Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No. 24 Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. – Philippine Senator

I personally know Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. In politics, that could be a double-edge sword. Either one knows him in a negative sense or knows him with all the attributes of a good human being in general, and of a public servant in particular.

I never experienced anything really negative. What I perceived are mostly positive traits that prompted my unconditional endorsement of his Senatorial candidacy.

4 H Club

In the 2010 Presidential elections I endorsed Noynoy Aquino based on what I called 4 Hs – HONESTY, HUMILITY, HONOR, and HOPE.

PNoy’s “Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap” and “Daang Matuwid” platform or programs reflected his “HONESTY is the best policy” anti-corruption campaign. The drive against the “Wang Wang” mentality reflected his HUMILITY and anti-impunity and arrogance in public service.

In less than 3 years in office, PNoy brought HONOR to the Philippines beyond expectation. Most recently, Time Magazine chose him as one of the 23 Most Influential World Leaders. The list included, among others, Pope Francis, U.S. President Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, Somalia President Hassan Sheik Mohamud, Malawi President Joyce Banda, U.S. Vice President Biden, and North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un.

Earlier, he was chosen as one of the only eight members of the steering committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) co-chaired by President Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff.

For the first time in Philippine history the country is given an Investment Grade Rating Upgrade.  Fitch Ratings provided it.  The unassailable major factor noted is Good Governance and Transparency Practices that are strongly espoused under the Aquino government. HOPE is quite high for more investments, greater job opportunities, and a better tomorrow for the Philippines.


Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. is the embodiment of PNoy’s “Daang Matuwid” (Straight Path) policy of good governance and transparency. Anywhere he serves his public responsibility, he does it with genuine public service always coupled with Honesty, Efficiency, Responsiveness, and Openness in Governance (H.E.R.O). This is the platform that guides him in public life.

If elected, he would set the standard for HONESTY, HUMILITY, HONOR, and HOPE in the Legislature as PNoy is doing in the Executive branch. He has been in the Senate before. In fact, when he ran for the Senate in 1995, he garnered the 3rd highest number of votes. He had a very distinguished career in the Senate for 12 years wherein he earned the “Most Outstanding Senator” award from Graphic Magazine.

He rested for a few years because of term limits but reinforced his technical skills as a Mechanical Engineer and business acumen having taken post-graduate studies in business administration at Harvard Business School and at New York University.

As a result, he earned the title “Father of Cable Television in the Philippines” having pioneered it and spread the opportunities nationwide. I had the privilege of working with him in introducing the latest technologies on cable TV programming at a critical period of the industry.

At the turn of the century, he again earned another title that should endear him to the Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants in this generation – “First Internet Man of the Year” from Web Magazine. If you are reading this column or blog from the digital edition of Asian Journal USA, the Google BlogSpot, or Facebook you should appreciate, advocate, and promote his candidacy for the Senate for he is the best candidate, bar none, who could ably represent the interest of users of social media, convergent communications, and/or multi-media. His proposal to install Internet broadband in every barangay and his authorship of the E-Commerce Law when he was a Senator should give you a clear indication of his progressive agenda for the country.


In this year’s election, former Senate President Frank Drilon and PNoy offered Jun Magsaysay a spot on Team PNoy. The latter accepted because, as he said, “Duty calls” and he wants to be part of PNoy’s good governance and transparency policies and undertaking.

Jun Magsaysay was given the opportunity to become a Senator again because, at this point in our history, he CAN – meaning, he has the Character, Achievements, and Name.

His Character shows a nice, decent, honest, and unpretentious genuine guy.  His Achievements in the private sector and most especially as a legislator reflect his advocacies and priorities. For the soldiers who risk their lives in defense of freedom and our way of life, he initiated an Off-base Housing Program; and authored the New AFP Base Pay Law (RA9166) and the New AFP Table of Organization Law (RA 9188) and initiated reforms in the AFP as well. For farmers and fishermen, he advocated the Young Farmers Program, and authored the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (RA 8435), and, to protect their interests, he successfully investigated the Fertilizer Fund Scam. For the poor he provided scholarships, livelihood opportunities, and health assistance.  For the elderly and retirees, he strengthened the Social Security System (RA 8282).  To attract investments, he authored the New Foreign Investments Act (RA 8179) and Amendments to the Omnibus Investments Code (RA 8756).  More importantly, he authored the Magna Carta for Small and Medium Enterprises (RA 8289) and the Anti-Money Laundering Law (RA 1980).

