our country as we purge corruption out of our complex system of patronage politics and misplaced loyalties. I pray for Heidi Mendoza and those with guts and balls like her. I feel a deep spiritual connection with people who just want things to be better for their country whatever path they take.

Mine is clear: Gawad Kalinga – building sustainable intentional communities, protecting the environment, educating and raising healthy children and creating wealth at the bottom of the pyramid.

Nation-building is my brand of kingdom-building; being my brother’s keeper is my peaceful strategy of bridging social inequity and creating heaven on earth. The thriving GK communities, with all their struggles and challenges, are my proof of concept of effective Christian stewardship, the visible and massive evidence of the power of ‘loving neighbor’ when practiced against all odds.

At this stage of my life, all I want is to be faithful to my vows, to do what is good for my people and to follow what is right for my country. No equivocation, with passion bordering on insanity when what is considered sane works against the best interest of the least and the oppressed.

Standing at St Peter’s square without a soul in sight on this cold starry night somehow it felt right to seize this solemn moment of grace. I reiterated my vow not to accept the crime of poverty in my resource blessed country and not tolerate the sin of hypocrisy that justifies it. There is a scent of hope in our country with an honest President and many concerned citizens who are finally sick and tired of our stupidity and are determined to end our spiritual and material poverty.

Corruption, dirty politics and injustice that cause poverty are a scandal to my religion and a shame to my citizenship. They simply must end …or at least I should die trying to end it… otherwise it is a shame to call myself a Christian or a Filipino.

I must show to the world that by following the path of Jesus who did not seek power for himself that I can gain the trust and work with the most powerful leaders to do the most good to the weak and the powerless.

The square was still that night – no multitudes that pushed and shoved like the last time I was there when the charismatic one reigned. I was told by my hosts and tour guide, great couple Michael and Linda Stockmann, that my present shepherd was probably still awake as the light was still on in his room. I simply had to pay homage to the Holy Father as a matter of respect and tradition as a Catholic, even from a distance and late as it was. One does not take chances on a serious matter as going to heaven.

The flight to Rome from Paris took two hours where I slept most of the way from sheer exhaustion after a whole day session with French business and engineering students – 37 as of the last count – who were eager to do a two month internship in GK communities in the Philippines July to August this year. I also met with the President of AISEC France who wants to add a hundred more.

Gawad Kalinga is an attractive proposition to young Europeans who are discovering our pearl of the orient seas as the exciting gateway to Asia. The east is no longer just an exotic destination for them but a continent of vast business and career opportunities with the rise of Asian economies. The Philippines is particularly appealing to students of top business schools in Europe and Singapore interested in our emerging model of social entrepreneurship using the GK communes as a massive platform for productivity to help rebuild the economy from the bottom-up with a new bottom-line – social investment in people and planet.

Air France KLM, my home in the sky, is facilitating travel and solidarity between Europe and Asia by building a Dutch village for the homeless north of Manila where Europeans can do humanitarian service.

Social tourism is exciting to those who are out to discover the world with the heart as their compass. Gk villages are particularly appealing to those who not only want to experience poverty but to learn what can be done to end it and experience in the process the happiness of residents who see hope after knowing so much suffering.

My first night in Rome was deep slumber in an old monastery, oblivious to the company of nuns from centuries past hovering around my dead tired body. Anyway, nuns are like guardian angels to me, whether dead or alive. I have the deepest appreciation for many of them because of their nature and calling to serve the least and the lost. They practice to me what many of us Catholics keep hidden, have forgotten or afraid to follow – the beautiful teachings of our church on social justice and peace.

I woke up peaceful and refreshed early morning to a bright sunshine and cool weather to face a hectic day in Rome before flying out to London in the evening for my session in Oxford. The sleep did me a lot of good to start me off hale for a backbreaking schedule of speaking engagements and meetings in 5 European countries in 10 days that would tire others half my age, depriving myself of simple joys like valentine with my wife and birthday with my son the following day. Again the energy is from a deep faith that I am doing God’s work. My peaceful acceptance of the pain of separation from my family to pursue my mission is for me an act of gratitude to God for the gift of loved ones who have found grace themselves in sharing me with others.

