Opinion: Marcos Jr. postpones the Barangay and SK elections just like Duterte

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday a law postponing the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections for the second time. “The President has signed into law the resetting of the barangay and SK elections,” House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Farinas said on Wednesday. Republic Act No. 10952 set the local elections to May 2018, with incumbent local officials ordered to remain in office” (VJ Bacungan – ‘Duterte signs law moving barangay, SK polls to May 2018’, 04.10.2017).

Today it’s official that the scheduled Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections for December 2022 are postponed to the 31st October 2023. Just like during the predecessor time in office, the Barangay captains and other elected representatives in the previous election are getting more time in office. The postponement means they are longer in office and prolonging their terms before new campaigning.

We know that Duterte did it with the reason of the drug-war and “narco-list” of dozens of barangay officials. Who wasn’t supposed to be eligible to stand or be candidates in the up-coming elections. Duterte postponed the Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections twice. He moved it from 31st October 2016 to 23rd October 2017 and finally moving it to May 2018.

Today it’s official that President Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. are following where Duterte left off. What is striking there is no official reason or argument for the postponement. Yes, on the 10th October 2022 Marcos Jr. signed the Republican Act. 11935 and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) just have to follow this order. Though there is no valid reason for it or probable cause for doing so.

Why are Marcos Jr. postponing it? Is he to busy travelling leisure trips or not finding sources for cheap sugar? What is the reason for it? That’s what’s bugging me.

At least Duterte could acknowledge certain reasons for doing so. He could muster up arguments that could make sense. Though you could disagree and wonder if it was true. Duterte still mustered up something and cooked up an edible dish.

What are we served up today?

I don’t know if it is soup, adobo or if he we have to run to Jolibee. Because, there is no meat to the bone. Only a new date in one year time and scheduled in October in 2023. There is no justification or saying that are uttered. We are about one month away from the supposed polls of December 2022 elections.

We can just await more information to come, but this isn’t a good look. Marcos Jr. isn’t doing anything new. Duterte did it already before him. His just following where he left off on this particular manner. However, one vast difference.

Duterte had a reason for the postponements. From Marcos Jr. it is radio-silence and no blinking lights leading us in any direction. Time will tell…. Peace.

Philippines: The Nucleus – Official Statement on Recent Killings of Journalists (12.10.2022)

Opinion: Was it a very critical function for President Marcos to watch the Formula 1 race in Singapore?

Did President Marcos use a G280 Gulfstream Command and Control aircraft for his Singapore trip to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix? PAF spokesperson Col. Ma Consuelo Castillo: The PAF, through the 250th Presidential Airlift Wing is mandated to provide safe and secure air transport to the President for all his movements as directed by higher office. Castillo: It is the raison d’etre or reason for being of the 250th PAW, thus, all its air assets are dedicated for the use of the President and the First Family. Castillo: The G280 aircraft, being a command and control aircraft, allows the President to perform his very critical function as Commander in Chief, AFP, while airborne, wherever he is around the globe; whether on state functions or otherwise. The 250th PAW is one of the units of the nation’s air force that is attached and assigned with the Presidential Security Group” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 05.10.2022).

Apparently, Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Junior cannot catch a break. Not even when he takes a brief brake and watches a Formula One Grand Prix Race in Singapore. The President just left everything hanging and he knew there was even Palace intrigue. Nothing mattered more for the man than watching the Formula One Race.

It is questionable activity at best. That the President just takes off after the Super Typhoon “Karding” and didn’t even look into that. He still has the monies and the manpower to travel to Singapore. There was no scheduled meetings, partake in any sort of diplomatic enterprise or anything of that nature. He was just travelling for leisure and fun to another nation.

We cannot anticipate a joint communique from Singapore-Philippines in the near future about the future trading agreements, bilateral work or proof of diplomatic vision between the nations. It doesn’t make it any better that he used it for a leisure.

