Centrist Democracy Political Institute - Items filtered by date: August 2017
Thursday, 24 August 2017 08:51

Kill! Kill! Kill!

“New killing spree sparks outrage”
–Philippine Daily Inquirer (August 19, 2017)
 
“Duterte: I personally killed drug suspects”
–Philippine Daily Inquirer, (December 14, 2016)
 
‘Duterte’s drug list bared, containing 1,000 names of judges, Mayors, etc.’
–CNN Philippines (August17, 2016)
 
‘Rody threatens to kill judges, shoot human rights officials’
–Philippine Star (August 18, 2017)
 
AND I take his word for it! He will do what he threatens to do, and so do perhaps the 80 percent of the citizenry (believe so). Several months back, he warned that some mayors in his list of illegal protectors would be eliminated. Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. of Albuera, Leyte was “…shot inside his cell at the Baybay City jail while being served a search warrant” (emphasis mine). Police Supt. Marvin Marcos who led the arresting team is slated for promotion to a higher rank.
 
Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., wife Susan and board member Octavio Parojinog, Jr. were killed in a gunfight in the residential compound of the mayor. Daughter Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog was apprehended. The Deegong had them on his list as “narco-politicians operating in Mindanao”.
 
These are just the high-profile names in the list and frankly not a few people in Albuera, Leyte and Ozamiz City have shed a tear for these alleged “narco-politicians”. The operative word is “alleged” as it has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt that they indeed were what the authorities said they were.
 
On the other hand, it is “widely known” in their respective communities that they are indeed the narco-politicians PRRD has accused them of. And these communities have benefited from the fruits of narcotics through the decades long system of “patronage politics”, and for so long, these patrons have gone scot-free, until now. “The angel of death has descended violently among them,” to paraphrase Casper Erichsen, an obscure author who wrote this in 1904.
 
But the method employed in their disposal, using the police as instruments is highly questionable and at worst, criminal. Not unless this is investigated by proper authorities will the truth come out. But the chances of the truth coming out is practically nil, when the proper authorities vested by law to investigate are the very people who are “perceived” to be the perpetrators. The truth therefore is that which is divined by these very same people. This catch-22 paradox has been the operating factor in most of these cases and other questionable instances that have produced a reportedly 3,000 to 5,000 dead bodies in the past 14 months. Depending on whose side one believes, the monthly kill-rate is a ghastly 200 at the low end or 350 at the upper end. And none of the culprits have been punished in the courts of law. We have had several congressional hearings but these simply turn out to be the setting for grandstanding senators and congressmen out not to seek for the truth but the accumulate political points for future elections. The proper venue should have been the courts of law where the rules of evidence are strictly followed. But first, culprits need to be apprehended, investigated and properly charged in the courts. This is the civilized way in our republican democratic state. And this is the crux of this article.
 
The state by right has the “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force” (Max Weber, political scientist). This has been the core concept of a democratic state’s right to use, threaten, or authorize physical force on its citizens; along with it is the concept of a “police force” and the concomitant system of justice within the defined territory of that state. A state cannot exist without this exclusive “monopoly of violence”.
 
The police, the military and the armed forces are the main instruments of a state that Weber defines as “that human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence within a given territory”.
Furthermore, Weber posits that this must go through a “process of legitimation”. This means that this power and authority is vested in a person, the President, by virtue of the people, the ultimate source and owner of this power, bestowing upon him the authority to exercise this power.
On the other hand, the concept of defense of self and property, central to the idea of natural law (right to life) precedes and preexists that of the concept of the State. Natural law therefore trumps the “monopoly of the state on the use of violence”. In essence, there is no inherent right to wield power. True, but in contemporary political thought, the concept although universal, is constrained within the boundary of our Constitution.
 
President DU30 by these precepts executes through the police and armed forces the “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force”. He holds therefore the ultimate responsibility for wielding this tremendous power intended for the good of society.
 
His statements of late on the elimination of illegal drugs; the decapitation of drug lords; the threats to the lives of the members of institutions that disagree with his pronounced public policies; the condonation of the questionable and seemingly criminal actions of the police forces; the summary execution of a teen-ager; the encouragement to kill the miscreants disregarding “due process”—this smacks of impunity and its legitimacy needs to be examined in the light of Weber’s thesis.
 
I will suspend judgment on these presidential acts for now, but Mr. President, there have been suggestions in social media from your supporters, and I count myself among them, to consider applying similar bold methods to those despicable elected and appointed government bureaucrats who have betrayed the public’s trust; and not only to the nameless, faceless poor and “dregs of society”.
 
Foremost are the facilitators of the illegal drugs that passed easily through customs inspection. Why not make a “sample” of these people and their protectors in high places who have placed their “recommendees” in positions in the Bureau of Customs – one you described as the “most corrupt” in government?
 
How about the corrupt BIR examiners who suck the life-blood of the tax paying middle-class and ordinary workers while being complicit with the tax evaders among the country’s oligarchy?
 
And how about those pedophiles preying upon the innocent children in their care but getting away with crimes protected by their priestly habit and sheltered by the hierarchy of the Holy Mother Church?
 
And while we’re at it, how about those in the rarified air of the Senate and Congress. I’m sure there are one two up there that have put their dirty sticky fingers in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam and their bogus foundations. Surely their transgressions are far heavier than that which Kian Loyd delos Santos died for.
 
Social media is wondering, can’t you initiate a “Tok-Hang” among these people and make an example of them too?
Published in LML Polettiques
Thursday, 17 August 2017 09:55

Team Tisha vs Team Andy

IN the past three weeks, mainstream and social media have been on a feeding frenzy on an unfolding drama cum scandal – always fodder for writers, opinion makers (including this writer) and anyone with the propensity to put their two cents worth on FB or twitter. The Bautista couple spectacle pushed from the front pages the current development on martial law in Marawi, the Bureau of Customs P6.4-billion shabu smuggling and PRRD’s pronouncements on charter change and federalism. As gathered from social media memes, support is seemingly divided evenly between Tisha, the aggrieved wife, and Andy the beleaguered public servant.

This could have been just an ordinary spat for an alienated couple except that the wife’s accusation has opened up a can of worms with implications on DU30’s drive against corruption in government. Furthermore, as Comelec chairman, the 2016 elections could have been impacted in ways not yet fathomed until the whole truth is ferreted out through the regular courts of justice – not through the media circus, where claims and counterclaims from both sides could go puff! Nada!

I will spare the readers the recounting of the details as the twists and turns of the narrative are out there; and depending on whose side you sympathize with, one of the parties may truly be corrupt and evil incarnate and deserve to be impeached and thrown in jail. There is none more despicable than a gifted public servant, with a good pedigree, a Harvard education, who has betrayed the public’s trust. If it is proven that Andy is such a one – if, and a big IF!
On the opposite side, is an articulate wife an “energy healer with a third eye” out to extricate herself from a now loveless marriage; and who has been painted as a scheming, manipulative and an extortionate woman trying to end a marriage and be with a “soul mate,” one not her husband.

They were married 17 years producing four boys raised and educated well. This marriage was one “to die for,” as both are scions of Manila’s crème de la crème. Not a few “solteros y solteras” must have shed a tear, leaving them salivating when this pair walked down the aisle. What happened to this marriage then is not of consequence here as countless similar marriages “made in heaven” have gone the way to hell.

As of the moment, I suspend judgement on both protagonists and wait until the case is litigated, if ever, in the courts of law, where evidence from both sides are presented and scrutinized; and not aired on some TV talk show presided over by some lady host out to extract the last ounce of gossip, prolonging in the process the agony of the families, especially the innocent ones.

To put in proper perspective the unfolding tragedy, perhaps a short timeline will help.

Sometime in 2012-2013, rumors came out that the wife was seeing someone who is her “soul mate” (according to Andy). Perhaps, the husband is to be faulted too for neglect. Since 2013, the wife wanted a separation but this did not materialize.

November 2016 when Andy was away on a trip, Tisha transferred $117,000 and P250,000 from their joint account to her personal account and took documents (including bank passbooks) and tried to prevent Andy from entering the conjugal home, upon the advice of her lawyer (Kapunan). Andy maintained that these documents were “stolen” from him.

Lawyers for both sides began to negotiate a ”commercial arrangement”. Oddly enough, Andy gave Tisha power of attorney to access and verify his bank accounts in December 2016, to assure her of their real wealth.
February 7, 2017, Tisha claimed her side asked for P260 million; Andy provided a letter from Kapunan (Tisha’s lawyer) demanding P620 million from him, to be paid by Andy in three installments until divorce in Hong Kong is granted. Negotiations failed and Kapunan was taken out of the case. A new lawyer was hired, Martin Loon, who reiterated in a text that Andy pay P620 million.

April 2, 2017, a term sheet mediated by a third party was arrived at, amounting to P90 million for Tisha, plusP60 million for the kids (total P150 million). This was also not signed by the parties.

Then late July or early August 2017, upon failure of negotiations, wife Tisha went public accusing Andy of “possibly amassing ill-gotten wealth”. She spewed out the first volley on TV behind a table of bank passbooks – 32 in all purportedly containing P320 million. “I am scared because I don’t know what it is…I’m holding this stuff and I don’t know how far-reaching it is. I found properties I’ve never heard of, apparently belonging to Andy, I found cash…In all honesty, I don’t know what they were. These should not be in the house. I would think that the safest place to bring this is to the President. And this is as high as it goes”. And this, after some eight months that these documents were in her possession. And she got an audience with DU30.

Andy’s retort was these documents, stolen from the conjugal home in November 2016 were used to pressure him on their negotiations and were not surrendered to authorities, as they should have, if indeed these documents are material to a crime (as per Andy). He claimed these were altered and some faked.

Last week, a case for grave coercion, qualified theft and robbery and extortion was filed by Andy against the wife. With this development, figures and evidence can now be verified upon investigation by the proper authorities and in the appropriate venue – the courts of law. Enough na, already!

Both claimed that they tried to shield their kids from all these but both camps proceeded to do just the opposite. Andy emotionally broke down on TV confessing that the kids no longer go to school as they are being bullied. Tisha, when asked about the effects on her kids, responded that the “universe will take care of the children”.

Published in LML Polettiques
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 11:00

Have we truly become a full-blown narco state?

Have we truly become a full-blown narco state?

OR is this not a rhetorical question?

There are not too many narco states in the world, and there isn’t one to be envied by others. A short list begins with Afghanistan, which produces 90 percent of the world’s opium. Followed by Burma (Myanmar), whose opium king used to control three-fourths of the world’s supply of heroin. Then Mexico; 7,000 have been killed since 2008, and the leader of the Sineloa cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has become, according to Forbes magazine, the 701st richest man in the world with $1 billion. Then Colombia, the world’s top producer of cocaine; then Peru, which follows Colombia in cocaine; then Bolivia, which follows Peru. Then the Bahamas, which acts as the cocaine transshipment point from Colombia to the US. Here, the narco king runs his business from jail.

We are not listed anywhere, despite the fact that President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-long war on drugs has already killed 8,000 or more, and 605 kilograms of shabu worth P6.4 billion is now smuggled through customs in broad daylight, using the “green lane.” Nor do we have a narco king remotely resembling the Burmese KhunSa, Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, Mexico’s “El Chapo” Guzman or the Bahamas’ Carlos Lehder.

The hideous 605-kg, P6.4 billion “shabu” smuggling from China suggests that the bigger part of the cargo (2,160 kg), released without customs inspection, may have contained the same stuff (worth P22.5 billion), and that the Bureau of Customs’ “green lane” may have been used for smuggling dangerous drugs for sometime now. This seems to be the best index of what we have become. We cannot pretend to believe otherwise, unless we want to be delusional.

All claims to the contrary notwithstanding, corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are in cahoots with the illegal drug dealers, a good number of the nation’s 105 million people are addicted, and China, whose avowed benevolence DU30 has embraced, seems eager to provide inexhaustible supply. So, while DU30 vows to kill every unshod drug pusher or user, the bigtime illegal drugs business goes on at the very heart of the nation, unmindful of the corpses piling up in the ghettos and the slums.

 

The war on drugs

DU30 began his six-year term in 2016 by warning against the possibility of the Philippines becoming a narco state, if he did not launch his war on drugs. So, he launched his brutal war. Honest citizens supported this war, though not the killings and DU30’s relentless threat to “kill, kill, kill.” On July 7, 2016, one week after he assumed office, he named the country’s supposedly three biggest drug lords, said to be members of the Chinese triad, and allegedly protected by a powerful police general.

