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Rally against tyrant Duterte?

Executive, Legislative and Judiciary are the three branches of government that are co-equal so that no branch could abuse its authority. Which is also probably why – even if most people in Congress have shifted their allegiance to President Rodrigo Duterte – he cannot just tell them what to do as we have seen in the rejection of some of his chosen Cabinet members; including those who are not left-leaning. We were disappointed with the rejection of Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano, but I believe that it isn’t right to blame it to the President because these rejections only show that, contrary to what the leftists present in their rallies, President Duterte is not a tyrant. Remember that Judy Taguiwalo and Rafael Mariano have been chosen by President Duterte and became a part of his administration for the past year regardless of their differences of opinions. They did not resign or show any sign that the President is a tyrant or is becoming a tyrant. They continue to work well with President Duterte until they have been rejected by the Commission on Appointments which only shows that President Duterte is not trying to control the other branch of government, different to what a tyrant would do.

So, who has the qualities of a tyrant or a dictator? Those who believe in respecting the decision of other branches of the government, or those who protest if they do not get what they want?

On Sept. 21, several leftist groups are set to stage a rally against President Duterte and clearly their themes will revolve on the government’s war against illegal drugs, that they will try to claim only targets the poor; cancellation of peace talks and on President Duterte being a tyrant/dictator and anti-poor.

War against illegal drugs. Like what they are already claiming in several interviews and in their past protests, the left will try to point out that the government only targets the poor in their campaign against illegal drugs. However, does the government intentionally target the poor or do they just believe that being poor could not be used as an excuse to commit criminal acts like selling or using illegal drugs? Are they also saying that the drug lords that have been killed in police operations in several provinces are poor? Are they classifying several alleged narco-politicians like the Parojinogs as part of the poor community?

Cancellation of peace talks. We hear them calling out the government for cancelling the peace talks, but we have not heard them publicly condemn the attacks of the NPA on government authorities. During the time that there was a need to unite against the terrorists in Marawi, their initial reaction was to fight against government forces which made them part of the problem instead of the solution. We support the peace talks to continue, but if the fight or clamor for peace does not seem to be mutual, then how can we expect the government to continue the peace talks? Do we just expect our government to endure the attacks of the NPA while they demand the government to talk about peace? Remember that the government did not cancel the peace talks out of the blue, It has its reason, peace is something that should be mutually strived for, in both words and action.

President Duterte is anti-poor? Just look at some of the actions of the President and we know that this is not true. Alloting budget for free medical assistance, continuous fight against contractualization, allowing Kadamay to occupy the housing sites in Bulacan, and many more of his administration’s projects like Build Build Build is intended to uplift the lives of the Filipino people. Even in our past interview with former Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, he said that President Duterte is not anti-poor.

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Now, we go back again to the topic that President Duterte is a dictator/tyrant, a title that they will surely tag the President. But is a tyrant someone who gives time to talk with members of the left? Is a tyrant someone who gives opportunity to members of the left to be part of the government? Is a tyrant someone who meets and listens to the people who rally against him? Or does the left just view everyone who does not cave in to their demands as a tyrant?

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