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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US sends message it hates Duterte as much as Putin

C’MON, let’s be honest and even just barely objective. No Philippine media practitioner who knows Maria Ressa, except of course her shamefully servile staff, thinks that she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

She’s a fraud. She hasn’t written any work of journalism to claim that award. Rappler isn’t being persecuted with what she melodramatically calls a “thousand cuts.”

Her cases are for libel, filed by a private person and for Rappler’s taking in foreign money, expressly prohibited by the Constitution. But compared to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s continuous stream of attacks against President Rodrigo Duterte, as the opposition’s official organ, Rappler is a timid pussy. Except for its misinformation exaggerating the number of casualties in Duterte’s anti-drug war, Rappler has not produced any real work even scratching Duterte’s popularity.

The awards Ressa deserve would be for acting as Duterte’s victim and for fooling the Nobel Committee.

But not really. The only reason Ressa got the award was because the hegemonic US of A wanted to express its extreme loathing for Duterte, as much as it hates its unarguably authoritarian enemy — Vladimir Putin — who has effectively ruled Russia for 22 years.

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It’s likely to be a boring election

IF you just look at the facts and the polls, as well as monitor the sizes of the rallies for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, the team of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio look unstoppable that it could be the first ever boring election for the two highest posts in the country.

Many of course would contest that forecast, pointing out that it’s too early to call it. They say that in the 2016 elections, then vice president Jojo Binay was the frontrunner, followed by two other strong candidates, Grace Poe and the Yellow forces’ Mar Roxas. They point out that Rodrigo Duterte at that time was the laggard in the race, but he unexpectedly zoomed up in the five months to May 2016.

The facts do not support that narrative. Yes, Duterte got only 12 percent support compared to Binay’s 29 percent in one early poll, but this was way back in March 2015. By December 2015, he had 23 percent, statistically the same as Poe’s 21 and Roxas’ 21. Binay was still ahead, with 33 percent.

Marcos’ lead is just too big now.
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Astonishing ignorance over our South China Sea disputes

I CONTINUE to be amazed at how even former ambassadors and professors of international law demonstrate inexcusable ignorance over our disputes with China (and Vietnam) over the Spratlys.

I was particularly annoyed that in one issue (December 4) of this newspaper, two opinion writers demonstrated a level of incomprehension that only matched their pomposity. Worse, they are writing in the very newspaper in which I have written over 110 columns on the issue since 2016.

Opinion writers often differ with the opinion of others. But if they miss crucial information, deliberately or not, it is not opinion but misinformation.

If supposedly knowledgeable people show such lack of information on the South China Sea disputes, the nation will never be able reach a compromise with other claimants, prodding China, in particular, to ignore our claims and instead flex their military and economic muscles, on grounds that we refuse anyway to negotiate for a settlement.

of author’s forthcoming book out this month.
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