November 2011

By Perry Diaz

Corona taking his oath before Gloria

The Philippines is now polarized between two Titans!  Either you’re for President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III or for Supreme Court (SC) Justice Renato Corona.  There is no middle ground.  The conflict between them could create a constitutional crisis, which could tear the country apart.

Never in the history of Philippine jurisprudence had a sitting Chief Justice attracted so much criticism and opposition.  Instead of dispensing Solomonic wisdom in interpreting the constitution that takes into account the broader application of the law, he has become a Machiavellian agent who narrowly – or loosely — interprets the law to justify the desired outcome of cases brought before the High Court.   And with the solid support of a block of at least eight justices, Corona has created a tyrannical majority that dictates how the rule of law is applied.  Or is it “rule of man” disguised as “rule of law”?


Recently, Sen. Franklin Drilon started a clamor for Corona to inhibit himself in cases involving former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  Drilon cited 19 cases in which Corona sided with the position taken by Gloria. “The current score is 19-0. Chief Justice Renato Corona consistently voted in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in all 19 cases brought before the Supreme Court. He never voted against her,” he said.

The following are three major cases of those cited by Drilon:

1) Dissented in the Oct. 25, 2006 SC decision dismissing the petition of the pro-Arroyo Sigaw ng Bayan to allow a “people’s initiative” to amend the 1987 Constitution due to failure to comply with constitutional requirements of conducting a people’s initiative.

2) Concurred in the Oct. 10 2010 SC decision stopping the Aquino administration from revoking the appointment of alleged “midnight” appointees of Arroyo.

3) Concurred in the Dec. 7, 2010 SC ruling declaring President Aquino’s order creating the Truth Commission unconstitutional.

It is interesting to note that had the Supreme Court ruled to allow a “people’s initiative” to amend the 1987 Constitution (Item No. 1 above), Gloria would have succeeded in changing the form of government to a parliamentary system with her as Prime Minister and with an indefinite term for as long as she controls the majority members of the parliament.

Judicial independence

In my article, “Judicial Independence” (November 4, 2006), I wrote: “The recent decision of the Philippine Supreme Court to dismiss the petition for a people’s initiative to amend the constitution to replace the presidential system with a parliamentary form of government has created a political storm. With a bare 8-7 majority, the decision penned by Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio caught a lot of people by surprise. People close to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo were expecting the Supreme Court to vote in favor of the petition by at least a 9-6 majority.”

Of the 15 Supreme Court justices, Gloria appointed 11 of them, of which six of them together with two appointees of former President Joseph Estrada voted for the rejection of the petition.  The other five Arroyo appointees – Corona included — together with appointees of former President Fidel V. Ramos voted for approval of the petition.

It was a major setback for Gloria for which she never recovered.  The majority vote against the initiative was a manifestation that the Judicial Branch of the government maintained its independence and integrity — a healthy sign that democracy was still alive in the country.  That was then.

Stacking the deck

During Gloria’s last year in office, seven justices retired.  She saw it as a golden opportunity to appoint their replacements with justices with proven loyalty to her.  And she was right on the ball when the seven new justices proved their loyalty to her when it came to their voting pattern, which mirrored Corona’s own voting pattern.

It did not then come as a surprise that when Gloria appointed Corona during the ban on “midnight appointments” around the time of the presidential election as mandated by the constitution, the Supreme Court, by a 9-1 vote, “legalized” the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice notwithstanding the ban on “midnight appointments.”  With Corona’s “legalization” as Chief Justice, Gloria stacked the deck with justices loyal to her.

The first test came on Oct. 10, 2010 when the High Court issued a status quo ante order on the implementation of Executive Order No. 2 revoking Gloria’s “midnight appointments” (Item No. 2 above).

And on December 7, 2010 the High Court inflicted a crippling blow to P-Noy’s anti-corruption crusade when it declared the Truth Commission unconstitutional (Item No. 3 above).

As Malaya columnist Amado Macasaet recently said, “It all started when the Supreme Court, obviously at the behest of Gloria Arroyo, ‘raped’ the Constitutional prohibition against appointment to the judiciary during a prohibited period.”

Court of Last Defense

In my article, “Arroyo’s Court of Last Defense” (December 8, 2010), I wrote: “The Supreme Court’s 10-5 decision that ruled the Truth Commission unconstitutional did not come as a surprise.  It was expected.  Indeed the seeds were sowed during the last few years of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when she appointed nine Supreme Court justices who were perceived to have been appointed based on their loyalty to Arroyo more than their judicial credentials.  By the time she stepped down from the presidency, fourteen of the justices – the 15th seat was vacant — were all her appointees including Chief Justice Renato Corona whose controversial ‘midnight appointment’ stained the high court’s integrity.”

The arbitrariness and partiality towards Gloria demonstrated by Corona and his cohorts in the Supreme Court makes one wonder if they might have taken a secret oath to Gloria using the famous Quezonian mantra with a twist, to wit: “My loyalty to the constitution ends where my loyalty to Gloria Arroyo begins.” Indeed, with the Supreme Court’s recent issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that would have allowed Gloria to skip the country to avoid criminal prosecution for electoral sabotage, this keeps piercing in my mind.  If not for Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s insistence to see the official TRO from the Supreme Court, Gloria would have been free as a bird and beyond the reach of Philippine law.


According to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted between September 4 and 7, Corona has the worst satisfaction rating – “neutral” or zero – with 28% satisfied and 28% dissatisfied.  No other public official in the three branches of government reached rock bottom like Corona did.

As Sen. Francis Pangilinan said, “Corona’s inhibition will help spare the Supreme Court from doubts that, under Corona’s leadership, it is biased in favor of the former president and first gentleman.”  It is not too late to restore the severely damaged image of the Supreme Court under the leadership of Corona.  All he has to do is inhibit himself out of “delicadeza” and let the wheels of justice roll with fairness and impartiality.

When Gloria appointed him as Chief Justice, Corona proclaimed that he attained the fulfillment of every lawyer’s dream.  But let me remind him that fulfilling his dream is not the ultimate end but only the beginning of a journey to immortal greatness in the annals of Philippine jurisprudence or perpetual damnation in rogues’ gallery.

