June 2013

By Paul Atienza
The Daily Tribune

Ballsy-Aquino-and-Eldon-CruzThe ZTE-NBN deal scandal rocked the Arroyo administration and the former President and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, have been pilloried for it.

Not so in the case of the current presidential sister, husband and presidential cronies, who are quickly absolved and the issue is never to be probed.

In what could be described as a presidential kin’s scandal in similar NBN-ZTE tones, another scandal involving an alleged extortion try by presidential sister Ballsy Cruz, husband Eldon Cruz and a group identified with the husband-wife team, said to be composed of friends and allies of President Aquino.

The group was said to be in a bid to get a railway contract with railway contractor in the Czech Republic, Inekon, offering to facilitate this in the Philippines for a couple of million dollars on the side.

Malacañang quickly said that it will not dignify reports that a group of presidential sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and husband Eldon Cruz is allegedly extorting money from a company supposedly in exchange for government contracts.

Inekon Trams manufactures trams and railways, and is located in the Czech Republic. The company has supplied new trams to several cities in the Czech Republic and the United States. It has also been successful in getting contracts in Asia, according to its website.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte quickly trashed the allegations, and just as quickly absolved the presidential sister and brother in law, as well as their group.

Valte claimed that the story was made up, saying that the details were obscure and “murky.”

A radio report earlier quoted an unidentified source saying that Czech company Inekon refused to give an “advance” to the group of Aquino-Cruz in exchange for a supply contract for Metro Rail Transit coaches.
The Aquino-Cruz group is reportedly made up of Pete Prado, a former top official of the Department of Transportation Communications (DoTC) during the term of president Corazon Aquino, and Steve Psinakis, a son-in-law of the late Eugenio Lopez Sr.

Ballsy, her husband Eldon, along with the named group members were said to have traveled to the Czech Republic to meet with the officers of the principal bidders for the MRT-3.

The train company, Inekon was visited by the Eldon Cruz group allegedly for the purpose of securing the contract to represent Inekon in the DoTC in the bidding of the MRT-3 in Manila through the facilitation of Steve Psinakis.

Psinakis is married to Precy Lopez, a daughter of Eugenio Sr.

Psinakis has been a Senior Consultant of First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPHC) since 1996.

He served as Senior Adviser of Benpres Holdings Corporation. He served as President of First Private Power Corporation and Bauang Private Power Corporation from 1993 to 1996. He was engaged in part-time consultancy work on Management and Engineering from 1973 to April 1986. He also served as a Director of Manila North Tollways Corp. He also served as a Director of Benpres Holdings Corp. since 1999. He served as Director of FPHC from 1999 to January 2006.

It was alleged that between US$2 million to US$20 million had been asked by the group as advance “facilitation fees” to insure the award of the new MRT-3 to Inekon company.

Allegedly, the government of the Czech Republic would be expected to release a report of the alleged activities of the group who visited the country.

Valte said the allegations began in a “blind item” which the Malacañang media monitoring staff had already clipped.

“You know that it started as a blind item. We’ve seen it also in our monitoring. It is obvious. One, everybody knows that the presidential sisters are very far removed from the affairs of government,” Valte said.

In a bid to kill the issue, Valte even described the allegations as shadowy which does not need any official attention of President Aquino.

“The story was too murky, and obviously is a conjecture or fictionalized,” Valte said.

Valte said that Aquino was already aware of the Czech-train allegations.

“Yes. The President knows of it. The President did not give any importance to it. He knew there’s no truth to it,” Valte said.

Valte said the allegations against his sister and brother in law would not grab a single minute from the attention of the President.

“At this point, it does not even merit a response given the obscurity of the details that are supposedly part of a story,” Valte said.

Czech Republic ambassador to Manila Josef Rychtar was claimed to have spoken personally to Cathy P. Gonzales, undersecretary and head of the DoTC-MRT Public Bidding for MRT 3.

Meanwhile, farmworker-based Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura yesterday called for full transparency including terms and conditions on all private-public partnership (PPP)-led projects amounting to P76.5B as soon as possible for scrutiny.

The group said the people have the highest stakes on each of these featured projects by the government because at the end, if these projects fail to boost development or will result on a compromising position on the government’s part, it’s the public that will pay for its blunder.

UMA cited the disadvantages and the highly unfair transaction between the MWSS and its two concessionaires the Maynilad and Manila Waters and lack of transparency including the scrutiny of its conditions and proposal to pass on its obligations to its customers a whopping P15.3B combined income tax payment to the government from 2008 to 2012 according to consumer advocate Water for the People Network.

“The Aquino government must learn from this obvious and clear abuse of authority from private companies like the Maynilad and the Ayala-led Manila Waters in which the government deliberately overlook because of under the table deals. If these six pet PPP-led projects of the Aquino administration are left unchecked, it would be again another problem for all the tax payers” said Lito Bais, the group’s chairman.

The UMA leader also said that the proposal of Sen. Francis Escudero to create an Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)-like body that will review water rates by its providers is just like legitimizing its large scale profiteering and one sided proposals by the government itself.

Even the ERC, Bais said, failed to go after Meralco on its P9.1B obligation to its customers because of double charging.

“The Aquino government should ensure that these projects are being directly facilitated, control and under the closed scrutiny of the national government,” said Bais.

“Also it should ensure that all the transactions to these PPP projects once on the roll should be available anytime to interested individuals and groups who wishes to inquire information of the said project,” he added.

“But ultimately only through genuine land reform and national industrialization will pave the way for self-sufficient and independent economy instead of asking new loans and foreign aids that carries out disadvantageous conditions to the government,” said the peasant leader. Charlie V. Manalo

http://www.tribune.net.ph/index.php/headlines/item/15989-ballsy-hubby-linked-to-inekon-extort-try

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

RELATED STORY:

Czech Republic representative ready to spill beans against Ballsy

Source: DZRH

Noynoy-and-Ballsy-CruzThe representative of Czech Republic to the Philippines is ready to spit everything out regarding the extortion accusations against Presidential sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Presidential brother-in-law Eldon Cruz to a huge Czech company.

Based on the source who wished not to be named, Ambassador Josef Rychtar arranged the meeting between the officials of the Inekon Company and former Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary during the late President Corazon Aquino’s term, Pete Prado, Cruz and Steve Psinakis who is connected to the Lopezes, owner of ABS-CBN […]

Read the full story >> Czech Republic representative ready to spill beans against Ballsy

Source: Reuters

BEIJING 

New recruits of the Chinese Navy march with their guns during the parade marking the end of their first training session in Qingdao, Shandong province, March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

New recruits of the Chinese Navy march with their guns during the parade marking the end of their first training session in Qingdao, Shandong province, March 4, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

(Reuters) – China’s state media warned on Saturday that a “counterstrike” against the Philippines was inevitable if it continues to provoke Beijing in the South China Sea, potentially Asia’s biggest military troublespot.

The warning comes as ministers from both countries attend an Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Brunei, starting Saturday, which hopes to reach a legally binding code of conduct to manage maritime conduct in disputed areas.

At stake are potentially massive offshore oil reserves. The seas also lie on shipping lanes and fishing grounds.

Both China and the Philippines have been locked in a decades-old territorial squabble over the South China Sea, with tensions flaring after the Philippines moved new soldiers and supplies last week to a disputed coral reef, prompting Beijing to condemn Manila’s “illegal occupation”.

The overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, said in a front-page commentary that the Philippines had committed “seven sins” in the South China Sea.

These include the “illegal occupation” of the Spratly Islands, inviting foreign capital to engage in oil and gas development in the disputed waters and promoting the “internationalization” of the waters, said the commentary.

The Philippines has called on the United States to act as a “patron”, while ASEAN has become an “accomplice,” said the commentary, which does not amount to official policy but can reflect the government’s thinking.

“The Philippines, knowing that it’s weak, believes that ‘a crying child will have milk to drink’,” the People’s Daily said, accusing Manila of resorting to many “unscrupulous” tricks in the disputed waters.

Beijing’s assertion of sovereignty over a vast stretch of the South China Sea has set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to other parts of the sea.

The 10-member ASEAN hopes to reach a legally binding Code of Conduct to manage maritime conduct in disputed areas. For now a watered-down “Declaration of Conduct” is in place.

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that countries with territorial claims in the South China Sea that look for help from third parties will find their efforts “futile”, adding that the path of confrontation would be “doomed”.

Last week, China vowed to protect its sovereignty over the Second Thomas Shoal, known in China as the Ren’ai reef. The Philippines is accusing China of encroachment after three Chinese ships, including a naval frigate, converged just five nautical miles (nine km) from an old transport ship that Manila ran aground on a reef in 1999 to mark its territory.

Last year, China and the Philippines were locked in a tense two-month standoff at the Scarborough Shoal, which is only about 124 nautical miles off the Philippine coast. Chinese ships now control the shoal, often chasing away Filipino fishermen.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Michael Perry)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/29/us-china-philippines-idUSBRE95S01Y20130629

By Ric Sapnu
The Philippine Star

USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, docks in Subic’s Alava Pier yesterday for the Phl-US CARAT exercise. ERNIE PENAREDONDO

USS Fitzgerald, a guided-missile destroyer, docks in Subic’s Alava Pier yesterday for the Phl-US CARAT exercise. ERNIE PENAREDONDO

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT , Philippines – The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) docked at Alava Pier here yesterday to take part in the 19th Philippines-US Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise.

Philippine and US Naval forces kicked off the CARAT at the West Philippine Sea after an opening ceremony at this former US naval base.

Two more supply ships, the USNS Washington Chamber and USNS Salvor, will arrive today in Subic Bay for the offloading of supplies and equipment for the joint exercise.

Two sea assets and one helicopter of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) would also take part in the CARAT.

PCG Fleet commander Commodore Eduardo Gongona said they would be using their 56-meter multi-purpose vessel and the presidential ship BRP-EDSA (SARV-002) with K-9, medical and personnel from the Coast Guard’s Subic station.

The PCG Air Group would also dispatch its Bo-105 rescue helicopter (PCG Helo-1636) to participate in the military games.

The 19th CARAT is a series of bilateral naval exercises between the US Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

The exercises are a boost to the Philippines’ poorly equipped military as it struggles with rising Chinese aggression.

“The goal of these exercises is to further boost cooperation… between the two armed forces and further streamline responses to counterterrorism and maritime security,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

The Chinese embassy in Manila released a statement yesterday cautioning the Philippines and the United states not to exacerbate tensions in the area with its exercises.

“We hope relevant sides should take actions that are beneficial for maintaining peace and stability in the region, not the other way around,” the statement said, citing a foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing.

Philippine Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said some of the CARAT exercises would be held between Luzon and Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

Specifically, Fabic said some of the drills would be 108 kilometers east of Panatag Shoal in sea lanes within Philippine territory. Chinese vessels had virtually taken over the shoal and prevented Filipino fishermen from fishing in the area.

Nevertheless, Fabic stressed the war games were not meant to provoke China.

“While the exercises will be between Panatag Shoal and the main island of Luzon, the focus is inter-operability and not targeted against the Chinese,” Fabic said.

The six-day exercises are an annual event but this year they will be held off the west coast of Luzon, close to Panatag Shoal off Zambales province, which China insists it owns.

The Philippines will deploy its flagship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, as well as other navy and coast guard vessels, Fabic said.

About 500 US forces and another 500 Filipino troops will take part in the exercises, according to Fabic.

He said among the highlights was an exercise designed to intercept suspected enemy ships, board them and seize materials they may be carrying that could pose a danger to allies.

There will also be simulated counterterrorism exercises, as well as training in disaster response and increasing proficiency in naval gunnery, he added.

CARAT began in 1995, and has since occurred in several locations throughout the Philippines, including Cebu (2009), Subic Bay (2010), Puerto Princesa City (2011) and General Santos City (2012).

The training events in each CARAT phase are tailored based on available assets and mutual training goals across a broad range of naval capabilities, according to the US embassy Information Office advisory.

CARAT Philippines 2013 will focus on maritime security operations, maritime domain awareness and information sharing.– With Evelyn Macairan

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/06/28/959159/us-destroyer-joins-carat-exercise

By Zachary Keck
The Diplomat

Military-top-brassInternational relations scholars of the Realist persuasion have long held that when faced with a security threat, states balance against it in two ways. The first way is through internal balancing; that is, by strengthening one’s own capabilities. This is the preferred balancing mechanism for states, according to realists, as it doesn’t force states to rely on allies’ goodwill in meeting their commitments, and doesn’t risk the state being dragged into others’ fights.

However, oftentimes the power disparity between a rising state and its adversaries means that internal balancing alone will not suffice in countering it. In these instances, realists contend, states will seek to align with third parties who also view the powerful state as a threat.

Although the social sciences are nowhere near as exact as the natural ones, East Asia over the past few months have largely followed this pattern, especially with regards to the Philippines and Japan—the two states who have been engaged in the most prolonged and intense maritime standoffs with China in recent years.

Thus, after wrangling with China in the Scarborough Shoal last year, the Philippines unveiled a US$1.8 billion military modernization plan that is heavy on weapons acquisition. Similarly, shortly after taking office in December, Shinzo Abe’s administration asked for two increases in in defense spending in January alone, even though Tokyo hadn’t raised military spending since 2002.

