The Philippines: A Battleground for Foreign Interest Meddlers?

By Ricky Carandang

Seven countries claim ownership of the disputed Spratly Islands, just off of Palawan. China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malsysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines all claim to own part or all of the Spratlys. These overlapping claims have been a source of tension over the years since the Spratlys (we Filipinos call them the Kalayaan Islands) are believed to contain significant reserves of oil and natural gas. China was the most aggressive in pursuiung its claim. In 1999, the Philippines–under President Joseph Estrada– led an effort to prevent tensions by getting all the claimants to agree not to take actions to provoke other claimants.

But in 2003, the Philippines–now under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo– rocked the boat that it previously steadied when it signed an agreement with China to jointly undertake seismic studies of the Spratlys and explore for oil and natural gas. Naturally, the other claimants were angry. After getting them to agree not to rock the boat, the Philippines sucker-punched them with the China deal. China’s traditional ally, Vietnam was so angry they it had to be let in to the deal to appease them.

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An Endgame Scenario
By Antonio C. Abaya

When the scam was being investigated by the Senate, it was suspected that the P728 million were diverted to the campaign kitty of President Arroyo in the 2004 elections. It is possible the funds were also diverted to another scam. The Americans are interested because these were US taxpayers’ money given as aid and misappropriating them makes recipient foreign officials involved subject to arrest and imprisonment in the US

There is also some derogatory dossiers about PGMA that were stolen from the desk of VP Dick Cheney in the White House by the US-designated spy (against Arroyo) Fil-Am Marine Sgt Leandro Aragoncillo, who turned double-agent when his Philippine contacts convinced him to also spy for them in Washington.

Aragoncillo is serving a ten-year sentence for illegally possessing classified information (plea-bargained from ‘espionage’) , while his accomplice, Michael Ray Aquino (one of the lieutenants of former police general, Panfilo Lacson) is serving six years., both in federal prisons. The details are too many to even only summarize here, but my articles on the case, between September and December 2005, can be accessed in www.tapatt.org ...

Will the Americans play the Bolante and Aragoncillo cards soon? That remains to be seen. But the neo-cons in power in Washington DC, led by Vice President Cheney, did scheme, unsuccessfully, to remove PGMA from power in 2004-2005, indirectly through the ‘Hello Garci’ tapes and the resulting brouhaha. Again, the details of this plot are in my articles of from September to December 2005. archived in www.tapatt.org.

If the Americans reveal, through Filipino surrogates, what they know from Bolante and Aragoncillo, the resulting scandal could accelerate the downfall of President Arroyo, but the question will arise again: how will all this end?

While the Americans favored Estrada in 2005 to replace President Arroyo, he has been scratched from their short list because of his apparent involvement with Aragoncillo’s pilferage of those derogatory dossiers on Arroyo from Cheney’s desk in the White House. The Americans are no doubt looking for a suitable alternative.

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Be Careful, Lest You Fall for It

Armed Forces of the Philippines

Thus it is that the AFP does not belong to the incumbent national leadership. It is categorically not the armed forces of the ruling administration. Hence, the AFP is neither meant to protect and defend a morally bankrupt government, nor wherefore intended to go against the people who are its much ravaged and well oppressed composite victim. The AFP have the Filipino people as its over-all national superior whose common welfare they must protect and whose public good they should defend. While the Armed Forces of the Philippines may not use their tanks and planes, may not aim their canons and guns even at a government devoid of moral ascendancy to rule, much less could it do the same to the deprived and suffering Filipino people. Doing otherwise would be unconscionable for the AFP.

In other words, to defend the Philippines against external aggressors and to protect the Filipinos against internal forces hostile to their common interest and destructive of their social peace—this is what the AFP is essentially meant for and fundamentally expected to be. To be called and used to hurt, to main or kill innocent citizens and upright Filipinos—this is a gross contradiction of the nature and mandate of the AFP, a brazen violation of its call and finality. In such an event, the greatest loser is the AFP. It becomes the object of public repulsion, the subject of popular disgust.

Click here to read full text.

To our AFP, be careful or you will fall into a snare. Your inappropriate involvement into the current crisis will only add chaos to the already tense situation of our nation and will only further delay coming of the next season.

Know your authority and the limits of it. This season is a test not primarily intended for you to use your military strength once again. Rather, it tests your self-control and your ability to discern matters correctly.

There are rotten apples among your ranks and some are in high places. This is one thing that the Lord abhors of you. In the times ahead, you all will be shaken even more by an event that you will least expect and it will be for the good of the nation.

If you think you can play another major role in this yet another season of crisis in our country, wait until the day of your shaking will come, and you will surely have your portion of the Lord's purifying fire.

