Dispatch from Crame No. 862: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Further Comments on Last Monday’s SONA


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The whole country was waiting for the government’s plan to control the COVID-19 pandemic and for Duterte to give the people hope in the midst of the health and economic crisis the nation is facing.

Instead, Duterte diverted the people’s attention from the direst challenge to his administration and once again raised the bogeymen of drugs and oligarchs, as if a pandemic is not presently wreaking havoc on the nation.

His tirades on Senator Franklin Drilon, on the other hand, is but the latest illustration of why most politicians are silent, submissive and craven. If they dare criticize or cross Duterte, they run the risk of public shaming, and even relentless persecution, with yours truly as Exhibit “A.”

But the most striking message he delivered to the nation last Monday is his public threat to the two giant telcos Globe and Smart. This is devious Duterte telegraphing the ABS-CBN example to the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinan. Shakedowns and expropriation are now a matter of government policy. If this does not already qualify us as a dictatorship, then I don’t know what else will.

By attacking the so-called oligarchs, Duterte seems to be out of touch with reality and in what truly constitutes the most urgent concerns that government must attend to at present. We hoped for solutions and programs, what we got instead was another mafia vision of how to shakedown and kill more of our businesses and industries and hand them over to Chinese companies partnered with his cronies.

Make no mistake about it. The last two years of Duterte’s reign will engender more tyranny and corruption, as not even the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have tempered his tyrant’s appetite for absolute power and more corruption.

As it has already been said, Duterte has achieved in four years what took the dictator Marcos to accomplish in fourteen years, i.e., murder thousands, shutdown critical media, eliminate civil liberties, control Congress and the judiciary, hand over big business and industries to cronies, and in so doing ruin the economy and destroy all our democratic institutions.

In exchange for admittedly being “inutil” to solve the nation’s problems and run a legitimate government, Duterte has made it clear that he is still in control of everything, and that he can still do pretty much whatever he wants. He is “inutil” to do good, to accomplish the things that matter. But he still has the power to destroy, to steal, to kill, and to drag the country further through hell.

Hindi man niya malutas ang mga suliraning hinaharap ng bansa, sasagarin pa rin niya ang pagka-impyerno ng buhay nating mga Pilipino sa dalawang taong natitira pa sa kanya. Mula ngayon hindi na pamumuno ng bansa ang aasahan pa natin mula kay Duterte, kung hindi ang pagbura sa natitira pang ala-ala ng mga Pilipino sa isang disenteng gobyerno. Marahil ito ang layunin talaga ni Duterte.

The President did not give us a national plan on a “new normal” in dealing with the Coronavirus. What he instead gave us is his plan to normalize dictatorship and tyranny as the new way of life for the Philippines, perhaps even after he is long gone. That will be his legacy to us. ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 862, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_no._862

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