The Mabini Reef

By REY O. ARCILLA 
MALAYA

(It is important for us to see what the US does if and when Nonoy decides to repel the Chinese provocative move in Mabini Reef. If she helps, then I say the EDCA was worth it. If not, then throw the agreement to the dustbin.)

Mabini Reef

Mabini Reef

The government says it will exhaust all diplomatic and legal means to prevent China from turning Mabini Reef into another Mischief Reef.

They ain’t gonna work! We’ve tried them before… in vain.

As I said in my last column, we should do as Vietnam has done in the disputed Paracels where China has planted an oil rig. She stood pat despite the ramming of her ships by the Chinese and withstood the latter’s water canons. They showed the Chinese they are ready to die for what they believe is right. And the Chinese have backed down. They have not withdrawn the oil rig and their ships, but neither have the Vietnamese withdrawn their ships.

We should send some of our ships to Mabini Reef forthwith no matter how decrepit they are to prevent the Chinese from undertaking any more activities on the isle and turning it into another fortified military garrison like Mischief Reef. We should show the Chinese we are ready to fight and die for what is ours. Sure, we are no match for them and they can easily obliterate our naval vessels. But that would be an attack on our territory. That would be an opportunity for the US to put her money where her mouth is. Isn’t that what EDCA is for?

I wonder if anyone has noticed that US Secretary of State John Kerry termed the Chinese action against the Vietnamese as “provocative”. On Mabini Reef, not a peep. And Vietnam is not even an ally, or what Washington likes to say a “treaty ally” to whom she has an ironclad commitment, an ally who should not stand alone.

A military source said, “We are doing all necessary means through the usual protocols. We are exerting what is necessary to dissuade or discourage them.”

What “means”, pray tell? And through what “usual protocols”? The Chinese have already rejected our diplomatic protest.

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President Noynoy Aquino may wish to take note of what his friend, Prime Minister Najib Razak, said about Malaysia’s policy regarding her territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

Razak said the policy is not to jeopardize the “strategic importance” of his country’s ties with Beijing.
“We must look at the big picture and not define relations with China on a single-issue basis but look at the broad spectrum of the relations, and recognize the strategic importance of our bilateral relationship with China. We do not want [the territorial] issue to be an impediment to the growing ties between Malaysia and China,” Razak said during his recent visit to Japan.

Noynoy has uttered similar sentiments in the past which everyone thought was fine. But being the Amboy that he and his minions are, he succumbed to US pressure to “jeopardize” the “broad spectrum of relations and recognize the strategic importance of our bilateral relationship with China” by approving the lopsided Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

That is why it is important for us to see what the US does if and when Nonoy decides to repel the Chinese provocative move in Mabini Reef. If she helps, then I say the EDCA was worth it. If not, then throw the agreement to the dustbin.

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Vice President Jejomar Binary has gotten it all wrong. He said he didn’t mind the report that the US National Security Agency had spied on him last year.

The point is, it is not about him. A foreign power has been spying on us and the number two official of the land doesn’t mind?! I wonder what he would do should he become president.

Obviously, spying on officials of a foreign government or even private persons is for an ulterior motive designed to subvert the interests of those spied upon. President Binay? Hmm…

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The soon-to-retire AFP chief, Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said the EDCA is a “creative way to counter threats”. So how come China is reclaiming land on Mabini Reef obviously intended for military purposes and it is not countered? That’s a threat to us. Even to the US.

Noynoy’s administration is desperately trying its best to defend EDCA before the eyes of our people and the world.

For the umpteenth time, I would like to state categorically the simple truths which the EDCA advocates have been trying so frantically to obfuscate:

1) The EDCA is lopsided. It is decidedly not mutually beneficial.
2) It was entered into by the US because it is in her interest to do so, not for the love of us.
3) The US needs to have an increased presence in these parts to deter China from completely dominating the region.
4) The fact that by virtue of the EDCA, there will be US troops and military facilities, equipment, etc., based on our soil is irrefutable.
5) They may not be in the nature of the former US bases in Clark and Subic, but the fact still remains that there will be US troops and facilities based on our soil. Section 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution prohibits that… unless ratified as a treaty by both parties!

There… I hope that is clear enough to be understood by everyone, particularly those narrow-minded defenders of EDCA.

I hasten to clarify, however, that had the EDCA been a more equitable arrangement that is truly mutually beneficial, then that would be a different story.

Let me repeat… the US is here merely because it is in her interest to be here. Our perceived interest is only incidental to hers. Example: it was in her interest to invade Iraq. Now they have moved out because it is no longer in her interest to remain there. Same thing in Afghanistan. She will be moving out this year because it is no longer in her interest to be there.

More, she has not chosen to enter the fray in Syria because it would not be in her interest to do so, regardless of the massive human rights violations against the Syrian people. Likewise, she is not risking a confrontation with Russia over the Crimea and the Ukraine because it is not in her interest to do so, regardless of her much-vaunted democratic advocacy.

And closer to home, she has decided to stay neutral in our territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea, unlike in the case of Japan, because her relations with China are more important to her than her relations with us. Her relations with Japan are also worth more to her than those with us. We are just a convenient tool in preserving and protecting her interests in the area.

So there… any question?

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China and Russia have just concluded a 30-year $400 billion gas supply agreement. The huge deal was finally signed after a decade of negotiations.

Under the contract, Russia could eventually be supplying 38 billion cubic meters of gas to China.

Hopefully, this development may somehow quench China’s thirst for energy supply and temper her aggressive and provocative moves in the South China Sea that are apparently driven by her need for more energy to fuel her still growing industries.

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For a while, the so-called Three Furies of the Nonoy administration have been much ballyhooed.

These days, however, the fire in the bellies of these three Furies appears to have severely dissipated.

Ombudsman Conchita Morales has been taking her sweet time to lodge the complaint against alleged plunderers in the Sandiganbayan. Right now, she is on some insignificant errand abroad while Noynoy’s bosses anxiously await the arrest of the alleged plunderers.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has been mired in the Napoles affidavit. She is also reportedly under extreme pressure from Malacanang to sanitize it.

And Commission on Audit Chairman Grace Pulido Tan appears to have stopped dead in her tracks in the pursuit and exposure of wrongdoers in government. Worse, her track record of following up on anomalies unearthed by COA has been pathetic.

Among these is COA’s exposure of irregularities in the handling by the GSIS head, Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara, of members’ contribution to the state pension fund, subject of the second item in the Reminders (for Noynoy) section below.

There is also the still outstanding and unbelievably obscene compensation of P16.36 million that Vergara received in 2012, as well as the issue of the huge bonuses that members of the GSIS Board of Trustees (trustees, my foot!) received last year and the year before that.

Paging Ms. Tan who, reports say, is among those about to be nominated to a pending vacancy in the Supreme Court.

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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;

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, as well as how much he received in 2013; and

(b) That, about a year ago, at least P4.13 billion in contributions and loan payments made by 12 government offices to the GSIS had not been credited to the offices as of Dec. 31, 2011.

COA also said at the time that the amount of unrecorded remittances could go much higher because only 36 agencies have so far 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?

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!

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Today is the 30th day of the eighth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.

Four weeks ago, Jonas’ mother, Edita, reminded Noynoy in a letter of his promise to conduct a “dedicated and exhaustive investigation” on her son’s enforced disappearance.

“Our hope was anchored on your promise to do what you could ‘on the basis of evidence’ when I personally pleaded for your help. This was almost four years ago, May 2010,” she wrote.

Mr. President, Sir?

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From an internet friend:

To the persons who would screw up my day, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your crotch and may your arms be too short to scratch. Hehehe…

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27 May 2014

Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/reynaldo.arcilla.9847


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