Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Minority bloc eyes own fertilizer scam report.

MANILA, Philippines - The minority bloc in the Senate is set to come up with its own report on the multimillion fertilizer fund scam following the blue ribbon’s findings exonerating President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from the said anomaly.

“We are preparing the minority report kung saan makikita na napakarami pang leads, witnesses na puwede pang ipatawag including the other contractors and suppliers and local government officials,” Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.

[“We are preparing the minority report wherein we’ll show that there are still leads to follow and witnesses to summon including other contractors and suppliers and local government officials.”]

“Though we empathize with the blue ribbon committee, the keyword is not submitting the whole report but exhausting all leads,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano described the blue ribbon report, which was signed by 12 senators, as "hinog sa pilit (raw)" after it found no direct evidence linking President Arroyo to the P728-million scam.

“This is premature to say that there is no evidence against President Arroyo,” Cayetano said.

The blue ribbon report, which was released Monday, recommended the filing of a string of charges including plunder against former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante and several other individuals.

Bolante was the alleged mastermind of the scam wherein some P728 million worth of fertilizer funds intended for poor farmers were allegedly diverted to President Arroyo’s campaign kitty in the 2004 elections.

Blue ribbon committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon admitted that President Arroyo, by an act of omission, committed the same crimes of her underlings but said his committee did not find sufficient evidence that would directly link her to the anomaly.

Gordon said President Arroyo is liable under the "doctrine of qualified political agency," which provides that all executive and administrative organizations are adjuncts of the executive department.

Gordon made the recommendation as he formally submitted the panel’s 130-page preliminary report after eight public hearings.

Cayetano said Gordon’s panel should have invited to the hearing former Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin who was then responsible for releasing the fund.

He also said the report “diverted” from the original purpose of the investigation, which is to find out if the money was used by the Arroyo administration to its campaign kitty during the 2004 elections.

“I’m saying that it (report) was rushed, and it doesn’t give justice to the intent of the investigations which is to find out the whole truth,” Cayetano said. - GMANews.TV

Election Game Changer out soon

Finally. Hopefully by the time I become 40 years old on March 15, 2009, my book "Election Game Changer" will be published and made available to the public. Its my way of celebrating 4 decades here on earth.

As an added service, I will be available for speaking engagements, lectures, and orientation seminars on how to implement the book. I invite those running in 2010 to touch base and see what we can do to get you elected. You can email me at


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Selected Philippine online media sources

I do daily media scanning and news analysis. Simply put I track relevant issues so that I can provide risk assessment, competitive intelligence, and early warning to clients. The following are my staple of on-line media sources.


You might want to add these to your list.


Create your own social network online.

If you would want to develop your own social network to loop in friends, visit Its a free online service for you to have your own friendster of facebook type portal. Its cool.

Another great online social networking tool is twitter. It is a simple on line program that makes you keep track of friends and them keeping track of you on a daily basis. Its located at You just post "what are you doing?" and you get posts from friends in return. Its cool too.

Check these sites out.


Brainbang election 2010 series 3

Why Senator Ping Lacson should just shut up
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-02-15

That headline is correct. If there is anyone who should shut up and stop commenting on the farcical manner the February 11 Senate hearing (on the World Bank Report on contract rigging) was conducted, it is none other than Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

But why, you might ask, should Sen. Lacson shut up and stop commenting on that controversial hearing on the World Bank (WB) Report when he has been the most aggressive Senator in identifying the people behind the alleged contract rigging?

You might also ask: was it not Sen. Lacson who named First Gentleman Mike Arroyo as the alleged central figure in the WB contract rigging? Was it not Sen. Lacson who also dragged other politicians like former Representative Prospero Pichay et al to the WB contract rigging mess?

Well, it is precisely for those reasons why your Chair Wrecker thinks that Sen. Ping Lacson should now stop commenting on this whitewash issue and just shut up. Simply put, Lacson lost the moral high ground to speak out on that farce of a hearing when he left it last Thursday just to attend to another appointment.

Just what “other appointment” could be more important for Sen. Lacson that he has to leave the Senate WB hearing where he was instrumental in identifying the alleged bid manipulators? His Senate job is more important than any other appointment and that includes a possible appointment with a urologist in case he is now showing signs of erectile dysfunction.

Don’t you agree that what Sen. Lacson did is no different from grabbing the basketball during a crucial point of a ball game — then, all of a sudden, hand it over to the opposing team? He took a lead role in pressing for this investigation and just when the accused were gathered, he takes a French leave.

After what he has exposed, after identifying the alleged culprits — Sen. Lacson cannot justify leaving that hearing for another appointment.

That bizarre departure of Sen. Lacson from last Thursday’s hearing raises suspicions because he knows that the new Senate President that he was instrumental in installing — Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile — is a staunch defender of the administration. Lacson also knows that the Committee Chairperson, Sen. Miriam D. Santiago, is another administration defender.

True to form, both Senators Enrile and Santiago managed to maneuver the hearing and make the WB the villain instead of the heroic whistleblower. Did Sen. Lacson expect Senators Enrile and Santiago to perform otherwise? Has Sen. Lacson forgotten how they tried to do the same to the other whistleblowers who testified against the evil regime in previous Senate hearings?

Didn’t the “Top Cop” that Sen. Lacson has been touted to be sense the direction that the hearing will take with the actuations and pronouncements of Senators Enrile and Santiago days before the hearing? Many people, none of them with “Top Cop” credentials, sensed that a whitewash was in the works after Senators Enrile and Santiago extended super leniency to Mike Arroyo, announcing that they will not compel him to appear in the hearing.

A lot of people who expected Lacson to carry the ball and frustrate the administration plot to clear the suspected WB contract riggers were shocked when he left the hearing. Many of them asked this Chair Wrecker for an explanation.

One of them wondered if Sen. Lacson was afraid of being confronted by Prospero Pichay and the others who he linked to the WB contract rigging scandal. Another wondered if Sen. Lacson is already working undercover for the administration — citing surprise why Lacson was also siding with Enrile and Santiago in not compelling Mike Arroyo to attend the hearing.

Another person said that Lacson is under the gun because of the Senator’s pending case in the Supreme Court and that this could be the reason why the “Top Cop” has been playing the administration line. This same person added that Lacson surprisingly sponsored the confirmation in the Commission on Appointments (CA) of controversial Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez who was rejected by the CA in the past.

Sen. Lacson had the gall and the temerity to denounce the Thursday WB hearing — saying that it followed a carefully crafted script. Of course, it was a script. The editors and Op-Ed writers of the STAR agreed that it was a script. So too did many of the editors and writers of the other media.

Santiago’s theatrical antics, Enrile’s issuance of a subpoena to the WB country director, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez’s admission (but only towards the end) that the WB did provide a thick file, the testimony of Mike Arroyo’s doctor that, in effect, the First Gentleman is fit for travel and golf but not to testify or clear his name, the letter of Mike Arroyo that his lawyer Ruy Rondain read — all that reeked of a scripted program that even the three government TV networks (that never covered a Senate hearing before) suddenly aired live.

But didn’t Sen. Lacson play a lead role in that script by leaving the hearing and abrogating his task of pressing the issues? Sen. Lacson could have put Senators Enrile and Santiago in a bind by protesting the attempt to whitewash the case and make the WB the villain.

He could have demanded for more time by saying that he was the only one who was conducting a real investigation. Santiago would have been hard pressed to deny giving Senator Lacson more time to question the accused.

When he left the hearing, didn’t Sen. Lacson provide the wide space and elbow room for the pro-administration Senators to reverse the role of accuser and accused? Didn’t Sen. Lacson’s departure constitute the equivalent of a prosecuting attorney leaving the courtroom to allow the defense lawyer to press the defense arguments unopposed?

Many would be inclined to call that deceit or hypocrisy.

Brainbang election 2010 series 2

The Senate President that Ping Lacson et al created
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-02-10

Under normal circumstances, Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile (otherwise known as JPE) would not have been elected Senate President. Other than the expected support of Senator Gringo Honasan, the other Senators were lukewarm to the idea of a JPE Senate Presidency.

However, because Senators Panfilo Lacson, Mar Roxas, Loren Legarda and Jamby Madrigal were so fixated on removing former Senate President Manny Villar as the third in the line of presidential succession, JPE became Senate President.

Senators Lacson, Roxas, Legarda and Madrigal — all claiming to be Opposition members — were willing to install one of the biggest supporters of the Arroyo regime as Senate President just so that they can erode the presidential bid of Manny Villar. This is the bane of selfish, narrow minded Philippine politics that has stunted the development of this country.

Lacson, Roxas and Legarda have a moist eye on the 2010 presidency while Madrigal is said to be positioning as the vice presidential running mate of Panfilo Lacson.

Upon his election as Senate President, JPE expressed full support for the agenda of the four who manipulated his freak ascendancy. It was freak ascendancy because clearly the administration senators were outnumbered by the Opposition senators. JPE even mimicked the Opposition mantra of “NO to Charter Change via Constituent Assembly.”

Well, last week JPE has changed his tune. Right after a compliant House of Representatives railroaded a Charter change bill, Juan Ponce-Enrile announced that he was open to Charter change pegged on instituting economic reforms.

Are we surprised that Enrile did that? Was he not the same man who turned his back on Ferdinand Marcos, the political patron that brought JPE into the national political stage? Didn’t JPE also turn his back on Cory Aquino after he helped her remove Marcos? Didn’t JPE incite that May 1, 2001 crowd that assaulted Malacañang Palace — only to later join the very Malacañang Palace occupant they wanted to remove?

From leading a solid Senate rejection of Charter change just a few weeks ago, how can Juan Ponce-Enrile now take the position that he is open to Charter change pegged strictly on economic reforms?

Representative Victor Ortega, chair of the Congress committee that passed the Charter change bill for floor deliberations, was clear that once passed the bill cannot guarantee that term limits (extensions) will not be touched when the process gets underway. Is Juan Ponce-Enrile suggesting that a supposed legal eagle like him is unaware of this reality?

Last Sunday, the STAR carried a story written by Aurea Calica that narrated how JPE blew his top when an unidentified radio listener responded to his new Charter change position via text message. JPE was being interviewed over radio station DWIZ when the program host, Cely Ortega-Bueno, read the text message to him.

Enrile reportedly slammed the texter: “My question to the texter is this — so what is your answer to the current problems of the country? What? What is your plan? So what do you advise us to do, huh? I am asking you.”

Enrile added: “If he (texter) wants he can come out and we can debate about this in front of the public, whatever he plans to do.”

“Are we just going to neglect the people who lost their jobs? Are we just going to neglect the families who are hungry? That is foolishness. Tell him he is stupid.” JPE said.

It is typical of our politicians to wave the “love for the people” flag when actually attempting to pull a fast one on unwitting Filipinos. Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo — they all claimed to love and care for us. But look at where they all got us.

These three have been the most destructive presidencies to infect our land and it is no coincidence that Juan Ponce-Enrile happened to be a staunch supporter of the three at different times in his career. Marcos created the political foundation for future abuse of power and suppression of democracy. Estrada worsened the effects of the Asia Currency Crisis with his mismanagement. Madame Arroyo is just about the sum of Marcos and Estrada and then some.

JPE is peddling fallacies when he proposes to alleviate poverty and lost jobs with Charter change. The present Constitution provides the framework for spurring economic progress but fails to deliver economic benefits because of the politicians who control and manipulate the system.

The truth is this: It is political reform and not economic reform that will improve the lives of many Filipinos. What our country needs is real democracy but can we expect the oligarchy that rules this country to institute the very reform that will eliminate their monopoly on power?

This promise of attracting foreign investors when we open land ownership to aliens and foreign companies is an illusion. China and Vietnam do not allow foreigners to own land in their country but they lead in attracting foreign investments.

Foreign investors have not asked to be allowed to buy land here. What turns them off is the corruption, the unpredictable judiciary, the predators in all branches of government and so forth.

Clearly, it is the type of politicians that needs changing and not the Constitution.

The problem Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile is political. It has always been political. And we do not trust you and your ilk to usher in the era of political reform in this country which is why we Filipinos are wary of people like you when you mouth economic reform.

Brainbang election 2010 series 1

You might unknowingly vote for a GMA 'clone' in 2010
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-01-29

The support for Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) fluctuates from survey to survey between the low 20% to the last high of 29% in the SWS net satisfaction ratings released last December. Over 70% of Filipinos either rejected GMA or were wary of her in that last survey.

However, because of the multi-party system that is now in place, we have been getting a spate of presidents elected by a plurality. Unfortunately, we don’t have runoff elections to ensure that the winner is elected with a majority vote.

Even Joseph “Erap” Estrada who was considered to have been popularly elected in 1998 could only muster 38% of the total votes cast. Fidel V. Ramos was elected president with only 22% of the votes cast in 1992. In 2004, many of us even doubt that GMA really got the winning plurality.

It cannot be ruled out that, despite remaining extremely unpopular, GMA still has a good chance that her ‘clone’ could end up winning the 2010 presidential elections. Five Opposition presidential candidates running against one administration candidate could easily result in an administration victory — even without cheating.

The 70% anti-GMA voters divided by five Opposition candidates will average to a mere 14%. The average 25% pro-GMA voters will still win. Easily, there are Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, Loren Legarda, Panfilo Lacson, Joseph Estrada, Chiz Escudero and Jojo Binay from among the Opposition who are eyeing the 2010 presidency.

In fact, even if the Opposition miraculously manages to rally around one presidential candidate, people may not know it that the Opposition candidate could be a GMA ‘clone’ in sheep’s clothing! This Chair Wrecker thinks that there is one such ‘Opposition’ presidential candidate who perfectly fits the bill — Loren Legarda.

Why does this Chair Wrecker think that Senator Loren Legarda has the makings of a perfect GMA ‘clone’? Let me assure you that the coincidence that both Loren Legarda and GMA are women has not even been factored in that assessment.

First of all, let’s set the parameters for seeing a 2010 presidential candidate as a potential GMA ‘clone’. Won’t you agree with this Chair Wrecker that a person’s character and values form the best gauge for determining that?

Our actions are determined and influenced the most by our character and values. Compare, for instance, the character and values of Cory Aquino and GMA. Is it any wonder therefore that Cory Aquino spent her entire term stabilizing and preserving the institutions of our democracy while GMA spent hers eroding and destabilizing these democratic institutions?

Now what exactly has Loren shown us to be perceived by your Chair Wrecker as a potential GMA ‘clone’? Allow me please to explain.

A good gauge of character and a person’s values is that person’s loyalty to a cause. How do GMA and Loren rate in that department?

From LDP when GMA ran in 1995, she has since raised the political banner of Kampi and Lakas in 1998, the People Power Coalition in the 2001 elections, K4 in 2004 and Team Unity in 2007.

Who were with GMA when she came to power in 2001 and how many of those are still with her? She owed her ascendancy in 2001 to the civil society groups who clamored for REFORM AND JUSTICE. Well, did we get reform and justice?

Loren Legarda was with Lakas and actively prosecuted Joseph Estrada during his impeachment hearing in the Senate. She even did the ‘crying lady’ bit when the pro-Estrada Senators killed the opening of the Jose Velarde envelop.

From Lakas, she jumped to the Estrada-associated Opposition and ran as Fernando Poe’s Vice President in 2004. To do that, she had to eat humble pie and eat her own words. Loren renounced her role as an EDSA II player in order to be accepted by the Estrada forces and have a shot at being Fernando Poe’s Vice President.

After having lost the 2004 elections for Vice President to Noli de Castro and after winning in the 2007 midterm elections as an Opposition candidate, she did another GMA ‘jump ship’ stunt and joined the NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition) of Danding Cojuangco — a no ifs and buts GMA supporter.

In the recent Senate coup, Loren Legarda was among the four chief plotters from the Opposition bloc (Panfilo Lacson, Mar Roxas and Jamby Madrigal are the other three) who allowed an administration man — Senator Juan Ponce Enrile — to sit as Senate President. The coup plotters did this in order to unseat Manny Villar who leads in the 2010 presidential polls.

Are you surprised that when Cory Aquino made that ill-timed joke last December 22, Loren Legarda was quick to support the so-called apology to Estrada whose endorsement she seeks in 2010?

Legarda was quoted as saying that Aquino did the right thing. “There is nothing wrong in saying sorry. In fact it shows your humility, it shows your humanity,” she added.

