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Category Archives: POLITICS

Playboy Bebot to Ate Glo: From ‘worse to bad’

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”

–Henry Kissinger

By Alex P. Vidal13612173_10206678118334491_1779360806990529016_n

NEW YORK CITY — Nobody has bellyached now that Playboy Bebot was booted out in a “mutiny” in the House of Representatives.
No Mark Antony-like soliloquy.
No loyal subaltern threatening to commit a hara kiri.
No post mortem protest from PDP-Laban figureheads except for softy Koko Pimental’s tantrums.
Since the ouster supposedly had the fingerprints of the First Daughter, it had been received with a grain of salt by pro-and anti-Playboy Bebot politicians.
The message was clear: Playboy Bebot deserved to be given the door, his comeuppance for picking an unnecessary fight with the First Daughter; and for poking a nose into the latter’s infant political party.
Meanwhile, she was supposed to be in jail for plunder, but by a stroke luck, Ate Glo was released from being under house arrest when the Angry Man, her political benefactor, was catapulted into power in 2016.
Her pivotal rise from the rumps of political death signaled her stunning resurrection from the nadir.

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Ate Glo had inherited her son’s position in congress, thus her political rehabilitation came to a zenith when she was installed as the new House speaker hours before the Angry Man’s state of the nation address on July 23, 2018.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, there’s no more turning back.
She could become the first prime minister if the sinister plot to hijack our constitution and shift the system of government into federal from unitary will come into fruition.
Between Playboy Bebot and Ate Glo, lawmakers opted for the lesser evil.
Thus the leadership change can be considered to be a transfer of power from “worse to bad.”
For being morally unfit and a bad influence, Playboy Bebot was a worse speaker.
For being mentally dishonest (“Hello Garci” tumult) and having been tainted with a whiff of graft and corruption, Ate Glo is a bad choice for Playboy Bebot’s replacement.

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I was again misinterpreted for exhorting the relatives and friends of Monica-Blumentritt, Iloilo City Proper village chief Keith “Dabing” Espinosa and her jailed husband, Jesus “Jing-Jing” Espinosa Jr. to “pray for them” in my previous article.
It’s a common knowledge in Western Visayas or in Iloilo City, in particular, that the couple has been receiving threats owing to their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Although Jing-Jing is now detained at the Iloilo Provincial Jail in Barangay Nanga, Pototan, Iloilo for frustrated murder, he continued to engage in selling of illegal drugs using Dabing and his family remembers, according to Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) director, Chief Supt. John Bulalacao.

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When I used “Pray for Jing-Jing and Dabing” as the title of my article, it did not mean I believed they were immaculate and shouldn’t be indicted in court.
They should be brought before the bar of justice unscathed.
As Christians, we are advocating for any suspected criminal to be given the due process and treated humanely.
This goes not only for Dabing and Jing-Jing but for all “notorious” characters out there who are still enjoying their freedom and are not yet locked behind bars.
We air this utmost concern amid the culture of impunity, the series of summary executions that pervade our society under the present administration, which apparently has showed callous disregard for the human life based on numerous anti-illegal drugs police operations.
We believe that any person, whose guilt has not yet been proven beyond reasonable doubt, should be entitled to his or her right to life.
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Posted by on July 24, 2018 in CRIME, POLITICS

 

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I prefer hell over Federalism

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”  –Thomas Jefferson

By Alex P. Vidal16265768_10208183164239698_2290510430437645716_n

NEW YORK CITY — We salute the 67 percent of the Filipinos who rejected the proposed shift from the unitary to federal form of government in the Philippines surveyed recently by the Social Weather Station (SWS).
At least the Filipinos are now starting to wake up and think logically.
Filipinos are now aware; they have become vigilant and dead set to torpedo any sinister attempt to take them for a nightmarish ride to an ambiguous territory.
Not only that.
In rejecting federalism, we also expect the thinking Filipinos to oppose at all cost any move to cannibalize and distort the Philippine Constitution by changing it without any justifiable reason.
A big no to “cha-cha.”
Some of those agitating to rearrange the fundamental law of the land are incumbent legislators who come from political dynasties and those with vested self, political and business interests determined to protect, sustain, and serve their own whims and caprices.
There is no need to change the Charter actually.

