Punch drunk: Pacquiao’s “platform” of government

Politicians will always have their way of promising the moon and the stars, as the old saying goes. But nothing prepared me to read that Senator Manny Pacquiao promised to wipe out the problem of illegal settlers — or commonly known as “squatters” — if and when he becomes President of the Republic. From the manner he made that promise, it would seem that he really believes his own propaganda. And that is the most dangerous thing that can happen to a politician: believing his or her own propaganda.

First things first.

On Thursday, Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III broached in an interview with Karen Davila on the ANC YouTube channel that he considered Pacquiao “the best choice” for the PDP-Laban to field as presidential candidate in the 2022 national and local elections. “He has many plans… he has a good platform of government… many people have pledged their support to him for whatever position he seeks,” Pimentel said.

Pacquiao knows what it is to be poor, according to Pimentel. He’s experienced being dirt poor and sleeping on the pavement and now enjoys comfortable living in expensive subdivisions. “He’s seen it all,” he said in Tagalog.

And if Pacquiao would listen to him, he would urge him to declare his intention to run for President by July or August, he added.

There was a time when I held Koko Pimentel in high regard. Being the son of the late Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr., he comes with a good pedigree in principled politics. Koko was topnotcher in the 1989 Bar Examinations. And riding on the good name of his father, he became Senator of the Republic (after initially missing the 12th slot for more than half the term in his first try due to election fraud). At a young age, he rose to the Senate Presidency.

But a principled politician, Koko is not. He is not even a shadow of his father. He was quickly devoured by the corruption of the Senate and learned how to “play the game”. He became a loyal member of the “Den of Thieves”.

Nonetheless, that low perception of the guy didn’t quite prepare me to hear him speak about Manny Pacquiao as if the boxer is God’s gift to the Filipino people in 2022. His remarks in the Karen Davila interview were horrible, to say the least. He didn’t sound like a lawyer, much less a bar topnotcher. Koko spoke like a rotten traditional politician that his departed father despised.

How can he even say that Pacquiao is fit to be considered a presidential timber? Is it because of Pacquiao’s wealth and popularity? Has the standard of Koko’s measurement for a leader gone so low that he will now settle for a brawler without brains as his candidate?

I’m afraid Koko’s mental faculties may have suffered a short-circuit when he was infected with Covid-19 virus a year ago. Even the ordinary Filipino on the street would easily know that Pacquiao is not even fit to be a Senator. He was carried to this position only because of the people’s adulation for his success as a boxer. I must confess I was among those who voted for him; I thought it was a gift befitting his triumph over the many obstacles in life. But never did I expect Pacquiao to demonstrate anywhere near a capabality to be a good legislator.

Koko said Pacquiao has a platform of government. Please spell it out. And let Pacquiao face the Filipino people in a virtual townhall meeting so he can be asked questions live on social media. This will allow the electorate an opportunity to dissect that platform of government, if it does exist, and be persuaded by Pacquiao. As of now, I haven’t really encountered any “platform of government” other than this out-of-this-world promise to eradicate the problem of illegal settlers.

Perhaps Koko and Pacquiao can elaborate on this so-called platform. How does Pacquiao hope to accomplish it? I am sure that even if he spends his lifetime winnings as a boxer, he won’t be able to get past 5% of fulfilling that promise. It is completely delusional.

As the “intelligent” person between the two of them, Koko should counsel his friend that he will be the laughingstock of the country if he continues talking this way. Koko’s behavior is trash. His father is likely to turn in his grave at seeing his son deteriorate into the kind of politician he spent a lifetime trying to eradicate from our society.

1Sambayan: the newest circus in town

That the Independence Day event of 1Sambayan to launch the names of its nominees for President and Vice President was a political disaster cannot be disputed. It was so bad for a fiasco that even Rappler, the yellow-colored online news organization, couldn’t help but chastise its convenors for looking like a bunch of amateurs. Rappler was among those that had drummed up interest and attention for the June 12 event that was supposed to signal the “liberation” of our nation from a Duterte-brand governance.

Shooting itself in the foot

While Rappler heaped praise on convenors retired Justice Antonio Carpio, former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario, the yellow propaganda organ grudgingly acknowledged that the event was a flop. It wrote that “1Sambayan shot itself in the foot when it nominated people who would end up denying they would run for president or vice president. Pardon us, but not even campus student council parties do that.”

For me the virtual launch on Facebook wasn’t over yet and I already made that conclusion. I described it as “a boat that capsized just moments after it left port.” I also did a vlog saying that even in campus politics, this brand of political organizing won’t tick. It was a hilarious spectacle.

Bobi Tiglao, my favorite columnist, wrote in The Manila Times: “THAT club of megalomaniacs called 1Sambayan was the town’s laughingstock last week. They used our country’s sacred Independence Day to pontificate on the kind of president and vice president they would like, based on their fictional world.” Political scientist Ramon Casiple was aghast. In a TV interview, Casiple remarked: “Bakit kayo nagtukoy ng mga pangalan?.… Kung may lumitaw na kandidato, suportahan ninyo, ang nangyari, inunahan ‘nyo.

Was there even an effort to make preliminary conversations with the potential nominees? Did 1Sambayan arrogantly presume that it was so powerful and influential that those who are nominated would feel honored and flattered to be considered? Nobody else could be blamed that it was a fiasco at the opening bell. These convenors should be so ashamed they should no longer appear or talk in public. Any chance it entertained about putting up a good fight in the 2022 elections evaporated into thin air.

Basically, the problem with the 1Sambayan is they assume too much that Filipinos are “frustrated” with the Duterte government. That idea is not founded on facts. Haven’t any of them thought of checking the poll surveys over the last five years? Their style of political battle is a classic illustration of Don Quixote trying to bring down a windmill. The first item on the agenda for them is plant their feet on the ground firmly. For as long as they delude themselves, this perception of the opposition being a bunch of fumbling novices in politics will only be etched in stone.

Back to square one

This is the problem with media hype being overdone. The public expectation was raised so high that when the floor fell, the entire 1Sambayan crashed with a thunderous thud. There can be no worse PR catastrophe than seeing four of the six nominees backing out just as soon as their names were announced. And despite all the bravado about finding fresh leaders to carry the opposition’s standard in the next elections, 1Sambayan was left with only Leni Robredo and Antonio Trillanes.

I am 99.9 percent certain that faced with this situation, Robredo will reach a decision soon: SHE WILL NOT RUN.

Only a fool will think that given the circumstances, he or she will have the slightest chance of winning. It’s not just because the Duterte administration enjoys the advantage of being the incumbent; Filipinos are simply sick and tired of the opposition.

Well, Trillanes will only be too glad to accept the nomination. It’s his for the taking. Nobody will begrudge him for it.

Mag-ingat! Uma-atake ang dilaw na veerus!

As millions of Filipinos live in fear because of the corona virus (Covid 19) pandemic now sweeping through the archipelago, it is lamentable to see the yellow army stepping up their propaganda campaign to erode the people’s confidene in our government.

Wala silang pahinga sa pagpakalat ng kasinungalingan at distorted na impormasyon sa social media sa kanilang plano na pahina-in ang pamahalaan ni President Duterte kahit na araw-araw, lumalala ang sitwasyon sa ating bansa.

They want to sow fear and confusion. They want to destabilize the government.

Alam nilang abala si Pangulong Duterte at ang kanyang Cabinet, kaya sinasamantala nila ang sitwasyon upang atakehin na parang anay ang kalooban ng ating bansa. Inu-udyok nila ang taong bayan na magalit kay Pangulong Duterte.

May masamang balak sila. Gusto nila i-oust si Pangulong Duterte at papalitan ni Leni Robredo.

Panoorin niyo po ang YouTube video na ito upang ma-unawaan.

Robredo should now resign

The Supreme Court en banc is expected to vote overwhelmingly today, Oct. 8, to junk the draft report of Justice Benjamin Caguioa recommending the dismissal of the election protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

This victory is just the first step for Marcos. It means the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, is convinced that rampant fraud attended the elections for the VP position in the May 16, 2016 election. It is a signal for phase two to conduct manual recount in other provinces to proceed.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal is right when he said that win or lose, Robredo would still be sitting as VP. But this decision erodes the credibility of Robredo’s victory. The PET has found evidence of fraud as claimed by Marcos. Her victory becomes empty. It is a paper victory. She stole the vice presidency from the people.

