Hardline policy doomed to fail? Metamorphose or metastasize?

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Condolences—RC and Dudi Constantino, and Karina and Randy David, for the loss of Mom Letizia, widow of Ka Tato, an accomplished woman of many parts, including being an excellent ballroom dancer.

Einstein warned that repeating the same mistake again and again and expecting different results is on this side of insanity. Who can tell me a country where a tough hardline policy on drugs has succeeded?

Corruption, on the other hand, is a permanent problem of the human race that may be reduced (thru better working conditions, better pay cum health care and pensions, as in Singapore, not by killing), but not eradicated. Not even by the Ten Commandments (free will remained). Graft has been with us for thousands of years.

Portugal decriminalized all drugs 15 Julys ago. After an initial spike, drug use is down. The appeal of the forbidden was lost and syndicates lost the profit motive. Government shifted the energy, effort and resources to rehab clinics as users are sick, frail people, not criminals. Shortcoming is not wrongdoing.


Jorge Castañeda, a professor in NYU and an ex-foreign minister of Mexico, wrote in Time on Sept. 29, 2014: “It’s Time to End the Drug War—A major new report makes the case for decriminalizing illicit drugs—all of them.” Page 44. This was the position taken by the Commission on Drug Policy, whose members included ex-UN Sec-Gen Kofi Annan, former Prez Fernando Henrique of Brazil, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, ex-Sec of State George Schultz, and intellectuals like megamogul Richard Branson and novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. Also for dumping an expensive failed policy are ex-Prez Jimmy Carter, Vicente Fox of Mexico, Felipe Gonzalez of Spain, Nobel Prize Awardee Milton Friedman and Jesuit-schooled Bill Buckley.

Digong should study the matter deeply. Often I find him unreasonable. But, Shaw said, “the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

He also said, “some men see things that are and ask—‘why’? I dream things that never were and ask—‘why not’?”

But the better way to go may be Naga’s, well-run by Jesse Robredo without raising t hespecter of gross human rights violations.

We can start with Mary Jane. Marijuana now nets Colorado huge sin taxes. Begin with Cong. Rudito Albano’s medical marijuana bill. The French kiss a woman’s hand? Why, Schultz told us in Manila in 1986, “mon ami,” said some Frenchman, “you’ve to start somewhere.”

Digong should not give up on users; he cannot reduce our population by suggesting a three-child limit, either. What should be enforced is the one-wife limit mandated by God and man.

Impeachment? There can be no serious talk of it within the year, to give him time to eliminate criminality, which has gone on for thousands of years. The popular choice deserves our support.

He again said last Monday: “The Church should shut up.” And forget the Decalogue, which says not to commit adultery? PNoy, as far as we know, has not contributed to our population problem.

Children idolize Prezes. Fidelity is required normally but, again, I note that the cycle is Savagery, Civilization and Decay. The Star says Digong grouses that his “pay enough only for 2 women.” But he has friends like Pastor Quiboloy and Big Businessmen, Big Spenders, who, per detractors, donate Safaris, Expeditions, free use of fueled state-of-the-art aircraft and hundreds of millions to his family. Allegation is not proof, of course.

Digong’s incivility to the people’s choice as Veep saddens, sharpened by his devotion to the Marcoses, who he never really opposed, from where I sat (unlike his tough Mom, with whom I marched in the streets of Davao following Ninoy’s salvaging). He seems to be a Sore Winner while, Bongbong, a Sore Loser.

Digong should be nicer to Leni, our fellow Bedan, my student in 2013 in our grad school of law who had to drop out to focus on House Work. We have a Prez and Veep who attended the same law school. With help from fellow Bedans, Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea (from Davao), Justice Sec Vit Aguirre (from Quezon), DOTC Sec Art Tugade (from Manila) and DICT Sec Rudy Salalima (from Bicol), and God’s grace, Digong should be able to lay down more than his fair shake of bricks in the national cathedral the Marcoses had ruined. Imperial Manila will have another Promdi Emperor.

To swear in Digong is his frat brod, Justice Bodjie Reyes, which should make more difficult the enforcement of San Beda’s draconian ban on frats, whose constitutionality may be challenged. Also, any order from Digong to release any political detainee being tried. The judiciary we may not ignore.

I am glad that my fellow Rizal Hi alums, Benny and Wilma Tiamzon, are eyed for release, but the right thing must be done in the right way. They are among my co-alums who would have been Senators, Cabinet Members, Congs, etc. had not the Marcoses driven them to the hills, in the late 60’s, with that kind of passion for country that whips the blood. The prosecution may “suggest” the release by not opposing a motion to set free the Rizal Hi honor graduates, driven to rebel by Marcos, whose overweening ambition led many potential leaders to be slain in the flower of their youth. Successors like Roxas, Aquino, Diokno, Salonga, Laurel, Padilla. Rodrigo, et al. were sidelined. We have yet to recover from the effects of inordinate Marcosian ambitions. I loudly railed against the criminal genius.

Federalism? Let’s go slow on this. What model? Somalia’s? Now in chaos. Venezuela’s?
Economic meltdown. The US’s? Will American frugality and work ethic come with it in a nation that does not take shelter from the rain, but sing and dance in it? We have Indolence as exemplified not by Juan de la Cruz, but Juan Tamad. Party animals we all are, and Digong starts work at 1 p.m. kuno.

Tolstoy noted that leaders try to change the world when they should be changing themselves. Digong should turn down all time-wasting, traffic-snarling social invites and just work. A lot has to be done. And bounties represent the best thinking of centuries ago. Necktie parties for blacks we don’t need for our riffraff.

Digong should build on what PNoy has done and avoid his mistakes. Was the latter’s straight path crooked? He cannot charge PNoy with being God who draws straight with crooked lines. I am not for deifying PNoy. Would we have done better under Erap or Manny? Seems to be a fair—if moot—question, though.

But all of us are less than perfect.

San Beda does right in honoring the first Bedan Prez. But there’s no need to mark the spot where he shot classmate and frat brod Octavio Goco in 1972. (The dorm room in Cor Jesu College, in Digos, where Digong went after being expelled from Ateneo de Davao, will be converted into a museum.) My 1972 vote, as acting de facto Dean (Dean Ledesma was busy in the Con-Con), was to expel Digong; he told Sal Panelo he hadn’t forgotten. I was outvoted. But, as we cannot underrate anyone’s capacity for change and subjective growth, we hold Digong to his promise to be a changed man by June 30. He should not deny others the Second Chance San Beda gave him out of prudential considerations.

Unorthodox Digong may choose to skip the Sona, reduced to a sickening fashion show.
The SONA in the US is an off-and-on non-binding tradition. Anyway, Digs can address the nation over PTV4 on July 25. No traffic problem in the Batasan area.

San Beda won last Saturday in the NCAA opener. To me the win was not beautiful, but I’ll take the ugly win over a beautiful loss any time. Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser (Leo Durocher). Bongbong is. It was disingenuous for Digong not to want to offend him. The Quirino Grandstand would not have provided an excuse not to invite Leni; no room?—but Quirino is big enough for everyone and his mother. He also got an excuse not to “trophy” anyone. Such as a trophy girlfriend or Significant Other.

He needs everyone to deal with the Moros, who even the Kanos could not subjugate. All-out war versus them? The Americans failed. Marcos failed. Will Digong succeed? We need to talk with our brother and sister Muslims.

Cleveland is suffering from entrenched poverty and horrific crimes but thrives and is on top of the world with an NBA title. Gina Lopez as Lebron? Like the rest of us she must use every day the products of mining, as articulated very well by Malaya’s Ellen Tordesillas last Monday. Computers, cell phones, electric fans, aircons, cars, watches, rings, utensils, etc., all came from the earth.

Balance? A government administrator has many constituencies, unlike an environmental or human-rights advocate in private life. So “responsible mining” has to be allowed. Even coal, against the day Indonesia stops shipping us what we need. Can Solar replace other energy sources?

