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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ageing Asian cities shows what capitalism is

I'm back after nearly a week-long vacation. Well, actually it was more of contemplation, self-analysis and of course, looking for things on sale. In Hongkong and Macau, in this time of the year, very hard to stumble upon something "discounted" or "on sale." Well, you know me, I'm a tiredless big bargain sale addict. If I have the money, I'll buy those things basta it is not above 1,000 pesos. Cheapskate, eh?

Anyway, now I fully understand why our country is really going to be one of the region's most exciting places to be. Hongkong, Singapore, Bangkok, even Japan are ageing real fast. Macau, for one, is not as splendid as it once was, and obviously, people especially those living in those places, are getting real and damned tired of their own countries. I mean, look at all those old casino buildings in Macau and you already sense that capitalists are desperately looking for other places to invest                                                                     their monies into.

While walking along Nathan road in Hongkong, I noticed that old buildings were refurnished and given a new fresh look and fresh paint to give an illusion of "newness". However, whatever amount of fresh gloss can ever hide the patina of these buildings.

Hongkong buildings, even those of other cities such as Singapore, Japan and Seoul, actually show what capitalism truly is--it builds from past capital. Or to be precise, it develops an old structure and make it appear new.

Capital, however, is influenced by time and space. For it to develop, capital has to expand and reach the farthest corners of the world. It is dynamic because it forces people to be creative. Without creativity, capital would not expand.

Capital has to occupy space in a period of time. If capital loses space, yet there is ample time for it to grow, it will. It, however, loses value if it has lots of space to move but little time, because the organism will find it difficult to replicate itself. Capitalism depends on multiplicity--the more it duplicates or multiplies the better or the more it grows. The minute capital fails to multiply itself, it loses its value.

Anyway, that explains why certain countries lag and other countries modernise very quickly because in those countries where people have a deeper understanding of how capitalism works, then tend to benefit easily and quickly.

This explains why our country right now is being preferred by investors because of our backwardness. In capitalism, being backward means money. Capital grows in underdevelopment. It multiplies whenever there is underdevelopment.

When development occurs, capital then shifts to other areas of the world where there is underdevelopment. And so on, and so forth that it assumes new forms but with the same nature.

That explains why capitalism will remain forever fixed in our societies because unlike socialism, the very nature of it being "unplanned" contributes to its continued existence. Capital is like shrub that grows even in tight corners and small spaces.

Unlike in a planned economic system (such as socialism), capitalism can penetrate everywhere under a liberalised environment. That explains why capitalism thrives more in a democratic society than in a managed state.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The resurrection of Pork in 2015---is the palace trying to test the Masa in relation to the pork barrel issue?

The palace knows that in every survey and poll conducted by several outlets, partisan or not, what is most evident is the public's aversion to pork barrel scam. Until now, inspite of the absence of big rallies, most people still feel anger whenever they hear something similar or even indistinctly similar to it. Whether its PDAF or just plain DAP, mere mention of this creature makes us crinch.

The President knows this, and I think even this Butch Abad, the budget's man. And now comes Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. raising red flags on the proposed 2015 national budget.

Santiago even says there are about 37 billion pesos of pork "inserted" into the 2015 budget. These so-called pork comes from a form called "lump sum". Bongbong discovered about 13 billion worth of "lump sums" in projects originally under the domain of the DPWH and the National Housing Authority which have now been allocated to the DILG. Several billions were likewise discovered by Bongbong in the budget of the DSWD.

What business does the DILG have in constructing low-cost housing for informal settlers? What expertise does the DILG have in constructing water supply systems? The DILG is supposed only to provide supervision, but not construction, of such things when they are already constructed in LGUs.

Maybe Mar Roxas wants nothing more than have his say on low-cost housing since his would-be political nemesis in 2016, Vice president Jejomar Binay, seems to enjoy giving houses left and right to the poor. There are two things which the poor needs---own house and clean water.

Mar's handlers in the Liberal party probably thought that the DILG should dip their fingers into this to assure Mar's electoral victory. And they think 13 billion or to be precise, 12.9 billion is the magic number to top whatever Binay already did for the poor with his budget as NHA/Pagibig head.

For budget secretary Butch Abad, these "lump sums" are constitutional and within the legal contemplation of the Belgica case which the Supreme Court used to define what they think about "lump sum" appropriations and of "savings".

