All this boastful jail-calling between the camps of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Vice president Jejomar Binay would get more national attention and produce more votes, if they pledge instead to send President BS Aquino to jail, when either one accedes to office and BS no longer has immunity from suit after June 30 this year
The first big fish in jail
For the record, it was Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel who ignited this pillow fight when he declared by press release, without Duterte’s blessing, that VP Binay would be the first “big fish” who will land in jail if Duterte is elected. Pimentel, who has earned a reputation in the Senate as a provocateur, led the costly and fruitless year-long Senate investigation into the alleged corruption of VP Binay. He and his cohorts, Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes, have not written a committee report, summing up their findings.
Duterte has not taken up Pimentel’s threat or disavowed it, probably because he knows the rigors of the legal process better, having been a city fiscal. He cannot discard the idea entirely, because Pimentel is the president of PDP-Laban, the party which adopted Duterte as its presidential nominee. So they’re all waiting for a positive public reaction to the idea of jailing Binay.
Jailing Duterte more likely
Stung by the threat, Binay and his camp returned fire immediately. Binay declared that it would be Duterte who would be spending time behind bars, courtesy of his foul mouth and his human rights record.
At a press briefing during one campaign sortie in the countryside, Binay vowed to send Duterte and all those behind the dreaded Davao Death Squad (DDS) to jail, saying no less than the Davao City mayor had admitted he and the squad were behind the killing sprees in that part of the country, targeting suspected criminals, which included children.
Upon assuming the presidency, Binay said he will order an immediate investigation into the summary executions perpetrated by the notorious DDS, which has been tagged by the United Nations (UN), Amnesty International (AI), and other human rights groups for the killing of thousands of civilians, including minors.
“If I am elected president, I, as a lawyer, would make sure the DDS would be made to pay for all the atrocities it has perpetrated,” Binay said.
Binay said it was terrifying to imagine the DDS spreading nationwide, and he warned Filipinos not to let this happen.
Binay disputed Duterte’s claims that they only go after criminals in Davao City.
“They only kill the poor. Even with the length of the reign of Duterte’s DDS, we have never heard any report of them killing big-time drug pushers or smugglers. We have never heard of them killing anyone from a rich family, only the poor ones because, as Duterte describes them, they are society’s trash,” he said.
Serious pledge to jail Aquino
Watching this pathetic ping-pong exchange of threats between the two sides, I was struck as if by an epiphany that they are both missing the point and the opportunity. The issue that can really grab the nation’s attention and generate voters’ support is a serious pledge by a presidential candidate to send BS Aquino to jail.
In the run-up to the presidential election, BS has been busy maneuvering to ensure that the candidate who wins the presidency is one who will not do what he did to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – cast him in jail and file plunder and other cases against him.
This is why he practically commanded the Liberal Party leadership to install Mar Roxas as the presidential standard-bearer.
This is why BS has never stopped courting the favors of Grace Poe and stealthily maneuvering to replace Roxas with Poe as the administration candidate.
This is why the other candidates – Binay, Duterte and Santiago – do not declare that, if elected, they will work to bring BS to account.
They are afraid of what BS will unleash on them if they dare say that they will strive to put BS in jail, and will keep him there until convicted.
Imagine one candidate taking up this daunting challenge – solemnly declaring to jail Aquino. It will be front-page news for days. The cases that can be filed are many.
He would promise to create an independent commission to investigate the full extent of abuse, corruption, graft, negligence, incompetence and mismanagement of the nation’s affairs by the Aquino administration.
The probe would be a kind of autopsy and strategic audit of the Aquino presidency.
The new administration will make BS pay for Mamasapano, Kidapawan, Zamboanga, Hacienda Luisita, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the Malampaya fund mess, the administration’s record in the handling of extra-judicial killings, murders of journalists, and other abominations.
Most deserving of retribution
BS Aquino is the one most Filipinos want to see on the rack, because he has been vicious and relentless in inflicting pain and misery on those whom he considered his rivals or enemies.
He never wore the nation’s flag pin on his chest; he defiantly used instead his family’s crest and symbol.
Yellow, one doctor has told me, is the color of bile. And bilious is the adjective that most aptly describes BS Aquino’s six years of leadership and management of this country.
Some politicians, notably Bongbong Marcos, have forsworn a policy of retribution toward Aquino, because it will condemn the nation to perpetual bitterness and conflict. The nation will be impossible to unite; and the society will not change.
But others say that it is not right for public officials to get away with their transgressions and abuses in office. The Catholic doctrine of forgiveness is too easy and lenient.
I started this essay as a reaction to the spectacle of Binay and Duterte pledging to send each other to jail.
In examining the substance of these pledges, it occurred to me that sending BS Aquino to jail is far more interesting and worthy of serious consideration.
I daresay that the candidate who pledges to put BS in jail will be swamped by votes.
Let us see whether there is a candidate out there who has the courage of conviction to make this pledge.