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A Cure that is Worse than the (Coconut) Disease

Malaya 07.02.14


The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has been infiltrated by unscrupulous University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) elements. It is a partnership of sinister bureaucrats and mercenary scientists.


by Ducky Paredes


            From the Eastwind Journal in an article, Bernie Lopes urges the government to stop the Philippine Coconut Agency which has apparently tied up with UP Los Banos to find a solution to a disease that affects our coconut industry. Bernie says that UPLB is pushing for a chemical solution to stop the disease that affects our coconuts. The article is an open letter to new appointee, Food Security Secretary Kiko Pangilinan “who earlier expressed belief in organic solutions to the coconut infestation.”

            Writes Bernie, “A PCA-UPLB syndicate wants its own way, defying Pangilinan. They launched a black propaganda in the media last week, saying organic solutions to the coconut infestation have failed, when, in fact, a presentation of a successful organic pilot by Biotechnologist Edgar Maranan was presented to the media on the same day at a Rembrandt media forum.

            “The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has been infiltrated by unscrupulous University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) elements. It is a partnership of sinister bureaucrats and mercenary scientists. The UPLB has good eggs and bad eggs, like most other institutions. The good eggs work for the interest of the people and the nation. The bad eggs work for themselves, justifying dubious scientific treaties to enrich themselves.

            “The greatest impact of the chemical solution, even if it is considered truly effective, is not so much the curing of the disease, but the destruction of our global coconut market. Once the whole world knows our coconuts have been chemicalized, they will boycott our multi-billion copra and coconut oil instantly without a second thought. They will not verify but simply shut the door, making 25 million marginal Filipinos to go hungry.”

            “In other words, the chemical solution is not a solution but the problem. Cchemicals will destroy rather than save the coconut industry. The PCA-UPLB syndicate is blind to this serious effect on the entire Philippine economy. They see only gold they can grab.

            “They launched a PR barrage, giving demos of trees injected with chemical done by PCA men sporting T-shirts with chemical slogans. Their photos appeared in the newspapers doing this ‘crime’, when the chemical option has not been formally approved. In fact, there is no Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for EO169. Alas, this PR barrage has leaked into the Internet, and part of the world which buy our coconut products knows we are on the verge of injecting chemicals into our coconut trees. If we continue to proclaim this evil solution as our choice when it is not yet approved, our global market will vanish in the blink of an eye.

            “The imported chemical endorsed by PCA is brand name Starkle, a neonicotinoid whose potency is 10,000 times the banned deadly DDT, according to Ted Mendoza of U.P. It affects polinators such as bees and butterflies, which can be wiped out on a massive scale and trigger a ‘food chain tsunami’ whose effects are unimaginable, especially on all our fruit trees.

            “My PCA source reports that the PCA chose four scientists to do pilots on organic solutions. Of the four, three were PCA-UPLB consultants, perhaps endorsed by the syndicate, and one was an ‘outsider’ endorsed by Congressman Jesus Sacdalan, whom the syndicate could not refuse. One resigned and abandoned his pilot, two never reported their findings, implying they may have failed. But the last, the outsider beyond the clutch of the syndicate, the multi-awarded Edgar Maranan, did a successful pilot with resounding success, in spite of the fact that he was awarded the most seriously infested area in Bay, Laguna. His solution is an organic wholistic approach.”

            The PCA-UPLB gang wanted the organic solution to fail, so they can proclaim their chemical solution.

            “Maranan created his own team, independent of the PCA-UPLB, composed of experts from UMALUN, a chapter of a People’s Organization in Dingalan, Aurora, who could climb coconut trees fast, make scientific assessments on the spot, and report findings real time. His pilot was in Barangay Bitin in Bay, Laguna, composed of 30 heavily infested trees. Here is quote from the Maranan pilot –“87 days after treatment, 24 trees out of 30 ‘na ang magaganda ang bunga’ (healthy fruits). 112 days after treatment, kagawad Armando Ramos harvested coconuts from 29 out of the 30 trees.”

            “So far, the PCA-UPLB syndicate has convinced Kiko Pangilinan into believing that the only recourse is chemicals. Even if Pangilinan is finally convinced of the organic solution in spite of the black prop of the PCA-UPLB gang, here is the dilemma. Any large-scale solution, chemical or organic, cannot be done without the PCA, which is mandated by EO169 to act on the emergency crisis. It is not too late for PCA to opt for the Maranan organic solution. Pangilinan can actually compel them, if needed.

            “The only other way is to insure the successful organic solution is implemented to save the coconut industry is to remove and replace the PCA-UPLB syndicate, a tall order even for Pangilinan. Or he can replace the members of the Task Force if they are suspected as syndicate members insisting on chemicals. Can we surrender the fate of a multi-billion industry and 25 million Filipinos in the hands of a self-serving syndicate?

            “The only way is for President Aquino to order Pangilinan to cleanse the PCA or resign in the name of the national economy. DENR Secretary Paje can also step in in the name of an environmental crisis. The newly-installed head of the PCA, Romy Alarcon, is hopefully not under the clutches or even part of the syndicate, and is hopefully powerful enough to dissipate the syndicate before they get rid of him through black prop.

            “It is possible for the situation to go viral within 3 to 4 months and spread like wildfire to 30 million trees, which is 18.6% or almost a fifth of our entire productive trees of 170 million, if we are too slow in containing it. The 170 million is net of the 40% declared by PCA as too old, and of the 33 million destroyed by Yolanda.

            “If we do not do something quick, a disaster worse than a hundred tsunamis will be upon us. god save the filipino from this looming mega-disaster. God save us from the PCA-UPLB syndicate. This is a plea to Kiko Pangilinan not to be controlled by this powerful syndicate, and impose his will on the crisis situation.”

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My wife handles her family’s farms in the Talisayan-Medina-Gindood area in Misamis Oriental. She has also branched out by Planting mangoes and adding the Thai improvement on our Lanzones, the Longcom under the Coconuts. This article is correct. The main use of our coconuts — the meat and the water — is in the food industry, either as beverage or coconut oil. Any hint that deadly chemicals are used in growing the plant will raise fears among consumers. Remember that old belief that coconut oil was fattening until they finally found that it is a better oil than other vegetable oils. If we continue the way PCA-UPLB apparently want us to go, the world will again turn against all coconut products.

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Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

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hvp 07.01.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Two More Years/ The Pope’s Visit

“One wonders whether our politcos know what they are doing wanting him to come here and even sending him to Tacloban to see the damage Yolanda has wrought. If they expect a blessing from the Pope, they might be surprised at what he might say.”


by Ducky Paredes


   Is Malacanang right that President Benigno Aquino III’s biggest achievement has  been a change in our attitude towards government?

