All posts by Cocoy

Cocoy is an Internet entrepreneur, technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter. He publishes a personal blog called The Geeking, a weblog on geekery, pop culture, and sometimes Apple, and technology. He writes for iPadPinas--- a site devoted to all things iPad. Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project. He regularly contributes political commentary at Cocoy is a founding member of, a think tank. Cocoy also helped draft the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

PHNetDems: Cybercrime Prevention Act not essential to fighting child porn

Statement on claims that RA 10175 is indispensable to fighting child porn and online prostitution


Sobriety and reason. This is what we need at a time when public opinion is being railroaded to favor the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

The government has not been subtle in its approach. Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa, director of the PNP Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and recently drafted as the principal scaremonger, has declared that the Philippines is now among the top purveyors of child pornography and online prostitution in the world. Sosa claims that without RA 10175, we are powerless in facing the onslaught of cyber smut as a cottage industry in the country. He decries that, because of the temporary injunction on RA 10175’s implementation, law enforcement has been ineffectual in bringing these cybercriminals to justice.

The facts, however, dispute his claims:

Fact: We have the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 (RA 9775), the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (RA 9995), and the Anti Trafficking in Persons Act, (RA 9208, as amended by RA 10364) are existing and enforceable, and can and do serve as legal basis for the prosecution of those that deal in child pornography and online prostitution.

Fact: Even without RA 10175 operations versus online prostitution rings do succeed. The recent multi-country effort involving the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Philippines proves this.

Fact: Even without RA 10175, the police can, with the use of a warrant, compel telcos and other ICT service providers to handover information.

Fact: The police remain addicted to the instant gratification of procedural shortcuts, never mind if this short-circuits the basic tenets of our justice system.

Fact: RA 10175 is such a poorly-crafted law that it cannot, contrary to Sosa’s pronouncements, adequately protect the country from cybercriminals. Even worse, what is being sold as a panacea is actually more virulent than the disease as it assaults our constitutionally protected civil and political rights. We are being asked to sacrifice our due process rights in exchange for the promise of police efficiency in guarding our safety.

We fought for internet freedom a year ago when RA 10175 was passed into law. The facts obtaining then have not changed until now.

Neither should our response.

We call on the Supreme Court to declare RA 10175, in its entirety, as unconstitutional.

We call on the Congress to support the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (#MCPIF).

Editor’s note: This is a press release from republished in its entirety.

The Black Nazarene

A sea of people each year would pour out of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene to accompany the dark statue of Jesus Christ— the Black Nazarene— in a procession around the district of Quiapo in Manila. Devotees believe the statue to be miraculous, and Pope Pius VII in 1880 granted plenary indulgence to devotees praying before it. Thousands of people partake in this tradition.

The original statue came from Mexico, sculpted by an unknown artist who originally painted it mulato. Legend has it the original burned and so you have the black Jesus Christ.

It is an interesting to watch how all this transpires. It has taken a life of its own, of course. From the individual, each have their own stories to tell. Each have a reason for going to the feast, and to join in the procession.

From a logical, calculating mind, there is much absurdity in it. Why spend a full day in the heat, in the crowd, and a pretty high chance of getting crushed in a sea of people, just as you will have a chance to get dehydrated? It doesn’t make sense.

From the perspective of a believer, the journey is a deeply spiritual one.

“Faith, after all, is still a private affair,” writes Karl de Mesa in Days Underground: Inside the Devotion of the Black Nazarene. “Even if you can’t drop a pin on Feast day, the heart of the practice isn’t joining the crowd; it’s the yearning for a benevolent force bigger than yourself. The Senyor fills this religious hunger like a boundless fount.”

A Bloody New Year

Each year, for as long as I could remember, the new year would always bring more injuries and sometimes, death. From firecracker injuries to stray bullet victims, like clockwork it comes in and out.

When I was younger, my aunt, was standing by their door watching firecrackers explode in the sky. She was shot by a stray bullet. We never found out where it came from. She lived, but she was not the first, nor last victim. This year, a two year old boy became the second fatality.

