By Reynaldo O. Arcilla | The Manila Times
REMINDERS — I am placing this segment at the beginning of my column in the hope that the authorities concerned will stop ignoring (dine-deadma) the issues listed below:
1. Is the US coming back to Subic? – There was a report that the mainstream media both here and abroad have so far ignored (i.e., that Australian shipbuilder Austal and US private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management will reportedly soon take over the Subic Bay yard from Hanjin Shipping, a South Korean firm that went bankrupt in 2016).
Late last month, this newspaper reported that Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Robert Empedrad, former Philippine Navy chief, said a contract has already been finalized and that the above-cited Australian and American companies will take over the former US naval base soon.
Empedrad also reportedly said the US and Australia were eyeing the yard as a possible ship repair and maintenance facility (read, naval base). He added that US and Australian naval presence at Subic Bay could bolster national security.
That would directly run counter to what President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte said in his fifth State of the Nation Address in July:
“Kaya ‘yang maglagay-lagay ka ng base at this time, this will ensure if war breaks out because there would be [an] atomic arsenal brought in this will ensure the extinction of the Filipino race,” he said.
For the sake of transparency, Digong should inform the Filipino people what the actual lowdown is on the report, bearing in mind his promise to rid the country of foreign troops and military bases.
2. The notorious Smartmatic – In June last year, Digong directed the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to search for a replacement for poll technology provider Smartmatic.
Has Digong changed his mind? If not, shouldn’t he order the DICT to come up with its recommendation forthwith?
With the Comelec now virtually composed of his appointees, it should be a cinch to “convince” them to get rid of Smartmatic pronto.
Already, people are talking about the next elections. I believe Digong should now make good on his word; that is, if he hasn’t changed his mind.
3. Fugitive Andres Bautista – In November last year, Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd urged the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to serve the arrest warrant issued by the Senate on former Comelec chairman Bautista for contempt for ignoring the Senate hearings into his alleged ill-gotten wealth. It was his wife, who blew the whistle on him.
Bautista was earlier impeached by the House of Representatives but resigned and left the country before standing trial in the Senate. It was later found out that he had fled to the US.
What, if any, is Sotto and/or the government doing about seeking his extradition from the US to face the charges against him? Isn’t flight a sign of guilt? Maybe his passport should be canceled to force his return?
Methinks the government should do something to effect the return of Bautista to dispel rumors that he holds by the b…lls certain powerful politicians, who allegedly benefited from the use of Smartmatic.
Shouldn’t we, at least, ask the US government to have him extradited? Let’s see how it will react to such a request. What, if any, is Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Tweeterboy” Locsin Jr. doing about this? Nothing, I guess, being the Yellowtard and Amboy that he is.
* * *
The kind of friend and ally the US is:
A friend is not supposed to do things behind the back of a friend!
The US, which brandishes itself not only as a friend, but also as an ally of the Philippines, did just that.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said a US Air Force plane used a Philippine-assigned International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) code recently without our knowledge while flying over the Yellow Sea, obviously on a spying mission.
“What could happen [is that] it could implicate or incriminate the Philippine side. But we simply have to remind our US counterparts of the implications… Para bang nagpanggap (as if pretending to be operating) on our behalf,” Esperon said.
He said the authorities concerned have communicated with the US embassy here over the matter but have not received a reply as of this writing.
The US has reportedly used the same ruse on other countries, particularly Malaysia.
How can you trust a friend like that?
Locsin, Yellowtard and Amboy
I wonder…how come nothing is heard from “Tweeterboy” Locsin on the matter? Locsin, who now talks about “strictest highest standards of partriotism”?! (He was referring to Filipino companies that are now expected to avail of the lifting by President Digong of the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the West Philippine Sea.)
Incidentally, has the US Embassy ever replied to his admonition that, “Sabah is not in Malaysia. If you want to have anything to do with the Philippines, you better edit that announcement if you know what’s good for you.”
And who can ever forget what Locsin said during a US Fourth of July celebration as reported by a Philippine Star columnist: “She (America) is the larger image of ourselves as we are her smaller image, and we care for her as we hope she cares for us.” Duh…
By the way, nothing has been heard, so far, from Locsin about his trip to China last weekend. Strange…
PDEA destroys illegal drugs
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) destroyed P6.25 billion worth of seized illegal drugs in compliance with Digong’s directive issued about 10 days ago to destroy all of them in one week. P6.25 billion? That would be a very small portion, a drop in the bucket, of all illegal drugs seized in the last four years. The closure of several shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) factories and those smuggled through the Bureau of Customs alone (remember the two giant “magnets” that were supposed to contain huge amounts of shabu?), among others, come to mind.
I daresay the PDEA and other custodians of seized illegal drugs have a long way to go.
And the courts too!
* * *