   Elected to office by 15 million Filipinos saddened by his mother’s recent death, Mr. Aquino took his oath as the country’s 15th President on June 30, 2010.  According to his spokesman, from the apathy that marked the years before Mr. Aquino took over from the Arroyo administration in 2010, Filipinos had become more hopeful during the past four years.

   “Now, it’s possible for them to believe that everything is possible, anything is possible. We’ve seen the change in our countrymen,” he said. There has been a “rising appreciation” for government, says Edwin Lacierda..

   Lacierda says that  the President would focus on making economic growth more inclusive in the last two years of his term: “Our advocacy, our belief is that we would like to have inclusive growth for all, and so, we would like to make sure that as we leave—as the President leaves after 2016—he has laid the foundation for an economy that will provide equitable growth for all.

   “What we want to instill in our countrymen is that ‘let’s not go back anymore to where we were before.’ We have elevated the level of governance. People expect better from the government.”

    “History, I believe, will judge what would be the President’s biggest achievement. In the meantime, we still have two more years to go, and every year there will always be achievements and it will be up to the historians and the political analysts to decide for themselves what would be the single biggest achievement of this administration,” says Lacierda.

   What will the President say on his forthcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA)?

   Mr. Aquino last year ordered the abolition of the pork barrel Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2014 national budget following the discovery of the scandalous misuse and theft of P10 billion in rural development funds.

   Now, three senators have been charged with the crime of plunder and many more will be charged with graft.

   The President also presided over the signing of a peace agreement with Moro rebels that will see the creation of a new, autonomous Bangsamoro region in southern Philippines, drawing international praise.

   If the President truly has devised a plan of making the economic growth of the country (better than most other countries) more inclusive, that would be a worthwhile achievement, never before achieved by any administration.

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Pope Francis is supposed to be coming in December. One wonders whether our politcos know what they are doing wanting him to come here and even sending him to Tacloban to see the damage Yolanda has wrought. If they expect a blessing from the Pope, they might be surprised at what he might say. At morning Masses in the Vatican this week, Pope Francis spoke against corruption, reiterating his message against corrupt people in power which he first gave at a morning Mass last March attended by 500 government officials and incumbent and former lawmakers.

Pope Francis made his remarks at an early morning Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, some hours before US President Barack Obama paid him a courtesy call at the Vatican.

Pope Francis warned the government officials against abandoning the path of God’s love and liberating salvation for the dead-end road of self-righteous corruption.

The Pope used the readings to point to “The ruling class—the doctors of the law, the Sadducees, the Pharisees”—who “were closed up in their ideas, in their ministry, in their ideology.” These leaders refused to heed the Word of God, he said, and even justified their rejection of Jesus by claiming that he was “a prince of demons.” We have political leaders in our country, who have virtually been saying the same thing about the Church and the Catholic Bishops who berate their anti-God, anti-Church anti-people actions and positions.

The Pope copmpared those bad leaders during the time of Jesus to today’s corrupt leaders, who “not only shut themselves off from God” but also “distanced themselves from the people they were meant to lead and care for.” Jesus called them hypocrites.

In recent morning Masses, the Pope said those who commit the crime of corruption “must beg for God’s forgiveness” because their victims make people suffer–and it is always the poor who suffer more and pay the price for the corruption of the leaders

The Pope said, “When we embark on the path of corruption, we lose our humanity and sell ourselves, just as the prophet Elijah tells Ahab, I have found you “because you have given yourself up to doing evil in the Lord’s sight.”

Pope Francis says that corruption in politics, in business and even in the Church “hurts the poor who always pay the price for the gain of the corrupt others.” Pope Francis noted that to the corrupt, God has clearly said that He will bring disaster on them and their families.

He said, corruption vexes God and scandalizes people because it exploits, enslaves, even kills the vulnerable while those who commit this crime are focused solely on money and power.

The Pope said “The corrupt are traitors who steal and kill, who exploit the innocent, but they do it at a distance with gloves on so that they do not have to get their hands dirty.”

God curses these people, but he said they can, just as Ahab did, repent. Ahab tore his garments and fasted and humbled himself before the Lord.  The corrupt must repent and make amends for what they have done.

The Pope concludes by reminding the faithful that our duty as Christians is to ask forgiveness from God for those “people we read about in the papers” and “pray for their conversion of heart and for the grace that we may never become corrupt ourselves.”

Why would our politicians want such a man to pay this country a visit?

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As if to prove that the Senators now doing jail time are being politically  targeted, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala are currently being investigated over their alleged involvement in the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Malacañang says that it is supporting the effort of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in examining evidence implicating its two close allies in the alleged misuse of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Both Abad and Alcala were former congressmen before their appointments to the Cabinet by President Aquino.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda says the examination of the affidavits implicating Abad and Alcala to the scam is being done as the administration is “colorblind.”

“Yes, we support that vetting process and it is… The investigation process, evaluation process of DOJ under the leadership of Secretary Leila de Lima is colorblind so, we support the process,” Lacierda said in an interview.

Abad and Alcala were included in the list of past and present lawmakers who allegedly benefited in the racket involving the diversion of PDAF to bogus non-governmental organizations. The list was made by suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

Lacierda said it takes time to complete the vetting process on statements that should be supported with documentary evidence.

“Remember, and I’ve mentioned this time and again, that in the past, even the affidavits of Benhur Luy and the other whistleblowers, it took some time for the DOJ to evaluate and investigate,” he said.

On the other hand, Lacierda denied  he has information on the identity of another senator who might be charged with plunder in connection with the “pork” scam.

He said the Palace has no “advanced knowledge” on the identities of the respondents in the next batch of cases to be filed by the government.

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hvp 06.30.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Ang Intsik at ang Kano



ni Horacio Paredes


   Sira ulo talaga ang mga Intsik. Akala ba nila na kapag ginawan nila ng mapang de kolor, tapos ito ay nilabas ng mga diyario ay magiging kanila na ang mga islang kanilang  isinama sa mapa na mga isla ng Pilipinas? Parang ganoon ang kanilang pag-iisip. Tama ang sinabi ng Malakanayang na ang mapang iyan ng Tsina ay “drowing lamang” dahil hindi naman ganoong kadali ang pagangkin ng isang isla gaya ng Kalayaan at ng Scarborough at pati na rin ang Paracels ng Vietnam.

Sa aking pananaw, gustong gamitin ng Tsina ang mga islang nalalapit sa kanila upang magamit nila ito na “forward defense positions” sa kung merong gustong lumusob sa Tsina mula sa Pacific Ocean kung saan ang isang dulo karagatan ay nasa Amerika.

