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FROM THE MANILA TIMES

By R. TIGLAO: AFTER 100 DAYS, PARADIGM SHIFTS IN THE PHILIPPINE PRESIDENCY


OCTOBER 7 -RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO
Whether you hate or love President Duterte after 100 days of his rule, for good or bad, he represents a paradigm shift in the Philippine presidency. And history tells us that shifts in the paradigms a society holds are crucial to its long-term growth, for it is these paradigms that determine how we think and act. It was philosopher Thomas Kuhn, in his groundbreaking 1962 book about the history of science The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, who crystallized and popularized the notion of paradigm shift. Kuhn, however, used the term in a strict sense as referring to epochal changes in civilization’s worldviews. For example, there was the shift in the 18th century (two centuries after Copernicus proposed the theory in 1543) to the now universally-held view that the earth orbits the sun, replacing the old tenet that all celestial bodies revolved around the earth. (Man thinks that civilization is now undergoing one of its most important paradigm shifts, from a universal belief in a Divine, All-powerful Being to a secular, scientific worldview.) We use the term paradigm shift, however, in its looser, common usage, which my dictionary defines as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” Going by this definition, Duterte is the first President to attempt a shift not just in one paradigm but in several. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - None the wiser after the drug killings inquiry


OCTOBER 7 -Photo of senate probe on philippine anti drug judicial killings INQUIRER FILE
The Senate inquiry into the drug killings and the drug war of President Duterte may be nearing its end. Sen. Richard Gordon, the substitute chairman of the Senate committee on justice, has announced that the committee will soon wrap it up and later proceed to write its committee report. Two senators, Antonio Trillanes and Leila De Lima, who were the most gung-ho about the inquiry, got livid over the rush. Trillanes charged that the hurry with which the committee seeks to close the probe constitutes a cover-up on behalf of the administration. De Lima, for her part, claimed that it was a “travesty” that the Senate will abandon the probe. But the two may only have themselves to blame for the turn of events. When the Senate decided to conduct the inquiry, it was on the strength of a resolution filed by Sen. de Lima, which cited the need for the chamber to conduct an investigation into the drug killings that had roused so much concern in the country and abroad. Sen. de Lima, as the first chair of the justice committee, was expected to steer the inquiry with prudence and probity, and in a non–partisan manner. Instead of an earnest effort to establish the facts about the drug war, de Lima took the inquiry south. The probe initially focused on hearing from the families of victims of the killings, a bunch of whom went to the Senate hooded and in elaborate disguises, to dramatize their personal sense of security. It was too much drama to sustain; so Senator Panfilo Lacson briefly took over the inquiry.READ MORE...

ALSO: By Kits Tatad - The first 100 days of promised ‘change’


OCTOBER 10 -FRANCISCO S. TATAD
President Rodrigo Duterte promised change. And within 100 days he delivered. But it is change that tends to divide, rather than unite, the nation. In one fell swoop, he has changed the very concept and course of the presidency, the rule of law, the moral value of good and bad, of right and wrong, and the country’s foreign relations. Many who should have rejected the wrong things he said chose to applaud, embrace and glorify him instead. Scoffing at all moral, spiritual, and constitutional norms, they used the social media to silence or threaten DU30’s critics. The institutions charged with providing the necessary check-and-balance to the presidency have undergone not just a change of skin but also a change of purpose and character. Congress has ceased to be a co-equal and coordinate branch of government, and is now a mere appendage of the Presidency. The Church has chosen to be silent. What happened to Congress Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are led by untested politicians whose most outstanding qualification is that they are both from Mindanao, and members of PDP-Laban, DU30’s adopted party, which did not have more than five visible organic members before May, but which has since been swamped with political turncoats after DU30’s victory. With no will or mind of its own, this rubber stamp of a Congress will railroad anything DU30 wants. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Marlen Ronquillo - It is sad to see an extraordinary leader go


