2005 Postscripts

December 2005

TEST FOR MERCY: Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who has pledged to be independent despite her closeness to the First Family, may want to check out information contributed by readers reacting to my POSTSCRIPT (Dec. 27) on “Bridges to Nowhere.” [ Read More ]

GOLDEN BRIDGES: Now we have another clue on how “bridges to nowhere” materialized in the countryside while some well-connected individuals were reportedly building golden bridges to the bank. [ Read More ]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!: In your noche buena, party, reunion, or whatever celebration or merrymaking you had last night, was there any mention of Jesus, whose birthday the entire world is supposed to be celebrating today? [ Read More ]

RIGHT CHOICE: As many observers of the judiciary expected, Associate Justice Artemio V. Panganiban was chosen Chief Justice of the Supreme Court this week. He took his oath yesterday. [ Read More ]

DISENFRANCHISED: Expect questions, or even howls of protest, from overseas Filipino voters on the proposals submitted by the Consultative Commission on changing the government setup to a unitary parliamentary system. [ Read More ]

ACCOMMODATION: The unicameral Parliament proposed by the Consultative Commission looks feasible, as it appears to have worked around objections to the basic plan to replace the existing bicameral Congress. [ Read More ]

TRANSISTOR PRESIDENT: For a while there, we thought retired Gen. Fortunato Abat was not showing up Tuesday night at the Club Filipino in San Juan to declare his own presidency and call on the uniformed service to stop taking commands from the Commander-in-Chief. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — President Gloria Arroyo will have her hands full refereeing an internecine conflict in her political mass base in Pampanga come 2007. [ Read More ]

ABSURD RULE: There is a campaign to have the successor of Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., who retires on Dec. 19, chosen or appointed on the basis of seniority. [ Read More ]

WORRIED ILONGGOS: Frantic friends from Iloilo City have sent me an SOS about their city being likely to be plunged into darkness or hit by scattered blackouts by Dec. 15 when the 72-megawatt diesel facility servicing the place shuts down. [ Read More ]

GAMES THAT BIND: Our politicians should be ashamed of themselves standing beside our athletes who have shown dedication, excellence and patriotism in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games that ended yesterday. [ Read More ]

HELLOW!: We and the 23rd Southeast Asian Games that the Philippines is hosting are in big trouble?

A disgruntled NBI officer is reportedly saying that Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has an audio recording of our President calling a key SEA Games official about fixing the medal scores to make sure the Philippines landed on top. [ Read More ]

GO TO COURT: The handlers of former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano themselves should hurry up and file criminal charges against him — if they want to limit the area of combat and improve their man’s chances of acquitting himself. [ Read More ]

November 2005

POSITIVE IMPACT: The peso’s appreciation and the resulting savings have emboldened President Gloria Arroyo to tell her financial managers to see if a few foreign loans could be partially paid before due date — to lessen the country’s debt burden. [ Read More ]

WAR ON 2 FRONTS: We are just a month away from Christmas, celebrating the nativity of the King of Peace.

Yet, this predominantly Christian country lies bleeding from the violence of secessionist and revolutionary wars raging in the countryside, in both north and south sections of the archipelago. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — It is so uncharacteristic of Mayor Jerry L. Pelayo of Candaba to be quiet about the bird flu threat that almost everybody is expecting to be wafted to these shores from the China mainland. [ Read More ]

MISPLACED MALLS: We plain folk have noticed it a long time ago, but until now the authorities have not. I am referring to the adverse impact of the proliferation of malls and other giant shopping centers in crowded areas along thoroughfares. [ Read More ]

ANOTHER MISHAP: Sorry if I have to revisit, on a Sunday at that, this black spot on EDSA that Metro Manila authorities stubbornly refuse to recognize as an accident-prone area crying for immediate remedial action. [ Read More ]

ARROGANCE: Almost everyday, I find myself being pushed aside by police-escorted idiots who bully their way through traffic-congested EDSA as if they own that vital circumferential artery of Metro Manila. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — Many people have asked me if President Gloria Arroyo has recovered her self-confidence with the rebound of the peso, the reduction of the pump price of gasoline, and other positive developments. [ Read More ]

