As The Bamboos Sway: Digong does a Pontio Pilato big time


My sister-in-law, Salud, recently posted in Facebook: “‘Wala akong magagawa to stop China’ and ‘wala akong magagawa para kay Gina’ are two kinds of ‘wala’ by Duterte – although they rhyme. The former is a sin of omission, the latter is a sin of commission. Pun intended. Yan ang tatak Duterte.”

‘Tatak’ Duterte goes beyond the Commission of Appointment’s recent rejection of Regina Lopez as Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary. His saying “wala akong magagawa” is his most blatant Pontio Pilato act thus far. Hiding behind the skirt of ‘democratic’ decision of the Commission, he pulled the rug under Lopez and washed his hands from her demise as his political appointee. It’s as if people don’t know that those who voted against her are aligned to his political party. It’s as if people don’t know that if he exerted his influence, he could have swayed them to let her keep her position.

But no. Long before the Commission’s decision, Digong had already picked former General Roy Cimatu to be a member of his cabinet. In the split second that the Commission kicked Lopez out, Cimatu was her replacement. Moreover, it was only a matter of time before Digong and Lopez clash would be glaringly apparent. While Lopez is for preserving the environment, Digong would go to the extent of ‘flattening the mountains’ by bombing the NPAs.

Let’s back tract a bit.

Lopez became DENR appointee when she supposedly harangued Digong deep into the night with what she thought how the environment and natural resources of the Philippines or what are left of them should be preserved. Digong, tired and sleepy with her persistence had said, “ikaw na kaya ang maging secretary.”

What he might not have expected is that Lopez went after the mines. She went after their causing erosion, their polluting the rivers with tailings, their carving the mountains, their shooing people from their domains, their depriving the people of their natural resources – source of food and other economic sustenance. What he might not have expected is she would hurt the biggest nickel mining company and others who have supported his campaign.

Something had to be done against Lopez.

But the people had come to love her for her staunch campaign and Digong had to keep his stance as being pro the people.

Digong knew that at strike three from the Commission, Lopez would be out. And when it happened, wala nga naman siyang magagawa. Pontio Pilato talaga.

By his crucifixion of Lopez, Digong had also crucified the people with the nails of the mining industry.

The mines are good for the people, you say? Tell that to, among others, the Ibalois and Kankanai of Benguet in the Cordilleras. With, at least, eleven major mines that had plied their ores down Naguilian and Zig-zag Roads over the years, mountains had been carved, waters had been polluted, people had been displaced and their economic source of living deprived from them. Yes, the mines provided employment. Yes, the Igorots had become mine workers in their own mountains of gold and their kin became beggars amidst their mountains of gold. All those years of mining in the Cordilleras, most of the Igorots have become so poor that they have become laughing stock of society – dirty, dancing in the streets during Christmas season begging for alms – when they should be the owners of those mountains of gold.

And Tatak Duterte goes beyond Lopez. He is also so dichotomized that for every omission or commission, he really does a Pontio Pilato. Voted to the presidency by a popular 16 Million believers, he claimed to be people and on initial salvos, he postures as such. Nonetheless, in the longer run, he is proving to be anti-people.

Consider his anti-foreign domination stance. While he cursed ‘putang-ina’ with regards to former US President Barrack Obama, he got titillated when President Donald Trump invited him to New York. While he initially postured against China’s dominance in the Philippines seas and despite the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal decisions against China in the maritime dispute, he said “wala akong magagawa” when China flexed its disregard of the UN judgement. While posturing to be anti-oligarch, he approved the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because the previous administrations did not change the laws pertaining as to who should be buried there that is why “wala akong magagawa.”

One of the reasons forwarded by the Commission to oust Lopez is that passion alone is not enough; one must also be qualified. We will see how if Digong will also say “wala akong magagawa” if General Roy Cimatu will also be disqualified because he is less qualified than Regina Lopez.

Of course, Cimatu said that he actually loves the environment because he said that he once planted a tree. It would be funny if that alone will count.

The saving grace is that Lopez has not given up the fight. #


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