Our ideas are often not our own

27

Senators Antonio Trillanes and Alan Cayetano take us for fools if they think Filipinos will believe that their supposed investigations – first of the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II and then Vice President Jejomar Binay’s purported estate in Batangas – aren’t a crass, so-obvious demolition job against the forerunner for the 2016 presidential contest.

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Maybe they did for a few days, but as the facts came in, the two were squirming to pretend they weren’t victims of what in the media business here is called “kuryente,” (news hoax) perpetrated by a scoundrel who has had lucrative contracts with the government (more on that in my next columns.)

There are, to be sure, valid reactions, like that of one who commented on my column the other day that anyone who aspires for the highest post in the country must, as that old saying goes, like Caesar’s wife, be totally above suspicion.

I totally agree with that. But c’mon, the Senate investigation and the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s (PDI) screaming headlines on it—including the huge front-page photos of Binay’s alleged estate—weren’t exactly sober exercises in finding out the truth about Binay. (Especially so since Trillanes has been a bully in the hearings, threatening witnesses and twisting testimonies to suit his version of reality. He reminds me of military interrogators when I was detained as a political prisoner in the 1970s.)

As many social philosophers and writers, especially the American Noam Chomsky and the Swiss-British Alain de Botton, have pointed out, our biggest illusion as human beings is that our thoughts are entirely our own, that our mindsets are what we have arrived at after much thinking.

Aquino’s true believers: Above, GSIS trustee David and DBP director Lim. Below, one-more-term-for-Aquino campaigner Melvin “The Miracle” Matibag, a professional poker player.
It is an illusion, since the contents of our minds are formed by the kind of parents we have, the kind of schools we attended, the kind of friends we choose to surround ourselves with, the kinds of books we’ve read, and in the modern age, most especially by media.

I will repeat Botton’s insight I quoted in my column the other day: “Societies become modern … when news replaces religions as our central source of guidance and our touchstone of authority.” Chomsky, in so many books, had argued quite well that believe it or not, media in the modern age manufactures reality.

But we aren’t entirely helpless.

It really has been the most important task of higher education to teach us how to subject our very minds, society’s claims, religious ideas – and media reports – to critical analysis. That’s called the scientific frame of mind, to which we owe the huge advances of civilization in just about three centuries.

Only a fool, and sorry to say, the uneducated, would believe everything that’s in the newspapers.

Former vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado claims Binay owns this fabulous estate, and bombards us with photos of the jaw-dropping features of the place.

Teka, the critical part of our mind would raise questions: Is he playing on our emotions, trying to get us outraged so our critical functions are put aside? Teka, does he have evidence Binay owns the estate, of the same kind of evidence as that which proved police chief Alan Purisima owned that Nueva Ecija “rest-house”? Teka, is Mercado as relatively respectable as Czech Ambassador Jose Rychtar, who would risk his diplomatic career in accusing a government official of extortion?

Teka, do Trillanes and Cayetano have a track record as unbiased crusading investigators, or do they have an agenda in tarnishing Binay’s image?

I was reminded of media’s – or PDI’s power – when even a veteran reporter in her blog wrote: “Binay’s 350-hectare luxury estate is so stunning… as big as six Luneta Parks, 10 Araneta Centers or even half the 700-hectare San Juan city.” Then she reproduces in her blog the features of the purportedly luxurious estate.

That’s exactly how the propaganda experts planned it: To flood our visual cortices with images of such a luxurious place rivaling an English garden of a royalty and bombard our emotions with outrage — “it boggles the mind of ordinary Filipinos,” the blogger wrote.

But all such outrage over such a fantastic place is based on a data the blogger hardly discussed: Whether or not it is really Binay’s “estate.”

Or is it, as the head of the corporation that runs the estate called Sunchamp, an agrotourism park, designed to attract visitors with what the blogger described as “two mansions, one with a resort pool; two man-made lagoons, stockbreeding farm with more than a thousand cocks, a horse ranch, an aviary, and a 40-car garage.” Or were those a receiving center and overnight accommodations and a parking area for visitors?

“Palusot?” But the estate called “Sunchamp,” in fact, was on a PR campaign just weeks ago to advertise its agrotourism park, even getting PDI itself to publish a huge photo of its agrotourism park. Did PDI run a banner headline, as huge as Trillanes’ lies it printed, after the facts came in: “Estate not Binay’s”?

On old joke in Manila is that anyone can sell Nagtahan bridge to a fool. The “Binay Hacienda” canard is like claiming that Press Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III secretly owns the Quezon Memorial Circle in behalf of his boss President Aquino, and you can marvel at all its features as restaurants, a jogging circle, and of course the stunning monument.

