Rethinking Society Over a Cup of Coffee

Thank you very much for supporting Gov. Grace Padaca!

(This is a repost)
Dear Friends,

After several emotional and stressful days following the release of the Commission on Elections’ resolution declaring Benjamin Dy as the winner of the 2007 Isabela gubernatorial race against incumbent Governor Grace Padaca, we can now take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. The Dy camp’s motion for execution pending appeal was denied, allowing Gov. Padaca to continue as Isabela governor even as she appeals the COMELEC Second Division’s controversial decision.

In the course of five days, we, the friends and supporters of Gov. Padaca, have managed to raise funds for the publishing of a public statement declaring our support for her. The statement was signed by Filipinos from around the nation, including Isabelinos and overseas Filipinos. It was published in the Philippine Star last December 16, 2009 in a full page advertisement. A Tagalog version was also published in Abante the following day, December 17, 2009.

We also came out in support of Gov. Padaca on December 17 when hundreds of supporters from different groups held a peaceful rally in front of the Comelec office as the Second Division decided on the Dys’ motion for execution pending appeal. Among those who came were Gov. Padaca’s fellow Kaya Natin! Champion for Good Governance, Pampanga Gov. Ed “Among Ed” Panlilio, himself awaiting the COMELEC 2nd Division’s decision on the recount case in his province; Atty. Roberto “Bobby” Laurel, president of the Lyceum of the Philippines University where Gov. Padaca graduated as magna cum laude; Arch. Adonis Simpao, the official Liberal Party candidate going up against none other than Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Pampanga’s second congressional district; running priest Fr. Robert Reyes, and YouTube star Mae Paner a.k.a. Juana Change.

Since December 12, people had been generously giving various amounts to fund the publication of the statement and the rally through bank deposits and cash donations. Governor Padaca and the leaders of Kaya Natin! have always been a champion of transparency and accountability, and as such, we would like to practice what we preach. Below is the summary of the donations we have received from December 12-18, 2009 as well as the expenses we have incurred for this cause.

TOTAL DONATIONS: Php 325,218.50

EXPENSES: Php 204,686.75


Noise Barrage (Dec 14, ADMU Gate 2.5) 186.75

Tarps 3,500

COMELEC Rally 12,000

Philippine Star full page ad 151,000

Abante full page ad 38,000

CASH ON HAND (for future activities): Php 120,531.75

As of December 19, 2009, we have officially turned over the remaining funds to Governor Padaca, which she advises to keep on hand for future activities related to the case.

On behalf of Governor Grace Padaca, we would like to sincerely thank everyone for believing in the truth and in the integrity of Gov. Padaca, for donating to our fight, and for upholding the standards of good governance not just in Isabela but in the entire Philippines. We hope that you will continue to support Gov. Padaca and our other Champions of Good Governance and Ethical Leadership as we continue to fight the good fight in our country.

We pray that God will reward your generosity a hundredfold!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Kaya Natin,

Kai Pastores

Harvey Keh

Public Statement of Support for Gov. Padaca

(this is a public statement from a group who believes that Gov. Grace Padaca is the Legitimate governor of Isabela)

By now, most of you will have known the situation that Isabela Governor Grace Padaca is in.. After beating fiercest opponent, former Gov. Benjamin Dy of the 40-year-old political dynasty, by more than 17,000 votes last 2007, she resumed her job of being Isabela's chief executive for a second term. Under her leadership, Isabelinos enjoyed more than five years of good governance.

However, early last week, the Commission on Elections Second Division with Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph decided that Gov. Padaca had in fact lost to Dy by a margin of 1,051 votes. They cited electoral fraud as the main reason, something that almost everyone finds hard to believe. Even evidence presented by the Dys is questionable and can still be rebutted by Padaca's camp.

On Monday, December 14, Gov. Padaca and her lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration at the Comelec office. Normally, the party being ousted can still assume the position he or she is in until the case goes to the Supreme Court and the final decision given. But Benjamin Dy has filed a motion for execution pending appeal, so that even while the case is being heard by the appropriate offices, Padaca needs to vacate the governorship and Dy can immediately assume the position.

The Comelec issued a 12,000-page resolution for Padaca's case. How much easier would it be to issue a one-page decision approving Dy's motion for execution pending appeal?

