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The CJ Got Looped

Finally it is over. The chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court was finally impeached by the Philippine Senate today. He was impeached for failing to include in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net-worth [SAL-N]  his Dollar-bank account with some “substantial” amount deposited in it .

It can be put differently. That the CJ was impeached for his wrong personal interpretation of a law. He says he is free not to include his dollar account in his SAL-Ns as it is covered by the Bank Secrecy law.

They are culpable violation of the constitutions and betrayal of public trust, the Senate ruled.

The chief justice of the supreme court, Renato Corona. Lifted from Google search: Renato corona.

I have not really been following up the impeachment case, the local news actually, after a couple of weeks that it started, except in some instances.

As I remember it then,  the lower House of Congress has impeached the Chief Justice for non-disclosure to the public of his SAL-N, among other articles. The other articles were laid aside in the Senate later. They were about the Chief Justice charged by the lower house for acts, acts that to them are questionable, which  were actually acts of the Supreme Court and not acts of one person. One article questioned the manner the  CJ voted  in the SC, which is his freedom of prerogative.

But impeachment is what it is  – a political exercise. What is needed is numbers. Getting enough  votes, the resolution becomes an act of Congress or of the Senate. The act is legal and apparently cannot be questioned.  Articles for impeachment, as demonstrated, may be mere formality. It’s been unlike in ordinary courts of law where a fiscal’s office determines prima facie evidence first before the case can be elevated to court. That ought to be the role of the lower house of congress in impeachment cases, are they not? In principle, they ought to be. The lower house has thrown out a case once, for lack of substance. But in practice, as we just saw, they don’t always do.

An impeachment is more of a one way street. They have always gone naturally in favor of Malacañang. There is a long story to that, but we are going a side.

When the Senate received the case from the lower house, it appeared that the CJ has been complying with the filing and submission of his SAL-Ns.  It is the Supreme Court that ruled on non-disclosure of SAL-Ns unless a request for copy is approved by the Supreme Court.  And that ruling has been there since before Corona became chief. Technically, Justice Corona has been disclosing his SAL-Ns to the public. SAL-Ns are public property. They are public documents under the care of government.

It should be noted that until the Senate subpoenaed the clerk of court for copies of the SAL-Ns, prosecutors did not have anything real to possibly base any argument. Later, when the SAL-Ns became open matter in the impeachment court, I remember the issue shifted from non-disclosure of SAL-N to non-inclusion of properties in the SAL-Ns. And next instances they were arguing about bank accounts allegedly not disclosed or included in the SAL-Ns. But the indignant part of them is that those kind of information ought to appear in court only upon order or subpoena of appropriate court.

Obviously, the prosecutors under Congressman Neil Tupas started their moves with the assumption that nobody is perfect.  Lahat na tao kung hahanapan ng butas, ay may butas. They had almost limitless resources and boundless means behind them, for that.

It is obvious by the shoddy work of Congress that the strategy was simply to pass an impeachment resolution that could be rammed against the CJ by rule of numbers in the Senate. The congressman from Ilo-ilo can celebrate their victory but I think he took most of the dirt upon his face than he came out handsomer.

I have watched the Senate in TV when the verdict was read. I stayed until Senator Enrile was finished. I think only he made sense…non-disclosure of “substantial amount”  in the SAL -N, was that the right phrase? The other speakers sounded more like hot rhetoric meant for the consumption of a hungry mob. They were saying that they are clean, in different words, is my summary of them. Fine.

“Substantial amount”. That is interesting.  Because I am dead-sure 100% of people there in the impeachment court did not file a perfect SAL-N. Given all resources I can prove that. But right now you can call my idea a rotten fish because it is a conclusion I made before the facts.

The Senate president has steered the impeachment court past its difficult times.

CJ Corona must be ousted. That is my impression of it since the beginning. I guess he got tangled. And the irony of it all now is that prosecution is nowhere near proving that the impeached Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court stole a peso from the Filipino people, much more a plunderer that prosecution propaganda has successfully painted  him.

Now, that settles it. Ang buhay ay weather-weather langWhat the President wants, the President gets – that is  where former  President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was for 9 long years, except in the case of the MOA-AD. She was the most unpopular President that went in this republic.  And for one who appeared to be  in full control of the state I guess that’s how she became the fertilizer scam, the ZTE-NBN anomalous deal, the executioner of  800 or more victims of human rights violations. Amen.

The big problem of CJ Corona is that he happened to be the former President’s appointee and her former associate.

Personally, I think the President was rid of some protection, which he saw was thorn in his side, in the person of justice Corona. But that is a long story and it looks like the President knows best his own business for himself.

OK, now, with no one in the way, maybe Filipinos can move forward and be brought out of the quagmires they’ve been in.  But maybe next time, before any talk of any removal from office, a public official should be tried of direct violation. And once proven of offense that will constitute  say, treason,  they can be removed for culpable violation of the constitution based on that. That simplifies matter. Like, say, instead of trying to impeach PGMA for betrayal of public trust based on the “fertilizer scam”, why had not they proven first that there was a fertilizer scam which will constitute betrayal of public trust. More than half a decade later, Filipinos are not even sure if there was indeed that scam or not.

A special investigation and a conclusive report by Congress could perform a preliminary work of establishing facts. That in turn may provide something undeniably solid for further actions.

An allegation based on another un-established allegation is actually crazy. It is speculative. When acts that constitute culpable violation of the constitutions and or betrayal of public trust appear clear enough, then I guess that justifies filing them outright.

Otherwise it might also be wasting everybody’s time. Because arguments will be whether or not there was a violation that spells to say treason, anyway, so why should not people limit to direct violations, first? Congress and Senate have lots of important things to do. In the case of this impeachment, constrained by time, Senate had been rigid with the time frame. There is a negative side to that if everybody is talking about justice.  Bitin ang maraming Filipino sa katotohanan.

In politics, crazy things can happen. As we have seen, the lower house impeached the Chief Justice, among other things for always voting in favor of then President Gloria Arroyo. Not only the allegation proved untrue but there is also no law that says he cannot vote in favor of what the President of the Republic of the Philippines stood for. If it was a case filed in the fiscal’s office, the case might have been dismissed. Because while in the lower house of Congress “nondisclosure” of SAL-N  would have proven baseless. The CJ has a case of bad luck. What started to be ridiculous and speculative ended in his conviction. Still, I think impeachment needs refinement.

Impeached for an erroneous interpretation of a law, that sounds funny. That could not be a violation of the constitutions and by laws. Or else everybody who loses a case in court can automatically be called a criminal. A betrayal of public trust, well, maybe it can be squeezed into that. I think, Lawyer – International judge – Senator Miriam Santiago, said it better. In another time, this could have probably called for no serious than warning or reprimand.

They cannot even charge him now of direct offense, real or imagined. Because chances are he might be acquitted. And if that happens, it will appear that he was impeached over nothing.

And to the many of the  blood thirsty mobs in  the streets, probably it was just a case of plunderers killing one of their kind for sacrifice. And the mob’s lust for blood is insatiable; so, who’s gonna be their next food, folks?

An Inherited Problem for the President – Hacienda Luisita

Hda Luisita is used to be owned by the Cojuangcos – of the Corazon C. Aquino circle of family. It’s been subject of land reform under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program or CARP.

Land reform was originally passed to eradicate feudalism in the country. It was aimed at emancipation of peasant-tenants from feudal bondage.  Peasants became land owners. Land reform today no longer limits to tenancy as they may also include any farmland, tenancy or not, over 5 hectares in area. The idea is to break up big farm units into small farm units, which is some politics’ idea of “democratization of wealth”.

Land Reform in Capitalist Farming

Hda Luisita is capitalist farming, corporate farming to be specific. And in capital farming, farmer actually refers to the owners of the means of production, in this case Hacienda Luisita Inc. [HLI] that owned and ran the land. And, yes, Sire/ma’am, small miserable farmers and super rich farmers are the same. They are all farmers. Welcome to the era called capitalism.

Farm-er [fa’armer] (plural farm-ers) noun

Somebody who farms: somebody who owns or operates a farm

1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved

Employees under the landowners or farmers are actually not farmers but farm workers, also known as wage earners. Hacienda Luisita is a case where farm workers would like to own the land to be the farmers. One big farmer to become many small farmers.

