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

FROM MALAYA

OPINION: LOSS OF FACE
[USA VS CHINA]


by Rey O Arcilla THE United States has demanded an “immediate and lasting halt” to reclamation works by China in parts of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and vowed to keep sending military aircraft and ships to the disputed area. The demand was made after Washington officials said China recently deployed two artillery pieces on one of the artificial islands she has been reclaiming. China, on the other hand, has already stated in no uncertain terms that her claim to and sovereignty over the area is as “hard as stone”, meaning she is not about to be dictated upon by any power on what to do. This development makes for a very ticklish situation that could lead to something more serious and dangerous than anyone might have imagined. Loss of face is hugely important to the Chinese, indeed to most Asian countries, perhaps a little less to the Philippines. China conceivably will not budge. (Last Sunday, China said she will not stop her reclamation activities.) What then? Is face as important to the Americans as it is to the Chinese? Given the fact that the two powers consider the disputed area vital to their respective national interests, will they go to the negotiating table instead of risking an armed clash which some say may lead to World War III, the last one? ***  Where would the Philippines be in case of armed hostilities between the US and China?  Right in the middle of it, I’m afraid. We will be the proverbial “grass” that will be trampled upon by the fighting elephants. Why? Because there are US troops and military hardware here (later to be enhanced by the presence of more US warships), as there are in Japan and South Korea. We will all be prime targets for Chinese jet fighters and bombers and ICBMs. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: When the axe falls


LEILA DE LIMA --PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO -- OVER a hundred individuals - lawmakers, government corporation officials, and their cohorts - are bound to have a few sleepless nights awaiting an announcement from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the third batch of respondents in plunder and corruption charges over the pork barrel scam. That new list of names may be out within the week and if expectations are anywhere near the mark, there will be quite a few administration allies who will be on the hot plate. The pork barrel and Malampaya Fund scams were simply too big and the dirty system allowed to run too long that it is inconceivable that only three opposition senators and a handful of former congressmen dipped their fingers in the pie. READ MORE...

ALSO by Dahli Aspillera: BBL is getting there...thank you Lord!


by Dahli Aspillera 
WERE it not for the grief and anger of the People of the Philippines over the deaths and suffering of 72 SAF policemen, the original, sloppily put-together Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, would have passed, and that southern enclave of the Philippines may have by now been seceded to become a new Arab nation. That tragic Mamasapano got the People of the Philippines to ask, “Who are these MILF, BIFF killers? What do they want? What is this BBL they are asking for? Political opposition scrutinized this BBL draft and found to many stipulations in it conflict with the Constitution of the Philippines. After eight months of consultations, 51 public hearings, executive sessions and meetings, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (AHCBBL) has submitted this week its substitute version of the proposed BBL to the plenary of the House of Representatives. Senator Ferdinand Marcos: “Can you imagine the Constitutional infirmities of the BBL, how glaring they are and they still insist that there should be no change? If we wanted to sabotage the BBL, that is precisely what they would do, we will not even touch it. That would deal a death blow from the Supreme Court. But that is not our job. Our function as legislators is to make sure that we pass the best possible law that we know how to pass. That we know the law that will pass will be constitutional, that will be enforceable and will in fact lead to progress and lead to peace--and that’s what we are doing. READ MORE...

