Siling Labuyo: The moro-moro has began
Moro-moro is a term in the vernacular that is used to connote that something is staged or scripted. Much like its origin – the komedya, the staged or scripted act is to fool people into believing that what they are seeing is true or a believable act. The moro-moro act I’m referring to here is Congressman Rodolfo Farinas recent announcement that the impeachment complaint against President Rody Duterte has been given priority and will be referred to the House committee on justice pronto for vetting. The vetting is to determine if the impeachment complaint meets the definitions of sufficiency in form and/or substance. Of course the impeachment process itself is a serious undertaking. What is not serious; however, are the motives of those who will be seated in judgement to determine the sufficiency of form and substance. The fact that impeachment is a numbers game means that whoever has majority control in the House determines the outcome of an impeachment. In this particular case, DU30’s supermajority in the House under his trusted lieutenant, the Speaker himself, leaves no doubt as to the eventual outcome. Rep. Farinas makes it appear that justice committee will now buckle down for a serious effort to really determine the merit of the impeachment complaint. As a member of the House committee on justice predicted, that DU30’s impeachment complaint is headed for the graveyard. Without even batting an eyelash, Rep. Rodel Batocabe of the party-list group Ako Bicol was quoted by Philippine national dailies that the complaint will be knocked out either in one hearing but no more than two. That is how serious it is with witnesses still to be questioned and evidence still to be weighed; Batocabe has already rendered his judgment. True, he is only one committee member speaking his mind but his opinion is for all intents and purposes, might as well the majority opinion. Prioritizing the president’s impeachment process allows legislators to deliver the coup de grace before adjoining for the summer recess. By junking the complaint, the president will be insulated from future impeachment complaints at least for a year. So, the moro-moro is on and whatever scheduled hearing that the justice committee will publicize is pro-forma. The Commission on Appointment’s (CA) rejection of Gina Lopez as environment secretary is another moro-moro. President Duterte came out lamely to lament the CA rejection but was quick to say that it was “democracy” at work and that is one limitation he said he could not overcome. Blame it on the moneyed lobby of rich oligarchs who controls the mining industry of the Philippines. I say it is a moro-moro because the president’s excuse is nothing but bull crap. Lopez has been bypassed twice by the CA and the president’s third reappointment would be the moment of truth. Lopez could have been confirmed if the president really wanted to. After all, the CA is dominated by his supporters. But there was something more sinister in the state of play. The first indication of trouble for Lopez was a DU30 friendly group of Lex Talionis floating the name of a young lawyer who ran for mayor in a town in the Caraga Region the last election under PDP-Laban but lost. Atty. Mark Tolentino was offered as a possible replacement for the DENR post. If the president was serious about his praise of Lopez’ environmental campaign, he would not allow anybody, I mean anybody, to put out a name of a possible replacement the day before Ms. Lopez was to face the CA. Either DU30 is admitting that he really can’t control his minions or that he tacitly gave the signal for the CA to dump the controversial appointee. Lopez is part of the oligarchy and many in the DU30 administration cannot just rust her to toe the line. Lopez’ no-nonsense campaign to right the mining industry’s environmental wrongdoings ran counter to many of the supermajority’s financial interests in the mining industry. DU30 made her a sacrificial lamb knowing the CA was just waiting for the go-signal from the bossing. After bypassing her twice, allowed the blame to be ascribed to the CA and at the same time gave him plausible deniability. If Lopez had the backing of the Left, then why the administration did ditched her? Lopez was a firebrand and had stepped on too many legislators’ toes. All you have to do is look at the location of the mines she closed to figure out who was gunning for her head. The sarsuela was played to give Lopez’ rejection some whip of due process. The rub in this whole thing is that now those “aggrieved” by Lopez’ heavy-handedness are now accusing her of graft and abuse of authority. The drug campaign is an entirely different thing because no less than the president himself is staking his popularity and reputation in pursuing a high risk venture. Unabashedly, DU30 covers for accused policemen who killed in in the name of the president’s Operation Tokhang. When asked about the cops involved in the killing of former Albuera Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa on what he intends to do, DU30 proudly announced that he would pardon if found guilty, then reinstate and promote them. That is how determined DU30 is to his liking. But for Lopez, he extols the virtue of democracy. Perhaps the biggest moro-moro involves the president of the United States. Donald Trump was full of praises the other day with few of the popular world dictators including Duterte. Trump wanted the Philippine president to mediate between him and the “smart cookie” up north of South Korea and help resolve the brewing escalation in the Korean Peninsula. As if on cue, DU30 then called the Chinese President Xi Jinping to convey President Trump’s request for the Chinese leader to intervene in the ongoing game of chickens between Trump and Kim. Let’s stop right here and ask the question, did Trump really needed Duterte to ask Xi to intervene after having met the former at Mar-a-Lago not too long ago while dropping Tomahawk missiles on Syria over dinner entertainment? Or was this political masturbation on the part of Trump and Xi to give Duterte fake orgasm by giving him some excitement while feeling important? Xi even congratulated the ASEAN chair for not bring up the South China Sea UN arbitral ruling during the recently concluded ASEAN meet in the Philippines. And Trump of course also praised the Philippine president for giving importance to the Trump Hotel in Manila and even featured his daughter Ivanka in the hotel’s advertisement. It’s amazing what an orgasm can do; it makes even hardened dictators to see things differently.