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

BY AMADO MACASAET: LOOKING BEFORE LEAPING
[This reminds one of the old fable look before you leap. Duterte should have ordered the investigation and checking the background of [Businessman Robert Ongpin] Ongpin’s case. In other words, he should have looked before he leaped.]


AUGUST 17 -By Amado Macasaet -Roberto V. Ongpin comes from a family that founded a stock brokerage firm, now one of the oldest. His former employer SGV Inc. had clients in the business of buying and selling shares. He had, as a certified public accountant, extensive experience in the trading of shares.
In all those years, of fruitful operation the firm, Ongpin and Co. never had any black spot. Nor did his father’s company, although it eventually teamed up with Wolfe & Co. to have a better position in acquiring and handling clients of all sorts. While Bobby V. Ongpin did not directly participate in the operations of his family’s business, his long years of stay in SGV catapulted him to managing director. It is said that SGV’s management had to replace him with five professionals in auditing, accounting and management. This is the background of Ongpin who was singled out by President Duterte as an oligarch who benefitted from previous presidents. Little did the President know that the time to file charges against Ongpin had lapsed, meaning the governments that succeeded the Martial law regime of Marcos would not find fault in Bobby. It takes not just intelligence but bravery and preparedness to die in line of duty. Proof of this is he caused the arrest of three friends of Gen. Fabian Ver for violating a sales or purchase order (of scarce dollars) for house account or for clients. It is not known to many that the Binondo Central Bank was allowed by the Monetary Board in the incumbency of the late Jobo Fernandez who sold sovereign liabilities at a yield of over 40 percent and accepted by everybody as the only way to stem the outflow of foreign exchange which at one time hit a low of about $50 million in government coffers. Ongpin had friends he invited to come and invest in the Philippines. The Kuok brothers were the first to come in. There was a detainee who was doing illegal trading of foreign exchange inside his prison cell in Camp Crame. He was released but was rearrested on orders of Ongpin who had with him many blank presidential detention orders which in Ongpin’s time became ASSO (arrest, search and seizure order).  READ MORE...

ALSO: BY NESTOR MATA -  DUTERTE’S BOLD GOALS ACCLAIMED
[MATA's Quote of the Day: “Human rights must work to uplift human dignity. But human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country, your country, and my country!” – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte]


AUGUST 16 -By Nestor Mata
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Road Duterte’s road map for peace and development in Mindanao was acclaimed by the international community, and his anti-drug and corruption war applauded, surprisingly, by prelates of the Catholic Church. “We are impressed with the work of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has done in a short time,” said World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick on behalf of the other international organizations and institutions. The aspirations of President Duterte to resolve the conflicts in Mindanao and other areas of the country, and to level of priority that he has given on these issues even in the first month of his administration are very welcome, Warwick said. She also supported his government’s call for inclusivity in its pursuit of peace. United Nations Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren, on her part, noted that “the work that is already on the way since the 30th of June constitutes a very promising reboot and continuation of ongoing efforts to resolve the conflicts.” “We appreciate the openness of President Duterte to continue working with international partners,” Almgren said. “I look forward to a continuing engagement with the people of the Philippines.” Other strong partners for peace are the European Union (EU), the Asia Foundation (AF), the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Women (UN WOMEN), World Food Programme (WFP), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Finally, believe it or not, President Duterte found allies and supporters in Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, and Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz. Cardinal Rosales said that the President has shown decisiveness in government “you have seen in many decades.”’ Then he chided the President’s critics and that the “fault-finders were wrong to think they had a monopoly over righteousness.” As broadcast by the Church-run Radio Veritas over the weekend, the Cardinal said: “Now there is a new leader and we can see he is on a right track.” In an apparent invitation to the public to try to see good in Duterte’s actions, the Cardinal said that “God does not limit goodness to one shape, as goodness can come in many shapes. You know you cannot own goodness. Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who are good. No way ...that’s not right!”  READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - ROBREDO’S CRISIS
[Officials and employees paid themselves more than P10 million in unlawful bonuses, allowances, and stipends; held seminars and workshops in expensive hotels; and hired consultants whose scope of work are unknown. Before Robredo can tackle housing, she must find time to do some house cleaning first. – PT.]


