Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Sometime last year, Ding Gagelonia invited me to a get-together with former Vice President Teofisto Guingona in his Quezon City residence days before the launching of his book.

A handful of members of the media were present at that simple get together, among them, veteran journalist Julius Fortuna, whom I address in person as Tito Julius.

In the book of Guingona, a chapter dealt on his time in jail at a military camp under Martial Law. Tito Julius was his prison/block mate according to the former Vice President. It was a delight and an honor at the same time to hear straight from two former political detainees that exceptional common experience they had during Martial Law.

I say exceptional because in those days, to be placed in incarceration because of your political and democratic pursuits and beliefs were indeed marks of great men and women. For a good four hours sometime last year, I was among those who listened with undivided attention and awe with the stories told by both Guingona and Fortuna.

This morning over the radio, a sad breaking news was aired. Tito Julius has passed away due to cardiac arrest at the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City early this morning.

I called up Ding at once, knowing how close the two are---only to be placed in that uncomfortable position of the bearer of the sad news.

Ding, was apparently not tuned in to the AM radio when I made the call this morning. Quickly, I sensed and felt the sadness in his voice. I regret that I was the one who told him about it. I thought, it would be I who would be getting more information from Ding.

It was Ding and Richard Rivera who influenced Tito Julius to sail on to the world of new media, to be a journalist-blogger in this day and age of citizen and global blogging.

Tito Julius complied and opened his blog-site last January, but with no entry except the ones that were already published on line in the Manila Times where he wrote regular columns on various national and international issues. His column in the Manila Times is called, EAST WEST. The blog he created last January was also called EAST-WEST--ON LINE.

The reason why there's no real new entry in Tito Julius' Blog Site is best explained by the introduction he made in his blog spot.

Here's what he wrote: "It is my pleasure to join the new force in the field of information known as the blogging community. I must confess that I am not that familiar with computers and blogs, hence, I am glad to be inducted into this group, courtesy of my friends Ding Gagelonia and Richard Rivera. Like many of you, I am busy with other affairs. But I shall try to share with you some of my views on political and foreign affairs. We are faced with many issues like charter change and now, the pressure being exerted on the Supreme Court chief justice. But the biggest issue shall be the forthcoming presidential and local elections of 2010. This is all for the moment."

Tito Julius belongs to a generation of journalists who really know how it was to defend Democracy and Freedom of the Press.

Vēnī, vīdī, vīcī -- "I came, I saw, I conquered"---Julius Ceasar (47 BC)said in describing his recent victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus in the Battle of Zela in Zile, a town of Tokat city in contemporary Turkey, a laconic remark that represented the totality of his victory and military prowess.

It was no accident that Tito Julius was named after Julius Ceasar who was a Roman military and political leader who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

Journalist from his era contributed much to the rebirth of Press Freedom and Democracy in this part of the world.

In honoring the death of a colleague, one who came, saw and conquered, let us commit to the preservation of our rights to Press Freedom.

Bye Tito Julius---we shall carry on. (end)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Joc-Joc's Careless Whisper...

A careless whisper can ruin a love life, shatter trust, throw one into the lion's den of the what could be the biggest scandal of the decade.

But a careless whisper too can ruin a career and result into tha axing of one government official, without any announcement, without any explanation.

Just---go, bye---get the hell out of your office.

That could happen in one click, especially so, if the one who relayed the juicy information about that government official--I mean ex-government official--is someone by the name of Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante, also an ex-government official, but not necessarily, someone who is out of grace of the powers that be in the present administration.

No, the careless whisper was not about another fertilizer procurement---at least, not yet.

It was about a political opponent in the coming 2010 local elections in the province of Capiz.

Everyone in Capiz are now aware of Joc-Joc's big plan in next year's elections: Run for governor. Don't look now, but according to my sources in the province, there's a real big chance that with Joc-Joc's vast resources and influence, he might just win as the next chief executive of Capiz.