It doesn’t make the case better, when this is reported as well: “Gulfstream G280 was bought in 2019 as an “airborne command post” for senior leaders and commanders during emergencies, said Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong. The purchase of a P2 billion jet earned flak as critics found it an extravagant purchase” (James Patrick Cruz – ‘Spotted: Philippine Air Force’s Gulfstream G280 flew to Singapore during F1 weekend’ 03.10.2022, Interaksyon – Philstar.com).

So, the Airborne Command Post bought for emergencies was used for a leisure trip to a Formula One race in Singapore. You cannot make these things up, but the President surely needs to address the emergency and why he needed the Airborne Command Post to watch a Formula One Race. That’s really amazing wastage of not only time, money and security agents surrounding the President.

I wonder, if the watching of Formula One was even a critical function, because it cannot be assessed to be an emergency. Everyone knows that this wasn’t a state function or anything in connection to the Office of the President. No, this was just a private trip and could be considered to be a vacation.

I have a hard time seeing the need or the necessity of Bong Bong Marcos Jr. to be in Singapore for the Formula One Race. He could have travelled on a chartered flight or paid with the massive wealth is family has to rent a private plane even. Alas, he chose to use a government aircraft, use his office to spend taxpayers money on a security detail as well. It is natural that he has this and needs it. However, it was still a public waste of funds on a totally unnecessary event, which the President could have avoid.

Nevertheless, Bong Bong Marcos Jr. prioritize it… and he didn’t care. Peace.

Malacañang Palace intrigue: Marcos Jr. cannot keep a stable crew

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles resigns. She tendered her resignation on Tuesday morning and will be effective by the end of business hours today. Angeles cited health reasons for leaving her position, based on a statement given to the media. Talks of Angeles leaving the Cabinet went around last week, before she was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments. She was not part of the ten officials issued a fresh nomination on Tuesday. A friend of Angeles told One News that the former press secretary may have been caught in the recent infighting in the Palace that saw former executive secretary Vic Rodriguez replaced by retired Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin. Asked whether Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has accepted her resignation, Angeles told reporters, “I would just assume so” (ONE News PH, 04.10.2022).

It is really interesting to know that Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Junior has been in Office since June 30th. It isn’t a long time to both changing the Executive Secretary and the Press Secretary. The Executive Secretary being his spokesperson during the campaign. So, we know that Vic Rodriguez was a loyal and hard-working ally.

In addition you have the Jose Calida, has also resigned from the Commission of Audit (COA). He is the former Solicitor General of the Marcos Family.

These are three major resignations in the Malacañang Palace and it hasn’t been a 100 days in office for the President. We know there was also resignations and pushback after the Sugar Order Volume 3 earlier in September too. So, this Presidency is hectic and Marcos Jr. struggles to contain loyal and good staff.

That the former DDS blogger is quitting. Following Rodriguez and Calida is telling. There is something bad going on. The ones following should be worried. It doesn’t help when even sources to ONE News says there are infighting in the Palace. That says the President and his team isn’t working cordially.

Marcos Jr. is surely not showing his skill of governing. When his trusted allies are resigning and quitting early in his reign. The likes of Rodriguez and Calida should have been close to him. While the DDS Blogger would show the modernity of the administration.

This is showing the public how unstable the Marcos Jr. government is. When it cannot keep the closest associates and regain trust among the public. Marcos Jr. have to show his magic and not just enjoy the perks of lavish life at the Formula One race in Singapore. Peace.

Opinion: What will OVP Duterte use the confidential funds on?

At Senate hearing on the Office of the Vice President’s 2023 budget, Senate President Migz Zubiri appeals to colleagues to extend “courtesy” to the OVP and keep proceedings short. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. says they would like to respectfully ask questions. Pimentel asks about the P500 million confidential funds requested by the OVP under Vice President Sara Duterte: P500 million in one year. So may we know how are we also to answer the questions asked to us? How to justify this item in the OVP’s budget? Duterte does not answer the question and instead repeats Sen. Sonny Angara’s manifestation that OVP received intel and confidential funds from 2003 to 2012. She leaves amounts and propriety of confidential funds they are asking for 2023 up to Senate’s discretion. After around 40 minutes, Senate panel ends deliberations on the OVP’s proposed 2023 budget” (Philstar.com, 29.09.2022).

