June 24, 2018, 1:30 am
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1 Philippine Peso = 1 Philippine Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 149.94363 Sierra Leone Leone
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.16441 El Salvador Colon
1 Philippine Peso = 9.67644 Syrian Pound
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.61856 Thai Baht
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.12682 Trinidad Tobago Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.56924 Taiwan Dollar
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1 Philippine Peso = 0.01879 United States Dollar
1 Philippine Peso = 0.59451 Uruguayan New Peso
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1 Philippine Peso = 430.10147 Vietnam Dong
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1 Philippine Peso = 10.56614 CFA Franc (BEAC)
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The Brady Papers

I HAVE often wondered why we keep reacting to criticisms and demands from any and all sources, including the UN, about our alleged violations of human rights. 

As I have pointed out often enough, the UN Charter itself prohibits the interference in the domestic affairs of member states. 

Paragraph 7, Article 2, Chapter I of the Charter states: 

“7. Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII.” 

(NOTE: Chapter VII has to do with “action with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression”.) 

We have repeatedly asserted that the government does not, in any manner, sanction extrajudicial killings and that those that have allegedly taken place are under investigation by the authorities concerned. I think that is enough. 

The fact is, whatever we say or do would not be believed or accepted by anyone or any organ, governmental or non-governmental, including the UN Human Rights Council. So, why bother? 

Just ignore them completely. Let them believe what they want and simply continue with what we believe and know is the correctness of our approach to the problem, period. 

Magsasawa rin ang mga pakialamerong iyan! Especially when they see we are producing good results.

***

Lately, some friends and readers have asked me why I seem to have become one of the critics of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong nowadays. 

Let me set the record straight… for the third time! 

Nearly two years ago, on 14 May 2016, I wrote: 

“President-elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong said he will see to it that only the ‘best and the brightest’ will be appointed to his cabinet in order to succeed in the gargantuan tasks ahead of him. 

 “However, I’m sure he knows that an appointee who is considered to be one of the best and brightest does not necessarily mean he or she will be a square peg in a square hole or a round peg in a round hole. 

“Already, at least two of his choices are perceived to be the wrong pegs in holes to be filled. 

“But I am prepared to heed the plea of Digong to give them a chance to prove themselves. 

“In fact, I am prepared to give Digong himself time, reasonable time, to fulfill his promises of change, e.g., the pursuit of an independent foreign policy that kowtows to no one, the fight against criminality, the drug menace, corruption, contractualization, the telcos, the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, etc. 

“As one of the very few columnists who batted for him unequivocally from the time he announced his candidature, I feel I have a personal stake in his success as president. I do not relish the thought of friends and detractors alike later pointing a finger at me and saying ‘See, I told you so’. 

“Surely, everybody makes mistakes. But I do not like making a mistake on something of utmost importance to me personally. As I said in an earlier piece, all I want to see in the sunset of my years is change, change for the better, in the country. 

“I will, therefore, have no compunction in pointing out the things Digong does that I believe are inappropriate. To be fair, I will also have no hesitation praising the good things that he does.” 

So, there. 

THE BRADY PAPERS

Another excerpt from that 14 May 2016 column: 

“Digong said he will ask his would-be-predecessor Noynoy Aquino and Senator Antorio Trillanes IV why China acquired control of Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal since 2012. 

“I think he should also ask erstwhile Foreign Secretary Albert “Super Amboy” del Rosario who was mainly responsible for the current (May 2016) sorry state of our relations with China due to the WPS/SCS territorial dispute; and with the US for being instrumental in virtually reducing our country, through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), to a huge American military base with storage facilities for armaments that may include nuclear weapons. And all of them are rental free! 

“Digong or his acting foreign secretary should also ask the DFA for a copy of the so-called Brady Papers (named after former ambassador to China Sonia Brady) that contain the minutes of Brady’s meeting with Trillanes during one of his trips to Beijing. 

“It is the same Brady Papers that Senator Juan Ponce Enrile used to accuse Senator Trillanes of wrongdoing, treason even, for backchanneling with the Chinese on the dispute. 

“The question raised at the time was ‘did the DFA give Enrile a copy of the Brady Papers and, if so, was it with the approval of Del Rosario?’ 

“It couldn’t have been Malacanang because first, it denied it was aware of the Brady Papers’ existence and second, Noynoy subsequently confirmed that he had indeed commissioned Trillanes to do the backchanneling job. 

“The Chinese reportedly got very angry when Trillanes’ mission was exposed by Enrile. In an attempt to placate the Chinese, Noynoy decided to send then DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, instead of Del Rosario, to China to speak with then Vice President (now President) Xi Jinping.

“There had been no reports on the outcome of the Roxas-Xi meeting since then.” 

I think it’s time Foreign Secretary Alan Cayetano started digging into the matter by getting a copy of the Brady Papers and finding out what was the real purpose of Trillanes’ backchanneling job. 

‘A FRIENDLY COUNTRY’

Digong says that “a friendly country” which he did not name is giving us 5,000 rifles to help us cope with security threats. 

“There are our neighbors who are good and despite the boycott by America of our needs, we are getting some firearms somewhere. I am not at liberty to divulge it, but in the next few days, we will have about 5,000 more shipment coming from a friendly country,” Digong said. 

It will be recalled that the US withheld delivery of some 26,000 rifles that we ordered and presumably paid for when we needed them most – during the siege in Marawi by ISIS-backed rebels. The reason? Our alleged violations of human rights! Were it not for the timely donation by China and Russia of much-needed war materiel, who knows, we could still be fighting to liberate Marawi. 

The US did not live up to the old saying “a friend in need is a friend in deed”. Instead, one gets the impression she is more inclined to believe another version of that saying, i.e., “a friend in need is a pest”. 

THE DENGVAXIA ANOMALY 

It has been reported that the relatives of three children who died with dengue symptoms after having been vaccinated with Dengvaxia want Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to be held liable for continuing the anti-dengue immunization program even AFTER the inquiry on the controversy had started. 

This was confirmed by Public Attorney Office chief Persida Rueda-Acosta who said: 

“In fact, parents of three children fatalities wanted to sue Duque. It was during Duque’s administration that these children were inoculated with the Dengvaxia vaccine. The mass vaccination even pushed through despite an inquiry into the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia procurement.”

I believe the authorities investigating the fiasco should ask Duque why he did not immediately desist from continuing the program. 

Duque is a recycled official from both the Arroyo and Aquino regimes. Makes one wonder where he is really coming from. 

CANADIAN WASTE

I am unofficially informed by DFA sources that the issue has been resolved, that the waste is not toxic, just plain garbage, and that Canada is quietly taking steps to ship it back. 

Until an official announcement is made that Canada has actually started shipping back the waste, I will reserve judgment on the matter.

REMINDERS

This segment is intended to remind the Duterte administration of some of its yet unfulfilled promises and matters that need attention and/or follow-up action. More importantly, the people are entitled to know what’s being done about them.

1) Digong’s promise to rid the country of foreign troops. This, of course, necessitates re-visiting the lopsided VFA and the EDCA with the US. 
2) Reciprocal visa arrangements with the US and other countries. 
3) The retrieval of the Balangiga bells.
4) The return of the Canadian waste.

***

Today is the 300th day of the eleventh year of the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of the late press icon and founder of this newspaper, Joe Burgos.

After the acquittal of Major Harry Baliaga, Jr., the only person formally charged with Jonas’ kidnapping, I guess what happens next is now up to Divine Providence.

***

From an internet friend:

Walking up to a department store’s fabric counter, a pretty girl asked, “I want to buy this material for a new dress. How much does it cost?” 

“Only one kiss per yard,” replied the smirking male clerk. 

“That’s fine,” replied the girl. “I’ll take ten yards.” 

With expectation and anticipation written all over his face, the clerk hurriedly measured out and wrapped the cloth, then held it out teasingly. 

The girl snapped up the package, pointed to a little old man standing beside her, smiled and said. “Grandpa, please pay the man.” 

***

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