NOW and then circumspection escapes President Duterte when it comes to rescuing from a fix his very trusted lieutenants such as Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. He took it as a personal affront when he learned that Dela Rosa’s US visa was cancelled apparently because, as the former PNP Chief, he spearheaded the brutal war against illegal drugs. The President even threatened to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US.
To his credit, Dela Rosa advised the President to “just let it go” because “it’s not about me.” It was ample consolation to find out that the President “loved me that much.” The senator has no official plans to go on a US trip and his visa cancellation probably only meant that gallivanting and shopping there will have to wait.
After the abrogation of the US military bases treaty, the VFA was the next best thing for Washington to try to preserve its strategic and military presence in this part of the Asia-Pacific region. There is little doubt the US will fight tooth and nail, covertly, of course, to halt the planned scrapping of the VFA.
This is one time President Duterte should set aside his presidential pride and, for his people’s sake, look at the brighter side where various benefits from the VFA abound.
Former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario admitted that the VFA is imperfect but, without it and with the Mutual Defense Treaty, it would have been more challenging for the country especially during perilous calamities and in the face of the current Islamic terrorist threats. Also, the US military continues to be an active partner in the AFP modernization.
Del Rosario warns that any major government pivot to China precluded by the VFA abolition will be strongly opposed by most Filipinos. Presidential impulse has now given way to some clarity as Malacanang ordered an impact assessment of the possible agreement termination.
Internationally-renowned speaker and evangelist Ravi Zacharias was very recently the special guest of the Christ’s Commission Fellowship at its main church on Ortigas Ave. in Pasig. As usual, he gave a stirring testimony of his work as a Christian apologist that has taken him to many parts of the world, from Central America to Russia and from Paris to Syria. He has had dozens of public face-offs with prominent atheists, Muslim clerics, Buddhists and other leaders from religious organizations, many hostile to the Christian faith. He spoke of the thousands of Iranians who have been converting to Christianity and that today the fast-growing Christian church can be found in Iran. Brutal persecutions and deaths have not deterred the amazing number of people surrendering themselves to Christ.
While the news media reports on the blazing turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan, Zacharias said there have been numerous manifestations that Christ still comes to heal and rescue.
Numerous sports outlets in Metro Manila have taken advantage of the sudden demise of basketball legend Kobe Bryan, he with the “unbridled and tenacious ball of passion.” The dealers have upped the prices not only of Kobe’s branded rubber shoes but of various Kobe sportswear. The two huge malls in Pasig and at North Edsa raised the prices of the sports icon’s popular rubber shoes by nearly 100 percent.
In this country, the dead has long been commercialized as evidenced by the common practice of gambling during wakes to raise the needed funding for funeral and burial services in countless barangays. No one seems to remember about honoring the dead with good money earned from decent living. Ironically, it was exactly what the late Jaime Cardinal Sin meant when he declared that he did not really care about receiving donations like gambling money even if he knew they had come from the devil.