At least we know Duterte can be pressured

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

I was in Manila last Monday upon the invitation of Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, Manila who invited a select Cebu media to grace its first ever grand affair dubbed, “Silken Voices, Silken Roads; An Opera Gala Dinner.” Escorting us to Manila were Lara Scarrow, director of sales and marketing and Manna Alcaraz, communications manager of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu where we were joined by Marco Polo Plaza Hotel’s general manager Julie Najar and Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s general manager Frank Reichenbach for a lunch at Lung Hin of sumptuous Chinese food.

It was my first time to visit the Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, Manila and it took me some time to fix my bearings as I rarely visit this part of Metro Manila until I saw the Meralco Building and the Oakwood Hotel where I stayed a few years back. But how quickly Ortigas has developed into a bustling metropolis and let me say that the Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas is perfectly located and the view from its 44th floor Continental Lounge is superb.

This grand event was done to celebrate the Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas, Manila’s second anniversary and let me say it here that even for Manila, it was a unique event in the sense that it brought to the guests the three elements – music, culinary and fashion. Music was provided by the talented Asia’s Got Talent runner-up Gerphil Flores and Francisco Asenerio. She was even better to hear than when we first heard her during the Asia’s Got Talent Show. The culinary experience by Marco Polo’s Executive Chef Lluis Pesarrodona and the fashion showcase by famous couturier Renee Salud. It was indeed an unforgettable night for us in the Cebu media? especially that it was the birthday of Atty. Julius Neri, husband of Nelia Neri of SunStar Daily who was with the group.

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My return flight from Manila to Cebu last Tuesday gave me a plane’s view of the scorched brown mountains of Cebu due to the lack of rain for nearly three months now. But there were lots of clouds, which if the Department of Agriculture only flew cloud seeding planes, could have induced rain. Apparently we all had to rely on Divine Providence, wherein Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma called for an Oratio Imperata, imploring God to bless us with rain. But thanks to this prayer… early morning yesterday it did rain hard for the first time in many months. Though it wasn’t enough to restore our dry aquifers…but we know enough that God responds to our prayers.

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Just when we thought that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte would not succumb to public, even international pressure seeking his apology for his careless remarks he made about an Australian lay minister who was raped and killed 20 years ago, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that Mayor Duterte did succumb to public pressure when he finally apologized for his faux pas during a forum at the University of the Philippines-Visayas rally at La Paz Public Plaza. Here is his statement in full.

“I apologize to the Filipino people for my recent remarks in a rally. There was no intention of disrespecting our women and those who have been victims of this horrible crime. Sometimes my mouth can get the better of me. However I will not apologize for the things I’ve done to protect our people, especially the weak and defenseless, from crime. I know what it can do to the victims and their families. The anguish and pain they cause. The trauma that can’t be erased. I have witnessed these myself numerous times.”

In my book, it takes a man to apologize for his mistakes and I salute Mayor Duterte for he has shown to us that he can humble himself and ask forgiveness to the Filipino people. Contrast this to unmovable Pres. Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III who until now has not apologized for the killing of the eight Hong Kong tourists who were hostaged and eventually killed by a deranged Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza. Today, a great number of people that I have talked to still believe that P-Noy should have apologized to China for that incident that widened our rift with China.

Meanwhile, we will know within the next few weeks or the next surveys whether the lead of Mayor Duterte in the Presidential race has been affected by that careless remark. In my book, a great majority of the Filipino people supports Mayor Duterte even if he is uncouth in his speech or uses vulgar language because they can relate to him. That surveys show that Mayor Duterte leads in Metro Manila, Davao and I’m sure he is also leading in Cebu and in Ilocos Norte is due to one main reason… people want change and amongst all the Presidentiables, only Duterte is selling change.

30-years have passed since the EDSA Revolt and nothing much has changed in our political system and worse, Pres. PNoy Aquino refuses to call for Charter Changes which can bring hope to our people who thirst for change. This is why Mayor Duterte ticks… despite his uncontrolled mouth!

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For email responses to this article, write to [email protected] or [email protected]. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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