AWKWARD PLEASANTRIES: President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Sen. Leila de Lima during the recent State of the Nation Address.  (Photo by Marcelino Pascua/PPD)

LET me start with a song, to the tune of “You Needed Me” by Anne Murray.

You libeled me,

You slandered me.

I did not answer you in the past because you are a woman.

Pero sobra ka na.

Mga bugok na Pilipino ang bumoto sa iyo.

The above was President Duterte answering an earlier speech of Sen. Leila de Lima about extrajudicial killings.

In a refrain, the lady senator quipped, “Respeto naman po.”

(Some respect please.)

(Thanks to my godchild Machelle Laserna-Adricula for sending me the CNN clip.)


President Duterte should open his ears.

He is already being hounded around the world and in Manila because of close to one thousand supposed drug-traffickers killed since he took office on June 30.

Half of those were killed in police encounters.

The other half were killed by unidentified gunmen riding in motorcycles.

Killing suspected drug-traffickers is his team’s approach in eradicating drugs and drug use in the Philippines.

This President says that if there are no more runners, nobody would deliver the drugs to users or buyers.

That approach is being implemented at the expense of due process of law and human rights.

On Aug. 12, the U.S. Embassy in Manila issued a strongly-worded press release addressed to the nascent Duterte Administration.

It was about the extrajudicial killings and the offensive remarks of Mr. Duterte against the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.

Paragraph 3 of the press release said:

“The United States strongly believes in the rule of law, due process and respect for universal human rights, and that these principles promote long-term security. We are concerned by reports regarding extrajudicial killings of individuals suspected to have been involved in drug activity in the Philippines.

“We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts with its human rights obligations.”

We strongly urge President Duterte to pay attention to the above press release.

Perhaps, he should consult those who are in the know as to what is really meant (not literal) or behind the words of this press release, if any, in diplomatic language.

The Duterte team members must accept, they are new kids in the block.

It could be a reminder.

It could also be a warning.


Drug addicts are treatable

The Duterte Administration should change its approach in solving the drug menace.

Instead of looking at addicts as hopeless and incurable of their addiction, it should look at them as human beings who are temporarily lost, but can be rehabilitated with proper treatment procedures.

These are people, according to a former addict and alcoholic, who is now clean and has a treatment center in Manila, whose lives are messy and are looking for an outside force to temporarily organize their lives.

And they find it in drugs and alcohol.

I also talked to a Manila couple, both of them, former addicts.

The husband is 15 years clean and sober.

The wife is 18 years clean and sober as of today.

Both met at the treatment center and they are now happily married.

So, our theory that addicts could go back to society as useful and productive members again of their community is true and doable.

The killings of drug addicts in the Philippines must stop.

Instead, proper rehabilitation must begin.


Happy Birthday Reena!

We wish to greet the multi-awarded Fil-Am photo journalist of The Jersey Journal in Jersey City, Reena Rose Sibayan (pictured above), Happy Birthday!

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