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

EDITORIAL: DRUGS WAR UP CLOSE


AUGUST 24 -It’s again a matter of one’s word against another in the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings that pitted the claims of the Philippine National Police, including that of PNP chief Bato de la Rosa that the police do not have a hand in deaths outside of police operations and the witnesses who are mostly relatives of victims who insisted that cops undertook the slayings. The line drawn during the hearing was, however, distinctly clear and it was between the supposed public order that has started to manifest in most communities in just under two months of President Duterte and consequently, the unprecedented rise in summary killings and rights violations in the same period. Witnesses related a frightening picture of the drugs underworld where the police were mostly involved in the illegal narcotics trade and they decide who should survive or be killed.Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s factotum, tried to rationalize the running tally of more than 1,500 slain in Duterte’s war on drugs saying that there should be a definition of extrajudicial killings in relation to the figures being cited as some can be considered as ordinary crimes unrelated to drugs. Cayetano then cited PNP figures showing the country’s crime volume for the first half decreased by 14.68 percent. The PNP had said overall crime volume for the first semester decreased to 291,409 from 341,543 in the first semester of last year. For July alone, reported crime incidences went down to 50,817 from 56,339 recorded a year ago or a 9.8 percent drop. Press Secretary Andanar said the crime index was also reduced by 31 percent from 17,105 in July last year to 11,800 reported incidents in July this year. Another excuse being used by the PNP and the Palace is that the war on drugs resulted in more than 600,000 drug pushers having surrendered.The PNP, however, did not say whether the incidences of vigilante killings were part of the crime figures because according to the report, the most prevalent reported incidences in July, which is the first full month of Duterte’s reign, was theft or other crimes against property.Cayetano, who claimed he is also a human rights advocate, if anyone believes him, glossed over the unattributable killings, those which are part of the so-called carton justice are clearly vigilante-type operations or if they are not, are being made to look like one. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - From crazy to madness


AUGUST 23 -The fact that toughie Rody is taking the presidency from one absurdity to another is proof of his struggle to shed off his long years of being a Mayor of a quaint city in Mindanao which is usually left alone to itself to becoming Philippine President in a fishbowl for all to see and criticize. Rody just can’t seem to comprehend the fact that the country exists in a community of nations which is responsible for each other and is committed to a set of international laws to maintain co-existence. He had shown his dogged determination to meet his goals and his capability to use strong arm measures to achieve this but most are considered pyrrhic victories since these are usually achieved at the expense of international rebuke. There is no way that Duterte, who has been merely more than one month in his six-year term, can avoid questions if not accountability for the sudden spike of summary killings since he took office and declared a war on drugs. And his usual responses to reminders and warnings about human rights violations were ridicule and allegations of meddling in the country’s affairs. In another witching hour press briefing the other day, Rody indicated plans of bolting the United Nations (UN) due to a string of statements from UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon to several of its human rights experts condemning the apparent setting aside of the law and due process in the war on drugs resulting in more than 1,500 deaths since he assumed office. “If you are that rude, we’ll leave you, take us out of your organization. You have done nothing anyway,” Duterte told the UN.
“You’re complaining that there is no process. Okay, you guys, you law experts of the United Nations, come here, come here and face me and make the accusations and I will show you the statistics and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count,” he challenged them. Of course, UN special rapporteur on summary killings Agnes Callamard had said that she is ready to lead a fact-finding mission to the country but she wanted assurances for the safety of her team, and the witnesses the UN team will talk to. Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella, however, immediately slammed the door on Callamard saying in effect she is not welcome and her presence in the country would be treated as unnecessary meddling in Duterte’s affairs which is a crisp statement that Callamard can visit at her own risk. A search on Callamard’s background indicated that she might be a worthy match for toughie Rody as her experience as a rights defender showed tenacity. READ MORE...


