Dutertes exempted from no "wang-wang"

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag -

The one thing I truly missed hearing in Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address, especially since the speech was anchored on one recurring theme — “wang-wang,” now expanded to include all excesses and abuses in government — was any mention of Sara Duterte and her family.

 For those who, by any chance, have not heard of Sara Duterte, or may have forgotten what she did, she is the mayor of Davao City who, in front of tv cameras, repeatedly punched and then pulled the hair of court sheriff Abe Andres.

 Andres incurred the ire of Duterte when he proceeded to carry out a court order mandating the demolition of illegal structures despite a request by Duterte to stay the demolition for two hours until she arrived.

 Duterte said she requested for the delay because she feared violence may ensue and wanted to be on top of the situation. That, of course, is a fair enough request. What Duterte failed to take into consideration is the fact that it was not up to Andres to grant her request.

 Had Andres given in to Duterte and delayed the demolition, he could have earned the good graces of the Davao City mayor but could not be certain if he does not get fired by the court for not carrying out its order.

 Anyway, because violence did ensue, a fuming Duterte first ordered all protagonists in the fracas to stand down. Then she turned on Andres, punching him one, two, three, maybe four times. Her bodyguards subdued the unresisting Andres and Duterte grabbed him by the hair.

 Live footages of the shocking scene went viral on the Internet. But the shock did not end there. Duterte’s father Rodrigo, the Davao City vice mayor, and later his councilor son, flashed the dirty finger at journalists to show contempt for the negative publicity generated.

 The Dutertes refused to apologize, both for the physical assault on Andres and the dirty fingers. Scared for his life, it was Andres who apologized to Duterte. Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government did nothing about the incident.  

 The Dutertes, of course, happen to be valuable political allies of Noynoy Aquino. And while it is not surprising for Noynoy to stay clear of the Davao City controversy involving the Dutertes, his silence about them in the SONA is defeaning.

 And that is because his entire SONA was underscored by his fight against “wang-wang” in all of government. In fact, according to reports, Noynoy mentioned the word “wang-wang” no less than 40 times throughout his nearly-an-hour speech.

 Noynoy explained that “wang-wang,” or the sirens that parted traffic to let officials and dignitaries through and which, to him, symbolized government excess and abuse, has now been expanded to include all abuses in government by government officials.

 And believe me, no other recent manifestation of abuse of power by government officials can surpass that one involving the Dutertes and Andres. Yet, in a speech woven all throughout with promises to curb abuses, not a peep was heard about the Dutertes.

 Worse, I do not believe the issue simply skipped the mind of Noynoy. I believe the omission was deliberate. And the only reason for the omission is that his vaunted crackdown against abuses just does not happen to include his friends.

But this is not the only instance where friends are conveniently exempted from his gunsights. His track record of preferential treatment for friends has, in fact, given rise to the term KKK — Kaibigan, Kainuman, Kabarilan. Walang “wang-wang”? Malaking kasinungalingan yan.

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