DISAPPOINTMENT ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

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(C) Josh Rushing

I can’t believe that I’m saying this; WHAT A GREAT TIME TO BE ALIVE.

Before President Duterte assumed office last year, I was in favor of bringing it back because no one was afraid of committing a crime during the last three years of the Aquino administration. But when the talks of the death penalty rose from the ashes only to know that it will not put rape, treason, and plunder as grounds for capital punishment it just left me disappointed. Just like how a kid was so excited to ask his parents for a brand new toy, until your father tells you that he just went jobless after his place of work got closed. No thanks from the world market.

The “refined” version of death penalty here in the Philippines is on the verge of resurrection. No thanks to the majority of the Philippine congress. The Philippine senate has yet to make progress.

What’s the matter lawmakers from the House of Representatives? Too guilty to put the following crimes as grounds for capital punishment?

If I only knew, you people are just too scared that you really saved your skins first before putting principles first. That is if you have any.

You can’t simply count with your fingers the number of congressmen who are just too dumb to bring back the death penalty because they want to get rid of the drug addicts, drug pushers, drug lords and the like. It’s either they’re too scared of President Duterte to reject the bill that might revive the death penalty after the third reading, or they’re simply riding on the popularity of President Duterte to bring it back.

To me, why bring back a system that didn’t help to lessen criminality in this country if the old ‘Oplan Tokhang’ got rebranded to ‘Project Double-Barrel Reloaded’ and still get the same results after this? Even if it says on paper that it will be less bloody. Which everybody doubts.

To bring it back to the system is making those other crimes look decriminalized.

Which is why the suspect of the road-rage shooting at the intersection of Quezon Avenue and Tuazon, Fredison Atienza is hiding from the law, but then you would realize that Rolito Go, who did the same manner of crime didn’t get the lethal injection. Instead, he served a life sentence since shooting Eldon Maguan. We are just hoping that whatever sickness Go has would take his life soon.

It’s just simply pointless when this gets back to our government system. It’s simply pointless when this will not be imposed on foreigners who are operating their drug rackets here. I’m not saying that we should get even with China who has given the death penalty to Filipinos that became drug mules not only in China. Syndicates that turned overseas Filipino workers to drug mules didn’t just deploy them on China. They have deployed some to Arab countries, and those Arab countries have a tighter grip when it comes to that.

In our manner of handling drug offenders to foreigners, deportation is only making it worse because it leaves a mark. Not unless the drug racketeer knows how to tie loose ends when they get deported.

If this really gets back soon, I only hope that the government still has enough chemicals for lethal injection because it would be a shame if we are too old school by sentencing them to death by hanging.

Then again, we are a third world country. We could not afford such chemicals yet to bring back the manner Leo Echegaray got his death sentence in 1999. We could only spend less by sentencing them to hanging because ropes that are huge in diameter, looking very thick are the most affordable way of imposing it. Just don’t forget the bag to mask the face of the criminal.

THE MASSACRE, THE FLAWED SYSTEM, AND THE FAITH TO BE RESTORED

 

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(C) Philippine Star

Seven years ago to this day, one moment in the history of this country discouraged me from taking up my current major or any other communication programs. One moment in my life where people around me telling bad jokes that to take up journalism is the fastest way to die, and that to take up psychology is the easiest way to become crazy.

A moment that truly placed the Philippines as one of the journalistic danger zones in the world other than war-torn countries like Iraq, North Korea or Syria for that matter, and that is the Maguindanao massacre.

It’s very, very disheartening that to this very day, no one from the Ampatuan family is convicted of the crime as they were pointed out by everyone. Most especially that backhoe with the branding of the city government at the time.

Television networks at some point counted the days from the massacre to the trial of the Ampatuans but the effort to count from that tragic day didn’t seem to move the courts to convict anyone.

It is one moment in history that still gives the Muslim-Filipinos (whether they are Moro or Maranao) that bad image, making them look like war freaks instead of hard-working Filipinos from the Southernmost region of the Philippines, Mindanao. Other than the radical image and presence of the Abu Sayyaf, and Nur Misuari’s rebellious reputation as the founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front.

