You all know that DU 30 called Cesar Gaviria, former president of Colombia, “Idiot.”  The editorial of today’s Inquirer ends with the paragraph: As is President Duterte’s wont, he reacted to the mirror of criticism dismissively, and reflexively used the language of insult he favors in public forums. “That idiot.”

With the clever choice of a punctuation mark – a period instead of a comma – the Inquirer has called somebody powerful an idiot without drawing adverse consequence, unless the idiot’s men are sharp enough to have caught the trick shot.  

Ms. Robredo’s inappropriate reaction to DU 30’s inappropriate remarks

I immediately sensed at the very start of Pres. Duterte’s account of how he and Finance Sec. Dominguez maneuvered to get a better view of Vice Pres. Robredo’s knees that the President was going out of the bounds of proper conduct. The story the President was weaving was beginning to sound like banter in men’s rest room.  I found that very unbecoming of the President to do during an official function, specially an occasion commemorating the anniversary of a tragic event.

I was eagerly waiting for the camera to pan to the Vice President so I would see what her reaction was.  I was surprised to see her smiling from ear to ear as if she was extremely flattered by the President’s expression of admiration of her knees. The President glanced at her from time to time as he was telling his story.  Seeing her smiling, the President seemed encouraged to weave a more elaborate story.  I expected the Vice President to look away or put on a grim countenance if not a sour face.   I have seen young women the age of her older daughters react more appropriately when the banter around the table takes on a greenish hue.

Bullet comments on Lower House hearing on drug trade inside Bilibid

  • Sen. De Lima (in interviews and in her privilege speech on Monday): Witnesses who will testify against me are maximum-security convicts forced, psychologically-tortured, and promised rewards to testify.
  • Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali (opening statement):   This is not about de Lima.
  • Umali’s statement in English were preceded with “ahh, ahh” and ended with “ahh.” It was grating.  When he spoke in Tagalog, he was very fluid, no “ahhs.”
  • Committee Vice Chair Oaminal: Visayan pronunciation of English words very disturbing.   Rolling for ruling, testemone, preson, yistirdy, ples red da litir. and many more.  Aguirre got infected by the Visayan and Ilocano pronunciation of many Congressmen and witnesses (“wetnesses” as Cong. Cagas said) that he said at one time “Dilema” instead of de Lima.
  • Committee Vice Chair Veloso (responding to Aguirre’s compliment): We are all brilliant here.   Not really, based on the interpellations of Cong: Lacson, Pacquiao, and Cagas.  Pacquiao asked Aguirre a question that had been answered previously; so Aguirre said, “I have answered that.”    Just like his brother in Senate hearings.            
  • DOJ Aguirre:  These witnesses on their own volunteered to testify. (But winesses’ testimonies all led to de Lima’s taking millions in payola.)  
  • Each of Aguirre’s witnesses: I am afraid of JayBee Sebastian, the most powerful and fearsome gang leader in Bilibid and de Lima’s  bagman.     
  • They all feared a prisoner but not Pres. Duterte who de Lima accuses of the man behind her present   persecution.  
  • Aguirre:  the proliferation of drugs in Bilibid  started in 2012 when de Lima made known her plan to run for the Senate in 2013 and her need to raise campaign funds.
  • PNP Officer Magalong:  PNP Intelligence info says it started in 2001.
  • Umali allowed some Congressmen to stray from the purpose of the hearing but on the whole he had good control of the proceedings.

Senate inquiry on EJK turned into trial of Du30 and son Paolo

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights’ inquiry on drug-related extra-judicial killings resumed on Thursday.  As understood by many, the inquiry is on the killings from the time Du30 took over the presidency.  But Thursday’s hearing was devoted entirely to the testimony of Edgar Matobato who claims to have been part of a special unit of the police force of Davao City when Du30 was mayor of the city.  His testimony was that then Davao Mayor Du30 and then Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte ordered him to kill several people who had crossed the Dutertes.  It looked like the surprise appearance of the witness was Sen. De Lima’s ploy to put Du30 in bad light.

