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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cost of Electricity in Labor Hours

List of Countries and Hours Needed for a Minimum Wage Worker to Pay for 100 KWH of electricity

Country
100 KWH in USD
Min Wage in USD
Hours to Work

France
9.59
9.60
1.00
Best
UK
9.72
8.96
1.08

Germany
9.21
8.29
1.11

New Zealand
8.42
6.54
1.29

Australia
14.67
10.83
1.35

US
7.40
5.15
1.44

South Korea
6.21
2.49
2.49

Taiwan
6.35
2.33
2.73

Japan
18.34
5.62
3.26

Brunei
5.49
1.37
4.00

Singapore
10.49
2.35
4.47

Hong Kong
13.46
1.92
7.00

Malaysia
6.58
0.79
8.33

China
9.06
0.72
12.50
Best 3rd World
Thailand
8.27
0.65
12.68

Philippines
11.16
0.66
16.86

Indonesia
12.92
0.33
39.49

India
8.81
0.13
68.75

Cambodia
17.75
0.22
82.05

Myanmar
7.99
0.10
83.07

Vietnam
10.00
0.09
113.61

Bangladesh
8.04
0.05
176.45

Laos
12.79
0.05
263.49

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mike Exiled

Photo
Susan Roces, widow of Philippine movie star Fernando Poe Jr, gestures as she criticises Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during a news conference in Manila June 29, 2005. Arroyo moved dramatically on Wednesday to reduce pressure on her government from graft allegations, saying her husband had agreed to leave the country.
Photo
The President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapal Arroyo, with husband Jose Miguel.
Photo
 

Angry Susan

Photo
Susan Roces, widow of Philippine movie star Fernando Poe Jr, gestures as she criticises Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who moved dramatically to reduce pressure on her government from graft allegations, saying her husband had agreed to leave the country.
 

Newsbreak Analysis

Survival options
By Glenda M. Gloria
Newsbreak Managing Editor


HER apology notwithstanding, it is clear to President Arroyo's opponents as well as some of her supporters in and out of government that she should go -- in due time. She intends to stay for the long haul, though.

The President's June 27 televised address on her controversial telephone conversations with "a Comelec official" was forced on her by people and circumstances. Three weeks before this, the administration took a two-pronged strategy: to cover up the scandal and accuse the opposition of a conspiracy to oust her. When this failed to placate the President's big allies (big business and civil society), a public apology became inevitable.

Now, the Palace is in what an ally, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, has described as an "affirmative mode." The President has committed to her Cabinet that she would banish her husband, her son Mikey, and her brother-in-law Iggy Arroyo from the power corridors. Some of her advisers have asked her to push this further: the forced resignation of some officials closely associated with the First Gentleman and the fast-tracking of the process toward a parliamentary form of government.

It's a survival tack. Before June 27, cracks were already showing in the ruling coalition. Both chambers of Congress were divided between those who favored her silence on the tapped conversations and those who wanted her to break it. Some of her Cabinet secretaries were planning to quit if she continued to stonewall, according to one Cabinet secretary interviewed by NEWSBREAK.

At the House of Representatives, Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, the President's former national security adviser, sought the playing of the CD at the ongoing House inquiry. On the TV talk show "Strictly Politics" on June 24, Golez said: "Of course, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. But my feeling is that it's better to be damned telling the truth." A "moral issue" such as the recording, he said, "will certainly divide the House, I'm very sure of that." After the President's apology, he called for her resignation.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, head of the Liberal Party (LP) that is allied with the administration, also wanted the President to speak up. While he has displayed fierce loyalty to the President, his partymates are not exactly shooting down any post-Arroyo scenario, LP insiders say. Incidentally, Drilon is second in the line of succession, after the Vice President, in case the presidency is vacated.

Palace Alibis

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye is now saying that the President had wanted to talk about the recording from Day One but that her legal advisers had dissuaded her against it.

Bunye is not exactly being honest. In the first week of June, when the Palace got wind of reports that the opposition was going to present the CD, a small crisis group led by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita met to design a way out for the President. They decided to preempt the opposition by raising a specter of an anti-Arroyo conspiracy related to the recording. On June 6, Bunye presented two versions of the CD, and described as "altered" the version that the President now appears to have authenticated with her June 27 address to the nation.

Bunye pointed to an "original" version that he said could be the genuine one, and this contained the President's voice and the voice of another man -- not Election Commissioner Virglio Garcillano. The man who later came out to say that he thought it was his voice on it was Edgar Ruado, chief of staff of the President's brother-in-law, Negros Occidental Rep. Iggy Arroyo. National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Reynaldo Wycoco joined the fray, declaring that based on the NBI initial findings, both had been tampered with (in reality, they were because both were mere portions of a bigger recording).