Abad and even House chief Feliciano Belmonte defended themselves and said they followed the law when they crafted the bill which they then submitted to the Senate.

Senator Chiz Escudero which everybody knows as an administration stooge, tried to stand up and defend the bill before his former law professor but eventually is found wanting.

No amount of voice modulation can ever hide the fact that this 2015 proposed National Budget is full of illegal insertions (called "errata") that are essential for the political survival of allies of this administration. These errata assure the administration allies of continued funding onward to the 2016 elections. Everyone knows that 2015 is THE ELECTION year, and without sufficient funding, how can a poor and widely villified character like Mar win an election against a hugely popular Nognog like Binay?

Obviously, the trying hard Liberals need every centavo to create a favorable environment and justify an election result that they want. Short of saying that they need billions to calibrate a scenario of winnability to avert a possible civil war.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cayetano and Trillanes--desperados or desaperidos? Senators laying the scenario of "ambush-me" and blaming it on Binay?

Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, the swash-buckling duo who initiated this extended telenovela called Senate Blue ribbon sub-committee probe on Vice president Jejomar Binay now says they are receiving death threats.

Cayetano said his staff received a call from an unknown caller asking him to "keep his silence or else,  isang bala ka lang" or to that effect, making me guess if the caller is a big fan of my deceased idol, FPJ.

Meanwhile, Trillanes was seen two days ago desperately trying to get free airtime over ABS-CBN. He just told the Inquirer of Binay's role during the Manila Pen siege and subsequently wants to extend this yarn by echoing the very same tale thru ABS. After his guesting over Umagang Kay Ganda, Trillanes then went over to Kabayan Noli de Castro, shortly after the interview of UNA spokesperson Toby Tiangco.

It was there in Kabayan's show that Trillanes then says that if Binay becomes president, the possibility of him being killed or incarcerated looms large. Binay, according to Trillanes is a vindictive person.

I am smelling something of a script here.

Maybe handlers of the two gentlemen are preparing a scenario similar to what former defense Juan Ponce Enrile did that justified martial rule.

Remember that time when Enrile allowed himself to be "ambushed" so that Marcos would have a justification for the declaration of martial rule?

What would prevent enemies of the vice president from ambushing these two senators so that they would put the blame on him? This is not a far fetched idea. I think these two and their handlers would even go that far for their personal and selfish political ambitions.

Is this the third part in this long extended tele drama? Will we see these two getting injured and then blaming it all to Binay? Kawawang Nognog---he's now to be blamed by an anak araw and a Hitlerite fascist for something he's totally innocent about.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Democracy under siege

Frankly, most of my generation are sick and tired of this decrepit system that we live in. We think that democracy provides us an environment of equal opportunity. We are conditioned to think that the system recognizes no color dominant, no race, no class and no family--dominant.

In every society, there exists dominant individuals who are recognized by us as the "ruling elite" but upon closer inspection, they dominate their societies based on being progenies or their claims of having that royal blood flowing in their veins.

Those who have fiefdoms given to them by foreign colonizers or those who seized huge tracts of land from indigenous tribes use these as platforms for dominance.

They don't dominate because they have far developed intelligences or they have unique skills that differentiates them from the rest of us.

Most of these claiming to be members of the elite are as ordinary as any other, and to allow those propertied to dominate and manage us, is to allow irrationality over rationality.

Democracy is under siege, far too long.

Vice president Binay developing a Teflon-like personality, thanks to Cayetano and Trillanes

Anti-Binay attack dogs: Cayetano and Trillanes
Inspite of malicious attacks against him, Vice president Jejomar Binay remains on top of practically all presidential surveys, be it public or private. This is a phenomenon, rarely seen in Philippine politics.

In the United States, this phenomenon was observed during the heated attacks against Bill Clinton who survived an impeachment without resigning his post, a far cry from what Richard Nixon did during the height of the Watergate scandal.

President Barack Obama also enjoys what political pundits describe as a "Teflon-like" personality which many say as a trait of a politician who continues to be trusted by the public inspite of attacks against him by his political nemesis.

