Philippines: President Marcos Jr. – All sugar isn’t sweet…

This week has been terrible for the President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. who has been caught into a web of scandal. This is involving the second office his holding, which is as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. That Marcos Jr. decided to be both the Head of State and the Minister of Agriculture has already backfired. Because, his now parts of or given powers to someone underneath him, which happens to be the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture.

This week has proven that the President shouldn’t hold two offices at the same time, but would be better to have appointed a trusted a fellow to run it. Since, the mismanagement has come this quickly. It didn’t take longer to a scandal rocking him and now the turns of trying to shift the blames start.

We know today that the Undersecretary has resigned and apologised for the Sugar Order Volume 4, but the investigation is just launched. Therefore, the whole entirety will unfold. The signatures and the whole deal. As it started to it finished. We can really wonder what went down between the release of the Sugar Order Vol. 4 and the Meeting which the President presided over. That was only 8 days between and something has to be said there. They don’t just order 300,000 metric tons of sugar on a whim. There is some sort of planning, before execution and making the measures in the Sugar Regulatory Administration.

That’s why I have made this time of what has dripped out so far…

On the 15th July 2022 Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez on behalf of the President sent out a Memorandum giving Undersecretary of Agriculture, Leocardio S. Sebastian vast power within the Department of Agriculture. Not only the as the Chief of Staff of the Department, but many other powers invested in him. That Memorandum was from the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President and gave the Undersecretary his clear role.

1st August 2022:

NEWS UPDATE: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presides a meeting as the secretary of the Department of Agriculture to discuss the course of actions that the department will take for the sugar and coconut industry” (PTVph, 01.08.2022).

9th August 2022:

The Sugar Regulatory Administration published Sugar Order Volume 4: “Second Sugar Import Program for Crop Year 2021-2022, which states the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar. The sugar was supposed to designated partly half of it to industrial users and the other half to the traders.

11th August 2022:

Undersecretary of Agriculture Leocardio S. Sebastian sends his resignation letter to President Marcos Jr. and apologises for the Sugar Order Volume 4. While also resigning from the post, which he only was appointed to in July.

12th August 2022:

“Heads are going to roll” following an investigation over the supposed “unauthorized” signing of a document directing the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar, Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles emphasized on Thursday. “An investigation is ongoing to determine whether any act that would cause the President to lose trust and confidence in his officials can be found or if there is malice or negligence involved. In such a case, if such findings are made, then the only determination left will be how many heads are going to roll,” Cruz-Angeles said in a press briefing. Angeles described as “illegal” Sugar Order No. 4 issued by the Sugar Regulatory Administration, which supposedly directs the importation of 300,000 metric tons of sugar. “The Chairman of the Sugar Regulatory Board is President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. As such, the chairman sets the date of any meetings or convening of the Sugar Regulatory Board and its agenda. No such meeting was authorized by the President or such a resolution likewise, was not authorized,” said Cruz-Angeles” (Alaine Allanigue – ‘Heads to roll over ‘unauthorized’ importation of 300,000 MT of sugar’ 12.08.2022, Philippine Information Agency – PIA).

We don’t know yet the whole scope of this, but the things are twisted together. There are missing pieces and more has to be unleashed on the masses. This here sugar scandal came early. It was only barely month after the Executive Secretary wrote the memorandum giving the Undersecretary vast powers to the Sugar purchase or imports was in order. That is saying something and the President has also signed on the Sugar Order Vol. 4. So, he had to knew and cannot act totally oblivious. The man cannot be that docile and not know what is going on in his department. That is something I have a hard time to believe.

Time will tell, but what we do know is that all sugar isn’t sweet. Certainly Marcos Jr. should be more careful ahead and he should reconsider the ability to both be the head of state and a secretary over a Department. Yes, he wants to do so show that he cares and priorities the sector. However, it would be better to craft legislation and policy changes as President. Than trying to control this, as well, as being the President. That seems to much to ask…

The investigation will now buy everyone time, but the truth will come out. This happen in such a short window and early in the administration. So, it is not like everyone has settled in or gotten used to the new offices. Therefore, this should be brief and quick. As parts of the paperwork is already online. The President can also be implicated, because he sat in the meeting on the 1st August and on the 9th August the Sugar Order Vol. 4 was published. An inquiry will even dig deeper and things tend to connect together. Peace.

Philippines: National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) – Young NAMFREL Members on the 2022 BSKE (08.08.2022)

Opinion: Bong Bong Marcos, what changed since 2011?

The Philippines has no intention of rejoining the ICC” – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr (01.08.2022).

The Philippines President was only sworn-in on the 30th June 2022 and we are now in the start of August 2022. President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Junior is already hit with controversy. A sort of affair he could have avoided and made disappear. However, he instead wants to show force and continue where his predecessor left off. That makes it easier for him and less obstacles, if he needs to use military means or violent aggression against “targeted groups” within the republic.

