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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Best Text Blog winner, 7th PopDev Media Awards!

“It is very overwhelming to be standing here in front of you to receive this award, my very first. I dedicate this to my mom. She’s sitting there, and please give her a hand. I want to thank the Lord – for giving me this wonderful talent, the PLCPD – for giving me this award, the Board of Judges, for appreciating my work, and to my mentors. That’s all, and see you again next year!”

– my prepared acceptance remarks

Mark Madrona receiving the Best Text Blog award from PLCPD (7th PopDev Media Awards))

On the same day my employers announced that I am included in the list of would-be retrenched employees (effective on December 31), I received the Best Text Blog Award at the 7th Annual Population and Development (PopDev) Media Awards. Spearheaded primarily by the Philippine Legislators’ Committee for Population and Development (PLCPD) Foundation, the award’s night was held in the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel last November 29. The event was hosted by former Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla and Mrs. Pia Arroyo-Magalona.

Me and Ms Pia Arroyo-Magalona, one of the event emcees

The Best Text Blog and the Best Photoblog award (which no one won) falls under the Citizen Media category. This year marks the first time Citizen Media was elevated as a main category, alongside Photojournalism, Print and Online, and Broadcast categories. This is in recognition of the increasing role social media is playing in shaping public opinion. Aside from a cash prize, I also got a trophy and a plaque. My series of blogs tackling human trafficking, migration, and premarital pregnancies, and sex education earned me this recognition. Here are those:

Seeing this projected on the wide screen for everyone to see gave me chills

From Maguindanao to Taguig: The Story of ‘Kaisha’

Andi Eigenmann and the rising number of premarital pregnancies in the country

Why are there too many premarital pregnancies in Pinas?

If parents and teachers won’t educate children about sex, who will?

Saudization means fewer overseas work opportunities for Filipinos

The board of judges for the citizen media category is composed of former New York Times correspondent and freelance journalist Carlos Conde (chair), UP Professor Dr. Grace Cruz (from the Population Institute), Rene Bartolo (PDMA Hall of Fame Awardee), Rep. Antonio Tinio from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Rep. Teodoro Baguilat of Benguet.

Mark Madrona and Carlos Conde, former New York Times correspondent (one of the judges))

Among this year’s winners are Maki Pulido (Best TV documentary for “Reporter’s Notebook” – GMA News), Mel Tiangco (Best Talk Show for “RH Bill: The Grand Debate” – GMA News), and Patricia Evangelista (Best Opinion Piece for “Method to Madness” – Philippine Daily Inquirer). The PDMA recognizes “outstanding media practitioners and citizen media who dedicated time and effort to highlight population and development issues.”

Me and multi-awarded television host Maki Pulido

Mark Madrona and veteran news anchor Mel Tiangco

Me and Patricia Evangelista (Best Opinion Piece awardee)

Needless to say, this inspires me to write more about issues I truly care about.  Still, I am wary of putting any labels on my blog, since my mantra is to write about everything I can think of. For over two days now, my blog has gotten thousands of views about my humor post re the Piolo-KC breakup. The funny thing is, the post was actually included by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an article.

Who wouldn’t feel overwhelmed being awarded side-by-side with accomplished journalists like them? Standing on that stage to receive my award and deliver my acceptance remarks made me feel as if I’m 10 feet tall! I know there is still a long way to go before I can reach their stature, but getting this award is certainly a great first step toward that.

* Special thanks to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman (also the House Minority Leader), former Health Sec. Esperanza Cabral, and Nina (Asia’s Diamond Soul Siren) for … having a photo moment with me.

My mom, me, and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, House Minority Leader

Me and former Health Secretary Dr. Esperanza Cabral

Me and Asia's Diamond Soul Siren Nina!

PS: “I won’t shed a tear for you. I won’t lose a wink of sleep. ‘Cause the truth of the matter is, replacing you is so easy.” – Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”

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Piolo Pascual and KC Concepcion breakup – Top Ten Celebrity Reactions

The  Philippine Daily Inquirer has republished this in the article “KC, Piolo draws different reactions on Facebook, Twitter.”

