Ex-PDEA agent stands firm on allegations about Marcos drug-use probe

FORMER Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Jonathan Morales stood by his claim at Tuesday’s Senate committee hearing that he recommended the surveillance of then-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in 2012 for cocaine use, but his higher-ups ordered him to abort the operation.

Morales’ orders were in the form of a “pre-operation report” and “authority to operate,” dated March 11, 2012, against “Bongbong Marcos @ Bonget and some unidentified male and female cohorts.”

Sen. Ronald de la Rosa, chairman of the Committee on Public Order, said he would “bet his life” that the PDEA documents showing that Morales had recommended the Marcos investigation for cocaine use were “authentic,” based on his analysis of the facts, the testimonies made and the images of the documents.

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Duterte rectified Aquino 3rd’s colossal blunder

THE Chinese Embassy the other day confirmed that the People’s Republic of China and former president Rodrigo Duterte agreed on a “temporary special arrangement” to allow small-scale fishing around the disputed Spratly Islands, but restricted access for military, coast guard and other official planes and ships to the 12-nautical-mile limit of its occupied island’s territorial waters.

This agreement rectifies, at least to some extent, the past Benigno Aquino III regime’s loss of Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island to the Chinese) in 2012.

The agreement is also a template for peace in the disputed islands and reefs in the Spratlys archipelago. It shows how stupid and leading-nowhere is the incumbent administration’s belligerent “what-is-ours-is-ours” policy toward China. Vietnam informally has had a similar agreement for years.

The de facto agreement puts aside the issue of what country legitimately controls a particular feature in the Spratlys but allows fishermen from a claimant country to fish within the other claimant nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

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Senate, mainstream media under Marcos Jr.’s thumb?

THE late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. would have been so proud of his son. Without imposing martial law, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. appears to have the Senate as well as mainstream media under his thumb. The two are the pillars of our democracy: We are entering dangerous times.

In the April 30 hearing by the 11-man Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs that lasted about three hours, only its chairman, Sen. Ronald de la Rosa, was in attendance, left alone to interrogate the resource persons. The two senators who owed their posts to former president Rodrigo Duterte’s support — Christopher (“Bong”) Go and Francis Tolentino — were absent at the hearing that would have belied or confirmed the former president’s claim, made this year and in 2021, that Marcos was a cocaine user.

He started it in 2021, repeats claim in 2024.

Whatever their reasons for boycotting the hearing, the senators’ absence indicates their servility and/or alliance with Marcos. I haven’t encountered in my years as a journalist a Senate committee hearing attended by only one senator, its chairman. De la Rosa had to call for a 10-minute break just to relieve himself.

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Filipino gas first

THE unprecedented heat wave now sweeping the Philippines has sounded the alarm about the sufficiency or insufficiency of the country’s power supply and the need to find solutions fast.

One solution, however, has been presented and needs only quick action by Congress to be deployed, as soon as possible, to the frontline of our current battle for energy stability: the continued production of indigenous natural gas from Malampaya and the unleashing of more natural gas potential from new wells.

Such continued production will be hugely assisted by a Senate bill that would make indigenous or local natural gas supply the priority in use for power generation. Natural gas is already there. Malampaya has already shown it can deliver in the most urgent of times.

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Sierra Madre resupply operations: A clever US propaganda scheme

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THE Philippine Navy’s attempts at resupplying the BRP Sierra Madre with life necessities for its marines stationed there and allegedly with repair materials for the decrepit vessel, and being thwarted by the Chinese through their ship’s maneuvering and use of water cannons is nothing but one of the US most ingenious propaganda schemes to demonize China.

Such demonization projects have been stepped up because of US fears that China is planning to take over by force its rogue province Taiwan sooner rather than later, and it would need both global and local support to defend the island. The interpretation of the 2016 arbitration suit as proving China’s disregard for the rule of law in the South China Sea at worst has been debunked and, at best, ignored. Only Ayungin Shoal remains a handle for the US propaganda scheme against China.

The Philippine Navy in May 1999 deliberately grounded at Ayungin Shoal the BRP Sierra Madre, a Landing Ship Tank (LST), without President Estrada’s permission but under orders of his defense secretary, Orlando Mercado.

