The Philippine Onion

Lies and half-truths shall set you free

Archive for November, 2007

Why gasoline prices might suddenly dive

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by e-kunomista

It’s really fundamentally a supply and demand thing, with the former not rising as fast as the latter. The major sources of demand growth in the past few years have been China and India. The fast pace of growth in China and the even higher growth in energy consumption has in fact made it the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases this year, overtaking the United States.

(We are a bit intrigued by the allusion of the respected economist Ciel Habito to possible price manipulation in the local petroleum market in his latest column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. It was under his watch in the NEDA that the downstream oil industry was deregulated. Perhaps this is politically motivated).

But oil analysts agree that a big part of demand is speculative, coming from hedge funds trying to find shelter from the falling US$ by buying into commodity futures, minerals, agricultural staple, and oil. In the old days, speculation could be limited by physical storage capacity, but these days what’s influencing prices are futures contracts lodged in code in cyberspace. No need for Mr. and Mrs. Shady to hide oil barrels under the bed.

In normal markets, speculators play a positive role in stabilizing prices because they buy when prices are low and sell when high, thus narrowing the range and reducing volatility. Otherwise they’d lose their underpants if they do the reverse, right? But when a few hedge funds collude, they might be able to keep prices high with their self-fulfilling prophesy. But what feeds speculation are mainly geopolitical and weather-related events. Some researchers say that without the speculative element, prices should be within the $50-60/barrel range. (An earlier body of work of the Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz focused on price stabilization and speculation).

The silver lining is that persistently high prices of oil and coal fuels development of cleaner alternatives. But what if oil and coal prices are artificially high because of speculation? What will happen to the alternative energy developers who based their feasibility studies on wrong relative price projections?

Granting that a few players have cornered the futures market, they still take large risks, especially if a spate of good Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in analysis, economics, foreign affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Gloria film gets ‘X’ for obscene nose

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

MTRCB censors gave an ‘X’ rating to “A Day in the Life of Gloria,” an animation film which shows President Arroyo’s nose growing after she says “I am sorry.” Artists cried ‘conspiracy’ Friday after the board also Xed another film, Mendiola. The two films were excluded from a short film festival called ‘Kontra-Agos’ because of the ratings.

ABS-CBN reported that MTRCB reviewer Mark Castrodes “dismissed the artists’ accusations as baseless conspiracy theories…the films were given an X-rating because they put government in a bad light. They should at least have covered her nose with a handkerchief, otherwise she would be seen as lying.

Read the full report here:Repression or paranoia? Filmmakers cry foul over short films’ ‘X’ rating.

Posted in briefly noted, entertainment, Malacañang, politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Curfew nets P1.5M in kotong

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by Mon Tofu

The curfew imposed from midnight to 5 a.m. in the wake of the ‘protest action’ by Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Gen . Danilo Lim yesterday, netted a total of P1.5 million in kotong (petty bribes) from Metro Manila residents who were mostly unaware of it, police sources said. In a press briefing last night, national police chief Avelino Razon said that those manning police checkpoints had been warned not to demand kotong. However, our sources said the collections were centralized at the various police stations in the interest of transparency and proper accounting.

Among those caught violating the emergency regulation, dubbed by human rights lawyers as unconstitutional, were balut vendors, striptease dancers, drunks, and vagrants.

Kotong is one of the major complaints of public utility drivers reeling from rising gasoline prices.

Posted in breaking news, briefly noted, police blather, politics, security | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why ‘Oplan Peninsula’ was doomed from the start

Posted by commiedyan on November 30, 2007

by Old Spice

Faulty analysis and poor planning doomed the rebellion led by Senator Antonio Trillanes and Gen. Danilo Lim from the very beginning. Our conclusion is based on copies of documents recovered from the Manila Peninsula last night and accounts from our sources in Malacañang.

The first sign that something was awry was the absence of crowds when the two former military officers arrived at the hotel shortly before noon yesterday. Because of the drizzle, supporters of the duo stayed at home or in their offices, opting to give only ‘moral’ support. This in turn accounted for why the various commands which ‘were in on the plan’ stayed in barracks, as the support was conditional on the presence of massive civilan support.

But what really put the nail in the coffin of ‘Oplan Peninsula’ was something else. According to Cerge Remonde, who requested anonymity, there was a palpable sense of restlessness when the cabinet convened shortly after 1:30 p.m. Even with the government’s unquestioned superiority of force, Remonde said, some cabinet officials were simply tired of the never-ending calls for resignation and were prepared to ask the president to let go for the sake of the economy. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in analysis, Malacañang, politics, security | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Oh yeah baby, what swell (political) parties we have

Posted by commiedyan on November 28, 2007

by Old Spice

The recent return from the dead of Philippine political parties has driven me to a fit of nostalgia, back to my Cole Porter songbook, specifically ‘What a swell party this is.” But sadly, nostalgia just isn’t what it used to be, according to the girlfriend and pen pal of Jean Paul Sartre, in her memoirs.

Mar Roxas has virtually announced his presidential bid in Pia Hontiveros’s Strictly Nonsensical, and Manny Villar has put his money where his future is: the Nacionalista Party. Villar’s claim to fame is his railroading of the Erap impeachment bid way back in 2000, and his tapping into the excess demand of the lower middle class for pigeon holes with Camella and Palmera Homes.

Roxas and Villar are courting the Erap vote. In the politics of addition, Roxas is even open to welcoming back into the fold the constipated Al Atienza, who refused to distribute condoms to his constituents in Manila; and worse, the Defensors, including the prodigal son who was farted out into existence by his dad. Watch out for the supporters of Villar, including the thugs, the brothers Remulla.

We’ve heard that the Lakas and Kampi are soon to merge as SQL (status quo league) but they are in limbo at the moment.

Following closely behind the LP, NP, and SQL is the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan with exactly two and a half members: the charming and compulsively bootlicking Imelda Marcos, and the spitting images of her asses, Oliver Lozano and Ely Pamatong, but I can’t tell you which of the latter is half-cocked. If Imelda manages to seduce Rick Abcede of the PCGG, the KBL will have two and three fourths.
Now for a bit of sexy news: the mother of Roxas asks her son, “Anong K mo if you don’t dump Korina?” She would rather have either Pinky Webb or Ara Mina.

Posted in analysis, breaking news, entertainment, politics, Roxas watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Philip Alston:The blind and pesky Australian

Posted by commiedyan on November 28, 2007

by Onionista

What’s wrong with Philip Alston? According to Malacañang chief of staff Eduardo Ermita, he could shed crocodile tears and blood before the UN special rapporteur on human rights and still fail to convince the expert of the country’s sterling record on human rights. The blind can probably see better than Alston, Ermita said in a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday.

The ‘intelligence’ agencies of government, including the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) under the wing of Norberto Gonzales and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp-Esperon wing) had linked the recent spate of forced disappearances of left-wing activists to a purge conducted by the Maoist insurgency in the late 80’s and early 90’s, in an apparent bid to harass congressmen sympathetic to the National Democratic Front.

“He should just use his imagination and not question the chronology of events,” Gonzales and Esperon protested to TPO over dinner last night. “What does he want us to do? Admit that the insurgency is a bogey to justify our perks and reason for being?” TPO has learned that Gonzales has a confidential long-term plan to drive the legal Left back to the hills because they cannot be coopted by the idea that political power can grow out of the pork barrel of a gun. Once back in the mountains, they can be more easily bombed into Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in analysis, foreign affairs, Malacañang, politics, security | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

An ear for an ear

Posted by commiedyan on November 28, 2007

by Mon Tofu

Newly appointed Station 11 commander Superintendent Nelson Yabut was all ears when challenged by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to catch the criminal who snatched a pair of “catchy” two-toned gold clip earrings purchased from the Binondo jeweler ‘From ear to eternity’ from a jeepney passenger recently. In his haste, the thief also detached the ears of the woman from Cavite. Lim, who gained notoriety in a previous term for spray painting the homes of suspects with skulls and bones, has reportedly offered a reward to anyone who could deliver the perp’s ears on a silver platter.

Posted in police blather | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Losing our coconuts

Posted by commiedyan on November 28, 2007

Mamutong—Cebuano for climbing and harvesting fresh coconuts—from Malaybalay, Bukidnon, has come out with the top 10 reasons for reading The Philippine Onion. As you can see from numbers 7 and 6, he might have lost his coconuts:

7. Because humor has coexisted with politics and religion since Balaam conversed with his ass. (Numbers: 23)

6. You may go to hell if you don’t (for the Catholics and Muslims in the crowd).

Posted in briefly noted | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Mar Roxas’s prelude to a kiss

Posted by commiedyan on November 27, 2007

Yes, under the most liberal interpretation of party, the one that crowned Mar Roxas in Club Filipino yesterday certainly was, according to ANC’s Ricky Carandang. But what kiss are we talking about here? From his girlfriend who can’t decide whether Mar is the man of the hour, a celebrity of the day, or the flavor of the month? A kiss of death?

The first concrete indication of Mar Roxas’s presidential dream was his kowtowing to the local multinational cement lobby when he was still trade and industry secretary. Little did he know at the time that the entry of cheaper cement imports not only rejuvenated the local construction industry but also improved air quality in Metro Manila. How so? Because at that time the 18 cement factories within the Metro Manila air shed were operating at just around 50% of capacity, and studies by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies had clearly indicated a local cartel.

During the recent senate hearing on oil prices, Senator Roxas was again dancing to a populist tune, knowing fully well his questions were really just rhetorical. While we support his effort in enacting a good anti-trust law, we wonder whether he will really proceed with that and fight the cement cartel, among others, concretely.

Have a good one, Mar. And see you in 2010.

P.S.

Here’s a good one from SunStar Iloilo.

Posted in briefly noted, economics, religion, Roxas watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A new improved formula for annulment cases

Posted by commiedyan on November 27, 2007

Rep. Pablo John Garcia has taken the cudgels for beleaguered Judge Villarin of Toledo City, Cebu. The urgent task is to limit the discretion of the judicial and executive branches in deciding annulment cases and shield judges from unfounded charges of giving ‘quickie’ annulments. Bear with us as we discuss the neophyte congressman’s proposal:

First the period within which such cases are to be resolved have to yield to a mathematical formula. Let’s call this period At on the left hand side of the equation. On the right hand side are the so-called independent variables, namely:

  1. Cp=the period of courtship. The longer the courtship, living in sin, number of pre-marital quickies, the greater the chances of a happy marriage. But on the other hand, if the couple has spent so much time together and give up hope, they should know better, right? Ditto with the length of the marriage. In sum the effects of this variable cancel out.
  2. AAC =the average age of the children. The greater is this number the more quickly the courts should decide. The courts can also get depositions from the children.
  3. Cv=the value of the conjugal property. The richer is the marital coffers, the more quickly the courts should decide, because there is a lower probability of acrimonious litigation, except perhaps for the extremely greedy rich.

So we just have three independent variables, but the first two are of ambivalent sign. So why can’t we let the children decide through a vote if they are of voting age. If the average age is less than 18, then the decision period should be (18-AAC). That seems fair, doesn’t it?

Finally, for the exceptions to the rule:

  1. Suicide survivors, either spouse, should be granted immediate annulment;
  2. Ditto for victims of domestic abuse and violence;
  3. Ditto for childless couples who just want to be just friends again.

So here’s the equation:

At= /AAC)

Isn’t that simple enough? The only problem left is finding the value of ß, which can be done through well-established statistical methods. Now suppose ß=18, and the average age of the children is 18. Then the courts should decide the case within a year. Beautiful isn’t it? But you can do your own simulations if you wish.

For sure, the Catholic Church will object. But of late, the good holy fathers have begun to soften their position.

We would welcome your comments on this proposition. Really.

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