A teary-eyed KC Concepcion confirmed in an interview with Boy Abunda aired yesterday in “The Buzz” that she and hunk actor Piolo Pascual had called it quits. The much-publicized revelation surprised … no one.

Here are the top ten celebrity reactions to the high profile breakup:

10. Lino Cayetano and Rico Blanco – Sorry, KC. We’re already taken.

Rica Peralejo - "Ginamit lang kami ni Piolo to promote 'Sa Piling Mo'!"

9. Rica Peralejo – Yes, mga kaibigan. My supposed relationship with Piolo a few years back was just a promotional scheme for “Sa Piling Mo.”

8. Judy Ann Santos – Piolo, I suggest you listen to “Don’t Give Up On Us.” Bagay sa inyo ni KC!

Yul Servo: "Hindi ako naging kabit ni Piolo Pascual!" (Remate, 11-28-2010)

7. Yul Servo – Bro, alam kong depressed ka. Mahaba na rin ang pinagsamahan natin. Free tonight?

6. Gabby Concepcion – Piolo, tapatin mo ako. Ginamit mo lang ba si KC para mapalapit … sa akin?!

5. Sharon Cuneta – Bakit ganoon? Pagdating sa pag-ibig, si KC “The Biggest Loser”!

4. Rustom Padilla – Kafatid! Gotta make your confession soon!

Danton Remoto and Boy Abunda for Ang Ladlad - Piolo for 2013? (credits: http://sssip.wordpress.com)

3. Danton Remoto – Piolo, kailangan ng Ang Ladlad ng star power para sa 2013 elections. Sign up now!

2. Carmina Villaroel – KC, I know what you feel. Pero at least, hindi naman kayo kinasal – unlike us.

Piolo Pascual, Lolit Solis, and Sam Milby (credits: Philippine Entertainment Portal)

1. Sam Milby – Manay Lolit, don’t look at me!

Related:

Matteo Guidicelli and Coco Martin to be the undercard in the Pacquiao-Marquez fight!


Vera Files published by feature story about Sarao Motors!

It is unimaginable to live in the Philippines without ever riding in a jeepney. Indeed, jeepneys have become a national symbol in the six decades since it first appeared. The story of Sarao Motors is a story of survival and resiliency – a reflection of the society it is very much a part of.  We can’t say the same thing about the rickshaws of Japan and Singapore. Who would have thought that war-torn American military jeeps can be developed into a mass transport vehicle?

While it is impossible to say who really pioneered that innovation in the Philippines (securing patents is still unheard of back then), there is no doubt that Sarao Motors Inc. (INC) played a major role in popularizing jeepneys among Filipinos. Founded by legendary Filipino entrepreneur Leonardo Sarao, the iconic company has become synonymous with Philippine jeepneys. In fact, its 2.5 hectare assembly plant in Las Pinas City has become a tourist spot of sorts.

Mark Madrona and Ed Sarao at the Sarao Motors assembly plant in Las Pinas City

However, several factors the past two decades, particularly the higher cost of imported spare parts, coupled with the weakening of peso against the dollar as well as state mandated wage hikes, adversely affected Sarao Motors. In year 2000, a teary-eyed Mang Nardo announced SMI’s closure in national television. Sarao Motors’ brief closure happened at a time when then-President Joseph Estrada was besieged by a political crisis that eventually ended his administration.

As a news junkie, I remember how the broadcast media reported on that back then. It is as if the entire Philippine economy would follow in Sarao Motors’ fate! That was the last time the company has been written about at length by the local media. Neither the company’s resumption of operations nor Mang Nardo’s death in July 31, 2001 was able to get adequate news coverage.

I was surprised that Philippine Daily Inquirer did not carry any story about Mang Nardo even after five days since his death though his passing was announced in their Obituary section (thanks to my friend Katrina Cabiladas for researching on this). It explains why you can’t find on the Internet any information about this.