It’s your choice, Chief Justice Corona.


In commemoration of Bonifacio Day on November 30, the following article highlights the life of Macario Sakay who fought the Americans during the Philippine-American War.  — PERRY DIAZ

By George M. Hizon

Macario Sakay, seated 2nd from right

When fugitive general Artemio Ricarte and Eulalio Diaz were incarcerated by the Americans in mid-April, 1904, another Filipino rebel took over as leader of the revolutionary forces. He was Macario Sakay and he would ignite a bloody rebellion against the U.S. forces in the Southern Tagalog region from late April, 1904 to July, 1906.

But who really was Macario Sakay? Was he a bandit or a hero? For more than 80 years, Sakay was either known as a bandit to the Filipino public or he was not known at all. During my High School and College days, I couldn’t remember an instance wherein Sakay’s name was mentioned in all of our History classes. Thanks largely to the U.S. propaganda machine during the colonial period, Sakay was very successfully portrayed as a thug and a villain who deserved to be forgotten. In 1939, the award winning movie “Sakay” added much to this misconception. Sakay was portrayed as leader of brigands that roamed the mountains of Montalban, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Quezon. He and his bandit group were always looking for new towns and villages to pounce upon and pillage.

The role of Macario Sakay in the movie was played by Salvador Zaragoza while the role of his deputy, Julian Montalan was played by the enigmatic Leopoldo Salcedo. The film was directed by no less than Lamberto V. Avellana, the best movie director during that period and it was produced by Carlos P. Romulo. Whoa! The cast of Leopoldo Salcedo and Salvador Zaragoza in the movie production of Avellana and Romulo were probably enough to make the Filipino public believe the whole content of the movie. But anyway, I don’t blame these people. It was the year 1939 and it was the sign of the times, when being pro-American was “in”, and being pro-Filipino, passé or outdated.

In 1993, however, that will all change. In Raymond Reds’ movie “Sakay”, the true Sakay was portrayed- as the last revolutionary leader in the struggle against the U. S. colonial forces in the Philippines. The movie depicted Sakay as one of the original members of the Katipunan who fought alongside with Andres Bonifacio during our struggle for independence against Spain in 1896. Sakay’s revolutionary struggle continued all the way up to the Philippine-American War in 1898. Captured and later incarcerated by the Americans, Sakay was released when an amnesty was granted to all prisoners by the end of the war in 1902.

In April, 1904, however, Sakay issued a manifesto stating that all Filipinos had the fundamental right to fight for independence. Later, he established his own government called the Republica ng Katagalugan (Tagalog Republic) in opposition to U.S. colonial rule. In late 1904,

Sakay and his men took the offensive against the enemy. Using guerrilla tactics, they were successful in seizing ammunition and firearms in their raids in Cavite and Batangas. Disguised in Philippine Constabulary uniforms, they captured the U.S. military garrison in Parañaque and ran away with a large amount of revolvers, carbines, and ammunition. Sakay’s men often employed these uniforms to confuse the enemy. To counter the early successes of Sakay in the battlefield, the Philippine Constabulary and the U.S. Army started employing drastic measures like the hamletting (also used in the Vietnam War) wherein a large number of people were forcibly removed from their houses and reconcentrated in one specific area. This cruel but effective form of counter-insurgency tactic was disastrous to many families as hundreds of old people and children died from the outbreak of diseases like cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

Meanwhile search and destroy missions operated relentlessly to put an end to Sakay’s rebellion. It was also believed that Muslims from Jolo as well as bloodhounds from California were brought in to join the fight against Sakay’s guerrillas. By 1905, Sakay’s Tagalog Republic was already weakened because of the continued American-led Philippine Constabulary offensive as well as the lack of support from the civilian population because of hamletting.

Later, a trap was laid out for Sakay. In a letter sent by the American governor-general promising amnesty for Sakay in exchange for his surrender, the last remaining Filipino rebel would be fooled when he agreed to the terms of the letter. On July 17, 1906, Macario Sakay was arrested when he attended a dance party which was supposed to be a reconciliation meeting. Later, he was convicted as a bandit and executed by hanging on September 13, 1907. Before his death he said, “Death comes to all of us sooner or later, so I will face the Lord Almighty calmly. But I want to tell you that we were not bandits and robbers, as the Americans have accused us, but members of the revolutionary force that defended our mother country, Filipinas! Farewell! Long live the republic and may our independence be born in the future! Farewell! Long live Filipinas!”

Today, the 1939 movie “Sakay” which depicted him as a bandit is one of those listed in the book “Lost Films of Asia” by Nick Deocampo. Did this happen inadvertently? I do know one thing, Avellana was very sorry for depicting Sakay as a bandit in later years. Avellana added “If I were to do a picture again, I would depict Sakay as a hero because now I know better”.

# # #

By Dahli Aspillera

‘Bonifacio was not only the Father of the Philippine Revolution. Bonifacio was above all the Father of Philippine Democracy.–Manuel L. Quezon, President, Philippine Commonwealth’

FROM Carmencita Acosta, an email which was a joy to receive, and most fitting to publish on this November 30, Bonifacio Day:

Dahli, please don’t forget that your grandfather was at the forefront working for the declaration of November 30 as Bonifacio Day, as well as the last Sunday of August as National Heroes Day.

Lope K. Santos was among the youngest members of the Katipunan who saw action. [I know…at age 16, student at a school near Luneta, he was there with classmates to watch Jose Rizal executed by musketry. Learning thereafter of the nationalism, gallantry, heroism of that man he watched shot by the authorities—no wonder Lolo became such an anti-Spanish nationalist activist. — DA]

Lope K endangered his life being a lookout and courier. He was among the founders of the Bonifacio Memorial Association (Kapatirang Alagad ni Bonifacio), to which he recruited my mom and myself. I was the youngest member at age 12. Among the points he emphasized during meetings were:

1. Andres Bonifacio, in the mind of LKS, is the leading hero of the Philippines because he began the Philippine Revolution, the armed struggle against a powerful Western colonial power. Without Bonifacio, what kind of history would we have had? Three and a half centuries of colonial subjugation and no national struggle for independence? Without Bonifacio, would Philippine history have such heroes as Emilio Jacinto, Gregorio del Pilar, Miguel Malvar, others who carried on the struggle after Bonifacio’s death? Even Emilio Aguinaldo is now considered a hero (whom Lope K as well as others believe to be responsible for the assassination of the Bonifacio brothers in Cavite).

