Mamasapano revisited

At about this time six years ago (0621H 25 January 2015), elements of the Special Action Force (SAF) sent on a mission to capture or exterminate terrorist Marwan were already in the thick of a firefight against a vastly superior force of BIFF and MILF rebels in Tukanalipao, Mamasapano in Maguindanao.

I can imagine the well-trained commando force making their way to their extraction points as bullets whizzed over their heads, keeping the enemy at bay with their superior tactics and combat training.The SAF commandos weren’t worried as yet at this time, believing that reinforcements from nearby Army camps would come, aided by helicopter gunships and artillery fire.

Terrorist Marwan lies dead in Mamasapano. But it came at the cost of 44 lives of SAF commandos.

Indeed, the BIFF and MIFF could easily have been routed had there been an order for the Army and Air Force to swing into action.However, their Commander in Chief, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III, kept the military on stand-by status even as the SAF commandos began taking casualties. Aquino must have thought he was playing a video game in which the good guys could defeat the bad guys with him at the consoles.

Without reinforcements, the SAF commandos found themselves pinned down. Sniper fire picked them at leisure. Their position was on level ground with no cover except for the corn planted on the field. They radioed in desperation: “Please send help.”

Army troops were only several hundred meters away. The soldiers wanted to rush forward and join the battle. But their orders were to stay put.

As it turned out, Aquino was more concerned about preserving the peace pact with the BIFF and MIFF crafted by a law professor named Mario Victor Leonen. He didn’t care about the lives of his own men. He felt he could win the Nobel Peace Prize if he could keep the peace accord intact.

Forty-four valiant SAF commandos perished in this lopsided battle, a battle that should have gone the other way — the good guys winning — had the Commander in Chief possessed good judgment.

The rest is history.

Tatay Digong, please, tabangan mo ang Capiz


Mahal na Pangulo:

Nagkakagulo na po ngayon sa lungsod ng Roxas at lalawigan ng Capiz dahil libo-libong mga tao na namuhunan sa “double your money” scam ay hindi nakakatanggap ng kanilang pera kahit na dumating ang nakatakdang araw para sa kanilang “pay-out” nitong nakaraang isang linggo.

Marami po sa kanila ay mga ordinaryong Filipino — magsasaka, mangingisda, tricycle driver, vendor sa palengke, mga public school teachers, retired government employees. Pinangarap nilang magkaroon ng mas magandang buhay sa pamagitan ng “get rich quick” scam na walang pagkaiba sa Kapa Community Ministry International na ipinasara niyo noong nakaraang taon.

Ang scam ay inoperate ni Patrocenio Calvez Chiyuto, Jr. mula pa noong September 2019 at mabilis kumalat sa mga bayan ng Capiz. Nakarating pa nga ito sa lalawigan ng Iloilo, Aklan at Guimaras. Isang Ponzi scheme ang negosyong ito. Noong malaman ito ng Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), nagpalabas ang ahensya ng ADVISORY o babala sa publiko noong Agosto 18, 2020 na hindi rehistrado at negosyo ni Chiyuto sa ilalim ng pangalan na Chiyuto Creative Wealth Document Facilitation Services. Walang kaukulang secondary license na mag alok at mag tinda ng investment products.

Maliban pa diyan, nag operate ang double your money scam ni Chiyuto sa Barangay Cagay, Roxas City sa loob na ng isang taon at apat na buwan kahit hindi ito na bigyan ng Business Permit mula sa tanggapan ng City Mayor ng Roxas City, si Ronnie Dadivas. Ang hawak-hawak ni Chiyuto na Business Permit ay galing sa Las Pinas City LGU.

Sa kabila ng napakaliwanag na paglabag sa batas ni Chiyuto, nag operate ito na walang pagsita o hadlang mula sa mga otoridad sa Capiz. Pati na rin po ang mga kapulisan, naging protektor pa ni Chiyuto. Biglang yaman halos lahat na opisyal ng PNP sa Capiz. Ganun din po ang mga mayor.

CORRUPTION HAS SWALLOWED ROXAS CITY AND CAPIZ, Mr. President, and these officials turned their backs on their own constituents in letting Chiyuto operate with impunity.

