2002 Postscripts

December 2002

SKIMMING LOTTO BETS: Reader Bobby Gochangco wants the identity of the Sweepstakes official who said there are 10 million bettors in every Lotto draw “not only for his mathematical stupidity but for something else that more than meets the eye.” We refer him to the front page of the STAR issue of last Saturday (Dec. 28). [ Read More ]

SO THAT’S WHY!: Malacanang never ceases to amaze us. Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao expressed relief the other day that with Rep. Mark Jimenez finally out of the country, Justice Secretary Hernando Perez will now have the field all to himself as he debunks extortion and plunder charges hurled at him by the Manila congressman. [ Read More ]

CYCLOPS GONE BLIND: We’re amazed that until yesterday President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was reportedly still undecided on whether to keep Justice Secretary (on leave) Hernando Perez in the Cabinet or not. [ Read More ]

TEMPTING NEW TERM: The problems of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo started the day she succumbed to the temptation of running for her own six-year term in the 2004 presidential election. [ Read More ]

WHOSE SECURITY?: The trips of Justice Secretary (on leave) Hernando Perez to Hong Kong and elsewhere are a thing of the past. Disclosing details about them will not pose a danger to him or to the republic — unless they involved some activity that could put Perez in legal jeopardy. [ Read More ]

MORE BOMBSHELLS: There will be more explosive revelations on millions changing hands as the key players in the $2-million extortion case involving Justice Secretary Hernando Perez and Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez stumble over miscues and miscalculations. [ Read More ]

EMBARRASSING DOCUS: Former President Erap Estrada better look for an excuse to detour from his Senate date today and instead proceed to that healing bath prepared for him by nuns in Novaliches. [ Read More ]

ROMAN VICTORY?: Friends from Bataan have been telling us that some leaders of Gov. Leonardo B. Roman are bragging that the Supreme Court is about to rule that Roman’s victory in the 1993 recall elections did not give him another term for purposes of reckoning the three-term limit for local officials. [ Read More ]

THE NAIA-3 RIGMAROLE: We put up a modern $650-million airport terminal, and now that it is almost ready, somebody barges in to charge that the contractor should not have been allowed to build it in the first place. [ Read More ]

FOUR-CORNERED FIGHT: With no less than four power blocs fighting over just one issue — the Piatco deal — you can just imagine the viciousness of the Palace wrangling that distracts President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as she tries to run the country and stay ahead in the popularity charts. [ Read More ]

DE VENECIA FORMULA: Nobody quarrels with national unity, with having a variety of political persuasions helping shape national policy. [ Read More ]

MIKE CAN’T DO RIGHT?: The misfortune of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is that most folk in this badly scarred town are liable to believe the worst said of him, without regard for whether it is true or false. [ Read More ]

PEREZ SIGNED PACT: Justice Secretary (on leave) Hernando Perez signed for the Philippines on Feb. 23, 2001, an agreement with the Hong Kong regional government concerning mutual legal assistance (MLA) in criminal matters. [ Read More ]

TRUST THE LEADER: The speech yesterday of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may not be as earthshaking as we had wished, but it sounded tough enough to convince those who still have faith in our capacity to heal ourselves that GMA has found new resolve to save this country. [ Read More ]

November 2002

WHY NOT $15M?: It was not just $2 million, insisted Sen. Panfilo Lacson, the former Top Cop who had done his own investigation into charges that Justice Secretary Hernando Perez had been given that small fortune by Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez in a case of bribery/extortion (decide for yourself). [ Read More ]

FIRE PEREZ!: With Justice Secretary Hernando Perez sinking fast with a heavy “Million-dollar Man” tag around his neck, if I were President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo I won’t let the day pass without firing him. [ Read More ]

MORE HEAT THAN LIGHT: It is disturbing to hear agitated people, many of whom have not had the chance to read the Supreme Court decision, spewing intemperate language and demanding rash action on the refund of excess payments of electricity consumers. [ Read More ]

EARLY BIRD: It’s a good thing, at least for us kibitzers, that Sen. Panfilo Lacson announced this early his intention to run as opposition candidate for president in 2004. [ Read More ]

HAVE PITY ON US!: They tell us that the many independent power producers (IPPs) feeding the Luzon grid of the National Power Corp. actually have excess capacity and that they have to operate below their rated capability. [ Read More ]

