Monday, October 20, 2014

X1 Class Solar Flare and the Catanduanes and Davao earthquakes.

Graph and image showing saturation point "in Australia, Asia and Sumatran Trench".
X1 CLASS SOLAR FLARE: Behemoth sunspot AR2192 has unleashed an X1-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast in this extreme UV image of the sun on Oct. 19th (0500 UT):

A pulse of ultraviolet and X-radiation from the flare caused a brief but strong HF radio blackout on the dayside of Earth, mainly over Asia and Australia.

BP Earthwatch presented the graph on top of this page which according to him indicates that the saturation point is Australia, Asia and Sumatran Trench. It has also been suggested that under this situation the Pacific Ring of Fire should be under elevated quake watch.

Following is a world map of M-4.0 earthquakes or higher during the last 24 hours from emsc-csem. It interestingly shows a magnitude 5.1 earthquake near 14.22 N; 124.64 E near Catanduanes, PH occurring at 14-10-19 18:14:30 UTC and another magnitude 4.5 at 5.00 N; 127.53 E near Davao, PH occurring at 10:29:30.3 UTC.

But, does solar activity really cause earthquakes?

study was recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The research was conducted by Jeffrey Love with the USGS and Jeremy Thomas from Northwest Research Associates. The earthquake data were from the USGS, the sunspot data were from NOAA, the solar wind data were from NASA, and the geomagnetic data were from the British Geological Survey and Geoscience Australia.

“This research was conducted to advance our understanding of natural science and to test how the Sun affects Earth, ultimately helping protect the safety of our communities,” said USGS research geophysicist Jeffrey Love. “Even though we did not find a significant correlation between space measurements and earthquakes, we recognize that the Sun affects Earth in other ways. The USGS is dedicated to studying these natural phenomena, some of which are hazardous for a modern and technologically dependent society.”

“Of course it is always conceivable that some new and unexpected discovery will be made in the future, but it is also essential that we objectively evaluate the data and information that we have available now,” continued Love. “Just because one might think that a pattern exists does not mean that one actually exists. We need clear evidence to be convinced.”

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Artist Raymond Kawataki Go makes a comeback with Of Gods and Patriots

Cevio Art Haus celebrates its 1st year anniversary this month. The gallery is thrilled to invite you to its biggest art exhibition to date, a back to back solo show of two of the most promising contemporary Filipino visual artists, one of them Raymond C. Kawataki Go of Boac, Marinduque.

In his second solo show and comeback exhibition, Of Gods and Patriots, artist Raymond Katawaki Go delves into the question of power and its immanent contradictions by projecting ancient and contemporary images, of the religious and the secular in an attempt to call and respond to myth and reality. These arresting images turn into a social introspection to review the historical past and institutional ideas that are so intrinsic to intervention and inquiry but with a pulse on the present based on the artist’s understanding and impressions of these realities.

After years of hiatus, Kawataki Go makes a comeback with this major show at Cevio that re-registers his remarkable artistic skills and passion for art and instigation of critical thought.

Go is joined by artist Jessie Mondares with Messengers. Mondares' mixed media paintings are rendered with palpable exploit on pen and ink and acrylic. His collocation of elements that are often layers of discernible--- figures and anatomical fragments of humans and animals with expanded limbs and exaggerated forms meshed with patterns, lines and o ther assigned elements and certain motifs morphing in shapes and reappearing liberally in his paintings.

Both exhibitions will run from today, Oct 18 to Nov 1. Reception on Oct 18 starts at 6 p.m. The gallery is open from Monday to Saturday with gallery hours from 12 n.n. to 8 p.m. Press release and photos from Cervio Art Haus and Raymond Kawataki Go.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Double standard of justice, selective justice or mockery of justice?

The provisions of the law of the Philippines on Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices are quite explicit. For incumbent public officials against whom criminal charges have been filed for violation of the Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act it is mandatory that they be suspended.

Under normal circumstances the power of suspension lies in the court in which criminal charge is filed. According to the said Act any public officer may be suspended if the charge involves 'dishonesty, oppression or grave misconduct or gross neglect in the performance of duty', among other considerations. The reason is that continued stay in office may prejudice the case filed against him or her. 

