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Pro Philippines

The sharp drop in DU30’s approval (18% down) and trust ratings (15% down) based on the SWS survey should be a wake-up call for him. He and his die hard supporters should not assail and hurl invectives against SWS, or degrade the results, as they usually do, just because they are damaging and unfavorable to him and his administration. If they don’t believe and doubt the accuracy of the surveys even to the extent of charging that SWS has been paid by his opponents to conduct and produce such results as part of a destabilization plot, then they should not have previously used and relied on said surveys when they were favorable and quite flattering to him. This contradictory and inconsistent stance will just further erode his credibility.

DU30 should look at the results of the survey as sign that something is wrong with him and his manner of running the government. He and his social media trolls should blame nobody else but himself for the double digit drop in his ratings in just a matter of months. He must admit that the abrupt fall in the people’s trust and approval of him as President is due to his serious mistakes, more specifically the numerous extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the war against crime and illegal drugs.

It is about time now for Duterte to admit that he himself needs to change. He should first of all realize that he is not always right; that he can likewise be mistaken or be wrong in some of his moves. And the best way to achieve this change is to accept criticisms and look at them as a way of helping him succeed in the performance of his job as President of the country.

The first sign that change is coming on his part and on the part of his die hard supporters especially in social media is to stop sowing dissension by conjuring up and imagining that there are two groups of people in our country now: the pro Duterte and the anti Duterte, or the “Dutertards” and the “Yellowtards”, with the Antis consisting of his critics and other people who express disagreement or disapproval of the way he runs the government and his personal conduct and behavior. This division should be eliminated right away. All of us Filipinos, who may be his admirers and supporters, or his critics and opponents, are “Pro Philippines.” All of us would like him to succeed as duly elected President.

Another change direly needed now is for Duterte to address the many unsettled and controversial issues still hounding his administration. First and foremost in this regard are the legally objectionable means employed in the war against drugs or the numerous extrajudicial killings committed daily in carrying out the “Oplan Tokhang” and the “Double Barrel” operations of the police force against suspected violators of the Dangerous Drugs Act. So far, no investigation or probe has been thoroughly conducted to establish that these numerous killings are indeed legitimate and necessary because they are resorted to only when the lives of the arresting officers have been endangered. Not a single report has been submitted up to now regarding all these “deaths under investigation” especially those perpetrated by unidentified motor-cyclers riding in tandem. Prevailing in our community now especially in dark streets is the fear of being victims of these motor-cycling death squads riding in tandem. A thorough probe of all these incidents should be undertaken immediately and reports submitted expeditiously.

Other nagging questions relegated to the background and seemingly forgotten are the revelations previously made by two police officers formerly assigned in Davao City when Digong was the City Mayor there. Notable among them is PNP Superintendent Arturo Lascanas, a self confessed member of the alleged Davao Death Squad who carried numerous liquidations not only of drug suspects but also of broadcaster Jun Pala who was shot and killed at a hotel. During a Senate investigation several months ago, Lascanas revealed that Duterte ordered those killings. In the light of his confession, the Department of Justice conducted a preliminary investigation and subsequently filed charges of murder against him. Subsequently however he was surreptitiously allowed to leave the country and flee to Singapore where he is supposedly hiding up to now. The most intriguing aspect in this connection is why no steps have so far be undertaken to bring him back to the Philippines to face the charges. So a lot of speculations have been floating around regarding his “disappearance,” some of which are damaging to Duterte himself especially in connection with his true role in the Davao Death Squad.

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Then there is also the case of another former Davao PNP officer, Edgar Matobato who also testified during a Senate investigation and admitted to be also a part of the DDS responsible in numerous killings of drug suspects in Davao City. He likewise implicated DU30 in these killings and was subsequently charged in court, arrested and detained. Up to now, his case is pending trial and there is no news that it has already been scheduled for hearing on the merits. The lack of action on the part of the DOJ prosecutors regarding his case has also raised doubts and engendered a belief that it is being frozen in the court dockets until it is completely forgotten and thrown into oblivion.

Duterte should therefore immediately take concrete steps to show once and for all that these ugly speculations affecting his name and reputation and his capability and integrity as President including his alleged hidden wealth and involvement of his son in the smuggling of prohibited drugs from China, are false and baseless.

And if he really wants to rebound from the sharp decline in his approval and trust ratings, he should accept foregoing expositions as friendly reminders to help him succeed rather than attempts to destabilize and oust him from office.

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Email: attyjosesison@gmail.com

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