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Our issue for December 17, 2005

Manuel L. Quezon III

PHILIPPINES FREE PRESS

December 17, 2005 Issue

Main Features

1.Cover: Twisted Key

Virgilio Garcillano faces the congressional investigation into the Arroyo tapes on Wednesday without even the slightest credibility. Sen. Joker Arroyo is unwilling to get the Senate involved in the proposed joint hearings with the five House committees investigating the scandal because the exercise will just be a waste of time. It is now clear that since his return last week with incredible tales about his nearly six months’ disappearance that Garcillano, once believed to be the key to explaining the tapes to the nation, did not come out to tell the truth about last year’s presidential election. He came out to force a closure to the scandal as Malacañang, which is now protecting him, has designed it so that the opposition will have no strong evidence to bring another impeachment case against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo next September. Garcillano will answer any question except about the tapes, central to the investigation and evidence of the fraud. His reason is that the tapes have been illegally obtained and cannot be used in any investigation. He is right under the law and that will be his shield during the investigation. But the Filipino people have already heard the tapes and no explanation by any legal light, even by the Supreme Court perhaps, will convince them that their votes were not stolen. And that is why no matter what Garcillano say during the investigation the people and even the investigators will not believe him. More important to the investigation now is Samuel Ong, the former NBI deputy director who knows the provenance of the tapes. Both houses of Congress want to talk him but his too scared for his life to come out.

By Ricky S. Torre, Wendell Vigilia and Butch Serrano

2. What Now?

Vice President Noli de Castro ignores the deadline that former administration officials and civic organizations—the Black and White Movement—have given him to break away from President Arroyo. He wants to play it by the book but the movement, which also includes followers of Joseph Estrada and the late Fernando Poe Jr., now sees him as unwilling to help resolve the leadership crisis. The problem is everyone’s concern for the law—everybody wants a resolution to the crisis but in accordance with the Constitution. De Castro is right in rejecting the movement’s deadline. As far as he is concerned, despite the protest against what he claims is his election to the vice-presidency, he has his sworn duty and will take the place of Mrs. Arroyo only if, for any reason she can no longer govern. The movement will have to look for somebody else to act as catalyst for a force that will bring Mrs. Arroyo to quit. But who is that leader? Senate President Franklin Drilon, the man next in line for the presidency after de Castro, also wants to play it by the book. Something must happen so that Mrs. Arroyo will step down. What?

3. The Military’s Example

A military tribunal has found retired Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia guilty of financial dishonesty and serving in the Philippine military while being secretly an immigrant to the United States. The six-member general court-martial has sentenced the sacked military comptroller to two years imprisonment at hard labor for conduct unbecoming an officer and conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline. The court-martial has also forfeited all of Garcia’s retirement benefits, and warned other military officers who might be using their positions to enrich themselves that they cannot get away with corruption. Garcia’s sentence is seen as too light, but that is not all. He is facing plunder charges in the civilian graft court Sandiganbayan, which, after the court-martial’s findings, is likely to order the confiscation of all his wealth.

By Guiller de Guzman and Nati Nuguid

4. Stop or Else

The House opens its own investigation into the alleged channeling of P728 million in agricultural funds to Mrs. Arroyo’s presidential campaign last year amid threats to the lead Senate investigator to stop the inquiry or the shit will hit the fan. The threat to Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr.—it’s more blackmail than threat, really—should embolden the investigation, not discourage it, for it seems that people higher than local officials are involved the scam. The members of the House does not like the picture emerging from the Senate investigation—that some of them benefited from the money—that’s why they are out to clear themselves of the suspicion, not to discover whether Mrs. Arroyo misused public funds ensure her electoral victory.

By Guiller de Guzman and Wendell Vigilia

5. You’re Not Speaking for Us

Three months after speaking at the United Nations General Assembly and claiming there that population programs played no significant role in development, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has become the target of a national population-planning movement for misrepresenting the Philippine situation. The Forum for Family Planning and Development says Mrs. Arroyo was not speaking for all Filipinos when she called on developed countries to “respect our deep Catholicism.? That was a false appeal, the movement says, because Filipinos do not even think of religion in planning their families, only the future of their children. The appeal was aimed at the Catholic Church and it was not for respect for the Filipinos’ deep Catholicism but for political support against more than half of the Filipinos who want Mrs. Arroyo out of power. The movement is campaigning to force Mrs. Arroyo to drop her indifference toward the population explosion and adopt artificial methods of birth control to save the nation from a disastrous population problem.