AUGUST 17 -EDITORIAL CARTOON BORROWED FROM PHILSTAR FILE ON July 27, 2011, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council transferred a check for P1 million to the Department of National Defense to pay for a subdivision survey of a 30-hectare housing project for employees of the Government Arsenal. It took two months for the check to reach the Armed Forces of the Philippines Housing Board and another three years for the Defense department’s accountants to confirm that the amount has been spent, leaving a balance of P1,939. Per records, the survey was completed in December 2013 but a site inspection by a technical team of government auditors turned up no monuments or survey markers. It was told the markers may have been buried by earthmovers and vegetation. A subdivision plan finally turned up in 2014 showing the property has been designated into 600 residential lots for Government Arsenal employees and 361 for DND staff and AFP personnel. But there was a kink, one block was mapped twice – 10 non-existent lots were conjured out of an engineer’s imagination. In October 2014, a ceremony was held for the distribution of certificates of lot allocations for 362 beneficiaries. But it was all just smoke and mirrors. There were no actual lots, no entitlements. In 2015, HUDCC’s P1 million check was finally liquidated and a new survey paid for, submitted and accepted - after four long years and a lot of red faces all around. READ MORE...ALSO OPINION: BY REY ARCILLA:  ROBREDO [‘She should worry more about the human rights of the millions of victims of the drug menace.’]...

ALSO: BY E. TORDESILLAS - WARNING TO THE PRESIDENT FROM A WELL-MEANING ALLY
[Last Aug. 2, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, a human rights lawyer before he entered politics, delivered a privileged speech saying that although Duterte is immune from suits during his six-year term as president (he can be sued after he steps down from the presidency) he may be indicted for the continuing spate of extrajudicial killings related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs by the International Criminal Court.]


AUGUST 17 -By Ellen Tordesillas
IN many of his speeches , President Rodrigo Duterte flaunts his immunity from suits as his armor in the campaign against illegal drugs. Stressing his determination to rid the country of illegal drugs, he said shortly after he took his oath of office last June, “This is why I am very mad, this is why I want to ensure this next generation, this is why I can’t make you understand, if I can’t ask you, I will really kill you.” It’s not only those dealing with illegal drugs that he wants killed but all those he believes are a menace to the Filipino people. Last Aug. 2, while visiting the V. Lune AFP Medical Center, he expressed frustration over the refusal of some business owners to stop “Endo” - the distortion of contractualization where workers’ employment is terminated at the fifth month before the end of the six-month probationary period to avoid making the workers permanent and thus entitled to labor benefits. Duterte said: “Ako mag-warning lang: Stop contractualization or patayin kita. You know why kaya ako magsalita ng ganun ang Presidente? While I am here, may immunity ako.” During the Mindanao summit last Aug. 5, he said he is looking for a “killer” to head the the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, which he said is corruption-riddled. He said: “I’d like to give you a warning: Do not F.. with me. I cannot pronounce the exact word, just the F and C. Don’t dare me. As President, I have the immunity from civil or criminal. If I lose my patience, I’ll call and shoot you.” The number of those killed in the campaign against illegal drugs continues to rise (646 as of Aug, 15 since June 30) and has raised concerns in the country and international groups. READ MORE...

ALSO: By D. Aspillera - BEHOLD THE NUTRITIOUS CAMOTE!


