Washington Post: ‘Reds infiltrated rights groups, churches’

DOING research on another topic at — believe it or not — the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room at the US intelligence agency’s website, I chanced upon an entry “Philippine rebels targeting rights groups, churches.” It turned out to be a Washington Post article written in 1986 by William Branigin, a respected foreign correspondent here in the late 1980s, married to a patriotic and convivial Filipina, Bing.

I knew Bill as a very meticulous, careful journalist.

The following piece of his shows he was also bold. I’ve never read anywhere else such an exposé on the communists’strategy, and mind you, in that era, the communists’ death squads called the Alex Boncayao Brigade were roaming the city.

Why can’t our media write such real investigative pieces? Indeed, they have instead mostly become the disseminators of the propaganda output of such communist-infiltrated “rights groups, churches.”

Reading his piece, I got goose bumps: The piece was so prescient and it reads as if it had been reported yesterday. The “rebels” — i.e. the Communist Party — have indeed been so successful in this strategy that these “rights groups, churches” have been to this day the communists’ most potent propaganda weapon, and even recruitment offices.

Branigin’s 1986 Washington Post piece, slightly truncated to fit in this column space, follows:

According to Filipino and foreign sources, the Communist Party has infiltrated what it calls the “church sector” in the Philippines and forged links abroad with church groups, human rights organizations, labor unions and associations of expatriate Filipinos to a much greater extent than is publicly acknowledged here. The sources include Filipino political and military analysts, church leaders, western diplomats and researchers and communist officials and publications.

The CIA item on the Washington Post article.


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A brief, true history of the rise and fall of the Marcos dictatorship: An eyewitness account

WHEN Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, I was a 19-year-old Ateneo college dropout heading the Manila and Rizal organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

For all its fearful reputation even at that time, the party was merely a ragtag band of hubristic fantasists who thought replicating the Chinese revolution was a cinch. Founder Jose Sison, who saw himself as the Filipino Mao Zedong, was then 33 years old, and the legendary Kumander Dante, 29.

The fledgling party was giddy over the revolutionary flow of the student demonstrations in 1970, and thought it could artificially create such revolutionary fervor again. At the same time, it thought it could provoke internecine strife among the ruling class that would implode its rule.

Two teams of mostly converted-to-the-revolution toughies from the urban poor slums of Tondo and Caloocan — specially recruited for the operation by Sison and his five closest cadres — hurled three grenades at the stage of the Liberal Party’s miting de avance in Plaza Miranda in Aug. 21 1971, injuring nearly all of the party’s Senate candidates and killing nine people.

Sison tasked a New People’s Army (NPA) commander, a veteran Huk from Tarlac, to delay by whatever means his sympathizer, the Liberal Party’s superstar Benigno Aquino Jr.’s arrival at the Plaza. What he told Aquino that made him do so, I haven’t been able to determine. Aquino, though, would have been stupid if he had not concluded after the bombing what group was responsible. (more…)

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Aquino-del Rosario offered Sabah to Malaysia for its support in arbitration case vs China

Fifth of a series
THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) under President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s watch, then headed by Albert del Rosario, practically offered to drop our decades-old claim over Sabah against Malaysia in exchange for Kuala Lumpur’s support in the Philippines’ arbitration suit filed against China in 2013.

This was disclosed by high-ranking former and current DFA officials involved in the preparation of the suit. Since I started this series on the country’s biggest foreign-policy fiasco that was the arbitration suit, these officials have been emboldened to communicate to me to disclose details on how it was rushed, and how much they abhorred it.

That the DFA offered to give up Sabah to win the arbitration is bolstered by the Note Verbale No. 15-0979 it sent in March 2015, two years after the arbitration suit was filed, to the Malaysian government.

Malaysia, however, didn’t even bother to acknowledge it, must less respond to it. The sources claimed that the DFA also sent feelers to Vietnam asking what it could offer it in exchange for its support. Vietnam similarly ignored the request.

That Aquino and del Rosario were so willing to give up our claim over Sabah to support their suit against China bolsters my suspicion, as I explained in this series, that its filing was a plot of the US as part of its so-called “Pivot to Asia” policy’s component of demonizing China as a way of preventing its rise as the superpower in Asia.

Indeed, stripped of its pungent veneer of claims that we won the suit, the most important part of the award was its ruling that China’s so-called nine-dash line had no basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or Unclos, and that no feature in the Spratly islands can claim a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). (more…)

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Poe is such a huge argument against democracy

THE EDSA traffic is becoming more horrendous each day, and in this day and age of technology and rationality, one would assume that government could use all its resources and sovereign power to solve a big obstacle to the country’s economic growth and relieve its citizens of their daily hell.

The traffic is a veritable crisis, and it is long past the time for debating that it isn’t. Metropolitan Manila consists of 16 cities and one municipality. Even if EDSA traverses only six cities (Caloocan, Quezon, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati and Pasay), any solution to the avenue’s gridlocks would have to involve nearly all of Metro Manila’s 17 local governments, all of which have the authority to pass “ordinances” that tend to hinder efforts to solve this huge problem.

One solution, for example, would involve opening up the posh “villages” — parts of Forbes, San Lorenzo, Wack Wack and Greenhills, among others — but their rich residents would certainly get the courts to stop it.

It is a no-brainer that a solution to the EDSA traffic mess requires the grant of emergency powers to the country’s chief executive, the President. After all, extraordinary problems require extraordinary solutions.

But then because of our Republican set-up, it is Congress that has the power to grant the President such emergency powers, or authority beyond what he normally has to fulfill his duties. (more…)

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Arbitral ruling a colossal deception: It damaged our national interests

THAT the country won in the ruling of an arbitral panel in our suit against China over our disputes in the South China Sea region has been a colossal deception foisted on our people.

As a fabrication, it is rivaled only by the huge lie in the first years of the Yellow regime of Aquino 3rd, that since he is the son of the “saint of democracy,” he would create a graft-free and progressive nation.

If President Duterte had pursued the arbitral ruling, it would have been the very worst impact on our nation of the Aquino regime, even triggering an economic crisis.

The ruling by the five-man arbitral panel succeeded in being believed as a victory for us because the might of US media was mobilized to spread that lie, and the propaganda exploited anti-Chinese sentiment in the Filipino psyche.

US media was marshaled because the ruling served US interests in its “Pivot to Asia” policy of containing China. First, it demonized China as an aggressor in the South China Sea, that it ignores international law.

Second, the arbitration tribunal ruled that China’s so-called nine-dash line that marks its claim over much of the South China Sea has no basis under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos). This gives US warships undertaking their power-project patrols in the South China Sea arguable legal cover that they are sailing through international waters.

What people like the pro-American former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario and the apparently pro-Vietnam Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio are ignorant about, or pretend to be ignorant about, is that China’s claims are not based on this nine-dash line, nor on exclusive economic zones (EEZs) under Unclos, which took effect only in 1995. (more…)

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Strong leader, weak state: The BuCor fiasco and Dunkin’ Donuts case

EVEN President Duterte’s harshest critics would, I think, concede that he has emerged as the country’s strongest president ever, at par with Ferdinand Marcos in the first years of his strongman rule.

By “strong,” I borrow the political scientists’ definition of a strong state.

First, Duterte is a strong leader because he is independent from the economic elite that in most cases in our past influenced Philippine presidents for their own gain or even led them by the nose. This is shown by the fact that Duterte’s guns have been trained on what he himself names as “oligarchs.” He has moved or has started to move against the Rufino-Prieto clan that owns the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Lopezes of the ABS-CBN television network. He took on both Lucio Tan, for Philippine Airlines’s P6-billion unpaid fees to government, and Mighty Corp., the competitor of Tan’s Fortune Tobacco, for its P30-billion tax liabilities.

Second, he has shown a determination to do the things he thinks will set the country right, no matter the opposition or obstacles. He hasn’t let up on his war on illegal drugs, despite the virulent opposition by most of the Western media, international human rights groups, and by the lackeys of the Yellow crowd that saw it, falsely, as a cause célèbre to oust him.

But presidents do not operate in a vacuum. To do what he thinks he must do, Duterte can only operate through what we call the state, the ensemble of institutions, especially the bureaucracy, that manages a nation. (more…)

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Aquino-Del Rosario betrayed our national interest in arbitration suit vs China

FORMER President Aquino, his foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, and his Solicitor General Florin Hilbay patently betrayed our national interest in the arbitration suit they filed against China:

They asked the tribunal to degrade our islands in the Kalayaan Island Group, especially our Pag-Asa Island — the second biggest in the disputed area — to mere “rocks,” telling the arbitral tribunal that, as such, these therefore do not generate a 430,000-square kilometer (sq km) circular exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The tribunal, of course, upheld their allegation. Why wouldn’t they when it is the representatives themselves who claim their islands are not islands but just rocks? Their allegation in effect lost us at least 430,000 sq km of potential EEZ, an area bigger than the Philippines’ 300,000 sq km land area.

Potential EEZ of Pag-Asa (roughly that of Taiwan’s Taiping island) the suit gave up. Source: Author’s graphics using GoogleEarth.


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Sabio reveals: Trillanes the brains of ‘Bikoy’ caper

LAWYER Jude Sabio last week revealed that it was former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th who was the brains behind the so-called “Totoong Narcolist” videos, spread through social media in April that claimed President Duterte and his children were involved with illegal drug syndicates.

Last May, Peter Joemel Advincula, the narrator in the videos who called himself “Bikoy,” surrendered to authorities and disclosed that the allegations in the video were all lies and that it was a fabrication of Trillanes intended to sway voters to vote for the opposition Senate candidates in the elections early that month. Trillanes denied the accusation in a privilege speech at the Senate.

Last week, Advincula’s disclosure was supported by Sabio, who has been viewed as one of Trillanes’ closest conspirators in the latter’s anti-Duterte campaign. He was the lawyer for Edgar Matobato who had claimed to have been with the Davao “death squads” when Duterte was the city mayor. He also filed a case last April against Duterte and several of his officials at the International Court of Justice, accusing them of mass murder in their war against illegal drugs.

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‘PH can’t have its Kalayaan Island Group’ – arbitral tribunal

Second part of a series
IN the second case* where we shot ourselves in the foot in the arbitration case against China brought by President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his Foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, the tribunal in effect ruled that we can’t have our Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), since this would violate provisions of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

The episode would be really hilarious if not for its very serious impact on our Republic’s territory. The bungling duo thought they could force China out of our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by filing the arbitration case, invoking the Unclos. Instead, one consequence is that if we comply with the arbitral ruling, we’d have to give up our KIG. And we are the only ones who have to comply with it, as China refused to recognize the tribunal, and its ruling doesn’t apply to any other nation.

The KIG is the only addition to our territory since the 1898 Treaty of Paris (by which Spain sold us to the US) established the archipelago’s boundaries. It was Marcos, through his Presidential Decree (PD) 1596 in 1978, who annexed a hexagonal territory covering most of the Spratly islands — which China and Vietnam had claimed several decades earlier. Other than Bajo de Masinloc, the KIG is the only thing really that has involved us in the South China Sea territorial dispute.

In his decree, Marcos claimed these areas “do not legally belong to any state or nation but, by reason of history, indispensable need, and effective occupation and control, established in accordance with international law, such areas must now be deemed to belong and subject to the sovereignty of the Philippines.”

He ordered the KIG to become a municipality of Palawan Island. Republic Act 2009, or the so-called “Baselines Law,” declared that the Philippines “exercises sovereignty and jurisdiction” over the KIG, and described it as a “regime of islands,” consistent with Article 121 of the Unclos.

The US and many other nations, however, have not officially recognized the KIG as part of Philippine territory, since China, Vietnam, and Taiwan and Malaysia in part, also claim it. China and Vietnam had passed laws categorically claiming it as part of their territories, small archipelagos, Nánshā Qúndǎo for the former and Quần đảo Trường Sa for the latter. Malaysia occupied an island and several reefs on the ground that these were within its EEZ.

One provision in the arbitral tribunal’s ruling drastically weakens our — and those of China and Vietnam’s — claim to the KIG as part of our territory. (more…)

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Arbitral award vs China: We shot ourselves in the foot

First of a series on the Aquino-Del Rosario foreign policy fiasco
MORE precisely, not really “us” but former President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his incompetent foreign secretary Albert del Rosario who shot our Republic in the foot by filing in 2013 the arbitration case against China, invoking the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

They didn’t even consult Congress or any other body for this very important foreign-policy move.

If not for President Duterte’s bold move to put the brakes on it, it would have resulted, and I am not exaggerating, in an economic disaster for us — to the advantage of our neighbors like Vietnam, which also have territorial disputes with China, but weren’t as stupid as filing such a case against Beijing and adopting an anti-China foreign-policy stance.

It is another testament to the tremendous power of US media in molding our people’s minds that the arbitration has been projected as a “victory,” exploiting the embers of anti-China xenophobia here. It is part of a huge propaganda machine to portray China as the evil empire in our region (which I will discuss fully in this series), which is a major component of the American “Pivot to Asia” policy that President Obama started in 2011.

It obviously also takes advantage of the “my-country-right-or-wrong” thinking of small, or lazy minds. Indeed, there is much truth in that adage, “Patriotism is the refuge of the scoundrel.”

But we cannot undertake a correct and realistic foreign policy based on massive misinformation on such a crucial issue as our territorial dispute with China.

I promise to publish unedited in this space the arguments that I hope del Rosario, or any of his ghost writers and highly paid academic mercenaries, will present to disprove the points in this piece. (more…)

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