Air Force T/Sgt. Vidal Doble Jr. reinforced the administration line that the opposition was behind a campaign to oust the President. Now in police custody, the former agent of the intelligence service of the Armed Forces (ISAFP) gave a statement hewing to the government's conspiracy line: that he was paid a handsome fee to appear on video and admit to having wiretapped Garcillano. He said that he was kidnapped by anti-Arroyo personalities like former NBI deputy director Samuel Ong, thus his (Doble's) presence in the San Carlos seminary where Ong was holed out for a time. What Doble did not say was that he was in San Carlos ahead of Ong.

All this time, the government barely lifted a finger to look into who did the wiretap and who leaked it. The technical group of ISAFP (MIG 21) is being investigated, but it's not clear if this probe is going anywhere.

In any case, to some of her Cabinet officials, the President's two-week stonewalling had become untenable. What added pressure on them were calls from former Arroyo executives, Raul Roco and Renato de Villa, for the President to break her silence. Civil society groups that backed Arroyo in Edsa People Power II met with De Villa and asked him to support calls for the creation of a truth commission, which he did.

Crucial Meetings

On June 23, civil society representatives met with Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman, who has the President's ears. They told Soliman that former President Corazon Aquino and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales had "informally" declared their support for the commission. Soliman relayed this to the President.

On the night of June 24, Soliman led a small group of Cabinet officials in a meeting with the President. Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. facilitated the meeting. NEWSBREAK learned that after the scandal broke, Cruz met several times with his colleagues from the Villaraza Angcangco law office, otherwise known as The Firm. The law office has been counseling the President since she was a senator.

A Cabinet secretary present at the meeting told NEWSBREAK that they conveyed three messages to the President: that she speak on the scandal, that she apologize to the nation if it was her voice on the CD, and that she remove from the power scene the three controversial men in her life: her husband, her son Mikey, and Iggy Arroyo.

A bigger group of Cabinet officials, including members of her economic team, met separately with the President the following day, June 25. At the end of the day, a dozen Cabinet officials were in favor of the President speaking up while nine were against it. Among those who supported her speaking up were Cruz, Soliman, Education Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad, and key members of the President's economic team. Those who expressed their misgivings included National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

On Sunday, June 26, the President's wordsmiths made the first draft of her speech. The original plan was for her to deliver it Sunday night, according to one of Malacañang's PR consultants. For some reason, it was rescheduled the following day, June 27. By that time, a second draft had been made. The speech was focused on her admission, according to the PR consultant, to debunk speculation that she had intended to talk about her husband in the same speech.

As NEWSBREAK went to press on June 28, we were told that the President would make an announcement regarding the First Gentleman on June 30 and that probably a few heads in the Cabinet would roll in the days ahead.

As early as June 24, on "Strictly Politics," Rep. Salceda laid down what looked like the "moving on" strategy of the administration. He said that with the First Gentleman most likely "removed from the scene," the President could now call for a constitutional convention and declare herself a transition president who would facilitate the change to a parliamentary form of government. What's important, said Salceda, is that "you minimize [the impact of the scandal], you distract attention."

Many of the President's advisers, like Salceda, think that her apology would be accepted by a public already tired of two Edsa People Power revolts. "The people would rather go for such orderly and systematic mode of change wherein there could be some element of self-sacrifice on the part of the government."

Three scenarios

The apology could work both ways, however. It could, for instance, open fresh revelations about fraud in the last elections.

The anti-Arroyo groups are looking at three ways to break the impasse:

• Tap respectable people to persuade her to step down.

• Force her out through massive protests and eventually a withdrawal of support by the military.

• Impeach her.

Now that she has authenticated her voice on the recording by apologizing for it, some of her supporters are inclined to eventually ask her to step down. If she doesn't, we can expect at least a couple of Cabinet resignations by those who see this as fundamentally a "moral" issue.

The second scenario is being pushed by the mass-based anti-Arroyo movement: the Left, the Joseph Estrada and Fernando Poe groups, officials of former President Fidel Ramos' government led by Salvador Enriquez Jr., some Catholic bishops and priests, and others.

None from the Estrada and Poe groups is actively pushing the third option, which is impeachment.

There are three reasons for this. One, it's still debatable to some if the CD's contents could be construed as an impeachable offense. Second, the President has the numbers in both chambers of Congress and also the wherewithal to make lawmakers toe the line. Third is the bias against Vice President Noli de Castro: "Noli is not prepared for the presidency and this constitutional succession will merely perpetuate elite politics," said Ronald Llamas, president of the left-wing Akbayan party.

To the mass-based anti-Arroyo groups, even if De Castro becomes president, old problems of poor governance and corruption will persist. They're saying that there has to be change in the system, which breeds those problems.

In the political spectrum, therefore, three scenarios are considered likely if the President is forced to quit:

De Castro takes over. We will witness a repeat of Edsa People Power II whereby the President is ousted and the Vice President takes over. This appeals most to businessmen and current power holders. It doesn't shake the system much, and because De Castro is an ally of the President, he is not expected to radically change policies and the people already appointed to implement them. However, this does not appeal to the Left, some Church groups, and the Enriquez-led groups that are advocating a revolutionary transition government instead.

