Category: Political Leaders

For the People, By the People

Tick tock! Tick tock! Tick tock!

As our esteemed Perry Diaz of GlobalBalita.Com said below, the Philippine presidential (& vice presidential) election is now less than a year from happening.  And yet voters are still none the wiser who would be running and who should be elected for the highest positions in the land.

No one really has shown exemplary apptitude and total dedication in serving the country and its people with intelligence and savvy during the course of P-Noy’s term(s).  We were only made aware of this situation during typhoon Haiyan’s onslaught of Cebu & Tacloban.  It was globally reported the ineffectual governmental handling of the search and rescue. It was at this time that the word ‘disaster’ really lived up to its true and full meaning!

The politicking is self-serving, lucklustre, downright ineffectual due to lack of experience or corrupt.

The machination that goes on behind the scene also adds to the confusion of the masses and to the politicians themselves.  The unfortunate result of this confusion will bring out the worst in everyone!

To the voters and electors:  YOU GET THE GOVERNMENT YOU DESERVE!

Stigma of corruption

PerryScope
By Perry Diaz

Jojo-Binay-worried-faceWith less than a year to the 2016 presidential elections, the presidential musical chairs game has started in earnest. And there are several games going all at once by groups called political parties or “coalitions.”

To start with, these political parties are not ideological parties like what you’d see in the United States and other countries. The Philippines’ political parties are just vehicles — like the country’s unique colorful jeepneys — where politicians can take a ride hoping that it would bring them to their destinations. However, if the jeepney they’re riding in is too slow or is caught in a traffic jam, they can always transfer to another jeepney.

Having said that, let’s take a look at what’s going on with the various presidential musical chairs games. Of course the biggest game is in President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III’s Liberal Party (LP). There are many ambitious participants but only one will be anointed. What would happen to those who would be eliminated? In Philippine politics, there are no gracious losers, only sore losers.

Right now, the LP has only Mar Roxas vying for the party’s presidential nomination, the process of which is for P-Noy to “anoint” who the nominee will be. But Roxas, whom P-Noy had appointed as Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to give him more “public exposure,” lacks the popular support for a presidential run. Recent surveys show him running behind three or four other potential contenders. With an anemic showing that doesn’t seem to improve his chances of winning, P-Noy was hesitant to throw his support behind Roxas, who had given way to P-Noy in the 2010 presidential election and settled to be P-Noy’s running mate.

P-Noy’s dilemma

Grace-Poe-and-Roxas-EscuderoHowever, Roxas lost the vice presidency to Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, who, in the final weeks of the 2010 elections, overtook Roxas in the vice presidential derby. As it turned out, a hitherto secret organization known as “Noy-Bi” was credited for Binay’s surge in the campaign. It’s interesting to note that “Noy-Bi” was not a LP-sanctioned campaign organization. However, it was organized by relatives, friends, and allies who believed that Binay was a true Aquino supporter whose link to the Aquino family goes back to the People Power days of the late president Cory Aquino.

What the LP sanctioned was the “Noy-Mar” campaign committee, which consisted mainly of LP old hands and stalwarts. And this was supposedly the organization that pushed hard to get Roxas elected. But the resources the Noy-Bi had were far too much than what the Noy-Mar organization had. With a campaign chest brimming with contributions from the Aquino and Cojuangco families and their rich allies, Roxas lost to Binay.

In the upcoming 2016 elections, we’d probably see Binay pitted against Roxas again, but this time their contest would move up to the presidential level. However, that would only happen if P-Noy would stick to his promise to support Roxas’ presidential run in 2016. But the problem is Roxas has a ghost of a chance of beating Binay.

Game changer

SWS-survey-June -2015The sudden rise of neophyte Sen. Grace Poe in recent SWS and Pulse of Asia surveys was a game changer. No longer is Binay seen as the unbeatable presidential candidate, the surge in Poe’s polls numbers has toppled Binay from his lofty pedestal, which he had distinctly occupied ever since he won the vice-presidency in 2010.

Seeing Poe’s presidential potential, P-Noy invited her and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero to Malacanang to talk about a “united ticket” that would include Roxas since Grace and Chiz aren’t LP members but Independents. But their bond was so tight that Grace has made it known that if she decided to run for president next year, she’d want Chiz to be her running mate. Chiz said that he’d support Grace in any decision she makes.

What P-Noy has in mind is to have Roxas team up with either Grace or Chiz as his running mate, which means that one of them would be sacrificed for the good of the LP coalition. The problem with this arrangement is what would be the role of the person who is sacrificed? But before we answer that question, we should first ask if Grace or Chiz were willing to run for vice president under an LP “united ticket”?

