Author: Admin

Ressa was never a war correspondent; she just watched CNN’s video tapes

Finally, Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa revealed so starkly her delusions, the absurd extent her humongous lies about our country and the Duterte administration.

In a recent “60 Minutes” program of the American TV network CBS, she said: “The situation in Manila is far worse than any war zone that I’ve been in. In a war zone you know exactly where the threats are coming from. I plan my way in and we plan our way out and you’re there for a limited period of time. We’ve been living through three years of this kind of hell.”

For somebody who pontificates in detail how to act in a war zone, Ressa was never a war correspondent

To bolster her credibility, the “60 Minutes” interviewer, Bill Whitaker, even exaggerated Ressa’s background as a “war correspondent.” In Whitaker’s very first statement in his introduction to his interview, he says, “For more than 30 years, Filipino journalist Maria Ressa has risked her life in war zones.”

As a CNN foreign correspondent (she was an American citizen) the only countries Ressa covered was the Philippines from 1988 to 1995 and then Indonesia from 1995 to 2005, hardly war zones. She was recruited because she had a Filipino mother and an Indonesian parent, whose family networks, the CNN thought, made it easy for anybody, even for a greenhorn or even for one with a lackluster performance in one job, to cover the two countries. Ressa was recruited in that period when most media men thought CNN didn’t have chance against media giants ABC, CBS, NBC and CBN. And after all, CNN paid pittance salaries that few journalist dreaming to become a “foreign correspondent” thought of joining.

Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

A unifying president?

PRESIDENT Duterte’s appointment of the unoccupied Vice President Leonor Robredo as vice chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) was certainly unexpected. Just as unexpected was Robredo’s near-immediate acceptance of the appointment.

Perhaps it is a reflection of our sick political culture that many of the reactions to this turn of events pontificated on Duterte’s political motivation. For example, one early reaction was that it was a a devious move (if she had rejected it) for him to unmask the Vice President’s hollowness, that she was all blah-blah against the war on drugs, but really wouldn’t want to be waking up every morning to do some real work.

The Yellows, on the other hand, are applauding Robredo’s decision, claiming that it turns out to be a big mistake for Duterte, who thought that she wouldn’t call his bluff. One such couldn’t help herself from showing her glee, writing in her column: “Look whose star has risen in the firmament.” On the other hand, another anti-Duterte critic wrote:”Duterte is cleverly setting up Robredo as a scapegoat, for the failure of the war vs drugs. “

Hold on. Forget whatever motivation Duterte may have, and just focus on what the President did objectively.

Not because of the leadership but simply because she occupies the highest ranking post in government, Robredo is chairman of the Liberal Party, its symbolic head. And the Liberal Party is the opposition party, isn’t it? Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

1974 ‘massacre’ hoax recycled for a 2014 moneymaking scam

Second of 4 parts
THE colossal hoax contrived in 1974 by the insurgent Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of an alleged massacre of 1,500 Muslims in a barangay called Malisbong in Sultan Kudarat province, was intended to rouse to anger Muslim Arab leaders, especially the fiery Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, so they would support, with their newfound oil wealth, the fledgling Moro insurgency.

The idea came from the propaganda success of the so-called Jabidah “massacre,” another hoax — that earlier case a concoction of then opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. — which had convinced many Muslim students in Manila to join the MNLF. Because “Jabidah” revealed Marcos’ secret plans to invade Sabah, it prodded Malaysia into throwing its full support behind the MNLF, giving it huge funds to buy arms, training its first corps of military officers, and providing its leaders refuge in their territory.

Do the photos express horror over a massacre? Zeitlin in Palimbang, where the purported ‘massacre’ occurred, a few days after the alleged event happened. From Amaral, A.E. The Awakening of Milbuk: Diary of a Missionary Priest (2016: Authorhouse, Indiana)

Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

Have we forgotten that the Aquino-del Rosario tandem lost Scarborough twice over?

HONESTLY, I am astonished at the brouhaha over a Chinese “naval warship” shooing away the Greek-owned crude oil tanker “Green Aura” from the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, with the warship’s spokesman telling the tanker that the area was “under Chinese jurisdiction.”

Perhaps we are in denial mode, or the Yellows’ control of media persists to this day.

Have we forgotten that President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his Foreign secretary Albert del Rosario lost Scarborough Shoal to the Chinese in 2012 and then in 2016?

China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have for many decades all claimed sovereignty over Scarborough Shoal. However, they were on a let-sleeping-dogs-sleep kind of policy, or chose to follow Deng Xiaoping’s wise admonition to let “smarter future generations” decide on these territorial dispute: No country tried to physically enforce its claim and allowed fishermen to fish in its rich waters undisturbed.

In April 2012, however, Aquino foolishly sent the refurbished cutter from the US Coast Guard, renamed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and officially a Philippine Navy warship, to help arrest Chinese fishermen in Scarborough Shoal.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer published on its front pages pictures of heavily armed Philippine Marines watching over shabbily dressed, forlorn-looking Chinese fishermen — but who, on returning to China, raised such a nationalistic outrage that their social media was flooded with demands for the People’s Liberation Army to invade that “puny country.”

