DU30 now stronger than Marcos

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

President Rodrigo Duterte is now the most powerful President in the nation’s history—more powerful than the late former President Ferdinand Marcos ever was at the height of Martial Law. This appears to be the confident view of many political observers and well-known CEOs. This is because where Marcos needed to declare Martial Law to impose authoritarian rule, DU30 has done so without declaring Martial Law. He has done and is doing anything and everything he wants to do simply by insisting that his motive is “pure,” and that the end justifies the means. And there’s been nothing and no one to stop him.

Where Marcos needed to abolish Congress to do away with venal and useless politicians, DU30 simply decided to make them part of his adopted PDP-Laban in order to railroad everything he wants to acquire a semblance of legality—from the restoration of the capital sentence for heinous crimes, to the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility from 15 years old to nine, to the revision of the present Constitution according to the wishes of the President. Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez gave a terrifying demonstration of this when he spoke before the Philippine Constitution Association at the Manila Golf Club on Tuesday evening.

Where Marcos needed a military tribunal to try Lim Seng, the Chinese illegal drugs manufacturer, for drug dealing, and to condemn him to death by musketry, DU30 only had to order the Philippine National Police to eliminate suspected drug pushers, (1,800 as of the latest count), and to jail 700,000 drug users, who have opted to surrender rather than get killed by the police or vigilantes. To sweeten the pot, he has offered a bounty of P2 million for every “drug lord” killed.

And where Marcos, who died 30 years ago, continues to be savaged by the so-called victims of Martial Law for acts committed by the State in self-defense, DU30 has refused to be intimidated by any threat of being held accountable for his current acts against drug suspects after he leaves the presidency. He nonchalantly tells those who denounce his methods that he “doesn’t give a damn,” he’s simply trying to solve a serious problem of his country.


Reactions to DU30

The UN special rapporteur on summary executions (Agnes Callamard) has spoken, saying “claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.”

So have the US State Department, the White House, and Amnesty International on human rights. So has Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on warrantless arrests and impunity. So have Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, former CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar V. Cruz, and Manila Cardinal-Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle on the moral law and the right to life.

So have 300 international nongovernmental organizations, which signed a letter denouncing DU30’s policies and demanding that international drug control agencies state unequivocally that such killings “do not constitute acceptable drug control measures.”

DU30 has remained unmoved.

The world media an irrelevancy

While he relishes the honor and homage paid to him by the public and the local media, he has refused to be swayed by the critical nudging by the international press. TIME magazine has spoken. The New York Times has spoken. The Washington Post has spoken. The Los Angeles Times has spoken. The Economist of London has spoken. The Guardian and The Daily Mail have spoken. Japan Times has spoken. The South China Morning Post has spoken. CNN and Bloomberg have spoken. BBC has spoken. Al Jazeera has spoken. Russia Today has spoken. And so have we.

We have not heard from Suddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt, Die Zeit or Spiegel in Germany. Or from Le Figaro, Le Monde or L’Humanite in Paris. Or from Corriere della Sera, La Republica or La Stampa in Italy. And we may not hear much from People’s Daily or the English-language China Daily in Beijing.

Or from Yomiuri Shimbun with a circulation of 9,240,00, Asahi with 7,210,000 and with 3,300,000 in Tokyo. But we cannot simply ignore the sober message of the largest and oldest English language paper in Japan (founded in 1897).

A sober editorial

In a recent editorial, Japan Times said, “The (Philippine) drug problem may well constitute a national crisis, but that cannot excuse the shredding of the rule of law and extrajudicial killings. Human rights extend to the guilty and the innocent alike.”

Quoting UN figures, the editorial said the Philippines had the highest metamphetamine use in East Asia in 2012, and according to the Philippine National Police chief, it has 3.7 million drug users. In 2013, the drug trade was worth $8.4 billion, and between 2010 and 2015, 623 government officials and employees were arrested on drug-related offenses; 6,000 anti-drug operations were conducted nationwide.

But it pointed out that Thailand under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra waged a similar war on drugs, in which 3,000 innocent victims were killed without making a dent in the trafficking or use of illegal drugs.

“Loss of innocent lives or the settling of scores under the guise of cleaning up the drug trade is one problem,” the editorial said. “Even more worrying over the long run is the erosion of the rule of law in a country with a long history of abuse of power. Filipinos have struggled to reclaim their democracy and it has been a long and frustrating process. Duterte is only the most recent in a long line of autocrats who have been irritated by the inefficiencies of a democratically elected government. Corruption has been and continues to be a real problem in the Philippines. But the solution to that problem is rigid and neutral application of the law —not its disregard.”