Like Father, Like Son

 The late President Ramon Magsaysay, Sr. was going after bandits and crooks in government, election cheaters, terrorists, and warlords. He identified with the “Common Tao” advocating that “those who have less in life must have more in law.” He espoused the Christian doctrine equivalent of “Preferential Option for the Poor.”

Unfortunately, the late President died prematurely in a plane crash ending what would have been a Straight Path or “Daang Matuwid” in his generation.

Filipinos should despair no more! In our midst is the only son committed to protect his name and legacy. His advocacies are the same as his father’s but adjusted to the needs of our time. He bears the same name with pride and honor. He wears it with no higher ambitions except genuine and better public service.

Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. is my guy! I just told you why. If you were my friend, “AYE” would be a good reply. Crooks must say goodbye; in hell they fry, the moment they die.

Filipinos roar as they check No. 24. Hopes would soar with Magsaysay on the Senate floor!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PHILIPPINE ELECTION 2013: History Repeats Itself

A few days ago, I received my absentee ballot in the mail. Enclosed were the certified list of Senatorial and Party-List candidates as well as the instructions on how to proceed in voting.
Going over the list, I separated them into three groups: Team PNoy, UNA, and Independents.
This year’s elections reminds me of the Senatorial elections in 1987 – the first one held after the People Power Revolution. I view it as a second chance for the Filipino people to decide a better and brighter future for themselves and the next generation. I also see it as history repeating itself except for the chance to make some corrections.
I was personally involved in the 1987 elections. I went home to help in the campaign of my father-in-law, Raul S. Manglapus who was picked by the late President Cory Aquino as one of her Senatorial candidates.
At the time, it was Cory’s Choices all the way. In fact, 22 out of the 24 elected were indeed Cory’s chosen candidates. The only two from the opposition who made it were Erap Estrada and Johnny Enrile. Candidates like Arturo Tolentino, Eva Estrada Kalaw, Blas Ople, Francisco Tatad, Wenceslao Lagumbay, Isidro Rodriguez, and many other well-known personalities all lost. The Cory train was unstoppable!
While many Filipinos voted straight, many were inserting Erap who was known as Asiong Salonga in the movies; and Johnny Enrile who defied Marcos and joined the People Power Revolution only in the immediate past. Name recognition plus resources accumulated during the corrupt Marcos regime helped them convince local leaders to remove one or two of the Cory candidates and replace them with their names.
This year’s elections will be a repetition. This time, it will also be PNoy’s Choices. The big difference is that PNoy is backing his choices with achievements, substantial resources, overwhelming organizational advantage, a successful and indisputable anti-corruption “Daang Matuwid” campaign message, and the attainable promise and hope of better things to come not only for local leaders but most especially for their constituents.
In the latest SWS survey, 9 of the Magic 12 are from Team PNoy. One – Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. is competing for the 12th place. Two - Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito Estrada are in. The former is a daughter of  VP Jojo Binay while the latter is a son of former President Erap Estrada. Jack Enrile, son of Enrile, and Gringo Honasan, a protégé of Enrile are vying for the last spot against Jun Magsaysay.
Not that far away are Jamby Madrigal and Risa Hontiveros of Team PNoy.
“Daang Matuwid” (straight path) also means “Walang Dayaan” (no cheating) in a democratic elections not only against opponents but against teammates as well. FPJ (Fernando Poe, Jr.) used to say, “Walang Iwanan” (nobody left out). What PNoy and political observers would like to see is for majority of the Filipinos to vote straight Team PNoy without cheating. Straight Path also equals Straight Ticket.
Electing all 12 PNoy choices is possible. PNoy will still be President for the next three years after the elections. After achieving much in the first half of his term, he will surely achieve more in the second half but he would work together with a new Congress and new local officials whose goals would be to get reelected in the next elections. All should go for a Vote Straight Campaign.
