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FROM THE MANILA TIMES

BY RICARDO SALUDO: DO ANTI-MARCOS PROTESTERS CARE ABOUT THE PEOPLE?
(Could it then be that rallyists raging over Marcos’s burial and EJKs don’t decry calamity, crime and commuter woes because the latter expose the past regime’s failings, including those of officials close to activist groups?)


NOVEMBER 17 -Which is more outrageous — burying the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng Mga Bayani, or delaying billions of pesos for Yolanda victims, despite P1 trillion unspent in the past administration? For this writer’s alma mater Ateneo de Manila University and its fellow burial opponents, the first seems far more deplorable, judging from their indignation on the streets and in mass and social media over the Marcos burial, and their general silence over distress and deprivation afflicting the supertyphoon-displaced homeless. For sure, the Marcos era caused nationwide agony with its repression, kleptocracy, and wrong-headed policies. But Yolanda also bludgeoned the nation, and the three-year-delay and denial of rehabilitation funds surely deserve at least one rally or public statement decrying the past regime’s failings and demanding speedy remedial action. At this point, one may have to bid goodbye to some Ateneans and others protesting the burial, but saying nil about disaster rehab fiascos. They may turn the page or browse another site, dismissing the comparison between burying Marcos and depriving Yolanda victims inappropriate. READ MORE...

ALSO: Are we prepared for the deluge of returning undocumented immigrants?


NOVEMBER 15 -BY MARLEN RONQUILLO -
DONALD Trump won the majority of the 538 Electoral College votes, Hillary Clinton delivered a graceful, moving concession speech, even with a lead on the popular vote, which could be more than two million. President Obama is readying a transition team. The full dynamics of a democracy are at work in the United States, which is a young democracy compared with the old democracies of Europe but, by all metrics, the richest and most powerful democracy in the world. The protests that have spread across key cities in the US will soon die down, even with the brave call that the protests would be for the long haul. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have called on the nation to support Mr. Trump. Those stunned denizens in the major cities and centers of innovation will soon boot on their idle computers and try to ride out the expected tumult of the Trump era. (I can feel it from far away. I have kin in Silicon Valley and she has not slept for days. She asked me–while I was deeply engrossed with real issues such as soaring yellow corn prices and the scarce supply of darak, orrice bran–if there exists in the native tongue a word for shell-shocked.) READ MORE...

ALSO: Leila de Lima’s meltdown - From righteousness to ignominy


NOVEMBER 17 -YEN MAKABENTA
Credit at least Sen. Leila de Lima for remembering Shakespeare in her current travails. Under questioning by Winnie Monsod on GMA-7, the senator raised the frailty defense of womanhood. Shakespeare wrote the classic line in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 1): “ Frailty, thy name is woman.” I have been in journalism for a long time, yet I have never heard a female public figure defend herself against public charges and criticism, by ascribing her transgressions to “the frailties of a woman.” The women of this country, which has twice installed a woman in the presidency, will not be pleased. De Lima does not strengthen her case, but weakens it. This is why I say the senator is in meltdown. Cambridge dictionary defines “meltdown,” as a “dangerous situation in a nuclear power station when the material used for power becomes very hot and is likely to explode. The term is also used informally in politics to denote “a sudden disastrous failure with potential for widespread harm.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Kris Aquino’s human rights violations


NOVEMBER 16 -ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS
I WISH I could be kinder to Kris Aquino. She has grown on me like a callus on my foot, something that I can tolerate not because I like it, but because I am not particularly concerned about the aesthetics of my feet. But Kris Aquino is one figure that deserves a critical piece, if only to serve as a lesson that not all things that laugh like her bring joy. I am going to bet that had she not been the daughter of a President, she would not have been where she is now. Her debut on entertainment stage was actually a foreboding of a black comedy, when she fell from the stage of a GMA-7 program. And everything just flowed like a beautiful nightmare, if I may borrow a phrase from one of Beyonce’s songs. She is beautiful perhaps, but still a nightmare. It is really puzzling why someone who cannot act, sing or dance became an iconic presence in our TV-addicted lives. But boy, can she talk. READ MORE...


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Do anti-Marcos protesters care about the people?


Ricardo Saludo

MANILA,
NOVEMBER 21, 2016 (MANILA TIMES) BY RICARDO SALUDO ON NOVEMBER 16, 2016 OPINION ON PAGE ONE - Which is more outrageous — burying the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng Mga Bayani, or delaying billions of pesos for Yolanda victims, despite P1 trillion unspent in the past administration?

