Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Buy Me a Good Senator" Movement Launched

"Buy Me a Good Senator" movement was launched by a group of ordinary citizens at the Sulo Hotel just this morning. The goal is to fund the election campaign of "honest, competent and sincere people" by buying "T"-Bills for them. According to the group headed by Gerry Gamez the "T" stands for "Trust." He described these as "documents which bind the candidate to us, the electorate, for the whole period of their term, so they will faithfully serve us, instead of the people serving them."

The group initially picked Atty. Alex “Pinoy” Lacson, author of the 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country, and who agreed to the concept of T-Bills in the political arena, as the first candidate to be supported. The Lacson T-bills can be bought for P300, P500, or P1,000. Each buyer/contributor will be given a certificate. In addition, those who paid for P500 will be given the 12 Little Things book; for P1,000, the book and a Thank God I’m a Filipino T-shirt. Globe celfone users can buy the Lacson T-Bill by simply texting: ALEX 300/500/1000. Then send to 2899.

An appreciative Atty. Lacson declared: “In this day and age where the norm is vote-buying, here we see Gamez and his group with what little they have for their prefered candidate. This shows that people are willing to invest in good governance. They are willing to act.”

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Power Crisis Presscon - March 22, 2010

Last Monday (March 22), I attended Atty. Alex "Pinoy" Lacson's presscon at the LP Senatorial HQ at the Manila Bank Bldg. along Ayala Ave., Makati City.

Atty. Lacson narrated that during his visit to Kidapawan City (capital of North Cotabato) last week, there was no electricity during his meeting with local officials. It was still brownout when the meeting concluded. Local executives confirmed they are experiencing six to ten hours brownouts. Lamenting the lack of central planning to address the energy crisis, he declared:

"Mindanao is growing both economically and socially, The Arroyo administration should have anticipated that its energy requirements would actually increase. Evidently, there was no planning."

"Pinoy" Lacson agreed with Mindanao-based executives that short-term solutions are needed such as buying power barges. In addition, long-term solutions should be explored, including tapping wind energy, building additional geothermal plants and rehabilitating existing power plants.

Questionable Use of 10 Billion Calamity Fund

Confounding the Mindanao power in crisis  is the questionable use of the 10 billion calamity meant to address the worsening blackouts. Out of the this fund, each affected province  was allotted close to 1 billion pesos to buy or lease generator sets.

However, reports have reached Lacson that administration-backed local candidates are using the calamity fund to instead buy rice, food stuff and even appliances to entice their constituents to vote for them in the coming May 10 elections. This prompted Lacson to tell Mindanaoans:

 "Kailangang tutukan ito ng ating may opisyales at bantayan ng taong bayan para hindi na naman manakaw ang pondong kinakailangan ng Mindanao. Let's literally and figuratively shine a light on this issue."
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Monday, March 22, 2010

One Vote Movement Pursues COMELEC Accreditation

The One Vote Movement (a mass-based contituency composed of various national organizations such as the Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church headed by Bsp. Reuben Abante, Balikatan People's Alliance headed by its National Chairman Louie  Baylosis-Balibago with 64 organizations under it and a total of around 600,000 members nationwide, Alliance of Christian Development Agencies (ACDA), Ating Siyasatin, Ihalal Natin (ASIN), Christian Convergence for Good Government (CCGG), Community of Independent Churches in the Philippines (CICP), Far Eastern Broadcasting Company (FEBC), Heal Our Land Movement, Institute for Studies in Asian Churches and Culture (ISACC), Master Lighthouse Foundation, National Movement for Righteousness and Transformation (N-MRT), Philippine Bible Society, Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ (PCCC), Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches (PCEC), Philippine Ministerial Fellowship Network (PhilMiFen), Vote Right as well as individuals of voting age and registered voters in various congregations throughout the nation) is actively pursuing its  accreditation by the COMELEC as its citizen's arm for the national and local elections set on May 10, 2010 pursuant to Article 9(c) of the 1987 Constitution which provides: 

"Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organization, or coalitions, which, in addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government, and accredit citizen's arms of the Commission on Elections." (emphasis added).

Accordingly, One Vote Movement represented by its president, Ptr. Jose Gonzales, through counsel, Atty. Eduardo Bringas. has caused the publication of its Petition for Accreditation in the Manila Bulletin today, March 22, 2010, prior to the hearing by the COMELEC en banc tomorrow, March 23.

Click the above image to enlarge.

Note: One Vote Movement was subsequently accredited.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pres. Arroyo can appoint next Chief Justice - Supreme Court

I've just learned through the internet that the Philippine Supreme Court decided that Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo can appoint the next Chief Justice. Of the members of the highest tribunal, 9 voted "yes," 1 voted against and 3 abstained. Two other justices voted that all petitions for or against be dismissed for being premature.

With due respect to the members of the bench, as a citizen of this country I am concerned over the Supreme Court's decision to recognize Pres. Arroyo’s appointive power over the next Chief Justice despite the ban on "midnight" appointments enshrined in our Constitution, thus:

Article VII. Section 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

My only consolation is that at least one lady Associate Justice by the name of Conchita Carpio-Morales "had the balls," so to speak, to stand by the explicit provision of the highest law of the land.

