The documentary “Princes of the Yen” that aired on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) last night tried to explain how powerful, moneyed cartels behind international banks that include the Int’l Monetary Fund, World Bank, European (Union) Central Bank and U.S. Federal Reserve manipulated and coerced less powerful nations into economic and political submission. These private groups are so powerful that they have tremendous influence on western powers (European and U.S. gov’ts) which in turn support them with economic, political and military might.

When the U.S. says, “you’re our ally so we will back you up” – it only means that they’re going to go as far as protecting their self-interests but beyond that, you’re on your own. Or in other words, “so long as it serves America’s interests, you can count on us”.

In 1992, Singapore’s PM Lee Kuan Yew said, “The Americans are great missionaries. They have an irrepressible urge to convert others.” Americans have the irrepressible urge to convert others because promoting and protecting their interests require that others are in their sphere of influence.

The U.S. isn’t taking on a resurgent powerhouse China because it is bullying its Asian neighbors, it is taking on China because the U.S. doesn’t want any competition in the region.


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5 Philippine Presidents allowed for Marcos burial at Libingan to happen


Five Presidents had the chance to pass a law or an executive order banning the burial of the late dictator and plunderer at the Libingan ng mga Bayani – but none did. All five presidents are guilty of political accommodation to the so-called “solid north” either for a chance at a political truce or votes or something else. No one wanted to bite the bullet by risking to alienate the (obviously) powerful Ilocano vote but now that Pres. Duterte is fulfilling his campaign promise, they’re blaming him.

This is a campaign promise that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte made and now that he has been elected president probably partly because of it, how can he not fulfill it? We shouldn’t blame Pres. Duterte because his predecessors chose to deliberately sit on their laurels because they wanted to avoid a political backlash from the powerful Marcos loyalists by enacting a law that will ban his burial at the LNMB. We can understand Pres. Cory’s position because of her reconciliation efforts after the EDSA revolution, but what are the others’ excuse?

The late, great PM Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore had this to say about Philippine society – “It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics.”

We don’t want the Marcoses back because they might pillage the Philippine coppers even more. But blame this insanity to five Philippine Presidents after Marcos because it has always been a matter of political accommodation to the Marcos loyalists by the past five administrations.




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Lord John Dalberg Acton once quoted, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This may be true in most cases, but not always.

The late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore may be an exception – one of those remarkable individuals who rose to the pedestal of greatness through his resolve to “put things in order” for the general welfare. Of course, his successful leadership may have meant occasionally adapting a strongman’s tactics, but it seemed that he wielded that power for the greater good. Today he is generally revered for his work in transforming Singapore from third world city-state to first world status in one generation.

The Philippines needs a benevolent dictator – a selfless leader who is willing to bite the bullet in order to restore social balance and discipline first, over any so-called democracy. A leader who will not be swayed by temptations of power and riches. A leader who won’t be cowed by the affluent elite or the contemptuous minority. A leader who is willing to use strongman’s tactics just so he can “put things in order”. So that we may be able to progress, our society needs discipline and resolve, over democracy.


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Did you know that the Philippines can pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at any time? The Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC, allows for states to withdraw from the ICC. In fact, some world powers (countries) refuse membership in the ICC or do not recognized its authority or jurisdiction. Believe it or not, the United States (U.S.) is one of them.

Israel had refused to be a party to the ICC because it has concerns that political pressure on the Court would lead it to reinterpret international law or to “invent new crimes”.

United States is not a party to the ICC because its constitution does not allow cession of judicial authority to any institution other than the U.S. Supreme Court.

China and Russia have consistently opposed the International Criminal Court, on the basis that it goes against the sovereignty of nation states, that the principle of complementarity gives the Court the ability to judge a nation’s court system.

The ICC is much like the United Nations (UN) that is composed of member countries, and just like the UN – politics play a major role in its affairs. Other non-member world powers have accused the ICC of bias against certain individuals or groups or countries.

How can an institution such as the ICC be trusted with an unbiased perspective when its members’ motivations and decisions are held accountable to the bar of public opinion? Pres. Duterte should take steps in order to rescind our country’s membership from the ICC as soon as possible.


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THE ANATOMY OF U.S.-SPONSORED FAILED STATES: The U.S. is at it again in the case of Syria


Iraq, Libya and now Syria – the U.S. brand of “democracy” obviously isn’t working for certain cultures and peoples so that is why these countries are now failed states or on their way to becoming one. Warlordism has become of Iraq and Libya but thanks to Russia, most of Syria hasn’t gone to that yet.

