Kiko’s sneaky move

I saw what you did there, Kiko. That was straight out of the Yellow playbook of deceit, disinformation and sly defamation—and straight out of grade school, as well.

But did Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan really hide his resolution condemning the killing of minors in the Duterte administration’s war on drugs from seven of his colleagues for no reason at all? Only Pangilinan can answer that question; and, to me and to some of his colleagues, he doesn’t sound like he’s telling the truth in his reply.

Pangilinan, the leader of the Liberal Party contingent in the Senate, threw the chamber into an uproar yesterday when he was accused by some of his fellow senators of making it appear that they did not support his Resolution Number 516 filed last Monday. That’s really silly because what senator would refuse to sign the resolution, which, as the title states, urged “government to take the necessary steps to stop the spate of killings, especially of our children”?

As a result, the seven senators who did not sign the Pangilinan resolution have earned the ire of the public, especially in social media. Here’s what went down:

It started with a privilege speech made by Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who bewailed the attacks on senators who allegedly refused to sign the Pangilinan resolution, based on news reports that said as much. This was followed by a similar speech by Senator Manny Pacquiao in the same vein.

Senator Richard Gordon, who was also reported as having refused to sign, stood up to speak, as well. But he couldn’t finish what he was saying —a rare thing for Gordon —because he said his “favorite” colleague Senator Antonio Trillanes was allegedly talking loudly behind his back.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, another of the seven who did not co-sign with Pangilinan, was incensed, as well. Zubiri pointed out that the Senate was working late into Monday night on the hearing on the Aegis Juris hazing death and that Pangilinan could have very well approached him if he really wanted Zubiri’s signature.

Likewise, Senator Loren Legarda said that she remembers telling Pangilinan to secure the signature of Gordon. “Don’t forget my seat mate,” Legarda recalled saying, an admonition that Pangilinan apparently forgot immediately.

Even Senator Cynthia Villar piped up, saying that she had been warned about two of her LP colleagues, Paolo “Bam” Aquino and Risa Hontiveros. Villar was apparently of the belief that the kerfuffle was a coordinated LP move.

For once, I agree with Villar. It does look like something only the Yellow party could have cooked up.

In his defense, Pangilinan could only say that since he had already secured the signatures of 14 senators, including his jailed LP colleague Senator Leila de Lima, he did not feel the need to ask for more signatories. Besides (and this is where Pangilinan really attempts to go down a slippery slope), the LP leader said he was already in a hurry—to do what, he could not really explain.

The lawmakers who were unjustly reported to have “refused to sign” Pangilinan’s resolution, which also calls for a Senate investigation of the killing of minors in the campaign against drugs, apart from Sotto, Pacquiao, Gordon, Zubiri and Villar, were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senator Gregorio Honasan. And none of them ever recalls seeing the Pangilinan-authored document, much less being asked to sign it.

That was such a sneaky move by the head of the LPs in the Senate. But then, I’m not really surprised.

Pangilinan will do anything, even throw his own colleagues under the bus, if he stands to benefit from it politically. I guess Kiko’s updated version of his repeated remarks of “noted” during the national canvassing of the 2004 elections is “I’m really in a hurry and I don’t really like you, so you can’t sign my resolution.”

It’s like we’re all back in grade school and Pangilinan gets to choose who he wants to sign his “slum book.” If so, I guess Kiko would point out that his favorite color is “Yellow.”

* * *

The polling firm Social Weather Stations has released the results of a recent survey, which said that a slight majority of Filipinos believe that those killed in the war on drugs did not resist the police. But that, to me, is not quite as important as the biggest controversy surrounding the campaign against illegal drugs – the runaway inflation of the alleged body count, for which no one can seem to find an authoritative primary source.

I first heard of the death toll from the war on drugs last year, when it stood at about 3,000, according to media reports at the time. One newspaper actually tried to come up with a “kill list” documenting the drug deaths—and, as Bobi Tiglao noted yesterday—actually came up with a figure lower than the police’s.

Now it’s up to 14,000, according to some stubborn quarters. and no one can still come up with a list that does not include ordinary homicides unrelated to the drug war. At least, the Bangko Sentral has kept inflation in check; in the propaganda war, the inflation of the drug war body count seems limitless.

Topics: Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan , Killing of minors , Duterte administration , War on drugs , Liberal Party , Kiko’s sneaky move
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