Top Five Bankruptcy Myths

As consumer debt has skyrocketed to over $3 Trillion, many believe the only way out from under the mountain of bills is to declare bankruptcy. But is it right for you?


Many myths persist to misinform the public.



    Myth: People who file bankruptcy can't get credit for 10 years

    Nonsense. People in Chapter 13 can borrow money during the case; people who've filed Chapter 7 get inundated with credit card offers after they get their discharge. This is not credit at the best rates, but credit is available.

    Myth: You lose everything you own in bankruptcy

    Well over 95% of bankruptcy cases filed by individuals are "no asset" cases in which the debtor keeps everything he owns. That's because exemptions provide for assets that the debtor can keep and some assets, like pensions, are beyond the reach of bankruptcy trustees and creditors.

    Myth: Bankruptcy represents personal or moral failure

    More than 90% of bankruptcy filings are traceable to job loss; illness; or divorce, factors largely out of anyone's control. Bankruptcy is a safety value to prevent individuals from being buried by debts they can never repay.

    Myth: You can't file bankruptcy if you have a job

    The new "means test" is supposed to divert some filers who make more than the median income for households of their size in their state of residence to Chapter 13. The only way to fund a Chapter 13 plan is to HAVE a job. So, this is utterly untrue.

    Myth: "You need to be flat broke before you should file."

    “Probably the worst myth about bankruptcy is that you need to be flat broke before you should file,” says Sacramento bankruptcy attorney Gerald B. Glazer. “It is not good to wait until creditors are knocking on your door,” according to Glazer. Planning can prepare you for a bankruptcy that causes the least amount of financial disruption.

You Need a Bankruptcy Attorney On Your Side ... to stop those -

  • Bill collectors' calls and letters
  • Prevent home foreclosures
  • Block garnishments from your paychecks
  • Stop repossession of your car, boat,truck or other property

With a bankcruptcy attorney on your side, you can get immediate debt relief. You may even discharge all or part of your debt forever!

Make a fresh start without the burden of your old debt! Contact the Sacramento bankruptcy attorney now!

Lest History Repeats Itself



We Seem to Have Forgotten that Once Upon a Time, Not Too Long Ago....



We seem to have forgotten that once upon a time, not too long ago, there was this family, the Marcoses, comprised of Ferdinand (now deceased), Imelda (still gallivanting and traipsing the light fantastic in Manila and occasionally, kung maka lusot, overseas), and 3 children, including Ferdinand “Bongbong” Jr who’s now running, under Presidential candidate Manny Villar, in the SAME Senatorial slate as political activists (??) Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo.

Charlie Avila, who HAS NOT forgotten what the Marcoses did, reminds us, in his CHRONOLOGY OF THE MARCOS PLUNDER, that in…

September 1976

This month the Marcoses bought their first property in the U.S. - a condo in the exclusive Olympic Towers on Fifth Avenue in New York. Five months later they would also buy the three adjoining apartments, paying a total of $4,000,000.00 for the four and using Antonio Floirendo's company, Theaventures Limited in Hong Kong, as front for these purchases.

October 13, 1977


Today, after addressing the UN General Assembly, Imelda celebrated by going shopping and spending $384,000 including $50,000 for a platinum bracelet with rubies; $50,000 for a diamond bracelet; and $58,000 for a pin set with diamonds.

The day before, Vilma Bautista, one of her private secretaries, paid $18,500 for a gold pendant with diamonds and emeralds; $9,450 for a gold ring with diamonds and emeralds; and $4,800 for a gold and diamond necklace.

October 27, 1977

The Marcoses donated $1.5 million to Tufts University in Boston, endowing a professorial chair in East Asian and Pacific Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The students and professors discovered this and forced the school to reject the donation. To save face, the Marcoses were allowed to finance several seminars and lectures.

November 2, 1977

Still at her shopping spree, Imelda paid $450,000 for a gold necklace and bracelet with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds; $300,000 for a gold ring with emeralds and diamonds; and $300,000 for a gold pendant with diamonds, rubies, and thirty-nine emeralds.

July 1978

After a trip to Russia, Imelda arrived in New York and immediately warmed up for a shopping spree. She started with paying $193,320 for antiques, including $12,000 for a Ming Period side table; $24,000 for a pair of Georgian mahogany Gainsborough armchairs; $6,240 for a Sheraton double-sided writing desk; $11,600 for a George II wood side table with marble top - all in the name of the Philippine consulate to dodge New York sales tax.

That was merely for starters.

A week later she spent $2,181,000.00 in one day! This included $1,150,000 for a platinum and emerald bracelet with diamonds from Bulgari; $330,000 for a necklace with a ruby, diamonds, and emeralds; $300,000 for a ring with heart-shaped emeralds; $78,000 for 18-carat gold ear clips with diamonds; $300,000 for a pendant with canary diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a gold chain.

After New York, she dropped by Hong Kong where a Cartier representative admitted it was this Filipina, Imelda, who had put together the world's largest collection of gems - in 1978.

May 1979

The Marcos couple celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in a party that cost $5,000,000.00
There was a silver carriage drawn by eight white horses.

November 23, 1978

A house was purchased at 4 Capshire Drive in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (actually near to Philadelphia where Bongbong was taking courses at that time) for use by servants and Bongbong's security detachment.

The Marcoses did not neglect their annual real estate purchase. During this year and next year, 1979, they purchased two properties - one at 3850 Princeton Pike, Princeton - a 13-acre estate for use by daughter Imee as she attended Princeton. The other was a house at 19 Pendleton Drive in Cherry Hill for use of Bongbong and under the name of Tristan Beplat, erstwhile head of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.

April 1979

In two days in New York this month, Imelda spent $280,000 for a necklace wet with emeralds and diamonds; $18,500 for a yellow gold evening bag with one round cut diamond; $8,975.20 for 20-carat gold ear clips with twenty-four baguette diamonds; $8,438.10 for 18-carat gold ear clips with fifty-two tapered baguette diamonds; and $12,056.50 for 20 carat gold ear clips with diamonds. June 1980

For $1,577,000.00 in New York Imelda buys Webster Hotel on West 45th Street. She rewards Gen. Romeo Gatan as a limited partner.. Gatan arrested Ninoy at the beginning of Martial Law.

The insurgents' ranks grew by twenty percent a year.. Meritorious officers in the armed forces experienced low moral due to Marcos' penchant for promotig friends over more deserving officers.

February 16, 1986

In Fe's records of monies paid out during Marcos' last campaign, one unusually large item was authorized by "FL" (First Lady) and paid to Assemblyman Arturo Pacificador on this day. A few days later, two carloads of men drove into San Jose, the provincial capital of Antique. Evelio Javier, head of Aquino's campaign, was watching the votes being counted when the men opened fire and killed Evelio after he was still able to run through town but finally got cornered in a public toilet where he was gunned down in front of shocked townspeople. Pacificador was later convicted of the murder.

February 25, 1986

Marcos fled the Philippines leaving behind a foreign debt of $27 billion and a bureaucracy gone mad. "Cash advances" for the elections from the national treasury amounted to Php3.12 billion ($150 million). The Central Bank printed millions of peso bills, many with the same serial number. Sixty million pesos in newly printed bills were found in a vehicle owned by Imelda's brother Bejo in the Port Area of Manila, and another Php 100 million aboard the MV Legaspi also owned by Bejo Romualdez.

How massive and humongous a loot Marcos took can be deduced from the known losses he left behind.

The known losses he left at the Central Bank included $1.2 billion in missing reserves and $6 billion in the Special Accounts.

Imelda charged off most of her spending sprees to the PNB or Philippine National Bank which creatively wrote off her debts as "unresponded transfers". Ver also used PNB funds to finance his "intelligence" operations.

The known losses at the PNB amounted to Php72.1 billion At the DBP, the losses Marcos left behind totaled Php85 billion; at the Philguarantee, it was Php6.2 billion ; and at the NIDC or National Investment and Development Corporation (NDC) - the losses amounted to Php 2.8 billion.

These losses were primarily due to cronyism - giving loans to cronies that had little or no collateral, whose corporations were undercapitalized, whose loan proceeds were not used for the avowed purpose, and where the practice of corporate layering was common, i.e. using two or more companies with the same incorporators and officers, whereby one company which gives the loan owns the company which obtains the loan, or similar arrangements. The cronies enjoyed their closeness to Marcos. With him they formed a Grand Coalition. They participated in the exercise of dictatorship. But Marcos owned them. The wealth of the cronies belonged to him.

Because of the free rides taken by Imelda, Marcos and the cronies, the Philippine Airlines was in debt by $13.8 billion.

The conservative Grand Total for losses Marcos left behind (and therefore the kind of loot he grabbed and hid) amounted to $17..1 billion.

The Central Bank, the PNB, and other financial institutions badly need an audit. The special review (not regular audit because there seems not to have been any - there are no records anyway) did not uncover Imelda's spending - her name never appeared - and Ver's intelligence fund.

The review gave no hint of theft or missing money, only "downward adjustments" and "proposed adjustments" to "deficiencies" and "shortages of money".

February 26, 1986

A few hours after the Marcos party landed in Honolulu, their luggage arrived - 300 crates on board a C-141 cargo jet. It took twenty-five customs officers five hours to tag the bags and identify the contents. The process was videotaped because of all the money and jewelry found inside.

There were 278 crates of jewelry and art worth an estimated US$5 million. Twenty-two crates contained more than Php27.7 million in newly minted currency, mostly hundred-peso denominations worth approximately US$1,270,000. 00 (It was illegal for anyone to depart the Philippines carrying more than Php500 in cash. )

There were other certificates of deposit from Philippine banks worth about US$1 million, five handguns, 154 videotapes, seventeen cassette tapes, and 2,068 pages of documents - all of which were impounded by Customs. The Marcos party was allowed to keep only US$300,000.00 in gold and $150,000.00 in bearer bonds that they brought in with their personal luggage because they declared them and broke no US customs laws.

There were 24 one-kilo gold bars fitted into a=2 0$17,000 hand-tooled Gucci briefcase with a solid gold buckle and a plaque on it that read, "To Ferdinand Marcos, from Imelda, on the Occasion of our 24th Wedding Anniversary. "

February 1986

When Marcos departed the Philippines, the losses in the three Central Bank accounts surpassed Php 122 billion (more than $6 billion). The big bulk of losses was attributed to the RIR account mainly due to two items: forward cover and swap contracts. Forward cover referred to foreign exchange provided by the CB at a fixed exchange rate to importers of essential commodities. Swap contracts referred to CB's receiving foreign exchange from banks in exchange for pesos at the prevailing rate with a promise to deliver the foreign exchange back to them at an agreed future date.

There was no mention of losses due to CB transactions in gold or foreign exchange.

February 28, 1986

On this day, Jim Burke, security expert from the US Embassy, was tapping on the wooden paneling in Imelda's abandoned Malacanang bedroom when he heard a hollow sound. It was the walk-in vault. Inside were thirty-five suitcases secured with locks and tape. They contained a treasure trove of documents about Swiss bank accounts, New York real estate, foundations in Vaduz, and some notepaper on which Marcos had practiced his William Saunders signature. They also contained jewelry valued at some US$10..5 million.

March 16, 1986

Did Marcos steal any gold from the CB? The CB always refused to comment. Why?

Today the LA Times reported that 6.325 metric tons of gold was unaccounted for in the Central Bank. Between 1978, the year Marcos ordered all gold producers to sell only to the CB, and end 1984, the Bureau of Mines reported that 124,234 pounds of gold were refined.

But the CB reported receiving only 110,319 pounds during this same period. That left a difference of 13,915 pounds (6.325 metric tons).

March 1986

Jokingly referring to themselves as the Office of National Revenge, a vigilante team led by Charlie Avila and Linggoy Alcuaz received a tip in the morning that Marcos' daughter Imee had kept a private office in the suburb of Mandaluyong at 82 Edsa. They obtained a search warrant, then rushed to Camp Crame to pick up some soldiers. After devising a plan, they boarded four cars and drove to the premises, arriving around midnight. The soldiers scaled a fence and sealed off the area. Avila, Alcuaz, and their men moved in and found documents in cardboard boxes, desks, and filing cabinets. Gunfire could be heard outside but it didn't deter the search. The documents revealed the names of offshore companies and overseas investments of Marcos and his cronies - a late link in the paper trail that had been started abroad by the teams of Avila, Steve Psinakis, Sonny Alvarez, Raul Daza, Boni Gillego, and Raul Manglapus.