The state of injuries from New Year’s day has somewhat improved in the last decade, though still counting in the hundreds. It used to be that leading up to midnight, firecrackers would explode everywhere. It had somewhat waned. The loudest explosions happen when right before the clock strikes twelve. The best years of reduced fatalities are when the health department would run a campaign to discourage firecracker use.

There have been suggestions, for years really, of a firecracker ban. Other jurisdictions have banned firecrackers. Davao has had a firecracker ban for 12 years running. The ban had measured success like in Zamboanga, and Davao with zero casualties.

Exploding firecrackers seem to be in our culture. It can’t seem to be stopped. Leading up to the New Year, for example, the lines going to Bulacan to buy firecrackers were long. There is an industry that revolves around firecrackers. It does employ people. Perhaps, an alternative to a total ban would be to charge higher prices. Perhaps, higher prices would mean better quality, and higher profit margins for the firecracker industry. Perhaps, an requiring insurance from buyers, and to penalize businesses who sell to people who do not have firecracker insurance would help reduce accidents and injuries. Insurance for use by people who fall victim to firecracker injuries. Insurance to pay not only for surgery and the emergency rooms, but also for rehabilitation, post new year. Added taxes could also be used to pay for PhilHealth coverage.

The same could, and should be required of gun owners. Bullets may kill, but irresponsible gun owners are the ones who pull the trigger. And with the state of police, few, if at all, could find the culprit.

It can also be argued that the all the fireworks help add to our already polluted air. Perhaps, a portion of those taxes could be spent in cleaning up the air as well. Like a carbon tax.

If car owners are required to pay for insurance, why shouldn’t people who own guns or who wish to spend money on firecrackers? If people are willing to burn their hard earned pesos for a few seconds to celebrate the coming of the New Year, why not put an added burden on them and not on taxpayers who wind up paying for a polluted air, not to mention paying government workers in hospitals to be on alert. Not to mention the grief and trouble inflicted on others. The onus should be on people willing to pay for firecrackers. It is only fair, don’t you think?

Site updates: New server

Hi guys,

We updated the site’s server in the last couple of hours. Site should load much, much faster. Let me know if there are missing posts or comments. We’re not quite done yet with the updates. Hit the comments if you lost a comment or a post.



The Binays and Dasmagate

This is about character. I’ve been told many times over that how one treats those lesser— maybe less money— maybe less in intellect or literacy— maybe less in position— shows the true character of a person.

The story in question was the night the Binay siblings were headed out of Dasmarinas Village in the City of Makati. Dasmarinas is a gated community where many of the affluent, and powerful live. The Binay convoy were to exit a gate that for the longest time was closed by 10PM at night. To add, a rule that was long held and known to any who live there, or have long visited the village. Captains of industry, ambassadors, politicians, and of similar important stripe call Dasma, home. You can imagine the egos that need to be managed.

Am sure, amidst all this, *hoopla*, the Binays are flabbergasted, and have moved to dismiss the matter as trivial, and settled. Am sure in the vast intellect that courses through the brains of Junjun, Nancy, and Jejomar Binay, they are once more the victims of the story. The slighted heroes and heroine that deserve respect and recognition. The story, as Rappler quotes the Binay PR that the Philippine Daily Inquirer story as malicious. So it is, as Nancy Binay points out, “No amount of explanation would satisfy those who have never-ending dislike for our family.”

Contrary to how the Binays frame the incident, this isn’t about hate, or dislike. It is about what’s proper, and what’s true.

The Closed Circuit Television video that captured the night in question showed a startlingly different story from the Binay explanation. Even the guard company’s explanation doesn’t simply jibe with what clearly was happening on the video.

