Thursday, July 28, 2005

More than 50% say PGMA is acceptable

Nearly 1 in 2 say Arroyo 'unacceptable' person to lead RP
26% say De Castro 'best person to lead' RP

By Joel Francis Guinto

NEARLY one in two Filipinos (47 percent) consider Arroyo as being an "unacceptable" person to lead the country now while one in three believe her resignation and impeachment to pave the way for snap elections is the "best" way out of the political crisis, according to an independent survey released Thursday.

While only 17 percent of the 1,200 respondents nationwide favor the constitutional succession of Vice President Noli de Castro once Arroyo resigns or is impeached, 26 percent believe the ex-television broadcaster is the "best person to lead the country now," Pulse Asia Inc. said in its Ulat ng Bayan (Report of the Nation) survey conducted from July 2 to 14.

The study covered the period after Arroyo apologized for improperly calling up an elections officer during the canvass and after influential personalities and groups joined calls for her resignation. It had a margin of error of +/-3 percent at a confidence level of 95 percent.

It was done before Arroyo's State of the Nation Address, where she made a big push for a shift to a federal-parliamentary form of government.

When asked what the "most beneficial or constructive political scenario" is, the top response was Arroyo's resignation or impeachment and the holding of snap elections (34 percent), followed by Arroyo's resignation and impeachment and De Castro's succession to her post (17 percent), Arroyo's finishing her term until 2010 (16 percent), Arroyo's resignation and the establishment of a junta (15 percent), Arroyo's serving as a transition leader who will oversee charter change (10 percent), and Arroyo's removal from office through whatever means, constitutional or extra-constitutional (7 percent).

When asked what is the "most inimical or destructive political scenario" is, the leading answer was Arroyo's finishing her term until 2010 (22 percent), followed by a military takeover (19 percent), foreign government intervention (17 percent), snap elections (16 percent), the military installing a group of politicians into power after a coup (14 percent), and De Castro's succession to the presidency (11 percent).

Placing second to De Castro in the list for "best person to lead the country now" is Senator Panfilo Lacson (21 percent), followed by former president Joseph Estrada (11 percent), the late Fernando Poe Jr.'s widow, Susan Roces (10 percent), Arroyo (7 percent), Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. (4 percent), former president Fidel Ramos (3 percent), evangelist Brother Eddie Villanueva (2 percent), Senator Rodolfo Biazon (2 percent) and former defense secretary Fortunato Abat (0.03 percent).

In second position in the list of "persons not acceptable to lead the country" following Arroyo is Villanueva (28 percent), Ramos (25 percent), Abat (21 percent), Roces (20 percent), Estrada (20 percent), Lacson (20 percent), Davide (18 percent), Biazon (12 percent), and De Castro (12 percent).

When asked who is the "best person" to lead the country, the respondents were allowed one response. On the question of "unacceptable" persons to lead the country, the respondents were allowed three answers.

If only the first of the three answers to the "unacceptable" leader question were ranked, Abat will top the list with 21 percent, followed by Arroyo (14 percent), Estrada (12 percent), Davide (12 percent), De Castro (9 percent), Biazon (8 percent), Lacson (8 percent), Villanueva (3 percent), Roces (3 percent), and Ramos (3 percent).

Additional buzzwords some here in RP like to use ... very often

"moral ascendancy" and "credible leadership"

Estrada asks court to grant him bail

Estrada asks court to grant him bail. My, my, what will it be next time?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Pres. GMA State of the Nation Address

Every year, we meet on this day in this great hall to celebrate democracy and take stock of the nation: the country and its condition; the government and its performance; the people and their well-being.

Ours is a country divided; the story of our nation is a tale of two Philippines; almost, as it were, two countries under the same name.

One is the Philippines whose economy, after long years of cumulative national endeavor, is now poised for take off. The other is the Philippines whose political system, after equally long years of degeneration, has become a hindrance to progress.

As a country on the verge of take-off, our storyline would surprise many at home and abroad. The story includes an economy that grew more than 6 percent last year and that has continued to work in the teeth of the biggest oil price hikes in history, while generating four million jobs in the last four years.

The story includes marked improvements in tax collections, infrastructure housing construction, shelter, security for the urban poor and indigenous peoples, and rice productivity.

The story includes 69 million beneficiaries of health care insurance, including 30 million indigents, whose re-enrollment started early this year and is still ongoing.

That same story, over four years, saw the drug menace cut in half, the rash of kidnappings become a thing of the past, and insurgency in the South abated.

This story should work itself out as one about an economy as resilient and full of potential as its people are patient and hardworking, guided by a government--with the executive and the legislative hand-in-hand--that is able to pass a no-nonsense budget and make the tough decisions to put our fiscal house in order.

I specially refer to our recent titanic struggle to enact the three laws that comprised the biggest fiscal package in our history, the biggest revenue increase in a generation that will break the vicious cycle of financing development by borrowing and having to borrow again just to service those loans. This is the one reform that will snap the chain that has bound our future to a profligate past and the debt-burdened present. The Filipino's strong sense of family has given Congress a stronger resolve not to pass on today's debt, and bankrupt our children and grandchildren tomorrow. That struggle has done the House and the Senate great honor. Congratulations.

Abroad, the story continues. We’ve worked long and hard to restore our country to the prominent place it once held as co-founder of the United Nations and the Free World's first line of defense in the East. We won a seat in the UN Security Council, where we presided over the landmark resolution calling for democracy in Iraq. The Philippines chaired the historic conference on interfaith cooperation for peace at the UN, the fruit of a bold and creative initiative by your Speaker of the House.

We head the APEC anti-terrorism task force. Our victories in the war on terror have been acknowledged by no less than president Bush before the US National Defense University. The Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf can only pick up the pieces of its broken backbone in Mindanao.

We’ve worked with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to forge peace with our Muslim brothers. Eighty percent of our peace talks with them have been completed. Permanent peace in Mindanao is within reach.

Indeed, our story as a country on the verge of take off is real. Analysts need only to look at our stock market, and even the peso-dollar exchange rate, to sense the strong anticipation of significant improvements, if only we would overcome the tendency to be our own worst enemy.

Thus, with investors both here and abroad in mind, I invite you all to join me in sending them a strong message from this great hall: We will not waver in our commitment to economic reform and fiscal discipline, whatever the political cost.

The other message to send is that we will address the burden that the other Philippine story imposes on our anticipated take-off. I refer to the story of how our political system has now become a hindrance to our national progress.

Over the years, our political system has degenerated to the extent that it is difficult for anyone to make any headway yet keep his hands clean. To be sure, the system is still capable of achieving great reforms. But, by and large, our political system has betrayed its promise to each new generation of Filipinos, not a few of whom are voting with their feet, going abroad and leaving that system behind.

Perhaps we politicians have done our best; But maybe our best is not enough, given the present system. Perhaps we have strained the present political system to its final limit.

It is time to turn to the people, bring them into government -- and change the way that government is done.

The people want government that works for them at every level. They want good government that begins at their doorstep in the barangay [village-ed], and does not end before the closed door of a bureaucrat in Metro Manila.

The system clearly needs fundamental change, and the sooner the better. It's time to start the great debate on charter change.

We must address such questions as how much more government is needed for the greater safety and economic security of our people, and how much less government is more conducive to free enterprise and economic progress.

The mode of Charter change is the exclusive prerogative of Congress. But a constituent assembly may well give our people the quickest reforms.

I shall work with Congress, civil society groups and local government executives who are convinced that Charter changes are needed to enable the country to surmount the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge the local government executives who have brought about an LGU power revolution through transformative leadership.

The economic progress and social stability of the provinces, along with the increasing self-reliance and efficiency of political developments and public services there, make a compelling case for federalism.

Perhaps it's time to take the power from the center to the countryside that feeds it.

