June 6, 2023

All presidents get involved in scandals and controversies a few months before their term expire. President Fidel Ramos had to contend with the Expo-Philippines scandal amounting to more or less P6 billion seven months before he left office.
Joseph Estrada’s career as a president was cut-short due to the jueteng payola he allegedly received.
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was embroiled with the ZTE Broadband Network Project a few months before the next election.
The late Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was blasted for mishandling the Mamasapano massacre four months before he retired.
President Rodrigo Duterte cannot claim exemption. He is being brandied as having to do with the alleged billion peso overpricing of face masks and face shields purchased by his administration in response to the ongoing pandemic.
What makes Duterte different from the past presidents is the manner by which he deals with the situation.
Whereas Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo, and Aquino acted like true statesmen, facing their accusers squarely before the proper forum, giving plausible explanations for their deeds and accepting the punishment bestowed upon them.
Duterte, meanwhile, is acting like a spoiled brat, ranting personal tirades to defend himself and his minions. If this is the course of action, he will take to exculpate himself from the bar of public opinion, he is doing it the wrong way. The more he rants, the more the people will show sympathy with his accusers.
If, truly, there is nothing anomalous in the procedure and the manner by which the personal protective equipment that were allegedly overpriced were purchased, all he has to do is to present the contract, show the receipts and open up the ledgers in order to allow the investigators to rest easy with the thought that everything is above board.
But, no. The President is descending into personality issues. What was he thinking? People will not believe in the arrogant, will not sympathize with the bold and will not follow the obnoxious.
To criticize the way Sen. Panfilo Lacson wears his hair, to point out Sen. Dick Gordon’s weight and cast wrong motives in the twinkle of Imee Marcos’ eyes, then conclude that the opposition will not win in the next election, are just examples of how wayward Duterte is in dealing with the ongoing Senate investigation involving the alleged over-priced face masks and face shields.
For one, Lacson, Gordon, and Marcos do not belong to the opposition. On the contrary, they are among his staunchest of allies.
Granted the opposite, it does not give him the right to criticize their physical deformity because he himself is not perfect. After all, we had been taught that criticizing another person due to his deformity, his sexual orientation, the color of his skin, his religious beliefs and his political inclinations, is called discrimination. Of all people, Duterte, who is a lawyer, ought to know this.
Yet, he chose the path of least resistance. Instead of solving the problem with proof and evidence, he is sweeping it “under the rug” believing it will just go away. He hastens to add that he is seeking for the vice presidency so that his immunity from suit will continue for the next six years. Are not these statements inconsistent? Somebody should advise him that people do not easily forget.
The bottom line is, if Duterte wants to leave a legacy, he should satisfy the Filipino people that he is true to his word. That up to the last minute of his presidency, he adheres to the principles which he promised to accomplish. He promised to eradicate drugs and corruption among others. It is time for him to put his actions where his mouth is.