I agree with Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla that the logical solution to the existence of illegal gambling operations of Chinese-managed POGOs (or Philippine Offshore Gambling Operations) is summary deportation, since most of them have violated our laws on overstaying, and often without passports and illegal activities
To add insult to injury, the presence of POGOs in the country, Santa Banana, has led to the entry of criminal syndicates from mainland China who have made the Philippines their playground to resort to kidnapping with ransom, torture and often killing their victims!
In other words, if only to stop once and for all the rise in criminality in the country committed by Chinese crime syndicates against their fellow Chinese, POGOs must be stopped.
The money they give to the Philippine government through the issuance of permits to operate, reportedly amounting to P200 billion, cannot compensate for the bad image that these Chinese crime syndicates are giving the Philippines in the eyes of the world.
First of all, gambling is illegal in China and, second, the bad image given to the Philippines by these mainland Chinese crime syndicates has given rise to multiple crimes with the assistance of local gangs.
The move of Remulla is the most logical thing to do since filing cases against those involved in crimes committed by Chinese crime syndicates will necessarily mean that they can stay longer in the country, and when they post bail, they can again continue with their criminal activities.
According to records, there are at least 218 POGOs in the country, many of them whose permits to operate have been canceled, and others operating illegally.
And the worst part of it all is that the existence of Chinese working in POGOs deprive Filipinos of the chance to work. Thus, the only logical thing to do is to deport all illegal Chinese summarily.
It is reported that the government will lose no less than P200 billion in income if the POGOs are outlawed.
But, Santa Banana, are the crimes arising because of the POGOs and the negative image the country is getting all worth it?
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There are two important aspects in the effort to amend the 1987 Constitution brought to the fore by Presidential Chief legal Counsel and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile when he appeared as resource person before the Robin Padilla Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Code of Laws.
First is the retention of the Republican System of government where we are now in.
My gulay, the adoption of another structure of government, like for instance Federalism, may be hard for Filipinos to swallow since the country has been used for years to the Republican system copied from the United States.
Personally, I have my own misgivings about any other forms of government other than what we now have, like federalism or even a parliamentary system.
I believe another form of government other than what we now have, my gulay, could result in many problems, since the Filipinos have been used to our present form of government.
The second aspect from Enrile’s appearances as resource person is that it would be preferable to have a Constitutional Convention of duly-elected members to revise the 1987 Constitution.
This might be expensive, but in the long run, the Marcos government should not consider the expense when it comes to amending the charter.
Enrile, however, did not say how the charter should be amended, whether it should be jointly by the two chambers of Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives – or separately.
The Senate with only 24 members would naturally not like constitutional amendments to be done, because the House with its 305 members would overwhelm the Upper Chamber.
Most of the questions asked by senators were on Martial Law, which Enrile said was imperative at that time because then President Ferdinand E. Marcos was fighting on two fronts.
One was the seeming growing dominance of the Communist Party of the Philippines,and the other was the growing separatist movement in Mindanao led by Muslim separatists.
Enrile was emphatic when he said, “If not for Martial Law, we would now be under North Korea because almost all elements of society at the time were already infiltrated by Maoist communists led by Joma Sison.”
I cannot but fully agree with Enrile, knowing full well that the country was in imminent danger of being controlled by the communist movement.
My gulay, high powered firearms were already being landed all over the country by Maoist communists.
Almost all sectors of society were heavily infiltrated by communists: the press, the academe, Congress and even the religious sector.
Marcos at that time had no recourse but to declare Martial Law, which the Supreme Court supported as required by the Charter.
Knowing the truth at that time, all I can say to set the record straight is that without Martial Law, would we be living under a democracy under which we now live in?
The fact that our new President Bongbong Marcos is the son of the man who declared Martial Law can only prove that most Filipinos who voted overwhelmingly for Marcos Jr. no longer have regard for the bad aspects of Martial Law.
They believe that the presidency of Marcos Jr. can make the country more progressive and more developed in the future and “fulfill their dreams” which he said are also his dreams.
Along this line, as we mark the 50th year since the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, as a journalist and as President of the Manila Overseas Press Club at that time, I know only too well that without Martial Law we would not now be enjoying the fruits of democracy.
Yes, as a journalist I cannot close my eyes to the many abuses and atrocities committed under Martial Law and to the ill-gotten wealth committed by those in power.
I am not revising history, but only telling the truth. But, we cannot forever be living in the past.
We must move on, and enjoy all our rights that we fought for. Yes, my gulay, we should not forget Martial Law as being part of our history, but ,Santa Banana, we should not forget either the fact that without Martial Law we would not be enjoying the fruits of a free country.
And that’s a fact, and the truth.
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I had said that the case of resigned Executive Secretary and now Presidential Chief of Staff Vic Rodriguez was an acid test for Bongbong Marcos, committed as it were when President Marcos Jr had not yet reached the 100th of his first 100 days in office, a euphemism for the honeymoon period between media, critics on the one hand and the chief executive on the other.
What Marcos Jr. should have done was to drop Rodiguez totally and not reassign him.
With Rodriguez as a glorified clerk in the Office of the President after JPE thwarted Rodriguez’s return to power, Rodriguez got what he deserved.
But, with Rodriguez still working in the Office of the President, it would be like associating with an enemy.