Of Etta and Digong

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By Jun Ledesma


Monday, February 10, 2014

COMMISSION on Human Rights Etta Rosales was so quiet during the senate probe on rice smuggling where Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was invited to shed light on the issue. If you remember, Digong was asked by BIR head Kim Henares to help curb smuggling as billions of pesos in taxes are lost. Ms. Henares is up in arms. With all the resources of the government, smuggling, not only of rice, had dramatically soared during the Aquino administration. The BIR head has a collection target and she knows exactly where she can derive the additional quota from but her clients are too hot to handle. Given the lackadaisical action of law enforcers I cannot blame her if she calls for aid from who else? Duterte.

The person Time Magazine dubbed as the “Punisher”. The person so loathed by Etta Rosales and Justice Sec. Leila Delima for threatening to kill criminal elements, rice smugglers included. Remember how Etta reacted convulsively against Digong for ordering Davao policemen to shoot the kidnappers who travelled all the way from Manila to collect their ransom in Davao City? De Lima for her part had always kept her contempt against Digong for her failure to prove there were extra-judicial killings in Davao City.

At the Senate hearing last February 3 the unperturbed Digong repeated his warning that he will shoot David Tan, aka David Bangayan, if he catches him landing smuggled rice in port of Davao. Neither Etta nor Leila said a word understandably because they see a killer in Digong. When the mayor returned to Davao City, Etta went to press and denounced her pet peeve for encouraging vigilantism. In the social media on the other hand, Digong is lauded and not a few wants the Davao Mayor to consider the Presidency.


For the peace of mind of Ms. Etta Rosales, I can assure her that the Mayor is not what she feared Digong to be. While our mayor has an uncompromising mailed fist policy on criminals he has in fact a very soft heart for the lowly. But yes, when it comes to criminals our mayor does not pass the buck to subalterns if the situation demands. Digong would never shoot or kill any person, even a criminal suspect, for as long as he leaves Davao or promises to reform.

When he returned to City Hall after having been elected without any opponent, his first message was for the criminals to leave vertically because if they insist on making Davao City their turf they might leave the metropolis horizontally. The kidnapping syndicate from Manila must have thought that was mere rhetoric. True to the warning of Digong the members of the syndicate left the city horizontally. The entire country, tired and sick of kidnap-for-ransom syndicates that had been doing their thing in broad daylight in Metro Manila, celebrated. The only person who felt sorry for the kidnappers was Etta.

For lack of anything to debase the mayor with the CHR head charged Digong for encouraging vigilantism. She got it all wrong. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte urges the citizenry to be vigilant against criminal elements. That is where the two differ. Etta on the other hand appears to be abetting criminality by picking on Digong who has been waging an all-out war against criminal syndicates. Etta may have the best of intention but she does not know the dynamics of how to deal with the enemies of the state. The postulates that she advocates about human rights invite aggression. She should first think about the rights of the law-abiding citizens who do not have the wherewithal to protect themselves from radical and criminal elements and not the other way around. That is where Etta and Digong diverge.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 11, 2014.


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