Posts Tagged ‘President Duterte’

Philippines: Fake News List Features “Everyone Who Has an Ax To Grind Against President Duterte” (Those in Favor of Rule of Law, Human Rights, things like that….)

December 13, 2018

Image result for President Duterte, photos

Easily the most laughable post to hit social media this week was a list of people supposedly behind a plot to oust President Duterte.

Posted by no less than the President’s controversial son, Paolo “Polong” Duterte, the list identified as “Anti-Administration Group, Oust Duterte Movement” the strangest of bedfellows

Philippine Inquirer

Image result for Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, photos

Paolo “Polong” Duterte

—Vice President Leni Robredo, Supreme Court Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Marvic Leonen, Sen. Leila de Lima, Bishops Pablo Virgilio David and Broderick Pabillo (misspelled on the list as Pabilo), Inquirer columnist Randy David, journalists Maria Ressa, Ellen Tordesillas and Ed Lingao, former chief justice Hilario Davide, former vice president Jejomar Binay, Cabinet members of the Arroyo administration, retired generals, business entities, “millennial students studying at Jesuit-run schools” and “mutant/cause-oriented groups.”

What set social media on fire was the inclusion of Jollibee among those cooking up a supposed ouster plot. The image of the beloved Filipino icon as a government destabilizer proved too much even for a people known for their extreme patience and deprecating humor.

Soon, many memes of the jolly coup-plotter bee were being shared online, in a hilarious takedown of the bizarre list peddled by the President’s son.

Not a few people also became instant fact-checkers. Foremost of them was Father David Reyes, parish priest of the St. Joseph Patriarch Parish in San Pedro, Laguna, who pointed out that: (1) Bishop Leo Drona was already retired and wheelchair-bound; (2) Bishop Julio Labayen died on April 26, 2016, or before Duterte became President; and (3) Bishop Arturo Santos simply does not exist.

Lingao, meanwhile, pointed out that Jim and Ducky Paredes are two different people, while Don Ramon Pedrosa is not the husband of Carmen Pedrosa, who, “last I heard… is a Duterte die-hard who was appointed to the board of Pagcor.” And so on with the list’s inanities.

But, past the laughter, Robredo and Sen. Nancy Binay asked the pertinent questions: Who drew up the document? Was this sloppy list the work of intelligence agencies? What did the President’s son hope to achieve by “sharing” the ridiculous listing?

For fun, he said in the original post that he had since deleted after the social media backlash. (In a new post, he lashed out at Robredo, Binay and Reyes and told off the rest not to be morons — or, in his formulation, “gago,” “tanga.”)

This is the latest of the Duterte lists that impute crime without evidence on perceived opponents of the President. Outside of Jollibee, the mutants and the dead bishop, those on the list are real people — people who served or are serving their country, many of them with distinction, and whom the list is recklessly branding as destabilizers — “for fun.”

The public knows all too well by now the risk to life and limb that such drug/hate lists pose to those cast as enemies, drug peddlers or destabilizers by this administration.

At the very least, the President’s son, who is running for a congressional seat next year, should know that his words and actions reflect on his father’s lofty office, and could be magnified in ways no ordinary citizen can hope to achieve with a single notorious social media post.

He does know, because he and his family never leave unchallenged similar alleged misinformation foisted on them. He and his brother-in-law have filed at least four counts of libel against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for linking them to the P6.4-billion “shabu” shipment that slipped into the country last year, and for allegedly extorting money from ride-sharing company Uber.

Such accusations, Polong said, were “intended to malign, destroy and kill my good name and reputation, locally, nationally and internationally,” and “especially so as I am the eldest son of our sitting President.”

For her part, his sister Sara, the Davao City mayor, engineered the ouster of the Speaker, third in the line of succession to the presidency, because Pantaleon Alvarez was said to have called her part of the opposition.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the authority on destabilizers, didn’t even deign to finesse his description of the list, and called it for what it is: “The first time I saw that posting, I said it’s fake news. I still maintain that it’s fake news.”

That should be the last word on it.

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Philippine President Duterte’s Defeatist Behavior — Philippines might soon become a province of China

November 26, 2018

With international law on the  side of the Philippines, why is Duterte is selling us to China?

Talk about telling it like it is!

The editorial, “Music to Beijing’s ears” (11/20/18), didn’t mince words, so to speak, in recounting President Duterte’s sheepish behavior toward China from the start.

Isn’t that weird, the way Digong shows his deference to anything and everything China wants to snatch away from the Philippines?

Image result for Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wave to the media following a welcome ceremony at Malacanang Palace in Manila
Chinese President Xi Jinping, center back, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wave to the news media after a welcome ceremony at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on Nov. 20. (Bullit Marquez/AP)

Considering the way he bullies the helpless in his own country, you would think that he’s the type who would not give in to anyone who tries to cross his line.

But, heck, NO! With his Chinese counterpart, Digong is ready, willing and able to do whatever Xi wants.

Let’s hope that Xi Jinping doesn’t take full advantage of Digong’s defeatist behavior, or our dear Philippines might soon become a province of China.


Letter to the Editor

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Music to Beijing’s ears

 / 05:09 AM November 20, 2018

Even for a national leader who has racked up a startling record of slavish statements toward China (“I announce my separation from the United States.)

I have separated from them. So I will be dependent on you for all time,” October 2016, on a state visit to Beijing; “Thank you President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people for loving us and giving us enough leeway to survive the rigors of economic life in this planet,” March 2017; “I just simply love Xi Jinping… More than anybody else at this time of our national life, I need China,” April 2018; “The assurances of [President] Xi Jinping were very encouraging… ‘We will not allow you to be taken out from your office, and we will not allow the Philippines to go to the dogs,’” May 2018), President Duterte’s latest remarks regarding the Philippines’ and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member-countries’ competing territorial claims against Beijing in the South China Sea (SCS) were still a disquieting level-up.

On the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Singapore last week, he said in an interview: “I’d like to tell China… at all costs we must have the COC [Code of Conduct]. So you’re there, you’re in possession, you occupied it, then tell us what route shall we take and what kind of behavior you [expect].”

The following day, he said he was opposed to military drills in the SCS because China “is already in possession” of these waters, and such exercises by the United States and other countries may only provoke Beijing: “Why do you have to create frictions, strong military activity, that will prompt a
response from China?”

What music that must have been to Beijing’s ears, hearing Mr. Duterte’s robust defense and reiteration of its position.

Not only did the president of a country with a direct competing claim — no, one whose position has actually been validated by an international arbitral tribunal — affirm that China now has effective “possession” of the region, a vast expanse that includes international waters and parts that are claimed by at least five other countries in Southeast Asia; that president also asked Beijing to “tell us what route shall we take” and, in effect, shooed away other countries from further inconveniencing China with their protests and misgivings.

That outcome is exactly what China has been hoping to achieve with its aggressive game plan: Seize disputed islands, enlarge and fortify them as Chinese military outposts, and thereafter present them as a fait accompli, a done deal, that the international community, tangled up in slow-moving diplomacy, must now accept meekly.

No more dispiriting words could have been spoken by a Philippine leader about a neighbor’s encroachments, or heard by Filipinos who expect Mr. Duterte to, at the very least, articulate Philippine interests and defend the country’s position as the territorial sovereign of its own hard-won, and internationally recognized, portion of the SCS. None of the other claimant countries, it must be said, subscribe to China’s so-called “possession” of the area; not one of them voiced support for Mr. Duterte’s remarks, or have renounced their claims, or said anything that would imply, in any remote way, ceding an inch of their claimed territories to the rising hegemon in the region. Instead, they continue to defend their side vigorously—Vietnam engaging the Chinese Navy in skirmishes, for instance, and Indonesia dynamiting illegal Chinese boats.

