Archive for the nation Category

Bombing state-sponsored–perception

Posted in nation, politics with tags , , on July 10, 2009 by MASP

Written by Butch Fernandez and Manuel Cayon / Reporters
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 20:49

SENATORS on Tuesday condemned the rash of bombings in different parts
of the country, even as Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile took note
of growing public perception that these incidents were “state-
sponsored” to create a scenario that would lead to the cancellation of
the 2010 presidential elections, or at least a crackdown on the

“Already, there are speculations that these bombings are state-
sponsored to pave the way for a ‘no-elections’ scenario. The police
should crack these cases open to dispel these dangerous speculations
as soon as possible,” Enrile said in a statement.

Relatedly, opposition leaders openly voiced fears that the bombings,
blamed separately on Muslim rebels and bandits, among others, may be
part of a bigger scenario to justify a crackdown on critics readying
protests when the President addresses Congress on July 27; and worse,
to allow a holdover scenario where the outgoing President stays on to
reestablish order.

For his part, Enrile added, “As Senate president and as an ordinary
Filipino, I am appalled by the latest spate of bombings in Mindanao,
particularly in the cities of Cotabato, Iligan and Jolo. I condemn in
the strongest possible terms these cowardly and terroristic acts that
must not go unpunished.”

Gonzales’s remarks scrutinized

IN an earlier interview at the Senate, Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, defense
committee chairman, asked Malacañang to explain the statement of
National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales “for stating that there
must be a revolution in this country and a transition government must
be set up and President Gloria Arroyo to head that transition

“Secretary Gonzales should be fired from his position, being the
national security adviser,” Senator Biazon told reporters, pointing
out that the statements made by Gonzales only worsen the situation
amid talks of destabilization plots and unabated bombing raids by
still-unidentified suspects. In the House, his view found an echo in
Party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan, who also denounced
Gonzales’s remarks.

Sen. Loren Legarda, in a separate statement, said: “Instead of
brushing aside speculations that government may have something to do
with them, the Arroyo administration must do its duty to—number one,
stop future attacks through diligent intelligence work by the police
and military; and, number two, by bringing before the bar of justice
those responsible for the attacks that had already been committed,”
she said.

The senator said that if the bombings were carried out by some
misguided elements in the government, then the Arroyo administration
must realize the people can easily see through their ploy to foment

At the same time, Legarda joined Enrile in calling on the government
and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to get back to the
negotiating table in order to put an end to the Mindanao conflict “so
the thousands of displaced people can return to their homes and live a
normal life.”

Opposition’s worry

This developed as opposition leaders, while condemning the bombings,
expressed worry that certain administration “bright guys” might be
setting the stage for a scenario to justify a crackdown on government
critics and an extension of President Arroyo’s stay in power.

“We urge the public to be vigilant. Clearly, the perpetrators of these
acts are willing to sacrifice the lives of civilians to achieve a
political agenda,” Akbayan’s Hontiveros said.

“We believe the bombings are politically motivated,” she added. “The
‘terrorist card’ could always be used by Malacañang to extend GMA’s
stay in power. The climate of fear created by these bombings benefits
the GMA administration as it seeks to rationalize its plan to stay in
power after 2010.”

What makes the bombings suspicious, Akbayan added, “is that they are
happening after National Security Adviser Bert Gonzales called for a
transitional revolutionary government, which is to be headed by no
less than [Mrs.] Arroyo. These acts of violence could be trial
balloons for something more brutal that it could use to rationalize a
declaration of martial law or an unconstitutional takeover by the

Binay’s warning

Makati Mayor and United Opposition president Jejomar Binay said the
next few months will be critical to the opposition as it prepares for
the possible declaration of a state of emergency, and even martial
law, if the bombings continue.

“We are expecting Malacañang to draw up a scenario where eventually
the opposition will be implicated in bombings and so-called
destabilization plots,” he said.

“Executive Secretary Ermita has always said that Mrs. Arroyo will
declare martial law if there is chaos, and these bombings are intended
to create a perception of chaos,” he said.

Binay said the present situation bore similarities to the months prior
to the declaration of martial law in September 1972.

“What we are seeing is a reinvention of the martial-law playbook of
1972. But the motive is the same: the hunger for power,” he said.

AFP junks ‘far-fetched theories’

IN Davao City, the Armed Forces’ (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command
(Eastmincom) has directed its big units to deploy some of their
personnel to populated centers and convergence areas across Mindanao,
following the successive bombings in Cotabato City and Iligan City
this week.

