There’s a comic relief and there are disgusting and contemptible displays of “out of tune” reactions that emerged from the government’s war against ISIS elements and homegrown Mautes terrorists.
And there too is that one shining moment in this difficult and challenging time… Finance Secretary (Carlos) Dominguez redeeming us from worldwide ridicule of electing a man as senator who is pathetically out of sync from what is going on in his own country.
The week’s episodes were like our intractable weather: one day we have thunderstorms, the next makes you feel summer has not left us at all, then rains come causing flash floods but followed later with a weather like it is springtime.
I left Davao City, as always on the first flight. It was smooth and hardly can one feel any bit of turbulence. I was so sleepy having to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to prepare for the 4 o’clock flight. I settled in my seat tried to catch a nap but failed. My mind cannot stop imagining how Marawi evacuees are doing in every cramp center and how our soldiers maneuver in the difficult and complicated urban warfare fighting well-ensconced snipers armed with sophisticated sniper’s rifle. But now and then, the mind is jolted by disjointed statement from known political pillars of the opposition who insist (President Rodrigo) Duterte does not need martial law to address the problem in Marawi and the scattered elements of Mautes arrested in different places in Mindanao and then Visayas. And there is that coterie of leftist NGOs who, in order to be noticed, came out with that disgusting statement that the women of Marawi are scared they might be raped by our soldiers. I do not know whether this bunch is speaking for the Mautes for frankly I do not know what agenda they have or what plot they conjure.
Even as the plane touched down with a thud in NAIA runway, I still cannot dismiss the imagery of misery in the battlefield and in the evacuation centers. The moment I exited I settled in a Grab Car and checked my cellphone for some encouraging post on Facebook. Lo and behold, the first post which caught my eye was a video of Senator Sonny Trillanes on British Broadcasting Corp. At first I was impressed Trillanes was able to get that much-sought opportunity to be interviewed on BBC. I also thought that with that pending complaint lodged in the International Criminal Court which he, Sabio, Matobato and fellow Magdalo congressman Gary Alejano filed, Senator Trillanes will use the BBC platform for the kill.
A few minutes after the introduction however, the senator who was in his dapper suit obviously in preparation for the interview, started to blunder. BBC host Stephen Sackur, delivered his questions crisp and clear. I was amused at first with what the senator was saying in answer to Stephen’s query but I burst out in laughter when he confidently answered he is a member of the Nationalista Party to the question on whether he is a democrat. He attempted to belittle the economic agenda and knowledge of the Duterte administration in running the country’s economy but again, Stephen cut him short asserting that the 7 percent economic performance of the Duterte government is a consummation devoutly wished in the Western countries.
Trillanes must have a hide as thick as a rhino he did not even blink when he was described as an incorrigible critic of Duterte. He thought he cannot win points on the economic issue, so he switched to his favorite subject: extrajudicial killing and martial law. But Stephen surprisingly appeared to be a lot more informed about the Philippine situation that the bumbling senator. Ahead of what Trillanes could deliver, the BBC host said it all: that Duterte early in the Presidential campaign admitted to having neutralized members of drugs and other criminal syndicates. Trillanes could only say that soon they will be able to solve a problem like Duterte and that the President’s popularity will sink low below 50% before the year ends. Stucker could only knit his brows and shook his head in disbelief of what he is hearing from the Magdalo senator. I cannot suppress my laughter the Grab driver asked, “ano bang pinapanood mo sir bakit ka natatawa?” I said, “wala, nagwawala lang si Trillanes”.
But what really floored me was when Trillanes told Stephen that the drug users in the Philippines are only into marijuana and not shabu and that it is not true the barangays in the country are into drugs.
I can see how dejected was Stephen Stucker with the outcome of the interview I sensed he cut it short ahead of schedule.
If there is anything of value in that interview, is that at least, for once, Senator Trillanes accord us with a good dose of comic relief. On the other hand, however, I was scared the world audience must be harboring the thought that Filipinos are of the same mold as the character they elected senator.
My apprehension however, did not last long for within the next 24 hours, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, with eloquence, confidently answers questions propounded by Christie Lou of CNN. Secretary Dominguez, for certain, impressed and disabused the minds of the same worldwide audience that Filipinos have in fact officials of impeccable talents, knowledge and education than one they saw on BBC. With an economic growth of 7 percent and trust rating of 75 percent, how can one argue against President Rodrigo Duterte with that record of success? Not a comic Trillanes. But thank you BBC for unmasking the senator with that impeccable sense of British humor. (Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan)