Politicians rely on propaganda to build on their image and use it as vehicle in seeking their fortunes. No, propaganda isn’t necessarily bad. It has its good uses. But in politics, the examples on how it is used in a bad way are abundant. These propaganda efforts are so blatantly false that one easily unmasks the truth. It exposes the superficial knowledge of these people in the art of political propaganda. They are crudely done, with almost no effort to disguise the true nature of their message. The method is an insult to the intelligence of Filipinos.
Because of this, the propaganda becomes ineffective, a waste of time and money. It is offensive to the sensibilities of audiences. Of course, it will appeal to supporters of these politicians. The purpose of the propaganda, however, is undermined.
These thoughts come to mind as I watched and listened to the barrage of propaganda aired over radio, television and social media for Leni Robredo and Isko Moreno. As a veteran journalist, I don’t see any of their messaging accomplish the desired goals: to enhance the image of their candidates.
For instance, Isko Moreno’s “hospitalization” for Covid 19 was more comedy than news. Leni Robredo’s chant-like recitation of her name — obviously a desperate attempt to drill her name into the minds of the public — will not lift her an inch higher than her poll numbers have shown during the last five years.
One might ask: what was the purpose of this media blitz during the last two weeks? Well, Isko and Leni want to bolster their name recall so that when the next poll survey expected to be undertaken this week, their numbers will have improved. I am almost certain the big pollsters will come out with a final poll survey before the period for filing of the certificates of candidacy on October 1-8, 2021.
I can’t help it. I feel like puking each time I see the face of Vice President Leni Robredo. The sensation has been there a long time now. But as each day passes by, the intensity grows. The hypocrisy of this woman is unbearable. When she appears in a video, the lack of sincerity leaps out at a viewer. It’s almost like being assaulted by a strong gust of wind carrying the most awful smells.
Shameful. That’s how I describe it. Her hypocrisy is shameful. Worse, she doesn’t seem to feel it at all. Being shameful is already part of her character.
This is easy to see in her behavior the last two weeks. After her secret meetings with Senator Ping Lacson became public, Leni retreated and called for a ceasefire in the political conversation. She wanted to focus on the pandemic response activities of her office, she said. Her tone made it look that engaging in political discussions was sacrilege. Leni was a political saint, her propaganda tried to show, who backed away from the loud conversations about the 2022 elections.
But beneath the camouflage of doing pandemic response work, Leni was busy preparing a propaganda offensive that seeks to raise her poll survey numbers in time for the filing of the certificates of candidacy in the first week of October. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is what best describes her. The meekness was deceptive: a few days later, endless propaganda materials began airing on mainstream media — radio and television — as well as the social media platforms. She even launched a podcast.
And all the time, Leni has been coy about her political plans. Politics was the last thing in her mind, she kept saying over and over again. When it came to politics, her goal was to bring everybody on the opposite side of the political fence under one roof and put up a single candidate to run against the anointed one for the Duterte administration.
No, she wasn’t seeking to help build consensus on who among those interested can give the best fight: her selfish agenda became apparent when she endeavored to persuade Senator Lacson and Senator Gordon to shelve their own ambitions in her favor. Shameful. Selfish. After five years, her poll numbers have consistently put her in the bottom rung. Between her and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte, there are five more probable candidates — Bongbong Marcos, Isko Moreno, Grace Poe and Manny Pacquiao.
The right thing for her to do is withdraw her name from the list of contenders. She needs to acknowledge she can’t possibly win. If her motives are right, she should push for a consensus on who among those ahead of her must be pushed as common candidate. Leni’s greed and ambition are unfathomable. Sadly, the sacrifice made by her husband will go to naught. She will go down in history as the woman who thought allowing her husband to be murdered in exchange for her ambition will ultimately plummet to hell
Davao City mayor Inday Sara Duterte, with one post, yesterday caused an upheaval of the entire political landscape.
In a brief and concise statement, Mayor Inday Sara revealed that her father had confirmed to her in private that he will run as Vice President, with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go as the standard bearer. She was asked to endorse the Go-Duterte. And she planned to run, her father asked her to pick Go as her running mate.
