Wednesday, July 21

In Reply to: God and Pope Under Attack (Part 2)



In Part 2 of his PDI OUTLOOK column (4th paragraph) last July 15, Rigoberto Tiglao described Part 1 of his column last July 8 as “the assault on the church as an institution purportedly mediating between God and man”. Immediately after this, he posed the following rhetorical question: “How can the worst kind of sexual deviants -- those preying on the innocent -- speak for God and morality? Worse, there have emerged documented allegations that the present Pope, in his previous job since 1981 as head of the Vatican unit with authority in such cases, knew about these cases, but failed to act on them.”

Several paragraphs later, Tiglao took care of answering his own rhetorical question but with obvious prejudice as follows:

“These cases of sexual abuse worldwide have not only severely eroded the Church’s credibility as an institution of morality, and as God’s representative on earth. They have also put into question the credibility of the Vicar of Christ, the Pope himself.

xxxxx Investigations by the New York Times xxxxx and by other European journalists have definitively shown that Benedict was informed of the accusations since the 1990s and perhaps even earlier but had failed to act on them, allegedly even in effect ignoring them.”

There is nothing whatsoever in Tiglao’s July 15 column that would even thinly suggest some evenhandedness or balance in his treatment of these vicious accusations and allegations against Pope Benedict’s supposed failure to act or “even in effect ignoring” these “cases of sexual abuse worldwide” despite its perpetrators being “the worst kind of sexual deviants”!

The truth of the matter WILL REFUTE Tiglao’s diatribes! Consider that under Canon Law and common sense, it was the bishop of the diocese to which the offending priest belonged, who had to take immediate action and the duty to report the alleged crimes to the local police IF evidence of guilt was strong. Besides, Cardinal Ratzinger who was thousands of miles away had no legal standing nor practical means to be an effective complainant for such complex matters with such faraway police authorities.

Nevertheless, as the Catholic World Report publisher, Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. explained in the Letters (to the Editor) section of the June 2010 issue of his magazine, then Cardinal Ratzinger was “one of the few major prelates who took decisive action to respond to it. Thus some sixty percent of the cases reported by the bishops to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) were sent back to the bishops because the evidence was so strong (and so), a long canonical process (at the CDF) was not needed. The bishops (therefore) could and should have taken immediate action and reported those priests to the authorities.”

What Tiglao and the world’s media may also have forgotten, is that even more pronounced is the prevailing policy in most of the secular systems for criminal justice throughout the world to exercise PRUDENCE, such that:

1. The identities of the victims are assiduously protected from the glare of media publicity.

2. Considering that the allegations of any criminal wrongdoing may be FALSE, thus the accused who is “presumed innocent until proven guilty” STILL has a right to the protection of his/her reputation. And so U.S. civil libertarians have always insisted on the sacredness of the Miranda Doctrine which has been adopted here in the Philippines together with the underlying philosophy that “it is better to run the risk of having ten among those truly guilty getting away scot-free, than to have just one innocent person wrongly convicted of a crime.” That is why Criminal Law jurisprudence and the Rules of Court are stacked up in favor of the accused who does NOT have to prove his/her PRESUMED innocence, but instead has to be EXPLICITLY proven by the prosecution under proper DUE PROCESS, to be GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

Tiglao et al may also not be aware of the fact further emphasized by Fr. Fessio, that as early as the year 2001 even before such scandals erupted in the U.S., Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II had already begun exercising their MORAL command responsibility, by mandating that “all credible allegations of child abuse by priests (should) be reported to the CDF”.

Be that as it may, the most unfortunate fact still remains, which Tiglao has emphasized, that the moral credibility of the Catholic Church especially among non-Catholics, has been “severely eroded”!