For a long time, Col. Muammar Khadafy ruled with an iron fist in Libya and so did Pres. Saddam Hussein over Iraq. There may have been ruthlessness and abuses committed, but each dictator held together their people as a nation. But as the world knows now, U.S.-style “democracy” may not be suitable for some cultures. In fact, in some cultures, benevolent dictatorships may have been a necessity rather than a choice.

Did you know that Saudi Arabia and Jordan have some of the longest-ruling authoritarian regimes in the world? Saudis have rare local (municipal-level only) elections but the national gov’t is run with an iron fist by absolute monarchy. Jordan have national elections but the Senate is appointed by the King. Their secret to success? The U.S. needs their alliance for regional stability and they’re willing to give it. So even if they rule with ruthlessness, the U.S. looks the other way.

The U.S. and western powers had always considered and will always consider their self-interests first before they do for Iraqis, Libyans or Syrians or anyone else. “Liberate”, take and leave. This is what they did to Iraq and Libya, and if Russia hasn’t step in to help Pres. Bashar al-Assad, this is what they’d probably done to Syria, too. Of course, Russia will likely also benefit from their partnership with the Assad regime, but at least Syria won’t disintegrate into warlordism and chaos.




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It was apt that Sen. Richard Gordon refused to re-open the Senate inquiry on alleged Extrajudicial Killings (EJKs) on account of a witness’ “recantation” – because SPO2 Arthur Lascañas has shown that he has 0% credibility. His 180-deg. turn from his previous testimony, after being under the wings of the Catholic church – known staunch critics of Pres. Duterte’s war on drugs, casts shadow on his motivations.

Sen. Ping Lacson may not have a choice if the committee on peace and order that he chairs opens an inquiry on the matter. Liberal Party senators will likely see to that. It’s all about media mileage, although it is highly doubtful that they can muster the same hype that Congressman Umali’s committee hearings on the NBP drug trade and that Sen. Gordon’s committee hearings got on the so-called EJKs. Sen. Gordon’s committee findings after the hearings was “dead-on” (no pun intended) – that there was no gov’t-sponsored systematic liquidation of drug-trade personalities like Sens. Trillanes and De Lima would like us to believe. It’s simply a publicity stunt by both (limelight-hugging) public figures and Liberal Party (LP) agents.

Thanks to Sen. JV Ejercito’s probing in today’s Senate hearing on peace and order, SPO2 Lascañas admitted that after his retirement, he attempted to peddle “influence” in order to further or to establish businesses with friends in Davao and nationwide – all four attempts resulted to being turned down by various gov’t officials. This is clear enough motive that Lascañas wanted to get back at his former boss. Sen. Ping Lacson quickly insinuated that Lascañas may have felt bitter for his misfortunes.

If there’s a proliferation of “fake news” then Sen. Trillanes may be one of the biggest contributors, veiling them as “exposés” but may actually be just instruments of his “psy-ops” designed to create as much trouble as possible for his political foes. This may be how he views them that’s why he feels shameless. It is not surprising that even legitimate media is picking up the hype – controversy makes news more interesting. Unfortunately, controversial news means better viewership. Nothing like it sells better. That is why media personalities resorts to sprinkling gasoline on fire just so that they can keep it burning and people interested.





Sec. Gina Lopez of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a renowned crusader herself even before being tapped by Pres. Duterte to head the agency, has taken “baby steps” to help ensure that local mining operations are kept in check by closing down or suspending operations of several big mining outfits after an initial audit. Now the more difficult work begins – ensuring that these mining firms comply to strict environmental laws and high-end mining operational standards before they can even resume operations. If they comply and resume operation, strict monitoring should be in place to ensure that they remain compliant and if they don’t – suspend them again or close them permanently. For areas that are at risk of unrecoverable deterioration due to further mining, selective permanent mining ban should be implemented.

Big mining firms have already stepped up their publicity and legal campaign (not surprisingly) against Sec. Gina Lopez’s laudable actions, even using mine workers and their families to do their bidding. What the majority of Filipinos are beginning to realize though, is that while it is unfortunate that these families may lose their livelihoods – they’re just pawns being used by business goliaths who continue to rape and pillage our environment to feed their insatiable greed. Gov’t should set into motion alternative livelihood projects for these affected communities in order to cushion the unavoidable impact.

The news over the weekend of an environment activist, Atty. Mia Manuelita Mascarinas-Green, being killed is alarming. The killing is the 12th since Pres. Duterte took office 7 months ago, on top of another 100 murders of environmental activists 15 years before that. Justice for such crimes must be swift and unforgiving. Like in the case of Dr. Gerry Ortega, the masterminds must be brought to justice. This type of terrorism against environmental heroes should never be allowed to prosper.

