Saturday, February 27, 2016

“He who submits to tyranny loves it”

“With Spain or without Spain they would always be the same, and perhaps worse! Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.” [We are ruled by Rizal’s ‘tyrants of tomorrow,’ Editorial, The Manila Times, 29th Dec 2015]

Does Juan de la Cruz love tyranny?

“This has been panned for many years so I don’t know whether the announcement that Imelda’s jewellery collection will be finally auctioned. According to jewelry experts it is worth at least £14.5 million. It will be sold at auction. It was once compared to the jewelry collection of Elizabeth Taylor.

“According to the auctioneers, it includes a barrel-shaped diamond worth at least £3.5 million and a Cartier diamond tiara many times more valuable than the previous estimate of £20,700- £34,500.

“Andrew de Castro of the Presidential Commission for Good Government, an agency tasked to recover the Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth, said it hoped to hold the exhibit and auction before the end of President Benigno Aquino’s term in June.

“A portion of the collection seized at the presidential palace when the Marcoses fled is still being contested in court. Other items were seized in Hawaii and at Manila’s airport.

“The jewellery confiscated from the Marcoses remain a singular manifestation of the misguided priorities of the Marcos presidency during his reign,” commission chairman Richard Amurao said.” [Grace Poe’s son and his new shoes, Carmen N. Pedrosa, FROM A DISTANCE, The Philippine Star, 20th Feb 2016]

It appears kleptocracy is a hard nut to crack even for the US.

“Wanted by U.S.: The Stolen Millions of Despots and Crooked Elites,” Leslie Wayne, The New York Times, 16th Feb 2016. “‘We don’t want the United States to be a haven for this money,’ said Leslie Caldwell, assistant attorney general and head of the criminal division. ‘If it comes into this country, we have the ability to reach out and grab it. Kleptocracy undermines the rule of law and breeds crime and terrorism.’

“Yet for all this firepower, the Justice Department has found that bringing cases against kleptocrats has been daunting, and seizing their assets even harder still. A total of 25 cases have been brought against 20 foreign officials under the Kleptocracy initiative, and the government is seeking to seize $1.5 billion, mainly in American real estate and bank accounts. But most of that money remains in legal limbo.

“The government is stepping up efforts to halt the flow of illicit money into the United States through stronger anti-money-laundering rules, investigations into secret buyers of high-end real estate and measures to identify owners of anonymous shell corporations used to hide financial transactions.”

“Political will guides Marcos case in Philippines,”, 13th Apr 2015. “Marcos, who imposed martial law in his homeland from 1972 to 1981, died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 without admitting wrongdoing.

“The Philippine government has recovered about $4 billion of Marcos’ assets, much of it plundered from the coconut industry, but believes up to $6 billion more may still be hidden somewhere.

“Lost treasures keep turning up. Last year, for example, a former aide to the ex-Philippines first lady was imprisoned for plotting to sell a $32 million Claude Monet painting to a Swiss buyer.”

“In her blackest moments, Loretta Ann Rosales can recall what it felt like as electrodes were tied to her fingers and toes, her body doubled over in a muscle-numbing convulsion from the jolt of electric current.” [Marcos's Loot May Be Shared by Filipino Victims, Philip Shenon, The New York Times, 28th Oct 1995]

“It was only the start of an interrogation by Philippine soldiers in August 1976. A rug was draped over her head and water dripped on it, so that she began to gasp for breath as the damp rug molded itself to her face.

“The Swiss announcement is being described as a landmark in the Government’s long, often ridiculed hunt for the assets of President Marcos, who was forced out of power in a popular uprising in 1986.”

“Switzerland and its bankers steeped in a tradition of secrecy have worked over the past couple decades to shed a reputation as launderer of the world’s dirty money. Pressure from the United States and other countries to combat tax evasion and white-collar crime also encouraged more transparency.” [, op. cit.]

“The freezing of Marcos’ Swiss bank deposits in 1986 was the first time the Swiss government set out to return such funds to their rightful owners.

“From then on, that’s when the Swiss started developing their asset recovery policy, really with the Marcos case . . .

"‘If we see this money I will feel, not a sense of revenge, but a sense of justice,’ said Mrs. Rosales, a political scientist whose Manila home is a gathering place for human rights victims seeking compensation from the Marcos family.” [Shenon, op. cit.]

“The Swiss deposits represent a fraction of the billions of dollars that Mr. Marcos and his 66-year-old widow, Imelda, are accused of looting from the Philippines in their 20 years in power.”

If the Swiss demonstrated political will, what about Juan de la Cruz? “Lack of will to recover the Marcos loot,” Amando Doronila, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 9th Jan 2013. “On January 1, PCGG chairman Andres Bautista said in an interview that he had recommended to President Benigno Aquino III that the agency wind down its 26-year task of flushing out Marcos' hidden wealth because of the frustrating results of the search.

“For three decades after the overthrow of the dictatorship in the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, the recovery effort by the Cory Aquino successor administration had yielded less than half of the estimated US$10 billion fortune. It galled Bautista to report that with Marcos’ widow, Imelda, and children back in positions of power, the costs of recovery had become prohibitive.

“‘It has become a law of diminishing returns at this point,’ Bautista said. ‘It's been 26 years and the people you are after are back in power. At some point, you have to say, 'We've done our best,' and that's that. It is really difficult. In order to be able to get these monies back, you need to spend a lot.’ Bautista was speaking from the point of view of an accountant's cost analysis.”

Does crime in fact pay in the end? Especially in a nation where we submit to tyranny?

“[W]ith Marcos’ widow, Imelda, and children back in positions of power, the costs of recovery had become prohibitive.” Translation: With Bongbong as President we can kiss the Marcos loot goodbye? Juan de la Cruz doesn’t need a PhD to figure that out?

And who will vote for him? It sounds cute to say the son is not the father? It’s the dynasty, stupid! Go ask Jeb Bush! Or go ask the Romanians!

What about the coconut farmers – the largest group and the poorest – will they vote for Bongbong too? Consider: “The Philippine government has recovered about $4 billion of Marcos’ assets, much of it plundered from the coconut industry, but believes up to $6 billion more may still be hidden somewhere.”

That’s a colossal loot from one industry – even for a Marcos to siphon by himself? And if true, there’s much more to account for? Indeed Marcos and his cabal elevated cronyism to an art form?

“The key was delegation. Peter and Catherine, for all their whims and tyrannical ways, were superb at this: Catherine’s favorite, Grigory Potemkin, was an outstanding gifted administrator; Alexander Suvorov an equally impressive military commander.”

It's the story of the Romanov dynasty [The Economist, 20th Feb 2016] but does it mirror a sliver of the Marcos rule – a “cruel story of hereditary power . . . where the currencies of dynastic politics included murder, torture and betrayal . . . as well as habitual cruelty”?

And who and where are the outstanding gifted administrators and impressive military commanders at the beck and call of the Marcos dynasty? Media wound not know them? They can trace the network behind the sexual abuse culture of the church – but that is only in America?

And the son is dumb [and we’re dumber?] he hasn’t learned the tricks of the trade? So let’s make him president? What planet are we from? And Rizal answered that over a century ago?

“Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow? And that they will be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.”

“As a major component for the education and reorientation of our people, mainstream media – their reporters, writers, photographers, columnists and editors – have an obligation to this country . . .” [Era of documented irrelevance: Mainstream media, critics and protesters, Homobono A. Adaza, The Manila Times, 25th Nov 2015]

“Development [is informed by a people’s] worldview, cognitive capacity, values, moral development, self-identity, spirituality, and leadership . . .” [Frederic Laloux, Reinventing organizations, Nelson Parker, 2014]

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