Monday, August 29, 2005

A Sensible Suggestion

The House Committee on Justice is set once again to tackle today the most proverbial question lately: What impeachment complaint shall they grind and then decide upon? As we speak now, three distinct complaints are presently docketed before the aforementioned committee, first of which was filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano, where the tenor of the argument is that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has “betrayed the public trust” on account mainly of the Garci tapes. And then there was the amended complaint filed by several lawmakers from the opposition where aside from “betrayal of public trust”, it was additionally alleged that President GMA had violated the constitution as well as of bribing Comelec officials---among other crimes. Aside from these two complaints, there also was that of lawyer Jose Lopez who is said to be a “virtual copy” of the Lozano petition.

The long and protracted debate on whose complaint shall be received for actual deliberation by the house committee on Justice arises mainly from the constitutional rule that provides that only one impeachment complaint against the President shall be heard in any given year. Therefore, it becomes vital for argument purposes as to whose complaint it is that shall initiate the “one complaint” as prescribed by our laws.

On August 19, Former Justice Secretary Artemio G. Tuquero suggested that the three complaints could actually be merge and consolidated, thus doing away with the problem of possibly violating the rules on the initiation of impeachment proceedings. For me, this is the most sensible and sane idea ever to come out of this bedlam of opinions and hush-hushes. When Congress still has no permanent rule on the matters of form and substance of a proper impeachment complaint, it could still anytime propose and establish a rule where it could be allowed that two or more complaints could be merge and consolidated as long as they retain a reasonable semblance of tenor and arguments. In the present situation, since all three complaints are pointed against the same defendant, that is the President herself, the house committee on justice may motu propio (on its own) decide today to merge the three complaints and thus “creating” merely one complaint where it is incorporated all petitioners as complainants in such, and then listing in it all the particulars and basis of complaints, from betrayal of public trust to bribery. In this manner, it is completely avoided that one single complaint may violate the constitutional limitation on the number of impeachment complaint initiated against the President.

The suggestion presented above is never farfetched or strange since the regular Rules of Court also allows merger and consolidation of parties although in a much stricter way. Section 6 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court allows the joinder of parties into a singular complaint where they all have similar causes of action arising from a transaction or series of transaction. The house committee on justice may just emulate this rule in order to resolve the present debacle at hand.

Friday, August 26, 2005

It’s Still A Long, Long Way For Iraq

Early Wednesday morning, while doing their tasks for an American electronics company, three of our compatriots were caught in a crossfire somewhere in Kirkuk, Iraq’s most volatile northern region, and one of them just lost his life. Federico Samson once more typifies the sacrifices some of our countrymen make just in order to keep afloat amongst the ocean of poverty happening now in our country. When will it ever end? This violence…these killings…

The casualties kept rising and the reports of explosions over the streets and avenues of Iraq are mounting by the day and now we heard, the National Assembly is far from ready from finally putting up a draft constitution for the planned October 15 plebiscite, where the Iraqi will go to the polls once again in order to institute their most fundamental legal framework. But even that may not happen as scheduled when days past its supposed deadline, no proposed constitution was agreed upon by the three major sects---the Shiites, the Kurds and the minority Sunnis.

Apparently, the main conflict among Iraqi lawmakers lies not in any political or religious matters but revolves around the economic control of oil. Sunnis have complained that the present draft constitution could allow the Shiite to form an autonomous region in the oil-rich southern region, as a due course to the federal nature of the planned Iraqi government when the constitution is finally approved. The Sunnis are wary that Shiites may use this autonomy to shun them out of resources coming from oil. The Kurds are not unusually silent about the present draft since federalism would also allow them control of the oil-rich Kirkuk region. Meaning to say, their silence is a silent abeyance.

Aside from being the minority, the Sunnis populate areas that are not known for any oil deposit and a looser form of federalism may leave them mostly on the losing end. Once mighty as a ruling sect---where they controlled the Iraqi government under the regime of Saddam Hussein---the Sunnis could not seem to adapt to a newer environment where majority should rule.