The provision is supposed to be unequivocal and mandatory if it should be followed.

'If it should be followed'? But do we really care about these things still? Like, whether or not our anti-corruption laws are really being followed? 

We don't have an all-seeing eye, of course, and rely only on what media feeds us, media that has access to information not immediately available to us, media that plays a part in shaping our thinking in a positive way, or in many cases, in a negative way like dumbing us down without our even knowing it. 

And we pay special attention to intrigues and scandals or scams.

Like the internationally renowned Philippine Fertilizer Scam of 2004, Pnoy's biggest issue during his election thus he decidedly made anti-corruption his administration's centerpiece. The pork barrel scandal occurred in 2013, during his time, but he insists that's nothing compared to the fertilizer scam: 

President Benigno Aquino III

"... he (PNoy) said the PDAF controversy is nothing compared to the P728-million fertilizer fund scam during the time of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"Compare mo sa fertilizer scam, gaano kalaki ang diperensiya? And yung fertilizer scam is the tip of the iceberg, marami pang iba," he said."

“I expect that this year (2011), we will have filed our first major case against the corrupt and their accomplices. And these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty,” said Aquino, whose presidential campaign in 2010 was anchored on his fight against corruption."

Palakpakan naman. We cheer! Only to realize, when things have subsided that those statements are directed pala, as it is manifesting before our very own eyes now,  to those who are not his allies in government. Sample:

Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo

"The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has ordered the arrest of Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo and five other persons for malversation of P5 million in public funds, in one of the hundreds of dubious transactions made in the P728-million fertilizer fund scam..."

This story came out shortly after charges were filed against Dimaporo before Sandiganbayan, that tries cases involving public officials for their misdeeds. The article goes on to state that: "Dimaporo is the fifth lawmaker to be implicated... after Representatives Oscar Gozos of Batangas province, Federico Sandoval of Navotas City, Nanette Castelo-Daza of Quezon City, and Carmencita Reyes of Marinduque province."

Again, the fifth to be implicated, after Carmencita Reyes of Marinduque and former representatives Gozos, Sandoval and Castelo-Daza.

Further to the story:  
"(O)n the recommendation of the Ombudsman, Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Roland B.Jurado has denied bail to Dimaporo in the malversation charge."
Dimaporo is a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC). 

"Last week, Dimaporo was charged by the Ombudsman with malversation of public funds and graft for the purchase and delivery of 10,000 bags of Saka organic fertilizers worth P5 million..." . 

Poor guy. Immediately, Dimaporo's colleagues in Congress tried to come to the rescue by issuing a Resolution that he be allowed to post bail for the unbailable charge of malversation of public funds. But he is not a member of the ruling party, so sorry. Then what happened?

"As this developed, House Speaker and Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that the House of Representatives could not prevent the Sandiganbayan from arresting Dimaporo because the Lanao congressman’s case is a non-bailable offense.
I don’t think we can do anything,” Belmonte said. He added that Dimaporo’s case is similar to the plunder case of former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which is also a non-bailable offense."

Ganun naman pala. Then we read about the same fertilizer scam case involving the incumbent Marinduque governor:

Gov. Carmencita O. Reyes
Item: "Almost 3 years after being charged, Marinduque provincial governor Carmencita Reyes and agriculture officials will finally stand trial for graft and illegal use of public funds related to the P728 million fertilizer fund scam.
"Ombudsman prosecutors filed their pre-trial brief on Tuesday, January 8, before the graft court’s Second Division. Reyes’ arraignment has been set for January 14 at 1:30 pm."

So, same scam case, exactly the same amount involved (Php 5M), exactly the same process undergone. If the media report is correct, then in fact, the Reyes case was the first to be filed, and, going by the presidential assurance - "these will be real cases, with strong evidence and clear testimonies, which will lead to the punishment of the guilty."

Same graft and malversation cases were filed against Reyes in 2011. But Carmencita O. Reyes was never meted with suspension from the time the Office of the Ombudsman' Field Investigation Office filed the complaint, after years of investigation, in July 2008.

The Office of the Ombudsman moved for institution of criminal and formal inquiries against Reyes along with others involved in the conspiracy, their names already mentioned above. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro signed the approval for the filing of charges on April 14, 2011, or three years later. That long. And now 2014, she will stand trial for graft and technical malversation.

