Subtle Spins

roxas

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, presidential candidate of PDP Laban, attended a forum with students this week and won the day, if, for nothing else than because none of the other presidential candidates showed up for it.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano (who, people who know these things say, has not been showing up to work at the Senate for a while now), Duterte’s vice presidential candidate, was quick to crow about this, saying:

Dalawa, tatlo na ang hamon kay Mayor Duterte nang debate, nasaan sila ngayon? Siguro yun ang dapat nating itanong,” said Cayetano.

(There are two, 3 challenges to Mayor Duterte to debate, where are they now? Maybe that’s what we should be asking.)

And he is right. The forum at De La Salle University would have been a good opportunity for the candidates to talk to the youth (and the Internet) about their plans for the country and Duterte and Cayetano should be commended for showing up.

On the day of the forum, netizens were asking where the other candidates were. Vice President Jejomar Binay was apparently in Caloocan, Senator Grace Poe was in Cavite, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago did not want to attend unless all other candidates were there. Liberal Party Mar Roxas, meanwhile, was sick.

His social media team said so:

And who are we to say that he was not? What they did not mention, though, was that Roxas’ being sick was irrelevant to his attendance at the forum. He had, in fact, according to sources (who were tweeting openly about it), declined the invitation in favor of sorties in Nueva Ecija province. Had he been hale and hearty, he would still not have been there.

This was made clear the day after by Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, campaign spokesman:

“Maaga pa lang, sinabi na namin, pinaabot na namin, and I’m sure alam ng kampo ni Mayor Duterte na hindi kami nag-confirm for that event. Madaling magmatapang dahil ikaw lang ang nakatayo sa entablado at sasabihin mo na lahat, natakot na ikaw ay makita. Alam mo namang simula pa lang, hindi talaga pupunta. Magkakaroon pa tayo ng tatlong oportunidad para magkaroon ng debates,” said Gutierrez, referring to debates sanctions by the Commission on Elections.

(Early on, we turned the invitation down and I’m sure Duterte’s camp knows we never confirmed for that event. It’s easy to be tough talking when you’re the only one on stage and claim that everyone’s afraid to face you. But they know from the start that we wouldn’t be going. They’re be three more chances to have debates)

Now, candidates are not obliged to attend every speaking engagement they are invited to, not even to the debates that the Comelec will organize.  If Roxas and his team felt that going to Nueva Ecija made more strategic sense than attending the Rappler forum, then that is fine.

But there is no need to pussyfoot about by saying he couldn’t come because he was sick. The Roxas Twitter account is probably run by volunteers, so they may not have known what the situation was, but one cannot be blamed for getting the impression that this was another subtle attempt at spin, and a president whose people cannot speak plainly is not the Leader I Want.

Shabby sheiks

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

For Halloween, two hosts of noontime variety show “Eat, Bulaga!” (Or Eat Beluga to our friends from Buzzfeed) dressed up like “Arab sheiks”, a costume that offended some Filipino Muslims, including Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman, who called it “a mockery of and an affront to the image of the Muslim.”

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Anti-Social Media: Infinite crisis!

All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Philippine media industry is facing a crisis: In many newsrooms, journalists are quitting and while that is normal in an industry that has historically had a high rate of attrition, this is happening in the lead up to an election year.

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Military policy, according to Bayan Muna’s Neri Colmenares

bongbong

The Bongbong rockets, a Philippine military attempt to be self-sufficient

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, who is running for the Senate in 2016, said Tuesday that the Philippines should not rely on the United States in its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, the country’s economic zone in the South China Sea.

“Let us rely on ourselves,” he said, according to a Rappler report. And that is a wonderful sentiment and a great goal to aspire to. His suggestion is for the Philippines to be “like Vietnam and other countries that didn’t seek [assistance, presumably] from the United States.”

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Masks Off: Miriam is back

miriam

More like: “Watch Out, All Of You Guys”

Days after filing her certificate of candidacy for president, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has given the public a peek of who she is now, and has always been.

Not the affable lady who cracks pickup lines when speaking in public, or even the supposed “graftbuster”, who loses her temper at the corrupt and the inept, but the blowhard who brooks no opposition.

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Anti-Social Media: And Now, The News

Did you know that Dennis Trillo is in a movie about Iglesia ni Cristo founder Felix Manalo, and that the movie — called, logically enough, “Felix Manalo” — has broken Guinness world records?

Found on the Internet, but also in real life probably

Found on the Internet, but also in real life probably

Well, now you do, thanks to the Philippine Star. Also, some stuff about some whatever sea dispute with China and some baloney about elections. Who cares?

It must be noted, though, that Iglesia did nothing wrong here. If newspaper space can be bought and an advertiser has the money, then it will be bought. What is more disturbing is why the space was for sale at all.

This subversion of the newspaper front page seems to have worked, though, because the world records that the movie broke were for having the most people watching a movie at the same time.

The influential religious group has broken other world records in the past, all of which were essentially variations on the theme: Many people in one place doing one thing at the same time.

Politics is Addition: Makabayan edition

Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada with members of the Makabayan bloc

Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada with members of the Makabayan bloc

 

In January 2001, when the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada began crumbling and his political allies began jumping ship to join the growing crowd at the EDSA shrine calling for his resignation, a young activist with AGHAM-Youth wept bitterly: “The politicians have stolen the moment, they have stolen our protest.”

And he was right. In the months leading up to EDSA Dos, the movement to oust Estrada was led mainly by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the groups affiliated with it.

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Anti-Social Media: You know nothing, Mang Snow

basketbolan

Basketball Hoop Game Sport

As the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility , the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and the National Press Club keep reminding us, press freedom in the Philippines is under a continuing threat. What they — well, okay, the CMFR does — sometimes neglect to mention is that sometimes that threat is from so-called journalists themselves.

Sports website Spin.ph warned on September 21 of a “chilling warning to media” in the Philippine Basketball Association banning sports writer Snow Badua from covering PBA games and barring PBA officials, referees, and players from granting him interviews.

The ban came after Badua alleged that a PBA official was having an affair with a model, but , Spin.ph says there is more to it than that:

A PBA official, requesting anonymity, intimated that some team officials present in that board meeting were fed up with articles that Spin.ph has dared run in the past. These presumably include the ‘farm teams’ issue and game-fixing in the league, which we did run, precisely to give the professional teams a chance to air their side and address accusations constantly thrown at them by fans online.

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Hey, Marcos apologists

marcos

It would perhaps be educational for everybody else who seems to agree that Martial Law was not the best idea if Marcos loyalists — many of whom were born after the dictator fled the country in disgrace — would share their sources. Either of stories about how life was great back then, or of the drugs they seem to be taking to believe that Marcos deposited tons of gold at the World Bank (which does not quite work like a regular bank where people deposit things, in any case) for the benefit of the Filipino people.

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