EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by full commentary of the news below)

FROM MANILA STANDARD

CHUA: TAKING STOCK OF THE HOPEFULS


by Adelle Chua .......Choosing a president is an issue of leadership. Magdaraog’s team then looked at the existing leadership models used by management professionals and organizations and determined which among these roles best fit the Philippine setting. The team eventually narrowed down the “must” roles to five: Navigator/ Strategist, Mobilizer, Servant Leader, Captivator and Guardian of the National Wealth, Patrimony and Law and Order. Each of these roles were defined and clarified, with the behavior and competencies associated with each role fleshed out. The committee then conducted its own campaign to ask people to use said standards in objectively coming up with a decision to choose the next leader. This was 12 years ago, but the research remains relevant especially these days as we draw closer to deciding, once again, whom we should pick to lead us. Let’s not get distracted by the antics of the personalities – let’s instead put them under scrutiny to see if they can indeed take on the challenges of one of the toughest jobs there is. And then let’s do the math – devoid of sound bytes, emotional appeal and other distractions. READ FROM THE BEGINNING...

ALSO: Losing one’s ideological gyroscope


The founding and former chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Ma. Sison, has lost his political gyroscope that his latest pronouncement practically put at stake the very integrity of the Party that raised the banner of anti-imperialism to liberate our people. With the decision to openly support the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, Sison and his band of misguided Marxist fundamentalists miserably failed to understand the problem, much more its implication. He and his holdouts in the Netherlands never truly gave a deeper circumspection in supporting the decision enunciated by the shameful lackey of the US imperialist, sending shockwaves to an already- flickering party that has inflicted more trauma on our people and evaporated to thin air their dream of being liberated. The declaration to support “the legal struggle of the Philippine government against the aggressive acts of China in the West Philippine Sea” obviously reveals lack of understanding of the geo-political and historical situation in this part of the globe. To begin with, there could be no act of aggression that could be committed by a state in a disputed territory. The territory that was attacked or occupied must be part of the national territory or one where it has an indisputable sovereignty and jurisdiction. The islands which we are claiming were not part of the territory that were sold by Spain to the US for a mere $20 million dollars. The Kalayaan Group of Islands was not included was delineated as within the nautical boundary in the sale that included the inhabitants. Equally, China cannot claim aggression against the Philippines over those islands for the same reason that they remain disputed islands for which under international law and by the United Nations Charter, it failed to exercise effective occupation until recently. As an ideologue, Sison should have sorted out the difference between supporting the Philippine government from its support for the Filipino people. For that, Sison is acting like Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario who wants to create a wedge between this country and China in the name of patriotism, and not because our people have direct economic interest in securing those islands. If Sison does not know it yet, China is also a claimant, and that invariably means that before the dispute was heated up by the US, both countries and the other claimants like Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all failed to establish an effective occupation which reason why there exists an overlapping dispute. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: A poor start 


WHAT kind of political discussion can fill five hours? That was the question that sprang to mind when we heard that President Aquino had met Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at the Palace this week for that amount of time, presumably to discuss common plans for the 2016 presidential elections. Details on what transpired were sketchy, at best, and hardly seemed enough to fill five minutes, much less five hours. “Yes, the President met with us. We discussed 2016 but only to the extent of hopefully having a united ticket. No specific commitments or positions were mentioned. We will meet again as part of a continued consultation process,” Poe said in a statement after the meeting. Escudero, on the other hand, came away with the distinct impression that his friend, the President, had not yet made up his mind on who he would endorse for the presidential race in 2016. Escudero said the President didn’t make any specific offers to him or Poe, but appealed to keep the administration coalition intact by supporting a common candidate next year to avoid dividing the vote. “He talked about continuing the reforms. If the straight path will continue, our country will go a long way in just short span of time,” Escudero said. With no more information than this to go on, and despite Poe and Escudero’s statements that no specific commitments were mentioned, we are left to speculate at the kind of horse-trading that went on for the remaining time after these general motherhood statements were made. That the President took the time to meet with Poe and Escudero—neither of whom belong to his Liberal Party—is a clear sign that his presumptive candidate, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II as well as his party is in serious trouble. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Preferential option for the poor’


Hours before wrapping up his Latin American tour, Pope Francis went to Banado Norte, a flood-prone slum area in Paraguay, to speak to around 1,500 families living in extreme poverty. “I have looked forward to being with you today. I could not come to Paraguay without spending some time with you, here on your land,” the pope told the people, to whose personal stories he also took time to listen. “To see your faces, your children, your elderly, and to hear about your experiences and everything you went through to be here, to have a dignified life and a roof over your heads, to endure the bad weather and the flooding of these last few weeks. Your struggles have not taken away your laughter, your joy and your hope. Struggles which have not lessened your sense of solidarity but if anything, have made it grow,” the Pope told Paraguay’s poor. He might as well still be talking to us Filipinos. In January, he came to the Philippines and showed oneness with the victims of disasters and with the desolate here. This preferential option for the poor is the hallmark of liberation theology, which the Pope has championed for decades. Unfortunately, here at home, the word “poor” has political, rather than a socio-economic and theological, ring to it. Sure, the administration claims to reach out to the poor through the billions of pesos it doles out through its conditional cash transfer program. Our leaders claim to improve the lot of the poor and marginalized – look at the growing economy, they say. What they do not mention is the fact that the actual number of poor families is growing, and unemployment and underemployment are forcing Filipinos to look for jobs abroad. There may be nominal growth, but inclusive growth remains a far-fetched dream. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: The new chief


Finally, the President has decided. After more than seven months of being leaderless, the Philippine National Police has a new chief, and not in an acting capacity. This week, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Police Director Ricardo Marquez director general, and he will hold this position until August 2016, months after the elections. Marquez is best known for managing the security of Pope Francis when the pontiff visited the country early this year. He is also overseeing the preparations for the coming summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in November. Other than these achievements known to the public, Marquez has been largely invisible, not because he has been mediocre, but because h e has eschewed the limelight, and notoriety, and merely focused on his job. In this regard he is starkly different from his predecessor, Alan Purisima, who was suspended and later on dismissed by the Ombudsman for corruption charges. READ MORE...

ALSO: Dilemma over Poe’s candidacy


IT has been said that the only way Interior Secretary Mar Roxas can win the 2016 presidential elections, even if he were anointed by President Aquino, is if he runs unopposed. This brings us to the question: Is this the reason why President Aquino is desperately trying to convince Senator Grace Poe, in a series of dinner meetings, not to run as president with Senator Chiz Escudero as her running mate? While Poe has been saying that she still has to make up her mind, she has been dropping hints that if she were to run for president, she would run with Escudero and they would run as independents. If this happens, the President would be in a dilemma because he knows Mar Roxas is not winnable. That’s the reason the President is trying hard to convince Poe to run as Mar’s running mate. What he is doing, he says, is keeping the coalition intact. The next question now is, can the President succeed in keeping Poe and Chiz in the coalition? The two seem bent on running as independents, given that Poe has surpassed Binay in surveys. I believe that the President is working on the wrong premise. He may be thinking that that with Mar Roxas running for the presidency and with Grace Poe as his vice president, their chances against Vice President Binay would improve. Granting without assuming that the President would be able to convince Poe and Escudero, can Mar’s chances against Binay improve with a very popular Grace Poe? Knowing how Philippine elections go, the popularity of a president or vice president candidate cannot be shared. History tells us that even the much-vaunted popularity of then vice-presidential candidate Joseph Estrada could not make businessman and Nationalist People’s Coalition Danding Cojuangco win as President in 1992. This is because popularity is something personal to a national candidate. In the case of Poe, her popularity in the survey polls is no guarantee for victory. There are two factors that can make a presidential candidate win as seen in past elections--grassroots machinery and money. We saw all these during when the late movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., Grace’s adoptive father, ran in 2004 against incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. READ MORE...

