Romualdez, shoo-in for the speakership

AT least for me, that is. And I use just one criterion for evaluating the character and political maturity of the two main candidates, Martin Romualdez and Alan Peter Cayetano: Each one’s stance toward then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the US- and Yellow-led frenzy against her, and especially during the Benigno Aquino 3rd administration.

Despite Benigno Aquino 3rd’s ruthlessness towards anybody who defended Arroyo, Romualdez supported her, leading and keeping intact Arroyo’s Kampi party when she was imprisoned on baseless charges by the Yellow Cult for five long years.

When visitors to the detained Arroyo at the Veterans’ Memorial Hospital dwindled at the height of the Yellows’ rule, when even many of her officials didn’t dare be seen there, Romualdez regularly visited her, keeping her informed of her party and political developments, when she was banned from having a TV or using the internet.

Romualdez’ closeness to Arroyo is a big plus for him. He in effect has been the understudy of Arroyo, who has demonstrated in a year her competence in leading the House to be an effective partner of Duterte in reforming the country. Arroyo’s vast experience in the roughest politics would complement his book knowledge on government and management from Cornell and Harvard. (more…)

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Duterte and the power of symbols

IT borders on the hilarious how the Yellows’ apologists undertake mental contortions or tear their hair out in exasperation to explain President Duterte’s overwhelming popular support, as demonstrated in his power to convince Filipinos in the recent elections to vote into office such candidates as Bong Go and Bato dela Rosa, unknown barely three years ago.

A trying-hard intellectual explained it away as reflecting the global drift toward authoritarianism, as if nations followed fads, and committing the logical fallacy of confusing the particular with the general. An academic has-been reduces it to the phenomenon of Dutertismo, as if giving something a name explains it. The head of the US-funded Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), like a grumpy old man unable to understand a teenager, condemns his countrymen, pontificating that they have the president they deserve.

While there are many factors explaining Duterte’s popularity, as is true for all phenomena, there are two main explanations.

One is so mundane and concrete, but so distant from the cozy, gated-village world of Yellow ideologues that they cannot grasp its importance. Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs has been so successful nationwide as to have been felt by most people, which explains why 8 out of 10 Filipinos support him.

The second reason is not so concrete, yet has tremendous power over the minds of the citizens of a nation: the symbolic actions of a presidency that somehow convince them not in their minds, but in their hearts: “We have a good leader, he can get things done, and he can unite us. (more…)

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The communists’ most successful strategy — but don’t Red-tag it

THE Duterte government is the first ever post-EDSA administration to expose the Communist Party of the Philippines’ most successful strategy in its 50-year insurgency.

This strategy is its use of fronts and of organizations it had infiltrated and whose leadership it had captured. These are exploited not just to recruit people into their ranks but to disseminate its propaganda and to acquire finances, especially from gullible Western do-gooder NGOs and foundations.

In sharp contrast, past administrations, especially the two Aquino administrations, had very opportunistically coddled them, hoping to get their political and even voter-base support. Even media had hesitated to expose these Red fronts and puppet organizations for fear of being called Red-baiters, afraid that they could be targeted by the New People’s Army assassination teams.

The communists have been so successful in this strategy that communist cadres became congressmen through the party-list system — seven in the outgoing 17th Congress — which gave them vast resources and a national podium to propagate the Communist Party’s propaganda agendas.

No wonder this government’s all-out campaign to expose these Red fronts has created such a howl of protest from them, with the party even mobilizing the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines — set up in 1969 and the least known to be Red-influenced — to file a petition with the Supreme Court to stop such a move. (more…)

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Testing the New York Times’ fairness

ON the suggestion of a reader, I emailed a letter to the New York Times (reproduced in the latter part of this column). It is my comment on a piece which retired editor Vergel Santos managed to get the newspaper to publish recently. It contained so many lies about our country, at the rate of nearly one per paragraph, that I thought I had to do something about it.

The NYT has also distributed the piece internationally, and it has been published in several websites of global broadcast media, such as Al Jazeera.

The difficult position of our country, illustrated by Santos’ success in having his piece published, is the result of four factors.

First, Western media almost automatically and totally, believes claims made by “their own.” Santos is chairman of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), which is funded by the US State Department. The noisiest basher of President Duterte is Rappler, headed by Maria Ressa, who is a former CNN staffer, and is a US citizen.

Ressa’s biggest PR in the US is Sheila Coronel, dean of a journalism unit of Columbia University in New York. Because of their journalistic laziness, correspondents for foreign news entities have been swayed into joining the mob against Duterte that had been led by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Second, the issues brought against President Duterte — the alleged human rights abuses in the course of his campaign against illegal drugs and his purported authoritarianism — are those that the US Deep State sees as the main threats to present-day humanity, which it is its duty to fight. (more…)

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Maligned businessman, hopefully our social media, big winners in Bikoy saga

THE so-called “Bikoy” black propaganda that maligned President Duterte and his family boomeranged against the Yellows, and contributed to voters’ anger toward their candidates, which led to their electoral rout.

It will also likely be another case that will help to finally bring the troublemaker Antonio Trillanes 4th to jail.

The episode though will likely be a boon for Bicolano businessmen Elizaldy Co and his partners in the Misibis Bay resort in Albay. Co last week filed libel charges against Google Philippines, the owner of YouTube and Facebook, and demanded P1.1 billion in damages under the country’s Cybercrime Act.

Included in the charge were the two internet giants’ country directors Kenneth Lingan and John Rubio, respectively. These two though are either just moronic servants, or Yellow sympathizers. Co should sue Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook founder and head Mark Zuckerberg for a billion dollars for their lies against the Republic’s President that their companies spread. That would prod international media — which has been silent on the libel suit — to report it.

Maybe include in the suit the brains of the Bikoy video, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, as soon as there is the slightest evidence that it was mostly his handiwork.

Episode 5 of the Bikoy videos, which Duterte himself has claimed was the handiwork of his strident critic Trillanes, alleged that the businessman Co was the leader of a drug syndicate operating in the region and that the criminal operations were undertaken inside his posh Misibis Bay resort.

Co has vehemently denied these, and claimed that the allegations not only severely tainted his reputation but drastically affected his business, leading to huge financial losses, with banks even closing their credit lines to him.

Open and shut
The suit appears to be an open-and-shut case that would make Co a billion-peso richer. Jurisprudence in many Western countries has turned up decisions that favor similar complainants, although involving much smaller monetary claims. The courts pointed out that such social media businesses that have been making billions of dollars in profits have the responsibility to allocate a few millions to ensure that they do not publish in cyberspace malicious lies against innocent citizens.

Libelous video still out there (above is time-stamp of author’s computer).


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Why do some Filipinos delight in lying to the world about their country?

I’D certainly understand it if American journalists, many with a secret racism against non-whites, do so. The website Rappler’s Maria Ressa for instance is an American, who took on Filipino citizenship for convenience, later in life.

But it baffles me why a few Filipino journalists patently lie to the world to bash their own country, and to portray their countrymen as so stupid as to support President Duterte, or accuse media people here of being cowards for not defending the press which they claim is under siege by this government.

They are either bird-brained, or too egoistic to accept the reality that doesn’t conform to their political stances.

Take the “opinion piece” which editor Vergel Santos, chairman of the US-government funded Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, managed to get published in the New York Times last week about the recently concluded elections.

He describes Filipinos who gave President Duterte’s senatorial candidates an overwhelming victory as “unchastened by a past too ignoble, too repetitive and too recent to be forgotten: They endorsed the repressive presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.” (more…)

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CPJ should protect Philippine press from US media’s bias and incompetence

THE following is a letter I emailed yesterday to Shawn Crispin, the Southeast Asia correspondent of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in reaction to his recent blog entitled, “Rappler-CIA plot claim is attempt to cut funding, Philippine journalists say.”

Dear Shawn,
I was surprised that in in your strident tirade against the present administration posted as a blog of the Committee to Protect Journalists, you referred to me as “ex-government spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao.”

