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Checks and dalliances


Will the legislative department’s series of hearings ever amount to anything beyond entertainment value?

The general public has, as usual, been captivated by the circus that is Philippine politicking. While frequently under the guise of the administration versus the opposition, if you’ve observed how things are done in the country for long enough, you would understand that there are no real political parties – only political aspirations and interests.

And for decades, the Filipino people have continued to rabidly consume their farce. Never mind that it’s akin to a poorly written, comically bad version of House of Cards – with the populace continuing to suffer as cyclical destabilization forces rehash its machinations in the fickle power struggle between rival businesses and political interests.

Human wrongs

Rookie Senator and former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is now facing the brunt of the administration’s salvo. After leading a Senate inquiry into the rash of “extrajudicial killings” (EJK) – a direct result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” – she now finds herself in the midst of an unforgiving onslaught with the President questioning her morality due to her supposed dalliance with her driver, and powerful convicts and imprisoned drug lords accusing her of receiving payouts for allowing the drug trade to flourish inside the walls of the New Bilibid Prison.

Amidst the Ad Hominem attacks, the real issue of EJK has taken a backseat, and the inevitable fostering of the culture of impunity that comes with it continues on its dangerous ascent on a most slippery slope.

Duterte’s vice presidential running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano likened the Philippines’ peace and order situation to Singapore; this while his President has declared the country under a “state of lawlessness.”

In this latest mini-series, the question is which side will come out on top when the last personal attack has been broadcast. The certainty is that the Filipino people have again been robbed of a government that will focus on addressing their many immediate concerns and needs.

Chaos theory

Veteran journalist Cito Beltran recently came out with a column in the Philippine Star titled “Proxy War.” In it, he points out that vested interest groups have again taken to their trite, albeit effective, modes of destabilization.

He wrote that these groups are behind the scenario creation that feed stories to foreign media with terms like “genocide” and “human rights violations” used as bait to elicit international outrage and commentary.

Non-compliant leaders and governments are brought up and torn down by the same strategies and propaganda that has been used for decades, according to Beltran.

It is a game of thrones – with the similar houses that ousted Ferdinand Marcos’ 20-year reign; convicted Joseph Estrada of plunder barely over two years into his presidency, which led to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s nine-year rule—only to have her predecessor (and former student) lead an attack that resulted in her being detained for years.

Of course, Marcos appears to be headed to the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery); Estrada is on his second term as the mayor of the Philippine capital; and Arroyo is now free and still warms a seat in the House of Representatives.

It’s a perpetual war of interests – one that frequently results in damage to the country and its economy, which are hardly considered in the long game of destabilizers.

Beltran wrote, “The bad part of this ‘artificial’ or controlled form of terrorism is that it scares off expats, tourists as well as investors. The damage to the country and the economy is far-reaching and longer than the game plan of destabilizers who treat out long-term stability as mere collateral damage in their war. It is in this part where they attack each and every Filipino. ”