PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S unbridled China policy – doctrine, if you will – isn’t ideological and has a very thin, if any, moral framework within which it is pursued. The political calculus is weighed mainly on the principle of quid pro quo. It is clear, on the basis of factual evidence and trenchant narrative who gets the quid and who gets the quo.
Duterte is wont to preach this one-man policy to his choir, a prerogative he alone can exercise (translation: abuse) under the Constitution according to his minions, being the chief architect of foreign policy. So they, meaning the spineless yes-men and back-up singers, look the other way even when facts or evidence show the real picture.
The doctrine is simple, perhaps simplistic, although no one should take a deep breath: it’s all for the country’s good, the Philippines, that is.
Since then, the compelling narrative has been that China is well on its boldly adventurous path to annexing most of the West Philippine Sea like it’s nobody’s business.
Of late, Sen. Richard Gordon has challenged this creative anomaly: China, he said, has been making a “creeping invasion” of the land in so many ways, surreptitiously mostly. This is not out of Sinophobia, he said. Okay, a rose by any other name smells just as good or bad.
In a subsequent Blue Ribbon Committee hearing in the Senate, Gordon has ripped the doctrine to shreds by showing the emerging evils that range from possible money laundering, broad-daylight bribery, massive incompetence and probably even drug trafficking. The hearing stopped short of saying that some near the Pasig River may be complicit, if not in the cookie jar.
In a word, Gordon debunked the canard that the Philippines has all to gain and nothing to lose in its current policy with China that the latter appears to exploit to the hilt, for one reason or another. The official stock answer isn’t just a fallacious proposition, it was a dismal failure at responsible leadership at the highest level.
To further lend a moral motivation to Gordon’s pursuit, Sen. Ping Lacson, himself capable of changing from a politician to statesman, has disclosed that some 3,000 Chinese soldiers are prowling the land on an immersion mission. Translation: espionage.
Basically, Gordon has put the Duterte administration in the corner. Except that like a boxer who lacks the killer instinct, pulls his punches at the nick of time.
The Palace guy with the usual, permanent smirk, know-it-all scorn on his face, is quick to the draw: it’s just hearsay with no proof to it, speculation coming from the dilawan and so forth and so on.
Meantime, about 300 Chinese vessels have surrounded Pagasa Island. The Armed Forces of the Philippines are on it, according to the joker. The POGO industry is not paying its taxes, bring in prostitutes for Chinese customers, allow Chinese criminals to operate with impunity here, and threatens the peace and decency of Filipino communities.
Winston Churchill said that truth is so important it is protected by a bodyguard of lies.
Gordon’s findings and other pieces of evidence, not to mention expert opinions from a slew of well-meaning people with no political agenda, have pierced the phalanx of these lies. We are greatly at risk, morally, politically and socially against wolves in sheep’s clothing hiding in plain sight.
The response? Make my day, saith the lord of the flies.
In the old day, heretics were burned at the stake. Galileo nearly suffered the tragic fate after disproving a religious doctrine that the sun revolved around the earth. He was supposed to have retracted. (Actually, it is said that Galileo’s blunder was not about correct astronomy but politically incorrect nomenclature. He called a bishop in Rome “simplicio” or simpleton.)
A few months ago, Gordon got an egobusting flagellation from Duterte after pointing out some chink in his armor. There was something wrong with Gordon’s brain, he said, and it was taking its toll on his outsized pouch. Duterte sure knew where it hurt. He probably remembered a time when Gordon breezed into the Senate hall in full naval regalia as a reserve officer. Solomon had long ago warned against vanity.
Gordon isn’t shaking in his boots yet, but with the Americans given a rude goodbye by the precipitous junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement, he has reasons to be concerned, personally and nationally.
No sooner than the junking was announced that more Chinese were seen in the country’s territories, in and out.
Gordon calls it creeping. Others think the country is being sold, piece by piece like a real estate, down the river.
The drift is a no-brainer: when there’s creeping, there must be a creep. Good luck, Mr. Flash. Heavens have mercy on us all.