Fake news on detentions, tortures and killings under Marcos

First of 4 parts

“AMNESTY International has estimated that about 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,257 were killed during the Marcos dictatorship.”

That statement, repeated hundreds of times verbatim in Yellow accounts of the martial law era is a classic instance of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels’ technique of deception: “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes accepted as truth.”

It is also a case study on how purportedly incontrovertible facts on martial law are complete lies, deliberately and methodically spread to demonize the strongman, Ferdinand Marcos.

The Amnesty International (AI) never made that statement attributed to it.

This was deliberately concocted by a virulently anti-Marcos US academic only in 2001 and spread by the Yellows, and especially the communists, since portraying Marcos as a bloody tyrant that had to be deposed had been their main propaganda thrust to justify their existence.

That sentence purportedly issued by the AI has been repeated so many times that many believe it’s true. It is indeed a testament to the fact that even our academics have been so biased against Marcos that they repeat that lie, throwing to the dustbin their training as meticulous fact-checkers. Every single mainstream newspaper (including several columnists in this paper) in the country has had articles repeating exactly that lie.

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Fire Jimenez, let Comelec en banc decide atrocious agreement with US-funded Rappler

COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez hasn’t denied my report Wednesday that it was he who pushed the body’s scandalous agreement with Rappler, a website financed by the US government and other Amercian entities. Jimenez would be a terribly incompetent spokesman if he hasn’t heard of the principle — in law and in newsrooms — that silence means acquiescence to allegations.

Rappler since 2016 has been inarguably an unfair partisan news site — even more than the Philippine Daily Inquirer — that has been the propaganda venue of the Yellows (now Pinks) against President Duterte. It’s a no-brainer that Rappler can’t be allowed to participate in any work of the Comelec, unless the latter deliberately wants to put its integrity under a cloud of doubt, which I think is the Jimenez-Rappler plan for the May elections.

Jimenez, whom insiders claim acts as if he is a commissioner despite his Director IV rank, as he feels he knows the Comelec more than any higher official since he has been its spokesman since 2004, took advantage of the fact that its acting chairman Socorro Inting was just easing into that post when its chairman Sheriff Abas retired last February 2.

‘Comelec 35’ fetched by Col. Kapunan. PHOTO FROM HTTPS://POINTWEST.COM.PH/ARTICLE/EDSA30-HEROES-UNLOOKED-THE-COMELEC-35/

Duterte has not appointed Abas’ replacement and of the other two commissioners who also stepped down on the same day. The four sitting commissioners therefore were swamped with work especially since the national elections, the biggest task of the Comelec, was just two months away.

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Comelec spokesman responsible for scandalous, illegal deal with Rappler

IT was James Jimenez, Commission on Election spokesman since 2004 — who has only director rank in the agency — who anomalously pushed Acting Chairman Socoro Inting to approve the poll body’s atrocious and illegal agreement with Rappler that was signed last February 4.

Among others, the agreement gives the US-funded website anomalous authority during the elections such as access to data on all the voters and where they could vote, and for the agents it appoints (as MovePH “volunteers”). Sources said the agreement wasn’t even discussed nor approved by the Commission on Elections en banc.

Backed her bid: Comelec spokesman Jimenez and Ressa

The Comelec’s department, sources claimed, recommended disapproval of the agreement on grounds which were precisely those raised later by the Office of the Solicitor General.

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Through Rappler, Comelec gives Pinks — and US govt — monitoring authority in May 2022 elections

THE first time I heard about it last month, I couldn’t believe it, and thought it was merely a trial balloon by the Rappler website. But it wasn’t, and I still can’t believe the Commission on Elections could do such an atrocious thing.

Either the commissioners were plainly stupid and derelict that they didn’t do due diligence on the matter or the poll body had been infiltrated by Rappler or its Yellow (Pink) operators.