Although Grace hadn’t decided yet whether she’s going to run for president or not, she had taken herself out of the vice-presidential race next year, saying that if she’s going to run for a higher office, it might as well be the presidency.

In the case of Chiz, who has been high on the surveys for vice president, it’s not known if he was willing to be somebody’s running mate other than Grace. Needless to say, he has to make his decision whether to run for president, which is unlikely, or vice president. He could run as Binay’s running mate since the two have good relationship in the past. In 2010, Chiz was one of the leaders of the “Noy-Bi” group, a fact that could dampen any attempt to pair him up as Roxas’ running mate.

Binay-nooseIf Chiz accepts an offer to team up with Binay, they might have the right chemistry to run a good campaign. With Binay having all money to spend in the campaign and Chiz tapping the Filipino taipans’bottomless money pits, they could be a formidable team. However, with Binay’s corruption and plunder cases hanging over his head and the strong resentment against China right now, a Binay-Chiz tandem might not be the way to go. But Chiz has the flexibility to team up with anybody because he, like Grace, is an Independent. In the case of Binay, nobody is willing to run as his running mate. Has the stigma of corruption finally found its mark on Binay?

(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)

Hillary Clinton, First Lady to be President?!!!

“Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights”
– Hilary Clinton

Hilary Clinton- Former First Lady, Secretary of State & maybe future President of US

Hillary Clinton- Former First Lady, Secretary of State & maybe future President of US

Hillary Clinton: original oil painting on canvas by Ri Dong Ou (2008)

The above painting is beautiful and so life-like.

Hillary Clinton, First Lady to be President?!!!

 

SONA 2014 – State of the Nation: Fashion & Passion

A fashionable woman is always in love—with herself.
– La Rochefoucauld
.

A televised State of the Nation Address by the President of the Philippines is held annually.  SONA is used by the President to address the many concerns of the people as well as a way for the PNoy to make promises which are meant to be broken, time and again.  SONA is politicking to the max!

SONA 2014 – State of the Nation: Fashion & Passion

SONA 2014 is currently being held in Manila, Philippines. The politicians are prancing like peacocks. However their otherhaves are far from looking like drab peahens. The ladies are in their elements dressed in rainbows of colours. SONA, is the time to make a fashion statement, the red carpet of ther Batasan is trod on by designer clads ladies, who have more money than good taste!!! 😉

SONA 2014 Dress Parade – The Fashion

 

 

 

The Rise and Rise of UKIP

UKIP Logo

UKIP Logo

UKIP Joins Labour, Conservative and Lib-Dem as Major Political Parties

The surge in the UKIP vote is people expressing “a sense of anger” about issues such as immigration, Education Secretary Michael Gove tells the BBC. The vote “sends a clear direction to government” to address the concerns of some of the electorate, he adds.

…………

This is obviously true!  But what would the Conservative Party going to do about it?

The people have spoken, Mr Cameron!  What are you going to do about it?

In April 2006 David Cameron, during a phone-in on London’s LBC radio station, described UKIP members as being “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly.

How the tides have changed.  Gone are the days when Cameron can just cast aside and deride UKIP members as fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly.  There are just too many of them now and seemed to have infected mostly the Tory constituents. LOL

Again, what are you going to do about it, Mr Cameron?!!!

Despite the bad press UKIP received left, right and centre weeks before the election, held yesterday, UKIP continue to gather supports.  This is obviously more of anger votes and votes of no confidence against the Conservative Party who renage of their General Election promises about control of immigration and the likes.

Will Ed Milliband be moving to No 10 next year?  I don’t think so!  He does look sincere but he doesn’t have that prime-ministerial look about him.  He looks like a school boy, still half-baked.  If Labour change its leader to the other Miliband brother, David, or to that up-and-coming Chuka Umunna, current shadow business secretary then, who knows?!!!

If could even be  Nigel Farage for No 10, if he plays his cards right!!! 🙂  However in the General Election, the voters will be more discerning.  UKIP provides a platform for protest votes.

The onus is now on David Cameron’s shoulders to ensure that the Conservative Party remain in power without the hindrance of Lib-Dem in the general election for next year.  What will Big Dave do?!!!  SamCam, Dave’s major asset, cannot do it all.

It could be another Hung Parliament and it may even be Tory and UKIP who will be arse kissing the next time round.  LOL

Perestroika A la Putin

Vladimir Putin: The rebuilding of ‘Soviet’ Russia

Putin 2005

The world was stunned when Russia invaded Crimea, but should it have been? Author and journalist Oliver Bullough says President Vladimir Putin never kept secret his intention to restore Russian power – what’s less clear, he says, is how long the country’s rise can continue.

