Category: Politics

Facts about EDSA 1 we didn’t know at the time, hidden from us for decades

Facts about EDSA 1 we didn’t know at the time, hidden from us for decades

PERHAPS it was because of something like the so-called fog of war or an instance of the adage that history is written by the victors. But there were facts — now indisputable — that we didn’t know, or were hidden from public knowledge, during the February 1986 People Power Revolt and even three decades later.

Perhaps because of the disillusionment with the presidency of the son of the so-called heroine of EDSA I, the facts have been ferreted out or have simply become clearer.

1. Cory Aquino had little to do with EDSA I. Continue reading

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UP: ‘Mga Iskolar na Mayayaman’


The Manila Times, April 29, 3013


“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is a great equalizer of the conditions of men..” Horace Mann, American educator, 1848

RATHER than “Iskolar ng Bayan” (Scholars of the People) with its connotation that they’re from the masses, students of the University of the Philippines are mostly “Iskolar na Mayayaman” (rich scholars).

Based on official UP data, its typical student is from the upper class, whose tuition taxpayers heavily subsidize: 72 percent are among the A and B brackets, or those whose families have income of at least P500,000. Only 6.2 percent are from the lowest E bracket, who are not charged tuition.

This conclusion is extracted from the UP’s report on beneficiaries of its Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program. The number of those in the AB could be a bit inflated, based on the argument that the UP’s requirements to prove one’s eligibility to the STFAP program is so rigorous that many of those not from the upper classes do not bother to go through the process. I don’t believe this though: Really poor parents would do all they can to save a few thousands in tuition they deserve.

The class structure for a university the state subsidizes is scandalous. The UP’s full tuition for a year is P54,000, while its actual cost has been estimated to be nearly triple that, at P150,000. Why would the government—us taxpayers—subsidize a rich college kid’s tuition by nearly P100,000?

The data shows something deeply wrong in the UP, as a heavily subsidized national university. UP Manila student Kristel Tejada took her life when she fell into deep depression that she had to stay out of school as her application to be moved to the E2 bracket (full tuition subsidy and a stipend) was not acted upon.

And how many UP Manila students were in the E2 bracket? One hundred ninety-eight: 3.3 percent of the UP Manila’s 5,938. If Kristel was taken in into the E2 bracket, that poorest strata would account for just 3.4 percent of its student population. Was that such a difficult decision from UP Manila’s administrators?

The UP system’s budget is about P10 billion. How many poor students are there in UP who do not have to pay tuition fee? Just 2,544 or 6 percent of its 41,356 students.

In the US, college tuition accounts for an average of 17 percent of a family’s income. In the UP tuition is just 5.4 percent of those in the A bracket, or those with at an annual income of P1 million. The P54,000 the 72 percent of rich UP students pay for tuition is dwarfed by their families’ annual budget for such leisure as for eating out, or a summer vacation.

Even in such things as the state-funded national university, the elite manages to use it to perpetrate itself.Continue reading

Filed under: Culture, Manila Times Columns, Politics

Ask Joma to talk to Jong-un


Filipino communist leader Sison and Korean communist leader Kim

The Manila Times, April 15, 2013

For the sake of world peace, President Aquino should ask Communist Party’s senior leader Jose Ma. Sison,  (Joma) and ask him to talk to North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un  to convince  him to step back from the brink of nuclear war.

Sison should tell Kim that with his army’s less-than-perfect technological competence, the missiles he said he would launch against US facilities in Guam may just land in the Philippines, and even hit one of the Red Bases the New People’s Army claims have been growing my leaps and bounds.  Joma can tell Jong-un that he and his father Kim Jong-il come a long way back.

Sison would have an ulterior motive: If the US nukes North Korea to the stone age, there wouldn’t be any country or communist party in the world left supporting the Philippine communists morally and  — if intelligence reports several years back still hold  — financially.

* * *

Seriously, if there’s any good coming out of Kim’s threats for a nuclear war in our region, it would be to expose — especially to our youth,  some of whom are still being enamored by the 1960s-vintage idea of  socialist struggle – how totally  insane during this day and age is the cause of the  Communist Party of the Philippines is and how its adulation of North Korea reveals how completely out of touch with reality it is.

Kim is a megalomaniac, a lunatic whose admitted idol is Hitler.  It is amazing there is still in this era an impoverished, starving North Korea that pretends to be a socialistparadise trying to be a nuclear power. A British journalist who managed to go into North Korea disguised as a tourist titled his article:  “Inside North Korea: No ads, no planes, no internet, no mobiles, no 21st Century… A rare dispatch from deep within the lunatic rogue state enslaved by Zombie and Sons.” Kim has shocked the world in recent weeks by declaring he says will be fought with nuclear weapons against South Korea and the US.

And what does the Communist Party of the Philippines say? As posted in its website

“The Filipino people support the DPRK (North Korea’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) people’s call for a stop to the economic blockade against their country and for their right to self-determination to be respected.

The DPRK declared a state of war against the US and South Korea after the US flew two nuclear-capable fighter planes into DPRK air space.”

Xi Jinping, president of the People’s Republic of China  — North Korea’s sole ally on which it relies for food and fuel –- lambasted Kim’s saber rattling: “No country should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain.”  China’s foreign secretary Wang Yi to North Korea under Kim as a “trouble-maker at China’s doorstep.”

What does the CPP say of this troublemaker?

“Declaring a state of war, displaying its military prowess and issuing bellicose threats is the DPRK’s way of fighting more than half a century of imperialist aggression and unjust imposition of restrictions,” it said.

The CPP’s solution to the current crisis in the Korean peninsula?

“The CPP asserted that a peaceful resolution to the armed conflict in the Korean peninsula can only be achieved by the withdrawal of 30,000 American troops in US military bases in South Korea, the lifting of the economic blockade and respecting the right to self-determination of the DPRK and its right to technological development for economic and scientific advancement.”

In short, the CPP wants South Korea to be abandoned by the US, and to leave North Korea alone so it can develop its nukes.

In fact, the CPP has been the only organization in the world to have applauded North Korea’s first nuclear-bomb test in October 2006:

“The CPP congratulated the people and government of the Democratic People’s Republic for successfully and safely carrying out its first-ever nuclear test and hailed the successful test as a militant assertion of national sovereignty and the right of an independent country to develop its own powerful self-reliant defense capability.”

It’s amazing how the CPP slavishly strives to be North Korea’s spokesman. When North Korea’s rocket test failed in April last year, it stated:

“The main issue at hand is that the DPRK has exhibited determination to continue with its rocket launch in accordance with its sovereign right… Even the most advanced capitalist countries have encountered rocket-launch failures in the past, including the mid-flight explosion of the US Challenger Space Shuttle in 1986.”

In its statement the CPP sees North Korea under Kim’s dictatorship better than the Philippines with all its democratic excesses: “In contrast to the repeated success of the DPRK in building and launching a rocket, the Philippines cannot even independently build a decent car or a hand tractor, for that matter,” it said.

The CPP’s utter servility to North Korea is so shocking that one could only conclude that that it might have found some way to continue getting financial or material support from that rogue state.   The careful Chinese communists in the 1970s used North Korean facilities and one of its secret ports for loading its Chinese-made Norinco rifles that the New People’s Army tried to land into Isabela. In the 1980s, fake US and Iraqi dollars that Filipino communists were trying to use in the country were suspected to have been printed in North Korea.

I hope reporters ask suspected CPP front-men, senatorial candidate Teodoro Casino,  his comrades Bayan Muna representative  Neri Colmenares as well as Gabriela’s  Emmie de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan their views on North Korea’s bellicosity.

The CPP’s sycophancy to North Korea would be merely hilarious if not for the fact that our local communists have managed to continue killing Philippine troops and private citizens, with our armed forces practically instructed by their commander-in-chief to stand down for the sake of “peace talks’. Every once in a while , there’s a news article about a young man or woman who left the university to fight and die with the NPA.

Since the 1970s when I was a communist cadre myself, I have seen so many promising young lives lost or shattered, for an organization that would have been the Philippine equivalent of the Workers’ Party of Korea, led by our equivalent of Kim Jong-Il or Kim Jong-un.


Filed under: Manila Times Columns, PH in the World, Politics

Stop subsidizing the rich at UP

Tuition Fees Per Year in Pesos (36 units, or for a year): Education for all, certainly, but charge the rich


The Manila Times, March 27, 2013

WHAT makes the suicide of University of the Philippines student Kristel Tejada so tragic is this:

While she got so despondent that her family couldn’t afford her tuition fees, the university has actually been subsidizing children of the Philippine elite.

The UP’s “full tuition” fee (imposed for students whose families ostensibly make P1 million or more a year) is P54,000 for 36 units, for a year’s maximum academic load. That’s a preposterous 5 percent of their income that they’re allocating for their son or daughter’s college education, really the best in the country.That’s peanuts for the rich, not even close to what they spend in the year eating out.

The populists and Leftists at UP would protest that this—or any tuition level actually—is too high for a state university. But this is a subsidized rate: There have been studies that the actual cost for UP’s quality college education would be three times that, about P150, 000.

Continue reading

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Aquino’s Ransom Republic

Hostage Rodwell: Why are US troops, not Filipino soldiers, securing him? Photo from Western Mindanao Command.

The Manila Times, March 25, 2013

Unless President Aquino and even most Filipinos have become so dense to realize it, the recent release by the Abu Sayyaf bandits of Australian Warren Rodwell is a huge red neon sign for the world to read:

Visit the Philippines, Asia’s Ransom Republic, if you want to be kidnapped by bandits and then pay millions of pesos to be released.  Hassle-free arrangements will be made for payment of the ransom by our police and local governments.”

While we rejoice that a human life has been saved,  “government’s handling” of, or rather, total inutility over the kidnapping diminishes our integrity as a nation, unless Mr. Aquino himself goes on a televised press conference to deny that P7 million in ransom paid was paid for the Australian ‘s release.

But it was Basilan Vice Gov. Al Rasheed Sakalahul who told one newspaper that he witnessed the payment of P4 million to Abu Sayyaf leader Pujuri Indama. The Abu Sayyaf got only P4 million of the ransom, the paper said, as “local officials and middlemen” took their cut.Continue reading

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Behind Jabidah: warlord vs warlord

Bocalan, who claimed Marcos asked him to finance and help run Operation Merdeka. Photo and caption from the book, “Bossism in the Philippines” by John Sidel

The Manila Times, March 22, 2013

Last of Three Parts

The allegations that Muslim youths were massacred in 1968 in Corregidor in a plan gone awry to take Sabah from Malaysia, as I explained last Wednesday, effectively buried our county’s claim to that territory.

Then Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. in his speech on the controversy March 28, 1968 claimed the Malaysians had a hand in creating conditions for what was hyped in media as “the Jabidah Massacre. ”

But behind the controversy was, as Filipinos term it, “pulitika”, politics in its most pejorative sense.  “Jabidah” was a propaganda weapon in the political war between two warlords for the control of Cavite in the 1971 elections as well as for the Philippine presidency.

How exactly did the allegations of a “Jabidah massacre” break out?Continue reading

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Malaysia’s masterstroke that buried our Sabah claim


The “Jabidah massacre” commemoration at Corregidor March 18. Why did the MILF and the MNLF ignore it? This article answers that question.

The “Jabidah” question

Second of Three Parts

Malaysia’s leadership have been probably laughing their heads off reading about President Aquino delivering a speech in the event commemorating the alleged 1968 “Jabidah massacre” of Muslim youths initially recruited to form a commando unit codenamed to infiltrate Sabah.

It was the “Jabidah” allegations that hugged headlines for several days in 1968 that buried our claim to that territory in Borneo.  

This was due to three of its consequences:

  • The publicity over the alleged massacre enraged thousands of Muslim youth to swell the ranks of the fledgling Moro National Liberation Front.   Malaysia after “Jabidah” not only gave it substantial finances, but also even militarily trained its first officers and provided sanctuary to its leaders.  President Marcos’ Operation Merdeka (“Freedom”) was intended to create a Tausug rebellion in Sabah. Instead, because of allegations of a massacre of Muslims by Marcos’ army,  it was a Muslim rebellion that broke out in Mindanao,  aided by Malaysia.
  • The Malaysian involvement proved to be crucial to the MNLF’s strength that by 1976 Marcos declared that the only way to end the insurgency is to give up the Sabah claim  so that  Malaysia would stop its crucial support of the secessionists.
  • In the public consciousness, the allegation of such an atrocity as a “Jabidah massacre” was tightly linked to the Philippine claim to Sabah. Indeed writers who have been passionate in claiming a massacre occurred expectedly denigrated the claim as merely due to “Marcos expansionist tendencies.”  It therefore became an unpopular agenda to champion.   Since 1968, no politician would touch with a ten-foot pole our Sabah claim. That attitude ended only as a result of the  bold but bloody expedition to Sabah recently by the Sulu of Sultan’s fighters.Continue reading
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Ninoy did not expose the “Jabidah massacre,” he even doubted it