In the six years that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino ran the country no one was convicted. The family members who were left by the people who died in those fields are still fighting for justice. They were hopeful for the previous administration to convict the Ampatuans but it didn’t happen. They were that hopeful because the Ampatuans were close to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and again the “bright hope” that they promise for the families of the victims were there since the Noynoy Aquino administration was an upcoming administration.

If President Rodrigo Duterte and the Supreme Court could allow the burial of President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, people aggravated by this event seven years ago through their surviving family members of the victims especially Governor Mangudadatu should urge the president and the high court to swiftly convict the Ampatuans for this.

Convicting the Ampatuans within this administration may not forgive President Duterte and the Supreme Court justices who favored the burial of Marcos at LNMB overnight, it may at least bring back the people’s faith to the justice system of this country. But again, I am reminded that most people are losing faith with the system because of how a mayor in the province of Albuera in Leyte that unconditionally surrendered was gunned down within his cell. While small time drug pushers and addicts are easily gunned down without due process.

It would be unpatriotic to lose faith in the justice system just because it allowed a dictator to be buried at the national cemetery and a mass murder didn’t convict a family with a private army. The lack of reforms in the justice system tolerates situations like these. Why didn’t constitution just say in legalese that Ferdinand E. Marcos will never be allowed a hero’s burial. The number of appeals and the delaying tactics made by the lawyers of the Ampatuan clan let them live free despite the tragedy.

We will never know when the right time will be for the Ampatuans to be convicted. So no matter how screwed up the justice system is, we can only be hopeful that one day people like them will be behind bars.

Infamita

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The one moment in history that reminds me of the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) is the burial of Joseph Stalin next to Russia’s “great leader” and founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin.

A burial made possible by loyalists of Stalin, until the De-Stalinization movement began during the 1950s years after Stalin’s death in 1953 under Nikita Khrushchev’s reign that began with the demolition of Stalin’s monuments along with renaming the places that glorifies Joseph Stalin like renaming Stalingrad to Volgograd. Then Stalin was exhumed out of Lenin’s crypt was in 1961 and placed him out of there to the Kremlin walls.

That is a communist setting to which Khrushchev did to denounce Stalin’s ‘cult of personality’, a trait of Stalin that he considered was inconsistent to the ideology of communism and their party’s ideology especially Lenin’s ideology.

In the Philippine setting, President Rodrigo Duterte did something what most Filipinos are not truly in favor of and that is his decision to allow the burial of the late president at the Libingan ng mga Bayan (LNMB). Duterte truly kept his promise to the people of Ilocos Norte that ensured him of votes.

For a guy like me, the cry of loyalists and the Marcos family to bury him at LNMB was nothing new since the news to allow his burial timely comes out. Just like how the endless reiterations of Martial Law both positively (by Marcos loyalists), negatively are presented on television and radically on social media.

If we think really hard about these events before this burial; Duterte allowing the Marcos burial and Duterte showing so much love and respect for Bongbong like a brother when he lost the vice presidential election is a sign of Duterte’s idolatry for the late strongman. The events happening right now could be a sign that Duterte might rule the county in the manner that Marcos did when he threatened to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Let’s not expect too much of torture and severe human rights violations just yet, because extrajudicial killings is already a manifestion of Duterte’s vulgar display of power. Marcos’s vulgar display of power as we all know is forced disappearances, torture, and stealing the people’s funds that placed us in debt, and we are paying for it.

I won’t be surprised if Bongbong Marcos would soon get a cabinet position after the Commission on Election’s one year-ban on losing candidates to be appointed to government offices. At this point, we cannot just assume on what government office Duterte will place him.

The most disturbing part about this is the media blackout the Marcos family did to get his body out of Batac, Ilocos Norte that made people especially tourists dumbfounded that his body was about to go to LNMB while they keep on coming to his mausoleum. I even think the devil himself is caught off guard with these happenings now that Ferdinand has entered the Devil’s circles and the people in-charge of purgatory may have been reluctant of letting Marcos in and out of that place while his “body” was still enclosed in his glass coffin in Batac. Another is the Armed Forces of the Philippines telling the press that they were only rehearsing before the “actual date” but then again this is the date.

Now that this has happened under our noses, I expect less field trips to LNMB by schools in the province. Ordinary people like me can no longer come to the place again just to check out who’s who inside LNMB, and remember in what section Reynaldo Wycoco is buried and to find Angelo Reyes, who was once deemed unacceptable to be buried at LNMB by anti-Arroyo groups but again Reyes made the cut because he was a soldier. Not just a soldier, but a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who took his own life before his mother’s resting place after the shame he got from Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in a senate hearing.

That being said, we are again the world’s laughing stock for allowing an ousted president to be buried in a national cemetery. Then people still loyal to the legacy of the first EDSA revolution would still flock the streets on February 25 next year. But to celebrate EDSA 1 has been meaningless. No thanks to the hatred that people have in President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino’s and his incompetent administration. Next year’s EDSA celebration might only be an assembly to call for his exhumation from where he is now, and the following dates like August 21, Ninoy Aquino day, and September 21, the day Marcos signed the proclamation of martial law may have more louder demonstrations from this day onward.

As a student of journalism, I’m not really afraid of comments from people saying that I am a Marcos apologist, loyalist or even a sympathizer. I’m not even afraid of a enforced disappearance or sudden arrests that the government will make if they get to trace me if this government plans to relive the horrors of martial law.

This is a day of infamy for the Philippines.

To Sweep or Not To Sweep

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From Go Archers Facebook page (C) Alex Macam

With a record of 12-0, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers have a rare chance to sweep the eliminations by beating the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles tomorrow on November 5 and the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws the week after that on November 12.

First round review

Despite the absence of  head coach Aldin Ayo in his first La Salle-Ateneo match due to his suspension from a stunt he pulled off to a referee, the Archers won convincingly against their rival with a score of 97-81 on October 2, 2016.

It was not only Ayo that was out of the game against Ateneo in the first round of eliminations, DLSU team captain, Jeron Teng was also out due to injury that’s been plaguing him since the offseason. The man in-charge of coaching DLSU for Ayo was assistant coach Louie Gonzales and prized recruit Ben Mbala stole the show with his dunks part of his 28 point, 13 rebounds, five steals and a block.

The FEU Tamaraws was the opening assignment of the Taft Avenue-based team. In that victory on opening day, the Archers made a comeback victory over the Morayta-based team with a score 83-78, and as expected, Jeron Teng led the Archers with 28 points, 6 rebounds and a steal and two crucial free throws with 2:14 remaining in the game to keep FEU away from winning.

The facts and odds

            With a lot of momentum on DLSU after beating the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors; 95-66, the long break brought by Halloween and All Saints day won’t seem to slow them down.

Ateneo and FEU who are vying for a final four postseason, are two teams preventing La Salle from a regular season sweep as well as a step-ladder postseason. Ateneo who is currently at third place in the UAAP standings has momentum on their side after winning against the National University (NU) Bulldogs on October 23, 2016. While FEU is at second place in the standings also has momentum after escaping a shocker from the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 63-60 on October 22, 2016.

After Ateneo’s victory over the NU Bulldogs, the Blue Eagles are truly expected to beat the Archers. If not expected, they are pressured to do so by the whole league not only from the pressure of their alumni and students because of die hard Ateneo supporters who want to see their team replicate an upset over their rivals since 2002, wherein a La Salle team that was coached by Franz Pumaren (current coaching Adamson) with players in his lineup like Mike Cortez, Joseph Yeo and Mark Cardona were on the verge of becoming the first team to sweep the eliminations since the implementation of the Final Four format in 1994. Then a Joel Banal-mentored Ateneo lineup forced a final four postseason with players like LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, and Enrico Villanueva. A season that Ateneo eventually won by beating the UE Red Warriors twice in the semis with James Yap as one of its star players for UE, then defeated La Salle in the finals.

We’ll never know how La Salle is preparing against Ateneo for Saturday but La Salle will have to triple their preparations for tomorrow and their game against FEU the following week, for them to have a step-ladder postseason.

