Cambridge Analytica a non-factor in electing Duterte president

Long before Cambridge Analytica, a British political data firm, got embroiled in controversy of scandalous proportion when it was alleged to have secretly and inappropriately made a Facebook data breach and harvested personal contents from some 87 million users, including, it said, over a million in the Philippines, to influence the country’s 2016 presidential election result, the way it is said to have catapulted America’s Donald Trump to the presidency, the majority of the Filipino people by then had already decided that, for a change, they will no longer be voting for a traditional politician.

It was no surprise therefore that when then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte finally declared his candidacy for president, the Filipinos went crazy rooting for him. Their prayers were answered. They now had an out-of-the-box candidate, a no-nonsense one at that, whose track record in governance is something most politicians should be envious about, but whose heart really beats for the Filipino people and whose dream is to make the whole country a livable place, in the same manner Duterte made Davao City a comfortable place for the Davaoeños.

Senator Antonio Trillanes and President Rodrigo Duterte

The reason why I am saying that Cambridge Analytica has nothing to do at all with Duterte being elected president stems from the fact that opposition senator and known Duterte basher, Antonio Trillanes, has been reported to be filing a resolution calling for a Senate probe into the role of Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 presidential elections, the same way the British firm is being accused now of capturing Facebook users’ data to corrupt the minds of the Americans into making the controversy-laden Donald Trump their president during the 2016 US presidential election.

The reality is that it was the intense hunger of Filipinos for a fearless and selfless down-to-earth Filipino leader with political will that made Duterte an overwhelming choice for the presidency.

The majority of poor voters who gave Duterte a margin of 6 million votes over his closest rival are proof enough that Cambridge Analytica was a non-factor, for they were not relishing in having a Facebook account.

Thus, I find Trillanes’ move for a Senate probe a mere grandstanding and purely nothing but a witch-hunt.

For not finding anymore culpability to spew barbs at Duterte, the way the latter continues to get support, trust and high approval ratings in his performance as president, Trillanes somehow thought he has found a bomb to be used against Duterte in the Cambridge Analytica controversy.

Soon Trillanes will come to realize that the bomb is a dud after all!

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Trillanes for Duterte to have ‘psychiatric examination’

 

Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

It looks like Sen. Antonio Trillanes has a new issue against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Practically losing steam, and most importantly his credibility, in his crazy crusade against Duterte’s leadership, Trillanes is now seen jumping onto the attack wagon of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein who has in his cross-hairs now the Philippine president.

I say cross-hairs because Zeid stint in his job has been marked by targeting verbal tirades at leaders of US, Russia and China, etc., whose actions does not somehow conform to his beliefs in the principles of human rights.

Well, I may be biased, but Zeid should not be comparing what is happening in the country under Duterte with the chaos of Trump’s racism and ultra-nationalist issues in the US, Putin’s support of Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, and Xi’s support of Myanmar’s oppressive government against the Rohingyas.

Zeid’s diatribe against Duterte come on the heels of his continuing hostility against human rights advocates who pretend to be experts when they are not, especially the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, when referring to Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs. I have written about Callamard which you can read at this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/anybody-else-but-callamard/

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein

The UN human rights chief finally came to the rescue of Callamard from Duterte’s onslaught, saying, that “Duterte’s attacks against U.N. special rapporteurs cannot go unanswered and the U.N. Human Rights Council must take a position. He said the Philippine leader “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination”.

Ironically the statement comes from someone who just revealed his intention to step down without seeking a second term because he fears his voice will be “muted” by leading global powers.

“After reflection, I have decided not to seek a second four-year term,” he said.

“To do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy; lessening the independence and integrity of my voice – which is your voice.”

Zeid, a Jordanian prince and diplomat, thinks he can be disparaging at a third world leader, but scared and respectful to leaders of developed world. What an asshole!

