Monday, March 31, 2008

Domestic Murder

It was never a factual issue that William Corpuz murdered his wife, Marisa, in their San Francisco home in September of 2004. Corpuz turned himself in to the police and confessed that he had slashed his wife’s throat with his fishing knife. The legal question was whether he was guilty of murder in the first degree (a mandatory sentence of 26 years to life) or in the second degree (16 years to life).

After a four week trial in May of 2007, a San Francisco jury deliberated for 1 ½ days and unanimously agreed that Corpuz was guilty of murder 1. But on March 14, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jerome Benson overruled the jury and reduced the charge to murder 2.

Because he confessed to the crime, the facts were never in dispute. Corpuz, a caregiver in a home for the elderly, had been previously arrested in September of 2003 for domestic violence (DV) for choking his wife and then slamming her head face-first into the headboard of their bed.

Despite a long history of being a victim of her husband’s violence, Marisa stood by her man and minimized her injury to get the District Attorney to reduce the DV felony charge to a misdemeanor. He was released on probation on condition he attend a 52-week domestic abuse program.

Corpuz enrolled in a year of weekly two-hour sessions at AVACA, the Abuse, Violence and Anger Cessation Alliance, a program which stressed “a new technique that focuses on abusers' thought patterns and cultural conditioning, in hopes of changing the way they deal with stress”. Among the 150 people who have gone through this program, Corpuz was considered a model student who was always on time for his sessions, paid his fees, actively engaged in class discussions, bought and read books on domestic violence. He attended 39 weekly sessions, the last one just four days before he killed his wife.

In his police confession, Corpuz admitted that he had originally intended to shoot his wife that morning and prepared a gun with a single bullet two hours before the murder, but decided instead to get two knives from the kitchen. After two hours watching TV together in their bedroom, Corpuz said Marisa’s laughs and insults caused him to “explode” and slash his wife's throat. "I don't know. It just happened," he told police.

Corpuz’s attorney, Randall Martin, called him "extremely remorseful" and said that Corpuz had suffered long-standing emotional abuse during the marriage. "He was emasculated, depressed, ashamed and suicidal," Martin said in asking the judge to reduce the charge to murder 2.

In announcing his decision, Judge Benson said that while the killing was an "outrageous and savage domestic violence murder,...(he) found that under state law, deliberation had been absent from Corpuz's acts." According to California Penal Code § 189, however, murder in the first degree includes “lying in wait” or “any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing.” But Benson did not believe Corpuz had deliberated enough for a murder 1 conviction and instead blamed state law for not including domestic violence as a “special circumstance” that would mandate a murder 1 conviction.

"Now why should a person who beats and kills his wife or girlfriend be treated differently from a stranger who kills someone during a robbery?" asked Marily Mondejar, President of the Filipina Women's Network (FWN).

Mondejar’s group had attended the trial and the March 14 sentencing hearing of Corpuz and was outraged at the sentence reduction. At a press conference on March 26, FWN members denounced the Benson decision and called for legislation that would include domestic violence as a “special circumstance” that would mandate a murder 1 conviction just as a murder committed during a robbery attempt.

But this would be a double-edged sword. Wives who kill their abusive husbands, even though in self-defense, may be charged with this special circumstance allegation as well. The solution, according to Beverly Upton for the Domestic Violence Consortium, may be found in “encouraging judges to look at how they can interpret the law to do more justice for women and communities in domestic violence and sexual assault."

At the FWN press conference, Upton disclosed that in the year she first assumed her post in San Francisco in 1998, there were 10 women who were murdered in the city as a result of domestic violence and four of the victims were Filipino women.

On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in the US every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. According to the Domestic Violence Prevention Fund (, as many as three million women in America are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends per year. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. According to a 1998 Commonwealth Fund survey, nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.

What accounts for this violence against women? A clue may be found in a new 2004 Spanish law which redefined domestic violence as "a violence originating from the position of power of men over women.” The rationale for the law is that as long as men grow up in a culture which emphasizes male superiority over women and which views women as the property of men, there will be male violence against women.

