Why the PCOO accreditation program for bloggers is unethical

By Joe America

PCOO is the Philippine Communications Operations Office headed by Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin M. Andanar. Many readers will recall that Andanar was “side-promoted” out of the spotlight to head PCOO following several gaffes when he served as President Duterte’s primary spokesman.

Ethics are the rules by which a profession or organization or group of people work. They assure honesty, integrity, and behavior that does not reflect poorly on the profession, organization, or group. In the case of the National Government, these rules are fairly set forth in the Constitution.  Rules promulgated by professional groups also stand as guideposts to proper behaviors on the job. Take, for instance, journalism ethics:

While various existing codes have some differences, most share common elements including the principles of – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability . . . [Wiki: Journalism ethics and standards]

The program of concern here is a new accreditation effort under which PCOO grants recognition and legitimacy to qualified ‘social media practitioners’ and gives them access to the President at special events.

Some revealing mistakes

Ethically demanding people would question the ethical foundation of the PCOO itself, so it is easy to be skeptical about programs it introduces.

The first ethical mistake the PCOO makes is in its own charter. The PCOO confuses the Executive Branch with the National Government in its Vision statement.

Vision: The PCOO is the lead communications arm of the Government and a vehicle of understanding for a well-informed and enlightened citizenry, proud of its heritage and attuned to global realities.

In no way does the PCOO speak for the Legislature or Judiciary or independent agencies like the Ombudsman.

The Vision also does not refer to the Constitution, the place where ethical rules originate. This omission is carried forth into the Mission statement as the  PCOO recites allegiance to the President rather than the nation:

Mission

To serve as the primary vehicle for consciousness-raising, constituency-building, and social mobilization in support of the policies, programs, and projects of the Presidency.

To serve as a tool for informing, educating, enlightening the citizenry about matters of national importance for inspiring the citizenry to deepen their civic engagement.

This would not be a problem if, again, the Constitution were cited somewhere as the overriding set of rules for the agency. But in failing to accept the Constitution as the document that provides the PCOO’s marching orders, we can understand that the omission of reference to the document is probably intentional, and the office is really a partisan arm promoting the President, not an office working to fulfill the mandates of the Constitution.

The accreditation program

So, with those shaky ethical foundations underpinning what PCOO is doing, how are we to look at the recent initiative to offer accreditation to social media people?

The program gives ‘social media practioners’ access to the President when he appears in special events.

SOCIAL MEDIA PRACTITIONER refers to a person that maintains a publicly-accessible social media page, blog or website which generates content and whose principle advocacy is the regular dissemination of original news and/or opinions of interest. [PCOO to accredit bloggers for Presidential coverages; CNN]

Removed from the announcement was a line in a preliminary draft that required that accredited bloggers support “the brand”, which was not defined, but we can assume this means the President and his initiatives. In other words, it presumes allegiance to the President to gain accreditation.

That is gone now from the guidelines now, but let’s be clear what is being accredited. It is not news reports. It is opinions. And it is opinions that present the President’s deeds in a favorable light, whether he is abiding by the Constitution or not.

The accreditation resets for each event so participation in one is no assurance of gaining access to the next. Criteria for such judgments are not cited.

The four qualifications for accreditation are: (1) 18 years of age or above, (2) Philippine citizen, (3) at least 5,000 followers in a social media platform, and (4) approval by PCOO.

Let’s set aside the uselessness of the 5,000 follower limit, which can be purchased or faked, and notice that there are no qualifications that would ordinarily go into a job application or issuance of media credentials: no demonstrated experience or education required, no observed skill must be presented, and no clear evidence of maturity and responsibility is to be shown.  Any yahoo can qualify if they write the right stuff and seem popular.

When probed as to whether or not social media practitioners would be allowed to issue curses in their material, a spokesman for the PCOO said “yes”, under their right to free speech. [Nothing stopping accredited bloggers from cursing, lying online, Malacañang says; Rappler]

What is essentially being offered is the government’s endorsement of the hostile, divisive, and even uncivil work done by people like Mocha Uson and Thinking Pinoy in their issuance of opinions (and occasionally erroneous information) about any perceived opposition to the Administration, even against the duly elected Vice President and . . . incredibly . . . her family.

But that is just my opinion, and the PCOO can prove me wrong.

The test of the Department’s allegiance to the Constitution and free speech would be the accreditation of  pro-democracy bloggers, such as Raissa Robles, that would give them the freedom to write their own opinions about what they hear.

And it would be so much easier . . . and less contrived . . . if the PCOO would simply draw up a list of accredited social media practitioners that would assure balance, objectivity, and skill based on their known work. Include Mocha Uson, fine. But include Raissa Robles and Ellen Tordisillas and Noemi Dado . . . . long-serving journalist-bloggers with large followings who write with experience. (And with whom I often disagree, I might add.)

As long as PCOO tries to game the system to legitimize a raft of loyal, journalistically unqualified, divisive opinion-mongers, and eliminate criticisms that would assure the NATION of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability, then the department itself will be rendered journalistically unethical.

It will be a propaganda agency setting out to legitimize propaganda practitioners.

 

Comments
107 Responses to “Why the PCOO accreditation program for bloggers is unethical”
    • Thanks for the reference, Andrew. Very pertinent to the debate.

      Tan takes the position that blogging is an acceptable medium of expression, and just “let it be”. Even bots will find their eventual rightful place by proper shaming, if the discovery is done properly. So I’d call him a believer in a free speech free market that will self-correct. One of the corrections would be, if an official government agency proposes to license propaganda specialists, then articles like mine are important, as well as the taking apart of each erroneous government-accredited lie and diatribe.

      I personally think government should be ethical, and ethics do properly restrain free speech. So I don’t agree with Tan. One ought not say it is okay to yell “fire” in a packed movie theater, nor should a government of the people, or the people, accept that it is okay to lie to the people, or insult segments of the citizenry.

  1. josephivo says:

    I have many questions, each single one seems manageable by “free market” mechanism but I worry about the synergies between them all.

    1. We now belong to opposing camps that do not negotiate anymore, the art of dialogue is lost, even verbal arm-wrestling out of fashion. We only enjoy the beat of our own echo chambers.

    2. Money has more influence than ever. The split between the commercial and editorial staff disappeared, never existed in the virtual world.

    3. Expert lawyers on TV programs do no more explain the legal aspects of an issue but only sell political arguments.

    4. Political experts don’t try to win with facts and logical arguments. Only spin is to be expected.
    5. The ease of cheating grows faster than ever, setting up fake sides, fake contributions, photo shopping, and even seamless swopping spoken words on YouTube.

    6. We shifted from deontology driven to outcome driven journalism. (see also 2)

    7. The 140 character attention span. People getting unable to read a full logical argument.

    8. The disappearance of local news and local journalists. All is national or world relevant news.

    9. The belief that because we are all equal all our arguments are equally valuable, an emotional nonsense opinion equal to undeniable facts. Thinking is elitist, shouting is the new norm.

    • All true, and there is pushback against some of the tendencies. Awareness is step 1, so thanks for that. I think, like global warming, mind pollution takes place in small enough steps that we are unaware we have succumbed. It may be too late, judging from the global rise of emotionalism. So we are consigned to doing our best, figuring those who are aware of what is coming can better prepare. Slowing the beast is step 2. Reversing it is step 3.

      • josephivo says:

        And an important element are the algorithms for recognizing and prioritizing “expertise”. The Googles, Amazons and YouTubes, Wikipedias… of this world carry a very heavy responsibility. More than governments who often lack full understanding (see the PCOO) and always come too late.

        More and more knowledge does no more reside in our heads but somewhere on internet. And because things are getting so complex it becomes more and more difficult to make an individual assessment, so we rely more and more on cultural beliefs and they are all too often deeply engrained in our minds.

        Luckily we survived the change from handwriting to printing. Emotions of the writer no longer visible, printed errors so much more absolute, impossible to be corrected in the next copy and all the artistry of (many Flemish) illustrators gone. Times keep changing and the human mind still so adaptable.

      • sonny says:

        I can hardly wait for your Aug 18 installment, Joe.

  2. karlgarcia says:

    When this was still in its infancy, I read cyber tokhang comments.
    What happened to some surrenderees? They became part of a hit list of the vigilantees and rogues.

    I have the same impression with this you keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

  3. NHerrera says:

    My daily reading for news brings me to both local and international news and because of similarities in its leadership, my usual fare is the local news and US news.

    With respect to Communication Groups — PCOO in PH and Whitehouse Team in the US — although both Administrations can hardly rein in Duterte and Trump, respectively, there is a difference I notice. In the US, there are regular mention of the struggle and conflict in the WH Team on the reporting from the Whitehouse. There does not seem to be such struggle in PCOO. If there is a conflict, it is very rare — and not from within the PCOO — such as one I recall where the invitation of Mocha Uson (the counterpart (?) of Kellyanne Conway of WH) to speak to the soldiers was reportedly withdrawn by the military.

    That is why, even if we do not agree 100% with what Senator Trillanes say or does, he performs a very useful service to the country.

