President Duterte’s Approval Rating Is Better Than Many Influential World Leaders

61D9095D-6A2F-47B1-8097-5B3AED244B36Because of the overwhelming interest in my previous post on the approval ratings of influential world leaders, I have taken the time to update the figures based on latest surveys available from reliable news sources.

Please note that many polling groups conduct surveys, so there would always be differences in figures. Numbers also depend on when the surveys were conducted.

D85588F7-B9D6-414E-AA58-3670909D12EAPollsters also use different terminology and methodology. Duterte’s 48 percent is NET rating, meaning the number of those who disapprove is deducted from the number of those who approve. Other surveys simply report actual numbers of those who approve and disapprove.

HAVING SAID THAT, it is a fact that DU30 remains ahead in the ratings among many world leaders, including those of the U.S., Britain, France and Japan, among others.

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Malacañang Statement On Drug-Related Killings And EJKs

IMG_5516The Executive shares the expressed concern of the Senate on the recent spate of drug-related deaths and similarly condemns extrajudicial killings.

But we need to clarify again that extrajudicial killings, or EJKs, are not State-sanctioned. There are no State-sponsored killings in the Philippines, a conclusion made by the Senate committees on justice and human rights, on public order and illegal drugs which previously conducted investigations on EJKs.

There is relentless effort on the part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to carry out their operations properly and within legal processes.

The same police operations, heavily criticized by some quarters, saw the voluntary surrender of 1,308,078 drug users; the arrest of 107, 156 drug personalities; the rescue of 578 minors; and the seizure of 2,465.65 kilos of shabu worth 12.7 billion pesos, as of August 29, 2017 – facts overlooked by our critics.

While the President is harsh against those involved in illegal drugs, he is equally appalled by misdemeanors of police scalawags. We thus welcome the Senate’s investigations and inquiries on erring police personnel as a manifestation of a freely functioning and democratic State mechanism.

The President remains firm on the need to cleanse the police of its misfits, especially those responsible for these violations. More than 1,900 drug-related investigations of allegations against law enforcement officials have been carried out between July 1, 2016 and June 15, 2017 by the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS). Of this total, 1,045 cases have moved to the administrative proceedings stage and 159 law enforcement officials face dismissal from service, with many others undergoing pre-charge investigations or summary hearings.

These erring persons in uniform do not have a place in a State organization which is a human rights duty-bearer, with a primary role to protect the right to life, liberty, and property of the people by way of an effective anti-illegal drug campaign.

Why The Adoption Of The Philippines’ Universal Periodic Report (On Human Rights) Is A Victory

IMG_5160.PNGYesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the Philippines’ Universal Periodic Report (UPR) which, in simple terms, is a report on the country’s human rights record.

The Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the adoption, while — as expected — the media spinned the news to fit their bias against the Duterte administration.

Those who are familiar with the UPR process know that it includes statements and recommendations from member-states, as well as statements and responses from the country being “audited.”

All eyes were focused on the outcome of the UPR in the light of allegations about extrajudicial killings (EJK) in connection with the government’s war on drugs.

Anti-Duterte elements had hoped for a stinging rebuke and censure on the alleged EJKs in the Philippines.

But the Philippine delegation to the Council — while giving first-hand information on government efforts to promote the human rights of Filipinos — disputed and rejected accusations of summary killings which we can only assume were based on hearsay perpetuated by the biased local and international media.

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Al Hussein

Earlier, both Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano and Deputy Permanent Representative Philippine Mission to United Nations Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva Maria Teresa Almojuela hit United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein for having severely mischaracterized the situation in the Philippines in his report to the Human Rights Council.

“The Philippines has provided the Human Rights Council with all the facts regarding the campaign against illegal drugs in our report to the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in May 2017,” Secretary Cayetano said.

“The Commissioner’s report would have been balanced and accurate had he considered the information that we provided, instead of just relying on uncorroborated information,” he added. “The Philippines has actively participated in the Universal Periodic Review process, and was one of the first countries to undergo the review in 2008, having championed the establishment of the UPR process under the UN Human Rights Council Mechanism.”

The news media can twist and turn yesterday’s development at the Council, but there is no denying that indeed, the Philippines can rightly claim victory for having undergone this process with flying colors, but above all — for showing to the Filipinos and the international community — that the country cannot and will not be ruled by foreign states constantly trying to undermine its independence.

And while we’re at it, kudos to the Philippine delegation for putting the icing on the cake when, just before the Council voted on the UPR, it announced that a bill was just passed outlawing anti-LGBT discrimination, and that the day before, President Duterte had declared a National Day of Protest.

