10 Aug2009

Republic Act No. 6713

by Marketman

Lawyers, I KNOW you are out there. I know folks previously or currently at the Office of The Solicitor General read this blog on occasion, associates and partners at some of the top law firms read this blog, and other lawyer friends of many varied backgrounds and current occupations read this blog on occasion. So please add to this discussion as I am NOT a lawyer. But as usual, it irks me that perhaps the most basic questions and issues are NOT being raised by the lawmakers, media and commentators regarding the recently reported $20,000 Le Cirque dinner.

Ninety-plus percent of my readers think the meal was inappropriate; that’s opinion. But I was curious if it was anything more than that. If it violated any specific laws. If it was possibly illegal. So I simply googled “philippine government officials laws on gifts” and got this extremely simple yet clear page entitled “Republic Act No. 6713” from the chanrobles.com website. The most relevant lines for me from this Act are, and I quote:

“(b) “Public Officials” includes elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the career or non-career service, including military and police personnel, whether or not they receive compensation, regardless of amount.

(c) “Gift” refers to a thing or a right to dispose of gratuitously, or any act or liberality, in favor of another who accepts it, and shall include a simulated sale or an ostensibly onerous disposition thereof. It shall not include an unsolicited gift of nominal or insignificant value not given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor from a public official or employee.

(d) “Receiving any gift” includes the act of accepting directly or indirectly, a gift from a person other than a member of his family or relative as defined in this Act, even on the occasion of a family celebration or national festivity like Christmas, if the value of the gift is neither nominal nor insignificant, or the gift is given in anticipation of, or in exchange for, a favor.”

Further down in the same Republic Act is this interesting clause, and I quote:

“(h) Simple living. — Public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.”

So, if the dinner DID in fact occur, AND an average of PHP30,000 (which I HARDLY THINK IS CONSIDERED NOMINAL OR INSIGNIFICANT by any measure) or so was given/received in the form of food and drink by all of the government officials/guests present that evening, and it was a private not state occasion (reportedly an anniversary dinner), AND it was paid for by ANOTHER also public official (a congressman)… WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN??? Hello? Am I the only one who thinks this is all just utterly outrageous?

Sorry, I know this is a food blog, but at least the recent rants are about a meal with food and drink! :) Back to food programming soon.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Joni says:

    “Sorry, I know this is a food blog, but at least the recent rants are about a meal with food and drink! :) Back to food programming soon.”

    Hahaha good point.

    I’m still waiting for Brandon to come back with details about the “Yutukon”

    Aug 10, 2009 | 9:16 pm

     
  2. sister says:

    Hello, you live in one of the most notoriously corrupt countries in the world with a famously licentious press, but no effective public watchdogs. The country starves while the elected officials feast.

    Aug 10, 2009 | 9:17 pm

     
  3. tipat says:

    What can you expect from these people who only have their personal interests in mind? I love the Philippines but I hate our government. Try doing things the legit way and no matter what, you’ll encounter a crooked gov’t official (either from the BIR, Municipal ofc, etc) who’ll surely pounce on you. It’s pathetic. Kaya hindi tayo umaasenso e.

    Ayan, nakisama tuloy ako sa ranting ni MM. Yeah, let’s go back to food programming soon so we’ll have much more pleasant topics to talk about.

    Aug 10, 2009 | 9:18 pm

     
  4. chris says:

    hi mr.mm, i missed so many interesting entries bec. my dsl bogged down, so good to read you again.

    sa kahit anong okasyon, relevant ang mga blogs ng marketmanila. it may be out of post pero salamat sa pagsaliksik mo sa mga batas na may kaugnayan sa nakaraang pagpipyesta ng grupong gloria sa el cirku, este, le cirque pala.

    considering that they have blatantly violated the clause on simple living, pwede ba silang mahabla? nagtatanong lang po…

    anyways, back to food… maybe you can research on the dishes they had, make your interpretation and present it here, so we who are not exposed to such dining experience may have an idea what the dish looks and tastes like?

    thanks and more power.