Seeing my story on the homepage of Vera Files gave me chills!

I won’t be surprised if some people out there are still thinking that Sarao Motors have shut down operations for good. To quote my story lead, the company is still running, but in a slower speed – in other words, it has greatly downsized its operations. And despite persistent calls for the phasing out of jeepneys, I firmly believe they are here to stay (a view shared by Ed Sarao, the fourth son of Mang Nardo).

It is a big honor for me to be able to write about a major part of contemporary Philippine history. With much pride, I am sharing to all of you my second published story, this time courtesy of Vera Files. Remember the story of ex-presidential son Mikey Arroyo having a home in the San Francisco Bay Area in California? Vera Files investigated that.

My special thanks to Mam Yvonne Chua (my journalism mentor and thesis adviser) and Ms Ellen Tordesillas for believing that this story is worth publishing and distributing. Vera Files was founded by a group of veteran female journalists “taking a deeper look in current Philippine issues.” Aside from being posted in VeraFiles.org, the story also appeared in Yahoo News Philippines. Enjoy reading!

My feature story was also published in Yahoo News Philippines


Supreme Court orders distribution of Hacienda Luisita – full text

Click here to  download the entire Supreme Court decision on Hacienda Luisita case – G.R. No. 171101

Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Marlon Ramos filed this report: The Supreme Court ordered the distribution of more than 4,900 hectares of Hacienda Luisita lands to over 6,000 registered tenants of the sprawling agricultural estate owned by the relatives of President Aquino.

Voting unanimously, the 14 justices of the tribunal agreed to void the stock distribution plan which Hacienda Luisita Inc. offered to farmworker-beneficiaries (FWBs) in lieu of actual land ownership.

“Upon a review of the facts and circumstances, we realize that the FWBs will never have control over these agricultural lands for as long as they remain stockholders of HLI,” the court said in its 56-page decision.

Supreme Court decision on Hacienda Luisita case G.R. 171101 (credits: ABS-CBN)

The ruling penned by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. was promulgated on Nov. 22, but was officially released to the media on Thursday.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio inhibited himself from the deliberation of the decades-old land dispute.

While they all agreed to the total land distribution, some of the justices had different views on the land valuation.

Chief Justice Renato Corona and Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin and Arturo Brion issued their separate concurring and dissenting opinions.

Meanwhile, GMANews.tv reported that Malacanang has declined to react in the decision so far, quoting Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda as saying that “they have not seen a copy of the decision yet.”

Here is the disposition part of that decision, as posted in the Supreme Court’s website:

WHEREFORE, the Motion for Partial Reconsideration dated July 20, 2011 filed by public respondents Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and Department of Agrarian Reform, the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 19, 2011 filed by private respondent Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita, the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 21, 2011 filed by respondent-intervenor Farmworkers Agrarian Reform Movement, Inc., and the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 22, 2011 filed by private respondents Rene Galang and AMBALA are PARTIALLY GRANTED with respect to the option granted to the original farmworker-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita to remain with Hacienda Luisita, Inc., which is hereby RECALLED and SET ASIDE. The Motion for Clarification and Partial Reconsideration dated July 21, 2011 filed by petitioner HLI and the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 21, 2011 filed by private respondents Noel Mallari, Julio Suniga, Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. and Windsor Andaya are DENIED.

The fallo of the Court’s July 5, 2011 Decision is hereby amended and shall read:

PARC Resolution No. 2005-32-01 dated December 22, 2005 and Resolution No. 2006-34-01 dated May 3, 2006, placing the lands subject of HLI’s SDP under compulsory coverage on mandated land acquisition scheme of the CARP, are hereby AFFIRMED with the following modifications:

All salaries, benefits, the 3% of the gross sales of the production of the agricultural lands, the 3% share in the proceeds of the sale of the 500-hectare converted land and the 80.51-hectare SCTEX lot and the homelots already received by the 10,502 FWBs composed of 6,296 original FWBs and the 4,206 non-qualified FWBs shall be respected with no obligation to refund or return them. The 6,296 original FWBs shall forfeit and relinquish their rights over the HLI shares of stock issued to them in favor of HLI.  The HLI Corporate Secretary shall cancel the shares issued to the said FWBs and transfer them to HLI in the stocks and transfer book, which transfers shall be exempt from taxes, fees and charges. The 4,206 non-qualified FWBs shall remain as stockholders of HLI.

