2008 Postscripts

December 2008

A WHAT?: All businesses and households in Metro Manila, home to some 12 million residents spread over 620 square kilometers, pay a hefty “sewer” charge with their water bill, but most of them are not even aware of it. [ Read More ]

CHARITY: May this season of grace touch our hearts to overcome pride and prejudice.

Cory Aquino felt remorseful enough to say sorry for what she saw in hindsight as a mistake — for her to have participated in the EDSA-II mass action that removed Joseph “Erap” Estrada from the presidency in 2001. [ Read More ]

(The Wall Street Journal first published this editorial in its Christmas issue in 1948. It has been republished every year since then. The message is as relevant today as it was when written six decades ago. Hence, our sharing it with Postscript readers on this Holy Birthday of the Lord of Truth.) [ Read More ]

ONE-PESO CUT: With hordes of Metro Manila residents packing buses ferrying them to the provinces for the long holiday, many passengers are protesting the continued refusal of the government to order reasonable reductions in provincial fares. [ Read More ]

INFALLIBILITY: Today is Sunday, a rather good day — maybe an excuse — for delving into religious issues.

Taking on Catholic bishops last Friday, Speaker Prospero Nograles pointed out that the prelates were not infallible when talking politics. [ Read More ]

CLARO Y RECTO: If memory serves — in the Sixties, a wealthy lady (meaning female) senator defending herself against corruption charges declared on the floor of the Senate that “Millionaires don’t steal!” [ Read More ]

GUTTER LANGUAGE: A columnist I used to work with (not with PhilSTAR) habitually cursed in his opinion pieces. He must have been trying to appear macho or to add color to the plain prose he had learned in his police reporting days. [ Read More ]

BE SAFE: A holiday reminder to those who do a lot of highway driving:

Don’t drive faster than your Guardian Angel can fly.

Do you believe in Guardian Angels? I do. As firmly as I believe that there is hope in tomorrow, that we can find peace if only we prayed and searched hard enough for it. [ Read More ]

SHUTDOWN: Malacañang should act on the impending shutdown of the 230-kilovolt (kv) Sucat-Araneta-Balintawak power line because its disconnection affects millions of residents in and around Metro Manila. [ Read More ]

SCRAP: Swept by the euphoria that engulfed Filipinos everywhere after Manny Pacquiao beat into scrap metal the once golden boy Oscar de la Hoya last Sunday, I had wanted to write about this “Mismatch of the Century” (the clever banner of PhilSTAR). [ Read More ]

LOPSIDED: It is not the final solution, but the suggestion of former senator Ernesto Herrera to stop issuing permits to the Big 3 oil companies to open more retail stations could help loosen their 85-percent control of the market for petroleum products. [ Read More ]

DEP-ED BARGAIN: Good news for public school teachers! Pass a simple on-line examination and you may qualify to buy your favorite laptop for half the price and pre-loaded with a Microsoft Vista Home Basic software installed for only $7 or P345. [ Read More ]

OPPORTUNITY: It may sound opportunistic, even ghoulish to some, but I wonder aloud what the government is doing to have poor Philippines cash in on the violent turn of events in India and Thailand. [ Read More ]

November 2009

ILLEGAL MEANS: It is tragic how some bishops are advocating extralegal (meaning illegal) means to pursue some controversial political agenda. [ Read More ]

THAI UNREST: Local oppositionist and radical elements, long idled by people’s refusal to join street protests, might just find inspiration in the mass violence in Bangkok that has stymied government, shut down airports, and dampened tourism and investments. [ Read More ]

EGO TRIP?: Instead of jetting all the way to Peru to read speeches and chat with officials of other countries, President Gloria Arroyo may want to stay home with her people, step up measures to improve their lot, and consolidate domestic gains. [ Read More ]

UNFORESEEN: That episode at 35,000 feet above the Pacific that required the presidential flight to be diverted so First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo could be flown to the nearest hospital, which happened to be in Osaka, is a reminder that he should slow down. [ Read More ]

GO TO LOBOC: Will somebody please check if we are still on the world map?

