By Mariano “Anong” Santos
A United PH Opposition—Now more than ever!
Editorial cartoon by Jym Andalis
The year 2016 is undoubtedly a troubling and a perplexing year. Disgruntled people making rash decisions that caused them to be pushed into a corner of regrets and recriminations. Not only here in the U.S. or in our homeland but also supposedly in mature nations like Britain.
We’re talking here about Brexit, a referendum that called for that country to divorce itself from the European Union(EU)—only resulting in finger-pointing after an assessment that the Brexit could result to a wide economic dislocation. In an unusual British trait, that country is now trying hard to get out of the predicament. But their problem appears minor compared to what befell Americans when they learned the results of the Nov. 8 elections.
Defying all independent polls, Donald Trump gathered enough electoral votes—which he denounced as fraudulent before—to the become 45th President of the United States; even as his opponent, Hillary R. Clinton, garnered 2.6 millions more than what Trump got.
Trump who managed to alienate almost every sector of the electorate with his racist, misogynistic, narcissistic, often-false accusations— promised to make America great again. That resonated to disgruntled white voters in industrial states where the impact of globalization and computerization negatively affected the middle and lower middle class workers.
But it did not take long and even before he is sworn into his office that Trump’s promise to bring back the glorious days of those who propelled him to victory will be most likely to be relegated to the bottom of his priorities.
Trump’s cabinet members are definitely a team of billionaires who certainly will protect their class interests. He is also saddled on how he is going to divest himself of his wide economic interests—here and abroad—to be in compliance of the strict rule of no conflict of interests. Truly, one cannot serve mammon and the common good at the same time.
It is not a wild speculation that Trump is courting impeachment if he is not going to separate his economic interest before his inaugural. He is so slow to do it—even suggesting that he is leaving them to his family to manage—and that is not enough to get him out of the dilemma. Ivanka and Donald Jr. like to be around his decision-making for the nation and that bars them to being the overseers of his vast wealth. And, wait, that is to forget the conflict of interests of his Secretary of State-designate’s conflict of interests vis-à-vis Russia oil industry and the CIA’s contention that his idol, Vladimir Putin led that hacking into Trump’s opponents in the election.
For most of us, Filipino Americans, the year past is a double whammy. Besides Trump who is not fond of foreigners migrating to the USA, the Filipinos also elected Rodrigo Duterte, a president who speaks on both sides of his foul mouth. Riding on the preposterous promise that he will solve the Philippines’ drug problem and nagging traffic jams in urban areas in SIX months, 38 per cent of the voters in the May presidential election propelled the recalcitrant Davao Mayor into Malacanang Palace.
It did not take long for the unpredictable 71-year old Digong to shock the world with his propensity to solve his problems by extermination—killing mostly poor and powerless police assets and drug users. He also alienated allies like the U.S., E.U. and even the Pope. He is extremely vindictive. He unleashed his minions to go after his political enemies like Sen. Leila de Lima and US businesswoman Loida Nicholas Lewis. His online news-fakers just like those allied with Trump are relentless in saturating the internet with poisonous rantings.
This New Year, civic-minded citizens need to unite, now more than ever, to put a brake on the escalating insanity brought in by this new regime. Disillusioned supporters like former President Fidel Ramos will soon multiply in their vocal opposition as this president continues to bring havoc to our homeland. We need to add our voices to the lonely dissenters like Senators Leila De Lima and Antonio Trillanes. Duterte is also trying to ease out Vice President Leni Robredo, so Ferdinand Marcos Jr. can take over in case he does not finish his term.
Here in the US and back home, there is a need to organized a well-informed opposition to reverse the damage already done in the Philippines. There are few leaders who are courageous enough to confront the atrocities committed back home. Let us unite behind them. Freedom loving people need to heed again the clarion call to prevent another dictatorship.
The boasting of President Duterte that he has the support of President-elect Trump in his drug campaign does not bode well for people concerned with human rights, the environment and immigrants’ struggle for justice. The word is vigilance. Otherwise, we will lose the fruits of the democratic struggle that our heroes had waged in the past.