If a Philstar report is correct, Reyes was allowed to post bail not only for the graft case (RA 3019 Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) but also for the malversation charges (Act No. 3815 Revised Penal Code of the Philippines) for a total of Php 60,000 for the two cases.
Reyes is a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP). Poor, incumbent representative Dimaporo of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), under hospital arrest after a warrant was issued.

Spot the difference? Then shall we just sit back and idly watch another reality show go by? Think about it.

"Equality before the law in a true democracy is a matter of right. It cannot be a matter of charity or of favor or of grace or of discretion."  

- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge

Thursday, October 16, 2014

More stringent requirements for LGUs applying for loan includes annual audit reports from COA

Sa ilang lalawigan din pala, tulad ng Bulacan ay matinding usapin din ang pangungutang sa bangko ng pamahalaang panlalawigan dahil kapag nautang na anila, ay lumalabo naman kung saan napupunta ang salapi ng bayan, basahin dito. Naglabas na rin ng report ang COA hinggil sa mga hindi malinaw na bagay sa nasabing balita.

Sa Marinduque naman ay may kasong isinampa ang Provincial Government laban sa isang bangko dahil sa pangungutang ng nakaraang administrasyon para sa heavy equipment (P 75-Million). Ang siste, 'yun mismong bangkong idinemanda ang inuutangan ngayon at ayon sa ulat ay minamadali ng sadya, "ASAP".

Matatandaan na mismong sa ulat naman ng Joint Committee ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan ay gusto ring mangutang ng lalawigan ng ganoon ding halaga (P75-Million), para rin sa heavy equipment. Kasama ito sa ibig utangin na may kabuuhang P 500-Million.

Kung may mga reglamente man ang mga institusyon na may kinalaman sa pangungutang ay puwede naman daw itong 'aregluhin' na lamang.

Subalit matatandaan na ang Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima ay naglabas ng Local Finance Circular noong 2012, na naglalayong maging mas mahigpit sa mga LGUs na nangungutang sa mga bangko o ano mang financial institutions.

Ani Purisima, "Kailangang tiyakin natin na hindi aabusuhin ng mga LGUs ang kanilang karapatang mangutang na ikasasama lamang ng kalagayan ng kanilang mga nasasakupan". (We need to make sure that LGUs do not abuse their right to borrow to the detriment of their constituents).

Mababasa sa ibaba ang mas mahigpit na mga rekisitos ng pamahalaan na dapat sundin para sa mga LGUs na hindi abusado at marunong sumunod sa mga alituntunin. 

Tungkol sa COA annual audit report, ipagmalaki kaya ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Marinduque ang COA Report 2013, na may napakahabang lista at detalyadong mga anomalya sa Marinduque sa nabanggit na taon? 

THE BUREAU of Local Government Finance (BLGF) has made more stringent the requirements for local government units (LGUs) applying for authority to borrow money from banks and other financial institutions.
Local Finance Circular 1-2012 laid out new documentary requirements which LGUs need to submit to BLGF before they can be granted Certificates of Borrowing and Debt Service Capacities should they need to borrow money.
The circular, signed April 2012 by Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima, whose department oversees BLGF, superseded Local Finance Circular 1-2000 issued on January 19, 2000.
“We need to make sure that LGUs do not abuse their right to borrow to the detriment of their constituents,” Purisima said on Wednesday.
Original requirements under the earlier circular are the following: statement of actual income and expenditures and certification of internal revenue allotment (IRA) received for the past three years; certification of taxable assessed value for the past three years and dates of the last general revision of real property assessments; certification of existing loans, if any and annual audit report from the Commission on Audit for the past three years.
Under the new circular, the following documents were added to the original requirements:
Purisima said fiscal discipline should also be exercised by LGUs and not only by the national government.
“We have made significant reforms, one of them the directive to revised assessed real property values, in order to allow LGUs to raise more revenues. The idea is that you spend only as much as you earn,” the Finance chief said.
“But should you need to borrow, as the national government does, we want to make sure that these units have healthy balance sheets enough not only to cover their loans, but more importantly to continue their service to the people in the long run,” he explained.

