Is "Integrity" the Correct Issue?

I came across Armando Doronila’s article on the Pulse Asia October 2009 Survey Results. He writes:

Central issue of 2010 race is integrity –, Philippine News for Filipinos

Whether or not Aquino will continue to hold his wide margin as the election approaches is a matter of conjecture. Villar and Aquino’s other rivals have mounted their attacks by raising the following issues:

  • his lack of notable legislative achievements in Congress;
  • the record of the Cojuangco family on agrarian reform in relation to their ownership of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac;
  • and even the insensitivity of the Aquino administration to social issues.
  • Aquino’s mental qualities have also come under attack.
  • Another criticism is that his credentials for the presidency rest mainly on the public service record of his
    parents and that he would bring little into the presidency.

But all these attacks do not seem to have significantly dented the groundswell of public goodwill he enjoys in the surveys.

The Pulse Asia (October 2009) survey found that the reason most often cited in voting preference for a presidential candidate is his clean public record (“malinis”) or not being corrupt (“hindi kurakot”). The survey found that two out of every 10 Filipinos (21.2 percent) are voting for a particular candidate because he/she is not corrupt, a reason cited by fewer respondents in May and August 2009.

In May 2009, the leading reason for voting was a candidate’s being helpful to others (34 percent).

In August 2009, the top reasons cited were a candidate’s having many accomplishments (25.3 percent) and his/her being pro-poor (20.3 percent).

Currently (October 2009), 14 percent are motivated to vote for a presidential candidate because of his/her many accomplishments, 12.2 percent favor a candidate because he/she helps others, while 6.6 percent mention being helpful to overseas Filipino workers. Villar has built his campaign on the theme of being helpful to overseas Filipino workers for which project he has spent a considerable sum.

The survey also found that the less often mentioned reasons for electing a presidential candidate include the good reputation of his/her family (4.2 percent) and his/her being virtuous or “mabait” (3.7 percent).

These findings suggest a qualitative shift in the values sought by Filipinos in their leaders in this election. These values are highlighted and salient in the issues of integrity and honesty in public service. These values are embodied in the campaign theme: Filipinos crave for a leader whose integrity they can trust. That is the central issue in this election.

Is “Integrity” aka “Honesty” the Right Issue?

I agree with Armando Doronila’s statement that “Integrity is the central issue in this election”. Integrity is defined as “the quality of having high moral principles, being reliable and trustworthy”.

However, from a strategic perspective, given that integrity is the central issue, the following questions immediately came to mind:

  1. Is integrity the correct issue?
  2. Is integrity the only vital issue?
  3. Does Noynoy have a monopoly of Integrity?
  4. Does Noynoy actually have integrity? How was he proven reliable? To whom will he be more trustworthy – the oligarchs or the masses?

The issue of integrity is seen as a central issue because it is perceived to be an answer to the Aquino campaign’s central theme – corruption. Essentially, the poll participants are saying  – Aquino’s integrity/honesty is the answer to the corruption question.

Transparency International’s Country Study Report on the Philippines in 2006, wrote:

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Executive Summary:

Today, the Philippines is witnessing a flurry of anti-corruption activity. The government has been working hard hand-in-hand with international donor organisations focusing on both preventive and punitive efforts that, in turn, have been supported by substantial  financial resources at both national and sub-national levels. These have intended to fast-track and implement a myriad of reform initiatives to rid the country of endemic and pervasive corruption.

Philippine anti-corruption efforts may be described in superlative terms. For instance, in relation to legislation, as early as the 1930s a Penal Code was enacted punishing corrupt acts, and in the 1960s a landmark law, the Anti–Graft and Corruption Practices Act, was passed to counter corruption. The 1987 Philippine constitution enshrines principles of accountability, constitutional independence, fiscal autonomy and disclosure of information. The government advocates zero tolerance for corruption and follows the world’s best practice in adopting a three-pronged anticorruption approach – promotion, prevention and enforcement. Civil society in the Philippines is among the most vibrant worldwide, with a strong anti-corruption ideology, and the country’s highly literate population produces independent thinkers and committed champions for reform. The Philippine press is Asia’s liveliest. Other constituencies, such as the business sector, civil society, community groups and religious organisations have all coalesced to support the anti-corruption agenda.

Yet corruption remains prevalent. Recent international and national surveys and reports show that the Philippines is still perceived as highly corrupt. In support of these findings, there is a plethora of newspaper reports on fertilizer scams, electoral fraud, jueteng payola (receiving illicit payments for an illegal numbers game), political financing scandals, pre-need (private funds which target educational investors) companies’ corporate governance problems and thievery in military procurement. A lack of compliance and implementation on the side of the public and a lack of prosecutions, convictions and enforcement on the side of the authorities persist. A bifurcation remains between catching ‘small fry’ and ‘big fish’; between rhetoric and reality and promise and performance.

An institutional assessment of the national integrity system helps to clarify the situation. Several solutions are suggested:

  • under-regulation exists, for instance, in the area of whistleblower protection for whole-of-government and private sector coverage (although two bills are now pending in Congress and one in the Senate);
  • efficient information retrieval systems are needed for increased transparency;
  • the political party system and campaign financing need strengthening;
  • and independence of oversight bodies should be enhanced.

On the other hand, over-regulation exists in rent-seeking areas, allowing politicians to become involved in the appointments system, promoting extortion and quota-fixing and serving to dilute efforts and resources in the war against corruption. A more empirical approach within research methodologies to inform and review legislation is lacking.

In a country with institutionalized corruption, integrity pillars themselves are compromised by systemic corruption compounded with difficulties to operate efficiently and effectively. Collusion, state capture, leadership incapable of crushing vested interests and a lack of a focal point are issues that still need to be addressed. These problems may be tackled by reviewing constitutional law, particularly in areas concerning:

  • appointments and the excessive power of the executive
  • strengthening institutional restraints against political interventions
  • building capacity within institutions
  • supporting demand for democratic principles in the public domain
  • ensuring independence and fiscal autonomy of accountability bodies and
  • promoting moral standards and ethical values.


Is corruption really the central theme? Consider the findings of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

  • Unfortunately, corruption places severe constraints on a country’s capacity to undertake economic reforms. This is because reforms require greater transparency, accountability, free and fair competition, deregulation, and reliance on market forces and private initiative, as well as limiting discretionary powers, special privileges, and price distortions – all of which will reduce opportunities for economic rent on which corruption thrives. The rich and the powerful, the main gainers of a corrupt system, will therefore oppose reforms. (BongV: Quite consistent with the oligarch-owned media opposing charter change, watering down of land reform, etc)
  • Although corruption exists in all countries it is more widespread in low income countries. This is not because people in poor countries are more corruptible than their counterparts in rich countries. It is simply because conditions in poor countries are more conducive for the growth of corruption. Bribery and graft are crimes of calculation and not of passion. Hence, when benefits are large, chances of getting caught are small, and penalties when caught are light, then many people will succumb. Low income countries usually have:
    • highly regulated economies that give rise to large monopoly rents.
    • Accountability in these countries is generally weak.
    • Political competition and civil liberties are often restricted.
    • Laws and principles of ethics in government are poorly developed
    • Legal institutions charged with enforcing them are ill-prepared to address this complex task.
    • Watchdog organizations that provide information on which detection and enforcement for anti-bribery action is based, such as investigators, accountants, the press, and other civil society organizations, are not well developed and are sometimes suppressed.
    • On the other hand, the discretionary powers of administrators are large, with poorly defined, ever-changing and poorly disseminated rules and regulations making the situation worse. (BongV: Noynoy’s approach is to curb administrative discretionary powers, it does not address the large monopoly rents, nor the economy)
  • Rise of the underground economy. Underground economic activities exist in all countries. They are of two types. First, there are those that are illegal such as engaging in the drug trade or the smuggling business. The second consists of those activities that are legal but are not officially recorded to evade taxes or for some other reason. Corruption gives rise to both these types of activities and contributes directly to the rise of the underground economy.  Although underground economic activities exist in all countries, they become pervasive where corruption is widespread. When a large portion of an economy goes underground, official macroeconomic data which mostly cover only the formal sector, become unreliable to assess economic performance or to provide a basis for policy
    making and analysis. (BongV: Philippines has huge underground economy!!!)
  • Income distribution.  Under a corrupt system, the privileged and the well-connected enjoy economic rent. Economic rent, by definition, represents abnormal or monopoly profits and can bestow large benefits. As such, there is a tendency for wealth to be concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority of the population. (BongV: Socio-economic segmentation shows wealth is concentrated in the hands of a tiny minority – also, a tiny and still shrinking middle class –
  • Impact on Investment. Corruption’s adverse impact on private investment, both domestic and foreign,is considered to be particularly harmful for a developing economy. Bribes may have to be given before any investment takes place and upon entering into  negotiations for the establishment of an enterprise. More payments usually follow in the process of setting up the business. Procurement of leases for land and buildings; permission to engage in activities such as production, transport, storage, marketing, distribution, import and export; obtaining connections for water, gas, electricity, and telephone; having access to telex, fax and e-mail facilities and so on; can involve payment of substantial bribes at various stages and may require the services of agents with specialized expertise on how to get around complex rules and procedures to acquire these things. Unfortunately, these agents and middlemen, instead of being part of the solution can often become a part of the problem. Their services do not come cheaply. (BongV: Consider what foreign investors have to do in order to get around the 60/40 provisions of the Cory constitution, plus those who opt out due to such provisions. Guess who are the only parties who can match a Tier 1 investor’s 40% – yup, oligarch-owned firms like Benpres Holdings)
  • A useful conclusion that has emerged from the current discussion and ongoing debate on the corruption issue is that corruption is a symptom of deep-seated and fundamental economic, political and institutional weaknesses and shortcomings in a country. To be effective, measures against corruption must therefore address these underlying causes and not the symptoms. Emphasis must thus be placed on preventing corruption by tackling the root causes that give rise to it through undertaking economic, political and institutional reforms. Anti-corruption enforcement measures such as oversight bodies, a strengthened police force and more efficient law courts will not be effective in the absence of a serious effort to address the fundamental causes. Another observation that may be useful to bear in mind is that corruption is most prevalent where there are other forms of institutional weaknesses, such as political instability, bureaucratic red tape, and weak legislative and judicial systems. The important point is that corruption and such institutional weaknesses are linked together and that they feed upon each other. For example, red tape makes corruption possible and corrupt officials may increase the extent of red tape so that they can get more bribes. So, getting rid of corruption helps a country to overcome other institutional weaknesses, just as reducing other institutional weaknesses helps to curb corruption. (BongV: Noynoy’s anti-corruption platform addresses administrative issues, but does not respond to the fundamental causes which are economic, political, institutional, and cultural in nature)

One overlooked area of political corruption is “state capture,” or just “capture.” – a situation where powerful companies (or individuals) bend the regulatory, policy and legal institutions of the nation for their private benefit. This is typically done through high-level bribery, lobbying or influence peddling. Sounds familiar? Sure ZTE-NBN was bad, but so is keeping the protectionist policies so that only the domestic elite (who has the capital) can own real property needed for doing business at all levels. It’s even worse, because the effects of jobs lost when potential investors move elsewhere is of unquantifiable magnitude.

For more readings on corruption, check out Forbes magazine section on Corruption.

Also, check out a related reading on Foreign Direct Investments.

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  1. You ought to have pointed out, for the benefit of the Noylistas who are going to howl about it, that at least part of the definition of “integrity” is NOT defending the murderous ‘dispersal’ of demonstrators at Hacienda Luisita, as this YouTube video seems to show Aquino doing:


    And for anyone who wants to argue about that, sorry, not interested — the man himself is going to have to speak up about that one.

  2. “Honesty” and “integrity” seems so to be so prized in a leader because it is an exceptional quality in Philippine society as a whole. So it is possible that the underlying psychology at work in Pinoys’ responsiveness to “integrity” campaigns in their politicians is that they look to “honest” politicians as oases of goodness in a society where dishonesty, opaqueness, and anti-social behaviour are more rules than exceptions.

    In short, we may for actually succeed in electing an “honest” politician to office. But is an honest politician in office the real cure for the deeply-entrenched rot in the collective psyche of Pinoy society? Indeed, is integrity in our politicians the correct issue?

    Again we go back to that brilliant case study sitting under our noses — the Filipino Chinese. They prosper regardless of the quality and “integrity” of their hosts’ governors and overlords.

    For that matter, ethnic Chinese communities prosper in most parts of the world they settle — from the most backward and corrupt societies to the cleanest and most advanced ones.

    I’ve known a lot of fools in my lifetime who thought finding a “good” girlfriend or boyfriend and marrying him/her will solve their problems and “make them happy”. They never realised that underlying issues in themselves remained long after getting married (e.g. issues with commitment, empathy, self-confidence or weak egos, etc.). Living with another person (much more raising kids once you have them) is a lot more complicated than being responsible just for your own personal happiness. So in many cases living with a partner can either (1) work against you (i.e. exacerbate the underlying personal issues mentioned earlier or even create new ones) or (2) work for you, the latter case often depends on the strength of your character, your ability to put up, your capacity for self reflection/evaluation, and your flexibility to act on what you reflect upon or the results of your self-evaluation.

    – strength of character
    – ability to put up
    – capacity for self-reflection/evaluation
    – flexibility

    Would one say any of the above are virtues Pinoys are renowned for as a people?

    I doubt it.

    In the same way fools look to marrying their Prince Charming as the silver bullet to kill their personal demons, Pinoys look to electing an “honest” politician of “unquestionable” “integrity” (as Noynoy, for example, is being pitched to be by his minions) as a way out of their chronic dysfunction as a society.

    Good luck with that fairy tale.

  3. “Here’s what a majority is – 55% – that’s what a majority IS – 55% who do not prefer Noynoy.”

    strictly speaking the majority prefers no one.

  4. Akala ata ng mga Noynoyians eh puro integrity lang ang kailangan para ma-resolba lahat ng problema ng Pilipinas. How about real know-how on how to solve corruption for starters? Noynoy doesn’t have that, even if we give him his integrity.

  5. Elder “Expert” Abe Margallo again comes up with an article on (FV) that unwittingly contradicts the very principle that Noynoy’s supporters stand by — specifically is much touted personal “integrity”.

    Unfortunately my commentary to it is currently under moderation (indeed, FV is a bastion of free speech!). But fear not, as you can see this banned comment here.

    Check it out, as it illustrates the tragedy of how Noynoy supporters in all their moronism actually undermine one another’s pitch for Noynoy’s bid for the Philippine presidency.

  6. he did… he condemns the violence, as expected…


    Inquirer in Nov 17, 2004:
    Strikers dispersed at Hacienda Luisita; 7 dead
    Aquino son: Ralliers are not part of work force

    Updated 00:52am (Mla time) Nov 17, 2004
    By Jo Clemente, Ronald Dizon
    Inquirer News Service Editor’s Note: Published on page A1 of the Nov. 17, 2004 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer HACIENDA LUISITA, Tarlac, Philippines — In a dispersal reminiscent of a bloody Mendiola rally in 1987, at least seven people died when the police and military dismantled barricades set up by workers of a sugar mill owned by the family of former President Corazon Aquino.Ms Aquino was just 11 months in Malacañang when government forces killed 13 farmers on Mendiola Bridge during a dispersal operation on Jan. 22, 1987. The farmers were demanding “genuine” land reform, including the distribution to workers and farmers of the 6,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by the family of the former President.As of 8 last night, four fatalities in the dispersal here had been identified as Jesus Lasa of Concepcion, Tarlac; John David of Barangay Cutcut, Tarlac City; Juancho Sanchez of Barangay Balete, Tarlac City, and Jimmy Pastidio of La Paz, Tarlac.Reports from the medical team sent by the city government to the site did not say if the fatalities were all workers of Central Azucarera de Tarlac.Three of the victims died before reaching the Tarlac Provincial Hospital, while three others died at the St. Martin Hospital in the hacienda. Another fatality was taken to the military’s Northern Luzon Command headquarters at Camp Aquino in the city.Tear gas, water cannonsMany workers were reported wounded and taken to the provincial hospital. They said the police and military dispersal teams used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the strikers.Leaders of the strike said at least 200 protesters were hurt. At least 100 policemen, soldiers and firemen were also hurt in the dispersal, according to Senior Superintendent Amado Paneda, the regional deputy police director for administration.A total of 116 protesters, including 16 women, were reportedly detained at Camp Aquino and at the sugar mill.Director Quirino de la Torre, the Central Luzon police chief, said the policemen and soldiers were hit by Molotov bombs and stones thrown by the strikers.Police were enforcing an order from the Department of Labor and Employment to facilitate the free entry and exit of trucks carrying sugar products and to normalize operations at the sugar mill.The DOLE assumed jurisdiction of the labor row pending before the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.The dispersal came after negotiations between workers at the Central Azucarera de Tarlac and its management broke down.Higher wagesThe workers were demanding higher wages and better benefits but management claimed the strike was meant “to cripple the business operations of the sugar mill.”The violence that erupted was the second such incident during the 11-day-old strike at the Cojuangco sugar mill.On Monday, scores of strikers and policemen were hurt when police dispersed the picket line at the Hacienda Luisita gate.Owners of Hacienda Luisita were baffled over who was behind the human barricade at the sugar plantation.Not hacienda workerFormer Tarlac Representative Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., a brother of Ms Aquino and part owner of the hacienda, said some of the people that took part in the strike since last week were from the provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija and were not part of the work force of the plantation.The Cojuangcos own 67 percent of Hacienda Luisita and the rest is held by the workers.The former congressman said management had left the issues to be resolved by the labor department.Cojuangco said he received a copy of a press statement from the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) yesterday morning saying that it was not the group that initiated the picket.Ronaldo Alcantara of ULWU-Nacusip said negotiations to amend provisions of the collective bargaining agreement between Hacienda Luisita Inc. and ULWU-Nacusip were ongoing and there was no “deadlock.”Alcantara said in his statement that the small group of retrenched workers led by Rene Galang, a former official of ULWU-Nacusip, and Ric Ramos, president of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU-NLU), were responsible for the recent incidents at the hacienda.