ALSO: EDITORIAL - Duterte of the West


AUGUST 26 -Being dependent on the United States will have its price in the distinct possibility of a US President Donald Trump, the “Duterte of the West,” as political pundits see the Philippines and South Korea to suffer the biggest backlash from a Trump administration. The Philippines can even be said as suffering the most, incurring a double-whammy, aside from the possibility of a US Trump administration, of having the real Duterte as President.
Japanese brokerage house Nomura said a Trump win in the November elections in the United States could escalate economic risks in the region to a whole new level. In the report entitled “Trumping Asia,” Nomura reported the Philippines and South Korea would be “among Asia’s most vulnerable in terms of both economic and geopolitical channels,” while India and Thailand would be the least exposed and China would only face a limited impact. A Trump presidency would hit hard the two lifelines of the economy which are foreign remittances and income from business process outsourcing (BPO). It said the immediate backlash on the Philippines from a Trump administration would be the likely immigration restrictions that might drain the flow of remittances back home. The United States hosts 35 percent of overseas Filipino workers, which account for around 31 percent of total worker remittances, a key source of foreign currency earnings, according to Nomura. The country also could face a loss of jobs in its BPO sector should Trump successfully bring such work back to the United States, it added. Nomura said the BPO sector may generate around nine percent of the country’s gross domestic product over the next two years, or the same amount of total worker remittances, which amounts to $25 billion a year. Among Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines has the biggest export dependency on the United States, which receives around 15 percent of Philippine exports, followed by Thailand and Indonesia at around 11 percent and Malaysia and Singapore at less than 10 percent. “The knee-jerk reaction to a Trump victory by Asia’s financial markets would almost surely be to sell off as investors price in a greater risk premium to US policy uncertainty, protectionism and regional insecurity,” it added, suggesting a sunshine sector of the economy which is the rising equities market to suffer.READ MORE...


ALSO: Now its ‘gossiping’ Rody?


AUGUST 28 -Toughie Rody’s feud with whom he described as amorous Leila had degenerated into what some feel is gossiping on the private love interest of the senator, which has become the hot topic in his supposed revelations.Presenting no concrete proof as yet, Rody said that the “sexual sexcapades” of the senator led to her connections with the drug lords inside the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and even presenting a chart on Leila’s narcotics links.The other day, Rody revealed a chart supposedly detailing a narcotics network involving government officials with de Lima as kingpin and her supposed lover Ronnie Dayan as sidekick.Prior to that, however, Duterte went into discussing the sex video of de Lima and the senators “uncontrollable” immorality although admitting that both he and de Lima were legally unattached after each of their marriages was annulled.He alleged “everything came out, even her imprudence in bed. That (screencap of an alleged de Lima sex video) was not photoshopped, it was intended by her lover and she agreed to it,” Duterte said. “That’s because she fell in love,” he added. Listening to Rody in the press conference before a wake of a slain police officer, some said, was like eavesdropping on gossiping girls. Then he went claimed that de Lima has a new boyfriend named Warren, who is now her Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic escort. Rody was asked by a reporter who apparently can’t connect the gossip to the topic about the senator’s narcotics links and asked if the new boyfriend has any involvement in the drugs trade. Rody said there was none and it was just related to him by former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino. “He rides a motorcycle, he was one of her escorts. MMDA. So who told me that? One of those who reported, even before... (Francis) Tolentino, the (former) MMDA chairman because de Lima wrote him,” Duterte said. Pressed on what was the purpose of his revelation, he said “what is really very sad for this country is, here is a woman posturing herself as a crusader for good government but she can’t control her immorality,” Duterte said. The more Rody digs up dirt on de Lima, the allegations of the senator that these were being revealed just to derail the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings is seen by some as being more credible reason. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

EDITORIAL: Drugs war up close

MANILA, AUGUST 29, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Tribune Editorial Wednesday, 24 August 2016 00:00 - It’s again a matter of one’s word against another in the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings that pitted the claims of the Philippine National Police, including that of PNP chief Bato de la Rosa that the police do not have a hand in deaths outside of police operations and the witnesses who are mostly relatives of victims who insisted that cops undertook the slayings.

The line drawn during the hearing was, however, distinctly clear and it was between the supposed public order that has started to manifest in most communities in just under two months of President Duterte and consequently, the unprecedented rise in summary killings and rights violations in the same period.