2. It was not only Bonifacio but his brothers were assassinated with him in Cavite. There were three brothers and a sister: Andres (eldest), Procopio (who was the most Spanish-looking because their maternal grandfather was a Spaniard), Ciriaco and Troadio. Troadio was able to escape, and lived to tell the facts. The only Bonifacio sister was Esperanza, whom Lope K. interviewed. Bonifacio’s mother was Catalina de Castro whose father was a pure Spaniard. I dislike to say this, but some American historical commentators have said that it was Bonifacio’s Spanish blood that made him fearless in the face of all odds. [Hogwash! The most spineless, indolent , useless people in the Philippines during Spanish colonial regime were the illiterate Spanish soldiers and cruel, greedy Spanish friars – Damaso — with pure Spanish blood in their veins. They were lazy, without skills, did nothing except enslave the natives with threats of punishment and imprisonment. What made colonials seem courageous were their armies of Filipino slaves and Filipino retainers shielding them, trained to defend to their death their Spanish lords and masters. –DA]

3. History and Jose Rizal’s writings reveal that Rizal never worked for the independence of the Philippines. What he wanted was representation of the Philippines in the Spanish Cortes which meant having the Philippine Islands as a province of Spain. Hence, when Bonifacio visited Rizal to urge him to support the revolutionary Katipunan, Rizal refused and even discouraged him from battling for Philippine independence.

3. The American colonial government, in an unnatural gesture in the annals of world history, proclaimed their version of who their conquered subjects (Filipinos) should honor as their national hero: Rizal. Thus, the American colonial government, through its puppet Philippine functionaries, hastily caused the erection of Rizal monuments in plazas all over the Philippines. The object was to make the Filipinos forget all about armed fighting and the campaign then being waged by the exiled General Artemio Ricarte.

Dahli, keep in mind that all these occurred during the time of Lope K. Santos. He was a witness to all these machinations. This is the reason why he was at the forefront of the Bonifacio Day legislation (1920s). Ten years later (1930s), he was also at the forefront of the National Heroes Day legislation because unofficially the American Filipino puppets abetted by the descendants of those behind Bonifacio’s assassination), started to celebrate November 30 as National Heroes Day. But they were on the wrong side of history. To this day Bonifacio Day and National Heroes Day are separately marked.


Acosta continues: I end here on my take on Lope K’s role in this matter. After graduation, my first job was researcher at the National Historical Commission under Carlos Quirino. I was assigned to research on the so-called Philippine Insurgent Records retrieved by the Americans. I also did research on the American colonial government. Naturally the first thing I did was to research on Bonifacio and the Katipunan. True enough, those records bore out what Lope K had told us.

Do you know what happened later during the time of Marcos? Recall that for a time Cesar Virata of Cavite and grandson of Aguinaldo was prime minister and one of the powerful functionaries in the Marcos regime. An official University of the Philippines team was sent to the National Library to do research. And later on, it was discovered that files from the Philippine Insurgent Records were missing–the files about Bonifacio and the Katipunan, including the very lengthy list of the names of the fighters who signed their names with their own blood! I saw those documents and thought the fighters had signed with red ink until Carlos Quirino told me: They signed with their own blood!

When Virata was governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, the five-peso bill bearing the face of Bonifacio was demonetized. Admirers of Bonifacio protested, so the Central Bank put Bonifacio’s face on the 10-peso bill where Mabini’s face was a fixture. Hence the 10-peso bill now had Mabini’s and Bonifacio’s faces. What did the Central Bank do next? Demonetize the 10-peso bill. But Virata and company were on the wrong side of history. The greatness of Bonifacio continues to be remembered, and the efforts of men like Lope K have not been in vain.

I’d like to add that President Manuel L. Quezon (Lope K was in the Quezon cabinet, friend, political campaigner) had given his all-out support to Lope K. and his group in the task of memorializing Bonifacio. Quezon went a step further by saying that Bonifacio was not only the Father of the Philippine Revolution. Bonifacio was above all the “Father of Philippine Democracy.”

Dahli, you are free to use all the historical data I have mentioned, after all, you are the worthy descendant of Lope K. Santos. God bless you!

By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it will respect a Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) on a government travel ban on former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now under hospital arrest.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda gave the assurance even as Arroyo’s lawyers were reportedly preparing to file a petition for bail with the Supreme Court (SC) which, if approved, would test the administration’s commitment to abide by the TRO by finally allowing Arroyo to seek treatment abroad for her troublesome cervical spine.

“The warrant of arrest issued by the Pasay City regional trial court takes precedence over the TRO,” Lacierda stressed.

The SC has declared that the TRO has been in effect all along and has never been suspended even if the Arroyo camp had not complied with all the conditions set for its issuance.

Voting 9-4, the high tribunal affirmed its Nov. 18 resolution declaring that the TRO it issued three days earlier was still “in full force and effect.” This after the justices, in a vote of 7-6, found Arroyo’s compliance with its order to be “not substantial.”

On the same day the TRO was issued, Arroyo and her entourage attempted to board a plane bound for Hong Kong but were prevented from doing so by immigration personnel acting on orders of Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima. The SC as well as Arroyo supporters called it a defiance of a court order.

“The court resolved to clarify that the TRO was not suspended even with the finding that there was no full compliance with the conditions of the TRO,” SC spokesman Midas Marquez told a news briefing.

“There was… some sort of confusion whether the TRO was in full force and effect pending full compliance of the petitioner, and that is why the court had to make a clarification,” he added.

Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno earlier said a majority of the justices had moved to suspend the injunctive order during the SC’s special session on Nov. 18.

“There was just a misunderstanding and confusion so the court resolved to clarify. I think that issue should rest for now,” Marquez said.

Lacierda also said the government is ready to block any plea for bail by the Arroyo camp.

“We will oppose any application for bail,” Lacierda said.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is handling the prosecution of Arroyo for electoral sabotage before the sala of Judge Jesus Mupas of the Pasay City Regional Trial Court branch 112.

“We will oppose on the grounds stated by the law. We will apply the rules of procedure, which is wait for the Comelec to raise that opposition, not me,” Lacierda said.

“Remember that in capital offenses bail is not a matter of right. It’s now subject to the discretion of the courts. So, ordinarily and most likely, if they file a motion or if they ask for bail, we will oppose that,” Lacierda stressed.

“It’s a capital offense. If you’re the prosecution, your most likely action is to oppose bail,” he said.

“You’re not going to say: Yes, go ahead and ask for bail. That’s standard procedure. You don’t have to be a law student to say that. You will have to oppose bail as a standard procedure,” he pointed out.


De Lima, meanwhile, said she is ready to defend her travel ban on Arroyo before the SC today even with the high court’s denial of her request to make the doctors of the former president testify on her real health condition.

“I would have wanted a full ventilation of that issue with the doctors around. But since there was already denial I will be constrained to argue on the issue without the doctors,” De Lima told reporters Tuesday evening after the oral argument on another case filed by Arroyo with the SC questioning her indictment for poll sabotage.

She vowed to prove before the high tribunal in this afternoon’s oral argument that she had made the right decision in issuing the watchlist order (WLO) against Arroyo and denying the latter’s request for an allow departure order (ADO).

De Lima said it would have been better if the high court had granted her motion to subpoena Arroyo’s doctors “since medical abstract submitted by the former president are in fact medical and technical so justices and lawyers are not familiar with the terminologies.”

She also questioned the reason cited by the high court in denying her request – that the doctors have already appeared before the Pasay City RTC hearing the case of the former president.

“I think their testimony there was limited to the issue on whether or not she needs continuing confinement, at least on the day they were subpoenaed by the Pasay RTC. The issue in the SC is different because we want to make the SC understand that we had good reasons to deny the ADO,” she said.

Still, the Justice chief said she has no choice but to just explain to the justices the circumstances behind her actions against the petitioner to prove that there was no grave abuse of discretion on her part as alleged by the camp of Arroyo.

“The number one reason I cited in my order denying the ADO was because I was not convinced that there was medical necessity or urgency,” she pointed out.

The high court earlier issued a show cause order on De Lima for her alleged defiance of a TRO on the implementation of the WLO on Arroyo.

De Lima’s reported defiance of an SC order has also prompted private lawyer Ricardo Rivera to file a disbarment case against the DOJ chief, President Aquino’s most popular Cabinet secretary based on surveys.

She said she decided to disregard the TRO for various reasons: non-receipt of a copy of the order, her belief that the order was not yet final and executory, and failure of Arroyo’s camp to satisfy the conditions laid down by the court in issuing the TRO.

She said a TRO may only be effective upon service to concerned party or person and not through media announcements.

She added that the TRO, being based on specific conditions, would only be effective immediately if the conditions are met.

She said that even in the Nov. 18 show-cause order of the court, it was noted that there was no factual compliance by petitioners with the condition of the TRO.

In issuing the TRO, the high court required Arroyo to post a cash bond of P2 million and to appoint a lawyer who would receive subpoenas and other legal documents related to the ongoing investigation into her involvement in election fraud. The SC also required Arroyo to inform the Philippine embassy or consulate of her arrival in a country where she would supposedly seek medical treatment.

Last week De Lima asked the SC, through the Office of the Solicitor General, to subpoena Arroyo’s doctors from St. Luke’s Medical Center – Mario Ver, Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, and Roberto Mirasol.

The DOJ chief said she wanted the doctors themselves to set the record straight on Arroyo’s health.

But Arroyo’s lawyers Estelito Mendoza and Anacleto Diaz argued that the testimonies of the doctors would be irrelevant in establishing the constitutionality of Circular No. 41 used as basis by the DOJ in issuing the WLO on the former president.

Arroyo’s counsels stressed that the SC is not a trier of facts, meaning it cannot resolve questions of facts and evidence that are generally left to trial courts and the Court of Appeals to settle. With Edu Punay

Source: The Daily Tribune

“They (Comelec) will do that. It’s a standard thing—it’s a capital offense. You will always oppose the grant of bail, even if it’s a formal opposition. You will have to oppose because it‘s a capital offense. That’s why as a prosecuting attorney, as a prosecuting team, you would have to oppose because by not opposing you’re implying that your evidence is weak; because the main ground for a petition for bail is that the evidence against the accused is weak. So, if you don’t oppose that, that means you’re actually accepting the premise of the defense that the evidence is weak and that’s not true. That’s very basic, it’s basic criminal procedure,” Lacierda explained.

Lacierda reiterated that the government is firm in its preference that she should be Pampanga that Mrs. Arroyo should be placed under house arrest in her family’s ancestral home in Lubao, Pampanga.

“We will oppose any application for bail,” said Lacierda in a press briefing.

“It’s not… Remember that in capital offenses bail is not a matter of right. It’s now subject to the discretion of the courts. So ordinarily and most likely, if they file a motion to…if they ask for bail..petition for bail, we will oppose that,” he stressed.

On realizing that his statement runs counter with his earlier pronouncements that Malacanang and even the president himself are no longer involved in the electoral sabotage filed before a Pasay City Court against Mrs. Arroyo, Lacierda quickly clarified that the objection would come from the Comelec.

“They (Comelec) will do that. It’s a standard thing—it’s a capital offense. You will always oppose the grant of bail, even if it’s a formal opposition. You will have to oppose because it‘s a capital offense. That’s why as a prosecuting attorney, as a prosecuting team, you would have to oppose because by not opposing you’re implying that your evidence is weak; because the main ground for a petition for bail is that the evidence against the accused is weak. So, if you don’t oppose that, that means you’re actually accepting the premise of the defense that the evidence is weak and that’s not true. That’s very basic, it’s basic criminal procedure,” Lacierda explained.

Lacierda reiterated that the government is firm in its preference that she should be placed under hospital arrest in a government medical facility.

“We have already stated our stand. While she is sick, while she is recovering, it will be prudent for the former President to be placed in a government hospital to allow her to recuperate subject to the discretion of the trial court,” he said.

