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Ang yabang ni Trillanes ay patapos na

Sampung araw na lang at good-bye na si Antonio Trillanes sa kanyang puwesto bilang Senador ng Pilipinas.

Good riddance!

Parang ang tagal pa ng sampung araw.

Umalis ka na dyan!

Kahit na palabas na sa eksena ay nagpakita pa rin ng pagka arogante itong si Trillanes.

Panoorin ninyo itong YouTube video na ginawa ko:

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A day to remember: The assassination of Evelio Javier

I remember the date and the events that transpired as if these happened only yesterday.
At around 10:30 a.m. of February 11, 1986, I got a rare international call from Hongkong at my work place at the Development Bank of the Philippines. At the time, I was working as Credit Investigator at DBP and moonlighted as a journalist for Asiaweek Magazine, the regional weekly news magazine that had the same format as Time and Newsweek.
This was long before the era of cell phones, and Facebook and Twitter. News travelled rather slowly.
When I answered the phone, I recognized the voice of my editor, Zoher Abdoolkarim.
“Manuel, there’s been a murder in San Jose, Antique. Can you get a ride to go there quickly?” he said.
Zoher, in rapid fashion, told me what happened.
Former Antique Governor Evelio Javier was keeping watch over the canvassing of the electoral returns for President in the February 6, 1986 snap elections. Cory Aquino had challenged strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos, and there have been allegations of widespread cheating.
Antique province was then ruled by Marcos’s henchman, Arturo Pacificador. Javier knew that Pacificador would try to thwart the people’s will in Antique, and he kept a tight watch on the counting.
That fateful morning, Javier came down from the Capitol building in San Jose, Antique where the canvassing was being conducted to take a break. He went over to a big tree in the park to rest.
Just then, two or three armed men approached him and opened fire with M-16 armalite rifles. Javier was wounded but managed to run across the plaza in zigzag fashion to elude the bullets fired at him. He entered a store and hid inside the toilet.
His assassins, however, simply followed him. Once they got inside the store and learned where Javier had hidden, they fired their weapons at point-blank range. Javier was killed in an instant, his body peppered with bullets.
The gunmen then casually fled aboard a waiting vehicle.
I didn’t hesitate to accept the assignment. I knew history was being made. I filed a leave of absence for the day and negotiated with a taxi to drive me to San Jose, Antique.
I always brought my camera bag with me every day, and I had 3 rolls of transparency film (for slides) ready for exactly situations like this.
I don’t remember now how much the taxi driver charged.
I arrived in San Jose around 2 p.m. The atmosphere in the municipality was tense. PC soldiers were all over the place, and people looked anxiously from windows and doors.
I was told Javier’s cadaver had been brought to the Angel Salazar Memorial General Hospital, so I asked the taxi driver to take me there. Outside the hospital, I saw former Antique Governor Enrique Zaldivar and other political allies of the slain leader.
Zaldivar pointed over to the morgue. “That’s where he is now,” he said.
Without delay, I entered the morgue with my camera ready. To my surprise, the international correspondents were already swarming all over the place — Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, the U.S. television net works. I had to elbow my way inside to be able to take pictures of Javier’s bullet-riddled body.
I then talked with eyewitness to get their recollection of what happened.
A few minutes later, the taxi driver approached me, his face filled with dread.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
He told me a PC Major had put a handcuff on the steering wheel to disable the taxi. The PC Major apparently learned that a journalist was his passenger. So I went over to talk with the PC Major, who was the assistant provincial commander.
He asked me what I was doing there. Of course, I was there to cover the assassination of Javier. I presented to him my Asiaweek ID card. He wanted to detain me.
I wasn’t intimidated.
I told him that my arrest would become a secondary international event to the murder itself. “Sir, you will have to answer for this,” I warned him. I pointed to the international media nearby. “This will surely feast on this story,” I calmly said.
I must have seemed to be full of confidence that the PC Major relented. All right, he said, you can leave.
I didn’t waste a second in leaving. The tension had escalated. We were out of there by 6 p.m. If I remember right, my colleague Herbert Vego hitched a ride with me on the way back to Iloilo.
That night, I almost didn’t sleep as I furiously wrote the story on a portable typewriter (yes we had no laptops then). At 4 a.m. I went to the airport to send the 3 rolls of transparencies to Tony Lopez, Manila Bureau Chief of Asiaweek, through PAL cargo.
A picture showing Javier lying on the morgue table, blood pooling around hiim, and my story made it to the Asiaweek edition a few days later.
Now, 33 years later, I look back to this incident with a wish that such political violence will no longer happen again.
Javier had given his life to protect the sanctity of the ballot, and truly, he deserves to be honored on this day.

Digong gets a medical check-up before his 3rd SONA

Less than 24 hours before he was to deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress this afternoon, July 23, President Rodrigo R. Duterte underwent a one-and-a-half hour medical check-up at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

But Spokesman Harry Roque said there was nothing to worry about, and that President Duterte went back to Malacanang after the check up to continue rehearsing his SONA. It was a routine check-up, Roque said.

Special Assistant Christopher Go said the prepared speech for the SONA consists of 16 pages.

The speech would not exceed 35 minutes for the President to deliver, according to Atty. Roque.PRRD_PUBHEALTH4-768x512

Cynthia Patag’s fake news

The news about Cynthia Patag filing a letter with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) supposedly signed by 5,500 Ilonggos urging its esteemed members to adopt the 25% threshold for ballot shading in the poll protest filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos was met with ridicule and contempt in her own city.

In the first place, there was no organized campaign to raise those 5,500 signatures in Iloilo City and Province. It just came out from nowhere, another of the magic tricks that the Liberal Party had mastered in obtaining electoral victory through fraud and deception. Not a single word has been heard about it; had it been real, it should have created so much noise here and the media would have gotten wind of it.

Secondly, Ilonggos are convinced there was massive cheating for the vice presidential race in the city and province. Leni Robredo was an unknown commodity in Iloilo in the May 9, 2016 elections. Bongbong Marcos was a one-term senator, and enjoyed high popularity and support among Ilonggos. His wife has many relatives in Iloilo province. There is quite a number of politicians who were once part of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Add to that is the fact that Bongbong ran as vice president in tandem with the late Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. That fact alone boosted the popularity and credibility of Bongbong in the eyes of Ilonggos.

In my radio commentary last Friday, July 20, 2018, I described this antic of Ms. Patag as “fake news”. It insults the intelligence of Ilonggos. The first insult happened when the Liberal Party made it appear that Robredo won over Bongbong by a landslide in the elections. Based on conversations I had with political leaders after the 2016 national and local elections, the results was the other way around: Bongbong had trounced Leni in Iloilo.

Trenas: Joe III is still welcome to team up

Even as all indications point to an ultimate showdown with his own brother-in-law for the mayorship of Iloilo City in the May 13, 2019 local elections, Cong. Jerry P. Trenas continues to hope that City Mayor Joe Espinosa III will “be guided by the Holy Spirit” and realize that their unity will enable them to sustain the gains of the last eight years.

In an interview Friday night (June 29), Trenas explained that his decision to return to the political arena after announcing his retirement in December 2016 came after the dismissal of then City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog late last year. “The equation suddenly changed, and the triumvirate that enjoyed the series of political victories had a missing leg,” Trenas said.JPT interview Maayong Gab-i Iloilo

Trenas said the circumstances was different at the time he made the announcement.

“I wanted to preserve the unity of our group, and since my third term as congressman was ending in 2019, there was no place for me to go, as the positions that will be vacant are City Mayor and Congressman. Our plan was to field Jed as congressman and Joe III as city mayor,” Trenas said.

The wives of Trenas and Espinosa are sisters.

But the unexpected dismissal of Mabilog as city mayor in October 2017 changed the picture. He felt there was a need for him to return to the political arena as City Mayor while Joe III can make the move to the congressional seat he was vacating.

“There’s now a place for both of us,” he said.

Trenas brushed aside accusations that he had broken his word. If Mabilog was not dismissed, he would have stuck to his commitment as he did not want to destroy the unity of their group, he said.

Right now, Trenas said he is still holding off a decision to pick who will run as congressman under his ticket to give time for Espinosa to change his mind and reconcile.

Two former city councilors, Lex Tupas and Jamjam Baronda, have signified their interest in running for the House with him.