Under the circumstances, Robredo should resign. She lost all moral right to stay on as vice president. Each time she appears in public as VP, she will look repugnant to the Filipino people. This is particularly so because the latest SWS survey shows her satisfaction ratings to have dropped to 50% only. The Filipino people continue to reject her.

A BBM victory in the offing?

With four days left before the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), convenes to deliberate and vote on the results of the manual recount, speculations have been flying thick, and a veteran journalist even saying it’s going to be an 8-6 vote in favor of Bongbong Marcos.

That a vote has already been taken ahead of the Oct. 8 schedule is not unusual. Justices usually signify their votes so that it can be established what the majority’s position is, and a ponente assigned to write the decision. The Oct. 8 session is more of a formality, perhaps with clarificatory questions, before the final vote is made.

Citing sources, Philippine Star columnist Federico Pascual, Jr. said the outcome is 8 justices voting to rule that fraud was uncovered in the manual recount and allow Marcos to continue with the revision of ballots in other provinces he identifies. Six voted in the negative, which basically means that there is significant fraud that could change the outcome of the elections.

It must be emphasized that this doesn’t mean that Marcos will be declared the winner, and Leni Robredo to step down. It will simply affirm what Marcos had claimed: that there was massive cheating in these pilot provinces. If the recount show lower number of votes for Robredo, and a higher number for BBM, then that would be reflected in the results.

Victory for BBM will have to wait at least one more year, that is assuming the pace of the second part of the manual revision will proceed much faster. Still, it will be a big blow on Robredo, for it will prove she had won by cheating. Her hold to her position, already shaky as it is, will grow weaker and weaker.

One more week: SC defers vote on Bongbong protest to Oct. 8

It seems the Supreme Court is being extra careful about deciding on the electoral protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos against the victory of Leni Robredo as Vice President.

Just this afternoon, veteran journalist Edu Punay tweeted that the High Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,, had reset its deliberation and voting on the report of Justice Benjamin Caguioa on the results for the pilot provinces to Oct. 8.

This one week delay in the voting only adds to the growing suspense on the outcome of the protest.

Marcos has insisted that he lost to Robredo due to massive cheating that took place not only in the three pilot provinces, but in many other provinces of the country.

The official count showed that Robredo won by a margin of 263,473 votes, which is considered a hairline victory in the race for the second highest post of the land.

Suspense: Nation awaits verdict on Leni-Bongbong case

Like most Filipinos, I am eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court’s announcement on the manual recount conducted by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal for ballots cast in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur in the May 2016 elections for Vice President.

It’s been three years since former Senator Bongbong Marcos filed a protest on the results of the elections and challenged the victory of Leni Robredo in the VP race. Based on the results, Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes. It was a hairline victory at best, and Marcos’s protest has drawn widespread belief that he is the rightful VP.

On Sept. 10, 2019, the Supreme Court spokesman, Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka, told media that the PET chaired by Justice Benjamin Caguioa, had submitted the results of its revision for the three pilot provinces. He declined to give a clue on the contents of the report.

The announcement triggered a flood of speculations in social media. Was there really fraud in these three provinces? If we look back to the revision activities during last year, there were instances when tell-tale signs of ballot boxes being compromised were discovered. The ballot boxes have security features to ensure that the contents are not manipulated or destroyed. The condition of many boxes put the integrity of the ballots in question.

We can imagine our Supreme Court Justices going over the PET report with a fine-toothed comb. As Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said, the High Court has to go carefully on this matter because of the paramount public interest involved. But we also hope that the agonizing wait will not last too long. Filipinos want to know the truth.

Marcos needs only to prove one thing with this first phase of the protest: that indeed, cheating had taken place in the three pilot provinces. Nobody can tell as yet on just how much cheating did take place, if any. But a finding to that effect would be fatal to Robredo even if the recount’s results fail to change the result to favor Marcos.

Robredo as presidential bet in 2022: pure hallucination

Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV believes that Vice President Leni Robredo is the opposition’s best bet to run as President in 2022. He described her as a “widow to be reckoned with.” Well, everybody is entitled to dream big. But this one is pure hallucination. Robredo is the worst candidate the opposition can field against the administration in the next Presidential elections.

