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

EDITORIAL: AN ENCOURAGING REVERSAL


JULY 6 -Days into his six-year term, President Rodrigo Duterte will create a task force on media killings, a Palace official said. The announcement came just after a journalist in Surigao was attacked Thursday, the same day Duterte was sworn into office. Saturnino Estaño Jr., a broadcaster, and his 12-year-old son sustained gunshot wounds during an ambush. Estaño was said to be speaking out against illegal drugs and corruption in his radio program. The swift response by the Palace is a surprise if we consider Mr. Duterte’s earlier pronouncement on media killings. Just a few weeks ago, after winning the presidential race, Duterte elicited angry reactions and comments from various sectors after implying that murdered journalists were likely corrupt and that they deserved what happened to them.
Then-President-elect Duterte had to qualify his statements two days later because of the damage done by his earlier words. He thus made distinctions among genuine crusaders, those with vested interests, and extortionists. There was never any denial from media groups that corruption did—does —exist among their ranks. Something is being done to police the ranks. Most objectionable was the thought that the killings could ever be justified. But now the Palace says that it “stands by the side of good men” and told the yet-unidentified perpetrators that they will not succeed in their attempt to silence journalists.= This week, too, President Duterte is expected to issue an executive order on freedom of information albeit only covering executive officials of the government. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jojo Robles - Imelda, not Cory


JULY 6 -Leni Robredo is not turning out to be the new Cory Aquino, like her Yellow boosters wanted her to become. Now, what she really wants to be—and some people have seriously proposed this—is Digong Duterte’s Imelda Marcos. But hear the woman out. “Six years,” Vice President Robredo told a forum last Monday, “is a long time.”  I agree. Especially if you don’t have a real job or any real influence for that long a period. As defined by the Constitution, Robredo’s job description is that of a spare tire in a car, a benchwarmer in basketball or an understudy in theater. She sits around doing nothing except wait for her big opportunity to come; otherwise, she stays where she is, in a high-profile but limbo-like political state, getting ready for a break that may never come. Because Filipinos can vote for a split ticket, they usually pick presidents and vice presidents who don’t belong to the same party. In fact, in the past three decades, only Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Noli de Castro have been elected to the top two posts that they sought in tandem, in 2004. Past presidents have sought to win over their vice presidents, especially if they ran on differing tickets, by giving them jobs in the Cabinet. Traditional political thinking dictated this strategy, because it is supposedly better to co-opt a popular vice president than to allow him to become a full-time critic who will campaign for six years to a captive audience who elected him in the first place. But President Rodrigo Duterte, we now know, doesn’t really care for tradition—or even subscribe to orthodox political thought. And so he has refused to give a job to Robredo, as if daring her to become his highest-ranking political foe and critic. Robredo looked at the vastly thinned crowd of Yellows behind her and decided she wanted “unity” with Duterte instead. Leni, who was being cast by the Yellows as the new Cory leading the opposition like Joan of Arc against the Dictator from Davao, felt that the better offensive was an Imeldific charm offensive. READ MORE...

ALSO: Loud and clear


JULY 7 -At the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte named five police generals as protectors of the illegal drug trade. Three of the five are in active service; two have retired. The following morning, Generals Joel Pagdilao, Bernardo Diaz and Edgardo Tinio met with Philippine National Police Chief Ronaldo dela Rosa who in turn advised them to “face the music.” The National Police Commission will investigate the cases of the three active police officials, who were just relieved of their posts this week. A regular court will try the case of retired General Marcelo Garbo while the Department of the Interior and Local Government will handle the case of retired General Vicente Loon, who is now mayor of Daanbantayan town in Cebu. Dela Rosa refused to disclose what transpired during the meeting with Pagdilao, Diaz and Tinio, saying it was “purely intimate and personal.” The generals had earlier protested their inclusion in the list and denied involvement in the drug trade. It would be tragic if there were a mistake of some sort in identifying the police officials supposedly protecting drug lords. Imagine the effects of the President’s announcement on the generals’ families and on the officials themselves, assuming they lived out the past few decades in honest and painstaking service to the country. Imagine the tragedy, were the long years of service to end in a downfall precipitated by charges that are not even true. Finally, imagine the effect of the accusations on the morale of the younger police officials who had looked up to these men as their leaders, mentors, even their friends. We hope the generals get to clear their name—if in fact they are innocent. Palace officials, however, have said there has been no wrong information fed to the President. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Palace had sufficient documentary and testimonial evidence to support the administrative and criminal cases against the cops. “He won’t say anything like that if there is no strong evidence to link them [to it],” said Interior Secretary Mike Sueno. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Horace Templo - Only a few days after