AUGUST 20 -WHITE rice has minimal nutrients of concern. Sweet potat (camote) has more nutrition and needed fiber, so I buy camote instead of white rice --french fry, boil, mash, and into most dishes I prepare. A far healthier carbohydrate than white rice. I’m dismayed when I learn that the camote of color that I am paying for was imported (smuggled?) into the Philippines from Taiwan, China, elsewhere. Have Filipinos forgotten how to plant camote that the Dept. of Agriculture tolerates the smuggling of camote? Production of sweet potato, an excellent people food, is reported by DA FSSP to be on the decline. Of course! Smugglers bribe BOC so smugglers get the business. Local camote planters do not bribe the criminals at Customs. Food Staples Sufficiency Program tells us that camote is increasingly recognized as healthy alternative to rice and bread, specially the orange, yellow, purple. More nutritious and healthier alternative than the nutrient-devoid white rice. Camote can be french-fried, not in deep oil but with a teaspoon of oil, covered in a pan. Colored camote is healthier than white potato. Sliced in half and steamed in a covered pan, cooked in 3 minutes--it is a healthier breakfast or school baon than a pandesal bun. The only persistent myth by the ignorant against camote is that it causes gas/flatulence. This is a physiological fraud. The people who propagate this lie are those snubs who see camote as food for indigents. Because they never eat camote, they don’t have the needed stomach enzyme to digest camote’s healthy fibers, roughage. The stomach will develop the enzymes needed for any food in one’s diet. Japanese stomachs easily digest raw octopus. A Filipino or American not used to eating raw octopus does not have the needed enzyme to digest that rubbery edible, and will have a bad case of indigestion; lots of wind from the stomach. Regular camote eaters who have the enzyme to digest sweet potato/camote fibers do not get indigestion. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

LOOKING BEFORE LEAPING


By Amado Macasaet

MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (MALAYA) By Amado P. Macasaet August 17, 2016 - Roberto V. Ongpin comes from a family that founded a stock brokerage firm, now one of the oldest. His former employer SGV Inc. had clients in the business of buying and selling shares. He had, as a certified public accountant, extensive experience in the trading of shares.

In all those years, of fruitful operation the firm, Ongpin and Co. never had any black spot. Nor did his father’s company, although it eventually teamed up with Wolfe & Co. to have a better position in acquiring and handling clients of all sorts.

While Bobby V. Ongpin did not directly participate in the operations of his family’s business, his long years of stay in SGV catapulted him to managing director. It is said that SGV’s management had to replace him with five professionals in auditing, accounting and management.

This is the background of Ongpin who was singled out by President Duterte as an oligarch who benefitted from previous presidents.

Little did the President know that the time to file charges against Ongpin had lapsed, meaning the governments that succeeded the Martial law regime of Marcos would not find fault in Bobby. It takes not just intelligence but bravery and preparedness to die in line of duty. Proof of this is he caused the arrest of three friends of Gen. Fabian Ver for violating a sales or purchase order (of scarce dollars) for house account or for clients.

It is not known to many that the Binondo Central Bank was allowed by the Monetary Board in the incumbency of the late Jobo Fernandez who sold sovereign liabilities at a yield of over 40 percent and accepted by everybody as the only way to stem the outflow of foreign exchange which at one time hit a low of about $50 million in government coffers.

Ongpin had friends he invited to come and invest in the Philippines. The Kuok brothers were the first to come in. There was a detainee who was doing illegal trading of foreign exchange inside his prison cell in Camp Crame. He was released but was rearrested on orders of Ongpin who had with him many blank presidential detention orders which in Ongpin’s time became ASSO (arrest, search and seizure order).

READ MORE...

He had a sheaf of them without names. He was arresting suspects on the spot because he did not have time to observe due process. Given this situation and the deadline to file cases against suspects of plunder and other high crimes, Ongpin remained untouchable and was doing his illegal business for his government.

How President Duterte came to conclude Ongpin was a plunderer tolerated officially by Ferdinand Marcos is true but the chief executive and the governor of the Central Bank was at that time Jobo Fernandez.

What happened next was enough reason for Marcos to order the killing of Ongpin like he did to Lim Seng, a confirmed drug lord.

Ongpin may be likened to Lim except that the latter was doing it for his personal benefit while the former was doing his job for his country. Ongpin was charged with tax evasion. He got away with it using the defense of having noble motives for committing the “crimes.”

This reminds one of the old fable look before you leap. Duterte should have ordered the investigation and checking the background of Ongpin’s case. In other words, he should have looked before he leaped.


DUTERTE’S BOLD GOALS ACCLAIMED By NESTOR MATA August 16, 2016


By Nestor Mata

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Road Duterte’s road map for peace and development in Mindanao was acclaimed by the international community, and his anti-drug and corruption war applauded, surprisingly, by prelates of the Catholic Church.

“We are impressed with the work of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has done in a short time,” said World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick on behalf of the other international organizations and institutions.

The aspirations of President Duterte to resolve the conflicts in Mindanao and other areas of the country, and to level of priority that he has given on these issues even in the first month of his administration are very welcome, Warwick said. She also supported his government’s call for inclusivity in its pursuit of peace.


His Excellency Ola Almgren is the resident coordinator for the United Nations (UN) in the Philippines.RAPPLER.COM FILE

United Nations Resident Coordinator Ola Almgren, on her part, noted that “the work that is already on the way since the 30th of June constitutes a very promising reboot and continuation of ongoing efforts to resolve the conflicts.”

“We appreciate the openness of President Duterte to continue working with international partners,” Almgren said. “I look forward to a continuing engagement with the people of the Philippines.”

Other strong partners for peace are the European Union (EU), the Asia Foundation (AF), the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Women (UN WOMEN), World Food Programme (WFP), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Finally, believe it or not, President Duterte found allies and supporters in Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila, and Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

Cardinal Rosales said that the President has shown decisiveness in government “you have seen in many decades.”’ Then he chided the President’s critics and that the “fault-finders were wrong to think they had a monopoly over righteousness.”

As broadcast by the Church-run Radio Veritas over the weekend, the Cardinal said: “Now there is a new leader and we can see he is on a right track.”

In an apparent invitation to the public to try to see good in Duterte’s actions, the Cardinal said that “God does not limit goodness to one shape, as goodness can come in many shapes. You know you cannot own goodness. Sometimes we think we’re the only ones who are good. No way ...that’s not right!”

READ MORE...

Archbishop Cruz supported the President’s “name-and-shame” campaign against those involved in the illegal drug trade. His naming of some 160 local government officials, judges, and police shows his sincerity in fighting drugs,


BISHOP CRUZ

As broadcast by Radjo Veritas, Archbishop Cruz praised Duterte in Pilipino-English, “Mukhang may nilalaman, unti-unti nga mukhang nasisiyahan ako sa kangyang pamumuno pagkat he means business. Bagama’t siyempre may konting pagaalinlangan tungkol sa maraming patayan, pero may sinasabi ata yung mama na talagang asikasuhin ang bagay na ito at young sinasabi di siya natatakot mamatay at maski kaibigan niya ipapakulong niya mukhang nakakahimasmas ng kalooban.”

Noting that after Duterte named several personalities who may have had links to illegal drugs, many of them flocked to Camp Crame to air their side, Archbishop Cruz said this may be just the beginning of the change as promised by the President during his presidential campaign. At the same time, he favored Duterte’s “name-and-shame” anti-drug campaign.

In contrast with the statements of Cardinal Rosales and Archbishop Cruz, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said he could no longer stomach the widespread killings of suspected drug lords, drug pushers and drug traders. The same sentiments were also voiced by human rights groups.

Incidentally, President Duterte’s list of narco-politicians and narco-policemen, according to former Chief Dionisio Santiago of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) , is the same list that had submitted to former President Noynoy Aquino in 2010, but that “nothing happened”!

Santiago confirmed that the list of names included governors, mayors, vice mayors, councillors and barangay captains, who were suspected drug lords, protectors and distributors.

And, significantly, when the list was publicly revealed, Senator Lilia de Lima, who was former Secretary of Justice during the Aquino administration, immediately accused President Duterte of “witch-hunting,” while Senator Franklin Drilon, who was then Senate President, demanded adherence to the rule of law.

Their reactions were completely unlike those of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, who supported Duterte’s relentless anti-drug war, and then warned, “We don’t want our country to be run by drug lords.”

All these events happened before the 49th day of President Duterte’s first “One Hundred Days” of his presidency.