The only way to solve this present stalemate is to reformulate the proposed Iraqi constitution where federalism may thrive while at the same time the resources of the entire Iraqi economy could be apportioned fairly among all regions, including those where oil are not drilled. Otherwise, these delays would only prolong the harsh days and nights where life and limbs are lost in the streets of Baghdad, like almost there is no end to it.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gasoline From Corn

Gasoline From Corn

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What you see on the picture is nothing else than a stack of the lowly “corn”. But they won’t be too lowly for far too long. I have read this article from Newsweek about a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn’t help but share it to the readers here.

As you know, plants like corn, rapeseed, and the all-too-prevalent coconuts are fast becoming sources for what is now termed as “next-generation petroleum” or more commonly known as biofuels. Brazil (and also China) are right now far too ahead in the developent of biofuel technology and in fact most of the vehicles that runs through the rugged streets of Rio de Janeiro nowadays are already running on 20 percent ethanol, mixed with gasoline. In some form of vehicles, ethanol mix could reach as high as up to 40 percent. This set-up allows so much cost-saving in terms of fuel expenses among individual car owners and in a wider scale, Brazil as a country saves a lot of dollars from minimizing their oil imports, especially now in these “dangerous days” of $70 Dollars per barrel of oil in the world market.

Our country is currently finding out ways and means on how to curve energy use and thereby saving more on the ever-scarce dollars like avoiding gas-guzzling Expeditions, turning off unnecessary appliances and limiting workdays to four in a week. I think, what we must embark on now is a widespread and very determined effort to developed our own biofuel technology since plants and vegetations that are used as source for biofuels like corn and coconut trees could easily sprout everywhere in this all-too-fertile land of ours.

Like petroleum, biofuel that comes from corn and coconut could actually run a car when they are converted into ethanol and biodiesel. And if they could similarly run our power plants and factories, then our dollars may not have to leave our shores just in order to source that much needed petroleum.

The technology behind biofuels is not that complicated. Like in a cliché, it doesn’t have to take a rocket scientist just in order to handle it. The process is amazingly simple. Materials like corn and coconut are dried-up and then extracted of its oily elements. These procured oily substances are then processed by way of distillations until combustibility is attained. It’s amazingly simple and efficient.

Watch out for this vital development in the fuel industry in the coming months or years. It is said now that biofuel is the greatest challenge to the viability of petroleum as a main energy source. Maybe, OPEC is just pushing the red-button now (by skyrocketing the oil prices per barrel) knowing perhaps that the rise of biofuels as an alternative energy source would be soon forthcoming. Still, how I wish oil prices in the world market could stabilize at more reasonable level.

Photo Credits : Alamy Images

Monday, August 22, 2005

My Life In One Full Minute

"Who Am
I am Jean
---From the musical,
Les Miserables
Last week, a temptress named Nao listed me as one of the bloggers that she would be interested in knowing more of. In short, I was once more tagged for a question-and-answer portion, to which I am just glad to comply with.

Frankly, among all the “tags” in the world, I have never felt more anxious than this one---although in such a fine way---since the questions presented here demands more of honesty and deep, profound introspection. Who am I? Where I’ve been? Where am I going to? These are queries that I need to know myself now as much as you do.

TWENTY YEARS AGO. I was thirteen years old and in that fragment of my past, I am ardently reminded of one unique and an altogether hilarious experience. I was so giddy one morning about going to school since it was my first day in Ateneo de Zamboanga as a freshman highschool student. Perhaps maybe then, I was just feeling so happy that I have found myself within the grounds of a classy school despite that my father Hussin A. Masdal, was just then a lowly employee of the city post office. It was thru the benevolence of my grandfather Unih, that I was enrolled in Ateneo, the one person who once took me in when I was still a toddler, and coddled me like his own child for many, many years, until the moment that I had to return to the fold of my parents, just about the time when I was already finishing elementary school.

