Dispatch from Crame No. 239: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Duterte administration’s deferment of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law

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They say that promises are meant to be broken. But when it’s a traditional politician (“trapo”) that breaks it, it’s just another day in the “office” for him.

I think Atty. Macabangkit B. Lanto nailed it on the head when, in his opinion piece last Feb. 1, he described Duterte’s act of dribbling the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as our Muslim brothers and sisters “being taken for a ride again”. In the said article, he not only lamented, but basically expressed his dismay, over the Duterte administration’s deferment of the passage of the BBL, so as to give way first to charter change and federalism – this, after Duterte had, months ago, publicly told lawmakers to prioritize the passage of the Bill.

I am quite familiar with this commitment. It is quite memorable because it is not often that I have occasion to agree with him. And on this issue, I readily expressed my support and even applauded him for his call for the immediate passage of the BBL.

In a dispatch released last Oct. 31, 2017, I noted that the current version of the draft bill, which bears no radical departure from the original 2014 version crafted during PNoy’s term, requires “only some tweaking or fine tuning … so as to hurdle any constitutional challenge.” I also noted how important and momentous this piece of legislation is because “[w]e could not afford to miss this yet another big shot at peace and stability in the region.”

The Bangsamoro people are desperately waiting for the changes that have been promised. And I would have thought that a President who is supposedly so concerned about the plight of Mindanao would have stood true to his call for its prioritization.

Yet, now, Duterte is singing a different tune.

So we ask: Ano ba talaga, kuya?

“Taking for a ride” – panloloko at panlilinlang, at least that’s the modern common meaning – that’s what’s happening here. Duterte needs the support of the Muslims to control the south, so he promises and promises, and makes loud, impressive and boastful statements. But that’s all it is: words. To him, words are wind. It means nothing to him. In fact, he readily admits it when he lies, while the people around him scrambles to justify that his “fake news” are some sort of smart strategy, and not the ka-“Hudasan” that it is.

Betrayal – that’s perhaps a better description, and it is consistent with the much more malevolent origins of the phrase “taking for a ride”, as used by crime lords. Back then, when someone takes a person for a ride, the person usually doesn’t come back.

So be wary, be very wary when Duterte takes you for a ride. One moment you’re on a peace negotiating table with him, the next you’re declared a terror group.

The truth is – and I know people are still having a difficult time accepting, and coming to terms with, this – much as Duterte wants us to believe that he is a different breed of politician, he is really just as duplicitous and opportunistic as any “trapo”.

No, he does not really care about the poor. He couldn’t care less if they starved and died, remember? And no, he doesn’t really care about peace – that should be obvious by now, based on how he single-handedly sabotaged the peace talks with the CPP.

He just needs their support and he’ll take them for a ride. He’ll string them along with promises, fulfilling nothing substantial, and will turn his back on them the moment they lose their usefulness or some better offer comes along.

Ito ang mapait na katotohanan – gagamitin nya ang mga pangarap ng mga tao laban sa kanila. Hindi masamang magtiwala. Pero masamang magbulag-bulagan at magbingi-bingihan sa katotohanan. #ChangeIScamming ###

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