Rebuttal to Peter Wallace column on Government contracts

Peter-Wallace iacademy dot edu dot ph

Peter Wallace: Philippine citizen [Photo credit:]

Columnist Peter Wallace wrote a series of five daily articles starting on December 24, 2015, dealing primarily with troubled major contracts and other woes he attaches to the Aquino Administration. The articles ran on the front page of the Inquirer, a rather significant placement for an opinion columnist, five days in succession. It was a very negative, critical running commentary.

The article that caught my attention was published Christmas Day. The headline read:

This gov’t does not honor contracts’

Is this factually accurate? That the National Government does not honor contracts? Wallace cited nine cases that he claims represent the whole character of government: one that cannot be trusted to honor contracts. He did not attempt to identify the contracts that the government HAS executed in full compliance over six years, which I would imagine to number in the thousands. He did report in the last article that the Philippines ranks 124th out of 189 economies at enforcing contracts. The report was done by the World Bank-IFC Doing Business survey.

Now this ranking was not acquired solely during the Aquino Administration. It is a systemic problem that is built into laws and the way courts and agencies work. But Wallace does not consider this. Rather, in his final article, he laid the blame squarely on Mr. Aquino.

‘Only P-Noy can resolve issues’

Well, I would expect this kind of “blame game” from a political opponent. This generalization from a few specifics to a whole administration . . . or, in this case . . . to one man . . . is a common way for political opponents to score points.

But Wallace is supposed to be impartial, and a sophisticated thinker. And the idea that the President himself should resolve every contractual dispute? I dunno. What’s a cabinet for?

If you actually examine the Doing Business survey, you find that the Philippines has only been rated for two years on contracts and support data is very sparse. Furthermore, the actual rating on contract fulfillment for 2016 is 140 (not 124 as Wallace cites), and the overall rating is 103 (Wallace reports 95). I wanted to do a trend line to see if things are improving, as they are on most other global comparisons, but that is not possible. The data aren’t there.

Clearly, Wallace is shading the game here by putting so much emphasis on a report that lacks depth and seasoning.

If the claim is true . . . that the Aquino Administration does not honor contracts . . . we can agree there is an unfortunate trend here. But if it is not true, doesn’t his claim demean government? If this were a claim made against a private corporation or private individual, do you think the private corporation or individual would take issue? Maybe even haul Mr. Wallace and the Inquirer to court for defamation?

clown punching bag rainbowdash dot net

Young Peter Wallace in training? [Photo credit:]

Is there something about the Executive Branch that makes it look like a clown punching bag for disgruntled columnists and malcontents to swing at? That people somehow feel empowered to assail and flay away? Columnists. Newspapers. Citizens. Leftists. Political opponents. The bitter and the crabs.

If the problem is systemic, in laws and court and agency processes, would it not be better to find the real culprits and argue for real solutions?

This demand that the President be held personally responsible for every ill in the Philippines is rather strange to me. It’s much like what we saw in the Mamasapano hearings, with Poe and Escudero at the helm.

I can’t prove political bias, but I can for sure identify other reasons motivating Wallace to write a critical series:

  • He is a frustrated driver stuck on the streets of Manila and he is losing it.
  • He is an advocate for business; that is, he is naturally on “the other side” of any conflict that involves government.

I cite as evidence his remarks in the column “A year gone by” that ran on December 24:

“Whatever, the year is over and what do we have to show for it? . . . Top of the list for me is traffic. I’m thoroughly fed up with a government that can’t keep traffic moving. And can’t because it just refuses to do the simple things that could greatly help.”

And we have further evidence in what he says in describing his consulting company, the Wallace Business Forum:

“Australian PETER WALLACE came to the Philippines in 1975 to build a factory for an American MNC in the maintenance industry, and then subsequently led 2 other multinationals before founding his own company in 1982 – The Wallace Business Forum. The company has since grown to service more than 130 multinational corporations and aid agencies, dealing with successive Philippine governments on foreign investment and policies affecting business.”

So we can see that Peter Wallace is not an unbiased commentator. First, he is very angry toward government. Second, he is an advocate for business.

In the Christmas Day article, Peter Wallace identified nine examples as proof of his allegation that Government unreasonably cancels or violates contracts. Then he elaborated about what a terrible indictment this is, that a government would so easily break its word. These nine cases say to him, and he says to Filipinos who are voting in 2016, that:

You cannot trust this government

Well, let’s look at the cases and judge for ourselves.

Two of them are not really presented as contract violations, but management failures. He cited LTO failures to issue license plates and driver’s licenses in a timely way. His opinion on the LTO classifies as a certifiable rant. Well, if we wanted to cite any government failure or mistake as a failed “contract”, we could have a heyday itemizing mistakes, for they are legion and involve a legion of humans doing what humans do best, especially if computer sophistication is poor and people have been hiring friends, family and favorites for decades . . . rather than skilled managers. They botch the administration of services. We could list rotting emergency supplies, roads funded but not built, Manila traffic jams, 44 SAF troopers dead in a raid, or any number of problems.

But those matters really have nothing to do with contracts or the bad faith that Peter Wallace lays on President Aquino in his article. They may entail negligence or human error or administrative logjams, but if THAT is the accusation, we must also figure out why the Philippines is growing well, crooks are being marched to jail, and the nation is rising on every global index known to mankind. That is, we must look at both achievements and failings and figure out why the achievements are so abundant.

If we assign blame where deserved, great. That’s constructive. But let’s assign credit, too, where earned. That’s fair.

So I’ll set the two LTO bunglings aside, for they are not really appropriate for the assessment of government’s faith in dealing with legal contracts. I suspect they were just quickly added by Wallace at the end of his list as padding to make his case seem more substantial.

That gives us seven cases to look at. I will first cite what Peter Wallace said about each case in his Christmas Day article, then I will report what I discovered in a review of reports on the cases. We will see that there is another side of the story or a deeper context in each case that Peter Wallace cites.


Wallace #1: Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3); the Department of Transportation and Communications canceled a successful, working contract and gave it to an unknown, untested newcomer for supposedly potential cash savings that would now actually entail a huge cost.

There was a “working MRT 3 contract” with TESP (subsidiary of Mistubishi/Sumitomo) approaching expiration in 2010. It was not a “successful contract” in the eyes of DOTC. The agency wanted a different service firm but had trouble finding a replacement company. When the contract expired, it went through a series of six month extensions until 2012. Rails and equipment continued to deteriorate. As the final extension was running out in 2012, DOTC entered into a non-bid “emergency” contract for service to be provided by PH Trams-CB&T, a new company with no track record or proven capacity to perform.

The new company would only provide labor for service, while DOTC would source all equipment and replacement parts. The contract was worth S1.15 million per month to the labor service provider.

It would be discovered later that PH Trams-CB&T was founded by Arturo Soriano, uncle of the wife of Al Vitangcol, the former general manager of MRT-3. In July of 2015, Al Vitangcol and five other people were indicted by the Ombudsman for irregularities surrounding the bidding of the service contract. (In another case, Inekon Group, a Czech builder of train coaches, in 2014 accused Vitangcol of having asked for a $30 million payment for Inekon to be awarded a $3.8 billion contract for the construction of cars.)

So were the heads of DOTC, Secretaries Roxas and Abaya, responsible for the breakdown in getting the MRT 3 service contract renewed? Abaya, who signed the contract, was not indicted by the Ombudsman.

It is so easy for those of us without knowledge or responsibility to judge. But if we go back to March, 2012, we see that Mar Roxas was very concerned about the poor work being done by the maintenance firm. He was concerned about safety of riders.

“These are the weaknesses of the old contract, which were negotiated 10 to 15 years ago. So we are now suffering because of the weaknesses of the contract which we can only correct when the new contact is bided (sic) out this year.” Mar Roxas, March 2012

Secretary Roxas left DOTC in August, before the bidding was carried out. Secretary Abaya appears to have left the initiative to Vitangcol and he “took it into his own hands”, so to speak.

Vitangcol has said he was not aware that his wife’s uncle was still with PH Trams-CB&T, and he claims selective justice was employed by the Ombudsman to charge him but not Secretary Abaya. Political opponents of the Aquino Administration have criticized both Roxas and Abaya, and Senator Poe has proposed to hold investigations into why Abaya was not indicted.

By way of background, DOTC attempted to obtain bids for a permanent maintenance contract in Sept. of 2014 and Jan. 2015 but both efforts failed for lack of participation. Maintenance is now divided into seven sub-components, each with rolling six-month contracts pending appointment of a permanent service company.

But a review of the facts shows this was not a matter of bad faith in honoring contracts. No contract was cancelled or violated. Indeed, Secretary Roxas found his hands were tied by the contract that was in place. He ABIDED BY the contract, even though the Philippines suffered under it. (Note to self: did Wallace have anything to do with the negotiation of the original contract with TESP?)


Wallace #2: Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) violating its agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water, putting at risk a hugely successful turnover of a public utility.

Water service is a huge rats nest of conflicting interests, including political parties, the Legislature, Executive, overlapping regulatory agencies, and the water companies themselves. A whole book has been written about the issues and forces at work.

The Supreme Court has been asked by Abakada party-list to negate MWSS’s 2014 extension of concession contracts with Maynilad and Manila Water, and I think this is the Wallace argument, too.

It is worth noting that MWSS previously won an arbitration hearing against Manila Water about rates for revenue-sharing. Contentious issues often end up in the courts. President Aquino does not control this. The laws and regulations do. It is worth noting that no one ascribed “bad faith” to Manila Water, the loser in the case, for seeking a judgment in the courts. Taking a matter to courts is not “bad faith”. Losing a case does not mean “bad faith”.

To be frank, I’ve read Peter Wallace’s December 27 article on the matter (see “Resources”, below), and I’m still confused by the case. It is clear, however, that Peter Wallace takes on the role of plaintiff attorney against MWSS. He argues that the basis for MWSS’s position, a prior Meralco ruling, is wrongly applied. This is a legal argument and has nothing to do with good or bad faith by the National Government. It is not bad faith to have a position that Peter Wallace does not agree with. (Does Wallace have vested interests in this arena, I wonder.)


Wallace #3: Fight between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and its lessee, Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDC). Because of its actions, the BCDA is foregoing an estimated P5.2 billion worth of potential lease revenue in a deal that would have given Baguio City 25 percent of this amount.

Peter Wallace again seems to be taking sides on this as a business/legal issue. BCDA exercised its rights under established agreements. There was no negligence involved, and no violation of contracts. The dispute has already passed before arbitration hearings and the Baguio Regional Trial Court. BCDA’S rights were confirmed and the judgment amount was finalized. I’m not exactly sure why Peter Wallace holds that he knows better than the BCDA what their business values and risks are, or why he holds he is a better judge of matters than the arbitration panel and court.

Peter Wallace indicates the problem started when: “The BCDA did not disclose an existing case filed by the John Hay Alternative People’s Coalition against the BCDA, JHMC and the BCDA chair, Victor Lim, in 1994.”

My experience with due diligence is that the onus of discovery rests on the separate parties, and so one is inclined to ask, okay, did the CJHDC even ask about litigation during its discovery inquiries?

But whatever the legalistic details, we can observe from the government’s comment on the matter (see “Resources“) that Peter Wallace presents only the CJHDC side. (Does he have clients among the tenants of Camp John Hay??)

Again, having a position that Wallace disagrees with is not, of itself, “bad faith”.


Wallace Business Forum

Photo from Wallace Business Forum web site

Wallace #4: Court ordering Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. be paid—and the government ignoring the order.

PIATCO is the Singaporean company that constructed NAIA Terminal 3. The Philippine Government terminated the contract in 2003 because of corruption and irregular practices. PIATCO sued the government before the ICC in Singapore to recover at least $565 million in damages.

The ICC, in July 2010 ruled that PIATCO and its German investor Fraport AG violated the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law, which requires that operation, management and control of public utilities such as airports should remain with Filipinos.

It also ordered PIATCO to pay the Philippine government over $6 million in costs of proceedings. The Singapore High Court upheld the ICC’s decision and for the Philippines to pay $5 million in administrative compensation to PIATCO.

PIATCO brought the compensation case to Philippine courts where it started in a lower court and got appealed to a higher court. In his December 29 article, Wallace criticizes the Aquino Administration for refusing to pay the 2013 Appeals Court judgment amount of $371 million and writes, rather thuggishly:

Anyone else would be sent to jail for refusing a court order. Once his immunity from suit expires on June 30, 2016, will Mr. Aquino be sent to jail for this? . . . I certainly hope not, but isn’t that the inevitable outcome in a country that lives under rule of law.

Ahhh, but why does Wallace not consider that the matter was appealed to the Supreme Court, and that is the reason the compensation payment was held up? Taking a dispute to the Supreme Court indicates bad faith? The Supreme Court ruled on September 8, 2015, that the Philippines owed PIATCO $510 million in compensation, including interest. Did Wallace miss this ruling? Or does he believe the National Government is not entitled to due process under law, “in a country that lives under the rule of law?” (Does he represent PIATCO, I’m also inclined to ask?)

What is important is that the Aquino Administration solved the rat’s nest of problems inherited on Terminal 3 and has succeeded in building it out and getting it opened. They CORRECTED faulty contracts and shoddy construction performance, and I suspect will duly pay the amount ordered.

Maybe some day some one will actually speak KINDLY about DOTC Secretary Abaya for getting the terminal opened.


Wallace #5: An air navigation system was held up for 21 months for no valid reason.

This was an Arroyo project that was placed on hold by DOTC Secretary Roxas for further study. Once approved, it was delayed when the Commission on Audit disallowed the initial payment. This was May of 2011. The Commission reversed itself quickly. The project was put into operation in January of 2015.

Wallace says “there was no valid reason” to put the contract on hold. In making this statement, he becomes an advocate for Sumitomo/Thales, the company installing the system. The Aquino Government put many Arroyo projects on hold, and the reason is plain enough for the common man to understand. An experienced consultant should grasp the reason . . . if he does not have a vested interest in the outcome.

Wallace says Sumitomo/Thales has been denied payment of its claim, or even a response, for 18 months. I take note of this, but will defer judgment until hearing from an official within DOTC as to what the government’s point of view is. I don’t see Wallace as impartial on the matter.


Wallace #6: There’s also the Poverty Eradication and Alleviation Certificates, or PEACe bonds, in which the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) reneged on its promise that the bonds would be treated as tax-free. Fortunately, the Supreme Court recently ruled against the BIR and favored the financial institutions that invested in the bonds.

This issue originated in 2001 when the BIR declared that the bonds would be tax free. In 2011, the BIR reversed its ruling citing a technical interpretation of laws. Nine banks secured a TRO and took the matter to the courts. The Supreme Court disallowed the 2011 BIR ruling.

Sheena Marie D. Daño, a tax attorney writing about the case, concluded:

“While it’s true that the efforts of the BIR in sourcing the needed funds have been laudable, the BIR’s quasi-legislative powers should be exercised with utmost judicious diligence vis-à-vis its executive power in enforcing its sanctioned issuances.”

This indeed was a contract issue . . . rather complex . . .and a case the Government lost. That means there was a dispute, not that either party was negligent or dealing in bad faith. It just means that Peter Wallace disagreed with the government’s position.


Wallace #7: VAT refunds—due to companies that were promised VAT-free transactions—that take months, even years to obtain—if ever the companies are refunded at all. No interest is paid on the overdue payment.

This matter also centered on a technical legal argument resolved by the Supreme Court in 2014. The delays were not due to negligence or bad faith by BIR, but disputes as to legal interpretations and timing of claims that were finally resolved by the Supreme Court. A bill making available P27 billion for payments due is to be attached to a legislative bill authorizing the BIR’s claim procedure.

Without question, the impacts of the delays are huge because the amounts are huge.

Bad decision? Bad faith? I’d like to hear the BIR’s position on it, because Wallace no longer is credible to me.



Here’s what we discover when we look at each of the cases listed by Peter Wallace to make his claim that the Aquino Administration does not honor contracts:

  • The MRT-3 service maintenance issues has nothing to do with contract violations or cancellations, but corruption and lack of bidders for an expired contract.
  • Water companies: Conflict and arguments within the maze of vested interests are complex and common. Peter Wallace argues the legal matters as a plaintiff attorney would. It has nothing to do with bad faith just because he disagrees with the government’s position.
  • Camp John Hay: Again, Peter Wallace takes up the argument of the plaintiffs and substitutes his judgment for that of the arbitration panel and courts who are dealing with the matter.
  • PIATCO: This became a contract issue long before the Aquino Administration inherited the case. Wallace denies the Aquino Administration the right to due process (appeal to Supreme Court) and ignores the fact that the Aquino Administration solved a host of problems to get the terminal opened.
  • PEACe Bonds: The BIR interpreted legal details differently than others. Doe Peter Wallace think that any legal dispute means negligence or bad faith by the government?
  • VAT Refunds: This is a major legal case that involved differing interpretations of law. It took a Supreme Court ruling to resolve the dispute. It is an example of government processes, checks and balances, working.

Peter Wallace has fallen into the well-known trap . . . or intentional aim to mislead . . . by finding specific incidents that he personally judges as being of “bad faith” or reflecting “incompetence”, and attributing these traits to the entire Aquino Administration, and President Aquino. In doing so, he leaves no room for Government to interpret business issues (values and risks) differently than he would and no room for there to be legitimate legal disputes or court appeals. If there is a dispute, he ascribes bad faith or negligence to one side of the case, and one side only: the National Government.

It seems to me that his column banner should read “Peter Wallace: advocate for business interests”.

Without question, the Aquino Government DOES honor contracts. And, yes, of course there are disputes from time to time, which is why courts exist. It is normal. It does not mean bad faith. And, yes, yes, there are systemic problems with laws, courts and contract compliance that need to be understood and addressed (laying blame on President Aquino diverts us from this). And, yes, yes, yes, there are incompetencies throughout government, as there have been for decades.

The headline of his Christmas Day article is just plain malicious and the content of the series of articles appears to be either political agenda, self-serving to Peter Wallace, or negligent.

If Peter Wallace has business interests affected by any of these cases, ought he not . . . in good faith . . . explain what they are? Or state explicitly that he has none, so we don’t begin to mistrust his motives?


448 Responses to “Rebuttal to Peter Wallace column on Government contracts”
  1. Fireworks Joe. Wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Wallace responds.

  2. NHerrera says:

    Between the bearded man in the blog article and the grand-fatherly man-owner of the blog, I will pick the latter for a Pacquiao anytime.

    Enjoyed reading the article. (The parenthetical questions scattered in the article give a nice touch.)


  3. RoxasRobredo2016 says:

    Maybe centralizing and professionalizing the contracts/procurement & supply chain function of the government is worthwhile considering all the problems in this sphere?

    • Joe America says:

      I think the country is too big and the technical requirements of different agencies too particular. Now there might be a central legal function that all contracts are required to pass through, but I’d have a “drop dead” timeframe that, if they are not out of that department in two weeks, they are considered approved, and their comments would be only recommendations. It must be up to the agencies to approve, or they lose accountability.

      It would be too easy for the agency to point fingers if other cooks are messing with their recipes.

      • They had this centralization for IT: Ike Seneres. But there were later suspicions that he was getting grease money and favoring certain contractors. Don’t really know.

        I did talk to him in 1995 in the DFA canteen. I had a proposal to computerize the DFA worldwide in a guerrila manner, starting small and growing things. He wanted really big stuff and I don’t know if it every materialized, did he want big kickbacks or not?

        Having said that, procurement is always a critical function. I have been around and usually procurement departments in big firms are always prone to taking advantage. They will very often have the best coffee machines and desks, but that isn’t even illegal… and the best of them will be tough negotiators, modern bazaar types who are just are hardnosed as the salesmen they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Procurement criteria can also be a boomerang… for the new Berlin airport they got the cheapest bids and many Eastern European companies messed up, construction is delayed, costs highly overrun… whew.

        • Joe America says:

          In the army, Quartermasters are gods, for the goods they can get and give. Or they were in that surreality of Nam. My supply sergeant knew the ropes and one day walked into my hooch: “Sir, do you want a helicopter? I can get us a helicopter?” He had already acquired three extra generators off the books, so I didn’t doubt it.

          “Can you fly it?”

          “No sir.”

          “No thanks then.”

          • Joe America says:

            He also had his own personal jeep, and I never asked where he got it.

          • Aha..he should have used his extreme resourcefulness to get you a topnotch pilot, too…American, of course, not a Vietnamese.

            • Joe America says:

              Actually, I would have had better luck buyin looking for a Vietnamese pilot, I think. Sorry I didn’t think of that. The one that took me out on a training mission flew nicely. We rose from the landing platform going backward.

              • Bert says:

                Going backward, omigosh! Must be a Mitsubishi Montero engine in that heli you used. And, did your Vietnamese pilot find his way to your destination using rear view mirror only, Joe?

              • Joe America says:

                No, he did a deft spin about 50 feet up and headed into the war zone, which was basically, at the time (1969), everywhere outside the major cities, and, occasionally, within them. He was doing forward observer work for a Vietamese artillery battery. FO is what the SAF did not have at Mamasapano, and I hope that is what the Senate committee will look into.

                Though I somehow doubt it.

          • sonny says:

            I couldn’t imagine any other duo to pull the world together as Marshall and Eisenhower after the WWII. My world was never the same after my second birthday. I had my supply of 6-oz Coca-Cola, Golden State butter and American-baked bread. My dad worked for the quartermaster of the Sixth Army (Gen Walter Krueger). 🙂

            • Joe America says:

              No wonder your brain developed so well. All that good nutrition and a coke for sizzle. Nothing better than an original Coke in 6 oz bottle. It was scant and precious and soooooo good. Those big liter jugs of today are not exactly austerity.

              • sonny says:

                I tell you, Joe, the coca leafs on the original did their number. also listening to Vdsss 78rpms and watching 16 mm Errol Flynns. I saw the first of consumer heaven, 1949.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, my. That was only 66 years ago and just look at us now. . . . try not to grimace whilst doing so . . .

          • chempo says:

            In my scouting days we used to sing this song:

            There are rats, rats, as big as pussy cats
            In the store, in the store
            There are rats, rats, as big as pussy cats
            In the quatermaster’s sotre.

            Did’nt know then it was actually about non-furry kind.

  4. RoxasRobredo2016 says:

    Re: the MRT’s maintenance contract, such a short-sighted decision (I’m not sure whose decision it was) to set a contract’s expiry date on an election year…

  5. Jonathan says:

    I would be more worried about the administration not fulfilling contracts if it was a contract that was signed during this term. These all look to be contracts that date back to previous presidents. Which means they may well be grossly advantageous to the government and country.

    So which is better for the rule of law: letting a bad contract stand, or try to negotiate/litigate out of them? Not an easy question.

  6. Jean says:

    Wallace perhaps is your counter balance Joe. His Yin to your Yang. I have yet to recall an article or rebuttal to an opinion from you where you point out the flaws and/or short comings of Aquino or his government. I am hard pressed to recall you ever citing anything negative. Your partiality thus comes into question. While I understand you support this administration, it gets rather old that you constantly come out with articles weaved to basically attack the positioning of anyone unhappy with the government. Basically, it always plays out by you saying you only think that way because you are mis/uninformed. Ever stop to wonder why so many people are that way? Perhaps because the government isn’t as transparent as it claims to be.

    Anyway, it seems this article you have here focuses on attacking the author rather than defending your beloved administration. Bad form. You are better than that.

    Wallace is legit. He wants whats best for this country too. Why not dig there a little more?

    • I don’t know… there have been enough foreign hucksters hobnobbing with Filipino higher-ups from Harry Stonehill to John Nance (google I won’t explain who they were) for anyone to be suspicious and I was suspicious of Joe as well in the beginning…

      Now look for Joe’s older blogs where he was NOT at all convinced yet of Aquino – pre-2013, and finally wrote an article why he respects him after finally being convinced.

      OK, one could suspect that Joe was paid or threatened or a mixture of both, after all it IS the Philippines and one NEVER really knows. But read the nuances and read the articles that have been critical (Customs) and you will see that he is not a paid stooge of the likes of American Hartzell Spence who wrote a hagiography of Marcos – now Joe you get why I was VERY skeptical of you, and played a number of games to check your reactions. How would I know if you are different from the rest, and Aquino/Roxas unlike the other bastards? So in my book, Joe is proven innocent beyond reasonable doubt.

    • Joe America says:

      So did you read the cases? Let’s talk about PIATCO. Do you believe the Aquino Administration should be granted the right of appeal to the Supreme Court, or not?

      Here is a recent article that does not cater to the Aquino Administration:

      But, on the other hand, I believe the Administration has done wonderful things to raise the Philippines out of the banana backwaters of corruption and incompetence, and in my studies to understand things, I’ve discovered that people judge quickly and easily for superficial reasons. Why should I allow that to pass? It’s not good for the Philippines? You want me to endorse that which I believe is not good for the Philippines? Or to remain quiet if I see wrongs being done?

      • Jean says:

        Nah, the reason I follow you is because of how you run your mouth (eerr write in this case) I don’t mind you calling em as you see them but I dunno… whenever it comes to the Aquino focused topics, you seem less diplomatic, your writing style seems more like you shoving a spoon into my mouth rather than leading my thought process through subtle queues. Or maybe its just me.

        • Hans says:

          Soon you will be called “troll”, that’s how it goes here.

          Made sense what you said, you aren’t alone.

          • Joe America says:

            Jean is an occasional reader and has visited before. I don’t question his agenda. Now you, on the other hand, are new and have not addressed my question as to your nationality, place of location or interest in the Philippines.

        • Well, Joe can sound a bit like a preacher at times… he is a Lutheran after all and I know that attitude, my German mother’s family is a Lutheran family of preachers and businessmen – almost Americans in a way hehe.

          But he does accept well-reasoned and courteous objections and even posts articles that run counter to his opinion, which is quite strongly held but it IS his right to have it. What Joe does not like is manipulative stuff and the kind of words they beep on American TV. 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, well, often I read my own stuff and throw it out, it is so obnoxious. And I’ve written some I’ve regretted, but, hey, once the button is pushed, it’s out there. I can’t write perfections for everybody, and just try to write readable and interesting material suitable for conversation. The Wallace story is actually one of the hardest I’ve done in terms of reading about the cases, and I’m still not sure I understand them all right. But some I do, and I honestly think the issue has a lot of reasons for the problems that exist, and few reside with President Aquino. Of course, I also disagreed with the idea of laying blame for Mamasapano on the President, so at least I’m consistent.

    • Jean says:

      I don’t question Joe at all about his want for the Philippines to grow. My comment about his impartiality is based on when I joined( which is counted in months rather than years). The scope of what I have been exposed to is rather recent and is what I am operating from. The reason as to why I question is that I can not fathom how he seems to have no problem with how Aquino is running things… it would be refreshing to hear from a pro-aquino how he wishes Aquino did this rather than… or what the hell was he thinking… so on, so forth!

      • Caliphman says:

        Jean, I have to agree with you that Joe’s article questions more Wallace’s personal integrity and motives more than the veracity or fairness of the latters accusations against the government and Aquino administration. I do not read Wallace regularly and do not know enough of him to like or dislike his character traits but I do believe in Joe’s policy here that one does not shoot the messenger (and at least support personal insinuations why he should be discredited) but one should just rebut the issues. After all, that is the title of this blog.

        Having said this, the fact remains regardless of Wallace’s or Joe’s personal biases that the Philippines is regarded poorly by the business world when it comes to doing business in the country. Whether and how much Aquino’s administration can be held responsible for this continuing state of affairs is debatable but he certainly cannot be held blameless by saying the problem did not start under his watch.

        But fair is fair, and it is remarkable to note that if one clicks on the Philippines in that business survey, one gets a breakdown by cities in the country…and guess which one pops up among the top 3? Davao! As much as I am against Duterte’s presidential candidacy, does it mean this survey should be dismissed as being politically manipulated or just erroneous? And if it is factual, how much of the credit belongs to Duterte?

        • Joe America says:

          I think motives are fair game if the output is deception. Investment advisers in the US are required to state if they hold positions in a stock they are recommending. It is also fair of people to question whether I am being paid or speaking as directed by anyone.

          • caliphman says:

            Well one has to demonstrate deception first, dont you agree? Its not just a matter of errors in asserting facts or a disagreement in interpretation of events and goes beyond that by showing intent to mislead. In the case of our Chinese trolls who pose as someone else, the intent to mislead is usually self-evident. I consider these distinctions important as this is generally the rules of the road here, to focus primarily on issues and not the messenger or poster, which Is unlke the bedlam in other blogsiites.You have articulated several valid points on why some of Wallace’s are actually mistatements or exaggerations but with all due respect I think his lack of personal and professional integrity and willful intent to deceive have not been proved, in my opinion.

            I understand the comparison between an OpEd columnist and an investment advisor in that their primary mission is to persuade the public to heed their opinion. But there is also a vast difference in legal and fiduciary responsibilities here in the US between the two occupations that require strict and full disclosure by a regulated advisor.

            • Joe America says:

              Difference in perspective noted. I rather think my blog would not have meant much had I just looked at contracts and not tried to figure out “why”.

            • Joe America says:

              By the way, the way the article developed, I started with the nine cases and as I looked at each one, I could see that there were valid reasons for the decisions that were made by Government, and I was astounded at Wallace’s PIATCO view that denied President Aquino due process to go to the Supreme Court. Also, when he took up legal arguments repeatedly for only the challenging side of the cases, it became apparent that he was not being objective. Also, tossing in the LTO cases just emotionalized the argument and had nothing to do with contracts. I didn’t think that was playing fair. Then I went back and wrote the article

              • Joe America says:

                By the way, there is no small irony that I claim Wallace has a bias, and unfairly unloaded on the Administration, as you claim I have a bias, and unfairly unloaded on Wallace. My bias is trying to discern what is in the best interest of the Philippines. I would argue that Wallace claims the same thing, but he actually represents interests subordinate to those of the Philippines, that is, companies that do business here and are unhappy with the steps government is taking. I am biased toward a government that I believe is working hard and earnestly at building an honest, productive nation. I admit that bias.

              • caliphman says:

                Who has the purer motive in an argument between two persons is not germane to who is more credible, based on relevant facts and logical reasoning presented by each person. Claiming the side of God, country, and motherhood and accusing the other person of much less noble if not evil motives in my view is no substitute for articulating a more convincing argument based on logical reasoning and hard facts.

                The more discerning readers understand that opinion pieces are…well..opinionated and biased. Whichever piece is more credible should not depend on the bias or alleged motivation underlying each writer but a comparison of the quality of evidence and reasoning given to support contentions in each OpEd article.

            • Vicara says:

              Mr. Wallace has over decades established himself as a respected economic analyst/writer for hire. Nothing dishonorable in that of course, Similar to skilled lawyers hired by corporations, analysts are accustomed to slanting their reports this way or that.

              But it would be good to know–for his sake, not just the public’s–if this piece was written by him as an independent op-ed columnist, or if he was commissioned by anyone to do so; or if he has (or had) ties to any of the corporations involved in those contracts; or to any of the campaign teams of opposition candidates.

              It’s an age of frequent cross-overs from supposedly independent media into the private sphere, and vice versa. The U.S. has seen a spate of incidents in which op-ed writers have turned out to be engaged as consultants for lobbyists. There are also lobbyists who suddenly turn up as journalists, having just resigned as lobbyists the day before. Doctors influencing millions on TV are revealed to be grantees of, say, the meat industry. Not quite illegal–everyone has the basic freedom to change jobs–but not always ethical.

              Also, there’s an added complication, in that the Philippines has developed over several elections highly sophisticated illicit systems for buying media–much more sophisticated than the “envelopmental journalism” most of us may have heard of. These systems include standardized packages offered to each election candidate before campaign season begins. For example, Package A might mean x number of positive news stories published about you (as candidate) each month. Package B would provide the same, but would include negative stories about the candidates running against you. Package C–this might actually be more expensive than the others–would simply ensure that no negative stories about you would appear at all. The sums for all these packages are quite high, and are in addition to the legitimate ad guidelines and air time allowed by COMELEC.

              The emergence of these systems has been tracked by media watchdog organizations such as the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, which has published this book:

              I am not saying that Mr. Wallace is such a journalist; but it is election time, and he and all professional media workers, however aboveboard and ethical, will just have to put up with the occasional call from the public for disclosure. Apologies.

              Incidentally, it’s interesting that this particular post by Joe has suddenly drawn so many well-spoken trolls and counter-spinners, like flies to honey. I detect one or two longtime ad industry people among them.

              • edgar lores says:


                Have so many questions re the “highly sophisticated illicit systems,” but just thanks for the inside info.

              • Vicara says:

                You’re most welcome, Edgar. I heard about these systems at a lecture at the Ateneo school in Rockwell before the 2010 election. The civil society organizations, graduate students and public admin academics in the audience were amazed by how “plantsado” these shadow election activities were. We were even told how much some of the packages cost, although I can’t remember the exact amounts, which were in the millions. But then I’m sure prices have gone up considerably since. On the other hand, the proliferation of social media channels and greater online citizen participation make it harder to steer voters in this or that direction. There are just too many information sources. I daresay that more trolls, working multiple shifts, have had to be hired now than in 2010. 🙂

              • chempo says:

                My friends told me in the media it’s called the ADC strategy — Attack, Defend, Collect.

              • NHerrera says:

                Like! (The item on pre-election packages particularly.)

            • allan reyes says:

              Though i couldn’t disagree with what you said here, still, I would like to thank Joe for finding the time to do the research to give his rebuttal. I, too, got dismayed reading Wallace’s articles. He sounded full of angst. Although, to be fair, in most of his articles I read he sounded sober and diplomatic. Joe’s reply, however, brought fresh smile on my lips…

          • Jean says:

            um, wow, its like your read my mind and committed it to paper. I’ll admit you were more articulate too. Basically, everything you said are my sentiments exactly. Thanks.

    • Chuck says:

      Nailed it. It’s frustrating to deal with biased people who have all the time in the world to churn lengthy rebuttals that are meant to appear smart but fall flat on their face.

      • Joe America says:

        I eliminated your duplicate comment, Chuck, and invite you to leave this blog and stop trashing it with trollish one-liners. This is a discussion thread and there is no need to demean Filipinos and others who participate with the idea that their earnest discussions are only worth trash talk response.

  7. josephivo says:

    1. In designing storage tanks in the petro-chemical industry, one has to build in a weak seam. If something unfortunate happens, the tank should burst in least damaging direction. (haha, one of my first jobs)

    It seems to me that layers in the Philippines are experts in doing similar things, are even better, they build in such dubious clauses that they can blackmail either party depending the future developments. (Was this part of Peter Wallace expertise?)

    2. Most of the cases mentioned are typical situations were “rent” prevails, being well connected being more important than being technical superior (“rent” in the profit made above normal profits due to position and/or connections)

    3. When I arrived in Manila in 2004, my boss (with a diplomatic position) pointed at the newly finished terminal, Naia III, and told me that the Germans refused to pay the 3e time a bribe to the 3e president overseeing the project. Because GMA did get anything all problems started. Ramos and Estrada got their share and consequently had problems with their memory. The Germans had had enough with the ever changing interpretations of the contract by the Filipinos just to extort some more money.

    My boss just got the story from his German colleague. Later that year it seemed common knowledge for all EU delegates visiting us in the region 7 on an “information exchange” tour, the consensus was “beware of Filipino contracts”.

    What different times it were… Some mayors then even dared to request cash money to allow us to help their poorest constituents! (Didn’t Peter Wallace thrive in that environment?)

    • 3. When I arrived in Manila in 2004, my boss (with a diplomatic position) pointed at the newly finished terminal, Naia III, and told me that the Germans refused to pay the 3e time a bribe to the 3e president overseeing the project. Because GMA did get anything all problems started. Ramos and Estrada got their share and consequently had problems with their memory. The Germans had had enough with the ever changing interpretations of the contract by the Filipinos just to extort some more money.

      My boss just got the story from his German colleague. Later that year it seemed common knowledge for all EU delegates visiting us in the region 7 on an “information exchange” tour, the consensus was “beware of Filipino contracts”.

      True… I have some sources on this as well, and chempo also has mentioned that Filipino contracts are seen as dangerous. The law in the Philippines is often used to screw people.

      Time to share something a traditional Filipino legalist once told me when I said one should make laws simpler – “if we make laws simpler, then the bad people would know what NOT to do, that is simply not possible” – which proves what the Beatles said about the spirit of the Spanish Inquisition being very much alive in the Philippines. Now the present administration has a different spirit, as proven by Leila de Lima trying to simplify the Criminal Code, even make it more readable for the common man. But the old forces are still very VERY strong.

      BUT a German source who knows both sides also told me that NAIA3 was an unlucky conjunction of Filipino skullduggery versus German arrogance, which is why matters went so bad. In fact when Guido Westerwelle (then foreign minister, Liberal and openly gay) went to the Philippines, he told Noynoy that a solution will be found, meaning in diplomatic speak that both sides made mistakes and there will be a middle way. Some Filipino trolls of course asked in Facebook what Noynoy must have done for Guido to get such nice words…

    • Joe America says:

      I see you like parenthetical expressions, as well. hahaha

      It is interesting how the contracts he cites all had their origination in “the old days” and the Aquino Administration got stuck holding the bag.

      • DelPi says:

        Great come back Joe, but the question remains and currently believes that there is an inherent serious contracting problems in the Philippines. In my observation, we the filipinos like turning simple things to complex and chaotic conditions until one gives up out of frustration.

  8. andrewlim8 says:

    Joe and everyone,

    I have emailed Mr Wallace the link to this article. He is a fortright and respectable person so if and when he replies, we should be in our best behaviour. 🙂 (not that the regulars need to be reminded)

    • NHerrera says:

      Best behavior I agree. But also tit for tat.

    • Joe America says:

      Okay, I’ll try to behave. Thanks.

    • edgar lores says:

      Gosh, it’s only the 7th day into the new year, and my head is spinning with all these posts and comments. I feel a little bit like Sonny. Stop the world!

      I think I will await Mr. Wallace’s response before putting in my two cents. That way, I don’t have to display my take-no-prisoners, tactless and non-chempoic behavior.

      • Joe America says:

        🙂 The discussion threads are a’hummin’, for sure. A batch of happy fools madly pecking at their Chinese keyboards . . . heh heh

      • sonny says:

        edgar, listen to this.

        As a young student commuting to Manila, the JD, Yujuico, Ricalinda buses were always full by the time they reach Cubao rotonda. Boarding at the beginning of the route, I always got a seat. At Cubao the bus is SRO including cute members of the opposite sex. The chivalrous thing to do was to give up my seat. Thing is the commute is long, what was a gentleman to do? Hindi ko matiis na makitang nakatayo ‘yong ale. Kaya pumikit na lang ako!! Habang naka-upo.

        • edgar lores says:


        • chempo says:

          Sonny, during my first visit (part touring, part to check up on something I fabricated here) I took a coach ride to the northern most part of Luzon. To ensure great comfort I paid for 2 seats, one for my butt the other for my bags and stuff. Along the way the bus got jam- packed and I sensed some standing passengers making snide remarks at my inconsideration. The conductor I think made the excuse for me in vernacular. By and by and old gentleman rested on my armrest, then slowly encroached onto my bags. In the end, I removed the bags onto my laps and gave him the seat.
          You got a better deal Sonny, with someone cute. I got an old guy and I paid for that seat.

    • caliphman says:

      Andrew, if he reads the article he will have a good idea what to expect. I say perhaps Joe should consider inviting him to guest an article named “A Rebuttal to the Rebuttal….”?

    • caliphman says:

      One question I would like to ask is if it is true that he was born unnaturally which is why he wanted to be a naturalized citizen. Or is that rude?

    • DelPi says:

      Touche and I am going to celebrate right now with SMB.

  9. Re MRT contract: I can only reiterate what I have seen here in Germany.

    1) Munich: only two operators for public transport in the urban area, plus one more in the Greater Munich area. All are in the Munich traffic consortium, single ticketing on an honest based system, with stiff fines for those caught without tickets by plainclothesmen, legal prosecution for recidivists.

    1a) The S-Bahn München which is a subsidiary of the federally-owned but privatized (but not yet publicly offered, unlike Deutsche Post and Deutsche Telekom) Deutsche Bahn. There have been frequent problems with maintenance and service which have subsided after protests and a lot of maintenance work done. It is a large overland network of suburban trains reaching 50 km into the outskirts including the Munich airport which is 40 km away. The main tunnel was built before the 1972 Olympics and is the busiest train route in Germany, meaning maintenance windows are short. They closed it for overhaul on weekends and at night for several years after fires broke out in some stations due to old electrical wiring. Full overhaul of wiring, signalling and fire control.

    Political conflicts between the Catholic conservative Bavarian ruling party and the Social Democrats that used to run Munich did not make things any easier. The AZ, a tabloid close to the SPD blasted the Bavarian state government, while the TZ tabloid blasted Mayor Ude of Munich.

    1b) The MVG (Munich transport company) which is owned by the SWM (Munich urban services) company. MVG takes care of all buses, trams, subways. Occasionally tourist bus operators are subcontracted to take care of extra shifts. SWM also takes care of electric delivery, water, heating so the synergies are there. SWM is fully owned by the city of Munich, just like AWM (Munich garbage services). Private firms are more flexible than government bureacracies even over here, but fully government owned means they are not forced to make too much of a profit by the owner.

    1c) RVO (regional traffic for Upper Bavaria) is a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn and operates long-range busses within the Greater Munich area. Works quite well.

    2) Berlin: two operators in the urban area: S-Bahn Berlin and BVG (Berlin transport company)

    2a) The Berlin S-Bahn was once owned by the Communists. They let it deteriorate especially in the West which they wanted to see suffer. It was totally run-down, but how do you close a network that is huge and has been running practically since the time Mark Twain came to visit Berlin. They did close down parts of it for months on end, but only when the bus and subway system had been sufficiently overhauled to accomodate the people. After overhaul and modernization, it is now running smoothly. And they still used Communist coaches around 2000 because money was short.

    2b) BVG also has its history. The U-Bahn (subway) was also in pretty bad shape in East Berlin. The oldest stations are more than 100 years old. Some were shuttered during the time of the wall. East Berlin has excellent trams while all trams where removed in West Berlin during the time when everybody in the capitalist part of the city believed in cars, cars, cars. New tram lines have now been built in West Berlin because trams (like the old Manila tranvia but newer generation) are more efficient than buses but less expensive than MRTs and subways. Bus lines had to be totally changed to meet the needs of the new East-West traffic for which the entire network was not equipped, even with restored subway and S-Bahn connections between both sides of the city.

    Political conflicts between three political parties made things very hard in Berlin. The Christian Democrats (conservative and anti-communist), the Social Democrats and the Democratic Socialists (ex-Communists, many former German Democratic Republic functionaries and their families live in East Berlin) plus their respective tabloids. The problem now is the new airport, not the public transport system that much anymore. But here you have a problem between the states of Berlin and Brandenburg. Brandenburg is totally ex-Communist, very poor and maybe corrupt. It will take some years until the new Berlin airport opens after many issues and scandals, including contracts that had to be terminated, numerous court cases and political scandals. It should have opened some years ago on the grounds of the old Communist Schönefeld airport, it is not really a new airport, it is just a new terminal and I think one more runway. So even here it ain’t that easy.

    • Joe America says:

      There is a superb lesson here. Big contracts for big money for complex systems . . . and politics . . . are a troublesome fit.

      • And big cities, especially capitals with tough legacies (both political and in terms of old run-down systems) to deal with, have it harder than newcomers.

        Munich built its S-Bahn and subway system before the 1972 Olympics with a lot of federal and state subsidies, Berlin’s system is Mark Twain vintage and with scars of two world wars and Communism.

        Munich also has the advantage of relative unity, for all fights between political parties all are Bavarians in the end over here, even the ecological leftist Green Party cooperates.

        Munich airport BTW is under ONE state-owned company, combining the best of private efficiency and public stewardship. The new Berlin airport was disrupted by the interests of two federal states and conflicting authorities, got a tough manager only recently.

        BTW the manager of Munich airport, Michael Kerkloh, was offered the job of getting Berlin airport finished and running. He refused. A good manager knows what NOT to touch. Munich and Bavarian politicians did mock Berlin, a little bit like Davao versus Manila.

  10. manuelbuencamino says:

    Good one, Joe! That Aussie needed a spanking that was a long time coming.

  11. Madlanglupa says:

    “This demand that the President be held personally responsible for every ill in the Philippines is rather strange to me.”

    I don’t know who started this belief system or when it first came into being, but it must be that the 20-year-long want generated by the Marcos regime followed by People Power created this terrible belief system that only the President has the absolute divine power to change or control things for the greater good and under God.

    • Joe America says:

      If he had the power, that would be fair. But the power is vested in the Legislature and the Courts and Executive and some important independent agencies. I also think extreme, persistent need turns into neediness. It is quite amazing that President Aquino’s trust ratings have held up in the face of relentless attacks by political candidates and assorted malcontents. And certain press pundits, I suppose I should add. If anything offers up optimism for the elections, it is that. Perhaps the Mamasapano hearings, if played as an explicit political hack job across to a separate branch of government, it will actually work in Mr. Aquino’s favor. I rather have the feeling he is not inclined to be a punching bag once again.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Suppose there was a country where the president was the go to man to solve problems. The person who greased the wheels so everybody was happy or at least got a bit of the action.If such was the long time established way of doing things all the various people in the country would expect the president to solve the problems : pay the contracts and set up things..Ummmm

      But then suppose an honest president who stuck by the actual law & the actual regulations, or protocols or normal ‘due process’ was elected…And stops being the “go to” problem solver….There would be a lot of very annoyed folk out there wanting a return to the predictability of the old way of doing things…

      Focusing on the Philippines, Peter Wallace with his contacts n the Philippines after 40 years there is being an agent for that annoyance and sense of deprivation. Perhaps he should revisit Oz again for a while. Perhaps he would then see how the way such things are done now has changed a lot since he left in 1975 for the better.

      There are now very strong “Independent Commisions Against Corruption” ( ICAC ) in almost every state with the authority to summon and interrogate just about anybody.And there is no acceptance ( as in the USA ) of the answer : ” I decline to answer on the grounds that I may incriminate myself”. Persons trying that on wind up being charged with contempt and being jailed or fined.

      Ummm yes they are almost “Star chambers” Joe and upset a lot of the legal fraternity..But the benefits in terms of exposing corruption have been huge. The ICAC’s make recommendations to the courts on whether to prosecute..And such prosecutions have happened. A former Police minister for Queensland was jailed as was a former chief commissioner for police in .Queensland. Currently 2 New South Wales former state ministers are twiddling their thumbs behind bars. And that has definitely discouraged others trying the same corrupt larks.

      What are the chances of an ICAC being established in the Philippines ? I know there is an Ombudsman but the Ombudsman usually act on complaints. An ICAC can also initiate investigations.

      • Jonathan says:

        Slim. And I’d oppose to creation of an ICAC either: in the current situation it would be far, far, far too easy to abuse.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          I grant you that the possibility is slim in the Philippines..Too many powerful folks would be compromised. And I acknowledge the potential for abuse. There has been one instance here where the NSW ICAC went on a witch hunt and had to be restrained via the courts…

          • I remember a conversation with my father in the 1990s – about the Korean leaders who were then being prosecuted for corruption – he said at least they did something to make their country progress while profiting from it. Same with Bavaria’s Franz-Josef Strauss who was allegedly corrupt, but at least helped catapult a formerly purely agricultural state into the high-tech era – so many even former enemies still respect him years after his death.

            Filipino leaders seem to prioritize based on just earnings, to hell with their own country.

            • Before I found out about 4Ps, K-12, PNP modernization, LGUs and LGPMS plus other stuff, I also thought, yeah right, big growth rates, probably this is just the same bullshit but in a legit way, just like Manuel Roxas I favoring the sugar industry with his lawmaking…

        • edgar lores says:

          There have been successful anti-corruption bodies in Asia — notably in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. But not so much in South Korea and Thailand.

          There are several conditions to make such an agency successful, such as the probity and quality of the agents; the power given to it; the independence from political influence; and the political will of government.

          In Ombudswoman Carpio-Morales, we see probity and quality. Not so much in her prosecutorial staff.

          In the power of the office, we see the Supreme Court curtailing — for heaven’s sake! — the power given to the Ombudsman by declaring part of the law unconstitutional.

          In the lackadaisical performance of previous Ombudsmen Desierto and Gutierrez, we see the lack of independence from political influence.

          It has been only with President Aquino that there has been a political will to stamp out corruption… but even so there have been accusations of selective prosecution.

          In Oz, politicians tremble when called before ICAC. A state premier resigned because he could not remember that he received a gift of a bottle of wine.

          • Ah, the Omb. Disierto, the guy who overruled a decision of his office which ruled that DENR erred in allowing Erlinda Chong to purchase that 8,000+ sqm lot in Comembo.

          • chempo says:

            In my comment below titled “Re Piatco case” one of the links decribed how Phils sought Hongkong authorities help to investigate a DOTC official’s money trail. I’m impressed with the speed of the HK authorities’ action and how they raided some lawyer’s office. Raiding an office? This could never have happened in Phils, not with the Banking Secrecy nonsense.

            In a recent TV interview, Trillanes mentioned the govt has completed studying the Singapore and HK model on anti-corruption and that we are likely to see some new ideas being implemented — but only if Mar gets the ceo job. Binay will junk that initiative, Grace may want it but her back mountain (Chinese saying for sponsors or financial backers) will not hear of it, Duterte will likely say he does not need it.

    • allan reyes says:

      Couldn’t agree, more…Well, if you don’t know whom to blame – blame the President. Easy…hehehe

  12. karl garcia says:

    What does disadvantageous to government mean?This is often heard when officials of a new administration junks a project of a previous administration.I also hear this from losing bidders complaining about the winner and from someone who really likes someone to get disqualified.

    • Jonathan says:

      I usually interpret it as a claim that the government is paying too much for the services rendered/items purchased.

      The naughty would say the overpricing is to make sure there’s room in the budget for the bribes.

  13. Vicara says:

    Wallace himself points out that “one of the reasons [for the contracts complications] is policy changes from one administration to the next, or even within an administration.”

    Excellent reason for picking the administration candidate who will ensure policy continuity for another six years, and who has the organizational experience to realize the importance of policies uniformly adopted and implemented by different departments.

  14. Randolf says:

    Sir you write well very informative kaso mahaba masyado mahirap para sa ordinaryong pinoy na dapat nating maabot pag share ko ito di naman nila masiyado mabasa kung sana make it short but concise kasi un ang kaya ng ordinaryong juan tulad mga naniniwala agad sa simpleng pic sa fb at short write ups

    • karl garcia says:

      madalas me nagsasalin sa tagalog kung me mag volunteer,pero sa tingin ko di ito mapapaiksi .

    • Joe America says:

      Some things can be explained in short terms, or even memes. But some things take time to get information into the text. This article is one of those. I’m glad you find the topic worthwhile. Other people will have to do the short stuff.

  15. I note that his series of columns that was run in the front page began on the Christmas Eve, the day the keeper of the EDSA flame, my idol, Letty J. Magsanoc died.

    In the days when corruption is tolerated, even the norm in business-government dealings, I wonder if Mr. Wallace has raised a finger against padded deals that included bribes and corruption in the contract costs. Was it taken as a normal way to do business in any country his group is engaged in? I remember a quote by a foreign business group right after the Marcos was thrownpl
    out of Malacanag Palace, bribes for Marcos dummies were deemed part of the cost of doing business n the Philippines. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant comes to mind, with the original cost of about 600 million dollars, it ballooned to 2.2 billion dollars – part of which went to the purchase of a castle or something in Austria c/o a Marcos crony. I know, he came here in 1975.

    It takes 2 to tango, as the saying goes. We need the incentive of employment opportunities provided by their business, they need to produce their products at lower labor cost, expand their market, etc…somehow, corrupt dummies got in the picture and contracts were padded, quality suffer, and most Filipinos were placed in disadvantageous situations. The courts are there to decide if contracts are enforceable or not, what is so wrong in scrutinizing such contracts that are not just peanuts in values, more so if rumors already abound as to the shady personalities involved?

