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If I were in Albert del Rosario's shoes...

It’s public knowledge that President Duterte himself admitted that it’ll be difficult to exploit oil and gas resources in the South China Sea because of ongoing territorial disputes, especially one between China and the Philippines. This is the same reason why Philex Petroleum a.k.a. PXP Energy, which holds exploration and drilling rights over Reed Bank (SC 72), repeatedly failed in its moves to establish operations in the area.

PXP Energy’s 2018 Audited Financial Statement said Sampaguita gas field in Reed Bank is estimated to contain 2.6 trillion cu. ft. in discovered reserves and up to 5.4 trillion cu. ft. of undiscovered reserves.

The January 2019 US Natural Gas industrial price is USD 5.04 dollars per thousand cu. ft.. Using this figure, the Sampaguita Gas Field contains around US$13.1 billion in discovered reserves and around US$ 27.2 billion in undiscovered reserves. That’s about Php 674 billion and Php 1.4 trillion, respectively (PHP:USD = 51.44:1).

PH-CHINA OIL EXPLORATION MOU: A WAY FORWARDOn 21 November 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping in a historic move signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on joint exploration in the South China Sea, providing both parties a diplomatic way to move forward with mutually taking economic advantage of South China Sea’s idle petroleum resources.

Through the MoU, each party will form a Working Group that “will negotiate and agree on… technical and commercial arrangements that will apply in the relevant working area.”

That is, each side will have teams that will set terms regarding who does what in the drilling and exploration process, who gets how much of the profits, and whom the end-products will be sold to.

China authorized its state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) as the Chinese enterprise for each China-side working group, while the Philippines will authorize firms with active services contracts for a given area or, if there’s none, the state-owned Philippine National Oil Company.

MoU’s are essentially just agreements to agree, i.e. it is a very preliminary phase of any prospective oil and gas project in the South China Sea. However, the MoU states that China and the Philippines will strive to finalize cooperation agreements within 12 months of the MoU, i.e. by November 2019.

PXP ENERGY AND DENNIS UYOn 04 December 2018 and given the MoU, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told PXP Energy that it can start applying for the lifting of the ban on oil and gas exploration in Reed Bank, which DOE declared in 2014 amidst escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

On 21 December 2018, PXP Energy announced that it has formally requested the Energy Department to lift the said ban.

On 27 December 2018, PXP Energy and Dennis Uy’s Dennison Holdings Corporation disclosed that they will be sealing an oil and gas exploration deal over Reed Bank by March 2019. A separate news report said this is subject to CNOOC’s approval and consent, presumably in accordance with the November 2018 PH-China MoU.

The MoU really is very welcome news for PXP Energy, known to perennially post losses and whose continued existence, judging from its financial reports, lies heavily on the hope that it can finally tap Reed Bank.

Additionally, PXP Energy’s prospective partnership with Dennis Uy provides the financially struggling company with much-needed liquidity plus a possibly more favorable relationship with Malacanang given Dennis Uy’s perceived closeness to the President and his men.

For PXP Energy, so far, so good.

HOPE DIMS FOR PXP ENERGYIs China willing to work with PXP Energy and Dennison in Reed Bank? Let’s see.

On 11 January 2019, Dennis Uy’s Phoenix Petroleum disclosed that DOE greenlighted its partnership with CNOOC to build a US$ 2 billion Liquefied Natural Gas import terminal in Batangas.

On 01 February 2019, Phoenix’s Board seconded DOE’s approval as it gave go-signal for the Phoenix-CNOOC Tanglawan joint venture.

China appears to be very much willing to work with Phoenix and by extension, Dennis Uy. Given that Uy is prospectively partnering with PXP over Reed Bank, it’s so far so good for PXP, until…

On 28 February 2019, PXP chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said PXP reached out to the Chinese CNOOC but “it’s radio silence on their part.

China, while willing to work with Uy, is apparently unwilling to work with Pangilinan. It seems that Duterte’s good relations with Beijing isn’t enough to make China forget its experience with Pangilinan in 2012, when Beijing rejected Pangilinan’s 2012 oil and gas exploration proposal directed to CNOOC.

On 01 March 2019, Phoenix, CNOOC, and PNOC signed MoU for the Tanglawan LNG Plant.

On the same day, President Duterte threated to shut down Pangilinan’s PLDT for busy anti-graft hotline 8888. He also accused PLDT of owing the government Php 8 billion, along with a subtle threat when he said “no President has ever asked for payment”, an accusation that Pangilinan denied.

China seems to still dislike PXP Energy and to makes matters worse, Duterte seems to feel the same about its owner.

DENNIS UY DITCHES PXP ENERGYJust when I thought PXP Energy’s relationship with China can’t get any worse…

On 13 March 2019, former Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario accused China President Xi Jinping of Crimes Against Humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Del Rosario is a director of Hong Kong-based First Pacific, PXP Energy's parent company.

I can’t imagine how China will take Del Rosario’s brash moves lightly, and true enough, it was all downhill from there.

On 29 March 2019, PXP Energy disclosed that is has terminated its deal with Dennison Holdings, i.e. Dennis Uy is now out of the Reed Bank exploration project.

Dennison effectively jettisoned PXP energy from its future plans: is this merely a coincidence or a result of how China and Duterte view Pangilinan?

On 01 April 2019, PXP Energy share prices nose-dived by nearly 19%. This is the business day immediately succeeding the 29 March 2019 announcement of the PXP-Dennison split.

On 10 April 2019, PXP Energy disclosed its latest list of Top 100 Stockholders, which includes former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario.

On 15 April 2019, PXP’s stocks plunged to Php 6.84 a share, down 44% from 29 March 2019’s Php 12.28 [https://bloom.bg/2Lb1nLx].

Things are looking really bad for del Rosario's PXP energy.

IF CHINA LIKES DENNIS UY…Beijing apparently sees PXP Energy and Dennis Uy on the opposite sides of the Likeability Spectrum.

On 16 April 2019, Phoenix and PNOC execs visited CNOOC’s LNG plant in China, which shall be used as a pattern for the Tanglawan LNG plant.

Phoenix Petroleum's Dennis Uy, CNOOC's Wu Zhengxing, and PNOC's Reuben Lista sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the Tanglawan LNG project.

As Pangilinan and PXP struggle, Uy appears to blossom.

On 08 May 2019, PXP Energy disclosed that it “will take guidance from the Philippine Government” in as far as its Reed Bank interests, and said it hopes that DoE lifts the ban on exploration soon.

Nothing new here, although PXP’s stock prices relatively stabilized after the announcement.

On 27 May 2019, Dennis Uy said PXP Energy and his Dennison Holdings agreed to ditch their deal because of “uncertainty of government-to-government” transactions. PXP Energy in a PSE disclosure welcomed Uy’s statement and said PXP energy is at the moment focused on lifting the DoE ban on SC 72 and 75 “to allow exploration activities to resume.”

I think this is very telling.

Judging from these, it appears that  China is open to jointly explore and exploit with the Philippines the South China Sea for oil, but that she doesn't wanna do it with PXP Energy. 

We know that China like Dennis Uy and China dislikes PXP Energy. If there’s uncertainty in government-to-government transactions, and the only major variables are China, PXP, and Uy, then which major variable is the likely cause of uncertainty?

The Cause of UncertaintyNote that I have been using the phrase “dislikes PXP Energy” instead of “dislikes Pangilinan”. It is still unclear to me if China has beef with Pangilinan per se or with First Pacific in general, and I am inclined to believe it’s the latter given Del Rosario’s overtures.

But to solely blame the uncertainty to PXP is unfair, especially since no less than Foreign Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin insisted drafting the joint exploration agreement. This is the same Locsin that, a highly placed government source says, is an Amboy who spends more time in New York than in the DFA headquarters on Roxas Boulevard.

The same source, whose identity will remain concealed for his safety, told this writer:
“President Xi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent signals that we are moving towards joint exploration because it doesn’t make sense to place everything on hold. Our own DoE has been saying that we need alternatives to Malampaya (Gas Facility), but remember that Sec. Locsin demanded that he’ll be the author of any joint exploration agreement.”
Locsin has not been sufficiently subtle in his general dislike for China when he unilaterally revamped President Duterte’s independent foreign policy from “Friend to All, Enemy to None” to the more angsty (and less eloquent) “Friend to Friends, Enemy to Enemies, and Worse Enemies to False Friends.”, in an apparent swipe at China.

This is despite Malacañang repeated assertions that Duterte’s pre-Locsin foreign policy stays.

Suffice it to say, aside from China’s apparent dislike for PXP, the American-leaning Locsin seems to also be in the way.

THE JUNE 2019 REED BANK INCIDENTThe developments up to the end of May 2019 seem to imply that Reed Bank exploration is a no go for the foreseeable future as far as PXP Energy stockholder and First Pacific director Albert del Rosario is concerned.

Then suddenly…

On 12 June 2019, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced a collision of two shipping vessels – one Chinese and another Filipino – in Reed Bank.

Then a day later…

On 13 June 2019, Del Rosario in response to Lorenzana said the Philippines must now consider a multilateral approach on the South China Sea Issue, citing that China has absolutely no respect for the Rule of Law.

The Philippines under Duterte adopted a bilateral approach over the SCS dispute, i.e. Manila dialogues directly with Beijing with no other state actors involved.

The multilateral approach that del Rosario insists on means the inclusion of other states in talks, other states like those within the ASEAN and most likely, the United States.

It is common knowledge in government circles that Del Rosario leans heavily towards the United States

The US-educated Del Rosario is very intimately linked with the pro-Washington US-Philippine Society where PXP’s Pangilinan also sits as co-chairman and where top US diplomat and George W. Bush-era State Secretary John Negroponte serves as president.

SOMETHING FISHY ABOUT DEL ROSARIO’S LATESTDel Rosario immediately blamed Beijing for the collision despite the fact that investigations have yet to commence, which is the total opposite what happened just a few years prior, when he was still DFA Secretary.

Del Rosario’s reaction is in stark contrast with a similar incident in 2014, or when a Hong Kong-registered commercial ship collided with a Philippine fishing boat, killing a Filipino fisherman and leaving four others missing.

CULPRIT? The Hong Kong-registered, 195-meter MV Peach Mountain is suspected to have rammed a Philippine fishing boat on June 20 off the waters of Bolinao in Pangasinan. Survivors say their fishing boat is similar in size to the 13-meter vessel shown above. (via Inquirer)
Commenting on the incident, then President Benigno Aquino, whose Foreign Secretary at the time was del Rosario, said the government wasn’t accusing any country of involvement until all evidence is in.

Does del Rosario have something to do with the incident?

I cannot help but wonder as succeeding events revealed major plot holes in the anti-China narratives of the political opposition, where del Rosario belongs.

