Thursday, June 13, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


FIRING LINE: General lie

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

China’s top brass spouted their usual rhetoric at the Shangri-La Dialogue, and it’s riddled with falsehoods. Let’s start with the facts: China is embroiled in territorial disputes with India, Nepal, Bhutan, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines — all smaller nations.

Meanwhile, Beijing bullies Taiwan, holding provocative war games and simulating missile attacks, clearly coaxing it into confrontation.

The so-called historical legacy China wants the Philippines to embrace – it’s a record of annexation and aggression. Look at Tibet. Look at Bhutan. China even claims large swathes of Arunachal Pradesh in India, along with smaller disputed territories now conveniently appearing on Chinese maps.

Lieutenant General He Lei’s statements are nothing but a smokescreen. Accusing the Philippines of violating international order in the South China Sea is laughable when China itself disregards the rules. The international arbitral tribunal ruling was a lawful and legitimate process under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which China claims to uphold. Yet, China ignores this ruling, continuing its aggressive island-building and militarization.

He Lei says China never bullies smaller countries. The reality? China’s actions in the South China Sea — intimidating fishermen, blocking access to resources, and deploying naval forces — tell a different story. The Philippines has every right to call out these violations and seek international support.

PAOCC incompetence

In a staggering failure of strategy and security, the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) botched a crucial raid on the Philippines’ largest POGO compound in Porac, Pampanga last week.

The words didn’t exactly roll out of PAOCC Spokesperson Winston John R. Casio’s mouth in last Sunday’s press briefing, but he explicitly said that someone from their ranks had leaked out the June 5 raid.

He said the plan was to rescue over a thousand foreign nationals. The raiding team rounded up no more than 160 foreign nationals. The obvious leak from within PAOCC’s ranks is appalling, to say the least, and Casio vowed their investigation will unmask the traitor and the government will not be forgiving.

But for Firing Line, the real scandal lies in their operational bungling. I mean, why request a warrant and wait three days to act? The delay screams incompetence if not a zarzuela.

Judge Maria Belinda C. Rama issued the search warrant on June 2, yet the raid took place on June 5. This three-day gap provided a perfect window for a tip-off. By the time PAOCC moved in, the culprits were long gone, leaving only traces of their brutality — chained and starved victims, some kidnapped right from the airport.

This raid’s mishandling demands more than just finger-pointing at leaks; it calls for a complete overhaul of PAOCC’s approach or its officials.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at

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