Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Facebook Brouhaha: RG Cruz and Korina Sanchez

I am not sure if this Open Letter of Korina Sanchez for RG Cruz was really written by herself but I have seen this posted in Facebook since yesterday noon. Thanks to my Facebook and UP Kalayaan and Molave dormmate-friend Inday Espina-Varona for sharing this in her Facebook status: "PAGING RG CRUZ OR KORINA (or Ichu)... BUT WTF WAS THAT ALL ABOUT? What did RG write to get her wrath? Huli ako sa balita...His public posts don't mention Korina at all...." Browsing through her FB account, I saw her earlier comment: "I lost breath reading the letter aloud :) (Posted by lawyer and UP Prof. Marichu Lambino.) So this is Korina unedited? Ehem. Wow." and saw this link to Scoop: Korina Sanchez’s openly circulated letter against ABS-CBN reporter RG Cruz, belittling him & asking for sanctions for a Facebook entry about an unnamed “First Lady wannabe”

This open letter for RG Cruz, a television journalist of ABS-CBN News was Korina's reply to the former when he wrote about the "First Lady wannabe...who would be a bad spouse...a queen in her head without a crown..." in his Facebook account.

Here's the open letter as re-posted from Notes of Marichu C. Lambino


From Korina Sanchez

I thought, not too long but hard, about writing this letter about someone who I supposedly work with but hardly know — someone who, should I see along our company corridors, I probably wouldn’t even recognize. While some characters would sit back, relax and ignore the nuances and irritants of daily living, some characters such as mine are the types who would see and know, by experience if I may add, that evil prospers when good men do nothing. While there is wisdom in silence, there is nobility to be found in response and courage — as foolish as some might think these to be, given specific circumstances.

Such was my thought process when I decided to write this letter. As inconsequential to my universe as someone, whose opinion I do not care about at all, is — there is something to be said here and something to consider. It is for the greater good among us who, fortunately or unfortunately, have to work with each other in ABS-CBN for, precisely, the greater good.

I received the calls and texts to me from longtime co-workers and colleagues at the station recently. They say, “Ma’am, do you know what RG Cruz has been posting on his Facebook against you? Why is the company allowing this? How could he say such things? Do you have some war going on with him?”, the person at the other end of the line sounded so urgent. This is the 3rd person to tell me of the Facebook entries by an RG Cruz within a few days about a “First Lady wannabe …who would eventually be a bad spouse…a queen in her head without a crown… ” and some. We have copies of all of the RG Cruz entries on his Facebook. Suffice it to say that the tirades against who Cruz eventually admitted was Korina Sanchez were as creative as creativity can many times be

Borne of spite and utter, utter hatred. It reminds me of the creativity of serial killers from history. Jack the Ripper for instance — who kept the English police guessing and following and analyzing each way the pattern was kept alive with each of his dead, mangled victims.

I thought hard, “RG Cruz? RG Cruz…Oh…RG Cruz, oh that RG Cruz”. He always wears a long coat much like Keanu Reeves in the movie Matrix. I once thought it to be cute and fantasized my fiancé Mar in one of those wondering, “Hmmm, maybe this outfit would do it for him and give an extra 5 percentage points in the surveys”. Alas, we always have the same reaction to every idea — it is ability, track record, integrity, honesty, diligence, intelligence, compassion and vision that should bring an aspirant to his rightful place in history — stupid. Not long coats!

Back to RG Cruz. Yes, I remember now. RG is the cute little young guy who I actually kind of like. I thought from his outfit and from watching one anchoring job he did in ANC that this guy has character. We would often walk by each other going different directions in company corridors late at night when I anchor Bandila. Many of those times I try to catch his glimpse to smile but, for some reason, he always has his head down or he would look some other direction. Half of that time maybe it was I looking down and at other directions. In short, and as astonishing as it apparently is, I don’t really know nor have interacted or worked, nor do I ever remember having had conversation with Mr. RG Cruz. And I do not know where his concentrated anger targeted towards me is coming from.

Skin off my nose. He doesn’t count. But here is where we learn some things, yes, even in instances that should seem not matter. Sad as it is, it is not surprising that, in my experience of more than 20 years of work in the company, there may always be someone like RG Cruz who will just be the way they are without rhyme or reason. There have been many batches before RG that I have seen, suffered and survived. I guess he represents his batch. My advice is, ignore. And then, when you feel it has become too much, report to our superiors. If the regulations and the law warrants, push for management action, even a sanction, even a lawsuit.

Logic dictates that, just as we are all bound by regulations and ethics regarding how we relate and treat each other within the company, these parameters encompass treatment of each other that is public, evident, attestable. Facebook, designed as it may be for “friends”, is essentially public. Slanderous comments are, arguably, considered published. “Blind item” lawsuits have been won in Philippine courts as well. As long as more than a certain number of people can identify, without a doubt, the unnamed victim of slander and character assassination, the offense is actionable.

I, by the way, do not understand why Mr. Cruz would bother to not mention my cherished name in his attacks against me when he outright named another company talent, Mr. Willie Revillame, and attacked him as well.

In the interest of sound policy covering such misdemeanors to protect its employees and talents and maintain the civility required of us all to achieve company goals — as painlessly as humanly possibly — I have inquired with management and have urged them to take a closer look at the cyberworld as public domain and which is a potent instrument for destruction and unwarranted personal aggravation of its victims, especially in the hands of co-employees.

Lastly, but most importantly. It has been almost 6 days since Sen. Mar Roxas’ abdication of position of standard bearer of the Liberal Party of the Philippines to endorse Sen. Noynoy Aquino as party candidate for the Presidency of the Republic. I’ve seen it and felt it for myself: it is the easiest thing to have an ambition, calculate and run for office. It is the most difficult to want to serve, calculate, invest and then give way. Until you see and be, it would be a task for any jaded journalist to imagine.

The overwhelming outpour of love, grief, disagreement with the decision, admiration and emulation which followed Sen. Roxas’ example has carved a niche for his good name in Philippine history books this early in his life in public service and governance. I would like to thank many of you who have called to say how they’ve admired Mar’s sacrifice. To those who challenge the integrity of Mar’s sacrifice and may dismiss it as expediency I invite you to a chat as I might enlighten you on things you might not be fully informed about or aware of. I give special thanks to Ted Failon, Julius and Tintin Babao, the people of DZMM News, Joelet Reyes, the other staff of Bandila, Ging Reyes and Charie Villa, Ms. Cory Vidanes and our President Charo S. Concio for their kind and generous words.

Many of us in the news business have often thought, felt that we are as big or powerful as those we cover. Our indifference and sarcasm say so. And too many times I have, myself, dismissed acts of greatness and sacrifice as just “one of those things”. Having taken this long a leave of absence from my years of work in broadcast for the first time and finding myself participant in something so important to this country, its people and its future I now see even more clearly how small and insignificant each of us is in the much bigger picture affecting 90 million lives. That is, until we think, act, speak and, most of all, do something to become the difference, make a difference for the good and become … bigger. Or do something or nothing to make us even smaller, more insignificant. We might as well just disappear.

So to you, RG Cruz, I say, I hope that — as your Facebook entry narrated — as you were “eating chocolate” and indulging your gastronomical cravings while events at Club Filipino on the 2nd of September 2009 were unfolding and all you could think of and delight in, as written in your Facebook, are your cruel attacks, pettiness, inanities and insensitivities to the sacrifice of others and, horror of horrors, make these public — you will, henceforth, attempt to save yourself from the very real prospect of disappearing, leaving this world without a trace, no better and even worse than when you found it.

By the way, did you know that Jack the Ripper loved chocolates, too? Look it up.


“P.S. I have attached an interesting article written by Ms. Solita Monsod – which I highly recommend for your reading. I encourage you to pass this letter to anyone at the office or outside who may had read RG Cruz’ attacks against me and my name as a matter of defense of my character and reputation. Thank you very much.”

I tried to 'connect' the article of Mareng Winnie with Korina's letter but until now I still couldn't 'fathom the depth' of the link. Nosebleed nako di ko parin ma-getz...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ang Dalawang Mukha Ng Sining - Privilege Speech of Senator Ping Lacson

Browsing through my FaceBook account this afternoon, I saw a note posted by UP College of Law Dean Marvic F. Leonen, who by the way is a friend at Facebook and a friend during our college days when we stayed together at the UP Molave Residence Hall. I followed the link that led me to the Senator's blog - "What is right must be kept right; what is wrong must be set right ..." - Senator Ping Lacson. It caught my attention and is worth its space as a blogpost here.

Here's the full transcript of that speech and it's up to you to make your comment on the revelations he made.

As Dean Marvic says, the plot thickens...

Ang Dalawang Mukha ng Sining

Privilege Speech Delivered by
September 14, 2009

In Greek drama, masks were useful devices that allow the actor to play several different characters.

In the Philippine political drama, nothing much differs.

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues. Today, I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege.

The great American writer Elbert Green Hubbard once wrote:

If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him.... If you must vilify, condemn, and eternally disparage, resign your position, and when you are OUTSIDE, DAMN TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT, but as long as you are part of the institution do not condemn it. If you do that, you are loosening the tendrils that are holding you to that institution, and at the first high wind that comes along, you will be uprooted and blown away, and will probably never know the reason why.

I hope you will understand why it has taken me this long to unburden myself of the truth I carry.

Having once been a professional soldier trained in the tradition and practice of institutional and even personal loyalty, only the higher interest of nation and people, and the highest call of conscience, impel me to speak out.

Mr. President, you, more than any of us in this hall, understand what I mean.

When you went through the gut-wrenching crucible of mutiny against your commander-in-chief on February 22, 1986, you had to choose between loyalty to person against loyalty to the higher interest of nation and people.

Jose Ejercito, or Joseph Estrada, also known as Jose Velarde, former president of the Republic of the Philippines and the first and only head of state of this country to be impeached by Congress was elected in 1998 with the highest number of votes cast by the Filipino people ever.

He also won by the biggest margin ever, over his closest opponent, Jose de Venecia Jr.

His campaign slogan –Erap para sa Mahirap – was a masterpiece, almost a stroke of genius.

Before he ran for the presidency, I worked with him closely as head of an anti-crime task force of the defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission formed by then President Fidel Valdez Ramos to combat the kidnapping scourge that was gripping the country.

Foreign investors were avoiding us, while local businessmen, especially the ethnic Chinese, were transferring elsewhere.

It was one big security and even economic threat that faced the newly elected president in 1992.

I joined then Vice President Estrada on August 4, 1992, after a short-lived stint as provincial director of Laguna in the Southern Tagalog region.

I gladly accepted the offer to join PACC since I was not happy anyway with my Laguna assignment.

I was consistently at loggerheads with most of the local elective officials when I waged a no-nonsense, uncompromising battle against the illegal numbers game, jueteng, in that jurisdiction.

Needless to say, those officials who were on the take from jueteng operators hated my guts and wanted me out of the province at first opportunity.

