Friday, May 29, 2009

The porno-circus goes on

“The circus goes on…” is how mainstream media the world over conduct their affairs. Because of the globalization of news and information by the western conglomerates’ control of international news and wire services, you can’t find anything of serious note about news anymore. That’s why a certain Web site now refers to headlines as “headlies” (omitting the “n”) to highlight the sorry state of today’s sensationalized news. Reading local mainstream media gives much of the same problem; although it feels more like “headlice” as we are further impelled to scratch our heads out of sheer exasperation. Take the “headlice” of our local newspapers, which have become the stuff of the two major networks: The “Hayden Cam” scandal and its many variations. 
This saga, involving Hayden Kho and a handful of his sexploits like Katrina Halili and Maricar Reyes, has been kept alive for over a week now by some media-manic legislators, prodded along by our sensation-stalking media. I didn’t even want to touch on the subject and add to the prevailing inanities even when a PR man sought me for a favorable comment for Ms. Halili. As I have always maintained, this is not a subject for legislators like Bong Revilla to pore over because this is simply a ridiculous sensational story. That was, until I got wind of Bohol politicians jumping into the act by declaring Kho persona non grata and Sen. Alan Cayetano saying Kho shouldn’t be allowed anywhere in the country. By stepping on the fundamental right of citizen Kho to be presumed innocent, these characters have obviously gone too far. 
For instance, I ask the Bohol Board Members: Why don’t you seek out the corrupt and proven evils like Joc-joc Bolante or Chavit Singson to be declared persona non grata in your province? Likewise, Sen. Alan Cayetano, for uttering such a statement that is patently violative of a citizen’s basic rights, has shown that he doesn’t deserve to be considered seriously as a senator of the Republic (not that a lot of them should). As for this “pabling” senator-son of the former senator who, by his own admission, has sired more children by as many wives, what right does he have to moralize about Kho’s amorous adventures when he himself is known to have gallivanted with some of those who had their trysts with Kho? 
In a real sense, Kho is also a victim in this series of scandals. Take that dermatologist cum cosmetic surgeon, whose face on those huge billboards my driver likens to a drag queen’s: Is she paying Kho’s salary (or allowance, as some report) for his medical expertise or for other services? As for Ms. Halili, isn’t she getting the most out of this imbroglio, as this is desperately-needed publicity for her sagging career and reputation? But, as always, in a damaged entertainment-driven culture such as ours, may other quarters have cashed in on this controversy. Thanks to Hayden and his sex partners, pirated DVD hawkers can now fetch up to P1,000 per video. Thanks to them, too, mainstream dailies have had an easy week of “headlies” to distract the nation from its miseries--from the 73-percent fall of coconut exports from the same period last year to the 1.2-percent Q1 contraction of the economy. 

Meanwhile, the other “headlice” that continue to paste over other really significant news revolve around the H1N1 panic being fanned by the global health institutions and media. What is not being reported that is very vital for all to know is that there is a raging debate among members of the World Health Organization (WHO) itself about the manner in which its alerts are being made. Dr. Margaret Chan, a former Hong Kong health minister elected to head the WHO in 2006, is announcing alert levels based on where and how many countries have found cases of infections. But there are other representatives there, like those from China and other Asian countries, who have instead proposed that alert levels be based on the severity of the virus and not simply the spread. Even though H1N1 has been shown to be far less severe than first projected, a global panic still ensued, which immediately sent vaccine sales through the roof. 
My serious indignation over such manufactured flu panics may seem an over-reaction to some, but the naïve obviously do not know the extent to which western powers would go into pressuring target countries. Mexico , for instance, lost $2.5 billion in economic activity (or 0.3 percent of its GDP) during the few weeks of the H1N1 panic, with its tourism suffering the most, just as it was being hit by the drugs war and US border issues. Strangely enough, the swine flu scare also coincided with the visit of Obama. Was it just a gimmick to accentuate the panic over the spread of the virus? Speculations aside, Dr. Leonard Horowitz, a doctor-advocate of natural healing, believes that this whole episode was designed by laboratories such as Novavax to sell its stock of vaccines. You can view his exposé, complete with names and details of Big Pharma experiments, on YouTube. 
The last item I have space for in this porno-circus is the Lakas-Kampi merger which is as corrupt and lewd as any political-porno can be. As President Estrada asserts, this pair has always been in coitus--in exploiting and oppressing the Filipino people and the nation’s rich resources. And as they wish to prolong their ecstasy, we are sure to be subjected to the biggest porno act yet: The 2010 elections, starring Jose Melo and the computer voting that’s designed to fail, all in furtherance of the Lakas-Kampi screw job! 
 (Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / Teachers for National Transformation [New], 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday on “Hello Garci Whistleblowers;” also visit

