Categories
Quotes

Duterte’s Style

How would I describe Duterte’s style of governance or politics? To date I still have no clear answer my self, so I will borrow Prof Randy David’s answer:

The Duterte style appears to be a blend of at least two things. The first is a unique way of engaging audiences that combines tough talk with crass humor, and self-righteous moralizing with an oversimplified view of the world. And, the second is an unfaltering will to act that eschews reasoned discussion of any issue.

This style seems to serve him well regardless of the issue. It could be the jailing of Sen. Leila de Lima, the cancellation of the Inquirer owners’ contract of lease on a government-owned property, the cancellation of the “onerous” contracts of the water companies, the renewal of the franchise of the ABS-CBN broadcasting network, the withdrawal of the country’s membership in the International Criminal Court, the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement, or the so-called pivot to China and the concomitant refusal to assert the favorable arbitral tribunal ruling on the West Philippine Sea. Or, to take a more recent instance, the issue could be the fairness and wisdom of imposing a travel ban to and from China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Whatever reasons he gives for his decisions, they rarely rise above his personal feelings or grudges. He shows no patience for nuanced arguments or for the need for careful study by experts. He delights in being able to interrupt all debate by the mere issuance of a decision, leaving his spokespersons and members of his Cabinet to either soften the blow or to find a legal and nonpersonal justification for the decision.

Randy David – Activating the Rule of Law, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Could it be said that Duterte is the epitome of or personification of the anti-intellectualism aka “smart-shaming” that has become pervasive in our national consciousness? Or he has simply became the symbol and expression of our collective frustration from the failure of our democratic setup and past governments post-Marcos to give us a better life.

Categories
Daily dose

Quo Warranto petition against ABS-CBN – merits & warts

As I have posted on Facebook a few days ago, it was quite surprising that to have found some merit in the the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor-Genral Jose Calida against ABS-CBN last February 10 at the Supreme Court.

Before I continue, a few clarifications: I have always criticized the Duterte administration for its patently-wrong war against drugs, to glaring hints of corruption, incompetence, unacceptable pivot to China and its many anti-poor policies. However, it’s important to keep an open mind and after reading the quo warranto petition, there are some valid, and to my mind are quite simple, points that the Solicitor-General has raised:

Number 1: Offering the digital pay-per-view TV channel Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) using a free-to-air frequency. In the petition, the OSG gave as basis orders, yes there were two: dated April 29, 2015 and May 14, 2019, from the National Telecommunications Commission that told ABS-CBN to “refrain from offering any pay television service” as there are still no established guidelines for it.

To date, ABS-CBN still operates KBO channel which is accessible via its own digital set-top box called ABS-CBN TV Plus. On top of this, which is another violation as per the OSG, the KBO channel can only be accessed by first buying the set-top box and then paying a subscription fee.

Number 2: Transferring the legislative franchise of Multi-Media Telephony, Inc which came under ABS-CBN ownership through a series of acquisitions to become ABS-CBN Converge without prior approval of Congress in violation of the very same franchise.

The other points in the petition belong to the realm of corporate law: ABS-CBN Converge’s failure to offer a percentage of its stock to the public as required by its legislative franchise and lastly, its use of PDRs or Philippine Depository Reciepts in order to raise funding from foreign entities which the OSG claims as violative of the Philippine constitution, I leave to the capable hands of the more learned.

Because of all these allegations, the Solicitor-General is asking the Supreme Court to stop ABS-CBN from offering its KBO channel and to cancel its legislative franchise which could would take the media giant off the Philippine airwaves.

Full text of the quo warranto petition:

However valid these points are, it’s hard to accept that the Solicitor-General’s petition was done in the noble pursuit of justice and fulfillment of his sacred duty. Before the petition, President Duterte has been launching tirades against ABS-CBN as he holds a grudge against the network for not airing his campaign ads back when he still a Presidential candidate in 2016. Not only did he offer the unsolicited advise to the Lopezes, which owns the ABS-CBN, to just sell the network, he has publicly stated that he will see to it that it gets shut down. ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise set to expire on March 30, 2020 and with Congress deciding to take its sweet time on granting it a renewal, much of the on going debate has focused on whether or not this Duterte words will become reality.

For his part, Solicitor-General Jose Calida has made a name of using his office to go after those who get the ire of the President: online news outfit Rappler and its founder Maria Ressa are facing lawsuits instigated by him and the most recent was former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno – removed from office by way of a quo warranto petition, again by Calida.

So the petition is also an issue of press freedom as much as it is about the rule of law in our land. Much more about this in a follow up post.

Categories
Daily dose

Not for power, but clean, free & honest elections

The outcome of the recent May 13, 2019 National & Local Elections may have already been decided in favor of the Duterte administration as not one Senatorial candidate from the Opposition has won a seat, it is hard to say that it is a victory through ‘clean, honest & free elections’.

On election day itself, NAMFREL​*​ has noted the following of great concern:

Violence in Mindanao – the were incidents of violence in the towns of Datu Piang and Matanog resulting to people unable to vote and the pullout of observers.

Voter disenfranchisement – voters gave up after they were not able to find their names on the list of voters even in precincts they had previously voted.

400 to 600 Vote Counting Machines (VCM) that malfunctioned which caused delays in voting or improvised voting procedures which let to voters being unable to verify their votes. It is estimated that between 600,000 to 800,000 votes may have been compromised and this is enough to influence the results of the election.

Then for 7 hours from 6:15PM of May 13 to 1:19AM of May 14, the Comelec Transparency server did not display results due to a yet-to-be explained technical glitch. When it did, candidates of the Administration had swept the Senate race.

Although the results favoring the administration bets where somehow expected given the President’s all-time high popularity rating, what came as a surprise was a sweep of all 12 seats in the Senate. Looking at the party-list elections, the anomalies, violence and lack of transparency has raised doubts about the results.

Noticeable are the following:

Anakpawis received zero votes in precincts where the group had members registered votes, including Caloocan and Valenzuela cities.

In Cagayan province, where Anakpawis has 20,000 members, the party polled only 8,000 votes.

Kabataan partylist received fewer votes in areas where the size of its chapters should have generated higher counts, such as Samar and Benguet provinces and Malabaon City.

ACT Teachers said an area in Iloilo province where the party had consistently drawn more than 700 votes gave it just seven.

Gabriela said they received significantly fewer votes this year in areas that consistently gave it much higher votes in the past elections.

Bayan Muna also experienced the same shaving of votes in areas that have given it increasing number of votes. Although it is no. 2, the gap with the number 1(the partylist of Tulfo) is way to great a figure.

Arkibong Bayan, Facebook post, May 17, 2019

All of these cast doubt on the integrity of the elections. The COMELEC whose duty and reason for existence is the conduct of ‘clean, honest and free elections’ should take the lead in being transparent and allowing access to the election data and servers for auditing. While it’s easy to say that the Left is once more just making noise for being sore losers, it conveniently ignores the many incidents that took place throughout the country last May 13 that has now cast doubts about the results.

Others will mask their bias with wit by asking the Left to present evidence to back their claims of cheating and fraud. While it is correct that the burden of proof is on the one making the allegations, such proof will depend on how transparent the COMELEC will be since the primary source of evidence, the Automated election system, is under their control.

If the COMELEC will grant the petitions for transparency and seriously look into the allegations, it will vindicate both the poll body and most specially the administration candidates as it will remove any doubts to the new mandates they have received from the electorate. The Left is not crying foul because it wants to have more seats in government, it is only after ensuring that our elections are clean, honest and free. Consistent to their cause, the Left is fighting not to win more seats, but for the true will of the people to be heard and respected.

It is a win for all if the election results are proven to be accurate and credible. It’s a win for all if those who made election law violations will be punished. It’s a win for all if we are able to ensure the recent elections have been clean, free & honest.


  1. ​*​
    NAMFREL NOTES ON ELECTION DAY
Categories
Opinion

For an independent & progressive Senate

On May 13, 2019 Filipino voters would troupe to election precincts and cast their votes for 12 new Senators of the Republic. Given what the Duterte administration has done in the last three years, what it is currently doing and what it intends to do for the remaining time it is in power, the results of the Senatorial elections will be very crucial. To put it lightly but bluntly, we cannot screw up.

A quick rundown of what the key issues are: our national sovereignty up for sale with our lands, waters and other resources being offered to China; changing our Constitution to favor dictatorial and tyrannical designs and to entrench the self-serving ruling class; the imposition of more laws that will burden the poor majority; the complete restoration of the Marcoses in power; the continuing attack on journalists, activists, human rights advocates and indigenous peoples; the truth that drug lords remain free to operate while thousands of poor have died without due process.

These will get worse if candidates who are not only imcompetent and undeserving of a Senate seat and worse, who by words, deeds and legislative record would just kowtow to Duterte’s desires and designs will be elected.

It is paramount then, nay, it is our duty and obligation to use our ballots to elect a Senate that is independent and restore some sense of dignity, duty and concern for the common good in our democratic systems.

To achieve this, I urge our fellow voters to consider and support the following candidates:

Neri Colmenares

Leody De Guzman

Ernesto Arellano

Sonny Matula

Allan Montano

Chel Diokno

Erin Tanada

Samira Gutoc

Pilo Hilbay

Nancy Binay

Bam Aquino

Serge Osmena

The list is made up of men and women of principles. They have exhibited intelligence and openness to working with others across ideologies and have shown independence of mind.

Neri Colmenares is one of the most popular candidates from the opposition. A veteran of the parliament of the streets, he made his name for being a human rights lawyer himself being a victim of rights abuses during the martial law years of the Marcos dictatorship. His track record in the House of Representatives is proof that he is a champion of the poor and marginalized – increased pension for SSS, opposing unreasonable rates increase by Meralco, Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act and many more. Despite being red-tagged by the government and targeted by misinformation campaigns, Colmenares remains untainted by corruption.

From the Labor Win coalition comes Leody De Guzman who heads the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Ernesto Arellano, founder of Kilusang Mayo Uno, Sonny Matula, president of Federation of Free Workers and Labor lawyer Allan Montano. Electing them to the Senate will ensure that laws will be crafted to serve the common good and the common man. Living wages, ending ‘endo’ and strengthening unions will be much easier to achieve if these leaders would get a Senate seat. They are free of corruption and are not beholden to any oligarchs or private interests.

Samira Gutoc has really captured my interest with her fiery passion about the issues besetting Mindanao and our Muslim brothers. Chel Diokno will ensure the respect for due process and the rule of law will be on the Senate’s agenda. Erin Tanada and Pilo Hilbay will help secure and defend our sovereignty. Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay and Serge Osmena will be great assets to ensure an independent Senate.

I enjoin everyone to look into their backgrounds and track records. Their positions on the key issues enumerated earlier are worth the consideration, so much so that it would merit your vote.

Karl Marx once wrote that “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” Come May 13, we get the chance to select leaders that will truly represent us and help us struggle against our own repression.