Archive for the Politics Category

The Quirino Granstand Hostage Taking

Posted in Introspection, Politics, Random, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 30, 2010 by otakujade

I really didn’t want to make any blogs or cite my opinion on the issue until I am confident of my facts and that I am not going to make any false allegations. The issue is already sensitive enough as it is and really there’s just been so many people making comments and citing their opinions on the subject without really knowing what actually transpired. Let us not forget that during these incidences none of us were present at the scene and that things may seem a lot different when viewed from the safety of our living room.

I was watching the events too as it unfolds, we were monitoring everything on the television from 10:30 AM until its completion at around 8:30 PM on August 23, 2010.

One of our officemate told us to open the TV because there was a hostage taking going on. And so we did, honestly, none of us expected the ordeal to last that long and we really thought it would be resolved peacefully like with the previous ones or at the very least it would be resolved with the perpetrator dead or taken into custody and there would be no lost of lives among the victims. Let us admit that this has happened before and so far we came out of it decidedly on top. Besides, things look quite bright as the hostage-taker, Police Senior Inspector Mendoza started freeing hostages. By 12 noon of that day he had already freed 9 hostages, so things really looked on the up and up. We were actually saying that he really didn’t intend to kill anyone and that he just wanted to be heard. The sympathy was really all on him, and the blame was placed on the OMBUDSMAN.

By mid afternoon his brother Senior Police Officer 4 Gregorio Mendoza arrived on the scene and tried to approach the bus with his gun tucked on his belt. The police took him aside, confiscated his gun and then he proceeded to cooperate with the police on the scene. By 5:00 PM food was again brought to the bus for the remaining hostages. At that time we all went home and monitored what was going from home. I was watching the scenes with my sister, who was a psychologists and I remember her saying things are starting to look bleat. I told her that Captain Mendoza really didn’t intend to kill anyone, and she told me the negotiations had been going on for far too long. She also said that at this point the hostage taker would be getting weary and irritable. I didn’t believe her.

Then we saw the negotiators approach the bus once more together with the brother of the hostage-taker, they talked for sometime and then we saw the negotiators started to walk away from the bus with the brother of Capt. Mendoza. Then we saw a single shot erupted from one of the windows of the bus, the negotiators looked back once and seemingly calm continued to walk away. After that the next scene we saw was Capt. Mendoza’s brother being arrested, his relatives were surrounding him, shouting and crying, refusing to let him go. At this point, the situation became tense. Watching from the safety of our home was no comfort as the gravity of what was happening hit you right in the face. The police knew that the bus in which the hostage taker was in had a TV and that he can see everything as it was being broadcast live on national TV. SPO4 Gregorio Mendoza was forcibly taken in custody by the police and the thing we heard were shots being fired from inside the bus. Then the bus started to move and shots were fired to disable the tires so it can’t go anywhere.  The camera fanned out and we saw the driver of the bus jumped from one of the windows and ran towards the police line.  The commentator on the TV said that the driver was saying that everyone was already dead inside the bus.

Then the SWAT team came towards the bus, obviously ill-equipped and yet not at all lacking in courage. They tried to enter the bus through the windows and the door but hostage taker kept firing. At this point the tension was so high even within the safety of our living room, probably due to the distance of the media from the bus we cannot hear anything but the exchange of gun shots. It seemed that the bus was eerily quiet; it truly seemed that what the driver said was true. But still the SWAT team moved cautiously, they didn’t storm the bus. To us at the time it seemed incompetent that they should move so slow, but upon further thinking, I realized they were trying to protect themselves and they didn’t rain bullets on the bus hoping that somehow some of the victims were still alive.

It almost feels like it took forever for the whole scene to end. There were intermittent gun shots being fired, tear gases were thrown inside the bus and the final, like a coup d’ gras’ one of the snipers got a shot and took it. Police Senior Inspector Mendoza was shot in the head, blowing his brains out and ended the ordeal. For the longest time, nothing happened the SWAT had difficulty entering the bus – they didn’t have gas masks – and then finally one by one the hostages were taken out from the bus. Some remarkably were still alive! I remember breaking down with my sister as we found out that some of the hostages were alive.

