February 24, 2017, 2:37 am
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Stupid mistake

WHY would a washed-up politician like Cesar Gaviria who was president of Colombia nearly 27 years ago (1990-1994) suddenly come up with an op-ed article in the New York Times criticizing the conduct of the war against illegal drugs by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong?
Everyone knows that the US media, the Western media in general, fancy themselves as champions of human rights. They are quick to criticize and condemn alleged violations of such rights in other countries, but almost totally ignore what’s happening in their own backyard.
In the US, perhaps the worst among these media outlets is the New York Times. 
The question in my mind is why would Gaviria suddenly decide to write his op-ed piece? Was he invited by the paper? Just asking.
***
In his piece, Gaviria said, among others:
 “That ‘real reductions’ in drug supply and demand will come through improving public health and safety, strengthening anti-corruption measures – especially those that combat money laundering” 
Fact: The health department and PhilHealth have instructions from Digong to look after the public health and safety aspects; he has also strengthened anti-corruption measures by identifying government officials, including governors, mayors, congressmen and police officials involved in the drug trade; the head of the anti-money laundering agency was likewise forced to resign for allegedly not doing her job.
“There is no doubt that tough penalties are necessary to deter organized crime. But extrajudicial killings and vigilantism are the wrong ways to go.”
Fact: Just like others before him, Gaviria was quick to assume that the government sanctions alleged extrajudicial killings and vigilantism. How many times has Digong said he is against such methods. He has in fact ordered an investigation of such allegations. - 
 “Bringing the army in to fight the drug war, as he now suggests, would also be disastrous.”
Fact: Digong has done no such thing. What he had said was that the military will monitor those in the police organization which have been identified as rogue cops involved in illegal drugs. Digong has also given the order relieving the Philippine National Police of its lead role in tackling the war against illegal drugs and replacing it with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. 
If only Gaviria checked the facts before writing his piece, he could have avoided being called stupid and an idiot by Digong. 
***
Digong also pointed out the stark difference between the Colombian and Philippine drug problems. In Colombia, they have cocaine and heroin. In the Philippines, we have shabu, supposedly the poor man’s drug. 
 “Cocaine… is more or less (like) marijuana, it’s a bit okay, you can still communicate…. But with shabu – it’s mixed with battery water – it would give you an indication of what is going to happen inside your brain… One year use and you lose your sanity,” he said. 
*** 
Gaviria admitted that his government, with support from North American and Western European nations, has spent billions of dollars in its anti-drug campaign. 
Maybe that was its first stupid mistake. It must have been listening and following the advice of these countries. 
***
The Manila Times conferred the “Man of the Year” award to Digong “for capturing the imagination of the Filipino people and setting off a dawn of new politics”.
In his presentation speech, Manila Times chairman emeritus Dante Ang said:
 “He is brash. He is politically incorrect. His private and public discourses are laden with his favorite word that begins with letter “P.” He has demonstrated the audacity to stand up to the superpowers in the name of an independent foreign policy that is pro-Philippines and friendly to all..
 “Our Man of the Year is a man of integrity and conviction. Love him, hate him, he will do what he thinks is right and good for the Filipinos. His methods could be brutal at times but make no mistake about it, he has “pusong mamon,” a soft heart for the oppressed and the marginalized. He genuinely cares for the Filipino people and would offer his life in the service of the nation. Our Man of the Year is a true nationalist.”
Exactly the sentiments of the majority of the Filipino people.
Congratulations, Mr. President, Sir!
***
Why would Kris Aquino plead with Digong not to arrest her brother, ex-President Noynoy? Is she afraid the latter would be found truly responsible for the massacre of the gallant SAF44 in Mamasapano two years ago? 
It will be recalled that both the PNP Board of Inquiry and the Senate committee that probed the massacre found Noynoy “ultimately responsible” for it. 
Earlier, Digong said he would form a fact-finding commission to investigate the tragic incident but changed his mind because he didn’t want to duplicate what the Ombudsman is supposed to be doing now. 
In any event, he told Kris he is “not into the business of putting former officials in jail, that he just wants to give the Filipino people the truth”.
 “There are so many things that have to be answered. For me, my one, solitary question is: Why didn’t he use air assets to save the pinned-down soldiers? This only. I don’t have any interest there,” he said.
In the meantime, people are glad Digong has decided to confer the Medal of Valor award to 42 of those murdered in Mamasapano. For unknown reasons, Noynoy conferred the award to only two of the the massacre victims.
***
Today is the 293rd day of the tenth year of Jonas Burgos’ enforced disappearance.
The family and friends of Jonas hope that the Duterte administration will not be part of the continuing cover-up. The Burgos family implores Digong to haul the perpetrators to justice and bring Jonas back home even with the appointment of Gen. Eduardo Ano as AFP chief who was implicated in the abduction of Jonas almost ten years ago.
***
From an internet friend:

A married couple was in a terrible accident where the man’s face was severely burned. The doctor told the husband that they couldn’t graft any skin from his body because he was too skinny. So the wife offered to donate some of her own skin. 
However, the only skin on her body that the doctor felt was suitable would have to come from her buttocks. 
The husband and wife agreed that they would tell no one about where the skin came from, and they requested that the doctor also honor their secret. After all, this was a delicate matter. 
After the surgery was completed, everyone was astounded at the man’s new face. He looked more handsome than he ever had before! All his friends and relatives just went on and on about his youthful beauty! 
One day, he was alone with his wife, and he was overcome with emotion at her sacrifice. He said, “Dear, I just want to thank you for everything you did for me. How can I possibly repay you?” 
“My darling,” she replied, “I get all the thanks I need every time I see your mother kiss you on the cheeks.”
***
Email: roacrosshairs@outlook.com
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