Facebook and its apps, Instagram and WhatsApp, disappeared from the internet at 11:30 P.M. (Philippine time) Monday, and it is not yet clear what caused this social media platform to crash on such a massive scale. As this is being written (at 5:05 a.m.), experts believe the outage was caused by a “flubbed BGP configuration update” pushed by a Facebook engineer last night (Monday morning Eastern Standard Time).
The problem could not as yet be assessed thoroughly because FB employees are unable to enter buildings. Their security badges have apparently been deactivated by the system and are now locked out. No one can do any work.
This is the biggest outage to hit the social media network. It comes just as a big controversy swirled around the revelation by a former employee that it instigated the U.S. Capitol riots earlier this year.
The collapse of the Mar Roxas political empire in the City of Roxas and Province of Capiz began in the 2019 elections. For more than three decades, the Roxas family headed by its matriach, Mrs. Judy Araneta-Roxas, virtually had a stranglehold on the politics in the province where the first President of the Republic, Manuel Acuna Roxas, was born. Nobody could aspire to hold an elective position in the capital city named after the late President Roxas and its 16 municipalities without the imprimatur of the Roxases. (The second district became sort of autonomous to the Roxas empire under Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro.)
But in 2019, then Vice Governor Evan Esteban “Nonoy” Contreras, frustrated at being left in the cold, decided to challenge incumbent Governor Antonio del Rosario. It was like colliding with Mt. Everest, a classic David versus Goliath match-up. Del Rosario was a two-term Governor, three-term Congressman and three-term City Mayor. Never before had he tasted defeat. And with the massive resources of the Roxases, money was not a problem for him.
History repeated itself. David slew Goliath. Contreras won against Del Rosario. Almost unbelievable.
However, Contreras stood alone against the Roxas political empire. His vice governor and majority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan are die-hard Roxas allies. It was to Mrs. Roxas and Mar that they owed their political fortunes.
Just recently, I gathered interesting news about a fall-out between two very close friends and allies that could precipitate the total collapse of the Roxas political empire. Former City Mayor Alan Celino, an ever-loyal lieutenant of Mar Roxas, was hoping he could get the endorsement of his political patron for his plan to run as Governor. Celino could not hope to retake his old position as City Mayor, as another Roxas factotum, Ronnie T. Dadivas, was firmly entrenched.
To the surprise of Celino, Mar rebuffed him and told him the Liberal Party pick as candidate for Governor was incumbent Vice Governor Jaime “Mitang” Magbanua. There was no vacancy for Celino. The former city mayor felt bad that Mar didn’t talk to him about it earlier; he was just summoned to be told that the slot wasn’t for him.
Because of this, Celino cut off his ties with the Roxases. It’s good-bye. According to my sources, he might challenge incumbent First District Congressman Emmanuel “Tawi” Billones. There might be a complication because Contreras has picked former Governor Jose “Ting” Borda as candidate of his party. Celino might run as an independent. One thing is sure. He doesn’t look at Mar as a friend and ally anymore.
And with the exodus of political leaders from the Roxas camp, the May 9, 2022 elections might as well bring about the total collapse of the Roxas political empire. Mar Roxas will retire from politics a defeated man, scorned even by his own provincemates.
The Commission on Audit (COA) has finally relented to pressure from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and ordered a fraud audit on all transactions involving public funds that were donated to the Philippine Red Cross from January 2016 to the present.
In a memorandum dated September 28, 2021, COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo directed all state auditors to gather and collate their audit findings for these transactions, including contributions or financial assistance given by local government units, to the Red Cross.
This directive was issued a day after Aguinaldo received the formal request from Solicitor General Jose Calida invoking the government’s right to examine the books of accounts of Red Cross to ascertain that all public funds are spent properly and not used for political campaigns.
As I have explained in previous vlogs, the COA, under COA Circular No. 95-003 dated February 15, 1995, the agency is authorized to conduct special audits on non-government organizations that are recipients of financial assistance from national and local government agencies.
Red Cross chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon has adamantly refused to open the books of accounts of the humanitarian organization despite a mandate from Republic Act No. 10072 that the PRC shall submit an annual report to the President on its operations, including its financial condition.
President Duterte accused Gordon of misusing public funds for his political agenda, including pork barrel funds in 2006 and 2010 of which P88 million remains unliquidated. “You have commingled public funds with the funds of the PRC, making it hard to trace where the money went,” the President said.
In 2014, a scandal broke out at the PRC after its Chief Accountant, Jeric Sian, complained that then Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang, disbursed several millions of pesos for the purchase of campaign material for Gordon when he ran for President in 2010.
Instead of investigating these allegations, Gordon forced Sian to resign.
Another PRC board member, John Bo, was forced to step down as member of the Board of Governors after he admitted he was behind a white paper that had been circulating in social media providing details for the expose of Sian.
