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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

THE RARE INTERVIEW


By REY O. ARCILLA 
MALAYA
(Noynoy’s interview with a gay comedian elicited a lot comments from his bosses, mostly negative.)
President Aquino and Vice Ganda
President Aquino and Vice Ganda
President Noynoy Aquino has vowed to improve airports and other infrastructure.
Four and a half years into his six-year one term presidency? Too late na yata. Bakit ngayon lang?
And does he think he can do it with an incompetent and obviously good-for-nothing transportation and communications secretary in the person of Emilio Abaya who couldn’t even get his act together to fix the problems of the MRT alone?
Alright, Noynoy has honest and efficient public works secretary Rogelio Singson. But how much more “daang matuwid”, bridges, ports can he construct in the remaining months of Noynoy’s term? Besides, Singson must already be so frustrated with building more daang matuwid because every time he starts one, many of his colleagues in the Cabinet and sundry politician-allies of Noynoy waste no time littering it with their corrupt practices.
“Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”. Eh bakit higit na maraming mahirap ngayon, makalipas ang apat at kalahating taon?
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The interview of Noynoy with a gay comedian elicited a lot of comments from his bosses, mostly negative.
With so many burning issues that confront his administration, both in the domestic and international fronts, he could have granted the rare interview to discuss them with a veteran and knowledgeable journalist from either the print or broadcast media.
As it were, his interview with gay Vice Ganda was anything but presidential. What a waste of the chief executive’s time! Maybe Noynoy simply feels more comfortable with the likes of Ganda who is in showbiz and is a good friend of his sister Kris, just as he felt he had to be at the “royal” wedding of a showbiz couple while hundreds of thousands of his bosses were being battered by a typhoon in the Visayas and Mindanao.
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The de facto defense alliance among the Australia, Japan and the US against a perceived hostile China because of territorial disputes in both the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea/West Philippine Sea (SCS/WPs) appears to be solid only on paper.
The Australians have just made clear they would overwhelmingly reject siding with Japan against China over an ownership dispute of Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands in the ECS.
The Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that according to a survey published last week, the Aussies would prefer to remain neutral over the issue. They also said they would not support backing a Japan-US alliance in case armed conflict broke out between Japan-US and China over the Senkakus.
It doesn’t matter to them that Australia and Japan have just decided to strengthen military and economic ties, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has described Canberra as Tokyo’s “best friend”.
The clincher is that China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, with the two-way flow exceeding Aus$150 billion ($122 billion).
Hindi tayo nag-iisa! Welcome to the club, Japan! The US, our much-revered and trusted ally, also said she is neutral in our territorial dispute with China in the SCS/WPS, remember?
The lesson here for Noynoy and his coterie of Amboys led by his “Super Amboy aka Giant Smiley” foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, should be very plain to see. We should take a page from the Australians.
But, of course, we have to educate and familiarize our people on the issues first. Sadly, Noynoy, wasted one of his rare interviews which he could have used to do so.
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Another AFP report says that the US has just given 250 mine-resistant armored vehicles to the Iraqi army for its campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group. Can you imagine how much that kind of assistance can help our armed forces in fighting the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the New People’s Army (NPA)?
The AFP report also says that Washington gave Iraq $300 million worth of weapons, materiel and training last year that included 12,000 sets of body armor, Kevlar helmets and medical kits, as well as counter-IED (homemade bomb) equipment, and vehicle, tank and helicopter maintenance training.
Go ahead, weep, Armed Forces of the Philippines.
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A US-owned drone was recently found off the coast of Quezon Province.
The US Embassy said the drone was unarmed and that it is “an expanded BQM-74E Aerial Target” launched during a naval exercise last September in waters off Guam.
Two years ago, another US drone was found off the coast of Masbate. That too was supposed to have been launched during a naval exercise in Guam and drifted all the way to Masbate.
I hope the DFA and the DND are not buying the US yarn. Both drones could have been used to spy on the Philippines. Remember former US National Security Agency official Edward Snowden’s revelations about US spying on countries, including allies like the Philippines? Then again, they could have been launched for surveillance activities in the SCS/WPS. The question is have our authorities been informed of such activities. My guess is they have not. And we are a sovereign country?
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Noynoy wants his pet project, the ill-conceived Bangsamoro autonomous entity (sub-state, some say), to become a reality before his term ends, supposedly believing it will finally bring peace to Mindanao.
However, no one, save for Noynoy and company, thinks that peace will descend on Mindanao once, if ever, Bangsamoro comes to pass.
Already, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), announced that it will join the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari in fighting a Bangsamoro led by the MILF.
That, actually, would be history repeating itself. It will be recalled that the MILF was a faction of the MNLF that broke away from the latter when the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) under Nur Misuari was established.
One must also not overlook the fact that other stakeholders in the region, e.g., Christians, lumads, etc., were marginalized in the negotiations leading to the hoped-for creation of a Bangsamoro autonomous region. That was a sure-fire formula for disastrous results.
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Justice Secretary Leila de Lima vowed to facilitate the resolution of the petition filed by US marine Joseph Pemberton seeking the dismissal of the murder case filed against him for allegedly killing Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude in Olongapo last October.
It might be a good idea for De Lima to coordinate her moves on the Pemberton case with her DFA counterpart, Super Amboy Del Rosario, who also vowed: “It’s my job to make (VFA) work. Justice will be served.”
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Reminders (for Noynoy):
1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Authority (NFA) during Arroyo’s illegitimate regime. Noynoy himself said on several occasions that there is documentary evidence to prove the venalities in the past in that agency. That was more than four and a half years ago.
2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia and order his successor, Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara, to file the proper charges, if warranted, against the former.
Noynoy should also order Vergara to report to him on COA’s findings that: (a) He received the obscenely excessive compensation of P16.36 million in 2012 making him the highest paid government servant then. He was also the highest paid in 2013 with P12.09 million. I wouldn’t be surprised if he again tops the list in 2014; and
(b) That over a year ago, at least P4.13 billion in contributions and loan payments made by 12 government offices, maybe more by now, to the GSIS had not been credited to the offices as of Dec. 31, 2011.
COA also said that the amount of unrecorded remittances could go much higher because only 36 agencies have at that time responded out of the 186 that were sent confirmation requests by government auditors. Of the 36, 27 confirmed “discrepancies” in their premium and loan payments ledgers when compared with those of the GSIS.
There are three questions being raised when remittances, or parts thereof, of government agencies are not recorded by the GSIS on time: a) Where are these huge sums “parked” in the meantime?; b) Do they earn interest?; and c) To where (whom?) does the interest, if any, go?
Pray tell, Mr. Vergara, what is the present status of these funds, including those that may have been remitted since and not yet recorded by the GSIS? How long do you think you can “dedma” these questions?
I believe it is time for COA to follow up on what Vergara has done on the above findings so that affected GSIS members would know the status of their contributions!
In this connection, I would like to address this question to Mesdames Grace Pulido Tan and Heidi Mendoza of COA: “Is Vergara one of the sacred cows in Noynoy’s coterie whom you are afraid to investigate?”
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Today is the 249th day of the eighth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
The trial of the primary suspect in the enforced disappearance of Jonas, Maj. Harry Baliaga, Jr. has finally begun about five months ago, after seven and a half years.
I dread to think how many more years it will take before Jonas’ disappearance is finally resolved. Or, for that matter, the items in the Reminders above. I am beginning to think it will not be during Noynoy’s watch.
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From an internet friend:
A man had just boarded and settled into his seat next to the window on the plane when another man sat down in the aisle seat and put his Black Labrador in the middle seat next to the man.

The first man looked very quizzically at the dog and asked why the dog was allowed on the plane.

The second man explained that he was from the Police Drug Enforcement Agency and that the dog was a sniffing dog.

“His name is Sniffer and he’s the best there is.
I’ll show you once we get airborne, when I put him to work.”
The plane took off, and once it has leveled out, the Policeman said, “Watch this.” 
He told Sniffer to ‘Search’.

Sniffer jumped down, walked along the aisle, and finally sat very 
purposefully next to a woman for several seconds.

Sniffer then returned to his seat and put one paw on the policeman’s arm.

The Policeman said, “Good boy”, and he turned to the man and said, “That woman is in possession of marijuana. I’m making a note of her seat number and the authorities will apprehend her when we land.

“Gee, that’s pretty good,” replied the first man.
Once again, the Policeman sent Sniffer to search the aisles.

The Lab sniffed about, sat down beside a man for a few seconds, returned to its seat, and this time he placed two paws on the agent’s arm. 
The Policeman said, “Two paws mean that man is carrying cocaine, so 
again, I’m making a note of his seat number for the police.”

 “That’s great,” said his seat mate.
The Policeman then told Sniffer to ‘Search’ again.

Sniffer walked up and down the aisles for a little while, sat down for 
a moment, and then came racing back to the agent, jumped into the 
middle seat and proceeded to shit all over the place.

The first man was really disgusted by this behavior and couldn’t 
figure out how or why a well-trained dog would behave like that.

So he asked the Policeman, “What’s going on?”
The Policeman nervously replied, “He has just found a bomb!”
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Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com
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