Saturday, September 11, 2010


Velarde. Very Large Deceit. Public opinion is strongly against the accreditation of Mikey Arroyo, Angelo Reyes and Mike Velarde as party-list nominees. Mikey's return to Congress as a representative of security guards and tricycle drivers was met with widespread condemnation. Angie Reyes, although favored by the Comelec, wasn't able to get a seat in the House of Representatives after his own party-mates decided to junk him. Perhaps unable to withstand another wave of criticisms, the Comelec chose to proclaim Mike Velarde's party-list in secret.

The petition against Buhay was filed by AM radio broadcaster Rolando Layug. Buhay had already been disqualified by the Comelec in 2001 for allegedly being connected with the El Shaddai and this is prohibited by the Constitution and the Party-List Law, but was reversed by the Supreme Court in 2003 because of lack of evidence linking Buhay to El Shaddai. The photo right here isn't enough evidence? Hence, in 2010, the evidence had become so overwhelming and Rolando Layug as well as other taxpayers submitted to the Comelec the campaign materials of Buhay with the picture of Mike Velarde.

Nonetheless, the Comelec decided in favor of Mike Velarde in a resolution allegedly promulgated on June 15, 2010, but this was not announced to the media as they usually do in highly controversial cases. Neither Layug nor any of his lawyers were sent a notice of promulgation as required by law. The Comelec's resolution denying the petition of the other complainants against Buhay was released on July 28, 2010. Under the Comelec's own rules, the complainants should have been given 5 days to file a motion for reconsideration, but the Comelec still went ahead and proclaimed the Buhay nominees on July 30, 2010. Money talks, Buhay walks.

Do Velarde and the Comelec expect this abuse of power to go unchallenged? Layug has gone to the Supreme Court asking for the nullification of Buhay's proclamation. This has been done before, in the case of Joselito Mendoza vs. Obet Pagdanganan. the Court found Pagdanganan's proclamation as Governor of Bulacan to be void and issued a Status Quo Ante Order which pulled the plug on his attempt to claim Mendoza's throne.

With the Comelec's blatant disregard for its own rules and their very obvious railroading of the complaints against Buhay, the Supreme Court must crack down and order Velarde's nominees to cease and desist from usurping, assuming and performing the functions of party-list representative. Considering the salaries, emoluments, benefits and pork barrel that every congresman is entitled to, the damage it has done to the party-list system and to taxpayers of this country being done by the illegal Buhay congressmen are unthinkable.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Do you remember that stinging pastoral letter by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) entitled "Thou Shalt Not Steal," and how it has come and gone like wafts of perfectly-shaped smoke rings?

Opposition firebrand Homobono 'Bono' Adaza assailed that pastoral letter as mere ningas cogon and challenged church leaders to follow up on the message to give meaning to their avowals to fight graft and corruption in government.

Adaza said the church could institute the following to supply essence and determination to the pastoral letter.

1. Reject Pagcor and Malacanang money said to be regularly flowing to church coffers;
2. Refuse enrolment in Catholic schools to children of known crooked officials and private citizens;
3. Read in all parishes and cause to be published in newspapers names of officials accused or otherwise openly known as crooks and grafters and;
4. Deny church sacraments to such crooks and grafters.

The combative Bono, to whom the Cory regime owes much for its defeat of the Marcos forces but who was later junked for his refusal to be a mere "yes man," volunteered his legal services to church leaders and other persons who could be charged with libel for that proposed public listing of suspected crooked officials.

He also wondered why the late Cardinal Sin did not publicly endorse the pastoral letter. Bono asked if this was because the Pagcor contributions to the church were being sent through the Cardinal's office. He noted that Sin, who had been vociferous in his attacks against gambling casinos even during the Marcos years, suddenly reversed himself when the late President Corazon Aquino took over and justified gambling if done only as entertainment (like mah-jong?). Bono said that justification came coincidental to the start of church contributions from Pagcor.

Bad habits are hard to break, and already we should keep an eye on the movements of Pagcor which contributes millions a month to the President's Social Fund. A lot of sosyalan for P-Noy and his peons there.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Twenty years ago in the time of the late President Corazon Aquino, the Commission on Appointments (CA) bypassed the confirmation of then Agrarian Reform Secretary Florencio 'Butch' Abad. Leaders of his own Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party-list wanted him to swear he would be "fair" in his decisions on land disputes. Read "fair" to mean in favor of landlords and vested interests making a mockery of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), touted as the cornerstone of the Cory administration's supposedly people-oriented platform.

Butch Abad's woes came after he fought a plan backed by powerful politicians in partnership with giant Japanese corporations to convert a huge chunk of agricultural land in Cavite into an industrial estate. He was forced into a situation where he had to swallow his pride and principles and obey the commands of his tormentors or quit in disgust and keep intact his self-respect and conscience. After his mutiliation, no scintilla of doubt lingered anymore about the power of landlords and vested interests in that administration.

These powerful groups did not even turn tail before a strong-willed Miriam Defensor-Santiago. So, no upstart like Butch could scare them even a bit. Even former Representative Lorna Verano-Yap could not do anything to his defense but sulk and pout in one corner. She didn't count with those powerful groups in the executive and the legislative departments.

And then, that deep disappointment over the results of a press conference called by beleaguered Secretary Abad where everybody thought he would resign because of the successful drive by landlords to have his nomination blocked by the CA? Butch announced he would stick it out and work for the approval of his case and that he even ran to Tita Cory to help him with his confirmation.

Abad missed the chance for greatness. If he had resigned as a matter of principle and to keep his self-respect and pride, as many had expected, he would have been one of the very few upright officials of the Cory regime. His much-admired late father who was an exemplary government official would have been proud of him. That was then.

Well, maybe Butch thought he should hang on tough and stay on so that he could serve his people better in government service, especially those poor farmers who had looked up to him as one of their remaining defenders against the landlords and vested interests infesting our institutions.

And then there was also President Cory Aquino's vow to use her "persuasive powers" to push through Abad's nomination in the CA. That was better read as to use her "coercive powers."

