omw.issue.8

The premises of the International Criminal Court in The Hague comprises of five new buildings, including modern prison cells.


caballero.photo


WE have always mentioned in the past that for political observers like us, it is more objective to be watching from the outside than from within.

We could see the movements of the “characters” clearer.

Like the international organizations concerned with human rights and rule of law in running governments, we have been watching the Duterte government in the Philippines since inception last July.

Our overall assessment as of today is that the Duterte Administration is standing on the edge.

It has no stable and strong feet to stand on.

Why?

Anytime, the International Criminal Court (ICC) could summon Mr. Duterte, like other leaders of African nations in the past who were accused and meted out prison terms for wantonly killing their own people, to appear before the Court and answer for the killings of close to 9,000 people both in Metro Manila in the name of his anti-drugs campaign and Davao during his years in office as city mayor.

During the past month, on-the-spot investigations conducted by Amnesty International of London, Human Rights Watch of New York and the U.S. State Department (D.C.) were released and detailed how Mr. Duterte’s extrajudicial killings (or executions) were committed by the police or motorcycle-riding gunmen in masks.

(This killing spree continues. Last night, I received a message from a reliable source in Manila who said that poor men were picked up by masked persons in an unmarked van somewhere in Caloocan City and were later found in a sugarcane field in Pampanga bound and gagged with concrete nails embedded in their foreheads. This phase 2 new strategy of taking the bodies in places outside Manila area is apparently in order to prevent media from taking pictures and videos.)

The European Union Parliament has condemned EJK in a Resolution.

They informed the members of ASEAN and asked the United Nations to conduct an investigation.

The most influential and respected newspaper in the world, The New York Times, last week, published an editorial calling the attention of the United Nations to form a committee to investigate President Duterte and the killings.

It also asked the European Union (EU) to hit Duterte where it hurts most by imposing tariffs on traded PH products or commodities.

Likewise, the following day, The New York Times released a 15-minute investigative video of EJK, which showed some of the killings, killed persons, and grieving relatives in the documentary.

Because of the above equation, close allies of President Duterte, both in Congress and in his Cabinet, seem to be on their own now, trying to strengthen their grip in power in the event Mr. Duterte loses authority.

Those people want to make sure the person who will take over the presidency belongs to their group and not the opposite camp.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, whose positions are in lines of succession to the presidency according to the PH Constitution in the event of vacancy, are bent on impeaching the sitting opposition Vice President Leni Robredo even on flimsiest reasons for obvious vested interest purposes.

The justice secretary and the solicitor general have expressed support.

President Duterte’s top lieutenants in the House of Representatives are quarreling about bananas and girlfriends.

There are talks of ousting Speaker Alvarez and replacing him by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, representative from Pampanga.

Duterte in Catch 22

The pending impeachment case against President Duterte, filed by a Magdalo congressman, is Catch 22 for Mr. Duterte.

If it does not progress because of the big number of Duterte allies in Congress, it could pave the way for the International Criminal Court to prosecute the PH president.

Otherwise, he has to be impeached if that’s the better choice than going to ICC and face the sad possibility of spending jail term in The Hague.

ICC has five new large buildings.

Two of which are modern prison cells.

At least, nine prisoners are formerly strongmen or top officials of their respective countries.

Some reportedly died before the end of the prison term was reached.


***


Too much ek-ek in Manila

Too much wild and empty talks are circulating in Manila.

There’s too much polarization...all are counterproductive.

All because of the pugnacious trait of its president.
 
Congressman Edcel Lagman of Albay aptly said the following, “President Duterte is charged with betrayal of public trust for said extrajudicial killings, while Vice President Robredo upheld public trust by reporting said summary executions to seek the stoppage of and sanctions for said wanton criminality.”

What’s happening in Manila is quite sad and disconcerting.

Even if Mr. Duterte has dissuaded his allies in Congress from proceeding with their plans against VP Leni, impeachment is being resorted to as an exercise of political revenge and not as constitutional mechanism to right a wrong as envisioned by the framers.

Idolizing Duterte

I wish anyone who idolizes President Du30 would also say he or she approves of the killings of poor Filipinos under the Duterte program.

Whoever keeps silent on that and omits it from his admiration process is selective, subjective and “nabubulagan sa paghanga.”

The blind man

Last Sunday’s gospel in mass was about the blind man who was made to see by Jesus.

We were in the middle of Lent.

The priest said it was Lent’s week of joy.

(Reminds me of Joy.)

The priest said in his homily that the life of the blind is a life of darkness and loneliness.

Suddenly, I was reminded of those whom I refer to as “mga bulag sa pagibig kay G. Duterte.”

I wish they will be cured of their “blindness.”

They don’t need Jesus Christ to cure them.

Not yet.

All they have to do is open the windows of their soul, as well as their spiritual blinders.

If they do those, they will get rid of their personal blind spots and will begin to see God’s light.

And, finally, each, including their idol, could sing, “Was blind but now I see.”

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