    Aug 10, 2009 | 9:42 pm

     
  5. maia says:

    Oh MM, if we can only have public officials as smart, honest, conscientious, and responsible as you.. sigh.

    Aug 10, 2009 | 10:49 pm

     
  6. jun b says:

    MM, if you enforce that RA mauubos ang empleyado ng gobyerno :) . Nakakahiya talaga sa ibang bansa pa nagkalat.

    Aug 10, 2009 | 11:10 pm

     
  7. zaN says:

    In your first post, you asked “WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO DELICADEZA?”

    These corrupt politicos, have LESS than ZERO, they could care less about this Rep Act No 6713? Like sister said, govt have ZERO accountability.

    Lucky for me, I contributed ZERO.. ZERO to their coffer. I pay ZERO phil tax. But I still CARE.

    Aug 10, 2009 | 11:18 pm

     
  8. elit says:

    “the country starves while the elected officials feast”
    sister, what you said here is so true…… and so sad for us in the Philippines who are victims of these corrupt officials

    Aug 10, 2009 | 11:35 pm

     
  9. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, Aside from the La Cirque fiasco. GMA has to explain how she made so much money as President!!

    Aug 10, 2009 | 11:35 pm

     
  10. Maria Clara says:

    The current administration uses Republic Act No. 6713 as a toilet paper. Our elected government officials are like the Ringling Brothers a show circus. The provisions of our Republic Act No. 6713 is well-written and blatantly thwarted by 98% of our elected officials. How they manage to escape prosecution – they cover each other and they all sing Kumbaya holding hands together!

    Aug 11, 2009 | 12:18 am

     
  11. The Polymer Baker says:

    As a fellow epicure, I understand the joy of eating good food and sipping fine drink. I would be a hypocrite to say that I do not want to even sample the tasting menu at Le Cirque.

    As a Filipino, I understand the value of ‘delicadeza’. One could not simply shovel Osetra into your mouth at Le Cirque and not think about people (whom you supposedly serve as public servants) who could barely afford Payless Instant Mami back home. It takes a gut of steel to swallow all those cured eggs when even bagoong now seems like such a luxury. Regardless of who footed the bill, this act was entirely in poor taste. Descending en masse unto a celeb resto and gorging on the expensive items on the menu was NOT a smart move for this recession-ridden administration. And I honestly don’t think The NY Post would’ve done such a feature if the Le Cirque Mob didn’t call attention to themselves(and at such a celeb-infested restaurant, it’s HARD to do so.)”Agitation propaganda”? Feh. The people are agitated enough without Page Six, Mr. Remonde. Can tell us honestly and exactly how much money Rep. Romualdez or Rep. Suarez make that they consider $ 20,000 a small price to pay for eating in New York? You can have omakase at Nobu for 25 people at only $2,500. Who are they kidding?

    I move to demand a list of the names of the party that enjoyed THAT ‘Cirque’ of errors. We need to know whose wallets we shouldn’t fatten up ever again.

    With all due respect.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 1:01 am

     
  12. pinkytab says:

    We keep pouncing on the corrupt officials. What about the businessmen and even the ordinary people who “feed” these habit? Like opium, receiving gifts can be very addictive. If we cut the supply maybe we can cure the addiction. How about passing a law that will punish people who give “gifts” to our elected officials? Am i dreaming again? Is there no solution to the graft and corruption in the Philippines????
    Tama si Chris, inanalyze na lang natin ang kinain nila for $20,000. Was the dessert so sweet such that the sugar rush gave them the love that they did not get from their parents? Was the entree’ so filling that it satified their egos? Ay naku…..

    Aug 11, 2009 | 1:01 am

     
  13. The Polymer Baker says:

    @pinkytab: If it’s an addiction, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. And getting these people to admit to anything is like asking for the moon. Or maybe for a sip of Krug from GMA’s glass. Manuel Quezon III also did a theoretical analysis of the outrageous bill on his blog. Just Google it.

    There wouldn’t be people bribing if there aren’t any people accepting bribes. But I believe in being the change you want to see in this world, and these people just want to perpetuate this old, unjust system of living. The change should start next year, when we go and choose the next leaders wisely.