President Cory felt she owed Abad so much since she convinced him to give up his elective post as a member of Congress and could not leave him to the vultures to pick on his flesh and bones.

The much-ballyhooed CARP under the Cory regime ended in the gutter.

Today, Butch is back as a cabineteer but not at the Department of Agrarian Reform again but instead at the Department of Budget and Management. His daughter heads the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) while two other members of his family hold influential positions in government. He has learned well and knows that whoever holds the gold (budget) makes the rules.

But methinks they're just like the four Arroyos now in Congress. Just too many of them. This certainly sets a bad precedent and a slap on a presidency calling for "change."

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Within the mammoth government information and propaganda organization in the days of President Cory Aquino, then Press Secretary Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III and radio-TV section czarina and presidential niece (now cousin) Maria V. Montelibano were conducting early probing sorties preparatory for a bitter clash of control for the information and propaganda turf with its gargantuan budget.

Many people in media and in Malacanang were looking forward to the coming Buddy-Mary fight. The wise money was on the latter but not only because she is Cory's niece but also because she has been known as a battler with extensive knowledge on media, especially radio and television. She was fiercely loyal to her aunt.

And although Buddy was one tough character, he was still wet behind his ears as far as his new job as Press Secretary was concerned. He had a so-so background as a part-time radio technician and public relations runner for the late industrialist and tycoon Don Enrique Zobel.

He earned his spurs under the Aquino administration as the 'Peeping Tom' in Hawaii's Makiki Heights who hounded the late President Marcos.

That expected clash with Mary was just one test. Buddy had to contend with the "shadows" in Malacanang which drove veteran newsman Teddy Benigno out as Press Secretary. And of course, there were those numerous media people who didn't buy Buddy's confrontational style.

Media had already fired its first salvo against Buddy: the hitherto little-known fact that he has been married thrice and divorced twice. That immediately put him on the defensive, since he had to act as chief defender of a supposedly moral government. But he showed he could take it as well as dish it out. He took it on the chin and offered no alibis, saying he just wanted to "do it my way," like Sinatra.

Well, as he had said on his first day in office, he was looking forward to some "fun and excitement."

Not so much of the present set-up wherein we now have three men running the same office, a.k.a. the Office of the Press Secretary. They now call it the Presidential Communications Group manned by former FarEast Bank executive Sonny Coloma, blogger Edwin Lacierda, ABS-CBN hotshots Ricky Carandang and Manolo Quezon. But to date, I yet have to see Manolo assert his self in the Palace. If he does, he may be doing a lot of explaining. As for Ricky, many believe (and I share their sentiments) that his ego is bigger than 'The Big Picture.' And where is Mary Montelibano in all these? Perhaps she's keeping a distance this time as it doesn't look so smooth as they begin to fumble while communicating the President's programs and intentions to the public. As the saying goes, "too many cooks spoil the broth." In this case, jockeying for turf and influence as "too many chef-chefs may spoil the brat in office."

Talk is that one giant network gets a big advantage over another giant network simply because the new bosses in the Palace are their top anchors on leave.

We shall all see how they handle their jobs. Will it contribute to a steady acceptance rating (for now) for P-Noy, or will their egos all self-destruct, pulling down their "accidental president?"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Worth repeating is part of a prayer recited by Senator Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel Jr. many years ago. Appropriately so, the same prayer can be directed at the current administration, President Noynoy Aquino and the Hacienda Luisita issue in particular.

"You partake of rich food even as I can only have the crumbs that I scrape from the bottom of garbage cans. But I do not begrudge you because food is not divine, it is only made by man. But when you have hundreds of hectares of land for your plantations and your cattle and I have none even for my bare subsistence, then I must take that against you, envy you and begrudge you for excluding me from my divine birth right. I must demand that you share with me, at least, a little of what land you possess, not in charity but in justice because land is God's gift to mankind. You did not create it. Land belongs to all of us. It is not only yours. But ours. Yours and mine. Give me then, o brother of mine, a just share of the land of our birth. For unless you do so, the ineffable wrath of the Almighty and the righteous anger of the dispossessed will likely fall, heaven forbid, upon your head of greed much sooner than you think."

Yes, he can direct the same prayer today to PCOS, "President Cory's Only Son."
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Saturday, June 12, 2010


It's plain Jejemoniacal, these fraternity initiations. For they nullify the true message of scholarly conduct. Today's stude, tomorrow's tyrant?

Whatever happened then to a clamor to ban fraternity initiations in colleges and universities in the country? With the opening of schools come the waxing of paddles in college fraternity homes. Or are we just too quick to forget that some years ago, a hazing ritual (among several others) led to the death of Lenny Villa, the only son of former Internal Revenue Commissioner Romulo Villa. Lenny was a neophyte of the Aquila Legis society of the Ateneo Law School. The same prestigious Jesuit school which boasts of turning out the nation's brightest and the best? Now, it has since been included in the list with the University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas, the Far Eastern University, the FEATI, and other colleges for barbarism, sadism and carnage in fraternity hazings. How many other parents have lost sons in the past because of this?

These college societies with impressive Greek names and logos are no better than the underworld's notorious gangs like the O-X-O, the Sigue-Sigue, BCJ and the Bahala Na groups.

No wonder, many of these college kids grow up to become crooked and blood-thirsty political warlords, unscrupulous business tycoons and corrupt military officers.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Did I hear over the radio today Speaker Prospero 'Boy' Nograles ask Comelec Executive Director Jose 'Jun' Tolentino Jr. if he has any relative or relatives working in Comelec? I failed to monitor his reply.

But of course the Speaker knows for a fact that the answer to his question is in the affirmative, and perhaps Nograles was pressured to ask the question to Tolentino because there are people out there like me who know that Nograles and Tolentino are "family."

The Speaker's first cousin is married to Tolentino's sister. The same lawyer-cousin was Nograles' chief of staff when he was a neophyte congressman. I wouldn't know if subject cousin has returned since Nograles' elevation to the fourth highest office in the land. Perhaps or perhaps not, since he is anyway a successful lawyer by his own merits. Draw your own suspicions then, even as I can already hear them claim that a man can choose his friends, but not his family members.

