Once In A While, The New York Times Speaks The Truth

IMG_0948Once in a while, you catch a culprit through his or her own mouth, or in this case, in its own newspaper.

Finally, here’s an article from the Pulitzer Prize-winning publication acknowledging that the Philippine situation it has been highly critical of is not the doing of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, but his predecessor, NoyNoy Aquino.

We end our post right here and let NYT speak for itself.

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I Have Some Questions For The New York Times

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Congratulations to The New York Times for winning a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography, feature writing and international reporting. Your Daniel Berehulak won for a searing photo essay titled “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals” that supposedly provided a haunting portrait of a violent drug crackdown in the Philippines.

I also congratulate you for your opinion pieces in recent days asking the world to condemn President Rodrigo Duterte and painting the Philippines’ judicial system as an “Injustice System.” (I wonder how ours compares to the U.S. “Justice System.”)

You certainly are a master of  dramatic reporting, always looking for suspected criminals and their families that you claim to be the victims of what you insist is a state-sponsored extra-judicial campaign under the  war on drugs.

But I often wonder why as a respected publication that’s supposed to be a beacon of fair, accurate and balanced reporting, I haven’t seen you do stories or editorials on behalf of the victims of drugs addicts or drug lords?

Why do you not do stories of Filipinos like this innocent 11-year-old girl who was held captive by a drug addict with a knife pointed to her heart?

Why are stories of women and children raped and murdered by drug addicts missing in your reporting?

Where are the stories of Filipino families broken apart because of drug use by one or several of its members?

Or are you just inadvertently missing out  on more possible Pulitzer Prizes for your great newspaper?

Rappler’s Pia Ranada Is Living Proof That President Duterte Is Not A Dictator

Among those still hanging on to the idea that Rappler is a legitimate, truthful and unbiased news outlet,  it is common knowledge that Pia Ranada is one of its “star reporters” covering President Duterte.

Ranada is known for her leading questions during the president’s press conferences or ambush interviews.  Not that there’s anything wrong with probing questions.  In fact, that’s a quality of a good reporter.

But we also know that Duterte is no ordinary interviewee.  He is not beholden to the kind of diplomacy most politicians — including presidents (well, maybe not US President Trump) — display during public encounters with the press.

This “love-hate” relationship between Duterte and Ranada has seen the two challenging each other and engaging in impromptu debate (like in the video above.)

But if there is one thing that Filipinos and the rest of the world can learn from the constant back-and-forth between Duterte and Ranada is that unlike the accusations hurled against the president, he is definitely not a dictator.

Despite his controversial rhetoric and frequent use of hyperbole, despite his public condemnations of news media like ABS-CBN and the Inquirer, despite his snark remarks hurled at Ranada, he understands the true meaning of freedom, especially everyone’s constitutional right to free speech.

One of Duterte’s now famous quotes is: “I may not agree to what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.”

At the very least, the news media should be thankful they can still practice their chosen profession without any fear of suppression or retaliation.

 

Let The World Condemn The New York Times

IMG_0867In what seemed like a paid ad or an infomercial, the Editorial Board of The New York Times called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the world to condemn Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

And the basis for this editorial? A 77-page letter submitted by a Filipino lawyer to the ICC asking the international body to charge Duterte with “crimes against humanity.”

By publishing this opinion piece in the name of its Editorial Board, The New York Times just sank into a new low of hypocrisy and a betrayal of the tenets of sound journalism.

The piece could have been written by a high school senior for all we know.  It is touted as an opinion but when one dissects the editorial, it is nothing but woven snippets of biased news reports and re-statement of misinformation culled from other sources.

Whatever happened to the American principle of “innocent until proven guilty?” Has NYT assumed a new role of judicial court, handing down a conviction based on unreliable sources and perjured witnesses?

Does the NYT Editorial Board even know, or did basic research on, what it would take for the ICC to even consider a case or complaint brought to its attention?  It was quick to make a mountain out of a mole by singing praise for a letter penned by a lawyer who does not even have the standing to file a complaint before the ICC, and who is probably motivated by personal ambitions of international fame. Either that, or this lawyer is probably a paid instrument of elements out to destroy the popular president.

Has NYT been paid to publish this editorial? Well, to be fair, NYT is innocent until proven guilty.

And what hypocrisy it is for NYT to ask the world to condemn Duterte when America itself has refused to sign on to the treaty that created the ICC.  I think for the thinking minds, that’s called arrogance and bullying.

Let the world condemn this Pulitzer-winning newspaper. I suggest NYT consider converting into a tabloid.

 

Politikal Pinoy’s Response to VP Leni Robredo’s Proposal To Decriminalize Drugs

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So much has been said about Vice President Leni Robredo’s recent suggestion that like Portugal, the Philippines should decriminalize drugs, suggesting that treating it as a health issue is more effective than enforcement and prosecution.

Here is Politikal Pinoy’s official response:

NO RESPONSE.