Also Read:

Scams, messy Elections, COA Report 2013 on 

Marinduque anomalies,  comes now a P 500-M shocker

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On Aquino's stepping down: 'Sooner rather than later'

Sooner rather than later
Written by Tribune Editorial
Monday, 06 October 2014 

The Palace is again taking on a fireman’s job amid the spreading call for Noynoy to step down and amid charges of incompetence and outright abuse of power.

The standard response is that Noynoy has not been associated with any corrupt acts or even allegations on it, and that he is honest which are excuses for him to be considered a good leader.

Several civic groups, many of which were ardent Aquino supporters way back even before Noynoy’s mother, Cory, became president in 1986, are now calling for him to step down for various reasons including the crafting of the law that would create a Bangsamoro substate, his support for charter change, or cha-cha, Noynoy’s defiance of the Supreme Court order declaring unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund, the Disbursement Acceleration Program and the coddling of his corrupt allies.

Presidential spokesman Abigail Valte followed up on Edwin Lacierda’s effort to belittle the National Transformation Council (NTC) raising questions on the backing of the group.

Valte said that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has not acknowledged the Church’s support for NTC nor its aims, despite the laity making up the core of the group.

She added that Cebu Cardinal Emeritus Ricardo Vidal had denied asking Noynoy to resign.

The NTC, nonetheless, agreed with Valte that Vidal did not seek the resignation of Noynoy.

In a statement, it noted that neither the NTC nor Vidal nor the signatories of the Lipa and Cebu Declarations have ever asked Aquino to resign.

“This is contrary to what ABS-CBN, Edwin Lacierda, Franklin Drilon and others have been claiming. What NTC urges President Aquino to do immediately is to relinquish or to step down from his position,” according to the group.

The NTC said there is a difference between resigning and relinquishing power.

“If one asks President Aquino to resign, it means that one acknowledges him to be the duly-elected president of the Philippines, while if one asks him to relinquish or to step down from his position, it means that one is asking him to vacate the post of the President of the Republic of the Philippines because he is not duly-elected for that position by the people of the Philippines,” the NTC explained.

It insisted that Aquino and his allies “were illegally elected in 2010 and in 2013.”

That Noynoy and his allies manipulated the automated elections under his term in 2010 and 2013 was another reason the NTC gave for asking Noynoy to resign.

Semantics aside, the group is seeking a new order in which and Noynoy and his opportunistic allies are removed from power to allow the rebuilding of a government free from the corrupt practices that is said to be deeply ingrained in the fabric of the political system.

Noynoy and the Liberal Party (LP) represent the corrupt system sought to be perpetuated through a manipulated voting process. Valte said that the Palace does not intend to meet with any members of the NTC since they have not reached out to the administration to bring their demands on Aquino.

It seems that the Palace has issued an invitation for the group to be coopted, similar to what has been done to Akbayan, a former reformist group whose officials are either with Congress or have lucrative posts in government and no longer criticize the administration, despite its many criminal and unconstitutional acts committed by Noynoy and its allies.
The call for Noynoy to step down is valid and the complaints raised against him should have been reviewed exhaustively if not for his allies who swiftly dismissed all the impeachment complaints against Noynoy.

All that is being undertaken, including the supposed allegations of corruption against all leaders of the opposition, is in line with efforts to remove all hurdles for Noynoy and the LP to extend their dominance beyond 2016.

Noynoy and the LP should look back in history regarding the tipping point for the seemingly tolerant public.

Either through the vote or street protests, the abusers always end up booted out of power. - The Daily Tribune

Moral Leaders demand Aquino's resignation

"A crisis of unprecedented proportions has befallen our nation. The life of the nation is in grave peril from the very political forces that are primarily ordained to protect, promote and advance its well-being, but which are aggressively undermining its moral, religious, social, cultural, constitutional and legal foundations.”- LIPA DECLARATION, National Transformation Council

From Impact Magazine,
Published by the CBCP Communications Development Foundation, Inc.

Moral Leaders demand Aquino's resignation
By Charles Avila
Impact, September 2014

“Therefore, faithful to the objective moral law and to the universally honored constitutional principle that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them, we declare that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has lost the moral right to lead the nation, and has become a danger to the Philippine democratic and republican state and to the peace, freedom, security and moral and spiritual well-being of the Filipino people.

