At Large

Du30, ‘Brexit’ and Trump

DOES bad luck really come in threes?

A friend of mine who resides in the United States plaintively asked in a Facebook post if the “Brexit” victory, preceded by the electoral win of our own President-to-be Rodrigo Duterte, will be followed soon by the election of Donald Trump as US president.


Since Duterte’s triumph in the polls and the win of the Brexit adherents have been described as a “revolt of the masses” against a perceived ruling elite, many fear that the same populist sentiment will carry The Donald to the White House.

Talk about the apocalypse.


Duterte’s unexpected and unprecedented sweep to an electoral victory has been explained—to death, it seems—so we need not say any more about it.

Amusing, though, was news that thousands of Brits started googling “the EU,” which the Brexit vote was all about, days after they voted to leave the European Union. Which begs the question, of course, if they knew what they were voting for.

Many analysts say the Brexit win was really a win for xenophobia, for fear of foreigners, or foreign immigrants in particular, waves of whom had been fleeing the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa for the better climes of Europe in the past few months.

I don’t exactly know how leaving the European Union could “protect” the United Kingdom from new arrivals. Is this because the European Parliament has been meeting to discuss “quotas” of how many migrants each member-country will commit to accept? But isn’t it up to each country to determine who it will allow into its borders? Britain doesn’t seem to be in any danger of being overwhelmed by new arrivals anytime soon.

* * *

WHAT seems more alarming is what this “antiforeigner” sentiment bodes for Britain, and Europe as a whole.

Observers note a turn to the Right, to conservatism and protectionism if not isolationism, not just in the United Kingdom but in the rest of Europe as well. So the vote to leave the European Union is seen as being not just against new arrivals, but against minority groups in Britain, too. But consider the population makeup of Britain today, which is increasingly becoming a patchwork quilt of races and cultures. And consider the variety of races represented in the other European countries.


Indeed, many have commented on the “irony” that a country that once straddled the world, colonizing countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and even Australia-New Zealand (not to mention America), now seeks to turn inward, rejecting people from the lands they had once conquered and occupied.

* * *

THOUGHTFUL commentators have observed that to many Britons, the European Union is a remote, standoffish institution that had barely sought to build a relationship with the people within its ambit. But even in their isolation, the European Union and the European Parliament based in Brussels sought to control the lives of the people under their influence, issuing orders, regulations and standards that affected everything from standards for food processing and prices of basic goods.

But in turn, membership in the European Union guaranteed free trade within the continent and better bargaining power with the rest of the world. Will the decision to exit work out for the better for the British people?

In the days leading to the Brexit vote, most news organizations (and even bookies) seemed to give “Bremain” the advantage, since membership clearly had its advantages.

But they did not reckon, it seems, with the restlessness of young Brits and the anger they directed at the nearest, most convenient target. Will this same free-floating anxiety and ire among the US millennials find its expression in support for Trump?

* * *

FAMILY feuds, amusing and titillating as some may be, are actually sad and lamentable. So it is with the father-son dispute involving Reghis Romero and his son Michael “Mikee” Romero, a newly-elected congressman through the 1-Pacman party-list (which is another story altogether).

The Romeros are locking horns over control of family-owned companies, most prominent of which is Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI).

But this particular family feud comes with a twist, as it is being played out with the use of proxies. On Mikee Romero’s part, a duo named Perfecto Jaime Tagalog and Jennifer Castro seem to have taken the role of spokespersons, being preoccupied with attacking the older Romero mainly through media outlets.

Tagalog is the same man who, at the height of the recent presidential campaign, charged then candidate Duterte and his son Paolo with involvement in smuggling. But no less than the leaders of PDP-Laban in Davao, to which Tagalog said he belonged, denounced Tagalog and denied any involvement with him.

Tagalog and Castro’s accusations come amid charges of qualified theft lodged against Mikee Romero and HCPTI officers Edwin Jeremillo and Joseph Galvez, who are accused of pocketing P17.9 million of HCPTI funds. The Department of Justice last June 13 found probable cause to charge the three, reversing the resolution issued by the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office favoring them.

But to the surprise of many, the office of outgoing Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. then issued what has been described as a “midnight order” preventing the DOJ from acting on its findings so that Malacañang lawyers could review the case.

Since it took the DOJ and the QC Prosecutor’s Office all of two years to resolve the case, while Ochoa’s office acted on it on June 15, it could well be said that Malacañang took just two days to reverse two years of litigation.

What gives? The lawyers in Ochoa’s office will no longer be in office by the end of the week, but the questions about this legal reversal will surely remain for much longer.


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TAGS: Brexit, Donald Trump, Duterte, EU, opinion, Rodrigo Duterte, Trump
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