FIRST, the 12 June 2019 Lorenzana statement was immediately followed by a media blitz that is still running as of this article’s writing, with the general tone that share pretty much the same wavelength as Del Rosario’s 13 June 2019 statements.

SECOND, the media blitz shortly later included anti-China statements from the Filipino fishing vessel’s captain, despite the ship’s cook later admitting that the captain was asleep when the incident happened.

THIRD, up to this day, none of the 22 affected fishermen have executed sworn affidavits and continued to grant media interviews. Apparently, none of del Rosario’s allies, many of whom are lawyers, explained to the fishermen that the longer they wait to execute an affidavit, the easier it is to impeach their testimonies in court.

The list of inconsistencies in the Anti-china version of events goes on and on, suggesting that the prematurely anti-Beijing rhetoric, at the least, is staged.

DEL ROSARIO WITH HELP FROM LOCSINAnd apparently, with a bit of help from Locsin, whether Locsin is aware of it or not.

On 15 June 2019, the Chinese Embassy in Manila, in response to the incident, promised to “handle this issue with the Philippines in a serious and responsible manner”.

On 18 June 2019, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a very mildly worded statement extended its sympathy to the Filipino fishermen and followed up with an offer to jointly investigate the incident with its Philippine counterparts, an offer that Malacañang seriously considered.

China's calm and reconciliatory tone in both statements is a total departure from the harsh rhetoric it used during the Aquino Era, suggesting, at least at first glance, that China was also surprised by the June incident.

Shortly after Malacañang showed some inclination towards a joint China-Philippine investigation, Foreign Secretary Locsin categorically rejected China’s offer.

On 18 June 2019, Locsin tweeted, “There cannot be a joint investigation. First principle of justice: no one can be judge of his own case...”.

Locsin’s grandstanding is odd, if not utterly stupid.

Malacañang, or where Locsin takes orders from, already said it’s inclined to accept the Chinese offer of a joint investigation, and last time I checked, Locsin is NOT the President.

Moreover, the clause “no one can be judge of his own case“ (Latin: Nemo judex in causa sua), is a legal principle which states that no person can judge a case in which he has an interest in.

While China indeed has an interest in the Reed Bank Incident, the Philippines does too. That principle applies to both China and Philippines so Locsin, wittingly or (more likely) unwittingly, suggested a third party should the investigate, which would turn a bilateral issue into a multilateral one.

Sounds familiar? Yes, because del Rosario used the same term a day after Lorenzana’s announcement.

Malacañang immediate corrected Locsin a day later when…

On 22 June 2019, Malacañang said it “welcomes and accepts the offer of the Chinese Government to conduct a joint investigation…

But seriously, what can we expect from a Foreign Secretary who conducts Foreign Policy over Twitter?

ANOTHER DEL ROSARIO PR STUNTWhile Locsin was busy defying Duterte…

On 21 June 2019, del Rosario engaged in yet another PR stunt when he attempted to enter Hong Kong and told the immigration counter that his purpose for visit is to attend a First Pacific board meeting.

Yes, he told China in China that he will be reporting to First Pacific in China, the same First Pacific that controls PXP Energy that China seems to deeply detest.

Del Rosario even (mis)used his courtesy diplomatic passport, suggesting that his HK tête-à-tête is official business of the Philippine Government. He was denied entry, of course.

A day later, DFA said it’s cancelling all courtesy diplomatic passports issued to former Foreign Secretaries and retired ambassadors, halting del Rosario’s PR barrage.
Del Rosario on a final attempt at a Dick Cheney?

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Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David's statement denying complicity in the now-discredited Bikoy Videos show glaring inconsistencies, suggesting that the bishop is either a hypocrite or a liar... or is he something else?

Let's discuss.

In a statement dated 06 June 2019, Caloocan Bishop Fr. Virgilio David admitted that he met Peter Joemel "Bikoy" Advincula in early February of this year. David said Davao's Jesuit Fr. Albert Alejo, accompanied by Advincula, met with him briefly.

David wrote:
“I expected only him but he came accompanied by a man whom he did not even properly introduce to me. Since I could spare less than an hour and was rushing to another appointment at 9am, I met them only for a little while, over coffee."
David added:
"Perhaps conscious of the time constraint, Fr. Alejo told me very briefly that the man’s life was in danger, that he was being pursued by a drug syndicate he used to work with, and that he needed sanctuary. He was a chubby bespectacled young man; he struck me also as a glib-talker."
“Glib” means fluent but insincere.

David went on to explain that situations like those "are not new" to him, and that he the term "drug syndicate" raised a red flag. He then said he advised Alejo to "seek help from people who might be in a better position" to deal with Advincula's situation.

He said "it was not until months later" that David recognized the man in the videos as the Advincula that he met in February and went on to say:
"Perhaps if I had not been in such a rush, I would have followed my instincts and naïvely provided sanctuary to a SNAKE!"

A few things off about Bishop David’s statementDavid said he felt insincerity on Advincula’s part so he didn’t take Alejo’s request seriously. But then, David also said the meeting was very brief, so is David saying that he can judge a person’s character in just a span of, say, a few minutes?

I doubt that a self-professed Man of God would judge people that quickly.

Moreover, Fr. Alejo is a very high-profile priest. He’s the same guy who helped Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas, the witnesses presented during the Senate Hearings on the War against Drugs. David knows about Alejo, yet he dismissed Alejo’s request just like that?

Just how many times has Alejo approached David for help with a whistleblower?

There are two possibilities: [1] rarely and [2] a lot.

[1] Suppose Alejo rarely approaches David
Given Alejo’s very high profile and the rarity of Alejo’s requests, David could not simply dismiss Alejo’s actions as insignificant. Even if David considers Advincula as insincere, he must have at least inquired through Alejo or other sources about what’s going on. Surely, somebody of David’s education, experience, and stature must know how to deftly deal with such situations, especially if it could backfire on him, just like what’s happening right now.
[2] Suppose Alejo approaches David a lot
If Alejo made approaching David a habit every time Alejo finds an alleged whistleblower, then David must already have a pretty good idea about Alejo’s ability in vetting people. David is a staunch critic of President Duterte’s War on Drugs, so he must be familiar with Lascañas and Matobato, both of whom are generally believed to have enjoyed Alejo’s protection. 
Assuming that David believes finds Lascañas and Matobato credible (he never spoke against either), then what is the likelihood that David also found Advincula credible when Alejo introduced the latter? 
Now, even if David found Advincula’s story incredulous when they met in February, did Alejo’s credibility in David’s eyes account for nothing? Even if Advincula seemed insincere, why did David simply dismiss Advincula’s claims despite Alejo’s backing 
Surely, David must have at least exerted some effort in investigating the Alejo-Advincula situation, yet he himself said he didn't.
Both possibilities yield blatant contradictions, suggesting that David is lying.

Now, here’s the more interesting partDavid himself said he found Advincula’s story incredulous, yet he did not speak about it when the Bikoy videos came out.

David in the same statement even wrote, “It was not until months later, when the man who had appeared as the hooded Bikoy on videos in the social media, removed his hoodie and identified himself as ‘Peter Joemel Advincula’, that I recognized the chubby bespectacled glib-talking young man I had briefly met on February 9, 2019.”

The first part of the “Ang Totoong Narco List” videos series came out during the first week of April 2019. David, given his tenacious opposition to Duterte’s Drug War, must have found about it on that same week.

Despite this, I never heard David speak about the video, despite his incessant tirades against the administration on the days that followed.

Let me illustrate:
05 April 2019: Ang Totoong Narco List Episodes 1 and 2 have been been published.
17 April 2019: In an apparent swipe against the government, David encouraged Catholics to “renounce evil” in the May 2019 elections 
19 April 2019: David attacked the administration’s senatorial slate as he asked Catholics if they’d vote for “Jesus or Barabbas” 
23 April 2019: David admonishes Catholics for allegedly blindly believing that Duterte’s Drug War is for Law and Order. 
23 April 2019: In a forum, David decried the supposed “age of disinformation”, a rebuke of the dominance pro-administration personalities in social media.
24 May 2019: Advincula flip-flops and implicates the political opposition instead.
I attempted to search for any online content dated 06 April 2019 (the day after the first two Bikoy videos were released) to 13 May 2019 (election day, or when Bikoy’s story was falling apart), online content where David directly referenced to the videos.

I also searched for any drug war-related statements from the Bishop after Advincula flip-flopped (24 May 2019) and BEFORE Advincula implicated him (01 June 2019), and I found none.
I found none.

Bishop knew Advincula was lying, he saw Advincula spread his lies for week, yet he said nothing about it, despite the bishop's uncanny interest in supposedly revealing the truth about President Duterte's Drug war.

Did David, through his recent statement, admit to being a hypocrite?

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David: a hypocrite or a liar?Suffice it to say, despite Bishop’s David’ knowledge that Advincula was blatantly lying, he never bothered to call out the lies that he knew were spreading quickly.

With these said, it appears that the bishop didn’t mind the use of lies – of disinformation – to achieve a purpose. He didn’t mind that people used the same disinformation that he was whining about during the April forum where he was a speaker.

Despite his supposed advocacy for truthfulness, Bishop David allowed Advincula’s lies to spread like wildfire despite his full knowledge that he is in a prime position to stop it… or what if we just save some time analyzing his statement by saying that his denying his complicity in the Bikoy Videos is a lie in itself?

Given these, either Bishop David is a hypocrite or he’s just another barefaced liar like Advincula.

Bishop David, which of these two do you prefer? But if you prefer something else, please do let me know, because I really want to know. [ThinkingPinoy | RJ Nieto]

(For comments, suggestions, and reactions, please send an email to tp[at]thinkingpinoy.net)

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Massive congestion in NAIA during the August 2018 Xiamen Air Incident, where a plane skidded off the runway, causing the cancellations of numerous flights as NAIA effectively lone runway is blocked.
Instead of allowing a new world-class airport, why does Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez insist on us using an ultra congested airport and another one that's a bajillion miles away? Are Sonny's personal interests getting in the way of his decision-making? Is Dominguez, like the terminated ICT Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, another poster boy for regulatory capture?

Let's talk about that in greater detail.

NAIA, the worst airport on EarthYou may not know that that Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL/NAIA) is the 32nd busiest airport on the planet, but you probably aren’t surprised. The airport handled over 45 million passengers in 2018, a six percent increase from the previous year.

This is a far cry from the United States’ Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta and China’s Beijing Capital International Airport, each of which handled over 100 million passengers in the same period. However, the fact is that NAIA is already handling 10 million more than its designed capacity of just 35 million passengers annually.

Most airports in the world have two runways each, enabling them to handle two simultaneous landings or takeoffs. NAIA has two runways too. However, NAIA can handle only one landing or takeoff at any given time because the two runways run perpendicular to each other, making simultaneous landings or takeoffs too dangerous.
A Third Runway

Addressing this issue requires building a third runway.

There was a plan to build a third runway during the Aquino Administration but it was shelved in 2015 after it was found out that it requires building over part of Paranaque’s Merville Subdivision and the closing off of Moonwalk Access Road.

That is, building the third runway requires [1] evicting hundreds of residents that would pretty much take forever, and [2] removing a crucial artery of C-5 road that will certainly worsen the already apocalyptic traffic situation in the Metro.

Building a third NAIA runway requires bulldozing a sizeable chunk of the heavily populated Merville Subdivision and building over a major feeder road to C5.
In short, it’s basically infeasible to increase the number of flights that NAIA can handle. Regardless of how many terminals we build, the fact remains that the number of aircraft that land and take off from NAIA will remain pretty much the same, unless there’s a way to more efficiently use the existing runways.

The NAIA ConsortiumThe Department of Transportation on 02 May 2019 approved the Ayala-led NAIA Consortium’s offer to upgrade NAIA. The consortium promised to increase capacity to 65 million passengers yearly as it promises to expand NAIA’s terminal complexes and increase hourly takeoff and landing movements up to 52 from the current 40, among others.

While laudable, this airport upgrade is just a band-aid solution.

These are the yearly growth rates of NAIA’s passenger traffic according to Airport Council International:

NAIA exceeded its 35 million capacity in mid-2015.
As can be seen above, NAIA, currently designed to handle only 35 million passengers annually, has already been overcrowded since mid-2015.

Today, NAIA handles over 28% more passengers than it should.

With the modest assumption that NAIA’s ridership will uniformly increase by 5% annually from hereon out, we can expect over 65 million passengers per year 7 years after 2018. That is, the band-aid solution that is the NAIA upgrade will be good enough only up to 2025.

Now, here’s the tragically funny part.

NAIA Upgrade TimelineThe NAIA Upgrade will be done in two phases:
Phase One: improvements and expanding the terminals at the existing NAIA land area. This will increase capacity to 47 million passengers annually and will take two (2) years to build. 
Phase Two: construction of additional runway, taxiways, passenger terminals and associated support infrastructure. This will increase capacity to 65 million passengers annually and will take ten (10) years to build.
I honestly don’t know how the Ayala-led consortium will manage to find land for the extra runway, but let’s assume for now that they’ll somehow succeed expropriating land in Merville Subdivision within the intended timeframe.

Now, the NAIA Consortium hopes to start the Swiss Challenge by mid-2019, which is basically a prettier to way to say the bidding process is still ongoing.Assuming that the bidding process is magically completed by end of 2019 and construction starts immediately thereafter, it takes another twelve years to finish the the entire project.

That is, the entire NAIA Upgrade will end in 2031 at the earliest. That is passenger demand will exceed the 65 million target capacity midway through construction and by the time it’s completed in 2031 (at the earliest), NAIA would need to cater to around 85 million passengers.

That is, by the time upgrades are completed, NAIA will be handling 20 million passengers more than the new 65 million limit. That’s 31% over capacity.

The NAIA upgrade simply can't keep pace with demand. Yes, NAIA should be upgraded, but we also need a new airport to accommodate rising demand.
Yes, there may be times of economic recession in the future but I think I'd rather not entertain that thought for purposes of passenger traffic projections.

In short, the NAIA Upgrade is basically like using a flimsy band-aid to cover a stab wound.

Mathematics necessitates a second airportNo matter how we put it, the NAIA upgrade will not be enough to meet passenger demand as the “overcapacity rate” by the end of construction will be even worse than before (28% in 2018 vs 31% in 2031).

The math shown in the previous sections show that with the NAIA Upgrade and without a second airport, regular Filipinos can look forward to longer flight delays, more flight cancellations, higher ticket prices and worst, the revival of inter-island shipping a la SuperFerry.

There’ll be too many passengers for such a relatively small airport, ergo not “every Juan can fly”. Imagine queuing up for a bus ride to the province on a Holy Wednesday, except that you’ll have to do it in an airport and not just only on Holy Wednesdays, but pretty much EVERY DAMN DAY OF THE YEAR.

Clark (CRK) is also an international airport but it’s simply too far away from Manila.

Fortunately, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has a proposal for a Bulacan International Airport a.k.a. New Manila International Airport (NMIA). Bulacan shares borders with Metro Manila and the proposed site is less than an hour away from Valenzuela, Metro Manila’s northernmost city.

The airport will also be built in phases but if construction starts this year, SMC said it can have an airport that can handle 35 million passengers up and running in just 3-4 years.

That’s an additional major international airport by 2024, seven years before the NAIA Consortium finishes its upgrade plan.

This is not to say that NAIA will close down. As a matter of fact, most major cities have at least two airports servicing them, such as:
  • New York: Newark (EWR), La Guardia (LGA), and John F. Kennedy (JFK)
  • Tokyo: Haneda (HND) and Narita (NRT)
  • Bangkok: Don Mueang (DMK) and Suvarnabhumi (BKK)
  • Jakarta: Halim Perdanakusuma (HLP) and Soekarno-Hatta (CGK)
  • Taipei: Songshan (TSA) and Taoyuan (TPE)
  • Kuala Lumpur: KL International (KUL) and Sultan Abdul Aziz (SZB)
  • London: Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW) and four (4) others
Metro Manila and surrounding provinces offer more than enough current and future traffic to justify two airports.

Unfortunately, it appears that the NMIA proposal is under threat as some government officials seem to oppose it.

Sonny Dominguez vs Bulacan Airport (NMIA)The Transportation Department started reviewing the SMC-financed Php 700-billion NMIA proposal in February 2017 and it granted SMC “original proponent status” in October of the same year. Had the procurement process proceeded as expected, a new airport should have started construction in mid- to late-2018.

Unfortunately, Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez appears to have been hindering this effort.

Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez
In an August 2018 interview, Socioeconomic Planning Sec. Ernesto Pernia said “Whether [NMIA] will be approved within the year or early next year, the only one who can answer that in terms of certainty is the Department of Finance.”

A month later, Dominguez questioned the Bulacan Airport proposal.

Dominguez denied causing NMIA’s delay, but his actions suggest otherwise.

In particular, he raised the following issues:

  • NMIA may depress real estate values in New Clark City.
  • NMIA may cause traffic congestion in North Luzon Expressway (NLEX)
  • NMIA may require realignment of Manila-Clark Railway
  • NMIA’s proponent may have questionable financial capabilities

Dominguez is being really weirdFIRST, the government is NOT a real estate company, so I do not understand why Dominguez is worried about real estate values in Clark.

SECOND, the solution to potential traffic congestion in NLEX is road widening, not blocking NMIA which, as was shown in earlier sections, is a critical transportation infrastructure.

THIRD, I don’t know why railway realignment is an issue for Dominguez because NMIA can simply connect its airport rail link to the nearest railway station, which is what’s done in many major airports worldwide, such as:

  • New York JFK: JFK Airtrain connects to NYC Subway via Howard Beach and Jamaica Stations (see below)
  • Singapore Changi: A spur line connects to SMRT’s Tanah Merah Station (see below)

  • Bangkok Suvarnabhumi: Bangkok Airport Rail link, a short 6-station line, connects to Phayathai MRT Station in downtown Bangkok. (see below)

In fact, SMC even plans to create a 200-kilometer elevated rail system that will connect the NMIA to EDSA, Metro Manila’s main traffic artery, enabling travelers from EDSA to arrive at the airport in just 20 minutes.

Kinda like the Hong Kong Airport Express, but elevated and much longer.

FOURTH, SMC is third largest conglomerate in the Philippines according to the 2018 Forbes 2000 list, next only to SM Investments and BDO Unibank. Moreover, SMC will be in partnership with Incheon International Airport in developing and maintaining NMIA.

Assuming Dominguez is still doubtful of SMC’s financial solvency, then why doesn’t he allow the Swiss Challenge to proceed and see if the challenger has better financial capacity for a similar undertaking?

SMC has been given original proponent status in late 2017 so the Swiss Challenge should’ve been over by 2018… but it still isn’t because, well, DOMINGUEZ.

Why does Dominguez seem so hell-bent at preventing NMIA?

Dominguez: The New Salalima?I remember those times in early 2017 when I heavily criticized then Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima, the chief legal counsel and senior adviser of Globe Telecom until his cabinet appointment on 30 June 2016, for being the poster boy for regulatory capture.

Former DICT Sec. Salalima, whom Duterte asked to resign
Regulatory capture, or where the regulated becomes the regulator, is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

In Salalima’s case, what we saw was a telecoms regulator whose entire career prior to his appointment suggests deep loyalty to telecoms firm Globe.

President Duterte eventually fired him in late 2017 because, in the President’s own words, “many complained to me that he appeared to be partial because he's a former vice president of Globe.”

Dominguez’ situation may not be very different from Salalima’s.

Dominguez and the Zobel de AyalasEarly in his career, Dominguez joined the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) until he became the President of BPI Agricultural Development Bank, known today as BPI Direct Savings Bank after a name change in 1990.

Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez
BPI and its subsidiaries are majority-owned and -controlled by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who currently sits as Chairman of the Board.

Dominguez left BPI and Zobel de Ayala when former President Corazon Aquino made him Enviroment Secretary in 1986, but the two still share strong a business relationship up until Dominguez’ 2016 appointment as PRRD’s Finance Secretary.

Dominguez’ family owns conglomerate Alcantara Group of Davao City. The Alcantara Group, in turn, owns Alsons Consolidated where Dominguez was a director, leaving just days before he took over the Department of Finance in 2016.

Alsons has an existing multi-billion peso joint venture (JV) real estate project with Jaime Augusto’s Ayala Land called Aviana Development Corp. Incorporated in 2013, Aviana is developing an approximately 27-hectare waterfront property in Lanang, Davao City.

An artist's depiction of Davao City's Azuela Cove, a joint venture between Dominguez's family corporation and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala's Ayala Land. It is still under construction.
In short, Dominguez’s family has a multi-billion-peso business relationship with Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

Why is this relevant?The NAIA Consortium is Ayala Corporation’s brainchild, the same Ayala who "coincidentally" happens to be the premier business partner of Dominguez’ Family and a sister company of the bank where Dominguez spent his young professional life.

New Manila International Airport in Bulacan, on the other hand, is by San Miguel Corporation and a Korean Company: Ayala has no stake in the project.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since 2014, NMIA developer San Miguel Corporation’s largest shareholder is Iñigo Zobel, relative of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. These two Ayalas, says sources and to put it lightly, are not the same. Iñigo inherited his fortune from father Enrique Zobel who in 1983 was estranged from the Zobel de Ayalas “main branch” where Jaime Augusto belongs. That is, Iñigo’s businesses are separate and oftentimes in competition with Jaime Augusto’s Ayala Corp.
Now, some may see NMIA as a threat to the profitability of the Php 350-billion NAIA upgrade project, especially since NMIA, upon total completion, will be able to handle 100 million passengers yearly, potentially turning it into the country's premier aviation hub and NAIA into a secondary airport.