I was in Italy briefly to be with grade school children and teenagers at the Deutch Schull Rom who raised funds for homes and scholarships for the poor in the Fiat village in Silay City, Negros Occidental. In this amazing German school where the children of elite Italians and expatriates study, they are taught compassion and stewardship early.

My whole day spent with them was one of my most refreshing experiences in my recent foreign travels. It was not just the 4500 euros that the kids raised from their allowance and various fund raising activities and the moment when all 150 of them proudly went on stage to present to me the huge mock up check. I was deeply moved when they kept still with avid interest while I spoke and nearly half of them lined up to ask me the most endearing and spontaneous questions coming from the purest and most innocent of hearts during the extended Q & A. One blonde boy asked me in German what a kid like him can do to help more poor children in the Philippines go to school. A small Italian girl with an arm in a sling was nearly in tears when the interpreter could hardly hear her faint voice, when all she wanted to know was if I was born in a hospital or in a home. What do the children in the village eat? What happens to them when it rains? Are they happy with their new home? They kept asking and went back to the long line to ask more after I answered their questions.

The session in the morning with the grade school reinforced my faith in the power of inclusive and universal love that Gawad Kalinga draws out in people all over the world.

Love has no language barrier.
It was expressed in German, Italian and English and the heart understood.

Love has no age limit. From the nine year olds who expressed their concern for others so poignantly to our interpreter Alliana, the President of the parents association, who could not hold back her tears while watching expressions of overflowing generosity and profound wisdom from children so young.

Love makes us one. We are one global family building a better, kinder and safer world together. Watching them, I was reminded of my grandchildren that I missed terribly. Somehow the impact of our cause on these foreign children made the pain of being separated from them worth it. After all this is about their future too. My six grandchildren are global Filipinos — three of them British cappuccinos, one brown American, two attractive native hybrid; all of them will grow up loving the Philippines and caring for our people like their parents.

The afternoon session with high school teenagers was no less spirited or inspiring. They showed me great respect and deep concern for others in their quest for answers, convinced perhaps that my cause is noble and honest. I learned later on that many of them took a deep personal interest in our effort because of their affection for their Filipino domestic workers and know about their struggles with poverty at home. They were visibly touched when they realized that the work of Gawad Kalinga is urgent and aims to grow in scale to stop poor parents from leaving their children to seek work abroad. Three of them approached me after the session to say that they now understand my kind of evangelization as an act of love and justice relevant to them as Catholics in a suffering world.

Hearing them I realized that we have an attractive brand in GK to speak about faith with patriotism in a post-religious Europe to a mainstream non-Filipino crowd of various ages without being seen as leftist, ethnic or cultic. Faith is best expressed in loving without borders, in dining with landlords and squatters, with harlots and zealots to build a better world that includes everyone.

It felt reassuring to have the
presence of our envoy to the Vatican, good friend and GK builder Mercy Tuazon and our amiable ambassador to Italy, Romy Manalo. They kept me company the whole afternoon and honored our gracious hosts, from the headmaster and his deputy to the members of the board and the leaders of the parents association, the faculty and the students. Somehow their presence left no doubt in our hosts’ minds that our government and church support our cause.

I left the place to catch my flight to London after a sumptuous Italian meal in a nearby restaurant full of pasta and hope. I just tasted the glory of Rome in the company of my new GK family in Italy who wish to share la dolce vita with my people.

It was simply awesome.

Balitang Kutsero
By Perry Diaz

ILLUSTRATION BY DAVE SAN PEDRO

P-Noy called for a closed-door meeting of his inner circle consisting of his three “shooting buddies,” Rico E. Puno, Ronnie Llamas, and Virgie Torres.  The meeting goes like this:

P-Noy:  Sorry I had to call for this meeting on a short notice, mga kapuso at mga kapamilya.

Rico:  No problemo, Noy.

Ronnie:  Okey lang, Noynoy.

Virgie: Basta ikaw, P-Noy.

P-Noy: Very good!  The reason I’m calling this meeting is that I have a problem with our Chinese friends.

Rico: Which ones?  Lucio Tan, Henry Sy or Ramon Ang?

P-Noy:  None of those.  It’s the Mainland Chinese and the offshore Chinese.

Virgie: Whoa! How’d you get into trouble with them, P-Noy!

Ronnie:  I can help you with the mainlanders, Noynoy.

