Day of reckoning

 

No doubt that there is an utmost necessity for Congress to proceed with the proposal to investigate Peter Joemel Advincula who admitted he was “Bikoy”, the hooded man in the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos.

The controversial videos has caught the attention and curiosity of the citizenry and it is with bated breath that they are awaiting the result of an impartial probe so that the public will know if there was indeed a politician or a group of politicians belonging to the opposition behind the controversial videos, or was it just a ploy concocted by Advincula himself to accomplish his 15 minutes of fame?

Advincula succeeded in viciously attacking President Duterte and his family, inconsiderately shaming even his young, innocent daughter in illegal drugs trade. Duterte’s close political allies did not go unscathed either. They, too, were besmirched.

But after all these vituperations that took place at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office during a press conference called by Advincula himself on May 6, the latter veered course and started singing a different tune. This, after the police issued a warrant for his arrest and fearing for his life, surrendered.

In giving himself up to the police Advincula recanted his damning statements and accused Sen. Antonio Trillanes instead as the author of the controversial videos. He also professed the participation of Liberal Party senators, including detained Sen. Leila de Lima, in conspiring for the ouster of Duterte so that Vice president Leni Robredo could take over the presidency.

Ominous as Advincula’s storyline seem to be, the fact remains however that everyone in the opposition are unanimous in disavowing Advincula’s accusations and are vilifying instead his morality and credibility.

But is Advincula really that corrupt and vile, or could a degenerate like Advincula still possesses a modicum of probity for the people to believe in him and thus redeem himself?

Only a comprehensive, thorough and objective investigation could tell the public what the truth really is.

The findings, therefore, will not only be a day of reckoning for Advincula, but as far as the public is concern it will be also a judgment day for Trillanes whom the president had been wanting to lock up but had been unsuccessful to this day.

Whichever way it goes the resolution of these controversial videos and the resulting penalty meted out to the culprit or culprits by the investigative body will be the final accounting for the Filipino people to determine whether or not Duterte, and whoever his heir apparent may be, deserves to continue leading the country.

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Collateral damage

Jinggoy, Erap, JV

While collateral damage is a term aptly used in military settings when unintentional or incidental damage or casualty is inflicted as a result of military action directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities, its parallelism, however, cannot escape being applied in politics too.

Such stark analogy is what we have recently witnessed when Senator JV Ejercito lost in his reelection bid in the recently concluded mid-term elections.

We all know the crushing and humiliating defeat suffered by Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada when he got beaten badly by former Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, whose chance to run for mayor in 2016 was thwarted by Erap when the latter renege on their agreement that he was just going to be a one-term mayor. By any measure it was a sweet revenge for Isko.

Janella Estrada and Francis Zamora

We also know about the resounding victory Francis Zamora had over Janella Estrada in the San Juan mayoralty race. Janella is the daughter of Jinggoy Estrada.

The toppling of the Estrada political empire in the local government did not only mean that the Filipino people had had enough of them, but it also signified that neither do the people want another Estrada to make a come-back in the national scene as a senator.Thus, we have seen how the electorate repudiated the candidacy of Jinggoy Estrada.

While most Filipinos are not expressing regret over the drubbing of Erap, Janella and Jinggoy, some are, however, wondering why the much like and favored JV Ejercito did not make it to the senate again.

There is no doubt that JV is a better person, a conscientious legislator and a responsible public servant than Jinggoy. His disadvantage and downfall, however, is that he fell into the trap of running in the same ticket with Jinggoy.

JV is right when he said that running simultaneously with his half brother Jinggoy diminished considerably his chance of getting reelected.

While there was much hype created at the presence of two known rival siblings in the same party, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the fact remains that some Filipinos had made up their minds not to have Jinggoy elected again. Needless to say that they were targeting Jinggoy to lose, but the problem is that they were not able to control, much less convince, the other Filipinos to shun him.

Thus, it is in this context that JV became a collateral damage because the votes that went to Jinggoy could have very well been counted for JV.

What a waste of votes, indeed, for a deserving candidate!

Miscalculation

Peter Joemel Advincula

There has been much ado created over Bikoy and his “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos before the mid-term elections not only because of its timeliness, but more so because it was intended to humiliate President Duterte and his family, and discredit his accomplishments that has sustained his popularity.

Overall, it was a cowardly ploy as it involved a young and innocent member of the family.

If one looks at the video keenly, the Machiavellian plot can only come from devious people who are well heeled, in position of power, overly irate and whose ultimate goal at this point in time is to make Duterte a lame duck president by creating a stigma that even the much talked about prospect of her daughter, Sara, succeeding him in the presidential election of 2022 will fizzle put.

