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Tatad spreads fake news on SC ruling re ICC and Duterte

The target: Daughter Sara

COLUMNIST Francisco Tatad the other day reported that the Supreme Court had ruled that the International Criminal Court (ICC) can investigate former president Rodrigo Duterte for alleged “crimes against humanity” in his anti-drug war.

The report is totally, scandalously and indubitably false. There is no such SC decision, obvious in that Tatad couldn’t even give his readers the number of the decision (called “General Resolution”) and the date when it was promulgated). Tatad based his entire column — to the point of shameless plagiarism — on a fake report written by one Marlon Ramos titled “Duterte can’t evade ICC, end treaty on his own.” It was published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 22, 2021, which falsely reported on the decision of the SC four months after it was handed down.

That article maliciously selected several arguments in the decision in the course of its discussion, but which the SC eventually rejected.

That the PDI fake news appeared four months after the SC decision was made (and reported the same day by several international and local media), and knowing the dynamics of media corruption, I highly suspect the article was commissioned by the opposition.

Contrary to what Tatad and Ramos reported — that the SC ruled that the ICC may investigate Duterte — the high court upheld Duterte’s order for the government to withdraw from the ICC. This is contained in General Resolution 23887/General Resolution 240954 issued on March 16, 2021, which quite obviously Tatad didn’t bother, or was too lazy to read.


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Vietnam could be the more serious threat in the Spratlys

Second of a series

VIETNAM could be the more serious threat to the Philippines’ Spratly (Kalayaan) territories and maritime areas because of geopolitical reasons.

Yet the late President Benigno Aquino 3rd, his foreign secretary Albert del Rosario — the two who pushed for the arbitration suit against China for allegedly intruding into our exclusive economic zone — Stratbase ADR the latter’s propaganda venue with its clueless head Dindo Manhit, the prolific China basher retired Justice Antonio Carpio and their like have never pointed out that Vietnam militantly claims what we, as well as China, claim.

Vietnam once succeeded in grabbing an island from us by tricking the Filipino troops guarding it.

Vietnamese Naval Commando Regiment 861 overseeing the Spratlys in military exercises to invade a Spratly island. Photo from nhjd.net.

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PH blah-blahs over Spratlys claims; Vietnam builds artificial islands and fortresses

First of a Series

WHAT a country. Congress is spending P10 billion for its new building at the Bonifacio Global City — close of course to the swankiest restaurants and shops there. The Aquino 3rd government spent P1 billion for an “arbitration” suit against China that turned out to be useless except as a propaganda campaign tool.

We will allocate P125 billion for a Maharlika Investment Fund that most investment bankers who aren’t with the government are shaking their heads over.

Yet we spent and will spend almost very little in order to defend the islands we occupy in the Spratlys, by fortifying them. We just blah-blah about it, fooling ourselves that calling the sea there the West Philippine Sea establishes our ownership of everything there.

Top, Vietnamese military outpost in SCS; below, a Philippine outpost (a grounded WW2 ship). SOURCE: VNEXPRESS.NET AND NAVY PHOTO

Vietnam, a nation ravaged by war for decades, shames us. Since 2016, it has spent considerable amounts — at least $200 million by one estimate — to turn the islands and reefs they occupy into formidable fortifications, to ensure their defense against an aggressor. Following close on China’s heels, it has reclaimed 300 hectares to enlarge the small islands they control. It plans to spend another $500 million for such purposes in the next few years, according to exclusive articles by this newspaper’s reporter. It certainly hasn’t been only China that has reclaimed land in the Spratlys to transform them into artificial islands complete with infrastructure.


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DFA and US envoy Romualdez should follow BBM’s foreign policy

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. clearly laid out his foreign policy in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) the other day, as he has done in several other speeches: “Our independent foreign policy — a friend to all and enemy of none — has proven effective. We formed strategic alliances with our traditional and newfound partners in the international community.”

