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    If all your life you have always aspired and you think the one on top is no good, you must think again. Maybe you are no better. Or maybe you look worse!.. Or, why not think God. You're good but he loves you. You could end up that egotist stooge you hate in the mirror.
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A Natural-born for a President. Why?

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines specifies a natural-born Filipino for a President. Why? Because all Philippine constitutions starting 1935 said so.  But why?

Because Filipinos, mostly and easily, usually copied from mother U.S.A. which they have always esteemed as the greatest country in the world. I guess, framers of the first Philippine constitution after the Filipino revolution of 1896, easily saw senses so broad and without much labor. They saw them working well somewhere.

The Americans assumed the Philippines from the Spaniards after the Spanish-American war in 1898. They also inherited the Filipino revolution against Spain that, except for a few leaders on the run and in hiding, they almost totally crushed by 1903. The Philippines thus was a U.S. territory until 1934 when it became a Commonwealth Republic, which was granted independence in 1946. The 1935 Commonwealth constitution was carried on until the time of President Marcos. The Philippines also celebrated its National Independence the same day America celebrated its, which is July 4th. Just like copy and paste.

The 1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines [1987 – ]

“…senses so broad and without much labor.” That, folks, is actually an impression, an opinion. Because every time somebody questions anything whether constitutional or not, Supreme Court always has an answer. Fact is, while the constitutions specify natural-born for a President, they never specifically stated why.

Is “natural-born” Filipino citizen just a matter of legal technicality or is it there purposely?

yeM3MOo1_400x400

Lifted from google search: grace poe

Currently controversial is the issue of birth and citizenship of Senator Grace Poe, a candidate to run for President. Since there is a case in court right now regarding them, this article is not really about her though we might be doing some scratching on surfaces of the matter. Something in general.

The case is not with the regular courts actually, but one filed with the SET or Senate Electoral Tribunal – for disqualification when Ms Poe won in the 2013 senatorial election. Considering the urgency of the question, the tribunal seems to have found the case hard to decide. It’s now 2015 and Ms Poe, now set to run for 2016 Presidency, is facing the same unresolved issues.  This is understandable enough because the SET has three [3] from the Judiciary and six [6] from the Senate comprising its body, and not really one wholly comprised by people of the bar. Traditional politics is always a probable factor to play in a body like this

Ms Poe topped the 2013 senatorial race, running in the administration line-up. A candidate carried by more than one party, actually. Being a fresh and untarnished face in politics, and known daughter of actor king Fernando Poe Jr. and actress queen Susan Roces, she topped in popularity. They rode on her, she rode on them, so to say. She made past elections topnotch like Gloria M. Arroyo and Loren Legarda seem small. But we are going a-side.

Where were we? Ah, doing some revisiting of the constitutions… I found it amusing that they mentioned natural-born for a president but never exactly said why. So I guess much is left to common sense. And since they are English words, well established English dictionaries could also provide meanings and clues.

While questioned whether or not she is a natural-born Filipino, I think there is a deeper question, which is about her citizenship itself. She is a declared foundling. She is married to an American. One time in her life she migrated to the U.S.A. She became an American citizen and reproduced children who are Americans. She came back to the Philippines and [reacquired her Philippine citizenship].  I think she needs lots of clearings to do for herself.

ARTICLE IV Citizenship, Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.

SECTION 5. Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.

Aw, I forgot. Where were we? Ah, a natural-born citizen for a president. Why?

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Filipinos Must Grant to Bangsamoro, or Else…

Ive been browsing the net for world events when I stumbled on these. I decided to snatch and reprint the articles than simply link to them, instead. I think they are quite intriguing:

Give Muslims self-rule or ‘count body bags’: Philippines’ Aquino 18441640723525188

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino has called on lawmakers to pass a bill endorsing a pact aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim separatist rebellion, warning them they would otherwise start counting “body bags.”

Aquino had wanted the bill, which would give autonomy to the majority Catholic nation’s Muslim minority in the south, passed this month.

But Congress suspended debates on the proposed law in the face of public outrage over the killings of 44 police commandoes by guerrillas in a botched anti-terror raid in January.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which signed a peace deal a year ago Friday, had said its members fired in self-defense at the commandoes, who passed through a rebel camp while going after militants.

“This is the crossroads we face: we take pains to forge peace today, or we count body bags tomorrow,” Aquino said in a nationwide television address.

“Perhaps it is easy for you to push for all-out war,” he said, hitting out at critics who have condemned the peace deal with the MILF.

“But if the conflict grows, the number of Filipinos shooting at other Filipinos will grow, and it would not be out of the question that a friend or loved one be one of the people who will end up inside a body bag.”

