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20th November 2016
A Peek at Imelda Marcos' Wild Shopping Spree Splurges
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on November 20, 2016, 5:02 pm

(By Jacqueline Arias, Inquirer.net via preen | 20 Nov 2016)

A Peek at Imelda Marcos' Wild Shopping Spree Splurges If you still don’t believe that the Marcoses owe us a fortune, Imelda Marcos’ shopping list serves as a brief reminder.

Titled “5 Shopping Sprees So Wild, They Made History,” The Cut shows how extravagant the former first lady was.  The article first notes that Imelda “left her collection of 3,000 shoes when they fled the country in 1986.”

It also goes into detail of her wild sprees in New York where she spent $2 million in jewelry and buying a $3.5 million Michelangelo painting in Rome.  For some reason, she also spent $2,000 for chewing gum in San Francisco and asked a plane to make a U-turn back to Rome so she can buy cheese.  Seriously, did she really need all this stuff? Not to mention that she spent $10.3 million to renovate the entire town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte for the wedding of her daughter Imee.

And yes, if you’re going to do the math, the government would’ve built two major airports and can feed the hungry for generations with the ill-gotten wealth she embezzled from the Filipino people.

30th June 2016
The first battle had been won. Now, we go to war.
Posted by Jani Arnaiz, Chief Editor on June 30, 2016, 2:40 pm

By Chito Fuentes

For a while, it seemed like old times. The "Takbo" gang singing and Freddie Aguilar belting out his signature song before the big moment when the star of the show took the stage. And yes, the same goose bumps.
And then, reality sunk in. It was no longer "Takbo" but "Lupang Hinirang" before Freddie's turn came. And then the star walks in - no longer the candidate but now no less than the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines. Some dreams still do come true. 
It's only the beginning. It's by no means a pleasure cruise but war no less. It's no longer just his campaign but our journey. It is not just about winning an election. It's about a people finally getting their just due, about government rediscovering what it is for in the first place, about a nation no longer at war with itself.
It's a journey that he will not take alone, a quest that he cannot seek on his own, a war that he can never fight by himself.
But it can be done.
There are some who hate him, others who want him to fail. It is not so much because they loath him although that is to be expected from those who enriched themselves either in government or by mocking the laws and those who were supposed to govern but did not.
But, as the votes would show (they say it should be higher - but that is a different story), majority of Filipinos want President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to lead the country in the next six years.
If his inaugural speech is any indication, Pres. Duterte is serious about fixing government - and he made his first marching orders in that direction. It is not entirely earth-shaking considering its simplicity (“I direct all department secretaries and the heads of agencies to reduce requirements and the processing time of all applications, from the submission to release.”) but then again, it might yet be considering that it will set the tone for public service under his watch.
Long before he decided to run, Duterte hinted that if given the chance, he would serve the country with common sense. During his inaugural, he gave a hint of that when he said "compliance with one department or agency, shall be accepted as sufficient for all.” That's common sense indeed.
And yet, the fact is, as the late Karen Carpenter once sang, "we've only just began". So many started strong and ended wrong. It's not so much about how we start but in how we end.
When he took his oath, Pres. Duterte solemnly swore to perform his duties to the best of his abilities. All those who came before him made the same declaration. 
While doing so, his left hand was on the Bible indicating his sincerity while declaring his oath. Again, all those who came before him did the same thing.
In six years, we will know whether his presidency is good or bad for the country. 
For now, suffice it to say that the first battle had been won. Now, we go to war.

26th March 2016
'Never Again' is not just about Marcos
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 26, 2016, 9:24 am

(Boying Pimentel, Global Nation, Inquirer.net)

Illustration by artist Edd Aragon who died two weeks ago.  According to a friend who shared it on the Never Again
page, it was the last illustration Aragon posted on his Facebook wall before he passed away.


Bongbong Marcos’ bid to become vice president turned the spotlight on the slogan many Filipinos embraced after the fall of his late father’s dictatorship: “Never Again.”

Some views on this battle cry have been downbeat.

“We can’t really say #NeverAgain to something that never went away in the first place,” the novelist Clinton Palanca wrote in Spot.PH.

