Category Archives: Politics

Miriam Calls It As It Is!

For those who might doubt the country is run by a handful of political families, clans or dynasties; read this! Senator Mirian Defensor Santaiago is one of the kick-ass Filipino leaders that would be respected in just about any country. The Philippines needs a lot more people like her and the current President.

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on Friday said that the Philippines is the “world capital of political dynasties,” with 178 active dynasties.

Santiago said that voters should shun members of political dynasties, whom she called “stationary bandits,” “gluttons for power and privilege,” “the equivalent of Mafia crime families,” and “monopolies and combinations in restraint of opportunities for others.

“Some dynasties have ruled for eight years, some for 20 years, and some for the incredible period of 30 years. They have carved out a monopoly for themselves, as if only their families are qualified for public office. Some are even running for the Senate,” she said.

She lamented that the proliferation of political dynasties is a result of the 13 years of deliberate inaction by legislators on anti-political dynasty bills.

In the Senate, Santiago said 80 percent or 18 of the current 23 senators are members of political families. In the partylist system, 91 percent or 52 seats are held by millionaires and multi-millionaires.

She said that of the country’ s 80 provinces, 94 percent or 73 out of 80 have political dynasties. In every province, there is at least two political families.
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While the Constitution prohibits political dynasties, Santiago said Congress has failed to pass the implementing law.

“The Constitution is written in stone. And yet Congress deliberately and willfully refuses to pass a law. Each member of Congress took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Why are we rewarding instead of punishing them?” she asked.

As she had a litany over political dynasties, Santiago spared former Las Pinas Rep. Cynthia Villar from her attacks. She said Mrs. Villar, who is seeking a Senate seat, is different from the other candidates because her breed also comes from successful female entrepreneurs.

Power Costs Rise In Visayas

The other day there was approval given to raise the cost of electricity in Cebu. The reasons for this are many but a cynic would argue it is because the provision of electricity is in private hands. Sticky, rich, powerful hands. They need the money, simple as that.  The Philippines is the most expensive place in South East Asia for electricity and part of that is due to the way it is generated. Some is made via coal-fired plants but most comes from diesel generators. Very expensive to run but with the fall in oil prices recently one would expect electricity costs to drop. No, one wouldn’t because one is not that naive, is one?

The Philippines should be able to generate thermal power like Iceland does, but they don’t. They could use wind and solar power more, but they don’t. I guess they don’t want to invest in the infrastructure and no foreigner will. Do you blame them? The German company that built NAIA 3 is still waiting for the millions the Arroyo government reneged on paying them. Who can trust anyone here if that is the message the government of the day sent out? The same government that got into power funded by donations from the Chinese government! Then they nearly sold their telecommunications upgrade to the Chinese so some rich son of a powerful political family could get his share of the billions being thrown around.

Make no mistake, this place is as corrupt as they come. Just accept it and either get your share or play the game their way. If you complain you might as well go home because you won’t last. It’s their game, they just like it when you pay for the ball, the uniforms, the oranges at half time and then say nothing while they cheat to victory. Hahahaha, welcome to da Pilipeens.

Spratley Islands Tension Eased

With the Philippines withdrawing two naval vessels from the contested South China Sea region due to bad weather, it is hoped tension between the Philippines and China will ease. While China will ultimately win because it is much bigger than the other players in the game, it is good to see the Pinas giving the Chinese a run for their money.

A glance at the map clearly shows China being well away from the islands compared to Vietnam, Malasia, Brunei and the Philippines. What Taiwan hopes to achieve is beyond me but I guess they want the oil too. Or maybe they feel it will help their cause if China invades should they be seen siding with the anti-Chinese group. I won’t say pro-American but it is obvious the other contender in this game of one-upmanship is the USA.

In the 21st century I predict China will get more and more powerful and the USA weaker and eventually isolationist and withdrawn. After centuries of suffering under emperors then decades of iron rule under the Communists who now realise technology is not letting their people stay in the dark and ignorant of decent standards of living, the billion plus people of China will soon be as dominant a force in the world in this and coming centuries as Anglo-Europeans were in previous ones. All I can say is Nei Ho Mah!

Who Do You Trust?

