Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bro. Eddie Villanueva welcomes Comelec decision on ex-Pres. Joseph Estrada's 2010 presidential bid

Very fair, apparently impartial, and pro-people, this Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

Compare Villanueva's comments on Comelec's Estrada decision with those made by Liberal Party bet Noynoy Aquino who said he'll consult his lawyers re the development. As Ninez Cacho-Olivarez writes, "Hello? What's he going to do? File a disqualification case against Estrada? The time limit has been up sometime ago."

Does it sound good that Noynoy, whose camp had recently been revealed to have asked former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada to endorse him and, thus, to withdraw from the race in his favor, even considers (or considered) blocking the latter's candidacy during this time? According to the Daily Tribune's January 18, 2010 report:
In the case of Aquino, Enrile said it was his siblings who approached Estrada and tried to convince him to withdraw from the presidential race in favor of Noynoy’s candidacy. “I don’t know how the meeting transpired. All I know that he, along with his sisters went to see Estrada,” he added.

Had EDSA 2 not happened, that undemocratic conspiracy of elites and gullibles (well-intentioned though some may be), I would most likely consider voting for Villanueva. Of course, I do have reservations about his being too religious and how it has crafted his population management views, among others. As well, I'm not forgetting his participation in that EDSA II fiasco, which he seems to have regretted anyhow.

Nevertheless, I see in Bro. Eddie a rather ideal combination of social progressiveness, intelligence, righteousness, and track record of serving the people, masses well included. He is so progressive that despite the fact that he was part of the undemocratic mob that ousted the former President nine years ago, he prefers to bring the Estrada issue directly to the Filipino people--in a constitutionally proper manner this time around.

Here's the report on Bro. Eddie's welcoming position with regards Erap's  candidacy in the May 2010 elections:
[Manila, Philippines] —Bangon Pilipinas standard-bearer, evangelist Eduardo "Brother Eddie" Villanueva welcomed the Commission on Elections Second Division's decision to allow deposed president Joseph Estrada to run again for president to give Filipinos a "wider choice."

...He said even legal luminaries are divided on whether Estrada could run again for president...

"So it's really a controversy to be decided by the collective wisdom of the Supreme Court justices. Either way, I'm always in favor for the Filipino people to be given a chance to democratically choose their national leader, whoever is the personality involved," Villanueva said.

Check out:

Power Grab from President Joseph Estrada

Erap's renewed bid for the Presidency: Can he overcome the media bias?

Joseph "Erap" Estrada Answers Plunder Conviction & Food Security Issues Head-On

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On the 9th Year of EDSA 2 Coup: Former Philippine Estrada is Cleared to Run Again

Ultimately, the Comelec ruling allowing defamed and deposed President Joseph Estrada to seek again the presidency is very fair to the Filipino people. According to the decision:

"In the end, it is the Filipino people who would act as the final arbiter on whether they would have Estrada sit again as president...." 

Now, I'm not saying that the Comelec itself is fair (Remember the 2004 Hello Garci).

It just so happens that the ruling itself is fair to the people. Why did Comelec rule in favor of Estrada? To allow Illegitimate 'President' Gloria Arroyo's run for congresswoman in Pampanga less open to legal challenge.

In the end, or near end, the undemocratic, seditious EDSA 2 that deposed Erap came back to slap the faces of the gullibles one more time.

Still, the date of promulgation is so ironic-on the exact day nine years ago. Said Apolinario "Jun" Lozada, a senatoriable under Estrada's PMP party:

"On the same day that he was humbled, the phoenix will rise again,.. Nine years after a powerful few imposed their will on the people, it is time that the will of the poor and the powerless prevail."

Excerpts from The Daily Tribune headline report on the historic Comelec decision:

It's all systems go for former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada's second run for the presidency, a post he first held in 1998 only to be aborted by a coup d'etat instigated by the elite civil society and backed by treacherous military chiefs.

All arguments, rumors and innuendoes that Estrada is banned from running for the presidency again, or that he is withdrawing from the race, came to a stop after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday junked the three petitions filed last December seeking the disqualification of the former leader and in the process allowed Estrada to run in this year's presidential elections...

"This date of the promulgation of this decision saying that I, Joseph Estrada, am qualified to run for president, is significant to me personally because it was exactly on this day nine years ago, Jan. 20, 2001, when the honor to serve the Filipino people as president was stolen from me. Today, the opportunity to serve has been returned and it seems as if I am being told that I need to complete the mission that my administration started in 1998," said Estrada.