JULY 8 -HORACE TEMPLO
About this time last year, most of us were not able to imagine how Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and his maverick type of leadership could change and improve our lives. Relatively few who knew him well did. Mostly Davaoeños, inspired by and in love with him, relentlessly egged him to run for president until he consented. Quietly but passionately, they started campaigning for his candidacy in every opportunity that they could get. Soon, more and more people from all economic and social classes of Philippine society supported him. By Election Day, they had become the most active, most fanatical, and biggest army of political followers. Not surprisingly, Duterte took the lead from the moment the electronic counting of votes started on the night of May 9. His followers stayed wide awake late that night until the wee hours of the next morning, jubilantly monitoring how his lead widened as each election return was canvassed live on national television. Even those who didn’t vote for him joined his followers in celebrating his victory. Considered already the presumptive president, Duterte continued uttering curses and wolf-whistling, threatening drug lords and criminals, warning corrupt government officials, and challenging established icons of the Roman Catholic Church, business groups, and the international community. These things didn’t make us like him less, but they annoyed his already declining number of critics. For us, they only reflected his minor imperfection, which we have already come to know during the campaign period. What mattered was that his victory ushered real change, and it would soon improve our lives and continue to uplift us in the next six years of his presidency. President Duterte’s June 30 inaugural speech impressed us with his resolve to make our government head for real change, which he expressed with simplicity, candidness, and forcefulness using the language that paid tribute to his Davaoeño and Visayan roots— “Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno.” Only a few days after he assumed office, real change has started to come. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

An encouraging reversal

MANILA, JULY 11, 2016 (MANILA STANDARD) posted July 05, 2016 at 12:01 am - Days into his six-year term, President Rodrigo Duterte will create a task force on media killings, a Palace official said.

The announcement came just after a journalist in Surigao was attacked Thursday, the same day Duterte was sworn into office.

Saturnino Estaño Jr., a broadcaster, and his 12-year-old son sustained gunshot wounds during an ambush. Estaño was said to be speaking out against illegal drugs and corruption in his radio program.

The swift response by the Palace is a surprise if we consider Mr. Duterte’s earlier pronouncement on media killings. Just a few weeks ago, after winning the presidential race, Duterte elicited angry reactions and comments from various sectors after implying that murdered journalists were likely corrupt and that they deserved what happened to them.

Then-President-elect Duterte had to qualify his statements two days later because of the damage done by his earlier words. He thus made distinctions among genuine crusaders, those with vested interests, and extortionists.

There was never any denial from media groups that corruption did—does —exist among their ranks. Something is being done to police the ranks. Most objectionable was the thought that the killings could ever be justified.

But now the Palace says that it “stands by the side of good men” and told the yet-unidentified perpetrators that they will not succeed in their attempt to silence journalists.=

This week, too, President Duterte is expected to issue an executive order on freedom of information albeit only covering executive officials of the government.

READ MORE...

It could be that at that time, Mr. Duterte was just playing to the gallery and relishing his role as a maverick politician before he actually takes on the helm of the country. It could be he was thereafter advised—and advised well to change tack. He promised, after all, a metamorphosis even as he once said he would never change his nature and the rest of us better get used to that.

Whatever the reason, these developments are welcome even as we continue to view them cautiously.

The new administration must show it is committed to a sustained and consistent protection of journalists from a culture of impunity that has lorded over the industry for so long. That the most recent victim spoke out against drugs should not set him apart from the others who speak out against other ills, equally troubling, even as they may not rank high in the priority of the administration.

We also hope that freedom of information—not just the executive order, or the law, but the culture—would be the norm in the next six years, and that this would not be used as a token measure but as a real policy.

The signs are good, so far, but the public must remain vigilant that the goodwill is translated into real action and meaningful results.


Imelda, not Cory posted July 06, 2016 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles



Leni Robredo is not turning out to be the new Cory Aquino, like her Yellow boosters wanted her to become. Now, what she really wants to be—and some people have seriously proposed this—is Digong Duterte’s Imelda Marcos.

But hear the woman out. “Six years,” Vice President Robredo told a forum last Monday, “is a long time.”

I agree. Especially if you don’t have a real job or any real influence for that long a period.

As defined by the Constitution, Robredo’s job description is that of a spare tire in a car, a benchwarmer in basketball or an understudy in theater. She sits around doing nothing except wait for her big opportunity to come; otherwise, she stays where she is, in a high-profile but limbo-like political state, getting ready for a break that may never come.

Because Filipinos can vote for a split ticket, they usually pick presidents and vice presidents who don’t belong to the same party. In fact, in the past three decades, only Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Noli de Castro have been elected to the top two posts that they sought in tandem, in 2004.

Past presidents have sought to win over their vice presidents, especially if they ran on differing tickets, by giving them jobs in the Cabinet. Traditional political thinking dictated this strategy, because it is supposedly better to co-opt a popular vice president than to allow him to become a full-time critic who will campaign for six years to a captive audience who elected him in the first place.

But President Rodrigo Duterte, we now know, doesn’t really care for tradition—or even subscribe to orthodox political thought. And so he has refused to give a job to Robredo, as if daring her to become his highest-ranking political foe and critic.

Robredo looked at the vastly thinned crowd of Yellows behind her and decided she wanted “unity” with Duterte instead. Leni, who was being cast by the Yellows as the new Cory leading the opposition like Joan of Arc against the Dictator from Davao, felt that the better offensive was an Imeldific charm offensive.

READ MORE...

Leni did not let Duterte’s refusal to make her a part of his official family get her down. Fresh from a grueling campaign, she decided to wage a new one—to win over the vote of one man, who just happens to be the president.

I give Leni credit for refusing to engage in a protracted political struggle with Duterte that she knows she can never win. But I think Duterte knows that Robredo needs him more than he needs her, because he can give her the position, the influence and the funding to stay relevant in the next years and beyond.

Robredo understood that while the LP may have funded her campaign (and, many say, engineered her victory), it cannot support a six-year battle against a powerful and popular president. Ultimately, even the orphaned Yellowists who have made Leni’s new digs in Quezon City their clubhouse saw the wisdom of winning over Duterte—perhaps because they, too, needed jobs, as Teddy Boy Locsin has trenchantly alleged.

* * *

Duterte and Robredo finally met late last week, during the turnover rites for the national police. And after they met last Monday in Malacañang, where Leni paid Digong a visit, the Yellows seem to have convinced themselves that change is indeed coming—Robredo is no longer the political outcast that everyone thought she would become.

And what’s a cool new pairing without a mashed-up hashtag of the couple’s names? They have one now: #Dubredo.

But I’m really not so sure about that. After all, like her entire party before, from Noynoy Aquino on down, Robredo may once again be guilty of misreading and underestimating Duterte.

My own suspicion is that Duterte is such an old-school gentleman that he cannot really bear to be rude to a woman. And because Robredo’s only real sin against Digong is to be in the company of the Liberals, Leni is betting that if she doesn’t sound like the new Abigail Valte, she will be able to wear his resistance down.

That is certainly what Robredo, the new, conciliatory Yellows and their media sympathizers want to happen. “We cannot afford wars,” as Robredo herself said, because “there’s a lot that still needs to be done.”

I never thought I’d see the day when the Yellows, who have always believed that they have a monopoly of righteousness, would embrace somebody like Duterte, even if only for six years. I actually expected that Robredo would follow in Cory’s footsteps, instead of becoming just another practical, conniving and unprincipled politician.

Oh, well. I guess if the Yellows who said they would immigrate if Duterte wins still haven’t even packed overnight bags and are now #Dubredo fans, I can’t really be more righteous than they are.

After all, even the sainted Cory wholeheartedly supported Gloria Arroyo against the supposedly corrupt and immoral Erap Estrada. Until Arroyo made a move to distribute Hacienda Luisita, of course, prompting Cory and her brood to accuse Arroyo of being immoral and corrupt, too, as they reprised the role of “principled” opposition leaders.

Hypocrites.


Loud and clear posted July 07, 2016 at 12:01 am

At the 69th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte named five police generals as protectors of the illegal drug trade. Three of the five are in active service; two have retired.

The following morning, Generals Joel Pagdilao, Bernardo Diaz and Edgardo Tinio met with Philippine National Police Chief Ronaldo dela Rosa who in turn advised them to “face the music.” The National Police Commission will investigate the cases of the three active police officials, who were just relieved of their posts this week.

A regular court will try the case of retired General Marcelo Garbo while the Department of the Interior and Local Government will handle the case of retired General Vicente Loon, who is now mayor of Daanbantayan town in Cebu.

Dela Rosa refused to disclose what transpired during the meeting with Pagdilao, Diaz and Tinio, saying it was “purely intimate and personal.” The generals had earlier protested their inclusion in the list and denied involvement in the drug trade.

It would be tragic if there were a mistake of some sort in identifying the police officials supposedly protecting drug lords. Imagine the effects of the President’s announcement on the generals’ families and on the officials themselves, assuming they lived out the past few decades in honest and painstaking service to the country. Imagine the tragedy, were the long years of service to end in a downfall precipitated by charges that are not even true. Finally, imagine the effect of the accusations on the morale of the younger police officials who had looked up to these men as their leaders, mentors, even their friends. We hope the generals get to clear their name—if in fact they are innocent.

Palace officials, however, have said there has been no wrong information fed to the President. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Palace had sufficient documentary and testimonial evidence to support the administrative and criminal cases against the cops.

“He won’t say anything like that if there is no strong evidence to link them [to it],” said Interior Secretary Mike Sueno.