Joc-Joc is so confident of winning in next year's elections that his guns are not pointed directly towards his main opponent in the same position but in other aspiring candidates in other position, such as the 2nd District of Capiz whose incumbent representative in the Lower House, Congressman Fredinel Castro is a known ally of Joc-Joc, and also allied to the administration party.

Now--here's an interesting part, challenging the position of Castro, whose actually on his third and last term as congressman, but has already announced, he is fielding his wife, Jane Castro also known as "Baby Jane", is someone who is supposed to be an ally of the administration like Joc-Joc.

Running for congressman in the 2nd District of Capiz in next year's elections is former Assistant Secretary for Transportation and Communication and General Manager of the Metro Rail Transit Authority Roberto "Bobby" Lastimoso.

Yes--in case you did not notice, Lastimoso was axed from his position, replaced by DOTC Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Berroya, without the usual and the normal announcement of reorganization or revamp in cabinet posts.

Lastimoso was the last to know of his forced departure from his position, which in his own timetable, as promised to him, he would vacate and turn-over to Berroya in November of this year. But the turn-over came much earlier and without courtesy that is perhaps due to someone who positioned himself on the side of the Administration in critical times of its existence.

The truth is, there's nothing wrong or unusual with another administration ally challenging the position of another palace follower especially in the local political arena. Such was the case of the 2007 Elections, proving the volatility and fragile nature of the Administration's coalition party.

As far as local politics is concerned, the arena is usually declared as ZONA LIBRE.

But Lastimoso courted the ire of the powers that be, when he began to discreetly ally himself with the camp of senator Mar Roxas who is not exactly Malacañang's favorite senator these days. In local politics, there's no such thing as secret alliances, sooner or later, it will be exposed.

Lastimoso's foray into enemy territory, that is Mar Roxas' camp reached the powers behind the powers, through Joc-Joc first and according to my source, Joc-Joc took it upon himself to personally inform the person on top that needed to be informed, and that person, is not necessarily the president herself, but just as powerful, maybe even more.

And just like that, a decision was made. You have to go Bobby. End of the line.

The fate of Lastimoso proves only one thing, that under this administration, there can be no other loyalty, no other alliances, and no other dreams made possible, outside of their wings.

From a larger perspective, loyalty is indeed is a valued virtue.

From a larger perspective, yes, it's true, one cannot serve several masters.

Had somebody else whispered the information that exposed Lastimoso's rendezvous with Mar Roxas and company, the situation could perhaps be met with a lesser drastic decision. It would not have been that swift. Perhaps, Lastimoso's political move in the local front could be justified considering the fact that Capiz after all, is an acknowledged Roxas country.

But---the messenger, the one that gave that careless whisper, was not just somebody else:It was Jocelyn "Joc-Joc" Bolante.

Can they say No to Joc-Joc?

That I doubt very much. (end)

Monday, June 15, 2009


Huwag nating bitiwan ang kasong ito. Bantayan natin. Tunay na maimpluwensiya ang kalaban. At kung ang abogado ng pamilya ng inaakusahan sa karumdaldumal na krimeng ito ang pakikinggan natin, madaling makita kung anong klaseng utak mayroon ang kanyang mga kinakatawan.

Ang tinutukoy ko ay ang pagpatay kay Ruby Rose Barrameda-Jimenez. Kung mas may masahol pa sa salitang karumaldumal, yun ang katapat nito.

Sa isang panayam ni Arnold Clavio, sinabi ng abogado ni Manuel Jimenez, biyenan ni Ruby Rose, na kung ang kliyente daw niya ang nasa likod ng pagpatay sa manugang nito, maano man lang daw ba na itapon na lang sa dagat ang bangkay o kaya ang drum na kinalalagyan nito dahil marami naman daw barko ang kanyang kliyente.

Nakapaninindig balahibo. Ni wala kang maramdamang awa o simpatiya man lang mula sa mismong abogado. Na para bang napaka-normal ang magtapon ng bangkay sa karagatan.

Pero sabi nga, saan ba nahuhuli ang isda?

Maanong itapon na lang daw sana sa dagat kung ang kliyente niya ang talagang nag-utos...

