Sleeping with the Americans

By REY O. ARCILLA 
MALAYA

(“I hope, Sir, he sleeps with them like a prostitute, not a slut. At least prostitutes get paid, but not sluts.”)

VFAA DFA member of the Philippine panel that negotiated the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US reportedly said that “we can now sleep soundly because of EDCA”.

When I was told this, I said “that fellow must like sleeping with the Americans, just like his boss, the Super Amboy Albert del Rosario.”

Then, one of my students remarked: “I hope, Sir, he sleeps with them like a prostitute, not a slut. At least prostitutes get paid, but not sluts.”

The DFA undersecretary for policy also reportedly said that with all the adverse comments made about EDCA from various quarters, the fact remains that the Filipino people like it, or some words to that effect.

I don’t know what the basis of this fellow’s statement is. Has the DFA engaged the services of a pollster? When? Or did he conduct the survey himself by asking the average man-on-the-street? Hmm… Anything to defend their folly…

It’s sad. These fellows are supposed to be smart, not dumb, career officers. Sure, they were merely following instructions, but they should have just kept quiet after they’ve done what they were told to do. I know that they know deep in their heart of hearts that EDCA is not at all mutually beneficial. If their boss tells them to keep peddling EDCA, they could perhaps feign illness or something unless, of course, they really believe in what they are saying. If that is the case, then I could only feel sorry for them.

But I doubt that is really the case. It is more likely they had in mind what happened to former Assistant Secretary for American Affairs Carlos Sorreta who was unceremoniously removed from our negotiating panel. Word is that Sorreta showed independence of mind by insisting on what he believed is what is good for the country, not for the US.

I have no idea who had him removed from the panel. Definitely, it must have been Del Rosario who told him he is out. As to who gave Del Rosario the instruction to get rid of Sorreta is another matter. (Sorreta was thought to be one of Del Rosario’s fair-haired boys.) I think we could safely assume it was President Noynoy Aquino and/or the Americans who did.

Sorreta has since been shunted to the “benign” post of Director of the Foreign Service Institute. But he certainly has nothing to apologize for. Sooner or later, he will be vindicated… sooner, if the Senate members find the wisdom and the courage to reject the agreement, or the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional.

******

The Philippine Constitution Association said the “country’s security is more important and should have preeminence over possible legal and technical infirmities in the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)”.

Agree. But the question is does EDCA guarantee Philippine security? From what? A Chinese attack on Philippine territory? They are already doing that by occupying one at a time reefs in the WPS that belong to us. And what have we gotten from our American friends? Words, that’s all, words! “Words without swords are but words.” Think about that!

******

Dennis Blair, retired chief of the US Pacific Command and former Director of National Intelligence, has the same view I have on how to deal with China’s aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). He said the Philippines “can’t just sit there” and watch as China encroaches in what she considers as her sovereign territories. He added that the Philippines should be “equally forceful” and stand up to China’s behavior in the WPS.

As I pointed out in my last column, look at Vietnam. She didn’t just sit there when China set up an oil rig in an area in the Paracels claimed by Vietnam. She resisted it against great odds and is firmly standing her ground. As a result, China felt the need to send a high ranking official to Hanoi to try and settle things amicably. The absence of news about any more untoward incident occurring in the area seems to indicate that both countries are still trying.

******

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said that the Department is still studying whether or not to file a protest against Beijing’s recently published new map that shows mainland China’s national territory extending to the coasts of the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

I think he should just follow his instinct and propose instead to his superiors that we publish our own map covering areas in the West Philippine Sea. It should, however, be consistent with the provisions of UNCLOS. Such a map shouldn’t cause any stir among other claimants in the South China Sea, including China, a signatory to UNCLOS herself. That would also be consistent with the earlier directive of Noynoy naming the area west of the country the West Philippine Sea.

******

Noynoy went to Japan for the specific purpose of expressing support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for a re-interpretation of the country’s pacifist constitution. Some say the US weighed in on him to go there.

At present, the Japanese constitution prohibits its Self-Defense Forces from having a greater military role by joining collective military efforts overseas.

If Noynoy thinks that by supporting Abe’s effort, he can rely on Japan to come to our aid in case of an attack by China, he is sadly mistaken.

To begin with, there is no consensus within Japan itself for Abe’s move. And knowledgeable sources think he is not likely to get what he wants.

Be that as it may, it behooves Noynoy to inform his bosses what he got in return for supporting Abe. Was he able, for instance, to get more military hardware from Japan? Or, at the very least, secure an assurance that Japan will finally apologize for the use of “comfort women” for Japanese soldiers during WWII and compensate them for the pain and humiliation they suffered?

******

I think Noynoy can expect more heckling from now on from his bosses, especially from the youth. It is one of the unmistakable signs of the growing disenchantment of his bosses in his administration.

The disenchantment will become even more serious with the rising cost of prime commodities and the looming power shortage.

******

The Commission on Audit (COA) has just named the top highest paid government officials last year.

And guess who came out number one… GSIS head Robert “Pretty Boy” Vergara, reportedly a Noynoy protégé, with the staggering amount of P12.09 million!

Vergara, who has been playing “dedma” to the apparent irregularity in the handling of GSIS members’ remittances [please see Item 2 of Reminders (for Noynoy) portion below], was also number one in 2012 with a take home pay of P16.36 million!

If Vergara won’t explain to his paymasters (poor government employees) his obscenely huge pay in 2012, he at least owes them an explanation for its significant drop in 2013.

Vergara’s counterpart in the Social Security System (SSS), Mr. Emilio de Quiros, Jr., received much less – P7,073,393.09 last year. And I think it is safe to say that the SSS has more members and much bigger assets and investments to manage than the GSIS.

******

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. That was four long years ago.

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 over 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!

******

Today is the 66th day of the eighth year of Jonas Burgos’ disappearance.

Nine 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?

******

From an internet friend:

Why I (would) like retirement:

Q: How many days in a week?

A: 6 Saturdays, 1 Sunday

Q: When is a retiree’s bedtime?

A: Two hours after he falls asleep on the couch.

Q: Why don’t retirees mind being called Seniors?

A: The term comes with a 20% discount.

Q: What is the common term for someone who enjoys work and refuses to retire?

A: NUTS!

******

1 July 2014

Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com

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


Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *