Open Letter to Sister Flory Basa

An Open Letter to Sister Flory Basa

March 10, 2012

Dear Sister Flory,
I almost gave up on the impeachment process. I thought it was going nowhere. The defense team was succeeding in their suppression of evidences. The prosecution was fumbling all over the place. Some Senator-Judges were openly showing their dogged resolve to literally look the other way as the impeached pretender to the position of Chief Justice trampled on the very basic tenets of integrity and honesty. Like you, I had left it to the Good Lord to do justice in His own time.

But then your family, most especially you, came along. God indeed works in mysterious ways! The lawyers of Mr Corona and their misguided followers have done and will continue to do everything to discredit you, short of calling you a lying senile and disgruntled relative who wants more money. I saw your interview on TV, and you have that serenity about you. It is a peace of mind and soul that only true forgiveness can bring about. But you also have that resoluteness in your voice – firm, truthful and honest. You said charity made you forgive the Coronas, but truth and justice compels you to speak up and let the people confront the truth about Mr Renato Corona.

God has not only been good to you, He has shown even more compassion to us the Filipino people. While a lot of people your age would have been beset with illnesses of both body and mind, you have been blest with good health and a mind still so sharp and lucid. It is not so for no reason, I am sure. When the battle seemed lost, you came forth like a shining star to remind us not to lose hope. God allowed you to outlive your siblings so that the truth may be proclaimed in all its brutal glory, and not in the convoluted version being peddled to us by those who seek to block our nation’s search for justice.

Thank you for your courage in proclaiming the truth. Mr Corona might have succeeded in having his character flaws overlooked by the Judicial and Bar Council when he was planted by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Supreme Court. He might have pushed his luck too far when he got his minions in the SC to legitimize his midnight appointment. I do not think he will be able to shut out the flames of truth that you now so resolutely hold in your hands. While they have everything to lose and will do anything and everything to cover up their lies, you only have your faith in God and his abiding fidelity to his promise that His justice will be supreme over all human frailties.

If it is not too much to ask, we will be forever grateful if you will do us a great favour – please take the witness stand. Please tell this nation how this man who claims the exalted position of Chief Justice as his unalienable right has done injustice to his own kin for more than 30 years. Please tell our Senators, who have been vested by our sovereign will with power in order to protect our nation’s interest, how the same power when wielded by someone who do not have the probity, integrity and moral uprightness not to be drowned by it can abuse the same to inflict harm on the very people he is supposed to serve and protect. You, who are old and weak, you whose only weapon is the truth, can teach our power-tripping Senators a most valuable lesson in humility and fairness.

I know it might be too much to ask from a frail, 90 year old servant of the Lord. But the stakes are too high – our future and those of the generations to come. If we allow this travesty to pass, we would have sold our souls to the devil. What are we teaching to our children? That as long as you can justify it in the rules of court, it is okay to be to be dishonest? That it is okay to do wrong as long as you can win it in court? That it is okay to do away with morals and the sense of what is right and what is wrong as long as there are good lawyers that you can pay to twist the facts and suppress the truth? Is this what we want for our country? Please say it isn’t so Sister Flory. For your family’s and for our country’s sake, please say it isn’t so.

And before I end this rather long letter, I would like to assure you that in case you do decide to take the witness stand and if Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago dare try to scare you off with her histrionics and self-serving plaudits to her perceived superior intelligence, and God forbids that something bad happens to you, I will march on the street even if I should do it by my lonesome self, and demand that God open up the ocean and swallow the entire Senate and everyone else who have dragged this country into the dark abyss.God is with you. We are with you. All right thinking Filipinos should be with you. Let us not stay in the dark. You have the light. Lead us to our redemption as a nation. God Bless you Sister Flory.



Philippine president names manicurist, gardener to government positions
Posted: April 22, 2010, 1:43 PM by Gillian Grace

Althea Manasan, National Post

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has promoted her personal manicurist to an unlikely position. Once in charge of the leader’s cuticles and calluses, Anita Carpon will now, as a newly appointed board member of the nation’s housing fund, be responsible for managing millions of dollars. The Home Development Mutual Fund is the government body that handles housing loans for workers in the public sector. Local media reports that Ms. Carpon will receive a two-year fixed term and a monthly salary of about $2900 — about twice what Ms. Arroyo makes as president.

The promotion wasn’t unprecedented. Earlier, Ms. Arroyo named her gardener as deputy of the Luneta Park Administration, the country’s national park.