    A SIDE NOTE. The Trillanes conundrum serves as a weather vane in the sense that since the Military — although recognizing the traditional chain of command — I believe, is not entirely sold to Duterte as is the PNP. So the survivability of Trillanes, aside from having less or no dirt in his closet, is that he is Military and a Senator and has been relatively consistent.

  4. Edgar Lores says:

    *******
    1. Apart from the points raised, I have two concerns:

    1.1. Funding
    1.2. Editorial Control

    2. Regular journalists are funded by their news organizations. Will the accredited bloggers be funded by taxpayers’ money?

    2.1. It is known that several bloggers accompanied the President on his official trips abroad. Malacañang may deny it, but it would be safe to assume that not only were the expenses of these bloggers fully paid but that they received compensation. The costs of the presidential trips abroad have far outstripped those of previous administrations.

    2.2. At least two female bloggers are now gainfully employed with the government.

    3. The news organizations exercise editorial control over regular journalists, and the news organizations themselves are independent of government control (albeit not of government regulations). PCOO will now directly exercise editorial control over the output of the accredited bloggers by various mechanisms, foremost of which is the event-by-event accreditation.

    3.1. As noted, hate speech will not only be left unchecked but positively encouraged. Hate speech includes not only attacks against race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, and gender but also political persuasion.

    4. By accrediting non-professional social media practitioners, it is obvious that PCOO is trying to counter, if not discredit, traditional news media that usually present news in an objective manner. News columnists are also given free rein to be critical of the government.

    4.1. And yet even traditional news media is being choked. @Sup noted that anti-Paolo Duterte comments were being deleted in the Inquirer.

    4.2. In Oz, the use of traditional news sources (TV, newspapers, radio, and magazines) remain stable, while “finding news through social media has declined slightly.” In the Philippines, the opposite is happening. Social media has become king, and the accreditation move extends the election campaign strategy to use this platform to win and hearts and minds… and to keep them loyal to the cause.

    5. When government controls the sources of news and information, as Marcos did at the start of martial law, and as it controls social media commentary, as it is trying to do now, can absolute tyranny be far behind?
    *****

    • Sup says:

      Agree…to many promo pages like this already….

      https://www.facebook.com/DailyFilipino/

      • Pro Duterte, simplistic emotional posts drawing 400 or 500 likes, 18,000 followers including 6 of my 5,000 FB friends. Will most certainly be accredited and infest social media with feel-good. Will it turn hostile against targets? Most certainly. This will be the dominant style of Admin information going forward. Not MLQ3’s historical info. We’ll be swimming in a world of emotionalism detached from anything meaningful.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        *******
        Slick logo, although the subheading leaves much to be desired punctuation-wise and sense-wise.

        A proud admission of bayaran from one of the posts (July 27 at 3:37 pm) on the site:

        “Tumpak. Tamang tama ka Sir Riyoh, Binabayaran naman talaga tay0ng lahat ni Tatay Digong at sobra sobra pa nga eh. Oh siya aminin na natin para malaman ng mga Kultong dilawang ang katotohanan.”
        *****

        • Sup says:

          When you think it could not get worse…..

          Many comments in the comment sector in PDI are now talking about ”fifth columnists”

          http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/922556/malacanang-sandiganbayan-rodrigo-duterte-alexander-gesmunfo-sc-justice-new-appointment

          ”We must really and seriously investigate these matters. We must stop these Trojan horses and fifth columnists.

          ‘Trojan horses’, fifth columnists and subtle saboteurs are cunningly at work in the Duterte Administration.

          The Philippine News Agency (PNA) is a prime example of this undermining work by fifth columnists and saboteurs who are subtle weakening the credibility of the Duterte Government. Just within the past week the PNA has made two major booboos with its affixing the DOLE pineapple firm’s logo on August 11, 2017 on its publication of a Department of Labor news report and its prominent featuring on its editorial page of an article from China’s Xinhua News Agency that was critical of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, which invalidated Beijing’s expansive claims over the South China Sea and was very favourable to the Philippine claims.”

          etc etc etc

          • Edgar Lores says:

            *******
            Should the link be this?

            http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/922209/pna-apologizes-for-attaching-wrong-photo-in-dole-story

            Fifth columnists are “a group within a country at war who are sympathetic to or working for its enemies.”

            A Trojan Horse is “a person or thing intended to undermine or secretly overthrow an enemy or opponent.”

            Trojan Horses may be the more appropriate term to describe holdover employees undermining the Duterte administration. These employees must be members of the “Alt Malacañang” Twitter group. With more than 7K followers, the group claims they qualify for accreditation! Heh heh.

