Bongbong and 2016: A Referendum for the Marcoses?

Politics and sports have two things in common: First, both of them involve competition (to some degree). Second: In both cases, time is an enemy.

It’s easy enough to figure out why time is an enemy in sports

First, most sports are time limited. Thus, the closer you are to the end of the game, the more pressure there is and the less room for error. There is simply no room for error in the fourth quarter of a close basketball game. In addition, age is always  a factor in sports. The older you are, the less stamina you have and the higher the chance of injury. A Jordan or Kobe at age 25 cannot peform at age 50.

Time is also an enemy in politics (most of the time). You are more exposed to a major scandal the longer you are involved in politics. Your political capital will tend to dissipate over time- a landslide election in 2004 doesn’t matter in 2016.

Again, I said MOST of the time. It certainly does not apply to entrenched local politicians in the Philippines- like the old man Villafuerte of Camarines Sur (he’s been in power since forever).

In addition, time is not an enemy for a shrewd politician. The shrewd politician understands that the the news of today is the old news of tomorrow. Electorates change. Issues fade. A shrewd politician who understands that the best way to handle a major issue is to ride it out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

I can think of at least two powerful figures in the Philippine Senate who have used time to their advantage- Sen. Miriam Santiago and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. If you remember, both were voted out of office after the negative reactions they got from the 2001 impeachment of then President Estrada. They bounced back and have remained powerful figures since then. Sen. Miriam has rebranded herself to become the darling of social media. Sen. Enrile, although not as beloved, remains a major figure in the 2016 elections.

The perspective I wrote above is the same one that I use whenever I analyze the Vice Presidential Candidacy of Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

It really puzzles me why he chose to run for higher office. He was assured of reelection in the Senate. But instead, he chose to run for the Vice Presidency- an essentially powerless post. He is also one of two politicians who chose to be the running mate of a “presumed” presidential candidate (Davao City Mayor Duterte) who decided not to run.

No, Sen. Marcos’ candidacy doesn’t make sense from a conventional perspective. But it make sense when you consider his place in history.

As it should be known by now, Senator Marcos is the son of former President Marcos who was forced out of office after a decade in power. A controversial decade in power, i might add, full of human rights abuses and public money that has not fully been accounted for.

Ever since then, the Marcoses have been slowly pulling their way back into the political mainstream. It started with Imelda Marcos’ run in the 1992 Presidential elections where she garnered a mere 2 million votes. Then Sen. Marcos ran for the Senate for the first time in 1998 where he got 8 million votes- a 6 million increase in 3 years. They waited out the elections of 2001 and 2007, deciding instead to consolidate power in Ilocos, their political bailiwick. Meanwhile, they expanded their influence on social media- selling the story that the 1986 Revolution was just a power grab by the political elites. In 2010, Sen. Marcos ran (and won) in the Senate elections, placing 7th with 13 million votes.

Now, riding on his newly gained reputation as a supposed “statesman” due to his stewardship of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Sen. Marcos is running for the Vice Presidency- a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

2016 is a crucial year for Sen. Marcos and his family. It is not just an election- it is a plebiscite for the Marcos legacy. It is the culmination of a decades-long rebranding of a political family.

The electorate of 2016 is not the electorate of 1986 and the electorate of 1992. It is a new electorate- one which the Marcoses have spent a lot of time and money on.

The Marcoses have expanded their influence beyond the Solid North and beyond the old Kilusang Bagong Lipunan network.

They have outlived their harshest critics- Ninoy and Cory are dead, and the Aquino name is not as brilliant as it was before. Their son, incumbent President Noynoy Aquino, is nowhere near the heroic figure he was in 2010. The old guard- Nene Pimentel, Rene Saguisag and Teddyboy Locsi- are all out of power. Joker Arroyo just passed away.

More importantly, they have changed their image among a cynical and disillusioned segment of social media- which probably also supports a “Iron Fist” candidate (Duterte! Probably why Marcos tried to partner with him) and will likely be a major part of the 2022 Presidential election.

But before 2022, the Marcos family- and Sen. Marcos- have one more hurdle to jump. It is 2016. 2016 will probably be the last year when the days of Martial Law will be an issue against the Marcos family. If they so succeed in gaining a mandate, they can simply say: “The Filipino have forgiven us and have accepted our return”.

In a way, none of this is new to the Marcos family. A person with a critical appeciation for history will understand that THE PLEBISCITE was Ferdinand Marcos’ greatest and most favorite tool.

It was a plebiscite that ratified the 1973 Constitution. It was a “plebiscite” (so to speak) of the Supreme Court in Javellana vs. Executive Secretary that legitimized martial law and the New Society. It was a series of “plebiscites” and elections that allowed Ferdinand Marcos to stay in power. And it was the plebiscite- in the form of a snap election, and later a ragtag, impromptu revolution among unlikely allies- that finally pushed Ferdinand Marcos out of power.

And it was a series of elections that have slowly brought the Marcoses back into power. Now we will have to see if the referendum of  2016 will give the Marcoses the affirmation they seek. It is Javellana all over again, political style: “This being the the decision of the electorate, there is no further obstacle to the return of the Marcos family”


If You Can’t Beat ’em…Clone Em? LP and Rep. Leni COPYING Sen. Poe’s Anti-Malnutrition Advocacies

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. This seems to be the Liberal Party’s strategy as they imitate Sen. Poe’s advocacies- food security and child malnutrition.

Establishing a feeding program was part of Sen. Poe’s platform when she first ran as Senator in 2013, when she stated that “We should have a more comprehensive and standardized feeding program for children of poor families.” She immediately filed the Sustansya sa Batang Pilipino Act or Senate Bill 79 as one of her first bills.

She followed it up in 2014 with a privilege speech entitled Sustansya sa Batang Pilipino, Ngayon Na! In her speech, Sen. Poe lamented that malnutrition was not a government priority. Sen. Poe then extended her advocacy and filed SB No. 2755 or the “First 1,000 days bill” which seeks to provide Filipino children full protection and support from day one in the womb until they reach the age of two. Sen. Poe has also spoken about Food Security in forums.

So there are three advocacies associated with Sen. Poe: “Feeding Program” ,”First 1,000 days” and Food Security”.

These advocacies were never pushed before by the Liberal Party’s leadership. However, in the 2015 budget, the Liberal Party suddenly decided to allocate Php 217 million to a “First 1,000 days” program under the National Nutrition Council- an attached agency of the Department of Health.

Then, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo suddenly filed a “National Food Security Bill”- basically a national FEEDING PROGRAM with supplied to be sourced from local farmers. This concept is already covered in Section 9 of Sen. Poe’s Senate Bill No. 79- which states that the Department of Agriculture shall identify farmers and farmers’ organizations who can supply foodstuffs where the feeding program shall be implemented.

It should be worth noting that Rep. Leni is claiming that her bill is better because it is not just a “feeding program”. Rep. Leni has done this before with the FOI bill- claim that her version is better than Sen. Poe’s, when both are essentially the same.


Jojo Binay, Lito David and #JoLito2016: A Love Story


It is probably the most cliche storylines of all time: two people who dislike each other end up falling in love. Such is the tale of Lito David and Vice President Jojo Binay.

We all know that Jejomar Binay sees Senator Grace Poe as a threat to his political ambitions. But surprise, surprise, neither Jojo nor Mar filed a disqualification case. It was a perennial talunan Lito David who came out and filed two complaints against Sen. Grace Poe.

Lito David and Jojo Binay have an interesting history.

In 2013, Lito David said that The Vice President is immoral for “perpetuating a dynasty”.

Lito David 1

Here are Lito David’s comments after the “Dasmagate” incident:

Lito David 2

Quick question for Lito David: The Binay family has been sitting in Makati since after the EDSA revolution. His wife was once mayor. His daughters are BOTH in the legislative branch. His son inherited his mayoralty post. You were…

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Grace Poe is a Filipino Citizen (or When Does Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship Take Effect?)


Last June 2012, journalist and blogger Raissa Robles posted an article entitled “US gov’t records: Sen. Grace Poe dropped her American citizenship in 2012”. Based on a document from the U.S. Treasury,  Ms. Robles claimed that Senator Grace Poe only dropped her U.S. citizenship in 2012.  Ms. Robles’ articles implies one thing: Sen. Poe’s appointment as MTRCB chair was null and void.

Ms. Robles’ article immediately made waves in social media. Pundits attacked Senator Grace Poe. For instance, environmental advocate Dr. Antonio Contreras posted this:

“No. It is not enough that one executes an affidavit of renunciation of US Citizenship and submits it to the Philippine government…What is required will be a formal acknowledgement and approval of such renunciation by the U.S. government, duly published by its appropriate agency in an official medium. Grace Poe’s renunciation only became final when it was published by the US government in 2012.”