But Eastmincom spokesman Major Randolph Cabangbang said Lt. Gen.
Raymundo Ferrer has urged sobriety, saying that there was no direct
connection yet on the bombing on Monday in Cotabato City and on
Tuesday in Iligan City.

An independent peace body, InPeace Mindanao, called for an independent
investigation into the bombings, suggesting that it also look “into a
military plot intended to stage emergency rule.”

Cabangbang said the Eastmincom would deploy the troops in standby at
its headquarters in Camp Panacan, north of downtown Davao City, to the
divisions and the latter to the brigades. “The directive was to deploy
more units to the places of convergence like schools, churches,
markets, town plazas, seaports and airports.”

“There is also the provision for establishment of additional
checkpoints in the national highways,” he said.

But he said that Ferrer “has made it clear that people should not be
alarmed at what was happening.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent
in Cagayan de Oro City, a convener of InPeace Mindanao, said
his group would “urge the authorities to look beyond the Muslim
terrorist propaganda fanned by the AFP, and see that one possible
motive of the bombings is to sow chaos and fear in Mindanao to pave
the way for a state of emergency.”

InPeace Mindanao was formed in 2003 after the series of bombings in
Central Mindanao and the bombing of the Davao International Airport
and the Sasa Wharf. It also participated in the investigations of
allegations that the bombings were designed by the AFP to derail the
peace negotiations between the government and the MILF.#


AKBAYAN Party welcomes ‘David vs. Gloriath’ fight

Posted in nation, politics with tags , on June 26, 2009 by MASP

Friday, 26 June 2009 07:22

AKBAYAN Party announced today that it supports the decision of AKBAYAN Executive Committee member and UP Professor Randy David to run against GMA in Pampanga’s second district.

“We have been convincing him to run for national office, but ‘David vs. Gloriath’ is a grander, nobler fight,” AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros said. “AKBAYAN is 100% behind Randy David, and I, along with AKBAYAN Representative Walden Bello, will personally campaign for Randy.”

She said that David’s announcement has made GMA’s congressional candidacy in Pampanga a national referendum.

“Randy David is a symbol of honor and dignity among Filipinos. The Arroyos may have the machinery and money to clinch a congressional in Pampanga, but Randy’s campaign captures the hearts and minds of Filipinos yearning for integrity and credibility in politics and governance. This won’t be a walk in the park for the Arroyos, and Randy won’t make it easy for them to fool the nation again,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

She is confident that David would get the backing of Pampanga voters.

“In 2007, Pampangueños have shown that they can defeat the politics of greed and coercion by electing Among Ed. In 2010, GMA’s defeat would be Pampanga’s gift to the nation, and it’ll prove that not all is lost, that we can still hope,” Rep. Hontiveros said. “We fully believe that Pampagueños and Randy will give GMA the whopping defeat that she deserves.”

“Randy’s candidacy has made this fight not about personalities, but about our values as a nation. We can’t let GMA squander our future. She should be put in jail, and not in Congress. What we need in Congress are people like Randy,” she added.

Rep. Hontiveros expects a transformative, grassroots-led campaign for Randy David. “The people would be the source of Randy’s strength. His campaign would be run by little heroes, by ordinary Filipinos who are willing to stand up for their principles,” she said.

At the height of the ‘Hello Garci’ controversy, Randy David was arrested along with AKBAYAN President Ronald Llamas. He was also a signatory of the impeachment complaint against GMA.

DAVID VS GOLIATH — UP prof ready to run vs GMA

Posted in nation, politics with tags , , on June 26, 2009 by MASP

UP prof ready to run vs GMA

By Kristine L. Alave, Juliet Labog-Javellana
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:40:00 06/26/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections

MANILA, Philippines — His wife and four children are all against it, but University of the Philippines professor and Inquirer columnist Randy David declared Thursday that he would seriously consider running against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should she seek a seat in the House representing the second district of their home province of Pampanga in 2010.

“If she runs, I will think about it very seriously. Yes, I think so. She will not go unchallenged. She will not go unopposed; we will oppose her every step of the way,” David, 63, told the Inquirer last night when asked about reports that he would pit himself against the powerful President in a local showdown.