    @Market Manila: Yes, more real food, not the stuff of champagne wishes and caviar dreams, please. Somehow it makes me gak now. Thank you for being a conscientious foodie.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 1:23 am

     
  14. iris says:

    How do you enforce the law on the enforcers who keep on brushing aside the issue as ‘tapos na’ and that ‘nakakahiyang i-refuse yung dinner invite’ or ‘mas nakakahiyang itanong kung saan kakain at magkano ung bill?’

    Pinkytab – art. 214 of the Revised Penal Code actually punishes persons who shall corrupt public officers by making offers or giving gifts in consideration of an act or omission regarding the performance of the public officer’s duty. In fact, there’s a whole section devoted to Bribery.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 1:26 am

     
  15. Gabriella says:

    Well you know since she knows that she will never be in the position ever again… she will milk it until it becomes cheese. I hope the government will show transparencies like posting all expenses online straight from their expense bookkeeping databases. Thats what the north amercan goverment does… they post all travel expenses online and if there are any questionable amounts everyone in the office gets accounted for such “mistake, fiasco, faud etc”.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 2:51 am

     
  16. Lou says:

    Is there a limit to the amount which is tax-free when it is a gift? Should they not be taxed on this? Am just asking.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 4:17 am

     
  17. kurzhaar says:

    Choice of words is interesting. “Public officials”…I’m not quite as old as some (nor as young as some!) but certainly old enough to remember when such positions were referred to as “public servants” or “civil servants”.

    There’s more than enough corruption to go around here in the US as well, but at least there are enough checks and balances that one feels that justice can be pursued.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 5:15 am

     
  18. cheeseheadeatsushi says:

    A congressman said it was such a normal NY meal that he would have paid for the bill but was beat to the draw. He did promise to foot the bill next time. In these hard times, “public officials” of a poor country are tripping over themselves to pay for an expensive meal?

    In contrast, an article by Laura Holson in the NY Times about the effects of the recession: “It used to be a common sight from Sparks to Spago — the boisterous scrum as diners wielding corporate cards dove for the lunch bill, crying “I’ll get it!” But since the economic downturn, the delicate social rituals of the bull market era, when executives tried to outdo one another in expense-account one-upmanship, have been upended.”

    Aug 11, 2009 | 6:28 am

     
  19. BD says:

    I don’t think you can take this to the bank. Art. 7 (d) Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. — Public officials… shall not… accept… any…gratuity,…entertainment…from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.

    1) Equating dining with official duty is a bit of a stretch; 2) The President has no control over a member of the legislative branch.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 7:36 am

     
  20. mojito drinker says:

    to the naysayers posting here. with all due respect, saying things like “Kaya hindi tayo umaasenso e” (tipat) doesn’t really help this country. instead of focusing on how bad things are, c’mon guys let’s think–what do we need to do to make things better? we shouldn’t expect our politicians to be the source of change. if there’s any lesson we should learn from people power, it’s that we have the ability to change things ourselves. letting the government know how badly we regard them for the le cirque dinner should, at the very least, make other politicians think twice before doing something similarly inappropriate.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 9:35 am

     
  21. bernadette says:

    i would like to just say that i appreciate MarketManila for not just posting scrumptious meals but also making us readers think about social concerns like feeding programs for children as well as feeding lifestyles for the rich and infamous. :-)

    Aug 11, 2009 | 9:56 am

     
  22. panache says:

    tama po kayo mr mojito drinker “we have the ability to change things ourselves”…kaya next year, let us prudently use our voting power and put into office men and women of moral probity.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 10:28 am

     
  23. dragon says:

    Haaaaaaayyyy naku!

    You all have to understand, the participants of that dinner scrambled to be at that dinner, for the same reason they scrambled to be included in the trip. Junkets are freebies for diems, shopping, photo ops, name dropping. Unfortunately, most of these people (hangers on and politicians alike) don’t really have class–and I mean the old fashioned one: one you can’t buy. So what do we get, someone who complains the place is not “fashionable”; someone who complains the service was slow (kaya nga fine dining eh! and not roadside dining), someone who can’t tell the difference between 20 and 50 (absent yata sa math subjects niya). Isn’t it the case that if you’re a guest, you’re not to complain and be either gracious or quiet about it????

