The Hong Thai bus standoff yesterday was a mirror of how the Philippines can handle a very bad hostage situation. The hostage drama was on for 10 hours, the negotiator was not at all persuasive, and the worst, the police seemed not ready. ABS-CBN media men were even caught live laughing and swearing when a round of shooting happened.

The Negotiator

In any hostage drama, the negotiator has to be very sincere and persuading with an eye for the smallest detail. In this case, Chief-negotiator Orlando Yerba Jr should have been the man for the job but what went wrong? The negotiator basically failed to give former Police Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza the hope he needs. He also failed to establish an ocular inspection on-site. In fact, he forgot to instruct the police that the bus has a television where the aggressor might be able to see what’s happening around him. He might have even seen how his brother was forcefully arrested, provoking his temper.

Too Long a Drama

The Hong Thai bus full of Hong Kong nationals and 4 Filipinos were supposed to visit the Manila Ocean Park around 10 in the morning before former Police Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza alight and took over. Negotiations started and ended with no promise of hope for the aggressor, who set a 3 p.m. dead lock. The deadline extended again and again, but it was at 8:30 in the evening when the police decided to seize the bus.


It was a hostage drama turning into a comedy when the police started to move around before it ends up into a blood bath. Some questions are in my mind: 1) why did the police waited for nighttime to operate when they know, if former Police Superintendent Ronaldo Mendoza was serious and dangerous, will be to their disadvantage? 2) Why are they not in battle gears? 3) Did they learn to tie a rope in the training? 4) Why do they cluster around and not taking the situation seriously? 5) Was there a commanding officer in the site? Where’s that guy?

Freedom, oh freedom

You want to be free as a bird? Two things: be a Filipino and become a media man


Moms would not want their kids stripped off their dad’s name but not in the case of Kris Aquino. In fact, she is really filed a motion that will take the Yap off from their only son. What could have fueled this desire? Is it part of the plan of securing the family name for baby James political career or pure greed?

Remembering that Kris Aquino is among the most influential showbiz personality today and how she prepped up his brother to win the presidency might have gotten into her head. She might have realized how influential their family name had been and still is. His brother at 50, still a bachelor, and has never been heard of to do something extraordinary throughout his political career is now Pnoy—thanks to Kris and the legacy of being born an Aquino. He might not marry and surrounded with married sisters, there’s no one else to bear the family’s name. If the courts decide to favor Kris, baby James might be in what his uncle always says ‘matuwid na daan’ (right path). Clever!

Another reason I can think of is pure greed. Remember how Kris Aquino damaged the political and showbiz career of her ex-lover Joey Marquez? She appeared on tv, crying and looking helpless after Marquez left her. She claimed that Marquez infected her with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), which drama-loving Filipinos that we are, accepted and sided with her. Even not proven, this has sent Marquez to bonkers. Now, she wanted to do it all again—by coming forward and announcing to the public how James had been unfaithful in their marriage. Seeing James unaffected, she now wants to hurt the ego of his ex-husband by taking off his last name from their son and claiming their marriage is null. Ill advised by her lawyers or being a brat?

Freedom to every Filipino here and abroad! It is the 112th celebration of the Philippines Independence Day and it started real early! Aside from not enjoying a holiday (since the government moved the holiday on Monday in connection to the economic holiday RAs), I have no much complaint. The metro rail trains are free from 7 to 9 am today and later at 5 to 7 pm. It is going to be a busy day anyway, traffics everywhere as the celebration will be in hosted in different areas in the metro. Being in the office with free air con, coffee and water, and internet connection is a better treat!

I contented myself with reading some tweets and news. At 7 am, the outgoing President offered flowers to the National Hero monument in the Rizal Memorial Park. The Philippine flag was raised simultaneous with those in Kawit Cavite, attended by Justice Secretary Renato Corona, and in Caloocan by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Oscar Inocentes. The opening ceremonies, including that of the President’s Independence Speech, will be held there.

At 3 am, a parade will commence. There will be 10 floats that will showcase the administration’s 10-point agenda. These will showcase the country’s “global achievers” including CNN hero Efren Peñaflorida, beauty pageant titlists, sports achievers, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, and former education secretary Jesli Lapus.

