Category Archives: Politics

Modern-Day Heroes

Today is National Heroes Day here in the country. It is also the day of protest against PDAF (Priority Development Assistant Fund), also known as pork barrel. Dubbed as a Million People March, people trooped to Luneta park to cry to abolish pork barrel. The protest is fueled by the pork barrel scam, where it was found out that some senators and congressmen have allegedly been squandering their PDAF.

These lawmakers made us believe that  they are using the PDAF in legitimate ways only to find out that they are actually donating it to NGOs they themselves own or to fake NGOs. You know of course what this means.

If you were one of those who support this march, I salute you. It is high time that we paid attention to how our public funds were being used.

PDAF in principle is good. After all, the funds were intended to support development projects in the provinces. We should have started being wary about it when we knew that these funds are not subject to audit. Or better yet, when PDAF was started to be called pork barrel, which in technical terms refers to legislative control of local appropriations.

How did PDAF or pork barrel came about? I thought it started with the Marcos regime. But little research told me that it started during Cory Aguino’s leadership. It started out as country development fund (CDF). Read more about its evolution HERE.

Call it apropos that today, National Heroes is also the day of protest. It has become even more relevant because who are considered victims of this Pork Barrel Scam are the modern-day heroes.

Who are the modern-day heroes?

  • Folks who work hard to earn a living and apportion a huge part of their earnings to the government through taxation.
  • Folks who are helping run the economy by spending.
  • Folks who leave homes and families to earn a living overseas and invest/spend their earnings here in the country.
  • Folks who work for a real cause, or supporting a legit advocacy.
  • Folks who work for the improvement of the lives of the majority without the photo opps and publicity.
  • Folks who inspire others to do good.
Who are your modern-day heroes?

COMELEC Lists Official Senate Candidates

In an article in Yahoo!, COMELEC lists the official senate candidates as follows:

1.       Ricardo Penson (independent)
2.       Samson Alcantara (Social Justice Society)
3.       Greco Antonious Beda Belgica (Democratic Party of the Philippines)
4.       Baldomero Falcone (Democratic Party of the Philippines)
5.       Christian Señeres(Democratic Party of the Philippines)
6.       Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV
7.       Former Las Pinas City Rep. Cynthia Villar
8.       Former Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros-Baraquel
9.       Former Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal
10.   Former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr
11.   Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara
12.   Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
13.   Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
14.   Senator Aquilino Martin Pimentel 3rd
15.   Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay
16.   Margarita “Tin-Tin” Cojuangco,
17.   Former Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon,
18.   Former Senator Ernesto Maceda
19.   Former Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri
20.   San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito
21.   Zambales Rep. Maria Milagros “Mitos” Magsaysay
22.   Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce “Jack” Enrile Jr.
23.   Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan,
24.   Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares
25.   Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
26.   Senator Loren Legarda
27.   John Carlos De Los Reyes
28.   Marwil Llasos
29.   Rizalito David
30.   Former Philippine Constabulary chief Ramon Montaño
31.   Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn
32.   Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro “Teddy” Casiño

Read more about these Senatorial candidates here.

A word of advice from me, let’s choose carefully. Besides, don’t you find it disconcerting to have siblings, father and son, father and daughter, mother and son, mother and daughter, husband and wife, etc. in Senate, or even in Congress? I do.

Let’s not make our Houses a family affair.


Related post:

My Automated Election Experience

My Automated Election Experience

I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to elbow my way to the voting precinct (at Moonwalk 1, Paranaque City). Sure, I queued; I had to deal with the heat and humidity, but I still believe I had it easier than most.

In my place, Moonwalk 1, Paranaque, 20 precincts were grouped into 4 clusters. I was on cluster 301. Most of us, if not all, didn’t have to look for our names and precinct numbers on election day itself, because those were posted on a bulletin board outside our church (the Holy Eucharist Parish), three weeks before. And I’m guessing, everyone was accounted for because I didn’t hear complaints of missing names.

Our queues were made more bearable by the narra and mango trees, too. Talk about the benefit of being green.

