• Where the heck is our foreign affairs secretary?

    21

    What a pathetic country we’ve become.

    French President Francois Hollande publicly warned Indonesia last week that the execution of a Frenchman for drug offences would “damage ties” between the two nations. His foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, has summoned the Indonesian ambassador in Paris to stress his country’s protest against the execution.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot, meanwhile, declared he was “revolted” by the scheduled execution of two convicted drug traffickers. I myself saw on world news how his foreign minister, Julie Bishop, eloquently argued in so many ways – even “that it would be a show of strength for Indonesian President Widodo” – for the life of the Australian nationals.

    In our case, no one has heard anything from President Aquino himself and from his representative to the world, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario. The two seem to be bold only in cursing China (since the US is behind them in that case?).

    For goodness sake, it was Manny Pacquiao interrupting his training for the fight of the century to make an internationally televised news broadcast stating his appeal to Indonesia for the life of his fellow Filipino. Is Pacquiao our head of state or representative to the world now?

    Yes, we have heard Aquino’s spokespersons saying he wrote this letter or that message to Indonesian authorities. We were told that he would make a final appeal to Widodo during the Asean summit.

    It turned out that wasn’t really a meeting but Aquino intercepting Widodo’s walk along some corridor after an Asean session. Widodo didn’t even stop but carried on walking, with his head bowed as he listened to Aquino talk, looking like some aide.

    Above left, del Rosario and Indonesian billionaire Anthoni Salim, his former boss at First Pacific, and who now controls strategic Philippine companies, logos below.

    Above left, del Rosario and Indonesian billionaire Anthoni Salim, his former boss at First Pacific, and who now controls strategic Philippine companies, logos below.

    Since Aquino, through his spokespersons, couldn’t elaborate on the so-called meeting, the only sentence Widodo uttered was most probably “I’ll talk to our attorney general and get back to you.”

    But Widodo didn’t appear to have the courtesy, or the respect for Aquino as to express a personal statement that would go something like: “I’m deeply sorry but our laws do not permit us to stop the execution of your national.” Aquino learned the appeal was rejected only after our embassy in Indonesia told him so.

    On Malacanang’s website, posted are a “Statement of President Aquino on the Nepal Earthquake,” and a “Speech of President Aquino at the 20th Anniversary and Investors Recognition Night of PEZA.” No statement from Mary Jane Veloso’s President appealing to Indonesia not to execute her by firing squad.

    Look at the sum of Aquino’s and del Rosario’s actions and statements: They don’t really seem concerned about Veloso. Why are the appeals, the outrage coming almost solely from NGOs and other personalities such as Pacquiao and Vice President Jejomar Binay?

    And where the hell is our foreign affairs secretary at a time the nation is outraged that an OFW is to be executed like a murderer by a supposedly friendly neighbor country?

    There was a report that del Rosario visited Mary Jane himself in prison on March 24. It was a strange report, however, made only by Indonesia’s state news agency. Del Rosario didn’t even tell the Philippine press what they talked about, and very strangely, it wasn’t even reported on the DFA’s website.

    A really concerned official would have told the world: “I visited Mary Jane today, and I am convinced that this mother of two does not deserve to be executed. I pity her and appeal to Indonesia to spare her life.” No such statement from del Rosario.

    The visit was even kept hush-hush. Was del Rosario afraid he might be scolded by Indonesian authorities if he reported to our people what he talked about with Mary Jane in prison?

    I haven’t heard nor read any DFA official, not even our ambassador in Jakarta, appealing to the Indonesia government for mercy for Mary Jane – in sharp contrast to the appeals for the lives of their nationals from the French President, the Australian Prime Minister, and their foreign ministers. Didn’t del Rosario even remind Indonesia that 44 of our commandos were killed in a mission to take out the terrorist who trained those responsible for the Bali bombings?

    What kind of a country have we become?

