Gary Alejano, a marionette of yet another fluke in the senate -- Antonio Trillanes -- looked pathetic trying to defend himself as well as the litany of charges he filed against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte before the Justice Committee in the House of Representatives.
Alejano tried mellow drama but in the process unmasked his ignorance on the very basic rule of how a complainant should know in filing information against an impeachable official in the government especially one who holds the highest position in the land. That means he should have personal knowledge of the offense committed by the person he wants impeached.
In the case of Alejano, he came to town with a truck full of evidence which turned out to be, in his own language, culled from testimonies of perjured witnesses Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas. The allegations, to include the extrapolated numbers of EJK victims were conjured by New York Times and Rappler then masticated by detained Sen. Leila De Lima and Trillanes. These were rehashed many times over ergo complainant Congressman Alejano was a picture of proverbial wet chicken when told that what he brought to the Justice Committee hearing was nothing but hearsay. And then, like a child denied of a lollipop, he threatened to bring up his case against (President Rodrigo) Duterte before the International Criminal Court. Well, he and the self-confessed murderers, can have a reunion in Netherlands.
While Gary Alejano was attempting to create headlines by trying to denigrate President Duterte, the latter was earning accolades from OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) in Hong Kong and world leaders who converged in Beijing to attend a forum on China’s "One Belt One Road" (OBOR) centerpiece program.
OBOR defines China’s foreign and economic policies and an unwritten theme that peace can be achieved not by armed solutions but by building infrastructures and bilateral engagements to establish connectivity among nations.
A cabinet member of President Duterte, who attended the event in Beijing, commented that OBOR was launched during that forum. The truth is, OBOR commenced with the assumption of (Chinese) President Xi Jinping. It revived the ancient Silk Road which was a trade route, both land and seas, in Asian and European continents. The Philippines has a unique role to play in the marine course.
The emergence of China as an economic giant following the shift from egalitarian policy of Chairman Mao to market-driven economy and capitalist-like enterprise by reformist leader Deng Xiaoping cannot be downplayed. This era of dramatic change in China was stonewalled by the domineering western-oriented media and believe me to date majority of Filipinos still think that communes and rickshaw and equal distribution of “wealth” are still very much alive in China. No more. It in fact ended when Deng declared that “poverty is not socialism”.
Fast forward, with President Xi Jinping as the paramount leader of China, the economy of the 1.3-billion plus nation soared and surpassing that of Japan. Xi nurtures his dream for China. As its economy growing through the seams, President Xi thought it is time to be involved and take a bigger role in global affairs. Constricted by geopolitics, China was not given a wider participation in world financial institutions like World Bank and Asian Development Bank which were controlled by US, Canada, Japan, UK, Australia and other advance economies.
With OBOR in mind, President XI first established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The Philippines, during the Arroyo administration, signed up as a charter member but this was idiotically sidelined by the Aquino government which was a subservient lackey to the US. The United States was against AIIB as this was merely a duplicate of ADB and WB. Of course there is a stong political undercurrent in this claim. Maybe bothered by their conscience the membership was only ratified by the Philippines on the last hour of the set deadline before a member can be admitted to the AIIB. It was foolhardy for the Aquino not to ratify the country’s membership when even other countries which had serious conflict with China, among them Vietnam, had signed the charter.
These days, President Rodrigo R. Duterte stands tall among leaders the world over and has an avuncular space in the heart of Xi, the respect of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the trust of US President Donald Trump. (I had wanted to ask PRRD what was that message from Trump did he whisper to Xi but senior citizens go to sleep before 9 p.m.). Flying home to Davao City straight from Beijing, )(President) Duterte who had barely had a wink, skipped reading the enumerations of packages of financial assistance to add to what had been earlier committed to the Philippines in his first visit to China.
Some fatalists, who cannot accept (President) Duterte’s successful forays in what was once a no-man’s-land for US allies, have not ran out of negative commentaries no matter how positive these maybe. Among these is that the country will forever be debt-strapped. But how can we wiggle out from poverty and backwardness if we cannot improve and expand our Jurassic infrastructures? I still believe that President Xi will make Philippines its exhibit of OBOR’s success and for that I have this vision that during my lifetime we will see a different landscape in cities and provinces outside metro Manila.
With all these prospects ahead of us, a certain Gary Alejano is simply irrelevant. I remember a quote from Margaret Atwood which says: “As you ramble on through life, brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole.”
(Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan)