Archive for January, 2012

So let me reiterate what Article 2 contains since it is still the same article that the Senate is still tackling until now.


« Respondent failed to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required by the Constitution.

« Some of the properties of Respondent are not included in his declaration of his assets, liabilities, and net worth, in violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

« Respondent is suspected of having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits (among others, a 300-sq. meter apartment in the Fort in Taguig).

Day 8 and Day 9 of the Impeachment Trial

In the previous trial, the Impeachment emphasized that they have only approved the promulgation of Article 2 to allow Prosecution to produce evidence on said article but should be limited to the first three, they disallowed number 4 which deals with the supposedly ill-gotten wealth of CJ Corona.  Yesterday, the Chair of the Impeachment court also allowed the Prosecution to change the sequence of the Articles of Impeachment (which I have previously linked here in my earlier blogs on the trial).  Article 2 is first on the list and subsequently Articles 3,7,1,8,4,5, and 6.

Yesterday, Megaworld Corporation’s Finance Director Giovanni Ng also testified on the alleged properties  of CJ Corona, The  Bellagio condominium unit of about 303.5 sq. meters for a total of P14.5M and the McKinley Hill property in the name of Ma. Czarina Corona (daughter  of Corona),  203 sq. meter property  for a total amount of P6.1M.  Allegedly, Corona bought it for his daughter.

The first and only witness for today was Megaworld’s Senior Vice-President Noli Hernandez who was directly examined by Private Prosecutor Atty. Joseph Joemer Perez.  He testified that Unit 38-B, a penthouse unit at the prestigious Bellagio was bought by Corona for P14.5M  around September 2008. He further said that the original cost is around 78K to 80K per square meter, multiply that by 303.5M and you’ll come up with roughly P24M. He also testified that the unit is the last one being sold, semi-bared and has sustained water damage. They have repackaged it to P19.6M and was  later adjusted to P14.5M which was the price finally sold to Corona and was paid in less than a year, that was roughly a 15% discount from the original price. It was the “uncommon circumstances”  that prompted Megaworld to  sell it at a lower price because of “force majeure” which in this case was typhoon.

Enrile asked, “Is it the practice for Megaworld to sell damaged unit?”  I was wondering myself if it was insured and Hernandez said that yes, the building was “normally insured”. He was asked to give detailed description of the defects but he said that it has more “economic sense” to them to sell it  as it was, damage and all, than to have it repaired before disposing said property.  Something seems really fishy here. In my simple understanding of the trial, if it was covered by insurance in the first place, were they not able to get anything from the insurance company? Why sell it a loss of roughly P10M just to recover their cost? Would it take that much for a unit, semi-bared, rain-damaged and all to have it repaired?  And he said further they did not sell it at a loss. Oh well,  let us recall how the senators reacted and questioned the witness Noli Hernandez:

Sen. Pia Cayetano – she asked what was the connection of the Article 2 in all those hullabaloo about the unit being sold at P14.5M. n She said they have wasted so much time on it.

Sen. Bongbong Marcos  manifested that he cannot make any connection between the Megaworld testimony and the Article 2 allegation. He said that he is not a lawyer but Senate President Enrile clarified that the actual price was not stated in Corona’s SALN.  Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of the Prosecution argued that there was a reduction in the price as stated in the SALN and the discount of P5.0M actually represents an improvement in the property.

Sen. Franklin Drilon reiterated what Article 2 was all about. It is not the act of filing itself but the filing of an accurate and truthful facts in the SALN. There must be a complete and timely disclosure of the assets.

-Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano asked Hernandez if there was a pending case of Megaworld when the transaction was made. Would they have offered the same price to any buyer?

-Sen. Jinggoy Estrada – he may seem funny at times but there are instances that I can’t make sense of what he wants to convey. At this point Hernandez said that discounts given are on a case-to-case basis, so it might probably depend also on who is the intended buyer of the property.

Sen. Serge Osmena asked for the price list of the condominium units (six in  all) and asked Hernandez if they filed any insurance claim.  What is a huge loss and a minimal loss? What does semi-bared mean?

Sen. Ralph Recto stated that the acquisition cost in the SALN should have been higher than P6.8M. He suggested changes in the procedure for the impeachment trial.

Sen. Kiko  Pangilinan asked Hernandez to submit a report on the damage.He asked for the Engineer’s Report on the damage of said unit sold and the former said that it is their Operations Dept. who is in charge of it.  Sen. Enrile said that they would prepare a subpoena for these to be submitted tomorrow.

Sen. Chiz Escudero– hindi binenta ng palugi. They did not sell it at a loss.

Sen. Manny Villar explained that there are really circumstances governing “special prices” for real estate properties.  He even cited that last December, one developer was willing to sell at a 40% discount but did not disclose the name. He is a real estate developer himself so he knows the ins and outs of the business.

Hernandez identified two cases in the Supreme Court by which they lost, thus making it appear that there was really no favor obtained from the Supreme Court to win their case.

“For the record, we wish to state that in all our business dealings with Chief Justice Corona, the company has neither solicited nor obtained any favor either from the Chief Justice or from the court,” Megaworld said.

“As a company, we shall uphold the highest standard of ethical business practices,” it further added.

As  I have said in my previous blogs, the trial is taking so long and for the “common tao” they might interpret that they are wasting people’s tax money. They were able to present just one witness today because of the manifestations of the senators. The trial was adjourned at 5pm.

And I agree with Sen. Osmena that Hernandez sounded more like a witness of the Defense than of the Prosecution. The Prosecution did not brief him enough on how they would conduct the direct examination of the witness. Sen. Enrile made a “gentle request” from the Prosecution to confer with the witness first before putting him on the witness stand. Do your assignments people, time might come when you can’t even prove what you are impeaching him for.

The Filipino people wants to know the truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God.


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Gosh, for the last few days, I’ve been remiss with posting honest to goodness blogs! All I’ve done was post several pictures  with not much of  words. And I miss writing my thoughts and sharing them here. Things haven’t been well lately at the home front . Sometimes, a lot of things happen which is beyond one’s control and you grasp at the last straw of sanity to get back to normal. A friend would probably laugh and ask, “what is normal?” Never mind, I really hope I could organize my thoughts the way I used to, and string them into words. I need inspiration to blog again.

Will be back soon, I promise!

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Do you remember your own high school and college days? Those days of new discoveries – having your first crush, falling in love (or you thought you did), meeting lots of friends, having a crush on one of your professors, aspiring to be a poet (because you want to remember everything  about your first love)  – you name it, perhaps those days are a little obscured now but they are not forgotten.  They simply fade in one’s memory and when you think of them, you smile and reminisce.

I remember the days when my classmates and I used to squat on these  same fields  while eating mani and kornik  laced with chili oil. Back in our time, this  cobbled walk way was simply cemented  and the century old trees had concrete benches underneath.

Ah, the familiar landmark and statue of Fr. Miguel de Benavidez,  OP the founder of the University. It’s the first thing that will greet you on your way to the UST Main building.  This bronze statue “rises on top of a granite pedestal flanked by four lions each bearing the coats-of-arms of the Philippines, Spain, Holy See, and the Dominican Order. He dons the rugged habit of the pioneer Dominican missionaries. His right hand is elevated in the preaching fashion, his index finger pointing to heavens. His left hand rests on his chest holding a book bearing the words Santo Evangélico on its cover. A skull-cap covers his head, and a pectoral cross hangs from his neck, the symbols of Episcopal dignity.”

I miss this place. I spent nine years of my life here, from the tender young age of 12 to a young lady of 21 when I left its doors.

And every chance I get, I take pictures of the place,  remembering those days – campus life – it seems so long ago but it is still achingly familiar.

The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines, in short, we, alumni and students alike, fondly call it it USTe.

Today, we are celebrating the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Patron Saint of UST. The university was named after him. And it’s the beginning of the neo-centennial year of UST.

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REJOICE fellow Filipinos and be proud of our country. Puerto Princesa Underground  River is now officially confirmed as one of the new seven wonders of nature.

Palawan is one of the best places to visit  where you really can enjoy the pristine beauty of nature. Puerto Princesa City is the capital of Palawan. Add to  these are the beautiful  islands of Coron, El Nido, Amanpolo, Busuanga. Such  lovely  places, all within one’s reach. What more could you ask for?

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I was buying pan de sal this morning at our village bakery when someone remarked, “ang bagal ng trial” (the trial is so slow). I smiled and asked her, “do you watch it everyday”? She said, it is eating a lot of her afternoons but she is curious how it would end. Then she volunteered her own two cents, “if he is not guilty, why not allow the Prosecution to present those evidences they have gathered, if he is not guilty and he is not hiding anything, then by all means show the people that he is not corrupt, that his conscience is clean”. 

For the man on the street, that’s how simple it would be, but the only way to evict a  Supreme Court justice is to have him impeached, right? And there is a process, rules of law that should be followed. “If I were him”, she said further, “I’ll save my face and just resign”.   My own sentiments, exactly.  They’ve been at it for the last seven days but every day, time is wasted on rhetorics. There is a continuing objection on Chief Justice Corona’s lawyers on the presentation of evidence that is meant to prove that there is an ill-gotten wealth.

BIR Commissioner  Kim Henares  was able to testify on the Income Tax Returns submitted by  the Coronas to the BIR, that one of his kids just earned a very minimal sum last 2009 and yet was able to buy a property worth 18M. For the common tao or observers like me, I would ask, “where did it all come from?”  I was reading Randy David’s byline on the Philippine Inquirer and I quote;

“When a high government official like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court files his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, as required by law, is he not expected, like all government employees, to be truthful in his declaration? Does the mere act of filing satisfy the law? Is it irrelevant to inquire into the veracity of the statement?

It is absurd to think that the House prosecutors were charging Corona with simple failure to file his SALN.. No matter how poorly phrased the formal charges may be, it is obvious to anyone who cares to see that Corona is being charged not so much with failure to file is SALN, but with concealing the true extent and value of his assets.

