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Posts Tagged ‘Maguindanao massacre’

Philippine democracy under fire (Financial Times)

Posted by akosistella on May 9, 2010


By the time I visited in mid-March, there was almost nothing left to show what had happened on this red gash of earth in the southern Philippines. The bodies had long been removed. So had the banana leaves that police had hastily used to cover the victims once they had been dug from their shallow graves. All that remained on the lonely hillside, surrounded by palms and gently undulating slopes, were a few strands of yellow police tape, twisting in the tall talahib grass.

The crime scene was no longer cordoned off. But it was still deemed too dangerous to visit alone. I had come with an escort of nine rather bored-looking soldiers from the Philippine army. As we drove up the winding dirt track towards the massacre site, they scanned the hillsides with their M-16 rifles. Apart from the police tape, the only clue to what had happened four months earlier was a plastic banner. It had curled upon itself in the heat, making it impossible to read. When a colleague unravelled it, the short entreaty to the 57 victims came into view: “You may rest in peace while we seek justice.”

Via Financial Times


Posted in 2010 elections, News, Noynoy Aquino, Philippine politics, Regions | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Knowing your candidates

Posted by akosistella on May 9, 2010


Method To Madness
By Patricia Evangelista, Inquirer

These columns were collected as an attempt to contribute to the discourse of the 2010 elections. The opinions are my own, the responsibility mine alone. That I do not endorse any one candidate does not mean I am not biased, as my standards and perspectives in these pieces are subjective in themselves.

These pieces were written, with one exception, during the run-up to the 2010 presidential elections. Most were written after interviews with the men in question. Some were time-bound, and were edited to suit a reading today. Others are as they were, with only stylistic changes unless noted after the piece.

PART 1: Eddie Villanueva, Noynoy Aquino, Richard Gordon

PART 2: Gilbert Teodoro, Joseph Estrada, Manny Villar

Posted in 2010 elections, Dick Gordon, Gilbert Teodoro, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Joseph Estrada, Manny Villar, MAR Roxas, Noynoy Aquino, Opinion, Philippine politics, Regions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Editorials and analysis

Posted by akosistella on May 7, 2010


Malaya editorial: An untested system?

YESTERDAY’S Supreme Court directive to the Commission on Elections to disclose the results of the independent review of the programming of the automated election system could shred whatever remaining credibility the election body has. Whether the credibility of the Monday’s elections would also be shattered – as that of the Comelec potentially would – is logically the next question.

Via Malaya

Phil. Star: About-face

After several weeks of being pilloried in public for exonerating two members of the Ampatuan clan for the Maguindanao massacre, Justice Secretary Alberto Agra reversed his own resolution this week. Explaining the reversal, Agra cited the surfacing of another witness, who corroborated the story of a clan conspiracy that led to the killing of 57 people on Nov. 23 last year.

Via Phil. Star

Inquirer: 30 percent not enough

THE INITIAL REPORTS FROM THE PARTIAL resumption of the field testing of the voting machines, this time with the new compact flash memory cards, seem positive. For instance, one precinct in Parañaque City on Thursday yielded “perfect” results, while another one managed to do so after a computer technician restarted the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine. But these results are an outright plus only in contrast to the spectacular failure of all voting machines tested last Monday. That the tests are resuming mere days before the elections remains a matter of great public concern.

Via Inquirer

Daily Tribune: Works of evil

A string of disturbing events has occurred the last few days that points to what every Filipino earlier believed in the back of his mind will not happen on Monday, the national elections.

Yesterday, Gloria convened the Cabinet to take up the no elections scenario supposedly as a consequence of glitches in the memory cards of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines

Via Daily Tribune

Political dynamite
Analysis By Amando Doronila

THE MOST UNSETTLING DEVELOPMENT THAT occurred barely a week before the election was the crude announcement of President Macapagal-Arroyo’s election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, seeking postponement of the May election for 15 days as a step to avert a failure of elections.

Via Inquirer.net

Posted in 2010 elections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Acting DOJ chief cheated in law school

Posted by akosistella on April 27, 2010


IT’S not every day that you see subordinates publicly criticizing their boss, which is what acting Justice Secretary Alberto C.Agra is experiencing as government prosecutors assail his recent decision to absolve two members of the Ampatuan clan over the grisly killings last November in Maguindanao.

By all indications, Agra is not least aggravated by the criticisms. Yesterday, at the flag ceremony of the Justice department personnel, he declared: “I stand by that decision and the process I went through to arrive at it… I bow neither to political dictates nor to public opinion.”

He admits to being a crybaby but says he won’t quit his post. “’Di po ako magbibitiw sa aking posisyon, Wala akong balak atrasan ang mga hamon sa aking opisina….matibay si Al Agra kahit iyakin.”

Via Malaya


Agra to issue new Ampatuan ruling

MANILA, Philippines – Embattled Justice Secretary Alberto Agra will review his own ruling clearing two members of the Ampatuan clan in the Maguindanao massacre and come up with a decision within the week.

Agra has drawn flak for absolving detained Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and his cousin, acting Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan Sr., also Mamasapano town mayor, of involvement in the slaughter of 57 people – including journalists and lawyers – on Nov. 23 last year in Maguindanao.

The multiple murder case against Ampatuan patriarch Andal Sr. and his son Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Jr. remains, based on Agra’s resolution.

via Phil. Star

AND: Bishop pushes for truth commission to review Agra ruling


Agra won’t form panel to review decision — report

Justice Secretary Alberto Agra has decided not to form a review panel that would re-consider his decision to clear two Ampatuan clan members from murder charges stemming from the brutal November 23 massacre in Maguindanao.

In his report, GMA News’ Chino Gaston said Agra he will just release a decision on the motion for reconsideration filed by relatives of the 57 massacre victims.

Agra said he will not give further statements to the media regarding the case until he releases the department’s

via GMANews.TV.

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Agra may reconsider after witness emerges — Palace

Posted by akosistella on April 26, 2010


The emergence of a new witness linking two Ampatuan clan members to the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last November 23 may prompt acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to reconsider his order clearing them of the murder charges, Malacañang said on Sunday.

Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said Agra had kept an open mind on the matter, to the point of setting up a committee to review his ruling.

“That may be new evidence. People should expect Secretary Agra to consider [the evidence] during the review,” Olivar said on government-run dzRB radio.

via GMANews.TV.


Agra resignation calls mount

MANILA, Philippines – Two administration senatorial candidates have joined calls for the resignation of Justice Secretary Alberto Agra, saying his clearing of two members of the Ampatuan clan in last year’s Maguindanao massacre has cast doubts on his credibility as justice chief.

Former justice secretary Silvestre Bello III and broadcaster Rey Langit, Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial candidates, said Agra gained “public distrust” because of his move clearing Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan in the massacre of 57 people, including 32 journalists and two lawyers.
“This is just my personal thought, but I hope Secretary Agra will consider it because of the public outcry against his decision clearing the Ampatuans,” Bello said.

via Phil. Star

AND: Bacolod media hold torch march to press for Agra resignation

SO why is Malacañang speaking on behalf of Secretary Agra? Thought it didn’t have anything to do w/ Agra’s decision dismissing the charges against Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan? Hmmm…

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics, Regions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Noynoy disappoints int’l human rights group

Posted by akosistella on April 25, 2010


MAKATI CITY, Philippines (1st UPDATE) –New York-based international group Human Rights Watch (HRW) is disappointed that the leading presidential candidates in the Philippines lack commitment to abolish the “private armies” that are responsible for human rights abuses in the Philippines.

HRW executive director, Kenneth Roth, who flew to Manila to speak with the candidates, was particularly concerned with the supposed “platitude” and “word game” of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“He waxed eloquently about his desire to rid the country of private army. He repeated this a number of times…. Unfortunately, he was playing word games,” Roth told reporters on Saturday.

via ABS-CBN News Online Beta.


Person tasked to dismantle private armies says job can’t be done

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines—The top official of the Commission against Private Armies (CAPA) has admitted that dismantling private armies in time for the elections in May is a “dream” difficult to achieve.

Commission chairperson Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa said in a public forum here Friday that she and the other commissioners wanted to dismantle all private armies in Eastern Visayas in time for the elections but that this was not going to happen for as long as there were politicians bent on using all means to achieve victory in May.

“We cannot really totally dismantle these armed groups. That is why, we are appealing to our politicians as well as our police and soldiers to help us in this effort,” Zenarosa said.

Via Inquirer.net

AND: The Vote 2010: LP hits text on Noy’s ‘epileptic attack’

Posted in 2010 elections, Comelec, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Manny Villar, News, Noynoy Aquino, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Int’l group may hale Arroyo to UN over Ampatuan case

Posted by akosistella on April 24, 2010


An international media watchdog group threatened to hale President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before a United Nations human rights body if her administration continues to do nothing to stop the impunity that has marred the process of the murder case stemming from the Nov. 23 Maguindanao massacre.

Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders)/RSF made the call in the wake of Justice Secretary Alberto Agras decision to clear two Ampatuan clan members of murder charges relating to the gruesome massacre.

“We hope that the purpose of the political will displayed after the massacre on this crucial matter for the international credibility of the Philippines was not just the immediate impact. We therefore urge you to reinforce the resources available to the judicial system and to guarantee its independence so that the trial will be exemplary and so that the massacre’s instigators as well as its perpetrators can be punished,” the group said in an open letter to Mrs. Arroyo signed by RSF secretary general Jean-François Julliard.

via GMANews.TV.


Detainees now need DILG approval before holding press briefings

Detained persons will now need the personal approval of the Philippines’ Interior Secretary before being allowed to hold a press conference.

Previous jail policies only required approval from BJMP officials and consent from detainees and their lawyers, Chief Superintendent Serafin Barreto, chief of the BJMP-National Capital Region, said.

Rules covering these media briefings have been tightened after massacre murder suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr. was able to hold a press conference earlier this week.

via GMANews.TV

AND: Agra decision to form review panel known next week

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by akosistella on April 24, 2010


Manila Times: Misaligned priorities

THE National Statistics Office (NSO) reported a very disturbing piece of information this week.

According to the government’s main statistics agency, one in three poor Filipinos owns a cellular phone even as the majority of them have no access to sanitary toilets or electricity.

Among household appliances, only the TV outranked the mobile phone in ubiquity, with 43 percent of poor families owning the tube.

With six out of every 10 families having at least one member owning a cell phone, this makes the gadget the second most popular household convenience.

What makes this piece of information jarring is that at least one out of every three poor families has no electricity.

via Manila Times

Daily Tribune: Private citizen Villar?

Reacting to reports that Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar, when he was Senate president, met with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in relation to getting his 180 day lock-up shares being freed and sold on a secondary level within the same period his companies’ IPO (Initial Public Offering) hit the stock market, which was then on a boom cycle, a Villar company official admitted that indeed Villar did meet with these officials, but claimed he met with them, not as Senate president, but as a private individual.

This is the hoariest explanation given yet from Villar’s camp, after Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) presidential candidate former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile exposed the Villar scam that not only probably impoverished the overseas Filipino workers who had bought the shares, in anticipation of making money (OFWs were targeted by Villar and his companies as share buyers with a roadshow yet), but also a lot of other stock market players who may have lost a lot of money, not even aware of the fact that, as they were buying up the shares, Villar was dumping his shares, and making billions out of it.

Via Daily Tribune

Phil. Star: Reduced to tears

Alberto Agra, in the brief period during which he will serve as justice secretary in an acting capacity, has managed to gain the kind of notoriety that is hard to ever live down. He will always be remembered as the justice chief who dismissed criminal charges that are already in court.His move might have escaped public attention in this busy election period if the case did not involve one of the most heinous crimes in the country’s history, and the most atrocious case of election violence.

Relatives and friends of the 57 people massacred in Maguindanao on Nov. 23 last year have wondered whether justice is possible under the watch of President Arroyo, a staunch ally of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., patriarch of the clan that now stands accused of conspiracy in perpetrating the mass murder. Agra’s resolution dismissing the multiple murder charges against Ampatuan’s son Zaldy and another member of the clan – charges that are already in court – can only reinforce the fears of the victims’ heirs

via Philippine Star.

Inquirer: In good hands?

Deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar said it was “certainly reasonable to ask about (Carpon’s) credentials.” But he told critics not to look down on Carpon saying, “It is not correct to question someone just because he or she has a poor station in life.” He said that was, in fact, one of the reasons she was picked for the job. The President deemed it appropriate to have somebody like Carpon on the board “to make sure that poor government employees were represented by one of their own.”

That explanation would have been believable if the President were more consistent. If she truly believes disadvantaged sectors are best represented by someone from their own ranks, why has she not dissuaded her son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo, from seeking to represent security guards and tricycle drivers in the House of Representatives? And if “poor government employees” need their own representative in the institutions that were established to promote their welfare, why stop with Pag-Ibig? What about the Government Service Insurance System? Or even PhilHealth?

via Inquirer.net

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Joseph Estrada, MAR Roxas, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Op-ed pieces from the Manila Times and Inquirer

Posted by akosistella on April 23, 2010


Election-failure talk, what’s the point?

Vigilance is one thing, but all this talk of “failure of elections” has got even supporters of the current survey leader increasingly worried.

Are the handlers of Sen. Benigno Aquino 3rd, or even Noynoy himself, not confident that they would be able to generate the level of voter support that would ensure victory on May 10?

In seeming contradiction to his status as consistent survey frontrunner, Noynoy does give the impression of insecurity, which could prove infectious and disastrous—to the Liberal Party (LP)—come election day.

Click Dan Mariano

Inquirer Editorial: The other kiss of death

THE PRIME SUSPECT BEHIND THE HORRIFIC massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao, can endorse any presidential candidate he likes, or even as many candidates as there are days in a week, but can he call a news conference right in prison to announce his endorsement? That is the crucial question that must be asked about Tuesday’s political gimmick by Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr.

A gimmick it certainly was, but it was also yet another proof that justice for the rich and the well-connected is different from justice for the rest of us.

via INQUIRER.net.

‘Agra must reverse decision’
AT LARGE By Rina Jimenez-David

ACTING JUSTICE SECRETARY ALBERTO AGRA must reverse his decision freeing two members of the Ampatuan clan implicated in the Maguindanao massacre, Yasmin Busran Lao, a Liberal Party senatorial candidate said in a statement.

She certainly knows what she speaks of, being Muslim like the Ampatuans and having lived for much of her life with the consequences of war, violence and feudal social and political structures in Mindanao.

Click Rina Jimenez David

Posted in 2010 elections, Comelec, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Manny Villar, Noynoy Aquino | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by akosistella on April 23, 2010


Deputy jail warden sacked over Andal press con

MANILA, Philippines – Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno ordered the relief of a jail official for allowing accused mass murderer Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. to hold a press conference in the Bicutan jail to endorse a political candidate.

Puno ordered the relief of Senior Inspector Lloyd Gonzaga as deputy warden of the Quezon City Jail annex located in Bicutan, Taguig.

Gonzaga reportedly allowed Ampatuan to hold a press conference inside the jail facilities last Tuesday.

via Philippine Star.

Families of Maguindanao massacre victims seek Agra’s disbarment

MANILA, Philippines – The families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre last November yesterday sought the disbarment of Justice Secretary Alberto Agra for dismissing the murder charges against two prominent members of the Ampatuan clan.

Family members of 12 of the massacre victims, represented by lawyer Harry Roque, filed a complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) seeking the removal of Agra from the roll of attorneys.

Agra on Saturday ordered the dropping of murder charges against suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan Sr.

via Phil. Star

Jamby threatens to go on hunger strike

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal threatened to go on a hunger strike unless the Commission on Elections (Comelec) adopts a parallel manual count in this year’s polls.

Madrigal made the threat after insisting on seeing Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento immediately despite being told to wait.

She told the Comelec staff that she did not have the time to wait for Sarmiento to finish his press conference because she had a flight to catch.

Via ABS-CBN News

Endorsements seen to boost Binay’s rating

MANILA, Philippines – Endorsements by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero and gay-lesbian party Ang Ladlad could further boost the ratings of vice-presidential candidate Jejomar Binay in the homestretch of the vice-presidential race.

In the March 21 to 28 Pulse Asia survey of 3,000 respondents, the Makati City mayor received a 19% rating, just 4 points behind vice-presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda who got 23%.

Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, Pulse Asia research fellow, said Binay, running mate of former President Joseph Estrada, is closing on No. 2 candidate Legarda.

via ABS-CBN News

CA bars taipan Lucio Tan’s daughter from running

THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS BARRED A daughter of taipan Lucio Tan from running for Congress in the first district of Quezon City on the ground that she is not a registered voter.

In a ruling dated April 20, a special division of the appellate court’s Eighth Division ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to remove Vivienne Tan’s name from the voters’ list in Precinct 0853-A of Barangay Sto. Domingo, Quezon City.

Via Inquirer.net

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Palace to Agra: Review decision

Posted by akosistella on April 22, 2010


MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo ordered yesterday Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to review his decision clearing Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and acting Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan of murder charges in the killing of 57 people in Maguindanao last year.

In a statement, Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said Agra was told to confer with prosecutors to ascertain if any important evidence was not considered, presented, or available when he issued the controversial resolution.

“Then the secretary of Justice should publicly justify the final decision,” read the statement.

via Philippine Star.


Agra’s boss to blame for clearing of Zaldy Ampatuan, says bishop

MANILA, Philippines—Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra may be taking all the heat now, but he is just a cog in the wheel.

At the center of the controversy hounding Agra is his boss and her close ties to the suspects in the chilling massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao last November, according to retired Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

Agra has been the object of intense criticism for his decision to clear Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan of murder charges in connection with the massacre because of a purported lack of evidence. The main suspect in the killing is another Ampatuan scion, Andal Ampatuan Jr.


AND: Kin of massacre victims want Agra sacked as Justice chief

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, News, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

State prosecutors slam jail officials over Andal Jr. press conference

Posted by akosistella on April 21, 2010


MANILA, Philippines—Government prosecutors on Wednesday assailed jail officials for allowing Andal Ampatuan Jr. to hold a news briefing inside the prison facility in Bicutan, Taguig City on Tuesday.

During the arraignment of 15 of the accused in the Maguindanao massacre, state prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon asked Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to order jail officials to explain in writing why they let a high-risk prisoner step out of his prison without the consent of the court.

“We find it highly questionable that he was allowed to hold a press conference only because he wanted to clear something,” Fadullon told the judge during the hearing held at the Quezon City Jail Annex QCJA at Camp Bagong Diwa.

via INQUIRER.net.


Puno says it was a ‘lapse in judgement’

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno on Wednesday said jail officials should be held accountable for allowing Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., the suspected mastermind of the Maguindanao massacre, to hold a press conference inside one of the country’s maximum security detention facilities.

“Certainly, the event itself was a lapse in judgement. I’ll want an explanation on what possessed him to have that kind of an exercise inside the jail. If they held it outside, then that’s even more for him to explain,” Puno told radio dzMM.

Puno said he has yet to find out who authorized the press conference of Ampatuan Jr., who is being held for the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao province last November.

Via ABS-CBN News

AND: ‘Andal Jr. being manipulated,’ LP says

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Manny Villar, MAR Roxas, Noynoy Aquino, Philippine politics, Regions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Effing, Agra-vating ruling

Posted by akosistella on April 21, 2010


By Dan Mariano

As this was being written Monday morning, dozens of employees of the Department of Justice DOJ were reported to have staged a walkout.

They were protesting the decision of their own boss, DOJ Secretary Alberto Agra, to drop murder charges against two suspects in the November 23 massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

According to Agra, he found no evidence that Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan were at the scene of the crime. Zaldy was governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Akmad mayor of Mamapasano municipality at the time of the grisly massacre of media workers, lawyers and members of a rival political clan.

The walkout was the latest tremor to rock the DOJ since Agra took over from Agnes Devanadera who stepped down to run for public office in February. The department employees certainly have cause to feel resentful.

Agra’s resolution exonerating the two ranking members of the powerful Ampatuan clan was announced to the media late Friday. However, there are indications that the ruling was released earlier in an apparent bid to expedite the release of Zaldy and Akmad prior to their transfer to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.

Click Dan Mariano.

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Baby James and the Villar campaign

Posted by akosistella on April 21, 2010



THE latest Pulse Asia presidential survey shows Manny Villar trailing Noynoy Aquino by 12 statistical points. With an estimated 50 million voters, one statistical point translates to roughly 500,000 votes. Consequently, considering that the survey has a plus or minus margin of error of two percent, Villar would need 5,000,000 to 7,000,000 votes just to catch up with the leader. With just 19 days to go before the elections, that will require quite a sprint.

More significantly, Villar’s survey ratings for the past three cycles have been on a steady decline. From a high of 35 percent, it dropped to 27 percent, and finally to 25 percent. Those 10 to 14 percentage points can be interpreted as a minimum of 5,000,000 people becoming disillusioned with Mr. Sipag at Tiyaga.

Villar and his wife Cynthia have been quoted many times as saying that these survey results do not bother them at all. Is that grace under pressure, or simply false bravado?



IT’S so obscene, I can’t find the right words to express my outrage over the gall of Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to clear Zaldy Ampatuan, suspended governor of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao, and his uncle Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan Sr. of complicity in the most heinous crime this country has experienced and shocked even the a violence-weary world.

It’s also obscene hearing Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar describe as “an obscenity” the public’s accusations about Malacañang’s role in absolving the two Ampatuans of responsibility in the Nov 23 Maguindanao massacre that claimed the lives of at least 57 people, 32 of them journalists.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is right. “The real and current obscenity in this country is the fact that the alleged president for whom Olivar speaks has become central to the major issues that beset this country, most particularly that of whether there will be a change in its putrid leadership rather than more of the same despite the 2010 elections.

Click Ellen Tordesillas

Posted in 2010 elections, Joseph Estrada, Manny Villar, Noynoy Aquino, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The real fight

Posted by akosistella on April 21, 2010


By Conrado de Quiros

I’M GLAD THAT AT LEAST WE’RE NOT shrugging off our shoulders and muttering, “Let’s move on” the way we did before, taking our cue from the bishops. I’m glad that we’re cursing the darkness rather than lighting a candle (sometimes that’s better) and taking to the streets to rail against it.

It of course is the justice department, truly a Newspeak to end all Newspeaks, dropping murder charges against Zaldy Ampatuan and company, an obscenity to end all obscenities. Earlier the courts acquitted them of rebellion charges, which already signaled the way this case was going to go. All this restores the Ampatuans to their station in life and allows them to wreak all sorts of mayhem in their fiefdom all over again.

I’m glad we’re not slinking away like whipped dogs and whining “Life goes on” the way we did before. But I mind that we didn’t do so sooner. Wasn’t it obvious this would happen?

Click Conrado de Quiros.

Stormy days ahead for Al Agra
AT LARGE By Rina Jimenez-David

SUSPICIOUS INDEED IS THE TIMING OF THE order of Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra clearing two suspects in the Maguindanao Massacre. Agra, who assumed his post just over a month ago, has said that after a thorough study of the documents filed by investigators and prosecutors and the testimonies of witnesses, he decided that suspended ARMM Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and his uncle Maguindanao Vice Gov. Akmad Ampatuan Sr. were not involved in the killings and ordered them released.

But several people, among them Maguindanao gubernatorial candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, believe there is more to the release of the two Ampatuans than meets the eye. Zaldy Ampatuan in particular, he said, is an “expert” in poll manipulation and he is needed to help assure victory for whoever it is Malacañang is backing in both the national and local elections.

Maguindanao, if you will remember, has always been a hotly-contested area, being among the perennial tail-enders in reporting election results. It has been known as fertile ground for transacting last-minute electoral victories for desperate candidates. In 2007, Maguindanao stunned the rest of the nation when it reported a 12-0 result in the national senatorial elections, all in favor of the administration candidates and bucking the national trend. Chavit Singson, who fared poorly in other parts of the country, emerged as No. 1, although in the end it was Miguel Zubiri who managed to squeak in at 12th place.

Click Rina Jimenez David

Posted in 2010 elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Opinion, Philippine politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »