Mga Mangingisda sa Infanta, Pangasinan kakasuhan ang China sa UN

Media release
References: Atty. Harry L. Roque Jr. 09175398096 and Atty. Gilbert T. Andres 09228952111


Filipino fisher folks, from the municipality of Infanta in Pangasinan province, who used to fish near the marine-resource rich fishing grounds of Scarborough Shoal (known locally as “Bajo de Masinloc” and also as “Panatag Shoal”) will file an urgent appeal to the United Nations in relation to the massive and gross human rights violations committed against them by the state agents of the People’s Republic of China. Members of the Chinese coast guard have repeatedly turned away Filipino fishermen from fishing near the disputed shoal and this has led to heavy economic losses for the fishermen.


The petition filing will be preceded by a forum on 22 September 2015, Tuesday, from 9:00 am to 12 noon, at the Pangasinan State University, Infanta Campus. The forum will be led by Infanta fisher folks, officers from the Pangasinan State University, UP Institute of International Legal Studies (IILS), Centerlaw and other stakeholders in the province.

Binay at UPLB

I was at UP Los Baños on Tuesday and I want to set the record straight about reports that Vice President Jejomar Binay was booed during his appearance.

Yes, there were some students outside the lecture room who gave the VP the thumbs down when he entered the venue.

Yes, the students asked tough questions about political dynasties, human rights and political ads.

But while the response of the students indicated that they were not in accord with the VP’s answers, it was hardly what one would call “jeering.”

I too disagree with the VP on the issue of political dynasties. His belief though is that in a democracy, the electorate should be given a choice. The problem, he said, is bad governance and not dynasties. To me, the matter appears moot since much as we want an anti-dynasty law, the fact is that an overwhelming number of legislators are from political dynasties. This  makes the matter of legislating against dynasties a political impossibility.

I might run for Congress precisely to improve the odds of passing one. For now, with the Aquino dynasty entrenched in power, it would be an impossible task. Note though that despite his views on the matter, the VP conceded that he has no choice but to follow the law if one against dynasties is in fact passed.

The VP easily answered the matter of the killing of Lumad and others. He simply repeated a fact: that is, of all the presidential hopefuls, it was only he who is a recognized human rights defender being the  founder of the lawyers group MABINI.

The students though attempted to pin him down on what he has done to promote human rights as part of this administration. Binay replied with a constitutional reality: as VP elected from the opposition party, he was not technically part of the administration. The truth too, according to him, is that while he was given the housing portfolio, he could not address violations of political and civil rights under this portfolio. Besides, he opined that the only function of the Vice President is really that of spare tire. This appears to be the harsh reality of constitutional powers.

Anent corruption, again, given his limited constitutional powers, all that he could do was to ensure that the housing agencies under him: NHA, Pag-Ibig, and the HUDCC—were not hubs of corruption. With the likes of lawyer Darlene Berberabe in these offices, not one of the students could question the VP’s submission.

Perhaps the best that happened at UPLB was that contrary to Malacañang trolls’ predictions that the VP would be a no-show, he did go. Moreover, the trolls predicted he would not answer questions; he did so from 2:30 to 6 p.m., an hour longer than the organizers reserved the theater for.

This proves what the VP has been saying all along: that he would answer the proper questions in the proper forum. In this instance, it was before the Iskolar ng Bayan in the UP system and not in the venomous premises of the Senate where our Senatongs lord it over.


I did notice though that the Maoist Reaffirmists (RAs) among the student body appeared to prefer Grace Poe to Binay. This, I cannot understand.  It seems to me that the barest minimum of all qualifications for the post of president is loyalty and patriotism to this country. How can our leftist young people support one who had previously renounced her Filipino citizenship and took an oath of allegiance to colonial America? I am reminded of Aguinaldo, Paterno and Buencamino who during the Philippine-American war were only too eager to be assimilated into America’s bosom.

What has happened to our young revolutionaries? How can they go for America’s anointed one under any circumstance?

I do not know who ultimately will be chosen by our people to lead in 2016. In my book, Poe is the least deserving because she took an oath that she “will absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to the Philippines” and has opted instead to  “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Worse, she swore even “to bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law” and that she undertook this obligation “freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion”.

At the very least, if she professes loyalty anew to this country, she certainly can no longer be trusted.

So to the student revolutionaries of UPLB: how can you?

This post first appeared at


MANILA, PHILIPPINES— “Investigate and follow the proceeds of the Sabah sell-out!”

This is the strong recommendation issued by Professor Harry Roque Jr. regarding the issue of the US$750 million which Malaysia has allegedly given to a number of government officials to gain control of the long-disputed territory.

Earlier, a Filipino lawyer claimed that Malaysia will spend as much as US750 Million dollars as lobby money for the Philippine governemen to enact the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)

“If this report is true, this constitutes Malaysia’s interference in our domestic affairs which is a violation of international law,” Prof. Roque added. Roque is a professor at the UP College of Law and the Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies.

The Eastern part of the state of Sabah is disputed territory between the Republic of the Philippines and the Federation of Malaysia. Formerly known as North Borneo, the Philippine claim is based on its representation as the successor state of the Sultanate of Sulu, claiming that despite its lease to the British North Borneo Company in 1878, said territory has never been relinquished. Malaysia asserts that the territory was ceded to it by virtue of the 1878 agreement, and further that the Sabah residents exercised their right to self-determination when they decided to join in the formation of the Malaysian Federation.

Annually, Malaysia issues 5,300 ringgit (US$1710 or 77,000 Philippine pesos) to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu via its embassy in Manila, claiming that said fee is for cession. The Sultan’s descendants maintain that the aforementioned payment was for rent, and that the lease agreement actually expired in 1978.