On that first day of school, I decided to wear orange pants that an aunt gave me as a gift upon graduation from elementary school. All students were lining up for our first ever flag ceremony when suddenly I heard some snickering from somewhere behind me. I heard a voice whispered loudly, “Gee, with those orange pants, he should have gone straight to the city jail.” It suddenly came to me that particular moment that “orange” was such an unusual color for baggy pants. I thought it was stylish then but I forgot that prisoners wear orange pants similarly, causing some others in the crowd to make fun of them. I sweated hard that morning all throughout the flag ceremony, becoming overly conscious with my baggy orange pants. Since that day, I never wore my baggy orange pants ever again.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. I was eighteen and finally knew that I have the right to vote, Suffrage is such a memento of adulthood, I think. A mark of age,

It was about the time that my grandfather, Unih, passed away, at the old and ripe age of 81. At that age, you could say he had lived fairly long enough but his departure from this mortal world had such a telling effect on me, that I felt like the entire sky fell upon my shoulders. I was so saddened with grief that for a long time, I had a somber mood and a stooping gait. He was almost the most singular person that I dearly loved the most, and the one central figure that I have the healthiest amount of trust. But suddenly, I found him gone like smokes melting into thin air. Like upon a poem, he had been my East, my West, my North and South; my Sun and Moon; my morning, noon and evening; my morning star and my northern star when darkness comes. He was a wall that I had grown accustomed to leaning upon, and which suddenly had just disappeared.

Years after his death, my grandpa appeared to me in a vivid dream, amidst a falling rain at nighttime. He slowly appeared out of the rain and with a smiling countenance he asked how I was. I said I was just alright. He then handed me a ten-peso bill which I refused and said in response, “Maybe you’d need it more. Father gives me enough money now.” In reply, my grandpa said, “In that case, you will be just fine.”

And then he disappeared into the heavy rain once more. When I woke up from that dream, I immediately felt the loneliest of emotions that I wept like a child. There was grief and longing for a most beloved figure in my life, but then I had consoled myself in the thought that, thru that dream, I now believe that my grandfather is just out there somewhere, guiding me still and seeing me through and that someday I’ll be meeting him once again.

TEN YEARS AGO. I was about 23 years old and at that time, I could not remember much anything except stacks and stacks of law books which I had to read as I was then going into the junior years of my law schooling. And oh…I was elected the President of the University Student Council of the Western Mindanao State University later that year.

FIVE YEARS AGO. My eldest child, Sef-Sef was born and that momentous event in my life showed me that indeed, genuine happiness is something that money could not buy.

THREE YEARS AGO. I just failed my first and only attempt at the bar examinations. The world was heavy and the days were dim. I felt so gloomy then but I promised to try again and do better.

LAST YEAR. I should have been taking the bar again but family and other concerns did not allow me the right circumstances. Also, I started blogging sometime in the month of September.

THIS YEAR. Busy with some personal concerns and family matters. I continue blogging like never before.

NEXT YEAR. If I had the right frame of mind and if the circumstances around me are favorable than ever, I might just find myself in Manila once again taking review classes for September’s bar examinations.

TEN YEARS FROM NOW. Maybe, I’d be a lawyer by that time. It’s hard to foresee so much into the future. Or perhaps, in addition I would already be heading an organization that I have in my mind for so long now, a kind of a movement that you know, might just well be able to change the world---for the better.

WHO I WISHED WOULD TAKE THESE QUESTIONS: In my mind are the usual suspects. I hope that they won’t be so busy to answer these queries. Here in no particular order: Teacher Sol, Bing aka Juilet, Angelo, Sam, JP, Bokbok, Anicee, Trickyboy, Punzi, Jove, Glen, Abaniko, Jeff, Buffwings and Shalimar.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Dead Wrong!

Dead Wrong!

It seems like it was only yesterday that we had witnessed one of the more memorable international political image in recent years---that of former U.S. Secretary of State Collin S. Powell holding high in his hands what turned out to be a deadly amount of anthrax that he was then using as a visual aid (while he was trying in earnest to convince the U.N. Security Council to give “Gulf War II” a psychological go-ahead). He was then orating in support of his employer’s war plans, hollering in high booming voices that a time to kill and a time to make war in Iraq had finally come that particular moment.

But years after “Gulf War II”, and over $ 100 Billion Dollars spent on bullets and missiles by U.S. taxpayers, we still haven’t got any single hint that indeed Saddam Hussein had in his possession any substantial amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). For now, Mr. Powell and America is just “dead wrong” about their findings.

