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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Mocha Uson’s popularity exploited by political party

 

Mocha Uson

After House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez announced the inclusion of Margaux ‘Mocha’ Uson, former sexy dancer turned political blogger turned member of the Duterte administration, in Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban)’s 2019 senatorial line-up, my immediate reaction was – give me a break!

I mean this is a big leap upward in Uson’s career and popularity is not the best indicator that one has what it takes to be a senator.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not belittling Uson, but the past should be an important lesson for us Filipinos to learn as to how we should go forward in electing senators of the realm.

Do we really deserve the likes of movie stars, an aspiring comedian, former mutineers and a world champion pugilist to represent the Filipinos in the Senate just because they have become public figures and are being idolized by millions for their chosen gigs?

The saving grace for Uson, and this I appreciate very much, is that she admitted that while Alvarez invited her to be one of PDP-Laban’s 2019 senatorial bet, she declined because she said she’s not a politician.

“I am thankful and flattered for being considered as a possible candidate, pero sa ngayon ay wala pa akong (but as of now I do not have) plans on running,” Uson said.

I hope Uson will not allow herself to be exploited by Alvarez because she will only be making a fool of herself if she does run, at least at this point in time, and even if pushed by President Duterte.

Thus, I am not saying that she shall not run forever, but all she has to do now is adequately prepare herself and hone her competency relative to the programs, policies and directions to where Duterte wants to take this country by advocating and talking about them.

I admire Uson’s outspokenness in her support for Duterte’s war on drugs, corruption and criminality and even for the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law and she should continue encouraging the people to do the same and trusting Duterte to make this country move forward.

Perhaps by the time she decides to run for senator, people will come to know her already as one that is not only popular because of her star status, but acknowledged as one that also has a good head on her shoulder to represent the people and help bring back dignity and honor to the august body that is the senate.

Año-Dela Rosa tandem against police scalawags

 

AFP Gen. (Ret.) Eduardo Año and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa.

In the same manner that Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa welcomes the appointment of newly retired Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año as Special Assistant to the President to help him “supervise the police” pending the one-year ban on Año’s appointment to a civilian office, I am sure this gesture by President Rodrigo Duterte also sits well for many Filipinos.

While dela Rosa maybe good in his job, it takes the caliber of Año to effectively purge the scalawags from the police organization that has been giving it its bad reputation.

Thanks to Duterte’s war on drugs, it became apparent and glaring that, indeed, many policemen could not be trusted to protect the people as they themselves were involved in drugs, one way or another.

The Año-dela Rosa tandem is what I call a partnership of brains and brawn that should be effective in not only identifying the rouge policemen, but most importantly in making them reliable and trustworthy in the eyes of the Filipino people, in particular, and the visitors to the country, in general.

Duterte saw the potential of Año in reforming the massive police organization, in the same manner that he was able to whip up the morale of the soldiers of the Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP), and with the able assistance/collaboration of dela Rosa, the Philippine National Police (PNP) will soon find its luster again not only because it has gotten rid of the scalawags, but it is now more determined in helping government make the country a safer place for everybody.

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.

 

Church protection for EJK witnesses

 

We had been hearing and reading in the news lately that the Catholic Church is offering protection to policemen and other characters that are willing to testify on extrajudicial killings (EJKs) they have witnessed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Actually it was Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates “Soc” Villegas who first offered the sanctuary of the church to the policemen whom he described as “conscience-stricken” because of their participation in the war of drugs. Now this move is being supported by other ranking officials of the church.

Why these policemen are “conscience-stricken” and fearful of their lives is something that we still have to fathom and I don’t think the church is the right place for us to be able to understand and extract the truth about what their real involvement is.

I understand that the church is a universal refuge for the oppressed and the maltreated, but for a scourge of epidemic proportion that the government is relentlessly fighting to eradicate to save the country and its citizens from perdition, what could the church do to competently determine whether or not the church officials are just being used for the ‘refugees’ hidden agenda?

What I am just saying here is that the fight being waged by government against drugs, corruption and criminality are all state functions and the policemen are members of the civil authority tasked to run after the criminals. The police organization has its own parameters to follow in law enforcement and the church just has to respect it.

In other words the church officials have the responsibility to tell and enlighten the policemen and others seeking refuge that they could not accept them for the simple reason that their problem and concerns are matters of government and not of the church.

In the first place the church officials have already a stand on the government’s war against drugs and for them to embrace the ‘refugees’ to their fold without any questions only shows their prejudice against what the government is doing, and this to me is tantamount to interference or meddling which could only worsen the situation in the country.

What the church officials must understand is that it is the government and not the church that has all the tools and resources to generate intelligence reports about who the people are linked to drugs, corruption and criminality, one way or the other, and if they are running away towards the church sanctuaries it is because they know that the church officials are against EJKs, but more than anything else, these witnesses also know that the church officials do not have an iota of information who the people are seeking protection/sanctuary from them.

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.

 

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.