Monday, October 12, 2009

No ‘Bliss’ under the Yellows

A political generation has been brought up under the Yellows. This generation, unaware of the “Bliss” that the country experienced during the time of Marcos, has been largely uninformed about those housing developments for the poor, set up in places like Carmona and Sapang Palay, where development costs have shot up since the Yellows took over.

This same generation also doesn’t know that President Joseph Estrada, during his time as mayor, similarly had a novel approach to the squatter problem, when he moved San Juan ’s many squatter communities to a resettlement site in Taytay that still stands today. It seems that they just can’t comprehend how this, as well as, his many other feats could account for his great popularity among the landless urban poor and how, surprisingly, his housing projects even had cabanas and swimming pools, just like in Erap City.

The Marcoses (through President Ferdinand Marcos’ development program and Imelda’s human settlement vision) offered “Bliss” as the beginning of an organized tenement housing campaign. At that time, Bliss was well within the reach of the middle class. Teachers, journalists (like Dick Pascual, the late Julius Fortuna, current GMA ambassador Bobi Tiglao), and government employees were able to obtain comfortable urban housing that rose four stories-high in mainly flood-free areas.

But as soon as the Yellow Plague enveloped the Philippines , soon-to-be-completed Bliss projects were put to a halt, with already existing units deliberately left derelict, apparently to rot and be displayed as failures of the Marcos era--one of many examples of what the “good” Cory Aquino threw out with the bath water.

Comparisons between the 21 years under the Yellows and the same during the Marcos era will then naturally provide a contrast between Marcos’ achievements and Cory and her Yellow ilk’s failures, extending to both the FVR and GMA regimes.

While Marcos built the Pan Philippine Highway and the Samar-Leyte Bridge , which span thousands of miles of roads, the only infrastructure achievement of Cory has been the Edsa-Ortigas flyover, which FVR even had to repair right after its inauguration. (Notice the rounded, steel-jacketed pillars that were mounted after serious flaws were found?)

And, as Marcos was responsible for the North and South Expressways, the former being 80 kilometers long, when Cory took over, she eventually handed them to the oligarchs, who added only six kilometers or so to Sta. Inez but raised the toll by up to 2000 percent!

Meanwhile, the Marcos national budgets from 1965 to 1985 totaled P486 billion, including his infrastructure projects, whereas Cory, in seven years, had a total national budget of P1.6 trillion, with domestic borrowings of over P400 billion (at the exchange rate then of around P21 to the dollar). That’s $19 billion to Marcos’ $27 billion over 21 years!

When we lambast Gloria Arroyo for raising the national debt sky high, we must remember that there was a precedent--Cory Aquino--who borrowed even more heavily but masked it under the cover of “domestic debt,” with no real infrastructure legacy at all. FVR, who followed Aquino, built nothing and only sold off power plants, Fort Bonifacio , reclaimed Manila Bay lands, ad nausea.

Yet, in all this time, the Yellows have never raised these issues about Cory and FVR nor have they taken responsibility for installing GMA.

Comparing unemployment rates, Ka Popo Villanueva sent us these stats:


1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983* 1984 1985

Marcos 4.1% 4.0% 5.0% 5.3% 6.0% 5.4% 6.2% 7.1%

*destabilization of Marcos began

1987 1988 1989 1990 1991

Aquino 9.1% 8.3% 8.4% 8.1% 9.0%

No wonder that even today, 23 years after Edsa I, whenever I interview young people such as our 21 year-old GNN production assistant, they would often relate their parents’ lament that times were much better under Marcos.

Well, that’s because the oligarchs back then were kept under a leash. The Lopezes’ abuse became a thing of the past when they lost in the 1970 peso devaluation, forcing them to sell-off Meralco to government, just as they suffered in the 1997 Asian Financial Crash and 2008 Subprime Collapse, but recouped their losses through political machinations.

Thus, whenever I see SUVs and cars with yellow ribbons, I can only surmise that these belong to two kinds of people: (a) one who has no understanding of the historical facts, in other words, a historical idiot; or (b) one who is partaking of the plunder of the Yellow ruling class in Big Business, government or in illegal gambling operations.

If the vehicle is old, beat up, and run-down, it must be of the first kind, the idiot who has suffered from high power, water, toll, and tax rates but doesn’t know it’s the Yellows who did him in. But if it’s spanking and gleaming, it would be owned by the latter, who’s probably an executive of one of the Big business groups, like Meralco or Manila Water, or one of the bevy of entertainers of ABS-CBN, a Couples for Christ leader, or another typical elitista.

Lastly, it was in Marcos’ time that the likes of UNDP scholar, Arch. Jun Palafox got commissioned to lay out the flood control master plan for Metro Manila and flood-prone areas of Luzon . Real estate developer giants (like the Ayalas) were barred from land-grabbing and covering up esteros to expand their property bounds. Nevertheless, all these programs were deliberately delayed, undercut, sabotaged and buried in the 21 years of the Yellow Plague.

So, next time you see a vehicle with the yellow ribbon fluttering inanely in the wind or pass by the Centers of Mammon with all the yellow ribbons tied to lamp posts, remember the bliss that we could have had all these years had the economic and infrastructure development plans of a generation ago not been allowed by the Yellow Reign to be sabotaged by the oligarchs.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blackouts: The Yellows’ Dark Age

As we begin with this piece, we find ourselves in more dark days, reminiscent of the great Dark Age in the late 1980s and early 1990s, during the time of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos. Those were the days of week-long blackouts that ensued from Cory’s mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, plus her cancellation of the mini- and large-scale hydro-electric dams and other alternative energy programs of Marcos. Millions of Filipino households and enterprises suffered staggering losses while the oligarch cronies of the Yellows, such as the Aboitizes, earned billions in supplying emergency generators. FVR’s Yellow business cronies then packaged almost 50 Independent Power Producer (IPP) contracts worth hundreds of billions of pesos. And just like déjà vu, we are again being plunged into blackouts by the privatized Transco for two days now.

In our continuing effort to cite incontrovertible evidence of state and government decay under the Yellow regimes of the past 21 years, we listed the collapse of the rescue infrastructure of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that was sorely missed during the recent flood crisis. According to a group of retired soldiers, other vital transports that would be essential in other crises--say, tsunami disasters in Mindanao, which would need C-130s to transport rescue personnel and facilities from Luzon and elsewhere--were there during Marcos’ time. Back then, the country could count on a huge number of C-130s; but today, there are only two. An officer thus quipped, “We have an Air Force that’s all ‘air’ and no ‘force,’ and an ‘Italian’ Navy that should be read as ‘Itale yan’” because it’s roped at port all the time lest it sinks.

