No More White or Black! Just Grey!

TODAY - August

August is the Chinese Ghost Month. Today, Monday, is August 21, 2017. It is the 34th anniversary of the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino y Aquino. 

It is also the death anniversary of Ninoy’s father – in – law, Jose Cojuangco, Sr., and brother – in – law Nicanor Reyes, Jr. 

It is also the 46th anniversary of the Plaza Miranda bombing. Ninoy’s widow, Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco Aquino’s eight death anniversary was last August 1.

August 8 was the birthday of the old (1901 - 1991) Philippine Constabulary. Tomorrow, August 22 is the birthday of my wife, Maria Fe “Baby” Ahorro Alcuaz. 

Her father, Hermilo Ahorro y Noriega of Meycauayan, Bulacan served in the Philippine Army from 1948 – 1966. The Philippine Constabulary from 1966 – 1986 and the Integrated National Police from 1986 – 1987.

He was the Commander of PC Task Force Pagkakaisa in the Cotabato and Davao in the 1970’s.

On Wednesday, August 23, the Marawi City crisis will be three months old. 

During this period, two scandals came to the fore , the smuggling of billions of pesos worth of shabu through the green lane of the Bureau of Customs and the expose by his own wife of the hidden wealth of COMELEC Chairman Atty. Andrew “Andy” Bautista. 

This is one of those rare occasions when three major issues hog the air waves and headlines simultaneously – Marawi City, the Bureau of Customs and the COMELEC Chairman.


REGULATORS and the likes of UBER

Last Tuesday, August 15, the accreditation of UBER was suspended by the LTFRB. 

From 1986 to 1989, I served in the National Telecommunications Commission, first as a Deputy Commissioner and later on as the Commissioner. 

We encountered similar problems as the LTFRB is wrestling with in the case of Uber and Grab. The main difference then was that broadcasting stations and networks and public telecommunications operators were originally supposed to have Congressional franchises. 

However, the martial law period gave rise to the authorization of both Broadcast and Public Telecom Operators without Congressional Franchises. They were operating on the basis of Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN’s) from the old Public Service Commission, the old Board of Communications and the newer (1984) NTC. 

However, there were two companies – PHILCOMSAT and DOMSAT that were not even under the regulation of the NTC. 

Their legal bases were Presidential Decrees that granted them monopolies -–International and Domestic Satellite Earth Station operations. 

When Cory Aquino assumed the Presidency after EDSA I and declared a Revolutionary Government, she issued an Executive Order placing the two countries under the regulation of the NTC.

The two companies had to come to the NTC and apply for CPCN’s and Rate Authorization on an after the fact basis. 

Meanwhile, they were operating almost de facto even after they were legally required to have CPCN’s and rate authorizations. 

There were also thousands of two - way radios that had been smuggled and were being operated for private purposes illegally. 

During the Cory Administration, we did not shut down these public and private operators. 

In the case of public operators, we went through the long process of hearing their applications for CPCN’s and Rates. 

In the case of private operators, we undertook registration campaigns with deadlines.

Take note that private operators included many small fishing and passenger vessels. 

Aside from not wanting to inconvenience the public telecom users, we also did not want to endanger the safety of the public.

As regulators, we had our share of “malakas” and politically connected public as well as private operators. 

They had friends in Congress, in the Supreme Court and Malacañang. However, we did not allow “regulatory capture” to occur during our time. We did not let the “Tail wag the Dog”. 

The LTFRB now has to balance between the immediate needs of the UBER – deprived riding public and the longer range necessity to regulate and instill discipline among public carriers. 

We sympathize with the current LTFRB members who have to grapple with a problem created under the Aquino Admin’s Board. 



The expose on the COMELEC Chairman and the Magdalo officials at the Bureau of Customs has eroded the “white” closer to “grey”. 

Over the course of most of my sixty – eight years, I have seen my “Reformist” heroes tarnished. When I was in grade school and high school at the Ateneo de Manila in the fifties and sixties, we thought that we were the good guys. 

The elite of the bad guys were the University of the Philippines, its graduates and its alumni.

However, my years in politics have shown me that the characters are not white and black but rather grey in color. 

Then PCGG and now COMELEC Chairman Andy Bautista belonged to the circle of the Whites and Yellows.  

The same goes for the Rebels and Reformists of the Magdalo. Today, they stand tarnished.

For one, like me, who grew up in the fifties and sixties as one of the good guys and belonged to the First Quarter Storm generation, I pity the present generation. Who do they look up us examples, heroes and models. President Rrodrigo “Digong” Roa Duterte is a good example for would be local executives. However, he would not be a good example for growing children, ordinary private or public employees and would be legislators.


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