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Showing posts from July, 2008

Thai court convicts Thaksin's wife of tax evasion

Kelan kaya sa Pilipinas?

Agence France-Presse
BANGKOK - The wife of Thailand's deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was convicted Thursday of tax evasion in the first ruling against his family since the 2006 coup that toppled him from power.

Pojaman Shinawatra and her brother were given three years in prison, while her secretary received a two-year sentence.

"The actions by the three defendants are serious violations of the law. The court has decided that the three defendants were guilty of tax fraud," judge Pramote Pipatpramote said.

All three were released on bail pending appeal, court officials said.

Pulse Asia denies bias in survey


Polling firm Pulse Asia has denied Malacañang's allegation of political bias when it released a survey last week on public skepticism of President Arroyo's State of the Nation Address (SONA) four days before she made her speech before the joint session of Congress.

In an interview with, Ana Maria Tabunda, executive director of Pulse Asia, said it has been conducting and releasing surveys on public's perception on the truthfulness of President's SONA since 2005.

She wondered why it was only now that Malacañang criticized the group for being allegedly partisan in its SONA survey.

"We've been doing this since 2005," she said. "Why is it they did not react this way before?"

Tabunda said respondents had the choice whether to say they found Arroyo's SONA truthful, not truthful, or if they were undecided.

"If people find it truthful, we also print that. So where is t…


By Lito Banayo

The last SONA of Doña Gloria was interrupted a hundred or so times (according to the broadcast stations) by coaxed applause. The applause was tepid, likely coaxed by two very apparent observations. First, the speaker on the dais stopped after almost every sentence, and looked as if she was waiting for the applause. After a few seconds of embarrassing silence, the polite applause came. Naghihintay ng palakpak!

The second was the usual presence of starters-Senadora Miriam in pink paler than her Boss Woman's, giving her every ounce of strength to raising the decibels of coaxed approval. Plus the Arroyo brothers, one positioned to the front left of Doña Mama, the other at the rear right. And of course, the ubiquitous Senora Girlie Villarosa.

ANC's Pia Hontiveros sounded truly aghast when she observed that the longest and strongest applause came when the Dona said that "because texting has become a way of life", she (misma!) talked to th…

More tricks up Gloria's sleeve?

The moment GMA raises the hand of Noli for President, he is as good as dead in the water. That is why they will spend billions to woo the voters beginning in 2001, via infrastructure, dole-outs, Phil Health, the whole shebang. And yes, don't forget the three-month, 50-centavo texting rate. Hahaha. Lokohan lang talaga ito.

Do you wonder why Ace Durano has TV ads ostensibly promoting tourism? And now, print ads, for the Tourism Events of the Month? It's because all their senatorial candidates are out of the Magic 12, being unwinnable and merely "recycled losers" (not my words but that of a respected academic, pero puwede na rin). Bong Revilla, the original Kabuki Mask, is teetering. Miriam Santiago, the former Wonder Woman of Philippine Politics -- how times have changed! -- is teetering. Dick Gordon, the Motormouth, is teetering. And Ralph Recto? The highest-ranking Admi boy will surley teeter, now that we are harvesting the wrath of VAT.

And Noli? Since the forces of …

Teofisto Guingona writes his memoirs

ROSES & THORNS By Alejandro R. Roces
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Philippine STAR

Adlai Stevenson, an American senator from the mid-20th century, once remarked, “What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a total sense of national responsibility…a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” The Philippines is a country that has been blessed with patriots; men and women forged in the fires of our tumultuous history. From the famed martyred Friars Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos and Jacinto Zamora to the people of the EDSA revolution to the overseas workers whose remittances sustain the country, the Filipino has exhibited, in the most dire times, a love of country unparalleled.

The Philippines today is seeing a changing of the patriotic guard. The generation forged in the fires of World War II and Martial Law is giving way to a new generatio…

Iba ang mundo ni Arroyo

ni Ellen Tordesillas

Tinanong ko ang isang dating cabinet member ni Gloria Arroyo kung ano ang atmosphere kapag nasa loob ka ng Malacañang.

Gusto ko kasing intindihin kung bakit ang mga pinagsasabi ni Gloria Arroyo ay malayo sa nakikita at naramdaman ng taumbayan. Hindi ko alam kung siya ba ay nasa alapaap o talagang sobra siyang sinungaling.

Sabi ng dating opisyal kapag nasa loob ka ng Malacañang, lalo pa sa lugfar ni Arroyo, madali ka mawala sa realidad. “Ang mga taong kausap mo ay sasaibhin sa iyo ang akala nila gusto mong malaman kahit na hindi yun ang katotohanan,” sabi niya. Lalo kay Arroyo na mataray. Mahirap magsabi ng “bad news” at baka ikaw pa ang matarayan. .

Sa kalaunan, sabi niya, “ang mundo na mabubuo sa isip mo ay ang ikinukwento sa yo at hindi ang mundo sa labas ng bakod ng Malacañang.”

Kaya katulad sa kanyang SONA, nakakamangha kung saan-san niya kinukuha ang kanyang mga datos para sabihin na mas kokonti ang walang trabaho at mas malakas an…

"Islands of hope" to go on campus tour

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:08:00 07/31/2008

I attended the press conference that launched the Kaya Natin movement at the Ateneo yesterday. Led by Governors Grace Padaca and Among Ed Panlilio, and Mayors Jess Robredo and Sonia Lorenzo, this group has the integrity, good intentions and enough dream power to help change things on the way to 2010. Kahit ano pa ang gawin ni Mrs Arroyo, there will still be enough clean and honest and brave people in government who will steer the country back to where it belongs -- in the front rank of Asia's vibrant democracies -- Danton


MANILA, Philippines—And then there were four.

Mayor Sonia Lorenzo has joined Governors Grace Padaca and Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, and Mayor Jesse Robredo in a new movement for ethical leadership and good governance.

Expect to see them in universities not only to talk about electoral reforms and their campaigns against graft and gambling, but also to coax young leaders to run for p…

Talking Turkey with the Young Turks


The Business of Governance

This is what the Young Turks are all about. They belong to different parties, faiths, and “lifestyle” preferences. Nonetheless, they respect and celebrate each other’s differences. They are united in their advocacy for New Politics and their eagerness to engage the youth and invite them to be active in the movement for reforms and political activism.

“Are you willing to talk in a church building”? This was my anxious question to Adel (Tamano) and Danton (Remoto) when we discussed the scheduled visit of the Young Turks to Silliman University on July 10, 2008. The dialogue with the Political Science and History majors was scheduled to be held in the Udarbe Memory Chapel. The All-University Convocation/Town Hall Meeting would be held in the Silliman Church . Adel, a Muslim, replied that he did not have a problem with speaking in a Christian sanctuary.…

Church stand on natural contraception archaic--Miriam

By Efren L. Danao, Senior Reporter
The Manila Times

The Catholic Church’s insistence on natural contraception is “outdated and archaic,” Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Monday as she expressed support for bills on reproductive health.

“The Catholic religious should get real!” she added.

Senators Rodolfo Biazon and Panfilo Lacson have filed separate bills on reproductive health. These were similar to the ones they had filed in the previous Congress, but which were archived because of strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

The Catholic bishops of the Philippines have been opposing these bills which they considered as pro-abortion. Some had even declared that authors of these bills would be denied the holy sacraments. The Church had often campaigned actively against the election of politicians favoring reproductive health and insisted that family planning is best pursued through natural methods.

Santiago said that the “natural-law mentality” of the Church in …

Survival mode

One of the clearest, sharpest analyses I have seen on the whole mess that is the GMA presidency, coming from the managing editor of my newspaper. Sayang si GMA, at kawawa ang magiging Pangulo sa 2010. But as they say, the task of renewing the country goes on, and on, and on. -- Danton


SKETCHES By Ana Marie Pamintuan
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Philippine Star

In her State of the Nation Address today, President Arroyo will reject calls to scrap the value-added tax on oil imports. This is the SONA part where she will stand against populist moves, as Palace officials put it yesterday.

The President will then announce the many subsidies, mainly for the poorest of the poor, that will be funded from VAT collections. This is the “caring administration” part – reportedly the theme of the SONA.

She is expected to promise that the nation will survive the food and fuel crunch, which she thinks is worse than the Asian financial crisis that struck in 1997.

There is no doubt that the co…

Villar, the reluctant politician

By Efren L. Danao
The Manila Times

Senate President Manuel Villar had originally wanted to serve only one term as congressman. However, he stayed on to become the top honcho of both the House and the Senate. And considering his walk and talk, he might even go on to preside over the Palace by the Pasig River.

Their family had picked him to run in the 9th Congress (1992 to 1995) in place of his then ailing father-in-law, the late Rep. Flo­rencio Aguilar. He agreed—but only for one term. He was then a leading businessman and he wanted to devote more time to his booming realty business. The call to service, however, was too strong for him to resist and he has not left politics since then. That he excelled in both politics and business shows that he is prac­ticing what he wants the Senate to do—multi-tasking, or undertake investigations in aid of legislation without sacrificing its primary task of lawmaking.

I remember him best in the 9th Congress not onl…

Vice President Bong?

By Ducky Paredes
Ang Pahayagang Malaya

I take it as a personal insult to all of us Filipinos that a do nothing, know-nothing like Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla has been flirting with the idea of running for vice president not of some neighborhood association but of this country that might have attained some greatness except for the fact that we have chosen our leaders very badly.

One of the reasons for this is that we never had a working party system. Our political parties are gangs built on personal pursuits rather than ideals of public service.

Recently, Bong came out with a "clarification" about rumors (started by himself in feeds to the movie press) that some unnamed and possibly deranged persons have asked him to consider running for vice president. The senator is obviously suffering from the KSP syndrome. This is when someone who feels self-important finds himself ignored. He is then "kulang sa pansin" and will do anything to be n…

The handwriting on the wall

The handwriting on the wall

by Liling Magtolis Briones

And so it came to pass that King Belshazzar of Babylon gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles. In the midst of Belshazzar’s revelry with his nobles, wives and concubines, the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall: mene, mene, tekel, parsin. Terror filled the heart of the king and all those in the palace.

All the king’s wise men could not read the handwriting on the wall. Finally, the prophet Daniel was summoned. He told the king the meaning of the words. Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Parsin (or Peres): Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

Today, July 28, the President will address a gathering of her nobles and satraps. She will deliver the annual Sona or State of the Nation Address. Whatever she sa…

Young turks in Silliman University, Dumaguete City, July 10

Ladlad: From Literature to Life

Speech delivered before the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines National Conference, Santo Domingo, Albay, May 22, 2006.

Posted in
July 23, 2008

Like many things in life, liberation does not always guarantee that all our dreams will come true. The Greek lesbian Sappho described life as "a beautiful pain." Living the life of a gay man does not lessen the pain in life, but it makes everything bearable.

It makes everything bearable because now, the gay men have a community to turn to. Whether it is the community of the gay yahoo groups, or the community of gay student organizations in our campuses, or the community of the organized lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement, now we have communities that are no longer imagined but real.

The PKB gay yahoo group sends bright but poor Filipino students to college. Their first batch of scholars graduated in 2006, with honors, and they are raising funds for other scholars. The student organizations all over …

The Timidity of Hope

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:05:00 07/23/2008

Earlier [this year], there was an explosion of idealism took place among students. There was talk that this development astounded and worried the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo so much that marching orders were given to destroy the personality thought to have sparked it: Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., the whistleblower on the national broadband network (NBN) deal with ZTE Corp. By the time classes resumed, he was supposed to be reduced to being a has-been, and with that, the political problem of student activism would be buried.

We are all used to the powers-that-be thinking in such terms, and it has to be said that there is little evidence to show that tactically speaking, the administration is wrong in its approach. Here its critics and main opponents have been sidelined, and it has managed to present the illusion that it is here to stay.

In recent weeks, students have been reported to be engaging in walk…


Column by Lito Banayo
Ang Pahayagang Malaya

Ayan na. Kahit gaano kalaki at kakintab ang tarpaulin, kahit gaano karami ang nakakalat nito sa Metro, imbyerna pa rin ang mga tao. Tama si National Artist for Literature and Theater Rolando S. Tinio: "Hindi naman talaga tanga ang mga mahihirap. Naghihintay lang sila ng tamang panahon para rumesbak." At eto na nga ang resbak: - 38 percent sa SWS survey, the lowest of the lowest of the lowest, since the time of Herr Ferdinand Marcos.

And wait, just you wait, for the full fury of the people's anger when the 2010 elections come. And then you will see how pure, how magnificent, the people's anger would be! -- Danton


Doña Gloria's net satisfaction rating dives to negative 38, and the indictment cuts through all regions, all ages, all social strata. Nothing she does ever seems to be right by her people.

Her imperious executive secretary says it's not the surveys, but the people who should judge his pr…

''They have to shoot me'--Villa Ignacio on ouster move

Nagkakabukingan na po. Ang baho-baho na talaga ng Office of Ombudsman. That is what Malacanang got for appointing a friend of Mike Arroyo in that sensitive office. Somebody’s house is falling down, falling down, falling down. Buti nga! — Danton



The battle lines between Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio have been clearly drawn.

If push comes to shove, Villa-Ignacio said he will go to the Supreme Court and inform the justices of the underhanded tactics aimed at forcing him to resign his post.

In a hastily called press conference shortly after a show of force by subordinates of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, Villa-Ignacio, in a rare show of pique, said “they will have to shoot me” if Gutierrez’s allies would have him removed from the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

Deputies of Ombudsman Gutierrez closed ranks behind her and said the row between their boss and Villa-Ignacio should be resolved internally. (…

An Affair with English

An Affair with English
By Danton Remoto
Business Mirror Newspaper
Front Page
July 21, 2008

This column is part of the series on Planet English sponsored by the British company Pru-Life to promote the English language and writing in English in the Philippines.


HOW did you begin to write? And why in English?

Friends and strangers alike would ask me that question. But the notion of beginning still surprises me until now.

As a child, I loved to draw, to memorize in my mind’s eye images of the passing day. I also loved to read—I would finish reading my English textbooks in one week, when we were supposed to read them for the whole year. I read ravenously and I read everything—the ingredients in a can of soup, the newspaper my father bought every day, the Philippine Journal of Education my mother subscribed to, the ten-volume Children’s Classics that an uncle had given to us.

I grew up in Basa Air Base, Pampanga, in a sm…

Students urged to get involved in social concerns

Sun Star Dumaguete
Published July 12, 2008

YOUNG politicians from Manila visited Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental recently in their series of campus tours throughout the country. The young politicians who call themselves “Young Turks” visited Silliman University first.

They engaged Silliman students in a forum discussion held at the Silliman Church, as well as in addressing concerns on education, politics, economics, and cultural concerns in two earlier forums.

The Young Turks is composed of Danton Remoto, chairman of Ang Ladlad Party List and professor of English at Ateneo; Representative Gilbert Remulla, a former congressman, broadcaster and television personality; Adel Tamano, spokesperson of the United Opposition (UNO); and Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III of Quezon City, the son of former Senator Wigberto Tanada and the grandson of nationalist Senator Lorenzo Tanada. The forum was also initiated by the Arts and Sciences Department of Silliman University.


Taking turkey with the Young Turks

by Liling Magtolis-Briones

"Are you willing to talk in a church building"? This was my anxious question to Adel (Tamano) and Danton (Remoto) when we discussed the scheduled visit of the Young Turks to Silliman University on July 10, 2008. The dialogue with the Political Science and History majors was scheduled to be held in the Udarbe Memory Chapel. The All-University Convocation/Town Hall Meeting would be held in the Silliman Church. Adel, a Muslim, replied that he did not have a problem with speaking in a Christian sanctuary. Danton assured me he "is a good Christian soldier." Erin (Tanada) and Gilbert (Remulla) did not mind either.

This is what the Young Turks are all about. They belong to different parties, faiths, and "lifestyle" preferences. Nonetheless, they respect and celebrate each other’s differences. They are united in their advocacy for New Politics and their eagerness to engage the youth and invite them to be active in the move…

Till them do them part by Lito Banayo

Romulo Neri will soon assume his new posting, as administrator of the Social Security System, which husbands some 250 billion pesos of the blood, sweat, and tears of the working class and their private employers.

To make certain he is classified as cabinet rank, his president created a new cabinet cluster, and made him chair the "national social welfare program" of the Boss Woman. Being in cabinet, he can always and ever invoke executive privilege.

And true to form, Romulo Neri tells the country that "executive privilege will stay with me for the rest of my life". Their secrets (his and hers) till the grave he shall carry. Till death do them part. Married to each other's prevarications - Romulo and Gloria.

In defending himself against accusations that he is out to use the workers' fund as his Boss Woman would order, he claims that when he was appointed to the Department of Budget and Management, they likened him to "Dracula" sent to …

On New Politics by Liling Magtolis Briones

Boiled Green Bananas
Column in Business Mirror

During the past week, I was deeply engrossed with two seemingly disparate activities. The first was the visit of the Young Turks—Adel (Tamano), Danton (Remoto), Erin (Tañada) and Gilbert (Remulla) to Silliman University, Dumaguete City, on July 10 and 11. The other activity was the “Magkaisa sa Awitan” choral festival commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United Church of the Good Shepherd (UGCS).

It is starting. The young are singing a different political tune. It is the music of New Politics. Young people are responding to the call for New Politics in talk shows, blogs and assemblies. They are moving away from apathy and are starting to march to a different drum. They are talking to the Young Turks.

Who are the Young Turks? During the first leg of their university tour in Silliman University, many asked this question. Are they similar to the young men of Turkey who started the Young Turks Revolution that brought down the monarchy? Or …