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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From "preferential" to "transactional" justice just to satisfy one's capriciousness

The INC leadership cried "foul" and called on its hordes to accuse Justice secretary Leila de Lima of "preferential" justice. Three days later, the issue turned from an issue about "preferential justice" to "transactional justice" shortly after the INC chief evangelist Bienvenido Santiago revealed that the INC leadership and the "authorities" have come into an agreement, which, unfortunately, Santiago forgot to reveal the terms of the "agreement". Santiago asked the faithful to fold up and go home, just like that. " We have reached an agreement," says Santiago, and he cut himself short after that.

Mar Roxas was quick to the draw and just said that both camps agreed when government assured the INC leadership that it was just following procedures. That was essentially it, says Roxas.

Well, if that was really what happened, then, why then, it took three full days before government and the INC leadership came into an agreement? Don't tell me that it was very difficult for both sides to understand what the Revised Rules of Court say or that both camps don't have their own legal eagles to fully understand legal S.O.P.'s?

If that was as simple as telling the INC--well, we are just doing our jobs, and we are not giving anybody, any "preferential treatment", then why the need for a "transaction" that lasted for three full days?

I don't believe that such an issue which required thousands of Filipinos to brave the rains, sacrifice their own resources and their health, including those of their kids, and it just ended abruptly without both government and the INC fully explaining what really happened, is justice. I mean, the Filipinos who were used and those who were severely affected by the humongous traffic that was created by that "peaceful" rally deserve a more rational explanation.

The INC leadership denied many times that what they were doing back then was a form of "bullying". " We had a legitimate grievance", says Edwin Zabala, the INC spokesperson, " and it is well within our rights to express it when the government does wrong."

Well, with how this issue ended, it just proved that thousands of the faithful were used, coaxed into believing that what they were doing were right and based on the bible, when all it was really was a political exercise meant to show government the church's "strength." And for what? For government to capitulate.

What the INC leadership forgot is that this government whom they transacted with is the government of all Filipinos, not just the Aquinos and the Roxases. But since both camps think otherwise, that government is just their tool to satiate their capriciousness, then, explaining what really happened during those "transactional meetings" is really not necessary for them.

And why, do you ask?

Because this government and even the INC leadership think that the Filipino People are just tools, religious robots used to show who's boss, and mindless followers of some one's capriciousness.  This is how they regard these Filipinos who love God--made to believe that they are following God when all they really are, according to their own leaders, are blind followers of this Mammon called political power.




Monday, August 31, 2015

The INC argument: Explaining the Separation of Church and State

The INC leadership has used the argument of the "separation of the church and state" as one of the reasons why they called their brethren to go to EDSA to take part in the "peaceful rally." What is their understanding of this basic principle in the 1987 Constitution?

This principle is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a democratic society. It actually derives its spirit from the Bill of Rights. The bill recognizes several rights, and one of them, the right to believe in one thing without being prosecuted because of it. Simply, if this right is being universally recognized as part of "democracy", then, more of the right to practice religion, which is a belief system itself.

Now, the provision of the separation of church and state recognizes the equality of both organizational creations. The church is recognized as the leader or head that satisfies one's belief in the Afterlife while the state's main concern is the temporal matters.

Since this equality is recognized, then, the belief of the INC is that they can operate an organization that behaves like government. For them, and rightly so, as interpreted from the Bible, religion is not just a set of beliefs--it likewise prescribes a system of governance.

The Catholic church is a recognized state--that explains why there is a Vatican diplomatic post in the Philippines. Islam also prescribes its own governance system. The only religion without any concerns over governance is Buddhism.

However, unlike the State which exercises general jurisdiction of all persons residing within its territory, the Church's jurisdiction is limited to its members. Hence, if you accede and become a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo,  you allow yourself to follow not just the set of religious beliefs--you also follow the "laws" of the Church.

Now, these laws are explained the minute you allow yourself to be indoctrinated by senior Church officials. If you agree with these laws, then, you allow yourself to behave and act according to these laws. These "laws" are actually behavioral, meaning, they are some sort of Code of Ethics which you follow if you are a member of the Church.

Of course, "laws" are not just substantive but corrective. By corrective, I mean penal. Violate one law and you get the corresponding correction. The correction is based on the severity or gravity of the offense. The gravest corrective measure is expulsion from the church.