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Our democracy has survived since it was drafted and approved in 1987; and because of this holistic Constitution, Filipinos were able to prevent a totalitarian leadership, a mob rule, invasion by numerically superior forces on our sovereign seas and other territories, and a full-scale Martial Law.
Our present Constitution has effectively served as the watchdog of our democratic institutions and the vanguard of our basic rights and freedom.
It’s the best Constitution in the world, according to former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.
It’s pro-poor, pro-women, pro-family, pro-life, swore the retired magistrate, who helped draft the Charter.
The reason Filipinos are afraid of federalism is because they don’t want to experiment with this monster which will only further bloat the bureaucracy through the creation of 18 federated regions and impoverish the people by the imposition of double or even triple taxes on the poor, according to experts.

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In the first place, there was lack of information campaign on the part of the proponents, who only wanted to push the untested federalism into our throats even if there was no urgency and emergency to justify the jump from unitary to federalism.
Simply put, we are not prepared for federalism and we don’t need it now.
We prefer a unitary system of government run like hell by leaders elected directly by the people in a democratic election, than a federal system of government run like heaven by a dictator and his lapdogs in the parliament.
I prefer hell than the risky, divisive and suicidal federalism.

 
 

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Do city mayors need to travel abroad?

“No grand idea was ever born in a conference, but a lot of foolish ideas have died there.”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

 
By Alex P. Vidal29572442_10211417967587760_356020253209754251_n

NEW YORK CITY — Critics ribbed the late former Iloilo City mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon and former mayor Mansueto “Mansing” Malabor for being “barriotic mayors” because they never attended a single international conference for city mayors during their administrations in the 90s.
Ganzon, of course, traveled a lot outside the Philippines when he was a senator from 1963 to 1969 as part of his legislative mandate.
Being “barriotic mayors”, as we very well know, did not diminish their effectiveness as public servants.
Even without any junket abroad, both Ganzon and Malabor were hands-on leaders who never had any deficiency in the services they rendered for Iloilo City.
Ganzon and Malabor may not have yielded to the increasing and growing demands of the climate of global synergy during their terms, but they were holed up in giving priority and attention to the more practical and immediate social concerns of their constituents in the barangays.
Iloilo City mayors started to expand their political, cultural and economic horizons internationally starting when Jerry P. Treñas served as the city mayor for three consecutive terms from 2001 to 2010.


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As the national president of League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) during the term of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Treñas became a globetrotter.
He racked up more than a dozen foreign trips, all in relation to his mandate as the local chief executive of Iloilo City and as the LCP boss.
When Jed Patrick Mabilog took over as city mayor in 2011, he also circumnavigated the globe in relation to his job as a father of Iloilo City like Treñas; Mabilog even landed as the No. 5 in World Mayor 2014.
Following their footsteps today is incumbent Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, who have already gone to the United States for the Iloilo Trade Mission in June and in Singapore for the World Cities Summit in July this year in only nine months since he became the city mayor.
Mayor Joe III is expected to crisscross the sky some more for the future international conferences before and after the 2019 elections, if he wins.

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As part of the global village in this age of social media, cyberspace and globalization, our mayors or other local officials for that matter, should travel or accept invitations to go abroad, once in a while, and connect with the rest of the world or be left behind.
Interacting with foreign counterparts and actively participating in floor discussions and policy making deliberations in the summits is tantamount to upgrading their leadership skills and solidifying the selling points of the city that they represent.
There are major conferences calendared annually that seriously tackle bilateral modernization plans, trade packages, exchange programs, long-term infrastructure grants; paradigm shifts in environment, health, economic, tourism, education, culture, and related concerns that need the physical attendance of city mayors and not necessarily the attendance of heads of state or presidents.

 
 

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Secure Iloilo mayors Centena, Malones, Betita

“The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
–Sun Tzu

By Alex P. Vidal16265768_10208183164239698_2290510430437645716_n

NEW YORK CITY — We join our fellow “concerned” Ilonggos in the Philippines and abroad in the call for the League of the Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Iloilo Chapter to use all its resources to secure Mayors Alex Centena of Calinog, Mariano Malones of Maasin, and Siegfredo Betita of Carles.
The three are among the local chief executives in the Philippines linked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in illegal drugs.
As among the country’s most outstanding mayors, they don’t deserve to die violently based on wrong information and accusation.
Even if they have repeatedly and emotionally denied their involvement in narcotics, their names have remained dangling in the controversial list.
It’s better to praise 40 thieves and pagans than to condemn and put to risk the life of an innocent person.