S.C. DECISION STICKS: For planning purposes, we can assume that the Supreme Court will not reverse its ruling that the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) must refund the excess billings it has collected from consumers since 1994 estimated at P28 billion. [ Read More ]

INGAT KA, NANI! Justice Secretary Hernando Perez better be careful in parrying charges of Bulacan Rep. Willie B. Villarama that a still unnamed Cabinet official extorted some $2 million from a prominent individual who has a problem with the justice system. [ Read More ]

START 2003 RIGHT: Malacanang is sadly mistaken if it thinks that shuffling the Cabinet as a yearend exercise will produce a so-called Strong Republic and arrest the deterioration of the quality of our lives, including the political life of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

WAIT AND SEE MUNA: Filipinos and ex-Filipinos residing abroad who had been led to believe that a law is about to be signed enabling them to vote in national elections, plebiscites and referenda starting with the 2004 presidential polls better be cautioned against being too optimistic. [ Read More ]

CREEPING DARKNESS: What has come over us? Wherever we go and ask people how they feel about the situation (the economy, peace and order, everything…) we sense a creeping despondency, a crushing feeling that things are likely to turn worse than better. [ Read More ]

AGANA, Guam — Malaya publisher Jake Macasaet and Channel 4 chief cameraman Jun Gabriel nearly stole the show last weekend from taipan Dr. Lucio C. Tan who arrived here at dawn Saturday for a grand award ceremony and his appointment as this American island’s ambassador-at-large. [ Read More ]

JOBS, REVENUES, TAXES LOST: For almost six months now, some 2,000 workers of Picop Resources Inc. have been jobless and hungry as a result of the refusal of Natural Resources Secretary Heherson Alvarez to finalize the automatic conversion of the company’s Timber License Agreement into an Integrated Forest Management Agreement. [ Read More ]

October 2002

FULL OR SOFT OPENING?: Is Dec. 15 the start of full operations or just the date of a “soft” opening of the controversial passenger Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport? [ Read More ]

GSIS DID RIGHT: The Government Service Insurance System deserves praise, not censure, for bringing back home Juan Luna’s “Parisian Life” after buying the 110-year-old work of art in last Sunday’s auction in Hong Kong. [ Read More ]

IT TAKES FOREVER: The lifestyle check ordered by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will take forever if, as advertised, the search for corrupt officials includes all Cabinet members, bureau directors, military and police top brass and executives of government-controlled corporations. [ Read More ]

JOKE OF THE DAY?: It says here that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ordered a lifestyle check on Cabinet officials from department secretaries to bureau directors, on military and police top brass, and on officials of government-controlled corporations. [ Read More ]

PURO EXCUSES: What scares us more as we duck amid the terrorist explosions is the frantic groping of the authorities, including military and police officers, for excuses and explanations for the obvious failure of intelligence. [ Read More ]

THERE’S NO ESCAPE: Assuming we can, where do we run or hide to escape the violence exploding around us? [ Read More ]

MORE LOTTO TIPS: Having started last time to talk on how to bet in the SuperLotto, whose draw at 9 p.m. tonight promises a jackpot of more than P185 million, we now give you updates on how the numbers 1 to 49 have been behaving lately. [ Read More ]

FLOOD OF IMPORTS: You must have noticed that cheap imported products have been flooding the market. While consumers haunted by falling real incomes may welcome the availability of cheaper substitutes, affected local producers are terrified of the prospects of going out of business. [ Read More ]

MAGIC FORMULA: Yes, we have here a sure-fire formula for grabbing that P165-million jackpot in tonight’s SuperLotto draw! We also have, if you promise to be patient with us, some betting tips to help you zero in on the jackpot every time the gambler in you asserts itself. [ Read More ]

DOUBTS BUG LOTTO: With the SuperLotto jackpot having soared beyond the dizzying P150-million mark for tonight’s draw, questions are again being raised about the honesty of the game that is vulnerable to human intervention. [ Read More ]

ABU ANGLE UNCONFIRMED: We are intrigued by remarks of US embassy spokesman Karen Kelly that they had no confirmation that those who exploded a bomb days ago in Zamboanga that killed one American soldier and wounded another GI were members of the Abu Sayyaf terror group. [ Read More ]

FACE-SAVING MOVE: The order of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the “soft opening” of the NAIA Terminal 3 on Dec. 15 is a compromise of sorts, but it appears to be the best option at the moment for all parties involved in the $500-million project. [ Read More ]

