WE are bothered by how easily President Duterte flip-flops in his statements, mixes up facts from jokes, and makes it appear to the public that his populist demeanor lightens-up pressing national issues when all the more they make the issues complicated and vulnerable to excessive and multiple interpretations.
Recently, he made another Pontius Pilate stunt by washing his hands off the ouster of Chief Justice Sereno. Lest he forgot, he made strong pronouncements early on against women who are critical of him like Sen. Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, and women guerillas whose vaginas he ordered shot. No less than the Chief Justice herself was hounded with threats.
For us seminarians and sisters, this is no laughing matter. This is not the first time he made contradicting and confusing statements. His work in his nearly two years in his post falls short of his campaign promises especially with regards to issues that greatly affect the poor. An example is the junking of contractualization.
No amount of populist rhetoric can deny the fact that his administration has been marred with numerous controversies wherein he may have the best of intentions as promised but has been proven otherwise and worse. This can be seen in the war on drugs, the TRAIN law, etc.
It is more worrisome that his pronouncements may have been treated as policies that to an effect legalize and reinforce the prevailing culture of impunity.
We wonder what quality of mind such thoughts operate. And even more disturbing, these pronouncements, when taken as policies, can end up being difficult to control: 20,000 recorded deaths under the his drug war, hundreds of thousands of displaced people in Mindanao with no clear plans for relief.
Consider the case of Sr. Patricia Fox and Chief Justice Sereno. The grounds and procedures taken by the agencies against them were clearly meant to persecute his critics.
The latest blow to no less than the chief justice is an attack on constitutionally provided checks and balances in our democracy. They operate at all cost without regard of fairness and due process. These are clear steps to establishing a tyrannical rule.
We appeal for sobriety and sound mindedness if it is not too much to ask from the president. He must realize that his rhetoric exposes his administration to vulnerabilities that greatly harm the people. We could do nothing but express deeply in our everyday prayers and supplications a hope to an end to these hostilities.
The president must also take caution on real issues like the peace talks with warring factions like the Moro insurgents and the National Democratic Front. The talks would contribute to lasting solutions to real conflicts but must be taken with sound judgments free from self-preserving and tyrannical interests.
The president must not impede the efforts in the Senate to make the Chief Justice’s ouster follow procedures.
Justice is key, he could do no less. The blood of the victims cry out.--Carl Philip Leyson, spokesperson, Nicodemus Solidarity