Monday, May 25, 2009

“Reelection,” ban for incumbents

In a recent long vituperative article, Randy David continued his Edsa II harangue against President Joseph Estrada. As usual, he raised his usual litany of personal diatribes against the immensely popular leader without raising any policy issues. Just think: If personality idiosyncrasies were to be the basis of statesmanship, then US President John F. Kennedy, with his flings with Marilyn Monroe, or Chairman Deng Xiao Ping, with his penchant for mahjong, and Chairman Mao Tse-tung, with his weakness for farm lasses, would never have made it to the leaders’ pantheon of fame. That’s why Randy David, like the rest of his fellow Edsa II intelligentsia, has never gotten anything right--tracing five decades of failures of their social reforms and of becoming obstacles to the revolution themselves. 
Randy David did diverge from one Edsa II party line though: He took the position that Estrada should be allowed to run for the presidency in 2010. Notably, this is tangential to Edsa II “legal luminary” Jesuit Joaquin Bernas, who’s at the forefront of blocking the candidacy of Estrada. Referring to the line, “The President shall not be eligible for any reelection” in the Constitution, Bernas gives his account of discussions in the Constitutional Commission (Con-com), where he claims the “absolutists” won and passed the single term and permanent non-eligibility of anyone who has served a term of office as president of the Republic. 
Of course, mainstream media purports to treat the issue with balance. But one example pointing to the contrary has been GMANews’ May 5, 2009 report by Sophia Regina M. Dedace, wherein she absolutely did not present any contrary view to the official “non-eligibility” line that Estrada’s detractors keep mouthing. The four so-called “experts” she interviewed were Joaquin Bernas, Christian Monsod, Romulo Macalintal, and Marlon Manuel. Bernas and Monsod, as we know, are both Edsa II conspirators against Estrada while Macalintal is the vacuous Gloria Arroyo election lawyer. Marlon Manuel, meanwhile, turns out to be an Ateneo Law School functionary who’s certainly not going to contradict his dean. So how credible could they be? 
Only one Ateneo law professor--probably the most principled who ever taught in that law school--Atty. Alan Paguia, gave his view on the constitutional question. Paguia’s opinion on the Estrada “pardon” has been much misunderstood recently, particularly in relation to Estrada’s run for the presidency, as he had advised caution, knowing that Gloria Arroyo can twist that double-entendre in the language of the pardon to persecute Estrada again. 
Constitutionally, however, Paguia is actually of the opinion that Estrada is eligible to run again by virtue of what he explains as the “parity of reasoning.” He says that Gloria Arroyo, who acted as “president,” got the legal justification to have her run in 2004. How? With the same provision quoted by Bernas. 
Thus, to fully understand its meaning, let us expand and contextualize what was quoted: “The President shall not be eligible for any reelection. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.” 
By the same reasoning that took into account Arroyo’s less than four-year stint, Estrada, who served as president for only two and half years, should therefore be eligible to run. But Macalintal argues that the provision applies only to one who “succeeds” the presidency. But isn’t it the serving of more than four years that defines the term and the eligibility to run? Of course, if we were to only go by Paguia’s theory of “The Constitutional Clock,” then Estrada is still the rightful president today. 
Moreover, the term “reelection” is always a key point in such discussions. Based on countless Web sites I have reviewed the past several days, the term “reelection” always applies to an incumbent running for the same office and not to elections where there have been an interruption or discontinuity in the incumbency. I have discovered that the term and the controversies surrounding it have had a very long history, as can be gleaned below from contemporary Latin American politics: 
“(Colombian president) Uribe has already changed the Constitution once to allow himself to run for reelection. Like most of Latin America—that is, until recently, Colombia didn’t allow for presidential reelection. This was in part due to the region’s long history of dictatorial rulers. ‘No reelection!’ was even the battle cry of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. True to post-revolutionary form, Mexico today has a strict no reelection policy; it doesn’t even allow former presidents to seek election after an intervening term.” 
From this and many other examples, it is clear that a former president running for the same office after an intervening period is universally called an “election,” and not a “reelection.” We see that the intent behind “no reelection” is the prevention of “dictatorial rulers,” evolving from an incumbent using his or her powers to become a permanent tyrant. 
Since it’s sufficiently clear that “reelection” involves an incumbent running for the same office to succeed his or herself, Bernas and company can only rely on the ambiguity of the word “any” to obfuscate the true and elemental meaning of that constitutional provision. While Randy David evades the real issues of poverty, sovereignty, and integrity that President Estrada, in his time, had addressed, Bernas evades the real issue by delving into the word “any” and by masking the Con-com delegates’ intent. But the most elemental issue here is the true intention of the Filipino people who ratified the 1987 Constitution: To ban any incumbent from taking undue advantage to perpetuate a continuing rule with all its attendant evils. For sure, the Filipino people never intended to deny themselves the right to elect non-incumbents, especially those who may have gained wisdom and competence from experience. 
As what Chief Justice Reynato Puno expressed in the case of Tecson vs. Comelec: “The better policy approach is to let the people decide who will be the next president. For on political questions, this court may err but the sovereign people will not. To be sure, the Constitution did not grant to the unelected members of this court the right to elect in behalf of the people.” 
(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / May Pag-asa, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday on “People, Power, and Poverty” with Nasecore; also visit

