Robredo’s bleak picture of the country

Vice President Leni Robredo

I had high hopes when Leni Robredo won the vice presidency in 2016 against her closest rival, the dictator’s namesake, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Had even higher expectations when Robredo, despite her being an opposition, was given a Cabinet portfolio in the early part of the Duterte administration.

Was thinking that she would be an exemplary model of a non-traditional politician, following her late husband’s political approach, who could work with an unconventional politician like President Rodrigo Duterte.

Alas, Robredo valued to lead an opposition party, the Liberal Party (LP), and be among a group of traditional politicians – trapos – who had nothing to show and crow about during the preceding Aquino administration except to take care of their own personal and political interests.

What is becoming worse with Robredo is that she is falsely lamenting and maliciously depicting a bleak picture of the country when, during the 72nd anniversary of the LP, she exhorted her dwindling party mates “to remain true to what is right and not lose heart in the face of the “darkness” shrouding the nation.” She was being melodramatic in her black dress.

“Many ask us if there is still hope, where we are headed. Darkness envelops us. But we should not lose hope. Our party history is about fighting,” Robredo said.

I mean what darkness is she talking about and fighting for what?

At least Duterte is keeping true to his promise during the campaign that he will be fighting for the country and its people by going relentless against drugs, corruption and criminality, which were found later to be prevalent during Aquino’s LP administration but nothing forceful was done to curve the plagues.

Thus, I could not agree more with Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s statement that Robredo’s remarks were “completely out of touch with the existing realities on the ground.”

“The darkness that Vice President Robredo may be referring to perhaps pertains to the future of those discredited politicians who wish to return to power,” Roque added. It cannot be more nearer to the truth than this.

And it is precisely for this reason that Filipinos, in every poll survey now and then, have always given Duterte high marks in satisfaction, approval and trust ratings because they no longer want the deplorable ways of the traditional politicians that Robredo sadly has embraced, to make a comeback only to forsake the respect and meaningful changes we are gaining now as people and as a country.

 

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Cayetano eyeing to succeed Duterte in 2022

 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano sporting a new haircut.

Perhaps one may find this absurd that I am talking already about a presidential run in 2022 this early on.

But if one has been monitoring closely political personalities and events surrounding their association with President Rodrigo Duterte, before and after his election in 2016, the one that would stand out most is Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Cayetano’s ambition and political astuteness was proven when he positioned himself as vice presidential candidate in 2016 election.

It is still vivid in the minds of the people that he went to Davao City and declared his candidacy there hoping and praying that he could have Duterte as his presidential tandem.

“When I announced my candidacy in Davao, I took a step of faith. I told myself that a good partner is really worth waiting for,” Cayetano said then.

At the time many were already clamoring for Duterte to run for president but he remained unsure, if not coy, about the offer.

But Cayetano never lost hope as he continued convincing the people that Duterte’s kind of leadership is what the country needed in creating genuine change in the lives of Filipino families.

What gave Cayetano the impetus to continue campaigning for the Duterte-Cayetano ticket is the fact that while Duterte repeatedly said that he would not run as president he also intimated that if he does change his mind and decides to run for President, that he would pick Cayetano to be his running mate.

At the time Duterte was already impressed with Cayetano’s “good grasp of practical solutions” for the country’s problems on poverty, poor infrastructure, and lack of inclusive economic growth.

Thus, who can forget the time when, even as Duterte was still uncommitted, Cayetano had already prepared posters of their tandem which he himself was seen nailing on roadway posts for people to see.

But that was the past and here we are faced with more recent events, and the reason why am saying that Cayetano is eyeing to succeed Duterte in 2022.

It was reported that during the January 18th launching of the Overseas Filipino Bank, Duterte addressed Cayetano as “Mr. President”.

“Of course our Foreign Secretary is here. ‘Mr. President, can you stand up? Show them your new haircut.’” Duterte said in his introduction of Cayetano.

Duterte praised Cayetano not only for his performance, but also for being the most qualified, I suppose for the presidency in 2022.

