Casualty not only de Lima, but what’s left of the Yellow Cult

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RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

I don’t think anybody was expecting it, I didn’t: the Duterte camp’s quick and bold move to end Sen. Leila de Lima’s exploitation of hearings of her justice committee as a propaganda weapon to demonize the President. Killer Edgar Matobato had only one day of fame, unlike alleged whistleblowers of the past.

It was even a brilliant move to have Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao propose that the posts of chair and members of the justice committee be declared vacant. The masses still idolize the world boxing champion, and he exudes such innocence that few would suspect he simply played a role in a well-executed operation to remove de Lima.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes had gleefully taunted President Duterte’s silence on Matobato’s accusations in the Senate hall when he was Davao City’s mayor, and that he, himself, as such killed a suspected criminal.

On Monday at the Senate, Duterte responded in action not words, and Trillanes then has been in shellshock, pulling his hair that he demonstrated in front of national TV his arrogance and lack of civility defending de Lima and her fake “witness.”

The Yellow Party senators were stunned, with only four voting against Pacquiao’s motion: President Aquino’s former factotum in the Senate, Franklin Drilon; his nephew Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th; Risa Hontiveros who owes her post entirely to the Liberal Party’s campaign war chest; and to the mostly invisible Francis Pangilinan. De Lima defaulted by foolishly walking out of the Senate during Senator Alan Cayetano’s privilege speech. Trillanes and Senator Ralph Recto abstained, a portent perhaps of at least the latter’s decision not to antagonize Duterte. (Offer him the NEDA post, Mr. President, for god’s sake!).

De Lima’s ouster was a clear demonstration of Duterte’s rock-solid base in the Senate: 16 out of the 24 senators. That should tell the Yellow Party not to waste its time plotting Duterte’s impeachment.

It shocked Drilon that even Joel Villanueva, who was an Aquino Cabinet official (“Tesdaman”) and who ran under the Liberal Party in this year’s elections, voted to oust de Lima. The voting demonstrated the strong multi-party support for Duterte:

• The LDP’s Sonny Angara, who had been an Aquino supporter;

• The Nationalist People’s Coalition’s Vicente Sotto, Win Gatchalian and Loren Legarda,

• UNA’s Nancy Binay, Gregorio Honasan, Manuel Pacquiao and JV Ejercito; and

• Independent senators Grace Poe, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson and Miguel Zubiri.

That such overwhelming majority voted to remove de Lima as justice committee chair really was her undoing.

She rushed it: De Lima, right, with her poorly prepped “star witness.”

She rushed it: De Lima, right, with her poorly prepped “star witness.”

Perhaps she thought she was still in the Aquino regime when the Senate was a lethal political and propaganda weapon, which was used to remove the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, drive former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes to commit suicide, and convict opposition senators by publicity through the pork-barrel scandal. That was during the Aquino regime when he had the support of the majority of senators.

But we are no longer living in the Aquino regime, and the majority of senators do have the natural proclivity to support an incumbent President, at least while his popularity is at its height.

Panicking to thwart Duterte’s moves through the House of Representatives to prove that she coddled drug lords when she was Justice secretary and that she even got money for her election campaign from these criminals, de Lima rushed her plot too much that its motive — to hit Duterte — became as obvious as it was clumsy. Even those who were not really core Duterte supporters moved to avoid getting used by her.

The hearings she called were on the basis of Senate Resolution No. 29, which she herself filed. This resolution explicitly called for the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which de Lima chaired, to investigate “recent rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions,” starting May 10, 2016.

But de Lima, instead, used the hearings as a propaganda platform, to claim to the world in a sensational way — through the testimony of a “whistleblower,” a purportedly actual participant in the killings — that Duterte himself killed several suspected criminals. Her star “witness,” Edgar Matobato, also claimed that Duterte, as city mayor, organized a clandestine “Davao Death Squad,” which murdered more than 1,000 people in cold blood.