A 30-minute firework display will follow shortly after the parade, which will also represent the closing of the celebration. The official holiday will be enjoyed on Monday, June 14, 2010.

They say parents will not do anything stupid to their child. But what did Mohammed did to his two year old boy, Hardy Rizal? The boy, at his age is overweight, has tantrums, and cannot run or play around with other kids. Those are not the worst, though. The boy, in his young age puffs cigarettes like a pro! His average is 40 sticks a day!

His father, Mohammed, 30 years old and a fishmonger started giving him cigarettes when he was 18 months old. Hardy is apparently suffering from nicotine addiction; getting angry, screaming, and banging his head on the walls of their home in a fishing village in South Sumatra if he is not given one. Though his father is not concerned with the apparent heath problems of his kid, her 26 years old mother Diana says she knows her son is sick.

The villagers confessed that the authorities promised to buy the family a car if they let the boy quit. In Indonesia, that may be the first step in solving a health and social issue but in our country, we call that bribery.

The May 10 election should have been a neat proceeding if everyone has followed the rules. I have seen a number of elections but this one, I think is the worst. What can you say about BEI’s who wore ballers of their favorite candidate? Isn’t that the worst of its kind? And even some election organizations that are supposed to be role models for being non-partisan are even clad in yellows with vulgar prints!

I wonder where the real essence of non-partisan election has gone. It should’ve been more understandable if the doers are the people or the voters, but the BEI? It just isn’t forgivable. I’m just hoping that these people know what they are doing and what they did is irreparable in the eyes of the young voters and the voters in the future.

This display of arrogance should open our eyes of what kind of leaders we will vote for. But if, and even with this malicious display of disgrace, the yellow one still gets the lead, then this speaks of our values.

All the surveys for the upcoming national elections in the Philippines are beginning to haunt me. It seems that different survey firms have different results but the presidential top. The Social Weather Stations latest survey conducted between April 16 and 19 this same year showed Benigno Aquino III still at the top with 38%, while Manuel Villar Jr. gets 26%, Joseph Estrada with 17%, Gilberto Teodoro Jr. with only 9%, Eduardo Villanueva ties with Richard Gordon with 2%, Jamby Madrigal with 0.3%, Jesus Nicanor Perlas with 0.2%, and John Carlos De Los Reyes with 0.2%. In the survey, there are 6% still undecided.

Now, an informal survey is also ongoing at 7-11. In the past four American presidential elections, 7-11 cup surveys had been very accurate. Now, it’s in the Philippines. In the survey held at its 450 convenience stores nationwide, Aquino tops with 87,959 votes from cold beverage drinkers. He is followed by former Defense Secretary Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro with 37,226 votes. Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. follows with 32,727 votes, Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon with 26,010 votes, and former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada with 14,968 votes. 14,944 voters did not find the survey useful.

7-11’s president for Philippine operations is known to be a very avid supporter of Aquino.

Some surveys have also limited their questionings to Aquino and Villar, making all the others ‘ghost presidential bidders’. It is another reason for me to believe that surveys are a trending game.

There are still so many kinds of surveys held here and there, which I find amusing. Releasing surveys this close to the election proper will actually influenced the voting public. I personally talked to some people, mostly taxi drivers who rely on these surveys. A few said they want Gibo or Gordon but either is winnable so they might go for Aquino, a sure winner according to surveys.

Personally, I liked surveys but the way it goes here in the Philippines? I might as well do more important things that involve myself into some other people’s number game.

Presidential bidder Dick Gordon sued the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia for their inaccurate and biased surveys. In his claim, Gordon said that pollsters of these two giants in the survey industry are limiting their surveys only to Aquino, Villar, and Estrada. They are not also being transparent who is or are behind these surveys. He asks the court to stop publishing these surveys this close in the election period and asks for Php 650,000. He says this money will go to Red Cross.

I have the reason to believe that Senator Dick Gordon has good intentions on this. The truth is, surveys are influencing the voting public. Besides, it is too near the Election Day to be releasing surveys as to who’s who the ‘people’ wants. I remembered the early surveys where they also divulged Manny Villar commissioning them. Why the sudden secrecy? Who commissions who or which and who gets favored with what?

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