Earlier, Dr. Contreras also said: “We impeached Renato Corona for failing to file a correct SALN. But now we drum beat Grace Poe as if she descended from Mt. Olympus even if she descended from Mr. Olympus even if she accepted the MTRCB’s Chair’s position…while she was still a U.S. Citizen in violation of law..”

Another respected intellectual, Dr. Isagani Cruz (currently affiliated with the respected Manila Times College) has also stated in another post: “What I don’t like about Poe is her continued refusal to answer questions about her citizenship. The documentary evidence is pretty strong that she was still an American citizen until 2012.”


First of all, the “official document” which Ms. Robles refers to is published by the Internal Renvenue Service of the U.S. Treasury Department. Unfortunately, neither the IRS nor the Treasury Department have authority to grant or remove U.S. Citizenship.

The authority to grant U.S. Citizenship (through naturalization) belongs to the U.S.  Citizenship Immigration Services (UPCIS) of the U.S. Homeland Department. However, U.S. Citizenship may be renounced by application with the U.S. Department of State (or Consular/Diplomatic Offices). In fact, it is the U.S. Department of State which issues the Certificate of Loss of Nationality.

I won’t go into the details of the renunciation process (known as expatriation in the United States. However, the pertinent requirements for an effective renunciation are laid out under 8 U.S.C 1481 (a). The pertinent section reads:

loss of nationality shall result from the performance within the United States or any of its outlying possessions of any of the acts or the fulfillment of any of the conditions specified in this Part if and when the national thereafter takes up a residence outside the United States and its outlying possessions.”

The requirements under 8 U.S.C. 1481 are clear. The potential expatriate must perform an act. An expatriating act. These “acts” are provided” in Section 349 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act:

“A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality:

1. Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application or upon an application filed by a duly authorized agent.

2. Taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state.

3. –Entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if (A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, or (B) such persons serves as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer.

4. Accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof after attaining the age of eighteen years, if he has or acquires the nationality of such foreign state; or accepting, serving in, or performing the duties of any office, post, or employment under the government of a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof after attaining the age of eighteen years, for which office, post, or employment an oath, affirmation, or declaration of allegiance is required.

5. Making a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state

6. Making in the United States a formal written renunciation of nationality in such form as may be prescribed by, and before such officer as may be designated by, the Attorney General, whenever the United States shall be in a state of war and the Attorney General shall approve such renunciation as not contrary to the interests of national defense.

7. Committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of Title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of Title 18, or violating section 2384 of Title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction

The requirements are clear. U.S. citizenship can be lost by voluntarily performing any of the abovementioned acts with the intent to renounce U.S. Citizenship. The act must be voluntary and intentional.

Now, the U.S. State department has adopted an administrative presumption (in the U.S. Foreign Manual) on loss of citizenship cases. Under this presumption, the following acts will not cause a U.S. citizen to lose his citizenship unless he willfully shows intent:

1. Naturalization in a foreign state

2. Taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign state.

3. Serving in the armed forces of a foreign state not engaged in hostilities with the United States.

4. Accepting non-policy level employment in a foreign government or taking an oath with the position.

On the other hand, the administrative presumption is not applicable if the person:

1. Formally renounces U.S. Citizenship before a consular office.

2. Has served or is serving in the armed forces of  a foreign state in hostilities against the United States.

3. Takes a policy level position in a foreign state and either a dual national or has taken an oath or affirmation of allegiance in connection with the position.


All that Sen. Grace would have to do is prove that she voluntarily and intentionally performed any of the acts above. In fact, even her mere appointment as MTRCB Chair would serve to nullify her U.S. Citizenship. The MTRCB is, without a doubt, a policy making agency. This is clear under the law which created the MTRCB- Presidential Decree 1968. The MTRCB has the power to promulgate rules and regulations– in other words, make policy.

On to the more pressing question: When does the loss of U.S. Citizenship take place?

If we follow Dr. Contreras’ position, it should be when the U.S. State Department issues “a formal acknowledgement and approval of such renunciation by the U.S. government, duly published by its appropriate agency in an official medium.”  But what does the U.S. State Department say?

It is crystal clear in Chapter 7, Paragraph 12208.3 (a) of the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual: “The effective date of loss of nationality is the date of the expatriating act, not the date the CLN is approved.”

Read that again: “The effective date of loss of nationality is the date of the expatriating act, not the date the CLN is approved.”

That is such a clear statement. You can’t interpret it otherwise. “The effective date of loss of nationality is the date of the expatriating act.” Contrary to Dr. Contreras’ position, loss of U.S. Citizenship does not need to be “completed” by a document which has to be published yada yada yada. Loss of citizenship takes effect on the date of the expatriating act

And contrary to Ms. Robles’ position, Senator Grace Poe did not “drop her citizenship” in 2012. If we follow Sen. Grace’s date of appointment as MTRCB chair, it would be sometime around 2010. In fact, Sen. Grace appears to know the law:

“Hindi ako maglalakas-loob na tumanggap ng posisyon sa gobyerno, sa MTRCB (Movie Television Review and Classification Board) pa lang, kung hindi ako kwalipikado at hindi ako Pilipino”

In fact, the narrative would fit Sen. Grace’s story: she returned to the Philippines as U.S. Citizen in 2005. She was a dual citizen until before her appointment in 2010. In fact, the Manila Times OWN REPORT- the one which made an issue out of Sen. Grace’s passport in the first place- verifies this: “Immigration records showed that Poe last used her US passport on December 27, 2009.” Because only U.S. Citizens (and dual citizens) can use U.S. passports.

Grace Poe is a Filipino.  All of the accusations hurled against her appear to be based on misinformation, which should be promptly corrected. In the end, I would not be surprised if Sen. Grace faces a suit- our nation is a litigious one, and often has a surplus of lawyers and a shortage of justice. But I would not be surprised if history repeats itself and Sen. Grace wins the case, just like her father.


Cepeda, M. and Fonbuena, C. “Grace Poe on Residency: I have been in Ph since 2005” Rappler (June 03, 2015).

United States Department of State. Chapter 7, Sec. 1220 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (“Developing a Loss of Nationality Case) and other applicable laws.

Depasupil, W.B. and Antiporda, J.A. “U.S. Citizenship Hounds Grace Poe” The Manila Times (May 17, 2015).

Legaspi, A. “Sen. Grace Poe: I renounced US citizenship before becoming MTRCB chief” GMA News (May 18, 2015).

Robles, R. “U.S. Gov’t Records: Sen. Grace Poe dropped American citizenship in 2012” ABS-CBN News (06/10/15).

15 of the Very Best Classic House Anthems.

UPDATE – Although a couple of my posts on this blog have gone viral, I consistently get the most hits from this one page. I just wanted to say thank you for everyone stopping by; whether you are discovering house music for the first time, or re-visiting old memories of vinyl spinning days gone by. You’re welcome to leave a comment below. If you want to learn more about the history of house music, go here. I try my best to update this page, but if a link isn’t working, feel free to comment or email me. Thanks again, and keep the love alive.

Let’s all go back, wayyyy back. Back to a time when you lined up late at night to get into a dark, dingy warehouse. Back to a time when the dancefloor is crowded with smoke, people and sweat, and the dust and dirt are…

View original post 1,253 more words

Mr. Tiglao, Are All Filipino-Americans Traitors?


Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco raised the issue of Grace Poe’s citizenship three days ago.[1]  However, the issue has been simmering in social media for quite some time. The first time I saw such a post was on April 28, 2015- an image of Grace Poe superimposed on a picture of the American flag and Uncle Same with the caption   “Pano ko iboboto ang taong tinakwil ang bayan ko?” from a Facebook Group named “Ayaw ko Poe”. [2] Another version has the text of the Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America, in quotation marks, attributed to Grace Poe.[3]

The message of both images is clear- “Grace Poe is not fit to become President because she betrayed her country by becoming an American citizen”. Or in shorter terms, “Grace Poe is a traitor”. The message is apparent due to the use of the words  “tinakwil ang bayan”- a powerful phrase which “to turn one’s back” or “abandon” the Filipino nation.


Whether  Binay’s camp created or simply rode the wave of doubt is unknown. However, it is clear that the message outline above has caused consternation- at times even caustic vitriol- in social media and beyond. Recently, columnist Rigoberto Tiglao of the Manila Times published an article entitled “Citizenship by convenience”.[4] The first part of the article clearly “rides the wave” of doubt which I identified above. I quote the first few paragraphs below:

 “(Grace Poe) renounced being Filipino when she became a US citizen, and she doesn’t even care to tell us when. To become one, she declared under oath, to use the words of the US Oath of Allegiance, that she ‘absolutely and entirely renounces and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to the’ Philippines.’

In that oath, she even vowed to “bear arms” on behalf of the US. And you want somebody who solemnly renounced — the meaning of “abjure” — the Philippines to be our leader?

We are talking here of somebody who had a Filipino citizenship but who decided in her adult life to be an American citizen.”

Again, same line of thought. “Renounce” is the legal equivalent of “Pagtakwil”. Tiglao. and maybe Rep. Tiangco, are reading from the same old script.


 Which brings me to my question, Mr. Tiglao- are all Filpino-Americans traitors?

If Grace Poe betrayed the Philippines by becoming an American citizen, does this not imply that all Filipino-Americans are traitors? It isn’t Grace Poe but what she did- the act, not the person- that is supposedly tantamount to betrayal. Therefore, everyone who does the same act- becoming a U.S. citizen- should be subject to the same logic. If this were not the case, then we would have a logical fallacy. It would mean that only Grace Poe is traitor because she became an American citizen.  Everyone else, umm, gets a pass?

I am unaware how many Filipino citizens have gained American citizenship. But it is clear to me that, if Tiglao’s, Tiangco’s, and Ayaw Ko Poe’s logic is correct, then all Filipino-Americans should be prosecuted for treason. It is dumb logic, disappointing for such a intellectual like Mr. Tiglao.


Fortunately, Mr. Tiglao’s article provides an explanation. In his article, Tiglao adds a new dimension to the “Grace Poe is an American Traitor” argument- she is just a member of the elite, and thus a traitor, unlike other Fil-Ams. He writes:

“Was she poor that she just wanted her family to escape poverty from her unwanted country? No. Was she escaping political persecution? No.

She comes from a family that was among the Philippines’ rich elite. She studied in the most expensive schools here (high school, Assumption College San Lorenzo) and abroad (Boston College). She had famous and very rich step-parents. Her father was even rumored to be the most powerful Filipino ever, Ferdinand Marcos.”

Yet, she decided to renounce her being Filipino, and swore allegiance to the US.

For what? For the convenience of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue or Tiffany’s or maybe even Walmart, and touring Disneyland and Hollywood anytime she wanted? What does that tell us of her character and deepest values?” [5]

Thus it becomes clear that Mr. Tiglao’s article is not about Grace Poe’s alleged American citizenship per se. It is her being a member of the Filipino “elite”, who left the country when it was convenient. She wasn’t poor, like the Velosos. She wasn’t poor like our OFW Kabayayan. She was an American citizen, by convenience, just another spoiled brat who went to America. As it is in the title of Mr. Tiglao’s article: Grace Poe was an American citizen by convenience!

If Grace Poe left because it was convenient, then why did she return? Why did she start over, sell her properties in the U.S. and have her children study in the Philippines? Why did she put up with the endless traffic, the corrupt politicians, the inefficient government? Why did she leave America, the land of plenty and convenience, for our country and its horrible public transportation, expensive public services and endless taxes? The Philippines has many inconveniences- but apparently not for Grace Poe.


Intrigue, intrigue, intrigue. Intrigue- tsismis in the vernacular- is what lubricates our political mills. That is the problem with Mr. Tiglao’s article- it is filled with speculation and intrigue. Let’s list down the number of times Mr. Tiglaou uses this to device in his article:

  1. “We are talking here of somebody who had a Filipino citizenship but who decided in her adult life to be an American citizen, who even probably, I dare speculate…”
  2. “Her father was even rumored to be the most powerful Filipino ever, Ferdinand Marcos.”
  3. “…she decided to renounce her being Filipino, and swore allegiance to the US. For what? For the convenience of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue or Tiffany’s or maybe even Walmart, and touring Disneyland and Hollywood anytime she wanted? What does that tell us of her character and deepest values?
  4. Has her husband renounced his US citizenship? Or are they keeping their options open, one foot on each of their two countries, and decide where they’ll stay when doing so becomes convenient and profitable for them?
  5. Did she ever show any interest in social issues even in the US, and more so in the huge problems of our country, to think she can lead us as President? Did she study political science or public administration that led her to want to contribute her expertise to the development of her country?
  6. Do we want to risk a scenario in which the US blackmails the Philippine President to force her to comply with all its interests, even provide any information it requires? Do we risk a scenario where the nation is humiliated, with an American investigative journalist writing a banner article headlined: “Philippine President once an illegal alien in the US?”

Obviously, Mr. Tiglao can be spared from the standards demanded from journalism students. It is an opinion article after all. Yet it shows how a man, with access to the internet, can publish  his “opinions” to generate intrigue and distort the truth.

[1] Casauay, A. “Binay camp: Poe not qualified to run for president or VP” Rappler.



[4] Tiglao, R. “Citizenship by convenience” The Manila Times. Retrieved from

[5] Id.