POSTSCRIPT / May 21, 2002 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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What Muslims want, they always get. Why?

ABOVE THE LAW?: If you’re plain folk and walk around toting a gun, you get arrested and your gun is seized as evidence. (If your weapon is that type that sets gun fanciers salivating, bid it goodbye.) Try resisting and you get roughed up or even shot.

But if you’re a Muslim in your home ground, you can flaunt all the guns you can carry and no policeman or soldier will dare molest you. No person in authority would dare look you in the eye and check your firearm license and permit to carry.

Why? Because there are two sets of laws in this country – one set for Muslims and another for the rest of the population.

If you’re the New People’s Army and declare some barangays as a “liberated area” over which the NPA flag flies, troops backed by armor and combat aircraft promptly move in and leave in shambles all your pretensions of a new people’s republic.

But if you’re a Bangsamoro separatist band and the military overrun your camp, you can summon the government for talks, sign a modus vivendi like a government with belligerent status, and get back your territory plus oodles of money as reparation.

Why? Because the government has lost its backbone to political osteoporosis. When Muslims growl, Malacanang trembles.

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THERE WAS RENUNCIATION: A number of Postscript readers who had joined the lively discussions on the dual citizenship bills in Congress are saying that Filipinos who had been naturalized Americans simply took their oath as US citizens but did not actually renounce their Philippine citizenship.

Hence, they conclude, there should be no serious bar to the automatic repatriation of these former Filipinos. There is a thinking, however, that Filipinos who had formally renounced their citizenship as part of the naturalization process are a more difficult case compared to those who merely took their oath as new citizens of another country.

Some countries demand renunciation of an applicant’s native citizenship upon naturalization. Other countries do not. What does the US require?

Read the exact text of the US Oath of Allegiance taken by aliens being naturalized, and decide:

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;

“So help me God.”

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PPA IN HINDSIGHT: From the flood of mail reacting to the soaring electric rates fueled by the so-called Purchased Power Adjustment (PPA) arising from contracts signed under the auspices of then President Fidel V. Ramos exercising emergency powers to solve the power crisis at the time, we chose to reprint this one from Mario E. Valderrama using a PacifcNet address:

“In allocating blame re the PPA mess, I think it should be spread thickest on the administration that allowed the power crisis to develop; then on the administration that signed power contracts after the 1997 financial crisis; and less on the administration that signed contracts during the power crisis.

“And re your ‘Detailed Details’ (Postscript, May 16, 2002), do you really believe that a change of situation due to a fortuitous event clause would make Independent Power Producers (IPPs) enter into power contracts? An aspect of the contracts was to provide financing, then unavailable to the government. And they were signed because the government (not a project proponent) perceived a need and projected its requirements, so why should the project implementor suffer if the government were to make a mistake?”

Former President Ramos can borrow from this email when/if he appears before the Senate in response to a committee invitation to shed light on some contentious aspects of his solution to the power crisis of the early 1990s.

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DORONILA BOOK IS HEARSAY: We’re quite sure the Ombudsman would throw out the charges filed against several generals for allegedly having staged a coup d’etat in January 2001 resulting in the removal of then President Erap Estrada.

The main reason is that no coup d’etat, as defined under the Revised Penal Code, was committed when then AFP chief of staff Gen. Angelo Reyes, the major service commanders and other officers declared their withdrawal of support from Mr. Estrada.

Another reason is that the main basis of the charges — a book by journalist Amando Doronila recounting the events leading to the removal of Mr. Estrada — is nothing but hearsay. The author was merely quoting what certain personalities told him. That’s hearsay.

In contrast, in Sen. Edgardo Angara’s diary recording the same events, the author was reporting as a direct participant and an insider witness. No wonder the Supreme Court gave weight to Angara’s account when it ruled that then President Estrada vacated his office via a constructive resignation.

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INFOTECH NOTES: Anybody out there who knows how to stop the epidemic of Klez viruses clogging the mailboxes of heavy email users is requested to come forward. Since the viruses sneak into and use the address book of their victim, their spread is virtually progressive, considering that the epidemic has been raging since last month.

We know the infection is widespread because of the number and the variety of the senders’ names in the infected mail turning up. Many of the senders’ names we’ve noted are those of friends in media. We’re sure they are not even aware that their PCs have been sending out infected mail.

So far, we have not noticed any damage to our hardware and files. By the time the infected mail reaches us, it has been cleaned by our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as part of their service to subscribers. We know which mail had (past tense) worms of the Klez variety, but it’s been sanitized for us.

Somebody or some group should sweep the entire system of this Klez contamination that bloats and slows down mail traffic, jamming servers and prompting the bouncing back of legitimate mail when the infected mail hogs the mailboxes.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of May 21, 2002)

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