“We further declare that we have lost all trust and confidence in President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, and we call upon him to immediately relinquish his position.”

-- From the August 27th “Lipa Declaration”

We had heard it up and down this beleaguered archipelago. Our moral leaders were about to make a pronouncement on the current political situation, as they did back in 1986 (Edsa I), then in 2001(Edsa II), and of a different kind in 2005.

In 1986 and 2001, as a result of their moral pronouncement, regime change became a moral necessity.

When they cautioned against regime change in 2005, such change did not occur despite Cory Aquino’s taking to the streets to demand that change. With her then were son Noynoy (now President), good friends Butch Abad (now DBM Secretary), Franklin Drilon (now Senate President), Cesar Purisima (now Finance Secretary), Dinky Soliman (now DSWD Secretary), Ging Deles (now OPAPP Secretary) and a few others then and now known as the “Hyatt Ten” but without Cardinal Sin (prime spokesman of moral leaders) who had already died.

The Hyatt Ten (so-called from their number and the name of the hotel of their meetings) needed to be “Thirteen” to apply the Constitutional provision for a “cabinet coup.” In Article VII, Section 11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution it says: “Whenever a majority of all the members of the cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the Office as Acting President….”

“A majority of all the members of the cabinet” meant thirteen, not just ten.

But though the Hyatt ten failed in 2005, they “made it back to power” five years later--after Cory’s passage to the Great Beyond enabled her to pass on to her son a surge of popularity in the wake particularly of corruption charges then flying uncontrolled against the Arroyo couple.

With the rumours regarding an impending moral judgment on the PNoy government, people were now also asking what principles guide, say, the Catholic bishops of this country to make or not to make regime-changing types of moral pronouncements. Do they have a “book” to go by? In fact, some theologians replied, they do, and it is called the Church’s Social Doctrine.

Basic Pointers from the Church’s Social Doctrine on Politics.

Many years ago, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace made a “brief” 600-page “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” that touched on the whole gamut of topics relative to integral and solidarity humanism, complete with notes from the Bible and tradition and into the updates from Leo XIII to St. John Paul II, through St. John XXIII and Vatican II.

For instance, what does this book say regarding Jesus’ ”take” on political power? Jesus refused the oppressive and despotic power wielded by the rulers of the nations (cf. Mk 10:42) and ejected their pretension in having themselves called benefactors (cf. Lk 22:25), but he did not oppose political authority as such. In his pronouncement on the paying of taxes to Caesar (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Mt 22:15-22; Lk 20:20-26), he affirmed that we must give to God what is God's, implicitly condemning every attempt at making temporal power divine or absolute. At the same time, temporal power has the right to its due: Jesus did not consider it unjust to pay taxes to Caesar. [See par. 379.]

Christian moral leaders have always considered political authority to have been founded on the social nature of the person. “Since God made human beings social by nature, and since no society can hold together unless someone is over all in charge, directing all to strive earnestly for the common good, every civilized community must have a ruling authority, and this authority, no less than society itself, has its source in nature, and has, consequently, God for its author”. [See par. 393]

Political authority is therefore necessary as an instrument of coordination and direction by means of which the many individuals and intermediate bodies must move towards an order in which relationships, institutions and procedures are put at the service of integral human growth.

Political authority, in fact, “whether in the community as such or in institutions representing the State, must always be exercised within the limits of morality and on behalf of the dynamically conceived common good, according to a juridical order enjoying legal status” [See para 394.]

Moral leaders always prefer a “democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility both of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate.” Authentic democracy, however, is “possible only in a State ruled by law.” [See para 406.]

In this regard they uphold “the validity of the principle concerning the division of powers in a State: it is preferable that each power be balanced by other powers and by other spheres of responsibility which keep it within proper bounds. This is the principle of the ‘rule of law', in which the law is sovereign, and not the arbitrary will of individuals”. [See para 408.]

