Obama sees the light

By REY O. ARCILLA
MALAYA

(Obama finally corrected the grave mistake he and his underlings have been making when they kept upbraiding China by telling her to abide by the UNCLOS.)

President Obama Delivers Commencement Address At West PointAsked about the Chinese apparently building a military base on Mabini Reef which belongs to the Philippines under international law, President Noynoy Aquino merely said that China is violating the 2002 ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Noynoy added that since the Declaration has no legally binding effect, it was necessary for a Code of Conduct (COC) to be agreed upon between ASEAN and China.

His response was a non sequitur. It doesn’t make sense at all. He knows that ASEAN cannot forge a COC due to the lack of consensus among its members on the South China Sea territorial disputes. That was made manifest since the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. A COC will not come about in the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, what are we to do with China’s continuing occupation of areas that lie within our Exclusive Economic Zone? We have seen what she has done on Mischief Reef which is also ours. After Mabini, which one next? Ayungin Shoal? Pag-asa? China has already taken over Panatag.

Noynoy also reportedly brushed aside the suggestion that he should now invoke the recently concluded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US. Why not? Didn’t he say that EDCA is primarily meant to deter China from making further advances in her claim to almost the entire South China Sea?

As I said last week, “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?”

Didn’t President Barack Hussain Obama also say that the US commitment to us is ironclad and that no ally should stand alone?

If the US does not deliver on EDCA, let’s throw it to the dust bin and start talking with China in earnest. What other choice do we have? I’d like to know.

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It has taken a while but Obama finally corrected the grave mistake he and his underlings have been making when they kept upbraiding China by telling her to abide by the UNCLOS in pursuing her claim over nearly the entire South China Sea.

Obama, in his recent foreign policy address, urged the US Senate to ratify the Convention.

“It’s a lot harder (I say, embarrassing) to call on China to resolve its maritime disputes under the Law of the Sea Convention when the United States Senate has refused to ratify it – despite the repeated insistence of our top military leaders that the treaty advances our national security,” Obama said.

“That’s not leadership; that’s retreat. That’s not strength; that’s weakness,” he added.

Indeed, I always thought it was most embarrassing for US officials to keep telling China to abide by the Convention when their government itself has not even ratified it.

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From out of nowhere, Noynoy said that under the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), there is nothing we can do to penalize the Chinese poachers of giant turtles who are now on trial before our court.
Sometimes, Noynoy gives the impression he does not know whereof he speaks. To begin with, he is not a lawyer.

It’s good his justice secretary, Leila de Lima, immediately clarified that UNCLOS discourages imprisonment of poachers, but those arrested would still be subjected to local laws and therefore would have to be treated as “alleged violators” with “the right to post bail”.

What Noynoy has done with his ill-advised statement was to give the impression that he was defending the Chinese poachers or pre-empting the trial court from rendering the right decision.

Question is “was that a Freudian slip on the part of Noynoy?” I hardly think so. I think it was more of an attempt to project what he thinks he knows. He appears to be confused about the issue when he reportedly mused about waking up every morning and the first thing that comes to his mind is why China? Or why is China doing what she does? Duh?!

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People believe that the hard drive given to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by the NBI has been tampered with and sanitized.

At first, the NBI said there were portions deleted but that it was able to retrieve them. Afterwards, it retracted and said that some deletions were irretrievable.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) said that the hard drive given to them by Ben Hur Luy’s parents remains intact. I believe them. The Senate should ask PDI to submit to it that hard drive or a copy of it and throw away the NBI’s.

In this connection, I believe the nation owes the PDI a debt of gratitude for having exposed the pork barrel scam. Otherwise, those conscienceless senators and congressmen who partook of the pork barrel would still be merrily stealing huge government funds at the expense of the people whose interest they presume to represent. Bastards!

It has become evident that the pork barrel scam continued on to the Aquino administration. Why is the Commission on Audit (COA) taking so long to render a report on the scam since Noynoy became president four years ago? I hope the protracted delay has nothing to do with the fact that COA Chair Grace Pulido Tan is a candidate for a seat in the Supreme Court.

This space also said last week that Tan appears to have stopped dead in her tracks in pursuing and exposing 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.

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In the eyes of his bosses, Noynoy’s budget secretary Forencio Abad and agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala are as guilty as hell in the pork barrel scam. True to form, however, he said they still have his trust and confidence.

To me, it only shows that he is a poor judge of character. Is he just being a good friend or he just doesn’t want to accept or admit those two (and others in his official family) are as corrupt as they are alleged to be because of the principle of command responsibility?

Admitting to one’s mistake is not bad. On the contrary, it shows good character.

Then again, as I have said before, it really is not entirely Noynoy’s fault. It’s his people’s, whose greatest character flaw is lack of delicadeza. And it is not Alcala and Abad alone. There are others… like Del Rosario of DFA, Executive Secretary Ochoa, Abaya of DOTC, Mar Roxas of DILG, Petilla of Energy, De Lima of DOJ, Paje of DENR, Soliman of DSWD… The only exception I could think of is Rogelio Singson of DPWH.

Of course, the bottom line is that Noynoy is the one ultimately responsible to his bosses for choosing these people and he, and only he, will have to answer to his bosses when the time for reckoning comes.

Chief presidential spokesman Sonny Coloma has appealed to Noynoy’s bosses not to direct their outrage at Malacanang.

It wasn’t there before… only now that the pork barrel scam has reached the doorstep of the palace. Already, Noynoy ally, Senate President Franklin Drilon and close friend Paquito Ochoa are also allegedly involved, aside from Abad, Alcala and Villanueva. Can his bosses be blamed?

Is there still time for Noynoy to effect the necessary reforms to make the daang matuwid straight again? Just about. But he has to act fast and get rid of the undesirable and dead wood in his ranks. His last two minutes are already ticking.

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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 37th day of the eighth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.

Five 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:

With age comes skills. It’s called multi-tasking… I can laugh, cough, sneeze, and pee all at the same time.

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3 June 2014

Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com

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


2 Responses. Have your say.

  1. Albert says:

    if the president will not listen to the plea of his bosses (masang Pilipino) to address the corruption charges of which his cabinet members are involved, his daang matuwid will become daang matuwad….and the famous kung walang corrupt walang mahirap…no wonder majority of us Pinoys are still mahirap. shame on you Mr. President Pnoy sir ! very truly yours, one of your bosses.

  2. Gabriel says:

    To blame others is the easiest to do. But COA must do its job, Dept. Justice with the Sandigan Bayan by completing all the legal documents to make these verbal blames turn into convictions. Thus, to avoid or even eliminate government corrupt officials.

    Let us be patient and let us watch what will happen as I believe that these women who are the COA Head, Sandigan Bayan Head, Justice Dept Head and also BIR will definitely our greatest assests. Thank God for these brave and straight mothers.

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