Seeking the Truth, Restoring Integrity

(A CBCP Pastoral Statement)

Beloved People of God:

Greetings in the peace of the Lord!

Today in the midst of restlessness and confusion, we come to you as pastors, for that is our precise role. We do not come as politicians whose vocation it is to order society towards the common good. Our message contributes to the flourishing of a democracy which must not be built only on political formulae.

We face today a crisis of truth and the pervading cancer of corruption. We must seek the truth and we must restore integrity. These are moral values needing spiritual and moral insights.

Therefore, we address this pastoral statement to everyone particularly you our beloved people and in a special way to our political rulers and officials.

We are convinced that the search for truth in the midst of charges and allegations must be determined and relentless, and that the way to truth and integrity must be untrammeled, especially at the present time when questions about the moral ascendancy of the present government are being raised.

For this reason, we strongly:

1. Condemn the continuing culture of corruption from the top to the bottom of our social and political ladder;

2. Urge the President and all the branches of government to take the lead in combating corruption wherever it is found;

3. Recommend the abolition of EO 464 so that those who might have knowledge of any corruption in branches of government, may be free to testify before the appropriate investigating bodies;

4. Ask the President to allow her subordinates to reveal any corrupt acts, particularly about the ZTE-NBN deal, without being obstructed in their testimony no matter who is involved;

5. Appeal to our senators and the ombudsman to use their distinct and different powers of inquiry into alleged corruption cases not for their own interests but for the common good;

6. Call on media to be a positive resource of seeking the truth and combating corruption by objective reporting without bias and partiality, selective and tendentious reporting of facts;

For the long term we reiterate our call for “circles of discernment” at the grassroots level, in our parishes, Basic Ecclesial Communities, recognized lay organizations and movements, religious institutions, schools, seminaries and universities. It is through internal conversion into the maturity of Christ through communal and prayerful discernment and action that the roots of corruption are discovered and destroyed. We believe that such communal action will perpetuate at the grassroots level the spirit of People Power so brilliantly demonstrated to the world at EDSA I. It is People Power with a difference. From the grassroots will come out a culture of truth and integrity we so deeply seek and build. We instruct our CBCP Commissions to take active role including networking for this purpose.

May the Lord bless us in this sacred undertaking to build a new kind of Philippines and may our Blessed Mother be our companion and guide in this journey to truth and integrity.

For and on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

+Angel Lagdameo, D.D.
Archbishop of Jaro
President, CBCP
February 26, 2008

Your test has now started to intensify. Remember why the Lord "poured out" Moab in the days of old. You all are shepherds, and you will lead your flocks into pastures that you yourselves will the Lord lead into first.


Take Me [Us] Out Of The Dark

By Gary Valenciano

Just what is it in me?
Sometimes I just don't know
What keeps me in Your love,
Why You never let me go

And though You're in me now,
I fall and hurt You still
My Lord, please show me how
To know just how You feel

You have forgiven me
Too many times it seems
I feel I'm not what You might call
A worthy Christian after all

And though I love You so
Temptation finds its way to me

Teach me to trust in You
With all my heart
To lean not on my own understanding
I just forget
You won't give me what I can't bear

Take me out of the dark, my Lord
I don't wanna be there

You've never left my side
You gave Your hand to me to hold
Oh Jesus, I'm no longer in the cold

And yet, I leave You there
When I feel satisfied
I'd like to thank You every day
Not only when I feel that way

I've never known a Man
Who'd give His life for sinners like me
And yet, because He loves us so
He's promised us eternity
And we can have that promise
And be His if we have faith
And just believe

Teach us to trust in you
With all my heart
To lean not on my own understanding
We just forget
You won't give us what we can't bear

Take us out of the dark, My Lord
'Cause we don't want to be alone
Take me out of the dark, My Lord
We don't wanna be there, My Lord

Trust in You with all my heart
Lean not on my own understanding
I just forget
You won't give me what I can't bear

Take me out of the dark, My Lord
Cause we don't want to be alone
Take me out of the dark, My Lord
I don't want to be there

Click here to see YouTube video.


Bonfire of Institutions

By Randy David
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Because it is easier to imagine it, corruption has taken center stage in the public’s appreciation of the current national crisis. Against the backdrop of mass poverty, the quantities are truly mind-boggling: $130 million in kickbacks for a government project worth $329 million, a bribe offer of P200 million for a single signature, cash gifts of half a million pesos each for politicians who attend a breakfast or lunch meeting with a President facing impeachment, half a million pesos in pocket money for a government functionary who flies to Hong Kong in order to evade a Senate inquiry, and many more. But it would be a mistake to think this is just about corruption. This is, more importantly, about the long-term damage to a nation’s social institutions.

