Queen’s Gambit

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photo courtesy: VP Leni Robredo's FB page
Queen’s Gambit
by Bency Ellorin
People from both sides of the political fence were surprised by the decision of Vice President Leni Robredo to call on the bluff of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Unprepared, the propaganda mill of the administration was on high gear to further vilify the vice president. As usual, they populated social media with memes containing mangled statements of the VP. One such disinformation was on the VP purportedly saying she would not allow police officers to carry guns in drug ops.
Unlike his projection, his brand as a macho leader who is quick to the trigger against corruption, the present occupant of Malacanang is weak and vulnerable.
He does not have the needed sophistication to understand and solve complex problems. ‘A fixer,’ according to nephew Nuelle Duterte, a daughter of his younger brother.
In a little more than two year, he will be an ordinary citizen. No longer immune from suit and no longer in control of vast resources of the state to protect his interests.
Legal action, both domestic and international is the sword of Damocles he has to contend with now and then.
As an international response to his bloody and anti-poor war on drugs, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) approved a resolution asking the PH government to do the the following:
– to write a comprehensive report on the war on drugs in the Philippines and present it to the council.
– to cooperate with UN offices and mechanisms by facilitating country visits and refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.
– to take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, to carry out impartial investigations and to hold perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international norms and standards, including on due process and the rule of law.
Failure to comply with this UN resolution introduced by Iceland may result in raising this issue to the UN Security Council which could ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to look into the matter.
Countries who supported the UN resolution sponsored may also unilaterally stop aid or whatever cooperation with the PH.
This hurts. Rapidly urbanizing cities like Cagayan de Oro are on the cusp of a traffic crises, following Metro Manila.
Already, the Spanish government, as reported by the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, has already withheld around PhP20 billion aid for major road projects — elevated highways that would ease transportation in emerging 4th metropolitan cities of the country.
This de facto sanction hurts.

Drug war affects Oro flyover plans https://mindanaogoldstardaily.com/drug-war-affects-oro-flyover-plans/

Deluge of international aid followed the October 2013 7.2 magnitude Bohol-Cebu earthquakes. More came after Yolanda hit less than a month later. The Mactan International Airport was extremely busy catering to C 17s, C 130s, Antonovs, Chinooks, Boeing and Airbus transporters, vertical take-off and landing Ospreys and all sort of birds. Do we have similar or even a smaller scale international humanitarian missions now?

VP Leni may saved the country from further sanctions and embarassment. Her acceptance of the offer from the president as co chairperson of the Interagency Council Against Drugs (Icad) and the imminent rolling out of the framework that does away with unnecessary killings in the anti drug campaign, may be construed as compliance to the UN resolution.

Her appointment could also be construed as making the country’s justice system work to ensure protection of the right to life and due process — fundamental human rights — with the objective of staving off taking jurisdiction by the ICC.

The ICC can take jurisdiction over person/s in sovereign states if proven that the justice systen of that country has failed to function to make those who commit crimes against humanity and human rights accountable.

Having VP Leni take a major role in the anti drugs war and ensuring the rights of those accused are protected could be construed as a proof of a functional criminal justice system as far as the drugs war is concerned.

In 2011, mounting international pressure, economic sanctions and threats of ICC prosecution has led into the release of prominent political prisoners by the ruthless generals of Myanmar. The Myanmar government also established a national human rights commission to showcase to the international community that the reclusive state is fulfilling its promise of democratization.

Later in 2012, it fulfilled, as promised general elections, the first since 1991, where the results was scuttled by the Tatmadaw or the Burmese Army.
The DDS should be thankful to Lugaw or whatever they call the VP.

Let’s hope she succeeds in putting the rule of law back into the anti drugs campaign. Eventually the people win when the rule of law lords over the land.

As in chess and politics, the Queen’s gambit saves the King.

(The writer is a former journalist..A graduate of International Studies, he had worked in Myanmar as a fellow of Fredskorpset of Norway.)

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