"Marisa Corpuz is at peace now, but this murder really heightened awareness of domestic violence in the Filipino community," Mondejar noted.

Those wishing to have their awareness of domestic violence heightened should watch the premier performance of A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer at the Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco. This production of the Filipina Women’s Network includes men for the first time (I’m in it and so is Filipinas magazine publisher Greg Macabenta). For more information, please call (415) 278-9410 or log on to

Monday, March 24, 2008

English Psychosis

The March 15 Las Vegas rematch of Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez for the Super Featherweight Championship of the World turned out to be every bit as “Super” as it was hyped up to be. Two evenly-matched gladiators fought toe-to-toe for 12 rounds, fighting with all the power and heart they could muster. In the end, though both were bloodied but unbowed, Pacquiao won a split-decision by one razor-thin point.

In the post-fight press conference, Pacquiao commented on the fight in English, without using an interpreter: “The first knockdown, I was very happy," he said. "I think I controlled the fight already. In the next rounds, I had a bad cut on my eye and I didn’t see his punches. It was hard to punch back to him.”

With a Spanish interpreter, Marquez said: “Yes, I thought I won this fight and I still think I won this fight. Maybe the judges were thinking I was the challenger, but I connected with the most powerful punches and the most accurate punches.”

In previous press interviews where the Pacman spoke, always in English without an interpreter, he would often find himself grammatically challenged (though he is getting better) and his fight assessments somehow appeared simple-minded as though the English words that would articulate his actual insights were just beyond his reach. In contrast, whenever the Mexican fighters spoke, always with interpreters, they seemed to exhibit more depth in their analysis.

I always wondered why the Pacman didn’t just speak in Tagalog or Cebuano and have an interpreter translate his words into English so that he could also appear to be as articulate and intelligent as his Mexican opponents. Was it pride?

That same question popped up at the 2008 Bb. Pilipinas beauty pageant that was held recently at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on March 9. Janina San Miguel, a 17 year old freshman student at the University of the East, made it to the finals after winning awards for Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown. But then came the interview:

One of the judges, Vivian Tan, asked her “what role did your family play to you as candidate to Binibining Pilipinas?” Janina’s answer, on youtube, has already drawn more than two million hits (combining all versions). Here it is:

“Well, my family’s role for me is so important b’coz there was the wa- they’re, they was the one who’s… very… hahahaha… Oh I’m so sorry, ahhmm… My pamily… My family… Oh my god.. I’m… Ok, I’m so sorry… I… I told you that I’m so confident… Eto, ahhmm, Wait… hahahaha, ahmmm, Sorry guys because this was really my first pageant ever b’coz I’m only 17 years old and hahaha I, I did not expect that I came from, I came from one of the tuff ten. Hmmm, so… but I said that my family is the most important persons in my life. Thank you.”

In the youtube video, the audience guffaws were as audible as the looks of consternation and bemusement by the judges. Despite her gaffe, however, Janina won the contest and will represent the Philippines in the Miss World competition that will be held in the Ukraine.

But overnight, dozens and dozens of Filipino blogs commented on Janina’s selection with most making fun of Janina’s accent and poor grammar. Many questioned how she could possibly hope to win the world title when she can’t speak English properly.

If these blog commentators ever watched any of those international beauty pageants, they would note that interpreters are regularly used so that the non-English speaking contestants are able to articulate their answers with ease and not be limited by their unfamiliarity with English.

Why couldn’t the question to Janina have been posed to her in Tagalog and her answer delivered in Tagalog and then translated into English for the benefit of US Ambassador Kristie Kenney who was one of the judges? There must be a reason for why the contest that used to be “Miss Philippines” is now “Binibing Pilipinas”.

The online web portal,, observed that “the use of English is not an issue for some contestants who can speak it fluently. There are a few young girls however, who did not have the luxury of attending an expensive private school where English is taught, or who do not belong to that social strata of Philippine society where proficiency in English is the norm.”