    I got turned off by politics and politicians early on: my (ex) husband, a former “diplomat” was “summoned” to join FVR during his presidency. From the sideline, I did not like what I saw (didn’t hear much) and asked (then) hubby not to join next admin. He’s still there within the corridors of (so-called) power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even by the minions. I also have relatives who have run for office but not for the reason of service to the people. I do admire people who can call it quits at the end of their terms and not cling to any office one way or another.

    I used to get an earful from my current husband (non-Pinoy) about the corruption in Manila. I quietly told him even the US gov is corrupt. In fact, show me a country that’s not. He said Australia’s not. Well, since moving here, he’s changed his tune….tra-lala….

    True honesty in service is now old school. Decency is old school. Values have become old school. I am an old soul. We are slowly becoming extinct…or are we?

    Use your connections, technology and the current Cory fever to educate, educate, educate, educate the voting masses. We get what we vote for, deserving or not.

    LASTLY: This is still a food commentary—food for the mind!

    Aug 11, 2009 | 10:45 am

     
  24. passive observer says:

    as sitting president, GMA is immune from law suits, except for impeachment
    so..sori na lang tayo.. we have to wait until she steps down.. but then who will file cases against her.. e from the prosucutors, to the ombudsman to the SC justices, sya ang nag appoint?? the real challenge would be to those appointees to do their job and turn back on their padrino..but will this ever happen???good luck sa atin sa 2010..if ever may eleksyon nga..sori im so jaded..

    Aug 11, 2009 | 11:51 am

     
  25. Commoner says:

    Come on people. With all the evidence of anomalies like mass electoral fraud, mass overpricing on government contracting involving fertilizers, broadband and national infrastructure projects amounting to the billions of pesos and you’re all shocked by a $20,000 meal? That’s chump change. It’s not even close to enough to buy a single congressional vote. Yet anyone who has even lightly followed the events of the last couple of years can clearly see where alot of the grease money that keeps the wheels of congress moving is coming from particularly when impeachment complaints are brought in front of the lower house.

    Government in the Philippines has devolved into business. The candidates along with their backers sink huge investmests into a popularity contest to get into power. Once they are in power, the atmosphere and culture of government dictate that the officials are completely within their rights to recoup their initial investment along with a huge profit margin to compensate them for the risks of failing to get voted in.

    And if you can’t win by investing purely in the popularity contest, well there are always ways tweak the electoral results or even to buy enough support from key officials and media personalities in order to stage a massive street party and call it people power.

    But bottom line is whether it is your own money you invested or your backer’s money. You have to earn it back somehow. It is simply the culture of Philippine Government.

    Sure there are legislation for anti-graft and plunder laws. But public officials never see these laws as applying to themselves. Instead, they see them as tools to use against their political opponents.

    Just look in the streets where people board and jump out of jeepneys in the middle of the highway instead of on proper stops. See that man crossing in the street not 15 feet away from the proper pedestrian lane just because he can’t be bother to walk an additinal 30 feet? How about that scooter going on the wrong side of the road or even on the sidewalk to shave a few minutes off of their commute time? Are there laws against that kind of thing. You bet there are. Do these people think these laws apply to them. Not if they don’t get busted.

    In the final analysis the culture of Philippine government is merely a reflection of the culture of the Philippines on the most basic down to the street level.

    And you people think that a law which states that public officials should not be taking gifts will prove an effective deterant for a particular public official accepting an expensive meal at a posh restaurant in New York? Of course not, to that particular official’s mind that law does not apply to him or her.

    Why then is there such a public outcry at this $20,000 meal?

    The same reason why that person in the scooter who is moving the wrong direction of the street cusses away at that passenger who just jumped off the jeepney in the middle of the street in front of him thus nearly causing an accident. Because all the rules of the land should apply to everyone except yourself. That is the culture of this country.

