IS our State of the Nation Address a social vice that has become incurable? State-of-the-Union Addresses in the US are, as often delivered in person in the US Congress, as in mere long-distance messages in writing (for more than a century).
Anyway, we had ours last Monday. My comments below but first I credit Marcos for, in effect, banning the society page early on after inflicting martial law. Everyone dressed down last Monday on the behest of Prez Digong.
I saw the SONA beginning, determined to watch and hear the ballyhooed 38-minute speech. After more than an hour, I had to leave to make “boundary” somewhere. Dry-eyed, the part to move us to tears I could not wait for. The length was about an hour longer than promised but I don’t know whether the floor got flooded with tears after I left, given all the sipsips dutifully clapping every time Digong paused to breathe.
But, I certainly applauded the unilateral ceasefire declaration. Too many people have died.
I hope my fellow Rizal Hi alums, Benny and Wilma Tiamzon, will soon be freed in connection with talks with JoMa Sison. The couple were high-school honor grads (I wasn’t, I was just an ordinary Sec. 1 bulakbulero, described in our Rizalian grad issue as “galawgaw”; I was once suspended, in junior hi, but not for shooting a classmate; I probably would have shot myself in the foot, anyway)
1. Drug-trafficking, as I see it, has not been stopped anywhere in the world by a bloody hardline policy despite the billions of dollars spent and the unsayable carnage. It is not human rights but the Constitution we invoke. It obligates the Prez to “do justice to every man.” Not only to cops, including the rogues Digong would pardon if convicted.
1.1. And I chew: “It’s Time to End the Drug War—a major new report makes the case for decriminalizing drugs—all of them.” Time, Sept. 29, 2014, p. 44. The unwinnable War is an expensive failed policy. We have to monitor the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs.
2. “We cannot move forward if we allow the past to pull us back.” Does this mean Libingan ng mga Bayani for Macoy on Sept. 11? Can Digs issue an Executive Order (EO) renaming the LMB to “Libingan ng Mga Bayani at Iba Pa”? Seriously, if legally possible, why not “Libingan ng mga Bayani at mga Pangulo”?
3. EO on FOI—will we find out who’s telling the truth about the No. 1 citizen’s supposed bank accounts as confidently alleged by Sen. Sonny Trillanes? The Russkies say: “If you don’t get caught, you’re not a thief.”
3.1. Digong’s PR group ballyhoos his taking a commercial flight once but is silent on his frequent flights using private aircraft. His own? His cronies’? We aren’t told. The cowed timid press is not reporting. A public official may not accept gifts, not even during Christmas.
3.2. Going viral was the myth that Digong had gone to Muntinlupa incognito, aboard a bike. I never believed it but had my students verify. Negative. However, it may be true after all. He would not want to meet his people in Metro Manila ‘cuz of the traffic.
“Pahinog kayo, I am not sharing your pain. Go to Davao City if you want to see me but you run the risk of getting appointed to some post.” As Freddie Aguilar, Jose David Lapuz, Gina Lopez, et al. found out. Anyway, with the carmakers laughing all the way to the bank selling more vehicles, what can we expect from Digs’ emergency powers aside from opening up the plutocratic enclaves for public use of their streets?
4. Thou Shalt Kill – The end justifies the means? Digong, PNP Chief Bato de la Rosa and Customs Bossing Nicanor Faeldon, in effect, are saying, “If the end does not justify the means, what then is it good for?” And when Peter Lim surfaced, Digong did not shoot him as he had reportedly promised, but instead gave him scarce valuable presidential time in the Palace pa. Royal treatment. Top cops, shamed, but are getting due process. If poor, obscure and powerless, good night?
5. No mention of the anti-poor death penalty? Digong gave himself 90 days to solve criminality. Today is the 29th day.
6. In our immature party system, we see PDP-LABAN (sssshhh, in my brief flirtation with politics, I was once with that coalesced party, through LABAN and Sen. Tanny Tañada, and then Uncle Jovy Salonga said I was with the Liberals; sigue lang). It used to be seen as having all members fit into a Beetle, but is now hiring countless 10-wheelers. Turncoats—welcome.
7. The Constitution frowns on dynasties but no one seems bothered by the new Emperor in Metro Manila treating Davao City as his personal fiefdom. Mayor is daughter Sara, whose reported classic short-travel-punches stopped a Sheriff from doing his duty, and Vice Mayor is son Pulong, who both immediately took leaves. Can we expect Digong to push for an anti-dynasty law when he tolerates the discombobulating phenomenon in Davao City?
Not what he says, but what he does or does not do is what we, in our supposedly dwindling
9 percent who ask the foolish questions of the day, should watch.
8. Digong said those who betray the people’s trust shall not go unpunished? But, the Marcoses he cherishes? Punish when? Litigation is slow. In the next administration, whether it is Prez Leni or Prez Pacquiao, the cry would again be let’s forget the past to move forward? Shifting to parliamentary could mean Digong Forever. Sigaw ng Bayan?
8.1. Yup, shift to parliamentary and be a Prime Minister for longer than a Prez’s six years? I cannot tell the French system from a hole in the ground, which seems to be Digs’ paradigm. And what is our model? Venezuela’s? Oil-rich but economic meltdown, starvation. Somalia’s? Chaos. “For forms of government, let fools contest, whate’er is best administered, is best.” Alexander Pope. We, scofflaws, should discipline ourselves and display a work ethic.
Speaker Bebot Alvarez is seen as a Tuta ni Digong. Asked to jump out of the window, “Which floor, Sir,” is expected to be his response in our chameleonic politics. Senate Prez Koko Pimentel may be more independent and “fiscalize” (a Filipinism I cannot find in any of my aging dictionaries). Digs, Koko and Bebot are all sons of Imperial Mindanao. The admired Emperatriz-in-Waiting, Veep Leni, is essentially powerless, reporting to respected DILG Sec. Jun Evasco, an awkward arrangement, it seems to me.
9. Lowering taxes should be prudently studied. The Prez promises higher pay for soldiers and cops, for one thing. I have been around and have not seen any tree with money growing on it. Families I still see in the Makati-Pasay boundary sleeping on the Marconi bridge. Where will you send home minors? Our sidewalks are gone, taken over by occupants as their tiny, tiny places in the sun or by mourners in wakes on streets.
10. My eldest apo is nearing eight. Next year, Sutil, at 9, he can be hanged by the neck till dead. Publicly. Another cockamamie idea, the eye-for-an-eye-rape-the-rapist penalty representing the best thinking of centuries ago.
Oscar Wilde said the best way to fight temptation is to yield to it. I am reminded of it when I see a promise to be brief casually brushed aside and Davao City being run by the Duterte Dynasty in defiance of an explicit State Policy found in Sec. 26 of Article II of the 1987 Consti: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.” Do we need law to define that a Duterte as Prez, a Duerte as Mayor, and a Duterte as Vice Mayor is a constitutionally-disfavored dynasty?
The biggest change I have noticed is people talk seriously of human rights again, the way I recall it, because of the fate of Ninoy Aquino. Now, fellow Bedan Digong has taken it from the back burner and made it the talk of the town again.