Duterte reiterates: Spratly Islands ours, but…

Apr. 08, 2016
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte advices Mayor Aniano P Antalan of Island Garden City of Samal to establish good rapport with the military to solve the problem and "not wait for them to come to your office." Duterte spoke during the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting held Wednesday afternoon. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (davaotoday.com file photo by Ace R. Morandante)

DAVAO CITY — Presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte insisted that the Spratly Islands belong to the Philippines but the Davao City mayor reiterated that the country is not prepared to go to war with China.

“We cannot go to war because we cannot win it. I will not waste the lives of Filipino soldiers and policemen,” Duterte said.

Duterte said if war breaks out under his presidency, he is willing to die to protect the country’s sovereignty.

“I will ask the Navy to deliver me to the nearest area tolerable to them and I will ride a jetski and carry a pole and a flag. When I reach Spratlys I will erect the Philippine flag,” Duterte said at a press conference in Palawan on Thursday, April 7.

“You want to shoot me with your missile? ​Fine,” Duterte said.

The Philippine Government filed arbitration proceedings with the United Nations (UN) Tribunal following its dispute with China. The Tribunal is expected to give its verdict in July.

Duterte said​, however, ​should China not insist on ownership, he is ready to have a joint exploration with the Asian superpower.

He said he will also ask China to build railways in Mindanao and Luzon.

“Do not talk about ownership and I will not make a noise. For the six years that I’m president I’ll shut up,” Duterte said.

Duterte led the recent survey conducted by Laylo Research Strategies last March 26 to April 1 where he got 30 percent approval ratings of the respondents. He was statistically tied with Senator Grace Poe who got 27 percent.

The survey had 3,000 respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percent.(davaotoday.com)

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE: WHO SAYS FIGHTING CRIME & CORRUPTION CAN’T BE DONE?

    SEN. CHiz Escudero says it’s impossible to do. It’s too serious. And even deeply rooted. Sen. Antonio Trillanes believes so too. BUT if I may ask them back, how do these plagues thrive and flourish in our society in the first place? The answer to that is plain and simple: BECAUSE good men DO NOTHING!

    SOMEHOW our national leaders have to begin somewhere to cure the prevalent defects that bedevil us for years. We can’t achieve something if we don’t do anything, or if we just leave our hapless fate to those who believe in politics as usual. In our salad days of youth, we are all constantly reminded by an energy drink that to be an achiever, we have to form a credible belief in mind because great things always start from small beginnings. That’s the overriding purpose of strong VISION – the mental map to carry out what our leaders desire to do – and to be – for the country.

    MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte & his runningmate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano appear to be serious about totally eradicating these scourges. Of all candidates in the national polls, they NEVER cease to amaze their MILLIONS of fanatic believers, thinking that the nation has to take a leap of faith to do what most Filipinos consider impossible. So to me, it’s not surprising to hear Sen. Escudero casting doubt about the plan. It just dawned on me now that the reason he won’t be president EVER is because he doesn’t have the heart and the fire in the belly to do it.

    HAD he pushed through with his candidacy for president back in 2010, we Filipinos would never have to endure six years of incompetence, corruption and underachievement under the Aquino presidency. Had he been visionary enough, we Filipinos would never have spared our precious votes to a scurrilous and corrupt vice-president whom Sen. Escudero gladly BUT mistakenly endorsed as the best person to succeed as president. He was wrong in his estimations then. So what makes him think he is right this time around? What makes him believe that his FAILED foresight before will work wonders for us all today?

    CRIMES can be curtailed if we have a president who is tough on criminals. Mayor Duterte proves he can. Is it really necessary to spill the beans on the details? When the mayor says “Stop it. Do not oppress the people!”, must we really doubt about whether he can stand by his words and deliver? Davao City wouldn’t be hailed as one of the world’s safest if criminals roam around freely to hunt for their prey. It appears that crime is pretty widespread in the city because even minor infractions are deemed recorded in the police blotters. Even Pres. BS Aquino knows that. He once stumped out his cigarette when he saw the mayor approaching him, not only out of respect BUT out of obedience as well to the rule of law that the mayor himself STRICTLY enforces without favor or fear.

    BACK during the authoritarian regime of Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos, the drug menace was so terribly rampant. So the government hauled off the small-time pushers to prison, convicted the guilty and set free the innocent. BUT for the drug lords, the certainty of apprehension and conviction cowered them all in fear, not to mention in blasphemous shame! Worse, the prospect of being summarily executed loomed large in the minds of drug syndicates which played fast and loose with the moral fiber -and the future -of the youth. In 1972, Lim Seng was put to death by firing squad. It was publicly televised to achieve its desired deterrent effects to all the criminals. Crimes went down drastically after that.

    AS to CORRUPTION, this too can be stamped out. It’s not at all easy, or a walk in the park, BUT it is not totally impossible to be done. At the height of martial rule, the so-called “great purge” ran after the corrupt officials and employees of government. Thousands of them were incarcerated & some of their loots were recovered. Those who were perceived to be complicit to the squander of public resources were preventively suspended while undergoing thorough probe about their cases. Under our current constitutional order, that too can be done. We have the Office of the Ombudsman to run after the financial miscreants and the corrupt. We have the anti-graft court or Sandiganbayan to try cases involving public sector corruption. The task is made easier because the Aguinaldo doctrine which used to be the shield of the corrupt elective officials has just been abrogated by the Supreme Court.

    THE FIVE pillars of our criminal justice system should be at play in full synergy to attain their maximal effects. The corrupt officials, for instance, cannot be apprehended immediately due to lousy investigations done by the prosecutorial arms of our government. The law enforcement authorities should be managed by no-nonsense officials who can perform their mandate to serve and protect the community. More, the investigative process should be handled by highly capable and honest men in uniform who cannot be swayed by the lure of cash to contaminate vital pieces of evidence. Both investigation and prosecution should truly be in sync to provide sufficient evidentiary grounds for the judicial prosecution and conviction of corrupt public officials. The outdated Revised Penal Code should be amended to hype the penalties, too, as efforts to modify our procurement, anti-graft, forfeiture, bank secrecy and anti-money laundering laws are to be simultaneously initiated in Congress.

    PUBLIC officials often value their good name in society. So most of them unleash their acts of depravity away from the prying eyes of the public. So to ensure that public transactions of financial nature are above-board, the proposed Freedom of Information law must be enacted. That way, both the public and the press can have legal access to vital information concerning the appropriations and disbursement of public resources. Although we have public disclosure policy today, the same remains ineffective due to lack of implementation by most government agencies or instrumentalities. The oversight functions of COA and Congress should be strengthened which necessitates the weeding out of complicit State auditors in cahoots with government officials. And to top it all, the immunity privileges of all impeachable officials should be waived in the interest of transparency and accountability, no matter who gets hurt or is involved. The Ombudsman’s powers are severely limited because of this privilege. It cannot INDICT probably corrupt officials due to such immunity. The classic case in point is Vice-President Jejomar Binay whose magnitude of plunder is rivaled only by pork barrel suspect Janet Lim Napoles.

    TRUE, the devil in this grand plan are the details. There are legal and policy ramifications involved that should be thoroughly threshed out by our young but highly competent technocrats. BUT no less than Mayor Duterte himself assured the public that upon assumption to office, he’ll convene a study team to look into his desired vision for a crime-free, drug-free and corruption-free nation. The most important part of this whole process is putting the right persons to do the right job. The self-imposed deadline is too short to achieve practical solutions. Still, if the next president has the command and respect among his peers and subordinates, he can very well impose immediate action on ALL his policy initiatives and plans within a reasonable time-frame. Sen. Escudero need not be reminded that the powers of the incumbent president are too vast, if not awesome. Properly exercised by a wise ruler, executive powers may yet grip the entire governmental bureaucracy in frenzied spirit of obedience for TRUE structural change to take place or happen.

    APART from the move to achieve federalism, these are just some of the most pressing policy initiatives that must be done AT ONCE! Drastic change requires equally drastic solutions to our “deeply rooted” problems. They cannot be totally addressed if the next president will just sit back and let palliative policies do the magic for societal transformation. Most of the candidates say that our problems are recurring; they are there even before we are born. But did anyone care to offer lasting solutions? SINCE these governmental dysfunctions and crimes are deemed old, endemic and systemic problems, then all the more that the Filipinos need a RADICAL president who can offer fresher perspectives and cure. FAILED prescriptions must give way to the one that will work!

    SOMETHING indeed has to be done. SOMEONE indeed has to step up and take the bull of criminality and corruption by its horns. NO ONE can DO that if the next president is BEHOLDEN to any vested oligarchic interests, fundamentally WEAK or even psychologically predisposed to STEAL. Mayor Duterte’s good judgment can NEVER be usurped by anyone else because he is NOT a glorified puppet. He is a stickler for DISCIPLINE. And most of all, he is NOT corrupt. If his 22 years as public servant prove anything, it is this: He means what he says and says what he means. He DOES NOT have the predilection to PLEASE as most politicians do BECAUSE the evils to fight against are NOT at all pleasing!

    SO when in doubt, think: Would our nation be in better hands IF the leaders themselves like Sen. Escudero are RESIGNED to the prevailing maladies of the time? Would we as a people TRUST the untried, the untested, and the UNWORTHY? Most critics of Mayor Duterte say that he has YET to make good with his promises since Davao City which he ruled for years is just a small pebble in the edifice of our country. Somehow there is logic to that cynical view of what a driven man can DO. But let me counter by asking them this: Isn’t it more providential to have a leader proven worthy on small things than anyone else who hasn’t been proven yet on anything, let alone the BIGGER things?