The damage to government institutions has been the most extensive. Far from being a neutral arbiter of disputes and a source of normative stability, the justice system has become a weapon to intimidate those who stand up to power. Far from being a pillar of public security, the military and the police have become the private army of a gangster regime. Instead of serving as an objective referee in electoral contests, the Commission on Elections has become a haven for fixers who deliver fictitious votes to the moneyed and the powerful. Instead of serving as the steady backbone of public service through successive changes in administration, the government bureaucracy has been turned into a halfway house for political lackeys, misfits and the corrupt. Instead of serving as a check on presidential power, the House of Representatives has become its hired cheering squad.

The erosion of these institutions, no doubt, has been going on for a long time... But the damage is not confined to government; it has fanned out like a shock wave from the epicenter to the periphery. We have thus far only seen the debris of government institutions that have lost their standing in the public esteem. Now we are seeing how the tension is passed on and threatens other institutions. This happens when issues that are left unresolved by the institutions of law, politics and government spill over to other spheres of society.

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Starting the Change We Want to See

Lord, let me be the change I want to see

To do with strength and wisdom

All that needs to be done

And become the hope that I can be.

Set me free from my fears and hesitations.

Grant me courage and humility.

Fill me with spirit to face the challenge

And start the change I want to see.

Today, I start the change I want to see.

Even if I’m not the light, I can be the spark.

In faith, service and communion

Let us start the change we want to see,

The change that begins in me.

Jun Lozada said that when this prayer was recited to him before his testimony at the Senate hearing on the NBN project scandal, he felt that the world became silent, and those were the only words that he could hear.

All of us really need to pray this prayer.

Sometimes, God's answers to our prayers are not always in the way we wanted or expected. But God's ways are always higher than our ways. There are times when He disappoints us in something we asked in order to appoint a better thing for us. At other times, He discourages us from lesser things just to cause us to be encouraged in greater things. Oh how mysterious and great are the ways of the Lord!


Neri-Jun is Right

By Antonio C. Abaya

In the 10th ‘Afraid’, Neri-Jun is “afraid that people will again opt for regime change without concern or a plan to correct the root causes of corruption in the country….that people may not realize that it is not bringing Arroyo down that is difficult, it is establishing a new order that is the difficult task….”

Click here to read full text.

It is really a very difficult task indeed for a people to establish a righteous and honest governance. As written in the following verse of the Bible;

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman guards it in vain. (Psalms 127:1)

But this is the hope we all must hold on to:

God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Therefore don't be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Gospel according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. (2 Timothy 1:7-10)

Fighting for Initiative

By Mon Casiple

The crisis of political survival of the Arroyo family has taken a turn for the worse as the momentum for a Resign GMA move gathers steam.

A coalition reminiscent of the coalition that torpedoed the 2006 charter change initiative is shaping into existence, with the various religious groups as core forces, middle class groups as the active element, and grassroots groups providing the muscle. It is the nascent coalition that undertook people power in the past. Now, it is the nightmare that the GMA administration feared becoming a reality.

Malacañang is scrambling for the initiative. Mobilization by friendly LGU units are being planned, sprinkled by a few pro-GMA NGOs and church personalities. A media offensive has been launched–against Lozada, JDV, the opposition, and even against Vice-President Noli de Castro. The de Castro media attack seeks to prevent a possible de Castro defection that can fundamentally undermine GMA’s chances of survival.

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A Series of Unfortunate Incidents

By Ricky Carandang

"Now as more and more people heed the call for collective action, some bright strategist in the palace is pondering what can be done to put the genie back in the bottle. As it is, I believe prospects for Arroyo to revise the constitution to extend her term beyond 2010 are dead in the water. I’m not about to make any suggestions, but I believe that what Malacañang does in the next few weeks in response to this growing crisis will determine whether the Arroyo regime comes to and end in 2010 or earlier."

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Saving Our Day

"Panic mode" is how journalists describe the mood that reigns over the various groups that handle Malacañang's response to the negative publicity generated by the testimony of Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. on the National Broadband Network (NBN) deal.

The emerging PR formula is Malacañang's quick reaction by Palace functionaries to damaging angles that come out of the ongoing Senate hearings, and to insulate Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from the issue by having her appear only in the provinces, inaugurating projects that picture her hard at work. Two weeks after Lozada claimed he was kidnapped by law enforcers at the airport, Arroyo has yet to issue a statement directly answering the new allegations of corruptions against her and her husband.

Click here to read full text.