March 09, 1986

A Greek-American, Demetrios Roumeliotes, was stopped at the Manila International Airport before he could leave with eight large envelopes stuffed with jewelry that he admitted belonged to Imelda - valued at US$4.7 million.

March 15, 1986

Ernie Maceda, Minister of Natural Resources, revealed today that some 7 to 14 tons of Philippine gold are sold to the Binondo Central Bank annually and then smuggled to Sabah, Malaysia - this gold being part of some 20 tons produced by 200,000 panners all over the country. Maceda's query was whether part of the gold they produced was siphoned to the "invisible gold hoard of Ms. Imelda R. Marcos."

"We deliver to the Central Bank," the miners said. "If it happened (the siphoning), it happened in the Central Bank."

Is it true that Marcos propagated the Yamashita myth to hide the fact that he looted the Central Bank, that its gold bars were melted down and recast in odd-size bars to make them look old (how does gold look old, anyway?).

Marcos claimed that he "received the surrender of Gen. Yamashita" after a battle with his guerrilla outfit. History has recorded that Yamashita surrendered to Lt. Co. Aubrey Smith Kenworthy and that there was no battle. Yamashita's peaceful surrender had been arranged at least two weeks before the event.

In one entry in Marcos' diary he noted, "I often wonder what I will be remembered for in history. Scholar? Military hero…?" In a supreme irony, he did achieve what he so vainly sought - lasting fame - but not in the way he envisioned:

The largest human rights case in history - 10,000 victims.

Guinness Book of Records - the world's greatest thief.

The largest monetary award in history - $22 billion..

September 30, 1986

Questioned by Philippine and US lawyers about his hidden wealth, Marcos took the Fifth Amendment 197 times. Imelda followed suit - 200 times.

December 1989

An American jury found the Marcos estate liable for $15 million in the killing of anti-Marcos activists Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo. Manglapus, Psinakis, Gillego and other erstwhile exile oppositionists testified at the trial.

November 04, 1991 Today, a Sunday, the circus came to town. The Swiss Federal Tribunal had ruled the year before that the Philippine government must comply with the European Convention o Human Rights, especially due process. There had to be a lawsuit filed within one year. Thus, the solicitor general's office filed all sorts of cases against Imelda and the government had to allow her to return to answer the charges.

"I come home penniless," she tearfully said on arrival. She then repaired to her suite at the Philippine Plaza Hotel which cost $2,000 a day and rented sixty rooms for her entourage - American lawyers, American security guards and American PR firms.

December 1991

The Central Bank had accumulated losses of Php324 billion in the Special Accounts.

November 30, 1992

The Central Bank; losses were Php561 billion and climbing. Cuisia asked that the CB be restructured. Sen. Romulo asked to see the 1983 audit of the international reserves. He couldn't get a copy. It was "restricted" .

January 05, 1993

Imelda didn't show up for the scheduled signing of a new PCGG agreement. She kept vacillating on the terms and conditions - demanding she be allowed to travel abroad for thirty-three days to confer with bank officials in Switzerland, Austria, Hong Kong and Morocco to work out the transfer of the frozen funds.

Actually she was hoping a guy she had authorized, J..T.Calderon, would be able to move the funds just as the order was lifted, before the government had a chance to transfer them to Manila. When the government discovered the authority, all negotiations with Imelda were halted and her requests for travel suspended.

August 10, 1993

Georges Philippe, a Swiss lawyer of Imelda, wrote today a confidential letter to the Marcoses' old Swiss lawyer, Bruno de Preux, who handled almost all of the Marcos family's hidden accounts in Switzerland. Philippe requested de Preux for the status of:

A $750 million account with United Mizrahi Bank in Zurich;

Various currency and gold deposits at the Union Bank of Switzerland, at Kloten airport and at Credit Suisse;

A $356 million account (now in escrow and worth almost $600 million) which was being claimed by the PCGG.

1994

The human rights jury awarded the victims $1.2 billion in exemplary damages, then $766.4 million in compensatory damages a year after that, for a total of $1.964 billion. Two days after, another $7.3 million was awarded to twenty-one Filipinos in a separate lawsuit.

1995

The US Supreme Court upheld the $1.2 billion judgment.

March 29, 1995

The Swiss Parliament passed a law (an amendment to a previous act) that removed the need for a final judgment of criminal conviction of the accused (such as the Marcoses) in the case of criminally acquired assets which could now therefore be returned to claimants (such as the Philippine government) by Swiss court order.

July 1996

In part because of the torture of Roger Roxas, $22 billion was awarded to his Golden Budha Corporation.

December 10, 1997

The Swiss Supreme Court promulgated a landmark decision that took into account the March 1995 Swiss Parliament act and the fact that new criminal cases had been filed against Imelda Marcos. The court held that there was no need for any criminal proceeding; that a civil or administrative proceeding would suffice, and the Marcos Swiss deposits which had been "criminally acquired" can be returned to the Philippines in deference to the final judgment of the Philippine court as to the ownership of these deposits.

The Swiss court also announced that the interest and reputation of Switzerland was at stake if it would become a haven for money launderers laundering money obtained by crime. Therefore, in the case of the Marcos deposits, because "the illegal source of the assets in this case cannot be doubted" the Swiss court ordered that the money be returned to the Philippines to be held in escrow account in the PNB to await the judgment of the Sandiganbayan in the forfeiture case.

By the way, in January 17, 1975 a secret decree not made public until after the Edsa insurrection was signed by Marcos stating that in the event he became incapacitated or died, power would be turned over to Imelda. On June 7, 1975, in his own handwriting, Marcos amended the January 17th decree and clarified imelda's role as chairperson of committee with presidential powers.

