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Friday, August 26, 2016

The Revolution is bigger than anybody

Hindi ko huhulaan kung ano ang mga nasasa isip ng mga kinatawan ng National Democratic Front (NDF) kung bakit nakikipag-usap ngayon sila sa mga kinatawan ng pamahalaang Duterte sa Oslo, Norway. Layunin aniya ng dalawang panig ay tapusin ang sinasabi nilang "madugong" labanan at panumbalikin ang kapayapaan sa ating bansa---isang layuning, maski ako ay umaaayon, dangan nga lamang, kailangan kong mas mapaliwanagan pa ng maigi.

Noon pa mang panahon at iyang mahigit 30 taong na, na kung saan tinanggap ko sa aking isipan at puso ang kahalagahan ng rebolusyon sa ating bansa upang makamit ng bawat isang Pilipino ang tunay na demokrasya't kalayaan, naging kumbinsido ako sa metodo ng pakikibakang ipinanukala ni Prof. Jose Maria Sison sa kanyang mga sulatin.

Aniya, makakamit ng taumbayan ang pagbabago sa pamamagitan ng isang Pangmatagalang digmaang bayan na kung saan, magkakaisa ang mga rebolusyunaryong pwersa sa pangunguna ng mga manggagawa kasama ng mga magsasaka. Magaganap lamang ito kung pinahina na ng pakikibaka ang mga puwersa ng estado at dumating na sa puntong, napakumbabawan na ang mga naghaharing-uri ng mga batayang sektor na kalahok sa rebolusyon. Ayon kay Sison, kailangang dumaan sa tinatawag na Pambansa Demokratikong estahe ang rebolusyon bago ang paglulunsad ng isang sosyalistang rebolusyon. Kinakailangan ang PD sapagkat kailangang maging ganap na kapitalistang bansa ang Pilipinas bago ang ganap na pagbabago nito sa pamamagitan ng sosyalismo.

Ngayong nagaganap ang mga usapang pangkapayapaan, mayroong mga tanong na nararapat bigyan ng liwanag:

1. Tayo ba ay nasasa kalagayang paparating na tayo sa rurok ng tagumpay at nakikita natin na parating tayo sa isang kasunduang magtatatag ng isang Pambansa Demokratikong Koalisyong gobyerno--ang matagal nang layon ng ating pakikibaka? Kung ganoon, mayroon ngang halaga ang usaping pangkapayapaan.

Ngunit, kung nakikipag-usap at sa kalaunan ay darating sa puntong i-dedekomisyon ang Hukbong Bayan, kailangang matupad muna ang unang kondisyon---ang pagtatag ng isang koalisyong gobyerno na pangungunahan ng Partido ng mga manggagawa. Ito ay batayang paniniwala na nakasaad pa sa Philippine Society and Revolution, isang librong iniakda ni Prof. Sison bilang Amado Guerrero na iniliimbag noon pang dekada 70.

Sa kasalukuyan, hindi ganito ang kondisyong namamayani sa ating bansa. Patuloy na namamayagpag ang Oligarkiya, na mayroong matibay na relasyon sa mga pampulitikang pwersang lubog naman sa burukrata kapitalista. Walang pagbabago sa moda ng produksyon at ang mga paraan ng produksyon ay nananatiling dominado ng mga dambuhalang kapitalista. Patuloy na kinakawawa ang mga magsasaka ng mga naglalakihang panginoong maylupa at salat naman sa karapatan ang mga manggagawang Pilipino.

Kumbaga, sa halos tatlumpung taon matapos ang EDSA uno, naibalik at mas lalo pa ngang lumakas ang mga puwersang naghahatid ng kaguluhang nakaugat sa uri, mas tumindi ang pagpapahirap sa batayang masa at mas naging dambuhala ang mga kaaway ng sambayanan.

Sapat na bang gawing dahilan ang pagbibigay ng tatlong puwesto sa mga kinatawan ng NDF sa administrasyong Duterte upang ganap nang naisakatuparan ang isang koalisyong gobyerno? Ito na ba ang sinasabing "koalisyon" ni Joma---isang gobyernong dominado pa rin ng mga kinatawang pampulitikal ng mga kaaway ng bayan, mga Oligarkiyang mayroong malaki pa ring interes sa paghawak at dominasyon ng ating ekonomiya?

Kung ito na nga iyon, eh, sige, ganyan pala kababaw ang pagtingin ni Joma sa tagumpay ng rebolusyon---makapuwesto lamang sa gobyerno ang iilang kinatawan ng kilusan, sapat nang batayan upang sabihing may "koalisyong" naganap o nagaganap.

2. Sapat na bang dahilan ang paglagda sa mga batayang dokumento hinggil sa pagpapatupad ng karapatang pantao ng bayan upang pagulungin ang proseso ng pagdedekomisyon sa Hukbong Bayan? Sa apat na dokumento, iisa pa lamang ang nilagdaan ng GRP at ito nga ngayon ang direktahang nilalabag ng mga security forces ng pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng sunod-sunod na pagpatay sa mga hinihinalang drug pushers at addicts sa mga sinosonang maralitang pamayanan sa Kalakhang Maynila gayundin sa ilan pang mga lugar.