Yun pala---may mga ganitong kaso mismo--eksakto----di na natagpuan---dahil itinapon nga sa dagat.

Nilubos-lubos na ni Manuel Montero ang kanyang paglalahad ng katotohanan at nalalaman laban sa mga Jimenez, may-ari ng Buena Suerte Jimenez-Fishing sa Navotas Fish Port.

Ang kunsiyensiya kapag umusig, iba. Ganito ang nangyari kay Montero. Natagalan man ang kanyang paglalahad, hindi pa naman ganap na huli ang lahat para mapanagot ang mga dapat managot sa krimeng ito...na hindi lamang pala isa.

May iba pa palang biktima. Tulad ni Ruby Rose, pinatay at isinilid din sa drum. Ang iba, itinapon ang drum na pinagtaguan sa kanilang bangkay sa dagat. Isa sa mga ipinapatay umano ng mga Jimenez sa kanya ayon kay Montero ay si Alberto Orsolino noong 2006, halos kasunod lamang o nauna sa panahong iniulat na nawawala si Ruby Rose.

Hindi matatawaran ang kredibilidad ni Montero bilang witness sa kasong ito. Oo, siya ang umaming pumatay kay Ruby Rose at sa iba pa. Pero kung gawa-gawa lamang ito---hindi niya maituturo kung nasaan ang drum, nasaan ang bangkay, at ni hindi maisasalarwan ang posisyon ng bangkay sa loob ng drum.

Walang motibo si Montero para patayin ng kusa lamang si Ruby Rose o ang iba pang biktima. Ang motibo lang dito--pera, binayaran siya. Trabaho, walang personalan, may mga assassin talaga, may mga sikmurang kayang gawin ito. Nagawa na nga.

Pero may umusig. May puso ang bawat tao. May takot ang bawat tao. May kunsiyensiya. Yun ang umiral.

Humahanga ako sa pamilya Barrameda, lalo na sa aktres na si Rochelle. Alam niyang higante ang kalaban nila. Pero di siya nawawalan ng puso. Sa tingin ko ay lalo pa siyang tumapang at mas naging determinado ngayon na makapamit ang hustisya para sa kanyang kapatid.

At kung susundan ang kuwento rito---ang mga taong kayang magpapatay, hindi lang dahil sa may pera sila, kundi dahil sa may kuneksiyon sila.

Sa kuwento---maraming ilegal na negosyong dapat na ipaliwanag ang mga Jimenez ng Navotas.

Paihi ng langis---oil smuggling sa madaling salita. Dati nang bulong-bulungan ito na ang ilang barkong pangisda kuno ay front lamang ng illegal oil smuggling sa bansa. Ito ang magandang pagkakataon para sa mga otoridad para patunayan nang walang pasubali ang ilegal na aktibidad na ito at papanagutin ang mga tinatawag na economic saboteurs ng bansa.

Naisip ko lang, magulat kaya tayo kung sa psgsasaliksik sa kuwentong ito, may matisod na impormasyon na ang linya ng proteksiyon sa ilegal na gawaing ito ay papataas na naman? Di ba, minsan na nating narinig na pati sa ganitong gawain, abot ng impluwensiya ng isang makapangyarihang tao sa gobyerno?

Pero wag na muna nating dagdagan ng detalye o patabain ito ng sanga-sangang akusasyon bagaman malinaw na puwedeng may kinalaman ito sa motibo. Pinatahimik na mga bikttima dahil sa kanilang nalalaman.

Doon muna sa krimen mismo. Sa ginawang pagpaslang kay Ruby Rose at iba pa.

Huwag natin itong bitiwan. Pahiram ng linya ni Mike Enriquez---huwag natin itong tantanan!

Bibihira ang pagkakataong kumanta nang ganito kalakas ang isang napakahalagang saksi laban sa isang krimen.

Samantalahin natin ang pagusbong ng takot at pagiral ng kunsiyensiya ni Montero.

