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By Ronald Roy

THERE is no such thing as a conflict-free era, lifetime or moment. Conflicts are as unavoidable as typhoons and earthquakes, hunger and disease, fear and despair. They are however as natural as sunrise and spring, reliance and resolve, compassion and love.

JPE versus MDS

It’s been said that proverbial cooler heads notwithstanding, seething mutual distrust or hatred triggers tragedies that nobody wants. But I do not foresee any kind of tragic ending in the case of the ongoing JPE-MDS feud, even if Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago is known to freely order her enemies to die, or brand them as sex maniacs.
Her brutishness is such time-consuming bravado, and her stamina is so impaired by a chronic cardiovascular condition, that her performance is often suspected to be “scripted” along the patterns of showbiz entertainment. I therefore join observers who do not take her seriously.

On the other hand, erstwhile Senate President and now Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile has surprisingly failed, in my view, to uphold his lofty stature by wasting the time of the chamber. It truly surprises that his heretofore popular trait of octogenarian wisdom and sobriety has succumbed to the enticements of getting back at his tormentor, rather than preparing a defense of himself against an ignominious pork-related charge of the capital felony of plunder. Thus, his image is seen as being further soiled or tarnished by his own hand. JPE is trouncing himself, indeed, in his conflict with MDS — which is even more ludicrous than a mismatch between a heavyweight and a flyweight.

US and Asian allies versus China

Beijing, by setting up an air zone over contested islands in the East China Sea, might have underestimated a quick response from the United States of America and her alerted network of Asian allies, with South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and the Philippines linking up in a posture of defiance against China. At the same time, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia have for years been embroiled with overlapping claims against China over West Philippine Sea areas.

Notoriously acknowledged as the region’s bullying bête noire, China is now clearly forewarned after the recent flight of two of America’s giant Stratofortress bombers over disputed East China Sea islands being claimed by her, coupled with US Vice President Joe Bidden’s “psychologically advantageous ” visit to Japan. Two principal factors obligate America to side with Japan in the event of an armed conflict with China: a mutual military defense pact and the proximity of Guam, a US protectorate, to the contested islands.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s caveat, transcending the flexing of his country’s military muscle — which is good — is, to countless Christian believers, a grim portent of the horrors of the biblical end-of-times Armageddon, a conflict that should be avoided but unfortunately must be waged by the allies in their quest for justice, as against China’s unprincipled proclivity to bully her way thru the disputed areas without resorting to the usual peaceful UN remedies like arbitration or negotiation.

Beijing’s top officials should cogitate on their culture of crime and punishment, particularly their very strict attitude towards offenses involving dishonesty. Their defendants are presumed “guilty beyond reasonable doubt”, instead of “innocent until proven guilty” — which parenthetically is the norm that should be imposed for heinous crimes committed within our jurisdiction under the authority of “judicial activism”. So, one can imagine the severity of the penalty for a Chinese who steals from his neighbors in order to feed his starving wife and children.

However, Chinese moral inconsistency befuddles. In order to feed their burgeoning population in particular, and dominate the world in general, Chinese employ imperialist methods to control both the West Philippine Sea and the East China Sea to acquire all the riches found therein, like oil deposits and other energy-related resources, corals, precious metals and the like. Hmmm…Is Armageddon, the ultimate battle between good and evil as prophesied in the New Testament, just around the corner?

Andres Bonifacio versus Jose P. Rizal

It’s simply asinine, this raging debate over who the greater Filipino hero was between Bonifacio and Rizal. Without belittling Bonifacio’s heroic contributions to the Filipinos’ quest for freedom by leading the KKK revolution, it is like asking ourselves if we’re ready to revise history by hailing him now as the greatest Filipino hero, over and above Rizal. Bonifacio was born in Manila, so I’m supportive of the Manila City Council’s Resolution urging P-Noy and Congress to recognize Bonifacio as the first president of the so-called Gobiyerno Tagala (Tagalog Government).

However, the Resolution should see rough sailing on the true meaning of “Gobiyerno Tagala” as conceived by the Kapituneros, e.g., in relation to its territorial size, its structural components for legislation, execution and interpretation of laws, etcetera.

Bob Arum versus Pacquiao and Henares

Yes, why not a conflict between American boxing promoter Bob Arum in this corner, and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and BIR Commissioner Kim Henares in that corner? We certainly would not wish to view our boxing idol as a tax cheat (i.e., a thief of our money), given that, with his sensational win over Brandon Diaz, he relieved us, if only momentarily, from the horrors of a bungling government and a couple of natural calamities. No, I refuse to accept that Manny and Kim are separately trying to deceive us over money. So, I propose we consider the following WHAT-IF scenario starring Bob as the culprit who has “shortchanged” Manny and Kim.

The speculative scenario stirs suspicion in light of a long-rumored fight-fixing boxing mafia operating in Las Vegas, Nevada, the world’s known gambling capital, of which Arum is but a member following off-camera bosses. These guys make sure they don’t cross America’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS), by remitting to it the correct taxes derived from all the fights he promotes.
With respect to the 2008-2009 period covering Manny’s bouts that are the focus of Kim’s eagle-eyed scrutiny, Arum must’ve submitted to the IRS Manny’s correct and true Income Tax Returns (ITRs), along with all tax payments due, as assessed by the IRS. But WHAT IF what Arum had given to Manny were Certified True Copies (CTCs) of falsified (watered down) ITRs?

Surely, with the many legal ways the BIR has in verifying tax documents with the IRS, Kim would then have a reason for insisting that Manny submit not the CTCs, but the original ITRs, after detecting substantial discrepancies between them. If this is the case, Manny can then proceed to sue Bob Arum for breach of contract. Likewise, with Manny’s good faith established, a reported Palace plan to grant him an “amnesty” may gain impetus.

In any event, I would have the highest respect for Manny if he stopped his gambling ways, stopped dreaming about the presidency, and stopped using the Holy Rosary like a rabbit’s foot.
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