            Perhaps “patriots” instead of “Trojan Horses” can be considered?
            *****

            • Sup says:

              Sir Edgar, even in my link 50% off the comments are about the ”fifth columnists”
              It is now”all over the place” blaming workers from Pinoy time for all the PNA mistakes

              • Edgar Lores says:

                *******
                Sup, thanks. So the socmed brigade are dumping copypasta in every nook and cranny.
                *****

    • Excellent points on funding and editorial control. We will be able to see what comes out of the accredited staff, which should include names and the material they produce. The one thing I will say about social media, it is hard to control. It sometimes has a bite, and it is clear that mainstream media are well aware of the discussions taking place on social media, and the Administration has been called to account for many activities by social media here. I think it will be hard to control social media unless they totally clamp down on the internet or start jailing people for “subversion”.

  5. madlanglupa says:

    By allowing hyperpartisan internet “celebrities” (demagogues, really) to participate and even influence the decisions of this regime, as well as inciting and promoting hate speech, it also means the impending death of genuine journalism and the pursuit for the truth.

    Ed Murrow would have cackled with fury to find this country — or for that matter, half the known world — in threat of losing itself to such demagoguery.

    *sigh* For now, we’re still fortunate to speak out our minds and take sides..

  6. madlanglupa says:

    Offtopic: a bit of levity much needed in this midst of looming madness, i.e. gallows humor.

  7. Is this “accreditation” mandatory or voluntary? If voluntary, fine (what ‘s the issue?) If mandatory, how will they even regulate or enforce (someone knocks on your door in the middle of the night?).

    • For us here it is the mainstream media , but I don’t necessarily think they are colluding, just of the same mind, liberal affinity, hence slanted—- solution: seek out non-liberally slanted media, ie. expand your reading, hint: if you’re agreeing all the time with what you’re reading there’s something amiss.

    • The overall framing of the issue is a battle for public awareness and support between those who support the President’s reign of blood and favor, and those who support the ideals of democracy and human rights. Call the two sides the ‘reds’ and the ‘yellows’. The reds have won the early stages of the fight, having captured about, say, 85% of the support of the congress, the courts, and the people. The yellows believe the Philippines is on a path to moral depravity and economic ruin. The reds are happy for now with their enrichment and/or revenge. It feels good.

      The State hires or sponsors liars and trolls to manipulate the popular backing and give succor to those who expect to suck riches from the State, that is, the 85% of the congress and the judges. The yellows don’t like this method and want to protect the people from themselves, the self-righteous bastards. Their fear is the State will give legitimacy to the nasty bloggers and face-book practitioners and cut out the yellows from access to the president.

      The root issue is whether or not the state should be in the business of propaganda. The yellows think it should be in the business of being transparent and competent. In other words, ethics count.

      • Voluntary, with criteria for accreditation not stated. Forgot to answer your question.

      • I can’t find anything here that closely resembles this PCOO concept, Joe. But the press (and opinion news programs & blogs) are similarly broken up right smack across party lines here too.

        If you’re Democrat (and liberal) you watch MSNBC and Democracy Now, and pretty much most news print media (also CNN is more biased these days too); if Republican (conservative) then FOX News, Newsmax and WSJ—- though if you’re a Trumper you’d be more a Breitbart and https://www.infowars.com/ consumer of information .

        “the State will give legitimacy to the nasty bloggers and face-book practitioners and cut out the yellows from access to the president.”

        I’d figure this was the root issue, Joe.

        But actually it cuts both ways, this accreditation program, if the yellows play it correctly (which you’re already doing, proudly announcing your non-accredited status) , it’ll only serve to better identify which blogs or news outlets are for who.

        If the yellow’s propaganda campaign is superior, then this non-accreditation status should be a source of pride, no? If PCOO wants to draw lines, just make sure your side wins in this battle of wits (errrr… opinions 😉 ), Joe. Seems simple enough.

        I think though that the closest concept of PCOO is MTRCB? So probably best , speaking as Chief Troll here, not to focus too much on the ethical and moral stuff , because like MTRCB you’ll quickly be irrelevant. Fight fire with fire, ie.

        if they have memes with ASEAN leaders standing and applauding DU30, yellows should also have memes in which ASEAN leaders are yawning during DU30’s speech.

        • “The yellows think it should be in the business of being transparent and competent. “

          Joe,

          You gotta also consider that the Philippines is a nation whose presidents still wear their party colours even after becoming President. So access to president, transparency, etc. is i’m sure already a far cry, hence this PCOO is probably more on par for the course.