    Should a contract be enjforced if it is proven to be blatantly disadvantageous to the host country?

    • Joe America says:

      Right, which is why the Arroyo projects and contracts were reviewed. What SHOULD the Philippines do with a contract that disfavors the nation, and may have been set up that way because bribes were paid. Superb point.

  16. karl garcia says:

    “But everything else has to be done, too. It won’t be done through (endless) promises. It will be done through results, but not if we stick to the old systems. Dramatic change must be done. If President Aquino wants to leave a true legacy, then he should make a second (to the one he’s doing on corruption) major reform. Discard the bidding process. Former President Fidel Ramos did it, and got us full power in just 17 months. While here we are, 32 months into this administration, and only 2 PPP projects have commenced construction. We need to bypass the system.”

    An exerpt From an article of Peter Wallace.

    There is a reason for the government not going the direct negotiations unsolicited proposals route,and competition is chief among them.

    Yes it is so slow and not really that sure,but it is better than finding out that a better option was available,but not explored.

    This fake biddings and overpricing scandals will have to end of course and that is why I say that the Binay investigations was not a waste of time except that it was not finished.

    NBN ZTE was supposed to be a lesson,but Mr. Wallace seemed to have forgotten.

    • Joe America says:

      Clearly, he is representing business and not the people. The delays could easily be worse due to court cases under non-bid deals.

      • karl garcia says:

        Mr. Wallace might want to bypass the system and ignore the courts.I have to eat my words on all the things I said about TROs.

    • Joe America says:

      This was in this morning’s Inquirer: He [Erice] echoed Roxas’ claim that the MRT’s sorry state could be traced to the “original sin” committed by the Ramos administration when it awarded a 25-year build-operate-transfer contract to MRT Corp. (MRTC), controlled by the Sobrepeña group, at terms grossly disadvantageous to the government.

      • karl garcia says:

        My question about disadvantageous to the government was answered by the article.But that fiction writer below Felix Had a point it is on the delivery, you’ll see the disadvantage.
        You sign a long term contract then the prices suddenly fluctuate it is a long term no escape contract then boom,unintended consequences follow. ROI is just part of the whole shebang and those computations are often times a dud after a crisis.
        The studies commissioned by FVR all the ambitious ones were duds because of financial crisis like afp midernization and agriculture modernization.I keep on mentioning those two because I sort of followed it even retroactively.
        The brown outs were solved,but still we have the highest electricity rayes in the region.

        Now as to Abaya, I have reacted on him on some cases even mentioning him on facebook,just to drive a point much to the chagrin of my dad.He is much maligned,he has his faults he might have been in a wrong place in a wrong time,but that is not an excuse.

        • karl garcia says:

          I actually tried to say something good about Abaya but could not at the moment,but he is a good guy.

        • Joe America says:

          I’d like to know exactly what happened from the time the contract expired in 2010 and it was rolling through sixth month renewals until drop dead time in 2012. Did Roxas and Abaya leave it in Vitangcol’s hands and he was either incompetent or working for something other than the State’s best interest, or were there legitimate attempts made to rebid the contract and they failed, as they did in 2014 and 2015? That information is missing, and any judgment outside of it . . . one way or the other . . . seems to me to be rash and political.

          I lost confidence in Abaya, not with MRT, which I think is rather like Purisima (Vitangcol) letting Aquino (Abaya) down, but with the horrid solution of splitting a common LRT/MRT station into two parts and defeating the whole purpose of the idea of “common”, in favor of an oligarch’s best interest and P1B is savings to government. Over 50 year life of the station, that’s P20 million per year. For that pittance millions of riders will hoof their way down a long tunnel to catch a ride.

          • karl garcia says:

            Here is Abaya’s explanation.

            At the DOTC’s budget briefing before the House appropriations committee, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya disputed the assertion of Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares that building the common train station at the Trinoma Mall will cause more inconvenience for commuters because it will not link the LRT-1, MRT-3 and the planned MRT-7 stations and that it will also cause heavier traffic jams for motorists.

            Abaya, however, said the Trinoma common station will have less impact on traffic because the Ayala-owned mall is on the side of the road, while SM is located in the middle.

            “Confident kami na mas madali itayo [ang common station] sa Trinoma kaysa sa SM, at mas mabilis matapos mabilis ang common station sa Trinoma kaysa SM despite the deadline,” he said.

            DOTC has set a deadline of 24 months for the construction of a common station in Trinoma and 18 months for SM, agency officials said in earlier hearings.

            Abaya said that the common station’s construction time may be shortened and that the 24-month deadline was just for contingency.

            He said the construction of the Trinoma common station will even be “less obtrusive” to motorists passing along EDSA since the construction period will be shorter even if the government will have to spend for building costs.

            The private sector, meanwhile, offered to pay for the construction of the common station in SM.
            – See more at:

            I don’t know is its being less intrusive acceptable enough.It seems no matter how you look at it it sucks,but that is just me.
            I would not even want to talk about favoring oligarchs like I did one time.It is already traffic and he is afraid that it would cause traffic and inconvenience.How thoughtful of him.

          • karl garcia says:

            This is all the news can give us on what happened in 2012.

            Why problems arose

            As for the maintenance issue, Sobrepeña pointed out those problems only arose after the DOTC terminated the contract with Sumitomo Corporation in 2012.

            He noted that Sumitomo had a “single point responsibility” to design, build, and maintain the trains.

            “The most important loss was… of the single point responsibility. This loss has now lead to the current state of finger-pointing,” he said.

            “Sumitomo handled everything including parts and service. Nothing else have to be bought by the government or the private sector,” he added.

            Sumitomo increased its service rates from $1.4 million a month to $2 million in 2012, prompting DOTC to terminate deal with the Japanese contractor.

            Sobrepeña defended the company, saying Sumitomo really needed additional funds to overhaul the trains.
            – See more at:

            The rest is history in the making.

            • Joe America says:

              I can’t help but think there is more to it than P600,000 a month.

              Thanks for info . .

            • Single-point responsibility is important for any system – IT or transport or whatever.

              The one responsible can always subcontract. And I have observed here in Germany, state-owned companies are strong when it comes to dealing with public transport.

              Yes, the Philippines had that also: MMTC or Metro Manila Transport Corporation under Marcos. There is no denying they handled stuff well – at least for a while until apparently they did not take care of it anymore. P2P buses of DOTC are a step in a similar direction.

            • karl garcia says:

              This time a version of the senate hearing from the Manila Bulletin.

              Speaking for the MRT Corporation (MRTC), Fil-Estate Corp. Chairman Roberto Sobrepeña told the Senate Committee on Public Services headed by Senator Grace Poe that the awarding of the contract to PH Trams did not go through bidding.

              “PH Trams was basically ‘appointed’ by the DOTC,” Sobrepeña said during interpellation by Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero. Fil-Estate is a major equity holder in MRT Holdings II which, in turn, holds a significant stake in MRTC, the private consortium that runs MRT-3.

              DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya, who attended the hearing, denied that an outright designation took place, saying that a “simplified bidding” was carried out. The contract was granted to PH Trams on October 20, 2012.


              “Just to correct (Sobrepeña), we didn’t appoint PH Trams CB&T. It went through a pact, there was an emergency procurement. There was a simplified bid. There were three participants. There was no appointment,” said Abaya, who has been charged with graft before the Office of the Ombudsman over award of the maintenance contract.

              Abaya assumed the DOTC post on October 18, 2012, or a day before the Sumitomo contract was set to expire.

              The 15-year-old MRT-3 has a daily ridership of half a million people.

              ‘12 DAYS’

              Earlier in the hearing, Sobrepeña bared that the Sumitomo contract was supposed to have expired way back in 2010. But instead of putting it up for bidding, the DOTC chose to renew it.

              “MRTC had written DOTC that it should start bidding out the maintenance provider because the Sumitomo contract would end in 2010. So it should bid for a long-term agreement and award it to an efficient and qualified maintenance provider,” he said.

              But according to Sobrepeña, what DOTC did was it kept renewing the Sumitumo contract instead of bidding it out.

              “We renewed it every six months all the way up to 2012,” Sobrepeña said.

              Then in October, 2012, the Fil-Estate chair said DOTC decided to abruptly “terminate” the Sumitomo contract and gave the MRTC just 12 days to hold a bid and find a new maintenance provider.

              “We had no inkling that they were thinking of terminating this contract,” Sobrepeña said, adding that bid out period of 12 days was simply not possible.

              He even suggested that the Sumitomo contract be extended a last time to pave the way for a proper bidding. But the DOTC stuck to its order.

              “MRTC declined and refused. Thereafter, we heard that DOTC had already appointed PH-Trams,” the MRTC representative told the panel.

              WHO’S TELLING THE TRUTH?

              Abaya, however, said it was the MRTC that had been extending the Sumitomo contract and not the government. Moreover, he claimed that the procurement of a maintenance provider is MRTC’s responsibility.

              “We could show you documents that DOTC merely concurred and it was MRTC that was extending (the Sumitomo contract). And the government maintained that the procurement of the maintenance provider never left MRTC,” Abaya said.

              Asked by Escudero why the DOTC chose not to renew Sumitomo for six more months and allow MRTC to obtain a new contractor through bidding, Abaya claimed that the maintenance provider “did not want it anymore.”

              “We can present you with a letter with Sumitomo, saying, ‘We don’t want it anymore. At that point in time, they were also avoiding the responsibility… for one reason or another they didn’t have enough time; they couldn’t procure anymore and, thus, left it up to government,” said Abaya.

              On the extension of Sumitomo from 2010 to 2012, Sobrepeña maintained that DOTC recommended the extension of the Sumitomo contract from 2010 to 2012.

              “It is actually DOTC that recommends the extension. This is done by letters from DOTC to MRTC recommending the extension of the Sumitomo contract by six months. We have all the letters on file. So they recommend, we approve,” he said.

              Sobrepeña also disputed Abaya’s statement that it was MRTC’s job to get a new maintenance provider, saying the “dynamics changed” in 2010 when a government financial institution (GFI) took over the MRTC Board and made DOTC responsible for maintenance procurement.

              ‘GET YOUR ACTS TOGETHER’

              All that finger-pointing between the MRTC and DOTC led Escudero to the conclusion that all the trouble at MRT-3 could have been avoided had all stakeholders been on the same page.

              “I think the reason behind the terrible service of the MRT is clear. It’s because of the situation of the owners, the operators and government. Simply put, you cannot get your acts together. At the end of the day the solution of the MRT woes would be for all of you guys to get your acts together,” he said.

              “You should sit down and talk instead of filing charges against each other to the detriment of the riding public,” stressed Escudero.


              • edgar lores says:

                Roberto Sobrepena seems to be a thorn in the government’s side.

                Apart from chairing MRT, he is also the chairman of the Camp John Hay Development Corp (CJHDEVCO) that is also embroiled in controversy.

                I believe he is the son of Enrique Sobrepena, who founded the now-defunct pre-need firm CAP and is a director of CJHDEVCO.

              • karl garcia says:

                Yes, he is.

        • There’s always a risk with long-term contracts. Foresight may help during the firming of the agreement to at least cushion the government’s risk when subsequent developments would otherwise work against it. Maybe better planning? But I also think that we consider in the factor if the government has a choice when the contract was in the process of being firmed-up. The government was in need of funds for the projects? Is it so dire such that no alternative can be had? If so, it might be that it was forced to what is available in the market during that time.

      • chempo says:

        On MRT’s original sin.

        MRT’s problems are so convoluted nobody really knows what’s happening. When I first came here I tired to understand the problems. Did some searches and asked some questions. There are a 1,000 interpretations out there for each problem. As with all complicated issues, you need to clear the dust and look at the base problem. From my very early days here I have always said FVR was responsible for the original sin which is the root cause of the MRT debacle. I was irritated when I see all those angry anti-Pnoy rantings over social media each time MRT ills hit the news and I used to reply by drawing attention to this “original sin” — just a way of soothing my frustrations.

        So much noise and yet so little complete information to go by. Anybody has any good links to somebody’s full account of the MRT mess?

        • Joe America says:

          I do think if I were Secretary Abaya, I would do a simple checklist of the events and issues. Try to lay it out so that people can see the whole picture. I don’t think he has a PR staff.

          • karl garcia says:

            The spokesman of DOTC resigned last November 29.

            Migs Sagcal ‏@MigsSagcal
            Today’s my last day with the DOTC. Thank you everyone, it’s been an honor and a privilege serving in government and connecting with you.

          • I posted that remark of yours, (above) and received this comment this from an FB friend. (sorry, Joe for posting this under your comment, the thread was a bit too long already what with the shared pics.)

            Francis Yuseco Philtrak Ceo

            Hi Mary Grace, if you can give me an address where I can send you via courier the complete story of the EDSA MRT fiasco, I will gladly do so. The documents are quite voluminous. After you read them, you will be able to connect the dots, I am certain. Francis

        • So much noise and so little complete information applies to nearly every Filipino issue.

          Anyway, the original sins of the MRT are very clear to anyone who has been on public transport in developed countries and observed a little:

          1. The coaches are too small for the volume of people who use EDSA. No wonder so many still use their cars. Just to compare:

          1a. This is a typical tram as used worldwide. MRT coaches are just tram coaches, replacing maybe 5 buses but not more:

          1b. This is a typical mass transit coach, replacing maybe 20-30 buses:

          2. Access to MRT and interfaces to other modes of transport is lousy. You need to whisk many people through to the trains and move them out quickly.

          2a. Stairs are too high, why are there no escalators of any kind. Moscow and Kiev may have had just wooden escalators in the beginning but they had them for their very deep underground stations.

          2b. Spanish boarding system (one platform for loading on one side, one for unloading on another side) would have made a lot of sense as well. Usually one platform in the middle and two on the sides (unload in the middle, load from the sides and one-way escalators)

          3. Maintenance was probably not considered enough – a typically Filipino mistake, sorry to say, from Marcos times until today. There are several things to consider here:

          3a. Can one maintain the coaches, engines and rails efficiently and as much as possible locally? DOST AGT considers these criteria – a lesson learned. No metal wheels, it uses rubber wheels because these are easy to procure locally, no metal rails just concrete.

          3b. There are some major train lines in Germany that are not electrified because the cost of maintaining them is prohibitive. Just use diesel. DOST AGT does.

          3c. Maintenance of stations, electrical wiring etc. is essential. Better stay at a lower level of technology you can maintain yourself than go for the most modern and shiny stuff. But MRT stations were shoddy after a few years, even without escalators, simple neglect.

          Now if rail lines to Clark are implemented without thinking of sufficient capacity, i.e. double-decker trains or similar, then nothing will have been learned – not the relevant stuff.

          • karl garcia says:

            2a- exceptions to rule-Ayala station, some stations have elevators.

            • Elevators are convenient, but usually just as slow as stairs plus limited capacity. Nothing beats escalators, especially 2-3 in each direction to move maximum no. of people quickly.

              Of course the trains have to be big enough and come often enough to handle the people.

              • These London Undergound escalors get really full during rush hour and move very fast, same with the escalators in Prague or Kiev underground they whisk you through like hell.

          • Jonathan says:

            I’d add one more design flaw to the MRT – no room for expansion at all. Some of the stations (Buendia and Ayala in particular) have no room to grow at all. Even if somehow you improved the trains, the capacity of the stations themselves are maxed out.

            Re: electrification versus diesel. Can you do diesel trains for underground sections? Significant segments of the MRT are buried.

            • MRT on EDSA is totally overground – except in Makati I think.

              LRT2 has one buried station, Katipunan, but they have big Japanese trains.

              Anyway it is electrified now, and one can only make the best of the existing situation.

              For example some Berlin subway lines built before WW1 only can use smaller coaches…

              So whatever is done next must be planned and executed better on top of what is there.

              The DOST AGT is better and should be used on new lines, wherever they are built.


              Regarding intelligent solutions for special situations, this is one hell of a train…

              The Wuppertal hanging train was built for a crowded city with a narrow river valley…

          • Vicara says:

            Another original sin is that to transfer from the MRT to the (older) LRT at the corner of EDSA and Taft, you had to descend and exit from one line into the busy highway and its moldering Pasay City sidewalks, then go up another flight to enter the other line. This may actually still be the case. They were built as two separate systems, no integration. Making no sense at all, from the initial design/inception phase. This is definitely the legacy of the FVR administration.

            Over the years a weird catwalk system has been built around that intersection, and painted a surreal pink (which clashes with the bright red of the Sogo hotel). No wonder the production crew scouting locations for the Bourne movie filmed here chose this for the opening sequence (Rachel Weisz fleeing hoodlums). Reinforcing subliminal perceptions worldwide of slapdash Third World planning in the Philippines.

  17. Felix Fojas says:

    Honoring contracts, whether entered into with local or foreign parties, is not the only issue in this graft and corruption plagued archipelago of stillborn sunrises. The main concerns here are the over padding of contractual bids, awarding these to unscrupulous bidders who will fatten the greedy pork in the barrel the most, the questionable procedures in awarding contracts to potential bidders, and the failure of measuring up to the specifications stipulated in the contracts, in the actual delivery and implementation because of the use of inferior or substandard materials. Lo! Poor Yorick, ’tis better during the grim times of the stone-faced dictator Marcos when all bids were rigged and contracts were simply awarded as presidential boons to deserving cronies. Captain Joe America, according to my good pal Dante Alighieri, Benigno Aquino III and Mar Roxas II, exactly belong to the same seventh circle of dynastic, political hell!

  18. Chuck says:

    To many excuses and accusations of bias. Aquino apologists are the most biased people around.

  19. “The headline of his Christmas Day article is just plain malicious and the content of the series of articles appears to be either political agenda, self-serving to Peter Wallace, or negligent.

    If Peter Wallace has business interests affected by any of these cases, ought he not . . . in good faith . . . explain what they are? Or state explicitly that he has none, so we don’t begin to mistrust his motives?”

    gloves off mr. wallace. let’s see how good your right hook counter is.

  20. surfer sison says:

    I am of the opinion that Public Private Partnerships ( PPP’s) is one of the best ways to do complicated and expensive projects world wide.

    Project proponents with the best bid to build and maintain a PPP project long term wins.
    Although it takes longer to come to fruition, the final results have been very encouraging.

    5 PPP projects worth 120 B php were recently awarded.

    the Good News is that the government got premium payments totalling 64.85 b php from the winning bidders.

    in simple terms ( not computing for cost of money) bidders offered to build 120 b worth of projects for just 55.25 B php !

    That is a 54% discount !!!!!
    isn’t that awesome ?

    Here is the summary.

    Project Name / Project Cost / Premium Paid/ Winning bidder

    1. CALAX / 20.1 B php/ 27.3 B php/ Pangilinan group
    2. Naia expressway/ 15.86 B php / 11 b php/ San Miguel group
    3. Automated Mrt/Lrt ticketing / 1.72 B / 1.088 B php ( negative bid ) / Ayala -Pangilinan JV
    4. Mactan Airport / 17.52 B php/ 14.4 B php/ Megawide – Indian JV
    5. Lrt 1 extension / 64.9 B php/ 9.35 B php/ Pangilinan-Ayala-Macquarie JV

    and the amazing thing is that with 120 b worth of projects, the bidders accepted the results with minimal questions on the fairness of the process.

    isn’t that something to be proud of ?

    Read more at … WpXDIGr.99

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, Surfer. Glad you worked that in here. It deserves a look at what in the world these premiums are for. To buy shitty contracts (from the standpoint of the Philippines), or what?

      • surfer sison says:

        maybe we should ask Peter Wallace why big businessmen still vie for ” shitty contracts” and still offer tons of money to the government ! hehe

  21. Bing Garcia says:

    Good work Joe!

  22. I used to hold Peter Wallace in high regard but his subsequent columns reveal that he is quick to take sides (his side or his interest) without considering the factors that render the issues complex and attribute to the National Government bad faith outright. Wait, I also remember that he did a column about Duterte and Davao touting the former’s achievements in the latter. A conclusion that can be derived from that column was a pitch on the primacy of peace and security at the expense of the issue on human rights. Advocate for business…at all costs?

    • So I guess Wallace is the real apologist.

      • NHerrera says:

        Hahaha. A boxing fight between two heavies — apologist versus apologist. Sorry guys. Just making light of things before the BIG FIGHT. Still waiting in this corner. All tickets sold, only a few available from “scalpels.” Is that the right word? (I have never been to a boxing arena.)

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        Just a word in edgewise. Mary Grace did say that it’s possible JoeAm is a paid hack, a possibility that MG said just can’t be. On my part, I only have one word to prove that the American is the real deal: AlDub. If he had an agenda, would he have acquiesced to publication of a mundane matter such as love, including all my subsequent posts? Hmm, maybe not. Definitely not. Thanks, JoeAm, for standing up to the other American. Miracles do happen. God is good all the time.

        • Wait, wait…am I that Mary Grace, Will … or Poe?

          • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

            You, MG. I read it somewhere. Did I misread?

            • You, sure did, Will. Where? Has somebody been using my handle? Oh my, never in my dreams would I say that of Joe. From the first time the late chair wrecker helped me discover this site, I’ve been a lurker, then a commenter and it never ever occured to me that he could be a paid hack. As you very well know, I’m not that good at expressing what I so like to say, and he does it so well. We have the same goal, and that is for the good of this country of ours.

              BTW, happy birthday and God bless you!

        • Everything is possible but the probability is another thing.

          There is a 0.15% probability that Joe is a paid hack. There is a 0.32% probability that Joe is an American who went crazy in the sun, like who used to be a software enterpreneur.

          The probability that I have eaten dog meat in Manila without knowing is maybe 0.5%.

          The probability that I am totally crazy myself is around 2% depending on time of day. 🙂

          The probability that Wallace himself is a high-level swindler – I do not want to estimate.

          • I have had a serious look at how Joe develops his opinions – they are based on facts, impressions and analysis. I respect the way he arrives at his conclusions, even if I do not always agree. I also respect how he respects other opinions brought in a respectful way.

            There are critics who have a problem with Joe having more of a standing “just because he is an American”. Well, he does have the highly developed capability of presenting his arguments in a good way many Filipinos do not. It also is a fact that his articles are what would be called feature articles in classic media. Feature articles ALWAYS present a certain point of view. The attractivity of his blog is because Philippine media are so damn weak at presenting stories in a well-summarized, big picture manner instead of just tidbits.

            Damn, in my blog I do analysis that normally should be the job of professional journalists who report on the country for interested parties abroad or for the elite of the country. Also because I myself am trying to understand the place, based on the information available.

            Those who wish to present another point of view may do so, but then they should do their job better and more convincingly. For example I don’t buy the allegations, constantly repeated, that Mar embezzled Yolanda funds. It isn’t even a witness account (c) MRP.

            Joe wrote about systemic weaknesses. There are weaknesses in the government itself, and there are enormous weaknesses among the people. Not demanding better quality information for example. Jumping to conclusions. Seeking the comfort of prejudices.

        • chempo says:

          “Mary Grace did say that it’s possible JoeAm is a paid hack, a possibility that MG said just can’t be.”

          Am I correct that Mary Grace is also MG? So who said what?

          • I’d like to know where and when it was posted. Am using an ipad at home (Pasig) and a desktop pc at the office (Taguig) If it did’nt come from either, then it wasn’t me but someone using my handle. Whew!

            • karl garcia says:

              I won’t bother searching for it….but to be honest I tried via google.
              Maybe it is one of the times you are defending Joe of being accused as one.
              This is just a misunderstanding.

              We don’t have to ask Joe to write a tough love article on Roxas,if he wants to highlight the positives and let the other guys highlight the negatives,then so be it.

            • edgar lores says:

              Mary, don’t worry about it. I did a search last night but could not find Will’s source as specifically related to you.

              There are at least two instances where JoeAm himself says that he has been accused of being an apologist and a paid hack.

              There’s one instance where Juana says JoeAm is NOT a paid hack and she can bet her tiara hat on it.

              The source could be me. There was controversy in one of the Iglesia post on whether JoeAm was a paid “insider.” I did opine that JoeAm seemed to possess inside info… but that it did not matter because all journalists/columnists have their own sources and there is JoeAm’s dictum that “Nothing in this blog should be taken as a truth.”

              Alas, this is not a highly sophisticated illicit blog site for bundling (mis)information. If I were paid for every pearl word I cast here, I would be comfortable. Not as comfortable as Irineo or Karl or you, mind you — 😦 — but still well-stocked in peanuts popcorn. 🙂

              Rest your mind, too, Will.

            • Bert says:

              Please stop worrying about that, Mary. I totally believe that you’ve not said anything like that sort of thing against Joe and will never do.

              As to Joe, his integrity is unassailable, I can vouch my life on it. Known him very early on, quarrel and argue with him, most time heatedly at the time, in MLQ3’s blog and Filipino Voices, with karl, with manuelbuencamino, etc. Joe to me is the cleanest and fairest guy I have ever known then and now.

              • Joe America says:

                And the same could be said of you, brother Bert.

              • Bert says:

                (red-faced) Just noticed something, ‘quarelled’ and ‘argued’ could be the correct usages (above). I just blurted it out kasi, pasensya na. So sorry, can’t help it, grammar limitations, as always. You will see more of it, guys…so please just bear with me. Sorry.

                High school graduate lang kasi, madalas pang manood ng sine noon, oras ng klase. Not joking.

              • Am with you on that, Bert re Joe.

                Haha…you’re pulling our legs, right? A high school grad, come on…I see you as an accomplished guy who was able to send his children to good schools and guided all of them to completion and rewarding careers.

              • Bert says:

                No kidding, Mary. It does not take to have good English in selling maintenance chemicals/specialized lubricants to manufacturing plants specially cement plants where the environment is so hazardous to mechanical parts contamination such as dust, acid and heat. The engineers will tell you the problems being encountered and you the salesman recommend the product applicable to the problem. Few examples: large gears and bearings operating under severe hot condition, an extreme temperature molybdenum disulphide grease is usually recommended; moving parts exposed to water and acid contaminants…a water-resistant molybdenum disulphide lubricant; on extremely fast rotating small bearings…high speed Moly grease, etc.

                Of course you have to have the best product though, for the competition then was so stiff, the pretty girl salesmen were killing us boys, and a good PR personality, but not necessarily good English acumen.

