The campaign period for local election has started last 26 March 2010, In today’s local politics, the only way by which candidates will assure victory is to engage in wholesale vote-buying or any act of bribing voters, ”umpisa ng mamulat ako sa isyung pulitika, ay wala akong natatandaan na halalan na walang nagaganap na bilihan ng mga boto. As always, the victors and the losers are guilty of vote-buying or bribing voters, an election offense, but nobody has been charged nor punished for such offense. Now, it’s time to change this culture and state of mind of the “Kandidatos” in bribing the “Botantes”, On the other hand, the Botantes would look up to the Kandidatos as an instant charitable institution/s,  the giver of money to the deprived people in the community.

 To change this culture, I would encourage all the Kandidatos in Sorsogon to be the catalyst of change for clean, peace, fair and honest elections, by signing in the proposed COVENANT herein below. The signing of the peace covenant will assure our constituents in Sorsogon to have an honest and peaceful election this May 10, 2010, san vote-buying, etc.

 The covenant enjoins all the candidates to uphold the fundamental principle of democracy that sovereignty resides on the people and all government authority emanates from them.

It also enjoins the candidates not to resort to vote-buying or intimidation in any manner and destroy the voters’ power and freedom of choice.

Furthermore, the covenant enjoins all of the candidates from Governor down to municipal/city councilors to campaign in accordance by the law and rules in the spirit of good grace and friendly rivalry.

Finally, the candidates will be answerable to the public if and when they will violate the covenant they have signed by voluntary withdrawing their certificate of candidacy. /

 Atty. Benjamin Gaspi








This Covenant made and entered by and among:






 WHEREAS, Undersigned signatories are Candidates in the May 10, 2010 local elections vying for the position of Governors, Vice Governors, Board Members, House Representatives, Mayors, Vice Mayors and Councilors in the Province of Sorsogon

  WHEREAS, the Constitution declares that the Philippine is a democratic and republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people (the electorates/voters) and all government authority emanates from them. And, the same charter guarantees every citizen of the state (of competent age) to have equal access to public service (and prohibit political dynasties as maybe defined by law), regardless of the status in the society.

  WHEREAS, in order to ensure a fair, honest, peace and clean elections in the Province of Sorsogon as well as to prevent electoral fraud, bribery, unnecessary spending, vote buying/selling and that every bonafide candidate/s be free from any form of harassment and discrimination in the upcoming local elections, the undersigned candidates have entered into this covenant in the spirit of peace and order electoral exercise regardless of political party affiliation, principle and belief.

 IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the parties hereby agreed and covenanted, as follows:


 Section 1.



The following are prohibited acts during the start of campaign period or election.

 As candidates, undersigned signatories are duty bound to abide by and comply with, in conscience and in principle, the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code (BP Blg. 881) specifically ARTICLE XI (Re, Electoral Contributions and Expenditures) under Section 96, (Soliciting and Receiving Contributions from Foreign Funds), Section 97 (Prohibited Raising of Funds), Section 99 (Report of Contributions), Section 100 (Limitations upon Expenses of Candidates), Section 101 (Limitations upon Expenses of Political Parties), Section 102 (Lawful Expenditures), Section 103 (Person Authorized to Incur Elections Expenditures), Section 104 (Prohibited Donations by Candidates) and to also observe religiously the mandates as stated in the following provisions ARTICLE XXII (Re, Election Offense), particularly Section 261 and all sub-paragraphs as provided in the said Code.

 Furthermore, the candidates who joined the peace accord have agreed not to engage in either vote buying or vote selling, not to bribe voters with money, directly or indirectly nor to intimidate them through violence or threat.

 They have also agreed to abide by the COMELEC rules and regulations not to carry or transport firearms and other deadly weapons as well as to hire security aides and bodyguards more than the allowable limit prescribed by the COMELEC.

 They have also agreed to a friendly rivalry and to observe the rules and regulations on prohibited propaganda such as the posting of posters, billboards, streamers and other propaganda materials outside the COMELEC poster areas.

 Any of the undersigned candidate who violates, or attempt to violate the afore-quoted stipulation, re, engaging in vote-buying, and giving money or material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions, committed acts of terrorism to enhance his/her candidacy, spending election campaign an amount in excess of that allowed by the Code and among other acts constituting election offenses, shall motu proprio voluntarily withdraw his/her certificate of candidacy from the COMELEC. No court action is necessary, but in conscience, she/he must tender and withdraw his/her from the political race for committing such violations.

 Undersigned commit themselves to be catalysts of reformation and transformation for a better society, insulated from the old system of traditional politics or politics of patronage and promise not resort to vote-buying to enhance the chances of winning in the election.


Section 2.



This covenant shall remain in force and effect until May 10, 2010 local election, and shall be binding between and among the undersigned candidates, who are law-abiding citizens.


Section 3.



This Agreement shall be effective immediately upon signing by the parties hereof.


 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties, hereto signed this _____ day of April 2010 in Bulan, Sorsogon, Philippines.




(To sign online, please use the reply or comment  box  with your name, official e-mail and relevant candidate’s profile information. Or the candidates may print out this covenant and sign it among themselves.)



February 27, 2010

Sta. Ana, Manila, Philippines


Mr. Jun Asuncion;

 Dios marhay na hapon po.

 Last Thursday (Feb. 25), on my way to Manila from Davao City, I was bombarded with calls and text messages from friends and relatives abroad and also in the Philippines to confirm the message/s appearing and circulating in the email accounts, particularly the accounts of my contacts, allegedly coming from me that I am asking people for financial assistance amounting to 1600 pounds to pay for my hotel bills, as I was stranded in UK for a project and that I am in dire need of money and asking for financial assistance, etc.

 Apparently, the same messages were sent and forwarded to my other contacts, if not all, by the impostor, who was able to gain access to my password ( Even  “dora the mouse” (Angelita Kowalewski) was shocked upon reading the message, and according to her, she was already contemplating of sending money to me, had she not received my email to her disclaiming the doing of the hacker/swindler. Worst, upon my arrival in Manila, I could no longer open my email account, its password has been altered or changed by the hacker/swindler. Even worst, I could not recall the email addresses of all my other contacts out there, and because of this incident, I could not anymore send information or clarification to them on the matter.

 Jun, thru your blog (BO), I would like to take this opportunity to inform everyone that the message/s appearing below (italics in Red) are not true and fictitious. Because, I’ve never been to UK and I did not even attempt to enter UK. I am here in the Philippines, working as Legal Officer in the anti-narcotics agency of the government. I would assume that the message/s herein below is the work of a swindler/crook to deceive the public, using somebody’s name for personal gain, advantage and interest.

 I denounce and condemn this act in the strongest possible terms. Thank you very much, Jun.


 Benjamin “Benjie” Gaspi


 NB: My new official email add: ( but, I am also using ( as my unofficial alternate email. Kindly disregard or delete the email add (, salamatunon tabi, mabuhay ka!

 REPRODUCED  hereunder are the email message/s sent by the swindler/hacker to all my contacts to deceive people, and enrich himself/herself at my expense.


From: Benjamin Gaspi

Sent: Thu, February 25, 2010 5:38:02 PM

Subject: Please help

“Hope you get this on time, sorry I didn’t inform you about my trip in UK for a Program, I’m presently in UK and am having some difficulties here because i misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept. presently i have limited access to internet, I will like you to assist me with the loan of 1600 pounds to sort-out my hotel bills and to get myself back home.

 I have spoken to the embassy here but they are not responding to the matter effectively, I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I’ll Refund the money back to you as soon as i return,let me know if you can be of any help.I don’t have a phone where i can be reached.

Please let me know immediately.





Kidnapped ICRC Workers: Good News And Bad News

by: attybenji 


The good news is – Filipina hostage Mary Jane Lacaba was rescued and recovered alive from the kidnappers (April 2, 2009). Some reports alleged that she was handed-over formally by the captors to the negotiators, not rescued, upon payment of ransom!

The bad news is – the Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni are still under captivity, sad to say, a day after freeing Lacaba, the kidnappers threatened to execute these two remaining captives. We do not know when? May awa ang diyos, huwag po naman sana!

With this new development, authorities are readying the evacuation of over 21,000 residents in 5 towns of Sulu for a possible worst case scenario or armed confrontation between security forces and the Abu Sayyaf bandits, as reported in various newspapers (April 3, 2009)

In retrospect: Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba, Swiss Andreas Notter and Italian Eugenio Vagni have been kidnapped and remained in the jungles of Sulu since January 15, 2009. They were abducted after a visit to a local prison where the Red Cross is funding a water project.

Recall that barely an hour before the ultimatum would lapse, Philippine Red Cross Chairman Senator Richard Gordon asked the Abu Sayyaf kidnappers for proof that the three Red Cross volunteer workers were alive as government troops and tanks moved closer amidst the threats to behead the captives. (April 1, 2009)

Senator Gordon’s messages to the captives, while uttering the words of comfort and inspiration, suddenly tears fell from his eyes, saying – “The whole family of Red Cross prays for you and I’m proud of the way you’ve comported yourself”. “I’m sorry I should be stronger than you because I’m not in the midst of the ordeal you are in now.”

And to the captors he pleaded, – “There was no glory in what the captors are doing. You are just pinning yourself down. These people are not your enemies. They were here to help the prisoners in the city jail by providing them with water and other needs”.

As the crisis deepens, the Catholic Church is urging Filipinos to pray for the release of the kidnapped ICRC workers.

The CBCP circulated copies of a pastoral letter in all catholic churches exhorting all Filipinos as brothers and sisters to reach out to both kidnappers and their hostages with prayers, saying that let it be a whole nation praying that all may experience true freedom and security. Likewise The CBCP is appealing to both kidnappers and the government to use every peaceful means to address thought peaceful process what ever is the root of this on going problem of kidnapping in Jolo, Sulu and the whole country.

We, as peace loving Filipinos, are sympathizing with the plight that the hostages are facing right now in the hinterlands of Sulu. They are facing the uncertainty of tomorrow, “nangangamba tayo na baka gagawin ng mga bandido ang kanilang banta”, God forbids!

– Just try to sympathize with their families, and imagine the sufferings, anguishes, mental torture, psychological-emotional pains, sleepless nights, mental shocks, fears and insecurities. As, anytime from now, the captives would be caught in the crossfire of the battle between the kidnappers and government forces once the latter commences its rescue operations. Also, anytime from now, they can be executed and beheaded by their captors.

From a distance, we can only offer our prayers for the lasting solution to this horrible situation in Sulu and for the release of the two other captives from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf bandits.

After freeing the Filipina, the fate of the hostages is still uncertain and unknown, and the fear of bloodshed is inevitable once the military begins its rescue operations in Sulu. Madaming inosenteng civilians ang madadamay sa bakbakang militar at mga bandidong grupo!

– Also, try to dramatize the situation, and imagine a scenario, or put yourself in the shoes of the families or relatives of one of the hostages, or of all the hostages, coupled with the shocking news update every now and then that the kidnappers are threatening to behead the hostages one by one. For sure, “hindi ka mapapakali, hindi ka makakain, maiihi ka, matatae ka, iikot ang tumbong mo at hindi ka makakatulog”, why? Because these group of kidnappers are known for their barbaric acts in the past. By all means, they have the capacity to exterminate the captives when their demands for ransom, or otherwise, are not heeded, and not taken seriously by the government negotiators, etc.

In fact, I was monitoring this incident for weeks now, and believe me guys while I was watching the news update on TV, a day before Lacaba was released, “naluha ako at naiyak”, because I could not help but to reminiscence the sad memories of the past, similar to the ordeal and nightmare that the hostages have gone thru for months in the mountains, and the tormented mind of the victims’ families as well, …… I cried, and tears fell from my eyes because some years ago my father, Ceferino was kidnapped by the NPAs, and my brother, Edilberto, was also victim of kidnapping years back in Nigeria.

In local parlance, malungkot ang alaala ng kahapon, kaya hindi ko mapigilan ang maiyak at maluha sa ganitong sitwasyun!


RE; Kidnapping of my father, Ceferino!

Sometime in 1995, my father was kidnapped by the NPAs in San Ramon, Bulan. While my brother, a seaman-engineer, was held captive by the Nigerian rebels in Warri of 2007.

My father, a municipal councilor then, and was active in local politics in Bulan. All of the sudden, one gloomy afternoon, the NPAs had snatched my father in our house and was forcibly brought to the jungle of the unknown, and of place of no return, where most, if not all, of the civilians, who have been held hostage by the rebels were buried thereat after being strangulated, stabbed, or buried alive according the reports; my father used to describe the place as between the boundary of the towns of Juban and Magallanes overlooking the sea from a far. He was held in captivity for almost a week, blindfolded and his hands were tied, and could not sleep well due to the pestering sounds and bites of the mosquitoes, known carriers of malaria virus (hindi pa uso nuon ang sakit na dengue).

Fear of not seeing his husband anymore, my mother has already entertained a thought of committing suicide due to hopelessness, frustration and despair. No news, no update of the incident, or the whereabouts of my father is still unknown, no means of communication, no telephone, no text, no cellular phone to connect thru to the captors at that time. But, worst, the NPAs had advised my mother not to tell anybody about the incident, nor report the kidnapping to the authority, which my mother obligingly did.

Despite said warning, some concerned citizens reported the said incident to the police, and minutes thereafter, the police proceeded to our house in San Ramon to confirm the reported kidnapping of my father, but my mother, for fear of reprisal from the captors opted to remain silent about it and when asked about the incident, she even diverted the interrogation made by the men in uniform saying that my father was in Manila for his regular medical check up, but the men in uniform did not believe her claim, because my mother at that time was uneasy and crying and tears were falling from her eyes uncontrolled by cotton handkerchief.

Luckily, prayers really paid off, because after week long of captivity my father was finally released unharmed somewhere in the mountainous barangay in Irosin.

The reason why he was kidnapped? According to them, my father is a spy for the military, and is having an illicit relationship with another woman. Oh my Gulay, this is a silly accusation? This is a blatant lie and not true. A fabricated and concocted charge purportedly made by his political rivals, who have personal grudge to grind against my father, “mga inggitero” in our barangay. But, this is politics anyway, a dirty politics I should say!

In consideration of his release, a board & lodging had been charged to my father’s account, he was asked to defray of the amount of P45-Thousand pesos, which we obligingly complied with (note: from the first demand of 100thousand pesos, natawaran hanggang umabot ng 45thousand nalang), on the condition that said amount would be treated not as a payment for ransom, but to be referred to as sort of a Donation to the KILUSAN, or as payment for the board & lodging of my father while under captivity. Silly, is it not?


RE; Kidnapping of my brother, Edilberto!

My brother, Edilberto, a seaman-engineer, was kidnapped along with the other 23 Filipino crew while their ship was navigating along the Delta River in Warri, Nigeria.

They were held in captivity for 24 days in the jungle of the Warri by the rebels who called themselves, the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (or, “MEND”), the dreaded and most notorious group of rebels in Nigeria, engaged in piracy, kidnapping and extortion, whose leader opted to remain as a mysterious leader of the group, called “General”.

Within 24 days of captivity, we, the families, have suffered several days of sleepless nights, anxieties and mental shock, and like the ICRC Workers’ hostages, we’re also facing the same fate of uncertainty at that time. Because, the MEND rebels also threatened to execute one by one the Filipino hostages as reported in the CNN and BBC if the government of Nigeria and the ship owner would not heed to their demands. To resolve the problem, the Nigerian government has already called its men in uniform to prepare for the worst case scenario to rescue the captives at all costs, but luckily the purported plan did not push through, because the rebels threatened to use their hostages as human shields once the military pursues its plan.

We were then in constant contact with the representatives of the DFA, OWWA and the Hamonia Shipping Agency, the local manning agency, for more updates, these representatives would always advise us (families of the hostages) not to allow each one of us to be interviewed by media people in order not to jeopardize the on-going negotiations between the Nigerian government and the rebels, as well as the representative of the shipowner.

Amidst the advisory from the DFA and OWWA to shun away interviews by media people, feeling uneasy and worried of the situation, I then defied said warning, and taken the cudgel for all the families of the seamen-hostages by writing a letter of appeal to a local newspaper in Nigeria (the “Guardian”) via email. The contents of my letter was published in Nigeria and in also in various newspapers in Manila. Because of that incident, I was summoned by the DFA and that of Hamonia representatives in their office advising me to please avoid further making an appeal to the MEND rebels because in so doing I might be able to complicate or jeopardize the on-going negotiations. Their reason is “lalaki daw ang ulo ng mga rebelde at mas lalong magdedemand ng malaki dahil umaapela ang pamilya ng biktima for humanitarian considerations”.


The Picture below, (courtesy of CNN) – where kidnappers displayed their high-powered guns to the Filipino crew hostages in the undisclosed place in Warri, Nigeria.


Hereunder is my letter to the Guardian newspaper in Nigeria which was published thereat, viz:

Families’ Plea to Captors: Release Seamen in Nigeria
02/03/2007 | 10:48 AM
Email this | Email the Editor | Print | Digg this | Add to

Families of 24 Filipino seamen abducted in Nigeria last month appealed anew to the captors over the weekend to release their hostages.

In a letter published Friday in the Nigerian newspaper “The Guardian” (, Benjamin Gaspi of Manila sought a win-win solution to end the crisis.

“We, the families of the abducted Filipino seamen, are hereby appealing to the Nigerian militants for the immediate release of the seafarers from weeklong captivity … Once again, we appeal to the kidnappers to release the captives,” Gaspi said in his letter.

“We hope and pray that both the government and the militants should find a way to come up with a win-win solution to end the crisis. The families of these hostages in the Philippines are suffering from severe anxiety, stressful days, wounded feelings, moral shock, depression and sleepless nights,” he added.

