POSTSCRIPT / September 1, 2005 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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If really innocent, GMA should not fear the truth

FACE THE TRUTH: As the PhilSTAR slogan says, “Truth Shall Prevail.” Somewhere else, it is said almost with divine certainty that truth shall set us free.

What is the truth? Did President Gloria Arroyo commit the impeachable offenses attributed to her in the complaints (plural) filed in the House of Representatives? Or at least enough of the acts alleged to constitute a culpable violation of the Constitution?

From the gallery where we watch the zarzuela from a distance, we really do not get to know the truth. Not even a hint of it. That is because we have no direct personal knowledge of what actually happened.

What some us know, or think we know, is just what we have heard from the politicians performing on the Batasan stage and from the media bouncing off to the public, to us, what those politicians had recited of their script.

Where lies the truth? The truth, or its absence, is in the evidence that the President’s accusers claim they have.

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HOSTAGED NATION: Do we want truth to prevail, and do we want that truth to set free this nation held hostage by politicians endlessly fighting to retain or regain power?

If we do, let us actively seek truth and not rely on hearsay or the inadequate reporting of media. At the proper forum designated by the Constitution, let us open and examine the alleged evidence.

Why should we, or President Arroyo herself, be afraid to look at the proferred evidence? If, as she and her chorus keep saying, she is innocent, there should be no problem.

Truth, because it is the truth, shall prevail. If it is true that President Arroyo is innocent of the charges, it will show after a full examination of the supposed evidence. If she is, indeed, innocent, the supposed evidence will boomerang on her accusers.

As long as the impeachment process — the President’s own trial of choice — is impeded, the unvarnished truth will never be known formally, officially and with finality.

If the truth is not allowed to prevail, Gloria Arroyo will never be set free. The truth, or a misrepresentation of it, will keep hounding her for the rest of her presidency.

And more than her, the entire nation will suffer for it. We do, already.

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RATS IN NUYOK: Talking of being hounded, even abroad, the unresolved charges will keep hounding President Arroyo.

Filipinos in the United States have formed Rapid Action Teams (Rats) that will follow and hound her during her visit for the 2005 United Nations World Summit in Manhattan on Sept. 15-16.

Dubbed as “Gotta-Go-Glo,” the hounding tour will begin upon the President’s arrival in New York a week before the UN summit. It is a joint effort led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-USA and the local NYC for Gloria’s Ouster Coalition

“It befits Arroyo to have Rats follow her wherever she goes,” said Bayan-USA’s Berna Ellorin. “Rats, characteristically, smell and are attracted to what is rotten in our society. Arroyo has proven the rotten and heinous nature of her administration.”

Among the other protest events organized in New York are RAGE 2, or Rock Against Gloria, an all-Filipino rock concert on Sept. 3, at the C-Note, 157 Avenue C and 10th St. 7pm in the East Village. The first RAGE concert was held late 2000 titled “Rock Against Erap.”

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PETRON SHARES: A suki reader, Manuel Diaz, has a suggestion in reaction to my mention last Tuesday of Saudi Aramco’s purchase of the dominant 40-percent share of the government in Petron Corp.

By selling the government’s control of Petron, the biggest petrol firm in the country, then President Fidel Ramos gave away our most effective foil against the unconscionable price increases inflicted on Filipino consumers by the insatiable oil oligopoly.

Diaz said: “Instead of trying to buy back Petron from Aramcoi, I suggest that the government through PNOC-EC buy or lease with option to purchase the mothballed plant of Caltex in Batangas and produce low benzene gasoline and mix it with 10 percent ethanol to create the E10 fuel mix.

“The fuel mix can then be sold to independent oil marketing firms for distribution in their gasoline stations. We can source our feedstock from other petroleum-producing countries like Libya, Ecuador and possibly Mexico.

“To buy back Petron from the Saudis would be costly. To investigate the sale of Petron by then President Ramos would again waste our time.”

(Although it has been suggested now and then, I am not aware of any serious move to buy back those Petron shares. Besides, I doubt if the Saudis would sell just like that. — fdp)

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PINOY COCONET: Now for some glimmer in the gray skies, here is a report culled from the Internet on the Pinoy Coconut Geotextile being a finalist in the BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corp.) World Challenge.

The item says: “Did you know that the Philippines’ coconut geotextile (aka coconet) for soil erosion control has been chosen as one of the 12 finalists in Newsweek and BBC’s World Challenge?

“The Challenge is basically a competition/search designed to identify groups or individuals all over the world whose projects have contributed great impact at grass roots level on a global scale.

“A documentary about Philippine coconut geotextile or coconet industry will be shown on the BBC World cable channel on Sept. 24 around 8:30 GMT (add 8 hours to get Manila time) and will also be featured in the Aug. 29 special issue of Newsweek.

“One of those involved in the development of coconut fibers is Dr. Bo Arboleda from Albay.

“The Challenge offers exposure and publicity for our Philippine coconut geotextile industry and our coconut fiber exporters. But it would be great pride for our country, which has been getting very bad publicity nowadays, to win this prestigious competition.

“To vote, please open: http://www.theworldchallenge.co.uk/vote.php and click the picture of Philippine coconet.”

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GOOD NEWS: Listen to broadcasting executive and Malacanang information official Cerge M. Remonde comment on this positive BBC/Newsweek item on Philippine coconet:

“Let us take that much-needed respite from our regular dose of politics and focus on news that gives us brighter hopes and keener aspirations, either as individual citizens or as a nation collectively.

“Some good news for a change.

“For the past month or two, we could read and hear nothing from the print and broadcast media but politics and politics, nothing but politics. Be it coming from the political opposition who still are in the midst an unrelenting drive or is it an obsession to our President Gloria.

“And they are doing one heck of a job. They have not just forced the economy to flounder even more with the global escalation of crude oil prices but they have also deliberately tried to omit our positive traits and achievements not only on the local level but more so on a global scale.

“Our country is one of the top producers or even the top producer of copra, the meat extracted from matured coconut fruits that serves as the basic material for the manufacture of soaps, detergents and shampoos. This is the main reason why some leading international manufacturers have chosen the Philippines as the base of their manufacturing and distribution operations.

“Among these are Unilever, Procter and Gamble, etc., which have all built and maintained regional offices and plants in the Philippines to produce and manufacture their products all over the world.

“With the emergence of the coconet and the prevalence soil erosion all across the globe, we have yet found another worthy and profitable use to our vast tracts of coconut plantations which could be found from Quezon province to the farthest fringes of Mindanao.

“Perhaps the coconet’s choice as the top choice in the World’s Challenge competition will only come out second to the optimistic possibility that we have in our hands right now a new product that will not only save our soil environment from the destruction of soil erosion but also something that will provide new hope and prospectively more income to our coconut farmers and hopefully more export earnings for our country.”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 1, 2005)

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