ALSO: The President should know when to show off his knowledge of war history


by Ellen Tordesillas MUCH of the tension between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea territorial conflict would have been avoided if President Aquino kept his mouth shut. In the 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia sponsored by Nikkei last Wednesday in Tokyo, Aquino was asked about the role of the United States in Asia in the midst of China’s maritime expansion, Aquino said American presence in Asia checks China’s expansionism. “Their presence becomes a factor that has to be contended with, with those who would perhaps push the envelopes as far as what the agreements entitle them to or not,” he said. But he didn’t stop there. He went on to repeat what he said in a New York Times interview in February 2014: “I’m an amateur student of history and I’m reminded of… (I was) just watching several documentaries on World War II and especially how Germany was testing the waters and what the response were by various other European powers. And in several instances, when he was–when he annexed Austria, when they were putting up forces, developing certainties in the Rhineland, or a lot of violations of the Versailles agreement, they tested the waters and they were ready to back down if—for instance and in that aspect—France said ‘stop.’ “But, unfortunately, up to the annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, and eventually, the annexation of the entire country of Czechoslovakia, nobody said ‘stop.’ And the commentators on these documentaries were saying: ‘What if somebody said stop to Hitler at that point in time or to Germany at that time? Could we have avoided World War II?’” What makes Aquino’s remarks last Wednesday noteworthy was that, he said it as a visitor of Japan, which was allied with Hitler’s Germany in World War 2. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a Beijing media briefing: “We are deeply shocked at, strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to the absurd remarks made by the Philippine leader.” She reiterated the position of China in the South China Sea conflict turning the tables on and accusing the Philippines of having “illegally occupied” islands and reefs in Spratlys which they call Nansha Islands. Hua further said, “I once again solemnly urge some people from the Philippines to discard illusions, stop provoking and come back to the right track of resolving disputes through bilateral negotiation and consultation.”  READ MORE...

ALSO: Time was when...
[The lawmakers in those days served their country with honor. I cannot say the same of the present crop.]


by Amado P. Macasaet 
About the mid-fifties when Oscar Castelo was concurrently secretary of justice and defense in the government of Elpidio Quirino, he was sentenced to a life term by Pasay City Judge Emilio Rilloraza for the murder of Manuel P. Monroy, said to be a political leader of Don Claro Recto and Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson. He might have been given some comforts befitting his former powerful positions. I never heard from anybody Castelo was given VIP treatment. I thought he spent his time in his cell until he was pardoned by President Marcos. The life term imposed on a powerful man like Castelo was the first and last impartial application of justice and the law in this country. Since then, Congress or Marcos (having the power to make laws during martial law), enacted laws all intended to curb criminality and corruption. Thus, we have the Office of the Ombudsman that investigates complaints against state officials. The Ombudsman recommends filing of criminal-civil charges with the Sandiganbayan. I am not aware of any powerful man being convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan. A few local government officials have been punished, mostly by removal from office. There are no known cases of a powerful or small man meted a life term like Secretary Castelo was. I thought the law does not allow an affidavit of desistance if the prosecutor, the Ombudsman, feels the evidence is strong. Strangely, the Office of Ombudsman accepted the affidavit of desistance of a complainant who charged Lipa City Mayor Meynard Sabili with graft and corruption that attended the purchase of a big generator represented as brand new but turned out to be second hand. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: Dumbed down politics


May 18, 2015 Caricature of Senator Grace Poe by Rica Palomo-Espiritu, manilaspeaks.com : Imagine an ex-president and incumbent president, eager to endorse this senator. With a knack for rising above the political mudslinging to focus on the issues, one can’t help but ask, what are her plans and priorities? PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO. TRUST our politicians to keep us entertained with their antics even as we are losing a big swath of our territory to a greedy neighbor and leeches in government continue to suck the taxpayers’ blood. Just a couple of weeks earlier both the administration and the opposition acted like one lady senator was the best thing to happen in Philippine politics since the “dagdag-bawas”, as they courted her, or more accurately her surging popularity rating, in the hope of boosting the chances of their own bets. As soon as Senator Grace Poe declared her unwillingness to play second fiddle to any one, her suitors thought the next bright move was to chop her legs off to prevent her from running. They even got a number of lawyers scrambling and falling all over themselves to dissect her qualifications to smithereens, as if proving that she is a Filipino or an alien would decide the outcome of the 2016 presidential derby and apparently forgetting one rather important fact - she has yet to make up her mind one way or the other. Meantime, no one among the potential contenders thought it relevant to consider why a few of them are gaining, others are dropping, and the remaining ones have started digging a deeper bottom. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS  HERE:

OPINION: Loss of face


by Rey O Arcilla

MANILA, JUNE 8, 2015 (MALAYA) Submitted by Rey O. Arcilla on June 02, 2015 - THE United States has demanded an “immediate and lasting halt” to reclamation works by China in parts of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and vowed to keep sending military aircraft and ships to the disputed area.

