Hello world!

doy1

I shall be writing topics as it comes to mind. It could be topics, past or present, but relative to the times. I shall also be reacting to articles published, whether domestic or foreign, and voicing my opinion. My views shall always be objective.

Every now and then I shall also be sharing with you videos, photos, sayings and graphics of people, animals, places, etc., that I find interesting, which I hope you will appreciate.

Also, there are times when I will be posting articles about facts – why it happened that way or what could have been if something else happened.

I welcome you to my blog site and I look forward to inter-acting with you. Your participation, your thoughts and commentaries, either for or against, will be very much appreciated. We may have differences in opinion but that is the essence of being rational, to be able to agree to disagree. It is my aim that as we go along we enlighten not only ourselves but also those that finds the opportunity/chance to visit this site. Let us enrich each other in knowledge and build each other up in friendship. Thank you. Jesus Sievert a.k.a  Quierosaber

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¡Hola mundo!

Escribiré temas como estos vienen a la mente. Esto podría ser temas, pasadas o presentes, pero con relación a los tiempos. También reaccionaré a artículos publicados, doméstico o extranjero, y expresaré mi opinión. Mis vistas siempre serán objetivo.

De vez en cuando también compartiré con ustedes vídeos, fotos, refranes y gráficos de la gente, animales, lugares, etc., que encuentro interesante y espero que lo aprecian.

También, hay tiempos cuando fijaré artículos sobre hechos – por qué pasó así o lo que podría haber sido si algo más pasara.

Bienvenidos a mi sitio de blog y espero colaborar con Vd. en el futuro.

Su participación, sus pensamientos y comentarios, para o contra, serán muy apreciados. Podemos tener diferencias en la opinión pero eso es la esencia de ser racional, ser capaz de consentir en discrepar. Esto es mi objetivo que como continuamos, aclaramos no sólo nosotros mismos sino también aquellos  que encuentran  la oportunidad/posibilidad de visitar este sitio. Déjenos enriquecer el uno al otro en el conocimiento y en la amistad. Gracias. Jesus Sievert alias Quierosaber

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The WPS joint exploration

China President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte

After the Philippines and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in November last year for the joint oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), governments of both countries are now in the process of creating an intergovernmental steering committee that would supervise the projects.

The MOU has adopted a 60-40 sharing scheme favoring the Philippines, which President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged as acceptable to him.

What is making the MOU contentious, however, especially among the opposition, is the statement made by Duterte earlier saying that China had vowed to adopt a 60-40 sharing in exchange for setting aside the 2016 landmark ruling by the arbitral tribunal.

To be specific, what made Duterte’s statement disagreeable and disturbing is his use of the word “ignored”, like saying that the arbitral ruling on the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would be “ignored” so that China could help the Philippines spur “economic activity” in the country’s EEZ.

Well, we all know that Duterte does not have the gift of gab, so why would the critics of Duterte continue believing immediately what he says instead of maintaining a degree of skepticism about its truth?

Thankfully, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, who knows Duterte like the palm of his hand, is ingenious enough to explain and make sense of what the president wants to convey to the public.

Thus, Panelo was able to clarify that what Duterte actually meant by ignoring the 2016 arbitral court ruling on the South China Sea is to leave it at that since the ruling is deemed permanent, binding, final and in the words of Panelo, unappealable.

I think Duterte, astute as he is, knows where he stands because even as he raised the 2016 landmark ruling by the arbitral tribunal Beijing still refused to budge from its claim of ownership over most of the South China Sea, including areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

So why not just take the opportunity and let the joint exploration happen? Clearly, we could never do it on our own and with China so entrenched in the area it is sheer folly to expect that some foreign nation will come and dare partner with us in exploring for gas and oil in the area.

Ignoring instead China’s offer to have its resources and expertise available for oil and gas exploration on the WPS is further stagnating the country rather than reaping the benefits that will help propel the country forward and alleviate the lives of Filipinos while complementing at the same time the financial assistance China is offering to countries for their infrastructure projects.

Bato’s wacky metaphor

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa

Handpicked by then presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief on May 19, 2016, then Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa already showed his propensity to be funny.

But since Bato was not born comic, his jokes simply appear to be nonsensical, but just the same people laugh half-heartedly to make him feel good. Perhaps this is his way of making rapport with his audience, but it does not really work for him. Being funny is not his forte.

And so, even as a senator he continues to display that penchant to be funny as in the metaphor he gave when he likened the responsibility of all Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chiefs to waiters in a restaurant and the legislators who crafted Republic Act 10592, otherwise known as the  Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, as the cooks.