We need to let Commissioners Ferrer, Tagle, and Yusoph know that Filipinos will not tolerate corruption in an institution as significant as the Commission on Elections. They need to know that they cannot just side with anyone, but with the truth. If we make our voices heard, it will give them a chance to think about what they are going to do.

We will be releasing a public statement which anyone who agrees can support and sign. In order to create maximum impact, we are planning to publish the statement together with the names of the supporters in a major newspaper. We will need funds for this, and so we ask for people with good hearts who are willing to contribute any amount towards this cause. We plan to publish the statement below on December 16, giving us only a few days to raise the money. We would appreciate any and all assistance that we can get in ensuring that Gov. Padaca gets a fair decision.

Moreover, we will also be holding a peaceful rally on December 17 in front of the Comelec office, to show the Second Division that Filipinos are watching and standing guard for the truth, and to show support for the embattled Governor Padaca. Assembly time is 6:00 in the morning in front of the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila. Further details will be announced as the plans are smoothed out.

Below is the public statement that we need to publish. If you agree and want to sign the statement, kindly email your complete name, place of origin, and contact details to If you wish to contribute to have the statement published, you may send your donations to:

BPI Family Savings Bank
SA # 5976 2700 47
Acct Name: Karla Pastores


Bank of the Philippine Islands
SA # 3086 3883 46
Acct Name: Harvey Keh

Please fax the deposit slip to 02-4265657 or email a scanned copy to for proper accounting. Thank you very much and we hope you can help disseminate this!:)


We, democracy and freedom-loving Filipinos, fully stand by Isabela Governor Grace Padaca who we believe is the legitimate winner of the 2007 gubernatorial elections in the said province amid an unfair ruling by the Commission on Elections Second Division composed of Commissioners Nicodemo Ferrer, Lucenito Tagle and Elias Yusoph.

As fellow Filipinos, we believe that this resolution to unseat Governor Padaca in favor of former Governor Benjamin Dy is highly questionable and the evidence raised forth against Padaca raises significant doubt as to the validity of Dy’s claims of electoral fraud resulting to his loss.

The May 2007 elections saw Governor Padaca win by 17,007 votes over Benjamin Dy. Had Governor Padaca used dishonest means, this kind of margin will be next to impossible to pull off given that Padaca’s resources are scant and her political machinery nonexistent. If there is a candidate with a vast campaign fund and an organized machinery, it would most certainly be the Dy family who have been in power in Isabela for over forty years, until Padaca defeated them in the 2004 elections.

Governor Padaca has shown integrity as the highest government official of the province, not to mention efficiency and strong political will, all without dubious, illegal transactions. Her campaign against illegal logging in the Sierra Madre mountains has so far proven successful especially after Typhoon Pepeng hit Northern Luzon late this year. Her other programs have greatly benefited the people of Isabela, including health, education, good governance and electoral reforms.

In the past five and a half years that Governor Padaca has served as the local chief executive of Isabela, she has encountered numerous unnecessary problems, among them flagrant non-cooperation by some government offices with the provincial government leading to conflicts. These particular offices are not known to support Governor Padaca; however that does not give them an excuse to disregard common courtesy and protocol and fulfill their duties as required by law.

This should not be the case for any government official. Padaca won in 2007 via a clean and honest election and deserves to be treated as such. The Comelec’s resolution ousting Padaca is not the first attempt of her opponents at regaining control of Isabela. However, the people of Isabela themselves have shown that they have chosen Padaca to govern them for another term, and they, along with the rest of the Filipinos who believe in her and in justice, will not rest until the truth prevails.

We call on all supporters of Governor Padaca as well as Filipinos who believe in good governance to fight against corruption and injustice being done to a good Filipino leader. We believe that this issue is not confined solely to the borders of Isabela, but concerns all Filipinos. We cannot let this happen in Isabela inasmuch as we refuse to let it happen in our own provinces, cities, and municipalities. The fight here is between right and wrong, between good governance and corruption, between truth and falsehood. If we let this injustice happen, we will continue to be at the mercy of a corrupt system that seeks to destroy democratic institutions which were established to serve the needs of the people, not the interests of a selfish few. As citizens of the Philippines, we have the duty to preserve the integrity of our democratic institutions and hold accountable officials who fail to uphold the truth.

