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Trillanes chapter has made the Yellows’ blood run cold

PRESIDENT Duterte’s offensive against Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, nearly two weeks after it started, has made the Yellows so afraid.

To call a spade a spade, the Trillanes episode is Duterte’s political blitz against the Yellows, three-and-half years before elections.

It is a major move for Duterte to decimate the opposition this early, and to ensure that the next president would be his anointed.

Soon, Trillanes will be as much a footnote as alleged drug-lord coddler Leila de Lima and the former president’s abomination at the chief justice post, Ma. Lourdes Sereno. The opposition is left with no deadly political hitman. Nor even in Trillanes’ mind, a “winnable” presidential candidate in the 2022 elections: based on my interview with him in 2015, he believed that the presidency was his next post after his senatorial stint.

Trillanes has been the Yellow’s mad dog who has been barking incessantly so loudly and wildly against Duterte, that media’s microphones could not but pick up his baying. Trillanes has been the Yellows’ political rabid-mad cur, an askal, from the street; Senators Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Kiko Pangilinan are the pusillanimous chihuahuas of the Philippine elite. At 73, don’t expect the obese Sen. Franklin Drilon to fit into the armor of a dashing Yellow knight who would duel with Duterte.

Former President Aquino is fast becoming totally bald probably because of his fear of being jailed himself for graft or even just criminal negligence. He is so much discredited, and with the blood of the SAF 44 and Dengvaxia victims on his hands, he doesn’t even dare appear at a mall. His would-be ex-successor, Mar Roxas posted a video on his Facebook wall saying he was off to a long soul-searching kind of journey throughout the archipelago.

The Yellows didn’t see it coming. They were busy convincing themselves, and panicking to get some proof (“he went to Israel for treatment”) that Duterte was dying from some illness. They even thought that the move against Trillanes was such a big blunder that one of their columnists Melito Salazar and Aquino’s disgraced tourism undersecretary Vicente Romano were in a duet singing “The End is Near.”  (more…)

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South China Sea: Biggest reason for US to want to kill Duterte

LAST month, President Duterte said outright: America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) planned to assassinate him. He didn’t give any reason why the CIA would want to do so, but not a few analysts think it is because of his getting close to Russia, the US’ arch-enemy even after the Cold War ended in the 1990s.

Indeed, the US even recently warned Duterte not to buy submarines that the Russians were offering.

My opinion though is this: If there’s any reason why the US would want Duterte toppled, it is his independent foreign policy stance over the South China Sea territorial dispute, and his refusal to make the country, as the past administration slavishly was, the US proxy to oppose Chinese claims in the area.

More than ever, the US desperately needs a puppet like President Aquino in the South China Sea, to try to stop China’s emerging hegemony in the area, even if only as its de facto spokesman. But Duterte has adamantly refused to do so, even defiantly drawing the country closer to the most powerful claimant in the area, the People’s Republic of China.

The only way for the US to have its lackey would be to topple Duterte and replace him with Vice President Leonor Robredo, who is together with her Yellow forces so subserviently pro-American in ideology and in practice.

In the US strategy, Duterte has to be removed now, to reduce the chances of his anointed, with a stance just like him, succeeding him in the 2022 presidential elections.

The all-out campaign by the US through its most influential media such as the New York Times, and through local media outlets funded by American foundations, namely Rappler, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and Vera Files is not due to its noble crusade to protect human rights all over the world.  (more…)

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Yellows like lunatics now shrieking: ‘The end is near’

IN their wishful but deluded thinking that the inflation spike and the Trillanes brouhaha will be bringing down President Duterte soon, the Yellows can’t even pick a slogan that won’t hint at their lunacy.

Melito Salazar, a Board of Investments vice chairman during the Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos administrations, very surprisingly titled his column “The end is near.” There he claimed that the Duterte administration was now in “economic and political chaos” that marks the end of any regime.

Vicente Romano 3rd, President Noynoy Aquino’s five-month tourism undersecretary who nearly got the country to plagiarize the Poland tourism slogan (and even logo), echoed Salazar’s take: “You know the end is near when… the economy is in a free fall. Prices of commodities are hitting the roof, beyond the reach of the poor. And nobody seems in charge on how to contain the problem.”

