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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pnoy's unapologetic stance may cause him the presidency

President Benigno S. Aquino's refusal to apologize for the debacle that is the Mamasapano massacre is something insane, to say the least. Aquino's bull headedness is causing irreparable damage to the institutions of democracy in the Philippines.

His mishandling of the Manila hostage crisis nearly destroyed our bilateral ties with Hongkong. It even led to a ban of OFW deployment in the island state.

I think Pnoy misunderstands the concept of having or exercising a "strong political will." For him, showing strong political will means being bull-headed or pig-headed which is not right.

The reason why Pnoy lost his popularity and the trust of the public is simply the perception of him as an apathetic and pathetic leader. He is seen as apathetic, because he did not show any care for those who died in Mamasapano and "pathetic" because he refuses to remedy the situation and continues or refuses to rectify or even improve his actions adding cause to the perception of him "ducking responsibility" or promoting mediocracy in managing the affairs of the state.

I disagree with Senators Trillanes and Bam Aquino. The more this president refuses to owe up the more likely the possibility of him losing the presidency altogether.

Since when is an apology a political trap?

Mea culpa or mortification in the language of Communicators, is one strategy towards recovery in an event of a PR crisis. Sometimes, it is best to convey this especially if the issue involves the loss of lives. This is being held as an effective tool in mitigating the effects of a crisis. In cases where emotions are high over a perceived serious consequence of an action, communicators normally counsel their clients to admit responsibility and seek mortification. Fact is, it is included in William Benoit's model for image restoration after a PR crisis.

In the case of President Benign S. Aquino III, I cannot simply understand why he is being prevailed upon by his political allies, particularly Senators Antonio Trillions IV and Bam Aquino not to express his sadness and seek for mortification on the Mamasapano massacre.

For one, Aquino is not legally liable for his actions since he did it during the time as Commander in Chief. Admit that there were operational lapses yet those lapses were not committed by Aquino but by a subordinate, if one is to believe the various reports. Can he be held legally responsible for the deaths of the 44 SAF commandos? No. Why? Because it was ascertained that they died due to the non-observance of established protocols.

I was fortunate to have talked with several experts in this field (I talked with a General and a PMAer) and honestly, Getulio Napenas committed several infractions among which is the lack of an exit strategy in the event of a clash. It was held in the Mamasapano report that there was only one exit--which was the way where the SAF commandos entered. The basic SOP especially among operatives is one will not go the way he entered the place of operations. In the SAF case, the troopers tried to escape thru the riverine route which they initially used to enter the MILF camp. They should have considered another route for escape and exit. Fault this with the lack of appreciation of the terrain, which should have been easily remedied by studying aerial maps.

Of course, this does not answer the penultimate question as to why there were no reinforcements made or why Aquino and his peace advisers failed to communicate to their counterparts for the cessation of hostilities. That is another matter altogether.

Insofar as liability in the operational execution of the plan, Aquino is not entirely at fault since based again on the report, Napenas did not execute it the way it should have been executed.

An apology from Aquino is the best ending or closure so to speak, about this matter. It is highly unlikely that shortly after his apology, groups out to get his head would heighten their campaign against Aquino.

Fact is, a mortification would surely disarm these groups because the emotional aspect of this crisis would severely be eradicated. What Aquino lost was his higher moral ascendancy. A mortifying event could afford him a way to regain this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Sabah claim effectively terminated when Bangsamoro Republic goes live

Will the Philippine government abandon the Sabah claim the minute the Bangsamoro Republic goes live? Will the government include residents of Sabah as voters in the plebiscite to be held for the Bangsamoro Basic Law? Why yes and why not?

It is expected that when this Republic goes live, it will eventually assume the claims to Sabah. However, this may even be superfluous since top leaders of this Bangsamoro government unit are closely allied with Malaysia.

What is the true reason why President Aquino and his minions are over-reacting on the Bangsamoro Basic Law? Many people are asking themselves why Aquino is so gung-ho about all these considering that no one really is certain on the success of this "experiment"

And don't tell me that there will never be peace negotiations post-Aquino? Why the rush?

Many, including this writer, thinks that this "rush" is linked with Malaysia. We all know the interest of Malaysia in all of these. Mindanao, for their intents and purposes, is a threat to the security of their country, especially Sabah. We are talking not just on the peace and order situation, but even to their economic security. Mindanao has the potential of becoming that region's economic hub. Its vast natural resources as well as its strategic location makes it an ideal venue for regional trade.

On the security aspect, we all know what happened when elements of the Sultanate of Sulu illegally entered and fought security forces of Malaysia. That was a security nightmare not just for Malaysia but even for the Philippines. President Aquino had to threaten those armed troops of the Sultanate to stand down.

