Ladlad renews bid for Comelec accreditation

Philippine News Agency
September 25, 2009

Ladlad, a gay and lesbian group, has renewed its bid to get the nod of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to accredit and allow the group to join the party list elections next year.

Ladlad head Danton Remoto said he is hoping that the poll body will evaluate thoroughly their application.

“I hope the Comelec will see the point of our party list,” he said before the hearing of their accreditation Thursday at the Comelec head office in Manila.

He said Ladlad should be allowed to participate in 2010 elections as they represent a marginalized sector in the society.

“Like many Filipinos, many lesbians, gays, transgenders are poor. So we reflect the economic conditions of the country. Marginalization is not only financial,” Remoto pointed out.

He is also confident that they will finally get the approval of the Comelec since they already have members all over the country.

Remoto revealed that they have 13 regional chapters and 22,000 members and affiliates nationwide.

“The reason why we were not accredited before was because they said we don’t have enough members nationwide,” said Remoto.

The group applied for party list accreditation in the 2007 elections but failed to convince the Comelec.

According to the poll body the group does not represent a marginalized and underprivileged sector of society. (PNA)

Canceled names exceed new voters by 3.4 million

09/25/2009 | 01:17 PM

With only a month to go before the registration period for the 2010 elections ends, the number of names purged from the voters’ list is more than twice the number of new voters that have signed up so far, according to records obtained from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

As of July 2009, a total of 2.7 million new voters have signed up since the registration period started in December 2008, figures culled from Comelec records by GMA News Research show.

During the same period, however, the number of names that have been purged from the list of registered voters has reached 6.1 million. Most of them, or about 5.6 million, are Filipinos who did not vote in the last two elections.

James Jimenez, head of the poll body’s Education and Information Department, said the figures should not give the impression that there is a low turnout of new registrants because more voters have been stricken off the voters’ list.

“There is a misconception that there is a target that we’re trying to reach in terms of the number of new registrants. There is not," Jimenez told GMANews.TV.

He said hundreds of new registrants have been trooping to Comelec offices in recent weeks to beat the October 31 deadline. For the 2010 elections, “We are looking at 46 to 47 million voters," he said.

As of July 20, 2009, Comelec records showed that there are 45,487,634 registered voters in the country. Deactivated and canceled voters are not included in the list.

According to the Commission on Population, there were 88.57 million Filipinos as of August 1, 2007.

For the 2007 polls, records show that 6.4 million potential voters did not register at all. Of this number, 832,000 came from the youth sector and 624,000 did not know that they had to register before voting.

Cleansing of voters' list

Jimenez said the cleansing of the voters’ list is a continuing project of the Comelec to ensure that “suspicious" names and those ineligible to vote cannot participate in the electoral process.

Source: Comelec

The Comelec lists the following factors as causes for removal from the voters’ list:

Sentence by final judgment to imprisonment of not less than a year

Sentence by final judgment of crimes involving disloyalty to the duly constituted government or any crime against national security

Declared by competent authority to be insane or incompetent

Failure to vote in two successive preceding regular elections

Loss of Filipino citizenship

Excluded per court order


Transfer to another municipality

Double registration

Double entry

Voters who failed to vote in the past two elections are only deactivated and can register again.

Asked whether the public should be alarmed with the large number of voters whose names have been removed from the list, Jimenez said that it is not a “cause for worry."

He said the mass cleansing of the voters’ list is a necessary step in ensuring clean and honest elections, and should not be linked to the number of new registrants.

"Voter cleansing and voter registration are two different matters. The right to register to vote is a choice, but cleaning the voters' list is a must," Jimenez said. - with GMA NEWS RESEARCH, GMANews.TV
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Gays seek party-list accreditation anew

By Mayen Jaymalin
The Philippine Star
Updated September 25, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The gay rights group Ang Ladlad has come out of the closet once again to seek recognition as a legitimate party-list organization by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The group led by Danton Remoto filed a petition before the Comelec yesterday, urging the poll body to allow them to participate in the 2010 elections.

Remoto said their group represents gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders that account for 10 percent of the total 43.5 million registered voters nationwide.

The group sought anew to be recognized as a party-list organization, two years after the Comelec junked their petition for accreditation citing the failure to comply with the legal requirements of national membership.

Remoto this time argued that Ang Ladlad has sufficient membership to mount a national campaign.

He insisted their advocacy to promote gay rights is legitimate and thus they should be allowed to participate in next year’s elections.

Remoto said the reason why they formed Ang Ladlad in September 2003 is to reclaim the lost rights of gays and lesbians because of public discrimination against them.

Remoto is hoping to secure a seat in Congress and file a measure to seek equal opportunities for gays and lesbians.

Remoto is also pushing for the repeal of the Anti-Vagrancy Law, which he said is commonly used by unscrupulous policemen for extortion of gays.

2010 election trends

BY Ellen Tordesillas

It’s heartening to know interest among young people to participate in the 2010 elections is growing.

Political consultant Malou Tiquia, in her presentation on “Developments in the 2010 election campaign” in a recent forum sponsored by the Ateneo School of Government, said of the 45,029,443 registered voters as of March 2009, nine million belong to age 18-35 years old. Election observers expect 22 per cent of voters would come from the youth sector.

If these young people would identify with someone in their age range, they would have three to choose from: Chiz Escudero of the National People’s Coalition, who will be turning 40 (the minimum age requirement to be president) on October 10; Gilbert Teodoro of the administration’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD; and the Liberal Party’s Noynoy Aquino.

With the significant number of voters being young, Tiquia, who is advising Escudero now, said there would be higher use of New Media both by the candidates and the voters. “Social networking sites (Facebook, Friendster, Multiply, MySpace) allow candidates to establish constant visibility to their constituents. It allows them to present their political agenda as well as personal lives in a non-obtrusive manner,” she said,

Tiquia further said, “the informal landscape of the Internet may prove to be effective in creating a more personal connection with voters.”

Blogs, which number almost 400,000 in the country today, may be used to “create buzz”, she said.

But she said although there have been a sharp increase of internet users in the past eight years (two million in 2000 to 20 million in 2008), Tiquia said television and radio are still the more effective media for the candidates to reach the greatest number of audience.

In Metro Manila, for example, TV reaches 78 per cent of the population; radio, 31 per cent; newspapers, 53 per cent and internet , 16 percent.

In other parts of Luzon, TV reaches 70 per cent; radio, 45 per cent; newspapers, 39 per cent and internet, six per cent.

In the Visayas, TV reaches 71 per cent; radio 47 per cent; newspapers 30 per cent and internet five per cent. In Mindanao, TV reaches 64 per cent, radio 44 per cent, newspapers 22 per cent; and internet three per cent.

That explains why presidential candidates are saturating TV with their ads. Nielsen Media data show that from October 2008 to May 2009, Nacionalista party presidential bet Manny Villar has spent P321 million on TV ads. A source said as of last month, Villar’s TV ads spending has already reached P600 million.

And official campaign period has not yet started!

Sen. Mar Roxas, who dropped out from the presidential race in favor of Aquino, had spent P256 million while Teodoro had spent P30 million as of May 2009.

Tiquia said the past three national elections showed an average of 74.25 voters turnout. That would mean about 33 million out of the almost 46 million registered voters. She said to win in a contest of four or five presidential candidates, the winner should get at least 30 per cent of the votes or 10 million votes.

In 1992, Fidel Ramos won with only 5,342,321 votes (16.62 per cent of total registered voters) over Miriam Santiatiago who got 4,468,133.

In 1998, Joseph Estrada got 10,722,295 votes (31.39 per cent of registered voters) over Jose de Venecia’s 4,268,483 votes.

In the fraud-riddled 2004 election, Arroyo was proclaimed after being credited with 12,905,808 votes (29.64 per cent) over Fernando Poe Jr.’s 11,782, 232 votes.

Mahar Mangahas of the Social Weather Station, in his presentation on “Expectations of the Filipino people for the 2010 elections., said the unpopularity of Gloria Arroyo will be factor in the voters’ decision.

Mangahas said, “It is an outstanding fact that most Filipinos have been dissatisfied with the president’s performance throughout the past five years. In contrast, during the 2004 election campaign, the public’s regard for GMA was either moderate or neutral.”

Mangahas noted that Arroyo was not alone as an increasing unpopular leader citing the case of US President George W. Bush whose popularity plunged from 2001 to 2008. ”Common sense says that it will be just as hard for GMA’s candidate to win in 2010 as it was for Bush’s candidate to win in 2008. The main task of her candidate will be to convince the public that he/she will be very different.”