ALSO: Achieving credible deterrence


News reports of the developments in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the international tribunal in The Hague which is hearing the Philippine case against China’s massive claim over virtually the entire resource-rich waters in the West Philippine Sea, has once more brought to fore our concern for the country’s lack of effective territorial defense. Since 1990, China has engaged in a creeping invasion over the contested waters, and has progressively become more aggressive in its posturing to assert its self-proclaimed indisputable historical rights to claim everything and anything within the infamous nine-dash line. To date, the Philippines has been for the most part, unable to impose its claims over the disputed areas. As China continues to occupy more territory and embark on illegal activities within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, we have not really achieved much by way of the legal and diplomatic remedies that have been undertaken to date. Even as this is being written, China continues its massive reclamation in the Kalayaan Island Group. Apart from the Scarborough Shoal, which China now effectively controls, China has already embarked on a massive reclamation project on at least seven reefs in the area: Mischief, Mabini, Chigua, Calderon, Kagitingan, Zamora and Gaven. Construction of military facilities, including an air strip, has also been monitored. When these facilities become fully operational within the year, we will none the less be near solving our problems even if the arbitration court rules in our favor. Given the urgency of the situation, I am of the firm conviction that we should already start rethinking our efforts on our territorial defense capabilities and in achieving credible deterrence as to put a stop in further incursions within the West Philippine Sea. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA EDITORIALS & OPINIONS HERE:

Taking stock of the hopefuls

MANILA
, JULY 20, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) By Adelle Chua | Jul. 13, 2015 at 12:01am

First of two parts

We often lament how politics, Philippine-style, has always been personality-driven without much regard for the overall qualities, experience and background of a candidate.

Look at where this has taken us. Many years after a so-called revolution on Edsa inspired the rest of the world to undertake changes of their own, we remain in the dark ages of political patronage, electing leaders because of their surnames, their popularity, their image. How they fit certain archetypes.

How they are able to respond to their constituents’ “needs”. How quickly they arrive at the scene when there is something wrong. How refreshing they appear to be compared to the tired, old style of those whom they purport to replace.

Alas, because the basis of our collective decisions are appearances, it follows we are easily disillusioned, quick to criticize and call for resignations.

This is a fundamental problem in our election system that not even the most sophisticated, fraud-proof voting and canvassing technology cannot address. This is, after all, how voters decide whom they vote for, in the first place.

Perhaps this explains, too, why we never seem to be able to be happy with the choices we make, feel a sense of community and deep patriotism that would allow us to be more involved in our nation’s affairs beyond the occasional pseudo-political commentary on social media.

This problem has been noticed by management professionals and academicians, as well.In mid-2003, the Management Association of the Philippines through its governance committee headed by its then-chairman, Rex Drilon II, embarked on a project that would help Filipinos make their choices for the 2004 polls in a more systematic, deliberate way.

MAP enlisted the help of Vic Magdaraog, one of its most active members, to head a task force and research team that would look into what a Philippine president must be. Volunteers from the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines and the People Management Association of the Philippines joined the research team, as well.

Choosing a president is an issue of leadership. Magdaraog’s team then looked at the existing leadership models used by management professionals and organizations and determined which among these roles best fit the Philippine setting.

The team eventually narrowed down the “must” roles to five: Navigator/ Strategist, Mobilizer, Servant Leader, Captivator and Guardian of the National Wealth, Patrimony and Law and Order. Each of these roles were defined and clarified, with the behavior and competencies associated with each role fleshed out.

The committee then conducted its own campaign to ask people to use said standards in objectively coming up with a decision to choose the next leader.

This was 12 years ago, but the research remains relevant especially these days as we draw closer to deciding, once again, whom we should pick to lead us.

Let’s not get distracted by the antics of the personalities – let’s instead put them under scrutiny to see if they can indeed take on the challenges of one of the toughest jobs there is. And then let’s do the math – devoid of sound bytes, emotional appeal and other distractions.

