DU30 and Robredo should now consider a snap election

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

The national situation is becoming increasingly and gravely unreal. We have a drug war gone wrong, an apparently unwell President who thinks his running for the office was a mistake, and an ambitious but thoroughly unprepared potential successor.

After bragging casually about how he had ordered criminals killed when he was still city mayor, and drug suspects wasted in his current war on drugs, President Rodrigo Duterte now wants us to know he is no killer. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has opined that if DU30 had killed anyone at all, it was probably because he had been forced to kill, and therefore he did not commit any crime at all. But not only drug suspects are threatened with execution, even human rights workers, including lawyers, are.

The President is immune from suit while in office, and the prospect of impeaching him for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust has been rendered non-existent after the House of Representatives, which exclusively initiates all cases of impeachment, and the Senate, which has the sole power to try and decide all such cases, have both become organic appendages and rubber stamps of Malacañang.

This is the first contradiction.


Too many ailments
DU30 suffers from endless migraine, Barrett’s esophagus, and Buerger’s disease, among others; he admitted having these ailments at the Wallace Business Forum in Malacañang on Monday evening. He also confessed to his habitual use of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, which is said to be some 50 times stronger than heroin, and used by cancer patients to treat pain. He was reported to have passed out in Peru during the APEC summit, forcing him to skip the final official dinner and the commemorative picture-taking of all the participants. Back in Malacañang, he was reported to have had a spell of dizziness a few days after he came back from Peru.

These make him a sick rather than healthy man, but he says he is all right because he has no cancer. This is the second contradiction.

A reader reacting to this admission, which I had written about weeks before the Wallace Business Forum, has suggested that DU30 should have been asked about his mental and psychological health, which was raised before the Regional Trial Court in Pasig during the annulment of his marriage to Elizabeth Zimmerman Duterte in 1998. In granting Zimmerman’s petition on Jan. 4, 2000, Judge Pablito M. Rojas gave due credence to the finding of Natividad A. Dayan, Ph. D., clinical psychologist at Dayan’s Psychological Clinic, who assessed DU30 in October 1998 to be “suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder with aggressive features with his gross indifference, insensitivity, and self-centeredness, his grandiose sense of self and entitlement, his manipulative behaviors, his lies and his deceits, as well as his pervasive tendency to demean, humiliate others and violate their rights and feelings. From all indications, Rodrigo’s personality disturbance, which constitutes his psychological incapacity, is deemed serious incurable and with antecedents.”

Does this explain the President’s apparent addiction to “killing,” his volcanic outbursts, and the use of foul and offensive language, which more and more people find less entertaining? The physical and mental health of presidential candidates was not considered at all in the last elections. But the Constitution provides a remedy if and when the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office for health or any other reason.

Constitutional remedy
Whenever such a situation arises, the President himself or a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet could transmit to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written notice of his incapacity, and the Vice President shall automatically assume his powers and duties as Acting President. “In case of serious illness of the President, the public shall be informed of the state of his health. The members of the Cabinet in charge of national security and foreign relations and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shall not be denied access to the President during such illness” (Article VII, Sec. 12).

This assumes that the President shall have been incapacitated, which is not DU30’s case. He remains fully mobile, and in fact continues to travel abroad. He is now on his latest jaunt to Cambodia and Singapore, his 10th and 11th foreign destination since he became President. In less than six months in office, he has become the most traveled of all Filipino presidents. To think that Mao Zedong never left China during all his years in power.

Despite all these trips, to which DU30 intends to add Russia as his next destination, as soon as the weather becomes more agreeable next year, DU30 says he does not like foreign trips. Just imagine what he would be doing, and how much money the taxpayers would be spending on him if he happened to love foreign trips. This is the third contradiction.

The presidency, a mistake
DU30 apparently looks at the presidency as no different than the mayorship of Davao. Complete control. No opposition or dissent from anybody. Whatever he says goes. People do not mind staying up nights to listen to the non-stop storytelling of their mayor/president and sleeping at daytime, if they can. He’s having a grand ball, but he says he doesn’t like it, and that it was a mistake for him to have run and pull out all the stops to become president. This is the fourth contradiction.

As I asked in my last column, what do we do now, and where do we go from here?

Vice President Leni Robredo, prompted by her Liberal Party colleagues and some elements on the Left, is eager to take over, despite the fact that— or precisely because—-she could lose her position should the Supreme Court en banc, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, rule in favor of the electoral protest of former Sen. Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr., who insists he’s the real winner of the vice presidential contest.

She does not have the experience, the gravitas or the worldview needed for the presidency. But the name of the game is power, naked power, and the only thing that matters is to capture it, even though one may not have a clear idea of how to use it for the common good. A local wit likens the situation to a neighborhood pet that barks and runs after every passing car on the street: what will it do if it “catches” by the tail any one of those?

Killing and its effects
We have not had a situation where after only six months into a new administration, the people had begun to fret over their fate should the administration continue in office. This is solely DU30’s undoing. He’s made “kill” the first and most frequently used word in his official vocabulary, and the country the new drug “killing capital” of the world. Public acceptance of it has reached saturation point.

First, the war on drugs targeted the pushers, and the users, but after 800,000 alleged users have surrendered, and close to 6,000 drug suspects have been killed, the war has not arrested or killed a single large producer, manufacturer, financier or distributor of illegal drugs. The three alien syndicates, identified in police records as the Chinese, the African and the Mexican syndicates, have remained completely untouched. Meanwhile, DU30 has ordered the targeting of human rights workers and lawyers raising questions about the killings.

DU30’s people’s headline-hunting has referred to an alleged plot to oust the President by extra-constitutional means, citing the international currency speculator and color revolutionist George Soros and a rich Filipino widow in New York as possible funders of the effort. This seems more sensational than real—-I know the widow referred to in Palace statements; she is not as rich as they make her out to be, and even if she had all the money in the world I don’t believe she is the type who could be persuaded to spend a cent on a project like this.

A Marcos-like scenario
But there is real anxiety about DU30 and Robredo continuing in office for the next six years under the terms and conditions they have sought to define the position of government. It is an urgent and compelling issue which the nation must address. The situation is not unlike the last year of Marcos, when it became very clear that the President had become sick and the danger was real that the government could fall under the control of someone else other than the President. The Americans decided to intervene, and succeeded in nudging Marcos to hold a snap presidential election. So on Nov. 3,1985, on ABC’s “This Week with David Brinkley,” Marcos announced that to decide once and for all whether he still enjoyed the nation’s support he would advance the 1987 elections by one year. He said the elections would be held on Jan. 17, 1986, but this was eventually moved to Feb. 7, 1986.

A snap election would need DU30’s and Robredo’s joint consent. They should be willing to vacate their respective posts to provide the constitutional basis for the process. If DU30 sincerely believes his running for president was a mistake, and Robredo is genuinely interested in becoming president, a snap election should provide the opportunity that each of them desires. Some highly qualified statesmen who should have run but did not in the last election could participate, and some who ran unsuccessfully could still make another try. The Filipino voters would have the opportunity to go through the process with perhaps greater sanity and wisdom.

fstatad@gmail.com

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40 Comments

  1. Mr Tatad supported a sick Marcos accused of plunder and masterminding the death of Ninoy and now he’s calling for Duterte to give up? SNAP out of it!

  2. A snap election is not possible under the constitution. Gusto mo shortcut to get Bongbong a shot at the presidency, because as it is his chance of retaking Malacanang for his family is farfetched.

  3. In so many years that I’ve been reading Manila Times, this is the first time Mr. Tatad has written an impartial article.
    Interesting article to read.

    Robredo’s being outspoken though does NOT necessarily imply her “ambition” to take the Presidency away from Duterte. If she speaks up, that is because she is aggravated by Duterte’s lack of respect for women and for her.

