Thursday, September 22, 2005

Why it's hard to do business in the Phils

A client of ours, a wholesaler and retailer of computer parts and accessories, received a subpoena from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for violating the Radio Control Law. How a computer wholesaler and retailer can fall under the weak arms of the NTC puzzled me for a moment until I read the charges.

Apparently, under the Radio Control Law, retailers of Bluetooth devices and WIFI routers and WIFI capable laptops should register with the NTC before they can sell these devices. I browsed at the requirements for registration, and two items stuck out as unreasonable. The NTC is requiring that the shops should employ a supervising licensed Electronics Communications Engineer (ECE) and a technician with a first class radiotelephone operator’s certificate. My client blurted out that this is crazy, because USB devices and WIFI routers are incidental items in computer retailing, and for them to be required to hire a full-time ECE and radio technician for these incidental items is too burdensome. Indeed, there is no argument that Bluetooth devices and WIFI routers should be registered with the NTC. But to require retailers to hire fulltime ECE’s and radio technicians? That’s really going to push prices for these computer peripherals upwards. Either that or the computer retailers will take Bluetooth devices and WIFI gadgets out of their inventories and push them over to the radio retailers (if you can find any). So if you are going to buy a computer, you will buy it with the computer shop, but if you want Bluetooth or WIFI, you have to find a licensed radio retailer, who must employ an ECE and a radio technician to sell you Bluetooth and WIFI.

Why is it hard to do business in the Philippines? Too. Much. Government.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Where's the Motion for Reconsideration on the EVAT TRO from the Gov't?

Don't believe Bunye when he says that GMA blah blah blah wants to implement the EVAT immediately.

I read the Supreme Court decision on the EVAT law constitutionlaity. The last line is the real curious item. It says,

"There being no constitutional impediment to the full enforcement and implementation of R.A. No. 9337, the temporary restraining order issued by the Court on July 1, 2005 is LIFTED upon finality of herein decision."

I find this really weird, because normally a temporary restraining order is lifted immediately, if there is a finding that there is no basis for its issuance, without waiting for the finality of the decision. The TRO was issued earlier, because there was a cloud of doubt, as it were, that the EVAT law is unconstitutional. But with the decision that the law is constitutional, then the cloud has been removed. So why does the TRO hold?

To the non-lawyers, think of a TRO as quick-fix drug. The doctor gives it to you, if it looks like you are sick. But if it turns out that you are not, the drug is immediately withdrawn from you. No need to wait for a final decision. In the case of the EVAT law case, it seems the quick fix drug has not been withdrawn, even if the doctor says we're perfectly well.

Geez, I just don't know if I I can cite this case in the future.

That is why when Bunye claims that "She (GMA) is determined to have the TRO issued by the Supreme Court lifted as soon as possible," we know that is pure hot air. The Government should have filed its own Motion for Reconsideration for the lifting of the TRO, as discussed above if it really meant to have the law implemented. Having that last line is all they need to have reversed. The last line must have been an oversight. Jurisprudence can surely back up the Motion. But where is the Motion Mr. Bunye?

An idea hit me the other day. What if every Filipino taxpayer intervenes in the case and files a Motion for Reconsideration? it will take forever for the Supreme Court clerks to file those pleadings in the docket, and it will effectively keep the decision from maturing into finality. It will also delay the lifting of the TRO perpetually. Well. it might work. But if I start it, I would definitely get a show cause order from the Bar Confidant for clogging the dockets and fomenting suits.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want the tax measure implemented, especially when I know it is intended to cover the shortfall in the budget that was partly brought about by lavish government spending for the re-election of the sitting President. But if the law is valid, then it should not be suspended. If it's a bad law, then the people responsible for its passage should get the bad press, regardless of the political weather. I hate it when laws become unpredictable. It makes me think that our people are not worthy of the sacrifices of our heroes who fought for self-government. Bonifacio must be turning in his grave (whereever it may be.)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Famous Trials of the Philippines: The Gomburza Trial of 1872

Today we begin a series on Famous Trials of the Philippines. This is not intended as a scholarly study of these trials but rather a mere re-telling of what has been written about these trials. In the future, I hope to build these trials their own sites, complete with graphics and pictures. But for now, it will be a series of blog entries. Inspiration of course is from Prof. Doug Linder's Famous Trials site.


