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

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

By Ma. Isabel Ongpin: ISSUES FIRST AND THEN CANDIDATES
[Overall, which candidate has a clear idea of the social contract, the obligations of government vis-à-vis its citizens, and the citizens vis-à-vis the government? That is based on the Constitution and it must be fulfilled. Which candidates are aware of this? The idea of a political campaign is for the voter to think, to analyze, to ask questions and to decide best on the answers. Whom to choose, who to vote for, must be based on the need to be fair and reasonable to our fellow citizens and ourselves. Again I mention that the political campaign should be revealing and lead us to the right decisions. But first we have to bring up the issues, the questions, the concerns. We do not just vote, we must vote intelligently.]


NOVEMBER 26 -by MA. ISABEL -ONGPIN
THE holidays will be upon us soon and it is to be hoped that we will all take time off after the tensions of Christmas shopping and timely family reunions to reflect on what kind of candidates we should support in the coming elections of May. The political pot is boiling a bit too soon and indeed we will have to take that into account. The first step in our discerning assessment of candidates is to pick out the issues that are of concern in our universe. Issues that we have to address are usually problems that have to be solved or decisions that have to be made. Once we have an idea of what concerns us, we look for the candidate that can answer them best to our satisfaction. It does not come easily or automatically. Candidates can be showy, demagogic, full of extravagant claims and promises and clothed in sheep’s clothing when they are actually wolves inside. I realize I am making sweeping statements here but the point is for us to be analytical, clear-headed and concerned less about self and more about the country when thinking about the issues that matter vis-à-vis the candidates. Be alert about appearance and reality. Once we have the issues we bring them out, talk about them, and in the form of public opinion make it a public challenge for the candidates to address. Media must follow suit and reflect public concerns if they are intelligently performing their job. That is why political campaigns are vital. This is the time to throw the questions out for candidates to answer. It is the season to see which ones grasp what the public is concerned about and gives his or her answers in the same vein. Debates will be essential and how the candidates conduct themselves in the debates or in discussing public issues will be a learning experience, such as to make a decision based on reason rather than emotion when choosing which one to vote for. Here are some issues that should matter: Climate change is upon us and it will be for some time. Due to the world’s abuse of the environment, there are harsh repercussions that have already come our way. It is time to redress and amend our mistakes as well as to come up with ingenious solutions. Candidates may not be scientists or environmentalists who can tailor solutions to environmental problems, but they must acknowledge them and recruit the right people to address these problems and support them. Or, we will see our food production going even lower, suffer from lack of water for our daily needs, be victimized by fiercer typhoons bringing flooding, destruction of natural resources, bear uncomfortably high temperatures (in this country hot weather; in others low temperatures). To deal with climate change the country has to cooperate with others and do its part for the universal good. Is there a candidate that notes the above and is prepared to work for its mitigation and solution? The issue of climate change is now a life and death matter. Education in this country of many have-nots and somewhat low standards is a problem that must be managed for our youth and future generations of this country. In fact, beyond Education and its problems, it is concern for the youth, for future generations and what to do to bring them up in the best way possible not only in Education, but health, livelihood, sports and activities that are of utmost necessity. Who is the candidate that has a plan or a vision for the youth of this country and can deliver it? It is our duty to give future generations our best of resources and education. READ MORE...

ALSO By R. Tiglao: ISIS’ rise and terror should tell us to junk and bury BBL now


NOVEMBER 26 -by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO
First of Two Parts -It is quite astonishing. The civilized world has been aghast over the jihadist carnage in Paris since it occurred two weeks ago. In just a few years, what was once merely a rag-tag army called the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has grown strong to challenge the US and the West, and even Russia, vowing to destroy their cities. Yet, Senate President Franklin Drilon is apparently unaware of all these developments, and instead of joining the world in condemning the ISIS atrocities, instead, boasts that Congress will pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which critics have been warning could eventually lead to an Islamic state in our country. SIS, what ISIS? Websites of the MILF (above) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (below), accessed yesterday, show no mention of the ISIS’ atrocities in Paris. SIS, what ISIS? Websites of the MILF (above) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (below), accessed yesterday, show no mention of the ISIS’ atrocities in Paris. ISIS’ big difference from its predecessor, Al-Qaeda (“The Base”), which had really fuzzy ideas about its ultimate goal after it had destroyed the US (“The Great Satan”), is that it vows to establish a global Caliphate, an Islamic state. This is emphasized in its name, which in Arabic is transliterated as “Dawlat-al Islamiya Iraq Sham,” with Dawlat meaning “state.” The ISIS’ success in taking over major cities in Iraq and Syria has, therefore, fired up militant Muslims worldwide, that at last, they could help in the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate. And how does “Bangsamoro” translate? It is the Moro Nation-State, with Moro, of course, being the former pejorative name for Muslims in Mindanao, which the Islamic insurgents have in defiance embraced. The MILF, and sadly even this gullible (or bought?) Administration, has been claiming that what will be established is merely an “autonomous region,” which will still be part of the Philippines. This is all clearly hogwash, which President Aquino and his naïve, yet egoistic negotiators would easily see as such if their minds were not obsessed that they could win the Nobel Peace. Read the BBL and it says it will establish all the three essential attributes of a nation-state for Muslims in Mindanao: a clearly-defined territory and people, a state which will even be a parliamentary one in violation of the Constitution, and even its own army, disguised as the Bangsamoro Police. There has been no such “autonomous” Muslim entity anywhere in the world because of one major reason: It is an article of Islamic faith for its faithful to seek to establish an Islamic state. After all, one of the main accomplishments of its founder was to establish the first Islamic state, and Islam had been a martial religion in its growth, expanding ITS caliphates throughout the world. Theocracy In contrast, there is no such article of faith for establishing a theocracy among non-Muslim religions and minorities as the mountain tribes in our case, or even the Basques or Catalans in Spain, or the French in Quebec, which makes autonomous regions for them feasible and without risking dismemberment of the nations they are part of. READ MORE...

ALSO By Yen Makabenta: The presidency is not an entry-level job


NOVEMBER 26 -by YEN MAKABENTA, OBSERVER
Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares shares this absurd fantasy with her Senate defenders, her lawyers and legal advocates, her financial backers, her political allies and her mass of supporters: they all look at the Philippine presidency as an entry-level job, a first-stop for a career in politics. Instead of a lofty view of the highest office of the land, what they offer is “a worm’s eye view” of the presidency – of the leadership that it must provide our nation of 100 million, of the enormous challenges that it must surmount in these times of uncertainty in our country, our region and in the world. It has not occurred to them that Malacañang is not just an official residence, but a real job, in which many personages of considerable merit have faltered and reached their level of incompetence. To the contrary, they imagine that a complete novice, with sufficient popularity and enough money, can win the presidency and succeed at the job. They see it as an entry-level job, no more difficult than filling a position in a department store, a bank or a government agency. In organizations, an entry-level job is the first job that a new trainee or graduate takes upon completion of a training or degree program. Entry level in this sense refers to the entry point into a specific chosen profession. Can the presidency be approached in this way? Can we entrust this highest office within our gift to a person with no executive experience, no particular education of note, and no noticeable support from a notable political party that may be expected to provide the support needed to succeed at the job? Pedestrian, shocking and embarrassing verdict I started asking these questions after the Senate Electoral Tribunal handed down its ruling on the disqualification case against Ms Poe, saying that as a foundling she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and is therefore qualified not only to keep her seat in the Senate, but, by implication, to also run for president. My query turned into alarm after I spent an entire day literally reading the majority opinion and the motley set of dissenting and concurring opinions in the tribunal’s decision. I was shocked by the utterly pedestrian language and arguments of the majority opinion, whose authorship has been understandably concealed. I was awed by the weighty and persuasive opinions of the three SC justices in the tribunal who dissented from the majority opinion. Lastly, I was embarrassed by the inanity and sentimentality of the opinions submitted by four senator-members, whose votes decisively shifted the tribunal toward a vote in favor of Ms. Poe. By saying in the ruling that they seek to uphold the rights of foundlings in this country, the senators virtually made law, judged the case not on its legal merits but according to political calculation. They offered their well-wishes to Ms. Poe in her imaginary march to Malacañang You awaken from this reverie when you realize that the president is our head of government and chief of state, the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces, and that he/she literally controls several trillions of our people’s money, and that he/she makes all important appointments in the government bureaucracy and the high positions in the judiciary. Politics as a search for remedy Bringing down the presidency to the status of an entry-level job is to my mind the ultimate insult to our Constitution, to our history of struggle for self-government, and to all those personages who have served our people and our country in the highest office of the land (three of whom are still very much with us). Benigno BS Aquino 3rd has, no doubt, brought the office to new lows of indignity, irresponsibility and ineffectiveness. READ MORE...

ALSO By Kits Tatad: As war threatens, we worry about Grace Poe becoming President
[At Wednesday’s hearing, I was pleased to see Atty. George Erwin Garcia speak for the respondent Sen. Llamanzares, after he had been sidelined by an older counsel in the SET hearings. He is a well-mannered lawyer, who has been handling election cases from the beginning, and I looked forward to hearing him present his client’s case, while Atty. Manuelito Luna spoke on my behalf.
He [Garcia] exceeded my expectations. His first point was that the Comelec had no jurisdiction over questions of qualifications of presidential candidates, and therefore my petition should be dismissed. The remedy, he said, was to let Mrs. Llamanzares run despite her constitutional infirmities, and should she win, to question her right to sit as president on a quo warranto petition before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. It was a novel proposition delivered with some panache, but my good friend failed to point out how the Comelec could possibly discharge itself from the task of passing on the constitutional eligibility of Mrs. Llamanzares while at the same time exercising the routine duty of weeding out so-called “nuisance candidates” from the list of 130 presidential “candidates.”]


NOVEMBER 26 -by FRANCISCO S. TATAD
THE WORLD is now a much more dangerous place, after the downing of a Russian bomber-plane by two Turkish F16s in disputed airspace near the Turkish-Syrian border this week. But we are so focused on our narrow domestic cares related to the holding of our 2016 presidential elections that we seem to have no energy left for anything else. Indeed, these cares are not unrelated to the rule of law and the issue of peace, but we need a broader perspective, in light of fast-breaking global developments.
Maintaining the rule of law and peace in the world will now depend a lot on what kind of restraint Russia could muster after the aircraft downing incident, in which it lost not only one war plane but also one pilot who was machine-gunned to death by terrorists as he parachuted on Syrian soil, and one serviceman aboard the rescue helicopter that was similarly attacked by missiles. If, by any miscalculation and against its will or best judgment, the world slips into war, all our present preoccupations about our presidential politics would disappear in smoke. While the world bursts into flames, we would probably end up with a national emergency or an uprising or anarchy of some sort, rather than a rigged national election, which everyone fears. This is why it is absolutely necessary that we try to understand what’s happening in the world: this is the least we can do in the face of events we cannot control. Our mass media and our politicians would do well to devote a little more time and attention to what’s happening on the broad international front. As the cornerstone of the former Soviet empire, Russia used to be the “enemy” during the bad, old days of the Cold War. It has since emerged as a most responsible member of the international community of nations, and an emerging world leader in the fight against dysfunctional sexual and family lifestyles. But its decision to fly bombing missions against ISIS targets in Syria in support of the Basher al-Assad government has met with stern US disapproval; and lately, it has had a bad run. On Oct. 31, it lost all 224 passengers on board the Russian airliner which terrorists bombed off the air above the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula while en route to St. Petersburg. The terrorists’ hand in that incident was confirmed only after the ISIS attack in Paris and Saint-Denis that killed 129 and wounded 300 others on Nov. 13. The ensuing crisis prevented Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending the APEC Economic Leaders Summit in Manila, but it did not prevent him from attending the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey and telling his colleagues there that powerful businessmen in some 40 countries, including some G20 countries, were among those secretly funding the ISIS. READ MORE...


ALSO By Mauro Samonte: Aquino walked with vengeance
[In the East Asia Summit held in Bali, Indonesia previous to the just concluded one in Myanmar, President Xi Jinping sort of trooped the line of attending heads of state, shaking the hand of each of them but passing off a particular one – that of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. A Philippine newsman covering the affair overheard the Chinese leader quipped afterward, “I’ll wait for the next Philippine President.” President Benigno Aquino 3rd, hosting APEC is thus, widely faulted for having executed that all too obvious snub of China President Xi Jinping in their walk with other leaders from the entrance of the Philippine International Convention Center.]


NOVEMBER 28 -by MAURO GIA SAMONTE THE greatest abuse people had of their minds regarding the just past Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Manila is in believing that APEC is a grouping for purely economic concerns so that political issues, like China’s increasing assertiveness over a large section of the Spratly’s in particular and over the whole of South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) in general, are not to get in the way of achieving harmony in the region’s economic relations. President Benigno Aquino 3rd is thus, widely faulted for having executed that all too obvious snub of China President Xi Jinping in their walk with other leaders from the entrance of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) building to the plenary hall on Nov. 18, 2015. That walk took more or less three minutes, more than enough leeway for Aquino to have thrown a gracious “ni hao” to Xi Jinping, who was just an arm’s length away and practically abreast but for Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet walking in between. But no, Aquino kept his leisurely stride, all the while conversing with Bachelet as if Xi Jinping was in limbo. What none of those who keenly observed the slight ever realized was that Aquino was just being true to his endemically vindictive self. In the East Asia Summit held in Bali, Indonesia previous to the just concluded one in Myanmar, President Xi Jinping sort of trooped the line of attending heads of state, shaking the hand of each of them but passing off a particular one – that of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. A Philippine newsman covering the affair overheard the Chinese leader quip afterward, “I’ll wait for the next Philippine President.” Unforltunately for President Xi Jinping, the next Philippine President would not yet come about before the last APEC Leaders Meeting and so Aquino would still be around to return the disfavor he got in Bali. It did appear for a while that Aquino’s hurt from that Bali incident must have been bygone when he refrained from raising the South China (West Philippine) Sea issue in his speech in the two-day APEC forum, as requested by China. But ignoring the Chinese leader in full view of the media was already an indication that Aquino was toeing a line yet to be made manifest when US President Barack Obama declared in the APEC proceedings that “bold steps” needed to be taken to stop China reclamation activities in the Spratlys READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Issues first and then candidates


by MA. ISABEL -ONGPIN

MANILA, NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (MANILA TIMES) November 26, 2015 by Ma. Isabel Ongpin - THE holidays will be upon us soon and it is to be hoped that we will all take time off after the tensions of Christmas shopping and timely family reunions to reflect on what kind of candidates we should support in the coming elections of May. The political pot is boiling a bit too soon and indeed we will have to take that into account.

The first step in our discerning assessment of candidates is to pick out the issues that are of concern in our universe. Issues that we have to address are usually problems that have to be solved or decisions that have to be made. Once we have an idea of what concerns us, we look for the candidate that can answer them best to our satisfaction.

It does not come easily or automatically. Candidates can be showy, demagogic, full of extravagant claims and promises and clothed in sheep’s clothing when they are actually wolves inside. I realize I am making sweeping statements here but the point is for us to be analytical, clear-headed and concerned less about self and more about the country when thinking about the issues that matter vis-à-vis the candidates. Be alert about appearance and reality.

Once we have the issues we bring them out, talk about them, and in the form of public opinion make it a public challenge for the candidates to address. Media must follow suit and reflect public concerns if they are intelligently performing their job.

That is why political campaigns are vital. This is the time to throw the questions out for candidates to answer. It is the season to see which ones grasp what the public is concerned about and gives his or her answers in the same vein. Debates will be essential and how the candidates conduct themselves in the debates or in discussing public issues will be a learning experience, such as to make a decision based on reason rather than emotion when choosing which one to vote for.

Here are some issues that should matter: Climate change is upon us and it will be for some time. Due to the world’s abuse of the environment, there are harsh repercussions that have already come our way. It is time to redress and amend our mistakes as well as to come up with ingenious solutions. Candidates may not be scientists or environmentalists who can tailor solutions to environmental problems, but they must acknowledge them and recruit the right people to address these problems and support them.

Or, we will see our food production going even lower, suffer from lack of water for our daily needs, be victimized by fiercer typhoons bringing flooding, destruction of natural resources, bear uncomfortably high temperatures (in this country hot weather; in others low temperatures). To deal with climate change the country has to cooperate with others and do its part for the universal good. Is there a candidate that notes the above and is prepared to work for its mitigation and solution?

The issue of climate change is now a life and death matter.


The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here |Courtesy of  Rolling Stone ONLINE: PHOTOS ONTHIS PAGE APPENDED BY PHNO

Education in this country of many have-nots and somewhat low standards is a problem that must be managed for our youth and future generations of this country. In fact, beyond Education and its problems, it is concern for the youth, for future generations and what to do to bring them up in the best way possible not only in Education, but health, livelihood, sports and activities that are of utmost necessity.

Who is the candidate that has a plan or a vision for the youth of this country and can deliver it? It is our duty to give future generations our best of resources and education.

We include Environment here to make it a clear concern though in truth it should be addressed and solved under the climate change issue which it encompasses. Which candidates have thought about the Environment and how to protect it? Better yet, which candidates have no anti-environmental deeds that they have to explain? We have to hand a healthy and wholesome Environment to those who come after us.

The rule of law is another important concern. With the killings of journalists and the guns-for-hire culture plus the political and white collar corruption that we all know about, which candidate is ready to push for justice, to let the law take care of the outlaws and their outlaw activities? Meaning which candidate is not involved personally or through clan activities in the criminal activities and more? Which candidate is prepared to let not just enemies feel the rule of law but his or her own associates, relatives, clan? The rule of law is essential for a viable society.

READ MORE...

Candidates have much to do with the justice system. Presidents appoint the judges and justices that will represent it and make the verdicts of innocent or guilty. Which candidates will appoint the upright and the accomplished to arrive at a better justice system?

Or, punish those who make a travesty of it? At this point of justice delayed and justice denied because of the ability of some to get away with doing so, we must forcefully demand those who present themselves to lead us that they must not only pledge adherence to its principles but see that they are implemented in a timely and definitive fashion.

The principle of equality and democratic rule of the majority must be upheld, underlined and reiterated as we are a democratic republic where each and everyone has equal rights and must have equal opportunities. Lip service is what we usually get in political campaigns about this issue. But which candidate is ready to go the extra mile, do the hard and even pioneering effort to get there? What are the views, the vision and the road map to get there?

We are talking in part of Mindanao – not only of the Muslim Filipinos but of the Lumad Filipinos, the pioneer populations that have contributed to Mindanao, the urban centers there. Peace and prosperity must be given to all of them. Which candidate can tackle that and how?


The Lumad is a term being used to denote a group of indigenous peoples of the southern Philippines. It is a Cebuano term meaning "native" or "indigenous FROM intercontinentalcry.org

Also, which candidate will rectify our unequal economic trajectory where the few manage and profit from economic activities and the rest contribute their labor and their efforts for a pittance of the returns? The scarcest resource in this country is capital. In principle, government lending institutions are supposed to provide it to those with viable projects who otherwise could not get it. But this is not implemented wisely or in time to do what it is supposed to do – provide capital to those who need it and can use it well.

The result is only those who have capital, the few hundred families, are those who thrive in our economy. Many of them use the credit facilities intended for those without capital. Which candidate will see the reality and do something about it?

There are more issues of course, particularly local ones that deal with local candidates. Overall, which candidate has a clear idea of the social contract, the obligations of government vis-à-vis its citizens, and the citizens vis-à-vis the government? That is based on the Constitution and it must be fulfilled. Which candidates are aware of this?

The idea of a political campaign is for the voter to think, to analyze, to ask questions and to decide best on the answers. Whom to choose, who to vote for, must be based on the need to be fair and reasonable to our fellow citizens and ourselves.

Again I mention that the political campaign should be revealing and lead us to the right decisions. But first we have to bring up the issues, the questions, the concerns. We do not just vote, we must vote intelligently.


ISIS’ rise and terror should tell us to junk and bury BBL now
November 26, 2015 11:07 pm RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO


It is quite astonishing. The civilized world has been aghast over the jihadist carnage in Paris since it occurred two weeks ago. In just a few years, what was once merely a rag-tag army called the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) has grown strong to challenge the US and the West, and even Russia, vowing to destroy their cities.

Yet, Senate President Franklin Drilon is apparently unaware of all these developments, and instead of joining the world in condemning the ISIS atrocities, instead, boasts that Congress will pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which critics have been warning could eventually lead to an Islamic state in our country.

SIS, what ISIS? Websites of the MILF (above) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (below), accessed yesterday, show no mention of the ISIS’ atrocities in Paris.

SIS, what ISIS? Websites of the MILF (above) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (below), accessed yesterday, show no mention of the ISIS’ atrocities in Paris.


SIS, what ISIS? Websites of the MILF (above) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (below), accessed yesterday, show no mention of the ISIS’ atrocities in Paris.

ISIS’ big difference from its predecessor, Al-Qaeda (“The Base”), which had really fuzzy ideas about its ultimate goal after it had destroyed the US (“The Great Satan”), is that it vows to establish a global Caliphate, an Islamic state. This is emphasized in its name, which in Arabic is transliterated as “Dawlat-al Islamiya Iraq Sham,” with Dawlat meaning “state.” The ISIS’ success in taking over major cities in Iraq and Syria has, therefore, fired up militant Muslims worldwide, that at last, they could help in the establishment of a worldwide Caliphate.

And how does “Bangsamoro” translate? It is the Moro Nation-State, with Moro, of course, being the former pejorative name for Muslims in Mindanao, which the Islamic insurgents have in defiance embraced.

The MILF, and sadly even this gullible (or bought?) Administration, has been claiming that what will be established is merely an “autonomous region,” which will still be part of the Philippines.

This is all clearly hogwash, which President Aquino and his naïve, yet egoistic negotiators would easily see as such if their minds were not obsessed that they could win the Nobel Peace.

Read the BBL and it says it will establish all the three essential attributes of a nation-state for Muslims in Mindanao: a clearly-defined territory and people, a state which will even be a parliamentary one in violation of the Constitution, and even its own army, disguised as the Bangsamoro Police.

There has been no such “autonomous” Muslim entity anywhere in the world because of one major reason: It is an article of Islamic faith for its faithful to seek to establish an Islamic state. After all, one of the main accomplishments of its founder was to establish the first Islamic state, and Islam had been a martial religion in its growth, expanding ITS caliphates throughout the world.

Theocracy
In contrast, there is no such article of faith for establishing a theocracy among non-Muslim religions and minorities as the mountain tribes in our case, or even the Basques or Catalans in Spain, or the French in Quebec, which makes autonomous regions for them feasible and without risking dismemberment of the nations they are part of.

READ MORE...

Except for the Philippines, countries with substantial Muslim populations have, therefore, veered away from establishing “autonomous Muslim regions” as that would only open the way for the eventual secession of such territories. Strongmen like Indonesia’s Suharto and Malaysia’s Tunku Abdul Rahman fiercely – and with violence – made sure that no Islamic group could advocate an Islamic state in their countries which are predominantly Muslim.

Marcos was arm-twisted with the threat of an oil embargo in 1976 by the Libyan strongman Gaddafi to agree to an autonomous region for Southern Philippines as a means to end the MNLF insurgency. Since the insurgents also fought Marcos, Corazon Aquino thought to reward them by prodding the Constitutional Commission to require the establishment of an Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The framers of the 1987 Constitution, however, were clever enough not to give room to Muslim insurgents to control the autonomous region and develop it to acquire the resources to demand secession. But thanks to Filipino corruption – whatever their religion – the ARMM has never developed the unity and strength to become a prototype for an Islamic state.

That Islamic ideal had been bludgeoned to near extinction after the fall of the last Islamic empire of the Ottomans and the colonization by Western powers of most Muslim-dominated countries and areas.

That ideal was revived, though, with the help of Muslim Middle Eastern countries’ newfound wealth when they wrested control of their oil from the West. That was given expression by what is called Wahhabism, after an 18th-century preacher and scholar, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who propagated teachings that are now labeled as jihadist thinking. Ironically, it’s the rich Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia, which have been funding Wahhabist religious missions all over the world, which explains why such teachings have spread so fast in just two decades.

The founder of the MILF, Hashim Salamat, fell under the spell of Wahhabist thinking when he studied to be a Muslim cleric at the Al-Azhzar University in Cairo. In an interview, he said he drew inspiration from Syed Qutb – a famous teacher of Wahhabism that was al-Qaeda’s spiritual teacher.

Same worldview as ISIS

That the MILF still shares the same worldview as the ISIS is the reason why it can’t condemn that barbaric organization even after the Paris massacres.

Yes, there have been some news reports headlined, “MILF condemns Paris attacks.” But the actual MILF statement of just four paragraphs has no reference at all to the ISIS. IT even reminds readers that such atrocities have been undertaken against Muslims in “in Palestine, in Myanmar, and elsewhere in the world.”

“We are deeply saddened by today’s tragic events in Paris, France. These blind, indiscriminate acts of violence deserve nothing but condemnation.

This is unacceptable. The MILF rejects such acts of terror against humanity and all peace-loving peoples.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. May we all find our way through these troubled times and emerge with a stronger resolve to pursue peace for all peoples in all parts of the world.

We take this opportunity also to condemn in same strong terms the violence against civilians in Palestine, in Myanmar, and elsewhere in the world.”

I couldn’t even find that statement in MILF’s official webpage luwaran.com, as if it was sent only to media to be forgotten and not to be included in its archives.

What I found equally shocking is that Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles-Quintos and her factotum with the MILF, Miriam Coronel – who routinely issues press releases almost every day, and who has been telling us day in and day out not to be worried about Islamic jihadism – didn’t even bother to issue a statement on what is, next to the Twin Towers 9/11 carnage, the most horrible act of Muslim holy war in this century.

Even more astonishing is that the President himself seems to be afraid of mentioning the word “ISIS.” Was he told by the MILF not to?

Here is Aquino’s statement on the Paris attack, nearly as short as the MILF’s:

    Terror and brutality have plunged the City of Light, Paris, into the darkness of horror
    and grief. The Philippines and its people stand in solidarity with the people of Paris
    and all of France, in this time of deepest sorrow and the gravest outrage against
    the perpetrators of these crimes.   

    The deaths of over a hundred in the attack on the Bataclan Concert Hall, the vicinity
    of the Stade de France, and on restaurants in the city center, were atrocities that
    demand a united voice from the world in condemnation and grief. In our time of
    need, France and her people stood shoulder to shoulder with the Philippines in the
    wake of Typhoon Haiyan. We stand with France now, in the firm belief that the light
    must never dim in Paris.

    For our part, we reassure our fellow citizens that we are taking all necessary precautions.
    The PNP is on alert and our security forces are assessing the situation, including the
    continuing evaluation of our security procedures. There is no credible threat registered
    at this time but let us all be cooperative and vigilant. The Department of Foreign Affairs
    will be issuing updates on the situation in Paris and has been directed to render all
    necessary assistance to our countrymen in France.


We’re still lucky. If not for the Mamasapano massacre, in which 44 of our elite policemen were massacred by Muslim insurgents, including MILF guerillas, and if not for Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who put in his best effort to prevent Aquino from ramming the BBL down the throats of legislators in Congress, a plot to establish an Islamic State in Mindanao and Sulu had been stopped dead in its tracks.

Aquino said that P70 billion would be raised to fund the Bangsamoro nation-state when the BBL is approved. Why not devote that much money, instead, to the existing ARMM, through better infrastructure, public utilities, and education, without having to give insurgents the political power they could later use to establish an Islamic state?
tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com


The presidency is not an entry-level job November 26, 2015 12:04 am YEN MAKABENTA


by YEN MAKABENTA, OBSERVER

Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares shares this absurd fantasy with her Senate defenders, her lawyers and legal advocates, her financial backers, her political allies and her mass of supporters: they all look at the Philippine presidency as an entry-level job, a first-stop for a career in politics.

Instead of a lofty view of the highest office of the land, what they offer is “a worm’s eye view” of the presidency – of the leadership that it must provide our nation of 100 million, of the enormous challenges that it must surmount in these times of uncertainty in our country, our region and in the world.

It has not occurred to them that Malacañang is not just an official residence, but a real job, in which many personages of considerable merit have faltered and reached their level of incompetence.

To the contrary, they imagine that a complete novice, with sufficient popularity and enough money, can win the presidency and succeed at the job. They see it as an entry-level job, no more difficult than filling a position in a department store, a bank or a government agency.

In organizations, an entry-level job is the first job that a new trainee or graduate takes upon completion of a training or degree program. Entry level in this sense refers to the entry point into a specific chosen profession.

Can the presidency be approached in this way? Can we entrust this highest office within our gift to a person with no executive experience, no particular education of note, and no noticeable support from a notable political party that may be expected to provide the support needed to succeed at the job?

Pedestrian, shocking and embarrassing verdict

I started asking these questions after the Senate Electoral Tribunal handed down its ruling on the disqualification case against Ms Poe, saying that as a foundling she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and is therefore qualified not only to keep her seat in the Senate, but, by implication, to also run for president.

My query turned into alarm after I spent an entire day literally reading the majority opinion and the motley set of dissenting and concurring opinions in the tribunal’s decision.

I was shocked by the utterly pedestrian language and arguments of the majority opinion, whose authorship has been understandably concealed.

I was awed by the weighty and persuasive opinions of the three SC justices in the tribunal who dissented from the majority opinion.

Lastly, I was embarrassed by the inanity and sentimentality of the opinions submitted by four senator-members, whose votes decisively shifted the tribunal toward a vote in favor of Ms. Poe.



By saying in the ruling that they seek to uphold the rights of foundlings in this country, the senators virtually made law, judged the case not on its legal merits but according to political calculation.

They offered their well-wishes to Ms. Poe in her imaginary march to Malacañang
You awaken from this reverie when you realize that the president is our head of government and chief of state, the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces, and that he/she literally controls several trillions of our people’s money, and that he/she makes all important appointments in the government bureaucracy and the high positions in the judiciary.

Politics as a search for remedy

Bringing down the presidency to the status of an entry-level job is to my mind the ultimate insult to our Constitution, to our history of struggle for self-government, and to all those personages who have served our people and our country in the highest office of the land (three of whom are still very much with us).

Benigno BS Aquino 3rd has, no doubt, brought the office to new lows of indignity, irresponsibility and ineffectiveness.

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While seemingly a precedent, that is no excuse to bestow it next year on another novice.
We can prattle all we like that it is good and democratic to bring the views and feelings of the masses into the entire presidential selection process; but to allow populist perspectives to shape and dictate the actual decision is nationally suicidal.

Choosing a president is not a lottery.

At its best, the historian Arthur Schlesinger called democratic politics “the search for remedy.”

The search is for national leadership who can provide answers and supply the public policies to resolve the great problems of national life.

A democratic election is not an escape into fantasyland. It is and should be a confrontation and debate of contrasting candidates and policy agendas.

The prize should belong to the candidate and program that best fit our times of uncertainty and challenge.

It should be bestowed on the candidate who does not run away from the problems, but rather confidently confronts them, and offers thoughtful and practicable solutions to them.
Offering a so-called 20-point program does not qualify as a remedy. It may not even be good enough as a band aid for our superficial wounds.

We have already learned to our sorrow how foolhardy and dangerous it was for our people to put all their eggs in the basket of Benigno BS. Aquino 3rd.

Whereas at his leave taking, the American people hailed George Washington as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his country men,” we are today in a quizzical position of maybe bestowing on BS Aquino the title of the worst.

A caricature of democracy

Up to this point, we Filipinos have been treating the runup to the presidential campaign as a game of cat and mouse, Rody Duterte has made it more interesting game by reentering the conversation. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, after some make-cute public appearances, has receded into the shadows.

We are in danger of seeing an election that is a caricature of democracy’s possibilities?
It is a grave mistake for the nation to fritter away its time and attention on candidates who, bereft of governing experience, cannot address sensibly and articulately the great questions of national life.

Every day that we waste in listening to the prattle of candidates is a day wasted.

Fortunately, enough time remains to turn our focus on the problems and the character and qualifications of the candidates, and to reduce the field to the really serious and worthy candidates.

There will be powerful public support now for candidates who are really thinking hard about the problems and lab-testing the answers.

What people hunger for are leaders who can do the job – whether in the presidency, or the vice-presidency.

Candidates with no executive experience and no professional credentials should be cast aside as nuisance candidates in either the screening or the voting process.
yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

32 Responses to The presidency is not an entry-level job
Mike Gonz says:
November 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm
When senators do not stand by the principle of consistent to what is defined by the new and present constitution, people are truly divided!
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victorts says:
November 26, 2015 at 1:21 pm
B.S. Aquino set a precedent when, devoid of experience and outstanding educational attainment, he became president. Now just everybody thinks he can become president, too. If a simpleton did it, I can do it, too. This seems to be the mindset of every presidential aspirant now. And it includes Roxas.
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Jose Alcala says:
November 26, 2015 at 12:19 pm
Mr. Yen, you’re right, the presidency is not an entry level job, not an apprentice or training job! A presidential candidate must have excellent qualifications, extensive working experiences and excellent records of achievement/track records. Does she have extensive knowledge and experience in economic policies, foreign policies, national security policies, also in management, administration, finance and law!
If she does not have such qualifications and experiences, it will be trial and error practice! Can the Filipino people afford such incompetence!
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Amnata Pundit says:
November 26, 2015 at 12:09 pm
Of course this is elementary, but even the most basic truths can be easily defeated by massive propaganda being waged by forces more powerful than the government. This Grace Poe phenomenon is an operation designed to delude the people and to continue these forces’ stranglehold on our country. The job of every thinking man is to point this farce out and stop going along with the manufactured narrative as if it is a natural flow of events. Their most provable lies are in their SWS results and their Smartmatic cheating machines, which also happen to be the two main pillars of their lying operation. If we just concentrate our fire on these two pillars, the break we are hoping for might just come.
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Mik says:
November 26, 2015 at 11:16 am
Ditto!
I refused to call this opportunist under the name Poe. She is a Llamanzares – a free-riding carpetbagger using her father’s name in order to gain a fantasy ride to Malacanang. She is a power-hungry woman loaded with narcissism believing that her minimal achievements , if not “nil” political achievements, are not apparent to the political observers. She forgets that there are still intelligent Filipino voters, and with the advent of social media, she is heading for a turbulent ride to her Malacanang ambition. One also has to take note that Escudero is one among her main driving gear in this whole ill-vested personal ambition. Can you imagine diplomacy talks with the NPA’s and MILF’s? How about strategic decisions involving military operations? Throw in the growing global threat of terrorism and insurgencies. Just put a mental note of that seeming “maka-Filipino” facade in light of these critical events. I simply cannot imagine because there’s no room for her in there. Absolutely none. Her history only involves a brief stint in the senate and MTRCb chairmanship, not to mention a Montessori pre-school teacher. She is making a complete mockery of the Constitution by trying to circumvent every possible way and angle she can in order to advance in her personal greed and ambition. I’m sure this is underpinned by her financial backers who think that they can again rule the country with their oligarch ways.
Those 5 senators’ opinion’s are clearly a political one. Even Alan Cayetano admitted that his sister’s vote, Pia, was a vote to be in Llamanzares’ good grace. What kind of decision is that? I wouldn’t be surprised at all that her brother will lose his VP bid due to her turning a blind eye on the Constitution. I must say that Sotto is an abomination in this country’s senate. Do we need a plagiarist in this government? How could he even have the intellect to discern the Constitutional provisions when he himself plagiarizes? I’ve read his speech, and it was a straight shot plagiarism. Then you have the biased Legarda who is a Llamanzares supporter. Obviously the water is being muddled from the get-go. In essence, while it was extremely beyond disappointing to hear the results of SET, nevertheless it was an clear display of the typical “padrino” system. What a shame!
With regards to Llamanzares’ popularity, I must say that I do have to blame the voters on this one. Majority of the mass voters are the class D and E who are the uneducated and in the poverty level. To them, showbiz is everything because that’s pure entertainment for them. Just look at our senate members – Lito Lapid, Vilma Santos, Erap, Sotto, Pacquiao. Their “psyche” operates on a whole new level. Government is akin to popularity contest. This is why Llamanzares continues to use Poe. Disgusting scheme. She knows how to reach to the intellect of the mass voters.
Speaking of class D and E voters, the government really need to implement a complete eradication on vote-buying. It is extremely detrimental to the outcome of our country. What is 500 pesos in exchange for 6 years of pork-barrel magnitude catastrophe.
In short, I totally concur with everything you say. You are an astute journalist.
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Rodan Guerrero says:
November 26, 2015 at 10:54 am
Of all the Foreign leaders that attended the APEC Summit, I felt so discouraged to see that our president is the only one who does not look like a President. He appears like a chef mixed with dignitaries who is there to get their recipes for the food they will eat for dinner. My personal embarashment went deeper when he started badmouthing his predecessors and continued boasting of accomplishments he never did. He is the complete picture of a a father who failed to provide his obligations to his family. Can you imagine a leader confining the impoverished and and shutting down all sources of income and paralizing traffic for several days? Just to hide the real truth? I just hope that all Filipinos now have had enough lesson and learned the misfortunes of electing a president who is not only incompetent but also IMBECILE. Since 1986, our political system has started to degrade and it has now reached its worst level. Marcos was the last President who can be called a competent head of state. So do all his predecessors. Sad to say that Cory Aquino started below mediocrity of governance that continued to worsen until the presidency of his own son, now undoubtedly known as the worst president the Phil. ever had. We are now in an era of incompetence. Our incumbent leaders shows the kind of society where Filipinos belong in the international community.What happened to the Phils. and her people? Being led by psychologically impaired individual is all we are worth? Shall we install a foreigner to lead us? Fellow Filipinos we must awake from a long nightmare…Let us come together and rebuild our rotten system. We shall ahve a good start by electing competent individuals to lead us. Let us consider most their past performance and never listen to anyone who could not show any proof of good leadership!
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Juan says:
November 26, 2015 at 9:49 am
Question:
Who’s that idiot “lawmaker” that drafted the simplistic “requirements” for presidency? It seems to be treated like janitorial-level job.
Even the lowly government jobs have better requirements than that, then progresses with higher position, with bigger responsibilities
And the most funny thing is, it is even totally disregarded by a candidate with questionable “citizenship
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Inocent says:
November 26, 2015 at 9:08 am
You are correct, Mr. Makabenta, the PNoy presidency is an anomaly, a precedent of electing an incompetent, no-clue president to lead us but does not have any kind of leadership trait and character. Blame it on the electing public for the sympathy votes they wrote in favor of PNoy, not looking into his capability and capacity to lead the nation. Sen. Grace P. Llamanzares the american is no better, in fact, in a worse position because she has no experience in governing at all other than almost 3 years of being a senatora. Is this enough to elevate her to be ln PNoys position? Many of her uneducated supporters claim that because she topped the senatorial elections last time she is already qualified to be president. What? The voters picked her as a senator, not as the top man in Philippine government which is a totally different story at that. Many of her stupid allies are also saying that Llamanzares, just like PNoy have very good intentions as President. I am reminded of what Arch. Cruz wrote about PNoy having good intentions but intentions has nothing to do with competence. And by the way, how can we forget and erase the stigma and the mismanagement by PNoy in “leading” our country when we have Grace Llamanzares who promised to copy the “daang matuwid” policies of PNoy which is a total failure. It has been suspected that Grace Llamanzares is the non-official candidate supported by PNoy. What arrangement do the 2 have?
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Jun Adan says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:54 am
A lofty ambition to hold the highest position in the land (Presidency) must have a counterpart equation of proven qualification, education in administration, extensive experience in governance of the country’s governmental workings and affairs since the position is loaded with awesome tasks and vast accountiblities that affects the social, economic and the very welfare and well-being of the entire populace.
A mere program of government as a platform of action does not suffice to meet the needs, problems and solutions for nation’s progress. In this regard, Grace Poe is only full of ambition and loaded with program which personally are not supported by her capacity, education and experience to manage the complex governmental affairs. Grace Poe, besides. NOT being natural born citizen and legally ineligible to be Senator, VP or President, is a ” tenderfoot” political character projected to the limelight only because of her relationship to the celebrity status of her adoptive parents (FPJ and Susan Roces), have no accomplishment either as an individual or Senator. Her celebrity status emboldened her to be too ambitious, egoistic and big-headed, making her felt and believe she is the only person who can uplift the nation! She is even using FPJ name to promote her shameful ambition. It is not wrong or immoral to be ambitious or dream big but it must be supported by attributes that a person has the capacity to achieve and personally able to execute by way of judicious actions.
I doubt Grace Poe’s capacity to execute and perform the right tasks to implement her ambition and dream to lead as President, for she is ill-equipped for the position!
Vote NO to Grace Poe! Poe is not a natural born Filipino citizen and therefore not qualified to be President under our Constitution! Besides being inexperience in governance, she has no good education to make a beneficial decisions in social, economic and foreign affairs! Ambition is not enough to make a good President, education and vast experience are the best teacher to lead the nation!
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John says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:52 am
There was President Aquino whom we voted because he was clean and corrupt free though mostly attributed to his mother but that is all. We did not stop to consider if he was competent enough for the job up in the highest seat of our land. We ignored his dismal performance in his capacity as Senator, which, by the way, is not a good measure of one’s executive capability. We voted the guy out of sympathy for his dead mother and his promising character as one who will take no bribe. We did not realize that to run this country, this is in no way good enough to run a country.
We did not consider that taking his “straight” road would be digging through a mountain with a bedrock foundation and that it would have taken us away from a path around it. We were narrow sighted and failed to see the bigger picture that a person can only do so much if what he can only put on his resume is that he is incorruptible.
We will not be cured of this political myopia if we keep on voting the incompetent or the inexperienced.
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fyi says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:21 am
Another 6 years of the 40 families that control all the wealth in the Philippines will finish the job Aquino started, a nation of peasants with no future.
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Edward Watson says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:17 am
In a democracy, it should be the people who decide whether someone is suitable or not for any elected position. The fact that in the past, the Filipino electorate have demonstrated an appalling lack of judgement in electing the corrupt, inept and general criminals to positions. however, with Poe, though she lacks lots of experience (especially in stealing public money and being corrupt), the thinking public seem to believe that she will be better for the post than Roxas (who has done such a good job as head of the DILG) and Binay who, together with his family, are constantly haunted by allegations, which he cannot/will not answer, about corruption.
The establishment and those with their snouts in the trough, are correct to be worried that she may upset their applecart. Hopefully she will.
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Leodegardo Pruna says:
November 26, 2015 at 7:56 am
Last night, I heard Ms. Poe or Llamanzares, talked in the “Meet your candidates” program of ANC about her circumstances. She avoided answering the question on her renouncing her Filipino citizenship and instead appealed for the cause of foundlings. She stressed that she was motivated to run because of her father Fernando which is a big lie. She continued lying through her teeth. The circumstances of her being a foundling and not a natural born citizen are properly defined in the Philippine Constitution. By violating the basic law of the land is tantamount to encouraging lawlessness and disrespect of the law in the country. The only piece of paper which binds all Filipinos together is the Philippine Constitution. And, disgraced GRACE is out to divide the Filipinos. God bless the Philippines.
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P.Akialamiro says:
November 26, 2015 at 7:50 am
Weakening the rule of law as typified in the case of Llamanzares Poe, as voted by the SET, is a dangerous precedent. Many of those who see the strict interpretation of the Philippine Constitution to a very important question, will erode their faith in the basic law of the land. It is a signal to the erosion and eventual disregard of the Constitution in favor of corrupted Philippine politics.
.
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Ric Brazil says:
November 26, 2015 at 7:29 am
Unfortunately, the Filipino voters are slow learners. They repeatedly commit electing candidates with no or little credentials to high government offices. These are being taken advantage by those who are able to charm the fool. And there are many of us fools electorate. The case of Ms. Grace Llamanzares is indeed ridiculous for appealing to people she is going to bring us to fantasy land. Never mind if the constitution is violated for not being a natural-born citizen and/or lacking in residency requirements. She is putting her personal interest above the national interest. These are exacerbated by manipulators; rich financier, who also want to control the administration, and doubtful surveys.
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Pen pen Gonzales says:
November 26, 2015 at 6:50 am
We can not argue with the voice of the people. As far as the surveys are concerned, even before the filing of candidacies, Sen. Poe have been topping presidential polls which can not be controlled since the Filipino people is asking for her. What Sen. Poe all did was answer to the call of the people. And I know, as what she did in the Senate, she will do her best and, in case she wins the presidential seat, she will be the best president we will ever have
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Mark Yu says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:25 am
Pnoy was touted to be the best president also during the 2010 elections, instead he has become the worst….That is the problem with us Filipinos – we don’t follow rules. The constitution says a presidential candidate MUST be a natural born citizen ( not just any citizen ) – which Ms. Poe is not. A candidate MUST have 10 years residency – which Ms. Poe has not complied with.
Thomas Hobbes says:
November 26, 2015 at 6:48 am
We can not argue with the voice of the people. As far as the surveys are concerned, even before the filing of candidacies, Sen. Poe have been topping presidential polls which can not be controlled since the Filipino people is asking for her. What Sen. Poe all did was answer to the call of the people. And I know, as what she did in the Senate, she will do her best and, in case she wins the presidential seat, she will be the best president we will ever have
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WillH says:
November 26, 2015 at 7:44 am
The same thing was said on pnoy when he declared he was running for president. Look at his performance so far
Pen pen Gonzales says:
November 26, 2015 at 6:46 am
We can not argue with the voice of the people. As far as the surveys are concerned, even before the filing of candidacies, Sen. Poe have been topping presidential polls which can not be controlled since the Filipino people is asking for her. What Sen. Poe all did was answer to the call of the people. And I know, as what she did in the Senate, she will do her best and, in case she wins the presidential seat, she will be the best president we will ever have.
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tven says:
November 26, 2015 at 9:55 am
the voice of the people is the not the constitution.=)
Mike says:
November 26, 2015 at 6:38 am
I can feel the sincerity in Grace Poe’s statements. She maybe a newbie in politics but you can definitely see that she has the potential. Aanhin pa natin yung mga luma na nga sa pulitiko at sa gobyerno ngunit puro kapalpakan lang naman ang nagawa? Siguro panahon na para sa isang lider na may fresh ideas. Sawang-sawa na ako sa paulit-ulit na pangako ng mga trad pol. A new perspective would be good.
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Angela Burleson says:
November 26, 2015 at 6:26 am
And another thing, her very own immediate family are american citizens and therefore cannot vote in the Philippines as they are not eligible to do so!!! How about them apples, huh? I think they’re keeping their american citizenships just in case, lol! Poor Pinoys…I’m afraid you might just have a president with an american family if you vote for her. Once she’s a president, she may need to take several trips a year to the states to attend to her children, ie , PTA meetings?? She also needs a little bit more experience; being a Head of State is not an OJT. Besides she sounds too sweet for the job anyway.
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Lorenzo says:
November 26, 2015 at 6:24 am
Why did Grace Poe rush to run for the presidency? She already knew that her foundling status would be an obstacle, she should have initiated first a bill that would amend the constitution. Then, how could see miscalculate the 10 year residency? Is she misguided by people around her?
With 5 popular candidates, the elected president may most likely be not someone chosen by the majority of the electorates. The votes will be split between the 5 and in the end, the majority of the people do not approve of the winner. Bad for the country, more people will be divided.
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GREGORIO SORIANO says:
November 26, 2015 at 5:43 am
Benigno Noynoy SemionCcojuangco Aquino III is a night namare in the Philippine presidency while GRACE POE is a disgrace to the intelligence of the Filipino People
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jesso says:
November 26, 2015 at 10:03 am
DisGrace traPOE is an opportunist
and a liar, her candidacy is not in the best interest of the country.
If she wins, it’s another Student
Council presidency. Hyped popularity is not enough to propel this country to progress. We need
an experienced, tested leader with
a vision and track record of performance and achievement.
country to progress,
Tim says:
November 26, 2015 at 5:30 am
Why are you saying that she is not qualified? She is natural-born Filipino until nyou can prove otherwise. I know people never questioned her citizenship when she was elected as senator. But now that she is the major threat int he race, everyone suddenly questions it. 2.5 years late.
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Leodegardo Pruna says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:02 am
It should be Grace to prove that she is a natural born citizen because she should know herself as well as her status. Otherwise, is she herself cannot prove anything then she truly remains stateless after having renounce her American citizenship because there is nothing to fall back to. God bless the Philippines.
John says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:59 am
Let’s try reading the SET main decision and the dissents of which I think you only need the one prepared by Justice Carpio. After that, tell us why you think Ms. Poe-Llamanzares is a natural born citizen. I think to do this would be fair for everybody. If you’re lazy enough not do that, then stop declaring something that is most certainly disputable.
It may be too late to question her seat in the Senate but it’s certainly not too late to question her presidential qualification. To say otherwise would be saying that a man who was robbed the night before would welcome the robber the next day because the house was already robbed and it is now too late to make precautions.
alex says:
November 26, 2015 at 4:47 am
Thank you for your reflection!
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Alejo Rosete says:
November 26, 2015 at 1:53 am
Very well said Yen, I copied your statement above and pasted it here. This is the “Heart” of your argument – I LOVE IT.
“I was awed by the weighty and persuasive opinions of the three SC justices in the tribunal who dissented from the majority opinion.
Lastly, I was embarrassed by the inanity and sentimentality of the opinions submitted by four senator-members, whose votes decisively shifted the tribunal toward a vote in favor of Ms. Poe.
By saying in the ruling that they seek to uphold the rights of foundlings in this country, the senators virtually made law, judged the case not on its legal merits but according to political calculation.
They offered their well-wishes to Ms. Poe in her imaginary march to Malacañang”
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Leodegardo Pruna says:
November 26, 2015 at 8:08 am
Just too bad for the five senators who stamp their own demise from the senate as they do not deserve to be senators who swore to protect, respect, and observe the basic law of the land, the Philippine Constitution.God bless the Philippines.


As war threatens, we worry about Grace Poe becoming President November 26, 2015 11:02 pm FRANCISCO S. TATAD


by FRANCISCO S. TATAD

THE WORLD is now a much more dangerous place, after the downing of a Russian bomber-plane by two Turkish F16s in disputed airspace near the Turkish-Syrian border this week. But we are so focused on our narrow domestic cares related to the holding of our 2016 presidential elections that we seem to have no energy left for anything else.

Indeed, these cares are not unrelated to the rule of law and the issue of peace, but we need a broader perspective, in light of fast-breaking global developments.

Maintaining the rule of law and peace in the world will now depend a lot on what kind of restraint Russia could muster after the aircraft downing incident, in which it lost not only one war plane but also one pilot who was machine-gunned to death by terrorists as he parachuted on Syrian soil, and one serviceman aboard the rescue helicopter that was similarly attacked by missiles.

If, by any miscalculation and against its will or best judgment, the world slips into war, all our present preoccupations about our presidential politics would disappear in smoke.

While the world bursts into flames, we would probably end up with a national emergency or an uprising or anarchy of some sort, rather than a rigged national election, which everyone fears. This is why it is absolutely necessary that we try to understand what’s happening in the world: this is the least we can do in the face of events we cannot control.

Our mass media and our politicians would do well to devote a little more time and attention to what’s happening on the broad international front.

As the cornerstone of the former Soviet empire, Russia used to be the “enemy” during the bad, old days of the Cold War. It has since emerged as a most responsible member of the international community of nations, and an emerging world leader in the fight against dysfunctional sexual and family lifestyles. But its decision to fly bombing missions against ISIS targets in Syria in support of the Basher al-Assad government has met with stern US disapproval; and lately, it has had a bad run.

On Oct. 31, it lost all 224 passengers on board the Russian airliner which terrorists bombed off the air above the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula while en route to St. Petersburg. The terrorists’ hand in that incident was confirmed only after the ISIS attack in Paris and Saint-Denis that killed 129 and wounded 300 others on Nov. 13.

The ensuing crisis prevented Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending the APEC Economic Leaders Summit in Manila, but it did not prevent him from attending the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey and telling his colleagues there that powerful businessmen in some 40 countries,
including some G20 countries, were among those secretly funding the ISIS.

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It was completely ironic that it was in Turkey after Putin denounced some countries’ alleged secret complicity with ISIS that Russia found itself at the receiving end of the incredible incident. Previous to this, in his address to the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations on Sept. 28, Putin called for an international coalition, based on international law, against ISIS. He also vowed to use Russia’s chairmanship of the UN Security Council to vigorously pursue the anti-ISIS initiative.

All this must have marked Russia as an enemy of ISIS, but certainly not of those who were also committed, at least on paper, to fight it.

What happened in whose airspace?

According to Western press accounts, the Russian SU-24 was downed by two US-made Turkish F16 jets after entering Turkish airspace and ignoring warnings, repeated ten times over a period of five minutes. Immediately thereafter, Turkey turned to its NATO allies, notably US President Barack Obama who said, “Turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its airspace.” He suggested the incident was bound to happen because Russia was operating very close to a Turkish border, and “they are going after a moderate opposition that are supported not only by Turkey but a wide range of countries.”

In an emergency meeting, NATO repeated Obama’s standpoint, and said it stood “in solidarity” with the Turkish government.

However, Putin directly contradicted the popular version of the incident. In his press conference in Sochi, Russia, prior to his meeting with visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II, Putin said, “Today’s loss is a result of a stab in the back delivered by terrorists’ accomplices. There is no other way I can qualify what happened today.

“Our aircraft was shot down over Syrian territory by an air-to-air missile launched from a Turkish F16 plane. It fell on Syrian territory, four kilometers from the Turkish border. When it was attacked in the air, it was flying at an altitude of 6,000 meters, one (1) kilometer away from Turkish territory. In any case, our plane and our pilots were in no way a threat to the Turkish Republic in any way…

“We have long been recording the movement of a large amount of oil and petroleum products to Turkey from the ISIS-occupied territories. This explains the significant funding the terrorists are receiving. Now they are stabbing us in the back by hitting our planes that are fighting terrorism. This is happening despite the agreement we have signed with our American partners to prevent air incidents, and, as you know, Turkey is among those who are supposed to be fighting terrorism with the American coalition.

“If ISIS is making so much money–we are talking of tens, or maybe even hundreds of millions, possibly billions of dollars in oil trade, and they are supported by the armed forces of an entire state, it is clear why they are being so daring and imprudent, why they are killing people in such gruesome ways, why they are committing terrorist attacks all over the world, including in the heart of Europe…

“Today’s tragic event will have significant consequences for Russian-Turkish relations. We have always treated Turkey not merely as a close neighbor, but as a friendly state. I do not know who benefits from what has happened today. We certainly do not. Moreover, instead of immediately establishing contacts with us, as far as we know, Turkey turned to its NATO partners to discuss the incident. As if we had hit their plane, and not the other way around…”

The Russian general staff denounced the incident as a “flagrant violation of international law with extremely grave consequences, and a direct breach of the memorandum on air-incident prevention and flight safety over the Syrian Arab Republic, which had been signed by the United States and relevant for all countries of the anti-terrorism coalition, including Turkey.” At the same time the Russian defense ministry showed some radar-based videos to support its allegation that the Russian plane did not cross Turkish airspace, that to the contrary it was the Turkish jets that violated Syrian airspace to make the kill.

Nothing like this has ever happened since the creation of the NATO or the end of World War II. Russia has since deployed its Moskva warship, equipped with “Fort” air defense systems, similar to the S-300, to the coastal region off Latakia in Syria, where the ill-fated SU-24 was based. It has suspended all tourism, terminated all military cooperation with Turkey, and military-to-military contact between the two countries. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov canceled a scheduled meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Istanbul. The situation is fluid, to say the least.

WE CAN’T AFFORD TO PLAY WITH GRACE POE LLAMANZARES


She overlooks the fact that aside from the citizens, there are the non-citizens, the foundling who are stateless before they are naturalized.

While the world teeters on the brink of violent confrontation, we play our little games on how to circumvent the Constitution in the name of a constitutionally ineligible presidential candidate, Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares.

I was at the Commission on Elections on Wednesday for a “clarificatory hearing” on my petition for the disqualification of Mrs. Llamanzares as a presidential candidate, and I could not believe how surreal the situation has become since the Senate Electoral Tribunal ruled on Nov. 17 on Rizalito David’s petition to disqualify Mrs. Llamanzares from the Senate for not being a Filipino citizen.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio as chair of the SET, together with Associate Justices Arturo Brion and Teresita Leonardo de Castro, plus Senator Nancy Binay voted to disqualify the respondent for not being a natural-born Filipino under the Constitution, but the five other members, only one of whom is a lawyer, voted in favor of the respondent, for reasons having nothing to do with the Constitution.

All three justices explained extensively Mrs. Llamanzares’s constitutional violation, Justice Brion in particular pointed out that the senators themselves violated the Constitution in upholding Mrs. Llamanzares’s unconstitutional occupation of her Senate position.

My petition against Mrs. Llamanzares’s presidential candidacy cites her lack of citizenship and residency, as provided in the Constitution. Article VII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “no person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than ten years immediately preceding such election.”

Article IV, Sec. 2 provides that “natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.”

Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares was born a foundling, of no known parents, and found in the premises of Jaro parish church on Sept. 3, 1968. The parents being unknown, their nationality was also unknown–and remains unknown to this day. Under the jus sanguinis principle, her nationality must follow her father’s bloodline. But since this is unknown, her bloodline is unknown.

Now, under international law, every child must have a nationality, so Mary Grace is entitled to a nationality. But such nationality is not automatically awarded to any foundling; the state must first provide the process for the foundling to acquire a nationality, and the foundling must avail herself of that process.

The Philippines has a legal naturalization process, which has been followed by many. Yet there is no evidence to show that Mrs. Llamanzares has ever availed herself of this process. So since she is not natural-born, how did she become a naturalized Filipino?

She presents her case in the opposite way: Since she is not naturalized, then she is obviously a natural-born Filipino. She insists on the theory that there are only two types of citizens–the natural born and the naturalized. She overlooks the fact that aside from the citizens, there are the non-citizens, the foundling who are stateless before they are naturalized.

She alludes to the rights and privileges of Filipino citizenship which she has availed of as proofs of her being a natural-born Filipino. Her earliest acts consisted of her registering as a voter and acquiring a Philippine passport, without first having become a Filipino.

Her latest act was to “reacquire Philippine citizenship” upon her return to the Philippines from the US, where she ( along with her family) had moved to and lived in as an American citizen by falsely representing herself as a “former natural-born Filipino.” If these prove anything, they merely prove that she has illegally exercised these rights and privileges without first having become a Filipino. This means that she has committed acts punishable under our laws.

At Wednesday’s hearing, I was pleased to see Atty. George Erwin Garcia speak for the respondent Sen. Llamanzares, after he had been sidelined by an older counsel in the SET hearings. He is a well-mannered lawyer, who has been handling election cases from the beginning, and I looked forward to hearing him present his client’s case, while Atty. Manuelito Luna spoke on my behalf.

He exceeded my expectations. His first point was that the Comelec had no jurisdiction over questions of qualifications of presidential candidates, and therefore my petition should be dismissed. The remedy, he said, was to let Mrs. Llamanzares run despite her constitutional infirmities, and should she win, to question her right to sit as president on a quo warranto petition before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. It was a novel proposition delivered with some panache, but my good friend failed to point out how the Comelec could possibly discharge itself from the task of passing on the constitutional eligibility of Mrs. Llamanzares while at the same time exercising the routine duty of weeding out so-called “nuisance candidates” from the list of 130 presidential “candidates.”

Still the best was yet to come. Despite the clear language of the Constitution, and the jus sanguinis doctrine that determines the citizenship of Filipino children, Garcia proposed that every foundling born in the Philippines is a natural-born citizen, without the parentage being known.

Upon interpellation by the razor-sharp Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, Garcia melted like butter, forced to say yes even to the absurd proposition that a green-eyed, purple-skinned, blonde foundling could be so declared a natural-born Filipino citizen, fit to become president of the Philippines in forty years.


Aquino walked with vengeance November 28, 2015 12:21 am MAURO GIA SAMONTE


by MAURO GIA SAMONTE

THE greatest abuse people had of their minds regarding the just past Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Manila is in believing that APEC is a grouping for purely economic concerns so that political issues, like China’s increasing assertiveness over a large section of the Spratly’s in particular and over the whole of South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) in general, are not to get in the way of achieving harmony in the region’s economic relations.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd is thus, widely faulted for having executed that all too obvious snub of China President Xi Jinping in their walk with other leaders from the entrance of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) building to the plenary hall on Nov. 18, 2015. That walk took more or less three minutes, more than enough leeway for Aquino to have thrown a gracious “ni hao” to Xi Jinping, who was just an arm’s length away and practically abreast but for Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet walking in between. But no, Aquino kept his leisurely stride, all the while conversing with Bachelet as if Xi Jinping was in limbo.

What none of those who keenly observed the slight ever realized was that Aquino was just being true to his endemically vindictive self. In the East Asia Summit held in Bali, Indonesia previous to the just concluded one in Myanmar, President Xi Jinping sort of trooped the line of attending heads of state, shaking the hand of each of them but passing off a particular one – that of President Benigno Aquino 3rd. A Philippine newsman covering the affair overheard the Chinese leader quip afterward, “I’ll wait for the next Philippine President.”

Unforltunately for President Xi Jinping, the next Philippine President would not yet come about before the last APEC Leaders Meeting and so Aquino would still be around to return the disfavor he got in Bali.


Long, lonely walk on the red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping

It did appear for a while that Aquino’s hurt from that Bali incident must have been bygone when he refrained from raising the South China (West Philippine) Sea issue in his speech in the two-day APEC forum, as requested by China. But ignoring the Chinese leader in full view of the media was already an indication that Aquino was toeing a line yet to be made manifest when US President Barack Obama declared in the APEC proceedings that “bold steps” needed to be taken to stop China reclamation activities in the Spratlys.

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Exactly what that line was, Aquino unraveled in the immediately ensuing Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In his speech before his ASEAN counterparts November 21, 2015, he declared, “We believe that as a rules-based community, ASEAN should not allow any country, no matter how powerful, to claim an entire sea as its own and to use force or the threat thereof in asserting such claim.”

On the South China (West Philippine) Sea issue, Aquino and Obama speak as one. When Obama turns belligerent, so Aquino must, never mind that economic pragmatism apparently dictates that the Philippines stay friendly to China all for it being the biggest trading partner of the country. Though statistics might be cited showing China accounting for 20% of Philippine total trade, the highest in the list of the country’s trading partners, this is no argument for a mellowing of Aquino’s animosity toward China.

In foreign relations, most particularly in world politics, the Philippines has never been known to pursue a policy independent of that of America, except beginning in the late stage of the Marcos rule when the country began pursuing friendly relations with socialist Russia and the People’s Republic of China – something the United States would otherwise have none of. But Marcos did it, thereby getting American flak, which ultimately culminated in his ouster by the US-sponsored Cory revolt called EDSA I.


PRESIDENT CORY AQUINO AT THE U.S. CAPITOL PHOTO UNBLOGGED

It smacks of naivete to believe that because China is a top Philippine trading partner, the country should not contest it on political issues. Trade, to begin with, is a two-way relationship, a symbiotic one in which trading partners gain mutual benefits.

The Philippines benefits from China, China benefits from the Philippines. Nothing in that relationship mandates one to be beholden to the other; nothing requires either to sideline political issues in order to preserve harmony in economic relationship.

In all events, the Marxist dictum stands: economic power begets political power, political power serves economic power. Anybody steeped in this principle is bound to understand that addressing the many economic concerns taken up in the past APEC forum necessitates putting into play the political – read it military – element of the contest for hegemony over the Asia Pacific region between the United States and China. Political economy, far from separating economics from politics, combines politics and economics.

Obama did right when he threatened to take “bold steps” in combating China reclamation activities over the Spratlys. That’s his job. Aquino did right in echoing Obama’s threat at the ASEAN summit. That’s his job – though not as head of state like Obama but as Obama’s stand-in, serving the same thing.

US pivot to the Asia Pacific, a political move, is certainly not without one whole ocean of economic ramifications: China’s devaluation of the RMB that results in the weakening of the dollar, China’s lording it over now in place of US in trade with Southeast Asian countries, China’s exports displacing US products right in the latter’s markets, the race in cyber technology, and to top it all, a reportedly 3-trillion-dollar US indebtedness to China.

If a 20% China contribution to total Philippine trade is reason enough for a non-political – read that, non-confrontational – relationship by the Philippines with China, all the more should a 3-trillion-dollar indebtedness by US should soften it to marshmallow in dealing with the now Asian behemoth.

On the contrary, the more economically US gets enmeshed with China, the more averse to it US becomes.

Precisely, that’s political economy.

Harmony with China is a Philippine illusion, given the circumstances the country is in. The nation is in the vortex of the US-China struggle for hegemony in the Asia Pacific region. Whether we like it or not, we cannot escape from that vortex – that is, as far as the US is concerned. That’s how badly America needs us.

As far as China is concerned, the Philippines is no more than an American tool. This was
expressed in an editorial by the English-language China Daily: “No matter how willing we are to discuss the issue, the current Philippine leadership is intent on pressing us into a corner where there is no other left but the use of arms… Manila is living in a fantasy world if it mistakes our forbearance for timidity. This is a dangerous delusion. We have never been a trigger-happy nation. But nor have we ever been afraid to fight when necessary… the Philippines should stop being a troublemaker and drop its ridiculous claim. Otherwise they will learn to their cost how serious we are about our land and sea.”

Political Science Professor Robert Owen Keohane of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University makes an elaboration in this regard which serves as guidepost for gaining contextual view of the Sino-Philippines economic relationship.

In his book, After Hegemony, Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy, Keohane writes: “Thus even a rising level of absolute cooperation may be overwhelmed by discord as increased interdependence and governmental intervention create more opportunities for policy conflict… Students should not wait for cooperation to become the rule rather than the exception before studying it, for ignorance how to promote cooperation can lead to discord, conflict and economic disaster before cooperation ever has a chance to prevail.”

“In world politics,” Keohane avers, “uncertainty is rife, making agreements is difficult, and no secure barriers prevent military and security questions from impinging on economic affairs.”

When Obama called for “bold steps” to stop Chinese reclamations on the Spratlys, wasn’t that military and security questions impinging on Philippine-China economic affairs?



No doubt, trade relationship between China and the Philippine archipelago, which began long before the Spanish conquests of the islands, has been enriched over the ages and now grown into a heritage worthy of being treasured by the Filipino nation.

But that heritage has over the years been interwoven inextricably with own economic interests of the United States. When Aquino, in the immediately following ASEAN summit in Kuala Lumpur, called for a stop to China’s “use of force or the threat thereof” in asserting its claim to the whole of South China (West Philippine) Sea, there was no more wishing he could have done otherwise just to preserve economic cooperation with China.

It has come to a point where between China and the Philippines, it is no longer economic cooperation that is at play. It is the need for the Philippines to advance the economic interests of the United States in the Asia Pacific region where it is locked with China in a struggle for hegemony.

Says Keohane in his book, “As long as a world political economy persists, therefore, its central political dilemma will be how to organize cooperation without hegemony.”

The implication of this assertion is horrific. Hegemony is a requisite for cooperation rather than the other way around. But hegemony ultimately means military ascendancy by one hegemonic pretender over the other. It means war.

It seemed the height of irresponsibility and a wanton disregard for the nation’s welfare that President Benigno C. Aquino III executed his grand snub of President Xi Jinping. But was it? He could not be so idiotic as not to realize that he was flirting with China’s belligerence and the horrors of war that his act could bring. Still he did it, purposely at that.

If, then, China finally feels itself being “pushed to a corner where there is no other [recourse] left but the use of arms,” then President Benigno C. Aquino III deserves congratulations for a job well done.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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