OCTOBER 9 -Marlen V. Ronquillo Mr. Obama will be replaced by the new president who will be elected in the early November vote. For thoughtful Americans and for thoughtful citizens across the globe, you could sense the setting in of a feeling that shifts between awe and sadness. Even from far away, and from my status as a small farmer and a certified Everyman, you can’t be but struck with the feeling that extraordinary leaders like Mr. Obama should not be term-limited and should be voted president-for-life. Why should great leaders working for and dreaming of a better world be term-limited? Mr. Obama is a once-in-a-generation leader. He is not the “Muslim-Kenyan-Socialist” bent on ruining America with his “otherness” as many Republican leaders and conservative radio talk show hosts portray him to be. Or the arrogant interloper in other country’s affairs – which is the current portrayal of Mr. Obama in our country today. You know what? No great American cartoonist has turned Mr. Obama into a caricature and he is about to end his two terms. Do you still remember how the late, great Herblock turned Mr. Nixon into a brooding president with dark thoughts and a permanent two-day stubble? With his White House stint yet to end, Mr. Obama is already considered by most intellectuals and political scholars as “one of the most consequential presidents of the US.” The most significant social safety net legislation since LBJ, the ACA, was passed during his term. He shook the hand of a surprised Raul Castro. He closed Guantanamo. The tributes and acknowledgements will soar in the early weeks of his post-presidency. Of course, he is red meat in the Red states, but that is essentially a race-driven story. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

After 100 days: Paradigm shifts in the Philippine presidency


RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

MANILA, OCTOBER 10, 2016
(MANILA TIMES)
By Rigoberto D. Tiglao on October 7, 2016 -
Whether you hate or love President Duterte after 100 days of his rule, for good or bad, he represents a paradigm shift in the Philippine presidency. And history tells us that shifts in the paradigms a society holds are crucial to its long-term growth, for it is these paradigms that determine how we think and act.

It was philosopher Thomas Kuhn, in his groundbreaking 1962 book about the history of science The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, who crystallized and popularized the notion of paradigm shift. Kuhn, however, used the term in a strict sense as referring to epochal changes in civilization’s worldviews.

For example, there was the shift in the 18th century (two centuries after Copernicus proposed the theory in 1543) to the now universally-held view that the earth orbits the sun, replacing the old tenet that all celestial bodies revolved around the earth. (Man thinks that civilization is now undergoing one of its most important paradigm shifts, from a universal belief in a Divine, All-powerful Being to a secular, scientific worldview.)

We use the term paradigm shift, however, in its looser, common usage, which my dictionary defines as “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” Going by this definition, Duterte is the first President to attempt a shift not just in one paradigm but in several.

READ MORE...

Whoever thought that a President could wear a casual shirt, the “polo shirt” Filipinos love to wear (with the oversized Polo or Lacoste logos), at official functions, even in such solemn rituals as reviewing the troops?

Even the “man of the masses,” President Magsaysay, wore short-sleeved dress shirts, and not the checkered shirts and Polo or golf shirts that have now become Duterte’s OOTD (outfit of the day). I suspect they may even be cheap rip-offs. A barong over a maong pair of jeans at state dinners?

After all, the barong has been the elite’s preferred outfit since the Spanish colonial era, which for the wearer was a neon sign announcing to everyone his high social status. The masses’ common outfit during those times was the camisa chino, the modern version of which is the “Polo” shirt Duterte loves to wear. The barong tagalog is the common public outfit of the elite and the middle-class, not the working class. Much more, of course, in the case of the suit, tellingly referred to by Filipinos as “Amerikana,” which translates to “American-style,” the outfit of the American colonizers.

Duterte’s preferred daily outfit symbolizes a paradigm shift: The Philippine President must constantly represent the masses, one they could very easily identify with, even just by the clothes he wears daily.

Masa image

President Estrada tried to project a similar masa image, but his designer jackets (his preferred daily wear), his daily all-night feasts over bottles of $500 Petrus wine with his drinking buddies, his lavish gifts to mistresses (with one gifted with a mansion), and his imported Lucky Strike cigarettes – all quickly demolished that image.

There are three very important paradigm shifts Duterte appears to be trying to effect, which because of the overwhelming support for him (76 percent of Filipinos support him, the latest poll show) could change Filipinos’ worldview — if he survives his term as popular as he is now, that is.

First, while he has not fully articulated it, nor has he announced a program to address it, Duterte has expressed antagonism toward oligarchs, whose hold over the country, political scientists and keen observers have long claimed, has been the root of Philippine underdevelopment, and the consequent poverty it has generated.