But admirable that Speaker Nograles would not let this pass. He has indeed risen to political maturity which has earned for him enough credibility and respect from many people, in spite of his canine loyalty to outgoing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and for his "betrayal" to former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. As for Director Tolentino, I happen to know him personally too and quite close to believe him to be a man of his word, to which I have the highest respect for him. Jun Tolentino's father, Captain Jose 'Pepe' Tolentino Sr. was a harbor pilot who served the country well with loyalty and honor. They belong to a "buena familia" from Davao City. In short, he is a good man as Boy Nograles is a fair and gentle man.

You may or may not agree with me, but I know these two gentlemen well and I can vouch for their integrity, even as I anticipate negative comments with this blogpost.

Monday, May 24, 2010


President-elect Noynoy Aquino's early stubbornness and arrogance of not wanting to take his oath before a sitting Chief Justice whose appointment he questions smells worse than his cigarette smoke. But I'm glad he's flip-flopping on this.

He should be reminded though that in 1990, his mother President Corazon Aquino's inherited stubbornness drove some 29 Court of Appeals justices to write a letter to her excellency questioning the appointment to the Supreme Court of Flerida Ruth Romero, Cory's speechwriter and personal friend.

When told that the justices were threatening to go on mass leave to protest Romero's appointment, the President reportedly instructed her aides to tell the justices to drop their objections or else she would throw the book at them. She could accuse them of dereliction of duty and on this basis cause them to lose their jobs.

Many Supreme Court justices had expressed reservations about the qualifications of Romero, who has never been a judge and has not distinguished herself in private practice. Romero herself, gracious as she has always been, kept silent throughout the controversy. The criticisms against her, however, were bound to make people scrutinize very closely whatever decisions she would be making in the Supreme Court. Similarly, lawyers were waiting to see whether the criticisms directed against Romero's appointment made President Cory act differently when she filled the remaining vacancy in the SC. It was widely believed then that she would pick another person close to her, either Deputy Executive Secretary Magdangal Elma or Adolf Azcuna, her former legal adviser.

In doing so, President Cory didn't give a hoot about traditions governing appointments to the Supreme Court and preferred to use personal loyalty as her main criterion.

Sounds familiar?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


SLEEPLESS IN MY SHUTTLE. When communist leader Jose Maria 'Joma' Sison exiled himself to the Netherlands and started wearing suits, he made himself irrelevant to the leftists here in the Philippines.

Mao Tse Tung to his dying day never gave up on his collar-less Mao jacket in favor of a Western suit. North Korea's Kim Jong Il wears an olive green military outfit. Even Cuba's Fidel Castro wore a similar outfit for the longest time, and only later in his life was he seen occasionally wearing an athletic terno.

Even his 'tocayo' and fellow-cigar chomper former President Fidel Ramos did not quite recognize Joma as the leader of the Philippine communist movement - or so it appeared then from FVR's announcements that the government recognize instead Luis Jalandoni as the leftists' representative in peace talks. Local leftists then were debating on how they were to respond to the government's peace initiatives during the Ramos regime. Sison had disowned many of the local leaders whom he had accused of selling out to FVR's administration.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Those who suffered most in the PhP2.3 billion T-bills scam several years ago are said to be members of the so-called Kamaganak Inc. who had gone into banking and other financial ventures with the hundreds of millions they had scooped up as favored persons in the Aquino era.

One business leader who cited the misfortune of the Kamaganak Inc. which had been suckered by the 'Bancap beauties' said this was all part of the karma the Kamaganaks had to pay because they had made illegal fortunes during Cory Aquino's term. Most damaged was a bank that the Kamaganaks had bought into, and it was only because other friendly banks and the Bangko Sentral rushed to help this bank that its expected collapse did not occur.

As to the three 'Bancap beauties' who pulled off that monumental scam, they had since fled to London and other European cities. One of them, a daughter of a famous movie love team of the '50s, was said to have returned a few years ago to face the music. She claims innocence in the scam although she was an officer of Bancap Securities.

As for the Kamaganak Inc., expect them to be back with a vengeance.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Okay, so you sent me this quite impressive list of the Aquino administration's achievements and then linked it to how offspring Noynoy is bound to continue what mother dear started. Quite remarkable - and full of spin. Thank you for the lenghty letter. However, in reminding me the Aquino regime's "successful" trips to Europe, permit me then to tell you what really happened in one of their trips, a.k.a. begging missions, junkets to Europe: Thanks to them, the mission nailed down the distinction that Pinoys are the world's classiest beggars. The stylish Philippine delegation went about their mendicancy mission with such flair and savoir vivre that put to shame delegates from 34 other beggar-nations who had gone to Paris to plead for economic aid from the Group of Seven wealthy industrialized nations. The puny Bangladesh mission particularly looked so pathetic compared to the classy Philippine mission.

And oh those chic wives of Cory cabinet members and other officials who had no business being in the mission in the first place. Reports from the Philippine diplomatic people in the German and French cities the mission had visited so far belly-ached what a pain in the arse these wives were.

The Philippine media noted that embassy personnel were herded to act as guides and utility people for these matronas on their wild shopping sprees and forays in ritzy cafes and night clubs.

This was especially true in the case of attaches and other overseas employees of the different cabinet departments who were ordered to attend exclusively to the needs of their respective cabinet secretaries and of course their clinging wives.

Beggars can't be choosers? Not for this swinging Philippine group! They had the best accomodations, tickets to the best shows and operas, dined and wined at the most expensive restaurants and shopped at the trendiest stores. They were also highly visible at the extravaganza and merriment of the bicentennial celebration of the French Revolution in Paris. Vive La France!

But the high visibility of the Philippine missioners in glitzy French places could have been harmful for the aid-seeking trip of the Aquino group. Donor-countries could get rubbed (robbed?) the wrong way, especially because of reports of graft and corruption, misuse of foreign aid, extravagance and human rights violations flowing out of Manila regularly to these countries. This could have been the reason why Japan suddenly failed to include then our country among the priority countries to benefit from a $43-billion package brought to Paris by then Japanese Premier Sosuke Uno for aid to impoverished nations. Uno listed Mexico as scheduled for an aid package of $1 billion and six African nations from a $600-million outlay. The Philippines was lumped among "other countries" which could benefit from the whopping Japanese economic aid package.

