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PHNO PRESIDENTIAL (DU30) NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)
PALACE INVITES U.N. TO PROBE KILLINGS
(he Palace, in its invitation, called on Callamard to “take a fresh look at the Philippine situation in the light of the drug problem that bedevils our country and has been proven to be more widespread than initially thought.”)
[RELATED: ICC in Hague prosecutor issues warning vs killings in Philippines]
[RELATED(2) No proof of state-sponsored drug killings, Gordon says]
OCTOBER 12 -FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, human rights activists light candles for the victims of extra-judicial killings around the country in the wake of "War on Drugs" campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File Malacañang has officially invited a United Nations special rapporteur to come to the Philippines to investigate rising cases of extrajudicial killings allegedly unleashed by President Duterte’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs and criminality. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Palace has sent the invitation to UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and is awaiting her response. In its invitation, the Palace also urged the UN rapporteur to include in her investigation the killings of law enforcers by drug suspects so she could obtain “an accurate perspective” of the drug problem in the country. READ MORE... RELATED, ICC in Hague prosecutor issues warning vs killings in Philippines.... RELATED(2), No proof of state-sponsored drug killings, Gordon says
ALSO PHILSTAR NEWSLAB: High Time - The drug problem through a new lens
[RELATED: Rody on killings, ICC prosecutor warning - Don’t look at me]
(“Now they say there are already 3,000 people who were killed. Three thousand? Who killed them? I don’t know, but why are they pointing at me, blaming me for those deaths?” the President said in a speech in Basco, Batanes where he visited the victims of a recent typhoon.)
SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 -With lives at stake, the choices in the drug war have always been just two: Wasting and saving them. It's time we consider the second option. Unsplashed background img 2 The plunge "Sabi nila, 'Heto, subukan natin,'" Charles* recalls. "We did it for the sake of trying, until it became a monthly thing." The next thing he knew, it cost him his calmness. What came next was his job. He hopes his son won't be next. Charles is a first-timer in Bicutan's rehabilitation and treatment facility. Bill*,on the other hand, considers himself an "experienced patient" after a tragic relapse. They were both methamphetamine users. But they both came from different worlds. Charles, a former graphic artist who hustled his way through three firms, hails from a neighborhood he describes as "so busy, the moment you'd wake up from bed you'd emerge from market stalls." Bill, who once worked as a call center supervisor, came from a well-off family—the kind that affords to send their kids to a high school in Italy. The kind that owns multiple houses across Manila. Both Charles and Bill say they picked up the habit simply because they belonged to a wrong, uneducated bunch. Both are remorseful and optimistic that there's life after rehabilitation. But more importantly, they consider themselves lucky. If not for little epiphanies, they believe they'd still be stuck in the same rut. Charles, a patient from the Bicutan Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (TRC), has kept his drug habit from his three employers... and his young son who believes he is only getting treatment for an ear problem. READ MORE...RELATED, Rody on killings, ICC prosecutor warning: Don’t look at me...
ALSO Duterte backtracks: No intention to cut military ties with allies
(Speaking after an oath taking of new appointees in Malacañang, Duterte said[to Yasay] he did not mean to “cancel or abrogate the military alliances” but asked: “Do you really think we need it? If there is a war?)
[RELATED: Lacson - RP won’t survive without US; fate of EDCA still hangs]
[RELATED(2) OPINION: Demonic forces engulfing PH — Duterte should resign]
OCTOBER 12 -Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it was still status quo as far as security ties between the Philippines and the US were concerned. AP Photo/Aaron Favila A week after he declared that he would eventually break up with the United States, President Duterte changed his tune again yesterday as he declared that he would not cut military ties with allies even as he asked whether such partnerships were still needed in the time of powerful weapons and equipment. His defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, also said it was still status quo as far as security ties between the Philippines and the US were concerned. “We’re not giving up our relationship with the US,” Lorenzana told reporters at the Senate where he attended the hearing on the Department of National Defense’s proposed budget for 2017. READ MORE...RELATED, Lacson: RP won’t survive without US; fate of EDCA still hangs.. RELATED(2) , OPINION: Demonic forces engulfing PH — Duterte should resign...
ALSO: By Y. Makabenta - DU30’s visit to Beijing like Chamberlain’s visit to Munich in 1938
(1 OF 7 Readers replied: ELCID PELAYO on OCTOBER 15, 2016 10:00 AM Why are you comparing Duterte to Chamberlain? The British had an Empire,had the wherewithal to face Herr Adolf while the Philippines,almost a century after World War II its leaders including that previous one never really had the political will to substantially establish a credible external defenses and we are still terribly dependent on the whims of a deceptive and unreliable U.S. Ally. Compare him instead to Manuel L. Quezon upon realizing that he had been duped into spending for a farcical ” Field Marshal” Douglas MacArthur for an equally farcical defense structure. Here is an excerpt of the “Official Gazette” on Quezon’s precipitate flight to Tokyo at the eve of WW2;...)
OCTOBER 14 -YEN MAKABENTA - First Read Thanks to University of the Philippines law professor Jay Batongbacal, the Filipino nation is finally awakening to the great importance and far-reaching implications of President Duterte’s visit to China next week and the pivot of Philippine foreign policy to China. The professor, who is also director of the UP Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, warned last week that our government is methodically eliminating all means of leverage with which the Philippines could secure its interests against “its larger, more powerful neighbor.” Elaborating, he said: “President Duterte is taking a huge risk, betting all on China’s goodwill and beneficence without the insurance provided by the diversified, multi-lateral support of historical and traditional friends and allies. “Over the long term, China unmistakably stands to gain much, while the Philippines’ fate remains uncertain.” Batongbacal issued the statement after learning that Duterte canceled the China trip of former President Fidel Ramos after Ramos advised DU30 not to push through with the trip to China if they would not comply with certain conditions. Instead of heeding Ramos’ advice, Duterte canceled Ramos’ China trip and personally took control of talks with Chinese officials without even consulting or informing the concerned Philippine counterparts. READ MORE...
ALSO: US, EU also invited to probe Philippine killings
[RELATED: I'm not a womanizer, Duterte tells businessmen / Pia Wurtzbach calls Duterte 'a gentleman']
OCTOBER 13 -Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte shout slogans as they gather for a rally near the Presidential Palace to mark Duterte's first 100 days in office Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The protesters lauded Duterte's move to push for the peace talks with communist rebels as well as to halt joint U.S. military exercises but cautioned him on his bloody anti-drug campaign which puts the death toll at about 3,600, including more than 1,300 suspects killed in gunbattles with police or an average of 36 killings a day since he took office on June 30. The complete banner reads: Stop Killing Farmers! AP Photo/Bullit Marquez Rody: No abrogation of defense pacts With a UN rapporteur welcoming his formal invitation to investigate extrajudicial killings in the country, President Duterte revealed yesterday a similar invitation is being readied for representatives of the United States and the European Union. He made the announcement, apparently still unaware of the UN rapporteur’s reaction, at the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard in Manila. In his remarks, Duterte said the UN High Commission on Human Rights is “now in limbo” and couldn’t decide whether to send special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard. “You don’t go about reprimanding. When I was mayor, good, but these idiots, they don’t realize I’m already the President and if there’s an issue of human rights, since we’re all members of UN, go there and ventilate the issue, ask one of the commission’s organic bodies,” Duterte said. READ MORE...RELATED, I'm not a womanizer, Duterte tells businessmen / Pia Wurtzbach calls Duterte 'a gentleman' ...
ALSO Duterte asks SC: Rule on Marcos burial based on law, not emotion
["There is a law which grants Marcos of burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. As long as there is that law, it shall be followed," Duterte said.]
[RELATED: The Burial of Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th President of the Philippines (1965–1986), was scheduled on October 18, 2016 at the Heroes' Cemetery in Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines.]
OCTOBER 16 -President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday appealed to the Supreme Court to put aside emotions when ruling on whether or not to allow the burial of former President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. In a media briefing before embarking on a state visit to Brunei and China, Duterte said he would respect the decision that the high court could possibly make on Tuesday on seven petitions filed by Martial Law victims, former and current government officials, and some members of the youth against the hero's burial of Marcos. "I hope the Supreme Court will decide not on the emotion, but we know it will all be legal at the end of the day. What the Supreme Court will rule must be followed," said Duterte. "We will follow what the Supreme Court says for after all, it is the Supreme Court [that] interprets the law and decides which of the public interest to serve," he added. Duterte, however, maintained there is nothing illegal in having Marcos' remains buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. READ MORE...RELATED, The Burial of Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th President of the Philippines (1965–1986), was scheduled on October 18, 2016 at the Heroes' Cemetery in Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines...
READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:
Palace officially invites UN to probe killings
OCTOBER 12 -FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2016 file photo, human rights activists light candles for the victims of extra-judicial killings around the country in the wake of "War on Drugs" campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File
MANILA, OCTOBER 17, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Christina Mendez – Malacañang has officially invited a United Nations special rapporteur to come to the Philippines to investigate rising cases of extrajudicial killings allegedly unleashed by President Duterte’s intensified campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the Palace has sent the invitation to UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and is awaiting her response.
In its invitation, the Palace also urged the UN rapporteur to include in her investigation the killings of law enforcers by drug suspects so she could obtain “an accurate perspective” of the drug problem in the country.
“We have sent the letter. It’s up to them how they will respond,” Medialdea said in an interview.
He stressed the invitation was only for the UN rapporteur.
Duterte earlier dared US President Barack Obama as well as representatives from the European Union (EU) to visit the country and do their own investigation, instead of publicly criticizing the conduct of his vicious war on drugs.
Medialdea said the Duterte administration was wrongly pictured as being responsible for the spate of what were widely believed to be drug-related killings. Over 3,000 suspected drug offenders have been killed or have turned up dead since Duterte announced during the campaign his intention to kill drug lords and pushers if he got elected.
The Palace, in its invitation, called on Callamard to “take a fresh look at the Philippine situation in the light of the drug problem that bedevils our country and has been proven to be more widespread than initially thought.”
“We are confident that whatever reports, papers or data you may have been furnished with for your perusal and consideration by your immediate predecessor have not swayed you into prejudging the situation in the Philippines,” Medialdea said.
Callamard was one of the two UN rapporteurs who urged the Duterte administration to end the wave of extrajudicial executions and killings, stressing suspected drug offenders should be “judged in a court of law, not by gunmen on the streets.”
“Claims to fight illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings,” Callamard stressed in a statement last August released by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Probe cop deaths, too
The Palace also called on the UN to look into the killings of policemen during anti-drug operations or by drug syndicates and other criminal gangs.
