How bully China behaves in presence of superiors
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2013 - 12:00am

We lost a future Armed Forces chief, peers say about the untimely demise of Brig. Gen. Daniel Lucero last week. Unanswered questions and conflicting statements surround his death while or after scuba diving in Pagadian City at noon of June 2. PMA mistahs (batch mates) are making quiet inquiries.

Only 53, General Danny was the first in his Philippine Military Academy class of 1983 to earn star rank. He was head of the Army First (“Tabak”) Division, a position usually held by two-star generals. In that post for only five weeks, he had security jurisdiction over 123 towns and cities in seven provinces in the western half of Mindanao. Before that he was brigade commander in the Lanao provinces, where he hounded politico-protected illegal loggers, and ensured safe election campaigning.

May General Danny’s family be given satisfactory explanations, for only with justice can come peace of mind.

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State rulers have barred Anwar Ibrahim and fellow-opposition leaders from entering Sabah. No reason was given for the bar, which Anwar denounced as “illegal, undemocratic.”

They found out about it only when his daughter Nurrul Izzah Anwar, like him a member of the federal parliament, was forbidden entry last week. They obtained a no-go list that includes, among others, Anwar, high leaders of the three-party opposition, and the NGO head that is protesting via demonstrations Malaysia’s rigged May elections.

The office of Prime Minister Najib Razak lamely stated that Sabah has different immigration rules that allow it to impose special IDs on visitors, even Malaysians. But Anwar said “they are afraid of us exposing their cheating and corruption.”

By previous gerrymandering, Razak’s party retook a slim majority of parliament even though it lost the popular vote. Anwar has decried massive vote buying and flying voters in Sabah. Last year he also exposed multimillion-dollar kickbacks of Sabah chief minister Musa Aman from deforestation.

Weeks ago Razak’s regime charged two opposition MPs from Sabah for allegedly abetting the recent incursions by a ragtag band from the Sulu Sultanate. Purportedly the two visited Manila earlier to meet with the Sultan. In fact, they had come to inquire about Manuel Amalilio’s swindling of P12 billion from 15,000 Filipinos.

Anwar had exposed Musa as Amalilio’s coddler. The Musa-Amalilio kinship explains why Musa’s brother Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, and cousin Attorney General Gani Patail refuse to repatriate him to Manila. Party mates Razak, Musa, Anifah, and Gani purportedly used Amalilio’s loot for the election cheating.

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In schools, neighborhoods, and offices lurk bullies menacing the meek. Around the world too skulk bully-countries threatening the weak. In Asia that bully is China.

Classic bullying is China’s proclivity for deceit and violence, not mutual respect, in dealing with neighbor-states. Yet like a common bully, it behaves if authorities are around or when it gets its comeuppance.

China asserts a baseless “nine-dash line” claim over the 1.35 million square miles of the South China (East Vietnam, West Philippine) Sea. Typical of the bully with made-up turf, it forbids economic usage by smaller Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines. This, despite their all being members of the UN Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that grants 200-mile exclusive economic zones from their coasts. China’s sea claim extends up to 800 miles beyond its southernmost island-province of Hainan.

China rests its claim on speculative “ancient maps” and jumbled geology – again characteristic of the bully with illusory entitlement. The maps defy known history of Malay seafaring at a time when China reigned only as a land power. China insists as its “islands” uninhabitable rocks, reefs, and shoals that jut above water only in low tide. It hogs resource exploitation in those undersea formations, using naval force to drive away neighbors’ fishermen and oceanographers. Many times China has shelled Vietnamese craft in the Paracels, and grabbed ridges abutting the Philippine mainland. After seizing Mischief Reef off Palawan in 1995 and Scarborough Shoal off Zambales in 2012, it is now targeting Ayungin Shoal. Recently it bragged about crisscrossing Brunei and Malaysia’s coasts unimpeded.

China has interdicted even an Indian vessel that was traversing Vietnam’s coastal waters to help explore offshore oil. Like a bully, China takes its unchallenged misconduct as license to further abuse. Its navy incited poacher launches in the East China Sea to ram a Japanese coast guard patrol boat, killing the captain. In April Chinese soldiers intruded ten miles into India-held Kashmir territory, as if testing the neighbor’s mettle. China carries on its genocide of Tibetans and Uighurs of Xinjiang.

Bully China crows about invincibility. Yet when the United States Pacific Fleet recently sailed near the Ayungin Shoal, the three menacing Chinese warships disappeared from sight. And when Russian coast guards machine-gunned Chinese poachers, Beijing uncharacteristically fell silent.

Aggression is the only language China understands.

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It is the misfortune of Filipinos that their leaders match their defiance of bully China with ineptitude and corruption. While young techies retaliate from China’s cyber-attacks, over-stayers at the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources give away mines to Chinese aliens. Most such mines are in Mindanao’s hinterlands, far from Manila-centric attention.

The Philippines is now China’s major source of nickel and other precious and rare earth metals. The materials can be fashioned into weaponry and gadgetry for use against the Philippines in case hostilities worsen. Supposedly backward Ghana has better law enforcement. The other week it arrested five Chinese and one Ghanaian for illegal mining in its forests. Whereas, the DENR head office removes field men who take legal and police action against Chinese that use small miners as front for illegal extractions.

The past administration also had given away even the national power grid to a Chinese state company. Just one Chinese engineer-spy is all it will take to knock down the country’s power supply during conflict.

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Friends and long-time readers have been asking for a Facebook page where they easily can access past columns. One of them set this up:

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).



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