WHAT A WEEK. Rodrigo Duterte’s tailspin has not been arrested, in fact it has intensified.
After Sonny Trillanes’s privilege speech last Tuesday, Duterte spat out venom against him, the Ombudsman, and the Chief Justice every chance he could. Speaking at sewer level (as usual), Duterte revealed such juicy tidbits as the alleged state of Trillanes’s genitalia and his supposed extramarital affair, and made pointed innuendos about how corrupt Conchita Carpio Morales and Maria Lourdes Sereno are. He imagines a vile ploy to unseat him authored by these foes being carried out even now by their henchmen. Que horror. Another destab plot! There are multiple beehives in the presidential bonnet.
Instead of pulling him from the depths, his chuwariwaps happily tread muck with him.
Bato dela Rosa called critics “Ingrato!,” saying they, like everyone, had benefited from the “peace and order” brought by the war on drugs. (Citing the 13,000 EJKs, netizens asked, “What peace and order?!” The PNP responded, “what do you mean? There is only one – oops, there are actually no EJKs on record!”)
Trying hard to sound ominous, Jose Calida said he would cripple the “Yellows, Reds, clergy, bizmen, media and others behind the ouster plot;” but netizens wouldn’t buy it and dissed his complexion instead. Meanwhile, Vitaliano Aguirre and Persida Acosta risked violating the Code of Conduct for Public Officials by endorsing a militia group targeting “state enemies.” This roster includes the ISIS, Communists, drug cartels, foreign meddlers, and seditious groups (identified as “Yellowtards,” in case people miss the point).
Shortly after Duterte’s tirade, Salvador Medialdea drafted an executive order creating the “Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission,” presumably to carry out the executive threat to investigate the Ombudsman. Rounding out the chorus, the House Committee on Justice voted 25-2 to find the impeachment complaint against Sereno sufficient in substance. This brings Duterte’s goal of dislodging her closer to fruition.
I listened to this sibilant refrain all week, and I concluded this: the Duterte regime absolutely, viscerally loathes criticism. Por vida!
Regardless of the hyperventilation, there is no threat – at least not from the folks Duterte fears the most. Put it down to the executive’s exaggerated imagination. There are no “Yellow-Red” conspiracies, no “Yellowtard” takeover scenarios, no Manchurian candidate.
What there is is outrage. Scads of it. It seems the public has had enough of killings, of fake news, of misdirection and deception, of mediocrity and arrogance, of gaslighting and manipulation, of fatal and faulty governance. Its cup overflows.
There is legitimate cause to investigate Duterte’s reported hidden wealth. The Ombudsman is doing its job and should be allowed to continue, untrammeled. Instead of stepping aside, Duterte and his chuwariwaps are doing all they can to block the investigation. They have lunged and parried with malice and vile, diverting attention from the real issues. A brief analysis reveals why:
- Allegation: The AMLC denied giving the Ombudsman a report, so the documents held by the Ombudsman are false.
- Truth: The Ombudsman never said the AMLC gave them a report, only documents.
- Allegation: The documents held by the Ombudsman were illegally acquired from the AMLC.
- Truth: Since Duterte himself affirms that they are from the AMLC, then they cannot be false. That they were acquired illegally still must be proven.
- Allegation: Trillanes is corrupt. Carpio Morales is corrupt. Carandang is corrupt. Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao Rodolfo Elman is corrupt.
- Truth: If so, file charges against them and prosecute them in the proper forum. Meanwhile, sign the waiver to clear your name.
The truth is damning.
When he is thwarted, he throws a tantrum like a brat. Duterte’s aberrant behavior of the past two weeks has been exhausting. There is something terribly wrong with the harping, and it looks increasingly like subterfuge. Based on netizen reactions, a significant sector of the public sees it and is fed up. Duterte should sign the waiver, as Trillanes puts it, and be done with it. His refusal only amplifies the suspicion.
I expect Duterte’s chuwariwaps to echo his convictions, no matter how skewed they may be. I am wondering about the members of his cabinet who still hold their own and have both the ability and opportunity to advise him. Delfin Lorenzana has been a consistent voice of reason among them. He has allayed public fears of destab plots time and again when Duterte has done all he can to stoke them. I appreciate Sec. Lorenzana for that. I am looking for others in the cabinet to follow suit.
I can’t help feeling that the president’s psyche is compromised and that some kind of intervention is urgently required. It is incumbent on the cabinet to provide that remedy to prevent the ultimate breakdown of governance. If Duterte is allowed to continue in this strain, he will bring down our house and everyone with him. Surely someone in his regime is alarmed by that; surely someone will act to thwart it for the people’s sake. We can hope, and we must pray. For these sycophants will do nothing but sing Duterte’s praises and applaud his wayward policies. All they seem to want is to destroy all dissent, regardless of the effect on us all. What a selfish, myopic, puerile goal. Por vida!
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30