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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Appalling

The grisly election-related massacre in Maguindanao province should signal the end of Gloria and Lakas-Kampi, once and for all. By coddling warlords that gave her the critical votes during the last Presidential elections against FPJ- where FPJ got an unbelievable zero in three Maguindanao towns!- the cost of doing this has exploded right at her face: 57 bodies as of the latest count. According to Vice Mayor Mangudadatu: “My wife’s private parts were slashed four times, after which they fired a bullet into it. They speared both of her eyes, shot both her breasts, cut off her feet, fired into her mouth. I could not begin to describe the manner by which they treated her." Gloria, gumalaw ka naman. The perpetrators are savage beasts, there's just no excuse for it. Incredibly, through her spokesperson Loreli Fajardo, she said that the conflict is between the warring families and that the Palace cannot be bothered by it, and that even if the Ampatuans were proven to have committed the crime, there was no reason for Gloria to sever its friendship with them. Grabe! (And then Gloria says something totally different from her official spokesperson, grrrrrr).

Sure, the Ampatuans have lorded it over the Cotabato provinces (four provinces were carved out of Cotabato: Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, North Cotabato and South Cotabato) since time immemorial, they probably think that the province is theirs by birthright. Ergo, anybody who stands in the way ought to be eliminated. And probably because of the impending danger, and his request for security escort turned down by both the police and military- all of whom are in cahoots with the warlord- Mangudadatu had to send a convoy consisting mostly of women led by his wife, sisters, human rights lawyers and journalists to file his candidacy for governorship, thinking that they wouldn't be harmed this way. He was bloody mistaken. Ampaturan Jr led the carnage himself, as witnesses would recount, not sparing even motorists who simply happened to be passing the area. The fact that a government-owned backhoe was used to supposedly bury everybody, including the vehicles used in the convoy is strong evidence that the powers-that-be are behind this crime.

It was really during Gloria's term when para-military groups, civilian auxiliaries, or simply militias, were activated, supposedly to aid in the fight against the MILF separatist rebels. Unfortunately, this only allowed the Ampatuans to utilize them as their own private army, equipped and fully funded by the government! This explains why the Ampatuans themselves are at war with the MILF- they stand to gain nothing from supporting the MILF and everything by standing behind Gloria: budget allocations from the national government and their own private army!

I'm not saying of course, that it's Gloria's fault. After all, political dynasties and warring clans are not new to Muslim Mindanao. The Dimaporos of Lanao were the warlords du jour in the 70's and 80's and the Pendatuns decades before that. It's just that in her quest for power, she has allowed warlords like the Ampatuans to flourish and rule with impunity, as long as they deliver the votes. What's worse is that these people live like kings- this warlord reportedly has a P150million mansion in Davao City. Since Maguindanao is among the poorest provinces in the Philippines, there's virtually zero investments in the area because people are just too scared to do business, residents simply rely on small trade and subsistence farming to survive. The P569 million annual budget allocation from the National Government obviously goes straight to the Amapatuans, and perhaps for the maintenance of their 400+-strong private army. Maguindanao and other hot spots are always ground zero for dagdag-bawas activities of the administration. She just didn't expect them to be bloody murderous. It has now come back to haunt her.

Notice how quick Gibo Teodoro "expelled" the Ampatuans from Lakas Kampi. His latest survey ratings have not gone above 2%, the last thing he needs right now is being seen as an ally of the murderous warlords. And in a really revolting move, Gibo accompanied Mangudadatu in filing his certificate for candidacy. Grabeh, gusto pang magpa pogi out of this tragedy!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rub Off

Before Efren Peñaflorida's work as a street educator reached CNN, he has been featured before in local programs, notably Jessica Soho and Che Che Lazaro's programs, if I'm not mistaken.

When he made it to the final list for the CNN Hero of the Year, all of sudden, so many people wanted to be associated with him and his work. Towards the end of the voting period, Globe was urging people to vote for him online. After he received the prize, Smart put out a full-page ad praising his achievements. Malacañang announced the President is going to confer an award to Peñaflorida.

Do you think Globe, Smart and Malacañang would even heap praises on him if not for the CNN recognition?

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Last Week

Gibo may have impressive credentials, but he's still in the wrong political party. Sorry, that alone is reason enough for me not to vote for him.

As for Noynoy, I have difficulty understanding him. Not only is he fond of motherhood statements, he reminds us of his parents' legacy ALL the time. I have not made up my mind on Noynoy. When he becomes President, for sure government and business allies will be dominated by Blue Eagles! Also, why is it that his ad on TV looks like a they're hunting for witches and manananggals?

Aling Dionisia is now...Mommy D. She's so show-busy she has even learned to bluff her way through the Manny-Krista affair, "To see is to believe," she says when asked to comment about it, despite the fact that the whole country already knows about the sordid affair. The public has made up its mind and has mercilessly crucified Krista as a gold digging, home-wrecking slut and his father- a 70's matinee idol- a shameless pimp who condones the illicit liaisons of his daughter with the boxer in exchange for Manny's financial support for his political ambitions.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Expedient

Manny Villar has a new running mate, Sen. Loren Legarda. Asked to explain how these two can work as a tandem when both have been in opposing sides of the fence on thorny issues such as the double funding of the C-5 Extension project, Legarda spoke a mouthful and managed to make a comparison between them vis-a-vis Obama and Hillary- both of whom sparred bitterly for the US Democratic nomination- but I still think her statement amounts to nothing.

This is clearly an uneasy union, a marriage of convenience if you will, so it's hard to believe that they have set aside their differences. Legarda, after all, was a strident critic of Villar at the Senate and supported the latter's ouster as Senate President.

So you see Loren, why would we believe you, how can we even trust you, when you can just as easily swallow your own words and switch sides like you were changing pants when your political career is at stake? Just last year, you criticized Villar severely for engaging in money politics ('pera-pera lang yan') so how come you're now his running mate?

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Yesterday's Pacquiao Fight

Like the rest of the country (well except for Jun actually, who says he cannot understand why they had to get their faces smashed for a belt), I watched Pacquiao's bout with Miguel Cotto yesterday after the Timex half marathon on pirated, but live, internet stream. (That's the thing with so many Filipinos around the world. They share their pay-per-view broadcasts on the internet. Dunno really how they do it, but they did.)It's only twelve rounds, about an hour, because if you wait and watch it over at GMA-7, it's not only delayed by several hours, it will take you five (5) years to watch the entire fight because of all the commercials.

Anyway, quite an exciting fight, except when Chavit Singson appeared during the opening. You can almost hear the collective sigh of annoyance coming from Filipinos from all corners of the globe watching the fight. Quite annoying to see politicians hogging the limelight. Kapalmuks! di makahintay ng kanyang balato. Bak't ba kasi sya nandun? For what? moral support? Yuck. In contrast, a trio of unknown GMA 7 singers performed a splendid arrangement of the National Anthem.

About the fight, Manny took a lot of blows himself, and in fact, he was outclassed and out-punched in the first round when he was clearly trying to size up his opponent. Cotto held his own in the ealier rounds but it was in the fourth round when things began to shift in Manny's favor when he floored Cotto. After that, Cotto seemed like he was just trying to survive, especially in the 10th and 11th when you can see Manny already annoyed and egging his opponent to stop "dancing" around or back-pedaling and engage him already. Cotto's face was bleeding profusely, I think by the 9th or 10th round, his coach Santiago should have thrown in the towel already. They almost did. The fight was finally stopped in the 12th because Cotto was just bleeding badly.

The next fight fans are eagerly awaiting is not between Manny and Mayweather, but the one involving Jinkee and Krista Ranillo, and perhaps Ara Mina too.

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Showbizy

And so Gibo Teodoro (why Gibo, why not Gibbs?) found a running mate for the VP position, Edu Manzano. As far as I know, Edu was only aiming for a senatorial slot, not the VP position. Dunno, but is this the administration party's strategy of raising their profile, by fielding showbiz personalities, since clearly their chances of clinching the Presidency are rather slim. I won't be suprised at all if they're wooing Aling Dionisia to be in their Senatorial slate, although the Pacman's mom seems loyal to Erap.

The question now is, Where is Noli de Castro? He hasn't announced his plans for the Presidency. Is he stepping out of the limelight? What party will he ally himself with now that he's clearly not the standard bearer of Lakas-Kampi.

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Dizzy

While Manny Pacquiao made history as he claimed his seventh world division title yesterday, I ran the Timex Half Marathon "with Coach Rio and Piolo Pascual" without adequate and proper preparation.

I thought it was a hitch-free event, plenty of water and sports drinks, kilometer markers, marshals,disposable timing chips, in contrast to the Adidas 21k event two (2) weeks earlier where the claiming of singlets alone was a mess, I got lost during the race and found myself in the company of 10K runners, and worse, where water was served out of pails for the 10k runners, yes the "balde."

Needless to say, yesterday Jun and I were clearly very exhausted and dizzy after crossing the finish line. Need to train harder.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Artificial

I cannot understand why the government has still not lifted the EO order freezing prices of petroleum products. It is creating this whole energy crisis. As a response to facilitate recovery and help consumers from the series of typhoons, this should only be a stop-gap measure, a very short-term solution. Prolonging it any moment longer could have drastic consequences.

You cannot expect a business to operate knowingly at a loss. Why would oil companies import oil supplies when expected revenues are way below import costs.

Simple arithmetic really. The government is clearly buying pogi points for keeping prices artificially low, when in reality, as per world prices, it's clearly not. Once the EO is lifted, you can expect oil prices to jack up substantially since the oil companies would want to compensate for their loss when the EO was in place, on top of the high prices that they would be imposing. The government should have allowed the market to bear it in the first place so that the public could have adjusted to the prices gradually early on, rather than a sudden, steep adjustment that only breeds confusion and resentment.

With the campaign period kicking in, plus the onset of the holiday season, oil price increases will likely push inflation upwards, putting pressure on interest rates.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why K-Pop Rules

You ever wonder why Korean pop is popular in the country nowadays? A quick channel surf through the music channels reveals why. Korean pop is dominated by boy-and-girl bands of the N'Sync variety, churning out music that are nothing but glamorized versions of nursery tunes, usually with ungrammatical English serving as the refrain. Although K-pop all sound the same, the bouncy numbers are carefully choreographed against a backdrop of smart sets and digital what-have-yous.

On the other hand, the Pinoy music scene has long been dominated by schmaltzy, syrupy ballads a la Ogie Alcasid, culminating in diva/divo scream fests courtesy of Charice and Arnel Pineda (when they had a showdown at ASAP, people were quick to declare that the performance was "world class"-- I wanted to puke!). It is a good thing that April Boy Regino- I call his music 'barnacle-music' because it sticks to your head long after you're supposed to have forgotten them- has since rested his vocal chords, thankfully sparing us the agony of hearing them inside jeepneys and buses.

And of course, the band scene of the Parokya ni Edgar variety that dominates the Pinoy music video industry. Unfortunately, despite the popularity of Eraserheads and its multiple clones, the music and how they are presented leaves a lot to be desired. While K-pop is sleek, music videos of Pinoy bands are filmed literally in some band member's garage, in sepia-like quality, and the band members look like they just emerged from an all-night drinking party. It could be argued, however, that the lyrics have more substance, more sense than repeating Nobody Nobody but chu ad infinitum. It's true. Pinoy music videos may have less glam but lyrics-wise, they fare better than K-Pop which is all glam and full of non-sense.

Which reminds me of Lisa Simpson. When asked by Mr Burns what she thinks of the current music scene, she replied that it distracts people from more important social concerns. :)

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Like Hell

I'm currently suffering an ear infection, and I'd like to think that this is a proxy for Divine Punishment. Really. Hearing my own pulse or heartbeat thump, thump, thump 24/7 in Maximum Volume already approximates hellish proportions, driving me up the wall. I am unable to sleep properly the past two nights. Imagine a frenzy of construction activities...inside your head. That's how it feels like.

The lady doctor says there's nothing wrong with my eardrums, thank God, it's only swollen and the ear canal is just wet. So it is my colds--and colds allergy-- that is causing the unfortunate condition.

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