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  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reptilian View Post
    But that's not the only thing. The recent controversy stirred up by the Marcos family's ability to get the Philippine Supreme Court to have the ousted president's remains buried at the Heroes' Cemetery in Manila is more emblematic of what kind of worldview this family holds. There are plenty of rumors in Manila that the payoff per judge could be north of a billion pesos (+/-US$20M at today's forex rates) to have the assenting high court judges see through a majority vote (9-5) to get the burial done.
    "Payoff per judge" is inaccurate; I typed in "a quarter of a billion" at first, then rounded the rumored figure up to the nine judges who voted in favor.

    *Caveat: a lot of the info about monetary figures in my post is not going to be searchable, as they were heard from the grapevine, which no reporter in Manila would put in print. But I have to point out another factoid: Less than half a year in office, and Duterte's pledge to break the oligarchy already resulted in one Marcos daughter being 18-billion pesos richer: when Duterte publicly named-and-shamed Roberto Ongpin as an oligarch, the latter stepped down immediately as CEO and shares of his internet gambling company PhilWeb plunged, only to be scooped up at a 70% discount by Bongbong Marcos' sibling Irene Marcos-Araneta. Shares picked up after some clarification was made by authorities that it wouldn't be shut down for good. Easiest way to make ₱18-billion (+/-US$ 362M).

  2. #122
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Gifts. So apropos.

    Christmas time in the Philippines. Get into a taxi and hear where is my gift, sir? Hotel workers, at the hotel you stay at, ask where is my gift, sir? Guy standing in the street helping the taxi park so you can get out asks you where is my gift, sir?

    So Duterte asks China, where is my gift, sir?

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Gifts. So apropos.

    Christmas time in the Philippines. Get into a taxi and hear where is my gift, sir? Hotel workers, at the hotel you stay at, ask where is my gift, sir? Guy standing in the street helping the taxi park so you can get out asks you where is my gift, sir?

    So Duterte asks China, where is my gift, sir?
    What China has been doling out all along weren't gifts, but long-term, low-interest loans. Some of these loans were "forgiven" (fave term of the Chinese press) but they were timed to coincide as political gifts to gain favor with newly elected leaders in Africa, where the tactic has worked to some degree of success. What Duterte and his clique, in their ineptitude, thought all along was that they would make a few disparaging remarks about Uncle Sam, and they could wag the Chinese dog by asking for, and expecting to get, a wish list.

    In many ways, that is a result of being spoiled by decades of not being held to account for aid money from the West. Take for example the US$3-B aid from the international community in the wake of Tyhphoon Haiyan. Less than 10% has been measurably accounted for today. The rest would probably be in offshore accounts of people with fictitious names.

  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reptilian View Post
    Beijing has balked, and has now required a few rounds of technical negotiations before even getting to the stage where the Philippines can apply for a loan at the AIIB (what, no gifts?). The gift-seekers sent Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's running mate for VP and Foreign Secretary-to-be (around July 2017), to Beijing to reiterate the president's requests, but came home with non-committal responses. Duterte now has no aces up his sleeve, because he gave them away before the poker game even started. And now he's the only one at the table believing in his own bluff.

    Finally, this might be the one thing that most pundits have missed out on, and his legions of fans (collectively derided as "Dutertards") have chosen to ignore: Duterte is many things to many people, but he is not the messianic leader that Filipinos have long needed. Filipinos elected him on promises of cleaning up corruption and crime fighting, and in doing so exposed the electorate as mostly one prone to political theatrics and appeals to populist emotions. What small town mayors do in election after election, Duterte has managed to do on a national level, using guerrilla tactics backed by someone larger, more powerful, and with more ambition than he does. With blind fanaticism in this brash demagogue, we can truly say that Filipinos got what they deserved.
    I realize upon re-reading that the statement in bold above might be confused as a typo; it isn't. Senator Cayetano is going to be the successor to current Philippine Foreign Affairs Minister Perfecto Yasay. Cayetano is expected to succeed Yasay in July this year.

    *Sorry for these corrections; I cannot edit my own posts yet, due to my membership status here

  5. #125
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Getting more interesting by the week. Russian Navy visit and hints at wider exercises.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/03/asia/r...sea/index.html

  6. #126
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    If you think that's laughable, talk to a twenty-something Filipino today—someone born after the Marcoses were deposed—and there's a good chance you'd hear that the martial law years were the golden years of the Philippines, where Singapore-style discipline ruled (that martial discipline part was true—but so was the collusion of the military in systematic plunder of just about every industry, Mugabe style).
    Seen that first hand. His defenders basically have to invent an entirely new imaginary past. When you give out so many bribes to secure reelection that you tank the currency it's not a good start.

    Philippine representatives, believing in Duterte's spiel that they have won over China's heart, proceeded to give China a long wish list, mostly in the form of grants and concessions, and not long-term aid like what China believed all along. Beijing has balked, and has now required a few rounds of technical negotiations before even getting to the stage where the Philippines can apply for a loan at the AIIB (what, no gifts?). The gift-seekers sent Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's running mate for VP and Foreign Secretary-to-be (around July 2017), to Beijing to reiterate the president's requests, but came home with non-committal responses. Duterte now has no aces up his sleeve, because he gave them away before the poker game even started. And now he's the only one at the table believing in his own bluff.
    I agree. They turned out to be amazingly stupid once in power. From announcing they were planning a state of emergency before the terrorist bombing, the calls for EJK, to the foreign policy shift; it's all done in the stupidest manner possible.

