Saturday, May 27, 2017

Calida's dreams: Calida must be a sympathizer of ISIS

I don't know what Solicitor General Calida's pre-law course is, but surely, it is not political science. Because if it is, then, Calida's Polsci professor must be a moron. And if it is not, then, I have to call the attention of his Constitutional 1 professor who erroneously taught him about the state.

The fact is---international analysts around the world must have been laughing hard and some probably even threw tomatoes at Calida's pimpled face. He is the only one around the world who actually gave legal importance on ISIS. Calida's view that the ISIS is a legitimate state is one of the dumbest and most stupid statements ever coming from a government official.

May I ask Attorney Calida where he got the idea that ISIS is a fully recognized state? Or probably Calida is a secret sympathizer of ISIS, alongside his boss, that's why he thinks that ISIS is a state, and most likely, another government similar to the Philippines. Because the last time that I heard, the allied forces together with the Arab coalition has since erased ISIS control over several true states, including Syria and Iraq.

Or probably, Calida might have gotten the idea from reading several ISIS propaganda materials, which claims that ISIS is indeed exercising full sovereign control over certain territories of the known world. And Calida is fully convinced that indeed, ISIS is a rogue state.

For those who don't know, a state is a concept. For a territory to be considered a state it must have: first, a constituency, a group of people who recognize and are willingly subservient to or have since given their loyalty to the ones claiming to have a state. Calida must have thought that since ISIS is capable of waging a protracted war against the state, there must be millions of ISIS sympathizers out there who also consider themselves citizens of ISIS.

Two, a state must have a territory which it exercises full control over. Yes, ISIS did occupied several towns and areas which were previously towns and cities of Iraq and Syria. And Calida might have considered these areas as legitimate territories under ISIS.

Third, Government. Ah, yes, ISIS has a government of its own because right now, those occupied territories are since been using ISIS flags as symbol of their state.

Fourth, sovereignty. The ISIS has a government which fully asserts its sovereignty over occupied territories. The thing is, this so-called government is now unable to fully exercise the use of Force into its claimed territories because the ISIS has since been nearly wiped out by the coalition forces.

At the very least, says the New York times, ISIL is transforming into a proto-state, still not a fully functioning state recognized internationally. This is the purview of the New York Times last 2015. Two years had past, and the ISIS is no longer asserting itself amongs the people living in those occupied territories.

The whole international community still considers ISIL as a terrorist organisation, not a state.

Implications of Calida's pronouncement

Remember that rebellion and invasion are political crimes. They are acts which the offender or perpetuator undertakes in pursuit of a political agenda. Under our laws, the punishment for rebellion or invasion is life imprisonment.

For rebellion to be proved, there must be an intent expressed publicly, to occupy government installations and see to it that the act disrupts governmental functions.

The Palace says, there is a willful intent to subvert the sovereignty of the Philippine Government when the Maute Group members occupied several buildings and raised the ISIS flag.

Calida says that what is happening in Marawi has "transmorgrified" from just rebellious acts of local terror groups into an "invasion."

His pieces of evidence? Corpses of foreigners killed, identified as Malaysians, Indonesians and a Singaporean. And of course, when the terror groups raised the ISIS flag in several portions of Marawi city.

Okey. For Calida, those are overt acts of invasion. Are these so-called "pieces of evidence" sufficient to qualify Maute's actions as "invasion"?

No.

First, there should be an investigation how these foreigners were killed. For one, the AFP knows that there are several hundreds of foreigners living in Marawi. Are they now considered Maute members just because their corpses were among the dead? How were they killed? Were they in possession of firearms and were fighting government troops?

And evenif they were foreign fighters, do they represent ISIS? What is the proof?

Let us then consider they really are ISIS members---again, we go back to our initial rebuke of Calida--is ISIS a government, even a state at all? No. The international community considers ISIS as an international terrorist organisation, not a state.

Then our imaginary DDS member would say, eh, they raised the ISIS flag.

Do you see the flag of Japan and the United States in several places in Malate? How about if I raise the flag of ISIS infront of my house, does that mean invasion or rebellion? No.

Such flimsy excuse that these terrorists have raised the ISIS flag and therefore, that is already a sign of an invasion is stupid.

Are there evidence that these terrorists have already supplanted local authorities in Marawi? None. The mayor remained and is still in control of Marawi, thereupon, belying the palace yarn that there is an attempt at supplanting the sovereignty of the Philippine Government over Marawi.

Yan na nga ba ang sinasabi ko. Masyadong kabado ang mga taga administrasyon. Former senator Rene Saguisag is right---this declaration just shows the weakness of Mr. Duterte.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Martial law in Mindanao--a test case?

Is Duterte trying to find out how big or how huge the opposition is on martial law, that's why he is implementing a calibrated martial rule? Why is it that Duterte is really itching to declare martial rule?