P-Noy: I know you can, Ronnie.  With your leftist connections you should be able to help. And Virgie, with all your contacts at LTO, you can help with the Taiwanese.

Rico:  How about me, Noy?

P-Noy:  Rico, with your recent FBI training in Quantico, New York, I have a special assignment for you. But let me talk about China first.  As you all know, I sent vice president Jojo Binay to China to plead clemency for the lives of three Pinoy “drug mules” that were to be executed.  Jojo did a great job!  We got a “flash report” through text, which says: “VP Binay saves OFWs from death row in China. Within hours after arrival in China, VP Jojo Binay reached an accord with Chinese government not to execute convicted OFWs and to conduct review of their cases. Binay argued that these Filipinos are themselves victims of drug syndicates. Mabuhay si Binay! Mabuhay ang ating mga OFW!”

Ronnie:  That’s good news!

P-Noy: Well, the bad news is… the Chinese want Spratly in exchange for the “drug mules.”

Rico: No way!  Just let the Chinese hang those “drug mules,” Noy!  Why give up Spratly for three drug traffickers.  It’s sending the wrong message to our people.

P-Noy:  I agree, Rico.  But the problem is that before Jojo went to China our Ambassador to China Francisco Benedicto – unbeknownst to me – indicated in a meeting with high Chinese officials that the Philippines was willing to drop the Spratly islands in exchange for the freedom of the Pinoy “drug mules.” Now that China has stayed the execution, they want us to honor what Benedicto promised them – drop the Spratlys!

Virgie: But they’re just staying the execution!  That means they’re just postponing it for another day… maybe in week or so.

P-Noy:  Are you suggesting that we should ask the Chinese to commute their sentences?

Ronnie:  If they commute their sentences, the Pinoy “drug mules” would still be in a prison in China… maybe for life!

P-Noy:  Well, maybe we should ask for clemency and their freedom.  Then they can come home… as heroes!  We’ll give them heroes’ welcome like what we gave Pacquiao!

Virgie: Huh? Heroes?

Rico: Hey, Good thinking, Noy!  I’m for that.  Let’s give them a heroes’ welcome at the Araneta Coliseum.

Ronnie:  Whoa!  Hold it! Hold it!  Are you going to exchange the Spratlys for the freedom of three drug traffickers and then welcome them home as heroes?

P-Noy:  Every Pinoy’s life is important to me, Ronnie.

Vickie:  But P-Noy, the Spratly is part of our patrimony.  It’s priceless.  Also, it has fossil oil deposits larger than the whole Middle East.  That’s why China wants the Spratly archipelago for them.

P-Noy: Maybe we should ask my “Chief Troubleshooter,” Mar Roxas, to go to China and renegotiate their death sentences.  Say, we give them the Scarborough Shoal in lieu of the Spratlys.  It’s smaller than the Spratlys and it’s closer to China.

Ronnie: But Taiwan is also claiming Scarborough, Noynoy.  Besides, Mar just got back from Taiwan.  The Taiwanese President was mad at him for not apologizing for the boo-boo we made in deporting 14 Taiwanese criminals to China instead of to Taiwan.  I don’t think Mar would be willing to go to China this time.

P-Noy:  I’ve been thinking.  The three of you are my “shooting buddies.”  Can I ask the three of you to go to China and negotiate the release of the three Pinoy “drug mules” and the 14 Taiwanese criminals as well?

Rico: Huh? And what would we give China in return, Noy?

P-Noy:  I’ve been thinking.  If we can’t exchange them for the Spratlys or the Scarborough Shoal, what can we give them?

Virgie: Can I say something, P-Noy?

P-Noy: Sure, go ahead, Virgie.

Virgie: Forget about the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal.  They’re not negotiable.  Otherwise, you’ll have EDSA 4 coming down on you, Mr. President.

P-Noy: EDSA 4? Huh?  What happened to EDSA 25?

Ronnie: Ay naku, naloko na. Noynoy, I think you should go to sleep now.  You look exhausted.  You need to rest, Noynoy.

P-Noy:  I’m okay; I’ll just spend a few hours more with my XBOX 360.  He he he… I’ll talk to Congressman Pacquiao tomorrow.  I’ll send him to China. He might be able to talk to the Chinese president like he did to Obama.  Good night.

Rico: Are you sure you’re not going to take your girlfriend for a joy ride in your Porsche?

