January 24, 2018, 1:37 am
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Of leaders and scoundrels

ONE may perhaps excuse over-eagerness when a public official makes deprecating remarks against another.

It strains one’s generosity however when someone would gleefully step over the boundaries of decency to malign a colleague.

In assuring President Duterte of the support from the Lower House for his administration’s campaigns against illegal drugs, corruption, and criminality, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez sought to allay concerns from the public that the war on drugs has fallen harder on the poorer Filipinos.

He tried to say that the law does not distinguish based on social standing in applying the rules. Ever the lawyer, the Speaker held up Senator Leila de Lima as Exhibit A tagging her as the “number one drug lord in the country.”

Then he went one step farther and called her a “former Senator.”

From what we understand, De Lima remains an elected senator of the land regardless of her arrest on charges of protecting drug convicts in exchange for millions. But let us stretch charity and attribute the error to exuberance.

What encroaches into the region of reprehensible behavior is hearing the gentleman from Davao del Norte call a fellow lawmaker a criminal – ignoring the fact that senator remains a defendant, hence entitled to presumption of innocence under the law.

Such contempt for due process and blatant refusal to extend ordinary courtesy is disappointing coming from an elected official. From the fourth highest official in government, it is both alarming and disgraceful.

Whether the Senate will respond with appropriate action or pretend the affront never happened, we can only speculate.

Leaders, like scoundrels, are known by their deeds. – PT.
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