He has also sought to redefine the Japanese Self Defense Forces considerably, allowing them to undertake a far more expansive array of operations than in the past. Notably, one change Abe has been advocating particularly hard for is allowing the SDF to come to the aid of allied nations under the banner of self-defense.

But ultimately neither of these countries can unilaterally compete with China’s military power over the long-run. This is already true of the Philippines, given that in 2011 Beijing’s GDP was over 30 times as large as Manila’s economic output. Not surprisingly, Manila has decided to augment its own military build-up with an aggressive campaign to bring just about anyone to its side, from ASEAN and the U.S., to international courts, Russia and now Japan.

Although Japan could likely defend the Senkaku Islands from China’s military today, the long-term trends are ominous for Tokyo. Accepting this reality, Japan has prudently set out to also strengthen ties with just about everyone as well, from Southeast Asia and the United States, to Russia, Taiwan, India, and even the Middle East. Indeed, Abe has gone so far as to all but invite the former European colonial powers to reassume their previous role in Asia.

Thus far, despite talks of Japan selling ships to the Philippines, Manila and Tokyo have been following parallel but separate tracks in dealing with their maritime dispute with China. This ended this week with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera’s visit to the Philippines this week.

“We face a very similar situation in the East China Sea of Japan. The Japan side is very concerned that this kind of situation in the South China Sea could affect the situation in the East China Sea,” Onodera told reporters after meeting with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltair Gazmin.

“We [therefore] agreed that we will further cooperate in terms of defense of remote islands as well as defense of territory or territorial sea as well as protection of maritime interest,” he added, while also voicing Tokyo’s support for the Philippines’ effort to have the UN rule on the South China Sea dispute (despite Japan’s refusal to even acknowledge a dispute exists in the East China Sea).

Onodera’s visit coincided with a large-scale U.S.-Philippine military exercise near the Scarborough Shoal, one that followed closely on the heels of a sizeable U.S. military exercise involving Japan. Interestingly, following a meeting with Onodera’s visit this week, Philippine Defense Secretary Gazmin announced that Manila was looking to build new naval and air bases at the former U.S. base in Subic Bay, and that the U.S. would be granted greater access to these bases—including basing equipment there. Gazmin also said the Philippines would be interested in having other powers have access to the bases, citing Japan as one such power.

“If and when there is agreement on the access, then there will be equipment coming in from the (United) States,” Gazmin said.

“Now as far as Japan is concerned, we do welcome other countries — particularly Japan since Japan is a strategic partner — in accordance with our existing protocols.”

Make no mistake— this budding U.S.-Japan-Philippine axis is made in China. That’s not to say Beijing alone is at fault for all its maritime clashes. Indeed, in the case of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, it was Japan which first challenged the status-quo.

Still, as China’s power grows it will be held to a higher standard than some of its weaker neighbors, if only because these neighbors will see their futures as increasingly dependent on maintaining unity in the face of the Chinese leviathan. And this is and always has been China’s Achilles’ heel; while any cohesive Chinese state that occupies its current borders is destined to tower over the region, it will never be powerful enough to defeat large coalitions of its numerous neighbors.

Traditionally, Chinese leaders have sought to deal with the possibility of strategic encirclement by using “barbarians to check barbarians.” At various times over the last year or two, Beijing has seemed to abandon this divide and conquer strategy entirely, in favor of one that increases friction with nearly every power in the region, often unnecessarily. A good example is the passports Beijing issued last year that showed China stretching from India to the entirety of the South China Sea.

The result has been, as demonstrated in a recent report by the Center of a New American Security, rapidly increasing ties between China’s neighbors, often independent of the United States. The Taiwan-Japan fishery agreement and Japan and Philippines strengthening defense ties are just two of the latest examples of this.

Unfortunately, China’s senior leaders often seem oblivious to how their own actions are producing these changes, and instead remain convinced they are a part of a larger conspiracy hatched in Washington.

But, as Joe Nye has pointed out repeatedly over the last decade and a half, starting with Bill Clinton post-Cold War U.S. administrations rejected a containment strategy against China because they reasoned it would be “difficult to persuade other countries to join a coalition to contain China unless China resorted to bullying tactics, as the Soviets did after World War II. Only China, by its behavior, could organize the containment of China by others.”

In other words, Chinese foreign policy is making Washington’s job easier.

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/06/29/made-in-china-a-us-japan-philippines-axis/

UPDATE — Vice President Jejomar Binay called off his trip to China to deliver P-Noy’s letter asking for the commutation of a Filipina drug mule’s death sentence.  Binay said that Beijing declined to receive him. — PERRY DIAZ

Philippine VP to go to China to try to save drug mule

Agence France-Presse

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay will go to China in a last-ditch effort to save a Filipina from being executed for drug-trafficking, his office said Friday.

Binay will leave on Sunday, carrying a letter from President Benigno Aquino to Chinese President Xi Jinping asking to spare the woman, a statement from the vice-president’s office said.

Commenting on the chances for success, Binay said: “Let’s just continue praying.”

Binay said this would be his second time to go to China to deliver a letter asking for a stay of execution.

The previous time was in February 2011 when he sought a reprieve for three Filipinos also convicted of drug trafficking, but the three were eventually executed on March 30, 2011.

The executions triggered widespread condemnation in the Philippines, which abolished the death penalty in 2006.

The woman facing execution was one of two Filipinos arrested for smuggling more than 12 kilogrammes (26 pounds) of high-grade heroin into China in 2011.

Her male companion, who was caught with her, has also been handed a death penalty but with a two-year delay.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the government was seeking to bring the woman’s family to China as soon as possible so they could see her before she dies.

The execution is due to take place between Friday and Tuesday next week. Binay’s office said the woman’s lawyers had informed them that it would take place on Tuesday.

The scheduled execution could further complicate already rocky bilateral relations between the two countries soured by overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

About a tenth of the Philippines’ 100 million population work abroad, many of them under harsh conditions where drug traffickers sometimes exploit them into becoming drug mules.

Hernandez earlier said that 213 Filipino have been jailed in drug-related cases in China.

Copyright AFP, 2013.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130628/philippine-vp-go-china-try-save-drug-mule

Frankly Speaking
By Frank Wenceslao

G8-Summit-2013-logoWith many governments suffering from serious budget deficits and resorting to austerity measures causing violent demonstrations the recent G8 summit of rich nations held in Northern Ireland, agreed to revisit previous agreements to crack down on tax evaders by more effective exchange of financial information and to take steps toward forcing corporations to reveal their true owners. This is good news for the Philippines because the world’s eight industrialized composing the G-8 will now help poor nations by not allowing Lichtenstein, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, etc. to continue as tax havens for ill-gotten wealth from the proceeds of corruption.