That “the-end-is-near” line of course is an old, old line used in so many caricatures of religious nuts wearing sack cloth shouting (with placards even): “Repent, the end is near.” So, it is befitting that these Yellows should be using this cliché.

Either he is a closet Yellow cultist, or a political opportunist with a lousy sense of timing (or just dull-witted analyst), but Senator Ralph Recto in the opening prayer of the Senate session the other day — for chrissake, in a prayer! — also portrayed the country as already in economic collapse, saying that “food is scarce, their prices high” and that “inflation is robbing our people of the full value of their wages.”

Repent for what?

Inflation is indeed high at 6.4 percent year on year in August. That means prices went up 6.4 percent from August 2017 to August 2018, not as some Yellows are stupidly claiming, that prices went up from July 2018 to August 2018. That means your P100 in August last year can buy only P94 worth of goods in August 2018.

There were unique factors that pushed up the rate in August. Mainly three: the uptick in global oil prices which — in our very market-oriented oil industry — had to be reflected in higher prices for fuel (and therefore transport); the fact that June to August is the lean season in agricultural production, with harvests, especially for rice, still to come in two months’ time; and production and distribution disruptions due to typhoons. The National Food Authority in its programming apparently didn’t take into account the Duterte administration’s clampdown on rice smuggling, which was rampant during the past administration, which explains the low inflation rates at that time. (See my column last week “Clampdown on smuggling destabilized rice prices, supply.”)  (more…)

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Trillanes’ and Yellows’ abuse of Catholic religion as sickening as clerics’ widespread sexual abuses

IF there’s anything the current travails of the farceur of a senator, Antonio Trillanes 4th, has demonstrated to Filipinos, it is the following.

The exploitation of the Catholic religion by a group of clerics in that Church in the service of this military mutineer – a Yellow tactic since 1986 – has become so sickening. And as I will argue here, it is in the same genre as the now exposed ignominy of widespread sexual abuse by priests not only of girls but of boys.

Other than scenes of Trillanes’ rantings before an incredulous media, the images of this humbug’s quagmire have been the following:

— Clerics’ “laying of hands” (a superstitious practice in many cultures, that magical rays come out of the priests’ hands) on his bowed head;

— Daily Catholic mass at his Senate quarters attended by his sparse crowd of supporters, in which during the sermon in one mass, the priest Noel Gatchalian said he prayed to God to make President Duterte ill so he would die (using the euphemism “magpahinga na”);

— The handing over to him – I presume to be stationed by his sofa – of a statuette of the so-called “Lady of Peñafrancia,” another of the thousand images demonstrating the hidden dominance of the goddess cult in Christianity.

What the pro-Trillanes’ clerics are trying to tell Filipinos is essentially this: “We are God’s representatives (a belief hammered into Filipinos’ consciousness in three centuries of Spanish friar rule), and we know what He wants. The Almighty himself supports Trillanes. If you are Catholics, you have to support Trillanes.”

Sending magical rays from the palms to Yellow heads.

While these clerics have not succeeded at all in getting people to support Trillanes, their very attempt to do so sickens me to my stomach. They have debased the religion which is meant to be a doorway to what is transcendent in human existence.  (more…)

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Filipinos’ outrage breaks out vs Trillanes, Aquino’s attack dog

MILITARY mutineer Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, and his Yellow gangmates, thought that President Duterte’s offensive against him would end up portraying him as a hapless victim and trigger people’s anger against the administration. What is happening is exactly the opposite.

Instead, Duterte’s move to have him thrown in jail for the coup attempts he led in 2003 and 2007—for which he has not admitted guilt—has become the event that would touch off the unleashing of the simmering outrage against the arrogant coup plotter, who was the discredited President Aquino’s most unprincipled attack dog.

