There is a school of thought, prevalent especially in a country like the Philippines, that we should elect “religious” people. The inference is that if candidates are ‘religious’ they will not be corrupt and if they are not corrupt they will make good leaders. Not true.
I think the world is much more complicated than that and those who propagate such thinking do a disservice to a developing country like ours. I suspect that it is yet another attempt to control/dominate a people forming their own convictions in their efforts for a viable polity. No wonder the response to the announcement of the presidential team was a dud.
I am more curious to know who and what is behind championing that kind of thinking. Why is it back in the political scene despite the disappointing showing of Father Panlilio as governor of Pampanga. From what I read, he may be a good man, but political leadership is another matter altogether. Something is definitely wrong when he implements projects without consultation with his board and was said to have tried to bypass board resolutions. Is this democratic? Or is religion being used as an excuse to control the political agenda?
A democratic society means, among other things, conflicting interests and a good leader is one who can manage the conflicts. I suspect the idea of a Panlilio-Padaca as a presidential team is the local version of American politics driven by Christian Evangelicals that eventually led to the misguided policies and the eventual downfall of George W. Bush. Perhaps, neo-con operators in disrepute in their own turf think they have better chances to spread their gospel here in the Philippines. After all, there are enough “religious” and herd inclined Filipinos who would be easy converts to this combination of piety and political leadership. But it is clearly not the case.
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Guess who I met up with at the SOS (Supply Oilfield Services) of their grand celebration on their 30th anniversary. None other than oilman Ed Manalac. It reminded me to ask him whatever became of the Inquirer investigation on how they could have used a false story as their headline. It you remember, Ed Manalac was the former PNOC president who was allegedly to be the surprise witness for the Senate hearing on the NBN ZTE.
This he quickly denied and his story prominently published in which he said he was never involved in any way, shape or form with the ZTE deal.
Soon after I was interviewed in ANC’s Media Focus together with Solita Monsod, Inquirer columnist and Isagani Yambot, Inquirer publisher. During the discussion, Monsod made a big thing how the incident was being investigated and the results were to be released to the public. So far no release has been made.
Manalac has written a letter following up the investigation. I was sent a copy of the letter but acceded to his wish that I do not publish until they had been given enough time to reply.
But on second thought, since I was in the show in which the promise was made I am making my own inquiry and am acting independently of Mr. Manalac’s follow up. The Manalac case is worth recalling for two reasons. For one, Sen. Panfilo Lacson is once more in the spotlight and his credibility is to be put into question. Manalac had said he had never met or or been contacted by Senator Panfilo Lacson, whom the article claimed would present a surprise witness. He had no idea why his name should be mentioned in this connection.
Recently, the World Bank has had also complained about another Inquirer story which it claimed was misleading. All this calls into question the furor against the right of reply bill. It would be all right if media reports were responsible but what happens in cases like Manalac and World Bank. Happily even without a right of reply bill the Inquirer did give the side of the offended parties.
Mañalac should be more worried of his role in the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU), an agreement among the PNOC, China National Offshore Oil Co., and PetroVietnam to jointly gather seismic data in some areas of South China Sea. That makes him a target for geopolitical intrigues. These have a way of getting into local intramurals and hiding its true intent.
The guy is so straightforward he does not hide behind subterfuges. He justifies the JMSU as an “integral part” of the government’s energy independence agenda “to find and develop new indigenous petroleum reserves as a hedge against our country’s high dependence on imported petroleum, and the concurrent rise in the prices of oil.” “It was part of a strategic alliance to promote regional energy security and to lessen the region’s dependence on Middle East oil,” he said. Do you wonder why he becomes a target for predators?
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Soros is back. This time he warned that if G20 did not get its act together the world faces a deep depression. Coming from a man who was once accused by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad of manipulating world markets for his own ends, he speaks from experience. He is said to have played a role in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. I would have thought he could be more circumspect especially because he has also the reputation of interfering in governments that do not meet his standards, the Philippines being one of them.
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My family and I were dining in a Makati restaurant on earth hour hurrying with our meal because reservations would be kept only till 8:15. Some restaurants used the occasion to glamorize the event with candlelit dinners and our table was already taken for 8:30. On the way home to Alabang, we thought the event was a mix, seeing that while some did close their lights, others only partially and still others not at all. Not very good we thought. So we were pleasantly surprised when WWF announced the Philippines was tops with 650 cities having switched off its lights for Earth Hour.
According to WWF about 15 million Filipinos participated. So what we saw in Makati was a miniscule of the entire Philippine effort to help with the campaign to save the earth. Greece placed second with 484 participating towns and cities while Australia placed third with a total of 309 towns and cities.