Friday, July 24, 2009


Imagine this scenario: With Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile stepping closer to support former President Joseph Estrada, if and when he runs for president, Malacanang may orchestrate a Senate coup and unseat JPE, to be replaced by a new Senate President/Palace puppet. This possible coup against Enrile would ensure Senate approval of the proposal to shift to a parliamentary form of government. A change in the form of government will ensure that the Arroyo administration will remain in power beyond 2010. Under the plan, the present Congress will constitute itself as a Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution. It will vote for a shift to a parliamentary system and submit the decision to the people for ratification.

Incumbent senators and congressmen would have to run in their respective districts for seats in the unicameral legislature. The Arroyo people, with their vast resources and political network already in place down to the precinct level, are confident they will enjoy a large majority in the new parliament, which follows the French model which calls for a strong President (the British model has the Prime Minister as the virtual ruler and the monarch as a ceremonial figure head).

Under the plan, President Arroyo, who will run in Pampanga, will be elected President and Speaker Prospero Nograles as Prime Minister. The scenario calls for unseating Enrile if he refuses to go along with the plan. But Enrile's supporters say the Arroyo people have another guess coming. Enrile has his own counter-moves ready.

On that note, that is why I strongly oppose incumbent senators and congressmen from running for Parliament if the proposed shift to a parliamentary system is approved by a Constituent Assembly composed of the incumbent legislators to amend the Constitution. Hence, the proposed shift is merely a political maneuver by the party in power to allow its members to remain in office and even allow President Arroyo to stay on as President, and a Prime Minister chosen from among the majority parliamentarians.

It would be Machiavellian to amend the Constitution just to suit the ambitions of some trapos.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Would you support the idea of renaming the Philippines to Maharlika, in the hope of bringing international recognition and to assert national pride and self-respect?

For more than 400 years, we have carried a name imposed on us by foreign colonialists while our Asian neighbors have reclaimed their noble past and changed their names as follows: Formosa to Taiwan, Dutch East Indies to Indonesia, Siam to Thailand, French Indo-China to Vietnam, Burma to Myanmar, Cambodia to Kampuchea, East Pakistan to Bangladesh, and Ceylon to Sri Lanka.

Observe the following reasons why the country should refuse to be named after King Philip II of Spain:

- He was only 1/4 Spaniard and the son of first cousins forbidden and condemned by the (Catholic) Church.

- His grandmother died of insanity.

- He had several wives and mistresses.

- He was the instigator and the administrator of the dreaded Inquisition which murdered countless victims of oppression and colonial cruelty all over the New World including our country.

- Among his first acts when crowned king was to order the burning of Andalucia at the stake of thousands of Moors who inhabited the place which was a province of Spain.

- He died a disgraceful death caused by venereal disease, and by the time he died, his body was covered with foul-smelling ulcers festered by thousands of insects.

Why Maharlika?

Some say the name Philippines carries a shameful stigma and what is referred to as "karmic affliction," Maharlika is of "mantric significance" and spiritual meaning. It breaks down into Maja or great as in Taj Majal, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahayana, Mahabharata, and other noble names, and Likha which means to be born or created. It, therefore, means "nobly created" or "born great."

During the Majapahit and Sri Vijaya empires' golden age which covered all of East and South Asia with the Sulu Archipelago as center, Maharlika was revered by the rajahs and sultans as the name of "noble and free warriors" who won not only fierce battles and wars, but in particular the affection and admiration of all peoples. It also breaks down into Maha which in Sanskrit means good. La meaning a cup or a container, Lik meaning small and a which is a feminine gender suffix. Together they mean a "small place of great people," or a "small container filled with great things."
I'm fence-sitting on this in the meantime.

(Image from

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


One of the most bizarre accusations that ever hit the Batasan Pambansa in the past was its spending of some PhP45 million for turon snacks of congressmen during committee hearings. Yes, turon. A ranking congressman, chairman of a powerful committee, had this amazing defense for the gargantuan expense: "It's good we spent only for turons. Suppose we had ordered steak sandwiches and crepe suzettes?"

Speaker Prospero Nograles should really crack down on those huge expenses for food in the House, even though he himself was criticized for overspending on lavish toilets for the Batasan. During sessions and committee hearings, there are heavily-laden buffet tables with all forms of victuals and vinos. It's not only the solons who partake of this food, but also their employees, family members and guests. Some even have the food wrapped and taken home.