Although Gaspi did not specify his relation to any of the abducted seamen, he indicated he was writing the letter on behalf of the families of the abducted seamen.

He said the crewmen should not have been abducted because they were “not interfering nor are they intervening in the internal and political affairs of Nigeria.”

“These seamen have nothing to pay because they have no money to pay the ransom (if any). If they really want money they can let go the crew, then take full custody of the vessel and its cargo, then the owner can now pay as well as all those people who have interest in the vessel and cargo,” he said.

Negotiations are still ongoing for the release of the 24 Filipino seafarers and crew of Baco Liner 2, a German owned-vessel held hostage by Nigerian militants last Jan. 19.

At least seven of the crewmembers were brought to a safe house while the others remained inside the ship under the control of the militants.

Gaspi also voiced concern that the hostages may contract malaria and diarrhea.

“We are very much worried and anxious because we do not even know the names of the seamen who were taken ashore and those who were held hostage inside the ship,” he said.


 AT HINDI PA RIN PO AKO MAPAKALI, kaya sumulat ako sa Ambasador ng Pilipinas sa Abuja, Nigeria. Ito ang nilalaman ng follow-up letter ko kay Ambasador Umpa, thru email, viz:

February 1, 2007

Ambassador Plenipotentiary
Philippine Embassy in Abuja
Abuja, Nigeria

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

Warmest Greetings!

Sir, unless the those captives are released from nearly month long of captivity; anxiety, mental anguish, low morale, boredom, sleepless nights, despair and depressions will always be part of the day to day routine of the wives, families and relatives of the 24 abducted Filipino seafarers since they were held hostage last January 19, 2007 by the so called Nigerian Militants-MEND.

Considering Sir, that the DFA has imposed a news black-out on the progress of the negotiation and even told the families to cooperate with them by not entertaining interviews from the local media so as not to derail the negotiations, may we respectfully ask an update or breaking news directly from your good office on the progress or status of the negotiation between the rebels and the delta state government, including the chances of having them released as soon as possible.

We understand also that your good office is doing its best to fast track the release of the hostages. Just to calm down, pacify and appease the feeling anxieties among the families of the kidnapped seamen, please give us an update on this incident.

We hope also that you will not get angry at us for being so “MAKULIT” in asking an update from your office every now and then, after all, the lives of the Filipino people are at stake here.

Thank you so much sir for accommodating always my request.

Very truly yours,



Another picture, (courtesy of CNN) – where kidnappers performed their native dance and rituals carrying with them loaded high-powered guns, firing their guns down the soil and up in the air.










Upon receipt of my letter, the Honorable Ambassador Umpa readily replied to my query, as follows:


01 February 2007

Mr. Benjamin G. Gaspi
MIS- 43 -2007

Dear Mr. Gaspi:

The Philippine Embassy in Nigeria acknowledges receipt of your letter dated
01 February 2007.
We understand your concern for the welfare of your brother and the rest of the
Filipino seamen abducted in Warri. Rest assured that the Embassy is doing all
its best to work out the release of our Filipino brothers.
I have personally led a six-man Embassy team to make sure that negotiations
are fast-tracked and that the Filipinos are treated well and are in good
condition. Daily contacts with the chief government negotiator are maintained
since Embassy personnel and the Delta State Government officials involved
are staying in the same place.
As regards the conflicting reports, the Embassy assures you that we are
closely monitoring every phase of the negotiations and as such, has the
higher authority to verify and confirm what transpires in the course of the talks
to release the hostages, in close coordination with the chief government
negotiator and other Delta State officials.
Thus, more weight should be given to the Embassy reports than to the articles
written in Nigerian local papers. We reiterate that the 24 Filipinos are safe and
are in good condition. The German office of the ship’s owners, as well as the
representatives of the local manning agency here in Warri have denied being
contacted whatsoever by anyone regarding the critical situation of some of the”
Further, the Embassy would also like to inform you that it is coordinating with
the German employers in the event of release of the 24 seamen.
Finally, we are hoping for the best and we are counting on your prayers and
the rest of the Filipino nation’s so that we could see light at the end of the
tunnel soon.

We appreciate your continued support and please feel free to communicate
with the Embassy any time and be up dated with any developments.
Thank you once again and best regards.

Very truly yours,



Also, picture below (courtesy of CNN), as told by my brother, sometimes kidnappers would point the barrels of their guns to the captives to intimidate them, and more significantly to catch the attention of the international community. (you see how worried they are in this picture).

pix-of-hostages_3At Last, after marathon negotiation with the kidnappers, the 24-Filipino crew, who were held hostage by the MEND militant rebels, were finally released upon paying of, allegedly more or less, 50M U.S. dollars as ransom.

Released Finally: as published in Manila Times, and other local newspapers and tabloid, viz:

Emotional Reunion for Released Seamen

Monday, February 19, 2007
REUNITED with her husband Roberto, chief engineer of the ship seized by rebels in Nigeria, Jocelyn Arcangel said she and her family would take a holiday before deciding on their future.
Roberto was among the 24 Filipino seamen recently released after being held captive at gunpoint for 24 days. They flew home Saturday to an emotional reunion with loved ones.
“We will have a very long family vacation after this incident and we’ll decide after whether he [Roberto] should leave again,” Jocelyn said.
“My sons don’t want him to leave anymore. It was very traumatic. We have not heard from them for a long time and there are fears that they were harmed,” she said.
Roberto said he just wanted to be with his family before declining to talk further with reporters.
Glenda Cagas said her husband, Herculano Cagas, the ship’s third engineer, would probably ship out again after resting in Manila, despite his traumatic ordeal.

“It is difficult, but we don’t have any other choice. We need the livelihood for the family,” Cagas said, noting that their two children aged six and four have yet to enter primary school.
“The hardest part for us was when we saw them on cable television being threatened with guns by their captors in masks,” she said.
Looking haggard after their ordeal but smiling and waving, the men were met by government officials and a throng of journalists after disembarking from a commercial flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“We are very happy. Thank you very much President [Gloria] Arroyo,” they said in unison to an explosion of camera flashes.
They were quickly taken to Malacañang and tearfully reunited with family and friends.
Gunmen seized the oil workers on January 20 from a Nigerian-flagged, German-owned cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria.

They were held captive under constant threat by masked gunmen in muddy swamps of the oil-rich Delta region, as Philippine and Nigerian negotiators worked for their release.
It is still unclear who was responsible for the seizure, although a high-profile militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, has fingered a rival outfit identified as Fndic.
The men declined to comment on negotiations that led to their freedom on February 13 for fear of jeopardizing the safety of two other Filipinos seized separately. Filipino diplomats are in Nigeria working to free them.
A Filipina woman was abducted on February 7 in Port Harcourt in Rivers State. Gunmen abducted the woman from the center of the city, at the heart of Nigeria’s oil industry.
A day earlier a Filipino employee of Netco Dietsmann-the Nigerian arm of a Monaco-based oil services company-was seized from a company car heading for the airport in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.
Nigeria is one of the biggest employers of Filipino workers in Africa, with some 3,900 Filipinos employed there at the end of 2006.
The Philippines is one of Asia’s biggest exporters of manpower, with an estimated eight million of its citizens working as maids, seafarers, oil rig workers and in other labor-intensive jobs.
President Arroyo has banned further deployments to Nigeria in the wake of the kidnappings.
On Sunday she instructed embassy officials assigned in conflict areas to ensure the safety of Filipinos in their areas.
Besides Arcangel and Cagas, the crewmembers of Baco Liner 2 are Ruben Roble, master; Elmer Nacionales, chief officer; Carlos Abellana, 2nd officer; Mauro Agacid, 3rd officer; Cirilo Nebit, 2nd engineer; Engr. Edilberto Gaspi, electro tech officer; Sukarno Landasan, Rogelio Garcia, Jonel Bernales, Manolo Isidro, Marlon Mendez, Ronaldo Corpuz, Joven Hidalgo, Jose Talde, Samson Mayo, Henry Sebastian, Jonie Saguid, Edgardo Ellera, Evelio Nacionales, Marcelino Caladman, Nelson Aquino and Herman Valez.

The President said the government would maintain close watch over the welfare of Filipino workers worldwide.
“We continue to pray with the same fervor for the remaining hostages in Nigeria in the hope that their situation will also come to a happy ending,” she said.
The President also thanked the officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs who were involved in the release of the Filipino seafarers.
“To those who work to ensure the safety of our Filipino men, thank you, particularly Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Estevan Conejos Jr. and Special Ambassador to the Middle East Roy Cimatu,” she said.
-AFP and Sam Mediavilla


The Picture below of jubilant Filipino crew upon their arrival at the NAIA, after being released from the 24 days of captivity. My brother, Edilberto, is at the center raising and waving his left-hand to the media people. He is the tallest among the crew.










PGMA Welcomes 24 Freed Seamen and their Families in Malacañang


Twenty-four Filipino seamen, who were freed recently after almost a month of captivity by their Nigerian captors in the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria, thanked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last night for her immediate action to secure their release.

The seamen, who arrived at 6:40 p.m. at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Nigeria via Hong Kong, proceeded to Malacañang to personally extend their gratitude to the President.

The President, together with Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, hosted a sumptuous dinner for the 24 seamen along with their family members, relatives and friends at the Palace Heroes’ Hall.

During the emotional family reunions, the President went from table to table and had brief talk with the newly-arrived seamen and their family members.

“Maraming salamat po, Madame President, sa inyong mabilis na pagtugon sa aming panawagan na kami ay mapalaya agad,” said the seafarers as they echoed their gratefulness to the President.

“Welcome back to the Philippines. Praise God! Salamat sa inyong pag-sakripisyo. Have a nice reunion sa inyong mga pamilya,” the President told them.

The Chief Executive had earlier thanked Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo for “taking a direct hand” in the release of the Filipino seamen.

She also lauded all diplomats who were involved in the immediate release of the 24 seamen, particularly Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos Jr. and special envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimatu.

“Salamat sa mga nagtrabaho nating diplomat para masiguro ang inyong kaligtasan, katulad ni Usec Conejos at Ambassador Cimatu. Araw-araw ay sinasabi ko na siguraduhin ang inyong kaligtasan at 24 oras silang
nagtrabaho. Praise God that everything had ended well,” she said.

The released Filipino crew members of Baco Liner 2 who called on the President at Malacañang were Ruben Roble, master; Elmer Nacionales, chief officer; Carlos Abellana, 2nd officer; Mauro Agacid, 3rd officer; Roberto Arcangerl, chief engineer; Cirilo Nebit, 2nd engineer; Herculano Cagas, 3rd engineer; Engr. Edilberto Gaspi, electro tech officer; Sukarno Landasan, Rogelio Garcia, Jonel Bernales, Manolo Isidro, Marlon Mendez, Ronaldo Corpuz, Joven Hidalgo, Jose Talde, Samson Mayo, Henry Sebastian, Jonie Saguid, Edgardo Ellera, Evelio Nacionales, Marcelino Caladman, Nelson Aquino, and Herman Valez.

They were abducted by Nigerian gunmen on Jan. 20 and freed unharmed last Feb. 13 without any ransom paid.

Meanwhile, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesperson Ignacio R. Bunye said President Arroyo is hopeful that the two remaining Filipino hostages in Nigeria would also be released soon by their captors.

“The government maintains a close watch over the welfare and well-being of our workers all over the world, and President Arroyo always takes a personal hand in critical events such as the last one,” Bunye said.

“Active diplomacy at a high level and the active presence of our diplomats on the ground will continue to be our strategy to keep our beleaguered workers from harm’s way and to bring them home,” he added.
– – – xxx

Actually, may isa pa akong kapatid na seaman na si Alberto, ay muntik na rin makidnap ng mga Somali pirates in 2007, buti nalang daw nai-locked nila lahat ang doors ng ship, kaya hindi nakapasok sa loob at umalis agad,,, the rest is history na.



Long live Bulan Observer.




Or, the Prepared Speech That Was Never Read.

By attybenji

Ninoy Aquino said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

In retrospect, Twenty Five (25) years after Ninoy Aquino’s death, only his murderer, the alleged hired killer, Rolando Galman (RIP) and the other alleged conspirators, (mostly members of the defunct AVSECOM-MIA), now languishing and serving their sentence in the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, have been convicted.

Until now, these convicts are still denying their participations in the alleged grand conspiracy in killing Ninoy Aquino.

But what/how about the alleged mastermind of this heinous crime of all time? Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, Fabian Ver & Danding Cojuangco, et al..

Imelda Marcos and Danding Conjuangco were not formally charged nor indicted for their alleged participations in the conspiracy, same thing with the late Ferdinand Marcos, who is now 6ft. below the ground, and also the late Fabian Ver was acquitted already by the Sandigan Bayan many years back. Similarly, the Agrava Fact Finding Commission, which was established by the government then to conduct full-blown investigation on Ninoy’s death, has concluded that his (Ninoy) death was part of the grand military conspiracy.

In his grave probably, Ninoy is still crying out for justice, his ghost continues to haunt his real killer/s, and we, Filipinos, are likewise crying out loud for justice to Ninoy. And hoping to see the light ahead.

Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls, Today, August 21, 2008, we are celebrating the 25th Death Anniversary of one of our National Heroes, “Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.

truly, Republic Act No. 9256 was passed and approved in to law on February 25, 2004, AN ACT DECLARING AUGUST 21 OF EVERY YEAR AS NINOY AQUINO DAY, A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”

Apparently, prior to said event, president GMA has issued an order commemorating Ninoy’s death on August 18, 2008 instead of August 21 as what the law provides, and declared the former date as non working holiday.

In restrospect, when Ferdinand Marcos declared Presidential Decree 1081 on September 21, 1972 placing the entire country under Martial Law, the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended. Many Filipinos were arrested for subversion including Ninoy. He was arrested, imprisoned and exiled along with the other activists at that time. He suffered a heart attack and was put on exile in the United States. He decided to come back to the Philippines on August 21, 1983 at the expense of his own life.

“if it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it”.

His death ignited the hearts of every Filipino, who longed for freedom and were long sufferers of a country governed by a dictator. His death catapulted the EDSA Revolution, famously known as “People Power.”

Until now, the perpetrators of his assassination were not yet convicted. His case is one of the mysteries in history that will never be unveiled although deep in our hearts (Filipinos) we know who the mastermind/s was/is – are/were.

“The Filipino is worth dying for.”

Twenty five years after Ninoy’s death, in retrospect, is the Filipino still worth dying for?

Today, heroes are only found on the peso bills, decorative statues on building façade, parks, and streets, and institutions named on their behalf.

His death has in fact triggered the EDSA revolution that toppled the former dictator Marcos from Malacañang, and installed Cory Aquino to presidency.

The younger generation today lost the fire that ignited the revolution in EDSA. Twenty five years have passed since Ninoy’s death and 22 years after EDSA “People Power” Revolution… What happen now? The answer is yours!

Some writers say, we need another Ninoy to fuel our nationalism/love of country, not just loving oneself, one’s family, or loving one’s community.

I do not have the authority to preach, teach, or dictate about the current level of nationalism of us, Filipinos, but I could definitely say that we have forgotten the true meaning of Ninoy’s death and the true message of EDSA UNITY, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, and PEACE!

Analogous to this, I would like to quote & reproduce hereunder the most famous undelivered and never read speech in Philippine history of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. This speech, as we all know, was made and prepared by him while he was still in the United States, or said speech was drafted prior to his arrival in the Philippine soil on August 21, 1983. And, as expected based on his premonition, and apprehension, upon his arrival at MIA Tarmac, he was brutally murdered point blank, and failed to deliver his message to the entire Filipino people.

By Ninoy Aquino, Jr.

“I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence.

I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.

I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors.

A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.

I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis.

I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.

According to Gandhi, the WILLING sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop.

Rather than move forward, we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated.

During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for Habeas Corpus. It is most ironic, after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can no longer entertain petitions for Habeas Corpus for persons detained under a Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything.
The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.

The Filipino asks for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 Constitution — the most sacred legacies from the Founding Fathers.

Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?

The nation-wide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a bloody revolution. There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought forth our Republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?

I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.

So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:

1. Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my IMMEDIATE EXECUTION OR SET ME FREE.
I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.

2. National reconciliation and unity can be achieved but only with justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can be no deal with a Dictator. No compromise with Dictatorship.

3. In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.

4. Subversion stems from economic, social and political causes and will not be solved by purely military solutions; it can be curbed not with ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of wealth, more democracy and more freedom, and

5. For the economy to get going once again, the workingman must be given his just and rightful share of his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the hope where there is so much uncertainty if not despair.

On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”

I return from exile and to an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer — faith in our people and faith in God.”

-End of Speech-

This is a very informative one, and considered as one of the famous political speeches of all time in Philippine History.

Until Now, or 25 years after Ninoy was assassinated, the real mastermind of the killing and other conspirators have yet to be indicted in court or convicted.

Justice to Ninoy is justice to all.


Or, A Change Must Come From Within!

by: atty. benji

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Ours is a nation (or a town, province) gravely afflicted with interlocking diseases of poverty, passivity, cheating, graft and corruption, exploitative patronage, nepotism, factionalism, political instability, love for intrigue, lack of discipline, lack of patriotism, greed for power and the desire for instant gratification, etc. A cancerous growth is affecting the vital organs of our society to the extent that we seem to be in a state of paralysis; the patient is not responding to the problems confronting it. The times call for analysis of the social cancer.

And, we are both the doctor and patient. As Jesus Christ said in quoting the proverb: “Physician, heal thyself”.

