September 14, 2019

#TPonMB: Perception in politics is as important as Reality


Politics is a game of Perception where what’s really taking place may be different from what the public thinks is happening, and anyone who enters the political arena should know this by heart. A public official, whether elective or appointive, should not only be qualified (Reality) but also look qualified (Perception).

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 07 September 2019].


To illustrate, US domestic support for the 2003 war in Iraq was possible after the Bush administration managed to make the public believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (Perception), even if it didn’t (Reality), something that the no less than the Bush administration admitted years later… but not before the US had taken over Iraq, killed Sadam, taken control of the country’s massive oil resources, and in the process left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead.

Form (Perception) is more important than substance (Reality) in the game of political survival, at least in the short- to medium-term. The sad reality in politics is that Perception takes precedence over Reality, and it’s the job of every public official to minimize the gap between the two.

September 7, 2019

#TPonMB: Personal advocacies and the ABCD of politics


The relative political calm in the months after the May, 2019, elections has come to an end: sentence reductions for convicted felons, the SOGIE bill, South China Sea tensions, Death Penalty’s revival, the Communist insurgency…the list goes on and on.

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 31 August 2019].

I have my own take on each of these issues and I have been quite vocal on most of them through my Facebook page ThinkingPinoy. More than just promoting my own views through this column, however, I feel that it’s more important, at least for now, to help everyone get back on track by sharing with my readers the four principles I generally follow when I publicly speak my mind.

Don’t get me wrong: I admit that I oftentimes fail to adhere to them, but I try to stick to them as best as I can. I think I am already done with the days when I approached issues with unbridled anger. After years of being in the public scene, I learned that moderation is key.

I noticed, throughout the years, that my efforts yielded better results whenever I seriously take into consideration the principles that I’m about to list down.

#TPonMB: Duterte Youth’s Cardema vs Comelec’s Guanzon

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been witness to the word war between former National Youth Commission and Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema and Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon, with the core issue being Cardema’s eligibility as Duterte Youth’s first nominee.

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 24 August 2019.]

#TPonMB: Policy suggestions to prevent the recruitment of Filipino youth into rebel groups



Several parents of senior high school students testified in a series of Senate hearings that leftist groups believed to fronts for the communist insurgent New People’s Army (NPA) are recruiting their children. And true enough, some of kids really went to the mountains and have become combatants for the rebel group.

I disagree with Leftist ideologies (I consider myself a Centrist) but I recognize every person’s right to have her own political views. Advocacy of leftist ideologies is not by itself illegal, but it should stop when it’s about to lead our youth, most especially our very impressionable minors, into a life of violence.

Whenever I point out a problem, I always try to propose a solution.

Thus, here are several policy recommendations in relation to the issue:

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 17 August 2019].

#TPonMB: Health Sec. Duque, let’s respect FDA’s independence


Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque recently announced that he’ll consult with the UP-PGH Dengvaxia Task Force regarding the possible reintroduction of the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, saying he wants a decision on Dengvaxia’s fate through a consensus among all sectors “because a lot of groups have varying positions about this.”

But before we go any further, here’s some context.
[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 10 August 2019].

#TPonMB: What, exactly, is a ‘legitimate journalist’?



As I write my first column piece, I think it’s best to introduce myself first.

[NOTE: This piece was first published in the Manila Bulletin on 03 August 2019].

August 15, 2019

Speaker Cayetano's "Dolphy Situation": a super typhoon's brewing in the House?


The entire thing started with the bloody speakership race involving Marinduque’s Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte’s Martin Romualdez, and Taguig’s Alan Peter Cayetano. For two straight months, media bombarded the public ad nauseam with blow-by-blow reports, as if nothing else matters to the Common Tao.

Taguig 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano emerged victorious, but not without great cost.

How much political capital does he have left, and is it enough for him to survive for 15 months?