“We, likewise, expect you to look into the circumstances surrounding the killing of our policemen during legitimate operations. That way, your picture of the enormity and gravity of our problem, and the audacity of drug personalities, can be placed in an accurate perspective,” Medialdea pointed out.
In his speeches, President Duterte has been complaining that two policemen are killed everyday in anti-drug operations as drug suspects have become bolder in fighting lawmakers sent out to arrest them.
The Palace also noted that the Philippines has been in the international limelight since the assumption of President Duterte last July 1 “due to the number of drug-related killings, which his critics and detractors term as ‘extrajudicial’.“
“Maybe, it’s appropriate for us to recall the President’s pronouncement in his inaugural speech that the sale, use and proliferation of illegal rugs shall be stopped by ‘all means that the law allows’,” he added.
“It is in this context that we invite you to visit our country and see for yourself whether or not the criticisms are legally and factually sound,” Medialdea said.
In the spirit of due process, Medialdea echoed the President’s call that he be given the chance to toss questions to the UN representative.
“Since it is this administration that is maligned as being behind these extrajudicial killings, due process requires that the President of the Philippine Republic be given the opportunity to propound his own questions which have been nagging him for some time. The right to be heard is a great principle which every nation recognizes,” the Palace letter read.
“I suppose that that would further fortify his right to due process which requires that the party against whom a charge is leveled is accorded the opportunity to propound his own questions to whomever he deems appropriate, including your good self,” Medialdea added.
“After all, the party charged is entitled to know the motive for the investigation, and why the focus is on the Philippines when there are other nations responsible for the death of innocent and defenseless individuals elsewhere in the world. Those are extrajudicial killings too, are they not?” Medialdea said.
The President has thrown expletives at critics of his anti-drug war, including the UN. Duterte said the US and European countries were in no position to speak against his brutal way of dealing with the drug problem as they had been more ruthless at some point in dealing with their own people or with their colonial subjects.
The executive secretary also reiterated Duterte’s earlier assurance that whatever information they would share with investigators would be the truth and nothing but the truth.
At the start of the letter, the Palace congratulated Callamard for her recent appointment as UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings.
“We understand that you are mandated, among others, to examine the circumstances surrounding the extrajudicial killings/arbitrary executions and thereafter, to submit your findings, conclusions and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council, and the General Assembly,” the letter read. “We hope to see you soon.”
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
ICC prosecutor issues warning vs killings in Philippines By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated October 14, 2016 - 8:46am 151 10.4K googleplus2 0
In this Dec. 18, 2012 file photo, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. AP/Robin van Lonkhuijsen, Pool
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2, 9:21 a.m.) — Extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the Philippines, when committed in pursuing state policy, may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the court prosecutor said on Thursday.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Philippines is a party to the ICC, which examines, investigates and prosecutes crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Bensouda called the reported killings of more than 3,000 drug dealers and users in the Philippines "worrying," and vowed to follow developments in the country in the following weeks.
"Extra-judicial killings may fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if they are committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population pursuant to a State policy to commit such an attack," Bensouda said in a statement issued in The Hague.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. AP/Peter Dejong
"Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court," she added.
Bensouda said statements of officials also seem to encourage violence against suspected drug offenders.
"I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force," Bensouda said.
Bensouda's office has been conducting investigations in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Kenya, Libya, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Georgia. It is also undertaking preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Afghanistan, Burundi, the registered vessels of Comoros, Greece and Cambodia, Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Iraq and the United Kingdom, Palestine, Nigeria and Ukraine.
"(We will) record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened," Bensouda said.
Gov't condoning killings?
The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had a similar observation as the ICC prosecutor. In an unedited version of its concluding observations dated October 7, the UN panel said high-ranking officials are making declarations that could be interpreted as license to commit violence against drug suspects.
"The Committee is deeply concerned that declarations made by high ranking officials in the context of the 'war on drugs' may be seen to encourage and legitimize violence against drug users, including extrajudicial killings," the UN body said in the report.
It also said the crackdown on illegal substances has disproportionately affected the poor.
The Philippine government led by President Rodrigo Duterte, however, addressed accusations of human rights in the drug war by saying deaths recorded in police operations were out of acts of self defense by enforcers. Deaths of drug suspects outside police efforts, meanwhile, have been found to by incited by members of cartels and vigilante assailants.
Duterte's administration has invited the United Nations to investigate the drug-related killings and lashed back at the criticisms made beyond the country's shores.
Drug policy experts noted that deaths and violence in the Philippines are similar to those experienced in other countries that have waged their own aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.
"What we find is that aggressive enforcement often spikes violence by disrupting cartel structures, leading to fragmentation of operations whereby members of cartel go to war with each other for control of the organization or splinter into rival groups competing over turf," John Collins, executive director of London School of Economics IDEAS International Drug Policy Project, told Philstar.com.
Enforcement-heavy wars against drugs around the world in the past century are found to have failed in cutting the supply and demand of substances in the long run. Acknowledging that the drug problem persists, experts recommend a holistic approach to managing it.
"The right objective should be to minimize violence in criminal markets and maximize public health. For both of those objectives, the war on drugs in the Philippines unleashed by Duterte is not only ineffective but outright counterproductive," said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a Brookings Institution scholar on urban violence and drug policy. — with Philstar NewsLab
RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER
No proof of state-sponsored drug killings, Gordon says By: Christine O. Avendaño, Jeannette I. Andrade / @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:45 AM October 14, 2016
Senator Richard Gordon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Sen. Richard Gordon on Thursday said he found no proof to support allegations that the Duterte administration sanctioned extrajudicial killings in his bloody campaign to eliminate illegal drugs.
Speaking at a news conference after the close of hearings by the Senate justice committee, Gordon said he planned to issue a report on the proceedings by Monday.
He said he found no proof that killings were state-sponsored, but suggested that President Duterte’s assurances that no policeman would be prosecuted for engaging drug offenders in armed encounters had “inspired” narcotics peddlers to fight to the death.
Gordon said he was inclined to include in the report a brotherly recommendation calling on the President to engage in “less talk,” apparently fearing widespread concerns by local human rights activists and the international community over killings outside of police operations.
“I really believe that … . As a brotherly, friendly advice, I’m not afraid of putting that in,” said the committee chair.
Gordon slammed Sen. Leila de Lima’s adamant position that the extrajudicial killings were supported by the administration.
“That is the allegation. That is how Senator De Lima wants it to appear. On the face of it, I do not see it. I stand by what I said that President Duterte should not talk so much because I think his passion overcomes him,” he said.
Gordon replaced De Lima, who was ousted as committee chair by senators disappointed at her handling of the initial hearings, presenting a confessed hit man, Edgar Matobato, who claimed Mr. Duterte ordered the killings of 1,000 people when he was mayor of Davao City. Senators said Matobato lied in attempts to mislead them.
Gordon said the President had the courage to say that drug offenders need to go and to embolden the police force to do their part in the campaign against illegal drugs. “But what is its effect? Drug pushers are inspired to fight back because they are afraid,” he said.
“I don’t think the killings are Duterte-inspired, in fairness. I don’t think he’ll push anybody to kill,” he said.
PHILSTAR NEWSLAB REPORT
High Time: The drug problem through a new lens By Kristine Bersamina, Denison Rey Dalupang and Leif Sykioco September 19, 2016
With lives at stake, the choices in the drug war have always been just two: Wasting and saving them. It's time we consider the second option.
Unsplashed background img 2 The plunge "S abi nila, 'Heto, subukan natin,'" Charles* recalls. "We did it for the sake of trying, until it became a monthly thing." The next thing he knew, it cost him his calmness. What came next was his job.
He hopes his son won't be next.
Charles is a first-timer in Bicutan's rehabilitation and treatment facility. Bill*,on the other hand, considers himself an "experienced patient" after a tragic relapse. They were both methamphetamine users.
But they both came from different worlds.
Charles, a former graphic artist who hustled his way through three firms, hails from a neighborhood he describes as "so busy, the moment you'd wake up from bed you'd emerge from market stalls." Bill, who once worked as a call center supervisor, came from a well-off family—the kind that affords to send their kids to a high school in Italy. The kind that owns multiple houses across Manila.
Both Charles and Bill say they picked up the habit simply because they belonged to a wrong, uneducated bunch. Both are remorseful and optimistic that there's life after rehabilitation.
But more importantly, they consider themselves lucky. If not for little epiphanies, they believe they'd still be stuck in the same rut.
Charles, a patient from the Bicutan Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (TRC), has kept his drug habit from his three employers... and his young son who believes he is only getting treatment for an ear problem.
Another Bicutan TRC patient, Bill is but an ordinary case. After falling prey to a relapse, he thinks he is lucky to be even able to bring himself back to rehab. He has been hunted down by cops for peddling drugs in the capital's posh cities.
A 27-year-old creative, Arman believes he can't speak for cannabis users out there. But he firmly believes that his drug of choice has never got in the way of his work, social and even personal life.
Arman* (not his real name) fancies himself as a "functional" cannabis user. He had been under the influence for eight years now, and never, according to him, has the habit got in the way of his job as a creative. Neither has it spilled over family affairs and friendship.
He looks back at the first day he tried smoking pot which he says he was triggered by genuine curiosity. Prior to weed, his poison of choice was alcohol. But he had long kicked the habit of heavy drinking after learning that the weed made him less grumpy. That it enabled him to sleep easily. Most of all, it made him happy.
"All I know is that he was a dependent, who could have had a fighting chance in life had he gotten the help he needed. Emma Cruz lives in a family where most of the men used drugs, but at the same time, she couldn't say that she had a difficult childhood."
"One of my uncles, whose life had been entirely eaten away by drugs, was the most hands-on parent I've got when mom was overseas and dad was busy at work. He made sure I ate on time, I took a bath on time, and I got to school on time. He did it every day, tirelessly. His everyday life revolved around mine. And that's because he has barely lived his," she recalls.
"I didn't know the entire story of his addiction. All I know is that he was a dependent, who could have had a fighting chance in life had he gotten the help he needed. He was never violent, compared to my other uncle who never used drugs but always threw violent fits whenever he was drunk. At one point, he even aimed a gun at my cousin and his wife," she adds.
Judith's* son has tried it all. At 39, his addiction has spanned a decade. Whenever he's strapped on cash, he'd pass on the regular meth and grass in exchange for something more accessible: solvent.
"It's hard fending off rumors," Judith says. "Neighbors say my son's a thief, a criminal. They say I'm a neglectful mother."