News Source: The Daily Tribune.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coral Triangle Business Summit opens this week in Manila

The Coral Triangle

 I thought this could be important for the regional environment and 'greener' business:
Manila, Philippines – Business and policy leaders from across Asia and the Pacific are gathering in Manila this week to identify opportunities for more sustainable growth in the world’s most diverse marine environment.

The Coral Triangle Business Summit opens on Tuesday, 19 January and will attract representatives from more than 100 businesses as well as non-government and international development organizations.

Organized by the Philippine Government and WWF with the assistance of USAID, the Summit will be held on 19 and 20 January and will outline pathways and networking opportunities for key sectors in the Coral Triangle interested in reducing their ecological footprint.

It will also provide a platform for financial support and investment for businesses willing to commit to sustainability and green growth.

“There is a growing demand for seafood and other marine products from this region, as well as increased tourism, coastal development and oil and gas interests, all driven by exploding population growth and increasing affluence,” said Head of WWF Coral Triangle Programme Dr. Lida Pet Soede.

“Business leaders therefore have a central role to play in the protection and on-going management of this unique and important marine environment.

“Thankfully there are emerging opportunities for businesses willing to operate more responsibly, and growing demands from consumers for greener products. This summit will help businesses leaders identify what some of those opportunities are.”

The Coral Triangle is scientifically defined as the marine region encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

Covering just one per cent of the earth’s surface, the Coral Triangle includes 30 per cent of the world’s coral reefs, 76 per cent of its reef building coral species as well as vital spawning grounds for tuna.

The region sustains the lives of more than 120 million people, along with thousands of small and medium businesses that heavily rely on healthy marine environments and resources.

But the Coral Triangle’s marine environments are threatened by over-exploitation and environmental degradation, compounded by population pressures and severe climate change.

According to a WWF report coral reefs could disappear from the Coral Triangle by the end of the century and the ability of the region’s coastal environments to feed people could decline by 80 per cent if no effective action is taken.

For more information:

Charlie Stevens, WWF Coral Triangle Media Office, +61 424 649 689
Paolo Mangahas, WWF Coral Triangle Communications Manager, +63 9293600121
Gregg Yan, WWF-Philippines Communications, +639178334734

  (Press release from the office of Mr. Gregg Yan)

Thousands of marine turtles saved from tuna hooks in the Coral Triangle

This wildlife conservation report is from WWF-for Nature Philippines:

Thousands of endangered marine turtles have been saved over the past year in the region known as the Coral Triangle due to a new program aimed at reducing bycatch in longline tuna fisheries, according to a review released by WWF today.

The program to introduce circle hooks in longline fleets and train fishermen in sea turtle recovery methods has reduced the number of sea turtles caught by up to 80%, translating into thousands of individual turtles saved from almost certain mortality, according to a review of the 2009 program. The new circle hooks are much less likely to be swallowed by turtles than traditional J-shaped hooks, which cause suffocation or internal bleeding when swallowed. Circle hooks are also easier to unhook from a snagged animal.

"We are extremely pleased with the response from fishing companies in the Coral Triangle region, many of which have shown great support for the circle hook and turtle recovery program," said WWF´s Coral Triangle Byctach Strategy Leader Keith Symington.

"This really represents a growing global demand for more sustainably sourced seafood and a growing awareness of the pressures on marine environments."

In Indonesia last year, the bycatch reduction program saw more than 40,000 new circle hooks distributed over the past year, which equips roughly 40 longline vessels for an entire year. This translates into thousands of sea turtles saved from hooking during the fishing season. Additionally, on-board observers and de-hooking programs by WWF in cooperation with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs released a total of 115 sea turtles captured by tuna longliners back into the sea.

Gusti Putu Suwindra, Operational Manager for Bali-based tuna brokers Sari Segara Utama, said the company´s fishing boats were catching far fewer sea turtles since the company moved to circle hooks.

"There were a lot of turtles before, many were hooked. Now there are no turtles coming in, the boats scarcely catch turtles, only one or two. Before we caught at least ten turtles a month," he said. Companies that now have plans to source circle hook caught tuna from the Coral Triangle include global seafood supplier Culimer BV and US seafood company Anova Food. Anova has been working in direct partnership with WWF Indonesia in outfitting vessels with circle hooks and working with local fishermen and processors to ensure a supply of tuna harvested in a more responsible manner.

Bas Zaunbrecher, Southeast Asia Representative for Anova Food said: "We are very pleased to have WWF as our partner in the process towards sustainable fishing, including circle hook and observer program trials with tuna longline vessels in order to minimize by-catch of sea turtles." Culimer Direcetor Martin Brugman said the company was aiming to create a ´critical mass´ of circle hook users.