Ito ay mga batayang katanungan nararapat bigyan ng linaw sapagkat ngayon pa lamang, ipinalalabas ng pangkatin ni Joma na ito na ang wakas ng rebolusyon. Hindi pa ito ang wakas. Magpapatuloy ang rebolusyon hanggat ang mga batayang problema ng bayan ay namamayagpag at ang mga pang-aabuso ng mga karapatan ay malawakan at malalim ang ugat sa kamalayang pambayan.




Thursday, August 25, 2016

Will the people's revolution end with the peace pact? NO. Only thru a revolution would a revolution end.

I'm glad that, if Mr. Jose Maria Sison and Mr. Duterte are to be believed, peace is just around the corner. Sison says there may be a peace pact after six months. Well and good.

It's good because we will achieve that elusive peace which we have so longed for for many years. We have been fighting for decades, and the peace negotiations are very promising, they say.

The thing that bothers me is that thing called decommissioning of the New People's Army (NPA). Is this good?

Yes, if we have achieved what the people want--a truly, just and humane society. Basing on what is happening, we haven't achieved this. The fact is--there is a very big possibility that the very scourge we fought against for several decades is getting a new lease of life.

This revolution would only end if we have created or established a People's Democratic Government---a government truly responsive to the needs of the many. There must be a dictatorship of the masses--not a dictatorship of a few sons and daughters of old traditional oligarchic families, and surely not, I stress, not a dictatorship of pseudo-revolutionaries who think that they represent what the masses want when they do not.

It is very disheartening to hear Joma lauding the end of this enterprise which he started way back in the sixties. Don't ever tell me that he's abandoning this struggle only after forty or so years? He was the one who proposed a protracted people's war and when this thesis was criticized before, Joma was the one who gave scathing remarks against those who said that this strategy was not the perfect means towards revolutionary victory. Joma even branded those who questioned him as "counter-revolutionaries."

Now that he's the one who is giving up this struggle, this fight, this so-called people's revolution, what now, Mr. Sison? How do we call you now?

I shudder at the thought that, in the future, no one would actually represent an oppressed people, and everybody has been coerced already because the oldies who led this revolution has given up. I'm not surprised with what Joma did---he has been away for decades already and he does not know the real sentiments of revolutionaries still fighting for the success of a true revolution.

Duterte's success is basically the variable that disproved Joma's revolutionary thesis. In his numerous writings, Joma wrote that the people will eventually seize political power thru a revolution. Now, we know how it would really end---with the old guards doing exactly what the old PKP guys did in their generation.

Joma was quick to criticize the Lava brothers when they cooperated with the government in their lifetime. Joma once criticized Nilo Tayag (now a Bishop) when he helped former dictator Marcos during the dictatorship. And so did several other Leftist personalities under the Akbayan banner when they began worshipping a near autistic leader and training their sights to see things always in yellows.

Now, that there is a new dictator on the block, is it Joma's time to do a Lava, a Tayag or an Etta?

Some are not entirely surprised with what Joma and some of the old guards are doing--they are just being true to their roots, their social class.

These people, including Joma, belonged to the privileged class, and even Joma admitted in one of his books that he was the son of a haciendero of the North. Joma's father was not just a haciendero, but a big landlord. Joma was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

For him, maybe, this revolution is just a concept. For many of those who believed in Socialism, of the things which Karl Marx wrote, it is not just a concept but an achievable goal. For most of those who entered the people's army, the struggle was their life, and it was never seen as a picnic of sorts or just an outlet to let off steam. No.

A new Party will surely emerge from the very loins of the masses, for as long as the roots of the social conflict remain and this society remains under the control of the Oligarchs, and capitalism remains deeply rooted in this country.

Only thru a revolution would a revolution end.








Duterte's proposal for emergency powers? Why Duterte's want emergency powers

On behalf of the people, I thank the Senate for conducting that hearing on the proposal to grant emergency powers to the Duterte administration to solve the traffic problem. The hearing conducted by Senator Grace Poe was a revelation---it practically killed the proposal from its roots. Officials of the DOTR themselves practically told the Senate and everybody that this administration does not need emergency powers to solve the humonguous traffic problem. Why? Because even if they expedite the grant of contracts and buy all right of ways, the best time to "enjoy" changes in the traffic situation is really three years from now. Meaning, even if we grant Mr. Tugade of the powers he needs to fast track programs already in place, it would take 2-3 years. So, what's the need for emergency powers?

Really now, this administration must realize that not all things are as easy as killing a drug pusher to rid one community of a social pest. No. In this traffic problem, government needs some thinking, some cerebral exercise, to fully comprehend and propose effective solutions. Sorry, mayor, this issue is not as easy as solving it thru a strongly worded and cursive pronouncement.

This is revelatory because it just shows that some people close to Mr. Duterte probably need or are salivating for a "kill." And what is that "kill", you ask? Well, some malicious minds think that some of Duterte's men want nothing more than get those juicy contracts for themselves or for their friends who will give them juicy commissions.

One friend told me of how this very close associate of FVR suddenly getting millions of pesos "in an instant" when everybody knows he's already close to bankruptcy before the elections. This person, who was nearly killed by terrorists alongside his paramour had he not given these roques in Islamic robes millions of pesos worth of ransom monies, had or is still engaged n a nasty and highly public "verbal brawl" with his son. His business is down so where did this person get those monies?

The thing about emergency powers is that this is when the President and his factotums get what they want without being questioned. Just like how FVR reportedly "solved" the energy crisis of the nineties. When FVR did that, many of his associates suddenly grew immensely and I should say, filthy rich. So, why give this people such powers when we already know thru experience that this power will just be abused anyway?

