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Canine behavior of US politicians | Philippine News Agency


By Jun Ledesma

THE problem that besets America is the overdose of hubris and severe prejudices of some of its political leaders against other nations. I like America and its people and this is the same reason why not a few Filipinos opted to live, work and visit the country every so often. America, after all, liberated us from Japan of course with a heavy toll on the Philippine side not only of lives lost but the devastation of Manila and elsewhere on account of carpet bombings by the US forces to ferret out the proverbial last rat in the heap of rubbles. Yes, Filipinos are grateful. Filipinos too buried in the catacombs of forgetfulness the thousands of men, women, and children in Samar (remember the Balangiga bells which were part of the loot taken by marauding American soldiers?) and the slaughter of Muslim Filipinos in Sulu who refused to yield to the US invading forces.

Maybe it is because of what seems to be that eternal wellspring of being extremely forgiving that Filipinos invites aggression even from what or who we thought were our allies.  We create a canine behavior like the one that US Sen Dick Durbin and Patrick Leahy who, in utter disregard of our sovereignty and disrespect of our laws, demand that the Philippine authorities release a detained Sen. Leila de Lima for what they claimed was an act of political harassment and oppression. They thought that de Lima is detained because of her expose’ of alleged extra-judicial killings carried out by the Davao Death Squad and the police-led war on drugs and human rights violations.

She had been Chairperson of the Commission of Human Rights, secretary of Justice then Senator belonging then to the ruling Liberal Party. All those years when she wielded power and influence she never produced a single viable piece of evidence. All that she produced were perjured witnesses in the Senate hearing. Characters which have gone abroad enjoying the reward and largesse in exchange for their preposterous confessions! Consider this. The first time she led a probe on alleged extra-judicial killing, de Lima as CHR chair was looking for the remains of 286 EJK victims in Davao City, where Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was then-Mayor. She found none. That figure increased in quantum leap each time De Lima raised the issue of EJK and by the last count of Ma. Ressa, who like De Lima extrapolates figures to suit her agenda, the statistics had run to as high as 37,000 victims. Obviously some US senators believed de Lima while Ressa her prize for her journalistic crusade in the comfort of her swivel chair.

The threat of Durbin and Leahy comes with a resolution that Philippine government officials involved in the detention of Senator de Lima be barred from stepping into the American soil and aids of whatever kind be held. Given the temper of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte these threats will not even merit the usual expletives like what he dished out to former Pres, Barrack Obama. This hostile act will just be simply ignored except for a brief repartee from the government spokesman.

Durbin and Leahy must bear in mind that the Philippines is not its colony anymore and the country’s leaders are no wimp or subservient politicians in the mold of Cory Aquino which the CIA installed, or, Benigno Simeon Aquino III who is a veritable American lapdog. The days of the Liberal Party members in the Philippines with whom the US Democrats are allied with, are over. Doomed in fact. Not one from among its senatorial bets survived the onslaught of the Duterte-led senate slate in the recent polls.

If they are for democracy and liberty, Durbin, Leahy and their other colleagues should be happy that the Philippines have truly become independent. Of course, Duterte is not without enemies in and out of the Philippines and these include Filipino-Americans who stupidly insist we should not cut the umbilical cord of the Philippines from mother America. We are not brown monkeys like what William Howard Taft, the first American Governor in the Philippines and your 27th President had described us in those colonial days. Sadly though, over a century had elapsed after Taft, and only yesterday the crew members of Ed Sheeran shouted “monkeys” at fans who met them at the airport. I wonder whether this superiority complex is just a disturbing psychological disorder.

Senators Durbin and Leahy should give the Philippines a break. You are reading too many black propaganda and misinformation from the media and political enemies of Duterte. You can bar those you think are involved in the incarceration of a Filipino senator but do not think idly that this will not be met by stern condemnation. You can keep your aid too. The present government, by the way, had rejected aids and loans with strings attached. And who will you ban from stepping into the American soil? The prosecutors who indicted her? The judges that are hearing her case and the High Court justices that gave the green signal to try De Lima? Those are questions raised by presidential Spokesman and Chief Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo.

What happened to Sen. Leila De Lima is no different from a number of American legislators who were detained, convicted and served sentences in jail for varied crimes that include bribery and perjury to name a few. So why be pregnant about another senator who is accused of involvement in drug syndication and trade inside our state penitentiary which by the way had been exposed by high profile inmates and her driver with whom she was in dalliance. She herself described this slip “frailty of a woman”.

US and UK politicians should cast away their prejudices and for once listen to another Philippine Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. Says he, the judicial system in the Philippines is an independent and functioning branch of the government. That the Supreme Court has given its imprimatur for the trial of the Senator De Lima based on the preponderance of evidence and not because it is politically motivated.

The bells of Balangiga which the marauding America forces looted after they slaughtered the helpless men, women, and children in the isolated town of Samar is back from where these were taken. Once again we are hearing the bells toll and I hope that this time it is not to warn us of intrusion of foreign invaders or another bloody infamy but in celebration of the fact that the Philippines, like America, is a land of the free.

About the Columnist

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Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.