Duterte’s referendum

"He should focus on gut issues more than anything else."



The Baguio City Council’s ban on the use of cuss words, profanities and other expletives raises interesting questions.

For one thing, the ban violates freedom of expression and speech.

I often go to Bagiuo to recharge my batteries and I can imagine people who get stuck in the traffic gridlock uttering expletives. So should they be arrested?

To me, profanities are part of the language. My gulay, those Hollywood movies and shows are filled with cuss words. My late father used to utter “puta” and “puñeta.” The Spaniards, including friars, were often heard exclaiming “hijo de puta” in an effort to demean somebody. “Bullshit” is another word often used in exasperation and disgust.

To me, these words mean nothing. When President Duterte curses, I am not surprised. Actually he is not the first chief executive fond of cuss words. The late Manuel L. Quezon was also fond of using profanities.

They are just words—nothing more.

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The 2019 elections will be a referendum on President Duterte with almost 10-million Filipinos (and rising) unemployed. There are also high inflation and low wages.

While the administration may attempt to foist federalism as an issue, or drugs and corruption, the gut topics will determine the results of the election. The poor can easily understand this. Santa Banana, even now, there are findings that people only eat once or twice a day because that is all they can afford.

I have been a journalist for almost 70 years and I know that it is the gut issues that stay with the public. The question is, can President Duterte address these issues and make life better for Filipinos?

He must listen to what the people are saying. The backlash could be in the form of rejection of his favored candidate, Christopher Lawrence Go who is running for the Senate.

Until now, people don’t know who Bong Go is aside from always being the person behind President Duterte, always taking selfies. But what are his qualifications? Why should we vote for him? The President says Go is a multi-billionaire, but how did he get there? Does it have anything to do with the report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism that says Go’s family cornered contracts from the Department of Public Works and Highways worth P2.4 billion?

* * *

The campaign period is coming up. The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should make addressing these two things a priority: Prevalence of private armies and the proliferation of loose firearms.

These problems have long existed in the Philippines and I know they come to play during the election period. They result in killings especially at the local level.

The police and military say there are some 57 private armies nationwide and about a million loose firearms, mostly in Mindanao.

It is with this thought that President Duterte should make these the focus of his campaign during this sensitive time.

* * *

Will former First Lady Imelda Marcos be arrested? This is the topic in board rooms and coffeeshops around town.

There are those who say that her conviction of graft and corruption should merit her arrest, but there are also those who point out that she is 89 years old and weak.  Even Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde is not too sure if she should be arrested,

There are some things that could prevent the arrest of Imelda. Her lawyers are exhausting every legal remedy so she would not be arrested,  Considering the pace of justice here in the Philippines, she might be 90 before a final judgment is handed down.

I believe she should be given consideration for her age.

The Duterte administration may be accused of giving Imelda special treatment.  But we all know she can always be released after filing a bond. Until she is convicted by the Supreme Court, she is considered innocent.

* * *

Whether Malacañang likes it or not, the third telecommunications player being Mislatel, a consortium composed of President Duterte’s biggest campaign contributor, and China Telecoms will always be subject to speculation.

This may be unfair on the part of the President, but this is the talk of the town nonetheless.

There is no doubt about the qualifications of Mislatel. But Malacañang should explain the participation of China Telecoms in the bidding. It’s an issue of national security. Remember the ongoing dispute between the Philippines and China on the West Philippine Sea.

I cannot help but be suspicious when another country becomes a player in things affecting national security.

Topics: Emil Jurado , Duterte’s referendum , Baguio City Council , 2019 elections
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