More on the five roles in my next column.


Losing one’s ideological gyroscope  By Rod Kapunan | Jul. 11, 2015 at 12:01am



The founding and former chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Ma. Sison, has lost his political gyroscope that his latest pronouncement practically put at stake the very integrity of the Party that raised the banner of anti-imperialism to liberate our people.

With the decision to openly support the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, Sison and his band of misguided Marxist fundamentalists miserably failed to understand the problem, much more its implication.

He and his holdouts in the Netherlands never truly gave a deeper circumspection in supporting the decision enunciated by the shameful lackey of the US imperialist, sending shockwaves to an already- flickering party that has inflicted more trauma on our people and evaporated to thin air their dream of being liberated.

The declaration to support “the legal struggle of the Philippine government against the aggressive acts of China in the West Philippine Sea” obviously reveals lack of understanding of the geo-political and historical situation in this part of the globe.

To begin with, there could be no act of aggression that could be committed by a state in a disputed territory. The territory that was attacked or occupied must be part of the national territory or one where it has an indisputable sovereignty and jurisdiction. The islands which we are claiming were not part of the territory that were sold by Spain to the US for a mere $20 million dollars.

The Kalayaan Group of Islands was not included was delineated as within the nautical boundary in the sale that included the inhabitants. Equally, China cannot claim aggression against the Philippines over those islands for the same reason that they remain disputed islands for which under international law and by the United Nations Charter, it failed to exercise effective occupation until recently.

As an ideologue, Sison should have sorted out the difference between supporting the Philippine government from its support for the Filipino people. For that, Sison is acting like Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario who wants to create a wedge between this country and China in the name of patriotism, and not because our people have direct economic interest in securing those islands.

If Sison does not know it yet, China is also a claimant, and that invariably means that before the dispute was heated up by the US, both countries and the other claimants like Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all failed to establish an effective occupation which reason why there exists an overlapping dispute.

READ MORE...

If only Sison saw that difference in supporting the policy of that government that has been hounding his group and by just being consistent in supporting the people who are still aching to be liberated form the yoke of US imperialism, he would surely distanced himself from this administration that now stands as the biggest and most corrupt cacique in the country.

Even after Tomas Cloma, who claimed to have discovered those islands and sought to own it on the assumption they were res nullius, China did not make a fuss out of that claim by the Filipino seafarer. With China now emerging as a world power, and the US raising anew its antiquated policy to contain China, it is no coincidence that our war chant came alongside with the pronouncement made by President Obama of the US “Pivot Asia” policy.

The role played by this government is to make it appear that the US is not alone in reviving its chauvinistic policy. It is this government that allowed itself to be used by the US to stem its receding power from being completely washed out of Asia.

It is this country that is acting now as the proxy of the US for which it has disguised its interest as our own interest. Sison, like Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alberto del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, could not see that the US Pivot Asia policy would have no meaning if there are no countries openly supporting that policy.

Sison’s concurrence in rejecting China’s offer for bilateral talks calling it “void ab initio” for claiming that it has an indisputable sovereignty over those islands is non sequitur because it is the same argument that our delegates would be raising at the Hague.

Rather, his position is an implied endorsement of the continuing presence of US to meddle in the dispute. In fact, the only visible interest of the US in the West Philippine Sea is for the right of free passage to be respected, which was assured by China.

Admittedly, many of those islands are within the 200-mile exclusive economic zone set by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). China has ratified the UNCLOS, and that we assume that it would adhere to the 200-mile limit and recognize the EEZ.

However, we did not mention that the EEC only pertains to the exploration and exploitation of the marine resources in the area, and does not vest ownership or jurisdiction to countries adjacent to it.

President Marcos was quick to see this pitfall that he urged the members of the 1973 Constitution to see to it that those vast bodies of water separating the islands remain our historic and inland waters. Unfortunately, it is this government, which Sison is supporting, that impliedly abrogated the “archipelagic doctrine” when it allowed US warships to freely navigate in those areas without first securing permission form the government.