Any discussion on famous trials of the Philippines can only begin with the trial of Fr. Mariano Gomez, Fr. Jose Burgos and Fr. Jacinto Zamora, (GOMBURZA). The case stemmed from the Cavite Mutiny, an event best described as an overnight disturbance, but which event led to the trial and execution of the three secular priests in the last few decades of the Spanish era in the Philippines. Historians marked the day of their execution as the day when the term “Filipino” became ingrained in the minds of the citizens of colonial Philippines leading to the advent of the Propaganda Movement in Spain, and eventually the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Rizal himself admitted that were it not for the three martyr priests, he would not been part of the Propaganda Movement and would have been a Jesuit priest instead. In spite of its significance, however, the proceedings of the trial have been kept hidden for many years. Fr. John Shumacher, a Jesuit historian, claims that until the present an objective history of the trial cannot be made until the trial records in Segovia, Spain are released to researchers. In 1896, at the start of the Philippine Revolution and twenty-four years after the trial and execution of the three martyr priests, members of the Katipunan extracted testimonies from captured friars who testified that the whole thing was a set-up. Considering, however, that the testimonies were extracted under duress, historians have argued on the credibility of the story.

The Cavite Mutiny

It is the late 19th century, and one of the key issues of the day is the secularization of parishes. Can the parishes be entrusted to the care of the local clergy? Fr. Burgos and Fr. Gomez championed the rights of the Filipino secular clergy to become the parish priests of local parishes over the claims of friars. Fr. Burgos was outspoken in his quest, and even wrote to newspapers in Spain for this cause. His insistence of secularization irritated the friars who belittled the abilities of the Filipino clergy to govern the parishes. Fr. Burgos's outspoken disposition on this issue even merited a warning from the Jesuit provincial, that should Fr. Burgos continue to speak and write about the secularization issue in public, Fr. Burgos may not turn to the Jesuits for help.

The story begins with the arrival in Manila in 1871 of General Rafael Izquierdo y Gutierrez. On the day he assumed control of the colonial government, he declared that “ I shall govern with a cross and the sword in hand.” Whatever he meant by that, it seemed that the emphasis was on the sword.

At that time, the Spanish government subjected the natives to forced labor and the payment of an annual tribute. The workers assigned to the navy yard and the artillery engineers and the arsenal of Cavite, however, were exempt from these obligations. These artisans were chosen from the infantrymen of the navy. They did not have any rank while they render service to the army. But General Izquierdo changed all that when he issued an edict removing these privileges, requiring them to pay tax and render forced labor, and removing from them the rights acquired from retirement. This edict is believed to have caused widespread dismay among those affected who staged the mutiny.

Soon after the publication of the order, forty infantry solders of the navy and artillerymen led by a certain Sergeant Lamadrid seized the Fort of San Felipe in Cavite. Sergeant Lamadrid and his band of mutineers killed the officials who resisted. At ten o’clock in the evening when the rebels entered the fort, the rebels fired a cannon to announce victory to the city. But at dawn, the following morning, the rebels failed to get the support of the soldiers who remained loyal to their regiment. From atop the walls, the rebels called loyal soliders, induced them with promises to make them join the movement, but nothing proved successful. Instead, the regiment hurried to prepare an attack on the rebels, which caused the mutineers to hide in the fort, hoping that Manila would send the rebels help, but none came.

Instead, a column composed of two regiments of infantrymen and one brigade of artillerymen with four cannons came from Manila to quell the rebellion. After a few preliminary assaults, which were not successful, the loyal forces decided to force the surrender of the mutineers by starving them, as it turned out that Fort San Felipe did not have any provisions. With the blockade in force, the mutineers realized their doom and flew the white flag over the walls of the fort.

In spite of the white flag being flung by the rebels, the loyal forces decided to divide into two groups to prepare for the assault of the fort. While this was being done, the principal gate of the fort was opened, and a small group of rebels carrying the flag of truce stepped out. The loyal forces allowed the rebels to take fifteen steps. When the rebels were near enough, the Spanish commander ordered his soldiers to fire. Nobody among the small group that stepped out survived. Thereafter, the loyal forces assaulted the fort, firing shots as they entered it. The rebels offered very little resistance, as the mutiny was completely suppressed.

The aftermath of the mutiny was a mass purging of people who have been suspected of having led or supported it. On the day the news of the uprising was received in Manila, the Governor-General immediately caused the arrest of prominent priests and civilians as conspirators of the mutiny. Among them were Fr. Jose Burgos, Fr. Zamora, (curate and co-curate of the Manila Cathedral), Fr. Gomez (curate of Bacoor), D. Agustin Mendoza (curate of Sta. Cruz), Don Feliciano Gomez, Don Antonio Regidor (eminent lawyer and municipal councilor), Joaquin Pardo de Tavera (counsellor of the administration), Don Enrique Paraiso, D. Pio Basa (old employees), Don Jose Basan, Maximo Paterno, Crisanto Reyes, Ramon Maurente and many others.

The Trial

The sergeants and soldiers taken prisoners at the fort were court martialed and immediately shot, some in Manila and others in Cavite. Soldiers of the marine infantry had their sentences commuted to ten years of hard labor in Mindanao. Meanwhile, the clerics, lawyers, businessmen accused were tried by a special military court. Appointed fiscal of the government was a commandant of the infantry, a future governor of the province, Manuel Boscaza. The defenders were some officers of the infantry who were given only 24 hours to prepare their defenses.

The rebels were charged with the crime of proclaiming the advent of a republic in agreement with the ideas of the leaders of the progressive parties of the Peninsula. During the trial, the principal witness was a certain Francisco Saldua, who testified that the mutiny was a conspiracy, and confessed that he was a part of if. He wished to be pardoned in exchange for his testimony. He testified that for three times he delivered messages to Fr. Jacinto Zamora, who had then gone to Burgos’s abode. Saldua said that Sergeant Lamadrid and one of the Basa Brothers told Saldua that the “government of Father Burgos” would bring the fleet of the United States to assist a revolution. He also testified that Ramon Maurente was financing it with 50,000 pesos, and Maurente would become the revolutions’ field marshal. Saldua also testified that the conspirators met at the home of Lorenzana.

Some military witnesses testified that they were told that should the uprising succeed, the president of the republic would be the parish priest of St. Peter. At that time, Burgos was the parish priest of the Manila Cathedral, which was known as St. Peter as a parish. Fr. Jacinto Zamora was his co-curate. Other military witnesses mentioned the name of Fr. Burgos, or the native curate of St. Peter, as the one who would be president, but likewise this knowledge was only heard by them from someone.

Enrique Genato testified that Fr. Burgos, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Regidor, Rafael Labra, Antonio Rojas and others spoke of clerics, wars, insurrections and rebellions at secret meetings. Marina Chua Kempo testified that she heard the conspirators speak of a general massacre of Spaniards and that Lamadrid, the leader of the mutiny, would be governor or captain general. Fray Norvel testified that the Creoles were inciting the people to rise up in arms against Spai, and that he saw Burgos passing subversive pamphlets.

Fr. Burgos’s landlady testified as a sort of character witness. She vouched that Fr. Burgos was a peaceful man, devout to the virgin, and with no liking for gossip. She said that others might talk of guns and cannons and cry “Fuera oficiales, canallas, envidiosos, malvados! or Viva Fiipinas libre, independiente!”. But Fr. Burgos would advise them to seek reforms without spilling of blood or the recourse of violence.

A curious piece of evidence was a note found in the belongings of Fr. Jacinto Zamora, a gambling and card game afficionado. The note said, “Big gathering. Come without fail. The comrades will come well provided with bullets and gunpowder.” (Nick Joaquin claims that this is a joke for bullets and gunpowder were idioms among card players to refer to gambling funds.)

Captain Fontivel, Fr. Burgos’s counsel, moved to dismiss the case for lack of evidence. But the Governor General rejected it and ordered the court martial continued. The defense then moved that Saldua be called to the stand. But the court claimed that Saldua was too ill to be called to the witness stand.

After eight hours of discussion, the Council of War condemned to die in the garrote the three priests Don Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora. Saldua was likewise sentenced to die. The others were either sentenced to ten years of hard labor or sent to the Marianas for a period ranging from two to eight years.

