Casualties from making a choice for President
By ROGER C. SORIA
“…one who should aspire for
such national posts should be one with integrity, performance, excellent
academic background, knowledge and experience in policy-making, and good
leadership qualities, they are violating the Philippine Constitution”.
Nothing in the Philippine Constitution of 1987,
or in previous Constitutions, preclude a member of the elite class of our
society or the poorest of the poor from trying one’s lick in any of the
national positions contestable in an election. Just anybody who meets the
prescribed Constitutional requirements can run for Senator, Vice-President,
or President of the Republic of the Philippines. There is no
educational prequalification, neither prior experience nor education, not
When the elite and the
intellectual who pretend to belong to the elite (which is a psychotic
aspiration by everyone who goes to a class – read “high-tuition
fee-demanding” – high school or college, to be considered as a member of the
“in” crowd or part of the “high class society”) argue that one who should
aspire for such national posts should be one with integrity,
performance, excellent academic background, knowledge and experience
in policy-making, and good leadership qualities, they are
violating the Philippine Constitution. They insinuate that such are the
qualifications (criteria) by which any Filipino national aspirant could be
judged as eligible for candidacy. That is a constitutional crime, and those
committing it are therefore criminals against the State and the Filipino
I have not been formally
enrolled in the College of Law, although I intend to as it is my personal
dream to become a lawyer myself – and I mean lawyers who can educate the
masses to interpret the law as it is expressed, but never by how it may be
interpreted, because interpretation of any law (ordinance, statute, or law)
is unlike any newspaper or television or radio editorial (which is the
media’s bias). However, I read laws, in legal books, in citations made by
the local judicial courts and the Supreme Court (like those appearing in the
Supreme Court Reports Annotated or SCRA and digests made on decisions hand
down by the Highest Tribunal, or even the law on elections that are followed
by the Commission on Elections.
From my readings enriched
by explanations and discussions, even in drinking sprees, with some friendly
lawyers and those studying law in college, I draw my learnings of the
Philippine laws including the Constitutional Law which covers all the
Philippine Constitutions. Mind you, I have even cared to read the American
Constitution. But I am more knowledgeable of our own Charter, including the
Local Government Code of 1991 which was fathered by Senator Aquilino
Pimentel, Jr. Thus, I can argue, from the legal viewpoint, and in fact, I
can advise barangay officials and teachers what they should do according to
law. That makes me more qualified and credible than any
elementary school teacher or barangay official who has not even mastered a
single legal provision, even the provision on the qualifications required
for one to become a President.
In this country where most
of the electors (those eligible to vote) come from the peasant sector-
farmers who produce the food which the rich or the elite also eat of which
more than 60 percent have barely gone through grade six, or if they had been
to high school they ended up simply as drop-outs because of acute poverty-
only someone popular to them and close to their heart in many ways for
decades or simply a sufficient period of time should deserve their vote.
But against proposition is
the contradiction of the poor class - the elite whose enormous wealth is
power wielded though politics and governance. The money of the elite and the
bourgeois can sway votes in favor of the elite class’ choice and against the
poor man’s candidate. It is the elite that ruins the destiny of the poor.
It is the elite that castigates the uneducated. It is the elite that keeps
the poor always poor, and exploits the poor for the aggrandizement of the
In a glaring situation, by
example, the ruling elite class waving the argument that it knows better by
its access to power and resources so that therefore it must be the one to
decide on how houses of the poor or the homeless should be built and what
particular food should they eat, what clothing should they wear and how they
should wear it, where to go, and what to become, gives what the poor does
not actually need according to their means and capability.
On the contrary, the poor
working class, since first seeing the light – and soon realizing that the
world in which they are supposed to enjoy the freedom to dream and decide
for their own dream is constricted, and restricted, after all. When the
poor innocently or ignorantly infracts the regulations and standards set by
the elite, by which some regulations and standards the elite are exempted,
the poor goes to jail, or is branded as thief or now a terrorist. What a
sad plight for the poor! God have pity on them!