 

DAR shall segregate from the HLI agricultural land with an area of 4,915.75 hectares subject of PARC’s SDP-approving Resolution No. 89-12-2 the 500-hectare lot subject of the August 14, l996 Conversion Order and the 80.51-hectare lot sold to, or acquired by, the government as part of the SCTEX complex. After the segregation process, as indicated, is done, the remaining area shall be turned over to DAR for immediate land distribution to the original 6,296 FWBs or their successors-in-interest which will be identified by the DAR.  The 4,206 non-qualified FWBs are not entitled to any share in the land to be distributed by DAR.

 

HLI is directed to pay the original 6,296 FWBs the consideration of PhP 500,000,000 received by it from Luisita Realty, Inc. for the sale to the latter of 200 hectares out of the 500 hectares covered by the August 14, 1996 Conversion Order, the consideration of PhP 750,000,000 received by its owned subsidiary, Centennary Holdings, Inc., for the sale of the remaining 300 hectares of the aforementioned 500-hectare lot to Luisita Industrial Park Corporation, and the price of PhP 80,511,500 paid by the government through the Bases Conversion Development Authority for the sale of the 80.51-hectare lot used for the construction of the SCTEX road network.  From the total amount of PhP 1,330,511,500 (PhP 500,000,000 + PhP 750,000,000 + PhP 80,511,500 = PhP 1,330,511,500) shall be deducted the 3% of the proceeds of said transfers that were paid to the FWBs, the taxes and expenses relating to the transfer of titles to the transferees, and the expenditures incurred by HLI and Centennary Holdings, Inc. for legitimate corporate purposes.  For this purpose, DAR is ordered to engage the services of a reputable accounting firm approved by the parties to audit the books of HLI and Centennary Holdings, Inc. to determine if the PhP 1,330,511,500 proceeds of the sale of the three (3) aforementioned lots were actually used or spent for legitimate corporate purposes.  Any unspent or unused balance and any disallowed expenditures as determined by the audit shall be distributed to the 6,296 original FWBs.

 

HLI is entitled to just compensation for the agricultural land that will be transferred to DAR to be reckoned from November 21, 1989 which is the date of issuance of  PARC Resolution No. 89-12-2.  DAR and LBP are ordered to determine the compensation due to HLI.

 

DAR shall submit a compliance report after six (6) months from finality of this judgment. It shall also submit, after submission of the compliance report, quarterly reports on the execution of this judgment within the first 15 days after the end of each quarter, until fully implemented.

 

The temporary restraining order is lifted.

 

SO ORDERED.

                                                         

PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.

Associate Justice

 

WE CONCUR:

 

RENATO C. CORONA

Chief Justice

 ANTONIO T. CARPIO          TERESITA J. LEONARDO- DE CASTRO               

              Associate Justice                                      Associate Justice

 ARTURO D. BRION                                DIOSDADO M. PERALTA

   Associate Justice                                                 Associate Justice

 

LUCAS P. BERSAMIN                             MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO

Associate Justice                                            Associate Justice

 

  ROBERTO A. ABAD                             MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.

Associate Justice                                            Associate Justice

 

  JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ                  JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA

Associate Justice                                           Associate Justice

 

MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO           BIENVENIDO L. REYES

Associate Justice                                          Associate Justice

 

ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE

Associate Justice


RH bill advocates fight on despite legislative roadblocks

Around 400 students from leading universities and colleges in Metro Manila held last November 14 a demonstration dubbed “Busina Para sa RH” (“Blow Your Horn for RH”) in support of the reproductive health bill. The pro-RH activists converged in Katipunan Ave., along the gates of Ateneo de Manila University, at 6 PM – to coincide with the opening of the legislative sessions in both Houses of Congress for that day.