I Have You
By The Carpenters

I have always been a dreamer
Followed visions of my own
I was born to belong
To the lines of a song
And make then my home

I believe in happy endings
Though I've only known a few
For as rare as they are
Like a bright falling star
I found one in you

Sometimes, all the world can seem so friendless
And the road ahead so endless
And the dream so far away

Sometimes, when I'm almost to surrender
Then I stop and I remember
I have you to save my day

Often my imagination
Has me reaching out too far
When I fell you were there
With your hand in the air
You knew from the start

Sometimes, after all you've done to save me
Thru the love you freely gave me
Every step along the way

Sometimes, people ask what keeps me going
And in truth, it comes from knowing
I have you to save my day

Sometimes, feeling helpless when I held you
Wishing words would come to tell you
I have you to save my day

On Valentine's Day, you sung that song. But who were you singing it for? Anyone who would dare to put himself/herself in your shoes could appreciate the pain you are undergoing recently. The lyrics of the song perfectly express the condition of your spirit. To those who love you, you may just be a victim of the circumstances. But to those who hate you, you may be a deceptive hypocrite.

Who are you referring to when you said "I have you to save my day"? Who are you relying upon to save your day? Is it your "right-hand" in power? Is it your die-hard loyal supporters or your influential oligarchs? Or maybe all of them? I believe you know who should you be relying upon to save your day. He is the only one who can truly take you out of the dark situation you are in right now -- and no one else.

If you are truly innocent of all of these allegations of corruption, then be glad exceedingly! For in this manner most saints were persecuted. But if you really have something that needs to be put right with God, there is nothing you can really do but to rely upon what His Son had done for you and for mankind. Rely upon Him to forgive you (and in fact, all of us) of the wrongs that have been done. His grace is hindered and cannot work to repair the damages caused by the mistakes unless we confront squarely the situation by admitting any wrongdoing that was done. Stage-managing the crisis by means of cover-ups and stone-walling will only worsen the situation.

The Lord is calling the nation back to righteousness, but yet many of us are still turning a deaf ear. We can all feel the heat already -- the urge of the Spirit inside all of us to do the right thing. But why is it so hard to come out of the dark we are hiding and move towards the light? Perhaps we are afraid of the consequences that may befall on us. But you see, this fearful attitude only shows that we don't really trust in the Lord. Why? Because we doubt if there is really something good that will happen to us after we bare out the truth in the open. Like little stubborn kids, we close our minds with the fear that our Father will only scold us if we tell the truth. Oh people of little faith! How long will we close our hearts to God's call?

Life is too short to harbor guilt. We have the opportunity right before our very eyes, but we prefer to blow it! It is very much human nature to commit mistakes, but to not correct it when the Lord has offered you the chance is the very nature of the devil -- Satan never asked God for forgiveness; he insisted he was right.


The "Joke" Somebody Started

By The WindChime

We all dreamed for so very long already of a genuine change in our nation that will bring true sustainable progress and prosperity to all levels of our society. And for this elusive genuine change to really happen, some aspects of our society must be addressed squarely. Among others, the most destructive societal ill is the culture of dishonesty. It is the root of graft, bribery, and corruption that gripped tight our country for so many years now and continues to bind the majority of our people in an inescapable life of poverty and ignorance.

Another ill of our society that must be eliminated is the trait called "Nigas Cogon". Consider these lines from a popular song by the Bee Gees;

I started a joke
Which started the whole world crying
But I didn't see
That the joke was on me

In relation to the events of our nation today, somebody started a "joke", and the nation started "crying", but he refused to see that the greater responsiblity on the credibility of the "joke" would befall on him. He was able to hint people about the "joke" but failed to tell the complete story. Now the whole nation is in a state of confusion, and the people started to hate him because he would not complete the whole story of the "joke".

I started to cry
Which started the whole world laughing
Oh had I only seen
That the joke was on me

Now he begins to feel the hostility of the people. He now started to "cry" a different tune hoping to pacify the nation, but this time the people didn't believe him anymore and they now started "laughing" at him. Oh had he only seen that the credibility of the "joke" rests on him -- and this is what the people are waiting for him to do.

Continue to read the rest of the lyrics of the song, and it is left for you to relate it to our nation's current situation.

You see, most of us are good only at starting something but we are not willing to finish it. We can never change a situation that we do not dare to confront its entirety. We cannot successfully confront a situation in which its underlying ills we chose to overlook. How long will we remain in a state of self-deception? Haven’t we realized that this time is a great opportunity for us to correct some of the ills of our society? We were born for times such as this, so let us not waste our chance.


Bayan Ko

Original Tagalog lyrics by Jose Corazon de Jesus
Melody by Constancio de Guzman

Ang bayan kong Pilipinas
Lupain ng ginto't bulaklak,

Pag-ibig ang sa kanyang palad
Nag-alay ng ganda't dilag.

At sa kanyang yumi at ganda
Dayuhan ay nahalina,

Bayan ko, binihag ka
Nasadlak sa dusa.

Ibon mang may layang lumipad
Kulungin mo at umiiyak,

Bayan pa kayang sakdal dilag
Ang di magnasang makaalpas.