Human Rights, you say?

In the end, what matters most is what Filipinos see and experience in their own country, not the tinted vision of the international community.

The Truth Behind CHR’s P1,000 Budget For 2018

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Here’s  the reality about the Commission on Human Rights budget.

The P1,000 approved by the House is not the final CHR budget for 2018. The Senate has approved a P678 Million budget for CHR.

A Bicameral committee of both the House and Senate will reconcile their differences and come to a compromise agreement.

So, here’s my proposal:

Let’s the take the mean between the House and Senate numbers (Add the two figures together and divide it by 2.)

P678 Million plus P1,000 divided by 2.

So that’s half of the CHR budget approved by the Senate.

Granting President Duterte will approve the Bicamercal budget proposal for CHR, then CHR must cut everything in half: the salary of Commission Chair Chito Gascon, the number of CHR commissioners, the number of staff and their salaries and benefits, travel, media budget, etc.

That would be greatly detrimental to the already dismal performance and accomplishments of CHR, which would then justify its abolition.

But why wait? Abolish CHR NOW! Save the taxpayers’ money!

Mocha Uson’s Video That Went Awry

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It was supposed to be a video that would show the bravery of the Commander-in-Chief, personally visiting his soldiers and police in war-torn Marawi City.

The video, posted on Mocha Uson’s blog, had an aura of a Hollywood movie, complete with “Jaws”-like musical score. Some called it “melodramatic.”

It showed President Duterte in full military gear and weapon, along with his Special Assistant Bong Go.

Not a just a few souls questioned the need for Duterte and Go to don protective helmets, bullet-proof (we assume) clothing and ammunition (which we hope Go would know how to fire, just in case.)

But many argue that the president was in a war zone, where snipers could easily take him or his team out.  And that is the truth, and we accept that argument.

But the war zone argument quickly fails as the video shows Mocha Uson — supposedly walking the streets of war-torn Marawi — without any protective helmet or bullet-proof attire.  Very Hollywoodish super-heroine genre. Unless, of course, the video was somehow spliced together, but we’ll give the video our benefit of the doubt.

Uson, Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), was doing her job to cover the president’s visit with his military and police.

When journalists are imbedded with the military and ride or move along with military men and women in a combat zone, they, too, wear protective helmets and bullet-proof attire.

So we don’t understand what the video showed of ASEC Uson: open to unfriendly fire…

What Is Relevant In A News Report?

Among the many things that I learned from being executive director of the San Francisco-based Asian American Journalists Association for almost ten years is the issue of what’s relevant and what’s not in a news report or coverage.

The race or ethnicity of a person is relevant only when describing a crime suspect that’s at-large, or if the news story has implications of, say, discrimination based on skin color, or immigration status.  But even such guidelines are not set in stone.  Each news story is different from another.

So when I read this photo caption about Kian Loyd Delos Santos from an ABS-CBN news story, I cringed:

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“A student from a Catholic school.”

The caption implies that just because Kian attended a Catholic school, the killing is somewhat uncalled for — unlike when a student is from a public, non-sectarian school?

Does this mean that students from a Catholic school will never ever be involved in any wrongdoing or violation of the law? (This is just a rhetorical question and is not a judgment on the guilt or innocence of Kian).

It’s just like saying that a Catholic priest will never be involved in the sexual abuse of a child, just because…

The bottom line is that the ABS-CBN News caption is pure and simple: BIASED.

 

We Need To Hear Directly From President Duterte On Kian’s Death

IMG_3777.PNGPhilippine National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa has vowed to probe the death of 17-year-old Kian  Lloyd Delos Santos in the recent drug operations in Caloocan City.  That’s great, but not good enough.

Politikal Pinoy is not in a position to judge the facts of the incident. That’s up to investigators. Regardless, we need to hear directly from President Duterte.

Just like we invoked command responsibility in the Mamasapano massacre during NoyNoy Aquino’s time, we need to do the same for Duterte. After all, this is his war on drugs.

It’s time that the president abandon his constant rhetoric about fully supporting his police officers involved in the war on drugs.  He needs to qualify that rhetoric by categorically stating that any police action resulting in the death or injury of innocent citizens will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

Duterte owes this to the Filipinos, critics and supporters alike.

Moreover, he owes this to Kian and his family.

We would even go as far as to suggest that Duterte make this statement in a visit to Kian’s wake.

MMDA’s Bus Terminal Closure Order Is Anti-Commuter!

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TEN bus terminals along EDSA have been ordered closed after their buses were found to have violated the “nose in, nose out” policy and other traffic infractions, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday.

