Category Archives: politics

Hello…they have been there for a long time

After ignoring the power and influence of social media and the internet, the camps of the Liberal Party, UNA and Grace Poe are now realizing they have lost this battleground by default.

Now, they are counterattacking by unleashing insidious and sustained propaganda, using all shades of them – black, grey, yellow and everything.

Positive Duterte memes and testimonies far outnumbers negative attacks on Davao City mayor who is now on the rise and threatening to pull away from the rest of the presidential candidates
Positive Duterte memes and testimonies far outnumbers negative attacks on Davao City mayor who is now on the rise and threatening to pull away from the rest of the presidential candidates

They are now trying to paint the runaway leader in the digital space, the hundreds of thousands of Duterte supporters, as a bunch of irresponsible internet platform users, accusing them as fakirs.

Hello there…

The internet is the platform of cash-strapped Duterte supporters who are seeing how big networks have been ignoring what is happening on ground zero in the Duterte camp.

If Duterte supporters are creating memes derisive of other candidates, they should not frown about it. They can always hit back.

But it is not all about hitting back, it is all about believing your candidate.

And the Duterte supporters are not wanting of stories about their candidate. In fact they are flooding the digital space.

It is not remotely possible other camps will try to sabotage the excellent use of the internet by Duterte campaign supporters.

They could plant somebody else – employ hundreds – to mimic Duterte bloggers, users of FB, Instagram and Twitter and destroy them from ‘within’.

Why, because they could not hope to match, the intensity, passion, commitment and sheer number of Duterte’s internet army.

Pacquiao allies slug it out in Sarangani

Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon no longer will enjoy the luxury of running unopposed like he did in 2013.

He will face former allies of party mate Manny Pacquiao who is leaving as representative of the lone district of Sarangani to run for a seat in the Philippine Senate.

Solon who is seeking a second term, will face Juan Domino who also ran but was defeated in the 2010 elections then also under the ticket of People’ Champ Movement, a party founded by Pacquiao.

Incumbent Sarangani Gov. Steve Solon


Also challenging the incumbent governor is Mohammad Aquia, a friend of Pacquiao who is the official bet of the ruling administration party headed by the Liberal Party.

Solon still listed the PCM as his party and took former Provincial Board member Elmer de Peralta as running mate as Vice Governor Jinkee Pacquiao has decided to quit politics to concentrate on raising their children and helping her husband win a senate seat.

The PCM has allied with Vice President’s United Nationalist Alliance after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte decided not to run for president.

The PCM earlier stated it will support Duterte who si a member of the PDP-Laban.

Domino was once a political rival of the Chiongbians from whose family Solon belonged.

Juan Domino
Juan Domino

In 1998, Domino defeated Solon’s mother Lucille Chiongbian-Solon for the lone congressional district of Sarangani but was disqualified by the Commission on Election for failing to establish his residency in the province.

He again ran for governor in 2001 but was defeated by Chiongbian ally and then re-electionist Gov. Miguel Escobar.

In 2010, he lost again to Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez who dislodged Escobar in the 2004 election s amid report of widespread corruption in the province.

Escobar was already convicted twice for separate accounts of malversation of public funds, the latest of which came out only last week.

Mohammad Aquia

Aquia, on the other hand, also ran as for vice governor as an independent in 2007.  He used to hang around Pacquiao’s mansion and was once implicated in a carnapping incident.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s younger brother Rogelio (Roel) Pacquiao also filed his certificate of candidacy for the seat vacated by the former world boxing champion.

Roel, who could face disqualification for reportedly failing to meet the one-year residency requirement, will be challenged by 3 relatively unknown opponents.

Brothers Pacquiao (from left Bobby, Roel and Manny)
Roel Pacquiao (middle) is flanked by brothers Bobby (left) and Manny (right)

They are Elson Formoso who is running as an independent, Megie Orig of the Nationalists People’s Coalition and Victor Mejia of Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.

Roel transferred residence in Alabel, Sarangani and has already filed a petition to transfer his voting precinct.  The Commission on Election however has to act on his petition.

Pacquiao is a member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod f General Santos City by virtue of being the president of the Association of Barangay Chairmen of the city which he won via a toss coin over former ABC head Lourdes Casabuena.

Duterte and the protest vote


Those who are still belittling Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as a viable presidential contender should no longer second guess his political astuteness.

When told that he topped an informal survey, probably phoned in or texted in, conducted by ANC’s Tina Muñoz-Palma, the tough-talking Davao City mayor said he was alarmed and worried instead of being elated.

His reason?

He thought is prominence in the survey – he topped it – is mere reflection of the general malaise and state of disillusionment of the people towards country national political leaders.

In short, the ANC quick poll was a protest vote for him.

Now, that can only come from a jaded student of national politics.

Duterte, however, is no ordinary student of Philippine politics.  He represents the worse and the best of the ugly world of it.

Since being appointed OIC vice-mayor of Davao City in 1986, Duterte has never left public office.  He was elected mayor of Davao City in 1988 and was undefeated in two re-elections until he stepped down in 1998 due to term limits.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is still coy but he could be forced to run for Philippine president in 2016.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is still coy but he could be forced to run for Philippine president in 2016.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

He became a member of the House or Representative in the same year but came back to defeat his protégé Benjamin de Guzman in the 2001 elections.  He again finished his three consecutive 3-year term before settling for the vice mayoral post vice her daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio in 2010.

Then in 2013, he began what could be another long reign as chief executive of Mindanao’s most politically and economically strategic city.

He has repeatedly and successfully fended off attempts to enlist him as senatorial candidate both for the incumbent administrations and the opposition parties since 1998.  He even declined to accept cabinet level positions.

Better the head of a rat than a tail of the lion is reportedly one of his favorite axioms, a former close aide said.

He made a splash when he said he would abolish Congress and declare a revolutionary government if he is elected president, an apparent ploy to ward off supporters who are egging him to run for president

When it did not work, he threatened to shoot those who are pushing for his candidacy as president.  Many instead answered the call by volunteering to line up in front of Davao City Hall and face the firing squad.  They even printed T-shirts and accepted the Duterte challenge in their Facebook accounts.


Man of the masses

It is either you love or hate Duterte.  In politics, that should be a good indicator of your political stock.

He has been called many names.  Dirty Harry is one of the more popular or unpopular, depending which side of the political fence you are.

He is not very eloquent in Tagalog but he is an excellent English speaker.  He is probably one of the quotable mayors in the country today with his colorful language and oftentimes acerbic wit. (He once called staunch political rival former House Speaker Prospero Nograles as Roderick Paulate for the two’s uncanny facial skin texture similarities)

His classmate, former Agriculture Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez, said Duterte was an excellent debater – one quality that has been glossed over by his reputations as a pistol-packing, motorcycle-riding, lady-killer and taxi-driving city mayor.

Whatever it is, Duterte is well-loved in Davao City.

He speaks their language because he used to hang around with neighborhood toughies – the likes of the late Rene Galope and Big Boy Caingles – while still a teenager.  He knows them and their network which he used to his advantage later on as mayor, going tough against crime and criminality in the city.

He is comfortable with both the military and the rebels and probably is the only city mayor who flaunts his visits in communist rebel camps.

He is going after illegal drugs in a no-nonsense manner and is the scourge of big time smuggling syndicates.

He made Davao City residents abide by his rule – no firecrackers even during Christmas and New Year, no smoking, no over speeding, no liquor sale beyond midnight.

You think Davao City is dour?

Think again.  It is one of Asia’s most livable cities.  It has one of the lowest crimes indexes among highly urbanized cities in the Philippines.  Practically every tourist that comes to Davao says he or she is safe there than anywhere else in the Philippines.

Davao City has the most honest cab drivers who will give the last centavo of change for your taxi fare.  And they don’t drive you around to rip you off.

For all his tough-guy image, Duterte has a soft spot for children.  He has been donating huge sums of personal money for cancer-stricken children.  And he almost shed tears in front of the cameras and reporters after his heart rending visit to Tacloban where he saw the agony and stench of death following the horrible tragedy of Typhoon Yolanda.


Feared reputation

While many would jump at the slight opportunity of becoming the president of the country, Duterte cringes at the thought of it.

He says he is too old for it.  He looks at himself as very parochial and is contented to being mayor of the city where his father migrated after running afoul with the powerful Durano clan in Cebu.

