Crackdown on Critics



So, the Vice President’s been busy.

When news of the position being offered to her started to buzz, I have already heard common folk expressed apprehensions and opinions against her possible acceptance of the task, worrying that it’s all a trap, that it’s all going to fail and explode on her face, then all blame would be crashed on her. “The position co-chair of ICAD is meaningless, said Barry Gutierrez, spokesperson of the Vice-President. “If you look at the executive order creating (ICAD) the co-chair position is non-existent and has no power,” he explained. Albay Representative Edcel Lagman pointed out that the position of co-chair of ICAD is vastly different from President Duterte’s original offer to her to be the drug czar.” In the article, “Did Vice-President Leni Robredo just make a Bad Judgment?” by Oscar P. Lagman, the author strongly laments that “As co-chair of a committee she cannot issue directives, much less give orders. She can only formulate policies. ICAD has no less than 20 agencies as members. Before she could formulate policies, she has to relate with the heads of those agencies. She cannot formulate policies on her own. She has to obtain the concurrence of her co-chair, Aaron Aquino.” (https://www.bworldonline.com)

Well, she accepted the appointment. We were held in suspense for a short time, but she accepted it. I have been mustering all the good-natured optimism within me. (You know, it’s a lot better when you see the world that way.) I have been trying hard to be objective and deciding to choose the good in people in situations, and on life as a whole. I’ve been trying hard to convince myself that guys like Atty. Salvador Panelo, Senate President Tito Sotto, Sen. Bong Go and Party List Representative Mike Defensor (Oh, he’s still in politics? Party list? I knew there’s something wrong with that party list system.) and of course, the President are capable of the purest of intentions of letting a political opponent in their game. I’ve been thinking, wait a minute, maybe they mean well. What do we know? But I just can’t bring myself to believe that this offer is as Presidential Spokesman would put it, “sincere”.

People usually overlook that there is one Sen. Leila de Lima, who is a former Department of Justice Secretary who is currently incarcerated, and has been so just a short time after President Duterte started his term. I guess you could say, she was the first one to fall (because she was the first one to be set on target). Even now, she has claimed on reports that the Duterte administration is setting up for her certain conviction. Does anyone still remember Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista? That issue was marital and family problems tangled with politics. They hurled accusations against the man that he was forced to resign, cutting his term by four years. Most of us has probably let memory pass by chief Justice Lourdes Sereno whom they took out with a minor technicality we have not heard before. It was like I was hit by a hard object because I didn’t realize they could do that. It was like removing a government official after finding out that he did not submit his barangay clearance to City Hall ten years ago. Who ever thought Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ amnesty could be declared void with the concurrence of the courts? I always thought that amnesty was irrevocable, or at least the only one authorized to nullify it is the very person who granted it in the first place. But Supreme Court says it’s all fine. You don’t even have to be in government. Do you remember when tax fraud cases were charged against journalist Maria Ressa? Remember how she would post bail, then new cases would be filed against her? They’re all non-allies of the President. Sometimes, you could be an ally, but if you cross the President and/or apparently one of his kin, you could suffer the same fate. Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s braggadocio was brought down, along with his term, being replaced by the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, after reportedly making unfavorable comments against the President’s daughter, Inday Sarah. After that, we have not heard of him on the limelight again. It seems that he has descended to political obscurity.

Now, they try to pull our legs by saying that it has been a sincere offer from the President. Interestingly, this happens after President Duterte gets mad over the Vice-President’s negative comments on the drug war to Reuters. We have been accustomed to his sort of reaction. (And here I was, thinking, these stuff only happen in Haiti or Libya).

So, let’s pray. ““If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it” John 15:18