For example, for the Executive to habitually buy out and run roughshod over the legislative and the judicial branches of government is indubitably to be out of bounds and in contempt of the rule of law. No matter how allegedly noble the ends, the means of merely following the tantrums or “arbitrary will of individuals” in the executive branch bodes ill for society as a whole.

The Philippine situation is quite a moral challenge: “hocus PCOS” to start with; the most audacious appropriation of more than a trillion pesos a year with neither authority nor transparency, uncontrite and holier-than-thou; a business community in full support so long as the top guy will just let them be, laissez faire. How about the people, the majority populace who get poorer amid the historic economic growth?

Going to Lipa

At first the rumours were that some 300 geographic and sectoral delegates nationwide were travelling in the direction of Lipa City, Batangas upon the invitation of the Catholic Archbishop of that area to hear and discuss important moral pronouncements on the political order.

It turned out, however, that not 300 but four times more -- some 1,200 such delegates, ncluding more than 50 from Muslim Mindanao -- made it on 27th August to the Archdiocesan gym in the premises of the Archbishop’s residence. With Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles were Cardinal Emeritus Ricardo Vidal of Cebu, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao, Zamboanga Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Bernardino Cortes, Butuan Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos, Evangelical Bishop Arthur Corpus, Muslim Ulamas and Ustadzes, Datu Benjie Mao Andong, and several other moral leaders.

It was definitely a multi-sectoral gathering with the bigger numbers coming from the peasant and worker sectors and representatives of people’s or community organizations. The civilians formed the broad majority but there were as well prominent retired members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines peacefully chatting with equally retired freedom fighters of not-so-long ago.

As they said in their “Lipa Declaration: An Urgent Call for National Transformation,”
to which they affixed their signatures:

“We are Filipino citizens of different personal, professional, social and economic backgrounds and political persuasions and religious beliefs. We have gathered here in Lipa city on this 27th day of August A.D.2014/2nd day of Dhu Al-qa’da A.H. 1435, under the auspices of the National Transformation Council, to reaffirm our deeply held convictions and beliefs about the common good and our highest national interests, in the face of the most pressing challenges.”

Did they spell out these pressing challenges? Yes, they said: “Unbridled and unpunished corruption and widespread misuse of political and economic power in all layers of society have not only destroyed our common conception of right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, legal and illegal, but also put our people, especially the poor at the mercy of those who have the power to dictate the course and conduct of our development for their own selfish ends.”

They had earlier stated:

"A crisis of unprecedented proportions has befallen our nation. The life of the nation is in grave peril from the very political forces that are primarily ordained to protect, promote and advance its well-being, but which are aggressively undermining its moral, religious, social, cultural, constitutional and legal foundations.”

Not mincing words, the signers of the declaration went to the heart of the matter by accusing President Aquino no less:

“Far from preserving and defending the constitution, as he swore to do when he assumed office, the incumbent president Benigno Simeon Aquino III has subverted and violated it by corrupting the congress, intimidating the judiciary, taking over the treasury, manipulating the automated voting system, and perverting the constitutional impeachment process; 

“President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has also damaged the moral fabric of Philippine society by bribing members of congress not only to impeach and remove a sitting supreme court chief justice but also to enact a law which disrespects the right to life of human beings at the earliest and most vulnerable stages of their lives, in defiance not only of the constitution but above all of the law, the customs, culture, and conscience of Filipinos.”

Logically exploding the bombshell, the signatories said:

“Therefore, faithful to the objective moral law and to the universally honored constitutional principle that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them, we declare that president Benigno Simeon Aquino III has lost the moral right to lead the nation, and has become a danger to the Philippine democratic and republican state and to the
peace, freedom, security and moral and spiritual well-being of the Filipino people.

“We further declare that we have lost all trust and confidence in President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, and we call upon him to immediately relinquish his position.”

Then they talked about the National Transformation Council. What is this? What are its functions? Most certainly there was no talk here of one single personality being groomed to replace the erring President; no talk of politicians and political parties; and yet the subject matter was unquestionably political.

The National Transformation Council is that which must:

“Assume the urgent and necessary task of restoring our damaged political institutions to their original status and form before we begin to consider electing a new government under normal political conditions. The role of the council will not be to succeed President Aquino, but
solely to prevent the total destruction of our political system, and to rebuild and nourish its institutions back to health so that all those interested could join the political competition later, without the dice being loaded in anyone’s favor."