Last week, on February 24, the Comelec officially gave authority to Rappler to undertake such functions during elections as “monitoring and rectification efforts on critical efforts on the ground” and to acquire from the Comelec such sensitive data during and after elections such as candidates’ expenses and untransmitted votes. The Rappler website would even carry the precinct finder for voters. Neither Rappler nor the Comelec has made the memorandum public although Maria Ressa, in her usual melodramatic manner, boasted about it in her website, bragging at the signing ceremony: “Whatever happens here will help determine the fate of other democracies around the world.”

‘A miracle will happen, madame?’

Any election lawyer would immediately see that Comelec is giving the Rappler a huge amount of confidential data and authority to intervene on the ground, and a means of portraying the elections — if it wishes to — as a failure.

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Six facts about EDSA you didn’t know

MOST likely it is another case of the adage that history is written by the victors. But there are facts — now indisputable — that we didn’t know, or were hidden from public knowledge, during the February 1986 People Power Revolt and even three decades later.

Perhaps because of the disillusionment with the presidency of the son of the so-called heroine of EDSA 1, the facts have been ferreted out, or have simply become clearer. The following six facts are from documents and eyewitness accounts, and not from some “anonymous” sources, which space constraints of a newspaper column do not allow me to list.

Fact 1: Cory Aquino had little to do with EDSA 1.

Ironically, it was Marcos’ legal and military pillar, his longtime Defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile who — in a last stand to defend himself and his “RAM boys” from certain doom — was mainly responsible for EDSA 1.

The events that led to it were triggered by the botched coup attempt by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) cabal of colonels under Enrile’s aegis. It was to have been a classic coup by colonels as happened in many Latin American countries and other Third World nations. The leaders were Gregorio Honasan, Tirso Gador, Rex Robles, Tito Legaspi, Red Kapunan and Felix Turingan.

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Sampaguita oil field: The reason why the Indonesian Salim is dead set on Malampaya

Last of 3 parts

INDONESIAN magnate Anthoni Salim’s determination to move heaven and earth to acquire the Malampaya Gas Field project, is inexplicable on the surface, since its gas deposits are expected to start running out in 2024 or 2030. “Fighting for scraps,” an ignorant, but know-all writer insisted.

Read on though, and you will be surprised at the real reason.

Salim’s firm PXP Energy lost the auction by Chevron of its 45 percent shares in Malampaya to Chinese Filipino Dennis Uy in October 2019, and Pilipinas Shell’s in May 2021. The Salim conglomerate bid too low at $350 million, expecting no other interested party would be able to raise the at least $560 million needed to acquire the Chevron shares.

Salim, through his top executive Manuel Pangilinan, scrambled to get PNOC Exploration, which holds 10 percent of the Malampaya shares, to sell its right to match Uy’s bid. PNOC Exploration rebuffed the offer, with its officials telling President Duterte that it would open them to corruption charges as it would be tantamount to a government agency favoring a private enterprise. (See last Monday’s column.)

From author’s book Debacle.
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Indonesian magnate’s first attempt at sabotaging Malampaya sale to Chinese-Filipino tycoon Uy

Second of 3 parts

THE despicable attempt by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Risa Hontiveros as well as Senate President Vicente Sotto to stop the $560 million sale by Chevron of its 45 percent shares in the Malampaya Gasfield Project to the Chinese-Filipino Dennis Uy, was intended to benefit Indonesian magnate Anthoni Salim’s First Pacific conglomerate.

That foreign-controlled conglomerate would have instead acquired that stake. I wrote about this in great detail in my column last Wednesday.

What bolsters that thesis — that it was Salim behind the senators’ conspiracy — is the fact that it was not the first time that the Indonesian’s corporate vehicle made such attempt to sabotage Uy’s acquisition of Malampaya shares.

The first was made in November 2019, about two weeks after Salim’s PXP Energy Corp. lost the October auction by Chevron of its shares to Uy’s Udenna Corp. subsidiary.

In a brazen attempt to stop the sale, PXP Energy secretly asked — in four letters in November 2019 — the government-owned PNOC Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC), which owns 10 percent of the consortium, to assign its rights to match Uy’s bid to the Salim firm. A copy of the first letter accompanies this column.

