WITH a good five weeks before his mega fight with Hatton, Pacquiao has already caused a self-inflicted black eye because of his attempt to renege on his contract with Solar entertainment. And the root cause of it all is, you guessed it - MONEY. For many years now, the Pambansang Kamao has been a source of great pride for Filipinos around the world for the courage and superb talent he has displayed in boxing. His success as a four-time world champion is a testament to the saying that yes, THE FILIPINO CAN. And yet, his penchant to flip-flop on his decisions concerning financial deals now seems to smear his lofty reputation and image. Wasn't it not long ago when Pacquiao attempted to turn his back on Top Rank to accommodate a seemingly more lucrative offer from Golden Boy? And now this brouhaha on the Solar-GMA-ABSCBN airing rights. Are there more financial flip-flops to come? Manny cannot say that he was coaxed into reading a prepared statement when he decided to turn his back on Solar. Was he under duress or grave threat to do so? It's bad to threaten a "national hero." Manny is his own man on this. His subsequent apology to Solar and GMA did not show his courage at all. It did not exonerate him from the mess. In his apology, he merely shifted the blame to ABS-CBN whom he said made a prepared statement for him and broke the deal on a so-called video "embargo." Duh. Paging ABS-CBN--would you do that to a national hero? No doubt, Manny is now extremely wealthy beyond his and our wildest imaginations. His contract with Solar was probably loose change for him. Yet, the latest stunt he committed just shows a major crack in character--that of PALABRA DE HONOR. Ah yes, money can indeed change people. Name: Angelo de Guzman, Eastwood, Quezon City, via e-mail
March 2009 Archives
I SHUDDER at the revelations of the affidavit of Cesar Mancao implicating former Pres. Joseph Estrada, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, himself and the two other high-ranking PAOCTF officials, Michael Ray Aquino and Glenn Dumlao in the Dacer- Corbito double murder case. Much of what he revealed is no longer surprising as they have already been accepted as truth since the discovery of the pair’s charred bodies. Erap and Lacson are the only ones who had the motive, the means and, how shall I put it, “guts” to pull it off. Still, reading all about how these men planned and executed the operation is chilling. The entire thing seemed so casual to them, like an everyday “operation.” You conclude that these are the types of people you wouldn’t want to get into the simplest argument or traffic altercation with. I remember that some men were once roughed up and arrested by Michael Ray Aquino and they later tearfully complained that they were tortured. These people kill. They murder. Equally distressing are the seeming total lack of remorse and the temerity of these personalities to claim they are innocent. Lacson even has the gall to say that he can look anyone in the eye and tell them that he had nothing to do with the murders. It would seem remotely possible if not for the ghost of Kuratong Baleleng. Meanwhile, Erap denied he’s the “Bigote”--being referred to in the affidavit, who reacted indifferently when told that Dacer had already been “neutralized.” He even has plans to run for office again. Who made these monsters? How did they become inhuman as to abduct, torture and murder so easily? And totally profess innocence so convincingly you would think they may have a split personality. What killed their conscience, their humanity? I tremble at the thought of it all, that we have monsters in our midst who occupy the highest positions in government. My beloved country, I weep for you. Anne Mendoza, Quezon City, via e-mail
IF there was one thing right about what 'Nicole' said when she recanted her rape story, it was this--there is no justice in the Philippines. If there was, then she should be charged for perjury for lying in court. How could we expect the people to trust our judicial system when people under oath lie at will? No wonder the Philippines is going nowhere. Will anyone at the Justice Department start filing and talking about perjury charges? James Petallar, New York, via e-mail
WHEN I read the headline, the first thing that came to my mind is the question, " When did we have honesty in our government?". Perhaps you know something that I don't know. Please tell me since when did we have honesty in our government. Ever since the administration of President Quezon, we never had one. C. Tagle, Summerview Circle, Riverview Florida, via e-mail
OUR political scene is filled with scams and scandals involving public funds. We have the ZTE mess, and the fertilizers scam that made headlines everyday. We have a toothless Commission on Audit (CoA) who oversees government funds as prescribed by the Department of Budget and Management. But we forgot to give police powers to the CoA. I believe that a more powerful COA will be a greater solution to this accountability problem that pesters our country. In terms of legislation, the Statement of Assets and Liabilities should cover the immediate family of the politicians. Also, subject politicians to automatic audit and waive their right to secrecy of deposits as part of the transparency law. As we are about to approach the elections, party disclosure on the sources of election funding should also be made public. Abraham Sampalocia, Valley Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, via e-mail
By Cristyl Mae Senajon Contributor Last Thursday I watched a film documenting the long-standing battle of the Sumilao and Negros farmers to win the legal rights over their farmlands. It recounted the farmers’ protest against government’s inaction towards implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law; how this severe inaction drove the peasant groups into staging a radical move to espouse their right to their land-living. The Sumilao farmers walked the long-stretch of land from Bukidnon to Manila for a period of over 60 days in order to bring their seemingly hopeless case to the highest authorities trusting that their request for land ownership be granted to them. The Negros farmers echoed the same battle cry as they went on a 30-day hunger strike hoping that the government would heed their request for land ownership. In the end, after a decade of struggle for land the Sumilao and Negros farmers finally received their Certificate of Land Ownership Awards. Now, they could claim ownership to the land that they themselves had tilled for so many years. It is baffling to see why these farmers and probably many more others had to go through agony and hardships just to claim a piece of their constitutional rights. It is even more depressing that there had to be an occurrence of killing incidents before the government took serious actions while big landowners got away easily from law and got unpunished for felony only because they had the money, connection, and influence and only because they had seats in the congress and posts in the government bureaucracy. On another side, it never seemed easy for ordinary Filipinos like the Sumilao and Negros land tillers to have their civil rights to be even recognized because of their economic standing. When did the right of one person and of a few weigh more than the rights of the greater majority? Much less, when did wealth become the dispensation to stamp on the rights of those who had less in life? Social justice as defined is not merely the administration of law. It is generally thought of as a world which affords individuals and groups fair treatment and impartial share of society. It is absolutely unfair for a very few to enjoy a monopoly in land resources and also control the distribution of technological inputs, rural banking, farm machinery, transportation, processing, and marketing of farm produce while the rest live miserably in scarcity. These resources must be impartially enjoyed by the land owner and the land tiller. Social injustice is very much the prevalent condition of our present society. People’s rights get trampled in favor of the rights of the few. The issue on agrarian reform is still very much a concrete and clear example of this lingering social ill. Unless there is a redistribution of economic and political power, democratization, social justice and peace will not be created. In the assessment of agrarian reform, the government must impose a stronger political will while involving all its line agencies, local units and the police force in ensuring the execution of the agrarian reform program and the security of its beneficiaries. It should be at the forefront of upholding the CARL despite its ambiguities and limitations. After all, there can never be a truly working of law in the absence of fair treatment.