Friday, May 22, 2009

The only alternative: Estrada

Our alert Christian communities in Cotabato City , serving at the forefront of the nation’s successful exposés on the GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD), are now alerting us to new and alarming developments. The MILF, they say, is getting new, sophisticated arms from American sources. So pressing is this that a number of retired AFP generals have even come forward to confirm this, with one personally travelling to Mindanao to assess the conditions himself. So, as we look at this situation in light of the early presidential hustings, we ask: Who among the self-proclaimed candidates can really stop Mindanao from being Balkanized in the next round of US-MILF attacks? 
Is there anyone among them who can stand up to the pressure that will be brought to bear on the winning candidate, assuming we do have elections in 2010? Villar has never stood for anything other than his vested interest as a real estate tycoon, especially in using state resources to further his financial empire, which Senate investigations into his “C5 at taga” case are proving beyond doubt. Noli de Castro, meanwhile, can’t stand up to his old network bosses for they catapulted him to political fame even when that conglomerate has continued to suck the blood of the electricity-consuming masses dry. Chiz, on the other hand, cannot be expected to bite the hand that shepherded him to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington , as well as, those in local Big Business who are grooming him for the top post. 
For sure, Mindanao is doomed to be lost unless we can install a leader who is tried and tested in fighting for our sovereignty and national integrity all the way. Only one presidential timber has that political will. Only President Joseph Estrada-- who had once defiantly crushed the US ’ proxy army, the MILF--can defeat the machinations of a global superpower and its Trojan Horses in Mindanao . We remember the raising of the Philippine flag on the MILF’s headquarters after its leader, the late Hashim Salamat, was driven off to Malaysia . We also recall the price exacted by the US for that defeat--the ouster of Erap, which was facilitated by its local oligarchic surrogates when they instigated ex-General Angelo Reyes to betray the Republic and the duly-constituted authority of the land. 
While President Estrada has not yet proclaimed his final intention to run in 2010, the nation is already debating his eligibility. The debates, however, have only centered on constitutional and legal gibberish, led by the “Heswitik” Bernas, who’s been conjuring up impediments through sophistry and deception. Ditto for the rest of the Edsa II parties such as the Inquirer, which ran a recent editorial claiming that Estrada is fooling the people anew with a new run for the presidency. Certainly, these quarters think that they can fool the people again; but proof of their eroding credibility is Estrada’s growing ability to win against the odds, which must be striking terror in their hearts. 
President Estrada is eligible to run again if the people so wish and vote for him. There is no higher power in a democracy than the sovereign will of the people, and what the legalistic gibberish simply shows is that they, the few, want to usurp the will and the power of the people once more. Bernas had been doing this even at the 1987 Constitutional Commission (Con-com) which, it must be noted, was an appointed body and not an elected and representative forum. Because of its elite-controlled set-up, even if there were principled individuals trying to ensure the democratic character of the commission’s mandate, black ops were always at work to safeguard the interest of the elite. 
Bernas and his ilk repeatedly refer to the phrase, “The President shall not be eligible for any re-election,” stressing the word “any” to imply each and every election. Constitutional experts and researches, however, have pointed out that the term “any” was not discussed at all in the drafting of said provision. The term was inserted only by a “style” committee’s sleight-of-hand to change the entire meaning of the intended provision that should have read: “The President shall not be eligible for re-election,” where “re-election” means “to run and succeed oneself in a position,” as I have gathered from various Internet sources, including Black’s Law Dictionary. 
I am continuing my own layman’s research into the terms involved, which I will complete in Part II of this column. I believe that we cannot leave the matters of our democracy and the survival of our Republic to the arbitrary, sophistic legal interpretations of so-called experts like Bernas or to a handful of Con-com delegates who constitute clandestine committees. UP Law Dean Pacifico Agabin correctly said in last Wednesday’s Ciudad Fernandina Forum that even delegates to the 1987 Con-com cannot supersede the intent of the people who ratified the Charter to prevent the abuse of power by a sitting president who seeks re-election--and not to disqualify a non-incumbent former president. 
President Joseph Estrada must run again to lead this nation as President for only he has the will and the experience to overcome the daunting forces threatening to dismember the nation; the profit-predators exploiting and sucking the economic life out of our people; and the forces laying to waste this Republic that our 1896 revolutionaries fought and died for to establish for all time. 
(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / May Pag-asa, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday; also visit

