Monthly Archives: March 2008

After the Supreme Court Decision, What Comes Next?

Many are alarmed that in a 9-6 decision of the Supreme Court in favor of Neri’s petition, the ZTE broadband scam investigation shall come to an end without closure. Further many believe that public officials are now emboldened to corrupt the government. As one writer puts it, the SC decision is so depressing and “nauseating.”

On his part, Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno was dismayed with the  majority decision of the Supreme Court finding President Arroyo’s conversation with the then Socio- economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri  as classified information.

The three questions that Neri refused to answer in the Senate were covered by executive privilege.1) whether the President followed up the NBN-ZTE project with Neri; 2) whether Neri was dictated by the President to prioritize the NBN-ZTE project; and 3) whether he was told by the President to go ahead with the project after being told of the alleged bribe offer.”

However in his 120-page dissenting opinion, “Puno said that ‘these questions are pertinent to the subject matter of their investigation, and there is no effective substitute for the information coming from a reply to these questions.” He said the three questions were not covered by executive privilege since the Senate needs the answers to these questions so that it can enact laws to remedy flaws in the government’s procurement system.

Encouraging Corruption

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman, finds the SC decision could “boost the confidence of high government officials into corrupting the government.”

“If you’re undersecretaries and the Senate invited you because you took big amounts of money, you will run to the Supreme Court. You will be confident that the executive can get away with everything,” he said in an interview with DZMM radio.

The same sentiments is also shared by some members of the Lower House as this will only lead to more corruption in the government  “Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño, for his part, said the decision has given President Arroyo powers similar to a mafia boss.” 

“Casiño said Mrs. Arroyo has become an “untouchable” and could very well commit crimes without being punished.”

UP Protest Action

“Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chair Romulo Neri was greeted by a protest action at the University of the Philippines-Diliman Thursday when he arrived for a meeting of the university’s Board of Regents.” As soon as he alighted from his vehicle for the meeting he was greeted by protesters. He remained calm and even smiling as protesters gathered around as reported by Nina Corpuz of ABS-CBN news.

“They upheld the rule of law and respect for human rights. That’s all I can say,” Neri said. Last Thursday was the first time he spoke to the media after the Supreme Court decided in favor of his petition.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who was also in UP for the board meeting, being a member of the Board of Regents, said “he will try to convince Neri to tell what he knows.” However, after the meeting Cayetano said he had no chance to talk to Neri about it.

“Cayetano is the chairman of the Blue ribbon Committee, the Senate’s lead committee in the probe on the allegations of overpricing and bribery in the national broadband deal between the government and China’s ZTE Corp.”

Senator Cayetano did not say he calls again for another hearing on the ZTE broadband issue in the Senate. The senator however said that “they are going to discuss the guidelines for questioning Senate witnesses that is being asked of them.”

Neri’s lawyers, on the other hand said that “only time can tell” if Neri would still attend Senate hearings if he is called to testify.”

Constitutional Crisis

As expected, the Senators will challenge the decision of the highest tribunal of the land. This, they said, will lead to constitutional crisis. Political opposition and civil society groups are again into protest rallies to what they perceived as coercion of the executive to the judiciary.

“I hope a constitutional crisis can be avoided. If SC reconsiders… maybe SC needs more time,” said Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco.

People’s Action

People who are opposed to the administration of president Arroyo find the SC decision as prelude to more corruption in the government. Supreme Court justices who voted yes are heavily berated of their actions. Some express total lost of confidence on all systems of the government. Others cease to believe that president Arroyo will step down on 2010. Against all these rumblings and political noise, do we see massive protest actions again?  Or to be frank about it is People Power at the offing?

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Ceasefire from Politics « Secondlady’s Weblog