He identified them as Wun Tan, also known as “Tatay Co,” Peter Lim aka “Tiger Balm,” and Herbert Colangco, a convict said to be operating from inside the New Bilibid Prison—all allegedly protected by retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., who vehemently denied the accusation.

DU30 then began publicly listing names of individuals allegedly involved in drugs. He unleashed the Philippine National Police under Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and masked “vigilantes” on all suspected pushers and users. And he denounced as “sons of bitches” then-US President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, unnamed leaders of the European Union, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Agnes Callamard, and others for criticizing the “extra-judicial killings” which had become the defining program of his presidency.

DU30 and Bato appeared to relish the bloodletting, for which the policemen and “vigilantes” were reportedly given “kill quotas” and reward money for every suspect killed. Within one year, the war was reported to have killed some 8,000 suspects, without documentation or due process, raising an international human rights storm, which includes an accusation of “crimes against humanity” and “mass murder” against DU30 before the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and sharp denunciations from the US State Department and the European Union, among others.

No big haul of illegal drugs, no busting of any sizeable drug laboratories, no arrest of any bigtime drug lords were ever reported. Most of the victims belonged to the class of “social rejects” whose births, in Eliot’s words, “are unwelcome,” whose death is “unmentioned in the Times.” So far only three notable suspects had been killed in the most bizarre circumstances.

 

Some mentionables

On November 5, 2016, Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, who had earlier turned himself in after having been tagged as a drug suspect, was killed at four o’clock in the morning inside his detention cell at the Baybay, Leyte subprovincial jail by a police strike team that had motored for hours from Tacloban, allegedly to serve him a search warrant. The National Bureau of Investigation saw this as a plain “rubout,” but the raiding party said it was a “shootout”, and DU30 agreed with the police, and Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the leader of the raiding party, will now be promoted to the next higher rank.

On January 19, 2017, it became publicly known that sometime in October some rogue policemen abducted Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, an alleged drug suspect, for a P5 million ransom, drove him to the PNP compound at Camp Crame, where he was strangled to death inside his car.

This raised a strong statement from the South Korean government, but the sensation quickly died down.

On July 30, 2017, a Sunday, Ozamiz City mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife and 13 others, mostly relatives and friends, were massacred inside their three residences at 2.30 a.m. on the suspicion of their alleged drug dealing. The raiding party claimed they were met with gunfire from inside the residences under siege, a claim denied by the lawyer of the slain mayor. Reports from the city have since claimed that the raiding party included hired gunmen from Isabel, Leyte, hiding behind masks.

The drug war was temporarily overshadowed by DU30’s war on the Islamic State (IS)-aligned Maute terror group, which attacked the Islamic city of Marawi on May 23, prompting DU30 to proclaim martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for 90 days in the whole of Mindanao. The constitutionality of Proclamation 216, issued in Moscow where DU30 was visiting at the time, was challenged before the Supreme Court, but DU30 prevailed. Upon its expiration on Juy22, Congress extended the proclamation until December 31, 2017.

 

Back to the drug war

With the successful military operations against the Mautes in Marawi, and the apparent collapse of the IS structure in Syria and Iraq, the war of drugs shot back to prominence upon the discovery of a P6.4 billion illegal drug shipment from Xiamen, which had gone through the “green lane.” Despite the gravity of the case, for which Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon should be held directly accountable, DU30 expressed full confidence in the former Philippine Marines captain, who had participated in the military mutiny against then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003. Now Chairman Robert Barbers of the House committee on dangerous drugs, a Mindanao politician, has asked DU30 to fire Faeldon for corruption and incompetence.

This is something DU30 may not blithely ignore. Analysts close to this issue, however, believe Faeldon may be in possession of certain sensitive information, which makes it hard for DU30 to get rid of him, unless he volunteers to step down. Amid the apparent efforts of some quarters to link DU30’s son Paolo, the vice mayor of Davao City, to the dangerous drugs shipment from Xiamen, Faeldon has not said one word clearing him of any suspicion. If Faeldon knows Paolo is not at all involved in any monkey business at the pier, shouldn’t he have come to his defense after the customs broker Mark Taguba mentioned his name, quoting wild rumors, in a congressional hearing? He did not.

 

Who is this Kenneth Dong?

The problem is, a photo has surfaced in the social media showing Paolo in a friendly pose with Kenneth Dong, the alleged middleman in the illegal P6.4 billion drug shipment. And some people are giving undue importance to it. No one is saying the young man has any fascination for any narco king—whether it be Burma’s late opium king Khun Sa, or Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, or Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. But by linking him to Kenneth Dong and the rest of his narco chain, his enemies clearly want to show his guilt by association.

Since he came to power, DU30 has had to deal with various problems. This is one problem he probably never expected to deal with though. This is why he says if anyone could show him an affidavit, a sworn statement, implicating his son in any shady deal, he would quit the presidency. This statement is understandable, but I hope it does not come to that. Still, until a much bigger problem arises, this seems to be DU30’s biggest problem for now.

Published in Commentaries
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 11:00

Have we truly become a full-blown narco state?

Have we truly become a full-blown narco state?

OR is this not a rhetorical question?

There are not too many narco states in the world, and there isn’t one to be envied by others. A short list begins with Afghanistan, which produces 90 percent of the world’s opium. Followed by Burma (Myanmar), whose opium king used to control three-fourths of the world’s supply of heroin. Then Mexico; 7,000 have been killed since 2008, and the leader of the Sineloa cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, has become, according to Forbes magazine, the 701st richest man in the world with $1 billion. Then Colombia, the world’s top producer of cocaine; then Peru, which follows Colombia in cocaine; then Bolivia, which follows Peru. Then the Bahamas, which acts as the cocaine transshipment point from Colombia to the US. Here, the narco king runs his business from jail.

We are not listed anywhere, despite the fact that President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-long war on drugs has already killed 8,000 or more, and 605 kilograms of shabu worth P6.4 billion is now smuggled through customs in broad daylight, using the “green lane.” Nor do we have a narco king remotely resembling the Burmese KhunSa, Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, Mexico’s “El Chapo” Guzman or the Bahamas’ Carlos Lehder.

