Komedya ng opposition

Itong nangyayari ngayon sa opposition ay isang komedya.

Kung isa-pelikula ito, sigurado patok ito sa takilya bilang comedy film.

Limang buwan na lang ang natitira bago ang deadline ng filing para sa Certificates of Candidacy, wala pa rin silang desisyon kung tatakbo si FVP Leni o hindi.

At ito naman si sundalong kanin, atat na atat na siya na lang daw ang papalit sa lugar ni Leni. Iba na raw ang plano ni Leni. Hindi na tatakbo bilang pangulo.

Tapos biglang nagpalabas ng pahayag ang spokesman ni Leni na sinungaling itong sundalong kanin.

Nasa laban pa rin si Leni, sabi niya.

Si Pacquiao gustong mag-apply. Subalit rejected kaagad ang application niya dahil INCOMPETENT.

Talagang napakababa ang standard ng opposition.Wala silang mahanap na matino na candidato.

Kaya pinagtatawanan na lang ang mga ito.

Leksyon sa buhay ni Michael Jordan

Isa si Michael Jordan sa pinaka talented na athlete sa buong mundo.

Milyon-milyon ang kanyang taga-hanga at hanggang ngayon, kahit nag retiro na siya sa paglalaro, ay pinag-uusapan pa rin ang kanyang kagalingan sa basketball court.

Sinubukan ni MJ na lumipat sa baseball. Malamang inakala niya na kung naging kasing-galing siya sa basketball, ay hindi mahirap na makapagpakita siya ng parehong galing sa baseball.

From one sport to another. Lakas ng katawan lang ang kailangan.

Subalit nabigo si MJ. Palpak siya pagdating sa baseball.

Sinubukan rin ni Manny Pacquiao na maglaro sa PBA. Akala niya dahil mabilis siya at mautak, kaya niyang magpakita na siklab sa PBA.

The same thing happened.

Sports pa lang yan ang pinag-uusapan.

Kaya Manny P., mag isip-isip ka bago ka mangarap na tumakbo bilang Pangulo.

The Senate: a den of thieves

In our democratic government, there are three major branches that engage each other in a system called “checks and balances”. Aside from fulfilling mandated functions, each is also empowered to make sure that none of the other two branches overstep their boundaries and pull any of them back into line. This is elementary for students of social studies. No need to elaborate.

But a lesson in “checks and balances” is needed for the Philippine Senate, that bastion of legislative authority where members DEMAND that they are respected and have zero tolerance of “other” people — non senators — who might have the gall to disagree with them or utter words that are unpleasant to their hearing.

During the last few days, a controversy erupted when Lt. General Antonio Parlade, Jr., commander of the AFP Southern Command and spokesman of the National Task Force for the End of the Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) reacted not so politely to the threat of Senators Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian to remove its budget.

Villanueva and Gatchalian, a pair of spoiled brats who consider the fate of the nation as a video game, were displeased that Parlade has kept up a steady stream of words to expose the true nature of AP Non’s community pantry. They call it “red-tagging” that Senator Franklin Drilon wants to be punishable with 10 years of imprisonment.

Parlade’s reaction was to calll Villanueva and Gatchalian “stupid”.

This triggered angry reactions from Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan and other dilawan senators. Drilon said Parlade should be censured for insulting his fellow senators. Pangilinan described it as utter disrespect for the institution and a bad example for a public servant to say nasty words about senators,

If there is anybody who should be reprimanded, it isn’t Parlade.

The Senate is no longer the institution that it used to be. Its “august chambers” have been desecrated by the criminal acts of its own leaders. Unethical behavior among senators have not been lacking in abundance. In a way of speaking, it has turned into a “den of thieves”.

One illustration would be the case of Joel Villanueva. The omisson of the title “Senator” is deliberate. Because if the law was enforced, he should not have lasted a minute longer as Senator after then Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III received the decision of the Ombudsman in November 2016 finding Villanueva guilty of (a) grave misconduct, (b) serious dishonesty and (c) conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the service.

As administrative case against Villanueva was investigated when he was TESDA Director General, the Ombudsman ordered him DISMISSED from the service. It just happened that he had already been elected as Senator and had assumed office when the decision came out.

Pimentel, acting upon the recommendation of the Senate Legal Office, refused to carry out the order of the Ombudsman. It was strange how Pimentel could display such ignorance of the law when he abided by the legal opinion of the Senate Legal Office. Pimentel was a bar topnotcher in 1990.

It doesn’t take a lawyer to know that the opinion is flawed.

