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

FROM MALAYA

EDITORIAL: LEADING BY EXAMPLE


MARCH 30 -Somebody should remind candidates for national positions, particularly presidential aspirants, what respect for independent constitutional bodies and government institutions is all about and how crucial it is going to be if they get lucky enough to land the job they have been salivating over. In their overzealous rush to disparage an opponent and get in a juicy remark for reporters to print or broadcast, some of the presidential contenders have ridden roughshod over common sense and ethical conduct expected of one wishing to lead. It is a sad testament to the state of our country’s politics that some of the more biting and thoughtless denunciations have come from the frontrunners in the elections, 40 days hence. Among the offices that have borne the brunt of invectives from excitable politicians are the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Elections, the Commission on Audit, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Depending on their most recent ratings in the commissioned surveys and their mood upon stepping out of their air-conditioned campaign SUVs, the candidates have mouthed several variations of the same accusations – that these offices are being used as tools for oppression, that they are acting like attack dogs of the government in power, and that their heads would not be welcome and are deserving of the boot once the hysterical office-seeker wins. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Ellen Tordesillas - ERAP ENDORSEMENT A BIG BOOST TO POE


MARCH 30 -By Ellen Tordesillas
It was almost midnight when Sen. Grace Poe made it to retired Col. Ariel Querubin’s birthday party at the Clubhouse at Camp Aguinaldo last Monday. But she looked happy and energized. She told the few guests that that she came from the proclamation rally of former President Joseph Estrada, who is running for re-election as Manila City mayor, at Liwasang Bonifacio. She related that Estrada called her up the night before to tell her that he had decided to endorse her. At his rally, Estrada told the cheering crowd, “Mga kasama, mga kaibigan, palakpakan po natin ang aking inaanak, ang susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas, walang iba kundi si Grace Poe.” A grateful Poe, Estrada’s goddaughter, responded: “Ninong, maraming-maraming salamat po sa inyong pag-endorso sa akin, nakakataba po talaga ng puso. Alam ko ito ay isang desisyon na pinag-isipan ninyong mabuti. Alam kong mahal mo ang aking ama, pero alam ko na ang mga desisyon na ganito ay para rin sa bayan.” There was a lot of speculation who Estrada would endorse between Vice President Jejomar Binay who was his running mate in the 2010 elections and co-leader of the political opposition and Poe, who is the adopted daughter of his best friend, the late Fernando Poe, Jr. Estrada’s endorsement of Poe goes beyond his Manila constituency of almost a million votes. Poe needs Erap’s voting clout in Mindanao where she lags behind Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - MEDIA AND THE TRUTH


APRIL 1 -President Aquino as invited speaker criticizes his host at the opening of Publish Asia 2016 at the Manila Hotel
PRESIDENT Aquino has this penchant of honoring an invitation to speak before a media establishment, conference, or organization and then using the occasion to criticize his host. Early in his term, P-Noy did this in an event of ABS-CBN where he unabashedly lashed out at broadcaster Noli de Castro who then had returned to radio after serving as vice president-ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Last Wednesday, President Aquino was again true to form when he addressed the Publish Asia 2016 organized by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and attended by local and foreign journalists. The President pointed out that because of the election season, “some articles seem to be written with blatant bias, while others fail to adequately represent the situation accurately.” He also warned that journalism would be endangered by blurring the distinction between straightforward news and opinion, which he said happens every so often. Once again, he requested for more of the good, development-oriented news and information against the sensational and scandalous materials favored by the masses and their media, whether traditional, new or social. In fine, Aquino wonders why print media which enjoys the advantage of being able to tell the whole story because it has more time to work on it, still fails to dish out current history as it unfolds from day to day. Interestingly, the Chief Executive’s criticism of media was printed in newspapers that day side by side with the news about former MRT general manager Al Vitangcol’s spilling the beans on Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts and current and former DOTC Secretaries Jun Abaya and Mar Roxas in connection with anomalous projects and bidding in big-ticket MRT contracts. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - MANG PANDOY IN EVERY DOOR


MARCH 31 -'Mang Pandoy' became the "mascot" of Pres. Fidel Ramos who gave this man, Felipe Natanio a prominent face to represent the impoverished Filipinos during his [Ramos] presidency. THE country met the quintessential “common man” during the 1992 presidential campaign when Mang Pandoy offered to be somebody’s shooting target in exchange for a guaranteed P100,000 for his children to live on. Mang Pandoy was later revealed as Felipe Natanio, a vegetable vendor with eight children. Nobody took him up on his offer. In 2008 he died of tuberculosis, still so dirt poor that his family had to get a P12,500 doleout from the government to put him in the ground. His story has since been largely forgotten, relegated to the dark recesses like some politician’s embarrassing indiscretion. Twenty-four years and four Presidents later, the country is again in the middle of a presidential campaign – different candidates mouthing the same decades-old promises of holding the key to ending poverty once and for all. READ MORE...

