AS happens to most oligarchs facing their downfall, the owners of Panay Electric Co. (PECO) are in a mad frenzy to hold on to their 95-year monopoly of electricity distribution in Iloilo City, which not only the city’s leaders but also Congress have concluded to be so scandalously inefficient and expensive.
PECO through its lawyer two weeks ago allegedly claimed that electricity distribution in Iloilo City will be stopped if their franchise, which expires in January next year, is not renewed.
The threat was taken seriously since the House of Representatives and the Senate that give such permits had given the franchise to MORE Electric and Power Corp., controlled by port-management and casino billionaire Enrique Razon, and sat on PECO’s request to renew its 25-year-old franchise. Since the electricity-distribution infrastructure is under PECO’s control, MORE’s takeover will require its cooperation, if power disruptions are to be prevented. Continue reading
NOT a few people have been wondering why Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has suddenly emerged just in the past few years as the de facto spokesman — and even ideologue — of the vociferous anti-China group over our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
Indeed, Carpio had never before demonstrated any interest in geopolitics. His field was corporate law, having been the founder of what had been the most powerful and lucrative law firm for big businesses during the Fidel Ramos administration, and during part of Gloria Arroyo’s term.
Yet now he has shown so much passion against China’s claims in the South China Sea that he warns that one day, Chinese warships will be patrolling the region. Why, he even melodramatically says — and stretches his imagination so much — that fighting China for our claims in the area “is the 21st century equivalent of the battles that our forebears waged against Western and Eastern colonizers from the 16th to the 20th century.”
Carpio has never written a book, nor even a single article in legal journals. Yet in 2016 he wrote a 247-page e-book against the Chinese claims, profusely illustrated and with over 100 old maps. I can’t remember Carpio being quoted by the press or giving public speeches before. Since 2015 though, he has given 140 lectures, even to Filipinos in 15 countries, battering China’s claims in the South China Sea and commenting on the latest news on the territorial dispute.
About a year ago, a colleague of Carpio — who has been in the inner circles of past administrations — told me that “it was a fact” for him that it was retired general Jose Almonte, the national security adviser of Fidel Ramos, that was behind the senior associate justice’s “crusade” against Chinese claims in the West Philippine Sea. “He can’t say no to Joal,” the source said. He then related to me the details of why, which I cannot report, though, as it would be libelous and, unless I get documentary proof, hearsay.
I didn’t make this the topic of a column as this would be at the edge of an ad hominem argument, so I instead presented logical and information-based reasons to show that Carpio’s disputations versus China’s territorial claims were erroneous. (See for example my columns “Intellectual dishonesty the likes of Justice Carpio’s will keep us as US proxy in Asia,” May 25, 2018 and “Carpio continues to mislead us on South China Sea issue,” May 30, 2018. )
However. I have decided that it is an important allegation that Carpio could be simply Almonte’s mouthpiece. This should warn us to take Carpio’s claims on the South China Sea issue not just with a grain of salt but with extreme skepticism since Almonte’s own motives in this issue are suspect. Continue reading
I’M certainly no prude, and I am definitely all for a free press. But it gets my goat that a group of pornographers are making probably tons of money pretending to be in the industry where I am, media.
For more than a year now, pornographic publications very thinly disguised as tabloids have been circulating in Metro Manila and in cities elsewhere. I managed to buy three of these, with even their names revealing what they really are: Bagong Toro, Kadyot May Sundot, and Sagad. “Toro” is street lingo for a live sex show while “kadyot” and “sagad” refer roughly to motions in sex.
I have seen kiosks just outside a church (such as the Santo. Domingo Church) and near a school selling the porn tabloids, which are even displayed on top of the non-porn tabloids.
I’m disclosing here that I have a vested interest in this issue. In my wish to reach more of the masses, I am also a regular columnist for Bulgar, a tabloid that is the biggest newspaper in the country. It’s a 27-year-old publication, and a very decent one, with not a single photo of scantily dressed women. The paper’s name “bulgar” does not refer to vulgarity, but to a media exposé. Continue reading
Convicted on a law that doesn’t exist
IF you manage to plod through the Sandiganbayan’s laboriously worded—deliberately so, I suspect—70-page decision on the Imelda Marcos graft case, you will be astonished as I was as to how the Yellows and Reds have managed to weave a colossal web of propaganda lies about it. (The decision is downloadable at the Sandiganbayan website.)
The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division undertook a breathtaking legal contortion to convict Imelda, at best on a technicality, and at worst, on a non-existent law. Believe it or not, it is a technicality not even contained in the present one, but in the 1973 “Marcos” Constitution.
The decision was obviously rushed, and is likely to be reversed by the Supreme Court, since it has already a precedent — issued just last June — that dismissed basically similar charges against Imelda.
But a Supreme Court reversal isn’t really important. The decision has two aims. Continue reading
THERE is something perverse, uncivilized and sadistic in the hysterical shrieks of the Yellows and the Reds demanding the immediate incarceration of an 89-year old grandmother, Imelda Marcos.
These screams to lynch Imelda have nothing to do with justice.
Those who demand that Imelda be immediately thrown in jail are those who have never been in prison, and do not have the slightest idea of the mental and physical torture of incarceration. Or they have never cared for or lived with a mother or a grandmother in her 80s to witness how an elderly person’s body and mind deteriorates each day, and her memories fade so fast that she becomes somebody so totally separated from her past.
For chrissakes, Imelda will be 90 by July next year, eight years more than the 72 years average life span of Filipino women. Has she committed a crime so horrible that she should be barred from spending her twilight years in peace?
Why are people like Red Representative Neri Colmenares and the Communist Party itself (in an official statement) gloating that a near-octogenarian suffer in jail for an alleged crime, and not even a heinous one, committed four decades ago?
The glee over Imelda’s conviction is a psychotic bloodlust that is the result of the total success of the Yellows and the Reds in demonizing the Marcos couple. After all, the Metropolitan Manila and Cebu uprising called EDSA I would not have succeeded, and its Yellow victors could not have held on to power, if Marcos had not been painted—with the help of the best Washington-based PR firms and the US deep state—as both a brutal, ruthless dictator and a colossal thief.
Marcos and his wife of course weren’t saints that they didn’t accumulate their own huge retirement stash and secretly acquired substantial shares of the companies—such as PLDT, Benguet Corp., United Laboratories, and Manila Bulletin— that were owned oligarchs they crushed or who became their allies. But in varying degrees and modus operandi, all Philippine presidents—except perhaps Ramon Magsaysay—also did so. Continue reading
The Panay Electric Co. (PECO) stands to lose the franchise it has tightly held as a monopoly for 95 years to distribute electricity in Iloilo City.
After the House of Representatives approved in September the franchise of a firm called MORE Electric and Power Co. to operate as an electricity distribution firm in the city, the Senate committee on public works headed by Sen. Grace Poe gave it its own stamp of approval on October 22. PECO had filed its franchise renewal application with the House in November 2017, but it has not been acted upon.
The new firm is mainly bankrolled by global ports-management and casino billionaire Enrique Razon. It will reportedly be run by two National Power Corp. presidents from two administrations: Fidel Ramos’ Guido Delgado and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cyrill del Callar.
PECO’s exit from Iloilo was totally inconceivable before. Some 70 percent of PECO is owned by Iloilo’s old elite Cacho clan, known to be very close to one of the most powerful politicians in the President Aquino 3rd’s government, Sen. Franklin Drilon. who was Senate President during that regime. Continue reading