By Democrito C. Barcenas, FLAG regional chair
I am deeply convinced that President Rodrigo Duterte does not tolerate dissent and criticisms. Those who have disagreed with him or his policies are subjected to vicious attacks. What is apparent is that his assault against people and institutions has exposed his utter inconsistencies which borders on hypocrisy.
Just recently, he launched an unpresidential tirade trade against what he termed as the “oligarchs” who have “ruined” our society. He singled out the Prietos who are owners of the prestigious Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) and the Lopezes who control the huge broadcasting network ABS-CBN.
I hold no brief for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but it seems to me that Duterte’s accusation that it is biased against him is baseless. PDI merely reports what is happening in the country especially on the President’s bloody war on drugs which had claimed more than 8,000 people. In the case of ABS-CBN, Duterte conveniently forgets that the daughter of ABS-CBN’s top announcer, Noli de Castro, is one of Duterte’s top appointees in the government. Ted Failon, another top announcer of ABS-CBN, is widely known for his pro-Duterte inclinations. So with Anthony Taberna, an Iglesia ni Cristo stalwart, who could not be accused of having anti-Duterte bias.
President Duterte keeps on attacking the nation’s oligarchs, forgetting that he is an admirer of the no. 1 oligarch, Ferdinand Marcos and his family who plundered billions of pesos during his martial rule aside from committing massive human rights violations.
Mr. Duterte contradicts himself when he says that he hates the oligarchs. Yet he is surrounded by oligarchs like Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., Rep. Imelda Marcos, Lucio Tan, former senator Manuel Villar, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other fat contributors to his presidential campaign.
And have you noticed that President Duterte holds no punches in calling Western leaders like then US President Barrack Obama, the top UN and EU functionaries as “sons of bitches” but has never uttered a single cuss word against China, in spite of the latter’s clear intrusion in our Panatag (Scarborough) shoal?
President Duterte’s war on drugs will not succeed because of his self-contradictions. In his inaugural address last June 30, he intoned, “My adherence to the rule of law and due process is uncompromising.” Yet aside from encouraging summary killings, he relished the murder of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa on November 5, 2016. Most alarming of all, he recently announced that he would pardon the 24 police officers whom the NBI tagged as killers of the late mayor. The act of granting pardon to these murderers is indeed, unpardonable.
Before his death, Mayor Espinosa has submitted an affidavit naming 226 personalities allegedly involved in the drug trade, among them 19 politicians, 38 policemen, 4 from the judiciary and others. The motive of the murder was very apparent, which was to silence Mayor Espinosa. Now comes the President who will pardon the “silencers” and will even promote them. Mr. President, are you surprised why you could not fulfill your election promise to solve crimes, corruption and drugs in three to six months?