Duterte’s clean-up of Customs will be epoch-making

But Task Force needed, as in Boracay

I’M not exaggerating with the title of this piece.

The Bureau of Customs ever since Corazon Aquino captured power in 1986 has become the country’s Augean stables of the Hercules legend, so filled with the feces of corruption of decades that it looked impossible to clean up.

Because Cory Aquino appointed a known communist sympathizer as Customs commissioner, the New People’s Army managed to smuggle in AK-47s during that time. During her son Benigno Aquino 3rd’s regime, and with the flood of imports from China, the value of smuggled goods totaled an astronomical P4 trillion, four times that in the previous Gloria Macapagal administration. (Google my column in 2015: “Smuggling utterly out of control under Aquino regime: P4 trillion in last five years.”)

That the two military men that President Duterte trusted to clean up Customs — Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña — failed in their marching orders may have its silver lining. Because of it, Duterte blew his top and announced that he would order the military to take over the graft-ridden bureau.

That may be the equivalent of Hercules in that legend building trenches so that water from a nearby river flowed into the shit-filled stables to clean them out in one day.

In their usual knee-jerk reaction to Duterte’s reform initiatives (as when Bam Aquino and Rissa Hontiveros shrieked that Boracay cannot just be closed down), the Yellows are now shouting that it is unconstitutional to order the military to run Customs.

Haven’t they heard of the concept called “secondment,” when men in uniform are assigned to civilian tasks on a temporary basis without giving up their military posts? It has been routine for military and police officers to be seconded to the Office of the President (and even to other departments) as aides to the president.

Such secondment made headline news recently when Duterte appointed Police Senior Inspector Sofia Loren Deliu, a former beauty pageant contestant, as aide-de-camp to take over the routine jobs of his Special Assistant Christopher Go, who have resigned to run for senator. That is unconstitutional?  (more…)

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Duterte’s popularity surges, despite rise in prices

PRESIDENT Duterte’s popular support rose significantly last month, going by the metric of the Social Weather Stations’ “trust” ratings.

Undertaken from September 15-23, the SWS poll had 74 percent of Filipinos (based on its statistical sample) having much trust in Duterte, a four-percentage point rise from its June 27-30 poll finding of 70 percent. There was a four-percent of Filipinos who moved out of the “undecided” category to trust the President.

What is news here, what is significant, is that, to the Yellows’ chagrin, Duterte’s mass support even rose when prices—especially of rice—were rising. The inflation rate, or the statistical measure of how much ordinary commodities were getting more expensive, rose from 3.4 percent at the start of the year, to nearly double, to 6.4 and 6.7 percent in August and September, respectively

This gut issue of more expensive rice should have pulled down people’s trust in Duterte as their President. But it didn’t. Although there was a dip in trust ratings among those who finished college (76 percent to 74 percent), this rose among the lower classes (based on their educational attainment) that were the hardest hit by rising prices.  (more…)

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Sara tells it like it is: 6 party-list groups are communist fronts

DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is proving to be her father’s daughter. Furious at the protest rally staged by the Red front Kilusang Mayo Uno that created a major traffic jam in her city, and earlier for the black propaganda they conducted against her, Sara declared:

“Do not support the party-list groups under the Makabayan bloc — Bayan Muna, Alliance of Con-cerned Teachers or ACT, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Kabataan, and Migrante.

“These militant groups, who masquerade as pro-people, only want to sow hostility and chaos, espe-cially to those who reject them and the terrorist groups they support — the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and the Communist Party of the Phil-ippines (CPP),” she said in a press statement.

Exactly.  (more…)

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Controversy over shabu shipment splits Duterte machinery vs illegal drugs

IN August. it was touted as a momentous victory in President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs— the interception by a combined team of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) of 355 kilograms of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) hidden inside the hollow chambers of two magnetic scrap lifters at the Manila International Container Port.

With an estimated street value of P3.4 billion, it was supposed to be one of the largest drug confiscations in our history, and a very significant one as shabu accounts for over 95 percent of illegal drugs used in the country.

However, just a few days later, the PDEA raided a warehouse in Cavite where they found four exactly similar magnetic lifters.  Using its especially trained sniffer dogs, the PDEA concluded that it had contained shabu, which had already been removed.

Extrapolating from the amount of shabu found in the two lifters earlier intercepted, the PDEA estimated that the four cylinders contained 1,600 kg of   the illegal drug, worth a huge P6.8 billion in the streets.

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino claimed the shabu had already found its way to the market, which explains why its street prices had suddenly dropped from P6,000-P8,000 per gram to only P1,600-P2,000.

