Bongbong’s beyond gravity now

IN a TV interview, the late President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s spokesman was obviously whistling past the graveyard when he insisted that “gravity” would be pulling down presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s high, over-50 percent ratings as voters’ choice in various opinion surveys.

That reminded me of a favorite analogy of a witty political and business analyst in the 1990s. He referred to the taipans who have amassed so much resources that they will practically never go bankrupt since they have achieved “escape velocity” and are “in orbit”, beyond gravity’s pull.

Going by surveys by different pollsters — even one commissioned by Leni Robredo’s supporter Albert del Rosario — and a most recent one by the Marcos Media Bureau’s Swiss consultant who polled 3,600 respondents, Marcos seems to now be beyond gravity. Robredo, going by the numbers, as well as other aspirants have been dismal “failures to launch.” (Note the respondents numbered 3,600 compared to the 1,200 usually polled by most polling firms, which means a very small margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.)

In the Swiss consultant’s poll, Marcos is the choice of 62 percent of respondents, up from the 51 percent preference reported by the most recent Social Weather Station poll. Robredo’s has gone down from the 20 percent in the first week of December to 15 percent in the most recent poll (Table 1).

TABLE 1. PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS’ VOTING PREFERENCE

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Pandemic unravels the invention called democracy

ONLY if you can’t even discuss its possibility that you will refuse to see the implications of the data that stares you in the face.

It has been the exemplars of a democratic system — the US, India and European countries — that have terribly failed their citizens in containing the Covid-19 pandemic.

The US, the richest country in the world and the self-appointed enforcer of democracy all over the world, is down on its knees with an unbelievable 62 million of its people having contracted Covid-19 and 861,003 killed — so far. India, the world’s biggest democracy, is competing for the No. 2 spot with the US as the worst hit country with the most deaths.

On the other side of the world and the political spectrum, the People’s Republic of China, with its single-party system and the first to be hit by the pandemic, has only 104,000 cases, less than 0.2 percent that of the US, and 4,600 deaths or 0.5 percent of the US’. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is doing better than the Republic of the Philippines.

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Reds to extort P10B from candidates in 2022 polls

DESPITE its major setbacks — the killing of several of its top leaders and attacks on its camps — as a result of President Duterte’s intense campaign against the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), the 2022 elections will likely boost the rebels’ financial resources, sources in the intelligence committee as well as in the insurgency claimed.

Since 2001, the CPP-NPA has been demanding — extorting — money from candidates for what they call their permits to campaign (PTCs) and permits to win (PTWs) in areas of which the NPA claims to have control. Without a PTC, a candidate’s people campaigning in an area the NPA controls are either harassed or outrightly killed by the rebel group. With the more expensive PTW, on the other hand, which are undertaken in remote areas the NPA controls, it assures the candidate’s victory. (The term “permit to campaign” is derived from the widely known “permit to carry” a gun outside the owner’s home.)

It’s certainly ironic but emblematic of the communists’ depravity that they are exploiting the most important exercise of a democracy — elections — to raise money to fund their project to destroy that democracy. It certainly worsens corruption in government, especially on the local levels, as a winning candidate would recover the money extorted from him through graft.

A scholarly paper written by former CPP central committee member Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, now a Dutch academic, a few years back explained:

No wonder they got spic-and-span uniforms. PHOTO: WWW.CPP.PH
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Arbitration suit vs China: Aquino 3rd regime and the US’ big blunder

Last of 2 parts

This is the second instalment (the first was published last Friday) of Chapter 9 of my book, Debacle: The Aquino Regime’s Scarborough Fiasco and the South China Sea Arbitration Deception, which discusses this development in detail, with the appropriate citation of sources of data and statements. The book is being printed now, to be distributed in the first week of January, pre-orders at https://rigobertotiglao.com/debacle/.

CHINA’s massive island-building blitz is a version — of the classic (although not always successful) response to international disputes — the so-called “sunk costs strategy.” This means, crudely, that a nation would succeed in convincing a belligerent rival not to invade if it invests heavily in arms and even a defensive wall.

The billions of dollars that China has spent in building its artificial islands and the facilities within was a strong signal to the US that any decision of a tribunal that China has no claims in the South China Sea (SCS) will be ignored. To illustrate in a vivid manner: an elite US Navy team could probably have taken over Mischief Reef before 2013. Now, it would require a brigade to capture the huge facility in Mischief Reef.