          But i agree with you, the nation should come first. I just don’t think that’s reality in the Philippines. So run with this non-accreditation status and fight like for like, propaganda for propaganda, Joe.

        • All that you suggest is being done. The main problem is that the reds have money to dole out and yellows only principle. Until the red masses grasp that the red government is not working to their benefit, the yellows are consigned to being targets, in the main.

          • “The main problem is that the reds have money to dole out and yellows only principle. “

            So this is more a funding issue than anything.

            Mar Roxas and PNoy are yellows correct? They should be able to raise funds to go toe to toe with the reds no (DU30 and Marcoses)? Didn’t Mar Roxas spend more for the election than DU30 did (someone posted it on here before i believe)?

            Also i figured Western nations who are into human rights, corporations that favor predictable economic policies in the Philippines, plus Mar Roxas/PNoy’s families can be a source for funding, correct? What about other rich power families in the Philippines, wont they be for the status quo hence be able to help raise funds to combat the reds propaganda with principled yellow propaganda?

            My point , it need not be “yellows only principle” —- again as some poor Filipino once said, ‘You can’t eat principle, sir’.

            • Mar Roxas and PNoy are Liberal Party people and believe in democracy and human rights, yes. They lost the election and have bowed to the public will and the belief that President Duterte deserves the chance to lead without their imposing views. Both have issued mildly critical comments now and then about subordinate issues. The Liberal Party is now headed by Vice President Leni Robredo who has the difficult challenge of being a part of the Duterte Administration, so she cannot be an opponent. From her speech the other day, it appears her focus is building LP membership back up from the grass roots so it is prepared to wage an election for legislative positions in 2019, and the presidency in 2022.

              I don’t know who spent what. I don’t think Mar Roxas is a source for funding, and other rich families are likely not to put their money into opposing President Duterte. Nor would LP want to be funded from outside the Philippines.

              I understand your point. I just think it, itself, is a principle, and not one that is pragmatic in the current environment.

              • How does one fight a well funded operation with a zero (to nil) funded operation? This is very difficult to do unless one is Jesus Christ, Joe. How about crowd sourcing? Is there a yellow blogger or organizer (or bloggers and organizers) that’s quarter-backing the yellow response, to attempt to block the reds?

              • You ask as if I am in charge of organizing the rebellion. I’m not. You have to figure out why it is not happening, and organize it yourself if you care that much.

              • Joe,

                I can’t find Zen’s comment anymore re being in the UK , contributing donations to Yolanda victims, in which NGOs pulled the weight getting things done, but IMHO NGOs in the Philippines might be a good source for this funding.

                But for all the talk of principles, if these yellows (rich families like Roxas/Aquino, heads of companies there opposed to current conditions, local/national politicians of the same mind, etc. etc.) if they don’t start putting money where their mouths are (or where their minds are) , it’s really difficult to win, Joe.

                My interest stops at the notion of trying to win a fight without resources (i don’t really wanna organize nor dig any farther, if you guys don’t feel the same, Joe— but some thought should definitely go into this). But IMHO it’s like getting into a prize fight without training and eating healthy, relying only on happy thoughts and good intentions,,, and principles.

              • “if you guys don’t feel the same” That is an erroneous ‘if’ I suspect. Many would like to see a stronger, well-funded push-back. But the Philippines is a nation of tribes, not unions, and the tribes are weak, divided, and no one wants to end up dead, in jail, or isolated. I don’t think you should make erroneous assumptions on behalf of others, but are welcome to speak for yourself.

              • “You have to figure out why it is not happening, and organize it yourself if you care that much.”

                No, Joe. My post was just in response to what seems to me apathy in your comment there, basically i interpreted it as, “because I don’t care”. I could be wrong, but if there’s no interest in talking about funding for countering reds, why should the rest of us care, right? 😉

                The stuff that happened in Charlottesville, involved one side organizing online then basically doing a big meet-up at a park in Charlottesville, then the opposing group did the same, all parties met up.

                In the end, this isn’t just about blogging and principles , eventually the two—- reds and the yellows will have to meet. Democracy is physical, that’s the only principle worth considering really, Joe.

              • You are wrong and either have not been reading the posts here or have developed a case of ‘applied forgetfulness’ in pursuit of your needful conquests.

              • “You are wrong and either have not been reading the posts here “

                No ones talking about funding or organizing , Joe.

              • Funding, true. Organizing has been discussed.

  8. Edgar Lores says:

    *******
    ON MISSION STATEMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION

    I would like to explore the issue of the omission of a reference to the Constitution in the Mission Statement.

    1. I would first posit the following axioms pertaining to structure and function.

    1.1. The Executive branch is a creation of the Constitution.
    1.2. The President is sworn to uphold and adhere to the Constitution.
    1.3. The PCOO is an office of the Executive branch, a creation of the Executive and not directly of the Constitution.
    1.4. The PCOO’s main mission is to inform the public of matters relating to the President.

    2. From 1.1 through to 1.3, we can infer that the PCOO must indirectly uphold and adhere to the Constitution. “Indirectly” is the operative word. As such, a reference to the Constitution may not be that essential in the Mission Statement.

    The reason for this is that the PCOO must perform its prime duty as stated in 1.4, and it must do this perforce (or willy-nilly) — whether it agrees or disagrees with the President.

    2.1. The performance of duty is owed primarily to the nation and to its citizens, as it is for all government entities and personnel.

    3. But, in the real world, one expects the office to owe a degree of personal loyalty to the appointing power.

    3.1. This degree of personal loyalty is based on the mutual dependence between the participants. However, this expected loyalty would only be true of personnel attached to the Executive branch. It should NOT be true of other branches, such as the Supreme Court justices, and of the constitutional commissions, such as the Comelec and the Ombudsman. The essential character of the relationship with these latter is not one of mutual dependence but of essential independence.

    4. In the Executive, where there is an irreconcilable conflict between the official duty (to the nation) and one’s personal loyalty (to the President), honor dictates one should resign from office.

    4.1. This is what Sean Spicer did when he “vehemently disagreed” with Trump on the appointment of the unfortunate Anthony Scaramucci. This is what CEO Ken Frazier just did when he resigned in the face of Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacists.

    4.2. In the annals of Philippine political history, this is what Executive Secretary Rafael Salas did when he had a falling-out with Marcos.

    4.3. Personal loyalty does not extend to mouthing and repeating the lies of the President, such as on drug statistics. To contradict and correct the President is necessary… and perhaps a necessary danger, as was demonstrated by the Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Benjamin Reyes, who was fired by Duterte.

    5. The question arises: should one always resign in the face of irreconcilable policy differences with the President?

    5.1. I would say the rule of thumb is that one must. The exception would be if the national interest outweighs one’s personal interest.

    5.2. This might be the case with Secretary Lorenzana, who provides assurance of proper military behavior. This definitely is the case with (James) Mattis, who assuages the fears of and for the world that are triggered by Trump’s unbridled pronouncements.
    *****

    • 4 is the heavy hammer, but here, the Constitution is not seen as a driving document, but a document to be used if it helps your case and ignored if it hurts your case. Oaths are a part of the magic of showing one thing whilst doing another. Secretary Lorenzana is the only exception I am aware of. That the Secretary of Justice in the main is focused on exercising the President’s vengeance illustrates how far this government is from the healthy ideals you express.

    • “This definitely is the case with (James) Mattis, who assuages the fears of and for the world that are triggered by Trump’s unbridled pronouncements.”

  9. Sup says:

    Even a lot off ”Real” media did not comply with poll adds documents..

    From Rappler….

    55 print, TV, radio outfits did not submit all pol ads docs?

    Like wayward candidates, many media agencies also failed to file reports with the poll body, in defiance of their obligation in law

    http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/investigative/178436-print-tv-radio-outfits-political-advertisements-documents-comelec

  10. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Because of the grave consequence of mis-appreciation or miscalculation by either side, there is a statement by the US Secretary of Defense Mattis which may pan out in different ways.

    KJU is supposed to be reviewing the earlier announced plan by his military to fire 4 ballistic missiles into the waters close to US territory Guam.

    Mattis issues a stark warning: If N Korea shoots at Guam, ‘then it’s game on.’ For indeed if a group of missiles are fired from NK which will be detected by the US as having a trajectory towards Guam, who is to say it is just to the waters close to Guam. And even if it is just to the waters near Guam, will US just timidly stand bye?

    Declaration of war according to Mattis is to be done by the US President and or Congress, but Mattis hints the Military will respond in that stark warning.

  11. popoy says:

    In the eche bucheche that’s happening in the Senate now, Guess WHO should have been invited to shed light and to expose the truth on allegations flying here and there in the BOC. Puro bobo cheche ang nangyayari eh.

  12. NHerrera says:

    PALACE COMMUNICATION ON THE BREACHING OF THE P51/USD LEVEL

    Abella quotes from BSP Gov. Espenilla about the current PH Peso level in the following GMA News:

    The peso dipped closed at P51.080:$1 on Monday, the weakest since it closed at P51.210:$1 on August 28, 2006.