Pilipinas kong minumutya
Pugad ng luha ko't dalita,

Aking adhika,
Makita kang sakdal laya.

Bayan ko, huwag ka sanang susuko. Lumaban ka sa panig ng katarungan alang-alang sa matagal mo nang minimithing tunay na pagbabago.

Kaya tulungan mo po kami Panginoon.


The Great Pretender

By The Platters

Oh yes I'm the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Pretending I'm doing well (ooh ooh)
My need is such I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell

Oh yes I'm the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Adrift in a world of my own (ooh ooh)
I play the game but to my real shame
You've left me to dream all alone

Too real is this feeling of make believe
Too real when I feel what my heart
can't conceal

Ooh Ooh yes I'm the great pretender (ooh ooh)
Just laughing and gay like a clown (ooh ooh)
I seem to be what I'm not (you see)
I'm wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you're still around

Yeah ooh hoo
Too real when I feel what my heart
can't conceal

Oh yes I'm the great pretender
Just laughing and gay like a clown (ooh ooh)
I seem to be what I'm not you see
I'm wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you're...
Pretending that you're still around

In our deep frustration in striving for so long already to restore righteousness in our land, may God forbid that time will come when we people of the nation will become numb to all the unrighteousness that are happening in our society and we will become great pretenders in order to conceal our deep pain and frustration.


Pangamuyo Sa Imong Katawhan

Talahurong Pangulo sa nasod:

Kinsa na man diay ang tig-tambag nimo karon? Nganong sunod-sunod na man hino-on nga mas sayop pa nga mga lakang ang imong gipabuhat sa imong mga lumilihok ug mga alyados? Matag lihok nga ilang gina buhat naga dugang lamang sa kaalautan sa imong pamunuan ug naga samot na hino-on sa pagka wala sa pagsalig sa katawhan diha kanimo. Gibug-atan na kaayo ang imong katawhan Madam. Ayaw itugot nga ang nabilin nilang dyutay nga pasensya laktud na gayud nga mahanaw pa ug unya mapulihan ug tumang kayugot ug tiunay nga pagmahay batok kanimo. Dili pa ulahi ang tanan.

Hina-ot nga hinuktukan mo unta pag-ayo sa maka daghang higayon ang imong kahimtang karon ug ang kahimtang sa atong nasod. Duha ug tunga pa ka tuig ang gilay-on gikan karon, maka-ako ka ba nga magpabilin nga nagkabahin-bahin ang mga katawhan niining atong nasod ubos sa imong pamunuan? Hulaton pa ba nimo nga dunay daghang inosenteng mga kinabuhi ang makalas ug mga dugo nga mobanaw gumikan lamang niining sitwasyon sa atong nasod karon?

Kung imong timbangon, unsa may imong mas palabonon, ang imong dungog o ang imong tulubagon ngadto sa imong katawhan? Hinaot nga malooy ka unta sa imong katawhan ug buhaton nimo ang kung unsay gipang hinaot nila nga angay nimong paga buhaton. Hatagi na intawn sa kalinaw ang atong nasod.

Ang Ginoo nasayod sa imong mga kalampusan -- ug usab sa imong mga kapakyasan. Sa talaan sa kasaysayan ang imong mga paningkamot dili hikalimtan. Magabarog ang imong handumanan nga diin ang nasod midugang pagtubo ngadto sa pagkahamtong.

Sama sa lawos nga mga dahon nga naghulat sa pag bundak sa ulan, ang imong katawhan nangandoy sa imong kalooy.

Ang Espiritu Santo maga uban ug maga lamdag unta kanimo sa kanunay.


Impressions related to Jun Lozada Incident

By The WindChime

Since Jun Lozada is a vital witness, obviously he was helped by some people of the administration. He was made to go to Hong Kong just a few days before a scheduled hearing in order to help him evade from being made to testify in the senate investigation on the NBN project scandal because he feared for his life since he already received death threats which he supposed were coming from the camp of those who are directly involved in the scandal -- of course, where else will the threats come from? And the irony is that the government he works for is involved in the scandal.

According to their plan, after some days of stay in Hong Kong in an "official" business, he was supposed to proceed to London to further lengthen his days away from the country in order to make more difficult the serving of the senate's arrest warrant to him. But by some reason, he was not able to go to London and instead he decided to return home. He communicated with his DENR boss and a plan was made concerning his security upon his return.

Few people who were interested of Jun's return knew about the schedule of his arrival and so they eagerly waited for him at the arrival area of the airport terminal -- among them were some members of his family, some media people, some senate personnel, and some security agents.

