EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full Commentary below)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

TIMES EDITORIAL: WILL ANYONE PUT A STOP TO AQUINO'S MADNESS?
[There must be peace in Mindanao. We here at The Times, as well as virtually everyone who has publicly expressed their opposition to the BBL have consistently made it clear that opposition is precisely because the ultimate goal is peace, not in spite of it.]


HOUSE PANEL VOTES ON BBL AMENDMENTS: Malacañang on Tuesday denied claims by opposition lawmakers that the administration was railroading the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
- THE arrogance with which President B.S. Aquino 3rd’s allies in the House of Representatives handled the debate and hasty approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on Monday did not really come as a surprise, but was nonetheless appalling for its breathtaking depravity. No fewer than 14 amendments meant to correct the glaring constitutional infirmities in the BBL were summarily rejected by the ad hoc committee dominated the Aquino administration. And to add insult to injury, the draft selected for transmission to the full House plenary for a vote was not the one that resulted from several months’ of review by congressional staffers and a variety of outside experts, but a new draft of the BBL virtually identical to the original, and provided to the congressional committee by Malacañang over the weekend. The mood of the public, nearly three-fourths of whom—if not more—are decidedly against passage of the BBL and the creation of a Moro substate, seems to be turning darker with each day our stubborn President shoves this manifestation of his twisted concept of “peace” in Mindanao farther down the nation’s throat. President Aquino has said on numerous occasions that not passing the BBL will lead to greater violence; we now fear that may be the tragically ironic result of his persistence. READ  MORE...

ALSO: Abuse of Power


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO 
The following article by Manuel Mejorada was published May 18 in his “CoffeeBreak” column at The Daily Guardian Western Visayas, a newspaper based in Iloilo City. I found it very perceptive, well informed, and well written that it deserves a larger audience. Entitled “The Crucifixion of Jojo Binay,” (which is, by the way, too melodramatic for my taste), Mejorada writes: With one year to go before the next presidential elections, the leading contender for the highest position of the country has been crucified. Vice President Jojo Binay has been condemned, vilified and pronounced guilty of corruption before the bar of public opinion by the machinery of government obsessed with seeing to it that nobody, and nobody else, but Mar Roxas will be elected as President. It’s too early to say if Binay will be crushed beyond redemption by this massive propaganda effort of the Aquino administration. What is certain, however, is that Binay was badly battered by the onslaught of corruption issues against him. The screaming headlines about the Court of Appeals order to freeze 242 bank accounts directly or indirectly linked to Binay will substantially erode the survey ratings for Binay. Those guys working behind the scenes for Roxas have done a good job. The question that must be asked is this: Why was the machinery of government thrown against Binay and used to unearth every possible dirty linen that could be used to tarnish his image? The AMLC—Anti-Money Laundering Council—was put up to comply with international treaty obligations to help stem the flow of “dirty money” around the global financial system. Primarily, the targets for the money laundering watchdog are drug lords, smugglers and crime syndicates. It is not the primary agency tasked to monitor the ill-gotten wealth of politicians. READ MORE...

ALSO: The children of the garbage pit


Fr. Shay Cullen by FR. SHAY CULLEN 
CEBU: The little girl and her friend were sleeping on the pavement along the street in Fuente district, Cebu, in front of a 7/11 that Easter Sunday night April 5, 2015. They had been begging for food in a city of growing wealth and prosperity. But street children see none of it, they are the children of the garbage, throwaway children that live begging or scavenging on the streets or in the garbage dump. That sacred Sunday night when Christians were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, Chastity Mirabilis, a 11 year old street child and her friend,11 year old (call her) Miriam, were starting their passion and “crucifixion.”  As Miriam later described it, a policeman, as yet unnamed from Station 2 Fuente Osmena under the command of Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu, came up to the sleeping children kicked Chastity in the face and dragged her and Miriam to a police van. It is likely he was not alone. There was no justification for this whatsoever and the children were brought to the Fuente police station and allegedly beaten up in the presence of several other policemen. Chastity was, according to the testimony of Miriam, tortured with electricity as reported by the city social workers after interviewing Miriam. The children were so battered that they could hardly walk. The next day they were allegedly kicked out of the police station but Chastity could not stand up and walk and Miriam carried her on her back. No medical help was given. The question is were they sexually abused. Investigators have released a report or evidence to rule it out. Miriam carried Chastity to the hovel where Chastity’s handicapped mother was. Later that day Chastity Mirabilis died from her injuries. The next day April 6, three more children were picked up, brought to the same police station under the watch of Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu and were allegedly subjected to verbal and psychological abuse. The police shaved off their hair. The female officer on duty did nothing to help the children. Later she called it necessary for the hygiene and grooming of the children. This is a gross humiliation and criminalization of children and psychological abuse. The police should be fired for gross ignorance of the law and rights of the child and charged with violation of RA 7610, the child protection law. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Pentecost and BS Aquino
[What he does not seem to realize — and it puzzles us why some of the less mendacious and more realistic Liberal Party leaders also seem to be as oblivious to the truth as BS Aquino himself — is that he has no legacy of good achievements to leave behind.It is all empty, hollow talk, when he and his spokesmen claim that his administration has a reform program that must continue after he leaves office.We will take up all the major areas of governance in this space in the coming days.]