Binay's ratings are recovering, and this is being reflected in surveys after surveys. I cannot say that to his detractors, namely Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes. Inspite of having a television ad, Cayetano's trust and popularity ratings have slipped drastically and continue to slide down further south. Even having an advertising "genius" by the name of Greg Garcia by his side, Cayetano seemed unable to shake off the public's distrust of him.

Yes, a high percentage of people are aware of him (Cayetano), but a pitiful few trust him and see him as a potential president. His conversion rate is by far, the lowest among senators.

Worse for Trillanes. In the list of vice presidentiables, Trillanes even came close to third place. Now, Trillanes is not even in the list. This controversy dragged him to the pits, eighth spot.

Yes, many people know Trillanes but like Cayetano, his conversion rate is at its lowest. If elections are held today, and Trillanes is still a senatorial contender, chances are, he may even lose this.

The reason for this is simply, these anti-Binay elements misread the political landscape. They do not have statistics telling them of the people's pulse.

Surveys after surveys show that people like leaders and builders, not accusers and probers. People are tired of these investigations. People want their leaders to just do their jobs and give them solutions instead of accusing other government officials of malicious impropriety.

They vehemently deny it, but Cayetano, Trillanes and Pimentel appeared like attack dogs of anti-Binay elements. They need to admit it---they mishandle the probe. They have shown their impropriety early on. That's why it appeared before the public

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What that Esquire cover of Mar Roxas wants to hide

For my take on that Esquire cover of Mar Roxas, see previous blog entry and there is another take at

There is now a conscious effort by this administration to brush off the stains of neglect and mismanagement which attended the post-tragedy relief and rehab work. What happened to the 73 billion pesos pledged by foreign donors? Where did they spend the initial 17 billion pesos of donations?

Mar--we do not forget what you told Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez at the height of this tragedy. Let us watch this. This is what Mar and his handlers want us to forget.

What Mar said in his meeting with Romualdez encapsulated or punctuated the very nature of government rehab efforts--that, even in tragedies, politics exists.

Esquire covers Mar Roxas and why the rising flak for a glamorized epal

Mar "in action" wearing
a very clean polo shirt
The November 2014 issue of Esquire magazine features Liberal party presidential wannabe Mar Roxas sitting in a truck full of lumber, with his hair askewed, visibly tired face yet smiling, and gesturing and saying "hello". The photo must have been shot inside a DSWD compound, since there is a woman in the background wearing the standard DSWD jacket.

What's wrong with this picture?

Many says it's politically incorrect because it is "insensitive." Why is it insensitive? Well, at that time,  people are really trying to make a difference in the lives of those affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Thousands of volunteers are working "on site", helping survivors cope with the tragedy that befell them, and here you are, Mr. Roxas, the DILG secretary, the one who is supposedly commanding the "army" of government in relief efforts, sitting in an obviously scheduled "photoshoot".

It is also insensitive because the photo is some sort of a trivialization of the entire thing. Roxas appears like a freshman student in his very first volunteer relief effort. Nothing wrong with a "selfie", we, old and young alike, are pretty much guilty of shooting a photo of ourselves especially in such a monumental and historic event such as this.

My take is that this photo actually represents the prevailing "thinking" of men such as Roxas--that what I do for others, I do it for myself. Nietzsche once lambasted men of his generation for their "generosity" in giving donations. He wrote that these men are not doing the "giving" to benefit others--they are doing it for themselves, for their "egos". I leave it up to you my readers to judge if this is true in this case.

More than this though, I am more aghast thinking that this cover intends to mislead us into thinking of our DILG secretary as a "man of action". Actually, the cover is more of "humanizing him". See Mar's face, with his droppy eyes and beshevelled hair? That photo intends to show how tired Mar was "doing his job".

Maybe he was, and I believe them, meaning Roxas, his publicity handlers and Esquire.

Yet, the other elements of this photo actually countered what they intend to impress upon us, dear voters, err, readers.

See the immaculately clean polo shirt? That polo shirt betrays Roxas. Instead of seeing a dirty one, that polo shirt was as clean, as white as though it was cleaned by a very conscious laundrywoman who probably used Tide and spiced with Downy.

If that photo was really shot during a very tiresome "rehab" work, that polo shirt showed otherwise.

And I believe his handlers want to impress that Roxas was "in the thick of things". How would you believe this photo when it shows him sitting in a truck, inside a government compound and not inside a refugee shelter or an evacuation center?

