with Homobono A. Adaza
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
– From INVICTUS by William Ernest Henley
I was quite surprised by the continuing hawkish stand of SFA Teddy Boy Locsin on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. It runs counter to the meek, if not subservient, position of President Duterte. Knowing Teddy Boy since the Cory Aquino years, his intransigence is astounding? Has he finally become a man standing firmly on his feet? I wonder,
Knowing Teddy Boy, then and now, I have serious doubts he is capable of taking a different position from President D on any issue, much less on this sensitive matter as the West Philippine Sea.
Of my knowledge, there are only two members of the President Duterte’s Cabinet who have contradicted the President openly – Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana on issues of national defense and security and Secretary of Finance Sonny Dominguez on economic issues. The rest of the Cabinet – in the famous lines of William Wordsworth, is a pack of dumb driven cattle.
So how can Teddy Boy contradict President D without offending him? It is unthinkable. The only possible explanations are the Locsin-Duterte exercise is mere Moro-Moro to placate rising public disgust over the Duterte position on the West Philippine Sea or President D is losing grip of his Cabinet and allied forces due to advancing age and rising tide of anti-Duterte forces.
Examples: Recently, President Duterte upbraided Senator Manny Pacquiao for blaming him on the current problems at the West Philippine Sea. Humbly, Pacquiao answered Duterte that he was only trying to voice the concern of many of our people on Duterte’s abandonment to Communist China our own Philippine territory and sovereignty. Enraged by the Pacquiao reply, Duterte told Pacquiao to read and study more before he open his mouth on the issue.
President D should be grateful that the exchange did not take place inside a boxing ring. If it did, the Pacquiao counterpunch would have floored President D and sent him to sleep beyond the count of eight which signifies that the fight is over. Obviously, to any objective observer, the Pacquiao counterpunch is more presidential than the President D critique of Senator Pacquiao.
Not content with a loss in exchange just following a previous failed challenge to a debate with Former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, President D sought refuge in the arms of former Senate President and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile in a televised broadcast.
President D asked Enrile to tell the audience he was not the one at fault on the current problem at the West Philippine Sea. President D said the problem started when the Philippine Navy vessels withdrew from the Scarborough Shoal after a confrontation with the Communist Chinese Naval Forces during the administration of PNOY Aquino. President D keep insisting for Enrile to say the PNOY government was at fault for withdrawing the Philippine vessels from the vicinity of the Scarborough Shoal.
After a convoluted exchange between President D and Enrile, the latter finally told Duterte that the Philippines had to withdraw its vessels because of an agreement between Communist China and the Philippines brokered by the USA The Philippines adhered to the agreement and withdrew her vessels but Communist China refused to honor the agreement, the rogue State that it is which does not believe in the rule of law.
Who is to blame: Why does not Duterte blame his friend, corona virus Communist China President Xi Jinping? Xi was the one who dishonored and disobeyed the agreement in the same manner that communist corona virus Xi Jinping refused to honor and obey the decision of the UN Arbitral Tribunal on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. If there is anyone to blame, it is China and Xi Jinping for disobeying and dishonoring the agreement.
The question thereafter is – why did not PNOY Aquino asked the US to press China to honor and obey the agreement. Why? That is the fault of PNOY. But what can you expect from an incompetent President like him who is nothing but a Siamese twin of President Duterte?
In a previous nationally televised interview, Duterte raged against Former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio and Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario for taking a position different from his on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. Digong challenged Carpio to a debate on the issue. As usual he ran away from his challenge. But this is no surprise from Digong – as this is a matter of habit. When he was still Mayor of Davao City, Digong challenged journalist Waldy Carbonell, who was representing the National Press Club to conduct an inquiry on the death of Davao City journalist Jun Pala. Offended, Digong challenged Waldy to a gunfight. Waldy showed up at the time and
place designated by Digong but not even the shadow of Digong showed up. As usual the brave man Mayor Digong ran away from his own challenge.
President Digong is a habitual delinquent in so far as honoring his own challenges. At the time he issues the challenges, he swaggers like a peacock but when he realizes he committed a mistake he has the pachydermous insensitivity to run away from it – just like the challenges he issued to Vice-President Leni Robredo on the drug issue and the one he issued to former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on revealing their bank accounts.
Who knows what: Examining the statements of President Duterte on the West Philippine Sea, it is very clear that he does not know the Philippine Constitution and his constitutional duties. Why? In his exchanges with Carpio, Del Rosario and Pacquiao, he was made to look like an amateur who has a lot to read and learn – of how to be President. Like many members of his Cabinet, it has taken him so long to undergo an On the Job Training (OJT) but not learning. But his unabashed excuse for it is – “That’s me!”
In his obsession with the issue, he even said he would hang Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario for treason for allowing the withdrawal of Philippine naval vessels from the West Philippine Sea. President Duterte should know better. Del Rosario could not order the withdrawal of those vessels –only PNOY Aquino could do that. The withdrawal is not the fault of PNOY as it was consistent with an agreement with Communist China. If at all there is any fault, it came only after the agreement – PNOY Aquino should have asked the US which brokered the agreement to tell China to honor the agreement. If it did not, there lies the fault of PNOY Aquino.
If that is a fault, why did President Duterte not request the US to ask Communist China to honor the agreement since the Chinese vessels are still there? So whose fault is that? It is no longer PNOY’s since he is no longer President – it is President Duterte’s fault since he is the current President. Still, since Duterte claims that corona virus Xi Jinping is his friend – why does not Duterte ask Xi Jinping to withdraw those vessels?
Help, help: President Duterte is in desperate need of big names to agree with him. The only one he could find was former Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile. He was no help because he kept on yakitty-yakking about former Senator Trillanes back channeling with China. Enrile was obsessed in knowing – who was the contact of Trillanes in China why he was chosen by PNOY.
Enrile should know better. Who and why Trillanes was chosen by PNOY is of no moment now. In the sacramental words of the best trial lawyers – it is irrelevant, impertinent and immaterial. With the many positions Enrile has held in government – he should know a few simple facts: PNOY was an incompetent President and it is just natural that he would chose someone as incompetent as he is, Trillanes.
So Duterte has become helpless. Enrile was of no help except that Enrile agrees with the treasonous posturing of President Duterte on the issue of the West Philippine Sea. No Cabinet secretary is of any help to Duterte except for SFA Teddy Boy Locsin who has shown a kind of intelligence on the issue.
Solution: There are only two possible solutions to the President Duterte problem – his resignation from the presidency or his impeachment by the Lower House and conviction by the Senate.
But none of these can happen – Duterte will never resign from the presidency and he will never be impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. Why no impeachment and conviction? To borrow the words of a poet – the House and Senate majority members are no better than dumb driven cattle. Whatever Duterte says – goes! Or better still – they are dumb driven goats. Why goats? Every time Duterte barks, the goats chorus – Mee mee mee he he he! And what is worse – they all stink
Unless there is Divine intervention, I am afraid we will all have to wait for the 2022 presidential election. By then, we should damn all the torpedoes and elect a brilliant, courageous, visionary and revolutionary President with integrity, character, and discipline committed to God, country and the people.