Reservations about Duterte
Two articles I’ve written about President-elect Rodrigo Duterte have been published by the local media. The first was based on what we read about Duterte before the elections, which was mostly negative.
When Duterte was elected president, I said: “Vox populi, vox Dei.” An ancient Latin saying meaning, “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” I believe this is true with President-elect Duterte. God was behind his election. We must give him our full support and cooperation as a nation.
However, I have my reservations about Duterte as president.
During the martial law years, Jaime Cardinal Sin adopted a policy of “critical collaboration” with the Marcos regime. Personally I was against it. You do not collaborate with the enemy, even critically. That would be treason. This was the general view of the people of Holland. During World War II, those in Holland who collaborated with Hitler were heavily punished after the war by the people.
But in the case of President Duterte, I believe we must give him our support and cooperation—yes, in a critical way.
Duterte is a hard-liner when it comes to drugs. But he favors the restoration of the death penalty; this, as a nation we must oppose. We are never allowed to kill people. Killing people is against our Christian belief.
We can put drug pushers in jail for the rest of their lives, so they will have enough time to repent and atone for their sins. On the other hand, drug users need help from a psychologist or a therapist who can help them get rid of their bad habit.
Also, I have read in media that Duterte is planning to do his work as president in Davao. I believe the President of our nation should stay in Manila, the commercial and political center of our nation.
According to media reports, he admitted having some mistresses; he said he will not charge government for their sustenance. I believe, as a Christian nation, we should express openly our disgust about a President with that attitude and bad habit.
Duterte has declared war on the Catholic Church. For a Christian President this is uncalled for and he must apologize to the Church and its bishops.
A good thing about Duterte is he is in favor of federalism. He should fight to make this happen.
Another good thing is that Duterte has a good relationship with Joma Sison and the National Democratic Front and the members of the rebel movement’s negotiation panel. Duterte should convince these people to give up their hard-line stance on Marxism and to agree on a “permanent ceasefire.” The communists can bring their “struggle” to the parliament, but they must also agree to answer for all the crimes committed by the rebel movement. The relatives of the victims still cry for justice.
For example, when I was still a parish priest in San Francisco, Agusan, 48 people were murdered on suspicion that they were military infiltrators. I personally witnessed this tragic incident. This prompted me to leave the priesthood, marry the wife of one of those killed in the Antongalon massacre, and adopt her six young children.
Justice should be done to all the victims of the war between the government and the rebels, so that there finally will be peace in our country, the Philippines.
—ARNOLD VAN VUGT, O.Carm. associate, Cagayan de Oro City, [email protected]
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