Sunday, January 27, 2008


So I was busy and will be traveling for work again soon; but I did make time to for what I have to say about three plots a-thickening: (1) an anti-Salonga smear plot that wants to smear itself ahead of smearing Salonga, (2) a military-fed, media-consumed coup plot that reinforces that non-adage about old generals and (3) a plot that Hong Kong police suspected the Estradas would try to carry out.

Plot # 1

There’s a plot to discredit the venerable Filipino Jovito Salonga. From my experience with smear plots hatched by the same group I suspect are behind it, the anti-Salonga plot apparently consists of simply threatening to smear him, in the hope that he will go no further with what he has done so far. Which is: with the equally respected Bobby Tañada, Salonga filed an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Sandiganbayan’s partial judgment in Civil Case No. 33-F. The Sandiganbayan in effect declared that Danding Cojuangco paid for “his” San Miguel Corporation shares with “his own” money. Look at that: Marcos was dictator. Danding was his number one civilian crony. Marcos gave Danding absolute control over the then P1.3 billion in coconut levy funds. No one who wanted to stay healthy could say no to how Danding used the coco levy funds deposited, by Marcos decree, in Danding-controlled UCPB.

Remember the late former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez of “what is happening to our country, General” fame? In 1982, he asked that and other questions, many of them involving the legality of the coco levy. The answer was an assassination attempt.

The plot to smear Senator Jovy Salonga is mentioned in the Manila Standard column of Alvin Capino. It then gets mentioned again, and in the same tenor and in almost the same language, in the Philippine Star column of Mary Ann Reyes. Capino and Reyes are not journalists. You’d be pretty stupid to believe any pretense at objectivity they might put up – which may be why they hardly pretend.

Reyes: “There are talks going around legal circles that some quarters are plotting to smear the reputation of former Senate President and PCGG chair Jovito Salonga.” Capino: “Among the top media circle topics in Metro Manila coffee shops over the weekend is the reported plot to malign former Senate President Jovito Salonga through a well-orchestrated smear campaign.”

Reyes: “Our sources say the plotters plan to spread rumors alleging that Salonga received huge sums of money some time in 1986 in connection with the effort to recover the Marcos wealth.” Capino: “It will reportedly revolve around a concocted story that Salonga received large sums of money, purportedly in the millions of dollars during his term as chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.”

Reyes: “Already, the plotters are being warned that the ruse against Salonga will definitely backfire on them.” Capino: “Whoever this powerful interest turns out to be and whatever its motive, it is warned that the smear plot on Salonga is a bad investment.”

Aw, shut up. These are veiled warnings: “We know you’re an icon, Mr. Senator, so we will smear you by insinuation instead of outright demonization.” What’s the going rate per column on these demolition jobs now? A few years ago, it was around P30,000 per hit (or was that a rate only for columns with bad puns as titles or for a casual swipe in that cock-something space that has since relocated?)

Tomorrow: Plot #2 and how Esperon’s retirement fund may be in jeopardy
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