On 16 August 1999, the members of Russia’s parliament – the State Duma – met to approve the candidacy of a prime minister. They heard the candidate’s speech, they asked him a few questions, and they dutifully confirmed him in the position.

This was President Boris Yeltsin’s fifth premier in 16 months, and one confused party leader got the name wrong. He said he would support the candidacy of Stepashin – the surname of the recently sacked prime minister – rather than that of his little-known successor, before making an embarrassing correction.

If even leading Duma deputies couldn’t remember the new prime minister’s name, you couldn’t blame the rest of the world if it didn’t pay much attention to his speech. He was unlikely to head the Russian government for more than a couple of months anyway, so why bother?

That man was a former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, and he has been in charge of the world’s largest country, as president or prime minister, ever since. Few realised it at the time, because few were listening, but that speech provided a blueprint for pretty much everything he has done, for how he would re-shape a country that was perilously close to total collapse.

Putin 1999The little-known Putin became prime minister

Just 364 days previously, Russia had defaulted on its debt. Salaries for public sector workers and pensions were being paid months late, if at all. Basic infrastructure was collapsing. The country’s most prized assets belonged to a handful of well-connected “oligarchs”, who ran the country like a private fiefdom.

The once-mighty Russian army had lost a war in Chechnya, a place with fewer inhabitants than Russia had soldiers. Three former Warsaw Pact allies had joined Nato, bringing the Western alliance up to Russia’s borders.

Meanwhile, the country was led by Yeltsin, an irascible drunkard in fragile health. The situation was desperate, but Putin had a plan.

“I cannot cover all the tasks facing the government in this speech. But I do know one thing for sure: not one of those tasks can be performed without imposing basic order and discipline in this country, without strengthening the vertical chain,” he told the assembled parliamentarians.

Born in Leningrad in 1952, Putin came of age in the Soviet Union’s golden years, the period after the USSR’s astonishing triumph in World War Two. Sputnik, the hydrogen bomb, Laika the dog and Yuri Gagarin all bore witness to Soviet ingenuity. The crushing of Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 bore witness to Soviet resolve. Soviet citizens were enjoying a time of peace and prosperity. Life was stable. People got paid. The world respected them. Everyone knew their place.

Extracts from Putin speech, August 1999

  • We need to put an end to revolutions. These are staged so that nobody can be rich. But at the moment the country needs reforms so that nobody can be poor. Although this task, unfortunately, is becoming harder by the day. There is no such thing as a thriving state with an impoverished population.
  • A most important instrument and a most important priority for the government is a secure food supply. We will provide serious assistance to the agrarian sector and in the final analysis to millions of peasants who have just one concern – to feed the country with quality Russian produce.
  • Russia’s territorial integrity is not subject to negotiation. Or, especially, to horse trading or blackmail. We will take tough action against anyone who infringes upon our territorial integrity, using all the legal means available to us.
  • Russia has been a great power for centuries, and remains so. It has always had and still has legitimate zones of interest abroad in both the former Soviet lands and elsewhere. We should not drop our guard in this respect, neither should we allow our opinion to be ignored.

Source: BBC Monitoring

When Putin spoke to the Duma, his homeland was a different, and less respected place. He spoke the language of a man who yearned for the lost certainties, who longed for a time when Moscow was to be reckoned with. He did not say it explicitly, but he was clearly stung by Russia’s failure to stop Nato driving the forces of its ally, Serbia, out of Kosovo just months previously.

“Russia has been a great power for centuries, and remains so. It has always had and still has legitimate zones of interest … We should not drop our guard in this respect, neither should we allow our opinion to be ignored,” he said.

His domestic policy was to restore stability, to end what he called the “revolutions”, that had brought Russia low. His foreign policy was to regain Russia’s place in world affairs.

Those two core aims have driven everything he has done since. If only people had been listening, none of his actions would have come as a surprise to them.

About the author

Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough is author of Let Our Fame Be Great, describing his journeys among the peoples of the Caucasus, and The Last Man in Russia, detailing the demographic decline of the Russian nation. He was a Reuters Moscow correspondent between 2002 and 2006 and is now Caucasus editor for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

Since then, he has seized every opportunity history has offered him, from the attacks of 11 September 2001 to the Ukrainian Revolution of 2013, in his bid to secure his aims. He has been tactically astute and ruthlessly opportunistic. At home and abroad, he wants Russia to regain the prestige it held when he was growing up.

