Duterte, ICC and the NYT

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

I don’t know but the timing by which the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the New York Times have issued their acrimonious/fault-finding statements against President Rodrigo Duterte, when the Philippines is hosting the 30th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings, smacks of pure interference and arrogance.

There is no doubt that both the ICC and the NYT wants to generate negative feelings of dislike or distrust among the leaders of the member nations toward Duterte and his bloody war on drugs, alleged extrajudicial killings and even his unpredictable foreign policy, but all these will surely fall on deaf ears and come to naught.

The reason why I am saying this is because there is nothing but sheer respect and recognition for one another in their style of leadership and governance and meddling in the affairs of another state is definitely a no-no.

Thus, for entities like the ICC and the NYT to interfere in the affairs of the state is even worse because first and foremost they have to make sure that what they are saying or implying is factual.

Take the case of the NYT, for instance, where in its editorial, “Let the World Condemn Duterte”, it described the Philippine president as a “man to be stopped” and is urging the ICC to conduct a preliminary investigation on the spate of extrajudicial killings being linked to Duterte’s war on drugs.

There may be a “spate of extrajudicial killings” but how sure is the NYT and the ICC, for that matter, that the killings are state sanctioned? Because jailed Sen. Leila de Lima has been harping about it even as nothing materialized during the investigation she conducted against Duterte when she was still chair of the commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Justice Secretary?

Why has Duterte won overwhelmingly for president despite his alleged notorious past as mayor of Davao City, even when he did not have the political machinery?

Duterte won because many Filipinos looked up to him and believed in his promise to wage serious war against drugs, corruption and criminality.

What this means is that Filipinos were tired having ordinary and traditional politicians who had been ineffective running this country and who, in many ways than one, abetted in hindering the growth and development of the country.

What I am simply saying is that one has to live here and experience what it has been like for the country having one president after another for decades that did not have the political will and the spunk to make an impact in the lives of many poor Filipinos.

Fighting a war against people corrupted by drugs that include policemen, judges and other government officials masquerading as public servants is no easy task.

Duterte was not only able to unmask who the culprits are but has also discovered the enormity of the drug menace in the country and for this he continues to have the people’s trust and approval of his governance.

Other ASEAN leader recognizes the competency and authority of Duterte and has showed their high regard for his brand of leadership and this augurs well for the country’s future with him at the helm.

This is what matters most and not what the NYT, the ICC, and for that matter, the Amnesty International (AI), have been negatively blurting about against Duterte.

 

Better for CBCP to urge faithful to pray

Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Archbishop Socrates Villegas

Anytime the Catholic Church, through the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), comes out with pronouncements, either in the form of a homily or a pastoral letter, strongly criticizing state matters it always frustrate many people, including myself.

Lately, CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas released a pastoral letter once again blasting the Duterte administration’s war on drugs and the resultant extrajudicial killings happening during the campaign.

Villegas seemed to be bothered by the fact that despite the violence and excessive killings, most people have been reacting indifferently to it and rather feeling oblivious at the terror they are witnessing.

Thus, the pastoral letter was written and sent out to all churches so that every Tom, Dick and Harry of the cloth shall make it their responsibility to remind their respective parishioners to get involve and be more vocal against the extrajudicial killings happening almost every day that are being attributed to the police.

Villegas implied in his pastoral letter that if the members of the Catholic faith continue to act like the three wise monkeys that embodied the proverbial principle, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”, then they are just as guilty as those perpetrating the crime.

This is what bugs me and frustrates me because I think the CBCP is over-dramatizing the situation and playing to the sentiments of the people who, otherwise, are thankful that the drug menace, criminality and corruption are finally being addressed seriously and imperatively by a strong-willed president who has the political courage and the moral ascendancy to move this country forward and improve the quality of life of every Filipino.

I have said this before, and I am going to say it again: Let the political system run the state and the clerical or religious functions run the church. Let no one meddle in somebody else realm. Each is governed by its own laws and power and it is simply imprudent and discordant to encourage and advocate the members of their respective realms to go against one another.

I understand that the people belonging to the church and state are all citizens of this country and as such have the same rights and privileges under the constitution. Individually, each can voice out his or her opinion.

But it is totally different when we talk about the church and state as entities.

The state is about governance of the country and its people.

The church is about governance of the soul of people, which can be made better by prayers and other religious/spiritual activities.

That is how distinctly separate they are.

Duterte changes tack on war on illegal drugs

 

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

It looks like the kidnapping, in the guise of anti-drug war, that led to the brutal murder of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joon and eventually the disappearance of his ashes, which was reportedly flushed in one of the toilets in the crematorium, has made President Rodrigo Duterte realize that his war on drugs, violent that it has become, is not going anywhere and far from being a success.

It will be noted that Duterte promised the Filipino people that he will eradicate illegal drugs in the country in six months of his presidency.

Well, it was not as if Duterte did not make a difference in his war against drug, but it has dawned on him now that the enormity and monstrosity of the problem made worse by the complicity of rogue and corrupt members of the police force in all ranks of the hierarchy is making his efforts futile at best, and at worst an avenue for political and public condemnation.

“You policemen are the most corrupt. You are corrupt to the core. It’s in your system,” the enraged Duterte said.

This being the dismal picture of police scalawags sustaining the drug proliferation instead of preventing it from becoming a plague in our society, it is only fitting and proper that Duterte has to change tact in his war against drug by declaring war first against police criminals existing in the Philippine National Police (PNP) organization.

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa echoed Duterte’s sentiments when he issued the following statement to his people, saying: “We have to focus our efforts towards internal cleansing … and by the time we have cleansed the PNP, the President will determine that and instruct us to go back (to) the war on drugs.”

Needless to say that the existence of illegal drugs and the presence of corrupt policemen is a recipe for failure if one has to wage war against the former.

Hopefully Duterte’s change of tact on his war against illegal drugs also changes his perception about giving support and protection to cops involved in the killings believing them to be truthful, like in the case of the murder of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. in his cell at the Baybay Sub-Provincial Jail, which has been thought by many as a rubout, but which Duterte assured the operatives involved that they won’t go to jail.

It is not too late to change tack. In fact it is a welcome move, a humbling move on the part of Duterte, to recognize and acknowledge that there is another direction to take and a better way to carry on the war on drug to success without generating much controversy.

 

Duterte and martial law

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

For the life of me, I cannot understand why some people are resorting to evil machinations against President Rodrigo Duterte purporting that, because of what is going on relative to the latter’s continuing bloody war on drugs, bomb threats from extremists and the recent military offensive undertaken by the government against the Maute group in Lanao del Sur, who are trying to impress the leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by terrorizing residents and flying  its most recognizable black and white flag adorned with Arabic lettering, he will declare martial law.

I presume the opposition, the opportunists and the unscrupulous simply does not want Duterte to succeed.

Why would Duterte do it when everything is under control and he gets things done accordingly and the way he sees fit with the support not only of majority of Filipinos , but most specifically by the business sector and by the  members of Congress?

By support I mean that most Filipinos trust him and his courage and political will simply stands out for he is seen to be doing the things he wants done because it is for the good of every Filipino, regardless of belief and ideology, and for the interest of the country.

Actually one cannot separate Duterte from martial law or to distinguish Duterte apart from martial law for what he is doing in this country today, imposing his will, is a moderate or a measured martial law.

The iron-fist rule and the no-nonsense governance Duterte was practicing in Davao, that turned the big city into a safe and livable place, is simply being replicated in a much bigger scale now and if he is succeeding, where no other past presidents achieved in less than a year of his assumption to office, one can only give credit to the person for who he is and his conviction of what and how a president should serve the Filipino people.

The good thing is that Duterte knows his law and the prohibitions and consequences of declaring martial law, though I seriously believed that he erred in his indifference and not giving a damn to the feelings and sentiments of the martial law victims still crying for justice to this day when he granted the Marcoses permission to have the dictator buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

Thus, Duterte was right when he chided the scaremongers, saying, he did not need martial law despite ongoing security threats in Mindanao.

“Martial law for what? Killing people? I would rather empower every mayor,” said Duterte, adding that it would work as long as local executives didn’t abuse their power.

That is leadership and his faith in the Filipino people that things can be done lawfully when everyone is incorruptible.

 

A refloated ship, yes; a sinking ship, no

 

Former Pres. Fidel Ramos

Former Pres. Fidel Ramos

With due respect to former President Fidel Ramos’ military and political leadership, I beg to disagree with his recent pronouncement implying that the Philippines is a sinking ship under the Duterte presidency.

Perhaps as a true-blue Amboy, being a product of the famed US West Point Academy, Ramos seems to be worried, at best, and, at worst, devastated, that his protégé, President Rodrigo Duterte, has turned bellicose against the US and is seriously embarking on an independent foreign policy that will likely lead to establishing closer relationships with China and Russia.

But just because Duterte has shown utter displeasure over the way US has been showing the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude towards his administration relative to his bloody war on drugs, not to mention the ‘little brown brother’ treatment Filipinos have been getting from their imperious ‘big white American brother’, and is turning now to the Chinese and Russians for better deal and understanding does not mean that the country is now in dire state of disrepair and is sinking for that matter.

Why, was the ship of state, as Ramos described it, ever floating even during his time and until the Aquino administration of last?

We must remember that Duterte just completed his 100 days in office and what he has done in fighting drugs is no small feat for a man and a politician from Mindanao catapulted to the presidency by the mandate of majority of Filipinos who trusted him and believed in his strong-fist, no-nonsense leadership.

Everybody now agrees that what got this ship of state sinking in the first place are the presence of unscrupulous people involved in the outrageous, if not heinous, drug business that mainly included convicted inmates in the New Bilibid Prison, who are more known as the drug lords, from where illegal drugs are being pushed to victimize millions of Filipinos from all walks of life.

In identifying and solving brutally the drug plague which is fortunately being supported by the citizens themselves and by many sectors of our society including the businessmen, we are now seeing for the first time that the ship of state is being refloated successfully.

But you see, not until Duterte starts full swing his promise to wage relentless fight also against corruption and criminality in order to get rid of the equally deleterious scourge that is trying to sink the ship of state as well, will we see the same ship of state fully afloat and sailing towards progress and prosperity.

I find it, therefore, somewhat unfair and self-serving Ramos’ comments, saying, that what stands out in Duterte’s first 100 days are the following: first, a vicious and bloody campaign against illegal drugs and its users and dealers; second, a hardening of presidential policy statements against longtime ally and mentor, the US; and three, failure to cut red tape and corruption in the bureaucracy.

Come on, for chrissake! Give it more time!

For a man and a leader who has repeatedly made it known wherever he goes that he has his life, his honor and the presidency at stake in his quest for a better Philippines, it only means that what he is doing now and the things he still has to do before his term is over will ensure not only the sustained growth and development of the country but also guarantees the well being of every Filipino.

 

The reality of Duterte’s war on drugs

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has just completed his 100 days in office but the way controversial events have transpired relative to his bloody war on drugs that has impacted here and abroad leading to his enraging attitude towards the US, the EU and the UN, and openly declaring that he was going to establish ties with China and Russia, it gives one the impression that he has been in office for over a year or more, perhaps.

But what is more important really than how Duterte is being perceived by the outside world is the reality that not only is the country awash with depraved and incarcerated characters called drug lords making/importing into/hoarding illegal drugs for distribution by equally degenerate drug pushers to the derelicts and often times lowly users, but dirty drug money is already used to fund the elections of some of our local and national officials.

Not only that. Dirty drug money is also the source influencing the misdeeds of government officials like the police, the judges, etc.

What has appalled the nation, however, is the fact that illegal drug distribution emanates from the very institution that people thought can securely confine and rehabilitate prisoners.

Alas, these criminals are living it inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) like kings!

And what is equally alarming, if not dismaying, is that those tasked to manage the NBP are aware of what is going on inside but opts to not listen, hear, and talk about it until the shit hits the fan, as what has happened now with the whole scandalous mess being investigated by the House of Representatives.

What I just want to point out here is that had it not been for the guts of Duterte we would never have known the extent, the magnitude of illegal drugs circulating and how it is being proliferated in the whole country.

The only downside that I think is happening in Duterte’s war on drugs is that the latter is now feuding with the US and is cozying up instead with China and Russia to the trepidation of many.

Somehow I could understand Duterte’s feelings for his show of animosity towards the US for criticizing his hardnosed approach in fighting drugs, but being president now of a sovereign country that he has promised so many times to serve and die for if necessary, would it not be appropriate for him to show more restraint without being cavalier and act more nationalistic without being vituperative and disrespectful for our own good?

This is the only way to act and position ourselves in this ever changing geopolitical order of world affairs for our own advantage.

Duterte’s vitriolic attacks

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to complete his 100 days in office, but even in that short span of time he does not have to prove anything anymore.

Starting from his relentless war on drugs that continue to extract an unimaginable number of surrenderers that include drug lords, pushers and users, but which also is producing a large number of dead bodies on the streets attributed to resisting arrest and choosing to shoot it out with the police and down to the human rights advocates claiming that some death appears to be more as extrajudicial killings, still most Filipinos agree that Duterte is doing the right thing for country.

Duterte’s uncompromising approach on his war on drugs has been the object of adverse commentaries by foreign heads of organizations and some world leaders, but what makes it more unfavorable for them is Duterte’s off the cuff and seemingly acrimonious statements.

But that is who Duterte is. What you see is what you get and much, much more especially that he is the president of the country now.

Like I said before presidents have come and gone but never had we elected one in recent times that truly understands what our country has gone through, why peace and stability cannot be attained, why we continue in depravity and how to get this country moving towards sustained growth and development.

It is in this context that because Duterte was given the overwhelming mandate to cure whatever ills this country and because the Filipino people trust his wisdom and political acumen, we and the whole world see him doing what he does best – fighting drugs, criminality and corruption.

In his determined effort to win over the evils afflicting the moral and social fiber of the Filipino society blood is being spelt, but in doing so the sensibilities of those in developed countries of the Western world who characterize an attitude of moral superiority have been pricked forcing them to disparage at Duterte.

Fortunately, the Philippines has now a leader in Duterte who is very outspoken, who knows where he stands and who knows his law very well, he being a lawyer.

Filipinos are no stranger, therefore, to Duterte’s vitriolic attacks against those who try to meddle in the internal affairs of the country.

It is simply Duterte’s way of saying that the Philippines may be a third world country, but a sovereign state no less, that no longer deserves to be dictated and cowed as we start charting our own destiny.

In this day and age what matters most for a country is how well you play the geopolitical game that is transforming the landscape of developing nations.