If this is not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Still better than endorsing Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who Duterte said was also going to be the next president during the former’s birthday some time ago, God forbids.

 

President Duterte sustains high ratings

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

People averse to President Rodrigo Duterte as a person and as the country’s leader may be wondering why they can’t put him down.

By people I mean political foes and the elite who to this day can’t believe that a poor and unassuming mayor far from the imperial city of Manila is lording over them.

The more these politicians and privileged class of people silently wish a controversial issue against the president will arise the more they get depressed because his approval and trust ratings continue to be high – issues like Duterte’s bloody war against drugs, extra-judicial killings, human rights violation, revolutionary government, federalism and lately the no election floating balloon.

These people must have been aghast, nay infuriated, reading that Duterte’s approval and trust ratings could go as high as 80 and 82 percent, respectively, as shown in the latest Pulse Asia survey for December 2017.

It looks like nothing can go wrong for as long as the Filipino people continue to manifest their unwavering support for Duterte’s programs and plans for the future.

What does this really mean? Why the continuing steadfast support from the people?

What most politicians, especially the trapos (traditional politicians), and the ritzy should know is that Duterte’s presidency is no longer a presidency of political patronage, but a presidency that exercises political will that is good for the country and for the people in general.

It is a presidency that says what it means and mean what it says for the benefit of the greater number of Filipinos.

It is a presidency that strongly endeavors to fulfill promises pledged during the campaign period and we have seen it and continue seeing it in Duterte’s promise to fight drugs, corruption and criminality.

Suffice to say that Duterte’s sustained high ratings stem from the fact that he has walk the talk and continue to follow through his campaign promises, to change the lives of many Filipinos, especially the poor.

The Filipino people recognize and acknowledge what Duterte is doing, even in charting the future of this country, and for that they are humbly grateful.

Thus, no one should wonder why Duterte is able to sustain his high ratings.

LP as resurgent party of the people

 

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan

I am talking of course about the Liberal Party (LP) and the frivolous ambition of its leader, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, of making it a resurgent political party of the people – “bigger in number and stronger in unity”, he declared.

If this is not wishful thinking, I do not know what is.

I am not saying it could not happen again, like reminiscing the heydays of the impotent Aquino administration when the LP was ruling it over.

But look where they are now and what happened to their numbers. Not even the presence of the gracious Vice President Leni Robredo can make a big deal of a difference despite her being the LP chair.

It is not about the practice of changing political colors and affiliating with the party machine that that made Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte president of the Philippines, but this time it is about the trust and confidence the politicians have in the competence and adequacy of Duterte as a leader that they want to be associated with.

Thus, even if Pangilinan is crowing that the LP is now enlisting membership that are not politicians, but rather those belonging to the academe, the private sector and other civic organizations, with Robredo administering the oath of allegiance to the party, I don’t think this will make a dent in Duterte’s popularity and acceptability.

Pangilinan’s sales pitch, saying, that it is “important for Filipinos to fight for and live a life of freedom as well as dignity and respect for all” simply sounds melodramatic, if not senseless, for the truth is that Duterte’s non-traditional style of leadership and his political will, not to mention his iron rule against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality is earning us back the respect and dignity we deserve as a nation.

But what I find most absurd are the questions Pangilinan asked in his speech at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s “Freedom Speech”:

“Today, we ask these questions: Are we free? Does freedom have any value in a society tainted with the blood of thousands of victims of extrajudicial killings and impunity? Is freedom meaningful without security in the home and in the streets?

“How do we reconcile freedom amid the feelings of despair, fear and hopelessness among those overwhelmed by the enormity of our nation’s problems: grinding poverty; widespread hunger; massive unemployment; pervasive graft and corruption; horrible traffic especially in urban centers; neglect and waste of people and their potential?”

As a lawyer Pangilinan should have been more discriminating in his questions.

Why, were these problems non-existent during the term of former Pres. Benigno Aquino, of which Pangilinan was one of the LP’s stalwart?

Were the Filipinos really better off during the salad days of Aquino and his cohorts?