Some believe that martial rule is an effective diversion from the worsening state of living in the Philippines. Inspite of recent pronouncements made by the Finance secretary that the economy is still growing better than China, people are experiencing a different thing. There is still no indication whatsover that economic gains made by this economy are trickling down to the basic sectors of society.

Others say, martial rule foils public vigilance against corruption. Martial rule will serve as an effective muffle to hide the nefarious activities being undertaken by Duterte's close associates, particularly his fraternity brothers. We all knew what happened at the Bureau of Immigration. This is reportedly happening a hundred fold in different agencies of government right now. Duterte is trying to curb it but most of his appointees are simply too thick skinned, too brazen and too proud to heed their frat brother's appeal not to toy with public funds particularly infrastructure projects. These corrupt men are now salivating how to apportion the infra pie among themselves and this can't be done with a vigilant media and citizenry still doing their jobs under a democratic setup.

Those who still oppose martial rule are doing so because of assurances that martial rule right now is a totally different animal. Wrong presumption.

Under martial law, the government can still cause the closure of firms, companies and arrest individuals upon suspicion of involvement with anti-government forces. Meaning, everyone is fair game. 

Martial law can also be used by nefarious government elements to pressure individuals or firms to fork out monies or curry support. Close associates of the President can even use this to pressure their economic or business competitors to back down from a bidding or a deal, lest be included in the list of " persons of interest".

Why Mindanao?

And since the rest of the country is under relative stability and peace, Duterte can't justify the proclamation of martial law and it is but rational for him to do so in Mindanao where so-called terrorist groups exist.

The thing is--this proclamation is downright a joke because we are talking about a 100 or so armed men. Are we telling the world that our military and police forces are soooo weak, it needs for the national government to declare martial rule just to annihilate them and their network? Is good intelligence work not enough to defeat a group of rag-tag youngsters and Islamic scholars who mostly spend their time inside mosques?  Government is 100 times superior than this group, what with our professional soldiers who are well equipped and well trained to handle such malevolent elements.

It seems though that the real target is NOT just these "ISIS-inspired" terror groups. There are strong indications that the real target are existing CPP-NPA-NDF units scattered throughout the archiepelago. 

Of course, Duterte already made assurances that this is simply not so. Yet, his declaration that the scope of territories will expand to include the Visayas AND Luzon betrays his true intention. 

It is simply UNTHINKABLE at this point for us to consider the possibility that this Maute Group is a sophisticated organisation that the group has already widen its network to include adherents from other areas like Visayas and Luzon. 

Everyone knows within the AFP and the PNP that even though the Maute had now linked itself with the ASG, their strength is too weak, its scope too limited and their influence outside their own turf is practically very small. 

Don't tell me that the AFP right now is simply INCAPABLE of limiting the movements of these groups and that their intelligence capabilities are ineffective?

Anyway, I think Duterte made a big tactical blunder when he made this proclamation and even chose Mindanao as his laboratory. 

People who oppose martial rule is maintaining such a position because these people know that when government imposes military rule there, it would simply not work and it would even prod other non-Maute groups to assume defensive postures.

The fact is---Duterte's declaration actually coincides with the playbook of these terrorists--these terrorists want nothing more than create a destabilized environment to heighten recruitment efforts. 

We all know that most Muslim Filipinos based in Mindanao have maintained their traditional distrust with the military due to their bad experience with the military during the Marcos years. And some or even most military elements share the same mistrust with Muslims in Mindanao. With just one false move on the side of the military, that would spark a very serious action which would precipitate a bigger war.

Faced with two options: siding with the military or duly constituted authorities or going to their fellow Muslims fighting the military, most Muslim Filipinos would chose the latter. 

Will this martial law creep into Visayas and Luzon? Of course it will. While I'm writing this, the AFP has raised their alert status to Red particularly in the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions. This is already an indication that state security forces are now preparing to implement martial law even in these areas. The minute they enter CPP-NPA-NDF controlled territories, expect a series of firefights which will be used by Duterte to justify the imposition of martial law even in Luzon.




Why Duterte wants Martial Rule?

Why is President Duterte, described by Senator Antonio Trillanes as " itching" to declare martial law, so damned convinced on declaring martial law?

Sources close to the Chief Executive said that this idea has already occupied the Chief Executive's mind  after consulting with close friends a few days after being declared by COMELEC as winner of the 2016 presidential elections. One source says Mr. Duterte knows that his management style would surely not work inside Malacanan for one reason---Duterte is an action man. He's not a philosophical leader. He's a go-go man. For twenty three years, Duterte personally attended the needs of his constituency in Davao and he gets what he wants. Higher authorities have given him the resources to do what he wants in that city. No one dare question his authority since he keeps a secret armed group with him. Those unfamiliar with things are in this side of the world, keeping a private army is one of the prerequisites if you decide to jump into the political pond. No one wins or survives Mindanao politics without using or keeping arms.

