Suppose DU30 did it, what could we do about it?

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

I am not ready to pounce upon President Rodrigo Duterte over a self-confessed killer’s claims that from 1998 to 2013, the Davao Death Squad killed 1,000 people on orders of the then city mayor of Davao. But I am not ready to brush aside all those allegations without a fair hearing, either. I am willing to grant, purely on the basis of appearances, that DU30 is “unfazed” by Edgar Matobato’s accusations, but I am afraid I cannot echo or endorse my own paper’s banner story on Saturday, that DU30 is “unscathed” by the assassin’s horrifying tale.

The US State Department and some members of the European Parliament, among others, have expressed concern about the “expose.” The New York Times, the world’s most influential newspaper, has carried a video interview with the hitman Matobato. And TIME magazine, which ran the only international cover story on DU30 as “The Punisher” during the presidential campaign, has come out with a Sept. 26, 2016 cover story, “Night Falls on the Philippines.” Both the American Chamber of Commerce and the European Chamber of Commerce have expressed reservations about the effects of the drug killings on investors’ confidence.

The usual propaganda fraudsters, which earlier claimed 91 percent of Filipinos “support” the President who got 38 percent of the votes last May in a five-way contest, have not come up with any study showing how many Filipinos believe the confessed assassin or continue to support DU30 in the face of those accusations. No statistical analysis, no matter how nebulous, exists to support the statement that DU30 is “unscathed” by the allegations. What is worth noting is that he has not said a word about them, contrary to his usual norm. Only his spokesman and some people close to him have dismissed the accusations as not worth dignifying.

For or against DU3O?
Someone has asked me: “Where do you stand on the issue—-are you for or against DU30?” It is a kneejerk, but incompetent question. The question is not whether one is for or against DU30, but whether one approves of the things he’s accused of, assuming the accusation can hold. I count myself as a constructive critic, and I support the President when he is right, oppose and try to correct him when he is wrong. But knowing next to nothing about DU30’s past record, or the Davao Death Squad, or Matobato, or the forces at play in the Senate hearings, I have no special way of knowing what is true and what is false, what to believe and what to reject in the allegations.

Nothing but lies, according to DU30’s defenders. Perjured witness, they have called the self-confessed hitman. But my co-host on my Sunday evening/Monday morning cable TV show on GNN/Destiny cable reminded me and our televiewers that during the last campaign candidate DU30 had bragged openly of having ordered the killing of nearly 2,000 criminals in his clean-up tdrive in Davao.

The current TIME magazine article also recalls that “his boast of the ‘1,700’ suspected criminals killed by death squads when he was mayor—-correcting, on live television, allegations that the number was 700—-created no uproar.”

Because of the questions raised by Sen. Panfilo Lacson and some others about Matobato’s credibility, the public may have found sufficient basis to doubt, if not dismiss, the confessed assassin’s allegations about 1,000 summary killings. But what would be their basis for questioning the credibility of the President’s previous claim about 1,700 killings?

This is precisely our problem—-the people’s problem. If Matobato’s allegations are all false and malicious, intended to destroy DU30 and his administration, there is no legal obstacle to getting back at the confessed assassin, or perhaps at those who had brought him to Sen. Leila de Lima’s Senate committee hearings. But if PDU30 is shown to be indictable for having ordered all those killings, what can anyone do about it? There is no legal process by means of which he could be held accountable.

Not even impeachment will work
As President, he enjoys immunity from suit, and may be removed from office only through impeachment. But he could be impeached only for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust from the time he became President on June 30, 2016, not for any crimes committed during his 22 years as city mayor of Davao.

Assuming he could be charged with any of the crimes mentioned above, he could be impeached only by a vote of at least one-third of all the members of the House of Representatives, and convicted and removed by the Senate impeachment court only with the concurrence of at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate.

This is an impossible scenario right now. The entire Congress has become a DU30 rubber stamp.

Both Houses are headed by two politicians whose only qualification is that they are both from Mindanao and from DU30’s adopted party, PDP-Laban, which did not have more than three visible organic members before the elections, but which has now become so overloaded with post-election opportunist migrants, to the point of sinking. Thus, Senate President Koko Pimentel refused to extend the Senate’s protective custody to Matobato despite his precarious security situation after his testimony at the hearings.

Unless former Budget Secretary Butch Abad is able to recycle whatever remains of his constitutionally outlawed P148-billion DAP budget and use it to repurchase the loyalty of all the political opportunists who had abandoned the LP’s sinking ship, there is no chance for the congressmen and senators who have embraced DU30 to fiddle with the idea of impeaching the President. Not even Vice President Leni Robredo, who stands to benefit from DU30’s impeachment and removal, so long as Sen. Bongbong Marcos’s electoral protest has not removed her from the office, will dare toy with it.

How about a UN approach?
This is what we hear from international human rights activists. Since DU30 will not investigate himself, the UN should initiate a process, this group suggests. But DU30 has already said, “F***k you, UN,” where Sukarno in his time said, “UN, go to H-e-l-l!” DU30 will not likely recognize, much less welcome, a UN process. The solution, Albay’s Congressman Edcel Lagman suggests, is an independent fact-finding commission, similar to the old Agrava Commission, the Feliciano Commission and the Melo Commission, to investigate the Matobato allegations. But all these previous commissions did not have to deal with any direct accusation against the sitting President. This could be the real problem here.

Neither are there any existing foreign models to copy or learn from. In the case of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who was president from 1973 to 1990 and Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army from 1973 to 1998, he could not be touched while he remained in office despite charges that his dictatorial regime forcibly interned, tortured, murdered and caused the disappearance of people. According to some statistics, 1,200 to 3,200 were murdered, 80,000 forcibly interned and 30,000 tortured during his rule. But on Oct. 10, 1998, he was arrested for numerous international human rights violations while visiting London. There he was detained.

On March 3, 2000, Pinochet was released and allowed to return to Chile for health reasons. In 2004, he was placed under house arrest after a judge ruled that he was not medically fit to stand trial. He died on Dec. 10, 2006, with some 300 criminal cases still pending against him. I am not suggesting any similarity between DU30 and Pinochet, who are on two ideologically opposite poles. But some people are beginning to see signs of a drift toward dictatorship as DU30’s calculated response to the crumbling of his relationship with the country’s traditional Western allies.

Although DU30 has allowed himself to be publicly overruled by his own Defense secretary on his public statement demanding the pullout of US forces in Mindanao——Secretary Delfin Lorenzana now says there will be no such pullout—-he has already signalled a shift from his immediate predecessor’s open support for the US pivot to Asia to a new security paradigm that includes acquiring weapons from China and Russia, and withdrawing from joint maritime patrols of the South China Sea with the US, Australia and Japan.

This has prompted Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to ask why DU30 has decided to abandon the joint patrol, when it was the Aquino government that had originally proposed it. On the part of Japan, Defense Minister Tomomi Idada has been quoted as saying her government was prepared to increase its engagement in the South China Sea, despite DU30’s action.

Credit downgrade, and sanctions next?
Aside from the clearly political reactions to DU30, the economic and financial response of investors has set off alarm bells. Philippine stock prices have started falling, investors now demand a higher risk premium to hold Philippine assets, reports The Economist quoting a source at AmCham, while Guenter Taus, the head of the European Chamber of Commerce, is quoted as saying, “A lot of people are hesitant to put their money into the Philippines at this point.”

Not a few observers are worried that the Philippine economy, which in recent years had benefitted from credit rating upgrades from the relevant agencies, could suffer from a sudden credit rating downgrade, and possibly economic sanctions on the issue of human rights, like those that remain in force against Burma, Cuba, Iran, Ivory Coast, North Korea and Syria.

Although many fear that DU30 may have made himself more vulnerable to those who would like to see him out of the way, they do not see him caving in to any physical threat or pressure from these sources. To the contrary, they see him using such threats to justify a dictatorship backed by a retooled military and his current communist coalition partners.

Since becoming President, he has religiously courted the military by visiting the military camps without interruption, promising to double or treble the salaries and other benefits of the troops, their spouses and children, while simultaneously trying to consolidate his support among his mainline allies on the Left and their support organizations.

On his recent trip to Vientiane, Laos to attend the Asean summit, according to our best sources, DU30 was accompanied by some communist members of his Cabinet. They had no role to play at the summit, but they reportedly went there to meet with their counterparts from some neighboring countries. What did they talk about? Let’s hope Secretary Lorenzana talks about it in his next press statement.

fstatad@gmail.com

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33 Comments

  1. Better to kill those criminals than killing political oppositions.
    Duterte brand of leadership was to annihilate the salot ng bayan. We will not move forward if these criminals remain in the street and corrupt government officials in their government offices holding their offices and supported by stupid constituents. You get rid of them or minimize them, then foreign investors will come!
    The problem is that the oppositions does not want him to succeed!

  2. Kit Tatad analysis is right, watch out, the value of peso is in the decline,risk rating will get higher, which means that basic goods will be more expensive.DU30 has reclaimed Marcos title of a Dictator.Yes, he is in the news visiting all camps to buy loyalty , this also show that he dont trust the AFP his choice of words betray his takot, soon ,one aft man will put bullet in his head, together with bato.
    Hope he dont end worse than Marcos. The RAM is watching his every move ,even his frequent trip to Davao.One of this day,they will pull the trigger.PSG’s officers are educated and trained in West point, they dont like the Communist, one of them may stop DU30 ambition forerver.

    Appointing Gen. Viaya and Bato by DU30 are bad move, tinpakan nya yung Honor ng mfa existing General thay are doing their Job, they are waiting fir the right timing.They will go out spring into action to remove DU30 and the rest of his galamay.Watch out

    • Sir, these generals you are trying to protect were involved in drugs. Yes you are right, they will definitely want Digong killed. because He will put them in jail later.

      About the RAM, they support Digong also and the PSG also. So what are you saying?

      Also, in economics currency rating deos not make you rich. Look at Japan, their currency is lower than the Philippines.

      The reason we do not prosper is because of people like you who pull other people down and hide under the name of MAKABAYAN to hide the real you.

  3. It cannot be denied that foreign media comments and reports over the EJK hearing is important. However, Is this not self serving? I mean, they are from the west and of course, their view will always be leaning to protect their own interest?

    Why they are always interfering with the Philippines’ internal issues? Did Philippines ever interfered in solving their internal issues?

    They should also realize that what they’re doing is simply bullying. That’s not quite fair?

  4. President Duterte is a GOD-SEND!

    We should be thankful, we’ve got a true President who wishes for the good welfare of his constituents! Previous administrations had done less on the drug menace, criminality and corruption.

    We should not be SPECULATIVE, instead support the present government’s programs.

    go DUTERTE go!

    • Yes Renz, PRRD is God-send, the Lord clothed him with supernatural power that can defeat the supernatural power of devil that mere natural person can not overcome. He possessed the power of truth despite his cussing mouth, but of his deeds. Meaning the mouth is not the problem on Du30, otherwise, criminal cases in courts in various places had thickly filed up. But there’s nothing!! Did he raped someone, murdered someone, personally used government funds???

  5. The new cory time is not an influential paper its just a tabloid for gossip. Duterte should kill all terrorists and drug lords and bring back the Philippines as the safest country in the world, for investment and tourism. The US, UN and the west they are creating chaos in the Philippines to undermine its progress, the US is an enemy of the people and not friends.Get rid of the US bases and close it down, what have they done since 2002 when they went to Mindanao to fight the ABU’s ? in fact the abu sayyaf gets stronger by the day with the help of these so called mercenaries of the US and their supply of arms to the terrorists.

  6. We Pilipinos never learn. I think we are the dummest nation on earth. I do not want to be called a Pilipino. These addicts and pushers know that the police are murdering them because of drugs, they still persisted in using and selling them. Mind you, they are numbering in the thousands. Look are corruption everywhere. Look at traffic, pollution, garbage public transport. We are really a third world country. No president can change this nation.

  7. Why argue with this issue anyway? Matobato and CHR never proved anything since 2009.

    Why join the the bandwagon of international presstitutes over this matter?

    Unless You are a PressTITUTE yourself Kit.

  8. President Duterte is a good chess player. He will never show his opponent his intended moves. He will throw decoys and other sorts of diversions in order to distract his opponents. We are in a war against drugs.

  9. Talk of human rights!! Look at what they did to IRAQ and LIBYA!! After toppling their strong rulers, both are failed states and the people greatly suffering, breeding great hatred to USA and EUROPE. IT SPAWNED the birth of DAESH/ISIS WE WON’T ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN IN OUR COUNTRY. To the west keep your nose out of our country. We can solve our problems, don’t tell us how to. You toppled Marcos before and we suffered for 30 years!! We were robbed of meaningful progress!! DEBILITATING MASS POVERTY PERSISTS. 10 million filipinos from professionals down to laborers and domestic helpers have to go outside the country to fend for their families. NEVER AGAIN AND NEVERMORE!!

  10. I have one word for Du30| HELL: if he really is a Killer in Spirit and in Mind. The Commandments stated that we shouldn’ t be killing people| if he is caught with the blood of another through murder in his own hands, then the Fires of Satan will get Him upon his death :P

    Jesus Christ Ruless!!

  11. Who cares if he did it? Try to think and ponder, what if Duterte did not do it? Do you think Davao will be the one that we know today? You have to weight the results of his action, it is ten folds better than we he ruled it.

  12. Mr. Tatad, I don`t really know your point, in the grouind most pinoy in Phils and broad I am talking about the majority of pioys that voted him like what we see Phils. right now.

    My apologies, you are no different to some pinoys who are CRAB/ NEGATIVE MENALITY you are suppose to be well educated but a typical crab pinoy how sad.

  13. Kit. Well done. That’s a provocative question that will keep majority of Filipinos to think, what’s next?. And what are our media and opposition has to say. I strongly believe that PH still has a very strong democratic form of government. There needs to be check and balance in our government especially the military to avoid the shift towards the left. So far we have congress and senate dominated by DU30 allies. There seems to be just DE5 and 3llanes who are openly against some of DU30 tactics.
    What is clear to me is he is slowly but surely shifting to China and Russia. This is fine as far as trying to enlarge PH sphere of influence. However, we have a situation where China has clearly violated PH rights on 200 EEZ and deny Filipino fisherman of their livelihood at Scarborough Shoal. By being friendly with China, does this mean China will allow our fisherman to go back to Scarborough? The answer is No and DU30 is aware of this. The bigger question is will China erase the nine dash line on every Chinese passport? If the answer is NO. Then PH, should look for partner to kick China out of the 200EEZ. If DU30 is tough then he should kick the Chinese out of the artificial island within the 200EEZ of the PH. If not, DU30 and his allies need to step aside and let the US do the talking. PH is a very strategic location militarily and vital to US dominance in Asia and this is real folks whether we like it or not. Kit, Ramos, Enrile, Lacson, Lorenzan and millions of Filipinos know this. If we wanted to continue in our economic growth we need to stick to what the Aquino have started plus DU30 fight on criminals, corrupt people, and drug menace. These can only be achieved by unity and not to destroy his political opponents. My one cent of comments.

    • if i were du30, i would not even venture to go out of the phil territory after june 30,2022. even if he goes to a neutral country, he can be detained by the cohorts of the 3 lettered spy agency in a non neutral country. kung baga iwas pusoy. anyways, he has not exhibited by travel bug when he was mayor

  14. Jessie Corrales on

    Not even Tatad, a staunch critic of Duterte, has taken any side. Normally, critics jump at the opportunity to condemn. But in Duterte’s case no one dares accuse him of anything. That’s true power right there.

    • That is apparently the power of truth President Duterte possessed despite humongous negative critics in and out of the country, because of the fact that they were all evils. Duterte just hold on the invincible power of truth, not the powers of arms and ammunition or even the powers of goons can overcome Duterte’s supernatural power granted by the Lord because of truth the President Duterte never condone extra-judicial killings. PRRD is respecter of human rights and never allowed authorities, ARMY and PNP to abuse their own inherent powers and authorities to bring culpable citizens into the folds of the law, otherwise the consequence is a hell to pay, relived from job accompanied by full and thorough investigation. Do not forget how he adamantly proclaimed in his inaugural address that as a lawyer and long time prosecutor he knew the power and limit of a presidency and his adherence to due process of the law and the rule of law is uncompromising. All those abusers of the law and murderers, like the vigilantes and riding in tandems killing were all under investigations. Those who were killed during legitimate operation were killed while they were violently resisting arrest and putting the lives of arresting officers in an imminent danger to be killed, in other words these arresting offices kill only in a situation of self-defense, though any complain or allegation are all investigated in order to preclude any possible act of abuse and commit unnecessarily act of extra-judicial killing. Only knowledgeable and reasonable persons understand that.