The Chinese of course went to the rescue of their countrymen, but sent their civilian maritime surveillance ships to block the Coast Guard and vessels sent by Aquino.

This was the now infamous Scarborough Shoal standoff that lasted more than a month. Aquino panicked, especially when China started using its economic leverage, as when it let Philippine mangoes rot in its ports, on the ground that there were reports that the shipment was infested, and had to be subjected to stricter quarantine.

1734 ‘Murillo’ map with Scarborough encircled, as presented in Carpio’s e-book Philippine Sovereign Rights and Jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea.
2010 Namria map, the latest publicly released: Bajo de Masinloc not within our territory, which was defined by the 1898 Treaty of Paris between Spain and the US.

Angry at del Rosario’s belligerence toward China — the country’s top diplomat even boasted the Philippines would get the US, Australian and Japanese military to help resolve the standoff — Aquino appointed then Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th as his special envoy to China.

Perhaps worried that Trillanes would resolve the crisis, del Rosario begged the Americans to intervene militarily, like escorting our ships into Scarborough Shoal. No way, the US said. Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

‘Malisbong massacre’ during martial law: a hoax, with alleged victims’ relatives given P40M

First of 4 parts
EVERY September in the past few years when martial law again becomes a topic of debate, the purported massacre of some “1,500 Muslims and over a thousand women raped” in Malisbong village in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat in September 1974 by a Philippine Army battalion is presented as evidence that Marcos’ strongman regime was a ruthless, bloody era.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), headed by Jose Gascon, in a September 2018 resolution claimed that the massacre happened and declared September 24 as a day for officially commemorating it.

Reparations: That’s what it’s all about? (Photo from Facebook account ‘Malisbong Massacre Victims.’)

Strangely though, the resolution based its recognition on the fact that the Human Rights Victims Claims Board awarded “46 claims from Palimbang, 33 of which relate to the Malisbong Massacre.” The schedule of compensation called for P1.2 million compensation for each relative of the alleged victims, all of whom allegedly vanished without a trace after they were killed. These totalled P40 million. Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

All Souls’ Day is ancient Aztec ‘Feast of the Dead’

CONTRARY to what most people think, the way we practice All Souls’ Day, which has come to be called “Undas” only in recent years, wasn’t a creation of Catholicism nor is it a practice among Catholics all over the world.

Only Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil — and in less intense forms, a few Latin American countries — celebrate the Day of the Dead in the way we know it, that is, one day of the year when people go to the cemetery to honor their dead. Todos los Santos to us, this was an import from Hispanic Mexico, the reproduction here of its El Dia de los Muertos.

Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter in the privacy of their homes with their families. Why would they commemorate their dead who obviously passed away at different days of the year on one particular day when everyone does so, and undertake this in one crowded place with strangers — crowds — all around them, thus diminishing the solemnity of commemorating their loved ones?

The absurdity of the practice has become so obvious as our population has swelled, more and more die, so more and more people visit their dear departed in cemeteries which obviously have not grown in size, creating mammoth crowds in these places on November 1 that risk people’s safety.

The festival reminds me of obviously irrational and dangerous religious practices, mostly in India, when hundreds of thousands of believers congregate in a single purportedly holy place on a particular day, in not a few cases resulting in a bridge collapsing, a terrorist bomb exploding, or a stampede breaking out, killing hundreds of pilgrims.

This isn’t a scene here, but in Mexico (Wikipedia photo).

Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

‘Water crisis’: Magnates’ profit hunger, system’s failure

THE so-called water crisis — the worsening of Metro Manila residents’ access to potable water — is yet another indication that there is something deeply wrong in our society and in our socioeconomic system.

To call it a “water crisis” is an understatement. The mark of civilization, even before the advent of electric power, is the capability of a society and its state to provide accessible, drinkable water to a population massing in cities — as demonstrated by the five great Mayan cities; by Istanbul with its Basilica Cistern, still an awe-inspiring tourist site; and of course, the Roman empire with its still existing, and usable, system of aqueducts.

My god, these were ancient cities, which provided potable water to their residents many centuries ago. Whatever excuses or rationalizations the water companies have been giving — and they are skilled in doing this with their hold on media — it is totally unacceptable that a water crisis has emerged in our prime metropolis where the two water services concessionaires, Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc., are mainly owned and controlled by the countries’ two biggest and richest oligarchs.

Manila Water is mainly owned and run by the Ayalas, the product of our Spanish and American colonization, with the brothers Augusto and Fernando among the country’s richest tycoons.

The two magnates ultimately calling the shots on water service in the metropolis. (Photos from First Pacific’s and Ayala Corp.’s 2018 annual reports.)

Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

‘Stop the killings’? Yes, here’s what we can do

IF Vice President Robredo, the Yellows, Reds and bleeding-heart liberals are really concerned about the value of Filipino lives, which they allegedly claim are being wasted in Duterte’s war against illegal drugs, there are many things they could do rather than blabbering day in and day out, emoting such clichés as “the killings continue.”