Reuters reported yesterday that scientists saw for the first time in more than eight decades a pygmy tarsier on a misty mountaintop on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The tarsier is one of the planet’s smallest and rarest primates. [ Read More ]

DOOMED: A month ago, on Oct. 21, Postscript said that the move to recall Pampanga Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio was DOOMED. We listed several reasons, including lack of funds. [ Read More ]

SCAPEGOAT: The Philippine National Police should erect a hollow monument of retired police comptroller Eliseo Dela Paz for absorbing the blame for the unusual release of P6.9 million in intelligence funds for generals attending a convention in Russia. [ Read More ]

PREJUDGED: Most everybody has prejudged the case of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante. That is the problem with the Senate inquiry into the reported diversion of some P700 million in fertilizer funds during the 2004 election campaign. [ Read More ]

PETS DYING: Since last year, some friends have had pet dogs and cats stricken with, according to the veterinarian, kidney and related ailments. To their grief, some of the pets died. [ Read More ]

KEEP BLOTTER OPEN: Suddenly curtailing media access to the police blotter where complaints and concerns of citizens are entered is ill advised. Director General Jesus Verzosa, national police chief, should keep that document accessible round the clock. [ Read More ]

OREMUS: May God now reach down to guide — and protect — Barack Obama.

The good Lord has chosen this black man for a most difficult, and hazardous, job. May Obama endure and succeed, not only for his fellow Americans but also for all peoples of the world. [ Read More ]

BARGAIN SALE: The Government Service Insurance System bought 300,963,189 shares in the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) early this year at P80.91 each and sold them last Oct. 28 to San Miguel Corp. at P90 each, payable in three years without interest. [ Read More ]

LOVING THE LIVING: The gathering of family members and relatives at the cemeteries and memorial parks yesterday was not only an occasion for remembering the dearly Departed. [ Read More ]

October 2008

FORUM: As we searched for materials to help readers understand and react constructively to the global financial crisis, we came upon an article of Felicito C. Payumo, a three-term congressman of Bataan and former chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. [ Read More ]

GREED: At the recent 7th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM-7) in Beijing, President Gloria Arroyo called on the developed economies (G7) to also consider the interests of the emerging economies in tapping out the raging global credit conflagration.In other words, she was asking the rich countries to help or to consider the interests of the poor countries as they formulate solutions to the financial crisis.As it is, the solutions — such as the bailout of giant distressed institutions — are actually designed by the masters of global finance to extricate themselves from the mess they themselves had created out of greed. [ Read More ]

ILL-ADVISED: Retired police general Eliseo dela Paz is painting himself into a corner, isolating and hurting himself, by allowing lawyers to decide how he should face inquiries into the 105,000 euros found in his bag at a Russian airport. [ Read More ]

GRIN, BEAR IT: I have been looking for a short and simple exposition that can explain to housewives the financial crisis that started on Wall Street in New York and spread to Main Street everywhere like a plague bringing down everybody touched by the dollar virus. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — My unsolicited advice to theorists pontificating from their ivory towers at Loyola Heights and Makati is to minimize meddling in Pampanga politics and to spend time first immersing themselves in the local milieu. [ Read More ]

CONGRATULATIONS to Eastern Samar! Its governor, veteran media man Ben P. Evardone, has just been named presidential adviser on Local Government Units and public policies. Good choice! [ Read More ]

NO SUCH RIGHT?: My eyes have grown bleary reading and rereading the Bill of Rights (Article III of the Constitution). But I cannot find any so-called “Right to Reply” for persons cited in newspapers and other mass media. [ Read More ]

JUDGMENT DAY: As many people had feared would happen sooner or later, several giant billboards along EDSA fell yesterday during a downpour, injuring four persons and snarling traffic. [ Read More ]

NO JAIL TERM: Some quarters want to “decriminalize” libel. This means dropping the imprisonment aspect of penalties for those convicted of libel and limiting liabilities to payment of civil damages. [ Read More ]

TRANSPARENCY: A secretive Government Service Insurance System is evading valid questions on its foreign placements.

Why did the $600 million invested abroad by GSIS grow only by five percent when the fund’s earning alone from the improvement of the peso’s value against the US dollar is already almost 12 percent? [ Read More ]

TWO BIRDS: With or without Malacanang having to declare it, most Filipinos know in their guts that we are indeed into hard times and that the immediate future is not about to brighten up. [ Read More ]

UNFAIR, ABSURD: Simple arithmetic will show that the Local Government Code as amended by RA 9244 providing for new modes of recalling local elective officials is illogical, unfair, absurd, unjust, and possibly unconstitutional. [ Read More ]

OBSTINACY: The Government Service Insurance System cannot hide behind any law, policy or plain obstinacy in refusing to disclose where it has invested contributions, reportedly running into billions, of its 1.4 million members. [ Read More ]

September 2008

POLICE BEAT: News reporters sent to cover Congress these days end up reporting not on vital legislation but on police investigations.