That one Peter Joemel Advincula, a former convict facing estafa and illegal recruitment charges, surrendered to seek police custody only showed how scared he is and that confessing the truth is the only way he can be saved from being silenced forever.

Realizing that there was a manhunt for him after a warrant for his arrest was issued and realizing further that his Bikoy videos did not make a dent against Duterte’s senatorial bets, he simply followed his survival instincts that the best way to continue living is to surface and redeem whatever is left that is redeemable in him under police custody.

After the resounding defeat of the Liberal Party’s Otso Diretso candidates, who were suppose to be the direct beneficiary of the controversial videos, Advincula realized too that he was damaged goods – useless and ineffective for the political interests that he was being exploited for.

It was nothing short of miscalculation for the conspirators who hatch the vicious storyline in the videos. They were not smart enough to prevent the exposure of Bikoy’s true identity, but the latter instead is now poised to identify who the malevolent people are behind the Bikoy videos.

There is a need therefore for an in-depth investigation probing into the sinister Bikoy videos. Advincula, the self-confessed Bikoy, simply do not have the motivation for going after the Dutertes considering who he is, a felon, but it is his being a felon that made him a perfect catalyst for the plotters to fulfill their evil desires against the Dutertes.

The burden of proof now is on Advincula. The only way he could redeem himself is to come out with irrefutable evidences that would show who, where, why and what made him Bikoy in the videos.  Unless he does this, Bikoy’s goose is cooked.

Revilla’s magical win

 

Revilla and his ‘budots’ dance campaign video.

I am of course talking about Ramon “Bong” Revilla who seem to have secured the 11th spot in the senatorial race in the last mid-term elections.

Like many, I am wondering what Revilla has that Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Ponce Enrile do not have.

I mention the three in comparison because all are out on bail after being charged with plunder at the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan over alleged misuse of their pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), the lump-sum funds previously allocated to legislators.

Could it be that Revilla has a more effective talisman than Estrada and Enrile have? Not that I believe that having in their possession something that is thought to have magical powers and bring good luck could actually happen, but the fact that Revilla has been returned to the Senate after what he has done makes one wonder really.

Does a lucky charm really works or is it the shallowness of the Filipino voters that made Revilla won?

It would have been a satisfying victory for the people if, like Estrada and Enrile, Revilla was repudiated too. For a government official, and a senator at that, to be accused of pocketing P224 million in kickbacks from fake projects with the help of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles who herself was convicted of plunder is simply unconscionable no matter how one looks at it and the same rejection, therefore, should have befallen his candidacy.

I mean, if like Napoles, Revilla’s former chief-of-staff Richard Cambe, was also found guilty of plunder by the anti-graft court, what does that speak of Revilla acquittal, given that he is the head of his Senate staff? The same question can be ask of Enrile, while his former chief of staff, Jessica Lucila Reyes, continue to languish at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, while Enrile was released on bail in 2015 in consideration of his old age and poor health.

Does this mean to say that had Estrada and Enrile also utilized a campaign video that showed him perform a goofy dance that they would have won too?

How shallow and cheap can we all be to parlay our votes for an idiotic dance so that we can have a questionable character at the senate to represent the Filipino people in legislative matters that will protect the interests of the country and its government?.

Sense of humor is one thing that Filipinos have aplenty. But just because a candidate has found a medium to amuse people so that his disgraceful past can be swept under the rug is another deceitful act on the part of the candidate.

On the part of the Filipinos who still voted for him, it is called stupidity.

The Otso Diretso debacle

The Filipino people have spoken in the just concluded midterm elections and it showed a clear approval of President Duterte’s leadership and governance and the merciless repudiation of the opposition’s Otso Diretso candidates.

Indeed, even the illustrious names of past politicians, like the Tañadas, Dioknos, Roxases, Osmeñas and Aquinos, who used to enjoy the admiration, trust and confidence of the people, have lost their luster in the younger generation.

In this day and age it no longer matter whether a candidate for an elective position carries the distinguished name of his forebears. What matters now is in whose hands is he entrusting his political future.

It just so happen that in today’s politics the name Duterte has become a winning phenomenon that whoever throws in his lot with him and the party associated with him has the greater chance of winning. This is what the national and local elections results have proven.

This is why not a single opposition candidate is becoming a senator, after the 12 spots were filled in by President Duterte’s PDP-Laban candidates and candidates under presidential daughter’s party, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

A painful experience, especially for the local candidates? You bet it is! Just ask Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña. After Vice Mayor Edgar Labella was invited to Malacañang for a photo-op endorsement, Osmeña’s defeat became a fait accompli.