But this is precisely why we Catholics ought NOW to make an act of the will to remain steadfast in our Faith, on the SOLID PREMISE that we believe, nay we KNOW that Christ’s promise to Peter and his Papal Successors, despite the periodic and seemingly irreversible onslaught of skepticism, derision and all sorts of attack against the Mystical Body of Christ and His Vicar here on earth, even if as fearsome as the gates of hell -- is ROCK SOLID as ever in its TRUTH. Moreover, as many of us Catholics believe in the Fatima prophecies to be nearing their epiphany, we expect that the Immaculate Heart of Mary will SOON triumph, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus will thereafter reign over a heretofore skeptical mankind.

And so dear Pope Benedict XVI, we who believe in you, unabashedly AFFIRM with fervent faith and humble contrition for our own shortcomings as people of God: “YES, we BELIEVE Our Lord’s solemn declaration that you are Peter! And upon such a Rock, our one, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church is FOREVER built and subsists, so that even Hell itself and the powers of death will NOT prevail against this Rock of Faith. For wherever sin of even the worst kind is found, yet truly God’s grace all the more abounds…”

Eduardo B. Olaguer

Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate

of the Philippines


Tuesday, July 20

In Re: God and The Pope Under Attack (Part 1)



According to columnist Rigoberto Tiglao (PDI issue of July 8, 2010), the rise of atheism and agnosticism is the triumph of science as “the only tool to obtain objective truth”. Such a sweeping statement admitting no exceptions, is most typical of those who do NOT understand “science” as it is now and always has been. For if Tiglao’s theory is true which it is NOT, and such falsehood is demonstrable even by COMMON SENSE, therefore Tiglao’s 2-part article itself would a priori be violating “objective truthper se because its presentation is by no means a scientific treatise whatsoever.

In fact, being obviously NOT a qualified science practitioner himself, cosmologists and particularly those involved in theoretical quantum physics will cringe at Tiglao’s seemingly (to a science tyro) impressive statement that “science, with mathematical elegance and rigor, is going to the very depths of reality (super-string theories) and to the start of time (the Big Bang)”. And thus according to science-tyro Tiglao, “there is no need for the childish creation myths of religion”. It is therefore apparent that his conclusion is based on the naïve theory that science alone can explain cosmological reality (the whole physical structure of the universe) in full, down to the infinitesimally small nuclear quantum level, strictly by means of physics and mathematics. And worse: for IF SO, therefore we Catholics who sincerely believe in the Holy Trinity One God, including those among Tiglao’s PDI associates, are childish myth-fanatics or the like!?!

But in fact the Tiglao-cited “super-string theories” (for indeed there are several theoretical variations at odds with one another), are still infinitely far from “going to the very depths of reality”. As of now these theories consist of mere trial-and-error ATTEMPTS over the past 20 years to verify its YET UNPROVEN MAIN ASSUMPTIONthat physical matter at the quantum level is a string-like membrane or combination of infinitesimally small compositely structured quanta”, and NOT the classic quantum physics STANDARD MODEL’s single point-like specks (e.g. electrons and quarks). And their researcher-scientists have NOT yet even arrived at the initial stage of mathematically DEBUNKING existing contrary theories under Einstein’s widely accepted General Theory (yes, also still a theory up to now!) of Relativity or the old classic Standard Model based on quantum particle physics.

In fact String and Super-String theories have been overtaken by a more recent and CONTRADICTORY theory - - that of the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) as the latest alternative to String Theory or M-Theory, its more technically acceptable name. LQG’s main theoretical ASSUMPTION (thus its parallel attempts in competition with String theorists to prove its assumptions as mathematically correct), is that space is NOT continuous, but comes only in specific quantum units of area and volume. The term “loop” refers to its mathematically implied existence of “small loops marked out in spacetime”. The dynamic quantum geometry of space over infinitesimally short periods of time is what is referred to as spacetime.

But Tiglao’s worst error is his implicit conclusion that science as exemplified by the EXPLORATORY mathematics of those behind Super-string theories, has already and forever demolished any reasonable belief in God and His creation of the world out of nothing; and implicitly, that all these mind bogglingly complex yet mathematically precise (conceptually) infinitesimal structures are mere products of RANDOM CHANCE.

For had Tiglao correctly understood the basic aspects of “String Theories”, the reverse conclusion is MORE REASONABLE, which is that there must be a sovereign Super-Intelligence behind it all! For it is basic in the science of statistics with its unique mathematics on permutations and combinations I first learned in our Higher Algebra (Math 30) course in U.P. under Prof. Manuel Bendaña, that with MORE FACTORS involved, the GREATER are the odds against the random occurrence of a specific event. For example, picking the shortest route covering 100 towns by mere chance will have odds of 1 in 100-factorial, where the latter number is 100 x 99 x 98 x 97 … x 2 x 1. Thus even the most modern computer engaged in solving this classic Traveller’s mathematical problem would take tens of millions of years to arrive at the complete answer. For the skeptic, try multiplying with a calculator just the first five (5) factors to get an idea of how many permutations and combinations are involved, each of which the Traveller cum computer must still analyze to get the shortest route.

And so let’s consider that thus far, String Theories’ mathematical models and equations (from my old copy of the Special Edition of the Scientific American, February 2006) IMPLY, not prove but merely imply, as follows:

1. Aside from the four dimensions of length, width, height/depth and time, there are SIX extra DIMENSIONS that are too small to have yet been detected.

2. It also suggests that our present observable universe with its present approximate radius of 13.4 billion light years, may just be “one random valley (or universe) out of a virtually infinite selection of valleys (or multiverses) in a vast landscape of possibilities”.

3. This infinite landscape or “spacescape” has perhaps 10500valleys”, each one of which has its own set of “Laws of Physics” that operate uniquely in separate vast “bubbles of space”. (Pls. note that 102 is 100, 103 is 1000. Thus 10500 has 500 zeros in it all in all!)

4. Our present visible universe would thus be “only one relatively small region within one such bubble”. (Note: From the article by Raphael Bousso and Joseph Polansky in the Special Edition (The Frontiers of Physics) in my old copy of The Scientific American, February 2006.

And yet Tiglao unabashedly proclaims that a) all these are already existing

realities and b) all these by inference, are products of random chance arising from OUT OF NOTHING, in keeping with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Is it a reasonable or a cock-eyed conclusion based on common sense?

Furthermore, let me also correct Mr. Tiglao’s Bible exegesis on the “virgin birth” of Jesus Christ from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s womb. Its scriptural proof is NOT primarily much less exclusively based on the Old Testament, but from the New Testament i.e. from the Gospels of St. Matthew (1:18-25) and St. Luke (1:26-38) whose translations from the original text have NEVER been seriously questioned as to their correctness.

At any rate, Mr. Tiglao’s selection of popular and seemingly heavyweight atheist-witnesses for his persecution/prosecution of God e.g. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Victor J. Stenger among others, as his testimonial evidence to prove that “God is a myth”, in contrast to his choice of little known lighweight “defenders” such as John Polkinghorne (a former priest), Karen Armstrong (a former nun) and Antony Flew (an atheist allegedly converted to theism!), clearly smacks of a rigged Trial Court with himself as the only member of the jury.

And contrary to Tiglao’s primary thesis that science, particularly physics and mathematics “is the only tool to obtain objective truth”, his primary witness Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, similar to the Tiglao column, is mostly a hodge-podge of passionately bitter polemical criticisms of the alleged downright STUPIDITIES of fanatics in all religions. And so Dawkins VULGARLY describes them as merely “sucking up to their God”. The book is also larded over with a lot of pseudo-metaphysics that would easily be fried crisp if subjected to the 24-carat metaphysical and theological brilliance of St. ThomasSumma Theologica.

On the other hand, Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, so highly touted too by Tiglao, uses the 9-11 tragedy at the New York City Twin Towers, as his ultimate exhibit in his litany of CONDEMNATORY EVIDENCE versus ALL kinds of religious FAITH. Thus he extrapolated those Twin Towers as proof that: the perpetrators of such a heinous act were allegedly men of perfect faith”. ERGO, all such “pretensions to theological knowledge” are EVIL per se… whether from a Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim, etc.