Many years back, then former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, in her sponsorship speech calling for Moral Recovery Program (MRP), has emphasized that “the sickness afflicting this country is moral in nature.” It is her view that at the bottom of our economic problems and political instability is the weakness and corruption of the moral foundations of our society. We don’t need an economic recovery program; we also urgently need a moral, intellectual and spiritual recovery program.

Senator Shahani continued that “aside from the widespread problem of corruption, there is violence, hatred, hostility, greed for power, divisiveness which has become part of the everyday atmosphere which we breathe. We have to cleanse our national body, to rid it of its poisons and toxins, if the country is to survive. This times demand self-examination. Let us remember the words of the Greek philosopher, Socrates when he said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Let us translate this wise saying to the national level and examine our own character as a people to ensure that we are growing in the proper direction, with proper values and proper priorities.”

Why concentrate on the weakness of the people, it might be asked? and you might be asked too?

-Because, as in every sick person, we must analyze his disease or diseases. There is a need to examine how society shapes our character, of how Filipino children are brought up. If the children and youth age 12 to 16 years old are already encouraged by their parents to practice child prostitution to add to the family income, can we expect these children to be upright and law abiding citizens? If the child sees so much physical violence and brutality at home and in society, is it normal to expect that he will long to handle guns and keep company with goons at a later age, not only during the period of elections but on a daily basis?

Is the economic situation so desperate that thousands of our women refuse to learn other skills other than selling their bodies several times over every night? Why do we always disobey traffic rules and regulations? Why has cheating become a normal way of life in the Philippines particularly during the elections?

Several years ago, the Philippine was considered one of the most promising counties in Asia. Today, the Philippines is still called the “Sick Man of Asia”. What has gone wrong? Can’t we put our own house in order? Why is there such a big demand for pornography and smut?

It is also important to realize the extent of this sickness and to be aware that in order to eliminate graft and corruption, society as a whole must change and we must change too. This means not only the government but the private sector and the entire people as well.

Do we have the political will to change ourselves, undergo a major surgery, make the necessary sacrifices and go back to the basic virtues of honesty, self-reliance and responsibility for the community and the nation, and in our town, too. Can our educators realize that it is not enough to change the child and the homes but also the whole of society?

“Let us minimize our weakness and strengthen our virtues, of which we have many. Let us look inward and cleanse and heal ourselves before it is too late. We cannot expect to implement our national vision unless we have a clean hands and pure hearts”, said President Fidel V. Ramos in his Proclamation No. 62 .

After the sponsorship speech of then Senator Shahani on the Urgent Need for Moral Recovery Program (MRP) and the Senate Resolution No. 10 adopted on September 18, 1987, which directed Senate Committee on Education, Arts & Culture, & the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Development to conduct joint inquiry into the strengths and weaknesses of Filipino character with a view to solve the social ills and strengthening the nation’s moral fiber.

-Reinforced by Presidential Proclamation No. 62, issued by then, President FVR on 1992 declaring a Moral Recovery Program of the government & calling for the active participation of all sectors of the society in the MRP.

After that mukhang walang nabago sa ating mga Pilipino, ganun parin tayo!

Sa kabila ng itinatag na Moral Recovery Program ng ating gobierno upang itaguyod ang mithiing maka-BAYAN, maka-TAO, maka-KALIKASAN at maka-DIYOS, ay laganap parin ang kurapsyon at kawatan sa lahat ng sangay ng pamahalaan, dayaan sa eleksyon, gahaman sa poder, palakasan o padrino system, laganap ang prostitution, talamak ang bintahan at paggamit ng bawal na gamot o droga sangkot ang kapulisan at tagapagpatupad ng batas, kawalan ng paggalang sa magulang at nakakatanda, tahasang paglabag sa batas trapiko, walang disiplina sa sarili, kulang sa pagmamahal sa bayan, kanya-kanya o walang paki-alam syndrome, crab mentality at iba pa.

In short, bagsak ang “moral character” o “moral values” nating mga Pilipino.

Thus, there is a need for self examination as a means to transform the nation, as advocated by Senator Shahani.

There is an urgent need for moral revolution to eradicate moral decadence in our community, and government, (or in the municipal government of bulan). Mabuhay ang maka-tao, maka-bayan, maka-kalikasan at maka-diyos na Pilipino.

It is the moral character which determines the destiny of an individual as well as that of the nation (town, or province). For an individual and nation to survive with dignity and prosperity that character has to be based on moral and ethical values.

Our greatest hope lies within ourselves! Sabi nga ni dating Presidente Marcos, “Sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan, Disiplina ang Kailangan”.

Tayo ba ay may disiplina sa sarili? tayo ba ay masunurrin sa ating batas? tayo ba ay masunurin sa ating mga magulang? at may pagpapahalaga sa ating kalikasan at sa bayan?


Or, Belated Happy Mother’s Day.

by : attybenji

Honor thy Father and thy Mother – is the best and everlasting presents that child can give to the his/her parents, specially the mother (free of charge), when we all celebrated the MOTHER’s DAY a week ago – though the message is a little bit late, but it does’nt matter, as the saying goes “better late than never”.

This fifth commandment (in the Old Testament) is a command rather than a request. No “ifs” no “buts”. That regardless of their character, (whether they’re wicked, irresponsible, etc.) children are bound to honor and respect their parents. No condition! That’s an order…

Hereunder are the lyrics of “Nanay ko Tatay Ko”, a popular bicol song has a sentimental message to the “ANAK” – to shower her “TATAY y NANAY” with love, care and respect without condition, because of his “Dakulang Utang na Boot sa Magurang”.

“Si Nanay si Tatay”

Si Nanay si Tatay di co babayaan.
Balaquid na boot an sacuyang utang
Si pagdara saco nin siyam na bulan
Gatas cong dinodo di co mabayadan.

Ay Nanay ay Tatay con ako humale,
Hihidawon mo man sa gabos mong aki
Macacoa ca man nin macacasangli
Dai macaarog kan sacong ugali

Ay Nanay ay Tatay kun ako maraot
Pogotan nin payo ibontog sa lawod
Con mahiling nindo na naganod-anod
Ay Nanay ay Tatay sapuda man tolos.

But today, the realities of life differ from the actual message of the above song under the following incidents, please consider the day to day headlines news as published in the newspaper tabloid, FRONTPAGE headlines: such as, Ama pinatay ng sariling Anak: Drug Adik na Anak, kumitil ng sariling Ama: Anak minasaker ang kanyang Nanay at Tatay: Anak na pasaway, binaril ang sariling Nanay: Anak naghuramentado, pinagpapatay ang sariling pamilya: Anak na ayaw padisiplina, tinaga ang sariling Ama; etc…

The reason is simple – kawalan ng disiplina sa sarili at paggalang sa magulang, at sa batas.

What many seemingly have never learned or forgotten is that duty to parents does not end with childhood days at home and under parental supervision.

A very famous song entitled “ANAK” popularized by Freddie Aguilar has another message – is about the child who disobeyed his parents despite love and care given by his parents, but in the end, “Ang Anak ay Nagbago at Nagsisi”.

by: freddie aguilar

Nang isilang ka sa mundong ito,
Laking tuwa ng magulang mo.
At ang kamay nila
Ang iyong ilaw.

At ang nanay at tatay mo,
‘di malaman ang gagawin.
Minamasdan pati pagtulog mo.
Sa gabi napupuyat ang iyong nanay
Sa pagtimpla ng gatas mo.

At sa umaga nama’y kalong
Ka ng iyong amang tuwang-tuwa sa iyo.
Ngayon nga’y malaki ka na,
Nais mo’y maging malaya.
‘di man sila payag,
Walang magagawa.

Ikaw nga’y biglang nagbago,
Naging matigas ang iyong ulo.
At ang payo nila’y,
Sinuway mo.

Hindi mo man lang inisip
Na ang kanilang ginagawa’y para sa iyo.
Pagka’t ang nais mo masunod ang layaw mo,
‘di mo sila pinapansin.

Nagdaan pa ang mga araw
At ang landas mo’y naligaw
Ikaw ay nalulon
Sa masamang bisyo.

At ang una mong nilapitan
Ang iyong inang lumuluha.
At ang tanong,
“anak, ba’t ka nagkaganyan?”
At ang iyong mga mata’y biglang lumuha
Ng ‘di mo napapansin
Pagsisisi ang sa isip mo,
Nalaman mong ika’y nagkamali.

What is the true way to honor parents? To live a godly and decent life before all men! The greatest honor a child can bestow upon his parents is to live a consecrated and faithful Christian life.

True honor begins with genuine love for parents. It is manifested even in “little things,” like keeping in contact with them, showing interest in their lives, as well as doing those things for them that need to be done. Letters, calls, gifts, remembrances, words, visits, honor of their views and respect for their advice are such things that parents may lawfully claim and expect from their children.

Charity is not the only thing that begins at home, but also thoughtfulness, truthfulness, honesty, uprightness, good citizenship and respect for authority all begin in the home. Lawlessness often begins in the home because there one can learn to disrespect authority as well as learn to respect it. If the world is ever going to be a better place there first must be better homes.

The welfare of society rests in the family and the reconstruction of family virtues and values, parental authority and responsibility, and the obedience of children to their parents.

The fifth commandment, learned, believed and obeyed is one of the surest safeguards, and is a near guarantee for correct and righteous human behavior. It gives the blueprint for the reign of law and order. It makes possible a life of peace, security and happiness. It will provide, especially for the young, a solid foundation upon which life can be built and lived as God would have it. When children obey their parents they learn to obey those in charge of schools, government officials, employers, and all others with whom they will have to deal in life. While children obey parents they are doing more than learning the right ways and obeying parents.

Christ set the example for honoring parents. His first miracle was undertaken at the request of His mother. As He died on the cross He remarked, “Woman behold thy son,” and to another (probably John) He said, “Behold thy mother.” In this fashion, even as His life was going from Him, He showed care and concern for His mother and instigated the means for her continued provisions in this life.

The obligation children have to parents is not a one-way street. Parents have obligations to their children. There is no law of God that says children must obey their parents in doing that which is wicked. Many parents are not respected because they are not respectable. To be honored one must strive to be honorable. Parents must in some measure earn and deserve respect as well as demand it. Parents earn it and children learn it. It is futile to expect children to respect parental authority when the same parents do not have respect for divine authority.

Belated HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mothers out there! Kayo po ang ILAW NG TAHANAN. Mabuhay!



“I have persevered against difficulties,
I rose up against defeats &,
I conquered the failures of the past”.


by atty. benji

A billboard in one of the sweepstakes ticket outlets in Quiapo, reads “A quitter never wins; a winner never quits”. Of course, if you quit or stop dreaming you will never win in any contest, challenge or any kind of endeavor that you wanted to carry out. If you fail, never, never, never, give up! Failing is a vital component of growing up process. It’s a baptism of fire!

If you encountered fiascos and failures in your board exams in the past, this is a must read article for you! – Be inspired and enlightened!

If you encountered setbacks in your political career or business in the past, this is a must read for you, too.

If your experienced frustrations and desperations in your chosen profession or vocation, this is a must read for you, also.

And, if you encountered denials and rejections in courting a woman of your choice, never give up, this article is probably a must read for you. I hope so, he-he-he. -Be inspired! Believe that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I would like to share this article to all of you, who, or to whomsoever, (as an inspiration, motivation or a challenge) had experienced the pain and nightmare of failing in their chosen career, business & profession several times already (e.g. exams, sports or politics, etc). Failure is an inevitable circumstance! That’s  life!

I did experience several tumultuous failures and frustrations in my chosen career. I did encounter my first major debacle in my chosen profession in 1996 onwards when I flanked the bar exams. But, failure/s did not stop me from pursuing my dream until I claimed victory over it, and conquered the disaster of the past!

Despite depression, I did not surrender; despite desperation, I did not quit; despite anxiety, I did not give up my dreams, my mentor called it, “Spirit”.

The “pyerdido” (loser) of yesterday will be the “ganador” (victor) of tomorrow, I believe so, after all, our past does not define our future!

With this, I was reminded by a comment of a certain “Lazarus” in the sorsogonnews blog against the Guyalas branding them as “pyerdido na politico”. The comment of Lazarus, regardless of his motive or intention, (whether to insult them or otherwise) is uncalled for. For nobody knows, and who knows in the near future, the Guyala will become the next Mayor of Bulan, or Congressman of the 2nd District, or Governor of Sorsogon, or even Senator of the Republic someday. Time will come that a loser will emerge as the victor, and time will come that Guyalas’ debacle will be translated into victory someday. (Sabi nga sa Biblia, an mga nauuna ay mahuhuli at ang mga nahuhuli ay mauuna) –And, time will come, I’m sure, na an kadaghanan san mga botantes sa Bulan magsasawa man sa mga de Castro sa maabot na panahon! And that time is yet to come. Though, the Guyalas, particularly (atty. rene) had lost several times in his political bid many years back but time will come he will emerge as victorious man on earth.

The case of the late Senator Rene “Compañero” Cayetano is a classic example of success after so many setbacks in politics. He lost several times in his bid to challenge then incumbent Congressman Dante Tinga of Taguig-Pateros District (laging talunan nuon si cayetano, hindi man lang nakatikim ng panalo) but when the opportunity comes right during the Ramos Presidency, he instead ran for Senator and topped the senatorial elections. You see! For man’s past does not define his future.

Likewise, the compelling story of Abraham Lincoln is one of the best examples of success after so many defeats in politics.

Lincoln had a very strong desire to make a difference, so he entered politics. In August, 1832, he finished eighth out of 13 in a race for the Illinois House of Representatives.

In 1834, while practicing law in a firm he had established with several partners, Lincoln ran for and won a seat in the Illinois Legislature. He served a four-year term, and he soon developed a reputation as a capable and honest politician.

Unfortunately, over the next decade he experienced numerous business and political setbacks. But unlike most people, Lincoln did not let any of these challenges — including a business and personal bankruptcy — discourage him from going after his dreams.

In 1836, Lincoln won an election to Congress. It was during this time that he took an unpopular stand against President James K. Polk regarding the Mexican War. Abraham thought the war was unjust.

After his term ended in 1849, Lincoln took the next five years off from politics and focused on his law practice. Again, he encountered more business setbacks. But again, he persisted, and did not let “so-called” failures discourage him.

In 1854, he returned to the political arena. One of the first things he did was to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which threatened to extend slavery to other states.

In 1855, he ran for the Senate but was defeated. The next year he went after the Vice Presidency position, and was also defeated.

With so many failures, a lot of people, in Lincoln’s position, probably would have given up. But because he was determined and committed to make his political dreams come true, he would get up each time he was knocked down. He knew the only way to gain ground, to move forward, to march on, and to turn his goals into reality, was to learn from his setbacks and failures.

Finally, in 1860, Lincoln’s years of persistence and hard work paid off when he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.

Abraham Lincoln represents the finest example of persistence. Although he faced countless defeats throughout his life — many that must have seemed insurmountable — he never gave up on his dreams.

LINCOLN LOST EIGHT ( 8) ELECTIONS, failed in business many times, and suffered a nervous breakdown. He could have quit many times, but he didn’t. Instead, after each defeat he would pick himself up and press forward until he achieved his aspirations.

Malaysian international speaker, Billi Lim, in his Dare to Fail magazines’ series said that from school days we are indoctrinated to adore success. Success and failures are like heaven and hell.

Heaven forbids that you should fail. Many believe when we fail, we are condemned. Failure is not an irreversible chemical reaction. Numerous success stories have their origins in failures. Sowing the seeds of failure brings the fruits of success. A lot of successful people were once called failures.

Failure is not a black hole that we fall into and get stuck there permanently. It is only temporary. Failure is success delayed. We have merely postponed our success. David Ireland authors the book aptly entitled “Failure is Written in Pencil”. Failure is erasable. It is not cast in stone. Erase failure now and begin a new life on a brand new page!

Failing must be courageous!
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever hope to achieve greatly” says Robert F. Kennedy

During World War II, Japanese Kamikaze pilots sang patriotic songs before they flew their fighter planes in suicide mission. They pledged to their beloved country that they will strike deep into enemy’s territories and would perish in their dangerous missions. Because of their courage to die for their country, kamikaze pilots often returned alive.

Failing is a privilege!
Failure is not an option. We don’t chose to fail neither we opted to become a loser. It is an honor to fail. Failure is the baptism of fire. Failure is a wake up call. From failing, we evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. We scout for opportunities and prepare for threats.

Failure is not final!
“Success is never ending; Failure is never final” says Robert Schuller. Failing does not issue death sentence. It is not the end all. There is always another opportunity to try again. Likewise, success is not a final destination. It is a journey that we strive continuously. Failure shall not drown us. Instead, it is the bridge that connects us over troubled waters to success. “He is no failure. He’s not dead yet” say W.L. George

We must not be ashamed of failures!
It is a daily test of our courage and ingenuinity. Failing is not a taboo. Failure occurs mainly in isolated cases and is often beyond our control.

We must distinguish failures from the acts of failing. If we cast ourselves as failures, it leaves behind a psychological scar. Don’t take failure as an act of not attaining certain bench marks, we can still walk upright with pride. “We do not fail ourselves; it is primarily the work we do that fails”.

We must permit ourselves to fail!
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel”, says Eloise Ristad

We must not fear failure. The minute we stop trying is the minute that heralds failure.

We must not stigmatize Failures!
“He that lies on the ground cannot fail” according to Yiddish Proverb.

The Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) practice a traditional ritual for gang members who failed in their missions or assignments. They chop off their fingers to atone for their failures. Failing is not a stigma. We must not punish ourselves for failures like Yakuza members whose cut fingers are permanent reminders of their failed missions. Failing is honorable. It is not a misdemeanor. Just remember every genius was once a failure. Ask any genius!

