Duterte’s administration is beset with series of scandals starting from the allegations of the two (2) Billion ill-gotten wealth and numerous properties; the same allegation exposing his whole family being involved. Another major blow is the expose of SPO3 Lascanas, apparently a core member of the dreaded Davao Death Squad; now corroborating the first expose coming from Edgar Matobato on the existence of the Davao Death Squad.
Prior to these two major scandals, Duterte’s brutal drug war which already has claimed over 7,000 deaths mostly or exclusively from the poor and the poorest, was marred with revelations of police abuses, ranging from extortions, robbery, planted evidence, and to add, the controversial Tokhang-Kidnapping-Murder of a Korean Businessman who was abducted in the guise of drug charges; using fake warrant of arrest, was later found dead, killed by the policemen abductors inside Camp Crame.
How ironic killed inside the PNP (Philippine National Police), the central headquarter of the National police, where the Chief PNP Bato Dela Rosa resides. The Korean incident embarrassed the whole nation and prompted Duterte to halt his so-called war on drugs. Was it a temporary respite for the poor? Many say it is because more than half of the reported over 7,000 deaths were caused by unknown assailants or vigilantes – the so-called Death Squad, a strange and horrific similarity with the (DDS) Davao Death Squad.
Many suspects that the DDS are now operating nationwide, sponsored by Duterte as alleged by many human rights organisations. Amnesty international reported that funding came from the government, PNP headquarters, and claimed that for every kill, the policemen were being paid amounting to 5,000 Pesos to 15,000 Pesos depending on the category. As reported, 5,000 for users and 8,000 to 15,000 for pushers were given, and none if arrested, in other words, if the suspects are kept alive.
With the temporary halt to any and all drug related operations by the PNP, this does not stop the daily killings. The killings continued, being committed by unknown assailants or death squad/s. Thus, more suspicions were raised on the existence of the actual existence of the Davao Death Squad now operating nationwide.
For many, there is no end in sight to the atrocities, the impunity and the disregard of the rule of law. The latest to suffer was Senator Leila Delima, a woman senator, a staunch critic of the president. The so-called no lost love for the two started way back when the president was the mayor of Davao, while the senator was then head of the country’s human rights organisation.
She spearheaded the investigation of the Davao Death Squad, which has already claimed more than a thousand deaths in Davao. When the Senator became the secretary of Justice, she pursued the case but to no avail as there were no witnesses brave enough to surface. Hence, the unsolved murders and assassinations in Davao were simply put to archive.
The battle rages on, as soon as Duterte took the oath, he wasted no time in exacting his own prosecution or persecution against the senator. Now he has the support of his own Justice Department, the congress, the senate, his allies, who are more than willing to help in the prosecution or persecution. Adding to the woes of Senator De Lima was the apparent reunion of those she sent to jail during the previous administration when she was the secretary of justice.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is now out of jail with her plunder case reduced to a mere graft and corruption charge/s; did not waste time to show support to Duterte. Many suspects that Gloria was a major donor to the campaign of Duterte just like the Marcoses who poured in a very substantial amount.
The embattled senator De Lima did not stop criticising Duterte, condemning his failed war on drugs and the apparent reunion of plunderers supporting him. Adding to the suspicion of many is the impending release of Janet Napoles, orchestrated by no other than the country’s Solicitor General, Calida, in a surprising and strange move filed a manifestation paper to the higher court saying that the lower court erred in convicting Napoles in the illegal detention case where she was found as guilty and jailed by the lower court.
To many lawyers, this will weaken the PDAF case as it will put a question mark on the integrity of Benhur Luy the principal witness in the illegal detention case; Benhur happens to be one of the witnesses also on the PDAF case against Janet Napoles, a case that would link Gloria Arroyo, Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, and even other personalities such as, Honasan, Bongbong Marcos, etc. The solicitor general, Calida hailed from Davao and a staunch supporter of the president.
Duterte controlling the congress, the senate, and apparently the judiciary, is hell bent in incarcerating De Lima, despite the erroneous charges and blunders, having no hard evidence to pin De Lima except for the inconsistent testimonies of convicted drug lords, all languishing in jail under the protection of no less than the Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre, Aguirre, a supporter and a lawyer for the president, way back in Davao.
Many were appalled that the government can only come up with testimonies of convicted (Bilibid Penitentiary) drug lords who were allegedly given special privileges and are being acquitted of the same charges used against the senator. And how could the charges be drug dealing, yet no drugs were presented as evidence? Aguirre also charges that the senator benefited from the Bilibid these drug lords but no money or paper trail was established.
As a matter of fact, it was Delima, who was then the justice secretary, was the one who exposed the Bilibid drug trade and the special privileges these drug lords are enjoying. De Lima conducted series of raids and the public was appalled to see that the incarcerated drug lords are the one controlling the penitentiary. These same drug lords are now being used by this administration as witnesses against the lady senator.
The charade reached a full-blown investigation at the senate, where the so-called (inmates) witnesses contradict each other and resulted to a parody, or a drama skit turned into a comedy. Regardless of the contradictions, the persecution continued.
Then the culmination happened, another staunch critic of Duterte, Senator Sonny Trillanes made a public challenge to the president, alleging that the president Duterte has amassed 2.2 Billion pesos stashed when he was still a mayor, money allegedly came from intelligence fund. The allegation includes his immediate family and his live-in partner. Trillanes presented has a list of bank accounts allegedly owned by the president, her daughter, sons, and his partner.
Trillanes: the challenge to disclose the president’ s bank history, the withdrawal and deposit history, not the net or the standing balance, and he (Trillanes) is wrong, he will resign as a standing senator. The president and his supporters simply dismissed the challenge as mere rehashed, and will not heed. Though, to allay the clamour from the public, Duterte ordered the AMLAC to make public of his net worth; a mere distraction and denial to many. Net worth is his SALN (Statement of Assets and Liabilities) which he himself accomplished, which will not prove anything.
Days after another major blow, Duterte’s right-hand man, when he was a mayor, SPO3 Lascanas was presented by Senator Trillanes to the public, at the senate, at a press conference, the self-confessed DDS founder member made a public confession confirming the existence of DDS (Davao Death Squad), narrating some incidents, apparently, matching the previous (hearing) revelations by Edgar Matobato. The nation watched in awe and shocked.
As expected the administration was in a panic. PCO Sec. Andanar, outright, made a hurriedly public pronouncement to dispel the expose as a part of a bigger plan (destabilisation), and even when to the extent of accusing the senate press/reporters who covered the expose as having been paid or have received at least 1,000 USD each.
The press retaliated by demanding an apology if Andanar cannot present a proof. The backlash lasted until the following day until Andanar, not apologising, clarifying and more of defending his remarks as wrong grammar and unfamiliarity with the Tagalong language; using a flimsy excuse that he hailed from the Visayas. Sure ka Na? Dahhhhh!…Andanar continued (spinning) blaming that it was his reliable source who disclosed the information to him, in other words, it was the fault of Mr Daw (unknown third party).
The Lascanas expose was too damning, it can now actually point, direct knowledge that the president ordered the killings and assassinations in Davao, when he was still a mayor. It will also imply that what he has been doing in Davao is now being done nationwide (DDS) under his consent or probably his direct order.
Lascana’s expose: a resolution was filed for the reopening of the investigation into the extra-judicial killings and the Davao Death Squad. The allies, senators, attempted to oppose it, using a shallow excuse that Lascanas will perjure himself, more of a threat, because of his previous stand and statement during the Edgar Matobato expose where he was then with the opposing fence, being one of the accused, and was, in fact, defending the president. He was also still in the service, and due to retire December (first hearing was made in October).
Now, that Lascanas is repenting, he cannot bear his conscience anymore; willing to sacrifice his life and his family for a public confession, and ready to testify on the existence of the DDS, and the brutality of Duterte. A man is seen as trying to atone for his sins and is willing to face the consequences of his past crimes. As a core member of the DDS group and participated in many of the killings and assassinations, his testimony will be too damaging against the president.
The allied senators and congressmen, as expected are calling Lascanas a liar, a paid witness and perjured witness. Leading the pack to oppose the re-opening of the investigation were, Senator Dick Gordon, Senator Win Gatchalian, Senator Manny Pacquiao and the other congressmen of the lower house.
As a good man will always say, “no amount of money can outweigh the burden of sins and the desire to repent or atone; much more (credible) if he will go against the most powerful person in the land, where his own life and his family can be compromised,” what gain will it be, except, forgiveness, from the victims and mercy from the highest power, God Almighty!”
Due to rising public clamour, the senate is obligated, either which way, to put it to a vote or dismiss the resolution, but it will be so blatant disregard now that the public already knows and the outrage is beginning to build.
So, obligated, they opted to put it to a vote, confident that they have the majority, “why the hell not,” we win and the case is closed. Under the radar, though, someone whispers that prior to the day of voting, the allied senators were called-in, visited the palace. Later on admitted by one of the Senators (Sotto), but defending the visit as a regular visit and not a single word about Lascanas was discussed. An ordinary citizen can only say in disbelief “Tell that to the marines!” Someone joked, “napadaan lang, traffic sa Lascanas avenue eh!”
But to the surprise of the pro-Duterte senators, the unexpected happened…some allied senators voted in favour to reopen the inquiry. Speaker Koko Pimentel reportedly was caught by surprise “marami rami rin pala sila.” The result was 10 in favour, 7 opposed, 5 abstained and 2 were absent. So, a scheduled (mandatory) hearing is set next month, March 2017.
I can only assume that the administration must be terribly worried; they have to come up with something to at least put off the fire before it becomes uncontrollable. “Nip it in the bud!”
Going back to Senator De Lima…the impending arrest of Senator De Lima was already in the air being floated by the Justice Secretary (Aguirre) and the president himself. In several occasions, Duterte would publicly proclaim that DeLima will soon be imprisoned, even if there are no charges being filed at that time.
Finally, the case was filed, it was brought to the jurisdiction of the DOJ, the very department who is prosecuting or persecuting the lady senator. The case was initiated by another ally, a group called VACC (Volunteers against Crime & Corruption); whose previous head (Martin Dino) is a member of the president’s political party, and now the appointed Chairman of Subic Bay Metropolitan. The new chairman, Dante Jimenez, is a vocal critic of De Lima and a staunch supporter of Duterte, who admitted donating a small amount to the campaign fund of the president (Duterte).
Senator De Lima stood pat and did not recognise the jurisdiction of the DOJ, saying it should be referred to the Ombudsman, her being a government official. Adding, she has lost trust and does not expect fair trial since DOJ is directly under the president, who already pre-judged the case against her. The impending arrest sooner or later will happen anyway, the question is when?
With the unending series of scandals, from PNP blunders, the Korean kidnap -murder, the Bureau of Immigration bribery scandal, the two Billion ill-gotten wealth, culminated by the Escana’s expose, whew! They probably thought that it is about time to reverse the tide; counter and distract the public outrage. This is notwithstanding, come February 25, adding to their fear is the 31st year commemoration of the EDSA revolution, afraid that the scandals may be used as a catalyst? Hence, arrest De Lima at all costs, may be the answer!
DOJ Sec. Aguirre proceeded as planned, the resolution or the case was filed in the regional trial courts of Muntinlupa, despite oppositions of the Senator over the jurisdiction, and a preliminary hearing was set Friday. But the cases progress like a speedy Gonzales, filed in three different salas, shotgun cases, more chances of winning. And the unexpected happen, a day before the scheduled Friday hearing, a warrant for arrest was issued. Damn! Too fast…for the average justice resolution in this country is too grindingly slow.
One can only assume, that the mere intention was to make the arrest happen to symbolise a win for the government, a victory; “jail the poster girl of the opposition to send a chilling effect.” On Friday hearing, the prosecutors was a no show. Hence the judge has no recourse but to reset the hearing, thus prolonging the incarceration. Not too many knows, that the judge who issued the warrant for the arrest came from nowhere who just arrived from a trip abroad, and was able to review the information of the case in a whirl-wind, wow!
