EDITORIAL: It is all about character

Somebody said the presidency is about the kid from the squatter taking on the oligarchs.

Huh! Nothing is farthest from the truth.

One guy is no longer a squatter. He now belongs to the same elite class. Just because you are born poor does not mean you cannot transcend your class origin. Your current class will not always be the same as your class origin.

This is all about resolving contradiction among the ruling elite which, under the present Philippine setting, they do through elections.

Except on three occasions.

When political power was snagged and snatched away from the people in the 1896 Philippine revolution when the Magdalo group of Aguinaldo assassinated Andres Bonifacio and in 1986 EDSA Revolt when again another faction of the elite seized power. It was repeated in 2001 with yet another popular uprising that unseated Estrada. Sadly, it ended with the same result.

In all three occasions, it was the protest movement that galvanized popular support.
Unfortunately, never have the people seized actual political power – in elections or otherwise.

In an election when the poor have no choice, it is all about character.

And in the current issue that tests the character of that man, he is being unmasked and exposed of his true self.

He may yet win.

But who loses in the end?


Malaysians bullish over Bangsamoro

Story by Bong S. Sarmiento

DAVAO CITY—Malaysian companies are now positioning themselves as they look forward to the creation of the Bangsamoro region following the singing of a peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Har Man Ahmad, senior manager for ASEAN unit and former Embassy of Manila Trade Office (MATRADE Manila) commissioner, said Malaysian businessmen are looking for possible joint venture with local corporations for oil palm and rubber plantations in the Mindanao.

More than 50 Malaysian companies attended the 2nd BIMP EAGA-IMT GT trade fair held recently in Davao City in a bid to forge partnerships with Mindanao investors and from the other participating countries.

The Malaysian government brokered the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“Peace is a very important factor [in putting up an investment],” he said in a press conference,” Ahmad said in a press conference.

A bill seeking the establishment of a new autonomous region in Mindanao to replaces the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has already been transmitted to Congress.

The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law will give the new autonomous region greater political power and control over natural resources in the proposed Bangsamoro region.

According to the oil palm industry profile prepared by the Mindanao Development Authority in October 2011, the country has about 55,000 hectares of land planted with oil palm, 80 per cent or 44,000 hectares of them in Mindanao. For rubber, the island reportedly has 137,000 hectares as of 2011.

A joint Filipino-Malaysian venture in oil palm industry has existed in Mindanao through the Agumil Philippines Inc.

“We [also] want to explore business opportunities through direct supply, distribution or partnerships,” Ahmad said.

BIMP EAGA stands for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area, an initiative launched in 1994 to accelerate the growth of less developed areas of the participating countries.

IMT GT stands for Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand Growth Triangle, which was formed a year ahead of BIMP EAGA.

MATRADE Manila Trade Commissioner Nyaee Ayup said they are aggressively promoting the Malaysian products and services closer to the BIMP EAGA market, which they considered as an important sub-region in Southeast Asia.

“Mindanao is a new market to us,” Ayup said.

The major Malaysian companies that took part in the trade fair include Labuan Corp, TNB Remaco and MDS Consultancy Group Sdn Bhd.

The others were Duha Edar Sdn Bhd, Azaib Holdings Sdn Bhd, Ambang Dorongan Sdn Bhd, Millions Star Trading Sdn Bhd, I-Tim Holdings Sdn Bhd, Forest Interactive Sdn Bhd and Adtech Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

The top performing goods traded from the region include coal, seaweeds and agricultural products from Indonesia; tuna, banana and pineapple from the Philippines; timber and palm oil from Malaysia; and petroleum from Brunei.

Binay’s convenient silence backfires

Confessed presidential candidate Jejomar Binay has never been put under close public scrutiny as he is now, with just 20 months before the 2016 presidential elections.
Either he never saw it coming or his convenient silence got the better of him when his allies were under fire and got embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal to hit Philippine Congress – the PDAF and DAP issues .