The danger was that prospective donors might have believed that asinine statement by a Malacanang favorite then who was booted out from his job, that the Philippines is really "a rich country pretending to be poor."

This is my version of your subject matter. I'm ready then for a second Aquino to occupy Malacanang and yes, he will carry on - with the blunders.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010


Advice to incoming neophyte congressmen (and senators): Secure (or read again) a copy of the Robert's Rules of Order which is the bible of parliamentary bodies in western countries after which our legislative body is patterned. Read it word by word and thoroughly acquaint yourselves with the intricacies of floor debates and deliberations. This is the first step towards credible performance in the two chambers. There are so many pitfalls and traps in legislative debates and proceedings, and if you are not adequately prepared, it would be best to maintain a discreet silence, like one senator who went through his six-year term without even taking the floor. He always shot back at press interviews: "No comment."

Only a few of you would ever go on to become another Primicias, Recto, Tolentino, Montano, Marcos, Laurel or Cabili.

It is also important that you get a good research staff and a competent speechwriter. Never take the floor without preparation because it would mean certain embarrassment, unless you can plead with your colleagues not to subject you to interpellations, which is most unlikely.

In important debates, some of the wiser legislators always bring a cheering squad to root for them and to boo the other side. This is the job of your PR men. And sometimes, it's good to have a bottle around for the press.

Of course we have some disappointing ones in the legislature as well. You know who they are. But one particular member I will never forget is Senator Rodolfo 'Pong' Biazon who now seeks a congressional post for Muntinlupa City.

During one of the senate committee hearings, the good senator was questioning a certain Mr. Ponye. While the latter was answering a question, Biazon interrupted and rudely asked him, "sigurado ka walang "TA" sa huli ng apelyido mo?" I almost fell from my chair after hearing this. Such arrogance and disrespect to an invited resource person.

Yes, he is an officer, but not a gentleman. Bastos. He sure had my vote in the past, but I'm having second thoughts voting for him again this time.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


In the not so distant future, Metro Manila could be heading towards a severe water crisis.

I recently had an interesting but sad conversation with some environmentalists who informed me that the present water supply in these areas are good for just a few more years.

The biggest culprit in this impending disaster are the illegal loggers whose activities have caused a widespread denudation of our forests and whose operations have remained unchecked through the years. Unless new sources of water are discovered, the Metro area will suffer. Most of the present sources, they said, are way below its normal water levels especially Angat dam which is already way down to its critical levels. This explains why even deep wells now have only murky waters or even mud due to the drying up of the water beds.

The worried environmentalists also said that continued indifference of government officials to this worsening problem is exasperating. It is almost a crime. They added that many of our bureaucrats themselves hold logging permits which they farm out to dummies, family and friends. Either this or some of them are in the payroll of big logging concessionaires.

The current drought can also be traced to the activities of these loggers, not to mention the dreaded El Nino. Drought is an even bigger problem than floods caused by denuded forests. Floods occur because no roots will hold rainwater which are preserved in natural pools and reservoirs from which the public water supply may be taken. As a result, rainwater simply wash into the sea.

Yet, despite the gravity of the problem, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is at the bottom of the cabinet listing when it comes to government priorities. Environment plans submitted by concerned private groups are ignored and get lost in the bureaucratic maze.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


There was a time when at the utterance of the words "Padre Faura," the very first thing that comes to mind is not the priest but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the simple reason that it had its main offices on that street. The Foreign Affairs Department held offices then in Arlegui and Padre Faura - and now Roxas Boulevard.

When Raul Manglapus was its secretary, another street hounded him each waking day. This not-so-lonely-road was none other than Aguado, and over there frequented a group of grown-up boys aptly called the "Aguado Boys." They used to lord it over the DFA during the Marcos regime, while headquartered on Aguado street just across Malacanang. Their loyalty was to then Ambassador Benjamin "Kokoy" Romualdez. This team practically ran the DFA to the consternation of the foreign secretary and other DFA officials. But operations were smooth as silk, and without the usual bureaucratic red tape.

No promotions, assignments and budgets were okayed by the DFA then without prior clearance from Aguado.

And so Manglapus had to flex his muscles, and first to fall from his purge was Ambassador Ernesto Pineda, considered one of the closest confidantes of Kokoy. Pineda was consul-general to New York when Kokoy was ambassador to the US.

Pineda was relieved as DFA coordinator and placed in the freezer. It seemed his being the brother of former Malacanang legal counsel Flerida Ruth Romero did not in any way help.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


What has become of that Code approved by no less than the Philippine Senate, authored by no less than former Senator Jovito Salonga? This is the Code of Ethical Standards for government officials and employees.

Salonga envisioned this to promote honesty, efficiency and loyalty among state employees. It also provides for corresponding penalties for offenders.

The Salonga bill was patterned after a Code of Ethics adopted during the Commonwealth period under President Manuel L. Quezon. During those years, there was strict compliance with the Code. I should know. Years after that era, I remember as a young boy that no member of the family could even ride in my grandfather's government-issued automobile. My father outdid my grandfather by not accepting any official vehicle at all when he was in government. Yes, it can be done after all. But times have changed. Today, government-issued vehicles are also for family-related purposes. And, the general rule now seems to be that one sure way of getting rich is to join the government and engage in all kinds of illegal transactions. Take the case of the current stink now oozing from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

During the Quezon years, joining the government meant financial sacrifice. This is what Salonga wanted to inculcate in his Code. One of the most important provisions of the Code requires simple living for those in government service. It simply but directly mandates all those in government to "lead modest lives appropriate to their position and income."

On the widespread practice of bribery, the Code specifically prohibits state officials and employees to "solicit or accept, directly or indirectly any gift, favor, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation or transaction related to their office." Those in government should pay heed.