    Noynoy defends dispersal

    Alcantara said that the 5,000 members of ULWU-Nacusip did not participate in the strike.At the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (LP, Tarlac), only son of the former President, defended the dispersal of the protesters.Rising on the floor, Representative Aquino said that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police who dispersed the workers were “subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.”

    Aquino took the floor after party-list Representatives Rafael Mariano (Anakpawis) and Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) delivered stinging speeches condemning the violence.Mariano and Ocampo declined to be interpellated by Aquino, prompting the congressman to deliver his own speech.

    Illegal strike

    Aquino assailed the strike which saw workers blockading the entrance to the sugar mill.“It is an illegal strike. No strike vote was called,” he said, referring to the two unions involved in the strike.Aquino noted that 400 of the 736 workers in question had decided to return to work. “We have sought ways and means to alleviate the situation of our workers,” Aquino said.Commenting on the violent incident, Aquino said: “We condemn the violence that happened but is it directed at the right party?”He entered the session hall looking grim in the middle of Mariano’s speech. Eight people, including a child, died in the incident, according to Mariano.“We register our strongest condemnation of the violence against workers and farmers in Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of former President Corazon Aquino and the Deputy Speaker,” Mariano said.

    Strike justified

    Mariano said the strike was justified because of management’s removal from the rolls of 327 workers, including union leaders.“Isn’t this a violation of the right to organize by workers?” Mariano said.In an interview, Mariano said the dispersal brought to mind the massacre of farmers holding a demonstration at Mendiola Bridge leading to Malacañang in 1987.“I was afraid before that Hacienda Luisita will become another Mendiola massacre. My worst fears have come true,” Mariano told reporters.In his speech, Ocampo questioned the use of AFP troops in a labor dispute. Ocampo said the practice would pave the way for enforcing DOLE orders in a “militarized manner.”Jesus Pamposa, 51, who suffered gunshot wounds in both legs, said he saw snipers on one of the buildings in the sugar mill.As of last night, soldiers were hunting down protesters in Barangays Balete, Central and Mapalacsiao.The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said it would not lift the strike. “Even if blood is shed, the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita will never withdraw unless they get their just demands. The struggle (in the sugar plantation) already involves life and death,” KMP spokesperson Carl Ala said.Molotov bombsAssistant Labor Secretary Benedicto Ernesto Bitonio Jr. said the police and military first threw tear gas canisters at the protesters and were then forced to resort to violence after several people from the strikers’ side began throwing Molotov bombs and firing guns.Bitonio, citing the report of Francis Reyes, the DOLE sheriff in the area, said the authorities were originally set to disperse the picket at 2 p.m. and sought in vain the leaders of those assembled in front of the sugar central’s main gate.

    With reports from Tonette Orejas, Russel Arador, Carlito Pablo, Elizabeth L. Sanchez, Norman Bordadora and Jerome Aning=======================

  7. Gabby repeat after me… IGNOY DID NOT CONDEMN VIOLENCE


    “Alcantara said that the 5,000 members of ULWU-Nacusip did not participate in the strike.At the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (LP, Tarlac), only son of the former President, DEFENDED THE DISPERSAL of the protesters.Rising on the floor, Representative Aquino said that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police who dispersed the workers were “subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.””


    again IGNOY IS NOT PRO LABOR as Abe Margallo pointed out the article you’ve posted said :

    “Aquino ASSAILED THE STRIKE which saw workers blockading the entrance to the sugar mill.“It is an illegal strike. No strike vote was called,” he said, referring to the two unions involved in the strike.Aquino noted that 400 of the 736 workers in question had decided to return to work. “We have sought ways and means to alleviate the situation of our workers,” Aquino said.Commenting on the violent incident, Aquino said: “We condemn the violence that happened but is it directed at the right party?”He entered the session hall looking grim in the middle of Mariano’s speech. Eight people, including a child, died in the incident, according to Mariano.“We register our strongest condemnation of the violence against workers and farmers in Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of former President Corazon Aquino and the Deputy Speaker,” Mariano said.”

    Gabby… ANONG MAJORITY? kalokohan yan… ang basis mo na naman survey?

    Here is what i’ve posted on surveys

    jun de la cruz

    I am not here to CONVINCE THE “TAONG BAYAN”. I gain nothing because your VIRTUAL TAONG BAYAN is just an illusion. Katarantaduhan yang phrase na VOX POPULI, VOX DEI… the voice of god is the voice of the people… If you’re referring to the OPERATIONAL DEFINITION of Noynoy’s taong bayan… where he’s referring to the 1,800 population samples defined by the Mahar Mangahas’ SWS survey… your syllogism is already flawed. Why?