In the Senate, some minority members spend valuable time drawing circles around the imagined criminal intent of their fellow lawmakers instead of presuming good faith and crafting legislation pertaining to public works and essential services. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — When the imperious Gen. Douglas MacArthur still walked these parts, he gave orders that all Balugas (Aetas to textbook worms) be given free access to this then American air base, and more.Access meant that nobody, neither the military police nor civilian guards, messed with the short, black, kinky-haired negritos. They walked in and out of the installation like they owned the place.The Balugas never needed that gate pass required of outsiders to enter the tightly-secured base of the US 13th Air Force. Their distinctive look, often accented by a g-string and some beads, was all they needed to identify themselves. [ Read More ]

THE OTHER SIDE: Atty. Pitero M. Reig of the Tolentino Corvera Macasaet & Reig law firm based in Muntinlupa City sent this letter to our Editor-in-Chief in reaction to my Postscript column of Sept. 18, 2008: [ Read More ]

DIVINE RIGHTS?: In a recent interview with John Susi of CLTV36, provincial administrator Vivian Dabu of Pampanga, the butt of complaints of cabalens dissatisfied with how the capitolio is managed, said that only God can make her leave her post! [ Read More ]

ERRATUM: In our last Postscript, the corporate name of the publicly-listed Philcomsat Holdings Corp. came out Philippine Holdings Corp. My mistake. [ Read More ]

SMALL VOICE: The lawyer of a businessman who had sued some journalists, including me, over our stories on the looting of the publicly listed Philcomsat Holdings Corp. said in a letter to my Editor that my comments on PHC were malicious and baseless. [ Read More ]

TWIN OUTLAYS: Sen. Ping Lacson was shooting from the hip when he rode into town screaming about “double appropriations” for a “Road to Nowhere” after seeing two similar entries in the budget pertaining to a C-5 public works project. [ Read More ]

KEY SHIFT: Malacañang does not say so explicitly, but it appears to have recast radically its Muslim Mindanao policy both on the ground and at the negotiating table. [ Read More ]

STINKING STABLES: I was not surprised that Court of Appeals Justice Vicente Q. Roxas was sacked by the Supreme Court after having figured in a scandalous show of undue interest in a high-profile case that has tainted the entire judiciary. [ Read More ]

HULI MAN DIN: Let us hope it is not yet too late to correct the blunders of some officials who, by ignorance or stupidity, have done, said, or signed something that have weakened the Philippine claim on Sabah (North Borneo). [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD – If denizens of the ivory towers of the Ateneo and the board rooms of the Ayala district want to foil the recall of Pampanga Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, maybe they should just keep their distance. [ Read More ]

MODERN?: From Polk Street, comes now former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada debunking a claim of former President Fidel V. Ramos in Postscript that he left with Mr. Estrada (his successor) P5.484 billion for the “modernization” of the armed forces. [ Read More ]

DEATHBLOW: So that’s it. It looks final – and fatal.

President Gloria Arroyo has dealt the final deathblow on the Bangsamoro peace process. And bahala na if there is still life after death. [ Read More ]

August 2008

IMMORAL LESSON: Nagkakalat na naman ang Malakanyang!

In its latest fumble as it distances itself from a flawed agreement with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Palace is now saying that its peace negotiators did not carry full authority to bind the government. [ Read More ]

CORNERED?: The military has announced that four battalions with air support have cornered rebel Commander Ameril Umbra Kato and his MILF fighters in the outskirts of Datu Piang in Maguindanao. [ Read More ]

IT TAKES TWO: The government is making a big case — and rightly so — out of the killing-pillaging spree of the ground commanders of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front which even now is still pretending to talk peace. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD – Work has been going on furiously here to put back the interchanges of the P27-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) that had to be dropped when funds were ambushed by “commissioners” along the 94-kilometer road. [ Read More ]

UNCLOS HANGS: Another casualty of the Moro rebels running amuck in the heartland of Mindanao is the Philippines’ being able to enjoy the benefits and protection of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). [ Read More ]

MARCH BACKWARD: Sometimes we have to make one step backward before making two steps forward. That, we understand.

But the Cha-cha boys of President Gloria Arroyo are furiously beating the drums to stampede the country into taking not one back step or two forward steps but to MARCH BACKWARDS all the way to an ill-defined federal system of government. [ Read More ]

DANGEROUS: Seeing how they habitually run roughshod over the Constitution whenever it gets in the way, a citizen wonders what kind of people are running this country. [ Read More ]

CHA-CHA AGAIN?: Some really bad drivers refuse to admit that their vehicle stalls and gives a bumpy, lumpy ride because of their own ineptness. To solve the problem, they insist on buying another vehicle. [ Read More ]

BASIC POINT: We keep asking – because we have not found the answer – if the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is indeed the proper Muslim representative to negotiate a contract with the government and write a “Basic Law” leading to the creation of a Bangsamoro state in the South. [ Read More ]

NON-PARTY?: It seems everybody forgot to implead the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the case before the Supreme Court on the validity of the proposed Memorandum of Agreement between the government and the MILF. [ Read More ]

INEVITABLE: With the plucking of a rib from the side of the Philippine corpus to create a new Bangsamoro state, President Gloria Arroyo should — before going on another foreign trip — call all Filipinos together and tell them exactly what is going on. [ Read More ]

PIECEMEAL: Is the Arroyo administration under tremendous pressure to sign away our patrimony piecemeal? Or is it just playing a trick on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front? [ Read More ]

C.A. STINK: While the Supreme Court is attempting to clean up the mess at the Court of Appeals, it may want to check on a CA division handling a petition for reconstitution of land titles covering almost 890 hectares in highly urbanized areas in Quezon City. [ Read More ]

July 2008

TRUST FACTOR: Not a few readers have concluded, rather facilely, that former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani had President Gloria Arroyo in mind when he said in answer to questions that Filipinos should install only leaders they could trust. [ Read More ]

BLINDERS: We do not progress fast enough as a nation, stuck as we are with our blinders and biases.

Days before President Gloria Arroyo delivered yesterday her State of the Nation Address, every talking head in town was already whaling away in advance at the supposed false claims and outright lies that, they said, would pad her SONA. [ Read More ]

QUESTIONS: Before President Gloria Arroyo finalizes a supposed peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, may I suggest that some prior questions be answered for the assurance of the Filipino public: [ Read More ]

SABAH ISSUE: Large numbers of Filipinos are to be deported by Malaysia from Sabah, a Borneo territory owned by the Sultan of Sulu, and the Philippines is again walking into a legal trap with eyes wide open. [ Read More ]

COPING WITH CANCER: After years of saying that chemotherapy is the best way to treat cancer, Johns Hopkins is now supposedly talking of alternative approaches. [ Read More ]

TIDAL WAVE: The insistence of former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Jocjoc” Bolante that he be given asylum in the United States because assassins would get him if he returned to the Philippines is ridiculous. [ Read More ]

QUE HORROR!: For the benefit of readers who caught only the tailend of the horror story about a fledgling firm with a paid-up capital of P62,500 and zero technical track record but was awarded a P956-million coal supply contract, we recall a few details. [ Read More ]

CONSPIRACY?: The main excuse of the oil companies for continually raising the price of gasoline and other petroleum products is that they have been incurring huge losses that they now want to recover. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — The controversial appointment of former Pampanga congresswoman Zenaida Ducut as acting chair of the Energy Regulatory Commission rang a bell in my Postscript archive. My columns of last March 27 and April 3 had mentioned a Capampangan couple — Leslie Ducut and Ressie Ducut — as among the incorporators of a firm that was awarded by the National Power Corp. a P956-million contract to supply coal for some of its plants.The deal raised eyebrows because the then three-month-old firm — the Transpacific Consolidated Resources Inc. — reportedly had only P62,500 in paid-up capital but was gifted by the Napocor a coal supply contract worth P956,374,204.50!How is new ERC chief Zenaida Ducut, also a cabalen, related to Leslie and Ressie Ducut who sprang from nowhere to big-time coal trading, a business that impinges on power rates regulated by the ERC now headed by Ducut? [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — The government should straighten up and adopt a long-range policy on jeepneys. Do we want to keep these atrocious, anachronistic anomalies as the main mode of mass transportation in Metro Manila? [ Read More ]

UNCONSCIONABLE: To Filipinos used to widespread corruption in government, an overprice of, say, 10 percent in the building of steel bridges in the countryside may be tolerable. [ Read More ]

LIMP BAG: The good news to its legitimate owners and the watching public is that after 22 years the Presidential Commission on Good Government has decided, finally, to lift its sequestration of the giant Philippine Communications Satellite Corp. [ Read More ]

AT WHAT COST?: There is no question that bridges are needed to span rivers and other gaps in our road system. The questions is: What kind of bridges, where, at what cost and against what priorities?Erecting bridges is the job of the Executive. But under our system of checks and balances, President Gloria Arroyo does not enjoy arbitrary powers to secure foreign loans, buy bridges and spread them around any way she wants. Yes, past presidents also built bridges during their time. But that does not mean that all those bridges — steel or concrete — were not tainted with corruption or that the present presidential bridge program is automatically beyond question. [ Read More ]

DAMPENER: The good news is that the National Power Corp. will cut its electricity rates for six months by 30 centavos per kilowatt-hour in the Meralco area, and by 71.16 centavos/kwh in the rest of Luzon starting with the May-June billing. [ Read More ]

June 2008

PINOY COOKS: Taken in different contexts, the comment of US President George W. Bush on the White House chef, who happened to be a FilAm, has amused some Filipinos while rubbing others the wrong way. [ Read More ]

SOUND & FURY: Days ago, a radio anchor was arrogantly asking on the air a Coast Guard officer why it was taking them that long to sail to the site of the mv Princess of the Stars tragedy and to bore holes into its hull to save passengers trapped inside. [ Read More ]

ON BALANCE: An aggrieved citizen who goes to court sometimes wonders what he has to load on the balance that symbolizes justice to gain a modicum of fairness. [ Read More ]

ONE FOR YOU: Not wanting to spoil your Sunday morning, let me begin with a joke.

A storm destroyed some windows of the State Capitol in Sacramento, California. The official in charge of maintenance scheduled a bidding for their repair. Three contractors responded: an American, a Mexican and a Filipino. [ Read More ]

POLITICAL ADS: It is amusing watching our elders in the Senate quarrel over commercial advertising where they appear as endorsers of products  – aside, of course, from also promoting their own political fortunes. [ Read More ]

OO NGA NAMAN: Jeepney and other utility drivers seem to be getting a raw deal on fare discounts without knowing it. Listen to engineer Ramon Ramirez talk about a mandate of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001: [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — If you think the cancelled $320-million Chinese government-funded NBN/ZTE deal was one of the most scandalous foreign-assisted projects in recent memory, think again. [ Read More ]

NOLI UNSURE: While Speaker Prospero Nograles is not the last word on the administration coalition’s plans for 2010, Vice President Noli de Castro should study very carefully his remarks last week about likely Lakas-CMD presidential and senatorial bets. [ Read More ]

CARTELIZATION: Will somebody please list the senators and congressmen who stampeded the Congress to pass the Oil Deregulation Act of 1998, which is obviously a failure as far as reining in the avarice of the giant oil companies is concerned. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD – It puzzles many cabalen why the vaunted 93.77-kilometer expressway designed to serve the Subic and the Clark trade zones does not have an interchange, ramp or exit in this American air base turned into an industrial complex. [ Read More ]

EVER-CHANGING: Being among the biggest electricity consumers in the country, members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines have a vested right to express concern over bloated power rates as they did in a recent letter to President Gloria Arroyo. [ Read More ]

SHARES DROP: It is ironic that the attack on the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) management by the boss of the Government Service Insurance System, a major stockholder, has reaped paper losses for the GSIS itself and other Meralco owners. [ Read More ]

PROXY FIGHT: The fight for control of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is in many ways a real proxy fight.

While the Lopez clan fights to retain management control of the giant power firm by adding proxy votes of smaller stockholders to their 33.4 percent, Malacanang uses the Government Service Insurance System as proxy in its campaign to capture the power firm. [ Read More ]

May 2008

ONE-MAN ACT: Many lawyers and some businessmen were incredulous that a lawyer sitting as commissioner in a quasi-judicial agency like the Securities and Exchange Commission could have fumbled on a basic legal point within his supposed expertise. [ Read More ]

OVER THE HUMP?: It might be too early to say we are over the palay shortage hump, but it is heartening to note that the dark scenarios of lengthening rice queues and food riots painted by the usual doomsayers have not materialized. [ Read More ]

RESPECT FOR LAW: Everybody is for protecting the environment, but, as our elders say, the end does not justify the means.

