2003 Postscripts

December 2003

ONE-ON-ONE DUEL: Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former Sen. Raul Roco are first in the water among the heavyweights seeking the presidency. But they have created only ripples, not a big splash as their drumbeaters had wanted. [ Read More ]

FAMILY FEUD: The contest for the vice presidency appears headed for a blockbuster family feud of the giant ABS-CBN broadcast network, providing an interesting media side bar to the May 2004 presidential election. [ Read More ]

A CHILD’S DAY: Happy Christmas to all! Reserve the best of this blessed day for the children. Pamper them today. It’s their day.

Children who cannot have new dresses and shoes or loads of toys can still feel Christmas with a gift of true love, a warm presence, and the right attitude. [ Read More ]

CELLULOID HERO: It is difficult to swallow the claim that the box office popularity of actor Fernando Poe Jr. is enough to swamp President Arroyo and other rivals in the presidential election in May 2004. [ Read More ]

WHY HE’S RUNNING: The papers say evangelist Eddie C. Villanueva (ECV) of the Jesus is Lord movement is running for president, quoting him as saying that only God could make him change his mind. [ Read More ]

RELIVING THE PAST: If you have time this Christmas vacation, drop by Intramuros and allow yourself to be carried back in time to our historical past by the hour-long “Intramuros and Rizal Light and Sound Museum” presentation of the tourism office. [ Read More ]

DELIBERATE NEGLECT: We often wonder if the Commission on Elections is deliberately setting the stage for a failure of election and the civil strife that could erupt from it. [ Read More ]

VOTE PACQUIAO: If you have Internet connection, go to http://www.hbo.com/boxing/games and vote for our very own Manny Pacquiao to help him clinch the HBO Fighter of the Year award. [ Read More ]

ONION-SKINNED: The famous short temper of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo must have infected bureaucrats down the line. Some of them have become irritable and onion-skinned like the President. [ Read More ]

NO CHOICE: We have been waiting in vain for objectors to the execution of convicted kidnappers to propose an alternative way of meting out justice and deterring would-be kidnappers. [ Read More ]

YULE TRUCE: Just a suggestion. All politicians out there may want to agree to cease all political talk — and political combat — effective immediately, through the Yule season, until the feast of the Three Kings on January 4. [ Read More ]

MERALCO REPLIES: Here is the response of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to questions we raised regarding some items in its new electric bill that had eliminated the despised PPA (purchased power adjustment) by “unbundling” or breaking it down and simply renaming it.  [ Read More ]

JUST IGNORE FPJ: Malacanang may want to pull back the rabid attack dogs that it unleashed on actor Fernando Poe Jr. after he announced his presidential aspirations last Wednesday.  [ Read More ]

November 2003

HEAVEN-SENT: Some optimists may be willing to clutch the straw that perhaps the candidacy of Fernando Poe Jr. is heaven-sent.

The actor’s running for the highest post in the land could just be the answer to our prayer for someone to come along, not necessarily on a white horse, and jolt this country back to its senses. [ Read More ]

IT’S NOW OFFICIAL: Okay, all you GMA forces baying at Da King, pull back muna and give our friend Fernando Poe Jr. a little more time and room to recover his senses. Sport lang. It was his day yesterday. Give it to him. [ Read More ]

SHADOW PLAY: As a rule, actors do not write the script nor direct the action, much in the same way that broadcasters seldom research and write the news reports they read before the TV camera. [ Read More ]

DEGENERATION: An indication of how low we have sunk as a nation is the spectacle of the President of the Republic seeking out popular broadcaster Noli de Castro, a neophyte senator, to run with her in 2004 for vice president. [ Read More ]

CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE: If Malacanang and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) think harassed consumers have forgotten about the despised Purchased Power Adjustment (PPA), they are mistaken. [ Read More ]

FPJ TRADEMARK: Action star Fernando Poe Jr., alas, must be getting old.

