A belated realization

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Many citizens who were unhappy over President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte’s diplomatic pivot to China have probably expressed elation over his getting miffed with how Chinese forces bullied our fishermen and coast guard units in the West Philippine Sea.

Mr. Duterte “abhors” – a very strong term – the recent incident in the Ayungin Shoal, where Chinese coast guard ships fired water cannons at Philippine boats carrying supplies to a Marine unit assigned to a grounded Navy ship in the shoal.

Now, Digong has realized that placating giant bullies would only embolden them to make more intrusions into our territory.

China does not recognize the arbitral ruling of an international tribunal in favor of the Philippines over our territorial and maritime rights in the West Philippine Sea.

When Mr. Duterte took over the helm of government, he brushed aside the ruling in favor of what the country would get from our trade partnership with China.

Our country even set aside our friendly relations with the United States, a long-time ally, as a friendly gesture to China.

But the loans and financial help that we expected from China were not forthcoming or as big as we had thought.

As I said in Tuesday’s column, the Chinese people are amiable and peace-loving; one can add to those Mainland Chinese traits the fact that they are fun to be with.

But it seems the Chinese government does not have the same traits as its people.

We saw the high-handed manner of China over the sinking of a wooden-hulled Philippine fishing boat after it was rammed by a steel-hulled Chinese ship at the Recto Bank three years ago. The Chinese vessel didn’t even stop to rescue the Filipino fishermen.

Although China later apologized for the incident, it didn’t offer any help to the fishermen who lost their livelihoods.

A Chinese billionaire from Shanghai, Xue Cheng Biao, made up for his government’s arrogance by replacing the boat that was sunk and giving monetary aid to its crew.

I can tell you without batting an eyelash that there are millions of Mainland Chinese who are like Mr. Xue.

I should know, because as a former special envoy to China I talked business with many Chinese entrepreneurs about the possibility of investing in the country.

Like Xue, many Chinese investors look at the Philippines as a potential business haven.

The hundreds of millions of dollars in business deals this columnist concluded with Chinese investors have temporarily been set aside because of the pandemic.

Anyway, since Mr. Duterte has realized the folly of dealing with a bully that disregards our proffered hand of friendship, our relationship with the US will become much closer than before.

Already, the US has warned China that armed attacks on Philippine public vessels in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) would provoke retaliation from the US under the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty.

Let’s also hope that the country’s diplomatic pivot to China will make the US realize that it has taken its friendship with us for granted.

Our relationship with Uncle Sam has been forged in blood in Bataan and Corregidor, and in other places such as Korea and Vietnam; yet our former enemies with the US have been given preferential attention over us.

*      *      *

President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, thinking as a lawyer and former government prosecutor, says he will have his close friend and spiritual adviser Apollo Quiboloy extradited if requested by the US government.

Quiboloy is facing charges in the US of sex trafficking and having sex with minors.

I know how hard that would be for Digong.

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Quiboloy lent then Davao City mayor Duterte his helicopter and plane.

I was a witness to Digong’s personal relationship with Quiboloy when I accompanied the then Davao City mayor on a vacation to Macau in the early 2000’s.

We were fetched at the Hong Kong airport by Quiboloy’s stretch limousine which delivered us to the pier where we took a ferry for Macau.

When we arrived in Macau, we were fetched by another limousine hired by Quiboloy.

*      *      *

An indictment from the US Attorney’s Office (Central District of California) says Quiboloy enticed female victims, including minors, to have sex with him under pain of eternal damnation.

Quiboloy, according to the indictment, would “physically abuse” female victims for talking with other men, accusing the women of committing adultery and a sin.

Victims who managed to escape KOJC (Kingdom of Jesus Christ) suffered retaliation in the form of threats, harassment and allegations of criminal conduct, according to the indictment.

If Quiboloy is found guilty of the charges in a US court he will be gone from the Philippines for a long, long time.

*      *      *

Just thinking aloud: Why are there people so naïve that they would have sex with their pastors or priests because they might go to hell if they refused?

I’m still thinking aloud: Why do people contribute tons of money as “love offerings” or tithes to their churches, knowing full well that their money will go to the pockets of their pastors or priests?

Many men of the cloth have become filthy, filthy rich because of the naivete of their followers, who are mostly poor.

Perhaps, because of their lack of education or perception, many followers of religious groups look the other way even when their money is spent on the frivolities of their church leaders.

The fear of being banished to hell – sa dagat-dagatang apoy (sea of fire) – makes many people tolerate their church leaders’ hedonism.

But there is no such place as hell in the afterlife, only a place where souls are enveloped with divine love.

The above is not my opinion, but those of people who have come back from near death experiences.

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