“Even the best of men get knocked down many times in a lifetime. Occasional knock downs are not anything to be afraid of. In fact, they make the game of life interesting; they are the hazard and bunkers and sand traps that force us to keep our mind on the game and play our best”, says Clinton Bernard.

Failure is a prelude to success!
We treat failure as the wrong answer and success as the right answer. Failure is not actually the opposite of success. Failure is actually the step preceding success. If we make a decision, it will inevitably result in two results – failure or success. If the result is failure, acknowledge it is a learning process before success beckons. Failure is necessary part of success. In the book entitled “Think & Grow Rich”, I forgot the name of the Author, it says that “failure is a fertilizer of success”. That’s correct!

In fact, many people on the failure track are so close to success when they call it quits. Only if they persevere a little longer, success will be attained. Success is like the bride waiting at the end of the aisle. Thomas Edison hit the nail on the head when he said “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”

Failure is an asset!
“Every adversity, every failure, every headache, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”, says Napoleon Bonaparte

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart”, says Robert Ingersoll.

“Our greatest glory is not never falling but rising every time we fall”, says Oliver Goldsmith.

Never, never, never give up!
“There is no failure except in no longer trying”, says Elbert Hubbard. The annals of history were laced by great people who failed. Sir Winston Churchill once admonished, “Never, Never, Never give in, in whatever you do”.

Do not judge people who try and fail but those who fail to try. Tom Hopkins, Americas Top sale trainer, advocates, “I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed. The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying”.

The genius, Sir Albert Einstein failed many times! He disliked schools because of strict regimentations and structure. At 15, he dropped out of school, He taught himself calculus. Einstein’s poor memory especially for words led to his dismal performance in Greek. His teacher belittled Einstein, “No Matter what you do, you will never amount to anything”. Another teacher ridiculed him, “Your mere presence spoils the respect of the class for me”. His father once sought his head master’s advice on what profession Einstein should pursue. The head master admonished, “It doesn’t matter, he will never make a success of anything. Albert Einstein was named by the Time Magazine as the Person of the Century. Einstein famous theory of relativity led the foundation for the atomic bombs that were dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It forced the Japanese to surrender and brought WWII on an abrupt halt.

Another genius, Sir Thomas Edison has failed several times too!
At a press conference, a young journalist asked Sir Thomas Edison how many times he failed before he invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison politely replied, “I was actually successful in knowing 1800 ways of how not to make a light bulb. In his wisdom Edison further enlighten him, “In every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.

If you fail once, twice, thrice and more already in your chosen career, don’t be discourage, and don’t lose hope for there is always sunshine after darkness, as there is always a rainbow after thunderstorm. That’s for sure!

Believe that there are no failures. We merely postpone our success. There are no failures in life, only delays.

But I’m sure you can remember Robert F. Kennedy, the man who failed to be President. You can remember Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela waited 27 years to be President. And President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea; he has been beaten, kidnapped, imprisoned, sentenced to death but he not only became President, he has also been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2000.

Many of us don’t understand why sometimes we have to lose. In fact sometimes to win we have to yield just like the grass yielding to the great wind. Those who can’t yield sometimes got uprooted by the great typhoon.

Kusog lawas, labanan an mga Kabiguan sa buhay! Mabuhay kita gabos!

God bless us all. Keep fighting, never give up!


(You can be Billionaire even if you are School Drop outs)
By atty. benji

A bachelor degree is just a piece of paper. (e.g. PHD stands for Permanent Head Damage, just kidding) It is not the degree that makes the man. It is man who makes himself.

“You can be a millionaire or billionaire even if you are school dropouts”, says Billi Lim

Below is a very interesting and compelling part of the speech delivered by Lawrence “Larry” Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. and the 2nd richest man in the world, at the Yale University last month.

“Graduates of Yale University, I apologize if you have endured this type of prologue before, but I want you to do something for me. Please, take a good look around you. Look at the classmate on your left. Look at the classmate on your right.

Now, consider this: Five years from now, 10 years from now, even 30 years from now, odds are the person on your left is going to be a loser. The person on your right, meanwhile, will also be a loser. And you, in the middle? What can you expect? Loser. Loser hood. Loser Cum Laude.

In fact, as I look out before me today, I don’t see a thousand hopes for a bright tomorrow. I don’t see a thousand future leaders in a thousand industries. I see a thousand losers. You’re upset. That’s understandable.

After all, how can I, Lawrence “Larry’ Ellison, college dropout, have the audacity to spout such heresy to the graduating class of one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions? I’ll tell you why.

Because I, Lawrence ‘Larry’ Ellison, second richest man on the planet, am a college dropout, and you are not.

Because Bill Gates, richest man on the planet .. for now, anyway – is a college dropout, and you did not.

Because Paul Allen, the third richest man on the planet, dropped out of college, and you did not.
And for good measure, because Michael Dell, No. 9 on the list and moving up fast, is a college dropout, and you, yet again are not.

…. Finally, I realize that many of you, and hopefully by now most of you, are wondering, “Is there anything I can do? Actually, no; it’s too late. You’ve absorbed too much, think you know too much. You have a built-in cap, and I’m not referring to the mortar boards on your heads.

…. I want to give hope to any underclassman here today. I say to you, and I can’t stress this enough: Leave. Pack your things and your ideas and don’t come back. Drop out. Start up. For I can tell you that a cap and gown will keep you down just as surely as these security guards dragging me off this stage are keeping me down…”

– End of speech –

Who Is To Blame For Poverty In The Philippines?


By: Atty. Benji


(this article is partly a response of atty benji to our discussion Corruption Is Just  A Tip Of The Iceberg…)

The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) has bared the facts regarding poverty in the Philippines:

“1 out of every 3 Filipinos is poor.”

Mr. Neil Cruz of the Philippine Daily Inquirer has pointed out in his column the everyday realities, which rosy description of the economy could not hide: the number of poor people is increasing. There are more children and old people begging in the streets, squatter colonies where the poorest of the poor lead wretched lives are expanding. More and more people are looking for jobs and finding too few; recruitment agencies are always awash with people hoping to get jobs abroad. The Department of Foreign Affairs can’t cope with the demand for passports as more and more Filipinos try to escape the poverty at home for greener pastures overseas. All of these are clear signs that something is very bad with the economy: it cannot support our population.

And so the persistent questions are ever before the Filipino people and those in government and business: why are there so many poor Filipinos? Why can’t so many Filipinos find jobs at home? Why are they forced to leave their families to earn a living abroad? Why don’t so many Filipinos have enough to eat? If the economy is really as good as the President claims, there would be few poor Filipinos, they would have jobs here, they would have enough to eat, there would be few squatters.

Those in government are quick to make excuses for the growing incidence of poverty: It is because of inflation brought about by the increase in oil prices, they say. It is because of the typhoons. And more excuses, excuses. Other countries were also hit by the high oil prices; other countries were also hit by typhoons. But we are the only country that had such a big increase in poverty.

Corruption in government and among government officials:

Moreover, Mr. Neal Cruz is emphatic in pointing out that it is neither OPEC nor typhoons that are to blame; it is CORRUPTION (….is just a tip of an Iceberg?). Companies find it expensive to do business in the Philippines because of corruption and red tape, so no jobs for Filipinos. Funds that should go to projects and to basic services to the people go to private pockets. Commissioners and brokers are no longer content with 10-percent commissions. They now collect 100 percent of the original cost, thus doubling the cost of the project. The ZTE-NBN and North Rail projects are JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

We may be wondering why the Philippines is not as stable (or progressive) as the United States although we have copied, and tried to improve, the American Constitution and also in spite of the fact that we are comparably well educated as the American people are. As a matter of fact, well-known constitutionalists claimed that the Philippine Constitution (e.g. Marcos & the Aquino Charter) is the best Constitution in the world.


(or Free Bulan from the Bondage of Poverty)

by: atty benji

Origins of Poverty:
Historically speaking, when man came on earth he did not live in a society or hierarchy nor was he endowed with poverty. Good health, longevity, natural cheerfulness were his own even as he found himself amidst plenty.

Ending Poverty:
That poverty can be eliminated through higher levels of education, which enables true truths to flow, and greater knowledge of what can be achieved in life for the individual, replacing the falsehoods and evil that rise in the soil of poverty and ignorance.

Abolishing Poverty:
Unless the poor are determined not to be poor, poverty cannot be solved. Poverty is best abolished by the development of consciousness. Next best is to develop infrastructure, create employment opportunities and other forms of livelihood projects, including access to education, etc.

Keys to Moving out of Poverty:
To move out of poverty one needs to — truly want more, make the effort to gain it, seek self-employment over normal employment, gain the necessary skills to accomplish it and establish personal values.

Eliminating Poverty:
Poverty is eliminated by, generating more employment; raising the level of minimum education; making the social elite aware of the possibility of removing it; presenting the LGU concrete programs of prosperity; educating the public opinion that poverty is not inevitable.

Peace, and End to Poverty:
Only in peace, hunger and poverty can be abolished, and full employment realized. Only in peace, the whole world can live in and acquire prosperity. Only in peace, the human resource and potentials can blossom and expand.

x-x-x Question: NATO TABI KAY POBRE KITA NA MGA FILIPINO, if not the poorest in the world? In Bicol region, or in Sorsogon, or even in Bulan, in particular, poverty and hunger is so epidemic, and even widespread. (e.g., Kamote an pamahawon an suda sirum-sirom na inihaw, belanghoy an pangalasdose an suda solamente asin, pinakru na saging an merindalan an suda wara, an panigab-i kamote an suda kinagod na lando na lubi….pag-abot sin katutnga sin gabi maharabahabon an tiyan…..mapung-awon nan makahihibi ine na sobra na pagtios, hehehehe!

In the old testament, poverty is a curse! While, the new testmament says otherwise, poverty is a blessing indeed, as christ proclaimed the words, “Blessed are the poor, because the kingdom of God belongs to you”!

I would recall during my tertiary years in a catholic university, my professor in theology, an SVD priest had categorically said the reason why poverty is so widespread in our midst, because the philippines, being the only catholic country in the whole of Asia, tends to give more importance in celebrating the passion of the christ during “semana santa”, which according to him, the passion of christ symbolizes suffering and death, rather than commemorating the resurrection of christ, or the risen christ, which symbolizes new life and success. Maybe, that is the point of view of the SVD, a religious congregation founded by a German priest, while the opinion of the other religious congregations founded mostly by Spaniard & Italian priests, such as, OP, SJ, OPM, AOR etc, may contradict the opinion of the SVD…

… an article entitled “The Poverty in the Bicol Region” posted in Bik-Lish blog (Bikol-English) by Jacarizo, in his thesis he deposed in part:
“A colleague asked him: The Bicol Region is rich in natural as well as human resources. How come it still remains poor?”
“I immediately remember the stories about Japan after World War II. It was so poor and so war torn, how come the Land of the Rising Sun still became rich?”
x-x-x-x x-x-x-x
“Base sa factsheets kan National Statistics Coordination Board, almost half of the Bicolanos are poor. In 2003, the figure was 41%. The highest poverty incidence is in Masbate followed by Camarines Norte. Interestingly, these are the areas where gold mines are located. Kaya an hapot: Nata?”

“One explanation is, wealth is not fairly distributed in these areas.” blah, blah, blah!!!

And there he continued that “Politics is another reason why Bicol region is poor!

“or maybe because of the existence of political dynasty in bicol,” – an sayo pa na dahilan kun nano kay nagtitirios kita! San-o kaya kita marayaman? Baka, until thy kingdom come…..

Perhaps, I would also agree that Bicol region is poor because wealth is not properly distributed to the needy in the areas, (excluding corruption ha) this incident can be fully attributed to the failure of the government, (both the House of Representatives & Senate) to properly address and prioritize the enactment of laws or measures by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the general welfare of the people as mandated in the Constitution, re, social justice provision.

Article 13:
Social Justice and Human Rights

SEC. 1.
”The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good. To this end, the State shall regulate the acquisition, ownership, use, and disposition of property and its increments.”

SEC. 2.
”The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance.”

Usually, that’s the problem with us Filipinos, kapag nailuklok na sa pwesto ang mga tinatawag nating public servant or servant of the people, they tend to forget everything at biglang sinasapian ng “Amnesia” at hindi nila alam kung bakit sila ay nariyan sa kongreso, senado, o sa gobierno.

The challenge to all tagaBulans that – “Unless the poor are determined not to be poor, poverty cannot be solved.” Nato tabi an hihimuon ta sine? Deri man pwede na makurunol nalang kita, ala juan tamad syndrome… Siempre kinakaipuhan tabi na an mga nasa kapangyarihan o nasa pwesto maghimo sin mga remedyo o estratihiya para makalampas kita san sobra na pagtios, deri pagparalabutan an pundo san gobierno, dapat an mga tawo an makinabang san gracia san gobierno, an kadaghanan liwat san nasa pwesto nato puro kickback o komisyun lang san project an iniirisip….. ayaw man tabi sun! In the same token, all tagaBulans must also think for an alternative solution to alleviate poverty in our midst, deri nato pagparaasahan an gobierno, sabi nga ni Presidente ML Quezon sa mga kabungtos, “don’t think what the country can do for you, but think what you can do for your country”…

We have to liberate our people in Bulan from the bondage of extreme poverty and hunger, maybe the LGU-Bulan in particular shall promote social justice and distribute the wealth proportionately to the needy, if any. Besides giving them access to quality education, create employment opportunties, establish livelihood centers, and the last to give them land, a land to own – and in that way the tagaBulans or Kabungtos will become more self reliant component of the society, as partner for progress and development.

Worth remembering in relation to the social justice provision of the constitution as a way of alleviating poverty in our midst, the famous oratorical piece of Raul Manglapuz served us an inspiration and motivation to enable us to fight out poverty and hunger. At the prime of his life, Manglapuz ran for President in 1965, but lost to Ferdinand Marcos. Manglapus is a statesman of towering stature, he is best summed up by a Philippine newspaper columnist as “…the best President we never had.”

by Raul Manglapus

x-x-x-x x-x-x-x x-x-x-x
“I indict the Spanish encomendero for inventing taxes impossible to bear.

I indict the usurer for saddling me with debts impossible to pay.

I indict the irresponsible radical leaders who undermine, with insidious eloquence, the confidence of my kind in our government.

You accuse me of not supporting my family. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

You accuse me of ignorance. But I am ignorant because my master finds it profitable to keep me ignorant. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

You accuse me of indolence. But I am indolent not because I have no will, but because I have no hope. Why should I labor, if all the fruits of my labor go to pay an unpayable debt. Free me from bondage, and I shall prove you false.

Give me land. Land to own. Land unbeholden to any tyrant. Land that will be free. Give me land for I am starving. Give me land that my children may not die. Sell it to me, sell it to me at a fair price, as one freeman sells to another and not as a usurer sells to a slave. I am poor, but I will pay it! I will work, work until I fall from weariness for my privilege, for my inalienable right to be free!”

…… to borrow the favorite phrase of mr. Jun A., “Bulan deserves a better future!

Indeed, we all deserve a bright future in Bulan, and to live in a progressive community, where peace and order reigns!

…….. as the saying goes, HABANG MAY BUHAY, MAY PAG-ASA!

Mabuhay an mga tagaBulans, may the force be with us always!

Cooperation and Unity Among The tagaBulans

by: atty benji


My heartfelt thanks and sincerest appreciations to you mr. Jun A!

I’m humbled by such feed back, and interest of the Bulan readers to this blog!

Maybe someday, or in the years to come, the town of Bulan will step forward as a progressive & first class municipality in the country thru the initiative of our local executives and politicians, sans political bickering and animosity.

In its fight for progress, LGU-Bulan shall endeavor to undertake the following program, (unsolicited advices)

1. To properly address the root cause of poverty, (review the economic & livelihood program) and alleviate the same by creating more jobs. And by all means, accelerate anti-hunger campaign as a priority program of the LGU-Bulan. Because, in order to combat poverty alleviation, we must eradicate corruption (stealing of funds or red tape is prohibited) in government projects so that both the big and small entrepreneurs could create wealth and jobs with least expenses.

2. To continuously encourage & invite more and more businessmen (local or foreign) to invest in the town’s economy.

3. To address the peace and order in the locality, because the economic development or progress of a particular place is solely dependent upon its peace & order situation/political stability. (kapag magulo, may patayan, at laging may bangayan, walang investor na mamumuhunan sa isang lugar)

4. To accelerate and increase (LGU) government earnings or revenues either thru raising the effective collection of taxes, etc. as one component of poverty alleviation. (similar to that of the Quezon City Govt. Tax Collection program)

5. To improve healthcare system thru subsidize medicines available in all barangay health centers.

6. To conduct monthly feeding program in all government elementary schools in the barangays. (as there are thousands of malnourished pupils in the public elementary schools right now)

7. To access to education, especially the poor, and the deserving, as education is one of the most important weapons in the fight against poverty.

In FIGHTING FOR PROGRESS OF BULAN, cooperation and unity among the tagaBulans is a must.

mr. Jun Asuncion, God bless us with overflowing blessings, and shower us with knowledge, wisdom and good judgment to write, for the consumption of the Bulan readers. We can attain progress thru the use of pens, not by guns, harassment, intimidation, threat against the lives of those who are critical of this present administration in Bulan.

As you always declare, “Bulan deserves a better future!”

Best regards! Mabuhay ka!

BADIL – versus – TABIL”, Which is the Mightier?

by: atty benji

Some say – The GUN is Mightier than the PEN:

In the past, &/or until the present time, the media practitioners (print & broadcast) such as, journalists, newspapermen & radio-tv reporters/broadcasters, in the country have been the subject of “salvaging” (a police lingo – for “summary execution”) & other forms of extra-judicial killings for critically exposing the anomalies & corruptions in the government perpetrated by some unscrupulous local government officials, politicians, warlords, policemen or military men, – indeed, the killings were exacerbated by the hard-hitting commentaries of the media people against the rascal government men or politicians, or warlords – “Badil an Mautas san kanira Buhay!”

This senseless and incessant summary execution of media practitioner/s in the country was meant to close their lips to prevent the truth from coming out in the open, &/or to suppress the right of the people to information on matter of public interests as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.

Ok! Perhaps, we may consider the hottest Headlines appearing in various Tabloid newspapers showing that the GUN (sword) is mightier than the PEN (tongue) of the media people (local or national), thus, – to borrow the words of one of the tv-newscasters in the late night news, “Headline Bukas, Ngayon na ang Broadcast”, as follows:

Tabloid-1: Mamahayag binaril ng Jueteng Lord! Nalagutan ng Hininga sa Ospital!

Tabloid-2: Radio Broadcaster tinumba dahil sa kanyang “hard-hitting expose” laban sa Illegal na Droga, sangkot ang Kapulisan!

Tabloid-3: Kolumnista ng Tabloid, tinutukan ng baril ni Meyor!

Tabloid-4: TV reporter, nag-expose ng “ghost project” ni Congressman, Pinaputukan, Todas!

Tabloid-5: Bahay ng isang local radio reporter, hinagisan ng Granada, dalawa ang patay!

Tabloid-6: Heneral ng AFP, sangkot sa pamamaril sa isang tabloid reporter!

Tabloid-7: Baril ginamit na panakot sa isang TV reporter!

Bicolano Tabloid-8: Matabil na Radio Reporter, Binadil ni Hepe! Gadan! Nilamayan! etc.

In all of the above scenarios, the PEN (or Tongue) of the news reporter or radio broadcaster cannot be mightier than the bullet of the GUN of the assassin! Am I correct, sir?

It is arguably undeniable that many of the media practitioners in the country, who used their pens and tongues to expose corruption, have been the subject of intimidation, harassment, or even worst they become victims of ’salvaging’ for exposing anomaly/s in government projects. They “stand up for what is right even if it meant losing their lives”, as what nonong guyala’s description of the heroism of Fr. Chubby, who spearheaded the “rally for life” in Sorsogon to stop the series of extrajudicial killings of militants, etc., (in article re, bulan blood sand).

Anyhow, I would recall last year of May, (nagbakasyun ako) & on my way to the province, I had came across with the white streamer hanging in front of the Sorsogon Provincial Capitol which reads, “BADIL -versus- TABIL”, a basketball exhibition game featuring the Sorsogon media practitioners versus the military/police force. I would assume that the objective of the organizer is to foster unity, camaraderie and cooperation between media & the military/police, instead of sowing animosity against the other.

Sure, it’s tough to be a journalist in Afganistan, Iraq, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Nigeria, Burma, etc. But do you know what country is, according to the Asia Times, “far and away the most perilous place to be a journalist in Asia, if not the world?”

It’s the PHILIPPINES, where being a radio broadcaster is “riskier, on a per capita basis, than service as a left-wing activist or even as a guerrilla for the communists’ New People’s Army or militant Muslim groups.” According to an advocacy group called the National Union of Journalists, at least 42 Filipino journalists have been killed since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took power several years ago. Most of those killed have been radio broadcasters, who regularly criticize politicians, warlords, soldiers, & the police.

Arroyo has been criticized for contributing to lawlessness in the Philippines, where local vigilantes operate largely unchecked & there is, according to Amnesty International, a “lack of confidence in the criminal-justice system.” Few murderers are caught – there has only been one conviction of a police officer for the 42 journalist deaths. And that, says the Committee to Protect Journalists, “looks like an anomaly.”

Others say: The PEN is Mightier than the SWORD (the Gun):

“The Pen is Mightier than the Sword” is an adage coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play “Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy”. x-x-x-x,
Woodrow Wilson’s 1916 U.S. presidential re-election campaign used the slogan “He proved the Pen mightier than the Sword”.

According to the website, the book The People’s Almanac by Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky lists several supposed predecessors to Bulwer’s phrasing. Their first example comes from the Greek playwright Euripides, who died circa 406 BC. He is supposed to have written: “The Tongue is Mightier than the Blade.” If the People’s Almanac is correct, it should be possible to source this to an extant work by Euripides; however, the quote does appear in the 1935 fictional work Claudius the God & his Wife Messalina by Robert Graves, & is thus possibly an anachronism. (source: wikipedia, free encyclopedia)

Several possible precursors do appear in the Old and New Testaments, for example, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose authorship is uncertain, verse 4:12 reads: “Indeed, the word of God is living & effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints & marrow, & able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, who died in 1602 & was personal scribe and vizier to Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar (Akbar the Great), wrote of a gentleman put in charge of a fiefdom having “been promoted from the Pen to the Sword & taken his place among those who join the Sword to the Pen, & are masters both of peace and war.” Syad Muhammad Latif, in his 1896 history of Agra, quoted King Abdullah of Bokhara (Abdullah-Khan II), who died in 1598, as saying that “He was more afraid of Abu’l-Fazl’s PEN than of Akbar’s SWORD.” (source: wikipedia, free encyclopedia)

Robert Burton, in 1621, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, stated: “It is an old saying, “A blow with a Word strikes deeper than a blow with a Sword”: & many men are as much galled with a calumny, a scurrilous & bitter jest, a libel, a pasquil, satire, apologue, epigram, stage-play or the like, as with any misfortune whatsoever.” After listing several historical examples he concludes: “Hinc quam sit calamus saevior ense patet”, which translates as “From this it is clear how much more cruel the PEN may be than the SWORD.” (ibid)

Thomas Jefferson, on June 19, 1792, ended a letter to Thomas Paine with: “Go on then in doing with your PEN what in other times was done with the SWORD: shew that reformation is more practicable by operating on the mind than on the body of man, & be assured that it has not a more sincere votary nor you a more ardent well-wisher than Y[ou]rs. &c. Thomas Jefferson”.

The French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), known to history for his military conquests, also left this oft-quoted remark: “Four hostile Newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand Bayonets.”

When the PEN proved mightier than the GUN:
As a hardcore militant, Hemanta Jamatia was, in his heydey, one of those who terrorized Tripura. But the musician in him overpowered the insurgent, leading to him being selected for a Sangeet Natak Akademi award.

“Music often Triumphs over Guns,” says Jamatia who bade farewell to arms 14 years ago. But the lines he composed during his underground days still haunt him.

“Whenever I sang in the deep forest hideouts, my other rebel brothers would leave their arms & join me,” he said. (source: posted in the internet)

“My Pen, the Only Tool I Had”, by Rizal

Dr. Jose Rizal’s speech was immediately published in the newspapers of Madrid, & not long after in the Manila press. Rizal’s parents & family had long worried about the effect of his thinking & ideas. After the publication of this speech in the Philippines, many doubted that he would ever be allowed to return home.

I would say that Rizal has been inclined to believe that the PEN is mightier than a sword (a gun), while Bonifacio may have opted to believe otherwise! Maybe!

Which do you think is the mightier, the PEN or the GUN?

PS: …. though, there were reported incidents of extra judicial killings in the towns of Bulan & Irosin, or in the City of Sorsogon a year, or years ago involving members of the law enforcement agency/policemen as victims, or even lawyers as victims too, but not of the media/press people. Up to now, the name or identity of the perpetrator of summary execution is still a big question mark to us tagaBulans.

Who was the mastermind? And, who pulled the trigger? Bang! Bang! Bang!

If a particular crime is not yet solved nor closed, everybody is a possible suspect!


– dysfunctional system, or effective crime deterrent?

By: atty benji

In Bulan, or in Sorsogon, in particular, do you think criminal justice system is OK?
How about the police? The Prosecutor? The Court? And the Jail or Correctional?

I would recall a year ago during the debate re, abolition of the death penalty law in the country, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo believed that “strengthening the five (5) pillars of the criminal justice system is a more effective crime deterrent than the death penalty law”.

Reinforced by her alter ego’s statement, “So if we are able to address these five pillars of the criminal justice system, this is the most, more effective deterrent than capital punishment itself. That is the point of the President,” Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.

As an ordinary citizen, I would categorically swear that as long as there are so called SCALAWAGS IN UNIFORMS (police or NBI), Corrupt and Biased Public Prosecutors (fiscal), HOODLUMS IN ROBES (judge or justice) and inefficient and substandard Correctional system manned by rascal government men, we can all conclude that criminal justice system in this country is totally dysfunctional and ineffective channel of justice, and would not be a crime deterrent as well.

When a criminal justice in a particular country is rotten and decomposing (forgive the word), there would be no end to the victims of injustice/s to cry out loud for justice until the end of time, “Justi-is sabi nila, dahil bulok ang sistema!”

What is a Criminal Justice? – It is the system of practices, and organizations, used by national and local governments, directed at maintaining social control, deter and controlling crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties. The primary agencies charged with these responsibilities are law enforcement (police and prosecutors), courts, defense attorneys and local jails and prisons which administer the procedures for arrest, charging, adjudication and punishment of those found guilty. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights. The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of “justice,” “fairness” or “process,” essentially the pursuit of an ideal.

There are actually five (5) pillars of criminal justice system, as follows; (1.) Community, (2.) The Law Enforcement, (3.) The Prosecution Service, (4.) The Courts, (5.) The Correctional Institution.

If one of these pillars is dysfunctional, “wala tayong maasahan na hustisya!”

The five (5) pillars of the Philippine Criminal Justice System have important roles to play in the investigation, prosecution and dispensation of justice of the alleged offenders or felons.

The first pillar is the COMMUNITY ( e.g., People & People’s Organizations). It refers to institutions, government, and non-government agencies and people’s organizations that provide care and assistance to the victims or offended party, during and after the onset of a victims’ rights case. The “community” has a significant role to assume in all the phases of judicial involvement of offender as well as the protection process: the prevention of abuse, cruelty, discrimination and exploitation, assistance of offenders who enter the criminal justice system and the acceptance of the offenders upon his reintegration into the community,,, after he goes out of Correctional.

The second pillar is LAW ENFORCEMENT (e.g. PNP, NBI, PDEA, etc.) It involves government agencies charged with the enforcement of penal laws. It is primarily responsible for the investigation and determination whether an offense has been committed, and where needed, the apprehension of alleged offenders for further investigation of the third pillar,,, Prosecution Service.

The PROSECUTION SERVICE (Public Prosecutor or Fiscal) refers to the National Prosecution Service (NPS). The NPS is mandated to investigate and prosecute penal violations. It collates, evaluates evidence in the preliminary inquest investigation and dismisses or files the case in court as indicated.

The Public Attorneys Office or private defense counsel, on the other hand, serves as the defender of offender who is charged before the court and unable to hire the service of the retained lawyer.

The fourth pillar is the COURT (MTC, RTC) )which refers to the MTC and Regional Trial Courts designated to handle and try the case and issue judgment after trial.

The fifth pillar is the CORRECTIONAL SYSTEM (NBP, CIW, BJMP) . It refers to institutions mandated to administer both correctional and rehabilitation programs for the offenders. These programs develop the offenders or convicts’ abilities and potentials and facilitate their re-integration into the community and normal family life.

The rehabilitation and recovery process involves the support of government agencies, non-government organizations and most importantly the family and community so that the offender as well as the offended can heal and recover in order to be able to cope and rebuild their lives.

NB: the fifth pillar is formerly called PRISON or PENITENTIARY, it is now called a CORRECTIONAL (e.g. Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong) because the purpose of the law is to correct and rehabilitate the convict as productive citizen of the country, after he goes out of prison, as he will commingle or return to the community to live a new life as a normal person, not anymore as an ex-convict.

Suppose1: the people (family of the victim) refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the case, then the police would not be as effective to perform his job to arrest the suspect, thus, the first pillar of criminal justice system would be ineffective or dysfunctional.

Suppose2: the people (or family of the victim) or victim herself fully cooperated in the investigation of the case that led to the apprehension of the suspect, but later on the police, thru negligence or bribery, has just allowed the suspect go free and evade arrest, thus the second pillar of criminal justice system is also dysfunctional or rotten.

Suppose3: both the victim and police had worked together closely in the investigation, and actual apprehension of the suspect, however during the preliminary investigation stage conducted by the fiscal, who acted partially and moved for the dismissal of the case due to alleged lack of probable cause, however upon inquiry it was found out later that he did receive a bribe money from the suspect in exchange of a favorable resolution, thus, the third pillar of criminal justice system would also be dysfunctional and decomposing as well.

Suppose4: the victim, police and the fiscal have done their work par excellence and were able to present a strong case in court, but judge, who handled and tried the case, renders a decision acquitting the accused as he did receive monetary consideration from the other party, or thru “pakikisama”, or he is a “compare” of the accused, thus, the fourth pillar of criminal justice system is likewise dysfunctional.

Suppose5: the accused was finally convicted via fair and impartial trial, thru the cooperation of the aforementioned pillars, thereby giving justice to the victim of the crime, but when the accused was formally delivered and turned over to the correctional institution to serve his sentence, but instead of being corrected and rehabilitated therein, said convict was tortured and man handled, etc. (thru mental & physical torture), thus, the last pillar of criminal justice system is also dysfunctional.

To be able to strengthen an effective criminal justice system, all these pillars must perform and deliver their respective job par excellence in the realization of justice. Failure of any of the pillars aforementioned to function well will lead us into chaos and other forms of unrest in the community, because the government that is supposed to be the bulwark and vanguard of peoples’ right will serve nothing but a traitor to its own people, unable to protect the rights and interest of its citizens.

Last year, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)- a Hongkong based, launched a new report describing how the rotten criminal justice system in the Philippines fails to deliver justice to its people and contributes to the widespread human rights violations in the country.
“The criminal justice system of the Philippines is rotten”, describes how the police and courts fail to investigate and solve various human rights violations because of the lack of sincerity, despite well-established institutions on papers. It calls for the government to reform the criminal justice system and fulfill the promises it made to the Filipinos in the laws.

The report analyses why the criminal justice system in the Philippines fails to function. It identifies as including “command irresponsibility”, the non-existent witness protection programme, the bias of state officers towards victims and their families, and the irregularities in investigation and prosecution .

Flawed and misguided criminal investigations.

The police are the first and biggest obstacle to victims and their families obtaining justice in the Philippines. Where family members and witnesses come forward, they often find that police investigations contradict their versions of incidents. Police investigators sometimes make premature pronouncements about the motive for a killing and its cause, flatly rejecting alternative suggestions, particularly where state officers or persons allegedly connected to them are among the possible suspects. And, due to existence of scalawags in uniform, kotong cops, hulidap cops, that unless these scalwags in uniforms are eradicate, if not obliterated, the Mamang Pulis and Aleng Pulis ambitious project of P/Director General Sonny Razon would only mean nothing but just a scrap piece of garbage program which cannot be complied with in good faith by his men, or else, it will remain as a joke like, “Mamang Pulis-Pulis T…… Matulis.”

Non-existent victim and witness protection.

Most victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines have had threats on their lives beforehand; some already having survived earlier attacks. Those who seek protection are frustrated by the unresponsiveness of state agencies that supposedly have obligations to assist in such instances. Many end up dead.

The failure of the witness protection program must be attributed squarely to the rotten condition of its implementing agency, the Department of Justice. Public prosecutors, who are its officers, have also failed in their duty to refer witnesses for inclusion in the protection programme. Even in the most serious cases of extrajudicial killing, torture and disappearance, they are not known to have made recommendations and applications for protection.
Ineffectual and biased prosecutors
Public Prosecutors make little or no attempt to conceal bias in their handling of criminal complaints.

The extent of bias is again best illustrated by the head of the Department of Justice himself. Secretary (Raul) Gonzalez has gone out of his way to defend the government by flatly rejecting legitimate grievances about the inability of the authorities to stop extrajudicial killings, referring to them as “black propaganda.” He has adopted the language of the military and insinuated that unseen forces have taken advantage of the situation as “one way to destabilize the government” by way of creating lawlessness within the country, thereby putting the government into shame in the international community: as if the government was not sufficiently adept at creating lawlessness and putting itself to shame.

That Secretary Gonzalez feels safe in making open presumptions about the guilt or innocence of persons lodging criminal complaints and indicating that the extent of assistance given by his department depends upon what conclusions are drawn by its officers as to the merits of the complainant rather than the complaint speaks volumes about the rot at all levels of the criminal justice system of the Philippines.

Labeling “enemies”

Under section 14(2) of the Constitution of the Philippines “the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.” In practice the public labeling of accused persons or victims as “communist fronts,” “destabilizers,” “enemies of the state,” or “terrorists” negates this presumption and allows officials to do away with due process. The double standards in implementation of laws are most obvious in cases where such labels are applied. The use of labels also exposes victims, their families and colleagues to the possibility of further violence, and denies them any hope of protection. Once a person or organization has been labeled “leftist” or “enemy” then there is no possibility of safety. Whatever they may or may not have done, they are in a special category of persons and groups guilty by suspicion, for who the ordinary laws and procedures, to the limited extent they operate for everyone else, are suspended.

JUDGE must be impartial and free from influence, like a Lady Justice (na may piring at may hawak- hawak na timbangan).

For instance, we have hoodlums in robes… who based their decisions not on facts and evidence presented during the trial but on some other considerations such as, camaraderie with the litigants, brother or sister in the law fraternity/sorority, compare, or thru “pakikisama”…. or the worst is when the decision is rendered in favor of the highest bidder…

Maybe, President GMA was correct in saying that “these five pillars of criminal justice system to become effective as crime deterrent, the same must be strengthen, and be addressed properly”,

….. otherwise, we will all go to the dogs!

……or better still, in the quest for justice, the victims will resort to the law of the jungle in order to get the justice they deserve, (or the law of survival of the fittest, according to german philosopher friedrich nitzche, that “only the strong must survive, the weaklings must be eliminated”)



By: atty benji

While I live in the Philippines? or in Bulan? My answer is simple because “Ito ang aking lupang sinilangan. Ito rin ang tahanan ng aking lahi”, (Panatang Makabayan, he-he-he-he).

But there are Filipinos who make fun of living in the country, “the Philippines”. Though, I don’t claim originality of this, for the simple reason that this was just forwarded to me by one of my friends, who wanted to share his views regarding the grandeur of living in the Philippines…..this piece is an informative one, but a bit hilarious and funny to read….

Enjoy reading as you go thru the lines, please!!!!!!

Why I live in the Philippines? – funny but true!!! When I travel, people often ask me why I live in the Philippines? Well here it is….. It is the only place on earth where…… 1. Every street has a basketball court. 2. Even doctors, lawyers and engineers are unemployed. 3. Doctors study to become nurses for employment abroad. 4. Students pay more money than they will earn afterwards. 5. School is considered the second home and the mall considered the third. 6. Call-center employees earn more money than teachers and nurses. 7. Everyone has his personal ghost story and superstition. 8. Mountains like Makiling and Banahaw are considered holy places. 9. Everything can be forged. 10. All kinds of animals are edible. 11. Starbucks coffee is more expensive than gas. 12. Driving 4 kms. can take as much as four hours. 13. Fly-overs bring you from the freeway to the side streets. 14. Crossing the street involves running for your dear life. 15. The personal computer is mainly used for games and Friendster. 16. Where colonial mentality is dishonestly denied! 17. Where 4 a.m. is not even considered bedtime yet. 18. People can pay to defy the law. 19. Everything and everyone is spoofed. 20. Where even the poverty-stricken get to wear Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger (peke)! 21. The honking of car horns is a way of life. 22. Being called a bum is never offensive. 23. Floodwaters take up more than 90 percent of the streets during the rainy season. 24. Where everyone has a relative abroad who keeps them alive. 25. Where wearing your national colors make you baduy. 26. Where even the poverty-stricken have the latest cell phones. (GSM-galing sa magnanakaw) 27. Where insurance does not work. 28. Where water can only be classified as tap and dirty. 29. Clean water is for sale (35 pesos per gallon). 30. Where the government makes the people pray for miracles.
(Amen to that!) 31. Where University of the Philippines where all the weird people go. 32. Ateneo is where all the nerds go. 33. La Salle is where all the Chinese go. 34.. College of Saint Benilde is where all the stupid Chinese go and; 35. University of Asia and the Pacific is where all the irrelevantly rich people go. 36. Fast food is a diet meal. 37. Traffic signs are merely suggestions, not regulations. 38. Where being mugged is normal and It happens to everyone. 39. Rodents are normal house pets. 40. The definition of traffic is the ‘non-movement’ of vehicles. 41. Where the fighter planes of the 1940s are used for military engagements and; 42. The new fighter planes are displayed in museums. 43. Where cigarettes and alcohol are a necessity, and where the lottery is a commodity. 44. Where soap operas tell the realities of life and where the news provides the drama. 45. Where actors make the rules and where politicians provide the entertainment. 46. People can get away with stealing trillions of pesos but not a thousand. 47. Where being an hour late is still considered punctual (Grabe talaga ‘to!) 48. Where the squatters have more to complain (even if they do not pay their tax) – than those employed and have their tax automatically deducted from their salaries. 49. And where everyone wants to leave the country!

FILIPINO SIGNS OF WIT: 1. The sign in a flower shop in Diliman called Petal Attraction. 2. Anita Bakery 3. A 24-hour restaurant called Doris Day & Night 4. Barber shop called Felix The Cut; 5. A bakery named Bread Pitt 6. Fast-food place selling ‘maruya’ (banana fritters) called Maruya Carey. 7. Then, there are Christopher Plumbing 8. A boutique called The Way We Wear 9. A video rental shop called Leon King Video Rental 10. A restaurant in Cainta district of Rizal called Caintacky Fried Chicken 11. A local burger restaurant called Mang Donald’s 12. A doughnut shop called MacDonuts 13. A shop selling ‘lumpia’ (egg roll) in Makati called Wrap and Roll 14. And two butcher shops called Meating Place and
Meatropolis. Smart travelers can decipher what may look like baffling signs to unaccustomed foreigners by simply sounding out the ‘Taglish’ (The Philippine version of English words spelled and pronounced with a heavy Filipino such as: 15. At a restaurant menu in Cebu? We hab sopdrink in can an in batol? [translation: We have soft drinks in can and in bottle]. 16. Then, there is a sewing accessories shop called Bids And Pises – [translation: Beads and Pieces –or– Bits and Pieces] There are also many signs with either badly chosen or misspelled words but they are usually so entertaining that it would be a mistake to ‘correct’ them like……. 17. In a restaurant in Baguio City, the ’summer capital’ of the Philippines: ? Wanted: Boy Waitress? 18. On a highway in Pampanga ? We Make Modern Antique Furniture? 19. On the window of a photography shop in Cabanatuan: ? We Shoot You While You Wait? 20. And on the glass front of a cafe in Panay Avenue in Manila ? Wanted: Waiter, Cashier, Washier?. Some of the notices can even give a wrong impression such as: 21. A shoe store in Pangasinan which has a sign saying ? We Sell Imported Robber Shoes? (these could be the ’sneakiest’ sneakers); 22. A rental property sign in Jaro reads ? House For Rent, Fully Furnaced? (it must really be hot inside)! 23. Occasionally, one could come across signs that are truly unique
– if not altogether odd. A City in southern Philippines which said ? Adults: 1 peso; Child: 50 centavos; Cadavers: fare subject to negotiation ? 24. European tourists may also be intrigued to discover two competing shops selling Hopia (a Chinese pastry) called Holland Hopia and Poland Hopia – which are owned and operated by two local Chinese entrepreneurs, Mr. Ho and Mr. Po respectively – (believe it or not)! 25. Some folks also ‘creatively’ redesign English to be more efficient.? The creative confusion between language and culture leads to more than just simple unintentional errors in syntax, but in the adoption of new words,? says reader Robert Goodfellow who came across a sign ….. House Fersallarend’ (house for sale or rent). Why use five words when two will do?
26. According to Manila businessman, Tonyboy Ongsiako, there is so much wit in the Philippines because? We are a country where a good sense of humor is needed to survive?. We have a 24-hour comedy show here called the government and a huge reserve of comedians made up mostly of politicians and bad actors. Now I ask you where else in the world would one want to live?


By: Atty. Benji

Section 26 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution reads “the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit “Political Dynasties” as maybe defined by Law”. Apparently, the enabling law that will define the parameters of the term “political dynasty” has been languishing in the archives of the House of Representatives for years, or even a decade now.

Can we expect the present members of the House of Representatives to seriously pass and approve a law that may compromise their political career in the future? Of course not! Because most, if not all, of the present congressmen and congresswomen must have came from family or families of seasoned politicians or political clans, or better still, “Trapos”, short for traditional politicians.

Dictionary has defined the term “dynasty” as succession of rulers from the same family or line; or a family or group that maintains power for several generations: a political dynasty controlling the state.

Political Analysts say the dominance of the clans has prevented the flowering of genuine democracy in the Philippines.

The only way to break up these political dynasties fast is to disqualify all present officeholders and their relatives, from mayor to president, from running for any office in the next elections. But that is not likely to happen, except under a revolutionary government.

For instance in the BICOL Region alone, political dynasties have been prevalent since time immemorial among the seasoned family of politicians or political clans, such as, the Andayas, Rocos, Villafuertes, Alfelors, Fuentebellas and Robredos of CAMARINES SUR. The Panoteses, Typocos, Timoners, Unicos and Padillas of CAMARINES NORTE. The Verceleses, Sanchezes, Alcantaras, Santiagos, Tatads of CATANDUANES. The Lagmans, Salcedas, Gonzaleses, Bicharas and Imperials of ALBAY. The Fernandezes, Espinosas, Butalids, Bacunawas and Khos of MASBATE, and last but not the least, the Gotladeras, de Castros, Gonzaleses, Encinases, Lees and the Escuderos of SORSOGON.

In the town of BULAN per se, political dynasties are also prevalent long time ago and up to the present time, we have the de Castro clan and the Gotladera-Gillego clan, (for the Gotladera-Gillego i.e, then ex-Mayors, Taleon and wife, Nena Gillego-Gotladera, and ex-Congressman Boning Gillego, a brother of Nena, and now, Olap, grandson of Taleon & Nena), and for the de Castro clan, i.e., then, Assemblywoman, Nene de Castro, ex-Mayors Luis de Castro, Vito de Castro and Guiming de Castro, and now, Rosa de Castro, wife of Guiming – all in the family affair, a family business and source of livelihood. And, I would assume that Vice President Kabayan Noli de Castro is not related to the de Castro clan of Bulan, neither Fidel Castro of Cuba too, he-he-he.

Atog ka, mapagalon rungkabon an “political dynasty” sa lado san local na politika, kay sira man lang baga an may mga (3Gs) Guns, Goons & Gold. Kaya pagnagbarakalan sin boto, permi na sira llamado sa eleksyon, kayang-kaya nira magbakal sin armas, o mag-hire sin daghan na mga bodyguards o mercenaries, etc…. Dahil sira an nasa poder, an panabot nira sira nalang an maykakayahan o karapatan magpugol san poder sa municipio o kapitolyo kaya hinihimo nira na hanap buhay an politika, habang nakaingkod sa poder, sulwak an mga kawarta, kaupod na duon an mga manglain-lain na pahanlas, porsiento, komisyun, kickback, jueteng payola, komisyun sa illegal drugs, illegal logging, o illegal fishing. Parasapasa lang sira san poder, pagkatapos san ama, sa asawa, sa mga bata, kamanghod, bayaw, belas, ugangan, hinablusan, singaki, sobrino, sobrina etc., balik gihapon sa pwesto an ama, baga lang san telibong, paikot- ikot lang.

Columnist Carlos H. Conde of the Herald Tribune, in one of his columns regarding Philippine political dynasty, wrote that ‘”For generations, political dynasties have dominated politics and governance in the Philippines. They are prominent and moneyed clans, like that of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose father was also president and whose son is a congressman in Pampanga. Another son is also a congressman in Camarines Sur. (GMA brother-in-law, Egie boy Arroyo is also a Congressman in Negros. But, Senator Joker Arroyo is not related to her either by affinity or consanguinity.)

There are an estimated 250 political families nationwide, with at least one in every province, occupying positions in all levels of the bureaucracy, according to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, a nonprofit group that advocates more grassroots participation in politics. Of the 265 members of Congress, 160 belong to these clans, the group says.

“These are the same families who belong to the country’s economic elite, some of them acting as rule makers or patrons of politicians who conspire together to amass greater economic power,” said Bobby Tuazon, Director of the center.

Analysts say members of the dynasties have developed a sense of entitlement regarding public positions, while many ordinary Filipinos accept the arrangement as inevitable, which makes it difficult to change the situation.

Political dynasties were an offshoot of the country’s colonial experience, in which the Filipino elite was nurtured by Spanish and American colonizers. Even after the country gained independence, in 1946, the largely feudal system persisted, as landed Filipino families sought to protect their interests by occupying public offices.

When he was president in the 1970s and 1980s, Ferdinand Marcos blamed the political dynasties for what was wrong with the country and promised to dismantle them. He did, but then replaced them with new ones that he controlled. These families persist to this day.

Because Filipinos tend not to vote according to class, ethnicity, religion or even ideology, the Filipino family has become “the most enduring political unit and the one into which, failing some wider principle of participation, all other units dissolve,” Brian Fegan, an American anthropologist and historian, wrote in the book “An Anarchy of Families: State and Family in the Philippines.”

“Continuing clan dominance is a product of the seemingly immutable and unequal socioeconomic structure, as well as the failure to develop a truly democratic electoral and party system,” said Julio Teehankee, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila.

The system is a vicious cycle, one that prevents the expansion of the base of aspirants and candidates for representation, Teehankee said. The result, he added, is a political system dominated by patronage, corruption, violence, and fraud.

Apart from violence, election fraud sparks the most concern during elections. According to the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, “fraud recycles the political dynasties and keeps them in power.”

“It breeds generations of cheaters and manipulators, corrupt politicians, mediocre executives, bribe takers, absenteeism in Congress,” the center said.

The Asia Foundation, which has been monitoring elections in the Philippines for decades, said in a report that “confusion, inefficiency, corruption and cheating damaged the credibility of elections and cast doubt on the democratic legitimacy of elected officials” in the Philippines.

Apart from contributing to corruption, the rule of political dynasties has other detrimental effects for Filipinos, according to several studies by watchdog groups, including the Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

For example, a family in power might not finance government projects in areas controlled by its rivals. In many cases, those in power would withhold government services, like health care, and offer them only during election periods. The repair of roads and bridges often takes place only during the election season, and a governing politician would make sure that voters know who was behind the repair.

Likewise, veteran political columnist Antonio C. Abaya wrote in one of his newspaper columns that “the Charter Change is being promoted as a cure-all for all the ills of this unfortunate country. It is not. Under the present circumstances, shifting to the parliamentary system, without first overhauling the political system and without first rewriting the rules of electoral engagement, will not result in any meaningful change.”

“Without first making these preliminary changes, the predatory “trapos” who now control the present presidential system will wind up controlling the future parliamentary system”, Abaya added.

Will the parliamentary system dismantle the political dynasties? Of course not. Why would the political dynasties, which have acquired their political clout and fabulous wealth under the presidential system, do anything to diminish that clout and reduce that wealth under a parliamentary system? It would be counterintuitive.

“As far as I know, the 1987 Constitution frowned on political dynasties, and there are or have been only-God-and-the-congressmen-know how many bills filed in Congress precisely to dismantle political dynasties, in support of the constitutional spirit. But none of these bills have ever prospered into law. They are all languishing in some dank and dusty congressional archive, never to see the light of day”, Abaya continued.

“Even under President Aquino, the principal inspiration of the Cory Constitution, the Cojuangco and Aquino dynasties flourished… So did the Estrada dynasty during and after the presidency of Erap, and the Arroyo and Macapagal dynasties under the present dispensation. Politics in the Philippines have become a lucrative family business and the fastest route to fabulous wealth”, said Abaya.

“The present presidential administration has had all the chances to pursue a serious anticorruption campaign at the highest level, involving the biggest fish. But it has chosen not to. It is inconceivable that it would suddenly do so under a parliamentary system,” Abaya said.

The more than 100 graft cases against the Marcos family have been pending for almost 20 years, and yet there has not been a single conviction. The plunder case against Joseph Estrada has been dragging on for more than four years, occasionally punctuated with offers of “reconciliation” if Erap would only accept exile abroad…… (Subsequently, Erap was given executive clemency of pardon by GMA, our government prosecutors were busy gathering evidence to prosecute Erap for plunder, then, less than a year after his conviction, GMA granted him pardon…, weird?)

Another political columnist Girlie Linao said during the last May 2007 elections that, per reports she received, in a southern Philippine province, a Muslim politician and his three wives are all running for public office in upcoming mid-term elections in May.

Up north, a husband and wife tandem are seeking re-election for mayor and vice mayor of a town in Nueva Ecija province, while the wife of the incumbent governor of the eastern province of Masbate is running to replace her husband.

All over the Philippines, husbands, wives, sons, daughters and close relatives are on the campaign trail in hopes of getting elected on May 14, when Filipinos vote for 12 senators, more than 200 congressional representatives and some 17,000 local officials.

In some areas, family members are facing off with each other for the same positions, while people from only one clan are running for every possible elective posts in their bailiwicks.

“Politics has become a family affair in this country – not in the wholesome sense, but in a way akin to the Cosa Nostra,’ newspaper columnist Ana Marie Pamintuan lamented, referring to the Sicilian mafia.

For decades, wealthy and famous families have dominated politics in the Philippines, concentrating power to the elite, promoting corruption and resulting in abuses.

While the Philippine constitution prohibits political dynasties, an enabling law that would implement the ban is still pending in Congress, and many of the country’s lawmakers oppose it because they too come from political clans.
Other long-entrenched political clans include the families of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former president Corazon Aquino.

In the past decade, the country also saw the rise of new political dynasties, often challenging the traditional clans in their bailiwicks.

Senator Joker Arroyo, who was reelected last May election, said he does not see anything wrong with political dynasties, noting that families tend to take care of an area in order to retain their power in their turfs.

“I don’t particularly condemn it because it is practiced all over the world,” Arroyo, who is not related to the president and does not have any relative in public office, said.

He cited the case of the late US president John F Kennedy, whose relatives held public office even while he was still in the White House.

But columnist Ana Marie Pamintuan noted that while it was quite normal for children to want to follow the footsteps of their parents or for constituents to want good politicians to remain in power, some families need to temper their greed for power.

“Allowing a single clan to dominate the political scene in a particular area can weaken the checks and balances against the abuse of power,’ she said.

“In certain areas, long-entrenched dynasties also produce warlords who operate above the law, controlling jueteng (an illegal numbers game) and smuggling, and using murder to eliminate troublemakers,’ she added.

And, there you are, sociologist and columnist Randy David said the proliferation of political dynasties in the Philippines highlights “a bigger malaise” in the country, which he said is “the absence of any real political competition in society.”