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bilderbergers and the Philippines

The global corporatocratic network and its media persist in spreading the “swine flu” scare despite the dud it has turned out to be. The World Health Organization (WHO), which is reported to be still intent on upping the ante to a Phase 6 alert, seems to be giving politicians under the corporatocracy’s control another excuse to procure flu vaccines that will not only be stocked forever but also cause grievous harm. Britain has just ordered 90 million doses of the flu vaccine from Baxter and Glaxo--this, even after Baxter was caught sending out avian flu vaccines to 18 countries that carried the live avian flu virus, which was discovered in the Czech Republic when some of its inoculated lab ferrets died. 
Meanwhile, in the US and Britain , military recruitment is on the upsurge. The reason: The dwindling jobs market. Worse, this surge is happening just nine months into the recession. So as these economies deteriorate further, the number of jobseekers lining up for military work will grow even more. Wouldn’t it then be very bad for these countries to simply let their soldiers lay idle for long without any forthcoming military adventures? Perhaps this is why US and Nato military exercises are edging closer and closer to Russia and China . 
International analysts, like Adrian Salbuchi of Argentina --who’s produced a series of YouTube videos analyzing the reasons behind the global financial collapse, see this build-up as the start of the West’s strategy toward global war. Gerald Celente of The Trends Research Institute in the US , who is now immensely credible for having accurately predicted last year’s financial collapse, predicts a new and bigger bubble from the latest Wall Street uptick. 
He writes: “At this time we are not forecasting a war. However, the trends in play are ominous… While we cannot pinpoint precisely when the ‘Bailout Bubble’ will burst, we are certain it will. When it does, it should be understood that a major war could follow.” 
At every super-exclusive Bilderberg meeting, the direction of world events is deliberated on and threshed out by super-powerful individuals who represent western monarchies and corporations. From the selection of presidents to the policies imposed on countries, as well as, the United Nations (UN)--such as population control as enunciated by Henry Kissinger’s National State Security Memo 200, the Bilderberg group is always the fountainhead. What this group is up to this time in its current Athens meet should thus be everyone’s concern. 
Despite the usual news blackout in such meetings, an industry of enterprising investigative reporters has sprouted and more information is now being leaked to the world. Thanks to Web sites like Alex Jones’ PrisonPlanet, we can now catch a glimpse into the group’s 2009 agenda. 
Veteran investigative journalist Jim Tucker reported that former Swedish Prime Minister and regular Bilderberg attendee Carl Bildt, “(advocated) turning the World Health Organization into a world department of health (and) turning the IMF (International Monetary Fund) into a world department of treasury, both of course, under the auspices of the United Nations.” 
Bildt discussed global warming and the global tax on carbon emissions, which will be introduced gradually--first, as a tax at the gas pump, before being hiked. Of course, this will be institutionalized through local legislative bodies, in the same manner that privatization, liberalization, and deregulation laws were put in place (such as here in RP). 
This carbon tax concept is reminiscent of reportage on glacial melting in the Polar and Antarctic ice regions while ignoring expanding areas such as the Hubbard Glacier, growing by two meters per day, and East Antarctica, now four times the size of West Antarctica , where shrinking of the Wilkins ice shelf was overblown by global media. It’s sensationalized and reeks of a scam. 
Another investigative reporter, Daniel Estulin, exposed the Bilderberg discussion on whether to sink the global economy quickly or drag it along a tortuous ride. As reported in, “Treasury Secretary Geithner and Carl Bildt touted a shorter recession, not a 10-year recession… partly because a 10-year recession would damage Bilderberg industrialists… (And inasmuch) as they want to have a global department of labor and a global department of treasury, they still like making money and such a long recession would cost them big bucks industrially because nobody is buying their toys… (The) tilt is towards keeping it short.” Fellow journalist Jim Tucker added that as ordinary folks wise up to this group, the Bilderbergers’ programs face more hurdles. 
Sadly, the Philippines is still one of the most helpless victims of the Bilderbergers. Its political and financial elite work under Bilderberg underlings; its intelligentsia is enslaved by global academe and mainstream media; its “civil society” is funded by international foundations that subvert national and economic sovereignty; and its population is still blinded by global entertainment culture. Worse, every one of it’s declared presidential candidates is either ignorant of this global tyranny or is pining to be selected as a new puppet--if the present bitchy troll in Malacañang will vacate at all. 
Will we become victims of these bio-terror germs for profit? Will we eventually end up impoverished and broken up like Somalia ? Will we serve as a diversionary magnet in a looming World War III? Will we pay carbon taxes at the cost of taking food away from our tables? 
In the face of the Bilderbergers’ policies of enforced poverty, economic stagnation and retrogression, nationalism is the only response to this group’s tyranny. Let’s fight pandemic panic with our indigenous resources like virgin coconut oil to strengthen our immune systems, advocate global pacifism, and build an independent industrial economy. 
(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / May Pag-asa, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday; also visit