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Junk the old, US-imposed Cold War thinking to resolve our disputes with China

Last of 3 parts

THIS is the last of the three-part series, excerpted from my recently released book Debacle: The Aquino Regime’s Scarborough Fiasco and the South China Sea Arbitration Deception, in which I proposed a three-pronged, realistic strategy for the country to address this crucial issue.

The first requires as to tighten our hold on the islands and reefs we have occupied since President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. acquired these in the 1970s by developing them not just as military outposts, but even to the extent of transforming Pag-asa, our biggest island, into a resort of sorts for the adventurous super-elite (as Malaysia did in the case of its Layang-Layang Scuba Resort in the 1980s).

The overarching fallacy that underpins the US and the Yellows bloc’s deception on the arbitration case is its view of China as the new Evil Empire (after the collapsed Soviet Union) intent on grabbing the entire SCS and transforming its littoral states into vassals. This is obviously derived from the view during the Cold War that the ruling Chinese Communist Party intends to export Marxist-Leninist revolution to all countries, first in Asia and then the world.

This view has been totally debunked by nearly all mainstream scholars. The Chinese Communist Party no longer sees its legitimacy as being based on its adherence to Marxism-Leninism but on two things.

First is its success in developing China’s economy and lifting its huge population out of poverty. Second is its capability in upholding China’s dignity in the international community of nations and developing its citizens’ sense of nationalism. This is especially important for China because of its “century of humiliation” that is deeply etched in its national consciousness, when the once powerful empire was invaded by Western powers and Japan, swaths of its territory grabbed, and hundreds of thousands of its citizens killed.

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Gatchalian’s torpedoing of Malampaya sale to a Filipino will benefit an Indonesian oligarch

First of 3 parts

ECONOMISTS have been claiming that one major reason for the failure of democracy in the Philippines, and its ineffectiveness to develop the economy, is that Congress, purportedly the check and balance institution to the powerful powerful presidency, has instead often become oligarchs’ tool for advancing their interests to the detriment of the economy.

The official justification for Congress’ investigations of whatever its members want is “investigation in aid of legislation.” Because of its notoriety in raising oligarchic funds for congressmen making such investigations, which also lands them in newspapers’ front pages, the phrase has morphed to the more popular “investigation in aid of election.”

There is now a classic case of such oligarchic intervention right before our eyes, a most brazen one as it is most despicable. This involves the ongoing attempt by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Risa Hontiveros as well as the Senate president himself, Vicente Sotto 3rd, to torpedo the $560-million sale in October 2019 of the US multinational Chevron Corp.’s 45 percent stake in the Malampaya Gas Field Project off Palawan. (Royal Dutch Shell also sold its 45 percent stake for $460 million to Uy in May 2021.)

The field has provided the country with natural gas equivalent to a fifth of our energy consumption since 2002. It has been, however, 90 percent-controlled, through corporate layers, by oil giants the American Chevron Corp. and the Royal Dutch Shell, with only 10 percent of its profits going to the government-controlled Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC).

The characters: Senators Gatchalian and Hontiveros who want government to stop the sale of Malampaya consortium shares to Chinese Filipino tycoon Uy (lower left), which would allow Indonesian oligarch Salim (lower right) to purchase it instead.
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Joint development the only way to extract resources from the SCS

Second of 3 parts

HOW to deal with our territorial and maritime-claim disputes, especially with China, in the South China Sea, is one of the most important issues the next president will have to deal with. Unlike other issues about which the candidates can just mouth motherhood statements, a candidate’s stand on this issue cannot be vague.

Following is the second of a three-part series, excerpted from my recently released book Debacle: The Aquino Regime’s Scarborough Fiasco and the South China Sea Arbitration Deception, in which I proposed a three-pronged, realistic strategy for the country to address this crucial issue. I explained last Friday that this strategy involves the following:

1. Tightening our hold on the islands and reefs we have occupied since President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. acquired these in the 1970s by developing them not just as military outposts, but even to the extent of transforming Pag-asa, our biggest island, into a resort for the adventurous superelite (as Malaysia has in the case of its Layang-Layang Scuba Resort in the 1980s);

2. Pursuing joint development with the claimants, which China had many decades back proposed; and

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