Duterte ushers in a new era: An independent foreign policy

PRESIDENT Duterte’s official trip last week to Russia combined with his two visits to China — both adversaries to the US in different degrees at different times and different spheres — marks the dawning of a new era for our nation: Independence from the US, which has subjugated the country in various forms since it aborted our freedom at the turn of the century.

Unless the Yellow Cult manages by some miracle to grab power and reverse Duterte’s assertion of our sovereignty, that is. After all, the Yellow Cult’s founders Ninoy and his widow, President Cory, as well as their son Noynoy, were so slavish to the US.

Think about it. The President’s official visits abroad signal our stance in our relationship to the world, and especially to its superpowers. In the case of Corazon Aquino, the dust of the EDSA Revolution had hardly settled before she made her first official visit to the US, practically acknowledging her indebtedness to the Americans for putting her in power. Her son Benigno 3rd’s first trip abroad as a president was to the US, a few months after he assumed power.

Has Duterte visited the US? No, and I don’t think he ever will, the first Philippine president who would not “report” as a vassal to the superpower.

Duterte’s two visits to China made him an easy target of the Yellows’ black propaganda, that he was the Asian superpower’s puppet. However, his forging of close ties to Russia last week, given the existing strong economic and cultural ties with the US, put us equidistant, as it were, to the world’s three competing superpowers, a pose that announces to the world: “The Philippines cannot be a vassal of any state,” an assertion depicted in an inspired Manila Times editorial cartoon.

Separation
Duterte in fact announced his “pivot” to independence early in his administration. In his first visit to China in October 2016, in of all places, Beijing, he said in a speech at a forum in the Great Hall of the People, attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli: “In this venue, your honors, I announce my separation from the United States…Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.”

Manila Times cartoon

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Summon Roxas, Purisima over drug recycling issue

IT’s a bit difficult to understand why the usually intrepid and intelligent Sen. Richard Gordon, the head of the Senate blue ribbon committee, in his investigation of the reselling of captured illegal drugs, hasn’t gone on to summon former interior and local government secretary Mar Roxas and the then Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima to shed light on this sordid crime.

They were in charge of the PNP when this crime — the pilferage of seized shabu worth hundreds of millions of pesos, and their resale to drug lords — was discovered and came to public view. Yet the two did nothing.

It is a bit suspicious that attention — and the lynch mob — so far has focused on PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde, who will be retiring next month. It is bizarre that media has been reporting the recycling of seized illegal drugs by rogue police, dubbed “ninja cops,” as if this crime happened just yesterday.

You see, this ninja cops thing happened nine years ago in November 2013, when Albayalde was chief of the Pampanga regional police, and 13 of his men were accused of recycling drugs by then Police Supt. (Col.) Benjamin Magalong, the head at the time of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). Nine years later, last week, Magalong claimed in the Senate investigation that Albayalde, instead of implementing a dismissal order against the cops, deferred it and then got them to be reassigned to Mindanao.

P648 million
The Pampanga cops, led by then Col. Rodney Baloyo, allegedly made off with some 160 kilograms of shabu, worth about P648 million at the time, following an anti-drug operation on alleged Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee.

They were in charge of PNP when ‘ninja cops’ emerged. PNA PHOTO

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Why the Lopezes fought Marcos, and helped the communist fronts

Second of a series on the Scalice revelations
WITH the franchise for the Lopez clan’s ABS-CBN broadcasting network still in limbo, it would be very informative to look at this oligarch’s history, why it fought Marcos (and was depicted after his fall as noble pro-democracy tycoons) and how powerful its media empire was, so formidable that only Marcos’ martial law could stop it.

What follows are not my claims, but a narrative on the Lopezes from a meticulously researched PhD dissertation by Joseph Scalice, submitted as a requirement for his doctorate at the University of California in Berkeley.

Scalice writes:
“Like Marcos, Vice President Fernando Lopez was reelected in the 1969 elections but in the immediate aftermath of the election, Lopez and Marcos had a falling out with explosive political consequences. Noted historian Lewis Gleeck stated that, ‘The relationship of President Marcos, the political sovereign, and the Lopez brothers, the economic giants, was always an uneasy one … In the beginning, each needed the other, but in the end only one, of course, could be top dog.’ The Lopezes were not to be taken lightly, as Benigno Aquino Jr. made clear in his apt description of their political influence:

“‘The Lopezes are the only family that has consistently stayed on the fringes of power since 1945, when they came to power with Roxas. Consistently they have been the giant killers. Consistently they have been the manipulators of political balances in this country. When they abandoned Quirino and the Liberal Party in the 1950s, there was a stampede out. When they joined the Magsaysay bandwagon in the 1960s, they forced Garcia down.

Marcos maneuver: His peace offer to the Lopezes – in May 1972. (From Raul Rodrigo, 2007)

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PhD thesis details Ninoy Aquino’s collaboration with Communist Party/NPA

First of a series on the Scalice revelations
THE Yellows’ martyr Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino, Jr. was crucial in the founding and growth of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). Aquino, until his arrest when martial law was declared in 1972, supported the CPP-NPA as one of his weapons to topple his arch-enemy Ferdinand Marcos.

