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Ronald Roy — May 26, 2016

I apologize for a misimpression my recent article “Bitter lesson” might have created for some of my readers. Accordingly, let me just say that 1) presumptive President-elect Rody Duterte won fair and square, and that 2) in any election, the winner’s total votes do not necessarily reflect what is best for the welfare of the people. Voters, after all, are only humans prone to errors; thus, only time will tell if their vote for Duterte was a regrettable one.

Throughout the campaign, the roguish Davao City Mayor cast aside good manners and right conduct to the amusement of the hoi polloi. Projecting himself as their on-the-spot executioner of hardened criminals, drug lords and pushers, Duterte cussed his critics in the most shockingly vulgar manner and, in relation to a 27-year-old case, even remarked that he had wanted to be the first to enjoy the gang-rape of a pretty Australian missionary who was subsequently murdered.

Severing diplomatic ties
And when the American and Australian ambassadors diplomatically reacted to the coarse remark (which he later claimed was a joke), he told them to “shut up, or I will sever diplomatic ties with your countries”. At this point, we beg to consider how this threat to cut diplomatic relations, let alone the “joke”, will impact on our foreign relations with the cited countries, particularly in respect of our heavy reliance on them on matters germane to our national security, vis-à-vis saber-rattling China and ISIS, for example.

Well, U.S. President Barack Obama certainly did not appreciate Duterte’s sense of humor or overbearing posture. Over a week ago, he called up to perfunctorily congratulate the mayor, and to curtly tell him to “protect human rights”. According to an insider, Rody’s reply was something like: “Ah..eh..um…opo, bossing, no problem”.

That it was a caveat which Obama issued is beyond dispute. American presidents are not known to either hedge or mince words in eyeball-to-eyeball confrontations, and it’s relieving to learn that the toughie from Davao City didn’t mess with the toughie from Washington D.C., who is credited with having liquidated international terrorists like Al Qaida’s Bin Laden. The call ended with the usual hackneyed niceties and pledges of mutual cooperation.

Tough and rough
It’s okay to be tough and rough with characters from the underworld, but this manner of silencing will hardly work elsewhere, like the Congress. Rody won an overwhelming vote for some radical promises that will require not only some charter changes, but also the cooperation of the two legislative chambers and, if need be, the nod of the Supreme Court.

Really, it won’t be hunky-dory transforming his promises into realities. Under the outgoing administration, the RH Bill was paralyzed by the Church, and the Anti-Dynasty Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill were torpedoed by the self-interests of solons. Even P-Noy’s awesome “pork power” sometimes fell short of his getting certain things done his way.

Well, on this point, we can only guess whatever persuasive (arm-twisting?) tools Rody may wish to employ to make good his promises; he can’t let his supporters down, can he? But he is dead wrong if he feels optimistic about the still-growing massive support coming from the border-crossing ranks of balimbings (turncoats) — a traditional ego-inflating treat for incoming chief executives.

Moral regeneration
I hate to say it, but most of these balimbings are primarily for themselves. If Rody does not play the “pork barrel game of old”, a corrupt system that he denounced when he campaigned, he’ll wish he’d never run for president. That’s how deceiving our politicians have been all these years!!

Therefore, Rody’s “changes” must include not only the strengthening of existing systems and structures, but also establishing more responsive institutions and, most especially, initiating the fostering of a moral climate under which our ailing democracy can hopefully recover. Parenthetically, it’s been estimated that a people’s moral regeneration may take over twenty years.

In this regard, our president-to-be appears to be on the right track by seeking the restoration of the death penalty, although some measure of resistance to the idea can be expected. Yes, the gallows for capital offenders, be they high-ranking officials or not who committed plunder, are their comeuppance; and good Lord, there must be over a dozen of them!!

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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