The “rule of law” must be upheld even as we continue to fight against lawlessness, criminality and poverty that continue to hinder the country from achieving its full potential. This was President Duterte’s message for the National Heroes Day that the whole nation observed yesterday, exhorting Filipinos to honor our heroes by emulating their courage, leadership and wisdom that paved the way for the country to gain freedom, independence and democracy in order for future generations to enjoy comfortable and full lives.
I have never doubted that the President means what he said about upholding the rule of law because there have been numerous situations wherein he did not hesitate to order the filing of criminal charges against those who go outside the rule of law in the performance of their duties. This was, in fact, confirmed to us by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Dante Gierran who is close to the President. The NBI has been quietly investigating criminal cases involving erring policemen and other law enforcement agency members, filing appropriate charges when warranted – for instance the cops involved in the kidnap-slay of Korean national Jee Ick-joo.
While he has been heard to utter words like “I will kill you,” those who know the President very well say this is simply hyperbole that he uses to emphasize how deeply he feels against criminality, especially when it comes to the issue of illegal drugs which the President really feels strongly about, warning those engaged in the trade that he will not allow them to destroy this nation and its people.
At the end of the day, the long arm of the law will get those who abuse their power – be they politicians, cops and other law enforcement agency members or officials – and will make them accountable. As Malacañang averred, the incident involving the 17-year-old high school student who was killed during a police operation in Caloocan City is a “wakeup call” to sustain the reforms being implemented, and a warning that the government’s war against the drug menace is “not a license to break the law.” As it is, the cops implicated in the death of the young man have been relieved, with an investigation also being conducted by the NBI to get to the bottom of the incident.
An old classmate of mine who is involved in a multinational company asked me how we can defend what is going on in the country before the international community – and I pointed out to him that we have checks and balances that are in place to prevent abuses, with institutions such as the Senate – which has began conducting an investigation on the death of the 17-year-old high school student – serving as proof that we follow a system. Like I told the Commission on Appointments during my confirmation hearing last Wednesday, the international community must be made aware that we are a nation of laws, and that we do not need other countries to tell us what to do to check alleged human rights abuses because we will do it ourselves.
Many agree that criminality is one of the biggest deterrents to economic progress, which is why the President is very emphatic about cleaning up the country from the illegal drugs menace that has pervaded almost all sectors of society, with narcopoliticians and corrupt members of the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies serving as protectors of big-time drug lords.
While the President admits that the problem of illegal drugs has become so deeply entrenched – in fact it has grown so much over the years – that he may not be able to wipe it during his term, he is at least trying to manage it to levels that will prevent the multi-billion dollar trade from further spreading in this country – with countries like Thailand, Colombia and other South American countries as well as the United States, also grappling with the problem of illegal drugs.
Lawlessness is also one of the reasons why the potential of Mindanao as a driver of economic growth has never been fully realized all these years. People keep talking about peace in Mindanao, but many are convinced that meaningful and lasting peace will never be achieved if terrorism and lawlessness continue to prevail in the region, which is why the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been intensifying operations in Marawi City and other places that terrorists have been targeting.
The President’s formula is simple: Use the force of law to wipe out criminality including illegal drugs and terrorism in order to achieve economic progress – and that goes without saying that the rule of law must always be upheld in the process.
FCB Manila ranked as top creative agency
Global consultancy firm R3 Worldwide has named FCB Manila as the top creative agency in its latest Philippine rankings, pointing to the ad company’s recent account wins for Dunkin Donuts, Propan TLC and Cobra Energy Drink. FCB Manila, which shared the top spot with Leo Burnett Manila – is led by the dynamic young team of (in photo from left) executive creative director Jake Tesoro, VP for strategic planning Lizette Santos and VP for client services Lou Santos.
Congratulations to Team FCB Manila for a job well done!
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