Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Confederate Flag: Symbol of History or Hatred?

There is no doubt that one’s national flag is a great and strong symbol for the country in both times of peace and in times of war. Patriotic citizens fight and die for it. As stated in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance: 
            “I pledge allegiance to the FLAG of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands – One Nation under God, Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.”

The Southerners who joined the secessionist movement in order to form the Confederate States of America pledged a similar allegiance not just to the FLAG but also to the Confederacy and its ideals – thus, precipitating the American Civil War. These ideals and causes that many of the Southerners fought and died for are reflected in the Confederate Constitution.

For this week’s column I decided to read and focus on the specific provisions of the Confederate Constitution on Slavery just to put it in historical context.

These slavery provisions are self-explanatory. They did not, do not, and should never have any place in the Constitution of any civilized, free, human, and democratic republic. No wonder the Confederate Constitution was described as the fundamental document that led to the founding of the “slaveholders’ republic”.
The Confederate Flag symbolizes these slavery provisions generating the false and extreme belief of white supremacy and racism – thus, evoking unnecessary and almost uncontrollable hatred.

Many of us thought that, in this day and age, racism and violence are long gone. Apparently, we are wrong. For as long as there are Confederate Flags in poles flying up high in the State Capitols or other government buildings, the memory of Whites owning and lording over Blacks as slaves will never be put behind us. It is a sad and grim reminder of a cruel past.

In the same period of the Civil War, dedicated soldiers were fighting and dying for the Flag of the United States of America and the U.S. Constitution.  While the leaders of the Confederacy were advocating to retain their rights to own, sell, acquire, trade, and auction Negros as slaves, U.S. President Lincoln reflected the abolitionist line in his Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

In Gettysburg where Lincoln spoke, were dead Confederate soldiers who fought bravely not necessarily to retain ownership of slaves but more for “Southern Pride”. We should not take anything away from them and their descendants who honor them.

But the Confederate Flag as a racist symbol must go!

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for its removal from the state capitol in the wake of the racially charged killings. Democratic Presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton who had called for the removal eight years ago praised the Governor and other SC officials for making the same call now.
Republican Presidential frontrunner Jeb Bush agrees with the proposed removal as he had done in Florida. He removed it from the Capitol and moved it to the museum when he was governor. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Ohio Governor John Kasich support the move of SC Governor Haley. So does Senator Rand Paul.

Other Republican presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum have no clear stand on the issue. The other Democratic presidential candidates such as Senator Bernie Sanders and former Governor Martin O’Malley are for the removal.

When I told my barber that the Confederate Constitution declared that the right of the Whites to own, sell, buy, trade, and/or auction slaves should not be impaired, he wondered what would have happened if the confederates won the Civil War?

Hearing that we would have to follow the provisions of the Confederate Constitution, he followed with these questions, “In the NBA, how much do you think would LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala go for? Would they be worth more or less?

Take it from my barber!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

POElitics of Statelessness

I was told that my suggestion regarding a Roxas-Poe Team up for the 2016 elections has reached some leaders of both camps. As I stated in my previous column "POE, POEtic Justice, Polls, Politics, Positioning" the proposal is best for the country, for PNoy and “Tuwid na Daan”, for Roxas, Poe, and the LP and its allies.

There is resistance from some Poe followers understandably. They think that since Poe is currently No. 2 to Binay and Roxas is only No.3 in the latest survey, she should be the presidential candidate. In fact, in the most recent Pulse Asia survey, Poe is now no.1 beating Binay and Roxas respectively.

As I argued previously, it would be a big mistake to rely on surveys alone to determine the winning viability of a candidate at this time. During the 2010 vice presidential campaign, an SWS poll conducted from Sept. 18 to 21, 2009 or about eight months before the elections, 40% of the respondents chose Roxas as Vice President while Binay was the choice of only 2%. In fact, Legarda and Noli de Catro were tied at second place with 23% each. Escudero was third with 13%. Binay was nowhere near.

It is still eleven months away so things may change. In fact, the SWS vice presidential survey on May 2-3, 2010 showed a virtual tie with Roxas getting 37% and Binay 37.2%. Guess who eventually won? Thanks to the NoyBi people (including some PNoy relatives) Roxas lost. Overconfidence on the part of Roxas was partly to blame.

Let me reiterate, as my San Beda professor once said, “I repeat it again and again once more for the second time” – “
Machinery (Organization); Money (Resources); Manpower (volunteers and paid employees); Message (Traditional Media, Social Media, PR, Propaganda/Advertising); and Management (Planning, Leading, Organizing, & Controlling) are very important factors” in determining the winning viability of a presidential candidate.

Since PNoy, Roxas, and the LP are considering Poe for a higher position seriously, I explained to friends in the Poe camp that this is an opportunity that Poe should be prepared to meet. “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”.

The Binay camp and some legal experts presented some issues that Poe might be forced to face if she decides to run for either the presidency or vice presidency. First, is the 10-year residency requirement and the second, is the citizenship qualification.

I do not think that she would have a real problem defending her 10-year residency. The doctrine of“Animus revertendi” and jurisprudence provide sufficient evidence to support the Philippines as her “domicile” or legal residence for at least 10 years. Furthermore, there are sufficient factual circumstances showing that she actually resided – not just intended to return for a longer period.

The second issue is a little tricky. The Philippine Constitution requires that one should be a natural born citizen to run for President or Vice President. Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces adopted Grace Poe. According to certain Supreme Court decisions, “adoption does not confer only gives the adopted child the civil rights of a legitimate child, like the right to use the surname of and to inherit from the adoptive parents.”