    SEN. Escudero works on a traditional premise. His logical deductions may be valid to a point. BUT who says only LOGIC is all that is or may be needed for the mayor’s grand VISIONS to work? TRULY this country is amazing! WORDS – the brilliantly-weaved ones – are given more CREDENCE than VISION. The reason why we can hardly take off as a first world, highly-industrialized nation is because we MISTAKE verbosity with the RIGHTNESS of policy formulations, WHERE everything that is needed is simple but timely ACTION. Thus in my humble view, a DUTERTE presidency CAN DO what the excellently-crafted platforms of the other candidates CANNOT!

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE SHINES BEST AMID GOVERNMENT NEGLECT & INCOMPETENCE

    SINCE the peasants’ carnage on Friday, Pres. BS Aquino has let his spokespersons do the talking for him. Isn’t it his paramount duty as Head of State to act on the issue instead of simply conjuring up pro-Left conspiracies behind the legitimate demands of the hungry farmers?

    LAST time I checked, Congress has appropriated P43.3 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA). Another P19 billion of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is supposed to mitigate the long dry-spell as PAG-ASA warned two years ago, plus P2.06 billion more as supplemental budget for the agriculture department.

    YES, the local government units, in particular the drought-inflicted areas, may use 30% of their respective calamity funds to respond to contingencies involving El Nino and in fact many of these LGUs have already withdrawn such funds to address the issue since last month. Yet, we know too these allocations are insufficient, hence the creation of DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P500 million for the affected farmers in the country.

    BUT why the LACK of response from DA? Folks, there is NO response at all because the agriculture department CANNOT allocate funds which the Aquino government has NOT front-loaded to the concerned department. Any reason? Because DBM Sec. Florencio Abad is YET to look for funding sources out of government savings! I wonder what the aggregate savings under the custody of our national treasury amounting to P700 billion for? Why subject a PRESSING concern of our nation’s farmers to DILATORY machinations of our national government? Or why allocate such item of expenditure in the national budget IF there is NO intent to release it in the first place?

    THE WANTON disregard of the farmers’ plight in Kidapawan City is just symptomatic of the government’s callousness to address the problems of NOT only the agriculture sector BUT land reform in general that the Aquino administration pays lip service to even during the height of the country’s much-hyped democratic icon Pres. Cory Aquino’s regime after the counter-elite revolutionary invention dubbed as EDSA.

    SO is this the kind of anti-peasant government that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas intends to lead? The rural poor comprise at least 70% of the country’s population and, as an agriculture-based economy, 66% of them belong to the peasantry. This farming sector contributes to at least 10% of the national output or GDP yet the government seems to act CRIMINALLY negligent about the farmers’ heart-wrenching welfare conditions. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) on the nation’s state of hunger couldn’t be truer than what the Kidapawan-based farmers have shown.

    DURING the first CDO presidential debate, the GMA-7 moderators cited the same survey results which bared that 2.6 million Filipinos are extremely poor. They live a hand-to-mouth existence that is as deplorable as can be imagined possible. Certainly these hungry mouths could be what Sec. Roxas’ running-mate Leni Robredo referred to as the marginal Filipinos who live outside the fringes of our society. These crucial chunk of the population must be truly hungry to demand the most fundamental right of all – FOOD!

    DENIAL of such basic of all human rights truly IMPEL our fellows to commit drastic actions. Former Pres. Erap Estrada’s crude wisdom comes to mind: “A hungry stomach knows no law.” Still, the 6,000-strong Kidapawan farmers observed legal niceties. They had their 3-day permit secured before staging the rally to express their just demands: 15,000 sacks of rice to eat, free vegetable seedlings to tend to in their cracked-out lands, and a little financial subsidy to tide them over until the dry-spell is gone. But the 3-day permit had lapsed; still, the local government units failed to come out any acceptable solutions JUST because the concerned LGU officials couldn’t negotiate personally right in the middle of the picket line.

    WHEN the first burst of live bullets hit the barricading farmers, they scampered like animals sensing mass slaughter. The armed apparatus of the State led the carnage. The much-ballyhooed protectors of the people opened fire. Not even the rules of engagement were considered. These had gone off the window when both the law enforcement and military operatives decided rather SENSELESSLY to waste the lives of unarmed and undoubtedly harmless farmers.

    THE funny thing is, the ruling administration bet is just less than a hundred kilometers away from the scene of massacre. Sec. Roxas was out there in Koronadal City campaigning while the bloodbath started to claim lives and inflict unnecessary wounds to the hungry farmers. And as expected, all he could issue is a PRESS release demanding a thorough probe and re-establishing a semblance of civilized law and order.

