Political bickering


SOME say that in any political landscape, opposition is good. Opposition is more prevalent in a democracy as it keeps current leaders on their toes, and makes sure that no one has absolute power.

While democracy allows the people to put into power leaders who will represent their interests, the opposition is present to avoid any form of tyranny.

The Philippines is no stranger to a polarized political environment. The country has been molded—and tested by—constant political bickering between the ruling party and the opposition, administration after administration.

When asked how he would grade the first year of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the president’s staunchest critics, said he would describe it as a “massive failure.”

Trillanes said that the president has failed to fulfill many of his campaign promises and has yet to improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos under his leadership.

The senator is particularly scathing when criticizing Duterte’s bloody anti-drug campaign.

Trillanes believes that drug-related killings during police operations were state-sponsored and that the president has ordered police officers to kill drug suspects.

“Remember, his war on drugs has already killed more than 10,000 people. And that’s even higher than the 9/11 casualties,” Trillanes said during an interview with ANC’s Headstart, referring to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S.

“Remember, he is the president of the republic and he launched this policy against illegal drugs and the policemen are being ordered to randomly kill Filipinos based on mere suspicion,” he claimed.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) only accounts 3,451 drugs personalities who were killed in the government’s anti-drugs campaign from July 1, 2016 to July 26, 2017. The number does not include 1,398 cases that were drug-related but not state-sanctioned; 828 deaths that were not connected to drugs; and 3,785 other killings that are under investigation.

Over the weekend, Duterte called Trillanes a “political ISIS.” The president made this remark after Trillanes made fresh accusations against Duterte’s son Paolo and son-in-law Manase Carpio for their alleged involvement in smuggling.

“He (Trillanes) does not have any talent. He does not even know the difference between a democrat and a member of a party. How can you expect [him to do good] when he lacked a knowledge of life?” the president said. “Bira nang bira, akala niya tama siya. (Trillanes is the political ISIS. He is ignorant, he just attacks and attacks, thinking he is right).”

While political mudslinging may seem typical in a democratic setting, the continuous trading of barbs between the president and the senator attracts scaremongers, ones who are pushing into this emotionally polarized atmosphere to convince people on their side rather than ignite political aspirations and ideals.

It is highly unlikely that these two will reach a compromise and decide to set aside their differences to fight together—instead of each other—for the good of the people.

If this narrative continues, the ones who will lose are the Filipinos. (AJPress)

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