    Anyone who Obama's steely determination can turn to an hysterical mess isn't fit to run a backwards crime ridden provincial city.

    And that's what the Marcoses have been up to since they came back in the 90s. A quiet but formidable propaganda machinery has been tapping into a vast reservoir of popular disenchantment at the Philippine status quo. They realized that it would be a tantalizing thing to peddle the lie that, somehow, the Philippines was once an economic powerhouse under Marcos, and that another Marcos could reclaim the Philippines' former glory (the country never was a fully developed industrial economy, but it had the 2nd most prosperous economy post-WWII, second only to Japan—but then the elder Marcos wasn't even in Manila during the 1940s. And hey, when much of Asia was in ruins, that's a pretty low bar to go by).
    Don't forgot the claim that Marcos Sr. put down the first airport and railroad in the nation.

    ===
    My return will be fun.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/1389...-online-trolls

    Rodrigo Duterte’s Army of Online Trolls

    How authoritarian regimes are winning the social media wars.


    By Sean Williams

    January 4, 2017


    Since Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines last June, he has waged a brutal crackdown on drug dealers and addicts. Nearly 4,000 people have been killed by government forces, and Duterte has invoked the Holocaust to describe the scope of his ambition. “Hitler massacred three million Jews,” he declared in September. “Now there is three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”


    Duterte’s authoritarian rhetoric has elicited sharp condemnations from human rights advocates and foreign leaders. But there’s another front in his war on drugs that has escaped international attention. Last fall, as I reported on the violence in the Philippines, I picked up an ardent critic on social media. Her name was Madelyn, and she was young and attractive, with long hair and deep, brown eyes. When I posted about Duterte’s war on drugs, Madelyn responded with derision. “Maybe u are anti-Duterte TROLL,” she tweeted. “A foreigner who knows NOTHING bout my country.” She seemed to devote her waking hours to spreading her love of Duterte and assailing anyone who questioned him, posting dozens of times a day. “My President and I am proud of him,” one tweet read. “Get lost critics!”

    Madelyn, it appears, is part of a vast and effective “keyboard army” that Duterte and his backers have mobilized to silence dissenters and create the illusion that he enjoys widespread public support. Each day, hundreds of thousands of supporters—both paid and unpaid—take to social media to proselytize Duterte’s deadly gospel. They rotate through topics like corruption, drug abuse, and U.S. interference, and post links to hastily cobbled-together, hyper-partisan web sites at all hours of the day and night. Though social media is designed to make each user appear to be a unique individual whose views are her own, Madelyn and her cohort stick exclusively to the Duterte talking points, without any of the cat GIFs, funny asides, jokes with friends, or other elements that populate most people’s feeds.

    When Facebook and Twitter were founded a decade ago, they heralded a new era in which the voices of ordinary citizens could be heard alongside—or even above—those of establishment insiders. From the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and recent demonstrations against Vladimir Putin, activists have used social media to attract followers and broadcast their messages free from official oversight. But increasingly, authoritarian regimes like Duterte’s are deploying social media to disseminate official propaganda, crack down on dissent, and maintain their grip on power. What began as a tool of freedom and democracy is being turned into a weapon of repression.


    “For authoritarian states, social media censorship will increasingly be seen as an essential aspect of the security apparatus,” says Eric Jensen, a sociologist at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, who specializes in online public engagement. “There has been a pattern of civil society embracing opportunities for more open communication, such as social media—followed inexorably by a gradual colonization of those communication channels by corporations and government.”

    Duterte’s social media campaign began while he was the mayor of Davao, where he allegedly ran death squads to curb rampant drug dealing and other street crime. In November 2015, when he decided to run for president, he enlisted a marketing consultant named Nic Gabunada to assemble a social media army with a budget of just over $200,000. Gabunada used the money to pay hundreds of prominent online voices to flood social media with pro-Duterte comments, popularize hashtags, and attack critics. Despite being vastly outspent by his rivals, Duterte swept to power with almost 40 percent of the vote. After the upset victory, the new president’s spokesman issued a warm thanks to Duterte’s 14 million social media “volunteers.”

    The government pays online trolls up to $2,000 a month to create fake social media accounts and flood the digital airwaves with propaganda.

    The Philippines seem tailor-made for this kind of propaganda machine. The median age in the country is only 23 years old, and almost half of its 103 million citizens are active social media users. Access to Facebook is provided free with all smartphones, but Filipinos incur data charges when visiting other web sites, including those of newspapers. As a result, millions of citizens rely on social media for virtually all of their news and information, consuming a daily diet of partisan opinion that masquerades as fact.

    Duterte has taken advantage of this media landscape. Online trolls can earn up to $2,000 a month creating fake accounts on social media, and then using those “bots” to flood the digital airwaves with pro-Duterte propaganda. According to Affinio, a social media analytics firm, a staggering 20 percent of all Twitter accounts that mention Duterte are actually bots. Thanks in part to this constant thrum of pro-Duterte messaging, the president has maintained an approval rating of more than 80 percent.

