Saturday, July 18, 2009


Among my father's many good friends is a gentleman and a gentle man who stands out in the company of the likes of Blas Ople, Kokoy Romualdez, Adrian Cristobal, Chitang Nakpil and several others whose names escape my memory for now. He is the late great JV Cruz, former Press Secretary and Ambassador to England. In 1990, to the delight of my father, Ambassador Cruz finally returned to Manila from London where he had been in self-exile since the EDSA Revolt of '86. JV has been described by legions as the best press secretary our country ever had. His record to this day is still one that has yet to be surpassed or even equalled. He served under President Ramon Magsaysay along with other glamor boys like Raul Manglapus, Maning Pelaez, Terry Adevoso, Jimmy Ferrer and Manny Manahan. And I'm absolutely certain that his colleagues in the diplomatic community had everything good to say about him as a Filipino diplomat.

Coming back in 1990, JV received tempting offers from many newspapers and radio-TV stations, and whoever got him surely had prime cut and hit the jackpot. One of the oft-repeated stories about Ambassador Cruz was when he was press secretary - about an incident involving him and a Manila Chronicle reporter who was lambasting Magasaysay every single day. JV pulled the reporter into an empty room one day and yelled: "I have already helped you financially, introduced you to charming women, treated you out to the best restaurants with good food and fine wine and begged you to be fair to Magsaysay, but you refuse to budge! So, let's settle this in a fistfight. If you win, I will no longer bother you, but if I win over you, give Monching (Magsaysay) a fair shake."

The two did have a fistfight. Both declared it a draw after inflicting bruises and contusions on each other. They became the best of friends after that.

Accompanying my father to JV's wake some years back, I noticed a coffee mug resting on a table near his reading glasses and his trusty typewriter, with a scotch glass and a half-emptied bottle of the finest scotch whiskey, where his friends would toast the man and take a farewell shot, just next to his casket. The mug bore an inscription which read, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

Many fine stories about JV Cruz are embedded in the hearts of his many friends who still miss him to this day, for indeed, how can anyone really ever forget a good man?

Portrait by the great Alcuaz, courtesy of Edvee Cruz.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Brace yourselves folks! The circus is coming to town. A double-whammy with Congress and the Senate resuming with a joint session, plus more prevarications, concoctions and bull with the President delivering her State Of The Nation Address (SONA) on July 27 before a people she and her administration has betrayed and continue to betray, not to mention the nerve of a sinister attempt to amend the Charter in the hopes of perpetuating her to power.

The people will be closely watching too how their legislators will be behaving. Body language is such a clear way of communicating. These solons spend millions and millions to get elected and re-elected, and the public is curious how on earth will they ever recover their political expenses on jobs paying only several thousands of pesos a month. We now eye legislators with much skepticism, and it's their fault. We also know that they left no stone unturned to be elected and be assured of money and power. Most of these solons who will bootlick the President on July 27 as she wags her forked-tongue before a politically-emaciated citizenry will be coming from the same political and business elite she comes from, the same class that has ruled Filipinos for many years and have refused to give up its life-and-death grip on the fate of their constituents.

The political and economic oligarchies remain so entrenched in their positions of power that no poor man can ever hope to get elected to public office. Look at the political landscape. The wives of the solons are governors or mayors and their children are councilors. And that is only the beginning. Other relatives occupy high appointive positions. And so, these political families enjoy almost complete control over their hapless constituents.

Much as we hate to admit it, Singapore's former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew may have been correct when he accused the Philippines of having abused the theory of democracy and that this same abuse has caused many of the country's present ills.

"The trouble with your country is that you ape western democracies too much and you have had too much of democracy," Mr. Lee told Filipinos during a visit to the Philippines some years ago.

Methinks too that the trouble with our country is our culture of impunity where not one big crook really goes to jail - unless politically motivated. No one big fish here really goes to jail for his or her crimes, period. If that big fish goes to jail, it's only for a "vacation."

It's high time we send some to the can again or else we will never learn our lessons, and rest assured, there will be more out there ready and willing to screw our nation again and again.

And remember how the President made a public declaration once saying, "I'm married to the country."