As much as she wants to help out her son, Judith is left with nothing but hope. Her son, she says, could barely make ends meet and feed his two kids as a construction worker; what more having to pay for treatment?
"How can I send my son to rehab when I can't even eat thrice a day?" she says.
Bill and Charles are optimistic on having a new life. The former, after his time in Bicutan Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (TRC), is set to move in the province with his wife and son. The latter, on the other hand, bares he hasn't figured it out yet. He just thinks he only has to avoid the places where he has earned a notorious reputation as a user and peddler.
Arman, for his part, thinks he doesn't need help. As he would put it, he's chill.
But the same could not be said for Cruz.
"Instead of having hope for my tito, I now fear for his life," she says.
And that goes for Judith's son, too.
When President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, among the first items he wanted to tick off his to-do list was the country's drug problem. He was harsh and unapologetic about it. And he approached it so ruthlessly, it earned the ire of various sectors of Philippine society and abroad.
It was only after 57 days that the new administration openly acknowledged the drug problem as a public health concern.
During the same period, health and human rights have taken center-stage in a polarized and divisive debate. The body count from the "War on Drugs" has been on a steady rise, hogging both the national and international spotlight.
Last August, the president made a remark regarding drug peddlers and users that put the administration's approach on the drug menace in the most harshest of lights: "Are they humans?"
Confronted with figures from Western countries, swayed by the trends slowly being adopted by Asian neighbors, a critical question has cropped up: Are we wasting lives rather than saving them?
* Names were withheld upon request.
Patients before criminals
Philippine General Hospital's Dr. Ted Herbosa, who was once Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's regional coordinator for Asia and undersecretary at the Department of Health, believes it's high time that the State looked at this menace through a new lens.
The Drug Problem as a Health Issue by philstarnews
Trends at our doorstep
The bitter reality of lives destroyed by drug abuse requires us to look for effective solutions to the problem.
While some countries opted to take harsh, iron-fist tactics, imposing severe punishments for drug offenders, others have started to emphasize more comprehensive, community-based approaches to tackling drugs, treating it as a public health issue rather than a crime.
Mexico, for example, has been embroiled in a bloody drug war ever since former president Felipe Calderon launched an all-out campaign against the feuding cartels in December 2006.
Mexico's "kingpin strategy," which focuses on taking down the drug lords and leaders of the drug cartels, nearly tripled its homicide rate under Calderon and had done little to quell violence and bring security to the country.
Portugal, on the other hand, took a radically different approach. Rather than focusing on law enforcement, the government of Portugal decided to decriminalize the possession of all drugs, from marijuana to heroin. Combined with a focus on prevention, education and harm-reduction, Portuguese officials worked on reintegrating drug addicts back into the community rather than isolate them in prisons.
Authorities there neither arrest drug users found with small amounts or with less than a ten-day supply of an illegal drug (i.e. a gram of marijuana). They are instead made to appear before the so-called "dissuasion panels," composed of a lawyer, doctor and psychologist, who only has three choices: prescribe treatment (voluntarily), impose fine, or enforce no sanction at all. Drug dealers and traffickers, on the other hand, were sent to prison.
"In 2012, members of the ASEAN huddled and envisioned themselves to be 'drug free' by 2015."
Last April, the Drug Policy Alliance wrote the United Nations an open letter calling for systemic reforms in the world's approach on the drug epidemic. This was signed by over 1,000 world leaders on the eve of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem.
Gloria Lai, senior policy officer for the International Drug Policy Consortium, notes that most Asian countries now have harm reduction programs, although they are not enough to meet the needs.
Last year, nine Asian countries met with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to agree to transition toward voluntary, community-based services for drug users instead of the traditional approach of employing harsh punishments for drug offenders such as executions, forced and arbitrary detentions, beatings, whipping and even hard labor.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines indicated that roughly 50 to 70 percent of their prisoners in jail for drug-related crimes. Indonesia is currently preparing executions for drug trafficking.
In 2012, member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations huddled and envisioned themselves to be "drug free" by 2015. But a year after the deadline, illegal drugs continue to plague the region.
Meanwhile, a leading global health commission in Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health called for new policies to transform existing approach to drug use, addiction and control worldwide, and putting a premium on policies that reduce violence and discrimination in drug policing, access to controlled medicines and social services for users.
Dealing with a problem calls for a systematic approach. And an essential part of that is knowing the basics. Here are the basics on the Philippines' narcotics problem.
They say "Knowing is half the battle." Here are the basics on the Philippines' narcotics problem.
Most commonly abused drugs in the Philippines Based on 2015 DDB Annual Report
Source: Dangerous Drugs Board, 2015 statistics
* Based on reports submitted by residential facilities
We also caught up with Dr. Eric Punzalan, associate professor at De La Salle University's chemistry department and one of the top 150 scientists in the Philippines, to help us look closer at the most abused drugs in the country:
Why are some people easily addicted to meth?
"Failure to sustain supply results in withdrawal symptoms (shivering, nausea and vomiting). The discomfort can be extreme so the user must continue taking the drug.
What is exactly addicting about it?
"Meth is chemically similar to pseudoephedrine found in some cold remedies."
Is there any direct correlation between drugs and crime?
"Anything that alters one's state of consciousness is dangerous ... Drug users suffer from a desire to escape reality. Whether they will commit a crime because is a different story. Sometimes, the crime is a consequence to sustain the addiction.
Cannabis is the second most abused drug behind meth. How different are the two?
"All substances that have physiological effects are potential medicine ... Meth, too, is a medicine prescribed to ADHD sufferers. Cannabis is a downer to most users, while meth is an upper or stimulant.
There had been reports of meth laboratories across the capital. Can meth be really that easily manufactured?
"Meth can be [made] from pseudoephedrine easily, and can be done in the kitchen or in a garage.
Through the eyes of a chemist, how should we deal with the drug problem?
"[We should approach this] from many fronts: Psychological, emotional and medical. I think drug use is just a manifestation of other conditions the user is suffering from."
Your Brain on Drugs
Some say it fries your brain. Others note that it hinders cognitive function. Many claim it makes you see things. But what really happens to someone who takes the plunge? And just how thin is the line for someone before he stumbles on a steep slope? Two experts walk us through.
INSIDE A REHABILITATION CENTER
Is drug use simply substance abuse? by philstarnews
Substance abuse by philstarnews Inside a rehabilitation facility With the government waging a relentless crackdown on both peddlers and users, the elephant in the room needed to be addressed.
"What to do with the people who turn themselves in?"
Philstar's NewsLab team went to the country's biggest rehabilitation and treatment center located in Bicutan, Taguig, in an effort to verify if there's any truth to such correlation.
A visitor makes his way to the entrance of the DOH-Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (TRC) on Sept. 3, 2016. The facility, which stands on rented land, is the biggest in the country. It's the second oldest of its kind next to the building complex in Tagaytay. Situated within Camp Bagong Diwa, it is one of the six DOH-accredited centers in the capital.
Photo by: Efigenio Toledo IV
A patient walks past a dormitory in the DOH-TRC Bicutan complex. Dr. Alfonso Villamoran, the chief of the facility, calls it "a camp within a camp." The complex is divided to nine dormitories—eight of which, assigned for males. Each dormitory is named after a Filipino value.
TRC patients are required to wear their name tags all the time. For each "TC dorm" (therapeutic community dormitory) is a specific color. As a patient progresses in the rehab program, he assumes a new role. Every newcomer sports his dorm colors through his shorts, while those who have risen in the ranks sport a plain, white pair of shorts.
Weekends are for visitations. A rotation scheme for dormitories is adopted to apply a systematic schedule for visiting relatives and friends.
If a TC Dorm is not due for visitation, the patients assigned to it engage on activities such as film viewing and household chores.
Photo by: Efigenio Toledo IV
Most of the time, the patients who don't have visitors opt to just rest.
Photo by: Efigenio Toledo IV
While some reprise their old, harmless habits.
Most of the dormitories are divided by the patients' rehabilitation duration. There is one TC Dorm that exclusively houses newcomers or "inductees." There is also a separate dormitory for boys aged 14 to 18. But what stood out during the NewsLab visit was a room workers in the facility informally call the "infectious ward." There, they put patients who have infectious disease.
Once past the TRC's "Inductive Phase" a patient is transferred to a specific dormitory.
The women's side is far removed from the men's. Here, the children treated for drug dependency join their older peers. Communication between males and females are strongly discouraged within the facility to prevent "conniving," according to "Justin," one of the dorm managers. They exchanges between the patients are kept to a minimum.
Some parts of the women's dormitory are even covered in an effort to lessen their interaction with male patients. During the NewsLab team's visit, the workers assigned to the dorm were adamant in granting access. One of the dorm managers reveal there are some patients with exhibitionist tendencies who flash their private parts to lure male patients.
Inside of each dorms are house rules in fine print. Some are even emblazoned with motivational phrases; others, with task schedules and even prayers.
Some of the roles taken up by patients as they progress through the TC modality, is a gatekeeper. Here, one is pictured with a dorm manager, who is one of the few staffers of the TRC.
Photo by: Efigenio Toledo IV
Patients of the facility are fed thrice a day. They are given meals in accordance with their dietary needs. Here, a dietitian along with a promoted patient helps out in the Mess Hall team's distribution of food.
As of latest estimate, the facility is home to 1,600 patients. Originally, it was accredited to accommodate only 500 dependents seeking treatment. Dr. Villaroman noted that at one time, it even housed 3,000.
'Overpopulated,' not 'crammed'
The spike in "surrenderees" (coined by the government) has been affirmed by both Dr. Herbosa and Bicutan TRC chief Dr. Alfonso Villaroman. This has been echoed by other health experts and local government units (LGUs) in fear that treatment centers might soon struggle with admissions.
"The number suddenly increased this month, a spike attributed to the series of surrenders of drug personalities following an intensified anti-drug campaign of the Duterte administration," said physician Gene Gulanes, manager of the Davao City Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Drug Dependents.
As of December 2015, the Department of Health has accredited 15 government-owned and 27 private treatment and rehabilitation centers, according to a DDB report.
These centers use a wide range of scientific and therapeutic approaches, which include involving other family members into the rehabilitation process.
However, admissions in treatment and rehabilitation centers have slightly increased in the previous years.
In 2015, a total of 5,402 admissions were reported, 4,325 of which were new admissions and 1,077 were relapsed or re-admitted cases from either the same or different facilities.
This represents an increase of 29.86 percent from the previous year, which is attributed to several factors such as an intensified advocacy program and increased law enforcement operations.