P-Noy:  I just might do that. Depends on how long I’m going to be with my XBOX 360. That’s my priority right now.  He he he…

Virgie, Rico, and Ronnie: Good night, Mr. President.

# # #

NOTE:  The “meeting” is fictional and does not represent actual events. However, the “flash report” and all the characters are real.

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

 

By Fr. Shay Cullen
PREDA Foundation

There are inspiring, wonderfully brave people who are risking their lives to protect the land, hills, forests, rivers and streams from the loggers, mining companies and tree cutters in the Philippines. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the courageous people of Midsalip in Mindanao and the Columban Missionaries standing with them in prayer and trust. These good people whose lives and families in their hundreds depend on a healthy and protected environment.

These people have been defending their lands and forests for the past thirty years against the onslaught of the local and international corporations backed by corrupt politicians. Mining companies covet their mineral rich lands. The brave people have stood against the powers that are behind the ugly face of corporate greed.

A good mining law that restricted irresponsible mining, protected the environment and the human rights of the people and the environment was struck down by the Supreme Court at the behest of corrupt politicians and mining interests. They had it replaced with a bad mining law that removed environmentally protective restrictions and safeguards. They virtually threw open the door to the mining companies to do what they wanted. Open pit mining and illegal and destructive logging was the result.

Corporations backed by armed goons and even Philippine military units bulldozed huge pits in the earth, the minerals are being extracted and shipped abroad. Tree cutting spread and environmental disasters, one after another, occurred. There was and still are multiple deaths from landslides that bury homes and a few years ago a school filled with students was buried. There are bursting dams, toxic waste spills, destroyed rice fields, villages flooded, forests are cut down and the destruction is causing untold hardship and suffering for the helpless population.

But the people of Midsalip, twenty kilometers or so from Aurora, Mindanao, united and marched, protested and are still bravely holding back a bulldozer and a drilling rig from invading their lands. They have suffered threats, harassment and court cases hurled against them. So far their picketline has held out but they need national and international help.

They are encouraged and inspired by their Pastor, the religious sisters, Columban Missionaries, Father Sean Martin and Sister Patty Dinare and dedicated lay people. It is a movement of survival inspired by the love and respect for the wonders and beauty of creation and a desire for justice.

It is real faith in the words of Jesus of Nazareth, in the Sermon on the Mount that gives them courage. Their community action is basic Christianity in action. These are the profound spiritual values that strengthen people in a common cause. It is a dangerous stand to take and many activists have been assassinated for their principles.

According to the Philippine environmental protection charity Kalikasan, as many as 40 environmental protection and anti-mining advocates have been killed in the past ten years and 47 more survived their wounds after they have been attacked. Dr. Gerry Ortega, a radio broadcaster and staunch environmentalist was shot and killed last 24 January. He campaigned against irresponsible large scale mining in Palawan. A powerful politician is the prime suspect behind the assassination.

The good news is that the government of Noynoy Aquino, elected last May, has cracked down on the illegal logging. The last of the great Philippine rain forests of Caraga, 1.9 million hectares, there is a battle going on between environmentalists and forestry workers against the well-armed loggers.

The area in Agusan Del Norte and Agusan Del Sur, Surigao del Norte provinces and Dinagat Island, the forestry workers of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have been threatened shot at and kidnapped by the hired goons of the loggers. Two have been killed.

In South Cotabato, Governor Arthur Pinggoy has vowed to implement the ban on open-pit mining in the province. The provincial board, responding to the will of the people, passed the ordinance in 2010. It has stalled the mining operations of the huge Swiss based mining corporation Xstrata working through its Philippine subsidiary company Sagittarius based in the town of Tampalkan. The area is rich in copper and gold. Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez of the Diocese of Marbel, has taken a stand in support of the ban defending the integrity of creation and the well being of the people and the environment. END

Mayweather’s neighbor says Shane Mosley is old

By Alex P. Vidal

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – At 39, Shane Mosley is past his prime and is not anymore as quick as when he was world welterweight champion 10 years ago.

This was the assessment made recently by Freddie Dawson, a veteran boxing analyst and neighbor of Floyd Mayweather Jr. (41-0, 25 KO’s) in Southern Highlands, here.

