"Dalawang gabi ko lang babasahin ito." - President Rodrigo Duterte

US intelligence estimate praises Duterte

“IN the Philippines, President Duterte will continue to wage his signature campaign against drugs, corruption, and crime. Duterte has suggested he could suspend the Constitution, declare a ‘revolutionary government,’ and impose nationwide martial law. His declaration of martial law in Mindanao, responding to the ISIS-inspired siege of Marawi City, has been extended through the end of 2018.”

That’s the entirety, all of 57 words, of what the US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats wrote in his “national intelligence estimate” of the situation in the Philippines under President Duterte, nothing more, nothing less.

I suspect Coats simply yielded to a lobby by a certain quarter in New York led by a Filipina-American billionaire to include Duterte in his report, but to spite it, wrote that analysis on Duterte that wasn’t really critical of him.

Read that paragraph 10 times. Decide for yourself if the following reports on it were accurate, or simply reveal their bias against Duterte, and spun it in ways they thought would damage the president’s image:

 Philippine Daily Inquirer: “US intelligence community: Duterte is one of threats to democracy in Southeast Asia”;

BusinessWorld: “US intelligence tags Duterte a ‘threat to democracy, human rights’”;

Rappler.com: “US intelligence agencies cite President Rodrigo Duterte’s suggestion to declare a ‘revolutionary government’ and impose nationwide martial law as a threat to democracy in Southeast Asia.” (Of course, Rappler’s photo for its article showed Duterte in army combat fatigues.)

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Supreme Court 2008 decision: Boracay is state property

But Aquino 3rd ignored it, as well as Arroyo’s Proclamation 1064

BORACAY’s elite lording it over the island shouldn’t take lightly President Duterte’s threat to close it down if they don’t reverse the degradation of the island into a cesspool.

It is the state which has ownership of this once paradisiacal island. It therefore may decide what to do with it, close it down or take it over.

Boracay again is a classic case of a weak Philippine state losing control of land it is the supreme sovereign of, and allowing it to be ravaged both by uncaring local and foreign capitalists.

Although scandalously ignored to this day, the 15-member Supreme Court under then Chief Justice Renato Puno unanimously ruled in October 2008 (G.R. No. 167707) that there is no legal basis for private individuals to claim ownership of any property in the island. (To his credit, even Justice Antonio Tirol Carpio, a member of the Tirol clan that is the biggest single landowner in the island concurred with the decision written by Associate Justice Ruben Reyes.)

There hasn’t even been  a move to ask the court to reconsider its decision. Many of the big resort owners who thought they owned their lands — like Orlando Sacay who was one of those who filed the Court case — have left the island after the decision,  or have moved to what they think is the next paradise-area, Coron in Palawan.

“The island is State property,” the high court ruled. It explained that for a land to be “alienable,” or subject to private ownership, the state must declare it as such.

STATE-OWNED? A bird’s eye view of the P70,000 per night Shangri-la Hotel in Boracay.

In the case of Boracay, the court pointed out, Continue reading

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China’s rise exposes ‘free trade’ myth

Last of 2 parts

I DEVOTED my last column to reprint the first part of a slightly edited version of a New York Times (NYT) magazine February 8 article entitled “The Rise of China and the Fall of the ‘Free Trade’ Myth.” It debunks what’s known as the neoliberal ideology the US and the West have been espousing, with us having been the most gullible in believing and complying with its economic prescriptions in the past 40 years.

Neoliberalism refers to the ideology that free trade, unrestrained capitalism and foreign investments will result in a country’s economic growth. The NYT magazine article debunked this not through abstractions but by narrating mainly the cases of China, which has emerged as the second biggest economy in just a few decades’ time, as well as other East Asian countries.

All of the Asian countries that have become developed economies – Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan – had never adopted neoliberal economic policies. We did and look where we are. Yet its apologists – intellectual minions of big capitalists in this country like the UP School of Economics and the Foundation for Economic Freedom – still claim we have not been neoliberal enough.

The second and last part of the NYT Magazine article follows: Continue reading

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‘The Rise of China and the Fall of the ‘Free Trade’ Myth’

BELIEVE it or not, that is the title of an article published not in some leftist magazine but recently in the magazine of the top newspaper of US capitalism, the New York Times.

In our country, the belief in the free-trade ideology—and its larger framework of unrestrained capitalism and foreign investments—is a dogma nearly on par with that of Catholicism. That ideology, called neoliberalism, has been the canon of every economic management team since Marcos, although the strongman himself wasn’t an adherent of it and adopted many statist economic policies.

Fidel Ramos was an especially ardent believer of the ideology, proud of his rallying cry for it: “privatization, deregulation and liberalization.” This has only resulted among other things in the drastic weakening of our manufacturing and cash crop sectors—when our tariff floodgates were opened to the tsunami of Chinese products—and in the loss to profit-hungry capitalists of our public utility and other strategic industries.