I have always been an ardent admirer of Jovy Salonga. Too bad he now has to support a tandem unacceptable to me, maybe because they too refuse to live by his Code. I have listened intently to his words of human dignity and liberties in Congress and from the pulpit of the Cosmopolitan Church. I admired him as a preacher of the Word, and it is my belief that the greatest sermons are not preached. They are lived.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


There seems to be a looming debate (again) over the death penalty. Some church groups state that this is un-Christian since nobody has the right to take another man's life. Others say the death penalty for heinous crimes would only encourage further killings. Say what?

Citing the fact that rape and murder are both heinous crimes, a rapist would be encouraged to kill his victim. He has nothing to lose by finishing her off since he is liable to the death penalty whether he kills her or not. He also has everything to gain: if she is dead, there is no one to accuse him of rape.

Still others observe that the death penalty has not discouraged criminals at all, and that on the contrary, the crime rate has risen.

They explain that criminals are not deterred by the lethal injection or by the electric chair because both are swift and painless. Say that again please?

But things would be different if criminals were executed by hanging, stoning, crucifixion, quartering, and other painful methods.

Well, for criminals who sport lesser hair on their heads, a Frenchman once invented a cure-all for baldness. It's called the Guillotine.

It has been so popular since that other than engaging in endless debates on the matter, some people have lost their heads over it as well.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The Aquino presidency then had government information people describe their chief executive's mission to Europe as a success in an overall report to the nation. How else could they have judged their own junket to join the extravaganza of the bicentennial of the French Revolution in Gay Paree? They simply had to justify the gargantuan expenses of a big entourage by that begging mission.

Well, they struck out in West Germany and possibly hit a homer in France. It was then a waiting game on who among the two countries would help the Philippines. Which of the two was known on flamboyance and elegant promises, but short on delivery? Considering the huge entourage of the Aquino loan-seeking mission to Europe and the large amount of dollars brought out by this group, Europeans might have believed there was truth to a boast made by a former Aquino official that the Philippines is really "a rich country pretending to be poor." Those guys and their wives in the Aquino junket were better off not being too visible when they were cluttering up the ritzy cafes and boites de nuit. After viewing the extravagance of the Pinoy whooping it up in Paris, officials of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialized nations from which the Aquino mission was seeking financial assistance might have then considered the Philippines as a donor nation.

Not familiar with the refinements of the French tongue, I remember listening to comments on speeches delivered by President Aquino in French at the different functions in Paris. Portions of her speeches were aired on local television.

Filipino experts in the French language and a few local French residents said that Aquino's fractured French was lamentable and should have never been delivered and that she should have just spoken in English. The kindest remark was that it was what is known as "Brooklyn French," that is, it was spoken with a fractured American accent.

I think it was no less than then President Francois Mitterrand who had to ask for an interpreter when Cory delivered her speech in his own native language.

To the French, her speech was simply "petits pois."

Monday, March 29, 2010


SLEEPLESS IN MY SHUTTLE. Muslim legislators are amused by a suggestion for an investigation on the "dangerous liaisons" of certain solons who are apparently unhappy about having only one wife. Under Islamic law, Muslim men are entitled to have as many as four legal wives and maintain several other concubines as they can afford.

As one Muslim solon said: "We are practicing legally and in the open what you Christians are doing in secret and in supposed sin."

To which a virile Christian solon riposted: "My parents brought me up in the wrong faith." This also explains why many Christians have been inquiring about turning to Islam. Most of them will be turned away because they only have salacious reasons for changing their faith.

Just stick with one wife, okay?


The entourage that accompanied the late President Corazon Aquino to West Germany in 1989 received immediate lessons in Teutonic respect for law and human rights even before landing on German soil. The PAL plane carrying the Aquino party was hovering over Bonn at 8 a.m. and had to stay aloft for some 30 minutes because of an early morning anti-noise law. German authorities were afraid that a 21-gun salute for President Aquino would wake up Bonn-Cologne residents. A flyover of German jets to welcome Cory was likewise called off because of a noise pollution law.

In her initial contact with German officials and the German press after the usual welcome amenities, the President was peppered with questions about the reported widespread violation of human rights in the Philippines. She was immediately forced into a defensive stance about her regime. She said reports of such violations were the handiwork of her political opponents and the communists in her country.

Inside her, she must have been cursing the day she released Jose Ma. 'Joma' Sison, Filipino Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) chairman, from incarceration after the EDSA revolt. It was the Sison group, based in Utrecht, Holland, which successfully brainwashed the European press about human rights violations by the Aquino regime, described as worse than those under Marcos.

An eye-opener report to many Manilans was the revelation that among those in the Aquino party was resigned Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Philip Juico. If the report was true, it was asked, what in heaven's name was he doing in the delegation? Was it to deliver a message to certain government agencies still bent on prosecuting Juico for complicity in the aborted Garchitorena land scandal in spite of a presidential clearance already given him?

In her official talks with German leaders, President Cory stressed that one of her accomplishments was the dismantling of business monopolies set up during the Marcos regime.

But of course that was only for the consumption of the Germans. As many Filipinos know, she may have done away with the Marcos cronies, but she was helpless in stopping the return of powerful oligarchs demolished by Marcos and the appearance of new cronies (like the Lopezes and their ABS-CBN network), including several others in her administration.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Immediately after assuming her new post as secretary of agrarian reform under the Aquino administration, Miriam Defensor-Santiago was confined in bed for a few days with chills and fever.

Could this be because she was shocked at the powerful people she had to fight in that graft-ridden department including landlords in Congress and (horrors!) a very close Malacanang relative.

Insiders at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) informed us that Lady Miriam's eyes popped with disbelief as she went through the list of DAR officials, many of whom were known to come from the landed gentry.

Her stomach was said to have turned after learning of the powerful yellow Malacanang relative protecting the syndicate behind the notorious Garchitorena land scandal, which had wrecked the Aquino regime's so-called "agrarian reform program."

People were antsy over how the fighting lady was to perform against these cocky monsters who held the DAR hostage because of cash and connections.

But over at the immigration bureau, all she had to face were cowed illegal aliens and garden-variety crooks who trembled before her. But at the DAR, she was in the big league. She cut the figure of a bewildered gazelle facing a juggernaut of stampeding elephants. No wonder her first statement when she took office was that she had more than a 50-50 chance of "falling flat on my face" and that she felt like she was Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom.

Well, that's Lady Miriam exactly where many of her political opponents want her to be, woudn't you agree?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Squatters are currently in the minds of individuals running for public office. And after winning, they are soon forgotten once more. But how can we really forget them when everywhere we go, we see them? Even Malacanang houses the country's biggest squatter-family.

There was a time a few years ago when proponents to decriminalize squatting came under fire. Especially targeted was former Senator Joey Lina, known for the "Stupid Lina Law," also known as the Urban Development Housing Act of 1992, another blunder of the Aquino regime. The law exempts squatters from criminal prosecution. Well, it also encourages squatting.

Property owners say that the Lina Law, supported by the Aquino administration, would further aggravate the squatting problem and yes, encourage invasion and occupation of government and private land by the hordes of squatters coming from the provinces. It would certainly be welcome news to see our winning presidentiable tackle this social ill once and for all.

Former Senator Ambrosio Padilla, one of the leaders of the property owners, stressed that squatting had become a widespread vice since the last global war. Citing court decisions, Padilla said, "Squatting was and is a blight. Squatters' areas pose problems of health and sanitation. They are breeding places for crime. They constitute proof that respect for the law and the rights of others, even those of the government, are being flouted. Knowingly, squatters have embarked on the pernicious act of occupying property whenever and wherever convenient to their interests. They are emboldened seemingly because of their belief that they could violate the law with impunity."

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The invasion of tiny Panama by the world's mightiest nation, the United States, was seen by many in the Philippines as a brutal use of raw power to cow a helpless country into submitting.

Many saw striking similarities in that US intervention in Panama and the US role in the rise and fall of President Ferdinand Marcos and the ascendancy of President Corazon Aquino who, at one point was saved from certain doom only because of US intervention. Remember those Phantom jets?

Echoing the resentment among Latin American nations and other Third World countries, many Filipino nationalists dared the US to pick on somebody its size, like Russia or China.

Since it suffered military defeat in Vietnam, the US has carefully selected its opponents, making sure the odds were vastly in her favor in any diplomatic or military confrontation. And its first post-Vietnam military engagement was with puny Grenada which doesn't even have an army.

Panama became a state at the turn of the century, when, with US diplomatic and military support, seceded from Colombia. The new state allowed the US to build the Panama Canal on terms more generous than what Colombia was willing to offer. The Panamanian government has had a history of manipulation by the US, which had a vested interest in the US Canal Zone, then scheduled to revert to Panama come 1999. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Then US President Bush Sr. justified his sending US jets to bomb Panamanian military and civilian targets exactly by saying this was necessary to save democracy - as he did when he authorized US military support to keep the inutile Aquino government from falling.

The US intervention in Panama was condemned worldwide, except in countries under the control and influence of the US.

They should have sent Bush back to the bushes, among the other barbarians.

US intervention in that country's affairs were jestingly justified by then US Senator Hayakawa who declared, "Panama is ours. We stole it fair and square."


Perhaps one of our legislators should file a bill that would eventually abolish the Department of Tourism (DoT) and leave the industry to the private sector. The bill makes a lot of sense. It is consistent with the practice in most countries.

The DoT has become the dumping ground of political favorites. These favorites frequently travel abroad to attend the many tourism-related conferences. They show their faces at one or two sessions - and spend the rest of their time sightseeing and generally having a good time.

Here at home, these political appointees spend their time freeloading in five-star hotels, restaurants and resorts where they bring their family members and hordes of friends and hangers-on.

It should therefore come as no surprise that most of the DoT's attempts to attract tourists to the Philippines have ended up as dismal failures.

Though we have one of the most expensive tourism promotion programs in Asia, we too have the smallest number of visitors from abroad. The executives of some of our private travel and tourism corporations could run the tourism industry far more effectively if they did not have to cope with the interference of meddling government officials.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Malacanang, it seems, wants to make sure that Filipinos undergo some kind of penitential suffering this coming Holy Week, as tradition requires. There will be no respite from the severe power and water shortage.

Long brownouts may cause havoc among people with medical problems. The suffering is particularly acute for people with high-blood pressure, asthma, ulcers, or respiratory ailments. As such, some may be thinking of suing the government.

With the power shortage certain to worsen due to the dry season, Malacanang should seriously consider implementing a suggestion that the government rent floating generator stations or power barges from Singapore, Korea, China and other neighboring countries. Government authorities cannot simply ask for people to pray for rain. A considerable part on natural human effort must be in place as well.

Or, the Palace should also work in earnest for operations of the controversial Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) and forget biases against the project simply because it was built by President Marcos and his cronies. In the long run, government will be praised by the people for setting aside politics in favor of the common welfare.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be stepping down from office in a few months. She could go out in a blaze of glory by fashioning out a permanent solution to the country's two permanent woes - lack of electricity and lack of water. The alternative is that she would go down in history as a corrupt and uncaring leader, and it sure looks like the latter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Back in 1991, the Aquino regime agreed to allow Taiwanese ships to pass Philippine sea lanes on their way to the Pacific Ocean, and also permit Taiwanese fishermen (poachers) to fish in Philippine waters - all in exchange for five shipping vessels and some help from Taipei to study soil destruction from the Mount Pinatubo ashfall. Unbelievable.

Where were these so-called nationalists then? These pseudo-patriots who now dread a return of a Marcos to the Philippine Senate? Basking in yellow fever I bet.

It's a good thing this surrender of sovereignty didn't cause a diplomatic crisis with China, which could have flexed its muscles on us for violating the One-China Policy - and then run to Uncle Sam again crying for help.

I just hope that the same group that advised President Aquino then on foreign policy will not be the same group that will be advising Noynoy Aquino on the same if and when he makes it to Malacanang Seafood Palace.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


A 6.1 magnitude earthquake almost dislodged Gloria's face from her mole a few days ago while delivering a speech before Cagayanos up north. She immediately reminded her audience about the strong quake that hit Chile recently, grateful for a not-so-disastrous shaker here.