Sa pananaw ng Tsina, darating ang araw na babagsak ang economiya ng USA at hihina na rin ang pwersa Militar nito,  Sa kanilang pananaw na kung nakikita na ng mga Amerikano na palubog a sila, baka meron itong gawain na sa wala nang ibang magawa ay lulusubin ang Tsina galing sa Pacific Ocean. Dadaan sila sa karagatang tinatawag nating Western Philippine Sea. Kung meron silang mga sundalo at mga kanyon at missiles sa mga islang Kalayaan, Scarborought at Paracels, hindi pa dumaratng ang pwersang lulusob sa Tsina ay maaari na silang matigil bago makatungtong sa Tsina.

Ngunit. kung iyon lamang naman ang kanilang gusto, baket hindi na lang makiusap dahil kung ano man ang kanilang gawain sa karagatan kung ito’y makakatulong rin sa depensa ng Vietnam at ng Pilipinas, baket hindi tayo papayag kung hingin lamang sa mabutong usapan kesa namang papasok na lamang sila sa ating territoryo’t aangkinin ang hindi naman naging kanila kahit kailan pa nating hanapin sa nakaraang history, gaya nga ng sinabi ni Associate Justice Antonio Carpio sa kaniyang pagsusuri sa history ng Asya.

Mga bastos talaga ang mga ito at kaya lamang sila tumatapang na mang-bastos ay dahil sa alam nila na kung idadaan sa lakas militar ng Vietnam at ng Pilipinas, tiyak na wala tayo sa liga ng Tsina,

Kaya nga nagpapasalamat ako na tumutulong sa atin ang Amerka na matagal a rin nating ka-alyado. Ganoon rin ang bansang Hapon. Marami pa rin ang tutulong sa atin gaya ng Australia at iba pang mga bansa na maaaring katakutan ng Tsina dahil sa meron ring sapat na lakas ang mga ito na makipag-sabayan sa sandatahang lakas ng Tsina.

Wala naman tayong masissisi sa sitwasyon kundi lamang ang kahinaan ng ating bansa at ang pagpalayas natin sa mga Kano noong tinapos natin ang kanilang mga base militar sa Subic at sa Clark, Hindi ko namang sinasabing nagkamali ang Senado sa tinayo ng Amerika na mga base militar noong 1947 at atin namang pinasera noong 1991.

Dapat lang sana na pinalakas natin ang ating kakayanang padgdepensa ng bansa dahil habang naririto ang mga base militar ng USA, ang lahat na bansa ay ilag sa Pilipinas dahil alam nilang kapag meron silang tangka sa Pinas ay ang USA ang kanilang makakalaban,

Noong pinasera natin ang mga base militar ng USA sa Pinas, nawalan na tayo ng depensa, Ang ating bagong kasunduan na  EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) na ngayon ay gusto naman ng mga maka-kaliwa na itigl ng Korte Suprema, ang naiisang kasunduan na kakatakutan ng mga merong masamang tangka sa Pinas!

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hvp (06.30.14)

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Picking the Next President

Two years from now, we will again pick someone to carry on what we’ve started. I urge you not to deviate. Otherwise, if we go our separate ways, we will not achieve our collective goal,’ Mr. Aquino said.


by Ducky Paredes


In a speech in Iloilo City, the President said he and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had jointly campaigned for the daang matuwid. Then, he added that the country would not achieve its development goals if Filipinos strayed away from that path.

“Two years from now, we will again pick someone to carry on what we’ve started. I urge you not to deviate. Otherwise, if we go our separate ways, we will not achieve our collective goal,” Mr. Aquino said..

The President did not directly name who his 2016 candidate would be. He did not have to.

Seated behind him on the stage was Roxas, who is most probably the administration’s choice for president in 2016.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda says:“Several Liberal Party members have expressed preference for Secretary Mar Roxas. But there is an official process that they would have to undergo to determine who will be the standard-bearer, taking into consideration the President’s preference.”

“As to who that preference will be, we have to wait for the President’s announcement,” he added.

Drilon, the LP vice chair, announced in January 2013 Roxas would be the party’s standard-bearer.

In his speech, the President thanked Iloilo residents for making him and Roxas No. 1 in the 2010 presidential elections.

“Each time I come here and see the transformation that you’re experiencing, I just want to say: Thank you very much,” he said, drawing applause.

“From the start, your trust and support have been full. In the 2010 elections, Secretary Mar Roxas and I were No. 1,” he added.

Roxas lost to Vice President Jejomar Binay in 2010.

Inaugurating a portion of an eight-lane highway in Iloilo City, the President drew attention to the transformation of the bureaucracy and the countryside as an offshoot of the administration’s reforms.

That was why it should be clear to the Iloilo voters who would push for significant and long-term reforms, Mr. Aquino said.

“Now, after four years, let’s take a look at the transformation not only of Iloilo, but the whole country,” he said in his speech, drawing applause. “All this came to pass because you chose the right path.”

In his speech, Mr. Aquino raved about the impact of the P500-million, eight-lane road, named after his late father Sen. Benigno Aquino Sr., on tourism and trade.

Apart from its walk lanes, service road, sidewalk and drainage system, this is the first highway that has a lane for bikers, he said.

“In short, we’ve not only widened the road for 30,000 motorists who use this road every day. We’ve made it safer for our people and more fortified against floods,” Mr. Aquino said.

This would also shorten travel from the Iloilo Esplanade to the international airport from 45 minutes to 25 minutes, he added.

 “These projects would speed up travel not only for the Ilonggos and Ilonggas, but for the tourists and the businessmen investing in Iloilo,” he said. “Iloilo City is now connected to other municipalities of your province.”

Mr. Aquino credited the coordination between the local and national government for this.

* * *

(By the way, I have been getting mail from Ilocos Norte asking that the name of Mariano Marcos, who the letters say, collaborated with the Japanese in World War II and was executed for his Japanese links by the American and Filipino guerillas, be taken off the streets, schools, hospitals and other buildings named after the father during Ferdinand Marcos reign as dictator. I you want to tell me what your think, please write me a letter or better yet, write  your congressman or a senator since only through legislation can a PD be changed.)

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At a senior golf tournament, a company vice president commented that it looked like a sure thing that Vice President Jejomar Binay would be the next President. I commented that even his fellow lawyer who was among the lawyers that supported President Cory, former Senator Rene Saguisag was not supporting Binay’s presidential bid, he asked me my thoughts on the matter.

I replied that I wanted someone who would continue the drive for clean government that the President wanted– the Daang Matuwid, even if the record on this has been spotty, at best. I pointed out that Binay had improved his lifestyle from being in politics and feared that he would continue to do so as President.

He told me that he believed Binay was as good as a sure thing to become our next president since the best that PNoy and his Liberal Party could come up with as  a Presidential candidate in 2016 was Mar Roxas, who had already shown that he cannot win an election and lost the vice presidency, which was his to lose in 2010, to Binay.

To my reply that the Liberals could still come up with a winner, he said that he seriously doubted that. I agreed that a Mar Roxas  presidency was no longer possible and that finding someone new to win against a Binay candidacy was almost an impossibility. Besides, I could not come up with any names.

So, my friend proposed: “Why not support Binay?” He argued that, if  all the good people who want good governance turn their backs on the Binay candidacy like I am doing, when Binay wins in 2016, what would his government be like if all he is left with are those whose idea of public service is lining one’s pockets.

He suggested: Instead of looking for the ideal candidate (who probably does not exist anyway) why not support  Binay, who is almost already a sure thing for President in 2016 and have a say on what sort of government we want for our country? His take is that the Vice President has proven his capabilities as someone who can get things done and will do even better as President.

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            Rotary International District 3800 has  89 Rotary Clubs from the cities of Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Marikina, Pasig (where I have been a member for 15 years)  San Juan and Mandaluyong and the cities/towns in Rizal. We are over 2,500 members and last Saturday had a turnover from District Governor Louie Ticman to District Governor Marilou Co. I was the president of RC Pasig for Rotary Year 2013-2014 and only wish to publicly thank Governor Louie for his great work as Governor. I am hoping for more good things to happen to RI 3800 under Governor Marilou anfd in the years to come.

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Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

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hvp 06.29.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Ang Bagong Mapa ng Tsina



ni Horacio Paredes


Hindi naba­bahala ang palasyo sa bagong mapa ng China dahil hindi naman ito kinikilala sa United Nation Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) kung saan signatory ang China gaya rin ang Pilipinas at karamihan sa mga bansa ng ating mundo.

Isa pang dahilan ay noong panahon ng nakaraang Chiang Kai-shek regime, nagkaroon rin ng eleven dash line. Ayon kay Kalihim Sonny Coloma dati ‘yun, ‘yung eleven naging nine, tapos ngayon ten.

Tama ang Palasyo  na kanilang binabalewala ang mapa bilang “drawing” lang. Ngunit, ang aking nakikita ay kapag nakapagtayo ng ng airport sa Kalayaan at pantalan at iba pang mga military installation sa Scarborough sa loob ng Pilipinas at sa Paracels sa loob ng Vietnam, makikipagbati na naman ang Tsina sa atin at merong dalang mga regalo upang tanggapin ang kanilang anyayang makipagbati na naman sa atin ,           Sa tuwa natin na nagpapakita na ang maton ng pagiging mabait, tayo namang mga walang lakas-militar na mga bansa at sa tuwa natin ay tatanggapin kung anuman ang ibibigay sa atin.

Ang aking nakikita ay kung meron natayo noon na USSR — Union of Socialist Soviet Republics — na pinamumunuan ng Russia pagkatapos ng World War II, ganito rin ang gustong mangyari ng Tsina ngayon — isang samahan ng mga bansang maaaring sumama sa Tsina upang kasama nila sa mga maaaring magtangkang lulusob sa Tsina galing sa karagatan ng Pacific Ocean, na walang iba kundi ang USA.

Kahit na ngayon ang Tsina ay kakampi ng Amerika at ginagamit ng US bilang factory ng ilan sa mga kilalang produkto ng Made in USA, gaya ng  (mula lamang sa letter A hanggang c): AT&T, Abercrombe & Fitch, Abbott Laboratories, Acer Electronics, Ademco Security, Adidas, ADI Security, AGI- American Gem Institute, AIG Financial, Agrilink Foods, Inc. (ProFac), Allergan Laboratories, American Eagle Outfitters, American Standard, American Tourister, Ames Tools, Amphenol Corporation, Amway Corporation, Analog Devices, Inc., Apple Computer, Armani, Armour Meats, Ashland Chemical, Ashley Furniture, Associated Grocers, Audi Motors, AudioVox, AutoZone, Inc., Avon, 

Banana Republic, Bausch & Lomb, Inc., Baxter International Bed, Bath & Beyond, Belkin Electronics, Best Buy, Best Foods, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Black & Decker, Body Shop, Borden Foods,Briggs & Stratton,

Calrad Electric, Campbell ’s Soup, Canon Electronics, Carole Cable, Casio Instrument, Caterpillar, Inc., CBC America, CCTV Outlet , Checker Auto, CitiCorp, Cisco Systems, Chiquita Brands International, Claire’s Boutique, Cobra Electronics, Coby Electronics, Coca Cola Foods, Colgate-Palmolive, Colorado Spectrum, ConAgra Foods, Cooper Tire, Corning, Inc., Coleman Sporting Goods. Compaq, Crabtree & Evelyn, Cracker Barrel Stores, Craftsman Tools (see Sears) at Cummins, Inc., merong duda pa rin ang Tsina na balang araw (lalo na sa pagdating na  inaasahang pagbagsak na ang ekonomiya ng Amerika) na baka lusubin sila mula sa Karagatang Pacific.

Sa pangyayaring iyon, mas mabuti na kung meron silang mapapaglagyan ng depensa sa karagatang South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) upang matigil ang parating na kalaban galing sa Amerika, Ang mga lulusuob naman sa kanila mula sa Europa ay maaabot ang Tsina sa pamamagitan ng mga tangke at trak  kung kaya nga naitayo ang “Great Wall of China” na sinimulan na noon pang 7th Century B.C. (bago pa dumating Ang Kristo).

Ayan ang aking naiisip. Inaashan ng Tsina na babagsak ang ekonomiya ng USA at sa pagyayaring iyon wala nang iba na mangingibabaw sa mundo kundi sila naman.


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hvp (06.27.14)


Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

China is Moving its Defense Boundary Outward

Malaya 06.27.14


“By taking most of the territorial waters from weak ASEAN nations whose best interest for survival is allowing China to stretch  its boundaries, China would have stretched its defense perimeter against possible invasion by its Western military competitors.

by Ducky Paredes

The Philippine Air Force spots regularly 10 to 12 Chinese Coast Guard vessels in the West Philippine Sea on maritime patrol missions. Sensing haste in increased Chinese activity in disputed waters, has prompted Manila to seek an expeditious ruling by a United Nations tribunal on its challenge to Beijing’s expansive claim over the South China Sea.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says that China’s increased activities in disputed waters are escalating tensions in the region.

“What we want to do is, because China is not participating, and because the situation is getting worse every day in the South China Sea, I’m asking if we can present a request to the tribunal if they can hasten the process,” Del Rosario says.