At the same time Lacierda admitted that although the Senate is now conducting its own inquiry on the allegations of election cheating during the Arroyo administration, it is already legally untenable for the government to be pursuing another electoral sabotage case against Mrs. Arroyo, this time in connection with the 2004 presidential elections despite very revealing statements coming from witnesses.

Lacierda said that although Malacanang is convinced by the testimonies implicating Mrs. Arroyo in alleged cheating in the 2004 polls, the crime of electoral sabotage was still inexistent when the alleged election manipulation was committed.

“We will just have to wait for the recommendation of the Senate committee. We hope to see the report first before we make a conclusion on the situation. But, certainly, we welcome the appearances of all witnesses if they are testifying as to their personal knowledge of their involvement on the electoral fraud that occurred in the past two national elections.”

“(In) 2004 when we spoke of the Hello Garci tapes, we always knew that it was…it appeared to be the voice of the former President and the colonel also mentioned that it also appears to be the voice—sounds, I mean, sounds like the voice of the former president. So it’s not surprising that when it comes to the Hello Garci issue on whose voice was on the tape but, again, it is subject to the review by the committee,” he added. However, Lacierda said that “2004 cannot be covered by electoral sabotage law because there was no electoral sabotage law at that time in 2004.“

“I’m very sure of is that in 2004, there was still no electoral sabotage law,” he said adding that the possibility of declaring the later Fernando Poe Jr. as the real winner in the 2004 polls has not been discussed so far with Aquino.


‘Let Gloria walk and there will be more Glorias to come. There have been a few before her but they roam the country free. That is why our democracy is a farce.’

THE problem with the communications group in Malacañang is it talks too often, and just as often, out of turn. he latest is a statement that the Palace is not shaming Mrs. Arroyo with the filing of election sabotage charges that in turn justified the issuance of a warrant of arrest that has prevented her from leaving.

The respondent is not entitled to bail. But to say that the Palace is not shaming Mrs. Arroyo is most stupid. The Office of the President is merely doing its job, not just fulfilling an election promise.

The only correct part of the statement is that indeed, Mrs. Arroyo is beyond shame. If she could shame herself by going back on her word that she would not run in the 2004 polls but ran just the same and won by cheating; if she could shame herself giving the MILF an independent territory within the Philippine sovereign territory; if she could shame herself allowing her military generals to loot the budget of the Armed Forces; if she could sell or donate a huge armory to the Ampatuan clan that in turn denied her soldiers the arms to fight the enemies of the state; if she left for Beijing to witness the ZTE broadband deal when her husband was in critical condition, who or what else would be able to shame her?

Certainly not President Aquino who, by doing his job, found Mrs. Arroyo at the receiving end of the law.

The Arroyo issue is not related to shame, as she has always been shameless. It has nothing to do with sympathy or “awa” for being threatened with punishment for some crimes she is alleged to have committed.

In fact, the issue does not even directly involve the law and its proper application.

The issue is what appears to be uncompromising stand of President Aquino to prosecute the former president for electoral sabotage and plunder as opposed to what clearly appears as just as determined an effort of the Supreme Court to allow her to walk.

Where does the law sit in a case such as this? There is no law at all but everybody in the dispute is invoking it. The law is obeyed more in the breach than in observance.

It all started when the Supreme Court, obviously at the behest of Gloria Arroyo, “raped” the Constitutional prohibition against appointment to the judiciary during a prohibited period.

It was that “rape” that facilitated the appointment of Renato C. Corona as Chief Justice. The acceptance of the appointment was, practically “statutory” rape since the senior peers of Mr. Corona told the Judicial and Bar Council that they too would be honored to be appointed chief justice if the position would be given to any of them by the next president, not by Gloria Arroyo who ordered the Court to allow her to make the appointment during a prohibited period.

That, too, should have shamed Mr. Corona who got the job from the Supreme Court and not exactly through an appointment made by President Arroyo.

The appointment consummated the “rape.” Mr. Corona was the lone beneficiary. The acceptance was shameless.

The ruling penned by Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin shamed Mrs. Arroyo who ordered the decision; it shamed the Supreme Court who succumbed to the pressure of Gloria and most of all Renato Corona who accepted the appointment based on the “rape” by his own peers .

The only job of the Supreme Court is to uphold the Constitution. The Court upheld it because its “rape” of the Constitution is part of the law of the land. I will say again, not for the last time, that the Supreme Court is right even when it is wrong. That’s what made the “rape” in accordance with the Constitution.

Why should anybody benefit from the “mistake” of the Supreme Court? Mr. Corona did. The Constitution was “raped” for his own benefit and nobody else’s.

But there must be away of evening up a score, in fact punishing abuses made by the Supreme Court. It is the Court itself that says in some of its rulings that the “voice of the people is the voice of God.”

Does the Court hear or at least feel the nation-wide hatred of Mrs. Arroyo? Obviously, it does not because it has plugged its ears.

Why should there be an issue over the fact that Mrs. Arroyo is being prosecuted for her alleged crimes? She is merely reaping what she sowed. Justice of the heavens, if not of men.

And now comes my friend Congressman Edcel Lagman saying that there have been cases in the past where house arrest was allowed. I particularly detest the house arrest of Au San Suu Kyi. She is a victim of the military regime of Myanmar.

She is a freedom fighter. Reason for her to be under house arrest? She should not have been arrested at all for fighting for her country.

The rest of the prominent persons Lagman mentioned including Augusto Pinochet and Nikita Krushchev were oppressors of their people. They ran their countries with an iron fist. House arrest for them was a reward, not a punishment.

There should be no debate on house arrest for Gloria Arroyo. The law does not allow it. So she should be in jail. However, the Supreme Court might save her again. Under the watchful eye of the Chief Justice, the Court was expected to lift the warrant of arrest yesterday.

We would have or the Court would have started another round of disputes that shows nothing but the bias of the Chief Justice for the perceived thieving and cheating president who appointed him.

Reason for honorable men to resign. The Court should not defend a “felon.”

My generation wants to see a repeat of the Oscar Castelo case. He was concurrent secretary of justice and defense in the time of President Elpidio Quirino. Yet Castelo was sentenced for life for the murder of Manuel P. Monroy but was pardoned by Ferdinand Marcos in his twilight years.

We want to see a former President serving a jail term if convicted of plunder and electoral sabotage. It is equal application of the law that gives democracy its truest meaning. It is equal application of the law that results in peace and progress.

Let Gloria walk and there will be more Glorias to come. There have been a few before her but they roam the country free.

That is why our democracy is a farce.


‘PNoy’s mantra of good governance and pursuing the straight path cannot be easily dismissed as empty sloganeering.’

THIS has been my mantra: “Let us have three more presidents as clean and honest as PNoy; then, we can leave this country to our grandchildren knowing that they will have clean and honest presidents from then on.”

Four presidents is only 24 years, not much but enough for the voters to realize what clean and honest governance is. I cannot imagine that they would go back to a Ferdinand Marcos or a Gloria Arroyo, once they have had good governance – clean, honest and competent.

When the Supreme Court voted to give his family’s Hacienda Luisita to the farmers, President Aquino could have taken the line that others unconnected to the family saw: that this was part and parcel of the Arroyo-Aquino war with the SC again taking the side of their Ninang Gloria who appointed most of them.

The President did nothing of the sort. Instead, he advised his relatives to accept the SC’s decision and give up the land to the farmers. That’s a president (certainly, not a landowner) talking!

PNoy presumed regularity with the SC decision. With that, President Aquino proved himself to be the leader of not just one sector but of the entire country.

While the farmers will be given their share of the land, the President noted that the landowners will also be paid their due. But of course! That, after all, is our law. As for his miniscule share in the Hacienda, on assuming the presidency, he apparently gave up his share by divesting.

Still, considering that the owners were his blood relatives, a tradpol would have had his fingerprints all over how the hacienda’s problems were settled. Clearly, he is no tradpol or trapo, He is a true leader who leads by example.

P-Noy’s vow to lead the nation to the “daang matuwid” has already been tested many times; the people have always rallied behind him, as when the Department of Justice (DoJ) stopped the Arroyos from fleeing the country and the many cases they will be facing.

Although some foreign observes see his moves against the Arroyos as political vendetta (which it is not), the fact that he has the people’s support proves that, as the Solicitor General says. “This is not about vengeance. This is about accountability.”

Is this political vendetta? Was there cheating in the 2007 elections? Did Mike Arroyo not sell his personal five year old helicopters as brand-new to the Philippine National Police (PNP)? The Arroyos have only themselves to blame for the legal problems they created for themselves!

As it turns out, however, the SC itself, admitted in a 7-6 vote, some days later, that the SC’s temporary restraining order (TRO) that Mike and Gloria tried used in trying to leave the country last Nov. 15 was still inoperative. What saved the day and prevented wide-spread embarrassment was the firmness shown by the government to bar the Arroyos from leaving. This was the only just and right decision, especially, with the recent admission of the doctors of Mrs. Arroyo that her medical condition was neither life-threatening nor did it need medical treatment abroad.

Called upon by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court to testify, Mrs. Arroyo’s doctors said that, in fact, she never even needed hospitalization and could be treated as an outpatient. But, wait, the next day, according to her lawyers, she now needs a colonoscopy and a possible colon operation.

I laugh out loud at Gloria’s desperate antics but PNoy ignores her as an unimportant insignificance to what he has to do to fix the country that she ran ragged,

One-and-a-half years into his administration, President Aquino is proving to be a non-traditional politician with a distinct leadership style.

Filipinos perceive traditional politicians, as tradpols” or “trapos.” Dirty rags!

Trapos take on popular causes in order to win votes in the next election; their loyalty is not to the country but to their party—and themselves—first and foremost.

The last thing that anyone can call the President is a “trapo”. While he may have been the candidate of the Liberal Party in the May 2010 election and did appoint some of his party mates to key positions later, PNoy has shown that he makes decisions not on the basis of politics, but on his judgment of what is good for the country over the longer term.

He is his own man.

This year, PNoy flew to Tokyo to talk directly with key leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. While many see this as a treasonous act since the MILF was an insurgent force that engaged government troops in skirmishes despite a temporary ceasefire being in place, PNoy insisted that this was necessary to show his commitment to the peace process.

Later, when MILF elements killed 19 government soldiers in Basilan, PNoy refused to heed the strident call of some to launch all-out war against the MILF rebel group, saying that his policy is “all-out justice”, which meant sticking to the peace process while running after rogue MILF elements and bringing them to justice. (This actually turned out to be a realization by the MILF that “all-out justice” can be a lot worse than “all-out war.”)

PNoy’s non-traditional leadership style is also very much in evidence in his decision to postpone the election in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to 2013 and appoint officers-in-charge in the interim so that urgent reforms could be undertaken in the region. While this decision was initially greeted with much skepticism and even reviled as contrary to the Constitution and the law that created the ARMM, PNoy’s position was upheld by the Supreme Court and therefore a new ARMM government would take over to implement the necessary political, economic and social reforms in Muslim Mindanao until 2013.

As I see it, the resolution of the Hacienda Luisita issue is a defining moment for the Aquino administration, and gives hope to other farmers elsewhere in the country that agrarian reform works and social justice is an achievable goal.

PNoy adopted as his campaign slogan “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”. In his inaugural, he said his administration would be focused on the “daang matuwid”, or the straight path, as its overarching goal.

Vociferous critics of the administration can say everything they want about the “daang matuwid”, but I think that in the past 18 months, PNoy’s mantra of good governance and pursuing the straight path cannot be easily dismissed as empty sloganeering.

The administration’s decision to hold former president Gloria Arroyo accountable for plunder, electoral fraud and human rights violations during her nine-year rule offers ample proof that the “daang matuwid” is here to stay. Thus, those bent on taking the crooked path of stealing from the public coffers, cheating in elections and killing political adversaries had better mend their ways, or else they are likely to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.


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LT. Col. Pedro Sumayo, former commander of the Military Intelligence Group 21 (MIG-21) which specializes in communications and surveillance, yesterday told a Senate investigating panel that he heard the voice of former president Gloria Arroyo in the raw copy of the “Hello Garci” wiretapped tapes, which he burned on orders of his superior.

