CRITICS of the President are at the forefront of projecting themselves as authentic servants of justice and equality, the rule of law and decency. They have deployed icons in this regard, faces that they keep on posting as role models antithetical to the allegedly unjust, illegal and vulgar excesses of the President.
One of their favorites is Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Ombudsman Carpio-Morales may not have directly confronted the President, perhaps due to some filial relationship emanating from the marriage of Duterte’sdaughter and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara to her nephew. But it seems that the Ombudsman is fighting Duterte through a proxy war by turning her attention to General Bato dela Rosa, whom she ordered investigated for accepting a free travel package from Senator Manny Pacquiao, his longtime friend, to enable him and his family to watch the senator’s latest boxing bout in the United States.
This is the same Ombudsman who refused to investigate Senator Leila de Lima, who has been accused of having had a role in the drug trade inside the National Penitentiary. She is quick to order a motupropio investigation of General Bato for allegedly violating the code of ethical conduct of government employees when he accepted the free trip offer from Senator Pacquiao, yet did not lift a finger when Leni Robredo used a private airplane rented by a private individual for a trip to Bicol.
The critics of the President do not see this patent selectivity and continue to deify Carpio-Morales.
These are the same critics who bannered the battlecry of human rights, accused the President of violating these, and called on him to respect the rule of law and rein in extrajudicial killings.
They likened President Duterte to former President Marcos, the dictator they love to hate, and such association they painted as vividly manifested when Duterte ordered the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mgaBayani, which they vehemently opposed. They ran to the Supreme Court to seek a ruling based on law, and challenged President Duterte’s discretion, hoping that the high court would find the President guilty of gravely abusing such.
But when the court upheld the rule of law and allowed the burial, they refused to accept it, heaping insults on the nine majority justices,even as they continue to criticize the President for allegedly undermining the rule of law in his war on drugs.
Former President Fidel Ramos, who has turned somewhat critical of the President, joined the condemnation of the court’s decision, and had the audacity to say that the Marcosesshould apologize to the people. This, even as Ramos who was one of the chief enforcers of martial law, under whose direct supervision the arrests and torture of dissidents were implemented, has yet to apologize himself. In fact, I also do not remember him apologizing to the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
The critics of the President thought that they have already acquired proprietary rights on decency, until Leila de Lima came.
De Lima brazenly appropriated the struggle of women against misogyny. She used this as her main platform when she went to the Supreme Court to file a petition for a writ of habeas data against the President. She used #everywoman as her hashtag in her attempt to paint her battles as a battle for all women. She tried to appropriate for herself the role of the new face of feminist struggle in the country. She gained the support of many women activists and feminists. But such support was blindsided when she admitted that she indeed had a relationship with her married driver, a subordinate.
The women were blindsided not because she admitted to the affair, for many sexual agency feminists will not have a problem with women who are sexually empowered. The blindside was when she justified such relationship by pleading her case as emanating from the frailties of being a woman, despite the fact that she was the one who held the position of power and authority over her driver-lover. Decency flew out the window when she betrayed everywoman. She portrayed women as weaklings who are not in control of their own sexualities and bodies, which can only but horrify sexual agency feminists. Her excuse legitimized the victimization of the legal wife, and would make frailty of women as a convenient justification for philandering husbands and their mistresses.
Conchita Carpio-Morales, the rabidly anti-Marcos burial crowd, Fidel Ramos and Leila de Lima are the faces that are now being deployed by critics of the President to represent the fair and just, the protector of human rights and the rule of law, and the decent.
Yet they have also been revealed as clearly representing injustice, lack of respect for fairness and the rule of law, and brazen vulgarity.
And critics of the President appear to ignore these even as they continue to assail him for committing the same sins.
To paraphrase the Greek adage, those whom hypocrisy wishes to destroy, first become President Duterte’s critics.