During his first SONA Pres. Duterte described Sec. Gina Lopez as a crusader (like him) and that is how he knew that she was right for the job as DENR head. And that is why she should be able to count on the President’s all-out support. For the first time in Philippine history, we may have someone who’s willing to butt heads with mining’s errant players and make a mark on the preservation of our country’s (once very) rich but fast-eroding natural resources by taking steps to help ensure compliance to strict environmental standards.





Have “fake news” and “trolls” made such an alarming impact on swaying people’s hearts and minds that the two senators are now making a fuss over it? How is the issue any different from a candidate who’s waging psy-ops to defeat an opponent on the election campaign trail? How can it amount into a so-called “national security” concern? During the EDSA Revolt, former Pres. Ramos made announcements or “fake news” on defections of military units who haven’t actually turned on the Marcoses in order to encourage other units to follow suit – and we were quick to dismissed it as a valid means of waging psychological warfare.

Battles for the people’s hearts and minds have been fought over and over again for a long time – only the methods have changed due to today’s interconnected world. Information gets around faster and wider. Those who take better advantage of it gets to bring home the trophy.

If you’re a public figure and you’re caught lying or fabricating “facts”, your credibility should suffer and you should be deemed untrustworthy and unfit for public adulation. Because as a public figure, the bar should always be set higher. The two senators should direct their concerns to their colleague who has a penchant in “explosive exposés” that he claims to have come from “reliable” intelligence sources (grapevine or gossip mills, more likely). So, is the “misinformation” the two senators are alleging systematic or orchestrated or just a confluence of ideas from unsuspecting, ordinary netizens?

Legitimate news organizations will always tip the scale in the information highway. People will always find out what the real news are. They should be worried about what people choose to think or do with the real news. Perhaps they’re on the receiving end of the people’s unfavorable choice that’s keeping the two senators at the edge of their seats.






It won’t be a surprise if the article of The Guardian in UK that claimed Pres. Duterte is out of control in his drug war is a U.S. asset-instigated attempt to oust him by discrediting him abroad. Since the crusading Philippine leader started cozying up to long-time U.S. adversaries Russia and China, even “expelling” U.S. troops from the Philippines by terminating their joint military exercises – the U.S. has been trying to discredit his leadership locally and internationally. It is not about human rights or Pres. Duterte’s drug war – because the U.S. is the no. 1 human rights violator, they’re just good at disguising their wars as righteous crusades – it is all about protecting their interests in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

The U.S. invaded Iraq on the pretense of seizing WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) but none was ever found and proof of its non-existence was known by the U.S. even before the invasion. The U.S. even claimed that Pres. Saddam Hussein committed genocide by gassing his opponents – no proof of mass murder at the scale they alleged was ever established. That’s because the U.S. took Iraq for its oil reserves – a documentary film that aired on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) showed how big U.S. oil companies siphoned off unquantifiable amounts of oil (they are still doing this today) from Iraq that began after their takeover.

It is all about perception – of the thousands of reported deaths related to the current drug war, only about 25% is the result of police or gov’t operations – the rest are drug operators “cleaning” their ranks or “tying-up loose ends” so these can’t be considered extrajudicial killings (EJK) but deaths under investigation (DUI). The U.S. and its allies or assets would like us to think that the killings are all gov’t-sponsored.

Why won’t the U.S. and its allies leave the Philippines alone like what Russia, China and most of its Asian neighbors do? Why won’t they mind their own business? It is because the U.S. and its allies have vast, decades-old economic, political and military interests in the Philippines and they want to be assured that any Philippine leader is well within their sphere of influence so that these interests will be protected no matter what.




It is not the renowned pancit or the seasonal flooding. It is that Malabon City has become one of the most expensive places to do business in a drastic and prohibitive move for 2017 by Mayor Len-Len Oreta. Compared to Makati City, where a business grossing P120K/yr. pays only P6,000, Malabon City’s skyrocketed from P9,000 in 2016 to a whopping P13,500 for the 2017 renewal for the same grossed amount and business type! Many small and medium-sized business owners were surprised (and shocked) and were questioning the sudden and enormous increase.

This unprecedented and unreasonable move by Mayor Len-Len Oreta and his administrators overshadowed Malabon City’s more-improved, speedier “one-stop-shop” system that gives business owners a chance to renew business permits within a day. In fairness to Mayor Oreta, “one-stop-shop” system has been in Malabon City for the past 2-3 years (less-improved versions of it, that is) – even before Pres. Duterte’s marching orders (during his first SONA) to local and national executives to make doing business renewals and other bureaucratic processes less inconvenient and speedier for Filipinos.

It is questionable how Makati City, one of the richest cities in the Philippines, levies a lot less on its small businesses than Malabon City. Makati City have all the big businesses, yes, but to take it out “across the board” in Malabon City – even on small and medium-sized businesses that gross only P120K/yr. – really? Considering these colossal fees, Malabon City residents should be getting more in terms of services and benefits than Makati residents, but are they? They certainly aren’t.