That would be as if a current news article referred to ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos as “former Bill Clinton spokesman.” For chrissakes, I was the spokesman and then chief of staff of President Arroyo over 15 years ago!

You should know better as I was your colleague at the Far Eastern Economic Review, where I worked as a correspondent and then Manila Bureau Chief for 10 years. You even visited Manila once and we had drinks with my close friend, the late Rodney Tasker, who recruited you to the Review straight from college in Ohio.

You refer to me as such because that obviously helps your false narrative that the present government is out to suppress media. (more…)

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CHR head Gascon should be impeached

ONE of the first things the new Congress should do is to kick out of office Commission on Human Rights chairman Chito Gascon, one of the remaining hold-outs of the Yellow Cult in this government.

A Liberal Party stalwart, Gascon has been using his position to spread lies to the world about the country, in effect claiming that Filipinos are afraid, immoral, or stupid that they have allowed their government to undertake massive human rights abuses, and even applaud the Duterte regime.

While impeachment is unfortunately the only official way to remove Gascon since the CHR is a constitutional body, we cannot allow Gascon to spread for another three years his lies about the country. Instead of championing human rights in the Philippines, which is the CHR’s constitutionally assigned task, he has used his post to spread lies about the country to the world.

I realized, and was shocked at, the damage Gascon has been doing to the country’s image when even a moronic New York-based comedian peddled Gascon and the Yellows’ lies in a recent stand-up comedy skit.

The comedian claimed: “According to the Commission on Human Rights, since Duterte took office in 2016, the death toll from extrajudicial killings (EJKs) is 27,000, which is horrific.” That means, the comedian claimed, that more people were killed here in 2018 “than in Iraq, Somalia, or the Democratic Republic of Congo.” (more…)

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Explaining the huge chasm between the elite’s and the masses’ worldviews

THE results of the recent elections, especially the total rejection in the Senate of the Yellow-Red candidates, demonstrated in such stark manner the huge chasm, the colossal difference in the worldview of the elite and the masses.

This is most dramatized in the case of President Duterte’s Ronald de la Rosa, his police chief who presided over his anti-drug war until April 2018, which the Yellow-Reds claim was the bloodiest first phase of that campaign. The Yellow-Reds have been crying to high heavens— as a New York-based comedian quoted Rappler’s lies—that the anti-drug war represents the country’s “worst human rights crisis.”

The Filipino masses, however, have roundly rejected that view. The 81 percent of Filipinos in the most recent survey applauding the Duterte government, is basically the same 81 percent supporting his anti-drug war, ignoring the allegations of extrajudicial killings.

The masses’ more concrete, undeniable support is the fact that 18 million Filipinos voted de la Rosa— unknown outside Davao just three years ago—to the Senate, the poster boy of that campaign, beating such household names as Aquino, Roxas, Estrada, and even the action star Lapid.

How do we explain such a stark contrast in the elite’s and masses’ views? (more…)

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Think of it as a version of Japan and Singapore’s decades-old single-party rule

OF course the Yellow ideologues, and those brainwashed in US neoliberal ideology will be aghast. But I dare propose the thesis that because of the massive popular support for President Duterte, his control of the Congress could be our version of Japan, Singapore and Malaysia’s decades-old single-party rule.

And such single-party dominance, with democratic mechanisms such as elections and government accountability, has been the political structure of countries which have been among East Asia’s miracle economies.

They were called “miracle economies” — or the East Asian “tigers” — in that they grew, as the title of Lee Kuan Yew’s book that narrated the case of Singapore put it, “From Third World to First” in just three decades, leap-frogging at least the century it took Western nations to become industrialized.

Since 1986, our thinking had been, because of the Yellow’s propaganda machines, that the choice is solely between one-man rule supported by the military, or “democracy.”

That is a false dichotomy. Japan, Singapore and Malaysia weren’t military dictatorships. They had regular elections for parliaments and local governments. But for decades their central governments were ruled by one party. Economic historians all agree that this was a crucial factor that enabled them to develop rapidly from Third to First World economies. Check these out: (more…)

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