All this time we were wondering where were the high ranking officials? Who was in charge? And why was the MPD left on their own? I mean, if a high ranking Philippine National Police official or a high ranking government official was on the scene why aren’t they coming out. Honestly, it would have given both the hostage taker and the public a sense of reassurance that things are being done and that they’re really taking the matter seriously. There was an earlier announcement that the President was monitoring the events so why didn’t he come out to reassure the nation that he was on top of the situation? Where was he when HK Chief Executive Tsang wanted to talk to him? If it were true that he was not informed about the call from Chief Executive Tsang, then they should sack the personnel who failed to inform him about a very important call which could have somehow eased the anguish of the Chinese officials. Pnoy needs a lesson on diplomacy and international relations.

As for the police, of the SWAT unit that assaulted the bus I really cannot say much except that I admire their courage. Really I cannot blame those who approached the bus because they were little more than pawns in a chess game. They were simply following orders by someone higher. This is something that the public must understand – that as much as the police are thinking individuals they are also soldiers. The PNP is a paramilitary organization; it is civilian in nature and military in practice. They are less than soldiers and yet not complete civilian; they are still bound to their commander’s orders and to refuse would be deemed as insubordination. Maybe the public will not, and maybe even the courts will not but their commanding officers and the rest of the organization will see it that way.

The police had already admitted they made several lapses in judgment during the incident, lapses that may have caused 8 people their lives, but at least they have owned up to their fault. As for the government officials, when are they going to admit to their faults. This is not solely the police’s faults, the government officials have some very big mistakes to own up too as well. Even if the people in power try to deny it the Philippines is still a presidential form of government, where the people including all agencies within its scope look up for guidance and direction from the president of the country. Let us admit that in terms of government we are still not as mature as the US, the people still expect the president to oversee all things – like a father or a mother for that matter. They need to see someone running the show and that’s how they feel reassured. We have a very different culture from the US and our officials should not use that excuse of how the government should run in order to save face for their lack of control and supervision on the incident.

I admit as some point we need to move forward and move towards where the different units of the government work independently but towards a common goal. But that is not yet in place and at times like these someone needs to take control especially as it was quite obvious during the incident that no one except for the hostage taker was in control. In my personal opinion and I am not imposing this on anyone, but for me, I believe that Pnoy should really reconsider the people he had appointed into the different areas of the government, because honestly they’re not being effective. Imagine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government saying during the Senate inquiry that this was the problem that they inherited from the previous administration, this was the sort of police force they inherited? Wow! Well, this problem came up during their time therefore it is their problem – not the previous administration! They should have been able to solve this, they have all the sources to do so but instead they decided to focus on finger pointing and narrowing down their view on the lack of training and equipment of the police. But there were so many other things they could have done, and should have done.

In conclusion, I would like to appeal first to our Chinese neighbors, please forgive us for the lapses made by our government officials. But also please keep in mind that not all Filipinos are bad, that we have worked together for many years and no one wanted this thing to happen. We are sorry that your people got dragged into our problems but please also know that we are as outraged about what happened as you are. Please do not take your anger on the Filipinos working for and with you, they have nothing to do with this incident except that we were born Filipinos and that was something they cannot help.

And to my fellow Filipinos, please stop the finger pointing and demoralizing our race further. Isn’t enough that the world also thinks so low of us that we have to join them in lashing out at our own? Instead, of pointing a finger think what you can do as an individual to improve our lot, think what you can do for your people instead of saving face and pointing at others.

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At the Polling Site….a documentary.

Posted in Politics, Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 by otakujade

It’s become a sort of tradition within our family to vote early. The practice was started by my father and it hasn’t changed over the years. We’re used to being at the polling precinct at 7:00 am when the voting starts.  And so we once again arrived early at the polling precinct today.

We got there at around 7:15 am and already the school was full of people. As we have been informed earlier, the precincts were clustered together in sets of 3, 5s and even 6s, it was a good thing that we knew our precinct number which hasn’t changed in about 10 years and so we were able to immediately find where we should head to.

Remember people, this was at 7:15 in the morning and the line in our precinct was already about 50 meters!

So we waited in line for about 2 hours before we got our chance to finally vote. Only 10 voters at a time were allowed inside the precinct – that’s 8 regular voters and 2 senior citizens. It was a good thing too that they decided to do that because with the length of time we had to wait in line and the heat of the sun beating down on us, I shudder to imagine what it would have done the senior citizens who would have probably collapsed from heat stroke or hypertension.

