Sat. Jul 24th, 2021
Original cartoon for SovereignPH by Stephen Pabalinas

By Ado Paglinawan

There is really no need for me to come to the defense of Harry Roque, as the man is more than qualified than most in the president’s cabinet to defend himself.

The only other person that can match his genius at messaging is perhaps Antonio Parlade who by the time this column comes out would already be a citizen civilian.

But I have to correct the presidential spokesman when he stepped on the brakes saying he had no intention to offend the PDP-Laban after he downplayed threats to expel President Rodrigo Duterte as chairman of the ruling party.

Hello Harry, no matter what lipstick you put on an ape, the ape will still be an ape.

You are dead-on target when you said PDP-Laban, founded by the late former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., would be left with a few members should it decide to oust Duterte.

His reaction came after Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the executive vice chairman of the PDP-Laban, told the secretary to stop insulting the party he wanted to be part of in the past.

What you said Harry, was not an insult but a fact.

“I don’t think Koko Pimentel meant any harsh words for me because I refuse to believe that in the first place,” said Roque, who is allied with the People’s Reform Party, the political party of late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

You were wrong there, sir, Koko is really that uncouth. Worse, he is one person who thinks himself as deserving some entitlement.

Feisty Harry and a media that tends to believe press freedom is a license.

What happened yesterday, July 17 at Clark in Pampanga shows that this Pimentel is now a cockroach in the party that his father help found.

It succeeded in firing Manny Pacquiao, and I hope it sends Koko to the cinders.

So what if Nene was PDP-Laban himself personified? Doesn’t Koko realize that Nene, his endeared father, was virtually left alone in that party because he hobbled it to his waist so that nobody else could unbuckle it away?

This is the first time PDP-Laban in that vote at Clark, experiences democracy as if to say that the party stand and people running it is subject to the vote of its members.

That PDP-Laban does not belong to a former mayor of Cagayan de Oro who juiced his connections with the Aquino to aspire for the presidency that he could never reach because of his obsession for power.

Nene Pimentel, God bless his soul, did not even follow the instructions given him by Digong. He was told to co-chair the Consultative Commission with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno in order to arrive at a federal form of government.

I could not believe that a senior politician of his credentials did not know the definition of federal form – states declaring a federal union, and federalism as a government where all residual powers not specified in the federal union becomes the province of the state.

What came out of that lawyers’ mill was still a unitarian government with 18 autonomous regions, with a strong centralized system. Worse, in order to federalize the product, the commission tried to pass it on to the people as “bayanihan federalism”.

Puno and he can fool each other but not Duterte who graduated in the San Beda College of Law, and being a Bedan who does his homework, I happened to learn federalism from the same Professors Aban and Badoy the president had.

So enough of diplomacy, Harry, when it comes to Koko, call a koko a koko!

Koko Pimentel being sworned in by Senator Manny Pacquiao for a controversial second term as senator, witnessed by his father Nene and mother Bing.

Pimentel, on one hand, urged his party mates to ignore tomorrow’s “unauthorized” meeting. This is moronic. President Duterte was there, as the only officer that was not removed, so it is Koko’s turn now to report to Alfonso Cusi, the new PDP-Laban president.

What does Koko intend to do? Well there is the Comelec and the Supreme Court, he can test his legal skills against President Duterte and Executive Secretary Medialdea or Solgen Calida, and lets see what they will say.

My fearless forecast is those constitutional bodies will rule that the matter is not a legal but a political question.

As for Koko, aping his father, does him no good.

Manny Valdehuesa, a longtime authority behind Cagayan de Oro politics and one who has done a lot about making people understand barangays but is still unsung, would say that Nene was not really the father of local governments. Much of the work for local autonomy was really done, not in the Philippine Senate but in the lower house mainly the toil of the late Congressman Antonio “Tony” Veloso Cuenco of the second district of Cebu.

In 2010, when Homobono Adaza, another Cagayanon who was forced to retreat to Camiguin Island because of the viciousness of Misamis Oriental politics, Ka Mentong Laurel and I filed a case in the Supreme Court for the nullification of the 2010 elections because of Smartmatic fraud and Comelec abuse, Nene Pimentel copied all our arguments and was scheduled to make a privilege speech in the Senate supporting it.

But when the Smartmatic tallies showed that Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino III was leading in the unofficial count, he proceeded with his speech but retitled it “Hail to the Chief” supporting his proclamation by the Joint Session of Congress acting as the National Board of Canvassers.

To show that he is not a man of integrity, he merely appended his acclamation of the new “Caesar”, to his original speech supporting the nullificxation of the 2010 presidential elections. Don’t believe me? Research the Senate’s official Gazettes. Some vultures, especially the yellow ones, do not even care cover up their duplicity.

That about Koko, what is his claim to fame?

The first thing that comes to my mind was his debate with another Senator, Migz Zubiri, about his beating his former wife Jewel Lobaton.

There is his being the only Senator to have run for reelection twice. The Constitution only allows one reelection. This only shows that the Comelec listens more to politicians rather than the people.

At the start of the pandemic, he also violated quarantine protocol.

But yesterday, he will go down history for being booted out of the political party that his father founded. Nene must be turning in his grave, saying wwattammaddaffakka!

How in heavens name now will he fulfill what he told Harry: “Kung totoo nga na kami’y galing sa traysikel, ‘di ba naka-produce kami ng presidente nung 2016? Eh ‘di, uulitin natin,”

The gall of this pseudo artist has once and for all been exposed. For him to even imply that PDP-Laban made Duterte, president, is the height of megalomania we see only in the hubris Sonny Trillanes and Leila de Lima.

From Koko to Coconuts

Comes now this post from Coconuts Manila entitled “Sec Harry Roque gets a taste of his own sarcastic medicine in this epic statement from the NUJP”.

“In case you missed it, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque seems to have gotten himself in trouble – again – during his regular press briefing last July 14.

During the briefing, Roque addressed BBC journalist Virma Rivera, who had sent a question via text message about Filipino fishers being prevented by Chinese ships from fishing on the contested Scarborough shoal.

Roque brought up Rivera’s name repeatedly during the briefing, asking his guests—the mayor of Masinloc, Arsenia Lim; Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo; and Alfredo Celeste, the mayor of Bolinao—to comment on Rivera’s text.

So what if Harry Roque said that this question may be coming out to hype the anniversary of the arbitral ruling to sour the relationship between China and the Philippines.

I am happy Roque put Lim, Balilo and Celeste on the air through telephony to debunk the fake news. What is “pretty hard to watch” about that?

Virma Rivera had to be put on the spot because she was asking the presidential spokesman to comment on a fake news. Reporters are supposed to be chasing facts and asking formal replies from officials about facts, not fake news.

It seems the trouble Coconuts suggests was that “Journalists aren’t taking this sitting down” referencing the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) posting social media to object to Sec Roque’s demeanor, calling it “disparaging and condescending, as he sought to assign ill motive to the network’s report and singled out Ms. Rivera for it.”

May be an image of text

The problem, with our so-called newsmen and women is that they have the habit of asking questions based on assumptions and presumptions, gossips, conjectures and suspicions, not fact. This is called “click-baiting”.

Trained spokesmen and toastmasters, merely dismiss those with “No Comment”, or “I don’t have information about that yet but when it becomes available, we will give you an update.”

Why? Because when an official legitimizes the question with a reply, it is the official not the information that becomes the news. Other personalities are then asked to comment on the official, and that is how misinformation and disinformation scatter.

But didn’t Harry bring out the truth? Again, so what if this was as FOCAP wrote “This was not the first time Sec. Roque had treated journalists, women in particular, with disrespect.”

So what also if the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) “really went to town, dishing out as much sarcasm and condescension as Roque has been known for”?

What is out of line is the NUJP’s sarcastic congratulations to the Harry Roque “for turning the regular Palace briefing into his own online channel, where he can engage in antics like calling out a journalist on national television.”

OMG, what does NUJP know about civility that it is invoking by blurting “the outspoken spokesperson will doubtless have a snappy rejoinder to the NUJP’s remarks. While we wait for that volcano to blow its top, we’ll just be sitting here in a corner with our popcorn.”

If Harry does not have the answer, what is wrong about those who know what’s going on the ground best?

Lesson to be learned? If you do not want to be put on the spot, be professional not sensational or “envelopmental”.

The source of this clip also called Coconuts, Manila as “Asia’s leading alternative media company”.

Says who?

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