BAD FORM: Whoever advised President Gloria Arroyo to hit media that hard right at a public gathering of the top honchos of the broadcast industry must be, I dare say, somebody who has never had a deep and abiding involvement in mainstream media. [ Read More ]

BOYCOTT FAILS: What ever happened to the idea broached by disgruntled motorists to boycott Shell and Caltex and buy fuel only from Petron or the small players to force the foreign oil giants losing sales to lower their prices and thereby foment a price war? [ Read More ]

DON’T BLAME VFA: Even assuming that the Zamboanguena visiting Subic last Nov. 1 was raped by one or several US servicemen, that case is not enough reason to abrogate the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, as some grandstanding politicians demand. [ Read More ]

CLEAR JURISDICTION: The alleged rape by five US servicemen of a Filipina at the Subic Freeport last Nov. 1 falls within the jurisdiction of Philippine courts, according to the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement signed in 1998. [ Read More ]

TIPCO ITEM: Followup to our Postscript last Tuesday about an irate landowner threatening to sue the mayor of Mabalacat, Pampanga, and the giant paper mill Trust International Paper Corp. (TIPCO) over the dumping of noxious wastes: [ Read More ]

MABALACAT, Pampanga — In the same way that Congress devotes one day during the week to local bills of hardly any national import, with the indulgence of readers, I take up today hometown issues that do not make it to the national dailies. [ Read More ]

October 2005

DISTORTION: Our last POSTSCRIPT on the press was kind of bitin (left hanging) as we had two veteran media practitioners forced to compress into a one-hour forum their wide-ranging thoughts on the media situation. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — Much of what we know, or think we know, about the public issues swirling around us is actually a mere accumulation of tidbits that we have been receiving from the mass media. [ Read More ]

GRACEFUL EXIT?: If I were Gloria Arroyo, I would do an Erap Estrada — go on leave from the presidency and inflict Vice President Noli de Castro on the mob clamoring for my vacating the unsteady throne. [ Read More ]

LAST FLING: Driving out today? Maybe you should, if only to escape even just for a day the insidious insanity of city driving and to soak in the verdant fields and the mountains in the horizon. [ Read More ]

‘TWAS CONGRESS: Do not blame the Supreme Court if the upcoming imposition of a 10-percent Value-Added Tax results in a price spiral and civil unrest. Blame Congress. [ Read More ]

PARALYSIS: The country is hardly moving forward. We see symptoms of creeping paralysis, with near-total collapse a possibility within two years. [ Read More ]

ANOTHER VICTIM: Our hypersensitive friends in the Metro Manila Development Authority will not like this for Sunday reading.

Another car was snagged the other night by those infamous Bayani Fernando concrete blocks at the U-turn near the North Avenue terminal of the Metro Rail Transit in Quezon City. It was right where I had a similar accident last June 11! [ Read More ]

BIAS SHOWING: The Arroyo administration’s bias against the poor is showing with its selective harassment of owners of used motor vehicles that had been converted to left-hand drive (LHD) before registration. [ Read More ]

DI NA KAYA?: It has been four years since Malacanang started whispering sweet nothings into the people’s ears about selling kuno to private investors the debt-ridden National Power Corp. so as to clear the slate and stabilize the retail cost of electricity. [ Read More ]

TANAUAN CITY — Two things should catch the attention of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, his protégé Michael Rey Aquino, and other Philippine officials, past or present, linked to the case of a Fil-American accused of espionage. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — In my POSTSCRIPT of Aug. 21, 2005, titled “When we see officials on bikes, we’ll follow,” I asked in the opening paragraph: “Who is the drummer to whose beat this nation is being asked to march backwards?” [ Read More ]

LIKELY ROUTE: It is highly probable that amendments to the Constitution will be by a Constituent Assembly — that is, with both chambers of Congress convening in joint session to propose amendments by a three-fourths vote of all its members. [ Read More ]