ALSO: BY Nestor Mata - CONSEQUENCES OF CHINA’S APPROACH TO THE PHILIPPINES’ SEA CASE


MARCH 29 -By NESTOR MATA
WHEN asked what the next President should do with Philippines’ dispute with China over parts of the South China, former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the case against China in United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration filed by the outgoing Aquino administration should be continued by the new administration. As Del Rosario, known for his activism on the issue, put it in a speech before the Makati Business Club last Friday, the next administration should consider staying the course because apparently the people have approved of the foreign policy that we have embraced. He claimed that a recent survey confirmed the fact that defending the maritime sovereignty in the South China Sea ranked as one of the top issues of the country. He was of course referring to the legal case brought by the Philippines challenging China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. Last year, the international tribunal ruled that it had jurisdiction over the main claims brought by the Philippines and rejected China’s argument that the case presented a territorial dispute beyond the purview of the court. A final ruling on the merits of the case, including the legality of China’s so-called Nine-dash line” is expected in May or June of this year. The case, in the view of observers of Asian geopolitics, is a landmark for international law as a force in geopolitics, and it also will have a real impact on the region’s geopolitics if China’s nine-dash line is formally ruled illegal. But they noted that no one should be under the impression that this case will end this dispute over control of the South China Sea. As geopolitical observer John Ford noted in an article for The Diplomat, China did not formally participate in the case, but it issued a position paper in which it essentially argued that the court could not rule on the legality of its nine-dash line because it did not the power to decide underlying dispute over control of the Spratly Islands. The Philippines chose to argue that even if all of China’s claims to the islands in the South China Sea were accepted as legitimate, the nine-dash line would still exceed what China would be entitled to under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: LEADING BY EXAMPLE

MANILA, APRIL 4, 2016 (MALAYA) March 30, 2016 - Somebody should remind candidates for national positions, particularly presidential aspirants, what respect for independent constitutional bodies and government institutions is all about and how crucial it is going to be if they get lucky enough to land the job they have been salivating over.

In their overzealous rush to disparage an opponent and get in a juicy remark for reporters to print or broadcast, some of the presidential contenders have ridden roughshod over common sense and ethical conduct expected of one wishing to lead.

It is a sad testament to the state of our country’s politics that some of the more biting and thoughtless denunciations have come from the frontrunners in the elections, 40 days hence.

Among the offices that have borne the brunt of invectives from excitable politicians are the Office of the Ombudsman, the Commission on Elections, the Commission on Audit, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Depending on their most recent ratings in the commissioned surveys and their mood upon stepping out of their air-conditioned campaign SUVs, the candidates have mouthed several variations of the same accusations – that these offices are being used as tools for oppression, that they are acting like attack dogs of the government in power, and that their heads would not be welcome and are deserving of the boot once the hysterical office-seeker wins.

READ MORE...

Most of them probably even know that heads of constitutional bodies have fixed terms of office and simply chose to overlook that rather inconvenient fact counting on the probability that the unbecoming outburst would be forgotten in the dust storm of a heated campaign.

But for the faithful rank-and-file of these offices, the targets of such tirades, and those among us who do remember and keep a log of such utterances, such intemperate compulsion are warning signs.

One who aspires to lead the nation should have a better understanding of how government work before making an attempt at disemboweling its institutions.. – PT.


ERAP ENDORSEMENT A BIG BOOST TO POE By Ellen Tordesillas March 30, 2016


By Ellen Tordesillas

It was almost midnight when Sen. Grace Poe made it to retired Col. Ariel Querubin’s birthday party at the Clubhouse at Camp Aguinaldo last Monday. But she looked happy and energized.

She told the few guests that that she came from the proclamation rally of former President Joseph Estrada, who is running for re-election as Manila City mayor, at Liwasang Bonifacio.

She related that Estrada called her up the night before to tell her that he had decided to endorse her.

At his rally, Estrada told the cheering crowd, “Mga kasama, mga kaibigan, palakpakan po natin ang aking inaanak, ang susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas, walang iba kundi si Grace Poe.”

A grateful Poe, Estrada’s goddaughter, responded: “Ninong, maraming-maraming salamat po sa inyong pag-endorso sa akin, nakakataba po talaga ng puso. Alam ko ito ay isang desisyon na pinag-isipan ninyong mabuti. Alam kong mahal mo ang aking ama, pero alam ko na ang mga desisyon na ganito ay para rin sa bayan.”