The rebellion for a separate state or self-rule has claimed nearly 120,000 lives and cost billions of dollars in economic losses, according to government estimates.

Under a peace deal signed with the MILF, the 10,000-member group pledged to disarm while the Philippine government vowed to pass an autonomy law in Muslim areas of the south.

“The Bangsamoro basic law is one of the most important proposed bills of our administration. It answers the two most pressing problems of our countrymen: poverty and violence,” Aquino said.

He warned it would be difficult to restart peace talks if the current process failed and the MILF leadership lost its influence among its members to more radical elements.

Aquino is required by the constitution to stand down in mid-2016 after serving a single six-year term.

The January police raid sought to capture or kill two men on the US government’s list of “most wanted terrorists” who were living among Muslim rebels in southern Philippine farming communities.

One of the men, Malaysian national Zulkifli bin Hir who had a $5-million bounty on his head, was reported killed.

But the other, Filipino Abdul Basit Usman, escaped as rebels surrounded and killed the police commandoes.

No, Mr. President, “total war” is too big a phrase to use. Let’s forget the big joke called Bangsamoro Basic Law and let law and order, no one above the law, take their course for all Filipinos irregardless of ethnic and religious affiliations.

No, Mr President, it is not autonomy the MILF, co-author of Bangsamoro Basic Law, is demanding for Muslim Filipinos. We already have the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao [ARMM] long established in there since 1989. The Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front sees itself as different from Filipinos.They hope to cut away southern Philippines – territory and its people.

Also, poverty and rebellion are common, national problems of Filipinos. They will need blanket solutions for patch-up.

Yes, Mr. President, nothing is free. Whichever way people choose to take they will have to pay no less.

Except for one comment seen bellow, Arab News decided to close for comments on the article. I think, what we see there is just a sample, the tip, of Filipinos who are sick and tired of double talks and treachery.

Filipinos demand no more than their rights and they are prepared to pay.

Comments for this thread are now closed. Miguel Ramirez2 days ago

This comment from PNoy shows his understanding of the situation is not sufficient to resolve the Mindanao muslim dilemna. He wants to capitulate to the demands of the Bangsamoro, or else our side suffers? That is a perspective from a position of weakness. He means to tell us that it is a certainty that we would be counting body-bags? Who will be in those body bags? Our personnel? This is the mentality of an over-cautious, vision-less and pessimistic coward and sloth. The first thing we need to do is assess the situation, and what the consequences of our actions will be. We also have to consider our position, or what our rightful place is. We are the sovereign Filipino people, and our antagonists are the MILF, its comrades the BIFF, JIM, and other muslim bandit groups, and the NDF. We are the superior, and they are the inferior. So, we do not treat them as if they are equal to us. We don’t even need to negotiate with them, but it is they who need to negotiate with us. We should always keep in mind that we do not accede to their unreasonable demands, specially if they threaten us with unprovoked retaliation if they don’t get their way. No one is above the law, most specially those who have demonstrated their defiance of the law. So, the best way to do this is to end this conflict once and for all, and that is to direct our Armed Forces to exterminate these criminals, rebels, secessionists and terrorists. /// [This is a cut version from its original, cut by rltjs.wordpress.com ]

The Joint Aquino – MILF Enterprise called Bangsamoro Basic Law

This is not about right and wrong. This is not about good and bad, either. This is about what is what.

The thing called Bangsamoro Basic Law

This has been heralded by Malacañang as the “long-lasting peace” or “final peace” for Mindanao among others. The Bangsamoro Basic Law or BBL, since its Bangsamoro Legal Entity days, can be said as the brainchild of the President, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

pnoymilf

The President seated with the MILF Chief. lifted from Google search: mamasapano massacre images

Malacañang, through its negotiating panel, has entered into formal agreements with the MILF, something which people now know as the BBL or the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The BBL has become an Aquino – MILF partnership, with Malacañang Palace much bound to it. That reminds us of the MOA-AD that although of different contents was of similar circumstances. One  difference in them is that, while this BBL is now a done deal between Malacañang and the MILF, in the MOA-AD the Supreme court intervened just in time to stop everybody from signing. It caused embarrassment to the PGMA administration but otherwise President Arroyo was free to walk away from the deal.

alterego

The President’s mirrors and alter egos with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front: [L  to R] Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Marvic Leonen, Teresita Q Deles. Lifted from Google search: presidential adviser on the peace process. Alteration to the images is by rltjs.wordpress

I think the architects of this BBL have their cues from the wreck of what was MOA-AD that ran a-ground.  This time they are more adept and cunning steering almost through without any snag. They have even rendered the Supreme Court helpless to look into the matter as they work it on.

trio

Eager to stamp the Aquino-MILF enterprise into law, the eager beaver and the skeptical of them. Lifted from Yahoo search: feliciano belmonte images

But the agreements without the seal of Philippine congress are useless. So, we have seen congress, both houses almost without any opposition, trying to expedite the thing called Bangsamoro Basic law.