On Sunday, CNN verges deep into the myth of Saddam’s chemical weapons and meaningfully exposes and investigates the truth behind the U.S. intelligence failure on such matter. In a
CNN feature titled “Dead Wrong”, the Atlanta-based news network will try once and for all to unravel and perhaps prove rather conclusively that the U.S. intelligence network was way off the mark when it barked throughout the political world that Saddam Hussein was viciously detrimental to world peace and that he was then maintaining a sizeable arsenal of WMD’s. Perhaps CNN may just go beyond that and implicate America outrightly for being caught lying---in red-handed fashion.Image hosted by

This is not the first time actually that insinuations that America had lied to the world in order to pursue a war that is thousand of miles beyond American borders. In April of this year, a presidential commission had concluded in its final report that
“the United States still knows ‘disturbingly little’ about the weapons programs and intentions of many of its most dangerous adversaries. In short, President George W. Bush may just have decided to lie in such a big way just in order to coax U.S. Congress to fund the most expensive war in recent history. Could he have intentionally allowed the manipulation of facts just in order to unduly justify an unjustifiable war?Image hosted by

America peddling half-truths is not already new to us actually. In the years leading to the Vietnam War, then
President Richard Nixon was often seen declaiming the merits of sending American troops to southern Vietnam. It was then highly circulated by Nixon’s henchmen that if Vietnam will fall entirely to the hands of communism, the whole of Asia would soon follow---like dominoes collapsing one by one. We all know now what really happened. Vietnam did entirely fall to the Vietcong but still communism hasn’t made so much of a ripple in the rest of Asia, as feared initially. Did Nixon’s Vietnam war adventure a kind of a “dead wrong” scenario? It seems to be now that the huge casualties of war suffered by America in Vietnam was merely a result of one huge misapprehension.

Now, only history could decide if Bush’s war in Iraq is merely just “one huge misapprehension”.
Photo and Image Credits: CNN/ WikiPedia/ Warblogging.Com/

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Book Club Tag

What's in a book?

In a book is an entirely distinct and living world that can move and fascinate us to no end. When it’s a very good book, it is a kind of world that I joyously venture into every time I leaf through the pages.

Number of books on the shelves: I buy so selectively when it comes to books so over the years, I haven’t piled up a mountain of such. But including my law books, my collection could perhaps fill one huge wooden cabinet.

Those that I own or bought: Ninety percent of my books are bought while about eight percent of them were given as gifts or tokens. The rest (about two percent) are those that I just forgot to return and still remained in my possession. To give you a hint about the kind of materials I read, here is a listing of some of my books:

Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Death of Ivan Illych by Alexander Tolstoy
Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice
The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
The Ground Beneath Her Feet by S. Rushdie
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Finnegan’s Week by Joseph Wambaugh
Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Partner by John Grisham
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough
Primary Colors by Anonymous

Last few books that I bought:

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Book that I'm reading now:

The Norton Anthology of World Literature

Last few books read: The Joy Luck Club. I have just finished re-reading this one. I always find time once in a while to do second readings of books that had affected me most in the past since upon second reading, there are aspects of the story that I have overlook on first reading but makes wonderful and sometime perfect sense upon second reading.


The Sevens

Seven Things That Scare Me

1. Drowning at sea.
2. Falling from great heights.
3. Facing a ghost at close range.
4. Evil spirits.
5. Snakes wiggling into the house.
6. Very enclosed spaces.
7. Murderous robbers.

Seven Things That I Like the Most

1. Travelling in countrysides.
2. Well, blogging.
3. Listening to records that I just bought and being excited on how it will fare with my expectations.
4. A glassful of chilled beer after a long and tiring day.
5. Eating Adobong Manok.
6. Playing and singing lullabies to my kids.
7. Reading, reading and reading.

Seven Important Things in My Bedroom

1. The computer.
2. The guitar.
3. The writing table.
4. The books and magazines.
5. The bed of course.
6. The electric fan.
7. The chair.

Seven Random Facts About Me

1. Like Warmstone, I am a Taurean.
2. I stand five feet and two inches.
3. An unpublished author.
4. Likes to grow my hair long but long hairs does not seem to suit me.
5. I fetch my kids from school every afternoon.
6. I play the drums once in a college garage band.
7. I like the color blue most that I possessed a lot of blue objects like hankies and shirts.

Seven Things I Plan to do Before I die

1. Get my books published.
2. Share the Good News.
3. Organize a spiritual movement.
4. Travel abroad.
5. See my kids working and in good stead.
6. Appear on TV.
7. Repent of all my sins.

Seven Things I can do

1. Write poems.
2. Climb mountains. Me and my friends use to climb mountains around here.
3. Sing a little of Frank Sinatra.
4. Cook my favorite food like Adobong Manok.
5. Drink until the morning comes.
6. Read for hours and hours.
7. Drive all kinds of vehicles except trains and aircrafts.

Seven Things I Can’t Do

1. Swim farther than 20 meters.
2. Intrude into a house.
3. Appear in a party uninvited.
4. Lie casually.
5. Kill animals.
6. Expect respect without respecting.
7. Tolerate abusive persons.

Seven Things that Attract Me to the Opposite Sex

1. Smooth skin.
2. Telling eyes.
3. Intelligence.
4. Wittiness.
5. Gentle persuasions.
6. Broadmindedness.
7. Of course, kindness.

Seven Things You Say the Most

1. Oh, Lord!
2. Oh, God!
3. Jesus Christ.
4. Please.
5. Oh, my God!
6. Uh-huh.
7. I.

Seven Celeb Crushes (whether local or foreign)

1. Beyonce
2. Jennifer Aniston.
3. Tanya Gomez
4. Zhang Zhiyou
5. Gong Li.
6. Lauren Hill of The Fugees.
7. Denise Richards.

Seven People I want to take this Quiz (any of the two)

1. JP
2. jangelo
3. Sam
4. Buffwings
5. Trickyboy
6. Shalimar
7. Anicee

I wish Bokbok and Punzi could take the quiz too. If they aren't that busy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Way The Music Died

The Way The Music Died

When the music is over….
Turn out the lights…
Turn out the lights…
---Jim Morrison, The Doors

Image hosted by Photobucket.comTonight, Studio 23's Newscentral will feature in its Frontline section a documentary about the music industry titled “The Way The Music Died”. I have gotten notice about this five-day series some three days ago and teaser scenes had urged me to bookmark it for my evening TV viewing starting tonight. Music runs in my veins and so I am mostly interested in every show that features music especially on documentaries that involve the comings-and-goings of the recording business.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAt first, I thought “The Way The Music Died” is one expose on how piracy is eating up the music recording industry. We are all aware perhaps how musicians from here and abroad are noisily lamenting every time how bootlegging and illegal downloading had been affecting their industry in such a very bad way. In fact, a number of pinoy artists had trooped down to Fort Bonifacio last week to shout
“Right To Royalty” in a mega-concert that was sponsored by MTV itself. For sure, I support their cause. Piracy is stealing by itself. So give them their royalties.

“The Way The Music Died” is not about music piracy though but it is a sort of an elegical exposition on how the art of music got cheapened by someImage hosted by unscrupulous music producers and artist who are just out there to make some quick buck. The program takes off with a grand lambasting of MTV, the thenera-changing off-beat music television channel that stormed into our consciousness and mindset in the middle of the 1980's and forever changed how we see and listen to our music. While many music lovers of today sing hossanas to the coming of the age of MTV, artists like David Crosby of the Crosby, Stills and Nash fame blamed it for turning music into purely a matter of money and fame and not of art. They say, MTV had encouraged the mushrooming of one-hit wonders instead of making music like in the old classic way, when every artist works so hard on their music that what comes out are always elevating and lasting. Surely, this documentary resents the existence of Britney Spears and the Puff Daddy’s in our midst, who had spawn merely ear candy and radio-friendly tunes. Fast tune means fast money.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI also question myself nowadays about “where the music had gone” but despite of that I maintain a "live-and-let-live" philosophy when it comes to musical taste and preference. I mean, I may not like Britney Spears or The Backstreet Boys but hey, this is a free world. I don’t mind one-hit wonders with simplistic tunes blasting out from the radio as long as I can have my kind of music when I want them---whenever and Image hosted by Photobucket.comwherever. When I say music I mean---U2, REM, Led Zeppelin, Simon and Gurfunkel, Billy Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Morrisson and The Doors, The Refugees, Moby, Tracy Chapman, INXS, Andrea Bocelli, The Three Tenors, Ella Fitzerald, Antonio Jobim, Everything But The Girl, Black-Eyed Peas, David Bowie, Def Leppard, Neil Young, Lauren Hill, The Dawn, The Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Yano, Asin, Joey Ayala, Apo Hiking Society, True Faith, Maria Callas, Jimi Hendrix, the broadway musicals, Sting and The Police, Tony Bennet, The Beatles, K.D. Lang, Pearl Jam, Sinead O' Connor, Bruce Springsteen, Oasis, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, The Clash, Morrisey and some, some…..

So …when did the music died?…The music did not die. It only took a short vacation.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Twin Bomb Rocks Zamboanga

Two powerful explosions rocked this southern city of Zamboanga in the early hours of last night. When the first bomb went off at a little past seven o' clock, I was completely unaware of it except that when my wife finally arrived home after attending an evening mass at the nearby St. Joseph Church, she was almost out of breath as she recounted how the people downtown was caught in great panic and commotion the minute they heard the blast. I turned on the radio immediately and caught the boisterous on-site reporting from newsmen, narrating vividly the extent of the damage and harm.

Approximately thirty minutes later, the second bomb exploded that even when I was in the solace of our living room, I had clearly heard of the explosions as if they were just nearby. The bomb reverberated through the Zamboanga evening sky and one could easily reckoned how powerful the second bomb was. Even though our house is just barely a kilometer away from the city hall, it is still quite disturbing that we could hear the explosions while we were rested in the harbor of our homes, clearly indicating the harshness of the bombs.

It is quite untoward to say that it's a relief to have learned later on that no one was killed despite the strength of the explosions, yet it's truly fortunate that it is so because in the past, the victims were not only maimed but their lives lost so violently. The injured totaled to nearly 30 persons but nobody died last night.

Still, everytime this sort of incident disturb our city, there is no such thing as a feeling of relief but only of dismay and disgust. It has been happening since the time I could remember, even into my childhood. Every now and then, bombs would throw our place into panic and confusion; infusing fear and terror into our very hearts, seeking more and more division among Muslims and Christians here, as if we haven't had enough. Clearly, this thing had always been happening and it is so very unfortunate. Mayor Celso Lobregat, speaking on national radio, urge the city dwellers not to show fear for it is what the bombing perpetrators aimed to do, striking fear into our minds and hearts, but saying is one thing and fear would always be there, and panic is always something that we have to contend with. When will it ever stop---these violence in the midst of our city---no one ever knows.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When There's No Getting Over That Rainbow

On this wet rainy weather, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo might just well be humming this old love tune, the one we remember so well from the 70's popular duo The Carpenters for so it seems, the President is never over the hill...or beyond the bend....or over that rainbow. Once again, a virulent witness has been set loose against her, to further untangle her hold on the Presidency.

Army Captain Marlon Mendoza sounds like a man so sure of what he is doing; unlike those who have backpedalled like Air Force T/Sgt. Vidal Doble and weeping witness Richard Garcia. This military man seem to be standing steadily upon his own two feet. He sounded so forceful and his tone is of definite certainty. As he testified this morning before the Senate Committee inquiring upon GMA's involvement in the illegal numbers game called "jueteng", his voice came out almost like a shout, so resoundingly as if he is angry of something, so angry that he has something to let out. He is a man on a mission---like a mad dog that is so one-minded about its aim. In fact, it was reported earlier that Captain Mendoza had received warnings from his military superiors before his appearance in the Senate to the effect that he'd be in violation of certain rules set forth in the Articles of War (the body of rules governing proper military conduct and behavior), but nevertheless he still presented himself before the Senators, on the right time and place of appointment.

Looking from the Malacañan's perspective, Captain Mendoza is such a dangerous man, one that can do the most damage. He maybe perhaps the one witness they had wanted to retract but he seems now to be the one who just got away. You can't have the one you wanted most. Being a former bodyguard of Ex-Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcilliano, he had testified to have first hand knowledge that Bong Pineda, the now notorious jueteng lord from Pampanga (and generally believed to be a GMA crony) had funded some 300 Million pesos worth of election rigging activities in the Mindanao region, and the one who spearheaded such uncouth activity was none other than Garcilliano himself with Michaelangelo Zuce working in the wings. Captain Mendoza had even showed some photos where Zuce was showed in some uncompromising scenario while he was in Mindanao.

The coming out of Captain Mendoza is like a hurricane that is inclined to bring havoc and permanent damage to the Arroyo administration. I am sure Malacañan is now burning candles by the hour finding out ways and schemes on how to counter this seemingly surprising move by opposition that caught them...well, in great surprised. It's like a "shock and awe" method being used by the Arroyo detractors. Let us see in the coming days who makes the better move in this real-life and life-sized chess game.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Would the ARMM Elections Give Us A Revitalized ARMM?

By 11:00 A.M. this morning, it was reported in the news that 50% of the expected number of voters have alreday trooped to the polling lines in the ARMM Gubernatorial Elections being held today. Maybe I just misheard the news anchors but its quite amazing how the said localized elections had such a high turnout of voters.

There were times in the past that low voter turnout was such a perennial problem in our national politics but here today, the people in ARMM shows us how exuberant they are in exercising their political rights.

What does this development tells us? Maybe the ARMM is such a succesful political entity that residents there are so eager to put up with their elections? Or are they just so in a hurry to kick out the present ARMM administrators for making their lives more miserable than worthwhile.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had been in existence since the early 1990's; November 6, 1990 to be more specific as the due effect of Republic Act 6734 during the tenure of the then President Corazon C. Aquino. One significant positive outcome of the institution of the ARMM is the secessation of extreme hostilities between the government and the then still-active Moro National Liberation Front, although armed conflicts remain a disruption in Mindanao as perpetuated by other antagonists of the government like the MILF and Abu Sayyaf. But economically, the ARMM region remains the poorest among the provinces in the Philippines despite the pouring of billions of funds from the national government. Under Nur Misuari, the most popular icon of the Moro movement in the south, the ARMM region still did not find salvation from the economic doldrums that it was in. It is like upon a place trapped in time, not moving forward and not even sideward., like a dead log.

Left and right, stories and hush-hushes of massive corruptions were everywhere. I once had an acquiantance working for the ARMM administrators and thru him, I heard such horrifying stories of shenanigans in the government like for example such official who had pretended to have his official vehicle crashed through a mountainside, using another old and crippled vehicle of course, when in fact he just took home the brand new Revo that was issued to him by the government. There were many other such narrations but it will take us from night till dawn to put them up here. I heard such other horror stories where a great number of government workers there does not receive their salaries for several months while the money is still in the bank being enfattened with interest. Sometimes the teachers and government clerks there received only half of their pay where the other half of their hard-earned cash goes somewhere into the pockets of unscrupulous officials who had become devoid of conscience not being able to consider that these workers need to feed their children also.
But lest I may generalize, these stories may just be overblowned but how I wished the new ARMM officials, after they are elected in today's election, would find it in their conscience to honestly serve a region already wrecked by extreme poverty. Let not mismanagement there make the lives of our muslim brothers there more difficult and miserable. I hope those who will win the ARMM elections today are heroic individuals who will aim and pursue to no end, and without rest or respite, the upliftment of a land and people that had seem to be forgotten by time and space.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Brutally Frank

The way Representative Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura said it in an early morning radio interview, it was like its the saddest thing in the world to happen. But I had a feeling that he was just being brutally frank. Guesting as an impeachement resource person for the said radio show, he explained rather elaborately that despite the fact that the impeachment proceeding was "a legal proceeding" it is also "a political exercise". Meaning to say, the viability of the amended impeachment complaint now filed in the justice committee of the House, or the chances of it being passed on to the Senate for the full staging of the impeachment proceeding, is not to be determined whether or not the complaint is meritable. According to Congressman Nachura's own words, "its merely a game of numbers" and even proceeded to inform the public that at present, those who favored in dismissing the complaint are in the majority while those who want President GMA impeached is in the minority. As if stressing to me what is alreday obvious.

Could not the congressman from Samar be less straightforward? So that hindi naman masyadong obvious na moro-moro lang ang mangyayari sa justice committee? I have a feeling that the members of the said committee won't even seriously deliberate upon the merits or demerits of the complaint. The die was cast even before the committee had received it. It's gonna be like a fools' banquet out there in the justice committee where everyone would just be playing dumb and then proceed to count those who are in favor and those who are not.

I have the greatest respect for the ever-venerable congressman from Samar, being one of my bar reviewers in the past in Political Law, and especially now he being touted as the prime expert on matters of constitutional law; but when he admitted that the very survival of the amended impeachment complaint against GMA is just but a game of numbers among the members of the Lower House, then as if he was really egging me to completely lose respect to a legislature which he is a famous member of.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Zuce: Is He For Real or Just Another Fluke?

If much of the words of Michaelangelo Zuce are true, then perhaps he is the best thing that the impeachers have in their hands. Consider this, witnessing a full-scale secret/private meeting of a generous number of election officials in the most private hospice of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is such a telling circumstance that the GMA-defenders just could not handle this time. It would be too damning to ignore and set aside. If that meeting really took place, I am pretty certain that the truth will rise like a rushing flame exploding towards the sky for how could one possibly hide such very “noisy” strategizing from the election cohorts of GMA. Indeed, if the meeting really took place, it would be so difficult to hide that eventually the truth will come out.

In such a huge gathering, upon a certain night and in such a span of hours, the La Vista neighborhood would surely notice that so many vehicles are just outside GMA’s residence. Maybe we can ask one or two of the President’s closest neighbors there. But then, one could always say, since it is the President’s home, normally the outside her house would always be full of vehicles, and of course visitors from near or far would always be in her house, no matter what hour or day.

Or maybe, we can ask the security officers manning the La Vista neighborhood that particular night, that in these modern times, maybe they had security cameras put up at the entrances and exits of the La Vista neighborhood (since I presumed it is another well-secured and grand subdivision around Manila), which by then we could requests certain security personnel to testify if on such day and on such hours, a certain amount of vehicles had indeed came through the gates of the now suddenly famous neighborhood.

Or perhaps, one of the regional directors or election supervisors would suddenly become another turncoat and corroborate Zuce’s testimony. With the number of officials said to be present in that one famous meeting, the possibility of another witness against GMA is just too great and wide.

Only my mind questions a couple of things about Zuce’s words. Could GMA be that foolish to have a mass “give-outs” to so many officials all at once? Could she have allowed it knowing the risk of detection is far too great? And why so little the now almost mythical amount of “thirty-thousand pesos”. I am not rich but I know that such amount is too little in order to sway someone’s acquiescence to partake or allow what clearly is a dangerous maneuver to rig the election results and patently it is such a malevolent act. Such a small bribe, eh? Maybe it was an advance for a bigger amount.
The soap opera is getting interesting by the day. It would be interesting to know in the following days if Zuce is for real or just another fluke.

Monday, August 01, 2005

LIVE 8 for the Debt. LIVE 8 for the Bomb.

LIVE 8, that veritable movement that desires to end poverty in this world and drop-dead all third world debt is for certain (one way or another), succeeding in its main mission, as the concert series it held all around the globe was well-patronized and hugely attended. Then maybe, we could hope that perhaps now, the plight of poor people in the poorest of nations should be alleviated significantly.

How I wish there is a similar project, albeit in a scale smaller than LIVE 8, which would hark the need for world peace, primarily in combating the proliferation of nuclear weapons, thus protecting this generation and every generation to come from the specter of nuclear annihilation.

We may not know the extent of the problem now but as I see it, we are almost sitting on a time bomb, traipsing on a hotwire, as if in a circus act that provides no safety net that could stifle any fall.

We see somehow that the talks on
North Korea disarmament is gaining grounds with South Korea Deputy Song Min-Soon baring to the public that a new draft on the result of the latest round of talks have been approved by all sides (including the United States of America) and opined that “the talks are rather doing well”.

But the comment above by the South Korean delegate is at most too general and vague and what we know is that North Korea is still demanding so much from the United States like security guarantees and massive financial aid, and it wanted them delivered fast before any disarmament happens while on the one hand the United States wanted to see the nuclear weapons disarmed first before obliging to any concession. This is where the main problem lies where we could see a Catch-22 situation looming. Another difficulty would be the adamancy of North Korea in demanding that it retains “peaceful nuclear development” at any rate. I do not think U.S. would give in to this, especially now that the risk of proliferation is all too high. (There is always the danger that some rogue nation or terrorist organization might get hold of this technology.)

North Korea is such a “hermit kingdom” that we just could not trust anything it says or do. And for that, we seem always to be on the verge of global nuclear trouble. I hope LIVE 8 people could address the global problem on nuclear weapons call on the world just to throw away all rhetoric and just dismantle that nuclear bomb.