Friday, November 07, 2008


Lifestyle checks conducted by a government agency must never be selective. It must apply to all government personnel, top to bottom. Our leaders most especially must always be conscious of the people's trust, and what better way to earn that constantly from them than by living a simple way of life. In a society of rampant materialism as gauge for success, one cannot help but be lured into that very web. And so, a top government official must be seen riding in the latest SUV, wearing the most expensive Italian haute-couture, wearing a Rolex or an IWC, and of course his spouse and offspring must follow suit, not to mention the in-laws that live with him and his immediate family under the same imported Italian roof. He must be seen eating at the best fine-dining restaurants and seldom only in fastfood joints like Burger Machine or Goto King. He definitely must be seen eating in expensive Japanese restaurants like Sugi, and never in cheap Jap restos like Tokyo-Tokyo. If he's in a Chinese restaurant, never should it be in Ling-Nam or Luk-Yuen, but only in authentic Chinese eating places like Tin-Hau, or the ones located only in five-star hotels. His children must be enrolled in schools like the Ateneo or De la Salle, Assumption or Woodrose, Brent or U A & P. His servants or maids must always be seen with them wearing maids' uniforms making them look like private nurses in white, with matching aprons to announce their domestication. His address must sound expensive like "# so and so Acacia Lane," or "one majestic mile," and must have authentic numerals like #2 or #1002, and never an address like 'Block 15, Lot 32,' or 'Kampupot Extension.' When driving along the SLEx, he must be with a driver and a 'driver's alalay,' and must always use the Skyway and enter and exit only via the e-pass lanes, otherwise, what would his neighbors think? He must always be seen in high-class supermarkets like Rustan's, but never in places like Hi-Top or Liana's, or his neighbors will surely have sudden fainting spells. His mobile cellphone number must be postpaid from Globe, particularly starting with the first four numbers '0917,' otherwise, he's not in the creme de la creme crowd. If his number starts with a pre-paid '0919,' he's immediately regarded as an outcast and on welfare. He must be seen in churches like the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, or the St. James Church in Alabang, and never should he be seen with the hoi-polloi crowd in gatherings like the El Shaddai overnight services, unless only invited to be on stage with no less than Bro. Mike Velarde himself. He must be seen in expensive spas and salons, and never in Ricky Reyes parlors, otherwise, he could be mistaken as a returning OFW or a Hosto with a taxi business of not more than two units. His laptop must be the latest Mac and never a Dell or a Neo. Wine is a must for him, but never the vinegar-like Novellino. It must be authentic Chilean or French, but never pseudo-Italian or Sioktong. His pets at home must be pure-bred dogs complete with papers, and not the ones issued by the BID, and exotic birds like the American Bald Eagle and rare fish like the Coelacanth. In addition, his birds at home should never be the spray-painted ones and his fish never a Tilapia, Sapsap or Butete in an aquarium. And never should these pets at home be the domestic lizards, termites, cockroaches and the occasional Singsing Pare. You see, it really is diffcult for a government official not to have all these luxuries in life. If he must, then a private life he must keep, for a public official is public property, and everything he owns must pass public scrutiny. For in the end, the more gold he carries with him, the harder the trip will be for him to his final destination.
(Image from

