THE CROSS AND THE SWORD
Erick San Juan
Like legions of concerned Filipinos, the scene we witnessed on television a few days ago gave many of us the impression that some “men of the cloth” are out to replay the episodes in the aftermath of the colonization of the Philippine archipelago by Fernando Magallanes in 1521.
Surely, every Filipino is morally obliged to resist corruption and to correct any societal situation that may be detrimental to the national interest.
But the existence of a Constitutional principle of separation of the church and state should be enough to remind the descendants of Padre Damaso that they should not dip their dirty fingers into the broth of governance. They should allow everybody who would want to do it, but the clergy. Beside, these prelates are not united in their advocacy which could divide more our beleaguered nation.
Because of what they do, it makes me throw up each time I hear clerics (whose political loyalty is towards the Vatican ) virtually calling upon every Filipino to rise in open defiance to civil authority and to topple the government.
I also nearly choked when, recently, 5 catholic bishops started talking about “replacing” the government and naming some public personalities with whom they want to replace the current tenants of Malacanang. Although they are right in some of their chosen one.
Certainly, the casts in that recent press conference of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) had an agenda. In fact, some of my friends are tempted to say that the Bishops are - in the guise of advocating moral theology - actually out to supplant people in government with those who they perceive would lick their behind. We should learn from the mistakes of the late Cardinal Sin.
As if what the Filipinos experienced at the hands of the clergy for three centuries before the Americans took over the role played by the Crown of Spain over the “Pearl of the Orient Seas” was not enough, the firing-line scene recently portrayed by the so-called “politicians in white apparel” led by archbishops especially Socrates Villegas of Bataan, a known protege of Sin could be the demonstration of their quest for clerical dominance.
The Church has been given a chance to show its wares. But they blew it.
With that at the back draft, we should not be surprised if one day, we will all wake up to find that the likes of Pampanga Governor Among Panlilio, himself a member of the clergy, is already issuing presidential fiats. Panlilio is a subject of a recall petition for gross incompetence.
Specifically, it reminded us of the role portrayed by the likes of El Frayle, Padre Damaso. In those times, the clergy dictated upon the Spanish civilian government and made life very miserable for so many Filipinos. In the guise of providing the indios the path to eternal spiritual salvation, they sowed terror upon the townsfolk; amassed wealth; took liberties with women and sired most of the ancestors of the present day mestizos y mestizas ala Maria Clara.
The modern day Padres Damaso ought to be reminded that the role they are supposed to play in modern Filipino society is focused on saving the soul of their respective congregations, by purifying them with values from the Holy Bible, rather from their own whim and caprices. Population issues in relation to reproductive health and on taxation must, at all times, be left to the civilian authorities.
It is about time for Filipinos get rid of the culture of being placed before the carrot and stick. We must recall that if the Americans subdued us with the use of the book and the gun, the Spanish crown, earlier, conquered the Philippines with the cross on one hand and the sword on the other.
Filipinos do not deserve being placed under the gun of these disunited and politicized clergies. No, never again.
BUSH AND HIS BAIL-OUT PLAN
By Erick San Juan
Finance people who view with much apprehensions, the economic bail-out package that US President George W. Bush has laid out for America ’s ailing banking sector, can always justify their ambivalent behavior as a natural reaction to the series of Houdini tricks that the bankers have played on us for ages, leading to a cycle of financial meltdowns.
Besides, it is but natural for President Bush to favor rescuing the lenders over the borrowers, because he comes from a family with strong ties to the banking syndicate of the west. His grandfather – and of course, father of former President George Bush, Sr. – was a director and vice president of the US Union Bankers Corp., which kept the Nazi’s enormous war chest in its vaults and in fact provided Germany with all the money laundering facilities that it needed during the war.
The recent record-breaking performances of over 900 percentage points posted by the stock markets was largely triggered by the admission of US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that, in some ways, the US government had to arm-twist some big banks into participation in the scheme whereby US$ 250 billions of government funds will be infused as rescue facility for the banks in trouble.
In effect, this record-breaking performance is seen to attract so much investments that could pump-prime the financial communities towards a speedy recovery. But let us not forget that what is being pump-primed is the same financial community that led an earlier profit-taking spree out of the enormous gains generated by the boom that preceded the bubble burst on the housing industry.