In February 1979, Imelda was named chairman of the cabinet committee, composed of all ministries, to launch the BLISS (Bagong Lipunan Sites and Services) program, an ambitious attempt to centralize control of all economic and social development. She assumed responsibility for the "11 needs of Man" codified in her ministry's mufti-year Human Settlements Plan, 1978-2000. By 1986, the number of Filipinos living below the poverty line doubled from 18 million in 1965 to 35 million. And the ecologic al balance of the country had degraded from 75 % to 27% forest cover remaining - with 39 million acres of forest falling victim to rampant logging. This was BLISS.

She was head of the Metro Manila Commission, which by year-end 1985 had managed to accumulate debts of Php 1.99 billion (which included $100 million in foreign loans) in its ten years of existence. Imelda had accomplished nothing and left the people embittered and even more disillusioned.

In September 1992 Marcos was found guilty of violating the human rights of 10,000 victims. The ruling
occurred just after a judge found Imee Marcos-Manotoc guilty of the torture and murder of Archimedes Trajano, a 21 year old engineering student at Mapua who had the temerity to ask Imee after a speech she gave whether the Kabataang Barangay (a national youth group) "must be headed by the president's daughter?"

Imee and brother Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. have been active in the political scene.. Bongbong, who
finished 3 terms as Ilocos Norte governor, is now running for Senator under Presidential bet, Manny Villar's senatorial slate.. he's been quoted as saying that if given a chance, he'd like to run for President one day...(gads) .
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WOOF Contest Top Picks For March 5, 2010

WOOF Contest – Top  Picks


Poetry

  Bigdaddyrichard – “The Pretentious Prince and His Evil MaidenA poem about the laments of the youngest sibling in a family whose brother left the family in a haste to live with his scheming girlfriend who wanted the boy all for himself.

  Dragon Blogger – “ImprisonedRandom Twitter Poem about insanity and being trapped in your own mind.


 
  Brought to you by PlotDog Press with the Serial Suspense Screenplay "Intervention"
 
  (WOOF participants should re-post all the links above by next Monday. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)

Presenting the finest of the writer’s blogs by the bloggers who write them. Highlighting the top posts as chosen by the March 5, 2010 WOOF Contest participants. Want in to join the next WOOF? The next contest ends March 12. Submit a link to your best writing post of the last 3 weeks using the form on this page. Participants, repost the winning link list within a week and you’re all set.


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Enjoy This New Manny Bilyar Political AD - The Fun And The Pun Is Intended!

Fast circulating on You Tube is this funny political Ad of Manny Bilyar!

It asks the very same question many of us wish to ask from a presidential candidate for the 2010 elections (with the same sounding name)!

Have fun and enjoy the pun!



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Is This The Kind Of President You Want in 2010?

...Or, Why You Should Not Vote Villar As President In The May, 2010 Polls!

How can you vote for someone who is more cunning, more wily, more subtle, more evil scheming than Marcos and Arroyo into the presidency?

I thought we have had enough of too much plunder, too much graft and corruption, too many repulsive 'trapo' politicians? - that's why we stormed the lenght of EDSA to oust a dictator in 1986?

I thought we had grown tired of hearing excuses after excuses, seeing fall guy after fall guy being presented as escape goats, and reading well crafted cover ups after cover ups designed to literally 'sweep under the rugs' the many charges of impropriety and enrichment in office under Arroyo's nine years of despicable rule?

I can not imagine how you can even entertain putting a man like Manny Villar in control of the highest position in the land, when while still a congressman and a senator he had managed to use his authority and influence for the self-serving needs to benefit his various enterprises?...and, much much earlier in his political career,.. and with more astounding finesse at the art of political machination and manipulation than either Marcos or Arroyo!

I can not believe that  many of us today, (about 31% according to the latest surveys), are still  able to entertain the thought of voting for a candidate who had already skillfully mastered the art of deception and manipulation while still a congressman and a senator? (God forbid what he can and will do when he becomes president!)- A candidate who had skillfully honed his ways in using his public office to gain favors for his own companies, and corrupt government institutions by bribing and intimidating its employees in order to produce documents, certifications, and hasty project approvals meant to give him a 'clean bill of health' and provide legalized excuses for his plundering acts should anyone challenge him in the future!

Stop for a while and ask yourselves where Villar got his billions which he is now spending like "Mikey Mouse" money just to become president. Have you not been scandalized by the fact that this candidate has spent 2 billion in political ads in less than 3 months in his desperate pursuit of the presidency?

If your answer is "no" then you must be one of those belonging to the 31% of voters still cheering for Villar (according to the latest surveys)! If your answer is "no", then you must be one of those who have fallen for Villar's rags to riches tale and have swallowed hook line and sinker his empty and statistically improbable promise to totally eradicate poverty all over the country during his presidency!  

(Have you not heard these kind of old empty promises from 'trapo politicians' before every election time?... Repeated over and over again like broken records - only to be forgotten soon enough after they get elected? I can't believe you will still fall for these same old tricks?)

Yet, no, I won't fault you for it. But, do read on to the end of this post!

Do not dismiss this post as another one of those black propaganda (as Villar always says), or a campaign ploy meant only to mudsling your favored candidate! ...because this is not!...Rather, this post is meant to bring out the truth behind the many charges being hurled against candidate Villar! This post is meant to open your eyes to who the real Manny Villar is and at the same time bare his plundering ways!

Take the case of the unpaid 1.5 billion emergency  loan his company  questionably secured from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas while he was Speaker of the House!

According to existing records, Cynthia Villar, wife of the then Speaker of the House Manny Villar together with a certain Anacordita Magno who was the first vice president of  the Villar owned Optimum Development Bank (formerly known as Capitol Development bank) managed to obtain a loan for 1.17 billion on April 22, 1998 and another 334 million on April 24, 1998. Based on the promissory notes signed by Villar and Magno, they promised to pay their loan after six months at an interest rate of 14.957 percent per annum.

