APPOINTING barangay officials is the fastest way to fill-in positions without elections. But the premise forwarded by President Duterte in wanting to appoint barangay officials that 40 percent of the incumbent ones need to be replaced because they are involved in illegal drugs and corruption raises more eyebrows than making us to listen. An argument without substance to appoint barangay officials mocks the democratic tradition of electing those whom the people want to lead them, even if such officials are meant only for the tiniest political unit of the land.
Bold enough to stand against the pronouncement of Mr. Duterte is the Sangguniang Panglunsod of Naga that without delay passed a resolution on Tuesday (April 4) to expresses their members’ opposition to any move to appoint barangay officials in lieu of the mandated election process. The resolution also questions Mr. Duterte’s unsubstantiated claim that 40 percent of the barangay officials are involved in illegal drugs.
“If the raison d’etre behind the proposal is to get rid of those barangay leaders involved in drugs, the proper course of action is not to punish the people and disenfranchise them with their rights to suffrage, but to charge those concerned officials before the courts and let due process administratively, criminally punish them,” the Naga City council resolution states.
But what is more worrying about Duterte’s cockeyed plan is his incessant pronouncement that he would not second guess to declare Martial Law to solve the problems plaguing the nation, further worsening our fear of his authoritarian tendencies that betray his abhorrence against opposing opinions and criticism.
Other noises and activities launched by supporters of Mr. Duterte portend a much sinister design for their idol. Reacting to Vice President Leni Robredo’s video statement regarding the war against drug, Digong supporters Mocha Uson and Jimmy Bondoc staged a rally at the Luneta on Saturday. They wanted Vice President Robredo to resign or be impeached and called their rally “Palit Bise,” an obvious reference to the “palit ulo” police scheme in the anti-drug war that she revealed in the video statement.
Police estimated some 4,500 attendees in the “Palit Bise” rally where speakers denounced the Vice President whom they derogated as Aling Leni to have committed economic sabotage because of her statements that they said brought negative impact on the economy and shamed our country before an international audience.
It is not impossible to doubt that the rally was well-financed where several LCD screens were deployed around the vast Luneta grounds and snacks distributed freely by the organizers. It was a rally meant to eject Leni from her position as organizers chose to play blind on the dynamics of the electoral process in our country. Until Bongbong Marcos wins in the electoral protest, nothing can be done to remove Robredo from her legitimate position, if not for a successful impeachment process in Congress. So, the Palit Bise rally was all sound and fury that signify nothing, as the old adage says.
What was revealing in the Palit Bise rally was the signature campaign to give Mr. Duterte revolutionary power in which he can do whatever he wants to do sans the democratic principle of check and balance from the two other branches of our government – the legislative and judiciary.
Definitely, the move to give Mr. Duterte revolutionary power cannot be delivered with the signature campaign. For Mr. Duterte to unilaterally declare Martial Law, he has to violate the Constitution and by-pass Congress and the Supreme Court. On this note, it is the people who need to be alert because “evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”