Drilon takes over as caretaker president. Both the President and De Castro are forced to resign. The Constitution puts the Senate President, who is Drilon, at the helm of government until a special presidential election is held not more than 60 days after Congress enacts the election law. This appeals to presidential wannabes like Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Under this scenario, even De Castro is not banned from running. But some groups don't want a "snap" election. They prefer instead the election of delegates to a Constitutional Commission, which would draft a new Charter and facilitate key changes, including a shift to a parliamentary government. Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Teodoro Casiño says that "a purely constitutional option will not cure the problem, because the problem is not GMA [Arroyo] per se but the system."

Revolutionary transition government. This is supported by the Left, some Church personalities and groups, some academics, Enriquez, and even some military officers. It hews closely to the 1986 revolutionary government of Corazon Aquino, after the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. For one year, Aquino presided over a revolutionary government and formed a Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution. Those favoring this scenario, however, are divided on the type of revolutionary government to be set up. Some, such as the groups of retired general Fortunato Abat and Enriquez, are amenable to a civilian-military council, while others, such as Akbayan, want a purely civilian transition government.

All these assume, of course, that the President will step down. But both her critics and her supporters are convinced that she won't. "She won't resign," says Llamas. "She would rather resort to extreme measures to stay in power."

This stalemate could drag on, to the detriment of the economy. A prolonged standoff, however, could benefit either side.

The President can buy time, go on a campaign mode by funding projects in the provinces, and show that she's still the best choice. On the other hand, her mass-based opponents also see this as an advantage for them; they can use this period to organize and expand. Even then, a forced takeover of government needs to have the support of a key command section in the military. The President commands the loyalty of her senior generals, but not the junior officers.

Susan Says no!

And at this point, the anti-Arroyo movement still lacks a face that it could sell to the people. Estrada has offered to head the transition government, to the consternation of leftist groups that have agreed to tactically ally themselves with him against Arroyo. He has not repeated the offer.

This uneasy alliance between the Left and the Estrada-Poe camp was one reason for the delay in the presentation of Ong to the media on June 10. It took a while for the Estrada-Poe and leftist groups to agree on who would present Ong.

Things would probably have turned out better for them had Susan Roces, widow of Poe, agreed to join their campaign. But she would hear none of it, according to an anti-Arroyo activist who sat down with Roces to discuss the current situation. "She has made it clear to us that she does not want to be used by anyone," the source told NEWSBREAK. The most that she's willing to do now is to join a campaign to educate the people on electoral reforms. "I am not a Cory Aquino. The situation before and now is very different," the source quoted Roces as saying.

It certainly is.

With reports from Miriam Grace A. Go and Isagani de Castro Jr.

Inquirer Editorial: Suspended Verdict

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's apology to the nation last Monday was not without precedent. On Jan. 1, 1964, President Diosdado Macapagal used his New Year's Day speech to say, "We have not been without our faults and our failures. This we must confess in all sincerity ... I, too, am a mortal with feet of clay." He was reacting, in his day, to charges of being dictatorial in style, if not in aspiration. His speech was met with skepticism.

Skepticism, too, has met President Arroyo's brief speech, in which she admitted that she had talked to an official of the Commission on Elections in what, she assured the nation, was merely a desire "to protect my votes." What we cannot be skeptical about is the fact that the President made a virtually unprecedented apology to the nation, and that in her own way, she tried to be loyal to the example set by her father.

Unfortunately, at this time, the nation is less interested in her loyalty to her father's memory than it is in whether or not her assertion of merely having committed a "lapse in judgment" is something for which an apology should suffice.

The brevity of the President's address was surprising. Considering that she took three weeks to break her silence, she could have gone into more detail, if only to minimize the questions that have inevitably arisen as a result of what she said. The shortness of her statement owes to the advice of retired Justice Jose Vitug and her other legal advisers, as Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye made clear afterwards. However, it would have been more statesmanlike, and surely more politically responsible (if legally risky) to give the nation a fuller explanation of what she did, and why.

The President would have us believe that there's nothing wrong with "protecting" votes, though even the most generous interpretation of her defense must waver in the face of the repeated instances that she phoned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) official whose name she still refused to say. Every realist will assert that the President is a politician like any other, with a pressing need to "protect" votes, the same as any other candidate. Be that as it may, the President, too, has an obligation unique to her office, which is to protect the votes of everyone-her opponents, included. This is the reason, going beyond the actual provisions of electoral and other laws, why she, by her own reckoning, committed an error in judgment. In any contest, it just looks plain wrong to be calling the referee for a private conversation.

It would have been better for the President to tell the Filipino people more, so that they would have to imagine less. We do not even know which specific recordings she considered regrettable, since she did not bother to say which were authentic. Why focus on this question? Because the people have no choice but to hold back from either accepting or rejecting the President's apology, until they have a chance to see for themselves if the conversations she had with the Comelec official were merely improper.

Since the President has admitted that she did have some conversations with the official, those conversations indisputably become a legitimate public issue. They deserve the widest dissemination and discussion. They deserve the closest scrutiny. Their existence is undeniable, though their origin still remains obscure. The criminal nature of their origin deserves the most thorough investigation, but such an investigation cannot be used, in any way, to impede the public's obligation to listen and make up its own mind.

This should be the last time illegally sourced tapes are used as fodder for a political scandal. The scandal, however, is there, and we would like to see two resolutions to this crisis, at the very least. The first is a demonstration of political accountability, by which we mean that the public must have a chance to weigh the President's statements against the recordings. The second is that the perpetrators of the illegal wiretapping (if indeed it was illegally recorded) be identified and punished.

There has to be no ifs, ands or buts. The President has spoken; now, let the people be heard.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Exile Mike Arroyo

Posted by Yvonne Chua, PCIJ

PRESIDENT Arroyo's unexpected announcement on Monday night came after 12 of her Cabinet members persuaded her to break her silence on the controversial phone conversations she had with former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano after last year's elections.

The Cabinet secretaries hinted to the President that they would quit their posts if she did not speak up, sources in the Arroyo administration said. The sources requested anonymity.

In a meeting with the President at the Palace last Saturday, the 12 Cabinet members also offered her the following pieces of advice:

  • Make her husband, Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, "disappear";
  • Remove the First Gentleman's "alagad" (followers) from certain government agencies like the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp.; and
  • Order presidential son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel "Mikey" Arroyo, and presidential brother-in-law, Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio Arroyo "Iggy" Arroyo to take a leave from the House of Representatives until the end of the year.

Jueteng whistleblowers have identified the three Arroyo men as having received payoffs from the illegal numbers game.

The 12 government officials resorted to the measure after reaching an impasse with hardline colleagues in the Cabinet who did not want the President to admit that it was she on the taped conversations with Garcillano.

One source said they also perceived that the President, who was then stonewalling about the tapes, "was more inclined to side with the hawks than the doves."

The 12 Cabinet members who urged the President to talk were Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, Labor Secretary Patricia Sto.Tomas, Science Secretary Estrella Alabastro, Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita "Ging" Deles, Trade Secretary Juan Santos, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Secretary for Government Mass Media Cerge Remonde, Education Secretary Florencio Abad, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla and Communications Director Silvestre Afable.

Among the hardliners in the Cabinet, who insisted that the President should not admit to anything, were Interior and Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes, Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Merceditas Gutierrez, Presidential Management Staff Chief Rigoberto Tiglao and Environment Secretary Michael Defensor, according to sources.

Afable reportedly helped write the statement the President read Monday night admitting to her "lapse in judgment" when she called the then elections commissioners supposedly to "protect her vote" in last year's elections.

During Saturday's meeting, the President committed herself to act on the 12 Cabinet members' "advice" regarding the Arroyo men, but made no mention of them in her statement last Monday night.

Monday, June 27, was the birthday of the First Gentleman. "That's why she didn't have the heart to address the issue," a close aide of one Cabinet member said.

Through all of these, meanwhile, Vice President Noli de Castro was kept in the dark. "He's isolated and being treated as an outsider," said one of his advisers.

De Castro was never consulted or briefed during the crisis. Instead, he was merely asked to show up at Malacanang a couple of hours before the presidential announcement and given a statement to read, which the vice president dutifully did.

Gloria-Gate

In this photo released by Malacanang Palace, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo prepares to address the nation live on television Monday from the Presidential palace to break her silence on the alleged wiretapped conversation she had with an election official about rigging the results of the 2004 national elections.
Photo
 
Photo
Philippines President Gloria Arroyo looks on before delivering her statement in a live television addressed to the nation at the Malacanang presidential palace, in Manila.
Photo
 
Photo

Arroyo: Mea Culpa

Mga Minamahal kong Kababayan,

For the last several weeks, the issue of the tape recordings has spun
out of control. Tonight, I want to set the record straight. You
deserve an explanation; from me, because you are the people I was
elected to serve.

As you recall, the election canvassing process was unnecessarily slow
even after the election results were already in and the votes had been
counted.

I was anxious to protect my votes and during that time had
conversations with many people, including a Comelec official. My
intent was not to influence the outcome of the election, and it did
not. As I mentioned, the election had already been decided and the
votes counted. And as you remember, the outcome had been predicted by
every major public opinion poll, and adjudged free, fair and decisive
by international election observers, and our own Namfrel.

That said, let me tell you how I personally feel, I recognize that
making any such call was a lapse in judgment. I'm sorry. I also regret
taking so long to speak before you on this matter. I take full
responsibility for my actions and to you and to all those good
citizens who may have had their faith shaken by these events. I want
to assure you that I have redoubled my efforts to serve the nation and
earn your trust.

Nagagambala ako. Maliwanag na may kakulangan sa wastong pagpapasya ang
nangyaring pagtawag sa telepono.//pinagsisisihan ko ito ng lubos.//
Pinana'gutan ko nang lubusan ang aking mga ginawa at humuhingi ako ng
tawad sa inyo, sa lahat ng mga butihing mamamayan na nabawasan ng
tiwala dahil sa mga pangyayaring ito. Ibig kong tiyakin sa inyo na
lalo pa akong magsisikap upang maglingkod sa bayan at matamo ang
inyong tiwala.

I took office with a mandate to carry out a plan for the nation. Since
that time, I have focused on making the tough but necessary decisions
to make up for years of economic neglect. We passed a comprehensive
fiscally responsible national budget; raised new and necessary
revenues to reinvest in the people; and implemented new
anti-corruption measures that have led to the highest collection of
taxes in history.

Nothing should stand in the way of this work, or the next phase of my
reform agenda, which includes new investments in education and social
services with our new revenues; and an expansion of our successful
anti-corruption and lifestyle checks.

That is why I want to close this chapter and move on with the business
of governing.

I ask each and every one of you to join hands with me in a show of
unity, to help forge One Philippines, where everyone is equal under
the law, and where everyone has the opportunity to use their God-given
talents to make a better life.

Our nation is strong and getting stronger. The progress is steady and
I ask you to walk with me on this journey to rebuild our great nation.
I remain your humble servant and promise you that I will fulfill my
constitutional oath of office to serve the people to the best of my
ability.

God Bless the Philippines.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Ping's Expose

Posted by Yvonne Chua, PCIJ
 
MOST of the 30,000 additional election returns the Commission on Elections ordered from private printers for the May 10, 2004 elections were "pre-fabricated" and used in President Arroyo's bailiwicks to ensure her victory, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said today.
 

Lacson, who showed samples of what he said were questionable election returns at a press conference at the Manila Hotel, said the Arroyo camp had been filling up the forms months before the elections and used this in places like Cebu, Iloilo, Pampanga and Las Piñas. 

The opposition senator, who ran and lost in last year's presidential race, said four boxes of these documents are now with a "man of the cloth," but refused to name him. 

Lacson didn't say how and where he obtained the returns.  Neither did he give an estimate of how many votes were added to Arroyo's count as a result of the manipulation.

The senator also didn't explain how the Arroyo camp managed the logistics of replacing the original elections returns with pre-fabricated ones.  Presumably, this took place before the precinct-level elections returns were counted at the municipal canvass. It would have entailed switching around hundreds, if not thousands of documents either at the precinct or the municipal hall, or anywhere in between. 

This operation, if indeed it took place, is more complex than the usual "dagdag-bawas" (vote padding and shaving), which entails doctoring the municipal or provincial certificates of canvass (COC) and their accompanying statements of votes (SOVs).

None of the controversial recordings of Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano mentioned pre-fabricated election returns, only fake COCs and SOVs.

Lacson, however, listed some unusual features of the supposedly suspect election returns:

  • The page number was printed, but not the form number.  "When the official ERs finally came, all they had to do was remove page one and substitute their pre-fabricated page one, complete with the matching, stamped serial number," Lacson said.
  • The thumb marks on an election return from Floridablanca, Pampanga, according to Lacson, "make you wonder whether they used babies of kittens to make the marks."
  • The "taras" (handwritten stick marks) on an election return in Las Pinas resembled those on  an election return in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

He also insinuated that Rep. Ronaldo Puno, who handled the President's campaign, was involved in the allegedly dubious election returns.

At the press conference, Lacson also released the initial findings of UniQuest Pty Limited, an Australian firm that specializes in forensic audio examination, on the supposedly wiretapped conversations between Garcillano and the President, as well as with First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and former Sen. Robert Barbers.

The June 10 report of Dr. Brian Lovell said there was no evidence that the hour-long conversations Lacson had submitted for examination had been edited.  Lovell, an associate professor at the University of Queensland and the research director of the Intelligent Real-Time Imaging and Sensing Group, said:

"(T)here are no obvious clicks and jumps in the conversations that would indicate editing. The background noise is quite consistently present throughout the recordings. Due to the close temporal interactions between the voice and background noise, it is my opinion that these signals were recorded at the same time and passed through the same communication channel. In my professional opinion, it would be difficult to edit these conversations imperceptibly because the background noise is so variable that it acts as a continuous thread underlying the voice recording—thus virtually any attempt to reorder or alter the conversation would lead to audible anomalies in the background."

Lacson said he was still awaiting UniQuest's full report, which would identify the voices the CD his office had submitted and the two CDs Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye released on June 6.

He said his office turned over the voice clips of the President, Garcillano, the First Gentleman, Barbers and Edgardo "Bong" Ruado, who Bunye had said was the "Gary" heard in what he claimed was the original tape.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Milking Tarongoy

Philippine's President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (front R) celebrates with Robert Tarongoy (front L) at the Malacanang Palace. Filipino accountant Robert Tarongoy, held hostage in Iraq since November, was released unharmed on Wednesday after months of negotiations with his militant captors, Philippine government officials said.