Dust begins to settle

BY Lito Banayo
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
September 18, 2009

ON the 16th day of the 9th month of the Gregorian calendar, which is the 28th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, also known as the "Kwi Ge" or ghost month, Gilbert Teodoro was "chosen" by the PaLaKa Executive Committee as their standard-bearer for 2010.

(For the benefit of those who do not know the significance that the Chinese place on the Kwi Ge, know this: No Chinese family moves to a house, no businessman opens a store or an office, or ink a major contract or agreement during the Kwi Ge, when ghosts roam the land. No announcements of major significance, no career changes are made, or bad luck steps in if ghosts attach themselves to house, office or career. And this year, the 7th month began August 20 and ends today, September 18. That’s when the moon cakes are given around, thanking the gods for passing through a dreadful month.) So Ronnie Puno is wiser. He did not allow himself to be nominated as the vice-presidential candidate. Kung malasin si Gibo, hindi damay si Ronnie.

The lapdogs were all there, many of them secretly consorting in small dinner or drinking parlors with the henchmen of Manny Villar, deal struck, but conditions of timing for their "switch" stretchable, depending on how DBM’s purse strings loosen up on the basis of Gabby Claudio’s attendance record. The Nacionalistas, of course, did their own attendance check, and immediately followed up on their "sleepers" inside PaLaKa.

"Akala ko ba may usapan na tayo?", asks the gatekeeper of the NP purse.

"Boss, alam mo naman, hihintayin ko lang yung last tranche ng DBM, at saka, may pina-follow-up pa akong project," answers the "sleeper" congressman sheepishly.

Poor Gilbert. He poses for a picture with his caboodle of trapos, smoke-stained pearlies showing in wide grins, thinking that these unworthies will give him their "command" votes come May 2010. Maybe. But that’s going to cost him several millions per district. And there’s no delivery guarantee. In Philippine politics, "word of honor" is, to paraphrase Andrew Jackson "worth a pitcher of warm spit".

No wonder his braintrust, my friend Atty. Nelson Victorino, who was with me in Malacañang in the old days of old Erap, looked sullen. In his honest mind, he knows these hallelujah chorus croak better than they could ever sing.


Noli knows. Which is why, unlike the hapless Bayani, he did not even bother to attend the PaLaKa "pakulo". Street-smart, this Noli.

Now, Villar must be upping the "ante" as he desperately needs a running-mate. Over the week-end, Senadora Pia pleaded with her brother Alan’s political boss, "talagang hindi pwede". Pia is happy where she is, as senadora competing with La Loren for gowns with the mostest, and business suits that look smarter, certainly better than Jamby’s, or La Miriam’s. The Pulse Asia polls place her at the top three, never going down, and all she has to do is bike, bike, and bike. Jamby has to "burn her kilay" trying to pin down Alan’s boss on the C-5 crime of the century (well, almost, because other land and road deals have yet to see the light of daytime exposure). Yet Pia outdistances Jamby in the polls, as she does Miriam and her motor-mouthed diatribes against whoever takes her fancy.

So Villar is out, shopping once more. If Noli does not bite the bigger and bigger and more luscious "apple pie" Villar is offering, then maybe Jinggoy will bite.

But Noli, apart from being street-smart, also values face. Hindi naman lahat pera-pera, and as a newscaster with his ears on the ground, the quiet life of one who did not "sell" is a consummation much to be desired after an amazing political life of "swerti".

It ain’t so pretty, but it ain’t so bad, if you appreciate the metaphor of "face" versus "pera." Better to retire in a lovely Dasmariñas garden, and sip cognac (no, not Emperador brandy) in a portico-ed lanai every now and then with bosom pals like Ted Failon, or neighbors like Manong Johnny. Surely Joker would supply a bottle of Hennessy XO and bring it from his manse in the same exclusively rich area.


My friend Bayan, who no matter how controversial he is to guys like Tunying Taberna and Gerry Baja, my friends as well, I have always admired for his grit and determination, now sulks.

A month or so ago, he confided that he has a good chance of getting the "Lakas" nomination. Since I don’t kick people when they are down, especially an admired friend like Bayan, all I could mumble on the phone was "So?"

Ever the loyal Lakas member, he thought that among the PaLaKa, loyalty pays. How naïve of him. Even in exclusive Catholic schools, students pay for the "loyalty medal" after years and years of paying humongous tuition fees. In PaLaKa, there are only two rules that matter --- the colour of money, or the order of the Dona, which also translates into money, care of the DBM, its SARO and NCO.

Left out in the cold, rejected by party-mates he thought were gentlemen and gentle ladies who view political party as an institution and not a mere flag of convenience, paper flag at that, Bayan should introspect. He and Marides do not deserve predatory company.


Gibo was impressive in an interview with my good friend Ricky Carandang the night of his "victory." He stated that the stench of Doña Gloria will wash off, and the anti-Gloria sentiments will wear off as Election Day nears, when people will be more interested in what’s in it for them and their future (or words to that effect). That’s true, theoretically. But politics is not theory, no matter how many times one reads Machiavelli or Savonarola or even the memoirs of Cardinal Richelieu. Politics is the art of war – Sun Tzu, where no holds are barred, and all weapons are bared.

Is that why Doña Gloria wisely left in the wee hours of the morning, for Istanbul? Maybe the Turks will introduce her to their latest national "treasure", Sultan Kosen, at 8’1" (he, he, he), the world’s tallest man. And while her PaLaKa was busy stabbing Bayan and nominating her anointed, Gibo back in Manila, she was contemplating the jewels of the Topkapi and the magnificence of Aya Sofya? Was she counting in her mathematically-trained mind if she could afford such digs, and where in this planet she could possibly re-create the sinful luxuries of the Ottoman rulers?

Of course, if she can make her anointed Gibo win, she just might be able to traipse freely in the capitals of Europe and gambol in the cities of Latin America, while her fabuloso esposo soaks in ever-so-familiar Vegas and Vancouver and his favorite city by the bay. As Gibo in Ricky’s show said, "it is time we stop the politics of vengeance",

Well said, Atty. Gilbert Teodoro. But as you well know, a president must distinguish between justice and vengeance. As an officer of the court, you swore to uphold truth and defend justice, to uphold the laws of the land, and give justice to our long-suffering people.


The dust begins to settle. The realities of politics are beginning to dawn upon us all. As my Bulakena lola would say, "tumitining na".

Once more, we will have only four major candidate team-ups come November 30 --- Gibo and Ronnie the Tree for Lakas, or Kampi (choose which, because Comelec and even the Supreme Court may not be able to give legal imprimatur to PaLaKa); Noynoy and Mar (yes Virginia, he has accepted, in pectore) for the LP, and I predicted wrongly; Villar and maybe Jinggoy for the Nacionalistas; and Chiz or Loren for the Nationalist People’s Coalition (they were supposed to announce something in a press conference but this was postponed while studying the legal implications of the latest SC split decision on an issue of premature campaigning).

Four for the road. It’s actually refreshing to see three young men (Chiz, Gibo and Noynoy) debating with an older man (Villar) who would not talk. And pretty Loren with newly-betrothed Mar tangling with the likes of the seasoned Ronnie the Tree and bariatrically re-engineered Jinggoy.

Unless the Doña, after contemplating the treasures of the Topkapi, has other tricks up her sleeves, learned in situ in the capital of Byzantine intrigue during the medieval ages.


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Early days or bandwagon?

BY Lito Banayo
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
September 16, 2009

The week began with startling political news. Noynoy Aquino, who announced his intentions to run for the highest post in the land September 9, zoomed up spectacularly in the first measurement of popularity done in the month of September.

The surveys, in fact were done in haste (not that haste makes its results suspect). When it was clear in the last days of August that the Liberal Party seemed to be hedging its bets on Mar Roxas, some businessmen wanted to test the so-called public clamor for Noynoy. And the earliest SWS could do a test was the first week-end of September. The territorial scope would also be delimited to what political tacticians call the Mega-Manila area, or more aptly, the Lingayen to Lucena corridor. This vote-rich, urbanized community, whose population is reached almost completely by audio and visual broadcast media, and has access to print media, mostly tabloids, constitutes roughly 40 percent of the entire voting base of the country. Mindanao and the Visayas put together is about 41-42 percent. The Bicol Region is about 6 to 7 percent, the Ilocano-speaking regions 1, 2 and CAR is about 11 percent, and the Mimaropa island provinces about 2-3 percent.