Ms. Arroyo’s appointments have drawn sharp criticism. Butch Abad, the campaign manager for leading presidential candidate Benigno Aquino, told the AFP:

“She further deepened the culture of political patronage in this country by putting people who are loyal to her in positions which are delicate without any regard to the qualifications of the people.”

This may not have been the best move to make three weeks before the next national election. Ms. Arroyo, who has held the presidency since 2001, will be stepping down from her post, but has put in a bid to become the next speaker in the House of Representatives. Presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar defended the decision to the AFP:

“The President wants the poorer government employees represented on the board because they are the ones with housing needs,” Olivar said.

He also added that “having a relationship of trust with the president should not count against someone.”

(Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo waves her no-doubt well-groomed hands to supporters after her State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives in Manila’s suburban Quezon City July 27, 2009. Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo)



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Sunday, April 11, 2010
by John Silva

(article appeared in Philippine Inquirer Sunday Lifestyle April 11 2010)
For over a decade, the National Museum has delighted, and inspired millions of visitors, particularly schoolchildren with its permanent exhibitions and temporary galleries coming from all parts of the globe and this country as well.
When former President Fidel Ramos assigned three colonial era buildings and the private sector raised over half a billion pesos for its upkeep and maintenance, the once seedy Museum transformed into a cultural icon. It became a steward to the country’s treasures and a fine example of a preserved historical structure. The Museum as the public face of the country has impressed foreign dignitaries and has been the site for banquets in their honor. All our presidents thereafter proudly showed off the Museum to their guests casting us as a nation of cultured citizens. There is unanimous agreement that the museum instills a sense of pride to foreigners and Filipinos alike when they visit or tour the Museum.
The recent unceremonious and downright insulting manner by which the Museum Board of Trustees led by Antonio Cojuangco and the Director Cora Alvina were removed seemed dissonant and crude in contrast to the cultural statesmanship the Museum has exercised all these years.
In a text statement, Alvina said of the move, “I am angry and hurt. I have sacrificed my personal ambitions for the museum and this is what I get. Our planned exhibitions are now in jeopardy given the sudden appointments.”
Attempts to trace the origins of this aberrant behavior on the part of Malacanang has generated waves of rumours and gossip. The President is painted as vindictive and petty, in a snit because the nominations of her underling like NCCA Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez for National Artists weren’t approved from agencies such as the National Museum, the National Historical Institute and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The President’s abrupt appointment of a new board of directors is seen as further proof that she hopes to stay longer in office.
Other rumors hint that the President still wants to curry favor with her more marginalized supporters who were bereft of earlier plums and now can lick their wounds and bask in these cultural agencies.
Whatever the innuendos, there are some very basic facts that are unassailable.
First, the replacements were done without an explanation or cause. At the National Museum, the Palace decision was met with shock and anger. The staff were in disbelief because they all felt the Board and the Director had been doing yeoman service for the nation. The four-fold increase in visitors, the continuing large donations from the private sector attested to that fact as well.
Palace spokespersons are quick to recite the mantra that appointees “serve at the President’s pleasure.” Whoever coined that claptrap must have been living in the hacienda days where beautiful peasant daughters are offered to the landlord for their “pleasure.”
That worn-out phrase has no place in today’s democracy for it does not suggest people are appointed or removed on the basis of merit but rather on a presidential bad hair day. One grants a President the choice of people in synch with a vision or to get a job done. If such a phrase is bandied about, it certainly implies appointees to be capable people. In the case of the National Museum, the original board members and the Director have made the Museum a popular tourist attraction and a source for patriotic renewal for students and the general public. Curiously when President Arroyo took office in 2004 she retained most of the trustees including Mr. Cojuangco and Director Alvina, signaling her “pleasure” in their work.
The abrupt replacements were done without the slightest sense of decency and good manners, something the President should know of given her Assumption College education and her early years under her father’s presidency. In most quarters, a job well done is usually accompanied by a commendation, a farewell banquet, or, simply, a note of thanks. These acts of civility seem to have escaped her and her social secretary who is reported to now be on the hastily reconstituted board.
Which brings us to the harshest observation that the uncalled for actions are insulting to a venerable institution like the National Museum. There has been a host of recent shuffles and appointments in the various government departments. The National Museum, now victim of such a shuffle, is not like, say, the waterworks or the traffic department.
National Museums throughout the world are treated with kid gloves and have a patina of secular veneration by citizens because of the important role they play in developing and preserving national identity. They can be compared to the Supreme Court in the cultural realm. Museum trustees and executive directors in other countries would never have received the shoddy treatment that ours have undergone. Diplomats and foreign observers witness with astonishment how the Palace has failed to appreciate the guardians of our national treasures and conclude we hold nothing sacred anymore. Arts and culture be dammed.
Unfortunately, foreign and local exhibition organizers and donors will now be reluctant to support future cultural interchanges at the Museum given the cavalier actions of the Palace.
The last and most certain fact is that these unbecoming actions will be politically costly for the President and her candidates. Voters are savvier these days and no longer express their voting preferences because of provincial loyalties or selling their votes. These days, voters also cast their ballots according to how they believe the candidates will perform in the area of education, rule of law, gender rights, the environment, arts and culture and even common decency. The president’s recent actions elevated patronage over merit, sullied a well-loved institution and angered a broad swath of voters who see themselves as cultural constituents. Of all the rumors about her actions, the one certain truth is this is a major blunder uncharacteristic of a longstanding and seemingly astute politician.

John L. Silva is the former Senior Consultant of the National Museum

It was reported today that three battalions of Army soldiers, who have been allegedly asked to refrain from listening on the radio, read the papers, or even watch TV except for the government controlled Channel Four (4), whose newscasters have quickly been reduced to barking out government lies and propaganda (tsk, tsk, Angelique). Who is coming up next, Ronnie Nathanliesz? It was well known that the president, distrusting her own security group, sought refuge in Camp Crame, a military camp in Metro Manila. She was obviosuly afraid of the rallies held in the financial district of Makati last Friday, Feb. 29, 2008.

It will be more rallies, more protests, as more Filipinos are made aware of the President’s secret deal to sell out the Philippine claim to oil deposits in the Spratlys. This was revealed in an article on the Far Eastern Economic Review. For her personal security to beat up people who exercise their freedom of speech is a clear indication of which manner she has decided to face the people of the republic. Her human rights record speaks for itself. Her attempts to muzzle the media and anyone else who wishes to express their feelings about the manner by which she, an unelected president who would not have lasted two days had FPJ not died, has chosen to tackle critcism about her corruption-ridden administration. There are still three battalions, roughly 3,00 troops, waiting in Camp Aguinaldo. Possibly to decrease the population of Metro Manila at her signal? I hope not. But it seems that they are supposed to be fighting their natural enemies, the commies, and not civilians. It seems that justice will be slow to happen, as Gloria very well knows. She apparently is of the mindset that the Filipino would rather flee than fight. Such a shame.

Bribery in RP among worst in world — TI
64% say GMA gov’t ineffective vs corruption
By Chito Lozada Business Editor
Daily Tribune 12/07/2007

The Philippines under the Arroyo regime has climbed high in the global corruption index.

Corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) ranked the Philippines in the top rung of countries most affected by bribery in the world based on its Global Corruption Barometer 2007 report released yesterday.

According to the corruption watchdog, it is the police, politicians and judges who are the most corrupt.

b)  RP tops in petty bribery
By Pia Lee-Brago, Philippine Star
Friday, December 7, 2007

A study by Transparency International has showed that the Philippines is one of the top 10 countries with the highest level of petty bribery, with 30 percent of respondents reporting paying bribes in these countries.

Included in the top 10 are Albania, Cambodia, Cameroon, Macedonia, Kosovo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania and Senegal.

By region, Africa experiences the most demands for bribes, the study found.

The study released yesterday also showed that one in every four people has been asked to pay a bribe to the police, and political parties and parliaments are the most tainted by corruption.

The poor are targeted for bribes in both developed and developing countries, according to the watchdog’s  Global Corruption Barometer 2007.

The study “has made it clear that too often, people must part with their hard-earned money to pay for services that should be free,” said Transparency International chair Huguette Labelle.

“And they do not see enough commitment when they look to their governments and leaders,” Labelle said.

The poor are hit hardest by petty bribery when they seek services compared to those from a high-income bracket.

Transparency International also said that telephone and gas providers were the least likely to demand bribes, while the police were the worst offenders.

Twenty-five percent of respondents who came into contact with the police were asked to pay a bribe and one in every six reported having ended up paying a bribe.

It was also found that judges in many countries are happy to take a bribe in return for dismissing a case or influencing a verdict in a court case.

In Pakistan, for example, 96 percent of those questioned reported corrupt practices in courts.

“The police and the judiciary in many countries around the world are part of a cycle of corruption, demanding bribes from citizens,” Transparency International’s managing director  Cobus de Swardt said in a statement.

“This troubling finding means that corruption is interfering with the basic right to equal treatment before the law.”

Labelle, however, said that Transparency had noticed some cause for hope.