    As my encounters with Madelyn illustrate, Duterte’s supporters are also quick to attack the president’s critics. Leila de Lima, the country’s former justice secretary, has endured death threats and online abuse since she launched an inquiry into Duterte’s current policy of extrajudicial killings and alleged use of death squads in Davao. Ellecer Carlos, a human rights advocate, was forced to change his Facebook profile after he received repeated threats of violence. In a country where antigovernment activists have been killed during Duterte’s drug war, Carlos takes such threats seriously. “Sometimes you go home, you’re alone, and you need to buy something from the store,” he says. “Then the fear kicks in.”

    From China to Russia, governments are using social media to crack down on dissent and maintain their grip on power.

    Such tactics are being employed by authoritarian regimes around the world. China’s Communist Party has mobilized a network of government bureaucrats known as the “50 cent” army to post 450 million fake comments a year on social media. In Russia, the Kremlin finances a huge army of trolls who post disinformation all over the web. In Egypt, where Twitter and Facebook helped topple Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the military-led government has tracked, silenced, and in some cases killed its opponents. In many countries, governments routinely spy on social media accounts, assisted by a raft of private firms. Procera Networks, a Silicon Valley startup, has signed a contract with the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to extract usernames and passwords from unencrypted web sites. The Turkish government could use that information to spy on political opponents. “People could well die from this work,” one former Procera employee told Forbes.

    It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Back in 2012, as Facebook prepared for its IPO, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a letter to investors touting the company’s role in helping ordinary citizens hold their leaders accountable. “By giving people the power to share, we are starting to see people make their voices heard on a different scale from what has historically been possible,” he wrote. “These voices will increase in number and volume. They cannot be ignored. Over time, we expect governments will become more responsive to issues and concerns raised directly by all their people.”

    Unfortunately, Zuckerberg was only half right. Social media has undeniably helped activist movements draw attention to their causes. But regimes around the world have figured out how to use social media to build even bigger megaphones, effectively drowning out dissent. In the Philippines, the massive online army has chilled public opposition to the crackdown on drug users. In one Manila slum I visited, where English terms like “human rights” and “extrajudicial killings” are sprinkled into Tagalog like grim shibboleths, almost everyone opposes the bloodletting. Some criticize the drug lords; others save their ire for overzealous cops. But no one blames the president. When I mention Duterte’s orders to shoot drug addicts, one mother simply shrugs her shoulders. “I don’t read the newspaper,” she says. She gets her news exclusively from Facebook.
    Last edited by troung; 05 Jan 17, at 23:45.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  7. #127
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    He is so repugnant that he would struggle to pivot back.

    Duterte hopes Russia will become Philippines' ally and protector


    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte alights from the Russian Navy vessel Admiral Tributs, a large anti-submarine ship, after his tour at the south harbour port area in metro Manila, Philippines January 6, 2017.
    REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO

    Members of the Russian Navy stand to attention after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (not pictured) toured the Russian Navy vessel Admiral Tributs, a large anti-submarine ship, docked at the south harbor port area in metro Manila, Philippines January 6, 2017.
    REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO
    (Reuters) - President Rodrigo Duterte said on Friday that he hoped Moscow, a rival of the Philippine's traditional ally the United States, would become his country's ally and protector as he toured one of the two Russian warships on a four-day visit to Manila.

    Duterte's remarks came a day after Russia's ambassador said his country was ready to supply the Philippines with sophisticated weapons and aims to become its close friend.

    "We welcome our Russian friends. Anytime you want to dock here for anything, for play, for replenish supplies or maybe our ally to protect us," said Duterte while shaking the hands of Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, head of the Flotilla of the Russian Navy Pacific Fleet.

    Duterte has thrown the future of Philippine-U.S. relations into question with angry outbursts against the United States, a former colonial power, and some scaling back of military ties while taking steps to improve relationships with China and Russia.

    He is due to go to Moscow in April. The visit by the Russian warships was the first official navy-to-navy contact between the two countries.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Last month, Duterte sent his foreign and defense ministers to Moscow to discuss arms deals after a U.S. senator said he would block the sale of 26,000 assault rifles to the Philippines due to concern about a rising death toll in a war on drugs launched by Duterte.

    Mikhailov said on Tuesday Russia wanted to hold maritime exercises with the Philippines to help combat terrorism and piracy.

    (Reporting by Ronn Bautista; Writing by Karen Lema; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore
    . https://www.google.com/amp/mobile.re...ndroid-verizon
    Last edited by troung; 06 Jan 17, at 21:41.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  8. #128
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Duterte, Mocha and outflanking critics

    Whenever his critics go left, Duterte goes right, only to suddenly swerve left, forcing his opponents to the right
    Vicente L. Rafael
    Published 6:52 PM, January 09, 2017
    Updated 11:15 PM, January 09, 2017

    Often, if feels like President Duterte and his most fervent supporters like Mocha Uson are playing a political game that his critics are still trying to figure out.

    It's as if the former are playing some kind of Virtual Reality video game while the latter are still stuck with a crude version of Donkey-Kong.

    Duterte with his late night rambling speeches laced with jokes and obscenities, comes across as Dionysian, a kind of trickster figure running circles (with the aid of Mocha’s dancers) around his more Appolonian liberal critics.

    His critics think they’re staking the high moral ground, drawing on historical precedent and laying out the legal basis for their opposition, while Duterte and company deploy tactics that are as extra-legal as they are amoral while flaunting the lessons of history (hence the embrace of Marcos and the constant flirtation with martial law).