Now let me share something about the sampling practices in the country. When a polling outfit tests voter preferences, the limited sample size (1,200 or 1,800 respondents randomly selected) also limits territorial specificity. So, when the research says Visayas is for Villar at one time, and Mar another time, it matters which provinces they polled. For some strange reason, Villar leads over Mar in Iloilo, even if Capiz is just an aswang flight away (joke, joke, joke) and Chiz is a favorite in Waray-speaking provinces. But if Cebu or Bohol are polled, expect Noli to be high, because in these areas, there is high residual popularity for GMA.

But in the instantly-commissioned SWS survey, what was being tested was voter preferences on September 5 and 6, among 1,200 sample respondents, broken down as follows: NCR, 300; Pangasinan, 100, Region 3, 400, and Region 4-A, 400. Given a two-day field research, it is reasonable to assume that not all provinces in Regions 3 and 4-A were sampled. But the fact that results in NCR, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog came out statistically similar, it is also reasonable to assume that the September 5-6 survey was just a snapshot of that period, and cannot be used to project either a trend, least of all a bandwagon.

Now what was happening during that week-end of September 5-6? Mar Roxas withdrew on the evening of September 1, asking Noynoy to champion the standards of the Liberal Party to which they both belong. The media lapped up the "selflessness" the "sacrifice", and so on and so forth, particularly ABS-CBN, whose owners have a peculiar proximity to Mar and an almost familial affinity with Noynoy. And since it has been established that television is the most important medium for political and other messages, Noynoy’s acceptance, while a foregone conclusion, was milked of all its suspenseful theatrics.

Remember too that the death of Tita Cory, and the hundreds of thousands, millions even when you count the nationwide outpouring of grief and affection, created an outpouring of sympathy for her political heirs, Noynoy and Kris. Since Kris is not qualified at 38, the unico hijo, Noynoy, became the cynosure of political affections, most especially in the Mega-Manila area, almost every household in which has television access.

Note also that the survey leaders, also statistically tied in June, by SWS prognostications likewise, are still statistically tied --- Villar, Erap and Chiz. The trio had late June numbers of 21, 19, and 18. Then Tita Cory died August 1, and was buried August 5, an hour-to-hour television fare that enthralled an entire nation in deep sympathy. Then this September 5-6 snapshot, which naturally captured the emotional tug of Tita Cory’s death and all its pathos, upon which was juxtaposed, so fresh into the consciousness of the voter, the events beginning August 21, when Noynoy made "pahiwatig," the Liberals and quondam support groups making a clamor, climaxed by the evening of September 1, at the Club Filipino, when Mar Roxas showed far more class than anyone in his grand old party. The anticipation over Noynoy’s announcement, already a done deal, was top of mind and deep in the heart of the voting population.

It is reasonable to see that when the field researchers went to work, no real voter discernment had yet taken place, and even those who were undecided, instantly expressed a preference for Ninoy and Cory’s son and political heir.

Thus, the results of the Mega-Manila survey showed Villar at 14, Estrada at 13, and Escudero at 12, all in a statistical tie, or should we say, bind, versus the humongous 50 percent of Noynoy. NCR gave Noynoy 50 percent, Central Luzon 49 percent, Pangasinan 48 percent, and Southern Tagalog 51percent.

Can it be sustained? That is the question of the day. It will not. The 50 percent will taper down, and even in the next regular SWS round, the field work for which will be this week, or the Pulse Asia testing, the field work for which will be in mid-October, the corrections between instant surge of emotion and a certain level of voter discernment, should be markedly visible.

But in terms of being a quantum boost for the Noynoy campaign, the results of the instant SWS survey will be remarkable. Campaign financing should now flow in. I would be surprised if Noynoy’s war chest hasn’t yet received a couple of hundred million bucks within this week alone.

This should not faze Villar, who has deep pockets, the provenance of which will be a major campaign issue. It may faze Escudero, whose father, while being the agriculture minister of Marcos and then again FVR’s second-half agriculture secretary, did not feather his nest. The young candidate has to rely on contributions from many --- small or big, to fuel his thus far cost-efficient campaign (No ads and little pre-campaign activity, but tying up with Villar and the omni-present Erap is a feat indeed). If the young man has the grit, he just has to weather Typhoon Noynoy, and pursue his dreams nonetheless.

Another remarkable finding in the instant SWS survey is the present "pull" of a Noynoy presidency vis-à-vis his matched vice-president. Noynoy-Mar scores 51 percent instant approval, as does a Noynoy-Chiz, at 49 percent, even a Noynoy-Kiko, considerably diminished at 43 percent. Clearly, Noynoy pulls, and is impervious to any push, or drag, from whoever his vice-president may be. But, in the rather unlikely scenario that Noynoy is paired with Jinggoy Estrada, the emotional tug is broken by some level of discernment. It slides down to 33 percent for a Noynoy-Jinggoy tandem, and an Escudero-Legarda goes up several notches to 20, from Escudero’s 12 percent.

This betrays precisely my thesis and many others, that this may be just a snapshot of voter emotions, and does not indicate how the voter on May 10, 2010, let alone when the Comelec deadline fires on November 30, or the campaign’s starting gun fires on February 8, 2010.

It’s early days. Nobody needs to blink. Not Villar with all his money. Not Escudero with all his derring-do. Not even Gibo, the newly-proclaimed standard bearer of the PaLaKa, who has eight months yet to improve a 0.2 percent per Pulse Asia’s reading of August, to 30 percent come May 10 next year, the minimum that I suspect will be required to make it as the next president of the Philippines.

Come November 30, it will be Gibo for PaLaKa; Villar for the business-as-usual NP’s, both candidates representing the same trapo mold. And for the hopefully new wave of change, depending on how their message is crafted and is resonated, Noynoy and Chiz. Take your pick from among these four.

If there are any others, they are what we may call, "saling-ket".


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Escudero wins UP mock polls | 09/17/2009 4:50 PM

MANILA - Sen. Francis Escudero on Thursday topped a mock poll conducted by students from the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

Dubbed the "Boto ng Iskolar ng Bayan", the campus-wide mock election was conducted by the Alpha Sigma fraternity last September 8 to 15. A total of 3,156 from 15 colleges in UP Diliman participated in the election.

Escudero, who received his law degree at the UP College of Law, got 690 or 21 percent of the total votes. He gained the most votes in all except in the UP College of Business Administration where Sen. Manuel Villar graduated. Villar placed second in the mock poll with 365 or 11.6 percent of the votes.

Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III placed third in the mock poll with 278 or 8.8 percent of the votes.

The complete results of the UP mock elections is as follows:

1. Sen Francis Escudero - 690 or 21.9%

2. Sen. Manny Villar - 365 or 11.6%

3. Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III - 278 or 8.8%

4. Sen. Jamby Madrigal - 258 or 8.2%

5. Sen. Manuel Roxas - 251 or 8%

6. Sen. Loren Legarda - 237 or 7.9%

7. MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando - 226 or 7.2%

8. Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay - 162 or 5.1%

9. Sen. Richard Gordon - 151 or 4.8%

10. Vice President Noli De Castro - 107 or 3.4%

11. Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio - 53 or 1.7%

12. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro - 52 or 1.6%

13. Former president Joseph Estrada - 35 or 1.1%

14. Bro. Eddie Villanueva - 21 or .07%

15. Sen. Panfilo Lacson - 3 or .09%

16. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV - 1 or .03%

A total of 267 students or 8.5 percent of the students abstained from the mock election.

Officials of the Alpha Sigma fraternity said the mock poll is the first to be conducted by the fraternity ahead of the 2010 elections.

Fraternity spokesman Simon Salinas said the mock poll is meant to spread awareness of the importance of every vote during the country's electoral exercise.

Project head Marc Aguimatang said Escudero could win big among youth voters next year because of his age and general advocacies for the youth.

Alpha Sigma head Jayson Santiago, however, said the other candidates could also appeal to youth voters since the national election is still eight months away.

He said candidates who sincerely want to engage the youth should prioritize social issues such as quality and free education, accountability and transparency in governance, agrarian reform and reproductive health.

Ingat sa tsismis

Ingat sa tsismis
By Ellen Tordesillas

Ngayong palapit na 2010 eleksyun, dumadami ang mga panggulong mga balita.

Kawawa nga itong si Senator Chiz Escudero. Itong mga nakaraang araw, siya ang pinagdidiskitahan ng ilang grupo na mag-withdraw sa 2010 presidential contest.

Noong Linggo, maaga kong kinalampag ang kanyang political consultant na si Malou Tiquia dahil sa text na nakuha ko tungkol sa SWS survey na run-away si Sen. Noynoy Aquino sa survey sa Luzon.