At 11 o’clock in the evening of February 15, 1872, the Council of War dictated the sentence and asked the accused if they had anything to say in their defenses. Burgos and Zamora expressed their innocence, maintaining that they had no relation with the rebels of Cavite and that there had been no positive evidence against them. The curate Gomez, an old man of seventy years, (Nick Joaquin claims he was 85) said that he was sure his judges would consider him innocent, but seeing that he was denied confrontation with his accusers, a lawyer for his defense chosen by himself, would be useless, the trial over, in influencing those who already decided that he was guilty. The accused were led to the military jail and on the following day, the sentence was pronounced on them by the Commissary of the government himself. As part of the sentence, the Governor General ordered the Archbishop to defrock the priests as has been the custom, but the archbishop refused to defrock the three martyrs until evidence of their guilt was presented to the archbishop. The evidence was never shown to the Archbishop.

The Execution

On February 16, 1872, a big crowd gathered to witness the execution. Saldua, with a smile on his lips for he thought that his pardon was forthcoming led the march. Saldua was followed by Burgos, who cried like a boy, bowing to friends as he recognized them from the crowd, and then Zamora -- who had gone mad and had a vague stare -- followed. Last in line was Father Gomez who with eyes wide open, head held high, blessed the natives who were kneeling along the road.

Saldua, expecting a pardon that never came, was the first to go to the scaffold. Then Fr. Gomez was called. Replying to his confessor, a Recollect, Fr. Gomez said, “Dear Father, I know very well that a leaf of a tree does not move without the Will of the Creator; inasmuch as He asks that I die in this place, may His will be done.” Minutes later, he was dead.

Fr. Zamora rose when his name was called. He had gone mad two days before and he died without a final word.

Fr. Burgos was the last to be called. Upon mounting the scaffold, he cried to Commissary Boscaza, “Gentlemen, I forgive you, and may God forgive you like I do.” Then he sat to his death chair.

Suddenly, he stood up and cried, “But what crime have I committed? Is it possible that I should die this way? My God, is there no more justice on earth?”

The friars went to him and obliged him to be seated again, begging him to die the Christian way. Fr. Burgos obeyed, and as he was being tied he rose exclaiming: “But I am innocent!”

“Jesus Christ was also innocent,” exclaimed one of the friars.

Then Fr. Burgos stopped resisting. Then the executioner knelt before the condemned man saying, “Father, forgive me if I have to kill you. I do not wish to do so.”

Fr. Burgos repleid, “My son, I forgive you, comply with your duty.”

Then the executioner did, and thereafter, Fr. Burgos was dead.

The natives who gathered to witness the event knelt and recited the prayer of the dying. The Spaniards who saw the reaction of the natives panicked and ran to the city walls of Intramuros.

The Aftermath

After the execution, the Spanish colonial government prohibited people from talking about the execution, and the records of the trial were kept from the public. Jose Rizal soon published the novel, Noli Me Tangere", the plotline of which includes a creole character, Crisostomo Ibarra, who was set up by the friars that led to his being charged with sedition by the authorities. Nick Joaquin says this was Rizal's allusion to the fate of the three martyrs.

On February 15, 1892, twenty years after the event, the La Solidaridad, the newspaper founded by the members of the Propaganda Movement, which included Jose Rizal, in Spain, published an account of the mutiny, trial, and the execution written by Edmund Plauchut, a Frenchman supposedly living in Manila at the time of the trial and execution, from whom most of the above narrative was derived.

A few months earlier Jose Rizal dedicated his second novel El Filibusterismo to the three martyred priests. Appearing on the cover of the novel is a picture of the three martyred priests.

Then in 1896, after achieving an early success as the Magdalo faction of the Revolution in Cavite, members of the Katipunan extracted a testimony from Fr. Agapito Echegoyen, a Recollect, who said that he learned from a fellow friar what really happened. He said that the heads of the friar orders had held a conference on how to get rid of Burgos and other leaders of the native clergy and had decided to implicate them in a seditious plot. A Franciscan friar disguised as a secular priest was sent with a lot of money to Cavite to foment mutiny, and negotiated with Saldua to denounce Burgos as the instigator of the uprising. Afterwards, the heads of the friar orders used a large bribe—“una fuerte suma de dinero” – to convince the Governor-General that Burgos should be arrested, tried, and condemned.