The West Philippine Sea is part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but China, insisting that it is part of its territory, is reclaiming land on various reefs in those waters that may be used to build offshore military outposts.

China’s dredging vessels are escorted by Coast Guard ships to keep vessels from other claimant states away.

“We intensify the number of flights in the area so that we can detect the presence of ships and the developments on the islets … We can’t count the number of ships on a particular day because these are moving vessels on patrol. Their presence can’t be fixed in one place,” Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya says.

Canaya says the maritime patrols had also observed dredging on islets, confirming reports of “development” on islets and reefs in the media.

China’s haste to stake its claim to 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea is seen as an effort to beat the conclusion of a code of conduct in disputed waters with its Southeast Asian neighbors and a ruling by the United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the challenge to that massive territorial claim brought by the Philippines in January last year.

China refuses to take part in the proceedings, but the tribunal has ordered it to respond to the Philippine case by Dec. 15.

Beijing has become increasingly aggressive in asserting its claim since the Philippine case went up and US President Barack Obama visited Asia in late April, assuring US allies Japan and the Philippines that the United States would defend them if attacked over territorial disputes.

The Philippines has asked the tribunal to nullify China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea, which Manila says encroaches on its exclusive economic zone and those of Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan, all of which also have claims in the strategic and resource-rich waterway.

Manila also wants to clarify maritime entitlements in the South China Sea and halt China’s incursions into the Philippines’ economic exclusion zone, which have become more frequent in recent months.

It may take three to four years for the UN tribunal to issue a decision.

Del Rosario hopes  that “since China is not participating, perhaps we can get a quicker resolution from the tribunal.”

Or, it may take even longer because of the increased Chinese activities in the area.

The Philippines is pressing for a freeze on activities that raise tensions, a nonaggression pact to prevent the rival claims from erupting into conflict, and legal action for resolving the conflicting claims.

“The only mechanism that’s out there right now—the Philippines is the one that advanced it—is arbitration. So we hope to be able to get the arbitration in place, that will be the goal line for all of us,” Del Rosario says.

Del Rosario is encouraging Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa to pursue his proposal for a meeting among the claimant states for discussion of the increasingly tense situation in the South China Sea.

He hopes the meeting could be held before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum in Burma (Myanmar) in August and that he would be “honored to host” the claimants’ meeting.

Del Rosario said the meeting would be an appropriate place to raise his proposed moratorium on “provocative activities” in the South China Sea, an echo of a suggestion from Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat in Asia, who had been speaking about a freeze on activities that stir up tensions pending the conclusion of a binding code of conduct among the claimants.

China insists on bilaterial negotiations with individual claimants as it continues to develop territory in the sea where islands, islets, atolls and reefs are believed to be sitting on vast oil and gas reserves.

China is reclaiming land on strategic reefs within Philippine territory in the Spratly archipelago, including Mabini (Johnson South) Reef, the two Gavin (Gaven) reefs and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reef.

Both the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy, through the Naval Air Group, conduct aerial patrols in the West Philippine Sea.

Aerial surveillance photographs show a Chinese dredging vessel anchored on Mabini Reef and what appeared to be reclaimed land that it was feared could be used to build an airstrip within Philippine territory.

The Philippines has protested China’s moves in the West Philippine Sea but Beijing has rejected the protests, insisting it has “undisputed sovereignty” over the South China Sea.

* * *

China has published a new map of the entire country including the islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) in order to “better show” its territorial claim over the region.

The government-run Xinhua news agency of China published photos of the map made by Hunan Map Publishing House and said in the caption “Islands in South China Sea share the same scale with mainland and are better shown than in traditional maps.”

The map shows China’s claim over the South China Sea by marking ten dash lines around the region just off the coasts of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines’ islands of Palawan and Luzon.

China’s claim over the region has been challenged by the Philippines before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos).

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio debunked China’s historical claims in public lectures saying that “There is not a single ancient map, whether made by Chinese or foreigners, showing that the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal were ever part of Chinese territory.”

“China’s so-called historical facts to justify its nine-dash line are glaringly inconsistent with actual historical facts, based on China’s own historical maps, constitutions and official pronouncements,” Carpio said.

China remains in control of large parts of the South China Sea and Chinese maritime security vessels have repeatedly used water cannons to drive away Filipino fishermen from Scarborough Shoal and from areas in the Spratly Islands.

Most reports on what has been going on in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) note that there could be gas or oil under these seas. I don’t think that matters. The reason why China is claiming our maritime waters is not for what is under the seas but for territory. By taking most of the territorial waters from weak ASEAN nations whose best interest for survival is allowing China to stretch  its boundaries, China would have stretched its defense perimeter against possible invasion by its Western military competitors.

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hvp 06.26.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

PNoy’s Visit with Abe

Malaya 06.26.14


“The Philippines was a signatory to the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty with Japan. Diplomatic relations were re-established in 1956, when a war reparations agreement was concluded. By the end of the 1950s, Japanese companies and individual investors had begun to return to the Philippines.”

by Ducky Paredes

        That our President was invited by the International Cooperation Agency Japan (JICA) to Hiroshima to talk about the Peace Efforts in Mindanao may have been a clever subterfuge but if I can get  suspicious, the Chinese probably also are.

        The result of the visit was our President urging  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make Japan more assertive in helping other nations in the region stand up to an aggressive neighbor.

            “We believe that nations of goodwill can only benefit if the Japanese government is empowered to assist others and is allowed the wherewithal to come to the aid of those in need, especially in the areas of collective self-defense,” Aquino said.

        Aquino endorsed the Japanese prime minister’s ongoing push to reinterpret Japan’s pacifist constitution to allow its military to defend not only Japan but also allies that come under attack.

        “There has been some debate on the Japanese government’s plan to revisit certain interpretations of its constitution,” Aquino told a joint press conference on his return home  following a luncheon meeting with the Japanese leader at his residence.

        Aquino said there are “ambiguities as regards the bounds of Japan’s ability to respond, even in the midst of an attack on its allies.”

        Aquino’s support comes as Japan and the Philippines deepen security ties in the face of China’s military expansion and territorial disputes they and other Asian nations have with China in the South and East China seas.

For his part, Abe thanked Aquino for the effort of strengthening their diplomatic relations.

        “I reaffirmed with President Aquino today the significance of the three principles of the rule of law, which I outlined at the Shangri-La dialogue and at the G7 meeting,” the Japanese leader said.

Abe said both Tokyo and Manila “are closely coordinating” in the “face of the regional situation becoming increasingly severe.”

        Neither Aquino nor Abe mentioned China by name, but both leaders referred to the changing security environment. China’s rise is a potential challenge to American dominance in the Pacific, and control of vital shipping routes as well as potential undersea oil and natural gas.

