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Showing posts from February, 2009

Who will be the President of the Philippines in 2010?

Who will win as President of the Philippines in 2010? I offer this reading, which is as slippery as they come, but borne of deep thinking while making that breathless crawl from Loyola Heights, where I live, to Ayala Avenue, where I currently work.

1. Loren Legarda will win if she can cobble together enough money. P2 billion tops.

2. Mar Roxas will win if he injects excitement into his campaign, i.e., get Kris Aquino to run as his VP. In this way, Korina will raise his left hand and Kris will raise his right hand. That's a tough team to defeat.

3. Manny Villar will win if he manages to clean the dirt thrown at him by Lacson and Jamby over C 5. When an issue has spawned jokes and has been embedded in the comic and cosmic imagination of the Filipino, then it is hard to erase this C 5 at Taga.

4. Noli de Castro will win if he finally moves away from the shadow of GMA.

5. Chiz Escudero will win if GMA will not endorse him and if his NPC does not coalesce with the latak team of GMA.

6. And f…

Oreta is 6th losing bet to get gov't post

BY Jocelyn Montemayor


Well, well, well. As they say, you can never can tell. It's a blessing from the skies. They are called recycled losers, and they are being appointed to give them media mileage and visibility for the 2010 senatorial elections. And of course, like saliva, they are on the tips of the voters' tongues, they can be easily expelled from the voters' mouths by a mere voluntary contraction of tongue, and lips, and facial muscles.

In short, idudura.


MALACA√ĎANG yesterday named former Sen. Teresa Aquino-Oreta to the newly-formed Early Childhood Care and Development Council (ECCDC).

Oreta was the sixth losing senatorial candidate of Team Unity to get a government position.

The others are Planning Secretary Ralph Recto, Dangerous Drugs Board chief Vicente Sotto III, Local Water Utilities Administration director Prospero Pichay Jr., deputy security adviser Luis "Chavit" Singson, and Michael Defensor, who headed the defunct named Task Force on the Ni…

Namfrel to hold voters' registration

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 17:53:00 02/26/2009

MANILA, Philippines – The National Citizen's Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) will hold a registration for first time voters at San Beda College Friday, an official said.

Namfrel and Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chairperson Henrietta de Villa said in a phone interview that the special registration aimed to encourage about 200 students and out-of-school youth from the fourth and sixth districts of Manila, along with other students from nearby schools, to enlist so that they could be able to participate in the 2010 polls.

“I hope this special registration of voters on Friday will signal proactive engagement of our nation's “bagond bida” [new heroes] – the Filipino youth voters,” she said.

De Villa added that there would be a voters' education campaign as part of the registration to promote awareness among the youth on the importance of participating in the elections.

The activity is timely …

Roxas: Palace revenge for LP fight vs corruption starts

LIberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said graft charges filed against party mate and former Bukidnon Rep. Nereus Acosta smacks of political persecution following his and the Liberal Party’s united demand for an immediate stop to government corruption and the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

“Alam ng taumbayan kung papaano tumindig ako at ang mga Liberal laban sa katiwalian at para sa malinis at wastong pamamahala. Alam ng taumbayan kung paano umiiral ang mga sindikato ng korapsyon sa loob ng gobyerno. Kaya alam nilang ang kaso laban kay Dr. Neric ay operasyon lang laban sa akin at sa mga Liberal,” he said, adding: “Neric has unfortunately become an unwitting collateral damage in this renewed attacks by the Arroyo administration against me and the Liberals for standing up for accountability and good governance. Ito ang ganti ni GMA at ni FG sa pagtindig ko laban sa kanilang katiwalian.”

He questioned the timing of the Ombudsman’s action against Acosta and his mother, …

Rizal for our times

By Danton Remoto | Remote Control | 02/17/2009 7:00 PM
Remote Control

I am old enough to remember watching the plays of Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) at the Rajah Sulayman Theater, in the ruins of Fort Santiago in Intramuros. After watching a highly controversial play during the darkest days of martial law, we would go home but would quietly watch our backs, lest some secret marshal would be following us.

