Almost simultaneous with the Duterte regime’s underhanded release of 2,000 financially able but convicted criminals through a reported bidding process conducted by no less than the Bureau of Corrections, Duterte minions are now hunting members of the revolutionary organization on the basis of a rehashed narrative about Communist purging.
Such is the public outcry about the Duterte-masterminded prison break that the administration needed additional smokescreen to allow the convicts, especially itself, more time to get away. It is convenient for Rodrigo Duterte that the clichéd story of a Communist mass grave in Leyte did not gain ground in 2007 thus rendering it recyclable.
But Duterte’s unoriginal efforts at diversion, even his supposed ‘deliberation’ to ask for Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon’s resignation, were both epic failures. This was not even the first time he cleared the way for a criminal’s escape route. For example, despite displays of anger and issuances of death threats, the drug lords he named such as Peter Lim and Kerwin Espinosa were still at large. His administration merely went through the motions of prosecuting drug syndicate bosses but still allowed them their freedom.
With imperialist China’s aggressions, Duterte responded the same way. In June, a Chinese sea vessel collided with a Filipino fishing boat and left its crew and passengers in the middle of the ocean. Duterte merely belittled the deliberate hit-and-run incident and lifted not a finger for the foreign perpetrators’ apprehension.
What he succeeded at, instead, was exposing his plan to establish a government of criminals where he would be absolute king. Even the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos stopped at keeping cronies and loyalists around himself. Duterte, on the other hand, had to pool his fan base from convicted felons while earning a little cash on the side. He did not care about these criminals’ victims and their families who struggled to attain justice. Yet, when he was frothing in the mouth with tirades and expletives against those that abused illegal drugs, he dared use the victims of drug-related crimes to summarily designate drug users as the scourge of society; thus justifying the murder of some 20,000 minor drug offenders.
Duterte’s inconsistencies betrayed where his true interests lie. He is neither the fabled Robin Hood that he painted himself to be nor the ‘Tatay Digong’ persona he used to connect with the masses. He is but a gang leader of rich and powerful criminals.
AS HE PROJECTS HIMSELF TO BE A KINGPIN, Duterte exerts every effort to crush the revolutionary organization. The Communist movement in the Philippines is the biggest threat to his bubble of a kingdom; thus the hackneyed black propaganda about purging and the persecution of National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Jose Maria Sison. Malacañang Palace Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s seemingly benign invitation for him to come home is but a double image of Duterte’s barefaced affectation of ignorance regarding the paid-for jailbreak.
The Filipino people will not be fooled by such duplicity. Instead, it will continue the struggle for justice and gain victories like the triumph of Rachel Mariano’s release last week after a year of unfair incarceration. She and many others in Ilocos region have been victims of vilification and terrorist-tagging because of their activism.
The struggle for her freedom embodies each and all victims’ struggle for justice. When the Bureau of Corrections itself, with fingerprints of the Chief-of-Staff’s go-ahead, proves itself to be corrupt and untrustworthy, the struggle for fairness becomes an uphill battle. Indeed, only through the establishment of revolutionary organs of democratic political power will justice truly be served.
The nationalist and democratic demand for Duterte’s ouster, resonated by other progressive forces nationwide, is gaining momentum locally and abroad. It will not be long before the Filipino people serve him his due and he will sit behind bars, not as an overlord, but like the common lowly criminal that he truly is. ###