Furthermore, Poe turned out to be a “foundling - refers to a deserted or abandoned infant or child whose parents, guardian or relatives are unknown; or a child committed to an orphanage or charitable or similar institution with unknown facts of birth and parentage and registered in the Civil Register as a “foundling.”

It is therefore unknown whether Poe is a natural born citizen of the Philippines as expressly provided for under Philippine domestic laws. There are however, International laws that specifically recognize the rights of “foundlings” in relation to their nationalities. International laws are considered part of the country’s laws.

One of these laws is the 1961 International Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Article 2 of said convention provides, “[a] foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered to have been born within the territory of parents possessing the nationality of that State.”

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panaganiban recently opined, “Applying that article to Senator Poe, a foundling found in the Philippines is presumed, in the absence of contrary proof, to have Filipino biological parents. Since she was found near a church in Jaro, Iloilo, when she was only a few days old, her parents are presumed to be Filipinos. Therefore, she is a natural-born citizen,” 

The bad news is that the Philippines is not a signatory to the 1961 International Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The good news is that PNoy’s Administration could accelerate efforts to accede and be a signatory to the Treaty/Convention.

Senator Grace Poe, her followers and friends in the political arena might start lobbying for PNoy’s assistance if a Roxas-Poe tandem is to be realized.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


In the 2010 Presidential elections, I endorsed NoynoyAquino for President

I also wrote: “Mar Roxas must be elected as Vice President to work with Noynoy. To institute the educational, environmental, economic, electoral, military/police, judicial, civil service, social and constitutional reforms needed, it would take more than six years; in fact, a whole generation. Mar is needed as a Co-Manager to tackle them. He prepared and invested to be President. He sacrificed and gave way to Noynoy. He deserves to be Vice-President.”

LP leaders Senate President Frank Drilon and Budget Secretary Butch Abad recently revealed the LP plan for an 18-year tenure for the Liberal Party running the Philippine government. They meant having Aquino, Roxas, and then Poe being President successively. This is to maintain and continue the gains of the “Tuwid na Daan” policy and programs as well as guaranteeing a quality of leadership that reflects the 4Hs: “Honesty, Hope, Honor and Humility.”

(Photo from
I am glad that the LP and its allies are planning long-term. I am sure that depending on the performance of Congresswoman Leni Robredo in the next Senatorial elections and as an elected Senator thereafter, she and Bam Aquino are considered in the line of succession. Within the period, I am further sure that an aggressive recruitment, development, and maintenance program would produce a new set of leaders among the Millennials.

It looks like the favored tandem is Roxas-Poe. Based on the discussions among friends and political pundits in the barbershops here in Washington, D.C., the Roxas-Poe combination would be formidable.

How would you convince Poe to become a Vice-Presidential candidate? Remember, she is really NOT sliding down being a Senator now but aiming at a higher position. But polls show her placing second as a Presidential candidate and no.1 as VP. Her supporters, of course, would prefer her to run for President.

There are other factors outside of polling in determining the winning viability of a Presidential candidate. Machinery (Organization); Money (Resources); Manpower (volunteers and paid employees); Message (Traditional Media, Social Media, PR, Propaganda/Advertising); and Management (Planning, Leading, Organizing, & Controlling) are very important factors.

At this point, Poe knows that unless supported by President Aquino and the LP machine, she is unable to compete given the requirements. “Ambition,” as Mark Anthony said, “should be made of sterner stuff” – meaning, ambition by itself does not get a job done.  It must be combined with the above-mentioned M’s, “determination, perseverance, and a passion to get the job done well.” Five to six years of Vice Presidency and running a Cabinet department like DSWD to win the “war against poverty” or DILG to localize and distribute resources and power in the exercise of sovereignty by the people would be an effective preparation.

To win, Roxas and the LP must convince the Poe followers to support the tandem. They must be assured that when they vote and campaign for the team, they are also voting for Poe as the next President. How can this guarantee be made?

The suggestion is this: PNoy, Roxas, and the Liberal Party (including Drilon and Belmonte) must commit that if the team wins, Poe would be the next President. How? Roxas resigns before his term ends and Poe succeeds him. Why? This is because before the end of Roxas’ term, a Semi-Parliamentary Federal System would be instituted installing Poe as President and Roxas as Prime Minister. Or the Liberal Party and its allies may elect a new Party Chairman who becomes Prime Minister automatically after the next elections.

If the Semi-Parliamentary Federal System is not instituted, Roxas must agree to govern only for 5 years and so Poe could become President and run with the benefit of incumbency. (Roxas and the LP would therefore make sure that a Semi-Parliamentary Federal System is instituted).

Poe must also serve only for 6 years, thus – resigning after 5 years of her term to give way to the new VP who could be Leni Robredo (first Bicolana) who will run for the Senate and is expected to do well in 2016.

Robredo should also serve only for 6 years, thus – giving way to her VP who could be Bam Aquino or another young LP stalwart from Mindanao.

A Semi-Parliamentary Federal System could produce a different scenario but the LP and its allies would be able to rule continuously assuring the gains of “Tuwid na Daan.”

Poe and her supporters should not delude themselves by the fact that she topped the Senatorial elections in 2013. Claro M. Recto, Jose Roy, Raul Manglapus, Jovito Salonga, Loren Legarda, Noli de Castro  and Bong Revilla all garnered the highest number of votes as Senators.  They never became President.

Poetic justice catapulted Cory and PNoy to the presidency. Poetic justice also got Poe to top the Senatorial elections and is now bringing her closer to the Presidency. Poe must exercise enlightened discernment and practical, pragmatic, political positioning.

The next president of the Philippines is the candidate endorsed by PNoy. I have said this in an earlier column. I find no reason to change this view.