    1. Philippines’ population = 89 million (1,800/ 89,000,000… try it in your scientific calculator)
    2. Total number of islands = 1,107 islands
    3. Philippines is divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 120 cities, 1,511 municipalities and 42,008 barangays. (

    If the surveys are “scientifically done” as some of the pro-noynoy would define them to be, the sampling method is questionable. Moreover, these surveys have been done by commercial institutions. Have you ever questioned why are they conducting these surveys and who are paying these survey institutions?

    Sorry Jun… hindi lang pala katangahan ang pagboto kay Noynoy… isa ring pagiging ignorante. I’m not here to convince you or anybody else NOT TO VOTE FOR NOYNOY… your behavior and your method of thinking is a hopeless case of plain and simple ignorance.

  8. you said: “Gabby repeat after me… IGNOY DID NOT CONDEMN VIOLENCE”

    the article said: “Commenting on the violent incident, Aquino said: “We condemn the violence that happened but is it directed at the right party?””

    what am i missing?

  9. Si Abe “Behooves” Margallo… hehehe… what do you expect? He doesn’t want to be interpolated with anything that negates his fallacies and sweeping generalizations.

  10. That doesn’t sound like an unqualified condemnation of the violence to me. That sounds like, “Well, violence is not good, but…”

    Again, I go back to what I said earlier. The man himself must speak on this. Since he didn’t come right out and say, “Shooting at protesters is total bullshit, and I utterly repudiate it under any circumstances,” he’s created the question that hounds him now.

    The report jet quotes also says this: “Rising on the floor, Representative Aquino said that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police who dispersed the workers were “subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.”””

    Which is also kind of a load of crap, since the people who were killed and wounded were the ones pretty much right in front of the security forces, and not over in the next barangay. So even there he was making an excuse, and a weak one at that, unless the police and military commanders involved wish to come forward and bail him out by saying that the people under their command at the time just couldn’t shoot straight.

  11. And this is why the Philippine political system continues to be a failure: it guarantees a minority president — in other words, a loser in any other presidential system — will be elected every time, no matter who it is.

  12. read again… gabby… look into the context of the paragraph… then we discuss about it… kung hindi mo mahimaymay yan… magpapaikot ikot na naman tayo… waste of bandwidth…

  13. @Ben

    i agree, but we were talking about that video you posted, right? in it only the words “noynoy defends dispersal” was highlighted. obviously, he objects to killing as he should. and he did.

    he did speak out. thats why i whipped out the good old google 2 show u this. he DID.

    now, the last part of your comment is substantial. good questions. a news article will only tell u so much.

    but there seems to be 2 sides (at least!) to this story.

    at least we can admit THAT? right?

  14. i’d like to know why a run-off election, or a primary system, is not possible in the philippines… this would guarantee at least a weak majority each time.

  15. I respect all your preferences in politics , however , the survey results shows that the fight is now limited to a 3 corner fight among Noynoy, Villar and Erap . Whether we like it or not , the single digit candidates had no chance at all based in the history of politics . If Noynoy did not run in todays election , it would have been a fight between Villar and Erap only , and Erap could have the biggest chance to still win because of his charisma during campaign period , in fact , just recently , Erap got the biggest leap of about 7% which is very unusual . Kung wala lang siguro si Noynoy , napakalaki ng posibilidad na mananalo ulit si Erap at iyan ang pinakalaking bagay na dapat pangngambahan ng tao .
    The only way to stop Erap from winning is to vote for Noynoy and solidify his lead further . At this moment , whether we like it or not , we are left with only 3 choices Noynoy, Villar and Erap and among the three , the vote for Noynoy is the only way to stop Erap and the vote for Villar would just cut down the lead of noynoy and give more chances to Erap because with the trending now , Erap would likely take over the lead of Villar .

    For me , I will vote and perhaps campaign to solidify further the lead of Noynoy para maiiwasan ang posibleng pagkapanalo ni Erap but If you want Erap back then donot vote for Noynoy ….A Vote for a single digit candidates would just increase Erap’s chances to win …

  16. For me , I will vote and perhaps campaign to solidify further the lead of Noynoy para maiiwasan ang posibleng pagkapanalo ni Erap but If you want Erap back then donot vote for Noynoy ….A Vote for a single digit candidates would just increase Erap’s chances to win

    Kawawang Pinoy nga naman.

    First it was an oust-GMA motivator, now it is an anyone-but-Erap campaign.

    That’s Pinoy “democracy” for you. A national-scale exercise in large-scale missing the point.

    ha ha! 😀

  17. Gabbyd:These are the industries which are considered as part of the rent capture regimen. These have been reserved for Filipino citizens (aka oligarchs ) only. Let’s look at specifics of the Negative List:

    No Foreign Equity
    3. Retail trade enterprises with paid-up capital of less than US$ 2,500,00 (Sec. 5 of R.A. 8762)
    24. Cooperatives (Ch. III, Art. 26 of R.A. 6938)
    6. Small-scale Mining (Sec. 3 of R.A. 7076)

