A mask-free Christmas

A mask-free Christmas"Is this a realistic goal?"




Before she retired, International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said all the evidence related to the bloody war on illegal drugs of President Duterte between July 1, 2016 to March 16, 2019 had been preserved. What evidence, we can only guess. We don’t know if there is reasonable basis to indict those who committed crimes against humanity.

So what’s next? How will the ICC proceed with an investigation without the cooperation of the Philippine government? Duterte claims his government will not cooperate since the so-called evidence is all hearsay.

There are those, however, who claim that indeed there were instances of extra-judicial killing. We saw how a teenager was taken into a small alley and killed. The question is, are those killer cops under the command of higher-ups? 

There are many unanswered questions in connection with this ICC probe. But, first we all know that a President cannot be sued during his incumbency. That’s in the 1987 Constitution. 

These are interesting days indeed, but we can only speculate.


Will this ICC investigation on extra-judicial killings be an issue in the 2022 polls? The answer is yes and no.

President Duterte’s critics will certainly bring up this issue. But will it decide the polls? I don’t think so. 

I have covered so many presidential elections since the time of Apo Pidiong Quirino. Elections have always been about gut issues, like poverty, joblessness and hunger. The “masa,” which constitutes the bulk of the electorate, have always laid the blame on the administration for their poverty, hunger and joblessness.

This time, the Duterte administration can always claim that while poverty exists, people are out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, as a result of COVID-19, there have been some 4.5 million unemployed Filipinos. This number will climb further unless the economy rebounds this year. 

EJKs could be an issue against President Duterte, but amid the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the people couldn’t care less since their main concern is lack of work and how to have food on the table.

Issues like EJKs and the problem brought about by China’s frequent incursion on the West Philippine Sea and the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are beyond the understanding of the “masa.” Perhaps only the A and B category of voters will take the issue against President Duterte. After all, about six out of 10 Filipinos have a strong bias against the mainland Chinese.


The private sector is helping the government with the vaccine rollout program. San Miguel Corp, for instance, has started vaccinating its workers and employees, courtesy of Ramon S. Ang, president and chief executive officer.

Alphaland has also ordered 10,000 doses of Moderna for the use of Alphaland staff, families, and the barangay in Balesin, the signature upper-end development of Chairman Roberto V. Ongpin. 

“We can increase this order to accommodate our workers and their families,” Ongpin said in his usual update to members of the island paradise. Just a short email to Dr. Ben Valdecanas of Aegle Wellness will do. According to Dr. Valdecanas, two doses of Moderna will cost P5,000. 

Congratulations to Ramon S. Ang and Bobby Ongpin in helping achieve herd immunity.


Can we imagine having a bit of a merry Christmas, mask free, if the government achieved herd immunity?

We are told that the government is aiming for population protection to allow the further reopening of the economy at the soonest possible time.

A molecular biologist-priest and OCTA research fellow, Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, supports the administration’s move to prioritize vaccination in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus and eight other areas.

The OCTA Research fellow said that “when we build herd immunity in the NCR Plus 8, we protect the rest of the country because surges always begin in the NCR.”

This could be attained in November, he said. He added that this is a realistic and attainable goal for all of us.

With enough prayers and hope, we look forward to a mask-free Christmas.

Topics: International Criminal Court , Fatou Bensouda , COVID-19 , illegal drugs
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