And so, thinking that Zeid’s criticism on Duterte’s mental health will make the latter cower from his responsibilities, here comes Trillanes, a member of Zeir’s ilk, trying to capitalize on the situation by agreeing that Duterte should undergo a ‘psychiatric evaluation’.

“His murderous and erratic ways plus his crass, twisted, and perverted statements are indicative of a deeply sick mind. Hindi ‘yan normal na pag-iisip, lalo na ng isang Filipino (It’s not a normal way of thinking, especially for a Filipino),” Trillanes said.

I do not know about you, but Trillanes’ comment seems to indicate more about his mental status than that of President Duterte.

 

Our future calls for a revolutionary government

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

By the word itself, revolutionary tends to connote a fearful meaning and consequence. It does because it refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.

But haven’t we Filipinos been participants of revolutions against oppression and despotism in the past that made us who we are today and led us to where we are now?

The People Power uprising in 1986 or what is better known as the EDSA Revolution ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Corazon Aquino to the leadership of the country.

As soon as Aquino assumed the presidency she figured out the only way she could quell pockets of resistance/defiance from Marcos supporters and be able to govern peacefully and effectively  was to establish a revolutionary government.

To effect radical change she used her revolutionary powers to sacked all elected officials, abolished Congress and tore up the 1973 constitution in favor of a provisional charter.

She handpicked a commission to write a new constitution, which was ratified by plebiscite in 1987 and paved the way for elections.

Thus Aquino was revered and highly acclaimed by many Filipinos as a heroine of democracy.

While democracy continues to be vibrant in this country, our progress as a nation, however, has been stymied by poor and ineffective leadership that followed Aquino, from Ramos to Estrada to Arroyo and another Aquino.

Seeing the same traditional politicians at the helm doing the same traditional governance, the Filipino people finally made a revolutionary decision to elect in 2016 an unconventional, an out-of-the-box- politician who made a name as a stern, no-nonsense politician and mayor of Davao City by making an unsafe, corrupt and problematic place into an admirable and highly livable one.

The result was an overwhelming victory prized him by the Filipino people to do what he is capable of doing just so the country could move forward and the lives of the people uplifted.  His election was a revolution in itself. Who would have thought that in our present political and electoral system a candidate without an organization and money could triumphed over those having funds and a well oiled political machinery?

Sociologist Randy David, a professor at the University of the Philippines, could never have been more right when, reflecting on the results of the 2016 elections, he said: “When candidate Duterte declared in the presidential debates that he represented the nation’s last card (huling baraha), he instantly resonated with them. They did not have to ask what the game was for which he was their last card. It was enough that he offered them something to which they could cling for hope.”

Thus, despite the negative review Duterte has been getting from the political opposition, the Catholic Church and human rights advocates on his war on drugs and the alleged extrajudicial killings resulting from it, the satisfaction and trust ratings of the president remains high. It only shows the encouragement and the confidence the people has on the president upon showing the political will not seen in other presidents before him in effecting the changes he promised the people during the campaign.

Senator Antonio Trillanes

It is not helping Duterte run the country that, while understanding the enormity of the problem the country is facing relative to drugs, corruption, criminality and narco-politics on one hand , and resolving the much dreaded Marawi crisis from spilling over in other parts of Mindanao on the other hand, still there are people the likes of Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his ilk who wants nothing but attention by spewing diatribes at Duterte and his family simply because their own political agenda cannot prosper under Duterte’s presidency.

From the very beginning Duterte has not been coy in his intention and willingness to establish a revolutionary government if he sees that there are groups of people, especially those led by politicians, opposed to his rule and who do not want him to succeed. This was a warning he wanted all and sundry to take seriously especially if their motivation was to destabilize his government.

Yet Trillanes has the stupidity and shortsightedness in saying: : “I firmly believe that Duterte’s latest threat … is not only meant to intimidate those opposing his administration, but also to divert the attention from the various controversies in which his family is involved. It is also his only way to escape accountability for his crimes by perpetuating himself in power.”