Expulsion is the same as excommunication by the Catholic church. However, unlike the Catholic church which depends on Papal dispensation, "going back to the fold" means proving to one and all that you are a "follower" rather than a miscreant. Deviant behavior is simply not tolerated because hey, this is God's church and the path to one's salvation depends on one's obedience to God's rules.

Question--is the State allowed to interfere with the affairs of the Church? No, because it violates the separation of church and state. Does the State have the right to question these laws? Again, no. For as long as these regulations do not pose harm upon the state, or borders on the insane or violates public policy and morals, then, these laws cover those Filipinos who believe and have allowed themselves to be administered by the church.

Now, going back to our initial discussion--why is it that the INC thinks that the Government is interfering with the affairs of the church?

Isaias Samson was a former Minister of the church. Samson is not merely a member--he was a very important and once powerful member of the Church leadership. Meaning, Samson is expected to be more knowledgeable and more obedient to the church's teachings and laws compared with an average or ordinary church member.

What Samson is now alleging is that his right to free movement was violated when he, together with his daughter and wife, was reportedly "detained" for a few days. Samson has just accused the church leadership of masterminding and allegedly planning and committing an act which is described by the Revised Penal Code (RPC) as an act of illegal detention.

Bear in mind that this "act" was committed during the time that Samson was still a member of the Church. Being a Minister of the church, Samson is supposed to follow church teachings, especially the "laws" of the INC. The fact is, the expectation is of extraordinary character, because Samson is not just a member--he is part of the Leadership, a Minister extraordinaire, who once occupied the seat near the Seat of Power. 

Samson knows that every act which he does as a Minister of the church is dependent upon church teachings and the church code of ethics. Simply, as part of management, Samson is supposed to obey every decision of the Church leadership for as long as the act does not border on the criminal. Meaning, if an act being asked about does not violate the laws of the State, an example of which, Samson is not directed to kill someone or rob someone or inflict harm upon another, then, it is well within the rights of the Church to assume jurisdiction over him and his person. 

Now, this is the CORE of this issue--whether or not the act of the Church leadership to deny Samson his right to freely move constitutes an act termed in the Revised Penal Code (RPC) as illegal detention?

I answer in the negative. Why? I argue that the law which Samson was expected to follow at that time was the law of the church, not of the state. Therefore, when the Church leadership asked him to stay put in his house, and for the Church leadership to be "assured" of this, they got his passport and the passports of his, and his wife and kid, was an act well within the rights and jurisdiction of the Church.

Remember that at that time, Samson was expected to follow the church leadership in an extraordinary way, being a Minister and a part of the leadership. When  Samson was ordinated as a Minister or Pastor of the INC, he agreed to follow the rules and subsume his person over the Church, then, the very act of keeping him in house does not constitute illegal detention.

Besides, if this is factually true, then, how was it that Samson was able to wrest free from his "captors"? It was clear in his affidavit that he was able to "extricate" himself from his "captors" when he asked them permission to leave the house to "attend church." Meaning, actually, Samson was not being constricted or confined--he can leave the house without force or intimidation and that was precisely what he did. And when he did it, that shattered his allegation that he was being illegally detained, because the main requisite for an act to qualify as an act of illegal detention is the application of force or intimidation that is sufficient to create fear or even the impression that leaving the premises could

Likewise, Samson knows that he is being investigated during that time. The Church Leadership does not intend to detain him for an indefinite period; rather, he was asked to stay in his house during the time when this issue against him was being investigated. Again, if this act was undertaken with a basis in the Code of Ethics or the laws of the church, then, the very act itself does not constitute the crime of illegal detention. Again, because the church was exercising its jurisdiction over the person of Samson, who was at that time, a Minister of the Church, someone who was holding a very sensitive post in the leadership hierarchy.

Besides--that is the expected behavior even of organizations or companies, when they are investigating a person who is a part of management and they suspect him of violating the regulations of the company--they ask the person not to leave the premises during the pendency of the probe. Or, at the very least, do not leave the country while the issue is being investigated.

Now, the problem began when the Government, thru the Justice department, acted on this criminal complaint without understanding it completely. Besides, the National Bureau of Investigation or NBI, the investigating arm of the Department, had already closed the case, cognizant of the fact that no act of illegal detention was committed.