    A Filipino OFW, the mother of two is to be executed by a neighboring, friendly country and the only official in the DFA talking about Veloso is their inarticulate spokesman, an assistant secretary in rank who hasn’t, after many months on his job, gotten over his stage fright. And what has he been saying?

    Defending the DFA, claiming that it had done what it could to legally appeal for Mary Jane’s life. As on Malacanang’s website, there isn’t even a statement posted online by the DFA, neither from its head nor its spokesman, appealing for Mary Jane’s life.

    What makes me angry is that of all local officials, del Rosario has served an Indonesian magnate for more than two decades, and helped him control strategic industries in the Philippines.

    I am referring to Anthoni Salim, the single biggest stockholder of First Pacific with a 45 percent stake. First Pacific, in turn, controls strategic, public utility firms in this country, among them Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and its subsidiary Smart mobile phone firm, Manila Electric Co., Maynilad Water Services, and Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the biggest tollway operator in the country.

    It was del Rosario who helped First Pacific’s main representative here, in 1981 – one of the many Filipino banking executives in Hong Kong named Manuel Pangilinan (who owns 1 percent of First Pacific, and less than that in PLDT, Meralco, and Metro Pacific) – to establish the Indonesian conglomerate’s networks, which eventually allowed it to capture key industries “theoretically” reserved for Filipino citizens.

    It was del Rosario who deployed the PLDT pension fund to be used in capturing Meralco in 2005 and to be spent on setting up ABC 5, as well as buying into the Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer.

    For his services, del Rosario had been a “non-executive director” of First Pacific and regular director of PLDT since 2003, even when he was our ambassador to the US. He stepped down only in 2010 since our regulations ban a Cabinet official from holding a private-sector post.

    And who are the other non-executive directors in First Pacific? Indonesian tycoons Sutanto Djuhar, along with his son Tedy and Ibrahim Risjad.

    Djuhar, Risjad and Anthoni’s father Soedono Salim were the late Indonesian strongman Suharto’s biggest cronies. With a fourth member, Sudwikatkomo, Suharto’s personal representative, they were dubbed during that era as the “Gang of Four” who established a vast conglomerate in Indonesia because of the monopolies and other rentier-capitalist types of business support Suharto gave them when he was in power. The “Gang” founded First Pacific in Hong Kong in 1981 as one of its vehicles to move wealth outside the country.

    I report the roots of First Pacific to point out that although these cronies have fallen out of the sphere of influence after Suharto fell in 1998, they were among the most powerful businessmen in Indonesia for the 33 years that Suharto was in power, and therefore had extensive links to the highest levels of Indonesian politics and business.

    Did del Rosario bother to ask his colleagues at First Pacific, especially Salim, whom he helped gain control over strategic industries here for help in saving the life of Mary Jane?

    I doubt it very, very much.

    What a pathetic country we have become, with such people representing us in the world arena. France and Australia have raged against the execution of their citizens. Our officials have, at best, just whimpered about it.

    tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
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    21 Comments

    1. If the Philippine government threatened Indonesia so as to try to coerce the latter to free Veloso, then Veloso would be dead. Period. This is evidenced by Australia’s dick move by bringing-up the 2004 tsunami support for Indonesia and giving high-and-mighty statements such as: “prepare for the consequences to come.”
      8 cases used threats, one used a peaceful (albeit quiet) diplomatic approach. Who do you think survived in the end?

      No one responds well to threats.

      Although I’m also looking for formal statements from the DFA secretary and the President, I don’t think that desire comes to the point that I’m already infuriated. After all, Veloso is still alive. AND the Indonesian government has credited the Philippine president for his effort to help Veloso. This is evidenced by a formal statement made by Indonesia’s Secretary General (and I quote): “There was a request from the Philippine president regarding the perpetrator who’s suspected of committing human trafficking and surrendered in the Philippines. MJ is needed for her testimony.”