 As usual the distinguished graduate of Iskul Bukul, Tito Sotto, asked shallow and irrelevant questions like “Are you a ghost employee or 15-30 employee?”  Then in angry and impatient tone he asked the representatives of the Commission on Human Rights what they are doing about the violation of human rights of those raped and those forced to take drugs by their own fathers.  That was out of order because the inquiry is on killings.  Also, the question was more appropriate for Gen de la Rosa and his staff because the CHR’s main function is to investigate violations of human rights by the State (government authority), not by private citizens.   Having gotten his ten-minute exposure on national TV, he left the hearing.

 Then came Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who is not a member of the committee.  As usual, whatever the forum is – be it a Senate inquiry, press conference, or a TV talk show – he defends Du30.  He grilled and intimidated the witness to the point of exasperation and infuriation, leading Sen. Sonny Trillanes, his close ally in the Senate investigation of the Binays, to tell him, “Your ambition is foolish and you are defending evil.”    While Cayetano has reasons to insinuate that the witness’ appearance was a ploy of de Lima, Cayetano went overboard when he implied that the witness was brought in to bring down Du30.   Accusing de Lima of hitting back at Du30 might be acceptable to civil society but accusing the Liberal Party of producing the witness to put down Du30 so the Liberals could retake the government is ridiculous.   Before Cayetano was done with his relentless attempt to discredit the witness, Liberal senators Drilon, Angara, and Pangilinan had left the hall.  

 In the impromptu press conference right after the hearing, Sen. De Lima explained that the witness, who claimed he has been in hiding for fear of being killed by Du30’s operatives because he knew too much, volunteered to “tell all” before he is done away with.

Pres. Duterte sounds scared

The man doth protest too much, methinks.  

Why is DU30 insistent now that he didn’t curse Obama and why is he justifying his denouncing the US for expressing disapproval of the extra-judicial killings by raking up what the Americans did to Filipinos during the Philippine-American War?  Are the consequences of his having offended Obama so serious and so encompassing that he is trying to extenuate his diplomatic blunder? 

He seemed to have felt proud when the international media reported to the whole world that he had blasted Obama.  But when the scheduled bilateral talks were cancelled, he became subdued.   He now sounds scared by telling everybody he didn’t curse Obama.  

I am scared to find out what has scared him.

Senate inquiry on EJK like an Iskul Bukul session

The Senate’s Committee on Justice and Human Rights started this week its hearing on the extra judicial killings of drug suspects. But much of the proceedings looked and sounded like a class session in Iskul Bukul. First to ask questions was Manny Pacquiao. Of course, he wants to show he is taking his new role as senator seriously by not only being every present in every session but by joining the deliberations.

Pacquiao addressing Harra, wife of killed drug suspect: Sabe mo walang nakohang drog sa bahay mo. Sabe ng poles mayrong nakoha sa position ng asawa mo.
Policeman: Opo, your honor, may nakuha po kami sa possession ng asawa niya.

Pacquiao addressing Mary Rose, daughter of drug dealing couple also killed: “Alam ba ng magolang mo na bawal ang genagawa nela? Alam ba nela na se Prisidinti ay galet sa droga?
(Is Pacquiao implying that Harra’s husband and May Rose’s parents deserved to be killed?. Anyway, after struggling for 38 minutes to think of what to ask and how to articulate his questions, he proceeded to the gym for his preparation for his next fight. He should also spend time practicing speaking)

Joel Villanueva: Thank you Gen. de la Rosa even if you did not honor my invitation to Bulacan where hundreds of drug users surrendered.
(What did that have to do with extra judicial killings?)

Tito Sotto: Are there still recording and television facilities in the new Bilibid prison?
(Is he suggesting that the number of killings has risen because there are no more entertainment facilities in the NBP?)

Ralph Recto: According to COA reports the PNP lacks 25,000 enforcers, 3,000 vehicles, and 16,000 firearms.
(What is his point, that there would be less killing if the PNP had a full force and complete equipment?)

Migs Zubiri: We should amend the bank secrecy law.
(Maybe there would be no more search-for-drug operations which are almost always resisted by drug suspects, which in turn result in violent encounters. Policemen can simply look at the bank accounts of drug suspects.)

Sonny Angara: The anti-wiretapping law should be reviewed.
(Perhaps if the drug suspects are wiretapped, there would not be violent face-to-face encounters between policemen and drug suspects.)

Greg Honasan: addressing Gen. de la Rosa: General, you call this campaign against drug war. Is there a frontline? Are your forces deployed in military formation, two squads in front, one as back up and the third as reserve as we were taught in military tactics?
(The two garrulous PMA alumni then engaged in recollection of what they were taught in the Academy until the senator was told to shut up, ahh to wrap up.)

JV Ejercito: I sympathize with police officers. As a former mayor, I know policemen would not be quick to shoot suspects because they know they would immediately be suspended without pay and charged with murder. Not only would they lose their source of income, they would have to spend for legal counsel.
(That may not be true anymore because of the shoot-to-kill order of the President and his assurance that he will protect the policemen. )

Dick Gordon: When I was mayor, I extracted from the captured drug dealer who is his suppler and he was captured I asked him the same thing until I got to the original source.
(I do not know how his approach relate to the current rampant killings on drug suspects?0

Win Gatchalian: I was also once a mayor. There was no killing in Valenzuela.
(So?)

The Supreme Court – instrumentality of the President

Is the Supreme Court under the influence of the President? Karen Davila asked. She was reacting to the question Sen. Leila de Lima raised: why did the Supreme Court hand down the ruling acquitting former president Gloria Arroyo of plundering PCSO intelligence funds only during the Duterte Administration and not during the Aquino presidency.

Karen wondered why the SC did not acquit GMA during PNoy’s incumbency if indeed there was no evidence that she pocketed PCSO money. Karen noted that Pres. Duterte had indicated during the presidential campaign that if elected he would pardon GMA. So she asked rhetorically if the SC handed down the ruling now because the incumbent president is friendly to GMA. It should also be noted that two of his cabinet secretaries, Silvestre Bello and Jesus Dureza, were also members of GMA’s cabinet. GMA thanked Pres. Duterte for “allowing due process to take its course totally unhampered”. That is a clear indication from GMA herself that Pres. Duterte had something to do with the ruling.

Yes, Karen, the SC is under the influence of whoever is president. It was under the dictates of GMA when she was president. Remember, the Renato Corona Court was accused of handing down 17 questionable rulings favoring GMA, her two sons, and her minions. (The SC allowed Mikey to run as partylist candidate representing security guards and tricycle drivers, allowed the breakup of a small district in Camarines Sur so that Dato would have a district to represent, and blocked the impeachment proceedings against Merceditas Gutierrez when impeachment proceedings are outside the purview of the SC. The great majority of the members of the Corona Court were appointees of GMA, including Corona himself whose appointment as SC chief justice was in contravention of the Constitution. Many of them are still in the SC and they all voted to acquit GMA.

Anyway, hooray to Karen for raising the issue and for asking the previous day why drug lord Peter Lim, whom Pres. Duterte threatened to kill as soon as he steps into Philippine soil, was received by him and walked away free when suspected drug pushers are killed outright by policemen even while they (the pushers) are asleep in their own abode. Right on, Karen Davila! Nacareer mo as you would say.

Oh, Karen can you ask the management of ABS-CBN to confine Vic Lima to news programs? He is too naive to grasp political issues to be able to comment on them intelligently. He spoils your pontifications with his irrelevant and shallow comments as during your discourse on the two afore-mentioned issues. With his diction he would make a better ANC newscaster than Karmina Constantino and Caroline Howard. With his booming voice and ever bright disposition, even when the La Salle Green Archers and the Golden State Warriors lose, he would be a better anchor (for newscasts, that is) than the soporific Ron Cruz.