“It’s probably the most foolish thing to do. I know it’s quixotic to run against the President—somebody who has no qualms about using all the powers of her office—but I think somebody has to stop her. And if we get to that point, I will do my part even if that may be myself,” said the sociology professor.


David said the moves to have Ms Arroyo run for a seat in Congress and to hammer out Charter change toward a shift to the parliamentary system were a “brazen” way of circumventing the constitutional ban on presidential reelection.

Under a parliamentary system, the prime minister is the head of state, he pointed out.

“I think what she is doing is really too much, and they have to be stopped,” he said.

David said that while the people of Pampanga were proud to have the President come from the province, this was not a justification for her to prolong her stay in power.

“I belong to the second district and we will not take this [candidacy] sitting down,” he declared.

David said Ms Arroyo had been frequenting Pampanga recently, distributing checks and food—“precisely the worst aspects of patronage politics.”

He said running against Ms Arroyo would also provide the opportunity to grill her on the corruption scandals hounding her administration.

“I will be very happy to challenge her to a debate and let the people know the answers to the many questions about this administration,” he said.

Most unpopular

On a national scale, David said running against Ms Arroyo would be “the easiest thing in the world because she is the most unpopular President.”

But when it came down to local politics, he acknowledged that he probably did not stand a chance against her.

Asked where he would get the resources to run against the President, if and when, he chuckled and said: “I don’t know. Maybe if you run, the resources will come.”

He said he had not talked with Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio about his plan or whether they would form an alliance against the President and her son, Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, the incumbent representative of Pampanga who has announced plans to run for governor against the priest-turned-politician.

David said his wife, former Civil Service Commission head Karina Constantino-David, and their four children, as well as his siblings, were vehemently against his running.

Weekend reunion in Betis

But should Ms Arroyo file her candidacy for congresswoman, “I will sit down and talk to my brothers and sisters and my wife and children and tell them ‘Eto na ang kinatatakutan natin (This is what we have been fearing),’” he said.

David said his father, Fiscal Pedro David, who was a lawyer of the Liberal Party, was close to Ms Arroyo’s late father, President Diosdado Macapagal. As early as when Diosdado Macapagal was a congressman, he was a frequent visitor at the David residence in Betis.

David said he did not get close to Ms Arroyo because she did not live in Pampanga.

He himself has been going home to Betis every Sunday on his motorcycle for weekend family reunions, he said.

‘We’ll not take it lying down’

In a media interview yesterday at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Panlilio let loose with fighting words in talking about Ms Arroyo’s purported planned run.

“People are sensing a political agenda in what she is doing. There is a growing notion that she’s using the second district of Pampanga for her political plans to protect herself from legal suits later on,” he said, adding:

“We will give her a good fight. We have some options. We will definitely pit someone in case she runs. We will not take this lying down.”

Asked if David was their candidate, Panlilio neither denied nor confirm it.

15 visits so far

He said he had only read of David’s supposed plan to challenge Ms Arroyo in the papers, and that he had yet to talk to the UP professor who backed his candidacy for governor in 2007.

But David can definitely run in the second district as he is a registered voter there, Panlilio said.

He said Pampanga residents had “mixed” reactions to Ms Arroyo and her frequent visits to her home province.

If the elections were held now, Ms Arroyo would definitely win the congressional seat in the second district because she has brought improvements there, Panlilio said.

But there are other constituents who see through her political agenda, he said.

Of the 17 times Ms Arroyo visited Pampanga this year, 15 were in the second district.

“I believe more and more people are having a growing consciousness of why she’s doing this. If she truly loves Pampanga, why doesn’t she run for governor?” Panlilio said.

“We don’t want Pampanga to be used,” he said.

Frat brod

In Malacañang, Gary Olivar, one of the President’s spokespersons, pledged support for her possible opponent in 2010.

Olivar, Ms Arroyo’s preferred mouthpiece on economic affairs, said he and David belonged to the same fraternity.

“So I would encourage him to run regardless of whether the President will run or not,” Olivar said. “And I will certainly campaign for him.”

Olivar took a different tack after being reminded by a reporter that he was a spokesperson for Ms Arroyo, who might end up contesting the congressional seat in Pampanga with David.

“He will have my moral support then,” Olivar said.

David will have “a bright future if he decides to go into politics,” according to Olivar.

But he said the sociology professor “should not condition [his decision] on the President’s plan.”

Ultimate intention

Lorelei Fajardo, another of Ms Arroyo’s spokespersons, questioned David’s motivation in considering running for a seat in the House.

“We should have the right intention and right motive in running, and I think there’s no better intention for us than to serve our country, serve our people and make a good difference,” Fajardo said.

“This should be the ultimate intention, and nothing else,” she said.

Olivar added: “I would like to believe that professor David shares the same intention.”

With a report from Christian V. Esguerra

YOUth Got the Power, YOUth got to Vote!

Posted in education, nation, politics with tags , , , on June 22, 2009 by MASP

ftvYOU Vote, YOU Transform!

Young voters comprise the majority of the voting population every elections. This doesn’t only mean the youth can swing the results of the elections, but it also tells us the power of the youth to significantly contribute to the institutionalization of deeper and meaningful reforms in our political system.

Using this power is not only important, but is also necessary and urgent. The country is currently facing a serious political and economic crisis. The space for reforms provided by EDSA 1 and 2 has been bastardized by traditional politicians who put personal and myopic interests above the interests of the nation. Competence, credibility, and good governance have been replaced by popularity, prominent family names, and wealth.

Voting and being active during elections would not guarantee immediate reforms and changes in our political system. However, it is an important start: by electing as many progressive candidates as possible, the chance of having more reforms and changes in our politics becomes greater.


There will be hundreds of candidates that will be running for different positions in the coming polls. Add that to the thousands of voters who will flock to their precints and you’d probably consider skipping this elections and staying at home instead.

Much of the stress that takes place during election day can be significantly reduced if we go to our precincts ready and well prepared. And we don’t prepare for the election on the day of voting itself: this must be done much earlier to have the advantage of time to learn more about our candidates, or our own position on issues.

Here’s a simple step by step guide to a well-informed and stress-free voting:


Instead of relying on the candidates to tell you about the issues that you should hear from them, why not do it other way around this time? Remember, elective officials are supposed to represent you and the people’s concern should set the priority issues or platform of the candidate.

One practical thing to do is to list down the issues that you feel strongly about. Many young Filipinos feel strongly about the kind of education that they get, or how accessible education is, or the chances of getting a job after their studies. Others are more interested in their participation in the government’s decision-making processes, from the proposed abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan to having meaningful consultations with public officials.


This isn’t as hard or difficult as it sounds. We don’t have expect young voters to have the solution to the problems and issues that the country faces. But the idea is, other than knowing what issues the candidates should champion, we should also have a sense on how they should propose to solve or handle issues.

One good way to do this is to contact other youth groups or civil society organizations that have done research on specific issues and have proposed policies or solution to these issues.


It’s election season and a lot of traditional politicians are spending millions of pesos to project a different and a more attractive image. This makes it difficult to get more information directly from the candidates, but then we need to be persistent. There are many possible sources of background information on the candidates, if the candidate is a re-electionist, then get a copy of the candidate’s voting record. This would tell us how they decided on certain issues. Obtain a list of the bills that he or she supported or voted against, his or her project and programs, and get a copy of his or her statement of assets and liabilities to see his or her financial or business interests. If a candidate is not an incumbent, then get a copy of his or her platform and position papers. Be attentive to the media reports on the candidate. If worse comes to worse, then brave the candidate’s campaign sortie, where sometimes voters can get a chance to talk to the candidate directly.

Look into leadership skills of the candidate. Does he or she accept invitations to debates or does he or she have the patience to listen to the voters? Are his or her campaign materials accurate?


Candidates oftentimes have spin doctors, or political operators, that write their speeches or develop their platforms. This makes it important to evaluate the materials that you have obtained to have a more discerning and critical assessment of the candidate. A lot of candidates avoid ambush interviews from the press precisely because they do not know a thing about important issues and at times this is more revealing than the impressive resumes that were provided by the candidate’s campaigners.


Talk to your friends or to your family about your impressions of the candidate. This helps broaden our perspectives on the issues that we care about and may even help us obtain more information and data for our political decisions. Remember, though, not to discount your personal opinions or perspective of others. Be broad-minded. Since you are doing this way before the Election Day, you have the luxury of time to analyze all the stuffs that you’ve heard.


Review your data and compare the candidates, ask yourself who among the candidates champion the issues you feel strongly about. Check, who is doing his or her campaign fair and square. Then choose the candidate that you will vote for.


Of course if you feel strongly about the candidate, and if you really want him or her to win, you can always join his or her campaign!

-First Time Voters (FTV) Network