Friday, May 15, 2009


How can anyone get excited about the presidential primaries, if the ANC Leadership Forum at the Ateneo were to be the gauge? One candidate had his fiancée chosen by his stage mother who went around inquiring about a prospective daughter-in-law who can draw the masa to their camp. Another is an unapologetic nominee of a ravenous oligarch; while yet another is this same oligarch’s estranged nephew who has now turned to suckle from his midget mama’s bountiful milk. There, too, was the “cry baby” of Philippine politics-- who embarrassed himself for hamming up with tears over the Red Cross workers’ kidnap in Sulu that drew flak from the AFP. 
Then, there’s that newcomer whom everybody knows is kicking himself upstairs because he failed to fulfill the expectations of his provincemates who helped secure his fluke of a slim win, who wouldn’t be able to win again given his situation today. This fellow, a priest whom we laud for his personal integrity, is sadly possessed of a hyperbolic perception of his own significance, who clings to an ideology that is too limited to the anti-corruption issue, betraying an ignorance or denial of neo-colonialism, as well as, corporatocratic feudalism as the real problems of this country. 
As you know, I don’t follow presidential debates, even those in the US , for statesmanship cannot be reduced to oratorical or debating prowess. If only such were the case, then snake oil salesmen would have made for great presidents. Yet that’s what the system today is all about--a system run by mainstream media, which in today’s so-called “democracies” are controlled by none other than the oligarchs and their neo-colonial masters. 
Because of this, discussions or debates are tightly controlled. In the case of the ANC Forum, we were correct in expecting the moderator, Tina Monson-Palma, not to ever ask what the presidential candidates would do about the highest Asia-wide power rates of the biggest distribution franchise in the Philippines for the simple reason that this would be against the oligarchic media owners’ interest. 
Monson-Palma’s questions did revolve around Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, however, and no doubt, Gloria worsened the national crisis by leaps and bounds. But all of the nation’s deep-seated problems preceded her and will continue long after she’s gone unless a fundamental redirection of the structure of this society is instituted. Unless we raise the people’s welfare to the highest priority of government, we will merely continue to relinquish control of all our political and economic affairs to the “money masters” and the political charlatans serving as their puppets. 
I set very high standards for leadership. I must first see these qualities indubitably proven by those seeking my support. I must first see the clarity and consistency in these people’s principles, along with their obstinacy and readiness to face any odds to see these through--traits commonly seen in revolutionary leaders like Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung or Ho Chi Minh; and in the likes of the US’ Founding Fathers or the heroes of the Philippine Revolution that culminated in the 1896 anti-colonial uprising. In today’s world, there are also elected leaders who exhibit these traits, like Venezuela ’s Hugo Chavez, who first suffered incarceration, or Bolivia ’s Evo Morales, who previously faced persecution. 
Most leaders of western democracies since the 1960s, in contrast, have been weak and opportunistic charlatans engineered by the power of money through the Bilderberg Group and its ancillary councils such as the Royal Institute of International Studies in Britain and the Council of Foreign Relations in New York . 
The real guiding lights in the West today are those in the anti-establishment socio-political movements--from the anti-war protesters like former attorney-general Ramsey Clark and Cindy Sheehan, to former Marine Scott Ritter and Fil-Am Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (who’s leading the torture charges against Bush and Co.), to alternative media leaders like Michel Chussodovsky and Alex Jones, and the many groups around them. 
The neo-colonial reality in the Philippines sets the limits for Philippine political leaders. Thus, only a few have dared to challenge this. From the Lava and the Taruc brothers to Recto, Constantino and Lichauco, to Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada, the tradition of defiance against neo-colonialism has been sustained albeit costly. 
Marcos fought in the Second World War for the country and put forth RP’s economic development, which no amount of demonization can erase. Although he danced to the West’s neo-colonial tune for a while, he eventually asserted Philippine sovereignty and was deposed by a conspiracy of foreign and domestic forces. 
In similar fashion, Estrada championed the welfare of the masses and asserted Philippine sovereignty in Mindanao by demolishing the MILF, despite a note of warning from then President Clinton. By facing the wrath of the almighty US, he ended up with a coup and almost seven years of illegal incarceration. Earlier, Estrada had already been arrested and detained twice for defying Martial Law, but his real test came after his fall from power, where, despite Mrs. Arroyo’s twice-offered lures of comfortable exile, he chose incarceration while arguing his case before Gloria’s kangaroo court. And, as we now can see in the aftermath of the MoA on Ancestral Domain imbroglio, the MILF and the US are definitely in cahoots! 
The other leaders who have shown proof of their dedication to their principles are the likes of Gen. Danilo Lim, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, the Bagong Katipuneros, Capt. Dante Langkit (the only one detained in Ft. Bonifacio), the group of Gen. Renato Miranda, the groups in Camp Aguinaldo and Tanay, many of the leaders of left-wing movements, and my own colleagues in Edsa III who have faced harassment, arrests, abductions and torture but who have remained true. If only these were the leaders being considered, I’d wake up and take notice. 