There was a lot of speculation who Estrada would endorse between Vice President Jejomar Binay who was his running mate in the 2010 elections and co-leader of the political opposition and Poe, who is the adopted daughter of his best friend, the late Fernando Poe, Jr.

Estrada’s endorsement of Poe goes beyond his Manila constituency of almost a million votes. Poe needs Erap’s voting clout in Mindanao where she lags behind Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

READ MORE...

In the March 22 mobile survey conducted by Social Weather Stations post-second presidential debate for TV5, Poe surged with 35 percent, a nine percentage point lead over closest rival Duterte with 26 percent of the voters who were asked whom they will vote if elections were held today.

Binay came in third with 18 percent, Mar Roxas was fourth with 17 percent and Miriam Santiago, who did not participate in the second debate, got two percent.

In that survey, Poe was the No. 1 choice (43 per cent) in Luzon which has 55.95 percent (30,417,790) of the 2016 total voting population of 54,363,844. Binay was a far second with 24 percent. Duterte got only 16 percent and Roxas 15 percent.

In the Visayas, supposedly the region of Roxas because he is from Capiz, Poe led with 35 percent followed closely by Roxas with 30 percent. Duterte was third with 21 percent, Binay, 10 percent and Santiago, who is from Iloilo got only two percent.

Visayas accounts for 20.82 percent (11,316,789) of the total voting population

In Mindanao, however, Duterte dominated his rivals with 49 percent. Poe got only 25 percent, Binay and Roxas each got 12 per cent. Mindanao, voting population is 12,629,265 or 23.23 per cent of the national total.

Mindanao, where many provinces are poor, has always been known as “Erap country”. In the 2010 elections, Estrada won in Mindanao over Aquino.

This is where Poe needs her Ninong’s voters charisma.


MEDIA AND THE TRUTH April 01, 2016


President Aquino addresses the opening of Publish Asia 2016 at the Manila Hotel

PRESIDENT Aquino has this penchant of honoring an invitation to speak before a media establishment, conference, or organization and then using the occasion to criticize his host.

Early in his term, P-Noy did this in an event of ABS-CBN where he unabashedly lashed out at broadcaster Noli de Castro who then had returned to radio after serving as vice president-ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Last Wednesday, President Aquino was again true to form when he addressed the Publish Asia 2016 organized by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and attended by local and foreign journalists.

The President pointed out that because of the election season, “some articles seem to be written with blatant bias, while others fail to adequately represent the situation accurately.”

He also warned that journalism would be endangered by blurring the distinction between straightforward news and opinion, which he said happens every so often. Once again, he requested for more of the good, development-oriented news and information against the sensational and scandalous materials favored by the masses and their media, whether traditional, new or social.

In fine, Aquino wonders why print media which enjoys the advantage of being able to tell the whole story because it has more time to work on it, still fails to dish out current history as it unfolds from day to day.

Interestingly, the Chief Executive’s criticism of media was printed in newspapers that day side by side with the news about former MRT general manager Al Vitangcol’s spilling the beans on Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts and current and former DOTC Secretaries Jun Abaya and Mar Roxas in connection with anomalous projects and bidding in big-ticket MRT contracts.

READ MORE...

Vitangcol, an insider of Daang Matuwid, finally came out from the woodwork to confirm that corruption is alive and kicking in this administration, contrary to the Aquino-LP propaganda line.

This revelation by Vitangcol, complete with details and documents, was immediately and summarily denied by Palace spokesmen, and to the President’s mind is just an example of rumors and innuendoes against Daang Matuwid.

Although late in the day, Vitangcol’s word carries weight because he used to be at the center of the shenanigans that he was revealing. His confession would not even be necessary if only President Aquino delivered on his 2010 campaign promise to enact the Freedom of Information Bill. That law would have clothed media with enough power to research and investigate documents that would prove corruption in high places and compel the courts to institute sanctions.

The next time P-Noy chastizes the media for wrongdoing or being remiss in its job, perhaps he should check himself and ask honestly if he is part of media’s perceived inability to perform well.


'MANG PANDOY' IN EVERY DOOR March 31, 2016


Mang Pandoy became the "mascot" of Pres. Fidel Ramos who gave this man, Felipe Natanio a prominent face to represent the impoverished Filipinos during his [Ramos] presidency.

THE country met the quintessential “common man” during the 1992 presidential campaign when Mang Pandoy offered to be somebody’s shooting target in exchange for a guaranteed P100,000 for his children to live on.

Mang Pandoy was later revealed as Felipe Natanio, a vegetable vendor with eight children.

Nobody took him up on his offer. In 2008 he died of tuberculosis, still so dirt poor that his family had to get a P12,500 doleout from the government to put him in the ground.

His story has since been largely forgotten, relegated to the dark recesses like some politician’s embarrassing indiscretion.

