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Love That Leads to Life July 14, 2019 Fifteenth Sunday  in  Ordinary Time Father Shawn Aaron, LC, Luke 10: 25-37 Th...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Slandering the Republic


IT is inconceivable that some people could go to the extent of slandering the Republic. They are now propagating this canard that the Philippines had somehow “bought” the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which ruled in our favor. This view was triggered by a statement of former ambassador Rosario Manalo who echoed the argument of China that the arbitration was not warranted.

Manalo said the process was irregular and not according to the rules, and since China was not involved, the selection of the arbitrators was allegedly entirely in the hands of the Philippines. Manalo even quipped that it would then be understandable if the decision was favorable to the country. Which is most unfortunate since — while it may not have been what Manalo meant — it became fodder for the China defenders to push the line that the Philippines somehow became the beneficiary of a biased and flawed process.

This is indeed most offensive. And to think that Ambassador Manalo may not even be entirely correct.

One doesn’t have to be an international law expert to understand the basic reasoning which the PCA used in its award or decision.

China’s objections to the PCA’s jurisdiction were enumerated in a position paper dated Dec. 7, 2014. First, China argued that the subject matter of the arbitration was territorial sovereignty which is beyond the scope of the Unclos. Second, even if the issue falls under the ambit of Unclos, it would still involve questions of maritime delimitation which China had opted out of in a 2006 Declaration, and thus could not be the subject of compulsory arbitration. Third, China alleged that the Philippines had agreed to settle disputes through bilateral negotiations. And finally, China accused the Philippines of reneging on its obligation to exchange views with China on the means of dispute settlement. China further accused the Philippines of abusing the compulsory arbitration procedures of Unclos.

When China opted to ratify Unclos in good faith, it willingly agreed to abide by its processes. While it can raise its objection on the jurisdiction of the PCA, it was duty bound to abide by its decision after such jurisdiction would have been affirmed as having legal ground.

The PCA ruled that it was not deciding on any issue of sovereignty, since this was not within the scope of Unclos. In addition, while China manifested its intention to opt out of compulsory arbitration on issues affecting territorial delimitation, the PCA ruled that the issues at hand were not on matters involving territorial delimitation. The PCA pointed out that the dispute raised by the Philippines was on whether it possesses an entitlement to a maritime zone, and that this was a matter that was different from the delimitation of maritime zones in an area in which they overlap. The PCA ruled that these were issues that were not covered by the 2006 Declaration by China, and thus would qualify for compulsory arbitration.

Hence, the PCA faced no legal impediment in taking jurisdiction over the case filed by the Philippines. As for China’s allegation that the Philippines had reneged on an agreement for a bilateral mode of dispute resolution, this would have been mooted by the latter’s opting for compulsory arbitration. There is no impediment for the Philippines to take this option, considering that questions of sovereignty and territorial delimitation were not part of its pleadings. The PCA pointed out that the arbitration was about the legal basis of maritime rights and entitlements, the status of certain geographic features, and the lawfulness of certain actions taken by China in the West Philippine Sea.

China’s non-participation was taken into consideration by the PCA, even as it was not enough grounds to abandon the process considering that Article 9 of Annex VII of Unclos provides for such instances.

This is where Ambassador Manalo’s line of reasoning was incorrect. Just because China refused to participate in the process, it doesn’t mean that the proceedings were no longer a valid arbitration. This is simply because such an eventuality is covered by the pertinent provisions of Unclos.

But more fundamentally, Manalo should have known, as a veteran ambassador herself, that the stability of international institutions rests on good faith and the willingness of state parties to abide by procedures set forth and for which they willingly signed into. The entire global order will collapse if just one country like China refuses to participate in an otherwise valid dispute resolution mechanism, as affirmed by a body whose mandate is to uphold a treaty which China had ratified willingly, and after that body had exercised due diligence in inquiring into its own jurisdiction. China wanted the whole process aborted.

China made its position clear. The PCA took this into consideration and ruled that there was no valid argument to derail the process. The PCA took extra measures that the process would be fair to China, by constantly communicating with it and providing it with every document submitted and with records of the proceedings.