Abot-kamay ang hustisya, huwag tayong kakalas. Kailangan ng mga Barrameda ang tulong natin---lalo na tayong nasa hanay ng Pamamahayag. (wakas)

Monday, June 8, 2009


While we are not looking, this alleged coup plotter finally launched one, a coup but of a "different kind".

Discharged officer Lt. Colonel Oscarlito Mapalo of the Philippine Army accused just last year of plotting to commit a coup d’ etat against the Arroyo Administration has finally gathered enough supporters, numbering to close to a thousand, a potent force on its own enough to give life to the ideals he adheres to as a “rebel” military officer.

Through a new group called the United Brotherhood of Uniformed Personnel Incorporated, Mapalo, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1979 was able to finally launch what he considers the biggest crusade of his life as a soldier.

“It’s a coup alright, but of another kind,” explains Mapalo who along with Colonels Ernie Amboy, Cesar dela Peña and police Supt. Rafael Cardeno and lawyer Atty. Homobono Adaza were accused just last year of being the brains behind the plot to topple the government, an accusation where they were eventually arrested and charged in court.

Months has passed since they were released in jail, bail paid, Mapalo and the rest, discharged from the service.

Interestingly, except for Cardeño who is still detained at Camp Crame because another charge, that of allegedly masterminding the killing of Lt. Baron Cervantes, former spokesperson of the Young Officers Union (YOU), Mapalo and the others charged are involved in the organization of this new group called UBUPI simply called BROTHERHOOD.

The group is registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-profit, non-stock, non-government organization--but least he gains the ire of the government again, Mapalo stressed that this is not an anti-government group.

This newly created group has its First Organizational Meeting last May 30 at the Ricarte Hall of the Philippine Army Officers Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig with more than 800 members in attendance mostly retired members of the AFP, the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and other units and agencies attached to the AFP and the PNP to include the Reservists.

A handful of active members of the AFP are also among those in attendance.

Mapalo explained that BROTHERHOOD was organized not to commit any form of rebellion or acts against the government or any institution. He stressed that BROTHERHOOD has one simple and very basic objective: TO TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN. “The fact that we held our First Organizational Meeting inside the premises of the Philippine Army Headquarters is a proof that this group is not out to threaten anyone in power,” Mapalo said.

Taking care of their own according to Mapalo is translated to initiating and coordinating projects and programs that would enhance, preserve and uplift the welfare, dignity and self-respect of the members. One key project is related to economic and livelihood opportunities focusing on the collective strength and non on the individual member.

Aside from livelihood projects, BROTHERHOOD also promises to give job opportunities, scholarship for qualified beneficiaries, legal, social, moral and spiritual support and hospitalization and medical assistance to their members.

“Pera, hindi giyera, ito ang goal ni Colonel Mapalo. Ang nangyayari kasi, lalo na kapag wala na sa serbisyo, wala nang umaasikaso sa mga sundalo, dating pulis, dating jailguards. Yun bang ang pakiramdam, parang wala silang ipinasilbi at ipinaglingkod sa bayan,” explains another officer, an active member of the Philippine Army who refused to be named but part of the steering committee of BROTHERHOOD because as an active member of the AFP, he should not be part of another group such as this one. He wears a ring like Mapalo, also a graduate of the PMA.

The active officer explained to this reporter that not all retired officers in the armed service would be as lucky as the likes of former Chief of Staff Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon who succeeded in transforming himself into another arena of public service as senator of the Republic. “Hindi lahat puwedeng maging Pong Biazon. Iisa lang ang Biazon sa amin. Destiny yun, but the rest, sad to say, after the service in the military, were left on their own, without a strong organization to back them up. This is where we are coming in.”

But while the group BROTHERHOOD positions itself as a group that is non against the government, the brains of this group remains critical of the present administration.

Adaza for one, who was among those who spoke during the First Organizational Meeting believes the Administration of President Arroyo will do anything to stay in power---even to the extent of declaring Martial Law. Adaza who remains the legal counsel of Cardeño and several other officers facing court martial says “Gloria will try to declare Martial Law but she will fail because she doesn’t have the support of majority of the armed forces and the police and that include the ranks of those retired and out of service.”