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo reprimanded the people ridiculing Janina. “Give the young girl a break!”, he wrote. “If she speaks ungrammatical English, blame it on the country’s educational system…You expect Janina to speak fluent English when our former president, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, speaks carabao English? C’mon, guys, you expect too much from a 17-year-old girl!” attributed the problem to our “national psychosis with regards to the English language”: “Tune in to most radio stations in Metro Manila and you'll hear Filipino DJ's straining to sound like Americans; sit-in on corporate meetings in boardrooms along Ayala Avenue and you will notice that greater deference is given to those who can say what they have to say in English. Say the same thing in Tagalog and it somehow carries a lot less weight or importance.”

“While proficiency in a foreign language is commendable, especially in this era of globalization," noted further, "the value of a foreign language should not be gained by denigrating our national language. Tagalog or Pilipino should be given the respect it deserves and be allowed to co-exist alongside all other languages...only then will we begin to appreciate and respect who we really are as a people.”

Psychosis is a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality." People suffering from it are said to have delusional beliefs. So what is our delusional belief about speaking English?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Flor's Misfortune, Jennifer's Redemption

Flor R. Contemplacion, a 42- year old Filipina domestic worker mother of four, was executed in Singapore on March 17, 1995 for the murders of domestic worker Delia Maga and her four year old ward, Nicholas Huang. Just before her execution, however, two Filipino witnesses came forward with evidence that Huang's father framed Contemplacion after killing Maga in a fit of rage when he found his epileptic son accidentally drowned after Maga left him in the bath tub, unaware of his condition.

Although Contemplacion had neither the motive, means or opportunity to kill Maga and her ward, Singapore police managed to secure her conviction on the basis of her torture-induced confession (see film reenactment below). The authorities refused to consider any new evidence that might contradict their convenient wrap-up of the case and proceeded with her public hanging.

(Nora Aunor portrays Flor Contemplacion in the movie adaptation of Contemplacion’s life and death. Scene here shows the reenactment of her torture by Singapore police.)

When Contemplacion’s coffin arrived in Manila, thousands of Filipinos waited at the airport to honor her as a victim of injustice and as a symbol of the hardships and sacrifices of overseas Filipino workers.

At the time of Contemplacion’s execution, Jennifer Drake Larsen, the granddaughter of an American serviceman, was living in Cavite province with her American husband, James Larsen Sr., and their 3-year old son, James Jr. She could not have imagined how Contemplacion’s death would affect her.

Jennifer Larsen had been a victim of domestic violence in the US when she fled her businessman husband and their home in Walnut Creek, California and returned to the Philippines with their son. After arriving in Manila, however, she phoned her husband. “You can join us here if you want,” she told him, “because I know you can’t hurt me here.” She gave him the phone number where he could reach her if he accepted the invitation.

After Jennifer and her son had been living in Cavite for a few months, her husband accepted her invitation, flew to Manila, and joined them. What Jennifer knew was that she would be safe in her home turf. What she did not know was that Larsen had filed a criminal complaint for child abduction against her in Walnut Creek and that a warrant of arrest had been issued for her.

Larsen lived with Jennifer and their son in Cavite for several months until he convinced his wife to return back to their Walnut Creek home, promising that he would never hit her again. Jennifer agreed but, in case Larsen reneged on his promise, decided to leave her son in Cavite with relatives and to just return to California by herself.

Larsen was disappointed with Jennifer’s decision but still brought Jennifer to the Manila airport to see her off. He had to take care of some business matters in Manila, he said, and he would join her home shortly. As soon as Jennifer’s plane took off, however, Larsen went straight to the US Embassy to inform the FBI that a wanted fugitive would soon be arriving in Honolulu on a PAL flight bound for San Francisco.

When Jennifer landed in Honolulu, two FBI agents were waiting to arrest her for felony child abduction. She was handcuffed and locked up at the Honolulu city jail for an indefinite period awaiting extradition to California.

In the aftermath of Flor Contemplacion’s execution, there was widespread condemnation of the Philippine government’s failure to do more to help overseas Filipinos like Contemplacion. Responding to the popular outrage, President Ramos directed all Philippine consuls abroad to check the jails of their jurisdictions to seek out and help Philippine citizens in need of government assistance.

