MonthApril 2016

Documenting Duterte

Documenting Duterte” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 16, 2016 (Pilipino version: “Sukatan ng tapang ng apog“)

People remain ambivalent about Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He wants to jail Vice President Jejomar Binay for plunder; Binay wants to jail him for his “death squad.” Sen. Grace Poe wants to make him crime czar. (Mar Roxas supporters say, Elect him and nail two for the price of one.)

With Duterte’s current lead in the election surveys, however, people should begin considering what a Duterte presidency might mean. Not so easy to do; he has performed as a one-note musician, trumpeting his law-and-order credentials in Davao City.

His political opponents have questioned his record, citing police data (2010-15) documenting Davao as third highest in the number of robbery cases, second in rape cases, and first in murder cases. Then there is the “death squad” issue—that, whatever the achievements, the Duterte approach to controlling crime had come at the high cost of other crimes, involving extrajudicial executions that allow no appeal.

Duterte has repeatedly pledged to end criminality in the country within three to six months, or give up the presidency. Perhaps it’s just empty talk, although his official running mate, Sen. Alan Cayetano, is now echoing the six-month schedule. To be fair, Duterte had warned the public to be careful about what it asked for in “forcing” him to run: Blood will have to flow for him to keep his promise. Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

Deadlocked over the dead

Deadlocked over the dead” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 2, 2016 (Pilipino version: “Sukatan ng tapang ng apog“)

At their second debate, presidential candidates had to declare their stand on a policy issue– silently, by a simultaneous show of hands. On permitting the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, Vice President Jojo Binay and Mayor Digong Duterte raised their hands in approval. Mar Roxas and Grace Poe did not.

The outcome was not surprising. Roxas probably shared and would respect PNoy’s opposition to a Libingan internment for Marcos. After the backlash against the suggestion that she was open to the idea, Poe backtracked and issued a clarification. Duterte had been open to taking Bongbong Marcos as his running mate.

Binay’s position requires some explanation. In 2011, PNoy asked Binay to make a recommendation on the issue. Binay said he surveyed the views of various sectors, including the political parties. None of the 130 Comelec-accredited parties responded. Binay did not reveal the results of the text and email survey, but offered a compromise: burial with full military honors, but not at the Libingan.

Not surprisingly, the compromise met with resistance. The historical record argued against burial with full military honors. In 1986, based on previously classified documents, the New York Times had already exposed Marcos’ claims of wartime heroism as “fraudulent,” “preposterous,” and “a malicious criminal act” Marcos declined invitations to respond to the story. Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

‘He said….’ ‘They said….’

‘He said….’ ‘They said….’” was first published in the Philippine Star on March 18, 2016

“Let us leave history to the professors,” said Sen. Bongbong Marcos, dismissing calls for him to apologize for the crimes committed during the Marcos Martial Law regime. The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) faculty responded, denouncing Bongbong’s “willful distortion of our history” by the attempt to “whitewash the Marcos regime’s wanton violation of human rights and to distort its political-economic record.”

Bongbong Marcos was equally dismissive of this response: “they have the right to their opinion. We’ll agree to disagree.” With this rejoinder, Bongbong picked up more people with whom to disagree. The presidents of the five Jesuit universities in the country signed the ADMU faculty statement. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), consisting of over 1250 institutions, also adopted the statement as its own.

It is the case of sexual assaults that often prompts the classic “he said, she said” controversies. These crimes usually happen behind closed doors, in secluded areas, without witnesses. Investigators are confronted by conflicting versions of the event, with one party claiming a consensual encounter and another alleging the use of violence.

The rape of a person ordinarily happens in private. But in the 20th century, the rape of a country (which does include the rape and murder of persons), especially when perpetrated over an extended period, can no longer happen in secret.

Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

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