Monday, May 11, 2009

The problem: Ikaw mismo

A massively-funded campaign with huge ads emerged the past week called, Ako mismo. It is challenging the youth to “take a stand and take action for the causes that (they themselves) can pursue to make real.” It has, among many fancy gimmicks, a red dog tag to identify joining members, as well as, big-named celebrities as endorsers. But behind this so-called “movement” is one of RP’s richest CEOs, who also just recently bought into other privatized public utilities. Naturally, my reaction was: What moral standing does this guy have? He, for one, lobbied for the removal of the “no pass-on provision” on the additional rVAT that was slapped onto hapless consumers, which isn’t a mark of a good leader. 

Such maneuver, despite the fact that the then contemplated tax measure was originally intended for cellphone service providers is the least of this CEO’s many financial legerdemain. As former NEDA chief Romulo Neri revealed in the course of the ZTE hearings, this CEO is part of the local cartel that charges one of the highest cellphone service rates in the world. Anyone who has a bit of corporate intelligence knows that behind this CEO is an Asean transnational family, acting as ventriloquist, that flourished through crony capitalism in Indonesia . Then, of course, we should note that this CEO also joined the conspiracy in 2001 against the will of the Filipino electorate. 

Everything he did has only increased the burden upon the people. From supporting the Edsa II installation of Gloria Arroyo, he and his less prominent fellow corporate backers have dirtied their hands with the crimes of this regime, benefitting immensely from all the lopsided laws designed for more profits for their companies and with all their new “acquisitions” that seem to have no end. 

How has this CEO managed to get all the laws passed in favor of his conglomerate? The same manner as the rest of the corporate behemoths: Enticing those in authority to approve laws favorable to them even at the expense of public welfare. In most countries, for instance, cellphone texting costs are subsidized by cellphone call rates, which is what’s being done in Venezuela . Thus, with exorbitant text and voice call charges and the planned spreading out of the rVAT to include cellphone use, Mr. CEO and his foreign masters are sure to rake in unimaginable profits. Such windfall so far has, in effect, allowed them to venture into the power company that charges the highest power prices in Asia —which, upon their entry, immediately got from Arroyo the “performance-based rate” system that ensures unregulated rate increases till kingdom come. 

Because of these, we should instead tell him straight to his face that the problem in Philippine society is Ikaw mismo (you, yourself). But then, the “icons” that Mr. CEO’s movement is setting for the youth to emulate are also, Sila mismo (themselves), part of the problem that is the Philippines ’ damaged culture. 

Let us start with that Arroyo-appointed anti-piracy czar, who has been known for nothing other than being a playboy, who’s had several failed attempts at becoming a talk show host a la Letterman, as well as, a local politician. Sure, he’s been very aggressive in demolishing small pirated DVD vendors, but in this impoverished country where vending illegal wares constitutes the only source of income, this doesn’t seem to be a very creative and helpful stereotype for this society. 

Some others, although having outstanding talent, are unfortunately used for little substance. Some allow themselves to convey the wrong message that girls and women should rush to buy skin whiteners and Glutathione, while others only sing splendidly of mushy, sentimental songs to no avail. Even if these celebrities came out to say that they did not receive any pay for their appearances, perhaps betraying a little sense of guilt, certainly, they can look forward to the next paid appearances for one of this CEO’s many subsidiaries. Thus, Mr. CEO’s choice of mascots sets the tone: It’s entertainment. 

The dominance of entertainment is, in and of itself, a major problem in Philippine society. It’s designed for mass consumption of frivolous stuff; not for the production of goods which our economy needs. This then shrinks the real incomes of families, and sinks them deeper and deeper into hunger. Entertainment only distracts the people from the real problems and their growling stomachs. 

This is why producer-writer Ferdinand Dimadura, Berlin Film Festival top prize winner for Chicken ala Carte, which vividly depicts a family eating out of fast food trash cans, can never be Mr. CEO’s choice of endorser. Mr. CEO only chooses among those whom philosopher Michael K. Hooker worries about: “…people who don’t dwell on the meaninglessness of their lives, or the meaningfulness of it--(those) who just pursue mindless entertainment.” 

So can a project of a dyed-in-the-wool corporate “Gordon Gecko” (from the movie Wall Street) be altruistic? I wouldn’t bet on it. And just as I write this, I see in one of the front pages that Mr. CEO may actually be preparing to support Mr. Noli de Castro. So as I observe Mr. CEO and his Ako mismo campaign, the more I realize that he most probably hasn’t looked into the mirror for sometime, because then he would see that the problem would really be staring him in the face. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crystallize and polarize toward change

Lest anyone forgets, last Friday, May 1, was the eighth anniversary of Edsa Tres, by far, the only genuine political expression of the Filipino masses in recent history. It was a protest of “the great unwashed,” real victims of the ruling class’ massive economic exploitation, against the prevailing oligarchic neo-colonial system comprising Big Business, the conservative Church, the corrupt political order, as well as, the prostituted police-military hierarchy. It was, by sheer number, their stinging rebuke against this US-controlled elite’s illegal overthrow of our overwhelmingly elected leader, President Joseph Estrada, whose only great “fault” was his repudiation of the elite’s demands of sovereign guarantees for privatized projects, adopting separatist doctrines (like federalism and “appeasement”), and prioritizing debt payments above all else. 

Issues of corruption, murder, and mayhem were all hurled against Estrada--from illegal gambling payoffs to stock market manipulation, to Mindanao genocide, economic incompetence, and even political tyranny. Yet eight years on, under the aegis of those plotters and conspirators, corruption has reached unprecedented heights, illegal gambling has tripled, summary executions have multiplied, debt service has leapfrogged over social spending (versus Estrada’s reversal of this 20-year trend), and the national economy is in shambles. 

Worse, exploitation by corporate predators has grown more intense under the Arroyo regime. For instance, as soon as Meralco was taken over by two more conglomerates, continuous hikes for the highest power cost in Asia were immediately institutionalized through a new “performance based” formula that increases profit to well over 20 percent from what started out at 8 percent decades ago. Our water rates, also among the highest in the world, are constantly on the rise too. Meanwhile, the state’s cheap hydro-electric and geothermal power plants are being apportioned to the Lopezes and Aboitizes while deteriorating and costly fossil fuel plants are left to the publicly-owned National Power Corp., dooming it to charge higher rates in the long run. 

Nine years ago in 2000, during the last full year of Estrada as president, Muslim secessionists and criminal gangs were already almost wiped off the Mindanao map. Last year, in stark contrast, the Philippines almost lost half of Mindanao to the US and secessionist elements, which the Arroyo government had consented to with other Edsa II originals like the National Democratic Front--a goal which is still in effect through efforts to convert the republic into a federal state and to remove the Constitution’s protectionist provisions, with or without Gloria. 

However, after countless rallies and demonstrations, four major military protests (Oakwood, Ft. Bonifacio Stand-off, and Manila Pen), innumerable political and financial scandals (“Hello Garci,” Road Users’ Tax and PhilHealth diversions, Joc-joc Fertilizer Fund scam, ZTE, Northrail, etc.), serious deterioration in the poverty and hunger problems, the nosedive in government approval ratings, and major “mea culpas” from various Edsa II purveyors, Gloria Arroyo is still in Malacañang, with the last touted hope of a “withdrawal of support” going kaput over new sinecures and other charades. 

It seems the delay in the final triumph over this corrupt regime only comes from the muddle-headedness inflicted on the Filipino people by a combination of factors--the lack of a moral and patriotic fervor among the neo-colonial elite that is passed down to every level of society, US control of the Philippine Military Academy’s training, an educational system de-nationalized by Catholic and other religious educational institutions, the economy’s de-industrialization and marginalization of the nationalistic business sector, the co-optation of the intelligentsia and establishment of a canine-loyal “civil society,” and the domination by Big Business of mass media, among a long list of maladies. 

Thankfully, the real gain in the past eight years is that all the above have begun to unravel. The neo-colonial elite has been exposed for its rapacious greed for profits from the privatization of public utilities, and weakened by successive infighting over these feeding frenzies. The financial elite has been discredited by the failure of many pre-needs funds while the Catholic Church has been seriously damaged by the failed promises of Edsa II that there is now as much as a 30-percent fallout rate among its flock. Most of all, and perhaps serendipitously, we are now witnessing the collapse of the US as the sole superpower which will gradually free the Philippines from its clutches. 