    ALL presidential candidates followed suit calling for investigation and denouncing an otherwise free exercise of constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and seek redress for valid grievances. No one, EXCEPT Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ever thought of resolving the humanitarian side of the crisis. Satiate the hungry farmers’ families first before any negotiations could start. He recently pledged to commit funds from his city government TO BUY rice, the least that he can do to assuage the needy peasants.

    INSTEAD of rebutting incendiary remarks from the feisty mayor and nitpick on his popular socialist leanings, why CAN’T Pres. Aquino level with and apologize, if so warranted, to the Filipino people for his department officials’ BLATANT failures to address the farmers’ issues? Agriculture Sec.Proceso Alcala promised RICE SUFFICIENCY by 2013; yet almost full six years of the president’s term are used up, we are STILL importing rice from other neighboring ASEAN countries! The constitutionally infirm presidential pork barrel called DAP had been discontinued; yet all DBM Sec. Florencio Abad could say, in view of the farmers’ basic demands, is that he is STILL trying to figure out where among items of government savings he can OUTSOURCE to mitigate the drought-laden pleas of the country’s farmers!

    EXACTLY these lapses of fiscal governance are what Mayor Duterte have in mind when he advocated for GREATER devolution of power among the local government units. Being Davao City’s foremost chief executive, he truly knows whereof he speaks. There is too much centralized power that URGENTLY needs to be dispersed. Federalism may yet address this controversial concern of severely INADEQUATE fiscal empowerment among the lower tiers of government. If the national officials are inept and weak, practical policy solutions can HARDLY be implemented. In times like these, there is too much finger-pointing at the top while simple problems create uncalled-for deadlocks below. As the farmers’ lives were wasted in Kidapawan City, Pres. Aquino is nowhere in sight to direct the immediate release of funds IF only to prevent a mole hill from becoming a mountain of irreversibly critical humanitarian concerns.

    THERE had been agrarian unrests before, when our Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, direly predicted a government being run like hell by the Filipinos. Presidents after him TRIED but FAILED to establish a genuine agrarian reform under a governmental STRUCTURE that lodges so much powers in the hands of the president. But let me pose this modest QUESTION: What IF the incumbent president is a BLUNDERING policy moron, a CERTIFIED weakling or just SIMPLY not up to make CRUCIAL executive decisions?

    WILL the rest of the polity take the brunt of suffering -for SIX years! – on account of the HEAD of government’s GROSS incompetence? In our recent history, the Aquino-Cojuangco families often figured out in senseless peasant massacres employing the full security apparatus of the State to carry out the task of quelling agrarian dissent. In January 22, 1987, fresh from the wave of people power, Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino refused to honor her campaign promise to distribute land to the peasants. The farmers marched in protest but the lady president, upon the wise counsel of her land-holding cacique friends in Congress, did not relent an inch. Across Mendiola, proximately near the palace, the protesters were massacred. Thirteen farmers lay dead while 51 others were seriously wounded.

    BUT time never healed the injuries inflicted to the peasantry. Almost 17 years later in November 16, 2004, another massacre of rallying peasants shocked the nation. This time, the blood of violence dripped along the doorsteps of the Aquino-Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita. A dozen farmers, including 2 children, died in the hands of the military operatives while hundreds more were severely wounded.

    HACIENDA Luisita was a prized purchase of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s clan USING public funds on the PRETEXT of social justice. The tenant farmers were supposed to own the lands after 10 years; but then, some legal contract magicians thought it wise introduce amendments to the terms so that when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos demanded for their distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquino family JUST told the government that Hacienda Luisita has no tenants at all, hence there is NO ONE to give back the lands to. To date, the CARP which used to be the centerpiece program of the first Aquino government remains hollow – pregnant in noble intent for agrarian reform BUT no FORCE and EFFECT!

    WHAT kind of government have we, as a people, installed that RETURNS hails of bullets when ONLY food on the hungry farmers’ tables is demanded? What kind of president have we, as electorates, chose to wield the reins of power who could SLICE a pittance in the national budget ONLY to take it back when so BADLY needed? What kind of leader MUST we, as voters, elect to breathe TRUE CHANGE and marshal the sordid affairs of our State? IF government FAILS, where can the poor peasants turn to?

    FOR justice, there is one potent power that we can assert together. It is lodged freely in us as citizens. It can be sold to the highest bidder under duress of severe necessity. BUT if we can hold on to it no matter the circumstances, THAT power to CHOOSE the next STRONG president may make all the difference between selling our souls for a day’s ration or KEEPING our principles for a life-time of DECENT survival for all. Those peasants who braved the line of fire will be HONORED more in death if we keep the faith and survive to tell their story…

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE: A STRONG LEADER TO MAKE MARTIAL LAW UNNECESSARY!

