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Our issue for April 18, 2009

Philippines FREE PRESS

April 18, 2009 Issue

Main Features

On the Cover: Cavite Gov. Eugenio Maliksi

         (with eight-page, full-color supplement)

         By Dann Fabros and Ricky S. Torre


With their plan to sabotage next year’s general election by revising the Constitution just waiting to be pronounced dead, the allies of President Arroyo are turning to Plan B: find a strong presidential candidate. But there is no one in their ranks. So Lakas-CMD is trying to pressure unaffiliated Vice President Noli de Castro, who is leading in the all polls, into running for the administration. Kampi, Mrs. Arroyo’s original party, has no one, and it cannot dare to play clown and offer its president, Luis Villafuerte, as even half a candidate. The Nationalist People’s Coalition is in disarray, with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, who is said to be Mrs. Arroyo’s choice, vacationing from the party because the boss, Eduardo Cojuangco, prefers to hand the banner to Sen. Francis Escudero for the race. Cojuangco’s choice could send Sen. Loren Legarda, in the top four in most polls, shopping her presidential ambition around for a backer, weakening some more the administration’s chances of retaining power. The worst-case scenario is drawing from the opposition, and here the ruling coalition’s target is Sen. Manuel Villar. But Villar does not need to cross over to the administration to run for Malacañang. If financing for the campaign is the problem, that is for other candidates to worry about, not his. A candidate must be found before November, the advanced deadline for candidates’ registration.

By Guiller de Guzman and Wendell Vigilia

2. Failed Again

If the House of Representatives fails to swing the revision of the Constitution before the end of the first regular session in June, that’s it for the ruling coalition. Speaker Prospero Nograles is giving the effort only up to the first week of June. After that, the coalition must seriously turn to finding a presidential candidate or Malacañang will go to the opposition, and everybody knows what that means—big trouble, especially for the crooks. But Luis Villafuerte, the Kampi president who reads only the letter of the Constitution and ignores its spirit, insists the revision is still possible if the House can force a confrontation with the Senate in the Supreme Court for a ruling on how a constituent assembly votes. He thinks the new justices on the Supreme Court will vote for the administration in gratitude to President Arroyo. Chances are they won’t, so the better minds in the ruling coalition prefer to allow next year’s general election to go through. After all, there is still Plan C: buy hackers to monkey with the Comelec’s computers if the House fails to pass Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia’s proposal for a hand count of the vote.

By Guiller de Guzman and Wendell Vigilia

3. Blacklisted

Good news: The IMF will provide $1.1 trillion to help struggling economies combat the global recession. Bad news: the Philippines will get very little, if not exactly nothing, of it. The Group of 20 major economies has blacklisted the country, along with Costa Rica, Malaysia and Uruguay, for its uncooperativeness in the international effort at transparency in tax information. This is going to hurt the Philippines, which is offering all sorts of incentives to foreign investors to come here and help the government deal with the worsening unemployment. Malacañang says the government is committed to comply with the international standards in tax information, and it is now calling on Congress to review the tax laws to speed up the country’s exit from the blacklist. Only the tax laws? How about the banking laws? The secretiveness of Philippine banking has always been an encouragement for offshore tax fraud and even local official corruption. This is not going to be easy. Never mind the foreign cheats. There’s nothing they can do to stop the revision. It’s the local crooks who will surely lobby Congress to go easy on this one—secretly, of course.

By Guiller de Guzman

4. Meaningful Darkness

The Philippines saved 611 megawatts of electricity by turning off the lights for Earth Hour on March 28. That will not dent the impact of global warming on the Philippine environment, but taken together with the energy savings of the rest of the world that switched off the lights for Earth Hour, the savings will add up to one big message for world officials going to the climate-change conference in Copenhagen in December: Act now and save Planet Earth.

By J. de Jesus

5. Features

1 Comment

  1. gremer says:

    By Gremer Chan Reyes

    History tell us that the Athenians is invented Democracy 2,500 years ago. Demos in Greek means people and Kratos is power. Meaning that Democracy is a system that power of government is placed in the hands of the people. Athens was the light of the world. The cultural center whose naval power is second to none antiquity. How come the Athenians lost in the Great Peloponnesian War? A country may have brilliant Generals with armaments beyond the means of her enemies. But battle is not just a contest in logistics. Love of country is one vital force that ignite men with fighting spirit to commit amazing heroism for their motherland.

    Alas for the mother of Democracy. Athens political anatomy has ugly structural defect. How could democracy survive in a government where 20 percent only are freemen and 80 percent slaves? The splendor that was Athens was swiped into the dustbin of history. Athens lost the Peloponnesian War not of danger from without but by danger from within. As student of history I was never surprise why Athens was conquered by Sparta, Macedonia, the Romans and the Turks. When slave outnumbered freemen 5 to 1 no government could long endure.

    That’s a great lesson to mankind. Filipinos must take note that the present Philippine society is no different with that of the Athenians of antiquity. The Philippines, unlike the United States before the American Revolution is not a country of slaves; only a country of servants. But we must not get angry. We must be thankful to Chip Tsao for opening our eyes of what we are. True we don’t have slaves, but equation of rich and poor with freemen and slave with that of the Athenians is practically the same. Survey on the living condition of the Filipinos showed that only 20 percent have the convenience of a good life while 80 percent of their fellowmen wallowed in mud in animal existence, making this country a powder keg or a pack of dynamite.

    Does it surprise the exudos migration of Filipinos? There are 130,000 Filipino servants serving Chinese families in Hong Kong. Imagine the number of domestic Filipino workers in the US, Dubai, England, Italy, Saudi Arabia and other countries. Madam Arroyo flew from her unsuccessful Asean Summit in Thailand to Dubai to shop (beg?) for job for her hard pressed compatriot. That’s undignified way for Madam President. Can’t she think of other means except making the Filipinos as domestic helper?

    We must learn from the Athenians. History is a legacy that national leaders could chart their country’s destiny. But we don’t have leaders only pretenders. We have no statesman only politicians. Abraham Lincoln the greatest statesman of the American people believed that a nation half free and half slave would never prosper. We were under the Americans, educated and tutored with a democracy system of government but it didn’t make sense with us. In the span of 50 years we wrote 3 constitutions and now congress is intimating to write another one to make thongs right for us (they said) this time.

    Democracy in the hands of the Filipinos had evolved into a system so ambiguously confusing, I wonder whether it is a tool for the people to move on to higher heights or something that anybody is free to do anything he wants fear of criminal liability or feel guilty of any moral responsibility. We know – everybody knows of the Hello Garci Tape, the Macapagal Highway Scandal, the Villar C-5 Road Project, the Fertilizer Scam, the Asean Lamp Post, the NBN ZTE Deal, the Euro Generals, the latest, is the Pre-need Legacy that victimize hundred thousands of Educational plan Holders, that made this country as No. 1 most corrupt in the world. Now look … We made it again! Filipino are one of the topnotchers in the Guinnes book of Record in murdering journalist. That’s effective way to silent critics. In law –suit they still talk and write. A hided killer is less expensive in quieting them.

    Everything it seem had gone from bad to worst. The people have lost confidence in their elective official. Are they lawmakers or Crocodiles at session hall in cot and tie? We pray the 12 foot Croco that devoured a young girl returning home school was not an honorable member of congress. Heaven forbid. These reptiles want to have their hands in writing a new constitution. This constitution is the light of the land. It should be written by civilized men not by cannibals that feast on their hapless countrymen.

    Argawanon, San Remegio, Cebu
    Cell No. 09084212622

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