President Duterte’s economic-planning secretary Ernesto Pernia is incontrovertibly a free-trader, since he had spent his academic career at the UP School of Economics, the champion of neoliberalist thought in this country.

However, I don’t think President Duterte, with his demonstrated conviction that a state must be an activist one whose primordial role is to serve the people—and not the markets—and his strong sense of nationalism can ever believe in neoliberalism. That is probably the one advantage we have now, that this president comes from a rough-and-tumble frontier city far from the metropolis, where abstractions are eaten alive by reality.

I am devoting two of my columns to reprint this very informative February 8 article from the New York Times magazine, written by Pankaj Mishra, which debunks neoliberalism not in an abstract manner but by showing that Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and more recently, China, developed their economies by rejecting neoliberal ideology—which we have so stupidly embraced.

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ICC project shows Trillanes and Yellows’ depth of depravity and utter lack of patriotism

SEN. Antonio Trillanes 4th and his Yellow financiers have succeeded in their top black-propaganda project: the case they filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Duterte for his government’s alleged extra-judicial killings in the course of the war against illegal drugs.

It’s total hogwash that they are seeking justice for the victims.

They know that at best the case will still be there years after Duterte is out of power, as in the cases for instance of the Uganda and Colombia complaints which were filed in 2004, but which the ICC is still investigating.

Even if there were EJKs, how can they claim that Duterte is responsible, that there was a state policy for such, and that these were not merely cases, as happens anywhere in the world, even in the most “civilized” countries, of that genre of crimes called police brutality?

Trillanes’ ICC thing is nothing but a propaganda project intended to portray Duterte to the world as a mass murderer, in the hope that the governments of the US and other Western countries will do what they can to help overthrow him.

By filing the case at the ICC, they have portrayed our country as in the league of sub-Saharan countries which that body has investigated for mass killings and rapes undertaken in the course of their civil wars mostly waged by tribes hardly out of the Stone Age.

Depths of depravity
Such is the depth of the depravity, and the utter lack of patriotism of Trillanes and his Yellow financiers.

Duterte himself has disclosed that Trillanes’ co-conspirators include New York-based billionaire Loida Nicolas-Lewis, who was one of the biggest supporters and financiers of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

PROJECT AND OUTPUT: Right, Trillanes filing the ICC case last year; left, the black propaganda. Note no mention of investigation of Venezuela, which was in the same ICC press release.

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Cory Constitution gave fake parties House seats

Last of 2 parts

THE 1987 Constitution, dubbed the Cory Constitution as President Corazon Aquino packed it with her handpicked people, has only allowed fake parties to waste taxpayers’ money as it enabled multi-millionaires, the religious sect El Shaddai, Communist Party cadres—five in the current Congress—to get seats in the House of Representatives.

From left: Quezon City political boss Belmonte has his SBP party-list, former health secretary Garin of Dengvaxia fame has her clan’s AAMBIS-OWA, and the Communist Party has its Bayan Muna, with Zarate as its representative. (His photo from a video when he was blocked by the military from attending the New People’s Army’s founding anniversary on March 29, 2017 in Surigao.)

I wrote in my column last Friday that more than half of the representatives udner the party-list system, created by the Constitution purportedly to give voice in the House to marginalized sectors, are multi-millionaires, led by the “Michael Romero, Ph.D.” (as his name appears in Congress) who claimed in his SALN a P7 billion net worth, and Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, property magnate Manuel Villar’s daughter-in-law, who reported a P1.4 billion net worth. (So far no party-list representative has communicated with me or this paper to refute the points I raised in that column.)

A third type of “party-list representatives” are those who represent no marginalized sector but merely a political clan controlling a territory. Such representatives very easily get the required number of votes—a mere 240,000 in the last elections—as they simply piggy-back on the electoral campaigns of their clans for regular seats in Congress or in the local government.

Such local bosses exploiting the party-list system aren’t just in far-away provinces. A good example of a territorial clan exploiting the party-list system is Quezon City 4th District representative Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., the city’s mayor for nine years and former President Aquino’s very loyal House Speaker during his entire term.

Wanting to continue his control of Quezon City politics, Belmonte got members of his immediate and extended family elected to positions in the local government and in Congress. His nephew, Jose Christopher Belmonte, was reelected in the last elections as the representative of the city’s 6th district. His daughter, Josefina (“Joy”), is vice mayor, and two nephews are councilors.