Mayor Inday Sara described that meeting as an “unpleasant event.” That was enough to conjure images of a father-and-daughter in a loud, and maybe angry, confrontation over politics, one that has the fate of the country at its core. Her statement left no room for doubt that she wasn’t happy about what transpired. She urged her father and Senator Go to publicly own up to their plans and not make her an excuse for their decision to run or not to run.
It didn’t end there.
Mayor Inday Sara also fired a salvo at Senator Koko Pimentel and Ronald Munsayac of the “other” faction in the PDP-Laban for blaming her over what had transpired in the ruling party these last few months. She just couldn’t help taking a swipe at the lack of leadership in the party under Pacquiao and Pimentel that led to the squabble with the Secretary Al Cusi group. Her words were unforgiving: Pacquiao, Pimentel and Munsayac didn’t demonstrate the leadership worthy of the respect of its members.
Indeed, Pimentel and Munsayac accused the Cusi group of maneuvering to unseat Pacquiao as party president and pave the way for the Davao City mayor being named as the PDP-Laban standard bearer in the May 9, 2022 elections. Leave me out of it, she said.
Mayor Inday Sara made it clear she doesn’t leave her fate to others, not even her father. She can think, organize and implement, for herself. She loathes being regarded as a spare tire in the grand scheme of politics.
I did an extensive analysis on my YouTube livestream last night about this turn of events.
The problem with Vice President Leni Robredo is she thinks she can fool the people, all the time.
A little over a week ago, Mrs. Robredo issued a call for a time-out from politics. The nation needs to focus on the Covid 19 pandemic, she said. But that lie was quickly exposed after she started an aggressive multi-platform propaganda campaign, costing millions of pesos every day, in an apparent effort to gain traction and improve her poll survey numbers. Her radio and television commercials are flooding the airwaves; maybe she believes this media offensive will bolster her image and put her with striking distance of the leaders among probable candidates for the Presidency.
As if that was not enough, Mrs. Robredo launched her podcast on Spotify last Monday. She is leaving no stone unturned to make herself more palatable to voters, especially among millennials. Podcasting is popular among the younger generation, but for topics that they share an interest with. Unfortunately, only a small segment of the population depend on podcasts for their political diet.
If Mrs. Robredo thinks this will be a game-changer, she’s wrong.
How can she make herself appealing to the younger generation when she didn’t even create a ripple with her non-stop social media marketing campaign?
As a political product, Mrs. Robredo suffers from factory defects. The most glaring is that audiences quickly detect a lack of authenticity — insincerity oozes out of her — when she speaks. I have commented in the past that Mrs. Robredo’s face is like rubber used to make giant tires for 10-wheeler trucks. Her facial expressions betray her lack of empathy for her audiences, which has dwindled steadily over the years.
It’s not about the platform, Mrs. Robredo. The problem is you.
No other President in our history has achieved what Mayor Rody Duterte has done: enjoy the extremely high trust and popularity ratings with just 10 months left in his administration. In the past, Presidents usually experienced a sharp decline in their poll ratings upon reaching the halfway point. President Erap didn’t even get to the finish line. But Duterte? He is now headed for a spectacular finish for his six-year term despite being bombarded by criticism non-stop, with destabilization plots coming out of the shadows again and again. Mayor Rody remains unscathed. His mass base support is rock solid.
His political success will be a model for future leaders of the country. Mayor Rody isn’t cut from the typical mold of politicians. He minces no words when he talks, to the point of being uncouth. As city mayor of Davao, he governed with an iron fist, and it’s no secret a long list of dead drug pushers and criminals have piled up in more than two decades as local chief executive. He brought that same brand of governance to his job as President of the Republic, especially in the war against illegal drugs.
True, he wasn’t able to stamp out illegal drugs and corruption in the five years now that he’s been in office. But we have to keep in mind it took him more than a decade as Davao City mayor to establish the peace and quiet Filipinos have come to admire about his home city. Corruption is so deep rooted in the national government, and powerful interests are at play: the oligarchs, traditional politicians and ranking police and military officials. It’s because of corruption that our problem with illegal drugs persists.
Hence, Filipinos understand that six years is not enough for Mayor Rody to accomplish what he had set out to do. Much has been accomplished in five years, but much remains to be done. The momentum is on his side. With a Constitutional prohibition against re-election, the best way for Mayor Rody to fulfill that mission is bow to the popular public demand for continuity. He can do that by running as Vice President.
Who says Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao cannot speak and write in the English language? And not only speak and write, but do it with a high level of excellence. According to a source, Pacquiao demonstrated his ability to communicate flawlessly when he fulfilled the requirements for his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science at the University of Makati two years ago. On the basis of such academic performance, UMak conferred upon Pacquiao a bachelor’s degree which he needed to plug a hole in his curriculum vitae. Pacquiao began entertaining the idea about running for President two years ago, and he felt he should have a piece of paper to show he is knowledgeable and competent.
According to my source, Pacquiao impressed his professors by submitting the essays for each module even before the period for the classroom work reached halfway point. He knew the answers before his professors finished explaining the subject. Pacquiao demonstrated his knowledge about public administration, Philippine political history, the law, international relations and other subjects with almost textbook precision. His English was superb, according to the source. He was so good that he didn’t need to attend classes.
UMak should be praised for producing such a genius in so short a time.
Well, that is what the paperwork shows. That is what the requirements to the modules have accomplished. Pacquiao deserved to be minted as a political science degree holder.
The truth is quite the opposite, of course.
Not a single sentence that was written on those essays and answers to questions at the end of each module belonged to Pacquiao. His lawyers did an outstanding job explaining the intricacies of political science, the law and history in an elaborate academic scam just to make it appear Pacquiao had finished college. The only time he set foot on the campus of UMak was the day he marched down the aisle of the UMak auditorium, go up the stage and receive his diploma. I’ve never seen our academic institutions mocked and insulted.
UMak played along with Pacquiao’s plans, allowing its name to be used in a deception game for political ends. UMak is guilty of dishonesty in doing so. As I have proved in my YouTube investigative reports, UMak isn’t even accredited with the Commission on Higher Education. It is not authorized to offer its own equivalent of the Enhance Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP). In short, that diploma is fake.
Everything about Pacquiao’s education at UMak is fake. The sole objective is fool the people.
The University of Makati has been offering baccalaureate courses to students for I don’t know how long now. It is an LGU-funded and -operated higher education institute (HEI) that was created in 1972 as the Makati Polytechnic Community College. Over the years, it has evolved until the LGU upgraded it as a university.
But its operations as a University is not left to the discretion of the LGU alone. There are guidelines to be followed and requirements to be fulfilled. One of such requirements is the approval of the CHED. And for each baccalaureate course is offered by the UMak, it will need to get an accreditation from CHED.
The law is clear on this matter: no one can be conferred an academic degree without first securing the approval of CHED through what is known as a special order. The S.O. becomes the badge number, so to speak, that is indicated on every diploma and transcript of records.
Most of the courses offered at UMak are not accredited by CHED. Hence, the thousands of graduates who left the portals of this institution over the years had no idea that for all intents and purposes, their time and effort were rendered useless. Their diplomas and TORs were worthless for the simple reason that their “graduation” had no stamp of authority from CHED. Without the S.O., these academic credentials that are supposed to attest to their competence and knowledge about their fields of study are scraps of paper.
None of these would have come to light had it not been for the scandal surrounding the conferment of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science to Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquiao in December 2019. This has led me to an indepth investigation into the issue. After two months, I have proof that indeed, Pacquiao’s diploma is fake. And graduates of UMak who finished non-accredited courses find themselves in the same predicament. Their degrees are valid only from the viewpoint of UMak.
I have been receiving information that UMak graduates experienced difficulty in applying for jobs because their TORs bore no special order numbers. Any HR manager will quickly spot it. The TORs cannot be accepted for purposes of applying for employment.
The next step for me is ask CHED to sanction UMak for offering courses such as Pacquiao’s without obtaining accreditation. It’s entirely possible there are other LGU-run colleges and universities that are as guilty as UMak. Perhaps it’s time for CHED to crack the whip on them.
In yesterday’s Blue Ribbon committee hearing into the COA audit report into “deficiencies” in the Department of Health’s liquidation of the P67.3 billion COVID 19 fund released to the agency, she posed the question: “shouldn’t the Ombudsman suspend Secretary Duque by now?”
My outright response to her: Madam Senator, you are stupid.
The Ombudsman does not suspend Cabinet members. That would be a direct insult to the President. You forget that Cabinet members are alter egos of the President. They can be investigated by the Ombudsman administratively and criminally for offenses directly attributable or committed by them. But to suspend them for lapses or even violations committed by subordinates in an agency is downright stupid and ridiculous.
If your argument is given weight, then Cabinet members will constantly face such hazard for offenses committed by subordinate officials. No Cabinet member can function for fear that he or she will be held culpable for offenses not his or her own.
This statement stretches the principle of command responsibility too far.
That cannot find any precedent or basis in fact or law. If such stupidity becomes the norm, the Executive will be crippled by fear.
Now it can be told without fear of contradiction — the Bachelor’s degree awarded by the University of Makati to Senator Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao in December 2019 is bogus. Fake. A mere piece of paper.
A real diploma serves as a seal of competence and learning that its bearer may show the world that he or she has completed the required program of study for any field. With it, its bearer wouldn’t need to demonstrate his or her proficiency in every subject in the four-year course when applying for a job. The diploma is a guarantee from the college or university.
But this is not what Pacquiao received in the graduation rites at the UMak just over a year and a half ago. That’s because under the law, a college degree can only be conferred to a graduate with prior approval from the Commission on Higher Education. This approval is contained in the Special Order that is issued by CHED at least one month before a college student graduates. Without it, no college or university can confer a degree to anybody, not even if he is a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.
After two months of patient investigation, I have received an official statement from CHED NCR Regional Director Dr. Virginia Akiate that UMak conferred that “degree” of Bachelor of Science in Political Sciene without the knowledge and authority of the agency. And despite proddings from Dr. Akiate, the UMak administration has failed to answer the questions now swirling over this spurious degree. It’s a clear manifestation that UMak cannot justify its action, which can lead to administrative sanctions from CHED.
It is unfortunate that UMak lent its name to the fraud perpetuated by Pacquiao to “cure” a vacuum in his curriculum vitae that he knows will put his qualification to run as President of the Republic under a big question mark. Pacquiao had become a millionaire from his boxing more than two decades ago. Had he really wanted to earn a degree to make up for what he failed to do in his teen-aged years, he could have invested the time and effort as he started to climb the ladder of success in boxing. Studying part-time is a common path taken by young men and women who didn’t finish college due to financial constraints. While working to earn a living, they study at night. And we’ve seen success stories: janitors or security guards who studied law and passed the bar, among others.
But Pacquiao never valued education. His passion was boxing, and he figured he didn’t need a degree to become a champion. Even if he didn’t go to school, he could have gone ahead to educate himself through reading, or even watching YouTube videos on almost any subject under the sun. Indeed, one doesn’t need to go to college to get an education. With his money, he could have built a library for himself and his children where he could sit during his breaks from training to burrow his head into the pages of books.
Apparently, Pacquiao started to entertain the idea that he could run for the President, and even win because of his popularity. It was then that he realized the lack of education was a serious handicap. He had to do something about it, fast.
Former Vice President Jojo Binay and his family provided him with a solution. Enrol at UMak. Without having to study, Pacquiao was going to get a degree for a four-year course. His brain didn’t have for a single minute have to labor. He had his lawyers answer exams and submit the documentary requirements such as reports and thesis writing. Lo and behold, in a matter of months, Pacquiao was a graduate.
However, that lie wasn’t going to stay hidden for long.
As an investigative journalist, I knew the answer lay in the hands of CHED. So I wrote CHED several times. I also tried asking UMak to provide information and documents. After two months, I hit the jackpot. Regional Director Akiate informed me that CHED did not give its imprimatur to that degree. No special order as required by the law. In short, fake.
This is a big scandal that could adversely affect the country’s tertiary education system. For years, we have endeavored to maintain strict standards in our tertiary education not only to provide graduates with solid grounding in their chosen fields, but also ensure that credentials from our colleges and universities are accepted without question by employers, both here and abroad. In the past, the proliferation of “diploma mills” put into serious doubt the quality of our graduates, putting the investment of time and money made by parents to waste.
All of a sudden, this dark past is being resuscitated by this scandal of Pacquiao being conferred a Bachelor’s degree without the sanction of CHED. This is an act of dishonesty committed by UMak and Pacquiao. It is a blatant attempt to mislead the Filipino people into believing is “educated”, and therefor fit to run for President
I came to know that there’s a conflict between two vloggers arising from their personal choices as to who should run for President: Sara Duterte or Bongbong Marcos. In my livestream last night, a viewer said I might also be dragged into the fray because of my views about the May 9, 2022 elections which is fast approaching. Honestly, I don’t watch the videos of other vloggers. Most of my time is spent researching for the topics I have scheduled for my livestreams. The balance of my day is devoted to reading books and watching YouTube videos on lectures by prominent leaders in business, academe and military around the world. There’s really no time for me to watch anything else.
It’s not to say that I have a poor estimate of their intelligence and knowledge on local issues. I know they have their own opinions, and I have mine. I respect what they have to say on issues, and I expect them to respect mine. My vlogging is issue-oriented, and I’ve long ago embraced the policy of not wrestling with other vloggers on who does a better job at this craft. I leave it to the audiences to make that decision.
Hence, I believe it makes no sense why vloggers will attack each other on their shows. Vlogging is a platform to help educate and enlighten viewers on almost any subject under the sun. Politics is just one of them. Arguing with other vloggers will not contribute to the accomplishment of that objective. It’s a waste of time and energy. What if I come under attack? Well, I won’t bother to respond. I will not allow anybody to distract me with their tirades. If that’s what makes them happy, or if that’s what helps them attract viewers, then I’ll leave it to them to follow that path.
I’ve always had my share of bashers even from when I was in radio and newspaper writing in Iloilo. When I was writing about the corruption of the disgraced city mayor of Iloilo City, Jed Patrick Mabilog, and his cousin, Senator Franklin Drilon, I was regularly attacked on Facebook by trolls in the payroll of city hall. I was attacked on radio. Several times, Jeffrey Celiz, intimidated me with threatening acts in the premises of Aksyon Radyo Iloilo.
Only last year, I was swarmed by the vloggers on the payroll of Francis Leo Marcos, or Norman Mangusin in real life with all sorts of character assassination. I simply brushed them off, not giving them a single minute of my time. I stayed focus on my investigation into the real character of FLM and exposed the fraud that he was perpetrating. I watched FLM mock me on his livestream, and I just laughed. When you are insulted by the target of your expose, it means that you’re hitting him where it hurts.
My advice to my fellow vloggers is to concentrate on your content and make sure everything is backed up by solid evidence. Digging for dirt about other vloggers will not make your channel better. Nobody can have a monopoly of viewers. In my case, I don’t mind having less views than the others. I know that viewers have different tastes. I intend to cater to a high-intelligence level of viewers, and not just to those who want vloggers who fling themselves into tirades that are all hot-air and no content. It’s a smaller segment of the audience, I know.
But it’s not the number of viewers only that I am after; I want to have viewers who want to find answers to their own questions about politics and society at large. When I started, I was happy to see 100 viewers for each video. Right now, I have reached an average of 20,000 viewers for each livestream. I look at it as a tremendous accomplishment even though I know they constitute only a very small fraction of Filipinos who regularly watch YouTube. I vlog because it is my passion, and each time I go on air, I am filled with enthusiasm and energy. It is my way of serving our people.