Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte must be fuming mad. Having recently announced that he’d kill any rice smuggler caught operating in his turf while at a hearing with august members of the Senate (who themselves were so awed at this display of bravado that they forgot they needed to uphold the republican principle that no man is allowed to take the law unto himself), he has had to grapple with the news that—what temerity—at least 64 bars of cocaine were discovered at a shipyard in Barangay Tibungco in the Bunawan district.
By Walden Bello
These lines come to mind as one observes the awful debacle that has overtaken the fate of the most important item in the Filipino diet. In a controversial recent judgment, a court in Davao recently ruled against the Bureau of Customs and ordered the release of 4.2 million tons of seized smuggled rice. Now the smugglers are shouting with glee at an unexpected development: Secretary Leila de Lima is on their side.
By Conrado de Quiros
I share Carlos Conde’s sentiments completely. Conde is the Philippine researcher for Human Rights Watch, Asia division, and he complains bitterly about Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks at the Senate and the senators’ response to them.
This refers to your editorial, “Rice and circuses,” which appeared in your Feb. 6 issue.
For those watching, the Senate hearing on rice smuggling last Monday was a distressing experience. We do not know which of the following occasioned the most wailing and gnashing of teeth: the fact that the identity of David Tan, the alleged central figure in rice smuggling, was finally resolved at the level of the Senate [...]