Change is not coming

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Tita C. Valderama

Tita C. Valderama

CHANGE is not coming because it has always been there.

That was Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales speaking at a public forum marking the International Anti-Corruption Day a week ago.

As it has been said, change is the only thing that is constant, she pointed out.

President Rodrigo Duterte came to power because of his promise of change. In his first five and a half months in office, we have seen changes in policies, new faces, and a drastic change in the style of governing.


The Philippines has figured in international news more frequently now than under the last few administrations because of our President who curses and curses a lot, because of the killings of suspected drug users and peddlers, because of his unconventional leadership style.

Six months may be too short to measure the current administration’s capability and capacity to bring about change, but then it was Duterte himself who, during the campaign, set the six-month period to accomplish his target of stopping the illegal drugs trade, corruption in the bureaucracy, and criminality.

Barely two months after he assumed office, he said he had realized that the problem of illegal drugs was overwhelming with too many people in authority who are involved as protector, financier and supplier.

The other day he said the drug problem has become so virulent because administrations before him did nothing to curb it. But with more than 6,000 people reported killed as of the first week of December, law enforcement authorities have yet to come out with data showing that the killings have helped solve the drug problem.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has reported hundreds of thousands of drug addicts and peddlers who have surrendered, but the President’s aggregate figure of drug users has increased from three million in the first few months to four million now.

The drug problem became as big as it is now because of corruption. Drug traders corrupt police officers and local government executives for protection. So the President should be more passionate in going after the corrupt officials and those on top of the structure of drug trading, rather than—as he has been doing–against the poor who were forced into drugs because of poverty.

In the administration’s fight against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality, the shoot-to-kill policy is obviously not enough to scare the so-called big fish principally because of the selective application of laws in favor of those who have money and influence.

How many of the 6,095 people killed in Duterte’s war on drugs were drug lords or protectors from the police and military? So far, the most prominent person we know is Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera town in Leyte who was killed inside a jail cell by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who were serving a search warrant at 4 a.m. on a Saturday (November 5, 2016).

Of the 6,095 persons killed as of December 14, only 2,102 were suspected drug personalities killed in legitimate police operations, while almost double the number at 3,993 were victims of extra-judicial or vigilante-style killings.

Don’t you think that corruption is behind those EJKs?

Illegal drugs, organized crime, and corruption are intertwined problems that erode the rule of law and threaten democracy.

The administration’s war on drugs has been alienating people who believe in democracy and the rule of law. Well, except those who believe in Duterte regardless of his inconsistencies, tactlessness and abrasiveness.

Much is lacking in the war on drugs in the areas of leadership and proper application of rules to exact accountability and transparency.

As the Ombudsman said at the anti-corruption forum organized by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on December 9, accountability and transparency are key elements in the effort to prevent corruption and promote high standards of ethics and efficiency in the government.

Another key element is the rule of law.

“The Philippines may no longer be a young democracy. The justice system is not perfect and it might never reach perfection. But the rule of law will always be the bedrock of civilized society,” Morales said.

“The moment we disregard it is the moment we disregard human spirit and dignity. Consequently, anarchy and tyranny follows,” she stressed.

Most, if not all, of the country’s past presidents may not be as disturbing as the current one, and that is perhaps the reason for the apparent indifference among many Filipinos to engage in government.

The country is wanting in good leaders who can make a real difference in our daily lives. Again, I quote the Ombudsman on the kind of leaders we need in this challenging time:

“We need leaders who put a premium on the rule of law more than anything else. We need leaders who uphold the rule of law regardless of the times. We need leaders who strengthen public institutions. We need leaders who serve as a moral compass and a beacon of righteous public service. We need leaders who provide a sanctum of inspiration and a motivation to decide and do what is right even when nobody is watching. We need leaders who are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice to preserve human dignity and basic rights.”

But we also have to do our part in the equation. As the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Let us start changing our ways. Let change begin from us, from the simple ways of following traffic rules to how we transact with government offices.

