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My last word on Ressa

"Yes, I am biased. But I will call it as I see it."

 

I still can’t get over that undeserved Nobel Peace Prize given to Filipino American journalist Maria Ressa for her alleged fight for press freedom. Thousands of stupid Filipinos cheered this.

I say this because the award was not at all deserved. Those who cheer do not realize its implications.

The first question that comes to mind is, was press freedom in the Philippines ever threatened under the Duterte regime? What heroic deed or sacrifice did Ressa do for her to win the coveted award? 

Yes, Ressa was convicted of cyberlibel for saying that somebody had his car used by then Chief Justice Renato Corona. Yes, the Securities and Exchange Commission found her violating the Foreign Depositary Receipts rule by accepting more than what is allowed by law.

Were those incidents enough to call Ressa a Philippine heroine?  In the first place, was press freedom ever violated by Duterte? It was censored and suppressed during the Martial Law regime of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos. But were there journalists ever jailed during the Duterte regime like there were in the time of Marcos?

Yes, some journalists were killed, not because of Duterte, but because of some minor politicians.

I am saying this not because I have been paid to do so, as some people may think of me. I don’t even know Duterte from Adam. And I am on record for having criticized him, specifically on his failed wars on illegal drugs and on graft and corruption. I maintain that these wars are failed wars. 

**

I have been a journalist for over 70 years, and I can say frankly and honestly that press freedom in the Philippines is alive. We have assent and dissent. Without these,  there can only be tyranny.

That Nobel Peace Prize given to Ressa is an insult to Filipino journalists who have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of press freedom. This is why I cannot understand why groups of Filipino journalists, like the National Press Club, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, the Manila Overseas Press Club, (the oldest association of journalists in the Philippines), and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, have not taken a stand. 

Yes, it was a slap on the face of Duterte, but also a clear insult to us Filipino journalists. Whether or not Ressa is being used to further American interests is beside the point. Whether or not American interests are funding her is also beside the point. 

•••

The bid of former Senator Bongbong Marcos for the presidency will certainly raise the issue of Martial Law, and with it, human rights and hidden wealth.

But I doubt it if these issues would have any impact on Bongbong’s bid for Malacanang. Recall that they were the very same issues brought out when Bongbong ran in 2016 for VP, were it not for the fact that the Liberal Party cheated against him in favor of Vice President Leni Robredo (even as the Supreme Court later ruled otherwise).

Now that the Yellows are no longer in power, I doubt whether the issue of Martial Law would have an effect at all. 

Yes, I am biased. But I will call it as I see it. Mark my words: Bongbong is the candidate to watch.

Why is Bongbong Marcos leading? While Isko Moreno is more conciliatory, Manny Pacquiao is firm that the Marcoses should return their alleged plundered money. This difference of opinion between Pacquiao and Isko reflects the mentality of each, with Pacquiao’s narrow-mindedness, and Isko’s open-mindedness. That, to me, shows who is educated and who is not. 

What makes people like Bongbong? Is it charisma, good looks or something else? I believe it is something more basic - it’s the memory of the late strongman President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his legacy. It’s a legacy unsurpassed by other presidents.

It was Marcos that started the Build, Build, Build program that Duterte claims to be his. Go over the existing laws we still have today, and see that Marcos did not only have a clear vision but knew the sentiments of the people. My gulay, how can people forget the Heart Center, the Lung Center, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine International Convention Center and other developments?

These are the things people remember when they see Bongbong. Need I say more?

•••

With the plurality of senatorial candidates, a voter will find it very difficult to vote for the best, with no less that 176, I repeat, 176, candidates. No wonder a broadcaster named Raffy Tulfo is leading the Senate, my gulay, even way ahead of returning senators Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda. 

The very fact that several presidential and vice presidential candidates almost have the same lineup on their Senate slate proves that there is a lack of good men and women for the Upper Chamber. Santa Banana, even bitter foes in the past have been aligned in the same ticket!

This shows that “best and the brightest” is no longer the criteria of getting in the Senate. It is a popularity contest. I bet if Coco Martin ran, he would top the list.

Only in the Philippines, indeed. 

Topics: Emil Jurado , Nobel Peace Prize , Filipino American journalist , Maria Ressa , press freedom , Senator Bongbong Marcos
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