AS it has been said, so it will be said, “our nation is built on the bedrock principle that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The consent of the governed was given May 16 in resounding fashion. Duterte was not the incumbent. He did not have access to money and machinery. He did not have control of PCOS and the operators that come with it. Clearly, legitimacy was settled right there and then.
But in less than a year, PRRD has been subjected to a concerted, pre-designed, loaded octane offensive to crucify him internationally and create a sandstorm domestically so he can’t govern effectively. Two things are clear: the growth and spread of illegal drugs, narco-politics and the destruction of institutions were hand-me-downs from Aquino, who consciously sat on it for reasons only he and his people can fathom; and the spread of terrorism and extremism, manifesting in Ibanga, Bohol and Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The framing offensive has painted Duterte with key words like EJK, killer, human rights violator, thug, etc. It paints him as a bully, reckless, unstatesmanlike, not ready for national politics. The Liberal Party designed it well, using their international connections to paint a canvas of a new leader who is the antithesis of liberal democracy and the rule of law. Paint at will they did and the Duterte team fell for the trap through a badly planned Oplan Tokhang and Double Barrel Reloaded. Talk about framing and priming, and the PNP surgically diced the political capital of Duterte. It defined the first 6 to 8 months of the administration, while improvement in frontline service deliveries were set aside. The media conductor of the opponents of Duterte wielded the baton well to the consternation of Duterte’s communication team. Theirs had the discipline to stick to message while Duterte’s was divided and unable to gain the upper hand.
Using human rights as a wedge, they got foreign countries to articulate their opposition to Duterte’s war against illegal drugs and got him to be painted further as ha ving committed “crimes against humanity.” The orchestration was seamless, from local to international. It used a network that was built meticulously by the Liberal Party and staged by an operator known for his skill at conjuring smoke and mirrors for a fee. The same information was used to file an impeachment complaint.
Paint Duterte in a congressional hearing using information on a dossier put together when he was under the radar of the Commission on Human Rights and further loaded for campaign use. Reel him in so the tentacles of illegal drugs are not disclosed. Give him more rope to hang himself and the public will get mad.
Marawi City proved to all that not acting on actionable information could break a nation. Such information was made by some people in the PNP as early as 2012. Some AFP officials likewise articulated the movements of the local counterparts of IS. A Singapore think tank also wrote and addressed the matter to the Aquino government in 2015. Nothing was made of the information until Duterte came into the picture. Take note, Mamasapano took place on January 25, 2015. Mamasapano is in Maguindanao, a province in ARMM. Marawi City is part of ARMM. Sulu is where most of the kidnappers hide their victims. Sulu is also in ARMM. The terrorists who landed in Ibanga, Bohol, came from Sulu. So, what’s with ARMM? And considering so much has been poured into ARMM, it is still one of the poorest regions in the country. Is it the national government that is to blame or the local leaders? So, should martial law be limited to Marawi City only? That it is just a rebellion and not terrorism? Believing that undermines the security aspect of landlocked Mindanao.
And then when so-called responsible people start spreading false news about the health and physical well-being of PRRD, one should stop and put the pieces of the puzzle together. In the guise of freedom of speech, they hurt the presidency. In the guise of dissent, they ruin institutions. And so we ask, when is enough, enough? Why can’t we throw the book at them so they start respecting the rule of law?
They are not even the opposition. They are not even the minority. They have gold, money and connections to pulp the incumbent because they don’t like Duterte. They don’t like his guts. Duterte is not one of them. They still don’t get it. Their abhorrence for Duterte is the reason they are out of power.
To ascribe death and having the leader in a coma is wicked and sick. These are said against a leader who visited 58 dead soldiers, paying respect for their sacrifices, holding the hands of the families and going around all major and small military camps in Mindanao. Easy work, right? Back channel work is also draining and he missed the “flag and the toast’.
But those were the optics of politics. “It isn’t really what’s going on that’s important; it’s what appears to be going on. It’s not the larking about on the golf course, fist bumping your friends immediately after discussing dreadful events; it’s being seen doing it that’s the problem. To rest therefore is anathema for those who love quacking.
Breaking the nation will take time because the people have joined together to stand and fight against those wanting to remove a duly elected President. Breaking the nation will be hard because we are in a VUCA world where disruptions need to be managed and all eyes must be on the ball. Indeed, “you cannot speak on behalf of a nation when you have no mandate to do so.” Live with it.