Does this view represent the collective stance of the new group BROTHERHOOD?

“Let’s just say I am expressing an intelligent assessment of someone who had seen leaders from Marcos to Arroyo. What I expressed are my personal beliefs but you know, I never lack followers,” Adaza adds in jest.

Now this is the other thing I found out about this group. That most of its members are based in Taguig City and that one retired but still powerful ex-general is really the "godfather" of this group. I got the information from one of the members of this newly formed group, who holds an official ID of BROTHERHOOD.

I wonder if the ex-general's reported plan to run as mayor of Taguig has something to do with the creation of this group?

Whether the creation of this group has something to do with his political plans in Taguig, it's also very clear here that he has associated himself with personalities that are--or at least---were once very openly critical about the present government.

Does his president knew about this? Is he trying to consolidate a force of his own?

Let me stretch more your imagination...

This retired general but still very powerful public official was among the key personalities that clinched the ouster of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

With warnings of an impending Martial Rule and No-Election come 2010, one wonders what this general is really up to?

I asked that question because this general is never comfortable with the word loyalty.

The other question is which side is he really supporting this time?

If and when the Filipino people will once again manifest their power as one---say at EDSA again---which side will he go to?(end)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ping's decision

He himself called it a reality check.

Without the billions of pesos to fund his campaign and with a relatively low rating as compared to other presidential aspirants, he reached a decision and announced it straightforward: Count him out, he is no longer in the running for the 2010 Presidential Race, senator Panfilo Lacson announced to the nation last night, a bombshell of an announcement carried as banner headlines in most of the major newspapers today.

It's inevitable that Lacson's decision is linked to the arrival of his former aide in the defunct Presidential Anti-Organize Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) Sr. Superintendent Cezar Mancao II who is expected to formally and officially linked the senator in the twin murder case of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

The timing of the announcement is open for suspicion of what really prompted the announcement since Lacson bared his decision a day after Mancao's arrival in the country.

But while there may be valid reasons to link the two, Lacson's backing out of the presidential race and Mancao's testimony linking him to one of the most celebrated and controversial cases of murder, there can be no doubt about the genuine acknowledgment of his standing and chances in the 2010 polls.

For a man to admit that he can't sustain a presidential campaign and for him to acknowledge his standing in the public pulse as reflected in various results of political surveys, that definitely requires courage and humility.

A window has opened because of Lacson's decision to quit aiming for the presidency.

In backing out of the presidential race, Lacson gave the stimulus for the Opposition to really unite and decide as one and among them, field the most competent and winnable presidential candidate to go head-on with whoever it is that would be fielded by the administration.

The challenge for all other aspirants especially on the side of the opposition is to muster enough courage and strength to do a similar reality check.

Who among the opposition camp would follow what Lacson did?

If the opposition want to beat the administration candidate next year who is expected to enjoy the obvious edge in machinery, resources and yes even in the dirty tricks game---they should view Lacson's decision as a chance to really unite their ranks and do a deep and honest to goodness assessment right now, ASAP.

The most influential personality in the opposition stable is expected to initiate moves along that line---unite, strengthen and fight.

Is that personality the former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada? If he's the one---then he should make the ultimate sacrifice too and declare he is also throwing his intention to become president again.

But if Estrada does that, who is the next most likely to succeed in acceding to power in Malacañang?

There's also the factor of weighing who is the most likely to win among them. In determining who--popularity and charisma ought to be considered as well and there's no denying that Estrada still has a lot of supporters and loyalists among the electorate. There's still the legal question on whether he is still eligible to run for president the second time around but minus that consideration, hypothetically speaking, Estrada could still pull a surprise and win again and be sworn in as president again.

Regardless of who they decide to field as candidate, the challenge to the political opposition now is for them to really solidify and unify their ranks and come up with a flawless maneuver to victory come 2010.

Let Lacson's decision be the stimulus.

On their own, aspiring candidates must do their own self-assessment and soul searching as well.

Nararapat ba sila? Mananalo ba sila? Kaya ba nila? O magpapagulo lang sila?

In her speech before the members of the LAKAS-KAMPI-CMD merged parties at the Manila Hotel, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said, "LET US WIN NOT BECAUSE WE ARE POWERFUL. LET US WIN BECAUSE WE ARE UNITED."

If she can say that and own that statement, why can't the opposition do the same? Say it, declare it, own it, mean it and implement it.

In achieving unity, sacrifices have to me made.

The window is open. A fresh air has breath in.

Who will capture the moment and follow in Lacson's footsteps for the sake of unity?(end)

Friday, June 5, 2009


And now a word from someone who had been there...done that...

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will do everything to accomplish what Ferdinand Marcos did as president: declare Martial Law and stay in power.

This is how feisty and controversial lawyer Atty. Homobono Adaza views the agenda from Malacañang."It's very clear, Gloria wants to stay in power for as long as she lives but I tell you what? She will fail miserably because she's no Marcos. Marcos is brilliant. She's simply greedy and doesn't even have a clear vision for the country."

One of those jailed during Martial Law, Adaza said, Marcos did everything within the law because he knew the law. Marcos was ahead of his game plan according to Adaza because he said, "when there was no law to justify his acts and decisions, Marcos created the laws to legitimize everything."

President Arroyo in comparison according to Adaza, "operates outside the law".

But while Adaza is saying that he sees a failure in the administration's attempt to stay in power, there are clear indicators that the president and her allies will declare Martial Law. Adaza pointed to three indicators which he said directly comes from the president:

1. She does not care about any opposition.
2. She believes the people will not stand up and revolt.
3. She has very low regard for the political opposition in general and knew the fact that she can divide them and even "buy" the loyalty of some.

But while Adaza sees a possibility that the president may actually passed the stage of declaring Martial Law, he expressed confidence that "it will not last."

The reason: the president doesn't have full control of the military.

"Gloria is probably the least popular among the presidents especially among the ranks of the military. But she succeeded in staying in power by corrupting a few not so good men in the military, men blinded not by loyalty to her but loyalty to what she has to offer them in exchange for their cooperation," Adaza said.

If Adaza comes across as someone who seemed to knew the pulse of the military like the palm of his hand, that is because he does. His colorful career as lawyer is marked with many years representing military officers involved in coup attempts starting from 1987 up to present. As a journalist, this is how I came to know him---Bono!

Not only did Adaza represent rebel military officers, past and present.

In fact he was even accused of plotting a coup himself together with a group of retired officers from the Philippine Army, Marines and the Philippine National Police.

Just last year, Adaza along with retired Colonels Oscarlito Mapalo,Ernie Amboy, Cesar dela Peña and police superintendent Rafael Cardeño were arrested and charged with "plot to commit coup d' etat." All names charged with Adaza were associated with attempts to topple the government, from Aquino to Arroyo. The case against them, not yet resolved in court.

Is there a coup in the air? Of course who would announce it? None! But for a seasoned "coup-associated-personality" like Adaza, he sees no movement this time, even when he says there exists very valid reasons for the military to make a stand and defend the Filipino people, as mandated by the Constitution, he insists.

"There's no movement. Take my word. You know why? Because right now, there's no determined force within the active service to lead any armed uprising or take-over through a Constitutional Coup. There's no leader."

If and when a revolution starts, Adaza said, it will have to start not from the military but from the civilian sector.

"The challenge is for a civilian leader to emerge amongst the Filipino people. Someone who has a vision and with unquestionable integrity. We want change? Let's find that man or woman. Let's find the courage from among our people," Adaza stressed.

COURAGE--a very strong word.

CHANGE--that's an even bigger word.

But dwarfing these words is the word PEOPLE.

Let us qualify the word and make it more powerful: THE FILIPINO PEOPLE.

The Filipino people want change and with courage, the Filipino can! (end)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Now that former police Sr. Superintendent Cezar Mancao is back in the Philippines, currently under tight security inside the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), there is only one expectation from him: To tell nothing but---the truth.

