Intervention Granted

This is a postcript to the power plant realty tax dodgers in quezon province. i just want you to know that the motion for intervention which we at the sentro ng agapay legal sa quezon have filed before the mauban, quezon rtc was finally admitted over the furious objection of the quezon officials and quezon power ltd.

From the files of the sec, we submitted before the court (for admission by qpl) its financial statements from 1998-2001 which interestingly were prepared by no less than sycip gorres & velayo reputed to be a hereabouts subsidiary of Anderson and associates the auditor of Enron. in the face of auditing scandals, i.e., bloated valuation of assets and earnings, qpl apparently is along the same drift of conning its investors (and the assesssor of mauban, quezon) by presenting a supposed to be under oath appraisal by its auditors of its generating assets (including lands plus lumping altogether the costs of money and interest payments, since according to the comptroller of qpl its unfair if the interests charged by the lender-banks be excluded)in the total amount of php 38,947,985,634.00.

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The Agony of Danding

“The right merchant is one who has the just average of faculties we call common sense; a man of a strong affinity for facts, who makes up his decision on what he has seen. He is thoroughly persuaded of the truths of arithmetic. There is always a reason, in the man, for his good or bad fortune … in making money. Men talk as if there were some magic about this…. He knows that all goes on the old road, pound for pound, cent for cent—for every effect a perfect cause—and that good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),
U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher.
“Wealth,” The Conduct of Life (1860).

Danding Cojuangco no doubt has the unenviable distinction of having seen at close range the intellectual gamut of Ferdinand Marcos.From 1965 to 1986 he was FM’s top lieutenant. If he were a chess piece, Danding was a bishop, a knight, or a rook. All throughout martial law, in a castling move, he shielded the King in every which way. Ironically, in the 1992 elections, in his quest to be King at last, he checked the Queen only to emerge bruised and bitter, and of course, checkmated.

Before 1992, he declared his sources of income as winnings from horse races and cock derbies all over the archipelago. Perhaps that was his strategy of winning the elections in 1992, by personal appearances and open betting in the country’s cockpits. Our grandfather used to tell us never to trust a sabungero as a local political leader because invariably the people in the community do not trust an inveterate gambler. How can they win votes for a candidate? Sabungeros have earned a bad reputation, because they usually bet their family’s bottom peso just to satisfy their gaming urges leaving the family members famished or in worst situation.  On the other hand, our uncle quickly defends them  for their palabra de honor. In Quezon there are quirks in the palabras, in the person of a hago. A hago is an aficionado who wagers on the basis of his guts only after he lost his last centavo, and once beaten, he disappears from the coliseum. One hears of lynching in sabungans and tupadas, the hagos are the bugbog sarado victims.

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What If Your Correspondent is on the Payroll of the News Subject?

This is a valid question especially where the news reports call for an objective narration of what exactly happened in an event that comes close to the heart of the press: the death of a broadcaster.

There is no denying the fact that, true, media practitioners must unite as a show of strength, but there are strands of rivalry or competition among these media men. Personal animosities sometimes even run deep among them. Under these circumstances, and due to some economic reasons, a few of these journalists gravitate with some local personalities and on the side take care of the latter’s public relations. The gravitation becomes apparent if one looks at the pattern of the releases of the correspondent. If the news report is adverse to one local personality, the question to be asked is is it favourable to the patron of the writer. One national newspaper carries the odium, as it turned out thru the years, as one big press release bulletin board. Understandably so because the newspaper appears to be just a medium to play up with the egoistical nature of some public officials, the politicians more especially. The more it features these Neanderthals (Larry Henares’ favourite word), the more business the magnate gets.

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A Bicolano Betrayal

” ‘Tis not seasonable to call a man a traitor that has an army at his heels.”
John Selden (1584-1654), British jurist, statesman. “Traitor,” Table Talk (1686).

We pride ourselves with our regionalistic inclinations. We identify ourselves with our friends, relatives, and neighbours. And we find ourselves more in common with our kababayan. Our townmates, provincemates, and yes, our cabalens, kabayans, kasagpi, kauragon, etc., are our extended primos. Especially when we speak the same dialect.

Ferdinand Marcos was the pride of the Ilocandia. The Osmenas, the Visayans. Diosdado Macapagal, his cabalens from Pampanga. FVR, the Pangalatoks. Now here comes Raul Roco, the unmistakeable rocket of Bicolandia. “Sain ka maduman, Raul Roco?” Quo vadis, Raul ? What happened to your kababayans? Why are they forsaking you?

It came as a shock when the governor of Camarines Sur where Roco comes from, being its erstwhile congressman for two terms, has spoken in behalf of the six governors from the Bicol Region that they are, to a man, a believer of Danding Cojuangco. When asked why he’s supporting Cojuangco, Gov. Villafuerte said, “We’d rather support a non-Bicolano. Raul Roco does not deserve our support.” That came as a bolt from the blue. How do the Bicolanos react to that declaration? Do these governors, with their much vaunted political machinery, have the capacity to elect Danding as President?

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Barefaced Local Corruption

In its September 14, 2003 issue, the Philippine Star reported the following:

ASIA’S LARGEST CONVENTION CENTER TO BE BUILT IN SUBIC SUBIC BAY FREEPORT

The Subic International Hotel (SIH), the Freeport’s largest hotel, will invest P300 million for the construction of a world-class convention center which, when completed, is touted to be the largest in Asia.

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SIH President Alejandra Clemente said they are going to push through with these investment projects despite the lingering effects of the Asian economic crisis because they are confident in their ability and that of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to promote the whole place as a world-class tourist destination.

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Clemente also said that the P300-million world-class convention center when completed is touted to be the biggest dome in Asia – bigger than the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. The center will be a key proponent in Subic’s bid to be an entertainment and cultural center for those who cannot afford to get to Manila to watch international shows and concerts or see art exhibits.

Also in Cebu, its governor announced the erection of a convention center where its design was the subject of a province-wide contest. The winning plan expressive of the aspirations of the Cebuanos, was won by a resident architect. At least, that province economized on the design. Not only that, the design was open to the eyes of the public who has the knowing glance whether the bill of materials is over priced or not.

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One Quezon

Quezon Province, no doubt, is one big stretch of a country. A former governor once mused that Pres. Quezon, being a semi-dictator in his time, personally delineated the metes and bounds of his province, Tayabas, using a pencil in the presence of the chiefs of the Bureau of Lands and the present day National Mapping Authority. He made it a point that Tayabas had a taste of the Pacific, the belly of China Sea, the cheeks of Sierra Madre, the heels of Mts. Cadig and Labo, and the sharp elbow of Ragay Gulf. LAND IS A MAJOR ASSET OF QUEZONQuezon is indeed geographically unique. It pre-empted Laguna and Rizal from the sea. Thus, present day development plans integrate the geography of Quezon allowing the landlocked provinces access to the waterlines. This might also be the reason why our neighboring provinces look at our tie lines with envy.

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Investors, Anyone?

The other day I was talking to a “veteran foreign investor”, that is, someone who has clinched a project or two during the last twenty six years starting with the LRT and other forgettable ventures with local businessmen. He said nothing can top Marcos’ time by the way one foreigner like him did business in this country. All that Marcos did was to call each one who matters in one deal and with a couple of this and that bottomlined the instructions, “I want this project handled by Mr. Foreigner and may you please coordinate with him.” And the next day Minister So and So beats a path towards your doorsteps and then you have the entire timetable morphing before your eyes. What he was saying was that it was so easy doing business during martial law. You were only talking to one man. Were those circumstances present today, the Philippines would be the sweetheart of investors of substance. But as the song goes, “some good things never last.”

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All Rise

Of all the three branches in republican government, the judiciary is unique. It is described thus because the persons appointed in it are insulated from the people’s popular approval. Unlike the legislative and the presidency, the members of the courts are not popularly elected. In the former agencies, the ethical and the academic qualifications do not largely matter among the electorate so long as the candidate is perceived to be the popular one (coupled of course with the usual financial wherewithal to wage an impacting campaign).

Appointments in the courts entail the tedious selection among the many applicants who among them has not only the credentials as magistrate but the inclination to an isolated and lonely reflection in weighing the conflicts of litigants. The parties to a suit must never be on speaking terms with the judge. This is the ideal situation where we place the taxing role on the person on the bench the proverbial “cold neutrality of an impartial judge”. One may ask however if there is still a species of a neutral arbiter?

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