What Happened To The Leni Robredo Who Sneaked Out Of The SONA Red Carpet?

IMG_2942Politikal Pinoy must admit that he was very impressed when he saw a photo of then Congresswoman Leni Robredo sneaking out of the red carpet ceremonies and taking the back stairs to get to the session hall for the president’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).  Wow, I thought. We needed more of elected officials like her who shun the spotlight and the cameras to show to the world that public office is not about glam and glitter.

Fast forward to Leni the Vice President.

Thanks to her hired PR managers, her every move, her every statement, her every whatever is caught on camera. Whether it’s waiting for the imaginary bus or donning her tsinelas (flip flops) to commune with those in the laylayan, she’s always caught on camera.  Either that or she consciously poses for propaganda pictures.

Her latest PR blitz was nothing but a disaster.

Released photos show her renewing her supposedly expired driver’s license at the LTO Office in Naga.  Captions of the photos pointed out that the Vice President — like everyone else — got in line to transact business with LTO.  No VIP treatment. No unnecessary facilitation of the process.

Netizens were quick to point out that Robredo has a close personal relationship with an official of the Naga LTO.

But we really didn’t need that exposé, because the pictures said it all.

There was no queue during Robredo’s visit.  She seemed to be the only one transacting business with LTO at the time of her visit.  The cameras just happened to be in that same location at that time, and the LTO personnel seemed ready with their smartphones to snap a photo of Robredo.  (For sure, not a few selfies with Robredo had taken place.)

So what happened to the Robredo who shunned the cameras during that SONA red carpet ceremony?  Or was  the “snapshot” of her back stairs escapade really a ploy of her PR managers?

Is ‘Piso Para Kay Leni’ In Violation Of The Philippine Constitution?

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It is no secret that Vice President Leni Robredo had previously expressed her worry about the legal fees involved in the electoral protest filed by Bongbong Marcos, contesting the results of the May 2016 vice presidential elections. And as a true Liberal Party and Aquino loyalist, former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda launched a fundraising campaign almost a year ago to help Robredo pay for the legal fees. ‘Piso Para Sa Laban Ni Leni,’ the campaign is called.

But now we ask the question:  Is ‘ Piso’ a violation of the Philippine Constitution?

Republic Act No. 6713 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.

From the looks of it, ‘ Piso’ is clearly in violation of RA 6713 — Robredo being an elected public official.  It does not matter if it was private citizen Lacierda who initiated the fundraising campaign.  The money raised will go to Robredo and her legal defense.  Even non-lawyers like myself know that would constitute a “gift.”

Are Lacierda and Robredo being naive about the Constitution, or are they consciously ignoring this particular provision in a desperate attempt to hang on to what some are calling a ‘stolen vice presidency.’

Calling the Ombudsman.  Oh wait, she may be in cahoots with Lacierda and Robredo.  Nevermind.

 

RAISSA ROBLES: When An ‘Investigative Journalist’ Moonlights As An ‘Investment Broker’

IMG_2672I purposely put “investigative journalist” in quotes because I do not have convincing proof that blogger Raissa Robles is one, as she claims to be.

I follow her tweets, just like I follow Donald Trump’s, not for anything else but to make sure that I have factual basis for rebutting their idiotic ideas and opinions.

One such tweet from Robles was about her complaint that Filipino taxpayers pay for a government loan to build modern and efficient infrastructure and yet they are again made to pay to maintain that infrastructure via a private management company.

‘Double whammy,’ she says.

Aren’t you glad Robles is not your investment broker?  Otherwise, she would have you invest your hard-earned money but then do nothing to protect your investment.

When you buy a condo, it’s not the end of your investment.  You have to pay monthly homeowner’s fees in order to help maintain your investment.  You wouldn’t want your condo to just rot and self-destruct after some years, would you?

Well, it’s true, your private condo is not paid with taxpayer money, but many things are, like the street in front of your home.