“Traditional partner” is obviously the US, but “newfound” obviously refers to the People’s Republic of China, which the foreign affairs department and our ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez have all been treating as an enemy, with the latter repeatedly calling China a bully, an expansionist power.

The DFA recently was even led by the nose by a propaganda vehicle set up by the China-hater the late Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the ADR Stratbase, to participate in a desperate move to revive interest in the Aquino 3rd government’s arbitration “victory” by celebrating the seventh anniversary of its awarding.


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Is the state of the nation really sound?

IT seems like “sound” is President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s favorite description of the state of the nation. It is the second time he has used it to end his speech for that annual political ritual.

It’s unfortunate though that Marcos’ second SONA in this very sentence implied a big fallacy: “While the global prospects were bleak, our economy posted a 7.6 percent growth in 2022 — our highest growth rate in 46 years.” Marcos here is implying that we defied the global headwinds under his leadership enough to have a booming economy, the third highest in 49 years. It is beaten only by the 8.8 percent rates in 1973 and 1976, as the economy boomed during martial law’s first years, to a great extent since it suddenly imposed order on the nation, encouraging investments. Marcos’ father must have turned in his grave and said: “Nambobola pa ang anak ko a.”

The economy was not a booming one in 2022. The economy slowed down in 2020 so severely, at a rate of 9.5 percent, the worst such contraction in 50 years, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. How could the economy grow? The pandemic required a virtual stoppage of economic activity.


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Marcos Jr. doesn’t have an economic stimulus plan

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., one year into his presidency, has no program to stimulate the economy or fight inflation decisively. If Marcos does not go beyond slogans and Hallmark card-like admonitions to his people and fails to unveil such economic programs during his term, we’re doomed to another era of mediocre economic growth, so vulnerable to shocks from abroad. “Bagong Pilipinas” is certainly not a plan.

The lack of such programs is the elephant in the room that businessmen and opinion-makers have refused to acknowledge. Big businessman Jose Ma. Concepcion 3rd, an avid supporter of Marcos, was just being polite when he said the other day, in the context of the official proclamation that the Covid-19 emergency has ended, that it is “time to focus on the economy.”

What? Marcos had to wait for the official announcement that the pandemic had officially ended before moving on to “focus” on the economy? Hadn’t the pandemic practically ended a year ago, approximately in June when cases dropped to about 3,000, with the virus becoming weaker and lockdowns no longer undertaken?


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Manhit lies on international support for arbitration award

Second of 3 parts

ANOTHER of the lies of Victor Andres Manhit, president of the pro-US ADR-Stratbase outfit, is that seven years after the arbitration award on the Philippine suit vs China was handed down by a five-man ad hoc panel, there has been growing “unanimous” support for it.

That’s a patent lie. The reality is that there has been waning interest in the arbitration award, and this year’s flurry of activity by the ADR-Stratbase to celebrate the award’s seventh anniversary was a pathetic attempt to draw attention to it.

The world and even the US has realized that the award, as President Duterte said in 2021, is just a useless “piece of paper.” As I have argued in several columns, if one reads the award, it not only does not have any means of enforcement: It actually doesn’t even order China to do anything.

Yes, it declares that the nine-dash line in the Chinese maps has no basis in international law. But it doesn’t order China to vacate the islands and reefs in the Spratlys it occupies, which the Aquino 3rd government falsely claimed was its justification for holding on to these. Contrary to ignorant claims that the suit was a “legal victory” for the country, it settled nothing over the sovereignty and maritime-rights disputes in the Spratlys. In its very fifth paragraph, the award pointed out: “Unclos does not address the sovereignty of States over land territory. Accordingly, this Tribunal has not been asked to, and does not purport to, make any ruling as to which State enjoys sovereignty over any land territory in the South China Sea, in particular with respect to the disputes concerning sovereignty over the Spratly Islands or Scarborough Shoal.”