The issue was when the complainant elevated it to the desk of the Justice secretary which, probably due to propriety, assumed jurisdiction of the case. I understand where Justice secretary Leila de Lima is coming from--inaction means political accommodation. Meaning, like Caesar, her hands were tied. De Lim




The INC Mammoth Rally: Political Implications and Where it is headed

The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) leadership is calling for a 1-million person rally by today, which happens to be the day when we commemorate the Day when our heroes sacrificed their lives for the Motherland. As what this corner said the very same day this happened, this rally is turning out to be quite political and worse, being capitalized by shady characters, among them, the braggart "Pastor" Boy Saycon.

Saycon is the lackey of Peping Cojuangco, who fell from power, the minute his nephew, Benigno S. Aquino III assumed the presidency. Saycon was himself berated for reportedly spearheading the smuggling of tons of sugar during the early days of the Aquino administration. Both controlled the sports association, a position given to them as a political accommodation. However, during the time of Peping's reign as "sports czar", the financial condition of sports' associations deteriorated due to massive graft and corruption.

Cojuangco and Saycon both claim to exercise influence over certain members of the Philippine military. The fact is, Saycon and another notorious character but less sinister than these two, Norberto Gonzales, are going around camps in previous months purportedly to rouse military men against this administration. It's fine if they are doing it for the right ideological reasons, and I do not fault Norberto for acting like that. The only thing that is despicable to my mind is the involvement of Saycon and Peping Cojuangco who have already tainted their reputations for being less ideological and more of carpetbaggers than anything. Their motivation is obvious---seize political power for themselves. Why? For their group to get juicy contracts from the government.

Saycon used to brag that he spearheaded EDSA dos, the bogus revolt that toppled Estrada. He is a member of the Council on Philippine Affairs (COPA), a group that toppled a legitimate leader and replaced it with Arroyo who reigned for nine tumultuous years. During these years, nothing came about precisely because the Cojuangco-Saycon clique defended this illegitimate administration.

The presence of Saycon at the stage of the INC was something despicable, and gut-wrenching to see. It tainted a very pure peaceful rally. Saycon and another character, Greco, a former criminal turned pastor turn political activist turn Manila councilor, should not have been allowed to speak before the INC crowd. Their presence further increased public doubts as to the real reasons why the INC church leadership called for the rally in the first place. Besides, their Powerpoint speeches were useless and worse, only propaganda.

As I was writing this, at around 8:30 this morning, August 31, the INC church leadership main evangelist, Bienvenido Santiago announced that the INC leadership has just decided to end the peaceful rally. Santiago says the church has already reached an understanding with the government. He gave no details.

This is now the problem--what was the "compromise" or  this "win-win solution" that the INC and the government had reached? 

If the government backed out and agreed to direct the Justice secretary Leila de Lima to throw out the criminal complaint, then, this is something which is quite problematic because it shows how weak this administration has become. The only solution really is for De Lima to back out of the case and let the courts decide--that is the solution. Is Malacanang ready to announce the resignation of De Lima as some form of a political compromise? This is THE problem---whatever De Lima does right now--resign because she is running for a political post this 2016 or leave the department for personal reasons-- this will surely be interpreted as linked with this issue. In my book, De Lima has been condemned for doing what she thought back then, as the right thing.

Poor De Lima. She was demonized. But, since this, as I said, became an already politicized issue, then, De Lima has nowhere else to go but down South.

Likewise, this "understanding" which Santiago said that justified the pull out of the massive crowds that occupied a part of EDSA for three days--what is the political implications of this insofar as the Liberal Party is concerned?

Again, the problem with this "understanding" is that this will further prolong public discussions about this issue. 

It is the right of the public to know what was discussed between the Aquino administration and the INC church leadership for the very simple reason that this government represents the interests of majority of Filipinos and it should be acting for and in the interests of the Filipino masses. Whatever this administration entered into should be announced for obvious reasons--to avoid a misunderstanding that this government gave an arm and a leg just for its political survival.

As I understand, in a "win-win" solution, something has to give. Someone loses some. What was the loss and the gain?

Did the Liberal Party gained from this issue? What was the compromise?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The INC rally: reasons

INC members continue to occupy EDSA. Their call: attain justice. Why are they calling for justice? The reason is simple-- the DOJ secretary reportedly gave preferential treatment to a criminal complaint filed by a disgruntled member of the INC.

The complaint is not as small as other people think. The complaint is a violation of the law on illegal detention, which carries a punishment serious enough not for the courts to grant bail.