    THE SPECTRE of Martial Law yet again resurges. It is a never-flinching ember that stokes public fear for the possible return of the authoritarian regime in the country. The bleeding heart liberals cried ‘never again’ while those with SO MUCH political power base to lose said it’s ‘regretful’.

    A LADY presidential aspirant likewise countered to ‘study it first’ BUT only one man above all dared play the devil’s advocate – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte. If the next president is STRONG enough, then declaring a Martial Law seems downright irrelevant, if not completely necessary.

    THE Filipino voters know we have the next president-in-waiting WHEN the propaganda machines of both the ruling and opposition parties desperately try to whip up public hysteria and revulsion to the once-hated dictatorial government. The unstoppable rise of Mayor in the polls induce them all to be NEEDLESSLY frantic and MINDLESSLY paranoiac.

    THEY have no inkling at all that the harder they hit the mayor, the stronger he becomes. Like a bristling storm, Mayor Duterte will soon hit land fall to OBLITERATE the corrupt, STAMP OUT the inept, and SWEEP OFF the criminals back to their prison cells.

    THE DAWN of justice is coming soon, they say, and those who oppress the Filipino people will soon be made to account and pay. And I couldn’t agree more BECAUSE too much had been STOLEN, too many had been made to SUFFER and only too few had been able to partake in the national banquet of PROSPERITY.

    “SHOULD I begin to worry?” Pres. BS Aquino raised a query. “You may regret it”, VP Jejomar Binay averred, brandishing to one and all his human rights advocacy as a lawyer. A few months back, movie and television actress Kris Quino declared that we “should not allow our freedom to be taken away.” BUT why should the law-abiding citizens in this country be worried about it? Why must we always EQUATE Duterte with the spurned Marcos dictatorship? Why the UNFOUNDED fear?

    PRES. Ferdinand E. Marcos was a legal buff. Vice-President Binay may not admit it BUT like the former head of State he once helped oust from power, he thought that to be above the law, he must have the battery of lawyers around to clean up the mess he left behind. UNLUCKILY for him, his sworn political enemies have the BETTER legal minds than the ones he keep in his dark stable. That’s most probably the reason why he’s publicly spreading TALL TALES in his recent sorties that a Duterte presidency will be highly regrettable. But who wouldn’t regret it, if like him who allegedly FILCHED billions from the public coffer, a public official has something sinister to hide?

    WOE unto him, too, who prevaricates for he shall reap what he sows. Pres. Aquino must be having sleepless nights now and should feel very much worried because sooner than he expects, divine justice will visit him like a plague. He can hide under his bed or even run away off-shore BUT he can NEVER escape the wrath of the fallen and the disgruntled.

    HE can step on the pedal to campaign against Duterte but up to what extent does he need to IF the people themselves find his CHOICES unpalatable and tasteless: A dear anointed (Roxas) and the other bet he publicly denies but continues to keep in the shadows (Poe). If by taking away freedom, as actress Kris suggests, means putting the plunderers in jail and running after the thieves in government, then the Filipino people must heave a sigh of relief since they’ll have one less thing to worry about.

    A PRESIDENT Duterte can then run after the criminals and bust their insidious crimes. He can’t do so without invoking his presidential prerogative to declare Martial Law as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile recently hypothesized. Much as he hopes Mayor Duterte to succeed, he –of all people – still entertains doubt about the next president’s capacity to rule with iron-fist without summoning the entire military and police organization to suppress lawlessness or any other form of threats to national security. I’m sure Sen. Enrile’s legal views meant no harm to the fight against crime and corruption; nonetheless, I BEG to disagree that a President Duterte can’t DO it without placing the entire polity under the spell of authoritarian rule.

    SEN. Enrile’s formula is rather mathematically simplistic. It’s far too linear and certainly less dynamic. He has conveniently swept under the rug the qualities of the next president. Mayor Duterte may not be the best legal mind around BUT he has the CHARACTER and the soundest proposition to rid the country of its dregs and scourges. With brute singularity of purpose, he can put under his sway the civilian and military authorities to quell all forms of index crimes in the country.

    THE architect of Martial Law has probably forgotten that the president wields the muzzle of the gun both as commander-in-chief (Section 18, Article VII, 1987 Constitution) and chief executive (Section 6, Article XVI, 1987 Constitution). The president CAN therefore dictate how threats to national security as well as law and order should be defined and concomitantly addressed. As a matter of policy, declaring Martial Law is too litigious. An overzealous Congress may spurn it; and, if approved, the Supreme Court may on certiorari rule otherwise.

    THE Filipino people should know that the president nearly has vast, if not absolute, powers that match even the modern royalties. No one in government has the sole executive power (Section 1, Article VII. 1987 Constitution) except that being reposed constitutionally upon the president. The other co-equal branches may exercise oversight only under the guise of separation of powers. Yes, our bicameral legislature crafts laws, including the budget, while the judiciary passively rules upon their validity. But BEYOND doubt, ONLY the president can issue commands on how our laws can and should be faithfully executed.