This is among the many explosive conclusions and details of a 2017 PhD dissertation by Joseph Scalice at the University of California, Berkeley, entitled Crisis of Revolutionary Leadership: Martial Law and the Communist Parties of the Philippines, 1957-1974.

The 800-page thesis is replete with encyclopedic information not just on the old pro-Soviet Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) and Jose Ma. Sison’s pro-China Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Scalice reveals surprising details on political figures of that era that would shock the Yellows and the Reds.

Scalice appears to have spent years on his thesis, poring over nearly every written material on the insurgency as well as interviewing participants in the “revolutionary struggle” (or at least those willing to be interviewed). His native fluency in Tagalog (he spoke the language since he was five, he says in his CV) enabled him to read the mountain of papers in the so-called Radical Papers at the UP library, an archive of all materials on the revolutionary struggle.

It would be difficult to question Scalice’s objectivity in his conclusions on Aquino: He is married to the daughter of Herminio Aquino, Ninoy’s uncle who had been a political pillar of the Yellows in Tarlac. Herminio was even one of the people he dedicated his thesis to, writing “To Herminio Aquino, isang tunay na Ama kahit ako’y manugang lamang,” in honor of his kindness and boundless hospitality. Technically, Ninoy is the thesis writer’s nephew-in-law, isn’t he?

Was it actually Marcos vs the Aquino-Sison tandem? SOURCE: GOVT ARCHIVES

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Caguioa draft decision leaked to pressure Supreme Court

IT is astonishing how the Yellows — incontestably rejected by the nation as demonstrated in the past senatorial elections when they failed to get a single seat — are still trying to impose their will on the country.

This time, they are pressuring the Supreme Court, which is the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) that will decide on Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s electoral protest against Maria Leonor Robredo for the vice-presidential seat, to bow to the apparently rushed draft decision by Justice Benjamin Caguioa to dismiss the case.

The Yellows are doing this by leaking Caguioa’s draft to their operators in social media, and to a Philippine Star columnist who summarized its contents in his column yesterday. Caguioa’s draft could have come only from him, as Supreme Court staff are mostly career people who wouldn’t dare risk their positions. Caguioa appears to have rushed the report, submitting it September 10, in the hope that the Supreme Court will vote on it, before Justice Francis Jardeleza, another former Aquino official who would likely support his recommendation, retired on September 26. The high court, however, decided to postpone deliberation on Caguioa’s draft, as the justices still needed to study the case.

Petition
Marcos had filed last year a petition, dismissed by the PET, for Caguioa to inhibit himself as ponente, or member in charge of the case, as he was not only former President Aquino’s justice secretary but his school buddy from grade school to college.

Not only that, Marcos claimed that Caguioa’s wife Pier-Angela Caguioa actively campaigned for Robredo in 2016, and her messages in a Viber group show her partiality towards the Vice President. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Mrs. Caguioa is regularly briefing Robredo on what’s happening with case, with Robredo in turn briefing her lawyers.

Caguioa (center) with his former boss (left) and wife. And he decides if the Yellow vice presidential candidate really won?

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Human rights abuses under Marcos and Cory: Same

SINCE the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, it has been an unchallenged dogma that one of the Martial Law period’s most horrid aspects was its human rights abuses. This again is another instance of that adage being proven true: “The victors write the history.”

The data even in an anti-Marcos book, Rebellion and Repression in the Philippines (Yale University, 1989) by academic Richard Kessler, however, show that human rights abuses during the Corazon “Cory” Aquino regime was just as bad as Marcos’ record. Ironically, Kessler’s data have been the basis of the oft-repeated claims by a more rabid anti-Marcos American historian, Alfred McCoy, that the human rights abuses during the Marcos regime were worse than those in the infamous Latin American dictatorships.

McCoy wrote, “Marcos’ tally of 3,257 killed exceeds those under the Brazilian and Chilean dictatorships.” That 3,257 number had become the most-used figure to allege the ruthlessness of the Marcos rule.

Quite ironically, Kessler presented his data in his book published in 1989, in order to hammer his point that that human rights abuses had not at all subsided even when Cory assumed power until 1988, the last year for which data was available. Continue reading

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Shameless prostitution of academe: The Communist Party’s martial law course at UP

I GIVE up. The University of the Philippines (UP) has become a veritable Red base, the only real bastion that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has managed to set up in its 51 years of existence (except of course Jose Ma. Sison’s residence in Utrecht).

The communists will be setting up at UP what is practically an annex of its higher party school, disguised as a course on martial law.

It isn’t coincidental that this course will be offered next semester, as it isn’t just about history. The CPP’s main propaganda line has now become, as its September 19 statement put it: “The Duterte regime is a thinly disguised fascist state. The Philippines is under Duterte’s undeclared martial law.” If they hate martial law, they’ll hate Duterte, the communists are hoping.

Just when President Duterte is waging an all-out campaign to end the communist insurgency, and when the nation has clearly rejected the CPP’s ideology and political program, the UP will start a course, purportedly on Martial Law. In reality, it will be nothing but an introductory course on the communist political program, glorifying and romanticizing the New People’s Army (NPA) — paid for by the government the party wants to overthrow.