In a dream that is the
poor’s own to choose their own candidate for President, the elite make it a
nightmare, and, like a paranoid, exaggerate that dream like the effects of
AIDS or SARS.
At this time when the poor
– 2 million of them nationwide, and still increasing! – are identifying
themselves with Philippine Action King Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ, Ang Panday) as
their choice for President, the elite accuse them of being fools and ones
who want to create havoc to the country’s economy. Whose economy? The elite
class’ economy not the poor class’ economy.
Yes, they are two different
things, which, by the way, are never taught properly in elementary,
secondary and tertiary schools in the Philippines which are run under a
system devised to serve the ends of the elite. A poor class’ economy is
defined in simple terms, by the poor, but that definition is rejected by the
elite. For instance, it means giving the poor a regular employment with a
high pay, but the elite insists the poor could only be given a “casual”
item, therefore, the elite class’ economy prevailing because anyway it is
the elite class that rules (don’t you notice, only the rich can hold
provincial chiefs’ positions? or pass pre-qualifying examinations for vacant
positions, which are actually reserved by the elite for their fellow elite
This is the reason why
quite every two or three months, many poor men and women hired as “casual
laborers”, or under contract or job-order, become CASUALTIES. They
become CASUAL TIES OF THE ELITE CLASS ECONOMY.
When will the elite, and
the social climbers, or pretenders be genuinely poor-people-oriented?
Righteous Leadership for
By MARVIN G. AÑONUEVO
you think the real reason why we have problems in the government? Is it
because of corrupt officials? Is it because of those officials who don’t
have knowledge on leadership? Or is it because of the political system we
have in the government? And if those were the reasons, what do you think the
possible solutions to the pressing problems we’re facing today?
give a lot of reasons regarding those questions, but have we ever realized
that the problems we have in the government are “spiritual in nature”? And
if it is spiritual in nature, the only best solution is also spiritual in
nature? We are confronted with so many solutions to the pressing problems
we’re facing today. But look, this is a question of the character of leaders
we have in the government today. Do we have righteous leaders to guide us in
our national journey; a national character for global competition and
What we need is righteous leaders who can lead our country righteously for
good governance. But the question is, is there such as righteous leadership?
The answer is definitely yes, but this kind of leadership must be based on
In Theology, Righteous
Leadership – is an ethical function that conforms to the standard of God
that empowers the creative sources of all people at all levels, which
enables them to internalize the vision and make them participate in
broadening the vision in order to attain its desired goal.
Firstly, with this
definition, we can now judge righteously that the person to be chosen to be
a public official is the one who conforms to the standard of God. A person
whose God is the LORD and fears God. The solution to our root problem starts
from a spiritual transformation of our society, an authentic turning to God
and a commitment to adhere to morals established by God, beginning with a
transformation of our people’s values.
Choosing a leader must not be
based on money but on his personality. Political problems in the country
such as graft and corruption, inability of governance to deliver basic
services, widespread decline in moral values of public officials and
continued patronage on money politics, are the results of man’s
unrighteousness. This is but symptoms of our national malaise and that the
root cause lies in our mediocrity and apathy to righteousness.
Secondly, we need a leader
that has a righteous influence. It is about influencing others in a
worthwhile cause and enables the people to internalize the vision and make
them participate in order to attain its desired goal.
Lastly, we need a leader who
has a righteous vision. A proverb says, “Where there is no vision, the
people perish.” (Prov. 29:18). People drift into a pointless, meaningless
and listless existence if there is no captivating vision. His vision or
purpose of leadership must not be based on money, power or name, but his
willingness to serve the people. True leadership is developed and sustained
by the leader’s vision.