Any netizen, or even an ordinary political observer reading social media, would incontrovertibly see the rage against Trillanes, which isn’t quite captured in traditional media. It is even more intense than the anger against Sen. Leila de Lima when she was arrested and thrown in jail, even if she was accused of the dastardly crime of colluding with drug lords. A few examples clearly showing the fury against Trillanes:

A post in CNN Philippines’ wall the other day was a video of Trillanes showing documents he said proved that he was a civilian and therefore cannot be tried by court martial, as Duterte ordered. It had a phenomenal 122,000 views and what I would say was an unprecedented 3,800 comments.
Nearly all of these comments were critical of the senator, even insulting. A few examples:

(more…)

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Clampdown on smuggling destabilized rice prices, supply

AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol recently claimed that the rice shortage in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi area was due to the clampdown on the smuggling of the grain from Vietnam and Thailand through two Sabah ports.

This had been going on for years, he said, apparently tolerated by authorities because the area is one of the least self-sufficient in rice, and it required the help of Malaysia to interdict it.

Malaysian authorities, however, recently cooperated with our government to stop the practice as both governments lose revenues from the scheme, at least P1 billion in our case. It also had been depressing farmers’ incomes from the cheaper smuggled rice.

The impact of the clampdown of smuggled rice may in fact be nationwide, contributing to the disruption of the rice market in recent weeks. This is based on data I extracted from the International Monetary Fund’s Direction of Trade statistics.

Economists approximate the extent of smuggling in a particular country — either through under-invoicing of goods or outright covert entry — by comparing a country’s reported exports to the receiving country’s reported imports.

About 90 percent of our imports from Vietnam is comprised of rice. The IMF statistics provide us the data on imports from Vietnam as reported by Philippine authorities, and exports to our country as reported by Vietnamese authorities.

Reduce the total shipments by 10 percent so it would approximate how much of these are rice. Reduce the Vietnam export figure by 10 percent to take account of freight, insurance and other shipping costs. The difference between the amount our country reported as its imports from Vietnam and the amount Vietnam reported (less 10 percent freight, insurance and other shipping costs) estimates the value of rice smuggled for one period.

The results of my computations from the IMF data can be summarized as follows:  (more…)

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Turn Boracay into a national park

GOVERNMENT shouldn’t simply declare business as usual for Boracay island, even with a dead-serious strict enforcement of environmental laws, when it reopens in October as has been announced. Turn it into a protected, national park. This is the only way to preserve the island’s fragile beauty for generations to come.

There are after all laws governing Boracay, and President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to uphold the Constitution and implement all of the Republic’s laws. These are the following:

The unanimous Supreme Court decision of October 2008 (G.R. No. 167707) that most of the island, except for lands titled in the 1930s to a few individuals, are state-owned, and that there is no legal basis for other entities to claim ownership of the land.

President Marcos’ 1978 Proclamation 1801 declared Boracay— as well as two dozen other areas—as tourist zones and marine reserves under the administration of the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) where the sale of lands to private individuals was totally banned and that any development there must be approved by the President himself, with the recommendation of the PTA; and President Arroyo’s 2006 Proclamation 1064 that classified 40 percent of Boracay’s 1,028 hectares as “reserved forest land” (which cannot be privately owned) and 60 percent as “agricultural land,” which can be titled.

Aware of people who claim that they have been in Boracay for decades or had bought their lands in good faith, the decision even emphasized: “While the Court commiserates with private claimants’ plight, we are bound to apply the law strictly and judiciously. This is the law and it should prevail. Ito ang batas at ito ang dapat umiral.”

Duterte has the legal authority to amend Arroyo’s Proclamation 1064 to declare that the “agricultural lands” specified there as well as the island’s beach areas would be declared as a natural park.  (more…)

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Why does The New York Times hate Duterte?

NEXT to US President Trump who calls it a purveyor of fake news in America, our own President Duterte is inarguably The New York Times’ favorite whipping boy, its evil incarnate.

I wouldn’t have cared at all. However, despite its steep fall in credibility — and integrity — in the past decade, the NYT still has a considerable role in public opinion in the US and even worldwide. In the past year under Trump’s administration, it has all but shed its pretensions for objectivity, revealing itself as the spokesman for one faction of its ruling political elite, the Democratic Party.

