POSTSCRIPT / February 6, 2022 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Duterte belittles presidential bets

We were disturbed by President Duterte’s report to the nation on Jan. 25 that one of the leading presidential aspirants is corrupt and that all but one of the frontrunners in the race for the top executive position in the land are hounded by negative issues.

A politico for decades and President for close to six years, Duterte knows enough of corruption and the law to be able to say if anybody applying to replace him is clean and capable. He said he would tell voters before Election Day what he thinks of the leading candidates.

President Rodrigo Duterte. (Photo: The STAR / Simeon Celi Jr.)

In recorded remarks aired on his weekly TV report, the President said: “Walang personalan ito because obligasyon ko lang para masabi sa tao. Sa lahat ng nakikita ko, para sa akin – well, except one – lahat mayroong issue na hindi maganda.”

(This is nothing personal because it is my obligation to tell the public the truth. From what I see, all but one have negative issues.) One wonders who that lone exception is.

Without naming them, he said one of the aspirants is a corrupt official, and that another one is not ready for the presidency.

He said, “Meron diyan kasi talagang hindi pwede maging president… Meron naman diyan (pwedeng) presidente pero masyadong corrupt. Akala lang ng mga tao malinis, pero yung mga nag-transact sa business sa kanya, official business, pati yung mga Chinese nagreklamo na masyadong corrupt daw. Naghihingi sa kanila. Sabi ko ang magawa ko ay to charge him for corruption.”

(There’s one who can’t be a president. There’s another who can, but he is too corrupt. People see him as someone with a clean image, but those who transact with him for official business, even Chinese, are complaining that he’s too corrupt. I said what I can do is charge him with corruption.)

He described another aspirant as clueless and always making mistakes: “Meron naman dito hopelessly I think hindi dapat mag-presidente, medyo kulang talaga, kulang na kulang. Every day may sasabihin siya na mali, maski the fundamentals of what a person na gusto mag-presidente dapat, ewan ko lang.”

(There is someone who hopelessly, I think, should not be president. The person is kind of lacking intelligence, very lacking. He says something wrong every day, even the fundamentals of someone wanting to be president.)

Of another aspirant, he said, “From observation, parang taong nakainom. Malaman mo na medyo sumobra siya sa limit ng botelya na kaya niya tapos mag-away, tapos magtapang, magsalita masakit. Kala niya may utang ang tao sa kanya, ganun ‘yan.”

(From observation, he looks like the person has had a drink. He seems to drink too much, then picks a fight and as if fearless says hurtful things. He thinks people owe him.)

It was understood that Duterte was talking of the top five – ex-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Ping Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso.

Duterte said it would be a disservice to the people if he kept quiet about what he knew about them. He pointed out that he has access to intelligence on them and has dealt with them to know them well enough to gauge their character and competence.

Since he presumably has evidence of the corruption, we urge him to order the speedy filing of charges. His not filing a complaint will bolster a belief that he was just politicking again when he made the disparaging comments about the aspirants.

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Duterte’s faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party still has no presidential nominee at this late date – an awkward anomaly for the administration – although it has adopted or endorsed (for vice president) Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte despite her belonging to a regional party.

The President also said earlier that a presidential aspirant was a cocaine user and a weak leader. Guessing of his identity stopped days later after Duterte said Marcos, who has been leading in the surveys, was a “weak leader” and a “spoiled child”.

Marcos’ being the presidential partner of his daughter Sara, a VP nominee, has stirred speculations on what end-game or “Plan B” Duterte has been keeping under wraps to ensure his staying relevant and impervious to harassment or prosecution after his term.

Another subject of the guessing game is what secret deal Duterte possibly has entered into with the Marcoses and if his studied keeping distance from the family of the late dictator is mere pretense.

• Drilon: Only real names in socmed

To boost the fight against online trolls and cyber libel, the Senate and the House of Representatives have adopted a key provision in the proposed SIM Card Registration Act requiring a real name and phone number upon creation of a social media account.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, who introduced the ID proviso, said: “Our amendment will provide citizens, especially victims of fake news, online harassment and cyber libel, protection against those who hide behind anonymity and fictitious names.”

“It is our little contribution to fight the anonymity that provides the environment for trolls and malicious attacks to thrive in the age of social media,” Drilon added. “I hope this signals the end of the troll era that infected and caused further division in our country.”

On Wednesday, supporters of Vice President Leni Robredo filed a cyber libel complaint against a Facebook user who made malicious and false claims about a caravan organized by the group.

Both houses adopted the proposed Sim Card Registration Act before they went on election break. It is now up for the approval of the President.

The proposed measure imposes a penalty of imprisonment of no less than six years, or a fine of up to P200,000, or both, on anyone who uses a fictitious identity to purchase and register a SIM card or social media account.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of February 6, 2022)

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