Meeting with Obama

DU30 tends to dismiss the world press as an inconvenience and irrelevancy. However, as president of a sovereign country with an active role in the world community, he has to deal with individuals, governments and institutions that cannot be indifferent or neutral to international public opinion. He would be meeting with some of them in Vientiane, Laos during the Asean summit conference next week, and hosting them or their successors at the Asean summit next year in Manila.

One of these will be US President Obama, who has expressed a keen desire to talk to him precisely about the things where he has, so far, dismissed as external “interference” the interest expressed by other governments and institutions. Obama will be leaving the White House by January 20 next year, but until then he carries a big stick.

This is one meeting the international media and the diplomatic community will be watching keenly.

Scary performance by Alvarez

I listened to Speaker Alvarez at the Philconsa monthly meeting on Monday evening, and came out of it feeling scared. In the one-minute invocation which I was asked to give, I offered a simple prayer: “As we prepare to address the many constitutional ills of our government, Lord, speak to us through our Speaker, and permit him not to stray so that we may not be left groping in the dark. In the dialogue that will follow, give us the courage to speak if the truth is with us, and give our honored Guest the curiosity to inquire if there are things You have revealed to the simple which You have hidden from the wise.”

In his speech, Alvarez did not refer to any infirmity of the present Constitution, which needs to be cured, other than the “highly centralized” unitary state that must now be replaced by a federal system, pursuant to the desire of the President. But in addition to changing the territorial structure from unitary to federal, Alvarez also spoke of changing the present bicameral Congress into a unicameral assembly or parliament under a system similar to the French. This means a thorough-going revision of the Constitution, not simply a matter of amending it. This is a task for the sovereign Filipino people, through their delegates in a constitutional convention, rather than for a rubber-stamp Congress.

Federalism, parliamentary shift, con-ass all due to DU30

But Alvarez said the President has decided that the proposed constitutional changes should come from the present Congress, convened as a constituent assembly (con-ass), in order to save on expenses, among other things. The President will also appoint a group of experts to draft the initial proposed changes, which, presumably upon his approval, will be submitted to the con-ass. The idea could not have frightened me if it had been presented as a proposal for mature deliberation and debate, but it was presented as something already carved in stone, because it’s what the President wanted.

This compelled me to ask the first question. I said that there’s no doubt we need to revisit the Constitution. It is technically flawed. However, in proposing any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution, we have to be guided strictly by what the same Constitution says on how, and by whom, amendments or revisions should be proposed. Under Article XVII, only the Congress sitting as a con-ass, and the Filipino people, through a constitutional convention or by direct initiative, may propose constitutional changes. There is no mention of any role for the President.

Rome has spoken…

And yet this point seemed completely lost on Alvarez. He made it unmistakably clear that the constitutional revisions that would be proposed, and the manner by which they would be proposed, were decreed by the President, like imperial edicts. What was scary was the cold finality with which he delivered his lines, like Augustine (in a nobler context) informing his flock that the Pope had ratified the condemnation of the Pelagian heresy, which denied the primitive state in Paradise and original sin, by the councils of Milevi and Carthage. Roma locuta; causa finitaest, said Augustine—Rome has spoken; the cause is finished.

Bar this Congress, let the people do their thing

Even without DU30’s overt intervention, the present Congress lacks the moral integrity and competence to propose anything on the people’s behalf. The present state of the Congress is surreal. The so-called House super-majority was cobbled after so many unprincipled opportunists migrated to DU30’s adopted party, which did not quite have five visible members before the election. Even the minority was formed with the tacit benediction of the majority. In the Senate, the only organic member of the PDP-Laban, Koko Pimentel, became the Senate president, while former Senate president Franklin Drilon, who should be leading the Senate minority in a morally sensitive environment, now manipulates Pimentel as Senate president pro-tempore.