  4. What you said about Duterte are all correct Mr. Tatad but your comments about Robredo seem to be facts free!

    I could not blame you though, you were a Marcos Boy!

  5. The President is immune from suit while in office, and the prospect of impeaching him for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust has been rendered non-existent after the House of Representatives by Sec. Kit Tatad

    Immigrant filipino from another country may not be physical be in the Philippines, majority of us are still very interested in the progress implemented by PDU30″s policy. If the opinion writer still not aware that the PEOTUS agree with PDU30 policy against illegal drug. PEOTUS believe on the fight against drug especially Heroin entering the US thus BUILD THE WALL. PDU30 has commanded the military and the PNP to put to death anyone who will destroy the many generations of filipino explaining it further to kill them if your life is in jeopardy. PDU30 also was never aloted the the budget the help rehabilitate drug abusers Thanks to generous other country for funding a rehab center in Nueva Ecija. PDU30 is the only filipino president to courageously name big time Narco politicians publicly even threatening them get out of the Philippines or he will kill them. As he stated “Where is the crime in threatening a criminal? I would say PDU30 has done a lot to stamp out illegal drugs and listening to media big time drug manufacturer are leaving my Philippines.

    DU30 and Robredo should now consider a snap election. by Sec Kit Tatad

    The opinion writer is now concern on the health PDU30. He is also insinuate PDU30 is also”mental” just like the progressives claim that the PEOTUS is “mental”. As noted from my reply on your previous article, this is a well coordinated plan by Marcos loyalist (KBL) to create confusion and implement the Marcos ploy of “divide and conquer” and return of Marcos political brand thru hi son Bong Bong Marcos. First bury the tyrant secretly, second obtain VP position by contesting VP election in SC and thereby creating conflict between Marcos loyalist and People Power movement. And finally, await the demise of PDU30 completing the return of Marcos.The return of Marcos brand has alway been the plan since the tyrant body was return to the Philippines This his wish as written in his secret diary

    I am president. I am the most powerful man in the Philippines. All that I have dreamt of I have. More accurately, I have all the material things I want of life — a wife who is loving and is a partner in the things I do, bright children who will carry my name, a life well lived — all. But I feel a discontent.

    — Ferdinand Marcos

    Winning the VP position in the SC would be the biggest political victory for the family since the return from exile in 1991 and will be the springboard to the presidency. VP position is elected by the the people of the Philippines not by SC. As noted by Eduardo Araral, vice-dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

    “The funny thing about Marcos is he accepted Duterte’s win and now he raises questions about his votes. You can conclude that he’s just a sour loser.” (PDU30 run against M. Defensor Santiago as president, running mate of BBM. She lost big time.)

    The Opinion writer noted there is anxiety brewing because of the impending demise of PDU30 and would replace by the incumbent VP who in his word of sort is incompetent. He wants a snap election just like during the tyrant Marcos time which he states because of illness and the danger was real that the government could fall under the control of someone else and the US wanted it . Yes, I repeat the opinion writer noted “the US wants it”. The real reason of why the need for a snap election was mainly coming from the U.S. and from a host of cause-oriented groups, the demand for reforms in the Marcos administration were the most prominent developments in 1985. Pressures for government rectification fell into these three areas:[4]

    Revitalization of democratic processes together with the development of an electoral code to ensure free and honest elections;
    Restoration of a free market economy; and
    Military re-invigoration of [military] professionalism and discipline so as to effectively combat the growing insurgency problem.

    A recall for reform per US Committee on Foreign Relation (1985)

    The communist insurgency in the Philippines has become a major challenge to the Philippine government. It has grown in recent years against the background of a serious decline in popular confidence in the leadership of the authoritarian administration of President Ferdinand Marcos— a trend worsened by developments following the assassination of political opposition leader Benigno Aquino in August 1983 —and the substantial real drop in popular living standards due to deteriorating Philippine economic conditions. The communists are now able to field increasing numbers of political operatives and armed insurgents in all parts of the country, while the Philippine government has been unable to implement a sufficiently effective counterinsurgency program.

    Fabrication or spin if not question will cause confusion if not cleared. This happen even in the US where the main media are guilty of but America is awake and would not stand for it. Awake up my Philippines. Never allow the Marcoses put their filthy hands on my Philippines. Thank You

  6. For my part, I may agree with the proposal of Senator Tatad. It is highly recommendable and constitutional. No doubt. For stability of the country. I may go for it.

  7. ARE YOU SICK, MR. TADTAD? Your brain brought this writing reflects that of a sick mind. You want attention or you are losing your marbles? Sane mind won’t write or say this.

  8. A complete revolution is the only solution to the problem of this nation. A complete change of government from top to bottom. A military junta probably will be good to get rid of all our incompetent politician. Only then we can learn how to survived a complete change. Vietnam is a very good example they rise from the ashes of war and learn a lesson now they are better than us. Cambodia is another example. maybe we need to see blood then all of us will learn from it.

  9. Erap tried that 15 years ago. But he left a day after announcing it on TV.. Is it time for the Philippines to consider implementing recall elections on a national level?

  10. That’s the problem in PHL politics, why can’t be a President and VP be elected as one–meaning if a President won, automatically the VP tandem also won, like what mostly Filipinos emulate and some case loved, America. Take it easy now Mr. Tatad, is it your pen rather than your mind is talking? No matter what happen, follow the law; if it doesn’t suit you, well whose to blame–us Filipinos.

  11. why a mistake? because nobody cares about the changes he had made in the country: one stop shop for the OFW, bicol internatioal airport, the infrasctructures ongoing in basilan, sulu and tawitawi, the changes in the NAIA, corruption in the govt etc. ALL BAD CRITICIMS

  12. “DU30 should have been asked about his mental and psychological health, which was raised before the Regional Trial Court in Pasig during the annulment of his marriage to Elizabeth Zimmerman Duterte in 1998..

    … the same Elizabeth Zimmerman who campaign for him during the last presidential election?

    That’s your contradiction, right there.

    Filing for annulment requires even the most outrageous of “psychological incapacity” just because both parties don’t want to live on the same house anymore. Merely, a means to an end.

    It’s not for you and your ilk to call for a snap election. Let the people clamor for it.

  13. If only she’s still alive and in good health… I want Miriam Defensor Santiago and Bongbong Marcos Jr. as leaders of the Phils.
    More descent, more wise, world known.

  14. A SUPER-BRILLIANT SOLUTION TO ADDRESS A COLOSSAL IMPASSE brought about by 16 million voters that did not bother to think twice before they fancied themselves of a leader who cannot perform the complex task of setting things in order in accordance with established norms and and existing laws, with paramount respect to human life and the rights of every person as enshrined in the Constitution.

  15. President Duterte is the duly elected president and he will stay on until the end of his term. Dream on Mr. Tadtad.

  16. Who are the qualified statesmen you are referring to? In the first place just allow Robredo to assume the presidency as this specifically is the role of the vice president. She assumes the office of the president once the sitting president becomes incapable to perform his duties. The only real qualification needed to be president is the willingness to serve the country and the people. Many presidents learned to lead properly while in office. Elections are just a waste of time and money.

    • waste of money..snap election today..oh my gosh…your dreaming if you can beat du30 whoever run against him…btw, your free to dream anyway so just keep on dreaming. that is only what idiots like you and tatad can do for now.

  17. Wait a Minute, this just don’t make sense. Let the Presidential Electoral Tribunal find out first if the there was massive cheating in the Vice Presidential election, or no such thing happened.

    What is holding up the PET to start and expedite the counting the votes?

    Having a snap election between Duterte and Robredo is sheer stupidity.

    • wahahahahaa!!! a dreamer, wahahahaha!!! tigilan mo nayan katarantaduhan mo. Ang haba haba pa naman ng sinulat mo, sa basurahan lang pupunta, but ilike the part where he assumes full and total power and declare ML, and dissolves all branches of gov’t. I liked that part. I hope it happens and you’ll be the first one executed. hahahaha!!

  18. The fault of the behavior of President Duterte lays with the 3 Aquinos and the cowardice of our politicians. Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. threw the grenade at the rally of the Liberal Party in Plaza Miranda for the expressed purpose of intimidating our politicians. The gambit proved successful as Liberal Party senators refused to find out who attempted to murder them for fear of their lives. While President Duterte never threw a grenade at any rally of any politician in our country, he tried to produce the same effect in his war on drugs to intimidate Congress. He killed scalawags who deserved to be killed really but not our respectable Senators as Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. attempted to do in the Plaza Miranda bombing. How could a snap election remove the cowardice of our politicians? Mr. Tatad, you are a brilliant public servant and an indefatigable writer. But sometimes, our minds play tricks on us. Do you think that only Aquino can throw a grenade at the rally of politicians? Any anybody paranoid can do that! Because of the cowardice of our politicians, we will see more Dutertes becoming our President and more Plaza Miranda bombing. The Aquinos do not have a monopoly on intimidating our politicians and are not the only ones who can throw grenades at the rally of our politicians!

  19. “All laws which can be violated without doing any one any injury are laughed at. Nay, so far are they from doing anything to control the desires and passions of men that, on the contrary, they direct and incite men’s thoughts the more toward those very objects, for we always strive toward what is forbidden and desire the things we are not allowed to have. 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

    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 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.

    • No, Gaddafi was shot while hiding inside a culvert like a rat by his pursuers while pleading for his sordid life. Pls check your facts first so that readers will begin to listen to you. Plus can you read Duterte’s mind ?

    • wahahahahaa!!! a dreamer, wahahahaha!!! tigilan mo nayan katarantaduhan mo. Ang haba haba pa naman ng sinulat mo, sa basurahan lang pupunta, but ilike the part where he assumes full and total power and declare ML, and dissolves all branches of gov’t. I liked that part. I hope it happens and you’ll be the first one executed. hahahaha!!

  20. Fentanyl !!!!!! That is 100 times worse than Shabu… in the US, Europe and 99% of the world that would get him Prison time for sure… I think I’m starting to understand… a drugged out deranged individual with a narcissistic psychosis is running a country, allowing the wonton murder of thousands of his citizens because they are using drugs… What is trying to reduce demand causing the price of his own drug use to go down? Murder by a madman…

    • Huh and Fentanyl is a prescription drug. So you are basically saying that the doctors who are prescribe patients to use Fentanyl are drug pushers and the US FDA who gave the go signal to sell this drug is a drug coddler? Yeah that is your rationale! Dream on! The heck!

    • “Some highly qualified statesmen who should have run but did not in the last election could participate…”

      Who are you talking about ? Yourself ?

  21. If Members of the House are with Issues against them then all will side for a Strong Man who will spare their wrongs.

  22. I used to follow your column, but this time I will stop. Are you out of your mind, calling for a snap election? Do you want Leni Robredo to become president? She should run as town mayor first like Ate Vi (Vilma Santos) to learn how to govern. Listening to Leni on TV, I cannot stand it. Para siyang bata. I think it is better for her to become artista in Teleserye. Maawa ka naman sa ating bayan Mr. Tatad hirap na hirap na.

    • Naku naman, Mr. Tatad, masyado ka yatang sinuswerte. It’s very clear that you have not “moved on” with the defeat of your “most qualified statesman” who is no other than Binay. I hope Du-30 would make good his threat to throw Binay in jail. Calling on all Dutertards to take note.

  23. I like this idea; however, who will handle the election process? I think the Philippines needs a credible COMELEC.