September 25, 2017, 3:29 am
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Extraordinary

IF only their offices can temporarily shed off their sense of civility, President Duterte and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV should be more than able to engage in a gun duel.

The trash-talking Duterte has brought it upon himself to prove that he has got the balls to take on someone like Trillanes minus the protective cover of the PSG or the PNP. Acting in character as a blood-thirsty town mayor out to take out anyone who crosses his path, Duterte has created a scenario with Trillanes by bypassing human virtues that otherwise befit the highest position of the land such as political prudence, maturity and tolerance. Trust this president to bring down almost any discourse to gutter level.

But, nowhere in the accounts in Davao City’s merciless homicidal forays has emerged a fearless Duterte squaring off with an armed criminal suspect face to face. At least one surrendering unarmed kidnapper was shot fatally by Duterte himself as he was surrounded by his armed guards. And after several drug offenders, many in their teens, were salvaged by his death squad, the local police and many people in Davao have looked up to him as their first mayor with balls. And indeed true to his character Duterte has regarded Trillanes as a real target for assassination, a disclosure made by Trillanes himself that the President only tried to ignore by saying as much, “hindi ko na lang papatulan yan.”

Their heated exchange has so far been dominated by personal insults from the President himself, while Trillanes had the good sense of sticking to the basic and major issues including the alleged P2 billion in unreported bank accounts of Duterte and the series of deliberate coverups since the presidential campaign. After the AMLAC has received direct, verbal orders from the President himself to disclose all his bank accounts, the agency can no longer invoke any legal or administrative constraint. Even then, if its chairman, Bangko Sentral Chief Armando Tetangco, Jr. hedges and hews we can be sure Duterte has secretly fired off another instruction to keep his huge deposits secret.

The face-off between the fearless former mutineer and this ostensibly fearless President will lead to one of them losing face and to pay for it dearly by resigning from office. But, only one may have the balls to keep his word after hurling the challenge to each other. Duterte seems to forget that Trillanes still commands a large and faithful following in the military which has not lacked essential support and material assistance from the senator. Any socio-political upheaval pitting the military against the national police which has no history of taking part in any historical and meaningful change of such national magnitude will, of course, make the latter cower.. 

Some in media still find it perplexing why the issue of rogues in robes which was raised by then President Erap has simply vanished even from our pursuits. The next thing Erap knew was that he was being ousted before the Senate Impeachment Court, which was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court on his resignation based on a letter. Until now, questions persist in many legal circles if then Chief Justice Hilario Davide presiding over the impeachment trial failed in his constitutionally-mandated task to conclude the crucial work of the senate court even after allowing the celebrated walkout of the prosecutors. The decision allowing the Marcos burial did not stem from sufficiently-enshrined legal and political grounds as all the SC justices were unquestionably aware of the various issues underlying it. And these were essentially consistent with the popular public sentiments.

But were they compelled by “extraordinary” issues for them - or for the majority - to unabashedly relent? And for the first time since the GMA-dominated court has expressed its objection to the Marcos burial at the Libingan, it declared its incredible turnaround that literally made us fall off our seats - that it was sufficient that Marcos was a soldier and a former president to be buried there. And that there was no such jurisprudence against a former president turning into a brutal dictator. And they were more inclined to rest on the law being silent on whether the special privilege of being laid to rest at a hallowed resting place covers a criminal or a dictator. It cannot be helped for one to do a guesswork on how could morally and legally-infallible justices of the highest court distinguish themselves with a palpable residual argumentation that indeed pales in the light of time-tested universal principles and morals. 

The Marcos camp is now more confident than ever that most of the SC justices would favor the the petition of former Senator Bongbong Marcos against Vice-President Leni Robledo.
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