It is indeed sad that the views of Ambassador Manalo have led to the propagation of fakery and malicious accusations in social media. Many people painted the arbitration process as a flawed one, even to the point that some accused the panel of being biased in favor of the Philippines. Others went so far as to accuse the Philippine government of bribing the PCA, and of handpicking the arbitrators to suit its interests. What came out of this was the image of China being the victim of a corrupt Philippine government in cahoots with well-paid international lawyers to influence a gullible PCA.

It is simply hard to take that some Filipinos could say these hateful things against their own country, and that they would not hesitate to slander the image of the Republic, simply because they have an ax to grind against a former president that they hate.


Colossal blowback: PH arbitration suit prodded, justified China’s island-building blitz

BY RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO         JULY 15, 2019

THREE years after the five-man arbitral tribunal ruled almost entirely in favor of the Aquino government’s maritime claims against China that invoked the Unclos provisions, its real impact has become so crystal clear, yet hardly talked about by US as well as our mainstream media and academe.

Totally unenforceable, the suit only helped China emerge as the unchallenged superpower in the South China Sea. It’s a perfect case of blowback, the most recent version of the law of unintended consequences that has been a curious feature of history. Here’s how and why.

China didn’t respond to the arbitration suit, which it claimed was a US-inspired plot to wrest its sovereign claims, merely through legal debates and propaganda.

Its real response was its feverish work on the ground – or rather, in the waters of the Spratlys. China built artificial islands on the reefs it occupied, making it now the nation with the most extensive and developed network of modern facilities in the South China Sea, complete with airports, piers and huge buildings.

US strategists who played President Aquino and his foreign secretary Albert del Rosario to undertake the arbitration suit—which they thought was a brilliant “lawfare” and “shaming” project against China—must be banging their heads against the wall in regret. Aquino and del Rosario, who thought the suit would cover up their loss of Panatag Shoal to China in July 2012, are of course clueless over their huge role in helping China to dominate the South China Sea.

Short of war
With the island-building triggered by Aquino and del Rosario’s suit, China, as a ranking US general, in a congressional testimony said, “is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States.”

Before the Philippines filed its arbitration suit in January 2013, China’s “real estate” in the South China Sea was the poorest. It controlled only seven reefs, and didn’t have a single island. All of the other claimants had islands, the biggest of which, Taiping, was occupied by Taiwan. We had the second, third, and fifth biggest islands, Pag-Asa, Likas and Parola. Vietnam had the fourth and sixth biggest. Even Malaysia has its Layang-layang island— Celerio to us, Danwan Jiao to the Chinese—which its special forces grabbed only in 1983

What have you done, Messrs. Aquino and del Rosario? Satellite images of Chinese-controlled reefs, before and after we filed the arbitration case vs China.

Before 2013, China’s most developed outpost was Mischief Reef, which had austere octagon-shaped structures and a barracks built on stilts. This is in stark contrast to Taiping and Pag-Asa’s facilities which had airstrips and buildings to house a battalion, and in our case, even a “municipal” office. Taiwan even billed its Taiping island which has an airstrip as a scuba diving resort with a five-star hotel.

In three years, as we and the West were cheering for the arbitral panel to rule in our favor, China built islands on Mischief Reef and its other reefs, now reportedly with a combined area of 1,200 hectares, six times bigger than the 200-hectare land area of all the Spratly islands before 2013, with modern facilities including deep ports and airstrips that could be – or have been – converted into military combat camps. It wasn’t only China that responded in a similar way, but Vietnam too, which added 50 hectares to the area of their collection—the biggest among all claimants—of six islands and two reefs.

Obviously to send the message right before the Philippines officially filed its suit on Jan. 22, 2013—which del Rosario had announced several times after we lost Scarborough Shoal in July 2012—China started its reclamation works that very month, and feverishly turned its reefs into islands in a year’s time, and then in the next two years, built facilities on them.

There are several reasons that China did this in response to our arbitral suit, three of the most important are as follows.

First ever
One, the suit filed against China was the first which, despite its packaging by savvy US lawyers that it was just about maritime claims, challenged in an international venue Chinese sovereign claims in the South China Sea. It turned out indeed to be about sovereignty, as in the case of Mischief Reef. China sees Mischief Reef as part of its Nánshā Qúndǎo, a unit of Hainan province. The arbitral tribunal decided it is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and that it had sovereign rights over it, a ruling that in effect rejected China’s sovereignty.

It was reckless for the US—the arbitration suit was the brainchild of Hillary Clinton’s undersecretary Kurt Campbell—to think that China would merely respond to the challenge through academic discourse.

In street lingo, China’s was an “up-yours” response: “Claim all you want in an arbitral tribunal whose ruling nobody – not even the mightiest superpower the US – can enforce. We will build islands with advanced installations on the reefs we own and control. Just try to expel us.”

Ironically, it was our losing Scarborough Shoal that del Rosario would claim made it necessary to file the suit against China that emboldened it to go on an island-building blitz. Aquino and del Rosario foolishly challenged China over control of Scarborough, first by sending a warship to arrest Chinese fishermen there. It turned out they were so bold to do so since they thought the US would militarily support us – by at least escorting our vessels there to prod the Chinese to leave.

They were so wrong. Even after Aquino and del Rosario went to Washington, D.C. to beg in person Obama and Clinton to do so, the Americans said they had to be neutral in a territorial dispute.

Cautious stance
That confirmed to the Chinese leadership that the US will not militarily intervene in a conflict in the South China Sea, and despite all their politicians’ hawkish rhetoric, they wouldn’t dare clash with China even when it meant it was taking over a territory claimed by its ally, the Philippines. That convinced China to go ahead with its island-building project.

Second, China’s massive island-building blitz was one of the classic responses to international disputes, or one might say, even land disputes among individuals: the so-called sunk costs strategy. This means, crudely,  that a nation would succeed in convincing a belligerent rival not to invade it if it invests heavily in arms and even a defensive wall.

The billions of dollars China has spent in building its artificial islands, and its facilities as well, was a strong signal to the US that any decision of a tribunal or a court that it has no claims in the South China Sea will be ignored. In another sense, and using images, a team probably of US SEALs could have probably taken over Mischief Reef before 2013. Now it would require battalions to take it over.

Third, Chinese nationalism practically required its government to undertake the massive island-building project. For the Chinese, the South China Sea has been since ancient times part of China’s powerful empires, and even in the 19th and early 20th century, the Chinese had unchallenged sovereignty over islands there.

For the Chinese, China lost control of its islands in the South China because of colonialism in its “century of humiliation” when it was weak and divided. Vietnam’s claims in the area date from the French colonialists taking over the Paracel and the Spratly islands, and handing it over to the Vietnamese when they left Indochina. The Japanese in the 1940s grabbed these islands to make these its base in invading Asian countries, giving them up when it lost the war. We got to be in the Spratlys when Marcos grabbed them during martial law, calculating that he had the backing of the US, which had military bases here.

For the Chinese therefore, it is an incontestable reality that it has sovereignty over these South China Sea islands. Yet it had shied away from forcibly occupying all of them. It has been—believe it or not—pacific in the past decades in not militarily enforcing its claims – except when countries move to expand their hold there.

This was the case when the South Vietnamese tried to occupy the Paracels, thinking the US which was their ally against the North Vietnamese communists at that time would come to their succor. This was the case when China occupied Mischief Reef in 1995, when then President Ramos authorized an American firm to prospect for oil in the nearby Reed Bank.

The US of course did nothing.

Unknown to us, the Scarborough Shoal episode had roused so much nationalist anger against us in China, because of Aquino’s bungling in sending a warship to arrest helpless fishermen in an area clearly marked as Chinese territory (Hungyan Qundao) in all official Chinese maps. (In contrast, our Bajo de Masinloc before 2009 was shown in even official Philippine maps as outside the Treaty of Paris’ polygon that defined our territory.)

China has become the second biggest economy in the world. It therefore has vast resources, and a political system that can channel these to particular agenda at will, that has enabled it to transform what were the equivalent of shacks in the seven reefs in the Spratlys into sophisticated fortifications in three years.

Even as it had declared the tribunal as without basis in UNCLOS, there had likely been a worry among the Chinese leadership that it could have—as in fact it did for three of these reefs—declared these as belonging to the Philippines. The only rational response therefore for the Chinese state was to fortify its holdings. It was after all improving on that adage in property disputes, “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” In this case, the Chinese must have thought, a full island is 100 percent of ownership.

If Chinese President Xi Jinping responded to this challenge weakly and did not strengthen China’s hold on these reefs by transforming them into fortified islands, I’m certain he would have been overthrown.

Xi must be secretly thanking Aquino and del Rosario for being so easily played by the US. So far-reaching indeed have been and will be the consequences of that incompetent Yellow regime.

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Twitter: @bobitiglao
Book orders: www.rigobertotiglao.com/debunked


Harsh or Rash Judgment?

Harsh or Rash Judgment?
July 16, 2019
Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Father Shawn Aaron, LC, Matthew 11: 20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done since they had not repented. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld. For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
Introductory Prayer: God our Father, you are my shelter against the burning heat of the day and the storms of life. I know and I believe that I can count on your help when I stumble, that you will catch me when I fall and guide my steps firmly in faith toward the promise of eternal life.
Petition: Jesus, help me to seek you with a sincere heart.
1. Blessings and Responsibility: Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more (cf. Luke 12:48). With every blessing comes a degree of responsibility. The mighty deeds worked in these towns were not seen by everyone in Israel, let alone the world. Therefore, those who do see them have a greater responsibility than those who do not. Jesus reproaches them so as to awaken them from their stupor. Since the miracles have not moved them to a deeper faith, then perhaps the reminder that they will one day be answerable to God might. Do I need a similar fear of punishment to drive me from my sins, or am I more focused on pleasing God in the details of my life?
2. The Goal is Repentance: The goal of all of Jesus' signs is to bring about a change of heart. Even in the Old Testament, the signs and wonders worked by Yahweh were intended to elicit a response of faith and trust from Israel. The danger for Israel, as for Jesus' listeners and for us, is to become accustomed to these signs and to demand more signs, thus losing sight of their purpose – a redirection of our life from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. Like Herod, we want to be dazzled by Jesus' miracles, but we do not want to change our lives. Jesus never works a miracle in order to impress, but only to convert a heart back to God or to bring it into deeper union with God.
3. Reward or Punishment: We can learn a great deal from this strong phrase: Firstly, that we will be judged for our actions and our omissions; secondly, that judgment from God has varying degrees. Since God sees and knows perfectly, the judgment will be objective; those who knew less will be judged less strictly. In other words, Sodom, Tyre, and Sidon will indeed be judged, but according to natural law and not according to Christian faith, which they did not have access to at the time. Finally, but not exhaustively, we can deduce that there will be different gradations in heaven and hell according to how well our actions corresponded to what we knew to be true and good. This knowledge should stimulate us to be more generous with God and more centered on things that are above. Our Lord will handsomely reward our smallest good deed.
Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, open my eyes to the constant workings of your grace in my life. Never allow me to become complacent or to undervalue the tremendous gift of faith in my life. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of my daily decisions. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.
Resolution: Today I will read nos. 1783-1785 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
- - - - - - - - - -
Catechism of the Catholic Church.

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55

Monday, July 15, 2019

Maria Ressa on a BLOCKING spree as people she dismisses as “trolls” seek clarification

Maria Ressa is on the digital run shooting frantic defensive tweets at people she calls “trolls”. Most of these are merely asking her to clarify the statements she made in last week’s conference on “media freedom” held in London.
Her response to critics, however, run counter to the spirit of open inquiry she and her lot of “journalists” supposedly espouse in the conference. Instead of properly responding to pertinent questions, she merely dismisses her detractors and labels them as “trolls” or “Duterte proxies”.
Ressa is subtracting value from the very advocacy she champions. She has styled herself as the complete opposite of the open system that invites challenge and encourages free inquiry that evolved on the Internet over the last several decades. She is a T-Rex among the lumbering dinosaurs that are members of the ever-shrinking clique of old-school media practitioners.
Media firms that are committed to evolving into lean and resilient organisations that can compete in the 21st Century media landscape are well-advised to distance themselves from Maria Ressa. She is not the role model they seek. Rather, she represents everything a truly modern media organisation isn’t.

Love is Demanding

Love is Demanding
July 15, 2019
Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church
Father Shawn Aaron, LC, Matthew 10: 34-11
Jesus said to his Apostles: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.' Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man's reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple-- amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Introductory Prayer: Almighty and ever-living God, I seek new strength from the courage of Christ our shepherd. I believe in you, I hope in you, and I seek to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. I want to be led one day to join the saints in heaven, where your Son Jesus Christ lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Petition: Jesus, I want to love as you have loved me.