If you don't see your favorite solons on the session floor or in committee hearings, they could be in their chambers, sleeping soundly due to over-eating and over-drinking. The people happiest over the situation are the food concessionaires who overcharge the House and presumably give kickbacks to some House officials and finance officers.

One thing is certain: Not one of our legislators will ever die of starvation.

Being overpaid and overfed are among the perks of power. Years ago, Lily Tomlin remarked that "98 percent of the adults in any country are decent, hard-working honest citizens, and that the other 2 percent get all the privilege and publicity and only because we elected them."

By the same token, Auberon Waugh commented in the Spectator, "When we have finally stirred ourselves to hang them all, I hope our next step is to outlaw political parties on the grounds that like our amusement arcades, they attract all the least desirable members of our society."

Here, they are simply censured as trapos.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Drug traffickers play dirty. Today's news was very disturbing and I wondered, how many similar tragedies such as this one happened but were never reported? A young daughter of a high-ranking government anti-narcotics officer was abducted, drugged and raped. She's only a minor. Crimes like these must never go unpunished, and what better way but to prime the intelligence network of the government agencies against drug pushers and drug traffickers and help track down and snatch the guilty parties and throw them in jail. Drug trafficking is a heinous crime punishable by death, considering the countless lives that have been destroyed and wasted through the years.

In carrying out the punishment for these criminals, there seems to be a general acceptance to show on television the execution of such either by electric chair or lethal injection. Televised executions could very well be a deterrent to heinous crimes and to the growing tide of criminality in the country.

Some 400 convicts have been confined at death row, and no execution has yet been carried out because every death sentence is subject to review by the Supreme Court. In the past, executions of criminals were made in public. As if to stress the role of executions as a deterrent to crime, cruelty was allowed in ending the criminal's life. In some Islamic countries in the Middle East, public executions are still made and this could explain why criminality seems relatively lower in Islamic nations. Punishments like cutting of limbs for lesser crimes are carried out in public for all to see.

The Roman rhetorician Quintillian wrote that when criminals were to be executed, the place of choice was where there would be the most number of spectators so that fear of punishment would work upon them. During the same period, Seneca, the Roman philosopher argued that "the more public the punishments are, the greater the effect they will produce upon the reformation of orders."

In our modern world, television will carry the anti-crime message of public executions to millions more than those in ancient times.

Criminals too should be entitled to their '15 minutes of fame' before a nationwide audience. That should be something to die for.

But seriously, the guilty parties must be caught and severely punished.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


In his book "Notes On The New Society," the late President Ferdinand Marcos listed the following to justify his exercise of emergency powers and eventual imposition of martial law: rightist conspiracy, economic dislocation, graft and corruption, the Muslim secessionist movement, communist insurgency, rising criminality and increasing social justice.

Sounds familiar?

During the long years of the Marcos rule, many men and women gained majestic eminence by their sacrifices for freedom and liberty, and when Marcos was ousted by a popular uprising, these heroes were rewarded by a grateful people by electing them to high positions.

Now, as storm clouds begin to gather again threatening such freedoms and liberties, these stout-hearted former street parliamentarians and human rights champions, except for a handful, are ominously silent. Matter of fact, some of them are the ones insisting on repressive Draconian measures trampling on civil liberties and constitutional freedoms. Observe them now. Aren't they the ones in elected offices forcing to amend our Constitution? If you ask me, they don't deserve another day in office. They should just return to their caves and for once, do the country a favor and hibernate as long as they want.

Indeed, how money and power can corrupt even the noblest of heart! So many people recoiled in horror and shock as they read and heard these former intrepid heroes against the Marcos regime become the new oppressors and executioners. Especially horrified now are members of the fourth estate many of whom shared the same cells with these new tyrants from Malacanang, the House and the Senate - in Camp Crame and Bicutan during Marcos' iron rule.

These budding dictators have learned their lessons well, and no less than President Gloria Arroyo and Speaker Prospero Nograles emerge as honor students. These people know that for a totalitarian state to be set in place, there must first be a slaughter of the press.

Tick off the names in Malacanang, Congress and the Senate who would now act as executioners of the citizenry - and weep. These were the glorious leaders of the parliament of the streets and those who went into exile fighting Marcos to the bitter end. Gout-inflicted fat cats, filthy bottomless pits and all.