Saturday, October 22, 2016

Who really runs Malacanang? Duterte or his Cabinet members?

" We are not severing our ties with the US"--Abella
Is this administration deliberately being stupid or just being themselves? Seriously, they should re-assess what they are doing lately or they might go down in history as the most senile of all Philippine government administrations.

The Philippine government right now is a joke. It is losing credibility. I don't believe all those trust ratings of surveys--we all know they can be manipulated. Besides, this is not anymore a popularity contest. We are in serious governmental stuff and these cannot be treated as something of a trifle or child's play or something of a senile man's games.

This is the first time in history when a president's factotums or alter-egos are the ones clarifying policies publicly announced. I mean, it is totally discomforting to hear several cabinet members telling us that our president, Rodrigo Duterte just spewed out something which he did not really meant or was'nt consulted before his cabinet. Before, it was our president who goes public and clarifies what his secretary just told the public. Now, it is the other way around.

" Goodbye my friend.." Duterte
Who then should you believe? 
Why do we need to interpret a very clear policy statement from Duterte? Was it because it was said in public or during a time when Duterte was just before foreign dignitaries or at a time when he was under serious pain while prating before the public? When do we get the truth?

It seems that there is a very serious tug-of-war between our president and his own cabinet. Our President says something and out comes one or two or three of his cabinet members all ready with their own public statements about a policy statement which our president just shared with the public. Who then is governing? Who is the real power in Malacanang?

This is clearly very obvious in the issue of the Philippines severing its economic and military ties with the United States. President Duterte was clearly seen conversing with his Chinese counterparts and telling them that he intends to sever the country's ties with its long-time ally, the United States government. Duterte even clearly stated that he intends to end the "economic and military ties" with the US.

After creating the loudest public feedback ever online, several of his cabinet members including Presidential Communications secretary Martin Andanar giving us a crappish analogy of what the president said, comparing the obvious shift as that of a "son leaving the house of his father" and "going to another house". Bull. S...t. Crap. Throw this in the wastebasket.

A member of the finance cluster of the cabinet, specifically Prof. Pernia came out of the woodwork and told us that what Duterte did could be described as a shift of policy orientation---from Western to Asian, when it was very obvious that what Duterte referred to was a shift towards a triumvirate only which is China-Philippines-Russia. Duterte was very specific. He was'nt interested in other Asian countries. He intends to aligned himself with just two Asian powers: China and Russia, period. Duterte is a lawyer, trained to choose his words and terms. It was easy for him to describe what he does as a foreign policy orientation shift towards Asia, and away from Western perspective.

Then you have the main man himself, the spokesperson of the President, denying totally what the President said. Spokesperson Abella says practically that Duterte did not mean what he said and there is simply "no intention whatsoever to break treaties" referring to those committed by the Philippine government with the United States. If this is true, when, quo vadis? What is this declaration of "separation" when, as Abella said, there is simply no intention for this administration to break all those economic and military treaties?

This was the position also of Trade secretary Mon Lopez who gave a very reassuring statement saying that the economic ties of the country will continue with the US. It's a good statement but clearly, this again, counters what the President clearly stated in his highly public pronouncement---sever the Philippines' "economic and military ties". The fact is---rewind the tape and notice that Duterte even chose what kind of relations to break. He mentioned social, but decided not to and instead chose specifically the words "economic and military"

Clearly, when he says one thing, Duterte really means it. One example, the annual Balikatan exercises which were terminated prematurely, with US troops leaving Mindanao days before it ended. If this is the case, then, expect Duterte to also break economic treaties with the United States as well.

Is this the way Malacanan handles our external and even internal affairs? What these scenes suggest is a very chaotic and very discombulating setup that bodes ill to our image and reputation before the international community. It pictures a president like a boy who cried wolf.

With Abella, Lopez, Pernia and Andanar coming out of the shadows like self-appointed interpreters of the President, this issue clearly weakens the image of the president. Duterte is now like an old man in clutches and simply being misunderstood for reasons unknown when in fact, he is intelligible and clearly even as glib as a young man.

This scene harms our relationship with both China and the United States. When Duterte told his Chinese counterparts that he is leaving the United States and with it, the entire Filipino people behind him, it was said with conviction. Now, with some of his cabinet members telling the media that it was not so, who then, will China believe---Duterte or his cabinet members?

This is an embarrassment.