Monthly Archives: February 2010

Ituloy ang laban against what and for whom!?


I have heard this comment, or the likes of it, too often: “I would vote for Gibo but I don’t want to ‘waste’ my vote on him due to his poor showing in the surveys.” That kind of thinking could lose Gibo millions of votes. People should vote according to their conscience and conviction and not based on unreliable surveys. It would be a real waste of vote if one were to vote for someone who is not one’s first choice. If we wish the best for the country, we should vote for who we think is the best candidate to lead the country, period. We should also vote for a candidate not only for him or her to win (as much as we would like that), but also to be among those counted to have voted for the same ideals and platform that candidate represented and stood for.  As for his affiliation with GMA, after May 10, GMA is history, smirk and all.

Kamaganak Inc. and the Makati Yellow Brigade are getting ready again, licking their chops and jostling for key positions, official and unofficial, in what they hope will be a Noynoy presidency and a repeat of the good ol’ days of the late 80’s. Meanwhile, the poor and the clueless are once again being sucked into what they want to believe will be, this time, their  true  salvation… for the nth time. Hope, indeed,  springs eternal and during elections, with prodding from the politicians, it gushes. Meanwhile, water and energy are running dry.  

A reminder from a TIME MAGAZINE report in January 1990:

“No favors, no excuses.” That was the motto Corazon Aquino vowed to follow after her People Power movement toppled the corrupt regime of Ferdinand Marcos. But in the tumultuous four years since Aquino became President, charges of incompetence and graft have increasingly tainted her own government. When rebellious soldiers launched the seventh abortive coup against Aquino on Dec. 1, their most pointed complaints focused on the administration’s failure to deliver basic services and on allegations of corruption among the President’s wealthy and influential relatives. The charges, magnified by the Manila rumor mill, have inflicted serious political damage. While the President herself is considered incorruptible, critics accuse her of turning a blind eye to family and friends who are said to be enriching themselves at the public’s expense. “What good is a Blessed Virgin Mary if she is surrounded by Sodom and Gomorrah?” asks one disillusioned official. In a December speech after the coup attempt, even Jaime Cardinal Sin, Aquino’s most important supporter, warned of “a social explosion” unless Aquino swiftly defused “unceasing reports of the abusive roles of presidential relatives.” To regain public confidence in the wake of the abortive coup, Aquino last week sacked nine of 19 Cabinet ministers in the third such shake-up of her presidency. The Cabinet changes, acknowledged press secretary Adolfo Azcuna, were prompted “by the same reasons, perhaps, that precipitated the coup.” None of the ousted ministers had been accused of corruption, but some of their departments were widely considered ineffective, particularly Justice, Transportation and Education, where services had virtually broken down. Aquino also overhauled the Agrarian Reform Department, which has largely failed to deliver on her election promise of land redistribution. To many Filipinos, however, the reshuffling looked too modest to silence claims of scandal in high places. Though many of those tales flow from flimsily documented stories in the Manila press, which now enjoys unprecedented freedom, Filipinos follow them avidly. A frequent target of reports is Aquino’s brother Jose (“Peping”) Cojuangco Jr., a wealthy and powerful congressman. Shortly after Aquino took office, newspaper stories charged that Cojuangco had helped some of his cronies gain control of a lucrative cargo-handling business; he is also suspected of using family ties to get jobs for friends in Manila casinos. Cojuangco has denied any wrongdoing, and neither he nor any other member of the Aquino clan has been charged with a crime. Yet lack of prosecution means little in a country where the rich and powerful are perceived to be above the law. “It would take a first-class fool to testify against someone like Peping Cojuangco,” explains Blas Ople, executive vice president of the opposition Nacionalista Party and a former Minister of Labor under Marcos. In one of the few corruption cases the authorities have pursued, Cojuangco’s wife Margarita was suspected of having taken a $1 million bribe from an Australian businessman last year to help him obtain a gambling-casino license. In the end, the National Bureau of Investigation filed no charges: the probers said the Australian had been duped by a woman who impersonated Cojuangco’s wife. Critics often denounce Aquino’s first creation in office, the Presidential Commission on Good Government, as a bastion of ineptitude. Charged with the recovery of up to $10 billion that Marcos is said to have looted from the treasury, the commission has recovered nearly $1 billion so far but has been accused of abusing its powers. In one case, for example, Ricardo (“Baby”) Lopa, an Aquino brother-in-law who controlled a profitable Nissan auto- assembly plant and 38 other companies before they were seized by the Marcos regime in the early 1970s, was allowed to buy the firms back for only $227,000 within days after Aquino became President. A public outcry forced the commission to re-examine the deal with Lopa, who died of cancer last November. It found no evidence of improper behavior.

Read more:,9171,969186-2,00.html#ixzz0gkPVtAdQ


In 1986, Corazon C. Aquino took over the reins of government on promises of a better future for our country. Six years later, she stepped down as provided by the constitution and supported the candidacy of Fidel Ramos who acceded to power and led for another six years. After Ramos came the election of Erap with the largest margin ever since the multi-party system was incorporated in the 1987 constitution. Two and a half years later, Erap was unconstitutionally ousted and GMA became the de facto President, again, with the support of Cory and her family and their supporters. Nine years into the Presidency of GMA and 24 years since Cory came into power, where do we find the Philippines today in terms of poverty alleviation, job availability for our workers, quality of education, human rights record, peace and order, and corruption in government? Does Noynoy agree with GMA (Noynoy and those around  him were among those that conspired to oust Erap and install GMA) that we are in a better situation now than we were before? If not, what is he asking the Filipinos to continue to support? He, Cory, Kamaganak Inc, and the rest of the yellow brigade have supported all those that have been in power since 1986 (except for the 2 1/2 years of Erap) and look where we are now? Ituloy ang laban against what and for whom?? For the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer?! Are we blind?? Don’t answer that….

By Mahar Mangahas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:25:00 11/07/2009

THE SWS SEPTEMBER 2009 SURVEY FINDING that 53 percent of Filipino households call themselves mahirap (poor), released this week, indicates that there has been practically no progress in the fight against poverty in the last 26 years.
The new poverty reading is from the 87th in a series of national surveys that started in April 1983, when the self-rating method was first applied nationwide, by the Development Academy of the Philippines. The original survey found 55 percent of household heads calling their families poor. The starting point of 55 and the latest point 53 are statistically the same.



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candidate jesus nazareno


The youth, comprising close to 60% of the registered voters, may yet be GIBO TEODORO’s key to victory, more so than, or in conjunction with, the much touted Lakas-Kampi CMD machinery. Candidates for local positions are notorious for “dropping” their party’s standard bearer if they appear to be hindrances to their own respective victories. But if Teodoro’s numbers go up to within striking distance, even from a 3rd place position by end March, then the local candidates of Lakas-Kampi CMD will support him all the way and that formidable machinery could indeed make the difference and push him to victory. But the key is still with the youth — the only sector with the kind of numbers to help Gibo in the catch-up he needs to obtain that is convincing to his party-mates. So far,  luckily for him or as a result of a deliberate strategy, it is the one sector that seems to be coalescing behind him in a major way. This one-two punch scenario could very well materialize to the surprise of not a few pundits and to the chagrin of his opponents that may not see it coming. There is enough time for major changes in the presidential ratings to occur. Abangan…


A certain Jesus Nazareno, who claims to be the “son” of the Black Nazarene, has asked the Liberal Party to advise Noynoy Aquino to withdraw from the race so that he (Mr. Nazareno) can replace him as the Liberal Party’s standard bearer. Nazareno explained that since the procession of “his father” (the Black Nazarene) last January was larger than that of Cory’s, that should make him more qualified than Noynoy to run for President and attract more voters. He also added that the “massacre” that took place in “Hacienda Heaven” involving Lucifer and his followers, unlike the Hacienda Luisita massacre, is well justified and documented in the bible no less. He also said that different from the C5 controversy surrounding Villar, the road built from purgatory  to heaven benefits millions of people while not using a single centavo of government money and that the price of property in heaven was not affected an iota because it has always been, well, priceless. Notwithstanding his rather skewed and amusing argument and rationale, we guess that since we are all children of God (Jesus, the Black Nazarene), that should at least qualify Mr. Nazareno as, indeed, a son of the Black Nazarene.

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Bongbong marcos to the senate?

It is beyond comprehension how some people try to hold Congressman Ferdinand Marcos II (Bongbong) “responsible” for his father’s declaration of Martial Law almost 40 years ago especially now that he is running for Senator. Bongbong was barely fifteen years old when Martial Law was declared in 1972 not to mention he was in England attending to his schooling, perhaps, worrying about tickets for the  Rolling Stones concert as most youngsters his age were concerned with or the likes of it. As for the entire period of the controversial Marcos Rule, it would be best to leave to historians the rendering of a dispassionate accounting of that period in the history of our nation when President Marcos was at the helm of government. Bongbong Marcos, in fairness, has declared that he is ready to be judged by the voters not based on anyone’s actions nor on his father’s achievements, but based on his own performance the last 15 years he has been in public office – nine years as Governor of Ilocos Norte and six years as Representative of the 2nd district of the same province. Bongbong’s sterling performance during his years in public service, and the remarkable transformation of the province of Ilocos Norte under his leadership (from 3rd to 1st class and the first windfarm in Southeast Asia, etc.), speak for themselves; and should the voters decide based on his track-record, then he will surely be voted to the Senate in the coming elections, half a century after the late President Ferdinand Marcos was first elected to the same post. And as the sun rises, so also will the son.

