Political Tool

Stolen from the internet

A police investigation team at Mamasapano, Maguindanao

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the Catholic Church is full of shit and accused a bishop of having two wives (and of being a monkey) but that was not the worst thing that a politician said that day.

Sycophant Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, failed vice-presidential candidate and absentee lawmaker of the Senate of the 17th Congress, spoke before the relatives of Special Action Force commandos killed in a covert mission in Maguindanao province two years ago to tell them that their loved ones did not die in vain.

The SAF 44 — the name given to the troopers who died in a badly-planned operation against a terrorist bomb maker– let us be clear, did not die in vain.

This much was already said two years ago by the head of the Philippine National Police, the man who actually had the standing and the experience to say that.

“I declare that Marwan is dead. Mission Accomplished,” PNP Officer-in-Charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said in April 2015.

Cayetano, who pretended during Senate hearings in 2015 that he was an expert on tactics because he has seen many war movies, should know that for many of those in uniform: Mission comes first.

Here, for example, is a quote from the movie Jarhead:

Troy: Fuck politics. We’re here. All the rest is bullshit.
All Marines: Yeah.

But, of course, since Cayetano is who he is, he consoled the SAF 44 families by saying the deaths were glorious.

“It is also glorious because it has produced a man, President Rodrigo Duterte, that understands both peace and war, that understands the barrel of the gun, but also understands how to put together people in peace,” Cayetano said, because his life can rally only be divided into the time before Duterte and the time after.

He is, in many ways, like a Crossfitter except without being strong or fit. He is basically an annoying asshole who never shuts up about this one thing, is what I mean.

But this is par for the course for Cayetano. Tuesday was just the latest instance that he showed he was willing to use the corpses of others for political points.

He did it in 2015 when the bodies of the SAF 44 were still being buried and he did it in 2016 when a farmers’ protest in Kidapawan City ended in a bloody dispersal.

He did it as well to the thousands of people who were tortured, killed and disappeared during the Marcos regime. He spoke out well against the abuses when it suited him — during the vice presidential debate with then Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — but kept silent about it when Duterte allowed the remains of the elder Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“I haven’t kept quiet. Everyone has [his or her] role. And it is not my role at this point in time to be in the streets and rallying. My role, at this point in time, is helping the president in the capacity that he feels I can help him,” he said in December after people started referring to him as “Quietano”.

Subtle Spins

roxas

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, presidential candidate of PDP Laban, attended a forum with students this week and won the day, if, for nothing else than because none of the other presidential candidates showed up for it.

Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano (who, people who know these things say, has not been showing up to work at the Senate for a while now), Duterte’s vice presidential candidate, was quick to crow about this, saying:

Dalawa, tatlo na ang hamon kay Mayor Duterte nang debate, nasaan sila ngayon? Siguro yun ang dapat nating itanong,” said Cayetano.

(There are two, 3 challenges to Mayor Duterte to debate, where are they now? Maybe that’s what we should be asking.)

And he is right. The forum at De La Salle University would have been a good opportunity for the candidates to talk to the youth (and the Internet) about their plans for the country and Duterte and Cayetano should be commended for showing up.

On the day of the forum, netizens were asking where the other candidates were. Vice President Jejomar Binay was apparently in Caloocan, Senator Grace Poe was in Cavite, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago did not want to attend unless all other candidates were there. Liberal Party Mar Roxas, meanwhile, was sick.

His social media team said so:

And who are we to say that he was not? What they did not mention, though, was that Roxas’ being sick was irrelevant to his attendance at the forum. He had, in fact, according to sources (who were tweeting openly about it), declined the invitation in favor of sorties in Nueva Ecija province. Had he been hale and hearty, he would still not have been there.

This was made clear the day after by Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, campaign spokesman:

“Maaga pa lang, sinabi na namin, pinaabot na namin, and I’m sure alam ng kampo ni Mayor Duterte na hindi kami nag-confirm for that event. Madaling magmatapang dahil ikaw lang ang nakatayo sa entablado at sasabihin mo na lahat, natakot na ikaw ay makita. Alam mo namang simula pa lang, hindi talaga pupunta. Magkakaroon pa tayo ng tatlong oportunidad para magkaroon ng debates,” said Gutierrez, referring to debates sanctions by the Commission on Elections.

(Early on, we turned the invitation down and I’m sure Duterte’s camp knows we never confirmed for that event. It’s easy to be tough talking when you’re the only one on stage and claim that everyone’s afraid to face you. But they know from the start that we wouldn’t be going. They’re be three more chances to have debates)

Now, candidates are not obliged to attend every speaking engagement they are invited to, not even to the debates that the Comelec will organize.  If Roxas and his team felt that going to Nueva Ecija made more strategic sense than attending the Rappler forum, then that is fine.

But there is no need to pussyfoot about by saying he couldn’t come because he was sick. The Roxas Twitter account is probably run by volunteers, so they may not have known what the situation was, but one cannot be blamed for getting the impression that this was another subtle attempt at spin, and a president whose people cannot speak plainly is not the Leader I Want.