How I wish Gilbert Keith Chesterton our Thomas Aquinas of the 20th century and par excellence defender-through-common sense of our faith, were still alive! He would have easily and simultaneously put both Dawkins and Harris down on the floor, whether figuratively or even literally, during any debate.

Tiglao’s third seeming heavyweight witness for the prosecution of God and all religions, is Victor J. Stenger together with his book “The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does NOT Exist”. Stenger is the only one among Tiglao’s witnesses who uses modern physics as the major part of the proffered evidence. Thus Stenger, the professional particle physicist and lately active in philosophy and popular fora on religious skepticism, insists that if God exists, some evidence of His existence should be detectable “by scientific means”, and that there is none of such evidence whatsoever. On the other hand, Stenger claims that based on all the SAME scientific evidence available, the conclusion should be that “beyond reasonable doubt the universe and life itself exists” without any alleged Sovereign Prime Being to thank and acknowledge as the Creator. In short: if I can’t prove my presence/innocence, therefore I must be non-existent/guilty beyond reasonable doubt?!?

And so I now present as my rebuttal witness, Stenger’s colleague in the science profession. He is Charles Townes, a former UCLA professor, co-inventor of the laser and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. And in March 2005 at the age of 89, he was the recipient of the Templeton Prize for “Progress towards Research and Discoveries about Spiritual Realities”, with a cash award of USD 1.5 Million.

Townes’ simple and straightforward rebuttal testimony is that “Many people don’t realize that science basically involves assumptions and faith. But nothing is absolutely proved. Wonderful things in both science and religion come from our efforts based on observations, thoughtful assumptions, faith and logic”. Townes concludes that it is “extremely unlikely” that the findings of modern physics will ever prove that life and humanity are “just accidental”, thus leading to the reasonable religious belief that the universe has an intelligent author-creator. For indeed if there is such a God, which we Christians DO BELIEVE to be true, therefore faith and reason will NOT, can NOT CONTRADICT each other.

Lastly, I call on my early boyhood’s love, Mathematics - - the quintessential SCIENCE- - as my last witness for the DEFENSE of GOD and for the purpose of showing that contrary to Tiglao’s theory, Mathematics itself, through its unavoidably esoteric and complex but necessarily THEORETICAL mathematical models, is NOT INERRANTLY capable of solving all the mysteries of cosmological and quantum realities. And so I offer as my exhibit-in-evidence page 30 of my old copy of another Special Edition of the Scientific American on “The Mysteries of Mathematics”. I refer in particular to an article written by John L. Casti entitled “Confronting Science’s Logical Limits” originally published in October 1996, where John L. Casti asked the following crucial yet ILLUMINATING question:

How do we know that mathematical models of a natural system and the system itself bear any (exact or otherwise) relation to each other?

And that is exactly why Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes says: “Science basically involves assumptions and faith.” Deo gratias et AMEN!


God and the Pope under attack (Part 1)

By Rigoberto D. Tiglao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 8, 2010

THAT CERTAINLY IS AN ATTENTION-GRABBING headline that, some critics say, is this newspaper’s flavor. But I assure you, it’s accurate. And it is certainly news in a country where Masses are held even in malls, where prelates pontificate on politics, and where a jogging cleric’s rants are news sound bites.

The 21st century is seeing the most intense attacks on belief in God in general and the Roman Catholic Church in particular. The siege is both on the intellectual level, the subject of the first part of this column, and on the cultural and institutional level, next week’s topic.

In high school, practically the only intellectually rigorous argument against the existence of God was Bertrand Russell’s essay, “Why I Am Not a Christian” (published 1967), which during those times you couldn’t even find in local bookstores.