    WE certainly don’t need a human rights lawyer (Binay) to take the lead nor an investment (Roxas) to be at the helm of power. And since our national sovereignty is at stake, the Philippines may find it less patriotic or even pragmatic to have a president who once sworn absolute loyalty to another foreign power (Poe). As chief executive, the next president should carry out his constitutional mandate WITHOUT fear of the criminals or favor to the corrupt public officials.

    INDEED there’s no sure-fire mathematical formula to face the challenges ahead, since the conditions prevailing PRIOR to the declaration of Martial Law is totally different from what we have today. The country doesn’t have to contend with national democratic elements poised to attack the center of power from the periphery. The national government is less beleaguered nor under siege by the right-wing elements in the military. We don’t have any Cardinal Sin to rouse the people in the middle of the political spectrum to fight the seemingly insurmountable crimes against persons AND national treasury.

    SO yes, we have none of those problems that may yet compel the next head of government to invoke his near-absolute prerogative. What the majority of our people will have is a fighting leader in Mayor Duterte – the King Leonidas of Spartan Greece and the President Andrew Jackson of the US – who knows no fear to battle against State enemies. He is the BRAVEST of all presidential wannabes to storm out the thieves in their comfy lair and to bite the hails of bullets from the drug-addled crime syndicates in the country.

    A FEW bad-asses in government wish he won’t resort to martial rule, YET the silent majority of the educated as well as proletarian classes sincerely wish he would. Pres. Marcos thought of constitutional short-cuts to flesh out the insurgents and the political opposition blocs under his reign as dictator. He was fighting against clear and present danger posed by the progressives all in the name of national solidarity. Sen. Enrile very well knew it. And so as former Sen. Kit Tatad who read the proclamation order of the president. BUT all these ideological justifications are no TRUER today than it was at the height of the First Quarter Storm.

    THE State enemies of our generation are NOT the national democratic rebels nor the parliamentary communists anymore. The Islamic fundamentalist secessionists of the South are NOT EXACTLY the bad guys either. IT IS massive poverty that is imminently causing a social volcano to erupt in our faces. IT IS shameless stealing in government that clearly bedevils our faith in the duly-constituted authorities. IT IS the unabated criminality in practically all nooks and crannies of our society that frustratingly inure us all to become learnedly helpless and submissive to fear.

    LEGALLY, it is groundless to be wary about a President Duterte declaring Martial Law as a Marcosian recourse to instil societal discipline. Doing so would have been easier under the 1935 Constitution. When the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the Philippines, martial rule was invoked twice and since then, it is only in one glaring instance when in 1972 Martial Law was declared again. BUT Pres. Cory Aquino likewise declared a de facto martial rule in the guise of a revolutionary government. Her reign then was absolute that she could have easily – at a flick of her dainty fingers – stamped down crony capitalism, public sector corruption, political dynasty, pervasive poverty, landlessness, and divisive politics. She TRIED but FAILED not because she made bad decisions. She was deemed a lame-duck president because she DIDN’T make STRUCTURAL POLICY decisions that required firmer resolve and tougher leadership.

    WHAT made Pres. Abraham Lincoln legendary in the eyes of the world is NOT his proven ability to rise above the spectre of his numerous failures as a politician. He is hailed as one of the best leaders in the US because he was extra-ordinarily UNFAZED by threats and challenges to his administration. He once declared Martial Law to quell rebellion of the Southern States and began a bloody war that led to national unification. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to declare Martial Law, despite the adamant opposition by US Congress, to suppress external threats posed by the incipient war in Europe. Presidents William Jefferson Clinton and Barrack Obama, too, had to issue executive orders to empower them to quash possible threats to national security.

    UNDER the present constitutional regime, all it takes then is an executive order, not Martial Law as commonly feared, to impose law and order. In Carpio vs. Executive Secretary (1992), the doctrine of executive control was extensively discussed by the highest court; and so as in Mondano vs. Silvosa (1955). These case precedents all point to the power of supervision and control of the president across all the executive apparatus of the State, including the civilian law enforcement as well as the armed military forces.

    IT need not be mentioned that Republic Act No. 6975 or the PNP Law expressly subsumed the national police under a reorganized department of the interior and local government. Pres. Fidel V. Ramos took advantage of these legal weapons to suppress lawlessness by appointing then Vice-President Erap Estrada to lead the fight against crime. The Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) was a Ramos’ brainchild that took VP Esrada to task: From a movie actor fighting hoodlums in the silver screen to a real-life fighting knave battling it out in the sleazy slums of incorrigibly recidivist criminals.

