THE PSYCHOPATH’S SYCOPHANTS (Part 1)

Psychopath – (noun) a person with antisocial personality disorder manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse, in extreme egocentricity, in failure to learn from experience, etc. Psychopaths tend to lack normal human emotions such as guilt. They also lack the ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships. They are often highly intelligent and skilled at manipulating others.

Sycophant – (noun) a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage; a servile self-seeking flatterer.

 

Power could be such a potent motivation that people are willing to go to great lengths to possess it — or even to get close to it. It is no wonder, therefore, that when Duterte won the presidency, opportunists of all colors and sizes huddled up close to and swarmed Malacanang.

Just like flies would to manure.

Many members of the opposition readily deserted their respective sinking ships and jumped into that of the PDP-Laban, which was fast getting jam-packed with the other political chameleons.

New alliances and coalitions between other political parties and the president’s party were formed.

People who supported and worked for Duterte’s campaign saw it as the perfect opportunity to collect and reap the benefits of being a loyal boot and ass licker.

Those closest to him, meanwhile, elbowed their way through the burgeoning crowd to secure the meatiest positions available.

Needless to say, their efforts paid off.

Despite Duterte’s initial pronouncement that he will get only the best and the brightest people because “the Filipinos deserved nothing less,” he went on an appointing spree (with their contribution to his campaign as the main qualification for the selection of those appointees) weeks before he was proclaimed the election winner.

The following are some of the President’s political appointees. Together, let us know them a little better and see if, indeed, their connection to the Palace was not their only credential to their current positions. We will also take a peek at what they have managed to bring to the table thus far.

 

Aguirre (1)

 

DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre II. He was the legal counsel of Hubert Webb in the celebrated Vizconde massacre case; the former lawyer of Sen. Lacson and Ramon Tulfo; the deputy counsel who conducted the direct examinations of now Sen. Trillanes and the other Magdalo members during the investigation of the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny; Duterte’s fraternity brother in San Beda and his lawyer when he was linked to the Davao Death Squad by then CHR Commissioner Leila De Lima; the defense lawyer of retired SP04 Bienvenido Laud (the owner of the quarry in Davao believed to have been the burial ground of the DDS victims); the founder and president of the Brotherhood for Duterte Movement; and the controversial target of the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s ire during the Corona impeachment trial. (Yes, Aguirre and the Hear-No-Evil lawyer are one and the same.)

When Aguirre was appointed by then presumptive Pres. Duterte to head the DOJ, the latter’s orders were quite specific: “Focus on illegal drugs, graft and corruption and heinous crimes, and file appropriate charges no matter who gets hurt.”

After only a year at the helm of the Justice department, Aguirre has already figured in a plethora of controversies.

The government’s drug war has already killed thousands, many of which were perpetrated by unidentified masked men, yet no single killer has been held legally accountable. Amid the international community, the Catholic Church and the human rights advocates’ resounding call for accountability and end to the killings, the Dep’t. of Justice has remained deafeningly silent.

Aguirre used 12 convicted felons (all of whom were granted immunity and witness protection, while 5 of whom have had pending applications for pardon or clemency) to testify against Sen. De Lima during a congressional probe on the Senator’s alleged involvement in the drug trade at the National Bilibid Prison. (Said felons were reportedly granted certain perks and privileges in exchange for their testimonies.) At the same public hearing, he threatened to present sex videos allegedly of De Lima and Dayan “to establish their relationship.” He also released fake BDO deposit slips to further implicate De Lima. During presscons and interviews even before a single case against De Lima was filed before a court of law, he found great joy in destroying the Senator’s reputation by accusing her of being the country’s biggest drug lord — an action that utterly ran counter to what a judicious Justice Secretary should be.

To date, Peter Lim is still as free as a bird despite PDEA and Kerwin Espinosa’s separate testimonies that the presidential friend is a bigtime drug lord. (Lim has been, in fact, named by no less than the President himself in his drug matrix as among the top-tier drug lords operating in the country.) Just recently, DOJ downgraded the murder charge against the 19 policemen involved in the rubout of Mayor Rolando Espinosa. (Ex-CIDG Chief Supt. Marvin Marcos, the team leader, has long been involved in illegal drugs, according to PNP Chief Dela Rosa.) Both of these despite the administration’s controversial War on Drugs.

It is also on his watch when the bloody raid (eyewitnesses assert that it was a massacre, not a raid) against the Parojinogs of Ozamiz City took place. Amid claims of irregularities in the execution of the operation, and a clamor to look deeper into the incident that resulted to the death of 15 people, the DOJ thru its constituent agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, has been conspicuously quiet. Yet again.

Aguirre has the uncanny habit of parroting Duterte’s statements. According to him, the killings of thousands of drug suspects and criminals may not be considered crimes against humanity because those drug suspects and criminals are not humans. Duterte has been repeatedly heard making the same statement.

The DOJ Sec. and the gambling mogul Jack Lam had a private meeting at some hotel room hours before a P50-million bribe/extortion money changed hands from Lam’s camp to Aguirre’s. The DOJ Sec. was even quoted telling an ex-BI official who was with him at that meeting, “Ikaw na ang bahala diyan” before leaving the room. Two BI officials (both are Duterte’s frat brothers and appointees) were implicated for extortion, while both Aguirre and Lam walked away scot-free.

