Wednesday, February 28, 2007

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


One of the major landmarks of democracy is the value of the life of an individual. So when people disappear without a trace or get killed by unknown assailants in a democratic state, the government is responsible for enforcing justice- punish the perpetrators and provide for the needs of the victims. If the government is believed to be the perpetrator and not the protector, then that government is not democratic.

When the Armed Forces or the military component of a democratic state fails to fulfill its mission of protecting the people, there is a problem with its commander-in-chief. If it serves only to protect its commander-in-chief, then it becomes a private army and should not be supported by the people. And worse, when it's being accused of killing the people by official fact-finding bodies, particularly the United Nations, the democratic world needs to do something to stop it.

I still believe that the problem of increasing extra-judicial killings in the Philippines do not merit yet the deployment of U.S. Marines or the sending of UN Peacekeeping forces. On May 14th, the Filipino people shall elect new leaders of government who must be committed to solve this problem. So there's still hope for the sovereign Filipino people to choose the right government capable of enforcing justice, maintaining peace and security, and delivering public services to prevent the Philippines from becoming another Panama under Manuel Noriega.
I recently received an invitation from Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani to join his campaign team called TEAM RUDY through Mike Duhaime, his campaign executive director. Making a commitment to campaign for a presidential candidate needs first a lot of evaluation for it can make or break whatever you're planning for yourself. So before I “rush in where (wise men) fear to tread” and send out “a symbol of my support,” I chose to wait for a signal from above.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


The Democrats won the elections last year because of well-defined issues such as their pro-immigrant reforms and their anti-Iraq War stance. The Republicans have to soften their arbitrariness in their advocacies or find other pressing issues that the American people will support if they want to remain in control of the White House next year. One such issue may be KEEP AMERICA THE ONLY SUPERPOWER IN THE WORLD. It's always in foreign policy where the Democrats have shown utter weakness ever since.

Back to Philippine politics. On May 14th , the Filipino people will elect their senators and congressmen as well as provincial governors and city mayors. As I read news dispatches from Philippine press, I find it hard to find any distinguishing or dividing political platforms among the candidates. I really don't know what a candidate either from the ruling party or from the opposition plans to do when he or she gets elected. Most of these candidates are running based on their identification with political personalities and not issues. Instead of asking the voters to elect them on a platform to fight and stop extra-judicial killings of journalists, political activists, and other dissenters, the candidates would prefer their hands to be raised by a popular political personality or their hands to be endowed with millions of stolen money that belong to the masses. In this respect, it's getting to be very clear that Filipino voters tend to be easily subjected to shallow political manipulation or even worse to rampant vote-buying. This foolishness must stop to keep democracy alive in the Philippines. But I have no idea how it can even be discouraged given the nave character of the Filipino voters. At any rate, let concerned Filipinos try to wage a nation-wide voter education campaign for a start by identifying what a particular candidate stands for.

Another persistent problem that affects every Filipino is the issue of graft and corruption. Among the candidates now running for office, who have the track record of exposing and fighting the crooks in government? And who are already exposed as crooks but not yet prosecuted? I just hope that Filipino voters would not be so stupid to put somebody in power to rob them of money collected to be used for their general welfare. Anyhow, I do believe that what they really need are facts about a candidate's background, experience, and capabilities to respond to the people's needs.

I call on the media, both Filipino and foreign, to do this noble task of protecting the sovereign will of the people without blinking at any threat of millions and millions of libel charges. For Democracy is so precious a gift from God only to be left with the thieving devils.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