A step-ladder has not happened since 2007 after the UE Red Warriors coached then by Dindo Pumaren swept the eliminations but eventually lost to La Salle in the finals that was coached by no other than Franz Pumaren and the whole of DLSU sporting teams coming back from a one year suspension.

The chances of DLSU sweeping will depend on the mayhem brought by Aldin Ayo’s system. If they get to limit Ateneo in all ends by halftime, it will be over for Ateneo. As for their game with FEU, it will be a grudge for the Tamaraws to force a final four.

The Same Circus With A New Bunch of Freaks

(President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Leila de Lima)

I’m really happy that I did not vote for Rodrigo Duterte during the last elections. But I did consider on voting for him along with the late senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. I’m also happy to see him argue with Senator Leila de Lima, a person who has been his nemesis since his days as mayor of Davao City, and de Lima who was then chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), respectively.

As of this writing de Lima still believes that there really is an armed group that gets rid of criminals in Duterte’s stronghold of Davao City which is the Davao Death Squad. There’s really no proof that there is a Davao Death Squad, unless you believe the statements made by Edgar Matobato during the Philippine Senate’s probe towards extrajudicial killings and summary killings.

Like Jack the Ripper and Loch Ness Monster, it has yet to be proven. More important is the leadership and authority of Duterte in this squad is yet to be proven.

I have never set foot on Davao City but to believe that there is a Davao Death Squad is simply absurd. Because if there really a Davao Death Squad in Davao, government officials should also have their own version death squads for the sake of getting rid of criminals or their political rivals in their city or province.

De Lima V Duterte and Aguirre

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Justice Secretary, Vitaliano Aguirre | (C) Marianne Bermudez, Inquirer |

It may look childish for some people that these government officials are arguing at any time of the day in this country, but to see it on the news or read about on paper is really entertaining than the soap operas provided by the networks in the Philippines.

What’s childish for me is Senator Antonio Trillanes IV versus Senator Alan Peter Cayetano arguing.

An ironic detail in this feud between Duterte and de Lima is they graduated from the same law school, San Beda College of Law. Duterte is years ahead of de Lima in their post graduate education. Even the appointed justice secretary of the Philippines, Vitaliano Aguirre II is a graduate of San Beda College of Law.

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De Lima and Aguirre | (C) Paterno Esmaquel II |

Recently, it is not only the president that de Lima is confronting; she is also confronting her successor in the Department of Justice, Secretary Aguirre who really hit it hard in presenting Herbert Colangco before the House of Representatives. De Lima answered back to Aguirre’s presentation in the House by telling the press that Aguirre forced Colangco to testify and the evidence is as false as the current secretary’s hair. To which I don’t care if Secretary Aguirre is wearing a wig.

Herbert Colangco

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Herbert Colangco

As for the involvement of Herbert Colangco he told the nation that de Lima gave him and his fellow inmates the full VIP treatment while he is in the country’s maximum penitentiary, the New Bilibid Prison.

Colangco is a convicted man for drugs and spear-headed a lot of robberies in the early 2000s. The most notable of Colangco’s crimes before he became a recording artist in prison, produced a music video, and a member of the ‘Bilibid 19’ was the robbery at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s (RCBC) branch in Cabuyao, Laguna in 2008 that left ten people dead. He was arrested in 2009 in Iligan City then on October 2014 he was sentenced to life imprisonment before the Paranaque regional trial court.

The worst part with Colangco telling the nation what he knows is telling every person watching that hearing, Senator de Lima’s cell phone number. To which I texted de Lima saying, “How are you, you big fat monster?” and also, “Are you sleeping well?” if you are a advocate of the Liberal Party.

Valuable Inmate

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Jaybee Sebastian

The people only know of Colangco and his so-called rival Jaybee Sebastian. Two people who really lend their drug money towards the lady senator’s campaign back in May.

What’s curious about Jaybee Sebastian is why he demands to speak only to the president with what he knows about the Bilibid drug trade and other information, according to his lawyer.

Jaybee Sebastian is a valuable asset for some because he knows some things that would really place him in danger if he tells that information in public.

Whatever Jaybee Sebastian knows, it would definitely rock the nation. It would release a lot of evil just like how Pandora opened the box that released all of the evil in this world.

