Ship of fools

President Duterte receives proposed federal constitution of Consultative Committee
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Were they fools duped into boarding the “federalist ship,” and drafting and defending a constitution that would supposedly bring into fruition President Rodrigo Duterte’s oft-repeated claim that a shift to a federal form of government would accelerate the development of the country’s poorest regions? At least one member of the Duterte-appointed Consultative Committee (Con-Com), who helped write the draft that’s now in Congress, is beginning to think so.
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Death wish

Manny Pacquiqo and Rodrigo Duterte
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Boxer Manny Pacquiao, whose fists made him a part-time, occasional senator of this unfortunate Republic, says he’s going to rush the restoration of the death penalty through a bill in the Senate by the end of the year.

He’s been campaigning for it both in support of his own views as well as his patron President Rodrigo Duterte’s preference for it as a supposed deterrent to crime. Mr. Duterte is on record as saying that the method of execution he favors is hanging, because he wants it to be as painful and as inhumane as possible on the mindless assumption that it will frighten murderers, rapists, kidnappers, drug traffickers and other savages into abandoning their lives of crime.
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The ignorance that kills

Estrada, Duterte, Arroyo, Marcos
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Within months of his coming to power in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte’s profanities, tirades, threats, outrageous remarks about women, human rights, heads of foreign states, and what he was actually doing, had called the attention of international media — in Japan, the United States and Europe — to what was happening in the Philippines.
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Theater of the absurd

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A television comedy director was supposed to direct it, and did hold at least one rehearsal over the weekend. But the directorial prowess of Joyce Bernal wasn’t in much evidence except in President Rodrigo Duterte’s subdued though less than forthright State of the Nation Address (SONA) this year.
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Better silenced than silent

Duterte and reporters
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Some 21.9 million Filipinos, notes the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s Reforming Philippine Anti-Poverty Policy (Manila: NAPC Secretariat, 2017), are officially considered poor. But an additional 50 to 60 million more may also be in the same category “when other dimensions of poverty are considered.”

Those “dimensions” include low incomes, job insecurity, poor nutrition and health, limited access to education and medical care, substandard housing. To these uncertainties may be added, in the time of the Tokhang anti-illegal drugs and anti-“istambay” campaigns and TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act), the threat of losing a family breadwinner or a son and daughter, and record-breaking inflation. This means that poverty and uncertainty are the conditions of life for some 70 to 80 million Filipinos.
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Offender of the faith

Rodrigo Duterte and Archbishop Romulo Valles
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Before Rodrigo Duterte, no Philippine president, as morally-challenged as some of them may have been, had ever disparaged Catholicism and Christianity, much less cursed the God Christians, Muslims and Jews worship in common. Even Ferdinand Marcos, to whose overthrow in 1986 both the institutional Church as well as its activists contributed, did not take that path, although among the victims of his terrorist regime were nuns, priests, pastors and other religious workers.

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Destroyer of worlds

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In a far from modest and less than truthful description of itself, the Philippine government, said a Malacanang statement, is “headed by someone who has strong political will, decisive leadership, and compassion for his fellow men,” hence the “fruitful” first two years of the six-year Rodrigo Duterte presidency.
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Stand-by regime

Tambay
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President Rodrigo Duterte has denied ordering the arrest of “istambay” (the plural form of Filipino nouns is not formed with an “s”) despite the Philippine National Police’s detention of over 7,000 mostly young people, and the death, most likely through a police beating, of at least one individual who had stepped shirtless out of his home to get a cellphone “load” only to be arrested and jailed.
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