1. Not Peace but the Sword: Complacency can be defined as "self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies". This is a false peace, even a harmful peace. It is a self-satisfied peace that lulls us to sleep and can result in the loss of those things that are truly most valuable in life: God, faith, family, etc.... Jesus comes to interrupt that false peace by upending the tables of our lives (cf. John 2:15) in an effort to awaken us to the dangers that our false peace has blinded us to. As he drove out the sheep and oxen from the temple, so, too, he will use circumstances, trials and difficulties as his "sword" to drive out from our lives whatever is opposed to God's goodness and our own dignity.

2. Nothing Before God: With this phrase, we start getting an inkling of the type of sword our Lord is wielding. He is giving us a criterion that starts from heaven downward because he is trying to lift us from the earth upward. What natural relationship is closer than the one between a parent and child, especially a mother and child? Yet even this bond must be subordinate to the love we have for God. Why? Well, no creature, not even our parents, can bring us to the fullness of life and happiness that comes only from God. God wants us to love him, not because he needs our love but because we need him. He is objective reality, and we must always move from the subjective to the objective if we are to possess the truth. Jesus invites us to adapt our standards from the merely natural and passing to the supernatural and everlasting.

3. Love of God Is Inclusive, Not Exclusive: Giving a cup of water to one of the least of our brothers and sisters will not go unrewarded, and therefore, unnoticed. In this way, Jesus shows that he is not calling us to a love of God that excludes others. The standard of placing God first does not exclude love for mother or father, sister or brother. Once we love God as he deserves, we will learn to love others as they truly deserve. In fact, we merit the vision of the God we cannot see by loving the neighbor we do see.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, following you demands my all, and at times it seems that I do not have the strength to give what you ask. Help me to stay close to you in prayer and in the sacraments so as to have the grace to live the standard of love and generosity that you ask. Mother Most Pure, make my heart only for Jesus.

Resolution: Today I will make three acts of self-denial and offer them for someone in need of prayers.

Why is Amal Clooney taking up Maria Ressa’s case

FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - July 14, 2019

I think Filipinos should know certain incidents and exchange of emails between the three of us – she, her mother and I – before she took up Maria Ressa’s case and her online newspaper – the Rappler. We know one more way the CIA funds when it wants to break a country with an independent foreign policy. Before I only knew about George Soros. Now I have to add Omidyar of which Maria Ressa is a stockholder.

It puzzled me because of the change in your attitude towards me long before Maria Ressa’s and Rappler came into the picture. This is the short distance from the time I helped you meet with the former President in her prison in the Veterans Memorial Hospital and your refusal to accept an appointment with Mrs. Arroyo after you won the human rights case in the World Court in her favor.

In the short period you emailed me that I should not print any pictures of you while you were in Manila. Unfortunately, the pictures were already out that you were in Manila while negotiating for your fees to be coursed to your firm Doughty Chambers. I was also surprised when your mother, my friend Baria, told me that I should not include you in Philippine politics under the Noynoy administration.

Some even spread ridiculous stories saying I was paying Amal’s fees. All these rumors came from publicity seekers. Amal Clooney makes more money than I do or will ever do. She handles both pro bono as well as high profile cases of wealthy clients. It really depends on the nature of the case and whether the case falls within the ambit of her expertise.

Her firm the Doughty Chamber in London has something to do with what cases the lawyers take up.

I am printing some information on the legal firm for those who do not use computers or those who are too lazy to bother to find out about the firm. The Doughty Chambers are in Doughty Street in London but they have opened a branch in the Hague since most of the cases brought before them are concerned with human rights and international law.

“Members of the firm are at the forefront of international litigation ranging from the European Court of Human Rights and the Privy Council to cases before the International Court of Justice, the courts of the European Union and international arbitrations.

“The Doughty Chambers has developed particular expertise in international human rights, jurisdiction, diplomatic and consular law as well as immunities, international sanctions, regimes and corporate social responsibility issues. Doughty’s media-law advice also often includes an international dimension. Where required, Chambers draws on an extensive network of local lawyers in other jurisdictions to ensure comprehensive advice and representation for clients. Something like this: “Hey, we have to publish stories Omidyar Network demands since they’re giving us money.”