It turns out, according to several sources actually in Angeles City itself, that the police raided several establishments the other night and arrested some 400 GROs, bargirls. If past raids are anything to go by, several of those girls will have been raped while in police custody. All will be told if they post silly numbers for bail money they will be released. Of course they won;t have the money and so some will be able to buy their way out with sexual favors, others will simply be used by the misogynistic cops. The average Filipino male is not known for his emancipated views on equality of the sexes at the best of times and those in a position of power over someone else, less so.

The reason Smith was arrested was apparently because two of his staff are underage. Forget the fact that they produced official, Angeles City approved ID, backed by National Bureau of Investigation ID that they are over 18 , who they claim and have no criminal history. That is irrelevant in the Land Of Lip Service. It is not the responsibility of the government to provide authentic ID or prevent abuses and the issuance of false ID for favors and fee. No, it is the duty of the foreigner to make sure despite all the checks and balances required by law being in place, that these girls are of age. Please! yet go down the street to a Filipino owned bar and the girls are underage WITHOUT fake ID yet the owner is related to some petty official and pays the right people.

Welcome to da Pilipeens. If anyone doubts this post, feel free to prove me wrong. Not to any Filipino standard of proof such as ‘dat is our pride’ kind of standard. Proof. We can produce dozens of sworn affidavits as to what we know and have seen. Including statements from bar girls raped in custody.  As for the fate of Smith, it all depends on how much he has to pay and who he pays it to. Forget justice. Court cases dragging on for years due to incompetence, corruption and greed… forget it. Pay up and get the hell out of Dodge is our advice.


Hypocrisy City

An Australian bar owner in Angeles City, Terence Smith, is facing life in prison for ‘Human Trafficking’, the latest UN approved buzz word for pimping. Despite no doubt running the bar for many years, he has only now been arrested and the bar closed. Following this and some other show case raids against foreigners, the US took the Philippines off its list of countries not doing enough to fight human trafficking… and of course reinstated millions of dollars of funds.

Angeles City has dozens of bars where patrons can pay a ‘bar fine’, euphemistically called an ‘early work release’ so the GRO or Guest Relations Officer (hostess) may leave work early and go on a date with the patron. Sex is not guaranteed as afterall, this is a proud catholic country where prostitution is illegal. So why out of all the bars there did they swoop on Smith’s? Obviously he failed to pay the corrupt police enough money. These are the same police that framed the late John Martin on ridiculous drug trafficking charges a decade ago.

So what about the other bars? What about the thousands of bars owned by prominent Filipinos catering purely to Filipino clientele? What about the parents selling off their children to pedophiles and middle men? What about the evil Arab employers in teh Middle East that rape and beat Filipina house maids? Well, they are not as easy a target as a foreigner running a bar, employing dozens of locals and putting money back into the economy.

Calling prostitution ‘human trafficking’ is only accurate if the prostitutes are unwilling participants, surely? While technically yes, they are being trafficked in one respect, the sad reality is too many have few other options for employment. While the catholic church continues its medieval enforcement of no contraception laws the population continues to explode well beyond the country’s capacity to sustain the growth. The rich don’t care as they send their kids overseas and continue to make money from the poor. Many prostitutes actually enjoy the attention and the income and the lifestyle, seeing it as a sure fire way to meet a foreigner who they can marry and use to leave this all behind, then help their family from abroad. If nothing else it is not a one size fits all situation with the solution lock up the bar owners.

One can not moralize against the bar owners and the patrons without also moralizing against the girls who choose to seek work in this industry. Unlike horror stories of prostitutes in Europe being trafficked from Eastern Europe, drugged and treated abominally by pimps, the bar girls are much better taken care of, at least in the foreigner owned bars. The cases of rape by clients, bar owners and the police are out there but rarely investigated as it would require taking action against prominent Filipinos, many with political connections and all with money. And in this, as in any country, money certainly talks.

Make no mistake, the authorities have supported these bars for many years with officials patronising them and enjoying the free services offered, as well as cash payments. To say otherwise is to be naive and deny what is widely known. Smith is a scape goat, one of many foreigner scape goats sacrificed on the altar of US Aid, tied to paying lip service to whatever the latest UN buzz word is this month.

Short Time Behind Bars

While there are still victims of the corruption and incompetence rife in Filipino society languishing behind bars while case after case is thrown out of court, local prisoners seem to be able to enjoy a wide range of privileges, including prostitutes and ‘sleep outs’! A report in the local press exposes the corruption and serious problems at many prisons with prostitutes being brought in to work for their pimps after dark, inside the jail.

While not unheard of in western prisons, there are many cases of female correctional officers selling themselves to well off prisoners and even becoming pregnant. They lose their job and in some cases their family, all for the want of either a condom or some restraint. But don’t blame the women officers. If they were paid a fair wage perhaps they would not resort to this base trade.

Then we have the ‘VIP’ prisoners such as former Batangas Governor, now convicted murderer Antonio Leviste, arrested in Makati outside a building he owns there! You would think they would have some kind of ‘proceeds of crime’ legislation and take the building off him, let alone not let him out to carry on his business.

Make no mistake, Secretary De Lima is doing all she can to sort out this cess pit of corruption but it is not an easy task and not one achieved overnight. The good thing is she and the current Acquino administration seem to have the will to do the job. We can only wish them luck and support them in their uphill battle.

For the report see:

Meralco’s Millions – Manila Has Most Expensive Electricity In Asia

It is official, at around US$0.18Kwh, Filipinos in Manila pay more for their electricity than the Japanese (US$0.179Kwh). They pay all costs, taxes and there is no subsidy for industry. And they wonder why foreign investment avoids building their next factory there? Of course one might ask who owns the private supplier, Meralco? That link takes you to a Wikipedia entry that is partly written by apologists for the Lopez family who owned the company completely at one time, as well as a true view of the extent to which Marcos went to control his country and enrich himself.

Of course, Meralco are doing that now, according to some inquiries being held as to why Manileno’s pay so much for their power. While people in Sydney pay the same for their electricity as those in Manila do, the outages aren’t as often. Of course, the corruption of the New South Wales government recently ousted in a state wide landslide election win for the opposition was as blatant as any Filipino politicians’, they just had the good grace to deny it and be embarrassed when caught out. Not that anything changed and, like the good citizens of Manila, Sydney-siders too carry the costs. Surely this proves that it matters not where you live, either you are doing the screwing or you are one of the screwed.

Good News

The plight of a British man and his Filipina partner held in jail for nearly two years, seems to be nearing a conclusion. Of the original 24 complainants, only four remain after the other cases were dismissed. There is every chance the matter will be resolved soon as Secretary of the Department of Justice DeLima has reminded prosecutors and judges of the rule that insists cases are resolved within 180 Days. Given it has been three or four times that since this matter began, keep in mind Secretary DeLima has only recently taken up her post, appointed by President Acquino himself.

Although still early days, it seems there is political will and a genuine determination in the Acquino administration to not only have justice done, but have it seen to be so. We fully support the President and his appointees in their difficult task. It was President Quezon himself who said he would rather see the Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than run like heaven by foreigners. He got his wish but it could be that pretty soon, the Philippines may become that heaven on earth and this time, at the hands of the rightful owners, the people of the Philippines.

It Could Happen To You

Our Contributor, Dennis Horner has some powerful things to say about the Philippines. We remind everyone his opinions are not automatically those of the webmaster, site owner or any other contributor or comment maker.

There is a lot of buzz at the moment on the Expat Yahoo Groups about a Brit and his wife being held in jail for nearly 2 years. The alleged crime is illegal recruitment, which is aligned to human trafficking and that is tied to nearly half a billion dollars of US foreign aid and is being used to leverage action from the government. Meanwhile, the expat and his wife are being held in a municipal jail. Imagine an overcrowded cell with little ventilation and no porper sanitation. You sleep on cardboard or plywood and you have to pay P10 to use the toilet. Food is disgusting so those with family and funds cook their own brought in from outside.

Imagine losing an eye to untreated diabetes while being held on remand? Imagine having to send your kids off to stay with a relative of your wife who believes you have to be guilty because you are in jail! No presumption of innocence in this country and not much due process either.

When your case is heard the complainants fail to show… every time over 18 months yet the case is still not thrown out of court! Is it because of connections between the authorities? Some misguided idea if a Kano is involved it has to be a conviction? Do they need convictions at any cost to keep the foreign aid?