MAILED FIST: President Gloria Arroyo is known for her taray, but the fierce combative attitude she is suddenly showing in confronting those who challenge her presidency still surprises many of us — both supporters and detractors. [ Read More ]

September 2005

ANGELES CITY — The government will collect practically the same revenues from the 10-percent Value-Added Tax as from a straight 3-percent sales tax on the same goods and services. [ Read More ]

CALIBRATED RESPONSE: Protest marchers and their sympathizers in media are beating the war drums against what they denounce as virtual martial law with the police having been ordered to act more decisively against illegal and destructive demonstrations. [ Read More ]

SUICIDE?: What has possessed Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay that he seems bent on killing the goose that lays the golden eggs for the premier city entrusted to his care? [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — A civil society expert on the public debt warned here yesterday against unwarranted rising expectations with a proposal to convert about half of the country’s foreign debt into creditors’ equity in selected Philippine companies. [ Read More ]

ANGELO’S FALL: Remember Angelo dela Cruz, the truck driver whose kidnapping in Iraq led to the early pullout of a Philippine military-police contingent from that war-torn country in 2004 and soured the Arroyo administration’s relations with the White House? [ Read More ]

AM NOW FREE: It is true, as former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada has disclosed to the press, that he had shown me papers that might be linked later to a Federal Bureau of Investigation analyst accused of passing classified documents to some Filipino officials. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — Listening to a situation report of Petron Corp. on fuel prices and profitability, you might weep if you were one of the 200,000 small shareholders of this giant that controls 40 percent of the market. [ Read More ]

BAIL BID: Tanodbayan prosecutors need not break their arms opposing the release on bail of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, now detained on plunder charges in his resthouse in the wooded hills of Tanay. [ Read More ]

TAIPANIC BATTLE: The titanic tug-o-war for control of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia-3) is fast shaping up into a Battle of Taipans. The ground at the tarmac is already shaking. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — “What is truth?” Pilate asked Christ when the Nazarene was brought before him during the last stages of His Passion (John 18:37-38). The condemned Christ did not bother to reply. [ Read More ]

PAKIMKIM: I could not believe it, but it was happening all over again.

Archbishop Fernando Capalla, one of several bishops who allegedly received cash from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. ranging from P500,000 to P4 million, told the media last Saturday that he saw nothing wrong with accepting donations from gambling receipts if the money benefited the poor. [ Read More ]

HAVE VISA, WILL HELP: Malacanang is sending a 25-member team to the United States to help victims of Katrina, a category-5 hurricane with 225-kph winds and 30 feet wall of water that devastated Mississippi, Louisiana and New Orleans days ago. [ Read More ]

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. [ Read More ]

August 2005

TWIN MISSIONS: President Gloria Arroyo will ask her Saudi counterpart when she visits Riyadh Sept. 10-11 for two things about oil: that the Philippines be assured of continuous SUPPLY and that it be sold to us at a special PRICE. [ Read More ]

HEAVEN-SENT: In the same way that the crash-bombing of New York and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, fell on the lap of President George W. Bush when his popularity was dropping, the current oil crisis appears heaven-sent for President Gloria Arroyo whose approval rating has been languishing in the cellar. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — Since President Arroyo has set Sept. 15 as the deadline for burying the still warm corpse of the numbers game jueteng, you can be sure local executives are already looking for alternative sources of extra income. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — Since President Arroyo has set Sept. 15 as the deadline for burying the still warm corpse of the numbers game jueteng, you can be sure local executives are already looking for alternative sources of extra income. [ Read More ]

WHOSE IDEA IS IT?: Who is the drummer to whose beat this nation is being asked to march backwards?

The drumbeat is rising to a crescendo for us to leave our cars home, shun the jeepney and taxi, and instead take to the user-unfriendly streets on bicycles. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — Investors here are restive, with some of them threatening to relocate, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision stopping the sale of duty-free goods here to persons who are not from Clark or who do not enjoy tax-free privileges. Locators in this former US military base are asking the high court to reconsider its adverse decision handed down last July 29 on petition of several merchants outside Clark protesting the unfair competition, they said, posed by duty-free shops here.Many of the 330 or so locators are not selling any product but are in manufacturing, assembly or the services business. But they have been disturbed by the SC ruling for fear that even those not engaged in duty-free shop operations may be affected. [ Read More ]

TAPEWORM: Secretary Mike Defensor’s unreeling a tapeworm (our term for an expert on tapes and such) to gain the upper hand is not the last thing on the debate over the recording of alleged conversations on how to win elections. [ Read More ]

ANOTHER ONE!: The same concrete blocks obstructing the very spot on EDSA near SM City where my car crashed on them last June 11 snagged another victim the other night. The poor driver survived, but the front of his Honda City sedan was crumpled beyond repair. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY: Two mayors of this city of 270,000 — one an incumbent and the other a two-term former city executive — expressed confidence here yesterday that President Gloria Arroyo will finish her term despite the campaign to dislodge her. [ Read More ]

DEATH TRAPS: How many more motorists must get killed or maimed before the MMDA gods wake up to the fact that they have converted many Metro Manila thoroughfares into death traps? [ Read More ]

GMA ACTS ON JUETENG: I was about to say that if President Arroyo was telling the truth about her wanting to wipe out the scourge of the numbers game jueteng, she should be able to do it — but is not doing it. [ Read More ]

SHADOW PLAY: My Tuesday column on the media blitz, also referred to at times as the “charm offensive,” of a repackaged President Gloria Arroyo elicited from some readers comments that normally I would not allow to see print. [ Read More ]

DEEP SHIT: That President Gloria Arroyo is almost drowning in deep shit illustrates what we often say when asked about Public Relations (which, by the way, happens to be not my line). [ Read More ]

July 2005

GOOD NEWS: Here is good and bad news about prices with the advent of August tomorrow and the rest of the second semester.

First the good news. The Central Bank predicts lower inflation (meaning “stable” prices) in the months ahead mainly because of its expectation that the prices of food and other basic items will stay more or less where they are now. [ Read More ]

OPPOSITE POLES: The two protagonists in the Political Squabble that is threatening the very life of the nation are (1) President Gloria Arroyo and (2) the Political Opposition. Their respective followers are just bit players. [ Read More ]

SHORT & SWIFT: That was a short and swift SONA at the Batasan yesterday.

In some 23 minutes of straight talk interrupted by 33 intermittent applause, President Arroyo told the nation what everybody already knew: that the Philippines has attained enough momentum for an economic takeoff, but is weighed down by a flawed political system. [ Read More ]

HOW COME?: Lately, the surveys of some of the big research outfits have claimed to show that an overwhelming and growing number of Filipinos want Gloria Arroyo out of the presidency to get the country out of the crisis of confidence gripping it. [ Read More ]

UNFAIR TO CORY: All of us are free to give our opinion about President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s staying on or resigning the presidency. [ Read More ]

AGING WARHORSE: Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez is old. He should be sent to pasture, and there quietly wait for sunset, so he does not step anymore on krissy daisies. [ Read More ]

GOS’ CONTROL: It seems that the control of the Go family over the Equitable PCI Bank, the country’s third largest bank, is about to crumble based on recent developments. [ Read More ]

OPTIONS LEFT: President Arroyo has said time and again that she will not resign. But, assuming the unlikely event that the headstrong Chief Executive would oblige her detractors and resigns, what happens? [ Read More ]

SURE BET: The conventional wisdom is that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appears to have won the latest round in the fight for control of Malacanang. [ Read More ]

IS THIS FAIR?: The political opposition keeps attacking and obstructing the administration of President Arroyo to the point that she is unable to carry out in full her economic and reform agenda, resulting in problems growing to crisis proportions. [ Read More ]

TAMA NA MUNA: Just a thought from some of us weary citizens: Why don’t we use our limited time and resources to attending to our top priority concerns instead of frittering them on unproductive political warfare? [ Read More ]

SINS OF THE PAST: Is it not absurd, if not cruel, to blame one woman for practically all the ills besetting the country today?