What have Aquino, Pangilinan, and their ilk done after six (6) years in power, and I am not even asking about the scandalous reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in Tacloban City after the aftermath of super-typhoon Yolanda and the equally outrageous Mamasapano massacre?

Horrible traffic? Why, what has the Aquino administration, which Pangilinan was part of, done to deserve exoneration, as seemingly implied by Pangilinan, in his speech? Why can’t Pangilinan just ask former Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya about his culpability in Manila’s traffic woes?

Thank goodness for the support Duterte got overwhelmingly from the people or narco-politics would have swallowed us all with politicians, the likes of Pangilinan, continually living the good life, while majority of Filipinos live a miserable life.

My take is that for as long as Duterte has the respect and appreciation of most Filipinos, there could never be a resurgent LP, as Pangilinan envisions.

 

Roque: an able spokesman and potential senatorial candidate in 2019

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque

Critics of newly minted Presidential spokesman Harry Roque not only expressed disappointment over the latter’s acceptance as the mouthpiece of President Rodrigo Duterte because it goes against every grain of what the president is relative to human rights, of which Roque is known for his strong advocacy for it, but also because Roque is said to be taking advantage of using his new position to promote his senatorial bid in May 2019.

What the critics meant though is that Roque could never be an able spokesman for the president as there is glaring incompatibility between his being a human rights lawyer and at the same time a supporter of Duterte’s deadly war on drugs.

But how wrong can these pundits be.

Would Duterte have chosen Roque if he thought that Roque would just be an obstruction in his government especially when a spokesman is tasked to speak on his behalf, an ‘alter-ego’, if you may, and at the same time a shield from and defender of criticisms thrown at the president?

The fact is that Duterte knew Roque long enough that he saw in this equally controversial person, who in his own right is known for his tirades and outspoken opinions, an adequate person to be his new spokesman.

As to Roque’s potential candidacy for senator in 2019, Duterte has made an outstanding announcement. Why not indeed? Roque is better than the Trillaneses, the Sottos and the Pacquiaos in the Senate today.

But just to prove my point that Duterte made the right choice in Roque, allow me to share with you, in case you have not heard nor seen it yet, this worldwide TV interview of Roque by no less than the noted Chief International Correspondent for CNN, Christiane Amanpour. It should make Duterte proud for Roque was able to stand his ground and was successful in articulating Duterte’s policies.

Our future calls for a revolutionary government

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

By the word itself, revolutionary tends to connote a fearful meaning and consequence. It does because it refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.

But haven’t we Filipinos been participants of revolutions against oppression and despotism in the past that made us who we are today and led us to where we are now?

The People Power uprising in 1986 or what is better known as the EDSA Revolution ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and catapulted Corazon Aquino to the leadership of the country.

As soon as Aquino assumed the presidency she figured out the only way she could quell pockets of resistance/defiance from Marcos supporters and be able to govern peacefully and effectively  was to establish a revolutionary government.

To effect radical change she used her revolutionary powers to sacked all elected officials, abolished Congress and tore up the 1973 constitution in favor of a provisional charter.

She handpicked a commission to write a new constitution, which was ratified by plebiscite in 1987 and paved the way for elections.

Thus Aquino was revered and highly acclaimed by many Filipinos as a heroine of democracy.

While democracy continues to be vibrant in this country, our progress as a nation, however, has been stymied by poor and ineffective leadership that followed Aquino, from Ramos to Estrada to Arroyo and another Aquino.

Seeing the same traditional politicians at the helm doing the same traditional governance, the Filipino people finally made a revolutionary decision to elect in 2016 an unconventional, an out-of-the-box- politician who made a name as a stern, no-nonsense politician and mayor of Davao City by making an unsafe, corrupt and problematic place into an admirable and highly livable one.

The result was an overwhelming victory prized him by the Filipino people to do what he is capable of doing just so the country could move forward and the lives of the people uplifted.  His election was a revolution in itself. Who would have thought that in our present political and electoral system a candidate without an organization and money could triumphed over those having funds and a well oiled political machinery?