For this writer’s alma mater Ateneo de Manila University and its fellow burial opponents, the first seems far more deplorable, judging from their indignation on the streets and in mass and social media over the Marcos burial, and their general silence over distress and deprivation afflicting the supertyphoon-displaced homeless.

For sure, the Marcos era caused nationwide agony with its repression, kleptocracy, and wrong-headed policies. But Yolanda also bludgeoned the nation, and the three-year-delay and denial of rehabilitation funds surely deserve at least one rally or public statement decrying the past regime’s failings and demanding speedy remedial action.

At this point, one may have to bid goodbye to some Ateneans and others protesting the burial, but saying nil about disaster rehab fiascos. They may turn the page or browse another site, dismissing the comparison between burying Marcos and depriving Yolanda victims inappropriate.

READ MORE...

Others may go the ad hominem route and ignore the writer for his years of work in the Arroyo Cabinet. Still others may argue that the Filipino youth must be told of Marcos excesses, hence the need for open and sustained indignation. We respect their views, though some of them might not return the favor.

To rage or not to rage

Despite arguments against comparing Marcos and Yolanda, however, there is a constant intersect among all public concerns: Each one vies for national attention and action. Hence, one can rightly ask if certain causes deserve more or less of the people’s eyes and ears, heartbeats, and raised fists, than other concerns.

Now, when thousands rage over one issue and ignore another, the disparity raises questions about priorities and values. And if the problem given minimal outward regard affects mainly the poor, the focus of protest action may then fail to win mass support.

The same disparity in dissent seems to have happened with extrajudicial killings (EJK). As this column has said, those condemning the thousands of suspect deaths have given little attention and agitation to the explosion in crime and drugs, and the millions of victims of murder, rape, robbery, theft, and assault during the presidency of Benigno Aquino 3rd.

CRIME STATISTICS

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority data yearbook, crime tripled to 1 million incidents a year since 2013, from 324,083 in 2010 — an unprecedented escalation that could only have been perpetrated by well-connected syndicates, not random criminals.

At a low estimate of 1.5 victims per reported offense, that’s nearly 5 million victims. Add 3 million addicts, plus the families and close friends of those bloodied by crime or burdened by narcotics, and at least one-third of the nation has suffered from the two scourges in the past three years alone.

Yet the movement decrying 3,000-plus suspected EJKs have said little on behalf of those many millions of Filipinos murdered, raped, robbed, assaulted, or distressed, most of them poor and powerless. Maybe that’s why the masa don’t share the protesters’ rage.

What happened to ‘man for others’?

What makes the disparity in protesters’ priorities puzzling is the avowed concern among many of them, especially the Ateneo, for the poor and marginalized. Even when this writer was studying there in the 1970s, the Jesuit-run university already extolled and instilled the ideal of “a man for others,” serving the least of one’s brethren, as Jesus Christ instructed.

The lack of Atenean outcry over post-Yolanda neglect seems strange also because the Ateneo School of Government is a coordinating entity among non-government organizations involved in disaster response and risk reduction.

This DRRR role gives the Ateneo access to calamity information, presumably including post-Yolanda rehab problems recently reported by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

DSWD REPORT

Citing the DSWD report, the ReliefWeb NGO said: “Wide discretion given to the barangay chair and other officials in the selection of ESA beneficiaries … paved the way for ineligible beneficiaries to be included.” But many survivors were excluded, being from faraway areas or having temporarily moved away to find work.

Moreover, letting barangay officials determine which homes were totally or partly destroyed — the former getting P30,000 ESA; the latter P10,000 — led to irregularities. Besides implementation problems, the Budget Department recently denied the DSWD request for P1.17 billion ESA for 83,228 families, despite P1 trillion in unspent budget.

Yet activists and educators advocating care for the needy have not shown as much anger over the neglect and hardship of tens of thousands of destitute, if not desperate Yolanda survivors, as they do over the Marcos burial.

Ditto the minimal protestations accorded to millions of crime and drug victims, and for that matter, on behalf of millions of working-class commuters immensely burdened by the corrupt maintenance contract which made the Metro Rail Transit a daily hell.

Politics trumps compassion

So what’s behind the contradiction between “man for others” and the seeming lack of concern for victims of calamity, crime, narcotics, and the graft-gutted MRT?

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte may have pointed to one big reason. In his speech at the 80th anniversary of the National Bureau of Investigation, Duterte cited Aquino’s failure to see or look into the narcotics eruption under his watch.

“Maybe he did not realize the gravity of the situation, because he simply did not know or never attempted to know how much is the scale of 3 million” drug users, Duterte said.

It so happens that Yolanda problems and MRT sleaze and deterioration also transpired during Aquino’s rule. And Duterte’s marching orders on disaster rehab and metro traffic shows the presidential drive once missing.