Is it possible that President Arroyo by her lonesome had brought upon us the rise in fuel prices, the fall of the peso vis-à-vis the US dollar, the budget deficit, the run-away foreign debt, the growing unemployment and everything else that is wrong with this country? [ Read More ]

MEDIA LAPSES: As a member of media, I am alarmed by our own “lapses in judgment” as we report the fast-moving events carrying us like a raging river to an uncertain fate beyond the bend heaving in the distance. [ Read More ]

June 2005

FIRST STONE: This text came in yesterday:

Let him who is without sin cast the first judging stone upon a repentant president. [ Read More ]

MEA CULPA: President Arroyo finally broke her silence last night on her wiretapped phone conversations regarding the last presidential elections. [ Read More ]

HANGING DRY: If President Arroyo does not want to say yet whether it was her or not in the famous wiretapped phone conversation, she should at least tell us what she wants this nation hanging on the ledge to do. [ Read More ]

WHICH ONE IS IT?: It would be foolhardy for House committees conducting joint hearings to rush into listening, and thereby giving currency, to just any recording of alleged phone conversations on the conduct of the last presidential elections. [ Read More ]

FATIGUE: I have grown tired of the noise swirling in the polluted air about wiretapped conversations, congressional inquiries, threats of sedition charges, calls for President Arroyo to resign and her stout retort that she won’t, et cetera…. [ Read More ]

RELAX LANG: It’s a Sunday. And you need peace and quiet.

Keep away from the news media. Forget about mobs supposedly massing in the streets, ageing generals plotting coups, the nation preparing to bring down its President, foreign investors rushing for the airport, and the nation going to pieces. [ Read More ]

VULTURES: As the nation lays bleeding, watch the vultures — meaning the politicians and the power brokers — hovering over the macabre scene for the opportune time to swoop down for easy pickings. [ Read More ]

JUST A BEARER: As expected, some superficial readers thought I was endorsing in my last POSTSCRIPT Joseph “Erap” Estrada as transition president in the event President Arroyo blunders into quitting her post in the midst of turmoil. [ Read More ]

TURN YOUR LIGHTS ON: For a timely wake-up call, let us have for our Sunday reading this deathless story of a diver:

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often. [ Read More ]

BIGGER NEW BOX: The claim of Edgar Ruado, former political officer of President Arroyo in the last May elections, that he could be the “Gary” talking with the President in tapped conversations will not clear up the confusion. [ Read More ]

FEEDING FRENZY: It seems to me that the critics of Consul General Cecille Rebong who are taking her to task for residing in a $10,000-a-month apartment in New York are barking up the wrong tree. [ Read More ]

MIDDLE GROUND: Sen. Ralph Recto has broached a middle ground between those who want to continue and those who want to stop construction of a resort complex on Boracay island for military personnel. [ Read More ]

FISCAL CRISIS: The total — okay, near-total — disappearance of the multibillion-peso game of jueteng with a wave of the presidential wand is an artificial situation. Like all deviations from the normal, it has created some tension. [ Read More ]

May 2005

LOVE OF MONEY: Why are some powerful officials going out of their way to kill the legitimate competitors of indentors, assemblers and distributors of brand-new motor vehicles? What drives them? [ Read More ]

NOTA BENE: Before readers get the impression from front-page photos of newsmen firing away at silhouettes that we in media are busy arming and training to shoot it out with our tormentors, it should be pointed out that: [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD, May 25 — Dignitaries and officials, including President Arroyo as guest speaker, have gathered here for the investiture today of Dr. Emmanuel Y. Angeles as the first chancellor of the Angeles University Foundation in Pampanga. [ Read More ]

RAMBO-TYPE: I am for responsible and trained citizens being allowed to possess licensed weapons for self-defense and sports shooting. [ Read More ]

PESKY FLIES: Not just journalists are being swatted down like pesky flies.

We see hired assassins also targeting mayors, judges, businessmen, priests and others who dare to act or speak against injustice, corruption and the arrogant display of power. [ Read More ]

GENERAL TRIAS, Cavite — Malacañang is set to launch today a P5-million “Press Freedom Fund” to help finance operations in catching and prosecuting killers of journalists. [ Read More ]

BACK TO VEGAS: When First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo insisted that the most expensive suite or accommodation at the MGM Grand where he stayed in Las Vegas last March was $6,000, was he telling the truth? [ Read More ]

PALACE UNMOVED: Still another Filipino journalist was murdered Tuesday — the fifth victim this year, the 23rd since President Arroyo became president in 2001, and the 68th since democracy was restored in 1986. [ Read More ]

MORE THREATS: Not content with having murdered so far four journalists this year, 13 last year, seven in 2003, and 67 since democracy was restored in 1986, enemies of freedom continue to intimidate and inflict violence on the working press. [ Read More ]

MAN VS MACHINE: Having developed bloated giga-egos, some computers have started to think they are smarter than their human users. [ Read More ]

ANOTHER HIT!: Just hours after Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye dismissed as “exaggerated and malicious” reports tagging the Philippines as the “most murderous” country for journalists, three gunmen attacked Klein Cantoneros of DXAA radio in Dipolog City at the close of the worldwide commemoration of Press Freedom Day. [ Read More ]

BAN SOUGHT: President Arroyo wants Congress to pass a law banning the importation of second-hand or used cars to protect, she said, the local automotive industry from unfair competition. [ Read More ]

HUMPTY DUMPTY: The predicament of First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo is a classic example of an image so damaged Humpty Dumpty-like that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put him together again. [ Read More ]

April 2005

LONG WAIT: Since Congress is dealing mainly with numbers (pesos) in fashioning a comprehensive tax program, including an expanded Value-Added Tax, the legislative task should not be that difficult. [ Read More ]

JUETENG FLOURISHING: Logic alone can lend credence to persistent reports that tong from jueteng, the illegal numbers game flourishing under the Arroyo administration, continues to be delivered to some top officials. [ Read More ]

THE BITTER PILL: Our leaders are misleading us with their exhortation that the Value-Added Tax bill is the answer to the country’s financial woes, implying that our problems will be solved once the VAT bill is passed. [ Read More ]

DELIBERATELY WRONG: As expected, a number of readers emailed us to point out my erroneous computation (POSTSCRIPT, 19 April 2005) of the Value-Added Tax due on goods and services. [ Read More ]

DECEPTION: Some tax expert should expose Big Deceptions that have been blurring the public view of the nature, intent and effects of the expanded Value-Added Tax bill being pushed in Congress. [ Read More ]

NOT TAX-FREE: The Clark Development Corp. and the SM Prime Holdings Inc. belied yesterday claims of some Pampanga businessmen that the opening of another SM shopping mall on Clark Field poses unfair competition and promotes smuggling in the former American base. [ Read More ]

SM AT CLARK: The SM Group of Henry Sy has been allowed to build a giant shopping mall (see POSTSCRIPT 17Aug2003) near the Balibago gate of Clark Field in Angeles City. It will be just 15 minutes away from the other SM center near the San Fernando exit of the North Luzon Expressway. [ Read More ]

GOV’T ASLEEP?: Despite all the reports the past few years about failing pre-need companies and bouncing checks, in spite of all we know about an impending pre-need disaster, we do not see any determined government effort to address the situation. [ Read More ]

ENROLLMENT CRISIS: Three years ago, the government removed the cap on tuition increases and allowed schools to raise fees to as high as they thought they could gouge from parents and students. [ Read More ]

IDIOT IN A HURRY: We will start believing in the promise of the Arroyo administration to treat everybody fairly and to move this nation forward only when our streets are made even playing fields. [ Read More ]