    So the moral of the lesson is if you want better leaders start by getting better voters. If you can’t get decent voters then perhaps democracy as a medium for choosing that country’s leaders isn’t the best way to go about it.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 12:19 pm

     
  26. James says:

    One reality that is hard to face is that the rich and powerful have always been with us … and always will be with us. They will eat expensive meals, drive expensive cars, take a lot of the money out of the economy.

    What We-The-People must do is make sure there is enough of the economic pie left for us to live well.

    We can never stop them. We just need to slow them down a little.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 12:27 pm

     
  27. joel says:

    Commoner:

    This is the true state of the nation.

    delicadeza is like chivalry. pushed to extinction by derelicts who have nothing but themselves in mind. i will admit to having my own guilty pleasures, but not to the point that i wave it in the face of a mourning nation (which SHE declared in the first place. have the decency to have a more private affair if you really must (being your anniversary). i guess it’s really just extinct. sad

    Aug 11, 2009 | 2:43 pm

     
  28. MaryAnne says:

    Commoner,

    “If you want better leaders, start by getting better voters?!”

    you aren’t offering any solutions or providing any kind of moral to the story with your bitter diatribe and low opinion of the Filipino voting public.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 3:41 pm

     
  29. noemi says:

    1987 Philippine Constitution Article XI Section 1 also says that “public officials must at all times lead…modest lives”

    Aug 11, 2009 | 5:01 pm

     
  30. alicia says:

    Simple living? Can someone blow that one up and take out a few full page advertisements in the dailies! Why not put it next to the social pages where we see photos of government officials and there spouses attending functions in attire that would cost their year’s annual salaries? Why don’t they look at the cars they drive, their houses and where their children go to school? AH, I forgot, I’m expected to be St*#%d and buy that garbage about them having all that money before they were elected!
    Is this considered a below the belt comment? Sorry if it is.

    All this is really making me sick to my stomach! I just hope all these facts and sentiments on the various blogs will turn into action taken- rally anyone? Lets go!- wearing our market manila suki shirts and carrying our fishpans!

    Aug 11, 2009 | 6:11 pm

     
  31. sasha says:

    As an ex-pat living in Australia, all i can say is that while the rest of the world is dealing with the global economic crisis, and even the rich are watching how they spend their money, these Filipino government officials are showing the world what the Philippine government officials are truly like, their true colours. Unfortunately. The Philippines is known throughout the world as a third world country, backwards and inefficient, corrupt in the highest levels. I’m sorry but it’s the truth. If someone mentions the Philippines in the first world this is what most people think, that it’s full of dirt-poor slum-dwellers who live in places like Smokey Mountain but the former first lady had 10,000 pairs of shoes! Many Filipino people have to work as domestic workers and slaves in other countries because its own government can’t look after its own people. And that’s the bottom line – if the Philippine government (including its President!) can splash extravagantly while the rest of the world watches its pennies, and while its own people are suffering tremendously, what is the message that we are sending to the rest of the world? I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but i feel that we need to face reality and the truth about ourselves at some point, because it’s only then that we can really do something about it. The truth hurts I’m afraid. I agree with the commenter who said that changes have to be done at the grassroots level – we must all be accountable for our actions. That means no more cheating and lying and trying to one-up each other, betraying each other. Who are we fooling that we think we can be better than others? The rest of the world thinks we are a joke! I’m only saying this because I love my country and I truly believe that deep down, goodness lies in most people’s hearts. We just need to demonstrate more of this, more care and respect for each other, and less selfish behaviour. Perhaps then we can have a government that will make us proud. And lastly,I believe in more prayers that the Lord will help us get out of this big mess and dark hole that we find ourselves in right now. That’s my two cents worth. G’day from Oz! Thanks MM, love your work! xxx

    Aug 11, 2009 | 6:23 pm

     
  32. millet says:

    and now sen. miriam defensor-santiago reports that sen. lito lapid allegeldy told her he didn’t really enjoy the dinner that much because it “took over three hours since there were so many courses, and the waiters changed the plates with each course”.

    i am speechless. MM, thanks for saying what i would have wanted to say but can’t,…out of shock, frustration, incredulity?

