Political Tidbits is the prestigious column of Belinda Olivares-Cunanan that ran for 25 continuous years in the op-ed page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the newspaper that she helped put up with its multi-awarded founder, the legendary Eugenia Duran-Apostol, in December 1985, just two months before the EDSA Revolution.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Netizens upset about SC’s failure to TRO tomorrow’s implementation of the Cybercrime law that even yellows are now protesting. Why same old faces in senatorial line-ups? ERDA features youth heartthrob singer Richard Poon and Fr. Manoling Francisco at concert this Friday at Xavier School.

Supreme Court of the Philippines

The netizens are exploding in anger all over the Internet against RA 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Law, which takes effect tomorrow. They are extremely disappointed that the Supreme Court under the new Chief Justice today failed to issue a TRO against this law, which would have given everyone some kind of relief---while the several petitions against the law that were filed by a battery of lawyers and a good number of civic organizations are being heard.

Given the outrage over the internet over the issue of “e-martial law,” the SC should have been more sensitive to it. The Court should have issued the TRO being sought by citizens who are alarmed over criminalizing libel in cyberspace and empowering the DOJ to take draconian measures against what the law considers cyber crimes.  This is the first truly big test case of the Sereno Court and so far it has failed. The Palace spoiling of CJ Ma. Lourdes Sereno through quick budget allocations for "judiciary reforms" appears to be working.


The popular analysis as to why the President signed RA 10175 into law is that this is Malacanang’s revenge against internet users, who have been quite critical of P-Noy and his allies. In cyberspace they are truly taking a beating from the netizens, most of who are young people so technically able.  I’m truly amazed at what I see in FB, for instance, and I often wonder how the Palace is taking all the irreverent digs.   

The Palace handlers and P-Noy's "partners in cyber crime," those members of Congress who packaged that law,  should be warned that the outrage over the Cybercrime law is very real. How do I know? Why, even some friends of mine who up to last week were still quite yellow are now very angry, and they’re showing their protest by blackening their profile pictures and entries in the Internet. 

This is one issue too that appears to be uniting journalists of all hues.


My regular blog reader, Paching Hidalgo, echoes the frustration of so many political watchers over the “same old faces” paraded by both political coalitions at the start of COC filing at the Comelec last Monday. Yes, we are all frustrated about the “more-of-the same” and the tight hold of dynasties, and we'd like to see fresh faces with brighter promise of reforms in the prevailing political climate in our country.

But the problem is that private citizens with solid track records and integrity still uncorrupted by politics, who could make better politicians, would never dream of entering politics for two main reasons: the frightful cost of running a campaign even for the lowest elective post, e.g., barangay chair, and the fact that there's no certainty that the elections would be conducted in a clean and honest manner, with the return of the PCOS machines in 2013 (with a vengeance?).  


My friend, Star columnist Carmen Pedrosa, is eloquently campaigning for the return of meritocracy in government, and I surmise that she means, off the bat, electing good, credible and competent officials. This is because, if we elect such officials, they will, in turn, appoint subalterns who'll match them in competence and integrity.

I’m glad Chit raised this topic for public debate in her column, but my immediate take on it is, for as long as we can’t jack up the economic level of our people, especially the masa, and their political awareness through better education, it would be the same old faces and the same old money politics that prey on the masa who, in turn, hold the biggest chunk of votes in this country.


Can I make a suggestion to UNA, which lacks another senatorial candidate after Joey de Venecia backed out? Why not recruit Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo "Pong" Biazon? His son Ruffy was earlier quoted as saying he doesn’t want to leave his Customs post, and he suggested that his father, who’s with the LP, run for his old Senate seat again where he did quite well in his two terms. But P-Noy was quoted in the Star earlier as saying he wouldn't allow Pong into the LP ticket.

Why? Because Pong Biazon dared to pose queries about the government flood control program in Laguna de Bay. It was only natural for him to scrutinize this program during the House budget hearings, as his constituents in Muntinlupa could be affected if the flood program turns out to be palpak. But it appears that P-Noy wouldn't countenance anyone questioning it---especially from the LP which he chairs. So Biazon was shut out of the LP slate.

UNA should get him as he could be a sure winner. The question is, would Biazon shift parties? Besides, his son is Customs Chief and it would also affect him.


One thing, though, that I agree with P-Noynoy is when he forbade "common candidates" Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero and Grace Poe Llamanzares to get up on the UNA rally stage, as they had already filed their candidacies under the LP coalition. This is good.

The "common candidate" idea is nauseating, as it encourages fence-sitters and hemming and hawing on issues. It's understandable for Loren and Chiz to go with the LPs as they are assured of funds for their campaign in that coalition; then too, they perhaps think they stand surer win as the LPs are perceived to control not just the PCOS machines, but the huge CCT outlay.

Given their topnotch popularity ratings, however, I thought Loren and Chiz  would really risk running under what purports to be the political opposition in 2013---the UNA. Yon pala, they’d rather play it safe. 


Richard Gordon

Two candidates whom I know I'll vote for without thinking are Dick Gordon and Mitos Magsaysay. Dick has a long track record as senator and civic leader, but Mitos has caught my attention in House deliberations and I admire her as she's one politico who's not fence-sitting on issues.

For instance, in one House session where a couple of solons rambled on about electric cooperatives, Mitos posed a good number of questions to the solon delivering the privilege speech on this issue, COOP-NatCCO Party-list Rep. Crescente Paez---digging from her knowledge of it gleaned even from debates IN THE PREVIOUS CONGRESS. This meant nag-aaral si Mitos at hindi takot mag-tanong at mag-bigay ng kanyang paninindigan, esp. vs. the RH bill.

Mitos Magsaysay


There's a great cause that needs your support, that will help continue the technical training and education of 500 young students from underprivileged families in Metro Manila---and at the same time you'll get to enjoy a great concert, starring music artist and star Richard Poon, with the special participation of the Xavier School students and ERDA scholars. The concert, called "A Bridge to Tomorrow," will be held on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, at 7:30 pm. (pre-concert cocktails at 6 pm.) at the Angelo King Multi-Purpose Center, Xavier School, 64 Xavier St., Greenhills West, San Juan City. It will also feature the music of famed Jesuit composer Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J.

Tickets at P2000 each are available at the gate or call Cindy at 0917 815 0417.


Fr. Pierre Tritz

Erda Tech Foundation, headed by its President, Fr. Johnny Go, S.J., (who’s also Xavier School President), is holding this benefit concert to raise funds for the 500 Erda scholars, as well as to celebrate the legacy of Erda's legendary founder, the French-born, naturalized Filipino 98-year old Fr. Pierre Tritz, S.J., who retires from active management of ERDA this year, after 38 faithful years of championing poor children in our country.

Erda Technical-Vocational Secondary School (Erda Tech), was established in 1991 by Fr. Tritz as a sure way to address the problem of poverty and unemployment in the Philippines. ERDA Tech is an ALL-SCHOLARSHIP high school dedicated to helping economically and socially disadvantaged youths finish high school---so that they'd be equipped not only with the traditional high-school diploma from Dep-Ed, but also TESDA-certified technical skills that can enable them to gain immediate employment after graduation.

Over the years ERDA-Tech has helped change the lives of thousands of young men and women and their families, enabling them to break the cycle of poverty. But it can only support its 500 FULL SCHOLARS through the continued generosity of its benefactors here.

Please help and at the same time enjoy the concert of Richard Poon and Fr. Manoling Francisco. And Mabuhay ka, Fr. Tritz.

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