To reiterate, China is not telling us to give up those islands. Rather, our decision to bring our case to the Permanent Arbitration Court is now inversely interpreted as telling the Chinese to vacate which we know could never happen.

Whatever is the decision of the PAC, it could not affect China, much that it has refused to submit to its jurisdiction. Besides, China cannot consider our claim serious much that we did not include other claimants as parties to the dispute. We opted to single out China which no objective court can ignore.

In fact, the claim of Malaysia is even more odious and preposterous because it anchors its claim after it annexed Sabah. And from there, it claims the outlying islands near Sabah as its territory.

Thus, as we refuse to negotiate, China continues to hold on to those islands, and we could not do anything about that. In the meantime, the US continues to sell to us their outmoded arms while Sison continues to make a howl to US imperialism for the fact that he is the only Maoist leader to be declared persona non grata by China.

Maybe Sison and del Rosario should sing the old ballad song titled Mona Lisa, the lyrics of which go: “Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep, they just lie there and they die there.”


EDITORIAL: A poor start  Jul. 15, 2015 at 12:01am


WHAT kind of political discussion can fill five hours?

That was the question that sprang to mind when we heard that President Aquino had met Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at the Palace this week for that amount of time, presumably to discuss common plans for the 2016 presidential elections.

Details on what transpired were sketchy, at best, and hardly seemed enough to fill five minutes, much less five hours.

“Yes, the President met with us. We discussed 2016 but only to the extent of hopefully having a united ticket. No specific commitments or positions were mentioned. We will meet again as part of a continued consultation process,” Poe said in a statement after the meeting.

Escudero, on the other hand, came away with the distinct impression that his friend, the President, had not yet made up his mind on who he would endorse for the presidential race in 2016.

Escudero said the President didn’t make any specific offers to him or Poe, but appealed to keep the administration coalition intact by supporting a common candidate next year to avoid dividing the vote.

“He talked about continuing the reforms. If the straight path will continue, our country will go a long way in just short span of time,” Escudero said.

With no more information than this to go on, and despite Poe and Escudero’s statements that no specific commitments were mentioned, we are left to speculate at the kind of horse-trading that went on for the remaining time after these general motherhood statements were made.

That the President took the time to meet with Poe and Escudero—neither of whom belong to his Liberal Party—is a clear sign that his presumptive candidate, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II as well as his party is in serious trouble.

READ MORE...

Unlike Poe who has fared well in recent public opinion polls for the presidency, Roxas has consistently hovered near the bottom of the pack.

And while the President might prefer Poe to join the 2016 elections as Roxas’ vice presidential running mate, there are a few problems with this notion, the foremost being that Poe has publicly stated several times that would prefer to run with Escudero, who has topped recent opinion surveys for the vice presidential race.

Just as importantly, experience has shown that the inclusion of a popular vice presidential candidate is no guarantee that the presidential candidate of the same ticket will win. In 1992, Joseph Estrada ran and won the vice presidential race but his presidential running mate, Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., did not.

The inconvenient truth for Mr. Aquino and his Liberal Party is that by all appearances, their presumptive presidential candidate can only win in the popular vote in 2016 if he runs unopposed. And not even Poe or Escudero can change that.

So if no positions were offered or committed, what did the President and the two senators discuss for five hours? Did they, for instance, finally muster the courage to bring up—even privately—their concerns over the ruinous policies that this President has pursued? Or did they quietly smile and let the President do all the talking?

If Poe and Escudero expect us to believe they exchanged nothing but pleasantries and general motherhood statements about the straight path with the President for five hours, then they must have more contempt for our intelligence than they have thus far let on—and that is a poor start indeed.


‘Preferential option for the poor’ Jul. 14, 2015 at 12:01am

Hours before wrapping up his Latin American tour, Pope Francis went to Banado Norte, a flood-prone slum area in Paraguay, to speak to around 1,500 families living in extreme poverty.

