"We are now at the precipice."
President Rodrigo Duterte is unfazed on talks of an international trial against him. He has called the suggestion of such a court proceeding as stupid.
“You must be stupid if you think I will submit myself to an international trial,” said the mercurial President, adding that the Philippines has its own justice system including courts of law to try erring officials.
May we point out to the President that this was also the same smug contention of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic before the succeeding government turned him over to The Hague criminal court to stand trial for crimes against humanity. Milosevic died in prison before the court could render a guilty verdict.
A hostile government that might succeed Duterte at the end of his six-year term might just do that— turn him over to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes of human rights violations in his brutal war against illegal drugs.
Milosevic cohorts—high-ranking military officials in his government who were accused in the massacre of thousands of Muslims in the bloody Balkan war—were also haled to the international court where they are still standing trial.
Once out of power, kings and presidents are no longer the masters of their fate. We have seen this in the history of the world where such tyrants like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Moamer Khaddafy, and Romania’s Nicolas Ceausescu met violent deaths after falling from power.
We don’t want the same violent end for President Duterte but we do want him to mend his ways and be more circumspect in handling domestic and international affairs. There is a lesson in history that has proven true—that if one does not observe history then he loses his currency and he himself becomes history. Often it is in a manner that is not worth his legacy.
As with other Filipinos. I wonder what the President will say in his forthcoming State of the Nation Address before a joint session of Congress. Will it be a mirror of the state of affairs or a litany of lies that will only wallpaper the problems that have proliferated in three years of his six-year term? The President still has three years left to make good some of his campaign promises. He is midway and now at a fork in the road. Which road will he take—the road to redemption or the road to ruin? The choice is the President’s. We pray he takes the right way for the deliverance of this benighted land and its people.
Our myriad problems of unemployment, high cost of living, monstrous road traffic, non-delivery of basic water services, the creeping occupation of China to make us its sub-province and the total control of the executive over the legislative and judiciary branches certainly need long term and not palliative solutions.
What this country needs too is the total education and revision of our voters’ mindset so they will stop electing popular candidates without any qualifications to hold public office. Our fate is not in the alignment of the stars but in the hands of voters who choose candidates wisely. Remember that we get the public officials we deserve by electing the inept and the insecure.
I may sound like I am preaching but people normally repeat their prayers to receive deliverance from their problems and hardships. As things are, we are now at the precipice and could fall into the abyss.