        “I explained to the President about the approaches we are taking under the policy of proactive contribution to peace, namely the drawing up of the three principles for the transfer of defense equipment and the studies which are underway on relationship between the right of collective self-defense and the constitution,” Abe said.

        Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is in the midst of tough negotiations with its coalition partner, the New Komeito, which has so far balked at Abe’s proposal to allow what is known as collective self-defense.

        Under the current interpretation of the constitution, the Japanese military can use force only to defend its homeland.

        China has criticized Japan’s push for collective self-defense, warning against the return of Japanese militarism that wreaked havoc across much of Asia before and during World War II.

        Aquino acknowledged the devastation the Philippines suffered at Japanese hands, but said his country’s relations with Japan have been marked by trust and unfailing support in the years since.


        The Philippines was a signatory in San Francisco to the 1951 Peace Treaty with Japan. Relations were re-established in 1956, when a reparations  agreement was concluded. By the end of the 1950s, Japanese companies and individual investors had begun to return to the Philippines.

Japan and the Philippines signed a Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation in 1960, but the treaty did not go into effect until 1973, when then-President Marcos declared Martial Law,  abolished Congress and ratified the treaty ten days prior to the visit of Prime Minister Kekui Tanaka.  By 1975, Japan had displaced the United States as the main source of investment in the country.

        Japan remained a major source of development funds, trade, investment, and tourism in the 1980s, and there have been few foreign policy disputes between the two nations.

        When  Cory Aquino was installed , Japan was one of the first countries to express support for the new Philippine government.]

        President Corazon Aquino visited Japan in November 1986 and met with the Emperor who offered his apologies for Japan’s Abuses during World War II. New foreign aid agreements also were concluded during this visit. Aquino returned to Japan in 1989 for Hirohito’s funeral and in 1990 for the new Emperor Akihito’s  enthronement.

* * *

         “We do not view with alarm any proposal to revisit the Japanese constitution if the Japanese people so decide,” Aquino said, “especially if this enhances Japan’s ability to address its international obligations and brings us closer to the attainment of our shared goals.”

        Aquino also said his visit to Japan was focusing on “the challenge of safeguarding our regional security by advancing the rule of law to protect our global and regional common interest.”

        Abe has repeatedly called for the rule of law to be upheld in the region as tensions simmer over territorial disputes involving China and the Philippines and some Southeast Asian states around the South China Sea, as well as between Tokyo and Beijing in the East China Sea.

        Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, even waters approaching the shores of neighboring countries, and has become more aggressive in enforcing what it says are its historical rights.

        When Abe visited Manila in July last year, he pledged Japan’s help in strengthening the Philippines’ maritime defense capabilities.

        Part of that was a promise of 10 patrol boats for the Philippine Coast Guard, which is on the front line of Manila’s spat with China.

        Later in the day, Aquino visited Hiroshima to attend a conference on the peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed early this year.

        Japan hosted secret talks between Aquino and MILF leader Murad Ebrahim in 2011, which later became recognized as a key moment in igniting the peace push.

        “Japan will continue to provide support so that peace can be maintained,” Abe told the conference.

        “Lastly, I should extend my congratulations for the recent peace agreement and express my respect for the leadership of the President. Japan will continue to provide support so that peace may take hold,” he said.

        During the visit, Abe informed Aquino about his country’s “relaxation of visa requirements for the Philippines toward the promotion of human exchange.”

        “It is hoped that many tourists from the Philippines would visit Japan,” Abe said

* * *

        On his return home, President Aquino said jailers should be considerate toward the 90-year-old Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile when he is arrested on plunder charges stemming from his alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

        “It seems there should be consideration to that, that is an established fact … I’m sure the courts are cognizant of fulfilling the obligations but at the same time, having as a factor the advanced age of Senator Enrile,” the President said at a press conference.

        Aquino recalled that when he was in the Senate with Enrile, the latter was already reading with a magnifying glass and constantly used eye drops.

        The Constitution itself, under the Bill of Rights, states that “cruel, degrading or inhumane punishment” should not be inflicted on a person, the President said.

        Enrile, a former Senate President has been charged with plunder and graft in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

        The Sandiganbayan division assigned to handle his case is expected to issue an arrest warrant against him any time now.

        Enrile allegedly funneled P683 million of his allocations from the PDAF to phantom projects proposed by Janet Lim-Napoles through bogus nongovernment organizations (NGOs) from 2004 to 2012, getting 50 percent in kickbacks.

         “I assure you that as long as I breathe, I have the strength and can still think, I will fight for the truth,” Enrile told officials from his home province of Cagayan who traveled to Manila to sympathize with him.


        Enrile is not unfamiliar with life in jail. He was charged in February 1990 with rebellion and murder for his alleged participation in a military coup against President Corazon Aquino in December 1989.

        He was arrested and detained at Camp Karingal in Quezon City, but was allowed to post bail by the Supreme Court a week later. The Supreme Court invalidated the rebellion charges against him in June 1990.

        A house arrest for Enrile is expected to draw howls of protest from people accusing the government of double standard—a special detention facility for the three senators and crammed cells for ordinary citizens.

        Putting the three senators in a regular jail will prevent the perception that justice is “two-tiered” in this country, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago says.

        In an open letter to Aquino, John Silva, the executive director of the Ortigas Foundation Library, slammed the government’s supposed special treatment of Revilla by giving him a newly constructed room for a detention cell at the PNP Custodial Center.

        Silva wrote in his letter that the jail conditions of the President’s father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., during the Marcos dictatorship was much worse than that of Revilla, considering that the elder Aquino was not jailed for stealing. .

        The President explained that despite having an air conditioner at some point, his father’s cell was bugged by authorities among others.

        But perhaps worse of it all was that his father was placed in solitary confinement.

        “For somebody who is a very sociable being like my dad, that solitary confinement was really, shall we say, mental torture,” the President said.

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hvp 06.25.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Sulat Mula Canada



ni Horacio Paredes


   Merong sjmulat na OFW mula sa Canada. Ayon kay Rafael Carig: “Duon sa mga kumento about sa ating mga nagnakaw daw… kaya po ganito ang aking salita sa kadahilanang dipa naman po sila sintensiyado. So I do believe na mga inosente pa sila. Ginagalang ko po ang opinion ng iba sa bagay nato. Ako’y galit din sa mga taong ninanakaw ang pera ng mga tax payer. Even dito po sa bansang maunlad na tinitirhan ko ay meron ding mga magnanakaw. We are not perfect & we don’t even live  in a perfect world, I know.

