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Philippine Government / Re: Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 02:07:43 PM »
Marcoleta supported the dual citizenship law, the same law he had questioned on Gabby Lopez’s citizenship. He had also authored the franchises of Bohol Chronicle Radio Corp., Rajah Broadcasting Network, TV5, GMA Network, and other networks that have been in operation for more than 50 years.

the name sounds familiar.

Philippine Government / Re: Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 02:04:37 PM »
What was it again that he once said? “I am very affected that rules can be easily twisted.”

We carry a cross each time we vote into office congressmen who bend the law according to the will and welfare of their oligarchic patrons. In developing spiritual forbearance, we are often told to embrace our cross. That is true. But in electing officials who crucify us with their astonishing ability to sink our spirits, we don’t embrace them. We vote them out of office to spare the nation from crucifixion.

Philippine Government / Re: Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 02:02:15 PM »
Winning under 1-Sagip in 2016, he joined the administration “supermajority.” Marcoleta shocked the public when in 2018 he authored the motion to give the Commission on Human Rights a paltry 1,000-peso budget. On interpellation, Marcoleta slammed the CHR for supposedly acceding “more to the United Nations special rapporteur” rather than protect the human rights of President Duterte in the bloody war on drugs. His church, the Iglesia ni Cristo, has been known to oppose former justice secretary and detained political prisoner Sen. Leila de Lima.

Marcoleta supported the dual citizenship law, the same law he had questioned on Gabby Lopez’s citizenship. He had also authored the franchises of Bohol Chronicle Radio Corp., Rajah Broadcasting Network, TV5, GMA Network, and other networks that have been in operation for more than 50 years.

Philippine Government / Re: Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 02:00:06 PM »
Is he being dictated upon? Consider his political affiliations. He started his congressional seat as representative of the party list Alagad (2004-2007, 2009-2013). In the 2016 elections, Marcoleta ran under another party named 1-Sagip, also associated with his sect. That was the time of the Legitimate 8 when he objected to the election of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez as a fake minority leader. And then he bolted the 8. Asked why, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said, “His church wanted him to join the majority.”

That is quite a powerful church then, able to decree the legislative agenda of a member. “Unity is part of the church’s doctrine,” explained Marcoleta.

Philippine Government / Re: Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 01:58:12 PM »
Religious tolerance is a reality in many Mindanao hospitals where patients can be of the Islamic faith. Nurses, many of whom are now trained in transcultural health praxis, know what to do when a patient expresses insecurity at the presence of the crucifix or cross. When a request is made for such to be removed, the patient’s wish is followed out of religious respect. After all, love begets love. There begins interfaith dialogue.

Marcoleta’s bill calls for a removal of crucifixes, however optional. That is contrarian to religious freedom.

Philippine Government / Re: Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 01:54:35 PM »
“In our country, where people are ultra-sensitive about their faith, a minor swipe at their religion is such a major slight. Hence, a non-Catholic patient would be ill at ease to find a crucifix hovering in his or her room.”

If Marcoleta’s bill becomes law, the freedom of those who want to hang crucifixes in their places of confinement will be infringed. Healing is an act of religious view freely chosen. Instead of fostering tolerance, religious intolerance for diverse beliefs would be fostered.

Some hospitals are sectarian-owned (Catholic, Seventh-Day Adventist, Protestant), many are not. A crucifix or cross on the wall is a choice of the hospital proprietor. A patient freely chooses the hospital.

Philippine Government / Marcoleta's Cross
« on: August 03, 2020, 01:52:07 PM »

Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Marcoleta's Cross

Antonio J. Montalvan II
August 3, 2020

The Honorable Rodante D. Marcoleta, said to be eyeing a seat as senator in the 2022 elections, once said in a July 2016 interview: “Affected na affected ako na ang rule ay puwedeng baluktutin (I am very affected that rules can be easily twisted)!” That was way back when he was with the “Legitimate 8,” the protest group that called themselves the “true fiscalizers” when a pseudo minority House leader was elected. So who is Marcoleta fiscalizing for?Let us begin with his House Bill No. 4633 that aims to remove crucifixes in hospitals. His explanatory note reasons thus: “Presence of crucifixes in many hospital suites appears normal but it raises serious interfaith issues. First of all, the crucifix is the most salient representation of the Catholic church. Its existence in these health care institutions presupposes singular church membership.”

Philippine Government / Re: Charter change: The multiheaded monster
« on: July 27, 2020, 08:12:49 PM »

Fourth, it’s less than two years from the end of President Duterte’s term. It’s the last chance for the administration to realistically attain the objective of changing the country’s fundamental law. Even before he won the presidency, Mr. Duterte had made known that amending the Constitution was one of his avowed dreams. While Malacañang has denied involvement in this latest push for Charter change, the disavowal gives no comfort at all. The Palace also denied involvement in the plot against ABS-CBN, only for the President to gloat later on in Jolo, Sulu, that he supposedly ended the oligarchy, in the same speech where he cursed ABS-CBN.

