We need more Parlades, Badoys to defeat the insurgency

I AM referring to Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, the chief of the Southern Luzon Command. He is also the spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), created by President Duterte in 2018 under Executive Order No 70. Going by its performance these past two years, this body could be in our history as the spear of the nation that finally took down, after 50 years, the scourge that is the communist insurgency.

Badoy is Undersecretary Lorraine Marie T. Badoy of the Presidential Communications Operations Office assigned to the task force.

Both have been bold in calling a spade a spade, tearing down the many masks Communist Party insurgents have been using for decades to fool the idealistic youth, shanghaiing them to join a movement which — as proven in the case of dozens of my former comrades — only lead to pathetic wasted lives, death in some forgotten jungle or expiration in a charity hospital ward from some disease that afflicts the elderly or the malnourished. 

A communist front so livid over Parlade. From communist party website ccp.ph
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I hope Trump wins

FOR Filipinos monitoring the United States elections, it has been more like watching an entertaining telenovela, in fact one in which reality trumps fiction.

After all it would have been an award-winning flight of imagination for a fiction writer to have the US president, in the middle of the campaign, infected with the coronavirus — said to be deadly to seniors like Donald Trump — and brought to hospital.

And just when the likes of CNN and the New York Times had probably asked some writer to draft his page-one obituary, Trump alights from the Marine One chopper, arrives at the White House, dramatically rips off his mask, and gazes at the small crowd of well-wishers at the Rose Garden in a pose as arrogant as Benito Mussolini. 

The next few days, he becomes the virus-spreader-in-chief in rallies as if there were no pandemic, entertaining his redneck base with the old slogans he used in the 2016 elections such as “Lock ‘em up”.

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Leonen mocks our democratic system, SC shouldn’t acquiesce

SUPREME Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, by sitting for a year now on candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s election protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, is mocking our democratic system.

The message Leonen is sending — a precedent-setting one, in fact — to those who aspire to elective posts: “Cheat all you want, by the time the electoral tribunal rules on your opponent’s protest, it would be just a few months before you step down.”

A former UP law school dean, Leonen knows that the very essence of a modern democratic system is its electoral system. With a flawed electoral system, democracy is a joke, a very expensive charade. Worse, this is not just any body hearing the case but the Supreme Court itself, constituted as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). 

If the highest court of the land, supposedly manned by the country’s most experienced and competent judges (except for Leonen, as discussed why below), can’t resolve fast an electoral protest involving the second highest post in the land, then how can we expect other electoral tribunals deciding on lower positions to be more efficient?

Viral post on his record. Screengrabbed on oct. 22, 2020
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Leonen: Not just without integrity, but a low-energy justice

I SAY Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen has no integrity, using his colleagues’ criteria. In the quo warranto case which booted out Aquino 3rd’s chief justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, the Supreme Court declared that her failure to file her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for six years meant she lacked integrity, and therefore was unfit for the post.

But not only that, the court ruled that her failure to file the SALNs “defeats any claim of integrity as it is inherently immoral to violate the will of the legislature and to violate the Constitution.”

Well, Leonen did not file his SALNs for fifteen years, as I incontestably showed in my column of September 7, which was based not on speculation but on data I secured invoking President Duterte’s freedom of information executive order. Using the court’s definition, Leonen is not just without integrity, but immoral. 

I may as well borrow from Dr. Dante Ang’s column title on Tuesday (“Do we have a functioning democracy?”) and ask: Do we have a functioning Supreme Court? Or do we have another exclusive club, concerned more about defending one of their own rather than fulfilling its constitutional mandate of upholding the Republic’s laws?

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Bold move, ‘insanity’ or stock market play?

THE Energy department’s go-signal for the resumption of exploration for oil and gas in the disputed part of the South China Sea off Palawan is either a bold move, an “insane” one or a cheap stock market play. You decide; here are the facts.

First, it could be a bold, urgent move since the Malampaya Gas Field, also near Palawan, which has been providing one-fifth of our energy needs since 2002, will be drying up starting 2024. We need to replace that.

The most promising area where commercial-scale gas deposits — in fact about twice that of Malampaya’s — is in the Reed Bank. The Arroyo and Aquino governments in 2009 and 2010 awarded a “service contract” (No. 72) for the exploration and development of hydrocarbons to PXP Energy Corp., a subsidiary of the Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., mainly owned by the Indonesian magnate Anthoni Salim. 

Where and what. By author using Google Pro
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US has become a failed state, irrelevant now to the Philippines

THIS year is historic for us not just because of the unprecedented devastation to the world economy and humankind brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic. This year is historic to us in a more specific, or unique, way: Since our liberation in 1946, the United States of America — big brother to our elites — has become irrelevant to us.

This year is the start of our total liberation from the American eagle. This is partly due to President Rodrigo Duterte’s audacious pivot towards an independent foreign policy that drew us closer to America’s rivals, China and Russia.

This is also partly due to the demise of the Yellow Cult, whose founders Benigno Aquino Jr. and his late widow Corazon Aquino after all owed much to US sponsorship, providing the former with his Harvard refuge and the latter with the might of US diplomacy and propaganda apparatus to grab power in 1986. 

But it is also partly due to the fact that the US has unraveled, nearly imploding this year, with its institutions which our intellectuals and politicians had looked up to for decades proving to be so flawed.

Whether the pandemic overwhelms the US and triggers its fragmentation, whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden wins, and even, I dare say, its economy collapses or not, would not be as relevant now as it was just 10 years ago. Japan, China, Asean, the Middle East and now even Russia will fill the vacuum and become our main economic partners. Only forever-US-fans like Albert del Rosario and Antonio Carpio insist that we need the US Navy to prevent the Chinese from invading us.

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Time for Cayetano and his 24 deputies to pack up

TWO numbers encapsulate how Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has debased the House of Representatives in order to keep his post and why about 184 congressmen refused to accept his resignation when he offered to do so in September in a sickening charade. These are 24 and P1.6 billion.

The Speaker in his signature pose: are those his deputies? PHOTO ABS-CBN

Without an ounce of shame, Cayetano had increased the number of deputy speakers to 24. Yes, 24 deputy speakers. A deputy speaker title is not just an honorific. And they’re not just taking on additional work for love of country. A deputy speakership generates, by one estimate, an additional P5 million monthly in the form of allowances, honoraria, and “research” and “representation” expenses.

We just don’t know how much really and the integrity of this pillar of democracy is such that how it uses its P14-billion budget (for 2020) is secret, and even the Commission on Audit does not disclose its audit of Congress. Not a single congressman I contacted bothered to reply to me when I texted them to find out how much in funds the deputy speakers get from occupying that post. So much for transparency and integrity.

Cayetano appointed deputy speakers and 50 more vice chairmen of for each committee — the Appropriations committee, for instance, now has 37 vice chairmen from 21 during Pantaleon Alvarez’s speakership. Giving congressmen millions of pesos in additional funds has been Cayetano’s signature way of ensuring the loyalty of the House to him.

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Defining the Yellow mind

NOT a few times, there have been comments on my columns castigating me for referring to the “the Yellows” or “Dilawans,” saying that this is an unfair labeling of those who don’t agree with my views.

To be honest, I think the term is fitting to this political group, “Yellow” being a synonym for cowardice (“yellow-bellied”), duplicity (“yellow unions”), or the worst kind of media (“Yellow tabloids”). Even its translation “Dilawan” rolls in the tongue as a term for the hateful as much as “kawatan.”

However, I use the term with some precision, as shorthand for a set of beliefs now held by, well, going by the recent Pulse Asia survey, 3 percent of Filipinos. (That is, the percent that mistrusts President Duterte, the nemesis of the Yellows, with 5 percent disapproving of his performance.)

Cory enthralled by Sison, who isn’t really Red. PHOTO FROM INTERNET COMMONS
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Duterte makes history

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has made history. PulseAsia reported on Monday that based on its September poll, Duterte had a performance rating of 91 percent, up 4 points from its December 2019 poll. That level of popular support is unprecedented. Nobody expected that.

That is the highest approval, performance, or satisfaction rating ever given to a Philippine president — or to a leader of any country in the world — since such polls were started. The highest rating that President Corazon Aquino got was in October 1986, when 82 percent of Filipinos supported her. Her support rapidly fell, however, so that by April 1992, only 58 percent did.

By contrast, Duterte’s support has been steadily rising — from 78 percent in March 2017 to 88 percent in June 2018, to 87 percent in December 2019 and 91 percent last month.

Any statistician will tell you that with the survey’s 3 percentage points plus-or-minus margin of error, that 91 percent approval virtually points to an outstanding phenomenon — that practically the entire nation supports this president. Nobody is listening to the likes of Philippine Daily Inquirer columnists, that online news site, US and Western media, the Yellows and the Reds. Duterte has in fact united the country under his leadership.

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Revealed: The crux of our SCS dispute — natural gas

THE flag-waving by the Yellows, the likes of United States toady Albert del Rosario and Vietnamese-linked Antonio Carpio, claiming that they are noble patriots upholding Philippine sovereignty against a sionist China in the South China Sea (SCS), is total hogwash.

Wittingly or unwittingly, they have been actually serving the US agenda since US President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” policy started in 2009: Isolate its rival, the emerging superpower China from its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Complying with the US national interest though has been and will be at a huge cost to our national interest. Because of the past Yellow regime’s hostile stance against China, and the grand deception over the arbitration suit’s award, we are being impeded from extracting a huge source of hydrocarbon — natural gas mainly — in the SCS, more precisely at the Reed Bank* in the Spratlys, the Kalayaan Island Group to us.

It has become an urgent necessity for the country to tap that source of gas: the Malampaya-Camago Gas Field which since 2002 has provided 20 percent of our power requirements, will be running dry by 2024. The energy department has no “Plan B” for this eventuality, except to build ports to facilitate the entry of imported gas. President Rodrigo Duterte seems to be aware of the huge loss Malampaya will be and has floated the idea of commissioning the Bataan Nuclear Plant.

The Malampaya gas field, which we need to replace urgently. PHOTO: SHELL PHILIPPINES
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