Monday, March 23, 2015

MALAYA Column: Stupid

Subject: MALAYA Column


By REY O. ARCILLA  on  MARCH 24, 2015

(After the Senate committee and the BOI reports came out, Goldberg and Del Rosario still insist there was no US involvement in Operation Exodus.  Geeezzz!)
Senator Grace Poe who presided over the Senate hearings on the Mamasapano Massacre said she found it very difficult and felt awkward to say that President Noynoy Aquino was ultimately responsible for the incident because he is her friend. 
I do not think she should lose sleep over it though.  It was the right conclusion.  Besides, nineteen of her Senate colleagues agree with her.
However, I was taken aback a little when she said she still highly respects Noynoy.  After all the lies to try and extricate himself from ultimate responsibility?  Now, that’s taking respect a little too far, I think.
I hope she is not merely trying to be “political”.  No need!  I believe she is on the right track and she should stay the course.  People will have faith in her even more.
Kudos to Director Benjamin Magalong and his team of the PNP Board of Inquiry for standing by the conclusions in their report on the Mamasapano Massacre.
"Again uulitin ko, we stand by our word.  Di namin pinapalitan yung conclusions namin, yung findings namin dun sa aming BOI report. At yung meeting kay Presidente, it does not affect yung aming report sa investigation on Mamasapano," Magalong said.
All right, Sir!
It was stupid of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg to say that “we weren’t involved in the planning, we weren’t involved in the execution” of Operation Exodus that led to the Mamasapano Massacre after the Senate and the PNP Board of Inquiry came out with their findings.
But “stupid” does not even come close to describing Super Amboy aka Giant Smiley DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario.  “Moronic”, maybe?
Del Rosario reportedly said, after the Senate and BOI reports came out, that he was standing by his statement that Operation Exodus was “100 percent” Philippine operation. 
Both the Senate and BOI reports confirmed US involvement, based on eyewitness testimonies.  How can he even say what he said?  Whose side is he on, anyway?
For instance, was he calling AFP Chief Gen. Gregorio Catapang who confirmed the involvement of Americans in Mamasapano a liar?
Catapang said that one of the Americans involved in the operation even asked Army 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen Edmundo Pangilinan to provide artillery support to the SAF commandos.
Pangilinan reportedly rejected the request due to the absence of the needed grid coordinates.
Whether the six Americans who were in the Shariff Aguak SAF tactical command post or those who took part in the evacuation of wounded SAF troopers were “private contractors”, as Del Rosario claims, is not relevant at all.  They are still in the payroll of and are working with the US military.
Del Rosario also allegedly said there were no US drones used in monitoring Operation Exodus. How did he know that?  Was he there?  Or the Americans merely told him so?
One final question:  “Is Del Rosario doubling as the US Embassy deputy spokesman? If so, he should quit as DFA head and hold office in the basement of the US Embassy fortress on Roxas Boulevard.
Amidst all the calls from different quarters for him to apologize to his bosses for the Mamasapano Massacre, Malacanang’s glib chief spokesman pleaded for more time for Noynoy to think about it.
I daresay it is too late, very late, for an apology now.  Given his very low
emotional quotient, Noynoy will not be able to exude or project the necessary emotion to make a sincere apology.  It will only make him sink deeper in the quagmire he is already in. 
The spokesman also said that Noynoy fears nothing.  Hmm… except telling the truth?
Tumahimik na lang siya and endure all the brickbats thrown his way because of the Mamasapano tragedy and instead concentrate on what I said about a month ago:
“The call for the resignation or impeachment of Noynoy from several quarters is really not absurd.  Nearly five years of Noynoy’s inept governance have left them bewildered and frustrated.  One can readily understand their feeling.
“There was great hope in the beginning, especially when Noynoy professed his “daang matuwid” slogan.  Admittedly, he has made some good stride in that direction.  Unfortunately, he fell short when it came to dealing with the inept and corrupt people in his cabinet, other government agencies and some of his KKKKKKKs.
“If he is serious about trying to regain the trust and confidence of his bosses he should forthwith get rid of these NPAs (Non-Performing Assets) and let their deputies take over while he is looking for the right replacements.  He should waste no time doing this to show his bosses he is decisive and means business this time.  He can no longer afford to procrastinate in this matter.  He has only 15 months left in his term to try and redeem himself with a modicum of credibility.
“Too, he can no longer afford to have another major mishap from now.
Take the MRT mess, for instance.  Heaven forbid, but should another accident take place that claims many lives, his goose is cooked.  With or without an exit plan, he will surely have to exit just the same. How?  Nobody knows. But exit he will.
“The looming power shortage is also like a dark cloud hovering over his head.  Should it come to pass, it will consign him to the dustbin of our history as the King of Darkness, just as the beloved Cory was dubbed the Queen of Darkness, ironically during the homestretch of her watch as well.  Already, extended brownouts are occurring in some parts of the land and summer is not even in full swing yet.”
US senators have finally taken notice of China’s land reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea and said “a formal US strategy was needed to slow or stop the work”. 
They also said that with a comprehensive strategy, “long-standing interests of the United States, as well as our allies and partners, stand at considerable risk”.
Such comprehensive strategy should include doing what the Chinese are doing – reclamation in areas that belong to the Philippines by virtue of international law in the West Philippine Sea.
Months ago, I suggested that instead of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which would grant the US “agreed locations” in the Philippine mainland for the increased “rotational presence” of American troops and “pre-positioned” armaments that may conceivably include nuclear weapons in the country, they should just locate them in the said areas in the WPS. 
Such US presence in the WPS will certainly make the Chinese think what they may have in mind twice over.  That will also rid us of the built-in disadvantages embodied in the EDCA.

