Duterte alluded to in Tagle’s sermon

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

I do not know how else to interpret it, but I think when Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle delivered his sermon on Palm Sunday, March 25th, about “arrogant and violent kings” he must have had in mind President Rodrigo Duterte.

“In our world today, we have many kings who are full of arrogance, bereft of humility. Today, many follow the kings who use violence, arms, and intimidation, so devoid of understanding and solidarity with the weak,” the archbishop stressed.

“Our king does not trust in violence, weapons, bullets and guns. Our king trust in God,” he added.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo may have just been acting civil towards Tagle when he said he believed the cardinal was not referring to Duterte, as one of those “arrogant and violent kings”, but to other world leaders.

What kings and why should we be talking about other world leaders when we have our very own, in the person of Duterte, who has been demonized by no less than the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the human rights advocates and the holier-than-thou members of the political opposition for his bloody war on drugs and the much ballyhooed extra-judicial killings, which allegedly has the president’s blessing?

We all have heard how Tagle speaks and when he makes his homilies, like that on Palm Sunday, he does it theatrically because he wants to create an impact so people would wonder what the allegory is all about and how it is affecting the nation.

But for those of us who have been following the political events in our country all these years, we also know that Duterte has been the overwhelming choice of majority of Filipinos to lead us and make a difference after years and years of ineffective and failed leadership.

As president, Duterte has not been acting arrogantly and violently, but his unconventional or non-traditional style of leadership, coupled with his intestinal fortitude to implement political will without fear and favor, not to mention his use of colorful language, has always been interpreted as his knack for arrogance and violence.

How wrong Tagle and his cohorts in the church hierarchy can be.

Duterte knows whereof he speaks about the problems of the country and the wherewithal of his actions and he continues to have the support and trust of the majority of the Filipino people.

Duterte is not acting like king and he very well knows his God.

In fact Duterte’s Holy Week message urging Filipinos to revitalize their faith and renew their relationship with God and fellow countrymen by rekindling their religious fervor and cherish their time-honored traditions as a pious people is something that the leaders of the country’s Catholic Church should reflect on at the man they think is the embodiment of evil.

 

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Trillanes for Duterte to have ‘psychiatric examination’

 

Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

It looks like Sen. Antonio Trillanes has a new issue against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Practically losing steam, and most importantly his credibility, in his crazy crusade against Duterte’s leadership, Trillanes is now seen jumping onto the attack wagon of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein who has in his cross-hairs now the Philippine president.

I say cross-hairs because Zeid stint in his job has been marked by targeting verbal tirades at leaders of US, Russia and China, etc., whose actions does not somehow conform to his beliefs in the principles of human rights.

Well, I may be biased, but Zeid should not be comparing what is happening in the country under Duterte with the chaos of Trump’s racism and ultra-nationalist issues in the US, Putin’s support of Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, and Xi’s support of Myanmar’s oppressive government against the Rohingyas.

Zeid’s diatribe against Duterte come on the heels of his continuing hostility against human rights advocates who pretend to be experts when they are not, especially the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, when referring to Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs. I have written about Callamard which you can read at this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/anybody-else-but-callamard/

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein

The UN human rights chief finally came to the rescue of Callamard from Duterte’s onslaught, saying, that “Duterte’s attacks against U.N. special rapporteurs cannot go unanswered and the U.N. Human Rights Council must take a position. He said the Philippine leader “needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric examination”.

Ironically the statement comes from someone who just revealed his intention to step down without seeking a second term because he fears his voice will be “muted” by leading global powers.

“After reflection, I have decided not to seek a second four-year term,” he said.

“To do so, in the current geopolitical context, might involve bending a knee in supplication; muting a statement of advocacy; lessening the independence and integrity of my voice – which is your voice.”

Zeid, a Jordanian prince and diplomat, thinks he can be disparaging at a third world leader, but scared and respectful to leaders of developed world. What an asshole!

And so, thinking that Zeid’s criticism on Duterte’s mental health will make the latter cower from his responsibilities, here comes Trillanes, a member of Zeir’s ilk, trying to capitalize on the situation by agreeing that Duterte should undergo a ‘psychiatric evaluation’.

“His murderous and erratic ways plus his crass, twisted, and perverted statements are indicative of a deeply sick mind. Hindi ‘yan normal na pag-iisip, lalo na ng isang Filipino (It’s not a normal way of thinking, especially for a Filipino),” Trillanes said.

I do not know about you, but Trillanes’ comment seems to indicate more about his mental status than that of President Duterte.

 

Anybody but Callamard

 

I am talking of course about UN Special Rapporteur (SR) Agnes Callamard and her penchant in announcing to the whole world that President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is a failure, prejudging it as nothing but willful summary executions and extrajudicial killings that blatantly violate human rights.