“I will destroy oligarchs,” the President told a crowd of soldiers at the Camp Lapu Lapu in Cebu City in early August. While it isn’t clear how he defines oligarchs, vis-a-vis the entire economic elite, he correctly hinted, in referring to magnate Roberto Ongpin, that an oligarch is one who uses the state, or the incumbent President, to unfairly expand his business empire: “I’ll give you an example, publicly: Ongpin, Roberto. Malakas kay [Ferdinand] Marcos noon, trade minister, I think. Malakas sa succession: [During] Ramos he was a hanger on and, kay Gloria [Arroyo], PNoy. Now he owns online [gambling],” he said.

If he pursues his anti-oligarchic view, it would be an earth-shaking change in the worldview of Filipinos, who think their poverty is their God-given fate or, for the educated, that they are merely unlucky. Even the intelligentsia’s paradigm is neoliberalism, that poverty will be eradicated in the course of economic development, as the wealth generated by the rich trickles down to the masses.

No Philippine President has ever dared to express disdain against oligarchs, not even to claim their existence. One presidential candidate had even confidently announced that he planned to get Manuel Pangilinan — who was really merely an Indonesian oligarch’s manager — as his vice presidential running mate.

America’s brown brothers

Second, Duterte is changing the view of most Filipinos that we are America’s little brown brothers, that the US is not only a staunch ally, but that our prosperity depends on its patronage. Even the elite has embraced that myth that we have a special relationship with the US, which will always care about us since we share their American values, and that we were their only colony and protégé in the world.

The corollary of such a view is a deep antagonism toward communism, so much so that China and the Russian Federation — the two countries that are or were under communist rule are suspect, even feared, by most Filipinos. Yet these countries are or will be the world’s economic and military superpowers in this century, with which the country must have ties as strong as it has with the US.

To do this, Duterte even said in a speech, “Go to hell, Obama.” The last time a state leader spewed out such venom at a US president was in 2006, when in his address at the United Nations General Assembly, Venezuelan socialist President Hugo Chavez called President George W. Bush “the devil,” who talked “as if he owned the world.” Despite a coup, massive labor strikes and a recall referendum, Chavez had a third term, which he didn’t complete, dying of a heart attack in 2013.

Duterte declares he prefers developing closer ties with China and Russia, than with the US. With about 3 million Filipino immigrants to the US, about 500,000 having filed applications to become US citizens, with the elite having studied in the US and sending routinely their children to US colleges, that paradigm shift Duterte trying to effect is as radical as can be.

Third, Duterte is changing the view of most Filipinos that communist insurgents are godless anti-democracy people intending to capture political power, which they will just monopolize. Instead, Duterte’s paradigm is that communists are pro-poor patriots devoting their lives to uplift the people’s welfare.

Duterte has done what had been unimaginable. He appointed communists to head two government departments – that for social welfare and development, and agrarian reform, with another Marxist-Leninist as labor department undersecretary. It could even be three departments if reports are true that education secretary Leonor Magtolis-Briones and her husband Carlos were cadres of the pro-Soviet Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, and had emerged from the underground after Marcos struck a peace deal with the Partido in 1976, and gave all its members amnesty.

Peace deal

Duterte has rushed to reach a peace-deal with the communists — which would even allow them to retain their arms — even bringing to Norway for the negotiations the Communist Party’s top imprisoned leaders, such as its chairman Benito Tiamzon, to make sure that any settlement is backed by the insurgents’ real leaders.

Duterte’s paradigm shift to an anti-oligarchy and anti-US view, and one sympathetic to the communists, obviously risks his hold on power. No President ever has had such a worldview, much less articulate it in public.

When he actually moves to implement these views, the oligarchs and the US obviously will fight back, and they have all the resources to do so.

It is Duterte’s fourth paradigm shift that has created fierce opposition against him, which oligarchs and the US will exploit to bring him down.

He is trying to shift Western civilization’s paradigm on human life — that each and every life is sacred, with no state having the right to take it—to one in which lives may, and even must be sacrificed, even with no judicial proceedings, for the good of the majority of society.

Under this view, the lives of illegal-drug criminals, those suspected to be such, and even those who make up the illegal-drug community, i.e., addicts, can be rightfully snuffed out so that the majority of Filipinos, their children and their children’s children, would be free of this scourge that has been one of the main factors for horrific crimes, such as the rape and murder of children.

I don’t embrace this worldview. Modern civilization’s morality evolved not out of religious dogmas but in the gradual embrace of the seemingly illogical belief that an individual’s life must be cherished, and cannot be sacrificed for the group, which had been a tenet of humanity’s past eras.*

I am, to be honest, in a quagmire whether or not Duterte’s different paradign on an individual’s life, as the Yellow Cult has been arguing, requires a moral stance of opposing his rule, since I fully embrace the other three paradigm shifts he is trying to effect.

