Oslo, 17th March 2019
Dear Sir, His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the President of the Republic of Philippines.
I am writing today to you and yours for a very simple reason. Not that I have the answers, but I am seeking those. Because I am worried about you and your administration. Since, the act of withdrawal from the Rome Statute and leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) came to affect today.
A quick brief about the ICC and the Rome Statute: “The primary mission of the International Criminal Court is to help put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes” (…) “On 17 July 1998, a conference of 160 States established the first treaty-based permanent international criminal court. The treaty adopted during that conference is known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Among other things, it sets out the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC, the rules of procedure and the mechanisms for States to cooperate with the ICC” (…) “ The mandate of the Court is to try individuals (rather than States), and to hold such persons accountable for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, when the conditions for the exercise of the Court’s jurisdiction over the latter are fulfilled” (ICC – Understanding the International Criminal Court).
The reason for writing this is very clear as an outsider, a man who follows the Republic and sometimes worried about the state of affairs. I’m writing to you President Duterte, because this is a serious gamble. Your risking more than just some mere donations or bilateral loans, you are risking more than that.
Mister President, your actually taking yourself out of institution, whose prosecuting for international crimes and crimes against humanity. Which is a very specific court, not just any tribunal. Why I am asking, because your administration accepted the verdict of another international court, which ordered a verdict in your favour. That was the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague on the 12th July 2016 [The South China Sea Arbitration (The Republic of the Philippines v. The People’s Republic of China)]. Therefore, the administration your running has accepted this and didn’t question the sovereign of this nor the laws it used for the ruling of this court.
If you as President are saying the ICC shouldn’t have any grounds of investigation you, than the same Republic and the same administration accept the verdict of another international court either. That is just an easy assessment, Mr. President.
As we are seeing the Republic leaves the ICC, could there be another reason for leaving it? Are you afraid of cases built up against you? Would you be afraid if they really investigated or looked into the anti-drug war? Are you afraid of what you did as Mayor of Davao?
I just got to ask. Since there has to be something, a reason why you are afraid of the ICC. If you had nothing to hide, if you had nothing to look into or questionable activity. You wouldn’t have revoked the Rome Statute and run away from the International Law?
I am really questioning it, since the same state had no issues accepting one International Court, but leaving another one. Are you leaving the laws and statutes of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague too? That would have been a bit fair, especially if your a supreme sovereign and not wanting any interference. This is a weird argument using against one, but accepting the other one.
I just had to ask. I don’t anticipate any answers, but the Filipino should get to know. Just not some PR Stunt and sample of the Withdrawal of the Rome Statute. There should be released an legal argument released to the public to read and with justified explanation. If not, we can wonder, if the you as a President is afraid of the ICC and what they could find.
I hope you could answer to that and also show grace. Not that I expect any, but as an outsider. This is just weird. No one is running away from something unless, they got something to hide. That is just ordinary fashion in these manners.
Writer of Minbane
“One of the leading causes of obesity is the misbelief that, when it comes to juice, ‘100%’ means ‘sugar-free.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana
In the Philippines, there been a long tradition of Pork Barrel or specific payout for government projects for Representatives in the Lower House, the House of Representatives and the senators in the Senate. Because this week has been hectic in touch with tradition. There are back and fourth. There is no end in sight for this rodeo. I will show pieces of it, because, I cannot make sense of it.
If there is, then there is, if its not, its not. However, after the recent week action in the headlines and following the wires. I got nothing. Because, even I am unsure. It is hard to know if there is Pork Barrel within the ratified Budget for 2019, which was ratified on Friday on the 8th February 2019.
Let me show some statements that isn’t coherent, reporting that is not backing each other. From various of sources. Since I feel this is important, because there is lack of consistent messaging, therefore, the truth might surface later. However this is what I have by today.
GMA Reported: “Senators took exception to allegations by House appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. that they will get P3 billion each in pork allocation in the 2019 budget. Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in a text message, said the accusation of P3 billion per senator as pork “is a slur against the Senate.”” (Amita Legaspi – ‘ No P3-B pork in 2019 budget, senators insist’ (08.02.2019) link: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/684334/no-p3-b-pork-in-2019-budget-senators-insist/story/).
CNN Philippines Reported: “He was referring to the funds that current House committee on appropriations chair Rolando Andaya said were illegal insertions made by Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno — a charge Diokno has repeatedly denied. Lacson said that around P51 billion of the controversial P75 billion funds have been distributed to all members of the House of Representatives in P20 million chunks. “Of this amount, 20 billion pesos was distributed equally among the almost 300 congressmen, which translates into P60 million per congressman plus additional allocations to those close to the leadership of the House of Representatives. These are all embodied in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or the House version transmitted to the Senate,” Lacson said” (CNN Philippines Staff – ‘Lacson: New House leadership continued pork barrel mess’ 08.02.2019, link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2019/02/08/lacson-andaya-arroyo-pork-barrel-2019-budget.html).
Manilla Standard Reporting: “In total, the Senate proposed some P25.4 billion in adjustments while the House introduced P20.65 billion in realignments or a total of P46.35 billion under the DPWH where legislators can identify specific projects. Andaya confirmed that each congressman will get P160 million in itemized projects” (Maricel Cruz and Macon Ramos-Araneta – ‘Congress approves budget’ 09.02.2019, link: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/mobile/article/287358).
Sen. Franklin M. Drilon Press Release: “The minority leader also denied reports that senators will get P3 billion in pork allocation, including a province in the Visayas getting more than P3 billion. He called the allegation “grossly unfair”” (Franklin M. Drilon – ‘Drilon says no to 2019 national budget’ 08.02.2019, link:http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/0208_drilon1.asp).
Sen. Leila M. de Lima Press Release: “Kudos to my colleagues in the Minority bloc – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan – and, of course, to Sen. Ping Lacson, for their rejection of the pork-laden 2019 budget” (Sen. Leila M. de Lima – ‘Sen. Leila M. de Lima on her colleagues’ rejection of the pork-laden 2019 budget’ 09.02.2019, link: http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2019/0209_delima3.asp).
We are clearly seeing mixed messages, but both sides of this. Where the allocated funds are seen as differently. Therefore, we will see if these allocated funds are for the Pork Barrel or not. Since, the various explanation for these funds are really special. They are showing something and how to interpret the budget itself.
If one side is lying, than they are receiving funds and telling porkies. I am not sure, because if it is, they have tried to be sophisticated, but somewhere the funds leaked out. Someone spoke out and then the ones loyal to the President and the Government calling it “offensive”. Which makes it all weird. Since, why should people lie about special pay-outs, wouldn’t that be a happy-day to see your bank-account to be pregnant?
The Pork Barrels are there maybe or maybe not. By this report and these statements, it could be anything. Certainly porky porkies and even slices of pork chop from those Pork Barrels. Peace.
Certainly, the massive loans given to the “Build! Build! Build” are starting to cost. As the big infrastructure projects and other loans are taking their toll on the economy. Therefore, the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte are trying to collect something. It seems like the Chinese counterparts are getting lots of collateral and salvage the spent funds in Philippines. Because, as the weeks goes by and the ASEAN friends, the one with the upper-hand is China.
This is surely not how Duterte want it too look, as they are having a bargain. There has already been putting into question the control of Benham Rise and the hard-won control of the island there. Still, the Republic haven’t fought with tooth and nail to get it back. This week, it seems like there are more installations on it. The sovereign Philippines are being toyed with by China. They are being fooled and has to accept deals, because of the loans to Beijing. Manila is indebted and has to give concessions. Why else, would this week be filled with new Chinese interference and getting licenses in the Philippines?
Weather Station Controversy:
““It is currently coordinating with concerned government agencies, as well as with the Philippine Embassy in Beijing to verify the existence or non-existence of these alleged facilities,” he said. Panelo earlier addressed this concern on Monday saying Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin jr. will “do his job” once the reports have been verified. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang announced on November 1 that Beijing has already begun operating weather stations on the artificial islands in South China Sea. “These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief,” Lu Kang said in a press conference” (Janine Peralta – ‘Philippines to take action if Chinese weather stations in South China Sea are verified — Palace’ 06.11.2018 link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/11/06/ph-china-south-china-sea-panelo.html).
“One of the projects included an exploration between state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd., located off Calamian in southwestern Palawan province, Cusi told Manila Bulletin in a news briefing. Cusi was referring to Service Contract 57 which covers an oil and gas project awarded to PNOC’s exploration unit, and picked CNOOC as a partner. Cusi did not share details for Service Contract 72, an exploration permit held by the Philippines’ PXP Energy Corp. for Reed Bank, but clarified that the Reed Bank, another disputed South China Sea area, is not of the two” (Meanne Rosales – ‘ PH to seal 2 exploration deals with China’ 09.11.2018, link: https://powerphilippines.com/2018/11/09/ph-seal-2-exploration-deals-china/)
Chinese Telecommunication as the Third Telco:
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the entry of China Telecommunications Corp., or China Telecom, in his country’s telecommunication industry, saying the Philippines stands to benefit from the “good competition” that a Chinese company will bring to the industry” (…) “Duterte said that China “has proved to be of very incredibly high quality of electronics.” “(Xinhuanet – ‘Duterte welcomes China Telecom’s operating in Philippines’ 08.11.2018).
As we see, the sudden Benham Rise in the South China Sea and the will of China to takeover the place, while the Malacañang are preoccupied with sneering at priests, Rappler and who else who hurt their pride. They are not seeing or looking away from the sovereign implications on Benham Rise. As there are talks already of military installations, but now also monitoring equipment and a weather station. Clearly, the Chinese sees it as their land, while the PH are busy trying to find out what is happening there.
Than, you have the oil-fields in the same region, where the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) have gotten licenses to drill oil there. Clearly, this is all intentional, as well as they are the lucky third Telecommunication Company and getting into the Cellphone business too. This is just fitting as a glove. They are both getting territory in the South China Sea, they are getting exploitation opportunities and steady profits through a cell-phone carrier. All this they have gotten for dropping some loans, that is hard for the Philippines to repay in cash.
That is why they are allowed to get these things, as collateral for the debt. This is a game the Chinese plays well. That is why this is all happening. We have seen similar efforts done in Sri Lanka. That will surely happen in the Philippines too. As the Chinese is not forgiving with their loans. They want points on the dollar. Not loose money and certainly not lose face on the investments made. Peace.