But from the point of view of an average Filipino, I do not care which is which, as long as we have aviation infrastructure than can meet the public demand, and that is what we can't have if we won't build a new airport.

What we have here is a Finance Secretary who has the final say on the NMIA proposal, despite his strong personal links to NMIA’s competitor. Instead of inhibiting from the issue out of delicadeza, Dominguez further complicated matters as he openly spoke against NMIA despite his family’s business interests with the Ayala Corporation.

And by the way, Dominguez’ efforts toward protecting..
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Dear Karen Davila,
My manager spoke to me recently and he relayed to me what you had to say. It's funny that this is the second time you've tried to reach me through channels, even if you can very easily get hold of my phone number by calling our common friends.

Anyhow, here's what I've got to say in return.

Your latest complaintThe latest post you're complaining about is a blind item. You weren't named anywhere on that post, so why are you so affected? 

Note that I didn't cite the post here because I do not want to make that issue bigger than it should be, or for it to take on dimensions that I didn't intend it to take. I may be an asshole, but not 24-7.

Yes, the commenters tried to guess who that person is, but is it really ethical for me to suppress my followers' Freedom of Speech just because you didn't like what they say?


Are you sure that Duterte is the dictator or is it some supposedly veteran journalist that’s so onion-skinned, she wants to silence people who don’t like her?

Going by your logic, should we blame you for the public ridicule that Alma Moreno and Manny Pacquiao had to suffer after they guested in your show?

Karen, please check the constitutionality of your requests before you blurt them out.

I personally think you have much to improve in your journalism, but I never crusaded for your involuntary silence.

Heck! I actually want you to talk even more because you, to put it lightly, amuse me every now and then. But contrary to what you would like to believe, I do not exist to torment you: it just so happens that you commit gaffes far more often than most high-profile journalists, and it would be hypocritical of me not to point them out.

Honestly, I haven't seen any other high-profile journalist commit the same kind of glaring mistakes that you do.

And why would I keep quiet about them? They are matters of Public Interest, and I am not indebted to you in any way, shape, or form.

A Code of OmertaWhile it is true that there's supposedly an unwritten rule that journalists don't attack other journalists, I think that this rule doesn't apply to "our" case because:
First, you and your colleagues in traditional media don't consider us journalists but mere "fake news purveyors". Do you suddenly consider "fake news purveyors" as journalists when it's convenient for you?
Second, journalists should be able to take what they dish out. Are you telling me that you can't take criticism when criticizing people has been your job for decades? Have you never heard of Media Lens UK, Karen?
Third, you have talked about me unfavorably in your show several times, yet never have you respected my Right of Reply. Heck, you didn’t even bother to ask my side on that episode about the October 2017 Fake News Senate Hearing, despite me being the topic of that specific episode.
Who was being unethical then, Karen? And you even have the gall to ask for fairness?

But that is not to mean that I exert no effort to be as fair as possible. 

As far as I can recall, I have never made up stuff about you. Everything I’ve said about you were either based on publicly available footage or information that I have verified using at least two independent sources.

On your fake news about meWith that said, you told my manager that you were so hurt when I allegedly said Senator Trillanes bought you and your husband a pricey condominium unit. I find that funny because this was not the first time you brought that up.

About a year or so ago, you called a common friend to complain about that exact thing. I was with him when you were having the conversation.

Asked where you found that post, you said you saw it in “ThinkingPinoy.info”, which is not my site because I own as far as I can recall only ThinkingPinoy with the top-level domains .com, .net, .org, .com.ph, .net.ph, and .org.ph, specifically to prevent copycats from using my brand. I specifically decided against purchasing rights over .info because any decent netizen will know that they usually are used by fake news sites so I do not wanna spend my money on protecting my brand from something that is unlikely to be a threat.

Do not blame me for your technological ignorance as your ignorance, technological or otherwise, is not my fault.

I vividly remember our common friend telling you that I never wrote that Trillanes-bought-you-a-condo issue because I do not own the source site you cited yet years later, you still insist that I did what I didn’t.

Should I sue you for slander? But more importantly, why are you spreading fake news about me? Is that the kind of journalist that I should aspire to become, seriously? 

Am I really the one spreading fake news here, Karen? Should I call the CBCP so they can include you in their list?

Onion skinYou are arguably far more well-known than I am but I think that I have already suffered a sufficient amount of bashing, enough to have the right to tell you that public figures, especially those who willingly entered the limelight like you, should not be this onion-skinned.

When I was unfairly grilled on national TV by six senators for hours on end, have you ever seen me use the victim card? When Maria Ressa slandered me all over the world for god knows how many times already, have I ever cried for sympathy? When I was unjustly blamed during 2018 PH-Kuwait Diplomatic crisis for something that I didn't do, did I ever scream "Woe is me!"?

No, I took all of them in stride. I let my followers decide who’s the insecure liar.

Now, if you are still so convinced that I have unfairly and illegally maligned you, then please do yourself a favor: next time you complain, call me directly. 

But in case a multi-awarded journalist like you is too scared to talk to a huckster like me, please tell whoever common acquaintance you’ll call next the specific post and specific location concerning the specific thing you’re complaining about.

Geez, Karen, the kind of complaining you’ve done so far smacks of bad journalism. A simple Who What When Where and How is an SOP: you don’t just call random people and complain about something you can’t even describe accurately.

Truth in journalismYou see, Karen, ThinkingPinoy started as a pedestrian putok-sa-buho who got so sick and tired of Mass Media’s slanted reporting that he took it upon himself to call out the hypocrisy and the lies bombarding the masses every day.

Despite your visible dislike for our current president, be thankful that you work in the Philippines.

Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, and even the much-ridiculed pundits of Fox News would have had a field day had you been working in the United States… although that assumes you can, in one way or another, become famous enough to be within range of their radar.

And don’t even get me started with the much more virulent European Press.

Karen, had you taken considerable and noticeable efforts to improve your journalism, I would have already forgotten all about you by now. But judging from your latest stunt with Vico Sotto, it appears that you really are the gift that keeps on giving.

When you so publicly expect so much from others like Manny Pacquiao and Alma Moreno, the public will also expect much from you.

I am part of that public.

Yes, I agree that I may not be as good as the person that I want you to become, but have you ever heard me complain to you about the flak I get from the public?

Despite all theseDespite everything I’ve said so far, I actually am happy that you got to where you are right now. I know you have sacrificed a lot to achieve what you’ve achieved. I will not – and I have no plans to – take any of that from you. Your success is your success.

But getting to the top is easier than staying on top, and that second thing is the challenge you’re facing today.

Will you stay on top by complaining to lesser humans like me, or by honing your craft and stopping the hypocrisy?

Think about it.

And no, I do not hate you: I just want you to be better.

I want you to be a better journalist not for your own sake, but for the sake of those who watch you every day. Filipinos have suffered long enough, so please don’t make them suffer any further.

Legit Journalists don't act the way you do right now.

Note that I have been intentionally vague here because I tried my best to minimize any embarrassment that this may cause you. Yes, despite everything I've written, I was actually trying my best to hold back.

Pramis, hindi pa ako beast mode ng lagay na 'to.  Had I written this with beast mode activated, you would have had a splitting headache... or at least a "splitting image" of it . 

Now toughen up.
Sincerely,RJ Nieto
Publisher, ThinkingPinoy

P.S. Honestly, I prefer myself being called the The Splitting Image of a Dutch riding an above-ground subway in Cambridge.


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There's a win-win solution, actually.

While at the wake of my mentor Jojo A. Robles, I had a conversation with a friend who happens to be a talent at ABS-CBN She told me she doesn't agree with me with my stance on ABS-CBN prospective closure.

I will conceal my friend's identity for her own protection. For purposes of discussion, I'll call her "Sunset".

My friend was actually referring to article "Angel Locsin v. Jimmy Bondoc: THINK, ANGEL, THINK!", where I basically grilled ABS-CBN actress Angel Locsin for her poorly-informed rebuke of singer Jimmy Bondoc's earlier post.

BONDOC VS LOCSINLocsin was reacting to Bondoc's post where the latter said he's "excited to see the biggest tv network close down" after describing the network as "a snake pit, where success is based on politics and sexual favors."

Jimmy didn't mention ABS-CBN, but I think we all know what he really meant.

Several camps have alleged that bullying, sexual harassment, and fraud are rampant in ABS-CBN, and I personally encourage victims to come forward and file complaints.

Gretchen Fullido blazed the trail, and she's finding much success right now after a Quezon City Court indicted news anchor Ces Drilon and a couple of other ABS-CBN network executives for the libel Gretchen Filed.

SUNSET'S POINTGoing back to what Sunset was saying, she said that while Jimmy may be justified in raising several important issues, Jimmy should have been more circumspect in the words that he used.

Sunset explained that Jimmy, instead of just expressing his disgust over the alleged crimes happening within the media firm, insulted thousands of innocent workers who work there.

I think I got her point, and I think her point is valid.

Jimmy seems to have adopted a scorched earth strategy when he wrote that statement: instead of simply criticizing the network's owners and the corrup person inside it, his use of the words "excited to see the biggest tv network close down", while striking, may indeed be a tad too much.

Let me explain why.

THE FRANCHISE ISSUEJust like Pres. Rody Duterte, I want the Lopezes to pay back the billions of pesos they owe the government, the same billions that may prevent the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise next year. And the government pressuring the Lopezes into paying back the loans need not, and likely will not, result to ABS-CBN's closure.The fact of the matter, however, is that there are so many ways to deal with that issue without requiring ABS-CBN to close down:

FIRST: The Lopezes can simply pay the money back, similar to the what Mighty Corporation did a few years ago. The Lopezes owe the government is a lot less than what Mighty had to pay back so it should be easier to settle.

If that happens, then closure would be unnecessary. Otherwise, this leads us to...

SECOND: Should the Lopez Group lack the necessary liquidity to settle the debts in time, they can sell off assets to meet the requirement. The Lopez Group is worth billions of pesos' so while it's true that a few billion pesos will hurt its balance sheets, I doubt that it's enough to run the company into the ground.

If that happens, then closure would be unnecessary. Otherwise, this leads us to...

THIRD: In the assumption that they cannot (or unwilling to) pay, the government can just added pressure by not renewing its franchise.

If the Lopezes yield then finito. Otherwise...

FOURTH: I've heard from the grapevine that the Lopezes have managed to acquire an obscure TV station with an active franchise as a Plan B in case ABS-CBN doesn't get renewed. However, I have checked various TV franchises and I see that they contain a Non-Transferability Clause which, in simpler terms, means no part of a TV franchise can be tranferred to anyone.

Should ABS-CBN insist on using the said franchise to legalize its operations, Congress can simply cancel that other franchise as its well within its powers to do so.

FIFTH: Should the Lopezes play dirty by bringing the issue to the Supreme Court, I can so far see only two things happening...
A. The High Court respects the separation of powers, so that it will not interfere with Congress' decision to revove that obscure network's franchise, or, 
B. The High Court gives the case due course, then PRRD can in theory just play as dirty as ABS-CBN. After all, PRRD would have already appointed 11 out of the 15 SC Justices by end of 2019, a year before ABS-CBN's current franchise expires.
The Lopezes should be well aware of the fourth and fifth points so if I were them, I would just pay back what I owe to spare me the trouble. That is, whichever way things go, it seems that the Lopezes will eventually end up paying, and paying resolves the issue.

THE WORST-CASE SCENARIOThe worst-case scenario that I can see is the Lopez Family selling all or part of its 55% stake at ABS-CBN to someone else, i.e. ABS-CBN continues operating albeit with a new set of owners.

Based on ABS-CBN's 2018 General Information Sheet, the Lopez Group owns around 55% of ABS-CBN, or about 481 million common shares. That's worth about Php 9 billion using today's ABS-CBN share price of P18.60.

As far as I know, ABS-CBN owes the government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines Php 1.67 billion. Adding possible surcharges and penalties, I think Php 9 billion is more than enough to pay the loans back. 

The Lopezes, should they lack sufficiently liquidity today, can just self half of their stake and they'll have enough. The Lopezes may also opt to sell their almost one billion preferred shares, worth over Php 18 billion. They even opt to sell a mixture of both commo and preferred stocks. Moreover, the Lopezes may also secure a bank loan to finance the debt repayment, thereby avoiding the need to lose any control over the firm. 

Whichever way, it is clear here that while the repayment of the DBP loan may hurt the Lopezes, it is extremely unlikely that ABS-CBN will close down just because of it. 

Thus, I think that it was unnecessary for Jimmy to go as far as expressing his excitement of ABS-CBN's supposed closure. While we couldn't care less about how rich (or less rich) the Lopezes will be, we should also think about how the lowly salaried employees will feel as soon as they hear news that the network is about to close shop, even if it it likely won't.

Like President Duterte, I am a very practical person: I'd rather have erring citizens pay stuff back than crush them because latter doesn't really do anyone any good.

The point here is this: Jimmy may have gone overboard when he raised the issue of closure. If I were him, I would've said "I am excited to see one of the richest abusive oligarchs fall down" instead. That way, he would not have caused undue worry among the thousands of less affluent employees of the station. 

I myself take extra care when posting statements so I can minimize collateral damage.

Truth be told, I think it's safe to say that most ABS-CBN employees don't care who owns ABS-CBN, as long as they have a job, such as the single mother that relies solely on her ABS-CBN job to feed her five kids. Meanwhile, the government is after the Lopezes for their unpaid debts and not the Lopezes' employees. 

Hence, it would've been so much better if Jimmy focused solely on the Lopezes and the Lopezes alone. After all, it's the Lopezes who didn't pay back the loans and not their lowly employees.

Jimmy should've used more precise verbiage, as opposed to one that attacked not only his intended targets, but also those who he wants to protect. 

As for Angel, I stand by my statement that if she insists on inserting herself into politically-charged issues, I highly suggest that she read up a bit first. [ThinkingPinoy]


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Angel Locsin's retort to Jimmy Bondoc's post is disappointing, to say the least.

BackgroundSinger Jimmy Bondoc in a 22 May 2019 post said he's "excited to see the biggest tv network close down".

Bondoc raised three core issues concerning the network:

  • Rigged contests that are "manipulated to suit the whims of hidden bosses" or whose winners are pre-determined,
  • News for sale, where the "highest bidder gets the (favorable) slant" and where "foreign groups are usually the victors",
  • "Countless victims", ranging "from sexual harrassment to plain and simple bullying"

ABS-CBN actress Angel Locsin reactsWhile he didn't name which network it is, I think we all know he's referring to the media giant ABS-CBN that's under threat of closure after its 25-year congressional franchise expire in 2020 because earlier this year, Pres. Duterte said he'll object to the renewal of its franchise as he accused the network of swindling public funds.

In retaliation to Bondoc, ABS-CBN actress Angel Locsin said:
"The network might not be perfect but for you to be happy about thousands of people losing their jobs is pure evil."

Kapamilya actress Angel Locsin (@143redangel) fired back at singer Jimmy Bondoc after the latter said he is excited to see “the biggest TV network close down” referring to ABS-CBN.

Read full story here: https://t.co/4DD6ppqwQI pic.twitter.com/EPUNal3GBE
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) May 23, 2019

I find Locsin's reaction utterly amusing. I mean, did she just downplay criminal acts?

Locsin presumably read the entirety of Bondoc's post. While she admitted that the "the network might not be perfect", she never denied the widespread sexual harrassment, bullying, and criminal fraud that Bondoc accused the network of.

Did Locsin just dismiss these patently felonious practices as mere "imperfections"?

Surely, sexual harassment, criminal fraud and bullying are issues that can never be justified because the networks creates "thousands of jobs", right?

First, Sexual harassmentLocsin’s words remind me of the Zamboanga del Norte Congressman Romeo Jalosjos.

As described in People v Jalosjos, Jalosjos in 1996 raped an 11-year-old girl in at least nine separate occasions, for which he was sentenced to decades of imprisonment.

The same Supreme Court decisions states that Jalosjos gave the girl an allowance every time he rapes her.

For example:
“…he asked her to fondle his penis while he caressed her breasts and inserted his finger into her vagina. After their shower, accused-appellant ate breakfast. He gave Rosilyn P5,000.00…”
Going by Locsin’s logic, Jalosjos “might not be perfect” but for us to be happy that the girl can’t have a few thousand pesos every time she’s raped is pure evil.

You are a woman, Miss Locsin, you should know better.

Miss Locsin, you didn’t think that one through.

As for News for Sale and Bullying...
Angel never denied Bondoc’s accusation that the network slants news in favor of the highest bidder and just like Bondoc’s accusation of widespread sexual harassment in the firm.

Instead, Locsin very conveniently used the term “imperfect” to describe the network. Ain’t that a little too easy, Miss Locsin? ABS-CBN News reaches millions of Filipinos on a daily basis. Did you, Miss Locsin, belittle the catastrophic effects of widespread disinformation just because ABS-CBN provides “thousands of jobs”?

And bullying, geez! Miss Locsin, no less than your father is a Person with Disability (PWD), and we all know that PWDs are very common victims of bullying. That’s why I was shocked to discover that you simply ignored Bondoc’s allegations of widespread bullying in ABS-CBN.

Have you nothing to say about the cases ABS-CBN anchor Gretchen Fullido filed against several network executives and Ces Oreña-Drilon? A regional trial court has already indicted them on at least one of those cases, yet as far as I can recall, you said NOTHING about it.

Moreover, while I couldn’t care less about whoever wins whatever ABS-CBN contest, I am just surprised to discover that you ignored Bondoc’s allegation that the network or its executives rig contests, as you yourself are a judge of the ABS-CBN'S Pilipinas Got Talent.

Pilipinas Got Talent Season 5: Meet The Judges - YouTube

Miss Locsin, you’re either severely hypocritical or aggressively ignorant.

But I'm not done yet.

On swindling public fundsPres. Duterte accused ABS-CBN of swindling government funds. Angel, being a politically active aware individual after endorsing her nephew Neri Colmenares’ 2019 senatorial bid, should also be aware of this..

Angel Locsin draws crowds at Neri Colmenares' COC filing - YouTube

Citing massive unpaid loans from the government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Pres. Rody Duterte on 06 March 2019 said he will oppose attempts to renew the congressional franchise of Lopez-owned media giant ABS-CBN.


Citing massive unpaid loans from the Development Bank of the Philippines, Pres. Rody Duterte said he will oppose attempts to renew the congressional franchise of media giant ABS-CBN.

PRRD said, "The franchise is up for renewal. You ask if I'll object? Yes, I will object! Unang-una, yung utang nila (sa DBP), tablahin natin yan?"

[TRANSLATION: The franchise is up for renewal. You ask if I'll object? Yes, I will object! First of all, their (DBP) loan, should we just forget about it?]

PRRD said during the 1st Anniversary celebration of the Presidential Anti-corruption Commission held in Malacañang on 06 March 2019.

ABS-CBN's 25-year congressional franchise expires in 2020 and it needs to be renewed for the media giant to continue TV operations..

TV franchises are given via Republic Acts passed by Congress. PRRD, as the Chief Executive, has the option to veto Republic Acts.
Posted by Thinking Pinoy on Wednesday, March 6, 2019
PRRD said:
"The franchise is up for renewal. You ask if I'll object? Yes, I will object! Unang-una, yung utang nila (sa DBP), tablahin natin yan?" 
[TRANSLATION: The franchise is up for renewal. You ask if I'll object? Yes, I will object! First of all, their (DBP) loan, should we just forget about it?]
ABS-CBN's 25-year congressional franchise expires in 2020 and it needs to be renewed for the media giant to continue TV operations. TV franchises are given via Republic Acts passed by Congress... and PRRD, as the Chief Executive, has the option to veto Republic Acts.

Here's a partial list of unpaid DBP loans secured by the ABS-CBN owners Lopez Group:

1: Maynilad Water Services, Inc.: P710.86 millionLoan granted in 2001 and started to default in 2003. The Lopezes controlled maynilad until 2006. DMCI Homes and MVP's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation took over in 2007.

2: Bayan Telecommunications, Inc. (BayanTel): P591.81 millionLoan granted in 1995 and started to default in 2001. The Lopezes controlled Bayantel until Globe Telecom started to take over in 2012, with the government finally approving the takeover bid in 2015.

3: Central CATV Inc. (SKYcable)—P207.10 millionLoan granted in 1997 and started to default in 2001. The Lopezes control Skycable a.k.a. Central CATV Inc up to this day.

4: Benpres Holdings Corporation (Lopez Group of Companies)—P157. 95 millionThen called Benpres Holdings, DBP granted the loan in 1996. default started in 2002. The Lopez Group owns ABS-CBN, among Others.
The said DBP loans are over P1.67 billion in total.

Given these, did Locsin just say that we should overlook ABS-CBN’s failure to pay P1.67 billion owed to the Filipino People just because ABS-CBN provides “thousands of jobs”?

Miss Locsin, you didn’t think that one through.

Your nephew, the losing Otso Diretso senatoriable Neri Colmenares loves to paint himself as an anti-corruption advocate. By very publicly endorsing Colmenares, I can only surmise that you yourself are against corruption, right?

Now, how would you reconcile your anti-corruption stance with either your ignorance of matters that directly concern you or your giving a cold shoulder to what could be a monumental case of corruption?

Miss Locsin, you’re either severely hypocritical or aggressively ignorant, so to give you the benefit of the doubt, let’s just say you didn’t think that one through.

“Thousands of Jobs”Regardless of the points I raised in the previous sections, I cannot just ignore the fact that ABS-CBN does provide thousands of jobs of Filipinos.

My problem with your argument, however, is your apparent incognizance of the widespread and long-standing labor issues plaguing the network, specifically its Internal Job Market (IJM).

In 2010, ABS-CBN IJM Workers’ Union blasted the network for alleged unjust dismissals and worker harassment.

Union president Antonio Perez claimed that management had discriminately terminated, delayed, or rearranged work schedules of dozens of ABS-CBN IJM workers [ABS].

In a statement, the workers’ union said:
“The management only offered… regular status to selected workers, and it entails waiver of all complaints of the worker against the management, no back-pay or recognition of the delayed regular status supposed to be granted for those who served for long years already, among other conditions.”
Let’s cite another case, just for kicks.
In Fulache v ABS-CBN, where the Supreme Court said ABS-CBN “forgot labor law and its realities” and that it “acted with patent bad faith” in the case involving several retrenched cameramen, editors, and drivers, who accused the network of violating laws on regularization and engaging in unfair labor practices. 
The High Court ruled in favor of the unjustly terminated employees and ordered the network to pay damages.
Miss Locsin, you may have a distorted idea of the quality of the “thousands of jobs” that ABS-CBN offers, maybe because you only know of the rates paid to pretty frontline employees like you, but are you aware of the plight of those who work behind the camera?

Again, Miss Locsin, you’re either severely hypocritical or aggressively ignorant, so to give you the benefit of the doubt, let’s just say you didn’t think that one through too.

Think, Miss Locsin, think... and only after then should you talk. Don't contribute to the misinformation. Please try to see beyond your nose.

I do not expect omniscience on your part but please, read up a bit. [ThinkingPinoy | RJ Nieto]


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NBI Cybercrime, you may have overlooked a website that could have caused even more damage than any of the five websites you mentioned in your Bikoy report.

And here I am to help.

According to a Philippine Star article, you noted in the complaint that the libelous and seditious “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video was posted by different social media sites, 'having the front runners to wit:'
  • Pinoy Ako Blog
  • Change Scamming
  • Metro Balita
  • Madam Claudia
  • What the FACT blog
In the 03 May 2019 Thinking Pinoy article “Hey NBI, here’s a new lead for your Bikoy Video investigation”, a response to the Philippine Star article cited above, I earnestly attempted to help law enforcement by giving leads on some of these websites, with particular attention to the erstwhile totally anonymous “Change Scamming” blog.

The four-part “Ang Totoong Narco List” video series are more commonly known as the “Bikoy Videos”.

I thought it was over, until I stumbled upon another site which, judging from the dates of its posts and the engagement the posts garnered, may also qualify as a “front runner” like the five previously mentioned.

And I am referring to “Now You Know”, with Facebook handle @NowYouKnowPh.

As of 3:42 am of 07 May 2019, NowYouKnow (NYK) has over 667,000 likes and over 674,000 followers [Archived].

NowYouKnow has over THREE TIMES more followers than Pinoy Ako Blog (230,000), over FIVE TIMES more than Change Scamming (115,000), and over TWENTY TIMES more followers than What the Fact Blog (57,000). 

That is, in terms of potential propaganda damage caused, Now You Know dwarfs each of the these three websites mentioned in the NBI report.

To hammer the point home, here's the FaceBook page insights data taken at 08:10 AM 07 May 2019 of the pages listed in the PhilStar article (MetroBalita has already been unpublished) plus Now You Know:

Note that my page, Thinking Pinoy, is included by default because I used the Facebook Insights tool on that page. There's no option to remove it from the list.

As you can see, Now You Know's engagement is comparable to that of Pinoy Ako Blog, the strongest page among the five mentioned in the PhilStar article.
What did “Now You know” do?Now You Know did not simply share the videos from the original youtube source. Instead, the page itself hosted each of the four Bikoy videos, garnering hundreds of thousands of views as of this article’s writing.

Let’s enumerate the instances.

For Ang Totoong Narco List Episode 1

Video Title: The "true" narco list?

Video Description:
A week ago, Now You Know did a story on ex-cop Eduardo Acierto's testimonies exposing the alleged involvement of certain Chinese Nationals in the illegal drug trade in the Philippines. Among them is the controversial former "economic adviser" of President Duterte, Michael Yang. Acierto also floated names of political personalities such as the former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

Today, NYK received another video presenting a testimony of a certain "BIKOY" (not his real name) who claims to be a former member of a big drug syndicate that operates in Southern Luzon and Visayas region. Bikoy presented in the video "the true narcolist" along with other documents that lead to big names behind certain illegal drug transactions.

Showing a series of evidences, Bikoy's camp claims that Presidential Son Paolo Duterte is one of the names behind such operations.

Watch this.

#NYK See Less
Upload Date: 02 April 2019, 01:33 PM

Engagement as of 07 May 2019 2:20 AM:
2,900 reactions; 
Link: https://www.facebook.com/nowyouknowph/videos/428970197912289/

Archived Copy: http://archive.fo/KIHJW

For Episode 2 (1st Upload)

Video Title: 2nd part: The "true" narco list?

Video Description:
After exposing the alleged involvement of Presidential son Paolo Duterte in the illegal drug trade in the country as indicated in the TARA--an internal document used by the drug syndicate in their financial transactions--the second part of the exposé reveals another name from the Duterte family.

In this video NYK received today, "BIKOY" (not his real name) reveals that Presidential daughter Kitty Duterte also "gets a part" in the illegal drug trade as she allegedly hides behind the name of Veronica Salvador.

Meanwhile, Paolo Duterte in his social media post on Tuesday responded and lashed out at a certain J.S., whom he tagged as being behind the video detailing his supposed connection to a drug syndicate.
“Wow ha kung makaimbento ka wagas. Galit ka kay Waldo kasi binabara niya lahat ng smuggling mo ng bigas at asukal diba J.S.," wrote Duterte.
Watch this.


Upload date: 04 April 2019, 11:21 AM

Engagement as of 07 May 2019 2:00 AM:
621 reactions;
Link: https://www.facebook.com/nowyouknowph/videos/2249963005242374

Archived Copy: http://archive.is/ik4ei

For Episode 2 (2nd upload)

Video Title: 2nd part: The "true" narco list?

Video Description:
After exposing the alleged involvement of Presidential son Paolo Duterte in the illegal drug trade in the country as indicated in the TARA--an internal document used by the drug syndicate in their financial transactions--the second part of the exposé reveals another name from the Duterte family.
In this video NYK received today, "BIKOY" (not his real name) reveals that Presidential daughter Kitty Duterte also "gets a part" in the illegal drug trade as she allegedly hides behind the name of Veronica Salvador.
Meanwhile, Paolo Duterte in his social media post on Tuesday responded and lashed out at a certain J.S., whom he tagged as being behind the video detailing his supposed connection to a drug syndicate.
“Wow ha kung makaimbento ka wagas. Galit ka kay Waldo kasi binabara niya lahat ng smuggling mo ng bigas at asukal diba J.S.," wrote Duterte.
Watch this. 

Upload date: 04 April 2019, 11:27 AM

Engagement as of 07 May 2019 2:02 AM:
4,100 reactions;
Link: https://www.facebook.com/nowyouknowph/videos/1335941513223695

Archived Copy: http://archive.is/FRi9a

For Episode 3

Video Title: 3rd Part: The "true" narco list?

Video Description:
BIKOY’s camp is out again with another episode of the “true” narco list, now bringing into light another big name in the national politics. This exposé claims Former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go holds a high position in the drug syndicate as one of the “principals”. Go’s alleged involvement to the illegal drug operations can also be testified by the TARA—an internal document used by drug syndicate’s operations.

According to this video received by Now You Know this morning, Go also has a dragon tattoo on his back with an alphanumeric code of COATLIBRA-0018. Like what this camp demanded from presidential son Polong Duterte, they also urge Go to show his back to the public.
Watch this.
Upload date: 08 April 2019, 12:31 PM

Engagement as of 07 May 2019 1:49 AM:
4,700 reactions;
Link: https://www.facebook.com/nowyouknowph/videos/2040357599403206/

Archived Copy: http://archive.is/wmDIo 

For Episode 4


Video Description:
“BIKOY,” who claims to formerly be part of the inner circle of a big drug syndicate in the Philippines, is apparently not done with his expose. Here he is once more with Episode 4 of his series, “Ang Totoong Narco List.”
The next drug syndicate major player revealed in this video released to NowYouKnow on April 13, 2019 is yet another member of the Duterte family. Want to know who it is? Watch this.

Upload date: 13 April 2019, 12:36 PM

Engagement as of 07 May 2019 1:55 AM:
188,000 views;3,500 reactions;1,700 comments,

Link: https://www.facebook.com/nowyouknowph/videos/275905503289157

Archived Copy: http://archive.is/lBw30

Who is “Now You Know”?According to its “About Page”:
“NOW YOU KNOW (NYK) is an online civic media platform managed by volunteers that delivers relevant news and information on the burning issues of the day.”
According to the same page, NYK was founded on 15 November 2018 with the mission:
“To be the among the country's top factual information online hubs that encourage more Filipinos to be involved in important conversations on issues that impact their lives.”
According to the same page, NYK’s email is nowyouknowph@gmail.com and its website is www.nowyouknow.ph.I tried to visit nowyouknow.ph but it’s a dead link. Not content with such a result, I checked its WhoIs data.

The usual ICANN WhoIs search won’t yield any significant data since NowYouKnow.ph uses a Philippine top-level domain (.ph).

Instead, the right way to do it is to go to Dot.Ph, the official domain name registry of the Philippines, and used its Dot.Ph’s internal WhoIs tool, and that’s what I did.

Typing in “nowyouknow.ph” and hitting the search button, I got this:
WHOIS info for nowyouknow.ph
Domain Name: nowyouknow.ph
Creation Date: 2018-11-26T09:52:21 +08:00
Expiration Date: 2019-11-26T09:52:21 +08:00
Updated Date: 2018-11-26T09:52:27 +08:00
Registrar: dotPH Domains, Inc
Registrant Name: Jerry Mae Maghinay
Registrant Organization: NKY
Registrant Street: 2515 the linear Makati T2

Registrant Street 2:
Registrant Street 3:
Registrant City: MAKATI CITY
Registrant State/Province: Zambonga Sibugay
Registrant Postal Code: 7000
Registrant Country: PH
Registrant Email: mae...@...
Name Server: dns1.domains.ph
Name Server: dns2.domains.ph
Background checking the registration detailsThough riddled with typographical errors, it’s clear that the registrant’s name is a certain “Jerry Mae Maghinay” from “2515 the linear Makati T2”.

Now, it's possible that she's not the same Maghinay mentioned in the WhoIs records.

However, scrolling down her public timeline shows a 28 March 2019 post [Archived] as shown below:

Either this is the same Maghirang or its just one gigantic coincidence that I sincerely doubt.
Why is this relevant?
Well, a google search for “Jerry Mae Maghinay” [Archived] doesn’t yield any significant results. A search for “2515 the linear Makati T2” [Archived], however, does yield some very interesting information.

More specifically, this writer discovered a volunteer organization database entry [Archived] about a certain project called “YBH BANGKARUNUNGAN & SOLAR LAMPS TUNROVER (SITIO LIPATA CARAMOAN)” with the following contact information:

Mae A. Maghinay
chief.hopepaddler@yellowboat.orgYellow Boat of Hope Foundation
In short, available data suggests that the Maghinay mentioned in the WhoIs data is the same as the Maghinay I found on Facebook. Here's one of the photos of herself that she shared publicly [Archived]:

The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation
Next thing I did was to background check “Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation”.

The said foundation described itself in its about page that partly reads:
The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, formerly referred to as the The Philippine Funds for Little Kids, started as a national movement to help children who used to swim to school in the mangrove village of Layag-Layag, Brgy. Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City.
Zamboanga? This may partly explain the seeming typographical error in NowYouKnow.PH's WhoIs registry entry.

At the bottom of the page is the foundation’s address and contact information [Archived], and I quote:
Suite 2515, The Linear Makati Tower 2, Yakal cor.
Mayapis St. Makati City, PHILIPPINES, 1607

A deeper look at Yellow BoatHere’s what can be gleaned from the foundation’s website:
Yellow Boat is an “Angat Buhay” partner, according to its 13 April 2019 blog post [Archived] where it thanked Vice-president Leni Robredo. Angat Buhay’s flagship project [MB].
Meanwhile, the foundation’s two founders are Anton Mari H. Lim, DVM and Jay Michael O. Jaboneta, according to its “Board and Management” page [Archived].

Yellow Boat co-founders Anton Lim (left) and Jay Jaboneta (right).

Yellow Boat's founders are very interesting.

According to a 16 February 2011 post by The Asia Foundation [Archived], Yellow Boat co-founder Anton Mari H. Lim, DVM is “on the board member of People Power Volunteers for Change – campaign supporters who have organized themselves to help President (Benigno) Aquino’s administration.”

During Pres. Benigno Aquino’s incumbency, Lim was also a commissioner of the EDSA People Power Commission [PhilStar|Archived], a government agency tasked with “institutionalizing the legacy of the EDSA People Power Revolution”[EO 82 s.99]

During the Noynoy Aquino administration, Yellow Boat co-founder Anton Lim was a commissioner of the People Power Commission.

Meanwhile, the other co-founder Jay Michael Jaboneta in his personal website [Archived] describes himself as “the first and former Director for New Media under the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and started the team that managed Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III’s official website and social networking presence.”
Yellow Boat Foundation co-founder Jay Jaboneta in..
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Hey NBI guys, I heard you're looking for other people, so let me humbly give you a few leads that you may have overlooked.
Note to Mr. Rodel Jayme: for your own sake, better spill the beans ASAP so you can still become a state witness.  Your would-be testimony may become unnecessary very soon.
Other websites of interest
According to a Philippine Star article, you noted in the complaint that the libelous and seditious “Ang Totoong Narcolist” video was posted by different social media sites, 'having the front runners to wit:'
  • Pinoy Ako Blog
  • Change Scamming
  • Metro Balita
  • Madam Claudia
  • What the FACT blog
Furthermore, you guys said, "Continuous efforts were conducted to uncover personalities behind these accounts. Recently, crucial information on METRO BALITA were gathered. Hence, emphasis and focus were made.”

From what I understand, you dealt with Metro Balita first because information about it was already on your hands, which suggests that you are still digging for information about the others.

A little housekeeping
Because I am a law-abiding citizen who wants to help the government enforce the law, let me give you guys a few leads in case you need them… but let’s deal with the preliminary stuff first.

First, I have no data so far about What the Fact blog so I cannot help you with that yet. Give me a little more time for that.

Second, you already know who's behind MetroBalita: Rodel Jayme, the guy you arrested recently.

Third, two of Pinoy Ako Blog's owners/operators are already known (Jover Laurio and Cocoy Dayao). There are at least two others, but Laurio and Dayao are already a good start.

Fourth, Madam Claudia used to run Google Ads under the AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-8283971809912134. In my 29 Sept 2017 #CocoyGate article "#CocoyGate: Senator Sotto, here's the guy you're looking for", I was able to connect the dots and show that it's very likely owned by Cocoy Dayao.

If you want to know how I traced these, see the following video:

Reverse Adsense ID 8283971809912134 - YouTube

So you have three names so far: Rodel Jayme, Cocoy Dayao, and Jover Laurio.

Now that we’re done with housekeeping, let’s get to the more interesting part.

Who is behind Change Scamming?As was shown in the 29 September 2017 ThinkingPinoy article “#CocoyGate: Senator Sotto, here's the guy you're looking for”, Change Scamming used to run Google Ads under the AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-8283971809912134 (Check the #CocoyGate article in the previous paragraph).

From that same article, I also discovered, using a reverse Google AdSense Lookup, that ads linked to AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-8283971809912134 were served not only in ChangeScamming’s website, but also in at least ten other websites, namely:
  • AnuNaBes.com
  • DiKukurap.com
  • DotReport.org
  • DuterteAdminNews.com
  • FightForTruth.club
  • FixPH.org
  • PilipinongPalaban.com
  • PolitikangInaMo.com
  • SocialPatrol.ph
  • Kolektibo.com
Check the following video if you want to know how I did that:

Reverse Adsense ID 1068157602481996 - YouTube

As far as I know, a person can register under his name one AdSense account at the maximum, so Cocoy couldn't possibly own AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-1068157602481996 if already owns ca-pub-8283971809912134.

Moreover, Cocoy has already admitted in the past that he owns ProPinoy.net, which already served under Google AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-8283971809912134. That is, Cocoy must own the account with that number, so that somebody else must own the account with Google AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-1068157602481996.

And that's what this article is about.

Domain Privacy Protection 101While researching for that 2017 article, I checked the domain registration details of each of these 10 websites, only to discover that they all use a domain privacy protection service. Hence, I hit nothing but dead ends.

The said service is identical to the one I used for ThinkingPinoy.net so that I can avoid spam calls and emails if my contact details are out in the open for everyone to see. 

Here, look at the WhoIs Information of ThinkingPinoy.net with active Domain Privacy Protection:

As you can see, the registration details are those of my Domain Privacy Protection Service provider, instead of my own contact information.

Yes, domain privacy protection services mask the real name and contact information of website owners, but they are paid services that need to be renewed as soon as or preferably even before they expire, as neglecting to do so would reveal the true details of the website’s owner.

On 03 May 2019, or two years after writing the article mentioned above, I re-checked if any of the domain privacy protection services of the ten websites linked to Change Scamming have expired.

And as it turns out, one of them did.

Expired Domain Privacy: Kolektibo.com
Domain Privacy Services for the first nine websites (from AnuNaBes.com down to SocialPatrol.Ph) have always been active. However, the one for Kolektibo.com lapsed, at least for a period long enough to reveal the site’s true owner.

Suffice it to say, I checked for the WhoIs history of Kolektibo.com using the third-party online utility DomainTools.com. Here's what I did:

WhoIs History Lookup for Kolektibo.com using DomainTools.com - YouTube

According to its WhoIs History, Kolektibo.com was first registered – with domain privacy protection – on 08 August 2017. Domain privacy protection was in effect for an entire year, until it lapsed on 19 September 2018.

On that exact day, Kolektibo.com’s domain registration showed not the placeholder information typical of websites with domain privacy, but the actual name and contact details of the real person who owns the said website.

Let me quote part of the WhoIs record of Kolektibo.com, according to DomainTools:
Domain name: kolektibo.com
Domain name: kolektibo.com
Registrant Name: Sidney Zosa
Registrant Street: 1409 AIC Gold Tower, Ortigas Center
Registrant City: Pasig City
Registrant Phone: +63.9151350194
Registrant Email: sidney.zosa@gmail.com 
Admin Name: Sidney Zosa
Admin Street: 1409 AIC Gold Tower, Ortigas Center
Admin City: Pasig City
Admin Phone: +63.9151350194
Admin Email: sidney.zosa@gmail.com 
Tech Name: Sidney Zosa
Tech Organization:
Tech Street: 1409 AIC Gold Tower, Ortigas Center
Tech Phone: +63.9151350194
Tech Email: sidney.zosa@gmail.com

What should be done to Sidney Zosa?
According to the website’s WhoIs History as reported by DomainTools, a certain Sidney Zosa owns, administers, and maintains Kolektibo.com, a website that earned money by serving online advertisements under Google AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-1068157602481996.

Recall that Change Scamming, the website you’re investigating, also served online advertisements using the same Google AdSense Publisher ID.

Now, here’s an important (rhetorical) question:
If I were a website owner, would I let my site’s ad earnings go to somebody else?
Sidney Zosa owns Kolektibo.com, so that money earned via Google AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-1068157602481996 should go to him, unless he is just an employee or associate of someone higher up the food chain.

Google AdSense Terms of Service corroborate this observation, and agreement to these terms is a prerequisite for owning an AdSense account.

More specifically, part of the Philippine version of the Google AdSense Terms of Service states [AdSense]:
“13. Mga Pagkakatawan; Mga Warantiya; Mga Pagtatanggi 
Kinakatawan mo at ginagarantiya na… (ii) ikaw ang may-ari ng, o legal na may pahintulot na kumilos sa ngalan ng may-ari ng ng bawat Ari-arian; (iii) ikaw ang teknikal at pang-editoryal na nagpapasya kaugnay ng bawat Ari-arian kung saan ang Mga Serbisyo ay ipinatupad at mayroon kang kontrol sa paraan ng pagpapatupad ng Mga Serbisyo sa bawat Ari-Arian…”
Translating this to English…
“13. Representations; Warranties; Disclaimers 
You represent and warrant that… (ii) you are the owner of, or are legally authorized to act on behalf of the owner of, each Property; (iii) you are the technical and editorial decision maker in relation to each Property on which the Services are implemented and you have control over the way in which the Services are implemented on each Property…”
Based on this document, either:
(1) Sidney Zosa owns the AdSense Account, or
(2) he legally authorized somebody else to administer his AdSense for him.
A little logic
If Zosa owns the AdSense account, then he must also be the editorial decision maker of Change Scamming, as those AdSense Terms and Conditions applies to all properties (websites) in which Google Ads are served (i.e. Change Scamming). That is, if Zosa admits to owning the AdSense account, then he’s the guy behind Change Scamming, the exact guy you’re looking for.

