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Socked by Sackur

Whoever thought getting Meilou Serreno on BBC’s Hardtalk would promote her “cause” or even her ambitions should be socked, pronto.

It’s as if the opposition, assuming someone plans strategically for them, never watched the Trillanes interview over the same program by the same anchor.

So the “celestial” looking Sereno got socked, clobbered, by Sackur after she got sacked by her peers in the high tribunal.

Hindi na kayo nadala. Stephen Sackur does his homework.  Whoever egged Sereno to face him did not.

It seems that the opposition to Duterte, seeing how their tirades get defused by a supportive constituency in the country are desperately hoping to ignite international opprobrium as a means to get back to power.  So very pathetic.

* * *

Something these Duterte-haters ought to know is that the international media, just like ours, can only sustain “negative” news about foreign politicians for a certain period of time.  After interest has waned, the negative reactions die down.

Back they go to the next interesting news item. Sure, they have left lasting impressions on some people about the immediate object of their attacks, but as far as policy makers in their countries are concerned, it becomes ho-hum. 

 Remember as well that foreign policy is an extension of domestic interests.  Domestic realities mean foreign countries need to relate to each other, whatever their leaders may think of each other. 

In any case, Sereno looked so pitiful the way she responded to Sackur.  A Filipino career official who recently visited Taipei remarked to me privately that he felt embarrassed that we once had a chief justice like her while he listened to the Hardtalk interview.  “Paano siyang na-appoint na CJ in the first place?” he asked.   

Oh well.

* * *

This is not to say that the President continues to generate huge public support because he has a set of able propagandists or a great team behind him.

Just think “Norwegia” and Mayon eruptions in Camarines instead of Albay and wonder how come Duterte is still so popular with the people.

This president is sui generis.  One of a kind.

Despite all the communication nightmares of his 2015-2016 presidential campaign, the public accepted him into their hearts and minds, and understood him and what he stood for.  Recall how he p…i’d the Pope mismo. in November of 2015, right after it became clear he was seeking the presidency.

Any other candidate would have been clobbered out of his presidential illusions by that indelicate remark in uber-Catholic Philippines. But not Rodrigo Duterte, who bounced back, and climbed consistently thereafter in the ratings, all the way to a May victory.

* * *

Still and all, one should never rest on present laurels.

Note how rising, not “runaway” inflation, as Senator Bam Aquino describes present day-to-day reality, has started to dent the President’s popular acceptance.

It is quite safe to say the President’s acceptance index will yet be high come the State of the Nation Address, but he needs to fortify his defenses.  The fact that he has had to remove so many of his original team indicates that he himself realizes there are problems with the staff support and implementing arms he presently has.

As for all the wannabes for high elected positions soon, as in 2019, or later, as in 2022, they need to develop their own style, and fashion their own marketing “wardrobe.”  Aping Duterte just won’t wash with the public.

You can’t do a repeat of the Duterte blitzkrieg in 2015-2016.  The guy is, as we said, one of a kind.

Try mimicking the style and you get laughed out by an unbelieving public.

* * *

It is good that the Philippine National Police has apprehended a suspect in the murder of Catholic priest Richmond Nilo who was laid to rest recently.

We hope they investigate in earnest and pin down whoever are responsible for these shocking crimes.  

Whatever the motives have been in the spate of killings, and I would not want to speculate as some have about anything larger or more sinister than personal motivations, these executions of men of the cloth are very disturbing, especially to Filipinos who were reared in a very Catholic upbringing.

PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde must get to the bottom of these, and fast.

* * *

A few columns ago, we worried about the impact of looming trade wars.

First there was the tit for tat between Trump and China, Trump and Mexico, Trump and the EU, including those between Macron and the American “idol.”

Then there was the disastrous G-7 confab in Quebec where the usual friendly communiqué that would have temporarily swept the disagreements under the rug came out with blistering Trump ad hominem versus Canada’s Justin Trudeau.  And after a temporary détente as the world watched how Kim Jong Un and the Donald “waltzed” in Singapore, now it’s back to brass tacks and bare knuckles.

The trade wars have begun.

 Our economic managers should now look into the effects on the country’s economy, beyond the present and into the medium term.

Topics: Meilou Serreno , Philippine National Police , Oscar Albayalde , Stephen Sackur , Rodrigo Duterte , Donald Trump , Justin Trudeau

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