China’s proxy president?

President Rodrigo Duterte has raised eyebrows again. During a sendoff to a group of Filipino scientists to explore the Philippine Rise seabed, Duterte said Chinese President Xi Jinping told him that “China will never allow Digong to be taken out of office.”

That’s the President’s own words quoted live on three major TV networks. Not a misquote, not taken out of context. If true that Xi said that, then it must be a reciprocal expression of affection after Duterte recently exclaimed: “I love Xi Jinping.”

Xi Jinping’s boast (or Duterte’s claim) did not sit well with some senators, particularly with opposition lawmakers. Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and independent Panfilo Lacson expressed their concern that this is a national security issue if the Chinese president indeed said that. The Xi statement implies a foreign power’s intent to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.

Has this government’s subservience to Beijing made Xi Jinping think the Philippines is already a province of China? If Xi cannot take over renegade province Taiwan, why not the Philippines with its richer natural resources? We can’t really blame Xi for his delusion. Manila won the case in the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea against Beijing in The Hague international arbitration court but we have not invoke this favorable ruling. This is defaulting on the country’s legal right.

In his rambling speech, Duterte also ranted the US also meddles in Philippine politics. He claimed that “Americans are afraid to die.” What? Mr. Duterte might have forgotten his history that Americans got involved in World War II to help Britain from being invaded by Nazi Germany. Americans were also in the Pacific war against the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor. American troops were in the Korean and Vietnam wars. They also fought terrorists in Afghanistan and invaded Iraq for threatening world peace and sponsoring terrorism. Now, that’s hardly being afraid to die, is it?

Meralco’s madness

The Manila Electric Co. announced an additional P2,000 as deposit for customers. This is additional burden for our people who are already reeling from the high cost of living brought about by the thoughtless TRAIN law.

Those who are comfortable in their mansions in gated communities, ride in their air-conditioned limousines—like highly paid Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga—obviously do not feel the heat nor care about the hardships of other people.

Isn’t Meralco earning enough as a monopoly power distributor? Some people can be heard pining for the days of the Marcos strongman rule which dismantled the Lopez oligarchy. Will President Duterte who made it to TIME Magazine’s cover as a strongman together with Russia’s Vladimir Putin order Meralco to cease and desist?

Electricity customers earlier complained about Meralco passing on to them what it called “power system loss” or the electricity pilfered from illegal line connection by squatters in the urban areas. But that’s Meralco’s lookout and problem. With its vast earnings that run into billions, Meralco should be able to handle this problem. What will Meralco think of next to fill up its coffers to the brim at the expense of poor people?

Energy Regulatory Commission officials should not wait for President Duterte to take the necessary step to rein in Meralco. The President has enough on his plate dealing with affairs of state.

Montano on Broadway

No, Filipino actor Cesar Montano is not appearing on Broadway, New York as part of the cast in a play or a musical. The former husband of Sunshine Cruz cut short a scheduled speech he was supposed to deliver before the Pinoy community in New York last week .Montano shortened his speech to two minutes and a few lines because he said he was “going to be late for a Broadway play.”

Montano is the head of the tourism promotion board of the Department of Tourism.

May we remind Mr. Montano that he spent DoT money for his trip to New York to promote Philippine tourism and not to see a Broadway play. He wasted government money for his trip. Montano is also in hot water for advancing payment for his Buhay Carinderia tourism project which has not been fully implemented.

New Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat wants Montano to explain the expenditure for this project and why it was paid in advance. She wants to know if there was proper public bidding in the award of the million-peso contract.

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Xi Jinping , China , Energy Regulatory Commission , Manila Electric Co , Cesar Montano , Bernadette Romulo-Puyat , Buhay Carinderia
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