'Hey, Joe, Jude says many thanks!'

Buddy Gomez -- Cyberbuddy

Posted at Jan 20 2018 02:05 AM

“The Supreme  Court cannot be trusted…….”

Lest we forget, that is the brazen in-your-face message that Solicitor General Jose Calida has thrown at the Supreme Court when he refused to turn over criminal investigation records, as directed by the Supremes, concerning the killings of more than 3,800 drug suspects at the hands of the police.  

Calida declared that he cannot share with the Supreme Court such reports because  they “involve sensitive information that have national security  implications.”  

Take your pick: Calida is following orders from Duterte or he is masquerading the fact that there have been, in fact, no investigations at all! Or both!

Another instance of “nothing to hide if there is nothing to fear. Nothing to fear if there is nothing to hide?”

Incidentally, how much more fawning servility must the Arroyo and Duterte appointees in the Supreme display to reinforce the perception that in their collective appreciation and application of the law, personal debts of gratitude overweens all the time? Stamp pad or doormat? Or both?

Didn't  Joe Calida just flip a dirty finger at the Supreme Court by such arrogance!

Thank you, Calida …  and thank you, twice!

Atty. Jose Calida, the cosmetically challenged Solicitor General has every reason to feel self satisfaction these days. He is the Malacanang pointman who successfully nagged and strong-armed the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) into reversing its previous ruling and that of the Supreme Court vis-a-vis the legal reinterpretation of an investment instrument known as Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) now being evidence of ownership and control whereas it was not, previously. Thus, Calida takes pride in instigating the order of the SEC to revoke the corporate registration of the Rappler, the Philippines’ foremost online news portal, now a celebrated high-profile news organization, for having minuscule PDRs (less than 10%) in its financial statements.

In a palpable perversion of democratic governance, molestation and evisceration of press freedom by the nation’s supposed top attorney has become, among other derogations, an accolade celebrated by Malacanang’s keyboard mercenary “Troll-etariat.” Thank you, Calida. You have just redecorated your Motherland with worldwide infamy and shame.

And thank you, again!  Actually, this second thank you should come from Atty. Jude Sabio. Remember Jude? He was the lawyer who brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) the matter of an alleged “serial killing” former a Mayor who happens to have been plurally elected Philippine president. (Please always read that as a minority-elected President.) Jude Sabio presented the ICC with the eyewitness accounts of a self-confessed hired assassin who alleged he was acting upon orders of the Mayor and in fact was in the Mayor’s payroll.

Calida’s insolence in thumbing his nose at the Supreme Court, denying them access to criminal investigation records of extrajudicial killings, may have played well with his lord and master. But unfortunately, Calida’s effrontery just moved the Duterte and the Davao Death Squad case that much closer to the chambers of ICC Chief Prosecutor Madame Fatou Bensouda. 

Refusal to share with the country’s Supreme Court vital criminal records serve as incontrovertible proof of Dutertismo’s intentional inability to prosecute thousands of drug-related killings. This unwittingly is a big assist in the pursuit of proving human rights abuses in the country and it comes no less from Duterte’s  Solicitor General.

Hey, Joe Calida ..….ingon ni Jude, daghang Salamat!  (that’s Visayan for: “Hey, Joe,  Jude says many thanks!” )

Mr. Magoo, now Malacanang’s adviser alongside Mocha and Panelo

Adults will remember Mr. Magoo, a comic character famous for bumblings because of extreme shortsightedness. It was easy to characterize Malacanang’s mandate to the Securities and Exchange Commission to shutter the internationally respected professional news organization, the Rappler. Simply, shortsighted!   

Such brutal display of political power is nothing more than a dismal failure to see “20-20” an obvious impact upon Philippines business, a disaster upon much sought-after foreign direct investments, as well as upon capital formation and investment banking, in general. Did not the SEC just deliver a body blow to the country’s business climate? How can the Philippines cease being a laggard in the South East Asian competition for foreign investments? The SEC’s reinterpretation of the meaning of Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) is even at loggerheads with Duterte’s own pronouncements about inviting foreign investments. I am certain that the SEC is not unaware of current trends in decreasing investments inflow and trade imbalances. Looks to me as another nail on the coffin of Duterte-designed economic uncertainties!

Ramon Ang to the Rescue

In much the same fashion that the financial gallantry of Ramon Ang was extended towards bailing out the Prietos from Presidential pique and displeasure by buying out their ownership and control of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Ramon Ang can please the  Potentate of Pasig River even more.

How? Ramon Ang can purchase all the outstanding PDRs from current holder e-Bay founder’s Omidyar Network with nary a word or phrase in the financial instrument altered. Then, he can report to Malacanang that such PDRs indeed exercise absolutely on control over professional journalistic objectives.  (https://www.omidyar.com/news/rappler-and-freedom-press)

Why? Because it is critical to democracy that ownership of media must not and cannot impose its selfish and predatory intentions against journalism’s very reason for existence. To reiterate: legitimate journalism’s first obligation is to tell the truth and its first loyalty is to the people. 

Ramon Ang and Malacanang ought to be aware by now that truth-telling (or at the very least reporting “the very last version of the truth”) is the very sustenance that keeps the faith of the Inquirer and the Rappler staff, as well as that of all professionals in Philippine media, unshakeable. We are legion and recurring karma has always been on our side.

 

Over a long pull, controlling and muzzling media has never worked. Duterte can dare and attempt to let loose his hallucinatory predilections of bringing the county to heel by way of his oft repeated threats of martial law for his imagined ‘change’ to dawn. Every dictator that Lucifer has allowed on earth have had his appointment with the sure destiny of demise. Our faith is strengthened by this lofty thought.   

Duterte’s 'War on Drugs' muffles ringing of Bells in Balangiga

There is a particular language in the just signed National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 (budget) of the U.S. that would otherwise have facilitated the return of the Bells to Balangiga. Finally! But the phrase: “the President may transfer the Bells of Balangiga if the Secretary of Defense certifies to Congress that the transfer is in the national security interests of the U.S.” has created its own “obstacle course.”

A bipartisan commission of the US Congress’ Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, has written the US Secretary of Defense -- “do not provide certification for returning the bells until the Philippines’ government makes clear measurable efforts to stop extra-judicial killings on the “war on drugs.”

Concerned US politicians who believe that the return of the bells at this time may just be hijacked by the Duterte mercenary machinery of trolls and used as undeserved propaganda, have likewise aired their objections. Besides, it has been noted that the matter of the Bells was not even brought up by the Philippine President during  Trump’s visit.    

Mailbox becomes Icebox!

Let me play  weatherman. Three days ago, when it was 1:30 AM Wednesday, Manila Time/ 11:30 AM Tuesday in San Antonio, it was brrrrrrvery cold here. Unusual for sunny South Texas. That was minus-3 degrees Celsius, which is 27 Fahrenheit. As you know……or must know,  freezing point of water is 32 degrees F. which is  0 degrees Celsius.  When Baguio City reported  its recorded coldest at 12 Celsius, it was just an autumny 54 degrees F here. But overnight, we hit minus 6 for an hour or two.

We are going through a “winter storm.” Freezing rain and iced-over roads. Schools suspended a day and a half. Mail delivery suspended. My mailbox was a frozen-over icebox!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.