SONA AQUINO 2012 THE foremost gift that the Holy Spirit, whose coming to the Apostles which our Holy Mother and the Mother of the Church witnessed, is the spirit of truth.With Holy Spirit, the power to see reality almost with the eyes of God Himself, becomes possible for mere man (meaning to say men and women.) Unfortunately, this power seems completely impossible for our de facto president, BS Aquino to acquire and therefore to wield. What he and his closest collaborators and allies are wielding is the power of untruthfulness–which is a gift not of the Holy Spirit but of the Father of Lies.Recently, in advertising his brainstorm to possibly invite Senator Grace Poe to be his ruling Liberal Party presidential standard bearer in 2016, he said that the biggest problem that was exercising his mind was “Who will be more trustworthy to carry on the legacy that I will leave behind?” The implication is that he does not find DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who has been the most visible seeker of the LP nomination these past five years, to be “the most trustworthy” because otherwise there would not be a any need to worry about this problem. And he would not be publicly announcing that perhaps Grace Poe would be it. READ MORE...

ALSO NEWS ANALYSIS: ‘Perfect Storm’ brewing? Islamic State says it could acquire Pakistan nuke for attack on US


ISIS TERRORIST GROUP POLITICAL CARTOON-- Mike Keefe InToon.com THE Islamic State (IS) has suggested that it can use the “billions of dollars” in its coffers to acquire a nuclear device from Pakistan for carrying out a spectacular attack on the United States. The claim was made in an article in the latest issue of Dabiq, the glossy online propaganda magazine of the IS. The article “The Perfect Storm” was attributed to John Cantlie, a British correspondent who was kidnapped by militants in Syria in November 2012. The article, full of bluster and exaggerated claims, noted that several terror groups such as Boko Haram have already pledged allegiance to the IS. It posited that the acquisition of a nuclear device would be the logical next step after militants have seized weapons like tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems and anti-aircraft systems. “The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah (chapter) in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region,” the article said. The article then outlined a “hypothetical operation” to move the nuclear weapon from Pakistan to IS fighters who could use it to mount an attack on the US. “The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the mujahidin move it south to Nigeria. Drug shipments from Columbia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible,” it said. “The nuke and accompanying mujahidin arrive on the shorelines of South America and are transported through the porous borders of Central America before arriving in Mexico and up to the border with the United States. From there it’s just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million ‘illegal’ aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk of their car.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: Citizen Poe


by CRISPIN R. ARANDA
LET’S start from the end. Senator Grace Poe has emerged as the front-runner candidate for presidency in 2016. Even President BS Aquino 3d met her – and not the VP. Obviously, to President Aquino, VIP muna, bago VP. And with the presidency at stake, candidates are scrutinized for their qualifications, eligibility, popularity and win-nability – not necessarily in that order. Rewind to Senator Grace Poe’s family and citizenship history. It is public knowledge that she is an adopted daughter of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces. The adoption itself is not the issue but rather Senator Poe’s citizenship since Grace is being wooed by various polit-ical parties and coalition groups. She also has expressed her willingness to pursue a higher calling. Whether that would be as a back-up candidate to Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Chiz Escudero (or the re-verse in a Poe-Escudero tandem); or be the standard bearer of the Liberal Party with Interior and Local Govern-ment Secretary Mar Roxas as VP – giving way a second time to a winning candidate – is still in the air. She could also run as an independent given the fact that donors and patrons are likely to beat the path to her door. Candidates for Philippine President and Vice President must meet the following qualifications: 1. Be a natural born citizen of the Philippines 2. Be a registered voter 3. Be able to read and write 4. Be at least 40 years of age on the day of election 5. Be a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election. Of the five qualifications, being a natural-born Filipino has emerged as the issue that Senator Poe seeks to put to rest as she easily meets the other four. Is Senator Grace Poe a US citizen? Is she a Filipino citizen? Or both? READ MORE....