Twenty-four years and four Presidents later, the country is again in the middle of a presidential campaign – different candidates mouthing the same decades-old promises of holding the key to ending poverty once and for all.

READ MORE...

Two separate survey results released this week said Filipinos want a new leader to have a plan on how to control population growth and that nine in 10 of our countrymen aspire only for a modest life with few creature comforts.


79% of Filipinos want 'simple, comfortable life'

Both data, in a sense, corroborate each other. They plainly show that the general public recognizes population growth as a legitimate election issue and that it is closely related to the high incidence of poverty among 101 million Filipinos.

The tabulations showed solving poverty and hunger is the foremost concern, followed by employment, education, and health.

That list is the bare bones of a humane existence, just a notch or two above basic survival.

Mang Pandoy at least had a figure in his mind even if he never got close to attaining it despite having the chance to rub his knobby elbows with political powers, however briefly.

Most of us have yet to do the math. – PT.


CONSEQUENCES OF CHINA’S APPROACH TO THE PHILIPPINES’ SEA CASE By NESTOR MATA March 29, 2016


By NESTOR MATA

WHEN asked what the next President should do with Philippines’ dispute with China over parts of the South China, former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said the case against China in United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration filed by the outgoing Aquino administration should be continued by the new administration.

As Del Rosario, known for his activism on the issue, put it in a speech before the Makati Business Club last Friday, the next administration should consider staying the course because apparently the people have approved of the foreign policy that we have embraced. He claimed that a recent survey confirmed the fact that defending the maritime sovereignty in the South China Sea ranked as one of the top issues of the country.

He was of course referring to the legal case brought by the Philippines challenging China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. Last year, the international tribunal ruled that it had jurisdiction over the main claims brought by the Philippines and rejected China’s argument that the case presented a territorial dispute beyond the purview of the court. A final ruling on the merits of the case, including the legality of China’s so-called Nine-dash line” is expected in May or June of this year.

The case, in the view of observers of Asian geopolitics, is a landmark for international law as a force in geopolitics, and it also will have a real impact on the region’s geopolitics if China’s nine-dash line is formally ruled illegal. But they noted that no one should be under the impression that this case will end this dispute over control of the South China Sea.

As geopolitical observer John Ford noted in an article for The Diplomat, China did not formally participate in the case, but it issued a position paper in which it essentially argued that the court could not rule on the legality of its nine-dash line because it did not the power to decide underlying dispute over control of the Spratly Islands. The Philippines chose to argue that even if all of China’s claims to the islands in the South China Sea were accepted as legitimate, the nine-dash line would still exceed what China would be entitled to under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

READ MORE...

The Philippines also argued that even if China’s claims to the Spratlys were accepted, they would still only have either 12 miles of territorial waters (the Philippine position) or a 200 mile exclusive economic zone (the Chinese position). In either case, China’s rights would not come anywhere near the claims made under the nine-dash line. The court ruled that it had jurisdiction to decide on the legality of the nine-dash line because deciding this question did not require a ruling on who owned the Spratlys. The line would exceed China’s possible claims regardless of how the underlying territorial question was ultimately resolved.

If, as is expected, Ford concluded, the court rules the nine-dash line exceeds any plausible Chinese claims under international maritime law, this won’t end the dispute the dispute in the South China Sea. China would still be claiming to own the Spratly Islands.

On the other hand, Dr. Truong-Minth Vu, director for international studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minth City, and Trung Pham, a lecturer in the same university and former fellow at the International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS), noted that it would be counterproductive for China to underestimate – or actively undermine – international law.

It would be unwise for Beijing, the two Vietnamese observers of Asian geopolitics pointed out, to ignore international law risks upsetting her peaceful rise, which could bring about reputational risks and financial problems. Countries, which are members of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) or the One Belt, On Road initiative, would have reason to be concerned about how these institutions would be concerned since China, despite being a party to international agreements, is attempting to weasel its way out of any compulsory dispute settlement mechanism. That suggests that laws and institutions in China’s eyes are merely tools to obtain power, rather than an instrument to peacefully managed conflicts of interests between states.

If China continues on its current path, they concluded, it may achieve its short term interests but it will also exacerbate trends that are already working to its disadvantage in Asia’s strategic environment. And the South China Sea arbitration case may yet prove to be a vivid demonstration of how international law can shape and constrain the choices of a rising power, rather than the other way around as some Chinese thinkers would lead us to believe.

Will the next President of the Philippines, after the last 100 days of the outgoing President Noynoy Aquino, heed the call to stay the course in the country’s handling of the South China dispute with China?

***

Quote of the Day: “International arbitration may be defined as the substitution of many burning questions for a smouldering one!” – Anon.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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