Right after our own Manny Pacquiao mauled IBF featherweight king Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico to bloody submission in 11 rounds Sunday in San Antonio, Texas, President Arroyo butted in with a congratulatory message. [ Read More ]

COLLATERAL COSTS: As we crawl closer to the May 2004 elections, expect more violent marches disguised as People Power but actually organized to drive President Arroyo out of office before her term ends. [ Read More ]

WAIT FOR 2004: It is obvious that the objective of those unruly marches in Makati yesterday was to pressure President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to resign. (She won’t.) [ Read More ]

FROM THE TOP: The law is what the Supreme Court says it is.

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the initiating of a second impeachment complaint within one year against Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. is in violation of the Constitution. [ Read More ]

SUNDAY SHARING: If you have fast Internet connection, we strongly urge you to visit these two sites: www.theinterviewwithgod.com/popup3.html and www.pathways-to-peace.com. Excellent Sunday fare for the family! [ Read More ]

TAMA NA PO!: Many people feel their blood pressure soaring and some start vomiting when politicians talk of their working out “covenants” and “win-win” solutions to problems that they themselves had created. [ Read More ]

STRANGE BEHAVIOR: There’s something strange going on in the Commission on Elections. Or in the minds of Comelec chairman Ben Abalos and his fellow commissioners. [ Read More ]

MORAL CRISIS: We are faced not with a constitutional crisis but a moral crisis. The political leadership, and by extension the entire nation, is in a moral mess. [ Read More ]

October 2003

CIRCUS: For your mental exercise today, imagine the Chief Justice standing before the Senate, being grilled for final judgment by the likes of Ramon Revilla, Tessie Oreta, Robert Jaworski, Gringo Honasan, Loi Estrada, Ping Lacson, Noli de Castro, Sonny Osmena and the rest of the circus. [ Read More ]

POLITICAL TOOL: The ubiquitous cellular phone has emerged as a potent political tool in this age of blitzkrieg propaganda and lightning mass action presaging the onset of the election season. [ Read More ]

TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN: “Cherish things while you still have them, not when they are gone. One of the hardest things to deal with is regret. So, enjoy life habang hindi pa presidente si FPJ o si Noli![ Read More ]

TOLD YOU SO: As early as last June, a month after the Supreme Court voided the NAIA Terminal 3 contract awarded to Philippine International Air Terminals Co., we suggested some things the Arroyo administration could do about the graft-ridden project. [ Read More ]

TAMA NA PO!: Some House leaders still want to punish or even expel seven congressmen who walked out on US President George W. Bush as he started to deliver a speech before the joint session of Congress last Saturday. [ Read More ]

PUMPING ADRENALIN: The speech yesterday of US President George W. Bush before a joint session of Congress struck us somewhat like a papal message urbi et orbi (Latin for “for the city and for the world”) that the Holy Father delivered on some major feast days. [ Read More ]

ALL SO PINOY: The visit this Saturday of US President George W. Bush despite security difficulties shows how ridiculous are the advisories of such countries as Australia, New Zealand and Canada against traveling to the Philippines. [ Read More ]

NO MJ CHECKS: In his privilege speech yesterday, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson mentioned among other items a supposed donation covered by a check of Manila congressman Mark Jimenez to a foundation identified with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

PROXY WAR: We doubt if former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada will run for reelection in 2004 as he threatened to do after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared days ago her own candidacy. His knees won’t allow him. [ Read More ]

POLL TRAGEDY: The tragedy of the May 2004 presidential election is not that another actor or showbiz icon might come out winner, but that the exercise might lack the credibility that the winner will need to unite and lead the country. [ Read More ]

WHAT IS LYING?: Changing one’s mind is not necessarily lying. It cannot be that people who have had to change their minds — and that are all of us — are liars on that account alone. [ Read More ]

FALLING INTO PLACE: Last time we checked, which was yesterday, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was qualified to run for president in the May 2004 election. [ Read More ]

INSULT TO CONGRESS: We’re amused by a knot of opposition lawmakers wailing against US Secret Service men virtually taking over the Batasan to prepare it for the supposed address before a joint session of Congress by President George W. Bush later this month. [ Read More ]

September 2003

OCCUPATION: How would Americans feel seeing foreigners in combat gear manning checkpoints in their towns and cities, regulating or restricting their movements and occasionally shooting at them? [ Read More ]

YOU CARE ENOUGH?: If qualified but not yet registered under the system of continuing registration (under RA 8189), you have only until Oct. 31 to register to be able to vote in the make-or-break election in May 2004. [ Read More ]

DARK SECRETS: Our senators already know everything they need to know to polish the laws on campaign contributions, money-laundering, foreign bank accounts and extra-marital affairs. All they have to do is look at themselves and their seatmates. [ Read More ]

DUEL TO DEATH: Neither President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo nor Sen. Panfilo Lacson would win in their war of mutual destruction.

