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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

EDITORIAL: TWO POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN WEST PHILIPPINES SEA DISPUTE
[TWO recent positive developments augur well for the Philippine strategy of seeking international arbitration in our long-simmering dispute with China over certain parts of the West Philippine (South China) Sea. But no matter how elating they are, our government should stop short of feeling any sense of triumphalism, lest it distort national perspectives and lead to carelessness.]


NOVEMBER 2 -Aquino hails initial victory vs China, says rule of law prevails (philstar.com) | Updated October 30, 2015 - 5:19pm 0 4 googleplus1 0 In this August 2011 photo, President Aquino arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport from Manila for his five-day state visit to China. Malacañang Photo Bureau / Jay Morales  TWO recent positive developments augur well for the Philippine strategy of seeking international arbitration in our long-simmering dispute with China over certain parts of the West Philippine (South China) Sea.But no matter how elating they are, our government should stop short of feeling any sense of triumphalism, lest it distort national perspectives and lead to carelessness.Tribunal’s authority and jurisdiction Briefly, these two developments are, first and foremost, the ruling issued last Thursday, October 29, at the Hague in the Netherlands by the International Arbitration tribunal. The ruling said that it can take on the case between China and the Philippines over disputed territory in the South China Sea, in the process overruling objections from Beijing that the arbitration body has no authority to hear the case. The ruling says it has the authority and the jurisdiction. At this stage, no words could be more reassuring for our contention and petition that China’s massive territorial claims in the disputed waters do not conform with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and should be declared invalid. It reflects favorably on our other assertion that some Chinese-occupied reefs and shoals do not generate, or create a claim to, territorial waters. The tribunal said it has authority to look into seven issues raised by the Philippines against China but added that its jurisdiction over seven others “will need to be considered in conjunction with the merits.” It said it has set hearings and expects to hand down a decision on the case next year.A harder US line on Chinese claims The second positive development is the news coming from Washington, DC, that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s refusal to back down over his country’s island-building campaign in disputed waters has hardened US President Barack Obama’s attitude toward Beijing.During President Xi’s recent visit to the US, at an informal dinner on Sept. 24, President Obama raised China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea as a key topic for discussion.During the dinner, Obama talked about the issue at length and urged Xi to halt construction of military installations. Xi stonewalled him. Right after the meeting, an incensed Obama ordered a close aide to contact Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command. Then and there, the American president authorized the US Navy to move ahead with an operation in the South China Sea. This informal dinner meeting between US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and their close advisers on Sept. 24 is now viewed as a catalyst for a harder White House line on Beijing’s territorial claims. The plan is to send American warships to within 12 nautical miles, or about 22 km, of China’s artificial islands. Under international law, a country’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its shore. The maneuver would tell Beijing and its neighbors that the US does not recognize Chinese sovereignty over the area. Top US military officials had the plan ready as early as June. The brass wanted to take action immediately, but Obama withheld his authorization, because he hoped face-to-face talks with Xi would make the mission unnecessary. Obama, however, realized that a conciliatory attitude was not going to get Beijing to cooperate, according to Edward Luttwak, a well-known expert on US military strategy. The mission would mark a major turning point for American policy toward China. Luttwak believes that Beijing has dug itself into a hole on the issue. RED MORE...

ALSO By Mike Wootton PHL most dangerous: The ratings yet again!


NOVEMBER 3 -MIKE WOOTTON What I find an interesting aspect of the NAIA bullet incidents is that a group of OFWs have started a petition with so far over 6,000 signatures, addressed to government, asking them to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of what appears to be a long-standing extortion racket at the airport. Should it be necessary for “the people” to petition the government to bring about law and order? Things seem to be the wrong way around—it is the job and purpose of government to protect the people from each other as well as from any foreign aggression. The Philippines ranks at No. 141 out of 162 countries on the World’s Most Dangerous Countries list, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. This makes it the most dangerous country in East Asia (other than Eastern Russia, which ranks at 152), putting it alongside Rwanda and Chad in Africa and Mexico, and only 16 places above Somalia. The cost of violence in the Philippines, according to the analysis, is about $25 billion a year and interestingly, one of the worst elements within the the criteria assessed was “political terror”! I can only guess that they hadn’t factored in the number of bullets people were attempting to sneak through the security walls at NAIA. Protecting the people from each other is a very big job. It is not just preventing people from killing extorting and carrying out other criminal acts against their countrymen, it is also about allowing them to go about their business without undue let or hindrance and relate to each other in a “brotherly” sort of way. As it is government’s prime purpose to ensure that people feel comfortable and safe walking down the street and in their own homes, it is also its purpose to ensure that people can go about their business and economic activities in such a way as to minimize inconvenience and avoid any possibility of their being messed around with and having their time wasted by unnecessary procedures (the process obsession).The World Bank has upset people by putting the Philippines lower in its rankings for ease of doing business. According to the World Bank/IFC, the Philippines dropped from No. 97 to No. 103 in its latest assessment. Government and others do not agree, albeit it will be unsurprising to many. So it becomes yet another unclear situation for which people just have to judge by their own experience, which in turn depends where you happen to be located in the local socio-economic triangle. The Philippines is certainly not an easy place to do business in, as most people would attest. There are times when you just have to shake your head and wonder if there is indeed any united national focus to moving things forward. It is difficult to understand why so many impediments to progress are tolerated—don’t people want the Philippines to progress fast forward and provide better lives for all rather than just shrug about the hurdles that have to be continually jumped and say, “but that’s the way it is”? READ MORE...

