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EDITORIAL: Put Some Flesh to the Promises

At long last, Kerwin Espinosa, a self confessed drug personality, has executed the widely awaited affidavit of recantation, the contents of which are a welcome news not only to Senator Leila De Lima but more so to the adherents of truth, justice and human rights. He has practically paved the way for the possible exoneration of the lawmaker from Bicol, who has been languishing in jail for more than five years.

Almost automatically, De Lima’s allies and advocates for human rights proclaimed that Espinosa’s recantation is a big slam to the government’s justice system. Some even called for the immediate release of the embattled legislator, pointing out that with Espinosa’s affidavit, government persecutors are likely to fail to establish the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of De Lima.

On the other hand, a member of the prosecutorial arm of the Department of Justice (DOJ) argues that Espinosa’s recantation has no bearing on the cases confronting De Lima, because the affiant has not been included as a government witness at all.

If true, how come that it has not been made known to the public or to Espinosa himself? Those handling the anti-De Lima cases may be likened to one holding a bird placed inside his pocket with the option to squeeze the bird to death or to release it to fly. A very smart scheme but pregnant of misinterpretation.

The public prosecutors in effect admit that they have a weak case. Now if it is advanced that Espinosa has not been included in the list of government witnesses due to want of credibility given that he is a suspected drug personality, how come that convicted criminals have been listed as government witnesses?

This is being asked in the light of the recent admission by outgoing President Duterte himself that his campaign against drug proliferation has been a dismal failure. He even admitted that his commitment to solve the drug problem within three to six months was only part of a political propaganda.

He used the term “yabang” which may be translated to English as a mixture of hubris, braggadocio and hyperbole. Such pronouncement of an outgoing head of state, though entitled to some degree of understanding, reveals at the same time the fact that campaign promises are mostly “yabang”. On this score, this “yabang” could also refer to the build, build, build projects, taking a jetsky in order to put the Philippine flag within an area disputed between China and the Philippines, and a no nonsense drive against graft and corruption.

It is now of a public knowledge that all this “yabang” of Mr. Duterte failed dismally. That is why the electorate should be wary of campaign promises mixed with “yabang” obviously to entice voters. And since it is just few days before the May 9 elections, it would be more in keeping for responsible voting to take campaign promises with guarded optimism. For example, attaining unity empty of details on how to do it, pursuing build ,build, build projects and assuring the price of rice at P20 only per kilo.

Also, of ridiculous proportion is the assurance that the internet facilities would be available all throughout the archipelago. Obviously, all the infrastructures being dangled are nothing but campaign hubris, given that they will necessarily require funding and nothing is being mentioned on how to generate funds.

Probably, the proponent entertains the idea of securing loans to back up the plans and projects. It has been conveniently overlooked that the country’s loans now amount to more than P12 trillion. If additional loans are secured to fund these projects, how will they be repaid?

It is overdue to dig deeper into the platforms of politicians. They should be given flesh, otherwise to adopt the terminology of Mr. Duterte, they are but part of campaign “yabang”. In Naga they term it “butog”.


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