*See Michael Shermer’s THE MORAL ARC (2015),
tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com


Editorial

None the wiser after the drug killings inquiry
By The Manila Times on October 7, 2016


Photo of senate probe on philippine anti drug judicial killings INQUIRER FILE

The Senate inquiry into the drug killings and the drug war of President Duterte may be nearing its end. Sen. Richard Gordon, the substitute chairman of the Senate committee on justice, has announced that the committee will soon wrap it up and later proceed to write its committee report.

Two senators, Antonio Trillanes and Leila De Lima, who were the most gung-ho about the inquiry, got livid over the rush. Trillanes charged that the hurry with which the committee seeks to close the probe constitutes a cover-up on behalf of the administration. De Lima, for her part, claimed that it was a “travesty” that the Senate will abandon the probe.
But the two may only have themselves to blame for the turn of events.

When the Senate decided to conduct the inquiry, it was on the strength of a resolution filed by Sen. de Lima, which cited the need for the chamber to conduct an investigation into the drug killings that had roused so much concern in the country and abroad.

Sen. de Lima, as the first chair of the justice committee, was expected to steer the inquiry with prudence and probity, and in a non–partisan manner.

Instead of an earnest effort to establish the facts about the drug war, de Lima took the inquiry south. The probe initially focused on hearing from the families of victims of the killings, a bunch of whom went to the Senate hooded and in elaborate disguises, to dramatize their personal sense of security.

It was too much drama to sustain; so Senator Panfilo Lacson briefly took over the inquiry.

READ MORE...

De Lima, however, was not done yet. After a two-week hiatus, she returned to chair the hearing again – and this time she came armed with a blockbuster plot twist.

She decided on her own, and with the apparent participation of Senator Trillanes, to direct the inquiry into an entirely new direction – to investigating killings that happened in Davao City during the time of Presiden Duterte when he was still the city’s mayor.

De Lima unveiled a new witness by the name of Edgar Matobato, who proceeded under de Lima’s questioning to relate how he had been a member of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which was allegedly organized by then mayor Duterte and assassinated or murdered scores of criminals and drug suspects in the city.

The grizzled witness testified to having personally witnessed and participated in the killings, and having heard DU30 order the killings.

Matobato‘s testimony was zealously probed for holes by Senate allies of the President. They pinpointed inconsistencies in the witness’ recollection of events that were supposed to have happened from 1988-2013.

The sensational turn was too much for the Senate to bear. The country’s senators collectively decided to strip de Lima of her chairmanship of the justice committee, and transferred the responsibility instead to Sen. Richard Gordon.

All should have been well from there on, but the probe ran into more rough seas. Matobato was called again to testify.

Gordon made an effort to call to the inquiry police officials whom Matobato had named. But the new witnesses uniformly declared that there was no such thing as the Davao Death Squad, and that they did not know Matobato.

In the middle of the final hearing, Matobato went missing. And then Senator De Lima walked out.

Watching the inquiry unfold, we must express our disappointment in its failure to seriously probe the drug killings that have occurred under the Duterte presidency.

It made the fatal mistake of directing its attention elsewhere – to the alleged Davao Death Squad.

Given that it was mishandled and even manipulated to serve partisan interests, nobody will miss the inquiry when it goes kaput soon.

What did the inquiry accomplish?

Apart from exposing the stunning magnitude of the drug menace in this country, the answer, we regret to say, is close to nothing.

The public is none the wiser or better informed about the drug-related killings and the thousands who have been killed. Meanwhile the killings continue every day.


The first 100 days of promised ‘change’ 0 BY FRANCISCO TATAD ON OCTOBER 10, 2016 OPINION ON PAGE ONE


FRANCISCO S. TATAD

President Rodrigo Duterte promised change. And within 100 days he delivered. But it is change that tends to divide, rather than unite, the nation. In one fell swoop, he has changed the very concept and course of the presidency, the rule of law, the moral value of good and bad, of right and wrong, and the country’s foreign relations. Many who should have rejected the wrong things he said chose to applaud, embrace and glorify him instead. Scoffing at all moral, spiritual, and constitutional norms, they used the social media to silence or threaten DU30’s critics.