Pres. Duterte’s Davao City is renowned to be a model for efficiency in bureaucratic service, could their rates be as low as Makati City’s or as prohibitive as Malabon City’s?




Did you know that the U.S. doesn’t demonetize their old bills even if the new ones have more security features? There is even a law in the US prohibiting demonetization Then why is it that the Philippines’ Central Bank (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas or BSP) is demonetizing Philippine currency given its findings that up to date, Dec. 28, 2016, over P23.3 BILLION is still in circulation or hasn’t been replaced?

In retrospect, BSP launched its information drive to demonetize the previous design in 2014, wherein it was announced that 2015 will be the last year that it will be a legal tender and 2016 will be the year banks can change them. It seemed that it was reasonable enough time for the public to have their hard-earned money changed, right? Wrong. Assuming that a few millions were destroyed or lost or damaged irreparably – over P2O BILLION isn’t an insignificant amount and it probably affects hundreds of thousands if not millions of unwitting victims to demonetization!

Apparently, a great number of our “kababayans” may still have huge sums of cash in jars or tin cans, which is not an unusual practice among older and/or rural folks who still consider keeping their hard-earned savings in cash at home. Obviously, the BSP’s information drive hasn’t reach everyone and may be considered less than a complete success. The BSP should defer the demonetization for at least another year or so and intensify yet its info drive until the figures are down to a few million pesos (still in circulation).





tobacco-graphic-health-warning-law-implementation-nowSmoking tobacco (or cigarette) kills – this is a fact. Worse, it doesn’t affect just the smoker but those who inhale the unfiltered, “second-hand” smoke, too. So why haven’t governments, specifically ours, banned its use?

One reason may be that some in government are already addicted to smoking and have sympathies with the vice. Another is the powerful lobbying by big tobacco manufacturers, sellers and growers (lobbying can take many forms such as persuasion, coercion and/or bribery). The latter is the more probable and more compelling.

Considering these, banning may be unrealistic to hope for. But raising “sin taxes” on these potentially deadly products shouldn’t even be a problem. Powerful tobacco lobbyists might argue that higher levies on tobacco products will only hit the poorest of society because they’re the ones who won’t be able to afford the exorbitant prices – but that’s exactly the point, right? We’re trying to save as many as we could of those who fall victim to this deadly and addictive habit – including (and more importantly) their “second-hand” smoke’s unwitting victims.

On the other hand, those who can still afford the product should rightfully be shelling out more in taxes so that generated revenues may be put into measures that actively deal with “second-hand” smoke issues and other consequential problems.




It was a delightful surprise to see the newly renovated National Bookstore (Main Bldg.) at SM North EDSA with its clean, spacious layout and look. Doing away with line-of-sight obstructions helped do that combined with the off-white “color” scheme. They even thoughtfully included a lounge area with benches where customers can “take a load off” after going through books and supplies. Book “samplers” should be a welcome bonus for once-overs.

They even made the payment area into a single bar in contrast to the individual kiosks in the old layout. This looks good except that each cash register still has an individual line – which means that customers don’t necessarily get “first come, first served” service. Inevitably, there’ll be slower and quicker queues – which is unfair. National Bookstore should adapt SM Stores’, Watsons’, or S&Rs’ models wherein there’s only a single line for 2-6 cash registers – guaranteeing “first come, first served” service to all paying customers.

If SM Store, Watson, or S&R can think of it and do it, why can’t National Bookstore?




Caning is a widely-used form of legal corporal punishment in Singapore. The most severe is judicial-type, this is for male convicts under the age of 50, as substitute for short prison terms or in combination with prison terms and fines, for a wide range of offences under the Criminal Procedure Code. If the offender is under 18, he may receive up to 10 strokes of the cane, but a lighter cane will be used in this case. Boys under 16 may be sentenced to caning only by the High Court.

We should emulate the Singaporean, Malaysian and Brunei form of corporal punishment in our penal code, this way, we don’t have to imprison those convicted of minor offenses that traditionally warranted a few months’ imprisonment. This will help ease our prison system’s over-congestion and it will be safer especially for young offenders who will be spared the potentially-deadly perils of Philippine prison life. Besides, this is also an effective deterrent to petty criminals as shown by the Singaporean, Malaysian and Brunei models.

So-called western “values” aren’t necessarily applicable to all cultures so we should adapt systems that work for ours (although this practice started in Asia from the British). We urge Congress to consider passing an amendment allowing caning into our penal laws – because incarceration in Philippine jails pose a much more brutal and inhuman punishment for petty criminals.




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