In shaky times such as this, one cannot help but remember the July 16, 1990 earthquake that hit the country - and how certain individuals like President Corazon Aquino reacted to such.

President Aquino, standing stiffly at a rostrum, somberly spoke of the grim devastation and suffering resulting from that 1990 earthquake, and how people could not forget that picture of their president giggling over the tragedy after she had met with senators and cabineteers.

Television shots of this unfortunate incident were flashed all over the world along with horrifying scenes of the earthquake. President Aquino was thus as insensitive and frivolous. Hence, a public apology a la Gloria was the only necessary thing to do.

But many believed that this video footage would not have been shown if her information and propaganda people were alert enough to foresee how it would terribly tarnish her "saintly image." As usual, her spin doctors were caught unprepared.

And now, there's another spin to canonize her with the holy nomenclature: Saint Cory a.k.a. "The giggling Santa Corazon de Hacienda Luisita."

Friday, March 05, 2010


Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile once made a mind-boggling revelation that the Aquino government then had been given by Congress almost PhP 1 trillion since it took over from Ferdinand Marcos. He demanded to know where this amount went.

The mere mention of the amount is awesome, and yet under the Cory regime, the country remained one of the poorest nations in the world and has been referred to as the "basket case of Asia."

Enrile asked where the roads, bridges, schools, public markets, hospitals and other forms of infrastructure that should have been built from that staggering sum were.

And now, Noynoy Aquino has the nerve to ask this equally-inept administration where the so-called roads are.

Many say a big chunk of the outlay helped build those posh residences of certain officials in Makati, Alabang, and in Hillsborough and Atherton in the Bay Area, or are now safely deposited in US, Swiss or the Cayman Islands' secret bank accounts.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago had stressed in many speeches that at least 40 percent of government funds had gone into the pockets of corrupt officials. That should particularly answer JPE's query on how the trillion bucks had been spent.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


In 1990, the UP Law Center strongly criticized the stock dispersal program of the Hacienda Luisita as "patently unconstitutional." The report accused the Luisita formula as violative of the social justice and comprehensive agrarian reform programs of the Constitution.

It was forwarded to the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform headed by then Senator Heherson 'Sonny' Alvarez. But few people believed the Alvarez committee would take the report seriously. Alvarez was known to be the most pro-Aquino member of the legislature, even more pro-Aquino than President Cory's own relatives in power.

The Comprehensive Agrararian Reform Program (CARP), supposedly the center of the Aquino regime, suffered a loss of credibility since the Hacienda Luisita was declared "outside the scope of CARP" because of its controversial stock dispersal scheme.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


With the threat of yet another power crisis hitting the country, one cannot help but remember that in the days of the Aquino regime, the nation was figuratively and literally in the dark.

Perhaps, one may also recall that an interesting proposal had emerged from a group of middle-level business executives who sat down and discussed the power crisis then. The "bright" idea was to ask the United States to lend one of her nuclear-powered warships, preferably one of those behemoth aircraft carriers like the decommissioned USS Enterprise - to drop anchor in Manila Bay and provide the electricity needed to bring the Metro area back to normal levels.

Fantastic. So how come those highly-paid officials then at the National Power Corporation (Napocor) never thought up this gem of an idea? Was it because there was no money for them in that proposal?

Of course, some wise guys in the Aquino administration then could have waved the Stars and Stripes while howling to high heavens that once again, we will be begging on our knees for US help and surrender our pride to the Yanks. Then, they could have added that this was not a bad idea after all simply because the bases talks were only a few days away.

Shoot. When Mrs. Aquino begged Washington to send in those US Phantom jets to save the day for her government during one of them coups, we lost all our claim to sovereignty and national pride. We might as well go whole hog and ask Uncle Sam this time to send in one of their nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to rescue us from an impending power crisis.

Each floating naval city can carry as much as 5,000 men and can generate enough power to light up a small city like Mandaluyong, and more than enough for the Napocor's 550-megawatt deficit.

And even if Malacanang had been given this clue, the Napocor then insisted on acquiring those gas turbines and generators sold by its former chief's family corporation. This former boss was even bold enough to propose that the country erect new nuclear plants - and never mind if the huge Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) was just sitting idle like a has-been harlot, waiting to be reactivated to supply 600 megawatts to an electricity-starving citizenry.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Today February 22 begins the observance of the 4-day EDSA revolt. So it has been 24 years already. As February is the month for love, it is also the month for broken promises. The promise which catapulted the Aquino administration and her Kamaganak Inc. to power is now reduced to yellow Cory er, curry powder.

Play a little game as you watch those on center stage while they try to whip up the spirit of EDSA. Who among them were actually at EDSA from day one of the anti-Marcos revolt started by Juan Ponce Enrile, Fidel Ramos and Gregorio Honasan. Who are the Johnnies-come-lately? Who were the so-called steak commandos selling pots and pans in the US and in Canada, living in ghettoes and who now live in posh villages with obese bank accounts?

Who were in fact not even at EDSA but now claim credit for that upheaval and have pushed the real heroes out of the picture. We are sure you will come up with startling answers. These pseudo-heroes are still around, bloviating and all with their sickening presence.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The Comelec should not deputize the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), which many people have accused of meddling in past elections to favor those candidates preferred by its leaders. The NAMFREL was a brainchild of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 50s, when it helped ensure the election of then Defense Secretary Ramon Magsaysay as President.

The CIA played dirty tricks on the late Senator Claro M. Recto, a third party candidate in the 1953 elections, whom it suspected of being sympathetic to the leftists. Colonel Edward Lansdale, who worked with Filipinos in and out of government who were identified with the right, was instrumental in the creation of the NAMFREL. Lansdale later worked in Vietnam, using many of the tactics that worked in the Philippines.

I do agree with the observations of many that the Comelec should go slow in deputizing certain private groups, especially those identified with the church. You know who these groups are. Yes, NAMFREL and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Groups like these have been notorious for meddling in past elections and for promoting their candidates, most of whom are also said to be favored by the church. Most officials of such organizations are known meddlesome church lay persons who had come out in favor of certain church-backed candidates. How can these groups now be deputized by the Comelec when they have known favorites which will preclude them from being neutral in the elections? And how can we ever forget the time when NAMFREL suddenly stopped counting election results right after the returns from the Ilocos regions started coming in.