Besides, look at how this administration already abused its police powers--and we're not even under emergency situation. Think of the billions of public monies which we will again lose thru graft and corruption the minute we give this leeway to these corrupt parasites.

These people's heads will be the first to be severed from their bodies the minute this administration loses credibility. The first EDSA was a merciful one. The next authentic one will not be as merciful. All those who sinned against God and the people will get their prompt and just punishment.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Duterte's Revolution

For a revolution to succeed in the Philippines, there are three requisites: first, change the mindsets of the Filipino people. Second, totally change the way the bureaucracy is being run and third, unify the country thru an ideology.

On the first, many are questioning the way Mr. Duterte is doing things. Most think he is going overboard. I don't think so.

Duterte, as what he promised to us during the elections, is getting his hands dirty trying to push for substantial change in our society. He is actually creating the necessary conditions for a revolution. As I said a long time ago, Duterte is like a square peg in a hole. His prescriptions would only be achieved in a different socio-economic-political setting. The enemy, which is the oligarchical class, is strong. Even the Office of the President, under a Republican setting, is not strong enough to destroy them. You need to create a new state out of the old.

For Duterte to achieve just that, he needs the people behind him. For the people to rally behind him, Duterte needs them to open their political consciousness. They need to accept new concepts, new ideas, not just on the way things are run but also social concepts, most importantly.

What Duterte is doing is opening the consciousness of the Filipino people, making them independent thinkers. Why would you challenge the US, even the United Nations? Duterte is not as foolish or reckless as one thinks. He is deliberate. Duterte wants to impress upon us that we are independent, that we know what we are doing as a people, and no one has the right to dictate upon us.

Why do we question what Duterte is doing? For about a century, we always try to wrest ourselves away from the impression that we are not independent, that we are a semi-colony, that our policies are being dictated by foreign powers with geopolitical interests. And now we have a President who has the temerity to stand before these powers and declare our stand in support or against any issue, we criticize and say that he's going overboard?

For this revolution to succeed, we, the Filipino People, must need to change how we view things. We need to liberate our consciousness from the shackles of imperialism.

Second, I laud Duterte for firing all presidential appointees, probably including his. There are many well-meaning people out there who are just waiting to be asked to serve the people.

These people whom he appointed especially those throwbacks from the Arroyo administration have graft cases against them, and most were involved in the nine-year graft-filled term of Mrs. Arroyo. Why rehabilitate them politically by giving them positions of power? Mga gago ang mga ito, mga taong walang pahalaga sa kapwa Pilipino, why appoint them?

Duterte must slay the monster of graft and corruption by killing these people politically. These people had their opportunity, but they failed, and even enriched themselves in power.

I just renewed my passport and I laud the DFA for the speedy service. I will ask my friends if they experienced the same sterling service in other agencies.

Lastly, we can't move forward if there is no dominant conceptual framework. Duterte needs to recognize that he just need to function or act as the poster boy of this ideology but this ideology must be rooted from a correct historical materialist standpoint to be able to provide the right socio-economic and political prescription.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

DU30 to serve for only 3 years? Who'll serve the rest of the 6-year term?

Is the President really sick, asks one of my friends. Of course, I answered in the negative and even if Duterte is really sick, how would one know? Will his men tell us the real score?

Basing on his highly televised appearances, there is one thing that people notice about Digong--his mood swings. He's in high spirits and in a positive demeanor one day and grumpy the next. During his speeches, the first part he either starts his attacks or begins in a positive way and the later part, again, either positive or a negative speech.

Are these mood swings effects of medication? Duterte admitted during the campaign that he sports three ailments, one of which is linked with his liver. Medical observers know this--that when one is afflicted or suffering from a liver ailment, the patient is often grumpy. Duterte likewise admitted that his head hurts, that explains why he is often seen with his hand somewhat caressing his face.

Is the president's medical condition getting worse? Or, medicines are getting the best of him? Notice that his speech are always of two distinct parts---a good and a bad one. He loses his temper either in the first or last part and regains "sanity" the rest of it. Is it because of medicines which he takes? Some observes think that before the effects of the drugs kicks in, that's the time that Duterte spews these acerbic remarks or vitriol and when the medicine already is in his bloodstream, that's the time that he calms down.

That is basically the observation of some friends.

There is some nasty rumor spreading that the reason why Duterte is kinda rushing things is due to the fact that he knows that he's sick. Well, I do think that Duterte is just passionate about what he's doing and he knows that he is already seventy past and the "spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak."

Six years is definitely not a long time. That is very short if you pressure yourself with this Federalism thing.

Some men "in the know" says that Duterte intends to serve his half of his term and when he achieves his life-long aspiration of a drug-free Philippines, Duterte is willing to give the reins of government to his "next in line." And who is this "next in line"?

Well, according to the Constitution, it's Leni Robredo, our vice president. However, many are frowning about this especially close Duterte supporters because they want Bongbong Marcos to succeed Duterte. Bongbong, many believe, knows both his politics and his economics. And Duterte agrees. Personally, according to these men "in the know", Duterte wants a drastic reduction of crimes in the first half of his term, and a more economically stable country in the last part. If he's to be asked, Duterte would like Bongbong to replace him once his 3 years is up.

That explains why this electoral case before the Supreme Court is very important--the future of this country lies at the very hands of those Justices up there. Is this why Duterte was quick to apologize to Sereno?

Gutter presidency and the New McCarthism in the Philippines

Is corruption a personal thing? Is someone's romantic affairs linked to corruption?

Like millions who heard it from television, I am equally at a loss why President Rodrigo Duterte hates Senator Leila de Lima that much. Is it because Duterte is a founding member of Lex Taliones, the rival fraternity of Lambda Rho Beta/Sigma of De Lima? Probably not.

Or, Duterte is being hurt by the comments of De Lima on extrajudicial killings. Let us analyze both sides.

Duterte is a very passionate person. Based on what I heard from very close associates of the former Davao mayor, Duterte considers his job as a very serious one indeed, and his involvement to it is not just on a peripheral level, but entirely indepth and too personal for comfort. He is a person who has a clear sense of what is good and what is wrong, and when he hears something which he thinks is entirely wrong and involves a public official at that, Duterte entirely goes ballistic.

Like any other person, Duterte has his own framework of decency and ethics, something which is not philosophical but I must even describe as plebian, a framework crafted from years of experience with dealings with the masses. Duterte has a very strong mass appeal because he knows the language of the masses, something which takes years to learn.

Duterte's mind works in a simplistic manner---it's a black and white thing---you are either for him or not, it's as simple as that. If you prove to be an honest friend, then, Duterte will fight for you until the end. But, if you fail him, especially in the ethics department, Duterte will spit you out as fast as possible.

The only weak thing about Duterte is his penchant for gossips. How many times did his list failed? Thrice. And that's not good. You are not anymore a petty government official--you are now the Chief Executive. Imagine a president spewing out lists in public, accusing people of impropriety even crimes which, at the end of the day, proved to be "kuryente". Duterte should have fired his staff for that.

Now, let's go back to that so-called "ungentlemanly" statement of the president against DeLima. Duterte, in his statement, fell short of saying that DeLima is a slut of drug lords. Duterte accused Delima of getting her campaign funds from drug syndicates, with the monies of drug lords picked up by no other than her driver, whom Duterte describes as Delima's paramour. By the way, according to reports, the driver is married.

Okey. Several questions need some answers. First, is the information A-1 as in verified or just some gossip which Duterte picked up during one drinking spree with his friends in Malacanan? Second, let's presume that it is, then, why did Duterte not ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to dig deeper and further, or even instruct the NICA or the ISAFP? Is this not an evidence of narco-politics? Is this not a national security concern, since it involves an elected legislator?

The problem of Duterte is that he always shoots himself in the mouth. Credit that to the mishandling of his team. God! Here we have a president who acts like a McCarthy and fingerpoints several people, which he thinks are into illicit activities and then he often finds out that these people are innocent pala but the harm has been done! And no one can do anything about it because Duterte is the president--he is immune from suit! You cannot file a case of libel against this president, even if he spews poison almost every day.

If this administration has some evidence of impropriety committed by either an elected or appointed official, then, why not file charges in court? Why humiliate first, then prove later? Is Duterte not concerned with the consequences of such actions?

I'm beginning to believe that Duterte is just acting like the poster boy, the designated maton of minions of the discredited Arroyo administration. The sad thing about this is that we are being entertained by this maton while several shady deals are happening right before our very noses.

While we are being fed with tainted talk coming from the president, our attention is right now focuseed more on the uncouth, the obscene and the illicit while certain individuals, close associates of his make a killing in the corporate world!!

Just take for an example this appointed poster boy for Federalism, Cong. Benitez. Benitez, who belonged to one of the crony families of the Marcosian dictatorship, is very active in promoting federalism thru the Constituent Assembly, even bragging that he speaks "for and on behalf of the president".

Benitez have extensive interests in the gaming business. The fact is--he maintains an underground casino in his province, according to sources.

When Duterte spake that now famous "anti-Oligarch" speech against Roberto Ongpin, no one, not even from civil society, countered him, because, people think that he is really brave issuing such statements against a billionaire of questionable character. Tama lang.

Then comes this-- Duterte even reiterated his "hatred" against the proliferation of online gambling. People were surprised why Duterte want online gambling out. Many thought that Duterte was concerned with the immorality of it all.

Then, the truth came out---the reason why Duterte wants online gambling eradicated from the face of this archiepelago is not for anything even near what people thought--it was that Duterte wanted his friend, and some say probable crony, to monopolize this industry! This thing is what gives me the chills and utter disappointment.

Mr. President---a word of caution. Our Lord Jesus Christ once advised the Pharisees and the Sadducees of his time not to condemn a person without first "noticing a timber in their eyes"

I remember former president Joseph Estrada telling the media that life is like a wheel, " one time you're on top, the next, you find yourself down." or his famous "weather-weather lang yan."




Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Duterte's men

A very close Duterte associate was seen with a confidante of an Oligarch last Thursday in posh country club somewhere in the South (to protect my sources, I would not mention any specific places in this blog. Sorry. You may have to discern this blog between the lines. A word of caution--this is simply not intrigue. I am writing this to inform very close associates of Duterte that, this early, several of his appointees are now entering into highly scandalous deals with several individuals).