The Armed Forces’ dire strait is just a sample of the deterioration of a public instrumentality that has been systematically stripped of its capacity to be of service to the nation. All government institutions have been subjected to this kind of emaciation. Twenty-one years of shrinking budgets; attrition of our best and brightest minds; spin-off of revenue government functions through privatization; continuous demonization of government, demoralizing the civil service; diminution of government regulatory powers through deregulation and liberalization, resulting in corporatocratic exploitation of what used to be services provided by government, ad nausea have all led to this sorry state. That’s why, these days, it’s not uncommon to hear, “Mabuti pa sa panahon ni Marcos. Mabuti pa sa panahon ni Erap.”

Atty. Alan Paguia cited one example of this demonization and demoralization of government institutions by private, corporate powers using their vast TV and print media. They lambast barangay assistance efforts by indiscriminately alleging that barangay officials steal relief goods. Given that in flood affected areas, literally thousands of barangays are involved, such a blanket condemnation is absolutely wrong and unfair. Private mainstream media make themselves out to be the focal point of “honest, efficient” relief work by announcing over P100 million’s worth of donations but none of these can really be verified or audited independently. Paguia then points out why, despite some charges of impropriety, the barangays should still be the main grassroots relief arm: Because they have public accountability.

Of course, the Yellows denigrate public institutions while espousing “corporate responsibility.” In the recent floods, Yellow mainstream media denigrated the public sector by alleging the “stealing” of relief goods by lowly barangay officials, among other things. Yet they continue to be blind to the larger larceny of corporate exploiters. For example, I heard over radio that Maynilad, in consideration of the plight of millions of flood victims, will not immediately raise the 20 centavos or so it had projected as an increase of its water rates; but media didn’t bother to report the fact that Maynilad had already raised its rates even earlier and earned almost P2 billion more year-on-year in the first half of 2009 alone. The same goes for electricity rates, too, which are touted to be the lowest in five years come October without them explaining that oil prices have also gone below $66/bbl. Seems like media is a willing accomplice to this price-gouging.

The rolling blackouts we are experiencing are causing havoc everywhere. Food commissaries, for one, have to move tons of stock from small storage facilities to large cold storages with power generators. Businesses, which have suffered billions in losses during the floods, stand to lose more, this time due to power outages. The night before, when the blackouts first started, these were traced to a fire at the privatized Transco Taytay substation. This scenario is exactly what I had feared and written about months before the Transco privatization pushed through. It is reminiscent of the 1990s, in which failures of power plants, such as in Sual, Pangasinan, caused massive power outages that led to added justification for more IPP projects.

I am afraid that a few weeks or months down the road from today, Transco, now under the management of China State Grid and Monte Oro (identified with FVR boys) will be seeking additional rate increases. It will be argued that such rate adjustments will be required to avoid similar power outages in the future. We have already seen a glimpse of this from the yearly “bogey” of power shortages that government and corporate officials raise. Aside from this, these same people, who are also Yellow stalwarts and acolytes to Gloria Arroyo, would want a state of calamity declared until Gloria’s term ends (or, for it never to end).

Gat Jose Rizal in his Noli Me Tangere, wrote of a treacherous and vicious villain he called “ang taong dilaw” who almost murdered Crisostomo Ibarra. Well, it appears that today’s taong Dilaw are as treacherous and vicious.

The Philippines cannot survive another Dark Age of the Yellows.

Monday, October 5, 2009

People versus the Yellow rot

After observations that there was severe scarcity in government and Armed Forces of the Philippines helicopters in the “Ondoy” flooding rescue effort, I checked out the numbers past and present. I gathered from several retired military generals that during the Marcos era in the 1970s, AFP helicopter assets numbered from a minimum of 100 to a maximum of 150 units. Today, the AFP’s helicopter complement hovers between 25 to 30 units — max. Imagine these two dozen helicopters having to serve anti-insurgency operations in Mindanao and other parts of the country while at the same time trying to fly over to the flood rescue operations? No wonder we couldn’t see helicopters plucking flood victims from roof and tree tops — when in the past we could find so many photo records of such rescues!

When I asked the retired generals about the absence of amphibious trucks in the Ondoy disaster, none of them could cite any existing units of amphibian trucks in the Coast Guard or Navy. In contrast, we can remember during the Marcos era’s flood crises such as “Gloring” and “Edeng,” which were almost double in wind and flood intensity, that amphibian trucks were ubiquitous. For so long, even the number of C-130 planes of the Air Force had been down to just one unit; and only recently was an old C-130 finally re-commissioned, in order to make for two now in flying condition. Undoubtedly, the Armed Forces of a nation is its pillar. The whole world was reminded of this during the 60th anniversary parade of the People’s Republic of China which brought two aspects of modern China to fore: Its military might — most prominently displayed, followed by its economic progress.

The crisis in AFP capabilities reflects the massive overall decay and deterioration — rot for short — of government’s capabilities under 21 years of Yellow governance. This rot followed policies initiated by Cory Aquino: Trade liberalization crippling government tariff generation; flood of imports and smuggling devastating domestic agriculture and industry, thus shrinking the revenue base; deregulation and privatization transferring trillions of GOCC (government corporations like Napocor, Petron, PNOC, etc.) revenues; and corruption throughout the three Yellow governments of Cory, FVR and Arroyo, none of which has been called to account. The greatest blow to AFP resources was the massive and mysterious loss of the AFP modernization fund by Ramos, which he has not answered for to this day. Yet the Yellows could so quickly prosecute President Estrada on trumped-up trifles.

The Yellows have ruled for 21 years, reasoning, rationalizing, arguing for the demotion of the State and the Republic of, for and by the people. The Yellows favor power and exploitation by, of and for the few — the oligarchy and corporatocracy. Their argument is imposed through the money-controlled, Pied Piper media: Mesmerizing the population into a catatonic state of passivity, subservience and social-historical suicide at the altar of the Yellow idols and false gods (adding Cory Aquino’s statue soon) erected at Mammon’s Ayala Avenue , Makati . In the Ondoy deluge, ABS-CBN and its Yellow acolytes pack relief goods on TV, subliminally reinforcing the Yellow mythology. In truth, ABS-CBN and its ilk suck billions away that could have obtained choppers, boats, and Doppler radars for the public good.

For 21 years, the Yellows have gypped the people this way; thus, this con game should end.

One of the lies of the Yellows is about media — that media today are a direct antithesis of the controlled media during Marcos’ time. In a Global News Network Talk News TV interview, Yellow leader Frank Drilon, wagged his fingers, lecturing the interviewee that, “I know you’ve criticized Cory Aquino. If it weren’t for Cory Aquino you wouldn’t be able to talk this freely.” To which the interviewer retorted that he, too, was at Edsa so the Yellows have no monopoly over righteous claims. More important was Drilon’s slick lie: That there was absolutely no media space under Marcos while it has been absolutely free under the Yellows. We Forum and Malaya, dzME on radio, were the mosquito press and media in Marcos’ time; today, it is us in the Tribune. Although in both eras, the mosquito media have been severely restricted by advertising boycotts by corporations and government institutions, they still plodded on.

Despite our misgivings, we have to hazard a chance for change in the 2010 elections. The big con, however, is the Yellow spiel that their candidate is antithetical to and separate from the Gloria administration. Gloria Arroyo is a creature of the Yellow forces, one whom the Yellows have not cut out from their continuing legacy. Cory Aquino tried by starting an apology for installing the Arroyo regime, but the Yellows and their presidential candidate shrugged that off as “a joke.” They deny the mother of their movement rather than rectify the error of installing Gloria. President Estrada and the movement behind him remain the only true anti-Gloria option throughout the past nine years, and in 2010. Gloria is, in fact, helping the Yellow candidate by preserving the non-factor Yellow oligarchy. Gibo has sunk even lower after his disastrous Ondoy disaster performance.

The issue in the 2010 election boils down to the Yellows and the rot they have caused in 21 years. The people are suffering while the oligarchy and corporatocracy ride high the chariots of private profit. Isn’t it any wonder that yellow ribbons flutter in Ayala Avenue and Araneta Center , the two hotbeds of Mammon?

The 2010 election should be a showdown of the People versus the Pro-Profit Yellows who have to be stopped from doing more damage — or nothing will be left to the next generation: No helicopters, no ships, no armed forces anymore, not even government or public institutions, like the failed states western powers love to invade to “save from themselves.” The chaos and helplessness we saw in the flood crises in Marikina , Cainta, Tanay, and other stricken areas foreshadow the future national collapse if the Yellows run the country any second longer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Yellow disaster a la Ondoy

The sewers overflowed and yellow shit floated along the Pasong Tamo stretch where I was stranded last Saturday. I was on my way to the studio with natural health advocate, Hans Palacios, to tape our episode on the tyranny of the globalization of food, medicines, and health protocols when this happened. Seeking out the nearest coffee shop to no avail and faced with rising waters, I ramped my old Corolla up an abandoned driveway and witnessed the ebb and flow of two feet of water that just stopped below my dashboard. It turned out to be a six-hour wait; I drove through an abandoned Edsa by six p.m. to get home.

The day after, I got texts from the usual Yellow suspects blaming “Gloria Arroyo’s incompetence” for the devastating flood. I texted back and said, “Blame the incompetence of Edsa Uno and Edsa Dos,” the latter for putting Gloria into power and still not apologizing nor learning from it, and the former for depleting the state’s capacity to mobilize for such times of crisis.

It’s not true that the Ondoy flood disaster is the worst in our history. We are reminded by Ka Popo Villanueva of the successive typhoons Gloring (274 kph) and Edeng in 1972 that turned Central Luzon and Metro Manila into a swimming pool, which government improvised for months to turn tragedy into productivity—one, by converting the flooded San Lazaro hippodrome into a rice paddy field.

I was just out of my teens when that deluge struck but I could remember the great number of helicopters and amphibian boats mobilized by government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the rescue operations. That was the age before globalization, deregulation, and privatization. That was before 1986. By transferring massive resources from public hands to private pockets, Edsa I, like a gargantuan storm, has devastated government’s capacity to stand on its own.

In this light, I responded to an e-mail carping about government waste and corruption, particularly the ultra-expensive GMA dinners in New York :

“What Inday Varona forgets are the corporations that have been sucking unconscionable profits through the years since 1986’ so-called people power. Just this year alone, 100 corporations increased profits by 46 percent in the 1st half from P130 billion last year to P193 billion this year, dwarfing the Dwarf’s corruption take--all while the people continue to get poorer. Why don’t ‘leftists’ like Inday want to see this, or don’t they? But they are silent collaborators of the real corrupt and exploitative elements in society that use politicians like Gloria Arroyo, whom they’ll simply replace with the darlings of the Yellows and the ‘Left’ of the moment--i.e. the Yellow dummy or the real estate manipulator. Inday Varona has all the credentials of the Left, anti-Marcos, anti-Erap; but anti-corporatocracy ? No!!! They will work with the corpo-rats.. . “

Today, the Filipino people are being prodded to seek alms from ABS-CBN’s telethon for donations. The Coast Guard can only field 14 rescue teams in total; there’s not an amphibian truck in sight; helicopters are sparing; civilians with jet skis and speedboats do the rescuing; and government is a pitiful shadow of what it once was decades ago when such crises struck. This is a far cry from societies where strong governments marshal resources for the public welfare, like China and Vietnam , where early evacuations are organized and massive state resources are mobilized.

One of the Yellow apologists, Billy Esposo, writes, “…Ondoy showed just how flawed the national preparation is.” But the jaundiced Yellows have ruled the country the past 20 years and if there’s any group that has failed, it is them.

Marcos and Estrada were priming the state for nation-building and had regulated the power of Big Business by providing affirmative action for the poor. Unfortunately, the Yellows and the Left didn’t want to have any of that. They’d rather work with the corporatocracy, just as they are gunning for the Lopez-Prieto- Ayala candidate or the real estate wheeler-dealer (who overprices properties sold to government by 1000 fold). They’d rather write for elite publications rather than the real Edsa Tres newspaper, The Tribune. It’s amazing how they rationalize their contradictions!

Having said all that about the Yellows and the Left, we can now focus on their relation to Big Pharma’s profiteering on poisons being injected into world populations such as here in RP.

If you have learned about how Filipino farms and industries have been devastated by economic globalization, be alerted to the globalization of food and nutrition protocols under the “Codex Alimentarius” to be implemented by the Food and Agricultural Organization, World Food Program, and the World Health Organization, backed by threats of sanctions from the World Trade Organization.

The Codex classifies all nutrients as toxins that must be regulated (you can’t just take Vitamin C without prescription) ; meats will require antibiotic and other injections; all food (including “organic” ones) will require irradiation; and innumerable human vaccinations will be mandatory (never mind the side effects such as autism). Said bodies claim “consumer welfare and protection” as their rationale but it’s actually Big Pharma that’s stemming the popular tide toward natural health and nutrition in combating disease.

The focus of our struggle today is the vaccinations for H1N1, HPV and others. Big Pharma is bamboozling the world to accept this through media deception. Aside from having no real H1N1 pandemic, the HPV vaccine has just killed 14-year-old Natalie Morton in England hours after it was administered, forcing Britain to suspend all HPV vaccinations.

In the Philippines , guess who are among the top Yellow instigators: Zuellig chief Dick Romulo, who framed President Estrada in the Equitable Bank controversy in year 2000. Big Pharma, like all of Big Business, has always backed the Yellow globalization spiel, from Cory Aquino down to the present Yellow dummy. They’ll herd us into the mass inoculations like sheep for the slaughter as they did with the devastation of economic globalization.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Yellows’ balimbing morals

The Inquirer headline of Sept. 24, 2009 barked, “More to follow Romulo,” with a subtitle, “Another GMA man for… (the Yellow candidate),” suggesting Silvestre Bello, who works for Gloria, also supports the supposedly “anti-Gloria” candidate of the ABS-CBN-Inquirer-Ayala elite. Since Bert and Silvestre have been with every Yellow regime, i.e. Cory Aquino and FVR, this headline was not just plain reportage. Looking deeper, it was clearly trying to set the tone for more balimbingan, hence, the line, “more to follow.” Frankly, the Yellow media also did this in 1986 and 2001. It represents what the Yellow crowd of Edsa Uno and Dos deems fundamental to its existence — balimbingan as an ethical good.

In 2001, the Yellows, through a succession of defections from the legitimately-elected government, conspired to mount a coup backed by the Makati and foreign Big Business interests (Impsa, Mirant, and AIG rushing in to consummate their contracts with “sovereign guarantees”). I remember the resignations of then secretaries Gloria Arroyo, Orly Mercado, Mar Roxas, and Mayor Lim, among many others.

Then Defense chief Angelo Reyes was the final defection. (We have testimony, which we can identify in time, that instructions from US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “turned” Reyes.)

Reyes brought all the other generals to the Edsa treason-rally in an air-conditioned van to ensure that there was no counter-defection to the constitutional order from the military defectors.

The Yellow defectors invariably claim that they act for honor and principle, but then they’re not adverse to expecting or haggling for “rewards” for treason and betrayal. Worse, when they get high and lucrative positions, they hang on despite the worsening performance of the new governments they chose to jump onto. That’s the most nauseating balimbingan of all: Staying on even as the evils they claim to have shunned worsen.

Thus, from 1986 to 1998, we’ve only had more of the same from them: Corruption; economic collapse; aggravating illegal drugs scourge; worsening health, hunger and poverty; and accelerating insurgencies.

Estrada’s two-and-a-half years abated poverty and the insurgencies. But after the Yellows’ Edsa Dos, the crisis accelerated again as they went back to get more appointments, corrupt deals, and businesses (PeaceBonds, Impsa, privatization, etc.)

At first, the Yellows feigned blindness to these worsening conditions. But by the second year after Edsa Dos, the people already saw the gripping truth: The tripling of jueteng and the doubling of electricity and water rates, ad nausea. Life was harder — harder under Aquino than under Marcos; harder under Gloria than Erap.

In 2004’s elections, the Yellows’ darling could not win without massive cheating. Thus, the true opposition leader, President Estrada, helped NBI regional director Samuel Ong expose the “Hello Garci” tapes, making the Yellow Arroyo regime indefensible in the eyes of the people.

But the Yellow crowd knew it had to dissociate, lest its own luster erode with its dummy’s unpopularity. So Frank Drilon and the Hyatt 10 bolted, with the Yellow media building them up. Many others, like Bert Romulo, stayed on until the right moment; timing their defections for the new dummy that is to come.

Take note: All these Yellow Cabinet members have been with the three Yellow regimes — Cory Aquino, FVR, and Gloria Arroyo — and have not batted an eyelash joining one and the other. Now, they will try to be part of the next Yellow government again if plans do not miscarry. They will tout what that they know the people, especially the uninitiated youth, fervently hope for — change.

Yet they represent the continuity of all the failed policies of Western-inspired liberalization, deregulation, privatization and globalization of past administrations.

They are one and the same mafia, covering each others’ back: Kamag-anak Inc. was not investigated by Ramos and Ramos’ Centennial Scam, etc. were not investigated by Gloria. Any new Yellow government will then only “dribble” Gloria’s cases.

Only Estrada went after FVR seriously and only Estrada will go after Gloria’s crimes with the same seriousness.

For 23 years now, this Yellow dynasty and its media have ruled the country. They’ve “convicted” Marcos of crimes aplenty, yet after 900 cases, three Yellow governments, and nearly 30 years, there’s not been one conviction, making the alleged Marcos crimes staple cover-ups for the Yellows’ own graft and corruption.

Estrada refused exile because he knew he was innocent, but they convicted him on trumped-up jueteng and stock manipulation charges to tie him up in legal controversies. They “pardoned” him because the injustice just didn’t stand up to scrutiny. But now, the kangaroo conviction of Erap comes in handy to deflect attention from the Gloria-Yellow conspiracy to block Erap’s hope for a unified opposition and genuine pro-Filipino, pro-poor leadership.

The Philippine mainstream media, controlled by the economic ruling class, abets the media-political culture that sustains their plutocratic control. It is therefore not an instrument of information, education, and enlightenment. Venezuela ’s President Hugo Chavez and Honduras ’ President Manuel Zelaya constantly battle with the same kind.

RP’s mainstream media demonize enemies of the Yellow peril and provide PR spin for the Yellows. Which explains why they are the media for the Yellow candidates today, trying to whip up a bandwagon effect; projecting Romulo and Bello for others to follow; and portraying their kind of betrayal and balimbingan as acts of benevolence.

Secretary Romulo, however, spoiled it by being “kapit tuko” to his post while announcing his support for the Yellows’ candidate. By doing so, he betrayed the truth that to the Yellow crowd, Gloria and this other candidate are no different.

Romulo’s betrayals insult the memory of the first foreign secretary of the Republic, Apolinario Mabini, who chose lonely exile to Guam rather than betray the Philippines for a cushy job with the Americans.

The Yellows demonize anti-Japanese guerilla Marcos while bestow dugong bayani to Japanese collaborators; they demonize Erap while extol Hashim Salamat — all really twisted, balimbing views.

The people at Edsa Tres had one battle cry: “Walang Iwanan,” i.e. to never abandon each other nor their principles, for simply, all these go together. And since loyalty, integrity, and honor all form part of our nationhood, sovereignty, and national dignity, we have to be ready to temporarily give up wealth and power until true democracy, anchored on popular rule, is restored.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FVR, corporatists and the Yellow peril

In March of 2001, at the height of the vilification of President Joseph Estrada, I wrote a column entitled “Investigate Almonte.” It starts thus, “Two weeks ago, news of the explosive revelation from the Dacer parish priest hit the newspapers. Fr. Baldostamon of the Sun Valley parish church came forward to make public overtures he heard from Ramos henchman Joe Almonte to the Dacer children a short time after their father disappeared--that he could negotiate for his release provided Dacer is immediately shipped to the US and the family continues to mourn like he had never been found. Why has NBI chief Reynaldo Wycoco not called in Almonte to find out more about this crucial angle…?