Poor nations like the Philippines now have a development agenda that goes beyond aid – one that links rich-country concerns over tax erosion to the misuse of development finance in the poorest countries. There are also encouraging signs that tax justice is mobilizing public opinion. President Aquino’s main responsibility now is to protect the orderly forward movement and growth across the economy’s broad front from being disrupted by unabated graft and corruption that made it impossible for past administrations to lay the basis for self-sustaining growth and accelerating national development. More importantly, however, our country has to close the loopholes and stop “creative” accounting schemes the big corporations have employed to minimize tax payments and impede economic growth.

G8-Summit-2013Other international cooperation agreements such as bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty; UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC); like the 2008 OECD agreement on exchange of tax information between nations strengthened by the G-8 Summit; and the 2009 G-20 London Summit declaring the end of bank secrecy or tax havens are now obligated to lift the secrecy of bank accounts suspected with illegal deposits make easier now to recover ill-gotten wealth from the proceeds of corruption and more effectively fight poverty in order to help poor people help themselves out of poverty.

Of course, there’s the G-8 communique itself. If the offer of veteran tax reform advocates a year ago was made at the G-8 summit, many would have grabbed it with both hands. If implemented effectively, the pledge to move towards automatic exchanges of information between tax authorities could limit some forms of tax evasion. There are also promises to develop G-8 action plans and add pledges to move towards disclosure of beneficial company ownership, commitments to engage developing countries in information-sharing, and to support tax authorities in developing countries, and you have a reasonable package.

Also agreed are national action plans which the G-8 countries have agreed to draw up to combat tax evasion and illicit transfers. The 10 principles that guide the development of the plans are broadly the right ones, but they already underpin company reporting laws in most of the G-8 (Russia being an exception). The commitment to automatic exchange of information between tax authorities is a positive step. However, this is an extension of the tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) that have been developed, to little real effect, under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) over the past decade.

The Philippines should therefore institutionalize a government-NGO cooperative framework to interface government and private sector efforts in fighting corruption. The assistance from the G-8 nations to get involved in the search and recovery of the remaining Marcos’ and cronies’ ill-gotten wealth and the illicit assets of current and former public officials, their family members and close associates, or the private businessmen and individuals that colluded with them during the post-Marcos years cannot be overemphasized. Long neglected by different administrations, the Philippines-United States Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) provides for a Philippine representative designated by the Secretary of Justice to make and receive requests of the US Attorney General pursuant to the Treaty signed in 1994 in connection with the investigation, prosecution and litigation of criminal offenses in either country. It has been proven over and over that the US justice system is faster in the adjudication of criminal offenses committed in the Philippines that may also be a criminal act under US laws.

More often than not, the evidence of violating Philippine and US laws such as RA 1379 (forfeiting to the state unlawfully acquired property of government officials and employees) and RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) can be interfaced and simultaneously filed in the two jurisdictions against an accused, for instance, to pressure former President Gloria M. Arroyo, ex-CJ Renato Corona, Roberto Ongpin and other “big fishes” to opt for plea bargain, make an accounting of their respective unlawfully acquired properties forfeitable to the state pursuant and negotiate on humanitarian grounds for each to keep a part of the properties whose earnings they are responsible for in order that they can keep the lifestyle they had before joining the government.

This will avoid very long Philippine legal processes which entail enormous legal cost and when the same respondent is faced with a US court suit that will cost much more than needed in the Philippines, plea bargain becomes a better choice as the wife (Marissa) of Sen. Lito Lapid did after she was convicted of currency smuggling in Las Vegas. To avoid imprisonment, she opted for a plea bargain and was sentenced of probation, fined $40,000 for attempting to smuggle this amount, and paid additional fine of $159,600 for “restructuring” her bank deposits in order that each didn’t exceed $10,000 every time. As a condition of her plea bargain, she has promised to help US law enforcers to testify against any person that may have committed similar crimes for which she was convicted.

The Ombudsman can investigate and sue Mrs. Lapid for Philippine crimes similar to what she violated in the US, e.g. money laundering, ill-gotten gains used to unlawfully acquire properties in the Philippine and USA from the proceeds of corrupt practices, etc. The US evidence can be requested to be transferred to the DOJ. Consequently, the evidence against Mrs. Lapid will implicate her husband, then Pampanga Gov. Lito Lapid, and son, Mark, who succeeded his father as governor; then Sen. Gloria Arroyo and son, ex-Pampanga vice governor and congressman; former DPWH Sec. Soriquez and then Lubao mayor, now Gov. Lilia Pineda and husband “jueteng” king Bong Pineda for forming a cabal that demanded kickbacks of up to 50% of contract price awarded to a select number of contractors .

When the Ombudsman may follow the example of Guatemala’s of ex-President Portillo who was recently extradited to US where he faces charges of corruption in office. The Ombudsman’s case against GMA and others abovementioned is for misappropriating billions of pesos of public funds for the Mt. Pinatubo Rehabilitation Project (MPRP) that included millions of dollars of US foreign aid whose embezzlement is a serious US felony not subject to statutes of limitation. Soriquez’s documents and testimony against GMA will make her suffer what happens to Portillo. The other respondents even if acquitted in the Philippines will face charges for embezzling US aid funds. The testimonies of former DPWH Sec. Soriquez and Marissa Lapid whose plea bargain obligates her to testify if asked by the US government as a condition of her plea bargain, will implicate her husband and son, Mark, both former Pampanga governors; Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, Pampanga’s former vice governor and congressman; and then Lubao mayor, now Gov. Lilia Pineda and husband “jueteng” king Bong Pineda as the co-conspirators .

This was published in Global Balita and a couple other outlets over a year ago. Contemplating on a follow up article raises the question as to whether Benigno Aquino III’s presidency has made a serious dent on the problem. I’ve heard of successes vis-a-vis ending corruption here and there and yet as I look at the potential candidates to replace Mr. Aquino in 2016 I get the sense of barbarians at the gates waiting for yet another opportunity to bring back, full bloom, the old order. Is the Aquino III’s presidency an aberration, a short lived one at that? 6 years is perhaps not enough time to cleanse a plague that has ravaged the country for more than half a century. Can it be extended to 12 years?

Will that then be time enough to do the job? Is there another candidate out there that the people can trust to continue the hard task of truly fighting corruption? Or shall the Filipino people just resign themselves to the inevitable and accept a restoration of the old order?