One banking official, a member of one of these groups, was a rabid partisan of then presidential bet Corazon Aquino who was later appointed to a top position in the Comelec. He did not even hesitate to wield his powers while in the poll body, highly influenced as he was by his political biases and strong opinions. In addition, certain private poll organizations are the recipients of financial support from certain foreign governments. These groups should likewise be barred from being deputized as Comelec arms.

Do you still remember the time when NAMFREL came under attack from the University of the Philippines (UP), which came out with a research report by a team of UP professors? The UP College of Public Administration revealed massive fraud in the 1987 elections which they called "The Anatomy of Stealing in the Elections." Its four authors - Professors Luzviminda Tancangco, Romeo Ocampo, Bella Lucas and Lourdes Abanding are way above reproach and the institution they represent is equally unassailable as a seat of academic freedom and truth.

Aquino officials were livid with rage over the report, but could not destroy the reputation of these individuals. These professors were grilled by the Senate, but their very tormentors included senators who, should not even be in that revered chamber.

Tancangco was one of the most respected professors at the UP. She had rock solid knowledge of the operations of the NAMFREL with which she was connected since 1984.

Well, the report merely confirms the public perception that there was massive cheating in the 1987 polls and that many senators and congressmen held office then only because the NAMFREL manipulated the election returns. Time was when there were at least eight persons in the senate whose very presence insults the memory of the honorable men who once graced its sacred halls. The jest in political circles is that some of these senators could not even be elected barangay captains in honest elections in their respective communities.

That report should have finally led to the permanent interment of the NAMFREL, which should be remembered only as a tragic aberration in the country's political history.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


In a few days from now, the nation will once again mark the anniversary of the first EDSA Revolution. I foresee this as a perfect time where opportunists behind Noynoy Aquino and his pack of has-been Corystas will surely take advantage and rally again the people to "remember the spirit of EDSA" and "remember Cory, vote for Noynoy." The only spirit I can think of right now is one that has fooled the population over the years. In addition, many of the loyal Corystas have now turned into Sorry-stas. Many who used to address her as Auntie Cory had already shifted to Anti-Cory, and are now openly campaigning against an Aquino II presidency.

Of course, the EDSA anniversary will be marked in different ways as always. The rabid yellow crowd of former President Corazon Aquino who have now mutated and evolved into the Noynoyistas will recall events which they said drove away a dictator and restored democracy in the country. The Marcos loyalists will say it was a historical fluke which led to a regime worse than the one ousted by the EDSA marchers.

Well, two of the principal players who sparked that revolution scoff at the heady claims made by die-hard Corystas over the upheaval. They are of course Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, head of the daring RAM which provided the military the most effective component of that movement.

The RAMboys and Enrile could well remind the nation too that Corazon Aquino was not even at EDSA and is therefore not entitled to exaltation rendered her by those who subsequently joined the Enrile-Honasan breakaway group, which was later joined by then General Fidel Valdez Ramos.

In past EDSA celebrations, Enrile would often say that there was really nothing to celebrate about because EDSA only brought another administration which can be remembered for its incompetence and corruption as well. Yes, the Aquino administration was corrupt too. So, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. I'm so glad that Sin is no longer around.

Rabid Aquino supporters retort that Enrile is sour-graping because he failed to succeed Marcos after the EDSA upheaval. And I remember that in gatherings where EDSA is discussed, Enrile invariably becomes the butt of jokes. He is often referred to as a basketball player dribbling the ball with only two minutes left in the game, and his team is leading by some 50 points, when he suddenly passes the ball to Mrs. Aquino who promptly runs home with it.

In those gatherings, debates range as to who are the real heroes of EDSA. Many say it is JPE, FVR and the RAM. Others say it is the yellow crowd of Mrs. Aquino who rushed to EDSA to protect Enrile and Co. Some say it is Cardinal Sin who called out the faithful to save JPE and his group from the Marcos military, while others say it is most of the Marcos generals who refused to fire on the people.

Not quite. Not any of these people, say FM die-hards. They say the real hero is actually Ferdinand Marcos himself who stoutly refused to give the order to fire on the hundreds of thousands at EDSA because he did not want "to spill any Filipino blood" at that time of crisis. As seen on TV footages being re-run every EDSA anniversary, Marcos stopped then AFP Chief of Staff Fabian Ver from insisting that he give the orders to the military to start firing on the people.

Ver's officers had said a few cannon bursts and a few hundred deaths would quickly disperse that crowd. But Marcos stood his ground against the carnage of the people.
In this photo as I recall, being part of this group once, (L-R): Manny Oineza, Joe Bajesta, (unidentified), JPE, (unidentified but familiar looking and can't remember his name), Greg Honasan.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Don't look now, but I just heard about the possible re-opening of jai-alai games in the country. In addition, some influential persons are silently pushing for opening a track for dog races right here.

By way of pointing out how decent and honest the jai-alai was before Pinoys took over management of the fronton, among the amateur pelotaris training to play with Basque players were Enriquito Zobel, Neling and Rene Nieto, Danny Vasquez, Ossy Abad Santos, Baby Ysmael, Juancho Lao, Tony Vallejo, Poteng Tillman, Philip Monserrat, Pat Ilano, Tony Beltran and my very own father Ariel Bocobo.

But they soon lost interest and gave up the games when they sensed that certain crooked manipulators were slowly taking over the fronton and the decent and honest Basque players were quietly being eased out. They were proven right and soon enough the fronton became a hotbed of vice and corruption, and Pinoy pelotaris became notorious for throwing games and the good elements of society began to boycott the fronton.

One needed clarification. Jai-alai is not a Spanish game. It is a game of the proud Basques who continue to be the hated enemies of the Spaniards. Those occasional bombings in Spain are by the Euskadi, the Basque rebel group feared by the Spanish guardia civil.

In Madrid hotels not too long ago, there were still signs which read, "No dogs or Basques allowed." That's how bitter these two races hate each other.

(Image from