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

Editorial: Will anyone put a stop to Aquino’s madness?


HOUSE PANEL VOTES ON BBL AMENDMENTS: Malacañang on Tuesday denied claims by opposition lawmakers that the administration was railroading the passage of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). 

MANILA, MAY 25, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) May 19, 2015 11:43 pm - THE arrogance with which President B.S. Aquino 3rd’s allies in the House of Representatives handled the debate and hasty approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on Monday did not really come as a surprise, but was nonetheless appalling for its breathtaking depravity.

No fewer than 14 amendments meant to correct the glaring constitutional infirmities in the BBL were summarily rejected by the ad hoc committee dominated the Aquino administration. \

And to add insult to injury, the draft selected for transmission to the full House plenary for a vote was not the one that resulted from several months’ of review by congressional staffers and a variety of outside experts, but a new draft of the BBL virtually identical to the original, and provided to the congressional committee by Malacañang over the weekend.

The mood of the public, nearly three-fourths of whom—if not more—are decidedly against passage of the BBL and the creation of a Moro substate, seems to be turning darker with each day our stubborn President shoves this manifestation of his twisted concept of “peace” in Mindanao farther down the nation’s throat.

President Aquino has said on numerous occasions that not passing the BBL will lead to greater violence; we now fear that may be the tragically ironic result of his persistence.

READ MORE...
But the ball, as they say, is now in the Legislature’s court. Whatever political arm-twisting or other influence Aquino may have exerted to ensure passage of the BBL, the onus is on the members of the House and Senate to do the right thing. The right thing, of course, is to either reject the BBL as presented, and call for a fairer, more inclusive peace agreement and enabling law, or to revise the BBL to whatever degree is necessary to make it fairer, more inclusive, and compliant with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines.

Aquino’s single-minded determination to produce what to his mind would be a “lasting” achievement before his term ends next year is a personal, petty quest, but the greater shame should be heaped on the congressmen who not only seem willing but eager to help him fulfill it, no matter what the costs to the country they supposedly serve.

And what’s more, the eagerness to wash their hands of the matter – one ad hoc committee member pointed out that the BBL still has to pass a House plenary vote, the several steps of the legislative process in the Senate, and then an inevitable Supreme Court challenge – reveals that our representatives are wholly unconcerned with the implications of their actions.

There must be peace in Mindanao. We here at The Times, as well as virtually everyone who has publicly expressed their opposition to the BBL have consistently made it clear that opposition is precisely because the ultimate goal is peace, not in spite of it.

Our elected representatives have gravely disappointed us with their betrayal of the entire nation, and particularly the people of Mindanao who have a right to an inclusive peace.

We fervently hope that there are still enough among the full House of Representatives and the Senate with a sense of duty and personal ethics to find the courage to stand up to the President’s bullying and put a stop to the BBL madness.

It is a hope, however, that is sadly becoming more desperate by the day.


Abuse of Power May 19, 2015 11:42 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

The following article by Manuel Mejorada was published May 18 in his “CoffeeBreak” column at The Daily Guardian Western Visayas, a newspaper based in Iloilo City. I found it very perceptive, well informed, and well written that it deserves a larger audience.

Entitled “The Crucifixion of Jojo Binay,” (which is, by the way, too melodramatic for my taste), Mejorada writes:

With one year to go before the next presidential elections, the leading contender for the highest position of the country has been crucified.

Vice President Jojo Binay has been condemned, vilified and pronounced guilty of corruption before the bar of public opinion by the machinery of government obsessed with seeing to it that nobody, and nobody else, but Mar Roxas will be elected as President.

It’s too early to say if Binay will be crushed beyond redemption by this massive propaganda effort of the Aquino administration. What is certain, however, is that Binay was badly battered by the onslaught of corruption issues against him.

The screaming headlines about the Court of Appeals order to freeze 242 bank accounts directly or indirectly linked to Binay will substantially erode the survey ratings for Binay. Those guys working behind the scenes for Roxas have done a good job.

The question that must be asked is this: Why was the machinery of government thrown against Binay and used to unearth every possible dirty linen that could be used to tarnish his image?