Duterte revoked the Rome Statute:

The Philippines ’ withdrawal from the ICC, already took effect on March 17, 2019, exactly a year after Duterte revoked the Rome Statute, a treaty that created the international court. The country severed ties from the ICC after its special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda started a preliminary examination on the alleged human rights violations under the administration’s anti-drug war” (Azer Parrocha – ‘PRRD upheld PH sovereignty by withdrawing from ICC: Andanar’ 17.03.2021).

So, the Philippines has only been over 3 years outside the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Philippines is following a small or marginalized group of nations who isn’t part of it. That’s saying a lot about the values and the wills of the government in Manilla. I’m not shocked, but expected this by Marcos Jr. as his not the sort of fella who wants oversight or anyone look into his deeds. That’s the sort of thing ICC does and it could be a bad look.

What is striking however… is that the same man as a then Senator signed off on a Resolution to ratify the Rome Statute in 2011. it is the same man that is no accepting and continuing the path of not being part of the ICC. That is saying something and shows what sort of man he is. Because, he signed off and wanted it to happen in 2011.

Now in 2022 the game is different and the office is also very appealing. The President wants to look strong and spread his vision. That’s very clear here and its obvious why. In 2011 he wanted to signal and show that he was a changed man. That he possibly wasn’t like his father and wanted the nation to be changed for the better. Now in office, he don’t want investigators or independent bodies to undermine his authority. He wants to reign supreme and have a say in what’s going on. His allies and the political elite his a part of. Cannot bare the burden of burying or double-crossing the ones who helped him to office.

That’s why Marcos Jr. cannot issue a resolution or a motion, even executive order to get the Philippines to sign and ratify the Rome Statue into Philippines Law. The ones that are in dire shock and feel in disbelief haven’t followed the Malacañang politicking or how the Philippines government have operated of late. Marcos Jr. isn’t revolutionizing things, but instead following the line or policies of Duterte. No one should be surprised here.

Marcos Jr. want to seem like a big-man and a strong leader. He needs to show force and resilience. If not he will be mocked and be ridiculed. An easy of getting ahead is to use foreign interference and block foreign entities from acting on Filipino soil. That’s what his doing with the ICC and will possibly do with others.

Even if he did in his SONA speech said this:

We will be a good neighbor – always looking for ways to collaborate and cooperate with the end goal of mutually beneficial outcomes. If we agree, we will cooperate and we will work together. And if we differ, let us talk some more until we develop a consensus. After all, that is THE FILIPINO WAY” (Marcos Junior, 25.07.2022).

So, it is ironic that he just said these words mere week apart. Also a decade later his not trying to rejoin or willing to do so. That’s because his worried about the possible investigation and what it could unravel. This would hurt his allies and his reign. Marcos Junior needs these ones to stay in office and he knows that. They wouldn’t have backed him or been supporting his campaign if not. That’s it really….

The ones who don’t get that. Should check upon the characters that threw their weight onto his campaign and the parties who aligned itself with Bong Bong Marcos. These are the ones who needs to be shielded and not worry about tomorrow. Peace.

Philippines: National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) – NAMFREL Calls for the Holding of the Barangay and Sanggunlang Kabataan Elections on December 5, 2022 as Scheduled (20.07.2022)

Philippines: Piston – Jeepney drivers challenge incoming administration to prioritize fuel crisis response, renews demand for suspension of fuel taxes (28.06.2022)

Philippines: Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Press Statement (25.06.2022)

Opinion: PPCRV cannot save COMELEC [on the 68:32 Magic]

The poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) cannot vindicate the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The results are easily questionable by the action happening on the day of the polls. Especially, when there is so much news of faulty machines, SD-Cards not working and ballots not processed while the voter are in the proximity of the vote. Therefore, the rate of the announcing partial results and such begs you too question it all too.

Then you have the margins and the statistical anomaly, which was repetitive in the manner of announcement of the results of the polls. That was not showing difference of regions, areas or even amount of voters. Still, the percentage was stagnate and at the same levels without any shift. This is why you beg to question it and wonder what the heck is going on. Because, that doesn’t make sense, that the various of polling stations, regions and alike voted in comparison and within the same percentage as a total with every update. That just sounds strange too me.

The PPCRV can say it’s “Big Data” and “Big Numbers” but even they got to understand why people are wondering. The 68:32 Magic will follow this election cycle. Just like all the scrutiny for every voter who was not allowed to enter and vote. All the voters who didn’t get receipts and could verify if their vote was really cast. Because, of technical difficulties.

The PPCRV who is canvassing and checking the results of the polls is most likely right about their assessment, but the facts remains that the COMELEC didn’t fulfil their mission and that’s why people are questioning the results. If everything had gone well, if there wasn’t discrepancies and electioneering on the polling day. Then we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t wonder if everything was on the up-and-up.

For me this isn’t about the candidacy of Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Marcos Junior or such. No, this is systemic issues and the manner of which things went down. If the COMELEC had everything sorted out and there was no outcry of technical difficulties. If there was no one who was turned away and didn’t close the polling stations early. While there was also so swift ability to get the results announced after the hardships of actually casting the ballots. Therefore, the reasons for wondering isn’t about Marcos, but about the ones who was running the show.

The problem is the perception and what went down. The PPCRV can say it and it can be true. However, at the same time… they are vindicating COMELEC for their lacking and unprofessional manner of which they were not technically prepared for the polls. While they hired companies, appointees secured the venues and the ballots too. They had the time to prepare for this and ensure it all would end well. Nevertheless, it wasn’t all free and fair… and it wasn’t without it’s faults.

That’s why people are speculating and wondering about the announced results. This is why I questioned it too, because it didn’t make sense and how the partial results was announced without any shift or significant change of percentages between the two main candidates for President. That is what’s the issue and this cannot be taken away with a statement.

COMELEC should release the servers and the numbers for scholars to crunch and show what went down. The results forms should be digitally available and make it possible for a mathematician to break the numbers down. Alas, PPCRV cannot save the COMELEC here. They are indirectly trying to salvage it, but it doesn’t patch the hurt.

The only thing it does… that people like me want more transparency and don’t want to be fooled. Who won? Well, most like BBM, but we need it to be proven, as the margins of error is there and they shouldn’t have been here in the first place. Peace.

Philippines: Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) – Press Statement (12.05.2022)

Opinion: COMELEC needs to explain the 68:32 Magic

The thing as an outsider and with the knowledge of the irregularities, the questionable speed of the announcement of the election results. The numbers was trickling in at amp-speed. Nearly quicker than the average speed of the internet networks of the Philippines. While polling stations had troubles with SD Cards and ballots unaccounted for. There was thousands of VCM machines that was defunct and not working. Therefore, it is pure magic how the COMELEC was able to bring the results at such vast pace.

The results was coming quicker than the polling material to the polling stations. Heck, the polling results was nearly coming in quicker than the voters actually voted. There was long lines and machines which wasn’t accepting or registering the ballot itself. Therefore, something doesn’t add up.

Also, the lack of celebration and parades after the announced numbers. There was more celebrations for the landslide of Duterte. If he was winning this big and by these vast margins the people should be cheering in the streets. There should be big rallies and such, as their popular candidate to get ushered in. However, there only been small pockets of the public showing up and celebrating. Not in the manner of which you would think a man of over 30 million votes would get. Unless, there is buyers-remorse from the on-set, which would also be weird. Since, the product or campaign you bought into hasn’t even entered into office. So, there should just be joy and happiness that the dude you believed in won the elections.

That’s why it is even more striking when people are looking into it and they are seeing a pattern. This being the magical 68:32 Magic or the , which is automatically 68 percentage to Marcos Jr and 32 percentage to Robredo. Even if you don’t favour any of them… it is weird. It doesn’t add up, because the numbers should vary and be different. One region would give more support to one and more support to another. There should be variation of the numbers and percentages. Unless, they had pre-programmed this and wanted it to be believable. However, it only make you think that the people are fools.

When all of these things are happening, as well as the intimidation, electioneering and the running speed of announced results. It all begs the questions, if this was the real deal or a manufactured one. Because, the COMELEC could easily favour the UniTeam and their candidates, because they are continuation of the Duterte era. It is both in the family and follows the powerful dynasties control of the high ranking offices in the Republic.

All of these factors are leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. The COMELEC has already come into question with shady deals, shoddy VCM machines and everything else opens up a can of worms. Which needs to be addressed and investigated. The opposition and the losers should petition the courts, challenge the results and see what the authorities can explain or not. Since, you cannot just announce and proclaim someone the winner without a shadow of a doubt. The COMELEC and everyone else needs to be tested and prove their worth.

That isn’t only for the losers or the opposition, but for the belief in the whole system and keep COMELEC accountable for its own actions. They need to answer these things and ensure the grounds of trust between them and the public. Because, the COMELEC and their actions should be trusted and be transparent as well. That’s not what you can say about the Presidential Elections of 2022, which is really tragic and a loss.

This is why some people are grieving and felling a loss. While the victor isn’t really celebrating or throwing big feasts for their achievement, which it should have if it was an honest affair and a deserved result. Peace.

Philippines: De La Salle University (DLSU) – Office of the Chancellor – Election Statement (10.05.2022)

%d bloggers like this: