Daily Archives: October 6, 2016

Duterte’s Awesome and Mighty Powers

EPCC NEWS
October 6, 2016

Duterte’s Awesome and Mighty Powers

By Tony La Vina

(Note; We reprinted some parts ofthe “Eagle Eyes” column of Prof.Tony La Vina. This is from a newspaper in Manila, The Manila Standard on the first 100 Days of President Duterte for your reading. Some of the editing is ours –Editor)

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Having acknowledged his strengths, I will now share Duterte’s weaknesses and the threats that his presidency brings to the country.

I will not sugarcoat the President nor interpret his words and actions, giving them a different twist than what seems to me to be loud and clear. I take his actions and words for what they are, and assume that he means them. Because of these, there are serious challenges before us as a people and country: on human rights, on foreign policy, and on the future of our democracy.

First, human rights. There is no doubt that the President does not care greatly about human rights in the traditional sense of the term. He has spoken numerous occasions about this. Certainly to him, human rights must be subordinated to the common good.

From his first day in office, in his dinner with the people in the slums of Tondo, he made it clear that drug addicts are dispensable, damaged goods.

When he says that addicts are not human beings, I believe he means that. When he promises to slaughter three million drug addicts, I do not consider that hyperbole. Indeed, if I had a drug addict in my family now and we could afford it, I will make sure that family member leaves the country now and comes back only in 2022.

It is still safe now for people in gated communities, as the massacre of the poor is happening only in depressed neighborhoods. Still, with the metrics that seems to guide the war against drugs, that could change in months. Even middle-class addicts and users, including suspected ones, will also be targeted.

Given this view of human rights and its disregard just to win the war against drugs, and given the language of the President, I am no longer optimistic that President Duterte can avoid an international indictment for wanton violation of human rights.

I oppose the filing of such charges not just because it could be legally infirm for now but also it could create a backlash against human rights advocates in the country and could have disastrous consequences on democracy here. What is sad is that it is so avoidable—if only the President were more temperate in his language and if internal accountability mechanisms, such as the Commission on Human Rights, were given more support and encouragement to work. The fairness of the hearings in Congress are also crucial in this respect.

Second, foreign policy. I get the President loud and clear on this, too. He does not like the United States. He likes China and Russia better, thinking our strategic interests lie best if we make a realignment happen. It is not unthinkable that we will soon break relations with the United States. We have to prepare for that.

I do not object to President Duterte for making the case for a strategic realignment. But I wish this happened as a consequence of a debate within our foreign policy establishment, including in Congress, and not a result of one’s man perceptions and decisions. Years—nay, decades—of tedious and challenging diplomatic work are now being wrecked.

The realignment should happen with the right information and analysis about Chinese and Russian intentions, and with knowledge of the enormous military, economic and political consequences of such a decision.

Third and finally, the future of our democracy. I fear for our democracy. There is hardly any political opposition left. The unintended consequence of the budget reforms, all well-intended, under the Aquino administration has led to the consolidation of presidential power over the budget, making Congress useless. T

he use of the impeachment power against Chief Justice Corona instructed future presidents on how to coerce the Judiciary. The unprecedented attacks, from all fronts, against Vice President Binay, have also been instructive.

We now see that happening with Senator Leila de Lima. And then we have the manipulation of social media, with trolls unleashed at anyone that might criticize the President or anyone, like the Reuters journalists Manuel Mogato and Karen Lema, who are simply doing their job and reporting the facts.

It is not the fault of President Duterte that all these threats to democracy are unleashed, but it is within his power to stop them.

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ALLIANCE PHILIPPINES: RELEASE ALL POLITICAL DETAINEES IN THE PHILIPPINES EVEN BEFORE A PEACE AGREEMENT IS SIGNED

For Immediate Release

ALLIANCE PHILLIPINES

October 6, 2016

ALLIANCE PHILIPPINES: RELEASE ALL POLITICAL DETAINEES IN THE PHILIPPINES EVEN BEFORE A PEACE AGREEMENT IS SIGNED

Los AngelesRelease All Political Detainees in the Philippines!

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On the eve of the second round of the peace negotiations between the NDFP  and the GPH In Norway on October 6, 2016  , The Alliance Philippines (AJLPP) stands with the National Democratic Front (NDF)  call for the immediate release of all political detainees in the Philippines.

The Alliance Philippines condemned the continuing non-compliance”of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)  that the release of all political prisoners should not be an outcome of a final peace agreement.

NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni insists that “the release of all political prisoners should not be an outcome of the successful conclusion of the peace talks.”

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The Alliance agreed with the NDFP  “That anchoring an amnesty proclamation to a final peace agreement would make the more than 400 detained political prisoners and the recently released NDF consultants as virtual hostages to the peace talks.

Their immediate release is a matter of compliance with the CARHRIHL and the JASIG,” Jalandoni said.

The Alliance Philippines scored President Duterte’s declaration that  “a the remaining 500 political detainees will only be released when the final peace agreement is signed.

The Duterte regime is hell bent to bait the NDF to disarm. demobilize and integrate wit the AFP like the FARC-EP in Colombia. Thus, they are holding the political detainees as hostages to the peace agreement.”

Disconnect in GRP Side

The Alliance agrees with the NDF and Jalandoni  that  “there seems to be a disconnect between President Duterte, who commits to the expeditious release of all political prisoners through an amnesty proclamation, the GRP Peace Panel, and the legal courts in the Philippines.”

“The fabricated criminal cases that are not yet dropped are like swords of Damocles hanging over the heads of JASIG-protected consultants of the NDFP.”

” Their freedom of movement is being restricted,” says Jalandoni, urging the GRP Peace Panel not to use the political prisoners and the recently released NDF consultants as trump cards in the peace negotiations.

The second round of peace negotiations is set to take place in Oslo, Norway from October 6-10, 2016 with social and economic reforms as among the focus of the discussions.

For A Truly Just and Lasting Peace In the Philippines! 

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