Monday, June 29, 2009

2010 Jitters

As the election day draws nearer, those who are actively monitoring the preparations cannot help but feel some degree of apprehension. Are we going to be successfull in our poll automation efforts? Will election-related violence be avoided? Most importantly, will the entire process reflect the collective will of the majority

I have often heard people complaining about the blatantly outrageous overspending by some politicians on their propaganda machinery. Indeed, it has reached a scandalous level, even if these potential candidate are allegedly using their own private funds.

If money will continue to be the main factor , instead of competence and development programs/visions, in the electoral exercise perhaps we should introduce a radical change in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Let us remove the provisions on elections. Instead, let us set up all elective positions for auctions/biddings! Those who can offer the highest price, or perhaps give every voter the highest amount, will get the position! That way, we avoid the messy electoral exercise and drop all pretensions of democratic ideals. Let us talk business and do business.

But of course, very few will agree to charter change before 2010 (a fact which majority of the congressmen/women prefers to ignore). Thus my proposal may have to wait after this 2010 elections. so we are back to where we started:

What will the 2010 elections do to us? Will it restore the peoples’ faith in our democratic institutions? Will it empower the marginalized? Or will it bring to the surface and simply legitimize a new ruling elite?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dear Friends:

Sharing with you the Ateneo de Naga University Statement against Constituent Assembly finalized and adopted in yesterday's Council of Administrators meeting. The statement was signed by majority of the university students, faculty, and personnel.

Salamat po.

In solidarity,

Executive Director
Institute of Politics (I.P.)
2F Administration Building
Ateneo de Naga University
4400 Naga City Philippines
Tel. (63-54) 4722368 local 2013
Fax (63-54) 4739253



In the darkness of night of June 2, 2009 the House of Representatives worked overtime. The majority passed Resolution 1109 against the valiant efforts of the minority to prevent its passage. Against the will of the majority of Filipinos, they resolved to convene a constituent assembly. They demonstrated why the majority of the Filipinos distrust Congress, and why, if the Constitution must be changed, they prefer a Constitutional Convention after 2010. In their resolution 1109, they betrayed the teeming masses they represent for the scheming machinations of Malacañang. We call on these congressmen and -women to return to representing their constituents and their consciences.


The House of Representatives, by resolving to convene itself into Constituent Assembly and to initiate charter change at this point, opens a Pandora’s box! Once convened, the Constituent Assembly may take up any agenda and make decisions, even without the consent of the people! Through the hurried passage of HR 1109, they initiated the move to amend the Constitution in a manner that lacks respect for and recognition of the duly established legal process. They junked the Senate. They betrayed the Constitution they vowed to protect and preserve. They manifested an utter disregard for genuine representation. They ceased to be our delegates, our trustees, and our representatives. Through such unprincipled action they have arrogated to themselves the authority that they are Constitutionally mandated to share with the Senate. They are not interested in reason, discussion, deliberation. They are interested in constitutional change through a sleight of hand, an intellectual chimera, a flawed argument, to strengthen the hold on power of the person in Malacanang, and to prevent any deliberation in the light.


Our country is imperiled by an economic situation that fails to respond to the driving poverty of our people, unmitigated corruption, declining trust and confidence in political leaders and institutions! A charter change process before the 2010 elections, that keeps charter change hostage to the interests of Malacañang, is dangerously divisive; it will fuel further adventurism among armed groups from the left and the right, and will awaken angry political action among large groups that have been content so far to be quiet. That quiet may be replaced by a willingness to fight and die in conscience for the good of the nation.


In the spirit of strengthening our democratic institutions and retaining the fragile national unity that we are trying so hard to sustain, we strongly call on them to desist from pursuing Charter Change through a Constituent Assembly!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Mga tugang kong Bikolano!

Mga tugang kong Bikolano:

Harani na po an 2010 elections. Sana nakaparehistro na kita gabos para
siguradong makaboto kita sa maabot na eleksyon.

Alagad afuera kan orolay sa eleksyon, naglataw naman ngonyan an kariribukan
tungkol sa charter change. Sa paagi kaining satuyang blogspot, tibaad pwede kitang
magbararetaan kan mga kalakawan asin mga plano manunungod digdi sa isyung ini.

Puonan ko:

1. Sa Ateneo de Naga University, naglalakaw na an pagpapirma para sa sarong
university statement na papaluwason kan unibersidad. Pag nagkataon, ini masentro
sa tulong aspeto: habo kami sa chacha before 2010; habo kami sa constituent
assembly; asin minasuporta kami sa pagkondusir kan 2010 elections!

2. May mga pigpaplanong paghiro digdi sa lokal. Saro kaiyan iyo an noise
barrage/motorcade sa june 27, alas-6 nin hapon. Su mga may auto, pig-iimbitaran
mi kamong magbali sa pagbusina asin pagribok laban sa con-ass chacha!

By the way, pwede man nindo akong makua sa

Monday, June 8, 2009


Panawagan para sa pagkilos!

Ako ay mahigit isang dekada nang gumigitna sa kalye, lalo na kapag may usaping di kayang tugunan ng mga institusyon ng lipunan. Lalo na kapag ang huling takbuhan ay ang hukuman ng masa...ang pananaw at pandinig ng nakararaming mamamayan.

Mas tahimik sana kung ang mga hinaing ay kayang tugunan ng pamahalaan at mga ahensya nito. Matiwasay sana kung ang mga problema ay hindi galing sa administrasyon at sa mgas nakaupo sa puwesto.

Ngunit hanggat marami ang nasisilaw sa kinang ng yaman...di matatapos ang gulo.

At dahil di maaaring ipagwalang-bahala ang gawaing ganito sa isang demokrasya, babangon at kikilos ang mga mamamayan. Sa gitna ng gulo, kanino ka kakampi...?!



ARROYO ALLIES SAY--Constituent assembly convenes in July

Only SC can stop Charter change
By Villamor Visaya Jr., Vincent Cabreza
Inquirer Northern Luzon
First Posted 21:50:00 06/07/2009

Filed Under: Charter change, Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010,

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s allies
in the House of Representatives said they would convene a constituent
assembly to amend the Constitution without the Senate when Congress
reopens in July despite outrage by religious and civil society groups.

Baguio Representative Mauricio Domogan, one of the authors of House
Resolution 1109, which calls for a constituent assembly, said the
House would start the Charter change process upon the resumption of
Congress sessions in July by “inviting everyone” to form the
constituent assembly, including senators.

Domogan said the assembly would proceed even if senators refused to
cooperate and they would only stop if the high court stepped in to
rule on HR 1109’s constitutionality.

“We want the court to settle once and for all how to interpret the
provisions guiding Charter amendments so that the next Congress won’t
have to argue should they move to invoke this mode of amending the
Constitution,” Domogan said.

Domogan said on Sunday that administration lawmakers were aware that
they were taking a calculated risk in approving the measure before
adjourning the 14th session of Congress last week.

Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino said that the House
leadership was considering sending HR 1109 to individual senators, and
not the Senate as a body, for endorsement.

Antonino said that this would serve as an invitation to attend the
constituent assembly.

He said the constituent assembly would be convened a few weeks before
the President’s State of the Nation Address on July 27 in order to
create a “justiceable” cause for the Supreme Court to lay down a final
ruling on how should a constituent assembly be formed.

He said lawmakers were hoping that public outrage would provoke a
challenge in the Supreme Court on the House position that amendments
to the Constitution could be approved by three-fourths of the entire
membership of the two chambers voting jointly.

The 23-member Senate has opposed the move, but Arroyo allies expect to
overcome the upper chamber’s resistance with their sheer number in the
lower house.

House Majority Leader Arthur Defensor Sr. said: “I don’t believe the
House will convene without the Senate or at least majority of them
must signify their intention to attend.”

Otherwise, the Iloilo lawmaker said, this would put the House in bad

Defensor said the call to convene a constituent assembly would be made
by Speaker Prospero Nograles, “but he will have to first get a
consensus of all leaders before making a declaration.”

A pastoral statement issued over the weekend by Jaro Archbishop Angel
Lagdameo, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the
Philippines, urged peaceful protests against HR 1109, but Domogan said
the Church action was “premature.”

“The final judge would be the Filipino people in a plebiscite that
[would] ratify whatever proposals that would be approved [by a
constituent assembly],” Domogan told reporters in Baguio.

Referring to criticism that Charter change was meant to prolong the
term of the President, which is will end next year, Domogan pointed
out that HR 1109 did not seek the extension of term limits of elective

In Isabela, Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Malacañang was
respecting the principle of separation of powers and would not meddle
in Congress’ moves to change the Constitution.

But Bello said lawmakers should explain to the public their decision
in passing HR 1109.

“The people have the right to know the reason behind their action,” he
said. “The public must have an open mind regarding this resolution.”

Lawyer Oliver Lozano and his daughter on Wednesday went to the Supreme
Court to challenge HR 1109.


Church threats won’t stop Cha-Cha, says Nograles


THE House leadership will not be deterred from amending the 1987
Constitution despite threats of mass protests from all sectors
especially the Catholic Church.

"Maybe we should remind them of the separation of Church and State,"
Speaker Prospero Nograles said yesterday.

In a pastoral statement Saturday, CBCP president archbishop Angel
Lagdameo called on those opposing Charter Change "to go on with their
plan of mobilization to protect the common good and national

The Archbishop of Jaro, however, appealed to the public to "express it
in a peaceful nonviolent way in order that we may not fall into the
trap that will necessitate martial law again."

Nograles also took a pot shot at Planning Secretary Ralph Recto’s
warning that the decision of the House to approve the Constituent
Assembly resolution will jeopardize the economy.

"Well, it’s the job of the economic managers to take care of the
economy and it’s the job of Congress to pass bills and resolutions by
voting in public and transparent manner. Secretary Recto did not make
that statement when we were proposing and debating the issue on
constitutional change. Why is it only now that he is warning us?" he

"If the NEDA thinks that this could cause more shocks on the economy,
it is also therefore correct that the reason why our economy has been
suffering from shocks since most of us can remember is because of this
Cha-Cha issue," Nograles said.

"We have to find the answer now because otherwise, this cycle of
debate whether to Cha-Cha or not to Cha-cha will continue to have its
effects on the economy," he said.

Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel said Nograles should not to
waste his time reaching out to senators to support a Senate-less Con-

Sen. Francis Escudero said Nograles’ attempt to persuade senators
should be on the premise that the House cannot do it without the
Senate. "Without that commitment, it would be useless to talk," he

Sen. Mar Roxas said he is convinced that the 23 senators who signed a
resolution last year expressing their opposition on Cha-Cha would not
change their mind.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said he has always believed Malacañang has
plans B, C, D, E… and so on to stay in power. "It is not a move by
congressmen and women of palaka (Partido Lakas-Kampi) alone. It has
PGMA’s blessings."

He cautioned the move of the House to talk to senators one by one
"must be taken seriously. This may be mind conditioning. Maybe they
have already the support of some senators."

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde assured that President Arroyo is not
seeking any elective position after 2010.

Reports said Arroyo might run for Congress in 2010, which could
entitle her to election as prime minister if she wins and joins

"Hearsay lang iyan. Wala namang ebidensya na tatakbo siya," Remonde
said. – With JP Lopez and Jocelyn Montemayor

Statement of PANDAYAN on the Assassination of Kahanay Rene Peñas

Statement of PANDAYAN on the Assassination of Kahanay Rene Peñas

June 8, 2009

PANDAYAN strongly condemns the violent and treacherous killing of Ka
Rene Peñas, 51 years old, the National Vice-President, Pambansang
Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA). PANDAYAN join other
groups to seek justice for our dear Kahanay, Ka Rene Peñas, and
express support and offer our prayers to his wife, Evangeline and his
children, Noland, Jerald, and Wopsyjenn.

Ka Rene was cowardly assassinated by unknown assailants last June 5,
2009, at around 11:00 PM while on his way to his farm in San Vicente,
Sumilao, Bukidnon, while riding a motorcycle with his two companions.
His two companions survived, but Ka Rene did not survive from the
eleven gunshot wounds.

How could an active non-violent advocate whose life was committed to
serving the landless and marginalized farmers killed in such a violent

As an active non-violent advocate, Ka Rene, in 1997, is one of the 28
farmers who held a hunger strike for agrarian reform. In 2007, he led
the 55 farmers for a 1,700- kilometer walk from Sumilao to Malacañang
for the government to cover the over 144-hectare ancestral land they
claim in Sumilao. In 2008, Ka Rene also led the Banasi farmers in
their 444-kilometer march from Bula to Malacañang, which successfully
reversed the adverse decision made by Malacañang. Ka Rene, once again,
became one of the figures leading hundreds of farmers pushing the
Philippine Congress for CARP Extension with Reform (CARPER).

Ka Rene’s efforts bore fruit as the Senate and the House of
Representatives start today, June 9, 2009, their bicameral discussion
of CARPER. We believe that he continues to witness the victory of the

We shall continue to pay homage to Ka Rene by continuing his struggle
to attain an authentic agrarian reform. This is our highest tribute to
him and his family, and our greatest expression of gratitude for what
he has achieved as his contribution.

Justice to Kahanay Rene Peñas!
Justice to all victims of extrajudicial killings!
Justice to all farmers and the Filipino People!

Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN)
184 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Contact person: Boy Nuera / Roy Calfoforo
Contact number: Telefax: 436-6541, CP 0920-9021251

PAKISAMA Statement

PAKISAMA Statement on the Assassination of Renato Penas,
National Vice-President,
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka

June 6, 2009
PAKISAMA condemns in strongest possible terms the dastardly and cowardly assassination of our leader, Renato Penas (51) last night, around 11 P.M., while on his motorcycle with two companions to his farm in San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon.
While his companions survived, the assassins made sure Ka Rene would not. Crawling after the first volley of fire, he was shot again, and three shotgun bullets fatally pierced his chest and back.

Who could have caused the death of a man whose life was dedicated to serving the landless farmers?

A participant in a 1997 28-day hunger strike for land and a practicioner of active non-violence, Ka Rene rose to be one of the most prominent PAKISAMA leaders over the past two years. As a trained community organizer-paralegal , he led in 2007, the unprecedented but successful 1,700- kilometer walk of 55 farmers from Sumilao to Malacanang to make their claim over a 144-hectare ancestral land covered by the CARP. He figured in 2008 as the organizer-trainer of the successful 444-kilometer Banasi farmers walk from Bula to Malacanang, which reversed earlier adverse decision of Malacanang. During the past two months, Ka Rene was leading farmer groups coming from different persuasions, in a coalition campaign to push Congress to enact the extension and reform of CARP ( CARPER).

On May 30, he went home and was jubilant to learn that CARPER was finally passed by both houses of Congress and would soon be passed into law. But he was not given the opportunity by his assailants to see the fruit of his work.

We demand a speedy and objective investigation of this case. We ask the Arroyo government to demonstrate dispatch and professionalism in solving this crime.
We mourn with the widow and four orphans of Ka Rene and demand an end to the culture of impunity pervading in our society. We pray that Ka Rene would be the last among our leaders to be assassinated. We hope his case would not suffer the fate of two of our colleagues. On November 22, 2009, two hooded men gunned down our former Vice-President for Mindanao Vic Paglinawan in Davao City. On March 9, 2009, Boy Billames, Secretary-General of SAMATIKU, a member-farmer federation in South Cotabato was also gunned down by a hooded assassin. Until now, no suspects have been identified and caught in both crimes.

We call on the Filipino farmers to close ranks and transform to inspiration and courage the martyrdom of our leaders.

Let us continue the fight for agrarian reform and good governance and politics until every farmer owns the land s/he tills, until every citizen is not harmed while peacefully claiming his or her rights.

Justice to Ka Rene Penas!

Justice to all victims of extrajudicial killings!

Justice to all farmers and the Filipino People!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



House approves constituent assembly

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 23:32:00 06/02/2009

Filed Under: Charter change, Politics

MANILA, Philippines – Debates dragged for hours but it took only a few
seconds for the House of Representatives to approve a resolution that
would convene Congress into a constituent assembly to amend the 1987

With the “ayes” registering a louder vote than the “nays,” the House
of Representatives late Tuesday approved House Resolution 1109
convening Congress into a constituent assembly to amend the 1987

Even as all the interpellators have yet to speak, Shariff Kabunsuan
with Cotabato City Representative Didagen Dilangalen made a motion to
stop the interpellation period and go on voting. This was immediately
seconded and approved.

Members of the minority registered their objection.

Nueva Vizcaya Representative Carlos Padilla said the country witnessed
a "simple tyranny of the majority" and called the chamber "the worst
Congress in the annals of Philippine history."

“I believe in democracy, but this tyranny,” South Cotabato
Representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio said.

"Have we no shame? Let us stop this farce immediately," Bukidnon
Representative Teofisto Guingona III said.

“We oppose this, this charade… Let us amend the Constitution after the
term of President Arroyo. That is the time to amend the Constitution
of the Philippines. The best way to amend the Constitution is by
constitutional convention,” said former Speaker and Pangasinan
Representative Jose de Venecia Jr.

With the passage Nueva Ecija Representative Eduardo Nonato Joson
likened the country to a woman fighting off a rapist, saying “Huwag po
kuya [Please don’t, sir].”

“Let us not gang rape our Constitution,” he said.

Bayan Muna party list Representative Teodoro Casiño said one of the
sponsors of the resolution had admitted on the floor that the "whereas
clause" in the resolution that prohibits the term extension of the
incumbent president and vice president, senators, congressmen, mayors
and other elected officials whose term will expire in 2010, and that
there would be elections in 2010 was "not binding."

Gabriela partylist Representative Liza Maza asked one of the sponsors,
Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., it was possible under the
resolution to postpone the 2010 elections.

"Everything is possible, but it depends on the sound judgment of our
colleagues," Barzaga said.

La Union Representative Victor Ortega also echoed the same view,
saying that they would rely on "trust" basis in implementing the
“whereas clause.”

Parañaque Representative Roilo Golez said the majority pledged to have
an exhaustive discussion in plenary of the resolution.

"If we cannot trust them [majority] on this very small pledge, how can
the people trust the members of this Congress as constituent
assembly," Golez said.

Representative Luz Ilagan of Gabriela party list called the
proceedings a "night of ignominy" where the administration allies once
again used their numbers to push their agenda.

Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tañada III said he voted against the
resolution because Congress does not need to pass one in its use of
its inherent legislative powers. He added he is also against the
"crass" manifestation that the House alone can act in amending the
Constituion without engaging the Senate.

Proponents of the measure are in quandary if the House can convene as
an assembly on its own. Several lawmakers, including those form the
majority bloc, said that the Senate should be part of the process of
the constituent assembly.

“It always takes two to dance the Cha cha,” Cebu Representative Pablo
Garcia said during the earlier part of the debates.

By his interpretation, Garcia said HR 1109 was “just an invitation to
both Houses to convene in order to propose amendments to or revise the

La Union Representative Victor Ortega, chairman of the committee on
constitutional amendments, echoed that the Senate could not be ignored
in the process of convening a constituent assembly.

Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte said he drafted the
resolution, but Speaker Prospero Nograles was its main author.

Villafuerte had withdrawn his signature to the resolution, saying that
there was no more time to rewrite the Constitution with barely a year
to go before the May 2010 elections.

“I have withdrawn my signature and I’m not supporting this resolution
anymore,” Vilalfuerte said, noting that “there’s a group in the
majority that’s undermining the resolution they are sponsoring.”

Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora questioned the haste with which it was
being discussed in plenary, with only two session days left and with
other key legislation pending for passage.

“Why the short cut? Why not go for the long haul, for the harder
route? Why not eschew the easy path and make the amendments to the
Constitution as important as the role of the committee on
constitutional amendments?” Zamora said.

In the resolution, it was interpreted that voting should be done upon
the three-fourths of “all the members of Congress, not three-fourths
of each House voting separately.”

Proponents of this measure had hoped that this would prompt someone to
question it before the Supreme Court, so that the tribunal could
decide whether voting by the two chambers of Congress should be done
jointly or separately.

“So what is the point of all of this, if there is no justiciable
controversy… if you agree with me that the Senate is part of the
process?” Zamora said.

Proponents of the measure are still in quandary if the House can
convene as an assembly on its own. Several lawmakers, including those
form the majority bloc, said that the Senate should be part of the
process of the constituent assembly.

Earlier in the day, administration allies vowed to use their numbers
to have HR 1109 approved on Tuesday’s session and will study the
option if the House could convene into a constituent assembly even
without the Senate.

Interviewed after presiding over a caucus of the majority, Nograles
said the bloc would pass HR 1109 and then study their next moves.

“After we pass it we will have to study our next moves, study, legal
(study),” he said.

Taking up the constituent assembly resolution was one of the
agreements within the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, despite the
withdrawal of support of Villafuerte, who recently resigned as Kampi

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is aware of the plan of the
congressmen, the Speaker said.

“Of course, I will not deny that the President just listened, she did
not say anything, bahala kayo [It’s up to you],” he added.

The constituent assembly resolution was approved in an emergency
meeting of the committee on constitutional amendments Monday so it
could be referred to the rules committee for floor deliberation

Nograles said HR 1109 would be taken up first before House Resolution
737, which seeks specific amendments to the economic provisions of the
Constitution, because it only needed the vote by a majority while the
latter resolution required three-fourths vote of all members of
Congress since it was introducing specific amendments.

As to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) extension,
Nograles acknowledged that the pressure was now on the House after the
Senate passed it on third reading Monday night.

He said the House just received a copy of the 78-page document and was
still studying it.

“The options are basically two: first, is the easier option to adopt
their version and it’s finished. The second is to make another version
and go on bicam [bicameral committee meetings] over the holidays,”
Nograles said.