    Up to Forty Percent (40%) Foreign Equity
    17. Exploration, development and utilization of natural resources (Art. XII, Sec. 2 of the Constitution) 4
    18. Ownership of Private Lands (Art. XII, Sec. 7 of the Constitution; Ch. 5, Sec. 22 of C.A. 141)
    19. Operation and management of public utilities (Art. XII, Sec. 11 of the Constitution; Sec. 16 of C.A. 146)
    20. Ownership/establishment and administration of educational institutions (Art. XIV, Sec. 4 of the Constitution)
    21. Culture, production, milling, processing, trading excepting retailing, of rice and corn and acquiring, by barter, purchase or otherwise, rice and corn and the by-products thereof (Sec. 5 of P.D. 194; Sec. 15 of R.A. 5762) 5
    22. Contracts for the supply of materials, goods and commodities to government-owned or controlled corporation, company, agency or municipal corporation (Sec. 1 of R.A. 5183)
    23. Project Proponent and facility Operator of a BOT project requiring a public utilities franchise (Art. XII, Sec. 11 of the Constitution; Sec. 2a of R.A. 7718)
    24. Operation of deep sea commercial fishing vessels (Sec. 27 of R.A. 8550)25. Adjustment Companies (Sec. 323 of P.D. 612 as amended by P.D. 1814)
    26. Ownership of condominium units where the common areas in the condominium projects are co-owned by the owners of the separate units or owned by a corporation (Sec. 5 of R.A. 4726)

    Do you think foreign investors will invest in these if they are only allowed up to 40%? Why will I invest in a $3,000 retail operation if I cannot own the real estate on which the retail operation will be located? Will you? Let’s look at the report’s Table of FDI Drivers, ownership falls under Host Country Policies/FDI policies, and Host Country Policies-Private Sector-Promotion of Private Ownership

  18. This one does.

    The perpetrators

    Police and DoLE officials testified during the inquiries that the primary objective of the police presence was to open CAT’s Gate 1 which gives primary access to the cane trucks in going to the sugar mill.

    DoLE Sec. Patricia Sto. Tomas said, “the deputization of police personnel was to maintain peace and order and ensure passage into the gates of Hacienda Luisita.”

    Sto. Tomas issued an Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) order last Nov. 10, 2004 and ordered the mill workers to return to work while ordering the CAT management to give a P15 ($0.28, based on an exchange rate of P54.42 per US dollar) daily wage increase and P12,500 ($229.69) signing bonus. The workers originally demanded a P150 ($2.76) daily wage increase and P30,000 ($551.27) signing bonus which went down to P32 ($0.59) and P15,000 ($275.63), respectively. By then, however, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiation has reached a deadlock.

    Police tried to disperse the strikers last Nov. 15, 2004 but failed. In the Senate inquiry, Police Chief Superintendent Quirino dela Torre explained that on Nov. 16, he “sought help from the Nolcom (Northern Luzon Command) because of its proximity to the sugar estate.” He also said the strikers’ ranks already swelled to 5,000.

    Since then, Sto. Tomas has been under fire for allegedly abusing her authority.

    Enrile inquired if there was a direct Presidential authorization to send military troops. Pimentel, on the other hand, insisted that under Article 7, Section 16 of the 1987 Constitution, it is only the President who can deploy the military to quell lawless violence. The legislator blamed Sto. Tomas for the violence that occurred in the picket line. He urged her to resign “out of delicadeza” since she acted beyond her authority.

    In the inquiry, union officials have also implicated the Cojuangco family in the massacre.

    Sto. Tomas has unwittingly implicated the powerful family with her own disclosure that she decided to send military troops after she received a call from Rep. Noynoy Aquino (Tarlac, second ditrict) informing her that “tension was mounting in Hacienda Luisita since 50 busloads of sympathizers from neighboring provinces had arrived to beef up the picket line.” The House representative is the son of former Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino of the powerful Cojuangco clan in Tarlac who owns both the CAT and the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) sugar plantation.


    The House of Representatives (HoR) also conducted its own investigation. In the preliminary report of the joint inquiry of the House Committees on Human Rights, Labor and Employment and Agrarian Reform, it concluded that human rights violations were committed against the striking workers of Hacienda Luista by the elements of the PNP, AFP and the DoLE.

    It recommended the review and, if warranted, the repeal of provisions pertaining to the AJ in the Labor Code. This recommendation is based on the findings of the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) that “various violent dispersal of striking workers that resulted to hundreds of human rights violations are directly attributed to the AJ.”

    The House committees also recommended the relief and filing of criminal and administrative charges against Supt. Angelo Sunglao, provincial director of PNP-Tarlac, and Supt. dela Torre as well as other officers and members of the military and police forces who violated constitutionally-guaranteed rights of workers.

    The committees also recommended the filing of appropriate charges against Sto. Tomas.

    However, Sunglao and dela Torre have been relieved from their posts even before the House committees’ recommendation. Sto. Tomas has retained her post.

    The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) conducted its own investigation but has not come out with its results.

    At 3:10 p.m., the police began using water cannons to drive away the protesters. A few minutes later, tear gas filled the air. Paragas said there were more than 200 canisters of tear gas thrown at the workers.

    But the strikers were ready, Flor Sibayan, who was among them, recalled. They brought pails of water from nearby Balite village and used these to catch the tear gas canisters. Those that hit the ground were immediately covered with wet cloths and were spilled with water. “Para lang kaming nanghuhuli ng daga” (It was like we were catching mice), is how Sibayan described the incident.

    The workers, Paragas said, were determined to maintain the picket line. “Bumabalik ang mga manggagawa kapag humuhupa na ang epekto ng tear gas” (Workers would return to the picket line every time the effect of the tear gas weakens).

    Then, Paragas continued, thrice the APC rammed into the gate. Paragas said he heard workers shout, “Nagkasahan na” (Rifles were ****ed).

    Then, the shooting began. Paragas said he saw soldiers armed with long rifles position themselves on the open field at the right side of the sugar mill and at the left side of the gate. Gunshots also came from the gate, he said. There is a high probability, he said, that other soldiers positioned at the left side of the sugar mill used silencers.

    Jun David, one of those killed, was hit from the left side of the CAT, he said. “Katabi ko siya nang tamaan siya ng bala. Wala siyang armas.” (He was beside me when he was hit. He was unarmed.) Soldiers gave chase as striking workers ran for safety toward the nearest barangay.