  15. Going against “master” entails a consequence akin to economic “monkey-wrenching” and diplomatic isolation in the international community. This is a common, not so secret template applied to hostile ally. Powerful international media will move to expose and put the target government in the limelight as “pariah” just as what is happening recently. Then the international business community will put pressures in terms of investment withdrawal and credit downgrade. Next is the activation of the ‘political operators” on the ground to move the military and the civil society. There is nothing new under the sun. What is alarming is the entry of the new “master”, using its established influence in the local business and military community. It might cause a critical division in the AFP resulting in a stand-off that might explode into a full blown civil war. Otherwise, if D30 government survived without the said scenario, then the emerging global political paradigm is clearly working in his favor and could be expected to remain in power for the rest of his term or even beyond.

  16. Loida Barrameda on

    Well Mr Duterte know what is right for our Country although he admited that right now that he was so surprised by the thick list given to him who’s involved this drug menace he said even the government are part of this corruption !! It will be tough for him!!

  17. Duterte is untouchable right now. He knows it and everybody even the Liberal Party know that he controls this country. He is on his way to be a dictator. Is it good for this corrupt country or will this bring this country down ? What I believe is this saying, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The changes will be good in the beginning but will corrupt the system later. That is human nature. That is what happen during Marcos regime.

  18. Jose A. Oliveros on

    ” The entire Congress has become a DU30 rubber stamp.” So was the interim Batasang Pambansa elected in 1978 and the Batasang Pambansa elected in 1984. They were both rubber stamps of former Press Secretary Francisco S. Tatad’s boss – Ferdinand E. Marcos. And worst, during Marcos time, there was that notorious Amendment No. 6 which gave Marcos legislative powers under the situations mentioned therein. At least now, there are two opposition groups in the House of Representatives – one of which calls itself as the “true minority.” And Pres. Duterte does not possess legislative powers.

  19. This show, is US produce and directed to undermine Duterte Presidency. And weather you like it or not, here in the US, the mainstream media, no longer command the respect the it used to be. So President Du30 is safe with his people not the bogus opinion maker in the US.

  20. Its either he gets ousted by whatever means possible or to take him to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Whichever way is resorted to, it must be done posthaste before the situation gets any worse than it already is.

  21. Now I had to admire Mr. Kit Tatad’ analysis of the problems the Philippines is facing today.I dont understand why most Filipinos are so naive that theu cannot get the cue from Mr. D30’s mouth about KILLINGS. I think Mr. D30 has an obsesion obout doing away with people. He is a KILLING MACHINE.

    • yes indeed he is killing machine..my prayer is that your likes and those yellow people who had done nothing to this country will be killed…sooner than later!!!

  22. I congrat for political reasons.ulate you Sen Tatad for such objective comments. Its about time that the Filipinos should act as united to remove this Stupid President from his office. The 16M Filipinos who voted for him now realized the error and regretted voting for him. Duterte is a SHAME to the international community. Stupid Duterte is acting like a barangay captain who knows nothing but to harass some people making some positive as well as negative criticisms. He cannot accept being criticized. Also, the stupid allies of this stupid president are real rubber stamps to always say “YES” to whatever he wants. The born again Cayetano is siding with this devil president. Why does Cayetano leaves behind him his moral Biblical principles in defense of this EVIL president?

    • magtiis ka ng 6 na taon kasi kami nagtiis din ng 6 na taon sa nagdaang adminisrayon! real rubber stamps ngayon? bakit? noong nakaraang adminisrasyon, fake rubber stamp? siguro fake kasi sinusuhulan ang kongreso.

      “When so much good is happening and you choose to create negativity, then you are the problem. We’re moving forward.

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