ABS-CBN Stories

Filipina bank teller reported kidnapped in Bahrain
A Filipina bank teller has been reported kidnapped in Bahrain as the country cheered the release of accountant Roberto Tarongoy from his Iraqi captors, it was learned Thursday.
 
Helen Nodalo told ABS-CBN News Thursday that her daughter Grace was abducted by a still unknown group outside her residence in Bahrain around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Grace, 39, is working as a bank teller for Bahrain Financing.

The elder Nodalo said Grace's co-workers sought the help of authorities after the Filipina failed to show up for work that day.

Initial reports indicated that Grace's blood-stained cellular phone and sandals were recovered outside her residence.

The victim's mother said she and her daughter last talked during the first week of May.

She said Grace came home for vacation in March and left for Bahrain on May 28. She did not elaborate.

Nodalo said she does not know of anyone wanting to see Grace dead.

She, however, said the victim had a spat with another Filipina.

The still unidentified Filipina reportedly blamed Grace after she was ordered transferred to the company's Manila office.

Nodalo appealed to the government to help find her daughter.

The foreign affairs department has yet to confirm the kidnapping of Grace.

The report of Grace's abduction was released Thursday just as Tarongoy arrived from Bahrain.

Tarongoy, 32, was kidnapped in Iraq November last year by an unidentified group of armed men. He worked for Saudi Arabia Trading and Construction Company.

Tarongoy, a native of Davao, slipped into Iraq despite the ban on deployment of Filipino workers imposed by the Department of Labor and Employment.
 

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Cardinal Sin, 76

Jaime Cardinal Sin, 76
Former Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin passed away Tuesday morning after a lingering illness, DZMM reported. He was 76.
abs-cbnNEWS.com
Philippines' Cardinal Sin dies at 76
MSNBC 
... his death early Tuesday. "Our call to all the faithful is to include in their prayers the soul of Cardinal Sin," Sescon said.
Cardinal Jaime Sin Dies at 76
Los Angeles Times, CA 
MANILA, Philippines -- Cardinal Jaime Sin, the Roman Catholic cleric who helped lead revolts that ousted two Philippine presidents, died early Tuesday.
Philippines Cardinal Sin is dead
BBC News, UK 
Cardinal Sin played a key role in the Philippines' transition to democracy following the lengthy dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
Cardinal Jaime Sin Dies at 76
San Francisco Chronicle, CA 
Cardinal Jaime Sin, the Roman Catholic cleric who helped lead revolts that ousted two Philippine presidents, died early Tuesday. He was 76.

Market Prices in Carbon June 21 2005

Per kilo (unless otherwise noted)
Onions bulbs - P46
Onion Leaf - P20 to P25 per bundle
Garlic - P56
Ginger - P8
Eggplant - P10 to P14
Carrots - P24
Ampalaya - P26
Okra - P15
Kamunggay (horse radish) - P10
Chili - P30 to P40
Tomato - P8 to P14
Potato - P26
Squash Red - P7
Kalamansi - P20 per hundred
Chayote - P7 per piece
Cabbage - P20 to P25
Sikwa - P15
Buko - P6 to P7
Pinakbet - P14
Sari sari - P12

Monday, June 20, 2005

Hello, Garci Ring Tone Download

Here are Mp3 and wav files of the Hello Garci ring tone:

Indymedia server:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (124.1 KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (72.1 KB)

Server Mirror 1:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (360KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, WAV format (197KB)

Server Mirror 2:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (360KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, WAV format (197KB)

Server Mirror 3:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (360KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, WAV format (197KB)

To save, right-click on the file and click save as.

Many thanks to QC Indymedia and Yuga of PinoyBlog and Ploghost for hosting the files.

Links to the entire tape are at the PCIJ blog.

How do I put it in my phone?

1. Download your choice by clicking any or all of the files.

2. Transfer the downloaded file/s from the computer to your phone using either an infrared connection or a USB-to-phone cable.

3. For those whose phones have GPRS/WAP access, point your phone's browser to www.txtpower.org and download it directly to your phone.

4. Once transferred to your phone, the sound file may be used as ringtone for calls or text messages.

Other options

1. Ask for file-transfer from friends who may already have the ringtone. Both your phones should have either infrared or bluetooth connections.

2. Join any of the future anti-GMA rallies and look for the TXTPower banner. Next big date is June 24.

3. Watch out for the TXTPower "Hello Garci" Ringtone Download Team when they go around offices, stores and tiangges, communities and schools!

