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
On Thursday 14th of February, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announced his endorsement of 11 Senatorial Candidates in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. As there are up 12 Senatorial Slots in the Mid-Terms Elections on May 13th 2019. This is a clear sign, that the President are willing try to take a landslide of the senatorial position. So, that he gets more favourable Senators. Whose on his side.
What we do know already because of the release of list of Senatorial Candidates for the re-elections. The Senate will lose the like of Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trilianes IV, Sen. Loren B. Legarda and Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” B. Honasan II are not running for re-election this season. Therefore, their time in the chambers are now over. Surely, they have served, the biggest enemy of Duterte is leaving his role. As Trilianes is not going for re-election. In that regard, the President has a victory already before the polls starting.
Also, the President have endorsed the likes of Christopher Lawrence Tesoro “Bong Go” Go , Aquilino Pimentel III (re-election), Francis Tolentino, Zajid Mangudadatu, Freddie Aguilar, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (re-election), Allen Peter “Pia” S. Cayetano (re-election), Joseph Victor “JV” G. Ejercito (re-election), Imelda “Imee” Marcos (re-election), Cynthia A. Villar (Re-Election) and former senator Jose Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada.
Surely we’re seeing that Duterte is picking people loyal to him whose already in the Senate like Pimitel, Aguilar, Ejercito, Marcos and Villar. That is why his trying to get 5 people in again. What are seeing also, is that Duterte really are endorsing the political families of the Republic. Because in this midterms alone he is supporting a Marcos and an Estrada.
What is special about Jinggoy Estrada is that his been out of jail just for a short time before this election. He has been indicted and served time on plunder charges, as there been cases going back a decade in time on him. Therefore, the President endorsing him isn’t a strong sign in fighting corruption and such, more a validation of a political dynasty.
The same can be said by the Imee Marcos, the daughter of Fernando Marcos, also has some questionable things in her past. Like in November 2018 a civil forfeiture case on her was seeking to recover the amount of P200 Billion, which was a 31 year case. She was supposed to serve several years in jail over this, but still is able to run for senatorial run now. With the blessing of the President. This is the second candidate, whose part of a political dynasty. Also, that she was also know for corrupt behaviour.
We can clearly see, that this is strategic manoeuvrers of the President. Not only to get loyal people in the Senate to further his agenda and get his will there. Out of the 12 Senate Slots, 6 are for re-election within his coalition. There are many other who wants to run for these open positions. Also, in the opposition, but the ones here are people to look out for. Because of the popularity of Duterte in the Philippines. His endorsements means something.
Seemingly he is gunning for 11 out 12 slot directly. Surely, he doesn’t think he can sway people away from Sen. Grace L. Poe and Sen. Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay. But that means one of them got to go. Either Binay or Poe, if the ones that Duterte wants in. Surely, the public will decide and go to the polls. No matter what the stats or the polling is saying now. It is a long time to May 2019. However, that Duterte will get a stronger grip over the Senate is most likely. Since some stark opposition senators are not running. While there are friendlier faces, that is up- and coming.
Surely, the Mid-Terms will be interesting, but the Presidency has really put his stakes in it and have his people within the Senate. Peace.
“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.