They also talked about amending the constitutions. They saw conflicts that call for a need to rewrite whatever in the constitution to suit the Bangsamoro Basic Law that the President wanted done by congress.

Then came the Mamasapano debacle

It’s been 41 days since Mamasapano. Philippine SAF troopers going after Zulkifli Abdhir aka Marwan and Basit Usman, two internationally tagged terrorists, encountered composite rebels in that place. Marwan and Usman were said to be living in that territory controlled by the MILF. SAF got into a fight with the MILF which later were said to have been reinforced by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters [BIFF], Abu Sayyafs, and their militias.

Graphic1

A “Misencounter” between enemies. Images lifted from Yahoo search: mamasapano maguindanao images

When the guns of battle ceased firing, forty four [44] members of the Special Action Force [SAF] of the Philippine National Police [PNP] were accounted dead, killed in skirmishes and ambuscades that ended in their total rout. This happened shortly before dawn in January 25, 2015 that went on until the next day, the 26th.

The Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] has justified it as a “misencounter” and later as an act of self-defense on their part. That is interesting. Misencounter is a term applicable only between two friendly forces. And that could be true. The President and his men have considered the MILF as friends and partners for peace. In fact this is not the first time that there was a “misencounter” between Government and MILF forces. In such occasion, government never lifted a finger against MILF perpetrators. “For the sake of Peace”, they will say.

Like Filipinos will be in trouble if they insist on respect and justice due them? Are not Filipinos being bugged or held hostage?

I think Filipinos should be reminded. The Mindanao Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] is a secessionist organization. They are fighting for a different, separate national identity and territory. They have Islamic Mindanao independence for their ultimate end. Filipinos cannot allow them that.

The MILF is on ceasefire with Philippine government, something that has been going on since the PGMA administration – peace that is good while they last. That does not change the fact that they are hostile forces, enemies of the Filipino people.

One people, one nation, one country – the Bangsamoro Basic Law does not serve them. It is bringing the Filipinos away from them. It will wreck the country apart.

“For the sake of Peace”? Grant genuine amnesty to those who would want it. There is no shorter way than that.

Opposite that is peace, the long and the hard way, but nevertheless true peace and not mere hope for peace that is devoid of any historical basis to support it…a pure dream, a fantasy.

That’s true. One object of war is peace. Stated from another angle, sometimes peace is attained through war.

There Are No White Beaches and Green Meadows in Scarborough, Sire/Ma’am

About the Title

Philippine media seems overwhelmed by patriotism, or maybe it was just coincidental. Every time I saw Philippine-China stand-off in the Scarborough, I noticed articles always carried picture of beautiful isle or islet that I think belonged in the Spratlys.

If it is about drumming up public support for the Philippine cause, will it make less if Scarborough is actually only shallow sea and a few jotting rocks?

The Best of Scarborough Shoal. Picture was lifted from Google search: Scarborough shoal.

Ships do not sail through the place. World maritime has established the place as Scarborough Shoal since a sea mishap involving one ship named Scarborough there in the 18th century. The Chinese believe it is the Huangyan Island noted in some old geography by Chinese scholars.  Filipinos call the place Panatag Shoal.

Panatag [pa na tag] adj  Tagalog, Pilipino:  serene, peaceful, calm, steady.

From old Philippine Malay: Panay + Patag – literal, all the same + plain, level land

The best of Scarborough shoal at low tide. Apparently taken later, same rock pictured above, actually having a twin near it. Lifted from Google search: Scarborough shoal

Scarborough is defined as a shoal and not an island nor a group of islands.

shoal [shōl] noun (plural shoals)
1. shallow water: an area of shallow water in a larger body of water
2. underwater sandbank: an underwater sandbank or sandbar that is visible at low water
Microsoft® Encarta® 2007. © 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

No island mass. Just shoal and reef systems reflecting different colors of sea.  It gets too shallow in parts so that white ripples resulting as waves roll over the shallows show. Lifted from Google search: Scarborough shoal.

During the time when fishermen did not normally go out more than 5 miles to sea, the place used to be no-man’s land, a hazardous place for ships, some few useless pieces of rocks that jot out of the water especially at low tide –  absolutely unlivable to be of interest.  If there was something interesting of the place, it must be the danger it has posed to maritime. It would have been no good map if it did not show dangerous places like useless Scarborough shoal.