Hopefully, the lady in the palace will not be tempted to use the Supreme Court's decision as an alibi.
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Landas ng Pagbabago (Path to Change)

In yesterday's presscon by the Liberal Party at their new campaign HQ at the 3rd Floor of the Manila Bank Building, Ayala Avenue, the most "quotable quote" came from Sen. Kiko Pangalinan, the Campaign Manager of LP's Senate Slate.

Sen. Pangilinan emphatically said that voters can choose from two paths: landas ng pagbabago o landas ng C-5. Rough translation to English: "path to change or path to the C-5" (a controversial road project that has been the subject of a Senate ethics investigation of one of their members).

 Ms. Risa Hontiveros and Atty. Alex Lacson, both LP
Senatorial Candidates, flank Sen. Kiko Pangilinan.

(A print coverage of the event will be published in the next issue of Touchlife Express Balita.)
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pacquiao-Clottey - A Sports Analysis

I'm not a boxing fan (protagonists intend to physically hurt each other to win) but the news and analyses about the result of Pacquiao's win over Clottey are all over the internet. Here's one interesting piece by a contributor to the RazRez website: 

Sunday 14th March 2010

by RazRez Contributor

In what was billed as The Fight that would test Manny Pacquiao, Ghana born boxer Joshua Clottey did anything but.  For twelve full rounds, the bigger Clottey kept his guard up, giving Pacquiao nothing to hit, but at the same time, depriving himself of a chance at a real fight.

So, while Manny peppered away at Clottey, throwing at times over a hundred punches per round (Manny ended up averaging a little over a hundred punches thrown per round, which is unheard of in the welterweight division), Clottey steadfastly maintained his defensive posture, breaking it only from time to time to throw a little bit here and there.  The world hasn’t seen such deliberate inaction since a washed up Ali fought a prime Larry Holmes.

At some point past the midway of the fight, a seemingly bored Jim Lampley tried to inject some excitement into the broadcast by yelling “bang, bang, bang” every time Pacquiao threw a punch.  It didn’t matter that the punches were blocked; evidently, Lampley was trying anything to stir up excitement.

Emmanuel Stewart thought Pacquiao fought a good fight in that he did what he had to do to win the fight against a fighter determined to cover up for the entire twelve rounds.  In the end, though Manny won all twelve rounds (how two judges gave Clottey one round each is beyond me), many felt that the fight was a massive let down, given Pacquiao’s prolific knock out performances leading to this fight.  And perhaps that was on Clottey’s mind throughout the fight.  Perhaps he didn’t want to take a premature nap, courtesy of a Pacquiao left.  Or right.

When asked of his tactics, Clottey responded to Kellerman that he thought Manny was too fast, so he didn’t want to risk anything.  Perhaps Clottey trainer DeJesus put it best when he said that he believes his fighter felt Pacquiao’s punching power and was determined not to end up crashing on the canvas as did Pacquiao’s previous opponents.

Unfortunately for fight fans, Clottey’s concern over Pacquiao’s speed and power resulted in a fight that in Clottey’s own words, was “the only fight he lost,” alluding to the fact that he still feels that his three losses on record are questionable.  Well, when you lose all twelve rounds, what else can you say?

Well folks, for those clamoring for a Pacquiao Mayweather showdown, as evidenced by the roaring crowd when Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach called out Floyd, you might want to think about that again.  Floyd may not cover up in Frankenstein fashion as Clottey did, but Floyd will run.  And run, and run and run.  It will end up just like this fight.  A boring twelve rounds of one guy trying to fight another.  And that other guy has nothing but self preservation in their mind.  Bottom line: Mayweather is just like Clottey except he has faster feet.  And unlike Clottey who moved forward from time to time, Mayweather will always move backward.  Is that really a fight anyone wants to see?

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Election-Related Violence in Abra

Last Wednesday morning (March 3, 2010), I went to Nostalg 2 & 3, Oakwood Premier Joy~Nostalg Center Manila, 17 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center. 

The event? I got invited by the Political Democracy & Reform (PODER) team of the Ateneo School  of Government to the public presentation of the results of their study on election-related violence (ERV) in Abra, Philippines entitled "A Vicious Cycle of Violence, Disempowerment and Abuse of Authority."

Click here to view
Album on ERV in Abra - PODER study public presentation

With 30 politicians killed during the last eight years, the election-related violence in the province of Abra is indeed alarming, perhaps eliciting an outrage second only to the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.

The study was conducted from June 2009 to January 2010. Foremost among its findings is that "government institutions are not able to prevent violence" as they faced "constraints in resources and support that affected their capability organizationally." Political dynasties (Villamors, Paredeses, Valeras, Barberos, Bersamins, Bernoses and Seareses) and cultural factors further exacerbated the election-related violence. Mainly due to lack of witnesses, even the Judiciary has a "dismal record in resolving ERV cases."

The study recommends the following:

- institutional development involving the key agencies responsible for ERV prevention is critical.

- gradual to total disarmament paralleled with advocacy promoting gun-less Abra.

- network of champions at the national level to prevent any form of padrino system.

- filling up the gaps in accountability to ensure government funds are spent for public good not private gain.

- civic and values education to mobilize public support for ERV prevention.

- address underdevelopment of Abra (the 9th poorest province) by prioritizing job creation to make the poor less vulnerable to becoming an instrument of violence.

(A print coverage of the event will be published in the next issue of Touchlife Express Balita.)

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