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ANALYST: NEW U.N. LEADER MAY HELP RESET RELATIONS WITH PH


JANUARY 1 -Former Portugal Prime Minister António Guterres The assumption of former Portugal Prime Minister António Guterres as new United Nations Secretary General may lead to a reset in the relations between the Philippines and the international body, an analyst said.
ANC resident analyst Richard Heydarian on Tuesday noted that Guterres' track record shows that he is a "consensus-builder," someone who can be vocal when it's necessary, but someone who can also work from behind the scenes to build consensus on issues when it's necessary.
"Here, you have an opportunity for reset. Here, you have someone who has a very established record--three decades record of being a professional politician in terms of building consensus and working from behind the scenes," he said on Mornings@ANC. READ MORE...

ALSO By Manuel Quezon III: PH-Russia relations - A long way to go


JANUARY 10 -By Manuel Quezon III When the Russian ambassador scolded the Philippine media for not giving enough column inches and air time to the visit of his country’s warships, it only proved Philippine-Russian relations have a long way to go. But it’s not as if we’ve never been on the Russian map before. Before World War II, Soviet diplomats made Manila their stop. Here is the Soviet diplomat Maxim Litvinov in Manila on in December, 1941 shortly before the outbreak of the war. But it was Ferdinand Marcos who opened up relations with the Soviet Union. Here he is visiting Moscow, in a photo by one of his official photographers. The era of détente meant that even the Philippines could open up to the People’s Republic of China and the USSR. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Ellen Tordesillas -  The awesome Meryl Streep


JANUARY 11 -She captured our hearts with her stirring performances in “Sophie’s Choice” and “Deer Hunter.” She helped us forget our problems with enjoyable performers in “Mamma Mia” and “The Devil Wears Prada.” She was a joy to watch in last year’s movie, “Florence Foster Jenkins.” But her acceptance speech for being honored with the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement at last Monday’s Golden Globes melted our hearts. She was awesome! The Golden Globe Award is a recognition by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of works of excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign. READ MORE...


ALSO: By Ellen TorDesillas - LP SOCE case being eyed for oust-Leni operation?


JANUARY 16 -
Amid the many items in media not favorable to Vice President Leni Robredo- LeniLeaks, banned from Cabinet meetings, disinvited by Malacanang in the New Year Vin d'honneur, drop in satisfaction ratings – another one came up the other day. We were told that the Supreme Court is expected very soon to release its decision on the case concerning the extension of the deadline by the Commission on Elections for the filing of statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) for the Liberal Party last June. “If the High Court decided that there was a breach of the rule by the Comelec, the election of all Liberal Party candidates would be invalidated. That would include the election of Robredo,” a friend told me.
That jolted me. I had forgotten the LP SOCE case. All along, I thought the only case challenging Robredo’s election to the vice presidency is the election protest by her closest opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. which is before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal composed of the Supreme Court justices. READ MORE...


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Analyst: New UN leader may help reset relations with PH


former Portugal Prime Minister António Guterres

MANILA, JANUARY 16, 2017 (ABS-CBN) ABS-CBN News Posted at Jan 03 2017 06:29 PM - The assumption of former Portugal Prime Minister António Guterres as new United Nations Secretary General may lead to a reset in the relations between the Philippines and the international body, an analyst said.

ANC resident analyst Richard Heydarian on Tuesday noted that Guterres' track record shows that he is a "consensus-builder," someone who can be vocal when it's necessary, but someone who can also work from behind the scenes to build consensus on issues when it's necessary.

"Here, you have an opportunity for reset. Here, you have someone who has a very established record--three decades record of being a professional politician in terms of building consensus and working from behind the scenes," he said on Mornings@ANC.

READ MORE...


http://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/01/03/17/analyst-new-un-leader-may-help-reset-relations-with-ph

There may be some effort from the new leader to first deal with concerns on the Philippines' war on drugs and alleged human rights violations "from behind the scenes and build a new consensus with the Philippine government," Heydarian said.

Heydarian believes Guterres will first try to find a common ground with the Duterte administration before upping the ante, which will be different from the tack taken by his predecessor, Ban Ki-Moon.

However, Heydarian also foresees that if the administration and the UN fail to reach common ground, particularly on the issue of the UN special rapporteur's mission to the country, Guterres "can mobilize more international pressure against the Philippines."

"This is a much more capable, much more pragmatic person and therefore I think the Duterte administration has to have a different strategy of dealing with the United Nations, not the way that they have with the previous Ban Ki-Moon leadership," he said.