I recognize that our form of government will be the decision of the body constituted to undertake Charter change. But we should consider that legislation could be quickened and laws made more responsive to the people under a parliamentary system, similar to that of our progressive neighbors in the region.

But even as we make a serious start in Charter change, I hope we can still work together on other initiatives to the lasting benefit of our people.

In the area of education, we've spent our increased resources on better trained teachers in more classrooms, teaching students in more effective ways. We’ve laid a strong foundation by building almost 30,000 classrooms in the past four years, providing computer access to more than 3,000 high schools, and beginning a "healthy start" breakfast program for our young school children.

I ask Congress to pass the Pre-Need Code to rehabilitate, reform and regulate the pre-need educational programs that worked so well in the past as a major vehicle for youth education entitlement.

College education is the great Filipino dream. But in a world of rapid technological change, getting a job or keeping it depends as much on how well one reasons as how well one uses his hands. I have issued E.O. 358 so that hours spent in vocational training can be credited towards a college degree. That will combine job readiness with the dream of a college education while increasing the competitiveness of our nation.

But our competitiveness is greatly endangered today by the global oil crisis. I call on Congress to pass legislation encouraging renewable and indigenous energy.

In the area of national security, I urge the swift passage of an anti-terrorism law that will protect rather than subvert, enhance rather than weaken, the rights and liberties that terrorism precisely threatens with extinction.

These examples serve to highlight that there is much work to be done.

Now is not the time for divisiveness, and while there's no avoiding partisan politics, there can be a determined effort by all sides to limit the collateral damage on a country poised for take-off.

Let’s call on the Lord. Let us ask Him for the grace to make us worthy of His healing our land.

Alam kong tayong lahat ay naghahangad ng isang makabuluhang pagbabago para sa ating bayan. Tayong lahat ay nagsisikap para matamo ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran. Kung kaya't ako'y nakikiusap na tulungan ninyo ako, para sa kapakanan ng taong bayan.

We may disagree among ourselves but let us never lose sight of that greater battle for one people, one country, one Philippines.

Not the country of this or that president but the Philippines of our shared and passionate affections.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.



Milan made their debut in the 2005 World Series of Football in front of a passionate American crowd. The first friendly against Chelsea in Boston did not end as expected for the Rossoneri who were edged out by Jose Mourinho’s Blues thanks to Arjen Robben’s strike on 13 minutes. The game, however, offered plenty of emotion for the 25,000 fans gathered in the Gillette Stadium and also gave Carlo Ancelotti the occasion to test the three-man defence in the second half, which gave positive signs for the future. There were an array of stars on show, with Hernan Crespo coming up against Bobo Vieri - Milan’s attacking past against the present. Kakhaber Kaladze played from the first minute, while the playmaking pairing of Manuel Rui Costa and Serginho were called up to support Vieri. The first half produced the most spectacular and open football although tiredness from the early pre-season camp took over in the final stages. Coach Ancelotti was satisfied with his men's display despite the outcome, and said: 'I'm happy, we are testing new solutions and I saw an excellent organisation on the flanks in the first half.' Manuel Rui Costa was on the same wavelength: 'The opponents were ahead of us in the preparation, bue we were able to do what the coach claimed from us, as long as our legs stood. We did well with ball possession and just lacked in speeding up the tempo.' The next game is at Chicago Fire on Wednesday, July 27.

Four-star attack
Andriy Shevchenko, Pippo Inzaghi, Christian Vieri, Alberto Gilardino. This is the sweet reality of the Milan attack, the dream come true. The Golden Ball winner, the 252-goalscorer chasing Alfredo di Stefano's record in Europe, the left-footed striker so-much missed after Mark Hateley, the promising young talent. This is the new Milan attack: complete and totally prestigious. Even Carlo Ancelotti admitted: 'Yes, on paper it is stronger than last season.'

Typo error?

Calling Ed!

What's eating him?

Can you tell me which one is not like the other?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The fastest way to peace

One of the most important management concepts I have learned and live is: the worst decision is not to make a decision. Many have spoken in the present state of affairs in the Philippines, all giving us the solution to the problem. Many have said that the fastest way out of this stalemate is that the President resign. I think the fastest way to peace is to stop all the talk, and we all go about doing our share for the good of this country. I believe that asking our President to resign will take time, a lot of time. And if she does, putting us back on track will take even longer.
Better, let us shut up and go about our business.
I do not think this is the same as not making a decision.
Sadly, many times, shutting our mouth takes longer.

Friday, July 08, 2005


Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods became the first player to go over $50 million in career earnings, which led British golf announcer Peter Aliss to say, "Money isn't everything, but it's right up there with oxygen and food."

Michelle Wie

It's been 60 years since a woman made the cut in a PGA event, but Michelle Wie is out to change that. Wie, 15, carded a 1-under 70 in Thursday's first round of John Deere Classic.

President Arroyo's radio message July 7, 2005

Full text of Arroyo radio address

Mga minamahal kong kababayan:

When I was young and my late father Diosdado Macapagal was president of our country, I thought of him as the “good guy” and his political opponents on the other side were the “bad guys”.

Because of my father’s influence, I had always thought of myself as on the side of good,. Thus, it is very painful for me to know that among many of our countrymen today, I have been demonized as the ‘bad guy’. This is unfair, but is a cross that God in his wisdom has given me to bear, so I will bear it. I have never questioned God’s ways before and I will not do so now.

When I first entered politics in 1992, little did I know that within a decade, I would become president of our country, and little did I expect that within another five years, there would be calls from a civil society for my resignation from my office or for the formation of a ‘truth commission’ regarding some of my political actuations.

When I spoke before the nation some two weeks ago, I did so against the advice of my legal counsel. But I thought that speaking before you, the Filipino people, was the right thing to do. Shameless people have peddled the lie that I confessed to cheating. What I disclosed was that I talked to an election official, but that this had taken place after the certificates of canvass had already been used to proclaim the winning senators, and it was those same certificates of canvass that showed that I won by around a million votes. That is the truth.

Indeed, it is right for our country to confront the truth, but if we do so, let’s confront the biggest, most painful political truth. The big truth that we are aware of deep in our hearts, but that we collectively sweep under the rug. The big truth whose debilitating effects on our country, year after year, decade after decade, have developed into feelings of disgust, hopeless and even despair among large segments of our society.

The truth that I discovered from my beginnings as a neophyte politician in 1992, rising to become a veteran politician through the years, is this: over the years, our political system has degenerated to such an extent that it is very difficult to live within the system with hand son totally untainted. That is the truth. In addition, our system has degenerated to such an extent that more often than not, it is political agenda first and national interest last. For example with endless investigations and scandals in aid of politics and media projections, rather than in aid of legislation or executive action. That is the truth. Because of this system of politics, our country has been left behind by other countries in the region and our best and brightest, the cream of our youth are voting with their feet to leave the country. That is the truth.

I did not blame any individual or political block for this sad state of affairs it is simply the truth that the political system that I am part of has degenerated to the point that it needs fundamental change. We are collectively to blame, so we must collectively be the solution. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. To those who feel that they cannot cast the first stone, I invite you to help in the solution.

My proposed approach to reform our system of politics and governance is something that I had wanted to bring forth during the upcoming state of the nation address. However, because our country is hungry for a resolution to the political uncertainties that have plagued us these past few weeks, I will bring it up now.

First of all, I am not resigning my office. To do so under circumstances that connote an Edsa 3 would condemn any successor to the possibility of and edsa 4, then an edsa 5,and so on, unless sour political system were first reformed to make it more responsive to the people’s will, such that changes in leadership come about in an orderly and stable manner.

The world embraced Edsa 1 in 1986. The world tolerated Edsa 2 in 2001. the world will not forgive and Edsa 3 in 2005, but would instead condemn the Philippines as a country whose political system is hopelessly unstable and the Filipinos as among the finest people in the world, but who always shoot themselves in the foot. Under those circumstances, who would invest money in the Philippines? How would we weather the difficulties arising from the price of crude oil being at its highest in history?

What I intend to do is work with legislators and civil groups who believe that changes in the fundamental law of the land are necessary in order to confront such basic issues as federalism, the character of our legislative process, reducing red tape in government processes, running for public office under a two-party system and with less need to raise campaign funds, modernizing the economic provisions of our Constitution, and so forth.

At the same time, I will restructure and strengthen the cabinet, giving it a free hand to meanwhile reform and manage our day to day governance with as little political interference as possible, even from me.

This is how we will proceed.

First, I am asking my entire cabinet to tender their resignation in order to give the Executive a free hand to reorganize itself. I’ll ask our sectors to give me names of candidates that we can invite to replace those who will not return to the cabinet, or even to help out at other levels of the Executive.

Second, the cabinet will be given a free hand on governance, while I focus on the fundamental changes that we need to put in place.

Third, I will reach out to the political and civil sectors that have an interest in the various advocacies that are relevant to our Constitution. Federalism, for example, is an advocacy that o had espoused long ago.

This is neither a political ploy or gimmick. I believe that this process will quickly lay the foundation for deep reforms in our society, including reforms in our political way of life. This would be a legacy that our generation of politicians and citizens could collectively be proud of. I now have grand children to play with and to help bring up. Like all of you, I want our children to grow up in a better Philippines. I have prayed on this and I hope that I have discerned God’s will properly.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Visitor 52

Last Sunday, a couple of friends and I visited an inmate in the jail of a southern city. That wasn't the first time I've been in a jail, but this recent one was a different experience. I was coming from a city one hour and a half away by bus, a friend having invited me to accompany him for the visit. We were met at the bus station by another friend and off we went to the jail.

We were asked to leave anything that could be used by the inmates for anything -- we left cellphones, ballpens, coins, etc in the car. Even our belts were not allowed in -- since I had lost some weight over the past months, my pants were quite loose on me!

I was Visitor 52 (see the picture for my marks!).

The inmate, VL, has been charged with the murder of a neighbor. They say everyone in prison says he is innocent. But VL, a decent man -- truly! -- nearing 70, claims he shot his neighbor with a vintage gun his father had owned, unused for such a long time, kept under lock and key.

It was the result of a land dispute. Turns out the neighbor wanted to move his fence two meters into VL's property (perhaps claiming VL was actually encroaching). And when VL proposed that they get a new survey on their properties, the neighbor refused. This land and his previous employment with a government corporation allowed him to support his wife and their 12 children, and now his pension even helps support children of his widowed daughter.

Later, Mr. Neighbor wants to pick a fight, carries a .45, and brings along his son and two male employees, for persuasive action. A handgun with that caliber, I think carries with it the implicit intent to kill. And with three others, that would be more like coercive action.

VL senses trouble, gets his gun, and ends up shooting Mr. Neighbor. He says he could have fired more, but his gun jammed.

Meanwhile, he surrenders to the police and brought to jail. His case is pending.

The neighbors are off to claim revenge, so VL sends his family to Manila, with Marine escorts from their house to the pier. Not catching up on the family, the neighbors burn VL's house and property. All is lost.

While VL is in jail, facing an unbailable charge of murder, his family is in hiding, and his younger brother and a helper are the only ones helping him out.

He says he is being treated well (he does not really need much) in his cell, by his description, around 3 by 5 meters, shared with about 20 others. He gets to lie on one of the beds. He only has two sets of clothes (everything else got burned). In jail, they are allowed 5 sets maximum. If new a set beyond the 5 is given by relatives or friends, one of the old sets is brought out.

We asked him what he wanted, what we can tell his children (my friend knew some of them) -- tell them to pray for me, he says.

Let's pray for VL too.