Binay is tight grip of the 2016 presidency is quickly eroding.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Binay is tight grip of the 2016 presidency is quickly eroding.Pic by Edwin Espejo

With Senator Jinggoy Estrada effectively gagged and many other allies facing plunder charges for their involvement in the Janet Napoles scandal, Binay is now left alone to ward off accusation of corruption leveled against him.
How Binay would now have wished those PDAF and DAP issues did not spill over him.
As things are now playing out their way, Binay should have anticipated he was also a target all along with the bullseye right on his chest.
The PDAF and DAP issues would have been excellent opportunities for Binay to break ties with the Aquino government and launch the perfect platforms for his presidential bid.
But because many of those who were dragged into the corruption mess were his party mates and potential allies in the 2016 presidential race, Binay went slow.
One wonders if his deafening silence when his allies were under siege was a calculated ploy to hide his own skeletons.
Binay is hurting. And it is hurting most his presidential ambitions.
It began with simple overpricing of several buildings in Makati where he and his family have reigned supreme since 1986.
Then it spiraled into a humongous monster that is threatening to pull him down.
While it has not yet been proven that he owns vast tracks of lands in Rosario, Cavite, public perception is that Binay has accumulated – amass – wealth that he successfully hid until the Senate blue ribbon sub-committee began unearthing them.
His adamant refusal to appear before the committee to give his side over the controversial Hacienda Binay and Makati building issues is not helping him either.
As the Senate investigation wears along, Binay is dangerously treading the path of political perdition.
With the exception of Joseph Estrada, no early presidential aspirant who has been leading in surveys a year before the election since the EDSA Revolt of 1986 ever made it to Malacañang.
Binay and Estrada almost have parallel political careers and both ended up facing corruption scandals. The difference is that Estrada was already a sitting president while Binay is still trying to claim that seat.
But nobody who has been accused of the magnitude of corruption Binay is facing ever made it to the presidency.   Binay, in fact, is the first presidential aspirant to hold the distinction of a presidential contender accused with such massive corruption issue.

Pacquiao Watch: Things not looking good for Algieri

New Yorker Chris Algieri will be a longshot when he goes up against perennial fan-favorite Manny Pacquiao.

Despite being undefeated, Algieri will be heavy underdog against the ‘older’ 35-year old Pacquiao who will be defending his World Boxing Organization welterweight title.

Pacquiao is in deep training for his fight against Chris Algieri in Macau on November 23.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Pacquiao is in deep training for his fight against Chris Algieri in Macau on November 23.Pic by Edwin Espejo

Many boxing analysts say the 30-year might just have enough ring intelligence to offset Pacquiao’s overall ringmanship. And if he uses his decided height advantage, he could inflict Pacquiao another decisively, if not close, loss.

And he might have the tool to do a Morales déjà vu when the Mexican outfought, out-punched and outwitted Pacquiao to score a unanimous decision in their first fight in 2005.

Watching Algieri keeps his opponents at bay with his left jobs reminded me of Morales. He matches it with an above average footwork and the ability to adjust to the situation – round per round.

His main weaknesses are in the power department and relative inexperience. Algieri has only fought 20 times and although he has yet to suffer a loss, he only has stopped 8 of his opponents.

Not an impressive record when you are facing arguably the best ‘small welterweight’ in the planet today.

Until he carelessly got caught by the Hail Mary punch of nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao ran a string of 21 incredible fights without being sent to the canvass – and those fights are against the heaviest punchers in their respective divisions. That fact does not bode well for Algieri.

Pacquiao also does very well against taller opponents. Ask Oscar de la Hoya and Antonio Margarito who are as tall if not taller than the 5’10” Algieri. Those two are also heavy punchers although not as quick as Algieri. That fact does not augur well against Algieri.

Pacquiao has also long ago solved the Morales jab puzzle when he twice demolished the Mexican in their rematches en route to TKO victories. His main weapon may not be enough to pull an upset. That should worry Algieri.

Algieri may be quick, but not as quick as Timothy Bradley and Shane Mosley to be able to run away from and frustrate Pacquiao. Algieri has kissed the canvass before – against Ruslan Provodnikov, a Pacquiao sparring partner. It could be a short trip to dreamland for Algieri.

Pacquiao, whose last stoppage win was against Miguel Cotto exactly 5 years to this month, may be ripe for another knockout win.