* * *

I had been itching to write about the person in the photo above to show how desperate this Administration is trying to portray our ordinary citizens as being unable to think Aquino has brought this country to ruin and impoverishment.

A few months back, Aquino’s operators launched on the same day an anti-Aquino rally in Luneta was scheduled, a “civil-society coalition” supporting “tuwid na daan” reforms, the “Koalisyon ng mga Mamamayan para sa Reporma” (Kompre).

They claimed it was convened by one respectable civil-society personality, Karina Constantino-David, “former civil service commission chair, and one respectable businessman, Alberto Lim, “former tourism secretary.”

It turns out that both are earning P2.3 million per month in cozy directorships that require them to attend meetings just once a month in government corporations, the Government Service Insurance System for David and Development Bank of the Philippines for Lim.

I would understand if they had announced that they were simply earning their keep. But to pretend to be concerned citizens wanting to continue “Aquino’s reforms” is sheer hypocrisy.

A few weeks ago, full-page ads costing P250,000 each came out in several papers claiming – in very bad English – that the Constitution should be amended to allow Aquino to run for a second term, for his “reforms” to be continued. The ads were signed by a “Movement for Reform, Continuity and Momentum (More2Come),” and were so sickeningly sycophantic over Aquino.

The lead convener was one Melvin Matibag, identified as a “lawyer.” Google him and he’s reported as having been general manager of the Manila international airport in the closing months of former President Gloria Arroyo’s term, and as a losing vice-mayoralty candidate in the San Pedro, Laguna elections last year.

My own sources claim he is related to a Department of Education undersecretary whose wealth, a vast one I was told, was in the lending business.

What’s interesting, though, about Matibag is that most of the Google entries reported him as a professional poker player, even profiled and ranked in such poker sites as Global Poker Index, Poker Pages and Pokerportal Asia. Apparently, he’s been such a good poker player that he gained the moniker Melvin “The Miracle” Matibag.

Maybe that sobriquet convinced President Aquino to recruit him to launch a fake movement that he be given a second term.

I can’t stop wondering, though, if Matibag made such a huge fortune in international poker tournaments that he could afford More2Come’s expensive newspaper ads, or if rather, he lost a fortune in the game that he’s been forced to earn a living being a dummy for Aquino as convener of a fake movement.

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27 Comments

  1. I heard the union of GSIS has printed copies of this column and spread it to all employees. They are now planning to step out of the office and assemble.

  2. Even in the previous columns of Mr Tiglao shows that GSIS has been a milking cow of appointed board of trustees. But this sets of board of trustees are real hypocrites especially Karina David and Robert Vergara. IT started when they set up a salary and compensation system that is hidden from employees so that they would react on what they are receiving because they have slash a big part of the benefits of GSIS employees. In fact even the janitorial services and security guards used to have at least 13K Christmas bonus and they where all slashed by these heartless hypocrites only to find that they have raised their salaries and compensation on a yearly basis. They would even use the Governance Commission for GOCC (GCG) as a reason that they have to slash benefits after saying they have tried their best to convince the GCG.

    • Alam naman natin ang media, “AC-DC, ATTACK COLLECT -DEPEND COLLECT”, bahala na tayo sa mag interpret sa nakikita natin o kung yuon SUSPICION AT USAP-USAPAN NUON AY TUTOO NGAYON. Basta sa akin ay kung hindi humarap at confront ni VP Binay ng face to face si Vice-Mayor Mercado ay ito na ang simula ng kanyang pagbagsak at ng kanyang tinatag na Family Dynasty matapos batikusin ang Marcos Dynasty nuon pre EDSA I. Ewan ko kay Ambassador Tiglao. BAHALA KA AT BAHALA KAMI, DI BA?

    • why don’t you read carefully if Mr. Tiglao was really taking cudgel for nog2. You’re closing your eyes to the real reason behind the supposed investigation. This is just a diversionary tactic. Wala nang balita sa DAP kung saan mas maraming magnananakaw ang nasa partido ni Aquino na hindi na nakulong!

  3. so they are pretend crusader for 2 term because of the pays of 2.6m and 2.3 m per year kakapal nman ng mukha ni david at lim un mga linta gaya ni pimentel cayetano at trillanes ambisyon to be pres candidate whats the plan of program parang itong 3 itlog nato ibig maluklok sa trono. they think pinoy the abnormal will indorse them paano nman si roxas at bondging drillon at un operator abad . mga kababayan magisi isip kau humanap tau ung iba na huag na tau maglagay ng buwaya at linta sa palace na gaya ng 3 itlog at mad gising tau.