To understand this, we have to realize that the central mythology that justifies the CPP’s existence is its claim to have led the struggle against Marcos’ dictatorship.

The party has never been able to make the Marxist-Leninist project the legitimizing discourse for its existence. It has even practically abandoned its declared aim in the 1970s, mimicking Mao, to lead the peasants’ liberation from tenancy, the implementation through four decades by administrations since Marcos of a state-directed land reform. It has lost any claim to being the vanguard of the workers’ movement in the Philippines, after most trade unions have rejected its cadres as trouble-makers.

Communist Party’s main propaganda line now: Martial law = Duterte. PHOTO FROM CPP.PH

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Washington Post: ‘Reds infiltrated rights groups, churches’

DOING research on another topic at — believe it or not — the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room at the US intelligence agency’s website, I chanced upon an entry “Philippine rebels targeting rights groups, churches.” It turned out to be a Washington Post article written in 1986 by William Branigin, a respected foreign correspondent here in the late 1980s, married to a patriotic and convivial Filipina, Bing.

I knew Bill as a very meticulous, careful journalist.

The following piece of his shows he was also bold. I’ve never read anywhere else such an exposé on the communists’strategy, and mind you, in that era, the communists’ death squads called the Alex Boncayao Brigade were roaming the city.

Why can’t our media write such real investigative pieces? Indeed, they have instead mostly become the disseminators of the propaganda output of such communist-infiltrated “rights groups, churches.”

Reading his piece, I got goose bumps: The piece was so prescient and it reads as if it had been reported yesterday. The “rebels” — i.e. the Communist Party — have indeed been so successful in this strategy that these “rights groups, churches” have been to this day the communists’ most potent propaganda weapon, and even recruitment offices.

Branigin’s 1986 Washington Post piece, slightly truncated to fit in this column space, follows:

According to Filipino and foreign sources, the Communist Party has infiltrated what it calls the “church sector” in the Philippines and forged links abroad with church groups, human rights organizations, labor unions and associations of expatriate Filipinos to a much greater extent than is publicly acknowledged here. The sources include Filipino political and military analysts, church leaders, western diplomats and researchers and communist officials and publications.

The CIA item on the Washington Post article.

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A brief, true history of the rise and fall of the Marcos dictatorship: An eyewitness account

WHEN Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, I was a 19-year-old Ateneo college dropout heading the Manila and Rizal organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

For all its fearful reputation even at that time, the party was merely a ragtag band of hubristic fantasists who thought replicating the Chinese revolution was a cinch. Founder Jose Sison, who saw himself as the Filipino Mao Zedong, was then 33 years old, and the legendary Kumander Dante, 29.

The fledgling party was giddy over the revolutionary flow of the student demonstrations in 1970, and thought it could artificially create such revolutionary fervor again. At the same time, it thought it could provoke internecine strife among the ruling class that would implode its rule.

Two teams of mostly converted-to-the-revolution toughies from the urban poor slums of Tondo and Caloocan — specially recruited for the operation by Sison and his five closest cadres — hurled three grenades at the stage of the Liberal Party’s miting de avance in Plaza Miranda in Aug. 21 1971, injuring nearly all of the party’s Senate candidates and killing nine people.

Sison tasked a New People’s Army (NPA) commander, a veteran Huk from Tarlac, to delay by whatever means his sympathizer, the Liberal Party’s superstar Benigno Aquino Jr.’s arrival at the Plaza. What he told Aquino that made him do so, I haven’t been able to determine. Aquino, though, would have been stupid if he had not concluded after the bombing what group was responsible. Continue reading

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Aquino-del Rosario offered Sabah to Malaysia for its support in arbitration case vs China

Fifth of a series
THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) under President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s watch, then headed by Albert del Rosario, practically offered to drop our decades-old claim over Sabah against Malaysia in exchange for Kuala Lumpur’s support in the Philippines’ arbitration suit filed against China in 2013.

This was disclosed by high-ranking former and current DFA officials involved in the preparation of the suit. Since I started this series on the country’s biggest foreign-policy fiasco that was the arbitration suit, these officials have been emboldened to communicate to me to disclose details on how it was rushed, and how much they abhorred it.

That the DFA offered to give up Sabah to win the arbitration is bolstered by the Note Verbale No. 15-0979 it sent in March 2015, two years after the arbitration suit was filed, to the Malaysian government.

Malaysia, however, didn’t even bother to acknowledge it, must less respond to it. The sources claimed that the DFA also sent feelers to Vietnam asking what it could offer it in exchange for its support. Vietnam similarly ignored the request.

That Aquino and del Rosario were so willing to give up our claim over Sabah to support their suit against China bolsters my suspicion, as I explained in this series, that its filing was a plot of the US as part of its so-called “Pivot to Asia” policy’s component of demonizing China as a way of preventing its rise as the superpower in Asia.

Indeed, stripped of its pungent veneer of claims that we won the suit, the most important part of the award was its ruling that China’s so-called nine-dash line had no basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos, and that no feature in the Spratly islands can claim a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Continue reading

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