Following the directive of her government, the Philippine Consul General in Hawaii, Solita Aguirre, personally visited the Honolulu prison for the first time and found out about Jennifer. Consul Aguirre learned that she had been in jail for a few weeks awaiting extradition to California with bail set at $500,000 and that she had been brought before a magistrate in prison garb, with chains on both her ankles and wrists.

Consul Aguirre contacted San Francisco Consul Tessie Marzan to lend assistance to Jennifer. After Jennifer was extradited to Walnut Creek, Consul Marzan contacted me and asked me to represent Jennifer pro bono. In an April 24, 1995 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Jennifer defiantly declared: “They could tell me that I could spend the rest of my life in jail, but I don't care, I am not going to let him have custody of my child.”

When I visited Jennifer at the Martinez detention facility, she expressed her willingness to sacrifice her life for her son. I assured her that she would get her son back. After Jennifer had been confined for nearly two months in jail in May of 1995, I worked out a deal with the court for Jennifer to be released on her own recognizance if her son was returned back to his father in Walnut Creek within seven days. Jennifer reluctantly agreed to the deal and asked her sister to fly to Manila to pick up her son and turn him over to his father, which she did on the 7th day, just a few hours before the deal would have expired. As agreed, Jennifer was released from custody without bail.

But the District Attorney refused to dismiss the charge or to even offer a plea bargain to reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor with no jail time. The D.A. wanted Jennifer to go to state prison.

During the 10-day jury trial held in September of 1995, Jennifer recounted how businessman James Larsen went to her family’s home in Florida and convinced her parents that she would be better off living with him in his beautiful home in Walnut Creek than with her poor family in a trailer in Florida.

Jennifer was only 17 when she moved in with then 34 year old James Larsen. The following year, when she turned 18, Jennifer married James and gave birth to James Jr. The physical beatings began then, she said, especially when her husband was drunk.

Jennifer did not have family in California and did not know how or who to report her husband’s abuse. When she complained to her parents, they assumed that she had done something wrong to make her husband angry. Just be patient, they counseled her, and follow what her husband wants her to do.

After one beating, she told her husband that she would leave him. Larsen then took out her son’s US passport and tore it to pieces in front of her, warning her that if she ever left him, she would never see her son again.

So one day, in May of 1994, feigning a trip to the dentist, Jennifer went to the airport with her Philippine passport and her son’s new US passport and boarded a PAL plane for Manila.

In his testimony, Larsen denied all allegations of abuse and portrayed Jennifer as an unreasonable and spoiled wife who did not appreciate all that he had given her.

An element of the crime of child abduction (California Penal Code Sec. 278), I told the jury in closing argument, is the intent to “detain or conceal the child from a lawful custodian”. Jennifer contacted Larsen as soon as she landed in Manila and invited him to join them and he, in fact, joined them. Where was the concealment? The jury deliberated for a few hours and returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

After the trial, Jennifer regained custody of her son.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Arab View of Pinoy People Power

The 22nd anniversary of People Power came and went on February 25 without commemoration by a single US newspaper editorial. I googled the Internet and found none. But while googling, I stumbled on a March 9, 2008 editorial in the Arab News, the “Middle East's Leading English Language Daily,” commenting on People Power in an editorial entitled “What’s Best for the Philippines.”

The 30-year old publication based in Saudi Arabia commented that “the million-strong people power demonstrations that drove Philippine’s dictator Ferdinand Marcos from office and into exile in 1986 was another epic demonstration of what a public fed up with a corrupt and inept regime can achieve. Indeed, what the Filipinos achieved may well have inspired the mass demonstrations in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and finally Romania that brought about the collapse of state communism.”

I was completely surprised by this observation coming from a country that is an absolute monarchy, with a Sharia religious court system administered by Muslim clerics and faithfully based on the Koran. In its website, however, Arab News presented itself as a much more democratic institution priding itself as “the most frequently read and quoted source of information about Saudi Arabia, while in the Kingdom, Arab News has become a forum for ideas — a place for voices to be heard and controversies debated, a place for the common man to consider uncommon ideas and gain understanding about a variety of issues in an increasingly interconnected world.”

In that editorial on the Philippines, it observed a “big difference” between People Power experiences in Eastern Europe and the Philippines. “While the countries of the former Soviet bloc have settled down to democracy,” the paper remarked, “the mass protest has become dangerously embedded in Philippine politics. It was used a second time in 2001 to bring half a million people onto the streets demanding the ouster of the blatantly corrupt and woefully disappointing President Joseph Estrada.”

“Now public protest is being used a third time against his then deputy and successor President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who in the last seven years has survived four attempted coups and three motions to impeach her,” the Arab News noted.

President Arroyo, the paper reported, is accused “of covering up a payola scandal involving her husband and senior aides and at worst of being involved herself. She has used her executive powers to try and stop officials from giving evidence to a commission of enquiry. Some who have challenged her have been subjected to harassment, for instance by the tax authorities. The aide who blew the whistle faces prosecution for violating state confidentiality rules. All in all, it is not an edifying spectacle nor unfortunately is it out of the ordinary for Philippine politics, so deeply stained with a tradition of graft, made worse by a consistent failure to drive through social and welfare reforms.”

There are close to four million Filipinos in the US and yet not one US publication has made a similar observation or has even commented on the current crisis in the Philippines. There are only about a million Filipinos living and working in Saudi Arabia, but they constitute a larger percentage of the Saudi population than we do in the US. That may explain the Arab News interest in the Philippines.

It appears well-informed about the Philippines, especially when it observes that “Arroyo seems determined to face down the popular protest and complete her term. She doubtless takes comfort from the smaller numbers of people who have been bothered to take to the streets yet again to protest. Her attitude is, however, as wrong as is the idea that unpopular governments should be driven from power by mass demonstrations.”

So "what's best for the Philippines" according to Arab News?

It doesn't endorse another People Power - “The problem with crowds that topple governments is they leave a leadership vacuum that can be filled by rogues. If Filipinos value democracy, they must use the ballot box, not the streets to register their opinions,” the paper concluded.

In a throwback to the Marcos era, its suggestion is for President Arroyo to call for a “snap election” to “give Filipinos a chance to consider who should best be leading them.”

Arab News may not understand that there is no constitutional basis for President Arroyo to hold “snap elections” even if she agreed to do so. Marcos was able to do it because, as a dictator, he was the Constitution.

But even if it were constitutionally viable, it would be highly impractical. To set up the machinery for snap elections would take at least six months and cost several billion pesos. And then what? Will the winner serve only until May of 2010 when the Constitution calls for the next presidential elections?

May 2010 is just around the corner. Already the list of presidential wannabes is growing longer with the following mentioned as possible candidates: Vice President Noli De Castro, Senate President Manny Villar, Sen. Mar Roxas, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Loren Legarda, Sen. Antonio V. Trillanes IV, former Pres. Joseph Estrada, Metro Manila Gov. Bayani Fernando, Makati Mayor Jojo Binay, Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Manila Mayor Fred Lim, billionaire industrialist Jaime Zobel, Jesus is Lord chief Brother Eddie Villanueva, and El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde. Who else, Jun Lozada?

Thanks for the suggestion, Arab News, but snap elections ain't it. Been there, done that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

ZTE-NBN - From A to Z

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) had been considered a loyal ally of the United States until July of 2004 when she “caved in” to the Iraqi hostage-takers’ demands to withdraw the Philippine government’s 51 soldiers and police officers from Iraq a month early, in exchange for the release of Filipino hostage Angelo De La Cruz.

In directing the Philippines to be the 5th country to withdraw from the US-led “Coalition of the Willing” (after Spain, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras) in 2004, GMA incurred the wrath of the US government which retaliated by reducing US military and economic aid and limiting loan assistance from US financial institutions.

Prior to that date, the Philippines had shown its loyalty to the US by rallying the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to deal as one bloc to push China out of the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, where four ASEAN allies and China hold competing claims. The Philippines was hailed by the US for standing up to China when it successfully prodded ASEAN and China to sign a “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” to stop China’s growing military presence in the area.

After the US punished the Philippines by imposing de facto sanctions on the Philippines and by refusing any face-to-face meetings of GMA with President George Bush, the Philippines changed course.

