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Duterte Makes Peace While Robredo Prepares for War

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.

A Vulgar Politician

By Sass Rogando Sasot

Guestwriter for Mindavoices

 

“A VULGAR VILLAGE POLITICIAN”

That was how Abraham Lincoln was called by The New York Herald in one of their articles that lampooned him. They couldn’t believe the Republicans favoured Lincoln over candidates who looked and sounded more like a respectable statesman, such as Seward and Chase. On May 19, 1860, a writer called Lincoln a “third-rate Western lawyer..who cannot speak good grammar.”  On May 20, another writer limned Lincoln as someone who represented “all that is brutal and bloody in Seward’s political programme.” 

The Atlas and Argus was equally disgusted by Lincoln. On May 21, 1860, they described him as a “slang-whanging stump speaker, of a class with which every party teems, and of which all parties are ashamed.” On the same day, the Boston Post predicted that Lincoln would only serve as “the tool of the fanatical host he will lead on.”

On May 24, The Philadelphia Evening Journal  asked why should Lincoln become President? His language was “coarse,” they said. His style, “illiterate.” And Lincoln’s “vulgar and vituperative” character couldn’t hold a candle to the refine and eminent personality of his opponent.

When Lincoln became president, a newspaper in Illinois said this about him: “His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world. The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President.”

In Unpopular Mr Lincoln, Larry Tagg shared what a “Carolinian correspondent” told his friend about Lincoln:

“Did you think the people of the South, the Lords Proprietors of the Land, would let this low fellow rule for them? No. His vulgar facetiousness may suit the race of clock makers and wooden nutmeg venders — even Wall Street brokers may accept him, since they do not protest — but never will he receive the homage of southern gentlemen..[because they would never submit to rule by a president who] exhibits himself at railway depots, bandies jokes with the populace, kisses bold women from promiscuous crowds.” 

In their 2012 Civil War issue, the Atlantic republished the 1904 article of Henry Villard, the journalist who covered the Lincoln-Douglas debates. 

Lincoln, Villard said, was fond of “low talk” and liked telling “coarse or  even outright nasty” stories and dirty jokes. “The coarser the joke, the lower the anecdote, and the more risky the story, the more he enjoyed them,” Villard explained.

Villard found Lincoln revolting.  “Again and again,” he said, “I felt disgust and humiliation that such a person should have been called upon to direct the destinies of a great nation in the direst period of its history… I could not have persuaded myself that the man might possibly possess true greatness of mind and nobility of heart..”

As he got to know more the man, Villard saw something more in Lincoln: “…in spite of his frequent outbreaks of low humor, his was really a very sober and serious nature, and even inclined to gloominess to such an extent that all his biographers have attributed a strongly melancholic disposition to him.”

And as the presidency of Lincoln unfolded, Villard witnessed how the vulgar village politician “proved [himself] to be one of the great leaders of mankind in adversity, in whom low leanings only set off more strikingly his better qualities.”

In Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, Fred Kaplan offered this reflection regarding Lincoln’s nasty and dirty jokes:

“More genteel than Lincoln, [Henry Whitney, friend and colleague of Lincoln,] struggled to explain the president’s ‘filth,’ and to be sparing with his examples. ‘The great majority of [his] stories were very nasty indeed. I remember many of them but they do us no good.’ Apparently they did Lincoln good. They helped him politically and professionally. And rather than displacing his “ideality,” they expressed an element of his personality and experience inseparable from his moral idealism. Like Mark Twain, he had a genius for pithy narrative, and a sense that his stories and obscenities expressed something crucial about the underlying flaws in the universe and the inexplicable darkness of the human situation. And often the darkness found its best expression in humor.”

 

Will Duterte become a Lincoln or a Qaddafi? Only time will tell.

Who’s Afraid of Duterte?

This is an excerpt from an article written by Sara Soliven De Guzman for the Philippine Star (http://www.msn.com/en-ph/news/opinion/the-yellow-submarine/ar-AAgX7tJ?li=BBr8Mkn&ocid=SL5MDHPwhere she exposes the efforts of groups and personalities identified with the previous administration to prevent President-elect Rodrigo Duterte from taking office.

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.”

Is the Liberal Party Deliberately Sabotaging Leni Robredo?

Stabbed in the back?

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.

Did Robredo Benefit from Vote-Shaving in Basilan?

By Sass Rogando Sasot

Guest writer for Mindavoices

 

 

 

WHY IN TUBURAN, BASILAN AND NOT IN NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR?

 

Madame Vice President, 

 

I hope you stop doing this. You need to keep your remaining integrity intact. The results in a lot of districts in BASILAN, the vote shaving/inflating capital of the Philippines, are UNBELIEVABLE. 

I’ll believe it if you can explain convincingly why you received this overwhelming result in Tuburan, Basilan:

Robredo 94.56%

Marcos 1.65%

Cayetano 1.69%

Escudero 0.59%

Honasan 1.16%

Trillanes 0.34%

 

…and not in your own bailiwick Naga City, which you said was better than Davao City:

Robredo 88.78%

Marcos 5.80%

Cayetano 2.07%

Escudero 2.28%

Honasan 0.60%

Trillanes 0.44%

 

I would expect you to get the Tuburan result in Naga City, just like how Duterte got it in his own bailiwick, Davao City:

Duterte – 96.59%

Roxas – 1.18%

Binay – 0.52%

Santiago – 0.26%

Poe – 1.42%

Seneres – 0.01%

 

…just like how Marcos Jr got that same overwhelming result in one of his bailiwicks, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte:

Marcos 95.85%

Robredo – 2.07%

Cayetano – 0.47%

Escudero – 1.04%

Honasan – 0.28%

Trillanes – 0.26%

 

In your case, you didn’t receive that overwhelming support in your OWN bailiwick, but in Tuburan, Basilan, which is part of the vote shaving/inflating capital of the Philippines. So, why does Tuburan love you more than Naga City loves you? 

I still feel that you don’t have anything to do with it, but if you keep on defending Aquino, you’ll suffer. 

Remember what happened to Zubiri?

Calculating True Value of Duterte’s Social Media Campaign

For the first time in Philippine history, we have elected a President not because he had more money than the other candidates, but because he had more likes, shares, and comments on Facebook

 

With the release of the Statement of Campaign Expenditures by the candidates that ran in the 2016 elections, people – especially the voters – are able to get a glimpse of the personalities behind their candidates.

In the case of Robredo, Poe, etc, the lump sum declarations without any details as to who and how much each campaign contributor gave is less informative about the details, but speaks volumes about how these candidates operate. Transparency and accountability are governance principles that may or may not be important to them.

As for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, by revealing the names of his contributors, he is putting the rest of the country on notice that he is not afraid to be scrutinized. And neither should the other members of his cabinet and all government officials. By setting the standard of integrity higher than it ever was, it is now up to others to follow his example. And failing, suffer the inevitable consequence.

But what the SOCE  forms fails to account for, and here Duterte received more than any other candidate, is the contribution in time, effort, creativity, passion, and all around support given by millions of Filipinos on social media.

While it has been talked about over and over again, with “expert” analysis coming from all colors of the political spectrum, the phenomena that was Duterte’s social media surge may never be adequately explained nor accounted for. Being largely organic – despite what other candidates might say – it is almost impossible to track the growth of the movement and its overall impact on the campaign.

For the first time in Philippine history, the individual efforts of these so-called Dutertards – alone or in groups, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – proved more valuable than the hundreds of millions of pesos donated by the various campaign donors. And while it may be impossible to put a monetary value on these individual efforts of pure volunteerism, the results of their sacrifice cannot be denied. And on June 30, 2016 – as our new President takes his oath – we offer a silent prayer for his success and the continued vigilance of the Dutertards.

Leni Robredo’s Own Game of Thrones part 2

By Sass Rogando Sasot

Guest writer for MINDAVOICES

 

 

Robredo4.jpg

 

DO FOREIGN DIPLOMATS HAVE A RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONDUCT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS  OF COUNTRIES OF WHICH THEY ARE NOT CITIZENS?

That is the key question in interpreting the dinner held in honour of Vice President-elect Robredo that foreign diplomats in the Philippines attended. The presumption is “No. Non-citizens have no right to participate in the conduct of public affairs of countries of which they are not citizens.” 

What are the relevant sources of international law? I can think of two international treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. 

Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) grants the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs ONLY to citizens. By implication, non-citizens don’t have that right. This exclusion is a nod to one of the sacrosanct principles in international relations: territorial sovereignty, which is essentially the power to exclude.

The next question then is what type of activities can be considered as related to the “conduct of public affairs.” CCPR General Comment No. 25 of  the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN body given the task of interpreting the ICCPR, provides clarification (http://bit.ly/1Ye7Swy). 

Paragraph 25: The conduct of public affairs…is a broad concept which relates to the exercise of political power, in particular the exercise of legislative, executive and administrative powers. It covers all aspects of public administration, and the formulation and implementation of policy at international, national, regional and local levels…”

Having this in mind, is the dinner held in honour of Vice President-elect Robredo related to the exercise of political power in the Philippines? God is in the details. The organisers of that dinner has the duty to explain that that dinner is not in anyway related to the conduct of public affairs in the Philippines. Given the current political climate, do we have a reason to assume that this dinner is not related to the exercise of political power in the Philippines? 

Furthermore, the diplomats who attended that dinner is duty-bound to explain that their participation in that dinner doesn’t breach their obligations under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. 

Article 41, paragraph 1 of the Vienna Convention states that persons enjoying diplomatic privileges and immunities “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs” of the receiving State. If the dinner is related to the exercise of political power in the Philippines, then participating in that activity may be considered an interference in the internal affairs of the country.

Things get more interesting if we consider Paragraph 2 of Article 41 of the Vienna Convention. It mandates that “all official business with the receiving State entrusted to the mission by the sending State shall be conducted with or through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the receiving State or such other ministry as may be agreed.”

Was the participation of the diplomats in the dinner held in honour of Vice President-elect Robredo sanctioned by their government? If yes, then they are on official business. If that is the case, did they conduct this official business with or through the Department of Foreign Affairs? If it’s not an official business, and they are participating as private citizens, what gave them the right to participate in the conduct of public affairs of the Philippines?