It’s not worth our time commenting or entertaining a naive, nah, stupid idea.

Robredo should seriously consider surrounding herself with more intelligent people.

Complaint Against Duterte Before ICC Is A Big Joke

IMG_0809The 77-page complaint filed by Atty. Jude Sabio boils down to two issues that do not meet the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) strict criteria in order to charge a person or persons of “crimes against humanity.”

But first, let us make it crystal clear that Sabio’s letter-complaint does NOT constitute the filing of a case against Duterte and others named in his submission.  Only the Office of the Prosecutor can file such a case if it finds any merit in the complaint to even start an investigation.

The ICC may take cases only under certain conditions, including when a nation’s own judicial system is unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute.

The fact that not a single criminal case has been filed in a local court against Duterte even while he was mayor of Davao City only shows that those who claim the existence of the Davao Death Squads (DDS) cannot come up with any concrete evidence to establish probably cause to charge him.

The Philippines has its own judicial process to prosecute crimes.

Now that Duterte is president, there are out-of-court proceedings that are in place, including impeachment which was recently filed in Congress.

So to say that the country’s own judicial ethics system is unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute Duterte does not pass the one important criteria by the ICC in order to entertain a case.

Secondly, Sabio’s complaint cites investigations by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and a statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) denouncing the antidrug campaign as a “reign of terror.”

The world knows that the human rights organizations are not necessarily the most competent arbiter of abuses or crimes since their information doesn’t always come from official sources.  Most accusations by these organizations are based on anecdotal evidence or on unproven, biased reports from the news media and partisan sources.

As far as the CBCP is concerned, it is neither a reliable source of accurate information — information that is often challenged by their own constituents.

I have not read the 77 pager, but I can only imagine that Sabio also cites the testimonies of his client, Edgar Matobato, and Oscar Lascañas — both self-confessed murderers who have all but proven their lack of credibility as perjured witnesses.

Sabio says he is filing the complaint not on behalf of the two but on his own accord.  And for what motivation?  To represent the entire Filipino nation? That’s laughable at best.  Or perhaps to build an international reputation as lawyer or even a patriot?  A big joke.

We have no evidence to point to any one person or group that is funding this high-profile  complaint with the ICC.  But we don’t have to be a lawyer like Sabia to know that money is flowing from somewhere. To bring a case to the ICC doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It involves travel, communications, strategy meetings, an international media blitz and all…

This is simply a waste of time and resources for the ICC, resources which would be better spent going after world personalities involved in genocide and war crimes.  And yes, crimes against humanity, which the Philippines’ war on drugs is not.

What Is Atty. Jude Sabio’s Standing To File Case Against Duterte In International Court Of Justice?

IMG_0809In all criminal and civil courts, anyone can file a case against another.  So it is with the International Court of Justice (ICC) for as long as the complainant is a citizen of one of the country signatories to the ICC agreement.

So, when Atty. Jude Sabio first announced that he was filing a case against Duterte and other before the ICC, we knew of course, he was eligible to do so — the Philippines being one of the signers of the agreement.

But as in all cases filed before the courts, the petitioner or complainant usually has an established standing to do so — as an aggrieved person, relatives of the aggrieved person, or a person acting on behalf of a group of aggrieved persons.

Because Sabio is known as the lawyer for self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato, many are assuming that his complaint of crimes against humanity directed at Duterte and senior officials of his administration, is on behalf of his client.  (To say that it is on behalf of the Filipino people is quite a stretch.)

If such is the case, Sabio has to come clean.

How much is Sabio getting for his professional fee to represent Matobato?  That is, of course, assuming that Matobato has the funds to pay Sabio.  If not, who is funding this high-profile, international case?  Sabio is reportedly in The Hague to personally file his complaint.  Who is funding his travel?  If he is doing this pro bono for his client and is using his personal funds, he should disclose that and show that he has the capacity to do so.

There are many questions left unanswered and which the “legitimate news media” have not asked.  For example, most news reports have also failed to disclose the legal procedures in filing a case before the ICC.

As Politikal Pinoy and others have previously discussed, only the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC can formally file a case, and only after investigating the complaint from the individual or individuals wanting to seek judgment from the court.  The submission by Sabio of his letter-complaint does NOT constitute a filing of a case before the ICC.

The timing of Sabio’s letter-complaint to the ICC is also suspect.  It comes at a time when Matobato has left the country and has not returned as scheduled as of press time.  It also comes on the heels of the ASEAN meeting to be held in Manila later this month.

It all smells like an orchestrated attempt to discredit Duterte and his administration before the international community — something that the news media has failed to delve into in their reporting.

 

Leni Robredo, The Vacuum Speaker

IMG_0775.PNGWhenever Vice President Leni Robredo speaks — and she does a lot of speaking — she always does so in a vacuum.  Either she is entirely clueless, or her speechwriters are.

We’ve all seen that infamous video message she sent to a UN Conference wherein she maligned the her own government and country, mimicking allegations of drug-related summary killings and misrepresenting the Philippine National Police’s anti-drug strategy of “Palit-ulo.”

Robredo was the guest at a forum in the University of the Philippines in Los Baños when she was challenged by a student to offer an alternative to the government’s war on drugs.

She said the government should study the best practices by countries that found solutions to the drug menace, and cited Portugal as a “triumphant” example, noting how the European nation dramatically shifted its focus from looking at drug abuse punitively to treating it as a health issue requiring treatment and reintegration.

Say what?

Once again, Robredo chose to be oblivious to what’s been happening under President Duterte’s war on drugs.

Where was Robredo when hundreds of thousands of drug addicts and users voluntarily surrendered to the government?  Where was she when the mega drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija opened?  Where was she when Duterte ordered free medicines to drug addicts seeking treatment?  Where was she lately when the administration forged an unusual alliance with the Philippine Catholic Church to jointly establish and manage drug rehabilitation programs?

Treatment and reintegration you say?

Perhaps the Vice President should cut down on her foreign travels and speaking engagements and immerse herself in the true laylayan happenings — outside of her Quezon City mansion office.

And oh, Madam VP, what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander.  What didn’t work in Colombia might just work perfectly in the Philippines, and what triumph Portugal achieved might even become a super-triumph in our country.

The Philippines’ drug problem is more expansive than that of Portugal, or even Colombia. It is not just about drug users.  It’s also about the narcopoliticians and drug syndicates who benefit immensively from the illegal drug trade.  There is no “one size fits all” solution to what our government is up against.

Open your eyes and ears Madam, and don’t just rely on the people around you who have done nothing but keep you in a bubble.

 

 

Is Your Tinapa More Palatable Than The Inquirer?

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Photo credit: AdoboChronicles.com

The meme on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s (PDI) masthead says it all: “Balanced News + Fearless Views.”  But is that what news consumers get when they read this national newspaper?

Can readers expect utmost impartiality from PDI when it is riddled with conflicts of interest and violation of public trust?

Can we expect above-board coverage of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) when the publisher/owner of PDI has a personal affinity to the president of a mining company?

Can we believe PDI reports on taxes or the Bureau of Internal Revenue when its sister company Dunkin’ Donuts owes billions in unpaid taxes?

Can we trust PDI to espouse its views on real estate or legal and financial matters when it hasn’t paid its rent on the government property it has occupied for many years?

We’re not even talking here about allegations that PDI is biased towards the Yellow Party and against the Duterte administration.  That, of course, is subject to perception.

The tinapa from your local market is probably more authentic and palatable than the news and opinions you get from PDI.

With tinapa, what you see is what you get. And it even tastes awfully good.

 

TIME In A Bottle: Under The Influence?

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As expected, TIME Magazine included Rodrigo Duterte in its 2017 List of 100 Most Influential Persons in the World.  It would have been a riot if it didn’t after the popular Philippine president won the online poll it conducted among its readers.

But they also included another Filipino in their list: the “very influential” Senator Leila de Lima.

The editors of TIME must have helped themselves to shots of vodka during their planning and deliberations because they seem to have been “under the influence.”

In a previous post, Politikal Pinoy asked the question, Will TIME be fair and accurate when profiling Duterte when they announce their choice of 100.  We knew what the answer would be, but we asked it anyway.

So now that the cat is out of the bag, we indeed are subjected to the purely negative profiling of Duterte, once again (as it did on its online poll), focusing on the president’s war on drugs and alleged extra-judicial killings, repeating the tired and debunked rhetoric of Mr. Duterte referencing Hitler and the massacre of 3 million Jews.

And of course, the TIME editors had to pick yet another controversial figure to do the profiling: ex-Colombian President César Gaviria who the world knows launched his own war on drugs in his country — and failed miserably.

By choosing to use Gaviria’s words, TIME perpetuates the stereotype that all wars are the same, that all leaders are the same and that the failure of one is the failure of all.  Well, time will tell (pun intended) whether Duterte’s war on drugs will result in the same failure as Gaviria’s. So far, if only TIME did its homework, it’s been a phenomenal success achieved in less than a year into Duterte’s administration.

Then there’s the choice of Leila de Lima which TIME editors anointed as an “icon.”  We ask, icon of what?

Notice that even in the de Lima’s profile, Samantha Power focused on Duterte and his anti-drug campaign.  Perhaps TIME couldn’t find better words to justify its choice for this influential spot on its list.

Politikal Pinoy asks: what influence exactly is TIME referring to when it comes to de Lima? Her influence as former Justice Secretary, during which the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (National Penitentiary), flourished unabated?  Or is it her influence in allegedly extracting campaign funds from drug lords which led to the filing of charges and her subsequent incarceration?

Again, only time will tell whether de Lima deserved to be on TIME’s list.  The world awaits the judicial proceedings in her case.