Duterte and martial law

 

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

For those of us, peaceful and law abiding citizens, who have experienced the dark days of martial law under the dictator Marcos, we say, never again.

And for a good reason, because we did not only see the abuses, disappearances and killings committed by the zealots and blind adherents of the Marcoses, but we also saw the plunder committed and how the country retrogressed that until now we are still recovering from the misfortune.

When we hear, therefore, some sectors of society, and especially the staunch critics of President Rodrigo Duterte, mentioning and fearing that the latter have plans of declaring martial law in the entire country, we can’t help but liken it to a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and how perilous it would be for the people and the country if that strand of hair breaks and the sword drops and pierces once more the very core of our mental faculties and sensibilities as human beings.

But, would Duterte really have the gumption to do it? Think about it.

The reason why to this day Duterte continues to have the support of the people is because many believe that his out of the box leadership is what is needed in this country.

Marcos had his unique brand of leadership, but never had he promised, as Duterte did, that he would die for the country in his fight against drug, corruption and criminality, if it means improving the lives of its citizens.

Both Marcos and Duterte are decisive leaders and both have known that the only way for the country to go forward is when its people are disciplined.

Wasn’t this Marcos’ mantra “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan” (For the country to progress, discipline is needed.)?

Duterte is doing the same thing now, instilling discipline, and where Marcos has failed, Duterte is succeeding for the simple reason that latter does not have the ravenous Imelda for a conjugal partner.

The Marcoses tried all their power to tighten the rein of discipline on their people while loosening with impunity the same regimen on themselves which made them the corrupt and evil persons that they were.

At least with the Dutertes we don’t see raging abuses going on.

Other than the fact that Duterte is well secured in his presidency and does not need to impose martial law to bring about positive and qualitative changes in the lives of the Filipinos, which he promised he would do, most importantly he would want to see that history will speak highly of him in continuance to what he has done in making Davao City a peaceful and preferred city in the country to live while still the mayor and, hopefully, until his presidential term is over.

 

 

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Duterte and the Marcoses plan to return part of their ill-gotten wealth

 

The Marcoses: Imee, Bongbong, Imelda, Irene

So there was plunder after all committed by the Marcoses when the dictator and his family were booted out of the country.

For how else could a beautiful and bountiful country like the Philippines gone bankrupt and miserable if not for the diabolic deeds of the Marcoses.

Worse even is that this atrocious family took their own sweet time – 20 years – raping the country, leaving it bleeding and helpless and which to this day many are still crying for justice and retribution.

The reason why I am making these statements is that history has already pass judgment on the atrocities committed by the Marcoses in all manner, shape and form towards the country and its people, yet, until today, the only people that have denied ever committing plunder are the Marcoses themselves.

Perhaps what put the Marcoses in denial is the fact that they felt forgiven by the people already for their scandalous and outrageous misdeeds when they welcomed the disgraced family back and installed them, yet again, on their respective seats of political power.

So what does this tell the Filipino people, in particular, and the whole world, in general, that the Marcoses are now offering to return to the government some of the family’s disputed wealth, including “a few gold bars”, as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte?

Well, what else could it be but admitting and affirming the fact now that, indeed, oodles of money or otherwise was taken or stolen, if you may, consciously, yet surreptitiously, away that belongs to the country and the Filipino people.

What is distressing about this whole arrangement is that the Marcoses continue to show their patented arrogance as if they are doing the Filipino people a favor.

That disdainful attitude is even more glaring now in the light of Duterte intervening favorably with the Marcoses in the spirit of reconciliation.

Reconciliation, after the despicable leadership Marcos  showed the Filipinos whom he was sworn to serve and protect?

And still the Marcoses have the gall to say that they haven’t done an injustice to the Filipino people during and in the aftermath of the brutal Marcos regime?

I had always put up good words for Duterte and I consider myself among the millions of Filipinos that gave him an overwhelming victory to lead the country.

But every time he cuddles the Marcoses I cringe for what he feels is not compatible with how majority of Filipinos feel about this wretched family.

Duterte should start realizing that he won the presidency because the Filipinos trusted that based on his ability and competence as a leader he could make a favorable difference in the lives of poor and struggling Filipinos, but definitely not a more favorable difference in the lives of the Marcoses.

 

Espinedo is Duterte’s lethal weapon against drug lords

 

Police Chief Inspector Jovie Espinedo and President Rodrigo Duterte

“Your next assignment is Iloilo,” President Rodrigo Duterte Duterte said after Ozamiz police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido was conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu award during the National Heroes Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

With this words and ominous warning perhaps, if you may, Duterte no doubt has serve Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog notice to shape up and clean his city of illegal drugs so he could clear his name among the mayors in Duterte’s ‘narco-list’.

It must be remembered that Duterte has called Iloilo the “most shabulized” province in the country.

For Mabilog what is important to remember also is that the latest award conferred by Duterte on Espinedo is the third that he has received this month, a confirmation of the President’s support for his  accomplishments in the war on drugs.

There is no need to specify anymore what Espinedo’s accomplishments are. Suffice to say that the bemedalled police inspector’s transfer to Iloilo comes after two mayors linked to the illegal drug trade were killed in separate police operations where he was chief of police.

