Ipe, those scars remain for the rest of her lifetime.
Toto, nobody in her sane mind, specially Imelda, would agree to be used as a pawn to a drama which involves a rusty bolo! People who say it was staged could be wrong. People who believe it was not staged could also be wrong. I am more bound to think that the “staging” was somebody’s plan to create a scenario, like a calculated risk, and all those actions on stage left Imelda truly clueless.
Readers out there, do you have any old copy of any magazine or newspaper about that December 7, 1972 incident?
I’m inclined to take your train of thought. I have seen that video several times and I cannot imagine Madame Marcos, or anybody for that matter, agreeing to be bludgeoned like that. Even for all the Harry Winston jewels in the world.
I have actually seen the scars of the wounds Mrs. Marcos received from that incident. There’s a really big dent and scar on her arm and stitch marks on her hand and 2 of her fingers. I don’t think the incident was staged.
Toto, many said that the whole thing was a staged scenario, a calculated moromoro to justify the declaration of martial law. If the scenario building needed a bit player, then that man Carlito Dimahilig did a courageous role toward his death. Ghastly indeed.
The newspapers which run the news in December 8 and the few succeeding days must still have copies about the identity of that man. I remember for one that the privileged papers that time said that the name of the “assassin” was this and later that, till finally the name was Carlito Dimahilig, a very simple and poor guy some somewhere in Batangas. If only I could get a copy of those two or three newspapers’ reports….
Very true indeed, the Marcos media machinery still grinding efficiently about mythmaking. What is written is considered true, and what is only remembered and not written becomes ‘fiction’. People who want their ‘fictions’ about the reality of their actions sanitize or edit out other pieces of the truth and oftentimes they do succeed in preserving a “truth” because nobody dares to throw in the pieces of the whole truth through writing!
Authentic Philippine history would be in the hands of the art of print and broadcast media. Anything not written about becomes fragile and prone to sculpting.
Senior citizens out there, do you still have a copy of the press releases about the man who stabbed Imelda Marcos?
Toto, with all the respectable and knowledgeable people visiting your site, could anyone tell me what they think about that “stabbing” of Imelda Marcos in December 1972? That ‘drama’ appeared so believable! Could anyone share with me news clippings as to the identity of the assassin? What was the name of the man they first published as the assassin? How long did they get the identity of CARLITO DIMAHILIG?
I am doing a fifteen page essay on that incident, specifically on the identity of the man who stabbed her.
Aquino can’t use Arlegui Guest House, owner says
by Joyce Pangco Panares
THE owner of the Arlegui Guest House is not keen on renting it to president-elect Benigno Aquino III over the next six years of his administration.
Lawyer Lorna Kapunan, who represents mansion owner Tarcila Laperal Mendoza, told a radio interview that the outgoing Arroyo administration could not offer the residence to Aquino or renovate it because the government no longer owned it.
“Those renovations are acts of an owner. The Republic is no longer the owner,’’ Kapunan said of the ongoing work at the mansion. “As a matter of fact, that is too presumptuous.”
But Presidential Management Staff director general Elena Bautista said the repairs at the Arlegui mansion were part of the government’s maintenance work, not renovation.
“That’s only maintenance work… If the Aquino administration does not want to use it, then at least we will return a better and well-maintained house to the owner,” Bautista said.
She said the contract for the mansion, for which the government pays Laperal Mendoza P20,000 a month, would end on June 30.
The Arroyo administration has offered the mansion to house the transition teams of the outgoing and incoming administrations.
Citing security reasons, the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos had forcibly taken the 12-room house from the Laperal family in 1965.
The Supreme Court has since ordered the government to pay back rentals of P20,000 a month starting July 1975 to the Laperal family.
Kapunan said the computation of the government’s back rent to the Laperal family for the property should factor in the rate of inflation.
In her interview with radio dzMM, Kapunan said people claiming to be connected with Aquino’s inner circle were boasting that they could do anything with the property. She declined to identify them, but urged the incoming administration to “walk your talk” about stamping out corruption.
VILLANUEVA VS VILLANUEVA : Court to decide matters of heart
By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: May 23, 2010
(Second of two parts)
IF HIS BROTHERS HAD “genuine” concern for the welfare of their 100-year-old mother, he would not raise any qualms over her hospital confinement, Roberto “Bertito” Villanueva Jr. said.
“My brothers and I have fought in the past. It has been peaceful in recent years, and then here we go again,” he said, referring to his ongoing court battle with his younger brothers Luis and Eduardo over custody of their mother, Corazon Grau Villanueva.
Ironically, this is reportedly not the first time that the mother became collateral damage in the recurring feud among her sons. But earlier, it was reportedly Bertito and Luis who were a team against Eduardo.
In the late 1990s, Bertito and Luis squabbled over the operations of AGP Industrial Corp., the holding company of Atlantic Gulf and Pacific Co. of Manila Inc., which their father, industrialist Roberto Villanueva Sr., made into one of the largest diversified engineering and construction firms in the Philippines at that time.
Atlantic Gulf was part of a multinational firm put up by US entrepreneurs in the early 1900s. It was the first to prove the viability of hiring Filipino labor, especially for overseas projects.
When the global Atlantic Gulf group decentralized, the Philippine unit was spun off; a controlling stake was later acquired by Villanueva Sr.
One of the country’s first tycoons, Villanueva Sr. also became the first chief of the Coordinating Council for the Philippine Assistance Plan, a post-Marcos government body that oversees the flow of multilateral and bilateral funding for infrastructure and social projects. He died in 1995.
Business old-timers recall that the Villanuevas’ AGP empire collapsed due to overexpansion. The last straw was the Asian currency crisis, which caused a rapid rise in interest rates and a sharp devaluation of the peso that, in turn, choked many businesses.
Beset with cash flow problems, the Villanuevas accepted the Consunjis’ offer to take over the company without due diligence, thereby eliminating a major industry competitor.
Throughout those years, Bertito and Luis reportedly had major differences over how to handle the family businesses.
Now Bertito is crying foul over the “elder abuse” purportedly inflicted by his brothers on their mother. But they are likewise accusing him of neglecting her.
In various pleadings filed with the Regional Trial Court of Taguig City, Eduardo, the youngest son, said his mother herself had requested him to live with her in her house in South Forbes Park in consideration of her advanced age and fragile state.
He said he realized the urgency of heeding her request because she had long been “abandoned” and “left alone” by Bertito to the care of household helpers.
Eduardo argued that his mother’s execution of a “durable” medical power of attorney in his favor on Jan. 28 was in the exercise of her civil rights.
Backed by Luis, Eduardo said Bertito had always lived separately and independently from their mother “by reason of his poor and lingering deteriorating health.”
“This situation caused, in effect, the abandonment and isolation of Corazon,” Luis and Eduardo said in a joint pleading dated May 6.
“Knowing and realizing the physical, mental and psychological condition of his mother, Eduardo, without any hesitation, immediately took custody and care of his mother Corazon since January 2010 and up to the present time,” they said.
But Bertito and his family, who are represented by the Ponce Enrile Reyes and Manalastas Law Offices, questioned Eduardo’s motives, claiming he was out of the picture for over a decade and, like the biblical prodigal son, had demanded his inheritance even when their father was alive.
They said that except to ask for a weekly cash allowance from their mother when his fortune ran out, Eduardo hardly saw her. But he made a turnaround after her 100th birthday in January, when he moved into her house and subsequently obtained a medical power of attorney.
“We found out he was kicked out of where he lived. Maybe that’s why he’s [in his mother’s house],” a family member said.
But in their counter-pleading, Luis and Eduardo said it was Bertito who seemed to have done nothing for their mother’s care, in comparison with their own efforts.
They said that while Bertito was asking the court to declare that they had no custody of their mother, neither was he claiming custody of her.
Bertito is asking the court to order that Corazon Villanueva be removed from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig and returned to her house, in compliance with her purported wish.
He said that given her advanced age, his mother might not be able to withstand harsh medications.
But his brothers argued that in a Filipino family, it was “normal and customary” for the children to have custody of their mother.
“Such custodial rights cannot be delegated to persons who are not immediate members of the family,” they said.
They added that they had been providing their mother round-the-clock care by two registered nurses and two caregivers at their personal expense.
On April 30, following Bertito’s petition for habeas corpus or relief from unlawful detention, the Taguig RTC ordered Eduardo to present his mother at a court hearing on May 6.
But Luis and Eduardo told the court in an urgent motion that their mother was “not physically, mentally and psychologically fit to appear in court.”
In a report to the court dated April 22, St. Luke’s denied that it had helped hide Corazon Villanueva or that she was being illegally detained in its premises.
It said Eduardo brought the patient for confinement on April 11 and that Luis appeared to be the one responsible for the expenses.
It added that Eduardo had issued instructions to treat the patient’s confinement as “strictly confidential,” and that the hospital’s various departments were subsequently notified to that effect.
“St. Luke’s had to strictly abide by this instruction lest it become liable to the patient or Eduardo,” the hospital said in a report prepared by its legal counsel, Quasha Ancheta Pena & Nolasco Law Offices.
Because of her youngest son’s instruction, Corazon Villanueva was referred to as a “deny” patient, meaning that St. Luke’s would not reveal any fact or circumstance to any person or entity in connection with her confinement.
This explained why Bertito and his family had difficulty locating his mother even when she was at St. Luke’s all along.
But the hospital denied that it had changed the patient’s name to “Juanita Cruz,” as alleged by Bertito, and presented medical records identifying her as “Corazon Villanueva.”
Bertito said the situation might be a result of his younger brothers hating him since childhood and wanting to getting back at him.
“Maybe it’s professional jealousy because my father was always partial to me and my family, to the exclusion of the two. Ngayon, parang bawian (Now they’re getting back),” he told the Inquirer on May 3.
Bertito said that if his brothers wanted to further confine their mother at the hospital or take custody of her, they should file a proper case for guardianship.
His petition to resolve custody is thus aimed at nullifying the medical power of attorney obtained by Eduardo.
The document has an “insuperability clause” stating: “To guard me against being taken undue advantage of in this twilight of my years, no new power of attorney bearing my signature shall be deemed to have revoked, cancelled or set aside this durable medical power of attorney …”
“From a personal point of view, it’s my family who has attended to my folks more than those two brothers of mine,” Bertito said, adding:
“That seemed to be the norm through the years. There was a time when my father died, the one next to me, Luis, decided to isolate my mother from all of her friends and even from us. He took it upon himself to take care of my mother, to our exclusion.”
In his petition, Bertito said this new act of uprooting their mother and hiding her away from his family could be a ploy to make her sign documents that might lead to a “dissipation of assets.”
Money not the issue
The Inquirer had sought an interview with Luis and Eduardo, to no avail.
On May 6, Luis sent word that the conflict was not an issue of inheritance because Bertito’s side of the family “already has everything.”
What Luis and Eduardo simply want, as relayed through a family friend, is to protect their mother’s interest.
The contending brothers claimed that their mother had no large wealth to fight about.
According to Bertito, his mother’s money may have long been depleted although she still has some assets from his father’s estate, such as pieces of property in Baguio City and in Bicol.
And “there’s [no will] that we know of,” he said.
Now it is up to the court to decide what is best for Corazon Villanueva.
The clock is ticking and she does not have much time left.
VILLANUEVA VS VILLANUEVA
Heirs battle for custody of 100-year-old matriarch
By Doris Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:14:00 05/22/2010
Filed Under: People, Family, Conflicts (general)
(First of two parts)
MANILA, Philippines—The heirs of the late industrialist Roberto Villanueva Sr. are in the thick of a court battle over custody of his 100-year-old widow, and the eldest son is accusing his siblings of “elder abuse.”
At the core of the feud is a debate on whether Corazon Grau Villanueva, a former socialite and prewar magazine journalist, should spend the twilight of her life in a hospital or, as she purportedly wishes, in the comforts of her home in South Forbes Park.
The eldest son, Roberto Jr. or Bertito, has accused his brothers Luis and Eduardo of having connived to abduct their mother from her home last April 11, take her to St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig City without compelling reason and confine her there against her will and under a false identity.
Bertito said his brothers had tried a number of times to take their mother away, and that the fourth time was successful.
He suspected his brothers of jamming cell phones to prevent the guards from warning him and his family about the arrival of the ambulance that took their mother to St. Luke’s.
He said he and his family called all the hospitals in town to find her, and that it was only much later that they discovered she was confined at St. Luke’s under the name Juanita Cruz.
Luis and Eduardo have denied the allegations. They have argued as well that their mother’s confinement was necessary because she could not be given a proper medical diagnosis at home, especially because her physical condition had lately been “deteriorating to an alarming degree.”
Dissipation of assets
In pleadings filed at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Taguig, Bertito, 65, questioned the motive particularly of Eduardo—the youngest of the siblings—for obtaining a medical power of attorney, and claimed that their mother could not recall signing such a document.
Bertito said he feared that his mother was taken from her home and hidden from his family so that she would be forced to sign documents against her will, “for the obvious purpose of dissipating her assets.”
On April 16, Bertito filed at the Taguig RTC a petition for habeas corpus, through which a person can seek for himself or another relief from unlawful detention.
During a hearing on that petition, he managed to obtain visitation rights from the court.
And when he visited his mother, he did not like what he saw. He said he had consulted with independent doctors who agreed that his mother was “needlessly” taken to St. Luke’s.
“It was a clear case of ‘elder abuse’ or ‘elder mistreatment,” Bertito said in a pleading alleging that the patient’s condition might have actually worsened at the hospital.
He filed another urgent motion on April 29 asking the court to declare that Luis and Eduardo had no legal custody over their mother and to order that she be taken back to her home.
He further claimed that his mother was being treated like “a science project” and subjected to “needless experimentation” in the hospital.
In a report to the court, St. Luke’s denied that Corazon Villanueva was being confined against her will.
It said it was not privy to any squabble among her sons and was merely administering medications and treatment after various tests showed that the patient was afflicted with malnutrition, anemia, urinary tract infection, sinus arrhythmia, frequent premature atrial contractions and osteoporosis, among others.
Luis and Eduardo said they had observed that their mother would “consistently experience prolonged sleeping hours [and] hearing and visual impairment.” They said she had a lump on her left neck and showed “physical signs of chronic malnutrition.”
As a consequence, they said, they sought the services of St. Luke’s Dr. Earleen Seno-Ong, an expert in geriatrics (a subspecialty of medicine that focuses on healthcare for the elderly).
They attached to their counter-pleading various medical documents seeking to prove that their mother’s confinement was not intended to hold her against her will but was necessary “to prolong her life, protect her health from diseases and ultimately make her enjoy the remaining days of her life.”
In another pleading dated May 5 and meant to quash Bertito’s motion to resolve the question of custody, Luis and Eduardo said the allegation of elder abuse was “absolutely untrue” and “tainted with irresponsibility.”
They said that without doctors’ advice and directives, their mother would not have been confined and treated at St. Luke’s.
They added that Eduardo and Seno-Ong had suggested that Bertito’s family assign its own doctor to examine their mother and comment on the prescriptions and diagnostic reports, to no avail.
Bertito, however, questioned Seno-Ong’s independence. He disclosed a phone call from her saying that his mother might be discharged on April 28, or a week before the supposed safe date of discharge that the doctor had earlier told the Taguig RTC.
He said he was puzzled by Seno-Ong’s turnaround, and added that an independent doctor was then preparing to examine his mother for a report to the court.
And despite the promise of discharge, the patient has yet to be brought home, Bertito said.
Albert Palacios, legal counsel for Luis and Eduardo, said in a phone interview on May 6 that Corazon Villanueva was still at St. Luke’s and that any relative was welcome to see her during visiting hours.
He said the patient had been examined by no less than six doctors, who all attested to the urgency of her hospitalization.
In their court pleadings, Luis and Eduardo said that if their mother were being held against her will, St. Luke’s itself would have stopped attending to her because she had “a lucid and sound mind, as well as a sense of good judgment.”
They claimed that their mother had “fully cooperated” with hospital authorities and her attending doctors in the course of a comprehensive physical examination.
Luis and Eduardo also said the latter had “rightful” custody over their mother “not only as the youngest son of a widowed mother who had agreed to take care of her,” but also because he had “rightfully and lawfully obtained that custody … through a medical power of attorney.”
Corazon Villanueva, who turned 100 on Jan. 6, was a magazine journalist before World War II. She was also the society editor of The Tribune.
A socialite in her younger years, she, along with her husband Roberto Villanueva Sr., was known as a serious art collector.
After being widowed in 1995, she withdrew from social activities and closeted herself in her South Forbes Park home with a maid and a caregiver.
Despite her advanced age, she was described by her family as lucid and able to recognize family members despite occasional bouts of forgetfulness and mood swings.
Bertito, along with his eldest daughter Marybeth Villanueva-Kilayko, spoke with the Inquirer in a relative’s house on May 3.
He said that months before his mother’s 100th birthday, his family planned a big party to celebrate the event. But there were days when she was enthusiastic about the idea and days when she simply refused to get out of bed.
Worried that she might not feel up to it, the family scrapped all plans for the party.
Bertito and his family, who live near his mother’s house, usually spent Sundays and weekday lunches with her. His children, particularly Marybeth who also lives close by, often dined with her on ordinary days.
“It’s very convenient for us because we can always drop by there, and my children, especially Marybeth, are close to their grandparents,” Bertito said. “If my mother was not feeling well, we sent a doctor. Such was life.”
Son come lately
Eduardo has only recently returned to the Philippines after spending many years in the United States, Bertito said.
He said Luis and Eduardo usually visited their mother once a week.
Per Bertito’s account, Eduardo moved into their mother’s house after she turned 100 and eventually obtained the medical power of attorney. He claimed that it was their mother’s wish that he stay with her.
Corazon Villanueva’s house is registered under a family-owned holding company. The stipulation is that only she can live in the house during her lifetime, Bertito said.
“The other attempts [to take our mother away] were thwarted because we live close by,” he said.
He said that during his family’s visits, he would see Eduardo convincing her to go to the hospital. “And at the time I was there, she didn’t want to. She was really adamant about it,” he said.
Marybeth, the eldest grandchild, said she was very close to her grandmother.
“All this time, my lola kept telling me, Whatever happens, I don’t want to be brought to the hospital,” Marybeth said, adding:
“When St. Luke’s sent an ambulance to take her away for the first time, the medical order said it was due to osteoporosis and cognitive impairment (mild dementia). But I didn’t think that with these, you had to take her at 11 p.m. in an ambulance. From our point of view, it looked suspicious.”
‘How dare you’
When Bertito’s family finally managed to visit his mother at St. Luke’s, she was apparently gripped by mood swings—spewing wrath in one minute and being her amiable self in the next.
Marybeth recalled that in one such visit, her grandmother berated her on the mistaken idea that it was her parents who had her confined.
“How dare you let them do this to me,” she quoted her grandmother as saying. “I cried and I said, ‘Lola, they took you away. I couldn’t have helped you.’ She said, ‘I don’t want your father and mother to come to my funeral because they had me confined here.’”
Marybeth said she then realized that there were insufficient laws to protect the elderly and uphold their rights. She said this could be a good advocacy to push in the incoming Congress.
Ipe, it’s semantics and splitting hairs. FOR…WITH…me…Filipino people…same thing. Isn’t the President (whomever he or she may be) supposed to work for the people? Therefore, whomever is on his/her team THEN is also supposed to work for the people. So…same thing.
U know u just can’t put your words into other people’s mouths. U have to give other people the benefit of the doubt…otherwise you’d just go on correcting everything another person who has the right of choice, says. And what does that really accomplish? Nada.
No President can ever demand that another elected official work FOR HIM. All elected officials work for THE FILIPINO PEOPLE.
The earlier Mr. Aquino realizes this, the better for our country.
As I said, I sincerely wish that he only mis-spoke. He should have said, “yes I can work WITH whoever the Filipino people voted as Vice-President as we were chosen to work FOR the FILIPINO PEOPLE.” You must admit that there is a big difference in what he said and what he ought to have said.
Ipe, President-elect Aquino spoke correctly because Binay could just become an obstructionist and NOT work with the new administration’s programs. This is one of the faults of the Philippine system –having the vice from a different party from the Boss. Remember, the Veep is just a heartbeat away from the Throne! I guess one can thank the likes of that Chiz Escudero for this hybrid government.
This is going to be the least goodlooking administration by far in Philippine history. Let’s hope that good deeds will outweigh the lack of looks.
In his very first Press Conference after the elections which was held this afternoon, our President-Elect was asked by a reporter (referring to the fact that Mayor Binay might be his Vice-President) “Are you willing to work with Mayor Binay?”
President-Elect Aquino replied, “I think the proper question is whether Mayor Binay is willing to work FOR me.”
Mr. President-Elect, congratulations on your victory but, with all due respect, before you take your oath, I hope you realize that our elected public officials do not work for the President but for the Filipino People.
I hope he just mis-spoke and the statement was not a Freudian Slip.
The polls were not accurate after all, neither the psychic nor feng shui predictions. It appears we are going to have an Aqui-Bin admin. Let the Filipinos be guided wisely and put the new leaders on guard against corruption.
There are many other big stories in the just concluded elections aside from Noynoy’s win. These are:
1. Binay over Mar Roxas. With 78% of the votes tallied, he leads Mar by over 1 Million Votes (12.205 Million vs. 11.200 Million). This will leave Mar without any government position (his 6-year term as Senator expires this June and he cannot be appointed to any government position until May of next year).
2. Erap! He is definitely still a force to reckon with. If the 6Million strong Iglesia ni Cristo endorsed Erap, we would not have Noynoy for President.
3. Fr. Ed Panlilio losing heavily in Pampanga (against Lilia Pineda) and Gov. Grace Padaca trailing Bodjie Dy in Isabela.
4. The Marcoses are definitely back with: (a) Bongbong Marcos hovering between 6th to 7th place in the Senate race getting almost 40% of the vote nationally eclipsing even the likes of Ralph Recto, Serge Osmeña, Tito Sotto, and Lito Lapid; (b) Imee Marcos winning the Governorship by a landslide over cousin Mike Keon; and (c) the one and only Imelda Marcos returning to Congress.
5. Pacquiao, contrary to Kris Aquino’s prediction, scored a knock out outside the boxing ring by defeating the long-ruling Chiongbians of Sarangani.
6. Notwithstanding the long lines (I arrived at my polling precinct at 6:50am, I finished voting at 9:20am), the automation by the COMELEC and Smartmatic was generally quite successful especially the tabulation and transmission of the votes.
So, it looks like it’s going to be Noynoy… which gives me pause to think. If indeed, as those dark rumors persist, that it was the senior Aquino’s own kith and kin that had him done in, then hayan na…the son gives the Aquino name another six years in power!!! I wonder if the perpetrators of that Dark Deed of 1983 ever foresaw this. 🙂 🙂
Notes from a Seminar on the Election Ballot
by Kenneth Yu
10. May 2010 [9:39pm]
“I attended my barangay’s seminar on the 2010 elections today, arranged by the captain, Ralph Diaz. I learned a few things from Mr. Diaz about the
election ballot that could be informative for all of us:
1. Mr. Diaz said that the ballot is very, very sensitive to marks, ink, H20,
stains, scratches, folds, sweat, etc. If, say, you have grime on your hands,
or your hands are wet, or your sweat drops onto the ballot, the PCOS
(Precinct Count Optical Scan) Unit will not read it. So, keep your hands
very clean before voting. That is why the indelible ink will be put on your
finger after you’re done voting, and not before, and wh y you will be given
your ballot in a folder, a “Ballot Secrecy Folder”, so that you can lessen
the actual handling of the ballot with your hands.
2. Shade the egg-shaped hole beside your chosen candidate fully (you will be provided with a marker). Don’t check, line, X, dot, or half-shade it,
because the PCOS Unit will not read it. Try not to go beyond the lines also
(well, not too much).
3. Mr. Diaz said that there will be a barcode going around the ballot. If
this is marked, even scratched, in any way, the ballot will be spoiled. He
said that if anyone else handles the ballot, watch them well, in case they
intentionally scratch the barcode with a fingernail to prevent your ballot
from being counted. He used as an example that if you’re obviously for a
candidate that, say, an unscrupulous precinct official is against
(hopefully, there’s no such thing as an unscrupulous precinct official),
that official may scratch your barcode to prevent your vote from being
4. You will have four tries to put your ballot through the PCOS Unit.
You can put it in forward, backward, front side up, back side up, whichever, but only four tries. If after the 4th try it doesn’t read properly, goodbye
5. You will get one chance to have your ballot changed if you don’t like it.
That’s when they first hand it to you. Inspect it right away. If you see any
folds, scratches, or marks, you can ask for a change (which may lengthen
your voting process, Mr. Diaz added).
6. Bring a list of your chosen candidates on a piece of paper so that you
won’t spend too much time filling out the ballot. If you make your decisions on the day itself without a list, you could spend a long time filling it up.
7. Watch the readout on the PCOS Unit when you insert your ballot into it.
Mr. Diaz said that if successful, it’ll read, “Congratulations! Your ballot
has been scanned.” If not, it’ll say why (improper shading, etc.) Get that
“Congratulations” message before leaving to make sure your vote is counted.
8. Bring an ID (Voter’s ID is best, but if you don’t have one, driver’s
license, passport, etc. any valid ID with your address and preferably a
photo is all right) to present to the BEI (Board of Elections Inspector).
If you can find out beforehand through your barangay, also get your Voter’s ID number, precinct number, and your sequence number (the number beside your name in the voter’s list). This’ll speed up your voting process.
9. The ballot you are given will only be readable by one specific PCOS Unit.
In other words, only one machine will be able to read your ballot, because
it’s pre-registered there, so when you’re ready, line up at the proper
machine. Don’t line up at the wrong machine; your ballot won’t be read, and it may spoil your vote.
10. Polls open on May 10, 2010, at 7 a.m. and end at 6 p.m.
11. Mr. Diaz said that the Comelec told him that with the PCOS Units, we
will know the winner of the elections in 5 days. Otherwise, the PCOS Units
will allow for a manual count since all votes will be recorded inside the
machines (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, because it’s going to take the
usual weeks and weeks to finish the count).
12. The PCOS Units have internal batteries that can last 16 hours in case of
power outages. Since the voting period only lasts 10 hours, there’s a 6 hour
buffer. But still, let’s hope for no brownouts on May 10, 2010.
13. The PCOS Unit will print out the vote count in what looks like a very
long cash register receipt (whose print will last for 5 years, he said),
which will be put into a sealed box that’ll be sent to the Comelec for
prop er counting. Also, the PCOS Unit will count the number of voters who are voting based on the ballots inserted into it, so again, watch the screen on the machine to make sure of voter count, as well as other important
14. Mr. Diaz said that you should vote only the exact number you should vote for. So, vote for only 1 president, 1 vice president, 12 senators, 1 party list, 1 mayor, 1 vice mayor, 1 member of the House of Representatives, etc. (the limit will be there on your ballot as a “Vote for not more than ____”).
If you vote for more than the stipulated number, that particular portion of
the ballot is spoiled. You may, however, vote for less (as in, if you can’t
find 12 worthy senatoriables to vote for, it’s all right to vote for less
15. Mr. Diaz stressed repeatedly that in voting this time, one should not
make mistakes. It’s asking a lot from us, but he said that over and over
again. His words: “Don’t make mistakes, otherwise, you’ll spoil your
16. Of course you’ll also be asked to do the usual signing of forms and
marking of thumbprints.
Feel free to share this note. I wish I could take questions, but I only took
notes as Mr. Diaz was speaking, so I doubt if I will know the answers. Any
questions you have can be sent to your Barangay Captains, or to the Comelec.”
KALUGURAN KUNG KALALAWIGAN – a letter from Among Ed
Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 1:53pm
Kaluguran kung kalalawigan:
Pengaku ku pu kanita na “balang libung truck a daralan, libung singil ing mililista.” Kilub na mu pu ning 30 bulan, migit na lang kapitnang bilyun a pesus ding apalub tamu Kapitolyu at lampas lang P180M kareti ding binalik tamu anting quarry shares karing munisipiu at barangay.
Sinabi ku kanita na “balang buwis a lungub, serbisyung lumual.” Kulang la mu pu king P500M ding mengagawang proyektung pang-imprastraktura karing miyayaliwang balen. Mengaku ku at gewa tamu pin “malinis ing gawa, alang porsyentong mebulsa.”
Malinis la ring meging kontrata ning gobyernu tamu. Balang linear meter a sadia nang apapagawang dalan ning gobyernu, adua pung linear meters a sementadung dalan, ustu king sukad at kapal king parehung alaga, ing apayari tamu uling alang komisyon o SOP. Mumuling 50% ing atipid ning gobyernu lalam ning kekatamung pamanungkulan.
Libutad na pu ning kapagnasan dang itipa ra ku king luklukan ning upaya kapamilatan ning RECOUNT at RECALL kambe ning masugid dang pamangampanya ban siran da ku pangatau, migtagumpe ya pa murin ing kekayung talasuyu para gampanan ing keyang mandatu – ing linisan ya ing Kapitolyu king katiwalian.
Mas marakal la pa sanang kasuyuan ding miras kekayu nung e la mebinbin at mipayalian ding aliwa pang programang mamalagang P367.31M a inapag ku king Sangguniang Panlalawigan a panimunan nang Vice-Gov. Yeng Guiao.
Kapamilatan ning Pamisaupan Caravan, midala ing serbisyu ning Kapitolyu karing pekaliblib a baryu ning lalawigan. Ing daing da ring pakakalulu e mu miyatad Kapitolyu. Pekikuanan ta ya pang dela mismu ing Kapitolyu karing pakakalulu.
E pu kumulang king P286M ing midalang kasuyuan king larangan ning kalusugan, edukasyun, agri at akwakultura ampon kabiayan. Mitatag ne pu ing Pampanga Development Council at aliwa pang councils bilang patune ning pengaku tamung “konsultasyun at partisipasyun.” Mitatag ya rin pu ing Arts, Culture and Tourism Office ban keta “pasulungan ta’ ya ing kulturang Kapampangan” anti ning pengaku ku.
Pengaku ku ing “papagaral la ring estudyanteng mangailangan.” Kulang la mu pu king apulung libung magaral king kolehiyu ring tinanggap saup-pinansyal a minabut P49.43M.
Ginawa tamung “tune obra at e mu mangobra” ampon “kabiayan karing pakakalulu.” Miras ing P10.56M “saup pinansya” karing 2,112 “mangalating negosyu” lalam ning ABE-K program kabang 25,558 lang katau ring miyantabayanan king pamanintun dang obra.
King pamagtagumpe tamu iniang 2007, “mibalik ing dangalan ning Kapampangan.” Pengaku ku pu ing “pamanimuna kapamilatan ning mayap a alimbawa” at iti gimpanan tamung mipnung kapakumbaban kilub ning 3 banua tamung pamamuntukan.
King daratang pung May 10, 2010 ing pagkalub yu pung maulagang botu kanaku, kang Marco Lazatin at sablang kayabe ku king Cruzada at Liberal Party mandatu yang pasibayu ban misundu ing mayap a pamanungkulan king mal tamung lalawigan. Dakal pa pu ing tagimpan ming abe-abe para king Indung Kapampangan.
It is erroneous to call the Cojuangco-Aquino the owners of the “Hacienda Luisita” because they are just one branch of the Cojuangco-Sumulong family who purchased the hacienda from the Spanish “Tabacalera” during the PostWar years. [ In turn, the Cojuangco-Sumulong are only one branch of the old Cojuangco-Chichioco family of Paniqui, Tarlac and Malolos, Bulacan ]
Before the purchase, Jose Cojuangco Sr. offered a 10 % ownership stake to the family of his deceased younger brother, Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. [ + 1952 ], but the latter’s eldest son Eduardo Jr. “Danding” declined on behalf of his mother and siblings because he preferred to invest his family’s resources in other businesses. Thus, the visage of “Danding” should not even appear in the video because he officially has nothing to do with “Hacienda Luisita.”
Yes, it is true, one condition of PNB for the sale of “Hacienda Luisita” was its eventual distribution to the farmers/workers there.
One should be careful when using the term “asendero”/”hacendero” these days: the “hacenderos” of old have gone, but in their place are powerful “politicos” and uberrich Chinese businessmen. Try going against them and witness Maguindanao 2009 happen again, and again. New masters for old.
One should also make definite distinctions between the PURSUIT OF JUSTICE vis-a-vis PLAIN ENVY. The struggle between the rich and the poor has existed since the beginning of time and experience has shown that it is useless to pit one against the other, as it inevitably results in the destruction of both. The only way to improve the lot of the poor is through education and the wider opportunities that it affords. Formal, nonformal, and innovative education are available to all, there is now the Internet which has leveled all playing fields globally. What really matters is the motivation of the individual, regardless of background.
Giving out land to a poor farmer with NO financial capital and NO managerial knowhow is like giving him rope to hang himself with. Sooner or later, he will have to mortgage or sell it to the most accessible moneylender, Chinese businessman, or powerful politico. I can attest to that reality.
With all the unjust accusations leveled at landowners/”hacenderos,” I am glad that I do not have a single hectare to my name.
Apparently, this isn’t the first time this happened with Mr. Pangilinan. Check out the blog of Jessica Zafra. She reports that Katrina Stuart Santiago found out that Mr. Pangilinan has had a history of plagiarism since 2007. Check out
“The Ateneo De Manila University Board of Trustees has decided to reject the resignation of its chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan. Consequently, the Board announced that the university is adopting a new slogan. From ‘Lux in Domino’ (Light in the Lord), the new slogan will be, ‘Plagiarius est non bonus tamen nos postulo viaticus’ (Plagiarism is not good but we need cash).”
The Inquirer’s front page today headlines “Noy to Manny: Don’t exploit Baby James.”
Moreover, in an interview with ABS-CBN about the incident, Kris Aquino-Yap said, “Spare my son from Politics. Let him live a life of a 2-year old.”
Look who’s calling the kettle black. Senator Aquino, YOU and your sister were the ones who dragged your nephew to appear in that awful commercial in which you performed a rap number. YOU and your sister were the ones who dragged your nephew in the dead of the night to appear on-stage in a political rally.
And now you dare say that Senator Villar is the one exploiting your nephew?!!
Senator Aquino, your skewed reasoning shows that you are, indeed, in the words of your commercial, “walang bahid walang duda” — that is, walang bahid ng katalinuhan at walang duda ang kamangmangan!!!
Kailangan ng bayan ang isang Pangulo na may kakayahan at malawak na karanasan.
The Presidency is NOT an “On-the-Job-Training” position!!!
How Manny Villar lied and used the death of his brother Danny
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
By William M. Esposo (The Philippine Star)
Updated March 28, 2010 12:00 AM
“Nakaranas na ba kayong … mamatayan ng kapatid dahil wala kang pera pangpagamot (Have you experienced losing a brother because you did not have the money to provide him proper medical care)? — Manny Villar asked in his “PANATA (Advocacy)” TV commercial. Villar was referring to his younger brother Danny who passed away on October 1962. In the same commercial, Villar’s 1962 photo with his younger brother was shown.
This portrayal of being poor once upon a time is a fantasy which comes in a series of similar attempts by Villar to create empathy with the nearly 90% of voters who belong to the socio-economic classes D and E. However, this particular attempt to use his late brother Danny to further his political ambition showed that Villar is as capable of lying just like Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA).
Two public documents — the death certificate of Danny B. Villar and the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT number: 135396/3194) of the 560 square meter property in the upper class San Rafael Village of Navotas where the Villars had lived when Danny died — shattered this ONCE POOR fantasy that Villar has been peddling.
What the San Rafael Village TCT presents:
1. Before 1962, the Villars bought 560 square meters (SQM) of high valued real estate on Bernardo Street in San Rafael Village where the more affluent folks in the Tondo-Navotas area resided.
2. The DEATH CERTIFICATE of the deceased Danny B. Villar established that they were already residing there in 1962.
3. Based on 2009 prices, the P16,000 GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) mortgage mentioned in the TCT — not necessarily the total cost of the two 280 SQM lots — is now the equivalent of P1,140,000.00. Poor people today cannot even borrow P200,000. Those who are familiar with the subdivision say that the cost per SQM in San Rafael Village today would be around P10,000 per SQM or an equivalent of around P5,600,000 for the entire property.
4. Jun Borres, the present owner who is using the 560 SQM property as offices of his firm, Jumbo Fishing, stated that when they bought it in 1987 – it had a one and a half floor house. The ground floor was made of concrete while the upstairs was made of wood. This was typical upper middle class and upper class dwelling in the 1960s.
Implications of the San Rafael Village ownership
1. Together with established Manny Villar bio information, they could not have been dirt poor to be able to move to San Rafael Village before 1962. His mother was a seafood (shrimp, crab and fish) dealer in Divisoria Market, not a fish vendor as what Villar tries to project. A seafood dealer supplies the vendors. For a family of 11, they ate canned corned beef — which Manny Villar admitted on his earlier TV ad. His father was a government official, said to be a Budget Officer of the then DANR (Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources) under which was the Fisheries Bureau. Manny Villar studied in private schools — the Holy Child Catholic School for elementary and Mapua Institute of Technology for High School. Poor folks send their kids to public schools.
2. Villar’s parents must have had a sizeable combined income to be able to buy the San Rafael Village property. The 560 SQM size demonstrates their financial capacity. If they could, poor people buy lots sized less than 100 SQMs. Villar’s father must also be making a sizeable income from the government to be able to borrow P16,000 from the GSIS. In 1962, senior executives in big corporations made monthly salaries of about P2,000.
What Danny B. Villar’s DEATH CERTIFICATE reveals:
1. It is NOT TRUE that Danny died because they were poor and could not afford proper health care. The stated residence in Danny’s death certificate was the San Rafael Village property.
2. The BIG LIE is further proved by the fact that Danny stayed 13 days at the FEU ( Far Eastern University ) Hospital where he expired at age 3 years and 8 months. If they were really poor, the PGH (Philippine General Hospital) would have been the affordable hospital to bring Danny. He was definitely given proper health care. FEU Hospital was one of the top hospitals in 1962, before the establishment of the Makati Medical Center and St. Luke’s Hospital.
3. Danny died from CARDIAC and RESPIRATORY FAILURE resulting from OMPLICATIONS OF LEUKEMIA. In 1962, there was no bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy yet and everyone whether rich or poor died from contracting leukemia.
4. Upon Danny’s death, his remains were turned over to LA FUNERARIA PAZ — then, until now, considered one of the top two mortuaries (Funeraria Nacional, the other). This further disproved Manny Villar’s claim that Danny died because they did not have the money to take care of him.
When Iggy Arroyo was seen as having taken the Jose Pidal rap for his elder brother Mike, many folks felt that it was rather low of Mike Arroyo to place his younger brother at risk. Our culture expects the older brother to protect the younger brother.
In that regard, we can consider Manny Villar as having done worse than Mike Arroyo. At least, Iggy Arroyo was alive and kicking and he could have opted to stay out of the Jose Pidal controversy. But in the case of Manny and Danny Villar, Danny was used to promote a myth when Danny was in no position to agree to his elder brother Manny’s portrayal of his death.
With the propagation of this ONCE POOR fantasy, don’t you think that Manny Villar also desecrated the memory and honor of his parents who strove to be able to provide their children quality education and an upper class domicile?
If Manny Villar can lie and use his dead younger brother like this, what makes you think that he will really improve and not worsen your life? What makes you think that he is not as greedy as he is being charged in this presidential campaign?
PGA Cars recent sponsorship of the Enrique Zobel Cup, the finale of what is the abbreviated Philippine Polo Season would seem to confirm this. The Coyiutos are also stockholders in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.
After Holy Week, it’s the homestretch of the campaign for the elections. It is really going to be interesting to see what scenario will unfold. Gibo will take a loss like a man and Erap will most probably do the same. In a two horse race between Noynoy and Villar, with the latter most likely winning, Noynoy is going to claim he was cheated out of it and will call for People Power. Only problem is, it will probably be only he and his advisers who will be the present at EDSA.
GMA has the military firmly in her pocket and there is no financier who’d be willing to finance a coup d’etat with “people power” unlike the last one in ’89 when the reformists and the loyalists got together and almost unseated Cory were it not for primary strategist bungling the job again.
I have been following your blog with much interest, not for the politics, but particularly for its insights on the remembrance of things past, when Manila was still a city in the true sense of the word, and life was still pleasant, albeit the circumstances.
I was born in 1966 so that makes me a Martial Law baby and grew up in San Miguel Manila, particularly Concepcion Aguila St. I spent the happiest years of my childhood there because it was a very peaceful neighborhood, streets with very few vehicles passing by on weekdays allowing I and my friends to indulge in our passion for bicycling, in around the area where San Miguel meets Quiapo, and enjoy the scenery, even if it was a high security area during the time of Marcos.
I read the column of Boo Chanco in the Philippine Star last week and found it odd that he mentioned that Danding Cojuangco is not the beneficial owner of San Miguel anymore. The manner in which it was mentioned was in a post-GMA Philippines, about a businessman engaged in port management (this already tells you who the gentleman is), approaching the various front runners with contributions in order to ensure the continuity (read the profitability of his business) and how he divested himself of his majority stake in the National Grid Corporation (formerly known as Transco) and sold it to San Miguel care of beneficial shareholders in order to avoid violating conflict of interest provisions, since the latter has been bidding for and winning awards for power plants being bid out by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM).
I mention this because while G1BO is certainly the most qualified Presidential candidate among the front runners, it might just happen that he is being set up to lose by GMA.
After the financial crisis of 2008 in the U.S., there has been the oft repeated rumor that the current powers that be lost a bundle and decided to enlist the services of a former Trade and Investment Minister during the Marcos time who was closely identified with Maurice Greenberg of AIG and spent his years of exile running Greenberg’s Asia operations out of Hong Kong together with another Marcos finance official who had a penchant for going on African safaris.
The former Minister is now supposed to be the beneficial owner of San Miguel Corporation, in addition to substantial holdings in Petron and Meralco, for his principals. It would appear that they are in a race with Manny Pangilinan of Metro/First Pacific in a bid to control businesses involving telecoms, infrastructure and utilities; all that generate huge profit margins on a cash basis.
This precipitated the decision of the sitting President to run for Congress in the second district of Pampanga in order to securitize the family investments but does not prevent her from holding other cards such as a “secret candidate” who is not so secret now and holding on to power for herself.
It also appears that the supposed majority owner of San Miguel has been betrayed by his supposed trusted lieutenant because the latter is now in the pocket of the Marcos era Trade Minister and this is the reason why the hand of the supposed majority owner of San Miguel are now tied when it comes to supporting whoever his candidate is because his reign at his beloved flagship, the crowning glory of his entrepreneurial life, has come to an abrupt end.
At the end of the day, it is really the Dona’s call for she holds ALL THE CARDS.
One must understand that this is BATANES — the island province where the Abads are the undisputed political kingpins. If Butch Abad (Noynoy Aquino’s campaign right-hand man) can let this happen in his very own back yard, I wouldn’t be surprised if Villar wins the election by a mile.
The most recent SWS Survey released this morning (taken Feb. 24-28; which was taken later than the Pulse Asia survey released last week), shows a statistical tie with Aquino 36%, Villar 34%, Estrada 15%, Teodoro 6%. Margin of Error is 2.5%.
Unlike earlier surveys used by both Pulse Asia and SWS, this new SWS survey employed a new method which is NOT verbally asking face-to-face questions BUT to hand out ballots with the names of the candidates and asking them to shade the circles corresponding to the name of the candidate for President that they will vote for. These ballots were filled up in private (without the survey representative looking over the shoulder of the survey subject).
SWS still counted the “spoiled ballots” (improperly shaded; marked ballots, etc.) for both Aquino and Villar but if “spoiled ballots” were not counted, SWS says that Aquino’s lead over Villar would have shrunk to a mere 0.1% !!! This does not bode well for Noynoy.
Aquino led among Classes A (Upper Class), B (Upper Middle), C (Middle), and D (Lower Middle). While Villar led big time among Class E (the masa which is the bulk of our populace).
If this is the case, then it could be true that:
“Si Villar ang tunay na mahirap.
si Villar ang tunay na may malasakit.
Si Villar ang may kakayahan
At gumawa ng sariling pangalan.
Si Manny Villar ang magtatapos
ng ating kahirapan.”
We had a big laugh yesterday at lunch when a rich distant cousin of mine related that her sisters and their families, along with other La Vista residents, had gone to the beautiful Batanes islands way up north last week for R & R…
A group of lively children had approached and offered to sing to them, for a few pesos of course. Thinking that the kiddies would sing a charming Ivatan ditty, they agreed.
The children sang:
“Si Villar ang tunay na mahirap,
Si Villar ang tunay na may malasakit,
Si Villar ang may kakayanan na gumawa ng sariling pangalan…”
“NALOKAH SILA!!!” my cousin laughed.
They were horrified. That Villar campaign jingle in faraway Batanes!!!
I had an absolutely wonderful, long lunch with a dear friend at her lovely art-strewn home in Forbes today and she told me about the astrological readings of a Chinese monk who is based in San Francisco, someone who has a good track record of predictions coming true.
The monk took a look at the birth dates of the presidential candidates and had this to say:
Noynoy Aquino: “He will run out of funding and thus lose steam during the campaign.”
Erap Estrada: “He has a huge following among the ordinary people. However, he will not have enough money to complete the campaign. But if the necessary funding was his he could easily win.”
Gibo Teodoro: “He has considerable funding. However, when he senses that the race will not be his he will stop spending.”
Manny Villar: “All the signs point to this man as he is the most fortunate among the candidates for this year, the Year of the Tiger. There is also a woman behind him who is bringing him luck and carrying him to victory. However, his luck will change.”
I nearly choked on the yummy pasta with cream and black truffles. 😛 😛 😛
Manila’s old rich families like the Aranetas, Roxases, Zaragozas, Ortolls, Briases, Infantes, Tuasons and Arroyos are brushing up on their French.
Reason: The auxiliary bishop of Paris, Eric Marie de Moulins d’Amieu de Beaufort, who has Filipino roots, is coming to Manila for a reunion.
The 48-year-old French bishop will hold a mass at the Araneta family chapel in Our Lady of Victory in Malabon on Feb. 25 in memory of his great-grandmother Doña Maria Vicenta Roxas y Elio, who married Count Charles Moulins d’Amieu de Beaufort.
The extended Filipino-French clan traces its roots from the union of Antonio Roxas and Lucina Arroyo of Manila’s Chinatown district of Binondo.
Philippine-based descendants who wish to attend the reunion are being asked to contact Angel Araneta del Rosario and Lina Araneta Santiago (for the Araneta clan), Cristina Tuason and Cuquita Matute Jordana (for the Tuasons and the Arroyos) and Javier Infante (for the Infante and Brias branches).
After Luisita massacre, more killings linked to protest
By STEPHANIE DYCHIU
Fourth of a series
The massacre did not put an end to the workers’ protest. Nor did it put an end to the violence.
After the wake for the victims, the picket lines were reestablished at various points around the hacienda. Soon after, however, eight people who supported the farmers’ cause or had evidence supporting their case were murdered one by one.
The killings began on the night of December 8, 2004, when Marcelino Beltran, a retired army officer turned peasant leader who was about to testify on bullet trajectories at the Senate and Congress on December 13 and 14, 2004, was assassinated in his house. Beltran’s 18-year-old son Mark said in a December 10, 2004 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer that his father stepped out of the house to see why the dog was barking. Mark said he heard his father call out “Who’s there?” but there was no answer. Seconds later, he heard gunshots.
Beltran was rushed to the hospital by family members in a tricycle, but he bled to death along the way. Beltran was home on the day he was killed spending his birthday in advance with his family, because he was set to join a march on December 10, Human Rights Day, the actual date of his birthday.
Noynoy escorts tagged in shooting
Less than a month later, on January 5, 2005, picketers George Loveland and Ernesto Ramos were shot at the west gate of Las Haciendas subdivision inside Hacienda Luisita, where they were manning a checkpoint. Both survived, but suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and stomach.
In his sworn testimony on January 12, 2005 at the Senate hearing on the shooting, Loveland said he recognized his assailants as plainclothes security men who were with then-Congressman Noynoy Aquino’s convoy when Aquino entered Las Haciendas subdivision three days before (January 2, 2005).
Something else Loveland said in his testimony seemed immaterial at that time, but is worth noting now in light of the SCTEx (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) issue hounding Senator Aquino.
Noynoy ‘s “superhighway”
Before entering Las Haciendas on January 2, 2005, Loveland said, Aquino alighted from his vehicle and addressed the picketers about a “superhighway”.
Loveland’s account of what Aquino said is in the transcript of the Senate hearing.
LOVELAND: Sinasabi niya po yung hinihingi daw po niyang pabor yung sa superhighway na hinihingi niya . . . (He was talking about a favor for the superhighway that he was asking for . . .)
SENATOR OSMEÑA: Ano tungkol sa superhighway (What about the superhighway)?
LOVELAND: Project niya daw po, sir . . . (He said it was his project . . . )
OSMEÑA: Ano ang hiningi ni Congressman Aquino (What did Congressman Aquino ask for)?
LOVELAND: Yung ipatupad, sir, yung kuwan expressway, sir (To let it happen, sir, the expressway, sir).
OSMEÑA: Yung galing sa Subic at Clark (The one from Subic and Clark)?
Long before the rest of the country had even heard of SCTex, the farm workers back then were protesting the construction of the Luisita interchange of the highway, and had even tried blocking it with their bodies. The construction led to the loss of a large tract of the hacienda’s land, which the farm workers were claiming, to non-agricultural use.
In his testimony, Loveland said one of the men who were with Aquino went up to him and said the picketers should agree to a settlement. He warned them to be careful, then entered the subdivision.
Three days later, Loveland said, the man and some companions figured in an altercation with the picketers and opened fire on them at the gate.
The January 5, 2005 Shooting at the West Gate of Las Haciendas Subdivision
On January 5, 2005 (or nearly two months after the Luisita massacre), some 20 picketers were manning the picket point at the west gate of Las Haciendas subdivision inside Hacienda Luisita.
According to Police Chief Superintendent Angelo Sunglao of the Tarlac City PNP, at about 10:40 pm, a Nissan Patrol drove up to the gate from inside the subdivision, and an altercation ensued between the picketers and the men on board the vehicle. Continue reading
Sen. Aquino declined through his staff to be interviewed. Questions sent to him about the above incident went unanswered. But GMANews.TV combed the web and newspaper archives for any statements he made about the incidents in this series of reports. His staff also emailed to GMANews.TV several statements of Sen. Aquino on other Luisita-related issues. These statements were included below and other parts of the series.
Noynoy denies link to SCTEx project
In November 2009, an investigation into the SCTEx project was launched in Congress by Aquino’s political rivals. Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla, an ally of Senator Manny Villar, accused Aquino of lobbying for the Luisita interchange of the SCTEx, saying the government paid Hacienda Luisita, Inc (HLI) an inflated amount of P83 million for the road right of way, and assumed the cost of building a P170-million interchange to connect the Central Techno Park inside his family’s hacienda to the SCTEx.
The SCTEX Issue
The 94-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) is presently the longest highway in the Philippines. It connects the Subic Bay Freeport, the Clark Freeport, and Tarlac City.
The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) was the government arm that oversaw the implementation of the project. According to the BCDA, 85% of the P27 billion cost to build the SCTEx was financed through funds borrowed by the government from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Continue reading
In a November 12, 2009 report of GMANews.TV, Aquino denied he had anything to do with the project. He attributed the reports linking him to the SCTEx issue to character assassination because he was leading surveys for the presidential elections.
Loveland’s statements about Aquino and the superhighway, however, were recorded five years ago, before anyone had an inkling Aquino would run for president.
City councilor murdered
On March 3, 2005, Councilor Abel Ladera, the man who led the mourners’ procession during the wake for the massacre victims, was killed in broad daylight by a sniper bullet to the chest while buying spare parts at an auto shop.
Ladera was a former sugar mill worker who grew up in one of the barangays of Hacienda Luisita. He became an engineer, then a city councilor. Ladera was at the forefront of the fight against land conversion.
He was also scheduled to make a presentation on March 8, 2005 to an assembly of barangay captains to disprove the claim of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the violent dispersal on November 16, 2004 occurred because shots were fired from the ranks of the strikers.
The day before he was killed, March 2, 2005, Ladera accessed critical documents regarding Luisita’s Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and Land Use Conversion Plan from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The documents were sealed from the public, but Ladera was able to access them because he was a government official.
In its March 4, 2005 report on the shooting of Ladera, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said Ladera told the paper in an interview a few days before he was killed that resolving the conflict in Hacienda Luisita was going to take time because management did not want to settle matters. The Inquirer reported that Ladera, who was supporting the hacienda’s two labor unions, had earlier sponsored resolutions in the Tarlac city council calling for a congressional review of Luisita’s SDO and other issues.
Rep. Noynoy Aquino denounced Ladera’s murder in the report, saying, “Although he was a leftist, he was willing to talk. He shouldn’t have been killed. Even though we had differences, he believed in dialogue rather than in taking up arms to achieve their goals.”
The murder of Abel Ladera
Tarlac City Councilor Abel Ladera, who was murdered on March 3, 2005, was a former sugar mill worker who grew up in one of the barangays of Hacienda Luisita. He became an engineer, then a city councilor.
Because of his background, Ladera was very active in issues involving human rights and labor and employment. He played a key role in negotiations between the management of Hacienda Luisita and the two unions, ULWU (United Luisita Workers’ Union) and CATLU (Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union). Ladera was also at the forefront of the fight against land conversion. Continue reading
Priest and peasant leaders shot dead
On March 13, 2005, Father William Tadena, an Aglipayan priest who had mobilized his parish to regularly donate rice and groceries to the workers at the picket line before saying a weekly mass for them, was shot dead in his owner-type jeep on the provincial highway in La Paz, Tarlac while on his way to his next mass.
On March 17, 2005, “Tatang” Ben Concepcion, a 67-year-old peasant leader of party-list group Anakpawis in Pampanga, who supported the strikers in Luisita despite his old age and lung and heart ailments, was shot dead in his daughter’s house in Angeles City (40 minutes from Tarlac City). He had just been released from the hospital and was recuperating in his daughter’s house.
On October 15, 2005, Flor Collantes, the secretary general of party-list group Bayan Muna in Tarlac, was killed while cleaning fish in his carinderia.
Union president killed
On October 25, 2005, Ric Ramos, the president of the union of the sugar mill workers (Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union or CATLU), was killed by an M-14 sniper bullet in his hut where he was celebrating with some companions.
Hours before he was killed, Ramos finished distributing cash benefits to the sugar mill workers after he successfully got the sheriff to confiscate sugar from management a few days before, says Lito Bais, current acting president of the union of the farm workers (United Luisita Workers Union or ULWU). According to Bais, management had been claiming it had no money to pay wages and benefits due to the workers.
“Pumunta si Ric Ramos sa DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment), pina-sheriff niya ang bodega ng mga Cojuangco kung may mga asukal pa. Nakita puno ng asukal. Nagkasundo na ibebenta ng DOLE ang asukal, pagkatpos ibibigay ang pera sa mga manggagawa (Ric Ramos went to the Department of Labor. He asked the sheriff to inspect the warehouse of the Cojuangcos. It was full of sugar. An agreement was made for the Department of Labor to sell the sugar, with the proceeds to be given to the workers).”
After the sugar was sold, management tried to take charge of the distribution of the proceeds, says Bais. “Ang sabi ng mga Cojuangco, ‘andito ang payroll, dito na natin ipapamahagi ang pera ng mga manggagawa. Yung mga may utang sa amin, ipe-payroll deduction namin’ (The Cojuangcos said, ‘The payroll is here. We should give out the workers’ money here. We have to make payroll deductions for workers who have loans’).
But, Bais says, Ramos refused. “Sabi ng DOLE, ’Bigay niyo sa amin ang payroll, kami ang bahala. Kami ang gumawa ng paraan, kami ang gumawa ng pera, kami ang kailangan mangasiwa’ (The Department of Labor said, ‘Give us the payroll, we’ll take care of it. We were the ones who found a way, we made the money, so we should be the ones to administer’).”
It was agreed that the distribution of wages and benefits would be done at the barangay hall of Mapalacsiao, one of the villages inside Hacienda Luisita where Ramos was the barangay captain. “October 25 yun, masaya ang mga manggagawa ng sentral dahil natanggap nila ang benepisyo nila (That was October 25. The workers of the sugar central were happy because they got their benefits),” says Bais.
Ramos then held a small thanksgiving celebration. “Meron siyang kubo na ganito kataas. May lamesa sa gitna, nag-iinuman sila (He had a small hut that was about this high. There was a table in the middle, they were drinking),” says Bais. “October 25, mga 8 pm o 9 pm, binaril si Ramos ng sniper doon sa kubo nila. Makikita mo ang pinagdaanan ng M-14. Tamang-tama sa ulo niya. Kaya sumabog ang utak niya sa bubong niya (October 25, between 8 pm and 9 pm, Ramos was shot by a sniper in his hut. You could see the path of the M-14 bullet. It was aimed squarely at his head. That’s why his brain splattered all over his roof).”
Another version of the story
On October 27, 2005, two days after the murder of Ramos, Rep. Noynoy Aquino’s statement was reported in the Philippine Star: “I am shocked. My mother even more so. Ricardo Ramos has always treated me fairly, even at the height of the Luisita problem. The timing was also shocking, at a time when an agreement had been reached with two unions of the hacienda. In fact, Ramos was at a celebration when he was killed. It had been close to two years since the strike, and he was celebrating the end of a problem.” In the same report, the PNP said leftists were suspected of killing Ramos because he was cooperating with management. Continue reading
Luisita killings in impeachment complaint
The murders of Marcelino Beltran, Abel Ladera, Father William Tadena, Ben Concepcion, Flor Collantes, and Ric Ramos, as well as the shooting of George Loveland and Ernesto Ramos “by unidentified bodyguards of Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino”, were part of the list of human rights violations described in the impeachment complaint filed against President Gloria Arroyo in Congress in October 2008. In the complaint, Arroyo was accused of turning a blind eye to the Hacienda Luisita killings “in collusion with the hacienda owners”. (Arroyo and the Cojuangco-Aquinos were close allies until the latter half of 2005.)
“The Cojuangco-Aquino family, in conspiracy with the military, the police, the paramilitary groups such as the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU), and other hired agents/gunmen, has continued to harass, threaten and violate the rights of the hacienda people,” the impeachment complaint stated.
“Hello Garci” and Luisita
The year 2005 was a crucial turning point in the farm workers’ struggle in Luisita, and once again demonstrated the transcendental link between the hacienda and Malacañang that has been manifesting since the time of President Ramon Magsaysay.
Under pressure from public outrage over the November 2004 massacre, the Arroyo administration, through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), formed Task Force Stock Distribution on November 25, 2004 to study the causes of the workers’ strike. The Task Force was later renamed Task Force Luisita. In March 2005, teams were sent by the DAR to Luisita’s 10 barangays to investigate the SDO.
Three months later, while the investigation was ongoing, “Hello Garci” hit the country—and possibly turned the tide in Luisita.
Cory and Noynoy defend Gloria
In early June 2005, tapes of wiretapped phone conversations between President Gloria Arroyo and Comelec (Commission on Elections) official Virgilio Garcillano surfaced. This led to accusations that Arroyo cheated during the 2004 presidential elections, and a clamor rose up for her to resign.
The late former President Cory Aquino and son Noynoy initially defended Arroyo.
Even after Arroyo delivered her famous “I am sorry” speech on TV on June 27, 2005, which the public took as an admission of guilt, and which prompted Susan Roces, widow of Arroyo’s 2004 election opponent Fernando Poe, Jr., to deliver her own famous “not once, but twice” speech, Mrs. Aquino defended Arroyo, saying: “I am glad the President has broken her silence. Her admission of judgment lapses leading to improper conduct on her part is a truly welcome development. Tonight the President has made a strong beginning and I hope she will continue in the direction of better and more responsive governance. Let us pray for her and for all of us Filipinos.”
Rep. Noynoy Aquino, for his part, said in a June 29, 2005 report of the Philippine Star that President Arroyo should be commended for admitting her mistake. He said her televised apology was “a good start” for her administration.
Two days later, on July 1, 2005, the Philippine Star reported, “Cory went on TV yesterday and… warned against using extra-constitutional means to oust President Arroyo.” The article quoted Mrs. Aquino as saying she had gone to see Susan Roces to congratulate her on “the passion of her speech and the sincerity of her convictions”, but also to stress that she would always stand by the Constitution.
Noynoy votes against playing Garci tapes
At the fifth Congressional hearing on the Garci issue on June 30, 2005, three days after Arroyo’s televised “I am sorry” speech, Rep. Noynoy Aquino voted against playing the “Hello Garci” tapes.
“Tarlac Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III disappointed his colleagues in the House when he voted on Thursday night against the playing of the audio tape, although an overwhelming majority had voted yes,” reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 2, 2005.
“(Aquino’s actions) are no less than political payback” because President Arroyo was the “most powerful and influential patron” of the Cojuangco-Aquinos in the Hacienda Luisita dispute, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said in the July 2, 2005 Inquirer report. Mariano said Arroyo knew what really happened during the Luisita massacre, and that was why Rep. Noynoy Aquino played “guardian angel” to Arroyo.
(Arroyo, whose candidacy in the 2004 presidential elections was supported by Noynoy and Kris Aquino, and who originally ascended to the presidency in 2001 after Cory Aquino and various groups led the campaign to oust President Joseph Estrada from office in EDSA 2, was suspected of aiding the Cojuangco-Aquinos during the November 2004 strike in Hacienda Luisita because of the involvement of the military in the dispersal and the Assumption of Jurisdiction that was declared by the Department of Labor.)
Unfazed by the criticism, both Noynoy and Cory Aquino continued to stand by Arroyo.
Cory and Noynoy drop Gloria
But on July 8, 2005, just a little over a week after Rep. Noynoy Aquino voted not to play the Garci tapes and Mrs. Aquino lauded Arroyo for her “I am sorry” speech before admonishing Susan Roces, the Aquinos dropped their support for Arroyo.
“I ask the President to spare our country and herself . . . and make the supreme sacrifice of resigning,” Mrs. Aquino said in statement issued to the press.
The day before she gave this statement, Mrs. Aquino met with President Arroyo in Malacañang. There were rumors of a shouting match, which Mrs. Aquino denied. “Yes, we met last Thursday, but there was no shouting,” she said in a July 12, 2005 report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We just kissed each other goodbye.”
From then on, she and son Noynoy actively joined the calls for Arroyo to either resign or be impeached, and to this day the scorching rift between the Aquinos and Arroyos continues to rage.
Luisita—the reason behind Aquino-Arroyo rift?
Luisita farm workers that GMANews.TV spoke to believe the Aquinos’ abrupt withdrawal of support for Arroyo had something to do with the hacienda.
The Aquinos broke ties with Arroyo in July 2005, the same month the DAR’s Task Force Luisita submitted the findings and recommendations of its investigation. This formed the basis for the government’s decision a few months later to revoke Luisita’s Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and order the distribution of the hacienda’s land to the farmers.
The farm workers believe widespread condemnation of the involvement of the military in the massacre pressured the Arroyo government into taking action to absolve itself, causing the breakdown of its ties with the Cojuangco-Aquinos. The original petition the farm workers submitted (mentioned in Part 2 of this series) lay dormant at the DAR since it was filed in December 2003, but began to move after the November 2004 massacre.
By August 2005, a special legal team was formed by the DAR to review the report submitted by Task Force Luisita in July 2005. On September 23, 2005, the special legal team submitted its terminal report recommending the revocation of Luisita’s SDO agreement.
(It was reported in part one of this series that the Stock Distribution Option was included in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law enacted during the Aquino administration. That crucial provision enabled landowners like the Cojuangcos to give farmers shares of stock instead of land.)
On October 1, 2005, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Mrs. Aquino’s reaction to the allegations that she only wanted Arroyo to resign because of the hacienda. “To underscore the point that Cory Aquino should start behaving in a politically correct manner,” Mrs. Aquino told a gathering of teachers and students at Miriam College, “the Hacienda Luisita [issue] was resurrected, a familiar refrain from the years of the Marcos dictatorship.” She added, “If Luisita were the reason, then shouldn’t I have made sipsip or at the very least kept quiet?”
Cojuangcos suffering from “withdrawal syndrome”—Miriam
A few days later, Senator Miriam Santiago, Aquino’s former DAR Secretary in 1989, the year the SDO was implemented on Hacienda Luisita, reinforced the belief that the hacienda was a major motivating factor in the Aquinos’ moves to unseat President Arroyo .
“The Cojuangcos are suffering from acute withdrawal syndrome over the hacienda,” Santiago said in an October 3, 2005 report of the Philippine Star.
The report said “Santiago, for her part, recalled that in 1957, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. purchased Hacienda Luisita with money partially borrowed from the Central Bank of the Philippines Monetary Board and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) on the condition that the land would be distributed to small farmers.”
In 1985, Santiago said in the report, the Manila regional trial court (under President Marcos) ordered the Cojuangcos to sell the land to DAR for distribution to farmers. The Cojuangcos elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. Then Congress (under President Aquino) passed the agrarian reform law that allowed the SDO option in lieu of actual land distribution.
“For heaven’s sake, give it up and store up treasures in heaven,” was Santiago’s concluding advice.
DAR orders Luisita SDO revoked
On December 23, 2005, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) formally ordered Luisita’s SDO revoked, and its lands put under compulsory acquisition.
Outside the hacienda, PARC’s order was seen as reprisal for the Aquinos’ call for President Arroyo to resign. Inside the hacienda, however, it was seen as justice served. Accustomed to political horse-trading deciding their fate, the farm workers rejoiced.
But the Cojuangco family would not give up the land without a fight. A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was obtained from the Supreme Court by June 2006 preventing PARC from revoking the SDO and distributing Hacienda Luisita’s land. This TRO has been in force for more than three years now.
Meanwhile, another union leader was killed on March 17, 2006. Tirso Cruz, one of the directors of ULWU, was walking home with his father and two brothers past midnight after attending a pasyon at a friend’s house when two men on motorcycles intercepted them and shot Cruz six times at close range.
In a report carried by the Philippine Star the next day, March 18, 2006, Cruz’s brother Ernesto said the gunmen, whose faces were covered with bandanas, made sure his brother was dead by shooting him one additional time after he already lay lifeless on the ground. In the same report, the Central Luzon chairman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, which Cruz was a member of, said that Cruz had been leading protest actions against the construction of the Luisita tollway of the SCTEx and the withdrawal of the military from the hacienda’s 10 barangays.
On October 3, 2006, Father Alberto Ramento, the Supreme Bishop of the Aglipayan church who took up the cause of the slain Father Tadena by tending to Luisita’s farm workers, was stabbed to death while asleep in the rectory of his church. The killing looked like a robbery, but persons close to Ramento believe it was related to Luisita.
By the end of 2007, the construction of the SCTEx was complete. The Subic-Clark segment was formally opened to the public in April 2008, cutting travel time from Subic to Clark to just 40 minutes. The Clark-Tarlac segment was opened in July 2008, enabling travel from Clark to Luisita in just 25 minutes.
– With additional reporting by Howie Severino, GMANews.TV
Within the seven days between February 2 to February 9, 2010, a number of positions regarding land distribution in Hacienda Luisita were communicated to the press by the staff of Senator Noynoy Aquino.
On February 2, 2010, Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros, a party-mate and guest senatorial candidate of Senator Aquino, said in a press conference that “Senator Noynoy is on record here that if he becomes president, he would implement CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extensions and Revisions).”
“I believe the issue in Hacienda Luisita is one big, important and valid agrarian issue,” Hontiveros said. She added that she already told the lawyers of Hacienda Luisita in a congressional hearing that the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was no longer allowed under the new land reform law CARPER. CARPER was signed into law on August 7, 2009.
Hontiveros also said that the Hacienda Luisita massacre should be treated as a human rights issue. She emphasized that the victims of both the 2004 Luisita massacre and the 1987 Mendiola massacre had yet to receive justice.
Senator Noynoy Aquino, on the other hand, said on February 5, 2010 in Davao City that the Hacienda Luisita issue could not be resolved easily even if he became president.
He cited Luisita’s status as a private corporation as the reason why the government could not intervene.
(The corporation Hacienda Luisita, Inc was created as a result of the SDO clause that was inserted in the 1989 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law during the term of Aquino’s mother, the late former President Cory Aquino.)
“Maybe I can sponsor a dialogue. But at the end of the day, [a solution to the problem] cannot be dictated upon by any government officer,” Aquino said.
However, on February 9, 2010, Aquino modified his stance and said at the kickoff of his election campaign in Concepcion, Tarlac that he would ensure Hacienda Luisita would be distributed to farmers by June 2014.
On this occasion, he cited bank mortgages, not HLI’s status as a private corporation, as the prime reason why the land could not be distributed.
“Ang problema lang po kung paano ililipat nang wala na pong utang doon sa aming mga kasamahan doon (The only problem is how we will distribute the land without the debts that have been incurred),” Aquino said.
“Ang kalaban ng mga magsasaka, hindi si Noynoy at yung kanyang pamilya, [kundi] ang mga bangko dahil ang lupain ay nakasanla sa mga bangko (The enemies of the farmers are not Noynoy or his family, but the banks because the land is mortgaged to banks),” added Aquino’s running mate, Senator Mar Roxas.
The farmers liable for debt?
To illustrate how HLI’s debt complicates land distribution in Hacienda Luisita, it is worth revisiting the mortgages that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) discovered after it recommended the revocation of Luisita’s Stock Distribution Option (SDO) in 2005.
On October 4, 2005, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that HLI spokesperson Vigor Mendoza confirmed rumors that certain portions of the hacienda technically belonged to banks because they were mortgaged by management when losses were suffered by the company.
Romeo Capulong, one of the lawyers of Luisita’s farm workers, said that the farm workers were unaware of these loans and did not benefit from them, therefore it was unfair to force them to assume the burden of these liabilities.
“Let it be the personal obligation of those who benefited from the loans,” Capulong said, referring to the Cojuangco-led management of HLI.
Capulong urged the DAR to ask HLI management to give a full accounting of all operations from 1989 to 2005 and stop all further transactions involving the sale, joint venture, lease, or mortgage of the disputed hacienda’s land.
Because of the mortgages, the banks became additional claimants to portions of Hacienda Luisita. Titles for certain parcels were transferred to banks through dacion en pago when some loans could no longer be paid.
The June 2014 date for land distribution mentioned by Aquino is significant because CARPER states that final land distribution should be completed by June 30, 2014. Once CARPER’s five-year term expires in 2014, land distribution to farmers will become more difficult if not impossible to enforce. The farmers, therefore, are in a race against time to have land distributed as soon as possible before June 2014.
(At the third and final reading of the CARPER bill at the Senate on June 1, 2009, Senator Noynoy Aquino was one of only two senators who abstained from voting to extend the land reform law for another five years. The other senators all voted to extend the law.)
In reaction to Senator Aquino’s vow to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farmers by 2014, Danilo Ramos, secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said in a statement, “Why wait for 2014 when they can relinquish their immoral and unlawful control of Hacienda Luisita any time today, tomorrow, or next week? We will not buy this gimmick. He is politically hurt by issues raised against him on the hacienda, and he just issued this eyebrow-raising, jaw-dropping statement to stop the falling trend in his ratings at the electoral box-office.”
Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said Senator Noynoy Aquino’s mother, former President Cory Aquino, made a similar promise to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farmers when she was campaigning for president in January 1986, but those promises were not fulfilled. Mariano said that if the Cojuangco-Aquino family was sincere about distributing the hacienda to farmers, they should immediately withdraw the petition they filed at the Supreme Court in 2006 that prevented the Department of Agrarian Reform from implementing the order to revoke Luisita’s SDO and distribute land to farmers.
That was an amusing analogy on nicknames, Ipe. Thanks. I enjoyed it greatly. Dick has another unclean and prickly connotation. I wonder why I picture jello when I hear Jamby. Manny easily rhymes with money when you hear it from many Filipinos (aani ba siya ng money o magmumukha syang money?). Erap dangerously rhymes with corrupt. And then Noynoy as in: “Totoy batotoy, o bakit laging lupaypay si Noynoy?”. I suppose there is a growing Gibido (propensity to favor Gibo) among Toto’s posters. Carry on intellectuals. We need to enlighten the masses.
One of the catchiest nicknames of a Presidential candidate is “Gibo”. When one sees those 4 Letters on a poster, on a bus, or on a billboard, one immediately associates it with Gilbert C. Tedoro. “Gibo” just sounds so macho. It’s a nickname which exudes power.
Other Presidentiables should follow suit. Noynoy sounds so negative (it reminds me of the word “no”; it also reminds me of the word “ab-noy”). Manny sounds so plain and regular. Dick reminds me of “Tricky Dick” Nixon. Erap reminds me of someone with an insatiable appetite for women and wine.
Maria Ana Consuelo A. S. Madrigal-Valade lists her nickname as “Jamby”. It sounds like the name of a cartoon chracter. There is, however, no truth to the rumor that she is following Teodoro by changing her nickname to “Tibo”…
The good name of Aquino will only carry him so far. U can’t fix or shore up such a namby-pamby personality. If it ain’t there; it ain’t there. Plus, he is so media un-telegenic…and that might spell the margin of victory or defeat.
So if Villar is painted as the ‘secret’ GMA boy, then that frees Gibo of the onus…so his stock will rise.
Villar denies secret meeting with First Gentleman, GMA
HACIENDA LUISITA, Tarlac City , Philippines – Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. yesterday vehemently denied text messages alleging that he met with First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo or President Arroyo in a secret meeting in a bid to ally himself with the administration.
“I have never seen nor met with the First Gentleman and President Arroyo since I was ousted as Senate President. There are even reports that I met them in a side trip in Syria, but I have never been in the country,” said Villar in an interview prior to his speech at the 9th National Convention of the Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Inc. (PGBI), where he was introduced by its Grand Supremo, Sen. Gregorio Honasan.
Text messages circulated yesterday alleging that Villar struck an agreement with Mr. Arroyo to make the President, who is running for a congressional seat in Pampanga, Speaker, supposedly in exchange for poll fraud operations in the coming May elections.
The Nacionalista Party (NP) described the proliferation of the text messages as desperate moves from the camp of his main rival, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
NP senatorial candidate and spokesman Rep. Gilbert Remulla turned the tables on the Liberal Party (LP), saying the opposing party has pushed the panic button after Villar tied Aquino in the latest poll surveys.
“The Liberal Party is too desperate. We know that they were responsible for the proliferation of the text messages. We have our inside information that this came from their special operations team. There is absolutely no truth to it,” Remulla said.
The NP complained of the “text blast” coming from anonymous sources which claimed that the First Gentleman met with Villar at the house of former Rep. Mike Defensor last Jan. 7 to talk about an alliance between Villar and the administration.
Remulla denied the meeting, saying that the NP standard bearer and Mr. Arroyo have not been on good terms since the Senate consented to the investigation of the fertilizer scam and the national broadband network (NBN) deal with ZTE Corp. of China.
“ How could MBV (Villar) have a meeting with FG? First of all, they are not on speaking terms because they have grudge towards each other. Second, Mike Defensor arrived on Jan. 8 from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There is really no truth to their accusations, they just want to smear the name of the good senator,” Remulla said.
He said the NP received information that the LP has resorted to dirty tactics as it has created a special operations team for purposes of disseminating nasty text messages.
Remulla said the LP’s campaign of good versus evil has waned, that is why they are shifting to another strategy, linking Villar to the Arroyo administration, in a bid to bring down the NP standard bearer’s ratings.
Villar’s presidential bid got a boost from the 2.5-million strong PGBI after Honasan’s endorsement.
Speaking before a crowd of about 5,000 members from all over the country, Honasan introduced Villar as a son of the masses that sympathizes with the Guardians.
The PGBI endorsement made clear the ties that bind between Villar and Honasan, who supported Villar in the recent controversy at the Senate in connection with the C5 Road extension controversy
“Now the cat’s out of the bag..
Manny Villar is the secret candidate of Pres. GMA..
Mike Arroyo himself met with Manny Villar
at the house of Mike Defensor last jan. 7..
Villar secretly agreed to make GMA as
Speaker of the House and protect her
should Villar win the presidency..
Villar agreed to GMA’s offer of
massive logistical support
in GMA’s commissioners in the comelec
who will assure villar’s victory…
pls pass para di tayo maloko ulit.”
Top 10 Messages Left on Senator Noynoy Aquino’s Answering Machine After the Release of the Latest Pulse Asia Survey
No. 10: “Hi Noy. Korina here. Have you heard the news? Mar has been pulling away in the vice presidential surveys. I’m so very happy for my husband. Are you?”
No. 9: “Senator, this is Mayen Austria. Alam ko pong may problema kayo ngayon sa survey ratings n’yo, pero wala na po talaga akong mapagsabihan ng problema ko sa aking boyfriend eh. Nagpalit na kasi ng number si James.”
No. 8: “Noynoy, si Jamby ‘to. I’ve done every possible thing against that corrupt and evil candidate of the Nacionalista Party. Tell me, saan ako nagkulang? Kailangan ko bang mag bestida para lang mapansin ako”
No. 7: “Mr. Senator, this is the SWS. Quiapo pala huh. Ayan ang napala mo!”
No. 6: “Hi Noy. Si Korina ulit ‘to. Nasabi ko na ba sa ‘yo na ang taas-taas ng rating ngayon ni Mar? Boom-boom pow! Boom-boom pow!”
No. 5: “Noy, this is Mar! Pagpasensyahan mo na si misis. Mukhang may sapi na naman eh. Intindihin mo na lang. At huwag kang mag-alala, hindi kita pababayaan. Magsasama tayo. Lalaban tayo.”
No. 4: “Hi Noy, sa campaign headquarters ‘to ni Senator Villar. Guys, sabay-sabay… “Si Villar ang tunay na mahirap. Si Villar ang tunay na may malasakit. Si Villar ang may kakayahan at gumawa ng sariling pangalan…”
No. 3: “Hello Noy, this is Conrado De Quiros of the Inquirer. Your candidacy will deliver us back to the beginning of things, or thrust us back to the time where myth and history meet or the place where life and legend intersect. The time or place of the great fight between Good and Evil: Between Cory and Marcos, between Obama and Bush, between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Eye of Mordor, between Luke Skywalker and the Evil Empire. Use the Force, Noy.”
No. 2: “Senator Aquino, hindi na mahalaga kung sino man kami. Basta, sa palasyo ‘to at naka-tap ang phone mo. Pakisabi nga dyan kay Conrado De Quiros na ang O.A. niya huh!
And the No. 1 message left on Senator Noynoy Aquino’s answering machine after the release of the latest Pulse Asia survey:
“’Noy, don’t worry OK? Next week, susugurin ko ulit si Mayen, pero sasampalin ko na siya para mas pag-usapan ako. ‘Tapos, makikipaghiwalay ulit ako kay James, hindi lang two days but five. Pero help me naman with Ate Ballsy para may malipatan ako pansamantala. Nahihiya na ‘kong makitira kay Ate Pinky eh. ‘Tsaka… wait lang huh….. teka, ‘tawag ako ulit…. Gosh, Josh, ano baaaa! Ilang beses ko ba sasabihin sa ‘yo! Huwag mong sakyan si Baby James!”
There are some pushing the Noy-Mar campaign among Filipinos around Washington, DC, but I do not know if it has real clout. Loida Nicolas-Lewis is avidly in that wagon although her base is in New York and she definitely can afford to feed cash into the machinery. Somehow their magnets do not work on me – perhaps Noy-noy’s body language and senate record could have been more convincing.
A friend belonging to the press corps tells me revelations about the Aquinos will surface that may weaken the polisterics (political mass hysteria) around the Aquino charm, which I think is the sole force impelling Noy-noy to run. It’s a pity that Mar buckled to that force. Many people were already having faith in him. What we hear now is that Villar is gaining grounds and that is why he is being tarnished with accusations. There are some people here who have not heard or recognize Villar. My friend also warned me not to believe the polls since they can be bought in the Philippines, where even press releases are concealed as news when in fact are crafty propaganda. I thank Enrique for sharing with us credible reports.
On this side of the globe, many believe Erap should not run again. I personally am enthusiastic about Gilbert C. Teodoro Jr. despite his perceived association with PGMA. I trust that he will be loyal to the voters than to one who is about to meet her Karmageddon. Too bad I missed Gibo’s presence here last September. I probably would have been charmed earlier.
The Comelec should not allow extension of voter registration to OFWs. If we are sincere about our voting rights, we should be attentive to deadlines. It’s about time we end the manana habit.
Ipe, no…I have nothing vs. people posting in Pilipino here. It’s just…me…finding it strange after all these years…especially writing it out CORRECTLY. It is such a heavily syllabicated (if there is such a word) written tongue. Gave me a chance to stretch my long under-used Pilipino procliviites.
(BTW, I mean to say “nakalupay-pay…” instead of “nakafalay-fay…” See what I mean? It is such a paradox that one of the more cumbersome written languages extant belongs to probably the most proficient ‘texting’ societies today…therefore will it eventually die out from non-use while the more EXPEDIENT, abbreviated Taglish will flourish and endure? Try texting “naghihirap ang mga maginginhawang katarungan at ka…blah-blah…” in record time!! 🙂
I betcha they didn’t teach “TEXTING IN TAGALOG 101” at Ateneo, Assumption, De La Salle, AIM, IS, Poveda, Miriam, Xavier, Ste. Ishko, etc… 🙂 🙂
Just read this from The Professional Heckler Blog:
Ika nga ni Zenaida Seva, “Hindi hawak ng mga bituin ang ating kapalaran. Gabay lamang sila. Meron tayong free will, gamitin natin ito.”
Ang nababasa sa bituin para sa mga Presidentiables:…
April 26, 1958 Taurus:
Kung may mga sanggol na ipinaglihi sa hilaw na mangga, maasim na siniguelas, o hinog na duhat, naniniwala ang mga bituin na ikaw naman ay ipinaglihi sa sama ng loob. Tila malaki ang kinikimkim mong galit sa pulitiko man o sa mga kamag-anak mo. Isa kang ‘bully’ sa iyong past life.
Ang payo ng mga bituin: CHILLl!!! Baka dumating ang araw na maubusan ka ng maaaway at ibaling mo ang iyong galit sa iyong sarili. Sa pag-ibig, walang gaanong pagbabagong nakikita ang mga bituin.
Masyadong maulap ang aspetong romantiko ng iyong buhay. Sa pulitika, sinabi mo last week na hindi ka naniniwala sa mga surveys. ‘Wag kang mag-alala. Hindi rin naniniwala ang mga survey sa ‘yo! Quits lang pare.
How a workers’ strike became the Luisita Massacre
By STEPHANIE DYCHIU
Third of five parts on the history of Hacienda Luisita, a burning issue facing frontrunner Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s campaign for the presidency.
“It is an illegal strike, no strike vote was called,” then-Tarlac Congressman Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said in a speech at the House of Representatives to defend the dispersal of strikers at his family’s plantation, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on November 17, 2004.
The day before, the dispersal at Hacienda Luisita left at least seven people dead and 121 injured, 32 from gunshot wounds. In his speech, Aquino condemned the violence but defended the dispersal, saying the police and soldiers were “subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.”
Luisita, ‘the symbol of the failure of EDSA’
Five days later, Aquino was flogged by Inquirer columnist Conrado De Quiros.
“At the very most, workers have a right to strike. One would imagine congressmen would know that,” De Quiros wrote in his November 22, 2004 column. “A strike is neither illegal nor immoral, it is sanctioned by the Constitution and enshrined in the tradition of the workers’ movement. Only Lucio Tan and now Ninoy’s namesake think it is not.”
De Quiros further wrote: “Noynoy Aquino says leftists goaded the workers . . . to strike. Well, so what? . . . They could not have succeeded if the workers were not ripe for the goading . . . If leftists had not goaded workers, farmers, students, and other sectors to mount national strikes, or ‘welgang bayan’, during Martial Law, the Aquinos would not be there.”
De Quiros also wrote: “The life of Ninoy is not more important than the lives of the workers who died in the blaze of gunfire . . . Hacienda Luisita will always be the symbol of the failure of EDSA to move the country from tyranny to democracy . . . As in the days of the feudal manor, serfs are owned by their landlords body and soul. They can be told to do anything, including to agree to ‘stock option’.”
Finally: “Ninoy Aquino might have been talking of today when he said: ‘Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy’. Here is a land of privilege and rank—a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste’.”
“If that ain’t broke, what is?” De Quiros concluded.
Five years later, De Quiros was handpicked by the Aquinos to speak at their mother Cory’s funeral.
Exactly one week later, (August 10, 2009), his column carried the headline “Noynoy for president”.
“Noynoy running for president will deliver us back to . . . the time or place of the great fight between Good and Evil,” De Quiros proclaimed. “Between Cory and Marcos, between Obama and Bush, between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Eye of Mordor, between Luke Skywalker and the Evil Empire. Use the Force, Noy.”
Exactly 40 days after his mother’s burial, Aquino “used the Force”and announced he was running for President.
Part Three of this special report begins in November 2004, the month of the Luisita massacre.
The tension began when management retrenched 327 farm workers, including union officers.
On November 6, 2004, the union of the farm workers (United Luisita Workers Union or ULWU) launched a picket and blocked Gate 1 of the sugar mill.
Part 1: Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future
The issues surrounding Hacienda Luisita are being seen as the first real test of character of presidential hopeful Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino, whose family has owned the land since 1958. Our research shows that the problem began when government lenders obliged the Cojuangcos to distribute the land to small farmers by 1967, a deadline that came and went.
Part 2: Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will
There is a haunting resemblance between Senator Aquino’s “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa” music video and a real-life torchlit march of Hacienda Luisita’s workers days before the November 16, 2004 massacre. What could be worth all the blood that has been spilled?
They were joined by the union of the sugar mill workers (Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union or CATLU), who were in a deadlock in their own wage negotiations. The sugar mill workers blocked Gate 2 of the sugar mill.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) were called in, but were unable to disperse the strikers with tear gas, truncheons, and water cannons.
Almost all 5,000 members of ULWU and 700 members of CATLU joined the November 6 strike, while 80 CATLU members chose to continue working, according to a statement delivered under oath by Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo of the Health Alliance for Democracy at the February 3, 2005 Senate hearing on the Luisita massacre.
Araullo’s group conducted their own medical examination and investigation because of fears of a government whitewash. (Araullo is also the chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN.)
Was it legal for the police to intervene in the strike?
The strike of the farm workers’ union (United Luisita Workers’ Union or ULWU) on November 6, 2004 at Gate 1 of the sugar mill was not covered by the assumption of jurisdiction of the Labor secretary. The case was with the National Labor Relations Commission, according to the statement of Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo of the Health Alliance for Democracy at the February 3, 2005 Senate hearing on the Luisita massacre. Continue reading…
Did Gloria help the Aquinos?
On November 10, 2004, four days after the strike started, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction. Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas announced that quelling the strike was a matter of national interest because Luisita was one of the country’s major sugar producers. The Assumption of Jurisdiction legally cleared the way to use government troops to stop the strike. The picketers were ordered to vacate within five days, or else be removed by force.
Under normal conditions, the Labor Code protects the right of workers—even those who have been retrenched—to demonstrate against their employers. Police are not allowed to break up non-violent pickets, and the military cannot be used like a security agency to solve the problems of private businessmen.
The Assumption of Jurisdiction, however, is like a declaration of Martial Law in a labor dispute. It strips workers of their right to demonstrate, and authorizes the use of law enforcement agencies. The Assumption of Jurisdiction is allowed by the Labor Code only if a strike jeopardizes national interest.
The strikers in Luisita grumbled that management was able to get the DOLE to declare an Assumption of Jurisdiction because it had a direct line to Malacañang through former President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, whose children Kris and Noynoy supported President Gloria Arroyo in the presidential elections just six months before (May 2004). The Aquinos and their followers also helped put Arroyo in power after ousting President Joseph Estrada in 2001.
Was Luisita’s sugar mill indispensable to the national interest?
Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction over the Luisita dispute on November 10, 2004. Sto. Tomas said quelling the strike was a matter of national interest because Luisita was one of the country’s major sugar producers. This paved the way for sending government troops to stop the strike. Continue reading…
The strikers stayed put, determined to make management come out and negotiate.
EDSA meets Mendiola
To protect themselves from the forthcoming forcible removal, the workers called on the people in the barrios around Luisita to form a human barrier at the picket line, says Lito Bais, current acting president of ULWU. In an eerie EDSA-meets-Mendiola spectacle, the villagers came, including priests, barangay officials, and children whose families sympathized with the workers. Concerned groups from out of town also sent contingents to help protect the strikers.
On November 15, 2004, the PNP returned as promised with reinforcements. According to Araullo’s report to the Senate, around 400 policemen tried to disperse about 4,000 protesters. CATLU president Ric Ramos was hit and collapsed from a large head wound, but the police were still unable to break the picket.
Can retrenched union officers still represent the union under the Labor Code?
Article 212, Paragraph F of the Labor Code says that the definition of “Employee” includes “any individual whose work has ceased as a result of or in connection with any current labor dispute or because of any unfair labor practice if he has not obtained any other substantially equivalent and regular employment”.
Based on this provision, lawyers of the farm workers argued that management should still have recognized the retrenched union officers because they were still employees of the company under the law, since their retrenchment was still on appeal and they had not yet received separation pay. As employees, the lawyers said, the union officers had a right to self-organization and to fulfill their roles as leaders of the union.
The trip to the Cojuangco house
Sometime in the afternoon of November 15, according to Bais, the union leaders were told to go to the house of Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. in Makati to talk. The negotiations were to be mediated by party-list congressman Satur Ocampo. Ocampo had gone to Luisita along with fellow Bayan Muna party-list congressman Teddy Casiño to aribitrate with the police.
The next morning, November 16, 2004, the union officers left Tarlac for Makati. “Kinabahan na ang mga opisyales namin, pagdating nila sa Makati, na parang may mangyayari dito (Our union officers got worried as soon as they reached Makati. They had a feeling something was going to happen here),” says Bais, who was not yet acting president of ULWU at that time, and had stayed behind. “Parang inalis lang sila dito (It was like they were just lured away from here).”
At the Cojuangco house in Makati, the CATLU officers were told negotiations could only happen if the strike was stopped first. The ULWU officers were not allowed in because they were considered retrenched and no longer authorized to negotiate for the farm workers.
While the union officers were in Makati, the military rolled into Luisita. The union officers now believe the meeting in Makati was just a ruse to lure them away so the military could move into the hacienda.
2 tanks, 700 police, 17 trucks of soldiers
When the union officers returned to the picket line around 3:00 pm after their fruitless trip to Makati, the place looked like a war was about to begin. Near Gate 1 of the sugar mill were “700 policemen, 17 truckloads of soldiers in full battle gear, 2 tanks equipped with heavy weapons, a payloader, 4 fire trucks with water cannons, and snipers positioned in at least 5 strategic places”, according to Araullo’s report to the Senate.
One of the tanks and the payloader rammed through the sugar mill gate that management had previously locked. The protesters were pelted with tear gas and sprayed with water spiked with chemicals from the fire trucks. They fought back by burying the tear gas canisters in soil, and flinging rocks at the fire trucks and tanks using slingshots. Eventually, the tear gas and fire hoses ran out.
“Nagbi-biba na ang mga manggagawang-bukid (The farm workers were cheering their victory),” says Bais. The strikers surged through the gate, waving sticks and throwing rocks at the tank.
Then, gunfire erupted.
1,000 rounds of ammunition used
The first spray of bullets lasted for almost a full minute, as men, women, and children ran for their lives. This was followed by a series of rapid spurts. According to Araullo’s statement, the presidents of the two unions narrowly missed being shot by snipers while running to get behind some sugarcane trucks. Other protesters were beaten and dragged into army trucks and placed under arrest, regardless of gender or age.
Doctors who later autopsied the dead and examined the wounded said the victims were running, crouching, or lying down when they were shot. At the December 1, 2004 Senate hearing on the massacre, videos of the bloody dispersal caught by the media were shown. It was revealed that an astounding 1,000 rounds of ammunition were used by the military and police during the shooting.
Soldiers shut down hospital
Right before the assault on the picket line started, there were unusual movements at the Cojuangco-owned St. Martin de Porres Hospital near the sugar mill, Araullo told the Senate. Existing patients were moved out, and the Army and PNP moved in. At 8:00 pm, just hours after the massacre, the doctors, nurses, and staff of the hospital were told to go home by the police and military, who then took over until the next day. Corpses from the shooting were still in the hospital. The police and military later claimed three corpses tested positive for gunpowder. But no next of kin had given permission or were present during the paraffin tests.
A deliberate attack
The events at the hospital, coupled with the volume of fire, the character of the injuries, and the positions of the victims, Araullo told the Senate, belied the claim that the shooting was done as a defensive move, and indicated that there was “collusion and premeditation between management and the AFP/PNP” to deliberately attack and break up the picket.
When the body count was drawn up, there were seven dead and at least 121 injured. Of the 121 injured, 32 suffered gunshot wounds, 11 were children or in their teens, and four were over sixty years old.
Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita Massacre?
Jhaivie was the youngest of the victims who died. He worked part-time at Central Azucarera de Tarlac, cleaning sugarcane every Monday, to earn money after he stopped going to college when his father died six months before the massacre. His mother said Jhaivie was a homebody, but he went to support the strike because almost all the children in his barangay were children of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, and he understood what they were fighting for. Continue reading…
Noynoy defends dispersal
On November 17, 2004, the day after the massacre, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported: “At the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III (LP, Tarlac) , only son of the former President, defended the dispersal of the protesters … Aquino said that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police who dispersed the workers were ‘subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay’… Aquino noted that 400 of the 736 workers in question had decided to return to work.”
In the same report, Aquino’s uncle, former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr., said he received a copy of a press statement from ULWU saying it was not the group behind the picket. Ronaldo Alcantara of ULWU said in the statement that a small group of retrenched workers led by Rene Galang, a former official of ULWU, and Ric Ramos, president of CATLU, were behind the incidents at the hacienda.
The next day, November 18, 2004, the Philippine Star reported: “Tarlac Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III said yesterday there was strong evidence that the clash was triggered by gunfire coming from the ranks of the strikers. He said when the police tried to break the barricade using an armored personnel carrier, they were fired upon by strikers. He cited there were at least eight bullet marks on the APC. Aquino also urged his militant colleagues in Congress against conducting fact-finding missions at the Hacienda, which he said could further ‘inflame the situation.’ Aquino earlier claimed that outsiders instigated the rioting.”
PNP report echoes Noynoy defense
Months later, the PNP submitted its own report to the Senate dated January 24, 2005. The PNP’s account was similar to the statements Aquino gave right after the massacre.
Summary of the PNP’s final report on the Luisita massacre
The final report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the November 16, 2004 Luisita massacre was submitted on January 24, 2005. It cleared the PNP of blame, and reported that:
> The order to disperse the strikers was made only after the police saw that negotiations between the Department of Labor’s sheriff and the strike leaders had failed.
> The PNP observed maximum tolerance and were simply helping the sheriff implement a return-to-work order.
> The “initial burst of gunfire, single shots in succession, came from the ranks of the striking workers after they crossed the gate and invaded the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) compound”.
> Evidence gathered confirmed the presence and participation of the New People’s Army (NPA), but “the evidence will not suffice for their criminal prosecution”.
> The resistance put up by the strikers resulted in the death of seven strikers and wounding of 36 others.
> 100 policemen and soldiers were injured.
> 111 civilians were arrested and assorted guns and several bolos and knives were recovered from the scene.
> The violence was orchestrated by individuals who were not members of the striking unions, and firearms and explosives were used to generate a more violent reaction from the government forces.
>The slain workers were not residents of Tarlac or employees of Hacienda Luisita.
Read “Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita massacre?”
The PNP’s report was debunked point-by-point by the workers and the party-list group BAYAN, which had conducted its own fact-finding investigation.
(Manila Times, December 8, 2005)
In addition, the report said the PNP only went to Luisita on November 16, 2004 to assist the DOLE in implementing a return-to-work order. Maximum tolerance was observed, and the order to disperse was made only after the police saw that negotiations with the strike leaders had failed. Evidence gathered, according to the report, “confirms the presence and participation of the NPA (New People’s Army) in the strike.” The report also said 100 policemen and soldiers were injured.
Noynoy on the Luisita massacre
“It is an illegal strike. No strike vote was called.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2004)
“[The military and the police who dispersed the workers were] subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2004)
The clash was triggered by gunfire coming from the ranks of the strikers.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)
When police tried to break the barricade using an armored personnel carrier (APC), they were fired upon by the strikers. There were at least 8 bullet marks on the APC.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)
Outsiders instigated the rioting. Among those injured were sympathizers who came from as far as the Visayas.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)
The workers’ defense
The Department of Labor declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction to quash the workers’ right to strike. The government issued this radical order because the Aquinos had a direct line to Malacañang (Noynoy and Kris Aquino supported President Gloria Arroyo in the 2004 elections).
The sniper fire came from plainclothes men inside the sugar mill compound, which only Luisita management and the military/police could access until the military’s own tank rammed the sugar mill gate open shortly before firing started.
If the strikers started the shooting, why were there no casualties among the military/police, but seven killed and 32 wounded by gunshots among the strikers?
Why would the strikers fire bullets into an APC, which is resistant to bullets, but not shoot any of the 700 military/police around? The bullets on the APC could have been planted by the military/police.
The injured who came from the Visayas were sacadas (seasonal sugarcane cutters) from Negros who were hired by the Cojuangcos, but sympathized with the strikers.
TEDDY BENIGNO’S TAKE
The late journalist Teodoro “Teddy” Benigno was a long-time friend of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. He served as Cory Aquino’s Press Secretary from 1986 to 1989. On November 19, 2004, Teddy Benigno wrote about the Luisita massacre in his column in the Philippine Star:
“I would have wished that Ninoy’s son, Rep. Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino and brother-in-law Jose (Peping) Cojuangco just kept quiet. As it was they sort of blamed the dispersal and massacre on trouble-making outsiders—agents provocateurs—who had nothing to do with Luisita. Noynoy, you’re not Ninoy and you should have kept to yourself. Ditto for Peping. Those were self-serving statements and you knew it.”
Noynoy and PNP statements refuted
The statements of Aquino and the PNP were refuted by the strikers and the party-list group BAYAN, which had conducted its own fact-finding mission.
According to them, it was impossible for the sniper fire to have come from the ranks of the strikers because the shots emanated from inside the sugar mill compound, which only management, the military, and the police had access to until the gate that management had locked was rammed open by the military’s tank right before the firing started.
Moreover, they said, it was highly unlikely that the shooting started from the strikers’ side because there were no casualties among the military and police, while there were 7 killed and 32 wounded by gunshots among the strikers.
As for the bullets on the APC mentioned by Aquino, they said it did not make sense for the strikers to fire at a tank, which is bulletproof, but not shoot any of the 700 soldiers and policemen around. The bullets could have been planted.
The group also said no negotiations with strike leaders could have taken place on the afternoon of November 16, 2004, as the PNP claimed, because the union officers had barely arrived from the Cojuangco house in Makati when dispersal operations escalated. In their sworn statements, the police officers in charge of the dispersal could not even give the names of the strike leaders they said they negotiated with before launching the assault.
Misleading the media
Furthermore, while the PNP linked the NPA to the strike, the PNP also said in their report that “evidence gathered against alleged members of the NPA will not suffice for their criminal prosecution”, in effect negating their own claim.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo Alcantara, the officer of ULWU who denied ULWU was behind the strike in the Inquirer report, was a lower-level former officer of the union who was used to mislead the media, according to current ULWU acting president Lito Bais. The president of ULWU registered at the Bureau of Labor Relations at the time of the strike was Rene Galang. Bais says management encouraged splinter factions in the union led by persons under their control.
The PNP’s report did not say anything about the takeover of St. Martin de Porres Hospital that happened just before the dispersal was launched.
The wake at the sugar mill
Days after the massacre, five out of the seven dead bodies were brought by the farm workers and their sympathizers to the picket line near the gate of the sugar mill.
How were they able to go near the gate when the military was still there standing guard? “Sabi namin, siguro naman, patay na ang dala natin, igagalang naman nila. Sila ang pumatay, e (We just said, maybe, since the people we were carrying were already dead, they would respect that. After all, they were the ones who killed them),” says Bais.
The procession was led by a councilor from Tarlac City named Abel Ladera, who grew up in one of the barangays inside Hacienda Luisita. He became an engineer, and once worked inside the sugar mill. The workers relied on the presence of Ladera, an elected official, and some media men to keep management and the military at bay. As the coffins were being lowered and the barbed wire removed, the soldiers went inside the sugar mill so the mourners could prepare for the wake.
Little did Ladera know that his sympathetic involvement with the strikers would put him in mortal danger.
Union’s office destroyed
After the massacre victims’ coffins were brought to the picket line, Bais says the union’s office was destroyed by soldiers. “Nung balikan namin ang opisina namin, wala na lahat. Ultimo ang computer na gamit namin, giba-giba na. Yung mga file, lahat, wala na kaming inabutan. (When we went back to our office, everything was gone. Even the computer we were using was totally destroyed. Our files, everything, we were not able to save anything).” The collection of pictures of the union’s past presidents since the workers’ struggle began was also destroyed, he adds.
Hundreds of soldiers moved into Luisita’s different barangays. To justify the presence of the military, officials of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) presented a report to the media saying the workers’ strike at Hacienda Luisita was the “handiwork of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) and a culmination of long months of instigation and propaganda work to get the workers to rise up in arms against the Cojuangcos.”
Asked for comment on this story, Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, “Noynoy regrets the massacre but the mass action was infiltrated. It was started by infiltrators.”
After conducting hearings about the massacre and recording the testimonies of witnesses, the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment never issued a formal report.
The implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) during the term of President Cory Aquino was rocked by a number of scandals. One of the most notorious was the Garchitorena land scam.
President Aquino was accused of knowing about the deal at least one month before it was exposed in Congress. She was also linked to the financier behind the deal, a family friend who played a key role in Aquino’s campaign against Marcos in Bicol.
The scam involved the 1,888-hectare Garchitorena estate in Camarines Sur, a former abaca plantation that was no longer useful for cultivation. The government nearly bought it in 1989 for P62.7 million.
P3.8 million land sold for P62.7 million
On April 27, 1988, the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) agreed to sell one of its foreclosed properties, the Garchitorena estate, to Sharp International Marketing for P3.8 million.
On May 14, 1988, before the sale was consummated, Sharp tried to sell the estate to the government for P56 million under CARP’s Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) program.
(Under VOS, landowners could voluntarily sell land to the government which the government then distributed to farmers at cost. The VOS opened the door to plenty of collusion between landowners and officials of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Lands were offered to the government at inflated prices, and purchased with taxpayers’ money. The profits from the overpricing were then pocketed by landowners, brokers, and DAR officials.)
Sharp’s offer to sell the Garchitorena estate was approved by the provincial office of the DAR, where the already inflated price of P56 million was further jacked up to P65 million.
On December 28, 1988, DAR Secretary Philip Juico authorized the Land Bank to release payment to Sharp. The amount in his payment order was P62.7 million.
Land Bank exposes scam
The payment order was returned by the Land Bank when it found out that the Garchitorena estate had been acquired by Sharp for only P3.8 million one year before.
Sharp went to the Supreme Court to force the release of the P62.7 million payment. The Land Bank went to Congress to expose the deal. The scam exploded in the media when Rep. Edcel Lagman disclosed the details to the House-Senate Committee on May 13, 1989.
Enrile: Cory knew about scam
In a June 6, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile said Father Joaquin Bernas told President Aquino about the illicit Garchitorena deal about to take place on April 1, 1989.
“But only when the anomaly was leaked to the papers did she say anything about it,” Enrile said. “I wonder what happened during this one month. Were there words of caution for (Secretary) Popoy Juico?”
In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert Dr. James Putzel also mentioned that Father Bernas had informed President Aquino about the Garchitorena deal on April 1, 1989. Aquino then met with the DAR and Land Bank heads on April 5, 1989. Then, Sharp petitioned the Supreme Court to enforce the P62.7 million payment. Juico subsequently stopped the payment order, but the scam had already been exposed in Congress.
The financier, an Aquino family friend
Putzel further noted that during the investigation after the scam, it was learned that UCPB’s sale of the Garchitorena estate to Sharp was consummated only on December 5, 1988, suggesting that the bank was complicit in the fraud. UCPB had in fact already lined up another estate in Camarines Sur, the Liboro estate, for sale to Sharp.
“The major financier behind both land deals was Romeo Santos, who had provided the funds for the land purchase to Sharp president Alex Lina,” Putzel wrote. “Santos had been selling land to DAR throughout the 1970s to 1980s.
“Romeo Santos was an associate of the President’s brother, Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco. He became close to the family when he organized the Laban in Bicol and played a pivotal role in President Aquino’s campaign against Marcos in the region. After Aquino came to office, her brother had urged Santos’s appointment as manager of the Manila International Airport.”
Romeo Santos was married to Maria Magdalena Garchitorena, whose family originally owned the Garchitorena estate.
Throughout the sordid affair, the country’s farmers, as usual, were the biggest losers, because the government’s land acquisition and distribution activities slowed down while the Garchitorena case was being investigated.
Whenever the government acquired overpriced land, it also became pointless for the land to be awarded to farmers, because the farmers could no longer afford to pay the inflated cost. –
Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will
By STEPHANIE DYCHIU
Second of a series
“Hindi ka nag-iisa (You are not alone),” sing the ghosts of Luisita to Senator Noynoy Aquino. They won’t even leave his music video alone.
Noynoy Aquino’s Campaign Music Video (2009)
A little-known fact about the Hacienda Luisita controversy is the haunting resemblance of Senator Aquino’s “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa” music video to a real-life, torch-lit march of Luisita’s workers amid the sugarcane fields at night days before the November 16, 2004 massacre.
A better known fact, but in danger of being forgotten, is the series of salvagings that took place after the massacre to eliminate those who supported the workers’ cause, or had evidence supporting their case. Among those killed were one Senate witness, two Aglipayan priests, a union president, a city councilor, and two peasant group leaders.
What could be worth all the blood that has been spilled? And why is everyone looking at Senator Aquino?
The answer lies in another little-known fact—a contentious 30-year stock distribution scheme that was implemented in lieu of land distribution on his family’s plantation that seriously complicates the campaign theme “good vs. evil.”
The dark side of the Aquino legacy
Part Two of this series on Hacienda Luisita begins in 1989, the year the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was introduced at the hacienda after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) took effect in 1988.
Senator Noynoy Aquino’s mother, President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, was accused of including the SDO in her outline for CARP (Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229, July 22, 1987) so her family could once again avoid distributing Hacienda Luisita to farmers.
(The SDO was a clause in CARP that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land. It was abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER, or CARP with Extensions and Revisions, that was passed in August 2009.)
LAND ASSETS UNDERVALUED
The excluded areas caused the undervaluation of the farm workers’ share in HLI, explained Eduardo Tadem, member of the technical working group of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), in an October 20, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
(In the same report, Tadem said the PARC, which was chaired by President Cory Aquino, had ignored a study of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) showing Luisita’s farm workers could earn more with 0.78 hectares of land instead of stocks.)
The remaining 4,915.75 hectares that were submitted to CARP were “independently appraised by Asian Appraisal and the Securities and Exchange Commission” at P40,000 per hectare, according to an August 30, 1989 article in the Manila Bulletin written by the Aquino administration’s Solicitor General, Frank Chavez, to defend Luisita’s SDO.
The valuation of P40,000 per hectare represents an enormous difference from the valuation of about P500,000 per hectare and P219,000 per hectare respectively for the excluded 120.9 hectares of residential land and 265.7 hectares of land improvements that were retained by the Cojuangcos.
The SDO gravely damaged the potential of land reform to deliver social justice to scores of rural poor, whose votes had ironically been courted by President Aquino in 1986 by promising land reform.
Aquino’s abrogation left such a deep scar that even the New York Times, in its announcement of her passing on August 1, 2009, did not let it slip: “Born into one of the country’s wealthy land-owning families, the Cojuangcos of Tarlac, Mrs. Aquino did not lead the social revolution that some had hoped for. She failed to institute effective land reform or to address the country’s fundamental structural ailment, the oligarchic control of power and politics.”
Cojuangcos give stocks instead of land
In 1989, the Cojuangcos justified Luisita’s SDO by saying it was impractical to divide the hacienda’s 4,915.75 hectares of land among 6,296 farm workers, as this would result in less than one hectare each (0.78). A study by the private group Center for Research & Communication (now University of Asia & the Pacific) was cited to support this claim.
The claim was contradicted by a study of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), which stated that the farm workers could still earn more with 0.78 hectares of land each than stocks. But the NEDA study was ignored by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), according to Eduardo Tadem, a member of the technical working group of PARC who spoke out in an October 20, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The PARC was chaired by President Cory Aquino.
In 2005, after its investigation into the Luisita massacre, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) also debunked the claim that economies of scale justified Luisita’s SDO. The DAR said the issue of economies of scale could have been addressed under Section 29 of CARP, which states that workers’ cooperatives should be created in cases where dividing land was not feasible.
In the column of Domini Torrevillas in the Philippine Star last Jan. 19, however, Noynoy declared: “Neither I nor the farmers are satisfied with the government’s land reform program. We have seen in Hacienda Luisita that this does not work. Luisita, which was then called Tabacalera Land, used to be 12,000 hectares. The company voluntarily gave half or 6,000 hectares for the Land Tenure Act. That is why Luisita today is only an approximate 5,500 hectares. However, the people who were provided land ended up losing or selling their property. Most of them returned to their lives as Luisita workers.
“This shows that mere land distribution is not beneficial to farmers. We cannot just transfer land to a farmer and say, ‘I am done with you.’ We need to teach him until he becomes a manager, becomes the agriculture business planner, the cooperative member. We must help him find means to buy biological pest control, natural fertilizers, pesticides and farm implements.”
Farmers asked to vote on SDO
On May 9, 1989, Luisita’s farm workers were asked to choose between stocks or land in a referendum. The SDO won 92.9% of the vote. A second referendum and information campaign were held on October 14, 1989, and again the SDO won, this time by a 96.75% vote.
In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert James Putzel expressed doubt that the farmers understood the choice that was presented to them. “The outcome of the vote was entirely predictable,” he wrote. “The balance of power in the country favored families like the Cojuangcos. The problem was not really that the farm workers were denied the right to choose . . . it was rather that [they] were denied an environment that would allow them to identify what their choices were.”
(Dr. James Putzel did extensive research on agrarian reform in the Philippines between the late 1980s to the early 1990s. He is currently a Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics.)
Even before the second referendum was held, Father Joaquin Bernas, the President of the Ateneo de Manila University and a member of the commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, pointed out the inconsistency of Luisita’s SDO with the Constitution in his June 27, 1989 column in the Manila Chronicle. “The [SDO] is a loophole because it does not support the Constitution’s desire that the right of farmers to become owners of the land they till should be promoted by government,” Bernas said.
UP Center of Law calls Luisita SDO illegal
A year after Father Bernas spoke out, the University of the Philippines Law Center also called Luisita’s SDO illegal in a paper it submitted to the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform in June 1990. The paper questioned the morality, propriety, and constitutionality of a plan that allowed the landlord to retain controlling interest at the expense of farmer beneficiaries.
President Cory Aquino replied that the paper was just the opinion of one professor. But she said she would look into it.
The Department of Justice then issued a legal opinion affirming the constitutionality of the SDO, saying an act of the legislature, approved by the executive, was presumed valid within the limits of the Constitution unless nullified in court.
The legislature back then was dominated by landlords, including President Aquino’s brother, Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr., the top decision-maker in Hacienda Luisita.
Cojuangco was “at the head of the landlord juggernaut” in Congress, according to a June 13, 1993 report of writer Antonio Ma. Nieva in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Justice who issued the legal opinion saying Luisita’s SDO was constitutional was Aquino stalwart Franklin Drilon.
Drilon is currently chairman of the Liberal Party, whose standard-bearer is Senator Noynoy Aquino.
Corporation formed before vote
In his book A Captive Land, Putzel also noted that Hacienda Luisita, Inc (HLI), the company formed by the Cojuangcos to operationalize Luisita’s SDO, was incorporated in August 1988—nine months before the farm workers were first asked to choose between stocks or land in May 1989.
This bred suspicion that the SDO was considered a done deal early on, and the two rounds of voting with the farmers were only organized to give an appearance of transparency.
Aquino appointees in charge of DAR
Adding to the cloud of doubt was President Aquino’s perceived influence over the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) because she had the power to appoint the department’s head.
The Agrarian Reform Secretary who oversaw the farmers’ vote in Luisita in May 1989 was Philip Juico, the husband of Margie Juico, a close friend of President Aquino who also served as her Appointments Secretary.
In July 1989, Aquino replaced Phillip Juico with “graft buster” Miriam Defensor-Santiago after Juico’s name was dragged into the Garchitorena land scam.
The Garchitorena land scam
The implementation of CARP during the term of President Cory Aquino was rocked by a number of scandals, one of them the Garchitorena land scam. See how the land scam was linked to President Aquino.
Very early into her role, Santiago, a former judge, told the media that there were “serious flaws in the law against which I am powerless” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 21, 1989). Santiago ended up giving Luisita’s SDO the go-signal in November 1989.
Two months later, Aquino replaced Santiago. Many years later, Santiago said Aquino removed her because of something she said about Luisita.
In Santiago’s place, Aquino appointed Florencio “Butch” Abad. Abad lasted only three months because the Commission on Appointments repeatedly refused to confirm his appointment.
Abad is currently the campaign manager of Senator Noynoy Aquino.
Cojuangcos assume majority control
In 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of Hacienda Luisita was pegged at 33%, while 67% was retained by the Cojuangcos.
How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita
When the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was implemented in Luisita in 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of the hacienda was pegged at 33%, while 67% was retained by the Cojuangcos. See how the Cojuangcos were able to gain control of the corporation.
Luisita’s SDO agreement spelled out a 30-year schedule for transferring stock to the farm workers:
“At the end of each fiscal year, for a period of 30 years, the SECOND PARTY (HLI) shall arrange with the FIRST PARTY (TADECO) the acquisition and distribution to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers) on the basis of number of days worked and at no cost to them of one-thirtieth (1/30) of 118,391,976.85 shares of the capital stock of the SECOND PARTY (HLI) that are presently owned and held by the FIRST PARTY (TADECO), until such time as the entire block of 118,391,976.85 shares shall have been completely acquired and distributed to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers).”
The impact of this provision was far-reaching.
Stocks not transferred to farmers
The stocks representing the farm workers’ full 33% share were not transferred to them in 1989, but were spread over “a period of 30 years” with only “one-thirtieth (1/30)” released every year. At this rate, it would take until 2019 for the farm-worker beneficiaries to receive their complete set of stocks. While their shares remained undistributed, these were “owned and held” by the Cojuangco company TADECO (Tarlac Development Corporation).
Thus, the common belief that 33% of Hacienda Luisita has been owned by farm workers since CARP was implemented in 1989 is not entirely accurate, because the full transfer of stocks did not happen in 1989.
Farmers asked to work for “free” stocks
The farm workers also had to continuously render labor to receive shares, because distribution was based “on the number of days worked”. If a worker quit or if management fired him, he no longer got the undistributed portion of his shares. If management cut work days, distribution of shares was also affected.
Complicating things further was a separate provision that set the annual payroll as the basis for deciding who could get shares at the end of each year. As names on the payroll changed every year when workers left or joined the company, the list of shareholders grew longer and longer, diluting the entitlement of the original beneficiaries. In 1989, there were 6,296 farm-worker beneficiaries in Luisita. By 2005, there were 11,955 names on the HLI stockholder list. Not all of the 11,955 remained employed with HLI, or were part of the original 6,296 beneficiaries.
NOYNOY DEFENDS COJUANGCOS
“The hacienda tenants voluntarily agreed to give up land distribution for shares of stock of the corporation”, and have enjoyed the fruits of their “wise decision”.
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 25, 2007)
“The only reason we got [into Luisita] to begin with was the people asked for us, or we were acceptable to them. There was a labor problem sometime in the 1950s, when I wasn’t still around.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 13, 2009)
On the farmers’ plea to have Luisita’s SDO contract revoked so land can be distributed: “The Constitution talks of inviolability of contracts.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 10, 2009)
“We want to leave only when we have formulated the plan on how they could pay the debts of the corporate farm. When that has been cleared, then we could bid goodbye [to Luisita management].”
(Manila Times, November 13, 2009)
“The problems descending a sunset industry like the sugar industry were exploited by quarters outside the hacienda. The net result is that the people who had jobs from 1958-2004 have lost their jobs.”
(Statement emailed to GMANews.TV on December 7, 2009)
“We are working for the restoration of jobs. Those who are forcing us to speak on this matter are not after the welfare of my former constituents, but to advance their propaganda aims.”
(Statement emailed to GMANews.TV on December 7, 2009)
Stock distribution suddenly accelerated
After the November 2004 massacre and subsequent investigation by the DAR, HLI announced on June 9, 2005 that it had given out all undistributed stocks “in one supreme act of good faith,” about 15 years ahead of the 30-year schedule.
It is believed this was done because the 30-year distribution period was a loophole. Way back in 1995, Dr. Jeffrey M. Riedinger, currently Dean of International Studies at Michigan State University, already said the 30-year distribution period seemed “without basis in the law” in his book Agrarian Reform in the Philippines: Democratic Transitions and Redistributive Reform.
(Section 11 of DAR Administrative Order No. 10, Series of 1988 states that stocks should be transferred to beneficiaries within 60 days after the SDO is implemented. HLI had not yet been issued a Certificate of Compliance by the DAR since 1989 because the full transfer of stocks had not happened.)
Like Father Bernas in 1989 and the UP Center of Law in 1990, Riedinger also said the SDO “appears to violate the constitutional mandate that ownership of agricultural lands be redistributed to the regular farm workers cultivating them.”
3% production share and home lots
Under the SDO, Luisita’s farm workers were entitled to two new perks: they were allotted a 3% share in the gross production output of the hacienda, and some were given home lots inside the plantation. The farm workers make clear, however, that these were mandated by law under Section 30 and Section 32 of CARP, not voluntary acts of generosity of the Cojuangcos.
The 3% production share never went beyond P1,120 per farm worker per year. The titles of the home lots also have problems, which this report will not get into now.
About 5 years after the SDO was implemented, management began to claim that HLI was losing money. The farm workers’ wages plateaued and their work days were cut.
Meanwhile, a mall and industrial park were sprouting on the portion of the hacienda closest to McArthur Highway. Losing money but building a mall? the farmers brooded. Something was up.
Conversion—the real plan
On September 1, 1995, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tarlac passed a resolution reclassifying 3,290 out of Luisita’s 4,915 hectares from agricultural to commercial, industrial, and residential. The governor of Tarlac province at that time was Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, wife of Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. Out of the 3,290 reclassified hectares, 500 were approved for conversion by the DAR.
As land was being converted, the area left for farming grew smaller and smaller. More work days were cut, and wages were practically frozen. Mechanization also reduced the need for manual labor.
Then, a master plan commissioned in 1998 by the Luisita Realty Corporation, a subsidiary of Jose Cojuangco and Sons, was unearthed. It showed the company’s long-term intention to convert the hacienda into a business and residential hub, with no areas left for agriculture. (That land use plan from 1998 already contained the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway or SCTEx, which was completed in 2007, and is now the subject of allegations in Congress against Senator Noynoy Aquino and his family, instigated by his electoral rivals.)
The farm workers began to fear for their jobs, without any assurances of receiving their 33% equity share in the sale of the converted land.
By 2003, the farm workers’ daily wage was down to P194.50 (P9.50 after deductions for salary loans and other items), and work days were down to 1 per week.
They finally saw the futility of having four board seats against management’s seven (the SDO agreement allotted 4 board seats to the farm workers ahead of the 30-year waiting period for their stocks). They were always going to be outvoted. They also feared that their board representatives could easily be manipulated because they were not as well-versed as management in corporate matters.
The SDO had to go, they concluded.
The union leaders scrabbled together a petition to revoke the SDO and stop land conversion in Luisita. It was signed by 5,339 farm workers and filed at the Department of Agrarian Reform on December 4, 2003. In July 2004, the union tried to negotiate a wage increase to P225 per day. They also asked for an increase in work days to 2-3 days per week. Management said no, saying the company was losing money.
Management then issued notices retrenching 327 farm workers effective October 1, 2004. A month later came the workers’ strike, then the massacre.
Honesty or corruption?
Written by Manuel Buencamino / Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom
Let’s see if we can tell the difference between honesty and corruption. (Quoted from the draft report of the Senate Committee of the Whole and former Rep. Joker Arroyo’s privilege speech.)
1. The draft report of the Senate Committee of the Whole stated that Senator Villar proposed the realignment of the C-5 road project so it would “pass through properties of his corporations, which in turn benefited from the use of such road, from the compensation for road right of way, and from the resultant economic development in and increased market value of the vicinity.”
Because of the road realignment and overpriced right-of-way compensation, Villar “made the Filipino suffer the total amount of P6.22 billion.”
Honesty or corruption?
2. “Low-cost housing is totally dependent on government agencies such as Pag-IBIG, National Home Mortgage Finance Corp. (NHMFC), Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System and other government financial institutions.
“Speaker Villar and the companies of which he is president or chairman, or where he has a controlling interest, are the biggest low-cost housing developers in the country.
“[Villar’s] companies were given financial accommodations by government banks or financial institutions, among them, Pag-IBIG and the NHMFC, during Speaker Villar’s term as representative from 1992 to 1998 to finance their business purposes.”
Honesty or corruption?
3. Villar passed measures “to make Pag-IBIG Fund contributions compulsory and to increase housing investments with the SSS.”
“Pag-IBIG is a main source of funding of Speaker Villar’s companies.”
Honesty or corruption?
4. Villar “incorporated in the landmark Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Finance Act, Republic Act 7835, the recapitalization of the NHMFC, and the amendment to the Agri-Agra Law to include housing investment.”
It “mandates banks to extend to housing loans not utilized for agriculture and agrarian-reform credit. In other words, loanable funds for agriculture and agrarian credit are to be re-channeled to housing, Speaker Villar’s business.”
Honesty or corruption?
5. Villar co-authored House Bill 11005, which “increased the capital of the NHMFC” and is the main source of funding of Speaker Villar’s companies…. President Estrada admitted that the National Home Mortgage and Finance Corp. is at present bankrupt.… Increasing the capitalization of a bankrupt government financial institution benefited Representative Villar’s housing companies.”
Honesty or corruption?
6. “All lands covered by CARP [Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program] cannot be used for residential, agricultural, industrial or other uses unless a clearance, conversion or exemption for a particular property is first issued by DAR [Department of Agrarian Reform].”
“Speaker Villar’s companies are developing or have developed 5,950 hectares or almost 60,000,000 square meters of CARP land into residential subdivisions without the appropriate DAR issuances that would authorize such lands to be used for residential purposes.”
Honesty or corruption?
7. “Manuela Corp. applied for and was granted a loan of P1 billion by the SSS…. Another P2-billion loan would be syndicated with another government financial institution, the GSIS. Total syndicated loan from the two GFIs: P3 billion.
“Manuela Corp., a housing and realty corporation, is owned by the family of the wife of Speaker Villar. An indirect financial accommodation.”
Honesty or corruption?
8. “Speaker Villar controls the Capitol Bank. Mrs. Villar is the chief executive officer. The Capitol Bank received loans, financial accommodations and guarantees from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas from 1992 to 1998 while he was a representative.”
Honesty or corruption?
9. Villar, while serving in the House and later in the Senate, did not divest himself of his interests nor did he sever his connections with his companies.
His companies obtained financial accommodations and special deals from government agencies and financial institutions.
Honesty or corruption?
10. The columnist wrote, “By dint of hard and unrelenting work and without special deals from the government, he [Villar] raised himself up from a Tondo slum and built a multibillion-peso business enterprise.”
SCTEx controversy bigger than C-5, says Villar ally
Written by Carmela Fonbuena
The Aquino family should pay the government for the construction of the interchange in Hacienda Luisita, which is estimated to be worth around P170 million, an ally of Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar said.
At the continuation of the House oversight committee hearing Wednesday on alleged irregularities in the Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin ‘Boying’ Remulla said the family of presidential survey frontrunner Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III should refund the government for the purchase of the allegedly overpriced right-of-way property for the SCTEx road project.
He claimed that regular government procedure mandates the landowner should give the property to the government at zero cost.
“Interchanges in private properties have to be paid for by the private property owners. He should donate the right-of-way. They [Aquinos] still have the industrial land,” Remulla said.
Remulla also claimed that the SCTEx road controversy is “bigger” than the C-5 road extension project scandal against Villar.
“’Yong kay Villar, zonal value ang pinag-uusapan. Hindi overpriced. Dito may interchange pa. Ang laki ng kanilang pakinabang masyado,” Remulla said.
No overprice, no payment needed
Sought for comment by abs-cbnNEWS Aquino’s spokesman, Edwin Lacierda said the interchange “need not be paid because the contractors designed the Luisita toll to be the end point.”
In a text message, he said the interchange was “supposed to promote commerce between Subic and the Luisita industrial zone corridor.”
Lacierda also said Remulla has not presented evidence that the right-of-way property was overpriced.
“He has been mouthing overprice without proof. Government officials have already testified to the non-overpricing. This is not C-5,” Lacierda said.
He said Remulla should not “divert the issue.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, retired Brig. Gen. Robert Gervacio, the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) program manager for SCTEx’s operational and support services, cleared Aquino of any wrongdoing in the project.
“Everything is aboveboard. There was no contact between BCDA and Senator Aquino,” Gervacio said in response to questions raised by Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, a guest senatorial candidate of the Liberal Party.
Philippine National Construction Corp. President Maria Teresa Defensor on Wednesday’s hearing testified that the government does not ordinarily pay private landowners for right-of-way properties in government projects because the private landowner presumably benefits from the construction of a national road.
Defensor also testified that the Toll Regulatory Board, which processes applications for interchanges in major road projects, does not normally pay for the construction of interchanges in private lands.
She said there’s a process where private landowners apply for the construction of an interchange and, if approved, shoulder the full cost of construction. This is also because the value of the land will presumably increase, and the landowner benefits from the rise in property values resulting from the infrastructure project.
“Ang suwerte naman nila masyado. The value of the industrial land is now P1,000 per hectare because of the interchange,” Remulla said.
The cost of the interchange built inside the Hacienda Luisita complex was shouldered by the government and funded through a loan from the Japan Bank and International Corp. It is a flagship project of President Gloria Arroyo.
However, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)-SCTEx project engineering chief retired general Eduardo Lena explained that the government paid for the construction of the interchange because it was part of the original plan for SCTEx.
The hearing failed to directly link Senator Aquino to the allegedly irregular transaction. The BCDA had negotiated with Senator Aquino’s uncle, Pedro Cojuangco.
But Remulla said Senator Aquino should still be held accountable.
“It’s the uncle. It’s just one family you are dealing with. And he is a direct beneficiary. He cannot control his family. Patay malisya siya pag family ang involved. Pero nakinabang siya,” he said.
Remulla added that it is also a taxpayers’ issue because the people will shoulder the cost of the loan.
The SCTex controversy began in November 2009 with Remulla’s allegations that Senator Aquino’s family benefited from the allegedly overpriced sale of the right-of-way property. The property was sold for P100 per hectare.
Remulla questioned it because the zonal value was only P8, he said.
The controversy has since branched out into several other allegations of irregularities such as:
* Senator Aquino’s family allegedly failed to fairly distribute to the farmers their share in the sale of the right-of-way property;
* The contraction of the interchange inside the Hacienda Luisita was allegedly irregular;
* The Cojuangco family has allegedly not been paying government royalty fees for the quarrying activities inside Hacienda Luisita.
Remulla also revived calls for the Cojuangco family to distribute Hacienda Luisita to the farmers.
Remulla said there will be two to three more hearings on the controversy.
Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future
By STEPHANIE DYCHIU
This week the country commemorates the tragic shooting of protesting farmers on January 22, 1987, an incident better known as the Mendiola massacre. Along with the Hacienda Luisita massacre of November 16, 2004, these two incidents represent the darker side of the Aquino legacy.
The struggle between farmers and landowners of Hacienda Luisita is now being seen as the first real test of character of presidential candidate Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino, whose family has owned the land since 1958. Our research shows that the problem began when government lenders obliged the Cojuangcos to distribute the land to small farmers by1967, a deadline that came and went. Pressure for land reform on Luisita since then reached a bloody head in 2004 when seven protesters were killed near the gate of the sugar mill in what is now known as the Luisita massacre. This is the story of the hacienda and its farmers, an issue that is likely to haunt Aquino as he travels the campaign trail for the May 2010 elections.
First of a series
Senator Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino has said he only owns 1% of Hacienda Luisita. Why is he being dragged into the hacienda’s issues?
This is one of the most common questions asked in the 2010 elections.
To find the answer, we traveled to Tarlac and spoke to Luisita’s farm workers and union leaders. A separate interview and review of court documents was then conducted with the lawyers representing the workers’ union in court. GMANews.TV also examined the Cojuangcos’ court defense and past media and legislative records on the Luisita issue.
The investigation yielded illuminating insights into Senator Noynoy Aquino’s involvement in Hacienda Luisita that have not been openly discussed since his presidential bid. Details are gradually explored in this series of special reports.
A background on the troubled history of Hacienda Luisita is essential to understanding why the issue is forever haunting Senator Noynoy Aquino and his family.
Remnant of colonialism
Before the Cojuangco family acquired Hacienda Luisita in the 1950s, it belonged to the Spanish-owned Compaña General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera). Tabacalera acquired the land in 1882 from the Spanish crown, which had a self-appointed claim on the lands as the Philippines’ colonial master. Luisita was named after Luisa, the wife of the top official of Tabacalera.
Tobacco used to be the main crop planted in Luisita, but in the 1920s, the Spaniards shifted to sugar. Sugar production had become more profitable because demand was guaranteed by the US quota. In 1927, the Spaniards built the sugar mill Central Azucarera de Tarlac to accompany their sugarcane plantation.
Around the same year, the wealthy Cojuangco brothers Jose, Juan, Antonio, and Eduardo also put up a small sugar mill in Paniqui, Tarlac. The eldest brother, Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco, Sr., was the father of former President Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco Aquino, and the grandfather of Senator Noynoy Aquino.
Ninoy brokers purchase of Luisita
In 1954, Corazon Cojuangco married Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. with President Ramon Magsaysay as one of the ninongs (sponsor) at the wedding. In 1957, Magsaysay talked to Ninoy Aquino about the possibility of Ninoy’s father-in-law, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. acquiring Central Azucarera de Tarlac and Hacienda Luisita from the Spaniards. The Spaniards wanted to sell because of the Huk rebellion and chronic labor problems.
Ninoy Aquino wanted the azucarera and hacienda to stay only within the immediate family of his father-in-law, not to be shared with the other Cojuangcos, wrote American development studies expert James Putzel in his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines.
(Dr. James Putzel did extensive research on agrarian reform in the Philippines between the late 1980s to the early 1990s. He is currently a Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics.)
The exclusion of Jose Cojuangco, Sr.’s brothers and their heirs from Luisita caused the first major rift in the Cojuangco family, Putzel wrote. This played out years later in the political rivalry of Jose’s son Peping and Eduardo’s son Danding. Today, this divide is seen between Noynoy Aquino (grandson of Jose Sr., nephew of Peping) and Gibo Teodoro (grandson of Eduardo Sr., nephew of Danding), who are both running in the 2010 presidential elections.
Government loans given to Cojuangco
Jose Cojuangco, Sr. received significant preferential treatment and assistance from the government to facilitate his takeover of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 1957.
To acquire a controlling interest in Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Cojuangco had to pay the Spaniards in dollars. He turned to the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York for a 10-year, $2.1 million loan. Dollars were tightly regulated in those times. To ease the flow of foreign exchange for Cojuangco’s loan, the Central Bank of the Philippines deposited part of the country’s international reserves with the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York.
LAND REFORM AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
When Spain colonized the Philippines by force beginning 1521, its lands were claimed by the conquistadors in the name of Spain. The natives who were already there tilling the land were put under Spanish landlords, who were given royal grants to “own” the land and exact forced labor and taxes from the natives. After the Spaniards left, the Americans took over. When the Philippines became independent in 1946, history had to be set right by giving the lands back to the people whose ancestors have been tilling them for centuries. However, a new feudal system developed among the Filipinos themselves, and once again drove a wedge between the tillers and their land.
The Central Bank did this on the condition that Cojuangco would simultaneously purchase the 6,443-hectare Hacienda Luisita, “with a view to distributing this hacienda to small farmers in line with the Administration’s social justice program.” (Central Bank Monetary Board Resolution No. 1240, August 27, 1957).
To finance the purchase of Hacienda Luisita, Cojuangco turned to the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System). His application for a P7 million loan said that 4,000 hectares of the hacienda would be made available to bonafide sugar planters, while the balance 2,453 hectares would be distributed to barrio residents who will pay for them on installment.
The GSIS approved a P5.9 million loan, on the condition that Hacienda Luisita would be “subdivided among the tenants who shall pay the cost thereof under reasonable terms and conditions”. (GSIS Resolution No. 1085, May 7, 1957; GSIS Resolution No. 3202, November 25, 1957)
Later, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. requested that the phrase be amended to “. . . shall be sold at cost to tenants, should there be any” (GSIS Resolution No. 356, February 5, 1958). This phrase would be cited later on as justification not to distribute the hacienda’s land.
On April 8, 1958, Jose Cojuangco, Sr.’s company, the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), became the new owner of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac. Ninoy Aquino was appointed the hacienda’s first administrator.
In his book, Putzel noted that the Central Bank Monetary Board resolution from 1957 required distribution of Hacienda Luisita’s land to small farmers within 10 years. The controversies that would hound the hacienda for decades can be traced to the Cojuangcos’ efforts to retain control of the land long after the deadline for land distribution passed in 1967.
Land not distributed to farmers
“Ang pagkakaintindi ng mga ninuno naming manggagawang-bukid ng Hacienda Luisita noon, within 10 years, babayaran na [ng mga Cojuangco] ang utang nila sa gubyerno. Pagdating ng 1967, ang lupa ay sa magsasaka na (The way our elders, the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, understood things at that time, within 10 years, the Cojuangcos were going to pay back the money they borrowed from the government. By 1967, the land would belong to the farmers),” says Lito Bais, one of the present-day leaders of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU). Bais was born on the hacienda in 1957, the year before the Cojuangco family took over. His mother was also born on the hacienda.
When 1967 came and went with no land distribution taking place, the farm workers began to organize themselves to uphold their cause. That year, Ninoy Aquino also became the Philippines’ youngest senator. His entry into national politics marked the start of his bitter rivalry with President Ferdinand Marcos.
After Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, his most voluble critic Aquino, who was planning to run for President, was one of the first people arrested.
Government files case vs. Cojuangcos
The Cojuangcos’ disputed hold over Hacienda Luisita had been tolerated by Marcos even at the height of his dictatorship. However, as Ninoy Aquino and his family were leaving for exile in the US, a case was filed on May 7, 1980 by the Marcos government against the Cojuangco company TADECO for the surrender of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, so land could be distributed to the farmers at cost, in accordance with the terms of the government loans given in 1957-1958 to the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr., who died in 1976. (Republic of the Philippines vs. TADECO, Civil Case No. 131654, Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIII)
The Marcos government filed this case after written follow-ups sent to the Cojuangcos over a period of eleven years did not result in land distribution. (The Cojuangcos always replied that the loan terms were unenforceable because there were no tenants on the hacienda.) The government’s first follow-up letter was written by Conrado Estrella of the Land Authority on March 2, 1967. Another letter was written by Central Bank Governor Gregorio Licaros on May 5, 1977. Another letter was written by Agrarian Reform Deputy Minister Ernesto Valdez on May 23, 1978.
The government’s lawsuit was portrayed by the anti-Marcos bloc as an act of harassment against Ninoy Aquino’s family. Inside Hacienda Luisita, however, the farmers thought the wheels of justice were finally turning and land distribution was coming.
Cojuangcos claim hacienda has no tenants
In their January 10, 1981 response to the government’s complaint, the Cojuangcos again said that the Central Bank and GSIS resolutions were unenforceable because there were no tenants on Hacienda Luisita.
“Inilaban ni Doña Metring, yung nanay nila Cory, na wala raw silang inabutan na tao [sa hacienda], kaya wala raw benipesyaryo, kaya ang lupang ito ay sa kanila (Doña Metring, the mother of Cory, said there were no tenants in the hacienda when they took over, therefore there were no beneficiaries, therefore the land belonged to them),” recalls Bais. “E, tignan mo naman ang lupang ito. Paano mapapatag ang lupang ito? Paano makapag-tanim kung walang taong inabutan? (But look at this land. How else could this land have been tamed? How could it have been cultivated if there were no people here when they took over?)”
(The distinction between a tenant farmer and seasonal farmers hired from outside was key to the Cojuangcos’ defense. A tenant farmer is one who is in possession of the land being tilled. In his book A Captive Land, James Putzel noted that the Central Bank resolution mentioned distribution not to tenants but to “small farmers.” Raising the issue of tenancy thus seemed ineffective in the defense.)
The Cojuangcos also said in their January 10, 1981 response that there was no agrarian unrest in Luisita, and existing Marcos land reform legislation exempted sugar lands. Further, they asserted that the government’s claim on Luisita had already expired since no litigation was undertaken since 1967.
Court orders Cojuangcos to surrender Luisita
In the meantime, vague rumors of a planned conversion of the hacienda into a residential subdivision or airport, or both, cropped up among the farm workers, causing anxiety that they would be left with no land to till. (This was likely due to the decline of the sugar industry in the Philippines after the US quota ended in the 1970s. Conversion became a buzzword among big landowners all over the country. The Cojuangcos formed Luisita Realty Corporation in 1977 as a first step to turning the hacienda into a residential and industrial complex.)
The government pursued its case against the Cojuangcos, and by December 2, 1985, the Manila Regional Trial Court ordered TADECO to surrender Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. According to Putzel, this decision was rendered with unusual speed and was decried by the Cojuangcos as another act of harassment, because Cory Aquino, now a widow after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, was set to run for President against Marcos in the February 7, 1986 snap elections. The Cojuangcos elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (Court of Appeals G.R. 08634).
Cory promises to give “land to the tiller”
Cory Aquino officially announced her candidacy on December 3, 1985. Land reform was one of the pillars of her campaign.
A farmer said they were told by Cojuangco family members managing the hacienda during this time that if Cory became president, Hacienda Luisita would once and for all be distributed to the farmers through her land reform program. He said this promise was made to motivate them to vote for Cory and join the jeepney-loads of people being sent to Manila from Tarlac to attend her rallies.
On January 6, 1986, Aquino delivered the first policy speech of her campaign in Makati and said, “We are determined to implement a genuine land reform program . . . to enable [beneficiaries] to become self-reliant and prosperous farmers.”
Ten days later, on January 16, 1986, Aquino delivered her second major speech in Davao and said, “Land-to-the-tiller must become a reality, instead of an empty slogan.”
In the same speech, Aquino also said, “You will probably ask me: Will I also apply it to my family’s Hacienda Luisita? My answer is yes.”
This campaign promise would haunt her for many years to come. To this day, it haunts her son.
Marcos flees, Aquino dissolves Constitution
The snap elections took place on February 7, 1986. Marcos was declared winner, but was ousted by the People Power revolution. Cory Aquino was sworn in as President on February 25, 1986. She named her running mate Salvador “Doy” Laurel Prime Minister through Presidential Proclamation No. 1.
A month later, Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation No. 3 declaring a revolutionary government and dissolving the 1973 Constitution. This nullified Laurel’s position as Prime Minister, and abolished the Batasang Pambansa (Parliament). Aquino announced that a new Constitution was going to be formed. Legislative powers were to reside with the President until elections were held.
To critics, Aquino’s abandonment of Laurel and her taking of legislative power were early signs that a web of advisers was influencing her decisions. The sway of these advisers would be felt later in the choices Aquino would make regarding Hacienda Luisita.
Juan Ponce Enrile’s link to Hacienda Luisita
On September 16, 1987, Laurel formally broke ties with Aquino. The New York Times reported that Laurel had confronted Aquino about her promise in 1985 to let him run the government as Prime Minister after Marcos was ousted, because she had no experience. This was the reason Laurel agreed to shelve his own plan to run for President and put his party’s resources behind Aquino during the snap elections. “I believed you,” the New York Times quoted Laurel saying he told Mrs. Aquino. Aquino just listened without response, Laurel said.
Laurel found an ally in Juan Ponce Enrile, another disenchanted EDSA veteran who now opposed Aquino.
Enrile also happened to be the lawyer of Tabacalera when Hacienda Luisita was taken over by the Cojuangcos in 1957. He was retained by the Cojuangcos after the sale. Enrile’s inside knowledge of the controversial transaction would be a big thorn in the side of the Cojuangco-Aquinos.
Mendiola, a portent of the Luisita massacre
On January 22, 1987, eleven months into the Aquino administration, the Mendiola massacre happened. Thousands of frustrated farmers marched to Malacañang demanding fulfillment of the promises made regarding land reform during the Aquino campaign, and distribution of lands at no cost to beneficiaries. At least a dozen protesters were killed in the violent dispersal. More were seriously injured.
In a protest march for land reform in January 1987, 13 protesters were killed near Malacañang in what has gone down in history as the Mendiola Massacre, a low point in the administration of former president Corazon C. Aquino
Under pressure after the bloodshed in Mendiola, Aquino fast-tracked the passage of the land reform law. The new 1987 Constitution took effect on February 11, 1987, and on July 22, 1987, Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229 outlining her land reform program. She expanded its coverage to include sugar and coconut lands.
Her outline also included a provision for the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), a mode of complying with the land reform law that did not require actual transfer of land to the tiller.
(Aquino’s July 22, 1987 “midnight decree”, as Juan Ponce Enrile called it back then, raised eyebrows because it was issued just days before the legislative powers Aquino took in 1986 were going to revert back to Congress on July 28, 1987, the first regular session of the new Congress after the May 1987 elections. The timing insured the passage of the SDO.)
LAND REFORM AND SDO
Why is land reform a big issue in the Philippines?
Land reform is linked to social justice. When Spain colonized the Philippines by force beginning 1521, its lands were claimed by the conquistadors in the name of Spain. The natives who were already there tilling the land were put under Spanish landlords, who were given royal grants to “own” the land and exact forced labor and taxes from the natives. After the Spaniards left, the Americans took over. When the Philippines became independent in 1946, history had to be set right by giving the lands back to the people whose ancestors have been tilling them for centuries. However, a new feudal system developed among the Filipinos themselves, and once again drove a wedge between the tillers and their land.
What is the SDO (Stock Distribution Option)?
The Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was a clause in the 1988 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land. The landlords then arranged to own majority share in the corporations, to stay in control. This went against the spirit of land reform, which is to give “land to the tiller”. The SDO was abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER (CARP with Extensions and Revisions) that was passed in August 2009.
Cory withdraws case vs. Cojuangcos
On May 18, 1988, the Court of Appeals dismissed the case filed in 1980 by the Philippine government—under Marcos—against the Cojuangco company TADECO to compel the handover of Hacienda Luisita. It was the Philippine government itself—under Aquino—that filed the motion to dismiss its own case against TADECO, saying the lands of Hacienda Luisita were going to be distributed anyway through the new agrarian reform law.
The Department of Agrarian Reform and the GSIS, now headed by Aquino appointees Philip Juico and Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte respectively, posed no objection to the motion to dismiss the case. The motion to dismiss was filed by Solicitor General Frank Chavez, also an Aquino appointee. The Central Bank, headed by Marcos appointee Jose B. Fernandez, said it would have no objection if, as determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform, the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to small farmers would be achieved under the comprehensive agrarian reform program.
Stage is set for “SDO”
A month after the case was dismissed, on June 10, 1988, Aquino signed the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. Soon after, Hacienda Luisita was put under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) that Aquino included in the law. Through the SDO, landlords could comply with the land reform law without giving land to farmers.
On June 8, 1989, Juan Ponce Enrile, now Minority Floor Leader at the Senate, delivered a privilege speech questioning Aquino’s insertion of the SDO in her outline for the land reform law, and the power she gave herself through Executive Order No. 229 to preside over the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), the body that would approve stock distribution programs, including the one for Hacienda Luisita.
Enrile also questioned the Aquino administration’s withdrawal of the government’s case compelling land distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmers. All these, Enrile said, were indications that the Cojuangcos had taken advantage of the powers of the presidency to circumvent land reform and stay in control of Hacienda Luisita.
Aquino’s sidestepping of land reform would stoke the embers of conflict in Luisita, climaxing in the November 16, 2004 massacre of workers fifteen years later.
TO BE CONTINUED
This story was first published in November 2009, the fifth anniversary of the Luisita massacre. This updated version has been expanded to accommodate additional information. Succeeding parts of this series will be published in the coming days
The cup is human disposition which is still in the bondage of sin… that still tends to rebel against the Will of the Father who is in Heaven.
Jesus did not suffer in the Spirit. He prayed to the Father to let the cup pass from Him… because… this was His prayer for those who wish to harm Him to acquire a better disposition with regards to their way of life… that was then primarily based on acquiring material wealth rather than… Heavenly things.
The cup is obligated labor … and Jesus poured His Blood for the humankind into this cup… in order for the created beings to come to terms with the Labor of Love that leads to LIFE ETERNAL… which is the WILL OF THE FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.
“Si Manny Pacquiao, ang sagot sa ating kahirapan!” That sounds better than the other Manny. Diba, isang laban lang siya, balato na? And you have the twirling Aling Dionesia as additional entertainment!!!! Love this “hidden soldiers” (head and shoulders) endorser!
The personalities and the campaign season just gall me to the maxxx.
All these unsavory characters proclaiming their concern for a better Philippines when all they’re thinking about are better-lined $$$ & EE pockets for themselves.
All these corrupt politicians wallowing in immoral luxury are accountable to God for every single Filipino who is ekeing out an honest living from day to day and only manages to have one single, if even decent, meal… It’s shameful. It shames me. But damn if I’m going to be shamed before THEM who truly deserve it.
palagi na ngang naghihirap. mula nang mag-aral hangang mag trabaho. buwis dito, buwis doon.
tapos makita lang ang mga politicong kumakain ng masarap sa ibang bansa.
may pagbabago pa ba silang tunay na maibigay?
Speaking of Elections…
The grandnephew of the late
Ma. Corazón “Cory” Sumúlong Cojuangco-Aquino,
Nicanor “Nino” Reyes IV
[grandson of Dña. Josephine S.Cojuangco-Reyes]
will be vying for Public Office
as a Councilor for the 2nd District of QC.
so here goes the future Councilor
sharing out his love
to the Community
together with younger relatives…
Fine and great for you, Isabella, that you belong to several clans. Unfortunately, not everybody is as blessed as you are…
“free elections in the United States…” Gee, how did a self-made half-black/half-white man make it to the MOST POWERFUL post in the free world? I never knew Mr. Obama to be a rich man of any of the Zobel, Ortigas, etc., superrich clans to have bought the U.S. presidency? Or did the Waltons and the Bill Gates and the Larry Ellisons rig the U.S. elections as the same clans year in and year out dominate the political life of the Philippines? 68 million people voted for Mr. Obama; I believe some 57 million people preferred his opponent? Wow! How were more than 120 million people coerced into voting their choices???
I still stand firm on my belief. If the people are free to vote, they should vote, or else keep quiet. As long as there isn’t any statistically significant (or results-affecting) instance of voter fraud, in my book the elections are free enough. A billionaire Italian Prime Minister may control the media, but unless he *directly* controls a sizeable number of individual votes, then I still say that the people will get the government they deserve. An electorate that can be overly influenced by soundbites, billboards, 30-second ads, and propaganda news bits deserves the government it gets. A single-issue voter in the USA (pro-gun? GOP! pro-gay? Democrat! pro-God? GOP! pro-choice? Democrat!) deserves the government he gets. The common tao who votes for Erap because he is “para sa mahirap” and is an action star deserves the government she gets.
Now, having said that, I agree with your assertion that most of the world doesn’t have TRULY free and demoratic elections – if by “truly free and democratic” you mean that people only vote on substantive issues, there is zero voter fraud, and that special interests do not have undue influence in the corridors of power.
I find your site delightful and elegant. You belong to a class which still has class. So many have become bourgeois. What makes the Americans think elections in the United States are” truly free and democratic?”
I doubt those deluded Americans have had a free election since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I wouldn’t put my hand in the fire in any case. The elections in the U. K are far from clean. In Italy where I live ( in the Italian Riviera) The PM is a Billionaire and owns most of the media. Most of the world hasn’t a clue about what a so-called free election is. Eva Peron can in NO WAY be compared to Imelda Marcos, except perhaps for her love of jewelry. She built up the “descamisados” – shirtless workers and gave them powerful unions. Even Che Guevara admired her ideas and ideals. I am a Filipina of /Spanish/Austrian/Chinese descent. My clan : Ortigas, Nieto – Gonzalez, Valdez, Picornell, Vacani, Suarez, Buch, Ballesteros etc. I am blonde, 5 foot 10, fair, with blue eyes, and speak good Tagalog AND I am not ashamed to tell everyone I meet that I still hold a Filipino passport. Will explain more soon.
…much as Imeldific Imelda takes cues from Eva Perón, the current economies of the Philippines and Argentina are far from similar. The Argentine government’s budget is about 3x that of the Philippine government’s. Their GDP is about 150% of ours, even though their population is far, far smaller, such that per-capita GDP is over 400% of ours (adjusting for purchasing power).
I gotta say I’m a firm believer that in any country with democratic, free elections, the people get exactly the government they deserve. And those who are eligible to vote but do not, have absolutely no right to complain about government policies or elected officials. Now, whether elections in the Philippines are truly free and democratic is a different question altogether.
I will be honest –
I am NO voter…
as a sign of protest
[but I DUTIFULLY pay my taxes,
about 30% is deducted from my salary]
Do I have the right to complain?
Yeah, of course,
I think a lot about the Senior Citizens
who can’t even enjoy the perks of being in their twilight –
NO free medicine and hospitalization…
NO free transpo…
NO government allowance…
NO free mechanized wheelchair
NO free recreational therapy
and NO decorous housing…
yet, with US$30B National Budget,
Philippines can be similar to Argentina
but only LESS mestizos.
2009 IN RETROSPECT
30 12 2009
IT’S THE END OF 2009. Time to hand out special awards to some of the year’s newsmakers who kept readers of this blog talking, arguing, and yes, heckling one another even.
For some of the categories, there will be a winner and a runner-up. Remember: the role of the runner-up is very important. If for any reason, the winner declines his or her award, the runner-up takes over to fulfill the responsibilities of the winner. Are you ready?
In no particular order, The 2009 Heckler’s Choices are…
“Suicide Bomber” of the Year Award
Winner: Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero for dropping a bomb in a gathering of his supporters at Club Filipino. He quit his party and abandoned his presidential bid
“Sa aking paniniwala, sinuman pong nagpaplanong tumakbo bilang pangulo ng bansa, wala dapat partidong kinabibilangan. Ang partido lamang dapat niya ay Pilipinas at ang kanyang mga kapartido ay lahat ng Pilipino.”
Whatever Chiz, whatever!
“In Memoriam” Award
Winner: Sen. Mar Roxas’ quest for the presidency in 2010
– Disgusting political ads + Korina Sanchez + Wowowee appearances: the trifecta of a disastrous premature political campaign
– He languished in presidential surveys until he withdrew his presidential plans. For his supporters, it was a “supreme sacrifice.” For the Professional Heckler, it was a “graceful exit.”
Runner-up: Korina Sanchez’s bid for First Lady
– After praising her then fiancé’s “selfless act,” she went ballistic on radio, demanded an apology from Inquirer columnist Conrado De Quiros, and lambasted Sen. Francis “Bum Ka Lang sa UP nang Bigyan Kita ng Trabaho sa Dos’” Pangilinan. Ah, bitterness.
“Napilitan Lang Po” Award
Winner: Sen. Noynoy Aquino
– His mother and his sisters were against the idea. He lacked ambition. He lacked determination. He lacked leadership. But he’s got all the stars! That makes him the man to beat next year. Vilma Santos has a term for that: Lucky.
Runner-up: Edu Manzano
A last-minute replacement for Ronaldo Puno, the tv host is facing an uphill climb on his vice presidential bid. If it’s any consolation, there’s a chance that he’ll get more votes than Jejomar Binay, his tormentor in Makati City
“Laglagan Na” Award
Winner: Sen. Panfilo Lacson for his series of anti-Erap privilege speeches
– “God, save the Philippines from Joseph Ejercito a.k.a Joseph Estrada,” Lacson said.
– God knows whatever happened to your exposés Ping! Ano nga ba?
Runner-up: Sen. Jinggoy Estrada for unmasking the “real” Panfilo Lacson as he took the cudgels for his father
– A month-long ‘bangayan’ that exposed both camps’ misdeeds – allegations that were probably true.
“Me and My Stupid Mouth” Award
Winner: Cong. Mikey Arroyo for his incriminating statements during his live guesting on GMA 7’s “Unang Hirit.”
– He redefined the concept of idiocy.
Runner-up: Cerge Remonde on GMA’s breast implant
– “As I said, res ipsa loquitur (the matter speaks for itself). Just look if the President had a breast implant. That’s a private matter. It’s obvious if women have had breast implants. The sexy actresses with (unbelievable) boobs, they’re the ones who underwent breast implants. We can’t say the same thing of the President.”
Aha! Bakit mo alam? Lagi kang nakatitig ‘no?
Winner: The H1N1 Virus
– It was the beginning of humanity’s end. Not!
– People avoided public places and commuter trains. Classes were suspended. La Salle Taft became a ghost town. And Asia’s first H1N1 fatality was from the House of Representatives. When the dust settled, Safeguard posted quadruple sales. Hindi kaya pakana lang ng Procter & Gamble ang H1N1 panic?
Runner-up: Former Pagsanjan, Laguna Mayor Abner Afuang
– It was neither Katrina Halili nor Maricar Reyes who showed the nation how to make Hayden Kho wet in mere seconds. It was a fuming ex-cop. And it happened during a Senate hearing.
“Opportunity Knocks Only Once” Award (Also known as ‘Oportunista’ Award)
Winner: Sen. Loren Legarda
-She changes parties faster than she changes panties. Ooops, sorry. An adversary of Sen. Manny Villar during the C5 hearings, she is now his running mate. Why are we not surprised?
Runner-up: Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza
-Initially, they ditched the Nacionalista Party because of Bongbong Marcos. But look where they are now? Rubbing elbows with the dictator’s unico ijo. Whatever happened to ideology?
“Nakausap Ko Si Lord” Award
Winner: Pampanga Gov. Among Ed Panlilio
– In announcing his presidential ambition in July 2009, Panlilio claimed God wanted him to seek higher office. He failed to warn us though that God was fickle-minded.
Runner-up: Bro. Eddie Villanueva
– He’s been saying that the Lord wants him to run. In 2004, God did endorse him but God also voted for another candidate.
“My Lips Are Sealed…” Award
Winner: Sen. Manny Villar
– To the consternation of Senators Jamby Madrigal and Panfilo Lacson, Villar refused to testify on the C5 road project double insertion fiasco at the Senate hearing. The ploy worked for Mr. Sipag at Tiyaga. He maintained his lead in presidential surveys… until Cory Aquino died.
Runner-up: Maricar Reyes
– One of the lead actresses in Hayden Kho’s indie film, Reyes stole the limelight from Katrina Halili when she bagged the Best Actress in a Single Performance Award from the public. Unfortunately, up to this day, she refuses to deliver an acceptance speech.
“Walang Makakaagaw ng Award na Ito Sa Akin” Award
Winner: National Artist Cecile Guidote-Alvarez
– She is the executive director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, one of two agencies tasked to search for National Artists. ‘Tapos, siya mismo nanalo?!?!?! ?! FYI lang po Ms. Alvarez: naimbento na po ang konsepto ng delicadeza!
Runner-up: National Artist Carlo J. Caparas
– National Artist for Visual Arts and Film?!? Visual Arts na, Film pa? Sa’n ka pa!?!
“Sorry… Tao Lang Po” Award
Winner: Fashion designer Boyet Fajardo for his outburst in a Duty Free Philippines outlet in Parañaque City
– Fajardo’s credit card didn’t bear his signature. When the cashier asked for another ID, he got possessed, and told the staff: “Mga leche kayo! Hindi n’yo ako kilala? Ako si Boyet Fajardo! At itong putang-inang babaeng ito at ang baklang ito ay mga walang kuwentang tao! I want them fired!”
– Until now though, people are still wondering, “Sino ba ang punyetang Boyet Fajardo na ‘yan?!?”
Runner-up: HK Magazine columnist Chip Tsao for bullying his Filipina maid and calling the Philippines “a nation of public servants”
– The sad thing? It’s true.
[Fajardo and Tsao subsequently apologized but not after getting pilloried by bloggers, columnists, and some opportunist politicians. ]
Winner: President Arroyo’s Breast Implant
– Who would have thought that our diminutive president had a boob job some 20 years back? Really. Kudos to the doctors and staff of the Asian Hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa City for leaking her medical records. Wish ko lang may magtiwala pa sa inyo. Good luck!
Runner-up: Former presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo
– Whenever she spoke, I wanted to believe that she’s been “planted” by the opposition to destroy the president. For chrisssakes, tell me: how on earth was she appointed spokesperson of the world’s once 4th most powerful woman?
“Saksakan ng Kapal ng Apog” Award
Winner: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
– From cabinet secretary to senator to vice president to president to congresswoman! What’s next? Barangay Tanod?!?
Runner-up: Andal Ampatuan Jr.
I need not elaborate. The man is a beast.
“Testing Lang… Baka Makalusot” Award
Co-Winners: Manny Pacquiao and ABS-CBN
Weeks before he fought Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao rescinded his existing deal with Solar Sports and signed a contract with ABS-CBN. Threatened with lawsuits, Manny decided to junk the Kapamilya Network and honored his contract with Solar.
“Bolahin Mo ang Lolo Mong Panot” Award (Also known as “Saan Naman Nanggaling ‘Yung Linyang ‘Yun?” Award)
Winner: Joey De Venecia’s radio political ad
– “Ang buhay ko, laging may banta. Hanapbuhay inipit. Kanegosyo, tinakot. Pero lahat ng ito kaya kong tiisin makasama ko lang kayo sa pagsulong ng pagbabago at pag-angat sa kahirapan. Palabra de Honor. Delicadeza. De Venecia.”
Runner-up: Mar Roxas’ “Padyak”
-“Sama-sama tayo. Hindi ko kayo pababayaan. Lalaban tayo!”
Akala ko ba lalaban tayo? Eh, bakit ka umurong?
1: Worst Dancer in a Political Ad Masquerading as an Information Campaign for a Government Agency
Winner: Augusto “Tito Buboy’ Syjuco for TESDA
2: Corniest Protest Paraphernalia a.k.a. “‘Pag ‘Di Pa Kami Napansin, Ewan Ko na Lang” Award
Winner: The Liberal Party’s “Bawang Wreath and Necklace” during the Anti-Con Ass rally in June 2009
Quotable Quote of the Decade:
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”
~ Bill Vaughn
Most sociologists know about this: If you go to the local government level, you can see why our country can’t seem to develop. The local government tends to coddle as much voters per square meter. Slum areas can easily request for a basketball court even in the middle of the road. They have cemented walkpaths, even if their stay in the place is questionable. Maybe our politicians want everyone to be poor, that’s why they always say they are pro-poor every election time.
if we really dig deep enough, we have no choice. this is just an opinion. but unless for some selfish motive, who would want to be president of our country? we have a deficit, people are fickle, everyone wants to ask favors from the president, everyone wants to get rich quick. don’t know whom to choose as president. even if we have a good president, the system needs a complete overhaul, and no one is willing to rock the boat.
Oh please, Larry, drop the patronizing act. I do not need your prayers. I say Gibo is the most qualified because of all the frontrunners, he has had the best education. That may not be all and end of it, but THAT’s an incredible headstart. If you don’t see it that way, then we’ll obviously have to agree to disagree.
And who would you have again? Hmm…the illiterate likes of the degenerate, borracho Erap? The hocus-pocus campaigns of brother Eddie and the other shamans? Yes, Manny Villar is a self-made man, kudos to him… but you’ll get my relative ( and another of your sh*t-listees, Loren, and Bongbong, in there). Noynoy-Mar? Yeah, you’ll get NOT one but a wimpy, DOUBLE under-the-duster administration if ever I saw one.
What did philosopher George Santayana ( BTW, whose mother came from the RP ) say: unless you learn from the lessons of the past, you are doomed to repeat those mistakes. If you want to repeat a self fulfilling pattern, then that is your choice…
On these last 2 fresh posts alone, Larry, you’re outnumbered 2-to-1. I rest my case. 😉
Ganitong ka simple lang yan, if it is touted that to run for president costs 6 billion pesos, Manny has that, and Judy has that.
But does Gibo have that amount ? Nope, but PGMA and her machinery has that amount to spend on installing GIBO. And how does Gibo repay this chunk of change ?
HE WILL BE PRESIDENT and she will be Prime Ministress. Why can’t anybody see this.
He says he will not be dictated to ? That’s like Gloria saying she’s not running for president or the famous I’m sorry.
Gibo and Gloria are cut from the same cloth. BUT woe to all who cannot take this silly sometimes daffy poster SERIOUSLY for once and never again.
THIS SHALL BE my last comment on this matter. And I will tell you who I voted for after the elections. I am still doing all my research and studies till May, 2010. So much may be revealed by then, HOW can any of you have a decision on who is most qualified THIS EARLY.
I mean to weigh all their resumes, do my investigation and not put all my eggs in the basket of televised debates. I want FACTS and deductions, analysis and inner arguments, as FEBRUARY is still the start of the campaigning.
I think all of you who have made up your minds are missing the whole point, the exercise of watching them PRESIDENTIABLES in sorties, interviews, explaining their platforms.
I come from an 8 generation political family, we wait and see. We decide on issues not personalities, political besting as opposed to PR. Then facing our ballot in a private booth, we cast our unimpeachable decisive vote.
Well, if we should not vote for Gibo Teodoro, then whom should we vote for?
It’s like choosing “between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.”
Really, Gibo Teodoro is the best choice for the next President of the Philippines.
Forget about Gibo Teodoro’s supposed mesalliance with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. There’s karma. One of these days, small as she is, she might just be run over by Mar Roxas’ pedicab, or Ampatuan’s backhoe, or Dy’s tractor.
As for Nikki Prieto-Teodoro, just send her to “Rustan’s” or to “Adora” for chic distractions. She will make a beautiful and glamorous First Lady ala Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
As for Marybeth Barnes Lopez – Prieto on-and-off de Leon, she will be perfect in Paris where crimes passionel are taken lightly.
On what do you base is the BEST qualifications of GIBO, Myles ? List them please. You will rue the day if GIBO wins, he is beholden to PGMA who will squander all our taxes and the approved national budget of a trillion pesos plus as the political machinery to install Gibo.
Myles, do your homework, he has utang na loob to GMA bigtime and will allow PGMA to become Prime Ministress and he will be President. WHY CANT YOU SEE THAT MYLES ?
His TV appearances with his conyo tagalog is smoke and mirrors, he was an uneffective congressman and Minister of defense, Google all the BUKING of the Philippine Daily Inquirer about his qualifications and predicted ramifications.
And do you want to install the vociferous ambitious NIKKI as Purse Lady, her mom is a ******** who shot her husband’s nurse/mistress in her OWN car. This will be our FIRST FAMILY ?
Actually, Larry, I beg to disagree. GIBO is probably the MOST qualified of all the candidates to lead that morass called the Philippines out of the regressive holding pattern it’s in.
What is with this self-destructive mindset of dismissing the most qualified candidates due to personal ‘inis’ or illogical predeliction’ at the expense of an effective, OVERALL leader? It’s really a lingering malaise even among so-called educated sectors that their petty, personal views cloud the larger issues of who truly will be an effective Chief Executive regardless of previous baggage he/she may have had with him/her. May God help the Philippines through another turbulent period and that correct choices are made because there are singularly qualified (and substandard) candidates to be picked from.
To all the hitters of this STUPENDOUS blog of TOTO
May 2010 bring US ALL 365 days of wine, men or women and songs. May GOD grant us the health to enjoy these wishes come true and untold wealth to be able to afford these blessings in STYLE.And good taste.
I have seen the Tupaz Mansion on EDSA the huge Portraits of Jose & Petronila Tupaz was painted by National Artist Botong Francisco, I believe Botong Francisco Painted a few Portraits only to a chosen few the other one that i know is the portrait of Former Education Sec Anding Roces,one of their Botong Francisco Painting i think the title was Sanduguan were the Tupaz Family Modeled for Botong Francisco Jose Tupaz as Rajah Sikatuna Petronila as the wife of Sikatuna and one of their Daughters entertaining Ferdinand Magellan by the beach,the Painting caught the Fancy of Former First Lady Imelda Marcos and offered to buy the Painting Jose Tupaz was then forced to the sell the Painting
Petronila Tupaz was the daughter of Justo Cabochan then one of the biggest rice traders of Nueva Ecija he owned large tracts of lands and a rice mill in the Province Justo, who was half-Chinese, half Filipino-Spanish, found himself in China, working side by side with Chiang Kai Shek in the Kuomintang party, in another war for freedom. The generalissimo referred to him as his “alter-ego from a copy of a magazine that featured Chiang Kai Shek’s photograph a son Carlos Cabochan, who was a student in China then, was massacred by the Chinese communists, with his body sliced into pieces.
Chiang Kai Shek gave Justo a cane which was passed on to his family it was a rod of friendship between two great souls who fought for freedom.
After World War II and as ever, Justo loved to be with people. And people loved to line up for his philanthropy. even on his deathbed, Justo was issuing a check for his charitable causes too much of a messianic complex for one man who had an arterially enormous family.Justo was a friend of a man who used to peddle a noodle concoction on the streets of old Manila. The man carried his goods strapped on his shoulder. This peddler also fabricated his own slippers from rubber and metal wire. He eventually became a noodle magnate who often graced gatherings hosted by Justo, entertaining guests by juggling stainless steel sandoks and giving out coupons that said free two dozen siopaos, free one kaldero of mami, ‘including the kaldero,’ ‘free one big can of cooking oil.’ The name of Justo’s friend was Ma Mon Luk. When Ma Mon Luk was alive, he had meal passes that entitled them to partake of Ma Mon Luk fare courtesy of Mr. Ma.
STAR BYTES By Butch Francisco (The Philippine Star)
In my past few columns, I’ve been running articles on my 15 most unforgettable Startalk interviews. However, I have to interrupt the series to squeeze in two more favorite interviews I did for Startalk that didn’t make it to the list and which I have to write about now because the people involved are very much in the news: Jinkee Pacquiao and Krista Ranillo.
Krista Ranillo — I am actually related to Krista by affinity. This is how I trace it: My middle name is Lim and a Lim aunt (Purita) married a Cabochan (Justo Jr.) whose sister (Petronila) married a Tupaz (Jose Jr.) and that union produced former model and cover girl Lynda Tupaz, mother of Krista.
The Tupazes were very rich. From what I know, their vast fortunes came from engraving and providing medals for the military. Initially they lived in a house in Maria Clara Street in the Retiro area and if I’m not mistaken that was also where they conducted business. In the very early ‘60s, however, they moved to EDSA (then still Highway 54) where their company — El Oro — built its factory, plus a fabulous residence for the Tupaz family.
Multi-tiered, the Tupaz home had large oil paintings of the residents (very much in vogue in the old days) and if I recall it right were even framed in gold leaf. I believe there was even a separate kitchen and small dining area on the second floor to make it convenient for the residents so that they don’t go downstairs anymore when they get hungry. Or if they didn’t like the food at home, they drove to the Manila Pen at 2 a.m. for an early breakfast serving of fried eggs, tapa and fried rice (way before the tapsilog counters mushroomed in the metropolis). The Tupazes were wealthy and admired. On the ground floor, there was even an enclosed area that housed the Tupaz family memorabilia.
In 1981, Lynda married matinee idol Mat Ranillo III and the following year, Krista was born and I held her in my arms as a baby in that house. We lost touch after that. Mat and Lynda flew to San Francisco and I just heard later that the property was razed by fire. I don’t even know what the place is right now and where it used to stand, but I do remember it was very near GMA 7.
Seventeen years later, I reported for Startalk and was told that I was interviewing Krista (then starring in the soap Rio del Mar). The baby I carried in my arms had grown up into a lovely young woman. Krista was all by herself that time because the rest of the family was based in the US and felt alone. To make her happy, we put her Dad on the phone long distance and I interviewed both of them on-cam. Tears started rolling down Krista’s cheeks and I will always remember that moment as my first Startalk interview where I made my guest cry (after five and a half years of training in Showbiz Lingo).
Now, father and daughter are crying foul over accusations linking Krista to Manny Pacquiao. Is there truth to that? Honestly, I don’t know and it is easy for me to say I don’t care (as in other showbiz issues) because I do. I’ve treated Krista like my own niece and, in fact, went out of my way last year to patch things up between father and daughter because Mat was scandalized with the way his eldest child’s film Paupahan was being promoted as a sexy film. No need for violent reactions — I explained to Mat who hadn’t seen the movie that time. I had watched the movie and we at Cinema Evaluation Board gave it a B and praised Krista’s performance along with the other cast members. It was a good film and I told Mat that he should even be proud of Krista.
The rumors are unfair — if untrue — to Krista because her reputation is being torn to pieces. But if there is even a grain of truth to it, Krista, get off it before you’re called unsavory names. “Pambansang Kabit” could be one of them and it would be difficult to live that label down. But save for Manny and Krista nobody knows the truth — not you, not me. And so let’s not be condemning people until we have concrete proof.
BREAKING NEWS: Was it a break-up or a simple, ehem, “cooling off?” With a heavy heart, a Funfare DPA reported near tears that Kris Aquino and James Yap had an LQ (Lovers’ Quarrel) on Christmas Eve, prompting James to leave home. Did Kris and sons Joshua and Baby James have a blue Christmas? The “un”-couple was supposed to spend Christmas with the rest of the Aquinos at the old home on Times Street where Sen./Presidentiable Noynoy Aquino is the only occupant now. Two days before Christmas, the Aquino brood paid the tomb of their parents, former Pres. Cory Aquino and former Sen. Ninoy Aquino, a visit at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City — all accounted for except for Kris and James. Was their already some domestic problem at that time? If memory serves me right, it’s the third time for Kris and James to, well, “stay apart.” The first was during the “hope”-less controversy when the very pregnant Kris almost lost her baby (James Jr.) and the second was sometime last year. Forty days after Tita Cory was buried, they went on a Hawaiian holiday. Just when we thought that all was well between them…Now, this. The Funfare DPA quoted James as grumbling, “Hindi na ako makatiis.” Was a third party involved (on James’ side)? “It seems,” said the DPA. Oh no, as the song
says, Christmas pa naman tayo’y nagtampuhan. Let’s hope and pray that Kris and James iron out whatever differences they have — the soonest time possible! They should let reason prevail over emotion. Remember, malapit na ang election. Ayaw ni Noynoy (and running-mate Sen. Mar Roxas) ng ganyan!
From Philippine Star By Ricky Lo BREAKING NEWS: Was it a break-up or a simple, ehem, “cooling off?” With a heavy heart, a Funfare DPA reported near tears that Kris Aquino and James Yap had an LQ (Lovers’ Quarrel) on Christmas Eve, prompting James to leave home. Did Kris and sons Joshua and Baby James have a blue Christmas? The “un”-couple was supposed to spend Christmas with the rest of the Aquinos at the old home on Times Street where Sen./Presidentiable Noynoy Aquino is the only occupant now. Two days before Christmas, the Aquino brood paid the tomb of their parents, former Pres. Cory Aquino and former Sen. Ninoy Aquino, a visit at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City — all accounted for except for Kris and James. Was their already some domestic problem at that time? If memory serves me right, it’s the third time for Kris and James to, well, “stay apart.” The first was during the “hope”-less controversy when the very pregnant Kris almost lost her baby (James Jr.) and the second was sometime last year. Forty days after Tita Cory was buried, they went on a Hawaiian holiday. Just when we thought that all was well between them…Now, this. The Funfare DPA quoted James as grumbling, “Hindi na ako makatiis.” Was a third party involved (on James’ side)? “It seems,” said the DPA. Oh no, as the song says, Christmas pa naman tayo’y nagtampuhan. Let’s hope and pray that Kris and James iron out whatever differences they have — the soonest time possible! They should let reason prevail over emotion. Remember, malapit na ang election. Ayaw ni Noynoy (and running-mate Sen. Mar Roxas) ng ganyan!
Lo and behold,
if Mar has his Financier,
who says Noy doesn’t have?
A short story:
One of those is Dña. Josephin* –
apparently, I don’t know if she knows
what her nrmf administrators are doing
with regard to the Rank and File’s Pays
Foundation is just its Skin,
coz it’s inner motive is a FUNDation
When the Cojuangc*s left the Morayta University
for the Montinol*s, people WERE very happy.
They said that A. ‘Gig*’ R.M. III
being BPI President,
is still an ‘Employee at the end of the day’ –
at least, he may still comprehend the lives
of his peoples…
In short, they are still better Employers
compared to the stingy Cojuangc*s
[My late uncle said:
“Kaya nga Cory-pot eh…”] ;P
During Ondoy’s Wrath,
the not-so-state-of-the-art MRi was ravaged
since the entire Hospital Basement
was likewise unspared from the Great Flood of 2oo9.
MRi machine repairs?
Amounting to 9-figure sum…
I wonder if the Financial Support
to Noy will be a li’l lesser –
unless the Reye* side will be capitalising once again
for the protection of the family businesses
[to shield the “Chosen-few’s Estates
from the FAKE aggragrian reform]
Btw, I love the Roof Deck
of the building’s new wing…
the minimalist interior of the Executive Floor
is adorable…like a hotel
But, the so-called
Purveyor of the Quality Education
according Dr. Reyes Seniour
has long been forgotten.
Once that witch *ITCH becomes Prime Ministress, like Thatcher, it’s for LIFE. Or a very very long TIME.
The BEST ENTERTAIMENT would be a world wide LIVE reenactment of the tragedy that happened to Imeldific in Nayong Filipino, a lone asassin wielding a bolo to chop-chop her to smithereens.
Or wielding a hammer to pound her to an even SHORTER stature.
THIS twilight VAMPIRE is going to suck the trillion peso National Budget to rig next may’s elections. At least McCoy didn’t spend ALL the taxpayers money NOT like her who does it systematically and without pause of conscience.
She must DIE, for the Filipino IS worth dying for.
According to the Powers that Be, this is a looming scenario:
There will be a failure of elections in the national level. There will be NO President. There will be NO Senators.
That is why GMA is letting the presidentiables do as they please: Let Noynoy Aquino prove his popularity. Let Gilbert Teodoro prove his brains and make his followers think that GMA and Malacanang are behind them when they are actually behind Manny Villar, for multitiered reasons of business, monkey and otherwise, more than anything else.
Only the Congress / the Lower House, the Judiciary [ most of whom are GMA appointees ], and the Military [ most of whom are GMA appointees ] will remain.
Since it has been proven that the Congress / the Lower House can be had for a suitable Php price, the selection of GMA as the Speaker of the House will become moot and academic. By Law, the Speaker of the House will become President / Prime Minister and the community of nations will have to accept “her” because the succession is legitimate.
That is why GMA is working hard on her congressional seat in Pampanga, to the exclusion of much else.
THAT is one of the scenarios, according to the Powers that Be.
It’s all SO reminiscent of the Marcos years, don’t you think? Great entertainment.
Gilbert Cojuangco Teodoro HAS ALL it takes to be the next President of the Philippines, EXCEPT for his association with Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal-Arroyo, who, to the disillusionment of very many, has not proven to be a worthy successor to her father, President Diosdado Pangan Macapagal, who is respected by very many Filipinos, even in death. Sad, because she has everything it takes to be a truly great president, except perhaps for an overly “Material Girl” point of view. 😦
I agree with you Larry. Believe it or not, my 13 year old nephew said something that really surprised me coming from someone his age. We were watching the coverage of the debate in UST and at the end of the show, a survey showed that Gibo was the preferred choice all because he sounded the “most credible.” My nephew reacted and said, “how could these people think of shifting their votes for Gibo? A vote for him is like a vote for GMA (aka Gloriously Corrupt) again. Don’t these people ever think?” Kakaloka…
Krista Ranillo throws Bianca King out of her dressing room! Bianca King says her stuff was piled outside the tent dressing room she shared with Krista. I say where there is smoke, there may be a BONFIRE.
It is said that Krista at age 14 was living in the garage of Gina Alajar and husband Michael de Mesa in the US. It was Krista that caused the break-up of this marriage. That is why Gina A. was incensed at the Krista brouhaha-ha with Jinky and Manny.
Dolly Ann Carvajal said today in her column TODAY ( in a blind item ) that Mikey Arroyo intends to leave his wife slash cousin in 2010 as he will be a free man as Mikey bow out to his Mom to become Tongresswoman and eventually Prime Ministress.
It has been SEEN they are so public in their displays of affection in San Francisco recently.
No shock here, as the Arroyo family can lie, cheat and steal their way into anything and everything.
He has given Rufa Mae Quinto a huge diamond as an engagement ring [ ? ].