REMINDERS – I am placing this segment at the beginning of this piece, hoping that the authorities concerned will stop ignoring (“dine-deadma”) the issues listed below:
1) IS THE US BACK IN SUBIC? – There was a report that the mainstream media here has so far ignored, i.e., that Australian and US companies’ bid to take over Subic Bay will push through.
An Australian shipbuilder and US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management will reportedly soon take over the Subic Bay yard from Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean firm that went bankrupt in 2016.
For the sake of transparency, President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte should inform the Filipino people what the actual lowdown is on the report, bearing in mind his promise to rid the country of foreign troops and military bases.
2) THE NOTORIOUS SMARTMATIC – In June last year, Digong directed the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to search for a replacement for poll technology provider Smartmatic.
Has Digong changed his mind? If not, shouldn’t he order the DICT to come up with its recommendation forthwith?
With the Comelec now virtually composed of his appointees, it should be a cinch to “convince” them to get rid of Smartmatic pronto.
3) ELECTORAL PROTEST VS. ROBREDO – What is the present status of the protest filed by former senator Bongbong Marcos against the “election” of Leni Robredo as vice president?
Are the members of the PET still collecting the P100,000 monthly allowance on top of their salary?
Paging the honorable Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta who chairs the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
4) FUGITIVE ANDRES BAUTISTA – In November last year, Senate President Vicente Sotto III urged the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to serve the arrest warrant issued by the Senate on former Comelec Chairman Bautista for contempt for ignoring the Senate hearings into his alleged ill-gotten wealth. It was his wife who blew the whistle on him.
Bautista was earlier impeached by the House of Representatives but resigned and left the country before standing trial in the Senate. It was later found out
that he had fled to the US.
What, if any, is Sotto and/or the government doing about seeking his extradition from the US to face the charges against him? Isn’t flight a sign of guilt? Maybe his passport should be cancelled to force his return?
After praising President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte for mentioning in his UN General Assembly address the territorial disputes brought about by China’s ludicrous nine-dash-line claim over the South China Sea, ex-foreign secretary Albert “Super Amboy” del Rosario urged the President “to put in reality the invocation of the arbitral award”.
“The next step is for our President and his administration to put in reality the invocation of the arbitral award. Our government should work more earnestly to get the support of more countries so that the arbitral award will be raised next year for the UNGA 2021,” he said.
He was referring to the award rendered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) upholding the contention of the Philippines that China’s claim is illegal. That may be so, but the fact remains that the PCA committed a grievous mistake by rendering a decision without China agreeing to or participating in the arbitration, a conditio sine qua non, for the award to be valid. (It will be noted that Digong did not even refer to the PCA in his address, only to an “Arbitral Award”. I’m afraid the PCA lost a lot of its standing in the international community for its indefensible action.)
It will also be noted that what Digong said in his statement is a mere reiteration of his oft-repeated stance on the SCS dispute, not to mention his direct conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping that have been picked up not only by the local, but also by foreign, mass media. His statement in the UNGA on the matter is, therefore, nothing new to most of the UN members.
“…Our government should work more earnestly to get the support of more countries so that the arbitral award will be raised next year for the UNGA 2021,” Del Rosario said.
More countries?! By golly, we could not even get the unanimous support of the ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)! Surely, Del Rosario could not have forgotten how he failed miserably to even have the matter mentioned in the final statements of the Asean Ministerial Meetings he had attended when he was the foreign secretary!
Del Rosario would be well advised to now resign himself to going down in history in ignominy (along with ex-President Noynoy Aquino) for losing Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and for allegedly listening to the US to go to the PCA. No amount of money or effort will enable him to escape that fate that awaits him.
AID AND LOANS TO PH FROM CHINA AND THE US
The question of why Digong mentioned the South China Sea territorial disputes before the UN General Assembly after four years has been raised in some quarters.
Prominent among the reasons cited is the alleged unfulfilled promises of aid and assistance by China, particularly to the “Build, build, build” program.
A good question really, one that should be addressed forthwith by the administration. How much of the promised aid and loans have been delivered? Under what terms and conditions?
The question must be answered to allay any fear or doubt about China’s intentions, especially in light of the so-called China’s Debt Trap.
For instance, Beijing has been accused, rightly or wrongly, of luring developing and underdeveloped countries to borrow money for infrastructure projects and later controlling or even owning them for failing to pay off their loans in time.
Last year, for instance, it was reported that with more than $1 billion in debt to China, Sri Lanka had to hand over a port to companies owned by the Chinese government.
At the same time, the government should also inform the Filipino people about the amount in aid and loans the US has provided the Philippines from 2016 to the present and under what terms and conditions.
“ALL MOUTH AND NO TROUSERS” LOCSIN
Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin, Jr. rejected outright two weeks ago a suggestion to ask other nations to help in the search and rescue operations of the still missing 36 Filipino crew members of the Gulf Livestock I cargo vessel that recently sunk off the coast of Japan due to a powerful typhoon.
Tweeterboy’s daft reason: It would be an “attack” on Japan’s sovereignty!
Huh? such a humanitarian undertaking an “attack” on Japan’s sovereignty? On the contrary, methinks it would even welcome it.
The Department of Labor and Employment ignored Locsin’s asinine position and asked China, South Korea and Taiwan for help.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila issued the following statement:
“As requested by the Department of Labor & Employment of the Philippines, the China Coast Guard has already conducted rescue operations in relevant waters to search the 36 missing crew members of Panamanian Vessel M/V Gulf Livestock…but regretfully found no trace of missing crew members.”
There has been no reaction from Japan.
Last weekend, Tweeterboy Locsin reacted to a suggestion of Congressman Mikey Arroyo for the postponement of the 2022 national elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You don’t cancel elections for any reason. That’s treason. We are a democracy or a shet slave colony. Hold elections period. Those brave to stand in line & vote—even if only 12—decide the next President. Elections=democracy or Fuck U. You fucking shet,” he tweeted.
Lately, Mayor Jerry Trenas of Iloilo City rebuked Tweeterboy for accusing him, in a tweet since dropped, of “blaming his constituents of carelessness, of being pasaway” in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trenas re-tweeted him saying that, instead of helping in the fight amid the pandemic, “we have a Secretary of Foreign Affairs who dips his finger on anything he thinks he is bright enough to make a nasty comment.”
These recent uncalled for outbursts of Tweeterboy Locsin, on top of similar ones he had made in the past against individuals and worse, against countries like China and the US, reminded me of a quirky British slang phrase I read in the internet that fittingly describes him, to wit:
“All mouth and no trousers” which means “someone who talks boastfully without any intention of acting on one’s words.”