Buencamino does political affairs analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 26 August  2004, page 9.

Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights,
even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is
you’re talking to. Then on the way out, slam the door. -Jack Handy
Americans are not the only ones who meddle in the Philippines. Citizens of other countries also butt in from time to time.

A Dutch with a Filipino surname, Jalandoni, arrived in the country
recently and  invited the President of  the Philippines to
visit his organization’s armed camps. He said he would give her a
safety conduct pass so she could talk to their partisans and see for
herself how they lived

The invitation to visit his armed camps seemed innocent enough, akin to
an invitation to a petting zoo, but it was actually an audacious
gesture from a foreigner trying to topple the Philippine government. I
expected nationalists to defend our sovereignty, but they stayed home.
I asked myself, wouldn’t they tear him to pieces if he were an American?

The Dutch chairs the negotiation panel of an organization calling
itself the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Its overall
leader is an expatriate Filipino called Professor Jose Maria Sison.

Sison believes two governments exist in the Philippines. One, he says,
is “the counterrevolutionary government of big compradors and landlords
centered in Manila” and the other is, “the nationwide revolutionary
government of workers and peasants based in the countryside.”

Both sides have been engaged in on-again off-again peace negotiations
for the last 18 years. The comprador side is chaired by a Filipino. The
revolutionary side is chaired by a Dutch and only the expatriate Sison
knows why he preferred a foreigner over a Filipino to represent the
interests of his nationwide revolutionary  government.

The other foreign meddler is a Canadian. He also has a Filipino
surname, Luz. He  was  among those who conspired to overthrow
President Estrada.  He was one of the most outspoken critics of
the deposed president and his views on the “second envelop”
containing Velarde’s bank records are well known.

In one television interview, he spoke out against releasing information
covered by bank secrecy laws because of the damage it would do to the
country’s banking system and he wanted the inquiry into the fake bank
account to stop…… no, wait  a minute; that’s the Pidal expose he
was trying  to stop— not the Velarde investigation.  Anyway,
the Canadian was also involved in the  last presidential election.

In that election, he was with a watchdog group called Namfrel. The
group was suspected of trending its unofficial tally in favor of
Pidal’s relative.  A researcher, Roberto Versola, decided to
embark on a “personal search for the truth.”  He details his
findings on the Canadian-led watchdog’s  shenanigans in a report
called, “The True Results of  the  2004 Presidential
Elections.”  A printed copy of the report together with a CD can
be ordered by sending a text request to 0919-608-7073.

If the two foreigners were American, the usual suspects would be
screaming American imperialism and burning American flags; however in
this case there are no epithets and no bonfires. Consequently, some
questions need to be asked.

Why is the Philippine panel negotiating peace with a Dutch
citizen?  Is the Philippines at war with the Dutch?  Why
hasn’t the Bureau of Immigration deported the Canadian citizen for
meddling in our elections? Are Canadians allowed to campaign and vote
in our elections? Why presume those foreigners are not agents of the
countries they owe allegiance to?  Didn’t they turn their backs on
the Philippines when they chose to become citizens of another country?

I don’t have the answers to those questions but the Suzette Pido
fan club, the Pidophiles, have a motto that may provide the answer.
Above every Pidophile’s heart is a tattoo with these words: “different
strokes for different folks.”   We can’t have the same rules
for everyone, can we?