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…

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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.

The Irony Of North Korea’s Threat To Strike Guam With Its Missiles

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of U.S. Naval Base GuamThere was a reason Japan attacked Hawaii in 1941.  It was not only because it was the closest U.S. state from Asia, but it also was host to one of the largest American military  installations in the Pacific at Pearl Harbor.

Fast forward to 2017.

In the escalating conflict between America and North Korea, the communist nation has threatened to strike the island of Guam, a U.S. territory, with its nuclear warhead.

Guam is even closer to Asia than Hawaii, and it continues to host a huge American military presence and facilities.

North Korea claims it has the capability of firing a missile directly at the U.S. Mainland, California to be exact.

But like the Japanese attack that triggered World War II, a strike on Guam is a symbolic strike on America.  But it is also a strike on the U.S. military, whose installations are just hours away from the Korean Peninsula.

But can you imagine if the Philippines still hosted the U.S. military at Clark and Subic? The country could have been a strategic target by North Korea in terms of proximity and military target.  It seems the Philippines’ decision to say goodbye to U.S. bases more than a quarter of a century ago may have saved the country from being caught in the potential crossfire between North Korea and America.

It is also ironic that while Guam is a convenient target for North Korea, the fact remains that as a territory, the island does not directly participate in electing U.S. presidents. Like other U.S. territories, citizens living in Guam didn’t have a hand in electing Donald Trump who now threatens North Korea with fire and fury if it does, indeed, attack Guam.

 

 

There Should Be No Bail For A Rapist Even If He Is A Man Of God

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Now comes the news that the Marikina City Prosecutor’s Office allowed Msgr. Arnel Lagarejos, the priest caught with a 13-year-old girl while on the way to a motel over the weekend, to post bail and was released from detention at 2:49 p.m. on Tuesday.

In a resolution, Prosecutors Nikolai Salinas, Ricardo Paet Jr. and Linda Adame-Conos granted Lagarejos’ petition and was allowed to post bail of P120,000.

Lagarejos is facing a complaint for violation of Republic Act 9208 or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act.

Meanwhile, the 16-year-old pimp involved was not allowed to post bail.

The case against Lagarejos is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, he should have been charged with rape, even if it was not consummated. A criminal act remains a criminal act if there is intent or pre-meditation.

But I can see why the priest was not charged with rape.

The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 otherwise known as R.A. 8353 describes rape as a sexual act with anyone below 12 year of age. In Chapter Three, it says rape is committed “when the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented,” which means over that age it is approved provided there is consent and no force used.  THIS LAW NEEDS TO BE CHANGED!

Common sense dictates that consent is not necessarily present even when the child is 13 years old.  She was forced into a sexual encounter with the priest.  By a pimp.

Granting that prosecutors don’t have the legal basis to charge the priest with rape under RA 8353, there is another law, RA 7610, which provides for special protection against child abuse and exploitation.  This law protects those who are under 18 years of age.

What is a greater form of child abuse than rape?

The decision to grant bail to Lagarejos sends the wrong message to sex traffickers, rapists and child abusers.  And it definitely creates the perception that “men of God” receive special treatment under civil law, when strictly speaking, they should be held to higher standards.