Why is it that this is turning out to be an expression against political accommodation? The facts are very clear--- someone saw an opportunity to use this case to benefit the administration party's political chances in 2016. 

The facts indicate that the overzealousness of the justice secretary is political by nature. It cane at the time when there is a perceived rift between and among members of the INC leadership, something which was published and discussed extensively since three weeks ago.

Clearly, several people thought to use this case to gain political favors from the INC. What these people failed to realize is that the church cannot simply give this to them because everybdecision made by the church is collective by nature and not dominated by one group orvfamily.

These people thought that thus case could be a carrot that they can use to get the support of the church. They thought wrong.

Where will this issue lead? It will lead to a new government very soon.

ang kaisahan ng INC dulot ng pagibig

Habang sinusulat ko ito ay patuloy na binabayo ng malakas na ulan ang aking sasakyan. Nasa dako ako ng kasaysayan, kung saan saksing buhay ako na minamalas ang isang nakapangyayaring pangyayaring ngayon lamang nasasaksihan sa kasaysayan. At mapalad ako't buhay ako sa makasaysayang pangyayaring ito.

Hindi magkandamayaw ang bilang ng mga taong naririto sa edsa shaw bilang tanda ng kanilang pakikipagkaisa sa pamamahala. Para sa iba, ito ay kamangha manghang makita sapagkat tanda ito ng marubdob na pagmamahal ng mga taong ito sa Dios na siyang nasasa gitna nilang lahat habang patuloy silang sumasaksi sa pagpapakita ng kaisahang magkakapatid.

Sa totoo, nakamit ng Iglesia ang isang bagay na matagal nang minimithi ng lahat ng Pilipino-- ang pagibig at pagkakaisa. Hndi ito kamangha mangha kung paniniwalaan ang nakasaad sa bsnal na aklat-- ang tanda ng mga tunay na mananampalataya ay ang pagibig at ang kolektibong expresyon nito at pagkakaisa sa kaisipan, kilos ar gawa.

Sa 100 taon ng iglesia sa Pilipinas, dumaan ito sa sanlaksang pagsubok. Hindi iilang beses itong binayo ng mga banta laban sa kanyang kilusan. At sa bawat pagbayo ng pagsubok, siya naman nitong pananagumpay, tanda marahil na nasasa katumpakan ang pinanghahawakan nitong paniniwalang pangrelihiyon.

Noon ring nagsisimula pa lamang ito sa pagkakatayo, sinubok na rin itong pahinain ng mga kilusing kumakalaban sa pamunuan ng Sugo. Gayunpaman, hindi naging matagumpay ang mga kilusing ito sapagkat nanatiliing kaisa ng Dios ang Iglesia. Isa yan sa mga hiwagang nagpapatunay ng katumpakan ng hula hinggil sa INC.

Bagyuhin man o tangkaing sibatin ng anumang kapahamakan ngunit mananatiling matatag ang kaanib ng INC dahilan sa ang batayan ng kanyang pagkilos ay pagibig sa Dios.

Friday, August 28, 2015

INK members troop to EDSA shrine: turning seriously political

Some 500 members of the Iglesia Ni Kristo trooped to the EDSA shrine tonight as part of the continuing protest action of the Church against the so-called "preferential treatment" accorded by the Justice department to a dismissed former Church minister who accused his fellow Church officials of violating the law against illegal detention.

This action was reportedly sanctioned by the INK leadership, who, two days ago, bewailed Justice secretary Leila de Lima's acts, saying that the lady secretary gave preference to the criminal complaint instead of initiating criminal proceedings against perpetrators of the so-called Mamasapano massacre which resulted to the deaths of 44 SAF troopers, of which two were INK members.

The call was of course, rational. In the normal course of business, the usual practice was first in, first out. This is the normal standard operating procedure at the DOJ. The unusual haste is really suspicious to say the least.

EDSA shrine is not just a religious site--but through the years has become a political symbol, often described as this country's site for political intramurals. It was here when several members of the elite in connivance with cause-oriented groups converged and called for the resignation of former president Joseph Estrada. During the Arroyo regime, several attempts were made by anti-Arroyo groups to seize and take control of the shrine as a form of political protests, yet, were effectively repulsed by state authorities.

Edwin Zabala, the INK spokesperson denied that their action was some form of a bullying tactic against De Lima. Zabala says they are just expressing their right to express what they felt with what De Lima or the Aquino administration did to them.