Could it then be that rallyists raging over Marcos’s burial and EJKs don’t decry calamity, crime and commuter woes because the latter expose the past regime’s failings, including those of officials close to activist groups?

Well, if partisan politics moves protesters more than compassion for all, one wonders if they truly serve the will and welfare of the Filipino people.


Are we prepared for the deluge of returning undocumented immigrants? 1
BY MARLEN V. RONQUILLO ON NOVEMBER 15, 2016 ANALYSIS


Marlen V. Ronquillo

DONALD Trump won the majority of the 538 Electoral College votes, Hillary Clinton delivered a graceful, moving concession speech, even with a lead on the popular vote, which could be more than two million. President Obama is readying a transition team. The full dynamics of a democracy are at work in the United States, which is a young democracy compared with the old democracies of Europe but, by all metrics, the richest and most powerful democracy in the world.

The protests that have spread across key cities in the US will soon die down, even with the brave call that the protests would be for the long haul. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have called on the nation to support Mr. Trump. Those stunned denizens in the major cities and centers of innovation will soon boot on their idle computers and try to ride out the expected tumult of the Trump era. (I can feel it from far away. I have kin in Silicon Valley and she has not slept for days. She asked me–while I was deeply engrossed with real issues such as soaring yellow corn prices and the scarce supply of darak, orrice bran–if there exists in the native tongue a word for shell-shocked.)

READ MORE...

What if the expected tumult does not materialize and what if Mr. Trump will govern just like any normal president? What if he does not wall off America? Good for the US. Good for the world. Good for us.

Otherwise, if Mr. Trump fulfills his central campaign promise, our country will have to face the deluge of returning undocumented immigrants. Mr. Trump made this campaign promise to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants–music to rural, white America–which was the key to his victory. If he does that, our clueless country will be confronted with this deluge that is totally unexpected. Remember that a substantial part of that 11 million figure is Asian–and Filipino. I don’t have a next of kin who is undocumented. But many in the barrio where I farm have brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles who work as undocumented caregivers in the morefriendly blue states.

Even the Pulitzer-winning Fil-Am journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is undocumented.

What is scary is this.

Presidential candidates, after a victory, mostly live up to their core campaign promises. Mr. Trump built his campaign on “Build That Wall” and other radically anti-immigration pronouncements, such as deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants. His campaign was cheered on and massively supported by white supremacists, now called the alt-right movement. What if the alt-right leaders were to collect their IOUs and push Mr. Trump into fulfilling his central campaign promise?

All hell will break loose, for sure. Some blue states may erect the legal and institutional barriers to stave off a mass deportation. But the nativist underpinnings of the 2016 election will make it easy for the Trump administration to take action against undocumented immigrants in deep red states with Republican governors.

Governor Cuomo of New York and California’s Governor Brown can prevent such mass deportations. Or delay them. But in the deep red states and swing states with Republican governors and legislatures, mass deportation, once ordered by Mr. Trump, will be easy to carry out.

So, are we ready for the deluge?

The best-case scenario for us is a rising Middle East job market. With that as backdrop for the mass return of undocumented Filipinos from the US, that would be Fallback A. The returning caregivers can become domestic helpers in the palaces of the royalty and the rich. That is not like working in the US of A but beggars can’t be choosers.

The English language skills of the returnees will enable them to smoothly transition into jobs at the BPOs. Our BPO sector is basically of the voice segment and language skills is the primary asset here for job applicants. But there is a problem with this Fallback B. What if Mr. Trump reins in the offshoring of BPO jobs to countries such as the PH and India? That was part of his campaign promise, remember?

Fallback C is remunerative jobs back home. Realistically, however, those jobs do not exist. Of course, the DOLE under Mr. Aquino said that these types of jobs existed. But we all know that statement was fiction. Listed as a “bright spot” was the sugar sector, which was supposed to need tens of thousands of workers.

You know what? The sugar industry, indeed, needs workers. But these are mostly back-breaking worksuch as cane-cutting, which is close to a sub-human job.

We are not prepared for that kind of ugly exodus. There are no ready jobs for the returning undocumented immigrants. The strain on basic services such as health, housing and transport would be extraordinarily strenuous.

Right now, collectively, we can do nothing but pray.

Pray for Mr. Trump’s change of heart and change of policy.


Leila de Lima’s meltdown: From righteousness to ignominy BY YEN MAKABENTA ON NOVEMBER 16, 2016 OPINION ON PAGE ONE


YEN MAKABENTA

Credit at least Sen. Leila de Lima for remembering Shakespeare in her current travails. Under questioning by Winnie Monsod on GMA-7, the senator raised the frailty defense of womanhood. Shakespeare wrote the classic line in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 1): “ Frailty, thy name is woman.”

