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 MalacaƱang 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.

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