Filipinos have no wish for war with China; but, on the other hand, must subservience be the only other recourse for the Philippine government? Especially when the very notion of China’s “possession” — that there is nothing more to do at this time but curl up and accept its effective ownership of the SCS — is without any basis?

As Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio was quick to point out, “Factually, China is not in possession of the South China Sea.” While it is in physical possession of the entire Paracels, seven geologic features in the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal, these constitute “less than 8 percent of the total area of the South China Sea… About 25 percent of the South China Sea are high seas. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), no state can possess or own the high seas which belong to all mankind. Under Unclos, there is freedom of navigation and overflight in the high seas for all nations.”

Who’s telling — or not telling — the President about these things?

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“What does China have on President Duterte?”


Philippines: House restores VP Leni Robredo to succession line

October 11, 2018

The House of Representatives last night restored Vice President Leni Robredo to the line of succession to the presidency during the transition to the envisioned federal system.

Robredo’s reinclusion came in the form of an amendment presented by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to the draft federal constitution the House is considering.

The chamber, at the request of Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar, returned the draft to the committee on constitutional amendments so it could introduce “perfecting amendments.”

By Jess Diaz
Philippine Star

Robredo’s reinclusion came in the form of an amendment presented by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to the draft federal constitution the House is considering.

Michael Varcas

Robredo described as “very desperate” the move to exclude her from the presidential line of succession being pushed by allies of President Duterte.

In a speech at the 5th provincial congress of the Negros Occidental Small Fishers Alliance yesterday, Robredo said her critics are thinking of everything to remove her from her post.

She cited the filing of an impeachment complaint and an electoral case before the Supreme Court.

“Now, they are trying to insert it in the proposed Charter change,” she said, noting many House members are not aware of such provision.

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, committee chairman, said Robredo was excluded in the succession line to the presidency during the transition for the sake of “political stability.”

Veloso said the country could be plunged into uncertainty if the Presidential Electoral Tribunal voided Robredo’s victory in the 2016 vice presidential election and declared former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the real winner.

He said Robredo’s exclusion was the idea of the ruling PDP-Laban, although he claimed he could not remember the proponent.

His committee’s decision to take out the Vice President in the succession line has received numerous criticisms.

Robredo laughed off Veloso’s claims and reminded him that she defeated Marcos by more than 200,000 votes.

She said Veloso, who is also facing an election protest, led by less than 100 votes against his opponent.

During election, Robredo said many winning candidates are charged by their opponents who cannot accept the result of the voting.

She said the mandate of the Vice President is to succeed the President.

“If you remove such mandate, nothing is left for the vice president. Might as well remove the position of the vice president,” she said.

Robredo welcomed Senate President Vicente Sotto’s statement that the Senate would reject the provision in the proposed federal government.

Meanwhile, an official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is puzzled by the provision that sought to exclude Robredo from the presidential line of succession.

DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said it was not clear to them why the Vice President is being eased out from the order of succession when the House seeks to maintain the presidential system.

“The existing term limits must be respected so the people will not question the motives behind the President’s push for a federal system,” Malaya said.

He said the DILG stands by the consultative committee (Concom)’s proposed federal constitution in light of a new draft federal constitution submitted by the House committee on constitutional amendments.

Malaya said there are marked differences between the two drafts and the political and electoral reforms in Concom’s draft are “necessary ingredients” for federalism to succeed.

As such, the DILG endorses Concom’s proposal for a self-executing anti-political dynasty provision in the federal constitution, which will open up and democratize the country’s electoral process.

Malaya said the Concom’s recommendation to adopt a proportional representation as possible replacement to the party-list system should merit serious consideration by the House.

The DILG is hoping that the present Congress can still convene as a constituent assembly to debate on the proposed Concom amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

“We ask both the Senate and the House to fully consider all the features of the draft submitted by the Concom to President Duterte. It’s the product of a non-partisan body with no vested interests,” Malaya said.  — With Helen Flores, Cecille Suerte Felipe



Philippines: Duterte Admin Helping To Import Crystal Meth from China?

October 3, 2018

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are looking into the recent alleged smuggling of P6.8 billion worth of “shabu” or crystal meth from China, and the picture that’s emerging so far is not a pretty one: The very agencies in the frontline of the Duterte administration’s centerpiece war on drugs seem to be the very ones undermining it.

The hearings so far have implicated not only personnel of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), for what appears to be a conspiracy with drug syndicates to spirit into the country almost a ton of shabu via four magnetic lifters that were later discovered empty in a warehouse in Cavite in August.

Philippine Inquirer

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Now, even officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police have come under suspicion, too.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino revealed during the hearing of the House committees on dangerous drugs and good government that his deputy for administration, Ismael Fajardo Jr., had been relieved of his post on Sept. 14, after it came out that he knew about the questionable shipment.

Four unidentified active police officers and dismissed PNP Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto also became the subject of an investigation, after former Customs intelligence officer Jimmy Guban said during the hearing that he had been coordinating with them on the magnetic lifters shipment in July.

Guban told the committees chaired by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Camiguin Rep. Xavier Romualdo that it was Acierto who had asked him to look for a “for-hire” consignee — in this case, SMYD Trading — to sign off on the shipment.

Acierto’s name should be familiar to observers of the drug war.

Formerly the deputy director for administration of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, which was disbanded in January following the kidnapping and killing by cops of South Korean national Jee Ick-joo right inside Camp Crame, Acierto was dismissed from service in August in relation to an Ombudsman case on the PNP-Firearms and Explosives Office’s anomalous issuance of licenses for AK-47 rifles from 2011 to 2013.

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Aquino’s testimony not only fingered such personalities, but also raised an alarming scenario — that earlier successful interceptions of smuggled shabu by law enforcers may just be part of a bigger modus operandi by drug syndicates.

Some shipments would be deliberately caught, so that even more shipments of illegal drugs would get away.

To recall, 500 kilograms of shabu worth an estimated P3.4 billion that were concealed inside a large magnetic lifter were intercepted on Aug. 7 at the Manila International Container Terminal by combined operatives of the PDEA, PNP and BOC.

After this interception, on Aug. 9, the PDEA discovered four more magnetic lifters suspected of containing as much as a ton of shabu in a warehouse at Barangay F. Reyes in Governor Mariano Alvarez, Cavite.

Aquino noted at his press briefing that it was Guban, Acierto and Fajardo who had fielded “the raw information” of the “shabu” in the earlier shipment.

“They are the ones that investigated and conducted the investigation until the last… They were the ones who conducted the case buildup,” he said.

These damning revelations may end up giving Malacañang a headache. How to square them, after all, with the Congress testimony of BOC chief Isidro Lapeña on Aug. 14, in which Lapeña claimed that BOC’s own swab tests on the empty magnetic lifters found inside the Cavite warehouse “tested negative for illegal drugs”?

Thus, the pronouncement that drugs are flooding the local market “has no basis,” Lapeña added.

That assurance apparently won the ear of President Duterte, because the President subsequently waded into the issue by declaring in a speech before businessmen that the PDEA report of another massive shabu haul was “pure speculation,” in effect dismissing the investigation of the lead agency in his drug war.

But what’s emerging from the hearings is a contrary picture — that this incident isn’t a product of imagination or conjecture, that much remains to be uncovered about its true and full dimensions, and that a thorough and transparent investigation into it is warranted, at the very least.

As things stand, with the growing testimony about possible criminal collusion among official circles in facilitating the P6.8-billion shabu hoard, this explosive case is proving to be anything but mere speculation.

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Philippines: Treatment of Senator Trillanes Is A Legal Atrocity

September 27, 2018

The decision of Makati Regional Trial Court Judge Elmo Alameda to revive the rebellion case against Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV that he himself dismissed, and to issue a warrant of arrest and a hold departure order against the President’s chief critic, is a legal atrocity.

It is fundamentally unfair, because it shifts the burden of proof; it is deeply undemocratic, because the court abandons its duty to serve as a check on power; and it is essentially antijudiciary, because it betrays a clear partisanship.

 / 05:28 AM September 27, 2018
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The ruling is another unfortunate addition to the growing body of judicial rationalizations that Inquirer columnist John Nery calls “jurisPRRDence” — court rulings “that break both law and logic, offend the Constitution and overturn normality,” just to meet President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s “partisan political objectives.”

How else can Alameda’s decision, which was handed down on Tuesday, be understood? Its entire argument centers on this passage:

“To prove that Senator Trillanes did not apply for amnesty under Proclamation No. 75, the prosecution presented a certification dated Aug. 30, 2018, issued and signed by one Thea Joan Andrade, Lieutenant Colonel JAGS, Chief, Discipline, Law and

Order Division, to wit:

“‘To whom it may concern:

‘This is to certify that based on the records of this office, ex-LTSG Antonio F. Trillanes IV O-11797 PN was granted amnesty on Jan. 21, 2011, pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 75 dated Nov. 24, 2010… However, there is no copy of his application for amnesty in the records.

‘This certification is issued upon the request of Solicitor General Jose C. Calida.’

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“The Court’s evaluation of the above certification is that it confirms the claim of the prosecution that Senator Trillanes did not apply for amnesty.”

Truly, there is none so blind as he who refuses to see.

The certification Andrade issued at Calida’s request confirms that “there is no copy” of the application, not that Trillanes did not apply at all.

In fact, the same certification confirms that, “based on the records of this office,” Trillanes, as a former member of the military (“ex-LTSG”), was in fact granted amnesty.

So an honest and fair evaluation of Andrade’s certification should lead to the conclusion that Trillanes’ application for amnesty is missing. That’s it.

Because this secondary document was in the safekeeping of Andrade’s division, the responsibility for its loss, and any administrative or criminal liability, lies with Andrade and her staff, not with Trillanes.

If, say, Judge Alameda’s passport was to be challenged at the airport because the Department of Foreign Affairs cannot find the application or renewal form he filled out and filed, he would have the right to be incensed, both at the absurdity of the challenge and the DFA’s negligence. The passport itself is proof that the process was followed.

But Alameda was not content to stop at making his illogical and unjust evaluation. He proceeded to overturn one of the most fundamental of rights guaranteed by the Constitution — the presumption of innocence — and shifted the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused.

“Since Senator Trillanes wants to establish a legal right on the amnesty granted to him, he has therefore the burden of proving his compliance with the minimum requirements to entitle him to be granted amnesty…”

In other words, and even without as much as a modicum of introspection, Alameda presumes that Trillanes is guilty of not complying with the amnesty requirements, and wants him to prove his innocence.

This is wrong, plain and simple. The burden is on Andrade’s office, to explain how the secondary document went missing, and on the Department of Justice, to prove that the grant of amnesty to Trillanes — itself confirmed in the certification — must be considered anomalous, violative of the presumption of regularity.

The power to grant amnesty, shared by the political branches of government, is not something that the courts should trifle with. At the same time, abuse by any branch should be decisively met by the countervailing force of judicial reasoning. This did not happen with Alameda’s ruling.

Indeed, Alameda showed a curious preference. He immediately presumed that Proclamation No. 75, issued by President Benigno Aquino III in 2010, must be invalid or has no effect on Trillanes.

He also immediately presumed that Proclamation No. 572, issued by President Duterte last month, supersedes Aquino’s amnesty proclamation.

Now why would he think that?

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Presidential Communications team making fun of the sign language of deaf people in Facebook video — PR disaster, not cute

September 25, 2018

If Presidential Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson and her perennial hanger – on, Drew Olivar, thought they could get away with their latest antic — making fun of the sign language of deaf people in a recent video posted on Uson’s Facebook page — the way they had gotten away with their other offensive online actions in the past, they thought wrong.

