"Don't bet on it."
I heard this lament from a parent whose two children migrated to the United States some years ago. They have acquired their US citizenships and are now living there with their families.
The father complained to me that he finds it peculiar that Filipinos who have migrated to the US soon acquire the habits and values of Americans. Worse, they lose their filial devotions.
He asked: What is it with the United States that makes Filipinos living there act like Americans? They lose their morals. Young people live with their boyfriends or girlfriends outside the sacrament of matrimony.
Sympathizing with him, I said it’s because of peer pressure and the American environment.
This is nothing new. I’ve heard countless similar stories.
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There is this debate on the Mutual Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines, after the US Secretary of State visited last week. He said the US had our back.
This supposedly means that if the Philippines is attacked, the US would come to our defense and vice versa.
There were earlier moves to have the 1951 MDT reviewed in the wake of a possible confrontation between the US and China, especially so with the continued bullying done by China in the West Philippine Sea.
When somebody says “I’ve got your back,” it means I will protect and defend you.
While there are those who believe that the US would really come to our defense, there are those who say that the treaty has some vague provisions. This is exactly why Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other experts want the MDT revised.
The entire issue gets further muddled because the Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin claims there is no need for review. But when it comes to defense, whom would you rather believe—Lorenzana or Locsin?
I am all for the review of the treaty. Many things have happened since 1951.
For instance, does United States President Donald Trump really believe it? I will not bet on it. Trump has disregarded other treaties and agreements, like the one on climate change. Note also that when it comes to China, Trump would rather tiptoe.
I cannot see the logic of Locsin and the others who claim there is no need for review in the wake of what is happening now.
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The only salutary effect of all these scheduled media debates is for people to know who are running for the Senate. There are some 60 candidates vying for 12 slots.
This kind of introduction of newbies over television is most welcome. The debates could also reveal where they truly stand on various issues. Sometimes, they expose how candidates are ignorant of the job they are aspiring for.
I’d like to ask the newbies: Why are they running for an office that demands no less than half a billion pesos for just the hope of winning? Yes, that’s how much it costs these days to run for the Senate.
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I had hoped that when the opposition, meaning the Liberal Party, came out with its list of candidates, it would have had names that are winnable.
I was disappointed. The only possible winner in the pack is former Senator Mar Roxas.
I think this is tragic. I want the opposition to have a louder voice in providing check and balance to the government.
With Mar Roxas in the Senate, the opposition will still be in the Minority. Mar will be with Francis Pangilinan, Frank Drilon, Riza Hontiveros and Leila de Lima.
This means the “supermajority” of either Duterte senators or so-called independent senators, who are actually with the majority, are still in control of the Senate. This means another three years of Duterte having the Senate under his thumb.
The Senate should remain as the voice of the opposition!
Don’t believe Duterte’s favorite candidate Bong Go who says he will serve as the link between Duterte and the people.
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The Philippine Constitution Association wants Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen to inhibit himself from the cases challenging the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
The petitioners say that the Constitution only recognizes two autonomous regions—the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordillera Administrative Region. Obviously, this does not include the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Leonen had participated in an earlier agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Aquino administration.
Will Leonen inhibit himself? If yes, well and good. At least he has some self-respect. If not, that is his problem.
Still, the biggest factor in the petitions is that any decision by the Supreme Court will be after the fact. The BOL has already been ratified. Can the Supreme Court nullify the ratification of a plebiscite?