BY REY O. ARCILLA
‘Puno was the one who unabashedly said two years ago that he is the only person who can tame Noynoy.’
PRESIDENT Noynoy Aquino failed to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Vladivostok.
His foreign secretary, Albert “Amboy” del Rosario, earlier announced that the meeting between the two was to take place Sunday.
“It just came to a scheduling challenge, but as you can see the scheduling challenge turned out to be a bigger challenge than we anticipated,” Del Rosario said.
How naïve! If Hu wanted to see Noynoy, he would have made time, period.
Noynoy’s controversial friend and kabarilan is in the news again. Oh, he is also the same person who unabashedly once claimed he is the only person who can tame Noynoy!
DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno allegedly tried to enter the residence and offices of the late Secretary Jesse Robredo one day after the latter’s plane crashed off the coast of Masbate. The late secretary was reported to have been conducting investigations of alleged anomalies in the Philippine National Police over which Puno has overall supervision. Documents related to the investigations were thought to be in the residence or offices of Robredo.
Then a report came out that Puno and PNP chief Nicanor Bartolome allegedly approved a midnight deal to buy some 60,000 Glock pistols for the police for almost P1 billion. The deal was reportedly signed on the same day it was announced that Mar Roxas II was to take over DILG and that Puno was to be removed from his post. In this regard, it is also not lost on many people that Noynoy named officer-in-charge of DILG another kabarilan and close buddy, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa.
Word is that Robredo had also been investigating the P600-million procurement of ammunition for the PNP involving Puno.
While many were anxiously waiting for Noynoy’s reaction to these reports concerning his buddy, he told reporters in Vladivostok where he was attending the APEC Summit that he ordered Puno to “lock down” the offices of Robredo, but not the latter’s condo unit.
It will be recalled that notwithstanding the severe criticism against Puno for admitting that jueteng lords have approached him even before he took control of the PNP at the beginning of Noynoy’s watch and his bungling of the Luneta hostage taking incident where eight Chinese nationals died, Noynoy adamantly kept him on in the DILG.
As I was writing this piece, Noynoy, in an obvious attempt to get the blazing heat off his shooting buddy, announced in Vladivostok that he will replace Puno with incumbent PNP chief Bartolome who he said he might ask to retire earlier than March when he reaches mandatory retirement age.
Aside from allegedly being involved in the aforementioned anomalous pistol deal, there were also unconfirmed reports that Bartolome once was talked to by Robredo about fighting jueteng but allegedly was non-committal which disappointed the late secretary.
And now Noynoy wants him to replace Puno?! Hmmm…
In the meantime, Senator Miriam Santiago insists she will sponsor a Senate resolution to have Puno investigated. She should go ahead with the move even after Puno is removed from the DILG.
Before she went to Beijing last week, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Asean to unite on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute with China and forge a Code of Conduct to govern competing claims in the area.
Right on cue, Del Rosario hailed Clinton’s statement.
By golly, haven’t we been saying the same thing all along? Why does he have to echo Clinton? Oh, I nearly forgot – he is an Amboy.
Clinton also reiterated the US stance about maintaining freedom of navigation and the need for unimpeded flow of commerce in the disputed sea lanes. The minute she reached Beijing, the Chinese gave assurance that freedom of navigation in the area is assured and that they will work together with Asean on the Code of Conduct. They didn’t say when though.
Apparently satisfied, Clinton said: “We believe the US-China relationship is on a strong and solid base. We are able to explore areas of agreement and disagreement in a very open manner, which I think demonstrates the maturity of the relationship and the chance to take it further in the future.”
So what happens now to our rightful claim to some of the islets and shoals in the WPS? US is still neutral, of course. In the meantime, the Chinese have been solidifying their claim by establishing a garrison and fortifying installations in those occupied by them. In short, we are still on our own when it comes to our claim.
Asean unity? As I have been saying all along, the Code of Conduct isn’t going to happen as long as China holds sway on some of the Association members. Cambodia alone is likely to continue to toe the Chinese line on the WPS.
Reuters reported that for what Cambodia did in Phnom Penh last month, China immediately gave her over $500 million grants and loans, plus $25 million as a “gift” to use as she pleases. (That is more than the $21 million additional US aid to us next year that Del Rosario had been harping about.)
