Supporters swarm Freedom Park for Duterte’s grand rally

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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 March) – Thousands have swarmed the Freedom Park here, venue of the grand rally of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard bearer Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Freedom Park was also the venue of the provincial proclamation rally of Duterte last February 9, simultaneous with rally in Tondo, Manila where he laid out his platform before thousands of supporters.

Crowd was earlier projected to reach 35,000, which Duterte supporters said will be the biggest political event in Davao City.

Duterte arrived at the venue at 6:45 p.m.

A few personalities have also started arriving in the venue, one of them is former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan, who is one of the speakers who will grace the rally alongside senatorial candidates Francis Tolentino and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Dionisio Santiago.

Former and incumbent city councilors have also arrived, namely: Pillar Braga and Jackson Velos Reyes, who are both running for councilor again, and incumbents Al Ryan Alejandre, Marissa Salvador-Abella, Mabel Sunga Acosta, Lorelyn Avila, April Dayap, Leah Librado Yap and Antoinette Principe Castrodes.

Famous Davao artist and veteran singer Popong Landero performed his own compositions while OPM legends Char Borja, Renz Verano, Richard Reynoso, and Ranie Reymundo, also known as the OPM Hitmakers, entertained thousands of fans of Duterte and his running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Chief Insp. Milgrace Driz, in a text to MindaNews, said more or less 60 police officers have been deployed to secure the venue of the rally, which will be highlighted by a candle-lighting.

The city’s state-of-the-art bus ambulance, the first of its kind in the Philippines, has been dispatched to the venue.

Several support groups have also shown up, among them are the Duterte United Women’s Organization, PDP Laban Davao City Council and President Duterte Group Volunteer.

Free t-shirt printing services are also offered for free by Duterte supporters for those who brought souvenir shirts.

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    I’M NOT being cynical about what Liberal Party spokesperson Barry Gutierrez claims of late; but all throughout history, the presidency too can be an institution of criminally predisposed career thieves in the guise of public service.

    HAVING been constitutionally vested with executive power, the president wields a two-edged sword to carry out his duties: first is the purse and then the muzzle of a gun to enforce obedience among the citizenry. The incumbent thus appoints both career and non-career government functionaries not only to implement governmental policies but to ensure that his marching orders get to reach the bottom of the ladder.

    QUITE an abstraction may be, but, for the corps of bureaucrats in government, the chain of command begins at the apex of power. It’s what the TOP does that they follow. The no “wang-wang” policy is a case in point. During his inaugural address, Pres. BS Aquino slammed all forms of official entitlements so the public knows it can rely on its government officials to uphold the law because no one should be above it.

    THAT’s literally the least that those mandated to govern can to do justice to every ordinary man -the “boss”, so to speak. in the biggest corporation ever invented by the State or otherwise known as the government. But the presidency can only be effective if it retains the persuasive power over the other co-equal branches. If it wants to roll on its desired policies, the executive department has to deal with the legislature.

    IT’S the lawmakers’ legislative function to green-light budgetary appropriations, craft priority statutes and exercise oversight prerogatives over public agencies. In dealing with Congress, the president practically proposes but it is the former which stamps its authority. That’s where the president carries both sword and cake to influence legislation with something that policy-makers get in return. And the icing itself does the trick to pursue the president’s short and long-term vision.

    UNDER the Marcosian regime, it was all to easy to get things done. There is the rubber-stamp assembly to take command from the supreme leader. The quasi-parliamentary system of government was even instituted to get rid of the vice-presidency. But things tuned from bad to worse when Pres. Cory Aquino assumed power under the guise of freedom and revolutionary government. Her short-lived prime minister, Salvador Laurel Jr., rebelled upon failed pledges and later led the opposition to expose the the rising tide of plunder and corruption in the newly-installed democratic government.

    OUR concept of good government was prostituted. The icon of democracy could hardly push pro-people policies without Congress and the dynastic politicians who lorded over public policies. So Pres. Aquino had to reintroduce the long-moribund pork barrel politics in the country. Yes, folks, it was the incumbent president’s mother who gave her nod for the return of the greatest source of corruption ever to grace the benighted pearl of the orient sea. She had no choice; even her own presidency had to kowtow to Congress for funds like a slimy beggar with her begging bowl.

    SO from the innocuous Countrywide Development Fund (CDF), the scourge of corruption metamorphosed itself into Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and its presidential variant, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Our lawmakers couldn’t be happier. They could dip their fingers into the public cookie jar aided no less by the president’s tacit approval. And when corruption reached its zenith, the pork barrel insertions into the national budget pie exploded right smack into their faces: all top branch officials and functionaries, including the judiciary which the budget magician, DBM Sec. Florencio Abad, saw fit to smear by snare.

    TRUE, the office of the president is an institution to render genuine public service; but it is equally true as well that the presidency itself can be held hostage by both elective and career officials. In 2010, the country was held enthrall by a prospect of change coming, as it is, from the heels of the spurned corrupt regime under Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. So to cover its tracks, the BS Aquino administration’s legal juggernaut deployed highly caliber lawyers to man its flanks while advancing its thrusts and parries against the perceived corrupt in the ranks of the political opposition.

    THE WITCHCRAFT and inquisition thus became a ploy to cover the president’s well-hidden pandora’s box while exposing the others to public light. So Gutierrez is right. The presidency is a much-aspired domain of service to the Filipino people. But if an awakened citizenry gets rid of its blindfold in the eyes, the presidency too is host to unspeakable anomalies that only shameless thieves can dare commit without batting an eyelash.

    WHOEVER gets to sit the throne of the presidency, nothing will ever change in a rotten system, UNLESS the leader himself is STRONG and DETERMINED enough to pursue his VISIONS for the country and its people WITHOUT let up!


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