Now, if he legally authorized somebody else to administer his AdSense, then he must tell you who it is if he doesn’t want to be implicated in this scandal.

Now, suppose he gives you another name, then that other person would be the owner of Google AdSense Publisher ID ca-pub-1068157602481996 (pending verification with Google’s officers, of course).

Again, by virtue of the same Google AdSense Terms of Service, that "other person" would be the “technical and editorial decision maker in relation to” Change Scamming.

Ask Zosa about who he has closely worked with in the past, most especially in tech-related projects.

For example, the website Lawhackers.co featured a technological startup called Supra and the writeup reads [Archived]:

Supra is a learning app for law students in the Phillipines, currently covering 38 volumes of the Civil Law Bar. It brings neat aesthetics and great navigation to create an amazing learning experience that is the first of its kind. 
Founders: Sidney Zosa and Mars Veloso 
Launched: 2014
Made in: Tacloban, Phillipines (sic)

Is the owner of the Google AdSense account behind Change Scamming Sidney Zosa, Mars Veloso, or somebody else?

With that said, I highly recommend that you guys contact Zosa and ask him a few questions.

Available evidence currently points to him, but please accord him due process.

You are not Rappler, after all. (ThinkingPinoy)


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Why don't we fact-check the fact-checker?

In a Facebook Newsroom post, Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons said [FB]:
“Our partners are independent and certified through the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network.”
One of the core requirements to become a Facebook fact-checker is membership in the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) of the Florida-based Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

In fairness to Lyons, she also acknowledged allegations of bias among the website’s fact checkers when she, in the same newsroom post, said:
“While we work with the International Fact-Checking Network to approve all our partners and make sure they have high standards of accuracy, fairness and transparency, we continue to face accusations of bias.”
The social network currently has two fact-checkers in the Philippines: Rappler and Vera Files.

In this article, we will examine Vera Files.

IFCN Code of Principles: Nonpartisanship PolicyPoynter-IFCN has a Code of Principles that it describes as “a series of commitments organizations abide by to promote excellence in fact-checking [IFCN].”

Each IFCN member is required to adhere to this Code, determined through yearly assessments.

According to the IFCN website, Vera Files co-founder and UP Journalism professor Yvonne Chua submitted an application of behalf of her organization. This was assessed – and approved – by IFCN external assessor Jeremaiah M. Opiniano, a Journalism assistant professor at the University of Santo Tomas.
A screenshot of Vera Files' application sent to the Poynter Institute's International Fact-checking Network.
Opiniano assessed and approved Vera Files’ applications twice: once in 2017 and another time in 2018.

Part of the IFCN code of ethics is a nonpartisanship policy, which requires applicants to “share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations.”

In response, Vera Files in its 2017 application said (Criterion 2b):
“We don’t take money from politicians, political parties or partisan groups.”

Vera Files reiterated this claim in its 2018 application (Criterion 2b), where it stated:
“VERA Files prohibits its trustees and staff from taking money from politicians, political parties or partisan groups...”
A screenshot of Vera Files' attestation of nonpartisanship in its 2018 IFCN application 
The problem, however, is that a closer look at its finances show that it may have been lying in both 2017 and 2018.

Let’s discuss this in greater detail.

Vera Files Funding SourcesSection 4 of the IFCN Code of Principles application form, entitled “Transparency of Funding & Organization”, requires Vera Files to disclose funding sources.

To address this in its 2017 application, Vera Files submitted its 2016 SCHEDULE OF CONTRIBUTIONS/DONATIONS - PRIVATE ENTITIES that listed five sources of funding.

Vera Files' 2016 funding sources are as follows:
  • National Endowment for Democracy (NED): Php 2,539,050.00.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): Php 1,998,879.79
  • The Asia Foundation (TAF): Php2,101,401.00
  • Reporters Without Borders Germany (RWB): Php 736,299.58
  • Others: Php 1,001,891.10
A screenshot of the Funding Source Document Vera Files submitted to IFCN in 2017. 

In its 2018 application, Verafiles listed three sources for 2017 funding, namely:
  • National Endowment for Democracy: Php 4,034,313.00
  • World Health Organization: Php 1,683,150.00
  • Others: Php 1,132,892.29

A little arithmetic shows that Vera Files:
  • derived 54% of its 2016 private funding from NED and TAF
  • derived 59% of its 2017 private funding from NED alone.
Now, let’s examine these two major funders.

Vera Files Funder #1: National Endowment for DemocracyNED, in its “About” page, describes itself as “a private, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world” [NED].

The description sounds innocuous enough.

However, in his 2008 piece entitled “NED et. al.: The CIA’s Successors and Collaborators”, published in both the Canadian Centre for Global Research and Globalization (Global Research) and the French Le Monde Diplomatique, Hernando Calvo Ospina wrote [GlobalResearch]:
“When a scandal in the 1980s revealed the CIA’s 35 years of international manipulations, President Ronald Reagan established the National Endowment for Democracy as a more discreet and less controversial instrument. It had the same purpose – to destabilise unfriendly governments by funding the opposition... Although legally an NGO, the NED was funded from the State Department budget, subject to congressional approval”
But that’s coming from a NED critics, so let’s cite the statement of NED people themselves. In a 1991 interview with the Washington Post, NED founder and theoretical planner Allen Weinstein said [WaPo]:
“A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
Weinstein’s statement basically means NED is an offshoot of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

The NED of today affirms this, as the “History” section of its “About” page states [NED]:
“In the aftermath of World War II…. U.S. policy makers resorted to covert means, secretly sending advisers, equipment, and funds to support newspapers and parties under siege in Europe. When it was revealed in the late 1960’s that some American PVO’s were receiving covert funding from the CIA to wage the battle of ideas at international forums, the Johnson Administration concluded that such funding should cease, recommending establishment of ‘a public-private mechanism’ to fund overseas activities openly.”
That is, NED does today what the CIA did beforehand.

According to NED's Awarded Grants Database, NED's grants to Vera Files are specifically intended for the latter's fact-checking operations [NED | Archived]:

A Screenshot of NED's list of grants to Vera Files.

Vera Files Funder #2: The Asia FoundationAccording to its own website, the Asia Foundation “is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia” [AF].

Like NED, the description sounds sufficiently harmless.

A 1977 New York Times article “Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A.” detailing Asia Foundation’s beginnings, however, suggests otherwise, as it states [NYT]:
“The Asia Foundation was headed for years by the late Robert Blum who, several sources said, resigned from the C.I.A. to take it over. The foundation provided cover for at least one C.I.A. operative and carried out a variety of media‐related ventures, including a program, begun in 1955, of selecting and paying the expenses of Asian journalists for a year of study in Harvard's prestigious Neiman Fellowship program.”
Side Note: The managing editor of Rappler (the other Facebook fact-checker in the Philippines), Glenda Gloria, is a 2018 Neiman Fellow [Rappler], and NED also funds Rappler.
A screenshot of the 1977 New York Times article “Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the C.I.A.” detailing Asia Foundation’s beginnings.
A more informative description can be found in the declassified 2000 CIA document that states [CIA]:
“The Asia Foundation was originally a creation of the Executive Branch intended to promote U.S. Foreign Policy Interests in the region”
A screenshot of the declassified 2000 CIA document describing The Asia Foundation.

The same CIA document states that in 1975:
“… the State Department… appointed a panel of private citizens with Foreign Affairs experience to review the foundation’s record and potential for assisting in the achievement of U.S. objectives in Asia. The panel concluded that the foundation is an effective instrument for furthering of United States interests in Asia…”
A screenshot of the declassified 2000 CIA document describing The Asia Foundation.
In his 2011 paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Research [ResearchGate], Washington-based Saint Martin University Sociology and Anthropology professor Dr. David Price aptly cited Asia foundation as a “CIA funding front”.

Fact-checking the Fact-checkerRecall that Vera Files claimed in its 2018 IFCN application that it “prohibits its trustees and staff from taking money from politicians, political parties or partisan groups”.

Vera Files reiterated this claim in its own FAQ article “What you want to know about ‘VERA FILES FACT CHECK’” as Vera Files' response to the question:
How sure are we that you’re not backed by a politician or political party?
But aren’t the National Endowment for Democracy and the Asia Foundation, both of whom are widely considered as instruments of U.S. Foreign Policy, political parties? 

Both sure are parties, and their respective histories shows they are very political.

The Collins Dictionary defines "political party" as "an organization of people who share the same views about the way power should be used in a country or society".

NED and TAF, being US Foreign Policy insturments, squarely fit into that description.

For the last two reporting periods (2016 and 2017), Vera Files has been sourcing over half of its operating expenses from these two organizations.

While Vera Files claims that it generates some income from sales, its 2016 Audited Financial Statement (AFS) shows that of the Php 7.8 million in 2016 revenues Php 7.3 million comes from Grants and Donations?

Moreover, Vera Files’ 2017 Audited Financial Statement shows that its entire Php 6.9 million in 2017 revenues are from Grants and Donations?

A screenshot of Vera Files' 2017 AFS showing revenue sources for 2016 and 2017. Note that virtually all of its revenues come from grants and donations.
And where do over half of these grants and donations come from?

NED and TAF.

A closer look at Vera Files 2016 AFS shows that it generated only Php 2.45 million in revenues in 2015, Php 2.3 million of which is from Donations and Grants.

A screenshot of Vera Files' 2016 AFS showing revenue sources for 2016 and 2015. Note that its revenues TRIPLED as after it received funding from NED and TAF.
That is, NED and TAF tripled Vera Files’ revenues starting in 2016 which, by the way, is the same year President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

This is especially relevant in Vera Files context because the Duterte Administration, i.e. the government of the jurisdiction within which Vera Files operates, is currently clashing with US Foreign Policy as Duterte’s independent foreign policy “upends Washington’s Pivot to Asia”.

How in the world can Vera Files claim non-partisanship when it operates in the Philippines, a country whose Foreign Policy interests clash with those of Vera Files’ funders?

Should the Poynter Institute, which manages the International Fact-checking Network, reassess Vera Files’ eligibility as a Fact-checker given that Vera Files receives funding from political parties?

Oh, wait!

NED’s Awarded Grants Database shows Poynter has been receiving NED funding annually since 2015 [NED].

A Screenshot of NED's list of grants to Poynter Institute.
In short, Poynter-IFCN and Vera Files share the same sugar daddy.

The backbone of Facebook’s Fact-checking – Poynter’s International Fact-checking Network – is in itself funded by a US Foreign Policy instrument NED, the same NED that funds Vera Files.

Would you care to fact-check this, Miss Ellen Tordesillas? [ThinkingPinoy/RJ Nieto]


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