Maybe Senator Manny Pacquiao believes in the saying that “the early bird catches the worm.” On the first day of the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy, Pacquiao showed up early in the morning to formally file his COC, the first among the names who have expressed their intention to run for President. His running mate is party-list Congressman Lito Atienza, perhaps one of the oldest politicians in the country.
There was a perceptible lack of enthusiasm to the media reports about Pacquiao’s filing of his COC. At best, his formal entry into the presidential derby was met with jeers and jokes. And his choice of Atienza as running mate betrays the fragile party machinery that he intends to put into action to run his campaign. Atienza is an old dog in politics who hardly has gained a national following. His name doesn’t ring a bell especially for millions of young Filipinos. He belongs to the Jurassic era of Philippine politics.
Pacquiao might be the first to file his COC. But he will also be the first to be flushed down the “inidoro”.
Within her own group, Vice President Leni Robredo is fast losing the confidence of key leaders, which is a precursor of her eventual backing down as presidential candidate for the May 9, 2022 elections.
Mrs. Robredo has continued to waver with her decision, which led her own partymates to give up on her.
On Thursday, the 1Sambayan nominated Mrs. Robredo as its presidential candidate. But instead of showing enthusiasm, Mrs. Robredo said it was a difficult decision to make. Her alibi was that the responsibilities of a President are immense, and it would need deep reckoning for her to decide on whether to accept or not.
Of course, that’s only a camouflage for Mrs. Robredo’ deep-seated fear that she would be jumping into an abyss by accepting the nomination. The latest Pulse Asia survey put her numbers at a constant 8%, which is about the same as her survey rating over the last five years. She is not that dumb not to know the word “defeat” is written all over the Pulse Asia report.
But this drama did not sit well with Mar Roxas, according to my source.
Perhaps Roxas foresees Mrs. Robredo will back out of the race on Oct. 7. Quickly he has expressed support for Isko Moreno as the candidate of the Liberal Party, according to my source.
There’s still seven days left before the deadline. Might as well wait until the last minute to declare Mrs. Robredo officially out of the race, unless, of course, she throws in the towel earlier.
There is now an ongoing negotiation between the camps of Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. to forge a formidable tandem and ensure a victory for the administration in the May 9, 2022 elections, a source with access to the talks revealed.
“Yes, there was a meeting a few nights ago between Senator Imee (Marcos) and BBM, on the one hand, and Mike Acebedo Lopez, who is known to be one of Mayor Sara’s closest advisers,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told me.
I reached out to my source to comment on the viral photograph showing Senator Imee gesturing with a clenched fist on her right hand and a victory sign with her left fingers while an amused BBM was watching. The third person in the photograph wearing a facemask was identified by my source as Lopez.
The source declined to provide the date and place for the meeting to avoid being “burned out”. But upon checking, this meeting took place in the evening of Sept. 28, 2021 at the condominium of Lopez on Ayala Ave., Makati City.
My source said this meeting happened just a night before BBM was scheduled to make his formal announcement for his candidacy as President and the blessing of his national campaign headquarters. It was Senator Imee who brokered the meeting.
After this meeting , BBM cancelled the announcement of his candidacy to await further developments in the next few days, the source said.
Lopez is currently a Commissioner of the Cebu Port Authority and a prominent blogger. He is described as the “right hand man” of Mayor Sara.
On Sept. 29, Lilion, Cebu municipal mayor Christina Garcia-Frasco published a video to convey the gratitude of Mayor Sara for the continued support shown to her by Filipinos as reflected in the Pulse Asia poll survey conducted on Sept. 6 to 11, 2021. When I watched this, I immediately concluded this was a prelude to a change of plans for Mayor Sara, who had earlier said she was seeking re-election as City Mayor of Davao.
Both camps are now deep with their discussions on forging a unity ticket for the “solid north” and “solid south”. Mayor Sara got 20% in the Pulse Asia survey. BBM was second with 15%. The most logical thing to do is merge their forces to clinch the victory.
Part of the discussions include long-term plans for the Senate and House, according to my source.
Under this agreement, Senator Imee will get the endorsement of the next President to become the next Senate President. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is reportedly making a comeback as Congresswoman of the 2nd district of Pampanga and will be groomed to retake the Speakership of the House of Representatives. Ex-PGMA held that position from 2010 to 2019. She was Speaker from 2018-2019.
My source said Mayor Sara will take a leave of absence from her job as local chief executive to be able to finalize the plans with BBM on Oct. 5 to 8.
The nosedive taken by the social media accounts of popular broadcaster and vlogger Raffy Tulfo demonstrates how potent the mass base support of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is. No singular group wields as much power and influence now over the political landscape of the Philippines than the DDS, which stands for Diehard Duterte Supporters.