PALACE TRIPS FERNANDO: Wittingly or unwittingly, Malacanang has just cut down the effectiveness of Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority. [ Read More ]

POLITICAL REALITY: Everything considered, we see no way Manila congressman Mark Jimenez can escape being brought before a US court to answer charges filed against him. That is the political reality as we see it at this point. [ Read More ]

September 2002

WHO’S NEXT?: Any Filipino could suffer the same fate as Manila Rep. Mark Jimenez, whom the US wants extradited or delivered to it to face criminal charges filed belatedly against him. It just happens to be Jimenez this time. It could be you some other time. [ Read More ]

QUESTIONS ON S.C. RULING: As a layman, this observer is not comfortable with the Supreme Court ruling that a Filipino being sought by American authorities and who has not been arraigned before a competent US court should be denied bail for alleged crimes that are not at all heinous. [ Read More ]

WHEN TO STAND FIRM: Malacanang cannot dissociate itself from whatever the departments of justice and foreign affairs do against Chinese Ambassador Wang Chungqui, whom Justice Secretary Hernando Perez wants declared persona non grata and expelled. [ Read More ]

GREED WAYLAYS SOLUTION: The dust kicked up by the Piatco fiasco is such that the public is more aware of the problem than the solution. [ Read More ]

MILKING COW: As regular user of the North Luzon Expressway, we join long-suffering motorists in demanding that toll collection be suspended until the dangerous highway is fixed. [ Read More ]

FRAPORT ON RETREAT: We’re amazed at the fighting spirit of the Chengs who control the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) that is finishing and preparing to operate Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. [ Read More ]

NOBODY’S SAFE?: Who is the parent whose heart will not bleed for the innocent kids of Negros congressman Jules Ledesma who were kidnapped on their way to school the other day on a busy street in San Juan? [ Read More ]

LEGAL BUT NOT RIGHT: Sen. Rene Cayetano better tell his son Alan, congressman from Taguig, (for them) to stop their campaign to have Taguig Mayor Freddie Tinga removed from office on the strength merely of signatures of a majority of barangay officials in the town. [ Read More ]

WATCH THEM: The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has promised to test all coal-fired power plants in the country mainly to check if emissions exceed standards set by law. About time. [ Read More ]

SUBMIT TO THEIR COURTS?: So the government is thinking of sending back to Sabah a 13-year-old girl who was abused while under Malaysian police detention prior to her deportation. The idea kuno is to enable her to testify and pursue rape charges. [ Read More ]

NASA STATES PO KAYO!: We once had lunch with then Secretary Franklin Drilon in a pricey Japanese restaurant. He was late, but before he entered the room, he took time to take off his shoes. Without throwing a tantrum. [ Read More ]

IF DADONG WERE HERE: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should ask herself before retiring tonight what her late father — then President Diosdado Macapagal — would do if faced with the same crisis of Filipinos in Sabah being driven away from what has been home to them for generations. [ Read More ]

WE’RE SCARED: Let’s face it. We are too scared to press our claim to Sabah, that portion of the Sulu sultanate (and therefore also of the Philippines) that Malaysia arbitrarily annexed into its federation in 1963. [ Read More ]

August 2002

REVERSAL OF ROLES: Barbara Walters did a story on gender roles in Kuwait several years before the Gulf War. She noted then that women customarily walked about 10 feet behind their husbands. [ Read More ]

NEUROTOXINS & CARCINOGENS: We have been calling attention to the massive toxic emission of coal-fired plants of the National Power Corp. and some independent power producers (IPPs). This does not mean that pollution comes only from them. [ Read More ]

DEAD OR ALIVE?: It’s not surprising that until now there’s confusion over the question of whether or not Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya was killed in a sea encounter last June 21 off Zamboanga del Norte. [ Read More ]

BLANKET OF DEATH: It’s official. The bogey raised by environmentalist groups a couple of years ago is now confirmed in a newly released report by the UN Environmental Program. [ Read More ]

HINTS OF AN EXODUS?: With another key official, Commissioner Rene Banez, flying south to avoid the creeping harsh weather at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, are we seeing hints of a mass migration of officials whose exodus will impact negatively on the Arroyo administration? [ Read More ]

DIWALWAL TAKEOVER: Justified or not, Natural Resources Secretary Heherson Alvarez has found an ally in President Arroyo and an excuse to take over, with police-military force if needed, a portion of the idled 184,000-hectare timber concession of PICOP Resources Inc. in Bislig, Surigao del Sur. [ Read More ]

NO OKAY FROM GMA: President Arroyo caught that one fast enough. We’re referring to her ordering yesterday the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to stop putting up mini-gambling arcades outside its regular casinos. [ Read More ]

JOKE SESSION: A murderer, sitting in the electric chair, is asked by the chaplain: “Have you any last request?”

Doomed convict says: “Opo, can I have a photo-op with Ate Glo with her holding my hand to the very end?” [ Read More ]

SHAME ‘EM ROUTINE: Who sold the not-so-bright idea to President Arroyo that presenting gangsters to media in her awesome presence would shame them enough to make them cry and mend their crooked ways? [ Read More ]

The vocabulary of graft-watchers, and grafters themselves, keeps growing. The latest addition to the colorful lingo is “substantial compliance.” When an official with whom you’re following up a contract tells you he wants “substantial compliance,” you should be smart enough to sense what he means. [ Read More ]

MANGO ON MENU: We’re talking of mangoes again, because many readers picked up the subject and continued to discuss it in their email. [ Read More ]

WEDDING IN CONGRESS:What’s this about Rep. Jules A. Ledesma (1st Dist., Negros Occ.) asking his congressmen colleagues about his possibly getting married right there in the august chamber of the House of Representatives? [ Read More ]

PLAIN LUCKY?: At the National Power Corp., an official was found in an in-house investigation to be guilty of mischief that merits the filing of administrative charges for grave misconduct and criminal charges for violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. [ Read More ]

July 2002

DOES GOV’T CARE?: Every now and then, somebody high up in government says something shamelessly mushy, something like allegedly caring for us poor citizens. [ Read More ]

LIGHTNING ROD: We wonder if Environment Secretary Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez has noticed it, but he seems to have a lightning rod that attracts a myriad bolts to himself and his patroness President Arroyo. [ Read More ]

NOT IGNORANCE, BUT GREED: Except for those who have been direct and immediate victims of deadly emissions from coal-fired engines, most Filipinos have not sufficiently waken up to the hazards of coal as a fuel. [ Read More ]

COMING UP FOR AIR: As expected, the State of the Nation Address of President Arroyo was greeted with the usual predictable sneers from the opposition and the cheers from the administration camp. [ Read More ]

WE TAKE IT BACK: We didn’t expect that casual comment of ours about Mexican mangoes being sold in the US as “Manila” mangoes, and our own Guimaras mangoes finally finding their way to that restricted market, would stir quite a discussion among our readers. [ Read More ]

INSIDER TRADING?: It’s hard to believe that Manuel V. Pangilinan, president/CEO of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., had engaged in insider trading, but here is this document from the HK bourse showing some unusual stock transactions of one Pangilinan Manuel Velez. [ Read More ]

FASTBREAK FOILED: A spokesman of Jancom Environment Corp. had a piece published last July 12 answering our comments on the firm’s controversial $350-million garbage incinerator deal that, in our view, had all the marks of an attempted high-level fastbreak with no less than Malacanang and the Supreme Court coming into play. [ Read More ]

NOSIBALASI: When we survey the political scene, we must always keep in mind the basic fact that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected by the people, not by so-called Civil Society. She rose from Vice President to become President by operation of the Constitution, not by the insistence of a street crowd or the sufferance of the military. [ Read More ]

DISRUPTIVE CHANGE: The shadowy figures still questioning the extension of the term of Gen. Roy Cimatu, AFP chief of staff, are trying to create a problem where there is none. The President alone has the prerogative to appoint whoever she wants. She has spoken and that’s it. Everybody else must fall behind the Commander-in-Chief. [ Read More ]

WRATH OF GLORIA: That was a naughty trick naming the raging typhoon “Gloria.” We hope this does not signal a revamp of glorious fury of the weather bureau. [ Read More ]

WHY NOT JUST REBID IT?: We were a bit jolted when former Marikina mayor Bayani Fernando, brand-new chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority, was reported as saying that Jancom Environmental Corp. may amend its controversial $350-million garbage incineration contract. [ Read More ]

TITO IS OUT, FINALLY: After many awkward moves, Vice President Teofisto Guingona finally resigned as foreign secretary and his resignation was accepted by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo effective July 15. [ Read More ]