Witnesses related a frightening picture of the drugs underworld where the police were mostly involved in the illegal narcotics trade and they decide who should survive or be killed.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s factotum, tried to rationalize the running tally of more than 1,500 slain in Duterte’s war on drugs saying that there should be a definition of extrajudicial killings in relation to the figures being cited as some can be considered as ordinary crimes unrelated to drugs.

Cayetano then cited PNP figures showing the country’s crime volume for the first half decreased by 14.68 percent.
The PNP had said overall crime volume for the first semester decreased to 291,409 from 341,543 in the first semester of last year.

For July alone, reported crime incidences went down to 50,817 from 56,339 recorded a year ago or a 9.8 percent drop.

Press Secretary Andanar said the crime index was also reduced by 31 percent from 17,105 in July last year to 11,800 reported incidents in July this year.

Another excuse being used by the PNP and the Palace is that the war on drugs resulted in more than 600,000 drug pushers having surrendered.

The PNP, however, did not say whether the incidences of vigilante killings were part of the crime figures because according to the report, the most prevalent reported incidences in July, which is the first full month of Duterte’s reign, was theft or other crimes against property.

Cayetano, who claimed he is also a human rights advocate, if anyone believes him, glossed over the unattributable killings, those which are part of the so-called carton justice are clearly vigilante-type operations or if they are not, are being made to look like one.

READ MORE...

Cayetano then turned on the media saying that they should be fair to Duterte and his administration regarding extrajudicial killings, suggesting that the term may have been used loosely.

He also raised the possibility that some media outfits could be discrediting the administration’s efforts to intensify its anti-narcotics campaign.

“Are we using the term ‘extrajudicial killings’ loosely to discredit the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Duterte administration? Whether CHR (Commission on Human Rights) or chair (Sen. Leila de Lima), I was hoping that they would educate the people more and the media so that they are not misled that all killings are extrajudicial killings,” he said.

Cayetano complained that during the Aquino administration, everyday killings were not classified whether they were extrajudicial killings or killings by common criminals.

“Criminals and drug pushers spend money on media, politics to discredit this administration so that their multi-million business can continue (but) I’m not saying that everyone is being used,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano was laying down groundwork for an imagined conspiracy that includes the media in working to destroy Duterte and his war on drugs.

There were even instances in the hearing the other day that a police official failed to differentiate homicide from murder, or even the standard law applied on crime apprehensions which makes it unlikely that most in the PNP do understand what are the rules on engagement and what due process is all about.

The PNP brass asked in the Senate hearing wouldn’t care about knowing what he should do regarding procedures with Duterte’s guarantee that he will assume all the responsibility for them.


From crazy to madness Written by Tribune Editorial Tuesday, 23 August 2016 00:00

The fact that toughie Rody is taking the presidency from one absurdity to another is proof of his struggle to shed off his long years of being a Mayor of a quaint city in Mindanao which is usually left alone to itself to becoming Philippine President in a fishbowl for all to see and criticize.

Rody just can’t seem to comprehend the fact that the country exists in a community of nations which is responsible for each other and is committed to a set of international laws to maintain co-existence.

He had shown his dogged determination to meet his goals and his capability to use strong arm measures to achieve this but most are considered pyrrhic victories since these are usually achieved at the expense of international rebuke.

There is no way that Duterte, who has been merely more than one month in his six-year term, can avoid questions if not accountability for the sudden spike of summary killings since he took office and declared a war on drugs.

And his usual responses to reminders and warnings about human rights violations were ridicule and allegations of meddling in the country’s affairs.

In another witching hour press briefing the other day, Rody indicated plans of bolting the United Nations (UN) due to a string of statements from UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon to several of its human rights experts condemning the apparent setting aside of the law and due process in the war on drugs resulting in more than 1,500 deaths since he assumed office.

