Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SC cannot touch House-Senate voting on Cha-cha — Puno

Monday, January 22, 2018

Duterte’s ‘Drug War’ Claims 12,000+ Lives

See - https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/18/philippines-dutertes-drug-war-claims-12000-lives

"x x x.

"Philippines: Duterte’s ‘Drug War’ Claims 12,000+ Lives
Government Harassment, Threats Against Rights Defenders

By Human Rights Watch

(New York) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous “drug war” entered its second year in 2017, resulting in the killing of more than 12,000 drug suspects, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2018. Duterte has responded to increased criticism of his anti-drug campaign by impugning, harassing, and threatening critics of the government and human rights defenders.

Since the “drug war” began on June 30, 2016, Duterte and his officials have publicly reviled, humiliated and, in one instance, jailed human rights advocates. Senator Leila de Lima, the president’s chief critic, has been detained since February 2017 on politically motivated drug charges in apparent retaliation for leading a Senate inquiry into the drug war killings and, early on, opening an investigation of the Davao Death Squad in Davao City, where Duterte was mayor for more than 20 years.

“President Duterte has not only resisted calls to end his brutal ‘drug war,’ but has used populist rhetoric to disparage the brave activists who have been investigating and denouncing his cruel campaign,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director. “Since Duterte will never undertake a serious investigation into the ‘war on drugs,’ it’s up to the United Nations to support an international investigation and bring the mass killings to a stop.”

Since Duterte will never undertake a serious investigation into the ‘war on drugs,’ it’s up to the United Nations to support an international investigation and bring the mass killings to a stop.

In the 643-page World Report, its 28th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that political leaders willing to stand up for human rights principles showed that it is possible to limit authoritarian populist agendas. When combined with mobilized publics and effective multilateral actors, these leaders demonstrated that the rise of anti-rights governments is not inevitable.

More than 12,000 suspected drug users and dealers, mostly from poor families in urban centers across the country, are estimated to have died in the “drug war,” including an estimated 4,000 during operations led by the police and the remainder by “unidentified gunmen.”

In August, Duterte encouraged police attacks against human rights groups and advocates, instructing police to shoot them “if they are obstructing justice.” Duterte has publicly condemned the official Commission on Human Rights, even threatening to abolish the constitutionally mandated body. He also repeatedly subjected the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, to profanity-laced ridicule for her repeated efforts to secure an official visit to the Philippines. Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, has accused the UN of “bullying” the Philippines about extrajudicial killings.

On social media, pro-Duterte trolls and supporters – some of them officially working for the government – have threatened violence against human rights advocates, including Human Rights Watch staff and journalists who report critically on the “drug war.”

In October, Duterte responded to public outcry over the killings – particularly of children – by taking the Philippine National Police (PNP) out of the anti-drug operations. The killings declined but did not stop, and the president has said he would reinstate the police in the campaign. A Human Rights Watch investigation found that police and their agents have repeatedly carried out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, and then falsely claimed self-defense. The police claim that several police officers implicated in these killings have been dismissed from service and are under investigation but not one has been brought to trial.

x x x."

Federalism a 'leap to hell' - Davide.

Local Officials Are Making “Kill Lists” For Duterte’s Drug War (HBO)

Day 100: Duterte’s war on drugs

The Philippines' Drug Problem: Hitmen

The Carnage of Duterte's Drug War

Martial Law Extension Cases Oral Arguments - January 17, 2018

Martial Law Extension Cases Oral Arguments - January 16, 2018

A foul-mouthed 2016: The year in Duterte's curses

The bloody war on drugs in the Philippines

The Ghost of Marcos (1999)

State of Denial - Philippines

Atty. Francis Lim on SEC decision vs Rappler

Predatory Marriage

How Fake News Grows in a Post-Fact World

Statement of Justice Antonio T. Carpio On China’s Request to Survey Benham Rise

"Statement of Justice Antonio T. Carpio On China’s Request to Survey Benham Rise

There is no Philippine law specifically regulating marine scientific research (MSR) in our extended continental shelf (beyond the 200 NM EEZ) like Benham Rise. 