Anyway, Land Reform in capitalism is a matter between the state and landowner in one hand, and between the state and would-be-farmers in the other hand. State and the landowners agree on price and mode of payment. [In principle, would-be-recipients are represented in an adjudication board] State then distributes the land to recipients  under terms agreed upon by state and recipients or beneficiaries.

When landowner conceded or agreed to land reform, and when landowner accepted payment from the state, then, state became the new owner of that land until ownership has been passed on to recipients of land reform. Outgoing landowner has no business with the recipients of land reform.

At least in principles. Because, in the case of Hda Luisita that is not the case. The hacienda happens to have a sugar mill in an estate that is around 6,000 hectares [hectare X 2.471 = acre]. Hda Luisita has since been exhausting all legal remedies not to have the land simply distributed to interested farmers. They have fought for a say how it should be done, which is the “stock distribution option” or SDO for would-be-beneficiaries. By stock distribution, beneficiaries must incorporate their farm lots with the sugar mill. Interested beneficiaries in the other hand see it as THEIR option.

For HLI, giving up the land appears to be no problem. In fact many landed families made money better selling their lands to government than by anything else. Surely the Cojuangcos were not short changed in the deal. Big income is in sugar trading and not in sugar production, anyway.

Since the time of President Cory C. Aquino up to 1997, or in the first 10 years of CARP, 4, 619,000 hectares of land have been distributed under the program, 2.7% of them within compulsory acquisition [CA] and 97.2% of them within voluntary offer to sell [VOS]. VOS is land reform from landowners’ initiative. This is the period after the collapse of the sugar industry, and when the future of sugarcane farming has always been bleak until this day.

Hda Luisita is VOS but with “stock distribution option” attached to it. Why else would an estate owned or controlled by the family of a President ex President be subjected to land reform if not volunteered? So we see why giving away the land is not the problem. Preserving the sugar mill is another thing.

The existence of the sugar mill built on the land may be threatened. While sugarcane is top grosser, farmers will spend less for production and will net-profit better if they, and most likely, plant rice or corn instead. And a sugar mill without the farmers to supply the canes is sure-dead mill. Bye to lucrative sugar trading as well.

For the owners of Central Asucarera de Tarlac, simply giving up the land was therefore not as easy as would-be-farmers want it their way, or as easy as some implications of the law. Viewed from certain quarter, there are efforts by owners of Hda Luisita to defeat or circumvent the CARP for reason we have already outlined. Until Hda Luisita, CA or VOS did not have provision called SDO.

Personally, I think VOS should be scrapped and CARP modified rolled back, to affect only tenancy and idle private lands, which was what original land reform had been all about. But since there is the present CARP law, then, law ought to be law, we like it or not.

So, we have a case here of interested farmers going against the interest of those very influential in government. Interested farmers are dealing with the family of no less the President, Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III, son of one time President Cory C. Aquino. The conflict revolves around the SDO. In his mother’s time as president of the country, activists, militant farmers and farm workers, marching on their way to Malacañang Palace to demand the land under the agrarian reform law, ended up killed in what is now known as the Mendiola massacre.

And the heir of Pres Corazon C. Aquino, clear enough, is trying to avoid the same thing from happening in his time. While Noynoy apparently is not turning his back on the family’s “stock transfer” position, his administration, so far, has been quite liberal in its approach with those demanding for the land of Hda Luisita. A referendum regarding the SDO has been devised.

Another issue there seems to be who decides on who should qualify as beneficiaries. Right you are, at the end of the day, it is the owner of the land who decides. In cases involving land reform, only government that now owns those lands has the right to do that. Only DAR issues certificate of award, land or stock.

A CA usually started with  a petition by people’s organization  for some land to be acquired by government and then redistributed to the petitioners, under the land reform program.

VOS, in the other hand, stemmed from landowner’s will to sell land to government. VOS are not as simple as they sound. Ordinarily,  landowners  did not know their way around. They found their way to people who know the way. Those agents could be lawyers, or influential individuals or groups, who are knowledgeable in the maze of the bureaucracies i.e. Department of Agrarian Reform, Land Bank of the Philippines, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Lands, and more.  The fee was usually 20% of the total amount of the sale of land.

