Politikal Pinoy’s Open Letter To TIME Magazine

IMG_0127Dear Time Magazine:

You can’t have it both ways: conduct an online poll then cast doubt on the results just because they are not what you expected.

Perhaps you have already decided who will be included in Time’s 2017 Most Influential People in the World. You may even have inadvertently given away your choices with this collage of photos you published.

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While you are asking your readers to weigh in, you yourselves said that the ultimate decision rests with your editors. So why bother asking?

Oh that’s right. You need to drive people to your site or solicit subscriptions to your magazine, not to mention advertisements to help you recover from your sagging popularity. And credibility.

When your writer Mahika Gajanan implied in her article that President Rodrigo Duterte may have used social media, i.e., your online poll, to promote his agenda or paid people to push him to popularity online, she did not insult our president. Rather, she insulted the Filipino people.

If only Gajanan did her homework — as is expected of journalists working for such a prestigious magazine like yours — then she would have known that almost 9 out of 10 Filipinos support Duterte, including those who did not vote for him.

Duterte does not need to pay anyone to vote for him in your poll. In fact, he does not have any ambition to be on your list. He does not care about world popularity, otherwise he would be traversing the continents making nice with leaders and mouthing some sweet talk.

Filipinos number 100 million in a world population of more than 7 BILLION! To imply that Filipinos alone can influence the outcome of your online poll would be to say that they are an indispensable segment of your readership. That, or your poll is skewed in the first place.

Well, I have some news for you. Most Filipinos don’t even read or follow Time Magazine..

But one thing is also sure: Duterte is No. 1. Even without you poll.

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Leni’s Foreign Sources

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When you are the Vice President of a country and your source of information and “facts” are foreign organizations like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, something definitely doesn’t add up.

By now, you must have seen Leni Robredo’s video message to a United Nations conference wherein she said that there have been more than 7,000 victims of summary executions since the administration’s war on drugs.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has corrected Robredo’s figures, saying that there is a recorded 6,011 cases of homicide but only 1,398 are drug-related.

Robredo only stated facts in UN video, says her spokesperson.

Later, in a radio interview, she tried some damage control by saying that she never said the 7,000 executions were drug-related.

Then again, under pressure and criticism, Robredo mantained that she only based her figures from the reports of international agencies such as the Human Rights Watch and the Amnesty International.

Robredo mantained that she only based her figures from the reports of international agencies such as the Human Rights Watch and the Amnesty International. She also said that the figures from the PNP are inconsistent, causing confusion. – Rappler.com

Stop right there, Ms. Robredo. You are the second highest official of the land, and your source of data are reports from foreign agencies?  Are you that inutile and so far detached from your own government that you can’t even get official data from within?

How dare you use false and misleading figures to attack your own government! Are you that desperate to take down the Duterte administration that you would sell your own country  to gain international attention?

You even said that the official figures from the PNP are “inconsistent” and “confusing.”  Or is it you Madam that is confusing fact from fiction, at the expense of the Filipino people and the democratically-elected government?

No Politician Is — Or Should Be — Above The Law

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The arrest on Friday of Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president and its first leader impeached and removed from office,  should send a clear message that no politician is above the law. She was arrested on charges including bribery, extortion and abuse of power.

In neighboring Philippines, the incarceration of top politicians is not an unfamiliar scene. Two ex-presidents and four sitting senators have had the same fate as the South Korean leader. Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jr, Jinggoy Estrada and Leila De Lima have been put behind bars or under hospital arrest for criminal offenses ranging from plunder to drug trafficking. (Enrile and Arroyo have since been released.)

The arrest of these politicians — although a slow process at times — is proof that in a country where government corruption is almost tolerated, there is still hope that those who hold power can be made accountable for their actions. Just like the ordinary man on the street.

But Politikal Pinoy asks: Why have these charges and arrests not become a deterrent to many more politicians and government officials who continue to betray the public trust and their oath to uphold the law?

Why does it have to take a city mayor-turned-president to single-handedly wage a no-nonsense war against corruption?