The sovereign Filipino people cannot and must not allow this unprincipled and opportunistic Congress to propose a revision to the Constitution at the behest of a constitutionally excluded authority. DU30, being smarter than all his minions, should reject the devil’s temptation to get involved, as strongly as Christ rejected it at the desert, and let the people, who are ultimately wiser than their machine-elected “leaders,” do what the Constitution prescribes.

fstatad@gmail.com

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35 Comments

  1. David Michael Meyer on

    At least he is not plundering the people –and murdering innocents …;The act of comparing this president with Marcos –does not. to my mind –merit consideration …Marcos was Just getting as much as he could –and was not interested in actually making the country a better place to live for all …Rather just a better place for himself and his cronies ..He was setting a template for politicians to defraud,and PLUNDER ..He lied about his military service ,and made a mockery out of this office ..to even conceive of him as a hero; is mind staggering ..
    David M Meyer (PhD Psych}

  2. It would have been great if right after Pres Marcos watch, Digong assumed the presidency, for then there would have been continuity of sustaining the military modernization and infrastructure programs. That time was at the momentum and gained down hill when ineptness took over. Now that PDU30 is at the rein, things are being rushed up to the point uncertain the reaching up. Hay naku?

  3. Anyone with a machine gun in a sea of pitchforks, or worse, just bare hands would treat the gunwielder as the ultimate power. Filipinos, as others elsewhere tend to want a gunwielder as their leader but that at best is a dicey proposition because one never knows when he would become less a leader and more a subjugator. I feel very sad for the subjugated an the needlessly sacrificed.

  4. I felt sad that Philippine had not been able to have yet a good leader ever since it has been established. I could only look up some of those leaders, who led the country in the past with simple admiration but frustration on the bigger part. Just very recently, I could supposedly look up Nonoy in his move stop corruption through Mrs. Morales’ strength to persecute corrupt leaders in the government; however, I am frustrated of Noynoy indecisiveness to solve the complex situation, like that of what had happened to the 44 special force who were killed by MILF. I could supposedly look up President DU30 in his commitment to lead the country with courage to lead it with all honesty; however, I am frustrated when he deals with national and international related complex situation based on his perception and understanding. Could we not have a more democratic leaderships in the country where both laws are effective and human right and right to live are protected? I could supposedly look up Du30 in his direction to protect Filippinos’ interest first in the West Philippine Sea in dealing with China, but President DU30 seems to be a puppet of China. He said he is not a puppet of USA nor fan of USA, but he is a puppet of China. I really don’t know if he is a man of principle. He seems to be ready to sacrifice Philippines’ territory in exchange on railways projects that he has in his mind in Mindanao, a simplistic view and unpatriotic to sacrifice territory! Everything for Mr. President DU30 is made to many short-cutting, simplistic view and made out of his temper. For me, Mr. Tatad, Mr. president DU30 can never be the most powerful leader of the Philippines Islands, unless he begins to get out from his style of leadership that is made out of temper, personal perception and undemocratic.

  5. this is the reason why people dont want to re-elect you because you do not know how to govern…

  6. If Duterte is stronger than Marcos then he is weak| Marcos got kicked out of Office after 20 years of being PH President. With Duterte| he looks like that he’ ll expire in so many ways even before he get his 1st Year Speech at the Office :P

    In my book, Duterte never became a President| He should start to act like one :P

    • Being a President is not only killing the Drug Lords and their minions. He is the leader of the nation and our face in Global Theater. Act and work like one for people sake. Jesus Christ,Allah Akhbar, Namakskar!

  7. all of the above & below….read & listen-

    Simply, most Filipinos just losing patience and DU30 knows how to manipulate, lead, encourage, motivate etc. we pray that He will not be abusive, be egomaniac,) 92% dictator, arrogant (though already is) & self righteous_ & to add a P. God bless the PH

  8. DU30 is not stronger than Marcos, he is wiser than FM. You were a former Minister of Public Information and one of FM’s members for padlocking The Manila Times Publishing Company in September 1972. It’s very ironic that you chose to be a regular opinion writer in this historic newspaper.

  9. Where you, Mr. Kit Tatad, when shabu was rampant even in your birthplace in Gigmoto? Where were these foreign media you mentioned, mr kit Tatad, when generals and those high government officials from governors to mayors were protecting drug lords under an inefficient judicial system where judges and prosecutors were coddlers of criminals and drug lords? How will you address drugs and corruption in the country in that conditions within the purview of the Human rights groups, the church and your likes?