It is not usual way for DAR to take the burden of seeking or finding interested beneficiaries for VOS land. S.O.P. requires list of beneficiaries as one requirement for approval of VOS application. And VOS applicants and their agents should provide a tentative list of that or else  their application sleeps. That system has been formalized as voluntary land transfer, a term which is technically parallel operation land transfer [OLT] of the old land reform. Almost all VOS went that way.

Farm workers-turned-farmers as stockholders of Central Asucarera de Tarlac? Next thing to happen there will be a squabble between them and the original stockholders for control of the Corporation. Contest for control of a corporation is normal, natural, and universal of all corporations. But as we have seen just the mere thought of them is no longer acceptable to many of the would-be-farmers. First, they cannot agree with Luisita’s admin on many terms. Second, they seem do not or cannot trust the other side. The situation, which has already wasted a lot  of blood right in Luisita, hangs in there.

Lastly, HLI uses the “number of days worked by a farmer” as a basis for determining the number of stocks to be given to a farmer. Through this, HLI can unilaterally deny any farmer his entitlement to the stocks by the simple expediency of not giving him any working hours or days.

Land re-distribution in Tenancy land reform is easy. There are actual tenants with actual specific areas assigned them by landlords. State simply surveys them to draw parcels based on actuality.

How would you parcel out land to farm workers? They come and go. Some of them have been there for generations. Some of them are residents while some of them are seasonal migratory. Some of them have worked there for many years, while some of them just came yesterday. What about the women and the children who weeded in the fields? Sometimes, as in the case of bloody Hda. Luisita and bloody Hda Velez-Malaga in Negros, the farm workers cannot even agree among themselves. Who qualifies and how much should go to each can, indeed, be chaotic.

SDO by HLI?  That cannot be because HLI can only recommend to DAR, which has the authority to decide and to approve.

Actually, half the interested-farmers in Luisita have already accepted and tried SDO. They were not happy. What did they expect to earn in a hectare or a fraction of it from sugarcane production, really? Even five hectares in there is a waste of time under present circumstances. And that’s what I said selling land earns better! And we already saw 4 million hectares sold by their owners because they saw no good to them! There are better things than sugarcane farming.  First, there is the instability and volatility of  the  sugar market in the country  with a long  history quite pessimistic for the planters.  Second, is the nagging issue of slave wages that have always been blamed on the landlords, and to which  nothing seemed can be done about in the situation.

As for the land reform called CARP that is actually more of politics than sound economics? Well, it looks like the President can do nothing about it. Maybe Philippine Congress will do something for CARP or whatever people would like to name the program. And whatever that is, I don’t think the President will be comfortable with. Because, he is in a situation that damn if he does and damn if he does not.

The program had actually expired but was extended by congress to appease farmers and radicals. Or maybe that is only what we see. Fact is, CA is deemed terminated while extension applies to VOS. There were lots of VOS applications that are pending yet when the program matured. Department of Agrarian Reform [DAR] has received VOS applications more than it had handled.

Damn CARP! Or, maybe, we should say damn sugar trade in this country!

Give all the lands to the poor as they are what they want and as they are what politicians think is good. Then, give farmers a little better than rice and corn. Or, give them better reason than for them to leave their lands idle. The latter solves the problem of any sugar mill, the problem of Luisita included.

Give more incentives and protection to our producing sectors. The country which is blessed with land and climate suitable for agriculture should have been an agricultural power instead of having become dependent on world agriculture. Damn “Comprehensive Agrarian Reform” program. And damn sugar trading.

Related post here. Doing away with comprehensive agrarian  reform…

Updates: SC latest ruling regarding stock distribution option in HLI.

Land distribution ng Hacienda Luisita…

This Time the Free Condoms Are At Fault

It looks like I went off-tract in my previous post, went on and on,  and fizzled away. Where were we when I went a side…Hmm…

Ah, Saying one thing and doing another thing… That is also one of the primary factors that contributed to the Quirino hostage crisis fiasco, if we remember. Negotiator Yebra told gunman Rolando Mendoza that Roberto Mendoza’s service firearm was already returned when Rolando found out later that it was not. It caused heat that fed until it blew up.

Currently hot, the President has a row with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines [CBCP]. He was seen assuring everybody that government’s role in the controversial Reproductive Health bill, which the Church opposes, is limited to dissemination of information and to leave decision and methods  of birth control to married couples. That is conflicting and is non re-conciliatory with government’s acts of distributing free condoms and other contraceptives.

Government has been giving away those things since several past administrations. Malacañang spokesperson has acknowledged their acts defending them. Was the President only thinking loud of his wishes on the matter when he issued his statement? Reality showed different from what he said.

The Catholic Church has always opposed artificial birth control, which is behind their now stiff opposition to the passing of the RH bill in general. Population control is a World program. It has governments for its conduits. It is also being pushed by Non-government [NGOs] and private organizations. Everything going on in there is, in fact, old. But for government to put  the matter into law is now met by the Church as something very different.

At the side, I suppose Juan dela Cruz will also be spending multi-billions of pesos on those contraceptives, next time, instead of the international grants at present? Money is not really the issue. Our system of accounting public funds is. It is one nagging issue in everywhere of our bureaucracy. Multi billions, almost all in the administration of President Arroyo, have not been accounted  yet and it looks like they’ll have to be written off. Or maybe the new administration can deliver surprises for Juan dela Cruz regarding them?

Then in the midst of the controversy, like an intermission in a play, entered tour guide named Carlos Celdran who made a dramatic show during a mass in the Manila Cathedral known home of the Philippine bishops. He looked very amusing in a Jose Rizal costume, which is a Charlie Chaplin outfit, actually.

But not contented with the big placard he carried that said DAMASO, the name of an abusive Church friar in Dr. Jose Rizal’s novel, he also yelled at the bishops for their meddling in the proposed RH bill. Anti-friar Jose Rizal himself might have been horrified by Mr. Celdran! If somebody does that to you in your house would not that  be invective and disrespect?  Let’s think of religion and religious beliefs and respect for them irregardless of sect.

Yes, the church is considered a house of God and is open to all, but… Hand cuffed, taken away and detained I guess Mr. Celdran has got it coming. Public scandal, maybe, or something like that? I really don’t know. And I guess his best defense would be for his lawyer to plea ‘insanity’ or ‘temporary insanity’, I’m not really sure. I am a carpenter.

Forgive him fathers. He said he has no regret whatsoever for what he did. Maybe the church is losing its grip on the young generation of Filipinos. Mr. Celdran, released on bail, has now become an overnight sensation that is heard to be reaping ‘raves in cyberspace’!

Where were we…But, I think, for the President, the issue has spilled beyond morality, beyond what is right and what is wrong with using condoms, with RH bill.

Saying one thing and doing another thing. The President and his men has got more reasons to be careful of their acts together because at the end of the day, the buck stops with [him], as he had said with the Quirino hostage crisis. Yes, folks, he pays for all his men and he knew that.

Saying one thing and doing another thing. The matter has got many ugly kapatid [relatives] not seen yet, for the President to be caught seated on that spot, or for him to be seen with, everywhere he goes, everything he does, again, again and again!?

Distinguishing Local and National Crisis, What’s That?

The recent investigations on the crisis show that there was a problem on distinguishing local and national crises. Because those who handled the crisis did not elevate the hostage-taking into a national concern, national officials found it inappropriate to just involve themselves or else muddle the then negotiations with hostage taker Capt. Rolando Mendoza. On the other hand, critics of the administration including Cong.  Lagman insists that since the case involved foreign nationals, then it shouldn’t have been taken lightly or at the local scale.

Local and National Crisis. I find that amusing reflection of Filipino politics and politicians. Do we need a law defining or distinguishing local and national crisis? Do organizations like governments need one specially written for them, other than already written and shaped over tradition, history and time?

Of course the Quirino Grandstand incident, in the course of it, became a national crisis. It started when the attention of the President was drawn to it and he got annoyed by it. In fact he went there and stationed somewhere in the proximity of the Quirino grandstand. That shows clear cognizance of the gravity of the situation no less by the President.