A source who was in that meeting said that the meeting was set with this associate to ascertain what really was the sentiment of the president when it comes to this oligarch who owns several properties and is very active in government projects. The associate gave an assurance that the oligarch would be spared from Duterte's wrath since " he (oligarch) is a good naman of __________ who obviously is very close to the mayor (Duterte). Of course, all he (oligarch) needs to do is do what is to be asked of him," with the associate smiling broadly.

The confidante then gave several names of PPP's and the associate assured him that 3 out of the 5, they will get. But, of course...

Who is this very close associate of Duterte? Sources say this man has been known as an effective operator of a husband of a former high official. He was once handling the worse facility in the world, and many people were shocked when Duterte appointed him to this post which he has no knowledge of. Who is he?

*********

A big-time businessman with interests in Davao was seen talking with a high ranking PNP official. The source says, the businessman was representing the interests of several businessmen like him who has dealings with the PNP in these posh places. The official reportedly assured the bigshot that his son, together with his son's associates, would not be harmed even if they sell illicit substances. " Anyway," says the official, " what mayor is interested in eradicating is shabu use. Cocaine, being an organic drug, is okey."

Who is this PNP official? And who is this businessman?

**********

Several businessmen with close links with defense contractors are now doing rent-seeking with officials of the AFP and the PNP. These businessmen have padrinos inside the defense establishment. They want to expedite the sale of not just weapons but also gadgets and gears.

**********

A big-time Chinoy contractor is claiming to be extremely close to the mayor. He brags about it in every meeting by this group of contractors. He claims he gives as much as 30% to a close Duterte associate who gives him "insider information" on several projects by the agency he is interested in. He claims he can actually dictate the terms of the contracts and the deals. He also claims that he can expedite processes at the DBM.

Who is this contractor?

***********

A lawyer cum businessman is said to be the "man to go to", if you have a problem with this administration. This businessman, who is based in Cebu, is highly influential daw with the mayor, since he has been the perennial financier of the mayor since he began his career in politics. He is also the one behind the purported continuation of the export of this local fruit to China. He also claims to be highly connected in China, becoming friends with a princeling, a son of a high ranked Chinese Communist party official.

In the past, claims this source, this businessman served as "go-between" the mayor and other businessmen whose interests clashed with that of the Dutertes both in Cebu and Davao.

Who is he?

***********

Unscrupulous individuals with dealings with the DOTC claim that " the agency is open for business" once more, when these people heard of several names mentioned as being appointed to key positions at the agency.

Paging Sec Tugade--attend to this please! Magkakaproblema kayo sir, I assure you.

Ousting Duterte--a possibility

I am truly worried that this continuous misinterpretation of this administration's actions and policies would result to its eventual downfall sometime in the near future. Of course, many say this is extremely impossible to happen since this administration is allied with former president Fidel Ramos. Those whom Ramos supported were severely criticized during their incumbencies yet survived power grab attempts by their political oppositions. Cory survived seven coups launched against it several forces, some allied with the former dictatorship, others launched by nationalist soldiers. The next lady to survive coup attempts was Arroyo. Many say for as long as Ramos supports this administration, Duterte's supporters should not worry.

There are just two things that would surely contribute toward the downfall of this administration: first, widespread talk of abuses committed during this anti-criminality drive being undertaken by the President himself and the revival of talks of graft and corruption committed by those he appointed in highly sensitive posts in government.

This early, the President is getting several flak from several quarters, not just local but has become international, on the way he has conducted his anti-drugs campaign, so far. Most people agree with what is happening yet, are asking him to put some semblance of order in the execution of the PNP mission which is follow due processes in eliminating this drug menace.

Duterte has repeated himself over and over again like a broken record, explaining to the people that these killings are not being tolerated by this administration but are happening at the lowest rungs of Philippine society because he has to destroy the distribution network of these drug syndicates. This is not anti-poor, Duterte defended his men. It just so happens that the network is grassroots based, where poverty thrives. And to prove his point, Duterte has ordered an intensified grassroots based campaign which Senator Ping Lacson, a former PNP chief, describes as a success insofar as police enforcement is concerned.

And it surely is a success so far because of the effective handling of the PNP. What is most disconcerting, nay, disappointing is that the Communications team appointed by Duterte is not at all competent in handling the very sensitive nature of their jobs. The fact is--the very reason why Duterte is being crucified all day long for something as laudable as this anti-drugs campaign is because of the mishandling being done by those men whom he appointed to handle his communications.

What I fear the worse to happen is after the 90-day honeymoon, Duterte would surely be receiving more of this negative talk and the president would probably be just shielding himself or defending himself in an endless cycle of more hateful, acidic and useless acerbic talk that would just fuel more indignation and eventually, would lead to a consolidation of forces even a Ramos cannot control.

Credit that to the amateurish handling of Duterte's communications. The thing here is---no one among his communications handlers know the meaning of revolution.

Anyway, what could probably provide the coup d'grace against Duterte is when his men begin handling highly sensitive tasks such as biddings and procurements--these people, many of whom, were involved in highly scandalous circumstances when they were officials of previous administrations, would again do their "thing". As what a friend said--people don't change.

This early, there are already talks of several of Duterte's men involved in highly scandalous deals with syndicates, those imbedded in the bureaucracy and those outside of it. It would just be a matter of time before these people are exposed---the more juicy thing to know about this is what would a Duterte do in case some of his men are exposed--would he do a Pnoy and defend them whatever happens? Or, castigate them publicly and even execute these unscrupulous persons ?

