In your face!

During the many debates on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), its proponents promised us that the country would be treated well by Japan with this pact. And that we will gain much in trade, aid and investments, among other things.


What is this P1.3 billion loss?

This clearly shows that the Philippines is not a favored nation in spite of the JPEPA as Tokyo cuts its aid to Manila next year.

Time to make those who voted for JPEPA accountable. Remember them on May 10, 2010.

Presidentiables and JPEPA

I was totally surprised that my post on October 9, 2008 on the Senate vote on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) would attract interest these past few days.

I noticed that this particular post “Only 4 voted ‘no’ on JPEPA” was getting many hits.

Well, in that story, I wrote Senator Noynoy Aquino “a new hero,” Senator Mar Roxas a “wimp,” and in the comments section, I added Senator Manny Villar being “more presidentiable” and Senator Chiz Escudero having “more major league balls.”

You too might want to revisit the story in the light of recent political developments.

Incidentally, it might interest you to know that surveys among so-called presidentiables between December 2007 and December 2008 revealed an interesing fact.

It showed that only two such “presidentiables” lost ground, while a number made more headway.

Who are these two, you might ask?

Believe it or not, the two Ilonggo senators – Miriam Defensor Santiago and Mar Roxas, the main proponents of JPEPA.

Mar has not recovered from this slide. I believe he was punished for his JPEPA stand.

Go check your stats.

Only 4 voted “no” on JPEPA

The Senate has finally ratified the free trade pact with Japan with 16-4 vote. From where I sit, this went down as the second surrender of the Philippines to Japan.

I am truly disappointed. However, the four who voted NO deserve my high regard and congratulations.

They are Senators Noynoy Aquino, Chiz Escudero, Jamby Madrigal, and Nene Pimentel. Remember these names for they are the new heroes like the Magnificent 12 who voted against the US bases in 1991.

The others I expected to vote against simply were no shows. Senator Joker Arroyo and Pia Cayetano, both vocal against crucial provisions in the pact, were absent or “conveniently absent.” Noisy oppositionist Senator Ping Lacson ironically voted yes. Another let down is Senator Kiko Pangilinan.

Senator Mar Roxas proved to be a wimp. He admitted that the treaty was lopsided and yet campaigned for it. He was more afraid of losing out to our neighbors which has similar trade agreement with Japan than its ill effects on our country and people. Roxas missed a golden opportunity to lead and shine. The victory of Japan has shown that Roxas is a mere follower, an ordinary soldier of Senate President Manny Villar, who together with Senator Miriam Santiago succeeded in mustering the required 16 collaborator votes.

Eight votes would have killed the treaty.

Civil society oppositors to the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) are now shifting the fight at the Supreme Court with a planned petition to be filed soon.

Me, I would rather start a “JPEPA Watch” to see if the so-called promises of this treaty – such as a flood of investment from Japan, more exports of Philippine agricultural products to Japan, more jobs for Philippine health workers in Japan, no toxic waste from Japan – would really come true.

If not, I would send an “in your face!” message to the 16 senators who voted for it. Yes, there are still many Filipinos who consider accountability as a serious matter.

7:19 a.m.

Wanted 8 votes

In the historic Senate vote on the US bases treaty, 12 senators voted for non-concurrence on September 16, 1991.

Once again, my hats off to the Magnificent 12 – Senators Jovito Salonga, Butz Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Tito Guingona, Sotero Laurel, Ernie Maceda, Orly Mercado, Nene Pimentel, Rene Saguisag, Bobby Tanada, and Victor Ziga.

Today, the country needs at least 8 senators to do the same to uphold our sovereignty and dignity and vote against JPEPA.

I’m pinning my hope on the following:

Senators Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Greg Honasan, Jamby Madrigal, Kiko Pangilinan, Nene Pimentel, and Antonio Trillanes.

I am so disappointed with Senator Mar Roxas. He can kiss his 2010 ambition goodbye!

In the Senate ratification of the country’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), we were regaled with the same arguments by its proponents – more trade, more investments, the country will not be isolated, there would be more jobs, poverty would be solved, etc.

Ha ha ha! Look what this globalization pact has done to the country during the past decade. It’s a disaster. If not for remittances by our overseas workers, the country would have been as worst as many African nations.

Advantages outweighs disadvantages? I beg to disagree. Why should we commit to a trade deal that will only perpetuate our misery?

7:21 a.m.

In your face!

Talk of doublespeak.

The Arroyo administration has just thrown out the window its austerity program. In proposing a P1.4 Trillion budget for next year, it has likewise renege on its promise to balance the budget.

Liar, liar, liar!

The current economic crisis is the convenient excuse of Malacanang to ask for a 15 percent increase in its budget in 2009. My suspicion is shared by many. The increase in the budget next year is meant – not to prop up the economy – but to fatten the war chest of the administration in the 2010 elections.

Oh, I can hear the trapos (traditional politicians) singing “the good times are here again!” ironically at a time when the number of poor families are rising.

The call of the government to tighten our belts and live simply in these times of difficulties is pure hogwash.

At the Senate, there is also a disturbing change of tune. Where before Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago was batting for a side agreement on the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Pact (JPEPA), now she is about to lead the second surrender of the Philippines to Japan. Her beef – hard to educate people who are afraid of the unknown. The feisty lady, staunch defender of the Constitution and candidate for the International Court of Justice, is giving up! This is harakiri!

In your face! Liar, liar, liar!

(Sorry I lost the URL for the proper attribution, and I am not lying)

(Sorry I lost the URL for the proper attribution, and I am not lying)

6:01 a.m.

Thumbs up for the Chief Justice

I clap my hands for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court even if his stand lost in this case regarding public disclosure on the controversial free trade agreement between Japan and the Philippines.

Thumbs up for him and three other justices for upholding the right to information which the majority rejected by 10-4-1 voting.

The decision simply sucks! It makes the acts of governors – not to reveal diplomatic negotiations – superior than the sovereign people’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

8:09 a.m.

Asean-Japan FTA

From my daily readings of on-line news, I am a bit surprised that none of our Senators who are about to ratify the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) ever talked about the recent signing of the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEPA).

The latter was signed last April 14 and is the third free trade agreement of the 10-nation bloc with its northern neighbors. The first two were with China and South Korea.

What are the implications of this multilateral agreement with that of our bilateral JPEPA. This to me is a very crucial consideration.

I believe that the Senate should not rush in acting on the JPEPA until after we study the pros and cons of AJCEPA.

This was one of the major premises that prompted the City Council to pass two Resolutions last Tuesday –  the first calling on the Senate to hold in abeyance its action on the JPEPA, and second, for the Executive Department to recall JPEPA from the Senate for further study and/or renegotiation in the light of AJCEPA.

Our other premises were anchored on the many opposition to the JPEPA, particularly the secrecy of its negotiation, unconstitutional provisions, unequal terms and adverse human and environmental impacts.

In my sponsorship speech, I also raised doubt about the proposal of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago for a “conditional concurrence” of the treaty.

A conditional ratification only proves that something is wrong with the trade pact. Why not then outrightly reject it or send it back for renegotiation?!!