    Liberal opponents are concerned with recovering classical notions of truth (that is, truth as the unveiling of and correspondence with reality; facts as objective and settled representations of truth). Mocha and her troops, however, treat truth and lies as mutually constitutive rather than opposed, turning both into instruments with which to pursue an endless war. Her detractors are outraged at fake news and trolls. But Duterte’s supporters embrace these as tools to further their cause.

    While the mainstream media seeks to set the record straight on the President’s words and deeds, the DDS media are intent on protecting the President from his detractors by any means necessary, usually resorting to ad hominem attacks, gossip and innuendo.

    Witness, for example, the game between Senator De Lima and Secretary of Justice Aguirre and Duterte’s allies in Congress. Whereas the latter sought to defend herself by getting at the facts of the case against her, the latter were far more intent on destroying her reputation in order to silence her criticism of the President. Guess who won that game, at least for now?

    His more liberal critics call for tolerance, fairness and open debate, which his followers see as signs of "elitist" decadence and naiveté. The former continue to be invested in conventional notions of education and proper behavior, while the latter dismiss such ideas, setting up new techniques to educate their followers and cultivate new norms of conduct that claim to be more "democratic." Memes replace critical education and trolling substitutes for debate.

    The ongoing phenomenon of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users is perhaps the most important issue that separates critics from supporters.

    The former regard the nightly executions as gross violations of human rights and clear evidence of the coming specter of a police state. The latter, on the other hand, see such killings as stern measures needed to assure peace.

    For this reason, they are scornful of the discourse on human rights as figments of the imperialist imagination designed to repress national sovereignty. They insist, instead, on a notion of selective rather than universal rights.

    Tactics vs principles

    In this way, Duterte supporters are still in campaign mode. They are all about tactics.

    His opponents, however, like to think that they are wedded to principles. Hence, while the latter endlessly worry about the ethical link between means and ends, the former have thoroughly instrumentalized ethics as a means to accomplish a singular end.

    Whenever his critics go left, Duterte goes right, only to suddenly swerve left, forcing his opponents to the right. And when liberals try to stake the middle, they find that position to have been taken away, leaving them out of balance and out of sync.

    See for example the political vertigo triggered by Duterte's geo-political moves, attacking the US while befriending China and Russia. Similarly, his release of political prisoners and peace talks with the communist party has its evil twin in the unleashing of the police on poor communities.

    He is the self-proclaimed socialist who has a Cabinet full of neo-liberals, lauded by both the lefties at UP and by the tycoons from Makati. He is the drug abuser who is the scourge of drug addicts, the serial womanizer who claims to be for women’s rights.

    Inconsistency vs authenticity

    His critics deride Duterte's inconsistencies: the yawning gap between pronouncements and policies, the steady seizure of power and use of conspiracy theories to quash dissent. But his followers regard the same inconsistencies as proof of his authenticity.

    They use his off-the-cuff remarks about women, about his own drug use, about killing others, etc. as ways of poking fun at what they regard as the sanctimonious posturing of the "elite." They spawn conspiracy theories, nurturing rumors of coup plots hatched among wealthy Filipino Americans conspiring with the Vice President, using these as tools for eviscerating the opposition while muting serious debate.

    Both Duterte and Mocha are adept at making virtues out of vices, repurposing mendacity into candidness, criticism into conspiracy. They excel in converting sinful pasts into narratives of redemption, thereby outmaneuvering the Church and civil society alike.

    Indeed, this regime has sought to erase the difference between the state and civil society, making one into the extension of the other.

    Thus do critics of Duterte find themselves faced with, for want of a better term, a post-modern authoritarian populism that hits them from all sides: from above, from below, from the left, from the right, from the front, and from the back.

    It is a style of rule that presents itself as insurgent and counter-insurgent at the same time, or better yet, that uses an insurgent art to push a counter-insurgent agenda (shades of Trump!).

    Unable to fully discern the rules of the game, it is small wonder that critics of Duterte are consistently outflanked and disorganized, further emboldening the likes of Mocha and other supporters. But for how long? That remains to be seen. – Rappler.com

    Vicente L. Rafael teaches history at the University of Washington.
    http://www.rappler.com/thought-leade...anking-critics

    What ouster? Emails only call for Duterte resignation—solon
    By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab - Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQ
    INQUIRER.net / 02:34 PM January 09, 2017
    edcel lagman

    Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO/RYAN LEAGOGO

    An opposition lawmaker from the Liberal Party on Monday denied that the alleged “LeniLeaks” controversy is a plot of Vice President Leni Robredo to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte.

    In a statement, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said a “plain reading” of the email thread that went viral “does not manifest a design to destabilize the government or oust President Duterte.”

    But the controversy has become a tool for the administration to censure any forms of dissent, Lagman said.
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    Robredo became a subject of online backlash after her rabid online critics and trolls on Facebook spread screenshots of supposed emails from Robredo’s known supporters calling for Duterte’s resignation and protests against the President’s support for the hero’s burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

    Another viral post showed an alleged email from the Office of the Vice President’s social media unit urging its trolls to launch a counteroffensive against Duterte, social media personalities who were Robredo’s rabid critics, and defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos, who filed an electoral protest against Robredo.