This is the "onion" photo that got
Mar stung
So much for "being in the thick of things". This is another "onion photo".

That photo is actually what we modern political animals now describe as a glamorized "epal". Yes, epal.

This photo is distinctly similar with those of other politicians who take pictures of themselves giving donations, consulting with their constituents and even, consoling a sick voter, err, constituent.

This is a problem with Mar Roxas--he is beginning to tire himself to death, trying very hard to convince us that he is fit to be our president come 2016, that, because of this desire, he begins to be a bore, a trying hard baffoon who wants to reinvent even himself.

By trying to reinvent his own image, Mar Roxas gets across as a man who wants to fool the public into believing that he is what he is not.

Why change what people know of you unless of course, you yourself are not convinced of your own strengths and weaknesses?

So much fakery, so little personality.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Typhoon Yolanda a year later and when Binay and Noynoy skipped

Seems that two of the highest government officials of the land have conveniently "skipped" their expected appointments yesterday---Vice president Jejomar Binay did not go to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing for fears of being "put into a gutter fight" with three of the Senate's blue jean mobsters--Senators Antonio Trillanes, Alan Peter Cayetano and Koko Pimentel who, if you"ll take a serious look at them---they all have a personal axe to grind against Binay.

President Benigno S. Aquino III meanwhile "skipped" Tacloban and went elsewhere, just as survivors of Typhoon Yolanda are preparing for the commemoration of that tragedy that left almost 18,000 dead, thousands more injured and thousands left homeless.

That devastating typhoon put the Philippines once more in the international map. Several foreign countries collectively put aside over 78 billion pesos, enough to rehabilitate Leyte and the rest three times over--yet until now, the place has barely changed.

The scars of the tragedy are still there. People are still experiencing emotional stress and pain, something which our government should have addressed long before, but still failed. There are still lots of things to do, lots of things to build and very many things to restructure.

We still haven't learned. Our government remains direction-less inspite of several years and several tragedies that happened during the last ten years.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Senate Blue ribbon "sub-committee" bars presentation of evidence proving witness Ernesto Mercado lied

Several medical documents showing former Makati vice mayor and now star whistle blower of the Senate Blue ribbon sub-committee Ernesto Mercado going to a hospital for checkups for his reported health condition were shown by Atty. JV Bautista yesterday before Senate reporters.

This vital pieces of evidence refuted what Mercado dared the sub-committee last October 22--that he will strike out everything he told the sub-committee should the Binay camp show proof that he was hospitalized in "whatever clinic or hospital" in the Philippines.

Though refused to present such vital evidence that proves how Mercado had lied before the Senate, JV Bautista went to the public and presented the evidence.

The documents came from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay (UERM) medical center which showed Mercado going there twice, October 1 and 4, 2014 for apparently medical checkups. Based on reports, Mercado is suffering from an enlarged aorta, an illness which he contracted due to his heavy drinking apparently.

Several sources also attested that Mercado is an inveterate gambler and womanizer.

Now that there is proof of Mercado lying before the chamber, one principle of law says that one lie invalidates all other points given by the person testifying.

This vital proof should have been shown before the Senate sub-committee, but what these three senators did was outright discourtesy.

They barred JV Bautista and UNA interim president Toby Tiangco from presenting what could probably be a game-changer in this extended persecution, err, hearing against Vice president Jejomar Binay.

I thought that this hearing is all about "uncovering the truth"? Those medical records show that Mercado lied, something which affects his integrity as a witness. How then will we believe in whatever this witness is saying when even in telling us, the listening publics, his true medical condition, he lies?

Worse, this barring of Bautista and Tiangco just prove how partial this hearing has become, something which is not the real intention for hearings. Senate hearings are supposed to unravel what truly happened. With the integrity of this witness shattered, why pursue this hearing which cost taxpayers' money?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

No class war behind Cayetano-Trillanes-Pimentel-Roxas attack vs. Binay?

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano tries to downplay what Vice president Jejomar Binay told the public recently--that these character assassination attacks are coming from quarters being backed by traditional rich families as part of these trapo families' attempt to frustrate the people's will.

Cayetano says Binay hobnobs with the rich himself. So, allegations that he is being attacked by the "rich and powerful" in this country is at least, a subterfuge meant to divert public attention from graft allegations being hurled against the Vice President.

If you look at this "fight" between Cayetanos and the Binays, these are not just mere "battles" but serious ones bordering on the personal.

We all know how obnoxious the younger Binays think of Cayetano. Cayetano, if you still don't know, wanted nothing more than become a Senator and eventually a president  and this "ambition" began when he was still a UP student.

He lost that one in UP. When he tries is hand at the presidency again in 2016, he will lose because Cayetano lacks that charisma and toughness as a leader. He is okey as a mere senator but a president?

Who backs Cayetano? Of course the Zamoras. Who backs Mar Roxas, but Eric Gutierrez, an associate of the Zamoras especially in the mining business.

Many of our politicians's electoral campaigns are funded by rich people, mostly with several business transactions with government or have properties which are dependent on continuous government protection.

There are several policies created by the House that might harm indirectly or directly big business interests. This explains why many businessmen and their associates are renk-seekers because they have no choice.

And because he is beginning to act and think like a grand trapo, Cayetano seemed trap with his inevitable fate of being the rich's stooge at the Senate.                                                                                                                                                            

Chaotic Friday--October 31, 2014

Expect humongous traffic and ultimate chaos this Friday, October 31, 2014 and the succeeding day, November 1, 2014.

Government has just announced that October 31 is a regular day, meaning not a holiday. What this means is a traffic and heavily congested Metro roads and highways come Friday because people are going to rush to their provincial destinations this weekend.

I don't know who advises the president but previous declarations of October 31 as a non-working holiday has its reasons and one of them to declog and ensure smoother traffic flow to and fro Metro Manila during these times. Authorities know how heavy traffic becomes the minute you don't allow some provincial bus passengers to ride their provincial bus ride earlier than usual.

I really dont know what's going on the minds of our executives particularly those residing in that charmed old palace by the river.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Threats against the Aquino administration much bigger today than 4 years ago

The possibility of President Benigno S. Aquino III getting his first taste of a coup looms much bigger today than in the first four years of his administration, a source told this writer yesterday.

In a private huddle this weekend, a source says that if Aquino falls due to a coup, it is because of his own doing. He says Aquino has distanced himself from various groups which have worked hard for his election in 2010.

These groups, most of them composed of well-meaning individuals who did not seek any appointive posts from Aquino, enjoy a high reputation among middle forces.

Since the DAP issue broke out, many of the conscience block of the Aquino administration asked for the president's explanation but was repulsed, allegedly by the President himself. Another group, those close to the family especially to the Presidential sisters and some members of the partylist group Akbayan were likewise given the bum steer reportedly by the President.

According to some people, people behind Hyatt 10 and those close to LP Mar Roxas were responsible for the indignant stance of the President. One of the Hyatt 10 members, reportedly Butch Abad was the one who reportedly told the President to "stick to the group" for fears of getting a backlash reportedly from the stated enemies of the administration (read: " pro-Arroyo" group).

Now, it seems that the President has been "besieged" by LP and other people closely allied with Mar Roxas (read: LP). Presidential adviser Ronald Llamas, a member of Akbayan, and Vicente Emano, a member of the Black and White Movement are reportedly already working for the Mar Roxas group.

A source says the President is now "with blinders". She did not elaborate.

With the conscience block already neutralized, the Hyatt 10 and the Mar Roxas group are now struggling very hard to neutralize officials close to the Vice President. However, one of them, Executive secretary Paquito Ochoa continues to enjoy tremendous trust of the President inspite of his being a member of the Panay block. (Remember that there are four blocks in the palace surrounding the President: Balai of Mar Roxas composed of LP, Black and White Movement, Akbayan and Hyatt 10 members, Panay composed of close associates of the Aquino family who supported Binay as vice presidential candidate, Panfilo Lacson block and Chiz Escudero/Sergio Osmena block. Osmena has since distanced himself from the palace, leaving Escudero's group behind.

Many of those within the conscience block are close to idealistic soldiers and former officials of the AFP. It is said that some of them are moving against the administration.

Another group, composed of retired and junior officers who oppose the Bangsamoro Basic Law, is likewise a serious threat to the survival of the Aquino administration.