China also gave “positive” consideration to Cambodia’s proposal for the former to provide $300 to $500 million new loans per year for the next five years, repeat, five years, for yet unspecified projects.
On top of all that, a Chinese company planned to invest $2 billion to build a steel plant in Cambodia that would employ about 10,000 people. The plant will produce 3 million tons of steel a year.
Reuters further said that last year, China invested in Cambodia $1.9 billion, more than double the combined investment by Asean countries and 10 times more than that of the US.
Now, if you were in Cambodia’s shoes, would you change stance? Put another way, can Asean or the US match or surpass China’s “generosity”?
A friend asked me why Del Rosario had to fly to Syria again last week. Before I could even reply, he said:
“Didn’t he send an advance team there to oversee the repatriation of our nationals? And didn’t he also earlier send his future ex-undersecretary Rafael Seguis to ensure the smooth repatriation of the OFWs? So why did he have to waste government money to go there for one day? Surely, not to oversee the repatriation process as he himself said.” (It was actually Seguis, I am told, who managed to convince the Syrian Government to waive its exit visa requirement through the intercession of Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and reportedly a friend of Gloria Arroyo’s alleged money bag Medy Poblador whom Seguis contacted before going to Damascus.)
Again, before I could utter a word, my friend quickly added: “Or is he just being a publicity hound? A photo-op with the poor ‘repatriates’ at the embassy’s holding center, that’s what it was. I remember he did that too in Libya – six Filipino engineers were reported missing, the embassy in Tripoli found them safe, had their travel documents fixed and was ready to ship them home when Del Rosario, or was it Seguis, instructed the embassy to wait for them. The same thing happened. Del Rosario and Seguis posed with the engineers and subsequently released the photos and video clips to the media.”
Finally, I said to my friend, “Well, I don’t think I can add anything to what you have already said.”
The Supreme Court ruled that Filipinos with dual citizenships cannot run for elective posts. They have to renounce their foreign citizenship first as prescribed in Republic Act 9225.
In this regard, sub-section (3), Section 5 of RA9225 states:
“(3) Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear to an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of office: Provided, That they renounce their oath of allegiance to the country where they took that oath.”
I cite this provision of law because earlier, I wrote that some DFA personnel have allegedly acquired dual citizenships, including Del Rosario. Needless to say, they should comply with the law.
As for those who have permanent residence status in another country, logic dictates they should give it up too while they are still in the active service because of the very delicate nature of their job in the foreign service.
Let’s watch what Del Rosario does on this matter.
Headline: “Lawmakers want ‘honesty is the best policy’ posters all over schools.” Huh?! Nah, I don’t think they were trying to be funny. Do you?
It’s a good idea but I believe, as many others do, that priority should be given to every congressman’s office and all the nooks and crannies in the Batasan complex. In the Senate too! Indeed, in all the branches of the government, including the judiciary and the executive all the way down to the barangay level!
Reminders (for Noynoy’s action):
1) Filing of charges against officials of the National Food Administration (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; 2) Investigation of reported anomalies in the GSIS during the watch of Winston Garcia; 3) Facilitating the investigation of rampant corruption in the military and police establishments; and 4) Expeditious action by the AFP on the case of Jonas Burgos.
Today is the 128th day of the sixth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.
From an internet friend: (Not politically correct, but it sure is witty.)
A twin-engine passenger plane has engine failure and the altitude and speed are decreasing rapidly. The pilot speaks over the intercom… “I’m sorry it has to come to this ladies and gentlemen, but unfortunately we are going to have to jettison the luggage in order for the aircraft to remain airborne.”
Baggage is thrown out but still the plane’s speed continues to decrease and once again the pilot gets on the intercom… “I hate to do this folks but in order to save the majority we are going to have to start off-loading some passengers. The only fair way is to do this is alphabetically, so we’ll start with the letter ‘A’ – Africans? Are there any Africans on board?” There was no answer so the pilot calls… “‘B’ – “Black people, are there any black people on board?” Again silence… “‘C’ – Colored people? Are there any colored people on board?” Still there is silence.
A little black boy sitting near the rear of the plane turned to his mother and said… “Mum, ain’t we African? Ain’t we Black? Ain’t we Colored?”
She replied… “Yes, son but for the moment we is Niggers. Let them do the Muslims first. If that don’t work we is Zulus.”