Even a US propaganda venue on the South China Sea disputes — the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute (AMTI) — could not but help reporting the declining interest in the arbitration award. The AMTI is an affiliate of the Washington-based Center for Strategic Studies set up right after the Aquino 3rd government filed the arbitration suit in 2013. Its Philippine-based counterpart in fact is the ADR-Stratbase outfit that was set up the same day.


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ADR-Stratbase head Manhit: Purveyor of lies on PH-China arbitration

THE lies being spread over the Philippines’ “arbitration” suit against China and its “award” are a testament to the US’ power to control global narratives.

Indeed, in its intensity and embrace by so many people, the dominant anti-China view on the arbitration suit is on par with the epic lie the US spread in 2003 to justify its totally illegal and horrific invasion of Iraq: that it had weapons of mass destruction that threatened the world.

That isn’t really surprising; the elites in a nation, and the US in the world as the hegemon, almost always dominate current views. In time, however, these will be exposed as fabrications. That lie about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction has been totally, absolutely and inarguably exposed as one of the most shameless deceptions in modern history, and its real intentions — to secure for the next century the West’s oil supplies and to reinvigorate America’s “defense” industry — are coming to light.


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We lose 19% of PH territory if we comply with arbitration ruling

IT’s bordering on hilarious that Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and his predecessor, the late Albert del Rosario’s propaganda outfit Stratbase ADR, have been shrieking for the “implementation” of the 2016 arbitration ruling on the Philippine suit against China, with three ignorant and noisy senators even demanding for our government to ask the United Nations to ask for Chinese compliance with it.

Why do I claim so?

Yes, the award declared illegal under Unclos China’s nine-dash line that encompasses much of the South China Sea. But that is not the basis for Chinese claims over the Spratlys. Other than declarations made hundreds of years ago, China declared what it calls “Nansha” as part of its territory in the post-war period through the Declaration of the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea of 1958 and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of 1992. All its official maps portray the Spratlys as part of its territory, as does Vietnam.

But we’re really the losers in what Manalo and the ADR-Stratbase — and of course, the US government — have claimed as a “landmark ruling” in international law. It is the same Unclos provisions that the arbitration ruling invoked to declare China’s nine-dash line illegal that the panel invoked to declare our Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) without basis in international law.


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The arbitration suit: US’ worst blunder in Asia that could lead to nuclear war

THE ruling of the three-man arbitration panel on our South China Sea disputes with China has been totally useless for us, as the past seven years have proven. But worse, the suit itself which the US manipulated the Benigno Aquino 3rd regime into filing in 2012 — and even undertaken by American lawyers — has been one of the US’ biggest geopolitical blunders.

It may just pave the way for a nuclear war between the two superpowers in our part of the world.

That war would break out is of course speculative. But what’s an established fact is that the filing of the arbitration suit triggered China, Vietnam and the US’ frenzied militarization of the area, with the former especially building artificial islands with facilities that would turn these into forward bases in a war with the US over Taiwan. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2014 said China would be willing to halt its island building in the Spratlys if the Philippines dropped the suit that it initiated the previous year. The Aquino government — or the US — said no.

What arbitration has wrought: Chinese vs US toe to toe. Image by author using Google Earth Pro

Looking with horror that the arbitration suit gave China the justification to transform its seven formerly puny reefs into “unsinkable aircraft carriers,” the US moved heaven and earth — how it did this is a big mystery — to restore the Philippines as its forward-military base, through the so-called Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that allows the US military to use nine facilities as their platform for war all over the country.

The arbitration suit against China engineered by the Obama administration to further its anti-China campaign, euphemistically called its “Pivot to Asia,” started in 2009, resulted in the colossal debacle that gave the Chinese de facto permanent military control, through their artificial islands, of the northern part of the South China Sea, in the part of the Spratlys archipelago nearest us. It had secured the southern part when it took over the Paracel islands in 1974.


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