Who can ever forget the controversial killing of Albuera City Mayor Rolando Epinosa Sr. while in detention at the Baybay City jail on November 2016?

With Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and 14 others killed in a July 30 shootout after being served search warrants at the Parojinog’s properties for their illegal activities, who can now question that Espinedo is indeed Duterte’s lethal weapon against drug lords?

Thus, it was only proper and sensible that Mayor Mabilog welcomed the announcement of Chief Inspector Espenido’s new assignment, saying he looks forward to working “side by side” with the police official in addressing the illegal drug trade in the region.

Espinedo on his part said that Mayor Mabilog has nothing to fear and all he is asking is for the mayor to cooperate. He is even advising the latter to surrender if indeed he is what he is – a drug lord.

“He should cooperate what he is willing to cooperate so that his name would be removed from the list of narco-politicians, which is for the best. We are pro-life. Look at my record.”

Pro-life, indeed, for Espinedo is a preacher in his church Seventh Day Adventist.

But in asking Mabilog to look at Espinedo’s record, the former has to think twice as hard choosing which record is it that he has to be concerned most about – his record as a preacher or his record as a police officer.

To go on killing or give up killing on war against illegal drugs

 

It is very unfortunate that I have to write about the subject upon deciding to resume blogging after my second successful total knee replacement surgery.

I could have chosen something pleasant to write about but the reality that the country is facing today relative to President Duterte’s war against illegal drugs continue to be the defining thrust of his administration now and, perhaps, for the rest of his term, that the end result could either break us or make us citizens of a nation with potential future. Thus, the subject makes it all the more important for me.

It cannot be denied that we are a nation trying to survive an identity crisis that has been so demeaning all these many, many years – that of being a corrupt nation with equally corrupt political officials.

We have seen presidents come and go with reform policies and programs for a better future for the country and it s people. But at the end of their terms the country is no better than before and the Filipinos find themselves mired even more in the morass of corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.

The fact that I mentioned illegal drugs does not mean that this scourge was not there before Duterte’s presidency came into the picture. Corruption comes in many forms and shapes, but like the way politicians and government officials discovered that there was money for their deep pockets in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), they also found out that there was even a continuous flow of dirty money in illegal drugs worthy of being nurtured for political purposes regardless of the negative consequences it had on the poor users, just like the PDAF scam had an adverse impact on the marginalized Filipinos for which it was intended for.

One impressive difference between past presidents and Duterte today is that the latter knew, after experimenting in Davao City as its mayor, what illegal drugs can do to people’s brain and what bad publicity can do to a place resulting from crimes committed due to its usage.

Duterte took his task as mayor to heart and turned the city around by using his unorthodox style of leadership manifested by guts, political will and bullets – all for the love of his city and his belief that the residents deserved a better life.

Duterte won the presidency in 2016 because most Filipinos got dissatisfied with conventional politicians leading the country. They had had enough.

Part of Duterte’s presidency is history now and it looks like that the remainder of his term will have history repeating itself as many times over for there is no turning back now in his fight against narco-politics that if not controlled will determine the destiny of this nation.

The country today is undergoing birth pains in charting its destiny brought about mainly by drug related killings that are so prevalent and far reaching, even to include the Marawi siege.

Many are speaking out now against what they call the ‘slaughter of mostly poor Filipinos’ especially in the wake of the outrage over the killing of Kian Loyd de los Santos, a grade 11 student, during a police drug operation in Caloocan City last week.

Yes, there is a very high probability that the policemen responsible for Kian’s arrest may have committed murder, but should we allow this unfortunate incident to derail the momentum  Duterte’s administration has in bringing deliverance to this country from the menace of illegal drugs engulfing the country today? Duterte himself has not minced words in his doubts about the killing of Kian. Even the Philippine Ambassador to the UN, Teddy Locsin Jr., showed his disgust about the killing when he called the arresting cops “hijos de putas!”

I am not losing hope for this country with Duterte at the helm and even if the killing continues, for to give up killing, which cannot be avoided if the drug lords, peddlers and users insist on destroying this country and its youth, is tantamount to letting the unscrupulous  people triumph over the vast number of Filipinos praying for deliverance.

 

Duterte’s first year in office

 

I have lived long enough to see presidents come and go in this country but I have never seen the likes of President Rodrigo Duterte who hit the ground running at a considerable speed upon assumption of office.

While Duterte may have been ready with his administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda that included among other things the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices and family planning, he, however, entrusted the execution of all these to his social and economic mangers while he took it upon himself to lead his much vaunted campaign promise to fight the proliferation of illegal drugs , corruption and criminality.

As an unconventional politician whose approach to solving problem has been described as ‘out-of-the-box’, not to mention the colorful language he uses especially when piqued, is what has endeared him to the Filipinos which is why he was overwhelmingly voted to the presidency.

