Ledesma: The President’s problem | SunStar

Ledesma: The President’s problem

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Ledesma: The President’s problem

Friday, October 06, 2017

PRY into the life and files of the political saga of President Rodrigo Duterte and maybe it will help in understanding why the man who had spent over two decades of public service has no love for the Office of the Ombudsman.

Having been among the first Tanodbayan investigator and then later as city prosecutor he knows what it takes to probe into allegations of corruption and how it feels to be investigated.

As fate had intervened in its most unusual and incredible circumstances, Duterte was appointed Vice Mayor of Davao City, proceeded as mayor for 23 years punctuated only with a brief stint in Congress and then as President of the Republic of the Philippines.

For the political animals in Davao City, the Mayoral seat is a plum position. Davao, after all, is the commercial and communication center in Mindanao and the southern gateway of the country. No one from among the living and the dead politicians ever nurtured the idea of becoming President. And that includes Duterte.

For the political adversaries of then Mayor Duterte, the only means to dethrone him was to destroy his credibility. And because he is a public official, the route to demonize Digong is via the Office of the Ombudsman.

In the annals of Duterte's political career, he had been hounded by the Ombudsman and rabid paid hacks in the media on issues which have all the ingredients of notoriety aimed at denigrating not only the man his constituents simply call Digong but also the members of his family.

Had Ombudsman Carpio-Morales looked into the number of cases filed against Duterte as mayor, she would be amazed that all of these were dismissed by the higher Courts. Among these were allegations of misappropriation of School Board funds, purchase of garbage bins which the complainant claimed were below standard, ghost employees, illegal demolition of cement slabs over narrow waterway to give way to a park to name a few.

As if these were not enough, the mayor hardly warmed his seat as Mayor when the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) conducted a probe, led by CHR Chair Leila de Lima, in alleged extra judicial killings (EJK) and the man behind the organization of the Davao Death Squad. There's no hiding the fact that there were killings, numerous killings, in the city but this was during the reign of terror of the New People's Army in the late 1970's up to 1984.

The NPA hit squads called "sparrows" summarily executed their targets. Neither the Amnesty International nor the Human Rights activists called these EJK before but they included these death statistics later when the Commission on Human Rights conducted a probe in 2009 to pin then Mayor Duterte on the issue of killings of members of drug and other forms of criminal syndicates in Davao City. They lumped up all victims of vicious insurgency war in Davao to include those who died in the bloody New People’s Army (NPA) versus NPA vendetta.

I'm sounding like a broken record here but this is one historical fact which is being stonewalled simply because it goes against the current of those who dislike Duterte especially those who want him out. Others, especially those who were born during the 1980 decade some of whom are now the social activists barely remember while others, of my age and younger just dismiss this either out of fear or simply out of sheer ennui.

Only CHR under its Chair Leila de Lima in cahoots with the political arch rivals of Duterte called forth the bloody past of Davao but they conveniently skipped the facts to creatively impute the death statistics then to demonize Duterte now. On the wayside, non-government organizations conjure human rights issues to suit their fund-raising activities.

Up to this time not a few NGOs still make money on human rights issues, never mind if these tarnish the image of the country and that of President Duterte and family.

The problem with our President is that he is easily peeved to anger for the lies that are bruited around by his political enemies but quick to forgive those who had wronged him.

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on October 06, 2017.

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