The AMLC—Anti-Money Laundering Council—was put up to comply with international treaty obligations to help stem the flow of “dirty money” around the global financial system. Primarily, the targets for the money laundering watchdog are drug lords, smugglers and crime syndicates. It is not the primary agency tasked to monitor the ill-gotten wealth of politicians.

READ MORE...
With that in mind, who unleashed the AMLC in a massive investigation to look into alleged money laundering activities of Binay?

These questions are not being asked because I am defending Binay. Nor am I raising the issue because I dislike Mar Roxas. At the core of the controversy is abuse of power, the same issue that led to the downfall of then US President Richard M. Nixon in 1975.

In case you haven’t noticed, the AMLC hasn’t come out with reports about the bank accounts of drug lords even after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima uncovered the existence of illegal drug distribution activities being directed from within the confines of the National Bilibid Prisons.

We know that it is hard to pin down drug lords and smugglers because 99% of the time, they are detached from the physical evidence of prohibited items. It’s the same way with jueteng lords. The most effective way of catching them is through their bank accounts and tax records.

But it is apparent criminals are safe from the radar screens of the Aquino government.

It’s only its political enemies that are being tracked down, their every movement scrutinized, and every bank transaction red-flagged. This explains why illegal drugs and smuggling continue to prosper under the “matuwid na daan”. The government is looking the other way; its eyes are exclusively locked on its enemies.

If this isn’t abuse of power at its worst, then I don’t know what is. And Binay is being accused of corruption. It’s tragic because his accusers are guilty of the most rampant corruption in our nation’s history. President Aquino and his cabals, Senate President Franklin Drilon and DBM Secretary Butch Abad, institutionalized corruption through the PDAF and DAP. No less than the Supreme Court made crystal clear just how huge that corruption was.

So Binay has billions of pesos as windfall from his three decades as the prince of Makati City.

But isn’t everybody else in the nation’s corridor of power as guilty as he is?

Take the case of Roxas. It’s public knowledge in Roxas City, his hometown, that his family controls almost every franchise of food chains that open stores at local malls. Isn’t that taking undue advantage of their political power? No business can come in without the imprimatur of the family, according to my sources.

And what about the closest lieutenants of the President?

None of them is ever in danger of being labelled poor. In the last few years, their wealth grew from average to fabulous. Their balance sheets have long abandoned the 7-digit level; their net worths are now in the hundred-million-and-above levels.

None of the President’s political allies have been investigated by the AMLC. None of them have given us a glimpse of their bank accounts. The only reason that’s the case is that they are being protected by the Aquino government. In a sea of corruption, only those that don’t swim with the administration are caught in its nets.

Just the same, the Aquino government should pray hard that Jojo Binay will be pulverized by such efforts. There’s danger that this overkill can boomerang on them. As I have pointed out time and again, the demolition efforts won’t benefit Roxas. His popularity and approval ratings will not rise as Binay stumbles and falls.

Binay is not about to be written off, yet. The point of overflow is approaching, and the public, sick and tired of the abuse of power, might just sympathize with Binay.

If Binay wins, then the next government will have to seriously think of expanding the prison facilities, with careful attention to providing large-sized, heavy-duty beds.

[END OF MR. MEJORADA’S COLUMN]


The children of the garbage pit May 23, 2015 10:44 pm


Fr. Shay Cullen by FR. SHAY CULLEN

CEBU: The little girl and her friend were sleeping on the pavement along the street in Fuente district, Cebu, in front of a 7/11 that Easter Sunday night April 5, 2015. They had been begging for food in a city of growing wealth and prosperity. But street children see none of it, they are the children of the garbage, throwaway children that live begging or scavenging on the streets or in the garbage dump.

That sacred Sunday night when Christians were celebrating the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, Chastity Mirabilis, a 11 year old street child and her friend,11 year old (call her) Miriam, were starting their passion and “crucifixion.”

As Miriam later described it, a policeman, as yet unnamed from Station 2 Fuente Osmena under the command of Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu, came up to the sleeping children kicked Chastity in the face and dragged her and Miriam to a police van. It is likely he was not alone.

There was no justification for this whatsoever and the children were brought to the Fuente police station and allegedly beaten up in the presence of several other policemen. Chastity was, according to the testimony of Miriam, tortured with electricity as reported by the city social workers after interviewing Miriam.