What do you think? — Leandro D. Quintana

Reform Must Come Now Lest the Marcos Storm Most Viciously Returns

April 16, 2012 
By Leandro D. Quintana*

Noynoy-and-MarcosIt was on a hot humid day in August of 1972 when I left the Philippines; for good, I thought then. I was disillusioned, feeling hopeless and, like millions of other Filipinos, looking for a chance at a new life in new lands. (It was a most fortunate escape.) Our country’s raging ailment then? Graft and corruption. The twin evils ruled supreme in almost every facet of life. It rose to such levels during the Marcos dictatorship that his realm was likened to a mafia fiefdom with all levels of government shaking down every conceivable source of illicit income the revenues of which were funneled upwards. This became so commonplace and ingrained that to this day the surviving partner of that conjugal dictatorship, Imelda, refers with near innocent attachment to their loot as something that “was ours”. All $10 billion or so of it.

Twenty years later, post Marcos, I finally made a trip back home. I’ve flown back a few times since then. Each visit resulted in a rediscovery of a beautiful land populated by beautiful and amazingly talented people. The experience always grips me and tugs at my heart. Almost like experiencing anew the warm and tender caresses of an alluring lover determined to keep one in her bosom forever. With each trip though came other discoveries and, as if peeling an onion, one goes deeper into the many layers and strata of Philippine life. Keeping the onion peeling analogy, tears often flow, inevitably, out of love and out of a deep sadness that the conditions that drove one to desperation and eventual flight forty years ago still persist, and have even worsened.

Graft and corruption, by both admission and consensus, remains the root evil that has kept the Philippines on constantly shaky grounds. It is the daily crime that causes government and its many institutions and appurtenances to miserably fail to provide quality basic services. It is why the population is resigned to the fact that the justice system works for the rich and powerful, only. Traffic is a mess and no efforts are being made to find and effect long term permanent solutions. The same benign attitude is on display with the problem of stifling pollution that grips the Metro Manila area daily. And, more seriously, the Armed forces can’t keep the peace in many areas and, like the police, can’t be trusted (in fact rumors abound that they head, or are in cahoots with, crime syndicates themselves). The education system is failing. Nepotism, favoritism, the padrino culture rules. A qualified teacher wants a job at a public school? She better be in the good graces of the local political overlord else she won’t get the job. Thus some 11 million have fled the country as temporary overseas workers, many of them college graduates who accept employment as maids to Arabs, Koreans, Japanese, Europeans and get as far as Santiago, Chile on the western coast of South America. There is no hope for the unconnected. Governmental incompetence all around. The country is run by oligarchies at every level , in every milieu. Corruption is not only a way of life, there is the consensus that without it nothing moves. A hand is out awaiting bribes at every turn; some hands don’t wait, they go into the victims pockets unresisted mostly. Rules are flaunted, laws are manipulated to this end. It is the rule of the day. When it is a charge that can be credibly laid at the foot of the country’s Chief Justice, when a recent ex-president and her family and friends are perceived as wallowing in it, when the population instinctively assumes that every politician and so called public servant is there to enrich themselves at the people’s expense, what more damning indictment need be hurled?

Our people, strong and resilient, survive the “…slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…” , daily, it seems. Patience, a touted virtue, has morphed into a lethal two-bladed sword that slices at the very flesh and bone of our national character. How will we survive and can change come? There is faint hope. Yet we must cling to hope even if it merely dangles by a thread. For at the very fiber of this thread is an oft aspirated wail, “…if only we had a leader who could set an example and who would commit to curing our ails, to stopping corruption, surely we would follow and support him…”.

Well, I posit that today the Philippines has its best chance to begin to expurgate what ails its body politic, to start the process of extricating from the very bowels of Philippine society the cancer of corruption that has chained and condemned the nation to a deathbed of hopelessness for generations, indeed for the lifetimes of even the oldest among us. It finally has a leader who has demonstrated over his first 2 years of a 6 year term that he is incorruptible and that he remains committed to the eradication of the graft system in government.
It is a daunting task even for the most talented and resourceful of leaders. The forces of the status quo, in government, in business, in the many institutions that sway power over the population and control the country’s resources are and will continue to be the obstacles to change.

To accomplish his mission, President Benigno Aquino III needs strong, committed and lasting collaborators. And the best allies he should be able to count on are the millions of Filipinos of goodwill, the ones who want to live by the rules, abide by the laws, and adhere to the lofty moral standards for which the nation’s many heroes of the past sesquicentennial have given their lives for.

We need heroes today. Not to stand in front of tanks or machine guns, but to do their part daily in every walk of life. The process begins by mastering our own urges to gain an unfair advantage even with the smallest of concerns like breaking to a line, or cutting off another vehicle in traffic or bribing a fixer to “expedite” our needs or a traffic officer to “look the other way”. And their voices need to be heard in the halls of Congress and all government entities, in the boardrooms of corporations, in churches and community halls, in schools and classrooms, in jeepneys and teeming sidewalks, in the workplace, at home with families and friends, in the editorial rooms and tv and radio news stations. The message must go out loud and clear, thru strong voices and even stronger actions. We must be the change we want to see. We must ask, nay demand that the institutions to which we have access to and count on us for support must be a part of the change.

It will not be easy. Yet nothing worthwhile pursuing ever is. And consider that even the mildest of ripples, under the right circumstances multiplied many times over could grow into a tsunami, a tidal wave that could eventually sweep away the rot of corruption that has festered on our nation’s shores, and robbed its soul, for way too long. Can it be done? Why not, how would you rather spend the next 4 years? After Noynoy, will there be another opportunity? Likely not. We must act now lest forever we shall be silenced. The Marcos evil that we assume we dislodged some 25 years ago did not die away nor fade into oblivion. Even as we write, and breathe, the storm clouds signaling their comeback are stirring in the north and in no time could sweep over the country and we shall once again be overwhelmed in a deluge from which, this time, there will be no escape.

(ldq44@aol.com)

* Some 35 years ago Leandro D. Quintana was one of the editors of Philippine News in San Francisco, with responsibilities for covering political events, business and other activities of interest to the Filipino community. Between 1978 and 1981 he was editor of Asian American News in Los Angeles. He left the news business to devote resources to a full time job in the air freight logistics industry and to raise his family. He retired in 2007 and began writing articles for a blog starting in December 2009. He currently does consulting work in the logistics industry and resides in Hawthorne, California. Prior to immigration to the US in 1972 he was a public relations specialist for Philippine Airlines based in Mactan, Cebu.

By Cristina DC Pastor 
GMA News

Lorna-Schofield“I was an American baby.”

Thus began the unambiguous narrative of Lorna Gail Tiangco Schofield, 57, recently confirmed judge of the Southern District of New York and first Filipino American federal judge in U.S. history.

Born in Indiana, Schofield traced her roots to New Haven’s blue collar community. Her father left the family when she was 3. Her mother, Priscilla Tiangco, a pharmacist from Batangas who graduated from UP, raised her as a single parent.

“There were no other Filipino families in New Haven,” she said when interviewed by The FilAm at her office at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse on Foley Square in downtown Manhattan. She recalled two Filipino families in nearby Fort Wayne, but interaction with them was largely limited to holidays.

