2014 Postscripts

December 2014

DRILON DELAYED: Many of us plain motorists are happy that the top dog of the Senate himself spent 11.5 hours crawling on the expressways from Metro Manila to Baguio some 240 kms away on the day after Christmas. [ Read More ]

FALSE FAÇADE: Could a poor housewife take to the sari-sari store the SWS survey claiming 93 percent of Filipinos face the coming new year with “hope rather than fear” and exchange that poll score for a bag of food for her children? [ Read More ]

COMPARATIVE RECAP: Ringing a positive Christmas note, Malacañang trotted out comparative figures this week in the Official Gazette showing a statistical selfie of sorts of its accomplishments toward the end of year 2014. [ Read More ]

FARE HIKE: “Long overdue,” Malacañang said of the proposed increase of up to 100 percent in the fares in the Light (LRT 1&2) and the Metro Rail (MRT3) Transit systems starting Jan. 4. [ Read More ]

TERMINATE IT!: Instead of allowing itself to be led by the nose by the United States on the Laude murder case, the Philippine government should immediately serve notice of its intention to amend the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement on criminal jurisdiction and other issues. [ Read More ]

DREADFUL SCENARIO: The Aquino administration is taking a big gamble playing with the lives of some 550,000 passengers packed each day on the trains of the Metro Rail Transit Line-3 (MRT-3) running in the middle of EDSA. [ Read More ]

ANGELES CITY — Superb! World-class! Impressive! Fantastic! Kasanting na!

These were some of the remarks we heard among the theater-goers who packed the Holy Angel University theater here last Friday for the matinee of the Pampanga-produced stage musical “I Love Pope Francis – The Musicale” in English. [ Read More ]

TIMING: Everything happens in time. And timing is a crucial element in the planning and execution of a campaign for the presidency. [ Read More ]

TOUGH JOB: Come on, guys, let’s give Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas a break. I mean it. He is just trying hard under most trying circumstances – unlike many of us who are safe and dry in the comfort of home. [ Read More ]

LIKELY WINNER: At the rate the stormy Commission on Elections drags itself before its final landfall, the poll body is likely to exit in 2016 with its suki supplier Smartmatic still lording it over the landscape with its PCOS machines. [ Read More ]

DISQUALIFIED?: What dark forces are at work at the Commission on Elections?

Why is Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. insisting that his suki Smartmatic of PCOS infamy participate in the bidding for 23,000 more Precinct Count Optical Scan machines — and that the bidding be held before he retires in February? [ Read More ]

PLEBISCITE ISSUE: As the Filipino saying goes, the pain of the little finger is felt by the entire body.

Should the required plebiscite on an autonomous Bangsamoro sub-state being carved out in Mindanao be held only in its area? Or should the entire body politic, the whole nation, be asked? [ Read More ]

November 2014

REARVIEW NEEDED: What ever happened to the sound suggestion that the P2.606-trillion national budget for 2015 be equipped with a “rearview mirror” to show the following year how the funds appropriated this year were used? [ Read More ]

NO GUARANTEE: It was good that the government told the people the truth that there is no guarantee under the Phl-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) that the United States will defend the Philippines from aggression or take its side in territorial disputes. [ Read More ]

JUDICIAL TIMIDITY: When will the Supreme Court rule either way on petitions to nullify the official results of the 2010 elections, where Benigno S. Aquino III came out president, for being in violation of the Automated Election Systems Law (RA 9369)? [ Read More ]

GOING SOLAR: From our fourth-floor balcony at the back of SM City North I have been watching and photographing workers build additional floors to the five-level parking building, wondering if SM would install rooftop solar power panels. [ Read More ]

UNPROTECTED: At this point, we can only wait and hope that acting Health Secretary Janette Garin and armed forces chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang are not carrying and possibly spreading the deadly Ebola virus. [ Read More ]

IT’S RIVILLA!: The election protest filed against Mayor Miguel C. Rivilla (Ind.) of Paniqui, Tarlac, has been resolved by the Commission on Elections in his favor, thereby reinstating him, but many disturbing side issues still beg for resolution. [ Read More ]

POWER POLITICS: Word is out that the Supreme Court is about to hand down its long-awaited decision on a petition seeking to remove former President Erap Estrada as elected mayor of Manila and bar him from ever running for public office. [ Read More ]

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER?: Who between Vice President Jojo Binay and Secretary Mar Roxas, if elected president in 2016, could President Noynoy Aquino find more “ready and willing” to protect him if he is criminally prosecuted after he steps down? [ Read More ]

RAMIFICATIONS: Mainstream media will find a cause célèbre in an intriguing mayoral election protest in Paniqui, Tarlac, home ground of the powerful Aquino and Cojuangco clans. [ Read More ]

WORK IN PROGRESS: “We’re doing our best,” summed up President Noynoy Aquino in his report one year after super-typhoon Yolanda devastated the Visayas, killing almost 10,000 people, destroying dwellings, crops and property worth countless billions of pesos. [ Read More ]

SAFETY LAST: The Department of Transportation and Communications appears to be compromising public safety while covering up for the poor maintenance of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) running on EDSA. [ Read More ]

Anticorruption Movement USA, Inc. (Pamusa), write that letter (see last Sunday’s Postscript) warning Vice President Jojo Binay of the dire consequences of amassing ill-gotten wealth? https://manilamail.com/archive/2014nov/14nov02/  [ Read More ]

FAIR WARNING: “As your friend since the time we joined Mrs. Cory Aquino’s campaign for president I feel obliged to let you know that as Pamusa’s president I will be involved in investigating, locating and recovering your ill-gotten wealth and of your family members and close associates or the private businessmen and individuals that colluded with you in amassing such unexplained assets beyond the statistical probability of your combined legitimate income since 1986 when you were named OIC in the Office of Makati Mayor. [ Read More ]

October 2014

OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE: Sworn to do justice to every man, President Noynoy Aquino cannot remain silent seeing how the American suspect in the Oct. 11 killing of transgender Jeffrey Laude in an Olongapo hotel is being kept beyond the reach of the law. [ Read More ]

ARISTOCRAT: The government should stop business establishments from insisting on their own interpretation of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (RA 9994) that provides discounts and VAT exemptions to Filipinos aged 60 years or older. [ Read More ]

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: Many Filipinos will be surprised to know that the 16-year-old Phl-US Visiting Forces Agreement has no provision for revision or amendment. It can only be honored as is or terminated. [ Read More ]

LIMP: Without meaning to offend the gay community, we think the Philippine government has been acting like a bakla in its handling of the killing of Jeffrey S. Laude last Oct. 11 in an Olongapo hotel where he and a US marine had checked in. [ Read More ]

EVIDENCE: Whose semen was in the condom left in the toilet where Jeffrey S. Laude was found dead the other Saturday in a hotel in Olongapo City? Police investigators are checking if that came from US Marine Pfc Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, the prime suspect in the killing. [ Read More ]

INVESTORS WATCHING: The business community is understandably concerned over the apparent indecision of the administration in addressing major infrastructure project issues. [ Read More ]

LISTEN TO HER: Some high government officials develop a headache whenever they attempt to think, because thinking reportedly interferes with their normal mental processes. [ Read More ]

EBOLA EPAL: You must have seen videos of health workers in full protective suits like they were astronauts on a lunar walk then heard the news that one of them had proved positive for the Ebola virus that has claimed at least 4,000 lives. [ Read More ]

HEFTY 86%!: If a judge trying an election case in Paniqui, Tarlac, were to be believed, the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in the 2013 elections committed an 86-percent error in counting the votes in that town of 88,000. [ Read More ]

CRUDE EXECUTION: Some people think that just because DILG Secretary Mar Roxas gained ground in the last electoral surveys he would be ready to dash past Vice President Jojo Binay by the time the Senate Yellow Ribbon demolition job on the front runner winds up. [ Read More ]

HEARING VOICES: There is nothing basically wrong with President Noynoy Aquino listening to the voice of the people. In fact, he should be doing that more often, although he must make sure he is not just hearing voices in the dark or the whispers of a cabal holding him hostage. [ Read More ]

SOBRA NA: The Malacañang-ordered response of shrinking way whenever the Chinese red dragon snorts nearby has gone too far.