Sumayo also told the Senate committees on blue ribbon and electoral reforms which are jointly investigating the alleged fraud during the 2004 and 2007 elections that he was given P900,000 several weeks before his testimony.

Sumayo said former T/Sgt. Vidal Doble Jr. presented to him the audio recordings after the 2004 elections.

He said he listened to a portion of a tape and heard a voice which he recognized as Arroyo’s.

He said he informed his superior, Col. Allen Capuyan, who was then head of the Special Operations Group of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, about the recordings.

“When I told him (Capuyan) about what I’ve heard he told me to destroy the tapes,” Sumayo said. He said he passed on Capuyan’s instruction to Doble.

Sumayo was relieved from the ISAFP this year and is on floating status after being tagged as one of the core members of Project Lighthouse, the ISAFP surveillance team that was responsible for the wiretapping.

Sumayo said he has sought Capuyan’s help to be returned to active service.

He said Capuyan delivered to him, through a certain Col. Zosa, a package with nine bundles of peso bills amounting to P900,000.

Sumayo was referring to Col. Allen Emil Zosa, the former head of Isafp’s Special Operations Group.

Capuyan has retired from military service. He ran and lost for a partylist seat in the 2010 elections.

Sumayo turned over the money to the panel, saying that “I was relieved from J2, it would be unwise for me to touch the money and I was only asking for my career.”

Armed Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Oban said the military may look into Sumayo’s allegations while the Senate investigation is ongoing.

Oban said Sumayo, who is currently assigned with the AFP general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, is being recommended for another position.

He encouraged military officers and men who have knowledge in the rigging of the 2004 presidential elections to come out in the open and tell what they know.

Also during the Senate investigation, Ahmad Mamucao, former chief of the Maguindanao Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and an election consultant of the Ampatuan clan, claimed to have heard Arroyo tell the Ampatuan clan patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr., to deliver a 12-0 sweep in Maguindanao in favor of the administration senatorial slate

Mamucao, however, clarified that the conversation was just a campaign pep talk during a meeting in Malacañang in April 2007, and not an order to rig the elections.

Mamucao told the Senate panel that he picked up 60 boxes filled with blank election returns in Maramag, Bukidnon in June 2007 upon the instruction of a “Bong Serrano.” The election returns were supposed to have been delivered by former Maguindanao provincial administrator Norie Unas.

He said the compound where he went, which had a boxing gym, was filled with pictures of then senatorial candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri. He said he met a certain “Rudy” and “Alex”, who introduced himself as Zubiri’s cousin.

He said when he returned Manila, he met with one of Arroyo’s political officers whom he identified as “Bong Serrano” who was allegedly with “Lea”, a member of Zubiri’s staff.

Zubiri said he had “no participation, no knowledge, (and) no tolerance to electoral fraud for cheating whether pre- or post-elections.”

“It’s a complete, complete lie. Sobrang-sobra naman ang demolition job na ginagawa nila sa amin,” he said.

However, he admitted that his family owned the gym and compound that Mamucao referred to and that it was lent to the town to be used by the public.

He said he has never met Mamucao “in any activity for election cheating.”

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said there is no direct evidence yet linking Arroyo to poll fraud.

“That is not our main goal here, to develop a case against the former president…As we have seen in our hearings, cheating could happen before, during and even after the elections. So we have to prevent that,” he added. – With Victor Reyes

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
By Linggoy Alcuaz
OpinYon Lite

Marcos’s Martial Law dignified going to jail. Before Martial Law, going to jail was very shameful. Whether it was before or after conviction, it was the same. One was behind bars. One was under incarceration and imprisonment. The reasons were simple. One had run afoul of the law. One had broken the law. One was a criminal. There were no ifs and buts.

From 1953 until 1972, I can only recall one instance or example of somebody whom I did not know who went to jail with dignity and in an honourable way. He was a reporter by the name of Monroy. He was jailed by a judge for contempt. He refused to disclose or identify his source of the information he used and wrote in a newspaper article.

When I ran across the poetry of Amado V. Hernandez, I perceived the author or poet as bad. He was a Manila City Councillor from Tondo and a leftist labour leader, However, he was a Communist and was arrested and jailed as a suspected member of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) Politburo. Later un, in college in the late sixties, I met him in person and became his friend. I realized that he was, contrary to my earlier impression, a good guy.

1953 was the year when Ramon Magsaysay challenge and ran as the Nacionalista Party candidate against the incumbent Liberal Party President Elpidio Quirino. Because my uncles Salvador, Vicente, Luis and Francisco were reformers, my mother’s family supported Magsaysay. My other uncle, Antonio was already the Treasurer of the NP. He too was a reformer and a nationalist in 1946 when he ran for Senator under the Democratic Alliance, which allied with the NP against the pro American LP’s.

When Magsaysay’s PAF Douglas C – 47 Presidential Plane, Mt. Pinatubo, crashed on Mt. Managgal after taking off from Lahug airport in Cebu, the majority of the family except Antonio, continued to support the reformers. They broke away from President Carlos P. Garcia and the NP. They set up and ran under the PPP in 1957 and the Grand Alliance in 1959. The PPP was revived for the 1965 National Elections.

I can no longer remember now which of two names were used in which of the two elections (1957 and 1965) – the Progressive Party of the Philippines and the Party for Philippine Progress. However, it was clear both times that they were related, better yet, that they were the same thing with the same ideas, objectives and people. The same was true of the Grand Alliance.

In 1961, the Grand Alliance coalesced with the LP under the banner of the United Opposition Party. At least three GA candidates won, Emmanuel Pelaez as Vice President and Raul S. Maglapus and Manuel Manahan as number one and two Senators.

At the end of his six year term, Manglapus was unseated for overspending by the COMELEC or Senate Electoral Tribunal. I believed and thought that we were the good guys. However, we kept on losing to the bad guys – the NP’s, LP’s and the politicians from UP. Finally, when we did win, our good guy, and not the more numerous bag guys, was caught overspending in his campaign. He was just too honest in the impossible situation were the low legal spending limits were not only impractical, but also impossible to observe.

These were two big contradictions where the good guys kept on being punished and the bad guys kept on being rewarded. And so, I started to realize that there were many things wrong with our government, leaders, society and people.