At the rate the Lacson and the Arroyo camps are dropping deadly bombs, they will end up destroying each other. None of their principals will come out unscathed. [ Read More ]

SCRAMBLE ON: The administration seems to be engrossed with counting and dividing the chicks even before the eggs are hatched in the case of the $683 million in recovered Marcos assets being held in escrow before delivery to the Philippine government. [ Read More ]

IGNORE OPPOSITION: It is not completely true that the refusal of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to declare this early her final plan for the 2004 election is the reason for the confusion around us. [ Read More ]

WHAT MUSIC?: Victoria Toh, secretary and accountant of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, should just ignore the prodding of an opposition senator for her to rush back home from Canada to confront her accuser and “face the music.” [ Read More ]

LEAVE THE LORD ALONE: Our poor Father, who art in heaven, must be having king-sized headaches.

While the Lord has to look after at least six billion souls packed on earth, He still has to listen to the importuning of Filipino politicians praying for… what else?… political advantage. [ Read More ]

TOO LEGALISTIC: Somebody should advise the Arroyo brothers — Jose Miguel (Mike) and Ignacio (Iggy) — that they cannot keep hiding behind the law or their lawyers forever. [ Read More ]

CATCHING THE EYE: Four persons — three senators and a lady lawyer — caught our attention in yesterday’s continuation of the Senate inquiry into the Jose Pidal secret bank accounts linked to alleged money laundering. [ Read More ]

TEKA MUNA: Before our senators troop back to the chamber tomorrow to resume their inquiry into private lives and private bank accounts, let us review a few basic facts. [ Read More ]

SELECTIVE AMNESIA: From where we sat, we saw the performance of office messenger Eugenio “Udong” Mahusay Jr. in the Senate hearing last Tuesday two notches better than that of his former lawyer-boss, First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo. [ Read More ]

CATCHING UP ON PING: Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson has been shown peddling falsehoods, flouting bank secrecy laws and abusing parliamentary immunity when he claimed in an accusatory speech at the Senate that First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo used the alias Jose Pidal to maintain secret accounts. [ Read More ]

August 2003

BARGAINING TIME: A Political Summit? Those of us reeling from political overdose object to that Grand Cabal. The convention will just bring together partisans hurting from the political combat that has been drawing blood from both sides. [ Read More ]

FILAMS’ QUERIES: Our last Postscript on the upcoming law on dual citizenship elicited questions on how such dual status may affect Filipinos who have been or will be naturalized as citizens of another country. [ Read More ]

CLARIFICATION NEEDED: Senate President Franklin Drilon announced yesterday with understandable pride that President Arroyo would sign into law not later than Friday the new dual citizenship bill. [ Read More ]

TO EACH HIS OWN: “Bahala na ang aking asawang magtanggol sa kanyang sarili.” It must have been difficult saying this about her husband Mike, but President Arroyo finally said it. [ Read More ]

PRIOR RESTRAINT: Malacanang has no business telling private media how to cover the news. That big to-do about laying down coverage guidelines is not only unnecessary, but is also a preposterous attempt at prior restraint. [ Read More ]

PATH OF PEACE: The 20th anniversary on Thursday of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino is the perfect backdrop for reminding the impatient among us, including mutinous soldiers, that reform is best achieved by peaceful and legal means. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — Not contented with its sprawling mall drawing the crowds at the San Fernando exit of the North Luzon Expressway, SM will build soon a P500-million shopping center near the Balibago gate of the Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles. [ Read More ]

BASIS IN LAW: There is a law, RA 7055 that took effect on July 13, 1991, supporting our contention that: [ Read More ]

NO CHOICE: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has no choice but to prosecute the soldiers and their civilian cohorts who participated in the July 27 attempted coup d’etat. [ Read More ]

FACE THE MUSIC: We’ve been told that former actress Laarni Enriquez will come out to face charges that she abetted the failed coup d’etat of last July 27 by allowing rebel soldiers to use her townhouse in Mandaluyong. [ Read More ]

TAKING AFTER LARA: (This is not an ad.) Go and see “Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” Note the high-tech gear that Lara Croft uses as she pursues all over the globe a syndicate obsessed with seizing the original Pandora’s Box and using it for an evil plan. [ Read More ]

WRONG TIMING: The arrest yesterday of Tribune publisher Ninez Cacho Olivarez on several counts of criminal libel would have been funny, were it not for the atrocious timing. [ Read More ]

PRESIDENTS’ QUOTES: With so many politicians and comedians talking at the same time, with different agenda in mind, the post-Oakwood picture is in danger of getting muddled and the successful response to the coup threat being trivialized. [ Read More ]

July 2003

WHY COUP FAILED: Let’s not kid ourselves. What happened last Sunday was a failed coup d’etat. We’re being kind to the military adventurers and the politicians manipulating them when we downgrade their operation to a mere mutiny. [ Read More ]

POSITIVE REPORT: For one buffeted by endless nitpicking and obstructionism, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo submitted yesterday to the nation what we think is a very positive report card on the past year of her administration. [ Read More ]

SONA TOMORROW: The State of the Nation Address of President Arroyo tomorrow will necessarily be a report of what she was able to do versus her announced goals and what she had accomplished compared to that of her predecessor. [ Read More ]

POOR KANABA?: When is a Filipino considered poor? What is the measure of personal wealth? Is wealth just in the mind, in the bank, in landholdings, or elsewhere? [ Read More ]

PUBLICITY DISASTER: The filming of one of several versions of the recent escape of Indonesian terrorist Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi and the film’s dissemination to global networks was a publicity disaster. [ Read More ]

WHO DID IT?: Will somebody please identify the officials responsible for the onerous 1982 Air Transport Agreement between the Philippines and the United States? We want to know who gave away Philippine air space and sealed the death of local airlines. [ Read More ]

MIRANT BANKRUPTCY: The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the US energy multinational Mirant Corp. last July 14 after failing to reach agreement with bondholders and banks to restructure its debt has sent shivers down the spine of the local Mirant and its creditors. [ Read More ]

FUND SHORTAGE: Bataan Rep. Enrique T. Garcia Jr., an accountant, has a simple yet effective way (we think) for government to raise or save much-needed revenue — something like P100 billion a year! — without having to impose new taxes. [ Read More ]

CONTROL IS KEY: He who controls the coconut levy fund controls the United Coconut Planters Bank. He who controls UCPB controls San Miguel Corp. and other businesses formed with the use of UCPB funds. [ Read More ]

DOUBLE STANDARD: Jaime Cardinal Sin was accused, again, of violating the separation of church and state when he made a remark interpreted by some quarters as encouraging a parishioner, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to run for president in 2004. [ Read More ]

AIRPORT NOTES: As most returning residents are wont to do, we noted a few things at the old Ninoy Aquino International Airport when we arrived Sunday night after a grueling 22-hour flight from Washington, DC, via Detroit and Nagoya (Japan). [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – What will make Gloria Macapagal Arroyo run for president in 2004? There is one simple answer to that: She will run for president only if she is convinced that there is a clear chance for her to win. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – The talk naturally focused on homeland news when we visited Tuesday the staff of Filipino Reporter, the oldest (at 31 years) and biggest circulated FilAm newspaper in the US eastern seaboard. [ Read More ]

NEW YORK – For those who did not lose a friend or relative in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers here on Sept. 11, 2001, Ground Zero at this time may not be as heart-rending as it was for those who were seared by it that fateful Tuesday. [ Read More ]