At the PACC, and it is a matter of public record, we scored high in our anti-crime efforts. In less than a year, we brought down an alarmingly high incidence of kidnap-for-ransom cases to zero.

Literally, zero.

This was highlighted by the neutralization of the dreaded Red Scorpion Group on February 17, 1993.

Modesty aside, but without mental reservation, I can dare say our performance helped chart Mr. Estrada’s road to the presidency.

More than a couple of years before the May 1998 presidential elections, he was virtually a president-in-waiting.

Mr. Estrada impressed me with the way he handled his subordinates. He personally took care of our needs, always mindful of our safety and security.

He also managed to personally thank and commend all the operatives for a good day’s work, even giving incentives after big accomplishments

It was his personal recommendation to then President Ramos that earned me my first star rank in 1994, way ahead of my peers and even senior officers in the Philippine National Police.

During our private conversations, he would tell me:

“Alam mo Ping, kung matitigil lang ang katiwalian sa ating bansa, siguradong maiaangat natin mula sa kahirapan ang karamihan ng ating mga kababayan. Napakalaki kasi ang nawawala sa budget dahil sa ‘corruption’, kaya hindi tayo makaahon sa hirap.”

Having been born to poor parents myself, he struck me as the man our country needed to lead our people.

Needless to say, I was impressed.

I would tell my men and as many people I could reach, “Kung mahal natin ang ating bansa, si Erap ang dapat nating maging susunod na presidente at wala nang iba.”

I put those words into action during the presidential campaign in 1998.

Under pain of being accused of electioneering, I mustered all the men I had worked with in the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to mount an organized strategic effort to thwart election fraud as that could be the only way to prevent Mr. Estrada’s victory in the 1998 presidential election.

My men and I went around the whole country - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, talked to as many field commanders and chiefs of police, so that they would not allow themselves to be used as instruments to cheat Mr Estrada out of sure victory.

In one of our visits in Mindanao, I met with then Southcom Chief Lt. Gen. Joselin Nazareno.

I brought him to Vice President Estrada to make his personal commitment to guard the votes in Mindanao and made Mr Estrada promise to consider him as the next AFP Chief of Staff when he becomes president.

He did not just promise to consider. He committed the post to Gen. Nazareno.

So Erap became president, all right.

After his victory in May 1998, he started making announcements for possible appointments to key positions in his government.

One not-so-fine afternoon, he summoned me to his Polk St. Greenhills residence and asked if he could appoint another ranking general as AFP Chief of Staff, instead of Gen. Nazareno.

I told him, that was his prerogative as incoming commander-in-chief, but firmly reminded him that a promise was made to Gen. Nazareno.

His sudden amnesia got me to start thinking, “something could be wrong with the character of this man.”

This thought came again sometime in early June of 1998.

He called me to talk about what I thought would be my possible appointment as Chief, PNP.

Instead, he expressed his thoughts on jueteng and how he intended to deal with it during his presidency.

He said: “Ping, iniisip ko, pagbigyan na lang natin itong jueteng. Alam mo, ang mga governors at mayors, lalo na ‘yung mga tumulong sa akin sa eleksyon, wala sila ng katulad sa President’s social fund na galing sa Pagcor. Marami silang gastusin at sa jueteng lang nila pwedeng kunin ang pera.”

Shocked and surprised, I retorted, “Sir, ilegal ‘yan. Saka presidente na kayo. Dapat huwag na kayong makialam sa jueteng. Larong lupa pati iyan. Sasabog kayo diyan at masisira tayo pareho.

Visibly dismayed and irritated, he said, “Sige, saka na lang tayo mag-usap.”

He walked me to the main door of his house and used another tack: “Saka, Ping, ‘yung mga tao natin dati sa task force, gusto ko rin silang bigyan ng monthly allowance.”

To which I quickly replied: “Sir, ang mga tao natin, kami lahat, mababaw lang ang kaligayahan namin. Kahit additional subsistence allowance lang, happy na kami.”

Hiding his irritation, he gave me a quick and curt goodbye.

Finally on November 16, 1999, I was appointed Chief, PNP. But only after persistent second thoughts from the appointing authority.

On November 15 of the same year, I received a call from his cohort, Mr. Jaime Dichavez, who was, at that time, with Mr. Estrada in Tagaytay Highlands in Cavite.

Mr. Dichavez told me I was to be informed of my appointment as Chief, PNP.

It did not turn out to be that simple.

In the living room of the Tagaytay resthouse, he told me very seriously: “Ping, dapat pagbigyan natin ang operation ng jueteng. Maraming umaasa diyan.”

“Eto na naman kami,” I said to myself.

By that time, I had realized jueteng had always been the deal breaker in getting my impending appointment and must be the reason why I was not appointed in June of 1998.

Maintaining my immovable position that I cannot, as we must not, tolerate anything that is illegal, he asked, “Sino ba ang mas senior sa inyo ni Wycoco?” (referring to the late NBI director, Reynaldo Wycoco), to which I answered, “Kung seniority sir sa PMA (Philippine Military Academy), siya, dahil una siyang nag-graduate. Pero ngayon, pareho lang kaming 2-star general, sir.”

He did not appoint me right there, instead instructed me to follow his convoy back to Malacañang in Metro Manila.

It was in Malacañang, that same evening, that he finally informed me of my appointment to the position, but not without his “huling hirit sa jueteng.”

It was also during that conversation when I told him I was aware of the monthly P5 Million “S.O.P.” being given by Gov. Chavit Singson to the Chief, PNP as part of an organized payola, and that I was waiving it, therefore would not accept it.