INK members trooped to the DOJ Thursday in a show of protest against the alleged undue haste shown by the DOJ in accepting the illegal detention complaint filed by former INK minister Isaias Samson. Samson filed the complaint against several members of the INK leadership whom he accused of reportedly masterminding the crime of preventing him, his daughter and wife from exercising their rights of free movement.

An illegal detention charge is a non-bailable offense and carries with it a major punishment. If the prosecutor finds prima facie evidence of the crime, he can issue an arrest order immediately. Those accused cannot post bail.

If the Aquino administration mishandles this, the same way it did with the Manila hostage crisis and several other scandals, including Mamasapano, this could turn real ugly and deadly. How do you deal with a potentially explosive one such as this?

If, despite overwhelming evidence of the existence of proof, government backtracks and dismisses the case, the administration opens itself up for more attacks coming from other interest groups.

If it proceeds and encourages the filing of a criminal complaint and the courts issue the arrest warrant, how then, will state authorities implement such an order without the unnecessary loss of life? This case is reminiscent of the way US state troopers treated the Davidian sect in Texas which resulted to a terrible loss of life.

Unlike the Davidian sect, however, the INK is already a monolith of an organisation, which roots are already deeply entrenched in Philippine society and politics. It has withstood the test of time and has even survived several dangerous attempts against it from its traditional enemies.

As always, History has shown that in matters of religion and politics, Filipinos have shown uncanny passion in these two human inventions. When these two things fused together, the mix is as lethal as any other typhoon or natural disaster--it sweeps away thousands and leads to the destruction even of entire civilizations and even of modern societies.

This administration should very well be reminded of the lessons of the spring movement which sparked in the Middle East and of various other politico-religious revolts which sprang in numerous times all throughout the history of this country. In the past, clashes attended these events. I sure hope this do not go the way others did in the past.

This administration should be very careful this time. Proper handling by having the right mental awareness of the complexities of the issue and of a conscious consideration of the potential political implications of handling this issue should be topmost in the minds of this country's political leaders. Just a misstep could lead to an escalation and which could potentially turn into a very serious security matter.

Breaking news! Senate Electoral Tribunal has assumed jurisdiction over Grace Poe-Llamanzares disqualification Case

The Senate Electoral Tribunal led by Supreme Court associate Justice Antonio Carpio has just issued a resolution directing Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares to answer the disqualification case filed by Rizalito David against her.

You may remember that David, a member of the Kapatiran Party filed a quo warranto case asking the Tribunal to find cause against Poe-Llamanzares and ask her to vacate her post as a Senator. David alleges in his petition that Poe-Llamanzares does not have the right to sit as a Senator because she is, first and foremost, not a natural-born Filipino citizen, a statutory and basic requirement for those who run for a senate post.

Carpio, in the resolution signed by two other SC justices, and eventually signed by the six other members of the Tribunal, wrote asking Poe to answer the allegations within ten days upon receipt of a copy of the resolution.

The resolution dated 25 August 2015 should have been answered by now by Poe's camp. As of presstime, David has complied with an earlier SET order requiring him to correct some mistakes in form (not of substance). This writer was informed that David already made corrections which led to the issuance of the resolution. If my computation is right, then Poe's camp is required by law to submit their answer on the first week or second week of September.

A source at the SET also said that the tribunal has set a hearing on Tuesday September 1, 2015 for this case.

NPR will write updates on this case here. Notice the copy of the resolution above--it was signed by all members of the nine-member tribunal, including Poe's political ally Senator Vicente Sotto III.


Grace Poe really jumping into the presidential fire

ABS-CBN news.net reports that Grace Poe, along with several other political allies, is now barnstorming in the provinces in an apparent bid to "determine the people's pulse."

Bull. Crap.

Poe says she wants to know if the people "love her." Excuse me, Mrs. Llamanzares, but this presidential run is not about the people loving you. We don't need a leader whom the people love. We need someone capable of representing our interests as a people, and frankly, in my book, you simply do not have the capabilities or the right motivation to effect change in this country.

Capability-wise, compared with other candidates such as Mar Roxas, VP Binay, Duterte, Panfilo Ping Lacson, and Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, you lack the experience, the wit and even the breadth of understanding and patience of the dynamics of politics. Yes, you understand the dynamics of transactional politics, which, to your mind, is enough to weather you if you win this post. Sadly, the presidency is simply a different ball game altogether. It is not as simple as an MTRCB post or as crudely political as a Senate post, no.

Of course, you probably think that such a simple man as Benigno "Pnoy" Aquino III can hack it in spite of having a spotty mental record, you can do it as well. That is simply not the case here.

Aquino's family was cut out for politics, yours is not. Do not be misled and believe that running government is like running showbiz ness, or like running FPJ productions--those two worlds are simply not parallel ones. Besides, for the record, you did not get the chance to run FPJ productions simply because, admit it, when your father was still alive, he did not forget that stunt you did last 1991 when you abandoned your studies in UP and decided to migrate to the US despite the loud protestations of your father. Your adopting father loved you, but did you really love him back?

I sincerely doubt it. For one, you did not even vote for him when he ran for the presidency in 2004. Why? Because back then, you were still an American citizen. If you really loved him and really intended to support him, then, why did you not re-acquired Filipino citizenship in 2003, the very minute FPJ declared his intention to run for the presidency? You waited for him to die first before going back to the country which nurtured you before but you abandoned because of your selfishness.

Who will benefit in case you win? Obviously, you will leave it to your mentor, Senator Chiz Escudero and his henchmen, along with several big businessmen with political ambitions to manage and govern this government. Frankly, it does not sit well for many people. Ask Serge Osmena, mam.

Why leave government in the hands of a pseudo-leader and reputedly a megalomaniac according to several people? Are you saying that the likes of Ramon Ang and the Zamora brothers will definitely be more visible in the affairs of the state when you win? Such a scenario will definitely feed this country to the dogs, Mrs. Llamanzares.

Such big businessmen such as the ones I mentioned here have their own business interests to attend and pursue that is the reason why they are supporting you, because, right now, you are popular. Wait til your ratings go down further South and such calls for you to go and run for the top post will slowly fade away like snow flakes.

Mrs. Poe-Llamanzares, honor the memory and the legacy left by your adopting father. Do not go the way of the trapos. They are the very species which your father tried, yet failed, to defeat last 2004. And you had the gall of telling us that you intend to continue his legacy? In the first place, do you really know what you are claiming in public?


INC protest rally before the DOJ: Turning into a political test case

Around 3,000 plus members of the Iglesia Ni Kristo are currently having a sit-down "rally" in front of the Department of Justice building at Padre Faura. The reason? It was the knee-jerk reaction of these Church members over the apparent statement made by a high Church official accusing Justice secretary Leila de Lima of prioritizing a case filed against high INC officials by a former INC official.  " Why not attend to filing cases against those who brutally killed SAF members instead of prioritizing  or giving preferential treatment to this case filed against our Church leadership," thundered Bien Santiago, the foremost evangelist of the INK.

If you remember, Isaias Samson, former INK minister filed a case of illegal detention against members of the so-called INK Council. Samson has accused his fellow Church members of prohibiting his movement and of his wife and daughter. Samson filed the case before the DOJ-NBI.

Now, several people found this rally by INK as something unacceptable because for some, this is some sort of pressuring the DOJ not to attend to this illegal detention case filed by a former Church member. Why is it that the INK church leadership found this rather odd?

For one, the case was not filed before any court or before the sala of a prosecutor. It was filed before the DOJ. Under normal circumstances, such cases are usually filed before the Fiscal's office. Why? To allow space and time for a settlement between the parties. Certain cases can be resolved right there and then since Samson is not at all being treated differently by his former Church members. Likewise, if one of the parties does not like the decision of the Fiscal, they can very well elevate this case before the DOJ. In this case, it seems, the aggrieved party wanted to expedite the case since, for him, this is a very serious offense done against his person.

But, then, again, Samson was formerly a highly respected minister and not just a mere member of the Church. He has been treated as an elder brother. And those whom he accused of violating the law are themselves high officials of the church. Why deprive them of the chance to settle this thing amicably? As they say, when you're an INC member, you are literally treated like a blood brother by your co-Church member. It is the custom of the Filipino to settle things in a peaceful manner.

Of course, we don't know the real motive of Samson. Maybe he knows too much and that created in him the fear of dire consequences, and that led him to decide to file it before the NBI instead of the regular courts. There is nothing wrong with his move, procedurally.