This isn’t good news from Manilla. The usage of confidential funds usually are used to keep secret budget posts and things of nature with national security or the intelligence community. In such a manner, that the army or the intelligence agencies can keep things under wraps, which to most of us make sense. Since we are not supposed to know all the inner works or the means of keeping the nation safe.

However, the Office of the Vice President and Minister of Education, Sara Duterte need for it is more questionable. Especially, when she cannot answer and only uses arguments for why it happened in the past. That’s just disgraceful for a government official and someone who is accountable to the citizens. It is just acting like it’s beneath her to be accountable and transparent.

Because confidential budgets or budget posts are no oversight over. Neither will there be reporting or substantial goals to be achieved. The OVP can spend these funds as she deems fit, and no one can question her. Sara Duterte can pay of allies, parties, or campaign debt for that matter. The OVP can buy new houses, cars and whatever she wants really. This is a massive pork barrel and a possible slush-fund.

We have no idea where these monies will go. She can pay out old lovers, side-dishes, and even other questionable characters if she likes. I can just speculate because what is the reason to have it confidential? It isn’t like she’s part of the intelligence community or the army. Those places I have mentioned it makes sense, but for her. No. I don’t see it, but that’s just me.

It isn’t a good sign either that’s she’s not willing to respond or give any sort of good reason for why. She is not living in 2003-2012, are she? Because we are currently in 2022 and she got to be accountable for her time. VP Duterte cannot expect people to accept reasoning for previous leaders, especially when she is not forthcoming with arguments or possible expenditure. This is just free money and without any strings attached. That’s why she can use it for whatever and no one can deem it wrong.

If she orders rice, tanduay or anything else. We just cannot know. The OVP has a funds and cash supplies that can be spent wherever she wants. It can fund her dad’s retirement. Pay off allies in Davao, keep the Duterte dynasty alive or just old debts in general.

I am just asking questions because there was no real answer. It is just public funds used without any sort of checks-or-balances. Meaning the OVP can spend it, and no one has anything to say about it. That’s the pure meaning of free money. Peace.

Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC) – Signing of Memorandum of Understanding for the COMELEC-UNDP Project on Strengthening the Poll Body’s Digitalisation Capacity to Promote Women’s Political Participation (27.09.2022)

Philippines: Movement Against Disinformation (MAD) – Statement No. 19 – Statement against the Red-Tagging of a Member of the Bench (25.09.2022)

Philippines: Office of the Vice President, Sara Z. Duterte – Message (15.09.2022)

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

BOC in Subic intercepted a cargo vessel from Thailand loaded with 7,000 metric tons or some 140,000 bags of sugar. The move comes after Pres. Marcos ordered the pursuit of smuggled sugar in the country amid its soaring prices” (ABS-CBN News, 18.08.2022).

Medalla: I have heard from Sec. Balisacan, they are now close to arriving at an agreement that food processing companies will be allowed to import at least half of their sugar needs. As you reduce demand from food processors, because they are allowed to import, this will increase supply to all other users, and hopefully reduce sugar prices” (ABS-CBN News, 18.08.2022).

In Manilla and in the Office of the President there is huge crisis surrounding sugar. The basic commodity used by industry and by ordinary consumers I.E. the citizen. There has already been outrage and been a public outcry over the Sugar Order No. 4 and the powers given to the former Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Leocardio S. Sebastian. It took only a months time from the appointment of him to the erratic scandal, which the whole administration is going through.

The 300,000 metric tons of sugar in the Sugar Order No. 4 was cancelled, but foreign imported sugar is already arriving in the ports. That’s why just this week there are reports for a shortage. Soda companies are claiming they lack sugar for the production. This being Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo. These are both popular soft-drinks who lacks sugar for their production.

While there is new proposals of a new Sugar Order only importing 150,000 tons of Sugar by October. While the government claims to be raiding warehouses and hoarders of sugar in the Republic. In such a way to curb the rising prices and the “lack” of Sugar in the market-place. That’s two very different approaches. Which is just very odd…

Because, if the nation has run out of sugar and has nothing on the market. How can the government go and say there hoarders of it? This means the Sugar mills and the owners of the distilleries are lying about the production and stockpiling it. While the prices are soaring in the ”lack” of it. While the government still insist to import and not use the stockpiled products. Since it still proposes to use the imported sugar.

It doesn’t help that the Office of the President has promised an investigation into the matter. More of the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) members has resigned. While later the President plans to revise the body and it’s work.

On top of this is reported as well: “House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan files House Resolution 259 seeking a congressional inquiry into the Sugar Regulatory Administration’s ‘illegal’ order to import 300,000 metric tons of sugar” (CNN Philippines, 17.08.2022).

President Marcos Jr. who is not only the President, but also the head of the Department of Agriculture. This all fall onto him and his burden to carry. His signature of the first Sugar Order Volume 4 is there. He did discuss the Sugar Industry as a part in a meeting on the 1st of August ahead of the Sugar Order Volume 4, which was published on the 9th August 2022. That’s why everything that has transpired since then has been in connection with this.

The scandal isn’t looking any better by the day. It is only looking incompetent and lacking of focus. Since there are certain lacks of quality refined sugar for certain industries. While the prices and inflation are souring as well. That’s because of the needs and the lack of produced sugar. Even if the Department and such says there are. The producers wouldn’t say it would lack. Even if the farmers and the millers says there enough for everyone.

This is just a whole mess and so early in the Presidency. Surely, the President knows this is looking badly on him. Not only the Sugar Order Vol. 4, but the shortage and the industry as a whole. This is all hurting him and his only beginning. There is a reason why it seems out of control and without a well thought out plan. Since, they are only making patch-work and not a full sort of programme from the farmer to the producers or to the consumer. It is just what is needed to avoid one crisis and stagnate another one.

President Marcos Jr. has gotten into a pickle by taking the two roles at once. Instead of growing into the Presidency and showing his character as a leader. He wanted to a big man from the on-set. The burden and the possible work-load seem enormous. Might be prestigious to be both at the same time. However, this scandal shows it’s too much and to many details.

That’s why the Department of Agriculture would be better served with a professional and also another person. Who can follow Presidential Orders and such, but be in it day-to-day. Because, right now… it’s not only a scandal, but a hectic mess. The sort of business and government crisis, which could have been avoided. There is enough people knowing what is going on and who can have the head in the game. However, the President doesn’t seem up to it.

He just wants the glory, the titles and the power, which all the offices he resides in. Nevertheless, with all power, comes responsibility. That responsibility seem to much on him. He might mean well and think he has a purpose. Though the sugar and the sweetener it is… has exposed him and his lack of touch.

This is just bitter and not sweet. Marcos Jr. is just showing inept to do all of this and his Executive Secretary in the Office of the President cannot save him either. This is all on him and even if tries to deflect blame on everyone else. He is the head, not only of state, but of the Department too. The SRA is getting reorganized and there is a supposed investigation in the works.

However, what all of this showed is that he cannot carry this alone. The President cannot manage or have the ability face it all. There is to many stakeholders, priorities and needs to sufficiently get it done. That’s why his failing and somehow his not looking stronger, but looking incompetent.

Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Junior would be better off. He would be better of in the Malacañang Palace and being a full-time President. It looks like it would serve him much better and maybe he could have come with some orders from on high in the time of need. Instead his in a sea of trouble in a Department of Agriculture and doesn’t seem to know the way out. Peace.

Philippines: Foundation for Economic Freedom, INC. – FEF Statement on Taming Sugar Prices and Inflation (16.08.2022)

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