Not anymore, the first decade of the century has seen a slew of books by the planet’s most respected intellectuals debunking religion, and arguing that God is simply in the genre of Santa Claus, Zeus, or the sky-god Bathala—fairy tales necessary in humanity’s infantile phase, but now unnecessary. Not only that, these have become bestsellers, so widely in demand that they are mostly now in paperback, a sure sign that a lot of people have read them and a lot more are likely to buy the cheaper edition.

UCLA neuroscientist Sam Harris probably ignited current interest with his short “The End of Faith” (2004). It argued that the rejection of reason, which is what religious faith is, has led to humanity’s monstrosities—from the brutal wars waged by the tribes of Israel to the medieval crusades to the latest jihadist car bomber. Even the Holocaust is said to have been justified by the anti-Semitism that the Good Book bred when one Gospel blamed the Jewish mob, not the Romans, for the Messiah’s crucifixion.

Several top-caliber intellectuals and scientists stepped out of their specialized fields to write books debunking religion, among them, particle physicist Victor Stenger (“God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist”), biologist and consciousness-research pioneer Daniel Dennet (“Religion: Breaking the Spell”); Oxford University evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (“The God Delusion”); and respected intellectual and journalist Christopher Hitchens “God is Not Great.”

One of the memorable trivia (at least for me) in Dawkins’ book was his ridicule of the pantheon of Catholic saints: “The Catholic Community Forum helpfully lists 5,120 saints, together with their areas of expertise, which include abdominal pains… anorexia… bowel disorders. ” (Fortunately, the Filipino faithful now has its patron saint, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, martyred in Japan in 1637, the sole Filipino saint after five centuries of Christianity, and for a country with the planet’s fourth biggest Catholic population.)

On the other hand, many of Hitchens’ points stupefy this Jesuit-educated columnist. Example: If the Ten Commandments were the word of God, how come it didn’t prohibit slavery and rape, among the heinous crimes all humanity abhors? His answer: The Commandments were simply a tribal code—as all tribes have in one form of another. Slavery and rape were acceptable 4,000 years ago, if inflicted on a conquered tribe.

There have been, of course, a slew of counter-attacks against the atheist books by scholars of Dawkins’ or Dennet’s caliber, notably from University of Cambridge professor of mathematical physics and former priest John Polkinghorne (“Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship”), former nun and professor of religion Karen Armstrong (“The Case for God”), and perhaps one of the most respected philosophers of the past century, Anthony Flew (“There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind”).

These, however, actually would give little comfort to Catholics. For instance, it turns out that Flew’s “conversion” means he still does not believe in “the Gods of the Christian and the Islamic Revelations,” but rather in “the God of Aristotle or Spinoza.” That’s an abstract god; you might as well believe in Yoda’s “The Force.”

The rise of atheism and agnosticism do not seem to be a fashion, but the result of the triumph of science starting in the past century as the only tool to attain objective truth. Even 200 years ago, the story of Adam and Eve would have been so easy to believe. Impossible now after Darwin and the reality—not theory—of evolution by natural selection. Science, with mathematical elegance and rigor, is going to the very depths of reality (super-string theories) and to the start of time (the Big Bang). There is no need for the childish creation myths of religion.

And I do not mean only natural sciences. Without the development for instance of anthropology and linguistics, the following claims could never have been brought up:

• That the word “virgin”, as in Jesus borne out of a virgin, is a mis-translation from the Hebrew almah of the Old Testament which only means “young woman.” And after all, virgin births are almost always a feature of ancient Mediterranean religions, from the Egyptian god Horus to Greek heroes to even the Roman Emperor Augustus. (Cf., James Still, “The Virgin Birth and the Childhood Mysteries of Jesus.”)

• That “virgin” as in the dozens of “virgins” that a jihadist martyr would purportedly enjoy in the afterlife as his reward is a mis-translation from a word in Syriac (a language other than Arabic used in the Koran) that means “white raisins.” (Cf., Ibn Warraq, “Virgins, What Virgins?”).

