Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Commander-in-Chief: What Went Wrong? by Erick San Juan

"It takes two to tango.", as the saying goes. As the commander-in-chief of the whole Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNoy showed a strange attitude during the AFP command conference last week. He reportedly faulted the officers and men of the special forces unit and put the blame on them for the death of several soldiers involved in the operation against criminal elements at Al Barka in Basilan. The legitimate military operation was done to serve the warrant of arrests for the group leaders who were responsible for the crimes against the people of Basilan and the beheading of our 10 marine soldiers in the past. According to Col. Alexander Macario(Task Force Basilan commander), they even cleared the entry of our military component with an MILF leader. But instead of assisting our hapless soldiers, they were killed and beheaded by these evil Abu Sayyaf's with the help of the MILF.

The MILF even arrogantly owned the responsibility for the slaughter and the wounding of our unfortunate soldiers. Instead of giving moral support to his soldiers, PNoy even scolded them in public and relieved two of it's officers, including Col. Antonio Parlade, the army spokesman. He committed for an 'all-out justice' and promised to move swiftly in fighting lawless elements. But out of the blue, he reiterated his call for the MILF to stay at the negotiating table and categorically absolved the MILF of the crime. The worst, at the Ciudad Fernandina forum at Club Filipino, retired Commodore Rex Robles commented that he was shocked when he heard PNoy saying that 'he will protect the areas that we control'. Robles added that the way the president speak is difficult to comprehend. "He seems to have given the MILF some of our territories." Robles concluded.

Some of PNoy's supporters are now his critics. Others said that the president has been breaking protocols and seems to be following the orders of his real 'boss'. Legal experts said that he's committing treasonous acts, firstly, when he met with the MILF leaders headed by Al Hajj Murad in Narita, Japan and today, wednesday, Malacanang admitted that his peace adviser, Marvic Leonen even gave the MILF P5 million pesos for the BMLMI (Bangsa Moro Leadership and Management Institute). The amount allegedly came from the presidential social fund. Sec. Ging Deles in another interview said that the BMLMI was created during the time of President Gloria Arroyo. Leonen even described the Al Barka incident as an 'isolated case'. Pundits said that it seems impossible to believe that the MILF leaders were 'soft touched' by P5 million pesos. "How cheap for a group claiming control of a big portion of Minsupala.", a coffee shop wag at the Hotel Intercon commented.

Where are PNoy's trusted lieutenants who should give him precious counselling during this time of crisis? Is the DILG code not enough to be implemented by barangay officials, the mayors, the governors who should oversee that law enforcement and it's implementation as part of the local governance and responsibility? How can the local government negotiate in a position of strength if they themselves are in cahoots or they could be possibly the puppet masters of these bandits? What happened to the humint (human intelligence) operation of the barangay tanods? Even Congressman Mujib Hataman of Basilan rightfully commented that the issue here is a correct governance.

The citizenry had seen the difference between PNoy and former President Joseph Estrada. Estrada during his watch ordered the Armed Forces to over run the MILF camps. It became successful because of the secret help of the US drones that simultaneously attacked the two main MILF camps namely Abu Bakr and Raja Muda and its 44 satellite camps. Without the knowledge of Estrada, our troops headed by Gens. Camiling and TP Salazar(now Nica chief) backed by artillery barrages and air strikes were assisted by the US drones.

When the late Defense secretary Angelo Reyes arrived from his 'consultation' from Washington DC during Erap's time, I was invited by then Defense undersecretary Mel Rosales to have breakfast with Reyes at the Camp Aguinaldo's officers clubhouse. Reyes told us that Pentagon wanted to neutralize the terrorists in Mindanao especially the Abu Sayyaf and the MILF. The US Department of Defense was allegedly worried about the MILF because of a nearby state supporting its cause. Secretary Reyes was astonished when he was told that if our government will not do it, they will move on their own. Reyes reported the briefing to Pres. Estrada and the president despite our meager resources, capability and ammunitions commanded Reyes to overrun the MILF. The rest was history.

What went wrong? Why is the US government now supporting the MILF? Is the war on terror being propagated by the US government plain hypocricy and double talk? This is a big joke and unbelievable. Reality check will affirm that the US government will definitely protect it's interests in the region and the weak leadership and mediocrity of our officials gave the foreign powers the impression that we dont have the capacity to manage the nation.