“The problem…is our society’s lopsided structure of opportunities that allows a few to monopolize wealth and power, while consigning the vast majority of our people to a life of dependency and hopelessness,” he added.

Another columnist/reporter, Mio Cusi said that “political dynasties reflect an internal contradiction in any democratic institution. The Constitution explicitly prohibits their existence, since they preclude equal access to public service. Yet they continue to exert a pervasive influence on Philippine politics.”

“Political dynasties are expanding further rather than contracting. This is a direct contravention of the Constitution,” party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna said.

Ocampo added that while the fundamental law of the land requires the passage of a law to define the concept of “political dynasty” and disallow its abusive practice, legislators are not about to shoot their own foot.

“The Constitution passes on to the legislature the enactment of an enabling law to carry out that policy. The reality is that the dominant members of the House belong to political dynasties, which cannot be expected to legislate their own demise as a political entity,” he said.

Then Rep. Noynoy Aquino III of Tarlac, (now a Senator) however, viewed the issue on whether a member of a political family should continue in office or not, as a matter of public choice. “At the end of the day, people deserve the government they get,” he said.

Ocampo still maintains the view that no political family should exercise monopoly of leadership, especially if they have all the economic resources and political clout to do so. “The idea is to democratize, specifically, to give chance to ordinary people to elect their own,” he said.

Using a Marxist perspective, Ocampo explained that the emergence of the parties of the Left, Bayan Muna among others, is part of the struggle against political dynasties. “These developments are a direct challenge and response to the worsening situation.”

Ocampo referred to the party-list system as the “aperture” where the reactionary forces can enter and represent themselves. Twenty percent of the total number of House seats is reserved for party-list representation.

But despite the window of opportunity given by the Constitution, Ocampo believes that Congress made an enabling law that is “flawed.” It became a device to marginalize the representation for party-list since the ceiling limits the filling up of available seats, he said.

Although Ocampo explained the appearance of reactionary groups in Congress from the point of view of class struggle, he admitted that House members belonging to political dynasties have a function in the advocacy of the Left.

“We have been able to expand the number of House members belonging to traditional parties and political dynasties to support some of our advocacies,” Ocampo said. He described the support as “relatively consistent” from a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 60 congressmen.

Another political analyst and columnist Victor Montero in one of his commentaries last year said that “the defining character of the 2007 elections, says one observer, is the phenomenal rise of political dynasties. Congressmen, governors and mayors on their last term have fielded their spouses, children and siblings to succeed them. A number of senatorial candidates, meanwhile, have close relatives holding a variety of elective positions. And no less than President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has two sons and one brother-in-law running for congressman.” (as expected, they all won in the last elections)

Outrage over the situation has given rise to a new group in Philippine politics — the Citizens’ Anti-Dynasty Movement (CADM). Ironically, its creation was spurred by the choice of senatorial candidates of the ruling coalition and the Opposition.

Roger Olivares, co-founder of CAD said that “the group went to work, digging up data which showed that family dynasties control over 75 percent of local elective posts in almost all of major cities.

Indeed, in the May 2007 elections, 10 of 23 senatorial candidates belong to political dynasties.”

According to Olivares, the dynasties control elective positions not just in a vertical manner (like when a congressman passes on his post to a son or a daughter), but also horizontal where the dynasty controls several key positions within a city or a province.

For instance during the May 11, 2007 elections in the National Capital Region, in Makati, Mayor Jejomar Binay is seeking a third term, his daughter Abigail is running for congresswoman while his son Jejomar is aiming for a second term as councilor. In Manila, outgoing Mayor Lito Atienza has fielded his son Ali to take over his post. A son-in-law, Miles Roces, is seeking reelection as congressman in Manila. In Valenzuela City, four of businessman William Gatchalian’s sons are all in politics – one son is the incumbent mayor, the three others are seeking congressional posts in the city. In the provinces, Senator Edgardo Angara’s clan lords it over Aurora: the senator’s sister is the governor, his brother is mayor of capital town Baler, his son is congressman, and his nephew is running for vice governor. In Nueva Ecija, the Josons have appropriated unto themselves practically all major political positions in the province. There are towns where husbands and wives are battling it out for control of the municipio.

“This kind of control definitely breeds corruption and mediocrity,” says Olivares. “It chokes the ambitions of other potentially dedicated leaders. We have not had potentially dedicated local and national leaders of consequence the past two decades.”

Olivares admits there are politicians that had done well and who have the support of the people. But these are few and far between, he adds.
Olivares believes that completely eradicating political dynasties is not possible without violating their personal rights. “We do not want to do that. At best, control or limits to avoid excessive debilitating abuse is workable. That is up to the lawmakers to decide.”

In America, there are also family dynasties in politics. The Kennedys have dominated politics in at least one district in Massachussetts for decades. But the Kennedys, Olivares points out, have shown dedication in public service and had to earn or win their positions. The main difference, he says, is how public officials are elected in the US and in the Philippines.

In America, there is very little of what are called “command votes” or “patronage votes” which is the weapon of Philippine dynasties. “Because of education, fairly good income, and good communication, Americans can make up their minds individually although there is of course a bloc vote–but that bloc vote is because of beliefs and other persuasions, not because of feudal dependence,” says Olivares.

For Dan Olivares, brother of Roger and executive director of CADM, political dynasties cause stagnation. “The rise of new leaders is set back. I don’t think there is such a thing as a dynasty that is one hundred percent good.”

The 1987 Constitution contains an anti-dynasty provision, a reflection of the lessons from the Marcos regime where assorted relatives of the strongman were elected or appointed to public office. The Constitution termed dynasties as anti-democratic in character.

Dynastic clans, however, counter that the constitutional anti-dynasty provision has no enabling law. “That is their excuse,” says Dan. “They quote the Constitution for their own benefit.”

There may be as many reasons as there are dynasties to explain the situation. One factor could be the Filipino’s excessive penchant for utang na loob (debt of gratitude) which is part of a feudal mindset. They feel beholden to the politician for the many perks or favors given them. “Parang batang nabigyan ng kendi,” explains Dan.

Postcript: For further reference and information on political clans and dynasties in Philippine politics, attached hereunder are the leading personalities and political families, who dominated the local politics in their respective regions/provinces/cities/towns per researched released last year (2007) by the Citizens’ Anti-Dynasty Movement (CADM) chaired by Roger Olivarez. Obviously, seventy-five (75%) percent of provinces and regions, almost 100% of major cities are under dynasty families’ control.”, as follows:

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Plazas and Amantes; ALBAY, Salcedas, Gonzaleses, Bicharas, Imperials and Lagmans; BATAAN, Romans and Garcia; BATANES, Abads; BATANGAS, Rectos, Ermitas, Sanchezes, Laureles and Levistes; BILIRAN, Espinas; BULACAN, Alvarados, Oples, Pagdanganans and Mendozas; BUKIDNON, Acostas and Zubiri; CAGAYAN DE ORO, Emanos; CALOOCAN, Asistios and Echeverris; CAMARINES SUR, Robredos Villafuertes, Rocos, Fuentebellas and Alfelors; CAMIGUIN, Romualdos; CAVITE, Remullas, Revillas, Barzagas; CEBU, Osmenas, del Mars, Cuencos, Gullases, Garcias, Yaphas and Martinezes; COMPOSTELA VALLEY, Caballeros and Amatongs; DAVAO CITY, Dutertes and Lopezes; DAVAO DEL SUR, Libanans, Bautistas and Cagases; EASTERN SAMAR, Libanans; GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Antoninos; ILOCOS NORTE, Marcoses and Fariñases; ILOCOS SUR, Singsons and Baterinas; ILOILO, Defensors, Tupases, Suplicos, Garins, Birons and Gonzaleses; ISABELA, Dys and Albanos; LA UNION, Ortegas and Joaquins; LANAO DEL NORTE, Dimaporos; LANAO DEL SUR, Macarambons; LAS PINAS, Villar-Aguilars; LEYTE, Petillas, Velosos and Romualdezes; MAKATI, Binays; MANILA, Atienzas and Bagatsings; MARINDUQUE, Reyeses; MASBATE, Khos; MISAMIS ORIENTAL, Baculios; MUNTINLUPA, Fresnedis; NAVOTAS, Sandovals; NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, de la Cruzes, Marañons, Lacsons, Alvarezes, Zaycos and Lopezes; NEGROS ORIENTAL, Parases, Blancos, Limkaichongs, Dys, Yaps, Baldados, Villanuevas, Arnaizes, Montanos, Maciases and Teveses; NUEVA ECIJA, Josons, Umalis, Fajardos, Violagos, Vargases, Villareals and Esquivels; OLONGAPO CITY, Gordons; PALAWAN, Mitras; PAMPANGA, Macapagals, Lapids, Bondocs and Puyats; PANGASINAN, Agbayanis, de Venecias, Espinos, Lims, Ramoses; PASIG, Eusebios; QUEZON-AURORA, Angaras, Suarezes and Punsalans; SAN JUAN, Estrada-Ejercitos; SARANGGANI, Chongbians; SORSOGON, Lees and Escuderos; SIQUIJOR, Fuas; SULTAN KUDARAT, Mangudadatos; SURIGAO DEL NORTE, Barbers and Ecleos; SURIGAO DEL SUR, Falcons and Pichays; TAGUIG, Cayetanos; TARLAC, Aquinos, Sumulongs, Cojuangcos, Lapuzes and Yaps; VALENZUELA, Gatchalians; ZAMBALES, Magsaysays; ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Jalosjoses; (CADM researched not yet updated as of yet)…


by attybenji

April 9, 2008 at 9:33 am

mr. rudyb.… it’s nice that you have had an unforgettable recollection and memories of martial law years in San Ramon. I guess you were referring to the mountain in sitio Kabangkalan or Talistison, a terrain overlooking the NIA dam, and the terrain in Parik, a border separating San Ramon & Kabugaan, where many NPA-Military encounters took place several times… It’s good to reminisce the experience of the nostalgic past, and the horrifying memories of martial law years in Bulan, particularly in San Ramon, being considered as a warzone during those yesteryears.

The military oprations, and NPA attacks then were concentrated solely in San Ramon because the PC/Army used NIA office thereat as their barracks, besides the fact that most of the NPA youth rebels then were legitimate residents of San Ramon, i.e., the family of Fruto, Mape, Gibaga, Guelas, Almoguera, Espela, Serrano, Bontigao, Godalla, Gealone, Guban, Gobris, et al., these people were actually victims of military abuses, thru saturation drive, hamletting, unfounded accusations, etc… I was only 4 years old then, pero dumdom ko intero an mga nangyari san panahon na kaduluman……mala kay alas 5 palang an hapon sa san ramon wara na sin nagbabasad basad na tawo sa kalsada, kay pag-abot sin alas 6 hangang 10 san gabi, puro ragakrak na san M16 an mababati mo, matingulon sa talinga an purutukan, kaya kadaghanan san balay sa san ramon puro may ukad sa sulod kay pag nagpurutukan narulumpat nalang sa ukad o buho para deri tamaan san bala, kay an mga lunob puro man lang baga himo sa amakan, pawud o tabla ……the rest is history… blah-blah-blah…

mr. Jun A….. baga san daku-dako an problema ta niyan kay habu na si mr. rudyb mag-react o response kay mapagalon kuno an pagsurat, he-he-he, ako ngani mapidlason na an tudlo ko san katutudlok kay insasayu-sayo ko lang an kada letra sa keyboard sine na computer…..

Anyway, let’s make a bit cambio to the new topic in the maintime, you know guys, I have a friend, who, works for the korean company, forwarded to me an informative email a couple of days ago, written allegedly by a korean student, who has been residing in the Philippines for years … . I do not know whether the name of this korean author is fictitious or not, (ala, juan dela cruz)… the message of the article is intended for the filipino people in general, and maybe to the people of BULAN in particular too…. here they are, as follows:

To all Filipinos. (pwede rin sabihon na … TO ALL TagaBULANs)

The message goes:
As you know, we have plenty of Koreans currently
studying in the Philippines to take advantage of
our cheaper tuition fees and learn English at the
same time.

This is an essay written by a Korean student i
want to share with you. (Never mind the Grammar;
it’s the CONTENT that counts) Maybe it is timely to think about this in the midst of all the confusion at present.

by: Jaeyoun Kim

Filipinos always complain about the corruption in
the Philippines .. Do you really think the corruptionis the problem of the Philippines ? I do not think so. I strongly believe that the problem is
the lack of love for the Philippines ..

Let me first talk about my country, Korea ..
It might help you understand my point.
After the Korean War, South Korea was one
of the poorest countries in the world. Koreans
had to start from scratch because entire country wasdestroyed after the Korean War, and we had no natural resources.

Koreans used to talk about the Philippines , for
Filipinos were very rich in Asia .. We envy Filipinos.

Koreans really wanted to be well off like
Filipinos. Many Koreans died of famine.
My father & brother also died because of famine.
Korean government was very corrupt and is still very corrupt beyond your imagination, but Korea was able to develop dramatically because Koreans really did their best for the common good with their heartburning with patriotism.

Koreans did not work just for themselves but also
for their neighborhood and country. Education inspired young men with the spirit of patriotism.

40 years ago, President Park took over the
government to reform Korea .. He tried to borrow money from other countries, but it was not possible to get a loan and attract a foreign investment because the economic situation of South Korea was so bad. Korea had only three factories. So, President Park sent many mine
workers and nurses to Germany so that
they could send money to Korea to build a factory.
They had to go through horrible experience.

In 1964, President Park visited Germany to borrow
money. Hundred of Koreans in Germany came to the airport to welcome him and cried there as they saw the President Park .. They asked to him, “President, when can we be well off?” That was the only question everyone asked to him. President Park cried with them and promised them that Korea would be well off if everyone works hard for Korea , and the President
of Germany got the strong impression on them
and lent money to Korea .. So, President Park was
able to build many factories in Korea .. He always
asked Koreans to love their country from their heart.

Many Korean scientists and engineers in the USA
came back to Korea to help developing country
because they wanted their country to be well off.
Though they received very small salary, they did their best for Korea .. They always hoped that their children would live in well off country.

My parents always brought me to the places where
poor and physically handicapped people live. They
wanted me to understand their life and help them.
I also worked for Catholic Church when I was in the army.

The only thing I learned from Catholic Church was that we have to love our neighborhood. And, I d my neighborhood. Have you cried for the Philippines ? I have cried for my country several times. I also cried for the Philippines because of so many poor people. I have been to the New Bilibid prison. What made me sad in the prison were the prisoners who do not have any love for their country. They go to mass and work for Church. They pray everyday.

However, they do not love the Philippines .. I
talked to two prisoners at the maximum-security compound, and both of them said that they would leave the Philippines right after they are released from the prison. They said that they would start a new life in other countries and never come back to the Philippines ..

Many Koreans have a great love for Korea so that
we were able to share our wealth with our neighborhood. The owners of factory and company were distributed their profit to their employees fairly so that employees could buy what they needed and saved money for the future and their children.

When I was in Korea , I had a very strong faith and
wanted to be a priest. However, when I came to the Philippines , I completely lost my faith.
I was very confused when I saw many unbelievable situations in the Philippines .. Street kids always make me sad, and I see them everyday. The Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia , but there are too many poor people here. People go to church every Sunday to pray, but nothing has been changed.

My parents came to the Philippines last week and
saw this situation. They told me that Korea was much poorer than the present Philippines when they were young. They are so sorry that there are so many beggars and street kids. When we went to Pasangjan, I forced my parents to take a boat because it would fun. However, they were not happy after taking a boat. They said that they would not take the boat again because they were sympathized the boatmen, for the boatmen were very poor and had a small frame. Most of people just took a boat and enjoyed it. But, my parents did not enjoy it because of love
for them.

My mother who has been working for Catholic Church since I was very young told me that if we just go to mass without changing ourselves, we are not Catholic indeed. Faith should come with action. She added that I have to love Filipinos and do good things for them because all of us are same and have received a great love from God. I want Filipinos to love their neighborhood and country as much as they love God so that the Philippines will be well off.

I am sure that love is the keyword, which Filipinos
should remember. We cannot change the sinful structure at once. It should start from person. Love must start in everybody, in a small scale and have to grow. A lot of things happen if we open up to love. Let’s put away our prejudices and look at our worries with our new eyes.

I discover that every person is worthy to be
loved. Trust in love, because it makes changes possible. Love changes you and me. It changes people, contexts and relationships. It changes the world. Please love your neighborhood and country.

Jesus Christ said that whatever we do to others we
do to Him. In the Philippines , there is God for people who are abused and abandoned. There is God who is crying for love. If you have a child, teach them how to love the Philippines .. Teach them why they have to love their neighborhood and country. You already know that God also will be very happy if you love others.

That’s all I really want to ask you Filipinos.

…….., BAGA DAW SAN PATAMA INE SA ATO NA MGA PILIPINO,,,, TOTOO KAYA NA AN DAHILAN KAYA DERI KITA NAG-AASENSO DAHIL WARA KITA SIN TUNAY NA PAGKAMOOT O PAGMAKULOG SA SADIRI NATO NA BUNGO?…… Mga tagaBulans, sige tabi maghiriwag na kita niyan nan magkasararo kita tungo sa progreso nan pag-asenso san saato bungto…….

MAY PAG-ASA ANG BULAN – by attybenji

mr. rudyb:

good day!

You’re a great man! Your insights and suggestions in the article “future of bulan” are provocative and informative too. Though, it is a bit radical, but it is also comical on the other hand…. But, seriously speaking, I would say that your proposition, or suggestion is the most viable and effective way of eradicating corruption as well as the remnants of corruption, or the tyranny of corruption in the government service.