OPINION: PH-Russia relations - A long way to go Manolo Quezon - The Explainer Posted at Jan 10 2017 04:55 AM | Updated as of Jan 10 2017 05:51 PM


By Manuel Quezon III

When the Russian ambassador scolded the Philippine media for not giving enough column inches and air time to the visit of his country’s warships,

it only proved Philippine-Russian relations have a long way to go. But it’s not as if we’ve never been on the Russian map before.

Before World War II, Soviet diplomats made Manila their stop. Here is the Soviet diplomat Maxim Litvinov in Manila on in December, 1941 shortly before the outbreak of the war.

But it was Ferdinand Marcos who opened up relations with the Soviet Union.

Here he is visiting Moscow, in a photo by one of his official photographers. The era of détente meant that even the Philippines could open up to the People’s Republic of China and the USSR.

READ MORE...

The USSR made a big mistake however when its ambassador became the only diplomat to attend Marcos’ last inauguration in Malacañan in February, 1986.

Even as late as the early 90s, Forbes Park went into a panic when there was a proposal to set up the Soviet embassy there. We forget that in those days, Cam Ranh Bay hosted a Soviet naval base, which was meant to be a foil to the US naval base in Subic.

But it was in the mid-2000s, when former President Arroyo was unhappy with the United States, that a new push to enhance relations with Russia –no more USSR by then—took place. But America was still riding high, Russia was still recovering from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

MAP 2

This map from the Heritage Foundation shows however, why Russia is now interested in our part of the world again. Last November, I wrote in my Explainer column in news.abs-cbn.com, that Russia announced it was again interested in Cam Ranh Bay. The map shows you Russia’s dilemma: it’s hemmed in on the West by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance, and in the East, by the rise of China and a strong Japan.

For a time, it seemed Russia would side with China since Japan has been a historic enemy of Russia. But then again, China, too, has been a historic enemy of Russia –with actual shooting up to fairly recently, too.

This map of Russia’s expansion in the East shows why. On one hand, much of its territory was gained at Chinese expense. But it also waged war against Japan.

This is Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia. He dreamed of expanding Russia all the way to Korea.


Korea had long been in the orbit of China, but China was weak; and Japan, strong and confident, eliminated the last emperor of Korea (shown above) and turned the country into a colony.
The expansion of Japanese influence meant that Russia would collide with Japan, and open war broke out in 1905, leading to one of the greatest naval victories in a century –for Japan, at the battle of Tsushima Strait.

But this fellow came along, and put his foot down. He had engineered the conquest of the Philippines and he would be damned if he would let either Russia or China upset the balance of power. His name was Teddy Roosevelt.

It would take another Roosevelt–Franklin D. Roosevelt—to engineer Russia’s opportunity to get even with Japan. Uncertain if the atom bomb would work, he convinced the USSR to declare war on Japan. Which he did.

The USSR under Stalin would help communist rebels take power in China and North Korea. But by the late 1950s, China and Russia were arguing over Communist dogma and over which country would lead the global communist movement.

By the late 1960s, you had Chinese posters saying fight American imperialism and Soviet revisionism (feature online). Things were heating up.
By 1969, China provoked an actual armed confrontation with Russia. The CNN documentary the Cold War has stunning footage of these battles and how the Chinese would try to swarm the Russians in disputed river borders.


By 1970 you had Chinese posters like this (also featured online), saying if you attack us, we will attack you –meaning the Russians.

And this is why Nixon went to China because he saw an opportunity to divide and conquer. His making friends with China left Russia isolated. The result was Russia agreed on a treaty to limit nuclear missiles.

But, in the meantime, as this chart shows, Japan remained a problem for Russia. To this day, no formal peace treaty ending World War II has been signed. But the enemy of your enemy is your friend, as the saying goes.


And as Japan and Russia see America receding from the scene, and China aggressively moving to assert its supremacy in Asia, these two leaders –Prime Minister Abe and President Putin here in an official photo—are on the verge of a truly historic understanding.

They are poised to open up relations by focusing on economic agreements that build trust to find a win-win to the question over Japanese territory seized by Russia after World War II.

As they say, follow the money.

China’s Silk Road is a noose that threatens to strangle the economies of Russia and Japan. To be allies now, provides both Russia and Japan resources and hard cash.

Which leads to the question: do our foreign policymakers here at home see what’s going on? There’s even the possibility Uncle Sam isn’t bothered by a Russo-Japanese partnership to keep China in check.

By all accounts, top policy reflects the closeness between China and Russia some years back: But does it reflect the growing warmth between Tokyo and Moscow? Something to consider as Prime Minister Abe sets out to visit Manila.