Now, 2004 synchronized election is now approaching, and we’ll once again
elect candidates who’ll become our leaders. We’re sure many of our friends
are planning to run in any position they desired. So we’ll once again hear
flowering words of promises from them just to convince us that they are
worthy of our sacred votes. But bear in mind, it will be again a great
disaster for us if we‘ll elect a person to be in any position in the
government who do not posses the characteristics of a righteous leader.
The decision is in our hands. Let us be responsible and be intelligent in
putting a leader in the government. What we need are righteous leaders for
comment and reaction to e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Money Laundering in a
First published by United Press
By SAM VAKNIN, Ph.D.
Israel has always turned a blind eye to the origin of funds deposited by
Jews from South Africa to Russia. In Britain it is perfectly legal to hide
the true ownership of a company. Underpaid Asian bank clerks on immigrant
work permits in the Gulf states rarely require identity documents from the
mysterious and well-connected owners of multi-million dollar deposits. Hawaladars continue plying their paperless and trust-based trade - the
transfer of billions of US dollars around the world. American and Swiss
banks collaborate with dubious correspondent banks in off shore centres.
Multinationals shift money through tax free territories in what is
euphemistically known as "tax planning". Internet gambling
outfits and casinos serve as fronts for narco-dollars. British Bureaux de
Change launder up to 2.6 billion British pounds annually. The 500 Euro note
will make it much easier to smuggle cash out of Europe. A French
parliamentary committee accuses the City of London of being a money
laundering haven in a 400 page report. Intelligence services cover the
tracks of covert operations by opening accounts in obscure tax havens, from
Cyprus to Nauru. Money laundering, its venues and techniques, are an
integral part of the economic fabric of the world. Business as usual?
Not really. In retrospect, as far as money laundering
goes, September 11 may be perceived as a watershed as important as the
precipitous collapse of communism in 1989. Both events have forever altered
the patterns of the global flows of illicit capital.
What is Money Laundering?
Strictly speaking, money laundering is the age-old
process of disguising the illegal origin and criminal nature of funds
(obtained in sanctions-busting arms sales, smuggling, trafficking in humans,
organized crime, drug trafficking, prostitution rings, embezzlement, insider
trading, bribery, and computer fraud) by moving them untraceably and
investing them in legitimate businesses, securities, or bank deposits. But
this narrow definition masks the fact that the bulk of money laundered is
the result of tax evasion, tax avoidance, and outright tax fraud, such as
the "VAT carousel scheme" in the EU (moving goods among businesses in
various jurisdictions to capitalize on differences in VAT rates).
Tax-related laundering nets between 10-20 billion US dollars annually from
France and Russia alone. The confluence of criminal and tax averse funds in
money laundering networks serves to obscure the sources of both.
The Scale of the Problem
According to a 1996 IMF estimate, money laundered
annually amounts to 2-5% of world GDP (between 800 billion and 2 trillion US
dollars in today's terms). The lower figure is considerably larger than an
average European economy, such as Spain's.
It is important to realize that money laundering takes
place within the banking system. Big amounts of cash are spread among
numerous accounts (sometimes in free economic zones, financial off shore
centers, and tax havens), converted to bearer financial instruments (money
orders, bonds), or placed with trusts and charities. The money is then
transferred to other locations, sometimes as bogus payments for "goods and
services" against fake or inflated invoices issued by holding companies
owned by lawyers or accountants on behalf of unnamed beneficiaries. The
transferred funds are re-assembled in their destination and often "shipped"
back to the point of origin under a new identity. The laundered funds are
then invested in the legitimate economy. It is a simple procedure - yet an
effective one. It results in either no paper trail - or too much of it. The
accounts are invariably liquidated and all traces erased.
Why is it a Problem?
Criminal and tax evading funds are idle and
non-productive. Their injection, however surreptitiously, into the economy
transforms them into a productive (and cheap) source of capital. Why is this
Because it corrupts government officials, banks and
their officers, contaminates legal sectors of the economy, crowds out
legitimate and foreign capital, makes money supply unpredictable and
uncontrollable, and increases cross-border capital movements, thereby
enhancing the volatility of exchange rates.