The institutions charged with providing the necessary check-and-balance to the presidency have undergone not just a change of skin but also a change of purpose and character. Congress has ceased to be a co-equal and coordinate branch of government, and is now a mere appendage of the Presidency. The Church has chosen to be silent.

What happened to Congress Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are led by untested politicians whose most outstanding qualification is that they are both from Mindanao, and members of PDP-Laban, DU30’s adopted party, which did not have more than five visible organic members before May, but which has since been swamped with political turncoats after DU30’s victory. With no will or mind of its own, this rubber stamp of a Congress will railroad anything DU30 wants.

READ MORE...

He wants the death penalty, so no one in Congress even asks if there is moral, scientific, constitutional or popular support for the draconian idea. He wants a federal system of government, and no one sees that our problems are rooted in our presidential form of government and have nothing to do with the unitary character of our Republic. Moreover, President DU30 has no assigned role to play in amending or revising the Constitution.

But the leaders and members of Congress are eager to convene themselves as a constituent assembly in order to act on the desired shift. None of them seems to realize that they already lost all their credibility and legitimacy when they put themselves inside DU30’s pocket.

In their effort to shield DU30 from the effects of the drug killings, the Senate “super majority” voted to remove Sen. Leila de Lima as chair of the committee on justice and human rights. This was the first time it happened in the 100-year-old Senate. De Lima was clearly singled out after her inquiry into extrajudicial killings started listening to witness Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed killer, who claimed to have participated in some Davao Death Squad killings during the time of Mayor DU30.

This was not at all necessary. The majority could have prevented the airing of any testimony against DU30 because even if the alleged crime had been committed so many years ago, the alleged offender was now President and he may not be investigated by Congress or any of its committees, unless he has already been impeached by the House and was now being tried by the Senate. The Senate majority leader could have moved the motion, and that would have ended the Matobato show. But the majority chose to be bloody.

More damning and deplorable than this is the House inquiry on De Lima’s alleged involvement in the drugs protection racket at the new Bilibid Prisons when she was still justice secretary. It, too, has not happened before, that members of one House had to investigate a member of the other House, not “in aid of legislation,” but to try to pin her down on a serious criminal activity. The sole intent appeared to be to shame De Lima and please DU30.

What I could not understand was why Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd failed to file criminal charges in court against De Lima given the testimonies at the Senate inquiry. And how come that an overwhelming majority of the witnesses against De Lima belonged to a politically influential religious sect, whose wrath she had incurred when she was still secretary?

What happened to the Church Another institution that seems to have changed is the Catholic Church, which has long carried the torch for human life, human rights and human dignity. In the face of DU30’s diminution of these values, which threatens the very soul of the nation, why is there an “epidemic of silence” in the hierarchy? Aside from Archbishop Socrates Villegas, archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines; Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, former CBCP president; Archbishop of Lipa Ramon Arguelles; Auxiliary Archbishop of Manila Broderick Pabillo; and some priests like the Redemptorist Fr. Amado Picardal, who have given their individual statements, the Church has so far failed to speak with one voice, and with the same conviction and vigor as she did during Martial Law. Is the situation more benign than Martial Law?

Last week, the four dioceses on Negros island, in a joint pastoral letter, said they were greatly disturbed by the government’s “inadequate action” to stop the drug killings and bring those responsible to justice. The letter was signed by Bishop Patricio Bauzon of Bacolod, Bishop Julito Cortez of Dumaguete, Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, and the diocesan administrator of Kabankalan Father Rolando Nueva.

“While we commend the government for its political will and determination in addressing the terrible drug menace that has long plagued our country, we strongly urge that this be done within the bounds of law and with full respect for human rights,” the joint pastoral letter said. It deplored DU30’s “incendiary statements,” which “tend to encourage the killing of drug suspects, now numbering 3,800, according to reports. But these are only four of close to a hundred dioceses.

Silence in Manila and Davao The Archdiocese of Manila, which used to reverberate with the booming voice of the late Cardinal Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin during the Marcos years, has become far too serene under Cardinal Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, whom the Vatican reporter John Allen likes to describe as the next Pope. Pabillo, who heads the Episcopal Commission on the Laity, is seen being more active than Tagle in taking up the issue of drug killings.