I am not going to discuss here Duterte’s defining moments individually which includes among other things his running after and eventually putting Sen. Leila de Lima in police custody for using drug money to finance her senatorial bid, his alleged killings and human rights violation stemming from his bloody war on drugs that has been harshly criticize here and abroad by international human rights agencies and advocates, his antagonistic stance towards the U.S., his shift from a U.S. dictated foreign policy to an independent foreign policy, his open arms policy towards China despite the latter’s incursion and militarization of the West Philippine Sea, his diplomatic sortie to Russia, and last but not least of his controversial decisions is the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

For me what is important in Duterte’s 365 days in office is putting into context how the country and the Filipino people are today having Duterte as our president.

I do not know about you, but it makes me wonder, if not guessing, how it would have been for the Philippines and the Filipinos had we had Roxas, Poe or Binay as the president.

Knowing what we know now about the wide-ranging prevalence and gravity of illegal drug use in the country, could any of the other presidential aspirants, had they won, had the political will or the gumption to declare war against it, as Duterte has done, knowing that you are up against ruffians and monsters?

Could they have had the guts to discover and say that we are now a narco-political country?

Would talking to just the MILF, passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law and establishing a new autonomous political entity known as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, prevented the Islamic State-inspired Maute group from storming and creating havoc in Marawi City.

Would they have the potency to declare martial law?

Perhaps Divine Providence determined the course that Duterte be president, warts and all, for he has what it takes to lead and fight for the Filipinos in preserving the integrity of the country and having it respected.

This in essence is what is Duterte’s presidency about one year after and in the next 5 years, God willing.

 

Duterte fighting terrorism and corruption in two fronts

 

We all know the terrorism happening in Marawi City and to its beleaguered residents who have hastily fled to Iligan City, as this is what all sorts of media are talking about, including the blogs I posted which you can read at these links: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/yes-to-martial-law-in-mindanao/ and https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/yes-to-martial-law-in-mindanao-part-ii/.

While lawlessness is happening in southern Philippines, to the consternation of the people, especially the president, a sense of satisfaction, however, is felt by many Filipinos because at the opposite end of the country the Duterte administration is also going after corrupt government officials.

Former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Sen. Antonio Trillanes, Sen. Leila de Lima, Sen. Franklin Drilon.

According to reports Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has announced that former budget secretary Florencio Abad and Senators Antonio Trillanes, Leila de Lima, and Franklin Drilon, will soon face plunder charges in connection to the scandalous Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or what is more known as the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

This, after the lawyer of the alleged brains behind the scam, businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles, said they will be filing charges before the (DOJ) against prominent personalities, among them the aforementioned politicians, which they said have benefited from the scam.

We all know that Napoles herself is facing plunder charges for allegedly masterminding the scam in which pork barrel allocations from lawmakers were funneled into the non-government organizations she set up to fund bogus or non-existent projects to the detriment of the poor who were suppose to be the beneficiaries of the funds.

Whether or not these are drum-up charges that are politically motivated remains to be seen.

In the same manner that former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla are calling their own plunder charges for their involvement in the same scam as harassment and persecution, the above mentioned politicians are also echoing the same sentiments.

But people are really hoping that something concrete comes out of this investigation especially now that Napoles feels like “singing” to escape a much longer jail term.

The people ought to know and the time has come to unmask the culprits.

I just hope that Justice Secretary Aguirre will be able to gather and produce enough evidences to justify the plunder charges especially now that the politician’s names have already been maligned.

 

Reopening of pork barrel scam probe and Dutertenomics

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

You might be wondering why I am lumping up the two together when they are different and distinct subjects.

Well, they are not really contradistinctive.

What makes them related or akin to one another is the fact that both deals with preventing corruption as the country is steered towards growth and development.

Thus, while Dutertenomics is getting to be a popular buzzword here and abroad for President Rodrigo Duterte’s 6-year development plan that aims to make the Philippines a high middle-income status before his term ends in 2022, it is a much welcomed boost for the country also that Duterte is keen and in fact throwing his full support behind the reopening of a congressional inquiry into the scandalous P10-billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel scam.

Dutertenomics is actually about the 10-point agenda that is listed below and which emphasizes transparency and inclusiveness in every step:

  • Higher infrastructure spending, with 5 percent of gross domestic product targeted
  • Lower income and corporate tax rates to better compete with other Asian nations
  • Less red tape and corruption, including permits and land titles crucial to business
  • More state resources for the countryside, reducing poverty and boosting rural growth
  • Strong law enforcement and peace efforts to enhance the business environment
  • Small business gains with GoNegosyo’s Ramon Lopez as Trade & Industry Secretary
  • Better China relations enhancing Chinese trade, tourism and investment flows
  • Charter change to devolve power to the regions and ease foreign investment limits.

In the same manner, in revisiting the pork barrel scam probe, Duterte simply wants to make sure that all those government officials involved in unscrupulously diverting the government funds for the poor and needy into their own bank accounts are taken to task and prosecuted.

I just hope that in so doing Duterte will not interfere and just allow the Sandiganbayan ( a special appellate collegial court) to run its course in prosecuting the high profile accused namely, ex-senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada. He will be doing the country a great favor if he does.

Oozing with political will with no one to be beholden to and having the interest of the nation and the welfare of the people foremost in his governance, I am sure Duterte will find success in this twin concerns he is driving at.