KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 1 / January-February-March 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Like a worn-out, ragged and grubby little scrap of cloth, the empire of Estrada's fantasy is coming apart before the world's eyes. You will find some excellent commentary and informative updates on these web pages:

"The Unraveling of a Presidency" by Walden Bello, published by Focus on the Philippines, Issue #8 February 2001.

"The Campaign Garbage on Walls Must Be Stopped" by John L. Silva, published by Focus on the Philippines, Issue #13 March 2001.

"Try Them Too" by Conrado De Quiros, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 15 March 2001.

News Summaries on Estrada Corruption Case compiled by Philippine European Solidarity Centre (PESC-KSP).



"I'm coming home not to comfort the afflicted, but to afflict the comfortable."

Father Brian Gore, an Australian Catholic priest of the Columban Order, was in Manila among the hundreds of thousands of folk protesting graft and corruption in the government. He's returned to Australia with a message.

In January Fr Gore told The Catholic Leader that Australia can learn from the Philippines about protecting the common good. "We have to be involved in the broader political struggle for justice," he said. "We have to stand up against economic rationalism and racism. I'm coming home not to comfort the afflicted, but to afflict the comfortable. That will be my role."

Fr Gore is certainly a man of his convictions. He and Fr Niall O'Brien earned world-wide respect when they refused deportation from the Philippines during the Marcos years, choosing instead to remain in jail until their Filipino co-workers were also released.

With a report from Getting Together, Feb 2001, newsletter of Australian Coalition for Economic Justice



One who is familiar with the computer world knows what a computer virus can do. Just like any virus, elections in the Philippines have infected various political parties as well as non-political ones. A mad cow disease for the political animals, but not quite! It is in the brains of local politicians now launching their own versions of political campaigns whether in a massive or subtle way.

The aftermath of the failed impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada and the much-publicized Edsa People Power II event which led to the his downfall and the assumption into power of a new president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, last January 2001, are now just things of the past.

What's in the news nowadays? Elections - elections - and elections! Well, elections indeed have turned into an infectious disease steadily eating up every byte of Philippine politics.

It has been observed that a showdown looms between the thirteen People Power Coalition senatorial candidates of the Macapagal administration and the Pwersa ng Masa of the deposed President Estrada as they seek to have a fresh mandate from the voting populace. Be that as it may, Filipinos are still in a quandary as to the future of the Philippines.

Election money, you never know where it is coming from! In the midst of this most expensive electoral exercise in Philippine history, the democratic and legitimate issues and concerns of the masses of people who joined in the Edsa uprising, are yet to be seriously addressed by the Macapagal administration.

The plunder case against Estrada seems to progress unfavorably. Poverty and inequality as root causes of the insurgency in the Philippines remain the most urgent social problems besetting the nation.

However, there is no illusion that the Macapagal administration is able to turn the tables on behalf of the people hoping for substantial economic and political change to occur in the so-called post-Edsa people power II era. The real signs of hope are the people who are working for a definite social change!

From: Leo De Castro, Manila, March 15, 2001

HOPE 2001 for:

Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections

On 14th May 2001, 34,404,525 Filipino citizens are registered to vote in 232,011 precincts in local municipal elections and for 12 seats in the Philippine Senate. (Voter registration data as at December 2000.)

Filipinos around the world breathed a sigh of relief upon the country's second relatively bloodless 'people power' action in 15 years. We watch in hope that the forthcoming elections will demonstrate even better conduct. The bombs set off on December 30 last year which killed 14 and wounded almost 100 ordinary folk going about their every-day business in metropolitan Manila, are not forgotten.

From: Dee Dicen Hunt, Brisbane, March 15, 2001