He is not used to getting dictated upon by powerful sectors in the society.  And he knows he might not be able to resist going after powerful lobby interests in the country once he gets to Malacañang.

Of which he already made a handful of them.

Like Human Rights Commissioner Etta Rosales and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who see Duterte’s brand of street justice repulsive.  Duterte, after all, is known to implicitly support the dreaded death squad in the city who are going after thugs and drug pushers.

But his overall brand of leadership has so far earned him the healthy respect of Malacañang.  Not a single president has gone after him despite his reputation of pumping bullets against criminals – in his own hands.

By mistake and miscommunication, he once fired his Uzi assault pistol on a hapless NBI agent who posed as driver of a vehicle that delivered the ransom money for the release of a kidnap victim.

He reportedly pushed a drug pusher out of a flying helicopter and punched an army soldier for wife-abuse.  Poor army man, he lost two front teeth.

When he appeared at the Senate probe on rice smuggling, the senators were awed and almost star struck even after he threatened to shoot dead the man accused of heading the syndicate who was seated across him if he catches the guy in Davao City.

All these add up to the growing legend of Duterte, Davao’s real-life Dirty Harry.


Wild card

Will the people embrace a Duterte presidency?

There is no doubt residents of Davao and Region 11 will be the first to welcome and cheer his march to Malacañang should he decide to run and win the presidency in 2016.  Include in that a sizable portion of the Cebuano-speaking voters in the country of which there are plenty.

But will the powerful interests, like the military, the business sector and the landed elite, allow a Duterte presidency given his open dalliance with the Left – both above and underground?

Consider this loaded statement: “I am willing to go to prison for the farmers”

Will the country, for the first time, vote a Mindanaoan into the Office of the President?

Apart from the informal ANC survey and former Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol’s Facebook survey, Duterte has not yet been considered a presidential timber by established pollsters Pulse Asia, Social Weather Station and IBON.

But the political horizon could change overnight.  Of all the post-EDSA presidential candidates who led in polls and surveys a year heading into an elections, only Joseph Estrada was able to maintain that tight grip and proceeded to win the elections.

Miriam Santiago, Raul Roco and Manny Villar were survey leaders early on only to lose to Fidel Ramos, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Bengino Aquino respectively in that order.

At present, Jejomar Binay still leads as the likely candidate to win in the 2016 presidential elections.  But he is slowly slipping after alleged corruption issues against him surfaced this year.

Presumptive administration candidate Mar Roxas is stuck with his bad image problem while senators Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero are considered too young and still lightweights against Binay.  Miriam is seriously considering herself a candidate but time may not be on her side anymore.

Will, as Duterte observes, the protest vote gather enough momentum to vote him as a wild card candidate?  And will he obliged?  Piñol reported that Duterte has a recent change of heart.  From one almost violently resisting attempts to filed him as presidential candidate to one willing to listen to what others are thinking.

Duterte knows how to feel the pulse of the people.  And if the protest sentiment against a Binay or Roxas presidency snowballs, he may yet give it a shot.

Right now he is a long shot.  But the kind of protest vote may be what exactly this country needs.  This is not the protest in the mold of the Left or the impetuousness of the Right.  This is a kind of protest that could find a space in the hearts and mind of a fed up voting populace.

The wild card could become a trump card.

Sarangani pushes Pacquiao bill creating a new town

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The Sarangani provincial board has endorsed the immediate passage of a proposed bill at the House of Representatives that seeks the creation of another municipality in the province.

In a resolution, the board expressed its full support to House Bill (HB) 5090 authored by Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao that pushes for the conversion of Barangay Malandag in Malungon, Sarangani into a municipality.

Pacquiao has filed a bill created a new town for Sarangani province.Photo by Edwin Espejo
Pacquiao has filed a bill creating a new town for Sarangani province.Photo by Edwin Espejo

Board member Cyril Yap, chair of the board’s local enactment committee, said they passed the resolution in response to the strong endorsement to the move issued by the provincial government of Sarangani headed by Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon.

He said they also considered the resolutions manifesting full support to the move submitted by the 12 barangay councils of Malungon that were proposed to become the component barangays of the new municipality.

These are Barangays Malandag proper Datal Batong, Datal Bila, B’laan, Alkikan, Kibala, Malabod, Kiblat, Datal Tampal, Atlae, Banahaw and Nagpan.

Rep. Pacquiao formally filed HB 5090 or “An Act Creating the Municipality of Malandag in the Province of Sarangani” last October 13. It was referred to the House committee on local government on October 22.

The proposed measure took off from a bill filed in the 12th Congress by then Sarangani Rep. Erwin Chiongbian.

The 12 barangays that will compose the proposed new municipality, which would be the eighth for Sarangani, are all part of the land-locked Malungon town.

The province’s six other component towns — Alabel, Glan, Malapatan, Kiamba, Maasim and Maitum — are located in the coasts of Sarangani Bay.

Malungon is composed of 31 barangays and has a total population of 95,044 based on the 2010 census.

Pacquiao noted based on the number of its inhabitants, Malungon is considered as one of the most populous municipalities in the country.

He said the town is one of the biggest in Region 12 in terms of land area that is measured at 750.92 square kilometers.

“The people of the 12 barangays have been clamoring for the creation (of their area) into a separate municipality to develop and improve their economic and social condition,” he said.

He said the barangays comprising the proposed town have passed the requirements in terms of population, land area and income as provided for in Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Act of 1991.

As a separate municipality, Pacquiao said its expected shares in the Internal Revenue Allotment as well as in local and real property taxes will allow it to effectively and efficiently deliver various basic services.

“It will also enable the 12 barangays to chart their own development plans and programs to promote public health, safety and general welfare,” he said.

Aside from the provincial board, the measure was endorsed earlier by the province’s seven municipal mayors.

In a resolution, they specifically called on the House of Representatives to fast track passage of the bill.

The Sarangani congressional district office had created a task force and a technical working group that will monitor the progress of the measure and lead the gathering of the required documents that will support its passage.(AE)


Pacquiao Watch: Will Manny pay tribute?

Two significant events will happen on November 23.

It will be D-day for 8-division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao as he tries to re-stock himself for a possible clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr in his last few remaining fights.

Pacquiao returns to the scene where he picked up the pieces after his shock defeat to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez.

Fighting in Macau for the second time in as many years, Pacquiao will be a heavy favorite against the New Yorker with Argentinian roots Chis Algieri.

Pacquiao (in orange running shoes) does the roadwork to build up stamina.  Image taken during training for his Rios fight.Pic by Edwin Espejo
Pacquiao (in orange running shoes) does the roadwork to build up stamina. Image taken during training for his Rios fight.Pic by Edwin Espejo

As in the past, all media attention will again be focused on him.  Pacquiao, over the last decade, has become a great equalizer when in comes to television viewing – at least for those who cannot afford to pay live cable TV feed. Regardless, he becomes a unifying figure when he fights for his own glory – and country.

One only wishes coverage over his fight will not drown the one inglorious crime in all history of journalism in the world.

On the same day five years ago and practically the same hour he fights Algieri in Macau, some 32 members of the local media here in Region 12 and 26 others were wailing, crying and begging for their lives.

Their cries were forever muted – silenced – with a prolonged staccato of automatic fire.

At least 14 of those journalists had covered Pacquiao.

They were victims of the Ampatuans whose patriarch, Andal Ampatuan Sr, Pacquiao used to play ‘mahjong’ with when the Filipino boxing icon was still a confessed high roller.

That blood-soaked date in Philippine history – November 23 – came days after Pacquiao recorded his last knockout victory against Miguel Cotto.

Pacquiao paid visit to the wake of the General Santos City-based journalists and media workers who lost their lives and console with their families when he returned triumphantly.  He also handed out cash assistance even if some of the victims were sympathetic to the other camp in local politics.  By that time, Pacquiao had already filed his certificate of candidacy.  He was then running for a seat in the Philippine House of Representative.

A lot has changed since then.  Pacquiao is now a congressman, albeit almost part time only.  He is well on his way to further political heights and could one day become senator.

But there are things that have not changed.

Among them, justice continues to elude the victims of the Ampatuan massacre.

On the day the whole nation watches him as journalist pay homage to their departed colleagues, will Pacquiao pay the victims of his former ally and friend tribute and dedicate his fight for them?

Pacquiao has confessed he is a changed man. Will that extend to the way he dedicates his fight?

After all, the media and the press have also greatly created the image he is now cultivating for himself.

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.