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Open-and-shut case: Sereno is a fake Chief Justice

IT turns out that Ma. Lourdes Sereno is a fake Chief Justice.

This has emerged as an indisputable fact, and Solicitor General Jose Calida’s move asking the Supreme Court to remove her is an open-and-shut case.

By failing to submit her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) for at least seven years (1999 to 2006, except for 2002), she not only violated the Constitution and the two laws that required such for all government personnel except laborers. That violation of the law disqualified her to be even a member of the Supreme Court.

Sereno also had not complied with the very specific requirements issued by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) in 2012 that candidates for the Chief Justice post who are or have been in government must submit all their previous SALNs.

Karma it certainly is. President Aquino used as a smokescreen to get the Senate to remove then Chief Justice Renato Corona the allegation that he submitted an incomplete SALN, as he did not include his dollar accounts. Now Sereno will be removed because she did not file the required SALNs for several years.

That she failed to submit her SALNs for at least seven years has been established beyond any doubt by the University of the Philippines where she had been an instructor, by the Office of the Ombudsman to which she was required to submit the reports every year, and by the JBC

Excuses preposterous
Sereno’s excuses have been preposterous. In 2012, she requested the JBC that she be “treated as a private sector” so that she need not submit her SALN. She was clearly not, having been with the faculty of the government institution. The JBC did not even respond to her strange request.

When the issue was raised recently, her spokesman Carlo Cruz claimed that the UP had cleared her of all “academic/administrative responsibilities…which would of course include the SALN requirements.” That argument was as ignorant as it was stupid: SALNs for her rank are required to be submitted to the Ombudsman, not to the UP.

Sereno cannot produce copies of her SALNs, even as the procedure for such submission is for a third copy to be receipted by the receiving office, and given to the official submitting the document.

That she did not submit her SALNs for several years could not have been uncovered if the House committee on justice investigating the complaint for her impeachment had not subpoenaed the three bodies (UP, the Ombudsman, and the JBC) to submit her SALN.

Why on earth didn’t she file her SALNs?

One probable reason is (more…)

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Aquino’s ‘Doberman’ in the Supreme Court

THAT’s the title of my February 29, 2012 column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer – five years ago, with the attack dog being then associate justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

The column was published six months before President Aquino did what even his Liberal Party colleagues couldn’t believe he would do, as it was so preposterous, even scandalous: his appointment of Sereno as Chief Justice. Sereno was not only the most junior member of the court, but the least experienced and so unqualified she had never been in a courtroom.

Since her appointment, her behavior, as well as information that were unearthed (which she had mightily tried to keep secret) have proven her to be worse than I thought in 2012.

Some of these make up the 24 impeachment charges against her, such as her falsification of court resolutions to make it appear as if they were made by the en banc; her manipulation pf the Judicial Bar Council’s short-list and use of confidential records to block Francis Jardeleza’s bid to be appointed to the Court; and her unauthorized use of public funds to purchase an P8 million bullet-proof luxury SUV.

Probably worse, information that has only been uncovered show that she is not even qualified to be a member of the Supreme Court, much less its Chief Justice.   (more…)

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On Rappler’s woes, blame this columnist, not Duterte

I AM so sick and tired of Rappler and its editor Maria Ressa, so disgusted that they have been badmouthing to the world President Duterte and our Republic as well, for allegedly attacking press freedom, purportedly through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to close them down for violating the Constitution that bans foreign money in media.

Don’t blame Duterte. Blame this writer—for doing his job as a journalist and being an ardent nationalist.

The facts:

I wrote on October 28, 2016, that Rappler was violating the Constitution by taking in about $2 million (P100 million) in foreign funds, a column titled: “Media firm Rappler scorns Constitution by getting foreign money.” Why did I write that piece? I got to be aware of it because Rappler boasted about it in its article in 2015. I even asked Rappler’s main owner, a college chum — property tycoon Benjamin Bitanga –why his media firm took in foreign money. He was apparently misled by Ressa. He was told, he said, that the foreign money was for Rappler’s Indonesian operations, so it wasn’t being used on Philippine territory, and therefore complied with the Constitution.

Rappler’s 2015 article: They boasted about it, which got them into trouble.

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Aquino 3rd: Such a shameless, sociopathic liar

No prevalent disease in the country has ever involved a single, huge firm such as Sanofi – alleged to have been involved in cases of bribery in other countries – that was getting desperate to sell its Dengvaxia quickly to recover the $1.5 billion it had spent in developing the vaccine. It had expected to sell $200 million worth of Dengvaxia since 2015. It has reported only $63.6 million sales of Dengvaxia so far. The confirmed P3 billion the Aquino government paid for the 1 million doses it bought was worth $58 million, or 92 percent of Sanofi’s Dengvaxia sales.

Continue ReadingAquino 3rd: Such a shameless, sociopathic liar
Read more about the article Facts about EDSA 1 we didn’t know at the time, hidden from us for decades
Marcos’ defense minister Enrile: A botched coup by his RAM colonels led to EDSA I.
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Facts about EDSA 1 we didn’t know at the time, hidden from us for decades

PERHAPS it was because of something like the so-called fog of war or an instance of the adage that history is written by the victors. But there were facts — now indisputable — that we didn’t know, or were hidden from public knowledge, during the February 1986 People Power Revolt and even three decades later. Perhaps because of the disillusionment with the presidency of the son of the so-called heroine of EDSA I, the facts have been ferreted out or have simply become clearer.

Continue ReadingFacts about EDSA 1 we didn’t know at the time, hidden from us for decades
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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, (more…)

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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:  (more…)

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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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