The Team PNoy organization up to the precinct level should be given all the resources to deliver the right message and a 12-0 result. The message would include not only why the entire Team PNoy should be elected but more so because of the rewards that go with being part of a new government that would continue instituting reforms in our society.
The 2013 elections is really a battle between political personalities and what they represent through their proxies or surrogates. It is a fight between PNoy and his anointed successor, Mar Roxas versus what they call the Three Kings – Binay, Estrada, and Enrile.
Although PNoy and Mar Roxas will be going for a straight ticket from national to the local level to build and prepare for the 2016 presidential elections, the Three Kings will not. The latter will use most of their resources for themselves and/or their children – Estrada for his Mayoralty race and for his son, JV; Enrile for son Jack and probably Honasan; and Binay for his daughter, Nancy, and his children who are running in Makati. The latter is also saving for his presidential run
While all the Team PNoy candidates should be comfortable pushing for a straight ticket, UNA candidates will not. To each his own and single shooting will most likely be the rule and not the exception. Why? UNA does not have the precinct level organization and the resources as a party that Team PNoy has.
Based on these, the three UNA candidates that have the best chance of landing in the Magic 12 are the children of the three Kings. Unfortunately, according to the latest survey, the three in Team PNoy that they could be replacing are Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Risa Honteviros.
“Organization determines everything”, Lenin once said. In 1987, The organization that was supposed to deliver a 24-0 result for Cory could not really do so because the ambitious potential successors of Cory were junking each other, thus – allowing outsiders like Estrada and Enrile to be inserted provided the price was right. The latest survey at the time put Salonga, Manglapus, and Butch Aquino in the top 3.  In fact, in some surveys, Manglapus was No. 1. The election results showed Manglapus winning but far below the top three. President Cory was aware of what happened.  In one case, a campaigner for a teammate requested to join me in the helicopter lent to Manglapus to drop leaflets. Ironically, the leaflets he was dropping did not include Manglapus on the list.
Cory later on asked Manglapus to quit the Senate and replace Vice President Laurel as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. In the next presidential elections, Cory endorsed Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos who ran under Manglapus’ NUCD Party. Some in the previous Senatorial line-up still ran but lost to Ramos.
This election is different.  I do not see anybody running under Team PNoy who would junk others so he or she could be PNoy’s chosen successor.  The party machinery as well as each candidate’s organization would serve all of them better if a Straight Ticket is pushed. This could mean that Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Risa Hontiveros would make the Magic 12.
This year’s political battle is also about character and policies of record. Anti-corruption and honesty represented by PNoy being his chosen policies versus the records of Estrada (plunder), Enrile (Marcos corruption under Martial Law), and Binay (Makati corruption).
It is therefore very easy for me to vote for Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Jamby Madrigal, and Risa Hontiveros over the children of the Three Kings. Magsaysay is the son of the late President Magsaysay who went after the “bandits and the crooks” in government. Jamby is a descendant of Senator Pacita Madrigal Warns, a champion of Women’s Rights and a close political partner of President Magsaysay.  Risa Hontiveros is a niece of Leny Hontiveros, an honest executive and close associate of the late Senator Raul Manglapus.
Looking for well-bred horses? I found them for you. PNoy is offering them to you. In fact, Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. is No.1 on my list. Magsaysay is my guy. I will tell you why in a separate article.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The S.A.L.N Revolution

The Anti-Corruption Campaign of the PNoy government is partially succeeding. Its Good Governance and Transparency Policy was a major factor in the investment ratings upgrade of the Philippines.

It also brought record collections by both the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue as well as in other revenue producing government agencies.

