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Syringe (c) HTC

Good Question! | Rigoberto Tiglao gives a more detailed timeline (and sound arguments!) of Noynoy Aquino’s fervor in giving the orders to purchase the now controversial Dengvaxia in his piece “Was Aquino’s P3.5B purchase of the dengue vaccine the worst case of corruption ever?” It is just disappointing how the Philippine mainstream media — owned and controlled by the oligarchs who favor the Aquino-Cojuangco political machinery that remains the heart and soul of the Liberal Party and its Yellow cabal — merely parrots Sanofi Pasteur and is treating the former president with kid gloves. Since the true powers-that-be of this country will not throw Noynoy under the bus, the next best thing the oligarchy can do in this case is make his former Health Secretary Janet Garin the sacrificial lamb in all this to appease global observers. But we know better. #DaangMatuwid #NoynoyAquino #AquinoCojuangco #Corruption #Hypocrisy #Dengvaxia

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Ben Mbala (c) ABS-CBN Sports

Another round, Ben Mbala? | Who knew? Well, I didn’t. I thought Ben Mbala’s stint with the De La Salle Green Archers is over and done with. Apparently, he is still eligible to play for the University for one more season. He knows it. Head coach Aldin Ayo (who is now rumored to be jumping ship over to the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers) knows it. If Mbala can reach an agreement with his school over the matter, then expect the Green Archers to once again be a strong contender for the crown in next year’s UAAP wars. #BenMbala #DeLaSalleGreenArchers #Basketball #UAAP

Sanofi Pasteur

What’s with the rush, Noynoy? | Looks like we now know. Based on a recount of events that led to the Aquino government’s deal with Sanofi Pasteur, one can’t help but notice the lack of due diligence on the part of the then self-styled Daang Matuwid government in purchasing Dengvaxia despite (1) the dengue vaccine’s lack of “clearance from reputable medical bodies”; and (2) the adverse advice of certain officials under the Department of Health then headed by Secretary Janet Garin. There was an obvious undue haste in Aquino’s order to complete the deal with the makers of Dengvaxia. He even met with Sanofi top brass at least twice in a relatively short time frame wherein the USD$3.5BB deal (around PhP70MM in Philippine Pesos) was quickly consummated, a transaction that easily falls under the category “midnight deals”. One wonders, how much was taken home by whom at the expense of close to a million children whose health could be in peril? #NoynoyAquino #SanofiPasteur #Dengvaxia #Corruption #MidnightDeal #HealthIssue #Philippines

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North Korea

Cool Heads Needed | Tensions between the United States and North Korea are rising once again, no thanks to another round of missile testing by the latter — a seeming validation that their missiles can indeed reach mainland America. This week, South Korea will resume military exercises with the Americans with six state-of-the-art stealth jet fighters in tow. Cool heads really need to intervene. Even our local political bickerings won’t matter much once Donald Trump decides to rain nuclear missiles toward Pyongyang. #UnitedStates #NorthKorea #DonaldTrump #KimJongUn #NuclearWar #Tensions

Tab Baldwin

Tab Baldwin | I caught the second half action between the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Green Archers for the UAAP basketball championship and it was one nail-biter of a contest indeed. The Blue Eagles got back at their tormentor last year, winning this year’s title with a thrilling 88-86 triumph. Not a small feat for Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin, who called his current coaching stint “the hardest” in his 35-year basketball coaching career. Congratulations, Coach Baldwin! #Philippines #Basketball #AteneoBlueEagles #DeLaSalleGreenArchers #TabBaldwin #UAAP

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“Boy Sisi” | What’s new? Noynoy Aquino always says: “It’s everybody else’s fault but mine.” This man is so perfect he never admitted to any wrongdoing in his entire life. It was always somebody else who made the colossal mistake; who did nothing to alleviate poverty; who gave the “go-signal” that killed multitudes; and so much more. Accountability has never been a trait of this man — and the oppressive haciendado clan to which he belongs. It’s always “the other guy”. It’s always “not me”. Was this recent public announcement of him even a surprise to everyone? Nah. Not even to his worshippers who truly believe he is infallible, like what they think of the entire Aquino-Cojuangco family and their current Liberal Party colleagues and allies. #NoynoyAquino #BlameGame #Accountability #PassingTheBuck #FeelingInfallible #Sanctimonious

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Rosary for a saintly drug load

Much Ado About A Rosary | Of course, you can expect the Liberal Party and their mainstream media toadies to spread this little story as far and wide as they could, and use this angle as validation of their political party’s “holiness”. Friends and allies of the so-called “Yellows” rejoiced at this little piece of news, deeply believing within themselves that this small act of Pope Francis was an affirmation that indeed, the Vatican is strongly behind this sanctimonious political group boasting of “heroes” and ”saints” within their ranks. (If I were the Pope, I would have sent rosaries to families of illegal drugs victims instead. Not to drug lords and/or their protectors. But that’s just me. Just an opinion from a nobody.) #PopeFrancis #LeilaDeLima #Rosary #IllegalDrugs #DrugLordsCoddler

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Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde | There was this 10-minute sequence involving Charlize Theron and at least 4 antagonists near the denouement of “Atomic Blonde” [Official Site] that really made me chuckle in awe because it seems the entire sequence was shot in one take. But observing certain elements made me realize that no, it’s not possible to do all that action and gore without any cuts. It had to be the magic of film-making. So I had to look it up and came up with this: “How the ‘Atomic Blonde’ Team Pulled Off the Incredible, 10-Minute, ‘One-Take’ Action Sequence”. But it was awesome just the same. Music-wise, I’m biased with the choice of songs in the soundtrack as these were part of my playlists growing up and it’s perfect for the time setting of the film (The Fall of the Berlin Wall). An entertaining way to kick off my weekend. #AtomicBlonde #CharlizeTheron #JamesMcAvoy

Coffee

Coffee | Don’t you just hate how one day they’ll say coffee is bad for you and then the next they’ll proclaim it’s okay or even beneficial? Well, here’s a new study saying that even three cups a day “may have health benefits”. Know what, I’ll just keep on drinking coffee everyday, at least a mug or two, until the day I die. Time to stop paying attention to all these studies. #Coffee #Health

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Globe Telecom Dividend Distribution, 2005-2016

And The Money Went To… | Because phone calls and Internet speeds in the Philippines are exorbitant even by First World standards but quality and speed almost always end up in the bottom of the global barrel, one can’t help but conclude that the business oligarchs in control of the Telecommunication duopoly in the country are just plain, well, greedy. And finding out that these two companies are actually majority controlled by entities from foreign countries — Indonesia for PLDT/SMART Telecommunications and Singapore for Globe Telecom — makes one believe that our local oligarchs only care about gobbling up their share of the multi-billion dollar pie with no regard for fair pricing and service quality at par with global standards.

PLDT/SMART Communications Dividend Declaration, 2005-2016

Refer to this piece by Rigoberto Tiglao for the nitty-gritties: “Foreign firms generating super-profits from PH telecom duopoly”. You’ll be shocked by the numbers if you’re not aware of the big picture of the Philippine telco industry. I took the liberty to plot the dividend declarations for the 2 firms for a quick look at the foreign and local share of the dividend earnings pie from 2005-2016. Click on the thumbnails for bigger graphics.#Philippines #Telecommunication #Infrastructure #Duopoly #Greed #ExpensivePlans #SlowInternet

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Money Bag | Greed

New Telecom Providers | Expect the business oligarchs in the telecommunications industry and their assets in the regulatory bodies and local government units to make life miserable for new industry players that will come in to compete with the telecom duopoly. It will take years to come up with a servicable infrastructure here in Metro Manila and certainly longer on a nationwide scale especially if the efforts of the new business(es) will be stalled and sabotaged by unscrupulous elements within the dominant establishments. Maybe we can appeal to whatever humanity left in the collective hearts of players within the greedy duopoly to convince themselves to learn to play fair instead of continuously employing their Dirty Tricks Department every single time. (We can only hope they learn to temper their selfishness, they’ve enriched themselves so much for almost three decades despite pathethic service quality.) The poor Filipino people deserve better service from honest and reliable providers. #Philippines #Telecommunication #Infrastructure #Duopoly #Greed #ExpensivePlans #SlowInternet

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'Justice League' movie tickets

Justice League | Oh, I don’t give a freaking damn about reviews of film critics when it comes to movies like “Justice League” and similar entertainment fare. I’m not a judge at some artsy film festival ergo I don’t worry about being caught dead watching stuff like this. I’m still going to catch it in theaters for the sheer escape and entertainment factor. Which we did earlier today! Lucky to snag a couple of seats in a late afternoon screening at a mall cinema nearby. And if you haven’t seen it yet, you’d want to stay until the end of the film credits. #JusticeLeague

Mocha Uson

Mocha Uson | I couldn’t care less whether Mocha Uson is running for Senator in 2019 or not. If she wants to, that’s up to her. But seriously, if you don’t like her, then please do not vote for her. It is really that simple. Your holier-than-thou attitude towards her (slut-shaming her, insulting her intelligence and all that) just shows your true colors, people. And you dare call yourselves proponents of democracy and paragons of virtue.#MochaUson