Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Money Matters

Thinks are looking worse for the Philippines. The credit outlook downgrade by Moody's and Fitch means that there's a possibility that the cost of borrowing money (i.e., interest) will increase for the Philippine government.

We are already the largest borrower among sovereign nations in Asia, second only to Japan. Of course, the main difference between us and Japan is that Japan makes so much money so they can easily service their debt. On the other hand, the Philippines is already forking out 1/3 of its GNP just to service its debt and the government is essentially borrowing money to prop up the budget. Without credit, the government cannot pay off its loans and still keep the country running.

Of course, what this all means is that the economic situation will get worse for future generations of Filipinos who have to live with the financial decisions of the Arroyo administration.

Your Public Servants

Now that charter change is on the horizon, its a good time to check out the curricula vitae of some of the esteemed members of the House of Representatives. You should know who may be in charge of monkeying around with the constitution of the republic.

Its good to know that democracy truly works in the Philippines. In a country where the vast majority of the citizenry live in abject poverty, elected officials have backgrounds that will help them understand the concerns and aspirations of those that they are supposed to serve.

Case in point is the esteemed Representative of the lone district of Sarangani, the Honorable Erwin Chongbian, who is a Member of the Manila Polo Club, Manila Yacht Club, Wack Wack Golf and Country Club, Manila Golf Country Club, Alabang Golf Country Club, Puerto Azul Gulf and Country Club, and Tagaytay Highlands Golf and Country Club. Enough said.

Liar Liar

I'm watching Eduardo Ermita, the Executive Secretary of Pres. Arroyo on ANC. He's basically saying that Arroyo never agreed to shorten her term even though she's agreed in principle to the idea of changing the constitution.

Again, we see the same pattern of lies and deception. Create the impression over the weekend that she'll be stepping down soon simply to calm the public and placate the bishops who were at that time delierating about their position paper. Now that they've achieved their objective -- which was to prevent the bishops form joining the calls for resignation -- they are free to weasel out and backtrack.

More lies.

According to Ermita, the police are stopping and investigating buses traveling from the provinces to Metro Manila for the big rally in Makati organized by the opposition to make sure that

buses have a valid license/paperwork to convey passengers to Manila
terrorists are not on board to infiltrate the groups that are planning to assemble

I'm so sick of these lies that are constantly used to justify efforts to stop people from exercising their right to gather and express an opinion against the government. Ever since 1986, I can't recall of any instance when police have actually arrested a terrorist in a political rallies. The only time there's been bloodshed is when authorities have fired on the rallyists.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Who Won the Presidential Elections?

I was just watching ANC and chanced upon Karmina Constantino's interview of Robert Verzola, author of the paper "The True Results of the 2004 Presidential Elections Based on the NAMFREL Tally: A Final Report," published in Kasarinlan, supposedly a peer-reviewed journal. After reading his paper a number of times (Versola is an awful writer, IMHO), here are my thoughts about his study.

One of Verzola's main conclusions (there are other conclusions that I would like to ignore to keep this post short) is that there was cheating in 3 regions in Mindanao -- ARMM, Central Mindanao, and Northern Mindanao -- where FPJ leads in the NAMFREL tally were either reduced or eventually converted into GMA leads in the congressional tally. This conclusion has become relevant again in light of the Hello Garci audio recordings, which suggest cheating specifically in these areas.

I do not dispute his observation that FPJ leads disappeared in these three regions but I think that cheating is only of possible explanation for the discrepancy in the results. It may well have been the case that GMA was more popular in harder to reach rural precints or less developed provinces so election returns from these areas were counted later. Its also the case that the final congressional tally is consistent with poll results (exit polls as well as voter surveys (see graphic) prior to the election) which show GMA winning Mindanao by a wide margin.

I'm not saying he's wrong, only that he never presents anything to back up his claim that cheating occurred.