The children were so battered that they could hardly walk. The next day they were allegedly kicked out of the police station but Chastity could not stand up and walk and Miriam carried her on her back. No medical help was given. The question is were they sexually abused. Investigators have released a report or evidence to rule it out.

Miriam carried Chastity to the hovel where Chastity’s handicapped mother was. Later that day Chastity Mirabilis died from her injuries. The next day April 6, three more children were picked up, brought to the same police station under the watch of Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu and were allegedly subjected to verbal and psychological abuse. The police shaved off their hair. The female officer on duty did nothing to help the children. Later she called it necessary for the hygiene and grooming of the children.

This is a gross humiliation and criminalization of children and psychological abuse. The police should be fired for gross ignorance of the law and rights of the child and charged with violation of RA 7610, the child protection law.

READ MORE...
The three children were detained in a prison cell with male adult prisoners. They were not fed proper food. It is not known if they were victims of sexual abuse in the police station or if the prisoners paid the police for sex as sometime happens.

The criminalization of street children is a ploy to de-humanize them and justify harsh inhuman treatment. A national broad sheet editorial (not The Manila Times) recently commented on street children and supported a bill in congress to help them into dignified shelters and care centers, however at the same time it branded them as criminals. This conditions the minds of the public to treat them as a danger to society and as worthless beings and makes the children enemies of society who deserve punishment.

What happened in Cebu is not an isolated incident. It happens frequently and children are shot and stabbed to death as I have earlier reported. It is barbaric and outrageous. There is no public outcry in Cebu over this horrific crime. Silence is a form of consent and the silence brings shame on all Cebuano people. They should stand up and take a stand for children’s rights.

NBI 7 assistant director Augusto Isidero admitted that the child Miriam was able to identify the policemen from photographs who beat them and physically abused them. He told me over the phone that charges of murder and child abuse will be filed against the policemen. These heartless cruel police bring disgrace to the PNP and must be held accountable.

When the death of Chastity became big news, allegedly Chief Inspector Tiu immediately took a flight to the United States. He must have a green card, or multiple reentry visa. Getting a tourist visa to the United States is a long procedure. It seems he fled the scene of a crime in his own police station.

Will justice ever be done? Will the state really prosecute police for this crime of alleged murder and child abuse? They will likely favor the cruel, corrupt police over what they have until now considered a worthless street child. They are considered less than human, so worthless they allow them to sleep on the streets and scavenge in the garbage dumps. They allow it because they see the children as worthless garbage.

For the authorities Chastity and countless more are worthless street children. If not so, why then are they not housed in clean homes with good food and education as the children of the nation with equal right, under the constitution should be. The politicians who create such inequality and poverty are equally guilty of causing the suffering of the children.

The conscience of the nation ought to be awakened to these terrible unchanging conditions bringing suffering to the poor, the children and disgrace to the Philippines worldwide. Diplomats cringe in shame when foreign government officials raise the issue. Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle just smiles when challenged about it as he did on BBC Hardtalk..

They are the children of God, declared by Jesus of Nazareth as the most important in the Kingdom. Accept them and we accept Jesus. That’s our Faith. But in the Catholic Philippines the Church as institution has also failed the children. They languish abused in prisons and there is no Catholic social action to save them.

The child Jesus is revered in Cebu, the worship and procession of a statue is a passion here but apparently there is little or no respect for the living children.


EDITORIAL: Pentecost and BS Aquino May 23, 2015 10:47 pm


SONA AQUINO 2012

THE foremost gift that the Holy Spirit, whose coming to the Apostles which our Holy Mother and the Mother of the Church witnessed, is the spirit of truth.

With Holy Spirit, the power to see reality almost with the eyes of God Himself, becomes possible for mere man (meaning to say men and women.)

Unfortunately, this power seems completely impossible for our de facto president, BS Aquino to acquire and therefore to wield. What he and his closest collaborators and allies are wielding is the power of untruthfulness–which is a gift not of the Holy Spirit but of the Father of Lies.

Recently, in advertising his brainstorm to possibly invite Senator Grace Poe to be his ruling Liberal Party presidential standard bearer in 2016, he said that the biggest problem that was exercising his mind was “Who will be more trustworthy to carry on the legacy that I will leave behind?”

The implication is that he does not find DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, who has been the most visible seeker of the LP nomination these past five years, to be “the most trustworthy” because otherwise there would not be a any need to worry about this problem. And he would not be publicly announcing that perhaps Grace Poe would be it.

READ MORE...
What he does not seem to realize — and it puzzles us why some of the less mendacious and more realistic Liberal Party leaders also seem to be as oblivious to the truth as BS Aquino himself — is that he has no legacy of good achievements to leave behind.

It is all empty, hollow talk, when he and his spokesmen claim that his administration has a reform program that must continue after he leaves office.

We will take up all the major areas of governance in this space in the coming days.

Today let’s just look at his greatest claim to brilliance and excellence–our country’s economic performance.

The other day there was news that growth in the first quarter was supposed to have hit 7.3 %.

Is this a result of Aquino’s and his people’s actions? Of course not. The only good thing that can be attributed to him and his men and women officials (many of whom were also key figures in the Arroyo administration) is that they did not reverse the policy directions already started before he became president. But he can be berated for the development setback caused by his and Budget Boss Abad’s decision to cancel some important GMA regime infrastructure projects so they could amass “savings.”

If our country now has investment-grade rating from Moody’s and S&Ps, it’s a progressive and cumulative result of the good policies started during the Macapagal-Arroyo regime and the consistently increasing foreign exchange remittances of our OFWs. These remittances make our pesos one of the world’s strongest and most stable currencies and makes our central bank the possessor of an enviable foreign currency hoard.

Meanwhile, this administration is a dismal failure in reducing poverty. In attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and in making its boasts about massive Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) come true.

And it has proved to be incompetent and laggard in affecting the economic rescue and rehabilitation of disaster ravaged areas of the country.

There is no economic-performance achievement that BS Aquino can honestly claim.


NEWS ANALYSIS: ‘Perfect Storm’ brewing? Islamic State says it could acquire Pakistan nuke for attack on US May 23, 2015 10:39 pm by REZAUL H LASKAR


ISIS TERRORIST GROUP POLITICAL CARTOON-- Mike Keefe InToon.com

THE Islamic State (IS) has suggested that it can use the “billions of dollars” in its coffers to acquire a nuclear device from Pakistan for carrying out a spectacular attack on the United States.

The claim was made in an article in the latest issue of Dabiq, the glossy online propaganda magazine of the IS. The article “The Perfect Storm” was attributed to John Cantlie, a British correspondent who was kidnapped by militants in Syria in November 2012.

The article, full of bluster and exaggerated claims, noted that several terror groups such as Boko Haram have already pledged allegiance to the IS. It posited that the acquisition of a nuclear device would be the logical next step after militants have seized weapons like tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems and anti-aircraft systems.

“The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah (chapter) in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region,” the article said.

The article then outlined a “hypothetical operation” to move the nuclear weapon from Pakistan to IS fighters who could use it to mount an attack on the US.

“The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the mujahidin move it south to Nigeria. Drug shipments from Columbia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible,” it said.

“The nuke and accompanying mujahidin arrive on the shorelines of South America and are transported through the porous borders of Central America before arriving in Mexico and up to the border with the United States. From there it’s just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they’re mingling with another 12 million ‘illegal’ aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk of their car.”

READ MORE...
The article acknowledged that such a scenario is perhaps “far-fetched but it’s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it’s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago”.

Pakistan has repeatedly rejected concerns expressed by the West about its nuclear arsenal, saying it has multiple layers of security and a robust command and control structure for its atomic weapons. It recent years, it has raised a special force to guard the nuclear weapons.

Even without acquiring a nuclear weapon, the article posited that IS fighters could carry out an attack on the US with ammonium nitrate-based explosives.

“And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That’s easy enough to make. The Islamic State make no secret of the fact they have every intention of attacking America on its home soil and they’re not going to mince about with two mujahidin taking down a dozen casualties if it originates from the Caliphate,” it said.

“They’ll be looking to do something big, something that would make any past operation look like a squirrel shoot, and the more groups that pledge allegiance the more possible it becomes to pull off something truly epic.”

The article further said acquiring aircraft too “would be the logical next step”. This, the article claimed, was the “plot of a political Western horror film”.

The article claimed huge swathes of “Pakistan, Nigeria, Libya, Yemen, and the Sinai Peninsula are all now united under the black flag” of the IS. It also said mujahideen in Afghanistan were now loyal to the group.

Earlier this year, IS announced the creation of a new chapter for Khurasan, the historic name for the area encompassing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia and parts of India.

Cantlie has regularly been used by the IS for its propaganda material, including a series of videos posted on YouTube. Though Cantlie has been critical of the West, including the US and Britain, in the videos and articles, experts believe he is participating in the propaganda under duress.

