Do the Math…

It wasn’t until after I finished our lunch of homemade chicken inasal with sinamak that I settled down to read today’s newspapers. When I got to Manolo Quezon III’s column entitled “Detached From Reality” and noticed that Marketmanila was mentioned in passing, I figured out why I was getting some rather strange visitor and comment traffic on the blog this morning… My post on GMA’s reported $20,000 meal at Le Cirque got a LOT of hits and page views, and wracked up 100 comments rather quickly during what is typically the slowest period on the blog, Saturday night and all day Sunday. Today I woke up to a couple of hysterical comments, one even calling me and my readers communists, which of course I deemed inappropriate and deleted (yes, I can and will do that on this blog). If there’s one thing I would certainly not be, it would be a communist. Imagine if I had to share my copper fish pans with everyone on an equal basis? All the commenter had to do was read my “About” page to see that it was he/she who would seem ridiculous by labelling me a communist. Really now, outrageously silly, if you ask me. First an elitist, now a communist. Tsk, tsk.

But being mentioned in Manolo’s column did elicit some questions about how to “Do the Math…” and specifically, how I could have suggested that GMA must have probably known about Cory’s passing before she met with Secretary of State Clinton. So here are more details for those of you who were wondering:

– President Corazaon Aquino passed away around 3:18 am on Saturday, 1 August 2009. Because the East Coast of the United States is 12 hours behind, that was 3:18 pm Washington time on Friday afternoon, 31 July. Noynoy Aquino held a quick press conference to announce the loss, and let’s just say that was done at around 3:30-3:40 a.m. in Manila. So the news was out by 4 am Manila time, and with a quick text to the GMA entourage in New York it is VERY LIKELY that they also heard the news by 4 pm Washington time, BEFORE the scheduled 4:30pm meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Surely someone would have alerted the party of the current President that a previous President had already passed away…

– But let’s not leave this to simple logic, timeline analysis and conjecture. On Sunday, August 2, 2009, on page 2 of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, it is written in a report by Gil C. Cabacungan, Jr., reporting from Washington, entitled “GMA orders 10 days of mourning,” and I quote:

“Ms. Arroyo received word of Aquino’s passing a few minutes before the scheduled meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Willard Hotel at 4:30p.m. Friday” (Washington time).

The article goes further to say, and I quote:

“She was shaken by the news and immediately instructed her staff to verify it while she proceeded to her meeting with Clinton…”

So you see, it isn’t ROCKET SCIENCE to do the numbers and read the press reports and suggest that President Arroyo PROBABLY ALREADY KNEW that former President Aquino HAD passed away. But she must have decided it was not worth mentioning to Secretary of State Clinton during their meeting. Hence, when Secretary Clinton was interviewed AFTER emerging from the meeting and she was obviously UNAWARE that President Aquino had just passed away some 90 minutes beforehand, it was something caught on video and which folks thought rather odd, at the very least… That’s all there is to that part of my post.

As for the Presidential spokesperson and other members of the party, who to me are seeming a bit like a pinoy version of the Keystone Cops, with varying stories that don’t seem to all match, I have one more thing to add. He emphatically states that the President seemed to be trying to save money by flying commercial, but I noticed from the same article in the Inquirer that, and I quote:

“An hour later, Ms. Arroyo, dressed in a gray suit, taped a message on Aquino before proceeding to Andrews Air Force Base for her flight to New York.” A photo in the same article shows her alighting from a rather largish (not learjet type) jet onto the stairs and tarmac at the airport in Newark, New Jersey assisted by the First Gentleman and Hilario Davide. So my question is, what commercial flights take off from Andrews Air Force Base? So it is possible/likely the flight to New York was chartered, and hence the ability to catch a late dinner reservation at Le Cirque that evening. The message that was “taped” before the flight to New York must have been the one calling for a ten day period of national mourning. Hmmm, a lavish dinner seems like an unorthodox way for senior politicians of a country to display they are in mourning for a recently deceased former President, even if reservations at Le Cirque were made weeks in advance…

