There is outrage over the Philippine National Police’s killing of drug suspects. Lawmakers, the Catholic Church, and many other sectors have condemned the killings.
The Yellow horde led by former President Benigno Aquino III held a rally at the People Power monument along Edsa during the death anniversary of his father. Along with many of us, they were angry over the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos. Santa Banana, even the American ambassador is outraged!
The question is whether all this noise is enough to oust President Rodrigo Duterte. Will another people power dislodge an incumbent president?
I don’t think so. This is why President Rodrigo Duterte remains confident.
We only have to recall what happened in the past. There is nobody who can galvanize the people enough to oust the President. I earlier said that the people’s anger over the spate of killings may have reached a tipping point in Kian’s case. But the drug problem is related to poverty and joblessness – it cannot be rooted out unless these twin evils are eradicated.
History also tells us that no amount of rallies will gain the support of the military. Similarly, no mutiny will prosper without the support of the people. Remember what happened in Oakwood?
President Duterte gave marching orders to incoming Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña to weed out all corrupt people at the bureau. Does that mean Lapeña has to fire everybody? Even the security guards at that agency are corrupt!
Lapeña is another novato —an outsider who will need at least a few months to get to know the workings of the bureau. In the meantime, entrenched smuggling syndicates will run circles around him, as they did with Lapeña’s predecessor Nicanor Faeldon, under whose watch P6.4 billion worth of shabu found its way through the BoC.
I am not predicting how Lapeña would fare. But I know he would rely a great deal on the advice of insiders —people whose intentions he cannot be certain about.
A female undersecretary of an agency chaired by President Duterte sought me out for advice one day. This official has all the credentials to be appointed to that agency, down to a management engineering degree.
She said there were several intrigues going around the agency where she works. I told her—leave your government job and work instead in the private sector. Whether she would heed my advice is up to her, of course. People will continue to envy her especially since they know she has a contact from Malacañang.
Sure enough, when she was named vice chairperson of the agency, people said she used her connections, and the fact that somebody in Malacanang was in love with her, to get these advantages. She soon quit being vice chairman; I don’t know when she would quit that agency.
The Manila Overseas Press Club of which I am chairman emeritus invited President Duterte to be our speaker. It seems he would not make it, though. He said our Annual President’s Night should be held in Davao City, where he is based. This appears impossible for many of us who are based in Metro Manila and who will find it difficult to travel to Davao.
Sometime last year, my good friend Dante Arevalo Ang told me during a 365 Club meeting that I should start writing my memoirs.
I was taken aback. I was neither celebrity nor politician. “I’m just a journalist,” I said. He said he would take care of the publication and marketing.
I agonized for many months. I cleared the matter with Philip Romualdez, chairman of Manila Standard, and Rollie Estabillo, publisher, to have my memoirs published by the owner of another newspaper. Most especially, I sought the approval of my wife and children.