I have been in journalism for a long time, yet I have never heard a female public figure defend herself against public charges and criticism, by ascribing her transgressions to “the frailties of a woman.”

The women of this country, which has twice installed a woman in the presidency, will not be pleased. De Lima does not strengthen her case, but weakens it. This is why I say the senator is in meltdown.

Cambridge dictionary defines “meltdown,” as a “dangerous situation in a nuclear power station when the material used for power becomes very hot and is likely to explode. The term is also used informally in politics to denote “a sudden disastrous failure with potential for widespread harm.”

READ MORE...

I apply the term advisedly to the embarrassing career of Senator de Lima, who has hurtled from the heights of political power to the depths of political scandal and possible disgrace, and could sink even lower to penal detention.

Spanning three administrations

De Lima, or D5 as she is called in journalese (the other personage accorded numerical distinction is DU30), commands public attention because her career now spans three administrations (those of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Benigno Aquino III, and Rodrigo Duterte). She has served in highly sensitive and powerful positions in government, and has figured prominently in major public controversies.

Under President Arroyo, she got her first big government assignment on being appointed chairman of the Philippine Commission on Human rights (PCHR).

President Aquino named her as his secretary of justice upon accession to office in 2010. He designated her as the enforcer of tuwid na daan (straight path), to stand atop the criminal justice system, preach rectitude and the rule of law, and file cases against political enemies, starting with her former boss, President Arroyo, and former chief justice Renato Corona and leaders of the opposition.

But now, it is turning out from the record that this hammer against wrongdoing in government permitted the corruption of the national penal system and the systematic administration of selective justice. And on the side, the lady carried on an affair with her married driver, a DOJ employee, who is suspected by justice prosecutors as being her bagman for payoffs from drug lords.

Bizarre and perplexing record

It is bizarre and perplexing that despite being ethically challenged, D5 was persistently identified with the affirmation and defense of rights and right conduct in government. And yet she seems almost certain now to be remembered for crossing the line between right and wrong.

As the hammer for the straight path, she will be remembered as being as crooked as the felons and grafters convicted of crime and corruption.

As the loudest critic of the drug war of President Duterte and extra-judicial killings (EJKs), many criticize her for exacerbating the problem by leading astray the Senate committee inquiry, and putting up dubious witnesses.

Playing the gender card

To fight off the charges against her, De Lima has assiduously styled herself as a female victim of a macho president. But oddly, women do not sympathize at all with her plight. They are more embarrassed by the expose of her adultery and sexual adventurism.

In choosing Winnie Monsod’s “bawal ang Pasaway” as her vehicle for public confession, she unwittingly painted herself as a pasaway, a transgressor. Perhaps even an outlaw?

The spectacle of people in power

Disconnecting principles from their sexual behavior is an old, old story in Philippine politics.

What D5 highights is the fact that women can do it, too. It is not a defense to say that “men do this all the time.” The public doesn’t buy this line at all. It is still shocked by the sight of a woman politician as transgressor.

Until her public admission, De Lima pointedly never denied that she had a relationship with Dayan.

In the Monsod interview, De Lima said Dayan getting drug money using her name without her permission is “within the realm of possibilities,” but the administration is not dealing only with possibilities. They are seriously building a case against her.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and president Duterte believe that De Lima’s adulterous affair and corruption are umbilically linked

The President has said that he is in possession of wiretaps and ATM records showing that the former driver-bodyguard of Sen. Leila de Lima transacted with drug syndicates at New Bilibid when she was Justice secretary. The driver-bodyguard collected money from drug traders for de Lima’s senatorial campaign, and could not have acted without her knowledge.

Talking like the prosecutor that he once was, Duterte says: “What is really crucial here is that because of her [romantic]relationship with her driver which I termed ‘immoral’ because the driver has a family and wife, that connection gave rise to the corruption of what was happening inside the national penitentiary. That is why the inmates had special privileges.”

Duterte has also disclosed that an unnamed foreign country provided the wiretaps. “Even the ATM (automated teller machine) and the calls emanating from Muntinlupa to her driver,” he said.

The President conceded that the recordings are inadmissible as evidence in court, but said he would confront De Lima with these if given the chance.

DU30 will tell D5: “De Lima, I was listening to you. If she will face me, just the two of us, I will tell her: ‘Explain to me your immorality and explain to me your connection to the drug deal.’ ”

De Lima, speak for yourself

In defense against the controversies swirling over her head, De Lima cites doggedly her alleged reputation and record as a public official.

