June 27, 2017, 10:07 pm
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Cauldron

NO, the Russians are not coming. They are already here, in a manner of speaking, after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong asked them to “come back more often”. 
The wish for the Russians to come back more often was expressed by Digong when he visited the Russian Navy’s anti-submarine ship Admiral Tibuts last week. 
Russian ambassador Igor Khovaev said his government is open to conducting military exercises with Philippine troops. 
“Any joint exercise, any joint drill, that’s an opportunity to share experience, to learn [from] each other, to share practical skills. And it’s very important in our common struggle against threats to security and sustainable development,” he added. 
Like Digong, however, the ambassador said that Russia is not seeking to establish a military alliance with any country within the Asia-Pacific region. 
The military presence of China, Japan, Russia and the US could very well make the South China Sea a cauldron, characterized by the conflicting interests of the big powers that could lead to instability and a potentially dangerous merry mess in the region, with the Philippines right in the middle of it. 
Heaven forbid! 
***
The US has been known to intervene in the elections of other countries. Certainly in the Philippines. 
Now, she knows what it’s like to have the shoe on the other foot! 
Thirty-five Russian diplomats were expelled by Washington for alleged hacking of the Democrat Party’s emails that reportedly altered the outcome of the presidential election last November. 
Moscow supposedly intervened to help Republican Donald Trump win over Democrat Hillary Clinton. 
***
Digong’s appointee as Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Teodoro Locsin, has called for an end to killings that mark Digong’s war against illegal drugs. 
Locsin also expressed his opposition to the restoration of the “barbarous” death penalty. 
Both directly contradict Digong’s avowed policies. 
It will be recalled that Vice President Leni Robredo got kicked out of the Cabinet for expressing the same views, in addition to her opposition to the burial of President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. I wonder what Locsin’s take is on that one. 
So far, I have not heard or read of any reaction from Malacañang to Locsin’s statement. 
The UN, for criticizing his conduct of the war against illegal drugs, has been the target of Digong’s ire and vitriolic attacks. Lately, he has called the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights a joker and an idiot for branding him as someone who has committed murder. 
The primary duty and responsibility of the the Permanent Representative to the UN is to state his government’s policies on domestic and international issues and, if warranted, to explain and defend them. 
I have no idea how Locsin will be able to do that if he really meant what he said about the drug war killings and the death penalty. Apparently, he has taken to heart what he said Digong told him when he was offered the position – “you do not have to defend me” or some such words. 
Needless to say, defending Digong personally is different from defending what are now national policies. 
***
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong returned to Manila from Davao City after a holiday break by flying economy on a PAL regular flight.
I am impressed. I only wish he’d be as economy-minded when it comes to his travels abroad. I do not mean he should sit in the economy section on those trips. No. What I mean is that he should be mindful of people’s money being spent on such huge entourage as he had brought along in his several trips abroad, people who obviously have nothing to do at all with the purpose of the trips. 
He obviously has forgotten one of his campaign promises – that when he goes on official travel abroad, he would have no more than five members in his entourage. A hyperbole, obviously. But a retinue of over a hundred each time he goes abroad?!
Perhaps he should adopt the practice of his immediate predecessor. Soon after a trip, Malacanang would issue a press release stating how much of people’s money was spent on it.
***
With the spate of reports about the alleged plot to oust Digong, spawned by the so-called Goldberg blueprint, I thought of reproducing hereunder what I wrote in August last year:
 “That there are sinister forces lurking in the shadows plotting to “neutralize” President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong is, I think, a given.
 “There are, first, the drug lords and their coddlers, e.g., politicians, policemen and appointed government officials among them; second, the oligarchs/elite, big unscrupulous businessmen and the political dynasties who have been virtually ruling the country for decades and are averse to change; and third, many say, a foreign government that has a history of overthrowing or trying to overthrow and even “exterminating with extreme prejudice” leaders of foreign countries who do not kowtow to it.
 “Considered as the most insidious and dangerous among these forces are the oligarchs/elite, the political dynasties and big unscrupulous businessmen, presumably aided or encouraged no less by the foreign government concerned. These vermin allow themselves to be used by the foreign government, only to be called and treated like its lapdogs later.
“The drug lords and their coddlers can readily be dealt with as can be seen in the war that Digong is waging against them.
“One of the tools apparently used by these sinister forces to get rid of Digong is the mainstream media, mostly owned by oligarchs. First, they try to demonize or discredit him by purveying false or distorted information about him and what he is doing, with the help of his political detractors that litter the Senate, the Lower House, the judiciary and the remnants of the unlamented Aquino administration and its crooked officials.
“And that’s exactly what these media are doing now. They portray Digong’s crusade against the drug menace as one that completely disregards the human rights of the bad guys, while at the same time totally ignoring the basic human right of the millions, repeat millions, of victims – their right to live! For what kind of a life are they left with? They might as well be dead or at least called the walking dead! And what about the tragic consequences to their kin?
“Where in heaven’s name is the logic in that?
“To quote reform activist Orion Perez: ‘There’ve been lots of foreigners (including former Filipinos like American Loida Nicolas Lewis) meddling in the Philippines’ internal affairs based on wrong and incomplete information that results from the malicious and deliberate misinformation campaign by oligarch-owned anti-reform mass media companies in the Philippines.’
 “These sinister forces also resort to other means to discredit Digong and his fight against illegal drugs. They egg the United Nations and client states of mostly Western powers to weigh in on him.
And the UN foolishly complies without giving due regard to the UN Charter provision (Article 2, paragraph 7) prohibiting it from intervening in the domestic affairs of member states.
 “Instead of criticizing, the UN and the Western countries concerned should help the Philippines in its war against illegal drugs and assist us, for instance, to build more rehabilitation centers.”
***
With our 11-year old granddaughter Sabrina and her parents in tow, we motored to Laoag and Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte just before Christmas. 
The very long road trip could have been more pleasant and definitely faster and safer (to and fro) were it not for the motorcylists and tricycle drivers who insist on using the center lanes of the road notwithstanding the fact that, except for a few stretches, the national road from Pangasinan to La Union to Ilocos Sur and finally to Ilocos Norte, have paved shoulders as wide as the center lanes.
For some reason, however, the motorcylists and tricycle drivers are pretty oblivious to the fact that it would be better for everyone’s safety, especially theirs, for them to use the paved shoulders which, I’m fairly certain, were intended for them.
Oh, and don’t even dare to honk your horn at them, just to warn them that you are about to overtake them. You would get the dirtiest, if not the deadliest, look ever.
Something ought to be done about this sad situation.
***
Today is the 258th day of the tenth year of Jonas Burgos’ enforced disappearance.
The family and friends of Jonas hope that the Duterte administration will not be part of the continuing cover-up. The Burgos family implores Digong to haul the perpetrators to justice and bring Jonas back home even with the appointment of Gen. Eduardo Ano as AFP chief who was implicated in the abduction of Jonas almost ten years ago.
***
From an internet friend:

Q: Why did the woman cross the road?
A: I don’t know, but where’d she get shoes and what is she doing out of the kitchen? 
***
Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com
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Column of the Day

In flagrant plagiarism

By DEAN DELA PAZ | June 27,2017
‘The concepts of self-plagiarism apply where contractors who rehash material they created for others subsequently charge for the same material and its creative groundwork several times over.’

Opinion of the Day

Clash of clans

By ABIGAIL VALTE | June 27, 2017
‘Until the president emerges from his most recent period of unexplained absence, the question persists: will he mediate and force peace, or won’t he?’