For one thing, Robredo’s ascendancy to the Vice Presidency is shrouded in doubt amid allegations of massive cheating. Iloilo is one of the pilot provinces chosen by former Senator Bongbong Marcos in his protest for recount. I have reason to be believe the results of the elections in 2016 was manipulated to give Leni a big margin in Iloilo.

Heck, she was a total unknown in Iloilo. How could she have obtained the 573,829 votes canvassed in her favor as against Marcos’s 94,411? Bongbong Marcos has many followers in Iloilo, especially among the older voters. His wife’s family, the Aranetas, also wields considerable influence in Iloilo. Had she just won by a 100,000, that would have been more believable.

Anyway, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is reportedly set to announce the results of the recount. We’ll wait and see what the outcome is.

But to say that Robredo is presidential timber is far, far off the mark. It is a wild, wild dream of an opposition incapable of putting up a credible candidate for the Presidency. There will be no President from that side of the fence for a long, long time.

Isko Moreno for President?

Wala pang dalawang linggo si Isko Moreno bilang alkalde ng Maynila pero uma-ani na ito ng napakaraming papuri dahil sa paglinis niya sa lungsod at pag-ayos ng mga problema na matagal nang nakikita sa paligid.

Kaya hindi nakakagulat na ngayon pa lang, may mga nagpupuna na isang “presidential material” si Mayor Moreno para sa bansa sa 2022 national elections.

Pinapakita ni Mayor Moreno ang tinatawag na “political will”, ang pagtugis ng mga desisyon at hakbang na hindi nababahala kung ano man ang resbak nito galing sa mga taong apektado.

Sa napakatagal na panahon, parang naging imposible na ma-clear out ang mga lansangan sa Maynila, lalo na diyan sa Quiapo area. Naging madumi ang lungsod. Masikip ang mga lansangan na halos hindi na mada-anan ng sasakyan.

Pero sa unang araw pa lang ni Isko bilang Mayor, naipakita niya na puwede pa lang gawin ang paglinis ng Maynila at isalagay sa maayos na kalagayan ang mga street vendors upang hindi sila makaka-obstruct sa traffic.

Malayo pa ang 2022. Kung ma sustain ito ni Isko, hindi malayo na makakarinig tayo ng mas maraming paghimuk galing sa taumbayan na tumakbo siya bilang Pangulo. Kailangan lang ni Mayor Isko ang “endurance” at “sustainability” upang hindi ma diskarel ang kanyang mga programa.

 

Adios na, Trillanes

Umpisa tanghali ngayon araw, Hunyo 30, 2019, matatapos na rin ang pag-upo ni Antonio Trillanes IV bilang Senador ng Pilipinas. Milyon-milyong mga Pinoy ay pumapalakpak at nasisiya dahil sa wakas, wala na sa puwesto itong pesteng coup plotter na walang ginawa kondi lumikha ng kagulohan. Masayang-masaya ang mga tao. Walang nanghihinayang sa pag-exit ni Trillanes sa gobyerno.

Ang yabang kasi ng taong ito. Akala mo siya lang ang marunong. Na siya lang ang may kakayahan. Pero sa totoo, walang mabuting ginawa si Trillanes. At sa katapusan, kasama siya sa pag-reject ng taumbayan sa mga dilawan. Ang pagkatalo ng Otso Diretso sa May 13, 2019 elections ay patunay na walang suporta ang mga katulad ni Trillanes.

Ngayon na wala na sa puwesto si Trillanes, tignan natin kung hanggang saan ang yabang niya. Sigurado ako na uunsad ang mga kaso laban sa kanya. At dapat ipatawag siya sa Senado upang imbestigahan tungkol sa mga destabilization plot na iginuhit niya at nga mga dilawan.

Adios, Trillanes! Sa bilangguan na sana ang punta mo!

PHILIPPINES-POLITICS-CRIME-RIGHTS-TRILLANES

This photo taken on September 13, 2017 shows Philippine Senator Antonio gesturing during an interview at his office in the Senate building in Manila. After launching his political career from a jail cell, Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes believes it could end in a grave thanks to a relentless campaign against his “hitman” president. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)