In fact, revenue increases and reduction in costs resulted in budget surpluses that were used in anti-poverty, infrastructure, and other socio-economic reform oriented programs.

Reforms are happening but not fast enough. The “Daang Matuwid”; the “Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap”; and the drive against the “Wang Wang” mentality have indeed brought significant improvements in people’s perception of our government and their attitude toward PNoy’s sincerity in fathoming a better life for them in the future.

I am sure that the people’s attitude would be reflected more concretely in the coming elections rather than just in surveys, which are as encouraging.

The environment would soon be conducive to more aggressive government reforms if not revolutionary ones.

The impeachment of Ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona, the appointment of Chief Sereno as replacement, and the ongoing crusade of Ombudsman Carpio Morales and Justice Secretary de Lima, brought hope to having a fair, just, and corrupt-free judiciary.  The faster the judiciary is reformed, the sooner that corrupt judges and/or justices are removed, and the speedier Justice is dispensed with, the greater the opportunity to reform or revolutionize other agencies of the government.

Despite having honest leaders directing the Bureaus of Customs and Internal Revenue as well as record-breaking achievements, the said agencies remain unpopular because of their inability to totally eliminate smuggling and tax evasion.

As I reported earlier, the negative impact of corruption on the economy is tremendous. According to a study, about 20% of the national budget is lost to corruption yearly. In fact, about $20 billion and P250 billion annually are lost to smuggling and tax evasion, respectively.

Both Commissioners of the two bureaus subscribe to the view that smuggling and tax evasion happen only because many, if not all, of the employees are corrupted.

Customs Commissioner Biazon went as far as recommending the abolition of the bureau to get rid of everyone.  He proposes that a private agency would perform the current duties of the bureau. It is revolutionary if it can be done. The people involved have their protectors, sponsors and “padrinos” who would be putting all the obstacles to prevent it from happening.

BIR Commissioner Henares was hoping to reduce the number of corrupt employees via retirement. Now she is saying the potential retirees have been doing everything to delay their retirement. The hidden benefits for active employment are too many to give them up too soon.

Amidst these difficulties embedded in the bureaucracy that include other agencies that are forced to retain corrupt employees, I am reminded of my proposal in response to a comment made by a Facebook friend regarding my article on the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Corona.

The S.A.L.N. Revolution

PNoy and his allies successfully removed a very powerful Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who was perceived as corrupt and a stumbling block for his goal of reforming the judiciary. He used a Constitutional provision and its enabling statute requiring a public officer or employee to “submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth.” (Article XI, Section of the 1987 Constitution.

Chief Justice Corona’s failure to accurately and truthfully declare his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (S.A.L.N) constituted Betrayal of Public Trust. It was used to remove him from his powerful position.

In response to a comment from a Facebook friend regarding my article on the impeachment trial, I suggested that Corona’s conviction could also start the cleansing of the government bureaucracy by the removal of corrupt public officers or employees. By looking at their S.A.L.N., and their lifestyle, I am sure that discrepancies would be found, wealth would be hard to explain, and false and inaccurate statements would be discovered.

It should not be as hard to fire, retire, or force many, if not all, suspected public officers who have been corrupting the system to resign.

The S.A.L.N. revolution could start at the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue or done simultaneously in pre-selected government agencies.

A Presidential Task Force or a S.A.L.N. Revolutionary Committee that includes the Civil Service Commissioner could be formed to help the President plan, lead, organize, and control efficiently and effectively all activities or programs of action to attain the goals of the revolution.

President Cory Aquino ran a revolutionary government briefly. She had the chance to cleanup a Marcos built corrupt bureaucracy. She chose instead to forego the opportunity and opted for a democratic and republican Constitution duly ratified overwhelmingly by the Filipino people.

Within the Cory Constitution are several provisions that could still institute revolutionary changes in our government.

One of them is the S.A.L.N. Revolution! JUST DO IT!