“Why pin the blame on us? We are just implementing the law,” Dela Rosa told ANC. “Hindi naman kami ‘yung gumawa ng batas na yan. Nagi-implement na lang kami diyan.” (We are not the ones who made the law. We just implement it.)

He further explained, saying, “Ikaw ba nag-order ng pagkain, [pag] hindi masarap ‘yung pagkain, pagalitan mo ‘yung waiter? Dapat ang pagalitan mo yung chef na nagluto ng pagkain, hindi ‘yung waiter. Ang waiter, nag-serve lang ‘yan ng pagkain,” (When you order food and it is not good, are you going to scold the waiter? The one to be scolded should be the chef who cooked the food and not the waiter. The waiter only served the food.)

I am not disagreeing with the senator’s explanation, but I definitely have an issue at the kind of metaphor he used.

The analogy Bato used is simply wacky, if not irrational, and in the context that he used it, one can only describe it as out-of-whack!

I mean, how self-deprecating can he be about himself and the other generals who have been BuCor chiefs to compare their military rank and position to that of a lowly waiter?

I think the senator has really overlooked or failed to understand the essential or important part of being a BuCor chief and why the choice for a high ranking military officer who has gone to the premier military school of the land to manage it, and not with the mentality of a lowly waiter trying to eke a decent living.

That the brain and brawn of Bato has been cut out for military service that I do not doubt. But what I doubt very much is whether or not he would be apt to his job as a senator.

It appears that his simplistic analogy comparing BuCor chiefs to waiters does not speak well of him as a member of the senate.

The real culprit

 

The public uproar, turned outrage, created by the near release of convicted murderer/rapist, then-Calauan, Laguna, Mayor Antonio Sanchez, can only be construed as divine intervention.

Divine intervention in the sense that it not only opened the public’s eye to the corrupt practices existing inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) under the watch of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), but in learning about the sad fact that the suppose impartiality of Lady Justice in her blindfold with regards to wealth, power and other status do not hold true anymore inside the correctional facility.

The scandalous controversy involving Sanchez’s aborted release, after having been sentenced to seven terms (1 term is equivalent to 40 years ) of reclusion perpetua in 1995 for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her boyfriend, Allan Gomez in 1993, comes on the heels of a successful, yet fishy, discharge from the NBP of three convicts sentenced to 40 years in prison for the rape and killing of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong of Cebu City in 1997.

The common denominator for the two heinous cases is the now much talked about Republic Act No. 10592 or better known as the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

For all intents and purposes it is a law that rewards good behavior in detention, but for the presumptuous, incompetent and unscrupulous members of the management organizational hierarchy of BuCor who simply reads but not learn by heart the statutory provisions of the law, there is bound to be failure or anomaly in the implementation of the requirements or non-requirements of the law.

Such has been the justifiable reason for the public outcry when BuCor signed the release papers of hundreds of prisoners, including convicted rapists, murderers and drug traffickers, when, in fact, under the GCTA law criminals convicted with heinous crimes are excluded from its benefits along with habitual delinquents, escapees and recidivists, but allows for a reduction of sentences of other persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), depending on how well they abide by rules and regulations inside “any penal institution, rehabilitation, or detention center or any other local jail.”

The GCTA law had the humane purpose to not only help unclog the country’s overcrowded jails, but giving chance to those deemed rehabilitated, including the infirm and the elderly whose sentence does not fall under the category of heinous crimes.

Unfortunately, the BuCor allowed the GCTA law to be bastardized, corrupted and made a lucrative business at the expense of even those not convicted of heinous crime, but trying to get rehabilitated, productive and living exemplary lives inside the NBP so that, through the GCTA law, they could earn good-conduct credits for them to be freed sooner than their full term sentence requires.

Thus, there is nothing morally wrong with the GCTA law, and neither can we blame those already freed, especially those imprisoned for murder, rape and other heinous crime, whom President Duterte is calling and directing to surrender or they would be considered fugitives with bounty on their heads.

The truth of the matter is that the real culprit could only be the BuCor hierarchy for their blatant display of ignorance of the GCTA law in its entirety.

 

What betrayal?

President Duterte and former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario.

I still can’t seem to fathom why, after President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China in August, former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario came out with a statement saying that the president’s acceptance of Beijing’s continued rejection of Manila’s 2016 arbitral victory on the former’s nine-dash-line claim over almost the entire South China Sea may constitute a betrayal of public trust.