President Bush’s preference for the bankers (over the home-buyers who suffered the most due to high interest rates that characterized the onslaught of the financial crisis, which is not the only one the world experienced in recent memory) is, no doubt, the principal reason why academics in banking and finance have become so wary about the scheme.
Since the start of the American civil war in 1775, the real truth has always been that “a financial element in the large centers has owned the ( US ) government since the days of Andrew Jackson,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933. In fact, he suspected that “the refusal of King George III to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators was probably the cause of the revolution.” It is widely perceived that the Americans’ dissatisfaction was fueled by King George’s policies that forced the US to borrow money from the Bank of England at exorbitant interest rates.
In 1783, America won its independence from England . However, its battle against the central bank concept has just begun. Indeed, he who controls the central bank controls the government because the Central Bank does not simply supply hard currency, but it also loans money to the government. By increasing or decreasing the volume of hard money in circulation, the CB is able to regulate the value of its currency. With a central banking system, he who is in control can produce debt. And he who incurs debt – as the Philippines and other developing countries – is necessarily enslaved, because a CB in debt must have to increase the hard currency it circulates to be able to pay for the interest on its loans.
Former US President Thomas Jefferson once said: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies…if the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency… the banks and corporations that will grow up around the world will deprive the people of their properties until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
On the other hand, Sir Josiah Stamp (1880 to 1941) once warned that “if you want to remain slaves of the bankers and pay for the cost of your slavery, let them continue to craft money and control the nation’s credit.”
In the US , bankers like JP Morgan, Baron de Rothschild, John D. Rockefeller and Paul Warburg seized early control over the US ’ central banking system. At one point, the group of JP Morgan, who at that time was considered the banking luminary, spread rumors that some prominent private banks were manipulating the currency because it was actually insolvent or bankrupt. This sent chills down the spines of the business community. At the end of the day, a bank run has already begun.
Having made enormous sums of money from that scheme, the bankers once again sought to reestablish a central bank. This was facilitated by Senator Nelson Aldrich, who had strong ties with the bankers and in fact, eventually married into the Rockefellers.
Wit the sole purpose of establishing the US Federal Reserve Service, the bankers held a top secret summit at Jekyll Island , off the coast of Georgia . All the attendees had to come clandestinely and used pseudonyms to avoid detection. There they – the bankers, not lawmakers – actually wrote the Federal Reserves Act, which Senator Aldrich, their point-man, pushed in the US Senate.
In exchange for favors, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Act into law – an act he would later regret and over which he said: “our great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is privately concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men who necessarily, by very reason of their own limitations, chill and check and destroy genuine economic freedom. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and domesticated governments in the civilized world. No civilized world by free opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men.”
On the other hand, Senator Louis McFadden’s reaction was “a world banking system was being set up here… A super-state controlled by international bankers… acting together to enslave the world for their own pleasure. The Fed has usurped the government.”
Significant developments in the US banking system – which eventually affected the free world – came one after the other, until smaller banks got attracted to contract loans as money supply doubled from 1914 to 1919. But with the panic triggered by the rumors spread about town by the group of JP Morgan, the banks started calling in loans, resulting in the collapse of at least 5400 smaller banks.
In allocating some $250 billions as government investment in the ailing banks, President Bush ironically made himself clear that the US government has no plans on taking over the banks – just bail them out of trouble. But what about the home buyers who sunk all their lifetime savings into the properties they tried to acquire, but got frustrated due to the collapse of the economy?Bail out for the rich and nothing for the poor episode continuous.We never learn!
WHAT BRAND OF JUSTICE?
By Erick San Juan
Judging by the kind of public reactions generated by the presidential clemency granted recently to high profile convicts in the Philippines, make judicious person go crazy on what to do with criminals.
Going by the kind of public outburst that followed the recent release of murder convict Claudio Teehankee, Jr., no one can stop right-thinking individuals from thinking that perhaps, and only perhaps, the proper way of disposing with criminal cases – if only to avoid getting chastised for being judicious - is to put every felon against an adobe wall and have them executed by a firing squad.
Or, better still, if the critics can just pause and sit a while to think about the fate that befell Jesus Christ, whose fate as the Holy Scripture says, Pontius Pilate – after washing his hands - left to the mob that, in those times were, in unison, demanding for His crucifixion.