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Bayani Fernando is stealthily encroaching on the whole archipelago with his silly new term - Metro Philippines. Whatever that means, soon, his MMDA engineers will be constructing slippery, elderly-unfriendly pink and blue steel foot-bridges right from the door of his MMDA office to the door of the presidential palace. After all, he now boasts that no less than former president Fidel Ramos has hinted that an engineer could be the next president of the Philippines. Fernando was quick to claim that FVR was alluding to him (Fernando) because he is an engineer. Now we see what goes on in BF's so-called mind these days. Endorsements, silly slogans and the presidency. And what better way to spin this lust of his than to take advantage of his position as MMDA chairman, to put his face on posters bigger than the message. We should all be enraged at the behavior of this engineer who promotes 'kaayusan' and 'disiplina,' and yet he himself doesn't have those two in his character. He says that "engineering technology" is the answer to boost livelihood for many Filipinos in the south, Mindanao in particular. He says that the country's inadequate housing program and the dismal economy is in dire need of his technology to solve the many problems there. Well, more than the poor economy, it's the economist, stupid! - his lady-boss who to this day unlawfully occupies the very office he salivates for. Naglalaway na siya maging presidente! To be more 'street-legal,' atat na atat na siya maging presidente ng 'Pinas! Fernando says that being an engineer, his solution to the Mindanao conflict is really simple: through "technology warfare," he will solve it, and with this Mindanaoans will protect their infrastructures instead of doing other things. I think he's on drugs or on something. Talk about dreaming. He further stressed that based on the statement of FVR about him, he has a big chance of becoming the next Philippine president. Remember when the same FVR endorsed former Speaker Jose de Venecia to be the ruling party Lakas' official presidential bet against former President Joseph Estrada? Well, JDV lost a poor second after Erap won the presidency by a huge margin. The Ramos endoresement is really nothing for BF to jump about and announce to his whole Metro Philippines. It's more of an empty recommendation from a not-so-clean-himself ex-president. It would bring more damage to BF than good, not to mention his 1% acceptable rating among Pinoys. Well, on that note, the reason probably why Fernando wants to bring infrastructure to Mindanao is the fact that there's really nothing else that he knows except that - a disguised "engineering technology" which would really just boost his steel business when they start building steel bridges, pink fences, concrete barriers and all those ghastly MMDA contraptions which to me are the silliest pink ideas for any urban area. His plan to reach the south and possibly the whole archipelago is a selfish motive aimed at enlarging his territorial clout needed to feed his insatiable ambition, kasi, sirang-sira na siya dito sa Metro-Manila. But that's really not the answer. The wiser answer to the problems are food production, job creation, peace and order, and respect to other faiths such as Islam. And speaking of respect, Fernando needs to have that within his people. People like those sixteen MMDA employees assigned to the Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG) who were arrested recently for stealing PhP 5 million worth of LRTA vertical clearance posts which they eventually sold for scrap. These are the same people who see and salute his pictures more than absorbing his 'fine-printed' messages on a daily basis, simply because of the sheer size of the former, and instead of the more important message which isn't really the MMDA's priority. The same people who have been found guilty of running away with the goods of sidewalk vendors - vegetables, fruits, chickens, fish, DVDs, slippers, socks, umbrellas, ballpens, combs, briefs, and even dentures of vendors, etc. You name it, they stole it and took them to their homes! Geesh. They should all be wrapped with BF's posters, re-painted with black and yellow stripes and then use them as humps along EDSA to slow down all those killer buses with their 'shabu-head' drivers sporting BAYANI stickers. So, what really is Metro Philippines? Sounds oxymoronic to me. I've heard of Metro Cebu and Metro Davao and of course Metro Manila, but Metro Philippines? What is that? Perhaps to Bayani Fernando, since he thinks that the MMDA programs and projects he has instituted have been the best thing that ever happened to our urban cities, he probably wants now to take the whole country by his Metro-Gago, Tao-Ginago/ Urbanidad pero que barbaridad slogans. And since he has openly announced his intention to run for president in 2010, he now realizes that Metro Manila is just not big enough in terms of the electoral populace to usher him to Malacanang. And so, the solution is to simply transform the whole country's perception from the public mind with just two words: Metro Philippines. Of course, this is all just strategy and spin, and it stinks. Building steel bridges to connect the whole archipelago is a positive move - for his steel business. Then, transforming the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) into the Metro Philippines Development Authority (MPDA) under the Office of the President (OP) is also positive - for the the successor (if any), since all the secret and unbidded-out deals will still continue. Imagine, if the whole country is transformed into Metro Philippines, then that would mean 7,100 plus more small Metro Manilas in terms of voting strength, budget and political clout, enought to kick one upstairs straight to Malacanang Palace. But with his 1% rating conducted by the SWS just recently, Bayani Fernando still has a good chance to be just a 'nuisance candidate,' joining the ranks of Ely Pamatong, Eddie Gil and Co.
(Image from