And I think it should have little or nothing to do with nationality involved because, next time, it might happen involving all-Filipino and yet would warrant national attention. Surely we are not second class citizens in our own country.

I have lived an organizational life, once. They went for us like these: Fiasco at the Barangay level ends with the Barangay officials and the town Mayor. Fiasco at the town level ends with the town officials and the Governor. In the modern day I guess that includes the DILG secretary because this added branch of government has been going down to the lowest level, which must be in its mandate.

It is assumed that problem encountered at the barangay level, for example, is conveyed to the town level, because if not, then, only the barangay level is accountable. Although the buck still stops with the Mayor… what he has done with his erring constituents… command responsibility. And command responsibility is reflected all the way upward.

Sometimes, uninformed by the lower level, problem gets the attention of the higher level that it may, or may not, act upon. They depended on the size-up of the situation. I think it is there that distinguishing local and national crises would like to elbow in.

I think some people here are questioning the soundness of national leadership’s judgment on whether or not it was time to take over and to have a more direct hand in what is theirs from the start, in the first place, as applied in the Quirino hostage crisis. They might have made a mistake like miscalculating the situation. That calls for apology and forgiveness. In fact the President has already done so even before the IIRC was formed to pick up and reconstruct the bits and pieces of the incident… if we remember a while ago.

But a law in there will tell officials what they can or cannot do in a situation even in their own domain. Going out of line, then, opens them to criminal liability. And what are the undersides of them? I imagine something like the President of the Philippines cannot, or should not do anything in the city of Manila because the law says it! Problema mo ‘yan Mayor at hindi sa akin, ha ha ha. Haay, mabuti na lang. Kung pumalpak, libre ako. Or, why not a Mayor or a Governor to tell national officials to stay out because he can handle it and he is perfectly within the law. Ayun, pumalpak tuloy!

Presently, when the mayor is in the barangay it is assumed that he is automatically in charge but in the manner that he is not taking away any function and obligation of the barangay officials. His is merely an override when there is conflict with the local officials. He is, in that instance, the de-facto direct highest authority of that place. So, in case of a f ck-up, the barangay captain simply said, “The Mayor was there, ask him about that.  Maybe he can say better”.

And all is reflected all the way upward to the highest level. I guess they are the results of what already are written in the charters of everyone, although they may not be found in one single document.

Shall we agree with Albay Congressman Edcel Lagman that heads should roll and these should include Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and the other cabinet secretaries?

Whether or not the head of DILG Secretary J. Robredo, or of anybody in the Cabinet should roll, I think, depends on the President. Nobody, not Congressman Edcel Lagman, knows better those people than the President himself. The President is responsible for them. If there is any question about those people, the President takes it, again, under the principle of command responsibility. He swims or sinks with them is all up to him.

Yes, every citizen has the right to tell the President what is right or what is wrong with him, of any of his men, of his administration, the  President would listen or not.

But, distinguishing local and national crises, what is that? Do we really need something separate and distinct as that?  Let’s take blame. In the world where people were honest, honorable and dignified it was not necessary. People readily assumed responsibility and accountability even before anybody has even whined about it. It usually ends the same or worse for them, anyway. And that closes the matter unless people saw more than them involved.

In the world where people are quick to pass the buck and to point fault to everybody other than themselves, where common sense is a thing of the past, where rat-always-seeking-hole mentality has dominated, where wrongdoers don’t give-up even when cornered in the ultimate V formation of walls – pakapalan ng mukha or tipong hindi “magpapahuli ng buhay”, it appears we do need idiocies like Local and National Crisis with everything stuffed to that. Yeah,  another Burloloy in addition to what already are in place that actually worked better in the past until they were nested by rats.

Do you wonder why all the backlogs in Philippine courts? Why it took a simple man in the street five years to hear the court say that a harassment case against him is dismissed? And dismissed temporarily because the complainant failed to show up each time! Why some ex-cop  had gone boryong with the law? [Some of them I know killed themselves waiting years for their retirement money to be released than do things more stupid like hi-jacking of tourists. And one of their fears was that if they died their old widows might end up prostitute in some corridors of power seeking release of their benefits!]

Why the bureaucracy hardly moves? A little more to them and Filipinos will be non-insane people in a straight jacket. And Ex-police captain Mendoza might not be the last of his kind.