Should the center continue to be flooded with court orders for more admissions of clients, "I would probably be forced to write back the court and respectfully decline," Gulanes adds.
Aside from drug users' families' financial limitations and denial about their loved ones' drug-dependence, there is still a social stigma that comes with drug addiction.
"Because there's also a social stigma that comes with drug addiction and sometimes they would be stigmatized to the point that after they are rehabilitated, they are criticized for once being a drug dependent or drug abuser," says Dr. Jerome Go, a psychiatrist at the Chinese General Hospital and the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center.
This social stigma, according to Go, dissuades people from seeking treatment.
The psychiatrist says that when drug users are rehabilitated, it should be more than just detoxifying them or cleaning their bodies from drugs.
"(It) is also changing their mindset and instilling hope to patients that change is possible," says Go.
Dr. Villaroman disputed a claim that the Bicutan TRC—the biggest and second oldest in the country—was crammed. While it is true that the DOH's Facilities and Services Regulatory Bureau accredited the complex for 500 patients, it is better than other alternatives. "If we turn them away, where do we put them?"
The facility's current estimates tally 1,600 patients.
Based on the data of the Philippine National Police, there are 710,961 drug surrenderees as of September 13.
Modes of rehab treatment
Getting into a rehab
Contrary to popular belief, going to rehab is not like going through a psych ward, with tubes and all.
TRCs, on hindsight, should be likened to hospitals, and not prison camps. After all, people go to these facilities to seek help. Their common denominator: Treatment.
Drug dependents who wish to enter rehab can enjoy different modes of treatment in rehabilitation centers.
The Multidisciplinary Team approach employs the services of different professionals. A team composed of a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, occupational therapist and professionals from other related disciplines cooperate with the drug dependent and his family.
The Therapeutic Community approach—which the Bicutan TRC employs—is a highly structured program wherein the community is utilized as the primary vehicle to foster change. Patients are thrust to the community, and role modeling is a significant part of the program.
The Hazelden-Minnesotta Model views addiction as a disease and that a patient does not have control with the external factors. The Spiritual approach uses the Bible and views drug addiction as a sin. The Eclectic Approach combines all of the approach for a holistic rehabilitation program.
Why bother saving them?
Dr. Villamoran notes that seeking help via rehab is also seeking help from within. And according to Dr. Herbosa, drug dependents should not hesitate. After all, it is founded on an ancient creed from which all doctors subscribe to.
Substitution for re-calibration by philstarnews
DR. TED HERBOSA Former Secretary DOH
'Health continuum' and the state's premium
The idea of sending addicts to rehabilitation is usually met with disdain—especially for tax-payers who deem drug users as free-loaders.
"Why would we pay for their treatment?"
Having been in the frontlines himself for five years, Dr. Herbosa walks us through a possible approach and an essential question: "Where to put the money?"
A 'Holistic Solution'
A 'Holistic Solution' by philstarnews
Are we even asking the right questions? Is it a wart on the Philippine society? Is it brought by poverty? Is this a by-product of poor enforcement of the law?
Sometimes, complex problems require going back to the drawing board. Dr. Herbosa posits revisiting the questions that have shaped our approach on this pesky problem.
The Parting Shot by philstarnews
RELATED FROM PHILSTAR
Rody on killings: Don’t look at me By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 15, 2016 - 12:00am 0 5 googleplus0 0
Photo shows the President gesturing while delivering his speech.
MANILA, Philippines - With the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s chief prosecutor warning that anyone involved in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines would be held accountable, President Duterte yesterday washed his hands of the deaths.
Responding to the warning of the ICC’s Fatou Bensouda, Duterte explained that he has openly encouraged police to go after drug suspects and kill them only if they resist arrest.
“Now they say there are already 3,000 people who were killed. Three thousand? Who killed them? I don’t know, but why are they pointing at me, blaming me for those deaths?” the President said in a speech in Basco, Batanes where he visited the victims of a recent typhoon.
Duterte has been up in arms over criticisms raised by the United Nations, United States and the European Union over his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.
Residents stand on tree branches to get a glimpse of President Duterte during his visit to typhoon-hit communities in Basco, Batanes yesterday. The President and his officials have said he cannot be prosecuted before an international court for crimes against humanity in connection with the drug deaths, amid reports that certain groups are pushing for his prosecution.
More than 3,000 suspected drug offenders and users have been killed since Duterte’s June 30 inauguration. Critics are alarmed at the sheer number whose deaths have been attributed to vigilantes, and the President’s apparent support for the killings.
Feeling insulted, the President berated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barack Obama and the EU representatives for meddling in local affairs.
“Now, who were those kind of people who were killed? Were they from the government? No, not yet 3,000, we haven’t even reached that far… this is only just the beginning,” Duterte said, referring to the number of killings attributed to his war on drugs.
Duterte added human rights advocates should look at the situation and compare the fatalities to the victims of rape and other brutal crimes committed by drug-crazed individuals.
ILLEGAL DRUG A MULTIBILLION PESO INDUSTRY IN PH
A multi-billion industry Duterte stressed illegal drugs in the country are a multibillion-peso industry that he is seeking to destroy.
Computing the P200 per hit of shabu, multiplied by the estimated number of users, Duterte said the shabu industry is a P216-billion industry a year – victimizing families and breaking relationships.
“I’ll give you a simple computation. At P200 per hit for one day, that is P6,000 a month per person times (3-million)... that is P18 billion a month. Times 12, that is P216 billion a year,” he said.
Duterte, however, stopped short of lambasting the United States and the EU anew over the extrajudicial killings.
“Now, they will say that I am threatening the European Union. They are using that ‘this politician is threatening the criminals to death.’ There is nothing wrong in threatening criminals to death,” said Duterte, a former prosecutor and mayor.
“By that statement alone, when you said: ‘I will kill criminals so stop fooling around’. It is a perfect statement, then they want to implicate me for that statement,” he said.
Duterte said he cannot be tried for a supposed violation which is not classified as a crime in the Philippines.
“That’s why I am angry, and I keep on cursing them,” he said.
Malacañang yesterday maintained there are no state-sanctioned killings of suspected drug offenders.
“Drug-related killings, including vigilante killings, are not state-sanctioned. Many of those who died were killed during legitimate police operations, which are currently undergoing investigation as directed by the President,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said.
He said that even congressional leaders, in conducting an inquiry into the killings, saw no proof that the killings were state-sponsored.
“In any case, the President has articulated that he is willing to submit himself to an investigation before any body,” Andanar added.
The ICC has warned Duterte that he could face prosecution over extrajudicial killings in his deadly crackdown on drugs that has left more than 3,000 Filipinos dead since July 1.
Bensouda said she was deeply concerned over reports of thousands of alleged killings in the Philippines and statements by government officials who she said “seemed to condone such killings.”
“Any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the [court] is potentially liable to prosecution before the court,” Bensouda said.
The Philippines is a member-state of the ICC in The Hague, which has the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Duterte then tossed the blame to allies of former president Benigno Aquino III, accusing them of launching a black propaganda campaign against him ahead of the May elections.
He also recalled how his opponents, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, “threw garbage” at him, referring to supposed exposés on his alleged huge bank accounts.
“The yellows started it all, then they rode on the issue. Remember that it was not an issue against me. It was only (used) after I keep hitting the (high) ratings. Then the garbage of Trillanes surfaced,” Duterte said.
Rody: Don’t threaten me with rally Talk of ousting Duterte also persists in the country, particularly in Metro Manila, barley four months into his six-year term.
A group of Filipino businessmen in New York was reportedly hatching a plan to oust Duterte early next year.
In response, Duterte yesterday told Manila residents not to threaten him with a rally.
He said that if he gets ousted in a year or two, he would accept it as part of God’s plan for him or as part of his destiny.
“Huwag ninyo akong takutin ’yang mga taga Manila na mag rally kayo next year paalisin niyo ’yan. Kasi pag napaalis ako, that is part of my destiny (people of Manila, don’t threaten me with a rally to oust me next year. If I would be ousted, that is part of my destiny),” he said in Batanes.
“Hindi ko (alam) bakit ako nanalo (I do not know how I won) without the money and effective machinery. And I would say ‘it’s the Lord. God gave it (presidency) to me’,” he added. – With Giovanni Nilles
Duterte backtracks: No intention to cut military ties with allies By Alexis Romero and Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 12, 2016 - 12:00am 10 93 googleplus0 0
Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it was still status quo as far as security ties between the Philippines and the US were concerned. AP Photo/Aaron Favila
MANILA, Philippines – A week after he declared that he would eventually break up with the United States, President Duterte changed his tune again yesterday as he declared that he would not cut military ties with allies even as he asked whether such partnerships were still needed in the time of powerful weapons and equipment.
His defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, also said it was still status quo as far as security ties between the Philippines and the US were concerned.
“We’re not giving up our relationship with the US,” Lorenzana told reporters at the Senate where he attended the hearing on the Department of National Defense’s proposed budget for 2017.
Speaking after an oath taking of new appointees in Malacañang, Duterte said he did not mean to “cancel or abrogate the military alliances” but asked: “Do you really think we need it? If there is a war? If we engage in skirmishes, do you think we really need America?”
Duterte vowed anew to strengthen the country’s relations with China and Russia, leaving the US way below the priorities of his administration.
“Do we need China and Russia for that matter, or do we need somebody? If they fight, if they launch ICBMS (intercontinental ballistic missiles) or Poseidon (aircraft), there will be no more America aid to talk of. There will no more be a country strong enough to rule,” he added.
“When that time comes, we won’t need anything but a priest. If you want, you can recite the mi ultimo adios (my last farewell).”
Duterte said the US should also watch its “arrogance” as Russian President Vladimir Putin would always get whatever he wanted.
“Let’s not make any mistake. If he wants something, he will really get it. He wanted Crimea and he simply went there to occupy it. America was not able to do anything,” the President said.
The Ukranian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation on March 18, 2014. – With Christina Mendez
RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE
Lacson: RP won’t survive without US; fate of EDCA still hangs Written by Tribune Wires Wednesday, 12 October 2016 00:00 By Angie M. Rosales and Ted Tuvera
Despite the assurance by the Department of National Defense (DND) that the Philippines would survive external threats without the United States, should the Duterte administration decide to revoke its defense and military treaties with its long-time ally, a senator thought otherwise.
“I don’t think we will survive. That remains to be seen… We will not survive unless we will find a new ally as cooperative and as committed as the US,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson told reporters in an interview.
Lacson made the remark after Defense Secretary Delfin Lna assured that the Philippines would survive external threats during the budget hearing for the DND and its attached agencies.
President Rodrigo Duterte has previously threatened to break ties with the US and establish alliances withRussia and China.
He also threatened to stop honoring the Philippine-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which was signed last April 28, 2014 in a bid to advance the implementation of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).
Duterte’s threat to break ties with the long-time ally has emanated from the US’ criticism of the administration’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign and alleged extrajudicial killings.
Lacson described the RP-US ties as “time-tested” and “time-honored” because of the MDT and expressed hope that the President would reconsider his hostile attitude toward the country’s long-time ally.
“We don’t need to be hostile against any nation. We need allies especially in our situation now that there are intrusions,” he stresed.
“As much as possible, if it cannot be helped because one or two countries are really hostile to the point of attacking us, that’s when we should be hostile. But if not, we should be friendly. We’re just a small country. And no country can survive if there are superpowers that are not cooperative with us,” he added.
Lacson explained that while it was necessary to be allies with China and other nations, it did not mean that the country’s ties with the US should be broken.
“I hope the President reconsiders his posture,” he added.
Meanwhile, the fate EDCA remains unknown despite Duterte’s earlier pronouncements on his plan to put to a stop the implementation of the pact with the United States.
Senators were told yesterday by DND officials that they have yet to be given specific orders by Malacañang on matters concerning EDCA and even other bilateral and multilateral defense, engagements and cooperation with other countries.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, under questioning from Sen. Gregorio Honasan could not give any categorical statement as to what will become of EDCA.
EDCA is supposed to be fully implemented beginning next year coupled with the building of needed structures by the US government.
“The money (budget) to be still being allocated by this time so it will be up for next year’s budget of the US (government),” Visaya told the Senate finance subcommittee presided by Lacson.
So, it is only that now that it is being allocated. If you refer to EDCA, is that irreversible? Is that already committed?” Honasan asked.
“Yes sir, we are committed,” the military chief said.
In the same hearing, Lacson also said Duterte should listen to the advice of former President Fidel Ramos, who earlier expressed disappointment at the administration’s first 100 days in office.
Ramos, who was also appointed by the President as special envoy to China, noted that the country was “losing badly” by prioritizing the anti-illegal drugs campaign and giving less attention to challenges such as poverty and employment.
“He should at least listen and consider. He doesn’t need to heed all the advice. But he should consider that the advice especially coming from a statesmen like PFVR,” Lacson said referring to the former president.
Meanwhile, Duterte also yesterday reversed his previous pronouncement to cut military ties with the US.
The Chief Executive said that his pronouncements of a possibility of breaking with Washington does not necessarily mean that there’s a move to abrogate the 65-year-old MDT.
“I do not mean to cancel or abrogate the military alliances,” the President said of the US.
Duterte also said the Philippines still needs foreign assistance but not the way the US accordingly does. With PNA
RELATED(2) FROM THE INQUIRER (OPINION)
Demonic forces engulfing PH — Duterte should resign By: Ted Laguatan Esq. / @inquirerdotnet
INQUIRER.net US Bureau / 01:12 AM October 15, 2016
The world’s good and decent people should force President Rodrigo Duterte to resign. It’s also for his own good. I don’t hate Duterte. But I hate his terrible sins.
For his own sake, I hope that he amends his evil ways and saves his soul as his days are numbered. No one is beyond redemption if he turns to our Lord Jesus Christ.
A terrible dark evil presence now engulfs the Philippines. We have a leader who is not leading our people to a better life. But a leader full of demons who brings death and sufferings to so many – and expresses vicious hostility to world leaders and other nations.
As human beings, our most important priority is to reach our highest spiritual potential and save our immortal souls. For what indeed does it profit a man to gain the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul. This involves obeying God’s command to sincerely love Him above everything else — meaning an absolute commitment to the truth and to what is right and good. It also involves following God’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is what our existence is all about.
But our egos, fear, greed, anger, sensual appetites, love for money and power – often blind us from listening to God and obeying His commandments. And for those who do not really believe in God including many who go to church simply out of superstition or fear of bad things happening to them if they do not — these commandments are meaningless. As such, we have terrible demonic human beings with dark spirits on this planet. They murder, torture, steal and do all kinds of evil acts.
From the first man to the last, the history of the world has to do with the unending conflict between good and evil.
How is it that cruel evil leaders like Stalin, Hitler, Marcos, Mugabe, etc. are able to rise and even thrive for long periods of time and have so many people supporting and serving them?
How is it that the Philippines, which is supposedly a Catholic country, now has so many people supporting mass murder as an instrument of national policy? And why do they support a leader who expresses so much hatred and disrespect against other human beings, against other nations and even against God — with the darkness and hatred in his heart repeatedly spewing out of his foul mouth?
Duterte is no different from other tyrants in proclaiming his love for country.
Tyrants justify their evil actions by saying that the people whom they oppress, torture and murder deserve these. Love, for one’s country is essentially love for one’s fellowmen. Duterte’s coercing, brutalizing and murdering so many Filipinos clearly exposes his insincerity.
What’s happening in the Philippines?
Hitler did horrible things, but the German people cheered and idolized him. He cleaned the streets and made the trains run on time while at the same time, he slaughtered his enemies and millions of innocent Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals.
The German people who were mostly Christian Protestants and Catholics closed their eyes to these mass murders refusing to see the terrible evil involved and even insisting that Hitler was doing a good thing because he was supposedly eliminating those who were the cause of all of their country’s troubles and that these people needed to be eliminated. Hitler fueled intense nationalism and a sense of pride and so many Germans supported him.
The same thing is now happening in the Philippines. Political manipulation backed by force in the guise of seeking a desired good is now a darkness that engulfs the whole nation.
Many politicized Filipinos, tired of the mass poverty, corruption and crime are mesmerized by Duterte’s siren calls for peace and order and constant calls for the summary killings of drug addicts, drug dealers and criminals. But they fail to heed God’s commands when it comes to their politics.
Forget human rights, forget the sanctity of life, forget due process rights provided by the Constitution to prove one’s innocence — forget God’s commands to love Him and our neighbors as ourselves. A madness fueled by the thirst for blood now reigns in the Philippines. Duterte is like Dracula who victimizes Philippine society and has converted many Filipinos to also now lust for blood.
With their politicization, many have forgotten that they are Catholics and Christians. They have stifled and silenced the sacred voice within them that tells them that using mass murder as an instrument of national policy is an abhorrent monstrosity that cries out to heaven for justice. A mass murderer can never be on the side of God whose command is “Thou shalt not kill (murder).”
BRINGS OUT WORST IN PEOPLE
Like Marcos, Duterte brings out the worst in people. Not surprisingly, the politicians and others who were with Marcos are now with him. They support, endorse and cover up his murdering ways.
People’s fear of being victims to the violence of this tyrant and his killers cause them to be on his side much like many Germans during Hitler’s time. They close their eyes and praise him and cooperate with his evil instead of condemning and fighting against his darkness, to soothe their internal pain of shutting the truth and the internal anguish of their own moral cowardice. They too are in great danger of losing their immortal souls.
So many innocent lives are now being snuffed out and their families suffer so much. Life is sacred and from God. The right to be alive is the most basic human right. The evil of drugs cannot be fought with a greater evil. Mass murder as a state policy is worse than drugs.
Duterte’s constant campaign and promotion of the culture of death among policemen and among our military people–offering financial rewards and promotions for them to murder fellow Filipinos–reveal much of his evil.
Well-meaning men and women of good will can no longer wait and must now fight this terrible violence and the promotion of the culture of death that Duterte is promoting and inflicting on the Filipino people, as more innocent people will be killed or hurt by him if they do not. Filipinos need to summon courage from within and speak out and act against the brutality and insanity of the present situation.
CALL FOR DUTERTE RESIGNATION
I and other journalists receive a continuous barrage of “putang-ina” curses and threats from Duterte trolls. These escalated when I called for the resignation of Duterte in an ABS-Cbn TV interview after his repeated dirty mouth crude insults and tirades against world leaders and other nations and the continuously increasing everyday extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
Fil-Am human rights lawyer says Duterte should resign
TFCBalitangAmerica Published on Sep 7, 2016
Resign or be overthrown. According to some Filipino American leaders this is the choice that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has to make. They say his harsh remarks against U.S. President Barack Obama is one of the reasons that make Duterte unfit for the presidency and is putting the Philippines on a rocky path in international relations. Paul Henson reports.
Even if the murder victims are supposedly drug dealers, addicts or criminals — they are human beings with the basic human right to prove their innocence — and not simply executed like stray dogs by the police or private Duterte organized killers at their discretion. Many drug addicts and even drug dealers have been rehabilitated and turned out later to be productive decent human beings. Anthony Bourdain and Robert Downey Jr. are among many former addicts who recovered.
Respect for the lives of human beings and their right to prove their innocence are universally recognized values which every decent human being should respect. It is an inherent part of God’s command to love one’s neighbor as ourselves. Love of God and neighbor also includes forgiving our fellowmen when they err and help when they need it. People can change for the better.
Duterte does not believe in forgiveness and that people can change. So he exterminates them.
Murderous individual police elements and organized private so called vigilante killers now have practically a blanket authority to kill at their discretion – even if government spokesmen may give lip service to the rule of law. On record, more than 3,500 people have already been killed including many innocents who would still have been alive today if Duterte had not become president.
Off record, much more have been killed. And more will be killed. This abuse of power is a terrible crime not only against the Filipino people but against humanity.
If this state sponsored killing spree continuous and good hearted well-meaning Filipinos just passively and silently accept this situation, it means that nobody will be safe from being murdered anytime by the police or by anybody. Just label the dead victim as a criminal, a drug addict, a drug dealer and this everyday occurrence becomes a part of the norm. This terrible culture of death will destroy the fabric of Philippine society. Friends and families will be turning on each other.
Corrupt policemen will also use their now terrible unbridled power to extort money from innocent victims accusing them of being drug addicts or dealers, which was recently done to an Australian and fortunately CCTV camera videotapes showed that he was innocent.
Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon, President Barack Obama, all the heads of the European Union and other world leaders have been made aware of the daily rampant killings in the Philippines. As part of the human family, they are disturbed by the mass murders and are aware of the kind of terrible terror in Philippine society that this would lead to. In good faith, they are trying to help Filipinos and have tried to influence Duterte to stop these killings.
Duterte’s response to leaders in the international community critics is to insult them with vulgar slurs against their mothers or call them fools and for them not to interfere in Philippine affairs. He has not spared even the Pope with his dirty mouth calling him the son of a whore during his Philippine visit.
In a speech, he stated that like Hitler who murdered millions of Jews, he also wants to slaughter millions of Filipinos who are drug addicts. He later apologized to the Jews who were much offended by his statements, but many Jews doubt his sincerity. Duterte’s remarks regarding his insensitivity to the Holocaust will have lasting consequences.
The state of Israel and Jews all over the world recognize a debt of gratitude to the Filipino people for saving over a thousand Jews from Hitler’s crematories and giving them refuge in the Philippines. Filipinos are viewed by Jews with respect and affection. Filipinos all over the world are liked and respected. The Jews and other nationalities will help in the Filipino people’s struggle against the present tyranny and moral depravity of Duterte. His evil ways are not the ways of good decent people.
It is the moral obligation of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches and all sincere genuine Christians, Muslims, Buddhists and all good human beings to protest and fight against the violence and fear that Duterte has inflicted and will continue to inflict on the Filipino people. To remain silent in the face of pure evil is tantamount to supporting and abetting that evil.
Edgar Matobato, a former member of Duterte’s Davao Death Squad, just recently gave a chilling but very credible detailed testimony in the Philippine Senate on how they killed over a thousand victims upon orders of Duterte. He even named some of the victims and detailed how and where they were killed. He also testified that Duterte’s son, Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte – is a drug user who also ordered some of the killings including that of Richard King, a wealthy owner of hotels who was Paolo’s rival over a woman.
Even if the Senators and sycophantic journalists allied with Duterte tried their best to discredit and silence Matobato, millions who heard and saw this courageous man – believed him more than they believed the Senators who were obviously covering up for Duterte. Matobato’s description of the mode of operation of Duterte’s Davao Death Squad is consistent with the report of Fr. Amado Picardal of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines.
All good men and women should push for Duterte’s immediate resignation. But be prepared to be labeled and maybe even falsely charged as traitors and subversives. In the end, our commitment to God’s truth and genuine concern and love for our fellowmen will bear much fruit.
If 16 million Filipinos voted for Duterte, 25 million did not.
Of the 16 million, so many have now realized that they voted for a monster and regret their vote. His present popularity is an illusion – which will quickly vanish like smoke when more people suffer because of his unpredictable depravity. The economy will spiral downward as investors are fast exiting. More poverty and hunger will take place.
Even former President Fidel Ramos who supported Duterte’s candidacy sincerely believing that he would do good – now express deep honest concerns about Duterte’s murderous drug campaign and lack of policies that really improve people’s lives. Ramos found his True Self when he went against Marcos and have become a true patriot since then. Within a very short time, Ramos will inevitably come to the conclusion that his loyalty to Duterte ends where his loyalty to God and country begins.
The many good hearted decent Filipinos who want Duterte removed from office are not without support in this fight between good and evil. The whole civilized world is with us in this noble endeavor. Filipinos will soon realize that their worst enemy and the worst criminal in the Philippines is Duterte himself.
Let us fight evil with prayers to our Lord Jesus Christ and to our Blessed Mother – and with every other moral justifiable means available to us. Filipinos have fought long and hard for their freedom and dignity. We cannot now allow one man who serves the forces of evil – to take control of our lives and the nation.
Because I am a Catholic, a human being, a Filipino American and a global citizen involved in creating a better world, I have expressed my thoughts and feelings that concern the well-being and future of all Filipinos – including Duterte himself. His soul needs salvation.
Mr. Ted Laguatan: San Francisco-based Filipino-American attorney, Philippine Daily Inquirer contributor, and fellow US Democrat Party member
For those with the same thoughts – please air these viewpoints far and wide and ask recipients to do the same. Thank you.
Ted Laguatan is a human rights lawyer based in the San Francisco area. He is one of less than 30 U.S. lawyers officially certified continuously for more than 25 years by the California State Bar as an Expert-Specialist in Immigration Law. Tel 650 634 8668 Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: The views in this opinion are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE (PHNO) WE DO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION.
MANILA TIMES (ANALYSIS)
DU30’s visit to Beijing like Chamberlain’s visit to Munich in 1938 BY YEN MAKABENTA ON ON OCTOBER 15, 2016 OPINION ON PAGE ONE
Thanks to University of the Philippines law professor Jay Batongbacal, the Filipino nation is finally awakening to the great importance and far-reaching implications of President Duterte’s visit to China next week and the pivot of Philippine foreign policy to China.
The professor, who is also director of the UP Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, warned last week that our government is methodically eliminating all means of leverage with which the Philippines could secure its interests against “its larger, more powerful neighbor.”
Elaborating, he said: “President Duterte is taking a huge risk, betting all on China’s goodwill and beneficence without the insurance provided by the diversified, multi-lateral support of historical and traditional friends and allies.
“Over the long term, China unmistakably stands to gain much, while the Philippines’ fate remains uncertain.”
Batongbacal issued the statement after learning that Duterte canceled the China trip of former President Fidel Ramos after Ramos advised DU30 not to push through with the trip to China if they would not comply with certain conditions.
Instead of heeding Ramos’ advice, Duterte canceled Ramos’ China trip and personally took control of talks with Chinese officials without even consulting or informing the concerned Philippine counterparts.
BS Aquino is missed
When the terms and conditions for Duterte’s visit fully come to light next week, the nation will look wistfully at President Benigno B.S. Aquino 3rd’s foreign policy toward China and the South China Sea. Aquino made a lot of sense on two key moves he made.
First, he warned that China’s moves in the South China Sea increasingly resembled Adolf Hitler’s moves on Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, which in the event precipitated the outbreak of World War II.
Second, he gave the green light to the filing by our Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of a case against China before the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague. The case that produced a landmark decision casts an uncomfortable background for the coming talks between President Duterte and President Xi Jin-Ping.
I wrote in a column last June that the arbitral award is “the ace in the hole” which we will carry to any negotiations with China on the disputed waters. But the big question now is whether China will even allow Duterte to mention the decision during his visit.
Zipping the President’s lip never worked with Aquino; he just kept on talking, sometimes raising the most outrageous things against the government in Beijing.
He declared that China’s leadership is reminiscent of Hitler and his Nazi regime. This is oddly apposite to Duterte’s recent quip that he might act like Hitler in the country’s ongoing war on drugs, by eliminating some 3.7 million drug suspects.
A page from Chamberlain and Munich
The really unsettling allusion to history is the growing realization that Duterte’s visit to China increasingly resembles British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s visit to Munich in October 1938 and the signing of the infamous Munich Agreement.
The Munich Agreement was a settlement permitting Nazi Germany’s annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia along the country’s borders mainly inhabited by German speakers, for which a new territorial designation “Sudetenland” was coined.
The agreement was signed on Sept. 30 1938 (but dated Sept. 29) after being negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany among Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Sudetenland was of immense strategic importance to Czechoslovakia, as most of its border defenses, and banks were situated there, as well as heavy industrial districts.
Czechoslovakia was informed by Britain and France that it could either resist Nazi Germany alone or submit to the prescribed annexations. The Czechoslovak government, realizing the hopelessness of fighting the Nazis alone, reluctantly capitulated and agreed to abide by the agreement.
On Sept. 30 after some rest, Chamberlain went to Hitler and asked him to sign a peace treaty between the United Kingdom and Germany, to which Adolf happily agreed.
On his return to Britain, Chamberlain delivered his infamous “peace for our time” speech to crowds in London. And war broke out within days.
Duterte would be lucky if he could return to Manila with a better deal than Chamberlain got, or more opportunity to speak his mind in Beijing.
China has already said that it will never negotiate with the Philippines on the basis of the arbitration award of the Hague arbitration tribunal, which favored the Philippines on all points at issue and declared China’s claim to the South China Sea as illegal.
For China, nothing is negotiable on the basis of the arbitration award, but everything is negotiable if it is discarded.
Duterte sounds hollow when he publicly insists at home that he will negotiate with China on the basis of the Arbitral ruling and within the international law. Recent developments on our foreign policy front indicate that the Philippines already concedes that the arbitral decision is just “paper.”
“By alienating allies like the United States and Australia; by refusing to push through with basic surveillance of the West Philippine Sea, by discarding an Asean role; declaring that the Philippines cannot defend its territorial/jurisdictional areas; by even exhorting the public to “not dwell” on Scarborough Shoal,” we appear to have hoisted the flag of appeasement before talks can even begin.
A transactional exercise
Duterte is turning any talks or negotiations with China into a transactional exercise. He is betting and hoping that China will reciprocate his abandonment of the previous Administration’s strategy and his pivot away from the US, by giving him both money and respect. He hopes to secure a concession for Philippine fishing at Scarborough, major Chinese investments in a Philippine railway system, and energy projects.
If none of these materializes, our proud President will lose face before his countrymen and the international community. He will stand weakened by his audacious foreign policy adventurism.
Zero-sum vs win-win diplomacy
It would be satisfactory if DU30 could report to the nation a win-win outcome in his visit to China – an outcome wherein both countries derive benefits from any agreement or understanding reached.
But some of us, including this writer, fear that Filipino-Chinese relations have become a “zero-sum game.”
A “zero-sum” game or relationship means a situation wherein a gain for one side entails a corresponding loss for the other side.
If Filipino statecraft is not up to the challenge, if our foreign policy persists in revolving around DU30’s instincts and whims, we could wind up losing our entire political leverage in the South China Sea and our standing and influence in the Asia-Pacific.
China is playing a zero-sum game against us. We have to insist on seeking a win-win outcome. A win-win or positive-sum outcome means everyone wins, usually through cooperation and joint problem solving.
These terms originated in game theory, which comes from the field of mathematics.
Serious statecraft knows how to play the game competently in its country’s national interest. email@example.com
REY on OCTOBER 15, 2016 10:33 AM
No matter what Duterte do in his mission to China, we the Filipinos will be the loser. He is like stepping in the spider web of the Black Widow. a no win situation.
ELCID PELAYO on OCTOBER 15, 2016 10:00 AM
Why are you comparing Duterte to Chamberlain? The British had an Empire,had the wherewithal to face Herr Adolf while the Philippines,almost a century after World War II its leaders including that previous one never really had the political will to substantially establish a credible external defenses and we are still terribly dependent on the whims of a deceptive and unreliable U.S. Ally. Compare him instead to Manuel L. Quezon upon realizing that he had been duped into spending for a farcical ” Field Marshal” Douglas MacArthur for an equally farcical defense structure. Here is an excerpt of the “Official Gazette” on Quezon’s precipitate flight to Tokyo at the eve of WW2;
“With the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, President Manuel L. Quezon also began amicable relations with Japan. While matters of the Commonwealth’s foreign affairs were held exclusively by the United States (by virtue of Article XVII, Section I of the 1935 Constitution), President Quezon engaged in informal diplomacy to Japan: visiting officially in January 31 to February 2, 1937 and privately in June 29 to July 10, 1938.  At the time, President Quezon’s visits aimed at strengthening economic ties with Japan after independence. This visits were amidst Japanese encroachment in China and fear of further Japanese expansion.
363252UYANGUREN on OCTOBER 15, 2016 9:30 AM
If HitlerDU30 will abandon or discard our territorial rights at the West Phil Sea as decided by the International Court Tribunal at Hague in favor of some economic benefits from China, it will be considered TREASON & he could be charged under our Constitution. Let’s FIGHT for our territorial rights.
VG on OCTOBER 15, 2016 8:48 AM
Listen Len, you seem to not recognize what the Arbitrator decided. It heard one side of an argument and said that based on that, the PH is correct. That’s it. There is no binding decision or actions required. As it stands it is just a political statement with no legal standing. So what you think would happen if the PH confronts China with that decision? Won’t China just slam the door in our face?
DU30 is pursuing talks where we can establish common ground and move forward with things that benefit the PH. Don’t worry. DU30 is smart and is motivated to make the PH improve. We will know what happens in China. DU30 does not hide things.
LEODEGARDO PRUNA on OCTOBER 15, 2016 8:26 AM
PDU30’s game is a win game. Whenever there are two adversaries, one wins the other one losses.A game is a game and the only way to come out satisfying both adversaries is a draw where both agrees to halt the game because it is going nowhere. Then, both are satisfied. Hopefully PDU30 and China would come to terms with both satisfied from the outcome of the meeting. God bless the Philippines.
DAHON on OCTOBER 15, 2016 5:30 AM
You sound like a harbinger of doom. I bet when your dire warnings will not happen, you will just slink to a corner, and find another fault with Duterte. You will never be satisfied, and that’s the reality.
Makabenta, even during the election you supported another candidate – that’s obvious in your writings, can you not see anything good at all about this President? Ramos strategies – even how brilliant he thinks of himself – is history, and in fact, I don’t remember him as a brilliant president before. What has he done anyway when he was the president?
FLORA DECANYA on OCTOBER 15, 2016 5:01 AM
DeLima is the blessing-in-disguise distraction that PresDute needed while he wraps up the insurgency negotiations. Aligning RP and joining the AIIB of the PROC could be one of the conditions of the truce that the Maoist insurgents made with PresDute. Second, is for PresDute to align RP with SSR or the Soviets to satisfy the Marxist-Leninists insurgents in RP, so a Moscow visit is next and a mano abrazo with Vlad. I can foresee a wild boar hunt, and lots of horse riding in the steepes.
PreDute may get the arms and loans he wants from PROC and SSR while satisfying the demands of the communist insurgents of RP, everyone will be happy except big, white and debt-ridden Uncle Sam holding his TPP with nowhere to stick it in . And they are stinking mad, senor . . . Cercle Canadien sur les Questions Asiatiques
US, EU also invited to probe Philippine killings By Christina Mendez and Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 13, 2016 - 12:00am 2 0 googleplus2 0
Supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte shout slogans as they gather for a rally near the Presidential Palace to mark Duterte's first 100 days in office Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. The protesters lauded Duterte's move to push for the peace talks with communist rebels as well as to halt joint U.S. military exercises but cautioned him on his bloody anti-drug campaign which puts the death toll at about 3,600, including more than 1,300 suspects killed in gunbattles with police or an average of 36 killings a day since he took office on June 30. The complete banner reads: Stop Killing Farmers! AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
Rody: No abrogation of defense pacts
MANILA, Philippines – With a UN rapporteur welcoming his formal invitation to investigate extrajudicial killings in the country, President Duterte revealed yesterday a similar invitation is being readied for representatives of the United States and the European Union.
He made the announcement, apparently still unaware of the UN rapporteur’s reaction, at the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard in Manila.
In his remarks, Duterte said the UN High Commission on Human Rights is “now in limbo” and couldn’t decide whether to send special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard.
“You don’t go about reprimanding. When I was mayor, good, but these idiots, they don’t realize I’m already the President and if there’s an issue of human rights, since we’re all members of UN, go there and ventilate the issue, ask one of the commission’s organic bodies,” Duterte said.
In her Twitter account (@AgnesCallamard), the UN rapporteur indicated she is ready to go to the Philippines upon Duterte’s invitation.
Callamard said she welcomed “media report of invitation to visit the #Philippines to investigate the #EJE. Waiting for the letter and confirmation by official channels.”
Duterte has made it clear he is ready to answer “everything under the sun” regarding alleged extrajudicial killings in the conduct of his anti-drug campaign.
He also lambasted human rights advocates for threatening to bring a case against him before the International Court of Justice, calling such move “stupid.”
“You know the crime you’re accusing me must be a crime within my own country. There is no crime at all in law books which states the President cannot threaten criminals to go out of the city or I will kill you,” he said.
“There is no crime in our revised regional statutes or criminal system. That’s the reason why I gave them the best of my slur… for acting too stupid and bringing me into the public international scene, and on my shoulder the Filipino people… ” Duterte added.
He said he could not bear the realization that the Filipinos were put on the spot because of the international attention caused by the UN’s criticisms of his vicious way of dealing with drug offenders.
He stressed it’s the reason he does not respect his international accusers anymore, as he warned his critics to “be prepared for the worst” as he had “gallons and gallons of epithets, curses.”
Duterte had also cursed President Obama and asked the US to go to hell and the EU to settle for purgatory, as there was no more room in hell.
“The UN body can also bring a case before the Security Council and make recommendation if they want me investigated. Fine,” the President said.
The UN special rapporteur tweets.
Grateful to China
Duterte took another swipe at the US for the latter’s alleged shabby treatment of an ally.
“If you are a friend, if you’re an ally, if you are joined by Western alliance, you should do this,” he said as he held up a copy of The STAR with a photo of a drug rehabilitation center at Fort Magsaysay financed by a Chinese philanthropist.
“It’s a dormitory, apartment bunk houses and they have built it for us,” he said, referring to the rehabilitation complex built with Chinese help.
Duterte also said he has instructed the defense department not to prepare for joint military drills with US troops next year.
“I insist that we realign, that there will be no more exercises next year,” the President said.
“Do not prepare. I told Defense Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana: ‘do not make preparations for next year.’ I do not want it anymore. And I will chart an independent foreign policy,” he added.
Duterte’s statement came a day after the PHIBLEX joint amphibious exercises were concluded ahead of schedule.
He has challenged the US to withdraw its aid from the Philippines, saying Filipinos can survive without “crumbs.”
Duterte, who is seeking stronger ties with China, has also suspended joint patrols with the US in the South China Sea.
The President said he is ready to deal with moves to oust him being hatched by another country.
“That’s what I said if you do not want me… there are people who want to oust me, starting from a country outside. All they do is criticize me, without looking for the truth,” he said. He did not name the country, although he had accused the US Central Intelligence Agency of plotting to have him killed.
Despite his harsh criticisms against the US, Duterte reiterated that he would not severe the Philippines’ military ties with the superpower.
“We will maintain our military alliances because I said that we need it for our defense,” Duterte said.
“We need not really, you know, break or abrogate existing treaties because they say that it would provide us with the umbrella,” he added.
Duterte, however, believes that military alliances would be rendered irrelevant if a world war breaks out.
“Should World War III come to fore upon civilization, do you think we still have time to discuss third world war?” he said.
“When all the ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), when all the Poseidon (are launched), then where will we be? See you in heaven.”
President Duterte joins officials of the Philippine Coast Guard on board the BRP Tubbataha during the PCG’s 115th anniversary celebration in Manila yesterday. The PCG assured the President of its full support in his war against illegal drugs and in securing the country’s territorial waters. The Tubbataha is the first of 10 multi-role response vessels acquired through a loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The second vessel is expected in December and the eight others until 2018. KRIZJOHN ROSALES
No backing out
At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte is not backing out of his decision to stop the war games between the US and Philippine forces.
In a briefing, Abella said the President has “carefully considered” his decision calling for a stop to the war games in his term.
“He has his own alternatives regarding the matter. And he is fully aware of his responsibility regarding the EEZ,” Abella said.
Abella was responding to a call from Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio that the government fulfill its responsibility to protect the country’s exclusive economic zone.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, expressed relief Duterte is not cancelling or abrogating military alliances.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO), said as a professional organization, the AFP fully supports the President and commander-in-chief in all his policy pronouncements.
“We took note (of) this particular pronouncement by the President and our commander-in-chief and we see that this will be more beneficial for the country and our Armed Forces,” Arevalo said.
The AFP is still heavily dependent on the US for its big ticket requirements like refurbished helicopters, planes and armored assets. – Jaime Laude
I'm not a womanizer, Duterte tells businessmen ANC Live Posted at Oct 13 2016 09:57 PM
President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday that he is not a womanizer. "I do not drink, I do not smoke, I do not womanize. I live a holy life," he told businessmen, in jest. He later said he was just lying. "You know, when you begin to delude yourself, too much lies, it becomes the truth in your life," Duterte said.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday promised once again to rid the Philippines of corruption, saying he will make it much easier to run businesses in the country.
"Just do business, I will protect you," Duterte told businessmen at the 42nd Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Pasay City.
He issued the statement after industry leaders said the President's tirades against the United States and the European Union caused "jitters" among clients of the country's outsourcing sector.
Some analysts have likewise blamed Duterte's fiery statements for a record outflow of foreign funds from the stock market and the peso's weakness to seven-year lows.
Since Duterte assumed office, he has lashed out against the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and most recently even mentioned Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as he promised to kill three million drug addicts.
On Thursday, Duterte said businessmen will have something to look forward to in the Philippines because he will make sure there will no longer be red tape and "fixing of cases."
"In this government there will be no corruption. This government will promise you law and order," he said, just as the administration continues with its fight against illegal drugs.
Earlier, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked businessmen to give Duterte more time to improve the country's business climate, saying 100 days is not enough time to feel the benefits of his administration.-----------
Pia Wurtzbach calls Duterte 'a gentleman' ABS-CBN News Posted at Oct 13 2016 04:08 PM
MANILA – Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach took to social media to continue her pitch for the staging of the next edition of the international pageant in the country.
In a series of Twitter posts on Wednesday, Wurtzbach expressed optimism that holding Miss Universe in the Philippines will be beneficial to the country, saying it will help boost tourism.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach ✔ @PiaWurtzbach
I think having MU in the Philippines would be great to boost tourism. It will definitely showcase the beauty of the Philippines. ❤️
11:32 AM - 12 Oct 2016
515 515 Retweets 2,198 2,198 likes
She also assured her Twitter followers that President Rodrigo Duterte has been “supportive” of the idea and even called him a “gentleman” as she recalled her meeting with him last July.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach ✔ @PiaWurtzbach
When I met our President, he was very much a gentleman. He's supportive in the idea of having the competition in the Philippines. 😊
11:34 AM - 12 Oct 2016
403 403 Retweets 2,159 2,159 likes
Pushing her argument further, Wurtzbach noted that the President’s common law partner, Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña, is a former beauty queen.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach ✔ @PiaWurtzbach
By the way, President Duterte's common-law wife is a former beauty queen. Bet you didn't know that. 😉😁✌️️
11:38 AM - 12 Oct 2016
222 222 Retweets 1,247 1,247 likes
Early this week, Wurtzbach promised that she will do her best to make sure that the next Miss Universe will be held in the country, as previously announced by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
This after leaders of various women’s groups asked the Miss Universe organizing committee to reconsider holding the pageant here. They cited the “objectionable, scandalous and demeaning sexist attitude demonstrated by the newly elected leaders of our country, by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, and his cohorts towards womankind.”
The DOT has maintained that it is still keen on staging Miss Universe in the Philippines despite the petitions.
GMA NEWS NETWORK
Duterte asks SC: Rule on Marcos burial based on law, not emotion Published October 16, 2016 4:56pm By MARK MERUEÑAS, GMA News
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday appealed to the Supreme Court to put aside emotions when ruling on whether or not to allow the burial of former President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In a media briefing before embarking on a state visit to Brunei and China, Duterte said he would respect the decision that the high court could possibly make on Tuesday on seven petitions filed by Martial Law victims, former and current government officials, and some members of the youth against the hero's burial of Marcos.
"I hope the Supreme Court will decide not on the emotion, but we know it will all be legal at the end of the day. What the Supreme Court will rule must be followed," said Duterte.
"We will follow what the Supreme Court says for after all, it is the Supreme Court [that] interprets the law and decides which of the public interest to serve," he added.
Duterte, however, maintained there is nothing illegal in having Marcos' remains buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"There is a law which grants Marcos of burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. As long as there is that law, it shall be followed," Duterte said.
As for questions on Marcos' heroism and controversial medals, Duterte said that has to be "resolved maybe in the generations to come."
Duterte lamented that the debates over a hero's burial for the late strongman "have alienated almost the entire Ilocano people."
"We cannot just do that because we are all Filipinos," he said.
During oral arguments at the SC last August 31, petitioners said Marcos' acts as a civilian when he was already the president of the Philippines negated his privilege to be honored as a soldier, even as they said Republic Act 10368 or the “Act providing for reparation and recognition of victims of human rights violation during the Marcos Regime," would be violated if the burial will push through.
The government, through Solicitor General Jose Calida, later responded during the second hearing on September 7 that Marcos, being a war soldier and former president, should be interred at the heroes' cemetery despite the petitioners' contention that he has forfeited this privilege due to his alleged crimes. —ALG, GMA News
Burial of Ferdinand Marcos
Burial of Ferdinand Marcos
Libingan ng mga Bayani.jpg
The Heroes' Cemetery where the remains of Ferdinand Marcos is planned to be buried.
Date October 18, 2016 (postponed)
July 11, 1998 (cancelled)
Location Heroes' Cemetery, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
The Burial of Ferdinand Marcos, the 10th President of the Philippines (1965–1986), was scheduled on October 18, 2016 at the Heroes' Cemetery in Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines.
The burial of Ferdinand Marcos, particularly at the Heroes' Cemetery has been a controversial issue as critics particularly victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law era and participants of the People Power Revolution opposing attempts to bury Marcos, who they deem as unfit to be buried at the particular cemetery due to his policies which were deem dictatorial.
There were conflicting claims on where the deceased Marcos wished to be buried. Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III, one of the signatories of an agreement to move Marcos body from Hawaii to the Philippines during the term of then President Fidel V. Ramos, said that the Marcos wished to be buried beside his mother in his hometown in Batac, Ilocos Norte, while his wife Imelda Marcos said that Marcos wish was to be buried in Manila insisting that he should be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery.
Former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos had opposed moves to bury Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery during their respective terms, while Former President Joseph Estrada attempted to bury Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery but later cancelled the burial. Current President Rodrigo Duterte is responsible for the scheduled burial of Marcos in October 2016.
Transfer of Marcos' body from Hawaii
The body of Ferdinand Marcos was stored in a refrigerated crypt at the Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
After Ferdinand Marcos died in 1989, his family attempted to bring in his remains from Hawaii to the Philippines but the administration President Corazon Aquino imposed a ban against the entry of Marcos remains in the country.
This was lifted in October 9, 1991 by Aquino on the condition that Marcos' burial would not be used for political purposes and on the condition that the body of Marcos to be flown directly to Laoag.
Aquino's executive secretary Franklin Drilon said that a "heroes burial" would be allowed if held in Marcos home province instead of Manila. Imelda Marcos, the wife of Ferdinand Marcos has opposed the move saying that the dying wish of her husband was to be buried in Manila.
In January 1992, the Philippine government has stated that it may not opposed the burial of Marcos anywhere in Metro Manila provided that Marcos' body was flown in the country after the 1992 Philippine election in May.
The Marcos family opposed the condition and was waiting for a ruling of the Supreme Court at that time regarding their petition to bury Ferdinand Marcos as soon as possible.
The transfer of Marcos' body would not be done until the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos.
It was during Ramos' term that a memorandum of agreement was made between the government and the Marcos family in 1992. There were four conditions agreed by both parties and these were:
1. The remains of Ferdinand Marcos was to be flown directly from US state of Hawaii to the province of Ilocos Norte.
Military honors for someone with the rank of major are to be given to Marcos. The rank is the last rank to be held by Marcos during his service with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
2. No parade displaying Marcos' body was to be held in Metro Manila.
3. Marcos body is not to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery but in Ilocos Norte.
4. The body of Ferdinand Marcos was stored in a refrigerated crypt at the Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
According to Rafael Alunan III, former Interior Secretary and one of the signatories of the agreement, the third clause was agreed upon due to "wounds were still fresh in the minds of many people" and to avoid potential instability. He also says that the former President Marcos wanted to be buried beside his mother in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Also according to Alunan, that after the signing of the agreement Imelda Marcos crossed out the burial clause and wrote in that Marcos is to be "temporarily interred" instead of being buried in Ilocos Norte. Alunan said that the terms of agreement could not be changed after it was signed but Imelda insists and came up with a new agreement paper with the changed clause. The revised paper was not signed by the government.
It was on September 7, 1993 that the body of Ferdinand Marcos was flown into the Philippines. From Hawaii the body was flown to Guam then to Laoag in Ilocos Norte.
The body of Marcos was not buried but was instead preserved in a refrigerated crypt hosted inside a museum and mausoleum. In Honolulu, Hawaii, Marcos' body was also stored in a refrigerated crypt.
Cancelled 1998 Heroes' Cemetery burial
Ramos' successor Joseph Estrada attempted to organize a burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery.
Then President-elect Estrada had negotiations with Marcos' wife Imelda who initially also demanded state honors for the burial but later agrees to a burial without state honors. Estrada. It was agreed that Marcos was to buried in July 11, 1998.
The planned burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery still received opposition even after state honors were not to be included in the planned burial. Former President Corazon Aquino was among those who opposed the move.
Estrada remains firm on his decision until July 1998 when Estrada decided against the plan amidst public opposition saying that it would be better if the Marcos family agreed that Ferdinand Marcos be buried in Batac to put an end to "bitter differences" and give rest to "various emotions and sentiments that flared up".
Ferdinand Marcos - Wikipedia
2011 Batac burial recommendation
In April 2011, then President Benigno Aquino III tasked then Vice President Jejomar Binay to study whether to bury Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery or not.
The Office of the Vice President received 3,000 responses from various political parties, sectors, organizations, and members of the public on the issue. Binay recommended the burial of Marcos in his hometown in Batac with full military honors. Aquino did not act on the recommendation.
Scheduled 2016 Heroes' Cemetery burial
Rodrigo Duterte has supported the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery, even before he assumed presidency and expressed this stance at his presidential campaign in the 2016 elections. Duterte has expressed that a burial of Marcos at the site would commence the "healing" of the Philippines and pointed out Marcos' idealism and vision for the country through his projects which "stood the test of time" and that Marcos' dictatorship "remains to be debated".
Duterte has also previously stated that Marcos could have been the best president if not for the abuses during the Martial law period under Marcos' watch.
At the Visayas leg of the PiliPinas Debates 2016, Duterte and fellow candidate Jejomar Binay expressed their support for a Marcos burial at the heroes' cemetery.
2016 scheduled burial
Announcement and rationale
On August 7, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte gave the order to bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery saying that Marcos is qualified to be buried at the cemetery due to being a "former president and a soldier".
Duterte said he is open to demonstrations against the burial plan but insist that the former President is qualified to be buried at the cemetery. He also added that the burial date may be moved to September 11 which is the birthday of the deceased president.
Amidst criticism that Marcos does not deserve to be buried at the cemetery, Duterte says that burying Marcos at the site does not equate to Marcos being a "hero in the true sense of the word".
He points out that former soldiers and presidents are allowed to be buried at the cemetery and that he would be violating the law if he did not push through with the burial and added that the previous administrations should have passed a law to bar Marcos from being buried at the Heroes' Cemetery.
Duterte said he doesn't care about the dispute regarding the authenticity of Marcos' war medals and the non-appearance of Marcos' alleged World War II service in United States records.
BAWA'T BATO (For Each Stone)
Response to burial plans
An initiative called Bawa’t Bato(For each stone) was launched, urging those who oppose the plan to dump stones with names of victims of abuses during the Martial Law era of Ferdinand Marcos or a personal message at the proposed site of the burial of Marcos within the Heroes' Cemetery.
About 2,000 people held protest against the burial plans, saying that Marcos was not a hero; organizers have clarified that the protests were not against the Duterte administration itself, but are targeted towards the burial plan.
It was reported that Rafael Alunan said that those who oppose the burial plans of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery could invoke the 1992 agreement with the Marcos family and the Philippine government under then President Fidel V. Ramos but he clarified on August 17, 2016 that the agreement was a memorandum of understanding which is not binding compared to a formal agreement or deal.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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