Taxpayers chip in to build or pave the street, but they continue to do so every time government repairs occasional potholes.  That’s just the reality.

So when Robles complains that taxpayers chip in to take on loans to help build mass transportation then pay for a private management company,  she doesn’t want you to maintain that infrastructure.  She would rather have the trains run without needed maintenance.  She doesn’t care about your safety and convenience. She’s okay with you investing on beneficial infrastructure, but not on investing to keep that infrastructure in tip top shape for years to come — for you and your children.

Politikal Pinoy has some advise to our followers (and critics alike): choose your investment broker wisely.  And be weary of self-proclaimed ‘investigative journalists.’

 

Did VP Leni Robredo Just Cause Embarrassment To The Filipino Community In Boston?

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“Garbage-diving” (Photo: Internet capture)

It is estimated that there are 359,000 Filipinos living in Boston, Massachusetts.  Many are respected professionals and have worked their way up to become successful and law-abiding citizens of the city.

Like many Filipino Americans elsewhere, the Filipino Bostonians have had their share of discrimination and racial bias — a reality still much alive in modern-day America.

So when the Vice President of the Philippines goes on her radio program to say that while in Boston to help her Harvard-bound daughter set up her apartment, she went garbage-hunting, looking for still-usable items that people have thrown into the trash, it strikes a sour note among FilAms.

Not that there is anything wrong with garbage-diving.  In most states in the U.S., it is not even illegal — unless it happens inside private property, in which case it would constitute trespassing.

But if it is done by the second highest official of a country who dismisses it as “that’s what we do in America,” then it does not only insult Americans but causes undue embarrassment to FilAms.

We can only second-guess what was on Robredo’s mind when she talked about her garbage-diving in Boston during her radio program.  Perhaps it was to show her believers that she is a person from the laylayan — the less fortunate and abandoned members of Philippine society —  who are struggling to make a decent living. Yes, even resorting to searching the trash to make ends meet.

But for someone who can afford to send her daughter to Harvard while being able to travel abroad at her leisure, laylayan doesn’t seem a description that fits her.

And by the way, Madam Robredo, “that’s not what we do in America.”  Well, at least not most of us Filipinos. In Boston or elsewhere.

In case you didn’t know, we go to IKEA and buy stuff.  Assembly required, of course!

Supreme Court ‘Aiding And Abetting’ Martial Law In Mindanao?

IMG_2457Okay, okay. Before you start reacting, let me just say that I’m being sarcastic. But let me explain my premise.

Many of us know that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao following the Marawi City siege has been  — to the letter — in according with the 1987 Constitution.  As required by law, Duterte submitted his report to Congress within the 48-hour period as required by law.

It behooves upon Congress to review the basis for Martial Law and is mandated to vote jointly to invalidate the declaration if it so sees fit.  Despite criticism on how Congress went through this process, it was, nevertheless also in accordance with the Constitution.  Both houses of Congress passed resolutions practically supporting Duterte’s action.  The lawmakers did not need to meet in joint session to vote.  They didn’t have anything to vote on because there was not enough opposition to invalidate the declaration.

Now, let’s turn to the Supreme Court.  Under the same Constitution, the high tribunal has the power to review the Martial Law declaration, the Congress’ action notwithstanding.

Several petitions – by Edcel Lagman, et. al.,  were filed before the Court to render its opinion on the factual basis of Martial Law.  It was to render a decision within 30 days from the filing of the petitions.

The Court has announced that it will vote on the petition on July 4. While the date is well within the 30-day period in which it was to render a decision, it is, nevertheless 42 days since Martial Law was declared.  Let me say that again — 42 of the 60 days prescribed by law.

So granting that the high court votes to declare Martial Law in Mindanao illegal, Duterte’s declaration would already have survived a greater portion of that 60-day period.

And as many law experts will say, the court’s ruling will apply only to this current state of Martial Law in Mindanao.