Let us not allow evil to triumph and together let us take a stand for the truth, for justice, and for good governance. The fight of Isabela is a fight of the entire Philippines.

Manifesto of Support for the Candidacy of Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III and Manuel “Mar” Roxas III as President and Vice President

Who would have thought it would take the death of a human being to bring about the rebirth of a nation? If this paradoxically sounds like the saga of Ninoy who sacrificed his life against a dictatorship, a new catalyst highlights the other dimensions of injustices and inequalities that systematically and continuously plague this country. Rejuvenated by the passing away of Ninoy's better half and venerated beacon of democracy, the people wage anew the fight against deplorable practices of traditional politics and the wanton corruption of democratic principles by enterprising breeds of greedy and self-serving politicians. Indeed, the spontaneous outpouring of grief during Cory’s wake and funeral cortege was more than just an expression of public condolence; in fact, this was a very strong statement of a national convalescence in search for change.

It was difficult not to take notice of this new wave of people power—of the wisdom of crowds clamoring for the restoration of genuine reforms in the socioeconomic and political climate across the archipelago. If the recent poll surveys are indications of smart choices, then we know who these crowds look up to.
We therefore welcome the declaration of Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino to run as President. In the same spirit, we also thank Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, who gave way to extend his hand of unity with Noy and become his running mate as Vice President in the coming 2010 National Elections. We trust the duo best represents a team who shall heed and carry on the people’s aspirations for a better Philippines—dear motherland we have longed to see stand tall again, lifted back to her lofty position of respect and dignity she once enjoyed in Asia and the rest of the world.

We, the undersigned, therefore express our firm and wholehearted support for the Aquino-Roxas ticket, predicated upon mutual crusade and participation in the restoration and promotion of good governance, transparency, accountability, and honesty and integrity in government. As Mindanaons, we also stand behind a team who we believe will pursue the attainment of lasting peace, the promotion of development, and the care for the environment. Inured already as we are by cynicism of political promises, we remain fervent in our hope that these visions will not be regarded as mere motherhood statements but as categorical targets for reforms to bring back our trust and respect to the government.

Thus we enjoin everyone to rally their support behind the Noy-Mar tandem by making this forum the start of a people's campaign for genuine change in the sociopolitical landscape.

Done this 30th day of October 2009, in the City of Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, the Philippines.



We, the sovereign peoples of Mindanao, call on the Senate of the Philippines and the House of Representatives to immediately pass a joint resolution calling for a constitutional convention in 2010:

Whereas, there is a pervading sense of hopelessness and despair among the peoples of the Land of Promise arising from the unceasing armed conflict, poverty, internal displacement and political instability which perpetuate the culture of violence and intimidation;

Whereas, the situation calls for structural changes and reforms which can be made possible only through the amendment of the 1987 Constitution, as has been proposed nationwide by the Citizens' Movement for a Federal Philippines (CMFP).

Whereas, the peoples of Mindanao have traditionally viewed proposed amendments to the constitution with apathy, and even suspicion, believing them to be a Trojan horse for the perpetuation of political dynasties and their vested interests;

Whereas, the Lumad, the Bangsa Moro and Christians can realize their just desire for self-determination, for liberation from fear and want, for political stability, and autonomy through a Federal Constitution, which requires changes in the present charter;

Now, therefore, in consideration of the foregoing, we, the sovereign peoples of Mindanao now call on the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass a joint resolution calling for the holding of a constitutional convention in 2010 and for the election of delegates in the national elections scheduled for May 11, 2010;

Resolved further, to let copies of this resolution be provided to the President of the Philippines, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Commission on Elections, and other pertinent organizations and agencies for their consideration.

Done this 24th day of July 2009 in the Islamic City of Marawi, Mindanao, Philippines.