    Abella echoed Bangko Sentral ng Pilipines Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr.’s explanation that the peso depreciation was a result of market reactions to overseas developments, including the word war and nuclear threats between the United States and North Korea.

    “We expect that as international tensions ease and remittances, trade and tourism revenues pick up in latter months, those holding pesos will see their funds again,” Abella said.

    http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/money/economy/621840/malacanang-unfazed-by-low-peso/story/

    While Abella’s statement may give some comfort to me, this picture with all three displaying the fist salute does not:

    (In the picture, left to right: DOF Sec Dominguez, BSP Gov. Espenilla, Palace Spokesman Abella)

  13. popoy says:

    popoy says:

    August 13, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Yes Virginia, Democracy is very much alive in your own Charlotteville.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/violent-clashes-between-white-nationalists-and-counterprotesters-in-charlottesville/ar-AApUdhF?ocid=spartandhp

    Re-cycled : I am re posting the above as an admission of my own eche bucheche of political correctness, wrongly thinking that there will be NO deaths, only injuries caused by maze and wooden batterings of human flesh and bones because of US democratic civility and police efficiency. I was WRONG, very wrong as political correctness is turning out dead wrong nowadays. Listen and cogitate what US Officials and the media say: all political correctness and justice laden eche bucheche.

    Before watching intently the news footage REWIND to past protest actions. Watch the Charlotte’s counter protesters when they were the ones protesting with what ever names their placards indicate. Their protests were MOSTLY unfettered and undisturbed unless there were violence, destruction of property and looting. Now one can be VERY AFRAID of counter protesters of their numbers and their readiness for violence against the protesters. Is Charlotte the ALPHA of social unrest in the US?

    No, No. May be not yet. A few days after Charlotte, there were protests organized in support of Charlotte’s counter protesters. WERE there counter protesters ready for violence? . Watch the Videos. Who for Christ’s sake are allies on the side of political correctness? But watch what was done to the stone/metal? statue of a people’s hero; kicked and spat on it. Any society’s strength lives on symbols of bravery, heroism and greatness of one of their own, otherwise it has no soul. If it can the statue might have said: I only occupy a little space and do you no harm. If you fuck with me, my people will kill you.

    Before there was NONE, may be a little bit. Eh. of face-offs between protesters and counter protesters. Now that’s the eche bucheche of alibi or excuses that’s scary and very real

    When HATE or hatred becomes the eche bucheche of reason to protest, the degree of hatred falls to its extremes as manifested by the degree of its anger and violence of its response. The ills and misfortunes in society are obvious and ubiquitous. Joblessness and homelessness regardless of skin color or ethnicity. As to who is really doing good, watch the homeless if you care. Now whom will you think are to be more aggrieved and neglected?

    Brilliance and experience sometimes needs the assistance of smart common sense. Now the protesters can reason: They were only doing their thing and they were disturbed and thwarted. Now again, why can’t they do the same, every time there are protests that they do not like?
    A molar for an incisor. A community segment social unrest could ignite into a brush fire.

    Yes Virginia Democracy is very much alive amid discord in search of freedom from fear and freedom from want.

    For the Governor? No More Protests? More Police Strict Control of Protests? More Arrests? But That’s eche bucheche. Eh. Sir.

    For the protesters and counter protesters: Okay, OKAY . Protest if you like within the purview of democracy. BUT NO, NEVER WILL BE ALLOWED any protests and counter protesters TOGETHER in the SAME WEEK, same day, same duration and the same hours in the same place in the city.

    No more COUNTER PROTESTERS that’s gone now, all are and will be protesters, even if they protest against each other. No more hen or the egg. It’s fried chicken for everyone. Heh. Heh.

    • popoy says:

      HABOL.

      Governors and City Mayors of modern America can de-energized and de-fanged protests and demonstrations as they do de-fanged cobras and made them dance to the tune of flutes in Old Delhi and Calcutta in India, without the eche bucheche of political correctness.

      • popoy,

        Personally i think it was a law enforcement issue. They knew about this for quite awhile, they should’ve prepared. Now it’s a small town, and that’s fine, small town cops aren’t experts in this type of crowd control (not just protest, but adversarial protest, 2 or more groups) , they should’ve known (ie. thru common sense or intel that an opposing protest will occur) realize this type of stuff was gonna happen, thus either reach out to big cities or crowd control experts.

        I watched it live on Saturday, and after dispersal, you had a group of White Supremacists walking (i guess looking for another venue or rendezvousing with colleagues) , it was really dramatic, they were marching like soldiers, and they marched right in front of the police station, counter protestors were following them—- i guess counter protestors felt safe because they were in front of the police station, thus started throwing and hitting the group of about 50 Whites (i counted 5 blacks and 4 Anarchist types instigating in front of the police station from behind the group of Whites).