He earned the title “The King of Fake News” after exposing to the media that some opposition lawmakers, in connivance with some Moro clans, were behind the Marawi clashes. He even used a photo (which turned out to be an old one) to support his claim. Before that, he also accused former Sen. Jamby Madrigal, along with a Laguna solon, of allegedly trying to bribe the inmates who testified against De Lima to recant their testimonies. He once accused Sen. Trillanes, moreover, of having benefited from the PDAF scam with Napoles. All claims were eventually proven to be baseless, malicious and outright lies. Sen. Grace Poe lambasted Aguirre for “propagating fake news like a troll,” while the NUJP called him a “mean-spirited coward” for blaming the media for his blunders following Aguirre’s yet another claim that he was just being misquoted by the media.

He is also among the 11 government officials tagged in the criminal complaint filed against Duterte at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands.

 

For the succeeding parts of this article, we shall get better acquainted with these other notable Duterte sycophants:

POLITICAL APPOINTEES (continuation)

  1. PNP Chief Director Gen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa
  2. Solicitor Gen. Jose Calida
  3. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella
  4. Budget Sec. Benajamin Diokno
  5. Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III
  6. Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano
  7. Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo
  8. Tourism Sec. Wanda Tulfo-Teo
  9. Communications Sec. Martin Andanar
  10. PCOO Assistant Sec. Mocha Uson
  11. Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon
  12. DSWD Assistant Sec. Lorraine Badoy
  13. Ambassador to the UN Teddy Boy Locsin Jr.
  14. Tourism Promotions Board COO Cesar Montano

ELECTED OFFICIALS

  1. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
  2. Senate Pres. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
  3. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chair Richard “Dick”Gordon
  4. Senate Ethics Committee Chair Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
  5. Senator Manny Pacquiao
  6. House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Farinas
  7. House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali
  8. Kabayan Party List Rep. Harry Roque

NGO

  1. Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC)

THE BEST MAN FOR THE JOB (An Open Letter for Sec. Mar)

Dear Sir,

For months now, I have been struggling.

There are times when I think my brain would explode into tiny, unrecognizable pieces. There are moments when I want to smash my head against the nearest wall. There are instances when I long to shout at the top of my lungs. There are occasions when I feel like tearing my hair out. And, then, there are those split seconds when I am itching to throw in the towel.

But, I am an intelligent and responsible voter. And what most intelligent and responsible voters do is to study the choices laid before them.

So, that’s what I did.

Rodrigo Duterte is the country’s real-life Punisher. Tough-talking and foul-mouthed, he is able to endear himself with the disillusioned majority of Filipinos with his promise of getting rid of criminality within the first six months of his presidency.

Jejomar Binay is a leech in a vice-presidential suit. If King Midas has the unusual ability to turn everything he touches into gold, Binay has the uncanny talent to bleed dry any office he handles.

Grace Poe is the ambitious political newbie who once renounced her Filipino citizenship to fully embrace the country that coddled her and her family. Also, her campaign is said to be heavily funded by Danding Cojuangco.

Miriam Defensor Santiago is the feisty senator who has earned for herself the moniker The Iron Lady of Asia. Despite her choice of a running mate, some people consider her the best among the presidential aspirants for her meritorious academic, professional and moral background.  I would have seriously considered supporting her bid, too, if she were not battling Stage IV Lung Cancer. But as it is, she was stuttering and trembling and could hardly stand during the last presidential debate — this, despite her earlier pronouncement that she has already beaten cancer.

That leaves me with only one choice. You.

AND I AM NOW TAKING A LONG, HARD LOOK AT THE REAL MAR ROXAS.

All the criticisms hurled at you by your critics, political opponents and their respective supporters are anchored on only three major issues:  (1) You come from old money, (2) Your supposed incompetence and lack of compassion for the downtrodden, and (3) You happen to be part of the present administration’s Daang Matuwid platform.

Allow me, Sir, to dissect the said issues — carefully, thoroughly, one at a time.

Mar-Roxas-2
Photo credit: newsinfo.inquirer.net

AFFLUENT BACKGROUND

True, you are a scion of the rich, prominent and powerful Roxas and Araneta clans. True, you went to the most exclusive schools, even earning your Economics degree at the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the top business schools in the world. True, you were the 4th richest member of President Aquino’s cabinet in 2014. And, it is also true that based on your SALN, you have the highest net worth among the five presidential candidates today.

But the circumstance of your birth cannot be helped. You were born rich and there’s nothing wrong with that. Neither is there something to be ashamed of about that.

When Mel Tiangco asked you in an interview, “Bakit gusto nyo pang maging presidente? You have everything.” Your response, “While I may have everything, my countrymen do not.”, could have easily been misconstrued as a line akin to what our traditional politicians deliver to elicit a favorable reaction from the electorate. But coming from you, that statement, laced with so much sincerity and conviction, was some sort of an affirmation – a vow even – that you made to yourself when you entered politics. You wanted to serve your fellow Filipinos while protecting the legacy of a good name and good governance that your father and grandfather left behind.