“We have so much wealth in Sabah na dapat tayo ang nakikinabang,” Princess Jacel Kiram, daughter of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, said. Kiram claims that Sabah earns for Malaysiia at least US72 Billion dollars annually

In early 2015, treason charges were filed against President Aquino, some members of his Cabinet members and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders for supporting the Bangsamoro Basic Law which they claim seeks only to benefit the MILF. The case is stillpending with the courts. Complainants in the treason case alleged that the passage of the BBL was in exchange for the Philippines dropping its claim to Sabah.

“The Anti-Money Laundering Council has a duty to investigate this claim,” Prof. Roque concluded. “The transfer of this huge amount of money should not have gone unnoticed by the AMLAC. Where is their freeze petition now? They were so quick to file for one against the leader of the opposition, VP Jojo Binay.” Roque lamented that AMLAC’s failure to act on this report is yet another evidence of selective justice in this country.

Malaysian politics has been in disrray since media reports confrmed that Malysian Prime Minister Razak has US $750 million in his personal account.

Omniprime to file Motion for Preventive Suspension against BOC Lina at the Ombudsman today, 14 Sep 2015, at 2:00 pm

Media release
References:  Atty. Joel R. Butuyan 09175229613 and Atty. Harry L. Roque Jr. 09175398096

Omniprime Marketing Inc., the winning bidder of a PhP 650-million contract to establish an integrated and modern customs system, will file a “Motion for Preventive Suspension against Bureau of Customs Commissioner Alberto D. Lina” at the Office of the Ombudsman today, Monday, 14 September 2015, at 2:00 pm.

(Please note that Atty. Harry Roque, counsel for Omniprime, is currently in Olongapo for the Jennifer Laude trial and would be unable to attend this filing at the Ombudsman.)

Syria, Razak and the ‘presidentiables’

It is unfortunate that the upcoming elections have made Filipinos blind to and unable to appreciate fast-developing world events.

The first is the deteriorating threat to international peace in Syria.

Trouble started in 2011 when as a result of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings, Syrian civilians turned to civil protests in demanding the resignation of the country’s President Assad. The world was shocked when in response thereto, the Assad regime ordered its troops to open fire at the protestors leading to an estimated casualty of at least 100,000. It took about a year before soldiers deserted the country’s armed forces to form an organized armed group to resist the Syrian government. Today, there’s a full-blown civil war in Syria with the USA and the UK belatedly deciding to finance and arm the country’s resistance movement.

Matters turned for the worse when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) joined the armed fray. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council has thus far been paralyzed from dealing with the Syrian situation because Russia, a permanent member of the Council, has vetoed and threatens to veto any future resolution authorizing collective security measures.

Further trouble is brewing in Syria with the recent decision of the United States to directly conduct military operations against the Assad government. Russia, meanwhile, has decided to extend military assistance to the same government, purportedly to assist the latter in fighting the ISIS. So while Mar Roxas does an epal stunt here in Boracay where the country’s local councilors are having their convention, and while Grace Poe is unabashedly playing hypocrite, pretending to be still undecided about running for the presidency when Chiz Escudero has obviously decided on the matter, the situation in Syria has reached alarming proportions. It might lead anew to open military confrontation between traditional rivals: the United States and Russia.

Meanwhile, closer to home, our Malaysian neighbors, having learned and obviously deriving inspiration from us, are on the streets demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak. One account has it that even former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir was shocked to hear that the current PM has a cash deposit amounting to US$750 million! When queried about this, Razak said that this cash was: “intended for the Philippines.”

Huh? And for what purpose? Princess Jacel Kiram, who should be elected senator in 2016, posits that it must be to buy political support for the BBL!

This is not the first time that foreign money is said to have entered the country to finance the passage of the BBL. Veteran reporter Christine Herrera reported earlier in this newspaper that a Chinese fugitive was supposed to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars to members of the House of Representatives to pass the BBL. While this was denied by the administration, the fact remains that the Chinese fugitive was deported and presumably, no money found its way to Congress. Could this be why despite the BBL being this administrations topmost legislative priority, the proposed law has not seen the light of day? If so, thank goodness for freedom of the press. Obviously, it was Herrera’s world-class investigative journalism that pre-empted what could have been literally a sale of our country’s territory.

So what have the ‘presidentiables’ said about these developments? I can assure you that Vice President Binay would  get a thorough briefing from me on the implications of these current events to the country. How the possible military engagement in Syria may, for instance, lead to a spike in world prices of oil, how it is bound to result in further depreciation of the peso as investors rush to hang on to the US dollar and other currencies considered as safe havens; and how non-aligned nations should insist that all players to the conflict should adhere to the UN Charter in resolving the ongoing disputes in Syria, both as it relates to the atrocious Assad regime and the ISIS.

On the other hand, I will also brief VP Binay on the need to call for the continuing protection of human rights in Malaysia, as the country is witness to its biggest civilian protests. While the corruption of Razak is an internal matter, the fact that his dirty money is somehow linked to us here in this country is a matter, which should be investigated fully. What has the Anti-Money Laundering Council done on this much-publicized statement of Razak? And yes, since the protection of human rights is a concern for the entire international community, the Philippines should be vocal in calling that the right of the protestors, including the right of Malaysia’s main opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, should be protected.

Meanwhile, expect the advisers of both Roxas and Poe to continue just engaging in everyday politics. I don’t know about you: but I’ve had enough of both the so-called crooked “daang matuwid’ and the imported “bagong umaga.”