The rigid and rigorous training and briefing and/or debriefing must begin right now within the privileged few (youth) – and to train only the chosen “idealist” and the “patriotic” trainees, the genes and blood samples must be exacted and thoroughly examined to see to it that they are not descendants by consanguinity or affinity of corrupt leaders of the past, neither contaminated by poisonous blood of some of the unpunished and unprosecuted corrupt officials of the past regime as well.

In your observations, you suggested the following …xxx.“probably the most radical thing to do is to set up Gulag type youth training camps – with identified selected idealist and patriotic “trainees”, isolate them from the rest of the world and bombard them with daily dose of anti corruption semantics.” xxx

…xxx….”another remedy is to zero base everything – identify all corrupt politicians, public servants, etc. root them out from their current positions, prosecute and execute and start with a clean slate replenishing program so nobody would be a model of corruption. again this is not the most practical solution as the “civil” western societies will gang up on us for human rights violation”…xxx.

Anyway, nevermind what the western societies would say, as long as your motive is not tainted with bad faith and anger, and the intention is noble in getting rid of the government of its rascals and crocodiles…… there is nothing wrong in annihilating all of them… para deri na pag-irugan san mga masunod pa na mga lider, deri mao tabi?

Actually, tama ka na hindi rin ito ang practical na solution para mai-eradicate ang ganitong katiwalian sa gobierno…. .at kung hindi nga lang kasalanan sa diyos, after executing the corrupt officials of the land; annihilate their families and descendants too who have the propensity to seek public office in the near future, so that nobody would emulate them”…..Though, the bishops and priests may get mad at you, but that is only temporary… the issue will just die down kapag tumatagal na ang usapin ….. I remember during the time of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed during a popular revolt in 1989. His wife, Elena, and children were also executed sans judicial proceedings….by the angry mob…. so that their blood would not contaminate or resurrect in the bloodlines of the future leaders of the country…….nakakahawa daw kasi ang corruption..…

Joke Time muna para hindi mapagod ang mata sa pagbasa: Ano ang pagkakaiba ng snatcher sa isang politico? Ang snatcher pagkatapos magnakaw tsaka tumatakbo. Ang politico tumatakbo muna tsaka nagnanakaw. Eh ano naman ang tawag sa magnanakaw sa quiapo/baclaran at magnanakaw sa congreso/senado. Ang magnanakaw sa quiapo ay isang Criminal, ang magnanakaw sa congreso/senado ay tinatawag na Honorable.

Going back to the Gulag type training camp, for future leaders, which you suggested -sometime, or even most of the time, the rigid training and debriefing of the trainees would not serve its purpose. …. consider the PMA in Baguio (similar to gulag-type training camp) as training ground for future military generals and admirals or even future leaders of the country….. the PMA mission is as follows:
“To instruct, train and develop the cadets so that each graduate shall possess the character, the broad and basic military skills and essential to the successful pursuit of a progressive military career as a values-centered leader in the selfless services to the AFP and the nation.”
“Today, the Academy strives to epitomize the finest traditions of the service. It bears the standards of character founded on honor and fortified by discipline. It is a school, which has trained men for a hundred years in the defense of the state and furtherance of peace and order. It has a proud heritage to cherish, a glorious tradition to uphold, a noble standard to maintain, and a vital mission to accomplish.”
……And, the PMA motto is as follows: COURAGE, INTEGRITY, AND LOYALTY.
Despite the rigorous and rigid physical and mental training of the the cadets or cadettes in the academy, after their graduations, they easily put into oblivion the motto and mission of the academy…. meron bang colonels, commodores, admirals, or generals an galing sa acamedy na naghirap o mahirap after they retired from the service? WALA…… lahat sila ang yayaman po…..dahil kapag hindi ka yumaman o nagpakayaman, ikaw na yata ang pinakabubo o istupido na heneral sa buong republika…. Eh magkano lang ba ang sahod ng isang admiral o heneral? This is no offense to anybody, who has relatives in the AFP/PNP. ……..where is now the INTEGRITY or LOYALTY being the motto of the academy? Batu-bato sa langit…..

The PMA may be compared to that of the “gulag” training camp, where the cadets or cadettres are being endoctrinized, tortured (physicallly or mentally) and taught to be faithful/loyal to the republic, and the constitution as well…. Pero bakit kapag heneral or admiral na sila, biglang yumayaman……hesusmaria y husep….

Would you agree that sometimes its no longer the degree of education of a person or public official that counts in resisting corruption, educated or uneducated, degree holder or drop-outs (MA, PhD, DD, LLD, LLB, MD etc.), are all prone to commit the crime of corruption and to be corrupted?… doubt we have the so called “hoodlums in robes”, referring to judges and justices whose decision or resolution is for sale to the highest bidder, hindi naman lahat….

…, Going back to the youth as prime mover of the country and catalyst of change…..perhaps, if Dr. JOSE RIZAL is alive today, he would probably be the most frustrated and disappointed person today as he expected too much from the youth to be the hope of the fatherland and the movers of the nation.

Jose Rizal’s famous message for the youth was about the youth being the fair hope of the nation. What he exactly said was that the youth was “bella esperanza de la Patria mia”.

RIZAL DEFINED THE YOUTH: >>> as hope of tomorrow (the future of bulan maybe)
Under Spain, Filipinos did not have freedom and security for their lives and properties. They were forced to submit themselves and the fruits of their labor to the flag of Spain, the colonial government, and the Roman Catholic Church.

Those who fought for their rights could be stripped of their belongings, arrested, tortured, exiled or executed. The government taxed them heavily, and the friars tazed them more. They were also obliged to render labor without pay in building roads, highways, bridges, government buildings, church edifices, galleons and other public works.

Rizal saw the miseries of his people. He himself suffered cruelty one night when a Spanish lieutenant attacked him because he failed to give him the mandatory salute. Rizal did not see him because it was very dark. Despite the wound that he got, he was still imprisoned. Only 17, he appealed to the governor-general, but the highest official in the land only brushed him aside.

Rizal wanted an end to the oppression of his people. He would like to get the help of senior Filipino citizens but could not do so because most of them were subservient to the government and the church. He saw that they would rather spend lavishly on fiestas that afterward impoverished them, and cast their fortunes into Masses and religious items like rosaries, scapulars, and statues.

Seeing that the elder generations of his time were hopeless against tyranny and were submissive to the colonizers, Rizal turned to his fellow youth.
Rizal was 25 when he published the Noli Me Tangere, a novel that asked for extreme repairs of and cures for the cancerous colonial society of his countrymen.

He was 30 when he published El Filibusterismo, his second novel that urged the Filipinos to face a tragic revolution to finally end their sufferings.
Andres Bonifacio was 28 when he founded the Katipunan. Emilio Jacinto was only 20 when he was made the Katipunan’s secretary-general and one of Bonifacio’s right-hand men.

Emilio Aguinaldo was 26 when he became a revolutionary general and 28 when he was elected the country’s first president in 1897. He was 29 when he declared Philippine independence from Spanish rule on June 12, 1898. He was almost 30 when he began defending that independence and that infant republic against the Americans during the Filipino-American War.

Rizal was in his early twenties when he gave his countrymen the sense of nationhood and independence. Bonifacio was in his twenties too when he envisioned a revolution. Aguinaldo was also in his twenties when he led the establishment of the Philippine Republic.

Because of the youthful Rizal, Bonifacio and Aguinaldo, the Filipino people were able to acquire their independence, republic, national flag, and national anthem — their nationhood.
Bonifacio’s fellow Katipuneros were also at the peak of their youth when they launched a bloody uprising against Spain in August 1896. They and other Filipinos who fought during the Filipino-American War were young and dedicated as well.

Mamerto Natividad and Flaviano Yengko were the youngest Filipino generals to perish on the battlefields while fighting the Spaniards, dying at 26 and 22 respectively.

Gregorio Del Pilar was 22 years old when an American bullet struck him in the face. He was the youngest Filipino general to die during the Filipino-American War.

The youth of Rizal’s time was the first generation of patriotic and idealistic Filipino youth. They were the pioneer young generation that offered their talents, strength and lives for the motherland.

Rizal’s call on the youth to become the fair hope of the motherland is still applicable today. Millions of today’s young people have the ability to build better generations, better future and better civilizations…

>>>> BUT, WHAT IF THE YOUTH OF TODAY TURN OUT TO BE THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT JOSE RIZAL HAD ENVISIONED for AND DREAMT of, like for instance, the youth become delinquent, addicted to drugs, join violent and criminal gangs, suffer from unwanted pregnancies and abortion, or give in to smoking, drinking, gambling and other vices and in conflict with the law, uncared for, refused to go to school, etc…. In that case, I would say that the youth is now …… the hopeless of tomorrow…

>>> IN THE LIGHTER SIDE of the comment, kindly allow me people to tell you a short anecdote between a “father and the son”….. plus the short story of the “golden eagle” vis a vis the moral lesson of said stories…… in particular the message to the youth…… as hope of tomorrow………….. the future of the country lies in their hands. HERE THEY ARE, as follows:

Story of: “A BLIND FATHER & A SON”

One day a son wanted to test the acumen of his blind father, a wise man.

Knowing fully well that his father could not see, the son challenged his father to a guessing game. A son queried: “Father, I know you are a wise man in the entire village but let me test your intelligence. Please tell me whether the sparrow bird in my hand is DEAD or ALIVE.”

The father did not reply outright to the question propounded by his son. After few seconds had passed, he uttered: “My son, if I will say that the bird is alive, you will hold it hard and the bird will die, In that case, you win and I loss. Now, if on the other hand, I will say that the bird is dead, you will now let the bird to fly high alive. Again, I am a loser and you are still the winner.”

“My son, the answer to your query as to whether the bird is dead or alive, lies in your hand.”

Moral Lesson…Totoong nakasalalay ang kinabukasan ng bayang ito sa kamay ng mga susunod na henerasyon ka kung tawagin ay “Kabataan”. Dahil ang mga kasalukuyang nanunungkulan ay mga palaos na, at ang sisibol na mga bagong pinuno ng ating bayan ay manggagaling sa hanay ng mga kabataan… of which Jose Rizal alluded to as the “HOPE OF THE FATHER LAND”…

(Song of the Bird) by Anthony de Melo, SJ)

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in the nest of a backyard chicken hen. The Eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle did what the backyard chickens did, thinking he was a backyard chicken. He scratched the earth worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would trash his wings and fly a few feet into the air like the chickens, After all, that is how the chicken is supposed to fly, isn’t it?

Years passed and the eagle grew very old (uugud-ugod na). One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. It floated in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who is that?” he said to his neighbor chicken.

“Ah that’s the Eagle, the King of the birds,” said his neighbor. “But don’t give it another thought. You and I are different from him.”

Then, the old eagle never gave it another thought. He died thinking he was a backyard chicken.”

xxx This short story is a challenge …… the youth who would not dare the challenge to aspire for something can be likened to an old eagle. Others would just succumb to the trials and tribulations. Others are afraid to fail so they didn’t give a try….Robert Kennedy once said “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever hope to achieve greatly”. Likewise, Bill Clinton said that “there is no guarantee of success, but not to try is to guarantee failure”.

After all, everyone has a potential to be great in his own right…… as future leader of the country, particularly an mga kabataan sa Bulan…

Otherwise, like the above story, we would all die thinking we are a backyard chicken…. Instead of flying high like a golden eagle…

MAY PAG-ASA ANG BAYAN (BULAN)…. Ito ang ating bayang sinilangan…

Mabuhay ka rudyb and mr. jun a….. god bless you and your family always….

Leave a Reply

A Message To The Youth Of Bulan – by attybenji

(I’m posting here a very informative comment by mr. attybenji. This is an article in itself so I place this to the front for everybody to see and read. jun asuncion )

To: Mr. Jun A:

…Good day and my warmest greetings!

Definitely-Maybe, the term “corruption” has been abused, corrupted and over-used word already in the country today, (sa tv, radio, newspaper, forum, debate, talk show, etc.) referring to malfeasance, nonfeasance and misfeasance in office and stealing government funds while in office. Nonetheless, we cannot avoid citing or talking about the term corruption as always, because every time we talk about good governance and public service in government as this country is being run like hell by unscrupulous public officers/politicians with insatiable greed for money and power….as if corruption is already part and parcel of the public service… Sadly, corruption has been with us since time immemorial. As a matter of fact, “It only took 30 pieces of silver for Judas to betray and sell our Lord Jesus Christ”… Thus, we cannot distance ourselves from discussing corruption in conjunction with good governance, public service and election as well. Because, each time, we see a government project, we always have the impression that no doubt a certain official or officials must have profited from it… sigurado ako dyan at ipapaputol ko ang daliri ko kapag walang komisyun o kickback dyan si meyor, si congressman, si gobernor, si district engineer, including the contractor and his sub-contractor, he-he-he-he. And, we are not born yesterday, ika nga…S.O.P baga ine!

Maybe, I was interpreting you literally on this subject, but it does not matter…

Truly, the word corruption implies negative thing simply because it is contrary to public policy, good customs, honesty and good values…
…that instead of talking about corruption as negative, we must talk about progress being a positive thing… You are correct…. It’s just a matter of interpretation and connotation of a given word or term…

consider this….Another word that implies negative thing is the term “politics” per se, now a days, politics has a distorted or twisted meaning conceptualized by politicians themselves to defend their positions and/or contradict the accusation made by the people in the opposition… i.e., ‘pinupulitika ka lang niyan”, “namumupulitika lang ang mga yan”, “pulitika lang yan”, “malayo pa ang election namumulitika na”. These phrases connote negative thing. But, what is politics anyway? Politics, in political science lingo, “is the art of good government”… if politics is the art of good government, why is it that the word politics has been commonly equated with graft & corruption or character assassination and other black propaganda. In that case, people cannot be wrong in trying to equate politics with that of graft & corruption…after all, most, if not all, of the politicians, particularly those who, are in power, have been corrupted already, contrary to the constitutional injunction re, full accountability of public officers which reads that “Public service is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead a modest lives”… (modest lives??? Sino??? eh si meyor, si congressman, o si governor…. habitual gambler at biglang yumaman ng maupo sa pwesto sabi nila)… based on the above mentioned criteria, mukhang bagsak yata lahat ang mga public officers natin saan mang lupalop ng pilipinas)

Perhaps, right now, right then and right here, a change must begin from the youth of today as future leader of the country… Bulan, in particular, is now looking for the principled leader whose integrity cannot be compromised in exchange of financial advantage, political affiliation and other monetary consideration…. We are looking for the real “mr. clean” in public service, who will become future leader of bulan, the incorruptible with progressive mind, so that we can translate the word politics at least into positive and progressive thing in public service.


By the way, a point of clarification… Senator Nene Aquilino Pimentel Jr. did not actually move for the total abolition of the SK, as a training ground for youth leaders and a means of getting the youth involved in community development.

Pimentel, however, said an alternative mechanism should be created to ensure continued youth representation in local government units (LGUs), or, replace the existing SK with some other mechanism,”.

With or without SK as an organization, I would believe that there is always a Future of Bulan (…& goes with the saying that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel)…after all, there is no law against hope and hoping. Thus, the hope of our town lies upon the hands of the youth of tomorrow who will become future leader, who is beholden to anyone, except to his/her oath of office, with no personal and vested interest being insulated from any form of political patronage or partisan or political party’s affiliation and so on and so forth.

We call upon the Youth of Bulan to be a catalyst of change and beneficiary of progress…but, that time is yet to come….. in the near future…..The youth must be progressive not regressive, move forward not backward, pro-active not inactive, more so the youth must be a dreamer, reactionary and visionary of tomorrow.

Talking about SK matter, I would recall that since the establishment of the SK many years ago, I cannot find a project undertaken by the SK for the advancement, upliftment and betterment of the youth in the countryside (social, religious, economics program, etc.) despite the gargantuan yearly appropriation of funds made by law for each and every barangay, except for the commonly visible projects such as barangay kiosks made of bamboo and anahaw (This kiosk is project of SK)

In fact, the establishment of the kiosk would invite the youth to become lazy and indolent all the time, eh ginagawang tambayan lang ng mga kabataan all day and all night long for no reasons at all….

Adding to the problem of the youth is the insurgency in the rural areas, they are afraid to till the soil or plow the field and plant kamote or kamoteng kahoy to support their daily sustenance because they are afraid to be caught in the cross fire between the insurgents and the military men. Because of this circumstance they become idle, indolent and lazy all through out, not to mention also the lack of moral support and encouragement of the parents, due to economic hardships and scarcity in life to support the education of the children until college…
….”anak hirap ang buhay natin, pwede ba pagkatapos mo ng high school magtrabaho ka na lang bilang katulong or housemaid, para makatulong ka naman sa mga nakababatang mong kapatid at para makaahon-ahon tayo sa kahirapan”…. This is a sign of surrender on the part of the parents to support the education of the children to become productive citizens of the country.

Children who did not finish college due to extreme poverty are always susceptible to becoming unemployed in the year or years ahead. And, unemployment will make the youth vulnerable to, and at the risk of committing crimes due to lack of opportunities of employment, as the saying goes, “a hungry stomach knows no law”, then if stealing is the only way to survive, committing a crime would justify the means in order to feed the hungry stomach…

Relative to your Article (as response to my comment) the “FUTURE OF BULAN”…. and may be as a challenge to the youth of Bulan, as future leader/s of the country, (local or national level) allow me to quote and reproduce hereunder salient portions of the message delivered by Filipino Ambassador to Spain, Isabel Wilson during the 1998 WYD in Portugal, alluding to the youth as the catalyst of change and beneficiary of progress… Here they are:









Mabuhay ka Mr. Jun A…. god bless..