Jun's ordeal started upon his arrival at the NAIA. Because he was not made aware of the "true" security arrangement which the PNP planned for his arrival, and since no one also of those non-admin-allied people (who were waiting at the arrival area) were able to anticipate the PNP's "basic genius", of course as can be expected, they were all foolishly caught by surprise -- including Jun himself -- and the rest is history. (Kayo na lang ang mag ala PNP "secret service"!)

I could just imagine how Jun silently panic within himself when the PNP agents whom he did not knew intercepted him while he was yet walking inside the passenger passage tube and was quickly escorted to another way that obviously did not led to the terminal's official arrival area. If you were in his situation at that moment, what thoughts would have come to your mind? (Considering that he had some sort of anticipation that something bad might happen to him since he received death threats.)

Is the incident that happened to Jun upon his arrival a case of kidnapping, an abduction, or just a case of the PNP providing security to someone who requested for it? Well, like many of you, I too have an impression about it. Since the Senate is conducting an investigation of the case, let us leave to the proper authorities the responsibility of calling it for what it really is. But whatever the outcome is -- be it kidnapping or security -- it is clear that people from the administration wanted Jun Lozada not to testify in the senate investigation on the NBN project scandal. It is of course but logical. If you are a Malacañang operative or a hard administration blind loyal supporter, what would you do of someone or somebody like Jun Lozada or Romulo Neri?

Let me digress just a little bit from the topic. This is just an impression or perhaps an observation that is primarily meant to provide some sort of feedback to our media people because the nation is greatly relying on you. To our national media (especially their field personnel), this incident shows that most of you still lack the skill (if not the training) needed to be able to get substantial hard-to-get information. You rely only on the easy and obvious ways or means. No wonder the people are not able to react on your news appropriately and profoundly. If you want to catch the PNP, think like the PNP. You know what I mean? And also, I noticed that in many of the important press conferences called by people of the government concerning crucial issues, many of the representatives that media agencies send lack the wits or reasoning skills needed to engage their subjects more effectively in order to create positive impact on the viewers that will help them form right opinions. Not all of the viewers are smart enough to be able to fill up for the missing pieces of information that will complete the whole picture. (Salamat na lang at ginawa'n n'yo ng full TV coverage ang Senate investigation.)

Will national interest prevail over competition? Does our national media agencies lack cooperation and coordination among themselves especially in times of crucial national events? What about national media's performance in the Manila Peninsula Hotel stand-off? Well we saw what happened, but maybe we will save the comments and observations about that event at some other time. Some months ago, two of our major news agencies are fighting over some TV ratings anomaly. Basically we could also see the bad side of our culture in it -- like the NBN project scandal -- graft, bribery, or corruption. It seems we ourselves are also doing what we are criticizing and covering live.

Back to Jun Lozada's situation, we could only appreciate the great difficulty he is in right now -- like the difficulty experienced by his good friend NEDA ex-chief Romulo Neri who is a more vital witness than Jun. But Neri was being "professional" for the moment and temporarily saved himself from such further predicaments that Jun is undergoing right now. Neri gained some fleeting relief whereas Jun is suffering. When Neri testified in the senate months ago, he earned the people's respect much like Jun today. But when Neri turned "professional", he gained the people's condemnation. Yet I still hope and believe that in the days ahead he will be stirred up once again by the Holy Spirit to resume and finish once and for all the commendable thing he started. Then the two Jedis will become one in their struggle for honesty and their combined strength will become a very formidable force that the nation can join its force with and rally behind the cause of "Moral Revolution" against the power of the dark side.

In connection with the events happening recently in our nation, our religious leaders have called for a "Communal Action" aimed at unseating the current administration for its unconfessed corruptions. As one saying goes, "Every journey must begin with a single step". For a "Communal Action" to increase its chance of succeeding, it must involve the largest number of community members as possible and its first step must be started the RIGHT way in the RIGHT time. To those who called for the action, have you considered if it is already the right time to do such action? Have you prepared the hearts of your community members and are they ready enough? What specific first step should be taken? Who will be the new leader and is he not corrupt and is he fit for the leadership? Those are just basic questions one must ask before he calls for such an action, and not just call for it for the sake of taking advantage of the current situation (especially if your role is more of a caller rather than a front liner).

In our history as a nation, so far only two of such actions were able to achieve some degree of success but both fall short of their real objective which is sustained progress and prosperity brought about by a consistent and a continual righteous and honest governance. It is always relatively easy to initiate a "Communal Action" but it is very hard (if not impossible for a culture like ours) to advance it to its full objective because of a well-known filipino trait "Ningas Cogon". People may be stirred up by events such as corruption expose driving them to participate with so much zeal in a "Communal Action", but when the dusts settle down and a new administration is installed, it is almost a mystery for our culture why it won't take too long before corruption begins to take root again. We have been caught in this seemingly unendless cycle of corruption that our nation moves one huge step forward when a "Communal Action" succeeds, but so many steps backward afterwards.

I only hope and pray that if we must take our next "Communal Action", it would not just be a huge step forward but also followed by so many steps forward so that our nation will finally be able to break the cycle of corruption. Let us start this very gigantic first step in each of our own individual selves. Let us all be honest and righteous in our simple and everyday lives. In short, as a nation let us all return to the Lord by renewing our lives through the changing of our hearts.


Lozada bombshell not enough to oust Arroyo -- House allies

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:10:00 02/10/2008

MANILA, Philippines-- Congressional allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are confident the administration would weather the furor stirred by Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada Jr., the new witness on the bribes and overpricing in the $329-million National Broadband Network deal.

Administration lawmakers, led by Speaker Prospero Nograles, said they doubted the furor over Lozada's testimony would backfire on the administration and snowball into massive protests.

But opposition congressmen believed the move by top officials to stop the communications and electronics engineer from testifying, among others, would further erode public trust in the President.

"I don't think so,'' Nograles said in a text message when asked if Lozada's testimony would take its toll on the administration and the majority coalition. "His testimony is personal to him, and can be made a basis for criminal complaints against persons he named," he said.

Besides, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte said Lozada never provided any evidence linking the President or her husband First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo to the deal. He added that there was nothing in his testimony that could be used as a ground for the President's impeachment.

"It was just a rehash of the old one. There's no proof; these are just mere allegations. And mere allegations are not evidence. It's easy to accuse, but it's hard to prove," he said in a phone interview.

Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita agreed: "There's no repercussion. At the end of the day, the President didn't sign a contract."

In his testimony before the Senate last Friday, Lozada linked government officials to his abduction, and attempts to stop from testifying on the NBN deal.

Click here to read full text.

So they thought things will not prosper, but they can never be sure because it is too early for them to tell. Their defensive attitude very early at this point in time only contributes to the "mystery" that surrounds this scandal.

At best, their speculation may have the effect of creating some degree of discouragement to some of the overwhelming majority of the people whose silent and earnest longing for a righteous and honest governance heaven can no longer delay for long.

Like in the game of chess, an average level player can never anticipate the moves of a world grandmaster. In this case, they are playing against the plan of the Grandmaster, the Lord! This makes things very interesting. At least they exhibit some kind of a fighting spirit (but only because they don't know who they are struggling against, but even if they know, most of them don't believe the idea that they could be struggling against the Lord).

Let them use all their intelligence and skills to the best of their abilities. While we people of the nation, let us use our faith through our prayers and fasting. As I've said before, this is a great season of testing for all the people of the nation, and the Lord will be glorified once again. This time, let us do the right thing in the right way (oops... I was about to reveal something which is not yet in its right time).

The Spirit of the Lord will search the inner parts of their being, and they can never escape the conviction of the Holy Spirit within them. It will only be a matter of time before they surrender to the love of God that is constantly calling within themselves.

They can resist the prodding of the Spirit, but they cannot escape the chastening winds of the Lord.

"Moral Revolution"

By Abp. Oscar V. Cruz

There is a formal and standing call for a "Moral Revolution" made by no less than a then high ranking official in government in direct response to the pronouncement of an also highly placed Churchman at the helm of the CBCP openly saying that the present administration is "Morally Bankrupt". The said call affirms the truth of the pronouncement, and the cited pronouncement validates the urgency of the call. The call and the pronouncement constitute a strong, relevant and urgent moral whole.

The said expressed and continuing highly significant and fervent call has some five (5) key and outstanding appeals, all of which are neither hard to understand nor difficult to fathom. The government official personally and officially addresses the following socio-moral agenda directly to the one leading the national governance some seven long years since:


Click here to read full text.

The Truth will set our Country Free

By Angel Abp. Lagdameo

It was courageous but damaging for two officials of government, former Speaker Jose de Venecia and Mr. Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, to expose questionable government deals in millions of dollars including scandalous and immoral kickbacks. It was courageous to come out in the open to “publicly confess” the high level of graft and corruption that they knew all along and “somehow” have been involved in. But it was also damaging to their political career as well as to significant others who are in high governance. Damaging also because they opened themselves to further scrutiny and inquiry. Truth hurts. Truth liberates. But the truth must be served. The truth will set our country free (cf. John 8/32)

Their public confession may be considered a providential event that may yet save our country from being hostage to scandalous and shady government deals that offend the common good and serve only personal, family and group interests. In our last CBCP Statement, the Bishops strongly lamented the absence of social conscience today. This is the root cause of our systemic graft and corruption.

Click here to read full text.


The wind has blown

By The WindChime

The wind has blown, but it is yet the beginning. In the days ahead, kites will soon be flying because the windy season has started to come.

Let us be thankful we people of this nation, for the Lord is always giving us chance. Chance to correct ourselves and repent from our wicked ways. Symbolically, the "wind" means the recent events of these days that are happening in our nation. These events will usher our nation to yet another crucial moment in our history. This is our piece of trial in this part of the world with respect to the rest of the world.

It is too early for me to say more about what lies ahead because it will spoil the purpose of why the Lord has allowed these things to happen. But to those who have the ability to discern spiritual matters, the signs obviously tell the tale.

The Lord speaks to all the people of the nation but more loudly to those who are lost. God speaks through the "wind". Therefore if anyone feels the rushing of the wind against his/her face, then you know that the Lord is speaking to you. Sometimes the wind is a "gentle breeze" that soothes, while at other times it is a "strong wind" that pains.

But the Lord is a loving father. His responses to our wicked ways and disobedience are calibrated. The more we resist His call for us to turn from our sinfulness, the more He loudly calls us through our predicaments.

You who are beginning to feel the wind gradually getting strong, you have all the chance to, once and for all, do the right thing. God is so obviously calling your attention to the wrongs you have done to the nation. It is never too late to get yourselves right with God. You can spare yourselves from the agony of God's chastening. Because the Lord loves you, He will never stop sending you winds until you will finally surrender back to Him in His love.

To us citizens of the nation, let us not fall into the temptation of taking matters into our own hands -- like what some of our brothers in the military have done before -- for it will only destroy our chance of doing the right thing in the right way.

In the days ahead, congress with its new leaderships will be tested greatly by the Lord. Therefore let us not spoil their chance of experiencing their portion of the wind -- a considerably strong wind.

So, the rest of us, what can we do then as ordinary citizens of this nation? Oh... have we forgotten that the season at hand is Lent? Perfect timing! Prayer together with true sacrificial fasting can break the strongholds of evil in high places. Can you see God's timing? He blows the wind in the right season.

May the Lord bring us all through this yet another windy season of our history.


What will it take?

Silencing Lozada
Malaya Editorial

What will it take to make Gloria and Mike Arroyo more respectful of the law? Appeals to reason do not work. Neither do appeals to conscience. Possibly it is only when they are called to account that it will dawn on them that they too need the protection of the very law they now flout with impunity.

Their arrogance is breathtaking. And we are not talking about the televised execution of their long-time partner Jose de Venecia. The Arroyos had only sought to demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of the members of the House were their lapdogs. But what was the point? Everybody knew that all along.

What bears close watching are the attacks by the Arroyos on persons they cannot buy and institutions they cannot cow. The abduction of Rodolfo Lozada is a case in point. Lozada was earlier ordered arrested by the Senate for his failure to appear before the inquiry into the overpriced national broadband deal. This minor government functionary Lozada, however, sent word to senators he would be coming home to face the music. His only request was that Senate sheriffs meet him at the airport so he could turn himself in.

Armed men led by airport security chief Angel Atutubo, however, were a step ahead of the Senate sheriffs, getting hold of Lozada and taking him to places unknown.

Yesterday, PNP chief Avelino Razon said Lozada was in their custody, adding the latter had sought police protection. And yes, another PNP high official chimed in, they would produce Lozada when summoned by the Senate.

A more implausible story no one could possibly concoct.

The only threat is to Lozada’s liberty. That comes from the arrest order signed by Senate President Manny Villar. The PNP can now defy the Senate by taking into custody – protective or otherwise – the subject of the chamber’s arrest order?

And to further insult the Senate, the PNP took it upon itself to issue a guarantee that Lozada would be produced whenever he would be needed by the Senate.

That is, on the assumption that Lozada indeed sought the "protective custody" of the PNP, an assumption that flies in the face of statements of Lozada’s close relatives.

According to his relatives, Lozada was prepared to cooperate with the Senate. He was willing to name the people behind $329 million attempted raid on the treasury. He was willing to cite figures on the millions in "advances" made by the Chinese company ZTE.

In short, he was abducted to silence him. Hopefully, not permanently.

Oh Lord, two years yet is a long time for the people to suffer more. Give us the strength to resist the temptation of taking matters into our own hands. Your ways are always higher than our ways. We trust in your justice. For whatever purpose you have allowed us to suffer, let all things be according to your timing.


But who should take the lead?

"It is true, as the CBCP has said, that the key to the problems of the nation has its roots in the “subordination of the common good to the private good.” But who should take the lead in promoting the common good? True, change must start with individuals. But the government should set the example in subordinating private interest to the common good. And the Catholic Church, like a good, solicitous parent, has to guide the government toward the right path, toward the path of morality and ethical conduct."

Click here to read full text.