The hideous 605-kg, P6.4 billion “shabu” smuggling from China suggests that the bigger part of the cargo (2,160 kg), released without customs inspection, may have contained the same stuff (worth P22.5 billion), and that the Bureau of Customs’ “green lane” may have been used for smuggling dangerous drugs for sometime now. This seems to be the best index of what we have become. We cannot pretend to believe otherwise, unless we want to be delusional.

All claims to the contrary notwithstanding, corrupt politicians and bureaucrats are in cahoots with the illegal drug dealers, a good number of the nation’s 105 million people are addicted, and China, whose avowed benevolence DU30 has embraced, seems eager to provide inexhaustible supply. So, while DU30 vows to kill every unshod drug pusher or user, the bigtime illegal drugs business goes on at the very heart of the nation, unmindful of the corpses piling up in the ghettos and the slums.

 

The war on drugs

DU30 began his six-year term in 2016 by warning against the possibility of the Philippines becoming a narco state, if he did not launch his war on drugs. So, he launched his brutal war. Honest citizens supported this war, though not the killings and DU30’s relentless threat to “kill, kill, kill.” On July 7, 2016, one week after he assumed office, he named the country’s supposedly three biggest drug lords, said to be members of the Chinese triad, and allegedly protected by a powerful police general.

He identified them as Wun Tan, also known as “Tatay Co,” Peter Lim aka “Tiger Balm,” and Herbert Colangco, a convict said to be operating from inside the New Bilibid Prison—all allegedly protected by retired Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., who vehemently denied the accusation.

DU30 then began publicly listing names of individuals allegedly involved in drugs. He unleashed the Philippine National Police under Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and masked “vigilantes” on all suspected pushers and users. And he denounced as “sons of bitches” then-US President Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, unnamed leaders of the European Union, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Agnes Callamard, and others for criticizing the “extra-judicial killings” which had become the defining program of his presidency.

DU30 and Bato appeared to relish the bloodletting, for which the policemen and “vigilantes” were reportedly given “kill quotas” and reward money for every suspect killed. Within one year, the war was reported to have killed some 8,000 suspects, without documentation or due process, raising an international human rights storm, which includes an accusation of “crimes against humanity” and “mass murder” against DU30 before the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and sharp denunciations from the US State Department and the European Union, among others.

No big haul of illegal drugs, no busting of any sizeable drug laboratories, no arrest of any bigtime drug lords were ever reported. Most of the victims belonged to the class of “social rejects” whose births, in Eliot’s words, “are unwelcome,” whose death is “unmentioned in the Times.” So far only three notable suspects had been killed in the most bizarre circumstances.

 

Some mentionables

On November 5, 2016, Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, who had earlier turned himself in after having been tagged as a drug suspect, was killed at four o’clock in the morning inside his detention cell at the Baybay, Leyte subprovincial jail by a police strike team that had motored for hours from Tacloban, allegedly to serve him a search warrant. The National Bureau of Investigation saw this as a plain “rubout,” but the raiding party said it was a “shootout”, and DU30 agreed with the police, and Superintendent Marvin Marcos, the leader of the raiding party, will now be promoted to the next higher rank.

On January 19, 2017, it became publicly known that sometime in October some rogue policemen abducted Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, an alleged drug suspect, for a P5 million ransom, drove him to the PNP compound at Camp Crame, where he was strangled to death inside his car.

This raised a strong statement from the South Korean government, but the sensation quickly died down.

On July 30, 2017, a Sunday, Ozamiz City mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife and 13 others, mostly relatives and friends, were massacred inside their three residences at 2.30 a.m. on the suspicion of their alleged drug dealing. The raiding party claimed they were met with gunfire from inside the residences under siege, a claim denied by the lawyer of the slain mayor. Reports from the city have since claimed that the raiding party included hired gunmen from Isabel, Leyte, hiding behind masks.

The drug war was temporarily overshadowed by DU30’s war on the Islamic State (IS)-aligned Maute terror group, which attacked the Islamic city of Marawi on May 23, prompting DU30 to proclaim martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for 90 days in the whole of Mindanao. The constitutionality of Proclamation 216, issued in Moscow where DU30 was visiting at the time, was challenged before the Supreme Court, but DU30 prevailed. Upon its expiration on Juy22, Congress extended the proclamation until December 31, 2017.

 

Back to the drug war

With the successful military operations against the Mautes in Marawi, and the apparent collapse of the IS structure in Syria and Iraq, the war of drugs shot back to prominence upon the discovery of a P6.4 billion illegal drug shipment from Xiamen, which had gone through the “green lane.” Despite the gravity of the case, for which Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon should be held directly accountable, DU30 expressed full confidence in the former Philippine Marines captain, who had participated in the military mutiny against then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2003. Now Chairman Robert Barbers of the House committee on dangerous drugs, a Mindanao politician, has asked DU30 to fire Faeldon for corruption and incompetence.

This is something DU30 may not blithely ignore. Analysts close to this issue, however, believe Faeldon may be in possession of certain sensitive information, which makes it hard for DU30 to get rid of him, unless he volunteers to step down. Amid the apparent efforts of some quarters to link DU30’s son Paolo, the vice mayor of Davao City, to the dangerous drugs shipment from Xiamen, Faeldon has not said one word clearing him of any suspicion. If Faeldon knows Paolo is not at all involved in any monkey business at the pier, shouldn’t he have come to his defense after the customs broker Mark Taguba mentioned his name, quoting wild rumors, in a congressional hearing? He did not.

 

Who is this Kenneth Dong?

The problem is, a photo has surfaced in the social media showing Paolo in a friendly pose with Kenneth Dong, the alleged middleman in the illegal P6.4 billion drug shipment. And some people are giving undue importance to it. No one is saying the young man has any fascination for any narco king—whether it be Burma’s late opium king Khun Sa, or Colombia’s Pablo Escobar, or Mexico’s Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. But by linking him to Kenneth Dong and the rest of his narco chain, his enemies clearly want to show his guilt by association.

Since he came to power, DU30 has had to deal with various problems. This is one problem he probably never expected to deal with though. This is why he says if anyone could show him an affidavit, a sworn statement, implicating his son in any shady deal, he would quit the presidency. This statement is understandable, but I hope it does not come to that. Still, until a much bigger problem arises, this seems to be DU30’s biggest problem for now.