      On the issue of hating Indonesia:
      Can we really blame them for carrying out their laws?
      This may sound harsh, but isn’t it one of their rights anyway as a sovereign state?
      If a foreigner were to commit a serious crime here in the Philippines, I bet the masses here will all clamor for a similar punishment.

      • By now, we already hate Noynoy so much that all expectations of him doing good on his efforts are censored in our minds immediately. We should stop tapping into our emotions and look more into reason.

        I’m not a Noynoy fan. I’m actually really excited for the 2016 elections so that we can replace him already. But still, we should give credit to where credit is due. Even Noynoy deserves to be cut some slack.

    2. Dear Lord, thank you for sparing MJ Veloso’s life for now and it is proven that with all making a solemn and sincere prayers to You for her deliverance, You have responded us with something as impossible? We will continue to pray for Mary Jane until such time, she is totally absolved from her alleged drug crime, so help us Lord, Amen. Meanwhile, we enjoin Renato Reyes to shut his mouth momentarily now!! Kitang kita naman na sumasakay lang kayo sa issue kasama ng Migrante? Limang taon na yung issue ni MJ Veloso ngunit ngayon lang din kayong nag ingay kaya para sa marami kayo ang dahilan na hindi agad na aksyonan ng gobyerno ang issue ni MJ Veloso kasi kayo mismo na panay ang patutsada sa gobyerno any natulog din ng mahimbing for the last 5 years. Matutuwa ang sambayanang Pilipino kung makikita ang mga kauri ninyo na sakay ng banka o balsa na nag poprotesta sa harap ng mga ginagawang mga Intsik na mga isla sa West Phil. Sea sa harap ng mga kauri ninyong Intsik na harap harapan at garapalang inaagaw ang ating mga ari arian sa West Phil. Sea at yan ang gusto naming mga Pilipino na maging pangunahing kilusin ni Ginoong Renato Reyes at ng kanyang mga kauri na paulit ulit na lang tayong pina paikot ikot? Para sa Manila Times, awat na sa paninira sa kay Foreign Sec. A. Del Rosario? Hindi nyo na naalala ng siya ay ma kompirma ng Commission of appointment ng Senado bilang secretary of DFA, tumulak agad siya sa Libya para tulungang mai evacuate yung mga naipit nating mga kababayan sa kaguluhan sa Libya na hindi niya inalintana ang kanyang personal na seguridad. Si PNoy na mismo ang kumausap kay Pres. Widodo ng Indonesia tungkol sa issue ni MJ Veloso, so ano pa po ba ang gustong gawin ng Manila Times kung hindi palabasing inutil itong administrasyon na ito na pinamumunuan ng isang lame duck president? Ang kaso nabigyan ng temporary reprieve si MJ Velos kaya lumalabas na nganga ang panawagan ng MT? Awat na po, malapit na ang eleksyon ng 2016 at hindi na kandidato si PNoy kaya ibaling nyo na lang sa ibang mga kandidato ang inyong paninira at tulungan si PNoy umusad ang Pilipinas sa nalalabing 12 buwan niya sa panunungkulan?? Mhirap po bang gawin yaon?

      REPLY: Basahin po ninyo ulit ang mga kasulatan namin. At paki punta pop sa editorial namim nitong araw na ito–magiging malinaw sa inyo kung ano ang gusto ng Manila Times.

    3. I hope Manila Times will see the light of day of my comments regarding Mr. R. Tiglao’s attack on DFa Sec. A. Del Rosario. I am not a friend of the DFA secretary but is only putting things on the proper perspective. But i is obvious in Mr. R. Tiglao’s article that he is an a id follower of VP J. Biany and you can redt it between the lines!!

    4. Kaya ikaw, Alberto, umalis ka na dyan. Uulitin ko na lang ang sinabi ni Marcos kay Macapagal nuong halalan ng 1964 ang mga katagang ALIS D’YAN!!!

    5. Migs Doromal on

      All’s well that ends well. Mary Jane’s life has been spared.