"Kano ang boss ko!"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Plot Thickens by Erick San Juan

The Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development, in collaboration with the Institute of South East Asian Studies(ISEAS-Singapore) hosted the Forum on West Philippine Sea(SCS) at the Manila Polo Club last Sunday and Monday. The CPR Foundation is chaired by former Foreign Affairs Secretary Roberto R. Romulo. The first session was chaired by former Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro while the Monday session was moderated by former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Domingo L. Siazon,Jr.

The conference was well attended by diplomats, scholars, public figures, civil society, security and military officers. They engaged in the dialogue, discussed ideas and solutions in defining the South China Sea issue. Secretary Romulo hoped that over time, the forum can influence official thinking and policy with the goal of identifying common interests.

Last sunday's closed-door session had a heated issue of India advising China not to interfere in Kashmir and India will not intervene in the South China Sea issue. The group committed for a successful conflict resolutions which will lead to peace , prosperity and regional cooperation.

Former US Ambassador to the Philippines, Frank Wisner, now the international affairs advisor of Patton Boggs LLP and the vice-chairman of AIG, told the audience that he came not as a diplomat but as an American with a keen interest in the region. He explained that the United States of America is a Pacific power with the destiny to linked to the asian belt. Wisner said that America's security and economic well being depend heavily on Asia and this fact will grow in importance in the years ahead. He added that the USA have interests in the South China Sea and that full half of the world's merchant ships pass the SCS each year. South China Sea carries six times the freight of the Suez Canal, especially oil. The amount of traffic through SCS will double by2030. "This is the reason why many nations are keen in promoting peaceful resolutions in the overlapping claims, the need for a code of conduct, the right of free passage, freedom of navigation and the orderly exploitation of the resources of the South China Sea are matters of huge importance to all.", Wisner concluded.

I was amazed by the speech articulated by Dr. Fu-kuo Liu of the Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He reiterated Taiwan's interest in the South China Sea. He asked everyone of us why only now that the South China Sea issue is being addressed when in fact that in 1947, a U-shaped line was drawn by the Republic of China according to the international legal norms and reflected by the international political reality after the World War 2. The area within the line was identified as historical water of ROC. It was allegedly agreed by Japan through the United Nations and the Taiwan government reportedly can validate this. Although Dr. Liu said that the Republic of China(Taiwan) did not make it clear on how this U-shaped line was based upon and what it really means from the start. The U-shaped line exists long before UNCLOS was concluded in 1982. He concluded that Taiwan's sovereignty over the area within the line remain unchanged.

Is this the reason why the Taiwanese government through it's president, Ma Ying-Jeou made a fiery statement during it's national day(October 10,2011)? He said that the people of Taiwan have to defend it's sovereignty and they will install and deploy missiles in the South China Sea over concerns that rival claimants to the disputed islands are building up their arms. Taiwan's defense minister, Kao
Hua-chu through it's defense committee demand that it's coast guard units in Taiping and the Pratas islands, claimed by Taiwan be armed with Chaparral or Tien Chien 1 missiles. Taiping is the biggest island in the Spratlys.

The plot thickens!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mind Opener:Connecting the Dots by Erick San Juan

I was alarmed by the article of Amando Doronila at the Philippine Daily Inquirer Oct. 12,2011 entitled, "Is PNoy Worthy Heir to Edsa Legacy?" The president according to Doronila delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the World Bank and the IMF(International Monetary Fund) in Washington DC last September 21, the anniversary of Marcos martial rule. The main point of PNoy's speech was all about 'people power' allegedly driving the winds of political and social change. His mother catapulted into power through the so called peaceful revolution ousting a perceived corrupt dictator.

Doronila quoted PNoy saying, "We gathered here today at a time of rapid change around the entire world (referring to the Middle East and North Africa), where people took to the streets in droves, risking their livelihoods and even their lives to call for the removal of leaders who could no longer respond to their needs and aspirations."

PNoy concluded, "That after the euphoria fades, how does a government faced with a gargantuan task in sustaining the momentum, rebuild it's institutions from the ground up? How to harness the energy of the people power to provide jobs, food, education, health and other vital services, given the situation it inherited? Doronila reacted by saying-"not by laziness."

Methinks that the president is not lazy as perceived. He just need sincere, dedicated and can be trusted lieutenants to help him in his daily problem solving. His questions in that speech if addressed immediately by his administration is good enough as a starter. He should stick to his "Matuwid na Daan" (straight path), have the political will to ax dead meats, opportunists and corruptors inside his loop. They are destroying him from within. He should also watch out for 'Greeks bearing gifts'. People outside looking in are getting worried that despite the advocacy of the president to jail the corrupt officials of the previous administration, he is now fighting so many fronts, including possibly, some of his people who are now gradually being exposed as to their 'wheeling and dealing'. The infighting between the Balay and the Samar group is being discreetly agitated not only by some oppositor but also by vested interests from within, Look at the case of political secretary Ronald Llamas, The exposes' being leaked to the media are reportedly coming from another faction within PNoy's circle.

With the compounding problems and the 'gathering storm', the government should act fast. A new version of Hyatt 10 is in the offing. There is an approaching struggle that if taken for granted could involve all of us. In disguise as election fraud, even in the presidential elections of 2010, some vested interest groups could act outside the constitution. They will proclaim that the system is a lie and does not work. Even surveys lie like the politicians.

This nation has not been united for a very long time despite Edsa 'revolts'. Let's stand up and make this country what you want it to be. Let's all be responsible, be accountable and get involve in rebuilding this nation always being designed to fail! God bless the Philippines!

Occupy Wall Street: Where is it Leading to? by Erick San Juan

The OWS(Occupy Wall Street) campaign started in New York with a handfull of young protesters almost patterned to the Arab Spring people power in the Middle East and North Africa that toppled several perceived corrupt leaders. In a matter of days it's all over America creating mass actions in several states. The financial giants are freaking out and reports from ATS(above top secret) confirmed that they put their state police on their payroll to protect them. According to blogger, Salusa, what has happened is the result of the people waking up as to how they have been manipulated and used to support the lives of those who rule over them. The energy for change is sweeping the world and with the intent of the people. it will allegedly be like a tidal wave washing away everything in its path. The 'masterminds' of the Arab Spring were shock to see that the pattern of confluence of events they directed backfired and mass movements are rapidly gathering pace.

The young generations are fearless. The same mass actions also happened in the United Kingdom. Many of them believe that they cannot tolerate the deliberate fraud by their banksters and money masters mishandling their banking and financial system which is causing recession. These yuppies believe that it is now high time to dismantle the unholy alliance of corrupt politicians and the elite who run the government like hell. People get fear-mongered into believing that things are really bad. According to blogger, LiberLegit, the manipulators connect imaginary puzzle pieces and see "hypothetical" big picture to create a situation. Cobaltic 1978, another blogger said that the middle class is being eroded and will soon be part of the lower echelon of society if we will not get our acts together. He added that the illusion of your freedom and the reality of your slavery is about to come to roost. Let's be ready for that wake up call.

Even the famous coumnist and Nobel peace prize awardee, Paul Krugman of the International Herald Tribune (Oct. 11,2011 issue) said, "Who's really being un-American here? Not the protestors , who are simply trying to get their voices be heard. No, the real extremists here are the American oligarchs who want to suppress any criricism of the sources of their wealth.

So, what else is new? Some Americans are panicky that if the situation will not be averted immediately, it could force the Obama administration to declare a state of emergency, suspend the US congress and declare martial law. Either the 'patriot act' will be enforced to deal with the unruly populace. The worst scenario is a possible second revolution in America. A pundit warned that the American people should watch carefully the confluence of events and where it will lead them. The wildfire protests could have been engineered to enable the declaration of martial law.

Many Filipinos are wondering if these scenarios going on worldwide can happen here? Just like some of the skeptics, the pattern is there. Even the martial law of Marcos was predicated with several incidents and mass actions were engineered to justify the declaration of PD 1081. During that time some activists don't even know what they are protesting about or what's their plan if they succeed.

But the situation now is so different that the youth of today can think out of the box and with the help of new technologies like the cellphone and the internet, mobilization and networking is easy. Despite that the Filipinos are pliant like a bamboo, the problem is not cowardice or fear, but the hard fact that we don't really want to go to any bloody confrontation and if we can avoid it the better. Just like any human being, don't push anyone over the edge, don't screw the people, they will fight back at the proper time just like our revolutionaries in the past.