Dawson, 62, said he wasn’t excited to hear that Mosley, who beat 1992 Barcelona Olympics golden boy Oscar De La Hoya (39-6, 30 KO’s) twice in as many confrontations during his prime, will fight Manny Pacquiao on May 7 at the MGM Grand.

“Mosley is old and he won’t last the distance with Pacquiao,” said Dawson, who predicted the 32-year-old eight-time world champion Filipino to demolish the black American speedster in five to six rounds. “He doesn’t have the stamina that he used to have.”

Dawson, a registered nurse and retired army, said Pacquiao’s advantage is he is quicker and younger. Mosley (46-6, 39 KO’s), he said, can’t take the Filipino’s strong punch as “he has never fought anyone that has put a lot of pressure on him.”

VERNON FORREST

Dawson cited Mosley’s two back to back losses to the late Vernon Forrest in 2002 where Mosley got buried from Forrest’s avalanche of punches on several occasions and was nearly counted out if not for his footwork, en route to losing a decision on January 26, 2002.

In their rematch on July 20, 2002, Dawson observed that Mosley “obviously didn’t fight toe-to-toe with Forrest for fear of being knocked out.”

Forrest (41-3, 39 KO’s) had been pulverized by heavy hitting Hispanic Ricardo Mayorga (29-7, 23 KO’s) and was shot dead in a robbery in Atlanta on July 25, 2009.

But Dawson credited Mosley for nearly stopping Mayweather in the second round in their title fight on May 1, 2010. “Mosley, of course, could still punch hard as manifested by his brutal annihilation of Antonio Margarito and his near upset knockout win over Mayweather,” Dawson pointed out.

Mayweather recovered from the second round ambuscade and outslicked Mosley for a 12-round unanimous decision win.

Dawson cautioned Mosley from fighting toe-to-toe with Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO’s) saying his best chance to beat the best boxer pound-for-pound is to “stay away from Pacquiao and avoid his left.”

BEST WEAPON

Dawson believed that Pacquiao’s best weapon is his left straight although the hard-hitting lefty, who was elected congressman in the Philippines before beating Margarito in Arlington, Texas last Nov. 13, 2010, has developed his right punch and is now believed to be equally destructive.

Dawson said Top Rank needed to tap Mosley to fight Pacquiao because Mosley has a large follower in California and Las Vegas “and this means a lot of money.”

In agreeing to fight Pacquiao, Mosley believed to have severed his ties with his former promoter, Golden Boy Promotion.

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum considers the Pacquiao-Mosley fisticuffs as “boxing’s version of the Super Bowl.”

Dawson also predicted that the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will push through.

“I think Mayweather is only waiting for Pacquiao to get older and slower because he knows that, by that time, he can beat Pacquiao,” he stressed. “If Mayweather will fight Pacquiao today, Pacquiao will knock him out in the third round.”

“Every great fighter has trouble with another fighter,” Dawson explained. “Muhammad Ali always had trouble with Jose Frazer. Pacquiao will always have trouble with (Juan Manuel) Marquez. Mayweather will have trouble with Pacquiao.”

GREATEST FIGHTERS

Dawson worked in the emergency room of the West Anaheim Medical Center in Anaheim, California for 15 years and has watched and analyzed with his late father, Luther, the epic heavyweight title clashes between American Floyd Patterson and Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson as well as the bloody wars of Jersey Joe Walcott and Dick Tiger, among other prominent pugilists in the 50’s and 60’s.

He rates Muhammad Ali as the greatest fighter of all time followed by Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Leonard. “Pacquiao would be no. 3 or 4,” Dawson gushed.

Meanwhile, Mosley has expressed confidence of beating Pacquiao. In a recent press conference to kick off the promotional tour in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York, the three-time world champion gushed: “I think it’s very hard but styles make the fight. Being that he’s a very exciting fighter and likes to bring it, that leaves openings for me. We’ll see when we get to the fight. It’s not the African-American style that will beat him. It’s my style that will beat him. Everybody fights differently and styles make the fight and in this fight you have two guys engaging and I think I have what it takes to get the job done.

“I don’t know what the odds are for this fight. I’m not a betting man. I definitely won’t be on the losing end. I think it should be even. We are two similar types of fighters. We both like to battle. He throws punches more rapidly than I do but my punches are heavier. I don’t know what the over-under is. It won’t go the distance. This is the type of fight that would never go the distance.”