Duterte’s revulsion towards drugs

President Rodrigo Duterte

Actually it is not only President Rodrigo Duterte who loathes the seemingly endless proliferation of drugs in the country.

The over 6 million people that made a big difference in his winning the presidency and the many more that supported also abhors the extent that illegal drug is being distributed and/or used in this country.

What is even more alarming and disturbing are the involvement of some generals, police other government officials in the illegal drug trades as he has pointed out.

Some eyebrows may have been raised when Duterte asked for another year to combat the drug menace in the country, this, after failing to keep up with his promise to eliminate it in six months after getting elected, and again being unable to contain it after an extension of another six months.

But is this a measure of an unsuccessful campaign on Duterte’s war against drugs?

For many who have seen the repercussions of drug use and the intelligence reports Duterte has been getting about the illegal drug trade in the country, I think the consensus is that the president is right is his assessment of the magnitude of the drug problem in this country and is the reason why he signed a memorandum allowing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to participate anew in the government’s drug war.

So it cannot be said, therefore, that Duterte has failed in his war on drugs, but the fact is that a continuity of the relentless campaign is needed involving a greater number of anti-illegal drugs personnel to prevent the resurgence of the menace.

Duterte was right in listening to the clamor of the public that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) shall take over from the PNP the anti-illegal drugs operation because of the extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but the agency’s inferior number simply rendered them inadequate to be at the critical place in the most opportune time.

What was happening though is that while there may not have been any killing, the proportion of crime committed and illegal drug trade increased.

Thus, Duterte has ordered the PNP to return to the government’s war on illegal drugs but in a supporting role, with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) keeping the lead overall in the campaign.

Not only that. Other law enforcement agencies, including the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Postal Corporation were also directed to provide support to the PDEA in the conduct of the anti-narcotics campaign.

In a statement, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said:“The President recognizes the significant strides PDEA has made in the government’s anti-illegal campaign but it has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug-infected areas down to the municipal and barangay levels.”

Indeed, this is a welcome development that will surely make an impact in Duterte’s one year appeal to stamp out the drug menace in the country.

 

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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.

 

MEP’s meddling an utter rudeness

 

The European Parliament

I am actually referring to the arrogance and brazenness of some Members of the European Parliament (MEP) who are meddling in the political affairs of the Philippines, a sovereign country at that, by filing a resolution calling for the release of Sen. Leila de Lima and quashing the drug charges against her.

If this is not a blatant show of superiority complex, I don’t know how else to interpret it.

Let me just qualify what I mean by superiority complex. Surely, it is not about intellectual superiority, nor in terms of integrity and morality, but this pompous and imperious bunch of people think they belong to a superior race because they come from a much developed country and they are white.

That is all there is to it and they think that because they are the high and mighty, that they have the ascendancy, the authority, nay, the ‘sovereign obligation’, to bully and lecture us about justice.

Justice my ass! Justice for de Lima?

But of course justice has been done, and where she finds herself now is the kind of justice that she deserves.

And they don’t have to worry about her safety. She definitely is in good hands. She has to be because the Filipino people would really like to see how the de Lima saga ends, if only to prove that indeed she was deeply entrenched in the drug activities.

This bunch of swaggering and pontificating MEPs think that it was all the time fine and dandy and much better in the Philippines before Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte got voted to the presidency.

I am sure de Lima saw what was coming to her after she won a slot in the senatorial race allegedly with the help of drug money, and seeing, too, that Duterte captured the presidency.

De Lima must have felt sorry in hindsight that she was not able to gather enough evidence to prove that Duterte was behind the much ballyhooed killings in Davao while the latter was the mayor and the former as chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and thence Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

What de Lima is getting is payback time from Duterte, after what he went through being falsely accused and humiliated by her.

Now the table is turned against de Lima and for the information of the MEPs, this is a welcome development for the country.

Duterte’s relentless and bloody war against illegal drugs, not to mention criminality and corruption, is giving most Filipinos hope that under his leadership the Philippines will grow and develop faster.

In fact Duterte’s brand of leadership for many is a breath of fresh air, even with the alleged extrajudicial killings brouhaha, but, unfortunately, the meddling of the MEPs is fouling the atmosphere somehow.

 

More fun in the Philippines

 

Sen. Leila de Lima

Sen. Leila de Lima

Definitely, I am not talking about the Philippine tourism battle cry.

Everybody knows it is fun to go around in the Philippines, but these days there is more fun in the Philippines by just staying at home watching the idiot box and being entertained by a scandalous lady senator, a high profile illegal drug distributor and a former driver cum bodyguard cum lover of the lady senator I am talking about.

I am talking of course about Sen. Leila de Lima who finds herself – both her personal and political life – in dilemma (no pun intended) ever since she dared take President Rodrigo Duterte to task in the latter’s bloody war against illegal drugs.

It is common knowledge to all that the bad blood between Duterte and de Lima started when the latter, while still the chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), before becoming Justice Secretary under the Aquino administration and later a senator, went to Davao City and confronted, nay accused, then Mayor Duterte of human rights violation.

Although nothing came out of this accusation, even when de Lima already headed the Justice Department, the hurt done by de Lima to Duterte in maligning his name and reputation enraged the latter no end and was just waiting for an opportunity to get back at her.

Unexpectedly and unfortunately for de Lima, the reluctant Duterte was finally convinced to run for the presidency in 2016 and the rest is history.

Now de Lima finds herself mired in a hole of scandalous conduct as a woman and an elected   government official that only the fearless, the unforgiving and the iron-fist Duterte has the guts to make sure she falls into the trap of her own folly.

With the power that Duterte has now at the tips of his hand he is exacting his measure of revenge and there seems to be no let-up in his implacability against de Lima.

Duterte exposed de Lima’s dalliance with Ronnie Dayan, her former driver and body guard who became her lover eventually. De Lima admitted having fallen in love with Dayan, who was tagged as the bagman of De Lima during the 2016 senatorial election. The contribution allegedly came from convicted drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Kerwin Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan

Kerwin Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan

Dayan, who was recently arrested after disregarding summons from the House of Representatives to attend the probe on illegal drugs, supplemented the information that he had a relationship with de Lima for seven years. He also admitted having received money from self-proclaimed illegal drug distributor, Kerwin Espinosa, for political purposes.

Espinosa, like Dayan, has also just been arrested after a long man-hunt and were the main feature of news programs, press conferences and inquiries.

Today, November 23, Espinosa was grilled at the Senate about his illegal drug activities and also about what he knew about the death of his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, who was gunned down in Baybay City provincial jail.

Tomorrow, November 24, Dayan is scheduled to appear in the Lower House relative to his participation, if any, in the illegal drug trade in the NBP.

The question many are asking now is: Since de Lima found time in attending the Senate inquiry where Espinosa was the main character involved, would she be able to find time also to attend the House probe where Dayan will no doubt find himself in the hot chair?

Talking about entertainment and having more fun in the Philippines via the idiot box!

At least for the moment.

Church launches rehabilitation project for drug users

 

 Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle with a group involved in illegal drugs.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle with a group involved in illegal drugs.

The ranking members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) have been silent for a long time about President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.

Their silence is of course very much welcomed as it does not add up to more misunderstanding and disharmony between the church and the state.

It is, therefore, very encouraging and reassuring that while the church has kept their silence on Duterte’s relentless war on drugs, it has also understood the magnitude of the drug problem in the country that has already included government officials and other civil servants.

Understanding the enormity of the drug problem the country is having is one thing and appreciating the work government is doing in fighting and controlling it is another for it makes people and organization think how they could contribute to the efforts done.

It is in this light that the leaders of CBCP should be commended for putting their plan under wraps or without fanfare until now when they finally announced their launching of an anti-illegal drugs program aimed to rehabilitate drug addicts.

The program called, “Sanlakbay para sa Pagbabagong Buhay,” entails that parishes in the archdiocese set up treatment centers.

This worthy endeavor by the church definitely complements the planned construction of rehab centers by government in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, with one being built in Nueva Ecija courtesy of a Chinese philanthropist.

Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said that the program will be administered by the Restorative Justice Ministry which aims to provide psycho-spiritual support to drug dependents.

Restorative Justice Ministry head Fr. Roberto de la Cruz, said: “This is our reaction to what is happening to our country now. Are we not going to do anything and let them die? Let us help them.”

“Now that they’ve surrendered to the government, our task is to ask them to surrender themselves fully to God because that’s when transformation will start,” he said.

The individuals enrolled in the rehabilitation program will undergo spiritual formation, counseling, livelihood projects, skills formation training, arts and cultural program, and sports activities.

Comforting words, indeed, and much to hope and thank for.

The tightening of the noose around de Lima’s neck

 

Archenemies de Lima and Duterte

Archenemies de Lima and Duterte

It may be imaginary but what is happening to Sen. Leila de Lima these days seems to appear that she has this noose around her neck that is gradually tightening up.

De Lima probably thought that when she was chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and went after former Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in Davao that she would succeed in hanging the latter for his alleged human rights violation or abuses that was highly publicized.

Alas, she failed but what she succeeded instead was putting Duterte in bad light by making the latter appear that he was behind the notorious and feared Davao Death Squad (DDS).

Needless to say that nothing came out of the investigation and no charges were filed against Duterte and Davao City continued to be the peaceful and livable place it is today, which is envied by other cities in the country.

But what de Lima did to Duterte – the indignity, shame and derision inflicted- has always left a bad taste in Duterte’s mouth and tore the very fabric of pride and decency inside his being.

There was nothing that Duterte could do in avenging the wrong that de Lima has done during those times especially that de Lima has become the high and mighty that she acted to be as DOJ Secretary.

It is very obvious however, in today’s events, that even as Secretary of Justice, de Lima continued to harbor displeasure and enmity against Duterte. The most glaring proof to this is secretly keeping the self-declared killer Edgar Matobato under the witness protection program (WPP), either for safe-keeping or to be used later as ‘lethal weapon’ against Duterte, if the time arises.

As we all know, de Lima, a popular DOJ secretary of the Aquino administration, especially when she spearheaded the raids in the luxurious kubols (living quarters) of drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), and a known stalwart member of the Liberal Party, ultimately became a senator during the presidential elections in 2016.

Yes, she was the 12th and last among those voted upon, but still a senator nevertheless. But never in de Lima’s wildest dream however would she have thought that Duterte will one day be president.

In fact she probably thought that the Filipino people will shun from voting to the presidency a man whom de Lima herself has disgraced by calling him vicious and deplorable, all but short of calling Duterte a killer.

How gravely wrong de Lima was and the rest is history.

Now de Lima is feeling the noose – the same imaginary noose that she once placed around the neck of Duterte – which, unknowingly, Duterte transferred to her neck.

The shocking difference now is that de Lima’s noose is starting to tighten all because of her greed and scandalous folly that has been exposed in Duterte’s relentless war on illegal drugs.

That she has used Matobato to testify against Duterte in an investigation that was suppose to shed light on extrajudicial killings (EJK) only proved her intense hatred against Duterte. This move and her malicious intentions, however, cost her the chairmanship of the justice committee which was tasked to investigate the EJK.

Matobato’s unreliability as witness in making it appear that Duterte was behind the DDS only help tighten slowly the noose around de Lima’s neck.

That the House of Representatives is conducting its own probe on de Lima’s involvement in drug-related activities inside the NBP also adds up to the further tightening of the noose around de Lima’s neck when it was revealed by the drug lords and other witnesses how she was accumulating money coming from them.

What could really hang de Lima for sure is when the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) can provide Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre bank documents that could possibly link de Lima to the drug money from the NBP drug trade.