Ceasefire from Politics « Secondlady’s Weblog

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Ceasefire from Politics

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It’s Lenten Season again , a time for Christians to meditate on the atoning grace of Christ’s and the agony of His sacrifice and  death at the cross of Calvary only to save this once lost humanity. He died at the cross to restore man’s right to eternal life. The essence of Christ sacrifice is to bring back God’s glory to mankind taking away our sins.
While we recollect Christ death at the cross, we also commemorate on His resurrection; it is an opportune  time to forgive and  bury the pains  of conflicts, hatred, and separations of the past. Now is the time for family and friends, who have unsettled differences in the past, to forgive each other and start life anew. It is also time to set aside political differences; declare a multilateral ceasefire and refrain from political bickering. 
Easter is a time to rejoice on  Christ’s  resurrection and victory over death; it is also time for us to resurrect in the spirit of love and harmony. Christ, taking our place at the cross, as has been negated us from the consequencies of our fatal mistakes. Due to our  human frailties, he allows us to bear his own righteousness so we could stride in unison to the direction of peace and reconcillation; it’s time for us to sort up conflicts and differences to make us one solid nation.
This is the best time to  broker for peace and unity among our people; it is a time to love and bridge gap brought about by bitter political rivalries and patisanship. How many souls do find rest when they excercise humility instead pride, forgiveness instead hatred?
After going through a grueling stance of political conflicts and recriminations, being a Christian nation we need to  exercise the spirit of forgiveness and repentance.  It is about time that we should move on, seek respite from the degrading acts of political treachery, persecutions, and destabilization;  never again that we should  be swallowed  by the greed,  designs . and propagation of dirty politics.
Christ Himself forgave those who crucified him, those who humiliated and falsely accused Him of wrong doing. Even at the fading moments of His life He never ceased to be compassionate; he even mediated to the Father to understand rather than punish those who persecuted Him, “forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”
It is of this same essence that we must learn how to forgive and forget the wrong which others had done to us. It is high time for us to examine ourselves and repent from  the numerous sins we have committed in the past; meanwhile it is also time to make a decision and turn away from the same greavest misconducts we do commit time and again.  
In politics, its time to find ways we could align  political stand with our foes. It is time to realize the significance of setting aside dirty politics and find an end to the numerous issues of graft and corruption in the government. It is time to reconsider our position allowing all avenues to flow unsparingly in the search for truth.

May this nation stand firm in the righteousness and glory of God. 

            

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Saving the Liar

Many percieved that while Leo San Miguel was lying to his teeth when he faced  the Senators at the resumption of the ZTE deal hearing. One can surmise that Malacanang folks on the other end were also gigling, probably ecstatic on his performance. Senators could hardly comprehend the nature of his statement;  his testimnonies were taken as rediculous and incredible. Ping Lacson was himself surprised to his surprise witness.   

 After several meetings with Leo San Miguel, the senator was confident this witness could squeal on the participation of some Malacanang personalities in the  busted scandalous ZTE deal. But there was none of it, the audience even uproared to their dismay for repeatedly saying (even under oath) that his participation was limited only to something technical. Yes he admitted that he was with Ben Abalos (accused of brokering the deal)  but they never talk anything about finances. Jun Lozada however reputed his statement; in his meetings with Abalos, where  Leo San Miguel was also present, they did not talk any technical matter on the ZTE project except  their commission. This is where the padding (bukolan ang tongpats) comes in.  

 Of course Leo San Miguel readily accepted it when challenged by Senator Mar Roxas to undergo a lie detector test. Likewise the other witnesses who greatly deviate in their testimonies to that of Leo (San Miguel) also volunteered themselves to undergo  a lie detector test.  So everybody wants to be spared from the eyes of the public as lying. But then the question comes, could the lie detection test single out who among the witnesses is lying ? A lie detector test, according to experts and legal luminaries, is an inadmissible evidenc in  court. What does this mean ? A lie detector test may not at all that accurate as a tool  to ferret out the truth. Any calm pretending subject may easily mislead the findings of a lie detector test. In effect this may save the liar. All the lies said maybe taken then for truth if the subject passes the test.

 Here you hear the smart ass quipping: lies save the liar;  liars live on lies. Could a leader, whose means of assumption into power was a result of cheating, be forever saved in the throne through lying and cover-up of the truth? The media recently revealed how much was spent in millions of pesos (of those who oppose the president, and of those who support her) for paid ads of their political statements. While the opposition spent hundreeds of thousands in pesos, the president’s supporters spent about 5 millions of pesos. Does it mean that the general public believe more the oppositions than the president, hence the loopsidedness on the amount spent. “Coverups” could temporarily save the liar from prosecutions and other civil liabilites, but never on the lost soul. Jun Lozada had taken the best course in his life, to correct his mistakes in the past and to retain whatever respect that is left of him; then he aimed for the grandiest of them all–to save his soul.

Even if they file case after case of all his supposed corrupt dealings in the past, Lozada can now face the music with open heart undmindful of the consequences. The truth prevails, and the truth will set him free. 

The Bible is clear, it is only God who can take away our sins. It is only God who can save the sinner, and sinners can only be pardoned through a genuine repentance.  “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah I: 18. This applies to Leo and Jun, it applies to all us including the President.                                               

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Liars Go to Hell

When I was small my grandmother used to tell me, do not lie. Be honest, liars go to hell. For sometime I did listen to my grandmother’s admonition. I did not cheat during quizzes and periodical tests even if some of my classmates casually did it. Many times I got zero to the dismay of my father. Nevertheless my grandmother was all their to comfort me if my parents scolded me. Having been forbidden to cheat, for moral reasons and fear of hell, I was forced to study my lessons to the fullest to learn and to overcome failures.  I barely passed my exams but was very happy with what ever accomplishment I had considering my IQ level. I struggled to finish college with much effort and patience. But I was never a saint to be honest with you; there were  occassions I was tempted to cheat. While I tried very hard not to do it, many times I failed. Having been disciplined to comply at all the time  to the principle of honesty,  I agonized everytime I failed. Yes, I also lost some self-respect for cheating and lying. While leading an honest life is an uphill climb, there is no better option than  living on the light of truth. I may not be a saint but I am not also comfortable to with evil and lies.   

 These thoughts on the values of honesty  came into my mind after watching on the TV the press conferences of  former Speaker of the House Jose de Venecia where he belied accusations that a  provision in the Philippine constitution  had been violated  in the signing of the contract for a  joint oil exploration in the Spratleys of the three claimant countries–Vietnam, China and the Philippines. He affirmed that there is nothing wrong with this venture. Earlier  President Arroyo’s administration had been dragged into the ZTE broadband controversy which spark massive protest rallies all over the country. But as always the case in the absence of solid documents, the government  dismissed the accusation as pure hearsays and a political noise.  And  to make matters worse, while this ZTE broadband issue is still hot to the public, another controversy on graft and corruption has again rocked the Arroyo administration; the Spratley deal which is being linked to the ZTE broadband controversy.  Because of its sensitive nature, public outrage intensified. There is always that perception that the Arroyo’s administration has sold the Philippine territory to China in favor of soft loans amounting to billions of dollars.

The bottom line of all the political noise, of accusations of corruption against the Arroyo government, is the perception of moral decay in governance. It is not only ineptness and dysfunctionality in  leadership that the Arroyo administration is perceived of to be lacking in but as well as credibility.Why do political leaders have difficulty of standing on the moral ground of governance; that public service is a public trust. Why do leaders tend to be dishonest when they should not; is it because of patronage politics which is necessary evil to insulate themselves in power? 

When the Senate resumes its investigation on the ZTE scandal, so many disclosures can be heard again from both sides;  but there is no assurance that someone asked to tesfify is telling the truth, or only a half-truth? When asked if Senate is already tired  investigating alleged anomalous deals involving the government, senator Lacson said never. For as long as there is no closure for truth,  to all the cases being investigated in senate, Senate’s inquiry in aid of legislation shall never come to rest.

No amount of concerted effort can always hide the truth, people will always find a way to know the truth. As Christians we believe that lying is forbidden; and liars go to Hell.  

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The Music Continues

“Kulot,” his mom was calling him; apparently excited with her voice crackling as though bitten by a viper.

“What,” he shouted back at the top of his voice. He made it sure he was heard loud enough to spare himself from hearing unwanted early morning homily.

“Have you read the paper today?”

“No, how could I, you grabbed it first.”

She is a single parent who devoted all her life to this cute and handsome lad born out of wedlock. She nicknamed him “Kulot” because of his African lineage.

Breakfast was now ready; his mom sat at her favorite corner and started drinking her cup of tea.

“What is in the news today mom?”

“Leah Navarro is humming a different tune today son.”

“What song?”

“Bayan Ko to the tune of Rock the Boat Baby…”

Laughter.

“What for,” he asked while dipping his pandesal in a cup of coffee. 

“She doesn’t like Erap and Cory briefly addressing that mammoth crowd in Ayala.”

“Bakit naman? Is it bad to greet multitudes of people including your supporters who were there because of your presence?”

“Iyon nga, no politician daw should be allowed to speak during the Inter-faith Rally. Kaya nga daw nag-walkout ang mga taga civil society.”

 “And so after the walkout, Leah Navarro sang Walk Away with Faith?”

“Ang gulo mong kausap.”

Kulot noted his mom frowning. He tried to dispel his mom’s disgust by pretending to be serious in discussing politics with her.

“Seriously speaking, do you think GMA shall give up the presidency for Kabayan Noli to continue?”

His mom smiled. Kulot knows his way to please his mom; talk to her anything about religion and politics.