Three or four months after my assumption of office, I learned that Mr. Estrada asked Gov. Singson to remit to him retroactively the monies intended for the Chief, PNP.

He told Gov. Singson: “Gov, baka akala mo, hindi ko alam na hindi kinukuha ng bagong Chief,PNP ang para sa kanya. Ibigay mo rin sa akin ‘yan.”

After all the internal reforms that I instituted in the PNP were in place, including my “no-take policy, anti-kotong campaign, 34-inch maximum waistline, strong anti-crime and anti-drugs campaign, proper allocation and downloading of funds, and logistics to front-line units, I started training my guns on the illegal numbers game – jueteng.

It was a no-nonsense, no-matter-who-gets-hurt kind of a campaign.

I thought if I was hard on lowly policemen who stopped mulcting P100 or P200 from vegetable dealers and hapless taxi cab and jeepney drivers out of deference to my no-take policy, I should be as hard, if not harder, against my regional and provincial directors who were raking in millions of pesos from gambling operators.

This was when my life started to become miserable.

The general public, even most of my distinguished colleagues in this hall, may not be aware of this, but it was common knowledge in Malacañang as well as in Camp Crame at that time, that for the most part of the second half of the year 2000, I was not welcome in the palace due to my differences with then President Estrada over the issue of jueteng.

Mr. Estrada had unofficially declared me persona non grata in the palace grounds.

I was practically in the doghouse for an unusually extended period of time. Mr. Estrada would not talk to me.

He was dealing directly with my subordinate officers, both at the PAOCTF and the PNP, which I both headed in concurrent capacity.

I could not even report to him about major incidents like the bombings in Mindanao because he was no longer answering my calls, which he used to do, and in earnest.

“Anak ng jueteng na buhay ito!” I would tell my close friends.

Jueteng became a sore point between me and Mr. Estrada. I made it clear that I would stick to my “no-take policy” and I continued to issue stern warnings to my regional and provincial directors that if they tolerate jueteng operations in their areas of responsibility, they would be removed and subjected to harsh disciplinary action.

At least one regional director who had direct and strong connections with Mr Estrada was defiant.

When I confronted him, he said, “Napagalitan ako ni presidente nang simulan ko ang kampanya laban sa jueteng dito. Sino ba ang susundin ko, Chief, PNP o ang Commander-in-Chief?”

I was successful in instituting reforms in the PNP because Mr. Estrada gave me full authority which I asked in the first place when I got appointed to the post.

But because of jueteng, Mr Estrada, issued a written memorandum to then Secretary of Interior and Local Government Alfredo Lim, effectively taking away from me the authority to appoint and remove police officials down to provincial director level.

“Hindi nga talaga mahina ang ulo ng presidenteng ito,” I told myself. By removing that authority, I could no longer discipline my officers, I would fail in my anti-gambling operations and worse, I would definitely fail in my mission.

Resigning my position crossed my mind then. I spent many sleepless nights agonizing over my situation.

In one of our Cluster E Cabinet meetings held in the office of the DFA, then AFP Chief of Staff Gen Angelo Reyes took pity on me and gave his advice, “Pare, Commander-in-Chief natin ‘yan. Pagbigyan mo na muna ngayon at saka ninyo na lang pag-usapan ang problema ninyo ni Presidente.”

I answered him, “Sir, question de prinsipyo ito. Ako ang nasa tama sa labang ito. Tanggalin na lang n’ya ako, pero hindi ako bibigay dito.”

I found out later that indeed Mr. Estrada had started gathering legal basis to justify my relief.

On hindsight, people close to Mr. Estrada and this representation would say as an afterthought - EDSA 2 could not have happened had Mr Estrada listened to General Lacson’s consistent advice on jueteng. Simple.

But on the other hand, EDSA 2 would not have happened if I went along with Mr. Estrada and Gov. Singson and altogether tolerated jueteng operations.


Bingo 2-Ball would not have been conceived to legalize jueteng.

We all know that it was during its implementation that there was a misunderstanding and falling out between Mr. Estrada and Chavit Singson.

Mr. Estrada realized that I would not waver on my stand against jueteng and thought that by legalizing it, I would not have any more reason to conduct raids and operations.

Jueteng is just one illustrative insight into the character of Mr. Estrada as a government official, and as President of the country. There were other sinister behavioral patterns that must be told to the Filipino people.

Sa likod ng isang maka-mahirap na Joseph Estrada na mahal na mahal ng masa, ay maraming transaksyon na may kasamang pang-aabuso, gamit ang kapangyarihang kaagapay ng pagiging pangulo ng bansa, upang magkamal ng maraming salapi para sa sariling kapakanan.

In August 1998, in the early part of Mr. Estrada’s abbreviated presidency, Mr. Alfonso Yuchengco was pressured to sign conveyance of his 7.75% PTIC (Philippine Telecommunications Investment Corporation) holdings, equivalent to 18,720 shares to Metro Pacific, represented by Manuel V. Pangilinan.

These PTIC holdings correspond to 2,017,650 PLDT common shares.

Mr. Yuchengco, I also learned later, was pressed to sign a waiver of his right of first refusal over the PTIC shares of the Cojuangco-Meer group.

It was only after the passage of many years that I was to learn that Mr. Estrada, barely two months in office then, used the PNP to harass Mr. Yuchengco’s son, Tito, with threat of arrest on some trumped-up drug charges to force his father, Mr. Yuchengco to sell.

This harassment of the young man was accomplished through deliberate and obvious physical surveillance.

“Napag-alaman ko na matagal tagal ding may kimkim na galit daw sa akin ang pamilyang Yuchengco sa dahilang ang pagkaalam nila ay sa akin iniutos ni Mr Estrada ang panggigipit sa kanila upang mapwersang magbenta ng kanilang pag-aaring shares of stocks ng PLDT.

Sa inyo, Ginoong Pangulo ng Senado, mga pinagpipitaganan kong kasamahan at sampu ng pamilya Yuchengco -- wala po akong kamalay-malay sa pangyayaring iyan.

At kung halimbawa mang sa akin iniutos ni Mr Estrada ang gawaing iyon, ay siguradong hindi ko po susundin.”

The bigger and more important question remains - “What was the deal in pesos and centavos between Mr Estrada and Mr Pangilinan, if any?”

Or, should we rather ask, “How much was involved?”

Sa larangan naman ng smuggling sa Customs at sa iba pang lugar ay hindi rin masusukat ang kakayahan ni Mr. Estrada.

When Mr. Estrada transferred the mission of going after smugglers from the late Lt Gen. Jose Calimlim’s unit in PSG to the PAOCTF, he gave me the mandate to go hammer and tongs against smugglers.

Yet one morning, I received a call from Mr. Estrada. “May mga tao ka raw na nangha-harass sa Customs,” he said with a low tone.

After checking with my officers, I replied, “Wala sila sir sa loob ng Customs zone kaya imposibleng makapang-harass sila doon. Nandun sila sa labas, malapit sa Manila Hotel at may inaabangan na ilulusot na shipments ng dressed chicken parts from China and the US.”

He bellowed, “Basta i-pull out mo!”

A few days later in a light conversation on the topic of smuggling, inside his office in Malacañang, I told Mr. Estrada, “Alam mo sir, dalawampung 40-foot containers sana ng dressed chickens ang nahuli natin kung hindi mo iniutos i-pull out ang mga tao natin.”

With a mocking voice, he said, “Sana hindi kayo nag-pull out.”

Akala ko, nang bigyan ako ng kautusang lipulin ang mga smugglers sa pier, totoong-totoo at seryoso. Ako namang si gago, trabaho lang ng trabaho. ‘Yun pala, moro-moro.

May dalawang mukha nga ba ang sining? O, sa likod ng putting tabing ay ibang itsura ng mukha ang nakatago?

Pagkatapos ng manok na galing sa Tsina at Amerika, dumako naman tayo sa bigas na tanim ng Vietcong.

Sometime in August 2000, when Mr. Estrada was hardly talking to me, on account of my hard-headedness on the issue of jueteng, he was giving a direct order to one of my subordinate officers in PAOCTF to release a shipload of smuggled rice that was apprehended somewhere in the Cebu-Bohol area.

The PAOCTF officer was with me in Cebu during that time, and he was relaying to me the President’s order.

I did not bother to find out anymore if the officer complied or not with Mr. Estrada’s order.

I thought I should not interfere with a direct order coming from the President to a subordinate officer because in doing so I felt that it would add insult to injury upon myself.

Sadly, because we never punish smugglers, the same people who sabotaged our economy during the Estrada regime are the same saboteurs in bed with the present dispensation.

Walang nagbago, lalo lang lumaki ang komisyon at lagayan.

In an effort to defend himself from accusations that he may have been involved in the Dacer-Corbito double murder case, he has consistently asserted that he never dealt with officials other than the heads of agencies.

Yet, on so many occasions, and I have personal knowledge on this, during his presidency, he was giving direct orders and instructions deep into the layers of the entire government bureaucracy, the PNP and the PAOCTF included.

And those who have worked with him in Malacañang know whereof I speak.

Mr. Estrada had the temerity to issue a press statement that I was the one who knew and in fact supervised what former police officer Cezar Mancao had testified in court as “Operation or Oplan Delta”, allegedly a special operations plan designed to neutralize Salvador “Bubby” Dacer.

Mabuti pa si Mr. Estrada, alam niyang may “Oplan Delta.” Ako, sa mga pahayagan at kamakailan ko lamang narinig at nalaman na mayroon palang “Oplan Delta.”

Sa halip na i-depensa na lang niya ang sarili niya, bakit siya kailangang magturo ng iba?

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, maraming bagay-bagay na sa abot ng aking natuklasan, matapos ang aking sariling pagsasaliksik at pag-iimbestiga hindi lamang sa usaping ito kundi pati ibang kasong maaring kinasangkutan ni Ginoong Estrada ang nais kong ibahagi sa kapulungang ito.

Marami din akong gustong itanong kay Mr. Estrada:

1. Sino ang inutusan mo para i-harass at gipitin ang pamilya ni Al Yuchengco?

2. Sino ang tumawag sa iyo para utusan ako na i-pull out ang mga tao kong nakaabang na hulihin ang smuggled chicken parts?

3. Kaninong shipment ng smuggled rice ang ipina-release mo sa Cebu?

4. At higit sa lahat, anu-ano pa ang mga iniutos mo sa ating mga dating tauhan sa PAOCTF na lingid sa aking kaalaman?

But for now and today, I will limit the subject of my privilege speech to the issues I mentioned.

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, with your indulgence, please allow me to take the floor once again on Monday next week.

For former President Joseph Ejercito-Estrada, there is no corruption if it does not involve government funds.

Therefore, following his flawed logic, it is not corruption to accept bribes - from jueteng and some shady deals that involve using the power and influence of the presidency.

He has not heard of ‘conflict of interest’ nor taking advantage of one’s position to amass wealth.

He has not changed that loose definition of corruption.

In media interviews and in his conversations with friends and associates, he maintains that he had not done anything wrong since all his transactions while he was president did not involve government funds.

Now he is presenting himself again to the Filipino people, for one more chance at the presidency.

At this juncture of our history, after suffering eight years of unmitigated corruption under the regime which succeeded the Estrada presidency, I would be remiss in my sworn duties as an elected member of the Senate, as a nationally elected official of the land, if I did not unburden myself of my insights into the character of Mr. Estrada.

Marahil may mga magsasabi na sa mga binigkas ko ngayon ay hindi ako marunong tumanaw ng utang na loob, lalo na sa pangulong siyang naghirang sa akin.

Ngunit hindi naman din matatawaran ang naibahagi kong tulong, sampu ng aking mga tauhan, sa kanyang katanyagan nung siya ay nanunungkulang bise-presidente at bilang Chairman ng Presidential Anti-Crime Commission.

Ang mas mahalaga ay pairalin ang marapat at matuwid.

At lalong mahalaga na gawing kataas-taasang adhikain ang kapakanan at kinabukasan ng mamamayang Pilipino.

God save the Philippines from Joseph Ejercito alias Joseph Estrada.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Philippine Consulate General Office in Jeddah Transfers to a New Location

The Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced the transfer of its new office location to Umm Al Qura St., Al Rehab District starting 15-September-2009. in connection with the transfer, the Consulate will be closed to the public on 12th to 14th September. It will also be closed from 15th to 24th September for the Ramadan and Eid El Fitr.

The office of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia includes various sections and attached services. Services to the public are performed by the Consular Section, the Assistance to Nationals Section, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office which includes the Labor Attache and Welfare Officers, and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center. PCG also has a Hajj Attache permanently assigned to Jeddah. SSS and Pag IBIG also have representatives at the Consulate.

Below is the map of the new location:

Ezzedin H. Tago, Consul General
Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Umm Al Qura St.
Al Rehab District
P.O. Box 4794, Jeddah 21412
Duty Officer: +966-515016318
Consular: +966-555219614
AND: +966555219613
POLO/OWWA: +9662-6658462; +966-515124793
Phone: +9662-6600348; 6670925; 6630354; 6696303
Fax: +9662-6630338

Consul General Ezzedin Tago assumed leadership of the Philippine Consulate Office in Jeddah on 22 December 2007. He is a career Foreign Service Officer (FSO Class I) who has been with the DFA since 1995.

In September 1994, he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Davis.

Consul General Tago has been assigned to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (1999-2003) as Vice Consul and Third Secretary; and to Jakarta, Indonesia (2003-2005) as Consul and Second Secretary. He was also detailed to Baghdad, Iraq for 10 months in 2004-2005.

In the Home Office, he served as Acting Director with the Office of Middle East and African Affairs (1996-1999), and as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for Special Concerns (2005-2007).

On 14 August 2007, he was awarded the Gawad Mabini DFA Award, with rank of Commander (Kasugo), by H.E. Alberto Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines.

He is a recipient of the following Presidential Awards/Citations:
  • The Order of Lakandula, Rank of Officer, by H.E. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on 14 August 2007.
  • Presidential Citation from H.E. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awarded on December 2006 for assisting in the repatriation of Filipinos in Lebanon during the Israel-Hezbollah Crisis in July 2006.
  • Presidential Citation from H.E. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awarded on 19 June 2005 for his role in the cases of two Filipino hostages in Iraq, Messrs. Angelo Dela Cruz and Robert Tarongoy.
CG Tago completed his secondary school at the Philippine School in Jeddah (now the IPSJ) and his elementary studies at Manarat Jeddah. You can email him at his personal email address or through the Consulate’s email address.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

OFW - Bayani Ka Nga Bang Talaga Ng Lahing Pilipino?

I want to give credit to whoever wrote this well-said piece but I have no way of knowing who wrote it or where this piece originally came from. I've seen this posted in so many Pinoy Blogs before but this particular text was a forwarded email by my wife from her Yahoo.Group Ehem! She became a member of the Ehemplo Group many years ago when she was still a Prosecutor at the Office of the Ombudsman.

My apologies as I exaggerated a bit the title of this post!

The following text was sent to me by an OFW friend from Ireland.
I just want to share the text with you for your reflection.
- Sr. Tess
Ehemplo is a call of people dedicated to live a life of honor, integrity and good examples. Ehemplo is based on espousing Ehem -- the urgent call for cultural reform against corruption in the Philippines. Ehem aims at bringing people to a renewed sensitivity to the evil of corruption and its prevalence in ordinary life. It seeks ultimately to make them more intensely aware of their own vulnerability to corruption, their own uncritiqued, often unwitting practice of corruption in daily life. Ehem hopes to bring people, in the end, to a commitment to live the way of Ehemplo --- critical of corruption, intent on integrity!

06-Sept-09 at 9:00pm

I just read from the comments of Blogusvox of the Sandbox (thanks Ed) that this essay was written by Frederick Arceo. So I browsed through the page and voila, here's what I got! Frederick was in primary school at Filamer Institute when I was working in Roxas City many years ago. I don't know how he is related to a friend in that same place named Danny Arceo. Moreover, Frederick is an OFW based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and has a blog at Inocente Tambayero's Spot. It comes now with no surprise why he has expressed so well the true sentiments of the OFW. The original title of the piece was Ang OFW ay Tao Rin.

Thanks Frederick!

By Frederick Arceo

Sa may asawa, kapatid, anak, kaibigan, at kamag-anak na OFW. At lalo na sa mga gustong mangibang-bansa... Nais ko rin ibahagi sa inyo, ang natanggap kong email na ito. Maaaring makatulong ito upang lalong maintindihan ng bawa't isa ang tunay na ibig sabihin ng pagiging isang OFW. Tiyak na may mapupulot tayong aral dito.

Hindi mayaman ang OFW - We have this notion na 'pag OFW o nasa abroad ay mayaman na.. Hindi totoo yun. A regular OFW might earn from P20K-P300K per month depende sa lokasyon. Yung mga taga-Saudi or US siguro ay mas malaki ang sweldo, but to say that they're rich is a fallacy (amen!).

Malaki ang pangangailangan kaya karamihan ay nag-a-abroad. Maraming bunganga ang kailangang pakainin kaya umaalis ang mga pipol sa Philippines . Madalas, 3/4 o kalahati ng sweldo ay napupunta sa tuition ng anak at gastusin ng pamilya.

Mahirap maging OFW - Kailangan magtipid hangga't kaya. Oo, masarap ang pagkain sa abroad pero madalas na paksiw o adobo at itlog lang tinitira para makaipon. Pagdating ng kinsenas o katapusan, ang unang tinitingnan eh ang conversion ng peso sa dollar o rial o euro. Mas okay na magtiis sa konti kaysa gutumin ang pamilya. Kapag umuuwi, kailangan may baon kahit konti kasi maraming kamag-anak ang sumusundo sa airport o naghihintay sa probinsya. Alam mo naman 'pag Pinoy, yung tsismis na OFW ka eh surely attracts a lot of kin.

Kapag hindi mo nabigyan ng pasalubong eh magtatampo na yun at sisiraan ka na. Well, hindi naman lahat pero I'm sure sa mga OFW dito eh may mga pangyayaring ganun. Magtatrabaho ka sa bansang iba ang tingin sa mga Pinoy. Malamang marami ang naka-experience ng gulang o discrimination to their various workplaces. Sige lang, tiis lang, iniiyak na lang kasi kawawa naman pamilya 'pag umuwi.

Besides, wala ka naman talagang maasahang trabaho sa Philippines ngayon. Mahal ang bigas, ang gatas, ang sardinas, ang upa sa apartment. Tiis lang kahit maraming kupal sa trabaho, kahit may sakit at walang nag-aalaga, kahit hindi masarap ang tsibog, kahit pangit ang working conditions, kahit delikado, kahit mahirap. Kapag nakapadala ka na, okay na, tawag lang, "hello! kumusta na kayo?".

Hindi bato ang OFW - Tao rin ang OFW, hindi money o cash machine. Napapagod rin, nalulungkot (madalas), nagkakasakit, nag-iisip at nagugutom. Kailangan din ang suporta, kundi man physically, emotionally o spiritually man lang.

Tumatanda rin ang OFW - Sa mga nakausap at nakita ko, marami ang panot at kalbo na. Most of them have signs and symptoms of hypertension, coronary artery disease and arthritis.. Yet, they continue to work thinking about the family they left behind. Marami ang nasa abroad, 20-30 years na, pero wala pa ring ipon. Kahit anong pakahirap, sablay pa rin. Masakit pa kung olats rin ang sinusuportahang pamilya - ang anak adik o nabuntis; ang asawa may kabit. Naalala ko tuloy ang sikat na kanta dati, "NAPAKASAKIT KUYA EDDIE!"

Bayani ang OFW - Totoo yun! Ngayon ko lang na na-realize na bayani ang OFW sa maraming bagay. Hindi bayani na tulad ni Nora Aunor o Flor Contemplacion. Bayani in the truest sense of the word. Hindi katulad ni Rizal o Bonifacio. Mas higit pa dun, mas maraming giyera at gulo ang pinapasok ng OFW para lang mabuhay. Mas maraming pulitika ang kailangang suungin para lang tumagal sa trabaho lalo na't kupal ang mga kasama sa trabaho. Mas mahaba ang pasensya kaysa sa mga ordinaryong kongresista o senador sa Philippines dahil sa takot na mawalan ng sweldo.

Matindi ang OFW - Matindi ang pinoy. Matindi pa sa daga, o cockroaches which survived the cataclysmic evolution. Maraming sakripisyo pero walang makitang tangible solutions or consequences.

Malas ng OFW, swerte ng pulitiko - Hindi umuupo ang OFW para magbigay ng autograph o interbyuhin ng media (unless nakidnap!). Madalas nasa sidelines lang ang OFW. Kapag umaalis, malungkot and on the verge of tears. Kapag dumadating, swerte 'pag may sundo( madalas meron). Kapag naubos na ang ipon, wala ng kamag-anak.

Sana sikat ang OFW para may boses sa Kamara. Ang swerte ng mga politiko nakaupo sila at ginagastusan ng pera ng Filipino. Hindi nga sila naiinitan o napapaso ng langis, o napagagalitan ng amo, o kumakain ng paksiw para makatipid, o nakatira sa compound with conditions less than favorable, o nakikisama sa ibang lahi para mabuhay. Ang swerte, sobrang swerte nila.

Matatag ang OFW - Matatag ang OFW, mas matatag pa sa sundalo o kung ano pang grupo na alam nyo. Magaling sa reverse psychology, negotiations at counter-attacks. Tatagal ba ang OFW? Tatagal pa kasi hindi pa natin alam kailan magbabago ang Philippines , kailan nga kaya? o may tsansa pa ba?

Masarap isipin na kasama mo ang pamilya mo araw-araw. Nakikita mo mga anak mong lumalaki at naaalagaan ng maayos. Masarap kumain ng sitaw, ng bagoong, lechon, inihaw na isda, taba ng talangka. Masarap manood ng pelikulang Pinoy, luma man o bago. Iba pa rin ang pakiramdam kung kilala mo ang kapitbahay mo. Iba pa rin sa Philippines , iba pa rin kapag Pinoy ang kasama mo (except 'pag kupal at utak-talangka) , iba pa rin 'pag nagkukwento ka at naiintindihan ng iba ang sinasabi mo. Iba pa rin ang tunog ng "mahal kita!", "day, ginahigugma tika." "Mingaw na ko nimo ba, kalagot!", " Inday, diin ka na subong haw? ganahan guid ko simo ba". Iba pa rin talaga.

Sige lang, tiis lang, saan ba't darating din ang pag-asa.

Kung OFW ka at binabasa mo ito, mabuhay ka dahil ikaw ang tunay na BAYANI ng lahing PILIPINO!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mikey Arroyo Under Fire on YouTube

This is a repost of Christian V. Esguerra's report which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday. I cannot imagine how an Atenean could give such illogical answers . He's just so dumb!

It is annoying and exasperating to the hardworking Filipinos who have been honestly doing their jobs in government service only to find out that the very leaders are amassing wealth beyond imagination of which they cannot even track anymore.

The two clips from You Tube have been posted here for you to see and judge for yourself!

MANILA, Philippines—Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo may have found himself in deeper trouble following an early morning TV interview about his ballooning net worth and P63.7-million beachfront property in the United States.

Clips of his Tuesday interview with GMA 7’s “Unang Hirit” were uploaded to the video-sharing website YouTube, triggering nasty comments—many of them apparently not fit for newspaper publication—from angry Web users.

One viewer described the lawmaker as “the world’s dum... criminal.”

“(Mikey) sucks at defending himself. If he is in court, he’ll be (cited) for contempt for utter stu...,” another commented.

Another viewer said Mikey “hanged himself on national TV” with the way he explained how his net worth jumped from P5 million in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) in 2002 to P99 million last year.

“Take note of (his) facial expressions and the tone of his voice. Talagang sinu. . . (He’s really a li...),” one viewer said.

“Another stu... son of a corrupt politician. This is exactly what happens when you have a big f_ _ _ing ego to go on air to show everyone how much assets you try to hide,” said another. “Mikey, isa kang ... (you’re st...)!”

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita Wednesday said the Palace was confident that the eldest son of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, herself under scrutiny for her growing wealth while in office, could answer the issue “adequately to the satisfaction of everybody.”

How to earn millions

But Web users were not satisfied with his explanation when they saw the two-part video clip, titled “Mikey Arroyo on Media Suicide with Igan & Winnie Monsod—How Do You Earn Millions?”

The clips were viewed 8,888 times as of Wednesday afternoon and solicited a total of 258 comments.

In the interview, broadcaster and economist Winnie Monsod, armed with copies of Mikey’s SALNs, confronted the congressman on how he accumulated all his wealth given his salary as a government employee.

YouTube viewers noticed how the lawmaker repeatedly tried to “dodge” the question only to be cornered by Monsod each time.

Gifts, campaign contributions

Finally in the second clip, a seemingly exasperated Mikey said: “Let’s put it this way. Alam nyo kasi, syempre unang-una, kinasal tayo. Medyo nagkaroon tayo ng maraming regalo. Tapos pag kampanya, eh syempre, kahit paano, maraming tumutulong sa atin (You know, first of all, I got married. I received lots of gifts. Then in the election campaign, somehow, many people helped me).”

Mikey, a Pampanga representative since 2004, said this was how his net worth increased from P76.9 million in 2005 to P99 million in 2008.

He said his P5-million net worth in his 2002 SALN was inaccurate and had been corrected the following year.

“So is it legal to pocket the money intended as campaign donation? Magna...!” commented one Web user.

Earlier in the interview, Mikey acknowledged that he owned the property at 1655 Beach Park Boulevard in Foster City, San Mateo County, in the San Francisco bay area in California.

Limited liability company

Mikey said it was owned by a company called Beach Way Park LLC (limited liability company) of which he and his family owned some 40 percent in shares.

In the United States, LLCs are small businesses similar to single proprietorships in the Philippines. They can be set up with just one person as shareholder.

Mikey refused to identify the other shareholders in the company even to dispel speculations that they were merely acting as “dummies.”

“Stop saying it’s my house. It’s a house owned by Beach Way which I’m a shareholder of,” the lawmaker, appearing incensed and uneasy, told Monsod and co-anchor Arnold Clavio.

Burden of proof on Mikey

“You know what, the law is very clear,” Monsod told Mikey. “If there is a problem, when there is a question of unexplained wealth here, the burden of proof is with you, with the government employee.”

Monsod added: “It can’t be that (we) have to prove that (you) are guilty. No, the government employee should prove that he is innocent. That’s precisely the whole objective of having a statement of assets and liabilities.”

Mikey’s appearance on the TV show stemmed from a report of Vera Files, a group of investigative reporters, that the eldest son of the President did not report in his SALN for the last two years the $1.32-million (P63.7-million) house in Foster City that he bought and transferred to his wife Angela in 2006. They got married in 2002.

Vera Files also reported that Mikey’s brother, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Ignacio “Dato” Arroyo, also acquired a house in the United States after he won a seat in Congress in 2007.

But unlike Mikey, Dato declared ownership of a 70-square-meter unit at the luxury full-service Gramercy Towers in San Francisco in his SALN for 2008. Dato and his wife, Victoria Celina Manotok, bought the property for P26.7 million.

Mikey said Tuesday that his family could afford to buy real estate in the United States.