        50 against 10, you already know what’s gonna happen. And cops were literally just standing outside their station, as about 30 clobbered on the poor 10 (bloodied they were).

        It was a cluster fuck.

        But these White Supremacist groups did go thru the hoops of permits, articulating their event to police, and holding their rally in a public space. The counter protestors (many Anarchist types, who are mostly based in the Left coast, but many locals too) may or may have had a permit too, but the point here is the police presence (there should’ve been a lot more) should’ve controlled the crowd better, no weapons should’ve been allowed in the public space, and the two groups should’ve been kept away from each other.

        Lastly, freedom of speech was tantamount here, on top of the crowd control issue. But no one’s seems focus on that, not the media , not the politicians, here.

        Even the ACLU will side with the White Supremacist here, securing their right to Free Speech. Because if you erode one groups right to say anything, you’ll eventually erode your own. This should be the issue, crowd control, riots, etc. etc. you are right, popoy, we’ve had worst, a lot worst, and i’m sure we’ll have more—- but Freedom of Speech should be tantamount.

        • popoy says:

          Figuratively we are blind men most times Lance. Thanks for telling me about what it is on your side of the elephant. Some will insist they are touching the bobs of a Jennifer, a few will shudder at the touch of an excretory orifice.

        • Bill In Oz says:

          Lance Charlotesville in a big University town : University of Virginia. And in my experience living close to there a few decades ago, a quiet, well ordered, fairly prosperous place because of the university. But it probably has it’s own anarchist types.

          • Ah, thanks , Bill, i’ve only been to Northern Virginia and DC area. But i read somewhere that the University was in between its Summer sessions and the Fall semester (or quarter). But i agree fairly liberal universities will have their own anarchist types.

            But the press, especially local press, made it a point to ask everyone (either pointedly or in a round about way) , and they got the sense that the bulk of the protestors (from both sides ) were from out of town.

            That this is Thomas Jefferson’s very own university, should even be more symbolic. But i’m surprised no one’s stressing the importance of the 1st Amendment here, a missed opportunity for sure, Bill.

            • Bill In Oz says:

              Yes, that’s probably true lance… Folks from elsewhere organised to come in to stir up a quiet peaceful city on a Sunday… So only 4 police there for the chaos that ensued…

      • popoy says:

        I have written the two posts above before I have watched the link below and I am not finished yet. I just read the news and watch any footage. What I am beginning to suspect is I am watching live the eche buchehe of a lot people holding the rope before they ring it round their necks.

        http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-again-blames-both-sides-in-charlottesville-says-some-counterprotesters-were-%E2%80%98very-very-violent%E2%80%99/ar-AAqa4uC?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

        • I think Trump’s on the right side of this, popoy (especially today). But he needs to emphasize Freedom of Speech, not just how both sides engaged in violence. I saw 4 types of counter-protestors (i think you are focusing on just the Anarchists?)), there were the LGBTs, Anarchists, #BlackLivesMatter and then just regular folks oppose to racism (they could’ve been easily anti-LGBTs, anti-Anarchists, anti-BlackLivesMatter, but against racism and White Supremacy).

          • popoy says:

            Lance I try not to nitpick. If snakes and tigers are likely to kill each other, don’t place them in the same cage never mind if they are Bengal tigers or African tigers versus rattlesnakes or cobras. Governors este Zookeepers should know that. Otherwise you get submerged in freedom eche bucheches when people are seconds away from hurting or killing each other. I might be wrong, but trump is trying to tell them they are tigers and snakes and should be seen as such. But Trump may have inkling though it is not correct politically or otherwise to say that newsmen and newshen should not be compare to horses whom/which you can take to the river and make them drink.

            • Totally agree, popoy, I read David Duke (some washed up KKK guy) tweeted thanking Trump for his support———– this kinda stuff Trump needs to nip in the bud right away, tweet back i’m not supporting you, I’m supporting the 1st Amendment!!!

              Sadly he won’t since he’s more a reactionary , only when the likes of David Duke starts talking crap about him (attacking him personally), only then will Trump talk crap about David Duke (and his ilk). So if the mainstream media wants to prod Trump to be harsher against these White Supremacists (which they should),

              show more of their anti-Jewish rants, and writings, etc. have the Trump grandkids ask their grandpa who these guys are and why they hate Jews so much. That’s how you play Trump, like i said Trump’s a very simple guy to figure out, there’s no nuance.

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