Even the illustrious former chief justice, Reynato Puno, during the 50th anniversary of the Philconsa at the Manila Hotel advised that we have to fight the cause of our flawed democracy if we are to defend our constitution. Political and economic fraud against the citizenry and the nation should be stopped before it's too late.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

False Hope, False Alarm by Erick San Juan

False Hope, False Alarm by Erick San Juan

There were so many wild rumors emanating from coffee shop wags as to the real intention of President Noynoy's travel to China, U.S. and Japan. It started with his trip to China that coincided with Congresswoman Imelda Marcos open-secret trip to Beijing. There were speculation that it's all about the possible negotiation for the return of some Marcos accounts kept in China. When PNoy returned back to the Philippines, the only news that we got was that the anomalous transactions of the previous administration like the ZTE-NBN deal, Northrail, etc. will be revived with modification. Thanks to the Chinoy powerbrokers-carpetbaggers of the GMA government who are now rubbing elbows with PNoy and his loop.

Suddenly, Mrs. Marcos has been so quiet. But the rumor mill coming from some Marcos loyalists are boasting that this month of October will be a merry month not only for them but for all the Filipinos. The funds will allegedly be coming from the so called Asean-China Investment Fund, a private equity fund where it's unusual that the Swiss government will be involved together with the ADB(Asian Development Bank and the UOB(United Overseas Bank) are investors.

While in China, out of the blue, PNoy said that he has to go to the U.S. to meet with President Barack Obama and the big guns of Asia Society in New York and then he will visit Japan. My favorite Marcos loyalist friend said that there's a possibility that the American elites would like to get their piece of the action, reason why PNoy has to leave as soon as possible for the U.S. From America, instead of going straight to Japan, he returned back to Manila. In Japan, he got what he wants. According to news report- a new computer game for his favorite nephew, Josh and an audience with Emperor Akihito. But it got the ire of so many Filipinos when it was published in the newspapers that he gave US$ one million dollars to Japan's Tsunami victims when millions of Filipinos needs help too.Even Manila Standard columnist Jojo Robles made a hard-hitting observation that PNoy is insensitive and out of touch with the poor Filipinos. PNoy reportedly made a stupid act.

Even our oldies are up in arms as to the actuation of the president. Up to now many of our female senior citizens who were victimized during the second world war and became "comfort women" or "sex slaves" were not given justice by the Japanese government. The relatives of the so called "Jugun ianfu" or military sex slaves said that they are doubting the sincerity of the Japanese government in resolving these humanitarian problem which affected not only Filipino women but of many nations conquered by the Japanese during the war. What the surviving comfort women got up to now were unofficial apologies and meager financial awards where many of the surviving comfort women refused to accept.

The situation compounded when Typhoon Pedring hit Luzon and the president was bombarded by comments that he's nowhere to be found and tried to address the situation after the damage has been done. The finger pointing among government agencies worsened. Actually, the people are used to flooding but blaming Typhoon Pedring for making so many areas in Luzon like a water world is not justifiable. According to some local government officials, it was due to illegal logging and unprecedented release of water from several dams. According to PAGASA, the rainfall of typhoon Pedring was just 10% of Ondoy while that of Quiel was much SMALLER in volume. So who's the real culprit? According to activist Ferdie Pasion, most of our dams now are privatized. The dam operators DON'T want to release water before the typhoon arrives due to fear that the typhoon may not come or it will not be sufficient to replenish the water that were earlier released. Profit from electric generator is their priority vis-a-vis human safety and welfare.

My Opinyon publisher, Ray Junia, made a 'bulls eye' detail of what really transpired in PNoy's bothersome trips to China, US and Japan. In his latest analysis titled, 'Gullible's Travels', he said that the Americans and the Japanese are into something. Japan is behind the US in this regional maneuver with the Philippines as the battleground, the reason the secret meeting by PNoy with the MILF leaders was held in Japan. China could react to the bullying of US and Japan. It could call the bluff and we get pinned in the firefight. US could end up getting Mindanao, China getting the Spratly Islands and Japan getting it's share of our natural resources.

We never learned from our past mistakes...... Wake up!