I remember a while ago, National Bureau of Investigation Director Gatdula announced the scrapping of some departments of NBI. Duplication of functions. Malacañang also announced some offices dissolved.  Yes, Burloloys. Saves on taxpayers money, too. Simplifying instead of complicating things, I should add, reducing instead of adding chaos to a chaotic world created by chaotic politics. Because, sometimes there are things added to solve problems that actually worsened them. Now that reminds me again of the Total log ban to save our forests that totally killed many of our forests!

Meantime whether problems are local or national, should we really be spending precious time on that, folks? If you are a mayor, everything down to your grassroots is your problem. If you are a governor, everything down to your grassroots is your problem. If you are the president, everything down to your grass roots is your problem. What more is missing? Are they not enough?

Aftermath, Why the Clout of Secrecy Over Nothing, Sire/Ma’am

It was only last night that I got to see what are in the IIRC part I Report, which I finally got to finish reading one item this morning [September 24]. I have, actually, opened the web-page that carried it [ABS-CBN news.com] in the evening of September 21. I spent endless minutes waiting for the PDF down load until, felling frustrated, I decided to cancel. You see, in the era of MBs and GBs I still employ KB per-second rate-transfer over modem. I have tried wireless broadband over USB once and it made me an outsider to my own PC. Everybody in the house suddenly wanted to use it!  Hah, nobody now wants to use my PC except me and the grand children! Sometimes the kids come strong and very demanding. That’s when I know I was seated there too long, forgetting time and day.

I inserted the link to that page seen below my previous post on September 22 . So, actually, I’ve been reading public reactions to the IIRC report all the while until I decided to see the source – the IIRC report, myself. I remembered that, other than the PDF version, there were links to each part of the report seen below the opening address of the President. I came back to that ABS-CBN page last night. I selected the following links: 1. Facts and sequences of events 2. Critical incidents 3. Evaluation of CMC and police actions 4. Evaluation of media coverage… thinking of coming back for more later. I guess I have to make do with probably second or third rate true copy version instead of the PDF I had originally wanted.

Boy, are we trying to amuse the world with some zarzuela? Here are some questions from Juan dela Cruz in the streets. Why give copy to the Chinese first and to the Filipino people later when it should have been given to all whoever got his copy first? In parts or in whole the report is subject to further study and decision of higher authority so, why part one and part two for the Filipinos because they cannot be changed anymore by the IIRC?  Sooner or later they will come out. Why holding off things to the Filipino people? Why the clout of secrecy over nothing? What are there that cannot be trusted to the Filipino people?

By the way for those new in Computer and in the Internet, and who have no time reading pages on-line, or who would like to review pages off-line later, here are the simple tricks: EXPLORER: 1. Add to favorites, also 2. Go to Control panelInternet optionsAdvanceSecurity, make sure that Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed is unchecked. 3. Re-open in Favorites or in History when off-line later. MOZILLA FIREFOX: 1. Bookmarks 2. Same as above 3. Re-open in bookmarks or in history later.

I spent all my time reading the first item late last night, and again early this morning. I gave all the other items a quick scan and decided to save them somewhere. I guess it was my impression of Facts and sequences of events after reading them that tired me.

One flaw with Mozilla Firefox, all the off-line pages is wiped out when the program crashes, which is not true with Internet Explorer. You must Save pages that you need, to be sure.

Going back to tract. I was expecting to see conclusive reporting… barest facts. What I saw was IIRC report of their summary of witnesses’ accounts that in many instances, naturally, differed. In those instances none of them can be considered fact because fact may be one of them or somewhere in them. Minor flaws sometimes mean big.

But now because of some faint shadow of doubt that has cast over it, why not some facts not in there at all? Or, why not they included distorted facts?

The fact that we are in a situation where there is obvious hunt for culpability since the beginning, presents high possibility that each account contains or is tainted with element of self-preservation, which should be assumed of all involved. [Even the IIRC being a part of the State, which is one party involved, has to guard against itself.]