    All told, the volley of gunfire lasted for two minutes, Paragas said. The Karapatan fact-finding mission later found spent shells of M-14 and M-16 rifles. Karapatan also said the soldiers used a 60-cal. machine gun.

    The shooting killed seven union members and residents of Hacienda Luisita. They were David, Jhaivie Basilio, Jesus Laza, Jessie Valdez, Juancho Sanchez, Adriano Caballero Jr. and Jaime Pastidio.
    Unaccounted for

    Six more were reportedly killed but their bodies have yet to be found. Union officers said they could not identify them because they were sacadas (seasonal plantation workers) who came from different provinces of Visayas and Luzon.

    Tudla, an independent audio-visual group, captured a video of a man who was shot in the back. This man has not been accounted for as of press time.

    One witness, a woman sugar farm worker from Lourdes village, also related the incident to Bulatlat. “Nagtatago ako sa kanal. Nakita ko yung mama pumulot ng bato. Binaril siya. May mga nagsakay sa kanya sa tricycle. Hindi na namin alam nasaan na siya” (I was hiding in a canal. I saw a man picking up a stone. He was shot. We do not know where he was taken.), she said.

    Some of those who died could have lived had they been allowed to be brought directly to the Tarlac provincial hospital. But soldiers and policemen ordered them at gunpoint to take a longer route – a 12-km ride from Gate 1 to the hospital’s emergency room.

    Sibayan said one of the fatalities, Juancho Sanchez, was still alive when he was brought to the hospital. But he lost a lot of blood. Sanchez’s feet were run over by the APC. Unable to rise, he lost consciousness when a soldier hit him on the face. Sibayan, who herself was hit in the left shoulder, said she could still hear Sanchez breathing while lying beside her in the hospital bed. Sanchez succumbed to his wounds that night.

    Witness points to where she was hiding when she witnessed how one of the victims was hit

    Photo by Dabet Castañeda

    About 72 wounded strikers soaked in their own blood as they were hurled into the Emergency Room; 34 of them sustained gunshot wounds.

    In a press conference held two days later in Quezon City, Catlu lawyer Noel Neri said that the military prevented families of victims from immediately recovering their dead.

    Aside from the dead and wounded, 111 others, including 16 women and two minors, were arrested and charged with physical assault, resisting persons in authority and malicious mischief. Neri said most of those arrested were actually sacadas from Negros, Batangas and other provinces who were picked up by the military from their bunkhouse.

    Accounts also told of soldiers mowing down the father of a baby who died of asphyxiation resulting from the tear gas attack; of Basilio who was reportedly strangled and hanged in the barbed wire at Gate 1 before he was shot dead.

    Testimonies by scores of many eyewitnesses and the victims themselves, video shots and still photos indicate that the protesters were unarmed and that some gunshots came from snipers positioned in the open field to the right facing the sugar mill and on top of the reservoir farther back, and from the soldiers near the entrance of Gate 1.


    the Cojuangco family alleged that “outside forces are influencing the situation, resorting to intimidation of non-striking workers and even to the destruction of millions of pesos worth of crops.”

    However, Barangay chairman Rodel Galang of Barangay Balete, Tarlac City countered that he knows all the people who converged at Gate 1 on Nov. 16. All were unarmed, he said, adding that there are no NPA men in his barangay or elsewhere in the picket site at the time of the shooting.

    In a statement sent through email, Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), said that the NPA had no participation in the Nov. 16 Hacienda Luisita demonstration.

    Rosal added that the NPA had no hand in the mobilization of thousands of peasants supporting the workers’ strike at CAT. “The NPA is careful not to step within the bounds of the people’s legal struggle precisely to prevent reactionaries from using this to justify the use of armed means to quell the people’s legitimate unarmed struggles,” he said.

    On the contrary, striking workers reported seeing suspected military infiltrators in their ranks. During the shooting, Tua said, a plainclothesman was pointing at him and the other union leaders, apparently as to be shot or arrested. During the funeral march of the massacre victims on Nov. 21, mourners caught a suspected agent of Nolcom taking pictures. “Nahuli namin kasi hindi siya marunong gumamit ng kamera. Nang tanungin siya, pang-souvenir lang daw” (We caught him because he doesn’t know how to use the camera. When our colleagues asked him, he said it’s just for souvenir), he said.

  19. If you want Erap back then …. VOTE FOR ERAP…

    if you want Erap… but vote for Villar… you voted vor Villar.. PERIOD.

    this is not a “fight” based on popularity. you are missing the point – this is a process of selecting who is best fit to become president not a beauty contest.

  20. hhmmm…. whats incredibly clear is that there are non-workers who took part of the strike. medyo nakakalito, coz the Galang says, he knows everyone, yet, 2 paragraphs later, “thousands” of peasants were there. he knew thousands? there are accusations that there were military men and NPAs in the group.

    in other words, lumalabas it was a mess. a crowd that size, that riled up, its practically inevitable.

    whats not clear is what noynoy had to do with it. he called for help because of of thousands of people that were there, for a strike that was illegal (none of the bulatlat articles contests this, right?).

  21. no. my point is:

    1) it was a mess. there were lotsa people, very angry, with people goading them.
    2) there are multiple viewpoints. the military say they were attacked. i think, at the very least, this story is plausible, but we dont know their side of the story with the detail of the bulatlat article. this is to be expected, but as readers, we should at least acknowledge there exists multiple viewpoints.


    3) most important, since this is what ur blog post is about — its not clear what noynoy’s role is in all of this. apart from formerly owning ~1%, and asking for help from the govt, what is he supposed to be guilty of?