(Next week: The cultural and institutional siege against the Church)


Wednesday, July 14


The following article will be published tomorrow or the day after in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. If you agree with it substantially, kindly pass on or alert others of kindred spirits.

Eduardo B. Olaguer


We, the Advocates of Truth in Lending associates hereby announce that we are joining the national clamor “to defeat the enemies of the state through good governance… by wielding the tools of justice, social reform and equitable governance” as was so sincerely and inspiringly proclaimed by President Noy Aquino in his inaugural address.
Thus we humbly dare to speak for the tens of millions of our countrymen who for so long have suffered with us, especially during the last twelve years, from unconscionably and iniquitously EXCESSIVE interest rates which have gone as high as 36% per annum that have been routinely imposed by commercial banks under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral; or those surreptitiously collected by quasi-financing companies NOT supervised by the latter charging at least 45% per annum; or by installment-sales Dealers of motorcycles/tricycles with their going rate of at least 58% p.a. AND, worst of all, by giant department stores and their “SUPERMALL” owners-BANKERS who charge their BONDED agents/dealers 2-month fixed interest charges of 5% to be added to and payable with the principal in 4-equal installments every 15 days, which actually translate to an effective rate of 57.6% per annum when computed on the basis of the Bangko Sentral’s statutory and mathematical definition of effective “Simple Interest” for such installment credit transactions. In turn, these agents/dealers recruit their own customers who will pay for their purchases on installment using the bank-and-mall-owner’s Credit Cards, at the higher rate of 7% (instead of 5%) for two months’ credit as the add-on interest charge, payable together with the principal in 4 equal semi-monthly installments. These naïve customers enter into such atrociously objectionable contracts, OBLIVIOUS of the universally recognized mathematical fact, (but certainly KNOWN by the mall-owners-bankers) that they are being actually charged interest at the stupendous rate of 80.64% per annum, based on the Bangko Sentral’s statutory formula. That formula has the force of law because it is mandated by Section 2i of CB Circular No. 158 which are the Implementing Rules and Regulations of The Truth in Lending Act (RA 3765).
The root cause of this free-for-all nationwide GRAVE SOCIAL INJUSTICE perpetrated by means of gouging naively trusting consumers with unconscionably USURIOUS interest charges, is the fact that Ferdinand Marcos issued P.D. No. 1684 on March 17, 1980 thereby authorizing the old Central Bank to prescribe the maximum rate of interest. And so in 1982, the Jobo Fernandez-led Monetary Board WENT OVERBOARD by issuing its infamous Circular No. 905 which provided among others, that: “The rate of interest …. on a loan … regardless of maturity and whether secured or unsecured, that may be charged or collected by any person… should NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY CEILING prescribed under or pursuant to the Usury Laws as amended.” (emphasis added)
Nevertheless in various landmark Decisions e.g. Corazon G. Ruiz vs Court of Appeals (GR. No. 146942), Medel vs Court of Appeals (299 SCRA 481), Sps. Solangon vs Salazar (GR. No. 125944), the High Court has been consistently INVALIDATING excessive e.g. 3% per month (which is actually 42.576% per annum!), stipulated interest rates, and instead has reduced them to the legal rate of 12% per annum! And in Almeda vs PNB and Court of Appeals (256 SCRA 307) the High Court has reiterated that “Any contract which appears to be heavily weighed in favor of one of the parties so as to lead to an unconscionable result, IS VOID”! (emphasis added)
It is high time therefore that P.Noy’s A-Team of policy and decision makers in the fields of economics, finance and justice working in collaboration with Congress, should immediately take steps to REPEAL this highly anachronistic and INIQUITOUS Presidential Decree No. 1684. Otherwise, it will only be in our oft belittled “Pilipines” where there continues to be such a barbarically CRIMINAL albeit legalized USURY imposed by and/or in collaboration with seemingly respectable Christian businessmen including prominent Catholics who despite being conscienceless USURERS, routinely participate in the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” and even dare to receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They ought to be reminded that whether legal or not, USURY remains MORALLY ABHORRENT. (vide Catholic Catechism paragraphs 2409 and 2536)
Hopefully therefore, our most respected Catholic economists will all see the GRAVE SOCIAL INJUSTICE in such a sad state of credit affairs, considering that no country in the whole wide world has ever attained sustainable long-term economic growth and stability, while burdened by high interest rates, and MUCH LESS when UNCONSCIONABLY EXCESSIVE. Thus our Supreme Court’s aforecited Decisions enlightened by its Justices’ mostly intuitive grasp of real economics AND with a deep sense of SOCIAL JUSTICE, have been consistently STIGMATIZING interest rates greater than 18% per annum as “iniquitous and contrary to public policy”, even if mutually agreed to by both borrower and lender!

Admittedly it will take at least a year for the repeal of Presidential Decree No. 1684 even assuming OPTIMISTICALLY, that the shaky majorities in both the Senate and Lower House will be in agreement.
In the meantime however, there is SO MUCH that is DOABLE and OUGHT BE DONE IMMEDIATELY, in order “to defeat the enemies of the state through good governance” strictly on the basis of that little known and much less understood nor appreciated old Central Bank Circular No. 158 which provides the statutory teeth for the Truth in Lending Act together with the wellknown relevant provisions of our Civil and Penal Codes vis-à-vis commercial obligations and contracts.
These forgotten statutory teeth of CB Circular No. 158 which was issued in October 1963, are the technical provisions under Section 2i thereof, which contain the statutory definitions (hence with the force of law) of Simple Annual Interest Rates i.e. interest rates per annum, and the statutory limitations on the widely mis-used interest computation formula I = PRT/365, as follows: (with emphases and comments added)
“Simple annual rate” is the uniform percentage which represents the ratio, on an annual basis, between the finance charges and the amount to be financed.
In the case of a single payment upon maturity, the simple annual rate in percent is determined by the following method:
finance charge 12 x
amount to be maturity period
financed in months

Addendum: (Comments)
a) Let the “finance charge” or interest be denoted as I
b) Let the “amount to be financed” or Principal be denoted as P
c) Let the “maturity period in months” be denoted as T and 12 as the number of months in one (1) year.
d) And thus by substitution with the above algebraic symbols, the “simple interest” formula with LIMITED APPLICABILITY is the result, per CB Circular 158 (2i) derived as follows:
The Simple Annual Rate R = I/P x 12/T or: R = 12I/PT
e) And by transposition, it becomes:The Interest Charges or Finance Charges I = PRT/12 where T is the maturity period expressed in months which may often be less than 12 months, and R is the given or resulting Simple Annual Rate as the case may be, while P is the principal or amount to be financed
f) And so if the maturity period T will be expressed in days (which may often be less than 365 days) instead of months, necessarily the denominator 12(months) should be replaced by 365 (days). Thus the formula becomes: I = PRT/365, Thus too:
I = P x R x T/365, where P is the Principal, R is the given Simple Annual Rate, and T is the maturity period expressed in days, at the end of which “one single payment” of interest I is due.
g) Hence I = PRT/365 MAY NOT BE USED on a monthly/quarterly basis PRIOR to loan

In the case of the normal installment type of credit of at least one year in duration, where installment payments of equal amount are made in regular time periods spaced not more than one year apart, the simple annual rate (R), in percent, is computed by the following method:

Number of payments
finance charge in a year x
amount to be total number of
financed payments plus one

In cases where the credit matures in less than one year (e.g., installment payments are required every month for six months), the same formula will apply except that: the number of payments in a year would refer to the number of installment periods, as defined in the credit contract, if the credit matures in one year. For example, the number of payments in a year would be twelve for this purpose in a case where six monthly installment payments are called for in the credit transaction.

Incidentally, RA 3765 requires all establishments extending credit, to have all the above statutory provisions posted prominently within their premises!
Sad to say, our commercial banks and other commercial lenders or financiers are favored with the obvious and benign tolerance of the Bangko Sentral whose chief executive Governor as well as its Chairman of the Monetary Board who is often the Secretary of Finance, are both usually former Presidents of our biggest commercial banks. Thus it practically explains why our local BIG MONEY LENDERS have succeeded in SUPPRESSING the statutorily-mandated FULL publication of CB Circular 158. And as a result, the formula I =PRT/365 and the more complicated formulae for installment purchases on credit, are often FRAUDULENTLY mis-used or ignored in computing the monthly or quarterly interest charges on loans and/or their corresponding “effective” rates. And so the FRAUDULENT compounding and bloating of already bloated interest rates well beyond their contractually stipulated Simple Annual Rates are cleverly or even CRIMINALLY DISGUISED! And so too unfortunately today, virtually a handful of borrowers outside big corporate boardrooms know for a fact that Section 2i of CB Circular No. 158 PROHIBITS the use of the formula I = PRT/365 except for interest charges covering “single payments upon maturity”!!! And worse, installment-sales buyers/customers unwittingly accept installment payment plans whose effective interest rates range from 57.6% per annum to as high as 80.64% per annum!
In addition to our urgent recommendation for the immediate STOPPAGE of such widespread fraudulent victimization of innocent borrowers, we also completely agree with the incoming administration’s LOGICALLY CORRECT policy of FIRST IMPROVING TAX COLLECTION EFFICIENCY, before even considering the oppressive alternative of RAISING TAX RATES or TAXING OTHER NEW SOURCES of commercial revenue. Thus for example, it is a far simpler matter of IMMEDIATELY ORDERING the B.I.R. to APPREHEND and PENALIZE those responsible for the widespread commercial banking MALPRACTICE of NOT ISSUING OFFICIAL RECEIPTS on interest charges collected from borrowers, instead of increasing the Withholding Tax on such earnings. For it is a widely known fact that instead of O.R.s, merely Debit Memos and/or Statements of Account are issued by these banks to acknowledge interest payments directly deducted from the borrowers’ bank deposit accounts, thus facilitating large scale TAX EVASION…
Our collective records show that all the abovedescribed commercial lending malpractices among others, have been brought up repeatedly to NO AVAIL to the official attention of both the Bangko Sentral and the B.I.R. as well as in various judicial courts over the last ten years. Nevertheless, these FRAUDULENT malpractices have continued UNABATED with ever growing IMPUNITY!
Thus in a letter-complaint dated 5 April 2000 addressed to members of the House and Senate Committees on Banks, with a copy furnished to Mr. Rafael Buenaventura as Governor of the Bangko Sentral, one of our incorporators brought up the mathematically precise fact that the STATUTORY formula I = PRT/365 when fraudulently mis-used on a monthly basis instead of only for single payments of interest and principal “UPON MATURITY”, and if applied on an 18% per annum Promissory Note, such mis-use results in an effective rate of 19.56% per annum, or an illicit gain of 8.67% MORE (19.56/18), in terms of EFFECTIVE interest income earned by the lender-bank. Applying this ILLICIT incremental gain of 8.67% on Two Trillion Pesos in commercial bank loans outstanding in 1999 with an assumed average stipulated interest rate of 18% per annum, he conservatively estimated in April 2000 that the fraudulent incremental “boondoggle” was around P31 Billion per year. That was TEN YEARS AGO! That amount should now be at least DOUBLE on an annualized basis.
In comparison, the one-time Bolante boondoggle in fertilizers worth some P728 Million, PALES in comparison. Therefore: tama na, sobra na!

The Incorporators
(In the process of incorporation)
P.O. Box 745 Araneta Center
Cubao, Quezon City 1135

Atty. Nelson A. Clemente Atty. Nathaniel A. Lobigas
Romeo J. Jorge Eduardo B. Olaguer
Priscilla D. Zapanta Carmelito R. Zapanta
Atty. Runy M. Sarda