Inquirer columnist Oscar Franklin Tan in a column that he calls a parody of and homage to my essay, “To young Filipinos who never knew martial law and dictatorship” — Oscar’s title was “To old Filipinos who never knew martial law and dictatorship” — argued, “‘Never Again’ is merely rejection. It is incomplete because it builds nothing and leaves revisionism and disenchantment to fill the void. “

We’ll circle back to these viewpoints later. But first, a reminder: “Never Again” is not a Filipino original. We borrowed it from other nations.


When people ask me who I'd vote for, I always say, "Mar Roxas. Obvious ba?"
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 26, 2016, 8:50 am

(By Leonora Galvez)

 We vote for candidates in whom we see a bit of ourselves. I'm not a rich person. I have been poor for most of my life and now, I work from 8am to 6pm pushing papers from one department to the next hoping that my ideas will catch on and become an actual thing.

And this is why I am voting for Mar Roxas.

I'd have also asked Mayor Romualdez to sign that piece of paper making official the turnover of responsibility from the local government to the national government. If Mayor Romualdez wouldn't sign it, I'd have helped him anyway because I'm not a complete jerk. Nobody is. The Yolanda aftermath was devastating to watch for all of us. Everyone wanted to help. But I'd have insisted on the document still because every office worker knows that division of responsibilities and making clear each team member's accountabilities should be done in writing. Documentation makes performance and financial audits more efficient. It is also a deterrent for slacking off and mishandling funds. I have several documents of this sort in my office computer and they serve their purpose very well.


Dear Mayor Duterte
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 26, 2016, 8:39 am

(By Juan Magdaraog)
My honest question to our possible next president.

Dear Mayor Duterte,

It pains me to write this letter since I thought once that you are the leader this country needed. You are the bitter pill we needed to swallow to cure us of the cancer embedded in our society.

Prior to your decision to run, I had hoped you would. When the deadline came and you did not file, it was a sad day. I thought we would miss out on a great leader that could set us straight.

A loophole in our election process allowed for a substitution even after the deadline passed. You took it and decided to run, a ray of hope, so I thought. Finally someone I can vote for because I wanted to not because you were the lesser evil.

You took away my choice once again. I heard your views about burying Marcos in the "Libingan ng mga Bayani". What?! I thought to myself. Maybe it was one of those things that was taken out of context. But then today I saw a video from Rappler. I think this was taken right after the second Presidential Debate. You reiterated wanting to bury the remains of the late President Marcos at the Libingan. You told the reporters that if elected you'd reveal the reasons why. No Mayor. I ask that you reveal it now. That's one factor why I and I think many other people would factor if we would like you to be our President.


Our unrecognized national scandal
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 26, 2016, 8:24 am

(By The Manila Times Editorial)

THE money-laundering scandal that saw $81 million in stolen funds disappear after passing through accounts at RCBC bank has gripped the local media for the past several days. In addition to daily news reporters, nearly all of our columnists here at The Manila Times (and in most of the other newspapers in town) have expounded at length on the topic, and we would assume, knowing columnists, probably have a great deal more to say about it.

Despite the volume of written news and opinion the scandal has produced so far, we have the impression that no one -- especially not our public officials, but also including us in the media and the public at large -- has a proper understanding of just how damaging the affair is to the Philippines.

The theft of $100 million from the account of Bangladesh Bank at the Federal Reserve of New York is the single largest bank robbery in history, and the second- or third-largest robbery of any kind, surpassed only by the theft of nearly $1 billion by Russian-based hackers in April last year -- that robbery involved dozens of banks -- and the $300 million Hatton Garden diamond heist in London, which was ultimately unsuccessful, that occurred the same month. Even though investigators are still trying to connect the dots, the Bangladesh heist evidently involved a widespread conspiracy operating in three or more countries, with the Philippines playing the most significant role as the place the money, all but $19 million of it intercepted by Sri Lankan authorities, was last seen.


How to choose the next Philippine President
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 26, 2016, 8:18 am

(By Leonora Galvez, Rappler)

We believe who we want to believe so maybe there isn't any point in writing this anymore but I will anyway.

If there is one very useful thing I have learned about how to survive life, it is this: Listen to how people to talk to other people and trust the person who speaks truthfully and fairly. Oppression always starts with manipulation. People will tell us want we want to hear and take advantage of us once they've owned our hearts and minds. The person who tells it to us straight is the one who cares about us. Every human being with an honest heart knows the road to empowerment starts with knowing.

