Duterte’s apology to Hong Kong: A closure for Filipinos

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

Congratulations on the installation of Mr. Frederick Go as the first honorary consul of the Republic of Latvia to Cebu by Consul General of the Republic of Latvia, Robert Lim “Bobby” Joseph at the Summit A Ballroom of the Summit Galleria Cebu in Robinsons Galleria in Gen. Maxilom Ave. (Mango Ave.) with cocktails/dinner tonight. It is truly an honor to be bestowed even an honorary title to represent a country. Again kudos to Frederick Go.

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In what I would call a closure to an ugly international incident that made Filipinos look so bad in the international stage nearly eight years ago, last Thursday Pres. Rodrigo Duterte made a public apology to the people of Hong Kong for the 2010 incident that left eight innocent Hong Kong tourists dead. The Chinese were on a tourist bus which was taken hostage by a deranged Philippine National Police (PNP) officer Rolando Mendoza at the Quirino Grandstand. Mendoza was also killed in the ill-fated rescue attempt by the police which made them look more like Keystone cops of Hollywood fame!

That international incident happened barely two months after the newly installed Pres. Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III took office. That incident made many Filipinos who voted for Mr. Aquino regret that they have chosen the wrong person for the Presidency, especially that Pres. Aquino was supposedly on top of the situation. What was ugly for the Philippines was that all major satellite news organizations, CNN, BBC, Fox News and Al Jazeera, covered the event live on TV.

As if the deaths of the eight Hong Kong hostages weren’t enough, the next day, Pres. Aquino went to the Quirino Grandstand to view the ill-fated tourist bus… and all news photographers caught him with a smirk or a smile on his face that was splashed on headline news, something that many people thought was inappropriate behavior for the President. But the biggest cut of all was the refusal of Pres. Aquino to apologize for that incident… wherein he gave a stupid explanation that the incident wasn’t done by him or his government… but everyone knows that the PNP is under the Office of the President, hence an apology was the right and decent thing to do.

I’m the kind to give my President a honeymoon period, but that incident told me that the President failed to do his duty to apologize for the mistakes of the rank and file under his office. Because of this incident, our relations with China began to sour… and soon the Chinese Navy showed its belligerent attitude to Filipino fishermen.

Without being pressured by anyone, suddenly out of the blue, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte issued an apology to the people of Hong Kong for that ugly international incident. At long last, we can say that we’ve had an official closure to this ugly incident and we hope that would be the last one.

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It is election season once again with the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections slated to be held on May 14. On the voting list are one barangay captain, seven barangay councilors and one SK chairperson and seven SK members for the nearly 42,000 barangays all over the Philippine archipelago except barangays in Marawi City. As of late, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will still accept the certificates of candidacy of anyone who wants to join the coming elections until this Friday, April 20.

Come to think of it… this is the first barangay and SK elections in the last five years after this was twice postponed by the government. I already forgot the reason why the barangay and SK polls were postponed under the Aquino regime, but in my book the postponement by the Duterte administration has merit and was truly valid because of narco politics.

Meanwhile, with this up and coming polls, I would like to know whether the Comelec would still use the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) or the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) machines in conducting this coming polls in the light of the still on-going recount by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) of the vice presidential elections of 2016. While I’m sure that the barangay and SK polls won’t be as hotly contested as the vice presidential polls, this recount casts a dark shadow over Smartmatic’s electronic counting machines wherein the government spent billions of pesos on election machinery that cannot be trusted to count the votes correctly…otherwise there would be no issue regarding who should be the vice president. So will Comelec still use the PCOS machines?

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com

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