  22. they were attacked by unarmed people?

    while there are multiple vewpoints – it can be established which view point is factually correct.

    what noynoy’s role in this is this:
    1 – as a pro-poor advocate – how did it come to this point, given that all the farmers were poor. if he cannot resolve the plight of the poor in his own backyard, with a company where he owns at least 1% – how can he resolve the plight of the poor in the companies where he has less than 1% and which are not even his own backyard. He did not resolve the issues of the poor when he had the chance to do so, why should he be trusted to do so as a president?

  23. Even though I think your estimation is partly valid from an election dynamics point of view, the math doesn’t add up. If we make the big presumption that the current survey figures accurately reflect a likely voting result (which they most likely do not, but this is a hypothetical discussion), there is no way that Villar voters are going to slough enough support from Noynoy for an Erap win. The latest figures I’ve heard are:

    Aquino 45%
    Villar 23%
    Erap 19%

    45+23+19 = 87, so that means there are 13% who are undecided or voting for candidates other than these three; the same survey gives Teodoro 5% and Gordon and Villanueva 1% each, so that leaves just 6% undecided. To remove a variable, let’s assume that the 6% undecided would be divided in proportion to the existing ratio among the preferences, which gives us:

    Aquino 47.7%
    Villar 24.4%
    Erap 20.1%
    With the remaining 7.8% going to Teodoro, Gordon, and Villanueva. Because those are such small percentages, it is reasonable to assume those are die-hard votes that will not be changed to one of the other three, so we can discount them.

    This difference between Aquino and Erap is 27.6%. The concern you seem to be expressing is that votes for either Villar or the “single digit” candidates will lead to an Erap win. Your “worst case scenario” could take three different forms:

    27.7% of Aquino’s voters defect and vote in roughly equal numbers for Villar and a “single digit”
    27.7% of Aquino’s voters defect and vote for Villar
    27.7% of Aquino’s voters defect and vote for Erap

    In either of the first two possible outcomes, Villar win. Only if Aquino loses considerable support to Erap directly does Erap have a chance of winning, if all else remains equal. The percentage Aquino has to lose to Erap decreases, of course, if Villar loses some of his support to the “single digits”, but you are still dealing with a double-digit transfer from Aquino to Erap, even if Villar loses half his margin.

    The bottom line is that what BongV said is correct: if Erap is to become president, it is because people want it that way and vote for Erap. The concept of “support Noynoy so somebody worse doesn’t win” is unsupportable either by simple math, or the basic rationality of picking the man a voter believes is best suited for the job.

  24. And the common work-around, popular with real estate people, “put it in your wife’s name” is hugely unpopular with potential foreign investors because of the absence of a divorce law and the serious risk of losing 100% of any investment.

  25. hhmmm… lets talk retail trade. USD 3K? why is opening up small scale enterprises to foreign ownership a good thing? why should opening small medium scale investments up to 100% foreign capital an important policy reform?

    there are some stats i found from this site:

    where i found that, in terms of size, SME are 99% of all business, 97% of which are considered micro. micro industries are of P3,000 or less in capital. (year 2001)

    in terms of employment, large industries are responsible for 31%, which is big considering how few there are.

    this implies that the value added per firm is much higher for large firms than small firms.

    now, these stats arent exclusively retail trade, but they should be indicative of facts.

    the law allows foreign participation for larger then medium scale retail businessess, i get the rationale for that.

    i can understand, also, why shielding micro/small enterprises from competition is a good thing.

    but, i’m beginning to believe that the 2.5 million ceiling may be too high. this is the medium scale investment. i’m trying to get some inkling as to what average loan sizes are, or their financing options. lack of finance is probably one reason medium scale business are so small relative to small and micro. this is where FDI can help.

  26. i agree it CAN be established. i dont know if it HAS been established. allegedly, there was gunfire from the opposite side.

    so, if ur ownership is 1%, you can do something to steer that firm’s policy? what could he have done, for real, that he didnt do?

  27. i suppose this boils down to:

    1) philippine labor conflict arbitration sucks
    2) land stock cert as an alternative to traditional land reform sucks

    both are legit positions to have. its not clear how either of which is related to noynoy.

  28. List A specifically breaks it up as paid-up capital of $2.5 million, with $830,000 or more being used to establish a store (requirement reduced to $250,000 to establish a store in the case of high-end or luxury goods, which are not defined).

    I think this is too high, because the other conditions that impact investing in and conducting business here are comparatively less attractive than the same level in some other places. High import/export costs, very high utility costs (electricity anyway), high labor costs are some examples. If I’m an investor, I’m thinking my $2.5 million is going to go farther somewhere else. Now all these conditions certainly still apply no matter what the level of investment. But if I only had to risk $500,000 or $1 million of my $2.5 million, it’s a risk I would be more inclined to take.

  29. The retiree market isn’t within that bracket. There are lots of expat retirees who would like to setup shop – and hire pinoys but can’t – because of the ceiling.

    There are many expats who are willing to go into joint ventures with pinoys in retail – and generate jobs for pinoys but can’t -thanks to the FINL.

  30. so, if ur ownership is 1%, you can do something to steer that firm’s policy? what could he have done, for real, that he didnt do?

    yes you can.

    you can go to the board and state your case.

    even dispose your 1% to make your point.

  31. Philippines has huge underground economy!!!)

    I’ve heard people comment on all the grand feasts of lechon, the numerous luxury cars and even squatters having laptops, among other observations, that they thought the Filipinos had no money. They in fact do! But how come the Filipinos look poor? Among other things, this is an obvious answer – most money goes underground. I’ve always thought that most of the Filipino money isn’t always on paper.

    Back to the topic, integrity has a lot of aspects. It may not just include the honesty of the person. There is integrity as in being “integrated” meaning, having a lot of important traits. Aside from honesty, there’s competence, a good work ethic, flexibility, aptitude, attitude… and I agree Noynoy does not monopolize integrity. Rather the contrary, my good Watson….

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