In his testimony at the Senate investigation headed by Sen. Richard Gordon, Aquino claimed: “The shipment intercepted was a decoy, part of the modus operandi of narco-syndicates, to make us focus attention on the supposed big catch, but actually distracting us from the bigger shipment. Both shipments, one with two lifters and the other with four lifters, were by one and the same narco-syndicate.”

However, the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Customs both claimed that the PDEA was wrong. They reported that they took cotton swabs on the magnetic lifters at the Cavite warehouse. The results showed no traces of shabu.  (more…)

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Not 274, but 1,997 counts of malversation vs Aquino and his gang

I’M starting to believe that we do have a rule of law, even if the axe falls on the mighty, and the rich.

Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission commissioner Greco Belgica and several other citizens have filed at the Office of the Ombudsman 274 counts of malversation against former President Benigno Aquino 3rd, his budget secretary Florencio Abad, and several other Liberal Party stalwarts for the massive hijacking of taxpayers’ money in 2012 and 2013 disguised as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

The DAP after all—next to the Aquino regime’s Dengvaxia abomination and the Mamasapano massacre of 44 of our elite police troops—was the Yellow Regime’s biggest, patent crime against our Republic.

However, Belgica and his associates are wrong. Aquino and his gang committed not 274 counts of malversation but seven times that: 1,997.  (more…)

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Those who can, are underground; those who can’t, teach or write columns

THAT title of course is a paraphrase of British playwright George Bernard Shaw’s aphorism, a rather harmless barb to deflate pompous professors’ egos: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

However, in our country since the 1970s it has been a phenomenon that has had terrible and bloody consequences for our people. It partly explains why the Communist Party has been able to recruit idealistic yet naïve college students in the universities, and why, as communist leader Jose Ma. Sison wrote, there has been a “flow of continuous successors in the revolutionary movement” from the youth.

An Army general’s recent claim that the Communist Party has been recruiting students intensively creates an image of shadowy recruiters infiltrating campuses, luring teenagers to join the New People’s Army.  (more…)

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Amnesty Int’l: ‘The killing goes on’

THE following is the introduction to a report titled “The Killing Goes On” of Western NGO, Amnesty International (AI), very slightly redacted for purposes that will be revealed towards the end of this column.

AI report starts

“At least 550 people, all of them unarmed, have been killed by government or government-backed forces in the Philippines. The authorities have frequently sought to portray the victims as legitimate targets in their long-running campaign to defeat armed opposition groups.

But the facts tell a different story. Whole families have been gunned down. Villagers working in their fields have been shot dead. Women have been raped by gangs of soldiers before being killed. The most inhuman forms of torture, including castration, have been inflicted on people targeted for death.  (more…)

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High-ranking Aquino anti-drug police officials themselves involved in illegal drug trade

TOP-ranked officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Noynoy Aquino administration, who were the commanders of the PNP’s campaign against illegal drugs, were themselves involved in that heinous crime. They were getting hundreds of millions of pesos in protection money from big-time drug dealers and recycling confiscated illegal drugs to sell to the market.

What is astonishing is that these officials had built a reputation, with the help of a gullible — or paid — media, of being bold crusaders who had succeeded in apprehending ‘level-one” drug distributors and seizing huge amounts of their illegal drugs.

The PNP officials, together with high-ranking Bureau of Customs officials, managed to hold on to their positions during the successor Duterte administration. President Duterte, however, had earlier ordered a top-secret intelligence operation to investigate the officials, not just because of information that he had been given, but also because of reports that despite his intense war on drugs, there were significant amounts of drugs still available in the market. The axe will soon be falling on these officials,

The output of that top-secret intelligence operation was a joint report marked “secret” of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the PNP dated September 12, 2018. The report named these PNP officials, one of whom became a high official of the PDEA, and narrated in detail their criminal modus operandi.

The report’s writers couldn’t help but express their shock over its findings: “The narcotics industry has reached an unimaginable sphere of influence all over the country. Enormous networks of powerful people and sophisticated modus [operandi] are utilized to protect and continuously carry out unscrupulous activities under the guise of legitimate law enforcement operations. “
According to the report, involved in the illegal-drug trade were four police colonels and two majors who held commanding positions in the various anti-drug units set up by the PNP since 2003, namely the Anti-illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force set up in 2003, the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group in 2015, and the PNP Drug Enforcement Group in 2017.

(more…)

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Campuses have always been communists’ recruiting ground

THE claim by an Army general that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has been recruiting students in the country’s universities to join it and its New People’s Army (NPA) is nothing new.

From the party’s establishment in 1968 by Jose Ma. Sison, the Maoist communists have always focused their propaganda and recruitment work in universities, to take advantage of students’ unique psychological make-up that makes them vulnerable to radicalization.

It was in fact Sison’s evil genius to focus his political work in colleges, and even high schools, in contrast to the old Soviet-influenced Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) that believed the Stalinist myth that it is the working class—the proletariat—that is the vanguard of the Revolution. Sison instead made it a part of Philippine Maoist dogma, pointing out in his Philippine Society and Revolution, the CPP bible: “The majority of party cadres and regular NPA fighters are as a matter of course from the youth. The mobilization of the youth ensures the continuous flow of successors in the revolutionary movement.”

Sison claimed that his theory was right when the student revolt erupted in 1970. The youth association he set up in 1964, the Kabataang Makabayan, even if not really big, was by then so organized and experienced in street protests that it led demonstrators to storm even Malacañang and battle with the police, which portrayed the image of a country in uprising.

Or perhaps Sison merely stumbled upon that focus on students, since his post in the old PKP was as head of its Youth and Students Bureau.

Core leaders
Since the 1960s to this day, the CPP’s core leadership has been students radicalized into Maoism.

Sison was a probationary English instructor at the University of the Philippines for a year, and when he couldn’t get a permanent post, moved to Lyceum University and taught there for three years; that is where he got his first recruits.

The core group of his new Maoist party that broke away from the PKP were mostly students of colleges a stone’s throw from the Lyceum, from the so-called University Belt in downtown Manila, disdained by the mostly rich students of the cleric-run schools like the Ateneo and La Salle as diploma mills where the lower and middle classes – and hicks from the provinces – get their college degrees.

SISON: ‘The youth ensures the continuous flow of successors.’ Most probably, of tragic deaths and wasted lives.

Sison’s deputy Carlos del Rosario (killed in 1971 by the PKP) taught at the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines); his first general secretary Jose Luneta was Sison’s college buddy at UP; organizational department head Monico Atienza and education chief (and the first head of the Manila-Rizal Regional Committee) Hermenegildo Garcia were from Far Eastern University; his Youth and Students Bureau head Julius Fortuna was also a student at the UP; and Trade Union Bureau chief Noli Collantes (whom the party killed in 1971 when he left) was from the UST.

Nearly all of the famous party leaders, dead or alive, were recruited during their college days.  (more…)

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‘Lagot silang lahat kay Mocha’

PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Harry Roque Jr.’s pithy comment on Mocha Uson’s resignation from her government post hit it right on the head: “Lagot silang lahat kay Mocha.”

The term “lagot” is one of those Filipino words so nuanced and precise that it is difficult to translate into English. I’d translate Roque’s comment very roughly to: “Mocha’s (and her idol President Duterte’s) enemies are in big trouble now.” Indeed, as a government official, she had to pull her punches. No longer does she need to now.

Her resignation put her prominently in the front pages of all major broadsheets — surprisingly even the Yellow-controlled ones — and even tabloids, in several even above the newspaper’s fold, which means her photo will be seen even by people who don’t buy the newspaper.

The narrative is so positive for her. She wasn’t fired by President Duterte which would have meant that she has become a liability. She made a “personal sacrifice” so that the Yellow and Red congressmen won’t be able to use her as an excuse for dragging their feet in passing the budget of her office, the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Her resignation letter shows that her fame has not at all gone to her head, as she thanked Duterte for giving her a “once in a lifetime opportunity” for appointing her as Assistant Secretary. She even assured the President that “my loyalty to your administration has not wavered.”

With the newspaper coverage of her resignation (and her column in the Philippine Star), Uson has broadened her base from the 5.6 million followers of her blog to include 1 million print media newspapers (including pass-on readership) readers. With her looks and communication skills honed over many years, it would be cinch for her to expand her reach to broadcast media.

Hogging the headlines, positively.

What more do you need to be a household name to win a Senate seat? I think she has now become more popular to win a Senate seat than those whom a recent poll claimed are leading such a race: Grace Poe, Pia Cayetano and Cynthia Villar.

What Mocha has going for her, which these three don’t have, is that she has portrayed herself an ordinary Filipino, which explains why she has amassed 5.6 million followers, many of whom are OFWs abroad or are from the lower classes. She speaks in Filipino, in the manner of ordinary Filipinos. Even her hairdo does not seem to be the kind well-to-do women get from expensive salons.

Just take a look at the list of the top 12 that poll claimed Filipinos will vote as senator next year, with among those occupying the 11 to 17 slots including Sergio Osmeña, Mar Roxas and Bong Revilla who have disappeared from the front pages.  (more…)

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