“Fr. Baldostamon’s revelation was brought to the surface in one of the newspaper columns of Bishop Ted Bacani. Last week, I read a letter-to-the-editor from Ramos to Bacani, outlining his response to the Bacani column. It was a very lame letter recalling his expressions of concern for Dacer’s disappearance, citing such inane publications as Customsweek. Readers will recall that it was precisely Ramos’ dubiously premature and hammed up concern, when Dacer’s disappearance was not even an established fact yet, that triggered suspicions about a Ramos hand in the abduction.

“The story is now told to close friends by the Dacer children, Ampy and Sabina, that the Ramos visit to Dacer’s office on that fateful day of the disappearance was very uncharacteristic. In the many years of Dacer and Ramos’ professional dealings, never once did Ramos visit Dacer’s office. But on the day of Dacer’s kidnapping, Ramos did and after only an hour of waiting, he started making it too obvious he was concerned--by calling media about his alarm over Dacer’s disappearance… Gen. Wycoco is obliged to invite both to be interviewed. The story must be officially verified, and Almonte’s side should be looked closely into. The Dacer children must also be asked, to crosscheck the parish priest’s story. But foremost among these actions is this--send a summons to Almonte. This Rasputin of Ramos has some explaining to do.”

To date, neither Ramos nor Almonte has ever been called to account for their strange actions.

A close friend of Dacer told me: “Two days before his reported disappearance, Dacer and I had coffee, complaining that he was being evicted from his Manila Hotel office and he couldn’t update his rent because Ramos (FVR) owed him a six-figure professional fee and wouldn’t pay up.”

The day after that coffee talk, Dacer, with his daughter Ampy, met with Erap in Malacañang and had their gusot ironed out. In an interview with Karen Davila, Cong. Baby Asistio, who was also in that meeting, advised Karen to seek out daughter Ampy to confirm that Erap and Dacer were reconciled over a happy merienda.

Of course, Ramos had his DPAs in Estrada’s offices such as Generals Jose Calimlim and Alexander Aguirre. Since Dacer was among them, FVR could have thought that Dacer turned against him that day and took drastic action.

Almonte came out on two radio stations a few nights ago claiming to be in possession of a Dacer letter stating that if there is any threat against Dacer, it would only come from Ping Lacson or Estrada. But then, if Almonte can say the things that Fr. Baldostamon heard, he could have obtained anything from Dacer, whose whereabouts is really still unknown as there is no corpus delicti to this day.

FVR is a fundamental component of the Yellow peril that brought about the Edsa I and II conspiracies. Today, he is still moving his tentacles--from Gloria’s Lakas-Kampi, to the purported Lakas originals’ fielding of Ebdane, to the Liberal Party’s political operations. As in 1998, where he employed the strategy of confusion to diffuse the votes for easier cheating but failed, he is doing it again in 2009 with better prospects of succeeding, due to the perceived erosion of the masa’s solidarity behind President Estrada.

With FVR are the foreign and local corporatists. Among their latest national swindles: The Transco sale to the China Grid and Monte Oro group (the latter comprising FVR’s men). Naturally, all of them would not want the nation to figure these out because they are hoping for more of the same governance that they got from Gloria to continue enjoying what only the Tribune highlighted recently: “Listed firms’ profits surge 45% to P193-B in 1st half.”

In that report, First Philippine Holdings, the ABS-CBN mother company founded on power distribution, boosted the figures; likewise, privatized Maynilad’s net income soared 145 percent from P945 million to P2.32 billion “primarily due to the impact of an extraordinary gain recognized upon the approval of rebased rates effective last May 4, 2009.” In all, these huge profit increases accrued to only 100 companies at almost two billion per company.

Compare this to how much 90 million Filipinos get per capita from the national budget: P28 billion for health or P300 per capita; P2 billion for school houses, good for only 3,500 units while the shortfall is 40,000; P5.3 billion for housing, good for 254,000 units, of which 200,000 are very low cost units, when the backlog is 4 million units. And such has been the dire picture under two-and-a-half decades of Yellow and corporatist governance.

Then, behind the ABS-CBN-Inquirer-Makati Business Club (MBC) presidential and vice-presidential bets are the gofers of the corporate tyranny in the Philippines: Butch Abad of Batanes, who sponsored the Omnibus Power Bill that became the Epira, which brought us the highest electricity rates in Asia; corporate lawyer Frank Drilon, a remnant of “The Firm;” plus the rich Jesuits’ mascot Chito Gascon, ad nausea.

Thus, a horde of carpetbaggers and balimbings from “civil society” are scrambling to cling to the Yellow wagon again, salivating at the prospects of riding the oligarchy-backed bid after what they deemed as their self-deodorizing attacks against Gloria. But the interconnectedness of the Yellow crowd with the Arroyo regime is clear. The actuations of DFA Secretary Bert Romulo and presidential adviser Silvestre Bello, for instance, show that this crowd sees no fundamental difference between Gloria and the Yellow dummy.

The people should not be fooled. The country will not survive another stint of the jaundiced Yellow peril from the likes of FVR, ABS-CBN, Inquirer, and the MBC. They are now the nation’s Public Enemy No. 1.

(Tune in to 1098AM, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday; also visit

Monday, September 21, 2009

Persecution and greatness

For daring to stand up to the plutocracy and its foreign overlords; for defying the rule of the hypocrites with his openness and sincerity; and for preserving the nation’s sovereignty by wiping out the secessionists in Mindanao, President Joseph Estrada was unceremoniously ousted in an elite coup more than eight years ago.

Then, for winning the moral struggle over that elite conspiracy and for marching toward full vindication in light of the apologies of erstwhile tormentors such as Cory Aquino and Bishop Antonio Tobias, the elite’s resentment against him simmered even more. Erap’s caring for the poor and the middle class, as well as, his preserving the coffers of the State against the oligarchy’s rapacious profit-taking quite simply dismayed them and their foreign counterparts no end.

Thus, for agitating the nation to seek genuine leadership that brooks no puppetry and for challenging the alternatives by standing for consideration yet again, Estrada is being persecuted today.

The conspiracy that deposed Estrada in 2001 has coalesced once more to thwart the will and wisdom of the people, despite some previous acts of contrition. That conspiracy, whose players hardly paid any respect to the supreme act of humility of their “icon” through words of dismay or claims of downplaying the apology as being made “in jest,” is set to stop Estrada’s crusade again by coalescing with the evil of the worst kind--the fiend of the highest order who figured in the Kuratong Baleleng infamy many years past.

