“To be or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, end them?”
– Hamlet by William Shakespeare
When I was detained for one year six months and eleven days, in Ipil Rehabilitation Center (IRC), one of the Marcos political prisons in Fort Bonifacio during martial law, my client and friend, Secretary Antonio “Tony” Raquiza related this story to me while appealing for my release with President Ferdinand E. Marcos (FM). The conversation went this way:
Raquiza: You know, Mr. President, it is about time you release Atty. Homobono Adaza. He has been there for more than a year. After all, you have already released those who attempted to assassinate you, like Eddie Figueras.
Marcos: Tony, I released the likes of Figueras because they are known factors, therefore they are no longer dangerous. But in the case of your friend, he is an imponderable factor that makes him dangerous. So we should keep him there.
This conversation reminds me of the current scramble for the presidency of the Republic. Being publicly pushed into the presidential office by their camp followers, the imponderable factors go by the names of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City and Vice-President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.
Why are Duterte and Binay the imponderable factors in the present political situation? This is due to the fact that Duterte preaches unthinkable and inhuman messages for the people of this country and he has significant following and Binay because he might just become President of this Republic. So what if Binay becomes President and Duterte keeps on preaching his messages which have criminal and lawless overtones? If they continue to pursue their objectives, then they are imponderable and, therefore, dangerous. Their body language and their statements make them dangerous because one cannot with certainty predict how they will conduct themselves, if Duterte arouses the people to frenzy by adopting his messages and decides to make a run for the presidency, or if Binay gets to be President, as the following analysis will show.
Duterte the reluctant candidate
Duterte has been traveling throughout the country in a private jet – ostensibly campaigning for the presidency with the federal system as his rationale for running with his capacity to kill criminals, including grafters and the corrupt. But when pressed by media whether he is running for the presidency, his most telling reply is that he is not because he is too old for the presidency and the demands of the national campaign. He is quick to add his additional reasons that his family objects to his running and he does not have the funds to sustain a costly national campaign.
And now, subjected to intense pressure by his admirers, he sheepishly comes out with a reply to give him a little more time to hear the voice of God. He says that if he decides to run for the presidency, it could only be due to the will of God.
But depending on his audience, he says many contradictory things.
A few weeks ago, he was in Bonbon, Catarman, Camiguin. In a well applauded speech, he was quoted to have said that he has FIFTEEN BILLION PESOS worth of gold in his hands and he is trying to convert it into cash to fund his campaign. If he has this kind of wealth, then he is not telling the truth to media that he does not have the funds to finance his national campaign? Or, was he just pulling the legs of his audience in Camiguin?
As he flew to Camiguin in a private jet, he must have enough money to move around. So money is not really the problem. So what is his real reason for this advance and retreat movement? To keep his media coverage continuous; to make himself sound mysterious; to keep his supporters work some more? But none of the answers to these questions can explain the Duterte indecision.
The projection that Duterte makes in this stance is indecisiveness. Who needs an indecisive leader; this country has had enough of them. Another one makes the Filipino looks stupid. Who among us Filipinos wants to be branded stupid unless one really is?
There is nothing wrong by consulting family. But to be guided by a family decision renders one unfit for national leadership. A leader who can make a difference in this country is he who makes God and country as his priorities and everything else takes second fiddle – family included.
The lawyer and revolutionary
And the voice of God, that is not difficult for Duterte to hear. He has Quiboloy, the charismatic religious cult leader in Davao City who believes that he is the son of God and adores Duterte. So there it is. God’s voice is just a phone call away.
Duterte is also a lawyer and was a prosecutor once. He is the mayor of Davao City. In all of these capacities, he took his oath to uphold the law and the Constitution. But he publicly declares that he does not believe in due process, thus he eliminates criminals without due process and boasts about the peace that reigns in Davao City – the peace of the grave not the peace of the brave.
In cleaning Davao City of lawless elements he does not kill the criminals himself. He has to have a death squad to do the dirty job which he keeps denying that it exists. What does he think of the people – stupid? Since he is a lawyer, I suppose he understands this legal maxim – evidence to be believed must not only come from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible by itself. As the cliché goes, Duterte should tell that to the American marines of old, not the present ones.
So you have a lawyer, prosecutor, mayor who does not believe in the Constitution since due process is the heart of the Constitution. Who does he think of himself – the God in his kingdom? Well, the people of this country are not Davaoenos, the creatures in the Duterte zoo. He cannot make this country his kingdom; the country is too civilized for the Dutertes of the world.
Then, in a prophetic mode, Duterte says he will declare a revolutionary government if he gets elected president. It has many ifs – if he runs for president; if he gets elected; if he does not change his mind if he gets elected. First, I don’t believe that he can get elected president. Second, I don’t believe that any traditional politician will consider supporting him as he intends to kill, according to him, the grafters and the corrupt constituting the overwhelming majority in this country. Third, assuming he gets elected, he will have the Supreme Court, Congress, and the oligarchs and other vested interests which are not with him to contend with. So where will he find himself? Verily, he will likely end up in the kangkong plantation.
Now, General Jovito Palparan says that Duterte is an NPA-CPP coddler. In the newspapers, Duterte confirms it on the claim that the rebels are different from the criminals who get terminated in his city. But the NPA members are charged with violation of the Anti-Subversion Law and rebellion. These charges are criminal offenses. As a coddler, on his own admission, the same charges could be leveled against him either as co-conspirator, accomplice or accessory after the fact. Even worse, he could be charged with treason under Article 114 of the Revised Penal Code for giving aid or comfort to the enemy.
You may claim that no charges of such kind have been filed against Duterte. Well, don’t look at me. The reason why he is not charged is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is incompetent and afraid of Duterte. Is that my fault?
His body language indicates that he derives pleasure in killing criminals without the benefit of due process. But did not the ones whom his death squad has killed belong to the poor and the underprivileged? Has his death squad killed any smuggler, corrupt and grafter and criminals who are influential?
Is it true that he is also coddling the Ampatuans who have known to have palaces in Davao City – the same Amputuans who are charged with having murdered 52 media practitioners simply because they committed a mistake of accompanying the representatives of their gubernatorial opponent who were on the way to filing his certificate of candidacy? They say that birds of a feather flock together. What does this make of Duterte? He cannot be an eagle, so he must be Edgar Allan Poe’s raven?
Talking about men of influence of Davao City, Jun Pala was not yet a councilor of Davao City when he organized Alsa Masa, the anti-communist organization that smashed the communists in Agdao, a barangay in Davao City, known as Nicaragdao. Jun became a popular figure in Davao City because of his achievements in Agdao leading to his election as city councilor of Davao. Jun committed the mistake of fighting Duterte, the king of the jungle that is Davao. After escaping two ambushes, Jun finally died on the third ambush. Well, what has Duterte got to say on Jun Pala’s murder?
They say, a picture tells a thousand words. Well this is a candid photo of Duterte – Duterte, anyone?
Binay – the other imponderable
Like Duterte, Binay is also an imponderable factor because you do know which way his mind swings. But something makes him dangerous as an imponderable factor because, if anything happens to President PNOY anytime before elections, the man then becomes President of the Republic
He was with PNoy for five years praising daang matuwid and singing hosannahs to his friendship with President Cory and her family. He courted very intensely Pnoy’s support for his continuing bid for the presidency. But when it was already clear that PNoy was ostensibly supporting Mar Roxas’ presidential bid, Binay’s tune changed. He called the Pnoy administration manhid – insensitive– to the cries of the people. Where was Binay for the past five years? He was on Pnoy’s side praising and admiring him!
Binay charged the administration, not directly PNoy, as the one behind the efforts of the Senate and the Pnoy spinners of airing false charges against him and his family and deglamorizing him to derail his bid for the presidency. Well, Binay is correct that the group of PNoy is behind the moves deglamorizing him but whether the charges are false is another matter.
The VP has also the effrontery of defending political dynasties which are condemned by the Constitution. He was also foolish to defend the INC rally as pursuant to religious freedom and its exercise.
All these prove that Binay is a very traditional politician and nothing good can come out from the coconut of a traditional politician except his own and his family’s interests.
What makes him imponderable and dangerous? Because he is one breathe away from the presidency! If Pnoy forgets to breathe any day now, Binay will succeed him to that office. That makes Binay very dangerous! The charges against him and his family will be wiped out clean. The wheels of vengeance against the whistleblowers and his enemies will begin to roll. Nothing new will happen to this country except for the senior citizens of the country to start and continue eating their cakes and go to the movies for free.
The picture is so reminiscent days before the French Revolution when Marie Antoniette told Frenchmen to eat cake, instead of bread.
In this country, there is hardly any choice among the prospective candidates for president – imponderable or not. So why vote? To begin with, elections are nothing but criminal exercises of the voters, the candidates and the Comelec.