While President-elect Duterte and his team are busy with forging a peace agreement with the communist party of the Philippines and ending a decades-long insurgency that has claimed thousands of Filipino lives, the team of in coming Vice President Leni Robredo and their allies in the media are preoccupied with making a fuss over the separate inauguration ceremonies for the two newly elected officials.
In trying to make a mountain out of this molehill – or more appropriately a shit pile – Robredo and her cohorts are showing just how petty and small-minded they are in the face of the greater socio-economic challenges facing the nation. It is no wonder then that her running mate was soundly trounced, and she herself barely scraping enough votes from vote-buying to get a win in the recently held elections.
And while the media wants to paint the decision of Duterte in political colors, the fact of the matter is really much more mundane – there just aren’t enough seats in Malacanang to hold all the guests if both the President and Vice President are inaugurated at the same time.
This information was already conveyed to Mindavote a few days before the formal announcement of the inaugural arrangements. According to our source the President-elect stuck to his original pronouncement of wanting to hold the event in Malacanang. This of course posed several logistical problems, not the least of which was the limited – only 500 seats – capacity of the venue. This meant that after all the mandatory invitations have been sent out – to the diplomatic core, the senate president and speaker of the house, cabinet secretaries, etc – there were only a little more than 100 invitations left for the President and Vice President, and their families and personal guests.
This is why it was decided to hold the event separately, to allow each of them to celebrate it in a way that was both significant and meaningful to them. But of course, this kind of simple and sincere reasoning does not fit the narrative that the media wants to portray – that of a divisive and dictatorial President Duterte.
Then again, this isn’t like the old days when all the news and information had to pass, and was controlled by the traditional media. People can now get the truth from other sources and make their own informed opinion.
Duterte, who won by more than six million votes over his nearest rival (with allegations that it was actually much higher if not for the vote-shaving done by the administration party), was elected to implement a wide variety of changes starting with a crackdown on criminality and corruption in government. In her article, Ms. De Guzman echoes the feeling of many observers that there are those who are afraid of Duterte, seeing in him an end to their lording over the Philippines.
“There is a very strong crusade to stop president elect Rody Duterte from becoming the President of the Republic. Many sectors of society are out there for the kill. They continue to lambast him and threaten him for one reason or another. If you carefully study the background of these groups or individuals, you will clearly see a connection to the so-called “yellow mafia.”
Why is there a conspiracy to destabilize the new government? In the past, new presidents are welcomed. I have not heard nor read of a president elect being excoriated this way. We usually wait and see and give that leader a chance to prove himself or herself for the first 100 days. What is strangely happening now?
This is also the first time we see a president elect working right after the pronouncement of his winning the election. He started telling the public what he wants to happen as if making those in government hear his message in a subtle way. This is the first time I see police manning the streets, drug busters out for the kill, government working heeding the calls of the president elect unaffected by the presence of the former who still maintains his seat of power until June 30.
Amidst his roughness and nonchalant ways, president elect Duterte is giving us a head start of his presidency. He is a no nonsense guy. He is tough and rough and whether conservative citizens disdain him, the majority is looking forward to the “change” he will bring in.
If you watch the news on major networks, you will sense a strong campaign against Duterte. If you read the news, you will observe several newspaper journalists and social network sites taking a turn against him. Many in media have joined the bandwagon especially after Duterte called their bluff on boycotting him: Go ahead, boycott me. I’m urging you. Make this trip your last to Davao City. I do not care if no one is covering me. By the way, many politicians (mayors, congressmen and senators) have jumped off ship and are now swimming to Davao. Some are even riding a “yellow” submarine. Susmariosep!
Many of the top corporations and networks in this country are run or have been affiliated with the ‘yellow race.’ Believe it or not, they are anxious of what might be. This is precisely why they are all out there to destroy the “terminator.” Yes, Duterte if clear with his decrees will swipe all of them to do what is right thus, leaving a small chance for any hunky punky which many are used to in running conglomerates. Enough is enough and come July 1 all hell will break lose as we watch Duterte walk his talk.”
There are a lot of speculations swirling around the real reasons why the Liberal Party was not able to meet the deadline for the filing of its Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) during the last elections. This is fueled by the observations of many who find it incomprehensible that a major party like the LP would be unable to comply with this very basic requirement the country’s election laws.
While the party is trying to quell these rumors by pointing to the voluminous receipts and documents it has to file, there are many who refuse to accept this as a valid reason. Particularly since other parties and candidates were able to comply with the requirements.
One particularly interesting scenario has to do with the deliberate sabotage of the Liberal Party leadership of Leni Robredo because of in-fighting among their ranks. It can be recalled that there was even a news report early in the campaign about an alleged LP plan to for Robredo for Chiz Escudero (http://news.abs-cbn.com/halalan2016/nation/02/25/16/lp-to-drop-robredo-palace-downplays-rumors). According to sources within the LP, those running Robredo’s campaign were never really part of the political circle of Mar Roxas.
“It is common knowledge that Robredo’s team was made up of the people behind the NoyBi campaign of 2010, disgruntled former Roxas staffers, Aquino relatives, and other groups that supported PNoy but who are not for Mar.” Among the identified personalities who helped Robredo were Maria Montelibano, Paul Aquino and son Sen. Bam Aquino, and political analyst Malou Tiquia, among others.
This divide within the administration tandem got bigger during the campaign, highlighted by the fact that both Robredo and Roxas were known to make separate deals for their individual candidacies with local government officials. In one particularly glaring example, Robredo accepted the endorsement of Bukidnon kingpin Jose Zubiri, despite the fact that he was also endorsing Davao Mayor Rody Duterte.
This and other similar backdoor channeling did not sit well with Roxas’ team, which now seeks to exact revenge by making Robredo squirm.
But what the bright boys of LP did not account for was the widespread damage that their actions was going to cause among other winning party candidates. In typical LP shortsightedness, they apparently forgot that what happens to Robredo also has the same effect on their senators all the way down to councilors.
And so while the nation waits for the Comelec to make a decision, the LP once again stands as an example of how some people can be a victim if their own malice and incompetence.
As demonstrated in the 2016 Presidential elections, social media is paying an increasing role not just in informing, but more importantly in organizing and mobilizing into action. The rapid changes happening on both the technology and the content development sides of the equation means that social media publishers and users also need to evolve with the times.
According to social media experts who attended Newscred’s 4th annual #ThinkContent Summit held in New York City, content marketers, or those who produce the stuff we read, hear, and see on the internet, must focus on brand purpose, make sure content strategy evolves, and not be too focused on self-promotion.
By Sass Rogando Sasot guest writer for MINDAVOICES
This looks innocent: Leni Robredo being honoured with a dinner by the diplomatic corps. I mean, what could be sinister with the Vice President of the Philippines discussing “common advocacies” and “partnering with them in the future”?
Legitimacy of political leaders has an internal and external dimension. Internally, it comes as votes from the citizens; externally, it comes as support from outside powers. With allegations of election fraud and a razor thin margin, Robredo has a very fragile internal legitimacy. But being given with an allegedly 8,000 php per plate dinner in your honour by the diplomatic corps in the Philippines indicates that your external legitimacy might not be as rickety as your internal legitimacy.
Well, on the surface there’s nothing wrong with this dinner, but it’s politically questionable if one takes this into consideration: Robredo hasn’t taken any concrete steps to build rapport with the President. Instead of going to Davao and meeting with the President, she just kept on giving interviews to express her views.
Did she already call the President and set a meeting with him? If there’s any person in this world Robredo must first build rapport with, that is the President. Why are you first building rapport with the spectators of our politics? It’s not their partnership that you should first seek in order to realise your advocacies but the partnership of the President.
If it’s really true that it’s the diplomatic corps that sponsored this allegedly 8,000 peso per plate dinner in Robredo’s honour, then why are they giving her this lavish reception? They didn’t do that to the President. If there’s any ass they need to kiss, that’s Duterte’s dirty old ass. The President, after all, is the chief architect of our foreign policy, and any decision that involves foreign affairs is the prerogative of the President. Period.
Who is the political strategist of Robredo? The pictures give a thousand clues.