Now I understand what some of Ping Lacson’s most ardent critics have warned people against. Although I’ve never given them much credence before, owing to the goodwill that Ping once had, I began to have serious misgivings about the man ever since he chose not to defend the constitutional order during Edsa II.

From my review of John Campos’ assassination, I now understand why Lacson was tagged in that murder, which also took the life of an innocent waitress, 27-year-old Emily Dumlao. And as I am now convinced that the murder of Dacer witness Jimmy Lopez three weeks ago smacked of a “warning” to the other witnesses, it now seems a trail of blood always follows Lacson wherever he goes.

Yet, despite this, rabid anti-Erap fanatics would rather root for their new man, Lacson, than give the persecuted Estrada, who has but a record of compassion, kindness, and magnanimity, even an ounce of sympathy.

It’s not that Erap really needs it; but their calibrated attacks reflect more on their character than the one they are persecuting. Characters like Rodel Rodis, who persistently dishes out falsehoods from the US --against Estrada, as well as, about the Plaza Miranda bombing to protect his icon in Utrecht , Jose Maria Sison--are just as vile as those who stand idly by while watching the extreme injustice being perpetrated. Political players who similarly savor the unfolding events for whatever reason without a tinge of indignation are just as cruel as the oppressors.

But there must be a greater, more transcendent reason for all this. As German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright Johann Friedrich Von Schiller once said, “… great people are always subject to persecution and always getting into straits.”

Always chastised by his mother and jailed by Marcos twice, Erap nevertheless ended up being Doña Mary’s favorite and soon got recruited by Marcos for higher office. Always subjected to persecution, the way Cardinal Sin declared “Anybody but Erap” and with the patent injustice from Gloria Arroyo’s kangaroo court, Erap still won in 1998 and graciously accepted Cory’s apology years later. And after being declared a political “washout” repeatedly, Erap still figures in the surveys’ top two berths without much campaigning.

Independent US political thinker Don Mashak, likewise, has something for us to ponder on: “Throughout History, Empires have persecuted the great agitators; Noah, Socrates, Jesus, Columbus, Voltaire, Charles Darwin, Gandhi, the US Founding Fathers, Martin Luther King, Jr. et al.”

Of course, one of the most persecuted Filipinos in history was Jose Rizal; another was Andres Bonifacio, who suffered a persecution more akin to Estrada’s--as theirs came from the ilustrados and the foreign powers.

What then makes for Estrada’s greatness? It was in his persecution years ago by the local political establishment of San Juan that shunned him as a “mere actor,” but which didn’t stop him from winning the TOYM in the field of public administration just the same. It’s in how he inherited one of the most decrepit of cities but shaped up its police force, cemented all its streets, and alleviated squatting through pioneered resettlements.

The mere actor-mayor thus became senator, then vice-president; then as president, made his mark with the largest margin of victory, accomplishing what no president before had done; cleaned up the Mindanao insurgency; integrated the welfare of the masses into governance for the first time; challenged the imperious authority of the Church on such issues as population and the legalization of jueteng; and thumbed down demands by Big Business of sovereign guarantees and public utility rate hikes.

Through it all, Erap has always defied the demands of the powerful in favor of the welfare of the greater majority. This defiance awed and disconcerted the powerful even more when he courageously tackled the threat of incarceration by facing the kangaroo court and winning his moral victory.

If Erap is again facing persecution, it is because he is living up to his greatness; forging ahead with his mission despite all the odds against him. I only hope the nation will have as much mettle and courage to win in this renewed battle against the persecutors of this nation.

(Tune in to 1098AM, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, and Friday with Ver Eustaquio; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday on “Sept. 21 1972: Martial Law and the New Society Revisited;” also visit

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The US hand

The US hand is never absent from any political-economic situation in countries such as the Philippines . To discount it is to be ignorant of history and reality.

The fall of Quirino, Garcia, Marcos, and Estrada were all US-engineered. Col. Edward Lansdale established Namfrel and propped up Magsaysay to trump the nationalist Quirino. The American Manufacturers Association generously funded Macapagal versus the “Filipino First” advocacy of Garcia. The Schultz-Wolfowitz-Casey operations against Marcos culminated in the 1986 Edsa I coup; and similar moves against Estrada by the Rumsfeld-Hank Greenberg group led to the infamy that was Edsa II.

Today, the US is at it again. It grooms the new Yellow dummy while mobilizing local mainstream media and Big Business to ride on “Mister” Panfilo Lacson’s wicked stratagem.

Nationalist Filipinos understand President Estrada’s struggle. They know there is far more at stake than just the elections of 2010. Estrada is the only leader in the horizon who has taken a patriotic stand when he preserved the national territory by vanquishing the MILF in 1999.

Thus, in whatever attack against Estrada’s leadership, any treasonous agreement that yields huge swathes of land (and sea) in the furtherance of a select group’s or foreign power’s objectives always becomes the core issue.

Contrast this to the new Yellow dummy, whose family of Quislings has left a disgraced legacy--from the grandfather’s leadership of the Kalibapi (Kapisanan ng Lingkod ng Bagong Pilipinas) or the pro-Japanese occupation legislature; followed by the father’s betrayal of RP’s effort to reclaim Sabah ; and then, the mother’s contraction of Philippine territorial limits in her so-called “Freedom Constitution.”

To support this new Yellow dummy is to therefore surrender Mindanao to the MILF. But beyond that, it is also to turnover Mindanao, along with Palawan , to the US Congress-backed United States Institute for Peace (USIP) on a silver platter. USIP is, of course, headed by J. Robinson West, the founder of PFC Energy.

The mission statement of West’s company reads: “…strategic advisors in global energy committed to providing innovative insights and solutions that help our clients make quality decisions and succeed… with deep industry knowledge and a profound understanding of the geopolitical landscape.” But what all that euphemism obscures is the use of intelligence and other operations.

PFC Energy can only obtain its goals for western oil and gas companies if there is a compliant Philippine government, which it had found in Gloria Arroyo. But since Arroyo is already too weak politically to enforce the already junked Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, a new surrogate is needed.

In Lacson’s latest tirade against Estrada, timing is of the essence. It is not to expose any truth but to wage a baseless character assassination, serving both as a distraction from his supposed role in the Dacer-Corbito case, as well as, a monkey wrench on Estrada’s 2010 campaign and the unification of the popular will. Simultaneously, the public is denied media space to examine the new Yellow dummy.

But there is a more sinister angle in the claims that Estrada directly ordered those under Ping to harass the Yuchengco son or that he was involved in rice smuggling: It tries to impress upon the audience that it is Estrada’s practice to undercut the military and civilian chain-of-command.

Lacson is clearly laying the ground for accusing Estrada in the kidnap-murder of Dacer and Corbito. The remaining witnesses will be made not forget the fate of others like Jimmy Lopez and his companion who were recently killed. They can be persuaded to tell the lies that are necessary to get Lacson off the hook and pin Estrada just as well.

Another party that has even more persuasive powers, with an even more pressing interest in Mindanao, is the US government. Since it has Michael Ray Aquino in the palm of its hands in the same way it has Lacson by the balls, it could then offer Michael Ray a way out in exchange for pinning down Estrada. Likewise, the US-based Dacer family is very much within its reach.

With regard to the Yuchengcos, the public wouldn’t get the chance to find out if the son is really into drugs. Their media handlers will keep issues moving so fast that spectators won’t have any more time to look into the details.

The PeaceBonds scam, which the Yuchengcos packaged with civil society group CodeNGO in the wake of Edsa II, was a P10-billion loan ten years ago that the people will have to repay to the tune of P35 billion today..

The Yuchengcos’ Pacific Educational Plans racket, meanwhile, had duped thousands of policy planholders; yet mainstream media is not focusing on this. Neither will they headline the PLDT officials’ announcement that no pressure was exerted on the sale of PTIC shares and that they, in fact, jacked up the price upon the Yuchengcos’ request.

Lacson’s tirades by themselves signify nothing; same with all the black propaganda of mainstream and Internet media against Estrada. What is of true significance is the power behind these pawns. From Lansdale’s mascot to the present dummy, the US government has always pushed hard for its candidates from the dummy pedigrees because that power has always assaulted the sovereignty and patrimony of this nation.

Inasmuch as taxi and jeepney drivers love their pro-masa man, there is still that subliminal lure from the media campaigns of ABS-CBN, Inquirer, Mon del Rosario et al. that package their bet “like a virgin”--uncomplicated, canned, and ready to eat tinapa for free.

But once the people bite, two years down the road, they’ll discover--as they did after Cory, FVR and Arroyo--that from one worst fire, they’ve been thrown to hell yet again. That has been the case since 1986 to 2009. There is just no end to the downward spiral as long as the US and the oligarchs rule with their puppets and dummies.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 7’s Talk News TV, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. on “Sept. 21, Martial Law Revisited” with the FDC, Party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, and Tribune columnist Rod Kapunan; also visit

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Yellows’ game plan

The ABS-CBN-Inquirer-Ayala candidate, otherwise known as the “Yellow dummy,” is now the subject of a communications plan that seeks to cover up the fact that he’s really a political non-entity.

To date, this plan is being taken to a few basic directions. One, distract the public’s attention from the only presidential candidate who has the experience, a clear national agenda, and one who’s clearly gaining ground at the homestretch. Two, pit “the Palace” against this non-entity as if he were Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s chief nemesis, through items such as last Friday’s Inquirer headline, “Palace to Noynoy: Be a Man.” Three, maintain the focus on Villar at all cost as a secondary candidate so as to obviate the presence and momentum of President Joseph Estrada. Erap will, of course, be covered only when negative developments come up, such as that contrived Ping Lacson bomb of a tell-all. But they would have to keep doing all these till election day, lest their dummy’s empty shell be exposed.

Then, the Inquirer’s Sunday headline, which attempts to distance the Aquino family from its Hacienda Luisita shares, is a step to remove one of the major PR banes off the Yellows’ cacique candidate’s back. In fact, according to a veteran financial sleuth I spoke to, Danding Cojuangco has already acquired Cory Aquino’s Luisita shares lock, stock and barrel.

Nevertheless, as the call for justice looms for all Hacienda Luisita massacre victims, this will forever haunt the non-entity, who at Club Filipino even had the gall to juxtapose “justice” with “just-tiis” in his speech. But beyond this, what true opposition forces should highlight is Cory’s swift and easy turnover of Meralco to one of the Yellow dummy’s biggest oligarchic backers, which has led to the most expensive power rates in Asia today. And that is the real travesty!

Going back to their plan, it seems, too, that aside from the other oligarchs, the Cojuangcos themselves are consolidating for their blue-blooded candidate. I am told that Channel 5 has just fallen into line.

Meanwhile, I’m expecting false surveys to come out soon, showing a runaway figure for the dummy in hopes of creating a bandwagon. But, this time, a band might be there from the Yellow media’s end with no wagon in sight.

The current combined tri-media “shock and awe” of the invading Yellow forces is taking its toll on the more rational discussion of issues and alternatives for 2010. That’s why genuine thinkers must put up with the unrelenting struggle in this war for truth and genuine democracy. For us, there’s simply no retreat, no surrender.

We received enthusiastic responses to last Friday’s column on the true Aquino legacy--from a grandfather who volunteered to head the pro-Japanese Kalibapi (Kapisanan ng Lingkod ng Bagong Pilipinas), to the betrayal of Sabah, to the twin massacres that marked the Cory era, and the “massacre” of electricity consumers.

Many others are fighting back. I had two of them on my GNN program which will be shown Tuesday evening--former Gov. Homobono Adaza of Misamis Oriental and Bulletin columnist Eric Espina, both serious students of history. Bono has written a book on Philippine leaders and finds Cory as the most incompetent; while Eric brought E. Glick’s book, “Sainthood Postponed,” which was a book that Cory had de-shelved from the bookstores to be kept out of the public eye.

One really cannot see valuable historical truth while allowing even token genuflection at the yellow ribbon because even a hint of respect for it reinforces a myriad of lies in the service of oligarchic and corporatocratic exploitation. Inversely, one cannot even perfunctorily accede to the demonization of Marcos just to avoid the hassle of being tagged pro-Marcos without reinforcing all the rabid lies of the Yellow crowd and the oligarchs behind them.

Marcos was both good and bad--a culprit and a victim--like most Filipino leaders who had to navigate the treacherous politics of a land under the shadow of an evil global empire. But in the end, Marcos was a nationalist--cutting short the US bases’ lease and demanding rent; while Cory in 1991 marched in the rain to the Senate to appeal for their extension.

ABS-CBN and the Inquirer still try to raise the old formula of the Marcos bogey with their candidate’s promise to recover the “Marcos wealth.” Well, they tried but failed. They didn’t follow it up because the non-issue no longer struck a chord with the people. What keeps striking, though, is the “Kamag-anak Inc.” tune. That’s why they are keeping Peping Cojuangco out of the way.

Most left-wing or “progressive” activist movements in the Philippines are witting allies of right-wing oligarchs in perpetuating the Marcos bogeyman. (Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino are going for Villar, the real estate usurper, while Etta Rosales and her puppies are gunning for the Yellow dummy.) This is the main reason for the failure of real ideological alternatives in the country. Their confused alliances, which they think can aid them in their objectives, as when Rosales supported Gloria in 2001 and 2004, confuses the nation and leaves it bereft of ideas and alternatives.

Today, only Estrada stands out with a clear message--pro-poor, nationalist and patriotic (particularly on the MILF issue).

Likewise, there are plenty of disinformation going around, as when Manny Portes said his non-entity of a candidate was endorsed by Bongbong and Imee Marcos. Fellow columnist Jonathan de la Cruz also called to ask if what’s being circulated in some blogs is true--that I’ve gone over to the dummy’s side; to which I said, “When hell freezes over.”

This early, it seems, we can already witness how they’ll do anything to nab power the way Gloria Arroyo does.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 7’s Talk News TV, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. on “The Battle of the Legacies: Marcos, Aquino, Estrada” with former Gov. Homobono Adaza and columnist Eric Espina; also visit

Friday, September 11, 2009

The new Yellow dummy

The color yellow is said to represent cowardice. Such is true of the Yellow crowd that conspired in 2001 to topple the popularly-elected leader who tried to protect the nation from the oligarchy’s predatory profit-seeking. Supported by the likes of ABS-CBN, Inquirer, and Big Business establishments of Ayala Avenue , this Yellow crowd, proudly calling itself “civil society,” later on earned the moniker “evil society” after the nation bore the brunt of their abusive reign. Epitomized by their erstwhile puppet Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, these people fast-tracked approval of onerous power projects; privatized energy production, water utilities, and expressways, thus, jacking up Filipinos’ cost-of-living horrendously; and saddled us with the greatest debt surge, in the trillions, since Cory Aquino’s seven-year P400-billion debt post-Edsa I.

In 1986, these Yellows, backed by the US corporate oligarchy, deposed the besieged former President Ferdinand Marcos, then gave away the media assets held by the state. ABS-CBN and dzMM, for instance, were taken back by the Lopezes, even when their financing came from the Meralco power firm that was similarly turned over for nothing. Marcos’ Daily Express print media domination was likewise replaced by the Inquirer-Philippine Star tandem that has received advertising support from local and transnational Big Business ever since.

When Aquino took power, she had supposedly restored electoral democracy. But what actually happened, and what’s not being told, is that she merely turned over public utility assets from the state back to the oligarchs, thereby entrenching their political and economic domination of our land and its democratic institutions.

What the nation suffered under Mrs. Aquino and her anointed, Gen. Fidel Ramos, were crises upon crises in the power sector, which profited the largest generator-importing crony family at that time and also opened the way for Ramos’ infamous emergency take-or-pay contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). As a consequence, the nation was made to pay for power that has not even been used, due to the notorious Purchased Power Agreements (PPAs) that enjoyed sovereign guarantees.

Meanwhile, privatization of our water utilities proceeded posthaste in favor of the Ayalas and Lopezes, and water rates zoomed ten times. As the people suffered, they decided in 1998 to rally behind a leader of their own, prompting Cory’s Rasputin, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin, to issue his “Anybody but Erap” call to the faithful.

Still, Erap won overwhelmingly. And a regime of restrained debt amortization, increased social spending for the poor, and self-reliant economics ensued. Most of all, President Joseph Estrada put a stop to all sovereign guarantees.

And since precipitate power and water rate hikes were refused outright, much to the chagrin of the oligarchs, and with the US Embassy intensely miffed by Erap’s ban on sovereign guarantees, as well as, his decisive wipe-out of the US’ MILF surrogates in Mindanao, a campaign of vilification through the oligarchs’ captive tri-media came underway. Bombings were contrived by police elements allied to the Yellows, who hid behind alleged Muslim terrorists. Then, Cory called on Estrada to step down in January 2001, culminating in Arroyo’s unconstitutional ascent to power.

Although Cory apologized to Erap nine years later, the damage to the nation her error has caused is one that a mere apology can never repair.

With the 2010 polls close at hand, Estrada, in pursuing his sense of destiny, began to ascend to the top two ranks of the main poll surveys, the SWS and Pulse Asia. Competing against him is a renegade Edsa II stalwart who had spun off his own bid with the secret backing of Gloria Arroyo. The dyed-in-the-wool, blue blood candidate, meanwhile, had long been black and blue in the surveys, slipping badly to fifth place. Then Cory Aquino died.

ABS-CBN and the Inquirer drummed up the dirge 24/7; the Ayalas sent down employees to line the streets; and Filipinos who are suckers for funerals and “uzis” brought in more “uzis.” Eureka ! A perfect opportunity for a new blue blood to take up the cudgels for the elite was concocted.

Never mind if this Lopez-Ayala-Prieto candidate was congressman for nine years and produced only five House bills, of which none was passed into law. Never mind if, as senator, he only had the renaming of streets as accomplishment. He didn’t have anything to say on the CARP either, maybe because of his family’s Hacienda Luisita embroilment that saw 14 farmers killed. And this non-entity suddenly becomes material for the presidency?

He is built up as a patriot, as it says in his Web site: “Dugong Bayani.” But “Dugong Traydor” is more like it with a grandfather who volunteered to head the Japanese occupation government Kalibapi and a father who betrayed the Philippines ’ efforts to retake Sabah . Still, ABS-CBN, the Inquirer, the Ayalas et al. can turn black into white, traitors into heroes, and even make an opposition hitchhiker into “the” opposition candidate.

To wit, the Inquirer had the idiocy to publish this story yesterday: “Erap busts opposition’s hopes for unity.” This, despite a long line of contrary historical evidence:

Estrada, through the Pwersa ng Masa (PnM) Coalition, shepherded the opposition senatorial slate in 2001 against Gloria’s “13-0” People Power Coalition, winning six seats. In 2004, Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) became the backbone of FPJ’s candidacy which won but was cheated, as admitted by Gloria in her 2005 “I am sorry” spiel. In 2007, Estrada cobbled the Genuine Opposition (GO) slate from detention in Tanay, Rizal, and won eight out of twelve slots, clobbering Arroyo’s Team Unity. Given these, who is the rightful opposition leader today?

The Yellow crowd’s dummy was only a hanger-on in the GO slate, owing to his late mother’s request. So even with ABS-CBN and the Inquirer on his side, the people should still strive for final emancipation. Estrada must hammer on the message that his struggle is the people’s fight against these exploiters.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 21, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.. on “Comparing the Marcos, Aquino, and Erap Legacies” with ex-Gov. Bono Adaza and columnist Eric Espina; also visit