All the administrations of the past 28 years have brought out a species of Charter change that’s a multiheaded monster. The people succeeded in beheading one head of the monster each time. The Filipino people must prepare for another ritual of decapitation.

Philippine Government / Re: Charter change: The multiheaded monster
« on: July 27, 2020, 08:09:51 PM »

There are more reasons to be on guard.

The third reason is that there’s a sense of desperation on the part of government, as shown by the enticement given to mayors by administration ally Chavit Singson, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP). Singson declared that he will push for five-year terms with unlimited reelection for mayors under an amended Constitution. This administration is no longer sugar-coating Charter change as being beneficial for ordinary people. It’s dangling outright the bait that local politicians who will work to get the votes for Charter change will ensure a dynastic future for their families.

The desperation is also shown by Jonathan Malaya, undersecretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government. The LMP stated that Charter change is meant to “institutionalize” the Supreme Court decision in “Mandanas v. Executive Secretary,” which has the effect of giving local governments a bigger share in national revenues. This was meant again to entice mayors, but only the gullible ones should believe this because the bigger share of cities and municipalities in national revenues is already guaranteed by a final Supreme Court decision. There’s absolutely no more need for Charter change.

Philippine Government / Re: Charter change: The multiheaded monster
« on: July 27, 2020, 08:07:57 PM »

The two reasons that stopped previous administrations from pursuing Charter change don’t bother the current leadership. First, the winning track record of the Duterte administration in the current Supreme Court gives it the confidence that it will not encounter the kind of judicial intercession that stopped two previous administrations. Its confidence is bolstered by the fact that President Duterte has appointed a supermajority of the high court’s current composition—12 of the 15 justices.

Second, with the public debilitated by the current pandemic, the Duterte administration has shown that it has no qualms disregarding intense public opposition. This was shown in the maneuvering to deny the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, despite strong public clamor to the contrary. Between the ABS-CBN and Charter change issues, it’s not unreasonable to venture that ordinary masses feel more strongly about the former. If the government had no scruples disregarding intense public anger on the ABS-CBN issue, all the more that it will disregard a less forceful opposition to Charter change.

Philippine Government / Charter change: The multiheaded monster
« on: July 27, 2020, 08:04:03 PM »

Charter change: The multiheaded monster

Joel Ruiz Butuyan / Flea Market of Ideas
July 27, 2020

Immediately after the House of Representatives hammered down the final nail in the coffin of ABS-CBN, news came out that the government will once again pursue Charter change. There have been consistent attempts to change the Constitution in all the past administrations after Cory Aquino. All these efforts failed because of either of two reasons. One, the Supreme Court invalidated the procedures that were initiated, which was the case for the Ramos and Arroyo presidencies. Two, the ruling president (Estrada) or Congress (under the Noynoy Aquino presidency) sensed the strong public opposition, so the initiatives fizzled out.

Should the people be complacent now given the consistent failed attempts? On the contrary, and because of the prevailing circumstances, people should be paranoid and worried.


Some reports said Fuentes’ surgery was “botched.” He reportedly died of a heart attack hospital after undergoing liposuction and plastic surgery.

Some reports suspected the involvement of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration saying “the drug lord, whose net worth was estimated at $25bn, may have been killed by a lethal injection, or an almohadazo, suffocation by a pillow held over him by a bodyguard.”

Bodies of his plastic surgeons were later found stuffed inside oil drums filled with cement.

(The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files)


There’s also the 2016 report about David Garza Ávila, known as El Diablo or The Devil for the executions he had performed in Mexico, who was arrested on his way to Mexico City hospital to undergo plastic surgery on his face.

The most publicized was about Amado Carrillo Fuentes, also known as “The Lord of the Skies,” because he trafficked cocaine from Mexico to America using fleets of aircrafts, who died while undergoing plastic surgery in 1997to alter his appearance.

The surgery took place at early morning of July 4 in Mexico City's private Santa Monica hospital where the drug lord took over an entire floor and a maternity wing and posted automatic weapons-wielding-bodyguards.


Chat groups are filled with scenarios what to expect next inspired by past reports of plastic surgeries drug lords in Colombia and Mexico underwent to evade authorities.

There was the report about a former Colombian drug lord, Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, who testified in the trial of the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in November 2018, with distorted facial features.