A revolutionary government is not about Duterte perpetuating himself in power. Clearly it is an assurance that with Duterte remaining in power, the country and the Filipino people will have the changes promised them for a better future ahead as he is seen to be the only one capable of making it happen.

 

Duterte’s socioeconomic agenda and trust rating

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

Every time a Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia survey on the satisfaction and trust ratings of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte comes out people always wonder why the president has been able to maintain a high mark of approval despite the brouhaha raised by some group of people and organizations, both local and international, about his controversial war on drugs, extrajudicial killings, etc.

It must be confusing and frustrating to Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his ilk in the senate and in our society, in general, why even as they hurl a fuselage of personal accusations against the president and his family, still it does not make a remarkable dent on his popularity and approval ratings.

But for the people who were inspired by Duterte’s candidacy and continue to support his presidency there has been a noticeable change in the kind of leadership the country needed which could have never happened had the Roxases, the Binays and the Poes won.

Duterte’s war on drugs, criminality and corruption are in itself big changes toward better future for country and people which can only be fought and sustained by somebody with political will to carry it out.

Events have shown that Duterte is no rubber stamp or a stooge of anybody, either here or abroad, and to the consternation of many that wants to meddle in his governance.

Duterte’s declaration of independent foreign policy had silently earned the ire of some friendly nations at first but is being accepted now as he saw the realities of the times where China has become the major regional power in Asia and the importance of improving relations with non-traditional including Russia, Japan and India.

This is a paradigm shift in our geopolitical relations that perhaps only Duterte could have thought of and it is earning him the respect of the whole world.

Duterte should be credited for where we are now as a nation, especially in having discovered earlier, rather than later, that narco-politics have engulf the country already. He is doing everything possible that this country will not go to the dogs.

What should make everybody hopeful, however, is that Duterte, while relentless in his war against drugs, corruption and criminality, is also making sure that his 10-point socioeconomic agenda listed below will continue to be followed through. This program in his presidency being implemented now is what is helping Duterte also earn his high satisfaction and trust ratings.

  1. Continuing and maintaining current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade policies;
  2. Instituting progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection while indexing taxes to inflation;
  3. Increasing competitiveness and the ease of doing business, drawing upon successful models used to attract business to local cities such as Davao, as well as pursuing the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except with regards to land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investments;
  4. Accelerating annual infrastructure spending to account for 5 percent of the gross domestic product, with public-private partnerships playing a key role;
  5. Promoting rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism;
  6. Ensuring security of land tenure to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies;
  7. Investing in human capital development, including health and education systems, as well as matching skills and training to meet the demands of businesses and the private sector;
  8. Promoting science, technology and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity toward self-sustaining and inclusive development;
  9. Improving social protection programs, including the government’s conditional cash transfer program, in order to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks; and
  10. Strengthening the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.

 

The oddity of Sen. Trillanes

 

Senator Antonio Trillanes

You will notice that the word oddity here is describing the person Antonio Trillanes in his capacity as senator of the realm and not as an individual.

As an individual there are many who are like him – arrogant, pompous, swollen-headed, and feeling high and mighty all the time.

You will never miss this kind of persona because it exudes in their appearance and stance and in the way they talk.

But then you will probably ask me, why, aren’t all the senators like Trillanes?

Well, I could not agree with you more, to tell you the truth.

There is just something in the elective position that makes one a different person after a while – an adverse person, to be more specific.

Perhaps you can blame it to the fame, power and wealth that one possesses now.

There is only one person I know who has not changed at all despite all the trappings he has in his position and that is President Rodrigo Duterte.

But this is not about Duterte. Rather it is about Duterte’s arch-enemy, Trillanes.

So there is no disagreement that the rest of the senators are like Trillanes and Trillanes is just like all the senators when they metamorphose from being ordinary citizens to becoming elected official, although for Trillanes, he made it more glaring.

Lamentably, this is not the oddity I am talking about when referring to Trillanes as senator.

The oddity I am talking about is Trillanes’ penchant of making enemies out of his colleagues in the Senate.

I had been around long enough and saw and heard senators of old making speeches, debating one another on important topics and doing Senate hearings, yet none has come even close to what and how absurdly Trillanes performs in the Senate floor.

His lack of prudence, wisdom, maturity, and the like, almost always does him in. It is his arrogance and intimidating stance that make him repulsive, antipathetic and ineffective.

In the not too recent and recent past, Trillanes had altercations with former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is now the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

Presently, Trillanes’ pet peeve is Sen. Richard Gordon whom he wants replaced as chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

Not contented with having Gordon replaced, Trillanes also is setting his sights at no less than Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III to have him toppled.

How more presumptuous can Trillanes get?

The Duterte-Trillanes feud

 

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Antonio Trillanes

The bad blood between President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Antonio Trillanes has not only been going on for so long but it is also going nasty at worst that people are already wondering how this personal hatred for one another will end up.

Perhaps Duterte is right that Trillanes started harboring ill-feelings towards him when he gave the ambitious senator the cold-shoulder after he shamelessly offered himself to be Duterte’s running mate should the latter run for president in the 2016 election.

Trillanes probably thought that his own brand of toughness, if you can call his aggressiveness and arrogance that, would further compliment Duterte’s much acknowledged strength of character that has made him a legend in Davao City.

Little did Trillanes knew that like many of the Filipinos who abhor his persona, pompousness and pretentiousness, not to mention the kind of an officer and soldier he was during his stint in the military, Duterte had already a negative impression of him too.

There is no doubt that this unspoken turndown is what made Trillanes put Duterte at the crosshair of his personal verbal tirade that has now included even Duterte’s immediate family.

The sad thing about it though is that every time Trillanes spews out barbs against Duterte and his family it makes him all the more look the scoundrel that he has been portrayed all these times because of his own exaggerated self-opinion.

Thus, it was reported that in Duterte’s mind, Trillanes is out to damage his reputation because he took his rejection as vice presidential running mate personally.

Salbahe talaga ‘to. He takes it personal, kasi bilib masyado sa sarili (He has an attitude. He takes it personal because he believes too much in himself.),” said Duterte.

He also called the opposition senator “wily,” “ambitious,” and “dangerous” and warned Filipinos not to trust him.

Indeed, an apt description!

If Trillanes won as vice president, Duterte joked he would have likely been assassinated, just like Ninoy Aquino.

It may be a joke, but coming from Duterte who is known to possess good gut-feel and read of people, it is not.

Not being picked by Duterte as running mate and not having won as an independent vice presidential candidate in the 2016 elections has made Trillanes frustrated and bitter for he could never be what Duterte has become – not ever in his lifetime and that is good for the country.

Eid al-Fitr and Trillanes’ continuing woe

First let me greet Happy Eid al-Fitr to the Muslims all over the world, but especially our brothers and sisters in Marawi City who are suffering the misfortune of having their tranquil lives outrageously disturbed and bedeviled by the Maute-ISIS militants.

Muslims are celebrating the Eid-al-Fitr religious holiday with prayers as they mark the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, during which believers abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

It is my fervent hope and prayer that the Marawi siege will end soon with government helping rebuild the lives of people and in the forefront of reconstructing the damaged city.

On a much different note I cannot help but share with you this video that reflects nothing but the continuing woe of Sen. Antonio Trillanes.

Nobody, but nobody really wants to be in the shoes of Trillanes now. He made a big boo-boo of himself during the highly watched interview he had with BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ host Stephen Sakur that it looks like he has become the butt of jokes already.

It Trillanes thinks that his predicament in the interview will come to pass as swiftly as it shamefully happened to him, he is wrong for this will forever remain a stigma on his persona that he should start kissing his political ambitions good-bye.

Good for him and enjoy this video!