"Elections are the bedrock of democracy."
President Duterte announced last week that since Senator Ronald dela Rosa's United States visa was canceled, meaning he would not be allowed to enter American soil ever again, he (Duterte) would also cancel the Philippines' Visiting Forces Agreement with the US.
Forgive me but I cannot see the logic in the President's threat.
Santa Banana, the cancellation of Bato's visa was for his being the chief of the Philippine National Police when President Duterte launched his war on drugs, and for being one of the jailers of Senator Leila de Lima.
It has absolutely nothing to do with the VFA and Duterte's move to cancel it!
The President cannot just terminate the VFA. It's a treaty ratified by the Senate, even as there are those in the opposition that claim otherwise.
I would believe retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the best Chief Justice we never had, when he said that since the VFA was ratified by the Senate, the Senate should be consulted.
My, Bato must have something we don't have. Imagine, just because his visa was canceled, a treaty will be terminated!
Be that as it may, Dela Rosa could go down in history as a senator truly responsible for terminating a treaty. China and the communists could not be happier.
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Elections are the bedrock of democracy. Hackneyed, yes, but it does ring true now and for all time. Without a free and honest way to choose leaders, how indeed can there be any functioning democracy?
It really should concern us all whether the system we are using is giving voice to the real will of the people, or making a mockery of it.
I must confess I have written against Smartmatic as a result of what I have been reading that it has been responsible for machinations for cheating. I have been wondering whether the Comelec has done anything in the wake of derogatory reports about Smartmatic, which is banned now in some countries.
I have tried my best to unearth things to support the accusations. My exhaustive search led me to discover that Smartmatic now has ongoing projects in Argentina, London and Denmark, all three to be delivered in 2020. It also led me to verify reports about the company's 2019 projects in Argentina, where it provided a solution that election officials have hailed as the fastest in history.
What is curious is that the government candidates were soundly beaten in the elections, and yet the poll officials were praising the product of the polls. My gulay, losers admitting their loss!
I have also uncovered that all these negative reports about Smartmatic have been coming from rival technology providers that want it out of contentions, especially a group led by a former Comelec official who has been lobbying for a mixed manual-automated counting technology. My gulay, that will send us back to the days of manual counting that was prone to manipulation!
If Filipino politicians were as mature as the ones in Argentina, we would have been a first-world country long ago!
Researching on Venezuela, I learned two things:
First, Smartmatic, much to my surprise, is not a Venezuelan company. It is actually a multinational company headquartered in London. Yes, the founders are Venezuelans, but it's like saying that Google, co-founded by Sergey Brin, is a Russian company. This whole thing makes me wonder: How valid is it to judge companies on the birthplace of their founders?
Second, I discovered that in 2017, Smartmatic practically fired its client, the National Elections Commission of Venezuela. Further, my research found that during the Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly elections, Smartmatic officials blew the whistle on authorities who were trying to pad the election participation rate by at least a million voters.
My search on countries blacklisting Smartmatic has taken me to several news reports about LA County awarding a US$350-million contract for the development of a new system.
The real test will be the 2020 presidential elections in the US.
Some food for thought: LA County is the largest voters jurisdiction in the US. With so much at stake, I imagine every bidder for this particular election project going through the wringer.
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To go or not to go. This is President Duterte's dilemma on whether he should attend the Trump-Asean summit in the US.
I think Duterte should first be consistent about his rants against the Americans. Logic dictates that if he wants to be consistent with himself, he should not attend the summit.
There are reports coming from Washington that Duterte would be given diplomatic honors and immunity due him. More than anything else, Duterte must show he has a word of honor.
Thus, I believe that Duterte should not go to the US.
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Some 56 people have already died from the Coronavirus scare. Some 2,000 have been infected. Just how China and the Philippines will face this threat is a matter of speculations. One way to stop the virus from spreading is to ban the entry of mainland Chinese to our country.