December 12, 2017, 9:39 am
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UN resolution on Myanmar

THE Philippines voted against a draft UN General Assembly resolution calling on Myanmar to end military operations against the Rohingya Muslims. It also calls for “full and unhindered humanitarian aid access and for Myanmar to grant full citizenship rights to the Rohingya”. 
The draft resolution will be debated in a plenary meeting of the General Assembly next month for a final decision. 
However, our Permanent Representat77ive to the UN in New York, Teodoro Locsin, Jr., said the Philippines should have abstained instead. He said he was in Manila for the Asean
 Summit when the voting took place in the Third Committee. 
His staff hadn’t briefed him on what was happening in the Third Committee before he left New York? Did he make his recommendation for abstention to the Home Office or instruct his deputy to do so at the appropriate time, but was overruled? No matter. That’s water under the bridge.
 “It will be different when it goes to plenary. I will push for abstention. It is the right thing…,” Locsin said.
Now, that’s a different story. 
Leaving aside the pros and the cons of a “no” vote or an “abstention”, it is my considered view that changing our vote 
in plenary to “abstention” may not be the “right thing” to do – that is, if the Department supports Locsin.
First off, it will definitely give the impression that there is dissension in the ranks and that our left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. That won’t be good for obvious reasons.
More importantly, it will make others wonder where the Duterte administration actually stands on UN interference in the domestic affairs of member states which is prohibited by the UN Charter.

THE FOREIGN
SERVICE ACT 

Can a president override provisions of a Republic Act passed by Congress?
I ask this because of the recent appointment of former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella as an undersecretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Section 6 of Republic Act 7157, known as the Philippine Foreign Service Act of 1991 states:
 “SEC. 6. Undersecretaries.—Upon recommendation of the Secretary, the President shall appoint three (3) undersecretaries to advise and assist the Secretary in the formulation and implementation of the Department objectives and policies, and to coordinate and oversee the operational activities of the Department of Foreign Affairs.” 
Abella is now the sixth undersecretary in the Department! 
Does the above provision mean that the Secretary can recommend the appointment of more than three undersecretaries? If so, did Secretary Alan Cayetano do so?

DOTr USEC CHAVEZ 

Department of Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez irrevocably resigned over the recurring MRT glitches.
In his resignation letter, Chavez said “simple sense of delicadeza” gave him no choice but to resign.
 “I hope the President understands that in the light of recent events involving the MRT3 System, simple sense of delicadeza which I have adhered to throughout my professional life gives me no choice but to resign from my said position,” he said.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said he was “surprised” at Chavez’ resignation. 
Was he surprised at Chavez’s sense of delicadeza too?

ROQUE’S MRT RIDE

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said his ride in the MRT and LRT was “not that bad”. 
Natcherly, he took the ride not during rush hour; he didn’t have to queue up; but above all, there were no glitches like decoupling of the train, air-conditioning breakdown, sudden opening of doors, broken rail, sudden loss of power, etc., etc., etc. 
Some comments of commuters:
 “Nakakaabala”; “daming security at alalay”; “may hatak pang media”; “trabaho ba ng spokesman ‘yan?”; “stunt in aid of election?”; “naranasan kaya ni Mr. Roque ang makipagtulakan, mahipuan, o kaya e makaramdam ng takot tulad ng nararamdaman ng ordinaryong commuters tuwing sasakay ng tren? Kung hindi, his MRT experience is sooo kulang. Balik!! Dapat rush hour ha! 
At the end of his ride, Roque was quoted as saying that what was needed was “more MRT coaches and good maintenance service providers.” 
Huh?! Obvious ba? Everybody knows that!!!

NEW SENATE OFFICE 

Fourteen (14) senators voted to build a “world class” and “iconic” new home in Taguig City by 2020, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate accounts committee.
Are the honorable senators who voted for the resolution so uncomfortable in their present offices that they feel the need to move? 
I think their sense of timing sucks! 
For starters, P90 billion is needed for the rehabilitation of Marawi city and its inhabitants. That alone, surely, requires greater priority over the Senate’s move, considering the government’s meager resources.
If at all a new government building has to be constructed, it should be that “ghost-infested” presidential palace (?) by the stinking Pasig River. 
The official residence of the head of state or government, aside from the national emblem, is a national symbol of a country. It is, therefore, fitting and proper that it is one that the Filipino people could be proud of. 
Needless to say, any incumbent resident should be one too!

MAGUINDANAO
MASSACRE

Eight long years and nothing has happened so far in the trial of those accused of perpetrating one of the worst crimes in recent memory – the Maguindanao Massacre of 58 people, 32 of them journalists.
And if the proposal of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for the abolition of the Court of Appeals does not prosper, will the crow turn white before those guilty are made to pay for their grievous sin?
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong has vowed to help the victims’ relatives for an early conviction of the guilty ones.
Let’s watch what happens.

KIDS IN THE SENATE

Kids “took over” the Senate in celebration of World Children’s Day 2017 last week.
For an hour, they expressed their concerns and called on legislators and policymakers to attend to the issues directly affecting them.
I wouldn’t have minded at all if they took over the Senate permanently. Not one of them, I’m sure, has any insidious agenda.
*** 
Today is the 208th day of the eleventh year of the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of the late press icon and founder of this newspaper.
After the acquittal of Major Harry Baliaga, Jr., the only person formally charged with Jonas’ kidnapping, I guess what happens next is now up to Divine Providence.
***
From an internet friend:
A 72-year old man had one hobby - he loved to fish. 
He was sitting in his boat the other day when he heard a voice say, “Pick me up.” 
He looked around and couldn’t see anyone. He thought he was dreaming when he heard the voice say again, “Pick me up.” 
He looked in the water and there, floating on the top, was a frog. The man said, “Are you talking to me?” 
The frog said, “Yes, I’m talking to you. Pick me up, then kiss me and I’ll turn into the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. I’ll make sure that all your friends are envious and jealous, because I will be your bride!” 
The man looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked it up carefully and placed it in his shirt pocket. 
The frog said, “What, are you, nuts? Didn’t you hear what I said?” I said, “Kiss me and I will be your beautiful bride.” 
He opened his pocket, looked at the frog and said, “Nah. At my age, I’d rather have a talking frog.”
*** 
https://www.facebook.com/reynaldo.arcilla.9847
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Column of the Day

The Silence breakers

By ABIGAIL VALTE | December 12,2017
‘There are still thousands who cannot afford to come out and stand against these monsters without risking the fragile fabric of their lives.’

Opinion of the Day

Duplicity

By REY O. ARCILLA | December 12, 2017
‘Today, President Digong brought us to a position where we can stand tall as an independent country, with our dignity back and not the lapdog of anyone. – Gen. Sotelo’