“I have looked forward to being with you today. I could not come to Paraguay without spending some time with you, here on your land,” the pope told the people, to whose personal stories he also took time to listen.

“To see your faces, your children, your elderly, and to hear about your experiences and everything you went through to be here, to have a dignified life and a roof over your heads, to endure the bad weather and the flooding of these last few weeks. Your struggles have not taken away your laughter, your joy and your hope. Struggles which have not lessened your sense of solidarity but if anything, have made it grow,” the Pope told Paraguay’s poor.

He might as well still be talking to us Filipinos. In January, he came to the Philippines and showed oneness with the victims of disasters and with the desolate here.

This preferential option for the poor is the hallmark of liberation theology, which the Pope has championed for decades.

Unfortunately, here at home, the word “poor” has political, rather than a socio-economic and theological, ring to it.

Sure, the administration claims to reach out to the poor through the billions of pesos it doles out through its conditional cash transfer program. Our leaders claim to improve the lot of the poor and marginalized – look at the growing economy, they say.

What they do not mention is the fact that the actual number of poor families is growing, and unemployment and underemployment are forcing Filipinos to look for jobs abroad. There may be nominal growth, but inclusive growth remains a far-fetched dream.

READ MORE...

And because elections are just around the corner, more politicians are getting ready to milk the poor for their ability to deliver the goods in terms of votes. They will be given short-term tokens to show that candidates cared about their plight.

But that would be all.

How could preferential option for the poor be genuinely shown? Give them real jobs, and real options. Make them not rely on the government to sustain their daily needs. The government only needs to provide opportunities to enable them to provide for themselves.

READ MORE...

Disabuse them of the notion that a good leader is one who regularly and unthinkingly gives funds and freebies. Rather, it is one who inspires confidence and participation and hard work. It is he or she who respects them enough to guide them in anticipating and preparing forfor disasters, and empowers them to take control of their lives. This is accomplished not by relying on cash dole but by finding sustainable work that would feed their families today – and in the days thereafter.

Finally, refuse to keep them in the dark. Enlighten them about what they can do, what they must expect from the government and their leaders but also what they must not. Instead, educate them on the standards they must set for themselves. Give them tools to build their own dreams. Never drown them in “utang na loob” – instead, teach them to ask, to search, to question, and participate.

The poor deserve no less. This is liberation at its best.


The new chief Jul. 16, 2015 at 12:01am

Finally, the President has decided.

After more than seven months of being leaderless, the Philippine National Police has a new chief, and not in an acting capacity. This week, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Police Director Ricardo Marquez director general, and he will hold this position until August 2016, months after the elections.

Marquez is best known for managing the security of Pope Francis when the pontiff visited the country early this year. He is also overseeing the preparations for the coming summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in November.

Other than these achievements known to the public, Marquez has been largely invisible, not because he has been mediocre, but because h e has eschewed the limelight, and notoriety, and merely focused on his job.

In this regard he is starkly different from his predecessor, Alan Purisima, who was suspended and later on dismissed by the Ombudsman for corruption charges.

As if these were not enough, Purisima also headed the operation, while he was supposedly under suspension, where 44 police commandos were killed as they sought to arrest two terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

By contrast, Marquez seems to still be wondering whether he is up to the job: “I needed a tutor,” he said in jest, upon learning of his appointment.

Marquez said he would immediately buckle down to work because there is much to do. We agree, as we wonder why the President took much time deciding on the appointment. Aside from the looming regional summit this year and the elections next year, Marquez needs to preside over a body demoralized by Mamasapano and, some say, wracked by the factions within it, aside from the day-to-day issues of keeping the streets safe for ordinary Filipinos who worry about their security even from their homes.

A daunting task, indeed. We wish him well.


Dilemma over Poe’s candidacy By Emil Jurado | Jul. 16, 2015 at 12:01am



IT has been said that the only way Interior Secretary Mar Roxas can win the 2016 presidential elections, even if he were anointed by President Aquino, is if he runs unopposed.

This brings us to the question: Is this the reason why President Aquino is desperately trying to convince Senator Grace Poe, in a series of dinner meetings, not to run as president with Senator Chiz Escudero as her running mate?

While Poe has been saying that she still has to make up her mind, she has been dropping hints that if she were to run for president, she would run with Escudero and they would run as independents.

If this happens, the President would be in a dilemma because he knows Mar Roxas is not winnable.

That’s the reason the President is trying hard to convince Poe to run as Mar’s running mate. What he is doing, he says, is keeping the coalition intact.

The next question now is, can the President succeed in keeping Poe and Chiz in the coalition? The two seem bent on running as independents, given that Poe has surpassed Binay in surveys.

I believe that the President is working on the wrong premise. He may be thinking that that with Mar Roxas running for the presidency and with Grace Poe as his vice president, their chances against Vice President Binay would improve.

Granting without assuming that the President would be able to convince Poe and Escudero, can Mar’s chances against Binay improve with a very popular Grace Poe? Knowing how Philippine elections go, the popularity of a president or vice president candidate cannot be shared.

History tells us that even the much-vaunted popularity of then vice-presidential candidate Joseph Estrada could not make businessman and Nationalist People’s Coalition Danding Cojuangco win as President in 1992. This is because popularity is something personal to a national candidate.

In the case of Poe, her popularity in the survey polls is no guarantee for victory. There are two factors that can make a presidential candidate win as seen in past elections--grassroots machinery and money. We saw all these during when the late movie icon Fernando Poe Jr., Grace’s adoptive father, ran in 2004 against incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

READ MORE...

With the popularity of FPJ, he lost to Gloria, not because of cheating as alleged, but because FPJ ran out of funds in the last two weeks of the campaign.

That’s the reason the administration party and its candidate have the distinct advantage of having the grassroots following through local government units and all the resources and funding.

It may be argued that former Senate President Manny Villar had all the money to spare, and yet he placed No. 3 in 2010 when “BS” Aquino won and Estrada placed second. That’s perhaps the best example that popularity is not all there’s to it unless one has both grassroots following AND money.

Just take note of the 2010 polls where Vice President Binay won over Mar Roxas, the running mate of the son of the late Ninoy and Cory Aquino. “BS” Aquino won despite his lackluster performance as a lawmaker. He won because his mother, Cory Aquino, died at the right time.

But back to Poe. While I admire and respect her independence and integrity, that’s not all there’s to it .

The next president must hit the ground running. I doubt that Poe can meet that challenge considering her inexperience as an elective official.

Besides, Grace still has to explain fully the residency and citizenship issues thrown at her. While there are those who believe she is a natural-born Filipino, there are also those who don’t. And there are allegations that when she came back home when her adoptive father, FPJ, died, she had been using her American passport. She only renounced it when she was appointed chairperson of the Movie & Television Ratings and Classification Board.

My gulay, while the political horizon appears murky at the moment, it will soon clear up when the October deadline for filing Certificates of Candidacy come up.

I am willing to bet, though, that there could be three or at most five running for President, with more than five running for vice president.

Senator Bongbong Marcos is somebody to watch, and so is Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. The Marcos name is still magic in Ilocandia and so is the Romualdez name in Eastern Visayas.

The Marcos and Romualdez names may be anathema to some. Still, Bongbong Marcos is proving himself as a senator whom we can respect and admire, especially with his adamant stand on the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Sometimes, when Bongbong speaks or appears on television, I cannot but remember the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos, who in my book could have been the greatest president were it not for Martial Law.

LACSON AND DAP IN BUDGET

When Congress started deliberating the 2015-2016 General Appropriation Act or the national budget, there were claims that the much-hated PDAF or Priority Development Assistance Fund and that mongrel called the DAP or Disbursement Assistance Program, both of which were thumbed down by the Supreme Court, were inserted under the unprogrammed budget items called “lump sums” which remain to be discretionary funds for political purposes.