Another friar, Fr. Antonio Piernavieja said that a certain Fray Claudio del Arceo disguised himself as Father Burgos, went to Cavite to spread the idea of an uprising. When the mutiny was suppressed, the friars exerted pressure on the Governor General through his secretary and a lady with great influence on him, plus a gift of 40,000 pesos.


Fr. John N. Shumacher opines in his book, “The Making of A Nation: Essays on Nineteenth Century-Filipino Nationalism” published in 1991, that the testimonies of Fr. Agapito Echegoyen and Fr. Antonio Piernavieja on the alleged conspiracy against Fr. Burgos are not credible, because they were extracted while they were captives of the revolutionary army and made under duress. And perhaps, we can add that they were also hearsay. Thus, until we have a firsthand account of this alleged conspiracy, this question of whether the trial was a set up may not be put to rest. For if Burgos Gomez and Zamora were indeed innocent of any crime, what motive could we attribute to Governor General Izquierdo and his military trial court for having acted as such against the prominent priests? Or is it possible that the three martyr priests were just circumstantial victims of Spanish hysteria in the wake of the Cavite Mutiny?

Historians note that the significance of the trial of the three martyr priests lies in the fact that it marked the day that nationalism was born in the minds of the Filipinos. By today’s standards, the trial of the three martyr priests could hardly pass the basic tenets of due process. Clearly, the evidence against the three priests is at best hearsay, circumstantial, and by no means establishing any guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, it can be said that Filipino nationalism may have been borne out of the cry for justice for the three martyr priests, but justice could not be obtained from the Spanish colonizers.

The foregoing accounts were taken from Edmund Plauchut’s article “The Philippine Islands” in La Solidaridad, February 15, 1892, and Nick Joaquin’s “How Filipino was Burgos?” in A Question of Heroes, published by the Filipinas Foundation in 1977 and reprinted recently by Anvil. Nick Joaquin based his trial accounts from Manuel Artigas who had copies of the trial records. Of course, Fr. Schumaker is saying that the authentic records are still in Segovia, Spain and prohibited from being disclosed to researchers. Finally, the date of execution has been officially marked on February 17, 1872 but according to the La Solidaridad and Edmund Plauchut, it took place on February 16, 1872.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Values Education by Gary Granada

Huwad na eleksyon
Kick-back at kumisyon
Suhol, lagay,
Graft and corruption
Ano ang solusyon
Ang sabi ng leksyon
Ika ay values education

Huwag kang mandadaya
Huwag kang magsinungaling
Ang mga panata
At pangako’y tuparin
Huwag kang manggugulang
Huwag kang mgsasamantala
Huwag kang manlalamang
Ng iyong kapwa

Huwag kang manggu-Gloria
Huwag kang manggu-Gloria
Gloria Gloria Gloria Gloria
Huwag kang manggu-Gloria
Huwag kang manggu-Gloria
Gloria Gloria Gloria Gloria
Huwag kang manggu-Gloria

Ang pahalagahan
Kailangan ng bayan
Bahay, pagkain, kalusugan
Trabahong marangal
Hustisya at kapayapaan

Ngunit inuuna
Ng gobyerno ang utang
Pinatitindi pa
Ang gera, logging, minahan
Dahil di malaya
Sa dikta ng dayuhan
Lalong lumalala
Ang kahirapan

Huwag kang maggu-Gloria
Huwag kang mang-e-
Erap Ramos Cory Marcos
Huwag kang manggu-Gloria
Huwag kang mang-e-
Erap Ramos Cory Marcos


Download the original song here. (Linked from PCIJ blog.)

Didn't I say somewhere in this blog, that she is going to be lampooned in accordance with our great tradition of protest arts and literature? This is the first of such efforts. Bring them all out now. While we are at it, I propose we remove her picture in our kids' classrooms. She doesn't deserve to be there.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What the Adarna Myth Tells us about Writing and Blogging: Words from the late NVM Gonzalez

Today is September 8 birthday of the Virgin Mother and a late friend NVM Gonzalez, National Artist for Literature and fellow Mindoreno. I was wondering if NVM were alive, what would he be telling the bloggers today? And then I remembered Pete Lacaba's quote from NVM which I'd like to post here for all the bloggers.

"Ang hindi ko malilimutan kay NVM ay ang sinabi niya sa isang forum tungkol sa tungkulin ng manunulat. Hindi ko pa siya kilala noon; nabasa ko lang ito sa isang artikulo tungkol sa nasabing forum.Ayon kay NVM, ang manunulat ay dapat tumulad sa bunsong prinsipe sa kuwento ng Ibong Adarna.

Kung natatandaan ninyo ang kuwento, maysakit ang amang hari at gagaling lamang siya kung maririnig ang awit ng Adarna. Sinubukan ng panganay at ng panggitnang prinsipe na hulihin ang Adarna, pero nang marinig nila ang awit ng Adarna, sila'y nakatulog, at iniputan ng ibon, at naging bato.

Para hindi siya mapatulog ng nakararahuyong awit ng Adarna, sinugatan ng bunsong prinsipe ang sarili niya at pinatakan ng dayap ang sugat. Sa gayon, hindi siya nakatulog, hindi siya napatakan ng tae, hindi siya naging bato, nahuli niya and Adarna, at napagaling niya ang maysakit na amang hari.

Hindi rin dapat kalimutan na tumulong ang bunsong prinsipe sa isang matandang pulubi sa daan, at mula sa pulubi niya natutunan ang sikreto ng paghuli sa Adarna.

Bata pa ako nang una kong marinig ang kuwento ng Ibong Adarna, pero kay NVM ko natutunan ang pagbasa dito bilang sagisag ng tungkulin ng manunulat. Para mabigyang-lunas ang amang maysakit, kailangan mong bigyang-halaga ang pulubing naghihikahos. Higit sa lahat, kailangan mong tiisin ang hapdi ng dayap sa sugat para hindi ka ipaghele at iputan at gawing bato ng Adarna. "

The quote originally appeared here.

Bloggers should really be akin to youngest prince in the Adarna myth. We should listen to the powerless for they may tell us how to stay awake while the politicians dazzle and lull us to sleep. For once we have fallen asleep, the politicians will bless us with their poop and turn us into stone.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Notes on the Impeachment Vote

I spent last night and the entire morning till noon today listening to the speeches of the congressmen as they explained their votes on the Justice Committee recommendation to dismiss the amended Lozano complaint and the Lopez complaint under the one-year bar rule and the original Lozano complaint for lack of substance. I have really given the Opposition no chance at all to get this past the House Plenary. But I watched the show, and I must say I am pleased with what I’ve seen.

Cheez Escudero and Alan Cayetano did a fine job interpellating Congressman Villafuerte who looked really idiotic juggling those papers and making up excuses for bungled citations and cluttered reasoning. I still don’t know where Edcel Lagman got his silly doctrine that a complaint signed by a lawyer is already verified. Verification must show that verifier had the competence to know the facts he is verifying. As a matter of fact, the verification must state that the verifier knows the facts of his own personal knowledge. In the case of Lozano’s complaint, he cannot possible say that he knew the facts of the impeachment of his own personal knowledge, because the allegation of election fraud was based largely on the Garci Tapes. He did not have personal knowledge of the fact of cheating in the elections. So how can we say that just by signing the complaint, Atty. Lozano has already verified his complaint on the basis of his lawyer’s oath? Silly.

And this restrictive interpretation of the one year bar rule that the first complaint to be filed, even when Congress is not in session, bars all other impeachment complaints is the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. As my good friend Atty. Punzi said, it leaves the power to impeach the President to the receiving clerk, because the first complaint she receives in a year will be the only one considered for the year. I bet you after this episode we can expect Congressman Pichay to file an impeachment complaint against the President everyday, which ensures that the President will not be legitimately impeached in perpetuity. Crazy idea.

I must say some of the speeches moved me. Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel regretted that that Congress couldn’t be part of the process of reforming politics in the country. Rep. Rey Magtubo delivered a damning speech about his years in the house. Rep. Darlene Antonino Custodio made an early morning plea to the D.O.M.’s in the house “Can you feel our pain?” That made my hair stand. Dudut Jaworski's speech on the youth vote was noteworthy. And JDV revealed why the House had to kill the impeachment right there and then: the Senate cannot be trusted to give Arroyo a fair trial. Gotcha old man. That is the reason for all this farce. Why did you have to make Lagman and Villafuerte make a fool of themselves? Stop pretending that the Congress is bastion of reason, for the truth is it is the house of greed and self-interest. That much we already know.