This issue is still absolutely "live", meaning no resolution on the horizon. If the Bangsamoro republic turns legit, then, it will subsume the Sultanate and its adoption into the Bangsamoro state may eventually mean automatic abandonment of the Sabah claim.

In the event that the new Bangsamoro Republic assumes jurisdiction even Jolo, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, will this effectively end the claim of the Philippines to Sabah?


Is Philippine Daily Inquirer going sexy?

Hard times, yeah. And sometimes, people had to do what's best for business.

For the first time in its thirty plus history, the Philippine Daily Inquirer released a photo of a bikini-clad woman in its frontpage.

Classy? Sexy? But why? Is it to attract more readers or more oglers?

IN a survey, PDI ranked second behind Manila Bulletin and a tad above Philippine Star. Surprisingly, Manila Times and Manila StandardToday are giving the bigger broadsheets a run for their money. Or, that just shows a shift of readership from the perceived "decent tabloid-ism" of PDI to a more "revelatory" treatment being provided for by Standard and Times?

Going back to PDI, hey John, can you explain this?


Monday, March 16, 2015

Aquino Legacy---From NAPoles to NAPenas

Come 2016, President Aquino's six year term will be defined by this phrase:" From NAPoles to NAPenas" stressing two big issues which nearly cost him the Presidency.

This is quite sad. Many well-meaning people thought that it is his Tuwid na Daan which is to define his legacy.

NAPoles is now being seen as the name behind a sophisticated network of scandalous schemes out to get the people's monies. While NAPenas reminds us of the tragic fate of 44 SAF troopers in Mamasapano Maguindanao.

Napoles will forever be in perpetuity as a reminder of how weak our government is in protecting our public coffers, while NAPenas will likewise remind us of how an honest public servant is now being blamed and faulted for something which he only did after being commanded to.

I hate to say it, but I pity the relatives of those fallen SAF commandos. Even now, the very institution which they have sworn to serve and protect is now even rebutting the findings of the very Board of Inquiry which was asked to investigate about the incident, just to protect the hide of President Aquino.

The BOI says there was a clear violation of the chain of command. The Department of Justice says the concept is a military concept and is not being followed in the PNP because the police organisation is civilian in character, not military.

The word here is simple---this administration wants nothing more than shield Pnoy from culpability. Period.

I really don't understand what's the big fuss is all about when it is entirely true that even if Pnoy admits culpability, there is still such a thing as "mea culpa" or an apology. Why is it so hard for Pnoy to admit his mistake and eventually move forward? He cannot be sued for issuing or leading a botched operation. Why the hardening of positions?


Binay gets TRO: Liberals sat in mayoral post for only an hour

What former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo failed to do, this administration did in just a matter of months. Mayor Jun-Jun Binay was given his 6-months suspension order from the Ombudsman. Vice mayor Kit Pena, a Liberal party member, assumed the post but only for an hour because Mayor Jun-Jun fortunately got a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) for sixty days.

Seems like the Roxas camp want to practically debilitate Binay by first depriving him of financiers and second, temporarily paralysing his source or core of his political influence and power. We all know that the only way you can defeat Binay is for him to be deprived of funds. If Binay is financially crippled and prevented from initiating a decent campaign, then, Mar's chances of winning the 2016 polls is better.

Mar, according to sources, is really desperate and desirous to get the plum post come 2016. He thinks that by then, Binay has been weakened considerably that, according to the indefatigable Senator Antonio Trillianes, Binay may find it extremely hard to put up a good fight.

For a presidential candidate who wants to win the presidency, he needs at least 200 million pesos.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

12 Reasons Why nothing will ever change here in the Philippines

First, we love to laugh so much and so often that we think that everything happens here in the Philippines is a joke. Well, most of it, yes.

Second, since we live in a tropical island, we always think that we live in an island where all of our needs are met. Living in an island is okay except of course, if you really think hard of it, we are an archipelago and whatever happens in one island, it affects other islands.

Third, we love showbiz so much that even politics we treat as entertainment. Everything is fantasy that explains why even Presidents dream of phantasms during their terms, with Gloria's Enchanted Kingdom and Aquino's Tuwid na daan.

Fourth, we are a religious lot that we even mistake mere mortals as gods. Look at how we treat our Congressmen and our bureaucrats. We know most of them are crooks but even crooks deserve a lei of sampaguitas.

Fifth, we have seen so much bloodshed and so much inhumanity and injustice that it's now hard for us to really define what "justice" really means.

Sixth, we cry for peace but we are afraid of the consequences of true and lasting peace. For us, peace means silence, when peace is more than the absence of noise--it is a condition of relative symphony of various voices.