***

Quote of the Day: “Human rights must work to uplift human dignity. But human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country, your country, and my country!” – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte


ROBREDO’S CRISIS August 17, 2016


EDITORIAL CARTOON BORROWED FROM PHILSTAR FILE

ON July 27, 2011, the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council transferred a check for P1 million to the Department of National Defense to pay for a subdivision survey of a 30-hectare housing project for employees of the Government Arsenal.

It took two months for the check to reach the Armed Forces of the Philippines Housing Board and another three years for the Defense department’s accountants to confirm that the amount has been spent, leaving a balance of P1,939.

Per records, the survey was completed in December 2013 but a site inspection by a technical team of government auditors turned up no monuments or survey markers. It was told the markers may have been buried by earthmovers and vegetation.

A subdivision plan finally turned up in 2014 showing the property has been designated into 600 residential lots for Government Arsenal employees and 361 for DND staff and AFP personnel. But there was a kink, one block was mapped twice – 10 non-existent lots were conjured out of an engineer’s imagination.

In October 2014, a ceremony was held for the distribution of certificates of lot allocations for 362 beneficiaries. But it was all just smoke and mirrors. There were no actual lots, no entitlements.

In 2015, HUDCC’s P1 million check was finally liquidated and a new survey paid for, submitted and accepted - after four long years and a lot of red faces all around.

READ MORE...

This is the kind of system that Vice President Leni Robredo will have to tackle first if she intends to make even a dent in the country’s housing crisis.

The HUDCC has a workforce of 131 men and women as of yearend 2014, only 71 of whom were holding plantilla positions.

In that year, the agency spent P128 million.

Officials and employees paid themselves more than P10 million in unlawful bonuses, allowances, and stipends; held seminars and workshops in expensive hotels; and hired consultants whose scope of work are unknown.

Out of its target distribution of 4,000 lot awards, it achieved a grand total of 252. It also pursued four cases of professional squatting.

Before Robredo can tackle housing, she must find time to do some house cleaning first. – PT.

ALSO OPINION:

ROBREDO AUGUST 16 -By Rey Arcilla


By Rey Arcilla

By Rey O. Arcilla August 16, 2016 - THE US State Department, echoed by its Embassy here, took up the cudgels for its outgoing ambassador Philip Goldberg who was called a “gay” by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong. Fair enough.

Being called “gay” in this country and I believe in the US as well, is no longer meant to ridicule one who is. Gays are already accepted and respected members of society in general. Therefore, if Goldberg is indeed gay, no offense should have been taken.

If he is not, well, being called gay or “bakla” in the vernacular does not necessarily mean one is a homosexual. The term “bakla” could mean a lot of things, like a wishy-washy, meddling or annoying type of a person. And Goldberg annoyed Digong for severely criticizing him for a statement he made during the last election which was none of his (Goldberg) business. In fact, Goldberg merely repeated a statement by Australian ambassador Amanda Gorely who also got Digong’s ire.

The allegation peddled by media, particularly by foreign ones, that Digong also called Goldberg a son of a bitch is absolutely wide off the mark.

I checked and re-checked the video and transcript of his statement. He did utter his favorite cuss word, “putang ina”, which means “a mother who is a whore” but he did not direct it at Goldberg. He did not say “putang ina mo” or “putang ina ka”, meaning “you son of a bitch”, “mo” and “ka” being the equivalent of “you”. He simply blurted out the cuss word. So there…

***


GOLDBERG, DUTERTE

Incidentally, the US State Department described Goldberg as a “multi-time” ambassador. Wikipedia says his only ambassadorial assignment before the Philippines was in Bolivia where he was declared “persona non grata” and expelled by the Bolivian Government.

READ MORE...

As reported by the Daily Telegraph of London on 12 September 2008, “Bolivia has expelled the US ambassador, accusing him of fomenting the civil unrest that threatens not only the country’s first indigenous Indian president, Evo Morales, but the unity of the nation itself.”

Pakialamero yata talaga.