    The trolls dubbed the viral posts #LeniLeaks.”

    Lagman said the alleged emails were part of the exercise of freedom of expressions as protected by the Bill of Rights and an important part of democracy.

    Lagman said the emails only suggest resignation and not any radical ouster plot to end Duterte’s term.

    “While some of the emails may suggest the resignation of Duterte for an erratic decision favoring the burial of the late dictator Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and for failure to solve the drug menace, they express honest opinions and do not recommend any radical action or upheaval to pre-terminate Duterte’s incumbency,” Lagman said.

    Lagman said “LeniLeaks” only shows the administration’s imagined fear of an impeachment or ouster plot being used to justify censorship of any form of dissent.

    “If the President’s men believe that Duterte is rendering fealty to his mandate, then their phobia of his impending ouster is grossly misplaced and is conveniently used as a pretext to discourage and censure critical dissent,” Lagman said.
    READ: ‘Duterte ouster plot’ shows how admin is ‘twisted, paranoid’—solon

    While the Office of the Vice President has not yet issued a statement about it, Robredo denied being part of any ouster moves against Duterte.

    READ: I am not a part of any plot to oust Duterte’—Robredo

    Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he has asked National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to investigate the alleged ouster plot.

    Robredo resigned from the Cabinet after she was ordered by Duterte to desist from attending Cabinet meetings due to irreconcilable differences.

    Duterte later said he asked Robredo to stop attending the meetings following allegations Robredo had joined protests against Duterte, an accusation the vice president denied.

    Robredo has criticized Duterte’s support for the burial of Marcos at the Libingan, as well as the administration’s bloody war on drugs, which has claimed over 6,000 lives. IDL/rga
    play_circle_filled
    Last edited by troung; 09 Jan 17, at 21:49.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  9. #129
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Jan 26, 2017 @ 04:46 PM 40,044 views
    Duterte's Philippines Is Getting More Corrupt

    Panos Mourdoukoutas ,

    Contributor

    I cover global markets, business and investment strategy

    Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

    Photographer: Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg

    President Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads didn’t kill corruption in Philippines last year. But they killed freedom and democracy, and will kill the country’s economic growth and equity market.

    Philippines dropped six notches in the 2016 Corruption Index country ranking published recently by Transparency International.

    That has been raising concerns about death squads and the future of the country’s democratic institutions. “President Duterte’s dramatic rise to power in the Philippines made extensive use of anti-corruption rhetoric,” states Transparency International. “Yet, the impact of death squads, attacks on media and violent intimidation to the detriment of democracy and democratic institutions is yet to be seen in 2017.”
    Country Corruption Index in 2010 Corruption Index 2015 Corruption Index in 2016
    Philippines 134 95/168 101/168
    Pakistan 143/168 117/168 116/168
    India 87 76 79
    Estonia 26 23 22
    USA 22 16 18

    Source: Transparency International

    Fighting corruption is a big bet for Philippines and for foreign investors buying Philippine stocks. Why? Because winning it would mean Philippines has won the war against corruption and pushed forward and become a developed country.

    On the other hand, losing the bet would mean Philippines has lost the corruption war, and slid back to frontier status; and that seems to be the case with Philippines, as the country’s corruption ranking continues to slide in recent years.
    Recommended by Forbes
    Fund 3-Month Performance 6-Month Performance
    ishares MSCI China (FXI) -0.97% 3.54
    iShares MSCI Philippines (EPHE) -2.75 -13.34
    iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) 0.96 4.10
    Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (VNM) -5.85 -8.86

    Source: Finance.yahoo.com 1/26/2017

    While President Duterte has been ineffective in fighting corruption, his flip-flops over the South China Sea disputes have been taking their toll on Philippines‘ stocks, which are down 13.34 percent in the last six months—see table. Apparently, investors are concerned about the political and economic future of that nation, and the prospects for on-going economic integration of the region and the global economy — most notably China, which needs a market frontier for its manufacturing products.

    That’s why the Philippines market sell-off has touched other markets in the region, like Vietnam, which has lost 8.86 percent over the same period.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/panosmou.../#637d0aac6602
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  10. #130
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Monday, February 13, 2017
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    The Manila Times Online
    China wants emergency powers for Duterte 1
    BY CATHERINE S. VALENTE, TMT
    ON FEBRUARY 12, 2017
    TODAY'S HEADLINE PHOTOS, TOP STORIES
    Tweet
    China wants President Rodrigo Duterte granted emergency powers so that major infrastructure projects that will be funded by Beijing can immediately start and be finished before he steps down from office.


    Ambassador Zhao Jianhua

    China’s Ambassador to Manila Zhao Jianhua vowed to boost the Philippines’ infrastructure sector through “corruption-free” agreements, in his remarks during The Manila Times’ 5th Business Forum held at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao on Friday.


    Zhao however said China is “afraid of taking up projects” that may go beyond Duterte’s term of office.

    “We must hurry. We have to get it done within the presidential term,” Zhao said, adding that a new government would bring “a lot of challenges and uncertainties.”

    Without the emergency powers, big infrastructure projects may not be completed fast enough, he warned.

    “We might be stuck there. I think that’s one of the top priorities as far as infrastructure projects are concerned,” Zhao said.

    When Duterte visited China last year, Beijing promised a $6-billion soft loan and a $3-billion credit line to be provided by the Bank of China.