Overall, my first automated election experience was OK. No technical glitches, no ballot snatching or spoiled ballots, no missing names, no missing precincts, no fights, no arguments, no loudmouths, no violence. I had to line up for 2.5 hours because I went there at the peak hours. But after I voted, there was no more line outside the gym, and few people were there waiting to vote. In fact, in the afternoon, the gym, which served as the voting area for the 20 precincts, was pretty much deserted, save for the PPCRV, BEI, Comelec people, and other observers like us.

As an observer, the system in my place needs improvement, but this is our first so I forgive them. If only we were not so worried about the sensitive ballots and the allegedly not ready PCOS machines, we would have devoted more time on people-space-volume-time management. Especially that Comelec, albeit late, announced that with or without PCOS machine, voting must go on, the voting should not be so dependent on the PCOS machines.

But this is all in retrospect. I am sure in the next elections we will do better.

Now, as I write, we await for the results. My candidates are not doing well in the partial, unofficial results, but I’m happy that I cast my vote, and exercised my right as a Filipino.

Whoever wins, I remain to be a good citizen. My fervent prayer is that we give the new government a chance.

Here are some of the photos I took earlier.

On to 2010 Philippine Elections

The 2010 Philippine election won’t be like the previous elections. For one, it is going to be automated. So the preparations are steeped with controversy every step along the way. We all heard about what happened in the registration. It was all messed up. New voters lined up as early as 4am only to take Step 1 of the registration process at 8 in the evening.

This caught the ire of many, and one newspaper columnist, Andy Bautista, even offered his observation that we are so focused on preventing a failure of election, but never on a failure of registration. True!

So are we ready?

I posted a quick guide to the automated elections. But do we know the new ballot? Today, let me share it with you.

Images courtesy of Blog Watch hosted by Philippine Online Chronicles via Jane.

It’s going to be like taking a test. You bring a pencil and shade your choice of answer. The quick guide link I shared above is very helpful in figuring out this new ballot.

We don’t need to bring a list. All we have to bring is the patience to read through the page and find our candidates. 😉

The Liberal Party Rigodon

The biggest news to hit local politics yesterday is the announcement of Mar Roxas to support Noynoy Aquino for president in 2010.

Supporters of the move say that Roxas is doing the greater sacrifice. After all, Roxas is putting country first before personal interest.  How noble sounding!

To me as an audience of this latest rigodon, it’s not about personal interest, but personal interests. I’m seeing principles being set aside to give way to popularity.

And that sealed the deal for me. For the 2010 elections, my eyes are now focused on the Nacionalista Party. 😀

The photo is grabbed from HERE.

Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #4

Taken from CTalk by Cito Beltran
The Philippine Star, August 31, 2009

A number of whistleblowers would like us to think that they are heroes.

They would like us to think that they have suffered sleepless nights, oppression and political harassment for exposing a crime. They would like us to think that it is such a great personal sacrifice for them to be whistleblowers because their lives and their family are now in grave danger. They actually even want us to believe that they are the good guys.

Some people have actually fallen for this great lie, which is nothing more than “adding insult to injury”. Now, some people are trying to sell us the idea that because of what these whistleblowers have done, we should vote for them to be elected into Congress or in the Senate.

In short, we are now being asked to let the whistleblowers become the cops.

We are being told to “honor” people who were involved in illegal or criminal acts, we are being told to forget that they may, or have directly participated in deals or agreements that were disadvantageous to the government or to the people of the Philippines.

Continue reading…

Related posts:

Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #3
Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #2
Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #1

Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #3

Taken from Sketches by Anna Marie Pamintuan
The Philippine Star, July 17, 2009

If foreign investors and economic analysts are keeping tabs of the political intramurals for 2010, it is to look for hints of fiscal and investment policies that they might expect from the known presidential aspirants.

So far, the foreigners are groping for the hints. Most of the questions posed to the aspirants during public debates have focused on political matters, and what the aspirants plan to do with President Arroyo once she loses her immunity from prosecution.

Sen. Manny Villar, the frontrunner in recent surveys, told us last week that his economic model for progress was not the western democracies but a country that is closer to the Philippines’ level of development: India. He explained that India is an emerging democracy with all the accompanying political and social problems, it suffers from terrorism, and it’s one of the Philippines’ biggest competitors in business process outsourcing.

Villar and Sen. Mar Roxas are seen to be business-friendly, although Roxas is losing some points (but may be winning mass votes) in his campaign against Big Pharma.

