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‘Tsismis’ turned Yellow fake history

THE frothing-in-the mouth outrage expressed by Yellow commentators and even academics such as Ambeth Ocampo over a young actor’s remark that history is like tsismis is a classic case of that quip from Shakespeare: “The lady doth protest too much.”

The Yellows protest too much: they have been transforming many deliberately concocted rumors into their version of history, which they now claim cannot be “revised.”

Here is one example: the alleged killing of Manuel “Boyet” Mijares, purportedly by being thrown off a helicopter. A Yellow writer melodramatized to tear-jerking levels — a whole page of the oversized book was devoted to his photo — this rumor by entitling the lead chapter of her mostly cut-and-paste book, as The Boy who Fell from the Sky. The book was reportedly bankrolled by Yellow businessmen who made sure it contained the propaganda they wanted by having an “editorial board” that included the Lopez clan’s Manuel (though identified only as “Manolo Lopez”).

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False Yellow gossip, false history

WHAT’s wrong with these guys? Claiming to be the “guardians of historical truth,” they pounced on a remark of actor Ella Cruz in an interview to promote a not-Yellow film “Maid in Malacañang,” about the Marcoses’ last days in power.

Cruz said: “History is like tsismis. It is filtered and dagdag na rin… Andoon na iyong idea, pero may mga bias pa rin talaga.” Historian Ambeth Ocampo, the famous collector of historical trivia, was livid and pontificated, in a Facebook post: “Don’t confuse history and chismis. History may have bias but it is based on fact, not opinion. Real History is about Truth, not lies, not fiction.”

This 26-year-old actor — I’m not sure if she even completed her college degree in communications arts at Angelicum — seems to have more insights into what history is than Ocampo, a PhD and professional historian, at least on the subject of the role of gossip and history.

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After six years, can’t they see arbitration award is a chimera, even a hoax?

IT is astonishing that after six years, there persists the belief that the arbitration award on our maritime claims against China handed down July 13, 2016, by an ad hoc panel that the Philippines organized asserted our rights to the Spratlys. The award is a chimera, something the US and their certified dummies here wish it did, but which, as President Duterte had said, is nothing but a piece of paper.

Why, even the newly appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo issued a statement, on the July 13 anniversary of the ruling’s declaration, cut and pasted one from those of his pro-US predecessors, praising it as if it were a decision by a world court that must be enforced.

He should have consulted the more experienced Ambassador Rosario Manalo, who has studied the South China issue for decades. After all, it would have been so easy to ask his stepmother’s opinion. A very outspoken and bold diplomat who refused to join former Foreign secretary Albert del Rosario’s coterie of yes-men (and women), Mrs. Manalo in a 2019 interview* explained in detail why the award doesn’t mean anything really.

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Stop exposing communist fronts? That’s nuts

INTRODUCED by the “kapihan” host as ” the deputy national security adviser designate,” Rommel Banlaoi said in the forum that the National Security Council will stop the practice of exposing certain organizations as communist fronts. The Reds cleverly call it “red-tagging” to make it seem wrong. The term however only means exposing Red fronts as such. What’s wrong with that?

That’s nuts. It is because of communist fronts that the communist insurgency has grown since 1968, and continues as a threat to our democracy. Without these fronts, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) could not have recruited tens of thousands of our idealistic youth to their ranks, to die for a failed God.

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BBM, stat authority are both right on inflation

ONE forever-Yellow opinion writer was delighted that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. seemed to dispute the Philippine Statistics Authority’s report of a 6.1 percent June inflation when he said he “had to disagree with that number, we are not that high.” That writer even maliciously claimed that Marcos will arm-twist that PSA to change its numbers, or transfer its officials to some other post. His column’s title: “PSA to tweak 6.1% inflation for BBM?”

Obviously, that writer’s decades of writing had not changed at all his proclivity of commenting on something he really knows little about. To be fair though, I had been mainly an economic and business writer for most of my journalism career, and I know for a fact that even most reporters in this specialized beat are confused about this economic measure called “inflation.”

Okay, almost all know that inflation is the increase in prices of a chosen group (“basket”) of commodities and is measured as the percentage increase from one earlier period to a later one. For easier computation, a particular year is chosen as the “base” year with prices valued at 100 points. The PSA changed its base year from 2012 to 2018 as its base year in 2020.

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Just fine Rappler? Its officers should even be jailed, SEC thinks

YES, that’s what the Securities and Exchange Commission — consisting of five accomplished lawyers — said they would have ordered, jail the Rappler officers, on top of directing the foreign firm dissolved — if only it was empowered to do so. Such penalties are directed by Presidential Decree 1018, which remains part of the country’s body of laws.

This is of course in complete contrast to this newspaper’s editorial July 3, 2022 which claimed in its very first sentence that Rappler should just be fined for “violating the Constitution,” and not ordered closed. Right, just fine them just as the State would speeding drivers.

Mull a bit how terribly absurd that claim is. The Constitution is the very basic law of the land, the document that defines our nation, the primordial contract Filipinos have agreed to abide by. Its importance is such that it is really the most concrete thing to which Philippine presidents swear to:

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Now comes the hard part

INDEED, Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s (PFRM) May victory was nearly a walk in the park, and as early as December last year, I wrote a column that the election in 2022 was likely to be the “first-ever boring election for two of the highest posts of the land.”

Backed up by data from surveys, I concluded that Bongbong would be getting the huge votes from Filipinos satisfied with the performance of President Duterte, as he was, even if unannounced, his political heir.

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The law finally catches up with Rappler

SIX years after it started investigating charges against Rappler for violating the constitutional provision banning foreign ownership in media, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last June 28 finally ruled Rappler incontestably guilty of the charges and ordered it closed. The decision was unanimous among the five SEC commissioners, who were either career people or had impeccable qualifications as attorneys and CPAS.

We are indeed moving toward building a Strong Republic, with a regulatory body demonstrating independence from powerful private entities, ignoring the shrieks of a grossly uninformed Western media alleging the press is being suppressed by a dictator in the country.

It declared Rappler as well as the holding company its investors used to evade the Constitution, to be non-existent as a corporation, and therefore without any authority to operate as an entity. Its CEO and founder, Maria Ressa, an American more than a Filipino citizen, of course pooh-poohed the SEC decision, saying it is business as usual for Rappler.

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An amazing presidency

PRESIDENT Duterte’s presidency has been an amazing one, which has changed the course of Philippine history. His breakthroughs though can still be reversed if  incoming President Ferdinand (“Bongbong”) Marcos slows down his predecessor’s momentum,  or even just moderates it. 

Already, I’ve heard of some calling the new president, “A  kinder, gentler Duterte.” If BBM indeed becomes that, he would be upending Duterte’s  huge achievements in building what political scientists call a “strong republic.” This is a nation-state independent of political and economic elites and with an efficient, law-based and robust  institutions. Without a strong republic, there can never be peace and prosperity in a nation: That is the incontestable lesson of global history. One cannot claim that with regard to democracy: Many nations, especially in Asia – China being emblematic of this  – have become developed without this cumbersome system.

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