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By José Abeto Zaide

Jose Abeto Zaide

A citizen’s love of country must be like a woman’s love for her husband. She would cajole him, nag him, be tough on him – if only to bring out the best in him. But God help anyone else who could criticize him! — Anon.

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Nobody’s perfect. Least of all this Third World land of our birth which has spawned several multi-billionaires while the rest of over 100 million live on hard scrabble. But, as a citizen said, it is my country, right or wrong.

And in the free exchange of ideas, we have the right to criticize our government, especially after the jokers we elected into office end up disappointing.

The administration has enough apologists. They do not all need to sing hossanas at the same time. Too much sip-sip can be injurious to the health of our body politic.

The political opposition’s role is to criticize the administration – the better to keep it on its toes and to protect our democracy, if possible (or to criticize it just by force of habit in the hopeful expectation that it would replace the government after the next elections).

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But, however the dialogue of the deaf went between the administration and the opposition, let us keep the score between us. We do not need to bring in the foreign legion, or invite foreign intervention, or broadcast to foreigners what is wrong in our beloved Philippines.

It didn’t do any good for the Vice President Leni Robredo to flag allegations of human rights abuses of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs in a video message for the 60th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria. In her message, VP Robredo said more than 7,000 people had been killed since the government launched its war against illegal drugs.

Nor was it helpful for Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and the Liberal opposition to accuse PDu30 and 11 other government officials of “mass murder”at the International Criminal Court (ICC). As a pundit noted, the suit lumps our country in the company of failed states.

It becomes a problem when the yellowtards react like a woman spurned. But is that the way of Philippine politics?

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Did he, or didn’t he? When he returned from the Belt and Road Forum, China’s new $1-trillion silk road route initiative), PDu30 floated PH plans to exploit the energy rich Recto Bank following the UN-backed Permanent Arbitration Court ruling for the Philippines. But he divulged that China President Xi Ping warned that it could mean war.

The question is if the PDu30 was accurately recalling the conversation and the response of China’s President.

Or if it was only one of of his light-hearted moments? Remember when he said during the hustings that he would jet ski to our South China Sea islands plant the Philippine flag, and tell the Chinese to do what they want with him?

The problem is that we cannot seem to pin down the President to his words and their consequence. PDu30 for sure was sufficiently prepped and fully aware that what he and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed during last week’s meeting in Beijing was not supposed to be made public.

PDu30’s disclosure of what transpired has set off a firestorm of panic response from all quarters in Philippine officialdom, with extreme reactions between recourse to quiet diplomacy and “Ire-reto ba natin sila kay Uncle Sam.”

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PH needs to build, build, build – not burn – bridges — Newspaper editorial

The Philippines needs to have more friends in the global community, real friends who will offer real support in times of trouble, like a threat of war from China. If PDu30 chooses prudence as the better part of valor, building bridges and cementing ties with other countries is the right path to pursue. Building bridges to other countries, instead of burning well-established foreign relationships, resonates well with the “Build, Build, Build” program of Dutertenomics.

This reminds me of the late Fr. James B. Reuter’s account of when he guested at the show of Mr. Shooli aka Jun Urbano. Fr. Reuter dwelt at length on the poorest of the poor who could not afford an abode and lived under bridges. “They are so poor , they are hardly able to eke a living. They lived under the bridges, and sometimes the children would fall between the cervices.”

Mr Shooli must have been so affected by the plight of the “bridge people” espoused by Fr Reuter. At the end of Fr. Reuter’s appeal, Mr Shooli exclaimed, “Yes, Fr. Reuter, government must do more for these bridge people…government must build more bridges…!”

Fr. Reuter didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry on live TV program.

Feedback: joseabetozaide@gmail.com

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