GMA and Loren, Loren and GMA — tell me just what exactly the difference is! Is it not obvious that they share the same values? I called the years of GMA in Malacañang Palace as the era of Harlot Politics, the era when allies and causes were scandalously traded for political gain. Tell me why we should not extend the era of Harlot Politics if and when Loren Legarda occupies Malacañang Palace?

If you were driven to cynicism by GMA, just why will you think that Loren will bring you and our country any hope?


In the recent electoral exercise in the US, I became a member of the social network. I posted the following piece and would want to share it with readers of this blog.


Eero Brillantes

Understanding the election mindset of Filipino Americans, thoughts for the Obama-Biden Ticket. As the US presidential elections enter fever pitch, let me share some thoughts on how to target the four million Filipino-American (FILAM) voters. Apart from the usual demographic profiling of this voting constituency, there needs to be a concrete grounding on deeply rooted Filipino psychology and how it plays into the electoral arena.

First and foremost is to understand America from the point of view of immigrant Filipinos. A lot of the immigrants entered the United States and worked 2 to 3 jobs. The impetus for this is a zealous commitment to succeed and help relatives at home. Usually, when these folks go home to the Philippines, they try to project themselves as success stories despite the hardships experienced in the US. There has to be a real affirmation on the part of the Democratic Party and its standard bearers OBama and Bidden that FILAMS are a positive economic and political force. In other words, a pat on the back and showing that the Democratic Party cares in specific and not in superficial terms would endear the immigrants. Moreso, since majority of FILAM immigrants are Catholic, they frame their life experiences as part of their journey towards physical and spiritual salvation. For them, the United States represents the promised land and salvation and deliverance from the hardships of their lives in the Philippines.

Second is to leverage the value system of immigrants in targeting succeeding generations of FILAMS. Succeeding generations of FILAMS, or those who are born in the U.S. are already acclimatized along American values and for all intent and purposes are mainstream Americans already. The core message for succeeding generations of FILAMS is that the Democratic Party by and large is the political party cognizant of the immense contribution of immigrants to the country’s wealth and power. Emphasis is to be given on a long track record of making sure that immigrants benefit from a strong educational, health care, and welfare system that empowers FILAMS to be productive citizens.

Third is to send a clear message of doing concrete steps for the betterment of Philippines. The Veterans bill is a start, although it is not as compelling as it was once before. Simply put, a lot of the veterans of world war 2 have died and the base of support is dwindling. A more compelling argument for the Obama-Bidden ticket is to help bring actual peace to the Philippines, a strong commitment parallel to what they are espousing in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. There must also be a strong push to empower the Armed Forces of the Philippines. An increase in Aid and Investments with an end in view of having a strong economic and development alliance between the two countries envied by others in the region must be put forth. Nothing excites FILAMS more than seeing the motherland again becoming a strong political, economic, and military ally of the US. The operative word is “Decisiveness”. FILAMS needs to feel that the Philippines is at the center of the South East Asia or even the Asian stage as a major power. In other words, the Philippines must be part of the Obama-Bidden dinner table.

Fourth is to appeal to the Filipinos in the Philippines to ask their relatives in the States to vote Obama-Biden. Nothing beats direct appeal to the locals in the Philippines to endorse an Obama-Biden ticket to the ones in the States. The strong ties that bind Filipinos across the continents is the very foundation of support that moves the diaspora forward. Information Technology like text messaging, phone calls, e-mails, would be the main driver of communication. Folks from both countries are now conversing everyday through text and email. The use of media outlets in the Philippines to place ads on what the Obama-Biden ticket will do for the Philippines and FILAMS and an appeal to locals to get in touch with their loved ones in the States is a powerful methodology. There are media outlets in the Philippines and in the States which specifically reach the FILAM audience. The operative word for this methodology is “personalize”. The Obama-Biden ticket must be part of the FILAM dinner table. On a practical note, US citizens in the Philippines, numbering around 200,000 still have to see the Democratic Party reaching out to them.

In a closely contested match between the Republicans and Democrats for the white house, the need for personalized micro-targeting will have a big sway on the turnout. Florida, California, and Nevada, all swing states, all with a sprawling mass of FILAMS.