A Greenpeace vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, anchored just off the power plant in Pagbilao, Quezon, early Friday to protest its use of coal for generating electricity and, by their own admission in a press release, to block the unloading of coal. [ Read More ]

ROAD HOG: Another power-drunk idiot was zigzagging through heavy EDSA traffic before noon the other day, escorted by motorcycle cops with sirens blaring. He probably felt untouchable in his black Expedition with license plate No. WTM 685.[ Read More ]

INSIGHTS: If you are developing a headache (aka “migraine” to the rich) from all that babble on bloated electricity rates, just stop listening to the politicians, the businessmen and opinion writers peddling an angle. [ Read More ]

CALL CENTER: A taipan renowned for his business acumen must be wondering what hit him after some members of a group accused of taking millions from another firm (let’s call it “Cash Cow”) to invest in an ambitious call center ran their joint venture to the ground. [ Read More ]

CRITICAL LEVEL: Gasoline at P50 per liter is no longer a joke! If the price keeps climbing, and it seems it would, something’s going to give. [ Read More ]

GAPING LOOPHOLE: For 26 long years (from 1978 to 2003), the government lost billions of pesos annually to syndicates stealing and encashing checks payable to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs — because nobody bothered to plug a procedural loophole. [ Read More ]

WHO POCKETED IT?: Chairman Camilo L. Sabio of the Presidential Commission on Good Government must be having sleepless nights, with the PCGG being accused of milking sequestered companies by the millions instead of preserving their assets. [ Read More ]

BLINDERS: If Malacañang wants to know why the retail cost of electricity has gone up, and sincerely wants to do something about the problem, it should take off its blinders and let the chips fall where they may. [ Read More ]

LAYING BASIS?: At a recent Filipino Chinese chamber meeting, President Gloria Arroyo wondered loud “why power costs in the Luzon urban beltway… should be so high when Luzon is reliant on imported oil for only one percent of its power.” [ Read More ]

SHARP BLOW: The Arroyo administration knows in advance that the oil companies plan to raise this weekend fuel prices by a full one peso per liter, a sharp departure from the lulling spaced-out 50-centavo increases of the previous months. [ Read More ]

ALARM: Oil and power consumers’ advocate Raul Concepcion is beating the alarum bells, warning that consumers will continue to be singed by rising electricity rates all the way through June and even beyond. [ Read More ]

April 2008

PROSPERITY?: Big Mining and conniving government officials keep telling us that stripping the earth of its mineral wealth is the answer to our poverty. They tell us that mining will enable this poor nation to finally pole vault to prosperity, blah-blah. [ Read More ]

BICAM BICKERINGS: Rep. Ferjenel Biron of Iloilo has been vociferously criticizing the bill on cheaper medicines being consolidated by the bicameral conference committee co-chaired by Sen. Mar Roxas and Rep. Antonio Alvarez of Palawan. [ Read More ]

LOOK AGAIN: It may seem late in the day, but reader Leo Tecson emailed us some facts and opinion that raise interesting questions on agrarian reform, family incomes, plus a host of other related issues. [ Read More ]

PATRICK’S: A shepherd looking after his flock in America, Pope Benedict XVI offered Mass for the clergy and religious last Saturday in the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in midtown Manhattan. [ Read More ]

UNIVERSAL: As in his messages “urbi et orbi” (to the city [of Rome] and to the world) periodically made from the Vatican, the statements of Pope Benedict XVI during his current five-day US trip have both local (American) and universal application. [ Read More ]

FINALLY: For a while there, we thought former Justice Secretary Hernando “Nani” Perez had gotten off the hook in connection with his allegedly extorting $2 million in 2001 from then Manila congressman Mark Jimenez and laundering the money in a foreign bank. [ Read More ]

LONE CHILD: Some myopic analysts are trying mightily to blame unmitigated population growth for what looks like a food shortage creeping up on the more populous sections of the world. [ Read More ]

LONE CHILD: Some myopic analysts are trying mightily to blame unmitigated population growth for what looks like a food shortage creeping up on the more populous sections of the world. [ Read More ]

CAMPAIGN?: Is former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada already campaigning for the 2010 presidential election?

