PH opposition: Under a State of Calamity

Vultures

Panahon ng famine para sa oposisyon

Lockdown

I really wish President Duterte would declare martial law. That’s the best way to enable the government to focus on the tough job of fighting the Covid 19 pandemic without the irritating chatter of its critics who simply won’t stop trying to litter its path with distractions. The last two days we have witnessed another barrage of criticism against the imposition of ECQ status in the Greater Manila Area. The critics led by Leni Robredo are making it appear this is the offshoot of poor management of the pandemic by the government.

What poor management are these morons talking about? We have the best people on the job. It is not as simple as cooking lugaw. We are fighting an unseen enemy, and every day, Covid 19 seems to be changing and evolving, making it harder to contain even as its ability to infect people grows stronger. But the Duterte administration has fared well despite our handicaps, such as inadequate funding for the tools and resources to wage an effective battle.

Now the dilawans and the reds are bitching about ECQ. Can they please tell us what is a more effective approach to the surge in Covid 19 cases? There’s none except a strict quarantine.

These idiots make it appear this is happening only in the Philippines. That is totally incorrect. As President Duterte said last night, many other countries have imposed national lockdowns. United Kingdom, France and Italy are among them. These are countries that have started their vaccination roll-out, and still, cases of Covid 19 infections have surged. Similar surges have been reported in the United States.

Indeed, it is easy to criticize. These people do not want to help. Their agenda is to agitate the Filipino people and make them angry at the government. Of course, the underlying motive becomes obvious. They want to cause widespread discontent as a precursor for their brand of people power to topple down the Duterte administration.

It is not a healthy atmosphere for the Filipino people. I would prefer to see a restriction of so-called democratic rights than allow these stooges to undermine our government’s efforts against Covid 19. This action, I believe, would draw popular support from the people.

Drilon’s true color revealed

1Sambayan is a colossal flop

It’s been two weeks since a convenor group calling itself 1Sambayan launched a movement to “unify” the opposition and field a common candidate to run against the administration in next year’s elections. But as I surfed the social media platforms, trying to get a feel on how Filipinos responded to it, I can already declare with absolute certainty that 1Sambayan is a colossal flop.

Even with mainstream media trying to boost its message and gain traction in the public consciousness, Filipinos have shown notning but utter lack of interest on what it is all about. It’s the same dog with a different collar, said a number of netizens. However the group may call itself, it’s an effort to breathe life into the candidacy of Leni Robredo for President.

After two weeks, the Twitter account of 1Sambayan has drawn only less than 10,000 followers. This is one clear indication it is not generating enthusiasm and excitement among Filipinos.

The leaders of 1Sambayan have no solid foundations to stand on, politically and morally.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio was a vocal critic while he was still on the High Court, but his credentials stop there. Everybody knows that Carpio aspired to be Chief Justice, and his frustration at being by-passed several times ate him from inside. Ordinary Filipinos have almost no awareness about this man.

Former Ombudsman and retired Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales left a legacy of protecting the “dilawan” corruption factory. I should know. Carpio-Morales was in the driver’s cab when the Office of the Ombudsman railroaded the investigation into the Iloilo Convention Center anomalies. The case, notwithstanding solid evidence on the plunder committed by Senator Franklin Drilon, was dismissed in a record six months after the complaint was filed.

It is public knowledge that cases in the Ombudsman languish for years without moving an inch. Hence, the enthusiasm shown by Morales in shielding Drilon became so much obvious.

Who is Albert del Rosario? Well, he was Foreign Affairs Secretary during the Aquino administration. Del Rosario committed a big blunder that led to the loss of the Scarborough Shoals to the Chinese. On the good side, there’s nothing to talk about. And now he steps forward once more to impose himself upon the Filipino people.

It’s not hard to see that the number one agenda of 1Sambayan is to get probable presidential bets to coalesce and support Leni Robredo. The group knows that if Senator Grace Poe runs, Robredo will be buried in the rubble. Poe is certain to get more votes than the fake vice president. The same thing can be said about Manila City mayor Isko Moreno. The mission of the convenor group is dissuade the two from running, and instead throw their support to Robredo.

Under the circumstances, Poe and Moreno are not likely to run for President. The statistical data clearly indicate it will be suicidal for them to try to challenge the Duterte brand in next year’s elections. Poe is eligible for a second term as Senator; prudence dictates that she should opt for it.

Moreno has a whole bright political future ahead of him. The wise thing is for him to run Manila for another six years, build a stronger national infrastructure and gain wider respect and acclaim for solid leadership. He has the advantage of youth. Why bang his head against a granite wall when he can wait for a better opportunity?

The other names peddled by 1Sambayan are politically insignificant, to say the least. Former Senator Antonio Trillanes and Senator Nancy Binay are not even regarded as presidential timber.

Time is running out for the opposition. After the Holy Week, Filipinos will start talking about the elections in a higher state of excitement and anticipation. Politics is the favorite pastime of the Filipino people. Many are even known to bet on electoral outcomes.

But the way things are going, the elections are likely to be boring as far as the Presidency is cocncerned. This early, Filipinos have already made up their minds that the Duterte brand — a choice from among former Senator Bongbong Marcos, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte and Senator Bong Go — will lead the country for another six years.

The surge

Effective tomorrow, the Greater Manila Area — composed of the National Capital Region and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan — will be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status for a period of seven days to contain the fresh surge of Covid 19 cases in the country.

The country saw a sharp rise of infections during the last two weeks that almost reached 10,000 new cases every day, a situation that is quite alarming.

Of course, the opposition was quick to let loose a steady barrage of propaganda blaming the “inability” of the Duterte administration in taming the pandemic. Rappler, its main mouthpiece, came out with an article with the title, ‘what went wrong” with the Duterte administration’s response to the pandemic.

In the eyes of Rappler and the yellow media, when things turn bad, it’s the fault of President Duterte. When the response to the pandemic goes well, credit goes to local government executives: the governors and mayors.

It’s not that I am still surprised by such mangling of the news and the crude effort to use the Covid 19 pandemic as a propaganda weapon against President Duterte.

This is really the problem when “freedom of the press” is abused and tolerated. Rappler and company can twist facts and tell outright lies without fear of censorship or sanctions. In many countries, this kind of reckless reporting bordering on inciting to sedition is quickly stamped out. Anyway, Rappler and company’s biased reporting belies their own propaganda that press freedom is under attack under the Duterte administration.

But we have to set the facts straight.

What we have witnessed lately isn’t the result of mismanagement or fumbles in the government response.

Elsewhere around the world, and even in the United States where vaccination has rolled out in full swing these last two months, surges in Covid 19 infections have been reported. And a number of countries have imposed lockdowns to clamp down on the deadly virus’s ability to revolve, mutate and spread even faster. The United Kingdom is still on lockdown, just to cite one example.

Dr. Teddy Herbosa, M.D. explained on CNN that the fresh surge of Covid 19 cases can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which is the mutation of new variants of the virus that are quicker to spread from person to person.

Another factor is that many people have relaxed on their own personal protection measures. Just look at Facebook and you could find countless pictures of friends and family getting together in restaurants and drinking places. Sadly, many people feel they are invulnerable to the disease, and no threat from Covid 19 can prevent them from having a good time.

We are in a situation that calls for everybody to do his or her share in fighting Covid 19. The first duty is avoid being exposed to the disease by staying at home as much as possible. When people have to go out to buy essenials, they must make sure they follow minimum protocols by wearing a face mask and face shield. Frequent handwashing cannot be overemphasized. Every small act to prevent getting infected must be done.

A yellow problem

The next elections are just 13 months and a half away.

In previous years, by this time of the year, the political cauldron would already be starting to boil, especially for those aspiring for national positions. In fact, almost all presidential wannabes will have started to go around the country to meet local leaders and gain media mileage.

If I remember correctly, then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte started to visit other cities and provinces during the first quarter of 2015. Although he hadn’t made up his mind yet at the time, he was testing the waters. He met with political leaders and civil society leaders to feel the pulse of the people. At the back of his mind, a presidential candidacy was already taking form. And comparing his experience with other presidential candidates, Mayor Digong was a relatively late in preparing for his candidacy.

Hence it is easy to see that the opposition is faced with a tough problem in deciding who to field as a common candidate to challenge the anointed bet of the administration. With his trust and approval ratings continuing to soar toward the tail-end of his term, President Duterte enjoys a rare advantage of an incumbent transferring his political capital to the candidate he endorses.

It’s something we seldom witness in politics, because in most cases, incumbents will have already slid to the bottom in survey charts, and their endorsement will carry no weight. But it’s different with President Duterte, especially that majority of Filipinos want continuity in his leadership brand, and his personal choice will bring an assurance to the people that he or she packs the same capability he has become known for.

Right now, there are two names at the top of the list in people’s minds: former Senator Bongbong Marcos and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte. Only lately, the name of Senator Bong Go was added to the list after President Duterte joked about his former aide’s interest in running for the Presidency.

President Duterte can pick any one of these three as presidential candidate, and we will find a certain winner.

Things are rather different in the ranks of the opposition, however.

It was just two weeks ago that a convenor group composed of two retired Supreme Court justices and a former Foreign Affairs secretary in the Aquino administration announced their plan to persuade possible contenders to unite behind a single standard bearer.

The announcement was met with jeers and boos in the arena of social media.

Clearly, it’s a tough job that the 1Sambayan has placed upon its shoulders. The probable contenders in their list, except for Senator Grace Poe, could hardly make a ripple in previous surveys on their winning chances. Leni Robredo remains its top bet, but from their body language, one can detect a growing sense of doubt about the viability of her candidacy. Survey after survey placed Robredo at the bottom among presidential preferences.

Trillanes? He can probably be considered if it were a game of “dama” (Filipino checkers) which allows a “pirde-gana” scame, or losers win. I can bet that Trillanes would not even make it to the top 24 among senatorial candidates, with only twelve being declared as winners. And I’m still being kind and polite in making that statement.

Nancy Binay? No way. Kiko Pangilinan? You must be kidding. Franklin Drilon? Oh even the convenors wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. He is now a political pariah. Mar Roxas? Well, he seems to be enjoying life as a father to twins. His wife, Korina, has officially declared him as retired from politics.

Only Grace Poe and Manila City mayor Isko Moreno are left as the most feasible options for 1Sambayan.

Will Grace Poe consider being the standard bearer for the yellow-and-red colors of 1Sambayan? I’m sure that if he idea of a second attempt at the Presidency has entered her mind, it will not be as 1Sambayan candidate. Being affiliated with this group will only put heavy political luggage on the shoulders of Poe, a handicap a challenger from the opposition cannot afford to carry.

Isko Moreno is popular. But he is just on his first term as City Mayor of Manila. He is young. Time is on his side. The practical thing is for him to finish three terms and build, and strengthen, his popularity. No need to hurry. Hence, the name of Isko Moreno can be scratched from the 1Sambayan shopping list.

After the launch, things seem to have quieted down for 1Sambayan. Only the mainstream media has kept its voice audible. It hasn’t created a sense of excitement for a major political showdown in the May 2022 elections. Honestly, this is one race that will be the most boring.

Drilon comes to the rescue of the Reds

Somewhere deep in the mountains of the Sierra Madre, cadres of the New People’s Army are shouting with glee and pumping their fists in the air to honor a newfound hero for their cause. And in safehouses all across Metro Manila, activists seeking the overthrow of the government are toasting each other that if a measure being pushed by Senator Franklin Drilon is enacted, they won’t have to wear masks anymore during protest actions to hide their identities.

Drilon, in a bill filed before the Senate, is proposing the criminalization of red-tagging and holding those who commit such act punishable by 10 years in jail. Nothing could provide the communists greater comfort and succor in these trying times than a shield of protection against red-tagging that only Drilon could possibly throw.

Of course, such measure has zero chance of success of being enacted, not in the present Congress, and not in the future. Filipinos are sick and tired of the destabilization efforts of left-leaning organizations led by the Makabayan bloc that aim only to weaken the foundations of government and punch holes into the government’s armor in the fight to end the communist insurgency.

Drilon simply wants to look good to the communists. At this point, the only chance Drilon can hope to lead the opposition (he is the ring-leader of that gang, not Leni Robredo) back to power is strengthen the alliance with communist insurgents. At the back of his mind, only a successful revolution from the countryside can bring down President Duterte, and he is rolling out a red carpet for his allies.

Why criminalize red-tagging? What harm does it do? Will it destroy our democratic institutions? Will it trample on people’s rights?

This is apparently Drilon’s counter-foil to the increasingly successful efforts of the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The battle for the hearts and minds of the people is swinging in favor of the government. More and more NPA cadres are giving up their arms and returning to the folds of the law. It’s mostly because of the propaganda efforts of the NTF-ELCAC, not bullets and bombs and artillery shells, that is turning the tide.

Do Filipinos want to tie the hands of the government behind its back with this proposed measure? Do the people want the likes of General Antonio Parlade muzzled and give breathing space for the red-painted left leaning organizations?

The left is now on the retreat. In a matter of time, the entire communist insurgency will be crushed. The Duterte government is demonstrating to NPA rebels that the roots of their dissatisfaction are being addressed. And the government is showing that genuine economic progress can be made to happen if obstacles to peace are removed.

There is nothing Drilon can do to stop the Duterte administration from winning this war.

A slap to the face of Leni and her yellow gang

Just two weeks to a year since the Covid 19 gripped the country in fear and desperation, we are seeing the first waves of marine forces storming the shores of the archipelago to liberate Filipinos and bring back normalcy and safety into their lives.

That’s how I now view the arrival of the covid 19 vaccines — first, 600k doses from Sinopharm and just last night, 487k doses from Astra Zeneca — these past week. It symbolizes the big turn-around in the battle against Covid 19, and I expect we will begin to feel the impact of a population having reinforced bodies against the deadly disease.

All of a sudden, we have a million doses!

It excites me to watch a panorama of media images of the first wave of the Sinovac vaccine reaching key cities outside the national capital, with well-known doctors and health professionals being first to receive their vaccine shots. It’s like watching a movie of the “good” marching to defeat the “bad”.

The victory isn’t just against Covid 19. The “good” versus “bad” metaphor refers to the demoliton of the dilawan propaganda that the government bungled the job in trying to procure vaccines for our people. It pulverized the opposition’s attempt to pooh-pooh the donation of 600k doses from China and discourage health workers from getting the vaccine shots.

Oh, it is so exhilarating! I’m getting a natural high from that feeling that I’ve also slapped the cheap efforts of Leni Robredo, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiverus, Kiko Pangilinan, Leila De Lima and Tonying Trillanes to undermine the Duterte government in their faces.