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Lack of a clear message

The Aquino camp blames “lack of a clear message” in their infomercials that has caused Villar to catch up in the surveys. True, or partially true. People have yet to hear a single argument in favor of Noynoy that does not mention his mother or father. They lament the fact that while his opponents present to the electorate their respective track records, accomplishments, and vision, praises given to Noynoy by his supporters have little to do with him but are, rather, traits attributed to his parents. That worked for him during the wake and burial of the late President Aquino when strong emotions ruled.  But as the intensity and strength of the sympathy for the Aquino clan began to wane, so did the support for Noynoy. His bid for the highest office of the land was rooted mainly on the death of Cory and now, his handlers are scrambling to find him a secondary launching pad. But since Senator Aquino was never even considered by his party mates to be their Vice Presidential candidate let alone  their standard bearer (not until the death of Cory), where will they now anchor his run for the Presidency? Track record? Capability? Experience? Those qualities are what the Liberal Party originally said Mar had among all their party-mates and, perhaps, rightly so. It must be remembered that at no time before the large crowds came out to mourn Cory’s death was Noynoy in the radar screen of the political leadership of the Liberal Party. They simply did not see him as someone prepared to be the next President. It will now be interesting to see how his handlers spin a new “story-line,” and craft a new “offensive” for him that would sustain (and this is the operative word — sustain) the viability of his campaign all the way to election day. Abangan.

As far as logistics issues are concerned regarding the automated elections, we won’t really know that until much later and as we go along; and regarding some aspects of it, like on-time delivery of machines in each polling place (three days before elections), transport of satellite equipment to precincts where cellular signal becomes jammed or unusable, and deployment of replacement machines in cases of machine bog-down, we won’t know that for sure until it happens, or does not happen, come election day. What we have to ensure before the elections is that all these contingencies are in place and ready to be utilized when and where the need may arise.  On election day itself, we can be sure there will be problems. It is the ability to address and solve those problems which will spell the difference between success or failure of the elections.


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Where we stand today on Automated Elections

The month of February will be a “telling” month for the success of a fully automated election in May 2010. There are deadlines for two essential tasks: the printing of ballots (delayed for a second time); and, the delivery of all the machines, both due this month — the 7th and 21st respectively.  Simultaneous to these will be more tests of more machines in various areas of the country.

On the technical side, the transmission aspect is still worrisome in cases where signal is weak and the need for satellite transmission arises. There is still also the issue of the source code and whether there’s enough time to have it reviewed by third party experts from abroad. And thirdly, the need for personal verification given by the machine of the correct reading of each one’s ballot —  a kind of receipt after one inserts one’s ballot into the PCOS machine showing that what one wrote in the ballot is the same as what the machine read.

As for logistical issues, we won’t really know that until much later and as we go along; and regarding some aspects of it, like on-time delivery of machines in each polling place (three days before elections), and deployment of replacement machines in cases of machine bog down, we won’t know that for sure until it happens, or does not happen, come election day.

 And then there’s the switching from automated to manual in areas of failure of the automated system. Questions regarding the correct reading of “voters intent” which in the case of the PCOS machines, the calibration of the scanner is to be set to at least  50% “shaded” of the circle beside the candidates name for it to be counted which, in the case of a manual count, will have to be read by the human eye. Can the eye tell the difference between 49% shaded and 51% shaded? There is also the question of the effect of a few precincts in manual mode mixed with automated transmission from other precincts on the canvassing by the servers in the municipal and provincial level.

The training of teachers and “IT experts” in the mechanics of automated voting has also been postponed while the information dissemination to the public has finally began. There’s still enough time to do all these and the Nike slogan is what is most appropriate here: “Just do it!”

 Many other questions remain to be satisfactorily answered before we can claim that, yes, the voters will be going to the polls confident that they are participating in elections that will be fair and credible – the main reason for switching to full automation to begin with. There are still a lot of loose ends that need to be tied. In fairness to Smartmatic, they have not been remiss yet on any “deliverables” in their contractual obligations.

On the one hand, we still have enough time to get answers on all the issues raised, and get this right; but on the other hand, elections is fast approaching.  For now, two things are required of us: patience and continued vigilance.


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