Defense officials announced in a public hearing Friday that, by order of Commander-in-Chief Noynoy Aquino, the government has stopped repairs needed on the damaged airstrip on Pagasa island in the Spratlys where a Filipino community thrives under trying conditions. [ Read More ]

CONFUSION: Transportation officials appeared confused yesterday at a Senate hearing where they rationalized their failure to fix the maintenance mess endangering the lives of some 550,000 daily riders of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) running above EDSA. [ Read More ]

September 2014

POOR WORKERS: In fairness to more than 1.3 million Filipinos in the civil service, we ask: Does working for the government mean taking a vow of poverty? [ Read More ]

HELL FIRE: This being a Sunday, a blessed day in the fourth year of the administration of President Noynoy Aquino, let us listen again and draw lessons from the Gospel: [ Read More ]

LOPSIDED: It was bound to happen. A visiting third world leader regaling his American audience with tales of his country like it were a Camelot across the sea would soon enough be rudely interrupted by, well, hecklers shouting back their version of the real situation back home. [ Read More ]

HAVEN: May the visit of President Noynoy Aquino, now 54, to their Boston suburban home in exile in his early twenties give him a fresh perspective of his bumpy presidency before it ends in less than two years. [ Read More ]

SIMPLY COMPLICATED: The arrival next year of 48 new coaches imported from China by the Department of Transportation and Communications is no guarantee that riding the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) will finally become safe and convenient. [ Read More ]

BAD FORM: Will a member of his entourage please whisper to President Noynoy Aquino, now on a trip to Europe, that it is bad form to try elevating one’s self by stepping on others. [ Read More ]

NO MORE EXCUSES: We are caught in a dark corner where we have no choice but to beg the Congress to give President Noynoy Aquino emergency powers to nip the budding electricity shortage threatening to hit Luzon next year. [ Read More ]

BBL DEBATE: I am taking the liberty of quoting excerpts from an article of colleague Bobi Tiglao of The Manila Times titled “Bangsamoro Law: Have they lost their minds?” to help fuel the debate that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) bill filed in the Congress deserves. [ Read More ]

HIGH STAKES: By the same token that President Noynoy Aquino asks critics not to allow politics to derail passage of the basic law creating the Bangsamoro in Muslim Mindanao, we plead that he not crack the administration party whip to railroad its approval within his tight deadline. [ Read More ]

BE SPECIFIC: Instead of griping in general about strict provisions of the Constitution, advocates of amendments opening the door wider to foreign investors should specify the changes they want. That way, the issues could be joined, thus facilitating a more intelligent debate. [ Read More ]

PARALYSIS: I was among the thousands of Manila-bound motorists and commuters who were caught last Friday in the hours-long traffic standstill that paralyzed the North Luzon Expressway. [ Read More ]

STEELY SPIRIT: Recent events in such distant fields as the FIBA World Cup in Seville and the standoff with Syrian insurgents in the Golan Heights displayed once again the indomitable spirit of Filipino fighters when put to the test. [ Read More ]

SOBRIETY VS BIAS: Two simultaneous Senate hearings yesterday showed the defining difference that partisan politics makes in legislative inquiries supposedly conducted in aid of legislation. [ Read More ]

August 2014

HERE is the Lipa Declaration calling for, among other things, a “national transformation” and the immediate resignation of President Noynoy Aquino.

We agree with much of what the declaration says on the state of the nation and the need for transformation, but disagree with its call for President Aquino’s instant resignation. As we have argued in earlier Postscripts, the President must serve his full term and, as the Constitution ordains, not seek any reelection. [ Read More ]

TWILIGHT: Darkness may literally shroud the twilight year of the administration of President Noynoy Aquino as the country reaps the fruits of official neglect and the failure to meet the need for bigger power capacity. [ Read More ]

CLARK NEGLECTED: The prospect of Clark International Airport in Pampanga becoming the twin world gateway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport is dimming as President Noynoy Aquino, who ironically comes from Central Luzon, nears the end of his term in 2016. [ Read More ]

PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE: Let us pass on and amplify the very informative Star column yesterday of our colleague Satur Ocampo on the imperative of ridding the country of the pork barrel plague through People’s Initiative. [ Read More ]

JUDICIAL CAPTURE: Here is another consequence of President Noynoy Aquino’s possibly gaining another six-year term after 2016. Could this be another reason why he wants an extension? [ Read More ]

NO CHOICE: At this point, the United States is the only countervailing force accessible to the Philippines to China’s expansionism in the sea around it. [ Read More ]

MORE OF THE SAME: We are astonished by the audacity of President Noynoy Aquino in announcing that he is now open to amending the Constitution to allow himself a follow-up term and to limit the power of review of the Supreme Court that is getting in the way. [ Read More ]

STEEP DIVE: The people’s satisfaction with the administration of President Noynoy Aquino continues to fall — from 66 percent in June 2013 to just 29 percent in June 2014, or 37 percentage points lost in just one year. [ Read More ]

PANATAG MISTAKE: An American friend who was with the US Marines has what looks like a straightforward answer to the question of how to slay the Chinese dragon nibbling at the fringes of Philippine maritime territory. [ Read More ]

REACTIONS: Our Postscript on how Filipino hospitality saved 1,300 Jews from the Holocaust struck a chord among many readers who sent their own capsule stories of how one act of charity begets another. (See: https://manilamail.com/archive/2014aug/14aug05/[ Read More ]

P876-B LOSS: A recent study has concluded that the daily fight for road space in Metro Manila of some 2.3 million vehicles carrying millions of motorists and commuters through sluggish traffic costs P876 billion a year in lost productivity and wasted energy. [ Read More ]

MANILA REFUGE: While Adolf Hitler’s Nazi hordes were systematically slaughtering millions of Jews in Germany and Austria during the Holocaust in the last world war, some 1,300 of them were able to escape and find refuge in the Philippines. [ Read More ]

COUP TALK: Erik, our resident intelligence officer at the Tuesday Club at EDSA Shang, had been whispering to us that the coup talk rustling through the grapevine is likely to erupt into live fire in late August! [ Read More ]

July 2014

CORRECT MOVE: The plan of President Noynoy Aquino to ask the Congress for a supplemental budget for his projects that are not covered in the national budget is a welcome admission that his using forced savings for off-budget undertakings is illegal. [ Read More ]

TRUE STATE: Whatever President Noynoy Aquino said or did not say yesterday in his penultimate State of the Nation Address is overshadowed by what the individual Filipino feels in his gut. [ Read More ]

SAN FRANCISCO, California – I am back, safely and on time, in this windy city by the bay where many a smitten visitor has confessed leaving his heart. [ Read More ]

BLACKMAIL?: The impending collision between the Executive and the Judiciary, particularly between Malacañang and the Supreme Court over constitutional issues, will not be an accident. [ Read More ]

BLACKOUT: Things that we taxpayers have to endure because pig heads in government presume to rule other people’s lives despite their incompetence…. [ Read More ]

FOUL WEATHER: Do not cross President Noynoy Aquino. He seems to be in a foul mood lately.

That may be because many things high on his agenda are not proceeding according to his imperial wishes — and time is fast running out on him. [ Read More ]

TELL THE PEOPLE: Yesterday’s plea for reconsideration of President Noynoy Aquino before the Court of Public Opinion for the people’s approval of his constitutionally challenged Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is in danger of falling on deaf ears. [ Read More ]

SUSPEND ABAD!: With the Supreme Court having ruled that the Disbursement Acceleration Program created and managed by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad violated the Constitution, it is a wonder President Noynoy Aquino has not preventively suspended him. [ Read More ]

THE END?: The two rulings of the Supreme Court against cross-border disbursement from the legislative and presidential pork barrel should put an end to the Executive branch practice of using public funds to corrupt and capture supposedly independent agencies of government. [ Read More ]

SUSPEND HIM!: Since Budget Secretary Florencio Abad refuses to resign and President Noynoy Aquino cannot seem to muster the will to fire him, one alternative is for the Chief Executive to suspend him preventively. [ Read More ]

DAPPED: We are in such a big mess. We’ve been DAPped! So what do we do?

Whatever we decide to do, it better not be to impeach President Noynoy Aquino. In our view, such action would only sink us deeper into the quicksand. [ Read More ]

SAY SORRY?: As a good Christian, the least that President Noynoy Aquino can do is to humble himself and tell the people “I’m sorry” for having disbursed billions in public funds in violation of the Constitution. [ Read More ]

RESIGN NOW!: What is Budget Secretary Florencio Abad waiting for? He should resign before the sun sets on the Palace or before he earns another minus point for his boss President Noynoy Aquino, whichever tipping point comes first. [ Read More ]

June 2014

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES: With its already exhaustive studies on similar issues previously raised before it, the Supreme Court does not really require further legal research for it to determine if the these two controversial items do not violate the Constitution: [ Read More ]

BIG LIE: The public must be told the truth that it was NOT the Aquino administration and the Tan leadership at the Commission on Audit that uncovered the massive raiding of pork barrel funds leading to the prosecution of serial thieves in high places. [ Read More ]

UNPALATABLE: By allowing too many foreign cooks into the Muslim Mindanao kitchen, the Philippines as master chef may just end up with a spoiled Bangsamoro broth. [ Read More ]
THIS is the rejoinder (tightened to fit space) of the Pag-IBIG Fund to the Postscript of June 17 titled “Dark politics behind jailing of Delfin Lee?: [ Read More ]
CORRUPTION: Mayors, governors and other local executives should be prohibited from giving allowances as well as material assistance and favors to judges and prosecutors assigned in their areas. [ Read More ]
VENDETTA?: Beleaguered businessman Delfin Lee, chair of Globe Asiatique Realty Holdings Corp., is crying political persecution as he questions his being locked in jail even when charges of syndicated estafa against him had been quashed already. [ Read More ]

CAMPAIGN LINE: The four-year trajectory of the political rhetoric of the Aquino administration indicates that the line for its presidential campaign in 2016 is likely to hew to the anti-corruption theme “kung walang korap walang mahirap” (no corruption, no poverty). [ Read More ]

TEMPORARY?: While Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua was telling an assembly of businessmen last Tuesday that the maritime disputes between his country and the Philippines are only temporary, China was busy grabbing and building on areas claimed by its neighbors. [ Read More ]

FOCUS NEEDED: Some congressmen concerned over unabated poaching in Philippine waters are pushing a bill, now approved on second reading, giving the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources stronger enforcement powers to check the intrusion. [ Read More ]

BIG DEAL: It would be interesting to feel the pulse of the neglected 1.9 million pensioners of the Social Security System when they hear the SSS announcement that their monthly pension has been raised by five percent effective May 31. [ Read More ]

SOLUTION: Many times, discussion groups surveying the dismal state of the nation and looking for solutions ask with a sigh of near resignation, “So what do we do, where do we begin?” [ Read More ]

PREFERRED LIST: Yesterday, I asked a friend whose name had been added to the latest list of lawmakers who allegedly had transactions with pork barrel queen Janet Lim Napoles: Which is worse — being on the Napoles list or on the Benhur Luy list? [ Read More ]

SOCIAL ACTION: Now it is former Pampanga Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio being mentioned as likely successor of Margie Juico, resigned chair of the cash-rich Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. [ Read More ]

May 2014

UNCLOS CITED: Is Noynoy Aquino still the president of the Philippines sworn to enforce the law or is now the lawyer of Chinese fishermen poaching in Philippine waters? [ Read More ]

RULING DUE: One Supreme Court decision with interesting political implications that is keenly being awaited is on the petition to disqualify and unseat Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada. The ruling is reportedly due in a few weeks. [ Read More ]

TOP EXHIBITS: To cap his “shame ‘em” campaign, President Noynoy Aquino may want to bus the World Economic Forum delegates to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center for them to view his prized Exhibit A for alleged official corruption. [ Read More ]

CENTRAL ROLE: The special operation to discredit all lists of pork barrel scam beneficiaries attributed to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles appears to be succeeding. We are just awaiting the final twist, if any. [ Read More ]

HESITATION: This may be hard for Filipinos to swallow, but despite Obamic oratory and a supposedly iron-clad mutual defense treaty, the United States appears not ready to confront China over reefs and corals scattered in the South China Sea being claimed by its ally the Philippines. [ Read More ]

LEAPING BACKWARD: While the administration is doing its best to pull out the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from the pit reserved for the world’s worst airports, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines controlled by generals wants to make a great leap backward. [ Read More ]

PLEASE: Will God please descend from the heavens and stop the Senate’s pork barrel circus so our honorable senators can go back finally to their assigned legislative work for which we taxpayers are spending billions every year. [ Read More ]

WORTHLESS LISTS: Why did it take President Noynoy Aquino that long – almost a month — to announce his dim view of the final edition of the list of those who have had pork barrel transactions with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles? [ Read More ]

LET’S TWEET!: This Sunday morning we first greet the Philippine National Police for joining Twitter. To @PNPHotline: “Welcome po, Mamang Pulis! Good move joining Twitter, short & swift.” [ Read More ]

INTEROPERABILITY: The American GIs you may see around are not yet the United States troops that Malacañang has allowed to come in increased number under a new Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). [ Read More ]

NOT INSTANT: The vaunted Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States commits American military response only in case of an “armed attack” on the “metropolitan territory” of the Philippines, and still subject to US “constitutional processes”. [ Read More ]

NEW MORALITY: By the government’s selective handling of pork barrel cases, is it instituting a New Morality, or teaching a new code of conduct to our children that in this country one has to steal big if he has to steal at all? [ Read More ]

FALSE HOPES: Malacañang should see to it that the excitement over the visit of US President Barack Obama does not raise expectation that the United States is now willing to tangle with China over its territorial disputes with the Philippines. [ Read More ]

April 2014

U.S. PROTECTION: The swing of US President Barack Obama to rally such allies as South Korea, Japan and the Philippines lying below the China mainland should be hint enough to Beijing that Washington will not tolerate its territorial expansionism in the Asia-Pacific area. [ Read More ]

TRUST TAGLE: If I were Janet Lim Napoles, I would pray to the Holy Spirit, write everything I personally know on the pork barrel scam, swear to it, seal it in an envelope and entrust the document to Cardinal Chito Tagle. [ Read More ]

CUARTANAMERA: This email from Antonio Pigafetta is too good not to share with Filipino taxpayers who have no choice but to grin and bear It: [ Read More ]

CLARIFICATION: My position on Chinese intrusion into Philippine maritime areas has been laid out clearly enough over several articles in this space. [ Read More ]

SHOWDOWN: Whether the Philippines is ready or not, it is headed for a confrontation with China over the possession of some isles, shoals, reefs and low-tide protrusions in the South China Sea. [ Read More ]

CHURCHILL: On Feb. 9, 1941, as England endured the bombing raids of the German Luftwaffe with Adolf Hitler attempting to spread the conflagration across the channel from the war-ravaged main, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed the British nation in a stirring broadcast from London. [ Read More ]

TAX TIME: Okay, BIR, I surrender. I used to fill out my Income Tax Return (Form 1701) in 30 minutes, skipping itemization and claiming standard 40 percent deductions to simplify the process. [ Read More ]

UNCONSTITUTIONAL: For Sunday reading, we share this email of Bishop Emeritus José C. Sorra of Legazpi explaining why the pro-Lifers who had questioned the constitutionality of the Reproductive Health Law (RA 10354) before the Supreme Court actually won. [ Read More ]

SOLOMONIC?: Making like Solomon of old who threatened to cut a baby in half, each part to go to each of two women claiming to be the mother, the Supreme Court resorted to a “win-win” answer to the constitutionality question over the Reproductive Health law (RA 10354). [ Read More ]

LOLA TO ESCAPE?: A sickly former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who could just die after an ill-timed hiccup, rushing out to escape in a wheelchair to evade a wobbly charge of plunder? [ Read More ]

MOVE ON: Having gone this far in our search for peace in rebellion-racked Muslim Mindanao, we would be creating a bigger problem if we just dropped at this late date the flawed Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro then start all over again. [ Read More ]

DEPOSIT HOSTAGE: Are the courts all the way to the Supreme Court helpless in enforcing their rulings when a giant bank decides to ignore their order to return the money of a disgruntled depositor? On whose side is the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas in cases like this? [ Read More ]

WHY AFRAID?: China believes in the validity of its sovereign claim over shoals and islets in the West Philippines Sea. It insists on a one-on-one discussion to resolve territorial disputes with neighbors, while avowing friendship and peaceful intentions in dealing with the Philippines. It is a member of the United Nations and signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. [ Read More ]

March 2014

TESTS: Filipinos who are worried of or opposed to the creation of a ministerial-like Bangsamoro for the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front can fall back on the fact that the experiment must first pass the tests in the Congress, the plebiscite and the Supreme Court. [ Read More ]

WHAT PEACE?: This observer and 74 percent of respondents in a PhilSTAR survey believe that the scheduled signing today of a supposedly final peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will not end the Moro armed struggle in Mindanao. [ Read More ]

TREATY OR NOT: It is correct, but it might be impractical, to require that the upcoming PH-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation agreement be recognized as a treaty needing review and concurrence by the Senate. [ Read More ]

BY FORCE: Is physical occupation backed by military force the only option left in resolving territorial disputes between the Philippines and China in their common waters? [ Read More ]

PREMATURE: It is premature for senators to demand that the agreement being negotiated for the increased “rotational presence” of American troops in the Philippines be submitted to them for concurrence. [ Read More ]

REVIVE COCAS!: It is not entirely new, but here is an earnest proposal on how to minimize the massive smuggling that, according to United Nations statistics, deprived the government of P169 billion in revenue in 2011 and P204 billion in 2012. [ Read More ]

FOI PROMISE: Do not clap yet for the promised Freedom of Information bill. There is still no certainty that we will have a credible FOI law before the end of this year. [ Read More ]

PH-US TALKS: There was paucity of details in the official update on the latest round of talks on the “rotational” presence here of American troops, but that was expected considering that both sides are locked in a delicate stage of the bargaining. [ Read More ]

ACID TEST: For Dennis Cunanan of the Technology Resource Center to qualify as a state witness in the administration’s pork barrel cases, he has to pass these tests: [ Read More ]

BARE ALL!: Instead of (or aside from) zeroing in on one profession and shaming its tax-evading members, the Bureau of Internal Revenue can do a distinct public service by: [ Read More ]

GULLIBLE?: Pardon our saying it, but based on insider reports and their body language, Philippine officials dealing with Malaysian leaders on the Bangsamoro and Sabah issues look either gullible or in cahoots with the other side. [ Read More ]

LIGHTING THE WAY: There were those before us who, true to their calling as journalists, persisted on pushing the darkness so truth in news reporting can light the way in the continuing fight for press freedom. [ Read More ]

February 2014

MENDING WALL: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” muses American poet Robert Frost (1874–1963) in his metaphorical “Mending Wall”, noting how even nature wears down walls or people take away a stone or plank off a fence when they have to. [ Read More ]

STEALING, MADE EASY: At the rate the crooks who had dipped into the pork barrel or raided the Priority Development Assistance Fund have been turning state witness, the justice department may soon have more witnesses than political foes to prosecute. [ Read More ]

CHILLING EFFECT?: Amid the objections of social media to the Supreme Court’s upholding the libel provision of RA 10175, also known as Cybercrime Prevention Act, let me voice out a few possibly discordant thoughts on the regulation of the press. [ Read More ]

CONGESTION: The road network of the metropolis can be likened to the plumbing of a building and the circulatory system of the body.

At some point and for various reasons, the flow of vehicles, of water and of blood could be impeded, causing traffic or flow problems of varying degrees and consequences. [ Read More ]

TAMA NA!: If indeed the purpose of the Senate inquiry into the pork barrel scam is to craft remedial legislation, the Blue Ribbon committee can fold its circus tent, stop the hearings and go instead into a full-chamber bull session. [ Read More ]

COMMON TICKET: The use of a common ticket for all MRT and LRT train lines in Metro Manila is a great idea, but its adoption is being delayed as contentious issues surface involving some bidders vying for the ticketing contract. [ Read More ]

MIRED: Did pork barrel scam artist Ruby Tuason walk into quicksand when she agreed to testify in the plunder case that Malacañang has been building against opposition senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada? [ Read More ]

SMART MERCHANTS: The businessmen operating at the Commission on Elections must be a bunch of smart, lucky people.

Having earned millions when the Comelec leased the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines in 2010 and then earned more millions when it purchased the same old equipment in 2013, now the smart operators want to resell them – presumably to make more millions. [ Read More ]

HIGH STAKES: With Malacañang meeting head-on all constitutional challenges to its Disbursement Acceleration Program, it is either sure of the path it is treading, or is prepared with an escape route in case of defeat in the Supreme Court. [ Read More ]

DOUBTS: Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front have admitted in writing that the Bangsamoro federal-type state that they have agreed to establish in Mindanao is, or could be, unconstitutional. [ Read More ]

WHICH FLAG?: Government troops hoisted the Philippine flag last Saturday at the biggest enclave of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Shariff Saidona town, Maguindanao, after they overran it in a week-long offensive against the secessionist group. [ Read More ]
MT. ARAYAT – To survive in this age of tidal waves, massive flooding, sinking reclaimed and alluvial soil – not to mention medical and spiritual depression — it may be a good idea to move to higher ground. [ Read More ]

January 2014

BIZARRE LOGIC: Malacañang’s legal logic is bizarre. It says that petitions for the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program should be dismissed because DAP is being terminated anyway. [ Read More ]

MORO STATE: Malacañang and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front moved closer Saturday to carving out a Bangsamoro state in Mindanao with the signing of the last of four annexes to their 2012 framework agreement to end fighting between the government and the rebels. [ Read More ]

BLAME GAME: Heaping the blame on the chair of the Energy Regulatory Commission for the continually rising power rates of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and summarily firing her will not solve the pricing problem. [ Read More ]

CANDID CAMERA: It was well and good that President Noynoy Aquino confirmed that Sen. Bong Revilla was brought to him to Malacañang during the 2012 impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona and that they discussed the merits of the case. [ Read More ]

SLIDE STARTS: A growing number of Filipinos now see the national economy and their own living conditions deteriorating, if the first 2014 “Ulat ng Bayan” of Pulse Asia is any indication. [ Read More ]

VARIANCE: Stained glass windows are better appreciated from inside a church than from outside. While the object is the same image, its appearance from inside is always better – thanks to the transparency of the glass and the sunlight filtering through it. [ Read More ]

PORAC, Pampanga — Multi-awarded meat processing enterprise Mekeni Food Corp. of this town has diversified quietly into the production of a non-meat product for export to Japan. [ Read More ]

GOV’T FAILURE: Why power rates will continue to rise was the central question of a PhilSTAR special report yesterday. [ Read More ]
CLARK FIELD  – Central Luzon stakeholders will meet at the summit here on Thursday to firm up a consensus for prodding the administration to adopt a clear policy direction and action plan for Clark-centered regional development. [ Read More ]

MORE OF THE SAME: One New Year resolution of President Noynoy Aquino is to ignore critics.

That is not a resolution. The past three years, the President has been largely ignoring critical comments from outside his Cabinet and coterie. [ Read More ]

SMOKESCREEN: Malacanang is throwing a smokescreen when it says now that the country’s population hitting 100 million this year is both “a challenge and an opportunity”. [ Read More ]

SAVING BILLIONS: With billions in public funds being stolen with impunity in high places, the administration may want to explore as a kind of New Year’s resolution how to save money. [ Read More ]

CONFLICTING ROLES: How can Malacañang credibly oppose an electricity rate increase when the government itself is into power generation and distribution, and regularly slaps a 12-percent Value-Added Tax on sales? In the debate over the cost of electricity, Malacañang cannot pretend to be an objective referee with only public welfare guiding it. That is because the government, being both a regulator and a power player, is caught in a conflict of interest. It was not surprising then that Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, with President Noynoy Aquino in agreement, defended a government-approved P4.15/kwh price hike and urged the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to appeal the Supreme Court order suspending the rate increase for 60 days. [ Read More ]

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