Goldberg’s other postings were as charge d’affaires in Chile and chief of mission (not ambassador) in the US Office (not embassy) in Kosovo.

Immediately prior to his assignment to the Philippines, Goldberg was Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) which, according to Wikipedia, leads one of 16 elements in the US Intelligence Community.

Wikipedia further says:

“INR’s primary mission is to harness intelligence to serve US diplomacy. Drawing on all-source intelligence, INR provides value-added independent analysis of events to US State Department policymakers; ensures that intelligence activities support foreign policy and national security purposes; and serves as the focal point in the State Department for ensuring policy review of sensitive counterintelligence and law enforcement activities around the world.”

Hmmm…

***

The US State Department and its bleeding heart surrogates in our midst also criticized the conduct of the war being waged by Digong against the drug problem in the country, particularly the alleged extrajudicial killings. Have they proven even one case of such killings?

I get the impression these armchair critics do not have any idea at all about the unimaginable magnitude of the havoc that the drug menace has already wreaked and is wreaking in the country. According to sources, it has now affected ninety percent of our barangays. Laganap at talamak na!!!

These critics also always harp on the alleged violation of the human rights of the drug pushers, drug lords and their coddlers. What about the human rights of the millions, yes millions, whose lives have been destroyed by these vermin? How about paying attention for once to the plight of the drug victims and their families?

Digong has been saying time and again that in the pursuit of the war against the drug menace, due process and the rule of law will be followed. What more can anyone ask for? Treat the pushers, the suppliers and the coddlers with kid gloves? As Digong says, what they deserve are the gallows.

***

The US also said, “We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts are consistent with its human rights obligations.”

This reminded me of what US presidential candidate Donald Trump said in one of his interviews:

“When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger… I don’t think we have a right to lecture. Look at what is happening in our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?”

Trump failed to mention the recent spate of cold-blooded killings by policemen of blacks in the US.

As one Dale Thompson said: “Seriously....48,000 Americans will die from drug overdoses this year. Another 17,000 Americans will be murdered. More than 2 million Americans are in jail. Perhaps the Americans would be best to clean their own house before criticizing the Philippines. Keep up the good work, President Duterte.”

***

“Are you with us or are you not with us?”

This is the now famous quote from Digong which he asked US Ambassador Goldberg not too long ago.

He may have to ask it again, this time addressed to Ms. Leni Robredo who has agreed to be a member of Digong’s team. (I refrain from addressing her as Vice President pending a resolution of the protest filed against her by former senator Bongbong Marcos before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.)

Robredo has been blabbering against two matters on which Digong has already made a decision: the war on drugs and the burial of President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

She called for an investigation (echoing one Leila de Lima) of the rising number of suspected drug pushers and drug lords killed, hinting that their human rights may have been violated. Shouldn’t she worry more about the victims of these dregs of society?

She added that Digong’s fight against illegal drugs must be done without compromising the rule of law. Where has she been? Her team leader has been giving that assurance all along. Is she saying Digong has been lying?

Robredo is, of course, entitled to her personal opinion, but delicadeza dictates that as a team member, she should just keep her bloody mouth shut or resign if she could not stomach the decision of the team leader, particularly on the conduct of the fight against the drug problem.

People are wondering why Robredo has to do her criticizing also in a foreign land, the US. To begin with, people are also asking what she was doing there speaking before an obscure Fil-American association and giving a press briefing with the Philippine Consul General in New York seated beside her

In that briefing, she also said: “If you are familiar with our Constitution, if you look at the Constitution, the vice president does not have any real power, except to wait for something to happen to the President”, followed by a bit of laughter and an enigmatic smile from Robredo.

What exactly did she mean by that statement, people ask?

What was the real purpose of her trip to the US? Who else did she see and talk to while there when she should instead be attending to her job here of trying to solve the gargantuan problem of housing for the poor?

***

Today is the 110th day of the tenth year of Jonas Burgos’ enforced disappearance.

The family and friends of Jonas hope that the Duterte administration will not be part of the continuing cover-up. The Burgos family implores Digong to haul the perpetrators to justice and bring Jonas back home.

