EVERY so often, we hear talk of political destabilization against President Duterte.
Some say these come from the Yellowtards, led by former President Benigno Aquino III, who want to install Vice President Leni Robredo as the new president. This would be absurd.
Some say drug lords and drug syndicates are recruiting people from the opposition to topple Duterte.
I am a journalist who has witnessed every destabilization attempt on past administrations. All I can say is that while these reports make for good entertainment, such attempts cannot succeed unless there is one figure who can represent the political opposition, and until both the people and the military lend their support.
We saw this at Edsa 1 and Edsa 2.
But when Navy officer (now Senator) Antonio Trillanes tried to topple President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, first during the siege at Oakwood Hotel and later on at the Peninsula, he failed. He did not enjoy support from the people.
Recall also that after the assumption into office of the late Cory Aquino, Gringo Honasan led nine coups d’etat but failed. This was because people did not join.
These days it is apparent that President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy the support of the people. Add to that the fact that the economy is stable.
So Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and those like him must stop talking about destabilization attempts.
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In an attempt to mollify the families of the 44 members of the Special Action Force who died two years ago in Mamasapano, President Duterte has given them almost everything: Medals of Valor, and to the families, cash and livelihood projects.
I say “almost everything” because justice continues to elude them. Up to now, the government has not determined who was responsible and accountable for what happened to the 44 men.
Did not the President announce that he would create commission to look into what truly happened to the Fallen 44?
The commission would have provided answers to questions like, who sent the men to Mamasapano and why were they massacred?
Eventually the President backtracked: Since the case is already with the Ombudsman, there was no need for a commission, he said. But what did the Ombudsman do? Instead of pinning responsibility on President Aquino, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morals—an Aquino appointee—only charged former Police Chief Alan Purisima and former SAF Chief Getulio Napeñas on the Mamasapano debacle.
I guess the people will never know the truth.
Indeed this is a double tragedy. The death of the men, and the failure of justice.
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If President Duterte must be true to his vow to end corruption in government, he should lead by example and fire Regina “Gina” Lopez, heiress to the Lopez clan. She was allegedly involved in graft and corruption while secretary of Environment and Natural Resources.
I’m not talking about her anti-mining advocacy. This is different. This is about the anomalous acquisition of a P1-billion clean air monitoring system, and her acceptance of an all-expense paid trip to Paris sponsored by a private contractor.
She also supposedly benefited from foreign donations amounting to 260,000 euros or about P13.7 million intended for an environmental project at a public university. My gulay, that’s plunder in any language!
It’s really surprising why a rich woman like Gina Lopez would stoop so low. She can afford all these!
If Gina Lopez goes, it will not only be for the good of the mining industry which is suffering under her watch as DENR secretary. It will be for the public good. I say this is an acid test for Duterte’s war on corruption.
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PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa says priests or their representatives must accompany members of the newly created police group against illegal drugs. This is obviously an attempt to refute claims that the police were responsible for extrajudicial killings.
Why involve the Catholic Church in a police operation? If some priests or their representatives get killed, will Dela Rosa and his men be held responsible?
It’s a joke. No wonder the Catholic Church has opposed Dela Rosa’s gambit.
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I cannot end his column without congratulating my good friend, former Senator and Foreign Affairs secretary Bert Romulo who has been named chairman of the Development Bank of the Philippines.
The President could not have appointed a better DBP chairman. Romulo is known for his probity, integrity and competence. Congrats, Bert. Go for it!