Ngayon po ay tinakbuhan na ni Chiyuto ang mga investors. Hindi pa rin kumikilos ang mga otoridad sa Capiz. Tahimik lamang sila habang dumarami at dumarami ang mga investors na nagrereklamo dahil hindi na-ibigay ang nakatakdang “pay-out” nitong nakaraang pitong (7) araw. Ang daming dahilan na si Chiyuto. Una nag “holiday” dahil kailangan daw niyang ayusin ang mga papeles niya. Bumalik ang operation noong Biyernes pero ang mga VIP lamang — mga PNP officers at mga local officials — ang nakatanggap ng pay-out. Ang mga ordinaryong investors ay nagpila ng ilang oras, subalit umuwi na lang na malungkot dahil hindi sila kasama sa pay-out.

Mahal na Pangulo, napakalaki po ang scam na ito.

Ayon sa mga sources ko, maaring umabot sa dalawang bilyong piso (P2 billion) ang natangay ng scammer na ito. The economy of Capiz is in grave danger. Kawawa po ang mga maliliit na tao na mawawasak ang buhay dahil sa pangako sa kasinungalingan na double your money.

Nagmamaka-awa po ako, kasama ang ilan pang taga Capiz, na ipa-investigate po itong nangyayari diyan sa Capiz at papanagutin ang mga opisyal sa LGU at PNP sa kanilang kapabayaan. At the least these officials are guilty of GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY. They have blood in their hands.

Maraming salamat po, mahal na Pangulo.

Don Chiyuto: scammer preys on hapless victims in Capiz (with help from Korina Sanchez-Roxas)

Patrocenio Calvez Chiyuto shot out of nowhere to emerge the most talked-about person in the Province of Capiz and its capital, Roxas City. Two weeks ago, Ms. Korina Sanchez (or Mrs. Mar Roxas) did a feature segment about him on her YouTube channel, calling him “Mr. Solve”. She depicted Chiyuto, more popularly known as “Don Chiyuto”, as an angel from heaven who has been helping poor people with their problems. Ms. Sanchez coined the phrase, “Problema mo, sagot ko” to describe this man who is now raking in millions of pesos every day from gullible victims in the province where I grew up. Chiyuto runs the “Chiyuto Creative Wealth Document Facilitation Service” or “CCWDFS”. It is the latest scam to hit the country, with Capiz at the epicenter.

Last night, I did a livestream on YouTube to expose the activities of this wolf in sheep’s clothing. I compared him with Pastor Joel Apolinario, Norman Mangusin (a.k.a. Francis Leo Marcos) and Rickne Jacala, among others. I showed them the similarities in style, especially in the display or flaunting of expensive cars, houses and jewelry to tantalize would-be victims. Sad to say, the tactic always works, and no amount of explanation that their schemes are a scam can discourage many victims.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an advisory on August 18, 2020 informing the public that Chiyuto’s CCWDFS is not registered with the agency. Neither is the investment scheme registered or licensed. In short, it is illegal. And the “double your money” promise is a classic scam that has victimized tens of thousands of Filipinos. Hence, those who insist it is not a scam can proceeding at their own risk. They have been informed about the fraudulent nature of the scheme.

There’s just one point I would like to emphasize to the victims who continue to believe they receive a manna from heaven. Look at the document issued by Chiyuto.

At first glance, it looks like a post-dated check to guarantee payment to the investor. But it is not. It is not issued by a bank. The heading shows that it is a “check voucher” issued by CCWDFS and signed by Chiyuto. On the upper left hand side, there is a stamp “A/C payee only”, a term used in checks. It is also denominated as a “check” with a corresponding number on the lower left side. Clearly, it is designed to deceive and mislead the public, and give a sense of assurance that their money, with the fantastic ROI, will be returned.

However, it is a mere scrap of paper. The “investor” cannot deposit it on the date appearing on the document. It is not a promissory note. It does not acknowledge that Chiyuto got money from the “investor” in the first place. Hence, Chiyuto wisely sidesteps the possibility of being charged for estafa. A voucher is just that: a voucher. It is a document used by businesses for recording purposes of their financial transactions, especially disbursements. It cannot be used as evidence that they were duped.

Much ado about nothing

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte doused ice-cold water on the bickering of some senators wanting to ride on the issue of the Sinovac vaccination of members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG). In an address to the nation on Monday night (January 4, 2021), President Duterte issued a directive to Brig. Gen. Jesus Durante, commander of the PSG, to ignore any subpoena from the Senate for him or any other PSG officer to appear and testify. “Kung gusto niyo ng gulo, di ibigay ko sa inyo ang gulo,” the President warned.

Indeed, these senators — Richard Gordon, Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan and Leila de Lima — were fussing too much about nothing. The issue was blown out of proportion. All they wanted was to press on the issue in another vain effort to undermine the credibility of President Duterte. As I explained in my YouTube livestream on Monday, the very law (RA 9711) that established the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not contain a provision that makes what the PSG had done to be illegal. But the way these senators, to include former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, tried to paint the issue, the PSG had committed treason.

The very mandate of the FDA demonstrates that the agency is tasked to “safeguard public health and safety”. It is a regulatory agency. It is empowered to require all manufacturers, dealers and distributors of drugs and medicines, processed food (including herbal products), cosmetics and medical gadgets and devices to get a license before these can be sold or dispensed to the public at large. Hence, the regulatory powers are aimed at preventing products that are yet untested as to potential harm from being sold on the open market.

The law is directed at manufacturers, importers, exporters and distributors of products under the ambit of the FDA regulatory powers. It does not prohibit private individuals or groups from bringing in drugs and medicines from abroad that are already in use at the source, but are not yet registered with FDA, if these are for their use only. The law doesn’t prohibit anybody from buying a life-saving drug from abroad and ingest it for his or her treatment. What it prohibits is the importation of unregistered products on commercial scale and for purpose of being sold on the market.

So much non-sense have been said about this issue. This is the problem with our politicians and mainstream media. They look at a speck on the President’s face and make it look like a mountain. Too bad for them, their efforts at undermining the President have failed time and again.

ABS-CBN: dead in the water

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the expired franchise of ABS-CBN might stand a chance of being granted because of the new leadership in the House of Representatives. Is this a hint that there are things hidden from the public view in the agenda of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco? Sotto has a reputation of spilling out matters that are being kept from the people. But I hope it’s not the case.

The only way ABS-CBN can get a new franchise — it’s going to be a “new” franchise because the one granted under RA 7966 had expired last March — is for the broadcasting giant to present a clean bill of health on the many issues extracted during the marathon public hearings last year. And there are many. Without the company fixing the legal infirmities and paying overdue taxes as well as those it had dodged, there is just no way the House of Representatives can turn about-face on the issue.

I don’t think Speaker Velasco would risk losing the position that had caused a bitter fight with his predecessor, Alan Peter Cayetano, last October. There are rumblings in the House that could easily escalate into an ouster movement against him. He is there only because President Rodrigo Roa Duterte intervened. Cayetano was ready for a siege; he relented when the President spoke to them both.

The public simply won’t accept a sudden change of heart on the ABS-CBN franchise application. And warning must be served upon those politicians who are tinkering with the idea about joining the bandwagon. The money they can expect from their support to the ABS-CBN cause will be overshadowed by the political fallout from an angry public.

8% is all she got

If she’s got common sense left in her, fake Vice President Leni Robredo should throw in the white towel now and abandon any aspiration to be the opposition standard bearer in the May 2022 national and local elections. The latest Pulse Asia survey on the top probable presidential candidates reinforced what had become common knowledge during the last four and a half years: That Robredo is certain to lose in a head-to-head race for the Presidency.

Whether it will be her rival in the 2016 vice presidential race, Bongbong Marcos, or Davao City mayor Sara Duterte, defeat is already written all over her name. It’s not a result of usual ups-and-downs in poll surveys; Robredo has consistently received poor public trust and approval ratings. Not once since she assumed office on June 30, 2016 did she experience improvement in the public perception of her. It was a flat line all throughout.