Duterte is accused for behaving like a puppet of Beijing with jaw-dropping public statements, like when it was reported that China planned to build structures on Panatag Shoal, off the coast of Zambales province:

Amal and another member of the firm Katherine O’Bryne worked with lawyers Modesto Ticman Jr. and Larry Gadon, a law firm in Manila on the Arroyo.

They teach international law and some have published leading practitioner guides in this area. They appear on television and other media as experts on issues relating to international law.

I think these facts about the work of barristers from the Doughty Chambers, of which Amal is just one of them, speaks for itself.

Let me state clearly I am a friend of Amal’s family from way back – her mother was one of my closest friends during our days in exile in London. She gave me the comfort of her friendship and wisdom in those unhappy days.

That is why my daughter Veronica and I were invited to the Clooney reception at Danesfield Hotel on Marlow-on-Thames in England. Danesfield House Hotel and Spa is located between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames in Buckinghamshire, just 30 minutes away from central London.

Amal and her mother, Baria, stay at my house when she visits Manila and I stay with her when I am in London. But we do not discuss legal matters.

I have nothing to do with GMA’s case before the UN Council on Human Rights which is strictly a matter between Amal and GMA’s lawyers in Manila. All questions were addressed to them.

The information on her work and her career is also available in the Internet. Here it is:

President Aquino’s relentless blame games constitute persecution. The problem is, Aquino won the public when he repeatedly vowed to prosecute Arroyo. But instead of prosecution, what he pursued was persecution, particularly when he blames her in his speeches. He still blames her even after being in office for five years. Her continued detention is probably a way for Aquino to hide his embarrassment. Aquino’s bullying tactics probably influenced members of the local courts to rule against Arroyo’s request for bail.

When I received notice of Mrs. Arroyo’s victory in the Court of Human Rights, the case was already in the hands of someone else in the firm. Interestingly Mrs. Arroyo’s name was never published in your list of prominent clients with the same history of political persecution from rivals in election – in this case of Noynoy Aquino. As things went he was the American boy to win in the struggle for supremacy in the region.

You were surprised to see me at your family’s reception in a London suburb hotel and did not shake my hand. Instead I got a dagger look that was consistent with your new attitude about having taken up former President Gloria Arroyo’s case against President Noynoy Aquino. So when Mrs. Arroyo wanted me to join her in a trip to London to thank you personally for the victory you refused.

My daughter Veronica Pedrosa then of Al-Jazeera made a documentary “Imelda and Me” that compares the Marcos and Aquino stories. It tells the story that what we are fighting is the culture of impunity. In that, both the Marcoses and the Aquinos are cut from the same cloth.



So 2 days ago, Ian bae sent me this video link of Ezra Levant of The Rebel asking the questions we all wanted to ask Maria Ressa. Ian couldn’t help but guffaw hearing Maria Ressa admitting Rappler is actually funded by Omidyar! The woman probably thought the whole thing wasn’t recorded as Ezra was just holding the microphone – not knowing the video was being taken by someone seated rows higher than where he was.

Here’s the transcript. May mga pa-comment2x ako kasi hindi ko mapigilan, lol. NAKA ALL CAPS PARA INTENSE! :D Petty na kung petty, I don't care, haha!

Ezra Levant (to Nishant Lalwani, Director of Luminate Group): Really, you’re just a mirror image of Rupert Murdoch. You seem like a nice guy but I wouldn’t trust a conference that Rupert Murdoch architected. Why should we trust anything run by your billionaire, tycoon, paymaster who I’m sure is a nice guy?

Ezra Levant of Rebel Media: Ezra Levant from Canada. Mr. Lalwani, I enjoyed your anecdote about Rupert Murdoch and his octopus-like influence. But how do you square that with the fact that you work for Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire media tycoon who’s very partisan. He has stakes in The Intercept and The Bulwark and they’re great reads but, holy cow, is he ever biased.

And you’re interviewing companies that basically he owns. The reason she (HE MEANS MARIA RESSA HERE) got in trouble is because she was foreign owned, and the SEC in the Philippines said you can’t do that. So I want to know how you square being the front man for a left-wing Rupert Murdoch?

And frankly, how did you manage to direct a nonpartisan government with the UK and Canada. I mean, really, you’re just a mirror image of Rupert Murdoch. You seem like a nice guy but I wouldn’t trust a conference that Rupert Murdoch architected. Why should we trust anything run by your billionaire, tycoon, paymaster who I’m sure is a nice guy? But no one here is not on your payroll and I think you’ve shaped a lot of this commentary to support your boss’s desires. It’s weird to me.

Nishant Lalwani: Why don’t we deal with the facts? First of all, no one here is on his payroll.

Ezra Levant: We just heard that you were. We just heard that you were.

Nishant Lalwani: No, right, no. We just gave money to Rappler that she…


Maria Ressa: Nish, let me respond to this. I’ll take that one up because I’m gonna use you as a proxy for President Duterte. So number 1…


Ezra Levant: No, don’t do that. Don’t do that. I’m not a proxy for Duterte. (GO EZRA!)

Maria Ressa: No, I’m just telling you because I think this kind of simplification is dangerous (ATE MARIA! IKAW NGA UNANG NAGSIMPLIFY KAY KUYA EZRA NA PROXY SIYA NI DUTERTE. DUH! MAY PA MAKE A POINT KA PA EH, SES.) It makes all of us vulnerable. Number one, the SEC, we’re not foreign owned. I started a startup. I took investors in it. They can all have ten million views and they come from rainbow colors. I don’t much care. I have parameters for these investors. Those parameters, if a shareholders agreement that makes us, actually me, the one in control. They invest, knowing that.

Ezra Levant: The SEC disagreed with you.

Maria Ressa: Actually, it does cause we’re still, we’re actually winning the court of appeals, is moving forward…

Ezra Levant: Omidyar gave up his stock.

Maria Ressa: Now, we… let me, let me finish! Because I certainly let you have the time, right? So let me…

Ezra Levant: I actually… My question was actually for Mr. Lalwani though. (OO NGA! DI BALE, SHE’S SEEMS TO BE INCRIMINATING HERSELF, GO LANG!)

Maria Ressa: After… Let’s take a look at how much… let’s take a full range of investments. There’s maybe about 4 ½ million dollars that went into Rappler. Only 4 ½… (HULI KA BALBON!!! ONLY 4 ½ MILLION DOLLARS DAW GUYS HA! ONLY!!! THAT’S MORE THAN 225 MILLION PEZOSESSSSS!!!)


Maria Ressa: Only. And we’ve been able… That’s 7 years of, of actually being able to do hard-hitting investigative reporting. (DIVIDED BY 7, THAT’S STILL 32 MILLION PEZOSSS A YEAR!) Of that, probably less than 5% goes to the (HINDI KO NA NAINTIDIHAN)...

Ezra Levant: You’re defending your boss but can I hear from him instead?

Maria Ressa: He’s not my boss. I’ll give you to him.

Ezra Levant: You know he can give me 4 ½ million bucks and I’ll let him call me his boss. (TAMA!!!)


Ezra Levant: I didn’t ask you a question, with all due respect…

Nishant Lalwani: Could you let please Maria respond? (HAHA, QQIL NA SI KUYA NISHANT.)

Ezra Levant: Will you respond too?

Nishant Lalwani: I will respond.

Ezra Levant: Okay, I look forward to that.


Maria Ressa: So I’ll just lay it in the… (ANO DAW? SORRY.)

Ezra Levant: Sure we are.

Maria Ressa: (ANO DAW ULIT? SORRY ULIT)… less than 5% of the shares of Rappler which was fully Filipino owned (TAMA BA SENTENCE NA NAPICK UP KO? KASI PARANG HMM…). Every investment that was made through the big (FOUR? NOT SURE) our auditors KPMG. We had that, the law firm that actually created the Philippine Depository Receipts.

You have to give me that because you can’t let a statement like that lie because that could be picked up and send you to jail (AAAAAH… TOO LATE MADAPAKA! HULI KA NA BALBON! ALL ON CAMERA FOO!)

That’s the difference between your world and mine. I’m very careful about my words and factoids (RIGHT, HA!)



Hahaha, eto rin yung tweet ni Ezra to prove his point!


Additional note: Even if 5% lang binigay ni Omidyar (which is doubtful, kaya naisali rin sa kaso against Rappler ang anti-dummy violation), that's still around PhP11.25M or PhP1.6M per year. Still, a violation is a violation.

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See MORE reports by The Rebel, from the "Defend Media Freedom Conference" in London at http://MediaFreedomConference.com Ezra Levant of The Rebel challenged ...