Published in Commentaries
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 10:15

Death, nationalism, China

THE death of a loved one or a friend—two friends Michael Marasigan and Roy Sinfuego passed away recently—always reminds one how fleeting life is.

Brief it is but life is a magical moment, a miracle in the universe’s14 billion years of existence in which a species called homo sapiens has evolved that it is now able to reflect on himself and on the world.

Most of us celebrate that brief span with our loved ones, making sure — usually simultaneous with satisfying our own needs — they have all the necessities to enjoy life, and not suffer it. Occasionally, we move out of that circle, with acts of kindness to those outside it: handing out coins to the ragamuffin who taps on your windshield; giving an unexpected end-year bonus to your gardener; donating money to help victims of floods or the Marawi crisis.

But with the realization that life is such a miracle, shouldn’t we devote at least a significant part of our lives, not just within our small circle, but to help our fellow homo sapiens enjoy it too, instead of living it in misery?

Many well-off people actually do, or think they do—believing that their companies give jobs to people who would otherwise be out of work or underpaid, giving scholarships to the poor, funding charitable organizations or working in NGOs, for communists, struggling to overthrow an exploitative state, and for many Catholics, praying for the poor.

In this age we live in, though, the most efficient way to help as many people in the shortest period of time is to help make the State under which one is a member of by birth or choice, as strong and efficient as possible, that it can supervise the nation it has the authority to control, so that its economic structure lifts the majority of its citizens from poverty.

Think about it. When a Filipino moves out of the country to migrate to the US, Canada, or any other developed country, he gets to live a much, much better life, and even develops his talents to the full.

US or Canada

That’s a cliché of course, but we forget that the US or Canada are that way because their citizens who have been buried long ago, had built, often at a high cost to themselves and their families, the political and economic structures that have made their nations such that anybody living there would have the necessities of life and the means to develop his talents.

After all, it is a nation’s government that is the apparatus of institutions and practices that order and regulate society, and appropriate and distribute the resources of a nation. It is in this age the most important organization that determines whether humans live in happiness or misery. That is why we revere or hate presidents so much, since they headed that organization, the state, that has had the most impact on our people’s lives.

It hasn’t always been the case. That supreme role of a nation-state over humans emerged only in the last 300 years or so of humankind’s million-year history. In the past, what determined people’s lives were the leadership of a tribe or band of tribes, later of kingdoms (and the character of their kings), of empires that conquered tribes, and even of the Catholic Church and the Islamic Caliphates.

The realization that the nation-state is the most important organization that determines whether a human being lives in happiness or misery is called nationalism.

The term or even the notion of it has been denigrated, even caricatured by the term “nativism” here and abroad, by the global capitalist elites, whose businesses have gone not just beyond their own nations, but depend on removing the boundaries of nations. They have even spread the lie that it is them – “foreign investments”—that is the biggest factor for a nation’s growth.

In our country, nationalism has been all but killed by the elites, who after all look at the Philippines not as their country—they see themselves are Spanish, Americans, or “globalists”—but only as a lucrative market or production site.

Contrast Japanese or Thai capitalists’ nationalism, and you will realize how bad our situation is. Our elites have dived into the idea of “globalization”: most of them have mansions in New York, California, and even London, which they consider as their real homes. The most famous executive in our country, much admired for his corporate successes, is Manuel V. Pangilinan. Yet he works for foreigners: the lucrative conglomerate he manages has given a billion dollars in profits to its main owners, the Indonesian Anthoni Salim and rich American investors.

All these points would be just theoretical if not for recent developments: the emergence as an economic powerhouse of China, one of the world’s most nationalist countries.

China’s 800 million

According to the World Bank, China lifted out of extreme poverty (those living on $1.90 per day, roughly P96 per day) 800 million of its citizens from 1988 to 2013.The most important factor for China’s growth is that it had a strong state that adopted whatever policy, absent the dogmas, that would grow the economy and lift its people out of poverty.

That 800 million lifted out of poverty is equivalent to the population of eight Philippines. How many poor Filipinos have managed to crawl out of poverty after the EDSA Revolution to today? Just 20 million, although the net increase, according to World Bank data, is just 2.5 million because of our population growth, that has bred more poor.

“China’s progress accounted for more than three-quarters of global poverty reduction and is the reason why the world reached the UN millennium development goal of halving extreme poverty,” a recent article in the UK-based newspaper The Guardian pointed out. China’s poverty reduction was even seen by several scholars as a “modern miracle’” as never in humankind’s history have so many people been lifted out of poverty in such a short span of time as three decades.

Indeed, humanity has been in such misery for most of its existence that it is a dogma for major religions. A Christian after-life heaven wouldn’t have had traction if most people were happy alive. Islam views life as so miserable that one should pass through it as fast as possible, which indeed jihadists do. Buddhism says there are ways to eject from the cycle of (miserable) life.

Isn’t it mind-boggling that 800 million Chinese souls in just 25 years – less than the time span between our EDSA revolution and today – were lifted out of poverty, so that they and their descendants will be able to celebrate life? Wouldn’t it have given those responsible for that feat all the meaning in life? Shouldn’t we emulate them?

Between collecting Porsches and helping get out of poverty 10 million Filipinos, which would include their hundreds of millions of descendants in the future, won’t the latter give you the bigger thrill?

Published in Commentaries
Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:41

All-out war

IN PRRD’s July 24 SONA, he made it clear that the talks with the CPP-NDF have been aborted. Cancelled. “Peace is elusive,” he declared, with a tinge of exasperation. When Duterte invited the New People’s Army (NPA) in a sincere effort for a dialogue at the start of his administration, he took a great risk, in light of the grumblings of the military, to free some of their prize catch and entice the left with Cabinet posts. Blood and treasure were spent to capture these dissidents over the years and the burden fell on the soldiers, their families and the military institution itself.

Last July 15 to 17, another round of discussions was conducted in the Netherlands on the provisions on agrarian reform and rural development (ARRD). Positive advances were achieved as 60 to 70 percent of the common draft on the reforms stipulated in the comprehensive agreement on social and economic reform (Caser) were being agreed to. Another round of talks had been set for August to discuss the other remaining issues in the Caser. All of these discussions were aimed at finally ending the armed conflict.