“Sobra ang dumi ng pulitika diyan– kampi-kampi or bata-bata system ang labanan. Kung malakas ka ay u always ahead of the game,  ika nga. Kahit siguro sino ang iupo mo mahirap magpatino ng isang bansa na walang displina ang mga tao at walang satispaksiyon sa buhay.  People in the Philippines have plenty of time on the street para magprotesta sa bawa;t kamalian ng gobyerno like mataas na gasolina. lumalalang iskuwater sa Pilipinas. The bottom line is laging ang prisedente at gobyerno ang nasisisi ng mga taong di masyadong naiintidihan kung bakit tumaas ang gasolina na inutil daw ang pangulo.  Por dios for santo naman me langisan ba ang Pinas na pinagkukunan.  

“Umaangkat lang po tayo at kung magkano ang bentahan ay ganuon din ang pasa sa consumer na me patong pa uli dahil di naman makararating sa Pinas ang produkto ng langis ng libre. Would u believe yang gasolina namin dito sa Ontario,  Canada ay almost $ 1.50 per liter sa regular although merong sariling langisan ang Canada. No one march on the street & people always busy sa paghahanapbuhay to feed the family.

” I remember whenI was young di po ako maka-Marcos pero makikita mo na mga panahong iyon may desiplina ang mga Pilipino. Nowadays, I don’t think so! Subukan mong tumawid sa tamang tawiran ng mga tao dika hihintuan ng mga sasakyan bagkus sisigawan kapa na wag kang tatanga tanga sa daan o wag kang maghanap ng damay garantisado yan at iyan ang mapapala mo sa mga driver na walang alam sa batas trapiko.

Subukan nyo pong magbigay ng 10 kendi sa indibiduwal na tao sa Metro Manila.  See it to urself after na makain  ang 10 kendi kung ano ang gagawin sa mga balat ng kendi. Eksperemento lang po pero for sure  masuwerte kana kung maka 5 ka o apat man lang ang di magtatapon sa kalsada.

Ito pong mga malilliit na plastik ng kendi sa ilang milyong pilipino na nagtatapon sa kalsada pag nagsama sama po iyan eh natural babara po iyan sa lahat ng kanal. To make the story short babaha po sa ating mga kalsada na isisi na naman sa gobyerno na wala daw mga silbi ang mga nakaupo. Natanong na po kaya natin sa ating mga sarili tayo po ba ay nagsilbi na din kahit sa maliit o simpleng bagay na ganito man lang. Bakit lagi po tayong naninisi sa mga bagay na tayo din naman ang me gawa ? Lagi po tayong naghuhuhugas kamay sa mga kamalian na ating nagawa. Sabi nga po nuong araw ni Marcos sa ikauunlad ng bayan displina ang kelangan! Agree po ako diyan. Life is always give & take parang 2 way traffic na kalsada me sinususnod na batas. Kung hindi ito lang patutunguhan mo — mamatay o ospital duon sa mga taong di marunong sumunod sa regulasyon. Marami pong salamat at its my first time to be here in ur column.

* * *

Ano naman kaya ang punto nito. Magaling si Marcos? Magaling magnakaw! Magaling pumatay ng mga kalaban. Sinungaling. Satotoo noong panahon ni Makoy, takot ang karamihan. Kita mo na pag-alis ni Marcos, hindi pa trin ng bago ang mga Pilipino, sumama pa nga. Dumami ang nakawan at patayan. SAna’y ang simunod kay PNoy ay kasing linis niya rin. Baka kapag sunod-suod ang malilinis na Pangulo, titino rin ang Pilipino.

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hvp (06.25.14)

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

Blaming PNoy for the PDAF Scam

“‘We can also assure Mayor Estrada that there is no systematic plan. What we have, however, is a plan to bring to court those who have been found to have misused their PDAF, and that would involve and affect anyone who have misused their funds whether you are friend or foe,’ says Lacierda.”



by Ducky Paredes

One would have expected that the fact that two of the three Senators first implicated in the Pork Barrel Scam of businesswoman Janet Napoles are now in jail that the public reaction would have been one of relief that the law applies equally to all. Unfortunately, assurances that allies of President Benigno Aquino 3rd will likewise be prosecuted if there is evidence against them has not been accepted by the general public. That Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda cites the case of former Customs Commissioner Rufino Rozzano Biazon, who was charged along with more than 30 others in connection with alleged misuse of priority development assistance fund (PDAF) or pork barrel has been mostly ignored.

The common belief is that  that only those identified with the opposition are being “persecuted” while administration allies are defended by the President.

“You were deaf to the fact that we have filed a case against an ally of President Aquino. You only complain about what you perceive as the prosecution of those identified with the opposition,” Lacierda told reporters.

Biazon resigned after he was dragged into the pork barrel scam last year.

 “We filed a case against an ally of the President. What is the message that we are sending with the fact that we have already filed a case against an ally of the President? Shouldn’t that be as clear, as fundamental, that we are color blind with respect to any investigation that involves anyone in the PDAF scam?” he asked.

On Monday’s detention of Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, an accused in the PDAF scam, Lacierda said the issuance of the warrant “is a step forward in finding out the truth, which is fundamental in strengthening the trust of our people in our institutions and processes.”

“We wish to reiterate what we have said. As the Sandiganbayan works to fulfill its mandate, we ask the Filipino people to remain vigilant throughout this process, bearing in mind that the outcome should clearly reflect the profound reality, that just as every Filipino is accorded constitutional rights, these rights are to be protected in a manner that is just and in the service of the truth.”

 “It’s not true that we are only focusing on the people who appeared to be against this administration, that is clearly not true. With respect to the other investigations, PDAF investigations, let me also remind the public that we have investigations that are ongoing with the DOJ [Department of Justice] and this would refer specifically to the Napoles NGOs . With respect to other non-Napoles NGOs, and which will also include other legislators and which are all found, by the way, incidentally in the COA Special Audit Report on 2007-2009. These are being looked into by the IAAGCC (Inter-Agency Anti-Graft Coordinating Council).” Lacierda said.

On the supposed involvement of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in the “pork” scam, he explained that there is a vetting process and thorough investigation being conducted by the DOJ.

“Now, as in all affidavits, they are being evaluated by the Department of Justice. We are following a process. So from the DOJ, the affidavits of whoever you are, are filed and are being evaluated by the DOJ. So, , we will go where the evidence leads us,” Lacierda said.

He belied claims of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada that there seems to be a “systematic plan” concocted by the Aquino administration to pin down personalities who are likely to run in the 2016 elections.

“We can also assure Mayor Estrada that there is no systematic plan. What we have, however, is a plan to bring to court those who have been found to have misused their PDAF, and that would involve and affect anyone who have misused their funds whether you are friend or foe,” says Lacierda.