The problem, which most of the senators saw, was that even if these killings were true, they were undertaken ­— the “whistleblower” himself testified — in the 1990s, and way before Duterte became President in 2016. How could these help the Senate implement Senate Resolution No. 29, which asked the committee “to investigate in aid of legislation, the series of recent killings which were done extrajudicially”?

The 16 senators who voted against her most probably thought, why would they be a party to such a scheme, a clumsy one at that, by de Lima to save her skin, to stop Duterte from exposing her support of drug lords?

De Lima also rushed her plot — intended to steal the thunder from scheduled hearings in the House of Representatives on her coddling of illegal-drug dealers — that Matobato was not coached or “prepped” enough that he was obviously telling tall tales. Thirty people shot a poor resident, but who appeared to be still breathing after taking all the bullets, so that it was Duterte himself who finished him off with his Uzi? He, with five other killers, strangled another victim? Duterte ordered the killing of four bodyguards of then rival for the mayoralty race, now Davao City Rep. Prospero? And Prospero, upon hearing of the witness’ story, promptly responded that all his bodyguards are alive and kicking. Duterte whipped with his golf club and later ordered killed a suspected international terrorist, Salim Makdum, who turned out to be nonexistent?

The credibility of de Lima’s “star witness” was quickly shattered after senators grilled him, and the admitted killer’s arrogant comportment didn’t elicit any sympathy from the senators.

The casualty in this episode is not only de Lima. It is also the Yellow Cult, or what’s left of it.

It’s that easy
I’m glad Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar (his name in the updated Official Directory) moved fast to update the Official Gazette, which since 2010 has been published only in internet form as www.gov.ph. The site was closed down yesterday after I complained in my column that after nearly three months it hasn’t been updated, still showing BS Aquino as our President, with his gang still holding the various high posts in government.

By early evening, the new directory was posted, showing Duterte as President and the President’s own website president.gov.ph was put online after being “under construction” for two months. The directory, though, still isn’t a complete one as top officials of other state entities, such as the chair and board of government corporations, the Director General of the PNP, still don’t have their names in the directory.

Andanar has to instruct his staff to post all public documents signed by Duterte in the Official Gazette. He has to instruct all departments to post on their websites the names of their top officials, and their curriculum vitae, so we will be guided accordingly.

The department of transport, for instance, doesn’t even list who its secretary is, much less its top officials.

It would be very useful, for instance, to know that Rodolfo Salalima, Duterte’s secretary of Information and Communications Technology, was chief legal counsel and senior advisor of Singaporean-controlled Globe Telecoms. That saves us time, so that we don’t have to ask him what reforms he plans to undertake against the telecom monopoly.

It’s that easy when you know your job, isn’t it, Sec. Andanar?

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

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37 Comments

  1. AHAHAHA! sa Resolution tittle pa lang ” RECENT rampant EJK! tapos ang witness puro luma ang kwento at hearsay. Wala naman link yon sa Drug war ngayon kse Mayor sya dati ngayon President at legitimate Police operations and nangyayari kaya may napapatay kse may lumalaban. Kung ayaw maniwala ng media na lumaban yung suspects bakit ayaw nyo sumama sa operations at kunan nyo yung actual na pag arrest, basta dapat nasa unahan kayo lagi ha!

  2. Yes, she’s a lawyer and a senator now, using all her powers para makalusot sa mga kasalanan niya, and thought that she can get away with it.

  3. To cover up her misdeeds, she has to appear among us to be a crusader for the rule of law.
    When the line up of criminals finger her, that is going to be her down fall!
    Masyadong masakit!

  4. Simeon E. Anekang on

    I did not vote.. But I indirectly campaign for DU30 for President, and if some friends, and relatives ask for senator I always inform them to include De5 if they can.. of course my reason is to have a check and balance, since a lot of change will be coming we need someone to at least refine rough ones or stand up whenever we are doing shortcuts which expose us to “dangers” once we slip. But I am dismayed for De5, it is good that she was given the chance to prove how worthy she is but she fails – the only things she sees and remember are DU30 faults and crime-which is not proven. She did even give DU30 the chance to show us the changes he promise and start to show. And even Trillanes – I voted him for the same reason, check and balance and for his promise to help his comrade and in order for them to have a fair evaluation I their rankings. But he did nothing, only to complain on GMA, cling to BSA3, and attack DU30. This is his chance if he really what change, DU30 is promising a fair competition he must support it so that we can achieve and succeed….

  5. Romeo,

    Then your lawyers over there have much to learn about using criminal to catch other much bigger criminals. That method had been used and is still being use in other parts of the word.

    To say that one cannot trust a convict words therefore you cannot use them as witnesses is how a simpleton think. Good prosecutors does not rely on the convict words alone, but rather they gather more evidence based on those information. You will need to read some of the high profile cases persecuted outside your country using this method.

    And nobody completely trust the words of a politician either, that is true in every country.

    On Matobato case, he already testified against your current president, but your de Lima did not files any cases when she was still in your DOJ. How is that any different now?

    This Matobato has everything to lose if he does not cooperate with whoever is helping him sanctuary. He testified against your president in the previous administration and lost. Now he needs someone to provide him sanctuary from being persecuted or being hunted down. He, of all the witnesses on either side, is in the most desperate situation. Only a fool cannot see that. His situation speak of desperation.

    With regards to the other side witnesses. They have nothing to lose if they don’t cooperate, unless someone choose to silence them before they can speak.

    They actually had more to lose by testifying against de Lima, and the other people they testified against. Politics is a cycle, if the other party get in control of the executive branch, the other side witnesses can be at risk.

    And some of those witnesses are in life sentence, what is the use of immunity on someone in life sentence ?

    For those due to be release soon, they have something to gain by testifying so they cannot be persecuted for those crime they confess in the hearing.

    In either cases presented above, what is the incentive of those witnesses to make up a story unless they are offered commuted sentence?

    Moderator, thank you for publishing my other comments. I sincerely hope you will published my reply to Romeo.

  6. Bobbi Tiglao Thank you! Andanar is still inexperience, but it’s nice of you to remind him and something was done immediately. Really, Pres. Digong needs a seasoned Press Secretary! Would you take it, if offered?

  7. Matobato didn’t know the name of VP but when ask again by Cayetano, he remembered and answered “Ah, si ma’m Leni”. Why ma’m?

  8. Well, my personal observation over the political showdown by the senate, of its political maneuvering by Mr. President DU30’s party to take out De Lima as head of the justice committee was not impressive at all for me. The totality of the present political game over drug and the strategic plan to erase drug itself in the Philippine map through various means including extrajudicial killing is not also impressive. I wonder if the present head of the justice committee would engage fairly to investigate the mystery of extrajudicial killings and the many killings of the police. I was also surprised about the witnesses, who were pulled out from prison to testify with the doubtful testimonies against De Lima. I am not interested to know who and what party the government official belongs. What I am interested is this one: the government official is doing her/his job, and he/she is doing it based on the Laws.

  9. I have always been a fan of your column, sir, and I thank you for sharing us your insight. Will surely FB-share this great article.

    Thanks again.

  10. Insights and wisdom from the ever reliable Mr. Tiglao but are you serious in recommending Recto to NEDA? I like the sarcasm of your last sentence “That saves us time, so that we don’t have to ask him (Salalima) what reforms he plans to undertake against the telecom monopoly.” Great!!!

  11. That’s what happen when these condescending senators look down on Senator Pacquiao just because he is not as highly educated as them and see him as the Hicks from Gen San and do not belong to their clique. I like your editorial cartoon yesterday where De Lima was thrown to the ceiling by a punch from Pacman. I say Good Job, Senator Manny!

  12. Sir Tiglao, many of your readers wish you the best! With your expertise and vast knowledge, I wish PRDD may appoint you in any govt position where you can excel and help PRDD in protecting the legit GRP/State against its enemies and critics.

  13. Thank you again for your clear insights.
    Read your Outlook columns before. You are still The Man, Mr Ambassador.
    Have a nice day, Sir.

  14. edsonarantesdonascimento on

    THANK YOU MT-ADMINISTRATOR!!!! THANK YOU FOR RESOLVING MY PROBLEM W/ REGARD TO FB-SHARING, NEWS, COLUMNS, PARTICULARLY THE COLUMN OF AMBA.TIGLAO! NOW I CAN FB-SHARE AGAIN TO MY FAMILY THE INCISIVE AND INFORMATIVE COLUMNS TO AMBA. TIGLAO!!!! FOR THESE MY HEARTFELT APPRECIATION, AND MAY YOU BE APPOINTED THE NEW AMBASSADOR BY OUR PRESIDENTATAY, TO THE US, OR THE PRESS SECRETARY/SPOKESMAN TO OUR BELOVED PRSIDENTATAY!!! AGAIN THANK YOU MT FOR SOLVING MY FB-SHARING PROBLEM, KUDOS AND GOD BLESS!!!

    • Rigoberto D. Tiglao on

      pls do not write in all caps which really isn’t allowed by our guidelines, and besides is difficult to read p

  15. On the contrary. yellow has gone global. the U.N., America, U.K. news are saturated with EJK material, the hero, the voice behind the massacre is De Lima.

    • should my post be moderated, i was saying that yellow has seen international recognition since de lima’s expose on the extra judicial killings.

    • How can you possibly hail some one who is doing so much damage to the Philippines in order to save herself. ???? De Lima should be immediately relieved of her Senate duties and tried for treason !!!!

  16. I salute Sen. National Fist delivering the fist to knock out D5 of her chairwomanship because as long as she’s the chairman, that committe will be the Senate’s Committee of Injustice and Inhuman Rights……

  17. You guys seems to have a drama Queen and mentally challenged person for a senator.

    First she produced a witness that had too many inconsistencies. Then the other side produced witnesses that seems to be more credible and she call it a sham.

    It seems she had psychological issues where she is in constant denial of her mistakes and paranoia that the other side is plotting her downfall. She brought her own downfall. If she did not do anything wrong, what is she afraid of.

    This woman seems to be a pathological liar. We foreign spectators don’t have sympathy for this senator.

    • In our courts here in the Phils, witness credibility is of prime importance. In a court of law, Attorneys would have a feast at convict – witnesses lured with suit immunities to testify against a person. That immunity shreds any suspicion of credibility they might have.

      Compare that with Delima’s witness. Matobato has got nothing to gain in his testimony and he would have to fear the entire government machinery for his life.

  18. WHAT utter condescension… for D5 to insult our intelligence thinking that all our brains are melted by shabu to insist that Mr. Nakabato’s childish contradictory grade 1 lies has any shred of convincing testimony.

  19. Mr. Tiglao, sana ikaw ang maging Press Secretary nang ating mahal na pangulo. Thank you, for your great analogy of this saga which captivated the nation and may be the whole world as such. Thank you again Sir

  20. I respect the woman who stand against all odd.
    I have trouble understanding the action of new comer Manny. Where are the defenders of Justice?

    • I am sorry, I cannot respect that senator of yours. She seems to have some psychological issues. She obviously did not follow your senate rules and produced a witness that keeps on contradicting himself. What kind of a joke is that ? Only a person with psychologically issues will keep on insisting they are right when it was so blatant that she did commit blunders, the least of what she is accused of.

    • You respect a lying , conniving person who used their position of power to shield Drug Lords and extract huge amounts of money from them ?? You should look at yourself in the mirror. !!!!

  21. The Public can give a pass to Secretary Andanar, I m glad that one of the yellow dog. a critical contributor of “Unang Hirit” show was wearing her orange dress instead of yellow when she last appeared on same morning show.
    The issue on the use of Nuclear Power Plant is rising again from the grave,,If I were Senator Pacman, he can call
    former Senator Rene Saquisag as a resource person with regard to the issue, even though the issue is not under his turf.

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