June 2003

WASHINGTON, DC – Our hosts in the exchange visitors program of the State department for senior editors and opinion writers in East Asia turned the tables on us foreign participants last Friday on the question of global terrorism. [ Read More ]

OKLAHOMA CITY – We’ve been touring the Midwest for a week already under a State department visitors program looking into the US response to terrorism. In a few days, we go back to Washington, DC, and then on to ground zero in New York. [ Read More ]

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – Clutching at straws, Filipinos laboring in the United States and those intending to try their luck in this supposed land of milk and honey may take heart at reports that more jobs are expected to start opening up late this year. [ Read More ]

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – Now the Bush administration is fanning supposed intelligence reports that Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein is most probably alive somewhere. [ Read More ]

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – America being a vast country with a 281-million population of diverse racial roots and political persuasions, there are bound to be varied perceptions among them of why and how the US campaign against terrorism is being waged.Seven Asian journalists participating in a project of the State department were exposed Monday to this diversity on the opening day in Washington, DC, of a two-week program titled “United States Engagement in the Post-September 11 World.” [ Read More ]

WASHINGTON, DC – We learned belatedly here that Press Undersecretary Milton Alingod has been upgraded to full-fledged Press Secretary in place of Hernani Braganza who was appointed political affairs adviser of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

WASHINGTON, DC, June 14 — The State Department program analyzing and explaining global US engagements after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks into the heartland of America starts here tomorrow with seven senior editors and opinion writers from East Asia participating. [ Read More ]

COMPROMISE NIXED: Six out of every 10 readers (62 percent) reacting to our proposed compromise to resolve the question over the Estrada presidency are against settlement. That is supposed to shoot down the idea, but we’re not giving up on it yet. [ Read More ]

TIME FOR COMPROMISE: Varied reactions greeted our compromise proposal (Postscript, 08June03) seeking to resolve through quiet negotiations the impasse over the controversial replacement of President Joseph Estrada by Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Jan. 20, 2001. [ Read More ]

MIDDLE ROAD: The road ahead is likely to remain dark and difficult if we continue to treat the Estrada question as a cataclysmic fight to the death of two opposing forces, if we demand total defeat for either Joseph Estrada or Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

FEAR NOT: Supreme Court justices need not worry about impeachment charges if indeed they hewed to the Constitution when they considered then President Joseph Estrada “permanently incapacitated” on Jan. 20, 2001, and went to EDSA to install his Vice President to replace him. [ Read More ]

LOGICAL LINE: Impeachment of several justices of the Supreme Court is an expected, because logical, twist in the continuing saga of Joseph “Erap” Estrada trying to regain the presidency that he lost in 2001 to then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ Read More ]

JUDICIAL CRISIS: Watch the Supreme Court closely to see how it will solve a looming judicial crisis on the legitimacy issue over Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s replacing Joseph Estrada as president on Jan. 20, 2001. [ Read More ]

May 2003

PREJUDGMENT: When Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and 12 other justices went to Edsa on Jan. 20, 2001, to install then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as president, they effectively disqualified themselves from hearing his cases before the court. [ Read More ]

SECOND ROUND: It’s anybody’s guess if former President Erap Estrada and his followers would vehemently insist, this time, that the Supreme Court review the legality of his ouster and correct what he says was gross injustice. [ Read More ]

NO ERAP JOKE: The latest motion of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada at the Sandiganbayan saying that the court has no jurisdiction over him (on plunder charges) because he is still the president is no laughing matter. [ Read More ]

ANOINTED ONE: It is becoming increasingly clear that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is the person to beat in the 2004 presidential election. [ Read More ]

WELCOME RESPITE: President Arroyo is on a delicate mission to the United States. In her talks with President George W. Bush and her projection to the American people, she stands for all of us. [ Read More ]

WHAT WAVE?: Checking records of the Philippine National Police yesterday, we confirmed our impression that there has not been any “wave of kidnapping” lately — contrary to the alarm raised by a group identified with a ranking police officer-turned-politician. [ Read More ]

JDV NOT INTERESTED: Our barber told us that he had heard Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. say over the radio that he was not running for Prime Minister under a parliamentary setup. [ Read More ]

AUDIT BEFORE TALKS: The government and the builder of Naia-3 (Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) are girding for out-of-court talks to resolve their differences. This is a shortcut that could lead to the early start of terminal operations. [ Read More ]

SENATORS BITING: If you think senators will be steadfast in blocking moves to convene Congress as a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) and propose constitutional amendments to take effect in May 2004, look at this bait being dangled before them. [ Read More ]

GOOD OR BAD NEWS?: Many people think the move to amend the Constitution and change our presidential system to a parliamentary setup will not prosper anyway, so they do not pay attention. [ Read More ]

GOV’T TAKEOVER: Malacanang moved yesterday nearer to taking over the nearly completed $600-million Terminal-3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after the Supreme Court declared the contract with Piatco (Philippine International Air Terminals Co.) null and void. [ Read More ]

MEDIA ALSO AFFLICTED: It has been said often enough that the election of officers of the National Press Club, supposed to be held today, is a microcosm of what ails the electoral system in this country. [ Read More ]

REALITY CHECK: Not that he is a babe in the woods of politics, but Chairman Bayani Fernando of the Metro Manila Development Authority has been dealt another reminder that an official must never be blind to the realities of high-stakes politics. [ Read More ]

April 2003

EMERGENCY EXISTS: Presidential spokesman Toting Bunye was just telling us the bare fact when he said “this is a national emergency” referring to the health authorities’ confirmation that the deadly SARS coronavirus is now loose in our midst. [ Read More ]

THE FIRST NO-EL?: Is the Commission on Elections helping, perhaps unwittingly, to lay the basis for NoEl (No Election), or at least to set the stage for a failure of election in 2004? [ Read More ]

DECORATIVE MASKS: How effective in screening the SARS virus are the face masks being sold in drug stores for P12.50 like they are the ultimate defense against the pneumonia-like scourge spreading worldwide? [ Read More ]

CATCHING CRUMBS: Optimism has its virtues. But aren’t we looking too forward announcing from the rooftops our desire to win some contracts for the post-war rehabilitation of Iraq? [ Read More ]

HAPPY Easter to all, especially to the faithful who held on to the promise that light will eventually dispel the darkness, that life will emerge triumphant over death, always. [ Read More ]

ELUSIVE NUANCES:We’ve been straining to catch the nuances of the confusing statements and moves of the Arroyo administration having to do with diplomatic relations with Iraq. [ Read More ]

GANITO ‘YAN: Some bully from the other side of town accuses your husband of hiding deadly weapons in the house. He comes over and bombs your family dwelling. Your son is killed and a daughter lies bleeding. Neighbors then loot whatever of value is left. [ Read More ]

TRILLIONS NEEDED: Figures coming out of a meeting of seven Nobel laureates and some 150 US economists place the administrative cost of the US-Iraq war at a minimum of $100 billion, and the cost of rebuilding Iraq at $2 trillion (2 followed by 12 ciphers). [ Read More ]

PLAY POSSUM, PLEASE: We wonder if Saddam Hussein realizes it, but the United States has just given him a convenient exit from a war he can never win. If he knows what’s good for him and the rest of mankind, he better grab it. [ Read More ]

BACK TO THE U.N.: With the fall of Iraq into American hands a foregone conclusion, attention is shifting back to the United Nations, which the US had bypassed in its haste to invade Iraq under the guise of removing its weapons of mass destruction. [ Read More ]

FOOLING US AGAIN: The media should just ignore this character Angelo Mawanay, who is reaping front page treatment for his zigzagging statements on the alleged involvement of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson in the mass rubout of robbery suspects and the laundering of drug money. [ Read More ]

GATHERING DARKNESS: A top-rated public utility analyst warns that we could find ourselves in another power crisis similar to, if not worse than, that one from 1991 to 1993 when we had daily brownouts lasting eight to 12 hours. [ Read More ]

BAD INTELLIGENCE: By this time, the US should have dumped the Iraqi exiles who gave exaggerated intelligence that their compatriots back home were just dying to see Americans liberating them from the clutches of Saddam Hussein. [ Read More ]

March 2003

LOSING THE WORLD: We wonder if President George W. Bush ever worried that he might win the war but lose the world.

The universal expectation is that the United States, with the United Kingdom embedded to it, will eventually capture Baghdad and get Iraq’s Saddam Hussein dead or alive. The deciding factor is the superiority of US weapons, nothing else. [ Read More ]

AUV PRICES TO RISE: We join Sen. Tessie Aquino Oreta in assailing as heavily biased for the rich the new tax plan of the Bureau of Internal Revenue on luxury cars and Asian Utility Vehicles. [ Read More ]

SADDAM ON TV: A composed Saddam Hussein addressed yesterday on TV his people and armed forces in an obvious attempt to boost their morale in the face of American invaders’ advance toward Baghdad. [ Read More ]

BUSH BLUE BOOK: That was sneaky — also an indication of his desperation — of George W. Bush to publish the list of the “coalition of the willing” supporters of his anti-Iraq campaign. On the list, almost like a secret mafia payroll, was the Philippines. [ Read More ]

DIVISIVE DEBATE: If we were mainstream Americans, we would rally — hours before the end of the 48-hour ultimatum for Saddam Hussein to give up — behind the US forces poised to invade and occupy Iraq. You don’t send the youth to fight your country’s war and then abandon them. [ Read More ]

BUSH ULTIMATUM TO U.N.: Not only Saddam Hussein has been given an ultimatum by George W. Bush. Even the UN Security Council faces an implied ultimatum by the American president — give the US in the next voting the go-signal to invade Iraq or the US will go it alone. [ Read More ]

TRY THESE: With utility rates going up, this harassed consumer has been brainstorming for ways to reduce the retail price of electricity. Join us as we toss around some ideas. Try these: [ Read More ]

BUSH ISOLATED: President George W. Bush is getting increasingly isolated as he insists on pushing an unpopular war against a sovereign state that has not committed any act of aggression against America. [ Read More ]

PRESUMED GUILTY: We’re getting dizzy watching this topsy-turvy world.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is being accused by the government of carrying out the March 4 bombing outside the Davao international airport that left 21 persons dead and more than a hundred wounded. [ Read More ]

USISEROS TIE UP TRAFFIC: It’s getting difficult driving through the North Luzon Expressway with the earnest start of work to widen, rehabilitate and modernize that main artery from Balintawak to Central Luzon. [ Read More ]

JUST DO IT!: Instead of wasting time blaming Central Bank authorities for Congress’ failure to pass needed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, our senators should just pass the amendments pronto and get it done with. [ Read More ]

PROTECTING RIGHTS: If we have nothing to hide, they tell us, we should not be alarmed at the demand of Paris-based Financial Actio n Task Force that any bank deposit of at least P500,000 can be examined without need for a court order. [ Read More ]

MINDANAO BACKYARD: It’s Sunday — and thoughts turn to making the world, especially our own backyard, safer.

A jittery world watches as the American war machine creeps closer to Iraq for a high-tech death blow. But to us, the more real concern is the spate of violence in Mindanao that has claimed numerous Filipino lives. [ Read More ]

February 2003

OPEN DOOR TO AID: Chronic lack of funds and managerial incompetence in the bureaucracy were the keys that opened the door for the US AID, oozing with millions of dollars, to come in and influence government policy on matters pertaining to American interests. [ Read More ]

TEST ON US-IRAQ WAR: Here’s something from the Internet that we think is relevant to our stance (either pro or con) on the imminent US invasion of Iraq. Do you know enough to form an informed opinion? Take this War on Iraq IQ Test and find out: [ Read More ]

SHADOW PLAY: If you’re confused or have grown cynical of the on-and-off “peace talks” in the Netherlands between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, the following item will help you understand what’s going on. [ Read More ]

$41-M LOBBY FUND: We take seriously the warning by senators and congressmen that a US-funded lobby has influenced shaping of government policy to the point that we invariably drift in the direction that the US wants. [ Read More ]

VOX POPULI: With millions turning out for peace marches around the globe, it should be clear by now to any reasonable man that humanity does not want another war, especially one waged with the flimsiest of reasons. [ Read More ]

TRANSCO BARGAIN SALE: With government scrounging around for funds, bargain-hunters can now buy National Transmission Co. (Transco), one of the companies spun off the giant National Power Corp., at just one-fourth of its original $2-billion asking price. [ Read More ]

TORTURE TRAIL: Here’s good news for fellow suffering motorists who have to risk their lives and wreck their cars, and pay for it!, on that torture trail called the North Luzon Expressway. [ Read More ]

NO CHOICE: We often wonder why we allow foreign entities to pressure us into doing things. In the case of anti-money laundering bills, however, we seem to have no choice considering the big stick poised by the Financial Action Task Force, a quasi-official global enforcer that monitors movement of suspected dirty money. [ Read More ]

CLOSING CHAPTERS: Before she steps down on June 30, 2004, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wants to see closure of two major controversies that have hounded a succession of four administrations. [ Read More ]

EMPTY PROMISE: It’s now dawning on overseas Filipinos that the Absentee Voting Bill pieced together by a hurrying bicameral committee may be so legally flawed that it could end up as an invalid vote of confidence for them. [ Read More ]

WILL BUSH SEE IT?: Many of us saw it as such, an omen, but would not dare be caught saying it in all seriousness. [ Read More ]

ARE THEY RESIDENTS?: The door has been slightly opened to an estimated seven million Filipinos abroad for them to vote starting May 2004. They could be the biggest swing vote in national elections, but problems may cut the voting turnout to less than half their number. [ Read More ]

January 2003

MIGHT IS RIGHT?: We are among the many helpless witnesses all over the globe who are not comfortable with the arguments being trotted out to justify the impending invasion of Iraq by US forces. [ Read More ]

MORE DEADLY PPA: We are still reeling from the blows of PPA (purchased power adjustment) that doubles our electricity bill, and now comes another deadly PPA (phenylaropanolamine), a dangerous substance in many popular medications that could cause fatal strokes. [ Read More ]

PRO-PEACE VIGIL: Mother Teresa said one time: “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” [ Read More ]

AFTER GMA, WHO?: Maybe we have not been going to the right places. But where we’ve been, the betting is that 2004 will be an exciting year for the opposition. [ Read More ]

BIGGER DISASTER: If they know what’s good for them and the country, administration officials should do something quick about the 10-percent Value Added Tax that movie stars are loudly complaining about. [ Read More ]

GMA FLIP-FLOPS?: “Gloria now for Cha-cha” screams the banner head of a major daily (not the STAR). The adverb “now” means or implies that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo used to be against Charter change but, for some reason, is now for it. [ Read More ]

NO PROOF OF BRIBERY: Despite their nose for scandal, Sen. John Osmena and his committee will not be able to prove that there was bribery in the award of the $450-million contract for the rehabilitation and operation of the 750-megawatt Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) hydroelectric plant in Laguna. [ Read More ]

SLOW DRAG ON ERAP: What’s wrong with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wanting to see the plunder case of her predecessor Erap Estrada decided by the Sandiganbayan before she steps down in June 2004? [ Read More ]

COMMUNICATION GAP: As Local Government Secretary Joey Lina correctly pointed out in a recent Cabinet meeting, the Arroyo administration suffers from a communication problem. [ Read More ]

WHERE’S THE LOOT?: To the lottery aficionados among our readers (who seem to be legion based on our feedback to our Lotto tips), we have more statistical data toward the end of this column for the SuperLotto draw tonight whose jackpot is expected to pass the P130-million mark. [ Read More ]

SHUFFLE, NOT REFORM: It has been a long week since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo announced that she was no longer running for president in the 2004 election and would just focus on governing well. [ Read More ]

FVR FOR 2004: Can former President Fidel V. Ramos (1992-1998) legally run for president again in the 2004 election? Most lawyers we’ve talked to said he is barred by the Constitution from doing that. We are inclined to believe them. [ Read More ]

DRASTIC & DRAMATIC: For weeks, we were nagging President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do something drastic and dramatic before the end of the year to arrest the undeserved drop in her popularity rating in the surveys. [ Read More ]

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