ABOUT three weeks ago, former Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) was unsettled and had “grave concern” about China’s move to militarize man-made islands, including installation of weapons systems, in the South China Sea.
He made the announcement after a foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association in Boracay. Interestingly, his statement came shortly after the US State Department expressed the same concern.
Quite expectedly, China did not take kindly to Yasay’s assertion. Consequently, Beijing abruptly decided to cancel the scheduled trip of the Chinese commerce minister’s trip to Manila to sign joint projects worth billions of dollars.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Yasay’s remarks “were not consistent with the healthy and rapidly developing ties between China and the Philippines.”
Yasay later denied it was his statement that caused the cancellation of the Chinese minister’s trip.
Just the same, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong found it necessary to reiterate his assurance to China that he will not raise, at this time, her reported militarization of, or the arbitral ruling favoring the Philippine claim to, the disputed areas.
“You know, time and again, when I went to China, I said we are not prepared to raise the issue of the arbitration award for the simple reason that we are yet to finalize the good relations between China and the Philippines. We cannot talk if we are still fighting. We should become friends first so when we face each other, there is respect and dignity on both sides,” Digong said.
And so, he appealed to the Chinese to reconsider their decision. They did.
Digong was “happy” to meet with Chinese commerce minister Zhong San and his delegation in Malacañang last week.
He told Zhong his decision to follow an independent “neutral” policy was the correct one.
“I also told him that, you know, we are in Asia, far from the maddening crowd of Europe… Sabi ko, ang swerte natin nandito sa Asia and since China is the leading industrial power, we’ll have to ally with them in trade and commerce and eventually improve on the bilateral relations and come out with a vibrant economy,” he said.
Digong also thanked China for her aid to the earthquake-hit Surigao.
The point I’m making here is that with Digong’s foreign policy already clear as daylight, i.e., “friends to all who would be friends with us, while at the same time maintaining the ‘good’ ties with old ones, and with only the national interest as the overriding consideration”, I am confident that such gaffes as the one committed by Yasay will not occur again while professionals are in charge of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The art of diplomacy and its nuances cannot be learned overnight. It takes years and years of experience and exposure in the realm of international relations to acquire sufficient knowledge and expertise to be able to ply it… well, ably.
The sheer enormity, the gravity and the magnitude of the illegal drug problem in the country that Digong inherited couldn’t possibly have happened just before he took over.
Everyone knows that the problem is the direct result of six years of utter neglect by the previous Aquino administration to stem the proliferation of the killer drug shabu. The huge shabu factories discovered by Digong did not sprout overnight. One of the biggest found was in Tarlac, Aquino’s own turf.
The De Lima case alone shows that the drug problem couldn’t have deteriorated so badly without the knowledge and probable connivance of some officials in the Aquino regime.
For this reason, many were happy to learn that the anti-crime group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) led by the indefatigable Dante Jimenez is “following up on several solid leads and will develop the case against other Aquino officials as soon as we can.”
VACC general counsel Ferdinand Topacio reportedly said:
“Looking at the evidence thus far uncovered holistically, the legal team has come to the alarming and terrifying conclusion that the Bilibid drug trade may not be confined to the Department of Justice during the time of Senator De Lima, but may go beyond that to other departments of government in the Aquino administration, and involving officials higher than then Justice Secretary De Lima.”
“The magnitude of the amounts involved, the huge number of participants and the impunity and cover-up concerning the illegal trading of drugs in the NBP justify the conclusion that it was a wider network than previously believed, and that its tentacles extended all the way to Malacañang Palace during the Aquino regime,” he added.
I believe it is incumbent upon the administration’s concerned agencies to lend a helping hand to the VACC to facilitate its investigation and case build-up.
She is no different from the person who appointed her as Ombudsman. Like ex-President Noynoy Aquino, she does not know or believe in the principle of command responsibility.
How can Conchita Carpio-Morales possibly indict former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad for the unconstitutional and illegal Development Acceleration Program (DAP) and absolve Aquino at the same time?
A percentage of the DAP was even allegedly used to bribe some senators and congressmen to impeach the late Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona.
As Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna said, Morales’ decision “is wanting for failing to indict the former president, who was ultimately responsible for DAP.”
“It is highly unacceptable why Aquino was spared when his very signature appears on the DAP (memorandum),” he said.
Morales’ decision on the Abad/Aquino case is reminiscent of the one she rendered in the case of former MRT boss Al Vitangcol whom she indicted for alleged corruption while absolving his boss, former Transportation chief Antonio Abaya, who signed the anomalous contract. Abaya was a close associate of Aquino and ex-DILG head Mar Roxas.
Morales was a recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award last year for “restoring the faith in the rule of law”.
In receiving the Award, Morales reportedly claimed that she “radically improved the efficacy and credibility” of the Ombudsman and “has shown the way towards a more coherent, concerted action against corruption.”
Really now? I find that hard to believe.
Is it any wonder then why there are calls from several quarters for her impeachment?
Today is the 321st 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:
I had the toughest time of my life. First, I got angina pectoris and then arteriosclerosis.
Just as I was recovering from these, I got tuberculosis, double pneumonia and phthisis, then they gave me hypodermics.
Appendicitis was followed by tonsillectomy.
These gave way to aphasia and hypertrophic cirrhosis. I completely lost my memory for a while.
I know I had diabetes and acute ingestion, besides gastritis, rheumatism, lumbago and neuritis...
I don’t know how I pulled through it all. It was the hardest spelling test I’ve ever had.