The Senate Legal Office advised Pimentel that the Ombudsman “had no jurisdiction” over the acts of Villanueva in pillaging the national treasury through the misuse of PDAF money through a Napoles foundation. Senators and congressmen are not within the disciplinary authority of the Ombudsman, it said. That’s true. But Villanueva was charged with these administrative offenses when he was TESDA Director General. And his offenses were not erased when he left his party-list congressional seat. It stayed with him, and continues to stay with him. His fitness to occupy the position of TESDA Director General was tainted because of what he had done as congressman.

I’m sorry, but I call that opinion “stupid”. And Pimentel even more “stupid” in using that opinion as basis for refusing to enforce the law.

The Ombudsman’s order was not to dismiss Villanueva as Senator. The dismissal aspect became moot and academic when Villanueva resigned as TESDA Director General to run as Senator. Pimentel conveniently ignored the fact that there was an accessory penalty to the guilty verdict: PERPETUAL DISQUALIFICATION FROM PUBLIC OFFICE.

In simple terms, in a language that only the stupid would not be able to understand, Villanueva has no legal standing anymore to hold any public office, much more that of a Senator of the Republic. That he won as Senator in the 2016 elections did not cure the legal infirmity. Villanueva’s situation is similar to what happened to Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was defrocked as Chief Justice because she was not qualified in the first place.

Pimentel should have enforced the order. But apparently, he didn’t have the moral courage of his departed father, the revered Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr. The late Nene Pimentel was one of my idols. HIs son pales in comparison to him. In fact, there is no comparison if moral courage is made the measurement. Koko demonstrated moral cowardice.

If there were flaws on the issue of jurisdiction, the proper remedy for Villanueva was to seek a TRO from the Supreme Court. Without such an injunction, the Ombudsman order was final and executory pending appeal. And I don’t have to remind Pimentel that the order was part of the law of the land. The Senate has no power to overturn it. Neither can it ignore it.

This is a sad testimony to the erosion of integrity in the Senate. Its own members have desecrated its august chambers. Pimentel brought shame and dishonor to the Senate.

Villanueva’s continued stay as Senator is also a crime in progress.

By continuing to perform the functions of the office, he is committing the crime of usurpation of public authority by masquerading as a Senator when he shouldn’t continue to occupy that office. He is also committing the crime of causing undue injury to the Government because he collects salaries and allowance as a Senator when he is not entitled to it. He is causing irreparable injury to the integrity of the Senate by clinging to his position like a leech.

No wonder General Parlade and the Filipino people can show disrespect to these senators. It is you who cloaked yourselves with dishonor. You have discarded integrity and honor because of your selfish interests.

Strategy vs. communist terrorists

The legal challenge against the National Terror Law is still being deliberated by the Supreme Court. But there is no question in my mind that drastic measures such as those enshrined in the law are needed to put an end to the communist insurgency. Everything must be done to shut down all avenues for the recruitment of potential communist guerillas and disrupt the flow of finances by freezing bank accounts owned by leftist organizations.

Let’s make no mistake about it. The Makabayan bloc is an essential part of the communist strategy to overthrow the government. That has long been acknowledged by Joma Sison. Without a legal front, the armed insurgency would amount to nothing. The ultimate goal of the revolution is persuade the Filipino people that government is not looking after their needs. The barrel of the gun is not exactly an effective weapon in trying to bring about a radical shift in the public mind. It requires people who pretend to be working for the best interests of the masses.

Hence, legal fronts are critical to the success of the armed struggle. There must be a constant pressure on the public consciousness to look at an alternative form of governance to address their needs. It has to be a slow creep forward, operating within the legal system, as these groups pummel people’s minds with propaganda. Organization is necessary to make this happen: labor groups, farmers, students, professionals, teachers, fisherfolk, indigenous groups and more.

This is the purpose of rallies and demonstrations. The communists need images of large numbes of discontended Filipinos marching in the streets, shouting anti-government slogans. It has worked for centuries in agitating people to rise against their governments. The role of armed guerillas is to harass government and project the image that government is unable to establish peace and order, and people will continually live under a shadow of fear.

It becomes textbook strategy to target the legal fronts and shut down the faucet. Reduce the ability of these Makabayan groups to operate with impunity and become a magnet for potential armed guerillas and “legal” sympathizers. Because of the “rule of law”, front organizations have been free to stage their activities, and government can only watch.

The new law against terrorisim changes everything. Government brings a “paradigm shift” to its fight against terrorism. Now, front organizations included in the list of terrorist organizations will have to go underground. The state can now peak into their bank accounts; if proof is found that money to fund terror activities are funneled through these accounts, the accounts can be frozen.

