Duterte comment goes international

SPYBITS - The Philippine Star

The controversial comment of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte regarding the rape and murder of an Australian missionary during the 1989 jail riot in Davao has landed him on the pages of international newspapers including the New York Times, which reported about the outrage generated by the mayor’s remarks. The article noted how Duterte’s bluntness and the perception that he breaks the “rules of politics and polite society” seems to be appreciated by the crowd during his sorties, but the hilarity is not shared by many who have condemned the mayor for trivializing the issue of rape.

Much earlier, the PDP-Laban – the mayor’s political party – issued an apology purportedly attributed to the mayor, even asking people to give him a chance to lead the nation. However, Duterte has denied any knowledge of the statement, insisting he will not apologize for the remark made in the heat of anger during the prison riot/hostage taking happened during the time of the late President Cory Aquino.

The latest survey results from Pulse Asia, however, show the PDP-Laban candidate maintaining his position as frontrunner with 32 percent, but since the survey was taken prior to the mayor’s rape remark, observers are waiting to see if his numbers will be affected in these last two weeks before the May 9 election. The New York Times article, however, noted the frontrunners in the surveys seem to have put the fate of President Aquino’s “legacy” in question, with voters growing tired of what they perceive to be “an indecisive and ineffective administration on matters that directly affect people’s lives.”

The newspaper also quoted La Salle Political Science professor Richard Heydarian, whose article at The Huffington Post gives an incisive analysis on why Filipino voters are experiencing “democracy fatigue,” with their lives no better three decades after the EDSA People Power revolution. Some reactions to Heydarian’s article point out that it’s not so much “democracy fatigue” as “oligarchy fatigue” – which could result in “protest votes” where people will go for Duterte to display their anger and dissatisfaction against the prevailing system where families of landed oligarchs have been controlling Philippine politics for centuries.

Former Instituto Cervantes official dismayed at ‘desecration’ of Bohol blood compact marker

More than two years after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol in October 2013, the province is slowly getting back on its feet with tourism promising to become a major source of revenue.  According to the Department of Tourism, they expect more visitors once the P7-billion eco-friendly airport project being built in Panglao Island is completed by 2017. Aside from the Chocolate Hills, Bohol’s attractions include numerous beaches, diving spots and several caves that would appeal to adventurous travelers.

The local government of Bohol is also promoting eco-tourism where the highlight is on local culture and the history of the various tourist destinations in the province. The local government has been working to attract more visitors, with several top class hotel developers also making sure their establishments are environment friendly and conform to sustainable development. However, a former official of the Instituto Cervantes-Manila who visited Bohol recently was dismayed to find that a treasured historical marker has been desecrated by the presence of a hotel.

We’re referring to the Blood Compact sculpture of National Artist Napoleon Abueva, a Boholano himself, located at Barangay Bool in Tagbilaran City to commemorate that historic event in March 1565 when Spanish captain Miguel Lopez de Legazpi entered into a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna to seal the friendly relations between the Spaniards and Filipinos.

The Shrine was built along a circumferential road with the sea as a backdrop, and history-conscious Boholanos found it appalling that the hotel was allowed to build its structure to make it look as if the marker was part of its premises – tantamount to a desecration of what many consider as a proud reminder of a significant chapter in our history, as the “sandugo” is looked upon as an important event that ushered in Christianity not only in Bohol but in the entire country.

Many also find the streamer announcing some sort of grand opening –prominently displayed behind the Blood Compact shrine – as jarring to sensibilities. Even recent visitors who wanted to have their photo taken beside the marker complained about the presence of the hotel streamer – calling it a major “photobomber.”

While many appreciate the efforts of the local government to promote Bohol as a tourist destination, it should also make sure that historic markers are not despoiled or disrespected by unthinking hotel developers. Whoever allowed this thing to happen in Bohol has a lot to answer for.

Lies, lies, lies

Just as a fish is caught by the mouth, so is sacked RCBC Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito who has admitted that she lied during earlier Senate hearings on the $81 million money laundering scheme where funds from the Bangladesh Bank account in New York Federal Reserve Bank were transferred by hackers to several fictitious local accounts.

Deguito, who does not display convincing remorse about the fact that she lied, does not seem to realize the grave implication of her deliberately misleading testimony before the Senate hearings – which has tarnished the reputation of respected figures in business and the banking industry. “At least it’s now clear that she will lie to save her own skin, and her credibility is now shot to pieces,” a banking industry observer commented.

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