                It was a lucrative job if you know your way out of the maze, quite frustrating at times when purchase orders already awarded to you were cancelled and eventually awarded to the pretty girl salesman just because the purchaser at the Purchasing Department has the hots for the girl and the plant engineers too weak in character to defend what he wrote in the requisition order slip. The frustrations killed me more than the physical exertion involved and so I quit right then and there when my youngest started earning her keeps before it can do more damage to my psyche and/or my health. Never regretted that decision.

  23. Abaya:–gabbanas-abaya-collection—in-pictures

    Dolce & Gabbana’s abaya presents flowing, ankle-length dresses in light desert shades as well as charcoal and classic black hues. Some pieces are embellished with motifs from D&G’s spring-summer 2016 collection, featuring prints of daisies, lemons, polka dots and red roses.

    • – now seriously, what the hell is going on?

      The call to replace Abaya came as a multiawarded newspaper columnist revealed more instances of the DOTC’s failure to address the mass transportation problem in the past, including an apparent junket Abaya took in late 2013 in the guise of observing Japan’s subway system.

      And, just before Christmas, there was the midnight award – sans public bidding – of a P3.8 billion maintenance contract with a consortium involving a South Korean firm and four Filipino entities that columnist Jarius Bondoc said had no proven expertise in commuter trains. The Korean has backed out, in the latest development, apparently for fear of being dragged in potential lawsuits with the Filipino entities.

    • NHerrera says:

      From Abaya the man of the moment to abaya the dress or robe.

      Nice abayas. I think Filipinas will look good in those. But the weather must cooperate when those are worn. Nice model too.

  24. I just received this from an FB friend.

    Francis Yuseco Philtrak Ceo

    Hi Mary Grace, if you can give me an address where I can send you via courier the complete story of the EDSA MRT fiasco, I will gladly do so. The documents are quite voluminous. After you read them, you will be able to connect the dots, I am certain. Francis

  25. “And here’s another (impossible?) one: (5) let’s stop uncovering dirt. I think we’ve heard enough, had enough of all the mischief of the candidates. Let’s concentrate on evaluating the potential for performance of each of them. This is where the media can play a positive role—just refuse to publish dirt. Unless it’s a fully proven fact, just ignore it, particularly if it comes from a political source. Restriction of the right to free speech? I don’t think so, just wise discernment of what matters.” – Peter Wallace

    Read more:

    Let’s stop uncovering dirt, Wallace says. Oh, my…let dirt be covered, don’t let voters be aware of them. The investigative journalism has done a wonderful job of analyzing all the dirt on Binay. The COA has unearthed some 677 million anomaly in Davao City, let it stay covered ? why, to protect Duterte and Binay? wadapak?

    • Isn’t Wallace trying to uncover dirt on Aquino in the article Joe criticized? Seriously I am starting to get a headache from all of this, and I am happy that I don’t really NEED to know what is really happening because there is no serious paper that gives the big picture.

      All of these – and I know the developed country perspective – are the reasons why the Philippines still looks like a banana republic, but I still hope the elections prove me wrong.

  26. chempo says:

    Re PIATCO case

    Joe, I apologise for this lenthy comment. My purpose is to highlight some minor errors, provide a bit acuity to this messy project, and throw in some interesting side aspects.

    Legal Timeline (in the interest of brevity, some info have been omitted):

    1998 – Estrada renegotiated contract
    2002 – Arroyo voided the contract because Estrada illegally renegotiated to the disadvantage of the govt
    2003 – Piatco took action in ICC @ Singapore to claim $565mm compensation, govt counter-claims $900mm damages.
    2003 – SC upheld Arroyo’s action, contract nullified because it was amended and restated without the stamp of approval of National Economic Devt Authority. This case (Agan v. Piatco) introduced a serious legal question (explored below)
    2003 – GOP advised ICC that SC nullified contract and ICC has no jurisdiction over the case.
    2004 – Pasay RTC appropriated NAIA 3 (so airport can reopen) – but agreed govt must compensation Piatco and Fraport compensation to be negotiated.
    Fraport refused to accept ruling – proceed to file case with International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
    Govt propose to pay Piatco $149mm with down payment Php 3b.
    2004 TRO issued by CA (upon a petition filed by Ilocos Sur Rep. Salacnib Baterina) Due to this TRO, Govt with-hold the P3b payment
    2006 – ICC issued a partial award on jurisdiction and liability –
    (1) rejected Piatco’s claims (for non-compliance of Phils anti-dummy law)
    (2) rejects Govt’s counter claims
    (2) Govt must return Naia3 to Piatco because Pasay court writ of possession was invalid due to lack of proof of down payment.
    2006 – (Sep) TRO was lifted, Govt paid P3b to Piatco – paving the way for for Naia re-opening
    2007 — Pasay RTC orders govt to pay Piatco compensation $371mm
    2008 — Govt obtains TRO against Pasay RTC orders.
    2008 — Piatco appeal to Spore High Court against ICC ruling.
    2010 — Singapore High Court rejects Piacto’s appeal and re-affirms ICC has jurisdiction to hear the arbitration case, thus rejected Phils Supreme Court’s position — (the Egan Vs Piatco case) .
    2011 — ICC tribunal issued a final award directing Piatco to pay the Philippines 25% of its reasonable costs of the ICC Arbitration
    Sep 9, 2015 – SC ruled in favour of Piatco – govt to pay Piacto compensation $510.3mm (+ some costs, interest).
    As of todate — compensation not yet paid, govt is submitting request for reconsideration, appealing on the compensation quantum.


    (A) Piatco is not a Singaporean company. It’s principal is a Chinoy, Vic Cheng Yong. It seems majority shareholder is Fraport.

    (B) The hanky panky was perpetrated by Estrada. Arroyo did right to intercede. It was a Built-and-Transfer project over 25 years. Meaning, Piatco built Naia3, holds concessionaire rights for 25 years and hands over to govt for Php1. Sub-quality materials is assured if project is not well-controlled. Remember ceiling collapsed and some other nonsense after re-opening?
    Read about Piatco and DOTC official’s shenanigans :

    (C) Peter Wallace rebuttal:
    Pnoy admin has done nothing wrong but follow the law. Wallace is wrong in the years and compensation quantum he mentioned. Pasay RTC ordered $371mm compensation to Piatco in 2007/8 was not paid out by Arroyo. Why? — Because the ICC case has not run its course. Latest SC order Sep 9, 2015 to pay Piatco $510.3mm has not been paid out. Why — due process has not run out. Govt seeking re-consideration (of compensation quantum?)

    (D) Abaya’s wise saying re SC $510.3mm ruling:
    The govt has to protest the huge sum that is why they are submitting a re-consideration. Not to do so would subject admin officials to suspicion of taking kick back for the huge sums of money to be paid out. (What a sad state of affairs for the country)

    (E) They never listened to Mar Roxas :
    Back in 2003/4 Mar, either in Senate enquiry or as Secretary of Trade position (I read this sometime ago but cannot recall the website) he was talking of compensation for Piatco. He said the govt was willing to take the average of 3 independent surveyors (including foreign expertise) valuation of work performed by Piatco and settle on that basis. This is a manager’s professional position. Had this been acted on, it would be much much lower than $371mm or 510.3mm. It would have been much much lower due to savings on interest cost and other expenses. $ Millions of legal costs would have been saved. It would have been possible to identify lower costs because Piatco padded the construction costs. By now it’s impossible to make a fair valuation.

    (F) Principal of arbitrai autonomy – (Agan vs Piatco case):
    All foreigners wishing to do business with Philippines need to be wary of the Agan vs Piatco case. This sets a precedent of the principal of arbitral autonomy, the implications of which has still to be carefully thought out. It imperils Phils’ standing as a place to do business.

    An international entity contracts with Phils entity is likely to have an arbitration clause which determines in which country they will go for arbitration. (This is very common for parties in a contract who do not trust the laws of the country where the project is). In the Naia3 contract, Singapore was the domicile for arbitration, which means Singapore’s laws will rule. That was why Piatco sued in Singapore.

    When SC made the Agan ruling (nullifying the govt’s contract with Piatco), the govt’s argument at the ICC was that since the contract is voided, thus the arbitration is impossible. It forced the ICC to study and go into complex issues of severity of contracts, making the Piatco case more complicated than it ought to be.

    Simply put, the Agan case now sets the precedent that Phils court can say I dont care what arbitration clauses you have in your contracts, Phils laws will apply.This is a very scary notion and against international arbitration conventions.

    Read what Ateneo says:

    (G) Legal costs:
    The ghosts of ICC case in Singapore is now coming to haunt several judiciary notables who were legal advisors for the Phils govt. Their compensation was substantial (monstrous by Filipino standards, normal by Singapore standards, peanuts by US standards). The cost was high because it was not a simple case.

    Now trolls and opportunists are asking why did the govt pay off these lawyers. They sucked the Filipinos etc etc. The blame game now takes a curious twist with many asking how come these lega fees were not checked, compared etc…meaning we need legal expenditure need to be bidded out??? It’s a real great joke.

    Had they listened to Mar and paid off Piatco it would have been so much cheaper — but then same opportunists will now say why pay Piatco.

    • Joe America says:

      Fascinating. Impossibly messed up. In is now in the arena of emotion and easy judgment. How shocking it would be for people to discover Roxas had it right.

    • Thanks chempo. This adds to what I have read in German papers about this case.
      This Agan ruling is truly dangeous – it sounds similar to China not recognizing ITLOS.

      No for the Philippines from Germany I heard.
      Meaning companies that trade or invest with the Philippines aren’t insured for non-payment.

      But still there are efforts to help the Philippines from the German side, surprising after that.

      The German side may often have been arrogant, but the Philippine side was disdainful, acting as if the world went around them. This I heard from some people, it is quite likely.

      I have seen samples of that attitude – some Philippine expats in Europe for example used to look down on Continental Europeans for not speaking English. I was surprised since last year upon looking at the Philippines and Filipinos again that this attitude has faded out. Just like the superiority complex some Filipinos had towards Indonesians or Vietnamese before for not speaking English has also faded – in the face of their economic success…

      • chempo says:

        Arrogance is the sin of many irrespective of races, we can’t just generalise Filipinos.

        But in Singapore, my observation is that Filipino domestic helpers tend to look down on those from Indonesia, PRC, Myanmar & India. Reason — Filipnas are English educated, more eloquent, generally smarter and cleaner.

        Filipina nurses too tend to thumb down nurses from PRC and INdia for the same reasons.

        • karl garcia says:

          eye opener for me.

          • Juana once answered to one of my comments with the Maslow hierarchy, and many things become clearer with this model:

            Level 1: Physiological
            Level 2: Security
            Level 3: Love and belonging
            Level 4: Esteem
            Level 5: Self-actualization

            Binay kids have Level 3 fully realized, many migrants in the initial stage as well, so they strive to find esteem (do you know who I am, some behavior of Nancy Binay, nurses looking down on other nurses, Filipino drivers in the American Embassy somewhere looking down on those who are “only” drivers for Arabs – or even Africans) but according to Maslow the highest form of esteem is self-esteem when you don’t need that anymore. The final stage of self-actualization is self-transcendence according to Maslow, when you are able to look beyond yourself and your own “neediness”, as Joe likes to describe it. Those in self-actualization may not see the needs of others lower in that hierarchy enough.

    • chempo says:

      Because the Piatco case was mired in the courts, Arroyo & Pnoy admin understandably had great difficulties in putting in improvements in Naia3. Their hands are tied. Similarly with MRT, the original sin of FVR — in the way the MRT operation was structured (and guaranteeing a 15% ROI to the operator annually) the admin of Estrada/Arroyo/Pnoy had great difficulties, almost impossibilities, in trying to find a way out, short of monstrous damages.

      Why does Pnoy admin get all the sticks? INformed Filipinos have forgotten the knots tied by earlier admin, UNinformed Filipinos are real dumb — never bother to ferret out the truth, never borther to listen to someone else trying to explain to them.

      If there is a lesson to take away — Pnoy should have sacked his PR team after yeat 1.

      • I didn’t know that Mar was in charge of the dealings on NAIA3… then he must have seen firsthand what the reactions of Fraport people were to some people possibly on his team. The fact that he has obviously had good relations with the Hanns-Seidel-Foundation when it comes to the PNP stuff shows that he learns from every “misencounter” he experiences. Jibes with Jessica Zafra’s account that he admits mistakes – essential for lessons learned…

        • – Mar was like so very often only sent forward when others had already messed things up…

          But it would seem some officials of the Arroyo Administration had their own ideas about how to “keep Fraport on board.” From taped conversations among Fraport officials and attorneys obtained in 2003 by The Daily Tribune, it appears that the Administration attempted to extort Fraport in order to keep them from getting caught up in PIATCO’simpending doom. Arroyo’s personal attorney at that time, F. Arthur “Pancho” Villaraza, reportedly asked Fraport for $20 million to be paid to an ‘offshore entity’ (presumably a Hong Kong account) to cover “in the background” legal and government
          services. Although the methodology and real motives of Arroyo’s officials are indeed highly questionable, the understandable wish to keep the highly-experienced airport operator Fraport in the NAIA-3 formula faced one insurmountable obstacle: legally, there was no way to separate Fraport AG from PIATCO, the project contractor of which Fraport was a component, and still keep the contract intact. Buying out Fraport AG’s stake in PIATCO was actually an excellent solution – the issue of ‘effective control’ exceeding the constitutional ownership limitation would have become moot, and the Arroyo Administration would have been in a position to dictate to Cheng Yong and PIATCO certain desired arrangements – such as contracting Fraport AG separately as the airport operator. The only obvious explanation for this not happening is the personal greed of Villaraza and others in Arroyo’s inner circle.

          The ‘payoff’ scheme was spearheaded by Arroyo’s Presidential Adviser for Strategic Projects Gloria Tan-Climaco,who would eventually produce the damning report accepted in its entirety by the Presidential and Senate committees inrecommending the contract be nullified. The President herself was not directly implicated in the plot, but the Fraport officials had discussions not only with Villaraza and Tan-Climaco, but also Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo and Presidential Legal Counsel Avelino Cruz, suggesting that Arroyo was most likely well-aware of what was going on. The deal was this: Fraport would pay the $20 million and help ensure “the right partners” (i.e., most likely the MacroAsia/Miascor group) were brought in to replace Vic Cheng Yong and his son Jefferson. When Fraport refused, Tan-Climaco threatened them with finding them in violation of the Philippines’ Anti-Dummy Law. Though nonplussed, Fraport officials held their ground, and in her Bonifacio Day speech on November 30, 2002, President Arroyo declared the NAIA-3 contract null and void and announced that the government would expropriate the new terminal. – so Mar had no role in pissing Fraport off but:

          The NAIA-3 project came to the attention of Fraport AG at a time when the company wasaggressively seeking opportunities for expansion, and to some extent ambition may be toblame for the some of the mistakes Fraport made in the ensuing mess. Fraport seems to have been naïve, or at least insufficiently informed, about the particular relationships of keyplayers in the project, such as the rivalry between Lucio Tan and Vic Cheng Yong, or the role of Pantaleon Alvarez. Fraport also clearly had not considered an exit strategy or contingency plans for when things started to go wrong; cost overruns and encouragement from its partners in PIATCO to increase its level of equity investment should have been clear warning signs, and in hindsight, Fraport should have realized they were throwing good money after bad.

          Even so, Fraport’s experience in the Philippines is like that of the wayward visitor who wanders into the wrong part of town and gets robbed; he might be blamed for a lack of wisdom or foresight in putting himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he isnonetheless a victim of a crime. The NAIA-3 saga is fundamentally a damning indictment of the Philippine system and the people in it. The BOT Law is actually a potentially productive framework for investment and development, but is handicapped to the point of being unworkable by the 40% constitutional limitation on foreign equity and a political system that concentrates too much power in the Office of the President, almost guaranteeing that long-term contracts will be changed mid-stream to suit political expediency. Add to that an almost pathological greed that, sadly, appears all-too-often in well-placed individuals and a glacially-slow legal system almost powerless to discourage such behavior, and the risks ofdoing business in the Philippines become almost too great to consider.

          • chempo says:

            The way Piatco padded the project with soft costs and money trails to HK and banck into Chen’s BDO a/c….it’s not does appear Piatco took a naive Fraport to the cleaners.

          • Bert says:

            “Mar was like so very often only sent forward when others had already messed things up…”

            Which were very good things going for Mar Roxas, for that would have given him the opportunity to shine and show the people that he’s a good future presidential material.

            The only question that remains now is: “Was he able to sort out and cleared up those messes?”

            • chempo says:

              He had the right idea. But for whatever reasons, he could not resolve it.

              In those difficult situation when every one is staring and no one blinks, you need to compromise on the compensation sum. The managers and businessmen talk valuation, the lawyers and politicians talk Supreme Court.

              You need to compromise so the business of Naia3 re-opening can proceed.

      • chempo says:

        Sorry old chap, this is not the particular one I saw. It has Mar talking about getting average valuations from 3 independent surveyors.

        Good try Karl…I sleep peacefully at night knowing the Librarian is working overtime somewhere hehe.

    • NHerrera says:

      On PIATCO (probably true of the MRT item as well), my one-centavo impression:

      – First there is the initial “sin” or miscalculation on a project poorly analyzed or with not enough due diligence, including the proponents and pushers of the project;

      – then, because of the usual slow progress because of the institutional processes and some corruption — let us not be shy, there is the series of patchworks as the project passes from one Administration to another;

      – with each Admin in the line not having analyzed and understood well the essential current situation making more messy the initial poor assessment of the project (with exceptions of course, like Mar?);

      – and so the pile of patchworks is left to the last Admin holding the bag to add its own patchwork;

      – and to top all these, in the range of the new or current Admin concerns or problems, the project may not be considered a priority.

      A mess indeed. To borrow edgar’s phrase — “stop the world.” And may I add, “I want to get off.” My main point: a call for some sort of continuity from one Admin to the other.

      (APOLOGIA. I wrote the above out of some sort of frustration with no independent research as done by others here. And thus sound like a journalist trying to bet a deadline. And so one-centavo worth.)

  27. chempo says:

    Joe, my 6.01pm comment “awaiting moderation” ??
    Is it length issue or what?

  28. OT :

    The research he’s referring to, conducted by political scientist Larry Bartels (now at Vanderbilt University) and published in 1985, found that in close, ambiguous political contests, preferences and expectations are tightly related and mutually reinforcing. There’s a “bandwagon effect” that sees voters, especially low-information voters, flock to the candidate most expected to win.

  29. Chivas says:

    Not everyone can get and be a lawyer but thanks for these ideas, I can now see a glimpse what people did beneath their smiles and quiet comforts. Saw their own version of Nirvana and El Dorado.

    I can now understand why certain attitudes and norms exist in an elite gathering, the winners, the losers, the follow-uppers, the starters, the negotiators and more.
    why an old man in the next counter gets to gyrate his hips on a model and do macarena.
    why everything is controlled by a certain vague pattern like hands in your peripheral pots.

    Realized the power of that legal instrument, how they can build and topple kingdoms, rotate billions of money, sustain a system, experiment with a project, prone to abuse and control: won’t stop doing it, won’t let go.

    I only knew of Peter Wallace for the first time here(I read inquirer before but I only care about ads and drawings). Loud beneficiary of graces biting the same hands that fed him as I understand it.

    Next: Ted Failon.

  30. karl garcia says:

    On water concessionaires article,if he is lobbying for a rate increase, let us all frequent Mr . Wallace home and use all the water…..

  31. karl garcia says:

    From another columnist,this time it is Boo Chanco.

    Boo Chanco
    Boo Chanco – ‏@boochanco

    PNoy blamed ExPres Arroyo for MRT 3 problems, as if his DOTC didn’t have the last 5 years to make things right.

    Agree or Disagree???

  32. chempo says:

    Re Piatco case II

    If you think the legal timeline shows how messy it is, wait till you really dig into the whole affair. There’s enough material to fill 2 John Grisham novels.

    Joe’s article here is on Wallace so I’ll not detract from this and go lenghty on Piatco.

    However, this is another typical case where the sins of prior admin has been forgotten, leaving the current admin with an almost impossible situation to solve thus unfairly exposing them as lame ducks. In fairness, I need to briefly mention here the roles of previous presidents and one Marcos crony who never goes away.

    1. It started with FVR. On an overseas trip with some taipans in 90s, he challenged them to to take up infra-structure projects in Phils. 6 famous taipans (including Lucio Tan) formed AEDC and proposed to rebuild a new airport passenger terminal on BOT basis. Vic Cheng (who owns an air freight warehouse/logistics outfit) wanted in on this but AEDC turned him down. Vic Cheng formed his own team and outbid AEDC by an outrageous sum. Check:
    — AEDC’s bid — Php5mm annually over 25 years. When officials told them it’s way off the mark, they increased to Php27mm annually.
    — Vic Cheng’s bid — Php650mm annually over 27 years.

    In fairness to officials — they tried to invite some others to put up bids (including the Lopezes I think). Airport concessionaire was a big thing in those days. But others were not interested — Why?. Is it because people in the know already knew AEDC has it sewn up already?

    Here’s the question
    — Was AEDC so stupid they did not know the business and thus quoted ridiculously low, or they thought their backs were covered and it’s a sure win for them. So they were goining screw taxpayers for 27 years. This low bid calls into question FVR’s role.
    — Was Vic Cheng so stupid to be way off the mark?. They said they know the business of concessionaire and done their maths.

    2. The role of Estrada — When AEDC lost the bidding, they created hell for Vic Cheng (typical tantrums of loosing bidders in Phils). Legal suits prevented Vic Cheng from proceeding with construction works. Estrada called for a meeting with both parties, AEDC withdrew their suits and Vic Cheng got his ways. (Seems like Estrada did a Lee Kuan Yew — when there is conflict, Lee calls in the parties and after some pep talk, the parties leave and peace prevails). But then, Estrada gave Vic Cheng leeway to insert amendments to the contract which dis-advantaged the govt. It calls into question Estrada’s role. Market talk — Estrada stood up to 6 taipans, and little known Vic Chen is new hotshot in town.

    3. Arroyo’s role — seems like Arroyo did the right things in trying to straighten things out. She even appointed Mar Roxas to find a way to settle with Piatco.There were suggestions some of her stuff tried to muscle in on Fraport. We will never know the truth.

    4. Lucio Tan played a major role for AEDC. He put up all sorts of roadblocks against Vic Cheng — denied his joining AEDC consortium, tried to buy him out, told him he stood no chance, sued him for various reasons—the whole spanner in short.

    Where is the Pnoy admin in all this big fiasco? And yet here we have Wallace with one blatant lie.

    • Joe America says:

      I very much appreciate the background on this. It for sure makes the Wallace complaint against President Aquino one huge cheap shot.

    • NHerrera says:

      PIATCO I and II. Chempo, thanks for the research and good read.

      • NHerrera says:

        Just curious:

        — Vic Cheng’s bid — Php650mm annually over 27 years.

        Is that Php650mm or Php65.0mm?

        • chempo says:

          Php650mm annually x 27 years it is — no typo error.
          If you understand the business of concessionaire, this is a fairly reasonable number. Remember, Fraport is an experienced concessionaire of airports in Germany and elsewhere. They know the numbers. Many years ago I was involved in some peripheral work concerning a bidding for airport concessionaire. Believe me, the numbers are extremely huge.

          • NHerrera says:

            Thanks. It’s just the matter of

            – 5m x 25 years is so so different from
            – 650m x 27 years.

            Engineers do not make that kind of number except if their slide rule — a usually reliable, simple device — got dipped into a corrupt official’s saliva.



            The Greek government will retain ownership of the airports. The concession to operate, maintain, and improve them has been assigned to the Fraport-Copezoulos consortium in exchange for the latter’s payment of an initial concession fee of 1.234 billion euros ($1.355 billion), to be paid on the deal’s formal closing, expected in autumn 2016.

            In addition, the consortium has committed to a fixed annual concession fee, initially set at 22.9 million euros. It has also committed to investing 330 million euros by 2020 in modernizing and expanding the airports, with additional investments to follow in subsequent years to maintain and expand their capacity as needed.

            Multiply Euros by 50 to get the peso amounts. I don’t think Fraport got an initial concession fee like for the Greek deal, so they possibly just spread the calculation. As for Fraports strength in running aiports worldwide, this shows that the loss they made in Manila was big, but they are active worldwide and were right in not letting Arroyo’s minions threaten them. It is not like they are shrugging it off, but they have the leverage to say no.

            Fraport is Germany’s biggest airport operator, and is globally active. In addition to Frankfurt’s main airport, it operates airports in Hanover, St. Petersburg, Delhi, Antalya, Cairo, Lima, Dakar, Riyadh, Jeddah, Xian, Burgas and Varna.

    • edgar lores says:


      In all this mess, I note that NAIA 3 opened partially in July 2008 with Cebu Pacific and PAL domestic flights.

      International carriers started using it in 2011, mainly All Nippon Airways (ANA).

      It is only in October 2014 that it became fully operational.

      It is only under President Aquino’s administration – and Abaya’s stewardship — that the airport has gained full use.

      • josephivo says:

        But for oligarchs and their lackey lawyers the peoples’ suffering/benefits are just a completely irrelevant detail.

        • edgar lores says:

          Grace Poe, with her many trips abroad, must have benefited. And she wants Abaya fired.

          • Which is quite ironic. Well, Escudero has other plans, to pander to populist sentiments on traffic and MRT LRT fiasco, for headline news, beats placing costly ads on TV and radio, last I heard, he spent only 30,000 in ads but he is topping the surveys for VP. Wise guy.

  33. NHerrera says:

    I hope our friends in The Society don’t have a lot invested in the stock market:

    Stock Market Crash 2016: This Is The Worst Start To A Year For Stocks Ever

    • Thank you sir NH for the link. But you are the bearer of the not so good news.

      “We have never had a year start the way that 2016 has started.In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 have both posted their worst four-day starts to a year ever. Canadian stocks are now down since September, and it has been an absolute bloodbath in Europe over the past four days. Of course the primary catalyst for all of this is what has been going on in China. There has been an emergency suspension of trading in China, and nobody is quite certain what is going to happen next. Eventually this wave of panic selling will settle down, but that won’t mean that this crisis will be over. In fact, what is coming is going to be much worse than what we have already seen.”

      China again.

      “The global market freakout of 2016 just got worse.

      The latest scare came on Thursday as China’s stock market crashed 7% overnight and crude oil plummeted to the lowest level in more than 12 years.

      The Dow dropped 392 points on Thursday. The S&P 500 fell 2.4%, while the Nasdaq tumbled 3%.

      The wave of selling has knocked the Dow down 911 points, or more than 5% so far this year. That’s the worst four-day percentage loss to start a year on record, according to FactSet stats that go back to 1897.”

      What’s going on in China? I hope we are sufficiently shielded from this, we were not during the closing years of FVR regime with the Asian crisis which originated from Thailand. I fear for my brother in law in HK. May God bless us all.

    • karl garcia says:

      We must be geeks like these guys,they got rich while America’s economy suffered.They bet against the economy.

  34. karl garcia says:

    An attempt to fill on the blanks for the MRT3

    During the construction of the first line of the Manila Light Rail Transit System in the early 1980s, Electrowatt Engineering Services of Zürich designed a comprehensive plan for metro service in Metro Manila. The plan—still used as the basis for planning new metro lines—consisted of a 150-kilometer (93 mi) network of rapid transit lines spanning all major corridors within 20 years,[9] including a line on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, the region’s busiest road corridor.

    The MRT-3 (originally LRT-3) project officially began in 1989, five years after the opening of the LRT Line 1, with the Hong Kong-based EDSA LRT Corporation winning the public bidding for the line’s construction.[4] However, construction never commenced, with the project stalled as the Philippine government conducted several investigations into alleged irregularities with the project’s contract.[10] A consortium of local real estate companies, led by Fil-Estate Management, later formed the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) in June 1995 and took over the EDSA LRT Corporation.[4]

    The MRTC was subsequently awarded a Build-Operate-Transfer contract by the DOTC, which meant that the latter would possess ownership of the system and assume all administrative functions, such as the regulation of fares and operations, leaving the MRTC responsibility over construction and maintenance of the system as well as the procurement of spare parts for trains. In exchange, the DOTC would pay the MRTC monthly fees for a certain number of years to reimburse any incurred costs.[11]

    Construction began on the fifteenth of October 1996, with a BOT agreement signed between the Philippine government and the MRTC.[4] An amended turnkey agreement was later signed on September 16, 1997 with a consortium of companies (including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sumitomo Corporation, and a local company, EEI Corporation, which was subcontracted for civil works). A separate agreement was signed with ČKD on rolling stock. MRTC also retained the services of ICF Kaiser Engineers and Constructors to provide program management and technical oversight of the services for the design, construction management and commissioning.[12]

    During construction, the MRTC oversaw the design, construction, equipping, testing, and commissioning, while the DOTC oversaw technical supervision of the project activities covered by the BOT contract between the DOTC and MRTC. The DOTC also sought the services of Systra, a French consultant firm, with regards to the technical competence, experience and track record in the construction and operations.[12]

    On December 15, 1999, the initial section from North Avenue to Buendia was inaugurated by President Joseph Estrada,[13] with all remaining stations opening on July 20, 2000, a little over a month past the original deadline.[14] However, ridership was initially far below expectations, with passengers complaining of the stations’ steep stairs and the general lack of connectivity with other modes of public transportation.[15] Passengers also complained of high ticket prices, with the maximum fare of ₱34 at the time being significantly higher than a comparable journey on those lines operated by the LRTA and PNR. Although the MRTC projected 300,000-400,000 passengers riding the system daily, in the first month of operation the system saw a ridership of only 40,000 passengers daily.[16] The system was even criticized as a white elephant alongside the Manila Light Rail Transit System and the Metro Manila Skyway.[17] To alleviate passenger complaints, the MRTC later retrofitted stations with escalators and elevators for easier access, as well as reducing passenger fares.

    By 2004, the MRT-3 had the highest ridership of the three lines, with 400,000 passengers daily. By early 2015, the system was carrying around 600,000 during weekdays and was often badly overcrowded during peak times of access during the day.

    On August 13, 2014 the train at the Taft Avenue Station became derailed and overshot to the streets. First, the train had stopped after Magallanes Station (before the Taft Avenue Station) because of a technical problem. Then the train broke down so a following train was used to push the stalled train. However, during this process, the first train became detached and overshot at Taft Avenue, breaking the concrete barriers and falling to the street below. At least 38 people were injured.[18]

  35. Bill in Oz says:

    The following statement occurs on the Wallace Business Forum Website

    ” WBF CEO Peter Wallace has occasionally acted as a conduit for meetings between Philippine government officials and CEO’s MNC’s ( Multinational Corporations ), initiated by either of the 2 parties to resolve problems or raise issues of concern. He is supported by partners who have access to key officials of government & industry leaders”

    An interesting statement in the current context of complaints about the Aquino government..

    It’s curious, I could not copy this text no matter method what I tried. I wound up physically typing it up word for word. The web link copied immediately.

    Bill In Oz

    • edgar lores says:

      JavaScript — a programming language for the Web — provides the facility to disable copying (and pasting).

      This is done to annoy people.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Or perhaps a Javanese joke…They do have an obscure sense of humor at times.

        But this leads me to the conclusion that Wallace is setting himself up to be close to the next non LP administration in June.. But what if Roxas wins ? A trying time for a little aussie battler…( Please pardon a little Ironic aussie humor )

      • Pdf and jpg files defeat me, I ended up paraphrasing the published opinions of the comelec and SET dissenting opinions, that and this gadget limiting me to open another tab, not knowing that would result in my being labeled ignorant and stupid.

        • karl garcia says:

          caliphman has said that he calls the comment stupid and not the person. take it for what it is worth.

            • karl garcia says:

              he also called a comment of Edgar stupid but we all know that Edgar is not stupid.
              We all know that you are not stupid. You are not stupid and you ate not ignorant.

              • Thanks, karl. My one liner comment shows am still smarting and it shows, right? Wish I could forget it. Ok, I will forget it, promise. I will never refer to that unfortunate incident of my life as a commenter ever again. Promise.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks for the vote of confidence, Karl. I might put your comment in a certificate, laminate it, and stick it on my wall. And I will treasure it till the end of my days. 🙂

              • NHerrera says:

                Oh, oh, I am rather anxious now. What stupid things did I say here in The Society. Karl, our Chief Librarian — alert 24/7 — may have a dossier on all of us like FBI’s legendary J. Edgar Hoover.

                But I have a First Class excuse: I am old and my fingers take the better of me sometimes. This time it is “My fingers run (instead of my mouth) before the brain is engaged.”

                Yep, that will help me through the night. Cheers, Karl.

              • karl garcia says:

                No one in the Society Stupid.
                I my self made a condescending comment according to jolly and said that My comment was insulting. Sorry jolly.
                We have the best minds here,we may hear remarks like “you people are blah bla blah”
                let them match the numerical aptitude of NHerrera and if I am the librarian,we have one that has read all books from classics,to law,to IT and more and that is Edgar.
                Cheers to us!

              • Mary Grace, I can be quite sensitive as well… just two weeks ago a GRP commenter called me a “Kraut” and I responded by calling him a postcolonial halfwit, telling him Bruce Willis and Sandra Bullock are half-German just in case all he knows are Hollywood movies…

                this article was written out of that anger, but polished in such a way that it is getting even with finesse, something Erap said Duterte does not have at all… it pokes fun at things that used to happen more before…

                But of course I am different from GRP so I am noting the improvements, how the country is becoming truly global in many ways. Because just pretending to be globally sophisticated is more “baduy” than being oneself. I prefer every OFW to some obnoxious Pinoy expats.

    • NHerrera says:

      edgar provides explanation on the inability to copy and paste above.

      But here is the full content of the page (except the links, etc, that usually clutter a webpage):

      Peer Group Services

      WBF has over a quarter of a century experience in professional consulting and assisting business in their operations in the Philippines for promoting investment and advocating change in the business policy environment for the better.

      This considerable breadth of experience can be provided at a personal level to all CEOs and their teams who are in need of guidance to avoid the pitfalls and understand the nuances of doing business in the Philippines and working with Filipinos. WBC CEO Peter Wallace has occasionally acted as conduit for meetings between Philippine government officials and CEOs of MNCs initiated by either of the 2 parties to resolve problems or raise issues of concerns. He is supported by partners who have access to key officials of government and industry leaders.

      As part of the WBF membership, the company also arranges small, private, and informal meetings among members to maximize interaction on common operating issues and experiences, and insights amongst them and senior government officials.

      • edgar lores says:

        What… what magic is this?

        • NHerrera says:

          No magic. Split the computer screen. WBF Webpage on one and Joe’s on the other, and exercised my geriatric finger. 🙂

          • edgar lores says:

            Ahaha! The magic is in the geriatric finger. Note the singular usage. 🙂

          • I can split an excel spreadsheet, I usually open a lot of excel files so I can link everything, in my twin monotor at the office… how do you do that in WBF Webpage…?

            • NHerrera says:

              I am using Windows 10 which allows two windows — among many already opened — to be selected and snapped one, say, at the left and the other at the right.

              What I did above was to snap the webpage of WBF at the left and Joe’s webpage on the right and literally copied the item from WBF to Joe’s by typing with the keyboard (hence, the exercise with my “geriatric” fingers — probably will help me not to develop arthritic fingers soon? Hahaha.)

              • Ahh, that explais it. Am using a lower version of the Windows…though it’s free, I hesitate to click on the installation windows 10 version as some says it’s not user friendly, we have a licensed lower version at the office. For networking purpose we need to have the same version for all the staff.

              • edgar lores says:


                One should be able to open multiple windows in lower versions of Windows as well. One can have separate copies of the same program running — say, Excel or Word or your browser — in separate windows. One just has to move and resize the window of each copy so that they are side by side, as NHerrera advised. Ideally, they should be side by side so that one window does not cover the other in part or in whole, although sometimes we are not so fastidious and will tolerate some overlap.

                I am 73.49% sure that you have had the need to process separate spreadsheets in separate windows — not just books (or tabs) in the one window — either on the one monitor or separate monitors.

              • I must commend your patience and accuracy, sir NH. I don’t trust my eyesight as I don’t use an eyeglass so I’m on the look out for newspapers’ electronic version so I can copy paste in seconds. If not, I just paraphrase. Your link on Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon’s response to the Chair’s Memo (at raissa’s) defeated me, as it was in tweeter. I don’t have a magnifying glass, I was able to read it in another link.

                A feisty woman, Ms. Guanzon, is, another one to add to the likes of OMB Morales, BIR Com. Henares, former DOJ Sec, de Lima, the late Haydee Yorac and Letty Magsanoc; and Eugene Apostol, Former COA Com. Heidy Mendoza, blogger Raissa Robles… did I miss someone?

              • Thanks, sir edgar…will try that next time at the office. I think I’ll try installing windows 10 in this ipad, I wonder if it can be done, am truly hopeless in these things….excel is what I do reasonably well, that’s could be the reason why a senior architect jokingly called us the excel girls, what with our architects that are really great at computers, they do arch’l designs, multi-dimensional interior concepts that were unheared of 10 or so years ago. Gone are their drafting tables, everything is computerized.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Hi N’Herrera.Just looked again at and worked out what you mean…..I too respect your geriatric finger..Thank you for bringing it all here…Alas my fingers grew lazy this afternoon….It is indeed all worth reprinting here for our further enlightenment about this ‘Filipino’ battler…

            NB : Filipino as he has become a Filipino & as per Philipino law, renounced his Australian citizenship. Our thanks to Irenio for this interesting bit of news…

            Bill in Oz

      • NHerrera says:

        Well, the way I look at it, the probability is we will be shielded more with a RoRo than an alternative Administration. (I am not a finance man as are quite a few of the contributors here; but you can take that statement to the Bank, Mary. Hahaha.)


        • NHerrera says:

          The above is meant for —

          Mary Grace P. gonzales says:
          (January 9, 2016 at 4:04 pm)

        • I truly hope you are correct, sir NH. I remember that FVR did great in the economic front but towards the last year, it was all wiped out because of the Asian crisis. Pnoy is in the last half year of his term, if we are not adequately shielded and cannot weather this one, RORO and the continuity will be in for a more bumpy ride and rough sailing.

  36. karl garcia says:

    Cielito Habito cited Wallace Article in The economic legacies of the past presidents.

    President Cory is credited with having embarked on critical (though then unpopular) game-changing economic reforms that set the stage for our economy’s current state: a “breakout” economy predicted by outside analysts to become a significant force in the world economy by the middle of this century. She introduced the value-added tax, and started the process of instilling inherent competitiveness in our domestic producers by opening the economy to greater external competition. Notwithstanding her 1987 Constitution now seen as overly protective and inward looking, she in fact made a dramatic departure from the cronyism that marked the Marcos rule, when favored big business interests swayed official policy in their favor to dominate and shield their markets.
    Cory Aquino liberalized trade by removing most quantitative trade restraints and replaced them with more transparent import tariffs. With Executive Order No. 470, she dramatically simplified and lowered our import duties to only four levels: 3, 10, 20 and 30 percent, replacing a highly unwieldy and fraud-prone tariff structure. It was also under her watch that Congress passed the landmark Foreign Investments Act (FIA) of 1991, opening all activities to foreign investments other than those in a “negative list” reserved for Filipino control, including those restricted by the Constitution. It was a dramatic shift that ushered a rapid influx of foreign investments, especially during the subsequent Ramos administration. It is to these path-breaking Cory Aquino reforms that we owe much of our economy’s resilience today.

    President Fidel V. Ramos was the real reformer, a view stressed by fellow Inquirer columnist Peter Wallace in a report “Credit Where Credit Is Due,” citing how he truly changed the economic environment with a good number of game-changing reforms none of his successors could match.
    Wallace notes how “he liberalized the telecoms and banking industries; deregulated oil; opened up and decartelized interisland shipping; and privatized water, power generation, transmission and distribution.” Among Ramos’ earliest game changers whose repercussions continue to be widely enjoyed today were the removal of foreign exchange controls and breaking the telecoms monopoly then held by PLDT. That was when Singapore President Lee Kuan Yew had half-jokingly described the Philippines as a country where “95 percent of the population has no telephone, while the remaining 5 percent are waiting for a dial tone.” It was also a time when for most, 24-hour water was a dream, and domestic air travel was a luxury.
    Ramos moved us toward open skies, starting with domestic air transport where the current dynamism we all see traces to his move to open competition therein. He intensified trade liberalization with further tariff phasedowns, and joined the Asean Free Trade Agreement, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the World Trade Organization. He opened the tightly held banking sector to greater dynamism by allowing the entry of more foreign banks and restructuring the central bank. And he built major infrastructure facilities like the Edsa MRT, C-5, Mindanao arterial road system, and major multipurpose irrigation systems around the country, among many others.
    As for Ramos’ successor, Wallace holds that “President Estrada did nothing.” That may be a bit too harsh, as Estrada’s two-year rule did yield a number of good moves, though perhaps not of a game-changing magnitude, such as the rationalization of government credit programs. Dr. William Dar, Estrada’s first agriculture secretary, also cites that we achieved the fastest average growth in that sector during Estrada’s brief leadership.
    Of President Gloria Arroyo’s 10-year term, Wallace notes: “[S]he only increased VAT to 12 percent, introduced Roll-On, Roll-Off (RoRo) to domestic shipping, and launched the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.” Much of her presidency, especially the latter part, was marked by a struggle for political legitimacy, which drew her focus away from major economic reform, and led her to populist moves that economists even considered to be backward steps.
    For his part, incumbent President Aquino has reformed the Sin Tax Law, and enacted the Philippine Competition Act, first proposed under his mother’s presidency 27 years ago. While not economic reforms per se, the laws on K-to-12 and reproductive health have profound implications for the economy. All of us hope that we need not write off his last eight months to yield any further major reforms. But election campaign season is already upon us, three months too early. Meanwhile, further game-changing legacies could include the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (hopefully coming soon); laws on a Department of Information and Communication Technology, National Land Use, and Freedom of Information; and the easing up of constitutional restrictions on foreign investments.
    Perhaps P-Noy and the 16th Congress can yet make a legacy out of defying the widely held view that a “lame duck” government can no longer come up with more game-changing reforms in its final months.

    Read more:
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  37. josephivo says:

    Of topic. Another PDI editorial of a different kind:

  38. karl garcia says:

    Let us hear from those who disagree with Roxas.

    LIBERAL Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas was asked in a forum last Wednesday if he thought he did enough to ease traffic and other transportation problems when he was transportation and communications secretary from July 2011 to September 2012.

    The former DOTC secretary said among other things that the Metro Rail Transit Line-3 (MRT3) contract, which also passed through his hands, was tainted with “original sin,” impliedly blaming previous administrations for its defects.

    In the “Meet Your Candidates” forum held Nov. 25 at the Manila Polo Club in Makati were members of the Harvard Club of the Philippines, the Kellog School of Management Alumnae Association of the Philippines and the Wharton-Penn Alumni Association. Roxas himself is a Wharton alumnus.

    “This is a contract that started out in original sin,” Roxas said. “The contract itself was anomalous and the contract binds the government to continue this program.” It was drafted under President Cory Aquino and awarded during the time of President Fidel V. Ramos.

    Roxas pointed out that the MRT contract only allows the operator to buy new trains and assures the operator of 15-percent annual return.

    In the forum, independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares said of the unreliable, inefficient and unsafe MRT service: “People deserve better. It’s a matter of vision, planning, execution and leadership that could have spelled the difference.”

    Roxas said the “original sin” in the MRT was the build-lease-transfer contract between the Ramos administration and a private consortium led by Robert John Sobrepeña’s group, that guaranteed 15-percent annual return and allowed only the private builder and not the government to buy the trains.

    On the procurement of new coaches, the first train body copied from the original Czech design was delivered recently by the Chinese manufacturer behind schedule, without engines and therefore incapable of undergoing the required testing.

    • Past admins blamed for MRT mess

    USING the administrations of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos as scapegoats for MRT problems, Roxas glossed over the fact that the mishaps and stoppages started during his term after he appointed MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III.

    Roxas did not mention that the contract originally guaranteed 21-percent return for investors when Cory Aquino first bid it out in 1991, to entice investors to put in capital for the first MRT at a time when government finances were still recovering from the Marcos years.

    This was a priority project of the Cory administration. When Ramos took over, he brought the rate of return down from 21 to 15 percent.

    Roxas should have known that 15 percent was not anomalous but advantageous to the government, because the Philippines was paying 25-year bonds during that time at 18 percent.

    The MRT was actually getting less than what the Philippines was already paying then, given that the project also has a similar 25-year term.

    On the other hand, it was during the term of Roxas at the DOTC when anomalous transactions ending up in dangerous commutes for the riding public started to happen with alarming frequency.

    Based on contract, the private conglomerate MRT Corp. is supposed to handle maintenance, which it did for 12 years with Sumitomo.

    A private consortium of companies which includes Ayala Land, Metro Global Holdings, Greenfield Development, Anglo-Phil Holdings, Ramcar Inc., among other firms, MRTC owns the system until 2025. It is in charge of operation and maintenance, while DOTC assumes all administrative functions such as regulation of fares and operations.

    In 2012, under Roxas, DoTC took over maintenance of the MRT. His appointee Vitangcol suddenly terminated the contract of Sumitomo, which had been servicing the MRT from the start, and replaced it without bidding with PH Trams, an unqualified maintenance provider that was incorporated after it was awarded the project.

    The “single point of responsibility” practice that Sumitomo assumed was disregarded. Worse, while the contract for maintenance included services and spare parts, the new maintenance provider did not buy spare parts even if they had already been paid.

    The situation worsened that at one inspection it was discovered that there were no more stock rails and that the MRT was illegally using rails from the Light Rail Transit, an entirely different entity.

    • CoA disallows P4.5-B DOTC transfer
    AS FORMER DoTC secretary, Roxas could not have been unaware of the anomalous allocation of funds that the Commission on Audit called attention to in its 2011 annual report.

    The CoA disallowed the receipt by LRTA of P4.5 billion from DOTC that was allocated supposedly to cover the acquisition of new light rail vehicles for the expansion of the MRT system.

    This allocation was disallowed, because the fund transfer was made only under a DOTC-LRTA memorandum of agreement without any supporting work program and with no bidding by LRTA. The release was questioned also because there is an existing BLT agreement between DOTC and MRTC on the same subject.

    Vitangcol, who sank the system into trouble when he terminated the contract of Sumitomo and replaced it with the PH Trams, has been charged with his five cohorts with graft before the Sandiganbayan.

    The Office of the Ombudsman filed the charges for their roles in the anomalous grant of a multimillion-dollar contract to maintain rail services in 2012 and 2013. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, who signed the contract, was cleared.

    Charged with Vitangcol were his uncle-in-law Arturo Soriano, who is the provincial accountant of Pangasinan; Wilson de Vera, who ran for mayor under the Liberal Party in Calasiao, Pangasinan; Marlo de la Cruz, an LP campaign supporter in Manaoag; Manolo Marali; and Federico Remo.

    They are the incorporators of PH Trams (Philippine Trans Rail Management and Services Corp.), which cornered the interim maintenance deal worth $1.15 million a month without public bidding.

    * * *

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  39. PPP seems to be the new way which provides for a win-win situation, not the usual Filipino zero sum games I mentioned in this article: – win-win means both have an advantage, zero sum means one wins one loses all the time.

    As for developmental perspectives, I do refer to the article – I think the most important link for the future is Calabarzon to Subic/Clark.

    The possible ways to do avoid traffic passing through the Metro Manila bottleneck are IMHO:

    1. Cavite-Bataan underwater tunnel – costly and only for a few who can pay the toll.

    2. A dyke similar to the Dutch Afsluitdijk closing Manila Bay, with road and train line on top of it.

    3. A flood control gate like in the Dutch Delta works with road and train line on top of it.

    Options 2 and 3 have the advantage of shielding Metro Manila from floods. Option 2 could even make Manila Bay into a freshwater lake, just like the Afsluitdijk turned the Zuiderzee into Lake Ijselmeer, free of tides and other phenomena, and made large scale reclamation possible.

    So the added advantage would be to be able to extend or even double the size of Metro Manila, while freeing space for greenery. Of course Option 3 is very bold, Option 2 bold but possible.

    • Don’t really know how deep the water is in Manila Bay, but I can see that Bataan to Cavite/Batangas can be bridged and made a part of a flood control mechanism as well – maybe even close Manila Bay and prevent tides and tsunamis from affecting the city.

      Maybe it isn’t the best idea to double Metro Manila. Maybe the area of the bay which looks lighter blue and is probably not so deep is a possibility for creating a totally new town.

      This is a map of the area, and if you build a barrier of any sort – fixed like the Afsluitdijk or mobile like the Delta Works, you prevent the area from being prone to tsunamis like the following pictures show, and you make it reclaimable like Lelystad area in Holland. There are actually two ways to go with the rising seas: find coordinated teamwork like the Dutch – Project NOAH and Oplan Listo are prototypes and should be just the beginning, or become like Bangladesh, with epal politicians “helping” whenever people drown or are hit by storms.

      • Nautical map of Manila bay from the British admiralty which shows water depths:

        • Now I am getting ideas:

          1) Philippines hopefully wins at ITLOS. First negotiation position is the islands are Filipino.

          2) 2nd negotiation position is joint exploitation of the islands by Philippines/Vietnam/China.

          3) 3rd negotiation position is cede the island if the Chinese build dyke and reclamation.

          After all they have extensive experience in reclamation already. But even better than giving in to China would be to get Dutch help, including technology/skills transfer.

          • Or instead of PPP, make the whole dyke/reclamation project a Philippine Navy Engineering project. Now I know there is a sense of being careful because Marcos pioneered utilizing the Armed Forces for projects. OK, so make building land military, utilization PPP or so.

        • John says:

          Lot ideas but i know for a fact that the SCS dispute is nothing to do with resource access and everything to do with security.

          The ECS started as a resource dispute, but it’s shifted towards a security issue now. Most claims are spurious at best. WMDs, “protecting the moderate opposition”, “defending the rights of Russian speakers”…calling one out for being spurious misses the point of claims.

          Likewise, the claim that the FONOP was linked to “protecting international law and freedom of the ocean” is absolutely a lie. When it’s phrased as “protecting the right of the US Navy to threaten the Chinese mainland and threaten to choke off seaborne supplies in any dispute”, it doesn’t sound half as noble.

          Everyone’s claims in the dispute are bunk, disingenuous, the result of aggressive expansion or outright fabricated. The sooner everyone acknowledges this, the sooner we can stop playing good guy/bad guy.

          I do, however, claim that Westphalian law has been imposed, and that the insistence of its universality is bonkers. This is the reason the SCS is hard to solve; because international law was never meant to resolve this kind of issue as at its core it’s a doctrine of imposition/victor dictating terms.

          Certainly, it is not a particularly good dispute resolution mechanism. This is why UNCLOS was worded so vaguely.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Surely we have a China troll amongst us ?

            Not on topic or anywhere near it… And wanting to push a poor victimised PRC position.

            ” The US should be negotiating. If it genuinely cares about world order and not crude hegemony, it should negotiate with emerging powers as to the rules of the game.”

            There are a number of emerging powers in this region. Maylaysia, Viet Nam, Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and dare I mention it Taiwan. All of these emerging Asian region nations prefer to have this issue dealt with by international dispute resolution mechanism.

            The exception is ‘poor’ very rich, militarily powerful, nuclear armed People’s Republic of China.

            The role of the USA has been simply to support these countries in ensuring that this is what happens. So have other countries like Japan, South Korea, Australia, the UK.

            Sorry mate. No sympathy. I guess you’re well paid to do this troll job. But you’re sprouting bu*l sh*t.

            Let’s get back to topic..Ehhh : The recent words and deeds of former Aussie Peter Wallace in the Philippines.

            Bill in Oz

          • John says:

            Ahahaha well if I ever find myself in China, I might take you up on the offer.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              If I was offering mate, you would not get it..Too bloody obvious; too bloody one eyed, & and way too much propaganda.. I’ve know lots of Chinese in my 68 years and all of them could do a better job. Mind you I’m not sure that any of them would be interested in your line of work : scruples.

          • John says:

            The level is irrelevant. China is bigger and more powerful, it stands to reason that its efforts (once started) were correspondingly huge. That’s a failure of Vietnamese and Filipino strategy and diplomacy, not evidence of Chinese wrongdoing. Or perhaps you’d like to argue that the US is obliged to cap its military spending at the regional/global median? That’s essentially what you’re saying. You’re arguing that China should handicap its capabilities in the name of fairness. Sure deal. The US, as leader of the world, can lead by example.

        • John says:


          The US should be negotiating. If it genuinely cares about world order and not crude hegemony, it should negotiate with emerging powers as to the rules of the game.

          After all, most of these new powers were not invited to draft the system. If they don’t feel like they have a say in it, why should they follow it? A system set up to benefit the US (which is, after all, what the current international order is) should give way to a system designed to reflect the interests of new major players.

          After all, that is the essence of world order; giving the big boys enough of a buy-in so they don’t feel the need to rewrite the rules by force. By blocking this process, the US is playing a very, very dangerous game.

          • Mr. pro-China troll: the Peace of Westphalia was concluded in 1648, after the 30 years war. That war was essentially a conflict between German Catholics and Protestants, with France and Sweden on each side respectively, ignoring the sovereignty of German states.

            Even if many things happened in Europe and the world afterwards, but every peace that was made afterwards respected the Westphalian rules – the lesson of then remembered.

            As founding members of the United Nations, both Russia and China basically joined the body of international laws mainly forged due to European conflicts of the past. I think your last sentence is a bullies line of argumentation – rewrite the rules in a gangland manner. China is even a signatory of UNCLOS, and is now unhappy about the Filipino ITLOS filing. I think the one playing a dangerous game and getting everybody up against it is China. The rules are there to give the small boys some breathing space as well, live and let live.

            • John says:

              You raise the issue of big/small boys. Need I remind you of the Mylean Dialogue? I can point to areas where the US didn’t invoke power, it simply ignored international law to crush small opponents.
              It’s no good pointing out that China has invoked power politics when the US is probably the worst in the world for it. China won’t pursue imperium for the same reason the US won’t; it’s too bloody hard and too bloody expensive, not out of any sort of morality.
              Right now, it will pursue security until it gets it. That’s what big powers do. The funny thing is though; once a regional hegemon is secure, you tend to see a degree of benevolence.

              This is why countries like Canada or Mexico tolerate the US’s immense power without a balancing coalition…they acknowledge the hierarchy of power, and this engenders positive benefits as the hegemon is secure enough to invest in others. The situation will still benefit the hegemon to a greater extent, but it’s not a purely one-way relationship.

              This is, of course, assuming a) Chinese hegemony is possible, b) hegemony is desirable and c) the US would tolerate an emergent hegemon. But food for thought, nonetheless

              • Bill in Oz says:

                So PRC is ‘simply ignoring international law to crush it’s small opponents” because the USA has done so in the past ?

                It is curious, the PRC would not exist today if the USA had not crushed the Japanese Imperialist hegemon in the Pacific war of 1941-45. It would probably be some sort of Japanese protectorate. Surely some gratitude is appropriate rather than hostility ?

              • @Bill: there is a major difference between how the USA has exercised hegemony, and how others have. Europeans especially Germans know firsthand the difference between American and Russian style hegemony – the latter verged on impunity at times.

                Filipinos were allowed to vote their own representatives by the USA in the early 20th century and a Senate by 1916, with minimal intervention by the USA, who even turned over Moro Province to the Philippine Interior Department in 1920 after ordering matters.

                Now ask the Tibetans and the Uighurs what they think about Chinese-style hegemony. Romanians whether they feel the same within the NATO as under Russia’s Warsaw pact. And of course the Philippines are a keystone geographically – meaning if China get them they are going to be hard to stop. That is something other powers in the region will not allow, including Oz and present Japan. Vietnam also, because they would be surrounded.

          • Bert says:

            Agree, the US is playing a very dangerous game. So better for China to get out of the way or be driven out by force. Be warned!

            • John says:

              The US could do itself a lot of favours in the long term by negotiating something now. At the very least, if China later reneges on its signed commitments, then that would represent a legitimate threat.

              As it is, we have no proof that China has that kind of intent, but by treating them as if they do, we’re building a situation where aggression will become their only recourse. (Then, the usual idiots will say things like “See??? We told you they were aggressive all along!)

          • John says:

            I do think you should be far more skeptical and self-critical in your beliefs. No viewpoint should ever be accepted uncritically. Any value judgement should be applied universally.

            I guess that’s where my relativism comes from; even though I used to be a soldier, I have a pretty good capacity to view problems from the other side in order to identify paths forward (or, alternatively, ways to outmaneuver the opponent).

            • Bert says:

              There is no path forward for China in this conflict. When your illegally reclaimed military islands are blown to smithereens by the superior powers China will only whine like a dog tail between its legs.

              • John says:

                If you pick a fight with the biggest kid at your school because the big boys across the street told you they’d look after you, you have only yourself to blame for your black eye.

                The notion of sovereign equality is bunk; it’s a formal equality masking an informal inequality based on power. Vietnam has realised this, and hence you’ve seen it reengage in a hedging strategy. The only question is how much the Philippines will suffer before it realises too.

              • Bert says:

                This has nothing to do with the Philippines. The ocean is the life blood of stronger nations. A weaker nation is trying to choke that life blood. This is a matter of survival, and when it’s a matter of survival the law of the jungle prevails. The weaker nation will be swat like a fly by the stronger nation. It will help to learn and take lessons from the history of world conflicts.

              • karl garcia says:

                irineo’s fault for mentioning itlos……😜😉

        • sonny says:

          PiE, I vaguely remember coming across a factoid: A big portion of Manila Bay is no more than 150 feet. But as one approaches Corregidor and beyond, the waters turn to darker blue indicating, IMO, a steep drop into the 600 ft depth of the Luzon shelf. So yes, land reclamation is a concrete possibility. Of course this will push our present ports capability elsewhere. As to tectonic activity, Indian Ocean tsunamis will be attenuated by the western Malay archipelago land masses, I think. Our tsunami vulnerabilities are more significant on the Pacific exposure.

          • Thanks – that jibes with the British admiralty map and the coloration in it. I can imagine the following measures to secure that reclamation against the wildness of the open seas, and at the same time connect Calabarzon to Clark/Subic directly, lessening Manila thru traffic:

            1) Dyke like structures on both sides – Bataan and Batangas/Cavite as the basic part

            2) Bridges with flood control barriers under them, similar to the Dutch Delta works

            3) Roads and railway lines on top of the dykes and bridges to connect Bataan to Cavite.

            Moving the main port of the Philippines to Subic could make sense anyway in terms of decongesting Manila. But I might not start reclaiming in Manila but in the shallow coasts near the delta of the Pampanga river indicated in the British admiralty map – new towns.

          • Joe America says:

            Proposals to do more landfill are met with huge complaint because residents don’t want to lose their view of the sunset.

            • Then one could do landfill elsewhere, in the northern part of the bay for example.

              One more new article from me:

              • karl garcia says:

                If you do not want photobombs then don’t bring cameras.If your favorite sunset view is now gone,then find another.
                I am joking of course .Irineo ,we have talked about plans unfulfilled,so the problem is not the lack of planning,because we have lots of them.
                I don’t know is the Philippines one big obstacle course,maze,or what?
                Do we like to put obstacles in everything.
                Plugging holes in a dike will just cause another leaking hole,so what do we do?

              • A is meant to be flooded so that the other areas stay safe – Dutch wisdom. So what the present government is doing is correct – let MRT3 run but concentrate on the way out, i.e. DOST AGT, Roadtrain, Express Bus services…

                Their weakness has always been in explaining, and in finding allies in the press who help explain things to the people. Their public relations are simply lousy – recently improving.

                And yes, the Philippines is a maze. Having been in that maze before, and now looking at it from far away, I have the advantage of seeing it more clearly. I am like somebody in a helicopter telling the SAF 44 where to go, someone they unfortunately did NOT have… 😦

                There are those who are in the maze and don’t notice it, there are those who notice it like you – therefore they seem confused because they are looking for the system. I am less confused now that I have tried to find the twisted logic behind things and help understand.

                Getting one’s mind ordered is the first step – once that is achieved the rest is just doing. 🙂

              • A polder during the East German floods of 2012 – among other things caused by mistakes of the Communist regime in water management, the army had to come and help then:

              • karl garcia says:

                Thanks Irineo,or we enumerate like Edgar to have order.
                Better than any chaos theory around.

              • The Greeks believed that chaos was the beginning of everything: – next came the Earth, Hell and Love.

                The ancient Greeks were like Filipinos – masters of comedy and tragedy.

    • Back to Wallace: he was made a Filipino by virtue of a Republic Act last October 2015. Who sponsored it in the Senate is interesting, just Google and connect the dots.

      Filipinization seems to have turned his thinking transactional, not strategic, as evidenced by the way he is nitpicking on the way the contracts were rescinded or put on hold.

      PPP is strategic, not transactional. Solving the NAIA3 mess (Aquino talking to Westerwelle, honi soit lui qui mal y pense, I assume everything was Platonic hehe, and Abaya getting the terminal up and running, so at least NAIA1 is somewhat decongested) was strategic, the way Arroyo etc. dealt with it was transactional and just hardened the fronts, one thing you don’t do with Germans is threaten them like Filipino mayors do with their “subjects”.

      • Sponsored by Pimentel of PDP Laban who moved heaven and earth to make the coy Duterte as presidential candidate, in his rush to save him a slot on the last day of filing, had Dino filed a defective CoC (Certificate of Candidacy), said Duterte was on record as saying if disqualified due to that defective CoC, he will campaign for Binay.

        The newly naturalized Filipino citizen said, “Let’s stop uncovering dirt (of Duterte and Binay?) we know them already, let’s determine their potential.” Aaarrrgh…what is that again? Let the electorate vote blind, unaware they could be putting plunderers or self confessed killers to the highest office of the land?

        Not every dirt is uncovered or widely disseminated to the uniformed electorate. Contracts for security for the HDMF (Pag-ibig fund) did not undergo bidding according to their officers, they were chosen by Binay who heads that government agency, he chose his family controlled agency. Hundreds of millions were involved…how many voters know that, Mr Wallace? Binay and Duterte share a key staff, a long term Davao City Hall administrator, appointed at BSP, and if I remember it right, at HDMF, hope I’m wrong in the latter agency.

        Either Binay or Duterte?

  40. Bill in Oz says:

    What search term did you use Irineo ?

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Just found it Irineo ! Very very interesting.. He was granted Philippino citizenship by his own special Act of the Philippino Congress & Senate !!! And signed by president Aquino as well…

      Bill in Oz

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Thank you Irineo, Yes I found those two links..But I am hopeless at connecting the dots as you suggest..

        • Senator Pimentel who sponsored the bill for Wallace’s citizenship is PDP-Laban.

          PDP-Laban is the political party behind the candidacy of Duterte and Cayetano.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Ahhhhh !! Thank you again Irineo….And of course Mr Wallace was in Davao to see the new eden there last year..And reported fullsomely on in the Enquirer…

            And I agree with you completely & entirely in your remarks about the very different nature of USA as an ‘imperial’ power. Apart from the Latin American countries, the USA has always been a remarkably enlightened major power. Woodrow Wilson at Versailles post WW I tried to ensure the decolonisation of eastern & central Europe. Post WW II the Dutch got very little support in their attempt to reconquer Indonesia after the Japanese surrender. The attempts by Britain post WW II to maintain it’s empire ran into the non violent but effective opposition of the USA. An example : Suez in 1956.

            I should also mention that while Australian forces stopped the Japanese army advance towards Australia in New Guinea.It was USA military power that destroyed Japan’s naval & air power : at the battles of Midway and the Coral Sea. Among most Australians ever since there has been a very healthy appreciation and gratitude towards the USA even though Australia is very different politically & culturally to the USA

  41. karl garcia says:

    Eden was mentioned by Bill.That park was is owned by a relative The family of the late Chito Ayala. His Wife was the sister of my late grand mother from the mother side.
    Chito Ayala was like an uncle to Pnoy.The seniors among us might know him.

    Most of my relatives in Davao are pro Duterte,if I post anti Duterte posts (fb)and they comment,I do not bother to reply and I would know later if we are ok if they like another post I have that has not have anything to do with Duterte.

  42. strange haven’t been receiving emails about comments

  43. caliphman says:

    This is out of topic and maybe, given the general anti-Poe bias and sentiment in this forum, not worth the bother of posting here. But for those who have the intellectual maturity to suspend judgement and consider the cases for two diametrically opposed conclusions without blowing out a fuse or a synapse, the link below lays out the judicial arguments and principles for interpreting the Constitution in favor of Senator Grace Poe. Bear in mind, the Supreme Court oral arguments will commence shortly and it behooves those who understand and have an appreciation for constitutional principles and the law to have an idea of what the hell is at issue and is being argued about. For those who are utterly convinced about what the Constitution says and that the case for Poe’s disqualification is such a slam dunk, the Supreme Court should not even be arguing it, please skip on to the next post. As they say, ignorance is bliss, so be happy. Otherwise, read the link and be informed if and when the oral arguments start.

      • Joe America says:

        The ex-CJ seems to be saying “agreeing with me means you are judicially great” and if you don’t, you aren’t. If I were a judge, that implication would really irritate me.

        As for this blog, it is open to all and is not of itself anything but the sum of all who contribute. If Poe supporters don’t contribute forthright discussion but only insults or chatroom troll comments (which I delete), well, then her backers are not giving her proper representation here.

        • edgar lores says:

          That first paragraph is wasted if it just remains here. I shall post it where it belongs.

        • andrewlim8 says:

          It is very amusing to see lawyers muster every available argument

          My impression of Panganiban’s essay? When the law and facts are not on your side, proclaim their muddled character and harp on the emotions. Pound on the table, since there are very little facts to pound on. Talk about “greatness” , “more law to those who have less” etc.

          But if one’s preferred outcome is the opposite, then it’s the reverse.


          • The complete text, for the benefit of those with weak internet connections:

            “I just read the comment of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on the Grace Poe case now pending with the Supreme Court. My observation: not as strong compared to the Carpio, Brion and De Castro SET-dissenting opinions. I disagree with OSG’s preliminary attempt to focus the case on the rights of a foundling. OSG’S strategy seems to be this: if you are against us, you are a bad person because you do not care about foundlings. This approach is not only a red-herring but utterly unfair. There is no question that Filipinos are all concerned about the rights of foundlings. There might even be no question that foundlings are citizens of the Philippines.

            The real and “GRANDER” issue is this : Must a foundling be automatically regarded as a natural-born Filipino for purposes of qualifying to run for national positions of the land, such as the Senate and the Presidency?

            I believe that what is lacking in all those, including the OSG, siding with Grace Poe-Llamanzares are legal arguments compellingly more, if not equally, brilliant, than those discussed by Supreme Court Justices Carpio, Brion and De Castro.

            The OSG relied heavily on the deliberations of the 1934 constitutional framers. But the individual opinions of the framers do not represent the overall intent of the constitution. The OSG at least admitted that “inferences” of natural citizenship can be one of the main reasons for deciding for Grace Poe-Llamanzares. It even referred to the situation of Fernando Poe in relation to the Philippine Bill of 1902. Relying on “inferences” and presumptions without any factual foundation is always a shaky proposition. And the only factual foundation of a “foundling” is his/her situation of having “unknown parents.” Besides, the Philippine Bill of 1902 does not compare with the textual provisions of the 1935 Constitution.

            When the OSG trivialized the matter by saying that scrutinizng the “purity of blood” is “almost-comical” in scale and then relates it to the ability to govern, it missed the point. Being NATURAL-BORN is a constitutional qualification imposed by the sovereign people. There are fundamental reasons for it. Before one can be President or Senator, one must first pass muster with the CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT. That is the point. A candidate or an incumbent who does not abide by it cannot just ignore it on grounds of vox populi vox dei. Scrutinizing a candidtate’s qualification for the Senate and the Presidency is not an “almost-comical” endeavor as the OSG would characterize it. It is a serious one.

            And then that reference to Harry Potter ( “House Slytherin”) is just awful. To compare the situation of Grace Poe-Llamanzares to our naturalized athletes is the most off-tangent of all. Our athletes will not run the government. The fundamental law does not mandate the kind of citizenship that athletes should have. The responsibilities of a Senator and the President are to the country, while the athletes’ responsibility is to their fans. OSG’s attempt at comparison is not only “almost comical”, it is absurd.

            I hope that, in the January 19 Supreme Court oral arguments, the exchanges of legal points on BOTH SIDES will provide more enlightenment for the sake of the nation. And if this is achieved, it will be easier, even if one is on the opposite side, to accept any resolution, whatever it may be.”

            • karl garcia says:

              “The responsibility of national athletes is for the fans.”Then remove the national colors and make it open competition games.
              The reason we have a naturalized basketball player other than because we are allowed,the other players do not want to risk injury and decide not play for the country…
              I am just questioning the “for the fans only and not for the country”.

            • The decision by COMELEC on the citizenship and residency issue of Grace Poe is within the competence of COMELEC as an independent commission. As such, the sensible thing that the OSG should have done is to shy away from a precipitate pronouncement which appear to demean the competence of the COMELEC as an independent commission. The COMELEC has done its duty. The recourse is now with the SC. Escudero rode with the OSG’s pronouncement stating that it strengthen’s Poe’s position. Yet, this and the way Escudero is framing the issue of Poe is in effect to float COMELEC as an untrustworthy independent commission. Imagine, if he becomes the second highest official of the land. Cannot respect independent commission now, unlikely to do so or so an awkward position for a VP.

        • caliphman says:

          Andrew, it is precisely because there are questions of law that have no conclusive answers which is why the Supreme Court might take up the Poe disqualification case. If you are confident that you have grasp of the relevant facts and laws concerning the Poe case that that you can dismiss thf legal issues and guiding principles Panganiban. If you or anyone else would like to go over point by point why these are are , to use your term ‘muddled’ , or properly subject to SC review, I am sufficiently informed about the law to elaborate on Panganiban’s views on it if necessary.

          If you describe as “harping on emotions” the fact that those who are the final arbiters of what the law means are guided by the overarching principle of social justice when that law is ambiguous , silent or unclear. In the US, this very principle guided the Supreme Court to to interpret that the Constitution gave women the right to choose abortion or to give birth in Wade vs. Roe, or to abolish the separate but equal practice of educational discrimination in 1954, or even in the present time decide that a 1776 Constitution may guarantee the right of gays to marry. So how are foundlings any different and are international laws to protect them just the creation of lawyers of the UN just harping on their emotions too?

          I do not know if you are a student or practitioner of law, but for those who are, Panganiban presents the legal case for one side in a clear and simple way and its a shame that the case for the other side is presented simply and clearly by someone of similar stature.. As I said in my original post, understanding instead of blindly dismissing his case is important to those who wish to follow the orall arguments at the SC but not as much for those mosty interested if the final outcome is favorable to their candidate or to their negative bias against Poe

        • caliphman says:

          Joe, lets say that part of Ex-Cj’s exposition was unnecessary. But that comes with the territory of being an OpEd columnist and praising those who adhere to ones views and worse, condemning those who do not.

          The most important part of the article is its legal content as it seems the core of Poe’s case is built on Panganiban’s lines of argumentation. Some of the points he makes is in rebuttal of the case made at the SET and Comelec by the judges who voted against Poe, so that’s an some indication of their cases for DQ ruling by the SC. One of the drawbacks of the Comelec and SET proceedings is the lack of argumentation and exchanges that takes place when a case is heard by the Supreme Court. This is the most interesting part aside from the final opinions at these SC hearings.

          I have said time and again I am not campaigning in support of Poe. I am against Duterte and Binay in that order and am pro foundling. I find the anti-Poe attacks here and at CPM many times slanderous and undeserved, motivated by the mistaken belief that her supporters will switch to Roxas and improve his dismal chances as a prospective winner.

          My main interest given my early education and training is the legal issues surrounding Poe’s eligibility to run for president. It is not to give Poe proper representation here, not that she is getting competent legal representation in the courts from the lopsided votes of the justices who voted against here. I will post links to articles relevant to Poe’s case but even that seems futile as hardly any of the regulars here have a legal background and have the acumen or interest to discuss matters of law as compared to politics, economics, and Phililippine social and cultural issues.

          And it’s true, you may have your biases, but iits to your credit that your site is known as a place to speak out freely andto learni from others without feari of being mugged verbally.

          • Joe America says:

            Yes, I know your main fear is Binay and Duterte, and I share that fear. The Constitution has a lot that needs to be modernized and made more flexible, and any penalty against foundlings I agree is bad. I also don’t like the penalties that illegitimate children bear under family law (inheritance one-half what a legitimate child inherits, for instance). My wife and I, on the way to Tacloban, pass by a small municipality or fishing village, and there are always dozens of young kids with young mothers along the main highway. We call it “Kid City”. I asked her to guess how many of the mothers were actually married, and she said “3%”, the point being that a whole lot are not married. Poverty does a lot to families and peoples and our laws ought to work to make them whole, not punish them.

            For myself, I no longer read about Poe arguments, as the SC will give the official ruling, and we all ought to respect that ruling, however it comes down. I read the Panganiban article because I think he is partisan and not judicial. I was curious.

            • caliphman says:

              Joe, it is usually best to judge something based on the content of what one sees or hears and not by who is doing or saying it. If one cannot decide from facts in evidence or trust ones judgement, then maybe one can speculate about motivations or bias. That however smacks so much about your credo here of not shooting the messenger but dealing with the message.

            • If the Constitution is a secular kind of Scripture, the scary thing is that the bishops that interpret it are not agreeing on one interpretation, just like Christianity before the Great Schism between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. This stage in the evolution of Philippine jurisprudence – how to interpret the law – is scary because it shows what a slippery slope the law in the country still represents. One priest with a sharp beard who was expelled for heresy in another church is now here, constantly arguing with a sister of strong conviction.

              In Constantinople, a writer of those trouble times once wrote, even the masseurs in baths would say to him “truly, the Father is greater than the Son” – the Orthodox belief system.

              Now in present Istanbul, you have baths called hamams, and the religion is another one.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, the case law and political interpretations = slippery slope.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                But Irineo, the bishops have hardly ever agreed I am not Catholic but I keep my ears tuned to the Catholic world. Even the Nicean creed was imposed by a Roman Emperor ( Constantine ? ) sick & tired or the arguments..And now in 2015 Francis ( the most compassionate & insightful pope since John23rd ) finds himself opposed by dogmatic leftovers in the Vatican from previous more orthodox leaders..

              • Joe, not just political interpretations, personal interpretations as well. Get on the wrong side of a powerful person as a foreign businessman without enough clout in the country, and you can end up leaving with not even your shirt still on. That really needs fixing.

                Bill, Quezon was the true founder of the Republic, the 1935 Constitution was his baby, designed for him, used properly by Magsaysay and abused by Palpatine, sorry Marcos, who replaced it with the 1973 Constitution. Cory had the 1987 Constitution replace it, now the fragile Republic is threatened by remnants of the Sith Order (Marcos loyalists) and by the First Order (Duterte group) who want to return to the Dark Side. Filipino Star Wars.

              • Bravo a very accurate Star Wars reference.

              • Joe America says:

                Point taken. Yes, personal interests of the powerful and entitled, too.

            • Joe, at least those 97% children of unmarried couples know the identity of their parents. The foundlings are dumped by their heartless parents and I feel for them (including Poe) not knowing from what ancestry they have sprung from, and they should be cared for and given the same opportunities as non-foundlings. Who knows, after the Constitution is amended, they could be officials of the government, too if they possess all the constitutional qualifications and none of the disqualifications. Who knows, the future constitution will adopt a jus soli doctrine in the determination of citizenship. If the US, a very powerful country, is not afraid of Russian or North Korean descendant to be their President, then it might not be so bad. For now, I know the Constitution has adopted the jus sanguini doctrine, citizenship by blood, so we must adhere to that, I said for now, and that is a layman’s opinion only. The residency issue is complicated, what with their recent ruling on a mayor of Pangasinan who renounced his American citizenship but used his American passport right after that and so was disqualified. If it is true that Poe did that, too, then she has another problem…will the SC make a ruling different from their previous 2 rulings similar to her situation, and overturn the settled jurisprudence and be accused again of flip flopping? My legal terminologies may be erroneous but I guess you get my drift.

              • Joe America says:

                I’m not prepared to declare Grace Poe’s true parents as heartless for I don’t know their circumstance. As I said, however, I am all for taking care of foundlings. Just don’t stop there in making Philippine laws more compassionate.

              • True, with regards to Poe who was left in a church font, hoping pious people would find and take care of her. I was referring to those newly born babies left in trash cans, comfort rooms, those who could have died of exposure or dog, rats and mosquito bites or something. Heartless!

              • oops, I made an error there. The use of the US passport after renunciation falls under citizenship issue not residence issue, my bad. The SC has just ruled that the use of the US passport effectively recanted the oath of renunciation. Confusing for a laymen who just wants to understand.

          • karl garcia says:

            just continue educating us caliphman,I misjudged you a lot and I am not even a judge.

            Back at CPM, I was scared of you,when I came back to comment here,and found you here,I said,Oh no,it is caliphman. But when I read your comments I thought someone was using your handle because you mellowed a bit.

            It is unfortunate,the lawyers only visit occassionally,DAgimas,I think is a lawyer,but does not discuss law too much.

            There are others,out there I know.

            Maybe there would be a way to discuss legal matters,if I am articulate enough at the risk of getting told that I do not know what I am talking about,I would have loved to discuss things with you.

            ps …..pardon my tactlessness..

            • caliphman says:

              Your sincerity more than compensates for any unnoticed lack of tact, karl. CPM was a take no prisoners experience for me. I did not mind straightening out baycas, leona, ipil and yvonne on occasions where legal errors were involved because most of our exchanges were about the law and not ad hominem in nature at first. But when one is dealing with waves upon waves of attacking anti-Poe hordes and one is the sole defender, it gets pretty brutal. Johnny Lin is back there now but seems like he is now an anti-Poe so he blends in with that crowd. So I am glad to be here and away from that toxic environment.

  44. Hereunder is one of the opinions of those who are not judicially great. Posted by a certain Tony Vicidial right after the Ex CJ’s column. (1st part of his comment)

    Hmmm…. very persuasive. But lets take it point for point.

    1. Poe is a foundling who certainly deserves the overarching social justice principle of giving more law to those who have less in life.

    – already done, she was given citizenship, But chose instead to use her US Passport during her travel to the US.

    2. The framers of the 1935 Constitution explained that it was never their intention “to exclude foundlings from natural-born citizenship … and the only reason that there was no specific reference to foundlings … was that foundlings are few … [and] by international law … children or people born … of unknown parents are citizens…

    – But citizenship, doesnt equate to being natural born.

    3. The grand axiom “Salus populi est suprema lex” (the welfare of the people is the supreme law) may be invoked “extra-constitutionally” (beyond the constitutional text) to render social justice, famously wrote the eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel.

    – No arguement there… but what if she does get elected, and we found out that her biological parents are from Thailand? Should not instead educate the people of the relevance of the provisions of the Constitution at an early age?

    4. Frivaldo vs Comelec teaches that “in case of doubt in the interpretation of constitutional and legal provisions involving popular sovereignty, it is best to interpret such provisions in a manner that enables our electorate to elect freely their leaders.” Bengzon vs HRET affirms that natural-born Filipinos who became aliens reacquire their original citizenship when repatriated. And Marcos vs Comelec instructs that the truth, not the mistaken statements in a certificate of candidacy, prevails.

    • 2nd part of Tony’s comment:

      provided of course that they have all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications. As already pointed out by the good justice, the party in question is already without doubt Filipinos by blood. The question better to ask, is for the seat of the Presidency, should we elect a person who for the sake of convenience elected to be an American Citizen and not just remained as a Resident Alien, or one who used her US Passport to travel eventhough she said she has renounced her US Citizenship?

      5. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the covenants on civil and political rights, on the reduction of statelessness and on the rights of the child favor foundlings like Poe.

      – already done, she was granted Philippine Citizenship, so we already adheared to the covenant.

      6. The presumptions of good faith, nondiscrimination and regularity in the performance of duties undoubtedly benefit her.

      – But actions that are right, cannot undo a wrong done. What is wrong is wrong, however many a right you do to replace or cover up the wrong done. There is no such thing as an honest mistake, unless you owe to it, the moment you realize the mistake. Ms. Poe knew she was wrong when she categorized herself as the natural born daughter of Susan Roces. How can she be natural born, when she knew she was adopted? When she filled in her residency, it took her such a long time to say it was an honest mistake, because now her applications is being scrutinized….

      Just a thought.

    • edgar lores says:

      On item 3: Panganiban’s argument may be classified under several fallacies, such as “appeal to probability,” “special pleading,” and “appeal to consequences.”

      The argument is false because it presumes that a Grace Poe presidency will redound to “the welfare of the people.” There is no way of proving this. Neither is there a way of proving that the welfare from any other candidate will be less than that of Poe’s.

      • caliphman says:

        Edgar, I don’t know what that #3 reference is about but what Panganiban in my opinion is referring to is that giving the people the opportunity to vote or not, for a very popular candidate, will redound to ” the welfare of the people”. This is the principle behind the Frivaldo vs Comelec case which if you read the majority opinion ruled that even if the text of the Constitution says a person may not be eligible to run, so long as it is not violative of the spirit or intent of the Constitution, the person should be allowed to run. This is what Pinoy’s opinion about the courts letting zpoe tun. The ponencia was none other than Panganiban concurred by another CJ, Reynato Puno.

        My suggestion is to read the summary at the end of the ponencia, which is only 3 paragraphs to get an understanding of how Justice Laurel’s principle was applied in Frivaldo’s situation.

        Things may not be as simple as they seem..and no its not a fallacy in this case.

        • edgar lores says:

          Thanks, Caliphman.

          That was a personal opinion from the viewpoint of logic — not legal — reasoning.

  45. Bill in Oz says:

    Here is ( courtesy of Irineo ) the preamble to the constitution of the Philippines :
    ” We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution”

    The ‘legalistic’ point of view you support MGP contradicts ” Justice”, “Love”, ” Equality, ” “Freedom “. And you do so in order to gain a political advantage for another candidate.
    As Dickens said “humbug “.

    • Bill in Oz

      There are specific Chapters and Sections providing for citizenship in the Philippine Constitution that are cited by the Comelec in their ruling and by the 3 Supreme Court Associate Justices in their dissenting opinions in the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

      I am a just a citizen agreeing with their published opinions, but the SC will decide this with finality after the oral arguments scheduled in the 3rd week of this month.

      That preamble is the guideline, I think, that were used in the provisions. The specific provisions (including the transcripts of the Constitutional Convention who drafted them) are the ones being cited every time the SC interprets cases brought to them, not the preamble.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        I disagree with you. MGP .The preamble sets ‘principles’..That is why it is stated first and so is above all which follows…The spirit of the preamble is crucial, over arching….

        • Like my article here says: – could it be Bill that you read it? – the true constitution of the Philippines is more like this:

          PREAMBLE: We, the entitled of the Philippines, have for centuries run an unjust and inhuman society. We have decided to drop all pretenses and hypocrisy, and by virtue of our own Entitlement, we hereby promulgate the True Constitution of the Philippines:

          Article 1. Laws only apply to ordinary people and to our political enemies, not to us.

          Article 2. Those who support us will be given food and drinks, and smiled upon.

          Article 3. Those who do not know who we are shall be punished arbitrarily.

          Article 4. Business opportunities are for us and our own group, not for ordinary people.

          Article 5. Ordinary people and our political enemies are suspect, we are beyond doubt.

          This constitution is binding upon all matters in the Philippines, and is above the written law we have pretended to follow for all these centuries.

          This constitution is valid for all time and may not be amended.

          One alternative is: start living the spirit of the 1987 Constitution and drop the humbug.

          • Of course Grace Poe making material misrepresentations is a real issue.

            Had she been forthright from the very beginning, she would have been more credible.

            A lot of her actions show her opportunism and lack of character – grounds not to vote her.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Yes Irineo, I did indeed read this ‘true constitution” in your blog. However I assumed you were being ironic rather than factual….So I did not refer to it. I realise my mistake and defer to deep knowledge & wisdom on this matter….

        • Ok, Bill. Then let’s agree to disagree. hahaha

        • edgar lores says:

          Bill in Oz,

          As Mary Grace pointed out there are specifics that expand the principles in the preamble.

          The specifics qualify — but do not contradict — the principles.

          In this case, the specific obstacles facing Grace Poe are in the Constitution.

          If your logic is correct, we must conclude that the Constitution itself is humbug… because it does not allow Poe a free run.

          But it is not. Therefore to say Mary Grace’s view — or indeed her person — is humbug is not only impolite but incorrect.

          Humbug means “deceptive or false talk or behaviour.”

          Where is the falseness or deception in Mary Grace’s views? To cite what one considers valid reasons against one candidate in favor of another is neither deceptive nor “taking advantage.” It is but rational.

          Indeed, her “legalistic” view aligns with the values listed in the preamble:

          o Justice – she is saying the law must be observed
          o Love – she is saying we must love justice and hate injustice
          o Equality – she is saying no person is above the law
          o Freedom – she is saying we have freedom of expression to state our opinions; and freedom of choice is not absolute but restricted by what is lawful

          • Wow, sir edgar, if ever I will be brought to court for any reason, I will truly feel comfortable with you as my defense lawyer…. or an amicus curiae.

            I think you should have been a lawyer, by now you could have been chief justice of the SC. You clarify an issue with just a few sentences. while I struggle with too long paragraphs. Such gift !

            My most sincere thanks.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Hi Edgar, In my ignorance I am going to make a big assumption here : I assume that the constitution adopted in 1987 was formulated by lawyers and politicians with a legal background. who knew what had happened during the Marcos dictactorship.

            The preamble was written and put first to inspire and guide later generations – In much the same way as the Declaration of Independence does for the USA. Hence the referal to Justice, Love, Freedom & Equality…

            I suspect that the men & women who wrote the 1987 Philippines constitution were only to aware that laws and the arcane expensive legalistic processes of the courts, often deny Justice, Freedom Love & Equality.

            • S.J. of Ateneo was the grey eminence behind the 1987 Constitution – a deeply moral man with very good intentions.

     was a book by another Jesuit of Ateneo, referring to the reality of how Christianity and morals are practiced in the Philippines – what I refer to as the clean and dirty kitchen, or the gap between theory and practice in the country. Will is referring to it in his current article. Bernas had good intentions, Cory as well, but they both IMHO underestimated the dirty kitchen and the cockroaches in it. Or like my father said: Filipinos often don’t say what they mean – or mean what they say. I add that they often don’t walk their talk, i.e. nice words but grim actions in reality. Plus those who are good but not strong enough to confront evil, as says: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

            • Joe America says:

              WHICH DRAFTED THE

              President : Cecilia Munoz Palma

              Vice-President : Ambrosio B. Padilla
              Floor Leader : Napoleon G. Rama
              Assistant Floor Leaders : Ahmad Domocao Alonto
              : Jose D. Calderon

              Yusuf R. Abubakar, Felicitas S. Aquino
              Adolfo S. Azcuna, Teodoro C. Bacani
              Jose F. S. Bengzon, Jr., Ponciano L. Bennagen
              Joaquin G. Bernas, Florangel Rosario Braid
              Crispino M. de Castro, Jose C. Colayco
              Roberto R. Concepcion, Hilario G. Davide, Jr.
              Vicente B. Foz, Edmundo G. Garcia
              Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, Serafin V.C. Guingona
              Alberto M. K. Jamir, Jose B. Laurel, Jr.
              Eulogio R. Lerum, Regalado E. Maambong
              Christian S. Monsod, Teodulo C. Natividad
              Ma. Teresa F. Nieva, Jose N. Nolledo
              Blas F. Ople, Minda Luz M. Quesada
              Florenz D. Regalado, Rustico F. de los Reyes, Jr.
              Cirilo A. Rigos, Francisco A. Rodrigo
              Ricardo J. Romulo, Decoroso R. Rosales
              Rene V. Sarmiento, Jose E. Suarez
              Lorenzo M. Sumulong, Jaime S. L. Tadeo
              Christine O. Tan, Gregorio J. Tingson
              Efrain B. Trenas, Lugum L. Uka
              Wilfrido V. Villacorta, Bernardo M. Villegas

              You can google some of the names to find out who they were or are. They make quite a distinguished list of notables, and they for sure were bouncing off the ills of the Marcos years, and some of the rigidity of the Constitution reflects that. Perhaps start with Fr. Bernas, who is active writing and commenting on constitutional issues today.

            • edgar lores says:

              Bill in Oz,

              Your first assumption is correct. The 1987 Constitution was written in reaction to the Marcos dictatorship.

              The second assumption is also correct: the preamble embodies the hopes and dreams of the people.

              Specifically, freedom and equality are the hallmarks of liberal democracy. Justice is not an original hallmark… I think because in the three original theories of the social contract — Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau — justice can either be seen to lean in conflict towards either the individual, the people or the state. In recent times, social justice has become a basic objective of liberal governance. Also recently (John) Rawls has added, not justice, but fairness as the third element of the social contract. In Oz, we can take pride that giving a fair go has been part of our national culture.

              But love? Love is too broad a notion to be included in the preamble of a constitution. Love is an action verb and normally transitive in that it requires an object. What is/are the object(s) of love as promulgated in a constitution? Love of mankind and love of nation may conflict. Love of self and love of others may conflict. And in the Philippines, love of family often conflicts with love of nation.

              I find love is too mawkish to include in the preamble.

              As to the last assumption, my starting premise would be that most framers of the constitution were lawyers, so they would naturally have a legalistic frame of mind. One was a Jesuit priest. All of the sections of a constitution, with the exception of the preamble, are legal — legalistic — in nature. Therefore, I would think the framers would expect the courts to interpret the law primarily according to the specifics of the constitution they authored… and secondarily in the spirit of the preamble.

    • Roxas has enough going for him, his supporters should get busy selling his advantages. Concentrating too much on Grace Poe’s disqualification only helps her portray the martyr.

      • Let’s say we are multi-tasking, Irineo. We want to understand.

        • Why not deal with her constant criticisms like one can also deal with a Chinese troll?

          Use it as an opportunity to clarify own arguments and strengthen one’s own position.

          • If she is disqualified, a lot of her votes might just go to Binay or even Duterte.

            Better let due process take its course, and avoid too much eagerness in that.

            Because she is already making herself look like a victim of “entitled” Roxas.

            • OK, Irineo… This is my observation:

              Bam Aquino sided with Grace Poe in the SET; President Aquino is on record as saying “Let Grace Poe run and let the people decide” and was ridiculed by Binay’s man Tatad for saying that; his appointee Comelec Chair Bautista dissented in the Comelec ruling, he sided with Grace Poe; His appointed Solicitor General also penned an opinion forwarded to the Supreme Court which sided with Grace Poe. Those are public servants associated with this Admin.

              I genuinely liked her and I voted for her in 2013 before I knew of this DQ issues, and before her too obvious pandering with populist though impractical issues and most important of all, before she chose to associate herself with the remnants of the dictator Marcos’ regime).

              I am but a single, private person compared with the admin people who defended Grace Poe. Her supporters will vote for the man Binay, who masterminded these DQ cases? Some things are just beyond comprehension.

              As I repeatedly say, we just wanted to understand the issue.

              • Joe America says:

                President Aquino was not registering a legal opinion, just making the statement that LP would not concern itself with the case because it didn’t matter. This was before the SET ruling was released, and his last remark I believe was that it was all a bit confusing and he was studying it. Who knows what is rocking Bautista’s socks, but he seems to have lost control of, and the confidence of, at least one of his commissioners. The Solicitor General statement was strange, to me, and his statement effectively precluded his staff from representing COMELEC, as they ordinarily would. I have both in my “wary” house.

                I had to run to Tacloban for more popcorn.

              • Joe America says:

                Put another way, I think President Aquino, and maybe even Mar Roxas, are having popcorn right along with us on the Poe DQ cases.

      • Joe America says:

        Agree. Mar Roxas himself does not even concern himself with Poe’s case. His supporters are more vocal. Of course, they are in the trenches getting trolled, so may feel more directly confronted than Roxas does.

    • josephivo says:

      Notice that there is no “pursuit of happiness” here, Why justice? Why love? Why equality? Why freedom? … because the are all free!

      Wealth to be reserved for the happy few.

    • “And you do so in order to gain a political advantage for another candidate” – Bill in Oz

      That is quite an unfair statement. We are a nation of laws. Interpretation of that laws belong to the SC. All we can do is state our opinions but we cannot rule on the DQ cases.
      and I think stating an opinion is covered in our bill of rights, and is also a universal right.

      In a forum like this, one is free to express our opinion, and I have expressed mine which is that I agree with the Comelec ruling and the dissenting opinions of the 3 SC AJ.. Others can agree with the ex-SC CJ, Panganiban, columnist Tan, and others with opposite opinions, and that is their right too.

      There is no deceit, there. The Roxas camp was not even the one who challenged her citizenship and residency in the Comelec and the SET, it is the Binay camp, so Poe is quite barking on the wrong tree, She even said that there will be no satisfaction if Roxas wins by default, does she know in advance that the SC will finally rule that she is disqualified to be a Senator or a President?

      • chempo says:

        Poe said there is no satisfaction if Roxas wins by default
        Binay says that he is confident of winning, unless there is poll cheating.

        Wow, brilliant caveats !

        Edgar, is there a word for this? — to make reservations to ensure you must be the rightful winner?

        • Hehe, my father taught me and my brother some tricks of the Filipino trade when we played backgammon – possibly so we could guard against them ourselves as grown men.

          He accused us of cheating on the dice, or moving the pieces, and while loudly pointing at our pieces would move his pieces himself or the dice. After a while we learned not to be distracted by this, and watch his hands and call out quickly – this all sounds very similar. 🙂

        • edgar lores says:

          I’ve thought of sour grapes, counting the chickens before they hatch, ensuring, hedging, nailing down, safeguard, putting a lock on. The last one?

          Or tagalog maybe? Nagsesegurista. Loosely translates as “making sure.”

        • Joe America says:

          These people are professional trolls, blocking off all avenues of criticism, and opening up avenues of escape, blame, and excuse.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Hi MGP..I acknowledge that I made a very unfair statement about you. No you are not writing your comments to gain an unfair advantage for another candidate. It was made in haste as I was about to leave home for another engagement. I withdraw it.

        However I hope that you acknowledge the rather telling “true constitution” presented by Irineo above….

        • No problem, Bill. The true mark of a man is when he learns to acknowldege something done in haste and willing to withdraw it. Your lady is a lucky one.

          Irineo’s true constitution maybe useful in case Congress succeeds in introducing certain amndments in the constitution – maybe in Roxas time. I acknowledge that after 28 years, more or less, it is due for amendments. It was a product of an era that was recovering from the one-man rule, human right violations, a regime which resulted in Marcos being the world’s number 1 plunderer for a time with the help of his cronies still currently prominent, which are now surrounding Grace Poe, now he is relegated to just number 2 after another Asian leader.

          • You mean the Freedom Constitution as an idea… the “true constitution” is truly awful.

            • oops, I missed that True Constitution post of yours above, haha, my bad. Yes, the Freedom Constitution is what I mean.

              The truly awful one is a satire, which dropped all pretences, the constitution of the entitled plunderers, their families, enablers and supporters.

              • Great… I see that many here are catching up with what I want to say. Karl is still putting together a puzzle, Gian is sleeping over it, Bert is showing his teeth against Chinese trolls, Will is showing us all the true reasons for doing this, you are getting the message pa more.

                Sonny should not worry about me – I have been on overdrive because I had to give y’all a push because I have business to take care of, but I am very confident now of things going.

                In this sense, having laid a lot of groundwork, I can only entrust the rest to faith, much like Governor Joey after all was done: in manus tuas commendo spiritum meum.

        • edgar lores says:

          This is big of you, Bill.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            I hope that speaking the truth as I see it always drives my comments here.

            But I am also aware that I can get things wrong ( not be thinking clearly; be thinking in haste; or be simply not know or be wise enough. :- (( )

            And if this happens I feel it is only right and fair to state & acknowledge it

  46. chempo says:

    On Chinese trolls, I just need to get something off my chest.

    Prior to the opening of China by Deng, the East was Red. For accountants, red means you are bursted. kaput. They were poorer than the poorest church mice. For years the Chinese diaspora sent tons and tons of food, clothing and cash back to their suffering relatives.

    We were no different. Even as were also damn poor at the time (our house had zinc roof sheeting, floor in raw cement, cemeteries less than 10 metres from the back of the house, water from communal tap 200 metres away, etc), my dad would collect whatever he could and made his dutiful journey to town each month to sent stuff back to China. I learnt from elder sister much later in life, the reason why we never seemed to have received any pocket moneys from our dad was because he sent the bulk of his miserable pay as a lorry driver to relatives in China.

    And now that China has recovered and the people financially better off, we see this spite, bullying, and boastfulness from govt and people. These trolls made me sick to the stomach. My dad would have rolled over in his eternal rest.

    There, I feel much better now.

    • The nouveau riche attitude, similar to some Davao Duterte Supporters. Or the Marcoses and Binays – do you know who we are? Or some Filipinos especially Marcos supporters who felt like putting down everybody:

    • I feel for you my Singaporean friend. You have bounced from that dark period of your life through your own wits and determination, be proud of that. You have gone a long long way.

      BTW, what is your take on the link shared by sir NHerrera about the stock crash in the US, Europe and Canada which they traced to be caused by China’s suspension of trading after losing 7% in one night?

      What’s going on in China? I feel for my brother in law in HK who had already lost so much due to the Greek fiasco , and now this.

      I hope the Philippines is adequately shielded from this stock crisis.

      • chempo says:

        What’s happening in China now is a long time coming. The pros all knew it was coming anytime soon. The writing was on the wall 2 or 3 years ago. China has a big problem — no transparency and tendency to hide real numbers, so sometimes it’s difficult to understand the statistics they throw out. Govt and business entities all hide their real numbers, much like Filipino corporates have 2 books of accounts here.

        They have lots of economic problems right now, but at it’s core, since last 5 years, was the unhealthy state of the real estate. Its a very very big problem. So you have all those local banks hiding these bad assets. Their financials are not as healthy as they pretend to the world. Do a google check and you will see lots of international banks sold out their Chinese bank shareholdings in the last couple of years, with big losses. As big shareholders they had the opportunity to see internal figures and they knew there would be trouble, so they cut losses while they can. The big boys always get out first.

        Every economist can come up with their different ideas of the problems. I’m not versed enough to go into the macro-economics. For me it’s a simple idea — growth is good, runnaway growth is no good, managed growth is the best. China had a short run of exceptional growth — for a country that was just on the capitalism learning curve, the dangers were inherent.

        • Thanks, chempo. as always, you can be relied upon in this matters. I hear our banks have big enough capital with a good ratio in debt to equity. The giant real estate developers have their own businesses to back them up, what I call captured clients, like SM Malls for the SM Prime Holdings, etc, etc.

          My impression of the stocks as traded in the bourses are temporary in nature, investments that are here today, gone tomorrow, as differentiated from permanent investments like factories, ship buildings, etc.

          Am not that knowledgeable about it, but should we worry if we are not engaged in stock trading?

    • Joe America says:

      Log this remark for response to the trolls who seem persistently to want to hound us with their propaganda.

  47. NHerrera says:


    I leave the parsing of legal arguments and their logic to others (sample from edgar on fallacious statements — “appeal to consequence”; and to Mary who argues rather persuasively though a non-lawyer).

    For entertainment sake, I just want to go to ex-CJ Panganiban’s arithmetic or math as he calls it.

    And when one piece of wood is divided by four (“equally” I believe the good Justice had in mind), the result is not one-fourth, but four smaller pieces.

    Gee whiz, I hope his arithmetic teacher was consulted on that line. There are questions of definition and the good former CJ took liberties. And a Justice, a CJ, no less, should not take definitions or concepts in their proper places lightly.

    – Divide 20 by 4 means cut up the whole 20 equally into 4 one-fourths (5), which when added up gives the original whole or 20.

    – Divide 1 by 4 means cut up the whole 1 (cake or stick or what have you) equally into 4 one-fourths (1/4), which when added up gives the original whole or 1.

    The above is what is meant by “divide” in arithmetic. Again: Dividing 1 by 4 gives 4 one-fourths (1/4) or four pieces of one-fourths and not just four smaller pieces.

    Too bad he ventured into arithmetic before consulting his arithmetic teacher. Because if he did not mean that as a joke, I am tempted to cite his legal arguments as jokes, too. Hahaha.

    edgar, Mary please take it from there.

    • The Old Tagalog word for 1/4 during the time of Raja Suleiman was saykapat.

      Seems the old Tagalogs still knew how to dibay-dibay, because a commonly used word in a language denotes that the knowledge it contains is in the culture.

      Just like katiwalian is now part and parcel of common Filipino usage for corruption – I did not even know that word before. Now what is 1/4 in today’s Filipino? Bikos maybe we onli porgot how to dibay-dibay, and we must remember to put together again.

      • karl garcia says:

        kalahati ng kalahati

        • how about 1/3?

          it seems the notion of division was reduced to just paghati, division by 2. 😦

          • karl garcia says:

            Central bank has a new memo to Filipinize banking,I wonder how they would do it? alam ko lang deposito widro balanse mali pa ata.

            going back to one third .. sabi nga sa trailer ng pelikulang Lumayo ka nga sa akin.

            eto mag asawang sampal-sinampal nya ng dalawang beses
            gumanti yung isa at sinabi:eto mag asawang sampal at kabit….

            • gawin nating mas simple pa… kung kidnapin nating tatlo kasama si Gian si NHerrera, total uso naman ang pagkidnap sa Chinoy di ba… tapos tubosin natin kay Joe, paano ididibay?

              Kung paghatian natin, eh di kalahati sa akin, kalahati sa inyo ni Gian paghatian ninyo…

              Habang pinag-aawayan natin ang pagdibay-dibay sa ransom, makakatakas si NHerrera sa tulong ni chempo, tapos kay Joe nila tutubosin iyong ransom paghahatian nila – tapos nagtataka tayo kung bakit mga taga-Singapore at Chinoy ang laging yumayaman? 🙂

              • karl garcia says:

                tagalugin mo ito.

                In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. Thus cutting a cake, where taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others, is a zero-sum game if all participants value each unit of cake equally (see marginal utility).

                basta one third ay isang parte ng hinati sa tatlo

                pano hatiin ang ransom?
                ganon naman hatian etong parte mo etong parte mo at etong sakin

              • simple lang ang kahulugan niyan sa Tagalog – prinsipyo ito ng mga jeepney driver.

                Walang bigayan, walang lamangan. = zero-sum game.

              • karl garcia says:

                lipad gulong o langaw gulong ka nga. tama si tiyohing Sonny.

              • NHerrera says:

                Irineo, Karl: isa lang ang masasabi ko, wala kayong makukuha sa matanda na ito, walang datong (?). Kaya mag dibay-dibay na lang kayo sa natitirang pera ni ex-terminated CJ na P10,000 sa frozen asset nya.

                Mag zero-sum kayong dalawa. Hahaha.


              • karl garcia says:

                haha Muntik ng maging Zero balance yung mga bank account nya,😃

              • chempo says:

                A zero-sum game in a casino means all players end up zero, house takes all.

    • Kung baga sa eleksiyon, may dagdag-bawas yata ang pagdadahilan ni CJ Panganiban.

      Mapanganib yata iyan. Kung ano ang wala sa Konstitusyon, dinagdag na lang niya.

      Puwede ba iyon? Ano ang legal sex ng tao, di ba lalaki o babae lang, wala ang bakla?

      • NHerrera says:

        I quoted him before in Joe’s Blog but I will quote him again:

        Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz shares with his students a strategy for successfully defending cases. If the facts are on your side, Dershowitz says, pound the facts into the table. If the law is on your side, pound the law into the table. If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table.

        It is interesting that by way of expounding on his Formula LxF = D (Law multiplied by Facts equals Decision), Panaganiban seems to have done the third in Dershowitz’s enumeration because he didn’t have the precise Law and Facts that he needed to support his argument for Poe.

    • caliphman says:

      His arithmetic precision may not be to your liking but nevertheless his analogy is mathematically and logically correct.. Last time I tried dividing wood using a calculator or a slide rule, I did not get 4 pieces or 1/4 but two broken pieces of computing equipment. So maybe the joke is on you…hehehe.

  48. Joe America says:

    The following Inquirer article elaborates about the BCDA’s position regarding the Camp John Hay dispute. This is the side of the case not presented by Peter Wallace:

    • NHerrera says:

      Re-Peter Wallace: still a no-show?

      I did not mean that negatively. For I can understand his situation. If he responds here and does not come out looking good the whole Blog and commentaries is for the record which his previous, current and prospective clients can view. And more likely than not such will not be good for business. And so in my probabilistic mind he may not engage or exchange commentaries in this forum.

      • Joe America says:

        I think he is exercising good discretion and will let it blow over or into the wind or wherever old blogs go when they are done. I would hope that in his future writings, he is at least aware that he does not write with impunity. He for sure crashed in my estimation of his good sense and impartiality.

        • NHerrera says:

          Aha. Blogs, like good soldiers: they never die, they just fade away. But I take that back, good sensible writings surface now and then from their archives to remind the living of the grand thoughts and good sense in the writing and in so doing honor their authors.

    • chempo says:

      “Sobrepeña’s track record in his businesses speaks for itself—the CAP, MRT, Southwoods and others,”

      From that John-Hay- case link —- a glimpse of the original sin of the MRT.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks. Good to see that Tomas “Buddy” Gomez is still following our writings (see Facebook comments that follow the Inquirer article).

      • This is sir Buddy’s post at PDI:

        Tomas Gomez III · San Antonio, Texas

        The Society of Honor by Joe America ( ) has come up with a strong and well-thought answers to the accusations of Peter Wallace. Let us see how Peter Wallace is able, if he can, acquit himself. Mr. Oscar Franklin Tan ought to be reading Joe America and his discussants and confreres. They are an incomparable group. Very impressive erudition and intellectual fire power.

        As a piece of unsolicited suggestion, it would be to the intellectual advantage of all concerned netizens who respond to the “Comments” section of PDI columns to regularly visit Joe America. Inevitably, you would be thoroughly impressed by how much “Joe” has immersed himself in Philippine issues and argue courageousy for what is good for the country. Decidedly better than the usual visible and audible ‘nationalist’ whiners and belly-aching malcontents.

    • I post this in its entirety to preserve it in this blog article and again for the benefit of those with weak internet connection.

      THE STATE-RUN Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) disputed anew claims that it reneged on its commitments to the developer of Camp John Hay in Baguio, stressing that it had been consistent in “respecting the rule of law.”

      In a letter to the Inquirer, BCDA president Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said the special report of business consultant and Inquirer columnist Peter Wallace, who claimed that the state agency didn’t deliver on many of its commitments to Camp John Hay Development Corp. (CJHDevCo), did not cite the pertinent facts that led to the legal tussle between the two parties.

      Casanova pointed out that CJHDevCo had been remiss in fulfilling its obligations to the government under its lease agreement with the BCDA, and had also misled its sublessees and the Court of Appeals in several counts, thus compelling the government to pursue and undergo an arbitration process.

      ‘Impunity and fraud’

      “CJHDevCo is obviously trying to exploit the government by using public property to generate revenues for themselves without paying their lease to the Philippine government. The case of CJHDevCo is a case of impunity and fraud that victimized the public and the government. One must be able to distinguish fraud and impunity against good governance,” he explained.

      “We do share the need for the government to protect the sanctity of contracts. And it is in this spirit that we enforce the contract and the rule of law against the fraudulent business practices that deprive the state the funds that it needs to deliver basic services. (CJHDevCo chair Robert John L.) Sobrepeña’s track record in his businesses speaks for itself—the CAP, MRT, Southwoods and others,” he said.

      The BCDA earlier claimed that CJHDevCo had not been paying lease for use of Camp John Hay, and that the company’s arrears had ballooned to over P3.4 billion to date.

      The BCDA then issued CJHDevCo a notice of termination of its lease arrangement for Camp John Hay in May 2012 for material and incurable breaches of its contractual obligations and ordered it to vacate the property.

      CJHDevCo, however, sought an injunction order from the courts to prevent the BCDA from taking back the government property.


      In February 2015, the BCDA’s lease agreement with CJHDevCo was finally rescinded by virtue of the final award rendered in the arbitration under the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center Inc. (PDRCI).

      The PDRCI decision ordered the BCDA to return to CJHDevCo P1.4 billion in rentals and absolved the Sobrepeña-led firm of the supposed P3.3 billion worth of unpaid arrears being claimed by the state agency.

      In turn, CJHDevco was directed to vacate Camp John Hay and turn it over to the BCDA.

      The final award was also confirmed by Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City. As a result, CJHDevCo has been divested of its authority to manage and administer the John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ).

      According to Casanova, Wallace failed to mention that CJHDEvCo owed P3.4 billion in unpaid rent to the BCDA, of which P850 million could have been the share of Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay.

      He also pointed out that CJHDevCo stopped paying its lease to the BCDA as early as 1997, the second year of its stay in the JHSEZ, claiming it was experiencing financial losses.

      However, this claim was allegedly contrary to CJHDevCo’s financial statements, which declared dividends of P378 million for 1998; P350 million for 1999; and P200 million for 2000.


      “It did not file anymore audited financial statements until 2012—a period of 12 years. However, it was revealed during the arbitration process that CJHDevCo has been declaring dividends and advances to its shareholders and affiliates every year amounting to P1.2 billion. During this period, the lease agreement had been restructured thrice based on CJHDevCo’s claim of financial losses, which proved to be fraudulent misrepresentation,” Casanova said.

      “CJHDevCo (also) misled (its) sublessees by selling them 50-year leasehold rights when in fact, the primary or main lease between the BCDA and CJHDevCo is only 25 years renewable for another 25 years. The 25-year renewal is not a vested right but merely an option… CJHDevCo collected payments for 50-year leases,” he added.

      The BCDA chief further claimed that CJHDevCo continued to mislead its sublessees even after the rescinding of the lease agreement. CJHDevCo had allegedly told Camp John Hay locators that the agency had been aware of their contracts and that the BCDA should continue to honor these.

      “CJHDevco is liable to the sublessees. Under the laws on contracts, CJHDevco must refund the payments that the sublessees paid. CJHDevco wants to avoid liabilities to its sublessees and would want to run away with the P1.4-billion refund due to these sublessees,” Casanova said.

      My comment:

      I so like the answers made by BCDA. Go PNOY!

      Mr. Wallace’s article was featured in the front page of the PDI for almost a week. The answers are in the inside pages? (Am just looking at the electronic issue, not the actual newsprint, so I maybe wrong) If it really is only in the inside pages, then PDI, please be fair. your slip is showing, you are blatantly against the government on this one.

  49. From Dean Tony La Viñas Facebook page:

    Babes Romualdez in his Philippine Star column, on DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya: “Some of us who know Jun see him as a really nice guy who means well, but the MRT issue is mostly bringing curses raining down upon his head and ultimately, the president – almost every single day from angry commuters because of the deteriorating condition of the mass transportation system. Calls for his resignation began to mount following a series of MRT accidents including the time when a “runaway train” rammed through a barrier at the Taft Avenue station in August 2014. In response, Abaya declared that all it takes is “one text” from the president and he will step down from his post. People saw that as a haughty display of confidence and his friendship with the president. Jun Abaya was the aide de camp of the late president Cory Aquino. Loyalty to friends is one thing but when you’re president – loyalty must be to the people you serve.

    Just recently, after controversy arose again over the P4 billion maintenance contract with Korean-Filipino consortium Busan because it did not go through a public bidding, the DOTC Secretary once again rubbed the public the wrong way when he said, “As I said from the very first day, it’s a mere privilege for me to be serving our people and that could be taken away any time.”

    Several of our employees who take the MRT every day complained to us that they sometimes end up spending more for transportation because they are forced to take the bus whenever the MRT breaks down (despite “fervent prayers” on their part). They also said they could no longer wait for the next administration to have a new DOTC chief who could solve the MRT mess – they want it done now because every day feels like an eternity for the long-suffering public that seems to have had more than enough of “carrying the cross.” It did not help either that the trains broke down twice again last Friday – the first day when the new maintenance contractor was supposed to take over.

    Yet the president has stubbornly declared that Abaya will only leave when he does this June, dismissing the mounting complaints as mere grumbling from leftists. More than 600,000 (some even say up to a million) riders are dependent on the MRT – critical considering that the elections is just a few months away. Ironically, P-Noy’s loyalty to one friend is ruining the chances of supposedly another friend – Mar Roxas – of becoming president. The people are already promising retribution at the polls, furious that the president seems to put more stock into his friendship with the DOTC chief than the welfare of the public whom he calls his “bosses.”

    The MRT issue is proving to be a PR nightmare for the Liberal Party standard bearer which could only benefit his rivals, among them Senator Grace Poe who is perceived as someone who sincerely sympathizes with the plight of ordinary commuters. Filipinos being naturally forgiving as they are, it will probably take just one symbolic gesture of goodwill on the part of the president to douse cold water on the boiling anger of his “bosses” – by letting go of his good friend Jun Abaya. Since he is the Liberal Party president, Abaya can do a “win-win” by concentrating on the candidacy of Mar Roxas by staying away from the MRT hotspot – and appease the ire of the commuting public. To paraphrase President Manuel Quezon’s line: “loyalty to a friend must end where loyalty to another begins.”

    • NHerrera says:

      Dean Tony La Viña’s comment seems reasonable to me. My imagination is rather hyperactive today. Who knows what may be done in the heat of the campaign come its official start on February 9. For maximum impact, that is — considering the short memory and forgiving nature of Filipinos. This also recalls to my mind Giancarlo’s blog on the last minute voters or the shifts that may happen the last few weeks before election.

      (On the practical side what indeed can be done with the change, knowing Abaya’s term is co-terminus with Aquino — except the important psychological one: to assuage feelings.)

  50. karl garcia says:

    BCDA under matuwid na daan has remitted 8.8 Billion to the Treasury exceeding the combined remittances of the past administrations.I do not know if that includes the 7.2 billion missing from the sale of Fort Bonifacio.

  51. Alexisleo says:

    Perhaps it will b better if the govt n of course mr abaya will answer the allegations made by mr jarius bondoc in his various articles re the mrt scam.

  52. Little Prince says:

    After reading thru all these….all I can say is…. you sir, are my hero….my bff….the one I wanna be with in a foxhole…
    Thank you po….

    • Since no corruption charges can stick to both PNOY and Mar, their opponents are resorting to rumors. Sadly, these unfounded rumors are being believed by the susceptible public precisely because there is no let up in spreading them.


      The entire article:

      MANILA – A Czechoslovakian company vying for the expansion of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) has cleared President Benigno Aquino III’s family of an alleged extortion try, supposedly in exchange for government contracts.

      “Inekon would like to categorically deny that any discussions of any business aspect of its proposal to DOTC and MRT3 took place with any members of President Aquino’s family. Any news report linking any member of that family to any project of the company is simply untrue in its content and malicious in its intent,” Inekon Group said in a statement issued today.

      Earlier reports alleged that presidential sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and husband Eldon Cruz were extorting money from Inekon in exchange for the multibillion-peso contract to expand the capacity of MRT3.

      “Inekon’s proposals for new coaches and modernization of the existing fleet to MRT3 are fully supported by the Czech government. Since the project came to be viewed as a government-to-government transaction, all meetings, discussions and communications took place directly between the Inekon Group and the DOTC and were routed through the Czech Embassy in the Philippines,” Inekon said.

      Despite the controversy, Inekon Group said it “is ready and willing to support the government of the Philippines in its effort to provide a safe, comfortable and economical mass transit system for the deserving commuting public of Manila.”

      Earlier, Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said Czech Ambassador Josef Rychtar named Metro Rail Transit Authority (MRTA) general manager Al Vitangcol as the government official who tried to extort money from Inekon in exchange for handing over to the Czech company the contract to supply MRT3 with additional light rail vehicles (LRVs).

      Vitangcol has since gone on leave pending the results of an investigation.

      Abaya appointed Honorito “Joy” Chaneco, the chief of state-run Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), as officer-in-charge for MRT3.

      The DOTC had dropped a plan to pursue direct contracting and opted for open bidding to ensure a level playing field, openness, and transparency. DOTC set a budget of $ 1.8 million per LRV for the contract.

      Earlier, the department announced that only Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co CNR Group satisfied the project’s eligibility requirements after making a P3.759 billion offer.

      The DOTC-Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) declared the only other bidder — CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd — ineligible because of its failure to submit a certificate of reciprocity and to comply with a technical requirement. As a result, its financial proposal was no longer opened.

      The MRT3 capacity expansion project aims to add 48 LRVs to its fleet of 73. This will decongest the service by allowing more cars to operate at a faster interval rate during peak hours.

      MRT3, which runs from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves nearly 500,000 passengers per day, or way beyond its rated capacity of about 350,000.

      The train service has a fleet of 73 Czech-made rail cars, of which up to 60 three-car trains operate daily.

      The trains run at a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour to cover the rail system’s 13 stations in about 30 minutes, including short dwell times of about 25-35 seconds in each station.

      The online news portal of TV5

      MANILA, Philippines – Amid investigations into the alleged Metro Rail Transit (MRT) extortion case, Malacanang on Sunday clarified that the sister of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, has already been cleared on the matter.

      Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview on state-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan that it was Czech Republic Ambassador Josef Rychtar who declared that Ballsy was in fact, cleared.

      “Noon pa pong maagang bahagi ng pagsisiwalat nito ay nagkaroon na ng deklarasyon mula doon sa Ambassador ng Czechoslovakia na wala pong sangkot ang kapatid ng ating Pangulo diyan sa kasong ‘yan,” Coloma said. (Very early on in this matter, there was a declaration from the ambassador of the Czech Republic that no sibling of the President is involved here.)

      Rychtar accused MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III of trying to extort USD 30-million from Czech firm Inekon Group in exchange for a train supply contract.

      The names of Ballsy and her husband Eldon Cruz were raised in subsequent reports until Rychtar cleared the couple.

      Coloma meanwhile said that the Palace will ask the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to hasten its probe into the MRT extortion case.

  53. andrewlim8 says:


    I forwarded Mr Wallace’s email response to you.

    • Joe America says:

      Date: Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 2:38 PM
      Subject: RE: Rebuttal to Peter Wallace
      To: Andrew Lim


      I won’t respond to someone who hides behind a pseudonym. If he/she identifies him/herself, I will.

      Suffice to say, yes of course I’m pro-business. It’s business, not government, that creates jobs and really grows the economy.

      I want everyone to have jobs, and encouraging investors to invest does that.

      • NHerrera says:

        Aha, using your “hiding behind a pseudonym” as an excuse. Well, Joe, in so many words we forecasted correctly a no-show. That’s that then. (Cute excuse, though.)

        • Joe America says:

          It is a common attack platform against me by those politically opposed to the Aquino Administration. They call me coward and worse. They’d probably call Mark Twain a coward, or George Sand, or any number of people who, for personal reasons, use a pen name, if they supported President Aquino’s administration.

          Wallace knows I have credentials. He does not want to respond. I grow more and more convinced that he represents some of the businesses he cites in his arguments, and knows that he will be challenged on why he did not reveal that he has conflicts of interest.

          • caliphman says:

            Well due to chempo and other commenters here delving more thoroughly into the history and facts of the cases cited by Wallace in his articles, it is evident that this columnist is prone to factual and analytical errors in his opinion pieces. So the best advice to his readership is caveat emptor, the truth may not be as this writer presents it.

        • edgar lores says:


          That is what Peter Wallace has given.

          As to his second paragraph, it is government that has given business work (or instruments by which to invest or obtain tax refunds) in most of the cases discussed.

          By not deigning to rebut, Wallace has been diminished… ironically by himself. (This blog site has national readership; Oscar Tan has mentioned JoeAm’s post.)

          From now on, every column Peter publishes, every word he writes, will be taken with a dose of salt. His readers will be asking, “What is this guy’s angle?”

      • what about rewriting this mary?karl? lets affix our names at the bottom.

        • I will write my own follow-up article with Joe’s – and Joe’s materials – as background.

          That will have to wait for the weekend though, I have a lot of work to do starting this week.

        • Wish I could. The 1st 6 months of the year are the busiest for accountants like me. I have forwarded some scanned summary to Joe who will forward it to chempo (who asked for some links or details re the LRT / MRT mess). the summary is for the period 1989 to 2015. you may remember the post I shared at my FB page and responded to by Francis Yuseco. CEO of Philtrak (BRT)

  54. Bill in Oz says:

    No NHerrera, Not cute., it’s cowardly.

    The reasons for anonymity here are well known and accepted by all.

    Walllace could also adopt a pseudonym and appear here arguing the case…

    It seems he has chosen not to even do that..

    The accuser has chosen not to appear where he be questioned or challenged.

    But I’d lay good money he has read this post and the comments.

    And then made his decision not to appear.

  55. Off topic but I can’t help but share….am so happy, that’s why…yahoo!

    MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Voting 10-4-1, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 12, declared constitutional the military deal signed by the Philippines and the United States in 2014 under the Aquino administration.

    SC spokesperson Theodore Te said in a news briefing that 10 magistrates voted to declare EDCA legal, while 4 voted to declare it illegal.

    Among those who voted in favor of the PH-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who have issued separate concurring opinions.

    Those who disagreed with the majority decision are Justices Arturo Brion, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, and Marvic Leonen. Of the 4, Leonen and Bernabe are appointees of President Benigno Aquino III.

    Justice Francis Jardeleza inhibited from the case.

    The ruling upheld the position of Malacañang that EDCA is an executive agreement and does not need the Senate concurrence.

    “As it is, EDCA is not constitutionally infirm. As an executive agreement, it remains consistent with existing laws and treaties that it purports to implement….We hereby dismiss the petition,” the High Court ruled.

    Te said the Court upheld the constitutionality of EDCA based on Article 18, Section 25 of the Philippine Constitution.

    This “allows the President to enter into an executive agreement on foreign military bases, troops, or facilities if: (a) it is not the instrument that allows the presence of foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, or (b) it merely aims to implement an existing law or treaty and holding that the EDCA is one such executive agreement,” he said.

    EDCA is an executive agreement that gives US troops, planes and ships increased rotational presence in Philippine military bases, and allows Washington to build facilities to store fuel and equipment there.

    It was signed against the backdrop of the Philippines’ maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), and America’s commitment to come to its ally’s defense in case this escalates.

    Proponents say the deal aims to help build the capacity of the Philippine military, one of the weakest in Asia.

    In last year’s oral arguments at the SC, some justices acknowledged that it cannot disregard these issues when ruling on the constitutionality of the agreement.

    Senate said no

    Petitioners against EDCA questioned the deal before the High Court, arguing that it is a “de facto basing agreement,” which can only allowed by the Senate. It’s the Philippine Senate that shut down the US bases in the Philippines in a historic 1991 vote.

    Philippine senators have insisted on their exclusive power to ratify EDCA. In November 2015, at least 15 of them voted to pass a resolution stating that the deal giving US troops wider access to Philippine bases is a treaty requiring the approval of the Philippine Senate.

    But in its ruling, the Supreme Court said the executive agreement did not need the Senate’s concurrence.

    The Visiting Forces Agreement – a treaty ratified by the Senate in 1999 – already allowed the return of US troops, said the SC spokesman.

    “The VFA has already been proclaimed not unconstitutional, therefore the EDCA was found by the Court as simply an implementation of a previous treaty,” Te said.

    In disagreeing with the Senate’s position that EDCA is a treaty that requires Senate concurrence, the SC cited the following reasons:

    a) The President’s power to enter into executive agreements (different from treaties) not requiring Senate concurrence has been well-recognized and long upheld by the Court;

    b) The Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) continues to be a valid treaty, which the Court has, as recent as 2009, recognized;

    c) A plain reading of the text of the Constitutional provision in Article XVIII, sec. 25 leads to the conclusion that it applies only to a proposed agreement between the Philippines and another foreign government whereby military bases, troops, or facilities of such foreign government would be “allowed” or would “gain entry” into Philippine territory.

    “No court can tell the President to desist from choosing an executive agreement over a treaty to embody an international agreement, unless the case falls squarely within Article XVIII, sec. 25,” the SC said.

    “In the field of external affairs, the President must be given a larger measure of authority and wider discretion, subject only to the least amount of checks and restrictions under the Constitution,” it added.

    It’s a much awaited verdict. The High Court sat on the case for over a year.

    EDCA also turned into an emotional issue following the death of Filipina transgender woman Jennifer Laude at the hands of US Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton. It revived old wounds involving the case of US serviceman Daniel Smith, who was accused of raping a Filipina.

    Pemberton was in the Philippines for training exercises and the incident happened while he was in a furlough. A local court declared him guilty of homicide in December 2015.

    The SC was finally supposed to rule on EDCA in November last year, with no less than Sereno and Carpio pushing for a vote at the time. But other justices asked for more time to draft their separate opinions.

    Defense officials had hoped that the verdict would be timed with the visit of US President Barack Obama to Manila in November for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

    Potential locations

    Because it was pending with the Court, the two militaries have refused to divulge the final list of “agreed locations” which will be used for “security cooperation exercises, joint and combined training activities, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities, and such other activities as may be agreed upon by the parties.”

    Based on EDCA, the Philippine locations, which will be provided to the US military without rent, may be accessed by American forces, contractors, vehicles, vessels, aircraft for the purposes of “training; transport; support and related activities; refueling of aircraft; bunkering of vessels and aircraft; temporary maintenance of vehicles, aircraft, and vessels; temporary accommodation of personnel; communications; prepositioning of equipment, supplies, and materiel; deploying forces and materiel; and such other activities that the Party may agree.”

    Former Armed Forces chief retired Emmanuel Bautista previously identified the following bases facing the West Philippine Sea as potential locations:

    Naval detachment in Palawan’s Oyster Bay. It faces the West Philippine Sea and it’s near the disputed Kalayaan Group of Islands (Spratlys). The government has allocated P313.6 million to improve the pier, harbor, and to construct support facilities there.
    Naval Education & Training Command (NETC) in San Antonio, Zambales. It also faces the West Philippine Sea and is near the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.
    Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. It is one of the biggest military bases in Asia and where Balikatan war games are usually conducted.

    EDCA has an initial term of 10 years and is automatically renewable.

    It was signed by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and US ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg on April 28, 2014, a few hours before Obama arrived for a state visit.

    All decisions will be made by the Mutual Defense Board – Security Engagement Board, which is co-chaired by the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Hawaii-based commander of the US Pacific Command. (READ: DOCUMENT: Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement)

    China in the background

    The Philippines negotiated EDCA amid China’s aggressiveness in the South China Sea.

    The Philippines has since filed a case against China before the Permanent Court of Arbitration to uphold the country’s 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). (READ: Philippines: China to build ‘Berlin Wall of the Sea’)

    China, which claims almost the entire South China Sea, has launched massive reclamation in the disputed area a month after the signing of EDCA.

    China started its reclamation activities in May 2014 or a month after EDCA was signed. It is believed to be currenty building runways in at least 3 reefs – Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef. Four other reefs have been reclaimed.

    The US Navy has been conducting freedom of navigation patrols in the West Philippine Sea, sparking tension with China. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena/

  56. Reposting…

    Posted this in various FB groups:

    Charlie A Agatep
    15 mins · Mandaluyong ·


    Let’s agree with Senator Grace Poe when she said that “vision, planning, execution and leadership could have prevented the frequent breakdowns of the rickety MRT trains”. Fine.

    But it was the build-lease-transfer contract between the Fidel Ramos administration and the private consortium of Robert Sobrepeña’s that is the root cause of the problem.

    The anomalous contract guaranteed a 15 percent dollar-denominated annual return for 25 years, and had a provision which stipulated “only the private builder and not the government could buy the trains”.

    That’s what Pnoy and Mar Roxas tried to get out of during Mar’s 15 months stint as DOTC chief from June 2011 to September 2012. As Mar said, he will need to abrogate the MRT contract, if he wins as president”.

    My friend Mackoy Villaroman said it eloquently: “Akala kasi ng marami, pag naging presidente ka may bibigay sa iyong magic wand… Too bad that many people think this way… Marami sa problema natin ay legislation ang solusyon…”

    It is not easy to get out of a legal contract like this one, especially with Sobrepeña. Look at the BCDA / Sobrepeña squabble at John Hay. With all their huge resources, the BCDA is in a bind up to now…. more than 5 years since the legal skirmish began.

    Can Duterte, Binay or Miriam Santiago offer a quick solution?

    Was Mar Roxas incompetent when he was DOTC chief?

    Come on, man, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

  57. Waray-waray says:

    Thank you Joeam for writing this rebuttal to Wallace. I thought it was just me, but I had stopped reading his column for a long time since I sensed his bias against the government. I assumed he was using his column for somebody’s interest. Come on Wallace, what a way to earn your dough.

  58. Wallace was a guest speaker to the recent National Finance Summit at SMX Convention, MOA. His topic was about the Philippines after the ASEAN Integration. Interestingly, the highlight of his talk was on the presidential candidates with their pluses and minuses. Then down to his summary, he cited one attribute, among others, that the next president should have and which will have tremendous impact to the economy of the Philippines. It is that the next president should have a “damn the torpedoes” attitude, that he/she should just get things done without fearing lawsuits. And I was reminded, a president takes the oath to respect the laws and that calls for minding the legal aspects of things. Really, can’t be business at all costs.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes. I’ll be writing a rebuttal to his rebuttal, and indeed, that is the point. Business operates for the benefit of business, not the people of the Philippines. The government has a much broader mandate.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] was what Peter Wallace had to say about the blog published here (“Rebuttal to Peter Wallace column on government contracts“) that responded to his criticisms of the National Government’s handling of a number […]

  2. […] Source: Rebuttal to Peter Wallace column on Government contracts […]

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