In Davao, DU30’s home city, the church has also yet to be heard on the same issue. The last church statement on the issue in Davao was issued by Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, co-convenor of the Bishops-Ulama Conference in Mindanao, when he was still the archbishop and DU30 the mayor. On Sept. 19, Capalla hosted an anniversary celebration of the Bishops-Ulama conference, which DU30 had earlier agreed to grace as guest of honor. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came for breakfast with the bishops and ulama before flying out of the country that same day, but DU30 failed to send word that he was not coming at all.

In a statement yesterday Capalla urged DU30 to “listen to the people.” “Wrong is wrong even if everybody is doing it, and right is right even if nobody is doing it,” the Archbishop said. “Our sense of morality, our moral values, our sense of right and wrong is no longer as strict as it ought to be. Our conscience has become callous. But still the end does not justify the means.”

More frightening than DU30 What people hear from DU30 is often frightening enough, but what we hear from his blind followers is far more so. Although he recently apologized to the Jews for thoughtlessly comparing the 6 milion victims of the Holocaust to the victims of his drug killings—as did his ambassador-designate to the United Nations, Teddy Locsin Jr.— DU30 tends to suggest he is a Third World remake of Adolf Hitler. And the adulation he gets from his rabid followers seems to replicate the adulation that the naive Germans paid to the rising Nazi leader before the world pronounced him as a danger to humanity.

This is where the real danger lies. There is more to fear from our own naivete than from the excesses of a morally and constitutionally challenged president, said a completely apolitical pastor last Sunday.

The presidency is the first thing DU30 has changed. Although he is not the first President to exhibit authoritarian or narcissistic tendencies, he is the first who promised to kill and did kill and was wildly praised for delivering on his promise — mostly by fanatics who welcomed the killings so long as their friends or loved ones were spared. Unfortunately, international opinion has been less tolerant, and he has sailed into a storm that put him in direct confrontation with US President Barack Obama, UN secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the European Union, and the world of civilized opinion.

This has affected the value of the peso, stock market prices, the volume of foreign investments, and the esteem we enjoy in the international community. DU30 is the first President to use foul and unprintable language to deliver his key messages to foreign leaders. As a consequence of his personal resentment against 0bama, Ban Ki-moon, the EU and the purveyors of Western opinion, DU30 has announced an “independent” foreign policy, removed from our fabled “special relations” with the United States, and pivoting toward China and Russia, the country’s principal Cold War ideological adversaries.

The details of this diplomatic shift have yet to be announced. But already the DU30 government has decided to acquire military helicopters from Russia, at the same time terminate the holding of joint naval patrol of the South China Sea with the US, and any further joint military exercises under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement. Together with the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, these constitute the foundation of the security alliance between the two countries. Each of these agreements may be terminated by either party upon one year’s notice.

They do not prevent the Philippines from reaching out to Japan, Australia, China and Russia, but instead of simply broadening alliances with the US, Japan, Austrlia, China and Russia, DU30 with his zero experience in international relations, assisted by Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, with his own zero experience in diplomacy, would like to remove all the eggs inside the US security basket and put them inside the Chinese and Russian baskets. Where this will take us, no one knows. Since foreign policy is primarily a mirror reflection of domestic policy, will our alliance with the lone remaining communist giant require a communist government under DU30?

What happened in Turkey Some DU30 supporters are worried that what happened recently to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could happen to DU30. Turkey, a strong US NATO ally, made a sudden about-face in favor of Russia. After that, a rogue faction of the military attacked the presidential palace and Parliament. The coup failed, but 238 were killed, 2,200 injured, and 18,000 detained. Erdogan, a former city mayor of Istanbul, has since named a US-based Islamic preacher (Fetulah Gulen) as the man behind the failed coup.

With close to 3 million Filipinos in North America who are more pro-American than the Jews, is a Filipino Fetulah Gulen a remote possibility?

The rule of law The other thing that has changed almost beyond recognition is the rule of law. DU30 has become a law unto himself, and even the Supreme Court has been infected by this lack of regard for the rule of law. Lawyer Manuelito Luna points this out in his Motion for Reconsideration on the High Court’s ruling on Rizalito David’s case against the Senate Electoral Tribunal on Sen. Grace Poe’s eligibility to sit in the Senate. Associate Justice Marvic Leonen’s ponencia nixes the Constitution in favor of his personal advocacy on behalf of foundlings who are not citizens under the Constitution, but whom Leonen declares as “natural-born Filipinos.” More later.