Let’s take Bus driver Lubang. He was previously briefed for any possibility of being a cohort of the hostage taker. And there are the negotiators, the hostage crisis management in general, who are already hinted for the fiasco, failure, short coming, poor performance, probable criminal liability, whatever, even before the IIRC was formed. There was Gregorio Mendoza who has accused authorities of planning to execute him. I don’t think  the other side will take that seating down.

And IIRC is there to ferret out facts – definite, authoritative and conclusive, facts from myths, if any.

My impression of the IIRC report is that of factual reporting in the manner of media reports. Passing  things left to right or  from right to left, exactly and no more when they got them. I think investigative journalism by professional media practitioners might have presented better. Or, maybe, an Intelligence report by any uninvolved third party might have been better. My expectations must have been too much.

OK, Facts and sequences of events offers enough for everybody to start digging and pushing until the thing is concluded and rested.

Maybe I should be reading the whole report from A to Z when I have time. Perhaps my first bite was placed in the least delicious part. Did I see butaw bodi but there is Straight-flush tucked somewhere I have not been into, yet?

Maybe…but maybe when I have no better things to do.

Aftermath, Tell Us What Really Happened, Sire/Ma’am

It is nearly a month today after the Quirino Grandstand hostage taking. That there were human lives lost, like had happened in other parts of the world, is harsh reality that can be accepted. But this one was viewed by the world as one awfully shocking fiasco by authorities, which has dragged everybody up to the President, in the search for who’s to blame.

A commission detached from the Department of Justice [DOJ] to investigate the matter was set up. The commission’s inquiry is over and its report was already submitted to Malacañang Palace. So, there is already a formal say on the matter for everybody and that’s it. The report has yet to be disclosed to the public. The world is waiting for that.

As already hinted by the DOJ secretary, about a dozen names to include a few media persons, are recommended for prosecution. Now this is interesting. I don’t believe anyone of them is going to jail. I don’t think there was a crime committed by anyone on the side of government and media unless there was intention by any of them to kill the hostages. A number of people probably did not deserve their posts entrusted them in government. There must have been a lot of lapses. Some stupidity might have been, at worst.  But then they’re all there is for them there. To think that there was more would show utmost intrigue if not insane.

But, wait, there might have been reckless imprudence committed  to warrant criminal prosecution. From where I look at and saw things, I doubt it, but who knows. The investigating commission who looked very close in there may have seen different from those seen by any Juan dela Cruz in the streets. People expect no stone left unturned.

The Philippine Senate did its own inquiry regarding the incident, too. Very provoking, however, is Senator Joker P. Arroyo’s citation of media as faulted for airing live the hostage crisis. That media should have not telecast it live because, as a result, it put the whole nation to shame before the whole world.  I found it horribly disgusting coming deep from the mind of Senator Joker P. Arroyo who is considered a great legislator and a champion of the Filipino people. If reality has put shame on us all, then let’s accept that and be sorry for them.

What is more dignified, honorable and trustworthy than people who stand with the Truth? And, yes, courageous because sometimes truth can be painful.

And maybe hostage crisis management must include people TRUSTED by the hostage taker, whoever they are, among the negotiators, if it comes to that. It simply is crazy for people with distrust fixed in their minds to be seating together  or negotiating it out.

For a former officer of the law to take hostages and to threaten lives, believing  that the act will win him back his job,  must be crazy. But, I think, former police Captain Mendoza still made sense when he decided not to talk anymore to people  that he saw lied to him.  To trust a liar is non-sense. That was very shortly before he started counting fast and then started killing his hostages putting his feet across the threshold of no return.

Where were we. Was the Senator telling media to air only what is deemed beautiful and to hide what is deemed ugly? Who deems what, and what is what? Media as a party to F cking the world?  I hope the Senator does not really entertain the idea that media should be censored by the state.

Heroes don’t grow old, they only fade  into their place in history. But this one does. He must be getting old. I think the Senator deserved it when ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs chief, Maria Ressa, gave it to him straight:  That it is not business of media to prop up anybody and anything. That the business of media is to deliver true, nothing but true, and it was only doing that job!

Amen here. And since human values have been involved, may I add Ang hindi sinungaling ay may mga kapatid yan – honesty, atbp.

update Sept 22, 2010

The IIRC report as disseminated yesterday.

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