    Zhao said they have already identified projects that may begin by the second half of this year.

    “There is a very strong sense of urgency. We will try to make sure these projects are going to be corruption-free,” he said.

    The Philippines offered 40 projects to China, 15 for financing and 25 others for assistance with feasibility studies.

    Zhao said three projects may break ground this year – the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, the New Centennial Watersource project in Rizal and the North-South Railway project.

    “These are the three projects we have taken in as priority projects because they are already approved by the Filipino side,” the envoy said.

    The Senate has yet to pass a measure that seeks to grant Duterte extra powers. However, 14 senators have signed a committee report on the bill that will grant the President emergency powers.


    China wants emergency powers for Duterte - The Manila Times Online https://t.co/cYeny4AkRk
    1 d

    Robert JA Basilio Jr
    @scribblerjack
    China backs emergency powers to ensure completion of Philippine infrastructure projects | via @ipcigaral… https://t.co/YnylRcVGk1
    1 d




    ....
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  11. #131
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    PHILIPPINES
    Soft on Napoles? Duterte gov't just upholding 'rule of law'

    President Rodrigo Duterte's chief legal counsel says no favors are being granted to the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind

    Pia Ranada
    @piaranada
    Published 3:37 PM, February 15, 2017
    Updated 5:25 PM, February 15, 2017
    'PORK BARREL SCAM QUEEN.' Authorities take a mug shot of Janet Lim Napoles, who is accused of masterminding the pork barrel scam, the biggest corruption scandal in Philippine history. Rappler file photo
    'PORK BARREL SCAM QUEEN.' Authorities take a mug shot of Janet Lim Napoles, who is accused of masterminding the pork barrel scam, the biggest corruption scandal in Philippine history. Rappler file photo

    MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's chief legal counsel said on Wednesday, February 15, that the move of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to recommend the acquittal of Janet Lim Napoles in a serious illegal detention case is consistent with the administration's bid to uphold the rule of law.

    Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo offered this explanation to reporters in a phone interview on Wednesday, when asked whether the Duterte administration was going soft on the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind, given the OSG's move.

    Panelo insisted that the move is not a favor for Napoles but part of the Duterte administration's commitment to uphold the rule of law for all persons, controversial or not.

    "The administration of Duterte will always follow what the rule of law and the Constitution states regardless of who are the persons involved, whether that person is a controversial figure or a non-controversial figure," he said.

    The OSG said it remains unconvinced that Napoles was guilty of illegally detaining Benhur Luy, who turned state witness to testify against Napoles in the congressional inquiry into the pork barrel scam. (READ: Pork Tales: A story of corruption)

    Luy, a cousin of Napoles, was her longtime assistant before he eventually became the principal witness in the plunder complaint filed against her.

    Panelo is confident that the OSG has basis for this finding.

    "Our position is if the OSG is the office that studied the case and it's his office that recommended the acquittal, then we have to abide by its position unless independent entities can show us that the position is contrary to evidence and contrary to the records of the case. But I doubt it is contrary because the OSG is doing its job," said Panelo.

    Asked if Duterte relayed any instructions to the OSG regarding Napoles' case, Panelo said to his knowledge, there was no such instruction from the Chief Executive.

    "The President does not give any instruction to any department, he has repeatedly said that. He leaves departments alone. He will only come in when there is a complaint," he said.

    The President's chief legal counsel said the OSG's move only proves the government looks at the merits of a case objectively and not based on the personalities involved.

    "The lawyer of the Republic of the Philippines is bound by law not only to prosecute the accused but to give justice to all. When you see there is no evidence, like President Duterte when he was prosecutor, it was he who moved for the dismissal of a criminal case," said Panelo.

    When asked, Panelo said he does not think the possible acquittal of Napoles for the crime of illegal detention will affect the pork barrel cases.

    Even if she were to be acquitted for that particular crime, Napoles has other pending cases of graft, malversation of public funds, and corruption of public officers.

    Three senators have been charged with plunder for allegedly conspiring with Napoles in funneling millions in pork barrel funds into bogus non-governmental organizations, and getting huge kickbacks in return.

    Duterte has promised to stamp out corruption in government, one of his key campaign promises.

    Experts interviewed by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism said the OSG's move may herald a "policy shift" in how the Duterte government deals with Napoles and the indicted lawmakers. – Rappler.com
    ...
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  12. #132
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    12 environment advocates killed under Duterte

    Citing data from non-governmental group Kalikasan, which recorded the killings of environmental activists in the first 7 months of the current administration, Vice President Leni Robredo seeks to have the deaths investigated
    Patty Pasion
    @pattypasion
    Published 6:14 PM, February 20, 2017
    Updated 12:28 AM, February 21, 2017

    12 DEAD. There have been 12 environmental activists killed in the last 7 months since President Rodrigo Duterte took office. Rappler file photo

    12 DEAD. There have been 12 environmental activists killed in the last 7 months since President Rodrigo Duterte took office. Rappler file photo

    MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo called for a prompt investigation into the killings of environmental defenders, following the death of a Bohol-based lawyer.

    "It is alarming that in the first 7 months of this administration, there are already 12 environment advocates who have been killed. We urge authorities to fast track investigation, bring those responsible to justice, and eliminate the culture of impunity in the country," Robredo said in a statement on Monday, February 20.