By Guiller de Guzman and Nati Nuguid

6. Christmas Gloom

This is a gloomy Christmas for Filipinos. There is no feeling of expectation, no brilliance, almost no preparations for the coming big day. Malacañang blames the gloom on the opposition, as if the opposition had done anything to steal Christmas. Actually it is value-added tax that is forcing Filipinos to be austere. They are spending less to save and they are turning off their holiday lights early to avoid bigger bills. It is President Arroyo, not the opposition, who stole the Filipinos’ Christmas.

By Ramiro C. Alvarez

Two (2) editorials

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4 Comments

  1. ricelander says:

    Nice seeing you on blogosphere. Your work is incisive as usual.

  2. Juan delacruz says:

    IS THIS RIGHT FOR A BOTTLERS COMPANY TO ADVERTISE EMILIO AGUINALDO AS A MODEL WHILE DRINKING A COKE BOTTLE IN SAKTO COKE..
    IT IS A DISGRACE TO OUR NATIONAL HERO AND A PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES..
    THEY ARE HUMILIATING OUR FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC..
    GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS MUST DO SOMETHING
    ABOUT IT..
    MAY BE THEY CAN FILE A SUIT TO A P 200 MILLION PESO AS A FINE FOR THEIR RELUCTANT MOVES..
    THEY HAVE INCREASED THEIR PROFIT BUT DECREASING THE RESPECT OF OUR FIRST PRESIDENT.
    AND MAYBE THE 200 MILLIONS PESO SHOULD BE GIVE TO OUR HOPELESS FELLOW PEOPLE, TO HELP THEM IN OUR CRISIS. I HOPE SOMEONE SHALL MAKE A MOVE FROM IT FOR THE BENEFIT OUR PEOPLE..AND TO ADD TO BIR DEFICIT BUDGET

    PLEASE SEE THIS SITE FOR REFERENCE:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7206762998&category=13608#ebayphotohosting

  3. Juan delacruz says:

    IS THIS RIGHT FOR A BOTTLERS COMPANY TO ADVERTISE EMILIO AGUINALDO AS A MODEL WHILE DRINKING A COKE BOTTLE IN SAKTO COKE..
    IT IS A DISGRACE TO OUR NATIONAL HERO AND A PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES..
    THEY ARE HUMILIATING OUR FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC..
    GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS MUST DO SOMETHING
    ABOUT IT..
    MAY BE THEY CAN FILE A SUIT TO A P 200 MILLION PESO AS A FINE FOR THEIR RELUCTANT MOVES..
    THEY HAVE INCREASED THEIR PROFIT BUT DECREASING THE RESPECT OF OUR FIRST PRESIDENT.
    AND MAYBE THE 200 MILLIONS PESO SHOULD BE GIVE TO OUR HOPELESS FELLOW PEOPLE, TO HELP THEM IN OUR CRISIS. I HOPE SOMEONE SHALL MAKE A MOVE FROM IT FOR THE BENEFIT OUR PEOPLE..AND TO ADD TO BIR DEFICIT BUDGET

    PLEASE SEE THIS SITE FOR REFERENCE:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7206762998&category=13608#ebayphotohosting

  4. Juan delacruz says:

    IS THIS RIGHT FOR A BOTTLERS COMPANY TO ADVERTISE EMILIO AGUINALDO AS A MODEL WHILE DRINKING A COKE BOTTLE IN SAKTO COKE..
    IT IS A DISGRACE TO OUR NATIONAL HERO AND A PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES..
    THEY ARE HUMILIATING OUR FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC..
    GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS MUST DO SOMETHING
    ABOUT IT..
    MAY BE THEY CAN FILE A SUIT TO A P 200 MILLION PESO AS A FINE FOR THEIR RELUCTANT MOVES..
    THEY HAVE INCREASED THEIR PROFIT BUT DECREASING THE RESPECT OF OUR FIRST PRESIDENT.
    AND MAYBE THE 200 MILLIONS PESO SHOULD BE GIVE TO OUR HOPELESS FELLOW PEOPLE, TO HELP THEM IN OUR CRISIS. I HOPE SOMEONE SHALL MAKE A MOVE FROM IT FOR THE BENEFIT OUR PEOPLE..AND TO ADD TO BIR DEFICIT BUDGET

    I DONT DRINK COCA COLA PRODUCTS!!!!!!
    PLEASE SEE THIS SITE FOR REFERENCE:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7206762998&category=13608#ebayphotohosting

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