“We are heartened that the public is increasingly demanding the accountability of the very institutions that most affect their lives, as this is a powerful driver of change,” she said.

Transparency polled more than 63,000 people in 60 countries between June and September 2007.

a message to all Pinoys here and abroad from Enteng of ELAGDA

My fellow e-Mandirigma,

I believe it is time for all of us to express our indignation over the scandal after scandal involving the Arroyo administration, culminating with the indecent haste in the granting of pardon to Erap.

Some of you might still recall that on December 13, 2000 – at the height of our eMandirigma campaigns during the Erap impeachment, eLagda successfully staged an International Day of Protest with synchronized protest actions in 21 key cities in the Philippines and throughout the world. It only took us 2 weeks to prepare for it and we showed to the world that we have the capacity as a people to stand up for what is right. The event caught international attention and was even featured at

We’d like to do a similar synchronized international protest on November 9, 2007.

I know it’s a tight schedule, but there are a few things working for us. First, we’ve done it before and some of you already know each other enough to quickly organize a small activity. Second, media – particularly TFC (the Filipino channel), has wider reach now. We can feed them the planned protest action in different locations and there’s a good chance that the events will be well covered. And third, there’s you-tube so you can upload your particular protest action in your locality for every Filipino to see.

We’ll keep it simple. All you need to do is gather at least 10 people to go the embassy or consular office and submit a manifesto. (I will prepare a draft and email it to the different groups who will get themselves organized). Wear black shirts. You can print slogans on the shirt, or if possible, on placards. Some suggested slogans:

Patalsikin na! Now na!
Hindi ako gago!
Hindi na kami magpapagago!
GMA – Erap ka rin!
Tama na! Sobra na!
Nakatanggap ka ba? (rhetorically addressed to Congressmen and governors)

How do we operationalize this?

If you’re part of an organized group and would like to lead the protest action, just email me directly at so I can direct people in your locality to coordinate with you. Otherwise, you may want to subscribe to any of the location-based elagda egroups so you can work with others in your location. Complete list and instructions on how to enroll are appended at the end of this message.

May I also request those who led the various cell groups in the 2000 International Day of Protest to please email me if you’re interested in again leading your group for a similar action.

BTW, our brothers in the Middle East are already organizing in the key cities, while Fr. Robert Reyes will lead activities in HongKong.


For those of you, especially those outside of the country, who have not been closely following the recent events, please refer to a previous posting: “MQ Test”. Click this to read the complete post:

Let me just add that after more than 11 days of trying to explain away with several conflicting stories the payoffs of P500K to Congressmen and Governors attending a meeting at Malacanang, the LPP (League of Provinces of the Phils.) owned up to the money being given away. And this happened on the exact same day when LPP came out with full-page ads in all major dailies declaring that there was no such exchange of money at the Palace. Grabe! Ginagago na talaga tayo.

And when the LPP ploy backfired, guess what happens next? GMA pardons Erap. For reconciliation daw. But I think it’s more for obfuscation and to shift the public debate away from the scandals hounding her. No, it will not start the healing as they proffer;, instead, it will open up old wounds that will once again divide the nation.

If you were incensed by the racist slur of Desperate Housewives, the more you should be incensed by a Desperate President who is all too willing to mock our justice system and divide the nation just to stay in power.

To put the famous words of Abraham Lincoln in our local language:

Kaya mong gaguhin ang ilang tao sa lahat ng panahon,
Kaya mong gaguhin ang lahat ng tao paminsan-minsan,
Pero hindi mo kayang gaguhin ang lahat ng tao sa lahat ng panahon.

Tama na! Sobra na! Hindi na tayo magpapagago!

God bless,


The elagda cell groups:

In December 2000, I created one egroups for each possible location for the purpose of mobilizing for the international day of protest. Many of these cell groups are marginally active, but can still be reactivated for the present campaign.

The name indicates the location. For example, for batangas, I’ve created

To subscribe, you have to send a blank e-mail to the group’s subscribe
address. In the case of batangas, you have to send a blank e-mail to To make it easy for you, I’ve
included the “subscribe” suffix in the email addresses below so you can
simply click on it, then click send.

To post a message, you need to send it to the egroups address (without the
“subscribe” keyword). Again, using the example above, you send it to

Here’s the list of cell groups with corresponding locations: (for olongapo and subic) (for cagayan de oro) (for General Santos) (for Quezon City) (San Francisco) (Los Angeles) (San Diego) (Washington) (Chicago) (Texas) (New York) (Hongkong) (Singapore)