“If you are that rude, we’ll leave you, take us out of your organization. You have done nothing anyway,” Duterte told the UN.
“You’re complaining that there is no process. Okay, you guys, you law experts of the United Nations, come here, come here and face me and make the accusations and I will show you the statistics and I will hold your finger and teach you how to count,” he challenged them.


CALLAMARD

Of course, UN special rapporteur on summary killings Agnes Callamard had said that she is ready to lead a fact-finding mission to the country but she wanted assurances for the safety of her team, and the witnesses the UN team will talk to.

Duterte’s spokesman Ernesto Abella, however, immediately slammed the door on Callamard saying in effect she is not welcome and her presence in the country would be treated as unnecessary meddling in Duterte’s affairs which is a crisp statement that Callamard can visit at her own risk.

A search on Callamard’s background indicated that she might be a worthy match for toughie Rody as her experience as a rights defender showed tenacity.

READ MORE...

Rody also was a study on self-contradiction as he said that he is willing to engage UN observers in a dialog while telling the UN rights experts “you do not just throw that kind of allegations or statement without even coming here, you’re just relying on the reports of newspapers and tabloids. That’s what you do.”

The UN experts, based on Abella’s statements, however, will not be welcomed and likely would not get any help from the government in terms of assuring their safety in their mission looking for victims of the war on drugs.

The fact finding mission would have to go to the most dangerous parts of the country in terms of crime incidences to get access to the families of victims of summary killings.

Abella even raised the differences between Asian and Western values with regard to the warnings and reminders of the UN and other rights bodies.

It is inconceivable, however, that Asians would have a different view about murder, which is what the summary killings actually are, compared to Western perspective.

No matter where Abella and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Bato De la Rosa present the 1,500 deaths in one and half months due to a government campaign, the reaction would be the same: indignation.

The public remains quiet because it had enough of the gross incompetence of the former administration that led to the situation of unrestrained crime ruling the streets.

As the bodies pile up and the innocent victims from the tolerated vigilante-like operations which are no different from the Davao Death Squad missions in Davao City, the public view is expected to shift.

That should be the case as not one of those executed have been the subject of a serious investigation, much more the recipient of justice.


Duterte of the WestWritten by Tribune Editorial Thursday, 25 August 2016 00:00

Being dependent on the United States will have its price in the distinct possibility of a US President Donald Trump, the “Duterte of the West,” as political pundits see the Philippines and South Korea to suffer the biggest backlash from a Trump administration.

The Philippines can even be said as suffering the most, incurring a double-whammy, aside from the possibility of a US Trump administration, of having the real Duterte as President.

Japanese brokerage house Nomura said a Trump win in the November elections in the United States could escalate economic risks in the region to a whole new level.

In the report entitled “Trumping Asia,” Nomura reported the Philippines and South Korea would be “among Asia’s most vulnerable in terms of both economic and geopolitical channels,” while India and Thailand would be the least exposed and China would only face a limited impact.

A Trump presidency would hit hard the two lifelines of the economy which are foreign remittances and income from business process outsourcing (BPO).

It said the immediate backlash on the Philippines from a Trump administration would be the likely immigration restrictions that might drain the flow of remittances back home.

The United States hosts 35 percent of overseas Filipino workers, which account for around 31 percent of total worker remittances, a key source of foreign currency earnings, according to Nomura.

The country also could face a loss of jobs in its BPO sector should Trump successfully bring such work back to the United States, it added.

Nomura said the BPO sector may generate around nine percent of the country’s gross domestic product over the next two years, or the same amount of total worker remittances, which amounts to $25 billion a year.

Among Southeast Asian nations, the Philippines has the biggest export dependency on the United States, which receives around 15 percent of Philippine exports, followed by Thailand and Indonesia at around 11 percent and Malaysia and Singapore at less than 10 percent.

“The knee-jerk reaction to a Trump victory by Asia’s financial markets would almost surely be to sell off as investors price in a greater risk premium to US policy uncertainty, protectionism and regional insecurity,” it added, suggesting a sunshine sector of the economy which is the rising equities market to suffer.

READ MORE...

Trump also made a recent remark identifying the Philippines among so-called terrorist states.