In 2011, she is the same lady judge, Juanita Guerrero, who ordered the release of two very rich personalities (Alabang Boys) on drug cases. The same judge also ordered the release of Rolito Go, a rich Chinese businessman. Then Justice Secretary De Lima questioned the decision saying that the judge (Guerrero) grossly erred in her decision. The question is, Guerrero, exacting her sweet revenge against Senator Delima?
Now the government has accomplished both ends, imprisoning Senator De Lima, and made public its power that whoever goes against them will surely meet the same fate, a chilling effect. Now they can focus on another seemingly possible problem. The outrage from the public, with the schedule commemoration of the EDSA revolution, what if, they have angered the public that much and it materialises to another people power action? Oh, oh…
As early, they already have a plan; countermeasures are in place. Let them protest in EDSA, and we will create our own mass action in Luneta; a show of a bigger force, a pro-Duterte rally that will last for two days.
And so Luneta was reserved in advance, followed by a memorandum issued as early as February 21, by no less than DILG Sec. Sueno, “encouraging or a loyalty test” to the different municipalities and Barangays; written explicitly – show your solidarity to the president. The memo was short of an instruction to the government officials to bring them (constituents) to the rally site. The theme is in support of the president’s so-called campaign against drugs, criminalities and corruption, but with a twist, a prayer rally and a concert show. Hmm, wondering whose money will be spent?
Must be the reason why the president’s men are toning down the recognition of the EDSA 31 event. Though a celebration will be held, “it will be very simple.” I say, they are actually trying to downplay the EDSA 31 significance that they opted to celebrate it inside the Camp Aguinaldo, and RSVP or invited guests only, public not included.
They even went to the extent of faking the wreath-laying at the People Power Monument, conducted by very few non-significant officials. The ceremony at the PPM by the newly appointed so-called People Power Commission, headed by another government supporter, Concepcion, and Guidote Alvarez who is the wife of Heherson Alvarez, the brother of now Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez – an avid supporter of Duterte. Wow, what a downgrade, an incognito celebration?
Personally, I say that the government must have anticipated possible scenarios to ensure that the country will remain under their grip. They cannot afford loose ends, using all manpower and resources, including the brains in the like of Gloria, Esperon, Marcoses, Aguirre, Panelo, Calida, and Alvarez was present, not to forget the leftist in the cabinet. Well rounded, well orchestrated and ready to support Duterte, for they know that if Duterte is gone, so are they, and the possible backlash afterwards!
“IF DUTERTE IS GONE, SO ARE THEY” What a terrible thought for the people behind the president.
A netizen said, “This government is a master of fakery” fake news, fake allegations, fake evidence, fake testimonies, and now fake rally officiated by the government? We are being ruled by a murderer, a plunderer, a despot, a dictator!
Netizen added, citing the latest blunder of Aguirre, “he never runs out of it,” Aguirre is now floating a 100 Million bribery attempt purportedly by some individuals to coerce the Bilibid inmates; Aguirre’s so-called witnesses against Delima, for them to retract their statements. Aguirre even said that his source, a certain Lalaine Martinez, the wife of one of the convicted drug lords was ambushed when Aguirre got wind of it of the bribery attempt.
However, the Makati City Police Chief Sr. Supt. Dionesio Bartolome confirmed that no ambush incident was reported early Friday morning, contrary to what Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre claims. According to Aguirre, Lalaine is the alleged link who tried to convince some high-profile inmates who previously testified against Senator Leila De Lima, to retract their testimonies against De Lima. And, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was more than willing and happy to conduct a legislative inquiry about it based again on Aguirre’s so-called discovery.
My analysis: they are so afraid of Lascanas testimony that they are coming up with a distraction; using the so-called 100M bribery. I can only suppose again, the witnesses that will be used are the same Bilibid inmates claiming to overhear the so-called attempt, and Lalaine as the main witness or the link.
It could have been believable except that the actor and actresses are the inmates, the jail guards, and the wife of one of the jailed drug lords. How do they say that at the witness stand, raise your right hand and say “anything you say against we, can be used against you and your husband who is in jail, and may result in further harm.” Get’s mo?
Korea decries Aguirre’s misleading and unsubstantiated claims