As collaterals, they put up -

(1) a property bought by Northwinds Prime Properties Inc. (a Villar company) for over P120 million from Sta. Lucia Realty and Development Corp. which they then mortgaged to Capitol Development Bank (a Villar-owned thrift bank now known as Optimum Development Bank) under the name of ADR Farms in the amount of P150 million (Northwinds making a hefty P30M profit) on July 4, 1996 ; and

(2) a 424 hectare farmland in Norzagaray, Bulacan (valued only at 290 million)  covered by a spurious sales patent issued on July 17, 1944 and an original certificate title issued on July 25, 1944 (The documents submitted by Villar's CDB  to BSP when they made the loan) - questionable and definitely spurious  because the date of issuance of both the sales patent and original certificate title “took place when there was no civil government in the Philippines,” which was then under Japanese occupation. (Commonwealth Act 141, as amended,  “authorizing the issuance of sales patent was illegal and inoperative during the Japanese occupation.”)

(Note: The original owners of this land are farmers whose ancestors have been tilling this land for ages. They are now currently contesting BSP's foreclosure case for the property with the Malolos City RTC.)

From the records, it appears that the first property (1) was eventually sold to RCBC Savings bank by Capitol Development Bank and finally bought back by Palmera Homes (another Villar company). How the transaction pushed through despite the fact that the property  was used as a collateral for the almost 1.5 billion loan with BSP is highly suspicious and questionable.

Apparently, the BSP ended up with only the 484 hectares of agricultural land the ownership of which rightfully belongs to the resident farmers of Norzagaray who in April 27,1964 were granted Original Certificate of Title P-858/Free Patent No. 257917. Unfortunately, the original documents that will prove the farmer's claim burned in a suspicious fire that destroyed the building which houses the local Register of Deeds of Norzagaray in 2007. It was only then,  after the farmers went to the Malolos City RTC to have their titles reconstituted that they found out the land was the subject of a foreclosure proceeding initiated by BSP against Capitol Development Bank - much to their amazement and dismay!

In 2006 (while Villar was already Senate President courtesy of Arroyo), plunder raps were filed by Villar's political opponents covering this issue. It was, however hurriedly and suspiciously dismissed by the Ombudsman for "lack of palpable merit"  (whatever that means)! When the farmers themselves filed a new plunder case later on, Villar's camp were quick to cite double jeopardy! Neat, indeed! Now, they say this is a rehash of an old issue already dismissed by the Ombudsman...but the truth is the case will remain unclosed until the farmers get their end of the justice they deserve!

If you look at the issue objectively, it boils down to the Bangko Sentral granting a huge 1.5 billion loan to Villar's Capitol Development Bank covered by real estate properties which have been grossly over valued (apparently to justify the big loan amount). Now, with the farmers rightfully claiming ownership of the 484 hectares, the BSP risks to lose ownership of the land (should Villar's clout and Mafia like ways fail) ... with it, the whole amount lent to Villar!

However, if Villar wins the presidency, the whole issue will again be swept under the rugs the Arroyo way. The Norzagaray farmers will loose their entitlement to the land that they have been tilling for ages; and the BSP will be 1.5 billion short and holding on only to a  grossly overvalued piece of property!

If you don't call this plunder, what is?
Let us now go over to Iloilo and scrutinize Villar's Savannah Property!

Villar’s company, Crown Communities Iloilo, bought 12.7 hectares in Jibao-an, Pavia, Iloilo from farmer CARP beneficiaries and converted this first-class irrigated rice land into a residential enclave, Savannah Subdivision.  Construction of the subdivision started in the year 2000 but Villar only obtained the Department of Agrarian Reform’s approval to convert the agriculture land into a residential area in 2007 seven years after construction started.

Villar and his henchmen must have studied the CARP closely to find loopholes they can use to circumvent the provisions of the agrarian reform law and ended up buying and owning  land formerly granted to farmer beneficiaries under the CARP - thereby undermining the true spirit of genuine agrarian reform in the country!

Under SEC. 27 of the CARP,  Transferability of Awarded Lands. - Lands acquired by beneficiaries under this Act may not be sold, transferred or conveyed except through hereditary succession, or to the government, or to the LBP, or to other qualified beneficiaries for a period of ten (10) years. Further, under Section 65 of RA 6657 and AO 1 series of 2002 states that after the lapse of five years from its award, when the land ceases to be agriculturally sound and economically feasible or if the locality has become urbanized and the land will have greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, the awarded land  may be converted into residential, commercial and other non-agricultural uses.

Apparently, the first purchase of  12.7 hectares of awarded agricultural land in 2000 was preparatory to acquiring more of the adjacent land awarded to farmer beneficiaries of CARP - because immediately after acquiring said property, they plugged all the irrigation canals there effectively cutting off water supply to the other adjacent lots - rendering it  totally useless as an agricultural land , and (according to section 65 of CARP above) since the land ceases to be agriculturally sound and economically feasible, they may now be used for residential or non agricultural purposes. (Subtle and neat, indeed). The other farmer beneficiaries, denied of the much needed irrigation water, had no choice but to sell out their now agriculturally useless land to Villar's  Crown Communities. This explains the 7 year gap before finally the Department of Agrarian Reform granted them a green light for the conversion.  They needed to render the whole area no longer feasible for agricultural purposes. Villar ended up expanding the project into a 250 hectare prime real estate property. And hey, he also gave his project a much needed boost to perk up its real estate value! Using P4 million from his pork barrel funds, Villar built a 585-meter national road that led right into the entrance of Savannah.... Villar's only public works project in the province! As a Result, from P150 per square meter, Villar's Savannah property has gone up to P3,500 per square meter!

Genuine agrarian reform was one of the clamor of the farmer peasants during the martial law regime. Enacting the CARP into law was Cory Aquino's answer to their clamor during her term. Land to the landless tenant farmers was the ultimate objective of CARP. Unfortunately, Villar, not even a president yet, has already shrewdly crafted a way to undermine it to enrich himself.  He sees a goldmine in them those CARP awarded agricultural lands. He renders them useless for agriculture then buys them cheap. After developing them into housing projects, he then, using funds from his pork barrel, builds a road traversing the property immediately jacking up their real estate values!

