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.
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.