MAYBE IT IS: Listening to some high officials talk about the ongoing International Parliamentary Union assembly, one gets the impression that the gathering in Manila of the world’s legislative giants is mainly a tourism event. [ Read More ]

AT HEAVEN’S DOOR: Pardon my saying this on a Sunday and about the Holy Father, but instead of praying that a suffering John Paul II continue to live attached to ugly life-support tubes, we should pray for his serene and dignified passage to the afterlife. [ Read More ]

March 2005

TO LIVE OR DIE: Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman from Florida who lies dying in a hospice after a court ordered her feeding tubes pulled out 13 days ago could be dead by the time you read this. [ Read More ]

HELLO: Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. [ Read More ]

WALANG-HIYA!: A “shame campaign” is being suggested by the Hong Kong expert advising the government on how to fight corruption. [ Read More ]

NOW YOU KNOW: How come Manny Pacquiao lost to Erik Morales of Mexico in their 12-rounder in Las Vegas last Sunday?

Our friend Jim said the slugger from General Santos was distracted by several Pinoy congressmen wildly rising from their expensive seats near the ring and shouting “Money! Money! Money!” [ Read More ]

WIT & CLASS: A Filipino walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. He tells the loan officer that he is going to the Philippines on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. [ Read More ]

RESBAK TIME: It seems that Smart Communications, the biggest (59 percent of the market) cellular phone company in town, is trying to give the newest kid on the block a dose of its own medicine. [ Read More ]

VISA TO GO HOME: Reading the news about expelled Filipino workers being processed for Malaysian visas and work permits to enable them to return to Sabah where they have resided, one wonders if we know fully well what we are doing. [ Read More ]

FOCUS ON WOMEN: In case the menfolk have not noticed, March is National Women’s Month. This will explain the flurry of activities honoring women and showing appreciation for what they have been doing for the rest of us. [ Read More ]

LINE OF DEFENSE: The Senate is emerging as the people’s last line of defense against an onrushing government train loaded with tax bomb bills wired to raised some P80 billion to pay for the management sins of inept and corrupt officials. [ Read More ]

VANISHING CREDIT: Finally, a senator is questioning the legality and fairness of cellphone companies’ forfeiting the balance of pre-paid phone card values that are not used within a restrictive short time. [ Read More ]

IT’S A DUTY: To President Arroyo, to fight back to uphold the majesty of the law in Southern Philippines is not a choice. It is a duty. [ Read More ]

TOUR LEADER: Ambassador Albert F. del Rosario, our envoy to Washington, has hit upon this brilliant idea of gathering a large tour group of mostly Filipino Americans and personally leading the instant VIPs when they visit the home country this July. [ Read More ]

PASSED-ON BURDEN: Value-Added Tax is a pass-on consumption tax that grows as taxable goods and services move on in the distribution chain — finally ending on the lap of the end-users. [ Read More ]

February 2005

ITIGIL NA YAN!: There is a move in the Commission on Elections to salvage its illegal purchase of 1,973 Automated Counting Machines in 2003 by using the idle equipment in the coming elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. [ Read More ]

CONSUMER HIT: In my POSTSCRIPT last Tuesday (Feb. 22), I asked why the government is not explaining to the people this killer tsunami called expanded Value-Added Tax that is about to hit them. [ Read More ]

IGNORANCE NOT BLISS: It is amazing how too few Filipino taxpayers know what Value-Added Tax is. Imagine government asking the people to pay a tax it does not even bother to explain! [ Read More ]

CHED BIASED?: With the rising worldwide demand for nurses and other professional health workers for the next 10 to 20 years, one would think we would be expanding and upgrading our nursing education. [ Read More ]

MONOPOLY OGRE: I am not a Sun Cellular phone subscriber, but I welcome this small company’s offering cheap, unlimited 24/7 text and call service among users of its system. [ Read More ]

