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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.” ― Archibald MacLeish

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Philippines: So Blessed with Resources, So Cursed With Bad Leaders!

 So The WORLD may Know: Four Presidents and a First Lady- 
They SCREWED UP our beloved Land, The Philippines.
May God have mercy on them!
From New York Times:
MANILA — No Philippine leader since Ferdinand Marcos has held the democratic fate of his nation in his hands so decisively, yet so perilously, as President Rodrigo Duterte.

Authoritarianism may not be Mr. Duterte’s political goal, but it defines his manner and his temperament. And with no institution or political force strong enough to counter him, authoritarianism is where the Philippines seems to be heading.

Last weekend, Mr. Duterte warned that if lawlessness escalated in the country, he might suspend the writ of habeas corpus to allow for arrests without warrants.

“I can be ordered by the Supreme Court to stop it, but there are things that they cannot stop and, maybe, I will not stop,” he said of a possible suspension of the writ. “Whatever, I will tell them I will finish this first,” he added, referring to his administration’s campaign against drugs and terrorism, “then I can go to jail.”

Mr. Duterte operates on a hair trigger, and runs his presidency on impulse. Until recently, this tendency was scarcely known beyond his home town, Davao City, which as mayor he ruled like an autocrat for more than two decades. Even as these traits began to be revealed during the presidential campaign in the spring, they hardly mattered to the 39 percent plurality of voters who elected him. If anything, Filipinos seemed to be looking for a strongman to solve their problems, be it crime or poverty.

So far they have gotten just what they asked for, and Mr. Duterte’s popularity is running high. In a poll by Social Weather Stations last month, 76 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with his performance.
Upon assuming the presidency, Mr. Duterte began a ruthless campaign against drugs, dealers and users nationwide, conducting it much like his administration in Davao City had fought crime — doling out justice by summary execution. To the stern reminders about the rule of law he has received from Washington, other Western governments and human rights groups, Mr. Duterte has replied with his usual belligerence and profanity. He does not want to be told.

Fewer and fewer people will tell him anyway. Mr. Duterte has surrounded himself with a sycophantic cabinet, and his administration is trying to co-opt or intimidate the democratic institutions or traditional political forces that might act as counterweights.

Now a self-professed socialist, he has struck a cease-fire deal with communist rebels. Members of the mainstream left, which previously took to the streets to denounce the ruling powers, were invited to the presidential palace on the day of his inauguration.

The Catholic Church, the rallying force behind the popular revolt that deposed President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, has lost much of its ascendancy. Its main council, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has not formally denounced the extrajudicial killings being carried out in the name of Mr. Duterte’s antidrug campaign. Meanwhile, Mr. Duterte has called the church a “hypocritical institution” and accused “many churchmen” of corruption and sexual misconduct.

The army has come under his intense, unsubtle courtship: He has been going around camps throughout the country, promising to double soldiers’ salaries by the end of the year.

The business community has been largely acquiescent — unsurprisingly, perhaps, given its natural interest in profit over politics.

The media, thrown off by a subject the likes of whom they have never seen, are still trying to get their bearings — except for those journalists who seem only too willing to play along: The Philippine Daily Inquirer has given a regular column to the president’s public-relations man.

Who will stop him? What will he stop at?
Ferdinand Marcos
Stole up to $10 billion from the Philippines.
Most people love getting freebies. In the case of this list, you get two corrupt Filipino dictators for the price of one. Arguably, Marcos was worse than the fellow who came later, Joseph Estrada, for a couple of reasons. He had his own cult of personality, and he used it to strong-arm the country into doing whatever he wanted.
As ruler of the Philippines for 14 years, he went with a patronage style of running the show. His cronies came on board, he awarded them big bonuses and posts of authority, which would, in time, further augment his family’s own wealth. He created monopolies in tobacco, banana, coconut, sugar and manufacturing industries, to which he tied the fellow Romauldez family.
Just how rich were the Marcoses? No one really knows how many billions of dollars that the First Family and their stooges raked in, but it certainly hangs in the billions. Swiss banks have turned in $85 million since Marcos stepped down in 1986, but more is still unaccounted for.
And who could forget Imelda Marcos? Wealth breeds extravagance, but she went over the top. She had white sand from an Australian beach flown in for a resort. She also bought various properties around Manhattan, though she ‘declined to buy the Empire State Building for $750 mil’ because it seemed “too ostentatious.”
When criticized for her manner of buying everything in sight, she claimed that she was a beacon of light to which the poor could aspire. As though the poor have as little integrity as she did, and would aspire to hedonism. From BusinessPundit
Every lie is two lies — the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it. 
~Robert Brault
From Asian JournalUSA.com
Was Marcos a well-decorated soldier?
John Sharkey of the Washington Post who did an extensive research on the matter did not think so. Jeff Gerth and Joel Brinkley of the New York Times after perusing the War files in the National Archives found out that Marcos’ claims were “fraudulent” and “absurd”. Historian and scholar Dr. Alfred McCoy, while researching a book World War II in the Philippines, discovered the fraudulent Marcos files among hundreds of thousands of documents involving real heroes and fraudulent claimants during World War II.
Army Captain Ray C. Hunt who directed guerilla activities in Pangasinan said, “No way.” The “List of Recipients of Awards and Decorations issued from December 7, 1941 through June 30, 1945” was compiled by the General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters in Tokyo after the end of the war. Another list of some 120 Americans and Filipinos who were awarded during the Bataan campaign was transmitted to the War Department by General Jonathan Wainwright on April 12 shortly before his surrender. MARCOS WAS NOT on any of the lists.
Many of Marcos’ medals were obtained for heroic actions in Kiangan, Mt. Province while serving in the 14th Infantry under the Command of Colonel Manriquez and Adjutant Captain Rivera. Both attested to fact that Marcos was a non-combatant and just a Civil Affairs officer. They knew of no award that Marcos could have received or had been entitled to.
For 40 years Philippine War records were not available to the public. It was only in the 1980s that many of the documents were eventually accessible to legitimate researchers and scholars. Led by Colonel Bonifacio Gillego assisted by a team from the Movement for a Free Philippines, a study was made on “Marcos: FAKE HERO”. The study was written by Col. Gillego and was published by the Philippine News and the We Forum which Marcos shut down and its Editor and staff writers indicted for “sedition” punishable by death.
After an exhaustive analysis of the medals which Marcos supposedly received, Gillego came up with the following conclusions:
Eleven awards were given in 1963;
Ten were given on the same day (12/20/1963);
Three awards were given in one AFP General Order (12/20/1963);
One award was given in 1972 when he was already President;
Eight are really campaign ribbons which everybody involved in Bataan and the resistance movement (including my barber’s uncle), is entitled to receive;
Awards are duplicated for the same action at the same place on the same day;One is a Special Award given by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines; and three for being wounded in actions 
The Asia Magazine:
It is a testament to her residual power that Imelda Marcos was able to get a court order to prevent a damning film about her to be shown in the Philippines. What other widow of a reviled dictator could get her way in the country that she pillaged?

Consider the facts. She was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to a minimum of 12 years in prison in 1993.

The Philippine Supreme Court overturned the conviction.

The Marcos estate lost a class action lawsuit for human rights violations. A US Federal District Court awarded the plaintiffs $2 billion. The money has yet to be paid.

In 2003, the Philippine Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that found Imelda Marcos guilty of funneling $659 million to private Swiss bank accounts and awarded the entire amount to the Philippine government.

Over 150 other court cases are currently pending.

And in an ironic perversion of justice, Imelda Marcos receives a monthly pension of $90 from the Philippine government as a widow of a war veteran.

Imelda insists she did not give her permission for a film about her rise from beauty queen to Philippine First Lady.

“We have to stick to the truth because truth is God,” she said. “Many things were lifted out of context and insertions there were quite, sometimes malicious.”

She said she co-operated with the film because she thought it was for a thesis. Reportedly director Ramona Diaz was given 15 minutes. This stretched to five hours of the former First Lady speaking non-stop and playing video after video of media coverage of the Marcoses.

"Imelda" was given good reviews abroad and won best cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival in the US. Eventually Mrs Marcos allowed the showing of the film on condition that the director dropped the word “documentary” from the title. "Imelda" went on to become a smash Filipino hit, beating "Spider-Man 2" in theatres.

