The battle we face and the President we need

16

First of two parts

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So who’s the president we should elect? For most Filipinos, the answer comes down to which candidate they like or dislike, focusing on one or two things about him or her. Not issues, qualifications or platforms, but personalities, reputations or survey ratings. Or who happened to let loose the latest headline-grabbing soundbite.

That’s the stupid way to vote. Rather, smart voters choose the candidate who has the right qualities, knowledge and track record to face the country’s biggest challenges.

So in choosing among Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, Mar Roxas, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago (assuming they’re all legitimately on the ballot in May), first figure out what struggles we face. And the biggest threat today is lawlessness.

Lawlessness on the streets, at the ports, and in the corridors of power.

Huh? That’s what readers may blurt if their usual news fare comes from pro-administration journalists in leading newspapers and broadcasters who have kept hidden some very alarming truths.

An explosion of lawlessness
And the hidden truth is that breaking laws and rules has exploded under President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the very opposite of his Tuwid na Daan slogan falsely claiming to advance good governance and the rule of law.

Crime and smuggling have trebled. Crime incidents skyrocketed from 324,083 incidents in 2010 to more than 1 million a year in 2013 and 2014, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (see https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015%20PIF.pdf and https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2012%20PIF.pdf, noting that 2011-12 figures are grossly understated, with several police chiefs relieved or probed for false data).

That’s not the work of random criminals, who don’t just triple in a few years, but organized crime, which is now even assassinating judges.

And based on International Monetary Fund trade data, smuggling leapt from $7.9 billion in 2009 to $26.6 billion in 2014. Some P4 trillion in total undeclared or undeclared cargo slipped in under Aquino, losing P760 billion in uncollected value-added tax alone (http://www.manilatimes.net/smuggling-utterly-out-of-control-under-aquino-regime-p4-trillion-in-last-five-years/212920/).

Not to mention allowing in guns, drugs and other dangerous cargo, including contraband in more than 2,000 containers lost in 2011, with no investigation by Aquino or his chosen Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.

Corruption from the top
Add to unprecedented crime and contraband the corruption in key agencies and Congress, which Aquino has abetted with “selective prosecution” of graft, as Catholic bishops called it, and the use of pork barrel to grease legislation and impeachment.

The Priority Development Assistance Fund nearly tripled to more than P20 billion a year in Aquino’s budgets, while the P157-billion Disbursement Acceleration Program is the biggest malversation in Philippine history.

Plus billions of pesos in anomalies involving Metro Rail Transit contracts, license plates, military helicopters, police rifles, among other agency transactions. Most notorious is the Department of Transportation and Communication under Liberal Party stalwarts Mar Roxas, the LP standard bearer, and leader Jose Emilio Abaya. Even respected analyst and Aquino backer Peter Wallace decries: “This government does not honor contracts.”

Aquino has constantly defended his coterie of classmates, allies and shooting buddies, even bailing out two LP stalwarts on trial at the Sandiganbayan. That has encouraged more crony excesses like the “laglag-bala” airport scam. And remember the Mamasapano mission in which 44 police commandos died, illegally run by suspended PNP Chief Alan Purisima with Aquino’s nod.

The narco-state threat
What’s worse, the lawbreaking continues, to raise election funds and make hay one last time before Aquino goes on June 30.

After he boasted in his last State of the Nation Address that Metro Manila crime was down, the Philippine National Police Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, which handles crime data, reported that in January-June last year, there were 885,445 incidents tallied, up 46 percent over the first semester of 2014.

Index crimes surged 37 percent to 352,321. Murders jumped 45 percent to 7,245, while physical injury rose by half to 182,886 incidents. Thefts hit 105,229, up by nearly 20,000 from a year ago. And watch your car — carnapping nearly doubled to 10,039. The directorate head later claimed that many incidents were not verified, as if both police and people would actually report hundreds of thousands of crimes that never happened.

As for smuggling, the scheme of uninspected and untaxed cargo containers getting lost between ports is back many times over. As one veteran customs broker tells it, hundreds of containers are spirited out of Subic port every week, including dozens from his former client who switched to a brokerage with no scruples and no duties charged.

And if you think pork barrel is history after the Supreme Court declared PDAF unconstitutional over a year ago, in fact, it’s bigger than ever, as fellow columnist Rigoberto Tiglao detailed yesterday (http://www.manilatimes.net/largest-pork-barrel-ever-p24-7-billion-in-election-year/237599/). No wonder congressmen have been warned of curtailed fund releases if they don’t approve the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Plainly, if this explosion in crime, contraband and corruption continues, the Philippines will follow the not-so-straight path taken by Latin American narco-states, where crime lords wield immense political power. That’s the threat the next president must fight.

Who can lead this battle?

So which presidential candidate is best suited to battle criminal syndicates, smuggling kingpins, and corrupt leaders helping one another?

First, he must not be part of the administration that unleashed this triple scourge. It began when Aquino not only trebled PDAF, but also kept proven jueteng fighter Jesse Robredo and customs reformer Guillermo Parayno off the police and the ports back in 2010 (see http://www.manilatimes.net/is-aquino-corrupt/217735/). That corrupted Congress, cops and customs even more, letting crime and contraband flourish.

Second, the next president should be battle-tested, for what’s ahead is nothing less than a war on crooks in concert across the archipelago. Third, the future leader must be able to mobilize the nation, for upright officialdom and citizenry must fight this battle together and with God’s grace. It will be bloody.

(The last part on Thursday will discuss who is best equipped to fight this lawless surge.)