Then the NPA ambushed a Presidential Security Group (PSG) team on July 19, on the Davao-Bukidnon highway, in Arakan, North Cotabato – five days before the SONA. This was the immediate trigger for the peace talks’ cancellation.



Prior to this, the NPA had been sporadically conducting skirmishes in the countryside and threatening businesses and public transportation plying the provinces, requiring owners to pay “revolutionary taxes”. Some of these extortionate practices have been reluctantly reported to authorities for fear of reprisal. But the economic effect and the cost of doing business had to be passed on to the customers and the riding public. But lately the ambushes and attacks on the ground have been bold—burning trucks and equipment of mining firms in the hinterlands. Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC) is a case in point where hundreds of millions of pesos worth of property were burned and destroyed. And this was within the city limits of Davao.

“Simula ngayon, no more talks. I will prepare government. Lahat ng pera, gagastusin ko muna sa military, wala na muna iyang ano-ano. Sila ang unahin ko (From now on, no more talks. I will prepare government. I will spend the money first for the military. We will set aside the talks; I will prioritize the military) .”

Behind this bluster and moves and counter-moves by PRRD and the NPA are some salient points. Foremost of these is the heterogeneous nature of the current CPP/NDF/NPA. Most of the founders and original leaders of the communist movement in the country that spawned the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its National Democratic Front (NDF) and its armed group (NPA) – are no longer in positions of authority. Most have been killed or have died off or have retired after stints in prison. The main personalities in exile in the Netherlands have been out of the country for decades and the face of this “leftist ideology” has changed. In one sense, Jose Maria Sison (Joma), the “primus interpares” of the left is no longer “in control”. The new breed of NPA no longer listens to these old leaders and operate under their own younger chain of command in the countryside. And the “open and legitimized” democratic front (NDF) is now populated by a younger generation with some of its elderly known leadership and icons co-opted into the Deegong administration with juicy cabinet and sub-cabinet level positions. Thus, DU30 has arrived at the conclusion that the current leadership and the whole cabal of the “communist group” no longer have the handle on their side to conduct the “peace process” with the DU30 regime. He has been speaking to the wrong set of leaders.

A minor distraction in the peace process is that the citizenry too, and a growing number of people in the military, have become wary of government spending for these talks held outside Philippines and for personal side trips after the sessions of delegates gallivanting all over Europe.

If ever the peace process is to resume, back-door talks will have to be re-started. And more importantly, with the right personalities in the CPP/NDF/NPA camp who are in “control of the guns”. It would help to provide stricter rules that ensure greater accountability in both sides for those who fail to observe ceasefire agreements. Giving peace a chance should not just come from the government, but from the CPP-NDF-NPA as well. Peace is not just something that is agreed upon by a couple of delegates, not even by a mere signed document from both panels.

The alternative that PRRD has presented in the SONA is not a solution and in fact is scary. In a pique, Duterte ordered PNP Chief Ronaldo dela Rosa to get rid of the NPA “whatever it takes”. After pacifying the Marawi situation, Duterte wanted Dela Rosa to focus on pulverizing the NPA. With the state of our police forces under incompetent leadership, and its hands full in the elimination of drug-related crimes and problems, the police forces as they are now structured are simply a formula for disaster. PRRD of course is aware of this and understands that professionalizing the police forces is an imperative before they can carry the brunt of the fight against insurgency.

But the Deegong must realize too that the solution to this decades-old insurgency is basically the application of social justice for all, the rooting out of the causes of poverty, and simply good governance, not exclusively through the barrel of a gun. And this requires the whole government with the backing of the citizenry to “own the peace process”.
Published in LML Polettiques
Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday suggested the removal of "pork barrel" funds from the 2018 national budget and instead use it to finance the recently-passed law providing free tuition for state universities and colleges (SUCs).

In an interview with radio dzBB, Lacson said Congress should look for ways to fund the free tuition for public college and university students, now that there is already an implementing law for it.

"Walang nilagay ang Malacañang [na budget], so Congress na ang maghahanap na pang-pondo para sa free tuition dahil may basehan na, may batas," he said.

The senator, however, expressed concerned that the funds for this law may be sourced from agencies that perform vital functions.

"Huwag natin bawasan yung ahensya na nangangailangan ng pondo," he said.

Lacson suggested to reallocate parts of discretionary funds of senators and congressmen.

"Sa pag-aaral namin, ito gusto ko rin i-take up sa budget deliberations, pina-finalize pa namin, pero may kongresista na nakakuha ng P5 billion, may kongresista na nakakuha ng P6 billion. Individual ito na pork barrel," Lacson said, referring to the budget from last year.

"Kung saan-saan kinukuha ito at pina-part na nila sa mga ahensya na kausap na nila yung mga head agencies. Ito ay the usual, call it any name you want pero in my book, pork barrel pa rin 'yan," he added.

"Ang hope lang sana, alisin na lang yung mga pork ng mga kongresista at mga senador at yun na lang yung ilaan budget para sa free tuition," he continued.

In November 2013, the Supreme Court declared "pork barrel" funds as unconstitutionalErwin Colcol/ALG, GMA News















Published in News
Monday, 07 August 2017 10:31

Manny Pacquiao’s reckless metamorphosis

The first time he ran for a political post, Manny Pacquiao lost. That should have been cautionary: His legion of fans didn’t seem too comfortable with the shift from pug to politico. But listen to them he didn’t.

In 2007, Pacquiao displayed signs of becoming a traditional politician. Read that as “trapo,” that apt Pinoy pejorative for dirty politicians, the tattered piece of cloth that is a rag.

Running under the Arroyo coalition of Kampi, Pacquiao said he was “persuaded to run by local officials” — that pseudo line to signify there was a bandwagon behind them. He lost in the race to represent the first district of South Cotabato in the House.

His run in 2010 was unmistakably “trapoesque” acrobatics. He had not even sat once in office. Running under Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party, he finally won a seat in the House. But before he could even warm that seat, he announced rather nonchalantly that he was shifting to Noynoy Aquino’s Liberal Party, “so that projects will be ensured entry” in his province. To think he had not even had his first taste of porcine lard.