Duterte could always issue a new, separate proclamation.  And that means, the 60-day period resets and a new round of process and petitions kicks in.

Sometimes, constitutional safeguards are anything but…

 

 

Yellow Journalism Not A Filipino Invention

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The fake headline by the Inquirer

The term “yellow journalism” was neither coined by pro-Duterte folks nor invented by Liberal Party-leaning news organizations like Rappler, Inquirer, ABS-CBN or GMA News.  It existed since the late 19th century.

The U.S. State Department’s Office of the Historian has this entry on its website:

Yellow journalism was a style of newspaper reporting that emphasized sensationalism over facts. During its heyday in the late 19th century it was one of many factors that helped push the United States and Spain into war in Cuba and the Philippines, leading to the acquisition of overseas territory by the United States.

The term originated in the competition over the New York City newspaper market between major newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. At first, yellow journalism had nothing to do with reporting, but instead derived from a popular cartoon strip about life in New York’s slums called Hogan’s Alley, drawn by Richard F. Outcault. Published in color by Pulitzer’s New York World, the comic’s most well-known character came to be known as the Yellow Kid, and his popularity accounted in no small part for a tremendous increase in sales of the World. In 1896, in an effort to boost sales of his New York Journal, Hearst hired Outcault away from Pulitzer, launching a fierce bidding war between the two publishers over the cartoonist. Hearst ultimately won this battle, but Pulitzer refused to give in and hired a new cartoonist to continue drawing the cartoon for his paper. This battle over the Yellow Kid and a greater market share gave rise to the term yellow journalism.

But what’s very interesting is how accurately the original concept of yellow journalism reflects what we are seeing with biased news sources in the Philippines: sensationalism over facts.

Their sensationalism goes both ways:  they sensationalize anything, albeit negatively, about President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration.  On the other hand, they also sensationalize — positively of course — even the most stupid of actions or pronouncements by their politicians of choice and putting them on a pedestal as if they were the heroes and heroines (or for that matter, the politically-persecuted) in what’s going on in the country today.

Not only that: they invent their own “facts.”  We all know how the 7, 000 or whatever number of drug-related killings came about before it was picked up by the international media as if it was  the truth and nothing but the truth.

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Rappler’s yellow-tinted “investigative report”

And then, there’s the “cartoon” part.  We can only laugh out loud and be entertained whenever the biased media come up with their stories under the guise of “investigative journalism.”  Are you listening, Pia Rañada, Rappler?

Ironically, these “legitimate” news sources collude with yellow politicians in trying to discredit citizen journalists and social media bloggers when they themselves are guilty of spreading fake news and fake photographs.  Are you listening, Inquirer?

So, Politikal Pinoy thinks that instead of  proposing legislation to penalize fake news, Senator Joel Villanueva (himself tagged by the Graft Court of using his DAP funds to support fake pork barrel projects), should author a bill to outlaw yellow journalism!

 

 

Why Leni Robredo Is Doing It All Wrong

IMG_2314Unless the Supreme Court decides in favor of Bongbong Marcos in the much-delayed electoral protest for the vice presidency, Leni Robredo is undisputedly just a breath away from being president.  Even Duterte understands that.

But given the political history of the Philippines — especially post-Marcos era — the Filipino people have proven that they have the power to banish a president or make him or her extremely unpopular and consequently, ineffective as a leader.

Despite being from the opposition, Robredo had her chance to earn the people’s affection and trust. No less than Duterte gave her the opportunity to be part of his team by giving her a position in his Cabinet.

But Robredo chose to tread the path of faux leadership, caving in to the whims and dictates of her party mates and the small number of Duterte oppositionists. They duped her into a fantasy role of being “the voice of the opposition.”

From this opposition pedestal, Robredo mimicked the misguided ideas of the likes of Senators De Lima, Trillanes, Hontiveros, Aquino and Drilon. She allowed herself to be controlled by her clueless social media team and the trickling of vested interests both here and abroad.

