Thinking Pinoy: 2 Friends discuss Candidate Platforms vs the Oligarchy

March 7, 2016

2 Friends discuss Candidate Platforms vs the Oligarchy



There is hope. We just have to make the right choices.




JC: I admit to living in a comfortable bubble out here. What I can say for certain is that ever since PNoy took over, "padding" contracts for government project biddings has significantly decreased, almost to the point of non-existence. And that has been good for local and foreign businesses.

 TP: Ano ibig sabihin ng padding contracts?

JC: Making the budget seem bigger than what is necessary. Dati kasi, they apart from the real costs, companies had to add figures here and there to accommodate the needs of the people they were dealing with in government

TP: That is true. However, has the PNoy administration promoted competition among large businesses? Have you read my thing about the miner crony?

JC: Not yet. I'm swamped with housewife stuff. Who knew being a homemaker could be so hectic?

TP: No one has effectively rebutted it so far and it's been published na sa Manila Times, 2 weeks na yata.

JC: You're trolling him. Kaloka ka.

TP: No not at all. I'll give u a brief summary. One of Roxas’s major campaign financiers is Eric Gutierrez, owner of SRMI, a mining company in Tubay, Agusan del Norte. SRMI does illegal stuff,as affirmed by Supreme Court. The SC case dragged on from 2006 to 2015, no action from PNoy at any point. And Erice (LP PR guy), is Eric's company president until 2010. Malacanang even gave him an award in January.

It's basically a given in every circle that Eric's company is corrupt and it kills lumads, etc, the works, yet LP is turning a blind eye. To make it worse, LP receives massive favors.
The point here is that while it seems LP is allowing small business to thrive, there still is a glass ceiling that prevents SMEs from becoming super-big because Big Game is reserved for the oligarchs.

Parang, “Ok heto ang bread crumbs, pero amin ang loaf.”

DEFINITION: Oligarch

A person who belongs to a small group of people who govern or control a country, business, etc.

In the case of the Philippines, we are referring to political dynasties (the Conjuangcos of Tarlac, the Roxases of Capiz, the Nograleses of Davao, etc), big-ticket businessmen (the Ayalas, the Sys, the Gokongweis, etc.).

JC: Ah I see

TP: Kasi nung nag issue si PNoy ng mining moratorium noong 2012 (Executive Order No. 79), apektado lahat ng future contracts pero lahat ng current contracts ay unaffected. Pero di ba nga ang problema ng mining advocates ay abuses ng current mining companies?
To make it worse, that EO will be repealed daw only if congress passes a law that redraws mining regulations. Pero the LP-dominated congress (200+ out of 282 congs are LP-aligned) have yet to hold a single hearing about it since 2012.

JC: This is definitely an issue that LP must answer for.

TP: And the best reply Roxas can come up with is "Eric is my friend, what's wrong with that?" Kako teh, “Wait lang, di enough ang explanation na yan!” Haggard.


JC: But this issue i think was only recently dredged up... because of the elections fever.

TP: The issue isn’t dead. It’s continuing ‘teh. Kasi ung illegal mining nila continues up to this day. By the way, there were 3 important people na against SRMI:
  1. The parish priest of Tubay Agusan - got charged with rape post 2010
  2. A lawyer/activist - got ran over by his own car.
  3. Tubay Mayor - was charged with misconduct, given hold departure order
Too serendipitous, don’t you think?

The point teh, is this… Eric is major campaign financer right now. Eric has a record. LP loves Eric. So I don’t think it's dredging up old issues. It is the real issue today.

JC: Not saying that it's not an important issue. What i meant is that everyone's digging up dirt on everyone else at this point.

TP: That is true. very true. And i like it. Ganon talaga kahit sa anong kompanya, the last part ng vetting process ay background check.

JC: But if it's fact-based dirt, go ahead. Hay... parang tinatamad na tuloy akong bumoto

TP: So bwelta ang LP, si Duterte daw may miner friend din (Alsons Consolidated) pero may difference. Pero much of Alsons Consolidated is renewable energy (hydroelectric and solar). Its mining arm is still in the exploratory stage so wala pang violations.

JC: Hmmm, ‘pag kay Duts may difference in a positive light ka lagi.

TP: Yeah, convenient truths, pero it's consistent. We all know the Duterte campaign is fucking broke. On the other hand, Mar even offered Manny Pacquiao 400mil to jump ship from UNA to LP.

JC: Well, I'm not under the delusion that all LP people are clean. Not voting straight naman.

TP: Yeah me either. I’ll vote for Walden Bello and Risa Hontiveros. Oh, and did I mention that Roxas holds Php 120 million worth of mining stocks per 2012 SALN?

JC: Yeah. I read that part.

TP: So I feel that Mar wants power to bring back the Roxas last name back into the spotlight. However, out of desperation (he's a hard sell), he doesn’t care about the wrongs that he does just to get what he wants. He may not have intentions RE: monetary gain, but the net damage is just the same.

JC: Hay... nasa-sad ako sa yo... must you demonize him? Objectively speaking...