After the short program, the protesters marched toward the House of Representatives. The participants dyed their hairs purple to show their “solidarity and commitment” in campaigning to push Congress to vote on the RH Bill. Last week, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales, Jr. (Lone district, Mandaluyong) announced that the solons would vote on the measure by June next year, instead of December this year, since “at least 20 congressmen are still lined up for interpellations.”

RH bill advocates organized the "Busina Para sa RH" last November 15 (photo courtesy of Ms Chi Laigo Vallido)

Gibby Gorres, national secretary general of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines, stressed that the support of the youth for the RH bill is important since the sector “comprise 30% of the country’s population,” a fact that has made them a “driving force in elections and campaigns.” He also warned lawmakers who are against the said bill: “Young people are a force to reckon with in the 2013 elections.”

Ha also urged the youth to get involved in the campaign, saying: “Young people should demand that information and services that allow them to practice their sexuality responsibly, such as the comprehensive sexuality education, be made available to them.” An article in the Jakarta Globe published last November 7 noted that “ignorance and poverty, which cause large numbers of children to drop out of school, are the main drivers of persistently high rates of teenage pregnancies in the Philippines.”

In response to this pronouncement, RH advocates launched an “Occupy Wall Street”-inspired protest right in the South Gate of the Batasan Complex beginning last November 21. Dr. Junice Melgar, the movement’s chief coordinator, told GMA News in an interview: “The lawmakers can’t keep interpellating ‘til kingdom come. ‘Wag nilang patayin ang RH bill dahil sa delay.” (They should not kill the RH bill through delays.)


Gloria Arroyo mugshots and the Inquirer’s seeming inconsistency

Please read my fictional interview with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo here!

A website which describes itself as a “search engine for Official Law Enforcement records, specifically booking photographs” has published alleged mugshots of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has been charged with electoral sabotage last Friday.

Gloria Arroyo's alleged frontal mugshot (taken from MugShots.com)

Mugshots.com noted that the two-side photographs first “appeared on a number of social networking sites” on November 20, while the frontal mugshot was sent “from a highly reliable source” a day after. The website added this disclaimer: “No guarantee of authenticity is made therein.”

Are these photos authentic? Senior Police Superintendent James Bucayu of the Southern Police District (SPD) says yes, while Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo says no.

In a report by ABS-CBNNews.com’s Ira Pedrasa, Arroyo lawyer Jose Flaminiano said it will be up to the Pasay Regional Trial Court (RTC) whether to release her mugshots, adding that they “won’t bother to file a motion regarding that issue.”

Let me note the inconsistency committed by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the first Philippine media outlet to publish these still unauthenticated photos. In a report titled “Arroyo faces more troubles” (which is their banner story in today’s issue) written by Leila Salvatierra and Philip Tubeza, the photo caption goes: “Mug shots of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as shown from www. mugshots.com.” Note that the story was posted at 12:27 AM.

“Mug shots of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as shown from www. mugshots.com.” (click image to see the caption)

However, less than two hours later, a photo used in the article titled “Most wanted Arroyo mug shots surface in cyberspace” by Miko Morelos has this lengthy caption: “These mug shots of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo did not come from the Pasay City Regional Trial Court which has refused to release the police photos. Sources who requested anonymity sent the photos to the Inquirer” (emphasis mine). The story was posted at 2:15 AM.

"Sources who requested anonymity sent the photos to the Inquirer” - or copied from MugShots.com?

Is there any difference between the two sets of photos? Did the Inquirer claim ownership of photos not originally sent to them? I’m not saying they are being dishonest. I have this theory: PDI may have indeed got the photos from another source – which explains why Mugshots.com watermarks are no longer visible in the second set of photos.