Trenas said he has asked the two to keep going around the city to meet with local leaders and gain their trust and confidence. If Joe III doesn’t change his mind, then he will pick from one of the two, he said.

Politics is like mahjong

I was privileged to have served the late Governor Niel Tupas, Sr. as Provincial Administrator during his nine years at the Capitol. Every day was a learning session for me about politics. Talking with the man was like getting a one-on-one tutoring on the arts of politics, leadership and governance. Those nine years, I believe, make up the most exciting and memorable phase of my 59 years.Niel-Tupas

And there was one lesson that really sank into my consciousness about politics. It’s that politics should be devoid of hatred and bitterness. Politics is a vehicle for public service, and never as a means to pursue power for its own sake, and especially not to amass wealth. Politics is about being with the people, looking after their welfare, and using one’s power and influence to achieve that end.

Gov. Niel put it this way: “Politics is like mahjong. After an election, everything goes back to square one. The cards are shuffled (“ginabalasa”) and everybody gets a fresh start.” For him, acrimony has no place in his heart, which is perhaps the reason why Gov. Niel was so well-loved by his constituents and respected even by his foes. In the nine years I worked for him, I never heard him raise his voice in anger. It’s not that he never got angry; when he got mad, he would just frown and mutter a few words expressing displeasure. But then, he was always able to recover and get back in a good mood after a minute.

I will never forget what former 1st District Congressman, and now Guimbal municipal mayor Oscar Garin Sr. said two months after their 2004 gubernatorial battle. The two met at the Jaro Cathedral for the oath-taking of newly elected local officials. Then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the guest of honor. I was with Gov. Niel aboard his Nissan Patrol vehicle. Mayor Garin saw him and approached with a wide smile, extending his hand in reconciliation and friendship. Garin quipped: “Pati na gid man ako nga pirdi ang kwarta sa pikpik sa abaga (Now I believe that money can be beaten by just a pat on the shoulder).”

The elections had started as a close race between Gov. Niel and Mayor Oca. The latter had the edge in terms of money and logistics. But when the results came out, Gov. Niel had won by over 180,000 votes against Garin, who had never before experienced defeat in an election. Garin had the money; Gov. Niel had the love of the people.

With the national and local elections just a year away, I think it would be good for potential adversaries to ponder upon the wisdom of Gov. Niel in the field of politics. He never spoke ill of anybody. He was the type who would turn the other cheek if insults are hurled his way and get hit. He was always kind and helpful, never spiteful and arrogant.

Indeed, if politicians are looking for a role model, the late Gov. Niel would be the perfect leader to copy. He was the epitome of a genuine public servant and leader. He was Mr. Public Service.

Leni must resign, now

The on-going manual recount for the Vice Presidential race in the first pilot province of Camarines Sur has established a trend: A steady and consistent decline in the number of votes credited to Leni Robredo in her home province.

leni robredo credit inquirer nino jesus orbeta

Photo credit: Philippine Daily Inquirer

As reported yesterday by Atty. Glenn Chong on his Facebook wall, the teams of revisors who had opened ballot boxes from just 500 clustered precincts have already nullified an estimated 21,000 votes counted in her favor.

Most probably, these involved inadequately shaded ovals beside her name for failure to meet the 50% shading threshold as required by a Comelec resolution promulgated in March 2010 for purposes of manual recount.

The Supreme Court has ruled that 25% shading which apparently is what was found in thousands of ballots does not count for a valid vote. Robredo’s lawyers have filed a motion for reconsideration.

Slowly, but surely, her lead of 263,475 votes over former Senator Bongbong Marcos is being whittled — by 21,000 after only 500 of 2100 clustered precincts in Camarines Sur — and the pattern, and trend, will only speed up in the weeks ahead.

The lead of 263,475 was a rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick pulled off by the Comelec then headed by disgraced Chairman Andy Bautista. It was a hairline margin by any standards, and is now getting thinner and thinner.

If Robredo’s integrity is still intact, as she insists it does, she should now resign. Every week that goes by, and as more evidence of fraud are uncovered, the image of Robredo is growing more rotten. She is desecrating the memory of her husband by allowing herself to be part of this charade put up by the Liberal Party.