In effect, she has earned the ire of the people — not just a few but a whopping 91% of the population.  She chose to put down the president in the eyes of the international community.  By doing so, she put down the entire country which she hopes to lead when the opportunity presents itself.  That video message before the United Nations was the last straw.

Now there is a lot of talk about Duterte’s health and whether or not he can finish his term as president. While these are mostly rumors and speculation, the reality is that  no one can discount the possibility of the Office of the President becoming vacant, which means the next in line for succession assumes the presidency.  That would be Robredo.

But if that happens, there will likely be a crisis, given the unpopularity of the Vice President.  The Filipino people whom she has effectively maligned will leave no stone unturned to ensure that her occupancy of Malacañang will be short-lived.

The Filipino people have again and again demonstrated that they will exercise their power to unseat a leader who has gone wayward.  They have the means to do it — constitutionally. Or in the streets.

After all, the Preamble of the Philippine Constitution says it all about who establishes the government.  It’s WE, THE PEOPLE.

 

Why Leni Robredo Should Be Worried About President Duterte’s Health

IMG_2314.JPGSome Filipinos — mostly those who support Leni Robredo and the Opposition party — have expressed their concern about the non-public appearance of Rodrigo Duterte in recent days, speculating that the President may be having some serious health issues.

In his usual brilliant response, Duterte said: “What’s your problem? We have a Vice President!”

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why Leni Robredo should be worried.

That anti-Duterte folks are concerned about the president’s health and possible incapacity or death means one thing and one thing only: they are worried that Robredo becomes President.

Because why else would they make so much noise about Duterte’s health when the direct result of the president’s incapacity or death means the rise to power of their protége, Leni Robredo?

The Office of the Vice President should take that as the lack of confidence in the ability and qualification of Robredo to become President.

We see no other reason for the yellows to be making such a big deal about a few days of Duterte being missing from public view.

Ms. Robredo, be worried. Very worried.

 

FASO Should Come Clean Regarding VP Leni Robredo’s L.A. Trip

IMG_2308It was supposed to be night focused on music.  Like most gala events, it was meant to raise funds to help support the mission of FASO — the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra.

But alas, the night of glitter turned into a night of clutter, muddled by the introduction of politics into the event.

From all indications, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo wasn’t part of the original program.  Initial posters and invitations didn’t bear her name as guest of honor.  While some paying members of the Foundation may have been pleased to be in the company of, or have a selfie with Robredo, I cannot imagine that there were not a few who felt they were misled, or even duped.

Back in the Philippines, the talk of the town is: who paid for Robredo’s travel to Los Angeles to attend the gala? (Nevermind that the timing was awkward: Marawi City was still reeling from the terrorist siege, prompting President Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao. Nevermind that Robredo herself had been appealing for donations to help the victims of the siege.)

IMG_2280It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to know that Filipino taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for this travel that had nothing to do with Robredo’s official duties.  We can only assume that someone else paid for the travel and related expenses. But of course, we won’t know that until the Office of the Vice President releases the information to the public.  OVP has declined to release information of Robredo’s several foreign trips, despite the existence of the Freedom of Information (FOI) act.

So, did FASO pay for the travel costs?

For 25 years, Politikal Pinoy has managed 501 (c)(3) or nonprofit organizations in California.  FASO is that type of organization.

As a public charity, it is required by law to disclose financial information to its members and the general public upon request.

Nonprofit organizations, especially a foundation like FASO whose function is primarily to raise funds to promote its mission, also usually make public their independent audits (assuming they perform them) and their annual tax returns.

It would be easy to find out if any of Robredo’s expenses were covered by FASO.  But why wait for the next audit or tax filing (which would not be until next year) before the question at hand can be answered?

FASO should voluntarily go public about the financials of this gala event — and soon.

Because the bottom line is, if FASO didn’t pay for Leni’s trip, then who did?

That’s a different ball game altogether.