In less than three years, he transformed into the quintessential political butterfly. He moved to PDP-Laban under Jejomar Binay on April 16, 2012. And it has since been fly, fly, fly for Manny Pacquiao, so young yet so fleeting in political integrity, or any semblance of it.

“Trapos” become dynasts, never because of the altruism to serve, but because of money and power. The more family members to enlist, the more lard to grease the increasingly rich and famous lifestyles to which they become accustomed. As early as 2010 Pacquiao had enlisted his brother Rogelio (Roel) to run for representative of the second district of South Cotabato, but the latter was defeated.

In 2013, Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee ran and won as vice governor of Sarangani. To her credit, though, she did not run again in 2016, but one can never say when dynasts are done with the allure of power. In 2015, Pacquiao announced his candidacy as senator under Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, and took his oath of office on May 19, 2016.

In 2016, his brother Bobby won second place in the race for city councilors of General Santos. Bobby’s political career actually started in 2013 when he won as barangay councilor. His wife Lorelei is the barangay chair of the coastal community of Labangal, said to be the city’s biggest income earning barangay because it includes the Makar Wharf and two private wharves.

In 2016, Roel finally won as representative of Sarangani’s lone district, the post his pugilist brother once held. Recall that in 2010 Roel lost as representative of South Cotabato’s second district. That means he has been moving residences, in contravention of the law. In 2013 he ran as barangay chair and, winning as president of the Association of Barangay Chairpersons in the city, he earned a seat in the General Santos city council.

By running in 2016 in another province, Roel faced the threat of disqualification: He was a resident of General Santos and was in fact the chair of his barangay. All “trapos” claim they established residency the year before their run. In Roel’s case, he failed to resign as barangay chair and city councilor when he did so.
A newbie political family has become adept at political hocus-pocus. When money talks, one can simply dance, dance, dance in a game of musical chairs.

We saw a phenomenon during Pacquiao’s last fight in Brisbane: The streets were not empty, unlike before. Pay-per-view revenue was remarkably low. Many in social media cheered his defeat. Why the legionary shift?
The Filipino public is making a statement, and it is crystal: The “Pambansang Kamao” is loved over the national disgrace of the Senate’s false prophet that he has become: Quote, quote, quote the Bible, yet his devotion to Duterte kill, kill, kill and tax, tax, tax.
He says he will retire, retire, retire from boxing. Still, fight, fight, fight it is because of the pay, pay, pay of the prize money, never mind the allegations of steroid use.

Manny Pacquiao is a “trapo” par excellence.
Published in Commentaries
SECTORIST policies dominate Philippine politics and overflows to the economy and then impacts the way majority of Filipinos experience life in these islands. It is laudable that the goal of the Duterte administration is a “comfortable life” for every Filipino but alas, while the goal is good, the means (reliance solely on sector dominance) will not be the right vehicle. It has already been proven to be the wrong vehicle. In fact, the sectorist bus will lead the Duterte administration off the cliff, pretty much the way the Aquino 2, Arroyo, Erap, and Ramos sectorist buses led the Philippines off the cliff.

The cliff I define to be the bare minimum to say “yes, the Philippines has an economy that allows one to choose to stay here to work, earn a dignified living (even if simple), allows school attendance up to vocational or college, and can tell any foreign country (even those who lend us money) not to dare point any missile at any part of our territory or at least have a modicum of defense capability.

From the above, we have fallen off the cliff for most periods of our history except maybe very briefly after World War 2, in the mid-1940s to early 1960s, when massive hardwood and other natural resource extraction was undertaken by the elite of those years (about less than 100 Filipino families) and a nascent industrialization was attempted. Then we were way ahead of China.



Even that effort was not sustainable beyond the 1970s partly leading to Martial Law and after the first oil crisis of that era, with the nation’s back against the wall, the OFW segment was developed as a safety valve.

Ever since, the Philippines has undergone several boom-bust cycles and only recently has been able, with sound macro policies in place after the Asian crisis of 1997, to become a relatively well-performing economy. “Well-performing” as far as sectorist metrics are concerned like gross domestic product, BoP, foreign reserves, etc. but we know that these masks the true state of the average Juan. Certainly, the minimum wage can barely give a dignified life and cannot make those who earn such levels go beyond consuming sachets of their necessities.

What we have seen during the recent Arroyo and Aquino years, and what we are apparently going to see with the Duterte administration, and I sincerely hope I am wrong, is more of the same “jobless and trickle-less GDP growth” even if it grows at 8 percent per year, because of the sheer number of new entrants of young Filipinos into the labor market. Low-quality informal job generation is the norm.

Why is this so? After only 12 months, the Duterte policy initiatives have resulted in policies that benefit sectors (mining, energy, etc.) at the expense of local areas (sectorism). Measuring progress by GDP growth primarily rather than household networth growth is the core of sectorism. The opposite is areaism.

Policy initiatives that would strengthen families and their surrounding local environment, or areaism, that emanate from some other quieter secretaries are withering in the vine. Land conversion suspensions, irresponsible mine closures, genuine ending of endo schemes, climate change mitigation and adaptation, effective and new anti-poverty programs are not nearly getting the attention of government initiatives like “Build! Build! Build!” and more coal plants and policies that make urban development a playground for the top five property developers.

Yes, there are crumbs that are being dispensed, like the guidance for MSEs through the Go Negosyo initiative, the continuation of the 4Ps (likely to end by 2019), but these are not logically leading to a new development paradigm based on areaism policies.

Areaism would see local communities defining their needs for urban development, infrastructure, economic programs and a balanced environment and having the sectors respond to those needs instead of dictating on local areas. Thus, for example, instead of property development oriented towards enclaves with exclusive access and facilities, whole urban blocks would have mini-parks, safe pedestrian walkways and bike lanes, lots of trees and walkable neighborhoods that encourage interaction between all sectors of society instead of stratified bonding only within certain classes.

Areaism, for example, would see the DENR’s reforestation program seriously implemented by upland households who would have secure tenurial rights and are part of a bigger agro-forestry system that produces badly needed wood products like lumber, among other forest products that we currently import. We have over 10 million hectares of forestlands and yet we are now importers of lumber and timber products. This is even after the fact that DENR spent over P35 billion in sectorist fashion by spending these refo funds (since mid-1990s)with ineffective PO and NGO contracts involving foreign species with little value that barely serve the local market instead of empowering communities to regrow original rainforests. Thus, the local market still thrives on illegal logging and imported timber and upland families are still poor.