But I’m proud of the young congressmen Cheez, Alan, Edmund Reyes, and Abaya. This fight is too big for them, so they lost it. But a good fight is also its own reward. Their time will come. I just hope that they won’t let the system get into them. For when the next Gloria Arroyo type becomes president and her dogs are too old to be around, we know we have these kids to hold the fort. Bravo.

Let’s hope that all those ugly, smelly (mga amoy lupa!), pot-bellied old-timers in the House who represent the worst of our politicians will retire soon.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Statement of Unity: Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan

We come from all walks of life, from different political, cultural, and economic persuasions, different points of view. But in diversity, we find a cause for unity. That cause for unity is our common objective to secure the truth.

We all seek the truth. We want the truth to come out. And yet every means for seeking the truth has been frustrated; every avenue for arriving at the truth has been blocked; and every opportunity to find the truth is being closed.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s response to our call for the truth has been to suppress evidence, hide her accomplices, engage in a grand cover-up, sow fear, foment distrust and use every instrument at her disposal to encourage division among our people.

We will not be divided in these critical times.

We say with one voice, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must go. For the good of the country, she must go. For the sake of our nation’s future, she must go. For the preservation of hope as a motive force in our national life, she must go.

We are united by the belief that this crisis must be resolved in a manner that is peaceful and democratic. Without the truth, there cannot be peace; without the truth, there is no genuine democracy. The truth must set our nation free.

Unite for the truth. Demand the truth. Defend the truth.

Kami ay ang Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan.

AKBAYAN Citizen’s Action Party
Ateneo Concerned Faculty and Youth
Bangon, Pilipinas
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)
Be Not Afraid
Black & White Movement
Citizens for TRUTH (Transparency, Responsibility, Unity, Trust, Hope)
Citizens for Truth, Resignation, Impeachment, or Ouster (C4T)
Coalition for National Solidarity
Counsels for the Defense of Civil Liberties (CODAL)
De La Salle
FPJP Movement
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Interfaith Movement for Truth, Justice and Genuine Change (IFM)
Kilusan ng Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME)
Laban ng Masa
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)
Peoples Assembly for Genuine Alternatives to Social Apathy (PAG-ASA)
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)
Union of Muslims for Morality and Truth (UMMAT)
United Opposition (UNO)
Unity for Truth and Justice
UP Diliman Student Council (UPD USC)
White Ribbon Movement
Women March
Youth DARE

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Supreme Court makes history

Today, the Supreme Court upheld the E-VAT Law as valid and constitutional. But it also maintained the temporary restraining order against its implementation to allow its oppositors to file a motion for reconsideration. Jojo Bunag must be scratching his head.

This is amazing. Justice Escolin and Justice Relova, esteemed retired Supreme Court justices who taught us remedial law in the Ateneo, never taught us that this could be possible. A law's application is suspended, in spite of the ruling that it is valid. And, the ground for the suspension is meant "to allow the filing of a motion for reconsideration"?

Got to get a copy of that case. I can sure have a lot of use for that. Tsk tsk tsk What these interesting times do to our laws...

Sun Tzu Advice No. 17: Fool if you think it’s over

Sun Tzu says, "Do not press an enemy at bay."

It is strange to have a client who will hire you to sue herself. Politicians can be amusing sometimes. But we all know it wasn’t right. It was not right that Oliver Lozano’s impeachment complaint was initiated and sponsored by GMA’s crowd. It was not right that the people’s once a year shot at the impeachment process for legitimate grievances was stolen from them by the very people they elected. It was not right that we would never be able to get to the bottom of the Hello Garci Tapes and the Comelec pay-off as narrated by Zuce. The legal process has been subverted. The lone argument for the rule of law has been lost.

And so, before they pat themselves in the back, the Administration should expect the people going back to the streets. They should expect their ugly faces being lampooned in the editorial cartoons and on the web. The people will be all over them. They have pressed their enemy, the people, at bay.

Ma’am, it’s time to fortify the Malacanang gates. Make them high. Make them strong. And may God have mercy on your soul.