Duterte is also a man of his word. He keeps his promises. During the 2016 elections, Duterte threw so many promises that the old man is worried that he will fail in most of what he promised in his first year. And yes, Duterte is surely bound to fail.

His anti-drug campaign is now compromised, thanks to high officials of the national police who earns millions from protecting Filipino, Chinese, Brazilian and Indian financiers of drug syndicates. A source told me that "it is business as usual." While the PNP undertakes an internal cleansing, drug syndicates continue manufacturing and supplying kilos upon kilos of shabu and distributing it to their local networks. The fact is--shabu prices have now "stabilized" and went back to their pre-2016 prices.

There is likewise, a breakdown of law and order as former drug addicts go into other less lucrative businesses. Kidnappings are on the rise. Pickpocketing and other small crimes rose.

Duterte vowed to annihilate the oligarchs yet not one is behind bars. No one from Duterte's allies filed charges against oligarchs identified by the President. The fact is, again basing on sources, the oligarchs do not fear Duterte. They have secured a stable line to the President courtesy of Mr. Bong Go and even Medialdea and Dominguez.

The fact is, Duterte has formed his own group of oligarchs, mainly business associates of his political backers from the South. As what has been feared by several groups since the beginning, Duterte is now being taken cared of by a small group of carpet baggers who are representing several business interests. These people are suggesting and are pushing for the declaration of martial rule for several reasons:

1. First, a country under martial law will neutralize members of civil society and those from the business community. Dissent will go down. Without dissent, these people will now freely do what they want since they will be answerable to Duterte only. And Duterte, being sick and his focus is on lessening the criminality rate, is not expected to do anything against these people for fear of getting booted out from office, similar to what happened with Erap in 2001.

2. Second, martial law should be declared prior to the SONA or the State of the Nation Address. Duterte will use the platform to ask Congress to extend further the declaration of martial law for about a year and to include Luzon and the Visayas.  Since his anti-drugs campaign failed, Duterte will trumpet his success in neutralizing the Maute Group which attacked Marawi City. Every single analyst in the AFP know that it is very easy to neutralize the group since this is being well taken cared of by a political clique composed of local politicians. These politicians intend to enter into a political concession with the Duterte administration. The minute these people get what they want, they will then kill all high-ranking members of the Maute Group, which includes several foreign ISIS fighters who were lured into it due to propaganda.

Why declare prior to SONA?

Duterte and his close advisers are on a state of paranoia--they believe their own yarn that a group is out to oust Mr. Duterte from power. Some close to Duterte believes that these destabilizers or coup plotters are out to get him before he delivers the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Others think that Duterte is now convinced that it is time to use extreme measures to effect the changes he wants done before he steps down from office. Duterte supporters have proposed the establishment of a Revolutionary Government, but since this is extra-constitutional, the idea was scuttled.

They are now experimenting with martial law. And I agree with what Joma said---Duterte is playing with fire.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Newsflash!Politicians and drug lords behind Maute Group attack in Marawi City

Though the threat of ISIS is a real and legitimate concern, based on what my foreign sources say, what prompted the merger of several ISIS sympathizers within the Abu Sayyaf group and the Maute local group.

Defeated politicians in connivance with big time drug lords in Lanao del Sur are the ones providing financial assistance as well as firepower to local terrorists from the Maute-ASG-and ASK group who staged the recent attack at Marawi City. The attack is not ISIS but only ISIS-inspired and is really not an attack to challenge the national government. Rather, it was a revenge attack against the incumbent mayor of Marawi by a group of local politicians who lost the 2016 elections. 

A source says the Maute Group is being financed and maintained by defeated politicians based at Marawi City. The source says defeated mayoral candidate Omar Solitario of Marawi,  Fahad Pre Salic who ran and lost the gubernatorial race during the 2016 elections and Arafat Umpar Salic, another defeated vice mayoral candidate are reportedly the financiers of the Maute Group.

The source also claims that Solitario-Salic clique is being financed by several drug lords who operate in Lanao del Sur.

Fahad "Pre" Salic is husband of Rasmia who is the sister of Farhana Maute, mother of the Maute brothers. Salic is a brother of Omar Solitario Ali. They provide the Maute Group arms, vehicles and financial assistance.

Sources say the Maute Group members do not know that the ones financing them are connected with big-time drug lords who aligned with the Pre Salic-Solitario-Arafat group. Armed men from the Omar Solitario Ali group reportedly joined the Maute Group.

Close sources within Marawi claim that the attack in Marawi is the handiwork of the PreSalic-Solitario-Arafat group as an act of revenge against Mayor Majul Gandamra and his associates. In the past 2016 elections, this Pre Salic-Solitario-Arafat Group reportedly asked for former candidate and now President Duterte's support,  but was refused.