The obvious place to start his campaign was in Chechnya, symbol of Russia’s collapse. The Chechens had defeated Yeltsin’s attempt to crush their self-declared independence, but it proved a bitter victory. The war devastated Chechnya’s people, economy and infrastructure. Chechnya became a sink of kidnapping, violence and crime, and – until Putin – no-one did anything about it.

Finally, for long-suffering patriotic Russians, here was a man not only able to pay their pensions, but prepared to get his hands dirty to defend their homeland. By the turn of the millennium, when Yeltsin stood down, and appointed Putin acting president in his place, the unknown prime minister’s public approval rating was above 70% a level it has barely dipped below ever since.

Putin's polling

Human rights groups and some Western governments accused Putin of breaking Russian and international law in his pursuit of his Chechen opponents. (The European Court of Human Rights has found against Russia in 232 “right to life” cases, effectively ruling that Russia repeatedly committed murder during its Chechen campaign.) But that has done nothing to dent Putin’s popularity.

In Chechnya, hundreds of soldiers and thousands of Chechens died. Hundreds of thousands of Chechens fled to claim asylum outside Russia, but Russia’s territorial integrity was secured, and Putin had begun his task of restoring Russian prestige.

Russian special police Grozny 2001Russian troops in Chechnya in 2001

After 11 September 2001, Putin recast his Chechen campaign as part of the global fight against terrorism, thus muting international criticism of his troops’ conduct. He became briefly close to President George W Bush – who even claimed to have glimpsed Putin’s soul – until the Iraq War drove them apart. In Iraq, Putin insisted that international law must be upheld – no invasion could be allowed without approval from the United Nations Security Council, and that approval was not forthcoming.

At home, he crushed the most powerful of the oligarchs, first those who controlled media assets, thus taming the lively television scene, and then in 2003 police arrested Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the richest man in the country. His oil company was dismembered and bought by a state oil company. He was jailed in a process so egregiously predetermined that Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience.

 Mikhail Khodorkovsky 2003

“I think it became absolutely clear when Khodorkovsky was arrested, that Putin was not going after the oligarchs to reassert the power of democratic civil society over these titans. He was doing it as part of building an authoritarian regime,” says Chrystia Freeland, the FT’s bureau chief in Moscow when Putin came to power, and now a Liberal member of the Canadian parliament. (She is also one of the 13 Canadians barred from entering Russia this week in response to Canada’s imposition of sanctions against Russian officials.)

Putin kept a tight grip on the parliamentary elections at the end of 2003, and his allies gained two-thirds of the Duma. He praised the poll as a step towards “strengthening democracy” – monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe called it “overwhelmingly distorted”.

In just four years, Putin had crushed Chechnya, reined in the free media and the oligarchs, gained a parliament that would do whatever he wanted, and shown that Russia had a strong voice in international affairs.

“He says what he thinks and does what he says – at least much more than probably any other contemporary politician or statesman. Western analysts and politicians always try to uncover some sort of false bottom in his statements, when there often isn’t one. That applies to many other Soviet leaders including Stalin – at least in the run-up to and during WW2,” says Dmitry Linnik, London bureau chief of the Voice of Russia radio.

“He is a nationalist – in the federal ‘Russian’, not ethnic ‘Russian’, sense of the word. That is his biggest driving force, I think – not hunger for power or personal ambition.”

May Day 2009
Putin restored some of the Soviet symbols, such as the five-pointed star

But Freeland disagrees.

“I think he has taken a series of decisions, quite rationally from his narrow personal point of view, that this kind of autocratic regime gives him the most personal power and personal wealth,” she says.

There was one thing missing to make the world of his childhood complete: an ideology.

Putin restored some Soviet symbols. He brought back the Soviet national anthem and Soviet emblems, and praised the Soviet triumph in World War Two. But he embraced pre-Soviet themes too. He befriended the Russian Orthodox Church, and name-checked anti-Soviet philosophers like Ivan Ilyin, whose remains he had repatriated to Russia and buried with honour.

This trend towards a uniquely Russian form of conservatism accelerated after the wave of protests against electoral fraud that struck Moscow in 2011-2, which alienated Putin from Russia’s liberals. Among his favourite ideologues is Vladimir Yakunin, an old friend, a fellow KGB graduate, an Orthodox believer and now head of Russian Railways, one of the country’s most strategically significant companies.

Putin 2013

  • Born Oct 1952 in Leningrad (now St Petersburg)
  • Studied law and economics before joining KGB
  • Served as KGB agent in East Germany 1985-90
  • Worked at mayor’s office, St Petersburg, 1990-96
  • Became PM in 1999, then elected president following year
  • Married (though divorcing/divorced), two daughters
  • Speaks German and English

“Russia is not between Europe and Asia. Europe and Asia are to the left and right of Russia. We are not a bridge between them but a separate civilisational space, where Russia unites the civilisational communities of East and West,” Yakunin said in a recent interview with Itar-Tass.