This is the 15 minute raw video:

This is the edited, and zoomed, 5 minute version of the original, where clearly, at one point, a guard, in the guard house was pulled forcibly enough for him to lose his cap:

In the footage, the convoy was neither surrounded nor could possibly be overpowered by the Dasma guards. At one point, Mayor Junjun Binay stepped out of his vehicle. One would imagine if the Major’s life or that of his sister’s were at all threatened, their security detail would push them back or switch to an exit that was open. That exit was a mere 150m. One would also imagine that they could also have rammed the gate to exit had the mayor’s life been threatened. They could also have retreated to where they came from to await assistance from the police. Instead the entire convoy sat there, for 15 minutes.

This is Kara David of GMA 7 giving her unbiased reporting of the entire matter:

The story has been repeated, and reveal many times in the past few days. Journalists of every stripe have had their chance. Commentators of every shape, color and affiliation have rendered a moment of their vast time to give their two cents. Anthony Taberna focused on the Security agency apologizing to the Binays. Winnie Monsod said, “the Guards were correct, the Binays were wrong.

On Facebook, and on Twitter, massive outpouring of disgust, and disdain have flooded the Interwebs. This is a screenshot of the amount of tweets that shot up on the term, “Binay”:

Screenshot 2013-12-21 10.37.44

This doesn’t count the other discussions going on with that talked about the incident, but not the term.

Marocharim correctly points out, “Rightly or wrongly, the political success of the Binay family lies on those nuances, and on nuanced opinions like “Di bale nang tawaging epal basta tumutulong.” It’s us-against-them: something so elementary, something so base, something that comes as a consequence of keeping people on this level through realities like poverty, a lack of education, or good old-fashioned stick-it-in-the-gut drama. In Nancy Binay’s own words, there will be “haters.” Cringeworthy – what works for JAMICH will work for the politicians – but real and true to those pairs of eyes. Theirs, and the millions who gave them the vote.”

Should the electorate be convinced to promote Jejomar Binay to president, or his spawn continue to be in positions of power what then? These Interwebs have long been argued do not reach the masses who vote for the likes of the Binays. It does not preclude a show of a little humility, especially from a family where much has already been given. Especially one, poised to be the next rulers of this small chain of islands, in the Pacific.

People in power have everything going for themselves. A little humility goes a long way, don’t you think? We could all use a bit of humility.


Carl Sagan once spoke of the Pale Blue Dot we call the Earth. He was looking at a photo of our world taken by the Voyager probe that NASA sent.

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena,” Carl Sagan said. “Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

This is the Pale Blue Dot video:

Vice President Binay said he saw nothing wrong in what his son did. “My son deserve some courtesy,” The Vice President said. The Police Chief of Makati said the guards failed to show some respect to the Mayor of Makati— Junjun Binay. All this posturing; All this delusion— challenged by a Closed Circuit Television video showed the imagined self-importance of the Binay siblings—one a mayor, one a senator, and in defense of his children, so too, the Vice President of this tiny island nation of brown skinned Pinoys in the Pacific that is little more than a pixel in the pale light of a vast cosmos.

The Roxas versus Romuladez video in all 43 minutes glory!

The video is now confirmed to have been uploaded by Cito Beltran from the Philippine Star. He concludes in Making it Public: “The tragedy in all this was while Mar was frantically trying to get Romualdez et al to say “We Surrender,” the whole world was in the backyard distributing aid and helping. ”

What was actually said? Here is the video and succeeding transcript and other pertinent comment:

A bit of transcript:

Comments from the youtube video:

Screenshot 2013-12-11 03.09.38

Comment worth reading:

@FrancisAcero writes on Facebook: “Unless they rehearsed this, it was always going to end badly. Mar was doing fine managing comms and resources until these “negotiations,” made necessary only because of Disaster Law.

I would rather face the firing squad of abuse of authority if it saved lives following a natural disaster, but that’s just me. It appalls me that a law could be that poorly crafted, especially as a response to Ondoy. It is clear that in such situations where lives were at stake, getting consent stalled the delivery of relief. It is also clear that if this whole exercise is a game of who has greater fault, we will not learn the lessons we all need to learn.