Coming home would be naught if he would just be a tool against any political persecution. What he will say and what he will be representing in the coming days would determine how history will view his role in the resolution of one of the most celebrated and controversial cases of unresolved murders--that of publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito.

Even before his arrival, a copy of his affidavit was already printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in full and in that affidavit, the names of former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada and senator Panfilo Lacson are among those mentioned as the key figures that allegedly played parts in the twin-murder case.

Another name is prominently mentioned, former police Sr. Superintendent Michael Ray "Ninoy" Aquino who is linked both to Lacson and Estrada.

But unless the affidavit is sworn by Mancao himself in court---the one that got printed in the largest and most read newspaper in the country---is not yer considered official. Reacting to that scoop of the PDI then, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales refused to say with certainty that it's indeed the exact copy of Mancao's affidavit. However, Gonzales said, "majority of the content printed in the paper was true."

Will Mancao pull a surprise and declare something else different from what was already printed in the media as early as the March of this year?

There are talks that he would but that remains nothing but a speculation unless we hear it straight from Mancao himself. That's why we all want to hear him say his piece now and declare nothing but the truth.

On his arrival statement, still visibly worried but somehow relieved indicative of that tentative smile on his face caught on camera, Mancao said, "It's about time that I speak up."

Yes Cezar, it's about time and in saying it's about time, the only consideration you must weigh the most is the truth that not only the families of Dacer and Corbito deserves but the whole nation as well.

Every story needs a closure. This one needs it with clarity and finality.(end)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mancao and Ninoy...

The scheduled arrival of former police Sr. Superintendent Cezar Mancao reminded me of Ninoy. No, I do not mean Ninoy, or former Police Sr. Superintendent Michael Ray Aquino who is also known as Ninoy Aquino since his cadet days in the Philippine Military Academy.

I am referring to the other "Ninoy", Kris and Noynoy's father, Tita Cory's husband, the late senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. I do not mean to compare the police colonel to the former senator in terms of acts of heroism.

I only mean to point out to what appears to be a striking similarity in the way people in government is handling the security aspect of Mancao's arrival.

The former senator wore a bullet proof vest when he came home in August of 1983. He knew something really bad may happen and that it could cause him his life and something did happen.

We all know what happened at Tarmac of the then Manila International Airport, a date that shall forever be remembered as a day when the nation found a rallying point, s source of strength to really confront the powers that be and in the process pursued actions that eventually led to the toppling of the Marcos regime.

With a bullet proof vest brought by his wife, Mancao is now bound back to the Philippines, en route on air via a commercial flight from the United States and guarded by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), his images flashed on television the entire day projects someone who is worried, uncertain and yes--frightened of what may happen to him once he sets foot out of that airplane at the Ninoy Aquino International Air Port.

It should be noted that in interviews with reporters and radio anchors, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales was quick to point out that "there's no threat to Mancao's life...none that they knew of" , he said.

But on his own insistence and part of the condition of his coming home to testify on the Dacer-Corvito double murder case, Mancao will be wearing a bullet proof vest, a clear indication that he is afraid of something---or maybe--even anticipating something.

There are members of the media who are with Mancao in his flight back to the Philippines---the same is true in the case of Ninoy back in 1983. The media escort was also part of Mancao's conditions according to the DOJ. Perhaps on hindsight, Mancao knew that media is a potent ally on his side to record and tell the truth of what transpired or what he clearly feels may happen to him on his journey back home to the Philippines.

Just like in Ninoy's homecoming in 1983---government also announced in the case of Mancao's homecoming that there will be no press conference, no press briefing or press statement of any kind that will be done at the airport on Mancao'a arrival. Only those that have something to do with securing Mancao would be allowed to get near him.

Just like in 83 when Ninoy Aquino came home, it was very clear who had the control to protect his precious life and it was even clearer who had the capability to end that life when we all saw the lifeless body of the former senator at the airport's Tarmac.