However, the Philippines having ratified UNCLOS, this international convention is part of the Philippine legal system.  Under Article 246 of UNCLOS, the Philippines has an obligation to allow foreign states to conduct MSR in its continental shelf like Benham Rise “to increase scientific knowledge of the marine environment for the benefit of all mankind.”  Thus, the results of the MSR must be made known to the whole world.

The MSR by foreign states in Benham Rise is purely for scientific research, and cannot be conducted to explore the mineral resources for purposes of exploitation of these resources.  Under UNCLOS, the Philippines has exclusive sovereign right to explore and exploit the mineral resources in its extended continental shelf like Benham Rise.  Neither the President nor the Foreign Secretary can waive this exclusive sovereign right to a foreign state. To ensure that the foreign state conducting MSR in our extended continental shelf is not exploring for purposes of exploitation, Filipino marine scientists must be on board the foreign research vessels.

UNCLOS is a “package deal,” which means that a state that ratifies UNCLOS must accept its rights and obligations as one entire package.  A ratifying state cannot cherry pick – accepting only certain provisions and rejecting others.

By refusing to accept the award of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal pursuant to the dispute settlement provisions of UNCLOS,  China is not accepting its obligation under UNCLOS. China should not be allowed to enjoy its rights under UNCLOS, like conducting MSR in Benham Rise, while it refuses to accept its obligation under the arbitral award. Otherwise, China is cherry picking and not taking UNCLOS as one package deal.

Article 246 of UNCLOS states,  “Coastal States shall, in normal circumstances, grant their consent for marine scientific research projects by other States xxx.”   The refusal of China to comply with the arbitral award of the UNCLOS tribunal is not a “normal circumstance,” and thus the Philippines should refuse China’s request for MSR in Benham Rise. 

If a bully has squatted on your frontyard, and requests to look at your backyard, would you grant the request of the bully? China has squatted on the West Philippine Sea and refuses to leave despite the ruling of the UNCLOS tribunal.   Now, China requests to be allowed to survey the Philippine Sea on the east side of the Philippines. The Philippines would be dumb (bugok) to grant China’s request."

See -

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Duterte unchecked - by Malcolm Cook

See - https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/duterte-unchecked
"x x x.

Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, is a quarter of the way through his single six-year term under the current constitution. So far, he is changing the office of the president and the Philippine political system much more than it is changing him. The checks and balances that are supposed to constrain and channel executive power are being left unchecked and unbalanced. And the most fundamental change to the Philippine political system desired by Duterte – replacement of the current constitution with federalism – is only starting to take vague form on the horizon.

The list of measures under the Duterte administration is startling. Currently, they include:
Rappler, an influential news portal led by Maria Ressa attacked by the president and his supporters repeatedly, awaits a Securities and Exchange Commission decision to revoke its license.

The president is threatening not to renew the television franchise ABS-CBN, the leading television company that President Marcos seized when he invoked martial law in 1972.

The leading broadsheet newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was sold to a business tycoon with close relations to the president.

The House of Representatives is conducting impeachment hearings against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Duterte has established a new anti-corruption commission to investigatethe Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

The chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education, Patricia Licuanan, has resigned before the end of her term under pressure from the presidential palace.

Vice President Leni Robredo continues to be excluded from cabinet meetings.

Senator Leila de Lima remains incarcerated.

Local elections scheduled for October 2016 have not been held.

Mindanao island, which accounts for a fifth of the national population, remains under martial law, with Duterte not ruling out extending martial law to other regions. He has also suggested he might declare a revolutionary government.

As part of the early federalism discussions, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has publicly mused about cancelling the midterm electionsscheduled for October 2019.

As part of the early federalism discussions, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III has speculated about extending Dutertes term in office.x x x."

#2 - Martial Law Extension Cases Oral Arguments - January 17, 2018 [Supreme Court]

#1 - Martial Law Extension Cases Oral Arguments - January 16, 2018 [Supreme Court]