Sunday, November 29, 2009

A message to COMELEC: failure to act on election offenses in Maguindanao Massacre is grounds for impeachment

COMELEC commissioner Lucenito Tagle's statement that Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. has not yet been convicted of the crime of multiple murder and, therefore, is still qualified to seek an elective post sends a very disturbing signal to would-be election violators that the COMELEC chooses to be inutile rather than proactive.

With all due respect to the Commissioner, he has grossly misread Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code provides that the COMELEC can disqualify candidates on grounds of acts of terrorism. The massacre was meant to prevent the Ampatuans’ political opponents from filing their Certificate of Candidacy. Clearly, the matter is election-related and, under the foregoing provision of law, the COMELEC has a strong case against the Ampatuans. A conviction by final judgment by the courts is not necessary.

The COMELEC itself can, in a disqualification proceeding, adjudicate a case against politicians involved in the massacre. For the longest time warlords have held sway over Maguindanao with impunity and utter disregard of the law.
It is high time that the government, especially the COMELEC, apply the full force of the law against political warlordism and refrain from any acts or statements which give the impression that the massacre in Maguindanao has a place in civilized society.
Also, in a 2001 COMELEC resolution, field officials of the COMELEC were allowed to hear and receive evidence of disqualification cases regarding a petition to disqualify a candidate engaged in gun running, using and transporting of firearms, or in organizing special strike forces. Accordingly, political warlords in Maguindanao who actually file their COCs can be subjected to disqualification proceedings for having committed acts of terrorism under sec Section 68.

We challenge the COMELEC to fulfill its mandate of ensuring peaceful elections. The “Maguindanano Massacre” is a test case for the COMELEC and its resolve to go after those who make a mockery of our election laws. Failure on the part of the COMELEC officials to pursue election-related offenses in the Maguindnao Massacre is grounds for impeachment.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What next on Maguindanao?

Friends have been asking on Twitter and Facebook about our next steps in regard to the "Maguindanao Massacre" and our pursuit of justice.

For our part, we in the Senate will be closely monitoring the action taken by the DOJ, the NBI, the COMELEC, the PNP, the DND, the AFP, the DILG, and Malacanang on the issue. The Senate will exercise its oversight functions. We will also look into the performance of the ARMM and review the law creating it.

In addition, all these government offices will be trooping to the Senate, beginning next week until December 18, as we go through their respective budgets. We will likewise require these agencies to report to us the developments in the case.

The Senate will exercise its role as a check and balance to all these agencies directly involved in the issue, to ensure that they do their jobs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

GMA, LAKAS-KAMPI created the monsters in Maguindanao

It is painful enough to watch and hear about what happened in Maguindanao through the news. One can only imagine the horrors that the victims had to go through as they were shot and mutilated to death.

We believe that GMA and LAKAS-KAMPI created the monsters in Maguindanao. The explusion of the Ampatuans smack of politicking. The lawlessness and the barbarism that now prevail in the province has the fingerprints of LAKAS-KAMPI all over it, considering that all warring factions were party members supported unconditionally by the ruling party.

Who can forget the incredible 12-0 Maguindanao vote in the 2007 elections wherein LAKAS-KAMPI conspired with local warlords to make LAKAS stalwart Zubiri No. 1 in the province? Who can forget the burning of election returns by Lintang Bedol? LAKAS-KAMPI aided and abetted lawlessness when it allowed for the wanton disregard and flagrant violation of election laws in the area. They even rewarded their local partners handsomely by providing logistical support for their ARMM re-election.

President Arroyo and LAKAS-KAMPI created the Frankenstein monster that in the end massacred 57 human beings last Monday. The expulsion of the Ampatuans by LAKAS-KAMPI is an act that is too little and too late. If at all, it smacks of politicking and maneuvering for 2010 for their standard bearer, Gibo Teodoro. They now wash their hands of the grizzly murders. It will not bring the massacre victims back to life.

We believe Teodoro is ill-advised in this attempt to gain political points. The party which he now heads created the monster in Maguindanao and he, together with other LAKAS-KAMPI, is now part of the problem in Maguindanao.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On the "Maguindanao Massacre"

We strongly condemn the gruesome killing of civilians and journalists in Maguindanao.

We want arrests made and non-bailable criminal charges of murder filed against those involved in the Maguindanao massacre. The COMELEC likewise should have politicians involved in the crime answer for their election offenses. These criminals prevented their political opponents from filing their certificate of candidacy. Now, they, too, must answer for their acts and be disqualified from seeking public office.

Monday, November 23, 2009

We salute you, Efren!

I salute the heroism of Efren Penaflorida and the countless other men and women who continue to work for change & hope in our country. Efren is a great example of what we all can become if we choose to lead and, as he says, choose to serve and serve well.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Conversations with my Little Daughter

I have said many times before that I would not trade my being a husband and a father for anything in the world. The truth is my life is divided into two spheres namely: the office, my political and advocacy work and the home, my wife and family and there is pretty much nothing in between. I prefer to keep it simple considering how complicated my life is as it is. I pretty much prefer to stay at home whenever I am free of work and be with Sharon and the children. Spending time with Sharon and the kids at home is therapy for me.