Well said, Sir and this has been what they were arguing about the past three days, delaying the trial and wasting people’s money.  And if the Impeachment Court expects  the audience watching the trial to behave, at least those judges who think that they are above everyone else should also observe tact and proper behaviour and not just flaunt to everyone  that one is smarter and intelligent than the rest.

In the eyes of every Filipino, he has been judged, is he still fit to stay in the highest court of the land?

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It’s a lovely morning for a swim but don’t you think it’s cold with all that fog around?  Thanks Lilet for sharing, I am really hoping to visit this place one of these days.

The great Albay adventure….

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When you say:
Can’t you do that for once?
you might actually mean:
– I am tired of your irresponsibility
– I resent telling you things
– I don’t like myself for having to remind you.

When you say:
You don’t really care that much, do you?
you might actually mean:
– it hurts that you care so little
– please care more!
– it hurts me that we communicate like strangers
– I am waiting for you to woo me again
   to love me,
   for me to be special to you.

Whey you say:
I am so tired of life!
you might actually mean:
– our life has lost its real intensity
– please do something!
– we have become what we did not want to become
– I don’t want to try to convince you any more
   that our life centres too much around working,
   eating and TV.

When you say:
I can’t stand you when you’re like that!
you might actually mean:
– I feel threatened by you
– can’t you see that I lack all self-respect
   and all sense of self-worth
– I just don’t know how to answer you
– I don’t like myself when you bring the worst
   out in me
– please don’t play that role
   because I can see right through it.

When you say:
You always/never do that!
you might actually mean:
– I am frustrated that neither of us
   can really listen to the other
– your coolness bothers me
– please react
   I am as aggressive as I can be
– I feel ignored and want to communicate with you.

I know that we use words to hide, to hit, to run away:
words are smoke-screens and security-builders;
words are bait to be swallowed
   by the unsuspecting;
words are arm-twisters and weakening agents;
words are shots, barbs and hooks;
words are mirrors of the soul;
words are cries for help;
words are words and so much more.

Because I want to know you,
and to communicate with you,
I will be open to what lies beyond your words.

– lifted from the book A Growing Love (Meditations
on Marriage and Commitment) by Ulrich Schaffer

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Snake Island, Honda Bay, Palawan

You can enjoy life in simple things. Feel the quiet and listen to the silence.

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I’d like to think that Adobo is an authentic Filipino dish and there are so many ways to cook adobo as there so many recipes for chicken and pork. You could try chicken-pork adobo, chicken adobo,  pork adobo, chicken adobo mixed with chicken liver and gizzards or adobo with coco cream. Basically, the ingredients are the same but the taste depends on the one cooking it.

And the good thing about this Filipino cuisine is the longer you keep it in the ref, the more it absorb the sauce and the more it taste better. Since  the main ingredients consist of vinegar and soy sauce, it will keep for long. Unlike other adobo recipes, mine is dried with so little sauce and lots of garlic.  I don’t measure the ingredients as usual and I sauté it first in garlic then add the mixture of  vinegar , soy sauce  peppercorn then let it simmer without mixing it until the vinegar is cooked so it won’t have that sour taste, add a bit of sugar last to balance the taste.  You can do away with using laurel leaves, fry more garlic instead sautéing  and set aside some for garnish. One thing that makes the taste unique however is, I added a pinch of Garam Masala in this dish.

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In one of our many road trips more than two years ago, we discovered an exciting place teeming with murals  of one of our National Artists, Carlos V. Francisco popularly known as Botong Francisco. And here I thought, Balaw Balaw Restaurant And Food Gallery was enough for me but in a place where so many artists abound, you’ll be glad to discover something more. Botong Francisco,  was the second Filipino artist to receive the title National Artist in Painting after Fernando Amorsolo. He is well-known in the art of mural painting.

Dona Aurora St.  in one such place ,  the whole stretch of the street is literally teeming with Botong Francisco’s artworks. The sun was too hot on our backs so Nissa and I had to take some quick shots of the place. I even saw maestro Lucio San Pedro’s lyrics and notes of his composition, Sa Ugoy ng Duyan but I was not able to record it in my camera.


Bayanihan, which loosely translated in English means helping each other is a typical Filipino trait that is still being practiced until now especially in the province where you only need to invite neighbors and relatives to help you with a particular work or task and they do.

Kaingin – 1945

Magpupukot -1957

Magpupukot means pulling in the net. The above picture is the actual painting where the mural was probably copied. Painting the lives of the fishing community was one of Botong’s favourite subjects. Angono, his hometown where he was based, was a fishing village.

Pista Sa Nayon – 1947

Pista, taken from the Spanish word fiesta (festival or feast) depicts revelry and thanksgiving. We celebrate many fiestas here in the Philippines. Such popular devotions and festivals are the Sinulog in Cebu, the Ati-Atihan in Aklan, and the Pahiyas in Lucban, Quezon to name a few. Philippine fiesta has its roots during the pre-colonial period.

If you have the chance to visit Angono, visit Aurora St. and you’ll surely be surprised by the richness of murals painted in almost every wall of the houses there.

And it’s more fun in the Philippines.

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