The greatest task of genuine leaders for change then is to sharpen the real issues, by crystallizing ideas and polarizing opinions on economic emancipation from the global and local oligarchy, on seeking solidarity with the people’s aspirations, on the need to put nationalism and anti-imperialism hand-in-hand with anti-corruption advocacies, and on supporting true leaders like Estrada, Gen. Danny Lim, Sen. Trillanes, et al. as against opportunist-charlatans from various political persuasions. As we establish new alliances with domestic and international forces, we must realize that all who are enemies of US and western imperialism are friends to our cause of national emancipation. Only after taking stock of issues in this light will we ever get to see the end of the US-Gloria era soon. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine-dler’s flu: Be very suspicious

A mortality rate of 45 persons per day is recorded for one of the Philippines ’ major diseases, which also figures into the top 10 killer diseases victimizing millions around the world each year. No, it isn’t “swine flu.” It’s tuberculosis (TB). So, in this regard, the current campaign launched from the US and transmitted through WHO and networking sites like Twitter shouldn’t be scary at all to those familiar with statistics on the past decade’s “flu” scare.

Worldwide death numbers from SARS have reached only 774 since 2000, and from avian flu, 254 from 2003 to 2009--both paling in comparison to the annual rates of 20,000 and 1.7 million TB deaths in the Philippines and the world, respectively.

While we do not want to downplay any real danger of an influenza pandemic, the hype which attended all the special flu scares in the past had also been overblown and linked to “Big Pharma.” Through global mainstream media’s ferocious scare reporting, countries are fast being forced to join the bandwagon for fear of being branded as irresponsible or travel ban-worthy. Their governments are likewise pressured to stock up on anti-influenza drugs and vaccines from pharmaceutical firms partly owned by individuals in the centers of political power.

The company that produces Tamiflu, for example, is partly owned by former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and former US Secretary of State George Schultz, both neoconservative Washington bureaucrats.

However, one simple but un-reported fact that should dispel the panic over SARS, avian, and swine flu is that there are a million flu deaths every year that aren’t related to any of these three viruses.

Mainstream media all over the world carry sensationalistic flu news without question because, for one, sensationalism has its intrinsic benefits. Another reason is because Big Pharma is one of the biggest sources of advertising revenues for both print and broadcast media. As a result, the role of critical, watchdog news reporting is left to anti-globalist Web sites or blogs and to anti-Establishment spaces like this column.

But, there are, indeed, a great deal of gigantic con games being played by Big Pharma, especially in this age of global mass communication. From the stock market boom and busts to the subprime mortgage frauds, to hoaxes like the Millennium Bug, and now, the various flu panics, the power of media to manipulate the mass psyche for corporate interests has never been as obvious. Thus, billions of dollars have been spent by governments to buy up Tamiflu and other drugs for years while anti-poverty and health programs in the Third World gasp for breath.

Still and all, proper nutrition and a strong immune system are the best defense against disease, including the various flu viruses. In countries where the avian flu has struck, Tamiflu has proven ineffective, leaving patients with psychotropic side effects--sometimes lethal--as seen in several of Japan’s suicide cases at that time. Some hospitals in Vietnam , meanwhile, upon sensing the drug’s failure, resorted to nutrition and natural medicines to great results. Fact is, aside from boosting one’s immune system through hygiene and nutrition, a high intake of garlic and ginger is sufficient.

Dr. Patricia A. Doyle, DVA, PhD, BA (Tropical Agricultural Economics) of the University of West Indies makes a plea to the general public not to take any flu vaccines as wrote that she was “one of the people duped into taking a Swine Flu shot and it made me so sick… in bed for three months…”

Furthermore, Canada had a $200-million experiment giving out free flu vaccines; yet per capita flu rates there had not fallen since the program was launched in 2000. The lesson here is that one shouldn’t jump to take medications just because Big Pharma and advertisements say so. Be very suspicious whenever you are barraged with these messages because certain medications--for gas and muscle pains or headaches--will not only empty consumers’ wallets but harm their kidneys and livers as well due to side effects.

There is a belief that the latest swine flu originated not in the alchemy of nature but in the biochemistry of covert laboratories, deliberately released for political or commercial purposes. And there is an established historical precedent to this: Remember the anthrax scare in 2001 which authorities attributed to “terrorists” but was later exposed to be from a US biological warfare laboratory? Similarly, the SARS, avian, and now, swine flu scares have many links to bio warfare sources as exemplified by this quote from Dr. John Carlo of Dallas County Hospital: “This strain of swine influenza that’s been cultured in a laboratory is something that’s not been seen anywhere… so this is actually a new strain of influenza that’s been identified…” Notice the slip?

We in Third World countries, who are frequently made the dumping ground of Big Pharma, should especially be wary about this new “swine-dler’s flu” scare. Let’s not be hoodwinked into shelling out billions for useless vaccines but, instead, direct our health care toward basic public hygiene, health support, and disease prevention.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with Ver Eustaquio / May Pag-asa, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday; also visit