READ MORE...

That the generals were named just a few days after the start of the new administration and during a public address at the anniversary of the Philippine Air Force bolsters Duterte’s promise that the fight against illegal drugs will be resolute.

Most importantly, it sends a message loud and clear to other politicians and law enforcers who vow to protect public interest and yet protect the drug trade, as well. The bold announcement will not likely be the last, and they better be afraid.

The drug problem has not been cited as the most urgent concern—at least not along the ranks of poverty, inequality and corruption—until now. Then again, it is linked to all the other ills: it wastes individual and family resources, corrupts public servants, undermines institutions and disrupts what could otherwise be a productive life for the user.

Let the charges be pressed if there is sufficient basis for them. Let the investigations begin and let justice be swift. Acquit the innocent but punish the guilty, however high up in the organization they may be. Let this cycle continue until we hear the next batch of names, and the other batches after that.


Only a few days after posted July 08, 2016 at 12:01 am by Horace Templo


HORACE TEMPLO

About this time last year, most of us were not able to imagine how Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte and his maverick type of leadership could change and improve our lives.

Relatively few who knew him well did. Mostly Davaoeños, inspired by and in love with him, relentlessly egged him to run for president until he consented. Quietly but passionately, they started campaigning for his candidacy in every opportunity that they could get.

Soon, more and more people from all economic and social classes of Philippine society supported him. By Election Day, they had become the most active, most fanatical, and biggest army of political followers.

Not surprisingly, Duterte took the lead from the moment the electronic counting of votes started on the night of May 9.

His followers stayed wide awake late that night until the wee hours of the next morning, jubilantly monitoring how his lead widened as each election return was canvassed live on national television.

Even those who didn’t vote for him joined his followers in celebrating his victory.

Considered already the presumptive president, Duterte continued uttering curses and wolf-whistling, threatening drug lords and criminals, warning corrupt government officials, and challenging established icons of the Roman Catholic Church, business groups, and the international community.

These things didn’t make us like him less, but they annoyed his already declining number of critics.

For us, they only reflected his minor imperfection, which we have already come to know during the campaign period.

What mattered was that his victory ushered real change, and it would soon improve our lives and continue to uplift us in the next six years of his presidency.

President Duterte’s June 30 inaugural speech impressed us with his resolve to make our government head for real change, which he expressed with simplicity, candidness, and forcefulness using the language that paid tribute to his Davaoeño and Visayan roots—

“Tinud-anay nga kabag-uhan. Mao kana ang tumong sa atong pang-gobyerno.”

Only a few days after he assumed office, real change has started to come.

READ MORE...

On the day he took his oath of office last June 30, President Digong immediately addressed the needs of the country’s poor and marginalized sectors by signing his first executive order, which placed under ex-priest Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco’s supervision 12 agencies that were “tasked to evaluate existing poverty reduction programs, formulate projects that seek to reduce poverty, and improve the lives of the most venerable sectors.”

IN CONTRAST

In contrast, PNoy wasted a month after assuming office before signing his first E.O. on July 30, 2010, which created the Philippine Truth Commission to “investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served without fear or favor.”

Did this commission accomplish anything? Its final report was supposed to be published upon PNoy’s directive before Dec. 30, 2012, but who has read it?

On President Digong’s first Monday in office, he made clear that road discipline would be imposed along Edsa.

Senior Superintendent Antonio Gardiola, the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group’s new chief, deployed its 250 patrolmen to “bring back the glory days” of the HPG with his reminder that only they “should lord over Edsa.”

President Digong’s economic team knows that enforcement of rules alone is not enough to solve the traffic problem. The engineering solution must be employed, too.

Consistent with this approach, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez announced that same day that “unsolicited infrastructure projects would be welcome under the Duterte administration” including the possible use of presidential emergency powers to open up private subdivisions to traffic.

As he rationalized—

“We intend to take the traffic crisis by the horns not only because of the grave economic costs of congestion, but also because of its adverse effects on the health and quality of life.”

We like his economic team’s plan to undertake major infrastructure projects in Metro Manila around the clock or 24/7. As justified by Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, this would “ensure that roads and other major projects are finished on time” while warning us that “things will get worse before they get better.”

We are convinced more than ever that President Digong could eliminate illegal drugs, criminality and corruption in the next three to six months after he named five police generals who are involved in illegal drugs last Tuesday.

Every day since his election, drug users and pushers are surrendering voluntarily while policemen had been busting drug dealers and confiscating kilos after kilos of shabu. Unfortunately, offenders are being killed as they elude, resist and fight arrests.

Only a few days after President Digong assumed office, real change has indeed started to come, with his government prioritizing the restoration of social order preparatory to addressing our long-desired basic public services, economic development, and pension increase.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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