On closer cooperation between Japan and the Philippines

Minister Ichita Yamamoto, in charge of Okinawan affairs, ocean policy and territorial issues, Thursday met with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. He had earlier met with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario, and visited Subic and Clark.

He had a “frank discussion” with Gazmin over territorial claims, particularly Japan’s claims over the Senkaku islands, which is contested by China, but refused to give details. No, he said they did not discuss the US troops now in Okinawa.

This is a transcript of the press conference he gave after the meeting. He spoke in Japanese, which was translated into English by a staff from the Japanese embassy. Continue reading

On the Phil-US negotiations on increased rotational presence

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin at the presser on negotiations for increased rotational presence of US troops in the country.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the “increased rotational presence” was a policy agreed on two years ago. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said “high-value and high impact exercises” will serve as the “modality” for the increased presence of US troops in the country.

Negotiations began yesterday, August 14, between the Philippine and US governments regarding “increased rotational presence” of US troops in the Philippines. Exactly what that means is something that has yet to be 1) made clear and 2) negotiated, if one goes by what members of the Philippine panel said in their press conference last Monday, Aug. 12.

This much was clear: the “increased rotational presence” was a policy agreed on about two years ago; high-value and high impact exercises will serve as a “modality” for this increased rotational presence; and an agreement is needed to “institutionalize” this policy.

This is a transcript of the press conference last Monday. I will post later (when I figure out how) an audio record of the presser itself, so readers can check if there errors or inaccuracies in the transcript (there were some words I couldn’t hear clearly, especially towards the end).

The panel members are: Defense Undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino; Defense Assistant Secretary Raymund Jose Quilop; Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Carlos Sorreta; and Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III. Continue reading

The Al-Barka Basilan Incident

“Tayo nag-initiate, ng encounter. Tayo nalagasan ng ganoon karami. Automatic ang tanong, pinaghandaan natin ang operation, bakit ganito ang resulta?…ang pagkakamali, nasa tao. Pero ang paulit-ulit na pagkakamali, kasalanan na iyon. Hindi natin pwedeng pabayaan na magkaroon ng pagkakataon na maging paulit-ulit ito. Kung may mali, depekto sa sistema, ayusin na natin ito. Kung sa training, kung saanman. Hanapin kung saan ang sanhi bakit nagkaroon ng disaster. Ayusin ang mga problema.”

That was President Aquino III speaking, during a press conference he gave on Monday afternoon, where he reiterated that there will be no “all-out-war” against the MILF.

He had earlier refused to answer what lessons were learned about the Basilan encounter, simply saying there is “an ongoing investigation” that “will decide lives, careers and perhaps even criminal liabilities of (the) people involved.”

What was he talking about?

The initial findings – THE INVESTIGATION IS STILL GOING ON – as reported in the command conference with the President and the AFP’s top brass last Friday, was that the soldiers who died shouldn’t have been sent there in the first place. They died because they were sent there unprepared and without planning, so much so that they were practically sent there to die. But that’s me talking, generalizing.

Here are the findings, according to a printed report shown to me: Continue reading


What’s discussed in a six-hour class on evidence? Here are my notes for the curious. Continue reading

On the MILF’s Sept 5 2011 presser

MILF chairman Murad held a press conference last Sept 5, 2011, inside the MILF’s Camp Darapanan. It was his first press conference (though not the first interview) since he met with President Benigno Aquino III in Tokyo. Here is his opening statement (with the greetings and niceties taken out), and notes from the six-minute ambush interview that followed the hour-long presser.

Continue reading

MILF briefing for FOCAP

This is an incomplete transcript of the press conference which MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim held before the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of the Philippines (FOCAP). Continue reading

The first-ever JBC public interview for the nominees for Supreme Court Chief Justice

Last April 19, 2010,the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) held the first ever public interview for the nominees to the post of Supreme Court Chief Justice. These are raw notes and may not be used for publication. Some of the quotes are complete, some are not. These should be checked with other sources — news articles, etc — for the proper context and the correct quotes. Continue reading