The voting procedure itself was quite convenient for me. I experienced no trouble finding my name on the list, the lady who was checking my registration even greeted me nicely because she recognized us from the last election we had. So after I was processed I went straight to a seat on the corner and started shading. When I was through, they ushered me to the PCOS machine where I slid my ballot and waited for the machine to verify my votes, count my votes and congratulate me! hehehe! Then they put indelible ink on my index finger and I was through. The entire process took about 15 minutes all in all….what a contrast to the 2 hours I waited in line to vote!

Now, I’m just monitoring the news on TV and waiting to see what happens next. I mean will they be able to give a partial result by tonight?????

PS: This just in the COMELEC just announced that they are extending the voting hours until 7:00pm!!!

A few pictures I took while at the elementary school where my family votes.

The usual scene  over head during Election periods…only in the Philippines! hehehe!

The usual clutter and scene just outside the school.

Going inside…..

The Voting Assistance Center of the COMELEC….still trying to set things in order at 7:15 am

People trying to find their precincts, cluster and their names…remember, 2 elections where you don’t vote and your name gets cancelled you have to register again. So, please make sure you make it an obligation to vote!

Waiting in line to get inside the precinct….with the sun on your head at 28 degree Celsius…this is at 8:00 am people!

Election 2010

Posted in Politics on May 8, 2010 by otakujade

Just two days before the election and things still look fuzzy for most of us. Today is the last day of campaign for those running for public positions, and the start of the liquor ban.  To me this is just overwhelming, just two days and I still can’t decide who to vote for. By this time next Tuesday, we’ll have a new president, a brand new set of senators, congressmen, councilors, mayors and vice-mayors…etc.

This is also an election wrapped in doubt (well, that’s nothing new) and apprehensions.  Everyone is apprehensive about the Electronic voting system. We have 9 people running for the presidential position and at this point everyone has their own prediction on who will in. Honestly, right it’s still anybody’s ball game.

We have –

an achiever

a “perceived” savior

a businessman/real estate tycoon

a former president

an evangelist

a naturalist

a real people mover

a civic leader…and

a woman/former senator

– Right now one group is predicting that the son of the former president/freedom icon and former senator/national hero would be a shoo in for the position. They’re saying that trouble will erupt if he doesn’t win because then it would mean that the government cheated.

But what if the administration bet doesn’t win, and Mr. Savior doesn’t also…what then? Does that mean the winning candidate cheated too. This is the only country I know where no candidate ever loses, because they didn’t win then they were a victim of cheating…sheesh! People grow up!

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice to all my Filipino friends, who still read my blogs – when you go to the polling area on Monday morning please keep this in mind…“that whoever wins this election, we are getting the public officials we deserve.” So please..PLEASE, think before you put in your votes. Whatever happens from this point on we will have to live with for the next 6 years with repercussions that may last for years and years to come. When you vote, before you leave the house please take a minute or two to look at a small child and tell yourself that your decision now will definitely affect that child’s future.

True Colors….

Posted in Politics on February 5, 2010 by otakujade

It is often said that in politics there are no permanent friends just permanent personal interests… another saying we often hear about politics was the saying “You scratch my back, I scratch yours” but I have never really seen how completely vivid it was until last January 29, 2010 (Friday).

As part of the team that was in charge of the celebration for our organization’s anniversary, I was one of the few people allowed inside the venue who’s was not part of the guest list. We were the office in charge of one of the very few ceremonies that the President of the country regularly attend each year.

We regularly invite guests from the legislative/executive/judicial body as well as diplomats and other foreign attache to attend the ceremony. And in the last several years the place was full packed and always well attended especially by invited government officials…but this year was completely different….

The venue was segregated into seating arrangements made to speak not only of the guest’s importance but also of their affinity to the Guest of Honor and Speaker…so the top government officials were in front (about 80 seats were reserved) then the diplomats from other countries…and so on. But what used to be one of the first sections to become full pack now appeared quite abandoned.

The government officials who used to fight over where and how close to the president they should be seated are surprisingly absent this year. And the area reserved for them which we used to have trouble with due to the large turn-out is now vacant with only about 20 people seated at what was to be reserved for 80. It was pathetic…it was saddening but more importantly it spoke of the kind of people the president surrounded herself with.