The demand was made after Washington officials said China recently deployed two artillery pieces on one of the artificial islands she has been reclaiming.

China, on the other hand, has already stated in no uncertain terms that her claim to and sovereignty over the area is as “hard as stone”, meaning she is not about to be dictated upon by any power on what to do.

This development makes for a very ticklish situation that could lead to something more serious and dangerous than anyone might have imagined.

Loss of face is hugely important to the Chinese, indeed to most Asian countries, perhaps a little less to the Philippines.

China conceivably will not budge. (Last Sunday, China said she will not stop her reclamation activities.) What then? Is face as important to the Americans as it is to the Chinese?

Given the fact that the two powers consider the disputed area vital to their respective national interests, will they go to the negotiating table instead of risking an armed clash which some say may lead to World War III, the last one?

***

Where would the Philippines be in case of armed hostilities between the US and China?

Right in the middle of it, I’m afraid. We will be the proverbial “grass” that will be trampled upon by the fighting elephants. Why? Because there are US troops and military hardware here (later to be enhanced by the presence of more US warships), as there are in Japan and South Korea. We will all be prime targets for Chinese jet fighters and bombers and ICBMs.

READ MORE...
Is there a way we can get out of this troubling scenario before it happens?

I’m afraid it is a bit late now. We have been foolishly relying on the US and now Japan, hoping that such action would deter China from doing what she’s boldly doing now.

All we can do at this time is hope and pray that the two powers will be able to find a way out of the present situation without anyone losing face.

***

Trust Senator Serge Osmeña III to call a spade a spade.

When President Noynoy Aquino offered to meet with senators on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Osmeña said he would not go to such a meeting lest he be accused of getting “goodies” or pork barrel funds in exchange for his BBL support. He obviously was mindful of the accusations hurled at members of the House of Representatives’ sub-committee that hastily voted in favor of the BBL drafted by Malacañang after Noynoy met with them.

Osmeña also expressed doubts if Noynoy could address concerns of the senators “when he himself is not an expert on the BBL”.

***

Reminders (for Noynoy):

1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) during Arroyo’s illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency. That was almost five years ago.

2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia and order his successor, Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara, to file the proper charges, if warranted, against the former.

Noynoy should also order Vergara to report to him on COA’s findings that:

(a) He received the obscenely excessive compensation of P16.36 million in 2012 making him the highest paid government servant then. He was also the highest paid in 2013 with P12.09 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he again tops the list in 2014; and

(b) That nearly two years ago, at least P4.13 billion in contributions and loan payments made by 12 government offices, maybe more by now, to the GSIS had not been credited to the offices as of Dec. 31, 2011.

COA also said that the amount of unrecorded remittances could go much higher because only 36 agencies have at that time responded out of the 186 that were sent confirmation requests by government auditors. Of the 36, 27 confirmed “discrepancies” in their premium and loan payments ledgers when compared with those of the GSIS.

There are three questions being raised when remittances, or parts thereof, of government agencies are not recorded by the GSIS on time: a) Where are these huge sums “parked” in the meantime?; b) Do they earn interest?; and c) To where (whom?) does the interest, if any, go?

Pray tell, Mr. Vergara, what is the present status of these funds, including those that may have been remitted since and not yet recorded by the GSIS? How long do you think you can “dedma” these questions?

I believe it is time for COA to follow up on what Vergara has done on the above findings so that affected GSIS members would know the status of their contributions!

In this connection, I would like to address this question to COA chief Michael Aguinaldo: “Is Vergara one of the sacred cows in Noynoy’s coterie whom you wouldn’t dare investigate?”

***

Today is the 36th day of the ninth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance!