But that is neither here nor there. The fact is that the Otso Diretso debacle is a referendum giving Duterte the green light to continue the road map he has envisioned for the country for the remaining years of his presidency.

Most people has come to realize now that the presidency is not about being politically correct so as to look presidential, as past presidents have aspired to be, so that they will always be in good graces with the people.

The stark difference is what the people have seen in Duterte and they liked it. On a larger scale the people appreciated what Duterte is trying to accomplish for the country. How he transformed wayward Davao City in the early days to become a peaceful and livable place under his no-nonsense leadership and political courage or conviction has become a template for the whole country.

Duterte’s candor, despite the uncouth words spoken, is what has endeared him to the people and in return the people continue giving Duterte an unconditional support and a high trust and approval rating to steer the country the way he sees fit, and that includes endorsing political allies who are capable of helping him advance the country to progress.

Voting by conscience

Conscience is defined as an inner feeling or voice acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior. It is what is described by some as a moral compass.

It is synonymous to an “inner light” or “voice within” that gives one the moral sense of right and wrong.

There is no appropriate time to reflect on voting by conscience than now when we are just a day away from midterm elections that will not only serve as a referendum on President Duterte’s leadership, but will determine likewise whether or not we shall be electing a new generation of leaders who speak their minds and are capable of taking over and/or sustaining the growth and development of the nation in support of the vision of the president.

Since we are talking about the upcoming elections, then conscience is not just “what we think,” but it should be us “thinking about what is just” and true and beneficial to the country.

It is in this light that I take my hat off to Sen. Panfilo Lacson who wished deserving electoral candidates good luck while he hoped that those who are not qualified will lose in their bids.

“To all the decent, well-intentioned, honest, selfless, disciplined, hardworking, capable, humble and perceptive candidates – GOOD LUCK!” Lacson wrote on Twitter Saturday.

“Sa mga balasubas, abusado, magnanakaw, peke, manloloko, makasarili at tamad – MATALO SANA KAYO, mga #^•*” ninyo!” he added.

There is no better way to characterize voting by conscience than to internalize Lacson’s statements because after knowing and seeing many of them on the spotlight, whether for positive or negative reasons, it now gives us an idea on who they are and whether or not they are deserving of our votes.

This could not be more appropriate and true than when referencing to new and come-backing senatorial bets who are tasked to formulate well studied legislative policy enactments.

In effect what I am just saying here is that the May 13th election, like any other election for elective positions, is never a popularity contest but a choice of candidates with unblemished name and reputation who can serve the country intellectually and has nothing but the best interest of its people.

 

Putting sense into our vote

 

Election is just a few days away and there is no better time to make sure that our country will be in good hands going forward than for everyone to go out and vote.

Every election time is very crucial for the country as it helps chart the destiny of the country, but I hope people will consider the May 13 midterm legislative election as something compelling for them to exercise their freedom of suffrage because we want to make sure that the outcome will not allow us to retrogress and risk the relapse of becoming the ignoble “sick man of Asia” again.

The reason why I am saying this is because the world community is acknowledging and recognizing the leadership of President Duterte and there is nothing more important than to choose candidates who support the direction the president is leading the country and not be an obstructionist for the sake of being one.

We have to admit that like everybody else, Duterte is a flawed man, but for one whose satisfaction rating has always been high, and even rated “excellent” in the first quarter of 2019 by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), it could only mean that most Filipinos approve of his non-traditional leadership.

Duterte’s relentless war on illegal drugs and his aversion to corruption in government, as well as his repulsion to criminality in our society, are exercises of political will. Many loathe him for his seeming uncivility, but this is what sets him apart from past presidents who would rather be popular than be motivated to perform a political action that would have negative impact upon the voters, so come what may.

Suffice to say that Duterte governance has always been predicated on his love for the country. It is not about himself but rather about the Filipino people he has been sworn to serve.

Sad to say, however, that many candidates who are running now for senators are banking on their popularity and not on what they have inside their heads and their hearts. They seem to have correctly psych up already how the Filipino electorate votes and this is what makes them confident that they will win. Talking about actors, singers, and the prominently infamous one of the martial law years and those of the PDAF scandal.

Certainly, this is not putting sense into our votes and this is why I am appealing for more well meaning Filipinos to participate in this election if only to offset those looking at election as a popularity contest. If they happen to belong to the Dutertes PDP-Laban and Hugpong ng Pagbabago parties, repudiate them.

Perhaps it is worth remembering Plato’s famous quote about politics, saying: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”