Last week, he was added to the US sanctions list for “membership of the Russian leadership’s inner circle”, following the annexation of Crimea.

The idea of Russia being separate from but equal to the West is convenient, since it allows the Kremlin to reject Western criticism of its elections, its court cases, its foreign policy, as biased and irrelevant.

Many of Putin’s friends, though dismissive of the West’s economics, politics, values and structures, are, however, much attached to its comforts. Both of Yakunin’s sons live in Western Europe – one in London, one in Switzerland – and his grandchildren are growing up there.

According to the anti-corruption campaigner, Alexei Navalny, Yakunin has built himself a palace outside Moscow using foreign limestone and building materials brought in from Germany – a strange step for a man supposedly wedded to creating a Russian economy independent of the West.

Putin too has espoused principles, then dropped them when they proved inconvenient. In Iraq in 2003, he made a stand in defence of international law, opposing any invasion without UN approval. In Georgia in 2008, he sent in the troops without even pretending to consult with the Security Council.

Last year, intervention in Syria was out of the question. This year, intervention in Ukraine is justified and unimpeachably legitimate. It may be that principles have never been the issue – and that Putin’s objective has always been to maximise Russian power, and to defy Western attempts to rein Russia in.

“We have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, conducted in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries, continues today. They are constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position,” said Putin in his speech last week announcing the annexation of Crimea, a speech that repeated all his points from 1999, but with 15 years worth of additional resentment.

“If you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard. You must always remember this.”


Extracts from Putin speech, March 2014

  • It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realised that it was not simply robbed, it was plundered.
  • Many years later, I heard residents of Crimea say that back in 1991 they were handed over like a sack of potatoes. This is hard to disagree with. And what about the Russian state? What about Russia? It humbly accepted the situation. This country was going through such hard times then that realistically it was incapable of protecting its interests.
  • There was not a single armed confrontation in Crimea and no casualties. Why do you think this was so? The answer is simple: because it is very difficult, practically impossible to fight against the will of the people.
  • Our Western partners, led by the United States of America, prefer not to be guided by international law in their practical policies, but by the rule of the gun. They have come to believe in their exclusivity and exceptionalism, that they can decide the destinies of the world, that only they can ever be right.


It is not easy re-shaping a country on your own, and Putin has needed the assistance of one key group within Russian society. While he has cracked down on independent journalists, businessmen and politicians, he has relied on state officials to make sure his ideas are implemented.

They have been well rewarded for their help. Wages for top officials increased last year by 20%, four times the increase in the general budget. Putin’s spending binge means that, for the budget to balance, Brent crude must now average around $117 a barrel, more than five times the level needed in 2006, according to analysis from Deutsche Bank.

Even that is not enough for top officials. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokontsev said last week that, in 2013, the average bribe in Russia had doubled to $4,000. Last year, Transparency International gave Russia 127th place on its Corruption Perception Index, rating it as corrupt as Pakistan, Mali and Madagascar.

“Putin has really painted himself into a corner by destroying every independent source of power in Russia. He now has only the bureaucracy to rely on, and must keep increasing its funding to keep ensuring its loyalty,” says Ben Judah, the British author of Fragile Empire, a study of Putin’s Russia.

“Eventually, the money is going to run out, and then he will find himself in the same position Soviet leaders were in by the late 1980s, forced to confront political and economic crises, while trying to hold the country together. He looks strong now, but his Kremlin is built on the one thing in Russia doesn’t control: the price of oil.”

Putin has succeeded in building a version of the country of his childhood, one that can act independently in the world, and one where dissent is controlled and the Kremlin’s power unchallenged. But that is a double-edged sword, because the Soviet Union collapsed for a reason, and a Russia recreated in its image risks sharing its fate.

According to Vladimir Bukovsky, a dissident who spent a decade in Soviet prisons before his exile to the West in 1976, Putin is totally genuine when he says the disintegration of the Soviet Union was a “geopolitical catastrophe”.

Putin in church 2013
Russia's President Vladimir Putin
Putin with the head of the Russian army’s main department of combat preparation in early March

“He does not understand that the collapse of the Soviet system was predetermined, therefore he believes his mission is to restore the Soviet system as soon as possible,” he says.

As a middle-ranking KGB officer who loved the Soviet Union, Putin lacked the perspective of senior officers, who knew full well the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its own inefficiency rather than because of Western plotting, Bukovsky says.