I decided not to vote for Grace Poe when the news about the Iglesia ni Kristo (INC) alleged kidnapping broke out and members flooded to EDSA to protest. What they were asking for had nothing to do with the Separation of Church and State. Criminal charges have been filed against their leaders and they were asking to be exempt from the rule of law. It isn't more complicated than that. They wanted to be treated differently than any other Filipino accused of breaking the law. In an interview, Poe said they were only fighting for their religious beliefs. Isn't she too smart to believe her own position?  She was trying to keep the INC vote.


23rd March 2016
The Court that became Congress
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 23, 2016, 8:07 am

(By Cristina Montes and Jemy Gatdula)


BARELY A month ago, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Edsa I, proclaiming #NeverAgain. More importantly, we remembered that a significant result of that "revolution" was the drafting and promulgating of the 1987 Constitution to prevent the return of tyranny. This fundamental document of our people reiterated our rights as citizens, and defined and limited the powers of government.

But that Constitution, like any other, can only be an effective guarantee against tyranny if the people and the institutions it created will respect it and remain vigilant in upholding its provisions in their original meaning.

This was the truth eloquently expressed by Justice Arturo Brion in his dissent in the recently decided Poe vs Comelec:

"To be sure, the applicable measuring standards [in deciding this case] cannot simply be the individual Justices' notions of the fairness of the constitutional terms involved (which are matters of policy that the Court cannot touch), nor their pet social and human rights advocacies that are not justified by the clear terms of the Constitution.

"If these constitutional terms are clear, the only option for the Court is to apply them; if they lack clarity, the Court may interpret them using the established canons of constitutional interpretation but without touching on matters of policy that an authority higher than the Court's - that of the sovereign Filipino people - has put in place.


21st March 2016
VP has no right to demand right to reply
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on March 21, 2016, 2:06 am

(By Oscar Franklin Tan, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 21 March 2016, 02:06 AM)

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has no power to dictate what a newspaper may publish on its front page. Its "right to reply" regulations, first passed for the 2013 elections, clearly exceed its powers under our Constitution.

The Inquirer published a front-page exclusive on March 17 on Vice President Jejomar Binay’s alleged P100-million transfer to Hong Kong, using a remittance firm involved in the alleged $81-million money-laundering scheme, which is being investigated by the Senate.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has asked the Comelec to grant a right to reply with the same prominence.

This would require the Inquirer to publish UNA’s reaction on its front page. Any self-respecting newspaper would go to court before being forced to do this.


17th January 2015
Devout and dishonest
Posted by Yel Cobile, IT Admin & Correspondent on January 17, 2015, 3:37 am

(Editorial by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 3:37 AM | Saturday, 17 January 2015)

A day before Pope Francis arrived in the Philippines, detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles arrived in court for her continuing trial on plunder and other charges wearing a yellow shirt bearing his image. The alleged principal of the pork barrel scam was in high spirits, not least because the Pontiff was arriving the next day, which happens to be her birthday. “Nagkataon na birthday ko po bukas, kaya [I feel] talagang blessed yung birthday ko,” she said with absolutely no trace of irony.

How to explain the cognitive dissonance, except to point out that, when it comes to overt religiosity and true moral behavior in this country, it’s not just Napoles who appears to have learned to be one and the other at the same time—to compartmentalize one’s life, in effect, so that the strictures of one aspect do not necessarily intrude on the other? It’s easy to scoff at the woman’s display of piety as a transparent bid for the easing of public opprobrium against her, but it’s also entirely possible—and this is the scary part—that she is deep-down sincere in her belief that God and the Church remain by her side. According to the whistle-blowers, Napoles spent considerable amounts making donations to the Church, engaging in acts of charity and even housing a number of her close priest-friends in cozy quarters in an upscale part of the metropolis. All these, while she was supposedly engaged in the wholesale thievery of the people’s money.

If only in scale, how different is that from the typical arrangements in countless parishes and dioceses nationwide, where the rich and powerful—those who own the land and oppress the peasants working for them, those who hold the reins of government and skim off the treasury, those who use their influence to harass or intimidate critical voices in their midst, those with the leverage to do something about the unequal power structure but are either indifferent to or active enablers of it—invariably end up serving as the hermanos and hermanas mayores of the local church?


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