Jojo Garcia, MMDA chief of staff, identified the affected bus terminals as:

1. DLTB Bus
2. Lucena Lines
3. Raymond Transportation
4. Saint Rafael Transport Lines
5. Our Lady of Salvacion Bus Line,
6. JAM Liner
7. Superlines Transport
8. Victory Liner
9. Dimple Star Transport
10. Roro Bus Transport

In all irony, Garcia said this would not affect commuters because these same transport buses would still be allowed to ply their routes even with their terminals’ closed.

“Wala naman siguro apekto yan (to commuters). Ang isasara naman natin mga terminals lang. Pwede naman silang dumaan ng Edsa. Hindi natin gagalawin ang biyahe ng pragkisa nila,” Garcia said.

SAY WHAT???

How can MMDA say that the closure order will not have any effect on commuters, especially those who rely on the buses for their out of town trips?

If the terminals are closed, where are the passengers supposed to board their buses?  Will the buses now then pick up passengers at street corners along their designated routes? Wouldn’t that be in direct contradiction to MMDA’s goal of easing traffic along EDSA with their nose-in, nose-out policy?

Politikal Pinoy understands that the laws must be enforced,  but punishment and penalty must be meted out such that they don’t inconvenience the very same people (commuters) that the laws are trying to protect.

How about hefty administrative or penalty fees for the violating bus companies, without leaving the commuters at a total loss on where to take their buses for their trips?

Where is MMDA’s common sense?

 

Senator Risa Hontiveros: A Dose Of Her Own Medicine?

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First, let us get this out of the way: we are not saying that any person should be found guilty just by mere association. There has to be more convincing and proven fact that would link anyone to a crime or illegal act — beyond reasonable doubt, as judges and lawyers like to say.

However, we can’t help but be amazed at how certain things that a person says or does circle back in a manner that speaks of the cliche, ‘a dose of one’s own medicine.’

One person we have in mind is Senator Risa Hontiveros, known to be a mouthpiece of one of the factions opposed to Rodrigo Duterte.

On several occasions, Hontiveros used her bully pulpit to condemn Rodrigo Duterte for his public comment on rape and his war on drugs which the senator labeled as a “deadly failure.”

But when a person she is associated with — not be chance but by choice — is the subject of alleged criminal acts that Hontiveros has openly talked about, then she loses her credibility as well as her integrity to comment on both the war on drugs and rape.

Businessman and alleged Customs “middleman” Kenneth Dong was arrested on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in connection with a rape case. He is the same Dong who is now the subject of a Senate investigation on a P6.2 million shabu shipment from China.

“The 33-year-old Dong found fortune and connections by selling industrial weighing scales. He then opened a construction business, and now owns a luxury club in Cebu.
He was a campaign donor to Senators Risa Hontiveros and Joel Villanueva in the last two elections.

Statements of Contributions and Expenditures show Dong donated P3 million and P5 million in 2013 and 2016 respectively for Hontiveros. He also contributed P3 million to the then-TESDA chief in 2016.

Then, for some interesting turn of events, Hontiveros and Villanueva, along with other politicians, became Dong’s wedding sponsors.

In a recent television interview, Hontiveros described her connection with Dong as “not deep.”  Whatever that means.

The fact remains that her association with Dong renders the lady senator void of the moral ascendancy to continue to criticize the president on the two issues.

It would be wise for Hontiveros to recuse herself for now until Dong’s guilt or innocence is decided in a court of law.

 

As Expected, Supreme Court Rules Against Leni Robredo’s Supporters

IMG_3549Several weeks ago, Politikal Pinoy asked a rhetorical question: Is Piso Para sa Laban ni Leni in violation of the Philippine Constitution? 

We knew what the answer was.  Even a non-lawyer would know.

It is clearly in violation of Republic Act No. 6713 which establishes a code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees to uphold the time-honored principle of public office being a public trust. It also lists prohibited acts and transactions pertaining to elected or appointed public officials.

Section 7 of the Act lists, among others, the following prohibition:

(d) Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. – Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.

The key words here are “directly or indirectly.” Some Leni supporters had argued that because they were not giving money directly to Leni, it would not violate the law.  They were clearly wrong, and the Supreme Court has just issued a ruling confirming what we thought all along.

Of course, as expected, Leni’s supporters are appealing the ruling.  They surely need some good advice on how to use their resources wisely.  It’s just a waste of time.  Or perhaps, a calculated delaying tactic?

Let the electoral protest process proceed, so that we can put this circus behind us — regardless of its outcome.