“You know Kulot; this will go a long way according to Tita Cory. So brace yourself.  Even if the President shall lift EO 464 as demanded by the CBCP, Kabayan Noli, and the La Salle 60, GMA stays in power until 2010.”

“So useless lang ang ating pagra-rally; GMA is not resigning. He is fortified by the police and military. He has the resources of the government to court support from the local executives. Tignan mo naman ang mga unity walks nila sa Malacanang.”

“Kulot, the Lord has His own way to end evil things. Sa mga panahon na ito, all we need is prayer for discernment. Sana gumising na ang bayan sa matagal na niya pagkakahimbing.”

As a practicing Christian, his mom is in for the search of truth and good governance. As a former owner and operator of a karaoke bar and a night club, exclusively for rich tourists and politicians, she knows what it means to be greedy; she knows that a strong appetite for money can never be moderated except through a genuine repentance and reconciliation with God.

 Luckily for her, she found her way to the Lord. She may not have the comfort of her wealthy life before, but she has now the assurance of not losing her soul.

“So mom, tuloy pa rin ang laban… The struggle will continue no matter what it costs for the sake of justice and truth?” He looked at her mom.

“The ZTE broadband scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. Marami pang anolmalya ang gobiernong ito na dapat nating malaman at tuldokan. Anong malay mo Supreme Court will rule out against Neri’s petition. Magsasalita rin iyan sa Senado.”

“O magsisinungaling lang, as explained by senator Escudero should Senate agrees to a compromise agreement as suggested by the Supreme Court between the camp of Neri and the senators,” he countered.

“Hmmm… that’s a possibility Kulot.”

Silence. Kulot’s mom looked at him seriously. Kulot was a little bit uneasy. He knew something was brewing in the fertile mind of his mother.

“Kulot, I know you will be graduating this year with your ECE course. Curious lang ako, have you ever thought of becoming a doctor someday?”

“Yes mom, a doctor of disaster…”

“No Kulot, I am serious. Would you like to become a medical doctor someday?”

“Yes, but after listening to Dr. Golez so many times I just forewent the idea.”

“Sayang Kulot, you can be a great material for Malacanang.”

 “Mom naman, gagawin mo pa akong…”

“What about entering priesthood, bata ka pa. I can still shoulder your education with a little help from my friends in the Church.”

“Gusto mo akong maging bishop?”

“Right, para magkaroon ng panibagong Pastoral Letter ang CBCP.”

“Matagal pa iyon mom…”

“How about becoming a police general or a military chief of staff?”

“With my ECE course everybody will be wiretapped.”

Laughter…

Kulot looked at her mom like a little boy waiting for an answer to his silly question.      

“Hangang kailan makapagtitiis ang mga tao? Mom, what do you think, can we still muster a huge crowd similar to that of EDSA 2? ”

“Bakit naman hindi, for as long as there are students and people like you who risk their lives for the good of their people and country, there will always be a mammoth crowd in Ayala and even EDSA. Survey shows that 16% of those in Metro-Manila are willing to join rallies. Have you not figured out how large is that 16% of the 7 million people in Metro-Manila, isn’t it a very huge crowd?” What about those in the provinces, they have already shown their willingness to join big rallies in Manila. Harangan pa sila ng mga pulis. I believe some good guys in the military in the likes of Trillianes and Lim are just itching to see a critical mass of about a million people to make a decision.”

Kulot could not say anything. He remained motionless, apparently thinking.

“Kulot…”

“Mom…”

“Don’t you hear the music?”

“I do mom, and understand it. The music will continue to play…”

“And we will always be there to sing our theme song, isn’t it Kulot?”

 “Yes mom, ang walang kamatayang, Let Me Try Again.”

Both sang it and laughed; and they were done with their breakfast.

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Inspired by the Interfaith Rally in Ayala (Feb. 29, 2008)

I have been inspired by the turn out of people to join the Inter-faith Rally in Ayala composed of people from different walks of life. But I was most inspired by the huge groups of students from different schools, not only in Metro-Manila but from the provinces, trooping to Ayala to join the rally despite being blocked by the cops on their way. Having been at home most of the time, I do not join rally. I only watch them on the TV, but my heart is with them and the issues  they are fighting for. But last night my heart melted with shame after seeing a female student on wheelchair joining the rally. I made a promise to myself, just a promise, to be involved in whatever means I could to help restore honor and justice in this country. I write this blog to express my views and to call the attention of those in power to submit to the will of the people.  I believe it is my patriotic duty as a citizen to help protect the interest and freedom of this country.

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