Then again, for far too long, Uson’s many bald lies, ethical lapses and sheer cluelessness about her job had merited no more than a peep from Palace officials, who appeared to fear the perceived clout of her 5-million-plus following on social media.

People had begun to wonder if she were untouchable. After all, with at least P130,000 a month of taxpayer money going into her salary, the public had every right to expect some sort of accountability for her official behavior — something tougher and more stern than, say, the generic memo that she was issued over her earlier infamous video of Olivar performing suggestive dance moves while mouthing “pepe-dede-ralismo,” a clip Uson admitted to filming in her office.

Far more costly than that video, which effectively torpedoed the administration’s federalism campaign, was Uson’s swaggering video, shot in Kuwait, announcing the intended rescue by Philippine government personnel of some distressed overseas Filipino workers in that country.

The video, and the actual incidents that followed, led to a full-blown diplomatic crisis between Kuwait and the Philippines, the Filipino ambassador himself getting expelled and declared persona non grata by the Kuwaiti government.

The Kuwaiti stunt did not appear to do Uson much damage. No apology was ever forced out of her for that dangerous caper, and none for the “pepe-dede-ralismo” imbecility, either.

While sundry officials called for Uson’s removal from government or at least her inhibition from dabbling in matters of policy or governance in the wake of that PR disaster, Malacañang itself made no move to sanction her.

President Duterte, in fact, was characterized by the Palace as having remained “cool” after seeing the clip. During a recent speech before the Filipino community in Israel, the President said that while there were “excesses” in Uson’s actions, they were part of her freedom of speech.

Who could make Uson apologize for her bad behavior?

The Filipino deaf community, it turns out.

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Presidential Assistant Communications Secretary Mocha Uson and her perennial hanger – on, Drew Olivar with Duterte dolls

The immediate outcry of those citizens, and the public at large — concretized in a suit filed by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) at the Office of the Ombudsman against Uson and Olivar — forced the pair to offer separate apologies for their latest hijinks.

The complaint charges them with violating Republic Act No. 9442, “which penalizes verbal, nonverbal ridicule and vilification against persons with disability.”

“Uson and Olivar were laughing and making fun of us,” protested PFD president Carolyn Dagani.

For Marya Angcay, a leader of the deaf community, the video clip “reminded us of the times when we were bullied and could not fight back,” while Raymond Manding, president of the PFD’s youth section, worried about the reach of social media and how Uson, a high-profile public official, was setting a bad example.

“What if children started copying her?” he asked.

The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), which houses a School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies and the Benilde Deaf School, also released a statement urging the government to “take action” against Uson and Olivar for being “very offensive and disrespectful” to the Filipino deaf community.

(Olivar is in hot water again for posting a fake “bomb threat” on Sept. 21 to dissuade people from joining antimartial law rallies.)

Uson’s actions, said DLS-CSB president Br. Dennis Magbanua, were “unbecoming of a government official,” and violative of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Previous appeals to hold Uson to those standards, to which other less favored government officials are strictly subjected, had been met with shrugged shoulders in the Palace.

On Thursday, notably, it offered no defense of Uson but announced that it would let the Ombudsman decide on the PFD complaint.

It should be said: Penalizing Uson and Olivar for the wanton dumb and dumber routine they have foisted on the nation, at taxpayers’ expense, will help ensure that their overextended 15 minutes of notoriety no longer makes a mockery of governmental affairs.

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Complaint filed at Ombudsman vs. Mocha Uson, blogger over controversial sign language video


Philippines: Fake news, ‘oligarchs’ conniving vs Duterte

July 17, 2018
Cabinet official says media, ‘oligarchs’ conniving vs Duterte
Artemio Dumlao (The Philippine Star) – July 17, 2018 – 12:00am

LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET, Philippines — Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. yesterday accused media and “oligarchs” of banding together to hit President Duterte “left and right.”

“For the first time, this government was able to say (to these oligarchs), ‘pay your taxes now’,” Evasco stressed, noting that rich families also own and control media companies.

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Evasco added that these individuals are attacking Duterte because their business interests are affected by the President’s order for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to accelerate tax collection.

“There is an existing connivance between the oligarchs and the media who are now hitting the administration by reporting mostly negative news against the President,” said Evasco.

Last year, Philippine Airlines paid its P6-billion debt to government while cigarette firm Mighty Corp. settled for P30 billion its tax delinquency.

Meanwhile, the Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in the country faces tax evasion charges.

The Cabinet official keynoted the launch of “Biyaya ng Pagbabago” at Benguet State University here.

Evasco assured those who attended the launch that the Duterte administration is promoting their interests.

“Biyaya ng Pagbabago” is the flagship poverty alleviation program under the Office of the Cabinet Secretary being managed by the Office of Participatory Governance.



Philippines new draft constitution: Be very afraid

July 7, 2018
The road to unlimited powers and even less accountability….
 / 05:08 AM July 07, 2018

I have a copy of the draft new constitution (as of June 27, 2018) framed by President Duterte’s consultative committee, which he tasked to review the 1987 Constitution. It was signed on Tuesday, July 3, so it is fair to assume that not much could change in the six-day period between the draft and the signed document.

So what are the major differences between the 1987 Constitution and the proposed constitution?

A very important difference is that, right from the get-go, the proposed constitution adopts a federal form of government; it is the constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines. Not surprising, really, because all the members of the committee were pro-federalism also from the get-go.

Image result for duterte, philippines, photos

I want to remind you, Reader, that the March 2018 Pulse Asia Survey showed that the opposition to Charter change went up from 44 percent in July 2016 to 64 percent in March 2018, and the opposition to federalism went the same way, except by a larger margin—from 33 percent to 66 percent.

But, wait. That is not all. The transitory provisions of the proposed constitution have given President Duterte vast powers between 2019 (I assume that the plebiscite will be held in 2019, a reasonable assumption) and 2022. And it also allows him—at least that’s what committee member Julio Teehankee has publicly admitted—to run for President in 2022. Since the new constitution provides for a four-year term plus one reelection, that means he can be our President (unless death intervenes) for a total of 14 years.

He will, of course, be 85 years old by then. But, hey, Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia is 94 years old. I hasten to add, however, that Mahathir neither drinks nor womanizes. That may make a difference.

What vast powers do the transitory provisions give President Duterte? Well, first, he will be the chair of the Federal Transition Committee (FTC), with 10 other members that he will appoint from a list supplied by a five-person search committee, of which four are also appointed by him. Lutong Macao.

And what does the FTC do? Wow. It will formulate and adopt a transition plan for the orderly shift to the new system of government, and it will promulgate the necessary rules, regulations, orders, decrees, proclamations and other issuances, do all acts to implement the same, and resolve all issues and disputes that may result therefrom. PLUS, it will organize, reorganize and fully establish the Federal Government and the governments of the Federated Regions, in accordance with this constitution; and exercise all powers necessary and proper to ensure a smooth, speedy and successful transition.

This transition plan that the FTC is responsible for will include the respective transition plans for the different branches of the Federal Government, the Independent Constitutional Bodies, the Federated Regions and other component units; plus the fiscal management and administration plan, which includes, but is not limited to, resource generation appropriation, allocation and expenditures.

Then, almost as an afterthought, it would also include the establishment of mechanisms for people’s participation in the transition. Gee, thanks.

This power goes on until June 30, 2022, when the first national, regional and local elections will have taken place, and our first elected leaders under the new constitution take over.

Bottom line: As soon as the new constitution is ratified, President Duterte, as chair of the FTC, has unlimited powers—to hire, fire, organize, reorganize, determine what will be the states that constitute the federal system, and how these states will themselves transition. For at least three years. Of course, by election time, he will have set the stage for his own election as president for the next eight years.

Remember the transitory provisions that gave Marcos dictatorial powers? This is the very same thing. There is a term for it: constitutional authoritarianism. This is what Mr. Duterte must have had in mind when he talked of a revolutionary government.

Well, he’s got what he wanted. If the people give it to him, that is.

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Philippines Mayors Killed To “Shame” President Duterte, Lawmaker Says

July 4, 2018

The killings of two town mayors this week, if proven to be connected, were probably meant to “shame” the Duterte administration, Senator JV Ejercito said on Wednesday.

However, Ejercito, who is part of the administration bloc in the Senate, said he hopes he was wrong about his theory.

“I’m a little bit alarmed kasi two days dalawang mayor ( because two mayors [were killed] in two days),” he told reporters, referring to Tanuan Mayor Antonio Halili and Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town in Nueva Ecija.

Image may contain: 2 people, closeup

Slain mayors: Tanauan Mayor  Antonio Halili and General Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote

Halili was gunned down by still unidentified suspects while attending the flag ceremony at the city hall on Monday while Bote was killed in an ambush in Cabanatuan City a day after.

READ: Another mayor killed in ambush

“It’s alarming. Kung sino ang gumagawa nito, I hope na magkaiba ito, sana hindi konektado. Pero parang tinitingnan ko dito, it’s intended to shame probably the government kung saka-sakali pero wala pa naman tayong proof pero the PNP (Philippine National Police) has to step up,” Ejercito said.

(Whoever is doing this, I hope these are not connected. But I think it’s intended to shame probably the government. We don’t proof but the PNP has to step up.)

“I hope I’m wrong pero kung mapapatunayan na iisa ang gumawa nito at konektado, it’s probably intended to shame the government,” he stressed.

(I hope I’m wrong but if it is proven that these are connected and only one person is behind these, it’s probably intended to shame the government.)

The senator also expressed concern that the killings in the country would affect the economy.

“How can we invite investors if we have this kind of atmosphere…?” Ejercito further asked.   /vvp

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Philippines Presidential Spokesperson Says Assassination of Mayors Mere “Attempts to Erode the Public’s Trust on President Duterte”

July 4, 2018

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that the killings on the two mayors in Luzon this week are attempts to erode the public’s trust on President Duterte.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Akbayan party-list Representative Tom Villarin blamed Duterte for the successive killings of Tanauan, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili, and the General Tinio, Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote early this week.

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque

Villarin alleged that Duterte issued a “free license” to kill by making it clear that no one will face legal repercussions for the extrajudicial killings that are done in pursuit of his anti-illegal drug policy.

Roque, in a statement, said that the government does not tolerate state-sponsored killings and claimed that the killings are meant to paint the President in a bad light.

“There is no culture of impunity in the Philippines as we do not condone any state-sponsored killing,” Roque said Wednesday afternoon.

“We continue to adhere to the rule of law and consider the recent killings of high-profile figures as an attempt to erode confidence in the President, whose main platform of governance rests on fighting crimes,” he added.

Roque assured that the government will not be swayed in securing and restoring peace and order, and expressed that the public has high confidence in Duterte.

“We, however, cannot be deterred in our focus in securing and restoring order in the community,” he said.

“Our people have acknowledged the President as ‘the protector of people,’ as evidenced by surveys giving him high satisfaction, approval, trust and performance ratings,” he added.

Roque also assured that the Philippine National Police (PNP) will not be leaving any stone overturned as they proceed to find and capture the killers of the two slain mayors.

Malacañang has condemned the killing of Halili and Bote and assured that the perpetrators will be brought to justice.

“We assure everyone that we would discharge the state obligation for every murder. We will spare no effort in getting to the bottom of this latest violent crime,” Roque earlier said.

Halili was shot dead during the city’s flag ceremony Monday morning. Bote, on the other hand, was killed in an ambush late Tuesday afternoon in Cabanatuan City.

Earlier, Duterte said he suspects Halili was killed because of his involvement in the illegal drug trade. Halili was included in Duterte’s list of narco-politicians.

Bote, on the other hand, was a member of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).