ONE reason legislators rush and compete to file the first bill in the House when a new Congress opens is the media attention. And this year the scramble happened again but the first slots, surprise, were reserved for pet bills from President Duterte's super-coalition.

Executive Order (E.O.)#1 is the president's own notice to the public on his priorities. Congress watchers expected E.O.#1 to be his order on cutting of red tape and banning abrupt change of rules in government deals, added near the end, drum-roll, of his June 30 inaugural speech.

Maybe advisers decided play-up in the inaugural was enough. E.O.#1 must go to the subject dear to Duterte's heart. And what is that? Killing drug dealers and other crime suspects.

But then a killing policy can't be put in a legal document, which may be used against him.

As the Supreme Court did to then president Noynoy Aquino's own E.O.#1 creating the Philippine Truth Commission.

The July 30, 2010 order was declared unconstitutional by the tribunal in a Dec. 7, 2010 ruling: it violated the charter's equal protection of the law clause as the truth body was to focus its investigation on the Gloria Arroyo administration “as if corruption were a peculiar specie" of the GMA regime.

Duterte's E.O.#1 merely lumps agencies that the president oversee through his Cabinet secretary. It highlights a concern but is hardly illegal.


Noynoy's E.O.1 was shot dead in the water before it could sail. Yet he didn't correct the defect in the E.O. with a simple second order. Maybe he realized his administration couldn't handle the truth. And it mighthave to spend more time hauling people to jail instead of reducing poverty.

Duterte's E.O.1 might help. But licking poverty is even tougher than fighting crime. A lot more poor people than criminals. And they can't reduce the number of the poor by starving them to death.