No, Erap said, he is not. Or maybe he is, but he is too smart to be pinned down for premature campaigning. His sorties in politically strategic areas are billed as mere “pasasalamat” (thank you visits). [ Read More ]

ERRATUM: I apologize for misreporting last time that Bataan Day was commemorated on Tuesday (April 8), instead of Wednesday (April 9, yesterday) as what actually happened on schedule. [ Read More ]

MT. SAMAT, Bataan — Tomorrow is the wrong time for a casual tourist to visit this shrine soaring majestically to some 2,000 feet above the sea. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — The Fontana convention center here was filled Friday with farming stakeholders pledging support for a crunch-mitigating package unwrapped in a Food Summit by President Gloria Arroyo, but some elements were conspicuously absent or silent. [ Read More ]

MASUERTI!: How lucky can some people get! As first cited in our Postscript of last March 27, a three-month-old firm with only P62,500 in paid-up capital and which cannot be located at its advertised address was awarded by the National Power Corp. a coal supply contract worth P956,374,204.50! [ Read More ]

BAD EXAMPLE: When senators responded to a petition filed by Secretary Romulo Neri with the Supreme Court on the issue of Executive Privilege, they accepted the jurisdiction of the tribunal. [ Read More ]

March 2008

NO APOLOGY: After he was found to have peddled false information that the father-in-law of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap was in the rice business, Sen. Nene Pimentel simply shrugged off his failed smear campaign. [ Read More ]

LEAVE IT TO HIM: Two quotes of freedom icon Cory Aquino caught my attention when I read reports of her having been found to have cancer of the colon. [ Read More ]

LOS BAÑOS — The suggestion of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap that we eat less rice is laudable and timely. He has been unfairly pilloried for it, just because the idea comes from the administration. [ Read More ]

EMPTY ECHOES: Christ is risen!

This line, down to the exclamation point, will be repeated in today’s torrent of Easter greetings, emails, letters, messages, editorials and homilies taking off from the glorious resurrection of Christ. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD — By any standard, the opening last Tuesday of the dedicated 94-kilometer expressway linking in the shortest possible way the three industrial zones of Subic, Clark and Tarlac is a momentous event. [ Read More ]

IGLESIA PALA!: Remember the white van with license plate No. RAP 407 that started a discussion in this space on arrogant officials who bully their way through traffic escorted by police vehicles armed with sirens and blinkers? [ Read More ]

THIS Sunday, I share a piece by Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, dean of the Graduate School of Law of San Beda College (Mendiola) on calls for President Gloria Arroyo to resign. He says, and I concur: [ Read More ]

MR. CLEAN: When New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer — who had built a “Mr. Clean” image and won on a reform platform — was caught on a wiretap spending tens of thousands on high-priced call girls, it sounded to many Pinoys like a routine, although juicy, story. [ Read More ]

EDSA TEST: Yes, I agree that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should resign — if she cannot even rid EDSA of arrogant officials bullying their way through traffic with police escorts pushing other motorists out of the way. [ Read More ]

TOP CARS: With the price of gasoline forever rising, Filipino consumers now check out fuel economy in a model they fancy before they buy. [ Read More ]

CIVIL WAR: Seeing the object of their loathing still sitting unperturbed in the Palace despite their mighty efforts to dislodge her, professional Arroyo-bashers have stepped up the virulence of their rhetoric. [ Read More ]

ATTITUDE: Some presidential wannabes reportedly hesitate to join the clamor for the resignation of President Gloria Arroyo because they dread the specter of Vice President Noli de Castro becoming president. [ Read More ]

BEWARE THE IDES: Indeed, the imperious Gloria Arroyo has to beware the Ides of March, which in the Roman calendar is the 15th. Idus Martiae is the date in 44 BCE when Julius Caesar was assassinated by senators styling themselves as liberators. [ Read More ]

February 2008

MISLEADING: A big newspaper headlined “CBCP to Arroyo: Take lead vs corruption.” It gave the impression that the Church hierarchy came down hard on President Gloria Arroyo, laying on her shoulders the onus of leading the country out of its moral and political crisis. [ Read More ]

LOZADA FORMULA: We have bungled EDSA 1, and also EDSA 2, according to Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. — the “probinsiyanong Intsik” who no longer needs any description or introduction to be recognized. [ Read More ]

THE TRUTH: Everybody is demanding to know the Truth. But what is Truth?

We recall at this point the classic story of the blind men who were asked what an elephant is and, to be able to form an opinion, were made to touch the behemoth. [ Read More ]

NO VIRGIN: So you think you’re a smart mobile phone user? Don’t look now, but your carrier or service provider might be smarter.

Lured by an offer of a gift phone if I signed up for another two years, I went to my carrier and got me a free Nokia celfon. As everything in the box looked factory-fresh, I assumed that even the shiny phone inside, still in plastic wrap, was new. [ Read More ]

POLITICOS: Many friends, most of them middle class, are hesitant to embrace Senate witness Rodolfo Lozada Jr. as a hero or at least as the unsullied repository of the truth in the aborted National Broadband Network project — because of the politicians around him. [ Read More ]

DYSFUNCTION: Senate committees, whose main function is legislation, must defer to the Office of the Ombudsman in investigating and determining probable criminal liability of persons linked to the aborted National Broadband Network project. [ Read More ]

GOD FORBID!: If it is not yet doing it, the government should insist on giving round-the-clock close-in security to Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., a witness in the Senate inquiry into the botched National Broadband Network project. [ Read More ]

TEARFUL TESTIMONY: Electronics expert Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. was again crying on prime-time television yesterday. Testifying as a witness in a marathon Senate hearing, his anguish was all too clear as he agonized over his being kicked around as a political football. [ Read More ]

SHE KNOWS: Having walked the corridors of power for two decades, President Gloria Arroyo cannot be unaware of the administrative flaw that IT engineer Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. called “systemic dysfunction” resulting from official greed and corruption. [ Read More ]

TANAUAN — They are at it again. Some plotters ostensibly with Malacanang connections want to take over the cash-rich Land Registration Authority and place it under the Office of the President. [ Read More ]

SAME TRAPO: As I write this, we are awaiting the smoke of battle to settle and reveal the choice of majority of congressmen as Speaker of the House of Representatives — either Jose de Venecia of Pangasinan or Prospero Nograles of Davao City. [ Read More ]

STICKY FINGERS: The continuing plunder of some companies sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government is more than enough argument for abolishing the PCGG and cutting off the sticky fingers of some of its officials and nominees looting them. [ Read More ]

January 2008

Ali Baba: Even if only half of what Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile exposed in his privilege speech last Tuesday was true, it should be shocking enough to prompt President Arroyo into firing a slew of officials and government nominees in a non-sequestered corporation and cause the filing of criminal charges all around. [ Read More ]

ONUS ON ARROYO: The burden of stopping attempts to water-down the law privatizing the National Power Corp. has been placed on Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, who is pushing amendment of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira). [ Read More ]

TEAM-UP: The utterances and body language of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada and Sen. Manuel Villar suggest that they may be planning either an Estrada-Villar or a Villar-Estrada team for the 2010 presidential elections. [ Read More ]

MYOPIC VIEW: The Arroyo administration’s main reason for opposing the suspension of the Value Added Tax on oil products is that the government will lose some P30 billion in one year. [ Read More ]

RECORD FALL: The dismal yearend collection report of the Bureau of Internal Revenue showing it missing its 2007 target by P53.7 billion — the biggest in local tax collection history — should jolt the Arroyo administration. [ Read More ]

ANNOYING: On the road, which means at least five hours daily in a 24-hour cycle (thanks to traffic), I tune in 99 percent of the time to three AM radio stations to keep track of the news on the go. [ Read More ]

STANDING SOLID: There is a bit of irony in what is happening to Vice President Noli de Castro, a conceded front-runner if presidential elections would be held in 2010. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — It used to be that all that was needed to force the recall of a governor is the majority vote of the mayors in his province convened into a Preparatory Recall Assembly. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD – The Philippine population has ballooned to around 85 million. Minus the 10 percent who are toiling abroad, that leaves 77 million of us stuck in these 7,000-plus islands. [ Read More ]

(Grabbed from the Internet, author unknown, edited a bit, forwarded with impunity.)

SI NANAY ay nasa bahay pag-uwi namin galing sa iskwela. Walang mga bakod at gate ang magkakapit-bahay. Kung meron, gumamela lang. Diyes sentimos lang ang baon — singko sa umaga, singko sa hapon. [ Read More ]

CLARK FIELD: Two positive stories that greeted 2008 had to do with the reported creation of a million jobs last year and the latest tracking survey showing a big drop in the incidence of hunger across the country in the October-December quarter. [ Read More ]

GIFT DEADLINE: Today, the Feast of the Three Kings, closes the Yule season. Among other things, today is the deadline for people intending to give valuable gifts to government officials. [ Read More ]

WINNING FORMULA: That was an inspired winning formula that former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada has thought up for recovering his lost presidency and repairing his damaged reputation. [ Read More ]

TIME, SPACE & PEOPLE: There is substantially nothing new with the year 2008 which begins today.

Except for its designated numbering — 2008 — this year will have the same 365.25 days, more or less, and the same 12 months with the same names from January through December, as the other years before and after it. [ Read More ]

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