  10. i did not complete reading this for simple reason that those names and entities, both local and international, mentioned in here have done nothing to stop the problems digong is trying to fix right now. those big names and big words are nothing for ordinary folks whose only desire is to sleep soundly at night, feel safe at home and can walk the streets any time of the day without fear. ang tanong ay ganito, kailan pa naging solusyon ang malalaking pangalan nabanggit sa taas sa problema loob at labas ng pilipinas. kung meron man bakit walang tigil ang gulo sa bawat sulok ng mundo bago pa man lumabas ang pangalan duterte…the irony is that these big names never say anything about chinese triads, sinaloan and african drug cartels, etc, operating all over. ni walang nagkokondena sa kanila…if you have any other solutions to these problems tell us now and we will listen. if none shut up! yup! who gives a damn!! .

    • With that kind of dismissive attitude I doubt you’ll even listen to anyone. The big names are important be more than the details, they complete the picture. They’re part of the structure, you’ll inevitably have to influence them and think relative to them kahit Ang vision nyo at for the benefactors–the people. They have done smthng for sure mundane or not but that’s not the point actually. This post does not give a concrete solution but an insightful forewarning, it has due merits

  11. Daniel B. Laurente on

    Rest assured Senator Tatad that any form of amendments to the Philippines Constitution by Congress and other GROUP to assist and certainly will not be in favor of the PRESIDENT but what is certain is it is favorable to the citizens and the country. Just as what he intend for the end result of his WAR on DRUGS. a well FREE COUNTRY that everyone in the next generation will enjoy.

  12. If the world asks you to eat shit would you do that. Have common sense, President Duterte has a serious problem with his beloved country and is solving it and the world is crying about laws, where were they when so many are being killed by drugs? And the state is spending valuable resources on drug addicts? where are they? The world i happy that the Philippines is mired in so much turmoil and they are gleeful to see a country down on its knees. Hell has a place for them and Not the Philippines it will rise up to its glory under the guidance of President Duterte.

  13. Mr. Tatad must know by now that he ceased to be relevant after he defected from President Marcos long time ago, so much so that whatever he us saying about President Duterte is a non issue. Maybe he is only doing this to be notice again which I am sure people at large knows what he is all about. Just leave the President alone , let him do his job and deliver what he promise to the people.

  14. Si Tatad, palibhasa ang kinain n’ya ay galing sa dictadurang pamahalaan ni Marcos, kaya di mo maasahan na tatalikod yan sa mga Marcos hanggang sa huling sandali Tatadtarin man ang buto ata laman niya.

  15. Marcos killed POLITICAL ENEMIES and this killings were STATE SPONSORED. Under Pres. Duterte, those who are killed are DRUG ADDICTS/PUSHERS who died fighting with the police, Duterte’s order to kill them only when they fight back and that is self-defense. There are those killed but not by the police or maybe police scalawags involved in drugs. Foreign media are fed the wrong information just like Mr. Tatad myopic view of the situation.

  16. I will not categorize DU30 as the most powerful President? How do you define most powerful? I believe what make him an effective leaders because his style and advocacies resonates with majority of the Filipinos. The rich, traditional politicians and lately actors and actresses are no longer believe by most Filipinos. Filipinos wanted transparency, simple, honest and “walk the talk” amongst our leaders. That’s what defines DU30 from all the rest of the politicians in our country.

  17. vagoneto rieles on

    Perhaps, the author, with some like-minded and similarly qualified concerned citizens could quietly get together and draft an amendment to the 1987 constitution.
    This paper might flesh-out the much touted ‘federalism’ ensuring that it leans more towards favoring the people of each identified state, rather than the ‘uber-leader’ of the ‘federation’. This, then could be presented to the President; for him to endorse to Congress, for enactment.
    Early in the 13th century, the Archbishop of Canterbury drafted the Magna Carta to quell the feud between then King John I and the Barons over what was viewed as over-taxation by the Crown. This ‘Maga Carta’ is still in force to this day, serving as Great Britain’s constitution.

  18. vagoneto rieles on

    Perhaps, the author, with some like-minded and similarly qualified concerned citizens could quietly get together and draft an amendment to the 1987 constitution.
    This paper might flesh-out the much touted ‘federalism’ ensuring that it leans more towards favoring the people of each identified state, rather than the ‘uber-leader’ of the ‘federation’. This, then could be presented to the President; for him to endorse to Congress, for enactment.
    Early in the 13th century, the Archbishop of Canterbury drafted the Magna Carta to quell the feud between then King John I and the Barons over what was viewed as over-taxation by the Crown. This ‘Maga Carta’ is still in force to this day, serving as Great Britain’s constitution. (The Brits never had an American or Philippine style constitution).

  19. I only read part of this and I was disgusted. This writer is biased and needs to study more, as he can’t see through people and events. If he couldn’t see that we finally have a president, I hope many can, for the media, with the use of the internet and the airwaves, can sway those not so discerning and even poison their minds. Sayang ang talino at puso ng isang tao kung hindi siya nagiging wise, at sayang din ang buhay.
    But, obviously, the masses are wiser than him, as they see in D30 someone who cares enough to do something. And that something is a tall order in our country so steeped in drugs and corruption. Writer, please get off your cushy seat, go outside and smell reality. When a year from now the air “smells” brighter and safer, I can almost see you thanking the administration like some folks are doing now. Ted Failon lately has been one and I applaud him in “seeing” the truth.

  20. The Punisher is what you deserve to get after thirty years of fooling and manipulating the Filipino people post Marcos.

  21. yes to federalism and parliamentary system. Unitary is only for the crooks and dynasties. equals a banana republic. if we want to be modern then we should go for federalism. and more power to Duterte by all means and at all costs, the masses are behind you, no coup or impeachment will stop you even the CIA will be defeated.

  22. And where Marcos, who died 30 years ago, continues to be savaged by the so-called victims of Martial Law for acts committed by the State in self-defense, DU30 has refused to be intimidated by any threat of being held accountable for his current acts against drug suspects after he leaves the presidency.

    “So called victims” Mr. Tatad, shame on you.

  23. Only one thing for your microscope, Sir Kit.
    The almost 700,000 drug surrenderees plus about 12,000 under arrest ….. what’s 2000 killed?
    Those killed have had raped, robbed, killed how many in the past?
    Is killing wrongdoers more ALARMING than raping-robbing-killing innocent citizens?
    And …. you don’t compare apples from oranges …..

  24. Tatad, you are the one among the few left being the defender and bulwark of the Constitution.Mabuhay….

  25. Human rights must apply to all criminals and citizens alike. The way things are happening, the criminals are protected by human rights and the victims are not. Why, because they were murdered by this criminals. These bad guys will then put a bail and next day , they are out of prison. That is why Duterte knows these justice system. The system does not work in our country.

  26. What? Duterte is worse than Marcos you say? Another of your ploy to demonize Duterte? Your paper could be shut down right now – and you, hauled to prison for saying that during your time and Marcos’ – and you know that. Your theory is full of holes. And here you cite the West and their allies who have everything to lose (and nothing to gain) with Duterte’s moves to befriend China! This looks like a concerted effort by the west and their oligarch cronies in the Philippines including many in the media – to keep the “docile” Philippines “in the fold” and not to stray too much to China’s side. And to think that an old, aging Duterte is just doing what should be done by all leaders before such as you: and that is to protect and forward our own national interests.

  27. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    01 September 2016

    I am sorry to say that former Senator Francisco Tatad’s suggestions or exhortations here would very likely come to naught.

    The fact is that Der Fuhrer Rodrigo Duterte is not increasingly building a reputation for honoring, obeying and adhering to and defending the Constitution with its Bill of Rights, to the Rule of Law, to the Rules of Court, and even to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

    He and his “berdugo” [executioner} Police Chief Roland de la Rosa may already have extra-judicially dispatched to either heaven or hell an estimated 2,000 Filipinos who were SUSPECTED of being engaged in the Narco trade, whether as drug lords, drug pushers, drug addicts,or as their supporters.

    For these two megalomanics, these well-established SAFEGUARDS against abuse by Government are there simply to be violated at will.

    My sense is that Der Fuhrer Duterte will have his way as far as changing the character of the Government in a fundamental way, which will be his way, given a rubber-stamp Congress.

    If the Marcos dictatorship was hard to bear, a Duterte tyranny will surely prove to be even worse!

    Here is a classic case of Lord Acton’s warning turning into reality; he postulated long ago that “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • The Great Defiant on

      you are talking at the height of mount Olympus…
      come home and roam the streets of manila at 8 pm before DU30v became present and you will know what you are talking about.

    • Out of touch. Come down here and walk the streets of metro manila in the night. Maybe you will see the light. Puro kayo human rights. Basin human rights ng mga law abiding citizens ang inuuna ni digong, di yong human rights ng mga criminals.