“It leads him exactly to… repeat the same mistakes. He wants this whole country to be controlled by one person from the Kremlin, which will lead to disaster,” he says.

Putin’s decision to invade Crimea was taken quickly and impulsively, by a small group of his favoured top officials. That means Putin has no one to warn him of the long-term consequences of his actions, and until he finds out for himself, he will maintain his course. That means relations with the West will remain uncomfortable, especially in areas he considers to be his “zone of legitimate interests”.

But we can’t say we weren’t warned.

Oliver Bullough is Caucasus editor at the Institute of War and Peace Reporting. His most recent book is The Last Man in Russia, detailing the demographic decline of the Russian nation.

Follow @BBCNewsMagazine on Twitter and on Facebook

One Way Binay!

It appears Vice President  Binay may want a way out, with the Pork Barrel,PDAF,  Napoles scandals and typhoon Yolanda aid distribution fiasco touching and staining  the Filipino government hard, maybe he wants to take an extended trip.

😉
As reported below he had only a one-way ticket to South Africa to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela!?
Hmmm, maybe wishful thinking for many fed up Filipinos too, hoping indeed it would be permanently one way 😉
Also allowing for his wife to attend, why are all the others also attending?
We wonder why Binay is going early – nearly a week before the funeral?
Chance for a short vacation/holiday too?
Most leaders wont attend until the day before at least?
What with all the attendants and ‘bag/luggage carriers’ going too, what is the total cost to the Filipino people?

 ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 12/09/2013 10:37 PM | Updated as of 12/09/2013 11:08 PM

Vice-President Jejomar Binay prior his departure to South Africa to attend the wake of the late former President Nelson Mandela. Photo by Raoul Esperas for ABS-CBNNews.com

MANILA (UPDATED) – Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Monday departed for South Africa to attend the wake and burial of former President and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.

Binay is President Benigno Aquino’s official representative at the state burial of Mandela, who died a few days ago.

Binay said the death of Mandela is a great loss for peace and democracy.

“President Mandela will always be remembered for his advocacy to democracy,” he said.

Binay boarded a commercial flight of Cathay Pacific Airlines, which initially refused to allow him to check in due to his failure to present a return ticket, which is a requirement for all passengers bound for another country.

Binay said because of the requirement, he instructed his staff to immediately purchase a return ticket for submission to the airline and immigration.

He was with his wife, former Makati Mayor Elenita Binay, Binan Mayor Len Alonte, Eduardo Lacson and Margarita Lacson. – report by Raoul Esperas

UK Aid £83 million (5835597532.00 pesos) Yolanda Typhoon Haiyan Aid and Funding Must Reach those at Ground Zero

`

Philippine Typhoon Yolande aftermath

Philippine Typhoon Yolande aftermath
Pork Barrel PDAF Fraud

Pork Barrel PDAF Fraud

As I am proud that UK  is offering a total of £83 million (5835597532.00 pesos) fund plus logistical Red Cross etc  aid, I and others are concerned that the Philippine Gov’t will receive the bulk of this cash. We know of the recent Govt corruption scandal there concerning senators, etc who siphoned off project funds to their family and friends.

This funding rarely reaches the poor and needy.   The scandal of Janet Napoles working as an ‘agent’ to corrupt Senators whereby creating fraudulent Non Government Organisations (NGOs), where these Senators diverted money meant for urgently needed local infrastructure  projects is still ongoing.  The trial is taking so long and starting to become a farce and probably will end up being swept under the carpet.

These senators involved have been named and hopefully shamed. Sadly other officials  we  do not know off, may still be involved as corruption  has tainted the top to the bottom of Philippine Government both local and national.  

With such diversion/fraud  of monies, we are seeing the results as better preparedness should have been in place.

To me, the Filipino people are stoic, resilient and resourceful & quietly get on with it, no matter what kind of ‘it’ is thrown at them. They deserve to have better government that despite the hype they generate, actually deliver and are transparent and honest.

Below is an interesting article from NBC, please read…

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/16/21477014-why-wasnt-the-philippines-better-prepared-for-the-typhoon-corruption-shoddy-buildings-to-blame

 

 

13th Month Bonus Against Death & Starvation

The President of the Philippines has really lost it.  He just authorised the early issuance of 13th month pay bonuses to government employees and officials when dead people remained strewn on the street of Leyte because of shortage of body bags.

Does the President spend any time thinking things through?  Is common decency beyond him?