Recently, Sebastian is so valuable that the inmates being presented to the House of Representatives say that he had sexual relationships with de Lima when she was secretary of justice that makes de Lima look like a sugar mommy towards Jaybee Sebastian.

 

It’s just a shame that these events are getting the attention and curiosity of the people in a manner that’s very unethical to some people.

Paalam, Madam Miriam

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Photo by Efigenio Toledo IV, Philstar Global

Mag iisang linggo na pala.

So totoo lang, hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na pumanaw na si Senador Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Kasi una, binoto ko siya. Higit sa lahat, ang boring na manood ng mga hearing sa senado, at hindi magbu bunganga ng ganito si Senador Leila de Lima sa kahit anong dahilan. Yan ay kung hindi nag hangad ang namayapang senador na tumakbo muli bilang pangulo ng Pilipinas sa pangatlong pagkakataon. Pero ayoko na rin balikan yung teknikalidad ng pagtakbo sa eleksyon.

Sa pag alala ko kay Senator Miriam, nakakatuwang isipin na ang kalihim ngayon ng Department of Justice na si Vitaliano Aguirre II, na noon ay abogado para sa prosecution panel noong kasagsagan ng paglilitis kay Renato Corona, taon 2012 ay naramdaman niya ang hagupit ng mga salita ng senador dahil sa pagtakip ng kanyang tenga sa harap ni Senador Miriam. Ang pinaka masama pa rito ay nasabihan pa na G-A-G-O ang buong prosecution panel dahil sa kanya.

Hindi lamang ito ang dahilan kaya talagang sinu subaybayan ang mga paglilitis na ito sa senado, apat na taon na ang naka lilipas.

Isa sa mga inabangan din ay ang pag imbestiga ng mga senador noon sa pork barrel scam kay Janet Lim-Napoles. Hindi ko man napanood mismo ang pagtanong ni Miriam kay Napoles na may soot na bulletproof vest, halata naman na gustong-gusto na rin itanong ng senadora kung talaga bang bulletproof ang soot niyang vest bago niya ito barilin.

At sinong makakalimot sa mga sagutan nila ni senador Juan Ponce Enrile? Isang tao na para bang nakakalimutan sundoin ni Dr. Kaye M. Tayan. Isang tao din na sinabi ng senadora na sa sobrang tanda ay present sa Huling Hapunan kasama ni Jesus.

Kung nakaupo pa rin si Miriam sa senado, malamang-sa-malamang ay sasabonin niya si Edgar Matobato sa paraan na inaasahan ko. Siyempre, bubungangaan si Matobato at panigurado tapos na agad ang senate inquiry bago mag Undas at hindi masasayang ang panahon at oras ng senado sa pagbuo at pagsasabatas ng mga panukalang batas.

Ini-imagine ko na lang talaga. Kung buhay pa rin talaga siya

Nakakalungkot isipin na dumagdag ang senadora sa tala ng mga tinubos ng sakit na cancer ngayon taon, tulad nina Alan Rickman at David Bowie.

Ang inakala kong mabubuhay pa siya at pwede pa namin sabihin na mali ang pagboto nila kay Pangulong Duterte pagdating ng 2022 ay hindi na namin magagawa dahil nga sa nangyari. Ganon pa man ay tinanggap ko ng buong loob ang resulta ng eleksyon ngunit hindi katanggap-tanggap na dinaig siya ni Jejomar Binay at naging ganon lamang ang dami ng kanyang boto dahil lamang sa kanyang kondisyon.

May ilang mga bagay lang din ako na hindi masyadong naunawaan noon sa huling niyang pag takbo, at ito ay kung bakit tila walang masamang tinapay ang senadora kay Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos kaya niya napili na makasama si Bongbong Marcos bilang pangalawang pangulo sa kanyang huling kandidatura.