It would be very interesting how Duterte would handle such situations. And as sure as the sun rises in the East and retires in the West, this will happen.

Most of Duterte's supporters rejoice when surveys show a 91% support behind Duterte. That means, says Panelo, that the people are behind the president.

I would be extremely cautious and worried.

Everyone knows that in politics, it is very hard to maintain such a high survey rating. This means that Duterte has peaked already too soon.  And when someone already hits the big-time at this very early stage, the next thing that is sure to happen is that person's eventual slide to the nether regions. That is universal law--what comes up must come down. And it is just a matter of time.

Marcos family should reconsider plans of burying Ferdie at Libingan

The Marcos family should think twice or even thrice in allowing their deceased relative, the senior Ferdinand, buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The fact is--re-consider this plan very seriously.

Firstly, would they want to see the body of the former president bastardized or vandalized by zealots? It could happen. Of course, this is a remote possibility since the Libingan is a highly secured facility? Really? Not if the attack comes from "on high" or several kilometers away?

Second, yes, Marcos had achieved something like a mythic personality since his interment there in the Ilocos. The Marcos mausoleum in Batac had become something like a shrine, and attracted several tourists, which, through the years, had helped changed the perspectives of several Filipinos who come to the region for relaxation. The mausoleum is now one of the most visited places in the Ilocos.

If it disappears, the memory of the former president would also begin to dissipate, slowly at first then after say six years, it would eventually disappear, like a wafer disolving on water. Without animated talk, myths are often relegated to the back of people's memories.

Besides, will they allow Marcos to be buried alongside other presidents? If I'm asked, I would say no. Why? People would definitely compare his administration with those of his predecessors, and it would be an endless cycle of delicious throw-backs always coupled with nightmare hugots. Right now, apologists of the dictatorship are very active on social media spreading both disinformation and highly contentious talk about their idol. With Marcos buried at the Libingan, people would definitely be discussing real issues and of the truthful things Marcos did when he was still alive.

Will talk about his father help Bongbong's electoral dream to Malacanan in 2022? If Bongbong would just rely on surveys, obviously, the former senator would probably plunge himself headlong again and fail the second time. Why?

Sometimes, surveys do not show emotions or views underneath those survey results. Every pollster knows this--that every single time they go to the field and mine data from Filipinos, they find it difficult to ascertain the "real score" even from a wide field of respondents. That explains why several analysts often give their clients erroneous advice because they often base theirs from surveys which results come from questionable mining of facts.

Again, let me caution the Marcos family from this plan of allowing the burial of the former president at the Libingan. Just heed the advice of several well-meaning friends---just bury the family patriarch beside his loving parents in Ilocos Norte.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Marcos burial is not about a debate on heroes--it is about rights

What law gives the right for former president Ferdinand Marcos to get a burial spot at the Libingan ng mga Bayani? This is Republic Act 289, an old law approved in June 1948. The law mandates the establishment of a "national pantheon" for "presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots of the country."

So, in its face, the law says it is " An Act providing for the construction of a national pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes and Patriots of the country." That pantheon is now called "Libingan ng mga Bayani." Okey, clear.

Section 1 of the said law establishes the rationale behind the law and it is to "perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn, there shall be constructed a National Patheon which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains"

Based on this section, it is clear that the purpose for the construction of the Libingan ng mga Bayani is "perpetuate the memory of ALL presidents, national heroes and patriots" just so to provide "inspiration and emulation" for the present and future generations of Filipinos. Clear.

Notice that there are three groups of people contemplated under this law: first, ALL presidents, second, national heroes and third, patriots.

The law is clear---this site belongs to ALL presidents to perpetuate their memories. It does not say or qualify that a president who robbed this country of billions of pesos, who ordered the summarily killing and incarceration of thousands and who led to the near destruction of the economy, is not fit to be buried there. If we are a law-abiding society, we would allow the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos senior to be buried in a place which he deserves for just being a former elected president.

That's why the discussion about whether or not to bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is faulty at the very beginning because it is irrelevant if Marcos was a hero or a patriot. He deserves to be buried at the Libingan as a matter of right, being a former president of this Republic.

Now, some would say " well, Mr. Rivera, you failed to consider why this Libingan exists in the first place--it is to provide "inspiration and emulation" of this generation and "of generations still unborn". Meaning, Mr. Marcos does not deserve to be there because his life was neither an inspiration nor it was an emulating one.

Well, that argument is again, irrelevant. If we are to follow this logic, then, there is simply no president who deserves to be buried in that burial site.

What's the difference of a Manuel Roxas with that of Marcos? Or an Elpidio Quirino of the Golden arinola fame with those billions reportedly stolen by Marcos, his cronies and family members? Or let's just state those presidents still alive? What's the difference between Marcos and Arroyo? How about Erap and FVR? Nothing, because they all allowed corruption during their administrations.

Fidel Valdez Ramos had his centennial scandal and numerous other corruption scams. Erap had his BW and others which led to his incarceration. Arroyo reportedly dipped her fingers into the PCSO coffers and allowed her cronies to steal and rob public coffers for years, while on the part of Noynoy Aquino and even his deceased mother, Cory, they allowed graft and corruption to rise in their respective administrations.

Admit it--these presidents had their flaws. Don't tell me that the reason why we are opposing the burial of Marcos is because of graft and corruption? As I said, previous presidents had their fair share of stealing from public coffers. Just because Marcos and his family stole billions, we will prevent the rotting and smelly corpse of this man rot in Batac? How about these previous presidents who also stole probably even bigger than Marcos did but are not entirely exposed? Are we telling our kids that hey they are allowed because they were not dictators only big-time thieves during their administrations? What kind of message are we telling our kids? That dictators no, thieves yes?

Someone would definitely argue with me and say, " well, Marcos was both a big-time thief and a dictator, so that's the difference." If that's the argument, then, I'll tell my friend this, " was Arroyo not acting like a dictator when she ruled this country for nine long years? How about Noynoy and FVR? They were dictators acting under a so-called democratic setup, yes?

How about human rights violations, some say--Marcos does not deserve to be buried there because this might erase and even mock the memories of those who died and jailed during his watch.

These people and I myself am included, those who fought this dictatorship deserve nothing more than be declared heroes. They fought for our rights. They fought for freedom and for the restoration of democracy.

Will violating Marcos' rights to be buried in the Libingan mock these heroes? No. The fact is--not allowing Marcos to be buried there will actually lead to a mockery of their memories, because we will just be like Marcos and his family.

If I'm asked---" why do you argue like that when you yourself and your family fought the dictatorship?" My response would be---I fought tyranny and its lackeys and it was nothing personal--just strictly following the dictates of my heart and the call of the times as a citizen.

When these people fought Marcos, they fought not just the person who perpetuated the dictatorship. The fact is--the struggle against Marcos was not about Marcos--but what he represented.

Marcos represented the worse kind of a Filipino. He declared martial rule because he believed then that that was the right thing to do to expose and weaken the aristocracy and the oligarchs of this country. At that moment in our history, that was the right decision.

However, because of his megalomania, Marcos abandoned the revolutionary path and transformed into a hideous monster. He became selfish. He thought of becoming the ultimate oligarch, the supreme Overlord of the big-time thieves and addicts of Power.

For that, Marcos deserves nothing more than our hatred and mockery.

Yet, if we don't recognize his right, we are not better than him. The fact is--we would be like him--a deceiver, a pretender, a plunderer not just of our country's wealth, but of our morals and of our values of being a Filipino.

As I said--when we took to the streets in 1987 and even before it, we were fighting not just a conjugal dictatorship--we were fighting against a concept which we all believed to be contrary to the democracy we so hold dear. And the concept is based on the abolition of collective rights and the perpetuation of strong man rule. We fought Marcos because he abused our human rights.

Now, abusing his right---will that right the wrongs Marcos and his family committed against us?

It would have been different had we changed ourselves right after EDSA uno. Had we launched an authentic revolution back in 1986, my argument would definitely be different. Under a revolutionary government, Marcos would have been declared a counter-revolutionary, the very target of the Revolution; hence, stripping him of this right because, like other laws created before the 1987 Constitution, this law would have been erased, even expunged from our jurisprudence.

The sad fact is--we decided to re-create the very society which we loathe and is the cause of our collective misery. This is what we get when we declared that EDSA Uno was just a "peaceful revolution" when truly, it was nothing more than a transition of power from a dictator to a "liberal democrat."

If we are to stubbornly disallow this Marcos to be buried in a place which he has the right to occupy, then, we are nothing more than those oligarchs, filthy ones, who opposed Marcos just because they want nothing more than perpetuate themselves in power. For change, according to the elites of this country, is always personal.

Burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is not just personal---it is strictly following the law. The fact is---it would actually be better if Marcos is buried there because Filipinos of this generation and of the next, would be reminded of all the nasty, brutal and filthy things he did during his lifetime. He would be forever mocked. Not burying Marcos there would make him a hero and perpetuate a legend because people would still think that Marcos did something right when he was still alive.

Let us expose the Lie by burying Marcos at the Libingan. Actually, let us all allow previous presidents to be buried there to remind us of their failures, their schemes, their thievery, their idiocracy and how they broke their promises to us. Let their burial spots remind us of our stupidity of electing such a person in office. This will surely provide us a valuable lesson on electing buffoons in Malacanan.

Having said this, I will still march this Sunday. I will still go to Luneta. :-)






REPUBLIC ACT NO. 289
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 289 - AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A NATIONAL PANTHEON FOR PRESIDENTS OF THE PHILIPPINES, NATIONAL HEROES AND PATRIOTS OF THE COUNTRY 
Section 1. To perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn, there shall be constructed a National Pantheon which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains.

Sec. 2. There is hereby created a Board on National Pantheon composed of the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Public Works and Communications and the Secretary of Education and two private citizens to be appointed by the President of the Philippines with the consent of the Commission on Appointments which shall have the following duties and functions:

(a) To determine the location of a suitable site for the construction of the said National Pantheon, and to have such site acquired, surveyed and fenced for this purpose and to delimit and set aside a portion thereof wherein shall be interred the remains of all Presidents of the Philippines and another portion wherein the remains of heroes, patriots and other great men of the country shall likewise be interred;

(b) To order and supervise the construction thereon of uniform monuments, mausoleums, or tombs as the Board may deem appropriate;

(c) To cause to be interred therein the mortal remains of all Presidents of the Philippines, the national heroes and patriots;

(d) To order and supervise the construction of a suitable road leading to the said National Pantheon from the nearest national or provincial road; and

(e) To perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

Sec. 3. The sum of one million pesos, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated to meet the initial expenses in carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 4. The Board is authorized to open a popular subscription during a period of time not beyond December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and fifty, to be determined by the Board, in order to raise such additional funds as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. For the purpose of raising such funds by popular subscription, the Board may appoint such committees as may be necessary.