Money is the lifeblood of terrorist organizations. Without money, the front organizations will simply crumble. They will starve to death. Once that happens, the armed com;ponent of the communist insurrection will also collapse. The movement will run out of funds to buy weapons, bullets and feed their struggling army. It’s really simple, which is also the reason why the communist front organizations are fighting tooth and nail to get the anti-terror law invalidated.

The Filipino people are tired of this armed conflict. There is no sense in this internal war. Lives are being sacrificed at the altar of an ideology that has long been discredited. It has become nothing more than a futile attempt for an aging Joma Sison to grab power and put to waste all the gains we have made.

Commander’s intent

As a student of history and leadership, I read a lot of biographies and watch YouTube videos on these subjects.

One great video I watched recently was an interview with former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (he was a four-star General of the US Marines when he retired) about his leadership philosopy. What he said caught my attention because it describes how great leaders do their work.

Mattis talked about “commander’s intent” as an approach to the leadership role. It will help explain why Presidents like Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte can afford to play golf at night or even “vanish” from view for two weeks. A leader doesn’t need to cook lugaw and serve it to the people. He doesn’t need to be on Facebook or YouTube everyday to have his presence “felt”.

This is a good lesson for those who are ignorant about the work of leaders.

According to Mattis, a good leader only needs to articulate what needs to be done, his vision of how an organization should pursue its goals and objectives. He calls it the “commander’s intent”. Once this is communicated to the organization, the people working in the organization are given wide latitude in formulating their strategies to accomplish the mission. A good leader does not look over the shoulders of his subordinates.

The only requirement is that the “commander’s intent” is clear and leaves no room for doubt.

This is the leadership style of President Duterte. He has outstanding men and women working with him on the team. Most, if not all, possess sterling leadership qualities of their own, honed by long years of experience in the government, military, business or academe. There are a few bad eggs, but not enough to spoil the entire basket.

It also explains why President Duterte has shown a bias toward retired military and police generals to handle the heavy work.

Many people found it hard to understand why President Duterte appointed retired General Rolando Bautista as DSWD chief. In the past, women with no experience in logistics and organization work handled this portfolio. That betrays a lack of understanding of the true nature of social welfare services, especially in times of disaster.

Military generals spent decades learning and training in making sure people, weapons, ammunition, transportation and the like placed at the right spot at the right time. That experience is invaluable. If these generals fail to achieve that confluence in the delivery of vital items at a time they are needed, many lives could be sacrificed.

With his background, Secretary Bautista doesn’t need close supervision on how he does his work. It may not be perfect, but in the last two years when the country was hit by earthquakes, typhoons, volcano eruptions and, of course, the Covid 19 pandemic, Bautista has done a good job.

The same thing can be said about General Carlito Galvez. This quiet individual shies away from the spotlight and works quietly. And despite the handicaps, Galvez has succeeded in bringing vaccines into the country to start the counter-attack on this unseen enemy. All the political noise didn’t distract him. It won’t be long before his work will unravel itself and prove that government is not sleeping.

Much more can be said about the former generals on the President’s team.

Suffice it to say that Mayor Digong’s leadership style isn’t a “hit or miss” approach. He has set the direction on his compass, and everybody works harmoniously with each other. There are occasional gaffs, but that’s not surprising with the complex problem we are facing. Leaders are not afraid of making mistakes, and everybody on a team must also embrace that attitude. Being afraid of mistakes is a barrier to innovation and confine team members to old playbooks that may have become obsolete.

Dumidilim na ang kinabukasan ni Leni

Leni Robredo is stepping up on her non-sense to try and persuade the Filipino people it is time they gave her a chance to become President by forcing Tatay Digong out of office.

With elections just 13 months away, her ambition to become another Cory — widowed by murder (by her own party) — is becoming dimmer by the day.

She will soon be talked about in the past tense.Ang babaeng sinakripisyo ang asawa dahil lang sa kanyang uma-apaw na ambisyon.

Leni has no integrity

Integrity is one of the character traits that a leader must possess in order to be effective in that role.

Unfortunately, Leni Robredo is utterly without integrity.

Number one: she is dishonest.

Even in the face of strong evidence that her husband was murdered, she continues to lie to herself, and to the people, by pretending it was really an accident.

How can she convince ordidnary Filipinos to believe her when she ignores the obvious truth?

The least she could have done was ask for a deeper investigation.

However, she became part of the cover-up after she was promised the opportunity to become the next Cory Aquino.

Number two: Leni has brushed off the issue about her illicit relationship with Bolet Banal.

She must have thought that Filipinos are stupid and so gullible that even the most glaring of lies will be accepted as gospel truth.

That translates to one thing: she has no respect for the Filipino people.

These are just two reasons why Leni Robredo will fail in her bid to ascend to the Presidency.

Disaster for the Filipino people

For Leni Robredo to become President by any means in the remaining months before the elections is a prescription for disaster.Parang pina-inom ng cyanide ang mga tao bilang gamot laban sa Covid 19.

Drilon wants to scrap history in the name of vanity

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon always achieves things with the use of political muscle and bullying. Anybody who steps in his way gets a taste of his fury.

That was what former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon experienced three years ago when he complained that Drilon had forced him to sign an illegal agreement for a restoration project for the Iloilo Customs House.

Drilon got Faeldon to agree that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to do a structural and aesthetic make-over of the historical building and turn it into a museum.

“There’s nothing illegal about it,” Drilon asserted.

Iloilo Customs House in 1917

Under the plan, the ground floor of the Iloilo Customs House would be turned into a maritime museum. The Iloilo Customs would occupy just the second floor. The Philippine Postal Service also occupies a portion of the ground floor.

Drilon gave assurances the Bureau of Customs personnel would not be ejected from the building.

But the liar in Drilon is once again revealed.

Later this month, on April 21, the Bureau of Customs will be moving out of the building and transfer to rented office space 3 kilomters from the port area. Naturally, there is grumbling among the Customs officials and personnel. They just couldn’t express their sentiments publicly for fear that Drilon would go after them. Drilon has zero tolerance for people who disagree with him.

The Iloilo Customs House today.

From his original plan to utilize only the ground floor for a maritime museum, Drilon wants the entire building for his grandiose and delusional “legacy” project. Because Drilon knows how to flex his political muscle and pull the right strings, the BOC will spend P500,000 a month to rent the old STI building near the Iloilo Mission Hospital in Jaro, Iloilo City.

There is no logic in Drilon’s agenda. Why would the government spend half a million pesos every month to rental office space far from the place of business of the Customs bureau? What kind of museum does he intend to put in that building? Legacy? It’s vanity.

The Customs House is part of Iloilo’s history. It stood witness to the growth and development of Iloilo, which gained international prominence in trade and commerce, starting when it exported locally-produced textiles to European markets. Where it stands beside the Iloilo River, the Customs House was where shippers and traders converged each time a vessel docks at the port. In its halls, customs officials diligently collected duties on goods going through the Iloilo port.

Indeed, customs buildings are a prominent fixture in all major ports around the world. A customs house needs to be close to where the busy shipping traffic is, if only because of the practicality of being proximate to its clientele. There is no customs house that is deep inland. As much as practicable, these buildings are always at the edge of the port area.

Drilon is so obsessed with leaving a stamp of his name in Iloilo even if these projects are burdened by issues of corruption. He has become so unreasonable that he will sacrifice the efficiency of customs operations to get what he wants done.

Customs personnel are apprehensive this will adversely affect their work. And if Drilon does get his way, the history of Iloilo will be drastically changed forever. His vanity will triumph over public service.

All-out offensive

The yellows will stop at nothing to bring about their desired “leadership change” in government with just 13 months before the next elections. Their troll army, formed during the Aquino administration by Edwin Lacierda and funded by its deep warchest from the Disbursement Acceleration Program, is now stepping up on propaganda efforts to malign government. Basically, the strategy seeks to paint an image of an incompetent government in dealing with the West Philippine Sea issue with China, and the supposed failure to curb the Covid 19 pandemic.

Desperation is now etched deep in every message they post, and every hashtag they manufacture. Time is runnng out. If this were a chess game, dilawans have only less than a minute on their clock, and the opponent is ahead both in position and number of pieces left on the board. They are counting that the Filipino people will suddenly demonstrate in the streets in outrage and pave the way for Leni Robredo to succeed.

Other than that, the yellows have zero chance of surviving. Yes, surviving. No matter who their presidential bet is, that somebody is certain to lose. If Leni is their best choice, then all that is needed is for the ballots to be counted. Doom is what awaits Leni, or anybody who runs in the likelihood she chickens out.

It’s not that I believe their propaganda efforts to come close to succeeding. But the Filipino people will have to stay vigilant, so that each wave is quickly shot down with social media counter-attack. We cannot allow their lies and distortions to stay in the social media sphere long enough to even stick. We have to demonstrate to them that it’s the Filipino people themselves that they are waging war against.