What is most disappointing about this whole episode is not the lack of consistency, transparency or simple good sense that should have guided everyone involved. Not even the ridiculous opinions expressed by some folks about the quality of interior design at Le Cirque, or that 50 folks rather than 15 were at dinner, including security and secret service. Or not even that others felt the waiter service lacking and possibly unlike fast food restaurants. It is that this quote, from Senator Miriam Santiago in today’s (10 August 2009) Inquirer, actually sounds like the SANEST (READ: NOT CRAZIEST) sound bite about the whole brouhaha:

“”My advice is for them to tell the truth, who went there and how much the dinner cost and then say this will never happen again,” she told dzBB radio. She said there was no need to cover up.”

Is that really so difficult?


30 Responses

  1. well we are talking about the same president who, so afraid of usurpers, hid her health/medical problems until she was ok again

  2. Communist, hilarious! There are no words as to how ridiculous that is.

    However, I bet you are a very nice person. You could share your copper fish pays with ME … on an un-equal basis (your house 75% of the time, mine 25%) and we would both be ahead.

    I would have copper fish pans some of the time. And you would have a warm, warm feeling in your heart some of the time.

  3. Ka MM, From Foodie to Communism hehehehe…I wonder what’s next?

    For the Philippine goverment and politician….Mahiya naman kayo !!!

  4. Now it’s ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol reporter going around the streets showing MLQ III’s hypothetical bill to people and asking for their reactions! When a person is being attacked for lack of credibility and honesty, I think the attacker should damn well make sure that he/she is being credible and honest in the process. The past week I have been wondering how I got to be cynical. Now I remember- this is the reason for my cynicism. More often than not, the criticizer is no better than the one being criticized. Sigh.

  5. Ah, you’ve been visited by the paid propagandists. I see a lot of them posting their comments on different newspaper sites. Inquirer’s politics section is infested with them. They are noticeable by the sentence pattern and choice of words they use. Also they tend to use multiple names but post using the same computer (detectable via their IP addresses)and the time stamps. If you post something political be prepared for an infestation, like the bed bugs you featured on a previous article. :) More Power MM!

  6. I just noticed that the Palace has been spending way too much time defending issues lately.

    You know how I noticed this?

    Before, I didn’t even know who Remonde was.

  7. Fredo is right. Just read political blogs (e.g. Ellen Tordesillas) and you’ll find out poisonous comments from those propagandists apparently paid by Malacanang. They also infest the comments/posts section of any news item in newspapers (particularly Inquirer) critical of GMA. Unfortunately, this is the forte of GMA and her cabal: bribe, bribe bribe…everything has its weight in cash (from the national treasury, of course). We’re back to the kleptocratic Marcos era; only now, the kleptomaniacs have become more brazen and thick-faced.

  8. Do you think Remonde still believes the words that come out of his own mouth? And what’s the name of the other Malacanang spokesperson? LoreLEI (emphasis on 2nd syllable, more like LIE) something? Poor souls!

  9. careful MarketMan, you might be cited for sedition … hahahaha!
    what’s next? martial law for
    marcos must be laughing…
    we ended up with a wiser president!

  10. this is pathetic.. dining lavishly then denying the whole incident.. oh well, this is not the first time she denied any accusations on her..

  11. Elitist..communist…next time they’ll be calling you (and us your readers) a terrorist. Sad :(

  12. There is always a different version of an incident – what they said to suit their needs (cover up) and really happened. I believe we should amend our Constitution and borrow a page from China in prosecuting their corrupt public officials. We should set a tribunal – that will gather all fact findings including evidence and that tribunal should be an independent party outside the Philippines – the United Nation Judiciary Committee to avoid a merry go round kind of investigation. Once the tribunal finished all their work and concluded a corruption indeed occurred then that corrupt convicted person should be executed by lethal injection.

  13. Congratulations MarketMan, you have just been graced by our Chief-of-Trapo’s trapolings.

    FREDO is right, these scumbags literally lurk around the Net sniffing around for anything that remotely smacks of the political and/or seditious/says anything rotten about the current administration that pays their bills.

  14. well, with their history, who would believe them anyway:

    “GMA will practice self quarantine after her trip” LOLOLOLOL

    the truth is hard to fathom especially if you lurk in the shadows of what is simply right.

    Get over yourselves, paid hacks, we aren’t stupid over here

  15. a communist with a fish pan instead of a sickle :-)

    this is the reason why i miss genuine public affairs shows (at them moment i can only recall randy david’s public forum, debate with mare and pare- when it was still about issues, and maybe dong puno’s points of view- when dong puno still seemed decent), which discuss current and critical issues of the day. free tv has dedicated most of its programs to entertainment. even prime-time newscasts main focus is info-tainment. there isn’t much intelligent discussion on free tv to help the people make sense of what’s happening. just a lot of useless sound-bytes.

  16. :-)First an elitist, now a communist. That’s funny. $20,000.00 dinner, not funny.

  17. refer the reader to this month’s issue of Rogue- The Communist with the Copper fish pan!

    This refusal to apologize is even more upsetting – ELECTED PUBLIC SERVANTS people !!! , your employers are demanding an explanation and you choose to ignore it? Pwede ba iyan? It just drives me crazy how and what politicians get away with here.

  18. you know we’re in trouble as a nation when miriam santiago stands out as the voice of reason.

  19. Oh man, I read Jag’s comments on your previous post and I felt like I was in the Senate listening to, say, Chiz Escudero (You MM) and Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Jag) having a really nice argument.

    I don’t think that you are a communist, or you’ll ever be a communist. Lol.

    Anyway, we share the same sentiments about this $20,000.00 dinner. I mean, given that Tita Cory just died and given the “real” state of our country, they should have at least refrained from having dinner in such a posh and lavish restaurant like Le Cirque. I know to myself that even if I bust my butt working in a BPO for ages, I won’t be able to have even a glass of water in that kind of restaurant. I pay my tax religiously and it hurts my pocket to know that there are people in the government who spends money (I bet their pork barrel) on outrageously expensive restaurant, gas guzzler SUVs, foreign travels and some crazy expensive bags like LV.

    I know for a fact that some of the government officials are rich because of their ancestral wealth. However, just like what you have said, there’s a much higher standard set by the society for them since they are duly elected or appointed by whoever gave them whatever position they have in the government.

    I don’t understand why on earth they had to have dinner in that posh place called Le Cirque. The name itself has the word “expensive” written all over it. I can feel chills in the spine just by the thought of them eating an order of caviar that costs $1,500 and drinking a bottle of wine that costs around $500 per bottle just simply because they are celebrating a “personal occasion” wherein people here in Manila is just drinking Gran Matador which is roughly around P60 per bottle and having “tunaskyflakes” as their “pulutan”. I know that it’s outside the question as to how the “normal” people here in Manila spend their time celabrating a special occasion. What I am trying to say is that those government officials who had dinner at Le Cirque better had a great time because if I am gonna hear even a single person from that entourage who will say that the food is crappy, I will be hitting that person right smack in the face with my knuckles.

    And come on, who the hell in the right mind would treat out a group of 30 at that type of restaurant?! I bet, even Jaime Zobel de Ayala wouldn’t do that. Lol.

    Anyway, I salute you MarketMan! :D

  20. who in their right mind? someone who knows that the one they are treating has access to the supreme court. remember that alot of the marcos wealth is still in government hands. mura lang ang 20k

  21. The Arroyo gov’t is made up of people who can spit and lie in your face at the same time. You have more class than all of them combined, as they say in capampangan… Luid Ka, MarketMan!!!

  22. elite communist…communist elite…oxymoron!?!

    i don’t care what others say. i continually come here to read what you have to say about things including politics because i respect your opinion.

  23. So to cut the long story short–
    during PGMAs visit, the former president just passed away then after her meeting with Hillary she had this really expensive dinner celebration for “what” or “who” exactly?
    I’m curious! It seems like the dinner has a bigger purpose…
    just come to think of it those are really too big numbers to calculate.^ ^



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