I have written a few stories below about Frankie, my 8 year old daughter who has grown up so fast. The stories are to remind me of how delightful it is to raise our children and how time flies so very quickly and that before we know it these moments pass us by, never to return again. They are precious, priceless and delightful moments. A reminder that we must make the most of the time that we have with our children because they do grow up so fast. Too fast.

Why newborns always sleep.

When Miel our youngest daughter was newly born, as all newborns go, she was asleep many hours daily and so one day while Miel lay fast asleep in front of Frankie (who was 3 1/2 years old then,) I asked in a voice Frankie would hear, "I wonder why babies sleep all the time?" Frankie looked at me and immediately replied, 'because they are puyat!'.

No P-turn.

Frankie was not yet 3 years old and we were riding the car, driving along Ortigas Avenue in Mandaluyong city. She saw a No U turn sign along the road, pointed to it and asked, "Daddy, what means that sign?" I explained that it was the letter U and that the red slash line meant that a car wasn't allowed to do a U shaped turn on the road and that it was called a No U turn sign.

A week later, as we were again riding the car together she suddenly pointed out the window to a street sign and said with utmost certainty "Dad! Look! No P turn!" It turns out she saw a 'No Parking sign'.

Sleep and become a giant.

When Frankie was in still her toddler years, we made it a point to have her take siestas after lunch and as often as I could I would join her and put her to sleep. In one of these sleeping time moments, she was 3 years old then, and as we both lay down in her bed, I explained to her that little girls needed to sleep because it was when they were asleep that they would grow tall and that if she did not get enough sleep she would not become a tall girl.

With her blanky in one hand and her fingers in her mouth (she would suck her fingers then as a means to lull herself to sleep) she lay down beside me thinking about what I had said and then quickly blurted out "eh what about you Daddy, if you sleep and sleep you will become a giant!"

Giving birth to a baby dog.

When Frankie was 4 years old, she and I and Sharon would on many occasions do pretend play with the use of her stuffed toys. We would even have titles to our pretend play episodes. One such pretend play episode was entitled "6 Kids". In this pretend play episode, I pretended to be the Daddy while Frankie was my sweetheart. Sharon was, according to Frankie, the Ninang. I would provide the voices of the little stuffed toys and provided the dialogue. We had six stuffed toys as our children. We had two dogs, one teddy bear, a cat, a little lamb and Elmo from Sesame Street. They were the 6 kids all in all and each had a name given by Frankie. There was Asha (dalmatian) and Clifford (beagle) both dogs, the teddy bear was named Bear and the little lamb's name was Lamb and there was Lucy the cat and of course, Elmo. Asha and Clifford, the two stuffed toy dogs, were the two eldest of the ' 6 kids'.

Frankie would come to me and say "Dad, lets play 6 kids!' and so we would go ahead and begin our pretend play that would last for 15 to 20 minutes. Me with all the silly voices, Frankie as the mother of the 6 kids and when Sharon was around, she would be the Ninang of the 6 kids.

One morning sometime in October of 2004 and at around the time of the birth of our youngest Miel, we had received gifts of stuffed little puppy dogs. Frankie upon seeing the little puppy dogs came up with the idea that we would pretend that it was (in her own words), "6 Kids" part one and that she was going to have a baby in her tummy, Asha!

So pretend play we did. She then put the little stuff toy dog inside her shirt and went up to me and said 'Sweetheart, I think we are going to have a baby in my tummy!" I then said "Oh really, my sweetheart?" and then went on to ask her, "is it going to be a girl or boy?" Frankie then looks at me and answers straight out and matter-of-factly, "Sweetheart, its going to be a dog."

Mabuhay si Manny at ang Pilipinas!

Kiko Pangilinan ipinakita at ipinamalas ni Manny Pacquiao ang kakayahan ng Pilipino sa harap ng matinding pagsubok. Bilang mga Pilipino, may Manny Pacquiao sa bawat isa sa atin na may kakayahan lagpasan ang sariling mga suliranin at mga pagsubok. Ipinakita ni Manny na ang Pilipino kahit saan man ay maaring magtagumpay sa anumang larangan na nanaisin. Mabuhay si Manny! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

Friday, November 13, 2009


While we recognize the need to maintain strong relations w/ the US & other nations, we must always look to ourselves rather than to Big Brother America if we are to truly transform our nation. No amount of foreign aid or strong foreign relations will solve the serious problems of our nation unless WE OURSELVES are committed to real change.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pagasa para sa Pilipinas

Kung lahat tayo magsasabi na wala ng pagasa ang Pilipinas ay talagang ganun na nga ang mangyayari. Tatlo ang anak ko. Gagawin ko ang maaring gawin upang baguhin ang landas ng ating bansa. Kung mahal natin ang ating mga anak at mga mahal sa buhay marahil lahat tayo gagawa ng paraan para sa kanila.