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Some of the mayors included in the bloody list are now dead; killed violently by unidentified assailants in separate attacks even before they could clear their names.
There has been no assurance from the Philippine National Police (PNP) or even the President himself that the killings of “narco politicians’” will end soon.
In fact, the President himself has offered rewards for law enforcers who can kill drug traffickers.
President Duterte goaded and “inspired” uniformed personnel sworn to protect the civilians to commit a criminal act against both the drug addicts and drug traffickers.
He even sided with police officials and ordinary cops implicated in extra-judicial killings (EJK) involving suspected drug traffickers–civilians or government officials and rogue cops.
We are not saying that the President and the PNP are behind the murderous binge, but the words and body languages of some PNP generals, especially President Duterte himself, suggest that they don’t condemn and discourage the bloody murders.
As feared by many human rights watchdogs, “they may have even abetted it.”

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There have been no solid pieces of evidence, of course, that would link President Duterte and the PNP, but the culture of impunity in the Philippines has been overwhelmingly associated with the administration’s “all out” campaign against illegal drugs.
Now that election season is fast approaching, some politicians and disgruntled syndicate leaders might take advantage of President Duterte’s controversial “narco list” and order the assassination of their opponents in the May 2019 elections who are on the list, to make it appear they were waylaid for their “involvement” in narcotics business.
Whether they are up for reelection, Mayors Centena, Malones, and Betita undoubtedly have been exposed to danger–including members of their family just like other mayors, governors and other elected public officials maligned by the feeble “narco list.”

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We don’t point an accusing finger to the President and make conclusions with absolute certainty that he might order the murder of the three Ilonggo mayors, but according to his bombastic speeches in the past, he “will definitely kill” former Iloilo City mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog whom he accused of being a “narco politician” and “the cousin” of murdered Western Visayas drug lord Boyet Odicta.
In linking the mayors and other local government chief executives in illegal drugs, an outraged President Duterte said he based it on “intelligence reports” which could also be false or “doctored.”

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2018 in POLITICS

 

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Will a Rosalie Treñas-Joe III tandem solve the skirmish?

“The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.”

Above-the-Belt-APVidal-238x300–Theodore Roosevelt

 By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III has refused to blink in the mind game versus his brother-in-law, Iloilo City lone district Rep. Jerry P. Treñas (PDP-Laban), and has finally let the cat out of the bag: Joe III is running for mayor on May 14, 2019.

This will pit Mayor Joe III against Treñas, reputed to be the new de facto political king of Iloilo City, the tag previously held by the late former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr.

Mayor Joe III’s decision has dashed to pieces all hopes of a potent Treñas-Espinosa family express train versus “the rest of the world”–meaning all the combined and throbbing political forces in Iloilo City wishing to eviscerate the “elite” political Treñas and Espinosa clans from the metropolis’ political map.

But wait a minute.

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Except for a “Divine intervention” as we mentioned here in the previous columns that includes an attempt to tap Mrs. Rosalie Treñas as candidate for congresswoman in a line-up with Mayor Joe III and Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon.

This would mean Rep. Treñas “sacrificing” for his wife and canceling his bid to run for mayor if only to preserve their political family and wrest total control of Iloilo City’s political supremacy for the two hugely politically superior clans.

If Madame Rosalie, sister of Mayor Joe III’s wife, First Lady Gina, won’t run, there is no other “Divine intervention” that can be bruited about to salvage the irritating and frustrating falling-out of the two clans which developed when there was no clear and present threat from other political forces.

Rep. Treñas himself was still hoping that Mayor Joe III would change his heart and mind and run for congressman in order not to divide their formidable slate.

But recent developments showd Mayor Joe III was now willing to crosss the Rubicon river and risk being “eliminated” from the political landscape in the event he loses against Treñas in the battle for City Hall in 2019.

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Mayor Joe III believes he has gained the momentum by virtue of his having governed as city mayor without any hitch and obstacle, so far, since October 2017 when the Ombudsman ousted Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

In Mayor Joe III’s mind, there is no heavy negative issue to be thrown his way in the event his feud with Treñas goes full blast especially during the chaotic campaign period.

Only the entry of Madame Rosalie will change the entire picture for the time being.

As the saying goes, in every problem there is a solution.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2018 in POLITICS

 

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Will Sara Duterte back Joe III vs Jerry?