      NOW, if ONLY we Filipinos give the same fire and tenacity to the real national security threat at hand: CHINA’s invasion and reclamation of our territories in the West Philippine Sea and the Spratly Islands.

    6. Amnata Pundit on

      Ang tunay na foreign affairs secretary natin ay dun nag o-opisina sa isang embassy sa Roxas Blvd, as if you didn’t know.

    7. The key point here is the surrendering of the accused recruiter. They need to stop this drug trafficking in their country and go to bottom of it. Pnoy has nothing to do the delay execution. Period.

    8. So what now sir, veloso was given reprieve. Threaths dont mean a thing. Pnoy did a Filipino style of diplomacy. 8 countries threatened indonesia, one begged for veloso’s life.

    9. Justaskingseriously on

      Yahoo news just posted that the drug convicts were executed by firing squad. But the Filipina was spared.

      Is this development a testament to the effectiveness of low-key diplomacy? Or is there such a thing as low-key diplomacy? I wouldn’t know. All I know is the saying that “a noisy wheel gets oiled” whereas the silent ones are left alone. But this imagery does not seem to apply to Widodo’s last-minute turnaround for Mary Jane. Intriguing. Instead, it is just the reverse of the saying. The decibels were amped by the French and Australians, but the noise must have been grating to the ears of Widodo.

      I wonder who gets the credit aside from Widodo himself for the “milk of human kindness” that spared the life of Mary Jane?

    10. Sorry to say this. The Filipino populace has become so passive, that they allow their government to do one farce after another with impunity. I think we need divine interference to get rid of the vultures in government.

    11. It’s not at all time that barking is good just like other country did , it did not even save their own people for execution. We’re glad veloso execution was suspended , i think this was also through the effort of Pnoy this time.

    12. chthonic monster on

      i hope i am wrong on this! this Mr. del Rosario is so way up high in society first when he was a super rich lackey of a super rich Indonesian, then when he became an ambassador! so why should he even take notice of a lowly OFW and a domestic help at that? so mata pobre!

    13. Pakitang tao lang ang awa ni Aquino! Kahit kailan hindi iyan totoong gustong tumulong sa mga katulad nila at sa SAF 44,
      Mas mahalaga sa kanya ang makukuha niyang pakinabang kaysa sa mga buhay ng mga ordinaryong tao!

    14. del Rosario was last seen, I believe, running errands for the department of labor.

    15. Dapat siguro ay patayin din natin ang mga.Indonesian na nakakulong sa ating mga bilangguan.

      Paging the BNG,Sigue Sigue, Sputnik. Pagpapatayin na ninyo ang mga Indonesian na makikita ninyo

      REPLY: huwag naman, mga pare. hindi ganyan ang pagpapalawak ng katarungan at kapayapaan. Mahinuahonnating gawain ang mga kilos para magsisi ang mga Indonesians. alam ninyo, mga pare ko, mga Indonesians ang lagi nating kakampi–laban sa mga Malaysians at ang padrino nilang mga British na inagaw sa atin ang Sabah at nilagay sa kamy na mga Muslim sa Malaya nang tinatag nila ang Malaysian Federation.

    16. Alejo Rosete on

      Thank you very much Ambassador Tiglao
      Now we know who these people are.

      Mabuhay ka Ambassador!

    17. Mr. Tiglao, you are right the silence of the president and his foreign affairs secretary is so sickening that every citizens should deplore such an arrogant behavior from them. A callous president indeed for having no concerns of his people who are in trouble in a foreign land. It must be true to the core of his being when aquino uttered such words such as “bahala na kayo sa buhay ninyo”, hindi ako pumupunta ng lamay sa mga taong hindi ko kilala”. Such a pathetic person we have in the highest office. Personally I don’t believed that aquino talked about Veloso and appealled to the Indonesian president for pardon. All what is beinfg said about the government doing everything to save MaryJane is just but a cover-up of the inneptness of aquino and del rosario. What a very sad day for poor people for having an irresponsible president in malacanang today.