Win some, lose some

NO one is really totally invincible in life. Even the wealthiest and most powerful men and women have to lose some battles. 

Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte ought to realize that his current legal controversy with Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has pushed him out on a limb.

Very untenable is his point that Morales, without his permission, cannot subpoena policemen to any inquiry. The Office of the Ombudsman is a constitutional office, and its occupant, incidentally, is removable from office only through an impeachment proceeding.

In fact, the basic charter empowers her to summon anybody motu propio (thru her own initiative, or as she sees fit) to an investigation relative to any graft suit she may wish to file, or may have filed, against any government official.

 

Ombudsman's vulnerability

No power, indeed, rises above the Ombudsman except 1) the Supreme Court, 2) both chambers of Congress, acting through an impeachment process, and of course 3) the sovereign people, by ratifying any constitutional change affecting the Ombudsman's office, including its abolition.

The protagonist's verbal tussle arises from the President's overprotective attitude toward law enforcers, in respect of his thrust against crime, illegal drugs in particular, where he however continues to gain popular support despite nonstop charges of extrajudicial killings. 

But NO, he cannot in any direct way meddle in the Ombudsman's job. Might his "sense of invincibility" have gotten over his head?

What Digong can do indirectly is to utilize the persuasive powers of his office in order to bring about Morales' impeachment by the lower house, after which he can influence her removal from office by the upper house (acting as an impeachment court) easily for Breach of Public Trust. His adamance can only fan a constitutional crisis to his detriment and embarrassment.

 

Joma's vincibility

There is no question though that he has won his verbal clash with Maoist Jose Maria Sison. What a shame! The founder and head of the Communist Party of the Philippines was baptized "Jose Maria" --- the names of Joseph and Mary, the earthly parents of Jesus Christ!

And the second shame is: not only is he a Communist who disdains Christians and espouses violence, he also looks like a bucktoothed mantataho from Beijing!

That he'll return on his terms is an arrogant boast; and should he return, he'll be arrested and clamped in jail, then charged with violation of the terms of his amnesty. But he'll have the consolation of regular visits from leftists headed by Risa Hontiveros.

Joma and I were members of the UP Dramatic Club through the mid-fifties during our college years. He was a quiet guy; and one would often see him doing carpentry work to set up backdrops for stage plays.

 

Coke's too American

One afternoon, as he was hammering down nails in succession backstage, I offered him an ice-cold bottle of coke, and he replied, "No, thanks, Ronnie, too American for me" --- a remark that I then found curious. 

He then proceeded to mumble a lengthy discourse that included the socialistic phrase: "the dignity of labor", and ended with "don't you think so, Ronnie?" I just said "yes", not knowing that the hammer in his hand would become a firearm in just a few years.

Unlike the greatest-ever Socialist that Jesus of Nazareth was, who proselytized with sermons, miracles and love, Communists resort to religious intolerance, intimidation, murder and other acts of violence.

Sadly, though, Digong's order "to wipe out commie rebels" will not bring immediate closure to their struggle for social justice; licking poverty is a distant goal but, hopefully, Dutertenomic plans and programs for the poor can accelerate the advent of their dream.

 Federalism? In previous articles, I explained my opposition to it; but who knows, it might yet be the key to poverty eradication.

 

Peace leaf and gun

It's a somewhat similar story at the Mindanao front, where Digong holds the Bangsamoro Basic Law's peace leaf with one hand, and a gun with the other --- uncertain if his "victory" at Marawi was enough to end the extremist Islamics' plan to establish a caliphate in Mindanao, and altogether secede from our country.

Only recently, over a dozen teenaged warriors from Nur Missuari's MNLF were arrested before they could be dispatched to Marawi City to fortify the IS-inspired Maute group's ranks of snipers. It will be recalled that, like the oft'-amnestied JomaSison, the likewise oft'-amnestied Missuari had pledged support to the newly elected PDu30.

No, it's nothing new that deceit, not to mention head-chopping, is a trait of these secessionist rebels! What sort of a Mindanao victory can then be achieved by Rody, given that he has to deal with hostile characteristics deeply embedded in Moro culture? If transient, we may wait forever!

 

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