We should not expect change if we are not willing to change the bad things we got used to doing.

Let us be the change we want to be for the good of our nation. Let rule of law and participatory governance be the cornerstone of Philippine democracy. This is the challenge to all Filipinos.

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20 Comments

  1. Both Christ and Duterte twist , distort and corrupt reality when dealing with sinners and criminals , respectively—in order to be more effective in bringing up change.
    Both employ “unrealistic approach” in dealing with sinners and criminals.

    However , sinners and criminals are two different subjects. Sinners were pardoned by Christ during his first visit into the world , whereas criminals particularly the heinous breed are punished and destroyed—the essence of Christ second coming.

    Study very carefully how Christ did go about in effecting change in the gospels. Study some of the typical examples of those unrealistic foray of Christ into the hearts and minds of sinners.

    Bear in mind that Christ came for the sake of sinners not for the righteous. He made them so especial that sinners felt appeased and propitiated.
    By saying the words : I came not for the righteous but for the sinners , he somewhat twisted wisdom to bring forth positive results. This is one facet of change.

    Thereby he brought joy not only for the sinners but above all , he made very comfortable the god of sinners who is satan. Remember satan is the nemesis of Christ. Why the change of heart in dealing with the arch-enemy ?
    It is more realistic to hate your enemy that is why it is given: love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But christ went for the unreal when he said , love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. In so doing he distorted and corrupted reality. What is evil with that?

    And what is evil with Duterte’s doing the same thing as Christ in coping with criminals? Notice how Duterte distort reality when speaking , and addressing criminals and corrupt government officials. Look at his very unrealistic approach : he intimidates and wreak havoc into their hearts and minds. Again , what is evil with that?
    Those among you who professed to be christians or so-called followers of christ—don’t you know that Christ also throw invective and he curses when angry?

    Matthew 12:34 (ESV)
    34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

    Christ has thrown his usual curse and invective toward the sinners—You brood of vipers! The curse that he uttered is actually the very sin being committed by those whom he had cursed. They are evil but they professed to be good. Are they not vipers or traitors?
    You proclaimed to be christians and yet you hate those who pronounce curses , when in reality , your lord is doing just that. Did Christ outlaw pronouncing a curse when one is utterly angry? If uttering a curse when angry is wrong , then why do Christ exemplify?
    Are you not vipers or traitors against the truth , all of you who call yourselves christians?

    Whenever Duterte pronounces his usual curse , he does it because he is angry with people’s duplicity , just like Christ who also hates duplicity—what’s the big deal with that?

    You see , change is not always coming as a beautiful woman to delight the whole world. Sometimes true change is coming not as beautiful as we envision it to be. Look at how unacceptable the second coming of Christ is to the eyes of the world.
    Matthew 10:34-36 (ESV)
    Not Peace, but a Sword
    34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
    36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
    This is the kind of change that is coming now in our midst. And that change is not going to be acceptable for the whole world—an ugly change to those who are accustomed to beauty.

  2. Rule of law or rule of the yellows? Come on OMB avoid mentioning that phrase. Your “rule” gave birth to over a million citizens “hell” because of drugs with Delima as Mother of all Druglords! Your idol Pinoy destroyed nearly all institutions including yours because of Luisita, mamasapano, DAP, 2000-container van disappearance, and many more!

  3. No other than PDEA has identified that China is the major source of shabu in this country and also being used as transhipment point. Until now we havent heard of any high level coopertion between these countries if this president is serious as he says he is in the fight against drugs. Somedbody please tell me…………..

  4. Change is never coming simply because the Ombudsman is the prime example of the disregard for the rule of law by disregarding the ruling of the Supreme Court on the DAP and the PDAF. Change could be coming for the previous DOJ who also disregarded the Supreme Court on GMA’s travel abroad.

