As irresponsible and as criminal as United States President Donald Trump’s decision to have Iran’s General Qassim Soleimani assassinated may appear to be, there were at least two reasons of a sort in its madness.
As if to remind the Philippine press and media of the challenges they face during his troubling watch, President Rodrigo Duterte began the new year by urging the owners of ABS-CBN to sell the network. He had earlier threatened to make sure that the House of Representatives majority he controls doesn’t renew its franchise, which expires on March 30 this year. One of his accomplices in that House of ill-repute has in so many words assured him that they will do exactly that.
In another demonstration of unpresidential pique, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Bureau of Immigration to stop United States Senators Richard Durbin and Patrick Leahy’s from entering the country. Messrs. Durbin and Leahy were the most instrumental in the decision to include in the 2020 US budget act, which Duterte phone pal Donald Trump has signed into law, a provision ordering the Secretary of State to deny entry into the US anyone in Philippine officialdom involved in the persecution, arrest and detention of opposition Senator Leila de Lima.
The guilty verdict on some of the principals responsible for the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre is the first instance in which members of a powerful warlord clan have been convicted as masterminds in the killing of journalists in the Philippines. No masterminds and only14 assassins had previously been convicted of the killing of the remaining 133 journalists out of the 165 who have been murdered for their work since 1986.
Manila Mayor Francisco Moreno Domagoso, who’s more popularly known as Isko Moreno, is thinking of putting up a “Freedom Wall” on which citizens can express their frustrations, call on others to be involved in public issues, and post their demands on government agencies or private entities like the media and employers. Such a facility would help enhance the capacity of student, labor, farmer, environmentalists’, journalists’, human rights defenders and other groups to bring their concerns to their countrymen and engage them in their advocacies.