In a speech on August 4 in Portland, Maine, Trump included the Philippines on a list of countries he said had sent immigrants who had plotted to kill Americans.

“We’re letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed because you can’t vet them,” he said. “There’s no way of vetting them. You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time,” he added.

He cited a case in which “an immigrant from Afghanistan who later applied for and received US citizenship and an illegal permanent resident from the Philippines were convicted for plotting to join al-Qaeda and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible … Hillary Clinton wants to have them come in by the hundreds of thousands.”

The accusation from Trump brought fears that under his administration, a restriction on immigration and tourism on the Philippines is not remote.

Add to that the likelihood that the East and West peas in a pod in Duterte and Trump would repel each other like similar poles of a magnet.

Duterte called Trump a bigot and rejected any comparison of the Republican candidate to him but the statements they issue from their unbridled mouths are uncanny duplicates.

The world which is getting a hard dose of Duterte recently may just be getting a prelude of what’s in an unfortunate turn of events in the US in November.


Now its ‘gossiping’ Rody? Written by Tribune Editorial Saturday, 27 August 2016 00:00


Toughie Rody’s feud with whom he described as amorous Leila had degenerated into what some feel is gossiping on the private love interest of the senator, which has become the hot topic in his supposed revelations.

Presenting no concrete proof as yet, Rody said that the “sexual sexcapades” of the senator led to her connections with the drug lords inside the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and even presenting a chart on Leila’s narcotics links.

The other day, Rody revealed a chart supposedly detailing a narcotics network involving government officials with de Lima as kingpin and her supposed lover Ronnie Dayan as sidekick.

Prior to that, however, Duterte went into discussing the sex video of de Lima and the senators “uncontrollable” immorality although admitting that both he and de Lima were legally unattached after each of their marriages was annulled.

He alleged “everything came out, even her imprudence in bed. That (screencap of an alleged de Lima sex video) was not photoshopped, it was intended by her lover and she agreed to it,” Duterte said.

“That’s because she fell in love,” he added.

Listening to Rody in the press conference before a wake of a slain police officer, some said, was like eavesdropping on gossiping girls.

Then he went claimed that de Lima has a new boyfriend named Warren, who is now her Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic escort.

Rody was asked by a reporter who apparently can’t connect the gossip to the topic about the senator’s narcotics links and asked if the new boyfriend has any involvement in the drugs trade.

Rody said there was none and it was just related to him by former MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino.

“He rides a motorcycle, he was one of her escorts. MMDA. So who told me that? One of those who reported, even before... (Francis) Tolentino, the (former) MMDA chairman because de Lima wrote him,” Duterte said.

Pressed on what was the purpose of his revelation, he said “what is really very sad for this country is, here is a woman posturing herself as a crusader for good government but she can’t control her immorality,” Duterte said.

The more Rody digs up dirt on de Lima, the allegations of the senator that these were being revealed just to derail the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings is seen by some as being more credible reason.

READ MORE...

Even what he termed as a narcotics matrix on de Lima has little value as the list is of 160 government officials allegedly involved in the drugs trade which he revealed earlier.

To be fair, however. Rody never said the matrix was his evidence.

At this time, the most that Rody can expect from the matrix is its use on the front pages of newspapers but as far as pressing for his allegations on de Lima, legal experts said it has no intrinsic value.

Saying “de Lima you are finished” toughie Rody has not, as yet, presented any indisputable proof on his allegations except for saying that in the next elections, de Lima is finished although the senator has a six-year term and will run again by the end of Rody’s own term.

He even exposed his motive in going after de Lima saying that she was very harsh on him when she, as head of the Commission on Human Rights, went into a deep probe of summary killings in Davao City when Rody was its mayor.

In an interview with TIME magazine, de Lima’s simple retort to all the attacks Rody is waging against her is that “we’re on a slippery slope toward tyranny.”

Considering what Rody had spewed out against her, de Lima made a more likely assertion which may be a statement more in parallel with the truth.

Rody in going after his opponents should be more of a lawyer, since he is one.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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