    She also expressed her condolences to the family of Mia Manuelita Mascariñas-Green, who was slain by 4 motorcycle gunmen on February 15.

    "Our country lost a fierce environmental advocate and a dedicated alternative lawyer," said the Vice President, who was also a pro-bono lawyer prior to entering politics.

    Green was known for investigating crimes affecting the environment. She was shot while driving a van in Bohol with her children and nanny. She died at the hospital, but her companions survived. The police has not yet linked the attack to her work as an environmental lawyer.

    Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Bohol president Ted Lagang said they are ensuring that an airtight case will be filed against the perpetrators, with 6 witnesses ready to testify.

    The Philippines was ranked in 2015 as the world's 2nd most dangerous place for environmental campaigners, with more than 100 killed in the past 15 years.

    In the 7 months since President Rodrigo Duterte sat in Malacañang, there have been 12 defenders slain, mostly activists against mining operations.

    Here's a list of deaths recorded by monitoring group Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment, as of February 20, 2017:

    July 1, 2016 - Gloria Capitan (Lucanin, Mariveles, Bataan)
    July 30, 2016 - Makinit Gayoran (Kawayan, San Fernando, Bukidnon)
    September 8, 2016 - Ariel Diaz (Delfin Abano, Isabela)
    September 13, 2016 - Rita Gascon (Barangay Lanao Kuran, Arakan, North Cotabato)
    September 13, 2016 - Norberto Gascon (Barangay Lanao Kuran, Arakan, North Cotabato)
    October 10, 2016 - Jimmy Saypan (Barangay Nan, Compostela, Compostela Valley)
    October 13, 2016 - Joselito Pasaporte (Mabini, Compostela Valley)
    January 5, 2017 - Datu Vennie Diamante (Sitio Lambusong, Barangay Puti Norallah, South Cotabato)
    January 7, 2017 - Mario Contaoi (Barangay San Ramon, Magsingal, Ilocos Sur)
    January 20, 2017 - Veronico Lapsay Delamente (Punta Naga, Barangay Caagdianao, Claver, Surigao del Norte)
    February 2, 2017 - Renato Anglao (Crossing Busco, Quezon, Bukidnon)
    February 15, 2017 - Mia Manuelita Cumba Mascariñas-Green (Purok Dos, Zamora Street, Dao, Barangay San Isidro, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)

    Environmental and human rights lawyers will hold a Mass and "indignation gathering" at the Manila Observatory on Tuesday, February 21, at 6 pm.

    Green's family issued a statement on Monday, affirming their quest for justice, and thanking those who have condoled with them:

    We, the family of Atty Mia, remain steadfast in our quest for justice, buoyed by our faith that the authorities are doing everything in their power to bring the perpetrators and their accomplices to justice.

    We would like to thank the thousands of people from all walks of life – the fishers, farmers, tricycle drivers, community workers, public servants, civil society members, religious groups, the young and old, men and women – who shared their love, prayers, flowers, gifts and time during the wake for Atty Mia at the family home. We have received so many precious stories, gifts and kind words from them, as well as the whole Boholano, Philippine, and international community.

    Though words don't adequately describe the person that Atty Mia was or the life that she lived, we put together the following four vignettes that we hope collectively capture her caring nature, generous heart, and beautiful spirit.

    Please join us as we continue to honor and celebrate her life and legacy.
    ....
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  13. #133
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Muse on the losses of removing a regime which turned the nation into an insurgency plagued basket case.

    Duterte: No one should claim credit for EDSA revolt
    By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 25, 2017 - 12:00am
    Former president Fidel Ramos greets former senator Juan Ponce Enrile during a ceremony marking the 31st anniversary of the EDSA people power revolution at the AFP headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City yesterday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES

    MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte skipped the ceremony on the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA people power revolution at Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.

    Duterte, who is in Davao City to lead the re-launching of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, instead left a message for the EDSA rites that was delivered by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

    “No single party, ideology, religion or individual could claim credit for the bloodless EDSA revolution, in the same way that no single party, ideology, religion or individual could claim a monopoly of patriotism,” Duterte’s message read.

    “Indeed, the spirit of EDSA does not belong to one sector or one group of people, but to all Filipinos who believe in freedom and a democratic way of life,” he said.

    Duterte called on the Filipino people to not just celebrate the 1986 uprising but to also muse on the losses and gains it contributed to the country.

    “Thirty-one years have passed since the EDSA People Power Revolution, and perhaps, now is the opportune time to ask ourselves – what have we achieved after EDSA?” the Chief Executive said.

    “More than a mere commemoration, now is the perfect time for all of us to reflect and objectively assess what we have lost and what we have gained as a nation since that historic event,” he added.

    Former president Fidel Ramos, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Gregorio Honasan, who played key roles during the EDSA revolution attended the event.

    Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, former vice president Jejomar Binay and former executive secretary Eduardo Ermita were also present along with members of civil society and the religious sector.

    Personalities who were instrumental to the peaceful uprising were awarded during the commemoration including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Sister Sarah Manapol, who helped manage Radyo Bandido at the height of the EDSA revolt.

    Medialdea, who headed the EDSA People Power Commission, urged Filipinos to ponder on the lessons of the revolution.