Now, that former Senator and recently Rehabilitation Czar Ping Lacson has come up with his own charges against the PDAF and the DAP, the President’s allies, friends and supporters are now disputing his charges. This includes Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chiz Escudero, who claims that there are safeguards against misuse and abuse.

Coming from Lacson, who apparently has broken his alliance with the Aquino administration, the presence of PDAF and DAP in the present national budget becomes believable, especially so with the 2016 polls fast approaching.

It appears that we cannot just trust the Aquino administration.

POLLS IN MALLS

The idea of Comelec Chairman Andy Bautista to have polling precincts in shopping malls all over the country for the 2016 elections is an innovative idea that can help the voters in many ways.

Aside from the voters being assured of electric power, they don’t have to suffer the heat.

Go for it, Andy, and don’t mind the negative remarks.


Achieving credible deterrence By Danilo Suarez | Jul. 16, 2015 at 12:01am

News reports of the developments in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the international tribunal in The Hague which is hearing the Philippine case against China’s massive claim over virtually the entire resource-rich waters in the West Philippine Sea, has once more brought to fore our concern for the country’s lack of effective territorial defense. Since 1990, China has engaged in a creeping invasion over the contested waters, and has progressively become more aggressive in its posturing to assert its self-proclaimed indisputable historical rights to claim everything and anything within the infamous nine-dash line.

To date, the Philippines has been for the most part, unable to impose its claims over the disputed areas. As China continues to occupy more territory and embark on illegal activities within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone, we have not really achieved much by way of the legal and diplomatic remedies that have been undertaken to date. Even as this is being written, China continues its massive reclamation in the Kalayaan Island Group.

Apart from the Scarborough Shoal, which China now effectively controls, China has already embarked on a massive reclamation project on at least seven reefs in the area: Mischief, Mabini, Chigua, Calderon, Kagitingan, Zamora and Gaven. Construction of military facilities, including an air strip, has also been monitored. When these facilities become fully operational within the year, we will none the less be near solving our problems even if the arbitration court rules in our favor.

Given the urgency of the situation, I am of the firm conviction that we should already start rethinking our efforts on our territorial defense capabilities and in achieving credible deterrence as to put a stop in further incursions within the West Philippine Sea.

READ MORE...

Primary to this is to move away from our current penchant for buying refurbished and second-hand air and sea craft as part of the programmed acquisitions under the AFP modernization program. Instead, I humbly opine that we should focus the procurement to state-of-the-art surface to air/ surface to surface air defense systems.

A modern air defense battery costing $100-thousand each could easily down a $50-million plane or even a $300 million war ship. Compare that with our recent million dollar acquisitions which turned out are not even capable of safe flying.

Adding salt to the wound, a news report said that 28 military projects, including base upgrades, various air assets, and ships with a total cost P60.14-billion under the AFP Modernization Program might be delayed due to Malacańang’s inaction. Even more frustrating was the news report from another broadsheet stating that Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, outgoing Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. and Army Commander Maj. Gen. Hernando Iriberri were responsible for removing the programmed acquisition of a P6.5-billion shore-based missile system (the country’s primary defense against incursions in the WPS) negotiated between the Israel and the Philippines under the first phase of the program, in favor of helmets, night goggles, body armor and radios to sustain internal security and terrorism operations.

These issues with our hardware acquisition exasperate me because I was one of the principal authors of the AFP Modernization Law. During the time when I was its Vice Chair, I purposely included in the law a provision that our military officers shall be shielded from political persuasions in the acquisition of our military hardware. It is very disappointing that the provision has been rendered ineffective and the only reason I could think of is that seasoned officers are forced to cater to the powers that be because of the relatively young age at which they are required to retire. Of course these officers, still at the prime of their lives, would like to secure a source of income after their retirement. For this reason I believe that is also high time for us to reconsider the mandatory retirement law for the AFP and the PNP.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE