Method in its madness

Despite the bluster of President Rodrigo Duterte and his equally loud lieutenants, yes-men and accomplices in the Cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, his regime is in reality completely without anything that even approximates a rational and coherent platform of governance. It is making things up as it goes along, and patching together ad hoc attempts to make it seem as if it were addressing the urgent problems that haunt the nation, most of which are of its own making.

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The enemy within

By revealing that it was Solicitor General Jose Calida who “did the research” on which he based his proclamation that Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s 2011 amnesty is void ab initio, President Rodrigo Duterte demonstrated once again how successfully his regime has been undermining itself. Calida had earlier denied having anything to do with the proclamation. But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Calida had asked for his help, and that he directed him to the office that had custody of Trillanes’ amnesty papers.

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What’s Left in the Cabinet

Without any proof and by merely attributing it to his sources in the military establishment, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV has been saying that the presence of left-wing personalities in the Duterte administration has enabled “hundreds of CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) cadres” to be employed in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), and even the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

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On July 10, or less than two weeks into his presidency, Benigno Aquino III told the Department of Justice to review the coup charges, which he described as “unjust,” against former Navy lieutenant and now Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. The order was interpreted at the time as part of Mr. Aquino’s efforts in behalf of the Francisco Pangilinan campaign for the Senate presidency. But serial coup plotter Gringo Honasan was already proposing an amnesty for Trillanes even then.

Honasan got his wish early this October, when Mr. Aquino issued Proclamation No. 50 granting Trillanes and his fellow Oakland Hotel mutineers amnesty, an act that’s been interpreted as either an attempt to buy the loyalty of the Trillanes-Lim faction in the military, a message that the Arroyo government against which Trillanes mutinied in 2003 was not legitimate, or both.

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