  5. Ano ka ngayon, libre na next year ang matrikula sa mga state universities and colleges; may universal healthcare through Philhealth, libreng water irrigation, Kusina ni Digong, andami naman niyang nagawa. Hiyang-hiya naman ako sa writer na ito. Walang makita kundi negative lang. Pag si Mar siguro nanalo all praises ka ano? Heaven ang dating maski hell na ang bumagsak sa kalupaan ng Pinas.

  6. I agree that the rule of law is the key element but not necessarily the bedrock of civilized society..what do we mean rule of law? if our justice system is so blind with the injustices happening. They just look away from the moral aspect of every case they handle, ignore oftentimes the substantive aspect and concentrate on the formative aspect of every dispute. How long does it takes to resolve a simple bailable case? 7 yrs or more? How can we bear to live in a society with a system of injustice under the guise of rule of law?

  7. Why didn’t you guys give this advice to the yellow regimes that preceded Duterte? If you did there wouldn’t be this drug menace or even Duterte in Malacanang, right? If you ask me, I think that more than the drug dealers, its the yellows who must all be exterminated.

  8. Stop these lip services. These don’t help the country in anyway. Act on the cases filed against corrupt politicians and other government employees. They have fattened their pockets for a long time now. Act on the cases filed against politicians who neglected to stop or at the very least attend to the proliferation of drug in the country, people who purportedly protected this criminal act. No amount of speeches can help stop these criminals from manufacturing, selling, SHABU, encouraging or luring the young and innocent into drug addiction resulting in rapes, stealing, even killing innocent people.

  9. “We need leaders who serve as a moral compass …”

    Very true. Because currently, the Philippine nation has lost its moral compass. Such widespread support, even from religious believers, for a president who confesses to murder and who encourages police and other citizens to kill with impunity, shows that a majority of Filipinos no longer know right from wrong. As terrible as the societal problem of drug addiction is, killing drug addicts is not the way to solve it. Thou shalt not kill, and two wrongs don’t make a right. For a good example of where the Philippines is headed just look at Mexico, because there are many parallels between the two nations. After a decade of its ruthless and lawless drug war, the problems there are much worse than 10 years ago, and it is tearing Mexican society apart. The same fate awaits the Philippines if the people do not stop this immoral madness.

    • do you know the story of his speech in admitting the killing? it was a rescue mission. now the woman he save from the captives is now a doctor.

    • You people said Cory was a leader with a moral compass. It didn’t happen (She might have been morally upright by herself, but the fact that she failed to bring this “morality” to her administration is what failed her). You said Ramos was also a leader with a moral compass. As your favorite Obama always say “really….come on man…”. Then you guys felt Gloria was it. Damn, when your Noynoy came, the first thing he did was to try and have Gloria placed on jail (as if hello Garci wasn’t enough). As for your Noynoy, his moral compass is more like a clock than a compass. You people have tried over and over again to force on the rest of us you “choice” of a leader with your definition of “moral compass”, and look where it got us. And now you say Carpio Morales is also this person with a “moral compass”? Her moral compass points to where LP tells her to point. So NO. NO. NO.

  10. Yeah sure, change has always been here. Know anyone into drugs? Dont be coy, because even if you dont think you do, change is definitely coming for them. Its about time it did, and we’ll all be better off without them.

    • What about you, do you have a preferred drug? Don’t be coy. Perhaps it is legal pain killers, or alcohol or tobacco, all of which are deadly. Alcohol, in particular, causes immense harm to individuals, their families and society. Prohibition doesn’t work. The only countries where alcohol prohibition and drug wars are successful are where there are totalitarian regimes that totally control the lives of all citizens, not just drug users. The Philippine drug war can only “succeed” if Duterte becomes a totalitarian dictator who terrorizes and violates the rights of all citizens. Beware of the unintended consequences of good intentions. As Saint Bernard of Clairvaux said: “L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs” (hell is full of good wishes or desires) Or as the modern proverb goes: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

    • BTW, drugs, pain killers and liquor can and does get legalized, and there’s no problem with that. But when people demonize the authorities to advocate these things they themselves conspire to hold society hostage by its wants and needs. How would you like it if you had to smuggle liquor again or your legal drugstore offered you legal pain killers for 100x times the price? This society, this particular country has been plundered over and over in the name of good intentions. This society, believe it or not, is now under DU30s protection and its about time somebody cleared all those good intentions and did the protecting.

  11. “And men of leisure are never deficient in the ingenuity needed to enable them to outwit laws framed to regulate things which cannot be entirely forbidden… He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it.”
    ― Baruch Spinoza 1632 – 1677

    Laws do not persuade just because they threaten.
    — Seneca 4 BC – AD 65

    Illegal Drug Cartels cannot operate without the support of politicians, bureaucrats, and police officers. And nobody can be expected to obey bad laws that infringe on logic as well as the fundamental right to decide on what medicine or poison an individual adult may ingest. The violence and the deaths ultimately arising from such bad public policy should always rest squarely on the shoulders of those who are responsible for implementing or supporting such foolishness.

    Duterte will soon suspend the writ of habeas corpus, dissolve the Congress and declare Martial Law. He will then be free to assume both legislative and executive powers, enabling him to arrest all his political opponents and close down all media outlets.

    Nowhere on this planet has any nation ever had success with the policy of drug prohibition. Many villages, towns and cities in the Philippines are being turned into killing fields. Hundreds of thousands may eventually die. Regardless of how much deadly violence is used, the drugs and the corruption will remain. Only sensible regulations that legalize the use, manufacture and sale of all intoxicants will bring peace and prosperity to this troubled nation. The War on Drugs was lost before it ever began.

    Duterte will eventually be removed by the exact same people who were once his very loyal supporters. Gaddafi was stabbed up the backside while being dragged through the same streets he used to rule over with an iron fist. Likewise, Duterte will be very lucky if he gets to the International Criminal Court before something similar happens. Thousands of people have seen their family members and friends murdered by Duterte; they may not treat him very kindly when his time comes.

    • ““It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – SENECA

    • Duterte said once in one of his speeches that as criminal lawyer—they plant evidence to determine the behavior of criminals. And with so much success. It is no different now that he is the President of the Republic.

      He is playing mind games with those cold-blooded criminals by pretending as a murderer , offering himself as a planted evidence.
      Yes , he is just playing his script sort of a booby mouse trap to observe how those lawless rats behave.
      And he is very effective in doing his thing. Have you forgotten what he had done a few months back , when he publicly announced that God conversed with him?
      Nobody knew then that He had just test the waters.

      A month later , he admitted that he was just kidding. How many thousands he had deceived into believing his “planting of evidence”—the wise who reacted to that supposed divine revelation turned themselves into fools.
      And these are the very same fools that believe now that he is a “mass murderer” because HE SAID SO.
      He brings out the criminal mind in everyone through immaculate deception.

      Are you so inept to observe that he is just playing ‘hide and seek’ with the rotten minds of our society—in so doing , the criminals being deceived by his wily pronouncement , laid bare their criminal instincts. They are “quick to shed blood” as The Lord described those blood-thirsty men in the bible , which otherwise mean , they readily jump into conclusion without full discernment.

      Take note of de Lima and Trillanes , they hastily jumped into the pool as fast as they heard him made the pronouncement regarding his taking side with the CIDG men , without sensing the trap laid for them by Duterte.
      Criminals behave like that! They are blood-thirsty that is why they were quick to react at the very first insinuation.
      Criminal minds abound in our so-called , ” I am holier than thou” society. They judge by the mere appearance of things—they do not make righteous judgement by looking deep inside.

      Duterte said that it is lonely at the top—he is really alone at the top because no one come close to comprehending his unconventional wisdom.
      The people of this world through conventional thinking cannot get even a whimper of the UNCONVENTIONAL. It is on this realm of the unconventional that Christ dwells.