My exclusive interview with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Disclaimer: Just for laughs!

Gloria Arroyo on a metal halo vest

Mark Madrona: Madam President, marami pong salamat sa pagpapaunlak ninyo sa isang panayam ngayong araw dito sa St. Luke’s Medical Center.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: It’s my pleasure to speak to you. Alam mo naman, dominado ng mga kaalyado ni Noynoy Aquino ang media kahit nung kampanya pa.

MM: Madam, ano pong masasabi nyo sa pahayag ni Ricky Carandang na “your day in court has arrived”?

GMA: Well, yes, it did arrive. But it was a year and a half in the making! Estrada was detained just four months after leaving office, mind you.

MM: Mam, according to Atty. Raul Lambino (her legal spokesman) and Ms Elena Bautista-Horn, the charges against you was railroaded.

GMA: Obvious ba? Nagkaroon ng COMELEC resolution, pagsasampa ng kaso, at pag-issue ng arrest warrant in less than six hours! Daig pa nito ang MRT. It’s like the shinkansen!

MM: Madam, balikan lang po muna natin muna yung request ninyo to travel abroad for medical treatment.

GMA: Yes, salamat. Actually, nalilito na rin ako kung ano ba talaga ang sakit ko. Sabi kasi dati, pinched nerve daw. Nung inoperahan ako, biglang nagkaroon ng hypoparathyroidism. Ang sakit sa leeg. I can no longer move freely. Nasasaktan ako! As I said, not knowing what ails me is killing me.

GMA: "Nung inoperahan ako, biglang nagkaroon ng hypoparathyroidism. Ang sakit sa leeg. I can no longer move freely."

MM: Pero hindi po kayo pinayagan ni DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima na bumiyahe.

GMA: Oo. I’m sure nabasa mo naman yung resolution nya. Kesyo indefinite daw ang pagbabalik ko tapos, ang pinili ko pang mga bansa, yung walang extradition treaty sa Pilipinas. Well, that’s not my fault kung sa walong bansa lang tayo mayroong ganun.

MM: Totoo po bang hindi na kayo babalik?

GMA: Babalik naman ako … kung hindi na si Noynoy ang pangulo.

MM: Paano po kung si Binay o Roxas ang pumalit sa kanya?

GMA: Well, let me put it this way. It took 25 years before ousted Haitian leader Baby Doc Duvalier returned. I can also do that.

MM: I see, Madam. Are you aware of reports that Thaksin Shinawatra would be returning to Thailand within the next few months?

GMA: Yes, of course He’s my friend. Ang suwerte nga nya kasi yung kapatid na nyang si Yingluck ang Prime Minister ngayon dun. I can’t do that here. Seriously, can anyone among Mike, Mikey, Dato, Luli, and Iggy become President, too?

MM: Any message po for Leila de Lima?

GMA on Leila De Lima: "I truly regret appointing you (as CHR Chair in 2008)."

GMA: Alam mo, Leila, baka nakakalimutan mong I was the one who appointed you as Commission on Human Rights Chair nung 2008, kahit na lawyer ka pa ng Genuine Opposition nung 2007! Sisikat ka ba if not for that appointment? And please, don’t use me for your 2013 senatorial candidacy. I truly regret appointing you.

MM: Madam, sabi po ni Health Secretary Enrique Ona, you are recuperating “reasonably well” after undergoing three successive surgeries.

GMA: Drinking medicines makes me choke. My blood pressure is beyond normal. I have lost my appetite. I am 10 pounds lighter now. I am experiencing finger numbness and leg cramps. Does that mean I’m recuperating well?

MM: Pictures of you wearing a metal halo vest has been widely circulated.

Will the ailing Gloria Arroyo spend the coming holiday season under hospital arrest?

GMA: Actually, I asked my lawyer Estelito Mendoza if that is still necessary. E the Supreme Court sided naman with us, so I guess it worked.

MM: Madam, many are asking … was that taken using a webcam?

GMA: Hahaha. Yes. We can’t use a Canon or a Nikon. You see, I have to be seen in the worst possible light. Para mas convincing ‘di ba?

MM: So you are admitting the picture was faked?

GMA: Oops! I am sorry. Please, put that off the record.

MM: Sabi po ni MTRCB Chair Grace Poe-Llamanzares, naniniwala syang hindi na kayo babalik. Ano pong masasabi nyo sa kanya?

GMA: Hija, hindi kita kilala personally, pero tandaan mo, ang sakit ko ay sakit rin ng ina mo. Regards pala sa HALF-sister mong si Lovi.

MM: What about COMELEC Chair Sixto Brilliantes?

GMA: I am very certain that life would be much easier for me if my former lawyer Romulo Macalintal were in his place. Well, Sixto, your wish for us to spend Christmas under arrest seems to be happening.

MM: Madam, what do you think of Chief Justice Renato Corona?

GMA: Hi, Nato! He voted in favor of allowing me to travel abroad not once, but twice last week. Iba na talaga ang may pinagsamahan. Too bad nakauna pa rin ang aking mga kalaban.

MM: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined to comment po about your case during a forum last Wednesday.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Hillary Clinton at the US State Department (2009)

GMA: Hillary, my friendship with your husband Bill dates back to our days in Georgetown University. He knew me before you. I was actually rooting for you over Obama last 2008.

MM: The foreign minister of the Dominican Republic has denied that you are seeking an asylum there.

GMA: A mis amigos en la República Dominicana. Yo sé que estáis de buena voluntad a ayudarme, pero yo fui impedido por mis enemigos antes de que pudiera pedir vuestra ayuda.*

(To my friends in the Dominican Republic. I know you are willing to help me, but I was stopped by my enemies before I can even ask for your assistance.)

MM: Mam, what do you feel about Len Horn?

GMA: I am touched by her presence. You know, as the song goes, “For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forevermore.”

MM: Any message po to your family?

Mike, Mikey, Dato, at Luli, mahal ko kayong lahat. Pagshubok lamang ito at malalagpashan nating lahat. Huwag kayong mawalan ng pag-asha.

MM: What can you say to Joseph Estrada?

Joseph Estrada's mugshot after being arrested for plunder (2001)

GMA: He’s right. Our case is indeed different. Nung nag-request siyang bumiyahe for his knee surgery, mahigit tatlong taon na ang plunder trial nya. Ako, na-reject ang travel request ko kahit wala pang nakasampang kaso against me. Who between us was a convicted plunderer? I regret having pardoned him. Dapat nakakulong pa siya hanggang ngayon, had I not been persuaded by Mike Defensor and Ronaldo Puno. Huwag siyang magmalinis.

MM: What can you say to President Noynoy Aquino?

GMA: He’s a very vindictive man. He’s very keen on persecuting me and my family. Remember, his father was already convicted by a military court of rebellion when his father sought medical treatment abroad.

MM: Madam, last question. How do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?

GMA: I’ll be turning 70 by April 5, 2017. I granted pardon to Estrada because of that. You get it? And of course, I am wishing myself and Mike good health.

MM: Madam, you can now address the entire Filipino nation.

GMA: Mga minamahal kong kababayan, sa siyam na taon na ako’y inyong pangulo, ginawa ko ang lahat ng aking makakaya upang kayo ay mapagshilbihan. Hindi ako nandaya noong 2004, at wala akong inutusang mandaya para kay Miguel Zubiri noong 2007.  Tiwala akong ako’y maaabswelto sa kasong electoral sabotage. Nais ko ring sabihin sa inyo na hindi ako kailanman nagnakaw sa kaban ng bayan. I am certain that the justice system will exonerate me from these baseless allegations. History will vindicate my legacy.

* – special thanks to my Christine Delner Robledo, Dan Daryll Arboleda, and Ron de Vera for helping me out in this translation. 🙂


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