Barry Wain wrote in the Far Eastern Economic Review: “President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s hurried trip to China in late 2004 produced a major surprise. Among the raft of agreements ceremoniously signed by the two countries was one providing for their national oil companies to conduct a joint seismic study in the contentious South China Sea, a prospect that caused consternation in parts of Southeast Asia…The Philippines also made breathtaking concessions in agreeing to the area for study, including parts of its own continental shelf not even claimed by China.”

According to Philippine Star columnist Jarius Bondoc, “There might be a hint of the real reason there. For, soon after RP capitulated, China offered to lend $2 billion a year till 2010 for government projects. China wasn’t doing it out of the goodness of its heart, though. It was bursting at the seams with $2 trillion in reserves, and was to collect 4-percent interest, hardly concessional in a period of much lower rates. China was only too willing to look like it was accommodating a new ally.”

These generous Chinese loans may have helped the Philippines reach an unprecedented 7.3% growth in 2007, the highest in 30 years. But they laid the ground for the present crisis which may yet topple the Philippine government.

In 2007 alone, the Philippines signed 33 new projects for financing by the China Export-Import Bank. One of the projects was the NBN-ZTE deal which the Philippine government signed in April of 2007 where Zhong Xing Telecommunications Equipment (ZTE), the Chinese telecommunications giant, was awarded a contract worth US$ 329.5 million to set up the National Broadband Network (NBN) to improve government communications capabilities.

On August 29, 2007, Rep. Carlos Padilla, in a privileged speech in the Philippine House, charged that Philippine COMELEC Chair Benjamin Abalos was the broker of the ZTE deal. A week later, the Philippine Senate called for hearings on the ZTE-NBN deal. On September 10, 2007, Joey De Venecia, the son of then Philippine Speaker Joe De Venecia testified before the Senate and claimed that he was with Abalos in China when he heard Abalos “demand money” from ZTE officials.

Although Joey De Venecia, as the son of Speaker Joe De Venecia, was barred by Philippine law from participating in and obtaining Philippine government contracts, nonetheless, as president of Amsterdam Holdings, he submitted the losing bid for the NBN project. He told the Senate that the president’s husband, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, had counseled him to “back off” from pursuing the NBN project and offered to compensate him for it.

On September 22, 2007, GMA announced that she was suspending the ZTE-NBN contract. On September 26, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Chair Romulo Neri and COMELEC Chair Abalos appeared at a Senate hearing where Neri claimed that in a golf game earlier in the year, Abalos reportedly offered him $4-M (P200-M) for signing off on the ZTE deal. Abalos denied the charge.

On October 1, 2007, Abalos resigned his post as COMELEC chair. On October 2, GMA traveled to China to tell Chinese President Hu Jintao of her “difficult decision” to cancel the ZTE contract for the NBN project.

On January 30, 2008, the Philippine Senate issued warrants of arrest for Neri and NEDA consultant Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Jr. Neri went into hiding to avoid being served with the warrant while Lozada flew to Hongkong. For allowing his son to testify against the GMA and the FG, Speaker De Venecia was removed as House Speaker on February 5, 2008.

On February 5, 2008, when Lozada returned from Hongkong, a Senate team was waiting to arrest him to take him to the Senate to testify about the ZTE-NBN deal. Before he could be served with the papers, however, he was whisked away by unidentified military personnel only to be later dropped off at the La Salle Green Hills to join his family.

The day after his return, Lozada testified that Abalos and Mike Arroyo were behind the “kickbacks” in the deal charging that they stood to make about $200-M from the $329.5-M contract. He said he warned them that the overcharge was too high that it wouldn’t fly but they ignored his warnings.

On Friday, February 29, approximately 50,000 people gathered at the Ninoy Aquino monument in Makati for an Inter-Faith Rally to call for the resignation of GMA. Jose Maria Sison, leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), on Saturday called for 100,000 Filipinos to gather in a street protest in Manila to unseat President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This should be enough, he said, “to ignite the withdrawal of support from the regime by the bureaucracy and the military."

That’s the A to Z of this saga, from Angelo De La Cruz to the ZTE telecom giant, all in less than four years.