Asking the wrong questions about the Grand Lotto and VFA
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-12-02
One sure way not to know and understand anything is by asking the wrong questions. What separates the wise person from the fool is how that person asks questions. The right question will lead to the truth, to enlightenment. The wrong question will lead to more confusion.

Take the case of the recent suspicions of some people who questioned whether the Grand Lotto is being rigged these days which is why nobody could win it until last Monday. They’re wondering if the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office) under the President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) administration was rigging the Grand Lotto to avoid making a big payoff (which it will eventually pay anyway).

In their eagerness to win the unprecedented big jackpot, they asked the wrong question. The logical question should have been — were the Grand Lotto draws under the previous administration being rigged? How come that there were even cases of dual winners during the previous administration?

There are 28.99 million possible combinations in the Grand Lotto draw where the bettor must pick six numbers from a range of 1 to 55. It doesn’t require a math genius to determine that the likelihood of non-winners are much greater in the 6/55 Grand Lotto draw. The right question therefore is this — how come so many people easily won during the previous administration?

The VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement) between our country and the US is an insult to Philippine sovereignty and a magnet for attack by other countries in the event of war between them and the US. Credit the P-Noy administration for initiating the review of the VFA. Credit also the many Senators who are actively participating in the VFA review.

The VFA review will necessarily tackle these three thorny issues:

1. The issue where the Philippine Senate is made to approve the VFA but to the Americans it is a mere executive agreement.

2. The custody of erring US servicemen and other personnel when they violate our laws here.
3. The need to clarify and limit the scope and duration of VFA operations in our country as well as the number of US troops that are allowed to stay and for how long they should be allowed to stay.

Just when we’re about to correct that demeaning VFA — somebody raised his hand in class and asked the wrong question. During a legislative committee hearing on the VFA review last November 23, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE) asked: “Can the Philippines win a war without the United States?”

As a premise for the VFA review, that JPE question is tantamount to promoting the US agenda and discouraging any attempt to correct the VFA. The issues that must be resolved are the insulting aspects of the VFA to Philippine sovereignty and not the winning or losing of a war that may not even happen.

What JPE did not raise is that it is precisely because of the VFA that we may be dragged into a US war and become the target of attack of a US enemy. In posing his wrong question and pressing his point, JPE cited China as his “Exhibit A” of a possible aggressor. However, his point is refuted by Philippine history. There has been no Philippine-China War but we’ve already experienced eight wars because of the US. These eight wars were the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.

For a man of his intelligence and experience, how can JPE see only that narrow pro-US perspective to the VFA? How come it escaped his attention, especially considering his talent for adjusting to changing political climates, that playing neutral between the US and China could bring the biggest gains for our country?

Didn’t JPE read the US NIC (National Intelligence Council, the highest US intelligence body) 2025 Report where it was admitted that the US is on the decline and that China is on a powerful upward momentum? The NIC 2025 Report had not even factored the current economic woes of the US. Isn’t it untypical of JPE to stick to a declining power instead of realigning with the new king of the block? Didn’t it occur to JPE that China could easily bankroll Philippine military modernization and other needs if that is what will ensure that there will be no US military capability here that will threaten China’s national security?

JPE must be aware that the September 21, 1972 imposition here of a dictatorship was the result of a US policy decision during the 1970s. Fearing the Domino Theory (fall to Communism of weak democracies allied to the US), the US sponsored dictatorships in Asia, South America and Central America. JPE knew the crucial role the US played later on in deposing the Philippine dictator that they created. He even played a key role in that ouster of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

In his remaining years in public service, it is hoped that Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile will serve as a beacon of light to our largely benighted nation. Senator Enrile can proceed towards that goal by starting to ask the right questions.

* * *

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

[Click here for the Archive]

Home | As I Wreck This Chair | High Ground | Career Brief and Roots | Advocacies | Landmarks Copyright 2006 The Chair Wrecker by William M. Esposo