What the church leadership fears is the possible arrest and detention of its church leaders if the prosecutor finds prima facie evidence of the crime. One cannot invoke the argument of the separation of the church and state because the issue is not about civil rights but about a human right violated and one of the crimes specifically stated in the Revised Penal Code violated.

Of course, the duty of the justice department is to ensure that justice is served to those who seek it. However, being an office under the Executive department, any decision pertaining to this case, whether for or against the INK leadership will surely be interpreted in a political manner. The most prudent thing that De Lima should have done is to throw this case to the lap of the Manila RTC or to the place where the alleged crime was committed. That way, she avoids the trap of having this case politicized.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Grace Poe's Ratings Bubble burst very early

A confidential survey which was shared with this writer indicated a possible bubble burst of Grace Poe's ratings. The survey, which was commissioned by a very influential businessman, shows Vice president Jejomar Binay at no. 1, followed by Mar Roxas at second place yet at 17%, then Rody Duterte at 15% and Grace Poe at 14%

This is expected since I think that Poe's ratings are pretty much linked with her popularity and as what any veteran of political wars know, basing one's political fate with popularity is very risky because popularity is very much dependent on the seasons and of the erratic nature of emotional support. When your ratings are not anchored on solid ground, you become what observers in the showbiz industry termed a "flash in the pan," or a "phenom, " a one-hit wonder" or worse, a " flavor of the month."

Poe's mishandling of the issue on citizenship and of residence is the possible trigger that affected her ratings. What is so unfortunate is the fact that Poe's ratings went South very early in the game. This means that her last two ratings spots have already reached the pinnacle or apex, and which also means that Poe's ratings are not as phenomenal as say, Roxas' previous high ratings or even that of Villar's which lasted for a year or so before it went South.

As the days pass, Poe's ratings is expected to either remain low or goes much lower than expected. The answer really is quite obvious---Poe has not attained rockstar status inspite of her handlers doing every single trick of the book to make her closer to her mass base.

Which means that Poe is really not a very strong bet or contender. Her ascendancy to the top of the ratings game is, to be frank, a media creation.

Bongbong Marcos to risk all?

Everyone agrees that Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr deserves a higher post. For one, he is intelligent. His heart seems to be at the right place, and Bongbong is someone who knows what he is doing and knows how to get what he wants.

Among those who aspire for the top post, Bongbong enjoys a distinct advantage--he is familiar with government and its processes. Bongbong carries with him a surname which is synonymous with greatness. The only real problem is the name also carries with it a stigma.

What stigma? A political stigma that is.

It is not the actions of his father during Martial law that made people hate or even loathe the Marcos political brand name, no. It was the excesses that even Bongbong took part of that most people remember. Most people do not blame Bongbong's father, Ferdinand senior for declaring Martial law. Most people accepted and even admitted that it was a necessary means towards a greater end--a more ordered society.

What turned the people's admiration into hatred was when Marcos and his family, and that included Bongbong were seen living the high life while the rest of the country was suffering the effects of a dire economic recession.

Many died during Martial law, but not a whimper was heard from the majority of the people because that was a silent acceptance of the declared system.

The people only resorted to violent acts when they saw how the Marcosses hobnobbed with royalty while most of the people suffered and reeled from poverty.

It was the people who gave Marcos the opportunity of leading this country towards an authentic revolution. Yet, Marcos decided to veer away from the very reason why he declared Martial law, and that was correct the monumental flaws of the system, and obliterate the greedy elites that hampered the progress of this country from third world to first world status during the sixties.

Marcos, back then, was a symbol of both resistance and renaissance. Resistance because he came from the professional classes and renaissance because the people think that he has the intellect and the might, the power to effect the change, the way every Filipino wanted it.

Yet, Marcos bungled that historic opportunity. Marcos was a symbol for change yet he himself became a target of resistance later in life because he conveniently forgot the very thing that endeared him with the masses in the first place--the masses saw in him, a champion, that was admired because of his wit, his principles and his sense of History.

Now, Bongbong thinks that it is his time to get hold of History and snatch it away from all the other pretenders for the throne. What Bongbong forgets and he must be made to remember it, is that he still represents a political legacy that is as spotty as it is loathsome.

He carries none of the promises that the masses saw in his father during his father's prime. Marcos senior symbolized a cause. Marcos junior does not. What cause does Bongbong represent? The "Tayo-Tayo" ideology espoused by his TV ADVERTISEMENT and which shows him doing a selfie with young people?