    Aug 11, 2009 | 7:33 pm

     
  33. Commoner says:

    MaryAnne,

    you aren’t offering any solutions or providing any kind of moral to the story with your bitter diatribe and low opinion of the Filipino voting public.

    I’m not being bitter. I’m simply being realistic. The Filipino culture by its very nature is one which is set up so that a few people on top will thrive and have no qualms about oppressing the vast masses of the less fortunate.

    Filipinos as individuals may be creative, resourceful, and intelligent. God knows, they need those traits just to survive in this kind of environment.

    They are, however, brought up to tolerate abuse both to themselves and those around them. They are subject to and witness so many abuses that they become indifferent to them. And being a generally bright people, they realize that with the way things are it is in their self-interest to break the rules whenever they can get away with it to get just that bit further ahead. They see it working for those around them and are quick enough to pick up the example, in the end making them quick to become part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    The fact is that the vast majority of Filpinos have ben raised to have a culture of tolerance and place close to no value on vigilance. When a person subjected to various injustices, kicked around and then discarded like some used rag, traditional culture applauds the martyr who grits his teeth, picks himself up and silently goes on with his life. They abhor the indignant person who fights back despite the potential repercusions such action may bring on both himself and his family.

    So in the end everybody breaks the rules and everyone ends up turning a blind eye to injustices. The trap is that the more people think this way, the more people on top can get away with. They become bolder, pilfering more and more. Our current leaders don’t even bother to personally deny alegations raised against them. Instead they simply resort to hired hands to make public statement on their behalf.

    People Power doesn’t work because although it changes the personalities in charge, it does nothing to change the culture of tolerance which allows this viscious cycle of apathy and abuse to go on.

    Our leaders know this and are unlikely to really do anything to change things because in the end the environment is condusive to them growing in both wealth and power at the expense of others. They make mock attempts to change things, all the while knowing that these laws they pass and the changes they make do not apply to themselves and their circle. Only to their political opponents.

    I really only see three scenarios which would allow for things to truly and decisively change.

    One is for the Filipino masses at some point to finally get fed up and take matters into their own hands. Some will disagree but I personally believe that any such event must necessarily involve a good amount of blood shed. Why? Because only then will the leaders be forced to admit to themselves that they have pushed their fellow Filipinos too far. Those few hundred million pesos pilfered from the poor farmers, afterall, atleast to a public official’s mind, isn’t worth his life and the lives of his family. The bottom line is that only a mass uprising and blood shed is likely to shock our leaders enough to force them reevaluate the extent to which they can abuse their power.

    This is not likely to happen, however, because not only is the culture of tolerance so ingrained in our society but also because our leaders have also become so adept at distracting the populace whenever a public outcry arises about graft and corruption. God knows how many times news about some gross abuse of the public’s trust was overshadowed by some showbiz scandal or completely forgotten after the declaration of some public holiday or the holding of some fiesta.

    The second possible scenario is simply for some external power with a completely different set of values and culture to take the reigns of government.

    Filipinos prosper amiably enough when they work overseas. Why is that? It is simply because when they are placed in an enviornment where following the rules is the norm and those who don’t are punished, they quickly become law-abiding themselves.

    Of course it would be ideal if somehow all Filipino leaders miraculously developed a different set of values and became law-abiding and thus set a new paradign for the populace to follow but I have little hope for this happening given our country’s political history.

    The only feasible way this could happen, of course, is if another country assumes control of the Philippines which could only happen as a result of a war.

    But for all intents and purposes, the Philippine government has set such a sterling precedent of kissing the collective posteriors of our neighbors and those of first world that this is a very unlikely scenario. With the Philippine government regularly sacrificing the well being of the economy and the human rights of its citizens for the sake of international relationships, it would be a fairly safe bet that our government would back away with its tail between its legs the moment any international issue provokes a threat of war from a foreign power.

    Of course there is always the possibility that a charismatic, megalomaniac demagogue followed by a large enough support group of zealots could assume power despite completely disregarding the culture of apathy and tolerance. Even in the extremely unlikely event that this were to happen, the price of progress would be freedom. But to tell you the truth, when the vast majority of the population is starving and is unsure how they will make ends meet the next day, ideals like freedom will seem distant and far away. Only a handful of eccentrics, afterall would rather watch their children slowly perish from starvation rather than have someone constantly telling them what they can and can not do.

    Such an individual only appears in the World once every several generations and there is certainly no indication that the next such person would somehow be concerned with the plight of the Filipino people.

    So, as long as we are all content sitting at home whining about how morally and ethically impaired our government is on Food blogs or, in the in the cases of the most extremist among us, attending street parties thinly disguised as rallies, demonstrations, and people power gatherings, those in power who are commiting these grave abuses and injustices will be just as content snickering at us in private for our sad, impotent cries for change and justice.

    And thus as I have said previously, until we improve ourselves as voters, there is little hope of getting better leadership. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 9:23 pm

     
  34. joyce says:

    those are excellent points that you’ve made. i think as much as i cherish what people power represented to the country and to the world, i cant but feel disillusioned that democracy is not a one size fits all concept. the concept on paper is noble and grand ,yes, but does not translate well in reality more so if reality is a grumbling tummy and a shack beside a garbage dump. i think its sad that a filipino will sell his right to vote, but when he has mouths to feed do you really blame him? i don’t agree with it, but i do understand. i remember getting into a conversation with a friend who was extolling the virtues of democracy and how other countries should be doing it as well, when i said that you know my country has been democratic, and it seems to have brought us no good. maybe there should be another version of democracy for developing countries. it also doesn’t help that when i look at other democratic countries in the region, like india and thailand, they seem to be in the same complicated mess as we are if not messier. just my two cents.

    Aug 11, 2009 | 11:28 pm

     
  35. chilli-hot-tamale says:

    Hello MM,

    This blog has given me “indigestion” big time, and MM YOU are so responsible…L.O.L…Anybody wants to file as a candidate
    now to be the next bunch of senators or “President”??? C’mon pinoy people, Someone or a new bunch who are “Hero-material”
    to stand for the Filipinos and will run the Philippine government like a business (better than wall street)BUT WITHOUT ANY OF THESE CORRUPT DEALINGS? aNYBODY???? I have applied for dual citizenship to be able to vote,at least I have a voice to put where my mouth is.

    Make your vote count for the next election !!! If YOU are a
    very amart w/ business clout and know how to be an accountable public service person, gather all your mojos and be a candidate to be the next President !!!

    Aug 12, 2009 | 6:58 am

     
  36. xkwzt says:

    On a related note, since we’re talking about abuse of power, I just wanted to share this–

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gL3DPgm81c

    Aug 12, 2009 | 12:59 pm

     
  37. Marketman says:

    xkwzt, thanks for the link. A good youtube on an excellent topic. Another of my many pet peeves. According to the law, not even members of congress (except the Speaker) should be able to use sirens, I am not mistaken.

    Aug 12, 2009 | 1:38 pm

     
  38. Lava Bien says:

    The Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been to or seen (not because I was born there). Our islands are very rich in natural resources. I love the happy nature of our kababayans but we sure do have a f*ck*d up system.

    I still believe sa “Bayan kong Pilipinas” and the best it could become, maybe technology could truly expose the ugly doings of our leaders from our politicians, armed forces to the lowest position. YouTube all their asses, put their shame to light.. I don’t know, just anything where they can’t deny it like Katrina-Hayden can’t deny it kinda sh*t.

    Aug 12, 2009 | 2:46 pm

     
  39. Lava Bien says:

    Commoners,

    hehehehe a leftist brother (or sister), I agree. But a socialist (or communist) run gov’t can’t guarantee any better. I’ve been to Cuba and seen it first hand so as Vietnam and China although I like Cuba better, better arts and culture and better looking woman hehehehehe.

    Aug 12, 2009 | 2:51 pm

     
  40. Lee says:

    Maybe what they heard from Ninoy was “The Filipino is worth dining for,” and from Cory “The Filipino is worth living poor.”

    Aug 12, 2009 | 3:55 pm

     
  41. Lava Bien says:

    Nakakahiya talaga si GMA, nasa iba’t iba news na yung dinner nya worldwide.

    http://www.chinapost.com.tw/asia/philippines/2009/08/12/220134/Philippine-leader.htm

    http://www.newstin.com/rel/us/en-010-017139352

    Bruha sya, bruha…. hehehehehe

    Aug 12, 2009 | 6:14 pm

     
  42. Marketman says:

    Lee, those are truly priceless, I should get you to title all of my posts… Lava Bien, thanks for the links.

    Aug 12, 2009 | 6:36 pm

     
  43. Agirl says:

    I was saddened this morning when I answered a poll in yahoo about the same topic. More people didn’t find the dining extravagance inappropriate. Huh? Why are these people not affected by this? Good thing that many of your readers feel the same way as I do, MM.

    Grabe si GMA and her cronies, iniinsulto nila tayo ng harapan. Their happy days will soon be over…I only hope that it will be sooner and not later than 2010.

    Aug 13, 2009 | 2:08 pm

     
  44. tina says:

    It is sad, it is true and it is in our face. No delicadeza at all. We are a nation of good hearts, been tried for so long and yet, we are still on the that level,we cannot move further. We have to get past all this, the Philippines will always be my home and it hurts to think we are being thought of the whole world like this. We love our country and we should show it, just like the OFW’s do, the balikbayans who feel so good when they are back home. Tama na . Sobra na.

    Aug 13, 2009 | 8:02 pm

     
  45. filipina42 says:

    Hi MM!

    If I’m not mistaken, this was authored by then Sen. Jovito Salonga. He was also the first chair of the PCGG. Ganun katindi yung prinsipyo niya:)

    If he had his way,* the Marcoses shouldn’t have gotten away with you-know-what. Ayan tuloy, even Erap got away scot-free. Lakas ng loob ni GMA, alam niyang we’ll look the other way. Anyone please??

    *Salonga ran for Senate after only a year at the PCGG.

    Aug 14, 2009 | 4:00 pm

     
  46. James says:

    There is tolerance and there is tolerance. Filipinos are tolerant of too much. More people need to speak up when someone else does wrong.

    I am so glad I cannot vote here. If someone tried to offer P50 for my vote, I’d break their nose. Offer to buy my soul for money … (insert swearing I learned from my pinoy friends at the golf course here)

    Aug 15, 2009 | 3:47 am

     
  47. Cez says:

    ..it was not PGMA who paid the dinner bill. it was Bong Marcos who paid that.. so why are you saying that it was a corrupt dealing-that PGMA used the taxes of the Filipinos???

    Bakit nyo naman isisisi kay PGMA lahat? eh, inamin na man ni Marcos na sya ang nag OFFER na bayaran ang kanilang kinain..

    i am not pro-GMA. but this time, i don’t think corruption is the right term for this matter.. hindi lang cguro maganda yung dating.. but nevertheless, hindi yon pangungurakot.. and there is no misuse of public funds..

    Feb 15, 2010 | 6:35 am

     
  48. Marketman says:

    Cez, WHERE do you get your facts? It was NOT bong Marcos that paid for the meal at Le Cirque, it was reportedly Daniel Romualdez. And a Congressman reportedly paid for the steak meal. Duh, they aren’t the same person as Bong Marcos, who probably WASN’T even ON THAT TRIP. And second, if you read the contents of the Republic Act above, it is inappropriate, even illegal for a public official to accept an extravagant gift or to even live extravagantly. So if you were the Mayor of your town, and your friend bought you a Mercedes for PHP5 million, and you accepted, you would in theory be in violation of the law, whether or not you did something in return for that gift. Just read the act and understand it. And NO WHERE do I say that PGMA used government money or the taxes of Filipinos, that is your erroneous conclusion. With argumentative capabilities like yours, it’s no wonder idiots can’t tell right from wrong.

    Feb 15, 2010 | 1:16 pm

     
 

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