The Marawi city attack was reportedly planned at Basak Malutlut and Bangon, known lairs of the Pre Salic-Solitario-Arafat group. The source claims the reason why MSU was not attacked and was spared by the Maute Group was that the Pre Salic-Solitario-Arafat Group maintains business interests in the area.

The Salic-Solitario-Arafat group reportedly vowed to destroy Marawi if they lose the elections.




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mocha Uson as Assistant Press Secretary

The highly public uproar against the appointment of Mocha Uson as Assistant Press secretary just reflects how, even in the Digital age, our Country is still clearly divided along socio-economic and cultural lines.

There is really a cultural divide--the first halve belongs to those whose consciousness is urbane while the other, those whose consciousness is clearly formed by their direct experience living in the rustic and backwaters of even urban cities. There are people who belong to the "urbanidad" and tries to compare our mores with those of the West while the other, those who are outside the "urbanidad" sphere and who have formed their own interpretation of Reality based on their collective experiences.

Mocha is being judged by her past, a past which is clearly not acceptable to most people. There are people who are opposing her appointment based on clear cut standards like her previous involvement in Communications-related disciplines, like journalism, perhaps.

Let's fuse together these two concepts and assess whether Mocha Uson truly deserves the post she was appointed.

Many people think that government positions should not be treated as sinicures. For many, government appointments are serious ones. Government is tasked with forming policies which impacts not just the lives of the present, but even in the future. And by the very oath which these appointees bound themselves with, their allegiance is with the Filipino People, not with the appointive Power. Meaning, those appointees owe their positions to those who appointed them, the minute they serve government, they now are entrusted with the full resources of government by the people. The people expect these people not to toy with their monies--they expect them to do their best for the welfare of the Filipino People--their true masters.

Having said this, what now was the basis of President Duterte for appointing Mocha Uson? Let's analyze.

1. Uson's appointment is Communications-related. Mocha finished a nursing degree. BY profession, Mocha is a singer-dancer. Okey, Uson probably got some Communications-related courses when she was still studying nursing at the University of Santo Tomas.

Or, just maybe our dearly beloved president thought that the Communications office is very ill, and it needs a nurse. So, Mr. Duterte wants nothing more than give Mr. Martin Andanar and Mr. Abella some nursing care courtesy of Mocha Uson.

2. Mocha Uson has 3 million online followers. As a veteran of PR, this figure should be checked. How many of these 3 million are bots? We don't know. Everyone knows that online figures can be manipulated, the very same way, numbers of cellphone users can. Do you know there are about 80 million Filipinos using phones? Our population is about 101 million. About 75% are between the ages of 18-45 years old. Or just place it at 50 million registered voters. About 30 million more Filipinos own two or more phones.

Anyway, this is probably one of the President's reasons for appointing Mocha Uson. Undeniably, she is a popular online personality. The problem is, Communication involves traditional and outdoor media. Uson once accused media outlets of being biased and of being "Presstitutes."

Now, she is expected to deal with these "presstitutes" and the country expects her to communicate what is currently happening in our government. Now, how would Mocha Uson accomplish her tasks without directly dealing with these "presstitutes" as what she described the working media sector before? How then? If Uson then now uses traditional media, which she accused of being biased, how sure is she that the information she now gives thru traditional media will turn out as unbiased?

I dare our dear Asst secretary not to deal with the "presstitutes". Probably invent other platforms where she can deal with?

3. Mocha is being accused of being a purveyor of false information. The reason they are false information is these information does not reflect reality and are figments of someone's wild imagination. There are many instances where Uson did just that.

Now that she is now an official of the government, Uson has all the resources she needs to populate our public sphere with information from her imaginative mind. Do we need such a person this time? Yes. Why? Well, a Mocha Uson could easily twist figures to say there are no extra judicial killings in our society, that tourists are still safe to go to the Philippines and enjoy their vacation, that Filipinos are not experiencing economic hardships and many Filipinos are smiling every time they receive their electricity and water bills.

It's called "re-imagination." Being a former sex therapist, Mocha's imagination is what this administration needs in order to arrest the declining trust of the people behind Duterte. For this reason alone, Uson deserves the post.




Friday, May 5, 2017

Regine Velasquez slays it with the song " Araw-Gabi"

This is the time for reflection for every Filipino out there who hoped and thought that changes would happen during this madman's rule. Slowly and surely, God is unravelling things before us, lifting the veil that once covered our eyes with the realities of our choice.

Every Filipino loves this country so much. Hindi ba nila maintindihan na ang gusto lamang natin ay matinong pamumuno? Napaka simpleng bagay pero hindi kayang ibigay?

Anyway, I hope you guys will love this song, as I did.

Don't cry--God will never leave us Filipinos

For those who are now getting frustrated with what is currently happening in our country, of how we are getting very close to the precipice inspite of many saying we are "getting there" in terms of economic growth, be comforted by the fact that God loves us and will never leave us.

