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I didn’t realize that the President was going to do the SONA. It seemed low profile compared to the ones before. Maybe it’s just me who didn’t look forward or feel interested to the state of the nation address. Don’t get me wrong. Of course, I do care about the state of our nation. It’s just that I feel that there is not much hype about it now. I do appreciate that this time, the star of the show is not late and did not come like a student showing up to class who has a hangover and had to rush his homework. I also appreciate that the President didn’t ramble on about how much he hates his opponents with unrealistic braggadocio. One has to admit, this is how a SONA should be. The speech was impressively replete with plans for national development. Not only that, the plans laid were practical and feasible and dealing with issues which are relevant to the Filipino people.

Now, I understand the Cayetano siblings for taking the middle ground in the Senate. They are neither majority nor minority. I’m not sure what to call them. Moderatity? (But they seem to be leaning more towards the administration.) I imagine it would be awkward to be sitting in that hall and restraining yourself from applauding when the President would say something about the stable inflation, the agrarian emancipation, housing projects and plans for electrification, learning recovery for school children and nationwide digitalization. Political affiliations aside, at least one or two, if not many of the President’s declared accomplishments and aspirations deserved applause. Come on, you may have voted for another candidate last election, or believe that the Martial Law was the darkest period in Philippine history (which it probably is), but you can’t deny the fact that PBBM is really delivering some concrete, practical, relevant, helpful goods.

I should note that the authorities have finally found away to ban the traditional burning of effigies. Of course, protesters maintain their rights to speech, assembly and expression. But, burning the paper mache figures of political officials have been prohibited due to its effect on the environment. Now, that’s one smart move. I have to agree that they are correct on that point. We may have the right to converge and say what we want, what we believe in, in the way we want to, but we don’t have the right to pollute the place.

Is this the first SONA in which along with the anti-government protesters, there are also pro-government groups on the streets? That is kind of odd. Pro-government groups don’t usually lean towards activism or militant rallies. Why do I smell theatrics? Oh well, I guess they have a right to get together and declare whatever as long as they don’t make a mess.

Of course, he would not mention it on his speech, but I wonder what the President plans on the International Criminal court’s plans to pursue the investigation on the human rights violations in the Duterte war against drugs. Whoa! It seems that ICC is bent on pursuing violators of that substance abuse rehabilitation campaign gone awry. The court’s decision to deny the Philippine government’s appeal not to continue the investigation only means that it strongly believes that crimes have been committed and if their agents look into it, they would definitely find something downright incriminating.

I am taken aback with the DOJ’s boldness to stand its ground against the ICC. Sec. Remulla’s confidence in the nation’s non-participation with the investigation in the guise of protection of national sovereignty reminds me of Cuba or Yugoslavia or Iran. Are we in that league now? Personalities who would be issued with arrest warrants from the ICC have been advised by the DOJ Secretary to avoid travelling to nations where they could be apprehended. Where could they travel now? China, North Korea or Afghanistan?? I guess, there are good tourist places in Russia and Belarus. I imagine with the South China Sea tension and the Russia-Ukraine war, almost all nations would align itself with the West, so I’m not exactly sure, what other countries are left. What becomes of the suspected drug war criminals now? Do they become like wanted felons who have to be wary of the streets they could openly walk in broad daylight?

If you come to think of it, that’s an admission of guilt. If police comes at the door of an innocent man, he would gladly let them in because he is confident that they would not find anything that would tie him to any crime. An innocent man would not block entry of the police and tell them that they are trespassing on private property.

So, that’s the state of the nation.

Ecclesiastes 8:11: Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.


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