This after Duterte kept his promise to discuss the 2016 favorable arbitral ruling with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the Philippine’s rights over the disputed waters and after the latter was quoted as telling his Filipino counterpart to “put aside” the maritime dispute between the two countries, and instead, focus on pushing forward a deal to jointly explore oil and gas in the disputed waters of the South China Sea (SCS).

“For the Philippines to have been asked to agree that it will not bring up the issue again is to effectively accept without equivocation that China is above the rule of law. This would be so wrong. It would be a betrayal of the trust we have placed in our governance,” Del Rosario said.

Due to China’s continues refusal to accept the ruling handed down by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Del Rosario suggested that the Philippines should now prepare a strategy to bring the arbitration ruling issue before the United Nations (UN).

Now, what betrayal then is Del Rosario talking about and how would the UN resolve China’s occupation and militarization of the SCS, of which the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is part of?

What betrayal has been committed when not even the greatest nation, the United States (US), nor the foremost peace and security keeping body, the UN, has been able to stop the bold and blatant display of hegemony in this part of the world?

Just because Duterte does not want to bring up ever again the Hague’s 2016 ruling invalidating Beijing’s sweeping nine-dash claim over the SCS, to include the WPS, for the simple reason that China does not respect nor recognizes the legality or legitimacy of the arbitral body, would his action as our country’s leader constitute a betrayal of public trust?

Instead of being confrontational, as what del Rosario seem to suggest Duterte should be, what the latter is rather pursuing is making the best out of this unfortunate relationship and not create more discord that will only undermine whatever economic assistance and benefits we are getting from China for Duterte’s Build, Build, Build  program and other government projects.

Suffice to say that it is good to know that both leaders agreed to work together, on the basis of mutual trust and good faith, in resolving contentious maritime issues and the possible joint exploration between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea. Duterte said he sees nothing wrong with China’s proposal of 60-40 deal to split oil resources in the West Philippine Sea in Manila’s favor. Better to take advantage of this offer now than be in the losing end of the deal with some other countries in the future.

Thus, to be harmonious and friendly with China, as what Duterte’s attitude has shown to be, should not be construed as being disloyal to the Filipino people. The reality of our situation vis-à-vis China, which is that of an underdog, demands that our leaders should not to be antagonistic, but rather vigilant, rational and above all displaying confidence and pride as Filipinos.

 

Follow precedent

 

Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Leila de Lima

Searching for the definition of the word precedent in the web, I learned that it is a legal principle, created by a court decision, which provides an example or authority for judges deciding similar issues later.

If that is the main thrust of its legal definition, then why can’t people just follow precedent and apply to Senator Leila de Lima’s case what has happened to Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla and former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, when the three were detained at the Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame for plunder over alleged misuse of their pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)?

I am talking of course about a group composed of former senators and top government officials, including former President Benigno Aquino III, who earlier called on the Duterte administration to let de Lima fully discharge her duties as senator by attending plenary sessions. This after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senator Panfilo Lacson have filed a resolution to allow de Lima to join Senate deliberations through teleconferencing.

One could not blame, therefore, Senator Revilla when he strongly expressed his disappointment and bitterness at his colleagues for trying to pave the way for de Lima to participate in the Senate deliberations from her cell.

Why, indeed, would de Lima be allowed to participate this time? What is so special about her, she, who is also detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame for drug charges after being accused of accepting drug money from prisoners when she was justice secretary from 2010 and 2015?

Revilla even recalled that the Senate leadership, then headed by Drilon, did not think that the absence of three senators would impact legislation. He said letting de Lima participate in Senate sessions would be a “travesty” to the upper chamber, which does not have rules allowing senators who are not physically present to participate in legislative proceedings.

So, is this a case of sour grapes from someone seemingly less valued by his Senate peers compared to de Lima? Maybe so, but more than anything else what Revilla wants to bring across is that that the scale of justice be kept even and steady because of a precedent.

One can never go wrong following a precedent that has been determined judiciously, accepted and recognized as authoritative.

Thus, this is not about de Lima’s absence in the Senate that “unduly deprives the 14 million Filipinos who voted for her their proper representation”, but rather about her alleged participation in the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she still headed the Department of Justice that makes her unworthy to get involve in Senate proceedings in any manner, shape and form.

Putting foot in mouth

 

Senator Ronald dela Rosa and convicted murderer/rapist Antonio Sanchez

Neophyte Senator and former chief of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa’s remarks that convicted murderer and rapist Antonio Sanchez “deserves a second chance” or that he might be released soon “for good conduct” caused quite a stir, and for a good reason.

Either he spoke too soon or was pretending to impress the public for being a senator with firsthand information, but his act of blurting out unverified news is simply a classic case of putting his foot in his mouth.

