Inexcusable and unjustifiable

Subscribe Now July 05, 2011 at 05:37pm

After one year as the leader of this nation, all President Aquino could cite is the “transformation of people’s attitude from apathy to [being] caring and active citizens. Recall how high the public’s expectation of Aquino was. And now this is all he could tell us that he achieved? It is all rhetoric. There is nothing concrete that we, his bosses, can put our finger on.

The question now is what we can expect from the President during his second year.

Will he improve his work ethic and be the leader we want him to be? Will he change his aversion to micro-management and be the hands-on President that we wish he had been from the start?

When would he start weeding out the corrupt even if they are his allies— friends, classmates, shooting buddies?

Sure, Aquino still enjoys the people’s trust and confidence. But we are expecting more.

If things remain the same —with persistent corruption, laid-back governance and absence of real reform—and if the President keeps on protecting the people around him despite their incompetence and involvement in misdeeds, then the people might become more frustrated.


However people of different persuasions justify and rationalize what Davao Mayor Sara Duterte did to that Davao sheriff, the act was inexcusable and unjustifiable.

Some politicians do not see anything wrong with Duterte’s action. Her bodyguards even held the sheriff who meekly took all of the punches—probably because the mayor is a woman and it would be unthinkable for a man to hit back.

They even say that the incident had a social dimension as well, because the backdrop was the violence erupting between the squatters and the demolition team.

Social dimension, my foot! Yes, there was bloodshed during the demolition since the squatters who were being ejected fought back with whatever weapons they had despite a court order for their eviction. And yes, the mayor wanted two more hours to talk to the squatters to prevent violence.

But there was no cause at all for punching the sheriff who was only there to implement a court order. It was a show of arrogance on the part of Duterte. The end cannot justify the means.

I am also concerned that people are trying to justify what Inday Sara did. Are our values really that screwed up?

Foremost, those squatters violated the law. The judge’s order was legal and even moral in all aspects. It was the responsibility of the Davao City mayor to implement the law.

The issue is not that the squatters were poor. They are just portrayed as victims. But the mayor should take the side of the law.


Now comes Inday Sara’s father, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, telling his daughter not to worry.

This is the same mayor who in a 2002 Time Magazine article was called “The Punisher”. In the meantime, human rights groups including Amnesty International assailed him for allegedly tolerating extra-judicial killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad.

The vice mayor tells his daughter: “if ever you’ll be dismissed, be proud because you were on the side of the poor.” This simply shows that if somebody is on the side of the poor, he or she can do anything.


I cannot see any justification for the Senate in investigating bishops given SUVs by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office. They are invoking the separation of church and state and the constitutional provision banning the government from handing out favors using public funds to any church or religious denomination.

I agree that Catholic prelates are not immune from congressional investigations. But why zero in on Catholic bishops when even local executives and congressmen were given donations by the agency?

If bishops sought the assistance from the PCSO and it was former President Arroyo who helped them, so what? They were in line with their charity work. I doubt whether the help was used by the bishops for their personal benefit.

The Senate probe would be an exercise in futility. Or is this yet another opportunity for senators to grandstand?

What is more important is to find out whether former executives of the PCSO had committed anomalies.

For example, the excessive doles for public relations and advertising involving some mediamen should be targeted. I, for one, am shocked at the amounts involved here. If this is not bribery of the press, I don’t know what is.


Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David has implemented the rule that departing Filipinos who look poor and dress poor should be asked to present their income tax returns, bank accounts and even real property documents. David wants to prevent Filipinos from leaving the country as tourists and then becoming illegals in other countries. Some of them are even recruited as drug mules.

We are about the only country in the world doing this. I think this is a violation of human rights.

There’s also the opportunity for extortion and abuse by the immigration people at the departure areas.

The Justice Department should look into this.


Every time I accompany my wife shopping at various department stores all over Metro Manila, I see batches of sales girls in uniforms and in high heels attending to customers.

Out of curiosity, I ask them how many hours they work, or if they had breaks, and for how long. They say they are required to stand up for the whole eight hours they work. And no, they are not permanent workers—only contractual.

They do have meal and necessity breaks, though. As if that were any consolation.

The requirement to stand up for eight hours is stressful. It is a violation of human rights!

In order to circumvent the labor law, mall and department store owners and operators resort to contractualization, which means you hire your employees for only five months. When this period is up, they are replaced by another group of employees. More often than not, mall operators have their own companies hiring contractual workers.

Now we know why there are only a few strikes involving malls. Their employees do not have 13th month pay, sick leave, vacation leave, maternity benefits and they are not covered by any collective bargaining agreement.

And believe it or not, this evil of contractualization has been institutionalized by the Department of Labor and Employment.

Will the Aquino administration even address this anomaly?


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