CONSERVATION: Right after President Arroyo ordered a total log ban in reaction to the calamitous floods and mudslides in the Aurora-Quezon area ravaged by typhoons last December, POSTSCRIPT came out against a total ban. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — President Arroyo adopted yesterday my suggestion that part of the toll being collected from motorists using the North Luzon Expressway be set aside for widening and upgrading the alternate MacArthur Highway. [ Read More ]

BALANCING ACT: Comes now Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye assuring all and sundry: “The human rights victims will get their fair share, but it must be emphasized that the bulk of the proceeds will go to the land reform program.” [ Read More ]

JUDGE DRILON: There seems to be some confusion in the higher echelons of government as to the functions of certain offices and officials. [ Read More ]

GUT ECONOMY: The phenomenon is determined by the point of view taken, and in this sense, it is relative.

The economy is not necessarily what official statistics say it is. Not in this country, anyway. It is what every Filipino feels in his gut. It is what he eats off the table, not what he reads in government press releases. [ Read More ]

WHERE’S GOV’T?: Who is protecting the hundreds of thousands of parents who bought pre-need plans to assure their children of college education — only to discover upon enrollment that the money they were banking on was not available? [ Read More ]

AND DA WINNER IS…: They are still counting the ballots, but whatever vote was cast by Iraqis in their historic national elections last Sunday, the winner was/is/will be US President George W. Bush. [ Read More ]

January 2005

NATURE TRIPPING: Want to go on a weekend nature trip today but have run out of destinations close enough to Manila? Try bird watching in the marshes of Candaba and renew your love affair with Nature. [ Read More ]

SPYING GAME: Our excitable senators are agog over reports that there are American spies in our midst.

What else is new? We should be surprised if the opposite were true — that there are none. It is part of a government’s routine to find out what is going on in other countries, including friends and allies. [ Read More ]

FIRST TEAM: The stage is set for President Arroyo to present with flourish a topnotch economic team that would ignite the imagination of the international and the domestic financial markets of a finally rebounding Philippines. [ Read More ]

WIPED OUT: “The dearth in capable and effective political leaders being felt today is due to the fact that a whole generation of dynamic and proactive leaders was wiped out from the public sector when the Marcos dictatorship wielded absolute power for nearly two decades.” [ Read More ]

BUILDING BRIDGES: Without having to pay for them right away, the government can rapidly build first class steel bridges in calamity areas in Aurora, Quezon, Nueva Ecija and Bicol under an ongoing program supported by Austria. [ Read More ]

HIKED VAT COMING: Congress appears to agree with Malacanang that the franchise tax, based on a percentage of the gross sales of telecommunications firms, is a bad revenue idea. Is it? [ Read More ]

SIGE KAYO!: Hey, you guys better start being nice to our President!

It suddenly occurred to me, if the heckling and the obstructionism keep up, she might just resign in exasperation — and that would be for us a fate worse than five more years of Gloria and Mike Arroyo. [ Read More ]

THE PRESS UNBOWED: Unless we are privy to the details of the torching the other day of an ABS-CBN outside broadcast van in Mandaluyong, it would be irresponsible for us to advance any theory on who did it and why. [ Read More ]

I TOLD YOU SO: In our POSTSCRIPT of Dec. 7 on the deluge that devastated a wide area in Luzon, we said: If you have anything important to say about flash floods and logging, legal or illegal, better say it aloud now. [ Read More ]

WHO/WHAT SAVED US?: Pls pardon a little irreverence on a Sunday.

Government leaders see to it that they pray publicly and invoke God now and then, kahit kunwari lang, and thereby appear to be in synch with the mostly Christian population. [ Read More ]

STICKY FINGERS: If Terminal-3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia-3) were the property of the family of President Arroyo, we would not care how their lawyers handled the dispute involving that strategic structure. [ Read More ]

NO PLANNING: One thing most government officials have never learned to do is to think ahead. And act ahead.

One case in point: The whole world knew well in advance that the toll rates would go up at the South and the North Luzon Expressways, on Jan. 1 in the SLEx and soon after in the NLEx. [ Read More ]

BROTHERS’ ROW: Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. [ Read More ]

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