LETTERS FROM DAVAO
By: Jun Ledesma, Columnist, Philippines News Agency
Desperate black propaganda
THE road to perdition for the gasping Liberal Party is as slippery as the fate of its senatorial candidates in the coming mid-term elections on May 13. It’s political banner “Otso Diretso” had disintegrated. By itself, the party is like a powder keg out to implode. It is a mixture of leftists and rightists that offer no viable alternative but to restore the inept and corrupt regime of the two chapters of Aquino government. Just about the only credentials that the Aquino regimes are famous for is their loyalty and subservience to the United States of America. The incumbent President Rodrigo R. Duterte, on the other hand, is a departure from his predecessor that he restored the dignity of the Filipinos and defined what sovereignty is for the Philippines. He might have a dirty mouth but he has the heart of a true patriot.
Of late, the concerted efforts of the anti-Duterte forces have taken a desperate move aimed at demonizing the first family on the heels of the recent poll surveys showing at least 10 of Hugpong ng Pagbabago and PDP-Laban slate making it to the magic 12. This colossal setback of the LP or “dilawan” faction becomes even more humiliating when both Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Station registered unprecedented Trust and Approval Ratings for President Duterte. These eloquently translate to the people’s trust for Duterte-led senatorial ticket.
The attempt of Human Rights Watch and some US congressmen to demonize and assail President Duterte is not gaining any mileage. They have exhausted whatever they can exploit from the issues of a violent campaign against illegal drug syndicates, extra-judicial killings, repression of freedom of the press and the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima. Failing to generate public approval on these overused issues, their wrecking crew have perceptively been revved up their propaganda machinery to conjure other issues to stave off the free fall of the opposition candidates. But none of these makes a negative impact on the preference for the administration senatorial bets. By their vote of confidence, the huge majority of Filipinos is practically giving Duterte a blanket authority to pursue without let-up his campaign against drug syndicates and corruption.
The black propaganda leveled against Duterte by the unholy alliance of the Liberal Party, the CPP/NPA-NDF, the hypocritical religious terrorists and the foreign-financed media organizations have become more vicious as the May 13 polls come close. The signatures of destabilizing forces have become obviously apparent. The US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has generously funded, directly and indirectly, local media organizations. NED is no different from Omidyar Network which funded the ouster move of a Ukraine president who was sympathetic to Russia. Omidyar is the same outfit that “invested” a huge sum of money to Maria Ressa’s Rappler. It coughed up support funds for Vera Files which in turn allocates funds for a the Philippine Council for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). If that is not enough, there are traitors based in the US of A that had long denounced not only their Filipino citizenship but the Philippines as well.
The ghost character “Bikoy” is among the invention of the group to tarnish the image of President Duterte and his family. It maligned even Veronica, the very young daughter of the President who is barely in her teens, in their outrageous plot to denigrate the family of the President. PCIJ threw away their much-ballyhooed virtue of being investigative by reporting that Duterte has accumulated so much wealth in his incumbency as President. Like Rappler’s EJK numbers, PCIJ subscribed to the statistics culled from the perjured witnesses of senators de Lima and Antonio Trillanes. They also believed hook line and sinker and propagated the fairy tale surrounding the mythical Davao Death Squads. Three decades had elapsed since de Lima, as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, conducted a probe on alleged extra-judicial killings in Davao City and up to the time she became Justice Secretary and now senator, she has yet to produce a single piece of evidence of the more than 2,000 victims which her witnesses claimed they personally buried in an abandoned quarry in Davao.
And now they came up with a rehashed story of the so-called “wealth” of President Duterte and his children. The parents of the President are known in Davao. His father, a lawyer, was the first elected governor of undivided Davao province. They have modest businesses and properties yet lived a frugal lifestyle. Governor Duterte, to date, is best remembered for his unblemished record as a politician. They were not rich, if you reckon with the present crop of politicians, but were neither poor. When the venerable governor died, his wife Soledad, continued with the family’s discipline keeping the good name and virtues that the late Governor “Ite” had imparted. Then Mayor Duterte and wife Elizabeth raised and nurtured their children in the same mold of discipline and frugal lifestyle.
When Nanay Soleng passed away, she left the modest fortune that she and Governor Ite had saved to all her children. By this time, the marriage of Duterte to Elizabeth was annulled. The Mayor took a new partner later, Honeylet Avancena, a registered nurse who worked as supervisor for a long time in a US hospital. A woman with a knack for business, Honeylet invested her savings on fast food chains. She never meddles in Duterte’s politics and shies away from the public. The few times she appears in public was when Veronica, nicknamed “Kitty” was born to the couple.
PCIJ made an issue of President Duterte’s “wealth” and the rest of the critical media feasted on it as if it is the only remaining carcass they can find in the desert. It is to their misfortune that the President lives a legendary frugal lifestyle. True that when he started off with his political career, he declared a P10-million worth of assets and liabilities. If 30 years later this increased to P28-million only a person pregnant with plot to malign another can conjure a fast math and tell the world that the increment is ill-gotten. For an institution that relies mainly on dole outs from funding agencies, this indeed can be an unexplainable mystery. And Duterte is correct that these paid propagandists are nothing but that. PCIJ, RAPPLER and Vera Files should have consulted even a student in investment and asset management for an explanation why PHP10 today can grow beyond PHP28 in 20 years. This can easily be achieved even without taking into consideration the salaries, wages and other incomes which Duterte’s family derived from legitimate business. But attack dogs can never comprehend this.