As a former police officer, not just an ordinary police officer for that matter, with a controversial and celebrated career, Mancao have been exposed enough to be able to gauge and evaluate scenarios of his homecoming. In other words, he knew the rules of the game.

His fears are not superficial but in fact founded on solid grounds.

It may be a wild idea to point out to specific similarities in the way Ninoy came home then and the way Mancao is coming home now back to the country of his birth--happening just hours away in fact.

But with the country in the midst of a possible political and social chaos brought about by the shameless maneuver of majority members of the House of Representatives via House Resolution 1109, one that opened the gates of possibilities of changing the 1987 Constitution, can you blame me for wandering into the realm of scenarios and possibilities?

It's not hard to connect possibilities and timings--especially so when all that seems to be lacking in this grand plot to stay in power is one that would be so damning and so scary that would push government, based on the grand script, to declare Martial Law and impose authoritarian rule.

I hope that I am wrong. I pray that I am wrong. (end)


They did it at a time when almost the rest of the archipelago was asleep. The maneuver was dragged towards midnight. Many valiant voices tried to crash it. But how can they when the other party simply has the numbers?

It's like watching the TV game show 1 VS 100.

It's the number's game and that's how they pulled the biggest robbery of our constitutional rights as citizens of this country. Using their massive numbers,without shame and with total disregard to the very reason why they occupy their respective seats in Congress, they eventually did what many dreaded they would do to protect their selfish interests.

At exactly 11:20 in the evening last night members of the majority block at the House of Representatives passed House Resolution #1109 empowering themselves to convene into a Constituent Assembly (CON-ASS).

But unlike thieves in the night, they did not pull the act totally under the cover of darkness which made the act more sinister than an ordinary act of robbery.

The motives are not even hidden. The possibilities are open under a congress acting into a constituent assembly and that includes a possible move for term extension for the present Administration.

Representative Teddy Casiño said that under HR 1109, the entire 1987 Constitution is open to amendments putting into center stage the Malacañang agenda. "This will allow the politicians to keep themselves in power," Casiño stressed.

"It's just a resolution," this is how some lawmakers' justification of why they approved HR 1109 clearly downplaying the impact of their decision. But if it was but a mere resolution why did they act in absolute rush?


On the floor, Congressman Teofisto Guingona III asked, "Have we no shame? Let us stop this farce immediately." That fell on deft ears.

211 lawmakers were present---a rare record in the Lower House, an indicator as early as 4 in the afternoon yesterday that something really big will happen. HR 1109 was not even part of the priority agenda. At the gallery of Batasang Pambansa, various groups representing farmers and the agricultural sector were in attendance anticipating something else: the extension of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

They thought it was their night. But as House speaker Prospero Nograles made his move on the floor, approaching his allies one by one, it was evident that the show of numbers was for something else---not for the sector whose rights they should be protecting through legislation, but for their own interpretation of what is good for this country.

Defender of the Constitution Catholic priest Joaquin Bernas see in no other way. The act he said is a threat to democracy. "Nakakagalit. Pinaglalaruan nila ang Saligang Batas. Pinaglalaruan nila ang taongbayan."

But now that the controlled mob in Congress did their part on this grand plot to perpetuate themselves in power, the question here is what is the next move?

Who will really emerge as the true defender of democracy in this critical period directly threatening the Constitution and Democracy?

It is ironic that this blatant move to "gang-rape" the constitution comes just days before the country commemorates again the birth of our Independence as a nation.

This time, the very forces that threaten our democracy are not even outsiders, but our own, fellow Filipinos, sons and daughters of the victory of the Revolution of 1898.

One wonders how and why a nation can collectively express anger in a porn video directed and produced by one Hayden Kho and not stand up in anger and rage against a shameless display of tyranny and deception.

One wonders if there's really a scarcity of Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, Del Pilar, Silang amongst us.

Then as I ponder on these thoughts, a congressman offered an insight, saying that last night's act of majority members of Congress triggers the restlessness of the country's "social volcano".

Eruption imminent.(end)