Barack Obama wins the US presidency and the hearts of all peoples of the world. It was an emotional moment for many of us when CNN finally declared Senator Barack Obama as the 44th US president-elect. In my mind I thought this to be the beginning of a new era for the world's most powerful nation, and one with the most diverse nationalities and cultures. The presidency is a destiny made in heaven. The US presidency in particular is a responsibility and an undertaking unlike any other. With it must come wisdom which must be given from above. Not man-made, but God-given. Obama is a man of God and a man of peace. His victory is a victory for all freedom-loving peoples of the world. It is proof that America can evolve, and will do so for the better in an Obama era. Gone are the days when a black man's job was simply to be a slave. When all he had to do was to pick cotton from the cottonfields of the deep south. To serve the white man his coffee or tea and bring him his mail. To drive him to the county fair or to tend his garden and wash his dishes. Or simply be his hired hand. He has since become the living spirit behind the US presidency, and his victory ushers the unshackling of all racism and bigotry against all black peoples of the world - and of course of America. It is a liberating win not only for black Africa, but also for all African-Americans. With Obama's victory comes God's will, and with God's will comes the blessings for a greater America.


There should be no objection to the plan to privatize Pagcor. Neither should there be any objection if Stanley Ho, the gambling lord of Macau would buy into the operations of Pagcor, reportedly with some big-time operators from Las Vegas. However, Mr. Ho has such a terrible and questionable management style bordering on the criminal when it comes to running his businesses that we are better off without him. Privatization will stop powerful people close to Malacanang from dipping their hands into the coffers of Pagcor. President Arroyo will be deprived of hundreds of millions of Pesos from the so-called "special fund" from Pagcor, and as far as we are concerned, there should be no objection to that either. We never know how the money is spent anyway, because disbursemens are not audited. So what else is there to do? Make sure that the sale or the privatization process is transparent. With that, government should get the right price for it. And because Pagcor is government-owned, its privatization must be done thru public bidding to avoid suspicions of large sums of money changing hands as a result of a negotiated sale. Lastly, the state should never be involved in gambling. Gloria's government refuses to legalize jueteng, but its gambling tentacles have spread all over the country. The fact that Pagcor is legal and jueteng is not hardly makes any difference. It is still gambling by whatever name one would like to call it.


Webster's dictionary defines graft as "the use of dishonest means and political influence or position to acquire personal gain." Jueteng, smuggling, gambling. These three words ending with a G are part and parcel of this government's legacy, and incidentally, three prominent names starting with a G make it to the news on a regular basis - Genuino, Garcia, Gloria. And what's the controversy all about? G for Graft. When Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz revealed to the public that four (4) national officials and six (6) local officials were receiving bribes from the PhP 30 billion jueteng bonanza, the palace just shrugged off its shoulders. As usual, palace apologists were quick to dare Archbishop Cruz to name names, with the usual motherhood statement that "President Arroyo is fully committed to stamp out all forms of gambling in the country." Now that's garbage with a capital G! Archbishop Cruz retorts that it is "appaling and highly unbelievable" for Malacanang to not know the identities of the persons involved. Cruz is correct. Malacanang knows. Cruz is even generous, again with a capital G. He should have said forty (40) national officials and six hundred (600) local officials instead of four and six. Sticking to four and six, it's easy to guess who these people are. The two of them are seen almost daily in Malacanang, while the other two could be seen in two separate offices on EDSA. As to the six, choose your wild from Bulacan to Pampanga, to Pangasinan and the Ilocos region, all four places as the home turf of "the lady in jueteng."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


At the shameful rate many of our judges and justices in the Supreme Court, including our present justice secretary have been playing partisan politics to protect their own interests and the interests of their benefactors, I am reminded of of what former Senator Kit Tatad wrote some years back. He said, "Injustice, not poverty, is the gravest social evil. We have too many laws but not enough justice. Too many justices, but not enough just men." - Francisco S. Tatad, 'A Nation on Fire: The unmaking of Joseph Ejercito Estrada and the remaking of justice in the Philippines.' Our Supreme Court justices have cheapened their positions by selling off decisions and cases, sometimes even to the highest bidders. In this country, justice is only for the rich and the powerful. Many criminals have now been given freedom from their heinous crimes, and many petty thieves so to speak are languishing in jail, sometimes for crimes they have never committed, and then to add insult to injury, we have a justice secretary who commits a crime too each time he opens his mouth.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I always enjoy my LRT ride from the EDSA/Taft Avenue station up until my usual destination where I always get off at Blumentritt to take a jeepney to Del Monte, Quezon City. The trip takes me to a few minutes ride back to the past whereupon I see old historic buildings of Manila like the Post Office building, the Knox United Methodist Church, the National Press Club building, the Philippine General Hospital, the Philippine Women's University, the Metropolitan Theatre, the Scottish Rite Temple, Cosmopolitan Church, Sta. Isabel College and the Philippine Normal University, to name a few. But when I took that same route today, my attention on the wonderful trip down historic lane was cut short when I noticed a sign inside the train posted by the public affairs office of the LRTA which read: "Mahigit na ipinagbabawal sa Special Boarding Area ang mga sumusunod: hindi matanda, walang kapansanan, senior citizen na hindi nakasuot ng OSCA ID, hindi buntis, mga magulang na may dalang bata na lampas sa 4ft., at hindi kawani ng LRTA." Now, the notice seemed normal to me, but I thought I'd read it again, and sure enough, the item about senior citizens wearing OSCA IDs got my undivided attention. What the LRTA here is saying is that if you are an elderly person riding the LRT and happen not be wearing your OSCA ID, or worse have forgotten to bring it with you, then you simply cannot occupy the Special Boarding Area. Since when does it take an ID to distinguish whether one is an elderly person or not? In the same way, does a pre-elementary pupil have to wear his kindergarten school ID to show he's just a small, young kid? Surely, people like LRTA Administrator Mel Robles is unaware of this silly notice, otherwise it wouldn't pass at all. Or does he? Pity the elderly who have to show OSCA IDs to prove he's - well, a senior citizen. It's enough that they are subjected to a regular punishing flight of steps to the top just to reach the ticket booths because many times, escalator and elevator services are not available for their use, not to mention the many establishments that do not honor the 20% discount required to be given for all senior citizens. If I were Mel Robles, I would offer free rides to our elderly kababayans. It's one small way of showing our appreciation and respect for them. After all, cruel and morbid as it may seem, they won't be around anymore that long to contribute to income loss on transport systems like the LRTA. In addition, Mel's boss Mike Velarde has way too much cash on hand already, and the irony of it is that many senior citizens are faithful tithers in his El Shaddai church. And to think that I'd gladly ride the LRT any day of the week contrary to my usual hesitation and bias when it comes to riding the much-neglected MRT system. And if you think that the punishment for our old-timers ends there, they have to see huge tarpaulin posters of Gloria Arroyo on the LRT stations with the misleading message: "Ramdam ang Kaunlaran."

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Bayani Fernando's political machinery is on cruise control for now. Nowadays, one can easily spot tricycles carrying his stickers which says, 'Bayani 2010 For President Movement,' or his 'new and improved' posters which has a confusing new name for our country - Metro Philippines. What that exactly means is still a puzzle to me to this day. I'm sure he's also clueless as to what it means. Is he trying to put the whole country under his jurisdiction, for obvious reason? In the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from the dates September 24-27, 2008, the following results show Noli de Castro 19% from 28%, Joseph Estrada 17% (not included last March), Manny Villar 17% from 10%, Chiz Escudero 13% from 16%, Loren Legarda 8% from 20%, Ping Lacson 8% from 10%, Mar Roxas 6% from 12%, Gloria Arroyo 3%, Dick Gordon 1%, Jojo Binay 1%, and Bayani Fernando 1%. It's obvious that legions of Filipinos believe that Bayani Fernando (contrary to what many people think), just doesn't have even the faintest qualities to make president, and one outstanding reason among several is that they simply don't trust him at all, not forgetting how he has and continues to abuse his position as MMDA chairman. It is also my personal opinion that Mr. Fernando's foot simply doesn't fit the presidential shoe, even if that shoe is hand-made especially for him by a reputable shoe maker from Marikina. The presidential shoe will always be too big for his parochial foot.