Dela Rosa’s seemingly firsthand knowledge definitely did not bode well with the families of the victims, and to a certain extent the public, especially those who knew how heinous the crime committed by the heartless and power-drunk former mayor of Calauan, Laguna in 1993, when he masterminded the rape-slaying of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of Sarmenta’s boyfriend, Allan Gomez, both UP Los Baños students.

Not only did Sarmenta suffered from Sanchez’s brutishness but after he was done with her, he handed the hapless girl to his henchmen who took turns raping her, after which she was mercilessly shot in the head, just like her boyfriend before her.

On March 14, 1995, after a 16-month trial, then Pasig Regional Trial Court Judge Harriet Demetriou found Sanchez and six of his henchmen guilty in what she described as “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”

It is under the preceding circumstances that dela Rosa’s remarks created disquietude not only to the Sarmenta and Gomez families, but also among politicians and cause-oriented groups upon hearing that Sanchez, who was sentenced to seven counts of reclusion perpetua, may soon walk free, as one of around 11,000 prisoners who may benefit from Republic Act No. 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law signed in 2013 under then president Benigno Aquino.

The law amended several articles under the Revised Penal Code, including Article 97 which lays out the allowance for good conduct for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs).

In a nutshell, the GCTA law allows for deduction of sentences of PDLs, depending on how well they abide by rules and regulations inside “any penal institution, rehabilitation, or detention center or any other local jail.” It essentially awards good behavior and recognizes rehabilitation.

While there may be many deserving prisoners where the GCTA law could legitimately apply, Sanchez’s hideous case, however, is certainly one of those that should not even be discussed for consideration. It must be remembered that before Sarmenta and Gomez met their horrendous death, Sanchez was already being tried for two counts of murder for ordering the killing of father and son Nelson and Rickson Peñalosa, both supporters of Sanchez’s political opponent. The case was tried by Branch 160 of the Pasig Regional Trial Court, which rendered its guilty verdict in 1996.

Thus, dela Rosa should have been more circumspect when he made his irresponsible and uncalled for remarks. He should have verified it first and confirmed whether the person he was talking about should be the best example under the GCTA law before causing undue anxiety to those concerned by reliving the dreadful past again.

 

Sign of the times

Davao Mayor Sara Duterte and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy

Not contented at proclaiming himself an Appointed Son of God, the narcissist founder and leader of the mega church, Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, is portraying himself now as a seer.

According to Quiboloy, God has big plans for Davao Mayor Sara Duterte, meaning that like her father before her, she, too, will become president. That is what he claims he sees in his crystal ball.

C’mon! Shall we be that forever naïve and gullible to put up with all the crap that Quiboloy keeps on dishing upon the Filipino people?

Whether it is the candidacy for president by the father in 2016 or by the presidential daughter in 2022, the writing on the wall appears to be the same for both, indicating that the sign of the times has made Filipinos accept and support the Dutertes’ kind of nontraditional politics and political leadership, made more effective with their unwavering political will, convinced that it is what is needed for the country to move forward.

There is nobody in the political scene today that comes close to exemplifying President Duterte’s personality, leadership style and vision for where the country has to go to make it a respected member in the world community except presidential daughter, Sara.

Not only is Sara now an acknowledged political leader and a proven top-notch political strategist in her own right for having been able to sustain the safe, peaceful, stable and highly livable place that is Davao City today, but her role as kingmaker and powerbroker during the mid-term elections of 2019 in ensuring that President Duterte’s ambitious political and policy agenda will succeed in his remaining term in office decidedly sealed her fate as the likely successor of his father.

What is making her eventual succession even more evident and indisputable is the fact that she has been highly instrumental in shutting out the Otso Diretso senatorial bets of the opposition Liberal Party. Talking about clout and power!

In effect Sara has not only secured her ascendancy to the presidency in 2022, but she has prepared it in such a way that she will have complete control of both Houses of Congress. The presidency will be a walk in the park for her because of her association with his father and her presence in many presidential events overseas trips, not to mention that both father and daughter seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to governance.

While it is true that Sara also said that she will leave the presidency issue to God, the fact remains that the clamor from politicians and the Filipino people for her to succeed her father is so compelling that it could only mean that they trust her as much as they trust her father.

No, it is not that Quiboloy has appointed himself a seer, too. The truth is that Quiboloy is simply one of the millions of Filipinos who has contributed to the high trust and satisfaction ratings of President Duterte and he understands that the sign of the times call for Sara to step in and succeed her father.  That is all there is to it.