Wednesday, June 29, 2005


While reading a book entitled "Hoaxes" by Curtis D. MacDougall, first published in 1940 but I am reading the revised edition published in 1958, I came upon a description of a hoax perpetrated in the early 1900's. (page 63, 4th paragraph)
"No small part of the $1,000,000,000 which the Post Office Department estimates is collected annually in mail frauds changes ownership in what is known as the Spanish prisoner game-since the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the Mexican prisoner game. Ostensibly written by a person unjustly incarcerated in a foreign country, the Spanish prisoner letter enjoins absolute secrecy and asks for a sum of money to be sent to a friend to assist in obtaining the release of a sizable fortune in the United States. Despite innumerable official warnings, this old one still is being worked profitably. In March 1939, the Department of State announce the old hoax's most recent appearance as a form letter from Mexico offering a one-third interest for assistance in recovering $285,000 in a trunk in an unspecified custom house somewhere in the United States. In 1947 and 1953 a new wave was reported by the Post Office Department."
For those with an e-mail account, this story will be familiar because this hoax/scam has now been renamed into the 419 or nigerian scam and you have probably received an e-mail that fits the description above.

It is interesting and exasperating that people are so gullible that a single scam can be perpetrated repeatedly for at least 60 years and people will still fall for it.


While browsing the Quatloos website, I found out that the name of Senator Loi Ejercito had been used in a variation of this scam.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

For Erap, Imelda, no crocodile tears for Sin

Natawa lang ako dito sa istorya sa Philippine Star, Basahin niyo yung cartoon sa kaliwa.

In other news, just read this review of Star Wars Episode III, from the Best Page in the Universe. Hope you like it too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Opposition organizing transitional government

According to this Manila Times Story, the mayor of San Juan J.V. Ejercito announced that they are organizing a transitional government. Some of the members of this transitional government, yet to be asked and yet to agree are, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Juan Ponce Enrile, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Bangon Pilipinas Movement and Mayor Jejomar Binay of Makati City. The transitional government will also have "Representatives from the business sector, nongovernment organizations and other sectors will be represented in the council, which will have 9 to 15 seats."

So let me get this straight, they are announcing a transitional government when the present government is still in power. They are also announcing the names of the members of the transitional government when they have not yet asked these people if they want to join in. And, they are announcing the transitional government when they have not yet finalized how the transitional government should be organized. Talk about jumping the gun.

The Philippines is fortunate these people are leading the revolution. Reminds me of the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Escultura Resurrected

While reading through the pcij blog for the latest on the gloria tapes when I noticed in the trackback section a new posting on Edgar Escultura as documented by Abe, at the Don't Let Me Stop You blog.

If you are still interested in what Mr. Escultura has to say or just want a good laugh, please read Abe's blog. Please note that Abe has also found a new story from the Manila Times that Mr. Escultura has been nominated for the Nobel Prize, presumably in Physics as there is no Nobel Prize in Mathematics. A quick look in the Nobel Prize website states that:
"information about the nominations is not to be disclosed, publicly or privately, for a period of fifty years"
so we cannot verify if Mr. Escultura has or has not been nominated.

Abe is of the opinion that the story from the Manila Times has Mr. Escultura as their only source and I agree with him. The Manila Times have not learned to verify stories submitted to them by one Edgar Escultura.

For example, a quick look at the website of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and their membership list will tell us that they have no members named Johannes Hieber nor Lars Jonhagen. There were nobody surnamed Jonhagen nor Hieber though they have 2 members named Johannes and 32 named Lars. You can try the exercise by going to this site

Update 6/20/2005

Just read the comments section of Alecks Pabico's blog on EEE and he has already done the checks on the people who supposedly nominated EEE for the Nobel Prize. He has contacted at least one of them. Read the latest developments in the comments section of Alecks Pabicos original story.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

By Alex Magno

Yesterday, I wrote about the Philippine Daily Inquirer's report on Dr. Nemenzo's views. Today I want to direct your attention on a different opinion. That of Alex Magno in his column in the Philippine Star, he wrote:
"The scandal-driven effort to shake the Arroyo presidency appears to have fizzled out".
and this is because:
"The "revelations" were, in the end really confirmations of what the public knew: jueteng was the basis of the politics of patronage since time immemorial and, as the audiotapes suggest, our electoral process remains flawed and vulnerable."
He has this to say about the cheating charge
"Granting that voting outcomes in Lanao del Sur were massaged, could it have altered the final outcomes? The best counter-evidence is that Barbers lost and Biazon won. Therefore, if the numbers were massaged, they were not massaged well enough to alter the outcomes in the closely fought battle for the last slot in the senatorial win column."
And on the self appointed saviors of our nation;
"Besides, the "heroes" we were supposed to flock to were flawed characters. Some of them are patently insane. Some are clearly impostors".
We had the same reaction to the Estrada offer:
Then comes Joseph Estrada, offering to head a junta.
That is the last nail in the coffin of this chaotic blitz. The whole effort is now doomed to be buried in the shallow grave of utter hilarity.

Some cautionary words for the present administration:
"But taking the wind from the sails of this badly-designed blitz is the easy part.
The more difficult part is climbing out of the hole this whole episode dug for us, restoring credible leadership to a battered nation and restoring a path to a future where institutions work and the economy functions. Although political survival is more or less assured, the integrity issues must be dealt with convincingly".

Friday, June 17, 2005

Ex-UP head calls for 'revolutionary gov't'

Dr. Francisco Nemenzo has been a nationalist and a revolutionary since before I was born. when I entered the University of the Philippines, he was one of the leading lights in the socialist movement in the Philippines. He and his ideas helped shape my worldview. So I am presenting his prescription for solving the present Philippine political crisis as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
A REVOLUTIONARY government like the one that installed Corazon Aquino as president in 1986 is what Filipinos should now bat for, instead of just the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The radical suggestion was aired yesterday by Francisco "Dodong" Nemenzo, a former president of the University of the Philippines. He said the objective was to "start from the beginning" because a regime change would not be enough to bring about genuine reforms.

"We have to reduce the power of the elite. Only then can democracy have a chance to flourish in this country," Nemenzo said at a press conference held at the university's Quezon City campus, wherein disgruntled sectors of the UP community demanded Ms Arroyo's "resignation, impeachment or ouster."
and also
Nemenzo said a snap election would be useless because the elite would still control the government.

"What we really need [to do] is call for a provisional revolutionary government," he said in Filipino.

Asked to explain, Nemenzo said the people had lost their trust in government institutions, such as the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Even if the President was impeached, he said, those who would take part in the political exercise had "very low credibility."

The only recourse left to the people is to take "extra-constitutional means" of wresting power, Nemenzo said.

It will then be up to the people to decide who should lead them, he said, adding: "In popular upheavals, it is the least expected person who turns out to be the leader."

Erap Resurrected

According to the Philippine Star

Erap, the deposed chief executive, has proposed that he be the one to head a transition "civilian junta" in the event that gloria, the present president loses/resigns her mandate. According to the story
Under a "blueprint" plan of government being offered by Estrada to the public, a nine-man council of leaders — whose members would be named to the panel by the public — would take over as a "transitional" government if Mrs. Arroyo stepped down.

He also assures the public that
"this nine-man council would be composed of men and women whose integrity is very unquestionable. I would ask the different sectors of our society to nominate them,"

Maybe he should have though about doing this when he was in office, and not appoint his drinking buddies to the detriment of the country.

Under Estrada’s scenario, the council — which he has offered to head — would run things until a new Constitution could be drafted and ratified and a new government formed.

Congress would be abolished and replaced by a constitutional commission that would draft a new constitution. It would be composed of what Estrada described as the "cream of the crop" of Filipino society.

Yes, If I were in his position, I would also want a new constitution. All the better to abolish the crime of plunder from the books. :)

This is one of the funniest stories today. I really had a good laugh.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Further Observations

Minsan gusto mong maiyak sa nangyayari sa ating bayan. Pero sabi nga ng matatanda, kung ayaw mong umiyak tumawa ka na lang.

At nakakatawa nga naman yung mga ginagawa ng ating mga opisyal. Nandiyan si NBI Director Wycoco na pinagbabantann na sampahan ng kasong "inciting to sedition" si dating NBI Deputy Director Samuel Ong dahil sa kanyang pagtawag ka Pangulong Gloria Arroyo na mag resign.

Nandiyan yung National Telecommunications Commission na pinagbantaan ang lahat ng news organization sa pag post ng transcripts at pag air ng taped conversation kahit na wala namang umaamin na sila iyon? Ang masama, lahat ng news organization ay natakot, hindi mo na marinig sa TV yung mga tapes, ewan ko lang sa radyo, di mo rin mabasa sa mga diyaryo at sa internet, maliban na lang sa website ng PCIJ.

Ewan ko, di ko na maintindihan. Basahin niyo na lang muna si Alex Magno para sa kanyang opinyon sa mga isyung ito.

update 6/15/2005:

pagkatapos mabahag ang buntot, nagsisimula na ulit maka-recover ang ating news media, naalala siguro nila na tayo ay nasa loob ng isang demokrasya. puede na ulit i-download yung ni release na "conversations" ni secretary bunye sa inquirer. i hope na sumunod na yung ibang media organizations.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Happy Independence Day

Today, June 12, 2005, is Philippine Independence day.

I wanted to write something about the growing issue about the taped (bugged?) conversations between the Philippine President (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) and supposedly one of the member of the Philippine's Commission on Elections, the body that administer Philippine Elections. But I just don't have enough information to form any informed opinion right now.

My first reaction, which can change if I get enough information, is that this is just a political gimmick from the people opposed to the President. The fact that the son of former President Estrada, J.V Ejercito, was saying that they (the opposition)has formed an alternative political leadership (a shadow government if you will) and will be ready to take over if the government is overthrown just reinforces this opinion.

Anyway, if you want to get the transcript and/or download the mp3's of the the conversation, you should go the the pcij blog site.

A comparison between alan paguia's tape and the "original" tape by presidential spokesperson ignacio bunye can be found in alecks pabico's blog. A side by side comparison can be found here.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Which Sesame Street Muppet's Dark Secret Are You?

Snuffy's Suicide Attempts

Poor baby, life is rough for you, huh? No one
seems to see you, no one notices your
pain--except for your friend Big Bird, but he's
alway off hanging out with his other friends.
You wish you were him, all happy and curious
and popular and bright yellow. You feel like
his shadow anymore, like the only reason you
exist is to amuse him. It's hard being
somebody's imaginary friend. But stop trying
to kill yourself--imaginary people can't kill
themselves. Sorry. And hey, maybe tomorrow
you'll feel better!
Someday people will see you, I promise.

Which Sesame Street Muppet's Dark Secret Are You?
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