Over the years of your public service, you managed to prove that, instead of having your privileged upbringing as a hindrance, you used it as your motivation and inspiration in helping and reaching out to the less privileged.

Among your most notable pro-poor initiatives are the Cheaper Medicines Act (RA 9502) that reduces the maximum retail price of 22 essential medicines by up to 50%, the Tanggal Buwis Law (RA 9504) which exempts minimum wage earners from paying income taxes, the Amended RA 9994 that provides senior citizens with free maintenance medicines for diabetes & high blood, and the Salintubig Program through which water supply systems were provided to 445 municipalities all over the country.

There are many other moneyed politicians like you, Sir. But, unlike them, you did not use your position to protect your or your family’s interests. In all your 23 years in public service, your name has remained untainted by any allegation of corruption. So if I am to choose between a candidate who was born into poverty but is now faced with numerous corruption allegations AND a candidate who was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth but has maintained his integrity while trying to break down the barrier between him and the people he serves — I will choose the latter. Hands down.

INCOMPETENCE AND LACK OF COMPASSION

Philippines is now the Call Center capital of the world. The country’s BPO industry is on track to meet its goal of 1.3 million jobs and $25 billion in revenues (8% of GDP) by the end of this year. The industry boom in the early 2000s is heavily credited to your initiatives during your tenure as the DTI secretary, earning you the title “Father of the Call Center Industry in the Philippines”.

You were also dubbed Mr. Palengke because of your various palengke-based programs that promoted consumer welfare and protection.

You know the issues that every ordinary Juan and Juana face on a daily basis, and you endeavour to address them. For education, you authored the Fair Education Act; for peace and order, you implemented the anti-crime strategy Oplan Lambat Sibat, you accomplished Isang Baril Bawat Isang Pulis, you launched the Project SAFE KAm in crime-prone areas in the NCR, and you modernized the Bureau of Fire Protection; for livelihood and economy, you promoted the development of SMEs through SULONG and the Magna Carta for Small Businesses, you established a Public Employment Service Office (PESO) in all municipalities, you protected the Filipino international seafarers by placing all the local maritime institutions under MARINA, and you spearheaded the creation of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights; and for local government empowerment, you enforced Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) that provides budget for LGU-determined programs.

When the country was besieged by three tragedies in three consecutive months in 2013 — the Zamboanga armed conflict in September, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Cebu and Bohol in October, and the Supertyphoon Yolanda in Samar and Leyte in December —, you were always in the thick of things, serving as the government’s link to the victims. You were heavily criticized for your “slow” responses by people who were not even there. But, unaffected, you persisted in meeting the immediate needs of the victims.

You received the vindication you badly needed when no less than the United Nations lauded the government “for working closely with the international community to coordinate support and to avoid duplication of efforts” in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan, the world’s most powerful storm to ever make landfall.

THE DAANG MATUWID BANNER

PNoy may have committed some mistakes, he may have made some wrong decisions, and he may have occasional lapses in judgement (which I’m sure he’d be made answerable for once he steps down from office), but I believe that the President is squeaky clean and is genuinely concerned for the country. That should account for something.

Filipinos should also learn to give credit when and where credit is due.

Under PNoy’s administration and amid global uncertainties, the country continues to enjoy a robust economic growth. (For more information on this, click here.) The number of 4Ps recipients have ballooned from .79 million in 2010 to 4.39 million as of mid-2015, Philhealth coverage is now at 90% (with full coverage for all senior citizens), we have much improved revenue collections (thanks to Commissioner Henares!), and for the first time in history, a Supreme Court Chief Justice was impeached, a former President and three sitting Senators were put behind bars (in a manner of speaking) and a host of other big names investigated due to PDAF-related charges. (For a complete list of PDAF scam defendants, click here.)

Your running mate, Leni Robredo, said it best. “Hindi po perpekto ang ating gobyerno pero hindi po natin maikakaila na ang buhay po natin ngayon, labis na mas mabuti na kumpara noong anim na taong nakalipas.” On Daang Matuwid, she had this to say, “Ang mga pagkukulang ay pupunuan, ang mga pagkakamali ay isasaayos.

Finally, Sir, I think that it would benefit our fellow Filipinos if they understand that it takes more than six years (a far cry from Mayor Duterte’s six months!) to completely rid the country of most of its ills. The important thing is that the foundation is already laid; the momentum is on our side. Rocking it will definitely have an adverse effect on our otherwise smooth-sailing development.

Also, not every change is good. Not every change promotes progress. Not every change brings out the best in us.

What we really need at this point is someone who would safeguard and nurture the country’s hard-earned gains. What we really need is continuity.

Be warned, though, Sir.

When you win, we will remain vigilant. We will watch your every move. We will be here to give you a pat on your back for a job well done, or a slap in the back of your head for every foolish act. So, don’t be an asshole, Sir, okay?

Huwag kang lilihis mula sa Daang Matuwid.

 

Respectfully yours,

Lorelei B. Aquino (Mom On A Mission)