ROLLING BACK THE TIDE: Malacanang has its hands full holding back rate increases in electricity, water and other items. But it looks like temporary relief, like an ugly tide merely ebbing as we look on helplessly…. [ Read More ]

June 2002

‘KARBURO’ MENTALITY: Many Pinoys have been wondering how come their vaunted mangoes have not gained a toehold on the American market. The reasons we’ve heard are anecdotal so we won’t foist them on you as the findings of a painstaking market research. [ Read More ]

WHAT DO YOU THINK?: Here’s our latest Postscript survey question: Do you think Abu Sayyaf leader/spokesman Abu Sabaya is dead or alive? Either way, please explain your answer with one paragraph of not more than 50 words. [ Read More ]

THOUGHTS OF LUCIO TAN: Can you live with our peso sinking to P120 to the US dollar? Before you faint, hear out the other insights of taipan Lucio Tan into the economy. [ Read More ]

ERAP REBUFFS BILL: A full year before the Sept. 11 (2001) terrorist attack on America, the United States was already hot on the idea of using the Abu Sayyaf problem as an excuse to bring in its forces in the guise of training Filipino soldiers and gain a strategic foothold in the South. [ Read More ]

PPA CUT BY P1.26/KWH: Check your electricity bill for June. Remember, the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) said the PPA (purchased power adjustment) starting this month would be cut by P1.26 per kilowatt hour — from P3.30/kwh last month to P2.04/kwh. There may be slight variations depending on your usage bracket. [ Read More ]

PANDAY vs PANDAK: The big tabloids must be running out of hot stuff to play up on a slow Sunday so that old joke about action star Fernando Poe Jr. running against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections saw banner treatment. [ Read More ]

NO POINT INSISTING: It seems that Sonny Alvarez will tough it out as acting secretary of natural resources despite mounting pressure for him to follow the example of the other Alvarez — Bebot of the transportation department — who resigned with grace when the CA also failed to confirm his appointment for the nth time early this week. [ Read More ]

PARADING MEDIOCRITY: The leading personages who were conspicuously absent from the P10-million Independence Day rites yesterday have their respective excuses and alibis, but their absence still set many people wondering what’s going on. [ Read More ]

ABALOS ENTERS SNAKEPIT: We wish MMDA chairman Ben Abalos good luck and boundless patience as he walks, as new chairman, into the snake pit called the Commission on Elections. [ Read More ]

WAR IS WAR: Those things happen. The law of averages says that people are likely to get killed in a protracted military operation, the likelihood depending on a number of factors beyond the control of the combatants. [ Read More ]

LESSONS FROM SENATE: The antics of our honorable senators, later joined by their gangmates from the House of Representatives, have just given us taxpayers more reason to conclude that: [ Read More ]

POLITICAL, NOT LEGAL: Everybody’s watching as the Arroyo administration wrestles with the resurgent idea that US forces be allowed to hunt down Abu Sayyaf terrorists on Basilan who are holding hostage an American missionary couple and a Filipino nurse. [ Read More ]

MEDIA’S MEA CULPA: There will now be the usual agitated discussion about what went wrong in the hostage-taking drama the other day wherein a wailing four-year-old boy was stabbed to death by a deranged man who had grabbed him from his mother at a crowded bus station in Pasay. [ Read More ]

May 2002

GOV’T KNOWS BETTER?: There is no need for the government to take over the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) if the purpose is merely to lower electricity rates to more reasonable levels and make sure the utility firm is managed properly. [ Read More ]

CASE GATHERING DUST: Will the Supreme Court please help resolve the bitter controversy over soaring electricity rates? All it has to do is act with dispatch on a long-pending case of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). A final decision on it will unravel many knotty issues. [ Read More ]

BLOATED BILL STILL THERE: We’ve kicked around too long the issue of soaring electricity price, pinpointed the root of the problem, and have gone wild blaming one another. But when we look at our latest electric bill, we still see the bloated bottomline staring at us. [ Read More ]

SOLONS’ PORK INTACT: Examine the remedial measures being considered in both chambers of Congress to ease the burden of the bloated purchased power adjustment (PPA) being collected from electricity users. [ Read More ]

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. [ Read More ]

UNWARRANTED DEFENSE: Press Secretary Silvestre Afable better stop commenting on the coup d’etat charge filed days ago against several generals before he gets himself and his boss the President unnecessarily entangled in the debate. [ Read More ]

MERALCO VS NAPOCOR: The National Power Corp. (Napocor) must be desperate for excuses for its monumental mismanagement of our power system that it has gone down to blaming even its valued customers for the soaring price of its electricity. [ Read More ]

UNFORTUNATE MISCONCEPTION: A front-page story came out yesterday saying that “the country’s laws do not allow dual citizenship….” This unfortunate statement, deceptive in its simplicity, is not true. [ Read More ]

NAIVETE COULD BE FATAL: Like former President Erap Estrada and many others, we have misgivings about the reported forging of a “modus vivendi” or a mutual accommodation between the Arroyo administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. [ Read More ]

POLITICAL SCOOP: That was a master stroke of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo suspending the PPA (Purchased Power Adjustment) accruing to the National Power Corp. (Napocor) pending the revamp of the contracts of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) supplying overpriced electricity to the Napocor. [ Read More ]

IN SELF-DEFENSE: Now that the politicians have held their so-called political summit, the rest of the population should hold their own People’s Congress, if only in self-defense. [ Read More ]

THEY ARE ALL THE SAME?: Now we should be worried. When grizzled politicians, their familiar faces on the front pages, get together to plot something — as in a “national political summit” — our gut tells us that something worrisome is in the offing. [ Read More ]

PURGING PROCESS: By and large, May Day has been mainly a day of catharsis for workers laboring under unspeakably unchristian conditions. [ Read More ]

April 2002

RETORT TO CARPIO’S PAÑERA: Pro-environment and anti-corruption organizations called down yesterday a partner of the then Carpio Villaraza Cruz (now Villaraza Angangco) law office reacting to our report on objections to the controversial $350-million garbage incineration contract of Jancom Environmental Corp. with the government. [ Read More ]

STRATFOR THEORY DISMISSED: You can safely dismiss the scenario painted by Strategic Forecasting Inc. (Stratfor), a Texas-based think tank, showing the United States transforming the rebel-infested island of Basilan into a forward US base in its global campaign against terrorism. [ Read More ]

FINGERPRINTS ON PAPERS?: Since the spokesman of the Supreme Court himself left the door open for discussing Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio’s handling of the controversial $350-million incineration agreement between the government and Jancom Environmental Corp., we have to share with the public more information on the matter. [ Read More ]

LET’S CLOSE RANKS: If the perpetrators of the bombings down South think that the violence would stop Philippine-American collaboration in fighting terrorism and phase out US military presence, they are mistaken. [ Read More ]

BETRAYAL OF PUBLIC TRUST:  Warning — We might spoil your Sunday if you read through this. [ Read More ]

MERALCO A FRONTLINER: The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is at the end in the long line of entities generating, distributing, retailing and using electricity. The utility firm is the component in the power system that deals directly with the consumers. [ Read More ]

AN HONEST BROKER?: The problem of the United States mediating the war in the Holy Land is how to convince everybody outside of Israel that it is an honest broker, that it is not on the side of the Jewish state propped by $3 billion in mostly military US aid each year. [ Read More ]

SCHEME NEEDS POLISHING: Ooops! Some income taxpayers who want to file and pay electronically through the Internet may not be able to do it yet. The Bureau of Internal Revenue has revised the rules and is still refining the system. [ Read More ]

SHALLOW BENCH: Without meaning to comment on the qualifications of current nominees to the Supreme Court led by a former legal aide of the President, we want to ask why the quality of candidates to the tribunal have generally deteriorated over the years. [ Read More ]

PAGING RAMOS: Wherever he may be, ambassador-at-large Fidel V. Ramos should be asked by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to rush home to help solve the numerous problems traced to his flawed administration as president once of the Republic. [ Read More ]

I HAD A DREAM: We’re sure many of us would like to go back to the little town of Bethlehem, the cradle of love and peace. There is a sense of urgency for such pilgrimage as the stable where Jesus was born is now on the verge of a war that could trigger a cataclysm. [ Read More ]

A SOMNOLENT SUMMER: How sweet it is to do nothing — and to rest afterwards. So goes an old Spanish proverb. [ Read More ]

UNSIGHTLY JEEPNEYS: Without meaning to look down on our toiling jeepney drivers, we’ve always said that whatever economic progress we display at street level, we will never appear to have advanced as long as jeepneys clutter our thoroughfares. [ Read More ]

March 2002

R.P. WATERS REDEFINED: Without firing a shot, neighbors poaching on our territorial seas and casting covetous eyes on our rich mineral reserve would gain access to our marine resources if a bill certified by Malacanang as urgent were enacted into law. [ Read More ]