Shouldn’t we all be happy that finally justice is being done — that those who stole from the people are actually in jail pending their trial, instead of worrying over the roaches and rats thaat Bong Revilla encountered on his first night in jail?

Instead, we look for where we can find fault in what the government is doing.

Clearly, our jails are mostly unfit for humans. But that is another reform that will need to sink in before we can face up to the problem. Perhaps, one way of letting that sink is to put more high-profile personalities in jail so that more people will know how bad our jails are.

The idea of jail is that of temporarily depriving the guilty and the accursed of their freedom. In more modern countries, the jails are more comfortable. The jails  in the U.S., for instance are air-conditioned in the hot months and heated in the cold months and prisoners get a healthy balanced meal cooked under the supervision of nutritionists. In fact, one who spent time in a US jail, says that he never had it so good.

As for our legislators who took the money in that PDAF Napoles Scam, they belong in jail with the present rats and roaches that also inhabit our jails.

* * *

Should Nora Aunor be proclaimed as a National Artist?  Yes, if this were not a government award. As long as the final say will come from the Presidential Palace, however, one must consider the politics, as in all things that the government does. What I found wrong in previous National Artist awards were those who were not on the lists submitted by the artistic organizations who were still given award. These included those who had helped the former President with her politics or had done something for her. In the case of Nora Aunor, I would think that her conviction for drugs when she was in the United States is enough of a reason for her not being hailed as a National Artist. Politically, declaring a drug offender as a National Artist has to be a no-no!

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hvp 06.24.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.

ASEAN-China Talks on the CoC

 Four ASEAN Member States are claimants to parts of South China Sea–the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei .”

 by Ducky Paredes


From the South China Morning Post in Hongkong comes this report:“China wants to promote peaceful development of the oceans, Premier Li Keqiang has said. At the same time, he warned that conflicts in the past had only brought “disaster for humanity”.

“His words come at time when China is involved in a growing dispute with its neighbours over the energy-rich South China Sea, which China claims almost in its entirety. It rejects rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei, making the dispute one of Asia’s most intractable and a possible flashpoint. China also has a long-running dispute with Japan in the East China Sea.

“‘China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and firmly oppose any act of hegemony in maritime affairs,’ Li told a maritime summit in Greece, according to the foreign ministry’s website. ‘Developing the oceans through cooperation has helped many nations flourish, while resorting to conflict to fight over the sea has only brought disaster for humanity.’

“At a forum in Beijing yesterday, China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who visited Vietnam last week to discuss a row over the siting of oil rigs in waters claimed by Hanoi, said Beijing had the patience and sincerity to push for talks to resolve such disputes, but China would not sacrifice its sovereignty.

“‘China will not trade its core interests and will not swallow the bitter pill of harming its sovereignty, security and development interests,’ said Yang, who outranks the foreign minister.

“Xinhua, in a report late on Friday, accused Vietnam of encouraging trawlers to fish in disputed waters around the Paracel Islands - which China calls the Xisha Islands and Vietnam the Hoang Sa Islands - by using financial incentives.

“‘Vietnamese seized by Chinese law-enforcement authorities for illegal fishing confessed that they were given large subsidies by the Vietnamese government to fish in ‘disputed waters’,’ Xinhua said. In addition, armed Vietnamese fishing vessels have repeatedly looted Chinese fishing boats, posing a serious threat to the safety of Chinese fishermen’s lives and property.

“The Philippines has meanwhile said it will ask an international arbitration tribunal to make a speedy ruling on its South China Sea dispute with China.”

* * *

Finally, China and the Asean are talking.

Senior officials of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are scheduled to meet today in Bali, Indonesia.

The officials will exchange views on the basic principles on a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea including measures and/or mechanisms that will add value to the Declaration on the Conduct (DoC) of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) to enhance greater trust and confidence among countries in the region.

During the two-day 11th ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the DOC, ASEAN and China will discuss an approach on the development of the CoC and consider a draft progress report on the implementation of the DOC and the COC process to be submitted for notation at the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC) Session with China in August in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

Arthayudh Srisamoot, Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs of Thailand, will co-chair the meeting, with China’s Deputy Director-General of the Department of Boundaries and Ocean Affairs He Wei.

In a statement, the Thai government said it attaches great importance to promoting cooperation and building greater trust and confidence among ASEAN Member States and China.

Thailand is also committed to accelerating the work of the JWG on DOC and will host the 12th JWG on DOC back-to-back with the 8th SOM on DOC in October.

The objective of the JWG on DOC is to maintain the momentum of dialogue and consultations between ASEAN Member States and China in promoting effective implementation of practical cooperative projects under the DOC framework and ensuring substantive progress in the discussions of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC) as mandated by senior officials at the 7th ASEAN-China SOM on the Implementation of the DOC (SOM on DOC) held in Suzhou last September.

Four ASEAN Member States are claimants to parts of South China Sea–the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying earlier urged the ASEAN members to commit themselves to a full and effective implementation of the DoC, enhance practical maritime cooperation, and steadily move forward the negotiation process of a CoC.

“All parties should endeavor to create enabling conditions and favorable atmosphere for these goals and make positive contributions to peace and stability of the region,” she said in a press briefing in Beijing last Friday a transcript of which was posted on the official website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

* * *

Berlin-based G Data says that a smartphone known as the Star N9500 (a rough approximation of Samsung’s popular Galaxy S4) includes code that can retrieve a range of personal data and even remotely control the device’s camera and microphone before sending the information back to servers in China.

“The possibilities with this spy program are almost limitless. Online criminals get full access to the smartphone,” said G Data’s product manager Christian Geschkat on the company’s website.

The spying functions of the device are built into the smartphone’s Android-based firmware (a basic level of software that cannot usually be accessed by consumers) and use a Trojan known as Uupay.D. The malicious code also blocks security updates to the phone, preventing the malware from being removed by Google.

The phone is available to buy on many Western website including Amazon and Ebay. It costs roughly £100 and offers attractive technical specs including a 5-inch screen and quad-core processor. Comparable devices from better known manufacturers can cost nearly three times as much.

(Ebay has now removed the Star N9500 from its site, saying “Due to reports that some Star 9500 smartphones are loaded with spyware, eBay is not allowing the sale of these devices as a precautionary measure.”)

 “Particularly good online deals sound enticing but should make buyers suspicious,” said Geschkat. “No one gives anything away.”

With Chinese factories able to cheaply and quickly churn out knock-offs of well known smartphone brands, security experts says incidents like this could become increasingly more common.

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hvp 06.23.14

Readers who missed a column can access This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at or you can send me a message through Twitter @diretsahan.