Friday, June 17, 2005

ABS-CBN Headlines

Erap cries witch hunt in bid to link Laarni to wiretapping
Former President Joseph Estrada on Friday accused the Arroyo administration of "utilizing its law enforcement agencies" in targeting the opposition in a political witch hunt to punish the wiretappers.
abs-cbnNEWS.com
 
 
You can download these MP3 files of the alleged conversation between Pres. Arroyo and former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano:
 

Eksena sa EDSA ikinasa, naunsyami

Ulat ni PATRICK PAEZ
The CORRESPONDENTS

Magulo at maraming tao ang isang bahagi ng Epifanio de los Santos Avenue sa Makati noong Biyernes ng gabi, Hunyo 10.

Wala itong kinalaman sa panibagong pag-aaklas o katumbas ng "EDSA 4" kundi nakaugat sa nakabalandrang mga sasakyan ng pulisya, mga peryodista at pulitiko sa harap ng seminaryo ng San Carlos sa Guadalupe, Makati.

Nagkumpol sa harap ng seminaryo ang lahat nang mabalitaang nagtatago roon si Samuel Ong, dating pangalawang direktor ng Pambansang Kawanihan ng Pagsisiyasat.
more...

Download Garci Ring Tone From TxtPower

June 17, 2005
Here are Mp3 and wav files of the Hello Garci ring tone:

Server Mirror 1:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (360KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, WAV format (197KB)

Server Mirror 2:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (360KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, WAV format (197KB)

Server Mirror 3:
"Hello Garci" ringtone, MP3 format (360KB)
"Hello Garci" ringtone, WAV format (197KB)

To save, right-click on the file and click save as.

Many thanks to Yuga of PinoyBlog and Ploghost for hosting the files.

Links to the entire tape are at the PCIJ blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Can Gloria Hold On?

President Arroyo's website lists the sparkling achievements that paved the way to the Philippine presidency -- magna cum laude graduate, dean's list at Georgetown University, a masters and doctorate in economics.

But like the lonely class genius, Arroyo has still not worked out how to win acceptance from her deeply divided people.

Barely a year since winning her first electoral mandate, she is the most unpopular president since dictator Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in 1986 and a rising drumbeat of scandals threatens to undermine her modest reform achievements.

"I offer my hand and I hope it will be taken with the same faith," Arroyo told the crowd at a windswept Manila park after her narrow election victory last year.

more...

ABS-CBN Download

 
You can download the controversial "Gloria-Garci" tapes from ABS-CBN Archive.

ABS-CBN Headlines

Arroyo: It's now or never for destabilizers
President Arroyo on Thursday said her detractors have taken advantage of her low popularity rating to mount another effort to grab power.
abs-cbnNEWS.com
 
 
 

Results: Kapamilya Run (Executive A)

BIAGAN, NOGIE

Executive A

00:38:52.03

JUAREZ, JOEL

Executive A

00:40:38.60

BARRERA, FELIX

Executive A

00:42:33.42

FERAREN, STEVE

Executive A

00:45:48.41

VILLAFLOR, OSCAR

Executive A

00:46:53.42

VILLASOR, JOVENIANO

Executive A

00:47:57.71

LOPEZ, EMMANUEL

Executive A

00:48:48.67

AMORA, SERGIO

Executive A

00:51:33.21

SULATRE, DODONG

Executive A

00:52:36.63

MILITAR, ROEL

Executive A

00:55:21.31

CANTON, EDGARDO

Executive A

00:58:22.25

LOPEZ, OSCAR

Executive A

00:58:24.97

SALCEDO, BERNARD

Executive A

00:58:26.05

ABABAT, RODRIGO

Executive A

00:59:09.35

SUALTRE, DODONG

Executive A

01:02:49.83

INGLES, GABRIEL

Executive A

01:03:40.38

LETIGIO, ROMEO

Executive A

01:04:22.90

SANCHEZ, EDGAR

Executive A

01:05:13.05

Results: Kapamilya Run (Executive B)

GUIA, CELESTINO

Executive B

00:37:59.74

ALGFA, HELDING

Executive B

00:38:03.06

AMBOANG, JEFREY

Executive B

00:38:39.34

ESTREMOS, RANDOLPH

Executive B

00:38:41.44

QUIMBO, MARCING

Executive B

00:39:23.51

LAURENTE, JERRY

Executive B

00:40:17.25

TUGDANG, PADRINO

Executive B

00:40:52.83

CAPUTOLAN, CONDRADO JR.

Executive B

00:40:55.89

SABINO, DONATO

Executive B

00:42:12.35

CAPANGPANGAN, MARIO

Executive B

00:42:43.00

PALCO, LEONY ANRE

Executive B

00:43:45.61

PAITUAR, ROGER

Executive B

00:43:58.66

SATIERRA, RENE

Executive B

00:44:37.41

MACHACON, ACHILLES

Executive B

00:44:59.18

CAPUTOLAN, RAMONITO

Executive B

00:45:00.99

LAMPARAS, VINCENT

Executive B

00:45:02.99

CASAS, DONNEL

Executive B

00:45:10.91

EDAR, WILFREDO JR.