a.k.a. Enough of Satisfying our Tabloid Desires. Tigilan na ang TikTik Mentality
By Sass Rogando Sasot guest writer for MINDAVOICES
From the Department of Budget:
“President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s candidate for budget secretary is looking at a wider budget deficit to fund new infrastructure, which he hopes will boost growth momentum and spread the benefits of the Philippines’ economic improvement in recent years.” (Read: http://on.wsj.com/1ZmkMqP)
From the Department of Finance:
“Incoming Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez said he is mulling over the imposition of additional taxes on junk food to discourage its consumption, promote health and boost government revenues.” (Read: http://bit.ly/22DLbSO)
From the Department of Social Welfare and Development:
“We would like to know about that ano na ang impact ng 4Ps ano nagawa na positive, ano yung areas na nagraduate na because may trabaho na nagkaroon nang lupa or is that impossible, or tingnan din natin na beyond 4Ps ang mga beneficiaries would also be able to organize themselves,” Judy Taguiwalo. (Read: http://bit.ly/25G9FjD)
From the Bureau of Customs:
“A reorganization that includes the abolition and merging of offices is officially underway at the Bureau of Customs (BOC) due to the recently signed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA) and the impending change in leadership. Under the CMTA, outgoing Commissioner Alberto Lina said his successor, former Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon, may reorganize BOC personnel and employees to streamline processes in the revenue-generating agency.” (Read: http://bit.ly/1TU9Imj)
From the Department of Education:
“Incoming Education Secretary Leonor Briones announced Wednesday that she will prioritize the expansion of alternative learning system (ALS) to provide equal opportunities for those who will not be covered by the K to 12 program.” (Read: http://bit.ly/25BHrGE)
From Department of Agrarian Reform:
“Incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano announced a review of the implementation of what he said was a “sham” agrarian reform program in a sugarcane estate owned by the family of outgoing President Aquino as among his priorities as head of the agrarian reform department.” (Read: http://bit.ly/1Uov19G)
From Department of Justice:
“Incoming Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday said the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) will undergo some “drastic” changes under the Duterte administration.” (Read: http://bit.ly/1TUafVc)
From the National Economic and Development Authority:
“Aside from generating more jobs in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, Duterte’s administration plans to reform the income tax system, Pernia said. He added that they want to increase the bracket that is covered by the tax exemption and calibrate the system to the inflation.” (Read: http://bit.ly/1O8vGQc)
From the Department of Foreign Affairs:
“The incoming Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary-designate, Perfecto Yasay, hinted on Monday that bilateral talks would be the likely diplomatic track to be followed in the effort to untangle the territorial conflict with China in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea).” (Read: http://bit.ly/1O0b90h)
By Sass Rogando Sasot guest writer for MINDAVOICES
I watched yesterday the whole press conference of Duterte in which he presented some of his cabinet secretaries. One of the questions hurled by the press at Duterte was what he can say about what people are saying regarding his cabinet choices not reflecting his slogan:“Change is Coming.” They were chosen because they were close to him etc…KKK blah blah.
Duterte was thankful that the issue was asked. He said that the cabinet secretaries are alter egos of the President. When a cabinet secretary fucks up, the blame goes all the way to the President. The buck stops at him. Thus, he chose his cabinet secretaries based on how much he can trust them and how competent they are. What’s wrong with these criteria? Nothing. You don’t hire people you feel you cannot trust. He also said that for most of his political life he was only based in Davao City. He didn’t create a large network of friends in Manila, the political capital of the Philippines. His sphere of influence is quite small. So, he explained that he could only pluck people from his own small political circle. They are the people he can trust. Was Aquino this transparent to you?
Just in case you didn’t notice, in the last administration the buck didn’t stop at Aquino. The blame even went all the way to Gloria Arroyo. Aquino didn’t release his cabinet choices as early as Duterte. He released his cabinet choices a day or two BEFORE his inauguration. Tell me, did Aquino bother to explain to you why he chose those people? Did you demand Aquino to explain his constant rift against his VP, Binay? No. Did Aquino explain to you why he recommended Domingo Lee to be our Ambassador to China even though Lee didn’t have a fucking idea what diplomacy was, as well as the difference between soft and hard power and the pillars of our foreign policy? No.
Now, as a staunch Leni Robredo supporter (I expressed my support to Robredo as early as October 2015), I was disappointed when Duterte said that he wouldn’t offer any cabinet position to Robredo yet. He mentioned this already before. You know why? Because he doesn’t know if he can trust Robredo. That’s why Duterte said, they must build rapport first. What the hell is wrong with this?
Ahh…because Duterte said giving Robredo a cabinet position would hurt the feelings of Marcos Jr. Let me remind you this: Whether you like it or not, Robredo won by a hairline against Marcos Jr, and with allegations of election fraud. Duterte won with a huge margin against Roxas and the latter was even accused of shaving Duterte’s votes. Robredo’s mandate to lead is very, very, very fragile. Giving Robredo a cabinet position at this stage will be politically risky.
It is politically risky to give Robredo a cabinet position while Marcos Jr is still “seriously considering”to file an electoral protest against her. Politics – student council politics, office politics, national politics, or the politics diplomats play within the United Nations – will always be a numbers game. If we stop whining and start looking closely at the results of the last elections, we’ll see why the feelings of Marcos Jr shouldn’t be hurt. Whether we like it or not, Marcos Jr is now an indispensable political force — and no amount of Facebook ranting can change it.
In April 2016, ABS-CBN published an infographics on the distribution of voters in the Philippines. Luzon has the highest number of registered voters, 56% of them inhabit this island. It’s followed by Mindanao with 23% of voters. The remaining 21% of registered voters reside in the Visayas. Who dominated Luzon? Marcos Jr. And he dominated it fabulously.
According to the information from COC’s shown at the COMELEC-run Pilipinas 2016, Marcos Jr was voted as the majority vice president in 13 out of 38 provinces and the plurality vice president in 9; while Robredo was the majority vice president in 6 and plurality vice president in 8. Majority means the candidate got more than 50% of the votes; plurality means < 50%. Marcos Jr was also the majority vice president in 2 out of 7 NCR cities that have COC’s on the website, while the plurality vice president in 4 of them. Robredo was neither the majority nor plurality vice president in any NCR city. However, Robredo dominated Visayas. She was the majority vice president in 7 out of 16 provinces, while the plurality vice president in 6. Marcos Jr didn’t win as a majority vice president in any provinces in the Visayas, but was plurality vice president in 2.
Duterte owned Mindanao. He’s the majority president in 21 out of 22 provinces, and the plurality president in 1 of them. He didn’t do that well in Luzon and the Visayas. In the Visayas, he’s the majority president in Cebu, the most vote rich province in the country. He’s the majority president in one NCR city – Taguig-Pateros, while the plurality president in 8 Luzon provinces, 5 NCR cities, and 4 Visayan provinces.
If you hurt the feelings of Marcos Jr, you run the risk of alienating his HUGE following in Luzon: Abra (89.24%); Apayao (85.21%); Benguet (59.02%); Kalinga (69.20%); Ilocos Norte (96.82%); Ilocos Sur (93.05%); La Union (89.76%); Pangasinan (61.21%); Cagayan (78.90%); Isabela (74.72%); Nueva Vizcaya (66.76%); Quirino (64.23%); Nueva Ecija (55.65%); Pasay (50.69%); and Manila (53.03%). To quote Duterte: “that is the political reality.”
Duterte didn’t do well in most of the provinces where Marcos Jr was leading. Either Poe or Binay was number 1 in those provinces. Duterte’s grand plan of using his admin to lead the transition of the country into a federal system requires him to get as much support he could get from different provinces, specially from Luzon. The truth is, to achieve this goal, Duterte will need Marcos Jr more than he will need Robredo. The choice then is between alienating the supporters of Robredo or alienating the supporters of Marcos Jr.
Furthermore, Robredo is from LP which launched a very hostile campaign against Duterte. Remember all the black propaganda of LP against Duterte? Oh dear, the political operators of LP even fed them to foreign press. Have we forgotten the attack dog called Trillanes? Do you really think that Duterte can already TRUST Leni after what LP did to him? No.
Regarding that comment about journalists. Duterte was asked what he would do about journalists being killed. Duterte should have just answered by quoting those words attributed to Voltaire, which Duterte always does whenever freedom of speech is implicated. But Duterte and his dirty mouth narrated a story about corrupt journalists playing with fire. If you are playing with fire, expect to get burned. That’s what he meant when he said that journalists aren’t exempted from being assassinated just because they are journalists.
Duterte was not endorsing the assassination of corrupt journalists. He was saying that if a journalist were about to get killed by a person s/he abused with his/her pen, how could freedom of speech and the Constitution protect him/her? Can a journalist debate with his/her assassin? In his story, Duterte pointed out an unfortunate reality in our country: Not everyone can handle criticisms, let alone abusive criticisms, very well. He said: “Ako praktisado ako, eh yung iba papaano? (I’m used to these, what about others?)” When this part got reported by the media, they highlighted the soundbites and decontextualised them.
Nonetheless, Duterte is in desperate need of a smart, sharp, and charming press secretary. Davao journalists are used to his style of speaking so they understand him. But he must now realise that his reality has now changed and must adapt to it in order to be and remain effective.