TP: Listen. Ang interesting kasi dito, post-EDSA, wala pang outsider na naging president. First is Cory (Cojuangco Dynasty) then Ramos (an EDSA guy, lakas) then Erap (an outsider but quickly removed) then Gloria (LAKAS) then PNoy (Cojuangco Dynasty). Everyone is from the same clique basically.




So basically, what I see in a Roxas presidency is this:

Best case scenario is he may be trying his best to give the Filipinos everything they deserve, as long as it doesn’t trample on the oligarchy. Kaya lang, di ako contented doon. I am not demonizing him. I am just not-okay with his chosen compromise. Gets?

JC: Ay sorry... unfair use of words... ngayon pa lang nag-kick in ang kape...

TP: My point is Roxas is not a strong leader who is capable of steering peoples' wills, especially those people whose wills actually matter. This economy's trajectory is in line with the one the USA took decades ago.   Just look at the US now, how oligarchs (big banks, big oil) screw the regular american (15% capital gains tax versus 40+% income tax), i.e. Occupy Wall Street.

LP's ideology is the same: Trickle-Down Economics.

Even the pope agrees with me na Trickle down economics doesn’t work. Scandinavia veered away from trickle down econ a couple or so decades after WW2. Their citizens ended happier.

Basically, teh, from what I know:
  1. Before PNOY, kunwari, meron tayong 8-slice pizza.
  2. 5 slices reserved sa oligarchs
  3. 2 slices reserved sa political allies na commoners.
  4. 1 slice for regular pinoy.
  5. Pagdating ni PNOY, based sa no contract padding na premise, tinanggal ang Step 3. So free for all na ang 3 slices, pero the fact remains that the oligarchs get 5.
  6. Post PNOY(i.e. Mar Presidency), I cannot envision how Roxas will kill Step 1 when his campaign financiers are in 1. Add the fact that he actively protects his financers.

JC: Okay I am listening.

TP: just to give u an idea of how big Eric/SRMI is… sources imply their annual revenue is at least P 3 billion pero they pay less than 1/2 billion. That's at least 2.5 billion annually since 2006.  Just imagine how easy it is for them to spend 1 year’s revenue out of 10 to ensure business continuity. 2 billion is enough for a top-tier presidential campaign.

JC: Pwede, as far as your envisioning is concerned.

TP: So i was thinking. One of Poe's main contributors is Danding Cojuangco and San Miguel Corp. Tapos sabi ni Poe, di ko sila bibigyan ng favors kahit ganon kalaki gastusin nila (Poe's planes are SMC-owned, Danding is head of NPC Party which supports Poe).
Kaya lang, has it not occurred to her that all Danding needs is for her to sit? Danding the oligarch doesnt need to steer poe. Poe will inadvertently make things easier for him. (natandaan ko tuloy ang Danding and Coco Levy. Putanginang gago yan)
Kaya sabi ko nga na nagma-Manchurian candidate sila (not LP but the oligarchy-at-large).


DEFINITION: Manchurian Candidate

A person that has unknowingly been convinced to act toward some interest.

In this case, Poe is weak enough to be neutralized by the powers-that-be. This is due to her massive inexperience and lack of political machinery. For example, Poe wants to push for FoI but it will not happen because the LP-dominated congress can easily thwart her attempt. Moreover, her prospective FOI EO will not supercede existing Republic Acts, because RAs trump EOs by default.




JC: I see where you're going with this. Both Roxas and Poe are probably beholden to the oligarchs, so their possible decisions as president will highly favor the people they're beholden to.

TP: Yes but not exactly. Roxas's decisions will slightly favor the oligarchs. Oligarchs don’t need a lot of favors, all they need is to keep the status quo. Meanwhile, Poe's decisions will not touch the oligarchs as she does not have the political machinery to push for radical change, making her the second-best option. So from an oligarch's POV, Mar is Plan A, Poe is Plan B.




JC: But what about Duterte?

TP: Duts - we know he's broke. He expressly declined a 1 bilion PHP offer na allegedly from MVP. He declines all contributions from government contractors. I guess MVP did that because he hates LP's guts kasi the Roxas derailed Metro Pacific's 2010 MRT takeover bid, among other issues.

JC: The assumption here is that satisfying the oligarchs is a no-no in governance. Won't pissing them off too much be also dangerous? Not just in the context of the elections, but in the long term ha...

TP: I think Duterte is already paying the price right now. Just look at how scantily-covered his sorties are. That's why right now, I am watching it with so much gusto. It’s fascinating how things are playing out so far.

JC: And opposition?

TP: If Duterte loses, fine, status quo lang naman ang babagsakan. If he wins, then things will get VERY interesting. He will encounter opposition, more so than any other candidate. But if he loses his fight against the oligarchs, we are left with the status quo. If he wins, then things may get better for the regular Pinoy.

JC: I still think that we need the oligarchs to keep the economy going. It's a question of which oligarchs we will be willing to compromise with.



TP: There’s an answer… Loosening foreign ownership restrictions.





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