Federalism was supposed to lead us towards areaist policies, with regional or state governments (enlarged LGUs) being the ones to craft development programs for the constituent communities and put a damper on sectorism. Alas, sector dominance lives (again) and very likely will lead to a deadend again.
Published in Commentaries

 

SEN. Antonio Trillanes 4th may be the most vociferous critic of President Duterte, but his comrades-in-arms in the mutineer group “Magdalo”* control the government’s key revenue-generating agency, the Bureau of Customs, holding its top posts.

The head itself of the bureau is former Marine captain Nicanor Faeldon, who was really at the same level in the Magdalo leadership as Trillanes, their spokesman. Faeldon had been the most defiant of the Magdalo leaders, having escaped twice from detention and refusing an offer of pardon.

A day after he was appointed Customs chief, Faeldon himself said that 20 officers that had been with the Magdalo would join Customs, and that “they will be embedded in the different collection districts.”

The bureau has come under intense Senate scrutiny when it was discovered last month that a shipment it had cleared through its “express lane” had contained shabu worth P6.4 billion. The bureau had to scramble to raid the warehouse where the shipment was unloaded, after Chinese authorities in Xiamen tipped the bureau about it.

The Magdalo mutineers’ joining the Bureau of Customs, a notoriously corrupt agency, is in marked contrast to its older version, the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), that had played a crucial role in the EDSA uprising. Not a single RAM veteran went into government, except for Gringo Honasan, who was elected into office.

The Magdalo mutineers of about 200 tried to overthrow government by occupying by force first, the Oakwood Hotel (now Ascott Makati) in 2003 and then, The Manila Peninsula in 2007, expecting that others in the military and in the opposition would join them in the fashion of the EDSA 1986 uprising. Nobody did, and they surrendered to the police after about 18 hours, after hearing its armored personnel carriers approaching. The coup attempts dented the country’s image of stability, frightening off a significant amount of investments, what with terrified investors finding themselves trapped in the high-end Ascott and Peninsula hotels.

Key posts
Other than Trillanes and Faeldon, the other Magdalo leaders—classmates in the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1995—who now all occupy key posts at Customs are the following.

• Army Capt. Gerardo Gambala, who is Faeldon and Trillanes’ peer at Magdalo, is deputy commissioner, in charge both of the management information systems and technology group, and head of the bureau’s “Command Center”. The office that approved the shipment that was found later to contain P6.4 billion worth of shabu is under the Command Center.

• Army Capt. Milo Maestrecampo, who became a one-day sensation when he ranted like a mad dog, spewing expletives against government in a Magdalo press conference during the Oakwood mutiny, is director of the Import Assessment Services Office.

• Navy Lt. James Layug, who ran for Kalinga governor but lost in 2010, is director of the crucial Port Operations Services.

• Col. Alvin Ebreo is chief of the bureau’s legal services.

There’s more. Faeldon brought into the bureau several military men not publicly known to be Magdalo mutineers: Col. Neil Estrella, director of the CIIS; Col. Henry Torres, acting deputy commissioner in charge of the internal administration group; and Gen. Natalio Ecarma, deputy commissioner heading the revenue collection and monitoring group.

My sources at Customs claim that Faeldon had brought into the bureau nearly 200 other Magdalo officers and soldiers, employing them as “consultants”. While the Senate committee on dangerous drugs is investigating how the P6.4 billion worth of shabu was cleared by Customs, it might as well seek to find out how many Magdalos there are at Customs now.

In appointing Faeldon as Customs head, Duterte—it is not clear if he is aware that the Magdalo mutineer had brought his other comrades into the bureau—more likely thought that his leading coup attempts against government indicated he had the character of someone committed to reforming the country.

A Magdalo customs official boasted at a Senate hearing yesterday that under them, the bureau had apprehended so and so worth of illegal drugs being smuggled into the country and had banned over 65 brokers suspected of evading taxes due on their shipment.

Haven’t increased
However, customs revenues under the Magdalo-led bureau haven’t increased at all, with its tax effort (percentage of its revenues to GDP) remaining at 2.6 percent where it has been since the past decade. It would have risen to as high as 3.4 percent (the figure for 2008) if the Magdalos had really cracked down, as they claim, on smuggling and graft in the bureau.

This isn’t surprising. After all, how could a group of men whose expertise is war—and coup plotting—know how to run our Customs Bureau, which essentially requires, other than honesty, management skills as well as expertise in law and accounting?

Worse, brokers say that corruption in the bureau hasn’t changed, that there are only “new faces.” There are rumors in the bureau that a high-ranking official was getting P28 million monthly in grease money from unscrupulous brokers. There is even one rumor circulating wildly that it was Duterte himself who jested at how expensive a Customs official’s Rolex was.

Whether they are incompetent for the job or corrupt, the Magdalo’s control of the bureau poses a danger to Duterte. They could do what the New People’s Army did during the administration of Corazon Aquino, when she appointed a communist sympathizer to the bureau, who let communist cadres control the graft there, consequently raising hundreds of millions of pesos for their revolution.

Never has a government agency, and a money-making one at that, been under the control of a single gang.

As they demonstrated in their coups against President Arroyo’s administration, the Magdalos are such power-seeking megalomaniacs that they would go against Duterte at the drop of a hat, if ever he encounters a strong political storm. It is still their dream, inspired by the successful 2014 Thai coup, to establish authoritarian rule in the country under them.

Duterte should realize that Trillanes has demonstrated what a Magdalo mutineer really is. Trillanes, Faeldon, Gambala, Maestrecampo, and Layug are birds of the same feather. And it is certainly suspicious why the Magdalos in Customs — except Faeldon and only once during the elections — have never criticized Trillanes, nor he, them.

*The mutineers presumptuously called themselves “Bagong Katipuneros” (“New Katipuneros”), referring to the revolutionary organization “Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” that led the revolution against Spanish rule in 1896. They were instead dubbed “Magdalo” by the media, as the armbands they wore during their coup attempts was that of the Cavite-based Magdalo faction of the Katipunan.

Published in Commentaries