    LIKE US Pres. Lincoln, a President Duterte may rise above the GHOST of Martial Law by enforcing his true mandate to serve and protect the citizens. BUT UNLIKE Pres. Marcos, he won’t definitely do it for ideological ends. He doesn’t have to. The fundamental law has more than enough ways and means to assert the power of the presidency beyond the PALE of juridical or constitutional safeguards that ONLY weak leaders often resort to.

    OTHERWISE, a President Duterte can lead a national constitutional convention to radically alter the failed governmental structures. He can do a George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, who ACTUALLY presided the makings of the US Constitution – the blueprint of the federal government that has gone on to become one of the best models in the world. WE the sovereign Filipino people CAN’T certainly pass up this RARE opportunity of electing the NEXT best leader since Pres. Ramon Magsaysay. To many of us, he is more than just providential. He among candidates is the REAL CHOICE that towers ABOVE all.

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    DUTERTE SHINES BEST AMID GOVERNMENT NEGLECT & INCOMPETENCE

    SINCE the peasants’ carnage on Friday, Pres. BS Aquino has let his spokespersons do the talking for him. Isn’t it his paramount duty as Head of State to act on the issue instead of simply conjuring up pro-Left conspiracies behind the legitimate demands of the hungry farmers?

    LAST time I checked, Congress has appropriated P43.3 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA). Another P19 billion of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is supposed to mitigate the long dry-spell as PAG-ASA warned two years ago, plus P2.06 billion more as supplemental budget for the agriculture department.

    YES, the local government units, in particular the drought-inflicted areas, may use 30% of their respective calamity funds to respond to contingencies involving El Nino and in fact many of these LGUs have already withdrawn such funds to address the issue since last month. Yet, we know too these allocations are insufficient, hence the creation of DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P500 million for the affected farmers in the country.

    BUT why the LACK of response from DA? Folks, there is NO response at all because the agriculture department CANNOT allocate funds which the Aquino government has NOT front-loaded to the concerned department. Any reason? Because DBM Sec. Florencio Abad is YET to look for funding sources out of government savings! I wonder what the aggregate savings under the custody of our national treasury amounting to P700 billion for? Why subject a PRESSING concern of our nation’s farmers to DILATORY machinations of our national government? Or why allocate such item of expenditure in the national budget IF there is NO intent to release it in the first place?

    THE WANTON disregard of the farmers’ plight in Kidapawan City is just symptomatic of the government’s callousness to address the problems of NOT only the agriculture sector BUT land reform in general that the Aquino administration pays lip service to even during the height of the country’s much-hyped democratic icon Pres. Cory Aquino’s regime after the counter-elite revolutionary invention dubbed as EDSA.

    SO is this the kind of anti-peasant government that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas intends to lead? The rural poor comprise at least 70% of the country’s population and, as an agriculture-based economy, 66% of them belong to the peasantry. This farming sector contributes to at least 10% of the national output or GDP yet the government seems to act CRIMINALLY negligent about the farmers’ heart-wrenching welfare conditions. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) on the nation’s state of hunger couldn’t be truer than what the Kidapawan-based farmers have shown.

    DURING the first CDO presidential debate, the GMA-7 moderators cited the same survey results which bared that 2.6 million Filipinos are extremely poor. They live a hand-to-mouth existence that is as deplorable as can be imagined possible. Certainly these hungry mouths could be what Sec. Roxas’ running-mate Leni Robredo referred to as the marginal Filipinos who live outside the fringes of our society. These crucial chunk of the population must be truly hungry to demand the most fundamental right of all – FOOD!

    DENIAL of such basic of all human rights truly IMPEL our fellows to commit drastic actions. Former Pres. Erap Estrada’s crude wisdom comes to mind: “A hungry stomach knows no law.” Still, the 6,000-strong Kidapawan farmers observed legal niceties. They had their 3-day permit secured before staging the rally to express their just demands: 15,000 sacks of rice to eat, free vegetable seedlings to tend to in their cracked-out lands, and a little financial subsidy to tide them over until the dry-spell is gone. But the 3-day permit had lapsed; still, the local government units failed to come out any acceptable solutions JUST because the concerned LGU officials couldn’t negotiate personally right in the middle of the picket line.

    WHEN the first burst of live bullets hit the barricading farmers, they scampered like animals sensing mass slaughter. The armed apparatus of the State led the carnage. The much-ballyhooed protectors of the people opened fire. Not even the rules of engagement were considered. These had gone off the window when both the law enforcement and military operatives decided rather SENSELESSLY to waste the lives of unarmed and undoubtedly harmless farmers.

    THE funny thing is, the ruling administration bet is just less than a hundred kilometers away from the scene of massacre. Sec. Roxas was out there in Koronadal City campaigning while the bloodbath started to claim lives and inflict unnecessary wounds to the hungry farmers. And as expected, all he could issue is a PRESS release demanding a thorough probe and re-establishing a semblance of civilized law and order.

