It is a story about two incompetent hands with fast waning popularity that pulls the strings that move their formerly close peoples closer to war.
No good ending is in sight for now, despite the Philippines already bowing to a lesser city — a pseudo state — with which its ties were based on the same respect it gives to bigger China, which claims Taiwan as merely an appendix, the sac that does not affect its life inspite of an almost perpetual war in which they are still embroiled.
It is this war that begun after Mao Tse Tung’s great victorious march. But decades after, it made Taiwan’s military competence exceptional for its size after they have fled from communist grip.
But because of this military might, we are being compared to a chihuahua, that cute little toy dog that yaps instead of bark like the top fighting breeds, with which some Taiwanese liken themselves to highlight the Philippines’ helplessness in defending itself in case of a war.
But not only are the Taiwanese putting themselves on war footing, or to a lesser degree, transforming themselves into lynch mobs, attacking Filipinos in sight.
Some Filipinos — utak pulbura in street parlance — are also tugging those who care to listen to express hate against the Taiwanese.
A former policeman/politician had even found yet another issue to put himself in newspaper pages by torching a Taiwanese flag. But that was just it, a stunt.
The Philippine Coast Guard shooting on May 9 of 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng in the waters disputed by the Philippines and Taiwan became an even bigger stunt for Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, who needs to rally his people to resuscitate his sagging popularity.
Ma’s political trick had caught President Noynoy Aquino off guard.
Aquino was also busy laying his post-2016 interest, monitoring the recent elections, when Hung was killed. It took him a longer time (seven days) to respond to this foreign relations crisis than it took Taiwan to thumb down the two apologies sent by the Philippines through the Meco (Manila Economic and Cultural Office), the Philippines pseudo-embassy in Chinese-Taipei.
Ma seems to have forgotten that Manila is among Taiwan’s earliest friends, with the Philippines as one of the few countries with trade and cultural relations with Chinese-Taipei.
Lauro Baja, former foreign affairs undersecretary for policy, also explained that Taiwan had long recognized that part of Philippine water where the shooting incident had transpired. He said it was during the late President Cory Aquino’s time when Taiwan was given a corridor in which Taiwanese fishermen could pass.
It was one of those few times when high level talks had transpired between the Philippines and Chinese-Taipei. The most important talk that needs to happen now is between Malacañang and the occupants of Chiang Kai-shek’s palace.
It will be a case of the Philippines stooping to a city.
Taiwan has no legal leg to stand on as it is not an independent state.
But Aquino had already bowed to Ma, and it will be the smudge that will forever be seen in his political armor.
Aquino realized the repercussions of his overly-delayed reaction to the incident.
Taiwan has started denying more Filipino workers to set foot in its land. It is no longer renewing the expiring contracts of those helpless OFWs we call our heroes. Some Filipinos get beaten by Taiwanese thugs.
Aquino could not afford to see more jobless Filipinos coming home. The Philippines is beset with problems in joblessness and coupled with the Saudization of Riyadh, Aquino appears willing to take the more humiliating course of bowing before Ma.
I see some people chuckling in Beijing if and when this happens.
Everything was wrong from the start.
The RP-Taiwan imbroglio started when Hung, the fisherman, entered Philippine territory and threatened to ram his boast against the Coast Guard ship.
The Coast Guard overreacted and used excessive force against Hung. Forty-to-50 bullet holes were found on Hung’s vote, one of which fatally hit Hung at the back.
International maritime practice prohibits unnecessary use of force against illegal fishermen. A water cannon would have sufficed to stop the charging Hung, if he was indeed about to ram the Philippine ship.
Taiwan protested Hung’s killing and gave Manila 72 hours to explain the incident, dealing with the Philippines like it is a sovereign state.
Aquino, in the final stretch of campaigning for his senatorial slate, failed to heed Taiwan. His inaction, or lack of care, angered Ma.
Aquino’s underlings have also issued careless statements soon after, triggering more negative reactions including the physical beating of OFWs in Taiwan.
The Philippine government sent an apology, which Taiwan thumbed down. Taiwan then banned new hiring of OFWs.
The Philippine government apologized anew but Taiwan stood pat.
Nothing is yet clear on the RP-Taiwan horizon.
The only thing clear now is that Aquino does not only have to deal with Taiwan but with his people, too.
Because his straight path had swerved into bloody waters.
It’s all over but the counting.
There’ll be no more shoving and shouting, politicians have passed that stage, complete with the different shades of black propaganda that flew from all sides.
The violence and incidents of vote buying that marred Monday’s polls are serious matters that government could not seem to address since Bonifacio refused to recognize Aguinaldo’s election.
But compared to the past elections, Monday was generally fine.
Grace Poe, a fresh face in politics, is currently leading in the senatorial race. She has more than 14 million votes as of this writing.
Poe’s performance is surprising as she was considered among the weakest in the Team PNoy’s ticket at the start of the campaign.
But the results of unofficial count by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is a validation of the lost votes for her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr., who lost the presidency to Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo — now the country’s top inmate, whose re-election in 2010 was marred with massive fraud and incidents of vote-buying.
Poe was the campaign buddy of Sen. Chiz Escudero, her father’s spokesman during the 2004 presidential campaign.
Escudero did for Poe what he did for her father. He did not leave her in the sorties and that was when her name started to rise, helped by the recall left by FPJ’s name.
Escudero, however, slid to third place from No. 2 in 2007. It’s not a bad performance for Chiz, who always trails in most surveys Loren Legarda, whom Poe has dislodged from the top to No. 2.
Legarda was FPJ’s vice presidential running-mate in 2004, although most voters may have forgotten about it already. Legarda’s long media exposure had given her the strongest push.
They would make the top triumvirate to lead possibly nine administration candidates to the Senate.
The opposition had sprung a surprise in Nancy Binay, now running fifth and leader among the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bets to make it in the initial Magic 12.
The Vice President’s daughter got extra push from her dad, who was a surprise winner in 2010 himself.
The “three kings” of the opposition have worked well in pushing for their bets as JV Ejercito, former President Estrada’s son is hanging on at 11th, and Sen. Gringo Honasan sitting precariously at 12th, putting Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile in a tight situation as his son, Jack, is still hoping for extra luck in moving up to the magic circle from No. 15.
The administration’s impending victory in the senatorial battles is expected, but President Aquino does not have enough guarantee he can keep paving his so-called straight path on the ground in yellow.
Close results were seen developing in the local levels, which Aquino needs to fortify in a serious effort to continue on the Liberal Party’s gains beyond 2016.
While the administration seems victorious in vote-rich Cebu after it successfully brought down the opposition incumbent even months before the polls, opposition bets are showing strong position in other places.
The media are focused on political developments in Cavite, where the Revillas and the Remullas, two political dynasties with strong combined bases, are claiming political harassment from the administration.
Incidents of political violence have been noted in the province, which has joined other provinces with long history of political violence that made them perpetual election hotspots.
The counting is expected to end in a matter of days, swift and smooth compared with the past elections.
But the polls were not free of troubles, but even the Comelec’s critics and the watchdogs would admit there were less headaches in the most recent process than before.
The Filipino electorate has also yet to advance as poll’s results affirmed anti-dynasty calls had no direct effect on the trending outcome as seven likely senatorial winners have relatives in elective and appointed positions.
All names in the Top 15 are not strange to voters, proving that name recall plays a big factor in wooing voters to shade their votes in more familiar candidates’ favor. Surnames like Penson, Alcantara and De los Reyes, had to work tenfold or more to be able to wiggle out the roster’s tail.
Different shades of the Left have also been snubbed.
Risa Hontiveros, whose Akbayan is allied with Malacañang, failed anew, while Makabayan’s Teddy Casiño also fell short in his bid.
There was an observation that their constituents could give them a push, but most of them have lost faith in the electoral system, they have not bothered to register at all.
Like in past elections, the initial results have dismayed not a few.
But we have to live with the winners for the next three and four years.
Whether we like them or not.
Unlike Heart Evangelista — the actress, I am going to cast my vote today.
I will troop to my precinct early and will make my choices — the few of them on whom I will entrust my one and only country’s leadership.
It’s going to be a gamble on my part, and yours.
But that’s how our votes are, a gamble.
I will vote for Chiz Escudero to negate Heart’s non-vote.
Heart would have voted for him had she registered.
But she has yet to practice her right to suffrage — never, not yet.
It was only recently when she realized how important this right is.
Heart has learned a lot about life, love, politics and our country with Chiz than everything and anything she had learned in show business.
Chiz had learned more about life, love and how to mix these up with his political priorities from Heart and her meddling parents.
He’s a winner, if the surveys which came out are accurate.
He’s a consistent winner because he knows how to listen to the masses. He knows the people’s pulse.
He has been accused as a young trapo. But he treats his job as a lawmaker in a highly professional manner.
He has done more in Congress and the Senate in a dozen years than most of his old contemporaries.
If only he can fix his love life soon. But that is another story only he can write with the same eloquence as his political savvy.
I will also vote for Teddy Casiño.
He is worth my ink.
My vote for Casino will not be gamble on my part, and yours.
I’ve seen his rise. I’ve seen him toast his mestizo skin under the noon sun in countless student rallies many eons ago.
But being mestizo is the farthest thing he is from being a masa.
He is a jologs for a La Sallian.
He ate with bare hands when needed, took the jeep after rallies and made tusok-tusok the fishballs like we did.
I believe he will never compromise his ideals. Not for money, not even for any party’s dictates when things get ugly.
Casiño does not figure very well in surveys.
He does not have enough money to launch a campaign similar to the well-funded machineries of other politicians.
Nat Santiago, his contemporary in the League of Filipino Students, claimed they have not spent more than P5 million in running Casiño’s campaign.
Despite lacking in resources, Casiño is nearly there.
It is up to us to make him win.
Let’s make him win.
When she asked me about my choices, Dina, the lady on my left, seemed surprised when I told her I have Ricardo Penson and Samson Alcantara in my list.
Penson who? Alcantara who?
I had the same questions week ago. Are they nuisance candidates? No, they are not.
Alcantara is a Filipino lawyer and law professor. He was born before World War II, but his age does not make him old.
He is also national president of the Social Justice Society, a political party accredited by the Comelec, as well as the founding chairman and president of the Abakada-Guro party-list, a party-list group representing teachers, which he should have represented in Congress but was denied by its first nominee who did not honor their term-sharing agreement.
He is against political dynasties, like Penson.
Penson, formerly in the underground in his youth, has been actively campaigning against political dynasties.
A self-made man, he no longer needs any job but his conviction to help bring down political dynasties made him run.
In doing so, he is already a winner in bringing forth the topic in many assemblies even if he does not make it to the Top 12.
He’ll still get my vote, win or lose.
I may consider other names. But for sure, I won’t be able to fill all 12 slots.
That’s how shallow the roster is.
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