In her classroom, she had only one African American and two Hispanic classmates. She was the only Asian.

“I didn’t have much of an Asian identity,” she said. “The people of Indiana overlooked the fact that I was different…that my mother spoke with an accent.”

What she remembers, and this story made her laugh as she drew from the well of her past, was being cast in the annual Christmas pageant as the one of the three Marys.

“I was always the Asian Mary and I would be with the White Mary and the Black Mary holding a baby,” she recalled while motioning a cradling gesture with both arms.

Schofield conceded being raised an all-American girl. No speaking Tagalog at home, and eating potatoes while her mother ate rice. Hence, she acknowledged no real Filipino consciousness developed as she was growing up. She did not feel like a minority.

“I have a theory,” she said on why her mother raised her the way she did. “She was in college during the war. I read her transcript, and one of her years in college was interrupted. When the Americans came, she saw them as liberators and heroes. Since then, she wanted to become American, marry an American and have American children.” Her mother died when Schofield was 20.

Schofield was previously married, and has a daughter who is now 25. “There she is,” she pointed to a framed portrait of a young woman dressed as if she was going to a prom, sitting on her bookshelf. Schofield is her father’s name, not her ex-husband’s.

The judge declined the use of a tape recorder for our interview, but relented on being photographed. She was dressed in a business suit of lime green stripes with ruffled hem, and made a remark about hoping to “not look frivolous.” The photo op was held at the courthouse lobby where our camera was being held by the building’s security.

“Top floors are overrated,” she said by way of a joke, as we were coming down the stairs from her second-floor chambers. True, the views are worth living in a Manhattan high-rise, but she said she’s quite pleased with her lower-level office and preferred the convenience of easy exit in case of an emergency.

From lawyer to judge
She showed us a PowerPoint album of her family – her mother as a young bride; her mother together with her father dressed in his Air Force uniform; herself when she was 5 photographed with her mouth slightly open as if she was caught in the middle of a conversation. It was her fifth birthday party in the Philippines, and she was photographed with all her first cousins.

“Even as a kid I had a great love of debate, speech and theater,” she said, a natural fit for the law profession.

At Indiana University, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English and German. She pursued graduate studies in Comparative Literature (German, French and English) at Brown University in Rhode Island. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the NYU School of Law in 1981. She became an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, representing clients in commercial and civil litigation, as well as transactional matters. Working at Cleary brought her to the Philippines in the 1980s when the firm represented the government of the Philippines which was renegotiating its sovereign debt with the major international banks.

In 1984, she became an Assistant U.S. Attorney. As a federal prosecutor under then Mayor Rudy Giuliani, she investigated and tried criminal cases, including tax evasion, white collar fraud, international arms sales and terrorism, according to a CV furnished The FilAm.

She returned to private practice in 1988, becoming a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton in 1991 and litigating complex commercial disputes. Possibly her most celebrated case was representing comedian Rosie O’Donnell in a dispute with her magazine publisher. It was, she said in a published interview, her “most memorable and most fun” case. She landed TV interviews with the “Today Show” and Dan Rather’s “Sixty Minutes.”

She retired from Debevoise & Plimpton in 2011. “When I became a partner at Debevoise, I was one of six women partners, out of 88 partners,” she said. “I was the only Asian partner, but not the first minority partner.”

As it was in Indiana, many in the profession were not aware she was Asian. She recalled a conversation with a colleague right after she became a partner, when she said the firm had another minority partner. The colleague asked, “Who?” That anecdote elicited soft laughter.

Gender, more than race, has been more of a hurdle in the male-dominated legal profession. “I sensed more of the gender challenges,” she said.

When Senator Charles Schumer recommended her, and later President Obama nominated her, to the position of Article III Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, Schofield reached out to the Filipino community for support. Diversity was important to the process; it was to Senator Schumer and to President Obama, she said.

She didn’t know any Filipino organizations, but the community, such as lawyers groups, also reached out to her and welcomed her warmly. In the past year and a half, she has become visible, speaking at clubs and marching in the June 2 Philippine Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue.

“After my mother died I had no contact with Filipinos,” she said, her contact limited to her mother’s sister in Manila, until she too died a few years later.

On December 14, 2012, her historic confirmation as the first Filipino American federal judge in American history was announced. In congratulating her, the Asian American Bar Association of New York described Schofield as “a highly qualified jurist” whose life story is the “epitome of the American Dream.”

Schofield is now discovering, perhaps for the first time, her Filipino identity. After receiving the support of Filipino organizations in the confirmation process, she pledged to try to give back to the Filipino community whenever asked, of course within the considerable ethical constraints placed on federal judges. – The Fil-Am

http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/315160/pinoyabroad/pinoyachievers/fil-am-judge-lorna-schofield-i-had-no-filipino-consciousness-growing-up

GLIMPSES
By Jose Ma. Montelibano

BoboBobo is now a popular word. It is derogatory in meaning, of course, a cross between simpleton and stupid. There are nuances to ignorance and lack of capability for intelligence. The bobo is a living defiance of Creation’s plan.

The sad thing about calling people bobo, less as individuals but more as a class, is that the ones calling others bobo may be more bobo than their intended victims. Perched from a pedestal of superiority, largely self-claimed from a conclusion that they are 1) more powerful, or 2) more wealthy, or 3) more educated, or 3) more holy, or 4) more connected to those who are from 1, 2, 3 and 4, the bobo callers reveal their arrogance or holier-than-thou attitude.

Visibly, the world in not equal in its exteriority. There is basis for some to be more than others, in looks, in talents, in wealth, in color and in many other ways. That is why the more refined societies insist on the virtue of respect. Respect alone levels the playing field like no other, and no society can transcend to development or maturity without it. And this is why the ones who think of, or call, others bobo show their own bobo character.

From the bobo-ness of the self-rated superior, if such have authority or great influence over authority, flow the bobo-ness of policies and programs. The politicians, bureaucrats, the elite, and the hierarchy of the Church who are the equivalent of the former in the field of the religious, dictate the value system of governance and power. Sometimes, the academe tempers the bobo-ness of authority. Sometimes, too, the academe submit to and justify this bobo-ness.

One important feature about being bobo is that it is a matter of choice. That means the bobo has options, and to be bobo is one of them. The poor and the ignorant, who are most of the time being the ones called bobo, have the least of options. They exist in a largely choice-less world of isang kahig, isang tuka, or the world of pure survival. In their own dimension, the Filipino poor have been great survivors.

In fact, many of them are now great achievers, especially the OFWs and their families who have crept out of the pit of poverty by their bootstraps and not by the generosity, wisdom or resources of those above them. Because they now have much more options than before, OFWs and their families have the possibility of being bobos themselves. They have escaped from a historical trap only to soon find that the world of more money is a mine field as well.

Bobos are self-made. Admittedly, they become so mindlessly, blinded or blind-sided by power, wealth, influence, or egos that color or cover the truth. But because of their superior material resources and the influence they wield because of such resources, bobos are the most dangerous class of Philippine society. They rule, period.

The extent of their wisdom, or bobo-ness, largely expresses itself through the abundance or scarcity of respect they give others, and the massiveness or insignificance of impoverished citizens that society hosts. The “No Wang-Wang” announcement of P-Noy is decidedly the most radical attitude to the traditional sense of entitlement of the bobos, the most respectful attitude towards those prejudiced by the bobo class. P-Noy only has one more achievement to accomplish that will surely earn for him a status not far from Rizal; P-Noy only has to drastically break the yoke of poverty of half of Filipinos by political will, by moral courage, and by a powerful sense of destiny.

I am especially influenced by some strategic views of the famous Albert Einstein who described insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He actually calls those whom I refer to as the real bobos as insane. What does that make of all our societal leaders who have been confronting our major problems by giving the same failed solutions decade after decade? Should we consider them as bobo or insane?

Einstein went on to say that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them. I use Einstein’s thoughts and words because they ring true more than just because they came from Einstein. I wish what he said is flawed in a significant way because the repetitive solutions we apply to the same historical problems point to serious levels of stupidity on our part. And I say “our” deliberately for the kind of tolerance we show the bobo or the insane.

The poor in this country of ours did not create itself. It was not laziness, it was not kabobohan, it was not even failure that made them poor – they were simply born poor. How can they, then, be the problem? They are victims of poverty, not its author. Only those with the authority, the power, the resources and influence to make the historically non-poor into the poor as we know them now can be the problem.

Why can we who have the desire, the clarity of mind, the generosity of heart, the practically of life, why can we not jump out of the same mindset that we used to condemn our people to poverty, or to tolerate it once condemned? We can be the superior class, the warriors and heroes who can save the rest of our people. We need not stay bobo all our lives. Worse than bobo, we cannot stay unconcerned for brothers and sisters.

One day, we will talk about the way of the warrior, of bayan, bayani and bayanihan. Soon, I know, because I feel the new dawn is here even before I see the light. The dream team of Filipinos is born. The cry of the suffering among us has been heard, their stories now being told and retold. Relief is around the next bend, and the future is full of hope.

By Ado Paglinawan

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and PCOS machine

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes and PCOS machine

I am endlessly amazed at the audacity of armchair analysts who has taken the cudgels to defend the 60-30-10 distribution of the votes of the Liberal Party Coalition, UNA and others.

So far I have encountered three analyses that appear serious at first, but eventually become fallacious upon closer scrutiny. The first that of Dr. Pablo Manalastas of the Center for People-Empowered Governance started it all. The second that of Mike Beduya of Asian Institute of Management has remained in the confines of social media but the third, of Dr. Michael Purugganan a dean of science at the New York University, has made it to the mainstream.

PCOS source code

PCOS source code

Like Dr. Purugganan, I am also based in the United States, specifically Washington DC. I don’t know his status but I have not renounced my Philippine citizenship and continue to come to the Philippines as often as I could so as not to lose my brown footing. In fact, this indio voted in the last elections at Antipolo City.

When AESWatcher Dr. Pablo Manalastas of the Ateneo drops the Law of Large Numbers (LLN) line, it could be enough to push TJDimacali of GMA News to doubt if this is “Conspiracy or Just Math?”

Being a strategic consultant, however, I approach the numbers and computer insights of the 2013 elections, just as I did the 2010 elections – not just from the perspective of a geek, but more appropriately from the socio-political aspect.. After all, numbers can be manipulated but not sociographics indicative of blood trails of a 60-30-10 pattern.

For being the best analyst of elections from 2004 to date, I would rather follow the logic of Hermenegildo Estrella, both a geek and a political animal. This is what he emailed to me yesterday:

“The Law of Large Numbers applies only for trials from the same population, which should mean that these trials [group of votes that are counted] are, or should have come from areas, really representative of the country as a whole. Same parameters, same characteristics, same almost every way of life.”

He compared this with what SWS and Pulse Asia do in the use of 1200 respondents as samples to predict the entire country’s preferences in areas where they have initially identified as leaning to their desired outcome.
Estrella said we are not robots: “A region, any region for that matter, does not really represent the Philippines. There are different dialects, cultures, preferences, income brackets, etc. For provinces, some neighboring ones share similarities, but not anyone of these represent the entire neighborhood. Much more political interests and leanings. Even more so down to districts, and may even be down to precinct clusters.”

In fact for his part, Beduya analyzed the increments between each canvass and charted the peaks and valleys of shares relative to each of the canvass as it progressed from the first to the sixteenth. His objective was obviously to dispel aired suspicions that the votes followed a fixed linear pattern. Eventually, Beduya invoked the law of large numbers illustrating its application around the 10th canvass as the votes when the 60-30-10 achieved seemingly irreversible momentum.

Purugganan on the other hand said “Each time they released a canvass, it represents millions of votes from around the country… So what does mathematics tell us? Each canvass would give a result that would be very, very close to the 60-30-10 national average.”

Beduya echoed Purugganan’s conclusion, “It is a mathematical law – it is called the Law of Large Numbers, which says that the larger your sample size is for an event, the closer your result from that sample will reflect the entire population.”

But both Beduya and Purugganan ground their syllogism on the premise that representative votes from “all over the country” were randomly and automatically being transmitted to and received by the Transparency Server maintained by PPCRV.

I cannot blame them really because that was what has been announced to the public by the showbiz Comelec – that from the precincts after the closing of voting, precinct tallies will be transmitted to an automatic bypass has been enabled for the precincts to transmit directly to the Transparency Server maintained by the PPCRV. This is an “unofficial” track but allows a ”first look” of the national count, or what was before known as the “quick count”.

Of course the “official” track of Election Returns, go from the precincts to the municipalities, from the municipalities onto the provinces, and from the provinces to the nation.

The Transparency Server is faster but since its data is sourced from the precincts, its canvass ought to mirror the official count.

But what Purugganan and Beduya were not aware of is that the Comelec, for the first time in the history of Philippine elections, “batched” provinces and cities into respective canvass clusters.

What was designed to receive inputs on a first-in/first out basis became a funnel scenario. Imagine a funnel full of precinct outputs at the bigger end trying to get ahead of one another towards its small end. The entering data is random but the exit is ruled by groupings by provinces and chartered cities.

Specifically, the first canvass covered votes from Antique, Batanes, Dinagat Islands, Guimaras, Mountain Province, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Romblon, Southern Leyte, and the following cities: Baguio, Iligan, Mandaluyong, Navotas and Paranaque. That canvass does not represent a random national count.

I am attaching herewith the schedule of the provinces released from the 1st to the 16th canvass. Again, each canvass does not represent a random national count. In fact, to reduce this matter to outright absurdity, the 14th canvass shows it was only for Davao del Norte, North Cotabato and Tawi-Tawi, all from atypical areas that are rural, not national. The 15th canvass was only from Marinduque and Samar, and the 16th was only from only one province Lanao del Norte.

So this demolishes their basic premise leading to consideration of “large numbers”. In fact, the New York-based dean himself unwittingly acknowledged the opposite should have happened.

Purugganan said “Now if you look at specific precincts, or maybe even specific regions, you will definitely find that each precinct or region will show more differences between each other. Each will have a different number that is further away from the 60-30-10 pattern. That is because they reflect local voting results.”

Albeit this caveat, 60-30-10 still ruled the exercise.

The peaks and valleys that Beduya pointed out, failed to observe that despite those sharp fluctuations, the individual share of all the senatorial candidates enabled them to maintain almost constant shares respective to any of the 16 canvasses. In fact he should be asking why despite those sharp fluctuations, the numbers were defaulting to a 60-30-10 template?

In short the template pattern applies to individual rankings. Here is a contrast in sampling – Grace Poe typecast at around 11%, while Risa Hontiveros pegged to around 6%. My goodness, it is almost a “flatline”. The individual shares of the senatorial candidates also established an almost constant ratio not just the top twelve rankings from Grace Poe to Gringo Honasan but of Samson Alcantara (Candidate #1) all the way to Migz Zubiri (Candidate #33).

My hypothesis on what caused this flatline, I will give at the conclusion of this article.

Allow me however to point out that batching or clustering the provincial inputs is by itself already a humungous anomaly.

It presupposes two things. First, that a filtering mechanism to, the very least to group the incoming tally into clusters, existed. In layman’s tongue using baseball lingo, after the ball was released by the pitcher, it did not go straight to the catcher but passed through a short-stop.

This “short stop” did not only expose the data to possible manipulation, it also violated the law.

This becomes relevant because as Mr. Beduya correctly observed the numbers making critical hits around the 10th canvass. Of course the “flatlining” misled him to thinking the law of large numbers had taken over.

From the political perspective what was actually happening was that Albay, Catanduanes and Leyte defaulted Bulacan in the 8th canvass. Bohol and Lanao del Sur defaulted Batangas in the 9th canvass. Cebu and Camarines Sur defaulted Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Zambales in the 10th canvass. Iloilo and Quezon City defaulted Laguna, in the 11th canvass.

Now to borrow an adjective from the New York dean but in reverse application: That’s definitely “fishy”.

Of those that I cited, my favorites are Bohol and Tacloban City. In Bohol, where Arthur Yap ran unopposed, all municipalities posted 60-30-10. Curiously, Tacloban City, the bailiwick of Imelda Marcos, also registered 60-30-10.

Rappler.com also exposed that more than 2,000 clustered precincts, significantly from Cebu and ARMM, where Bam Aquino showed magnificent “votes”, registered perfect or near perfect turnout beating the national average of 70 to 75%. Hello?

Given this, I no longer find it mysterious that the Comelec again in violation of the law, started proclaiming the first six winners in the Senatorial race with only 20% of results posted. This was followed by three with yet partial results and the last three with only 77% of the people’s votes accounted for.

It was quite obvious that like Pontius Pilate, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes, this election’s Smartmatic lawyer and Malacanang stooge, merely wanted to wash his hands away from what AESWatch correctly pointed out as a “technological and political disaster”. He wanted the onus of protests not to land on his feet but to the Electoral Tribunals.

Note that the balance of 23% is still missing two weeks after the elections. But I, despite being an IT undergraduate, again have a fairly good hypothesis on what happened.

My first hypothesis resembles a deliberate conspiracy theory. The 60-30-10 is much more than an outputed pattern that resulted from innocent inputs of election returns. It is a premeditated goal preprogrammed to be delivered by strategically inserted default mechanisms against opposition bailiwicks using the combined numbers of administration bailiwicks and strategically designated electronic dagdag-bawas centers like Bohol and Tacloban City.

Not only did those defaults go for nine administration coalition senators and three from the simulated opposition, it ran a linear formula for all 33 senatorial candidates locked in their pre-determined rankings from the first to the 16th canvass.

Only three were conceded by conspirators Malacanang and Comelec to the so-called three kings – Nancy Binay to Vice President Jejomar Binay, JV Ejercito to former President Joseph Estrada, and badly enough for Jack Enrile, it was Gregorio Honasan for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Given this scenario, who will rock the boat?

My second hypothesis is less of a conspiracy, but what I will call “the revenge of the machines” maybe even divine intervention. The insertion of default mechanisms involving the preloading of the quantum manipulated results just overheated the system. This could have happened as the PCOS precincts were sending transmissions to the Transparency Server, or while a “short stop” bypass was trying to catch them in order to be grouped and “massaged”, or while they were queued and lumped at large numbers waiting for their turn at being consolidated into the main canvass.

Imagine how many variables existed in around 76,000 precincts. Imagine the variants caused by candidates from councilors to senators making deals with so-called Comelec operators for some of these precincts nationwide.

Imagine tens of millions of precinct outputs trying to input into the Transparency Server but being made to wait by a short-stop malware that was batching votes by provinces not to mention key areas where electronic dagdag-bawas was weighing on actual count.

The PCOS was just meant to scan and read the ballot, count the returns and transmit its tally. Brought about by Comelec’s endless improvisations and collapsing of the minimum required safeguards in the AES law, it has virtually opened the system to hacking and fraud confusing the idiot box.

The PCOS system, so prostituted, just fucked up and scrambled on its own to default into a 60-30-10 template on the national level and lay-away 12 million votes equivalent to 23% of the people’s voice, so that the end canvass can serve by its mere self – the prima facie evidence of a human manipulation and election failure and proof-positive that Daang Matuwid is actually an expressway for corruption! #

Posted May 27, 2013

Note: Canvass Clusters attached (Source rappler.com). The chart must be overlaid to the Summary of the 1st to the 16th group canvass report also from rappler.com.

ADO PAGLINAWAN was appointed by the Corazon Aquino administration as a Philippine diplomat in 1986. He served as Press Officer of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC from 1986 to 1993, and concurrently of the Philippine permanent representative to the United Nations in New York from 1989 to 1992. After his government tenure, he served as a Consultant for Strategic Studies and Public Relations to various clients in the United States and the Philippines. He presently publishes an eMagazine called “The Soberano” and was the first to file before the Supreme Court for the nullity of the 2010 elections.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CANVAS CLUSTERS