Legal Ignorance: So Not Bliss

It’s been almost two weeks since the hostage-taking incident, staged by former police officer Rolando Mendoza, at the Quirino Grandstand occurred. However, the issue is still far from losing attention. People are still waiting for its real conclusion while the police forces are still doing investigations. China is still waiting for a sound and believable result before allowing the Philippines’ high-level delegation to enter their country.

At the same time, the approval rating of Pres. Noynoy Aquino continues to go down. People have been criticizing his actions during the tragic day: not answering calls, seemingly hiding. People are saying that he could have done something so as not to lead the event to a tragic end.

For the last few days, I have been questioning those who are questioning the president as to what he could have possibly done in a military operation. Apparently, I have been wrong.

I have learned from high school that the President of the Republic of the Philippines is also recognized as the Commander-in-Chief of the entire Armed Forces of the Philippines.

But my opening lecture this morning on the Philippine Constitution this morning taught me what exactly being a commander-in-chief means. I was very wrong in my understanding as to how much power this vests on a person.

Maybe I was just too naive, but, apparently, Pres. Aquino could’ve simply talked to the hostage taker and try to have a compromise with him for the release of the hostages. It should not have been a wonder why the hostage-taker thought of the ombudsman’s letter as trash.

But I don’t have anything against Pres. Aquino. Maybe, like I was, he didn’t know how much power he had in his hands – which can be a good thing. In the first place, he did not want to be president. Or so he said. Just to quote my professor, “He knew it in himself that he was not ready to be president.”

Of course, Filipinos have that certain trait of being captivated by fame and judging people simply according to lineage.

I can’t blame, however, blame Pres. Aquino for not knowing the extent of his powers. Besides, it’s a given that he wasn’t able to do much while he was in the senate. Given that, we cannot possibly expect him to know more than enough.

One thing, though: he needs to do his homework.

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Of Vows, Transparency, and Tactics

We did vow transparency.” – Noynoy Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines

That was what the president said in response to being questioned about not ordering a media blackout.

I say that the president was well-meaning but I also believe that he is taking the term in a very unrealistic and impractical way. Transparency does not mean giving out information as it happens. Or you may say that that is how I believe it to be so. If it were so, and he would want to keep on his vows, he would have to air everything, every transaction, every meeting, in the government as they happen. And it would just be impossible.

However, I am also not of the opinion that a media blackout would have been helpful. As has been reported, he had access to a TV. If the president had ordered a media blackout, I believe, it would only have infuriated the hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza, and there may not have been a single survivor – to mean, the hostage-taker could have killed all who were still in the bus but himself.

I am not one who knows a good deal about tactics. Though, I do believe, as many will agree with me, that the police forces that responded to the situation could have done better.

The negotiation failed miserably – that’s a given. But what happened after the negotiations did not have to happen that way.

A very evident mistake would be one on the tear gas. No, I don’t believe that they didn’t have to use it. But I do believe that it was stupid for them not to think of preparing gas masks if they intended to gas the bus. Did they think that they would be immune to its effects while expecting that the hostage-taker would suffer?

While they are saying that only the snipers fired any shots during the incident, I cannot help but think that some of the bullets that hit some of the tourists are from the police force. And even if it’s true that it’s just the snipers, there’s also a chance that those bullets from the snipers hit a victim given that they were shooting while it was still too dark inside the bus.

The media could have also done better. They knew that the hostage-taker had access to the TV, still they gave a real-time coverage of the event complete with descriptive commentaries.

Yes, the police was not able to control them but they should’ve known better and have been more responsible.

Crowd control was very bad. The affair was hardly over and onlookers have already started to swarm the tour bus. And the police officers were not able to stop them.

As I’ve said, I believe that many will agree with me that the police force didn’t respond well. It was not a display of competence. They might have even shown that the criminals can fear them even less.

Yes, they did kill the suspect but, still they were bested.

On a final note, a believe that the Hong Kong government did a rather extreme response by telling its people to “avoid travelling to the Philippines.” We all know that what happened was very bad and we all regret that it happened that way. But unless it was proven that the hostage-taker, Rolando Mendoza, was part of an organized crime group, we can still say that it was an isolated case.

When Noynoy Aquino Starts to Appear Desperate

Hey, have you seen the latest Noynoy Aquino campaign ad?

Well, I have. And I hate it. Can I say I loathe it?

I found it on YouTube:

Why do I hate it?

Maybe for a few reasons. But to name one very important reason…

I thought I’ve heard people saying that Noynoy Aquino’s only claim to fame is that his mother is the Icon of Democracy, Cory Aquino, and his father is the assassinated leader, Ninoy Aquino.

And also, I thought I’ve heard him defend himself against it and say that he will not be using the names of his parents in his campaigns.

Well, maybe I heard wrong.

Maybe, he manned-up to it by accepting that allegation and used his parents in his campaign.

Even my mother was very disappointed.

She was like,

Now he has already used his parents.

Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections: Closing

—The closing article for the series “Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections” with all the bias and questions the writer’s mind can have and find.—

How much time do we have left to get a final decision? Not much. We have just about three months left before the time to choose will come.

May 10, 2010 is so near and a very good evidence would be the posters and banners already very numerous in the streets of the Philippines.

I know the title says “Closing” and I have just made eight profiles for eight people.

I’ve got reasons.

One. I started this series, “Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections“, before the ComElec decided to clear Nicanor Perlas and Vetallano Acosta of being nuisance candidates.

Two. The ComElec had a reason to tag them “nuisance” candidates. I may never know what that particular reason is but, given the fact that they decided to do so, it tells me that there is something with these two people that caused them to be tagged so.

Three. Visibility. This issue is more on Acosta. When the official campaign period started, he didn’t even start campaigning. And given his status, if he is, at any rate, serious about his candidacy, he would’ve been able to tell that he has no time to rest. And, therefore, would’ve already started campaigning. As with Perlas, yes, he went about and started campaigning so he is free of this question.

Fourth. Integrity. Still on Acosta. He can’t be found on his given address, as the news has told, and his own political party is not even certain if he is worth supporting.

I believe, I have given enough reasons.

Moving on.

Now, the talk would be on the eight remaining candidates whose profiles have been shown in the past eight posts.

How believable can these people make themselves be and win the votes of people?

What are these people willing to give or say just to win the votes of the people?

Noynoy Aquino has already stated that Hacienda Luisita will move to the favor of the farmers whether he wins this race or not.

How possible is this? Did he already secure a permission from the other shareholders of the said hacienda for him to be able to state such very strong words?

And, how ironic is it that it is his mother, the late former President Cory Aquino, who brought CARP to life and the program is an utter failure in their lands?

JC de los Reyes is currently a councilor of the city of Olongapo. If you think of it, this is quite a giant leap. From councilor to president. Does he really have all he needs to back up this move?

Erap Estrada was once elected president of the Republic of the Philippines but holds the record for being the very first president of the Philippines to be ousted from power. Seems to me like he wants to make another record for himself: the very first president of the  Republic of the Philippines to be elected twice.

Erap’s candidacy has been questioned from the time he filed his candidacy. The issues range from his qualification given the mandates of the Philippine Constitution and from his qualification as a person.

Erap’s standing in the surveys, as reported in the news, is not too bad compared to the other people behind him. He always stands third.

I, myself, am amazed of this fact and am wondering how some people, apparently, are still able to believe in him. What are the odds the Filipino will give power to a person who have been stripped of power by the Filipino?

No matter how unbelievable this might sound, in all of the eight profiles I have research about, I can see that it is Dick Gordon who has done the most. But are those gonna be enough to make people believe that he is the person who can lead this country?

Needless to say, it is also very clear that he does not have as much support as the leading candidates have.

The Transformers. Him and Bayani Fernando. Or so they claim to be. Does the name sound hopeful or sounds utterly childish?

Jamby Madrigal, as I have stated in her profile page in this blog, contradicts herself in a very bad way.

What did she really mean to say with her goal for not bringing even a running mate with her is to be able to have like-minded people governing the country?

Yes, to me, it sounds utterly stupid – just as I said in the profile page. OK, maybe it is not the same words but that is what I was implying. Unless, of course, in one way or another, she is gonna be able to make her point straight.

And as she have been caught on cam touring, she can make it sound like it is only Manny Villar who is her rival in this race.

Gibo Teodoro, in my book, is also another questionable candidate. Not he himself but the decision of the administration to bet on a previously almost invisible person to be the next president of our country.

I mean, the senatorial slate of the administration party has people who have been very much visible compared to Gibo Teodoro. How is it that they chose him?

Also, I have read that Gibo Teodoro is just some sort of decoy and the current President of the Philippines, PGMA, actually, has her eyes on Manny Villar as the next president of the Philippines. How true can such an issue be?

And how about a religious leader as the next president of this country? Any takers?

Yes, Eddie Villanueva still believes he can win this race despite the fact that he hardly got votes in the previous presidential elections. Though, it is true, that we can’t erase the fact that the results of the previous elections are very controversial.

And Manny Villar. The one person in all of the 10 candidates who insists in being the one who is the real and true person of the rags. And the one person with, obviously, the most advertisements in the airwaves these days.

The election period has not even ended, or better, has just started, and he has already been accused of planning to get back on his expenses by using the people’s money once elected.

However, he answered confidently that he is not going to do so because all his expenses wouldn’t matter because everything he is doing is for the realization of a dream – a dream to remove Juan dela Cruz from poverty.

Which is more believable?

The Philippines, unfortunately, ranks among the top most corrupt countries in the world which is not a good thing whichever angle you try to view it from.

That’s just some of the questions this mind can find.

But there are more important questions at hand….

How are we to make a wise decision at a time like this? At a time when politics have almost become one with show business.

Or, does our individual voices still matter given the existence of “vote buying” here in the Philippines? Or, once our vote has been bought, can we still find the courage to give our vote to the one we chose, instead of giving the vote to the buyer?

Crackers are everywhere as the recent website infiltrations show. Will our voices still matter given the fact that the people who have the power can just gather a team of crackers and change the results of the elections in their favor?

Or, do we really even have a voice?

Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections: Noynoy Aquino

Full Name: Benigno Aquino III
Born: February 8, 1960
Parents: former President Cory Aquino and Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Religion: Roman Catholic

Current Position: Senator of the Republic of the Philippines

Political Party: Liberal Party
Running Mate: Mar Roxas
Senators:

  • Franklin Drilon
  • Ralph Recto
  • Riza Hontiveros
  • Ruffy Biazon
  • Nerus Acosta
  • Teofisto Guingona III
  • Sonia Roco
  • Alexander Biazon
  • Martin Bautista
  • Yasmin Busran-Lao
  • Sergio Osmeña

Brief History

Noynoy Aquino studied in Ateneo de Manila University for his elementary, high school, and college education, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. After college, he joined his family in Boston in exile.

In 1983, shortly after the murder of his father, Noynoy had a short tenure as a member of the Philippine Business for Social Progress. From 1985 to 1986, he was retail sales supervisor and youth promotions assistant for Nike Philippines and later an assistant for advertising and promotion for Mondragon Philippines. In 1986, he joined Intra-Strata Assurance Corp. as vice-president of the family-owned corporation.

On August 28, 1987, eighteen months into the presidency of Aquino’s mother, rebel soldiers led by Gregorio Honasan staged an unsuccessful coup attempt, attempting to siege Malacañang Palace. Aquino was two blocks from the palace when he came under fire. Three of his four security escorts were killed, and the last was wounded protecting him. Aquino himself was hit by five bullets, one of which is still embedded in his neck.

From 1986 to 1993, Aquino was vice president and treasurer for Best Security Agency Corporation, a firm owned by his uncle Antolin Oreta. He went to work for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 1993, the sugar refinery owned by the Cojuangco clan. He started out as an executive assistant for administration, before becoming field services manager in 1996.

Life in Politics

Noynoy is a leading member of the Liberal Party. He currently holds the position of Vice Chairman of the Liberal Party, having assumed the post on 17 March 2006. He was previously Secretary General of the party (1999-2002), Vice-President of the Luzon Liberal Party (2002-2004), and Secretary General of the party (2004-16 March 2006).

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, representing the 2nd District of Tarlac. He won re-election in 2001 and 2004, and served until 2007.

Noynoy served on numerous committees as a member of Congress: the Public Order and Security, Transportation and Communications, Agriculture, Banks &and Financial Intermediaries, Peoples’ Participation, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Appropriations, Natural Resources, and Trade and Industry committees (11th Congress), the Civil, Political and Human Rights, Good Government, Public Order and Security, Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy committees (12th Congress), and the Banks and Financial Intermediaries, Energy, Export Promotion, Public Order and Safety committees (13th Congress).

He was also Deputy Speaker from November 8, 2004 to February 21, 2006.

One of Noynoy’s key legislative initiatives was to make requiring the procurement of the petroleum, oil and lubricants requirements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be done by public bidding.

Noynoy was elected to the Senate in the May 14, 2007 midterm elections under the banner of the Genuine Opposition (GO), a coalition comprising a number of parties, including his own Liberal Party, seeking to curb attempts by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to amend the Constitution.

Politics

TANGGALIN ANG TIWALI, ITAMA ANG MALI. “Corruption is the single biggest threat to our democracy. It deprives the poor of the social services they badly need. I destroys the very moral fiber of our society. No reform agenda will succeed without a determined program to eradicate corruption.”

Platform

Transformational Leadership

  1. From a President who tolerates corruption to a President who is the nation’s first and most determined fighter of corruption
  2. From a government that merely conjures economic growth statistics that our people know to be unreal to a government that prioritizes jobs that empower the people and provide them with opportunities to rise above poverty
  3. From relegating education to just one of many concerns to making education the central strategy for investing in our people, reducing poverty and building national competitiveness
  4. From treating health as just another area for political patronage to recognizing the advancement and protection of public health, which includes responsible parenthood, as key measures of good governance
  5. From justice that money and connections can buy to a truly impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich or poor

My 2cents on Noynoy

I believe that Noynoy Aquino is best known for being the son of former president Cory Aquino. Given that, he has a pretty good fight in this 2010 elections. His consistency in being either ranked number one or number two in the surveys is an evidence.

According to PoliticalArena.com,

It is in his bloodline. It is his heritage. For him, democracy restored must be enshrined without fear but with greatest fervor.

Also, during the funeral services of former Pres. Cory Aquino, Kris, Noynoy’s brother, has stated that never once had Pres. Cory ever been a corrupt leader. We can all hope that this lives on in the blood of her son, Noynoy Aquino.

Sources: Wikipedia, PoliticalArena, Noynoy.ph

Profiling the Candidates for the 2010 Presidential Elections: Introduction

It’s Goodbye 2009 and Hello 2010!

And in less than five months, we, the Filipino people, will once again have to choose who we want to be the leaders of our nation for the next 3-6 years.

Have you chosen your president already? If not, I hope this series can help you. If yes, this might just change your mind.

For the 2010 elections, the ComElec have qualified 8 presidential candidates and they are:

  1. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III of the Liberal Party
  2. John Carlos “JC” de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran
  3. Joseph “Erap” Estrada of PMP
  4. Richard “Dick” Gordon of Bagumbayan
  5. Jamby Madrigal
  6. Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi-CMD
  7. Eduardo “Eddie” Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas; and
  8. Manuel “Manny” Villar of the Nacionalista Party

Read the following posts for the profile of each of the candidates.