Not even two months into the Rodrigo Duterte administration, we have already had several events which were truly newsworthy, and the war on drugs led by no less than the President and his Chief PNP General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa. The said war on drugs has led to over half a million voluntary surrenders from drug users and pushers, all of whom were wise enough to surrender themselves and submit to rehabilitation rather than become one of the 1,500 that have been killed either in police operations or by unknown groups.
The killings have of course been used by several opposition politicians in order to smear the president. I’m referring to Senators Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Risa Hontiveros, and Leila De Lima. Senator Leila De Lima herself has held several hearings regarding the killings, in which for some reason she made the resource persons cover themselves. Instead of turning it into a fruitful hearing, De Lima liked turning it into a drama episode instead.
Almost two weeks ago, President Duterte placed the country in a state of lawlessness following a bombing in his home city of Davao which killed and left over 60 others injured. This, in the wake of a threat of potential retaliation coming from the drug cartel and the protracted war the government has launched against the jihadist Abu Sayyaf Group in Mindanao. Again, several opposition politicians have voiced their concerns, especially Drilon and Pangilinan.
Then came a disastrous week for President Duterte in his foreign policy during and after his meeting with ASEAN leaders. The highlight of which was his meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. By the way, there are things he can improve on in foreign policy, but we’ll get to that later. Even after clearing up a misunderstanding with US President Barack Obama, President Duterte lashed out during the summit and brought up a massacre perpetrated by the United States in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. Then, just yesterday, speaking in Villamor Airbase, the president again lashed out at America for another massacre during the Philippine-American War.
Look, what I think is that regarding his opinion of the US, President Duterte has got to stop talking. I get it, I get his frustration with America. They killed many of our countrymen in the war over 100 years ago. Their actions in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria have caused a widespread humanitarian crisis. Not to mention, those countries lie in a region with sizeable Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) populations. I get it, I understand President Duterte’s frustration. But, I think number one, this doesn’t help our relationship with Washington. Number two, it gives the opposition something to use against him. They might say he’s pro-Russia or pro-China, when he really just wants an independent foreign policy. He can learn a thing or two from President Marcos who pursued an independent foreign policy without necessarily attacking the United States.
Then, following his erratic week, President Duterte revealed a plan by the ‘Yellows’ to consolidate politics forces and impeach him. Senator Franklin Drilon was quick to deny the allegations, along with Vice President Leni Robredo, saying that the Liberal Party has no such plot. Of course, they would not admit such a plan, and they would not carry it out right now when President Duterte is at the height of his popularity. These Yellow forces are waiting for that opportunity. By the way, I believe what the President said, that there is a plan to impeach him. There’s just no opening yet.
President Duterte is coming off an election victory, so he is still popular. You cannot trust the supermajority in both houses of Congress. How many of those congressmen were with him from the start, meaning from the campaign season? The only one I recall is the Representative of my home province, Cong. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, or maybe there a few others. The president even joked about it during his State of the Nation Address, that only a few of the Congressmen were really with him from the start. Remember, this supermajority is composed also of many turncoats who are riding on the President’s popularity, hell, there are even LP members in the supermajority. It doesn’t help that we elected dedicated Yellows like Drilon, De Lima, Hontiveros, Pangilinan, and Recto in the Senate.
When his popularity starts to erode (and the media’s constant misrepresentation of him helps that cause), that’s when the attacks will come in. He should be careful with his foreign policy and stop opening himself to attacks from the Yellows, whoever they may be. Add that we are all praying for his promise of eradicating (or at least decimating) criminality within three to six months. The constant attacks on his crackdown on crime and drugs do not help the cause.
So, I will just go ahead and say this anyway. Because it needs to be said. If in three more months, President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration fails to curb crime and drugs, I am pointing my finger directly at people like Leila De Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, and Ralph Recto who have been subtly of directly speaking out against the President’s policies. And because I have watched in incredible frustration, I have seen these traditional politicians (and even several non-politicians in social media) be more harsh towards Rodrigo Duterte than they ever were in standing up to Noynoy Aquino and his failed agenda which led to the blunders in the GPH-MILF peace talks, failure in the Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation and recovery, failure in response to the Zamboanga City siege, the politicization of the 4Ps, among others. In fact, they were defensive of Aquino after all this. They did nothing! Nothing! All these phony votes, votes to repeal the BBL, show votes so they could keep their seats and get re-elected?
Sorry! You created Rodrigo Duterte, all of you! Because of your ineffectiveness! Because of your spinelessness! Because of your weakness, your lack of vision! Your inability to fight Aquino! And I’m getting a little sick and tired of all of you!
Where were you when an ex-policeman killed several hostages from Hong Kong, and Aquino failed to respond? Where were you when 19 Special Forces troopers were killed by the MILF in Basilan in the middle of the peace negotiations, and Aquino instead castigated the soldiers? Where were you when 44 members of the Special Action Force were killed by the MILF again in the middle of peace negotiations, and Aquino instead put all the blame on the SAF Commander instead of being critical of the MILF which killed the troops? I never heard any of you criticizing him for those blunders the way you criticize Duterte’s actions today!