Watching the news on television makes me scratch my head to witness the likes of Dante Jimenez, head of an anti-crime and advocacy group, who I am sure, is not adequately educated on the Legal profession, in effect lecturing the justice department on how to compute the time that Teehankee should do behind bars before he gets freed. It makes me twist and turn each time I get reminded that in the Rules of Court, there is a provision that allows such a thing as “simultaneous service of sentence” by convicts for certain crimes.
On the other hand, there may be nothing wrong about people expressing their sympathies to the family of a murder victim. But for them to demand that government must first ask the prior approval by the victim’s family on what the law allows or require over the disposition of a case, would be unimaginable, if not a little too absurd.
But always keep in mind that what is good for the goose, must also be good for the gander. This is the essence of democracy.
Teehankee got pardoned along with several other convicts, who similarly applied of presidential clemency based on time honored standards and established practices. But how come the public furor got concentrated on the son of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice? Is this brought about by his strata in society? Or, do the kettle-bangers simply feel that landing on the front pages and getting footages and voice clips could be a lot easier if a high profile personality were to be the center of their tirade? Opportunism, isn’t it?
Experience tells us that listening to the mob delivers nothing good, but injustice to mankind. We are told, time and again, that the Lord Jesus could have propagated the gospel to a broader mass had He been allowed go by the Pharisees, during his trial on orders of Julius Caesar.
With this at the background, we are reminded about the possible grave injustice that our society may be inflicting upon the soldiers, who may have been erroneously convicted for the killing of Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.,despite that not all of them were really involved and in spite of persistent threats against Ninoy, fraudulently maneuvered his way back to Philippine soil, only to be mowed down at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport upon his arrival.
In the series of probes that followed, it turned out that aside from those who had been charged and eventually convicted for the killing of Aquino and Rolando Galman, there were a couple of other personalities in involved the dastardly crime that was committed, yet these people – who played pivotal roles in the celebrated assassination – were, up until now - never indicted, with some of them still roaming the streets freely.
The sad part of this episode is that some of the convicts, who, like Aquino and Galman, were mere victims of a grand conspiracy, continue to languish behind bars, all of them old and gray and some of them have either made their way to join their Creator or are about to bid their last goodbye.
While the family of ailing former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, who, in spite of having been in power for 7 years (yet failed to determine who the mastermind for the murder is), untiringly throws the monkey wrench on every attempt to grant executive clemency to the aging convicts.
Time to put an end to a compartmentalized justice system of this type, isn’t it?
QUIT THINKING SILLY
By Erick San Juan
There is no more doubt that the global financial meltdown still being experienced worldwide was triggered by the series of pressures believed to be exerted by the carpetbaggers among investment and banking manipulators and owners of the world’s oil rigs, thereby inflicting so much damage upon the international stock and futures market, which sent even the price of food and the cost of living skyrocketing here and there.
Because of that, world leaders have, in fact, indulged into some kind of innovative approaches – some are practical and yet others are crazy - in a bid to ward off the fangs of hunger and deprivation which could drive governments into irrelevance that started to lurk upon them.
In the Philippines , where its financial managers keep on bragging about the strong economic fundamentals they have been nurturing since the financial crisis that hit Asia in 1997, political leaders have been advocating ideas that only tend to impress upon the various pressure groups of their so-called pro-poor footings.
Unmindful of the sensitivities of the country’s tax paying minority, the Arroyo government has embarked on a scheme to plaster the global communities with a façade of a diminutive, struggling and yet compassionate Southeast Asian state, which has surpassed the status of an impoverish nation, by granting a token cost of living subsidy to its destitute.
But in order to downplay the panic being generated by the sharp plunge of the world’s economy, which sends jitters down the spine of domestic economic managers, the Arroyo government has started peeling the bells on the danger that Filipino expatriates working to provide subsistence to the kin back home might be sent home en masse soon. Side-by-side with the assurances that the country’s economic fundamentals are sturdy and designed to weather financial storms of the current magnitude, government is trying to show that it is preparing for the looming harsh reality threats, by exerting efforts at new job creation.
To paint a picture of relative economic and political stability, the government almost suddenly propagandized what could be the result of an oil-drilling operations in the Galoc oil rigs of Palawan, which it says has capable of spewing daily, some 20,000 barrels of crude, or the equivalent of about 5% of the Philippines’ average consumption. At a meeting of businessmen the other day, President Arroyo placed emphasis on her estimate that from 41% the Philippines ’ independence from oil imports would soon increase to 58%.
Moreover, she bragged about achieving some significant marks in food self-sufficiency, through increased yield and thus having stabilized the supply and price of rice and food.
However, government remains silent on up to what the extent, in any, did the government financial institutions (GFIs) invest abroad and as to what extent could those investments beneficially or adversely affect the domestic economy. This situation makes us wonder no end why this part of our lives remains very mythical up until now.
Just how resilient the Philippines ’ economy, is up to which side of the fence one stands. For one, Ms. Arroyo brags about having created a total of 7 million jobs in seven years. But how many of the Filipinos agree with her on that claim? While it may be untrue for the propaganda machines to propagate a hoax that sine Ms. Arroyo took the Presidency in 2001, many Filipinos have been allegedly dying of hunger and malnutrition, the number of job-seekers cuing before recruitment places and for issuance of passports at the Department of Foreign Affairs are increasing as the days wear on.
With the free falling world market price of fossil fuel, most Filipinos seem very critical over the apparent foot dragging by the Arroyo government, which they say is not doing enough to ensure that pump prices are what it should really be. Many are wondering why the domestic average cost of regular unleaded gasoline is allowed to stay at the level of about P44/liter, while the same commodity has fallen to only an average of US$ 2.88 in many cities of the United States .
Many scholars have time and again said that the umbilical cord that binds us with the Unites States is the reason why pain is all over the body of the Philippines each time the Yankees sneeze. They maintain that we could be better off where the Philippines is placed in a situation like Burma and Laos are in – a bit hard up, but otherwise, self sufficient and self-reliant. Keeping the Philippines ’ pride and prestige intact, no one at any time could dare bully us. In short, our economic managers should better be told to just quit thinking silly and focus their attention to improving our lot. Time magazine quoted Ramon Navaratnam,former Malaysian financial official and he said that we cannot escape the contagion.The damaging effect will show soon enough. (Time Oct.13,08) God forbid!
FREE ENTERPRISE IS DOOMED?
By Erick San Juan
There are enough reasons for us to look at a doomsday scenario for the Ronald Reagan style free enterprise, which is prevailing in several economies worldwide. In fact, we are making bold predictions that soon – perhaps in a few months, if not just weeks – many vital industries in country-participants to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will start restoring the laws that opened up markets and deregulated certain vital industries in a bid to give full meaning to democracy.
Certainly, when this forecast becomes a reality, the seemingly unceasing global financial meltdown is all to blame. It is bound to trigger moves here and there, which are aimed at achieving significant successes in re-imposing protectionist and regulatory standards seen to insulate people from a similar malady in the future.
At this point, there is absolutely nothing that could stop people from talking about the implosion of America’s most storied investment banks and losing to thin air some $3 trillion dollars worth of daily stock-market wealth, plus a $700 billion tab that the US public have to shoulder. But more than just the dollars it could cost, what appears to hurt the United States more are the intangible impact the financial crisis is delivering to the Americans’ vision of capitalism.
To the average American, it is undeniable that ideas rank among their most important exports. To them, a certain vision of capitalism, that advocates low tariff and less government participation in business activities as an engine of economic growth. This doctrine, which is aptly branded as Reaganism, reversed a centuries-old trend towards larger government. As a result, deregulation became the order of the day – not just in the continental US, but the world over as well.
In a bid to promote a more prosperous and an open international order, the US promoted itself worldwide as an exponent of liberal democracy. By Reagan’s theory, the US was able to create an impression among all nations in the world that its power does no rest upon its war tanks and dollars, but in the kind of self-government that it has. In fact, this enticed many a country to imitate the kind of government and practices being done in the US.
Not surprisingly though, many small countries lead by the Philippines blindly emulated the US example. In fact, the sad part remains that in exchange of a few favors, its leaders tolerated so much of the abuses perpetuated by the US and its nationals.
But just how serious has the influence of the US been eroded since the turn of the millennium is a tall order. While the US and the world enjoys unprecedented period of economic growth, they conveniently ignored the inroads by European socialists and the Latin American populists, who persisted in discrediting US capitalism as one that was cavalier. Hence, that engine of growth started to deteriorate and is threatening to drag down the rest of the world.
True enough in the Philippines, because its own Oil Deregulation Law is billed as the principal culprit for its currently exorbitant cost of living. Notwithstanding the high cost of its anti-terror campaign, the government got ironically pushed into a situation where it has to adopt a policy to subsidize the cost of living by its poor, in spite of the reality that it could no longer afford the cost.