Seventh, we have a very poor standard when it comes to managing our affairs that even in government service, "pwede na" means okey. The irony of it all, we have excellent political scientists here in our country, yet they can't seem to practice because there is absolutely no science in our politics.

Eighth, we are used to live in a greyish, colourless world that we find it hard to be creative. Just look at the Makati skyline and you"ll know what I mean. We are a happy people yet we seem to suppress our colourful outlook in life just in the clothes we wear.

Ninth, we are hopeless romantics and Philistinism is our way of life that we keep cars as old as 30 years old and we can't seem to let go of our past. We always think that the past is better than the future because that is how we became when 1986 changed our political futures and we see our lives going down, down a slippery slope.

Tenth, we are poor scientists. We are afraid of experimenting. We are all seguristas. We are deathly afraid of what the future would be like that we would choose to be like this even until the point of our deaths, all to keep our sanity and our precious space.

Eleventh, we know there is a God out there, but we rely on Him so much so that we forget that we need to work for change to happen.

Twelth, we elect to perpetually fight amongst ourselves to keep the peace when the solution is simply of arm's length---one war to end all wars.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What's to fear when your President says his subordinate lied to him?

Now, it's back to Napenas, after President Pnoy initially said, it was Alan Purisima who fooled him on the true situation of the 44 SAF troopers who went to Mamasapano only to meet inhumane deaths.

In his 3pm meeting with religious leaders, Pnoy accused Napenas of giving him false information, of "fooling" and "lying to him."

This is quite insane and very dangerous, if you ask me.

The president simply admitted his incompetence. The question really is--why did the President allowed himself to be fooled and lied with? If you are a competent leader, the next best thing that any normal leader would do is re-validate the information from other sources?

President Aquino is arguably, the most powerful man in this country. He has in his control, thousands of people. Is he saying that he wasn't able to re-validate the information using other sources? Don't tell me that during the Mamasapano operation, it was only Napenas who knew what was happening? 

Being the leader, the Chief Executive and the Commander-in-Chief, Aquino has both the AFP and the PNP in his beck and call. Likewise, Aquino has billions of pesos of intelligence funds at his disposal. He likewise has the NICA and other agencies and of course, he has his OPAPP and his buddy, ARMM governor Mujiv Hataman at his side, always ready to supply him with information, truthful information.

Likewise, don't tell me that those 12 long hours, Aquino did not think of calling other people to provide him with truthful information to guide him in his actions? 

It appears that Pnoy knew all along what was happening--then, why did he not call MILF leader Al Haj Murad directly and asked him if Murad can command his troops and ask them to stand down? Don't tell me that these things did not cross the mind of Aquino.

Because if it didn't, then, we have a very serious problem of competence here. 

We have a President that is as clueless and as gullible as any other ordinary guy bordering on stupidity.

How many times did other people fool this president? How can you now trust this President who does not even know how to re-validate information given to him? Who believes information given to him and prefers to stick to his guns inspite of the fact that the basis of his belief lies on faulty or wrongful premises?

President Aquino just revealed how incompetent he was and is still is, as leader of this country. How shameful that his incompetence led to the deaths of these men.

Will a prayer meeting save Pnoy's soul from damnation?

Pnoy has just called in his spiritual troopers, mostly members of religious groups which already expressed their profound admiration to this administration. Last Friday, Pnoy's cabinet members called on the cavalry from the NGO sector led by who else but "peace adviser" Teresita Deles. Now, Pnoy wants to be close to his spiritual advisers.

Those expected to grace this 3pm "prayer meeting" includes Eddie Villanueva, father of Pnoy's close friend, TESDA secretary general Jun-Jun Villanueva who was one of those who benefited from the PDAF inspite of being the lead convenor of an anti-graft group, CIBAC.

Expected to be there is "Kuya" Daniel Razon, second in command of Eli Soriano's Church of God International, a group which is staunchly, anti-INC (Iglesia Ni Cristo). And there are at least two more from an evangelical group.

I am curious to know why Razon's group is there, since most of those in there are considered "anti-Christian" groups by his uncle, the veritable Bro. Eli Soriano. Soriano has been criticising as "bogus" other groups not just the INC even Bro. Villanueva.

Is Pnoy's soul being eaten up by tremendous guilt after realizing the extent of his miscalculations?


BOI report on Mamasapano massacre aims for closure

JM, do you know why we are in such a state of poverty and of political anarchy? Do you know why our democracy is one of the weakest in the world?

My son, read our History and you'll find that our democracy is one which sits atop a mound of human bones. We have piled up so many that the souls of those who died tragically continually shout themselves hoarse up to the Highest Heavens, yet no one seems to mind them among the living.

From the very beginnings of this Republic, inhumanity and injustice have attended its inauguration. Several of our patriotic kin died without getting justice.

Do we now continue this with the forty four members of the Special Action Force (SAF)? Do we sweep it under the rug just to please our "partners in peace"--the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)?

Today, the PNP Board of Inquiry will submit its "un-biased" investigation on the incident. Senior superintendent Magalong who heads the board, will submit his report to the President.

At this point, no one knows what are the recommendations included in the report. Surely, like any other police report, there are two (2) kinds of people in this report---victims and the ones who perpetuated the crime.

Likewise, the BOI report did not include a testimony from the President himself because the board did not interview the Chief Executive.

Now, the question really is---what will we do with the report? What if the report recommends the prosecution of certain members of the MILF? Will the MILF submit to the jurisdiction of the Republic of the Philippines considering that the rebel group thinks it is a separate sovereign having been granted belligerency status by Aquino?

The ends of justice actually actually goes and ends exactly at the very footsteps of the MILF leadership. This report can be used to file criminal charges against those who perpetuated this dastardly and inhumane crime. The next question is---will government exercise its strong political will and go after those named principals and accomplices--even if these people are members of the MILF?

The test of this administration remains. In fact, it is just starting. 






Sunday, March 8, 2015

Where is this?

If you have time, go here. Its worth the money.

Dear Pnoy

Dear Pnoy,

Five years ago, I was one of those bloggers who wrote about you, and defended you from my colleagues online. Many were bashing you, accusing you of being simple minded, and without qualifications. You were being attacked by almost everyone online because no one knew you. No one ever heard of your name except of course, when your mother died and you were suddenly thrust into the spotlight.

I don't usually endorse anybody here in this site but five years ago, I broke my promise and endorsed your name here. There is something in me which protested but for the sake of the country, I deemed it wise to defend you and shield you from brickbats.

Many were saying that you're incompetent because for the ten years you served as congressman and eventually, senator, nothing substantial came out of it. Ask me what law did you were able to pass that benefited everyone and I'll be hard put identifying one. Ask me if during your stint as Congressman did you even do something, anything that benefitted Tarlac, and again, i'll be very hard for me to identify one.

Ask me if, during your stint as senator, you did something for the sake of the many, and like the first two questions, again, it'll be very hard to answer that.

I guess during those times when I spent sometime at the Balai, the headquarters of Mar Roxas in 2009 and 2010 when I met you, I felt that I owe it to you to support you. Never mind if supporting you means like supporting Erap. The fact of the matter is, there was this sense of urgency felt by many that we need someone like you to lead because those who want to serve were either very rich, hence, having a personal agenda why they want the presidency or very "dogg-ish" or "puppy-like" meaning a bet of a hated administration.

When your name was called after a short brownout early in the morning, I figured that you were the one chosen as a good "compromise" among elites. These elites allowed or probably even "conspired" to elect you because first, you spent ten years of your life living as a corporate man and two, ten years of being a politician. For me, that's enough preparation for you, even though many people doubted you.

Your first executive order was a dud. But your speech was okey. And then the Manila hostage crisis happened. Was it a portent of things to come? I hoped not.

Then, the first three years were okey, when I was fortunate enough to see changes in the attitude and behaviour of people working in government. I saw it first hand.

I saw changes happening at the bureau of immigration. I saw some change in the bureau of customs. I saw how happy government employees were, inspite of the downsizing of some and forced resignations of many.

And then came 2014. I was privy of how corrupt some of your men became. Some of them were asked to come up with funds for their political parties. They were using their positions to get some monies.

Then some of your men ordered some publicists to hit Vice president Binay. Conniving with a wealthy miner, they tried to cast aspersions against the second in command.

Then, two typhoons came which many died due to government neglect. This caused me to think--am I being managed by a competent president and government? Those casualties might have been avoided.

And now, this massacre of your own police force by those you admit to have trusted and by those you considered your friends and allies.

This incident should not be swept under the rug. It says something else if the President himself of the Republic would not give justice to those whose jobs are to secure justice for all.

Mr. President, this is not something which you can just wash your hands ala Caesar. No.

This has tremendous impact on the nature and future of this Republic. This issue is more than skin deep. This issue hits the very core of your legitimacy as the leader of 100 million souls--this is all about authority.

Mr. President you have allowed the MILF to assume a status of belligerency, something which was not even in the minds of your predecessors simply because they know the implications of such a thing.

Mr. President by doing so, you have subverted the will of the people and placed democracy at death's knell. You have now allowed disfranchisement of this Nation which our ancestors have worked so hard to create.

There is still time for you to change your mind. There is even time for you to think very hard on what you want to do.