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The New York times story

RRoy’siPadThe New York Times story
Ronald Roy — Mar. 29, 2017

From where I sit, the New York Times story about how erstwhile Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte became president, and a strongman at that, reads like an off-the-cuff narration devoid of prejudice that Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella slams as a “well-paid hack job”.

To be fair, however, Abella can be forgiven for satisfying the purpose of his job: to defend and enhance the positive image of his benefactor at all costs. In any event, NYT Journalist Richard C. Paddock, by refraining from making judgmental comments, does well to preserve the integrity of his work, preferring to construct it largely on facts and “admissions” coming from PDu30 himself.

Duterte’s disarming charm
What may be considered as the outstanding highlight of Paddoc’s piece is: despite Digong’s palpable traits that suggest his seeming unfitness for the presidency, he has that disarming hoi polloi charm that substantiates his immense popularity and abates his vulnerability to harm.

Paddoc neither chides nor supports international critiques against the Filipino strongman. As a matter of fact, he somehow manages to intimate that PDu30’s huge popularity is his reliable democratic aegis against being overthrown other than by the sovereign Filipino people themselves, or other forces acting under the Rule of Law.

Indeed, Digong Duterte, standing behind the eight ball defiant to the traditional norms of governance and good conduct, repeatedly vows to “kill” anyone he deems pernicious to the national life and, whenever he does, he mystifyingly draws the lusty cheers of his countless fans.

Digong, a Machiavelli
Flippantly projecting himself as a benevolent strongman to whose heart his people are first and last, the president will not hesitate to employ whatever means — unlawful though they may be — are necessary to serve the greater good of their welfare. No doubt, this makes him a “Machiavelli”.

The memory of Niccolo Machiavelli, a 16th century Italian philosopher and politician, remains to this day exalted or vilified for his controversial advocacy: “The end justifies the means”.

History shows, indeed, that strong rulers have risen or fallen in pursuit of this aphorism, so that our bullheaded president, a lawyer no less, will do well to observe utmost caution in dealing with it in a highly constitutional society.

There is no question that PDu30 is a well-meaning Machiavelli who enjoys massive popular support, but his good intentions should never be an excuse for breaching the law. Dura lex sed lex. (The law is harsh, but obey it because it is the law.)

Speaking as a rigidly trained lawyer, I can only hope that the Rule of Law, which he is sworn to uphold, will show his way through. Paradoxically, however, my problem starts when I cheer him as an anti-Yellow writer…hahaha!

Tightrope acts
On the issue of suspending the barangay elections, Digong dares to do a tightrope act by planning to appoint replacements for some elective officials known or suspected to be lackeys of drug lords.

Despite the obviously good intentions behind this move, the traditional recourse is for Digong to get off the tightrope in deference to the constitutional letter and spirit that prohibit such a move.

But there’s the rub: He’s damned if he gets off the tightrope, and damned if he doesn’t! Ayayay…who says the basic charter is perfect anyway???

Another daring act that places him out on a limb is his having allowed China access to our territorial waters known as Benham Rise — which is located along our eastern coastline — in ostensibly treasonous defiance of the recent arbitral court’s ruling in our favor.

Lucky stars and charisma
Yes, Digong may have committed a cardinal offense against the State, but he can thank his lucky stars and humungous hoi polloi charisma for shielding him from the ravages of impeachment which, after all, is a political exercise.

The whole horribly cynical point of this treatise is that: yes, like it or not, an impeached president can be acquitted by popular acclaim, not by the evidence, the gravity of his offense notwithstanding.

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

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