It is astonishing — or a case of colossal stupidity — that the Aquino 3rd regime, as well as the US strategists who shepherded the arbitration suit thought that through “lawfare,” they could get China to give up its seven reefs in the Spratlys, or that the Chinese would not do anything in response to such “new form of warfare.” It was a huge miscalculation on the part of the US, as was indeed the Obama administration’s entire “Pivot to Asia” policy.

Mischief Reef, before and after the arbitration suit vs China.
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Blowback: China’s artificial islands

First of 2 parts

THE highly respected retired UP professor Clarita Carlos in her Facebook account expressed outrage over the transformation from 2013 to 2015 of the seven reefs in the Spratlys that China has occupied since 1988, into artificial islands, complete with facilities.

The comments are surprising though for the gross ignorance over this development, which really is of epic impact in the geopolitics of the South China Sea.

In the hope of shedding light on this issue, I am posting here, in two parts because of its length, Chapter 9 of my book, Debacle The Aquino Regime’s Scarborough Fiasco and the South China Sea Arbitration, which discusses this development in detail, with the appropriate citation of sources of data and statements. The book is being printed now, to be distributed in the first week of January.

Cover and back page of author’s book.
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Even Yellow ideologues losing hope over Robredo

AS I’ve been saying, Leni Robredo is totally out of her class. I doubt if she would win were she to run for the Senate or even for representative in her district.

Now even the Yellows’ ideologues, all writing in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, have unabashedly been writing columns giving up on her bid for the presidency.

I thought of posting their views — at least they’re intellectually honest to accept reality — since they’ve been losing readership from the time their master stepped down from power in July 2016 with all their analysis and prognostications against this administration having been proven wrong.

Manuel Quezon 3rd (“Lost opportunities,” Dec. 15, 2021):

“My view is that Marcos Jr. grabbed the most precious characteristics of a presidential candidate for himself: namely, being the candidate of Change and Hope. He did so, by means of his ad. All the rest: the highly organized motorcades, the crushing prediction of an unstoppable landslide being promoted online, the explosion in anticipation of Tallano Gold and Bataan Nuclear Plant bonanzas for lucky supporters, flows from the candidate capturing the emotional and even moral high ground.

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Desperate: Drilon, ex-ABS-CBN producer try to sneak in TV network’s franchise

IT is a desperate attempt by the Yellows (now Pinklawans) to resuscitate their once-deadly propaganda weapon, the now supine ABS-CBN’s media monster. They are hoping that this weapon will stop Ferdinand (“Bongbong”) Marcos, Jr.’s now clearly unstoppable bid to become president in 2022.

However, going by its sheer suntok-sa-buwan (long shot) character, as Filipinos would put it, it seems to be more, again, as Filipinos would put it, hanap-buhay (livelihood) by these two legislators.

Notable lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, attorney of the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption, explains this wretched attempt by this tandem:

“It would appear that ABS-CBN is trying to sneak its franchise back in, by using a roundabout (but plausible way) of doing it through its friends and allies in Congress.

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Amazing man

Photo accompanying my July 2017 column.

NOW in the twilight of his political power, President Rodrigo Duterte continues to amaze me.

PublicusAsia a week ago reported that statistically, he shares the No. 1 slot in voters’ candidate preference for senator — Escudero got 56.7 percent, Duterte, 55.6 percent. His ratings would most definitely increase when the Marcos-Sara machine throws its support behind him.

If he had run, he would likely make history as the senator voted by the most number of people — 90 percent of votes would not be impossible. Duterte would have won as senator even if he does nothing and spends nothing for the electoral campaign.

Yet a few days later, like an ordinary politician, he goes to the Comelec office with just his executive secretary by his side — his de facto personal counsel — and withdraws his senatorial candidacy. No speech, no melodrama.

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Solid North, Solid South: Stronger than 2016

DATA from the low key but highly reliable pollster Laylo Associates indicate that the Marcoses’ so-called Solid North (the Ilokano-speaking provinces) and the relatively new “Solid South” (the Dutertes’ Northern Mindanao and Davao provinces) are even more solid in delivering votes than in 2016.

According to the Laylo poll (undertaken end-November and with 3,000 respondents), 92 to 97 percent of the Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley will be voting for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. This is markedly bigger than the 65 percent to 75 percent of votes in these provinces that Marcos got in the 2016 vice presidential elections

These North and South regions will most likely deliver an avalanche of votes for both Marcos and his running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, to make the opposition candidate Leni Robredo the worst-performing candidate in our Republic’s history. At least according to the Laylo November poll, she would be getting only 12 percent of votes; even worse than Jose de Venecia’s 16 percent in 1998, the record holder as the biggest loser so far.

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