She declares: “This is my answer: My record as a public official first as CHR chair and next as secretary of Justice, speaks for itself. My reputation has been untarnished until now when it’s being unfairly and unjustly besmirched by all of these fabricated lies about my alleged involvement in the drug trade.”

Oddly, she concedes that her reputation is tarnished now.

One woman reader and friend underscored for me the extent of De Lima’s predicament today. She says, “De lima, speak for yourself. Don’t drag all womanhood into your tale of shame.”

The women’s-rights party-list group Gabriela has also slammed De Lima. On its Facebook page, the organization said:

“So-called ‘frailties of women,’ [or]even [of]men or any gender for that matter, can never be cited as a defense for crimes, be it adultery, abuse of authority by a public official or drug trafficking. [They] should not be used, especially by one who holds a position of power like Senator Leila de Lima, as an excuse from criminal accountability or to paint herself as a victim.”

It seems D5 must fight her battles alone.


Kris Aquino’s human rights violations BY ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS ON NOVEMBER 16, 2016 ANALYSIS


ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

I WISH I could be kinder to Kris Aquino.

She has grown on me like a callus on my foot, something that I can tolerate not because I like it, but because I am not particularly concerned about the aesthetics of my feet.

But Kris Aquino is one figure that deserves a critical piece, if only to serve as a lesson that not all things that laugh like her bring joy.

I am going to bet that had she not been the daughter of a President, she would not have been where she is now. Her debut on entertainment stage was actually a foreboding of a black comedy, when she fell from the stage of a GMA-7 program.

And everything just flowed like a beautiful nightmare, if I may borrow a phrase from one of Beyonce’s songs. She is beautiful perhaps, but still a nightmare.

It is really puzzling why someone who cannot act, sing or dance became an iconic presence in our TV-addicted lives.

But boy, can she talk.

READ MORE...

She can talk and turn her hosting into a monologue and her guests into props. And then you realize that she has created a niche in her own universe. She invaded and implanted herself in the consciousness of many people who were looking for some novelty in a world of canned entertainment.

In a way, she is the Digong Duterte of showbiz, in the sense that he broke all conventions. Digong Duterte is an iconoclast, a trendsetter in the world of politics. He defies the expected, and gets out of the box of what is understood to be acceptable conduct in politics and diplomacy.

And you can very well say that of Kris too.

Kris is an iconoclast, a trendsetter in the world of entertainment. She defies the expected, and gets out of the box of what is understood to be acceptable conduct of somebody with her pedigree–-daughter of a hero, daughter and sister of Presidents. In the universe of things, she may be the only entertainer in our history to have such an esteemed genetic brand.

Digong is being accused of human rights violations for his alleged extra-judicial killings.

And Kris Aquino is guilty of human rights violations too.

Let me tell you how.

One can argue that Kris is guilty of violating Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Kris may be providing entertainment to many. But she could also be seen as a punishment inflicted by her former mother network ABS-CBN on people who don’t like her. I know of people who simply cannot stand her, and would liken any moment of watching her antics as akin to torture, and could even be considered as a form of cruelty.

Kris is also guilty of violating Article 9 of the UDHR. “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile,” it says.

To be forced to watch Kris Aquino on TV is akin to being under arrest or detention, even as to be forced to leave just to flee and avoid her is akin to being forced into exile. I have personally experienced this when I have to endure watching her on the bus TV during my daily commute, where she comments on issues about which she has little knowledge, out-talks her celebrity guests, and turns everything happening in the world as hers to own, interpret, divine, bash and trash.

You escape in the privacy of your own space by tuning in to another channel only to be greeted by a commercial being aired there where she endorses instant noodles or something. You see her in billboards. You see her in magazines.

She is so ubiquitous to a point that she has become rudely intrusive, that avoiding her is a difficult struggle. You have to wonder what is in this woman that she can stalk you even in the privacy of your own mobile phone.

And now, she is trying to sustain her intrusion into our lives after the political exit of her brother, and her own exit from ABS-CBN. She tried to interview the President. Unfortunately, or fortunately perhaps, a migraine attack prevented him from showing up.

Kris Aquino violated our human rights. She may not have extra-judicially murdered a drug addict, but she definitely killed art.

She is guilty of murdering the art of acting when she forced many people to go on believing that what she did in her movies was actually acting. She has extra-judicially killed the art of hosting when people believed that this is what she was doing in her talk shows.

Now, if you still don’t realize that this piece is a parody, then you must have been one of Kris Aquino’s human rights victims. You have totally lost it. You should sue her


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