Beyond the TV ads


Television is generally acknowledged to have the longest reach of all the media today, with audience access estimated at 96 percent of all Filipinos nationwide.

Much has thus been said about TV’s being the political battleground in the campaign for this year’s elections. The candidates’ media gurus know this if they know nothing else. Thus the political ads that television—especially the two major networks ABS-CBN and GMA-7—is attracting even at this early stage, which should translate into hefty increases (by as much as 10 percent) in their revenues for this year. Continue reading

Hired gun


Raul Gonzalez called him a “sonamagun” (sic) and “just a rapporteur and a hired man (sic) from the UN in certain specific projects.” He also said he had been “brainwashed by the leftists.”

But Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur who concluded last Wednesday a ten-day visit to the Philippines to look into extra-judicial killings (known in the sad country of our perdition as salvaging), is not someone the UN just picked up off the streets of New York. Continue reading

Cynicism’s child


In March last year, the opposition parties of Thailand declared a boycott of the April parliamentary elections. The Democrat Party, the Chart Thai Party and the Mahachon Party claimed that the elections had been rigged by then caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and that the results would certainly be in favor of his Thai Rak Thai Party. The boycott led to the failure of elections, and eventually, to the Thai military’s taking power and removing Thaksin from office.

The opposition boycott was unprecedented in Thailand, and would be unprecedented in the Philippines. But no boycott seems to be in the horizon, either from the opposition or from the organized citizenry. Continue reading



The 2003 military occupation of Oakwood Hotel was the only confirmed coup attempt against the Arroyo regime since it took power in 2001. Senators Ralph Recto and Joker Arroyo, however, alluded, not to that one coup attempt, but to coup “attempts” when they justified last Monday their decision to join the Arroyo senatorial slate, which suggested that there was more than one stab at a coup between 2001 and today.

It’s fairly certain, however, that there were no other attempts at a coup after Oakwood. There might have been a coup plot in 2006, but it never went far beyond the planning stage. It was limited to a lot of noise and little action–although it was pretext enough for the Arroyo regime to declare a state of emergency and to pretend that the Constitution did not exist. Continue reading



All governments lie, sometimes to advance what they perceive to be the interests of the societies they serve, but often for self-serving reasons.

George W. Bush lied about finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (a claim he made over Polish TV in late 2003), Saddam Hussein’s phantom links to Al Qaeda, and Iraq’s being a “threat” to the United States and the whole Western world. Continue reading