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16 Comments

  1. I will choose VP Binay above all the candidates for sure, facing all those challenges of the country nowadays he’s the only man thats proven and tested no one else.

  2. DUTERTE is what you have described as the leader we need. We are blessed with one opportunity to put him as our President. We may never have his calibre ever again who could neutralize the machinery of the BUWAYA and Inutil who have been tormenting us ORDINARY PILIPINOS for the longest time. It is our moral obligation to campaign him to those who are swayed by bribery and fake seasonal kindness of trapos.

  3. Only in the Philippines…..Our Presidentiables…Senator Miriam Santiago said she had cancer now she overcome it….Senator Grace Poe said she is a Filipino and a natural born citizen…disqualification cases were filed against her for being unqualified ,this is tantamount to lying her true status as an American at the time she entered Philippine politics….VP Jojo Binay accused of corruption by his former vice mayor at Senate inquiry nothing happened for lack of evidence …said he is being politically persecuted…Mayor.Duterte accused of human rights offenses, promise to get rid of criminality if voted upon, said I am not running now he is running… lastly Secretay Mar Roxas promise to follow Daan Balukot no way; Matuwid pala considered DAP administration…Let us vote…whom do you like…Let us just vote for Manny Pacman for President to stop Senator Rene Saquisag from demonizing him…

  4. There is a simple answer to this problem. This country is not properly managed.
    Imagine placing General Purisima as chief ! Placing Abad as budget secretary, and Abaya as DOTC head. What do you expect ? The only saving factor is the OFWs that is pumping money to the population. Billions were sent here and obviously spent here in our country. They are the heroes and not the government officials that steals monies from the budget.

  5. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    05 Jan. 2015

    If I get the drift of RICARDO SALUDO in his first-of-two parts column, “The battle we face and the President we need,” where he clearly pinpoints LAWLESSNESS as “the biggest threat–in the streets, at the ports, and in the corridors of power,” he is for the Filipino people voting for former Davao City Mayor RODY DUTERTE as President.

    As the whole country must now know, it was Mayor Rody Duterte who succeeded in making Davao City virtually crime-free–but did it by employing extra-judicial means, including killing known criminals himself! He had absolutely no problem acting like the legendary sheriff WYATT EARP who cleaned up the crime-ridden town of TOMBSTONE using his six-shooter to get rid of all the criminals!

    Ricardo Saludo must be fully convinced that what Rody Duterte successfully did as Mayor of Davao City is concerned–as far as getting rid of crime and criminals is concerned–he could likewise successfully do as President on a national scale, which is to get rid of all criminals “on the streets, at the ports, and in the corridors of power [obviously referring to all criminals in the Government].

    I have very serious reservations if a President Rody Duterte would be completely free to do what he did in Davao City as Mayor and do exactly that on a national scale, extra-judicially, if he has to respect and obey the Constitution and the Laws of the land. I think if that is what he will do as President, within one year of his presidency, he will be subject to IMPEACHMENT!

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

  6. Daang Matuwid? The Press Secretary had to beg to not take all of P-Noy’s words literally.

  7. Tested to battle lawlessness and tough guy w/out any record of corruption!you know who he is! just a hint look at Davao City where disciplined people are there, sad to say that still a lot of bobotante sa Pinas! Dios na ang bahala sa atin…

  8. Mr. Saludo is a highly respected government official during PGMA’s administration. His critical political analysis is a MUST READ by both the Filipino voters and the politicians because he is giving us a real political scenario comes not only this national election but after the election. After the election what comes next. To me, MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE of Davao City is the only presidential candidate who can effectively address these social problems because of how he transformed Davao City from troubled city in 1980s to a more progressive and promising growth center in the south.

  9. laguatanlawzen.com on

    I think the only Presidential candidate who has the guts and political will power to fight head-on all sorts of criminality and serious ills of the country is no other than Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte. He doesn’t compromise. I subscribe to his program of government. Our country is now seriously sick – although it is not dying, but it is so sick that it needs an honest-to-goodness national leader to meet these various contingencies. Let’s face it – Binay, Roxas, Poe, they don’t have the guts and the will power to fight all sorts of criminality that is gnawing the political fibers of our free society. Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte is already battle-tested to fight them. Let’s try a non-TRAPO.

  10. Glads Villegas on

    Clearly there is no other candidate as qualified than Mayor Rody Duterte. Decades of experience to produce a Davao City that is a model City to many. He is the best candidate to start the process of cleaning up the most corrupt Country per United Nation. He can start from all the corrupt officials to all those criminals who thinks they rule the land. Most Filipinos are only waiting for the right leader to come. They will slowly but surely help make Philippines great. As one who has been living in the States for more than 3 decades now, I am looking forward to a new and better Philippines under a President Duterte. May God be with him and family and keep them safe.

  11. Its Merriam Defensor, who has the brain to battle and fix all this problems made by Abnoy Aquino. Brainless people should not be voted by the smart voters..

    • Boy quinagoran on

      I agree. Only miriam has all the good qualities to be a good president. In fact she was the rightful president in 1992. (She was robbed in the presidential election that year)

  12. Corruption is not exclusive to money , there is corruption in character /spiritual corruption
    etc…..

    Our government is like a Battleground it is riddled with all sorts of corruption.

    Like sending a soldier to fight the front, he needs to be prepared with experience and strategy. He must be equipped to win the war.

    It should not be a training ground just like what BSAquino is doing and Grace P.Llamanzares . Enough with this kind of leaders without experience.