When Tulfo hinted just a week ago that he might be able to bring back the franchise of ABS-CBN to life in a matter of 10 months (counting until June 30, 2022 when a new set of officials takes over the reins of government), a firestorm of angry reactions from the DDS swept across the internet to denounce his arrogance.
This was followed by an online campaign with the hashtag UNSUBSCRIBE/UNFOLLOW that became viral in a matter of hours. In a matter of 72 hours after it started, the number of subscribers to his RAFFY TULFO IN ACTION YouTube channel plummeted by 400,000. From 22.1 million, it went down to 21.7 million. And it appears the DDS internet machinery isn’t heeding the ceasefire call by Tulfo.
Tulfo has put out a statement that he’s not running against President Duterte. He realized he stands to lose more if the DDS are not appeased. There are millions of them who have subscribed to Raffy Tulfo because he was initially pro-Duterte.
Much can be learned from this episode by politicians who think they can cause the downfall of President Duterte by flinging mud at him. In case the opposition senators haven’t been reading the news reports, his daughter Inday Sara remains the frontrunner in the latest Pulse Asia survey, with former Senator Bongbong Marcos at second.
The only conclusion that can be drawn here is that the DDS is rock solid. The mass base of President Duterte hasn’t eroded, not a single inch. And those who are running against the administration need every ounce of luck they can muster to just put up a decent performance in the elections.
There’s no doubt in my mind, the Duterte ticket will win, convincingly, on May 9, 2022.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines not to obey any orders from Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Richard “Dick” Gordon for them to assist the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms in arresting Cabinet members who refuse to attend his “despotic” hearings.
In his remarks during the “Talk to the Nation” last night (Sept. 30), Pres. Duterte said Gordon has overstepped his jurisdiction and abuse his power of contempt in his unending efforts to unearth what he believes are anomalies committed in the multi-billion peso procurement of Covid 19 personal protective equipment with Pharmally last year.
President Duterte said this investigation is not about Pharmally. “He (Gordon) wants to look for anything to be thrown against me,” the President said. But he will find nothing, he added. “I am now about to end my term as President, so why should I start stealing from government when I could have done it long ago,” he said.
The President said he and his Cabinet members are content with the salaries they are getting from government. “Kung gusto kong magka-pera dapat noon pa when I was City Mayor of Davao City,” he said.
Gordon went out of bounds when he declared that he will pursue this investigation “till Kingdom come.”
Only Jesus Christ had said that before, President Duterte said. “Now, you are the second one to use that phrase,” he added.
“You are pushing us toward a constitutional crisis,” President Duterte said.
He has asked Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to issue a memorandum to all Cabinet members and other officials of the Executive Branch to ignore any order or summons issued by Gordon.
Gordon is wasting the time of Cabinet members, he said.
For instance, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III attended the hearing yesterday and simply sat there for many hours without being asked a single question.
“My Cabinet members have many urgent things to look after, and these hearings are distracting them from doing their job,” the President said.
President Duterte said that the consequence of ignoring subpoenas from the Blue Ribbon committee is that Gordon will order the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest these Cabinet members.
“I will tell the Sergeant-at-Arms not to force the issue as I will block any such arrest,” the President said.
And if the Sergeant-at-Arms requests the PNP and the military to assist him in carrying out the arrest, the President said that as commander-in-chief, he is ordering uniformed personnel not to obey such requests.
Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon is a fireman who is looking far and wide for conflagrations to put out, and unable to find any, tries to start fires so that he can train his hoses on them and make the people believe he is a hardworking and honest fireman.
However, the public is now in great shock and horror, because they see that Fireman Dick’s own house is being devoured by a huge fire of corruption. The people shout to Fireman Dick, “Quick, quick, train your hose on your house!”
Fireman Dick ignores all of these. He has his own story to tell. Nothing else matters, not even the truth.
The 1Sambayan has announced that it has picked Vice President Leni Robredo as the group’s candidate as President in the May 9, 2022 elections. But Robredo, while expressing gratitude for the 1Sambayan stamp of confidence in her leadership for the opposition, did not accept the nomination, at least for the moment. In a statement, Robredo alluded to motives higher than ambition as the primary reason why she could not just as yet decide on the question of whether to run or not.
The truth is that Robredo is being herself: indecisive, incompetent and ignorant. After five years on the job as Vice President, she does not even know for herself what is the best course of action. Apparently she is convinced she is the best person for the job. At the same time, she is aware that Filipino voters will reject her resoundingly at the polling places should she run.
That’s the problem with pseudo-leaders. They pretend they are leaders but in truth they are not. Leaders are willing to take risks. Leaders are not afraid to wade into deep murky waters if this is what the call of the moment requires. Robredo is scared. There is no Andy Bautista to manipulated the voting machines.
Her indecisiveness is proof positive for an overwhelming majority of Filipinos that she is not cut for the job. All that she is good for is ribbon cutting and doing photo ops during calamities.