Fast-track Remulla plan to relocate Bilibid!

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WITH the assassination of journalist Percival Mabasa revealing, among other sordid things, that the country’s New Bilibid Prison could be the headquarters of an appalling “Murder Inc.,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla now has much public support behind him to pursue his plans to relocate the prison from its present location in Muntinlupa to at least three sites in the Visayas and Luzon.

The country’s national penitentiary was relocated in 1940 from the Spanish-era prison in what is now downtown Manila to Muntinlupa. That area was very sparsely populated and officially rural, with only 10,000 residents because of its hilly terrain, unsuitable for rice farming. Now Muntinlupa is classified as a highly urbanized city with 600,000 residents, and over a million daytime population.

Top New Bilibid Prison in 1940. (Source Wikipedia) Below Today (Google Earth Pro)

The growth of metropolitan Manila and the building of the South Luzon expressway during the Marcos era spurred the development of Muntinlupa as a residential area for middle- and even upper-class subdivisions and the consequent sites for workers servicing those villages, commercial areas, and small and medium factories. With the country’s population growing fast after the war, so did the crime, expanding Bilibid’s prison population from the 3,000 it was designed to house to over 30,000.

The fact that it was for decades in one location (“territory” as it were) made Bilibid’s population (i.e., prison officials and inmates) develop its own “culture,” a full-fledged institution even if a criminal one. The prisoners had organized themselves into gangs (“tribes”) that struck myriad arrangements (“treaties”) with the “rulers” (guards and their bosses) to keep themselves as comfortable as they could while enriching their jailers.


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Lady Justice finally rules Chief Justice Corona innocent

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The victim of Hacienda Luisita’s wrath.

THE Aquino 3rd regime’s persecution of Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 was one of the most evil, most shameful episodes in our history as a nation, unparalleled in the injustice it wrought on a high public official and how Congress and media were accomplices.

Ten years after he was removed through the Senate impeachment court’s May 29, 2012 decision, the long hand of justice has vindicated Corona, de facto condemning his persecutors to infamy.

The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court ruled on Nov. 3, 2022 that the accusations against Corona were totally, indisputably wrong, that his assets — which a resolution by the House of Representatives headed by Feliciano Belmonte to impeach him had claimed were ill-gotten — were all explainable by income through 45 years of private and law practice, and from sales of his wife’s inherited assets.

In its decision, the Sandiganbayan admonished Congress that the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) which the latter alleged Corona had not submitted accurately, is “a tool for public transparency and never for a weapon for political vendetta.”

Ironically, it was the ruthlessness and determination of Aquino 3rd’s political assassins that provided the venue for justice to be done, for Corona’s name to be cleared. The Aquino operatives had a “Plan B” in case the Senate had acquitted Corona.


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Has Elon Musk proven Chinese social media policy right?

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COLUMNIST Ben Kritz called the new Twitter owner, “Chief Twit” Elon Musk’s move to ask for a $8 per month “verification badge” a user pays for certain advantages in the platform as signaling the end of social media. A columnist in another paper typical of a Yellow writer, saw it as the beginning of tyranny in social media. (The badge alerts readers that an account is “real, credible, authentic and of interest to the public,” according to the Twitter “Help.”)

I beg to disagree: the American Twitter is just a small part of the social media universe. Jeez, its ranked 14th among the most popular social media networks in the world.

What Musk did though was to finally expose Twitter and all US social media platforms as huge moneymaking profit-making constructions of American capital, with the two biggest, Twitter and Facebook, aligned with the hard-core imperialist Democrats. So much for freedom of speech though when Twitter banned Donald Trump, while Facebook unsuccessfully tried to ban or at least slow down anti-Robredo posts in the last election. I know that, as my account had been suspended three times in the run-up to the May elections. After that, never.


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Tips on propaganda: Doing, defending against and detecting it

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AFTER many years in journalism, and about five as a government spokesman, I think I can confidently write about tips in this kind of endeavor. 

First, ridicule what can be ridiculed, or must be ridiculed. President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. surprisingly demonstrated this “trick” the other day. After he had already turned his back to leave at an impromptu press conference with reporters in Cavite the other day, he faced them again and said with a mischievous smile, “Welcome to Hokkaido!” He then guffawed wildly, turned around and left, waving goodbye. 

He was responding to rumors in social media, that he was in Japan at the height of the typhoon for another R&R, just as he went last month to Singapore to watch the Formula 1 race. Compare Marcos’ jab at that rumor to the Palace’s curt, oh-so-serious statement. “The president is not in Japan.” I think we’ve seen the last of this #nasaanangpangulo nonsense in twitter.


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EDCA could be Marcos’ biggest test

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WHETHER he likes it or not, global events are developing to make the EDCA issue the first major test of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s leadership and wisdom. His very pro-American officials — ambassador to the US, second cousin Jose “Babe” Romualdez and Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, and most of the Filipino elite — will likely urge him to uphold the EDCA, which of course could lead us into the two wars that the US could possibly be involved in, with China and Russia.

That position would be a very slippery slope putting us, in case even of a limited conflict, in the cross-hairs not just of China but Russia. Even without a war, Marcos’ acquiescence to US plans to activate EDCA would reverse his predecessor’s huge gains in drawing the country closer to its biggest trading partner, and perhaps even the biggest source of cheap official credit.

China can also play dirty when it thinks the US is making the country its puppet. In the 2012 Scarborough Shoal stand-off our banana exports to China suddenly had to be inspected for infestation — resulting in the rotting of thousands of dollars’ worth of shipments at Chinese ports.


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BBM should get Duterte, GMA’s counsel: They’re priceless and free

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PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. should seek the advice and counsel of former presidents Rodrigo Duterte and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. After all, they led successful presidencies, with Duterte’s satisfaction rating, based on a June 26 to 29, 2022 poll by the Social Weather Station at 88 percent, the highest ever recorded by the pollster.

Arroyo’s ratings were low, but as I have argued in several columns, and provided empirical data for, this was due to the massive black propaganda undertaken against her, as it was the Yellows’ last chance to regain power and what was at stake was Hacienda Luisita. A bad economy, even if caused by global developments as it was during Arroyo’s term, always pulls down a president’s popularity.

The proof of the pudding though is in the eating, and Arroyo, even with her weak political base, undertook unpopular tax reforms and a comprehensive program to address the global economic crisis from 2008 to 2009. It was Arroyo’s economic management that was responsible for the robust economy during her successor Benigno Aquino 3rd’s term.

With their track record, it is a mystery to me why Marcos doesn’t seek their counsel, especially since after four months, his presidency seems to be adrift, or even stalling


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Civil war if US hadn’t hijacked Marcos to Hawaii?

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THE late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos’ forces would have made the country’s Ilocos northern provinces his formidable base, to challenge the EDSA 1 forces, and possibly even defeat them after what would be tantamount to a civil war.

Marcos’ plan collapsed though after his old friend, US President Ronald Reagan, betrayed him at the last minute, and acceded to Corazon Aquino’s request on Feb. 25, 1986 not to take him to Ilocos Norte but to Hawaii. Marcos was helpless in resisting the Americans, who had disarmed his personal security staff as soon as they landed in Clark Airbase.

KXAS-TV (Television station : Fort Worth, Tex.). [News Clip: Marcos Arrives in Hawaii], video, 1986; Fort Worth, Texas. ( accessed October 23, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.

This is according to then Philippine Constabulary Brig. Gen Tomas Dumpit, probably after General Ver, the military commander closest and most loyal to Marcos. His account of the months leading up to EDSA and right after is contained in his recently released memoirs entitled The Heart of a General (Untold Stories of EDSA), the relevant section titled “Oplan North Contingency Plan.” Dumpit wrote:

“Oplan North was mapped out early on with the build-up of anti-Marcos protests. In anticipation of violent demonstrations backed by critics of the government both here and in the US, as well as by Marcos’ former allies who betrayed him, General Ver directed us to prepare details of the plan, which aimed to protect the President and defend the North should the situation in Manila become untenable.


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Gag order, spoiled food at DA

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World Food Day without the Agriculture secretary. (Undersecretary Panganiban, middle, and Senator Villar, right). DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE PHOTO

I DO hope that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. realizes that his being an absentee Agriculture secretary is demoralizing the institution’s ranks, and practically suspending any new initiatives there, which is a crucial agency to contain inflation.

“The situation will make the DA inept, and make it prone to corruption,” an insider claimed. “It’s getting seriously dysfunctional here. The department cannot adapt to a president who is also its secretary, and (senior undersecretary) Domingo Panganiban does not know how to manage the situation. The mismanagement and ineptness of the DA now will seriously undermine the agriculture sector and our food security.”

Indeed, Panganiban is getting worried at the situation that he issued, as The Manila Times reported the other day “a gag order prohibiting officials of the agency to grant interviews, issue statements and press releases without his clearance. “You are hereby directed to not accept interviews from the media unless given clearance by the Office of the Secretary,” Panganiban said in his memorandum.


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MT columnists bare ‘Imelda 2.0’

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The current First Lady. Photo/John Orven Verdote

First of Two Parts

KUDOS to two colleagues of mine in this paper – columnists Charlie Manalo and Al Vitangcol — for revealing for the first time what heretofore had been only rumors: the huge, even decisive, role of First Lady Marie Louise (“Liza”) Araneta-Marcos in President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s presidency.

Charlie in his column all but confirmed that it was the First Lady who was responsible for the removal, disguised as “resignations,” of former Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez and Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.

Because of the fact that I could not get anybody to be quoted on it, I had never mentioned her name nor even hinted at her identity, referring to her only as “the one who cannot be named,” and the issue of her role in this presidency, as the elephant in the room nobody wanted to discuss. To be frank though it was also because of some timidity that I didn’t. Charlie and Al are bolder than me. A scoop they courageously wrote.

Coincidentally or not, the two writers’ columns were published on the same day, Oct. 15, 2022, which amplified their single message, that the First Lady is good, there is just a demolition job against her. Some would maliciously interpret the simultaneous publication as indication that that it was a PR or defensive job.


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