This realization happened to coincide with the start, development, growth and explosion of a new reform movement. Actually, by the end of the 60’s and the start of the 70’s, reform and reformer were no longer seen or taken as the ideal or in the positive. They were seen as failures. The increasingly better perceived and received were revolution and revolutionary.

On the night of September 23, a Friday, Marcos, Enrile, Espino, Ramos etc … , implemented Martial Law. They arrested Senators Benigno S. Aquino and Jose W. Diokno, 1971 Constitutional Convention Delegates Antonio Araneta, Jose Concepcion, Alejandro Lichauco and several dozen others. The Mass Media, Print and Broadcast, and their owners, Publishers, Editors, Reporters, etc … , were arrested and/or thrown out of work. On Saturday morning, September 24, the television and radio broadcasts were monopolized by President Marcos and his Press Secretary Francisco “Kit” Tatad.

Thousands were arrested and jailed. They gave birth to the term “Political Detainee”. The majority were eventually released without being charged and tried. The minority were tried and convicted and transferred to Muntinglupa and other National Penitentiaries. Those arrested under the powers of Martial Law were generally detained in military detention centers inside military camps.

Joe Concepcion was my cousin – in – law and a son – in law of my Uncle Salvador. Three of my cousins who were children of my Uncle Antonio were jailed too. They were Concon Delegate Tonypet, Francisco and Enrique.

With friends and relatives now being arrested and jailed, my perspective on the law, law enforcers and the judiciary took a radical turn. Even before Martial Law, we developed friendships with former as well as current detainees. I became a student, friend and partner of Amado Hernandez, Alfredo Saulo and Luis Taruc. My girlfriend, Baby, and I used to visit the PKP, HMB detainees at the Ft. Bonifacio Stockade in Taguig.

I was elected in August 1970 and retired as the Chairman of KASAPI in September of 1972. Because we were not Communists, leftists and radicals, few of us were arrested in the early waves. We were Christian and moderate and Jesuit backed and inspired. However, an August KASAPI Anniversary Assembly at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, Q. C., in the mid 70’s, was raided by the PC Metrocom. The participants (Fr. Jose Blanco, S. J. and the entire active leadership of KASASPI) as well as suspected participants (Fr. Benny Mayo, S. J.) were arrested and hauled off to Camp Crame.

On April 7, 1978, Marcos held elections of Assemblymen for the Interim Batasan Pambansa on a region wide basis. The LP under Senators Gerry Roxas (President) and Jovy Salonga (Vice President) and former President Diosdado Macapagal (Pre3sident Emeritus) decided to boycott the elections. At the last minute, Senator Ninoy Aquino, decided to run in Metro Manila and put up LABAN. On the eve of the elections, the residents of Metro Manila rose up in a Noise Barrage. On the day after the elections, Sunday, April 8, 1978, LABAN and the Opposition held a Protest March from the Welcome Monument to the Manila Cathedral. At the Espana PNR railroad tracks the PC Metrocom stopped the march and arrested everyone they could cartch. They brought them to the PC camp at Bicutan. Among them were Senator Lorenzo Tanada, Tito Guingona, Fr. Archie Intengan, S. J., Norbertu Gonzales and many others.

In 1979, a non – Communist violent group calling itself the Light – a – Fire Movement started a series of arson attacks on the floating casino, the Hyatt Regency Hotel and other crony owned or identified businesses.

In May of 1980, Ninoy developed a serious heart condition that needed a triple heart by – pass. Marcos allowed and Imelda facilitated Ninoy’s release from prison to travel abroad to Texas, USA. Soon after, non Communist groups that were sympathetic to the Opposition and Ninoy started a series of coordinated and simultaneous bombings in Metro Manila and the provinces. They called themselves the April 6 Liberation Movement (A6LM) and were specially adept at combining propaganda with their bombings. These culminated in the bombing of the International Convention of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) at the PICC where Marcos was the guest of honor and principal speaker.

The PC Metrocom SOG managed to arrest a couple of the “terrorists” including Dorris Nuval Baffrey, Rolando “Boyet” Montiel, Chut Cellano, Jovy Labajo, Percy Palmes, etc … They were detained in Bicutan. Earlier, in June or July, after the first failed triple bombing attempts, the PC Metrocom RSF arrested my friends Manny Cruz and Charlie Serapio at Greenhills.

With so many comrades, friends and relatives arrested, detained and imprisoned, it was no longer shameful to be arrested, detained and imprisoned. To be continued with stories of the arrest and detention of Ka Herman “Mentong” Tiu Laurel, yours truly, Linggoy Alcuaz and Erap …

Source: ABC News

MANILA, Philippines November 30, 2011 (AP)

A Chinese court has upheld the drug trafficking conviction of a Filipino man and set his execution for Dec. 8 despite appeals for clemency from the Philippine president, officials said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old man, who was not identified, was arrested in September 2008 at Guilin International Airport in southern China while trying to smuggle 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) of heroin into Guangxi province from Malaysia, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Smuggling more than 50 grams of heroin or other drugs is punishable by death in China.

The Philippine government provided all possible help to the condemned man and made “sustained and exhaustive representations with the Chinese government at all levels,” including an appeal from President Benigno Aquino III to his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, to try to have the death sentence commuted to life in prison, officials said.

The foreign office expressed “its sadness at this turn of events” and said the convicted man’s family has been told of the Chinese court’s decision. Arrangements were being made for family members to immediately leave for China to meet with the condemned man.

The plight of Filipino workers overseas is an emotional issue in the Philippines, and ensuring their safety and welfare, often in conflict zones and countries with starkly different cultures, is a cornerstone of Philippine foreign policy. About 10 percent of the country’s 94 million people work abroad to escape widespread poverty and unemployment at home.

In March, China executed three Filipino workers who were convicted of smuggling heroin despite last-minute appeals and political concessions by Philippine leaders. The three were arrested in 2008 and convicted and sentenced in 2009.

Aquino sent at least three letters to Hu and deployed his vice president to appeal, prompting China to postpone the executions of the three by a month. The Philippine government said it was able to prove that a drug syndicate had taken advantage of the Filipino workers.