Malacanang’s denial that MILF chief Al Haj Ebrahim Murad and chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal do not hold Malaysian passports just doesn’t wash. 

The fact that the Bureau of Immigration (BI) says that the two have no travel records in its database is a dead giveaway.  Didn’t Murad meet with Noynoy in Tokyo some years back?  What about Iqbal’s frequent travels to Kuala Lumpur? 

If, as the BI says, they may have been using different names, isn’t that punishable by law? 

And why didn’t Malacanang refer the question to the DFA which is the agency that issues passports?  

Hay naku, pati ba naman ‘yan, itinatago pa sa taong-bayan?

My take:  The two have Malaysian passports, courtesy of Kuala Lumpur, to facilitate their travels, clandestine or otherwise, to countries outside of ASEAN, particularly to Middle East countries.  Sad to say, but it is not easy for Philippine passport holders to get visas for travel to most countries.

Isn’t there a law that requires government officials to divest themselves of their business interests that could be regarded as “conflict of interest” while performing their duties. 
If there is, then why has our ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia apparently not done so?
Following are excerpts from an article written by Mr. Victor Agustin of the Philippine Star last 16 March 2015.  His revelation raises the questions 1) how much time does Cuisia spend coming home to attend to his business interests?; and 2) does he apply for leave of absence whenever he leaves his post?:  
“Our ambassador to the United States has done another fine job juggling his diplomatic commitments in Washington and corporate obligations in Makati.

“Despite the trans-Pacific distance, Jose Cuisia Jr., now pushing 72, attended seven out of seven board meetings of Manila Water last year.

“That is a perfect record that even eclipsed that of the Manila Water chairman, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, and his elder brother Jaime Augusto, who both missed one meeting each.

“For his efforts, Cuisia picked up P2.3 million in director's fees last year to augment the piddling pay checks that Juan de la Cruz wires him every 15th and end of the month.

“In addition to Manila Water, the retired central bank governor happens to also be a director of SM Prime Holdings, where Cuisia is actually the vice chairman, and of another listed company, the industrial-services conglomerate Phinma.

“According to SM Prime, Cuisia last year attended six out of the six board meetings, matching his wheelchair-bound chairman, retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr.

“As well, Cuisia diligently attended all five meetings of the audit and risk committee, which he chairs, and all two of the nomination committee.

“In addition to the three public companies, Cuisia also juggles directorial duties in six private companies, including the chairmanship of local Chevrolet dealer The Covenant Car and the vice-chairmanship of Philam Life.

“His excellency should be back in the Philippines by the Holy Week, a timely escape from the bitter winter in the US capital, to make it to the Manila Water shareholders' meeting on April 7.

“The week could stretch by another, since SM Prime and Phinma are scheduled to hold their respective annual shareholders' meetings both on April 14.

“Given the delicate condition that the SM taipan now finds himself in, Cuisia will have to be at SM Aura in The Fort (the Sys actually refer to their high-end mall as being located in Taguig, and outside the jurisdiction of the Ayala-dominated Fort Bonifacio Development Corp.) to preside over the SM Prime meeting.

“Hopefully, the affair, which starts at 2:30 pm, would be short and sweet, as the ambassador will have to hop into his limousine to join his high school buddy and now technically his boss, Ramon del Rosario Jr., over at Rockwell for the Phinma meeting at 4 pm.”
The Reminders (for Noynoy) portion of this column will be published next week.
From an internet friend:
A blonde canvassed a wealthy neighborhood looking for odd jobs. She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had anything for her to do.
"Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?"
She replied, "How about $50?"
The man agreed and told her the paint was in the garage. A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.
"You're finished already?" he asked.

"Yes," the blonde answered, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats." Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50.

"And by the way," the blonde added, "that's not a Porsche; it's a Ferrari."

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