I dread to think of how many more years it will take before Jonas’ disappearance is finally resolved. It is almost certain it will not be during Noynoy’s daang matuwid watch. Sad…

***

From an internet friend:

Two Irish nuns were sitting at a traffic light in their car when a bunch of rowdy drunks pull up alongside of them. “Hey, show us your tits, ye bloody penguins!” shouts one of the drunks.

The Mother Superior turns to Sister Margret, “I don’t think they know who we are. Show them your cross.”

So Sister Margret rolls down her window and shouts, “Screw off ye little fookin’ wankers, before I come over there and rip yer nuts off!”

Sister Margret looks back at the Mother Superior and asks, “Was that cross enough?!


EDITORIAL: When the axe falls… May 29, 2015


LEILA DE LIMA --PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO

OVER a hundred individuals - lawmakers, government corporation officials, and their cohorts - are bound to have a few sleepless nights awaiting an announcement from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on the third batch of respondents in plunder and corruption charges over the pork barrel scam.

That new list of names may be out within the week and if expectations are anywhere near the mark, there will be quite a few administration allies who will be on the hot plate.

The pork barrel and Malampaya Fund scams were simply too big and the dirty system allowed to run too long that it is inconceivable that only three opposition senators and a handful of former congressmen dipped their fingers in the pie.

READ MORE...
Both the so-called “Napo-list” and the Commission on Audit’s own roster hinted that at least half of Congress from 2007 to 2013 were implicated in the scam in one way or another.

Even some whose names have already been floated as potential bets in the administration and the opposition’s senatorial lineups appeared in one or both lists.

The DOJ’s third batch of PDAF cases therefore, may well be a deal breaker for a number of people.

It could even cause a big shakedown among major political parties squeamish about carrying a tainted candidate.

A lot will depend on the integrity of the report that the DOJ will come up with.

Let’s hope the Honorable Secretary will not discriminate between political allies and non-political allies – PT.


BBL is getting there...thank you Lord! Submitted by Dahli Aspillera on June 03, 2015


by Dahli Aspillera

WERE it not for the grief and anger of the People of the Philippines over the deaths and suffering of 72 SAF policemen, the original, sloppily put-together Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL, would have passed, and that southern enclave of the Philippines may have by now been seceded to become a new Arab nation.

That tragic Mamasapano got the People of the Philippines to ask, “Who are these MILF, BIFF killers? What do they want? What is this BBL they are asking for? Political opposition scrutinized this BBL draft and found to many stipulations in it conflict with the Constitution of the Philippines.

After eight months of consultations, 51 public hearings, executive sessions and meetings, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (AHCBBL) has submitted this week its substitute version of the proposed BBL to the plenary of the House of Representatives.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos: “Can you imagine the Constitutional infirmities of the BBL, how glaring they are and they still insist that there should be no change? If we wanted to sabotage the BBL, that is precisely what they would do, we will not even touch it. That would deal a death blow from the Supreme Court. But that is not our job. Our function as legislators is to make sure that we pass the best possible law that we know how to pass. That we know the law that will pass will be constitutional, that will be enforceable and will in fact lead to progress and lead to peace--and that’s what we are doing.

READ MORE...
“We need to debate on it. There are too many things to revise, amend and remove from the BBL. We may not be able to amend the BBL without resorting to constitutional changes, it really has to be well studied. The legislator should have that comfort level so that it will not be reversed by the Supreme Court.... Everybody wants peace and everybody will find ways to reach a compromise to achieve lasting peace for the people of Mindanao... but the devil is in the details.”

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, 2nd District, Cagayan de Oro, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law: “BBL will provide the groundwork which the foundations for peace and development in Mindanao shall be laid.... These are the first, small steps towards achieving lasting peace in Mindanao... this substitute bill, House Bill 5811 has major amendments that will not create a Bangsamoro nation, but a new region under one flag, one country.”

Samsodin Amella, co-chair of nongovernmental group Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC) involved in public consultations which results were fed into the process of drafting the BBL by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).--“While civil society organizations generally laud the ad hoc committee for coming up with a BBL version, many still want to see further improvements... On our part, we reviewed the ad hoc committee’s version (of the BBL) and compared its provisions with the expectations of grassroots communities with respect to major issues. From there, we came up with a set of recommendations that we intend to lobby to House members in the hope that these will be reflected as adjustments.”

Jasmin Nario-Galace, co-convenor of WE ACT 1325 and executive director of the Miriam College Center for Peace Education: “Our Bangsamoro sisters and brothers have been calling for peace, justice, and development in Mindanao for so long. Let us not deprive them of these any further.”

Rep. Djalia Turabin-Hataman of the Anak Mindanao party-list: “We seek the affirmative votes of our fellow members of the House of Representatives when the Bangsamoro bill is submitted to a vote....This is a historic opportunity to approve a law that would have the most meaningful impact on the peace and order situation in Mindanao, and thus boost the country’s security, and usher in an era of peace that could trigger economic progress to finally happen and improve the lives of poor Mindanaoans, especially in the Bangsamoro. The approval of the draft by the House Ad Hoc Committee (on the BBL) is a positive development already. We are hoping for even more positive developments once this bill reaches the plenary.”

Former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno Jr.: “believes that the decades-old peace problem in Mindanao cannot be resolved through simple enactment of a law alone but requires changing the Constitution. Constitutional convention is a better platform to seek and discuss [ways] to have peace in Mindanao... may end up as a compromise legislation that would really need strengthening, or being revised in the future.

If the framework for the BBL is agreed upon in the Con-Con, the solution to the problem in Mindanao will be permanent because it is already enshrined in the [revised] Constitution, a win-win formula. If our solution is through legislation, it would not be permanent solution because the law can always be changed by Congress.”


The President should know when to show off his knowledge of war history Submitted by Ellen Tordesillas on June 05, 2015


by Ellen Tordesillas

MUCH of the tension between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea territorial conflict would have been avoided if President Aquino kept his mouth shut.

In the 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia sponsored by Nikkei last Wednesday in Tokyo, Aquino was asked about the role of the United States in Asia in the midst of China’s maritime expansion, Aquino said American presence in Asia checks China’s expansionism. “Their presence becomes a factor that has to be contended with, with those who would perhaps push the envelopes as far as what the agreements entitle them to or not,” he said.

But he didn’t stop there. He went on to repeat what he said in a New York Times interview in February 2014:

“I’m an amateur student of history and I’m reminded of… (I was) just watching several documentaries on World War II and especially how Germany was testing the waters and what the response were by various other European powers. And in several instances, when he was–when he annexed Austria, when they were putting up forces, developing certainties in the Rhineland, or a lot of violations of the Versailles agreement, they tested the waters and they were ready to back down if—for instance and in that aspect—France said ‘stop.’

“But, unfortunately, up to the annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, and eventually, the annexation of the entire country of Czechoslovakia, nobody said ‘stop.’ And the commentators on these documentaries were saying: ‘What if somebody said stop to Hitler at that point in time or to Germany at that time? Could we have avoided World War II?’”

What makes Aquino’s remarks last Wednesday noteworthy was that, he said it as a visitor of Japan, which was allied with Hitler’s Germany in World War 2.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a Beijing media briefing: “We are deeply shocked at, strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to the absurd remarks made by the Philippine leader.” She reiterated the position of China in the South China Sea conflict turning the tables on and accusing the Philippines of having “illegally occupied” islands and reefs in Spratlys which they call Nansha Islands.

Hua further said, “I once again solemnly urge some people from the Philippines to discard illusions, stop provoking and come back to the right track of resolving disputes through bilateral negotiation and consultation.”

READ MORE...
The Philippines has rejected bilateral negotiations with China on South China Sea territorial claims insisting that other claimants –Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, should be included. The conflict over Scarborough Shoal, 124 nautical miles from Zambalez, however, involves only the Philippines and China.

Aquino, who is known to be an avid reader of war history, is apparently fascinated by the 1938 Sudetenland crisis when Hitler demanded self-determination for all Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.

He first made the comparison of today’s activities of China in the South China Sea with the Sudentenland crisis in an interview with New York Times February last year.

Sources said Malacañang and Foreign Affairs officials present during the 2014 taped interview were shocked when he made that comparison.

China officially issued had a terse reaction:” The Chinese side is shocked at and dissatisfied with the remarks from the Philippine side” and reminded Aquino that “China made huge sacrifice and indelible historical contribution to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.”

But a commentary in Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official news agency called him “an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality.”

Former Foreign Secretary Roberto R. Romulo wrote in his Philippine Star column that there are other historical antecedents more appropriate in what is happening this region.

“After all,” he said, “the Sudeten remains a raw issue between Czechs and Germans today that transcends Hitler since it involved not just territory but a huge number of people. Let’s hope that in making this point the President did not manage to offend not only the Czechs and the Germans but the British and French too since they were complicit in what happened there.”

Malacañang must have realized Aquino’s faux pas, they asked someone with close links to the Chinese leadership to explain to them that “the President didn’t mean to offend China “with his Sudeten remarks.

Press Secretary Herminio Coloma had also to explain that the President, “a known history buff, merely mentioned a historical fact that could be related with the Philippine situation. “

He added: “As a storyteller and as a conversationalist, the President often gives details of a particular situation. So it could happen that he was simply citing a fact.”

The Philippines has filed a case versus China with the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal. Hearings will start soon.

Is it too much to ask President Aquino to share with the public his readings on war history after the U.N. court has decided on the Philippine case against China?


Time was when... Submitted by Amado P. Macasaet on June 05, 2015


by Amado P. Macasaet

About the mid-fifties when Oscar Castelo was concurrently secretary of justice and defense in the government of Elpidio Quirino, he was sentenced to a life term by Pasay City Judge Emilio Rilloraza for the murder of Manuel P. Monroy, said to be a political leader of Don Claro Recto and Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson.

He might have been given some comforts befitting his former powerful positions. I never heard from anybody Castelo was given VIP treatment. I thought he spent his time in his cell until he was pardoned by President Marcos.

The life term imposed on a powerful man like Castelo was the first and last impartial application of justice and the law in this country.

Since then, Congress or Marcos (having the power to make laws during martial law), enacted laws all intended to curb criminality and corruption. Thus, we have the Office of the Ombudsman that investigates complaints against state officials. The Ombudsman recommends filing of criminal-civil charges with the Sandiganbayan.

I am not aware of any powerful man being convicted of graft by the Sandiganbayan. A few local government officials have been punished, mostly by removal from office. There are no known cases of a powerful or small man meted a life term like Secretary Castelo was.

I thought the law does not allow an affidavit of desistance if the prosecutor, the Ombudsman, feels the evidence is strong. Strangely, the Office of Ombudsman accepted the affidavit of desistance of a complainant who charged Lipa City Mayor Meynard Sabili with graft and corruption that attended the purchase of a big generator represented as brand new but turned out to be second hand.

READ MORE...
There are a few weird incidents in this case. In the first place, the generator was purchased from a company operating out of far-away Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao but set up a branch in Lipa City to sell the generator to city hall. I believe the sale was the only business ever made in Lipa by the Tawi Tawi company.

Are there no reliable suppliers in Metro Manila? There are! One of them is Kubota owned by a friend of mine. The company sent a representative to Lipa to find out the terms of bidding. There were none. Nothing so specific a prospective bidder can work on in submitting a reasonable, defensible bid.

The generator was bought on a negotiated basis. It was forthwith tested. It conked out after a few hours. It had to be repaired at a cost of more than P200,000 paid by the city.

If the generator were brand new it should have a warranty covering a specific period. The fact that the city paid for repairs proved the generator is not brand new.

There is strong evidence that Mayor Sabili manipulated the bidding and may have profited from it. Can this evidence be erased or rendered non-existent by the submission of an affidavit of desistance. I think not. But the complaint was dropped.

The Department of Finance created the RIPS (Revenue Integrity Protection Service). It screens qualifications of applicants for jobs in customs. It also had the mandate of determining the ability, competence and integrity of customs employees seeking promotions.

I have been fed with information RIPS lives up to its literal meaning. It rips off applicants with large sums to get the appointments or promotions.

It need not be explained that laws, rules and regulations are only as good as the men who implement them. We have bad men on the ground. Corruption proliferates in spite of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan which tries erring public officials.

The decay in the political and justice systems has spread to the Catholic Church. It leaders never stop teaching their brethren — the faithful — that in the laws of God cohabitation is allowed only between man and woman who have had the sacrament of marriage.

Why is there a proliferation of single mothers? Why do waifs — children abandoned by their parents because they did not want the baby — multiply but the Catholic Church seems to be completely indifferent to their half-existence?

The Church which remits huge amounts of money to the Vatican which, many Catholics may not know has its own bank. Would money sent to the Holy See have better uses and benefits if it had been used to build more orphanages for the abandoned children?

It is completely oxymoronic for the Catholic Church to oppose the prevention of pregnancy through artificial means while the population expands at the rate of about two million babies a year the state cannot all feed, resources being scarce.

The Catholic Church is a big rich institution. In fairness, it has its own charity operations called Caritas Manila. Its leaders say their hearts bleed seeing people live in conditions below human dignity. Who encourages their multiplication? Isn’t it the Church itself which vehemently opposes the enforcement of the Reproductive Health Law?

Time was when there were fewer of us. As early as then hunger was beginning stalk the land. But there were fewer hungry people. There was peace. The policeman had night sticks as symbol of authority. The politicians truly and honestly served their people.

President Jose P. Laurel was at one time a justice of the Supreme Court. His son Jose B. Laurel Jr. was Speaker for many years. What has the Laurel family got to show for serving the state for decades? Nothing in terms of wealth.

The lawmakers in those days served their country with honor. I cannot say the same of the present crop.


Dumbed down politics June 05, 2015


May 18, 2015 Caricature of Senator Grace Poe by Rica Palomo-Espiritu, manilaspeaks.com : Imagine an ex-president and incumbent president, eager to endorse this senator. With a knack for rising above the political mudslinging to focus on the issues, one can’t help but ask, what are her plans and priorities? PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO.

TRUST our politicians to keep us entertained with their antics even as we are losing a big swath of our territory to a greedy neighbor and leeches in government continue to suck the taxpayers’ blood.

Just a couple of weeks earlier both the administration and the opposition acted like one lady senator was the best thing to happen in Philippine politics since the “dagdag-bawas”, as they courted her, or more accurately her surging popularity rating, in the hope of boosting the chances of their own bets.

As soon as Senator Grace Poe declared her unwillingness to play second fiddle to any one, her suitors thought the next bright move was to chop her legs off to prevent her from running.

They even got a number of lawyers scrambling and falling all over themselves to dissect her qualifications to smithereens, as if proving that she is a Filipino or an alien would decide the outcome of the 2016 presidential derby and apparently forgetting one rather important fact - she has yet to make up her mind one way or the other.

Meantime, no one among the potential contenders thought it relevant to consider why a few of them are gaining, others are dropping, and the remaining ones have started digging a deeper bottom.

READ MORE...
Hardly any stand have been rattled with satisfying consistency about the real challenges that would confront the next set of leaders whose bad fortune it would be to get elected in the midst of China’s hegemonic ambitions, knee-deep multi-billion peso scams, crumbling infrastructure, and an increasingly hostile climate.

Sadly, the great bulk of media reports have been content to stuff the public with the fodder for gossip about the mysterious progenitor of one potential candidate, the unaccredited number of suspected killings by another, and the fabulous tales of decades-long money-making enterprise of a third.

It is the mess all meaningless noontime soaps have subsisted on.

All that is missing is a bowl of popcorn. – PT.

Thoughts on the peace process



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