Has being above the law become an expectation, even part of the job description, of elected and appointive office in government?

In the bill approved by Congress seeking to reinstate the death penalty in the Philippines, is it any wonder that plunder has been removed from the equation? Is it too harsh a punishment for elected leaders who steal from the nation and the people that put them in office? (Politikal Pinoy Is Against Death Penalty. READ)

RECALL ELECTION

Is it time for the Philippines to consider instituting a “Recall Election?”

Recall is the power of the voters to remove elected officials before their terms expire. It has been a fundamental part of the U.S. governmental system since 1911 and has been used by voters to express their dissatisfaction with their elected representatives.

Why wait for the slow judicial process to be completed when technically, it is the people that put these politicians in office? So shouldn’t the people have that same power to remove erring officials?  Why let these crooked politicians continue in office while cases against them are formally filed?

Is it time to take people power away from the streets and into the ballot box?

In the meantime, once elected officials are formally charged and arrested, shouldn’t they cease performing official duties from inside the jail cell?

Lying Leni

One cannot defend a lie with another lie. That’s what Vice President Leni Robredo did during an interview on ABS-CBN’s DZMM radio.

In that interview, Robredo said she did not tell a United Nations body that the government’s anti-crime drive had claimed the lives of 7,000 drug suspects.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa had accused Robredo of giving an inaccurate report in her video message to the UN.

“Wala akong sinabi doon na iyun ang drug-related. Ang sinabi ko lang ay from the time na ni-launch ang anti-drug war, nagkaroon na tayo ng 7,000 summary executions,” Robredo said.
(I did not say that they were drug-related. What I said was, from the time the anti-drug war was launched, there were 7,000 summary executions.)

But a review of that controversial video message to the UN shows otherwise. We’ll let our readers make their own conclusions.

Beginning at 00:50, Robredo prefaced her mention of the 7,000 summary executions by saying, “the body count due to drug-related killings keeps growing.”

EU Delegation Office In Manila Responds To Politikal Pinoy’s Question On The European Parliament’s Resolutions On The Philippines

Last week, Politikal Pinoy posted an article asking the question on who drafted or authored the European Parliament’s resolutions demanding the release of Senator Leila De Lima and criticizing the alleged extra-judicial killings under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

We promised to post in full their response, if the issued one.

Here it is:

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Politikal Pinoy still thinks that the EU Delegation to the Philippines somehow had an input in the resolutions, as were members of the Opposition.

We take the response with a grain of salt.

The ‘Exoneration’ Of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

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Time photo

Rappler, New York Times, Time Magazine, Leni Robredo, Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Jim Paredes. I could go on and on.  They all sang in a chorus proclaiming to the world that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was a murderer and was responsible for the alleged extra-judicial killings (EJK) reported in connection with  the administration’s war on drugs.

Nevermind that they didn’t have any evidence for their accusation. Hell, the bigger the number they peddled — 7,000 and counting — the better for their ratings and their quest for the spotlight.

It was an Opera of cinematic proportions:  a state-sponsored killing spree by an administration that had no regard for the rule of law.

Even international organizations like the United Nations and the European Parliament got hooked on this elaborate piece of fairy tale.

Well, the curtains are about to fall, but not after a grand finale that leaves the cast of characters in shock, disappointment, and tragic shame.

The plot goes the opposite direction, thanks to a courageous diva who sings the truth and nothing but the truth — none other that Gwen Pimentel-Gana, Commissioner of the Philippine Commission of Human Rights.

State-sponsored EJKs?  No proof whatsoever.

Gana said there was no official policy ordering the Philippine National Police to kill suspected drug pushers and users.

“We never said that it was state-sponsored at all.” (Although they never said it wasn’t state-sponsored either.)

“There is no such finding that we can conclude that way. But what we can say is that the killings are still continuing and in an apparent vigilante manner [by] unknown assailants, so this is a police matter and they should be attending to this right away,” she said.

I can only imagine the cast of characters turning blue in the face. Now their credibility has just sunk.

Will they take back their lies?  Admit to their incompetence?

Fair. Balanced. Truthful.  These are qualities that none of the cast of characters possess.  They are villains in this Opera.  Villains with a lost cause.

What was the Opera again that ended in “Harakiri?” Not that we’re suggesting that the cast kill themselves. Extra-judicially.

Duterte’s Opinion Does Not Matter

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Now, now. Before all you pro-Duterte friends and followers start sending me hate mail, please read on.  I assure you it gets better than my title.

When I first heard President Rodrigo Duterte say that he recognizes the rule of law, I believed him.  I still do.

He says a lot of things that upset people, but in most cases, he is just expressing his opinion and his opinion is not necessarily the law.

When he publicly gave the go-signal for the burial of Ferdinand E. Marcos in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, he was merely verbalizing his personal thoughts.  He left it to the Philippine Supreme Court to make the final determination — which it did — and that led to the former strongman being finally laid to rest under the ground.

When he appointed Perfecto Yasay as his foreign secretary, of course he was of the opinion that the now ex-Cabinet official was best fit for the job.  Unfortunately, questions and ultimately, admmission regarding his U.S. citizenship cost him his confirmation by the independent Commission on Appointments.  Duterte did abide by the Commission’s decision. He really didn’t have a choice.

Amid the strong clamor for the impeachment of Vice President Leni Robredo which reached its boiling point with the recent treacherous video she sent to a U.N. Conference on Human Rights, Duterte has asked that all concerned back off and put aside the impeachment complaints. (One impeachment case has already been filed by the attorney for the Marcos family, Oliver Lozano, while another case is being readied by a group of lawyers and academics.)

But then again, Duterte’s call is his opinion.  It is not really up to him whether the impeachment cases will proceed or not.

The cases are in accordance with the Constitution, and the appropriate Constitutional body that will decide on impeachment is the Legislative branch of government.  It is the House of Representatives that will initiate the impeachment proceedings, and it is the Senate that will act as the jury for the impeachment trial.

As far as Politikal Pinoy is concerned, Duterte is not a dictator.  He cannot dictate what happens with the impeachment cases against Robredo.

But we respect his opinion, and as elected president of this country, that’s as far as he can go regarding this issue.

 

Dishonorable VP, Senators

Sometimes, we don’t need the eloquence of those in the media or social media to open the eyes of our Honorable Vice President and Senators to what they are really doing to our beloved country.

This exchange between Senator Risa Hontiveros and an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) Luwalhati says it all — from the heart, from the trenches, from the real world.

“How can we be honorable when we malign our own community, our own people?”

The truth out there is so different from the lies being peddled by our supposedly “Honorable” public officials like Leni Robredo, Hontiveros and others.

These officials are not only speaking inside a bubble, but are destroying the dignity and independence of all Filipinos before the international community.

https://mobile.twitter.com/MochaUson/status/845687960855031808/video/1

More Bad News For Filipinos Wishing To Visit The U.S.

img_9497No one knows exactly how many undocumented Filipinos are currently in the U.S., but there are media reports that an estimated 300,000 are included in the Trump administration’s current deportation list. Whether these are Pinoys who have overstayed their visas, committed crimes, or both, remain unclear.

But it is not only undocumented Filipinos that could face the consequences of the tough anti-immigrant policies of Trump.  Those in line for approval of their immigrant petitions can expect to add more years, if not decades to their waiting game.  Also, those who have been, or planning on visiting U.S.-based relatives may soon experience increased challenges.

As many Filipinos can attest, seeking tourist or immigrant visas to the U.S. is just like going through the eye of a needle. Denials and more delays can only be expected.

The New York Times reports that the Trump administration is making it tougher for millions of visitors to enter the United States by demanding new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travelers and relatives of American residents.

Diplomatic cables sent last week from Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to all American embassies instructed consular officials to broadly increase scrutiny. It was the first evidence of the “extreme vetting” Mr. Trump promised during the presidential campaign.

And while initially, the tough travel restrictions have been focused on Muslim countries and those with reported links to terrorist activities (read: Abu Sayyaf), it is not a remote possibility that more stringent vetting will face citizens of countries with huge numbers of visa applicants. Like the Philippines.

In a previous post, Politikal Pinoy suggested that it was perhaps time for the Philippines to pursue a truly ‘reciprocal’ immigration policy with the United States  whereby U.S. citizens will now be required to secure a travel visa when visiting the country.

This new pronouncement from the Trump administration could only support our view.

Politikal Pinoy Asks: Who Authored The European Union Parliament’s Anti-PH Resolutions?

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Things don’t happen in a vacuum. Not even in the European Parliament (EU Parliament.)

When a bill is filed in any Legislature, or when a Resolution is presented before any group or body, it is usually signed by the proponent. At the very least, the author’s name is rightfully acknowledged.

I’ve tried hard to research who authored two resolutions recently approved by the EU Parliament demanding Philippine Senator Leila De Lima’s release, and criticizing the alleged extrajudicial killings (EJK) in the country. I was unsuccessful.

So for purposes of transparency, Politikal Pinoy is asking: who authored or drafted the resolutions?

It is hard to believe that the entire EU Parliament — made up of 751 members (MEPs) in the 28-member states of the Union — is well informed or well versed on what’s happening in the Philippines.

The Philippines is not a member of the EU, and other than a “kumbaya” type of diplomatic/trade relationship and a chunk of “development aid” being dangled before our faces, the Filipinos stand to benefit little from this Western partnership. It will augur well for our country to focus on more mutually-beneficial relationships with countries in our Asia Pacific Region which is poised to become a block more powerful than countries in the West.

So back to the question on who drafted or authored the EU resolutions?

We do not have Philippine representatives or delegates to the Parliament. But we do have an EU Delegation to the Philippines, one of 140 diplomatic missions that represent the EU across the globe.

The delegation aims to strengthen EU-Philippine relations in particular through:
* Promoting strong economic and trade ties
* Developing EU-Philippines dialogue through the recently-signed Partnership and Cooperation Agreement
* Supporting the Government in its peace efforts in Mindanao
* Working with the Philippines’ Administration to reach the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The Delegation was officially opened on 15 May 1991 following the influx of official development assistance to the country after democracy was restored under the Aquino administration in 1986.

Since then, the Delegation has essentially been the information nerve centre in the Philippines, keeping EU headquarters in Brussels aware of local developments and serving as the natural point of contact between EU and Philippine officials.

Let me repeat that: “…information nerve centre in the Philippines, keeping EU headquarters in Brussels aware of local developments…”

So, it wouldn’t be entirely off base for me to suspect that the draft of the resolutions originated from Manila, specifically the diplomatic office of the EU.

If this were the case, the EU diplomatic office has betrayed the Filipino people by peddling the same lies and misinformation that the critics of the Duterte administration have been spreading here and abroad, aided and abetted by the biased and incompetent news media.

But my bigger question is, were there Filipinos who were involved in the draft preparation of the EU resolutions? Filipinos as in the Opposition in our government. Filipinos and Filipino groups as in those who have been vocal against EJKs or the war on drugs. Filipino groups as in those peddling a misdirected campaign on human rights. Filipinos living abroad who use their money to influence our country’s internal affairs. Filipinos as in those behind bars or are threatened to be behind bars because of criminal charges.

Given this faux diplomatic partnership between EU and the Philippines, and with the threat of pulling development aid and trade endorsements, is it time to close the EU Mission in Manila?

This is by no means an accusation as much as it is a question.

Politikal Pinoy wants some answers. NO, the Filipino people want answers!

At the very least, the EU Mission should come clean before the Filipino people.

NOTE:  This morning, 3/24, I sent an email to the EU delegation office in the Philippines seeking a response to this article, in the interest of fairness and accuracy.  I am committed to printing their response in this blog.  Stay tuned!