THE LAME DUCK IS A MINER

He spoke too soon. Manny Villar is a marked man when he said right after the SONA that the President is a spent force, a lame duck. While she made some reassuring words that she won’t be seeking reelection as the Constitution bars it, she was heard saying in jest somewhere in Pampanga that she is prepared to represent one district of the province as its congressman. The announcement was met with enthusiasm by her Kabalens who took the joke as a promise made.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT FLEXES HIS PLEXUS

Right now, the Senate President is into working out his fledgling Nacionalista Party. His sight is no longer beyond his rostrum. His think tank is no longer engrossed on how to save his precarious corporate flagship corporation, C & P Homes, as his promissory notes were safely bought by the SPAVs he principally crafted under the guidance of his financial advisers, while he poured in his billions of pork from the last 6 years in what the Cavitenos call Daang Hari. Villar bought hundreds of hectares in Molino for a pittance per square meter. From Ayala Alabang, he caused the acquisition of rights-of-way towards his land banking and built a 4-lane boulevard. Upon completion of the highway in the backwoods, his land inventory shoots up to billions of pesos. Now he looks with misty eyes at the mansion in Mendiola. Nakakasa na ang budget sa 2010, thanks to his CDF.

HOUSE MANOEUVRE

It looks like the Pablo Garcia blitz was nothing more than a Palace leverage. The Cebuano patriarch was used as credible gambit for GMA to get what it wants from the longest reigning Speaker in our history. Ginamit si Lolo. Talks fly that the old man Garcia has a mind of his own and may prove to be intractable for the next three years. Whereas Joe de Venecia bears the public mug of loyalty, that is, when rented he stays rented, so long as the lease contract subsists. The patriarch’s issues were shaking their heads in disbelief. Naisahan kami, ika. GMA used them a second time. The first time was when they delivered Cebu to her in 2004.

ROADMAP TO 2010

Perish the thought that the sitting President is into building her legacy.

2010 is a defining year of the Arroyo Presidency. The next three years shall prepare her to insure her retirement. She cringes in the thought of being hauled like a fugitive and incarcerated like her predecessor.

Two things are on her mind: build up a formidable machinery to backstop a protégé; or, cook a scenario a la Marcos to justify a Charter overhaul ushering a parliament peopled by her allies. And who do you think is the first ceremonial Prime Minister?

FEAR OF REPRISAL

With the likes of Senators Sonny Trillanes, Noynoy Aquino and Peter Cayetano in the realm, she fears of reprisals from these committed young men who have scores to settle with her.

With Trillanes, 4 years in the calaboose is just too much. The next 6 years and the prospect of reelection are comfortable enough to plan for revenge. Remember Gen. Reynaldo Berroya, an Erap gofer in the defunct Presidential Anti-Crime Commission who was convicted of kidnapping and was sent to Muntinlupa? He got his partial comeuppance with Erap now in Tanay facing plunder before the Sandiganbayan. His real nemesis and tormentor, Ping Lacson is a two-term senator with a pending espionage case in the US along with the sidelined Col. Rey Aquino and former FBI officer and alumnus of PMA Leandro Aragoncillo. For Berroya, it’s just a matter of time to get even with Ping. Spying in the US is a federal offense. Berroya believes that Ping shall get the same fate of General Manuel Noriega of Panama. With the prospect of Trillanes in the Senate for the next 12 years, the likelihood of plunder cases and their no bail proviso haunt the First Couple and their solons-kins. Nobody knows how far Trillanes goes. With P5M a month from the public coffers as legislator, “one of his men might become restless”, scrounging on the repartee of Gene Hackman in the movie The Legionnaires.

As to Noynoy, his resentment with the President has gone on the personal level. GMA has declared war on Cory Aquino’s family when DAR brought land reform compulsory coverage over their crown jewel, the Hacienda Luisita. Cory and Gloria are no longer on speaking terms. Walang utang na loob, ika.

Peter Alan on the other hand is still discomfited on what Mike Arroyo did last election: harnessing a namesake with matching budget up to the office of Chairman Ben Abalos. Comelec fidgeted, with the right allocation, on the disqualification case against the stevedore Joselito. With the demolition job on Peter Alan until Election Day, the Cayetano family was sleepless in Alabang. Now that Peter Alan was sworn in as the 8th senator, payback time is not far behind. Remember that the godfather of these young musketeers is the Prisoner of Tanay, grinding all available katanas once his progeny succeeds GMA.

INVIGORATING LAKAS

It was bargain time for GMA with Speaker Joe. Aware of the LP and NP square-off, GMA doesn’t want to be left behind. With the two-pary advance skirmish, the President is afraid that she is being relegated in the background. The people now are talking about two political parties, and Lakas and Kampi are not them. This early, the people are conditioned about the return of the two- party system. Under this scenario, the presidential blueprint is still it. GMA needs the Speaker. Whoever is with the Speaker, FVR is not far behind. Lakas is the son FVR never had. The game plan therefore is power sharing with FVR in the true sense of the phrase. FVR is the chief strategist. Either they field GMA or FVR bet in 2010. But FVR is a principled man. He doesn’t countenance government looting to finance a political run. Logistics should come from where it is abundant, and legal.

GMA’s son and kin-in-law were named the top honchos of the Committees of Energy and Environment. Those assignments came in the heels of transferring the Philippine Mining Development Corporation (PDMC) to the Office of the President. The President divested the DENR of its function centrepiece. The department is now relegated to protecting the trees of the City of Manila. An environmental watchdog warned of a virtual chokehold by the Arroyos of the mining industry in the next three years.

(Clemente Bautista, coordinator of Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE)) maintained that the situation evoke blatant conflict of interest with Ms Arroyo’s assumption of control over the PDMC, which will oversee mining development and the approval of new mining projects, and Representative Arroyo’s function in the House committee which is tasked to investigate problems related to the environment and natural resources, many of which are related to previous, current and future mining projects in the country.

…He expressed fear that Ms Arroyo can just approve mining contracts left and right with the PDMC under her control.

“While her brother-in-law can very easily block calls for Congressional probes into mining-related environmental disasters or mining deals that may be anomalous, dangerous, and plunderous by virtue of his position,” he added. (Two Arroyo’s in mining industry ‘fishy,’ says green group By Delfin Mallari Jr., Inquirer, Last updated 11:54pm (Mla time) 08/01/2007).

Faced with China’s insatiable need for metals in its development surge, it looks towards the Philippines to filling in the demand. With an initial ante of US$500M, foreign investors are gradually trickling in the country to partake of the biggest mining pie in Asia.

With stockholders agreements all over the place, the family is assured of a ratio in the investments in the form of shares. Without plunking in any amount, in exchange of access and pencil-pushing fees, the President thru her dummies is assured of sizeable capital from the mining ventures. Any scandal in the offing is squelched sub rosa by the son and brother-in-law in the House awashed with lobby money from the alien miners. May panggastos pa si Bayaw, ika.

The script is not preposterous. In fact, there is another family who to this day has started their trek to the Mendiola Manor. The Gatchalians are now busy sprucing up their mining behemoth in anticipation of the Chinese invasion armed with shovels to rake in the mineral and iron deposits of this third world country. Looking at the financials of the mining ventures, their peso-per-share looks promising and affordable. What we don’t know is that the family has tucked under their pockets billions of founding-common shares at a few centavos per share. Following the script of the patriarch, joint partnerships are announced with international mining players. Soon after, an IPO. By unloading billions of shares in the market 6 or 8 years from now, in utter insider trading, the presidential bet, without threats Erap style, makes billions in campaign kitty.

GMA’s dummies are into the same direction, unload their trust and deliver the moolah to their benefactress all ready to rock in 2010.

THE FATE OF MAR ROXAS

There is no question that the Aranetas are oozing with money. But their billions are all that they’ve got just like the Ayalas. Their money is on the table and the Araneta family is not about ready to push it on the middle, and go for broke. Their money is blood money. With Villar’s tubong lugaw and GMA’s tubong laway, Mar Roxas can not gamble dugo ni Lolo. Besides her mother Ruby remains first and foremost an Araneta. Sure, there are a number of Liberals in the Senate, but the sum of their pork is simply insufficient. Running on pork is not how it is done, unless you are the sitting President with billions in discretionary fund, including the still unaccounted fertilizer fund. GMA runs her office in exact opposite with that of her father, Diosdado. Right now, Mar is in the vortex of controversy. He has already earned the ire of the drug companies. With billions of pesos in lobby money these pharmaceuticals are into battle mood to stopping the cheap medicine bill of Roxas. If the media are indeed true to their calling of reporting no matter who gets hurt, they should support the advocacy of Mar. Sad to say, the big media players are careful with their annual bottom lines courtesy of the adverts from the drug companies. In the mean time, the pretenders to the presidency are playing it safe, secure in the thought that kapag presidente na ako, saka ko na gagawin ang gusto ni Mar.

BLOGGERS UNITE: MAR ROXAS FOR PRESIDENT

With gas running on empty, Mar suffers the same fate of Raul Roco, the front runner who never made it in the finish line. Local officials are sucker for logistics. Just imply that funds are the way, and they are on their way out. Filipinos look in awe at men oozing with money. Look at Mark Jimenez or Danding Cojuangco or Bong Pineda.

The trouble with Mar is he has scruples. And that incidentally is what we need after an amoral chief executive. His late father Gerry Roxas would have been a fine president. But in 1965 his political career reached a hump and got stalled when he was clobbered by Fernando Lopez in the vice presidential race. The Lopezes and the Roxases are Ilonggos and come from the propertied class, except that the Lopezes are industrialists. The Aranetas did not go for broke in that political contest. Had Gerry Roxas become Vice President in 1965, President Marcos had a formidable opponent in 1969, and martial law remained an academic discussion.

As local media recede in the background fearing the boycott of the giant drug makers, losing in the process billions in commercial revenues, it becomes the solemn duty of the bloggers to come to the forefront. Looking at bare statistics, if only about 10% of our people are deprived of cheap medicine annually, we consign them to mortality if not disability. 8M people dying or getting sick is no laughing matter. Instead of just pointing out what is wrong with our political system or how stupid the candidates are, or just going thru the electoral process catch-as-catch-can, let us tell our people who to root and of course vote for in the next elections.

I am willing to carry Mar Roxas on my shoulder 24/7. Up to Mendiola and Malacanang.

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