Again, SMCRE error, and it’s so glaring, on both sides. What you had was a dispute without a referee on a trivial matter. It just reeks of politics with a small p. Everything could have been handled better.

Unfortunately for our leaders, national and local, and although it may be unfair being judged by Monday morning quarterbackers, they are now being judged. They all failed the people when they were needed.

Reminded of how GMA thought people would change their minds if they only knew the good she was doing. Doesn’t quite work that way.”

Other stuff you might want to know:


Manny Pacquiao and Kim Henares

Fresh off his latest boxing conquest, Manny Pacquiao came home to face another challenger: Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Kim Henares. The Bureau of Internal Revenue says Pacquiao owes 2.2 billion pesos in taxes. Pacquiao says he paid taxes, and even gave the B.I.R. a copy of the taxes he paid in the U.S.

Much has been said, quite naturally on social media. Here are two of the sane ones:

The gist of what many saying is to lay off Pacquiao. Nothing of course can take the man’s achievements. He is also humble in victory, and in defeat. In many ways the Pacquiao story is something to achieve for. The man’s life from zero to billionaire is an extraordinary success story. And in the ring he has without a doubt united a nation, even if for only 12 rounds of boxing.

That is something.

Who likes a tax collector? Kim Henares of course is known for her zealous approach to collecting taxes. While we can argue with the B.I.R.’s success rate, and quibble at whether or not fear and intimidation are the best tools for this sort of thing, we can not doubt too her sincerity. We can even complain at how bad the system still is.

Personally, I find it reprehensible to burn unused receipts from last year; the environment and all that. It makes sense for me to pay the printer for receipts when they almost run out, not before they run out, for example. The alternative of course is a PHP50,000 peso fine, which of course none of us want to be victims– err— find ourselves in that position!

Going back to Manny Pacquiao— the B.I.R. going after his taxes and auditing them isn’t an aberration. It’s their job. Just because he is a hero, doesn’t mean he gets to go free in paying his taxes or is more protected than ordinary citizens.

Wasn’t this why we got into the whole mess that is PDAF? That rules aren’t followed? Isn’t that why there is a prevalence of corruption? Isn’t that why there are traffic jams? Isn’t that why the President instituted a no wang-wang policy on day one?

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is a hero of the people. Being a hero doesn’t mean it is an excuse not to follow the law— or any rule of the land. Change is hard and by the look of it— ordinary people are still making the transition to this new world order. Pacquiao can afford to hire lawyers to see to his case. Kim Henares could be right or wrong. If Pacquiao is innocent, that’s great! If he or some of his staff failed to do their duty? Then the law is clear on that isn’t it?

Dear Jiggoy

Embattled Senator Jiggoy Estrada flew off to the land of the free over the weekend. What’s the interwebs would do, but write about it? That’s exactly what “So What’s News” site did when it published, “Jinggoy Estrada Arrested After Trying to Smuggle Money Inside His Breasts to U.S.“.

Yep, as you can imagine, the news went around the InterWebs!

Rappler picked it up, and had their own witty response: “Jinggoy issues statement after ‘arrest’ in U.S.” (In case you missed it: note the URL to that).

The major newsies around got to it…and Senator Estrada took it seriously:

“My staff just called me at 5:00am to inform me that there is an article circulating in Facebook that i have been arrested in the US for bringing in huge amount of [US dollars.] That is absolutely NOT TRUE. I’ve been seen by a number of Filipinos and were happy to see me and even took pics of me. That story is incredible to say the least,” he said in a statement.

Guess that staffer no longer has a job.

Dear Jiggoy,

What does the fox say?


Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing. — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

I sit here, in between worlds. I have tried for weeks to understand both the government’s point of view, and the opposition’s point of view on PDAF. I sit in between both worlds simply because the matter of pork, and what we need to do to fix it long term is bigger than any one person.

I have no doubt that the conversation— good and evil— remain valid. The analogy that the Philippines is a broken down house that needs fixing hold true. Four years after we have elected Benigno S. Aquino III to the Philippines we have finally started to open some of the bigger structural problems.

The issue of pork and how the people’s money is managed for one thing is a huge and gapping hole. Money is like oil and fuel. It forms a fundamental part of logistics. Like air, cut it off and anything dies. A person is crippled. A business collapses. A government can not serve and protect its people. So we have all this money lost to corruption.

PDAF comes out like a massive stink. Like a dead corpse found between wall frames, buried by its murderer. It is a stink of selfishness, and greed. Fancy cars, and luxury condos fill the pages of the news. A demand to hold those accountable, and a massive push to uncover the mess.

So the people took to the streets in protest. As I have written before, it bewildered me. Didn’t we expect to find…this? Wasn’t this why in 2010 Aquino won on the basis of Anti-Corruption?

If ever you need to be schooled about the basic process of how the budget works, and how PDAF interacts with it— then no better place than “The Abolition of Pork“.

Undersecretary Manolo Quezon correctly highlights the first step in solving the problem:

Here is step one for anyone interested to solve this problem: “So what is the solution? Two: first, find, prosecute, and punish those who broke the law. Second, stop the flawed system, and replace it with a new system that actually addresses the needs of the public instead of filling the pockets of officials. Any solution, just as a reminder, must conform to the Constitution and the role given to legislators and the Executive; and it is all laid out in the national budget, the most important law enacted by Congress each year, based on the proposals submitted by the President

So three months in… one of the biggest names to have popped out of the PDAF scam, Senator Jinggoy Estrada reportedly left the country… and the Anti-Pork movement at least as of this writing hasn’t said anything.

Over the long weekend, a massive defacement campaign by people calling themselves Anonymous attacked 30 government websites supposedly in protest.

Here’s a screenshot from Interaksyon:

Screenshot 2013-11-04 09.45.38

As @ceso on twitter points out:

Tony La Viña on twitter shares Dr. Nicole Curato’s assessment of President Aquino’s latest speech on the pork barrel entitled, “The President as Spin Doctor“:

Undersecretary Manolo Quezon writes back:

Earlier, I had a good discussion with Kiko Acero on this.

On one point I do agree with Dr. Curato is that we do need creative solutions. What I disagree vehemently was this from Dr. Curato:

“This is why it is crucial that Malacañang seriously engages the people’s demands for abolishing pork instead of relying on spin. What the Scrap Pork Movement and other citizen-led initiatives against trapo politics exemplify is the shift of the center of influential political ideas. Creative and bolder alternatives for budget reform emerge from discussions among partisan and unaffiliated citizens. People today come out as persistent, not the type that can be “distracted” by dealing with more than one issue at a time.”

To be fair to the Aquino Administration, they did reach out and sought to engage the public after the so called Million People March (but it was in actuality just mere thousands). I think the administration understood the people’s anger. The meeting was held and cabinet secretaries were present. Cabinet secretaries. Nothing came out of it because the MPM folks didn’t engage.

I for one am disappointed.

So I sit here, between two worlds, wondering. Where then does this leave the conversation? Where then does this leave our motivation on how to solve the problem if no one is intellectually honest? Maybe it is time to put up a chair, have nice cold drink in one hand, and watch while the world burns. It is a nice way to shoot ourselves in the foot, isn’t it?


The President stepped on the podium last Wednesday with a message. He talked about the PDAF and the DAP, and how the conversation has switched to how some people think he has stolen. The words, “Pork Barrel King” come to mind. This is a turn of phrase used by the militant left, and by the opposition. Well, at least, that’s the underlying message. The change in conversation orchestrated by what passes as the opposition is a well thought of character assassination. Hit the President where he is most vulnerable, and so Jinggoy Estarda was the B-29 that dropped the Little Boy poop.

For weeks the conversation shifted from theft— corruption at the hands of Estrada into this manufactured one. These days you don’t need actual proof, just the idea— and boom, thas the news. And so the President thought to fight back against this character assassination, going so far as interrupting the teleseryes people enjoy to give his piece.

What the President said was nothing new. Much of it, mentioned in this blog weeks ago as things you should know. The President’s explanation was a dumbed down version of the things Secretary Butch Abad had always mentioned in his press releases, press conferences, and interviews carried also by cable news. The ProPinoy piece was based on those press conference, and nothing that couldn’t be googled.

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise, reading my timeline through much of the President’s speech was a running commentary from the public. One would assume to wait for the entire speech to conclude, but we hear what we want to hear and react accordingly. It was pretty much broken along party lines. No surprise there— the militant left hate anyone in power— so true enough they did what we expect them to do.

If you believe the President before, and believe in his campaign to rid corruption, then you would be satisfied with the President’s explanation of what DAP is— or was. If you never liked the President before you have no cause to change your mind with his latest speech.

For many weeks now, I have grown… disappointed, and frustrated at the state of things, particularly the state of the conversation, and morose at the lack of intelligence in our national life. I’ve come to understand why our nation is such as it is today. Our elders— those who pass as our leaders have no idea what they want to do. Just so there is no ambivalence to this. I particularly look at the opposition. It really isn’t love of country that drives them. It isn’t really a sense of building something much better, but rather a sense of “what’s in it for me”. Then there are some personalities— driven out by the administration— who have naturally sought to ally themselves with the opposition. Driven by anger, by bitterness they have no idea of the world they want to build, no thought as to its shape and structure and no grounding of what’s real and possible. So they would rather shoot the nation in its foot.

So nothing gets done. Nothing is accomplished.

For three months we have had this supposed conversation on pork barrel and PDAF. We seem to have started to miss the point. For some, they have started to drown with too much information. Taking time to process this information so they drown at it. It is a case of if you look too deeply into the abyss, it starts to look back at you, and you are gripped with inaction because of the depth and scope of the problem.

So we miss the point. As the President said, it is about the thief and it is about the thieves.

Much of our nation’s problem isn’t about the lack of law. So a lot of people believe it is the system that’s flawed. Anyone who has read the COA report on the PDAF can read the heart of the problem. We have laws, the COA wrote but those laws were not executed. So this mess happened.

The problem is a multi-layered one. For the simplest of it— isn’t so much as fixing the system or adding more layers of law— but the solution to the problem, first and foremost is to execute the law. The thieves— or in this case, the alleged thieves need to face justice.

Many argue the government isn’t doing, or doing very little. Building a case isn’t easy. Building a case that doesn’t get thrown out in court isn’t easy. Is it enough what this government has done? At the very least, it is a good start.

That’s what many people fail to grasp. This is a start. The Aquino administration is a start. Not the death and be all, and end all of fighting corruption or “fixing the system”, it is the start to doing that.

Is it a perfect start? No. It is riddled with problems, and riddled with missteps. It is often seen as moving too slow, but it is a start. It is a beginning. The importance of that can not be stressed enough. In building a business for example, the most important step is getting off your butt and starting. Starting.

What most people fail to grasp is the understanding that the granular detail is less important than the general direction. So for corruption, the general direction is throw those who made a mistake to jail. To set an example. To mean business.

The President once gave the analogy that the Philippines is like a rundown house. Roof leaking. Doors, broken, etc. It is easy enough to fix such a house when you have all the monies in the world, but the reality is that the Philippines doesn’t. So sometimes it is patch work. Leaks plugged, and patched. Sometimes it is an industrial strength fix. That’s what should get done today.

Right now, we have a case building around three key people: Senators Enrile, Estrada, and Revilla. Focus on that. Get them to jail. If down the road the President’s allies happen to have cases built against them, then go for it. That’s what people raving about the DAP can’t seem to focus on, except, “Bakit kami lang? Bakit sila lang?”

If we focus on “Bakit kami lang? Bakit sila lang?” Then we will have a nation that can’t do anything except sit still and make kuwento like bums in the street corner. We will have a nation that shoot itself in the foot. That’s a shame, wouldn’t it?

This is why I am so disappointed.

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