PEDDLING JEANS, OR SEX?: What is Guess® trying to do aside from selling jeans and such gear? Is it so desperate to catch attention and shore up sales that it has to plant indecent billboards all over town showing young couples in suggestive poses? [ Read More ]

DIRTY FUND-RAISING: The Lopezes must be in bad financial shape to attempt sneaking in a power rate adjustment that would double the electric bill of households connected to the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). [ Read More ]

AFTER ABUS, WHO’S NEXT?: We have gone beyond the question of whether or not Filipinos would favor US forces’ joining the Philippine military in pursuing the Abu Sayyaf terrorists hiding in the jungles of Basilan island with three of their kidnap victims. [ Read More ]

AIM BEYOND ABU SAYYAF?: We asked readers last time if they favored US forces’ helping the Philippine military pursue terrorist groups in Mindanao aside from the Abu Sayyaf. [ Read More ]

POLITICAL, NOT LEGAL ISSUE: We expect the escalation of American involvement in the military’s anti-terrorism campaign in Muslim Mindanao to be so managed by the government that it will remain a political instead of a legal question. [ Read More ]

DEEPER U.S. INVOLVEMENT: Don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning to read in the papers that Basilan and Zamboanga are swarming with US military personnel numbering more than the touted 600 or so under the present Balikatan joint military exercise. [ Read More ]

CLEAN THE SLATE: To save the Commission on Elections from the infighting slowly but surely wrecking it, Comelec Chairman Alfredo Benipayo said yesterday he is willing to have the poll body start on a clean slate by having all commissioners, including himself, resign to give way to a new team. [ Read More ]

DENY HIM LUXURY JAIL: The faster Erap Estrada is tried and his case disposed of either way, the faster he can recede into history, the better for this badly battered nation. The better for him, too. [ Read More ]

LISTEN TO THE DOCTORS: Today being a Sunday, we’ll ask the lawyers to stand aside for a while so we can hear what the doctors are saying about the osteoarthritis of former President Erap Estrada, who wants to go to the United States to have both knees replaced. [ Read More ]

MICRO HEATING OF FOOD: Users of microwave ovens, take note. Ed Sacris of Pinoy55 shares with us this item on heating food in microwave ovens, which information you might want to pass on. [ Read More ]

PLEA OF INSANITY: We almost agreed with our barber’s theory that former President Erap Estrada was laying the basis for a plea of insanity when he made the incredible admission on TV that, indeed, he signed those bank documents as Jose Velarde. [ Read More ]

NO COMMENT ON ERAP: She didn’t have to, but she did. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo joined days ago the public discussion of the plea of former President Erap Estrada to be allowed by the Sandiganbayan to go to the United States for knee surgery. [ Read More ]

February 2002

THE GREAT SKIP: Now you know why former President Erap Estrada is desperate to escape, este, skip the Sandiganbayan trial of plunder charges against him. As he himself finally has admitted, he was the fictitious Jose Velarde in whose name unexplained billions had been hidden in the bank. [ Read More ]

A SCREAMING BARGAIN!: One of those crazy ideas that fell from the sky with the Chinook helicopter crashing into the sea off Dumaguete City last Friday was on how to solve the Abu Sayyaf problem that has been costing the Philippine and American governments millions everyday. [ Read More ]

BLOODY FILM UNNECESSARY: While we denounce in the strongest terms the barbaric treatment of victims of the Abu Sayyaf, we frown on the unrestricted use on television of a film clip showing the terrorists chopping off with a machete the heads of their helpless captives. [ Read More ]

ESCAPE VS SPEEDY TRIAL: As they have decided to meddle in the judiciary anyway, instead of passing a resolution setting the stage for the escape of former President Erap Estrada, our honorable senators and congressmen should pass a strongly worded resolution asking the Sandiganbayan to speed up his trial for plunder and other charges. [ Read More ]

WATCH THAT TERM!: Ooops! Be careful with those terms! The encampments of US forces in the South are now being called “bases.” With a few missteps, that tricky term could just find itself into official communication and — boom! — ignite a full-blown controversy. [ Read More ]

ROAMING RAMBOS: The STAR front-page pictures yesterday of GIs in mufti waving high-powered rifles outside a bank in Zamboanga while their buddies transacted business has rubbed the scars of old wounds left by US servicemen of yore who had abused the hospitality of their Filipino hosts. [ Read More ]