How can Robredo ask Duterte to end the anti-drug war when it is his duty to enforce our laws, in this case, so trampled upon by illegal drug gangs?

They should drop their political partisanship and recognize the reality that there is no state policy to exterminate those involved in the illegal drugs trade. Even if Duterte used hyperbolic “kill-them” street talk, we have an entire body of laws, regulations, and manuals that prohibit the killing of a suspect as a strict policy, except in self-defense, which the president cannot repeal.

Yet unjust killings by the police continue to happen. But not just here in the Philippines but in the entire world, from Austria to the US to Angola, which is the phenomenon called police brutality. The US has had worse killings of innocent young black men than say, the killing of the 17-year-old Kian de los Santos by Caloocan police. On April 22, 2015 William Chapman 2nd, an 18-year-old shoplifting suspect, was shot in a Walmart parking lot by Portsmouth, Virginia police officer Stephen Rankin. Did the US press run front-page photos of his dead body, and claim that Obama’s was a “presidency bathed in blood”? Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

Robredo, Yellows, Reds and other ‘anti-EJK’ groups are hypocrites

WE suffered again the other day another inane call from Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo, this time for President Rodrigo Duterte to stop what she claimed was the government’s failed anti-drug war.

Robredo’s public-address system this time was another gullible foreign correspondent (from Reuters), the only one who filed such a report. This correspondent has strangely not written a single positive article in the past two years on Duterte’s presidency. Perhaps realizing how imbecilic or simply politically motivated such statements from Robredo are, or tired of the Reuter’s reporter’s biased reportage, the report was not carried by any of the local newspapers, but only by the Yellow network ABS-CBN Broadcasting and its main rival, GMA 7.

Robredo claims that Duterte’s war against illegal drugs is a failure, refusing to believe police figures — which neither she nor anybody at all has debunked — that 176,021 drug personalities were arrested and 5,500 killed in the operations to arrest them since the President launched the campaign in July 2016. That’s a failure?

Robredo’s hardheadedness bordering on clinical insanity is demonstrated by her claim that 7,000 were victims of police extrajudicial killings (EJKs). That was the false figure she used over two years ago in her video message to the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs she asked to be played at its 60th meeting in 2017, a number which was contrived by the online site Rappler, which I had debunked totally two years back.

Robredo’s astonishing detachment from reality is demonstrated by her ignorance — pretended or not — that in 11 surveys since late 2016 by the Social Weather Stations — hardly a pro-Duterte pollster — the average level of support for the anti-drug war was 79 percent, and 82 percent in fact in the last June poll.

Robredo’s concern over Filipinos who lost their lives in the so-called “ extrajudicial killings,” which is the overarching propaganda against Duterte by the Yellows, Reds, the Church and bleeding-heart human rights “champions,” is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Even as they pretend to have the highest concern for human life, and therefore have been crying to high heavens, and to the world, that the “killings must stop,” they have done absolutely nothing for the EJKs to cease.

Demonstration by leftist group Bayan. Image from a leftist website

All they have done is to use the allegations of EJKs to portray Duterte as a bloodthirsty dictator who should be brought down, as most such dictators have been, and violently if necessary. Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns

Carpio: Tragic or jinxed?

First of two parts
LOVE him, as the Yellows do, or hate him, as those who were sympathetic to the late Chief Justice Renato Corona — whom he is alleged to have helped oust — do, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who retires from the Supreme Court on Friday, has had a fascinating career, marked by episodes one might term either tragic or jinxed.

You, dear reader, decide which would be the best description.

What is mostly forgotten now is that Carpio and his ideological mentor, retired Gen. Jose Almonte executed in 1992 then President Fidel Ramos’ bold tack early in his administration of going against two of the country’s powerful oligarchs then: tobacco magnate Lucio Tan and the Antonio Cojuangco clan which claimed to own Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT).

The first Yellow regime practically wanted the Tan conglomerate wiped out of the Philippine business landscape as Tan was branded as one of Marcos’ richest cronies. The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) “sequestered” the tycoon’s biggest firms, while it tried to gather evidence — unsuccessfully — that he had amassed ill-gotten wealth with the dictator’s help.

But not only that, with the PCGG cases appearing to be going nowhere—one reason being that documents held by Cory Aquino’s officials couldn’t be found—the Ramos administration led by his then Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Carpio slapped in 1992 a P25 billion tax-evasion case against Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corp., claiming that it had been using forged BIR stamps on its cigarettes.

The high-profile media coverage of the case, however, fizzled out and was gradually forgotten, with the charge finally dismissed in 2006, 14 years later. Tan’s black-propaganda machine was vicious at that time. As a correspondent of the Far Eastern Economic Review at the time, I even had to ask Carpio point blank to comment on the rumor circulating that Tan, known to be “accommodating,” decided instead to dig his heels in against the Ramos government as his legal counsel was allegedly asking for P5 billion for the case to be dropped. (Carpio vehemently denied it.)

Carpio (upper left) and the tycoons he once crossed swords with.

Continue reading

Filed under: Manila Times Columns