Malaki ang nakain ni Noynoy sa rating ng ibang mga kandidato katulad nina Sen.Manny Villar, Estrada at Escudero. Pati narin nga yung kay Noli de Castro.

Sinabi sa text na magwi-withdraw daw si Chiz at nakikipag-usap daw kay Noynoy para magiging bise presidente. Sabi ni Malou, “Hindi toto-o yun!”

Pinadala rin sa akin ng isa kung kaibigan ang text sa kanya ni Chiz, “Uso ang tsismis ngayon, he he.”

Alam ng mga kandidato sa oposisyun katulad ni Chiz na nag-iba ang laban sa pagpasok ni Noynoy. Ngunit hindi pa naman sigurado ang damdamin ng buong bansa.

Marami pang isyu ang lalabas at pagsubok na dadaanan ang lahat na kandidato kasama si Noynoy.

Ang mahalaga sa publiko ay ang totoo lang.

Kung may dapat mag-withdraw, siguro si dating Pangulong Estrada.

Pagkatapos ng privilege speech ni Sen. Ping Lacson kahapon, dapat siguro kay Erap, tumulong na lang siyang mailagay sa ayos ang bayan sa pamamagitan ng pagsuporta ng kandidato na may kakayahan gumawa nun.

Sa kanyang pinakahihintay na privilege speech sinabi ni Lacson kung paano ginamit ni Estrada ang kanyang kapangyarihan bilang presidente hindi para ipatupad ang batas kungdi para kumita sa jueteng at smuggling.

Hindi talaga pwedeng pangulo si Erap. Mabait siya ngunit wala siyang disiplina sa sarili. Malabo rin ang kanyang konsepto ng tama at ng mali.

Naniniwala ako sa mga ikinuwento ni Lacson.

Inikuwento ni Lacson kung paano pina-harass ni Estrada ang negosyanteng si Alfonso Yuchengco para pilitin ibenta ang kanyang shares sa Philippine Telecommunications and Investment Corporation kay Manuel Pangilinan ng Philippine Long Distance Company.

Ang punto sa pahayag ni Lacson na parang bitin ay, outside the kulambo siya kay Estrada noon. Maraming beses daw nalalaman na lang niya meron pa lang inutos si Estrada sa kanyang mga tauhan. Hindi niya alam.

Ang tumbok dito ni Lacson ay ang kasong pagpatay sa negosyanteng si Bubby Dacer at ang kanyang driver. Mukhang galit si Lacson na idinadawit siya ni Estrada sa sinasabing “Operation Delta”. Sabi ni Lacson hindi nga niya alam na meron pa lang “Operation Delta”.

Hindi pa nakuntento sa pardon na binigay ni Arroyo, gusto pang bumalik ulit sa pagka-presidente.

Baka akala niya kapag pangulo na siya ulit, paprotektahan niya ang kanyang sarili. Hindi tamang motibo yan sa pagtakbo bilang presidente.

Dapat, tatakbo ka dahil gusto mong makatulong sa taumbayan. Gusto mong tumulong mai-ayos ang lagay ng bansa.

Mas makatulong si Estrada sa bayan kung hindi na niyang ituloy ang balak na tumakbo sa pagka-presidente ulit at gamitin niya ang impluwensya niya sa masa para sa isang kandidato na sa akala niya tunay ang pagmamahal sa taumbayan.

Barack Obama on Education and the Young

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama
Back to School Event

Arlington, Virginia
September 8, 2009

The President: Hello everyone – how’s everybody doing today? I’m here with students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. And we’ve got students tuning in from all across America, kindergarten through twelfth grade. I’m glad you all could join us today.
I know that for many of you, today is the first day of school. And for those of you in kindergarten, or starting middle or high school, it’s your first day in a new school, so it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous. I imagine there are some seniors out there who are feeling pretty good right now, with just one more year to go. And no matter what grade you’re in, some of you are probably wishing it were still summer, and you could’ve stayed in bed just a little longer this morning.
I know that feeling. When I was young, my family lived in Indonesia for a few years, and my mother didn’t have the money to send me where all the American kids went to school. So she decided to teach me extra lessons herself, Monday through Friday – at 4:30 in the morning.
Now I wasn’t too happy about getting up that early. A lot of times, I’d fall asleep right there at the kitchen table. But whenever I’d complain, my mother would just give me one of those looks and say, "This is no picnic for me either, buster."
So I know some of you are still adjusting to being back at school. But I’m here today because I have something important to discuss with you. I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year.
Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.
I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.
I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren’t working where students aren’t getting the opportunities they deserve.
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education. I want to start with the responsibility you have to yourself.
Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.
Maybe you could be a good writer – maybe even good enough to write a book or articles in a newspaper – but you might not know it until you write a paper for your English class. Maybe you could be an innovator or an inventor – maybe even good enough to come up with the next iPhone or a new medicine or vaccine – but you might not know it until you do a project for your science class. Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.
And no matter what you want to do with your life – I guarantee that you’ll need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a police officer? You want to be a nurse or an architect, a lawyer or a member of our military? You’re going to need a good education for every single one of those careers. You can’t drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You’ve got to work for it and train for it and learn for it.
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.
You’ll need the knowledge and problem-solving skills you learn in science and math to cure diseases like cancer and AIDS, and to develop new energy technologies and protect our environment. You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free. You’ll need the creativity and ingenuity you develop in all your classes to build new companies that will create new jobs and boost our economy.
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems. If you don’t do that – if you quit on school – you’re not just quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on your country.
Now I know it’s not always easy to do well in school. I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.
I get it. I know what that’s like. My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mother who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn’t always able to give us things the other kids had. There were times when I missed having a father in my life. There were times when I was lonely and felt like I didn’t fit in.
So I wasn’t always as focused as I should have been. I did some things I’m not proud of, and got in more trouble than I should have. And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.
But I was fortunate. I got a lot of second chances and had the opportunity to go to college, and law school, and follow my dreams. My wife, our First Lady Michelle Obama, has a similar story. Neither of her parents had gone to college, and they didn’t have much. But they worked hard, and she worked hard, so that she could go to the best schools in this country.
Some of you might not have those advantages. Maybe you don’t have adults in your life who give you the support that you need. Maybe someone in your family has lost their job, and there’s not enough money to go around. Maybe you live in a neighborhood where you don’t feel safe, or have friends who are pressuring you to do things you know aren’t right.
But at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you’ve got going on at home – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude. That’s no excuse for talking back to your teacher, or cutting class, or dropping out of school. That’s no excuse for not trying.
Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
Young people like Jazmin Perez, from Roma, Texas. Jazmin didn’t speak English when she first started school. Hardly anyone in her hometown went to college, and neither of her parents had gone either. But she worked hard, earned good grades, got a scholarship to Brown University, and is now in graduate school, studying public health, on her way to being Dr. Jazmin Perez.
I’m thinking about Andoni Schultz, from Los Altos, California, who’s fought brain cancer since he was three. He’s endured all sorts of treatments and surgeries, one of which affected his memory, so it took him much longer – hundreds of extra hours – to do his schoolwork. But he never fell behind, and he’s headed to college this fall.
And then there’s Shantell Steve, from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Even when bouncing from foster home to foster home in the toughest neighborhoods, she managed to get a job at a local health center; start a program to keep young people out of gangs; and she’s on track to graduate high school with honors and go on to college.
Jazmin, Andoni and Shantell aren’t any different from any of you. They faced challenges in their lives just like you do. But they refused to give up. They chose to take responsibility for their education and set goals for themselves. And I expect all of you to do the same.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn. Maybe you’ll decide to take better care of yourself so you can be more ready to learn. And along those lines, I hope you’ll all wash your hands a lot, and stay home from school when you don’t feel well, so we can keep people from getting the flu this fall and winter.
Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.
But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.
That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time. If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new. So find an adult you trust – a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor – and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself. Because when you give up on yourself, you give up on your country.
The story of America isn’t about people who quit when things got tough. It’s about people who kept going, who tried harder, who loved their country too much to do anything less than their best.
It’s the story of students who sat where you sit 250 years ago, and went on to wage a revolution and found this nation. Students who sat where you sit 75 years ago who overcame a Depression and won a world war; who fought for civil rights and put a man on the moon. Students who sat where you sit 20 years ago who founded Google, Twitter and Facebook and changed the way we communicate with each other.
So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions. I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn. But you’ve got to do your part too. So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Who do you think should run for the Senate?

From radar 2010

"Both danton remoto and adel tamano (the young turks) were at our school a few months ago, and I've heard them speak. You're right, both are very much qualified and I'd like to see them in the Senate one day. Both are educators and are definitely not the traditional politicians. We need fresh leaders. They could be a source of inspiration for the youth. And most importantly, they could do a lot in our government."

Who do you think should run for the Senate?

From enzo_rex

"Danton Remoto is also another sound senatorial candidate. behind his goofy antics during the comelec hearings on the ang ladlad partylist during the last elections, it is clear that he is a sincere person and that he really cares about progress (not only to GLBTH but to heterosexuals as well). He was also brave enough to run against the longstanding incumbent of the third district of quezon city. Not to mention that he is an academic. (English professor at the Ateneo de Manila University).

"Another candidate worth looking out for is Adel Tamano. as the current president of PLM he has paved the way for modernization and development within the campus using the same resources as his predecessors have. Of course, being good at running a school doesn't equate to being a good legislator, but at least we have seen what he can do even when given limited funds.

"It is also an added bonus that both these candidates are active members of the academe who 's main thrust will probably towards revitalizing our ailing educational systems. and not to mention that they will provide for a more diverse representation in senate bringing representation for GLBTH (gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transexuals, and homosexuals) but also for Muslims as well."

Under which party will I run?

Now that Mar Roxas has junked his presidential run, the composition of the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party will change. You have heard from the party's honorable men who are in the partial list. We will see if Noynoy will follow the list that Mar has prepared, or if he will get some more from outside LP, or add some from civil society.

At this point in the time-space continuum (as my freshmen students at Ateneo would put it), I guess one of the main criterion should be the candidates' winnability. What good would it be if you stuff your slate with do-gooders who are not known throughout the nation? It would be difficult, at this point, to short-circuit the awareness-endearment-passion triad that goes on in the hearts and minds of the voters.

And so, my cellphone has begun to beep and beep again this morning.

One of the messages came from the lawyer of a presidential candidate who belongs to a party with a vast machinery. He congratulated me on -- and may I quote -- "your still-high ranking in the Pulse Asia senatorial survey."

This was the survey where I said I became a victim of vote-shaving. Survey pa lang, may dagdag-bawas na? My real ranking and percentage was changed by this big, rich political party that commissioned the survey, which had legal rights to the dissemination of the results thereof. And, also, may I ask pointedly: the right to shave some points from the other presidential candidates, and from this maverick front-runner in the senatorial race?

So early in the game, I thought, and already playing the dirty card?

Another text message this morning came from the presidentiable himself, whose party has a formidable war chest. He said that if LP does not include me in their slate, "it's their loss. Our door is open for you. Just say when." Followed with a smiley ;-)

O ayan. The coast is clear na, ha. Darna na ito!

Let us see what are the plans of the Liberal Party. Then as my friend Tina would put it, "We will see what we will see."

Deadlines, decisions, lifelines should be clear by September 30.

Mar was wrong

By Toots Ople

I knew it was coming but was stunned just the same when I heard it.

Claiming my space in the crowded Gabaldon room of Club Filipino, I saw him enter the room, my former boss, Mar Roxas in blue, smiling and with a sparkle in his eyes. If he was in pain, he didn’t show it.

Butch Abad, campaign manager of Noynoy Aquino in 2007 and of Mar for 2010, opened the press conference. Liberal Party chairman emeritus Sen. Jovito Salonga was seated with Mar at the presidential table. The heat was rising as warm bodies jostled to get the best shot, or have the main speakers directly in their line of vision. Suspense was palpable.

Mar stood up and read a prepared statement. Short and sweet. Country above self, he said. Noynoy wanted to carry the torch. Even before his speech was over, the new LP presidential bet came in and joined the main figures at the presidential table. No Q & A. In a matter of minutes, the torch was passed, and Mar of those silly padyak ads became Mar the selfless leader who saved his party.

Sometimes I think our political system is so broken, that we only strive to listen when a politico publicly and uncharacteristically slices his beating heart open for all to see. Now that he has done so, perhaps more people will be more open to getting to know the real Mar, the one that even he tries to downplay with his immediate staff.

For three years, I worked for him as communications adviser/consultant and chief of staff. It was sometimes exasperating though many times edifying working for someone who insisted on his own favorite font, Sylfaen, and the institutionalization of “headers and footers.” We would sometimes go back and forth, working on a particular speech, with me ending up exhausted trying to take all of his ideas and historical perspectives in. Sometimes, I felt like I was drowning. But then there was that other side of Mar. The kind who would buy an entire batch of ice cream from a sorbetero just so the man could go home early rather than stand for hours under a scorching sun; or who would stop a presentation of a government functionary to inquire about the department’s budget for toner – the logic being if the presentor had used a plain background for his slides then the printed copies would require less toner, but since he didn’t then maybe the department had too much money for toner. He was funny and unpredictable, in that way.

I remember during my early days on the job, he told me – perhaps to warn me — that he was not the nurturing type. He doesn’t have the patience to “mentor” people, he said.

Yet for the three years that I worked for him, I learned how business principles can actually be applied to politics and governance to make the system work. I learned how attention to detail is key to a successful preparation towards memorable and meaningful events. I learned how education matters whether it be for the rich or poor, because the rich also requires an education that can only be derived from having the humility to bow down and listen.

Last night, when I was claiming my space at the crowded Gabaldon room at Club Filipino, I turned to my left and saw Thea, Mar’s close-in aid since Congress, trying her best to hold back the tears. She failed, miserably. In front of me were Mar’s cousins, nieces and nephews, watching him from across the room, sad yet as always, united in their love and respect for Mar. I heard Melchor, one of Mar’s political officers, shout from the back, “Oras na! Roxas Na!” and saw Chito Gascon of the Liberal Party and Mar’s political campaign director, doing the same.

After the press conference, I was told by my friend, Rose Romero, that Mar’s staff and supporters will proceed to the Cubao campaign HQ otherwise known as Balay ni Mar. Famished, Fort, Danton Remoto, John Laylo and myself opted to grab a quick bite at nearby Gloria Maris before proceeding to Cubao. Throughout the meal, we kept going over the events that could have led to the announcement. I shook my head, knowing how excruciating this decision was for such a competitive person like Mar.

At the Balay, Mar was his usual gracious and outgoing self. He gave comforting hugs to those who were there, quite a few who have several questions to ask but opted to hold back and wait for more decisions to be made. Photos were taken, a banner was pulled out by the members of the communications team, Tita Judy Roxas, Ria and Gus were there together with Korina, entertaining the guests and just talking about what transpired that fateful night. It felt more like a family gathering than a political get-together of allies and friends.

I left the campaign HQ thinking to myself how wrong Mar was. The tears of his staff proved that he nurtured and taught them well. The inexplicable sadness – a certain mourning for what could have been — the collective inability to articulate with more gravitas what has transpired, is a manifestation of shock, that such selflessness could come so early in this political run-up from a man who could have easily stood his ground as party president and chief fundraiser.

Mar was wrong. He is the nurturing type. He had a dream but chose to nurture a party, and with it the vision, ambition and dream of another man. History alone will say if Mar’s sacrifice would yield the best dividends for the country. At the very least, the public got to see a different side of Mar, the giving side that one equates with principles rather than price tags. Now is a good time to cultivate, nurture and explore that other dimension of a Mar Roxas leadership, and not because he needs anyone’s vote, but simply because he is what he is.

For now, I wish my former boss and good friend, Mar Roxas, the best that life has to offer — a Sudoku session in the quiet of his living room, perhaps a new dog like his old friend Barney, more time for golf, and of course, a lifetime of happiness with Korina.

Politics? In the afterglow, perhaps. But if he doesn’t? Life goes on, leaving us with even lesser choices.

Mar gives way to Noynoy as LP presidential bet

By Dennis Carcamo
Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -- Liberal Party president Sen. Mar Roxas announced today (Sept. 1) he is giving way to Sen. Noynoy Aquino III to be their party’s standard bearer in the 2010 presidential elections.

"I'm now announcing that I'm supporting the candidacy of Noynoy Aquino," Roxas said in a hastily called press conference at the jampacked Gabaldon Room in Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan City.

He said the decision was initially difficult for him, but he chose to make the sacrifice for the sake of unity.

"Country first before self… I choose to lead unity not division," Roxas said.

Also at the event were Reps. Ruffy Biazon, Erin Tañada, Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel, and Nereo Acosta, Ang Ladlad Party List Chairman Danton Remoto, and former cabinet officials Dinky Soliman (DSWD), Chito Gascon (DepEd), Juan Miguel Luz (DepEd), Liwayway Vinzons-Chato (BIR) and Avelino Cruz (DND).


"The most media-attractive partylister to date is Danton Remoto’s Ang Ladlad. While denied COMELEC accreditation in the past (it said it didn’t have a national presence), it is now more politically sophisticated to go into the fray. Gays are found in all levels of society, the trades and professions. They contribute much to our society. However, Danton is astute enough to recognize that it is OK for Ladlad to go partylist for now, but that cannot be the state of affairs for the future. Ladlad will have to expand its constituency. Danton is considering a senate seat with the Liberals. Best of all he knows how to play the conservative streak in Pinoy society. While Pinoys may have no problems with openly gay people, they may have problems with gays exchanging vows with each other. So Danton says, 'Walang same-sex marriage, Ayaw ni Jesus.' A look at Ladlad’s platform is lefty but should be acceptable to many, children’s and women’s rights, education, peace, aside from LGBT rights."

Thank you. But the decision not to push for same-sex partnerships is a consensus of Ang Ladlad and not my decision. As a leader, I have always abided by the consensus of the group arrived at after careful deliberation of the issue at hand.

Moreover, I am running for senator so that the anti-discrimination bill in Congress will have a counterpart bill in the Senate. Working on parallel tracks will ensure the quicker passage of the bill, which has long languished in the Lower House. Kaya nga siguro Lower House.

And again, the platform of Ang Ladlad is a consensus. I do not consider it leftist, but attempts to present social legislation and equality for the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender.

Be that as it may, let me thank our many friends in the Internet who talk about us in their blogs. They make sure that even if do not have millions of pesos to burn in the campaign, we will be alive, kicking, and raring to win in 2010.

Country Above Self

By Senator Mar Roxas
Club Filipino, 1st of September 2009

Country above self. Bayan bago ang sarili.Iyan ang habilin ng aking lolo, President Manuel Roxas.

Our nation is in trouble. Leadership is bankrupt. Institutions are in disarray. People are hungry.

Noynoy Aquino and I share the same outrage over the mess we are all in, the same way we share solution – clean, honest, selfless public service.

Marami at matindi and nga problem ng bansa. Kailangan nating ayusin. Matindi ang kalaban. We need a determined force for good far stroinger than the festering evil around us.

We need to fight just as our own fathers fought dictatorship, and just as both died believing that good will conquer evil.

Noynoy and I want to make a difference, but we also know that we need to unite to achieve what we want.

I am the President of the Liberal Party.

It is within my power to preside over a potentially divisive process or to make the party a bridge for the forces of change. I choose to lead unity, not division. Bilang pinuno ng aking Partido, magdedesisyon ako.

Mahal ko ang Partido Liberal. My grnadfather founded it. My father led it during the most difficult times of martial Law. Sa harap ng peligro, sa kabila ng napakaraming tukso – hindi siya sumuko.

He inspired me – to stay the course, to fight the good fight, to pass the test of true character. To believe.

Over the weekend, Noynoy and I had many long covmersations. Masinsinang usapan. We agreed: Let us forget about ourselves for a moment. This is not about us, this is about our people and our country. This is about our common dream. The dream of our parents.

But let us not remain a country of dreamers. Tama na ang pangarap. Gawin na natin, ngayon.

Today, I am announcing my support for the candidacy of Noynoy Aquino for Preisdent in 2010.

Noy has made it clear to me that he wants to carry the torch of leadership.

The passing of our beloved fomer President Aquino has reawakened a passion among us. I acknowledge this as fuel to bring us to the realization of our dream:Good will triumph over evil.

Today I am making the most difficult decision in my political career. I do this for the Filipino people. I do this for unity behind change. And if that means that somebody must make the sacrifice, then I decided it must be me, and me alone.

To you Noy, I say: I began the campaign to sow the seeds of change. You must now be the one to grow them in the area of leadership.

And I will stand with you. Hindi kami maghihiwalay ni Noy!

At sa aking mga kababayan, sa mga nagtiwala sa akin:Mahal na mahal ko kayo. Mahal na mahal ko po ang ating bayan, Hindi rin tayo maghihiwalay. Itutuloy natin ang pagbabago sa ating bansa. Itutuloy natin ang laban para sa reporma!

Ka Noy, at sa ating mga kababayan: Country above self!Bayan bago sarili!

Hindi ko kayo pababayaan! Lalaban tayo!

An Erap redux?

By Lito Banayo
Ang Pahayagang Malaya
31 August 2009

On January 8 this year, I began a series on ten presidential wannabe’s, beginning with Joseph Ejercito Estrada, which I entitled “The Hamlet Act”. It has been almost 8 months since that article was printed on this space. Let me reprint an abbreviated version of the same:

Quote the Bard of Avon, “To be or not to be, that is the question” in his well-read Hamlet. For Joseph Ejercito Estrada, dispossessed 13th president of the Republic, that translates into: “To run or not to run, that is the question”.

The ostensible reason behind a run is the threat that if the opposition does not unite, he himself will run. Anybody with two cents worth of political experience knows that the opposition is not going to unite behind one candidate in 2010, and Erap’s premise is ipso facto and ab initio defunct. And the man knows it, but, “just like in the movies”, he has to dissemble.

He has increasingly made his decision to run known to almost every person he has privately talked with. He has moved around the country, in what he bills as “lakbay-pasasalamat” meanderings, because he is “giliw na giliw” with his adoring masa, and the curious throngs that greet him are in turn spun off as “sabik na sabik” for the return to the presidency of the fallen leader. But for the fact that he is not FPJ, an entertainment columnist could as well call an Erap redux as “Ang Pagbabalik ni Panday”. It would be well nigh political sacrilege, at least for this writer, to call it “Ang Pagbabalik ni Asiong Salonga”.

Lately, the private intent has become more publicly disclosed. But a week or so before Erap’s announcement of preference for Loren, the NPC under Ambassador Danding Cojuangco pre-empted him by announcing in its Christmas get-together that they would field a complete slate in 2010, from president to a 12-man senatorial slate, down to the local candidacies. And to head their team would be Francis Escudero and/or Loren Legarda, preferably a team-up of both. The “both” is likely if Chiz agrees to be Loren’s number two; vice-versa, the lady would not agree. (Fast forward to recently --- Erap’s handlers are floating that Chiz is his likely running-mate, but Chiz, who knows his law, merely smiles, confident perhaps that Erap cannot “win”).

Jojo Binay assumed that he would be Erap’s running-mate as the UNO president and Erap’s loyalist sans pareil. Of course, his survey numbers are nowhere as close to Loren’s, at least for the moment. (Jojo’s numbers have increased, and as VP material, he has become viable).

Indeed, Loren was FPJ’s running mate, and insists she too was garcified out of electoral victory by the Gloria-Noli tandem in 2004. She protested all the way to the Supreme Court, but the politics of being in the public eye required her to run for the Senate in 2007. She was Numero Uno, and Chiz was Numero Dos. The impact of their victories still reverberate in the surveys of presidential preferences in 2008.

But then, enter El Erap. After a series of mega-Manila warm-up tours, complete with a campaign truck from which he and his Manong Ernie Maceda shower candies at the children of the gathering lumpen, 1998 style, his name was entered into the surveys by mid-2008. And as expected, he shaved off points from the other presidential wannabes. Three to five points from Noli and Ping Lacson as well, a whisker or two from Chiz and Mar Roxas, hardly any from Manny Villar that his money and his advertisements could not cover, but a decidedly big slice off Loren’s early lead.

To lay his legal predicate, Erap commissioned (hired is not a politically correct term) retired justices and legal minds to reason that he is not covered by the constitutional provision against “any” re-election. I will leave it to the lawyers to debate in the meantime whether Erap’s legal legs are straight or squat.

In any case, the issue will not be before the bench and with the barristers until Erap files his certificate of candidacy, which is at least 90 days before the elections of May, 2010, if at all. The first bench to hurdle is the Commission on Elections, on the proper assumption that someone will go before it to question the validity of his candidacy. If the Commission should decide that Erap is not qualified, then Erap appeals to the highest bench of law.

Meanwhile, the focus of the campaign of 2010 will shift from the “others” and their “platforms and programs”, if any, to the courtroom drama, first before the Comelec, and then to the Supreme Court. Exactly as Erap would want it. It allows him to play underdog, his and the late FPJ’s favourite script in their action movies, “aping-api” throughout the movie, until they prevail against the bad guys in the end. “Tagumpay!” sa takilya, and “just like in the movies”, so also in politics. This has always been Erap’s electoral praxis anyway.

Conveniently, there will be no time for debates (as usual), and this time, apart from the hectic campaign schedule, there is the “inconvenience” of being hobbled by the legal conundrum. Meanwhile, the other candidates are deprived of prime time, as Erap reprises his favourite act. And I can read the script this early. Ninakawan ng tagapagtanggol ang masang Pilipino nang ninakaw kay Erap ang pagka-pangulong handog sa kanya ng masang Pilipino. The script then segues into the “conspiracy” of the elite, whose interests were threatened by an Erap presidency that “refused” to give in to the demands of the elite at the expense of his adoring masa. So…”ibalik si Erap”, the “people” chant. (A June survey of Mindanao voters show that this sentiment has mesmerized the “masa”, along with their approval of Erap’s mailed fist policy against the secessionists).

Erap’s re-run scenario expects all these to convert into high survey ratings, enough to eclipse his opponents, and enough to convince the high tribunal to debate and tarry, rather than decide abruptly on what could be a political issue more than an open-and-shut constitutional interdict. If the justices, all of whom but for the Chief will have been appointees of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should decide to tarry, then Erap hopes that the hordes of the masang Pilipino shall have made their vox populi clear enough to make the issue of qualification moot and academic.

All very fine in Erap’s mind, as well as his handlers. Except for a few things, principal among which is the single most important question a prospective candidate has to personally hurdle --- who foots the bill? And in an Erap political extravaganza, with Erap as the lead actor, this is always an expensive proposition. The bill will always run into many billions.

For now, a few of the usual Chinoy believers help in footing the bill for his “trailer” runs, the “lakbay-pasasalamat”, but the bulk of his political expenses, which includes the cost of being in the public eye, is pump-primed from his own personal fortunes, which ought to be considerable, humongous legal fees debited for his trial notwithstanding. But an Erap campaign is “otra cosa”, and many big businessmen have yet to be ensnared into the “cosa”.

Which brings me to the question --- who in this day and in these parlous times, would risk his money in a candidacy the life expectancy of which is dependent on what the Comelec and the Supreme Court declares? What happens to your contribution if the Comelec declares the Erap re-run a no-no? You could pee in your pants as much as you want, but the money goes down with it. But wait! There is hope, you think, in the Supreme Court. It has been swayed by “public opinion” before. It might make a “play for history” and reverse itself, when it declared in 2001, that Joseph Ejercito Estrada, duly-elected and duly-constituted President, “constructively resigned” on January 20, 2001. So meantime, contributors fly out of the country, making themselves scarce to calls from the Erap camp to up the ante. Remember the truism that while business is essentially a take-risk affair, businessmen try to be as risk-averse as possible.

“To run or not to run”, Erap ponders. The answer lies in the money. Whose money, that is.

And then again, what if the Court tarries, and debates what to many should be an open-and-shut case, which is, and I quote the second sentence of Section 4, Article 7 of the Constitution: “The President shall not be eligible for ANY re-election”.

Then the Comelec cannot print Estrada’s name in the ballot, if computerized, nor on the official registry of candidates, if manual. How then will “vox populi” be recorded, as to moot whatever the Court decides or not decide?

That is why Erap, quite to his destined presidential misfortune, will need a lifeline in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the woman who conspired with many to remove him from his throne in the stinking palace beside the stinking river. As it was she who pardoned Erap right after the Sandiganbayan convicted him for plunder, she it is who will ultimately decide whether an Erap re-run and an Erap re-election to a presidency once before lost, is better guarantee of her judicial peace after 30 June 2010, a “peace in her time” that would best protect her economic interests, more considerable than any in presidential history, as well as the political interests of her bloodline.

After all, Erap has ostensibly pardoned Angelo Reyes, and even Chavit Singson, and welcomes Joe de V into his political tent. He has “forgiven” just about everyone who did him wrong. But how well has he forgotten? He revels in the thought that Cory has said she is sorry for her role in Edsa Dos, even if everybody knows she was sorry only because the beneficiary, Glory, turned out to be such a political monster, not necessarily because ousting Erap was so reprehensible to her and Cardinal Sin.

“Son capaz”, nuestros abuelos would say, of such kinds of political compromise, both Erap and Gloria, unthinkable though it may seem to the ordinary Filipino mind.

But then again, can one trust each other, she more than he? For even in this day and age, transactions require a great level of personal trust. And it seems foolhardy for Gloria to trust that Erap has completely forgiven, and forgotten.”

* * *

What political events have unfolded since then?

In the chronology of events --- Erap persisted, and his survey ratings have increased. In the SWS survey of mid-June, he is virtually in a three-way tie with Villar and Escudero. In the Pulse Asia survey of late July till the first week of August, he is six points behind and Numero Dos to Manny Villar, whose humongous advertising budget seems to have dazzled the “masa” enough to believe in crap.

Ping Lacson withdrew from the race on June 5. And although Jojo Binay is still polled among the presidentialities, the mayor has already declared that he is willing to slide down to being the vice-presidential candidate in an Erap ticket.

President Cory Aquino died on August 1, and the overwhelming outpouring of grief has created a new political phenomenon --- the budding entry of her son, Sen. Benigno Aquino III, Noynoy, into the presidential sweepstakes.

By and large, the contest remains open to Villar, Estrada, Escudero, De Castro, and either Mar or Noynoy. Everybody else has either given up, or will wither in the short vine of 90 days, beginning today. Noli de Castro, whose numbers have floundered, has recently announced that he is GMA’s anointed, and the palace confirmed, but he has yet to declare whether he is indeed going for the top post, despite Gloria’s endorsement that “De Castro has the qualities of a good president”. He will probably want to test whether his numbers will increase with Gloria’s encomiums, or whether they will flounder even more. Or, Noli may be waiting for the funding, courtesy of Gloria’s bagmen. Good luck!

But the basic questions I asked about the prospects of an Erap redux remain unchanged. Which is why I re-printed almost fully my January 8 column on the man who wants a Take Two on the presidency he lost.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Yes, the Miss Universe

By Danton Remoto
Views and analysis
1st of September 2009

(Excerpt from Wings of Desire, a novel)

The Bank for International Reconstruction and Development (BIRD) based in Washington, D.C., held their XXth Annual Meeting in Manila.

"This historical event," crowed the President that night on all the TV stations (which again zapped Wonder Woman off the screen, she who pilots an invisible plane) "proves that the bankers of the world agree that we have indeed marshaled our resources very well and turned our history of defeat into a future of hope."

From that point, a flurry of questions had to be answered. How to house the world’s bankers in the luxury they had been accustomed to? Faster than Harry Houdini, the money from the Development and Aid Package of BIRD was diverted to the construction of seven new five-star hotels.

And so the commuters and office workers from Manila to Makati had to suffer monstrous traffic jams as one hotel rose after another by the bayside. One wag compounded the nightmare by suggesting that brick walls be erected between the city and the bay. The people protested it would deprive them of a view of Manila’s magnificent sunset. Others grumbled the government only wanted to hide the squatters, who had begun to build their shanties of tin roof and cardboard, by the seawall. The truly wicked said no, the government only wanted to raise more revenue by charging P50 for anybody who wanted to see the sunset flaming barbarously beyond the wall.

Both hotels and fences were finished, along with a sprawling international convention center that could rival anything found in Japan. What about the bankers’ cars? Seven hundred late-model Benzes were imported, and the citizens of Manila were treated to the sight of Benzes gliding by, absorbing the shocks from the potholes and the uneven paving of the roads, their windows tinted against the harsh tropical sun.

After the bankers, the beauty contest.

Margarita Mon Amor was chosen Miss Philippines the previous year. Many people thought the judges should have chosen somebody fairer, with a more aquiline nose, to represent the country in the Miss Universe contest held in Athens. They said Margarita won only because she graduated summa cum laude from an exclusive girls’ school and had a grandfather who was a Justice in the Supreme Court.

But Margarita – with her wide forehead, her big and intelligent eyes, her full, sensuous lips – won in Athens. Even before the coronation night, the Greek press was already gushing about the "dusky beauty from the Philippines who walked regally like a queen." "Like Helen," another paper gushed, "who could launch a thousand wars, er, ships." And so on coronation night itself, Margarita Mon Amor went to the Parthenon in a simple silk gown the color of mother-of-pearl shell, her blue-black hair in a bun. She played a haunting kundiman on the bamboo nose flute before the stunned audience, and went through the rigmarole of the Q & A.

Bob Barker: "Miss Philippines, what is the square root of 11,250 divided by 40 then multiplied by 99?

Margarita Mon Amor: "How much time do I have?"

And now she was here, walking on the stage of the Folk Arts Theater, while the wind from the sea fanned the audience crowded in the First Lady’s latest project. Manila being Manila – this mad, maternal city of our myths and memories – everybody was jumping at the prospect of the city hosting Miss Universe that year. The machos were especially ecstatic, as day by day the tabloids splashed photos of their favorite candidates in their skimpiest bathing suits, getting their lovely tan from the Philippine sun.
So on this night of nights, the candidates flounced onstage, speaking in various tongues, a babel of greetings that were beamed worldwide. Miss Brazil came in a dress whose colors could make the parakeets in her country blush. Miss United States of America came from Texas and wore the tightest cowgirl jeans Manila had ever seen. Miss Philippines was Guadalajara de Abanico, a mestiza who had the habit of turning her finely-chiseled nose up at every social function and who, Manila’s reporters’ complained, always arrived late. "I’m sure there’s a friar somewhere in the family line," snapped Istariray X., mother hen of Manila’s society columnists, in her bitchy column called W.O.W. ("Woman of the World").

The favorites of the Manila press included Miss Wales, Helen Morgan, because she had pendulous breasts; Miss Spain, Amparo Muñoz, the 20-year-old señorita from Barcelona who looked like the Blessed Virgin Mary; and Miss Finland, Johanna Raunio, because she looked like the girl in the Bear Brand milk commercial. The country exploded with joy when the three were called as finalists, along with Miss Aruba, Maureen Ava Viera, whom the Manila press called "Black Beauty" even if she were brown, and the señorita from Colombia, Ella Cecilia Escandon, who had the face of an angel.

The judges, please:

1) Gloria Diaz who won the Miss Universe in 1969, just when the Americans were landing on the moon. Like Margarita Mon Amor, she was not your typical Filipina beauty queen, for she was short, brown, sassy, and smart. After she won, she was asked if she had a message for the three American astronauts. She said: "The United States has conquered the moon, but the Philippines has conquered the universe."

2) Zenaida Carajo, also called Baby, who smiled through her tenth face-lifting and had difficulty walking, because on her neck, arms and fingers glittered the country’s second-heaviest diamonds (after the First Lady’s). She also wore makeup so thick that people called her Kabuki Lady behind her back. Or even espasol, the dessert from the south smothered in layers of flour.

3) Joseph Carajo, Baby’s cousin, who taxed the country’s seven million farmers with a levy ostensibly to fund the planting of mahogany trees to produce "modern antique furniture," but the funds have allegedly been siphoned off to places as far as the Netherlands Antilles.

4) Richard Head, the American Ambassador, called Dick Head by two camps: the grim-and-determined Marxists and the applicants denied visas by His Honor’s consuls.

5) Bernardo Tulingan, who called himself the country’s finest painter, with his grotesqueries hanging like chopping boards in Manila’s seafood restaurants.

6) Zosimo Zaymo, a successful talent manager famous for pimping his female models in Brunei and fondling the male ones before hidden cameras.

7) The young Emmanuel, bright and beady-eyed, opinion columnist par excellence, thinking how soon he could bed as many contestants as possible.

9) Mother China, the country’s number one movie producer, who loved to have zombies in her movies.

10) And of course, the First Lady herself, the Chair of the Board of Judges, Her Majesty Infinitely Brighter than the Blaze of Ten Thousand Suns.

One by one the winners were called, to thunderous applause: Miss Aruba, third runner-up; Miss Colombia, second runner-up; and Miss Finland, first runner-up. And then, only Miss Wales and Spain were left. Both held hands and braced themselves for the announcement, their eyes closed, chins quivering.

Between Big Boobs and the Blessed Virgin Mary, of course the latter would win in this country. After she was called as the newest Miss Universe, Amparo Muñoz gave the crowd a beatific smile, tears running down her face, ruining her makeup. But never mind, for here was Margarita Mon Amor, gliding on the stage, relinquishing cape, crown and scepter, and then the señorita walked around the stage, the flashbulbs popping forever.

Miss Universe would constantly visit Manila as part of the First Lady’s entourage of royalty and celebs, who would be flown to the city to inaugurate a massive new building (part of what critics called the First Lady’s edifice complex), or just have a party aboard the presidential yacht RPS Ang Pangulo on Manila Bay. Later, Amparo Muñoz would star in porno movies in her country, precious copies of which were smuggled into Manila and shown at the parties of the rich and the brain-dead, for they married within the family to keep their fabulous, feudal wealth intact.

Helen Morgan would bare her humongous breasts in a Filipino movie called Nagalit ang Umaga Dahil sa Sobrang Haba ng Gabi (The Morning Got Mad Because the Night was Too Long), then returned to her cold, gray island after the movie flopped.

Johanna Raunio joined the Miss International contest in Tokyo and won. Ella Cecilia Escandon became a writer of Latin American telenovelas, the most popular of which –Mari Mar, Ay! – was shown in an obscure Philippine station, promptly became number one, and wiped the smug grins off the faces of the smart suits running the number-one network. And Maureen Ava Viera married a wealthy Filipino, divorced him, then returned to the Caribbean, to run as governor of Aruba.

* * *

News Item: A Surprise for Miss Nicaragua

During the Parade of Beauties of the Miss Universe contestants on Roxas Boulevard, one man jumped aboard the float of Miss Nicaragua, Mildred de Ortega, and hugged her. Filipino security agents, quick as ever, were already dragging the man away "for routine investigation," when the Miss Universe contestant, who was then already in tears, said, "No, no, please, por favor."

It turned out the man, who was a mestizo, was the brother of Miss Nicaragua. Danilo de Ortega had been in exile for five years. "I was glad to know that my sister had been chosen Miss Nicaragua. I flew from L.A. just to see her. I miss her and my family."

Why did Danilo flee his country?

Perhaps it must have been the series of terrible earthquakes, forcing Danilo to emigrate from his beautiful and peaceful country, opined the columnist Juan Tabaco, a highly-paid columnist and a friend of the President. In a party, said the clandestine Opposition press, a member of the Opposition – with much help from Johnny Walker Black – stood before Señor Tabaco and began to sing, "How Much is that Puppy in the Window, arf arf." And the eyes of Señor Tabaco – who used to write novels before the dictatorship co-opted him – began to fill with bitter tears.

But when he was interviewed, Danilo Ortega simply said, "I cannot stand the military dictatorship in my country."

His statement was dutifully reported by Philippine media whose prime passion and major mania was the government-dictated policy of "developmental journalism."

Book sector not spared by downturn

By Jessica Annde D. Hermosa, BusinessWorld | 09/01/2009 12:20 AM

MANILA - The global economic downturn has not spared the domestic book industry, hitting sales and investment plans and limiting the production of new titles, industry officials said.

Limits posed by the local market are also to blame for the industry’s laggard performance, they added.

But a plan to award grants to authors and recommendations to focus on foreign markets and improve the education system could pull the sector out of its rut, National Book Development Board officials said.

"This year, there are almost no expansions except for a few stores in the new malls. Companies are focusing on training and retooling to prepare for the recovery," Jose Paolo M. Sibal, Philippine Book Sellers Association president, said in a telephone interview on Friday.

Publishers, likewise, have hesitated from growing their businesses with only one firm availing of incentives to import more printing equipment this year, National Book Development Board Executive Director Andrea Pasion-Flores said in another interview.

"And as to sales, some of the publishers claim there has been a dip. Sales have been slightly affected," the board’s chairman, Dennis T. Gonzales, said.

Mr. Sibal confirmed this, saying that demand, particularly for "pocket books," has decreased.

The production of new titles, meanwhile, has proven a bit hardier.

"On average, there is a 5% growth every year in terms of new titles. It seems like the crisis has not affected this much. People are still producing which is a sign that there is still a market for new books," Mr. Gonzales said.

The resilience however is only observed because "we didn’t boom, so we really won’t bust," Ms. Pasion-Flores said.

To address this, the board is banking on a P150-million authorship trust fund that will be ready for disbursal, ideally, by 2011.

Implementing rules for the fund, created by Republic Act 9521 or the National Book Development Trust Fund Act, are "being finalized," Mr. Gonzales said.

Interest from the fund will be awarded as grants to qualified authors, particularly those who pledge to produce new titles for science and technology, he said.

The fund will also go to cultural book projects which may not be commercially viable such as compilations of folklore or translations of important works into regional dialects.

Book sales, meanwhile, can be boosted by developing the local market and also marketing to buyers abroad, Mr. Gonzales said.

"In our case it’s really because of poverty and the quality of education. These affect book readership. It will take some time to radically increase local readership," he said.

In the meantime, publishers would do well to target foreign markets, particularly for books that teach the English language.

"Many of our publishers are quite conservative in going to the international market... But there is a very big international market," Mr. Gonzales said.