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” –Groucho Marx

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By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY — If we stretch our imaginations, the only way for Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to face Rep. Jerry Treñas for mayor in the 2019 elections is for Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) founder, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to endorse his candidacy and for House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s PDP-Laban to officially back acolyte Treñas.
HNP is currently slowly inching its way to forge a tie-up with various satellite political parties first in Mindanao, and now in the Visayas, in a hope to grow and expand in time for the next congressional elections.
PDP-Laban, of course, is not happy about the new kid in town and is, in fact, getting increasingly pissed off and insecure especially that it is being spearheaded by the most powerful and influential daughter in the Philippines today, who is rumored to be the next candidate for president.

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HNP and PDP-Laban are still currently “distinct and separate” from one another in as far as legitimacy and recognition by the Comelec are concerned, although they both can sleep in the same presidential bedroom together albeit in two separate beds.
Still on infant stage, HNP is obscured by its regional-level status, while PDP-Laban is a behemoth party with strongholds and incumbent elected officials all over the archipelago.
It’s a common knowledge that Inday Sara and Alvarez are not on speaking terms after the latter had branded Inday Sara’s group as “the new opposition.”
Joe III and Treñas are both PDP-Laban stalwarts and have also allegedly quarreled (of course we didn’t believe this).
The most likely scenario in the event the Joe III-Treñas alleged spat was authentic and they are hellbent to dispute the top city hall post in 2019, is for HNP and PDP-Laban to pick between the two “magbilas” (their wives are sisters).
Inday Sara might go for the “underdog” and fellow incumbent local chief executive, while Alvarez might choose a colleague in congress he thinks will be a “sure winner” for mayor.
This is, of course, a wishful thinking and, as we mentioned earlier, can only be possible if we stretch our curious imaginations.

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We still strongly believe that Mayor Joe III and Rep. Treñas will swap positions and are only trying to confuse their rivals who still continue to read between the lines and mutely observe the Joe III-Treñas “civil war” from afar.
By keeping the cards closer to their sleeves, Joe III and Treñas increase the chance for their opponents to face a grim prospect of kicking off their campaign offensive against a windmill like Sancho Panza in Don Quixote.
In fact, Joe III confirmed to city hall reporters recently that he would be running for an elective post in 2019.
The fact that he did not reveal which position he intends to aspire for in 2019 is a clear indication that he (or they) really plans to further draw a jigsaw puzzle in the minds of his (or their) political rivals.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2018 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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Social media ‘friends’ don’t help win elections

“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” –JR
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By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — There was a joke that a popular politician in Iloilo in the Philippines lost in the 2016 local elections because he “campaigned” mostly in the social media instead of moving his butts to woo the votes personally in the barangays.
The politician, who maintained several Facebook accounts, miscalculated his “high” popularity rating.
He thought being popular in the social media was tantamount to instant victory in the election.
His Facebook account only had 5,000 “friends list” while the number of voters in his district was 313,112.
The former only massaged his ego, the latter were the ones who cast the actual votes that sealed his fate.
The politician, a smart aleck, ignored his partymates’ admonishment and allowed himself to be mesmerized by his admirers’ fallacy and dazzling Facebook comments foretelling his “landslide” victory for being a “good” and “deserving” candidate.
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It was too late when he realized he had been taken for a ride by the false prophets in his “friends list.”
After winding up second to the last in his district, he cursed his political party; he ended up a bitter and sore loser.
The next congressional elections in 2019 still won’t be about the number of “followers” or “friends” in the social media, it’s about the number of village chiefs or punong barangay that will support the candidates.
Local elections in the Philippines will continue to be decided by the degree of influence the candidates wield in the barangays or villages, considered as the smallest political units.
Those who have strong connections with the village chiefs usually wrap up the contest for mayor, congressman, and the the municipal, provincial, and city legislatures.
The village chiefs are the ones who have direct access to the voting populace.
Eighty percent of the candidates whose names are on the sample ballots being distributed in the villages are usually shoo-in in the winning column.
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We’ve noticed that some election wanna-bes at this early find it riveting to hammer away with the faults and imperfections of their prospective rivals in the next elections using the social media.
They believe that if they start to dig holes on their prospective rivals’ credibility and shatter their myth of invincibility earlier in the ballgame through the power and influence of the social media, it will be easier for them to deliver the knockout blow during the campaign period.
Those who usually initiate the aggressive offensive blitzkrieg are wanna-bes with low name-recall ratings, or those who belong to inferior or ragtag political parties.
But even if they succeed in portraying their prospective rivals as wicked men and women in the social media, this won’t give them any assurance of sure victory when they tangle during the official electoral contest.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in ELECTION, POLITICS

 

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