June 24, 2019

ex-DFA Sec. del Rosario, China, the Fishermen, the Incident and Reed Bank's Oil

If I were in Albert del Rosario's shoes...

June 7, 2019

After Statement on Bikoy: Caloocan Bishop David either a hypocrite or a liar?


Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David's statement denying complicity in the now-discredited Bikoy Videos show glaring inconsistencies, suggesting that the bishop is either a hypocrite or a liar... or is he something else?

Let's discuss.

June 5, 2019

On Bulacan Int'l Aiport, Duterte Finance Secretary's personal interests against Common Good?

Massive congestion in NAIA during the August 2018 Xiamen Air Incident, where a plane skidded off the runway, causing the cancellations of numerous flights as NAIA effectively lone runway is blocked.
Instead of allowing a new world-class airport, why does Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez insist on us using an ultra congested airport and another one that's a bajillion miles away? Are Sonny's personal interests getting in the way of his decision-making? Is Dominguez, like the terminated ICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, another poster boy for regulatory capture?

Let's talk about that in greater detail.

May 30, 2019

Hey Karen Davila, here's my reply to your complaint

Dear Karen Davila,


My manager spoke to me recently and he relayed to me what you had to say. It's funny that this is the second time you've tried to reach me through channels, even if you can very easily get hold of my phone number by calling our common friends.

Anyhow, here's what I've got to say in return.

May 26, 2019

WILL ABS-CBN CLOSE DOWN OR NOT?


There's a win-win solution, actually.

May 23, 2019

Angel Locsin v. Jimmy Bondoc: THINK, ANGEL, THINK!


Angel Locsin's retort to Jimmy Bondoc's post is disappointing, to say the least.

May 10, 2019

The Bikoy Saga: Will Gretchen Ho dare to bite the American hand that fed her?


Are Gretchen Ho and Hidilyn Diaz as innocent as innocent goes?

May 7, 2019

NBI Cybercrime, you may have missed this BIGGER Bikoy-linked fake news website


NBI Cybercrime, you may have overlooked a website that could have caused even more damage than any of the five websites you mentioned in your Bikoy report.

And here I am to help.

May 3, 2019

Hey NBI, here’s a new lead for your Bikoy Video investigation


Hey NBI guys, I heard you're looking for other people, so let me humbly give you a few leads that you may have overlooked.
Note to Mr. Rodel Jayme: for your own sake, better spill the beans ASAP so you can still become a state witness.  Your would-be testimony may become unnecessary very soon.

April 30, 2019

Fact-checking the fact-checker: Over 50% of Vera Files funding from CIA-linked orgs


Why don't we fact-check the fact-checker?

April 29, 2019

How much has Vera Files, PCIJ, Rappler, CMFR received from CIA offshoot?


Just how much funding have Vera Files, PCIJ, Rappler, and CMFR received from the US government-funded CIA offshoot National Endowment for Democracy (NED)?

Here's data from none other than NED itself.

April 26, 2019

Here's the complete step-by-step guide to uncovering Metro Balita's owner


Two Manila Times columnists – former ambassador Rigoberto “Bobi” Tiglao and Maastricht University lecturer Sass Rogando Sasot – have written about this, but I like having all bases covered, so here we go.

February 16, 2019

MARIA RESSA’S CYBER LIBEL: EVIDENCE SUGGESTS CONVICTION IS HIGHLY LIKELY


I earlier wondered why Maria Ressa and her media allies never mentioned anything about the truthfulness of the report upon which Wilfredo Keng's libel suit was based.

I got the answer a day later, when I got hold of a letter [PDEA] dated 15 August 2016 from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, addressed to what I presume to be Keng's lawyer. The letter stated that Keng, at least as of the letter's writing, had NO DEROGATORY RECORD in PDEA's database.

Rappler never took down the assailed news article, despite knowing full well that all it has is merely an intelligence report while Keng has an official document proving the contrary.

Rappler, in short, published a VERIFIABLE FALSEHOOD.