Mindanao Congress of Development NGOs and NGIs (MINCON) • Lihok Pideral Mindanaw (LPM) • Mindanao Peace Advocates Conference (MPAC) • MASS-SPECC Cooperative Development Center • Moro Movement for Federalism (MMF) • Citizens' Movement for a Federal Philippines (CMFP)

Rey Magno Teves, Chairperson, CMFP • Cong. Mujiv S. Hataman, Cong. Ariel C. Hernandez, Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-List • Cong. Cresente C. Paez, Cong. Jose R. Ping-ay, NATCCO Party-List • Charlito Z. Manlupig, Secretary General, LPM • Sylvia Okinlay-Paraguya, CEO, MASSSPECC • Romeo Dahuyag, PASCRES-Caraga • Andre Atega, Lihok Federal Karaga (LFK) • Greg Hontiveros, Lihok Federal Karaga (LFK) • Isidro Madaje, Chairman, FEDARCCO • Datu Hawudon Mangguyaba / Rusty S. Porogoy, Chairman, Manobo / Mamanwa – Santiago Municipal Tribal Council • Fiscal Danny Serrano, Drafter, Caraga State Constitution • Jimmy Beray, Chairman, BCB MPC • Atty. Franklin M. Quijano, Iligan City

Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) • Alliance of Bangsamoro for Peace and Sustainable Development (ABPSD) • Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. (BMFI) • Katilingbanong Pamahandi sa Mindanaw, Inc. (KPMFI) • Bangko sa Balay Foundation, Inc. (BBFI) • Zamboanga Peninsula Rehabilitation Center (ZAPP) • Zamboanga Association of Former Priests and Seminarians (ZAFPAS) • Xavier Agriculture Extension Service (XAES) • Harakat Islamia1 • Ompia Party • Lanao Youth • Lanao Eagle’s Clans • Insan Islamic Assembly • Pailig Development Foundation, Inc. (PDFI) • Technical Assistance Center for the Development of Rural and Urban Poor (TACDRUP) • Lihok Pideral Dabaw (LPD) • Philippine Agrarian Reform Fund (PARFUND)

Contact Persons: Mr. Rey Deang (CMFP-Secretariat) 09266854561
Mr. Paul Paraguya (CMFP-Mindanao) 09209525106
Mr. Cesar Villanueva (CMFP-Visayas) 09192869470

Military operations displace 281 families in Surigao del Sur

Massive military operations have forced the evacuation of 281 families with 1,659 individuals from 14 communities in the municipalities of Lianga and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. Students and staff from the Alternative Learning System for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV) and Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur have also been forced to evacuate. Classes have been suspended.

Two battalions from the 36th and 58th brigades of the Philippine Army arrived in Lianga and San Agustin on July 13 and have been living inside the communities of Kilometer 16 and Han-ayan. In Kilometer 9, they are even staying inside people’s houses.

ALCADEV teacher Jerume Loquite was prevented from bringing four sacks of rice to the ALCADEV students. The commanding officer at the Sammilia checkpoint, Col. Pedralves, told him that he did not believe that there were any students at the school.

People of the community called for a dialogue with the military in order to appeal for peace and to ask the military to leave the area. But the military refused to leave. They said that they were part of a research team for peace and development that had come to evaluate communities for possible projects.

As a result, the community decided to leave their villages if the military insisted on staying. They did not want to get caught in military operations. Together with ALCADEV and TRIFPSS students and staff, they walked for seven hours from Han-ayan to the municipal gym in Lianga. They joined 48 families from the community of Logdeck, who have been displaced for a month as a result of military operations in their area.

This is the third time in five years that an evacuation has occurred. There were previous evacuations in 2005 and 2007. Militarization is a perennial problem in the area. When soldiers enter a community and visit people’s houses, the people become too scared to farm. There is also forced recruitment of the lumads into bagani force as part of the province-wide Task Force Gantangan.

The evacuees say that they need food, and eventually, medicine, if the evacuation continues to last. Water supplies are low and there is a lack of latrines. There are no beds and some people do not even have mats to lie on.

“The military should respect our culture and recognize our efforts at building a sustainable and secure economy,” says Jose* a member of the organization Malahutayong Pagkibisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU).

After every evacuation, the people must start their livelihoods again. As a result, there is little development.

MAPASU member Jean* says that if the military insists on working in the mountain communities, they should not operate in the communities but in the mountains. Community members add that the military should stop forcing lumads to join the bagani force.

All of the evacuees hope to return home soon.

*Names have been changed to protect the people’s identities

Prepared by:
Research and Documentation Desk
Social Action Center, Diocese of Tandag