Friday, April 12, 2013


 In the early ‘70s while attending the United Nations World Youth Assembly in New York as one of the Philippine delegates, I got invited to speak at a conference of Liberation and Revolutionary movements in America. It included among others the Puerto Rican Young Lords, Black Panthers Party, and the Women’s Liberation Movement, which was represented by Gloria Steinem.

I remember telling them about the debate in the Philippines as to who was superior, man or woman. The debate was so never-ending that the debaters had to rely on signs from the God Almighty as to whom God chose as superior.

Before I revealed the signs, I explained that the success of movements or organizations of any nature were based on three factors: One, you must be innovative – you must be able to conceive of new ideas; Two, you must work or labor very hard to implement the new ideas; and Three, you must perform or deliver the desired results.

Three key words: CONCEIVE, LABOR, and DELIVER. Who did God choose to conceive, labor and deliver? Of course, the answer was obvious.

This explains my bias in favor of women. You see the significant role they play at home, in the enterprise, in the community, in church, and, without fanfare, even in government. I was always wondering why the United States never elected a woman President!

So when Hillary Clinton decided to run for President in 2007, I immediately signed up to JOIN TEAM HILLARY! I put money where my mouth is, and sent my financial contribution. I went further, I visited the National Campaign HQ, attended meetings for volunteers, and even arranged for the production of Fortune Cookies predicting luck and fortune for those who join the Hillary campaign (see photo).


Several of these fortune cookies were distributed in some selected primary states.

I also wrote the following email/letter to friends:

Dear Friend,

Hillary Clinton is preparing to run for president. This is a massive undertaking and she needs our help.  

Building an early base of support is critical to any successful presidential campaign, so I'm asking you to sign up as a supporter.

This will be an historic campaign, and I'm hoping that you'll sign up to be a part of it.

I believe that at this point of our history, Hillary Clinton is best for America. She embodies this nation's progressive idealism and motherly conservative traditionalism. With her brains, bravery, beauty and benevolence, she is our best bet to unite the country, reclaim international respect for America and rekindle the American spirit of volunteerism and commitment to the democratic ideals.

She is the hope of the “E” Generation (old and new) – the generation that stands for better and greater involvement in Education, Environment, Economic Development, Empowerment, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Ecumenism, Enlightenment, Electronic Commerce, Electronic Media, Equity Expansion and Excellent Health Care. She offers tremendous experience, empirical knowledge and exposure in state, national and world governance.

Join me, initially by conversing with Hillary, contributing our own ideas, helping to implement them and most importantly, propelling her to the US Presidency.

Under her leadership, we hope and pray that we may cherish America again, as we did yesterday; that we may cherish it tomorrow, as we shall forever.

Thank you,

I recently posted this letter on Facebook as I am again gearing up for a Clinton presidential run.

A Facebook friend, Paul Dominguez, who is now based in Europe but interested in global issues, commented, “This letter, in content and substance, is as good then and as it is now. Added to her CV of being an able Secretary of State- a good lieutenant of President Obama crisscrossing the world stage, meeting with world leaders thus establishing a global perspective needed in this office...there's again a history in the making.. on with the show!”

Indeed, as I listened to her speak at an event supporting the empowerment of women, I am reminded of her historical 1993 speech in China regarding women’s rights and, of course, her leadership in pushing for gender equality in her capacity as Secretary of State.

She said, “When I became Secretary of State, I was determined to weave this perspective into the fabric of American foreign policy, We did put women on the agenda and made it a centerpiece of all that we did.”

She specifically appointed an Ambassador for Women’s rights. Among the published achievements attributed to her as State Secretary include, but are not limited to, promoting:

1.      People to People Diplomacy;
2.      the importance of economics by helping U.S. companies win business overseas - a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy;
3.      the restoration of American Credibility;
4.      Diplomacy is National Security; and
5.      the use of Social Media, most especially Texts in communicating not only internally but with other celebrities.

Electing Obama as the first Black President was historical.  Making Hillary Clinton the first woman President of the United States would be as historical and as eventful!

Are you ready for Hillary?  I am.  Join us!