Aquino delivering a privileged speech at the Senate

The Manila Times, March 19, 2013

The “Jabidah Question”: First of Three Parts

Contrary to many accounts, senator Benigno Aquino Jr. did not expose the so-called “Jabidah massacre” 45 years ago today, which the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) exploited to the hilt to rally Muslims to its secessionist cause.

What he revealed to the world, and asked for a stop to, was the clandestine plan of his archenemy president Ferdinand Marcos to train and send Muslim commandos to Sabah to organize a revolt against Malaysia, the first step for the Philippines to take over the territory.

This conclusion is incontrovertible based on the late senator’s privileged speech on March 28, 1968 titled: “Jabidah! Special Forces of Evil?”

The speech is posted at the archives section of the official government website and at my personal website as an annex to this column.

That there was a Jabidah massacre has been mostly uncritically believed, as indicated in the following Wikipedia entry:

“The Jabidah massacre . . . refers to an incident in which members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines massacred a number of Moro Muslim recruits who were escaping their covert training to reclaim Sabah . . . It is widely regarded as having been the catalyst behind the modern Moro insurgencies in the Southern Philippines.”

The entry continued: “Sources differ regarding the details, with the number of victims ranging from 14 to 68, and some sources assert that the massacre is a myth.” The “some sources” it referred to consist solely of University of the Philippines anthropologist Arnold Molina Azurin who investigated the episode intensively in his book, Beyond the Cult of Dissidence.Continue reading

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Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.’s Jabidah speech 1968

Note: This is the speech  in 1968 of then Senator Ninoy Aquino, in which many, including his on Benigno Aquino III, claim he “exposed” the Jabidah massacre.   Ninoy refers to the episode only as the “Corregidor Affair’. When he mentions “Corregidor Massacre,” he  uses the qualifying adjective ‘so-called’.  You judge  for yourself what he thought of the episode.

Jabidah! Special Forces
of Evil?

By  Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr.

[Delivered at the Legislative Building, Manila, on March 28, 1968]

Who is Jabidah?
What is Jabidah?

Jabidah, Mr. President, is the name of a ravishing, stunning and beautiful woman in Muslim lore and legend.

As Muslim legend has it, Jabidah turned a countless number of Muslim men.

As it turns out now, however, her name might well have been Helen — Helen whose matchless beauty launched a thousand ships and laid the great Greek states to siege and waste.

For as things are, as I found them in my flying spot investigation of the muddled Corregidor Affair at its root, in the Sulu isles, Jabidah is the codename for a sinister design of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.Continue reading

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Where is ASEAN?

Front page of a Malaysian newspaper March 11

The Manila Times, March 13, 2013

With the death toll of Filipino Muslims killed in Sabah by Malaysian authorities rising to 62 and with reports of human rights abuses against our countrymen, where the heck is ASEAN?

Forgotten it seems is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, one of whose main purposes is to “promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries of the region”.

Ban Ki Moon, the secretary-general of the United Nationswhich consists of 193 member states last week issued a statement calling for “dialogue among all parties to end the (Sabah) conflict peacefully. He also urged “all parties to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance and act in full respect of international human rights norms and standards.”

Why hasn’t there been a similar statement – even just an innocuous one like “ASEAN is concerned over the fighting” —  from ASEAN consisting of  just ten member countries, whose two founders, the Philippines and Malaysia,  are involved in this flashpoint in Southeast Asia?

Did our department of foreign affairs even ask ASEAN to persuade Malaysia not to throw its full, brutal force against the Sultan of Sulu’s men who had dug in in Lahad Datu and to give the government more time to talk to them?  Or did it just forget to ask ASEAN?Continue reading

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