A multilateral, co-ordinated, effort (exchange of
information, uniform laws, extra-territorial legal powers) is required to
counter the international dimensions of money laundering. Many countries opt
in because money laundering has also become a domestic political and
economic concern. The United Nations, the Bank for International
Settlements, the OECD's FATF, the EU, the Council of Europe, the
Organisation of American States, all published anti-money laundering
standards. Regional groupings were formed (or are being established) in the
Caribbean, Asia, Europe, southern Africa, western Africa, and Latin America.
Money Laundering in the Wake of the September 11 Attacks
The least important trend is the tightening of financial
regulations and the establishment or enhancement of compulsory (as opposed
to industry or voluntary) regulatory and enforcement agencies.
New legislation in the US which amounts to extending
the powers of the CIA domestically and of the DOJ extra-territorially, was
rather xenophobically described by a DOJ official, Michael Chertoff, as
intended to "make sure the American banking system does not become a haven
for foreign corrupt leaders or other kinds of foreign organized criminals."
Privacy and bank secrecy laws have been watered down. Collaboration with off
shore "shell" banks has been banned. Business with clients of correspondent
banks was curtailed. Banks were effectively transformed into law enforcement
agencies, responsible to verify both the identities of their (foreign)
clients and the source and origin of their funds. Cash transactions were
partly criminalized. And the securities and currency trading industry,
insurance companies, and money transfer services are subjected to growing
scrutiny as a conduit for "dirty cash".
Still, such legislation is highly ineffective. The
American Bankers' Association puts the cost of compliance with the laxer
anti-money-laundering laws in force in 1998 at 10 billion US dollars - or
more than 10 million US dollars per obtained conviction. Even when the
system does work, critical alerts drown in the torrent of reports mandated
by the regulations. One bank actually reported a suspicious transaction in
the account of one of the September 11 hijackers - only to be ignored.
The Treasury Department established Operation Green
Quest, an investigative team charged with monitoring charities, NGO's,
credit card fraud, cash smuggling, counterfeiting, and the Hawala networks.
This is not without precedent. Previous teams tackled drug money, the
biggest money laundering venue ever, BCCI (Bank of Credit and Commerce
International), and ... Al Capone. The more veteran, New-York based,
El-Dorado anti money laundering Task Force (established in 1992) will lend a
hand and share information.
More than 150 countries promised to co-operate with the
US in its fight against the financing of terrorism - 81 of which (including
the Bahamas, Argentina, Kuwait, Indonesia, Pakistan, Switzerland, and the EU)
actually froze assets of suspicious individuals, suspected charities, and
dubious firms, or passed new anti money laundering laws and stricter
regulations (the Philippines, the UK, Germany). A tabled EU directive would
force lawyers to disclose incriminating information about their clients'
money laundering activities. Pakistan initiated a "loyalty scheme", awarding
expatriates who prefer official bank
channels to the much maligned (but cheaper and more efficient) Hawala, with
extra baggage allowance and special treatment in airports.
The magnitude of this international collaboration is
unprecedented. But this burst of solidarity may yet fade. China, for
instance, refuses to chime in. As a result, the statement issued by APEC
last week on measures to stem the finances of terrorism was lukewarm at
best. And, protestations of close collaboration to the contrary, Saudi
Arabia has done nothing to combat money laundering "Islamic charities" (of
which it is proud) on its territory.
Still, a universal code is emerging, based on the work
of the OECD's FATF (Financial Action Task Force) since 1989 (its famous "40
recommendations") and on the relevant UN conventions. All countries are
expected by the West, on pain of possible sanctions, to adopt a uniform
legal platform (including reporting on suspicious transactions and freezing
assets) and to apply it to all types of financial intermediaries, not only
to banks. This is likely to result in ...
The decline of off shore financial centres and tax
By far the most important outcome of this new-fangled
juridical homogeneity is the acceleration of the decline of off shore
financial and banking centres and tax havens. The distinction between
off-shore and on-shore will vanish. Of the FATF's "name and shame" blacklist
of 19 "black holes" (poorly regulated territories, including Israel,
Indonesia, and Russia) - 11 have substantially revamped their banking laws
and financial regulators. Coupled with the tightening of US, UK, and EU laws
and the wider interpretation of money laundering to include political
corruption, bribery, and embezzlement - this would make life a lot more
difficult for venal politicians and major tax evaders. The likes of Sani
Abacha (late President of Nigeria), Ferdinand Marcos (late President of the
Philippines), Vladimiro Montesinos (former, now standing trial, chief of the
intelligence services of Peru), or Raul Salinas (the brother of Mexico's
President) - would have found it impossible to loot their countries to the
same disgraceful extent in today's financial environment. And Osama bin
Laden would not have been able to wire funds to US accounts from the
Sudanese Al Shamal Bank, the "correspondent" of 33 American banks.
Quo Vadis, Money Laundering?
Crime is resilient and fast adapting to new realities.
Organized crime is in the process of establishing an alternative banking
system, only tangentially connected to the West's, in the fringes, and by
proxy. This is done by purchasing defunct banks or banking licences in
territories with lax regulation, cash economies, corrupt politicians, no tax
collection, but reasonable infrastructure. The countries of Eastern Europe -
Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia), Macedonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus,
Albania, to mention a few - are natural targets. In some cases, organized
crime is so all-pervasive and local politicians so corrupt that the
distinction between criminal and politician is spurious.
Gradually, money laundering rings move their operations
to these new, accommodating territories. The laundered funds are used to
purchase assets in intentionally botched privatizations, real estate,
existing businesses, and to finance trading operations. The wasteland that
is Eastern Europe craves private capital and no questions are asked by
investor and recipient alike.
The next frontier is cyberspace. Internet banking,
Internet gambling, day trading, foreign exchange cyber transactions, e-cash,
e-commerce, fictitious invoicing of the launderer's genuine credit cards -
hold the promise of the future. Impossible to track and monitor,
ex-territorial, totally digital, amenable to identity theft and fake
identities - this is the ideal vehicle for money launderers. This nascent
platform is way too small to accommodate the enormous amounts of cash
laundered daily - but in ten years time, it may. The problems is likely to
be exacerbated by the introduction of smart cards, electronic purses, and
payment-enabled mobile phones.
In its "Report on Money Laundering Typologies"
(February 2001) the FATF was able to document concrete and suspected abuses
of online banking, Internet casinos, and web-based financial services. It is
difficult to identify a customer and to get to know it in cyberspace, was
the alarming conclusion. It is equally complicated to establish
Many capable professionals - stockbrokers, lawyers,
accountants, traders, insurance brokers, real estate agents, sellers of high
value items such as gold, diamonds, and art - are employed or co-opted by
money laundering operations. Money launderers are likely to make increased
use of global, around the clock, trading in foreign currencies and
derivatives. These provide instantaneous transfer of funds and no audit
trail. The underlying securities involved are susceptible to market
manipulation and fraud. Complex insurance policies (with the "wrong"
beneficiaries), and the securitization of receivables, leasing contracts,
mortgages, and low grade bonds are already used in money laundering schemes.
In general, money laundering goes well with risk arbitraging financial
Trust-based, globe-spanning, money transfer systems based on
authentication codes and generations of commercial relationships cemented in honour and blood - are another wave of the future. The Hawala and Chinese
networks in Asia, the Black Market Peso Exchange (BMPE) in Latin America,
other evolving courier systems in Eastern Europe (mainly in Russia, Ukraine,
and Albania) and in Western Europe (mainly in France and Spain). In
conjunction with encrypted e-mail and web anonymizers, these networks are
virtually impenetrable. As emigration increases, diasporas established, and
transport and telecommunications become ubiquitous, "ethnic banking" along
the tradition of the Lombards and the Jews in medieval Europe may become the
the preferred venue of money laundering. September 11 may have retarded
world civilization in more than one way.
Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and
After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central
Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI)
Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central
East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101
Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to
the Government of Macedonia.
Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com)
MARVIN G. AÑONUEVO
May 21, 2003
your time is up…
there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
You may ask
why many of our public officials are not doing what they are supposed to do
for the common good of the people. I think one of the reasons is that they
forgot to realize that they are just “Steward”. Perhaps they don’t
understand what to be a steward is. In short, they have no knowledge about
the principles of stewardship.
Hmm, you probably ask, how could I say this?
Well, very simple. If all public officials are doing well, I think people
will not be complaining against them. Please don’t raise that eyebrow, just
agree with me. Allow me to quote what is stated in Article XI, Sec. 1 of
the Philippine Constitution and I quote, “Public office is a public trust.
Public officers and employees must at all times accountable to the people,
serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency,
act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”
Once again, let me remind our public officials
that it is quite clear in our constitution that you’re accountable to your
constituents, as elected by the people. Being in that ‘hot seat’ or any
position in the government doesn’t mean to be ‘somebody.’ You should not
forget that you’re just entrusted by God in that position. Don’t think
that you are a boss but a servant, a public servant.
But OK, you have that good intension to serve the community with all
sincerity, dedication for work as a public servant. No argue about that. But
always remember that you, too, must be the role model and good deeds
advocate. You are there in order to serve the people, for that is your duty.
Remember han tigsiring ka pala? I
like what my good friend often said, “As a public servant you must
show showmanship and relevance not only in your work place but also in all
manners you decide to generalize the same in the countryside”
Talking about integrity, you must have that quality being of sound
moral principle. I tell you, some of our public officials do not have this
quality. Say mo? Not only that, we often times hear about some public
officials who are supporters of what we called bad elements of the society.
Patriotism is not being practice by them. Let me ask you mga Sir and
Madams, how many hours have you spent on the greatest act of stewardship
that you’ll ever perform on this earth? Remember life is short for we’ll
not stay long in this world. When your time is up, then we will stand before
God who is the master of all. We will be called one by one to account for
what we’ve accomplished in completing this greatest act of Stewardship we’d
Whence Come Wars?
May 5, 2003
whence come wars and fighting among you? Come they not hence, even of
your lusts that war in your members? (James 4:1 KJV)
the perennial questions raised by skeptics is: "Why does God allow war
in His world, if He is really a God of love and power?" Most of our
personal lives have been profoundly affected directly or indirectly by
the wars whether in other countries or here in the Philippines like what
is happening in some parts of Mindanao.
government is trying its very best in negotiating with those we consider
as treat for the peace and order of the country for reconciliation, but
sad to say until now real peace has never been attained.
older generation all remember keenly, for example, just where they were
on December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day), and how it changed their lives.
Even now, over sixty years later, the event of September 11, 2001, were
repeatedly being compared to that date, as another day of infamy, as US
President Roosevelt called it sixty plus years ago. But of course let us
not forget the war in Iraq who is making news headlines now a days.
gives a deeper insight on the cause of war than just blaming Hitler or Osama or some other powerful human leaders like US President Bush. God
says we are all to be blamed. The lusts that war in our own minds and
bodies lead to personal conflicts, and these to group conflicts, and
ultimately to deadly combat between nations. Thus wars are going to
continue in the world as long us there is sin in the world.
person therefore whether, American or Russian, Jew or Arab is by nature
a warmonger not a peacemaker. Yet Jesus made peace through the blood of
His cross…to reconcile all things unto Himself (Colossians 1:20). Before
there can be true peace between man and man, there must be real peace
between God and man. Until Christ Himself return as Prince of Peace,
there is no other effective way.