Senator Alan Peter Cayetano wrote an open letter to POTUS, that rather imperious acronym used by their country’s security officials to describe the “President Of The United States,” at present and until January 23 next year, Barack Obama.
Alan asked, “Can’t we give the Philippines and President Duterte a chance?” in his war against illegal drugs. He decried a worldwide misinformation campaign about the human rights situation in the country.
Anybody could see how Western media together with local critics have painted a very negative picture of the campaign against drug traffickers and pushers implemented by President Duterte. Anecdotal evidence and gory pictures, accentuated by poignantly-described accounts of widows’ lamentations, have filled the pages of Western print and the airwaves of Western television in the last three weeks.
These accounts are leading to some form of denouement, when our President was scheduled to meet POTUS in Vientiane in the sidelines of the Asean summit now transpiring. The purveyors of such grossly exaggerated accounts of the “human rights” situation in our country hope that POTUS will take our leader to task, as in a “master” lecturing his “vassal.” Short of a set-up, these media and other commentators wanted to “tenderize” our president, as in meat passing through a contraption that pierced the flesh, making it more tender to the bite.
But Alan, who accompanied Duterte to Laos, along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, among others in a relatively small party, asked Obama: “Will you now allow us to lose hope and fail? Will the West deny us the ‘Change we can believe in’?”, a take on Obama’s campaign slogan in 2008, repeated in 2012, as he vowed to “change” America and make Americans believe that “yes, they can.”
Earlier last week, in a privilege speech at the Senate, Cayetano said, “the effort to discredit the President has reached the international news. (But) people here feel safer,” a fact he repeated in an interview with CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour.
“Nararamdaman ng tao ang pagbabago. Dati ang natatakot, ang tao, hindi ang kriminal. Ngayon ang kriminal ang takot; ang mamamayan hindi po takot. Now they [people] feel safe, or at least, they are beginning to feel safe.” Alan challenged the Western media to come visit, and see for themselves how the general public feels about the Duterte war against drugs.
Local bleeding hearts of course echo the Western lectures about the importance of every human life, never mind what kind of criminal mind and evil heart exists in such human form. They even stretch the meaning of Pope Francis’ exhortations in the “year of mercy and compassion,” blind to the reality that the drug menace has resulted in more deaths occurring through all these miserable years of inaction of lack of determined action.
These local bleeding hearts might as well migrate to their model US of A and leave the super-majority of Filipinos who are beginning to feel safer and more secure in this land under a strong-willed and determined Duterte.
Just before his flight to Laos, the President stated that [he] “won’t pick a fight with Obama, but I will not be beholden to anyone except the Filipino people.” Obviously, signals from the State Department about the one-on-one meeting they sought through our DFA were not pleasing to our president. Which is likely why he bannered our sovereignty, stating that “the Philippines is an independent country…not a vassal state of anybody.” Of course the tone was angry.
In Hangzhou, where the Group of 20 had concluded its summit, POTUS said: “I always want to make sure that if I’m having a meeting, that it’s actually productive and that we are getting something done. We recognize the significant burden that the drug trade plays not just in the Philippines but around the world…but we will always assert the need to have due process and to engage in that fight in a way that’s consistent with basic international norms…”
In effect, POTUS would have “lectured” to our President in Laos. And clearly, our President would have none of that.
Having given his acerbic remarks at the Davao airport just before his flight, Duterte must have figured the US officials would cancel the meeting with Obama. He wasn’t interested, after all. So cancel the US side did.
Alan Cayetano, in his open letter to POTUS wrote, as usual paraphrasing many of Obama’s epic lines: “As a citizen of the world and a believer in change, allow me…to articulate the audacity of the Filipino people to hope for a better future and to aspire for a nation that is secure, peaceful, law-abiding and prosperous.” Under a President Duterte, Alan insisted.
Isn’t that the so-called American dream? A “secure, peaceful, law-abiding and prosperous” nation?
Our President could have reiterated that to President Obama —that what he has to do now, albeit in a forceful manner to rid this country of the clear and present danger of drugs, is precisely to give us Filipinos what Obama’s forefathers have bequeathed to him and Americans: peace, security, prosperity, under the rule of law.
Obama did not want to listen. He wanted to lecture.
No skin off the Filipino nose.