As I write this column today, Feb 14th , Valentine's Day, I declare again my love for the Philippines and the Filipino people. The words “Iniibig ko ang Pilipinias, sapagkat's ito and lupa kong tinubuaan”(English translation: I love the Philippines because it's the land of my birth)still keep stealing in to my mind as I used to recite it before my classmates in elementary school in Tondo, Manila. I love the Filipino people because streaming through my veins is the Filipino blood- a rich mix of Malayan, Chinese, Spanish, and perhaps other unknown racial strains. And with this love comes a personal dedication as a Filipino American to contribute much to the best of my abilities to make the Philippines a peaceful, secure, and prosperous country in Asia.
The sudden resignation of New York State Sen. Serphin Maltese from the chairmanship of the slowly dying Queens Republican County Committee is a smart move. He said he wants to concentrate on his responsibilities as a Queens senatorial representative in Albany. He knows that in the 2008 elections, he may not be lucky enough to win running with an ultra-conservative political agenda such as his Racial Profiling bill and xenophobic posturing. During last year's elections, he almost lost to a political unknown, a former immigrant from Guyana in the Caribbean, who was not even endorsed by any political machine.

Though Sen. Maltese was instrumental in my failure to get the endorsement of the Queens County and Nassau County Republican political machines, I do not rejoice at his misfortune. He is a nice guy, personally, who is very proud of the artistic skills of his wife. That's my impression of him when I visited his senate office in Albany to give my political contributions for his re-election campaign in 2004.

But machine politics is dirty. I'm still wondering what made these Republican local leaders in Queens under Sen. Maltese a few hours before the deadline of submission of party nominees to grab another candidate running in another district with an offer of an endorsement to run against me and force a primary election in 2004. A primary election among Republican candidates in Queens where Democrats outnumber Republicans 4 to 1 is unthinkable. Would it be a product of a compromise between the leaders of the Queens Republicans and the Queens Democrats to assure the victory of incumbent Congressman Gary Ackerman?

When former Mayor Rudy Giuliani first ran for mayor against David Dinkins in 1989, I served in his campaign as chairman of the FILIPINO AMERICANS FOR RUDY. The one thing that attracted me to his candidacy was his rejection of machine politics. Any political analyst will say that machine politics and corruption go together. An attempt to get rid of machine politics in New York City failed when Question 3 in favor of non-partisan elections did not get enough “Yes” votes during the 2003 elections. If 41 cities in the country succeeded in adopting non-partisan elections, then there's hope for New York City to follow suit. I therefore urge all concerned New York City residents to encourage Mayor Bloomberg to go for it once again.

With news of top political leaders in New York getting indicted and convicted for corruption, New York voters, especially in Queens, are getting the message: MACHINE POLITICS IS DIRTY AND SHOULD BE SCUTTLED. There is now chance for anybody with a noble cause to win elections even without the endorsement of political machines. And most recently, the best example of such a candidate who won without a political party endorsement for the nomination is Mayor Bloomberg of New York City.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


Cesar Borja, Jr., the son of the late NYPD officer, Cesar Borja, Sr who died from exposure to the toxic effect of the Ground Zero dust as one of the first responders to the disaster, showed the good quality of a Filipino American during his meeting with President Bush to discuss the need for more federal funds to the victims. He believed that the 25 million dollars set in the budget is good enough as a start. In effect, he did not allow himself to be used by unreasonable critics of the President's budget such as New York Sen. Hillary Clinton who insists on a staggering amount of $1.9 billion, a good example a Democrat's fiscal irresponsibility.
It is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Since most American voters would not be able to meet the presidential candidates in person to be able to look at their eyes and see the souls, technology gave us televisions to do it. So let's start with the ladies first. Sen. Hillary Clinton would be first choice for a subject. When she speaks before you, look at her eyes and you be the judge.
Back to Philippine politics, I said in one of my columns: It's easier to be like Judas Iscariot than to be like Christ. Among the members of the political opposition, can you name some who chose the way of the turncoat upon an offer of silver or gold? Tell that to the Filipino voters on election day in May.
Though I was not endorsed by the so-called Queens County Republican Party (almost defunct as I write this column) when I ran for Congress in 2004 to represent the 5th Congressional District of New York, I still continued to ran as a Republican under my own campaign machine. When I lost the Primary elections to choose the party nominee, I still continued to ran as an Independent Republican under my own party, Fair Immigration Party. My message in short is: I stick to the ideals of the Republican Party founded by Abraham Lincoln with or without the support of dirty machine politics.