Sounds familiar? You bet! That's exactly what he did with the C5 Road extension project! Despite his knowledge of an existing road project that will link C5 with the Coastal Road being undertaken by  the Toll Regulatory Board, despite knowing that the government has already paid millions in road right of way payments for the said project, he initiated another road project running  more than 80% parallel to the existing TRB  road project but longer and traverses more of his housing projects in the area. He effectively forced the
contractor of the toll way to quit knowing Villars road project will render the proposed Toll Way totally usedless!....And with it, down the drain went the millions in RROW payments! We haven't touched much on the Daang Hari Road Project in Cavite which clearly, Villar constructed to link all of his housing projects in the area!

A pattern of using his public office to influence projects that will benefit his companies is turning out clearly to be his primary pre-occupation since he entered politics. It is a good thing that an LA-based Philippine Anticorruption Movement USA, Inc.is now here to help us unearth the truth behind Villar's plundering ways!  Headed by Frank Wenceslao, Pamusa is authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice to work with and submit evidence of corruption against current and former Philippine public officials and people that have colluded with them in conjunction with the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).Wenceslao promised to start publishing its findings starting next month.

Now, in all sincerity,... for the love of your country, ...for the future of your children, for your own sake,... can you still say you'll vote for this man on May 10m 2010!





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The Wily Villar And The Norzagaray Farmers - (Pro-Poor? My Ass!)

People, indeed have short memories! They tend to forget incidents in the past which may have grave implications on current issues they are facing! A case in point is the matter between a group of farmers from Norzagaray, Bulacan who woke up one day to find out that the 484 hectares of farmland the have occupied since the turn of the century is being claimed by its new owners, the Central Bank of the Philippines! They made one fatal mistake - they dealt with Manny Villar (now running for the highest position of the land - God forbid) and his family owned Capitol Development bank (now known  as  Optimum Development Bank)!

Ill-advised by politicians who had an axe to grind against Villar (who by then has wrested the speakership of the House of Congress), the farmers and their lawyers filed plunder cases against Villar - all of which were      subsequently dismissed in his favor as expected! (Ponder...ponder...How can the poor farmers win against a wily businessman-turned-politician who knows how to use  money and influence to nuy himself favors everywhere?)

In retrospect, lets recall that this case was blown into the open by then congressman and former Speaker of the House Joker Arroyo (amazingly one of his staunchest ally and defender today) in a speech he delivered on August 17, 1998.  Smarting from his loss of the speakership of the house in June,1998 to Villar, Joker asked some investigative journalist to dig deeper into information he received about an alleged land-grabbing incident in the hilly town of Norzagaray in Bulacan, right beside the foothills of the Sierra Madre.  Joker charged the new speaker with ten instances of graft and corruption among which was the case of the Norzagaray farmers and the 484 hectares of land they have been tilling since time immemorial which without their knowledge and consent, Villar used as a collateral for a 1.6 billion loan with the Central Bank.

Where is the spin and the rub here ?

To start with, the complaining farmers have occupied and tilled the 484 hectares of land in question for ages now for which they were granted titles in 1960 after proving continuous occupancy of what was then public domain.When a fire destroyed the building which houses Norzagaray's Registry of Deeds in 2007 (suspicious ain't it? ...Happening as it is at the time Villar was sounding out his intention to run for president!), the farmers had the surprise of their lives they filed for a reconstitution of their titles with the Bulacan RTC after that. They found out that the Central Bank was putting a claim of ownership to their land!

As it turned out, the 484 hectares occupied and tilled by the poor farmers was used as collateral for a 1.6 billion loan made by Capitol Development Bank headed then by Villar's wife Cynthia Villar in June, 2001. The loan was not paid on time and the Central Bank claimed the properties in April, 2008 instead.

How can this be? Well, your guess is as good as mine!

But wait, when the Central Bank went to file for the transfer of ownership of the now contested land, they presented the titles surrendered to them by Capitol Development Bank...and guess what!....the original certificate of titles were issued on July 25, 1944 - during the Japanese Occupation when clearly the civil government was non-existent then. Under the Commonwealth Act 141, "the issuance of sales patent was illegal and inoperative during the Japanese Occupation"! (Wily Manny, indeed!)

Today, the farmers are still contesting ownership of the land with the Bulacan RTC. Unfortunately, the farmers and their lawyers were used as political pawns by Villar enemies who saw a possibly bigger case than a simple land grabbing case which may only pin down his wife Cynthia who was president of Capitol Development Bank. They were urged to file a plunder case against Villar instead with a claim that Villar used his influence to get approval for a one and half billion loan with the Central Bank using the 484 Hectarea worth only a mere P290 million.

(A scandalous behest loan?...You bet! But I thought we put a stop to them after EDSA 1? Ask ERAP! All these transpired while he was president and Villar was the Speaker of his choice and mandate!)

Through power and influence, Villar managed to have the plunder cases against him dismissed. As for Senator Joker Arroyo, they are now staunch allies! ( Amazing what money can do even to one who pledged "uubusin ko ang corrupt!) And for the unsuspecting Norzagaray farmers, they still have to regain ownership of their land. Unfortunately for them, they have been left alone to fend for themselves after being used by the corrupt politicians who urged them to file the plunder cases.

As a side comment, allow me to add one more thing. I used to live in the Molino area near the SM  Molino Mall. Along the "Daang Hari" road overlooking SM is a huge vacant lot whose ownership is being contested in court between 3 claimnants.  I have personally witnessed several violent confrontations arising from these conflicting claims which have resulted with several lives lost. Guess who the third claimnant is? (Need I still spell it out?)

You need not wonder anymore why Villar have to spend billions to contend for the highest position in the land? With all these skeletons in Villar's closet, I wonder how Dolphy can still afford to make claims of "walang bahid, walang malisya" in his endorsement of Villar!  Never mind Willy, he is just as wily as Villar. Besides, his words will only have weight within the confines of his noon time show! (Oh, I almost forgot that Dolphy is a comedianne!...and so is Willy!)


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A Philippines that works - From NoyNews-

Villar's refusal to face the senate inquiry on the C5 Extension Project only confirms suspicion that he had indeed enriched himself in office. If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear in the senate inquiry. But his continued refusal to attend the senate session serves as proof of his guilt. If he is innocent as he and his party mates claim he is, there is nothing that should stop him to clear his name on the issue. He can not be trusted much less expected to have transparency in governance should his billions in campaign funds succeed in buying him into Malacanang!  To think that as a senator, he can already do such things...how much more when he becomes president.  Kung walang bahid according to Dolphy, bakit takot humarap at ilabas ang katotohanan. All these so-called righteous people Villar supporters, like Senator Legarda, Joker Arroyo, Peter Cayetano, and Satur Ocampo should talk Villar into facing thecharges hurled against him....lest their own credibility goes down with him. If they think Villar's billions in his campaign kitty will buy them through this controversy, they may be in for the biggest surprise in their political careers....they may all find themselves in the dust bin of political history.




A Philippines that works

    The latest display of parliamentary behavior best exemplifies why we desperately need a Philippines that works. Biro ninyo, pati ba ho naman sex jokes at personalang pagpapatol ang tinitira ng ibang mga senador.

    Hindi daw sisipot sa senado ang akusado dahil he "will not get a fair trial.” I'm sorry Mr Villar, pero bilyones ho ng taongbayan ang pinaguusapan dito. Don't WE deserve a fair trial?

    This is why the Philippines “doesn’t work” in so many different levels: because the system has shamelessly been broken by its leaders.

    This is why we need change. This is why we need transformation. Kaya po kailangan natin ng mga pinunong may paninindigan. We’ve entrusted our country to that kind of leadership before, I don’t see why we can’t do it again.

    Tita Cory’s birthday rekindled the memory of those golden years – as golden as the sunshine she wore. Her sunlight has been cast on her son, and last week at the MBC, I don’t think anyone could dispute that in his economic policy speech he radiated the wisdom, integrity and practical-mindedness we need in a leader.

    The battlecry is simple: pag walang korapt, walang mahirap. The mission itself may be more challenging. It will involve all of us working together as a nation to set in motion the plans Sen Noynoy Aquino has beautifully envisioned (I highly recommend you take time to read or watch the speech).

    Tayo, sa halip na ikaw at ako. Pag nagkaisa tayo, we are well on our way toward a Philippines that works.



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Merry Christmas To One And All!



Hot Glitter Comments @ GlitzHeaven.com

INTO THE HANDS OF THIEVES!

I am reposting this article in the light of new developments in the 2010 Poll Computerization Project being undertaken by controversial Smartmatic in behalf of COMELEC. As per latest news reports, Smartmatic has subcontracted the manufacturing of the vote counting machines to Qisda, China instead of Jarltech, Taiwan which they claimed to have 10% ownership of during the bidding process. Apparently, I was right when I pointed out that the whole thing (about Jarltech) was merely to win the bidding process and circumvent COMELEC bid rules.What worries me is the fact that the whole run-around is being done with the blessings of the Poll Body. I feel there is a need for utmost vigilance from here on and that both Smartmatic and Comelec must  be made to explain the diversion from the original winning bid documents!


(My original post)


Today, I grieve for my country!

Today marks the day when the COMELEC (Commission On Elections of the Philippines) awards the contract for the Poll Computerization Project to Smartmatic!

Today marks the day when the COMELEC is handing over Philippine Democracy to the hands of thieves!

Today marks the day when our freedom to choose our rulers becomes a farce, a cheap sideshow!

Who is Smartmatic?
FACT: Smartmatic is a Venezuelan company funded by the Venezuelan Government under the Dictator Hugo Chavez who narrowly won a recall election which used the questionable Smartmatic machines.

Smartmatic: Hugo Chavez's e-voting firm

London 14.08.05 | The Florida register of companies contains details of the board of directors of Smartmatic Corporation, which is formed by Antonio Mugica, Alfredo Anzola, Antonio Mugica Rivero, Roger Piñate, Antonio Mugica Sesma and Luis Feliu . Its principal place of business is 1001 Broken Sound Parkway, NW, STE D, Boca Raton, FL 33487. The company's history in Venezuela dates back to seven years ago when the venture was "the Research and Development Unit of Panagroup in Venezuela"  .

The Miami Herald reported on Friday May 28, 2004 [ F2 EDITION]:
"A large and powerful investor in the software company that will design electronic ballots and record votes for Venezuela's new and much criticized election system is the Venezuelan government itself... Venezuela's investment in Bizta Corp., the ballot software firm, gives the government 28 percent ownership of the company it will use to help deliver voting results in future elections, including the possible recall referendum against President Hugo Chavez, according to records obtained by The Herald... Until a year ago, the Bizta Corp. was a struggling Venezuelan software company with barely a sales deal to its name, records show. Then, the Venezuelan government -- through a venture capital fund -- invested about $200,000 and bought 28 percent of it" (sic).

Venezuelan journalist Orlando Ochoa Teran investigated the claims published by the Miami Herald and discovered that Venezuelan officials were behind the incorporation of Smartmatic. Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel and Venezuelan Ambassador to the USA Bernardo Alvarez Herrera are intimately related, either through long time friendship or consanguinity relationship, to the directors of Smartmatic. According to registry documents, that went missing after the Herald blew the whistle, the names associated to the company are Alfredo Anzola, Antonio Mugica and families Gabaldon-Anzola and Herrera-Oropeza . The incorporation of Smartmatic took place in the Fifth Mercantile Registry, located in the ground floor of tower B in “Cubo Negro” building in Chuao Caracas. Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel's daughter -lawyer Gisela Rangel Avalos de D'Armas was, at the time, the head of the said registry.
Since March 2004 the CNE has disbursed at least $131 million to Smartmatic.


FICTION: Smartmatic International is a Dutch Corporation!

While it is true that Smartmatic International is registered in Amsterdam, its owners remains to be the same. The registry of the Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce, contains details of a venture trading under the name Smartmatic International Holding B.V., incorporated, under a different name, on March 18th 1.985. Its registered address is Naritaweg 165 Telestone 8, 1043BW Amsterdam. The company activities are described as "to purchase, develop and manage property and goods" . The sole shareholder of the holding is Amola Investments N.V., which in turn was incorporated in the registry of the Chamber of Commerce of Curaçao, under number 91615. A search for Amola Investments N.V. in the register of Curaçao's Chamber of Commerce returns no results. However the incorporation number does exist in the register, containing not information related to Amola Investments N.V. but to another company by the name of Smartmatic International Group N.V.  Curaçao Corporation Company N.V. , Netherlands Antilles Corporation Company N.V.  and Roger Alejandro Piñate Martinez -Vice President, Special Operations of Smartmatic Corporation - are the three listed statutory and managing directors of the group.

 Evidently, Smartmatic's registration with the Amsterdam Chamber Of Commerce was a ploy to make it appear that it is a Dutch company. Apparently, this is in preparation to making a bid for the computerization of the Venezuelan elections as well as to buy total controlling interest on Sequoia Voting System which has a contract to run elections in a county in Chicago, USA.

FACT: Smartmatic does not have a manufacturing facility of its own and only subcontracts its machines with other manufacturing companies which do not carry the products Smartmatic is offering in their catalogs. As in the Venezuelan experience, Smartmatic bought the machines from Olivetti in Italy which never had prior experience in manufacturing electoral machines before.

Info Venezuela News had this to say on the matter:


20.000 AES300 machines were bought from Olivetti, however the Italian firm does not have such a model in its catalog of products but one called MAEL 205, which was designed to play lottery. Ochoa noted that the said machines produced by Olivetti were sold to Peru, India and Tunisia not for electoral purposes. Smartmatic did not fulfill the CNE's criteria in terms of experience in organization and conduct of electoral processes of companies that participated in the bidding process. The obstacle was circumvented by hiring Jorge Tirado, former contractor of IFES and director of Caribbean Government Consultants (CGC):
Jorge Tirado, president of CGC, has been consultant for the State Electoral Commission of Puerto Rico since1975. He has participated in more than 63 electoral processes as consultant or as head of CGC, leading technological initiatives and process lines to ensure transparent elections.
However El Universal reported that Tirado had indeed participated in 63 electoral processes not in the condition of organizer but as an observer contracted by IFES , Jimmy Carter's organization with which he has an old relationship.

FICTION: Smartmatic owns 10% of Jarltech Taiwan which will manufacture the PCOS machines.

Smartmatic's claim of 10% ownership of Jarltech has not been thoroughly verified by COMELEC's SBAC, and available information about Jarltech does not include Smartmatic as one of its investors. For a PHP 11.3B project,  it is but prudent that extensive investigation on the matter must first be made and not rely merely on notarized documents submitted by the bidder (which can easily be fabricated). Besides, PCOS machines have never been fabricated by Jarltech before and this will be the first time they will be producing such machines - which make Smartmatic ineligible in terms of organization and experience in the conduct of electoral processes.

Smartmatic have had a history of circumventing rules to bag a contract as in the Venezuelan experience where they subcontracted the machines to Olivetti. Since COMELEC rules clearly forbids subcontracting the manufacture of the machines, Comelec in possible collusion with Smartmatic officials is bending rules at this point by relaxing eligibility requirements of bidders.

The whole idea behind the prohibition  of subcontracting machines is to make sure the bidder has the manufacturing capability to undertake the project on one hand. On the other hand, it is for security purposes since the only one who undergoes the COMELEC's scrutiny is the bidder and not its subcontractors. For a matter as sensitive as the country's electoral process, this is one area we must all be concerned with. It is a matter we must see to the very end.

FACT: Smartmatic Sold US subsidiary due to CFIUS investigation

Smartmatic purchased Sequoia, a leading voting-equipment vendor, in 2005. The company has been under a cloud of suspicion since the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, began a national-security investigation last fall. The concern was that the Venezuela, headed by President Hugo Chávez, who is known for anti-U.S. antics, might have undue influence in Smartmatic. Given the growing distrust of electronic-voting systems and the fear of vote manipulation, careful review of Smartmatic was justified. Smartmatic initially resisted the CFIUS investigation. Later, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department had undertaken a different investigation of Smartmatic. This investigation was related to possible bribes and tax evasion in Smartmatic's sale of voting equipment to Venezuela's government for use in its 2004 presidential recall election.

FACT: Smartmatic has a convoluted ownership structure

Smartmatic's ownership structure is so convoluted that it is virtually impossible to verify all its owners. Parent company Smartmatic International is owned by a Netherlands company, which is owned by Curacao trusts, which in turn, are controlled by unnamed investors.
The Venezuelan government once had a stake in a company closely linked to Smartmatic. Venezuela invested in Bizta, which is owned by two of Smartmatic's main owners, including Mr. Mujica. Bizta provides software for Smartmatic's voting system and joined Smartmatic in selling that system to the Chávez government for the 2004 recall election. Venezuela sold its stake in Bizta after The Miami Herald reported on the investment, which prompted complaints that the Chávez government shouldn't have any interest in machines that would determine his stay in office.

 FACT: The Smartmatic machines used in the last ARMM election showed some faults. When the machines were presented before Congress, the same faults were noticed. During the just concluded technical evaluation of the machines, smoke came out of the cables.

Observers to the ongoing  technical evaluation of the machines were also prevented from using their cell phones while machine testing was ongoing as they claim the cellphone signals may interfere with the machines' transmission of data....an open admission of a possible machine flaw which amazingly no one paid much attention to.


WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF ALL THESE?

There must be a hidden agenda behind the uncanny haste with which the COMELEC is pushing the Poll Computerization Project. I can even relate the recent Congress' approval of ChaCha as a smoke screen to divert people's attention to it so that the awarding of the project to Smartmatic will go on without a hitch and the project implemented promptly. It is equally concerning that the Parish Pastoral Council have not raised any of these points during the technical evaluation.





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After digging up a huge arms cache in a vacant lot behind the Ampatuan mansions, authorities also raided the NFA warehouse which also turned out to have a sizeable amount of sophisticated weapons and ammunitions and military vehicles. Although they have an idea as to who owns these military hardware, they were careful to point out that they yet have to establish ownership of the same.

Well, they need not go far. They can ask Sham Ampatuan (Zaldy Ampatuan's son?) He has blatantly published pictures of himself showing him test firing these weapons on his public Friendster profile. I am publishing the pictures here before he decides to go private and/or delete the pictures!




These pictures should help them establish ownership of the huge arms cache. They may also contain pictures of possible suspects who might have participated in the actual massacre!
 
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