Sociologist Randy David, a professor at the University of the Philippines, could never have been more right when, reflecting on the results of the 2016 elections, he said: “When candidate Duterte declared in the presidential debates that he represented the nation’s last card (huling baraha), he instantly resonated with them. They did not have to ask what the game was for which he was their last card. It was enough that he offered them something to which they could cling for hope.”

Thus, despite the negative review Duterte has been getting from the political opposition, the Catholic Church and human rights advocates on his war on drugs and the alleged extrajudicial killings resulting from it, the satisfaction and trust ratings of the president remains high. It only shows the encouragement and the confidence the people has on the president upon showing the political will not seen in other presidents before him in effecting the changes he promised the people during the campaign.

Senator Antonio Trillanes

It is not helping Duterte run the country that, while understanding the enormity of the problem the country is facing relative to drugs, corruption, criminality and narco-politics on one hand , and resolving the much dreaded Marawi crisis from spilling over in other parts of Mindanao on the other hand, still there are people the likes of Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his ilk who wants nothing but attention by spewing diatribes at Duterte and his family simply because their own political agenda cannot prosper under Duterte’s presidency.

From the very beginning Duterte has not been coy in his intention and willingness to establish a revolutionary government if he sees that there are groups of people, especially those led by politicians, opposed to his rule and who do not want him to succeed. This was a warning he wanted all and sundry to take seriously especially if their motivation was to destabilize his government.

Yet Trillanes has the stupidity and shortsightedness in saying: : “I firmly believe that Duterte’s latest threat … is not only meant to intimidate those opposing his administration, but also to divert the attention from the various controversies in which his family is involved. It is also his only way to escape accountability for his crimes by perpetuating himself in power.”

A revolutionary government is not about Duterte perpetuating himself in power. Clearly it is an assurance that with Duterte remaining in power, the country and the Filipino people will have the changes promised them for a better future ahead as he is seen to be the only one capable of making it happen.

 

Duterte wants feisty daughter Sara to succeed him

 

President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte

We have not even reach half way yet in President Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential term of office and he is already suggesting his feisty daughter Sara to succeed him.

Is this being rational that this early Duterte is trying to show dynastic tendency in perpetuating themselves in power?

Whether this pronouncement by Duterte sits well on the Filipino people or not, it is vintage Duterte who is always steps ahead in political thoughts and ideas as to what is good for the country and its citizens.

I had been always against political dynasties (https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/elitist-political-families/) especially those identified already as traditional politicians (trapo).

But one cannot say this of President Duterte who definitely is not a ‘trapo’, but an out-of-the-box politician and it is for this reason that he was elected overwhelmingly as president because the people wanted change in the leadership from one who works in government mostly for their own vested interests to one who cares to serve the people and who has the political will to wage war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality.

If this early Duterte is seen and perceived to be conditioning the minds of the Filipino people that he wants her daughter Sara to succeed him, it is for no other reason than to make all and sundry feel and understand that the enormity of the problems tearing apart the social fabric of this country is so overwhelming that one term of the presidency could not just wrap it up and declare the problems solved.

What this simply means is that Duterte has come to realize that whatever inroads he has done against his war against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality and whatever successes he has attained in making reforms in government, he did not want these gains compromised, but rather he wants them sustained.

By being compromised I surmise to say that Duterte did not want somebody who might be a ‘trapo’ to succeed him and who might only have to promote his or her own selfish agenda. This will only get us back to the hell-hole we came from.

In the same manner that by being sustained, Duterte can be assured that the only way his mission and vision for the country and its people can continue, the way he is charting its course now, is to have somebody who has the same mentality or mindset in running a government, be it local or national, and the same selfless attitude as him, and to his mind there could not be any other person he could trust and have full confidence but her own daughter, Sara, a well-liked and  respected politician herself.

“I couldn’t find any other better candidate than Sara to become the next president,” Duterte reportedly said, and added further that his daughter is a strong woman, who is also a lawyer and knows the law very well.

Talking about silver lining at the horizon for the country.