© 2015 THE HINDUSTAN TIMES (NEW DELHI) / DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.


Citizen Poe May 24, 2015 8:54 pm Crispin R. Aranda


by CRISPIN R. ARANDA

LET’S start from the end.

Senator Grace Poe has emerged as the front-runner candidate for presidency in 2016. Even President BS Aquino 3d met her – and not the VP.

Obviously, to President Aquino, VIP muna, bago VP.

And with the presidency at stake, candidates are scrutinized for their qualifications, eligibility, popularity and win-nability – not necessarily in that order.

Rewind to Senator Grace Poe’s family and citizenship history.

It is public knowledge that she is an adopted daughter of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces.

The adoption itself is not the issue but rather Senator Poe’s citizenship since Grace is being wooed by various polit-ical parties and coalition groups. She also has expressed her willingness to pursue a higher calling.

Whether that would be as a back-up candidate to Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senator Chiz Escudero (or the re-verse in a Poe-Escudero tandem); or be the standard bearer of the Liberal Party with Interior and Local Govern-ment Secretary Mar Roxas as VP – giving way a second time to a winning candidate – is still in the air.

She could also run as an independent given the fact that donors and patrons are likely to beat the path to her door.

Candidates for Philippine President and Vice President must meet the following qualifications:

1. Be a natural born citizen of the Philippines 2. Be a registered voter 3. Be able to read and write 4. Be at least 40 years of age on the day of election 5. Be a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election.

Of the five qualifications, being a natural-born Filipino has emerged as the issue that Senator Poe seeks to put to rest as she easily meets the other four.

Is Senator Grace Poe a US citizen? Is she a Filipino citizen? Or both?

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Senator Poe has been reported to have renounced her US citizenship after reacquiring her Filipino citizenship. So yes, she does not deny having acquired US citizenship.

Obtaining US Citizenship Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution states that “(a)ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they re-side. “

A child adopted by a US citizen parent may obtain US citizenship if the adoption was finalized before the child’s 16th birthday, the adoptive parent had legal custody of the child and resided with the child for at least two years, or if the child was admitted into the US as an orphan or Convention adoptee to be adopted by a US citizen parent and the adoption was completed before the child’s 18th birthday.

Dual Citizenship. Section 1 of the dual citizenship law – Republic Act 9225 allows a former natural born Filipino citi-zen to retain and/or reacquire Philippine citizenship. The rules shall apply to former natural-born citizens of the Philippines, as defined by Philippine law and jurisprudence, who have lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country.

Section 9 of R.A. 9225 requires the applicant seeking to retain or reacquire Filipino citizenship to execute and sub-mit an Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines “to support and defend the Constitution of the Repub-lic of the Philippines…accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and maintain true faith and allegiance there-to…”

Renunciation or abandonment of the foreign citizenship, e.g., US citizenship is not a requirement since the law was created precisely to encourage and recognize dual citizenship.

Dual citizens may acquire and own property, establish a business, generate employment and taxes, stay in the Philippines for as long as he or she wants enjoying the full rights and benefits of a Filipino citizen except to vote or run for elective positions – unless the dual citizen has formally renounced his or her U.S. citizenship.

So another yes: Senator Grace has admitted to have reacquired Filipino citizenship. Did she lose her US citizenship?

Loss of U.S. Citizenship requires a written renunciation before a U.S. Consular Officer in a prescribed form stipulat-ed under Section 349(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and Section 50.50 of Title 22 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

In renouncing US citizenship one is irrevocably giving up all rights and privileges attendant to being a US citizen.

Under Section 22.1 Title 22 (CFR) an administrative processing fee is collected after the individual has decided to proceed with the renunciation.

The officer conducting the renunciation must ask the renunciant to read Form DS 4081, Statement of Understand-ing Concerning the Consequences and Ramifications of Relinquishment or Renunciation of US Citizenship. The re-nunciant must indicate full understanding of signing the form.

Failure to sign the Form DS 4081 will prevent the renunciation or relinquishment from being approved, as the fail-ure to sign may be considered indicative of a lack of knowing intent to relinquish the United States citizenship (7 Foreign Affairs Manual 1262.4)

The person renouncing US citizenship must also read and sign another form – DS 4081, Oath/Affirmation of Renun-ciation of the Nationality of the United States.

Senator Grace Poe is a citizen.

Detractors need to present proof of what country.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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