Newspapers, even the biggest ones in developed countries, have withdrawn their once wide network of international correspondents, and just publish NYT articles on foreign countries, stupidly believing it still retains its journalistic competence and objectivity.

The NYT again recently demonstrated that it hasn’t let up on its campaign to vilify Duterte and the country when it had a front-page article on August 19 titled “Emaciated by Cancer and Mistaken as a Drug Addict, Filipino Dies in Detention.” The internet version even had two color photos of the funeral wake and a demonstration “against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.”

The article, even just the title, is nothing but total media sensationalism, intended to tug at readers’ hearts to depict the Philippine government as a horrific, cruel regime killing even those dying of cancer.
When did the Filipino, a former OFW, die? August 9, or 10 days ago. Did the article report that the police claimed that the suspected drug-user was found to have two sachets of shabu? That not only the police but also the National Bureau of Investigation was undertaking its own investigation of the crime? No.

At it again.

The article was clearly just another piece to bolster the NYT’s false picture of the Duterte administration as a bloody regime. Of course, it’s news, fitting only for domestic newspapers. But for the NYT to run it?  (more…)

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‘By secular standards, the Catholic Church is a corrupt organization’

SHOCKING as that statement may seem, that is the conclusion of a well-argued opinion piece (with that title) by Neil McDonald of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. The piece was in reaction to the recent Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed more than 1,000 cases of sexual abuse over a period of several decades by more than 300 Catholic priests, all identified by name and many of them still alive.

McDonald wrote:
“Imagine for a moment that a big, admired multinational corporation, one selling a beloved product, was employing large numbers of male pedophiles and rapists, operating in rings all over the world, and that their crimes had been uncovered in Australia, Ireland, Canada, the Philippines, Belgium, France… and, further, that senior executives had systematically covered up and suppressed evidence, transferring and enabling hundreds of predators, betraying thousands of victims.

What would happen to the company is not terribly difficult to imagine.  (more…)

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I have moved on, and so has the country, except the Yellows

SEN. Koko Pimentel the other day said that only the victims of Ferdinand Marcos’ strongman rule have the right to say that, “It’s time to move on.” He was reacting to Imee Marcos’ recent comment for people to “move on” from what she described as the “Aquino-Marcos feud.”

Well, in that case, I do have the right to urge us to move on, since I could be classified as a martial law victim. I, with my late wife Raquel, was arrested in 1973. I was beaten up (just a bit, since I was from a school for the rich, the Ateneo), injected with truth serum, and incarcerated in three different political prisons for two years.

There’s an important detail left out there—the kind many “martial law victims” of course also omit in their outrage at Marcos, and their desire to show that they deserve to be compensated. I was heading then the metropolitan Manila organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines, financed by Mao Zedong and the anti-Marcos oligarchs, which had vowed to overthrow through violence the electoral system and install its dictatorship in the name of the “proletariat.”

Another detail: We were organizing then the first “sparrow units” in Manila. That romantic label, copied from Mao, referred to teams tasked to assassinate police and military men in the metropolis, to signal that the armed revolution had arrived in Manila. Two decades later, those kinds of teams would become the dreaded Alex Boncayao Brigade.

Now, do you think the Philippine Constabulary that captured us, together with my subordinates Benito Tiamzon and his wife Wilma—who would then go on to become the party top honchos three decades later—didn’t have a right to do so?
There were indeed horrific human rights abuses during martial law. But not even the vociferous anti-Marcos critics have come up with any evidence that there was a Marcos policy—as there was during Chilean strongman Pinochet’s game—to jail and kill those who went against his regime.

Marcos’ trusted cousin 
Filipinos in fact have implicitly rejected the narrative of massive human rights abuses during Martial Law, and have moved on: They elected as president in 1992 Marcos’ trusted cousin, the Philippine Constabulary’s head, Fidel V. Ramos. The general had total control of the police apparatus during almost the entire martial law regime. If there were state-directed human rights abuses during Martial Law, Ramos would be responsible. But Filipinos have obviously moved on, with Ramos still a very respected former president, sought out for his views and even writing a column in a national newspaper.  (more…)

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