ADVOCACY MINDANOW: Duterte: “I don’t want to go to jail!”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/26 May) — While several sectors are encouraging Mayor Rody Duterte to run for Philippine president, he has a way of saying: “THANKS, BUT NO THANKS!” His reason: “Filipinos somehow send to prison presidents starting from Erap, now Gloria and who knows, later maybe Pnoy too! No, I don’t want to go to jail myself!” How can you argue against that? End of discussion.

HAZARDOUS — Being in public office can now be “hazardous “. But still, that cannot justify why some of them awarded themselves “hazard pay” by getting their dirty fingers in the cash-filled cookie jar!

CALLOUSED? — For the first time ever, our country is facing a corruption issue in a magnitude never before experienced with the wholesale involvement of high public officials. While foreign officials resign from their high positions if faced with a controversy, not a single Pinoy official up to now has resigned — not even a single “leave of absence” while every single day, the list grows longer and longer! Are we now a calloused people?

SYSTEMIC GAP — There is something grievously wrong with the system. If Benhur Luy and Janet Napoles did not have a “falling out”, this scam would have not been publicly known. And many officials may still merrily help themselves with the taxpayers’ money. Our control systems just didn’t work. So, how do we fix this?

COUNTDOWN — There are 721 remaining days left to the May 9, 2016 national elections. In the meantime, the NAPOLIST issue is still raging with new twists and additional names. Entertaining for all voters! Let’s see if our voters are more circumspect next time.

SMOKING BAN — Unknown to many, it is not only in Davao City where there is a smoking ban in public places. This is enforced nationwide by virtue of RA 9211 passed as early as in 2003, otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act.

WORRISOME — I’m getting more worried about the Bangsamoro agreement. I heard the MILF is admitting that the agreement signed needs constitutional amendments to implement it. Then I hear Malacanang saying there is no need to amend the Constitution. Which is which?

VS CHINA — Vietnamese protests against China due to their territorial dispute in the South China Sea resulted to violence like burning of suspected Chinese factories in Vietnam. Lately, China has decided to evacuate 3,000 Chinese residents from Vietnam fearing more anti-Chinese violence will erupt. We are taking the peaceful option by filing our claims with the United Nations. Pinoys are more CIVILIZED.

THAI MARTIAL LAW — The Thai Armed Forces declared martial law a few days ago. TV stations were shut down and even social media were warned to “behave”. A friend from Bangkok sent word that it’s peaceful there now especially that the rivals, red and blue shirted factions that caused a standoff, were warned. The generals now call the shots! Déjà vu!

DEADLY — Some interesting data. There are now 34 million Filipinos in FACEBOOK. Out of 10 Pinoys, 3.5 are connected with the Internet. This is a potent force to do national transformation and reform. Information technology can be potent, devastating and deadly. It can destroy as well as build!

SUBIC BAY — During our brief visit at Subic Bay at Olongapo over the weekend, I saw some US naval vessels now docked at the world-class naval facilities that were moribund for years since we closed the US bases during Pres. Cory’s time. I talked at the sidewalk with the locals and they were glad with the new developments. Now we’ve gone full circle. Pres. PNoy opened what was closed during his mother’s time. Poetic justice!

SENIORS — Several malls in Manila have “pay per use” premium restrooms @ P10 per pax. However, senior citizens need not pay if they show their IDs. One time my wife Beth noticed me paying the lady attendant by the door! Later, she asked me why. “No it was not a tip, I couldn’t just find my ID, “I explained. That was half the truth. The other half was that she was so young and pretty that I just didn’t have the heart, the industry and the patience to look for my ID in my wallet! (Hahaha! No worries! All in the mind!)
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Jesus “Jess” G. Dureza was Presidential Assistant for Mindanao under former Presidents Ramos and Arroyo. He served in other capacities under the Arroyo administration, including the chairmanship of the peace panel in the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. This piece is from his syndicated column, Advocacy MindaNOW. You may email him at