Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Don't Be Pessimistic? By Erick San Juan

Our country is once again divided as various issues confront us, vital to our day to day lives. With the personalities up front raging word wars, so are the people especially the netizens.  After the initial two-day hearing on extra-judicial killings at the senate chaired by Senator Leila de Lima, several points were cleared by the PNP chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa on the war on drugs. After the so many hours spent on the senate hearing in aid of legislation, the 'war' continues and so are the killings.

The so-called war on drugs is concentrated mostly on the poor drug users and pushers, the public is asking time and again, where are the ‘big fish’? So many questions and the answers were so limited and very evasive. Like most killed are reportedly 'assets' of some scalawags in uniform who wanted to silence them and not to spill the beans. The suspected drug lord Peter Lim and family already left through a private jet for unknown destination. The case of father and son tandem – Mayor Rolly and son Kerwin Espinosa, some observers believed that they were treated like VIPs and were released eventually. Reason? No case to file against them, yet. The one was met by the President himself in Malacanang and the other one even stayed in the PNP’s white house. Pundits believe that if these are the ways the ‘big fishes’ were being treated, can we blame the public for asking why such biased treatment is being done if the present leadership is really waging this war on drugs seriously without fear and favor?

Remember we are not alone in this war, at the senate hearing it was mentioned by the Commission on Human Rights head Chito Gascon that there is a possibility that the International Criminal Court can investigate and may impose sanction on the responsible individuals who allowed the rampant extra-judicial killings. In other words, the people in the government should be wary on how to conduct their operations because we are being watched by the international community. Whether the President likes it or not, we are a member in a community of nations who are outside the box looking in for any possible violation of human rights.

But we have to remind the Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations that some alleged 'salvaging' were executed before the Duterte administration.

Yes, we are one with the President in upholding our sovereign rights as an independent nation but diplomacy dictates that we should respect people and organizations who are doing their jobs to maintain peace and harmony among sovereign states. And if we as a member of such group, we should respect and follow its rules for the protection of our citizenry.

As we wrote before, the present leadership of President Duterte is faced with a lot of problems and issues handed down from the past administrations. One is the communist insurgency which is now conducting the peace talks in Oslo, Norway. Some observers are asking why it had to be outside the country, this peace talk?

Like what former National Security Secretary Bert Gonzales said in his article that was published at the Manila Times – “Why can’t the peace talks be held where they are now? Government can easily provide suitable facilities for talks within their detention area. For those in Utrecht, except for Jose Maria Sison, who continues to be on the international terrorist list, they have been freely traveling to the Philippines, anyway."

"Sison claims to be a mere consultant in the talks. His absence should not really matter. The Norwegian third party facilitators certainly will not mind enjoying Manila hospitality. What is important is that doing the talks here will not require the Philippines to bend its laws."

"It is a good time to confront some communist beliefs that threaten national security. Many communists all over the world went through this in their respective countries, where they have now become important political players and are effectively co-existing with other ideologically founded political forces. The talks will not bring peace as intended if these beliefs are not confronted and reconciled with once and for all.”

The peace talks with the communist group is just one of the so many government tasks, there is also the problem with the MNLF and the MILF and the possible new BBL version to reckon with.  And the continuing military confrontations with the bandits of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

That’s not all, even the nagging question of the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos, whether it should be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or not really divides the people. But as of this writing, the Supreme Court came out with its status quo anti order for twenty days on the fate of the Marcos burial. It was put on hold until the day of the oral arguments next month.

We have to remind our people that  I was part of the entourage from Hawaii to Ilocos Norte of the former President Ferdinand Marcos  body and he has long been buried beside his beloved mother, Dona Josefa. What many people are seeing in Ilocos is the refrigerated wax replica of Marcos patterned to Lenin's open museum at the Red Square in Kremlin that we saw during the visit of former President Fidel Ramos in Russia.

These are just among the so many hurdles that President Digong had to face day in and day out. Maybe the severity and scope of these problems had made the president looks uneasy sometimes and tend to say words that later on regrets as saying. For whatever its worth, he is the elected president and we should support his administration but not to forget also that we are still in a democracy with all its flaws, let us all be vigilant and pray for the best that this nation will survive despite all the problems.

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