A classic empty promise of windmills? The shallow hope that a smile gives to its beneficiary?

Bongbong is risking all if he decides to really accept this illusion being peddled by many of him gunning for the vice presidency even though there is really no pillar by which his belief of a general sentiment about the Marcos regime stands from.

I think this is not the ripe time for Bongbong to jump into the fire. For one, Bongbong must prove to all and sundry that he runs for the right reasons and not because his mother expects him to or his financiers want him to get the highest post.

Friday, August 21, 2015

An Appeal to Grace Poe-Llamanzares--Honor the Legacy and Memory of FPJ

I heard what Grace Poe told my fellow journalists when she graced the birthday celebration of her adopting father before his tomb yesterday. When asked about her plans for 2016, Poe says:

"There are so many character traits of FPJ that I really admire. But even though I admire him, I’m thinking: ‘Am I really capable?’ Yes, he ran for president, but I am studying my options very carefully because I think what is important is that I honor his memory and that I don’t destroy his legacy,” she said.(Read more at http://www.mb.com.ph/grace-pays-tribute-to-her-father-fpj-says-she-is-now-at-a-crossroads/#YmVzTxpYHJvuRRzE.99)"

Thanks,  Mrs. Poe-Llamanzares, thanks for considering your father, Fernando Poe Jr. With this statement, I am slowly reconsidering  giving Grace Poe-Llamanzares, the benefit of the doubt.

Fernando Poe Jr died with his honor intact. When he was running his candidacy, Fernando Poe Jr never succumbed to his own selfish desires--he agreed to run because he saw there was a need for private citizens like him, to stand against the creeping totalitarianism being espoused by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

When we were still helping FPJ (I was the PR man of Amina Rasul, a senatorial candidate under the FPJ banner), several hundreds of businessmen flocked to FPJ, all desiring to place their bets in his favor. Some of these businessmen have spotty records.

There were several others who also went and tried to get an audience with FPJ. Some of them were known jueteng lords. You know what FPJ did? FPJ politely rejected their overtures. Those millions being offered to him to fund his candidacy could have changed the endgame, so to speak, yet FPJ stood his ground. No to illegal money. No to election contributors whose offers were tied with giving them favors the minute FPJ wins.

That explains why FPJ ran his campaign with very limited funds. There were times when we go to sorties armed with nothing more than our courage and a few hundreds of pesos. Yet we campaigned hard for him.

I risked my personal safety just to campaign for FPJ. I went out of my comfort zone, believing back then that an FPJ win would totally change things. FPJ, for me, was that man on horseback. Believe me, I did not earn a single cent from that campaign. The fact is, I used my own money just to help FPJ win over an accomplished and well-funded opponent.

We were running a campaign with dignity, honor,  and integrity. Our political leader has a rock-solid integrity. FPJ was running under a platform of Honor.

When we were cheated, I was one of those who really felt anger. That explains why I led several groups in that historic Welcome Rotunda rally. I was with Tita Midz (Tita Armida Siguion-Reyna), along with Bibette Orteza and her husband, direk Siguion-Reyna and several others at a makeshift stage atop a flatbed truck.

I remember being hosed down by dirty water by the police back then. Tita Midz was just starting to speak when she got hit by water sprayed at our direction. Police confiscated the truck and asked us to go down.

We went back to Burger King when we learned that FPJ was going there after his meeting at the Sto Domingo church. When we saw our principal, silence ensued. I saw FPJ's eyes. He was angry inside but never succumbed to his emotions. Had FPJ been weak, he could have played with the mob's emotions and called for a revolt. He did not. Back then, I never understood why. Later, I realized that what FPJ did was out of compassion for us. We were like basang sisiw back then. He probably felt pity seeing us all wet. FPJ had a very kind heart in him. He feels for his compatriots.

FPJ taught me a very valuable lesson in life---never be like your enemies. One must rise above them. If they used terror tactics against you, respond with restraint. If you use force, you will only act like them, and realizing that they are stronger than you, even if you use equal force, you will never achieve victory because your enemy will just use more lethal force seeing that you just engaged them and justified their action.

Madame Grace Poe-Llamanzares, if you are listening, hear my voice---honor your Father's memory and keep his legacy intact by not playing politics. Do not succumb to the offers of these businessmen. These sweet entreaties have blunt ends.