  4. The problem like Mr. R. Tiglao is whoever advised VP J. Binay to mount his presidential campaign just after he won the vice presidency in 2010 (by protest by his erstwhile nemesis, Mar Roxas?) has gone over board. Two years before election proper, VP J. Binay consolidated his SWS and Pulse Surveys animated confirmation as the man to beat in 2016 presidential poll, hence, all his paid hack media and print lap dogs gave the coup de’ grace to whatever Mar Roxas remaining chances to do battle with him but like a spring chicken, Mar Roxas was resuscitated from his untimely political demise by a then not so conspicuous senate hearing about the Makati Parling Lo and City Hall Building II alleged over price magic machination of then Mayor and ow VP J. Binay. It could have been nip in the bud if VP J. Binay has come up with a realistic press rleease denying the wild accusations with proof or evidence to belie the wild guess of his erstwhile friends and followers but are now the nemesis denouncing him as a fake Messiah. I will not be surprised if Mr. R. Tiglao was one of the advisor privy to the stand of VP J. Binay not to disclose anything, ever confident coterie of closed friends, carpetbaggers and hanger on? Now what, the conflagration have spread into a nightmare out of proportion?? MALA AVISO. my friend.

  5. I believe in what you mentioned “that our idea is not our own”. And really this political campaign hype on VP Binay may affect his chances because as they say “there is a sucker born every day”. And also, because of recency effect. People tend to remember what has been lately talk about. As you know people love gossiping and due to lack of conversation topic will talk about the Batangas place. But you see, the senate’s investigation on this issue involving Binay will just conclude to be an accusation or allegation that it will then go to the proper forum of the court of justice. It so happen that when it finally gets to the proper forum, the evidences may not be appreciated. So, it is understandable why the VP is not dignifying it because the investigation of the senate is very hostile to him. Instead wait for it at the court of justice which there is less hostility and more will be more appreciated to presentation of evidences.

  6. rosendo bagtas on

    what happened to the 3rd part of your MRT-3 column that you promised to us? ’tis more interesting and worthy to note that this item deals more on the future and lives of millions of Filipinos that for decades had been used to taking the MRT but now are threatened by Abnoy’s ineptitude and corrupt administration! Surely, the Senate zarzuela, courtesy of Koko(y) Pimentel, ‘Peter Pan’ Cayetano, and ‘Duling’ Trillanes, deserves the Filipino people’s cold-shoulders because its tailored-cut to obfuscate and cover the unbridled corruption and amassing of peoples’ money now underway by the Abnoy administration. Mr. Tiglao, please get on with part 3 of your MRT-3 column.

  7. Vicente Penetrante on

    President Aquino said I’m his boss.

    Former President Charles de Gaulle of France said, “In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.”

    Am I the boss of President Aquino, or is he my master?

  8. I hope Pnoy will not succeed in perpetuating his power in 2016 in making Mar Roxas as his successor. His allies will definitely used all government resources in the 2016 in order to escape prosecutions. With the all the constitutional agencies filled up by Pnoy especially the Comelec and COA, they will really have a huge advantage.

  9. General Purisima’s wealth and that of VP Binay are two different thing. Purisima is kakampi and VP Binay is kalaban. Justice would be different too. Reporting would be different too. I even don’t know if VP dont know or nagwawalang alam lang na niloloko siya ni PeNoy. Well, this PeNoy administration is not only corrupt, manloloko, purist, mapanggamit ng tao, etc.

  10. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

    Correction: “……Binay is “fair game” considering that he is conemplating to run in 2016″ (not 2916). :

  11. It’s so simple and yet seemingly elusive to the common pinoy: critical thinking. Seeing the patterns that unfold from the scheming ways of dirty politicians.

    It must be the pinoys’ fancy for noontime shows; or, the nasty habit of blind loyalty to a perceived ‘hero’ or, ‘god’. Yeah, something religion doesn’t really nourish.

  12. I have already stopped reading the PDI for many years now. It is sufficiently insensitive to the truth. The only truth there is the date (petsa).

    On David, Lim and Matibag, their faces betray their characters (personal value systems). They appear to be too beholden to their master in exchange for personal profit. Never mind the truth so long as their pockets go deeper and deeper. They and their boss are in a time warp.

  13. Aquino knows that money talks. He spreads around our money to make things happen in the way he wants it. His complaints about GMA are that only a few enjoyed being in the power center. Aquino invited all politicians in and gave them increasing amounts of money to see things his way. Aquino will be able to claim he improved lives, even if he is only talking about politicians. Nothing for the people. His bosses are the bosses of the LP.

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Hopefully, the Filipino people would not allow themselves to be fooled again by fools who fooled around with the hocus-PCOS to fool the people into putting fools in high places to run foolishly the system to its present state. Still for us to believe that one can fool some of the people all the time but not all of the people all of the time Let us wake up from this bad dream. God bless the Philippines.

