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Letters from Davao: Beware, we are right in the eye of a storm By Jun Ledesma

THEY CAN DENY it, but there are destabilization efforts being waged in many fronts although these are rather crude and puny. But some of these feeble exercises can bring them to court. The case of the UP dean of the College of Engineering had the temerity to put in writing his seditious call for students and teachers under his department to join September 21 rally being organized by the opposition and the leftist organizations against what they branded as the dictatorial regime of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. While she recanted her statement and even deleted the letter she posted on FB, her call had impacted on the UP students. The message carries with it a subliminal threat for those who are not sympathetic to her ideology, political affiliation and her agenda. Of course the state scholars at the University of the Philippines have enough brains between their ears whether to rally against the regime of Duterte or not. To prod them by way of a letter-directive is entirely a different story and that is where her sad story begins. She is out to face dismissal and trial.

But the UP Engineering dean is not alone in this coordinated move to “oust Duterte”. From his comfortable asylum in Europe, Jose Ma. Sison declared earlier that they will actively participate in the “Oust Duterte” plot which they said will culminate in October. The political characters -some in jail and others in seclusion – in and out of government, including their salivating supporters and financiers, have perceptibly intensified their assault on the Duterte. From her detention cell, Sen. Leila De Lima pleads to UNCHR rapporteur Agnes Callamard to pursue investigation of alleged extrajudicial killings which she and her missing perjured witnesses Matobato and Lascanas had been implicating Duterte.

De Lima is trying to pass on the task to Callamard when in 2009 she, as chair of the Commission of Human Rights, spent four months in Davao City digging for what she claimed were burial grounds in a quarry about six kilometers away from city hall. She found nothing! Her successor Etta Rosales found nothing! The incumbent CHR Chair Chito Gaston must have sensed all that his predecessors wailing were fairy tales I have not seen his shadow in Davao since he took over the chairmanship..

The other collaborators implore the International Criminal Court to speed up their probe on alleged human rights abuses of Duterte. I have seen this ICC headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands and I wonder why and how can the inquisitors render judgement for or against a leader in a small island in the Pacific where a huge majority of its citizens trusted him. It would take roughly about 18 hours by jet to get to Netherlands from Manila. No wonder those ICC investigators did not have any idea that our justice system works. Proof to tell, De Lima is detained for her alleged involvement in drug trade and a Regional Trial Court is hearing her case.

The legal fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF have likewise raised their decibels of protests. Just the other day, Karapatan, which parades as a non-government organization joined the fray declaring that two sultans from Marawi will speak in another international forum to denounce Duterte for the human rights abuses committed in that Islamic City. Both the sultans and the international probe body cited by Karapatan were unheard of. It looks like these new persecutors of Duterte have not heard of the Maute ISIS which notoriously decapitates their victims, Muslims and Christians alike, prior to the siege in Marawi.

Very vocal among the opposition is Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, whose bed mate is ironically an avid fan of President Duterte. The senator had consistently assailed the Duterte for placing Mindanao under martial law. That directive actually resulted in the capture of members of Maute ISIS who attempted to escape and establish another cells in various parts of Mindanao. Of course the porous parts of Mindanao cannot all be guarded. The terrorists, either operating singly or in group had staged successful bombing here and there. Pangilinan proceeded to denounce the rationale behind imposing martial law not putting into whatever is left of his gray matters that without ML something could have gotten worse. Mindanaoans, contrary to what the anti-government cabal are saying, are comfortable with martial law and it is not surprising if some wants a more rigid implementation of the same.

At the height of crises brought about by Typhoon Ompong, opposition senators led by Grace Poe and kibitzers in the lower house among them Edcel Lagman took turns in lambasting President Duterte for disappearing from the scene. The carpers were not aware that Duterte was practically manning the disaster operation center and in the first opportunity was right in the scene of devastation somewhere in many places in Northern Luzon.

But where were the hypercritics? Like the Dean of the UP College of Engineering, they were in the comforts of their office and gated residences busy conjuring issues on how to bring down the Duterte government and oust him. What of VP Leni Robredo? She escaped to Naga and issued statement that Duterte and his men are sowing confusion. She is in fact so confused she is paralysed to becoming virtually inutile.

The typhoon has not left us at all. We are right in the eye of the storm. So beware of the October gale. (Jun Ledesma)


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