Former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte used to be the most powerful Filipino in the country. He may not rival President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in the dictatorship game, even as human rights advocates charge that his administration was an authoritarian one.
At least in his bloody and controversial war on drugs, Duterte was close to holding the power of life and death over small drug pushers and big drug syndicates alike.
Less than two years since he bowed out of office, President Duterte who is now plain Citizen Digong is back in Davao City, monitoring the political landscape and hoping to survive the backlash of the retribution and threats of incarceration and ignominy from the local courts, not to mention the International Criminal Court (ICC).
With his characteristic braggadocio, Duterte is unfazed.
The Philippine Star reported: "The International Criminal Court and former senator Leila de Lima can go together for all former president Rodrigo Duterte cares, as he is unfazed by their joining forces against his so-called war on drugs.
“Magsama-sama na kayo ng ICC, iha, (You and ICC can go together),” Duterte said, addressing De Lima, when he was asked during the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa program over Sonshine Media Network International Wednesday night for his comment on her possible cooperation with the ICC in prosecuting him.
Unlike his talkative former spokesperson, Duterte refused to comment on the court’s granting bail for De Lima following her detention for six years over illegal drug charges at the Philippine National Police custodial center in Camp Crame.
Although Leila said in public that she prays for Digong and even asked God to bless him, the former senator and justice secretary had said that she was considering filing cases against Duterte who was behind the charges that sent her to jail in 2017.
The Muntinlupa RTC freed De Lima after more than 6 years of detention by granting bail in connection with her last of three drugs cases.
The former President lamented that Speaker Martin Romualdez is behind all that is happening now, including the De Lima case.
In fairness to the Speaker, this is just a conjecture of a grumpy old man, who used to have all the powers, but now has been cut down to size--just a plain citizen, former leader whose political party is currently being decimated by members eager to leave a sinking ship.
We don't know how sincere is his assurance to Romualdez that there is no reason to worry, as he will personally campaign for him should he decide to run for president.
But the presidential election is way too far off -- five years away, and by then no one would be able to remember that such a promise was made.
It is interesting to note that Duterte is also unfazed by the exodus of Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) members, particularly among House lawmakers to the Lakas-CMD party headed by Romualdez.
Such is national politics in the Philippines. A leader rises, a leader falls.
The king is dead. Long live the King.
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