Congrats, Mr. Prez, and remember Ut in Omnibus Glorificetur Dei and Ora et Labora. You have the prayer and best wishes of the entire Benedictine community. Your success is everyone’s.

Digong needs our help. Let’s give it. Within reason.

Now everyone ignores his Davao Dynasty. The Paradise of Pedigree. Free pass. Honeymoon.

Transform? Or Transmogrify?

Metamorphose? Or Metastasize?

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14 Comments

  1. Thank goodness, you are around Mr. Saguisag to remind us of the caliber or “quality” of the people who used to populate Congress, such as the late Senators Diokno, Salonga, et.al. Based on your history and writings (though I disagreed with some of your articles in the Manila Times), I have concluded that you will never be a sell-out like many of the representatives and senators recently re-elected. The current Congress is now basically a Uni-party when all those LP and UNA turncoats lemming-like decided to join PDP-Laban. Thus, President Duterte will have no “loyal opposition” to thwart whatever extreme measures he proposes to impose on the country – like federalism, public hanging of criminals, return of the death penalty, emergency powers to solve Metro Manila’s traffic mess, forced family planning like in China, etc. We need columnists like you and Mr. Homobono Adaza to remind or inform people of the “other side of the story”. An educated and well-informed public is the only way the country can preserve its liberty and democracy. Let us be vigilant and not be overwhelmed by many of Duterte’s cultish followers who troll and abuse social media to silence his critics. If he really means what he had said that he would no longer hold press conferences, maybe there will be some journalists who will now focus or spend more time investigating his unexplained wealth, the gifts he received from Pastor Quiboloy, the alleged rice smuggling in Davao of his son or family, his 1700 “kills”, his death squads, etc. If these investigations are carried out, who knows? Maybe “Journalism” in the Philippines may undergo some sort of renaissance. Certainly, because of the promises he made, journalists should hold Duterte’s feet to the fire after a 100 day honeymoon period. He is not the type who will not expect this. After all, he knows that talk is cheap, and action speaks louder than words. The question is can he walk his talk?

    As for the Abu Sayyaf and rebel Moros, I initially thought that they would listen to him and pay heed to his public statements as he seemed to have some sort of close connection with them. He understands their plight and the reasons why they are hiding and camped in the hills of Mindanao. However, after a well-publicized promise to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he would do what he could to prevent the beheading of the second Canadian, the beheading was carried out nonetheless due to the unpaid ransom demanded by the Abus. This means that the latter will not lay down their arms easily and that the peace process Duterte’s is aiming for will be a long and protracted one. He needs a credible representative who can talk and deal with these groups patiently and honorably. I hope he will succeed.

    As for drugs, I agree that they should be decriminalized, especially marijuana. its use for medical reasons has even been recommended by many doctors. Marijuana has also been decriminalized in Uruguay quite awhile back, and Canada is now considering doing the same. So why not try decriminalization the Philippines? It is certainly worth a try.

    Finally, on the issue of Leni vs. Bongbong. It is good that Bongbong and his team finally filed their petition before PET. Now the public will be spared and no longer have to listen or read about his “I was cheated” claim. It is getting boring and tiresome. Clearly, his hoped-for EDSA-like mass protests and demonstration did not materialize. What a crybaby! Maybe he needs a pacifier?

  2. ruben m dimaculangan on

    sabi nyo, dahil sa decriminalization ng drugs sa portugal, bumaba ang drug use nila.
    Mawalang-galang na po, malayo po ang economic condition ng portugal kaysa pilipinas. Kaya nilang magpatayo o magsuporta ng maraming rehab centers at higpit ng ibang kapit-bansa sa droga sa tulong na rin ng european union. Dito sa amin sa batangas, ilan ang rehab centers? Bago pa maipatayo ang rehab centers nyong pinapangarap ay narcotics state na ang pilipinas.
    Pangalawa, mawalang galang na po uli, maganda po ang quotation ni einstein tungkol sa pagpupumilit sa mali at nagi-expect ng tamang resulta. Baka naman po iba ang context noon. Hindi rin ako pabor sa capital punishment pero hangga’t hindi sinasampulan ang mata ng maligalig na pigsa lalo na dito sa pilipinas walang magagawa ang inyong human rights crusaders. Maraming human rights activists ang namula kay mayor halili ng tanauan dahil hiniya niya ang mga pushers na pinaparada sa liwasang bayan. Pero, nahiya ba ang mga naturang pushers nang natutong magnakaw, mang-rape at pumatay ang mga naging biktima ng kanilang pagtutulak at pang-eenganyo sa mga desenteng tao at kabataan na gumamit ng droga? Pumasyal po kayo sa squatters’ area muli para maramdaman nyo ang hardline policy.

  3. At the height of the cold war era, the US, Soviets, Maoists were the puppet masters and we Filipinos (Asians) the unwitting puppets, Sigh, such is war.

  4. “…had not the Marcoses driven them to the hills…”
    _________________________

    Which is correct?: 1) they were driven to the hills and because of it they were forced to join the communist movement 2) they were enamored by the ideology of communism and joined the communist movement and so Marcos drove them to the hills

  5. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Pres. Duterte now is at the helm, let him lead us not in the way of tuwid na pero baku-badung daan which SAGUISAG ng PANGANIBan have acclaimed. God save the Philippines.

  6. To Mr. Saguisag-a well respected public figure. What exactly Sir you want to achieve or gain–is it peace, better life for your families. It is a Democratic country–but the idea, observations, comments positive or negative will have reverberating effect to some Filipinos who have propensity to speak their mind in concepts, principled opinions–but lacking into implementation and execution. Philippines have all the laws, rules, etc. but the moral decay is so prominent, then in Philippine setting–how would you approach such problems, is it all rhetoric, white paper position write-up–to be publish, but missing in action or concrete program to concretized the (your) ideas. Filipinos should built actionable programs methodologies that would be uniquely applicable and or effective depending into Filipinos psyche

    • I think for a concrete example as you were asking, maybe take a look into the life of Rene, a prominent Beda-Harvard educated lawyer, but but poor as he is unable to buy his own expensive house and car, for all his life he thought of public service, service the poor, defending the underdogs in short a life dedicated to service of others ahead of his own interest.

      No methodology, theory or framework will work in a society, were everyone or most people would always put, me, mine, I, myself, of my family ahead of us, we or our community, the society or ultimately the nation.

      We have so much emphasis on ones good over the common good.

    • Sabi ni Bato kanina sa DZMM pagkatapos ng war on drug isusunod na. Bisi pa ang manpower sa pagsugpo ng problema sa droga. Day 3 pa lang nman.

  7. Ramon Eamiguel on

    Well written and enlightening. Perhaps, one of the top contributions of President Duterte will be the passing of FOI and much awaited and debated, enabling law on political dynasties. He could set an example by not allowing his his daughter Sara and son Paulo to seek re-election on 2019. Like other places infinitely run by family political dynasties, there is always the tendency to think only same blood relations has the monopoly of ideas on how to run it.

    All the best Mr President.

  8. You say: “Who can tell me a country where a tough hardline policy on drugs has succeeded?”

    I say: Who can tell me a country where more than a thousand drug users and pushers have voluntarily surrendered to the authorities in just one week?

    You say: Leni Robredo is the “people’s choice” and Bongbong a “sore loser”.

    I say: Leni Robredo is the PCOS choice and Truth the real loser. May you be brave enough to support an investigation, recognize hypocrisy, and unseat the impostor!

    • years from now and there will still be drugs, value is higher as demand still exist but distribution may be harder, and the more will the business becomes more lucrative.

      After 30 years of reign ion Davao, was drugs totally eradicated in Davao, not, its still rampant though more discrete.

      Human curiosity cannot be cured by more restrictions, the more you feed curiosity. Open the windows, at first people may crumble, but later on the thrill slowly dies so the continuous decline, until the value would be so less that it becomes almost unprofitable to sell drugs.

    • I ask you: Can you provide hard evidence that shows there was indeed cheating in the electoral count? Even BBM’s own lawyers couldn’t find a shred of evidence, and yet here you are screaming bloody cheating.