“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Another Sick Joke

Atty Ceferino Baquilod

AS far I can remember, All Saints Day and All Souls Day have been observed by Catholics yearly to honor our saints and commemorate our faithful departed, respectively. All Saints Day is a holy day and is recognized by our government as a national holiday because it is a day considered sacred, meaningful and of great importance to Filipinos. As Catholics we believe that Saints have exceptional degree of holiness or likeness to God. For the President to make fun of saints by calling them fools and drunkards, is just too offensive, repulsive and unacceptable. A sick joke from a sick man, according to an FB post.

Bureau of Customs and Shabu Proliferation. The smuggling of tons and tons of shabu thru the Bureau of Customs has undoubtedly resulted in the proliferation of more drugs in the country. Everyday we hear more news of drug users and pushers being arrested and/or killed.The 2 biggest shipments of the drug were under the watch of 2 BOC heads with military background, to wit, Nicanor Faeldon and Isidro Lapeña. Despite their blunders, they were never fully investigated and prosecuted. To the consternation of many, they were given new assignments. Lapena was even promoted. No wonder so many believe that they were in cahoots with drug syndicates and protected by no less than someone so formidable in the government.

Because of unrestrained corruption at the Bureau of Customs, the president decided to have the military take over its operations. It should be noted however that for any organization to run smoothly, those manning the various offices need to have appropriate technical knowledge and experience. Military people have military training and experience, and have no clue on customs operations.

According to some observers, the reason why the big shabu shipments slipped in, despite the new customs heads with military background (Faeldon and Lapeña), was precicely because those two had no sufficient knowledge of what was really happening. ‘Nalusutan daw’. Hence, some feel wary about the current situation at BOC. Moreover, military people are not incorruptible.

Over 2 years ago based on intel reports, Duterte announced the drug involvement of 5 generals and other of military officials and personnel. In one news item, it was reported that the generals were actually linked to the ‘high-level Chinese drug triad’, where Peter Lim, the president’s’ kumpare’ and campaign contributor, operated in the Visayas. Duterte himself identified Peter Lim as one of the ‘biggest drug dealers in the country’. Surprisingly, after the president and Lim met in Malacañang, the drug charges against Lim and Kerwin Espinosa together with 6 others filed earlier by CIDG, were dropped by DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. Because of the controversial case dismissal and ensuing public uproar, Aguirre had to be eased out. The new DOJ chief Menardo Guevarra reinstated the charges. A warrant of arrest was also issued but Peter Lim has since disappeared and until now is still missing.
Chinese Businessman as Presidential Adviser. Another controversy now brewing is Duterte’s hiring of Chinese businessman Michael Yang as Presidential Economic Adviser. Perhaps fearing legal repercussions for hiring a foreign national, Duterte initially denied this. He explained that it could not be possible since Yang is Chinese. Of course now that Yang’s hiring contracts were exposed by Rappler (ironically using Freedom of Information Executive Order issued by the president), Malacañang admitted that indeed Yang is a Presidential Adviser.

One wonders what kind of advices Michael Yang is feeding the president considering that he is a Chinese national and has no allegiance to our country and to our constitution. We cannot help but think that Yang is the reason why our president is so friendly with China despite the latter’s encroachment into our territory and it’s defiance to the UN Arbitral Tribunal’s ruling that indeed Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over West Philippine Sea. Instead of enforcing the ruling, this administration has given China rights to the WPS thru a joint exploration agreement. China has also continued to be a major source of illegal drugs in our country, based on media reports. There is also an alarming increase of Chinese workers in the Philippines. Some of them have been apprehended for various illegal activities including drug trafficking. And not to be forgotten are our multibillion dollar loans from China which have been described by some experts as onerous, lopsided, and harmful ‘debt-traps’. Yang must have done a really good job as can be gleaned from all these developments. Even before Yang was officially contracted, he had already been rubbing elbows with the president since he owns businesses Davao.

It is quite interesting to note that Duterte had information and in fact announced publicly that Michael Yang is a drug addict. What a mess. Our president, who claims to hate drugs and has a so called ‘drug war’, is being advised by a drug addict.

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