"Culimer believes that improved seafood quality and extra value to fishers is critically linked to more sustainable fishing practices. That is why we directly support programs for implementing circle hooks and on-board observer programs."

Leaders from the seafood, communications, travel, finance and oil and gas industries will come together with Asia Pacific policy makers next week, in Manila on January 19 and 20, to establish new partnerships between the private sector, policy makers and organisations interested in sustainable business opportunities.

Bolstered by the positive conservation results of its growing partnerships with the seafood industry, WWF will be seeking further commitments from industry leaders to put fisheries on a more sustainable path, including reducing their bycatch. The CoralThe Coral Triangle Business Summit will be hosted by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal ArroyoPresident Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in collaboration with WWF.

For more information:
CharlieCharlie Stevens, WWF Coral Triangle Media Office, +61 424 649 689,
Keith Symington, WWF Coral Triangle Bycatch Strategy Leader, +84 913248853
For broadcast quality footage and high res images go to s/coral_triangle_initiative_business_summit/

Editors note:
The Coral Triangle is the most diverse marine region on the planet, matched in its importance to life on Earth only by the Amazon rainforest and the Congo basin. Defined by marine areas containing more than 500 species of reef-building coral, it covers 5.4 million square kilometres of ocean across six countries in the Indo-Pacific Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and TimorLeste.
The Coral Triangle also directly sustains the lives of nearly 130 million people and contains key spawning and nursery grounds for tuna, while healthy reef and coastal systems underpin a growing tourism sector. WWF is working with other NGOs, multilateral agencies and governments around the world to support conservation efforts in the Coral Triangle for the benefit of all.
For information on the Coral Triangle go to:

(Press release from Mr. Gregg Yan, WWF-for Nature, Philippines)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Joseph "Erap" Estrada Answers Plunder Conviction & Food Security Issues Head-On

Excerpts of the GMA-7 November 2009 Presidential forum (Tagalog parts translated into English):

PRETTY smart and very straightforward answers from former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada. Herein, he confronts the perpetually hot issue of his Plunder conviction with an un-trapo-like honesty. The comebacking politician also defends his performance during his unfinished first term with regards food security.

On his claim of innocence re theft of government money:
Estrada: Nothing was proven. Nothing was proved with regards [the issue] of my supposed theft of government money, not a single centavo... My conviction pertains to jueteng. That jueteng [money] ....was deposited in the Muslim Youth Foundation, of which I was not a beneficiary. Its Board of Trustees were ...UP professors. So that was clean.

They needed to convict me. That is why they created  that court to convict me. That special court--the first time a special court was created. And that court was created to convict me.  In fact, when I was convicted, two [Sandiganbayan] justices were immediately promoted to the Supreme Court.

So that was my only conviction. And that I supposedly received commission from one corporation, the BW. But the [one who stood as] witness said I wasn't given the money, it was given to Jaime Dichavez, not to me.

Assuming... that the jueteng and the commission to me, they are called private money, ... not goverment money. That's the two counts I was convicted [for]. Those citing the 7171, re government money--none, I'm cleared.

So [if that were true], I wouldn't have the courage to face the Filipino people and run [for president] again if I did steal, if I were guilty.

Look at the conviction, just the two counts. But with regards graft and corruption, every contract I approved was scrutinized. A Task Force was established by the Department of Justice consisting of six lawyers...who scrutinized everything ... but they didn't see any contract tainted with anomaly.  If there were even just one [anomaly] seen, it would have made headlines....

On poverty level during his first term:
Erap: In 1997, just please recall that there was an Asian Economic Crisis.... when i assumed office, our agricultural growth rate was zero-zero. I was able to raise that [agri growth rate level] to 6.6%. Such is documented. And inflation rate was 12%, I reduced it by 3.0%.

 And our GNP, I was able to increase it up to 3.6%. This is documented, professor. You can check it with the Department of Finance.

So what are you claiming that.. .... and I concentrated on food security. Re agriculture, from 0-0 growth, raised to 6.6 [percent].

[My administration] just came from the Asian crisis. And I was able to turn the tide. We were able to overcome the [effects of] the Asian crisis. That is on record, Prof. Monsod if you can go out of your way to find out from the Department of Finance.

On Bro. Eddie Villanueva's question re dealing with"perpetrators of extrajudicial killings and of massive gargantuan, unabated corruption":

There should be intense investigation and after the...[conclusion] of the investigation, there should be...  "certainty of punishment," which is what's important. There are many people in government that escape prosecution because their cases are [allowed to be]  fixed... even extrajudicial killings....

On the part of GMA-7, including Mel Tiangco, the TV station seemed much more civil and less biased here than during the interview they conducted right after Estrada's announcement of his renewed bid to seek the presidency.  I discussed this issue in my article Erap's renewed bid for the Presidency: Can he overcome the media bias? Excerpts of  that BIASED interview here:

Mike Enriquez: Magandang gabi po Mr. President. Si Mike Enriquez po ito at Mel Tiangco.

Ex-President Joseph Estrada: Magandang gabi sa iyo din kaibigang Mike.

Enriquez: Mayroon pong mga nagsasabi na hindi daw po kayo pinapayagan ng Konstitusyon na tumakbo ulit sa pagka-Pangulo. Ano pong masasabi ninyo diyan Mr. President.

Estrada: Wala. Na-konsulta na natin iyan sa mga retired justices ng Supreme Court at mga dean ng UP law school. Sila ay... masusi nilang pinag-aralan iyan at nagkaisa sila na qualified na qualified daw akong tumakbo bilang Pangulo.

Enriquez: ok, Mr. President. Ang payo nila sa inyo hindi nyo rin nilabag iyong kondisyon noong pagpapatawad na binigay sa inyo ni, o iyong tinatawag na pardon na binigay sa inyo ni Pangulong Arroyo na hindi na kayo kakandidato sa anumang posisyon na tinatawag na elective, Mr. President.

Estrada: Wala pong nakalagay dun sa dispositive portion ng pardon. Yun pong nakalagay po doon: "restoring all civil and political rights." Ang ibig pong sabihin noon, kung pwede akong bumoto, pwede rin akong butohin.

Enriquez: Opo, Mr. President. Isang tanong na lang po ako bago po si Mel Tiangco. Bukod po kay Mayor Jejomar Binay na katambal ninyo sa pagiging kandidato sa pagiging bise-presidente, mayroon ding senatorial line up na, na buo na?

Estrada: Ah, hindi pa. Siguro mayroon na kaming walo hanggang sampu.

Enriquez: Ok, Mr. President. Salamat po. Eto po si Mel Tiangco.

Tiangco: "Sir, hindi maganda ang karanasan ninyo sa Malacanang, bakit gusto n'yo pang bumalik doon?

Estrada: Ano?

Tiangco: Bakit ho gusto nyo pang bumalik sa Malacanang, eh kayo na rin ang nagkwekwento kanina na napakapangit ng experience nyo … minsang kayo ay Pangulo ng ating bansa.

Estrada: Napakapangit dahil nagsabwatan sila at ako ay napilitang bumaba. Ang katotohanan nga ay si dating Pangulong Cory Aquino ang nagssisisi kung bakit sumali siya sa EDSA 2. At ako naman ay, iyong mga programa ko para sa kapakanan ng mga mahihirap ay hindi ko nagawa kaya gusto kong ipagpatuloy.

Tiangco: Palagi ninyong nababanggit na kayo ay inosente, hindi totoo ang ang mga pinaratang sa inyo. Eh bakit po tumagal ng anim na taon Sir. Anim na taon kayong nilitis sir, di ba?

Estrada: Anim na taon nga at anim na buwan. Wala silang napatunayan na nagnakaw ako kahit na isang kusing sa kaban ng bayan. Ang totoo nga niyan ay nagtayo ng Task Force ang DOJ--lahat ng kontrata na naaprobahan sa aking administrayon ay hinimay. Himay nila at wala silang nakita na isa mang kontrata na may halong anumalya, sa ano mang kontrata.

Tiangco: Eh bakit po pardon ang naibigay sa inyo

Estrada: Ha?

Tiangco: Bakit po pardon?

Estrada: Ewan ko sa kanila?

Tiangco: Hindi po kaya sabi ng ilang diyan ay kaya nais nyo lang tumakbong muli ay para daw balikan iyong mga nagpatalsik sa inyo?

Estrada: Alam mo Mel, sa aking anim na taong ako ay nakakulong ay nalapit tayo sa panginoon. at laging pinaaalala sa akin ng panginoon iyong Lord's Prayer. Iyong ama namin. iyon mga nagkasala sa iyo ay dapat mo ring patatawarin : "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sins against us." Kaya iyan po ang malapit na malapit na parang laging pinararamdam sa atin ng ating panginoon.

Tiangco: Maraming maraming salamat po sa oras na binigay ninyo sa 24 oras. Magandang gabi po.

Estrada: Salamat, salamat Mel.

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