Suddenly, the promotion of democracy became a principal weapon for fighting terrorism. But this came as an afterthought when the Bush administration failed to proved that President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, who he had deposed and eventually executed, was not keeping any weapon of mass destruction (WMD).
For sure, while the popularity of the US nose dives, those of China and Russia are very much afloat and more attractive – especially among the Asians. At this point, the choice left for the US seems way beyond the bailout or the presidential campaign. Whether Obama or McCain makes it to the White House is less significant than restoring the good name of the US.
For the Filipinos, it is time that we teach our leaders the shortest way out of the puppetry by their masters in the United States. Otherwise, the shortest way to prosperity is for the Philippine government to declare war - which we can never sustain - against the US. This will enable the world’s policeman to seize total control over us. US protectorate could be the ultimate solution! He he he.
WHO MAKES THE KILLING?
by Erick San Juan
Going by the books, a state is a group of organized people occupying a given territory. Dependent upon each other, every denizen is tasked to defend their territory from all forms of security threats – both internal and external. Necessarily, a state’s economy is controlled by some kind of a central bank, which regulates the demand and supply for a medium of exchange – the currency or money. They control the level of inflation.
In most, if not all cases, the central banks, being owned by the state, are run by people who have no investments in it. But they are the ones who lay down and enforce the policies and in so many ways, regulate the economic activities of their respective constituencies.
There is no doubt that the world’s greatest economies are struggling to survive these days. In fact, the United States government had to approve an emergency $700 billion bailout package recently, in a bid to rescue the drowning banking system of the world’s greatest and most influential state.
Also, there is no doubt that the current economic meltdown being experienced by the greater part of the planet earth, which is triggered by the tremendous rise in the price of fossil fuel, has caused a huge magnitude of sufferings to mankind – to a point where some had to take their own lives.
The sad part is that the Philippines ’ currency is, like those in many other small countries, tied to the US dollar. Ergo, whatever happens to the US currency will surely have an impact on the Philippines ’ economy. Sadder still is the fact that since time immemorial, nobody among the Filipino economic managers ever tried to free the domestic currency from this bondage.
Anywhere in the United States , signs of houses under bank foreclosure are a common sight.
“Now Hiring” signs have disappeared from the doors of stores and factories in the continental United States . More vagabonds kick cans along the streets. The population of jobless people is on the rise.
It is the middle class that appears to be suffering the most – it is they who got hit the hardest. From classy homes, legions of them are now renting modest apartments, causing break ups among families.
Certainly, the middle class is crying for a bailout package, but, instead, the US power elite have chosen to cast their economic rescue net upon the influential financial institutions whose executives, demonstrating an air of arrogance and wanton extravagance, shamelessly partied just as soon that the economic rescue package got approved.
Not to be undone, is the Great Britain and most of the other European countries, which have to come up with their own economic rescue schemes. For its part, Greenland , which is said to be facing the danger of bankruptcy, is said to be preparing to bite the bullet unless it's economic managers are able to do a turn-around.
As China , the world’s emerging economic giant, struggles to ward off attacks on the quality of its exports, other Asian economies - especially the Southeast – are grimacing in pain driven on them by the effects of having their currencies tied to the US dollar.
Given the reality, only the economies in heavy oil producing countries are the least affected by the catastrophic effects of the financial meltdown. As it is, regular unleaded gasoline, which sells at an average of $3.68 per gallon in the US and about P45. /liter in the Philippines could be bought at only an equivalent of some US$ 0.25 per gallon in some Emirates in the Middle East . The shortest explanation to this is the fact that their dependence upon imports and commodities – if not luxuries – beyond their means is nil.
Ironically though, countries like Burma, Laos and a few other small and other states which are barely surviving – but have kept their borders closed to western domination and influences – appears to be taking the meltdown lightly. Unlike Haiti , the Dominican Republic and other states which have been rocked by political and other strife believed triggered by the current economic slump.
But these facts bring to mind the question: Who is benefiting from the malady? If the heist on the Philippines ’ coffers is not perpetuated by its American and European masters, who, then must be making the killing? Isn’t it time that we find other allies? The globalist agenda which was implemented in both World I and II will repeat again with modification unless totally exposed.
Wake up Pinoys! Stop being suckered!