Obviously the President has not heard of recession?  But then again, Philippines do not do recession as it has millions of cash cows breaking their backs abroad to be able to  send remittances to their families back home, thereby  propping the Philippine economy.

How can this President face the kind-hearted people from around the world who have bent over backwards to donate monies, relief goods and manpower assistance to what appeared to be a cash-strapped country  which has been through the mill?  Now they will learn that this country does not know where its priority lies?  In the midst of death and destruction, literally, the President is happily authorising a 10 per cent pay bonus!

No wonder it is very hard to find someone who has a kind word for PNOY’s integrity and intentions lately.  He is like a fish out of water!

In his interview with CNN, he said that he did not realise the magnitude of disaster in Tacloban and the islands in Leyte; therefore he took it upon himself to do almost nothing and leave protocol to the dispersed officials in Leyte.  Despite the BBC, CNN, GMA News, ABS CBN broadcasting news after news on the hour every hour of  the dead, the starving, the stranded  and the displaced people in Leyte from almost day one; the President remained clueless of what was going on, he said.  I am here in London and I knew as soon as it happened.  I have never heard of Atom Araullo before but his derring-do in reporting the ferocity of the typhoon made him a hit.  Does this mean PNoy missed all these?  How bizarre?  What planet is he on?

JPJhermes, Nagpapatrol

…………………………………….

P16.05-B bonus ng mga kawani ng gobyerno, iniutos ni PNoy na ibigay na

November 14, 2013 12:11am

Kasunod ng malawakang pinsala na iniwan ng bagyong “Yolanda” sa ilang lugar sa Visayas region, iniutos ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino III na maagang ibigay ang year-end bonus ng mga kawani ng pamahalaan na aabot sa P16.05 bilyon.Sa isang pahayag nitong Miyerkules, sinabi ni Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, na matatanggap ng 1,209,375 kawani ng gobyerno ang balanse ng kanilang 13th month pay at cash gift na nagkakahalaga ng P5,000.Nauna nang natanggap ng mga kawani ang kalahati ng kanilang 13th month pay noong nakaraang Mayo.

Ang bonus ay para sa mga civilian at uniformed personnel sa lahat ng kagawaran at ahensiya, pati na ang mga regular co-terminus employees sa pamahalaan.

“As early as today [Wednesday] after the President authorized it. The allotments have been with the agencies and all they needed is authorization from the President which was secured today,” tugon ni Abad nang tanungin kung kailangan maibibigay ang bonus.

Sinabi ng kalihim na karaniwang sa Disyembre ibinibigay ang nabanggit na bonus.

Sa maagang pagbibigay ng bonus, umaasa si Abad na makatutulong ito lalo na sa mga napinsala ng mga kalamidad.

“With billions in damage already in view – not to mention the irretrievable loss of life in Yolanda-stricken areas – the Aquino administration is tapping all its resources to mobilize relief operations in all affected areas and communities,” ayon sa opisyal.

“But we also need to account for how Yolanda’s survivors will fare in the aftermath, or how their friends and relatives can help in the wake of such a disaster. We hope to address that with the early release of year-end bonuses for all uniformed and civilian personnel in government,” dagdag niya.

Noong 2009, sinabi ni Abad na buwan ng Setyembre nang ibinigay ang year-end bonuses sa mga kawani ng gobyerno dahil naman sa pinsalang idinulot ng bagyong “Ondoy.”

“President Aquino recognizes that with little to no resources, government employees who were affected by the super typhoon will have a very difficult time getting back to their feet,” aniya.

“We recognize, as well, that millions of public servants whose respective cities were spared by Yolanda are only too keen on giving what they can and helping those who survived such a horrific calamity,” paliwanag pa ni Abad.

Maliban sa pinsala ni “Yolanda,” ilan pa sa matinding kalamidad na tumama sa bansa ay ang Zamboanga City seige noong Setyembre, pagtama ng bagyong “Santi” sa Central Luzon nitong Oktubre, at nasundan ng lindol sa Cebu at Bohol kung saan mahigit 200 katao ang nasawi.  —FRJ, GMA News

Who is the Mysterious ‘Ma’am Arlene’ of the Philippines’ Judiciary?

I have always known that the Philippines is a matriarchal state; the women rule. But even this new information is a shocking surprise, not in a good way!!!

I thought I was beyond surprise but obviously not.

It appears that we Filipinos, without our unified knowledge, have been breeding vituperous  female vultures in the very midst of our Government. Janet Lim-Napoles is not the only woman working as a vampiric vessel to bleed the Philippine national treasury. There is also a certain ‘Ma’am Arlene’, the madam of the Judiciary.  This woman(?)  makes things happen, a mover,a decision broker.   Like a bordello madam she procures not women, but precious votes on behalf of those who engage her services.  She was a very prominent “figure” during the election early this year.