Meanwhile, there is no excuse for the disgusting, primitive conditions the prisoners are held in. The state has a duty of care to them while they are being held. Apparently this is a non-bailable offense. Employees of the business owners were held for months but finally released on bail and the expat wasn’t an owner, just an employee. Meanwhile the parents suffer every time they have to send some cash to help their son because most of it is stolen or misused. The attorney just keeps asking for more money.

The only excuse for the poor conditions is the culture of the Philippines. Unless you are one of the ruling elite, you are nobody. Justice is only for those who can pay, this is the Third World, remember. There are decent, honest and hard working government officials trying to fight the corruption and do what they can, but they are outnumbered and outgunned.

If you are thinking of retiring to the Philippines… think again. This can happen to anyone. trumped up charges are a common occurrence to extort money from foreigners and locals. The blog owners brother in law was falsely accused of raping a 13 year old. A non-bailable and capital offence. He fled because if he had gone to jail he would still be rotting there. There were ten witnesses who swore he never left their sight the entire time the alleged crime took place. The witnesses saw the girl wander off with a man and a bottle of rum earlier. She said she scratched her attacker and said where in detail, yet not a single mark was on the BiL’s body. The parents wanted money. They are ignorant, poor and basically trash. The police smelt money because the BiL has two sisters married to Kano’s. However one was an LAPD Sgt and the other a former Military Policeman and both smelt a rat. The ex-LAPD Sgt went there, arranged the witness statements the imbecilic local cops refused to do as they just wanted a payment, and sorted out a lawyer. In the end they had to pay the parents of the ‘victim’ to sign a release, yet they still ask his parents for money regularly. Worse were other neighbours and so called friends who all smelt a chance to make a peso and tried to get money too.

(Editor’s Note: Basically this is true, it did happen and there is sadly more to it that is even worse for the system here)

If you want a vacation in a stinking, poorly run, lousy and disease infested armpit with vile, corrupt officials risking your liberty and safety, then come to the Philippines. Sex is easy to get and cheap, so too the booze. Don’t feel guilty, the local big shots treat the poorer people like their feudal vassals too. It is the Land of Lip Service and it is a sad joke. The saddest thing is telling the truth like this is a crime over there. It hurts their pride so much they react like petty little kids.

The good news is the new President is trying to change this. He is genuinely doing a lot to stop the systemic corruption that is so much a part of Filipino society. The team of public servants he has put in place are fighting hard to make those changes and I have seen written proof they are doing their best. I doubt they will make much of an inroad in this term and if he is re-elected, in the next but hopefully they will do all they can.

The Philippines has too many great people to let it stay such a festering sore on the world. Most are overseas trying to make enough to send home because the rich few rule everything and keep things that way because it suits them. Happens all over the world, it is not just a Filipino thing. If you can get out, you do. If you can’t then you are too busy keeping alive to try and fight the system and the powers that be. Too easy to disappear or die. Or simply have someone make a false accusation against you and you disappear into the jails and court system, forever.

You can either do the sensible thing and sever all ties with the Philippines. Find a chat mate online from another country for instance. Or you can decide to support the efforts of the President and his team. I love the Philippines and the Filipino people, but I will not pretend for a moment it is anything but a basket case of a corrupt sewer like country. I got my family out then went back for a vacation and I doubt we will be back again for many years to come. There are nicer, cleaner, safer and better run tropical countries in SE Asia to visit with better infrastructure and cuisine. There are better places to retire to, to visit and so on. Once you have your Filipina why remain if you can function in your own country? I sincerely hope by the time I am ready to retire, the President and his team have turned the country around and made it worth retiring to.

How’s He Doing?

By all accounts President Acquino is living up to his promises and getting the things done he said he would. He hasn’t made a lot of friends in some areas but then that was expected. Will he keep it up for the term of his presidency? Time will tell.

There has been a lot of press about new foreign investment in the Philippines and due in no small part to the confidence the current administration lends to the economy. Many foreign investment concerns will never forget the way the German consortium was not paid by the previous government for the construction of NAIA3 at Manila Airport.I think new money will be coming in from China and South Korea, even though President Acquino returned from the recent Asian summit talks with billions in foreign aid form Australia and other western countries.

If nothing else, a new broom does indeed sweep clean and many in cushy government jobs are looking over their shoulders or waiting for the hand on the collar. Too many have been corrupt and taking money they shouldn’t and their time seems to have come.It remains to be seen if one oligarchy simply takes over from another as has happened time and time again here.