Executive B

00:45:28.38

REMO, VIRGILIO

Executive B

00:45:51.60

BASAYA, DEMETRIO

Executive B

00:46:01.04

SADAYA, NOEL

Executive B

00:46:58.62

CANE, SOCRATES

Executive B

00:47:51.87

ENRIQUEZ, DENNIS

Executive B

00:47:59.27

FLORES, ANASTACIO

Executive B

00:48:03.27

MORALES, LENLY

Executive B

00:48:42.12

HERMOSILLA, VINCENT HIROO

Executive B

00:48:49.83

SEREÑO, ALEX

Executive B

00:49:00.79

ALINDAJAO, ERWIN

Executive B

00:49:23.30

DUQUS, REY

Executive B

00:49:56.27

NUDALO, DORIS

Executive B

00:50:23.57

TIU, RUEL

Executive B

00:50:31.84

ZAMBO, RAMON

Executive B

00:50:48.93

ARCILLA II, LOU

Executive B

00:51:11.15

GALBAN, EDUARDO

Executive B

00:51:28.91

DY, PETER

Executive B

00:52:31.12

NARISMA, REYNALDO

Executive B

00:53:20.13

PUSTA, BONIFACIO JR.

Executive B

00:53:22.57

TECSON, TED

Executive B

00:53:41.64

BARSAGAS, ANDY

Executive B

00:55:15.65

JUAREZ, JOSEPH

Executive B

00:55:40.58

LO, ANECITO DENNES

Executive B

00:55:43.61

POTESTAS, RODRIGO

Executive B

00:55:59.24

ENRIQUEZ, ELVIN JOHN

Executive B

00:56:22.37

LAWAS, MICHAEL

Executive B

00:56:23.36

SAQUISAME, MIGELFIO

Executive B

00:56:32.73

BEJOC, EXPEDITO

Executive B

00:56:33.75

LAURO, ELVI

Executive B

00:56:49.27

BALAZUELA, EVANGELINE

Executive B

00:56:55.22

MONTERO, ROBERTO

Executive B

00:56:57.68

BERMUDEZ, RAYMUND III

Executive B

00:57:07.35

TANTIADO, FAUSTINO JR

Executive B

00:58:09.21

GEOPIO, WILSON

Executive B

00:58:14.93

MACAYA, CYREL

Executive B

00:58:17.97

LIPARDO, MARINA

Executive B

00:58:38.54

QUINTANILLA, GENE

Executive B

00:58:42.51

MEDALLE, JUAN

Executive B

00:58:53.35

GOMEZ, ROGER

Executive B

00:59:02.80

ARIAS, GIOVANNI

Executive B

00:59:10.42

OSTRIA, HENRY

Executive B

00:59:11.09

AENJO, PAUL

Executive B

00:59:11.34

NEMENIO, BOY

Executive B

00:59:39.51

CANTON, REX

Executive B

01:00:08.44

CAMACHO, NICHOLS

Executive B

01:00:09.75

ALBAÑO, ALMA

Executive B

01:00:12.45

MANTALABA, EMIR

Executive B

01:00:23.91

FERNANDEZ, JOSE

Executive B

01:00:28.99

YU, MARK

Executive B

01:00:48.48

SE, KING

Executive B

01:01:05.26

JUERA, REYNALDO

Executive B

01:01:26.17

LAMPARAS, MA. CRISTINA

Executive B

01:02:18.66

OMOLON, ROSALEO

Executive B

01:02:27.06

BURGOS, BEIL BRIAN

Executive B

01:03:12.21

SANTOS, ALBERT

Executive B

01:03:25.60

SALDUA, FELIX

Executive B

01:03:48.03

PADON, NOEL

Executive B

01:04:01.33

LARRAZABAL, POTENCIANO

Executive B

01:04:27.29

DIGNOS, TITING

Executive B

01:05:41.77

DATAN, LESTER

Executive B

01:06:52.53

GULLAS, JOHNVIC

Executive B

01:06:55.44

SALES, JUNMAR

Executive B

01:07:50.27

GO, JOHN

Executive B

01:07:55.98

BRANZUELA, MARITESS

Executive B

01:08:26.38

TAN, RICHARD

Executive B

01:08:49.23

LAGUMBAY, DODONG

Executive B

01:08:54.36

NEMENIO, PACO

Executive B

01:10:16.46

COMAJIG, NANIE

Executive B

01:11:20.33

TAN, ROMEO JR.

Executive B

01:13:09.44

CINCO, JOSE

Executive B

01:14:10.87

GULTIANO, ALBERTO

Executive B

01:15:29.47

PANGANIBAN, ALEX

Executive B

01:16:36.33

NAVAL, FERNANDO

Executive B

01:17:07.94

ASNE, CHRISTOPHER

Executive B

01:21:46.05

YPIL, WENDELL

Executive B

01:21:52.36

VIRGARA, JOSEPHINE

Executive B

01:21:57.10