But that was yesterday. And the world has grown since then. Commercial fishing has become a way of life. The place is irresistibly very rich in marine life. And added to that, there are other prospects the old world had never known before.

Shallow sea is rich in algae and corals as the sea-bed is blessed with, or penetrated by much sunlight. Reef systems are formed. The shoal formation hosts a wide variety and complete chains of marine biology. The place has become an important fishing ground, and later disputed.

Modern day Balangay that fishes in deeper seas, at rest in port with frolickers aboard. Lifted from Google search: Navotas fishport

Scarborough is about two weeks round-trip fishing run from Batangas and Navotas – Metro Manila’s fish-ports. That depends on provisions like food, drinks, ice, and how soon the holds are filled with catch. In deeper seas around the shoal are the big species, omnivores and carnivores, like Yellow Fins.

No, they are not the tuna capital of the Philippines. The tuna capital of the Philippines is Gensan or General Santos that fishes in the Celebes Sea…Celebes Sea! Hey, why don’t some bright guy rename that sea to South Philippine Sea!  And while at it, expand the country’s territorial and economic zones farther out south, as well. How?  Since Philippine government has claimed Benham Plateau in the east, why cannot it claim a sort of Benham Valley or Benham Hills that lies under what we would then call South Philippine Sea – from what to be formerly Celebes Sea! Nothing tribal, nothing economic, nothing political [ugh, Lol]. No, it is not some Filipinos going crazy, it must be the whole world moving backward. What do you think, folks? 🙂

Meantime, the Scarborough shoal has been claimed by the Republic of the Philippines [Ph], by Republic of China [Taiwan], and by the People’s Republic of China [PRC]. It all started when Filipinos planted the country’s flag in there in the time of President Marcos in the 60s, claiming the place for the Philippines, which drew protests and counter claims.

So, we see all the territorial claims are not new. All them asserted only in the late 20th century are decades old,  Scarborough shoal used to be a common fishing ground while disputed.  But not anymore.

Scarborough shoal is located in the South China Sea, slightly northeast of the Spratlys. The shoal is only around 130 nautical miles off  Zambales, Philippines.

Lifted from Google satellite Maps: Philippines and Scarborough Shoal

Under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS] it falls within the 200 miles Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of the Philippines. The Philippines is supposed to hold fishing rights in there, or in its parts that are within the EEZ.

[My rough estimate of Scarborough shoal, that one estimate has put at 130 square kilometers in area, is 125 nautical miles on center [OC] to baseline Zambales.  Nautical mile x 1.852 = km]

With ownership there comes right[s]. Rights can come with or without ownership. The rights of the Philippines over the shoal under the EEZ has been complicated by issue of ownership. Issues of territorial ownership and sovereign rights have now apparently put them into limbo. And the situation can hang in there indefinitely.

Obviously, the shoal has to be cleared of any claim of ownership, for EEZ to become the guiding authority. I think the Philippines and PRC are locked in an impasse over the  Scarborough.

For the Filipinos, territorial sovereignty over the Scarborough shoal will mean expanding more into the South China Sea that they have already renamed “West Philippine Sea.”  I guess the Chinese simply cannot allow that.  I don’t think others in the region welcome Philippine position, either. Not with the loss, more than they should, of common fishing ground it means for them. There are oil deposits in the region. Most of all, in the region are very critical international sea lanes.

The Chinese have re-asserted their claim of ownership of the shoal. Whereas before, their fishermen were arrested by Philippine authorities for fishing there, lately they have positioned naval forces that prevented that from happening. This time they seem to be more meaningful, more resolute, of where  their mouth is, or maybe one of these days they might.

And why did not the world put the EEZ at 300 or 350 nautical miles from baseline. That might have contained people who see 200 miles as not enough, thus minimizing the possibility of wars.  Haaaah…  😦

ARMM, Peacetalks & Malacañang’s Grant to Rebels

Malacañang Palace, as revealed to the public recently, has granted the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] some P5 million peso dole-out. It is creating a stir in public.

People can debate and argue on the correctness of the move by government,  by Malacañang Palace executives actually, but fact is money has already been handed to and been received by the MILF. And never has it stirred much since a dozen and more of government soldiers had died in encounters with the MILF just some days ago. Rebels claimed that government soldiers went a-stray, whatever they meant by that. Government troopers were pursuing a kidnap for ransom group [KFR] operating in rebel controlled or operated territory when they were ambushed.

Government troopers. Lifted from Google search: Mindanao war

Abu Sayyaf fighters. Lifted from Google search: Mindanao war

About the grant, Malacañang has justified the move by saying that it was an agreement of the Arroyo administration in one of its secret meetings with the MILF and the new administration merely implemented it.

Talking about shrouded meetings between Malacañang and the rebels now reminds of the aborted MOA-AD by the past administration of President Arroyo. It appears the present Aquino administration has also been doing their own hushed meetings with the rebels like the ones that transpired in Japan, and in Kuala Lumpur, recently.  They were late-publicized and  known very little-about by the public – if people can call them transparent.

Regular combatants. Lifted from Google search: Mindanao war

And since talking about the controversial MOA-AD, we are reminded also of another thing very critical and controversial – the postponement of election for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao [ARMM].

The Aquino administration had moved to postpone the ARMM election only to stumble over the Supreme Court on the issue.  It would have allowed Malacañang to appoint ARMM officials, a move that political oppositions have cried foul. Malacañang in fact caused a postponement of ARMM election in the sense that the election was not held on the day as stipulated by law that created ARMM, in the course of all that. [updates on ARMM and ARMM election here]

Former President Gloria M Arroyo. Lifted from Google search Mindanao war

ARMM is an institution beholden to the Republic of the Philippines and Malacañang Palace is there to oversee that. But, an ARMM that is beholden to Malacañang Palace, or whoever seats in there, is something different. The kingpin and some stalwarts of the Ampatuan clan that controlled the ARMM and former President Gloria M Arroyo are right now facing allegations of election fraud viewed on that alleged unholy relation, in fact.

As the Arroyo administration had learned in the MOA-AD, Republic of the Philippines is not a hacienda. And even in a hacienda, the administrators can only do things that the hacienda owners allow or stated. And the owners, Sire/Ma’am, is people of the Philippines and not the Christians, not the Muslims, and absolutely not Malacañang Palace.

“Walang kama-kamaganak, walang kai-kaibigan”“Kayo ang Boss ko. No privileged relatives, no privileged friends; You are my boss, people of the Philippines liked hearing them and they want them real.

Related post here:

On Allan Kruegers “What Makes a Terrorist

A Massive World Set in Motion by Petropolitics

I’ve been thinking of writing about something known as petroleum-politics or Petropolitics.  But, until now I really feel that the subject is fragmented in me so I need to sort my perceptions  into places, first.

In the other hand I doubt if I really have time to think about them, or why should I. Well, if I ever get to post them in here later, I think they might go this way

While "American Imperialism" has been one pole of global conflict, the other pole has shifted. The USSR and the Cold war are gone factors, equation has now pointed to forces that identify itself as Islamism.

  • All about world’s ever pressing need for petroleum, in particular. This is not limited to capitalism as the need for petroleum also involves socialist states.

  • A review of the petroleum industries in the free world, their motivation or nature, that again is not limited to them because in socialist states, state and bureaucracy merely took over, assumed role or assimilated, everything formerly of private capital.

  • The need by capital, to mean both capitalist and socialist in the case now, to exploit resources in traditionally international spaces.

  • The universal natures of politics and politicians of time. The need by states to provide for their people, the need for political-economic-social stability internal to them.

  • Lobby and/or corruption, a symbiotic relation, interests of capital and states have naturally collude become mutually beneficial along lines if not one.

Today's richest government on Earth is building up its military hardwares and flexing its muscles.

  • International conflicts in the race by states to get hold of free territories, the universal natures of people – patriotism and nationalism readily rallying behind states.

  • Added in there are: regional, cultural and racial differences that are generated further with the conflicts. The prospects of neo-global polarization of east-west-black-white, of insurgencies and world terrorism.

Peoples Republic of China - the big foot in the Spratlys, South China Sea

The main engine that drives world’s economy and politics, propelling the world in its present course is Petropolitics.  The thing has contributed much in shaping local and foreign policies of nations. It shaped laws, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [UNCLOS] is no different.

This  world has been spinning on an axis called petropolitics. So very natural and perceived to be normal, to many people it’s just the way of the world. Living for the day is man. And that may be dangerous. The dangers of armed confrontation and wars is never been real.

By the way, have you ever wondered why all the fuss about cigarette  smoking when nothing is said about one car out there is 10,000 X more hazardous than one cigarette smoker? Well, that’s because we do not have thing called tobacco-politics with us. The thing is dwarfed, dying, if not already dead.

And look who says what is, or what is not, more important thing in this world. Like, the stride for alternative energies, say hydrogen, for all reasons, can wait.

Maybe I missed lots more than are stuffed in this thing called petropolitics. Maybe somebody should polish and finish the ideas.  But is not everything antedated, antiquated, nowhere in time, thus boring?

Ohh, what me worry. I am not Clark Kent.

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