Last year, I watched Ateneo teacher Christine Bellen’s play, Batang Rizal, at the new and lovely home of PETA in New Manila. It’s a nifty musical about the young Rizal, and on the way there, the playwright said that what pleased her most was the audience the day before – a gaggle of around 50 tykes who had filled up a small van. As they say, if you can please such a young – and certainly most difficult – audience, you can please the most makunat of them all.

And pleased they certainly were, and so were we, when we watched the musical unfold before o…

A coalition that will never happen

I just approved a comment that said he wanted the NP, LP, NPC, Lakas, PMP, etc etc to join forces and field a common senatorial slate. And then he proceeded to list down names for his senatorial slate, and I am not there.

I approved it nevertheless, in the spirit of wicked fun.

And what is the latest about my campaign?

1. We are firming up our provincial campaign teams.

2. One big political party sent an officer to the Ateneo to get a copy of my CV. And why? I am not applying for a teaching position in his political party ;-)

3. Another said their political party wants me to run as their VP. I just gave them my Mona Lisa smile.

4. Still another one wants me to sign an affiliation agreement with them.

5. I have begun meeting with my advertising and promo team, a group of Makati hotshots, friends of long standing. The operative word in my campaign ads would be FUN.

WB: Ombudsman knew road case 3 years ago

By CARMELA FONBUENA, | 02/24/2009 3:46 PM

The Ombudsman was on radio this morning being interviewed by Anthony Taberna and she said, "Tunying naman. Hindi na nga kami natutulog. When I arrived, there were 21,000 cases. We solved 18,000 of those."

Well, well, well. It turned out that she included dismissed, archived, etc cases in the 18,000 her office supposedly solved.

And now this news from the world Bank, whose processes and procedures are as multi-layered as a honeycomb. Or as Bert Hoffman would put it, "Our processes are rigorous." I think so too.

And she is caught lying again. Liar, liar, pants on fire....


Contrary to the Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez's claim that her office knew of the irregularities in the World Bank-financed roads project only last November 2007, the multilateral bank said Tuesday that the anti-graft agency was aware of the issue three years ago.

As early as May 2006, World Bank investigators have personally b…

LP senatorial candidates


I do not know this guy but I just got this while surfing the Internet today. This is interesting, but let me reiterate that I am not a member of the Liberal party -- or of any other political party. If I am rating well in the senatorial surveys -- as some political operators claim when they talk to me -- that is their opinion and not mine.

Thanks, anyway, for visayan bloggers for thinking I am worthy of being in this slate.


Below are the people being considered as 2010 senatorial candidates for the Liberal Party (LP). I repeat, the people below are still being considered and are still not the final bets of LP, as what the LP-Atienza wing tries to claim.

Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, who was tasked by LP chairman former Sen. Franklin Drilon, to head the party’s Electoral Preparatory Committee, listed down the following potential “senatoriables”:

1. Former Senator Franklin Drilon
2. Former Agriculture Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad
3. Muntinlupa R…

Kaya Natin! brings good governance to Laguna and Batangas

By Harvey S. Keh
Feb 20, 2009

More than a thousand college students and teachers attended the Kaya Natin! Caravan of Good Governance held on Friday at the Malayan Colleges Laguna and the First Asia Institute for Technology and Humanities in Tanauan City, Batangas.

During those forums, Kaya Natin! leaders Gov. Eddie Panlilio of Pampanga and Mayor Sonia Lorenzo of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, shared with the audience their experience of good governance and ethical leadership in running their respective local government units.

Panlilio talked about his experience in curbing the rampant corruption present in the collection of quarry taxes in his province. His success in collecting proper taxes has allowed him to raise more than P200 million that will be used to provide better basic services in education and health for the residents of Pampanga.

Recently, President Gloria Arroyo awarded him the Gawad Galing Pook award for excellence in local government management.

For her part, Lorenzo stressed…

Mahalaga ang Tao

BY Florangel Rosario Braid

It is noteworthy that at the 63rd Liberal Party anniversary, LP President Mar Roxas, chose to focus on what it means to be a Liberal – “the responsibility of assuming a clear public duty, the satisfaction it provides - having a reason to live, and a reason to serve the lofty cause of fighting for our people.” What should make every party member proud, he noted, was that since the beginning, the Liberal Party had been at the center in setting up the pillars of independence and the rebuilding of the nation after World War II. Also that the Party was central to the establishment of what is now the centerpiece of the Constitution – social justice. Two transformational initiatives - land reform, and the first minimum wage law, R.A. 4150, were legislated and implemented by the Liberal Party. In the 1970’s, LP leaders were again actively involved in the fight against the dictatorship, in the events before and after Edsa One, and the rejection…

How 'TNTs' can enlist for 2010 polls

Veronica Uy
First Posted 15:27:00 02/14/2009

MANILA, Philippines -- Filipinos overseas whose immigration status in their host country is irregular like the so-called "tago ng tago" (TNT, always hiding) need to bring only some form of identification so that they can be enlisted for the 2010 national and senatorial elections, Elections Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said.

"The passport is an important source of identification. The important thing is an evidence to establish their identity," he said.

In a related development, foreign affairs spokesman Bayani Mangibin denied reports that the Department of Foreign Affairs and its posts here and abroad are forcing overseas Filipinos to register for the overseas absentee voting (OAV) by blackmailing them and withholding their passport applications until they register. He also denied that a registration fee of P75 is charged for every applicant.

"We deny that. That is not true," he said of the reports.


HS students speak on leadership: "I can make a difference"

By Lei Chavez | 02/13/2009 12:57 PM

I am a leader, I can make a difference.

With this premise, 12 senior high school students delivered speeches on
true leadership in the recently held grand finals of the Voices of
Leadership Elocution Competition on Wednesday.

The public speaking contest is a corporate advocacy of Volvo Philippines
launched last November 2008. It was organized by Viking Cars Inc (VCI), the
authorized dealer of Volvo cars in the Philippines, and Scandinvian Motors
Corp. (SMC), the official importer of Volvo cars in the country.

As varied as the schools the contestants came from, each speech gave
numerous definitions: from the universally known concept of "A leader is a
servant" to endearing ones as "Ang lider ay isang salmon" to serious
notions as "Leadership is a way of life."

For Chinese-looking (but purely Filipino) John Xavier Valdez from Ateneo de
Manila High School, "Leadership is not about power or charisma. It is not
social c…

Best LGU practices cited, from reducing disaster risk to collecting more revenues

Mr Llanto's piece is well-written, but he has forgotten to mention that the Special Citation for the four Local Government Units was sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Better late than later.


BY Jesus F. Llanto
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Newsbreak Magazine

A scorecard to measure performance and improve governance in the city. A barangay government code that has resulted in more revenues and better peace and order situation. A market organized by the provincial government but run by farmers. A disaster risk management and risk reduction program of a calamity-prone province.

These are programs of four local government units (LGUs) that were recently given special citation by the Galing Pook Awards—which recognizes best practices of LGUs—for their programs that provide incentives at the local level to improve performance and governance.

The local governments that received the Special Citation on Local Capacity Incentive Mechanism…

From the closet. To public office

Review of MILK
BY Jessica Zafra

The events described in Milk seem like records from a distant era, so it’s startling to realize that they happened just 30 years ago. Movies based on the lives of public figures tend to play like history lessons—you keep glancing at your watch to see how much more edification you must endure—but Gus Van Sant has crafted a vital and compelling piece of cinema. Based on the life of the assassinated gay rights activist turned San Francisco supervisor, Milk is the story of how one citizen becomes involved in the political life of a nation.

Harvey, a New York-born insurance company employee, moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend and opens a camera shop on the Castro. It’s the early Seventies: a gay man risks losing his job if he is exposed. He soon finds that San Francisco is not as tolerant as he’d hoped, and the Christian right is waging war on anyone who disagrees with them. Harvey quickly marshals the power of numbers, or…

Kaya Natin! creates chapters nationwide

By Karla Pastores
The Manila Times

More than 100 student leaders and professionals came together in the first ever Kaya Natin! Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Training Seminar held last February 7 (Saturday) at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

The participants came from different places all over the country including Ilocos Norte, Laguna, La Union, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Rizal, Zambales, Camarines Sur and Davao. Facilitating the seminar were Kaya Natin! Convenor Harvey Keh, who also serves as the Director of the Youth Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship program of the Ateneo School of Government, Simon Mossesgeld, organizer of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress, and Atty. Arnel Casanova, faculty for Social Entrepreneurship of the Ateneo School of Government.

The training seminar aims to develop leaders for nation building, particularly through the Kaya Natin! Movement. The participants organized themselves into Kaya Natin committees an…

The leader we need

Lito Banayo is one of the clearest-minded analysts in the murky world of Philippine political commentary. I generally agree with his sentiments, which are as follows. The following will run as president, with their own respective parties:

Manny Villar -- Nacionalista Party
Mar Roxas -- Liberal Party
Chiz Escudero -- Nationalist People's Coalition
Loren Legarda -- LDP
Noli de Castro -- Lakas-Kampi

Erap will be sidelined by the Supreme Court, and Bayani Fernando, as well as Dick da Gordon and Jojo Binay da Obama, will not make it even in the starting line.

And my own analysis:

Villar -- has money but sidetracked by the C-5 controversy, still.
Roxas -- has some money but rather low in the surveys, so far. He needs Korina and Kris Aquino to haul in the votes.
Escudero -- will be bankrolled by the Cojuangco money, but might be burdened by Cojuangco ties with GMA.
Legarda -- very popular but will not have enough funds if she runs under LDP. Lucio Tan will give to everyone, not just to her.
de Castr…

$45 M lost to bribes for 'cartel' backed by DPWH execs, polls

Malou Mangahas was my brave and fearless editor at the Manila Times, a newspaper sued for libel and was later shut down after it reported a former President as an "unwitting" godfather to a corrupt deal. The President has since been deposed.

And so the saga of corruption ripening in the Philippines like a rotten fruit continues.


Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism

CORRUPTED to the core, and entirely, by a "cartel" of kickback-takers with support from the highest levels of the Philippine government.

In gist, this is the damning conclusion of the World Bank’s anti-corruption unit, the powerful and dreaded Department of Institutional Integrity (INT) regarding the Bank-funded National Road Improvement and Management Project-1 (NRIMP-1).

According to the INT, "the entire NRIMP-1 Project has been corrupted," and had put "at least $30 to $45 million of the entire $150-million loan at risk," or lost to "a cartel" of …

the young here, there, everywhere

My gazillion thanks to the young people who comment on my blog, send me e-mail messages, or text me on the cell phone. Their inexhaustible fire will fuel the 2010 elections, turning it into an election to be decided by the young, and by those who have the idealism of the young.

yesterday i was talking to a priest. two days ago, to a group of teachers. last week, to farmers and market vendors in the south. a fortnight ago, to a group of students in mindanao.

and they echo with the same words, filled with a thirst for the truly non-trapo upon whom they could give their trust in 2010.

i tell them to look at the track records of the candidates, their votes for or against important bills, what they have done concretely for the country.

in the workplace, in congress and in the senate, what blights us is our propensity to shoot our mouths off. in the end, work is more important than words. words you can slough off, like layers of dead skin.

and so to our politicians running in 2010: avoid a diarr…

Netiquette for the cellphone and cyberspace age

BY Danton Remoto
Views and analysis
02/09/2009 11:50 PM

The Philippines is the texting capital of the world, with at least 70 million text messages sent every day. Internet usage in the country is also rising, with at least 20 percent of the population having access to the Internet, whether at home, in the office, or in the Internet cafes.

Thus, it behooves everybody to know etiquette for the Age of the Cell phone and Cyberspace. We can telescope them together and call them Netiquette -- a portmanteau of “network etiquette” that can be the convention on electronic forums (Usenet, mailing lists, live chat, and Internet forums). It can also be extended for use of the cell phone users.

The fact that 70 millions text messages are circulated in the Philippines suggests that we are comfortable with this medium. The cell phone is like a third party between us and the receiver of the message. Therefore, since we Filipinos are most comfortable when messages are sent th…

how to win a senate seat

1. talk in tagalog.

2. read up on issues.

3. have a strong political party.

4. don't flit from party to party.

5. smiles, sound-bites and smart moves all around.

There are many re-electionists running for the senatorial seats in 2010. Many of them would win.

Alas and alack, my fearless forecast is that it would be a lucky year if at least FOUR new and young candidates would win a seat in the Senate.

And so the race begins....

Excuse me while I leave the metropolis for a week, to touch base with the student council editors and school paper editors and the forgotten lower-middle classes of this country.

And one day, in God's own good time, a plausible and reliable survey of senatorial candidates would appear.

obama's campaign manager

I recently attended a forum led by Joe Hansen, a campaign consultant of Barack Obama. He is like the US President himself -- sharp, funny, wise and calm. Add a dash of folksy charm as well, and you know why Team Obama bulldozed the Republicans piloted by Mc Cain.

On the way out of Club Filipino, I met a former senator, a senior member of what might be called the Opposition.

He smiled at me, walked over to me, and clasped my hand. Last year, he would not even recognize me, when we were together in a forum in the same place.

Ahhh, how times have changed.

Joe Hansen talked about how the gays and lesbians of the USA helped Obama win the presidency. You may call it niche marketing, or gray marketing, or whatever. But Obama touched base with them, and with the youth, and with the minorities, and with the others who felt they were voiceless and not important.

But our senior senator was non-plussed. He told me, "Danton, we know all of that already. Why listen to him?"

I just gave him my …

Admirable Miriam

By Alvin Capino
Manila Standard Today

Overwhelming approval would be the most probable result of a public opinion survey on the handling by the irrepressible Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago of last week’s hearing on reports of alleged corruption in the World Bank-funded public works project in the Philippines.

Most people would have to agree with and approve Santiago’s outburst against the seeming indifference by government officials on allegations of corruption in public works projects. People probably wish that they could also publicly lambaste these officials.

Santiago clearly gave vent to people’s frustration on government corruption.

Of course one of the reasons for the strong public support for Santiago’s anti-corruption advocacy is public anger which has been stoked by the kid’s glove treatment of blacklisted contractors by their fellow contractors sitting in the House of Representatives.

The House hearing on the same issue heard by Santiago’s Senate committee on economic affair…

CHR should craft policy for LGBTs

By Tetch Torres
First Posted 19:21:00 02/04/2009

MANILA, Philippines -- Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said it is the responsibility of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to draft policies to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) against discrimination.

In a three-page opinion, Gonzalez said Articles 2(2) and 26 of the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is a signatory, requires that LGBTs be entitled to equal protection before the law.

The opinion was issued after Akbayan party-list Representative Ana Theresa Hontiveros-Baraquel asked Gonzalez who should make the policies on LGBTs.

"[T]he law shall prohibit discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any grounds, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status," Gonzalez said.

He pointed out that policies…

Voices from the margins

Views and Analysis

Many thanks to the people who take time out to send me an e-mail. One of them is Jack, a 22-year-old gay man from Cagayan de Oro City. Now working in Manila, Jack seems to typify the twenty-something gay man—based in the city, with a slew of friends for company, and leisure to read the books dealing with the life he has chosen to lead. His letter was written in Tagalog. With his permission, I’ve translated some passages.

“Unlike your family, my family was not supportive of my sexuality. I come from a broken family and I wasn’t able to finish college because of financial difficulties. I left Cagayan de Oro City to strike out on my own. Life in the city is a combination of beauty and pain. I want to write about all of this, but being a writer is like something I cannot reach. So, I am now just contented with reading books, like the ones you write. But one day, I hope that the things I write can reach their intended reader…