    “EDSA lives on and its spirit should continue to inspire heroism in all of us for the greater glory of God and country,” he said.
    ‘We can all be Rizals’

    Every Filipino can be like the country’s national hero Jose Rizal, the President said.

    “But I trust that those who read the story of his life would concede that his humanity was the secret to his greatness. You can be a Rizal, I can be a Rizal in our own modest ways and within the limits of our competence and capacities. We can all be Rizals,” Duterte said during the 31st International Assembly and Conference of the Knights of Rizal at the SMX Convention Center here Thursday night.

    Duterte read a prepared speech and did not digress to other issues before more than 500 members of the Knights of Rizal.

    He did not talk about De Lima’s arrest and the EDSA people power revolution.

    The President was conferred the Knight Grand Cross of Rizal award by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno during the event.

    Simple, meaningful

    Meanwhile, Honasan supported Duterte’s decision to simplify the commemoration of the EDSA people power celebration.

    Enrile and Honasan agreed that the celebration of the peaceful uprising should be simple but meaningful.

    Enrile noted that the people power revolt should be observed every 24th of February since the people were no longer on EDSA on Feb. 25, 1986.

    Ramos did not grant interviews but gave media and other guests a “show” when he sat on the window of his white sport utility vehicle after the program.

    Ramos, who was chief of the Philippine Constabulary during the EDSA revolution, waved to the crowd with one hand clinging to the vehicle’s roof.

    “Walang mahuhulog dito, ang mahuhulog dito si Digong (No one will fall here. Digong will be the one to fall),” he said in jest, referring to Duterte who skipped the event.

    On the other hand, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle issued on Thursday a circular to all clergymen under his diocese to hold simple celebrations of EDSA revolt in their respective parishes.

    “As we join the whole Church in the Philippines in celebrating the Year of the Parish, I invite all parishes to a simple commemoration of EDSA People Power," said Tagle. – With Edith Regalado, Evelyn Macairan, Michael Punongbayan
    http://www.philstar.com/headlines/20...it-edsa-revolt
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  14. #134
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    Missed this far more ominous event. I know this is direct from the President. I also know it would be a simple matter of bribing nine drug dealers that you took a bribe from her or else. Also, since the Philippines goes by guilty first, and you prove your innocence, she will not be getting out any time soon. Clearly a set up. Hell, I've been around the place long enough to know I could hire a hit man for 10,000 pesos no problem. That is just over $250.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/w...lima.html?_r=0

    MANILA — A Philippine senator who had been the leading domestic critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody antidrug campaign was arrested Friday on charges that she took bribes from imprisoned drug traffickers.

    The senator, Leila de Lima, has denied the charges, describing them as political persecution. A Philippine court ordered her arrest on Thursday, and she went home Thursday night to say goodbye to her family.

    Speaking to journalists on Friday before she was led away, Ms. de Lima was combative. “These are all lies,” she said of the charges. “The truth will come out at the right time. If they think they can stop me from fighting these daily murders, they are wrong.”

    Ms. de Lima has been a fierce opponent of Mr. Duterte’s crackdown on users and sellers of narcotics, under which thousands of people have been killed by the police or by vigilantes since Mr. Duterte took office in June. Last year, a Senate panel led by Ms. de Lima heard testimony from a professed hit man, Edgar Matobato, who said he belonged to a death squad that had been overseen by Mr. Duterte when Mr. Duterte was mayor of Davao City.

    Soon after that testimony, Ms. de Lima was removed from her post as chairwoman of the Senate panel. Another committee, in the Philippine House of Representatives, soon began hearings at which imprisoned drug kingpins testified that they had given Ms. de Lima bribes through her driver and bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan. Mr. Dayan testified that he had collected the money on the senator’s behalf.

    Embarrassing details of a romantic affair between Mr. Dayan and Ms. de Lima were also disclosed at the hearings, in what the senator called part of a campaign by the Duterte administration to harass and silence her.

    The charges against Ms. de Lima were brought by the Philippine Justice Department, which is headed by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, a fraternity brother of Mr. Duterte who presided over the House hearings. The Justice Department says that Ms. de Lima used the drug money for her Senate campaign last year, and that the inmates who gave it to her received special privileges in return.

    Mr. Duterte’s chief legal adviser, Salvador Panelo, said Thursday that “the law of karma finally caught up” with Ms. de Lima.

    “She should welcome this development herself, as she is now given the opportunity to refute any and all the allegations and/or evidence to be presented by the prosecution against her,” Mr. Panelo said. “This is where the real battle begins, and not in the media that she relishes to use against the president.”

    Ms. de Lima’s opposition Liberal Party said her case should have been handled by an anticorruption court that hears accusations against government officials, not by the regular trial court that issued the warrant.

    “The haste is deplorable,” the party said in a statement. “This arrest is purely a political vendetta and has no place in a justice system that upholds the rule of law.”

    The party also said that it feared for Ms. de Lima’s life, noting that a mayor whom Mr. Duterte accused last year of drug trafficking was gunned down in his jail cell by police officers, who later said the mayor had pulled a gun during a search.

    Ms. de Lima’s arrest came just days after a retired police officer said that he had led the death squad in Davao that Mr. Matobato described in his testimony last year, and that he had acted on the direct orders of the mayor, Mr. Duterte. A presidential spokesman denied the accusation.


  15. #135
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Trillaces is next.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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