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PH share in US’ $95-B war financing package: Zero right now

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THE United States’ unprecedented $95-billion supplemental financing package consisting of three bills passed by the US Congress and signed into law last February 24 by President Joe Biden is essentially to fund two existing wars by its proxies, and a third one expected against the superpower in the region, China.

This consists of $61 billion to aid Ukraine fight Russia and $26 billion for Israel to continue its genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.

Some $4 billion was allocated to Taiwan to deter an alleged Chinese plan to take over its rogue state and $3 billion to build its war machine in the Pacific and South China Sea — $2 billion for two nuclear submarines and $1 billion for submarine bases.

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An Imelda 2.0, even more powerful

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FIRST lady Liza Araneta-Marcos’ reputedly expensive public relations project — an hour-long interview with broadcaster Anthony Taberna — intended to portray her as a wife passionately protective of her husband’s dignity and as a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, apolitical President’s wife, has seriously backfired.

What emerged from her statements itself is an Imelda 2.0, the son’s version of his father’s globally famous wife who was the most powerful figure in Marcos Sr.’s 21-year rule. Perhaps the present first lady is even more powerful than her mother-in-law, as she herself disclosed in so many words — that she was responsible for surrounding her husband with his inner circle of “trusted, good men” and kicking out of Malacañang Victor Rodriguez, the most powerful official in the bureaucracy and her husband’s most trusted confidante. Is it in the Marcos DNA?

Beaming at broadcaster Anthony Taberna while being interviewed. Screengrab

She got her husband to appoint more than a dozen of her people in key posts that included heads of lucrative government corporations such as the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, a major revenue agency, a government bank, three Bureau of Customs’ district collectors, and even general-level posts in the Philippine military.

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‘Learn to live in peace with China’

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This is the second part of an article by Prof. Emeritus Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo, a former UP president and considered among the most respected intellectuals of his generation and the next.

Nemenzo, in his article, shows that he had not been brainwashed by US propagandists, something most of the academics in the UP appear to be.

Nemenzo article:

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario’s ineptitude in managing an international conflict was amply demonstrated in the case of Scarborough.

The Scarborough Shoal is tiny and bare. It disappears at high tide, with only a couple of rocks protruding. It lies outside the Spratlys but inside the nine-dash line. Considering its physical contours, geologists are sure there is no petroleum or gas underneath. In bygone days, Scarborough had a marginal strategic value as a landmark for ships entering Manila Bay. We used to maintain a lighthouse there but abandoned it when it was falling apart and radar-equipped ships no longer needed a lighthouse. Left unoccupied, Scarborough was up for grabs.

It attracted Chinese attention in April 2012, when the Philippine Navy accosted eight Chinese fishing vessels that were collecting rare corals, giant clams and live sharks. This could have been handled through quiet diplomacy, following the protocol we followed in the past. This time, however, del Rosario sent a loud and insolent protest, asserting our sovereignty. The Chinese responded in like vein, asserting their claim based on the nine-dash line.

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UP professor Nemenzo on the South China Sea disputes

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I AM devoting this column and the next to an article on the South China Sea (SCS) disputes by Dr. Francisco “Dodong” Nemenzo, professor emeritus in political science at the University of the Philippines (UP).

Nemenzo in my view is the preeminent political scientist of his generation and the next. It is sad though, and a testament to the poor quality of UP as an academic institution, that very few if any of his students and proteges have inherited his intellectual brilliance.

He was the 18th president of the UP (from 1999-2000), third chancellor of the UP Visayas, faculty regent and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Diliman. At 85 years old, Nemenzo obviously has an analytical mind that cuts through US propaganda.

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‘Weapons of mass destruction’ then, ‘Chinese aggression’ now

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REMEMBER the colossal US lie that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” consisting of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, which made it necessary to invade that nation in 2003, which resulted in a million direct and indirect killings of human beings.

That the US propaganda machine was so powerful the lie was widely believed even by the most renowned US newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, which, however, would issue an apology in 2004 that they failed to fact-check the US government’s fabrications?

The WMD equivalent is now “Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.” It’s intention? In the long run, to demonize China to prevent it from replacing the US as the preeminent superpower in the region. In the medium term, to make the Philippines its military base for America’s commitment to defend Taiwan from being taken over by China.

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