The Board shall cause all the money thus raised by voluntary contribution to be deposited in one of the government depositories or banks in Manila and shall withdraw therefrom such sums as the need for them shall arise.

Sec. 5. The Board is further authorized to appoint an executive secretary, auditor and such other personnel as it may deem necessary and the compensation of which shall be fixed by said Board.

Sec. 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

Approved: June 16, 1948

Martial law on Duterte's mind

Presidential spokespersons are supposed to clarify and explain in full detail what their principal, the President said. Frankly, the two spokespersons assigned by Duterte are failing in their jobs because both Fabella and Panelo probably do not really know the things inside Duterte's insidious mind.

The fact is---I also blame the Presidential Communications head for not doing his job of helping the Mayor-President explain certain things before the media. In their desperation, the agreed strategy of these presidential appointees is simply asked their media allies to appeal to the people to "auto-delete" certain words uttered by the President and just "don't read between the lines."

The problem with this appeal is that, words and opinions uttered by this President are always considered as "policies", because that is really how it should be accepted by the public. There is no other way. The president is head of government; hence, anything that goes out of his mouth, is considered gospel truth as far as official policies are concerned.

Hence, when the President, in one of his speeches, gives a threat of using martial law as one of his options just to guarantee the success of his anti-drugs campaign, there is nothing there which allows an alternate interpretation because the declaration is as clear as day---Duterte is thinking of declaring martial law if all other options fail.

Besides, there is basis to believe that this martial rule thing is always at the back of Duterte's mind. During the presidential campaign, Duterte has always used the martial law card as something like a trump card. He flashes it as if it is just a piece of candy.

Duterte's cavalier regard for strong-man rule is something which spoils people's expectations and possibly trust in him.

Manny Mogato, a veteran journalist, is the first one to posit an opinion that there is probably some truth behind the recent pronouncement made by Duterte regarding Martial rule. Mogato noticed that Duterte is going around military camps, and for Mogato, what's the reason for these visits? Is Duterte consolidating his forces for an eventual declaration of martial rule?

Not so fast, says Fabella. What Duterte threatened to do was just part of a rhetorical question, and the fact is,  Duterte has given his assurance that he would work for the success of the anti-drug campaign and other reforms, within the framework of the 1987 Constitution.

But of course, Atty Sal Panelo, who is Duterte's presidential legal adviser, such an option is available for the president " if public safety requires is", says the flamboyant lawyer of the Ampatuans. "Under the 1987 Constitution," Panelo says, " the President is empowered to declare martial rule in cases where there is invasion or rebellion or when the public safety requires it." This is where I admire lawyers such as Panelo--they probably think they have the power of interpreting the Charter the way it suits them.

Ask any law student and it is very clear that there are only two prerequisites for the declaration of martial law---first, invasion of a foreign force and second, rebellion. Rebellion here may also mean coup d'etat. Panelo even cautioned former Senate president Drilon for "strictly construing the Constitution", saying that interpreting this provision of the Charter may likewise be undertaken "not literally but in an in-depth manner." Again, this is another "admirable" trait of Panelo--he now knows how the Supreme Court thinks when Constitutional matters are concerned. Panelo thinks that the Constitutional framers meant three things when they created this provision.

Of course, Panelo would surely declare innocence the moment someone points to him that in Constitutional questions, the Supreme Court construe provisions of the Charter "literally" when it comes to the Charter. " When provisions of the law are clear, there is no other way but to interpret it n a literal manner."

Panelo probably feels that declaring martial law is an easy thing to do.

Well, for me, just try it and let's see what the people would do shortly after.

These people really think that they have what it takes to survive another people's revolt--they have this false belief that since Duterte's ratings are high, they now have enough ammunition to do whatever they want and even force things before the people.

Just try.




Friday, August 5, 2016

Some questions on Duterte's war against drugs

These questions are bugging me since this campaign against criminality began. Deep within me, I feel that Duterte is doing the right thing, and since this is a "war", not merely a campaign, as what Duterte already described it is, there are victors and losers. What we don't know is how many are being caught in the crossfire? How many innocents have died along with the sinners or violators?

We don't know exactly because most of those killed belong to the poorest of the poor--those who do not have the monies to express themselves or those too poor to even think of getting justice from our courts. It would be extremely difficult to coax these victims to talk out of fear that policemen would just gun them down and cut them to pieces.

How many have been victimized by anti-drug elements--those who belong to rich families but are involved in the business of drug pushing? Extortion--how many cases are there? We surely don't know as yet because no one would dignify such questions and no one would posit some answers.

I remember the times when an NBI agent by the name of Martin Soriano preyed on rich drug pushers or drug pushers born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. Soriano's reputation was legendary--he raid their homes and force these rich kids to cough up thousands even millions of pesos with one promise--he would never arrest them if they give him what he wants--protection money.

How many cases are there now? We don't know.

Dont get me wrong--I am not casting aspersions to this anti-drug war. It is just that, in every war, there is always, always some cases of corruption, here and there. It happens--even at the most innocent of situations. When we dismiss these, we are being untrue to ourselves.