***

From an internet friend:

A little old lady goes to the doctor. He asks her what seems to be the problem. She says: “Doctor, I have this problem with gas, but it really doesn’t bother me too much. My farts never smell, and are always silent. As a matter of fact, I’ve farted at least 20 times since I’ve been here in your office. You didn’t know I was farting because they don’t smell and are silent.” The doctor says, “I see, take these pills and come back to see me next week.” The next week, the lady returns for her follow-up appointment. “Doctor,” she says, “I don’t know what you gave me, but now my farts, although still silent, stink terribly...” The doctor says: “Good! Now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses, let’s work on your hearing.”


WARNING TO THE PRESIDENT FROM A WELL-MEANING ALLY By Ellen Tordesillas August 17, 2016


By Ellen Tordesillas

IN many of his speeches , President Rodrigo Duterte flaunts his immunity from suits as his armor in the campaign against illegal drugs.

Stressing his determination to rid the country of illegal drugs, he said shortly after he took his oath of office last June, “This is why I am very mad, this is why I want to ensure this next generation, this is why I can’t make you understand, if I can’t ask you, I will really kill you.”

It’s not only those dealing with illegal drugs that he wants killed but all those he believes are a menace to the Filipino people.

Last Aug. 2, while visiting the V. Lune AFP Medical Center, he expressed frustration over the refusal of some business owners to stop “Endo” - the distortion of contractualization where workers’ employment is terminated at the fifth month before the end of the six-month probationary period to avoid making the workers permanent and thus entitled to labor benefits.

Duterte said: “Ako mag-warning lang: Stop contractualization or patayin kita. You know why kaya ako magsalita ng ganun ang Presidente? While I am here, may immunity ako.”

During the Mindanao summit last Aug. 5, he said he is looking for a “killer” to head the the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, which he said is corruption-riddled. He said: “I’d like to give you a warning: Do not F.. with me. I cannot pronounce the exact word, just the F and C. Don’t dare me. As President, I have the immunity from civil or criminal. If I lose my patience, I’ll call and shoot you.”

The number of those killed in the campaign against illegal drugs continues to rise (646 as of Aug, 15 since June 30) and has raised concerns in the country and international groups.

READ MORE...


ROQUE

Last Aug. 2, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, a human rights lawyer before he entered politics, delivered a privileged speech saying that although Duterte is immune from suits during his six-year term as president (he can be sued after he steps down from the presidency) he may be indicted for the continuing spate of extrajudicial killings related to the government’s campaign against illegal drugs by the International Criminal Court.

Roque belongs to the super-majority in the House of Representatives led by Duterte ally Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. He said, “while it would be imprudent for me to say with certainty that President Duterte has already committed a crime against humanity, it would be a disservice to this entire nation if I did not warn [the president] to be careful.”

Roque said the Rome Statute– the treaty that established the ICC of which the Philippines is party to – says a “crime against humanity” is a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population with knowledge of such attack.

“By definition, crimes against humanity may be committed even in times of peace, without the existence of an armed conflict,” he said.

Roque warned that the principle of state immunity granted to a sitting president “is not an effective shield against the ICC.”

Roque said, “The ICC has indicted leaders even during their term of power. It has done so in Kenya, Sudan, and others. Even without actual or direct participation, the President can be indicted for crimes under the principle of Command Responsibility so long as he knew that such crime was being committed, and he failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his power to stop such acts. The ICC does not need to wait for news about the massacre of an entire town or barangay before it investigates. If the administration does not temper the methods it has been using over the past few weeks, then it is only a matter of time before the international community turns its focus to the Philippines for justice.”

“It is true that the ICC operates under the principle of complementarity – meaning, the primary jurisdiction to prosecute international crimes belongs to the state; however, the international tribunal may step in when it is clear that the state is unwilling and unable to do so, under the aut dedere aut judicare principle. In other words, half-hearted investigation efforts or the refusal to investigate and prosecute widespread and systematic EJKs constituting crimes against humanity just cannot be an effective shield against the ICC’s jurisdiction.”