No wonder she keeps screwing the Filipino people.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I recall a decision made by the Supreme Court a few years ago when it said that it is alright for citizens to refuse, on religious grounds, to salute the flag, sing the national anthem or recite the pledge of allegiance.

This Supreme Court decison arose from a suit filed by members of the Jehovah's Witnesses questioning the decision of a school's authorities to expel their children for refusing to participate in daily early morning flag ceremonies. The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that saluting the flag is an act of idolatry. While some citizens hailed the high court for upholding religious freedom, others wondered whether the decision would lead to other unpatriotic acts. Some moviegoers for instance (and I just abhor this) refuse to stand up when our national anthem is played. Of course, the SC decision could well lead to another ruling that would allow citizens to refuse, on religious grounds, to bear arms in times of war.

This is the case in the United States, where such persons who are known as conscientious objectors are assigned to non-combatant duties.

Still on the subject of religious denominations - do you know that certain Catholic and Protestant groups that oppose the Lotto operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) are recipients of foreign aid derived mostly from German lotteries?

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, mainly funded by the German lottery games, has been giving generously to local religious groups which are sometimes vocal against Lotto. The Catholic organization "Misereor" and its Protestant counterpart "Bread For The World" are both recipients of funds coming from proceeds of German lotteries. "Misereor" is a major source of money for certain Catholic schools and radio stations, and provides practically the entire operating budget of the National Secretariat for Social Action, an arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

Several Protestant churches on the other hand, receive funding from the "Bread For The World." And some Protestant leaders criticizing the Lotto come from these churches. The Center for Research and Communication (CRC), now called the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) is believed to be a recipient of aid from the Hans Seidel Foundation, a beneficiary of German lotteries.

"Good people will have wealth to leave to their grandchildren, and the wealth of the unrighteous shall go to the righteous.' - Proverbs 13:22


What kind of an institution is this which cannot even provide decent toilets, school desks and chairs for our students in the public schools?

And to think that the education department has such a gargantuan budget from which corrupt and crooked officials, of which the DepEd is honeycombed with, had been dipping their dirty fingers leading to such monstrous rackets like the textbook scam, the overpriced school supplies and school equipment, and then the alleged PhP700 million noodles scam.

And how can anyone ever forget that statement from former (DECS) Secretary Andrew Gonzales when he said, "parents who cannot afford private schools should just send their kids to public schools." This is so obnoxious because it vilifies the public education system, and he being the very one who should rush to its defense and undertake measures to improve it. That statement takes its place among the other infamous statements uttered in the past which are now inscribed on a granite wall of shame. Statements such as:

"What are we in power for?"

"Millionaires don't steal."

"If you are raped, just relax and enjoy it."

"I am president, you are not."

"Some people are born smarter than others."

"I am not running for president in 2004."

"I am sorry."
(Image from

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


One of the Philippine National Police's (PNP) best-guarded secrets is its so-called "poultry." This refers to a group of hardened criminals, some in death-row, who are maintained and protected by certain police officers, who can order them to commit such crimes as kidnapings, bank holdups, and even murders.

In sensational cases involving policemen, some "poultry" members are used as fall guys in which they are killed and blamed as the culprits for purposes of police cover-ups. Members of this group are convicts still in jail who are set free on criminal missions for the police brass. And because they are supposed to be in the can, these criminals possess the perfect alibi. They are also said to provide the muscle in police protection rackets that demand "contributions" from legitimate businessmen as well as drug and prostitution syndicates, notably those operating in the tourist belt and Chinatown.

The PNP has such a terrible image now that they must do something about it soon. In the past, people used to run to the police for help. Now, they run away when the cops are in sight. Take note of the following:

- Almost all PNP officers, national and regional, are in the payroll of jueteng lords with monthy tong running in the millions.

- A majority number of traffic cops are extortionists.

- Most cops have multiple families.

- Jeepney, taxi and bus operators give daily tong to traffic cops who use cigaret and sampaguita vendors as their collectors. "Barkers" are a favorite instrument of the police as well.

- One notorious police scam is the extortion of merchants bringing food from the provinces. A favorite target are vegetable trucks.

- When policemen go to cocktail lounges and karaoke bars, they don't pay for their drinks and force the GROs to entertain them gratis et amore.

- Police investigators have the nasty habit of pocketing evidence especially when what was confiscated are cash and shabu. Fact is, the main supply of shabu in the streets come from cops.

- When crimes are committed, especally in Chinatown, the victims don't bother to report to the PNP anymore. "What's the use?" They ask, when the cops will ask for gasoline money and for other expenses anyway. Plus, many fatalities in shoot-outs are kidnap victims themselves. Cops have a reputation of being trigger-happy, and many times, kidnap victims are shot and killed together with the criminals elements.

- The PNP make big bucks escorting funerals (this is not part of their job).

- A number moonlight as security detail for gambling lords. Some work as bouncers in nightclubs and bodyguards for politicians. (this is not their job too).

- They are notorious for third degree interrogations and many know about the infamous water cures and plucking of finger-nails.

- And if all else fail, they resort to salvaging.

It's high time the PNP leadership clean its ranks top to bottom. Otherwise, you leave citizens no option but to arm themselves and be sympathetic to vigilante groups. Self-preservation is still top priority. The irony of it all is part of it is protecting themselves from the police - who must always obey the law while enforcing the law.
(Image from

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Former Senator Nikki Coseteng, during a visit to Paris a few years ago, was accosted at the Charles De Gaulle airport by a Filipina, who asked whether she was a singer or a dancer, obviously not recognizing who she was. After replying that she did not sing or dance for a living, Ms. Coseteng asked the Filipina Pasayena-turned-Parisienne longtimer in Paris the reason for her question. Coseteng was jolted by her reply that, in Paris, Pinays are classified only into two categories. If she were pretty, she would either be an entertainer or a prostitute, and if she were plain-looking, she would be a domestic helper. This certainly is an indictment of the Filipina as a human being and the Filipino as a race. In most airports around the world, there are separate lines for Filipinos who are subjected to various forms of humiliation by immigration officers. Filipinas in particular are asked insulting questions, such as if they were prostitutes and how much were their hourly rates. It's high time the national government takes swift and effective remedial measures aimed at erasing the reputation of the Philippines as the "whorehouse of the world."

A few years ago, women activist groups like the GABRIELA and STOP were quite quiet when a high-powered parliamentary delegation from Belgium visited the Philippines. The women activists failed to talk with the Belgian legislators about the horrors of Filipinas brought to Belgium and forced into prostitution. The ongoing hell of Pinays in Belgium was exposed in a book by Belgian journalist Chris De Stoop, entitled "They Are So Sweet, Sir," which shocked Belgium and most parts of Europe. Even the Belgian King Baudouin so pitied the Pinays that he ordered a serious investigation, however, the monarch's death soon brought many to forget about the scandal. How come Philippine authorities (unsurprisingly) failed to discuss such shocking trafficking of Pinays in Belgium when the Belgian legislators were in town? Both Philippine authorities and women's activist groups were caught sleeping on the job. There was a rare opportunity to do something about our tortured women in Belgium and we simply threw it away.

In his book, De Stoop quoted a Belgian pensioner who sympathized with the Pinays as saying, "They are so sweet, sir, as sweet as children!" But they are treated as animals. They sleep four in a room, never allowed to leave their quarters, while two big dogs guard them. They have to striptease six times a night and they earn almost nothing. De Stoop named the prostitution rings in Belgium and in the other European countries. Why has our government not followed this up? Is it because, as De Stoop claims, the Belgian vice lords are paying Philippine officials in the national and local levels, and also the police and the military? De Stoop should be asked to come to Manila and help in running after these Belgian vice lords who prey on young and poor Pinays mostly from the provinces. De Stoop even mentioned certain names in the Philippine judiciary and not even a squeak has been heard from Philippine authorities to go after these crooked judges and fiscals.

Time Magazine said, "De Stoop's bestseller shook up governments in Europe." Unless our government, together with women activist groups goes into action, thousands of Filipinas will continue to be fooled into going to Europe as decent workers and mail-order brides, and then cruelly forced into prostitution. Another distressing aspect of De Stoop's report is that some Philippine embassy people in Belgium and other European countries are "friendly" to the sex merchants. It is clearly high time for a full-scale government probe of the "cruel world of Filipina traffickers."