    ALL presidential candidates followed suit calling for investigation and denouncing an otherwise free exercise of constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and seek redress for valid grievances. No one, EXCEPT Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ever thought of resolving the humanitarian side of the crisis. Satiate the hungry farmers’ families first before any negotiations could start. He recently pledged to commit funds from his city government TO BUY rice, the least that he can do to assuage the needy peasants.

    INSTEAD of rebutting incendiary remarks from the feisty mayor and nitpick on his popular socialist leanings, why CAN’T Pres. Aquino level with and apologize, if so warranted, to the Filipino people for his department officials’ BLATANT failures to address the farmers’ issues? Agriculture Sec.Proceso Alcala promised RICE SUFFICIENCY by 2013; yet almost full six years of the president’s term are used up, we are STILL importing rice from other neighboring ASEAN countries! The constitutionally infirm presidential pork barrel called DAP had been discontinued; yet all DBM Sec. Florencio Abad could say, in view of the farmers’ basic demands, is that he is STILL trying to figure out where among items of government savings he can OUTSOURCE to mitigate the drought-laden pleas of the country’s farmers!

    EXACTLY these lapses of fiscal governance are what Mayor Duterte have in mind when he advocated for GREATER devolution of power among the local government units. Being Davao City’s foremost chief executive, he truly knows whereof he speaks. There is too much centralized power that URGENTLY needs to be dispersed. Federalism may yet address this controversial concern of severely INADEQUATE fiscal empowerment among the lower tiers of government. If the national officials are inept and weak, practical policy solutions can HARDLY be implemented. In times like these, there is too much finger-pointing at the top while simple problems create uncalled-for deadlocks below. As the farmers’ lives were wasted in Kidapawan City, Pres. Aquino is nowhere in sight to direct the immediate release of funds IF only to prevent a mole hill from becoming a mountain of irreversibly critical humanitarian concerns.

    THERE had been agrarian unrests before, when our Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, direly predicted a government being run like hell by the Filipinos. Presidents after him TRIED but FAILED to establish a genuine agrarian reform under a governmental STRUCTURE that lodges so much powers in the hands of the president. But let me pose this modest QUESTION: What IF the incumbent president is a BLUNDERING policy moron, a CERTIFIED weakling or just SIMPLY not up to make CRUCIAL executive decisions?

    WILL the rest of the polity take the brunt of suffering -for SIX years! – on account of the HEAD of government’s GROSS incompetence? In our recent history, the Aquino-Cojuangco families often figured out in senseless peasant massacres employing the full security apparatus of the State to carry out the task of quelling agrarian dissent. In January 22, 1987, fresh from the wave of people power, Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino refused to honor her campaign promise to distribute land to the peasants. The farmers marched in protest but the lady president, upon the wise counsel of her land-holding cacique friends in Congress, did not relent an inch. Across Mendiola, proximately near the palace, the protesters were massacred. Thirteen farmers lay dead while 51 others were seriously wounded.

    BUT time never healed the injuries inflicted to the peasantry. Almost 17 years later in November 16, 2004, another massacre of rallying peasants shocked the nation. This time, the blood of violence dripped along the doorsteps of the Aquino-Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita. A dozen farmers, including 2 children, died in the hands of the military operatives while hundreds more were severely wounded.

    HACIENDA Luisita was a prized purchase of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s clan USING public funds on the PRETEXT of social justice. The tenant farmers were supposed to own the lands after 10 years; but then, some legal contract magicians thought it wise introduce amendments to the terms so that when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos demanded for their distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquino family JUST told the government that Hacienda Luisita has no tenants at all, hence there is NO ONE to give back the lands to. To date, the CARP which used to be the centerpiece program of the first Aquino government remains hollow – pregnant in noble intent for agrarian reform BUT no FORCE and EFFECT!

    WHAT kind of government have we, as a people, installed that RETURNS hails of bullets when ONLY food on the hungry farmers’ tables is demanded? What kind of president have we, as electorates, chose to wield the reins of power who could SLICE a pittance in the national budget ONLY to take it back when so BADLY needed? What kind of leader MUST we, as voters, elect to breathe TRUE CHANGE and marshal the sordid affairs of our State? IF government FAILS, where can the poor peasants turn to?

    FOR justice, there is one potent power that we can assert together. It is lodged freely in us as citizens. It can be sold to the highest bidder under duress of severe necessity. BUT if we can hold on to it no matter the circumstances, THAT power to CHOOSE the next STRONG president may make all the difference between selling our souls for a day’s ration or KEEPING our principles for a life-time of DECENT survival for all. Those peasants who braved the line of fire will be HONORED more in death if we keep the faith and survive to tell their story…

  • alexander lean daloga-og

    A leader like DUTERTE truly deserves the presidency! Go SOLID South! Go DUTERTE!

  • swave

    let us not be too optimistic about it. if they give us the trains, we demand their latest bullet trains.

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