FIRST, we had the fake news. Now we have contradictory statements.
Early last month, President Rodrigo Duterte exclaimed that “Yang yellow—liberal, Trillanes, pati ang politburo,” he said. ‘‘‘Yang tatlong ‘yan, bantayan ninyo. ‘Yang mag-aoust Duterte and it will go into a high gear October. Bantayan ninyo ‘yan. ‘Yang tatlo na ‘yan, konektado lahat ‘yan.”
Now we have AFP chief General Carlito Gálvez contradicting Duterte. “Based doon sa intel report, while the CPP would like to forge a coalition, nakipag-coalition ba (ang opposition), sir?” Trillanes asked.
To which Galvez replied, “No.”
So who are we supposed to believe? Or the military rank-and-file to believe? The Commander-in-chief or the Chief-of-staff?
Then there’s presidential assertion who described as “pure speculation” last August the claim of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) that P6.8-billion worth of shabu was smuggled inside the magnetic lifters found in Cavite.
“Yung sabi nila na PDEA found the metal but they opened it but [there] was none. It was pure speculation. They were assuming that those metal—there was nothing,” Duterte insisted.
The following month, it was Odel who detected P3.6 billion worth of illegal drugs. In fact, in his four years in service, the Belgian Malinois has uncovered 490 kilos of shabu, 14.26 kilos of liquid shabu and 56 kilos of cocaine.
Government officials have to be circumspect when they issue statements. They have been based on good research and intelligence gathering.
We all make wrong statements. But it’s a different case when government officials make these allegations. Can you imagine the dangers to national security or to lives and wastage of taxpayers’ money with unsubstantiated official assertions?
May they heed Mahatma Gandhi’s advice: “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
May Duterte admits his missteps.*