By Gerry Salapuddin
The move and timing of the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court or ICC to open up again the investigation of alleged human rights violation and possibly crime against humanity versus President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is loaded with suspicion. The initiative was taken by outgoing ICC Prosecutor Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian human rights lawyer, on her last few days at the ICC as her term expired yesterday, June 16, 2021. She is replaced today, June 17, 2021, by Karim Assad Ahmad Khan, a Muslim British human rights lawyer.
I suspect the invisible hands of the yellow opposition in the Philippines in tandem with their American and European partners and supporters are behind this new move against President Duterte, purposely to destroy his good image and outstanding performance as President in order to negatively impact on the candidate for President he’ll anoint and support in 2022. The biggest problem of the opposition groups even with two Aquinos i.e. Cory and Noynoy Aquino both as President of the Republic, there is not much of any significant accomplishments they can claim aside from hating President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family. For the truth is, even the ouster of Marcos was Enrile-led, supported by the then LtGen. Fidel V. Ramos, Gen. Eduardo R. Ermita and the RAM Boys led by the then Col. turned Senator and currently DICT Secretary Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan. Cory Aquino was so lucky enough to reap the prize of the EDSA People Power Revolution to become the de facto President without being elected to office.
On October 1-6, 2021 will be the slated filing of candidacy set by the COMELEC for the synchronized national and local elections in 2022. The biggest problem of the opposition groups under the new political alliance 1SAMBAYAN is the overwhelming popularity of President Duterte at 91% trust rating polled by Pulse Asia (?) as he enters his last year in office. In the past, when the sitting President enters his last year in Office, he/she registered very low trust rating. Sometimes, the past President garnered negative trust rating in his last year in office.
But here is a “Probinsiyano” President from Mindanao, despite all the brick bats and attacks by the local and foreign media and the opposition groups, his popularity is skyrocketing to an unprecedented high approval rating of 91%. Maybe because the Filipinos saw and felt his tangible accomplishments. His BUILD, BUILD, BUILD infrastructure program had accomplished so much, overshadowing the combined accomplishments of his predecessors.
Just look at the present Manila Bay and Boracay, the world renowned tourist destination in the Philippines. Boracay was becoming a lost paradise and its beach was polluted and seawater was afflicted with colliform. President Duterte ordered it shut down for months and directed DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu and DPWH Secretary Mark Villar to undertake massive clean up and rehabilitation, forcing all hotels and establishments to comply with the standard set by the Department of Tourism. After the massive clean up and rehabilitation, the old glory of Boracay was restored. On the other hand, the beauty and prestige of the Manila Bay with its panoramic sunset view is again becoming the pride of the Filipinos, clean beach, blue sea and the aqua marine inhabitants are thriving again. All past Presidents failed to bring back the glory of Manila Bay. Only President Duterte and his environment, public works and tourism team headed by SENR Roy Cimatu and SPWH Mark A. Villar did it!
The EDSA People Power Revolution restored democracy and business confidence in the resilient and growing Philippine economy. Despite road widening at the whole stretch of EDSA Street and all thoroughfares in Metro Manila, the nagging traffic problem was never effectively addressed. The Administrator of the Metro Manila Development Authority or MMDA come and go, devising different strategies and schemes to address the traffic problem. But to no avail. The traffic problem becomes worse and heavier before it gets better as the number of vehicles increase tremendously.
Again, only the Probinsiyano President from Mindanao and his Secretary of Transportation Arthur Tugade and his Secretary of Public Works Mark Villar succeeded in easing the traffic jam in Metro Manila, especially in EDSA. Where it takes 3 to 4 hours from Quezon City to the airport terminal, it only takes 30 minutes or less today.
Concerned leaders from Africa and Eastern Europe that were tried and prosecuted by the ICC for war crimes or ethnic cleansing. In the case of the “War on Drugs and Crime” by the Duterte administration it is a war against drug syndicates and criminal elements that victimized and turned the youth into drug addicts and criminals whuch later killed innocent people. It was not directed at the law abiding citizens. In fact, it was meant to protect them and their families from drug syndicates and criminal elements.
The ICC is clearly biased and maybe influenced by the foreign supporters and sponsors of the Opposition groups in the Philippines and the timing was really meant to impact on the mindset of the people in the 2022 elections.
And why single out President Duterte? Why did the ICC did not investigate and prosecute former US President George Bush, Jr. and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair for their war crimes and crime against humanity in Iraq? Why is Israel which clearly intends to exterminate the Palestinians, dispossessed them of their lands and homes, deny them the right of return and using excessive force against the helpless and oppressed Palestinians and violated 66 UN Resolutions or China’s crime against the Muslim Uyghurs in East Turkmenistan or Xinjiang Province, are never investigated and prosecuted? Are they above the law? Outgoing ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that they will prosecute anyone found to have committed war crimes, without fear or favor. But what they are doing is clearly ‘selective justice’, discriminatory and meant to protect their European and American patrons.