For years, these people fed off her…they clung to her when they know they could get something from them and now that she’s exiting and there are talks of filing both administrative and criminal cases against…her hangers on are all gone. That’s politics for you…Back then they were her closest allies but now they can’t get far enough away from her.

I am not a huge supporter of PGMA, I never voted for her, but I do admire her in a way – she had made many tough decisions that are unpopular and had met with many oppositions but she pushed on. Then later on people would find out that it was good call and she was right to push for it. I mean, she had made many radical changes in our tax laws and have gained the disapproval of the business community by declaring far too many holidays…but what people do not see was that it was done with a good purpose. The tax revisions were done to allow the working public to have more money on hand…the holidays gave even enough time to spend it.

But to have to rise above your own small mindedness and personal vengence to see all those. For the economy to continue to move money must be spent, money must rotate through the system, it must move hands; for as long as money is circulating through the system the country will not stagnate too much and thus keeping us afloat through the recession experienced by many countries. Government is spending too and creating jobs as they did so by taking in contractual workers in the offices and by building infrastructures. I don’t know about other people but for me as hard as life is right now, we at least were not hit as hard by the recession as other countries were.

It just saddened me that PGMA had made a lot of good intentioned efforts but no matter what she did…the corruption of those around her and those of her family will be what people will see.

I accept the challenge…..

Posted in Politics on September 10, 2009 by otakujade

noynoy_aquino

I came into the office yesterday with all the televisions turned on to the same channel and everyone was anticipating the announcement to be made by Senator Noynoy Aquino.  The senator’s speech was quite long and drawn out but at the end of it all he pronounced what everyone was waiting for…his decision to run for the presidential bid.

Now what’s really surprising was my officemate’s reactions….after momentous announcement they started commenting that the good senator was not ready and that he shouldn’t have decided to run for president…I mean, WTF?!!!!

I mean here they were all glued to the TV and waiting for the announcement..and what the heck for? Just to say that the man wasn’t ready? They could have just taken it for granted but I guess they were curious.

Well, for me…the senator is taking a big risk but then again running for any political position is a risk and I believe he’s up to the challenge on that score. As for being raw and inexperience…right now he’s got my vote if it happens to be the only consideration. I don’t believe he lacks experience..I mean he’s been in public service a long time he knows the job and what it entails to be constantly in the public eye. True, he hasn’t really made a big and amazing impression as a senator but if he’s clean and I am sure we are sure to find that out soon enough. Noynoy Aquino will soon find out what it means to be a presidential candidate where his tiniest deviation from the norms will be blown up and made into an issue which he will be held accountable for. I am really interested to see how the good senator will pare under pressure.

Besides that, I don’t know what other people, but I am personally sick and tired of the TRAPOs…seasoned and well-experienced politicians who as it turns out are much too well-learned in the art of corruption and of lying to the public. I would surely be a breath of fresh air to find new blood in public service and hopefully one who’s heart is truly into service. The Aquino name had remained unblemished and well-loved; let us hope that Senator Noynoy Aquino has the mettle to keep the integrity of that name. His parents had paved the way for him and now it is his chance to prove that they have taught him well. His parents were adored and uplifted by the Filipino people as a great mana and a great woman; may they find him worthy of the heritage that they have left for him.

My family had always been a supporter to the Aquino clan (with the exception of Kris Aquino when she does her many escapades). My father was a supported of Ninoy during the martial law years, we were at EDSA People Power when it happened the first and only legitimate time (I was only 12 at the time) and when Cory decided to endorse Fidel Ramos as her successor we voted for him and he did not disappoint us with his performance. So it goes to follow that this time around he will support their son in his endeavor.

But over and above that loyalty and trust, I will vote for Senator Noynoy Aquino because I believe that we need a change and change will only come if we put new people in government…people who’s values and integrity is unblemished. As one presidential candidate after another started backing down to support his bid,  I hope the people will as well.

I also would like to point out that I am really approved of the Piso Para Kay Noynoy Project. It’s a project that Senator Noynoy Aquino himself initiated wherein they will put up donation cans (like the one for Piso Para sa Pasig and the Red Cross donation can) all over the country to gather fund for his campaign so that he will not be endebted to anyone but the people with regards to funds and in so doing will lifte off the bond of obligation from his shoulder and once in office he won’t have to tiptoe around anyone. His obligation is to the people and that’s the way it should be.