TODAY IS THE DAY: Today is Judgment Day for Transportation Secretary Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, one of two Alvarezes in the Cabinet (the other one being Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez of Environment and Natural Resources) who are sailing through rough seas in the Commission on Appointments. [ Read More ]

HOUSE DIVIDED, DISTRACTED: We wonder why congressmen are allowing themselves to be distracted and divided by machine-gun impeachment complaints that cannot even hurdle procedural requirements. The House should rise against attempts to trivialize the constitutional process of impeachment. [ Read More ]

ROLE IN SOCIETY: We were in a sharing session with the Rotary Club of Pasay-MIA in its meeting last Tuesday at the Casino Filipino in Parañaque. From the invocation until the open forum, we immediately sensed a deep interest in how the press has been performing its avowed role in society. [ Read More ]

BELATED WHITE CHRISTMAS: Some Pinoys have lived all their adult lives in the San Francisco Bay Area without having experienced snow, except when they drive up to Reno in winter some four hours away through the Sierra Nevada. [ Read More ]

PINOYS IN FULL CONTROL: What more clarification does the whining opposition want before it clears away the cobwebs in its mind about the joint RP-US military exercise on Basilan? [ Read More ]

January 2002

ISANG BANSA, ISANG I.D.: It’s again the season for debating the question of adopting one national identification card system and stopping harassment of motorists at village gates. [ Read More ]

SOBRA NA! TAMA NA!: The debate over the coming of US forces has dragged on too long. There are no more new arguments being brought out. Meanwhile, the people are getting impatient for a final solution to the Abu Sayyaf problem. [ Read More ]

SENSE OF PROPORTION: What’s happening to us? While some of us are frothing in the mouth denouncing the United States for helping us in our fight against terrorism, not one word is being said against the cause of all this trouble — the Abu Sayyaf. [ Read More ]

SHOWDOWN FIZZLES: It turned out that Vice President Teofisto Guingona is not ready to lose his job as secretary of foreign affairs. Catching himself on time, he decided yesterday to keep the premier Cabinet post and, at least for the moment, stick it out with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

TYING LOOSE ENDS: Former President Fidel V. Ramos seems to have all the smart answers to whatever afflicts this benighted nation. Maybe he can tell us why the emergency powers given him to lick the power crisis during his term have not been able to forestall these recurring blackouts. [ Read More ]

JUST TELL THE TRUTH: Discordant notes keep emanating from the Palace on the involvement of US forces in our anti-terrorism campaign, because President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is not ready to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God. [ Read More ]

VIOLENCE BAD FOR NUR: The spate of fatal violence on Sulu involving followers of Moro leader Nur Misuari is providing the very arguments for not detaining him on that island and not holding in Jolo his trial for rebellion and other charges. [ Read More ]

CHARTER SHOWS THE WAY: In the heat of preparations for Jan. 19, the day one year ago when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president in place of Erap Estrada, it seems that most people have forgotten that this nation is governed by the Constitution. [ Read More ]

GMA TO FLIP-FLOP?: The acrobatic skills of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will soon be put to a test with the arrival of American troops geared to fight the Abu Sayyaf in the guise of advising Filipino soldiers looking for a pair of American hostages on Basilan. [ Read More ]

MISUARI WILL WALK: We don’t know if it’s just the overcast sky, but whatever is bugging us, we have this creeping feeling again that at the end of the long day, Moro leader Nur Misuari will just go scot-free. [ Read More ]

LOWER THRESHOLD?: There is pressure for Congress to lower from “above P4 million” to “above P500,000” the minimum transaction that banks are required to report under the newly enacted anti-money laundering law (RA 9160). [ Read More ]

WORK ABOVE THE DIN: How do we plain folk, or even plain presidents, survive all this stressful talk about coup plots, political destabilization, EDSA marches, political assassinations and a supposed difficult year ahead? [ Read More ]

WE came upon this discussion in the pinoycityusa website titled “The Religion of Blame” of unknown authorship, submitted by a certain L. Sibal. We’re sharing it, because it’s a timely piece to ponder at the start of a new year. Also, we happen to agree with much of what it says. [ Read More ]

THE WORD: Happy New Year to our readers, many of whom we have found to be supportive. We could not have gone this far without their lively rapport sustaining and guiding us. [ Read More ]

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