He admitted in court that he had undergone at least three surgeries that altered his jawbone, cheekbones, eyes, mouth, ears, and nose.

Despite the distortion of his face, U.S. authorities still got him.


“I'd heard that there are black market morgues where unidentified people are brought in and kept on ice and then death fraudsters will go to the morgues and buy these bodies very cheaply, have them cremated immediately and then try to pass off the cremains as their own. So I was very excited to visit the Philippines,” she said..

She related: “While I was there, I was able to acquire my own death certificate and accident report detailing my fatal car crash. And the whole way leading up to that moment I wasn't that nervous. And then when I actually opened up that manila envelope and held this very clinical government document in my hands that said I'd died on arrival at this hospital on this date, it was very, very chilling. And it really all kind of became very real. In a way, it had just been theoretical up until then.”

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered and investigation of the infamous’ inmates’ death but no one is really expecting anything to dispel their doubts.


Immediately after the news report came out, ABS-CBN ran a December 2017 article published in the United Kingdom’s The Telegraph titled, “Faking your own death: How the Philippines became the global leader for a macabre trade.”

The article is a feature on the book by Elizabeth Greenword titled,” Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud” published in 2016.

An August 2016 article by Greenword at titled“3 Steps To Faking Your Own Death “ said she has heard of the Philippines all through her research for her book.


What’s next for those high-profile inmates who ‘died’ of Covid-19?

[/size]ELLEN TORDESILLASJULY 21, 2020Doubts that were raised in reaction to news reports about the death of nine high-profile inmates of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa due to Covid-19 reflect on the zero credibility of the agency that has been embroiled in a number of scandals, the most recent of which was the “freedom for sale” scheme.News reports said among those who died and whose body was immediately cremated was Jaybee Sebastian, a government witness and also a co-respondent in the drug trafficking cases filed against Sen. Leila de Lima.Others who were reported to have died due to Covid-19 were Benjamin Marcelo, leader of Chinese inmates at NBP; Zhang Zhu Li, Jimmy Kinsing Hung, Francis Go, Jimmy Yang, Eugene Chua, Ryan Ong and Amin Imam Buratong, convicted operator of the shabu tiangge in Pasig City in 2009.

Philippine Government / Re: On Charter Amendments
« on: July 26, 2020, 10:53:42 PM »

If any politician talks of Charter change in terms of strengthening the Bill of Rights, implementing social justice provisions to the hilt, and at long last dismantling political dynasties and local oligarchies, then that campaign deserves a listen. Anything less, and the Cha-cha is a rigged dance. Beware.

Philippine Government / Re: On Charter Amendments
« on: July 26, 2020, 09:34:18 PM »

No, economic reforms may well be had along the way, but they’re only a handy pretext for the main task legislators would set for themselves once the Charter-change gravy train gets going: To further feather their nests, whether that means extending or lifting altogether term limits, while correspondingly not lifting a finger to flesh out the already Constitutionally mandated injunction against political dynasties. That was so in the proposed federal Constitution the previous House under Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had championed (thankfully derailed by an uninterested Senate), and it would be so in any other attempt, whether prodded by mayors or whichever other designated cheerleaders, where the proponents themselves conspicuously fail to take their vested interests out of the equation.

Politicians who advocate changing the Constitution supposedly for the country’s advancement, and who want to be taken seriously by the public, must hurdle a simple but defining challenge: Their positions must not in any way benefit from the amendments they advance. Otherwise, that is basic and blatant conflict of interest—bastardizing the critical task of reviewing the country’s fundamental law for their narrow, expedient ends, and all the more deplorable at a time of great hunger and disease across the land.

Philippine Government / Re: On Charter Amendments
« on: July 26, 2020, 09:33:00 PM »

One could imagine the winks all around: Mga pare, I gave the cue, bahala na kayo. Even at face value, the Mandanas argument for tinkering with the Charter sounds tendentious at best. The Supreme Court ruling mandating that the “just share” of LGUs must come from all national taxes is already part of the law of the land; what it needs, once it starts in 2022, is honest-to-goodness implementation—correct and unhampered allotment on the national government’s part, and commitment on the LGUs’ part to use the budget honestly and transparently for their constituencies’ betterment. Also, it’s not as if a provision’s mere presence or categorical mention in the Constitution exacts faithful compliance by the government, this administration in particular (hello, Bill of Rights).

As for the push to open certain sectors of the economy to full foreign ownership, that would be a richly ironic position to take for an administration that had tied itself in knots preachifying over the supposed foreign control invested by Philippine Depositary Receipts on entities such as Rappler and ABS-CBN (the shutdown of the latter, the biggest media network in the country and the oldest in Southeast Asia, resulting in actual considerable economic loss).

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