High satisfaction rating for a thinking president

Amb. Teddy Locsin, Jr. and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

I could not agree more at the way the country’s current ambassador to the United Nations, Teddy Locsin, Jr., described Pres. Rodrigo Duterte as a thinking president.

Locsin was quoted to have issued the following statement about Duterte, saying: “Let us make the effort to think as hard as he does. He is old. I sense he is tired. But he is resolved that, while there is breath in him, not just to talk change like past presidents, but make change. And die in the trying.” If we do not take advantage of this man’s leadership, we shall miss our last chance of real change.”

The ever erudite and eloquent Locsin, who penned a moving and much applauded speech delivered by then president Corazon Aquino before a joint session of the United States Congress in September of 1986, seven months after dictator Ferdinand Marcos was deposed and booted out of the country, may be the exact opposite of Duterte, yet in more ways than one both belong to the same pea pod.

It is the similarity of their persona, their attitude towards public service and their patriotism that has brought these two men together, undoubtedly.

In the same manner that I relish Locsin’s journalistic prowess and miss listening his editorial segment titled “Teditorial” for ANC’s nightly newscast, The World Tonight, I won’t mince words that I am also an ardent supporter of President Duterte and his administration.

It is both Duterte and Locsin’s seemingly similar temperament, their knowledge, their strong will and no nonsense approach, and their acerbic language, when needed to be spoken, that make them hold each other in high regard and, importantly, what makes Duterte tick with the Filipino people.

It should not surprise no one, therefore, that Duterte continues to enjoy high satisfaction rating despite his controversial statements being uttered like, “God is stupid”, or that “there are many rape cases in Davao City because of the many beautiful women living there.”

Quite a number of people and some sectors of society may be offended and political opponents may take advantage in lambasting Duterte for their own political expediency, but is being presidential more important than thinking about what is good for the country and its people?

This is what is paramount to every well-meaning president and fortunately Duterte’s dedication and competence cannot be questioned, thus, he continues receiving high satisfaction rating because majority of Filipinos have never given up their trust and confidence that the president could turn around the country for the better during his watch.

Perhaps, Locsin was right when he further said about Duterte that, “If we do not take advantage of this man’s leadership, we shall miss our last chance of real change.”

What dire consequence, indeed!

 

 

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Duterte’s scandalous choice of Arroyo

 

Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo replaces Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker of the House

I do not know how else to describe the Dutertes preference for former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the speakership of the House replacing Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, but one that is scandalous for several reasons.

When I say ‘Dutertes’, I actually mean Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and her daughter, Sara, who is presently the mayor of Davao City and the one identified as having orchestrated the coup against Alvarez.

There is no doubt that the Dutertes preference for Arroyo translated into a sealed victory for the latter, especially knowing that Duterte’s allies control the House. It was clearly seen as a rebuff of Alvarez’s leadership and his arrogant and ambitious persona that knew no respect for his co-equals in government, more so for those lower in rank.

I have no words of compassion for Alvarez, but like many, I only have disdain for the man, as he bitterly savors the taste of his own medicine.

But why choose a corruption-plagued former president as a replacement for Alvarez?

As it is, we are still divided as people and the support and election of Arroyo is not only scandalous in nature but is adding more crack to the chasm that already exist among us.

If the Dutertes believe that Arroyo can be used as an instrument to unite the people, I think they haven’t accurately felt the pulse of the people.

The Filipino people has had enough of former president Arroyo, after being involved in major anomalies such as the Fertilizer Fund scam, the Hello Garci controversy, the National Broadband Network scandal, the Northrail controversy, etc. This is not even mentioning the corruption charges filed against Arroyo’s husband and son.

The fact the Arroyo was under hospital arrest for charges of electoral fraud and misuse of millions of dollars in state lottery funds speak volumes of the kind of leader she is.

Very ironic, indeed, that Duterte, who won the presidency on the promise, among other things, to work for a corrupt-free society has taken into his fold a high profile corrupt politician. Sad to say it simply defeats the purpose of the Duterte presidency.

Certainly, Arroyo’s ascendancy as the leader of the House does not augur well for the country.

Hope the Dutertes realize this sooner than later.

A kiss was all it was

 

A kiss planted by President Rodrigo Duterte on the lips of Bea Kim, a Filipina said to be married to a South Korean with whom she has two children, while on an official visit to South Korea has initiated a controversy among the many seemingly prude critics and feminist bigots in this country.

Whether the smooch was made on the lips, the cheeks or on the forehead for the world to say the fact is all it was, was a kiss.

So why make a big fuss about it and make it appear like it was a sinful act?

Because it was Duterte who did it, he who has been labeled as misogynist by women’s rights advocates and by some preachy opposition politicians?

For one to be tagged as misogynist, he is one characterized to be strongly prejudiced against women.

Now, is Duterte living up to this disparaging description when he has a wife and daughters to reckon with in the family?

What I am just saying here is that one has to understand where Duterte comes from and learn to know and appreciate him, warts and all, for he is not the traditional or conventional leader that one expects him to be.

Duterte himself has admitted that he is not and can never be presidential in any manner, shape and form. Sadly, this is what his critics from the political circle and the women’s right advocacy groups expect him to act.

Well, what you see is what you get about Duterte and this is what makes him tick with the Filipino people.

But when some entity or group of people look at events beyond the context of having fun and connecting with the crowd by pure entertainment  as Duterte is used to doing when meeting with his countrymen abroad, then that is the time when problem arises.  It could even get worse, as it happened in South Korea, when malice is imputed.

Duterte is not a comedian but he uses his antics to make people laugh and identify himself with them and this is what endears him to the people.

This was a time for laughter and not for retribution, which Duterte is also wont to make.

This is exactly what happened when Duterte asked an unidentified audience member to kiss him in exchange for a book he was handing out.

Since when has kissing been ‘sickening’ and a ‘despicable display of sexism and grave abuse of authority’ when the recipient herself was forewarned not to take it seriously as it was just for fun, a gimmick in fact?

Ms. Kim was game enough and went along with Duterte’s strategy of entertaining his countrymen, saying later that the kiss did not mean anything and it was done to make the audience giddy.

So the question is: if the kiss on Ms. Kim’s lips did not scandalize her, why would it matter to a group of sanctimonious people?

 

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/.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.