For his clan to get another seat in Congress, Belmonte got his nephew Ricardo (“RJ”) Belmonte to be party-list representative. Representing what?  Continue reading

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The party-list system is utterly absurd, a mockery of democracy

First of 2 parts

IF there’s any provision in our Constitution that indisputably has to be deleted, it is that which called for 20 percent of the House of Representatives seats to be given to so-called “party-list representatives,” supposedly to represent the country’s marginalized sector.

Unlike the usual congressmen who are elected by voters registered in a political district, party-list representatives are elected by any voter anywhere in the country, who elect not the individual but the party-list, which then designates him as its representative.

Cory Aquino in 1987 pushed for such a system, partly to crush the two-party system she hated. But the system has proven to be so utterly absurd, a scandalous mockery of our democracy. And we taxpayers shoulder the party-list representatives’ and their staff’s salaries as well as expenses in the amount of about P2 billion per year.

Instead of powerless sectors—“labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors” as the Constitution put it—it has only given political clout to multi- millionaires, even two billionaires, so they could defend or expand their business interests. It has also given additional seats in Congress to provincial or regional political clans, for them to increase their political clout.

Most ironically, the party-list system has put cadres of the Communist Party in the House of Representatives giving them additional resources, especially finances—raised from our taxes—to advance their agenda to violently overthrow our democracy.

Mikee and Mike: Left, 1-Pacman representative “billionaire” ‘Mikee’ Romero in a polo competition in Thailand. Right, religious leader ‘Bro.’ Mike Velarde’s campaign poster calling on his faithful to vote for his party-list.

The communist atheists are colleagues in Congress of two bible-quoting religious party-list representatives.

The Constitution’s Article VI, Section 5 (2) categorically excludes the “religious sector” from having a party-list representative. Yet “Brother” MikeVelarde who heads the huge born-again Christian group El Shaddai set up his Buhay party-list (Buhay Hayaan Yumabong) in 2001 and since 2004 has had two to three representatives in Congress. Buhay’s incumbent representatives are the preacher’s son Michael Velarde, Jr. and former Manila mayor Jose “Lito” Atienza.  Continue reading

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Sison reveals real self in his order to NPA: ‘Kill one soldier a day’

COMMUNIST Party of the Philippines founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison inadvertently revealed his true self, his real personality when from his comfortable home in the Netherlands he declared a few days ago:

“The NPA in 17 regions has…the capacity of knocking out at least one AFP soldier every day per region. That eliminates at least 510 enemy troops or some five companies every month nationwide. That translates to the elimination of some 60 companies or 20 basic battalions every year.”

For Sison, the lives of Filipinos, soldiers sworn to defend the Republic from its enemies, are mere numbers, to be body-counted so he could estimate that killing just one soldier a day would mean wiping out 20 Philippine Army battalions.

In Sison’s 78-year old deranged mind, at that kill-rate and with the Army having 120 battalions, it would just take about five to six years for him to be put in power as head of a one-party state, the “People’s Republic of the Philippines.”

Sison’s calculation, with his one-soldier-a-day-killed assumption, reminded me of Nazi SS and Gestapo generals, dramatized in the film “Conspiracy,” calculating how many bodies its gas chambers could “accommodate” in 24 hours so the 3 million Jews in the countries it occupied could be “processed” in a year.

The myth and the reality: Determined freedom fighter, left; right, living it up in the Netherlands.

Sison is clueless that even if just one soldier were killed every week, that would mean a terrible war in our countrysides. The military won’t just sit on their asses, and would retaliate, and as all wars have proven, this war will result in thousands, even hundreds of innocents being killed. Continue reading

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SC’s Ombudsman decision in 2014 directed vs Aquino’s abuse of power

BEFORE the Yellow Cultists jump up and down shrieking indignation that President Duterte’s move to suspend and remove from his post Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang is proof of his drift to dictatorship and violates the Constitution, they better do some research first.

They’ll discover the embarrassing fact that what made the Supreme Court rule in a split decision in 2014 that the President has no power to suspend or dismiss a Deputy Ombudsman was its anger over then President Aquino’s blatant abuse of power, even made in a petty manner.

Aquino in 2010 suspended and later dismissed Emilio Gonzales 3rd, the deputy ombudsman for the military and police. For what?

Officially for “neglect of duty” for not acting for several months on an appeal of one police officer, Rolando Mendoza, to reverse his dismissal from the service for grave misconduct, including robbery and extortion.

And who was Rolando Mendoza?Continue reading

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Sereno proven not to have filed her SALNs; why the hell isn’t she quitting?

BEYOND the shadow of a doubt, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno didn’t file her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) for at least eight years when she was in government service. Not only the Constitution but the Administrative Code of 1987 as well as Republic Act 6713 requires all government employees, including those in state universities, to file such statements annually.

The penalty for failure to file such SALN is punishable by imprisonment not more than five years.Continue reading

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