“Like a crew whose task is to put everything in order before a commercial carrier, which had earlier developed some problems in midair, is cleared again for take-off, the council’s duty will be only to repair the battered tripartite system [legislative-executive-judicial] and to
make sure that the people are once again able to freely and intelligently elect their own leaders.”

The signatories therefore declared that the Council should:

“Open broad public consultations on the need either to modify or strengthen the presidential system or to shift from the unitary/presidential system to a federal/parliamentary system--endowing such structure with:

1) A totally independent judicial department, free from any kind of intimidation or bullying by either the executive or the legislative department, and with the sufficient wherewithal to clear the backlog of the courts and fast-track all cases;

2) A merit-driven, professional civil and military service;

3) Totally transparent government budgeting, procurement, disbursement, accounting and auditing systems and procedures; and

4) An irreproachably independent and completely dependable electoral system, free from the virus that has corrupted the automated voting system since 2010.

“Whatever the final form of government the citizenry decide to adopt, absolutely indispensable are the integrity and independence of the courts, and the existence of an incorrupt electoral system by means of which we, the people, are able to freely and intelligently choose our own leaders in free and honest elections. Without these we cannot speak of a normally functioning
democratic and republican government.”

There was no doubt among those present regarding the deceitful and fraudulent character of the 2010 and 2013 elections due to the “hocus-PCOS” electoral cheating machines. A presentation by a CPA-Lawyer of the abundant evidence in this regard refreshed everyone’s memory of so much they had been fighting against the past few years.

Hence, they emphasized that:

“Whatever the final form of government the citizenry decide to adopt, absolutely indispensable are the integrity and independence of the courts, and the existence of an incorrupt electoral system by means of which we, the people, are able to freely and intelligently choose our own leaders in free and honest elections. Without these we cannot speak of a normally functioning democratic and republican government.

“Thus we fully support the council’s position that until we have such a fraud-free electoral system, we should refrain from holding any farcical election. But once we have it, we should encourage the best qualified men and women in the country to participate in the open electoral process so that together we could put an end to the stranglehold exercised by the corrupt and incompetent political dynasties upon our elections.”

Then, of course, the transformation they sought was not merely one-dimensional but total; not merely political but, as well, socio-economic and religious-cultural. They were committed both to working on personal conversion and achieving social transformation:

“With political reform there must go hand in hand comprehensive economic reform. With one strong voice, we must now say a vigorous “no,” as Pope Francis has suggested, to an economics of exclusion and inequality, coming from a misguided vision of the human being and of society harmfully acted upon through myopic laws, policies and programs.”

Clearly, then, the National Transformation Council--a revolutionary council initiated by the moral leaders of this country in response to a moral crisis whose effects if not stanched in time would certainly lead to national destruction--is an effort of a non-violent nature, neither illegal nor unconstitutional in character but creatively restorative of a severely damaged constitutional order abetted by an administration chemically clean of any sincere regard for the rule of law.

It is a time of trouble; it is also a time of great opportunity for genuine reform. The movement for national transformation must be protected, defended, warmly welcomed and fostered.

“As the council prepares to embark upon the necessary reforms, we call upon the armed forces of the Philippines, as the constitutional ‘protector of the people and the state,’ to extend its protective shield to the council, and not to allow itself to be used in any manner to undermine the council’s purely transitional and nonpartisan role, nor to allow any armed group to sow violence, disorder or discord into its peaceful ranks.

“Adopted in Lipa City, this 27th day of August A.D. 2014/2nd day of Dhu Alqa’da

Is this the beginning of the end for an administration that has habitually made short shrift of the Constitution and the rule of law, that gloried in high economic growth for the benefit of a very few at the expense of the very many, that corrupted Congress, intimidated the judiciary, took over the treasury, manipulated the automated voting system, and perverted the Constitutional impeachment process? 

Or will all this merely lead to an iron-fisted response from the state? Unquestionably, however, in the end weeks or months from now the only relevant question is: how did the rest of the populace respond? Would they merely say, “Don’t bother us, we’re okay!” or would they not rather ask their moral leaders, “What can we do together?”