Sen. Francis Escudero, though perceived to be business-friendly, suffers from the specter of cronyism because his principal patron, if he becomes the standard bearer of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, is businessman Danding Cojuangco.

Cojuangco’s estranged nephew Gilbert Teodoro is also seen to be business-friendly, but first he needs a party, and then he needs to rise from his ratings that have remained below water level.

Vice President Noli de Castro, whose ratings rival those of Villar, is tabula rasa as far as economic matters are concerned.

Many foreigners have told me that the worst prospect for the country in 2010 would be a return to power of the still popular former President Joseph Estrada. This, the foreigners said, would be a giant step backward for reforms.

The country cannot afford to continue with business as usual in 2010. While dramatic reforms are unlikely after the elections, it is possible to build the foundations for enduring change. And the way we vote and conduct the elections could determine how quickly we can get out of our current economic woes.

Read more…

Related posts:
Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #2
Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #1

Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #2

Demand and Supply by Boo Chanco
The Philippine Star, June 12, 2009

Look for managerial expertise

Today, Independence Day, is a good time to think about the qualities of the person we will vote for to be our next president. The recent two part ANC Leadership Forum should have provided clues on what to expect with each of the candidates. Unfortunately, neither of the two episodes got wide exposure. The other problem has to do with the danger of falling in love with the more telegenic and media savvy candidate.

Indeed, that seems to be the problem with the Filipino electorate. It is easy to get the ordinary voter infatuated with a candidate because of personality and other non important attributes. It is easy for the Pinoy voter to get taken by empty promises coming from a candidate with media sex appeal. That’s at the root of our problems.

That’s one reason why both Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Chiz Escudero are among the leading contenders even if they are the least qualified. Neither of the two from Danding Cojuangco’s NPC has significant managerial experience. Neither Loren nor Chiz has the track record to assure us they can run the massive bureaucracy called the Philippine government. We should learn from our experience with Gloria Magtatagal Arroyo. As such, all they can offer are promises. Ampaw is a good way to describe Loren and Chiz, which makes them ideal for the vested interests operating the NPC.

Continue reading…

Here’s Note #1.

Preparing for the Philippine Elections 2010 – Note #1

NewsStand by John Nery
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 18, 2009

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escuder enjoys a reputation for political eloquence, and as I have written before on other occasions, his mellifluous monotone” can prove highly effective. But as his answers at the recent ABS-CBN-sponsored “leadership forum” at the Ateneo de Manila showed, he also uses it in Orwelllian fashion. That is to say, he sometimes uses his gift of gab to conceal thought, not to reveal it.

One example: To the question about personal heroes (Which historical person living or dead do you most admire?), Escudero said, None. His answer (in mellifluously monotonous Filipino, and readily available on his website) started in this wise: “Ilang ulit nang tinanong sa akin yan, “matagal ko nang pinag-isipan ngunit wala akong maisip ni-isa.” My translation: “I’ve been asked that many times and have thought about it a long tiem, but I can’t think of anyone.” He went on to say: “Dahil para sa akin walang iisang kumakatawan at nagtataglay nang lahat ng katangiang kapupuri-puri. [Because for me, there is no one who embodies and symbolizes all that is worthy of praise.]”

This is passing strange. The question was not Who is perfect? but Who do you look up to?

Escudero proceeded to state that perhaps what we ought to do is to choose what is admirable in our historical figures (“mga magagandang ginawa ng mga personalidad sa kasaysayan”) and avoid mistakes. But that was the point of the question, wasn’t it? Give the Filipino people an idea of who you consider admirable. Escudero then wrapped up his two-minute answer with an appeal to imagination: Imagine a person with all these qualities, he said. “Iyon siguro, hindi man totoong tao, ang dapat natin tingalain. [Maybe that is the one, though not a real person, we should look up to.]”

Pure drivel. I think in avoiding the true question, Escudero is betraying the anxiety of influence. As I’ve written before (the first time, I think was in 2005), Escudero strikes me as the acceptable face of the Marcos restoration. Here’s a thought in search of a consensus. Perhaps Escudero declined answer the real question because the people may not be ready to hear him profess any admiration for the late dictator.