With one little gesture and change of style, President Rodrigo Duterte could spare our people and our country a ton of worry and days of agony, if he would make a resolve during this holiday season to choose his words more carefully and read instead from a prepared and reasoned statement during his public engagements.
We are thinking of the distress that he has brought upon himself and the nation with his freewheeling and extemporaneous remarks on the killing last month of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa inside his jail cell in Baybay,Leyte.
The President has sown a lot of confusion and worry with statements such as the following:
1. Upon his return from his trip to Peru and the APEC summit, he declared that he takes the word of the police on the killing, and not the words of members of the Senate and the media who have attempted to investigate the killing.
2. After the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) announced at the conclusion of its investigation of the incident, that the killing was a “rubout” (or premeditated killing) perpetrated by a team of the PNP’s Criminal investigation and Detection group (CIDG) in East Visayas, DU30 declared that he as President would not allow the policemen involved to be jailed.
3. He also declared that he must take responsibility for what happened because the police team acted under his orders to the police to spare no one who is involved in the illegal drugs trade.
4. And yet at the same time, DU30 has also said that he would not interfere in the disposition of the Espinosa case.
5. He also told the NBI to go ahead and file cases against the CIDG policemen, if it was truly convinced that the CIDG men were guilty of murder.
6. When PNP Director-General Roland de la Rosa ordered the relief of the CDIG-East Visayas Director and all the men involved in the killing, the President ordered that Marcos be reinstated to his post.
Without meaning to, the President could not have shown the country in a worse light to the world than he has with these incomprehensible and contradictory orders. They give the nation and the world the impression that there is no rule of law in the Philippines. Such an impression, if left uncorrected, will have adverse repercussions on the national economy and the country’s international relations. They convey an image of our President that is unflattering and counterproductive. They will diminish respect and regard for our country and our people.
Before the situation is muddled further, we urge that steps be taken to correct the situation, by assuring the public that law will rule in resolving the Espinosa murder.
It is best if the President can lead this process, by speaking more sensibly and responsibly about this horrible incident. He should clarify what he means by all his discombobulating statements. It is good that he has said that he will allow the law and due process to take its course.
We can understand why the President would want to honor his pledge to the police at the launching of the war on drugs that he would protect them against charges and consequences. And he does realize where his true duty lies – which is to honor his oath to ever protect, defend and obey the Constitution
By doing his constitutional duty, the President will spare the nation from further and unnecessary harm. He will enable people and country to recover from this horrible and distressing tragedy.