ALSO Editorial: A little sensitivity goes a long way


NOVEMBER 3 -Tito Sotto during the October 31 episode of GMA-7's "Eat Bulaga." Netizens and ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman criticized the show over the costume. PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO
IT has happened again. Hot on the heels of the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scandal victimizing hapless airport travelers and the sad and frustrating news of yet another murder of a Filipino journalist, a new embarrassment out of the Philippines is making the rounds among the international media: The minor furor raised by Joey de Leon’s and Sen. Tito Sotto’s choice of Halloween costumes during an episode of the popular noontime show Eat Bulaga earlier this week. A picture of the pair decked out in traditional Arab Muslim wear was posted to the show’s Twitter page and attracted more than 3,000 comments, at which point it attracted the attention of the BBC’s Trending page, which follows popular social media topics around the world. And of course, once the BBC knows about something, the rest of the world will shortly know about it, too. The reason the appearance attracted so much attention was because of the angry reaction it elicited from Mujiv Hataman, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who demanded an official apology from the show because “This display betrays an insensitivity by these hosts, as they equated the Muslim garb as a costume to be feared, in the way that zombies and ghouls are to be feared.” With all due respect to Gov. Hataman, his taking offense to the display is a bit ridiculous. The outfit, for those who may not know, is common everyday garb for many of the more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world; the ankle-length robe, fitted at the top like a dress shirt, is called a thobe, while the headscarf is called a ghutra, or kaffiyeh, fixed in place with a rope called an egal. It is garb that falls between casual and formal – suitable for business wear, nicer functions, or a visit to the mosque, but not as formal as the bisht, a more ornate robe roughly analogous to our own barong tagalog. READ MORE...

ALSO By Erwin Tulfo: Govt has no empathy for extort victims


NOVEMBER 5 -by ERWIN TULFO Noynoy Aquino and his “brilliant” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya have totally lost touch of reality, and that’s apparently why they’re insensitive to the aggravation caused by the “tanim-bala” extortion racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).In reaction to the increasing public outrage over the mounting cases of passengers arrested for possession of live bullets, Malacañang announced that an investigation will be conducted. But even before the probe actually commenced, Abaya dismissed the claims of planted bullets for “lack of proof.” Conversely, what he means is that the people found possessing one bullet ostensibly placed in their baggage are flatly guilty of illegal possession of live ammunition.Hindi ba kaplastikan at kagaspangan ang pagsasabi ng walang ebidensiya ng gawaing “tanim-bala” o “laglag-bala.”And like his master, Abaya goes on to say that the issue has been “blown out of proportion” by the news media. The brilliant Transport czar pointed out that only 1,510, or .004 percent, of the 32.4 million passengers who passed through NAIA Terminals 1 to 4, have been caught in possession of bullets. Doesn’t he realize that this modus of framing up people with evidence has jeopardized their lives, including those of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)? Napakakitid naman ng utak nitong transport secretary Abaya. No wonder the country’s transportation system is such a mess and so backward. Unfortunately, the administration’s 2016 standard-bearer Mar Roxas went further to claim that calling these incidents “tanim-bala” or frame-ups was prompted by his rivals. I agree with the Anakpawis party-list that the government’s “downplaying” the scam merely boosts the morale of “those who are committing this racket that prey on unsuspecting ordinary plane passengers.” “This is a systematic and organized criminal racket. Definitely there are some big time corrupt government officials involved or the protectors of the scam,” said Anakpawis in a statement.
Roxas, who headed the Transportation department, said he’s wondering if tanim-bala is part of a “demolition job” by the administration’s detractors ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. This is an “unconvincing” attempt to look for scapegoats and cover up for the involvement of the Office of Transport Security (OTS) personnel.
It is clear that the inutile Noynoy administration is not on the side of the extortion victims. Giving excuses and blaming the victims themselves is the best thing that this government can do to the condemnation of international community. READ MORE...

ALSO By R. Tiglao: Roxas explains -Bullet carriers came from shooting ranges


NOVEMBER 5 -by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO
That’s how presidential candidate Manuel A. Roxas 2nd tried to explain away the raging “tanim-bala” controversy in an interview with reporters the other day in Cauayan City, Isabela. He cited statistics from the transport and communications department showing many of those caught with bullets at the airport came from firing ranges and forgot to dispose of their rounds before going to the airport. Roxas used to be intelligent as former President Arroyo’s trade and industry secretary, even if that didn’t really shine through, what with his mediocre performance there. But he seems to have imbibed after five years the dull-wittedness of this Administration – either that, or the belief of its leader Benigno Aquino 3rd that Filipinos are so stupid and gullible is true. The statistics cited by Roxas don’t even exist. He must have confused the report on the annual number of incidents claimed by the DOTC with the incredible news account that a Japanese tourist admitted he forgot to leave behind the bullets he had placed in his jacket at the firing range. That Roxas even blurted out the claim that those caught with bullets in their baggage came from shooting ranges is hilarious. Has the expensive sport of shooting (a reloaded bullet costs P50 easily) become so popular in the Philippines that we wouldn’t find it odd for a 65-year old female OFW, a grandmother on a wheelchair, and an American missionary to indulge in such a hobby before rushing to catch a flight at the airport? Another gem from Roxas’ mind on this controversy: “Is this a plot to destroy the government’s image, especially now that that we’re about to host the APEC?” he asked rhetorically. Blown out of proportion? Still shots from video of a Japanese TV show with a skit demonstrating how the tanim-bala extortion racket operates, with instructions on how to avoid it. (Video on http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/11/05/vira-japanese-tv-show-re-enacts-laglag-bala-scam. ) Blown out of proportion? Still shots from video of a Japanese TV show with a skit demonstrating how the tanim-bala extortion racket operates, with instructions on how to avoid it. (Video on http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/11/05/vira-japanese-tv-show-re-enacts-laglag-bala-scam .) That’s the conspiracy theory attempted to be disseminated by this Administration’s spin doctors as a cover-up for the shameful extortion racket at the country’s main airports. A Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist yesterday echoed what seemed to be the new “party-line” on this issue: “One cannot help but suspect that there might be motives other than to afflict the innocent/ignorant and to extort. Is there a hidden agenda in all this, like ‘sow fear and arouse suspicion and thereby, create an embarrassing situation for the government of Aquino?’ There must be more to tanim-bala than meets the eye.” Do Roxas and that writer think those female OFWs and the missionary preyed upon by the airport extortionists were paid by the opposition to carry bullets in their baggage, to be later discovered so that such embarrassing incidents would fire up the tanim-bala controversy? And yet here’s another gem from Roxas’ mouth on this controversy: “Kung nagpasok ka ng contraband sa airport, paano naging problema ng gobyerno yun?” he arrogantly said recently in Isabela.” (“If you brought in contraband through the airport, why should that be a government problem?’) He apparently misses the entire point of the controversy: OFWs and tourists are accusing airport officers of planting contraband in their luggage to extort money from passengers. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Two positive developments in West Philippine Sea dispute


Aquino hails initial victory vs China, says rule of law prevails (philstar.com) | Updated October 30, 2015 - 5:19pm 0 4 googleplus1 0 In this August 2011 photo, President Aquino arrives at the Beijing Capital International Airport from Manila for his five-day state visit to China. Malacañang Photo Bureau / Jay Morales

MANILA, NOVEMBER 9, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) November 2, 2015 11:29 pm - TWO recent positive developments augur well for the Philippine strategy of seeking international arbitration in our long-simmering dispute with China over certain parts of the West Philippine (South China) Sea.

But no matter how elating they are, our government should stop short of feeling any sense of triumphalism, lest it distort national perspectives and lead to carelessness.

Tribunal’s authority and jurisdiction

Briefly, these two developments are, first and foremost, the ruling issued last Thursday, October 29, at the Hague in the Netherlands by the International Arbitration tribunal. The ruling said that it can take on the case between China and the Philippines over disputed territory in the South China Sea, in the process overruling objections from Beijing that the arbitration body has no authority to hear the case. The ruling says it has the authority and the jurisdiction.

At this stage, no words could be more reassuring for our contention and petition that China’s massive territorial claims in the disputed waters do not conform with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) and should be declared invalid.

It reflects favorably on our other assertion that some Chinese-occupied reefs and shoals do not generate, or create a claim to, territorial waters.

The tribunal said it has authority to look into seven issues raised by the Philippines against China but added that its jurisdiction over seven others “will need to be considered in conjunction with the merits.” It said it has set hearings and expects to hand down a decision on the case next year.

A harder US line on Chinese claims

The second positive development is the news coming from Washington, DC, that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s refusal to back down over his country’s island-building campaign in disputed waters has hardened US President Barack Obama’s attitude toward Beijing.

During President Xi’s recent visit to the US, at an informal dinner on Sept. 24, President Obama raised China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea as a key topic for discussion.

During the dinner, Obama talked about the issue at length and urged Xi to halt construction of military installations. Xi stonewalled him.

Right after the meeting, an incensed Obama ordered a close aide to contact Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command. Then and there, the American president authorized the US Navy to move ahead with an operation in the South China Sea.

This informal dinner meeting between US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and their close advisers on Sept. 24 is now viewed as a catalyst for a harder White House line on Beijing’s territorial claims.

The plan is to send American warships to within 12 nautical miles, or about 22 km, of China’s artificial islands. Under international law, a country’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from its shore. The maneuver would tell Beijing and its neighbors that the US does not recognize Chinese sovereignty over the area.

Top US military officials had the plan ready as early as June. The brass wanted to take action immediately, but Obama withheld his authorization, because he hoped face-to-face talks with Xi would make the mission unnecessary.

Obama, however, realized that a conciliatory attitude was not going to get Beijing to cooperate, according to Edward Luttwak, a well-known expert on US military strategy. The mission would mark a major turning point for American policy toward China.
Luttwak believes that Beijing has dug itself into a hole on the issue.

READ MORE...

Many diplomatic sources aver that Japan and some Southeast Asian countries had been urging Washington to dispatch the naval vessels.

In their view, regional stability hinges on challenging China’s attempt to change the status quo by force.

Obama’s decision has been welcomed in Tokyo, Manila and other Asian capitals. Nevertheless, the mission carries risks: should the Chinese military try to stop the American ships, it could trigger the outbreak of conflict, which neither side wants.

Significantly, Obama’s tougher stance vis-à-vis China comes at a time when his policy of dialogue with even staunch adversaries has led to dividends: like the nuclear deal with Iran and the restoration of diplomatic ties with Cuba.

Obama is likely to use this approach also in dealing with Beijing. With only a year left in office, Obama is steering the White House toward a two-pronged strategy: keeping pressure on China over its territorial grabs in the South China Sea, while working cooperatively with Beijing on combating global warming and rebuilding Afghanistan.

The Philippine government does well to monitor closely this emerging US policy, while tending closely to its arbitration case in the Hague.

It’s no small achievement of Philippine statecraft that we are planted firmly in the conversation on the South China Sea. That we’re not mere spectators.

We can only wish that the Aquino regime had handled relations with China more adroitly.


The ratings yet again! November 3, 2015 9:29 pm MIKE WOOTTON



MIKE WOOTTON

What I find an interesting aspect of the NAIA bullet incidents is that a group of OFWs have started a petition with so far over 6,000 signatures, addressed to government, asking them to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of what appears to be a long-standing extortion racket at the airport.

Should it be necessary for “the people” to petition the government to bring about law and order? Things seem to be the wrong way around—it is the job and purpose of government to protect the people from each other as well as from any foreign aggression.

The Philippines ranks at No. 141 out of 162 countries on the World’s Most Dangerous Countries list, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace.

This makes it the most dangerous country in East Asia (other than Eastern Russia, which ranks at 152), putting it alongside Rwanda and Chad in Africa and Mexico, and only 16 places above Somalia.

The cost of violence in the Philippines, according to the analysis, is about $25 billion a year and interestingly, one of the worst elements within the the criteria assessed was “political terror”! I can only guess that they hadn’t factored in the number of bullets people were attempting to sneak through the security walls at NAIA.

Protecting the people from each other is a very big job. It is not just preventing people from killing extorting and carrying out other criminal acts against their countrymen, it is also about allowing them to go about their business without undue let or hindrance and relate to each other in a “brotherly” sort of way.

As it is government’s prime purpose to ensure that people feel comfortable and safe walking down the street and in their own homes, it is also its purpose to ensure that people can go about their business and economic activities in such a way as to minimize inconvenience and avoid any possibility of their being messed around with and having their time wasted by unnecessary procedures (the process obsession).

The World Bank has upset people by putting the Philippines lower in its rankings for ease of doing business.

According to the World Bank/IFC, the Philippines dropped from No. 97 to No. 103 in its latest assessment. Government and others do not agree, albeit it will be unsurprising to many. So it becomes yet another unclear situation for which people just have to judge by their own experience, which in turn depends where you happen to be located in the local socio-economic triangle.

The Philippines is certainly not an easy place to do business in, as most people would attest. There are times when you just have to shake your head and wonder if there is indeed any united national focus to moving things forward. It is difficult to understand why so many impediments to progress are tolerated—don’t people want the Philippines to progress fast forward and provide better lives for all rather than just shrug about the hurdles that have to be continually jumped and say, “but that’s the way it is”?

READ MORE...

What can be the engine for change and improvement, making it easier to go on a straight path rather than be continually put in a position of making improper payments in order to ease the way forward, if the people themselves just accept it? “Pay P30,000” is reported as having been asked, “or we will report you to the police and you will be arrested for carrying bullets through the airport.”

If that is true, then extortion is becoming institutionalized. Protecting the people from each other? Better, as some say, to just confiscate the bullets and trash them in a brotherly sort of way.

So long as these types of behavior are not seriously and professionally rejected in an overtly and transparently just way, then the Philippines will continue to slide down the ratings, which slide will show that either nothing is being done about it or that nobody really cares anyway.

But by my observation, people do care. They don’t like their nation to attract bad publicity and they don’t like to be continually messed about trying to satisfy the often very-difficult- to-satisfy requirements. Some say better to get out and find a living in another country and use their economic potential somewhere else. But they wouldn’t say that if they believed that things were okay back home.

Ratings from surveys are, of course, debatable. The methodology can be challenged. But ratings by international organizations have no axe to grind. They just attempt comparison as a guide but they are looked at by others outside as well as within the Philippines and, like it or not, they do have an impact.

The apparent dichotomy between financial credit ratings and the great raft of other survey results that are continually being produced is readily explained as the credit ratings are purely about money and financial indicators. The other surveys demonstrate that there is rather more to having a well-balanced developing nation than just money.


A little sensitivity goes a long way November 3, 2015 11:35 pm


Senator Tito Sotto during the October 31 episode of GMA-7's "Eat Bulaga." Netizens and ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman criticized the show over the costume. PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

IT has happened again. Hot on the heels of the “tanim-bala” (bullet-planting) scandal victimizing hapless airport travelers and the sad and frustrating news of yet another murder of a Filipino journalist, a new embarrassment out of the Philippines is making the rounds among the international media: The minor furor raised by Joey de Leon’s and Sen. Tito Sotto’s choice of Halloween costumes during an episode of the popular noontime show Eat Bulaga earlier this week.

A picture of the pair decked out in traditional Arab Muslim wear was posted to the show’s Twitter page and attracted more than 3,000 comments, at which point it attracted the attention of the BBC’s Trending page, which follows popular social media topics around the world. And of course, once the BBC knows about something, the rest of the world will shortly know about it, too.

The reason the appearance attracted so much attention was because of the angry reaction it elicited from Mujiv Hataman, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who demanded an official apology from the show because “This display betrays an insensitivity by these hosts, as they equated the Muslim garb as a costume to be feared, in the way that zombies and ghouls are to be feared.”

With all due respect to Gov. Hataman, his taking offense to the display is a bit ridiculous. The outfit, for those who may not know, is common everyday garb for many of the more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world; the ankle-length robe, fitted at the top like a dress shirt, is called a thobe, while the headscarf is called a ghutra, or kaffiyeh, fixed in place with a rope called an egal. It is garb that falls between casual and formal – suitable for business wear, nicer functions, or a visit to the mosque, but not as formal as the bisht, a more ornate robe roughly analogous to our own barong tagalog.

Grandma’s sweater

The outfit is sometimes given to non-Muslim visitors or guests as a gift – which is how Tito Sotto said he obtained his – and so wearing it is equivalent of wearing that nice sweater your grandmother sent you for Christmas. Given that there is no particularly strong religious significance attached to it, wearing it on Halloween is no more meant to be frightening or offensive than dressing as a princess or a fireman unless the wearer goes out of his way to try to make it frightening, which Sotto and de Leon certainly did not.

Gov. Hataman should also understand – it would be fair, given the official and in our view very appropriate respect this country strives to extend to the holidays of our Muslim brethren – that the three-day holiday of Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day here in the Philippines is a mixture of the somber and the festive; we honor and offer our prayers to our dearly departed, and we have a little fun by wearing a costume to the party. That’s how it works, and it is not inherently intended to offend anyone.

Having said all that, with the world’s attention focused on a great deal of turmoil emanating from the Arab world at present – a bitter war in Syria that has produced millions of refugees, the depredations of the Islamic State terrorist group, civil war in Yemen – Sotto’s and de Leon’s choice of costume for a very public program may not have been the best decision, though no harm was intended. It was not wrong, but a little sensitivity to current events would have gone a long way. If either the Eat Bulaga hosts or Gov. Hataman had exercised that, perhaps then the Philippines would not now be the subject of yet another pointlessly uncomplimentary bit of world news.


Govt has no empathy for extort victims November 5, 2015 10:01 pm ERWIN TULFO


by ERWIN TULFO

Noynoy Aquino and his “brilliant” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya have totally lost touch of reality, and that’s apparently why they’re insensitive to the aggravation caused by the “tanim-bala” extortion racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

In reaction to the increasing public outrage over the mounting cases of passengers arrested for possession of live bullets, Malacañang announced that an investigation will be conducted.

But even before the probe actually commenced, Abaya dismissed the claims of planted bullets for “lack of proof.”

Conversely, what he means is that the people found possessing one bullet ostensibly placed in their baggage are flatly guilty of illegal possession of live ammunition.

Hindi ba kaplastikan at kagaspangan ang pagsasabi ng walang ebidensiya ng gawaing “tanim-bala” o “laglag-bala.”

And like his master, Abaya goes on to say that the issue has been “blown out of proportion” by the news media.

The brilliant Transport czar pointed out that only 1,510, or .004 percent, of the 32.4 million passengers who passed through NAIA Terminals 1 to 4, have been caught in possession of bullets.

Doesn’t he realize that this modus of framing up people with evidence has jeopardized their lives, including those of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)?


ABAYA

Napakakitid naman ng utak nitong transport secretary Abaya.

No wonder the country’s transportation system is such a mess and so backward.

Unfortunately, the administration’s 2016 standard-bearer Mar Roxas went further to claim that calling these incidents “tanim-bala” or frame-ups was prompted by his rivals.

I agree with the Anakpawis party-list that the government’s “downplaying” the scam merely boosts the morale of “those who are committing this racket that prey on unsuspecting ordinary plane passengers.”

“This is a systematic and organized criminal racket. Definitely there are some big time corrupt government officials involved or the protectors of the scam,” said Anakpawis in a statement.

Roxas, who headed the Transportation department, said he’s wondering if tanim-bala is part of a “demolition job” by the administration’s detractors ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

This is an “unconvincing” attempt to look for scapegoats and cover up for the involvement of the Office of Transport Security (OTS) personnel.
It is clear that the inutile Noynoy administration is not on the side of the extortion victims.

Giving excuses and blaming the victims themselves is the best thing that this government can do to the condemnation of international community.

READ MORE...

It took so long for OTS Administrator Roland Recomono to revise baggage screening and inspection procedures, as well as install additional closed-circuit television sets (CCTVs).

“As of late September this year, all baggage inspectors are strictly hands-off. Only the passenger can touch the baggage, remove the items within, inspect the compartments, to locate the suspicious item,” Recomono said.

Why didn’t he think of these when several airline passengers fell prey to this extortion racket?

It is high time that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) be brought into the probe, and zero in on these culprits at the OTS.

* * *

We welcome your reaction, comments, complaints or exposé. Please email them to etulfo2011@yahoo.com or personally visit us at the TV5 Field Office at 2nd Floor, Quedsa Plaza, Quezon Ave. corner EDSA, Quezon City, between 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

4 Responses to Govt has no empathy for extort victims
Jutaro says:
November 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm
They do not understand that their inaction ang naging dahilan bakit galit ang karamihan..tsk tsk tks
Reply
What'd heck says:
November 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm
Always remember that Pnoy, Abaya and Roxas are buddies. We as a country are lucky because our country economy is good but no thanks to Pnoy because he is not the source of this upswing.
Reply
Diosdado H. Baul says:
November 6, 2015 at 8:10 am
Only Public Attorney’s Office Head Persida Acosta has come to the succor of the passengers detained because of this anomaly !!!!!!
While paying lip service to the issue and downplaying it or washing their hands of the
controversy, all other government paid talking heads did not consider the plight of the affected passengers ! Where was the lawyer of the Pacman ?
Reply
zak Pasiking says:
November 6, 2015 at 7:09 am
Ang sagot ni Abnoy yan Sir Erwin, “buti at buhay pa sila, ang bag nila ang nataniman ng bala at hindi sa ulo nila…!”
Reply


Roxas: Bullet carriers came from shooting ranges November 5, 2015 11:09 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

That’s how presidential candidate Manuel A. Roxas 2nd tried to explain away the raging “tanim-bala” controversy in an interview with reporters the other day in Cauayan City, Isabela. He cited statistics from the transport and communications department showing many of those caught with bullets at the airport came from firing ranges and forgot to dispose of their rounds before going to the airport.

Roxas used to be intelligent as former President Arroyo’s trade and industry secretary, even if that didn’t really shine through, what with his mediocre performance there. But he seems to have imbibed after five years the dull-wittedness of this Administration – either that, or the belief of its leader Benigno Aquino 3rd that Filipinos are so stupid and gullible is true.

The statistics cited by Roxas don’t even exist. He must have confused the report on the annual number of incidents claimed by the DOTC with the incredible news account that a Japanese tourist admitted he forgot to leave behind the bullets he had placed in his jacket at the firing range.

That Roxas even blurted out the claim that those caught with bullets in their baggage came from shooting ranges is hilarious.
Has the expensive sport of shooting (a reloaded bullet costs P50 easily) become so popular in the Philippines that we wouldn’t find it odd for a 65-year old female OFW, a grandmother on a wheelchair, and an American missionary to indulge in such a hobby before rushing to catch a flight at the airport?

Another gem from Roxas’ mind on this controversy: “Is this a plot to destroy the government’s image, especially now that that we’re about to host the APEC?” he asked rhetorically.

Blown out of proportion? Still shots from video of a Japanese TV show with a skit demonstrating how the tanim-bala extortion racket operates, with instructions on how to avoid it. (Video on http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/11/05/vira-japanese-tv-show-re-enacts-laglag-bala-scam. )

Blown out of proportion? Still shots from video of a Japanese TV show with a skit demonstrating how the tanim-bala extortion racket operates, with instructions on how to avoid it. (Video on http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/11/05/vira-japanese-tv-show-re-enacts-laglag-bala-scam.)

That’s the conspiracy theory attempted to be disseminated by this Administration’s spin doctors as a cover-up for the shameful extortion racket at the country’s main airports. A Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist yesterday echoed what seemed to be the new “party-line” on this issue: “One cannot help but suspect that there might be motives other than to afflict the innocent/ignorant and to extort. Is there a hidden agenda in all this, like ‘sow fear and arouse suspicion and thereby, create an embarrassing situation for the government of Aquino?’ There must be more to tanim-bala than meets the eye.”

Do Roxas and that writer think those female OFWs and the missionary preyed upon by the airport extortionists were paid by the opposition to carry bullets in their baggage, to be later discovered so that such embarrassing incidents would fire up the tanim-bala controversy?

And yet here’s another gem from Roxas’ mouth on this controversy: “Kung nagpasok ka ng contraband sa airport, paano naging problema ng gobyerno yun?” he arrogantly said recently in Isabela.” (“If you brought in contraband through the airport, why should that be a government problem?’)

He apparently misses the entire point of the controversy: OFWs and tourists are accusing airport officers of planting contraband in their luggage to extort money from passengers.

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Roxas may be losing his marbles in his obsession to be President of this country. If he doesn’t cool it, people might classify him in the same league of presidential candidates as Allan Carreon, “Ambassador for Intergalactic Space,” or one who prefers to call himself Lucifer, saying he is just doing “his masters’ bidding.”

Abaya: Roxas’ protege

Roxas’ protégé, Joseph Emilio Abaya, who is the DOTC secretary, certainly comes from the same fabric of which Roxas himself is made.

Abaya claimed the bullet-planting issue has been “blown out of proportion,” pointing out that those who were caught with bullets, numbering 1,510 in all, made up only 0.004 percent of the 34.2 million passengers who passed through NAIA terminals in 2014.

Abaya is clueless about the stupidity of his attempt to be scientific. It’s amazing why, with the mess he has done with the MRT-3 and now with his pathetic attempts to claim that there’s no problem at the airport, he still hasn’t been given his walking papers. For chrissakes, make him run for something so he’d leave tomorrow.

The 1,510 figure of travelers caught with bullets means nothing if you do not compare it with the number of such bullet-carrying passengers caught in Bangkok, Jakarta, or the “average” at airports in Asia at least. If none were caught at those airports, or just 10 in a year, shouldn’t we worry about the data submitted by the airport security people here?

Let’s say, there were 1,000 travelers from Manila passing through Los Angeles international airport in 2014 caught with cocaine in their baggage, and the US raised complaints about this. Would the Philippines claim that the Americans are blowing it out of proportion as it represents only .001 percent of all travelers coming from Manila and landing in Los Angeles?

But more important than Abaya’s ridiculous figures is the fact that the gravamen of the controversy is precisely that airport staff are planting bullets in travelers’ baggage, and then extorting money from them in exchange for the passengers’ smooth passage and freedom from any legal action (which in real cases would involve a penalty of up to six years in prison) taken against them.

So in such cases, when victims pay up, they won’t be reported, right? Logically, the 1,510 passengers caught with bullets in their luggage in 2014 were only those who didn’t fork over the money to the airport extortionists. How about those who buckled under the pressure and paid the demanded amount just to avoid the hassle and trouble from it all, how many were they – three or four times more?

If 1,510 were caught with bullets in 2014, and 6,600 since 2012 to October this year, how many cases have been filed in court, given that these are criminal offenses?

These buffoons at the airport don’t even coordinate among themselves as to what figures to announce to the public. Abaya cited figures from the DOTC’s Office of Transportation Security (OTS), which showed 1,394 passengers have been intercepted carrying bullets so far this year to October.

On the other hand, the Philippine National Police’s Aviation Security Group (PNP-AVSEGROUP), which has the authority to file criminal cases, said there were only 139 cases involving bullets found in passengers’ luggage this year, with 51 filed in court.
They may have unwittingly exposed the magnitude of the extortion racket.

Out of the 1,394 passengers the DOTC claimed were caught with bullets this year to date, the Avsecom filed only 139 cases. That very likely meant that the remaining 1,255 forked over money to the extortionists so no cases were filed against them, and 139 didn’t pay any amount. And out of the 139, some 88 of them paid later so they were not charged in court, leaving only 51 cases that were actually filed by the Avsegroup.

Let’s assume that there’s a 50-50 chance the victims decided to pay up. Using the $500 figure reported by a tourist way back in 2012 as the amount demanded by these unscrupulous airport security personnel, the 1,255 passengers who fell victim to this racket would have yielded a total P35 million windfall for those extortionists at the airport.

Now I’m beginning to understand why the top transport authorities have been dismissive of this issue, claiming it is being “blown out of proportion” and that those caught have so far been practice shooters proceeding to the airport straight from the firing ranges, or that the whole episode is a plot to shame Aquino.

Why is this racket being exposed only now?

Partly because the media stumbled on the plight of an elderly OFW who refused to buckle under the extortion attempt, and was detained for several days. Widely circulated in the social media, the case, bolstered by other reports that trickled out subsequently, triggered public outrage.

It is also because the extortionists have become desperate for a fresh infusion before their modus faces a wall of uncertainty when a new administration takes over in just nine months. These airport gangsters may be frantically seizing the “last two minutes” of their game of scaring travelers out of their wits by shooting bullets into their pockets and making them pay for a way out of it.

Thanks to an incompetent, arrogant Administration, we have become the object of contempt and ridicule by the world.
tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.rigobertotiglao.com

34 Responses to Roxas: Bullet carriers came from shooting ranges
Amnata Pundit says:
November 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm
Don’t all these guys deserve to hang? That day is coming, I can feel it in my bones.
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What'd heck says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm
Abaya and Roxas are best buddies. Roxas is falling in the same trap that happen to Pnoy and Purisima. Roxas, I like you and will vote for you but do not be stupid. This not your problem. You are putting your candidacy in jeopardy. After election, Abaya is out so protect yourself.
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Franck F says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm
Lucifer Roxas… seems to be the real name of this entity!
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robins says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:05 pm
The government should tell the public about the consequences of having a bullet inside bags and luggage especially if these are truly yours. The public is not aware of this that is why there are still travelers caught with bullets. If the public is already aware “I supposed already aware since a lot of this was broadcast-ed daily on Media” then if someone still caught then he/she must be punished according to the law “but with due process”. After this we can now speculate about Tanim bala gang inside Phil airports.
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Antolin says:
November 6, 2015 at 11:54 am
That’s Mar Roxas. Arrogant, insensitive, …… Now he is blaming the victims of tanim bala. Are you kidding me? I don’t know if this would be President have any brain. Seems he can’t understand simple logic. Don’t trust this sob. He is not fit for this job.
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L A says:
November 6, 2015 at 11:41 am
I just hope one bullet is found in a gangster’s luggage when he knows for sure he has none and the gangster have all those people in the Xray machine identified and killed by his crew when they leave their post at 5pm. I guess that may be the language the bullet planters can understand.
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Ene Mes says:
November 6, 2015 at 11:32 am
Meron pong conspiracy theory na may isang grupo ng isang KULTO ang may pakana ng TANIM BALA. Marami silang galamay sa lahat ng sangay ng gobyerno, pati mga PNP, NBI at iba pa kasabwat nila. Iniimbistigahin kasi sila sa mga kabulastugang pinaggagawa ng mga pinuno nila at sikat na sikat sila sa media TV man o radio, para maiwas ang atensyon sa kanila at para makaganti sa gobyerno yan ang mga pinaggagawa nila ngayon.
NAGTATANIM NG BALA sa mga walang malay na OFW, sa labas palang ng airport dapat ingat po ang lahat ng OFW.
Dapat ding tingnan kung kasapi sa KULTO ang nakitaan ng BALA, pwede rin kasing ginamit din sya ng TANIM BALA.
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enteng says:
November 6, 2015 at 11:17 am
Don’t you think that it is about time that Comelec should declare Mar Roxas as a nuisance candidate? Well , I mean with his brains and all?
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rey says:
November 6, 2015 at 11:14 am
iboto pa natin ang LP ( Laglag Punglo ) sa 2016 election
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carlos says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:38 am
Filipinos – a lot of them anyway – are stupid people. Wait for the next election: Mar will win and there’ll be no disgust, no ‘people power’, nothing. They’ll be just, “Oh well, maybe it’s God’s will…that we have another idiot up there. Oh well…”
And priests, bishops (of all sorts, from all religious denominations!) will continue to raise their hands in prayer and tell people to keep on praying so that God will guide them. Of course, the priests and bishops will continue to be content in seeing chaos for as long as the donations / collections continue flowing.
Stupid people, the pinoys!
Mr. Tiglao and his readers certainly belong to another category. But, it’s a few almost insignificant crowd.
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Moot says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:36 am
THIS modus was there before even in the time of Arroyo. It existed because the top officials of the airport earned from it. That is why they are not doing anything about it. Even as simple as putting more cameras and recording interrogations.
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Arlene Rafiq says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:15 am
Oh my Lord! Is this the man who want to be president of the Philippines? He seem to be out of the loop in what’s really happening and just to show the public that he has something to say ..he utters statements that were not thought of sige ng sige nalang kahit na magmukhang bobo siya or even this he’s not aware of?
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Lenny says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:12 am
Kasalanan ni GMA itong tanim bala scam! siya ang may pakana nito,walang kasalanan si abnoy dahil hindi niya alam ito.. naglalaro lang naman siya ng computer games! at responsible shooter siya. dapat tularan ng mga shooters si abnoy sa pagiging responsible shooter niya. sina roxas,abaya,honrado ay inosente rin; hindi sila ang nagtanim ng bala.
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Red says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:11 am
We should not forget all these issues and incidents as we will be choosing our next leaders for the next 3 years and 6 years in other positions. Let us not be carried and fooled by sweet words, promises and propaganda as the election comes nearer. If not, God save the Philippines. Another 3 years and 6 years of hell for the Filipinos.
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jun villacorta says:
November 6, 2015 at 9:02 am
Obviously the number of those who just paid up the extortion money were not counted. Thus the number of those listed were only those who refused to pay up.
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PedritoM. Nepomuceno says:
November 6, 2015 at 8:33 am
sa kanyang mga pahayag at mga palusot at sa ginagawa ng kanyang mga kasamahan eh ayaw niya at ayaw ng kasamahan niyang manalo sa darating na halalan. ang dating matalino, ngayon,_____ kayo na ang magtuloy the greatrest blunder in his life is marrying ________________
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Antonio kho says:
November 6, 2015 at 8:09 am
The responses of the administration to this problem are indeed unbelievable!
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laguatanlawzen.com says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:15 am
Not only unbelievable but the highest degree of idiocy and gross stupidity. Roxas has been infected by a very contagious disease – “Aquinonitis idiotic syndrome.” And sad to say, there is no medical remedy to this sickness.
JRT says:
November 6, 2015 at 10:28 am
The aim of the tanim bala is to sabotage whatever the government is doing for the APEC. It is clear as crystal. No one on his right mind to tarnish the image of the country unless the objective is to destroy ones image.
Filipinos should assess or evaluate what the author is trying to project and what camp he belongs. The ramification or effect of this “tanim bala” issue is not the government but to Filipinos as a whole. So lets not politicize the issue but to find ways to improve controls, monitoring and education of people.
The question why the racket is being exposed now can be answered by ordinary people as simple.. election time..tarnish the image of current government. Corruption still thrives in many places. Thieves are still in many places in our government as well as private institutions. Poverty is the root cause. Poor people are exploited and easily influence to this kind of scam. I wish the culprit on this scam is brought to justice and get jailed. This group is sabotaging the economy of our country and should be held in jail for life!!
Gerry Gaspar says:
November 6, 2015 at 7:41 am
Indeed it’s more convenient to admit stupidity than guilt. Practical shooters who go to firing ranges are what we call serious practical shooters. They invest in shooter’s gadgets and equipment like pistol case, magazines, bag, googles, etc. They don’t put loose ammunitions in their luggages for travel but in specialized bags. They know the mechanics of carrying firearms and ammunitions be it in their own vehicles or passengers planes. Who are you fooling Mar Roxas?
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zak Pasiking says:
November 6, 2015 at 7:14 am
Sir Tiglao, ang sagot ni Mar at Abnoy ay ganito, “buti at buhay pa sila, ang bala ay naitanim sa kanilang bag at hind sa ulo nila…!”
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Leodegardo Pruna says:
November 6, 2015 at 7:01 am
I cannot understand why P-Noy and his alter-egos are simply dismissing the issues as negligible or insignificant when in truth and in fact the issues have been damaging our moral fibers and institutions. P-Noy has not left a legacy as Congressman and Senator and he is leaving the Presidency with nothing but shame to the Filipino people. God bless the Philippines.
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jason bourne says:
November 6, 2015 at 11:42 am
135,000,000 pesos reasons ….
dante says:
November 6, 2015 at 6:58 am
MARia Roxas and Emilia Aguinaldo pABAYA are at the same level of their Abnoy president….
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Ning says:
November 6, 2015 at 6:35 am
A very good sense of what’s happening, logical calculations. Now, where;s $$$?
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Val Ofreneo says:
November 6, 2015 at 4:10 am
NBI or the Justice Department should be looking to this case because of Scammers, who are professional Deal Maker and the “Brain” of this Modus Operand.
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Mike Gonz says:
November 6, 2015 at 2:53 am
All LOSS-LOSS Situation for the Aquino government and the NAIA personnel! Their dogma is to make the Filipino suffer for their arrogance and incompetence! Ano ang makakamit nila sa paggagawa ng masama! Kahihiyaan at panggatong sa impierno!
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SALVACION CAHAYAG says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:51 am
I really don’t buy the palusot of Roxas, Abaya, Honrado or anybody from this
administration. These people like their ward abnoy are incompetent. They
all made the Philippines the WORST AIRPORT, DANGEROUS AIRPORT,
TOP WORST ARMED FORCES AND WHAT HAVE YOU. It’s a shame.
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hector says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:37 am
“First-rate leaders hire first-rate people; second-rate leaders hire third-rate people.”
Leo Rosten
Pnoy Aquino hires fourth-rate KKK.
Aquino’s cousin Jose Honrado epitomises everything that is wrong with the pnoy aquino administration, and the price which the nation has to pay for pnoy aquino adopting a ‘closed shop’ jobs policy for his kkk, and then to add insult to injury by giving them protection/immunity in the face of blatant incompetence or corruption.
These people are not only incapable, but have no conscience, or ethics, just arrogance arising from a sense of entitlement and impunity. They also clearly have no concept of professional pride, corporate responsibility, and customer service.
And the ludicrous excuses are only making aquino, roxas, abaya look even more stupid and desperate, if that is possible.
The bullet scam has been going on for at least 3 years and complaints have been raised before – without any action.
Honrados profile on Bloomberg:
Mr. Jose Angel Honrado has been the General Manager of Manila International Airport Authority since 2010. Mr. Honrado served as security consultant of President Aquino during the May 10 elections. He served as spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), also served as aide-d-camp of the late former President Corazon Aquino.
Would any other country entrust their capital airport to someone without a days relevant experience! – it is just crazy.
Pnoy aquino appointed him and must ultimately take the blame – but obviously will not.
This latest farce should ensure that manila regains the title of world’s worst airport, and give our asean neighbours something else to laugh about – especially singapore, with the worlds best airport.
The country should hire the deputy GM from Changi and give him 3 years to sort out the management structure, airport design, personnel, systems, and culture, which are the underlying issues.
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Janelle says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:34 am
I thought being one of the worst airport is bad enough, but being notorious for breeding a bunch of extortionist right inside the airport named after the father of the president is utterly shameful, and as usual this administration’s reaction is to deflect everything on their imagined opponent’s plot to tar their image and defend their own people, no matter how obviously stupid, arrogant, incompetent and corrupt these people are. Six months is too long for these people to remain in power.. too long.
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canuto says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:21 am
Tuwid na Daan goes hand-in-hand with Tuwid na Pag-Iisip, which unfortunately cannot be said of the minds of those in power.
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Johnny Ramos says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:19 am
There is no need to destroy Mar Roxas in your column and it will be waste of time and effort. Mar Roxas is a damaged goods already and will continue to self destruct until May next year.
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Lou says:
November 6, 2015 at 12:05 am
Poor Philippines ruled by these bunch of idiots and dumb people like Roxas n Abaya. I thought these people were graduate of Ivy League schools??!!
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victorts says:
November 6, 2015 at 1:44 pm
Could be that they paid their way to getting their diplomas considering their wealth. Definitely, not all wealthy people have brains. Most have only wealthy parents.


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