In the movie we are shown a mythology that Imelda has carefully cultivated. In the opening sequence she presents her world view in an engaging way. Still coquettish in her mid-70s, she leafs through a book she has written called "Circles of Life". The method in her madness breaks down later in the film when she illustrates with a marker pen her philosophy complete with apples, hearts and a Pac-Man. A Jesuit priest recounts how she presented the same to him non-stop for four hours. Bernice Ocampo, her niece, laments that Imelda’s downfall was brought about by flatterers, not true friends.

Imelda’s hubris knows no bounds. In her hometown of Tacloban, she has made a shrine to herself and Jesus Christ. The chapel on the first floor is lined with dioramas of her rise from being a little girl playing in the sand to becoming a heroine of her people helping the downtrodden. Upstairs visitors are shown her ornate bedroom which has walls completely covered in woven leather strips.

Her childhood friend Lettie Loksin is filmed saying that when she first met Imelda she thought she looked like the Virgin Mary — long-haired and beautiful. Another childhood friend recalls, “Imelda’s dresses were made of parachutes and bedsheets during the war. She did not mind as long as she had a new dress.”

We get Imelda’s spin on her own vanity when she boasts that as First Lady she took an hour to dress for kings and queens but she would take “double the time” if she was going to the provinces because the people needed “a standard, a star…especially in the dark of the night”.

In 1954, Imelda, met then-congressman Ferdinand Marcos in the cafeteria of the Philippine Congress and married him 11 days later. Ferdinand ran for president in 1964 and won by presenting himself and his wife as the John F Kennedys of Asia — young, fresh talent that was going to help the country advance. With the support of the US government, the Marcos’ hunger for power increased and in 1972, Ferdinand declared martial law.

This was, according to Imelda, for the good of the people. In the movie she describes the imposition of martial law in these words: “[The President] informed the family…. He called the little children together and he said the time has come [and] that what he had to offer for the survival of the country was more than life, it was honour…. because he was so democratically committed.” This is when most movie audiences laugh out loud.
 “Some are saying I should resign, some want me impeached, some say I should go on vacation, ... This is my advice: They are the ones who should go on vacation. They should come here and be with people who don't have land and witness the poverty here.” ERAP
Joseph "Erap" Ejército Estrada (born José Marcelo Ejército; April 19, 1937) is a Filipino politician who served as the 13th President of the Philippines from 1998 until 2001. Estrada was the first person in the present Fifth Republican period to be elected both President and Vice-President.
Estrada was elected President in 1998 with a wide margin of votes separating him from the other challengers, and was sworn into the presidency on June 30, 1998.
In 2007, Estrada was sentenced by the special division of the Sandiganbayan to reclusión perpetua for the plunder of stealing $80 million from the government and was sentenced a lifetime in prison, but was later granted pardon by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. From Wikipedia
This brings us to Gloria. It's still too early to tell, but if the current signs mean anything, she has got a lot to answer for.
How could so many scandals of an elected (?) president and her cadre remain unexplained, unchallenged, and unpunished? When? Probably never.
We're not talking mistakes, here. We're not talking poor judgment or failed policies. We're not talking politics as usual, with its underhanded array of pork and perks. But we are talking about very serious violations of the public trust, and very possibly the law, perpetrated by the elected (?) leader of this nation and her handlers.
Even more amazingly, we are talking about the shameful reality that not a single one of these offenses has been investigated by a truly independent, non-political, neutral commission, armed with subpoena powers and adequate funding, and answerable ONLY to the people of Philippines. Not a single one.
What ever happened to the investigation of?
* The National Power Corp. (Napocor) -CPK-Kalayaan rehabilitation project.
* The race horse importation fiasco.
* The overpriced Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard exposé.
* Misuse of the fertilizer funds.
* The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. scandals.
* The jueteng scandals.
* The ZTE-NBN scandal ("Buck off!").
* The Bribery of Governors and Congressmen in Malacanang.
* The MOTHER of ALL SCANDALS: THE HELLO GARCI Mega Scandal that influenced the last Presidential elections.
* The Extra-Judicial Killings of Activists as reported by the United Nations special raporteur on human rights.
* And many more...