  15. Voice from the Wilderness on

    This massive campaign to demolish VP Binay or cut him down to pieces like a timber is seemingly going hand in hand with the movement of the mercenary Kompre in case Binay is still standing after this timber cutting spree. The plan is for this present inept presiden in malacanangt to run for a second term for the reason that he is a better alternative to a alleged corrupt Binay and for him to continue the reform “kuno” that he started….This is a grand plan to hitch again the general public into a ferris wheel like ride in favor to this inept president…..

  16. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

    Whether or not Trillanes and Cayetano have a track record of unbiased crusading investigations, only the idiots believe that they are doing it “in aid of legislation”; not “in aid of re-election”. Primarily, I doubt it so, because this is about Makati and not about the national government. There’s a lot more to investigate involving the money of the national treasury, not of this city.

    However, I still believe that the investigations are “legit” and Binay is “fair game” considering that he is contemplating to run in 2916. Are we going to have another “corrupter” president who, in addition also, has a “dynasty”? Kung ganoon, wala na’ng katapusan ang panloloko ng mga politico sa mga madlang tao!

    Kailan pa kikilatisin ang mga kandidato, lalung-lalo na sa pagka-pangulo? All high government officials should be scrutinized whether their riches are legitimate or not. That’s what the SALNs are for. Following the famous or infamous catch phrase of the president, “huwag ma-aburido kung walang itinatago”! VP Binay, “buhay pa naman kayo, di ba?”

    • Jose E. Lucion on

      Let’s accept the fact that we Filipinos are borne corrupter as each leaf of the days passes by…What is the most common games played by common Tao likewise the millionaires? The answer is cock game..Sabong! How do sabong played? It is through “ULUTAN” Cocks are being match to other cock through ulutan process….If one party is hesitant that his cock is no match to the other party game cock…the corrupter will come to the picture so as to start the game….and so on…the only problem though is in the end game…often times, the crowd shouts…Huli!!! Coco, Peter, Trillanes & thier bandwagon of LP’s is now in the crossroads of the game.

  17. What else can we expect? We have a fake anti corruption crusader of a fake president. Logically, everything fake follows.

  18. As a veteran newsman, Mr. Tiglao should know that in the world of politics there’s no such thing as “unbiased investigation” or unbiased commentary; every word from a politician’s mouth is biased toward his vested interests. To be sure, Trillanes and Cayetano have a political agenda: to shoot down Binay’s presidential bid. Every politician wants to bring down his rivals, that’s inherent in politics. But that’s not what should worry Tiglao. If he so passionate about the truth and good governance, Tiglao should instead train his guns on what the Senate probe has uncovered so far – that the invitation to bid for the parking building was advertised in the tabloid Balita for 4 days only instead of in a newspaper of national circulation for 14 days, a company was made to appear as one of the biddders even if it did not join the bidding, construction started even with an approved design, the parkade is more expensive than a much bigger, more luxurious office tower like that of Zuellig Bldg. on Ayala Avenue and Gil Puyat Avenue, etc. If Binay is Mr. Clean personified, as Tiglao would have us believe, the accusations against him will amount to nothing. Tiglao takes us for fools if he thinks Filipinos will believe that his supposed crusade for truth, fair play, objective journalism and good governance is pure, unbiased and well intentioned.

  19. Cynicism? No, because comments are prejudgements. Critical thinking? Yes, because it withhold judgement and seeks factual confirmations.

  20. Roldan Guerrero on

    Better keep on watch at your back more often than you do Mr. Tiglao! You may not know that BSA did not miss shopping the latest state of the art pistols in his PLEASURE TRIP in Europe and US. Of course as usual, Mr. Tiglao is baring the unseen by common-tao, the abuses of this government but still I cant find the reason why Filipinos are acting blind and deaf on these abuses.Was he able to BRIBE majority of the KAWAWANG MAMAMAYAN? COMPARED TO THE BILLIONS OF AMOUNTS IN QUESTION squandered,plundered, what more? by this regime…poor Erap was ousted on hueteng money, yes, gamblers money, not government and people`s money on a toothpick amount of 50M php.Why are Filipinos so tolerable of this REGIME`s ABUSES? Is there no one left courageous enough to physically drag out of the palace that BALD OCCUPANT and throw him at the Pasig River? We may have a thousand RIGOBERTO TIGLAO but if there is not a single person who will lead….nothing will happen …and the becoming of the Phils. as a failed state is unpreventable. The CORRUPTION VIRUS that infected this REGIME IS EVEN MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE DREADED EBOLA VIRUS. Gisingna mga kababayan!