Robredo is living in fool’s paradise

With the consistency in Vice President Leni Robredo getting low ratings in poll survey after poll survey for a straight five years now, it becomes comedy to hear her spokesman exclaim that she is still fine with it and describe it as “respectable”.

There’s less than 10 months to go before election day, and the latest Pulse Asia Research survey for presidential probables had put Robredo at a distant sixth placce — her usual place, actually — with only 6% share in voter preference.

One doesn’t need to be a political scientist to know that from any angle, that rating is poor for an incumbent Vice President, and shows that any ambition to run for the highest elective position in the Republic is foolish. Only a feeble mind will give it the slightest shade of hopeful, much less feasible.

But Atty. Barry Gutierrez claims his boss is unfazed. “Decent” and “respectable” were the words he used to describe her survey standing. “VP Leni’s numbers are respectable considering that she has been focused on working on COVID-19 response initiatives and has paid no attention to the frantic positioning for 2022 at all,” he said.

Gutierrez added that the other probables have been busy promoting themselves while Robredo was just too focused on helping fight the Covid 19 pandemic. If Robredo does decide to run, Gutierrez expressed optimism her numbers will pick up and make her a strong contender in the presidential race.

Well, Robredo is living in fool’s paradise.

The writing on the wall, so to speak, has been there for quite a long time. And for Gutierrez to say that Robredo had avoided “posturing” to promote herself is outright hilarious. Everybody knows how Robredo had used every possible opportunity at “hard selling” and present herself as the better alternative to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Robredo and her PR handlers still can’t understand all their publicity stunts were a waste of effort. The more they tried to sell Robredo, the more the Filipino voters became convinced she’s the last person they should consider to become President.

In case Gutierrez had been sleeping all along, the front-runner, Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte, hadn’t even once showed interest in running until only last week. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had actively run an aggressive social media campaign, but I think it’s more to project his performance as Local Chief Executive as a preparation for the 2028 presidential elections. Former Senator Bongbong Marcos has stayed in the shadows during the last five years. Pacquiao, for his part, basked in his popularity without having to exert any effort.

If there is anybody who had been “posturing” as a presidential timber, it was no other than Robredo.

Hence, the consistency in Robredo getting poor ratings make it very clear Robredo has no chance of winning. It would be good for her mental health to accept reality and move on to other political plans.

Pacquiao’s lack of education is his own fault

Pacquiao cannot blame anybody else for his lack of education.

No, it’s not because of poverty. He was already a millionaire in his 20s and had money to spend. But what he did was invest in luxury and splendor, splurging millions of pesos for those signature bags and jewelry for his wife and mother.

He bought mansions left and right. He could afford to ride a different car for every day of the month.

However, Pacquiao didn’t invest in his own education. He thought he could buy a degree from University of Makati and that should get rid of the problem. Unfortunately, a diploma doesn’t equip him with knowledge to even talk about the basics of political science. He might not even know the names of Karl Marx, Plato, Aristotle, Adam Smith, Vladimir Lenin, George Orwell and Thomas Hobbes, just to name a few key figures in shaping political thought.

We are defined by the investments we make.

Wealth isn’t material.The greatest wealth is knowledge.

Pacquiao could have hired a tutor like Alexander the Great did (he was tutored by Aristotle) to help him navigate the world of information and knowledge.

He could have acquired thousands and thousands of books to be read and digested to be able to broaden his knowledge and understanding.

As a leader, he needed to read history to plunge into the events of centuries past and learn from the triumphs and defeats of empires.

He wasted 20 years, and he won’t be able to catch up if he wants to be President to get an adequate intellectual arsenal to face the challenges of that office.

Duterte-Duterte tandem looms large in the horizon

The Pulse Asia report showing that the Duterte-Duterte tandem got the highest ratings in its latest poll survey only validates what most Filipinos have known for a long time now.

We want continuity. We want the same brand of governance. We don’t want to see the gains made during the last five years derailed.

And we definitely want Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte to stay at the helm — as second-in-command — to give better stability as our ship continues to sail in turbulent waters in the immediate future.

In an interview with ANC’s Christian Esguerra last week, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio scoffed at what he called “The Davao Model” of governance.

In his mind, what the Dutertes have accomplished in Davao is not acceptable to the Filipino people. Father and daughter have run Davao City as mayor-vice mayor and vice versa to make it a model LGU during the last three decades.

How poorly can this senile justice perceive what the Filipino people want.In the first place, it was Mayor Digong’s accomplishments in fighting illegal drugs and criminality in Davao City that propelled him to the Presidency.

When he ran in 2016, Mayor Digong had little national exposure compared to Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, Jojo Binay and the late Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Mar Roxas not only hogged the national headlines for more than a decade as Cabinet secretary and congressman and Senator. He also had a bottomless-campaign kitty from government funds, boosted by the loot of the Liberal Party from DAP.

But thanks to social media, Mayor Digong compensated for his lack of media exposure and captured the hearts and minds of the Filipino people with his iron-fisted approach to governance.

The issues hurled against him became pebbles from a slingshot hitting Kevlar armor with double ceramic plates. Human rights violations? Filipinos cared more about the safety of their families than the wasted lives of addicts. Everybody understood that the war against drugs is necessarily violent. It’s either lawmen kill drug pushers, or the other way around.

In Iloilo City during the years 2010 to 2016, a number of law enforcers were murdered in broad daylight, and the Ilonggo senator Franklin Drilon didn’t think it was bothersome. Not once did Drilon complain that illegal drugs was turning Iloilo City into a narco-LGU! Well, he liked to pose for pictures with the wife of a drug lord!

The accomplishments of Mayor Digong in his first five years are much too plain to go unnoticed. Well, I guess only dilawans and pulahans pretend they don’t exist. In their mind, the Philippines is badly mangled from what they describe as incompetence in the Duterte administration. That perception is being fueled by the mainstream media.

But the dilawan/pulahan/oligarchy campaign of disinformation was consistently demolished by a vigilant citizenry who have locked arms through Facebook and Twitter to defend Mayor Digong and his government.

There is still much work to be done, especially in the area of corruption. Drilon is still unscathed; not a single case has yet reached the Sandiganbayan.

And the same is true with his cohorts in the Liberal Party.

Filipinos want Mayor Digong to finish what he has started. As Vice President, he will wield tremendous power and influence working with his daughter as President and Commander in Chief. It will be as if we will have two Presidents working in tandem.

Pacquiao’s Sarangani: a very poor province

With Manny Pacquiao seemingly intent on pursuing his grand ambition to run for the Presidency, a good place to start in looking at his track record as a public servant is Sarangani province where he comes from. This assumes high relevance because one of his first promises is that he will eradicate homelessness in the country in a matter of 4 to 5 years. One needs only an ounce of common sense to know that this is one of those “suntok-sa-buwan (punch at the moon)” promises that traditional politicians are known to dish out in abundance.

But we have to admit that such a promise made by Pacquiao will gain believers among the country’s multitudes. Early in his political career, Pacquiao learned quickly that patronage politics remains a powerful magic potion that can achieve electoral victory. The first time Pacquiao tried his hand in politics, he ran against Darlene Antonino for the congressional seat in General Santos in 2007. He thought his popularity was enough to propel him to victory. The diminutive young woman trounced the world boxing champion at the polls.

Pacquiao didn’t want to risk losing a second time and moved to Sarangani, the home province of his wife. This time, he came prepared with his money. Long before the elections, he literally threw money around to buy political loyalty among the province’s deeply-entrenched leaders. In 2010, he won the seat as congressman of Sarangani.

That was 11 years ago. When he won, he promised he would pour all his pork barrel into projects in the province. “I don’t need it anyway,” Pacquiao was quoted in The New York Times. It was a subtle admission that as congressman, he could have pocketed the 70 million pesos a year in pork barrel funds as many legislators have been wont to do. He also promised to build 1,000 houses for indigent families in the province. Pacquiao wanted to solve the poverty problem in the province.

Now that his name is being tossed about as a possible candidae for President in the May 9, 2022 elections, it is about time his track record as poltician for a decade now is scrutinized under a microscope. That need assumes a sense of urgency because in survey after survey, Pacquiao’s name is consistently in the top five possible candidates, even higher than Vice President Leni Robredo. Clearly, his popularity has earned him a substantial political base to make him a serious contender.

Hence, the question begs to be asked: What is the feasibility of Pacquiao’s promise to give every “eskuwater” a home — a condominium unit or a house — in four to five years, without having to pay a single centavo? Coming from Pacquiao, that kind of a promise can easily bite into the consciousness of the poor. Pacquiao, in their eyes, is one of them. He knows their suffering and their aspirations. He shares their frustrations and dreams.

The logical thing to do is scrutinize Pacquiao’s track record as an elected public official, from his six years as congressman of the lone district of Sarangani and five years as Senator.

Eleven years are enough time for Pacquiao to have made an impact on the economy of Sarangani and uplift the lives of his constituents. If Pacquiao was serious about pursuing that goal, significant progress could have been achieved by now, especially in providing free housing for the poor. Perhaps Sarangani could be made a model for inclusive development for the entire country to emulate.

Unfortunately, nothing of the sort happened. There was no miracle that the poor may have hoped for. After 11 years, Sarangani is still poor. In fact, it holds the distinction as one of the 20 poorest provinces in the country. That fact is rather strange, because Sarangani is next door neighbor to General Santos City, a highly-urbanized city labelled as the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines.” Its capital town of Alabel is only 15 kilometers by car from General Santos. Remoteness from economic activities could not possibly be the reason for its people being poor.

The table above shows that Sarangani in 2015 continued to experience a high incidence of poverty while Pacquiao was congressman. In fact, the poverty incidence rate slighty grew from 46.0% in 2012 to 47.3% in 2015.

What happened to Pacquiao’s promise to pour all his pork barrel into the province? What projects did he implement that should have given an impetus for the economic growth of the province? And with economic growth will definitely come improvement in the quality of life for the people. Obviously, the situation only turned from bad to worse.

At the least, it shows that Pacquiao didn’t know how to make the best use of his pork barrel to bring about a better economy for his people. Most probably, he spent his pork barrel on patronage projects — non-essential projects that made mayors and barangay captains look good but didn’t contribute to progress.

If he couldn’t make a difference in a small province like Sarangani, why would Pacquiao now want to take on a much tougher responsibility of being the President of the Republic? Well, it’s obvious to me it’s all about power. He simply loves power.

Pacquiao promised to build 1,000 houses to poor constituents in Sarangani. That was 10 years ago. How many did he actually deliver? My research shows that he was able to fulfill less than one-half of that number. And here he comes with another incredible promise to provide every homeless Filipino with a condo unit or house, without having to pay a single centavo. His time frame: four to five years.

It’s sad to see that Pacquiao has become the worst traditional politician in the 11 years he has been in politics. His vow to help the poor hasn’t gone beyond the words. Every once in a while, he goes around giving cash to people. But how many got to receive P1,000 from him? It’s not even enough to feed them for a week.

We shouldn’t take Pacquiao’s ambition to run for the Presidency lightly. The man has quite a substantial political base, composed mostly of the poor who are prone to believe his most unbelievable promises. This early, we have to expose him as a fraud. And even if he backs down from a presidential bid, we should make sure he doesn’t get a second term as Senator if only to deliver a strong message to individuals like him that Filipinos have matured.

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.