I say penchant because this is where Callamard’s expertise lies – investigating and reporting wherever and whoever it is that is behind the extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.

It wouldn’t have been a problem if she did her job objectively in the Philippines. The problem is that she sought and depended largely on people, sectors and entities belonging to the opposition and Duterte bashers who would tell her what she wants to hear.

Almost always what Callamard hears is not the truth, for the truth should be coming from the majority of Filipinos who elected Duterte for president because they wanted change in governance and which Duterte is seen to be delivering in his promise to wage war against drugs, corruption and criminality.

Duterte has been in power for almost two years now and his trust and approval ratings remain high despite negative reviews he is getting from people like Callamard, on his alleged human rights abuses and his bloody war against drugs.

One should be a citizen of this country and an avid follower of the political events that has happened in the past up to the present to fully understand and appreciate the difference it makes by having a leader who exercises power coupled with political will, as oppose to a leader who has power but lacks the political will.

Political will is defined as the ghost in the machine of politics – that motive force that generates political action. This is what differentiates Duterte from the recent past presidents and knowing closely now what made us the ‘sick man of Asia’ for so long, his unorthodox leadership necessitated an out-of-the-box thinking and ideas on how to move this country forward to stability and improve the lives of Filipinos.

The reality is that in so doing the forces of good battles the forces of evil that has been instrumental in hindering the progress of this nation, and lives are lost, sometimes brutally in the process.

It is no surprise, therefore, that while the Philippine government is now amenable to have an investigation conducted into alleged human rights abuses in its bloody war on drugs, it has equally signified strongly its opposition that it be headed by SR Callamard.

Presidential spokesman, Harry Roque, a lawyer, said the Philippines welcomed any investigation provided that the United Nations sends a “credible, objective and unbiased” rapporteur, who is also “an authority in the field that they seek to investigate”.

Callamard does not fit that description, he said.

I have written once about Callamard which you can read at this link: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/war-on-illegal-drugs/.

But to know more about Callamard, I am sharing with you this link which definitely says more about this controversial SR: http://www.manilatimes.net/un-rapporteur-callamards-big-lie-un-resolution/326057/.

 

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.

 

Human rights world summit in the Philippines

 

President Rodrigo Duterte attending the 25th APEC Leaders’ Summit Meeting in Vietnam.

Stakeholders concern about violation of human rights should congratulate President Rodrigo Duterte for recommending the Philippines to be the site for a world summit on human rights.

“We should call a summit. And I will volunteer to make the Philippines the venue,” Duterte said during a late night press conference in Vietnam where he attended the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit.

Hopefully, human rights advocates/agencies will consider this challenge and push through with it.

There is no question that the Philippines has issues on human rights violation and it has been magnified even more because of Duterte’s relentless and brutal campaign against illegal drugs.

But Duterte issued a caveat in that the summit should focus on human rights not just in the Philippines but also across the globe. He said that the conference must tackle how to “protect the human rights for all human race.”

I could not agree more with Duterte. For one who feels he is being criticized harshly and singled out as behind the extrajudicial killings in the country as a product of his deadly war on drugs, it is only right and just that human rights violation in other countries should be scrutinize as well for it is in comparison that one could judge if the Philippines tops the list or simply pales when analyzed.

Just because the Philippines is a struggling democratic country does not mean that developed countries supporting democracy and advocating human rights can just go hammer and tongs for what Duterte and his government believe that it is what is destroying the nation especially when abetted by unscrupulous and corrupt politicians?

Asked if he would request the United Nations to monitor his proposed human rights summit, Mr. Duterte said he prefers “a panel of lawyers” to do it.

“I’m more comfortable with a panel of lawyers. Because they will understand immediately the legal implications,” he noted, adding that he might also invite “experts in the science of medicine” and the “destruction of the human body.”

It is in this light that I say this to the people and world agencies speaking ill of the Philippines’ human rights record: Before sternly condemning the country led by Duterte on its alleged human rights violations, why don’t you research the human rights violation committed by the following countries and then ask yourselves what you have done about it: Syria, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar, Yemen and Nigeria.

 

Duterte’s socioeconomic agenda and trust rating

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

Every time a Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia survey on the satisfaction and trust ratings of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte comes out people always wonder why the president has been able to maintain a high mark of approval despite the brouhaha raised by some group of people and organizations, both local and international, about his controversial war on drugs, extrajudicial killings, etc.

It must be confusing and frustrating to Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his ilk in the senate and in our society, in general, why even as they hurl a fuselage of personal accusations against the president and his family, still it does not make a remarkable dent on his popularity and approval ratings.

But for the people who were inspired by Duterte’s candidacy and continue to support his presidency there has been a noticeable change in the kind of leadership the country needed which could have never happened had the Roxases, the Binays and the Poes won.

Duterte’s war on drugs, criminality and corruption are in itself big changes toward better future for country and people which can only be fought and sustained by somebody with political will to carry it out.

Events have shown that Duterte is no rubber stamp or a stooge of anybody, either here or abroad, and to the consternation of many that wants to meddle in his governance.

Duterte’s declaration of independent foreign policy had silently earned the ire of some friendly nations at first but is being accepted now as he saw the realities of the times where China has become the major regional power in Asia and the importance of improving relations with non-traditional including Russia, Japan and India.

This is a paradigm shift in our geopolitical relations that perhaps only Duterte could have thought of and it is earning him the respect of the whole world.

Duterte should be credited for where we are now as a nation, especially in having discovered earlier, rather than later, that narco-politics have engulf the country already. He is doing everything possible that this country will not go to the dogs.

What should make everybody hopeful, however, is that Duterte, while relentless in his war against drugs, corruption and criminality, is also making sure that his 10-point socioeconomic agenda listed below will continue to be followed through. This program in his presidency being implemented now is what is helping Duterte also earn his high satisfaction and trust ratings.

  1. Continuing and maintaining current macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade policies;
  2. Instituting progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection while indexing taxes to inflation;
  3. Increasing competitiveness and the ease of doing business, drawing upon successful models used to attract business to local cities such as Davao, as well as pursuing the relaxation of the Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership, except with regards to land ownership, in order to attract foreign direct investments;
  4. Accelerating annual infrastructure spending to account for 5 percent of the gross domestic product, with public-private partnerships playing a key role;
  5. Promoting rural and value chain development toward increasing agricultural and rural enterprise productivity and rural tourism;
  6. Ensuring security of land tenure to encourage investments and address bottlenecks in land management and titling agencies;
  7. Investing in human capital development, including health and education systems, as well as matching skills and training to meet the demands of businesses and the private sector;
  8. Promoting science, technology and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity toward self-sustaining and inclusive development;
  9. Improving social protection programs, including the government’s conditional cash transfer program, in order to protect the poor against instability and economic shocks; and
  10. Strengthening the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law to enable especially poor couples to make informed choices on financial and family planning.

 

Trillanes and Tatad on Duterte

 

Sen. Antonio Trillanes (l) and former Sen. Francisco Tatad.

I am talking of course about an incumbent senator in the person of Antonio Trillanes and a former senator represented by Francisco Tatad.

While Tatad is a bona fide ‘has been’ politician, his attitude and glaring antipathy towards President Rodrigo Duterte is no different than those of the pompous and boastful Trillanes.

Indeed both Trillanes and Tatad are peas in a pod and what makes them even more alike is the way they are perceived to be lacking in attention.

Obviously and fortunately the Filipino people are noticing the similarity of the two and I am pretty sure that Trillanes will follow the way Tatad has gone.

To this day Tatad continues to exhibit his attention deficit disorder by slamming Duterte with unsubstantiated facts like claiming for instance that the president was absent in the public eye last week because he suffered a mild stroke.

In fact Tatad even went farther, saying, that an emergency Cabinet meeting was held last week to discuss Duterte’s health.

Do you think Duterte would have surfaced just like that and travel and make speeches had he suffered a stroke, even mild at that?

If you will remember this is the same Tatad who wrote in his Manila Times column some time ago saying that Duterte had to fly to China to have his cancer affliction secretly treated.

No wonder Malacañang has chided Tatad for creating nothing but fantasies.

No matter how much noise Tatad makes, the true fact is that he could never resurrect whatever is left of his political ambitions.

As far as Trillanes is concern his own political ambition is on a nose-dive too and this is for the good of the country.

Trillanes’ latest setback is when the renowned BBC, during an interview, debunked his claims that Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, extrajudicial killings and declaration of martial law in Mindanao is ruining the country.

BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ host Stephen Sakur took exception at Trillanes’ rantings against Duterte’s handling of power when in fact Duterte continues to enjoy a high approval rating among Filipinos.

I could never imagine where this country could have gone had the other presidential aspirant supported by Trillanes and his ilk won instead of Duterte.

Duterte’s administration may have its shortcomings, as Trillanes claim, but the direction and boon the people are expecting in the future far outweighs the bad fortune we had been having in the past.

Like Tatad, I don’t think Trillanes will ever become a political figure again once his term of office as senator is over.

Along with his attention deficit disorder, Trillanes will self-destruct as he is starting to now.