Dispatch from Crame No. 708: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on Duterte’s Irrational Threat to Scrap the VFA


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Decisions on matters of national interest should not be based on one man’s pursuit of personal grudge, his bruised ego, or his attempts to look tough when, in truth, he has failed to fulfill his campaign promises and has been, for the last three years making up excuses and crises to cover up his failures.

The issue about my continued persecution is a matter of fact. Not just the US, but also the United Nations, has looked into my case and has found it so. This is not a matter of naivete on their part, but of utter failure on Duterte’s part. He and his cohorts have failed to address why I have been severely slut-shammed, persecuted and detained for the last 1,066 days despite the obvious lack of credible evidence against me.

And yet, here he is again. Instead of responding like a rational and well-meaning “leader of the Republic,” who takes the time to explain why he should not be banned from entering the US for being an enemy of democracy, rule of law and human rights – he is proving himself to be exactly that: a tyrant who will misuse his powers in order to cover up the abuses he has committed, and continues to commit to this day.

This threat reminds me of how the Chinese government acted in the early days of the Wuhan outbreak. Instead of addressing the growing problem, it punished the health workers and journalists who were attempting to warn the public about the spreading disease. That irrational move not only failed to solve the problem, it made it so, so much worse. A clear example of how irrational tyranny poses a danger to everyone around them.

Duterte, instead of addressing the issues of human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings, weaponization of the rule of law, and the surrender of Philippine sovereignty to his foreign overlords, is wasting precious time and resources by lashing out against innocent people: myself, members of the US Congress, the ICC and, again, the Filipino people.

To be clear: canceling the VFA is not the best move for the Filipino people and Philippine interests. It can only be good for certain foreign interests.

This precisely why our Constitution veered away from granting too much power in one man. That is why it strengthened the checks and balances in our system of government, having learned hard lessons from the Marcos regime. Those mechanisms are supposed to ensure that the President serves the Filipino people’s best interests and no one else’s. Not his own; and certainly not adverse foreign interests.

Sadly, those checks and balances have been pissed away. With Congress and the Judiciary abdicating their powerful roles in keeping the President in check.

This is precisely our point in our (the Senate Minority) Petition assailing the constitutionality of unilateral withdrawals from treaties, like the withdrawal from the Rome Statute. The latter Petition remains unacted upon almost one year since the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments.

We cannot assume that a President or all the Presidents do only the right things. Eh, paano yan, kung makasarili ang isang Pangulo?

Worse, paano kung iba ang pinagsisilbihan at tinatratong amo ng Pangulo? In any case, this President clearly acts on the basis of personal and selfish interests rather than the national interest. Not when he killed thousands of helpless Filipinos in his failed War on Drugs, while he allowed big time drug lords like Peter Lim to escape justice.

It makes you wonder: sino ang magtatanggol sa Pilipino kung mismong Pangulo nila ang nagpapahamak sa kanila? ###

(Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 708, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleil…/…/dispatch_from_crame_no._708)

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