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Letters from Davao: ‘Kiss’ By Jun Ledesma

FOR ONE, THERE was no moonlight and love songs when President Rodrigo Duterte planted a slight kiss on a lady up a stage and witnessed by over 2-thousands of adoring Filipino workers in South Korea, part of 60-thousands who assembled in Seoul to welcome their idol. It was not even a kiss; it was in fact a peck which the usual anti-Duterte critics want to pass as French kiss.

The ultra-sensitive Renato Reyes felt defiled and made the playful peck a national issue. I cannot comprehend why they considered the gesture vulgar and disregarded the billions worth of committed investments arising from the partnerships which Korean and Filipino businessmen have forged in the 3-day visit of President Duterte. I know of some business deals which are in the works but details of which cannot be divulged because of the non-disclosure agreements between parties. These and add that which Finance Sec. Sonny Dominguez signed – a loan package of $180-million for Cebu container port.
Let me quote here a message from a brilliant lady lawyer from Davao, Atty. Emelina Quintillan. “I am not an apologist for Duterte, but people who voted for him already know that he cannot be judged from the perceptual framework of the “morality of the oligarchs.”

I think that’s why he won. There is a conflict of interest between the rich and the poor in the Philippines so that’s why Duterte’s tirades against the rich or the “oligarchs” have been lauded by the majority and poorer “masa”.

Right or wrong, he won as elected President. The country will never progress if the tools of his opposition will continue to derail his intentions for the country and if people will not be united in accepting the democratic rule of the majority. I don’t care who is President, but after the squabble for the race to the Presidency and the “majority” votes of people have spoken, there should be peace & quiet so those elected can do their job. There will be another chance to fight and change hands at the helm of the government again. That is the democratic framework of the country that the opposition is ignoring. Tell me if there has ever been a President in the history of the Philippines without flaws or misdeeds. I never believed Duterte will be able to accomplish in 3 MONTHS whatever he promised.

That is not possible in a fractious society and well-entrenched opposition. Madali lang kasi siya magsalita before he knew what he was getting into. I don’t think the Dutertards believed that too, but he was the only one who challenged the traditional politicians and political system even if he would “die for the Filipino nation.”

He was chosen because of the hope for change that he gave. But who is destroying that hope? Of course there should also be vigilance by the opposition, but “vigilance” does not mean “obstruction” or “destruction.” To obstruct will only destroy the country and its nation.

As a monk said: “It’s OK if you can’t help, but at least don’t hurt or destroy.” The anomaly in the Philippines is that most of the newspapers and TV networks are owned by Duterte’s enemies. Hence, the easy spread of suspicions, allegations, and lies. The problem of Duterte, which may also be his advantage, is he is too noisy and bisaklat even with his “dirty linens.”

He is out to shock the “moralist” and “ethical” kuno. As someone said: “Bagay siya sa Philippine politics kay baga siya ug nawong.” The usual morality framework that we know does not apply to him. That’s fortunately or unfortunately, depending on whose perspective one is taking.

The malice in Solicitor General Jose Calida’s “conflict of interest” kuno is obvious in the timing that this issue is coming out. He just won in the SC quo warranto case that the opposition were up against. If those who are propagating this COI are really for good government, why is this issue coming out only now & where is it coming from? They should file a case against him if they have evidence instead of simply spreading “tsismis.” Diyan sa tsismis magaling ang Filipino, di ba? If one wants to destroy an enemy, magkalat lang ng masamang tsismis.”

That’s Attorney Quintillan reacting from abroad. She, along with other OFWs monitoring and watching the development in the country are always abreast with the events taking place in their native land. And they knew that that kiss is nothing but a sign of endearment and a leader’s fatherly affection to his countrymen. Next time Mr. President blow a kiss to the crowd. (Jun Ledesma)

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