At the moment Ma’am Arlene remains anonymous as there is a possibility that this Ma’am Arlene is not working alone, or indeed not even a person, but possibly the covert name of a  network of decision bodies. Arlene has the powerful senators in her/their deep pocket.

We hope that De Lima gets all the resources she needs to put an end to this situation that makes the justice system rotten to the core and a joke.

JPJhermes

…………………………………………………………….

NBI ready to probe judiciary’s ‘Ma’am Arlene’–De Lima

By Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer

1:52 am | Monday, October 14th, 2013

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Sunday said the National Bureau of Investigation was ready to help investigate reports of a certain “Ma’am Arlene,” said to be a “decision broker” in the judiciary—if asked to do so by the Supreme Court.

De Lima’s statement came as the Office of the Court Administrator under Midas Marquez launched an investigation into reports the recent election of officers of the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) was marred by vote buying instigated by a lobbyist known as “Ma’am Arlene.”

A lawyer, who is active in court but who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the matter, said that “Maam Arlene” was not working alone but was part of a “network of decision brokers” that included magistrates.

Reports have dubbed her the “Napoles of the judiciary,” referring to Janet Lim-Napoles who is the suspected mastermind of the P10-billion corruption scam involving legislative pork barrel funds.

“Ma’am Arlene” is rumored to be footing the bills for conferences and junkets abroad by members of the judiciary, among other favors.

In a text message to reporters, De Lima, who is on top of the ongoing investigation into the pork barrel scam, said she supported “in principle” any investigation into corruption in the judiciary.

She said that if the Supreme Court sought the help of the Department of Justice or the NBI in the investigation, “then we’ll gladly undertake yet another important assignment.”

“But at this point, I would not want to preempt any move or initiative that the leadership of the judiciary, a separate and coequal branch, would deem proper to undertake relative to those allegations of a ‘Napoles’ in the judiciary,’” De Lima said.

Last week, Marquez, who is leading the investigation of the reports, said he had asked three judges who vied for the leadership of the PJA to explain allegations of irregularities during the recently concluded elections.

Asked to comment were the three PJA presidential aspirants, Judge Ralph Lee of Quezon City (who won the presidency), Judge Rommel Baybay of Makati City and Judge Felix Reyes of Marikina City.

Marquez had also said his office was looking at three individuals named “Arlene” and would ask for their side of the story as well. He declined to name the individuals.

But the lawyer who spoke to the Inquirer said the network that “Ma’am Arlene” was part of was “responsible for why the justice system is not working.”

The lawyer described the network as a group of “decision brokers,” said to be in existence for two decades now, whose members “broker justice in exchange for a fee.”

5p Charge for Plastic Bags

This is just a way of penalising long suffering people.

If the Government need to charge for the bags, it is only fair that the money goes back into the pocket of the shoppers.  Reduce VAT on some items like gas, water, electric, telephone, clothes, shoes, food etc.

The Government should not always think of itself (listen, Nick Clegg).

Hello, life is really hard for the people.  5p, 10p, 20p, 30p here and there add up to sums we can’t really afford,  additional to everyday spending.

This might be a rather novel idea for you lot in Whitehall, but why not think and implement something that would actually put money in the pocket of your hard-working tax-payers.  That would be NOBLE. Go on try.

————————————————–

 

 

Supermarkets and other big stores in England are to introduce a 5p charge for plastic bags.

From Yahoo.com

The move is due to be announced this weekend by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.

It will bring England into line with the rest of the UK – with charges already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland, with Scotland set to follow suit in 2014.

Lib Dem sources said the charge, intended to discourage use of the environmentally damaging bags, would come into effect in England in 2015.

However, it is not yet clear whether it will be before the general election, set for May that year, or after.

Mr Clegg was said to have had to fought hard within the coalition for the scheme – which is Lib Dem party policy – at a time when ministers are under intense pressure over rising cost of living.

But with a 76% fall in plastic bag use in Wales since the levy was introduced there in 2011, the Lib Dem leader was said to believe that it was the right thing to do.

A Lib Dem source said the charge would be “centrepiece” at the conference this weekend.

“Nick Clegg had to fight pretty hard in government to deliver this when everything is about the cost of living,” they said.

“We believe that a small charge outweighs the environmental damage caused by plastic bags.”

The charge will only apply to supermarkets and other large stores, with small corner shops excluded.

The proceeds will go to charities involved in clearing up the environmental damage caused by the bags rather than the Government or the retaillers.