What They Don’t Tell You -4

The World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2022 is the basis of Inconvenient Truth #8: The Philippines has the lowest score, and the lowest rank, among the ASEAN-5 as far as the Rule of Law is concerned. What is so galling is that eight years ago, in 2015, the Philippines had a score (0.53) higher than everyone else, except Malaysia (0.57). As you can see, Reader, the Duterte administration really brought down the Philippines Rule of Law score and ranking – from 0.53 to 0.47, and from 51 out of 102 to 97th out of 140. . One would have hoped that the BBM would see those scores and ranks going up, but judging from what is happening in the de Lima case and what happened in the Remulla fils case, that gleam of hope is fading. In the Philippines, the rule by law still reigns supreme.

What They Don’t Tell You -2

Much has been made about the Philippine’s income inequality decreasing from 0.46 in 1997 to 0.41 in 2021. But this pales in comparison to Malaysia and Thailand’s performance: Malaysia from 0.49 to 0.39, and Indonesia from 0.48 to 0.34.
What these all suggest is that the quantity of economic growth experienced by the rest of Asean-5 was not only much larger, but also the developmental quality of that growth was better – more equally distributed.

So We Don’t Forget: Duterte’s Case with the ICC

Do you know, Reader, that there is RA 9851, signed into law in 2009, two years before we ratified the Rome Statute? Some experts say it is even more strict than the Rome Statute. It punishes superiors who either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the subordinates were committing or about to commit crimes against humanity? So why has Duterte or anyone not even been charged, much less brought to trial under this law?

Teves v. Congress

And here, I find myself on Teves’ side. Why, asks Teves, doesn’t Congress allow him to appear before them via Zoom? They have hybrid sessions after all (meetings can be attended either face-to-face or via Zoom). But Congress is not known for either its logic or its intelligence, so that must be the answer.

Do We Need the ICC?

The first piece of hard evidence is the assessment of the Philippine government itself on the justice situation in the PDP 2023-2028. It says, , “Despite… positive developments, several policy reforms and key legislations remain unattained, such as “Fragmentation of the criminal justice system remains a challenge”, “ Backlogs in resolving cases, delays caused by inefficient practices, and aging persist”, “ Limited resources weaken the justice sector,” and “Low public confidence in the justice system undermines the rule of law”, all expounded in the chapter.

What’s With the Sugar

The inability to import sugar was one of the major reasons that the year-on-year inflation rate for the item Sugar, Confectionery and Deserts for February 2023, as reported by the PSA (Consumer Price Index for subgroups), was a whopping 37%. That is the highest inflation rate for all items in the CPI. Not only that. Prices for this subgroup also rose between January to February this year. We, the people, suffered.

But we are now in a second scandal, with pre-emptive sugar shipments and admitting to ignoring the rules. This one may have more dangerous repercussions.

Four Comments Part 2

All the paeans given to the RCEP – that it will accelerate post-pandemic economic recovery, that it will help bring more investments, that it will expand the country’s exports — is a cruel hoax on the Filipino people. If these will occur, it will occur only in the long-run, and after the government helps the different economic sectors be more competitive, and fixes its domestic problems. RCEP gives our country a little more market access to the other RCEP countries, but if we can’t compete, our products won’t sell in these markets. In other words, if we don’t do our homework, we won’t pass.

Four Comments

It was in performing her duties as Secretary of Justice that de Lima again stepped on giant toes – like those of Senators Ramon Revilla, Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, and Juan Ponce Enrile, plus five former representatives (some dynastic), plus executives/employees of government corporations – 38 in all. It was in regard to these cases that the sobriquet “Three Furies” was coined.

To remind, Reader: Revilla and Estrada are back as Senators (what does this tell you), and Juan Ponce Enrile, my neighbor, is now very much in the center of power.