It is sad to see an extraordinary leader go BY MARLEN V. RONQUILLO ON OCTOBER 9, 2016 ANALYSIS


Marlen V. Ronquillo

Mr. Obama will be replaced by the new president who will be elected in the early November vote. For thoughtful Americans and for thoughtful citizens across the globe, you could sense the setting in of a feeling that shifts between awe and sadness. Even from far away, and from my status as a small farmer and a certified Everyman, you can’t be but struck with the feeling that extraordinary leaders like Mr. Obama should not be term-limited and should be voted president-for-life.

Why should great leaders working for and dreaming of a better world be term-limited?

Mr. Obama is a once-in-a-generation leader. He is not the “Muslim-Kenyan-Socialist” bent on ruining America with his “otherness” as many Republican leaders and conservative radio talk show hosts portray him to be. Or the arrogant interloper in other country’s affairs – which is the current portrayal of Mr. Obama in our country today. You know what? No great American cartoonist has turned Mr. Obama into a caricature and he is about to end his two terms. Do you still remember how the late, great Herblock turned Mr. Nixon into a brooding president with dark thoughts and a permanent two-day stubble?

With his White House stint yet to end, Mr. Obama is already considered by most intellectuals and political scholars as “one of the most consequential presidents of the US.” The most significant social safety net legislation since LBJ, the ACA, was passed during his term. He shook the hand of a surprised Raul Castro. He closed Guantanamo. The tributes and acknowledgements will soar in the early weeks of his post-presidency. Of course, he is red meat in the Red states, but that is essentially a race-driven story.

READ MORE...

Mr. Obama’s two terms primarily served US interests, yes. There is no leader that is a global citizen first and a national leader, next. But in the whole process of serving American interests. he made the world a much better place.

On the alleged meddling of Mr. Obama on the affairs of other countries. Which is how we view Mr. Obama today, this fact stands out. Mr. Obama’s eight years ended the reckless foreign policy of the neocons that dominated US foreign affairs during the term of Mr. Bush, his predecessor. Gone was cowboy diplomacy, the invocation of “mushroom clouds “to justify the invasion of Iraq and the selling of that war by marketing it as a success. And having a photo shoot of a chicken hawk-president in a fighter pilot jacket to provide the faux optic to that failed war’ supposed success.

Bravado phrases such as “ Coalition of the Willing” and “Axis of Evil” never cropped up during the term of Mr. Obama, a recognition that foreign policy and international coalitions to fight terror are very serious affairs and that hollow phrase — making and jingoism should have no place in those serious affairs.

Yet, it was Mr. Obama who green-lighted the serious tracking and the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Mr. Bush, just a few days after the Twin Towers bombing, cleared airspace to allow a planeload of visiting Bin Ladens to leave the US safely.

In retrospect, had Mr. Obama failed to try to bring Iran back into the international mainstream, what could have been the price of oil now in the global market? Today, Iran is prodigiously producing oil for the export market thanks to Mr. Obama’s dogged Iran initiative. As OPEC tries to flex its muscles and act like a cartel anew, the Iran oil production — along with the US production — act as counterfoil to OPEC’s muscle flexing. From all angles, this is a type of “interloping” that is aimed at a better world.

It is not really hard to appreciate the importance of Iran’s prodigious oil production, especially oil-dependent countries like ours, in the context of OPEC’s game plan to raise global oil prices anew. How would the Philippine economy fare under a $100-per-barrel pricing regime?

Mr. Obama was one of the first global leaders (along with Pope Francis) to recognize that inequality is the greatest and most important issue of our time. For many of us, whose feeling is that the greatest evil in this world is the massive rich-poor divide, we admired Mr. Obama more after that declaration. He scrapped the signature policy of Republican presidents, which was to center their agenda on cutting the taxes of the rich. He recognized the importance of higher minimum wage, strengthening the social safety nets and appointed two brilliant women lawyers to the US Supreme Court.

Without Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor on the US High Court, the constructionist interpretation of the law by Scalia clones — Alito, Thomas etc — would have overturned even the Civil Rights Act and Roe vs Wade.

Mr. Obama, the son of aN Ivy League-trained Kenyan economist and a white mother, made history by beating the long-held and very much alive prejudices against blacks, to win the US presidency two times. That he won over two white sons of privilege – John McCain and Mitt Romney – made his two victories more spectacular.

From a personal realm, from where I sit as a typist, you can only appreciate Mr. Obama’s love for the written word.

Read the compilation of his speeches. And you will only see humanity, statesmanship and great leadership.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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