OPINION: The awesome Meryl Streep Ellen T. Tordesillas Posted at Jan 11 2017 02:59 AM | Updated as of Jan 11 2017 11:26 AM



She captured our hearts with her stirring performances in “Sophie’s Choice” and “Deer Hunter.” She helped us forget our problems with enjoyable performers in “Mamma Mia” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”
She was a joy to watch in last year’s movie, “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
But her acceptance speech for being honored with the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement at last Monday’s Golden Globes melted our hearts. She was awesome!
The Golden Globe Award is a recognition by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association of works of excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign.

READ MORE...

Meryl Streep didn’t mention names but everybody knew who she was referring to when she said this:
“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life.”

In November 2015, during a campaign rally in South Carolina, presidential candidate Donald Trump made fun of Serge Kovaleski, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist writing for The New York Times.
Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, which affects the movement in his arms.
Streep said, “...this instinct to humiliate, when it's modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
This kind of situation is not alien to Filipinos. In a rally in Kalibo, during the campaign, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte made fun of a stroke victim he knew, imitating the contorted movement of the person with disability to the laughter of his audience.
Streep’s speech resonated with many Filipinos who yearn for a more courageous and responsible media to do the battle for them against government apathy and abuses.
“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution,” Streep said.

The Philippines remains to be in the top five of countries journalists where journalists are killed with impunity according to the Global Impunity Index of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
That’s why even if Streep’s audience was Hollywood, Filipino journalists were touched by her call to protect journalists: “So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth.”
President-elect Trump went to Twitter to denigrate the three-time Academy Award winner who has been nominated for a record 19 Oscars and a record 30 Golden Globes calling her overrated.
Trump, just like another president we know, has no respect for the truth. It’s best to ignore him.
***
Blog:www.ellentordesillas.com
E-0mail:ellentordesillas@gmail.com


OPINION: LP SOCE case being eyed for oust-Leni operation? Ellen T. Tordesillas
Posted at Jan 13 2017 01:39 PM


JANUARY 16 -

Amid the many items in media not favorable to Vice President Leni Robredo- LeniLeaks, banned from Cabinet meetings, disinvited by Malacanang in the New Year Vin d'honneur, drop in satisfaction ratings – another one came up the other day.

We were told that the Supreme Court is expected very soon to release its decision on the case concerning the extension of the deadline by the Commission on Elections for the filing of statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) for the Liberal Party last June.

“If the High Court decided that there was a breach of the rule by the Comelec, the election of all Liberal Party candidates would be invalidated. That would include the election of Robredo,” a friend told me.

That jolted me. I had forgotten the LP SOCE case. All along, I thought the only case challenging Robredo’s election to the vice presidency is the election protest by her closest opponent, former senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. which is before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal composed of the Supreme Court justices.

READ MORE...

Like all election protests that take forever, Marcos’ complaint is not expected to be decided soon.

My friend said anti-Robredo forces saw the LP SOCE case as the easier way to do away with Robredo. “It’s ‘cleaner’,” he said adding that the case is the negligence of the LP people.

Aside from Robredo, six senators and big number of congressmen and local officials will be adversely affected if the SC decides that there was a breach of the Comelec rule.

It will be recalled that the LP failed to file its SOCE on the June 8, 2016 set by Comelec Resolution No. 9991. The resolution said, “The 08 June 2016 deadline shall be final and non-extendible. Submissions beyond this period shall not be accepted.”

LP candidates, except LP’s standard bearer Mar Roxas, were able to file their respective SOCE’s on time.

Under the law, fines would be imposed on the violators but the ultimate penalty would be non-assumption to the positions they were elected to.

Comelec’s Campaign Finance Office rejected LP’s request to extend the deadline but the poll body in a 4-3 en banc decision extended the deadline to June 30. LP was able to comply under the extended deadline.

Two petitioners, however, asked the High Court to nullify Comelec’s en banc decision to extend the deadline of fling.

The source said given the controversial 9-5 ruling by the Supreme Court on the burial of the late dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, at the Libingan ng Bayani, the supporters of Duterte-Bongbong Marcos are hopeful that the SC will nullify the Comelec extension of the deadline which, they think, will also invalidate Robredo’s oath-taking as vice president.
There’s a contrary view to that. Some lawyers believe the Supreme Court will consider the serious consequences of nullifying the Comelec extension of deadline for SOCE filing as it would be thwarting the will of the people.

We get the feeling that all these anti-Leni issues are part of conditioning the public’s mind for the hatchet job they are planning on Robredo. No less than the Press Secretary is pushing the Leni-leaks story.

It is also worth noting that the public did not show concern when Robredo was banned from Cabinet meetings which led to her resignation as Housing secretary. Her satisfaction rating even declined.

Are they up for the Robredo-kill?


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