Ang nasabi na lang ng tatay ko kaya walang masamang tinapay si Miriam sa nakakatandang Mmarcos ay dahil parehong abogado ang senadora at ang Pangulong Marcos. Tinuring na lang din ito ng iba na pag galang sa isang tao na nagtala ng isa sa mga pinaka mataas na marka sa kasaysayan ng Philippine Bar. Magaling na abogado bago sumabak sa larangan ng politika. Higit sa lahat, parehong sila nakapag tapos sa University of the Philippines College of Law, siyempre sa magkaibang panahon.

Walang papantay sa kung ano man ang nagawa niya para sa bayan nag lingkod sa tatlong sangay ng pamahalaan. Naging husgado, kawani ng gobyerno sa ehekutibo, at siyempre, senador na nasa lehislatura.

Nakapag tapos ng abogasya sa UP, pumasa sa Bar Exam, naging nominado para maging husgado sa International Criminal Court, boses ng kababaihan, pati na rin ng mga estudyante, at marami pang iba na hindi nakakamtam ng basta-basta.

Pinanindigan niya talaga ang pagiging “Iron Lady of Asia”, na kahit inaalmusal niya ay mga death threat, hate mails, at kung ano pang mga hate message, at hina high blood sa mga senate inquiry ay walang inatrasan, wala din sinanto.

Counting the Days and the Issues

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As much as I do not want to elaborate my perception towards the bombings in the Davao Night Market, I simply think that the explosion is a terrorist plot against President Rodrigo Duterte and the motive for me is psychological because it surely hit his stronghold and to redirect the president’s attention from his war on drugs to securing his stronghold, Davao and the country.

For the moment, the Abu Sayyaf Group is the one to blame for they are the closest terrorist group. Unless the Islamic State of Iran and Syria (ISIS) has truly invaded the country through influence. Another thing that made the incident possible is drug lords that sought refuge to groups like the ASG for the right price.

 

International spotlight

The one angle that made the Davao explosion happened is the president’s all out war on drugs. Through his close ally, Philippine National Police director general, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, that really caught the attention of the international media through which Senator Alan Peter Cayetao and Leila de Lima told their versions of what happening to Christiane Amanpour on CNN. Senator Cayetano is cleary on the president’s side since he was Duterte’s running mate, while Leila de Lima is on the contrary.

When the Philippines makes the international headlines in this manner, I’m not that thrilled because simply because it is negative but on the bright side, we are telling the world that we are taking action no matter what it takes.

President Obama was supposed to meet with Duterte in Laos while the G20 summit is taking place. I heard the news that it didn’t push through while I was on my way to school. Which makes me think that Obama is neither ready to face the rough-talking president or they are both occupied with their own obligations. It kept me wondering why didn’t the meeting push through.

This supposed meeting takes me back to what my professor in theology said in his liberal view last Friday. In which he said that Obama wants to meet with Duterte not to tell him of how he should handle the war on drugs properly but to ask Duterte if he could bring back US troops and reestablish bases here.

It’s not simply helping out the Armed Forces of the Philippines to make the Chinese forces run with their heels but for the US to pursue their interests here in the Philippines.

As the exaggeration begins on why President Duterte called President Obama a “son of a *****”, I am now thinking that our president deliberately called it off because he does not really want a foreign power like Obama and the United States to tell him how he should really address the war on drugs and this makes the Philippines defiant for some people. And the action driving the Americans away for us to be left vulnerable against China.

 

Towards Day 100

The president is beyond his fiftieth day in office for his first one hundred days. The one thing I’m glad about this is how his administration is taking action in each department.

Although questionable of the manner they carry out their operations, I have no issues with the police. The transport department is getting things done slowly but surely. I just hope that with Duterte’s term, they can truly restore the train lines and place more trains.

The justice department should really expand city jails. I pity the criminals detained for they are trying their best to make the most of the spaces they are in. And Jay Taruc’s documentary in GMA7’s i-Witness is enough evidence that city jails and penitentiaries across the Philippines need some expansion. More important is how one prisoner has been detained longer than he should have been because of how slow the process of justice here in the Philippines and reforms should be made to make the process beneficial for both sides.

 

It’s just a few weeks away before his first one hundred days are over. It’ll be over quick if one person would just sleep on the succeeding days or a person is preoccupied with academics that he fails to check the news.

There are more issues bigger than this in the days to come, and they have yet to unfold.