This is one of my favorite songs. Written and sung by Sugarfree, Gary Valenciano made this song exceptionally better by rendering an operadic version of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjvDbiE8MGg

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Impeachment against Duterte and Ms. Lopez's rejection as DENR secretary

Okey, so there are just four progressives left serving the Duterte Cabinet: Judy Taguiwalo, Rafael Mariano, Liza Masa and Terry Ridon. With the rejection of Gina Lopez, traditional forces unleashed by bureaucrat capitalists and hawks within the government have drawn first blood. And not only these forces are deathly serious of ridding Duterte of his soul--even this administration's political nemesis is likewise conspiring to eliminate those who give this administration some semblance of legitimacy as a "transformational" government.

Who benefitted from the rejection of Ms. Lopez? It is actually the enemies of Mr. Duterte. Duterte lost his poster girl for the environment, a subject which is dear to the middle class. Lopez is successful of further popularising the environmentalist platform that the topic appeals to a cross-section of our population that people perceive it as a non-political issue. Now, it has become political, with people blaming Congress of rejecting someone whom they believe is one of five people perceived to be worthy of serving the citizenry.

Many believe that by getting rid of Ms. Lopez, they will be alienating this government from the middle class. Of course, there is still a remedy to this--a win-win solution.

Many of those in the know are puzzled why Duterte distanced himself from Ms. Lopez and began hitting ABS-CBN, the company of the former DENR secretary. Weeks before May 3, talks are rife that certain big-time miners have reached the ears of the President. Frankly, these miners have legitimate concerns. Most of them were given the boot without the benefit of a further review of the audit reports. And Ms. Lopez herself gave them the license of going to the President for appeal, so these miners are not to be faulted at all--they just exercised their legitimate right to appeal their case before Mr. Duterte.

Now--were there talks of deals or favors? How about political exchanges? Probably none. Duterte will not be caught with his pants down.

I think the rejection of Ms. Lopez was not just a win of Big Business over the environment---it happened in the midst of a possible political maelstrom. Duterte is being pestered by an impeachment complaint filed before the House. Those wily enough probably used this as a political bait to at least convince the President not to interfere with the process of the CA.

Thus, this was a perfect timing for those who want the head of Ms. Lopez--they caught this administration at its vulnerable moment. Everyone knows Mr. Duterte's ratings are going south. The middle class is the only one which remains unperturbed by serious political issues hounding this administration, and those who want nothing more than see Mr. Duterte leave office would surely try to convert this class as an oppositionist one. And there are also that case before the ICC and an impeachment filed before the House.

I will not be surprised if any day before the SONA, this impeachment complaint, inspite of its legitimate concerns, will be rendered "without form or substance" by members of Congress. Or, will we be surprised later on?

Things are getting really interesting.

Why Gina Lopez lost the battle against the Big Boys

I never doubted even for a minute the thought of Ms. Gina Lopez getting the boot from members of the Commission on Appointments (CA). Those close to her were so confident that the DENR secretary would eventually get the nod that their brassness made them put their guard down. Those who know how things work out in this side of the world knows that public adulation does not necessarily translate into power. Oh no.

The Powers here are thick skinned. They are proud. They think of themselves as demigods. And they know how to play the game, and the game has always been transactional. Those close to her believe that members of the House would not dare "cross the line" so to speak by issuing a rejection. A rejection is a political risk for these politicians. These advisers think that by transforming Gina into a "rock star", that would insulate her from the harpoons thrown at her by the Big Boys of the mining industry who she engaged early on in her administration. They thought wrong.

Gina and her advisers forgot to do their assignments. They suddenly forgot how to count. Confirmation is the way of the Big Boys to influence governmental policy-making. The reason why big businessmen always get their way is thru this process of confirming what the president designated in various posts. Democrats say this is a way of maintaining political equilibrium but thru the years, this power of the CA has always been an occasion where Big Business interests fuse theirs with traditional political powers.

Gina did not give those who support her enough ammunition to counter lobby from the mining industry. She even fumbled when she let fly baseless accusations that some CA members got grease monies. That further prevented her from possibly converting those who really don't know her because at the onset of the fight, Gina was advised to draw first blood. That was very stupid.

Instead of communicating with those who oppose her for "business reasons", Gina's advisers told her to undertake a war which was impossible for her to win. The industry opposes such a person like Gina heading the DENR because they think of her as an extremist. Why they counseled Gina to immediately engage the industry into a brutal battle early on is a great mystery to me. Either they are so stupid or they simply don't know what they are up against, or so proud that, they think Gina has established a Teflon-like personality that she is beyond reproach.

As I shared this thought with one of her close-ins, for Gina to get that nod, she needs to show those outside the DENR that she's a player, that she is not your usual dye in the wool type of people who act like demagogues. What is being questioned about her is her way of managing things and the way she decides. Everyone knows her passion for the environment, but the post which Duterte gave her was not your usual NGO post, oh no. DENR is a regulatory agency of government. It was established based on what the Constitution wants and that is, to balance the interests of the State with those of environmentalists. The State has to produce metals to allow it to progress unto the next economic stage, and without mining, it would be extremely hard to industrialize.

Gina thought that the DENR is an environmentalist platform. It is not. As secretary of the DENR, one has to balance between two concepts: conservation and development. You can't just run around and kill businesses just because you saw a dirty pond. As head of this agency, you are expected to encourage companies to be responsible in mining natural resources with the most minimal of disruption of the environment.

Since Day One, Gina thought that she can only be an environmentalist, and not a developmental leader. She meant business and it got the public's approbation. People love fighters and Gina is one. The only thing is, Gina forgot that she is not doing these things just to shore up public support for an eventual dig at an elected post. Or, did she?

Mining firms here count to two hundred or so. Gina targetted those operating in the Caraga region, and failed to explain why those mines which violated environmental laws were not included in the popular target list which she announced in public. She chose 22 firms while forgetting others which committed more grievous sins during the Aquino administration. Such arbitrary decision-making betrays her rather amateur view about her job.

Yes, people admire Gina's passion. Yes, Gina is true to her Cause. There is nothing wrong with appointing such a person like Gina Lopez in the DENR post.

Eventually, I think what did her in is her impatience. Gina wants to do the things she wants to do immediately, like how a typical cono girl wants nothing more than get that chocolate bar from her rich father. What I don't understand was Gina's strategy of disrupting the mining industry early on when she can very well do just that after she gets the nod first from the representatives of the Big Boys sitting as members of the Commission on Appointments. Her impatience became a Damocles sword hanging above her head.

Now, the Nation lost a fine advocate for the environment. Yes, we can always blame members of the Commission for this. Yes, business interests won this battle. If you think about it quite hard, Gina and her handlers are to blame for this debacle. Gina and her team have the entire six years before them, but they probably thought or had harbored an impression that they would really not last the whole stretch of the game, and instead of playing it safe, they played very dangerous games. And it boomeranged.

This is a lesson for those who want change in government---play the game first while you are strengthening your support bases. When you think you have enough, and you have outclassed the enemy, then, begin the true fight. This system is a big syndicate of a louse. For change agents to really effect transformation, the fastest route is thru a genuine revolution. Playing the game of the Big Boys in the hopes of changing things is a stupid use of one's time. Better to sharpen one's sword than wait for these Big Boys to understand where you are coming from.

Friday, April 28, 2017

1984 and how we are being enslaved by Populist Promises

His voice thundered. He cursed the Oligarchs while keeping some unto himself as friends. I am not referring to a living personality. I am talking about Adolf Hitler.

I just finished reading Mein Kampf, Hitler's popular autobiography, and if I remember correctly, this is my fifth time. Hitler lived a very interesting life. From relative obscurity to global popularity to eventually, killing himself out of his self-demagoguery.

Hitler's no buffoon mind you. He was a son of a government official. He was an educated man, yet due to some unfortunate circumstances, Hitler suffered. For five years, Hitler lived in the streets of Austria as a struggling artist. He went into the military and from there, discovered his profession.

Hitler associated himself with German intellectuals and in no time at all, found himself leading a movement of change. Yes, Hitler was a change agent. Back then, those Germans who found Hitler as their champion, wanted nothing more than change their country for the better. They meant well. Who, in his right mind, would ever think of destroying one's country?

When Hitler got arrested and thrown into prison for staging a failed putsch, he got himself a writer and wrote his thoughts into a book. If you read the Mein Kampf, it was not as intellectually stimulating as, say reading Marx, Hegels, Kant or as highly entertaining as Marquez, etal but for the Germans, that book became their bible because it bared truths about their existence. It explains in very simplistic terms the dynamics of German politics, how the country was under the capitalist control of the Jews and how foreign powers were keeping German's greatness in check. Hitler painted Germany as a country enslaved by the faults of its past Leaders, yet, still possesses the right qualities to even conquer the world.

That book paved the way for Hitler to ascend the highest position of Power. His eventual ascension as Chancellor and eventually, Head of the third Reich was to some, the end result of a systematic manipulation of German nationalism. Others however, blame the geopolitics of the time. Back then, leaders of the Free World only thought of Hitler as an ordinary chap, a politician like other German politicos. Six years later, with almost five million dead and billions of dollars worth of damage to the global community, did these leaders realized how wrong they were when they underestimated a Hitler.

Is it correct to say that Hitler was the German people's curse? Not exactly. Hitler might have been perceived correctly by his own people back at the time as their savior. Honestly, we can't blame the Germans for believing Hitler. Back at the time, Hitler exactly wrote and precisely told the Germans the truth about their existence. The fault of Hitler was he led his country to the extreme, a path which only idiots and psychotics dare to tread. Had Hitler concentrated on just making Germany a prosperous country and stayed his hand against Germany's traditional enemies, history would have been kinder. That is simply the genetic fault of many Dictators-- they die by their own hand. When you give immense powers to just one man, that man will eventually consider himself as God, and his subsequent actions eventually lead him to perdition. Hitler was simply not the first of these kinds of men. Napoleon, Nero and even King Solomon suffered from the same disease of megalomania. And these men will simply not stop increasing. Expect to see these kinds of men in every generation. It is simply up to that generation if they have the collective will enough to disengage themselves from the spell and spiel of these megalomaniacs.

It's 2017 and we are facing a phenomenal shift towards populism. Many countries, not just in the Philippines, are seeing their democracies crumble under the weight of populist strong man ideas. With surveys showing how high people's frustrations are against their governments and their duty constituted authorities, politicians are pandering on popular sentiments. And the people show their appreciation thru the ballots without even thinking if that's the right thing or not. People are like consumers--they simply care for themselves.

Blame the global financial crisis for this. It created a world-wide environment of uncertainty. People react by expressing anxieties. Worse, adherents of populism tried to rationalize their actions by discrediting democratic pillars like the media, obviously promoting more confusion and more obfuscation of reality.

As people scratch their way out of the economic rut, they become susceptible to first aid talk. Most people became gullible and exploitable by sweet talking demagogues who assume the people's language while hiding their true agendum. By the time these people wake up, they are already under the spell of devious Enchanters who are themselves, oppressors, but now, people's champions.

Read 1984 by George Orwell and that book remains relevant up to this day because it exactly describes what peoples around the world are suffering from--they suffer from false belief aided by mass consumption of fantastic promises of salvation against almost any conceivable problem.

Our world right now is how the producers of Matrix envisioned the future world. Populism enabled the peoples of the world to think everything is secure and normal when the Truth is, they are being sucked dry by aliens who rely on humans for their sustenance and as energy sources.

This is our world. This is our Now. It is up to us if we decide to struggle and wake ourselves up and fight the scourge of philistinism which is slowly affecting our world.




From Dictatorship to Democracy and back again?

While I sit here inside my room at the foothills of Antipolo, I ponder the current situation of my country. Is my country really slipping back to the dark era, where a few men who think themselves as demigods rule this country based only on their whims and caprice? Are we going back to a time when  it matters who you know instead of what you know?

When we raise ourselves up 31 years ago, I thought back then that historic act punctuated the idea that Strongman rule is better than democracy. The shift from One to the rule of the People is but an ideal during those 14 years under Mr. Marcos. When February of 1986 came, that ideal became a reality but no one thought that merging that ideal with the existing bureaucracy is entirely not as easy as previously thought. Democracy and idol worship in the bureaucracy are two opposing forces, highly impossible to fuse together.

We learned that vestiges of the discredited Idea remained very much ingrained into the bureaucratic culture that those who serve the people are themselves promoters of philistinistic practices. Since 1986, those promoted to positions of authority were worshipped as idols by members of the bureaucracy who stayed in government yet did not outgrow the values promoted by the dictatorship during its time. Yes, political power shifted at the highest levels of government yet changes never happened at ground level. There was never a shift to a democratic mindset, as the bureaucracy stayed true to the widely accepted belief that the head of department is Lord.

Let's admit it---we haven't really professionalized our bureaucracy and the practices of patronage remain there, deeply rooted as organisational culture. Patronage then transformed the bureaucracy into one big syndicate now under the hold and influence of forces against change.

When well-meaning people join the bureaucracy and introduce fresh, even revolutionary ideas, the bureaucracy reacts by ignoring it or simply throwing that idea into the wastebasket. Why? Because the very laws that allow the bureacratic wheel to turn are deficient if not outright laws that promote philistinism itself. The bureaucracy has survived many administrations without changing itself because there is simply no honest to goodness effort at promoting professionalism in the ranks.

Worse, the absence of a roadmap at the highest levels compound this. The bureaucracy is totally dependent on political powers that politics change as swiftly as how the wind blows. Former president Joseph Estrada aptly describes everything that happens in government like how we describe Philippine weather--frickle minded.

We did not weaken the Presidency--throughout the years, we even strengthened it. Unto the hands of a strong President lies the fate of our democracy. And we are now wide-eyed seeing these things happening and most of us are confused and bewildered because we never expected that our wrongful decisions and acts of the past are now affecting our Current, and possibly, even our Future.

Fukuyama says that we must learn from the lessons of the past, yet we are a stubborn people that we simply forget the past for us to cope with the irrationality of the Present.

Now, our institutions are slowly crumbling, even disappearing. One man threatens our media institutions and wants nothing more than all institutions all dancing to the tune he wants everyone to dance to.

Slowly, our voices are being stifled, all in the name of Populism, with everyone under a mesmerizing spell that no singular power can ever counter the Popular Leader who wants everyone to follow him to the Unknown.

I beheld the Inang Bayan and she is like a chaste woman slowly being disrobed against her very will. She is waiting for a gallant champion but her sons and daughters are no more, under the bewitching spell of the Enchanter who regales the crowd with his sweet talk of salvation against crime, against poverty and against the rule of the Powerful while the Enchanter himself is friend of the Powers who want nothing more than declare themselves gods before the people.

Thirty years ago, these very same scenes provoked a people to anger. Now, these despicable things are happening right before their very eyes, but the crowd seemed too glad, and even clapped to the delight of the Enchanter.

I am getting a sense that we Filipinos are willing slaves, and we are masochists--ever happy of inflicting more harm upon ourselves than hope for a better life.

Blame those who piped themselves to Power, promising the people that they would lead the country towards a more improved life and a moral order only to utterly frustrate the people when their nakedness appeared before the people.

Blame those who thought of themselves as revolutionaries only to change into savage monsters hungry for power and money. These scums still walk in our streets and being feted nicely by the people with sampaguitas and what have yous, when all they are are parasites that feed upon the hard-earned monies of the People.

Do we wait for God to punish us, sinful Filipinos?





Secret jails for Filipino drug suspects and Possible Reinstatement for Arrested "Druggie" Cop

The discovery of a secret jail cell for alleged drug-related suspects in Tondo Manila reminds one of the notorious secret stockades and jails during the Marcos martial law regime.

A report by the Philippine Inquirer probably shocked many Filipinos, but to some of us who survived the Marcos dictatorship era, that secret cell housing 12 crime suspects at Raxabago station's drug enforcement unit in Tondo Manila, is not entirely novel idea. During Martial law, thousands were incarcerated in secret stockades and jails by the Philippine Constabulary who was back then, served as the police forces of Mr. Marcos. During those darkest hours, rich people arrested for drug offenses enjoy the air-conditioned offices of police officers while many poor folks were herded like pigs to dirty little rooms where these people were kept. Inside these so-called jails, people report being subjected to tortures, rapes and other despicable horrors.

It is therefore, revolting to know that such practices of jailing suspects still exists, after 30 years of so-called "democracy" under this neo-liberal environment. Lawyers of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) even discovered that cops are involved in extortion activities. Those jailed were reportedly, drug pushers who are being milked by the cops and being held under duress or under threat of filing charges against them.

The station commander denied keeping these suspects as "milking cows" but why keep these people separate from the prisoner population? What made them so special? PNP Chief General Bato dela Rosa should investigate this before this boils over.

While economically challenged drug dependents and suspects are sweating it out inside secret cells fit for animals, the police colonel caught in a drug session with a long-time drug pusher inside a shanty in Taguig is now working for his reinstatement as head of the PNP crime laboratory in Alabang.

Arrested PNP Superintendent Lito Cabamongan appeared before PNP Crime Lab chief Director Aurelio Trampe Jr asking for his job back. In an interview, Trampe made this statement:

“He’s requesting to go back sa Crime Lab. Sabi ko, ayusin muna ang kanyang criminal and administrative cases bago namin siya tulungan. Marami siyang anak na kailangan pa ng suporta at supported siya ng pamilya niya,” Trampe said.

What does this mean? When a cop is caught using shabu and even is being accused of selling them, he is free to get his job back? And his superior, Director Trampe, is willing to help him? I thought this administration is tough on drug offenders regardless of rank, race or affinity to the "Powers"?

Unlike those jailed in that secret cell in Tondo, Cabamongan was found positive of illegal drug use by the very same man, Trampe, who now is open to helping Cabamongan for as long as this cop "fixes" (ayusin) his criminal and administrative cases? Seriously sirs?

Even Trampe says the findings about Cabamongan shows that his underling suffers from psychosis or behavioural disorder due to drug use, which are grounds for termination, according to the PNP rule book. Hence, it would have been impossible if not improbable for Cabamongan to regain his past stature as an officer of the nation's police force.

I promised myself that I will refrain from commenting negatively on this war against drugs but these things are revolting to say the least. I am beginning to agree with what Amnesty International (AI) wrote about this drug war being waged against the poor right now by the Duterte administration:

"The Philippine government needs to urgently adopt a different approach to drugs and criminality, one which promotes, respects and fulfils the human rights of all concerned. Police and judicial authorities should ensure accountability for any unlawful killing by police officers or unknown armed persons, promptly, impartially and efficiently investigating allegations and prosecuting those involved. The impunity that currently reigns has facilitated killing on a massive scale, hitting the poorest and most marginalized segments of the population in particular."