The 2016 presidential campaign just got nastier with ugly verbal violence taking over. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, PDP-Laban presidential bet, said he would slap rival Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas if their paths cross on the campaign trail. Roxas raised Duterte’s hackles for saying his record as a crime buster is a myth. Assailing the Davao mayor’s reputation as a tough law-and-order enforcer is almost an assault on his manhood, prompting Digong’s outburst. Mar went as far as citing Philippine National Police statistics showing Davao City as fourth nationwide in the number of crimes committed.
When Duterte questioned Roxas’ Wharton School of Economics degree, Mar snapped back: “If I cannot prove I have a Wharton degree, Digong can slap me. But if I do, and I have asked Wharton to send my school records, is Duterte ready to be slapped?” The prestigious US school’s website lists Roxas as one of its notable graduates.
Duterte cannot continue intimidating other people with his tough-guy talk. Sooner or later, someone will man up to him. As Mar Roxas did.
Better double your phalanx of bodyguards, Mar. The Dutertes don’t make empty threats. It will be recalled Rody’s daughter, former Davao city mayor Sarah, punched a sheriff who was serving an eviction order against informal settlers. The sheriff was talking back to Sarah that he was merely serving a lawful court order.
Duterte now finds himself the object of a Commission on Human Rights investigation for boasting he killed 1,700 criminals. While Duterte bragged about it, the CHR will have to produce, literally, the bodies of evidence. In law, there is no crime committed when a corpus delicti (Latin for corpse) cannot be produced. How can they be produced if, as the “myth” goes, the bodies of these summary killings have already been fed as shark meat when they were dumped into the sea?
Duterte, himself a lawyer, knows this as he asked his accusers “did anyone see me do it?” Dead men tell no tales, or else CHR Commissioner Etta Rosales would have filed a case against Duterte a long time ago. The allegations on the existence of a Davao death squad have been reported even before Duterte burst into the national consciousness as a presidential contender.
Saving Grace Poe
How does anyone save Grace Poe from herself?
Senator Poe admitted she made an “honest mistake” by misunderstanding the question in her certificate of candidacy on the number of years since she had returned from the US to reside in the Philippines, and when she also stated she was a natural born Filipino when her citizenship was still in question. The Commission on Elections’ two legal divisions ruled this was more than an “honest mistake” but a serious “material misrepresentation.” We are not suggesting it but Senator Poe could withdraw from the race to spare the nation from a divisive situation if her die-hard supporters refuse to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court, to where Poe plans to elevate the case. No one wants to see violent street protests which might be used as reason to postpone the 2016 elections. Sinister forces could seize the opportunity for extending someone’s rule.
The case at the Supreme Court is sub judice and we can no longer comment on it. Composed of 12 wise men and women who are steeped in the law and sworn to uphold the Constitution, the high court is the final arbiter and its ruling should be respected.
Ms. Poe is only 47 years old. She could seek the presidency again when she turns 53 in 2022. By then, she would have acquired the required residency to run for the highest post in the land. The Philippines too, by that time, should have signed the United Nations convention on foundlings mandating a child found in the place where he or she is left abandoned assumes the citizenship of that country in line with the UN’s concern that no one should be a stateless person.
Grace’s claim to the presidency could gain her more support and followers if the winner in 2016 turns out to be a failure. Grace will feel vindicated if the people later on say she would have made a better president had she been allowed to run.
Meanwhile, Katrina Legarda, a lawyer known for championing women’s and children’s rights, weighed in on the controversy. Legarda expressed the opinion that Poe is a natural-born Filipino because “it defies all logic that a foreign woman would come all the way to the Philippines just to abandon her new-born baby.” Grace is a foundling left at a church door in Jaro, Iloilo. She was later adopted by the film couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces. Her real parents are unknown even as she tried to trace her relatives through DNA testing. So far, she has been unable to find a match which would lay to rest all questions on her citizenship.