Every Filipino supports the desire of the president to rid the country of illegal drugs. But extra-judicial killings is not the solution and will in fact cause more problems.

As lawyer Joel Butuyan said in his column, “The last thing our country needs is a President facing trial at the International Criminal Court” where a Filipino, Raul Pangalangan is a judge.


BEHOLD THE NUTRITIOUS CAMOTE! By Dahli Aspillera August 19, 2016

WHITE rice has minimal nutrients of concern. Sweet potat (camote) has more nutrition and needed fiber, so I buy camote instead of white rice --french fry, boil, mash, and into most dishes I prepare. A far healthier carbohydrate than white rice.

I’m dismayed when I learn that the camote of color that I am paying for was imported (smuggled?) into the Philippines from Taiwan, China, elsewhere. Have Filipinos forgotten how to plant camote that the Dept. of Agriculture tolerates the smuggling of camote? Production of sweet potato, an excellent people food, is reported by DA FSSP to be on the decline. Of course! Smugglers bribe BOC so smugglers get the business. Local camote planters do not bribe the criminals at Customs.

Food Staples Sufficiency Program tells us that camote is increasingly recognized as healthy alternative to rice and bread, specially the orange, yellow, purple. More nutritious and healthier alternative than the nutrient-devoid white rice. Camote can be french-fried, not in deep oil but with a teaspoon of oil, covered in a pan. Colored camote is healthier than white potato. Sliced in half and steamed in a covered pan, cooked in 3 minutes--it is a healthier breakfast or school baon than a pandesal bun.

The only persistent myth by the ignorant against camote is that it causes gas/flatulence. This is a physiological fraud. The people who propagate this lie are those snubs who see camote as food for indigents. Because they never eat camote, they don’t have the needed stomach enzyme to digest camote’s healthy fibers, roughage.

The stomach will develop the enzymes needed for any food in one’s diet. Japanese stomachs easily digest raw octopus. A Filipino or American not used to eating raw octopus does not have the needed enzyme to digest that rubbery edible, and will have a bad case of indigestion; lots of wind from the stomach. Regular camote eaters who have the enzyme to digest sweet potato/camote fibers do not get indigestion.

READ MORE...

On cassava/kamoteng kahoy (manioc, tapioca, yucca, Manihot esculenta): Grows with no input–in soil too poor for other crops, with a penetrative root system that can reach for moisture a meter below surface. But its edible (root) is devoid of nutrients of concern. Its talbos–young leaves are edible and nutritious, but must be cooked well.

Cassava, its root and its nutritious edible leaf, has to be cooked thoroughly to get rid of its poison-- cyanogenic glucosides. When insufficiently cooked, cassava yields thiocynate which is suspect in inhibiting iodine. In inlands with no marine edibles, no iodine-rich seafoods, a steady diet of cassava with this toxin can cause swollen neck goiter, cretinism, mental retardation.

Cassava farmers tend to eat cassava raw when out in the field, hungry, without anything to eat. Both the root and the leaf of all 150-odd varieties of cassava contain cyanogenic glucosides and enzymes which cause them to release hydrogen cyanide. The toxins increase after harvest.

Cassava produces a crop every five or six months regardless of when it is planted. A farmer can produce a ton of the root, using half of the work-time that it would require to produce the equivalent amount of, say, corn. The market for cassava is constant, as the cheapest animal feed

Cassava has empty-calorie carbohydrate, and so sadly lacking in nutrients of concern for Filipinos. As people food, it has no protein and vitamins that a constant diet of it for poor families can result in deficiency diseases.

The following is a comparative study for nutrient contents per serving between Camote/Cassava: Calories 160/146; Fiber 1/1; Calcium 45/30; Protein 2/.06 ; Phosphorus 66/41 ; Potassium 441/418 ; Carbohydrate 31/35; Vit. A 922/33 ; Magnesium 38/24. Camote also compensates lost hormones for menopausal women.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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