I know that it’s hard to accept for a woman who has been burning with desire to ascend to the Presidency. But the earlier she swallows hard and accept the truth, the better for her. Her sanity might suffer the most if she allows herself to be deluded. Her PR writer, Jover Laurio, argues that Robredo began with just 1% when her name was included in the list of probable candidates for vice president in the May-June 2015 survey by Pulse Asia. And yet, Laurio, who is the writer behind the pro-dilawan Pinoy Ako Blog, said that Robredo eventually won.

Laurio’s reasoning is deeply flawed. In June 2015, Robredo was a virtual nobody. Her name wasn’t yet floated as a vice presidential candidate. When the Liberal Party fielded her as VP candidate in September 2015, its entire political machinery went to work to build her up. It was the administration party, what with all its political might and overflowing warchest supplemented by kickbacks from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). But despite the heavyweight advantage, Robredo literally squeaked past Bongbong Marcos by a hairline margin, which was marred by allegations of massive cheating.

It’s a different ballgame now. She has been vice president since June 30, 2016. Hardly a day passed that her name wasn’t on mainstream media. She dispensed with hundreds of millions of pesos for projects and relief operations. She has been going around the country ceaselessly. In June 2015, she was an unknown. Five years later, Robredo is a household name. Every Filipino knows her. Despite the built-in advantage of being the number two public official of the nation, she emerged “kulelat” in the survey for the presidency.

It means only one thing: Filipinos don’t like her. The people distrust her. And that perception is not about to change. It can just get worse for Robredo.

The faces of evil

Two faces in the Philippine Senate were exposed as wearing Satan’s horns and bladed tail this year: FRANKLIN M. DRILON and SONNY ANGARA. Drilon has actually been wearing his Satan custome for quite sometime now. Angara has managed to look cherubic until he conspired with the big man to insert that paragraph into the 2021 General Appropriations Act to render inutile the MOOE for the Forensics Laboratory of the Public Attorney’s Office. Satan’s laughter reverberated in the Halls of the Senate that day.

But if Drilon and Angara entertained the idea that their evil plot would work, they were wrong.

It took President Rodrigo Roa Duterte an equally short paragraph to defang the Liberal Party’s attempt to protect their kind from criminal prosectuion arising from the Dengvaxia wrongful deaths way back in 2016. Good always triumphs over evil. The President achieved that by exercising his veto power over the Drilon-Angara insertion.

With this development, the Public Attorney’s Office can now proceed full speed ahead in the prosecution of the cases. There is no more obstacle to the doctors and forensics experts of the PAO from demonstrating to the Courts how this vaccine procured with criminal haste by the Aquino administration was the direct cause of the deaths of more than a hundred children. As we can see there is no remorse on the part of the Aquino administration. The lead defendant in the cases, former DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin, continues to insist she and the other accused have done nothing wrong.

Justice Leonen, topnotcher

Mr. Associate Justice Mario Victor Leonen is turning 58 years old today, December 29. But his relatively young age for a senior member of the Supreme Court hardly elicits excitement among Filipinos because instead of being a beacon for hope in a land littered with injustice, Mr. Justice Leonen has become the symbol of the injustice that his position is supposed to battle. That’s because Mr. Justice Leonen has earned the unsavory title as “topnotcher” among all the Justices of the Supreme Court for having the most number of cases gathering dust.

In yet another expose by The Manila Times, it was revealed that Mr. Justice Leonen is number one in the Third Division which he heads and in the En Banc in terms of pending cases. The expose leaves no doubt that Mr. Justice Leonen is simply slow — super-slow. He seems to have altogether discarded the principle that “justice delayed is justice denied” in the Supreme Court. How Mr. Justice Leonen continues to see himself as a knight in shining armor for justice is rather hard to understand. If he is a knight, his armor would be so rusty because of disuse in failing to tackle the cases assigned to him.

The retirement age for members of the Judiciary is 70 years old. At the rate he is going on the cases before him, he would need a huge warehouse to store the case records of these cases by the time he reaches retirement age. There is no sign that Mr. Justice Leonen intends to speed up his disposition of the cases. Not even the impeachment complaint filed before the House of Representatives has prodded him to change his ways.

If anything, this latest expose strengthens the argument that Mr. Justice Leonen doesn’t deserve to keep his position in the High Tribunal. He is a disgrace to the Judiciary. He is an insult to the fundamental democratic institutions that the Supreme Court is mandated to protect. He is an affront to the very idea of justice. Slowness is often attributed to old age, but Mr. Justice Leonen is young. Most Justices reach that high offices past the age of 60. He was just 50 when then President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III appointed him to the SC, making him the youngest Filipino to be named as Associate Justice.

There is no justification for his deliberate slowness. His continued presence in the High Court will turn the Surpeme Court into a symbol of injustice.

Freeze order issued vs CPP/NPA bank accounts, assets

Almost simultaneously with the declaration of the Anti Terror Law that the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army is a terrorist organization, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC) issued a freeze order on all bank accounts and assets it owns directly or indirectly. It directs all government agencies and financial institutions to submit a list of bank accounts and properties whose ownership could be trace to the CPP/NPA and their allied organizations.

The order dated December 23, 2020 was the first devastating blow that the government struck the CPP/NPA in implementing the Anti-Terror Law, or Republic Act No. 11479. Tightening the screws on the finances of the CPP/NPA is the one single act that its leaders and allies have feared. Without the free flow money it had enjoyed in the past, the CPP/NPA could just die a natural death. Extortion money and foreign aid, augmented by public funds coursed through the Makabayan bloc, are the only sustenance for this 52-year old terrorist group.

This development aggravates the state of affairs of the CPP/NPA. Through the NTF-ELCAC, the government has succeeded in dismantling the backbone of the guerilla forces during the last month or so with the surrender of many red fighters. The NPA’s numbers have dwindled to insignificance during the last four years, and the wave after wave of its forces laying down their weapons will bring down their fighting force to almost nil.

That the NPA has weakened can be seen in the fewer raids and ambuscades its guerilla fronts have undertaken during the last four years. A key component of the CPP/NPA propaganda is making the public believe that it has sufficient armed presence in the countryside to keep the military and police on its toes. And this is achieved by the conduct of raids on municipal buildings and military camps as well as ambuscades. Their silence lately contradicts the boastful claim made by Joma Sison that it has grown in strength.

Indeed, after 52 years, the CPP/NPA has not come an inch closer to the objectives set by Sison in 1968. It is now nothing much but a nuisance in a society that wants genuine peace. Sison and his cadres failed to demonstrate that communism is the right path to building a better Philippines for our people. It’s far from it. The truth is that the CPP/NPA has become the biggest obstacle to economic development and uplifting the lives of Filipinos.

A lost cause

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) turned 52 years old yesterday, December 26, 2020. It is an old party by any standards in politics. But rather than gaining relevance and strength during those 52 years, the CPP is a dying organization. The ideals that attracted young men and women to join Jose Maria Sison way back on December 26, 1968 have withered away. The CPP has become a lost cause.

What has pushed the CPP to the brink of extinction is its advocacy for an armed revolution to seize political power. With the tens of thousands of dead Filipinos that litter its path, the CPP has nothing to show except for six party-list congress members in the House of Representatives. Joma Sison’s idea of a broad-based front coming from farmers, laborers, fisherfolk and urban poor has fizzled out. Filipinos have grown tired of the armed conflict. The people want genuine peace, a cessation of hostilities.

Right now, there is strong public clamor for the complete eradication of the Makabayan bloc in our political system. There are strong signals that in the next elections, the Makabayan bloc will not win a single seat. There is also a legal move by the National Task Force for the End of the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to seek the disqualification of the party-list organizations under the umbrella of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN).

As if its problems were not enough, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has been officially labelled as a terrorist organization pursuant to RA 11479. With this declaration, agencies of government can now scrutinize the money trail of organizations associated with the CPP/NPA, and order their bank accounts frozen if these agencies find evidence that the funds are being used to bankroll the armed insurrection.

During the last few weeks we also witnessed the surrender of NPA guerillas. Their own fighters are no longer convinced that theirs is a just cause that is worth dying for. The NPA has seen a decline in the number of its fighters in the last five years. This latest development will only decimate their ranks. And the capture of top leaders will further cause demoralization among the remaining cadres.