January 24, 2018, 1:36 am
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Spooked

Repetition of a conjecture might strengthen it enough in the mind of some people to build a conviction but it would still fall way short of the truth.

If somebody has the time and the inclination to count exactly how many times President Duterte and his allies have floated the idea that he might not finish his six-year term, the number would paint a curious picture.

The President won by a landslide. He has all but total control of both Houses of Congress. He has plied the military and the police with all sort of sweeteners. His zealous supporters have even put the media on the defensive particularly those deemed critical of the administration.

All these appear not to have gone unnoticed as Malacanang and administration senators and congressmen keep harping that some shadowy group is hell-bent on removing the President from office.

First it was supposedly through some drug lords’ paid assassin yet the President travels freely around, shuttling back and forth between Manila and Davao, and visiting military camps all over the place.

Then there was the alleged effort by a foreign intelligence agency to spur bigger and noisier street protests but that too fizzled out and was soon forgotten.

This month, the latest suspects are supposed disgruntled mining companies.

Fact is, no administration finished the entire six years without some group grousing about one issue or another.

Being able to protest is the beauty and bane of democracy - depending on one’s politics and temperament at a given moment.

For the person or party in power, it is often a distraction, a minor irritant. Protests only become an issue when they have legit grievances that muster sustained popular support.

Even then, they do not graduate to become a legit destabilization unless the few people behind it stand a real chance of creating trouble for the government.

We do not have it here. Not yet. What we do have is dissent.

And no self-respecting democratic government has the right to stifle that – or even attempt to by threatening to call it a destabilization plot. – PT.
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