Asian Wisconzine Section/Heidi M. Pascual

Heidi Pascual

Philippine “Prayer Rallies” by the Dutertes: Political and Ill-Intentioned

I am extremely disgusted by the so-called “Prayer Rallies” held recently (at various dates) in the three main islands of the Philippines — Luzon (Manila), Visayas (Cebu), and Mindanao (Davao) —- led by former President Rodrigo Duterte, his political clan (Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte; Congressman Paolo Duterte; Vice President Sara Duterte), and attended by Duterte followers (political appointees and elected officials), including Senators Imee Marcos (President Bongbong Marcos’ eldest sister), Bato de la Rosa, Bong Go, and Robin Padilla.

 

The crowd also featured followers of politically influential Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy (PACQ), head of Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) who is a “Wanted Man” in the U.S. for heinous crimes as sex trafficking, rape, slavery; and similarly “wanted” in the Philippines’ Senate and House of Representatives to appear in committee hearings in aid of legislation. Quiboloy never showed himself up in both legislatures, ignoring repeated summons, and instead aired his grievances charging that the CIA and FBI, in connivance with President Marcos Jr., will silence him by possible assassination.

As we Filipinos who are not dumb know, Duterte has been investigated by the International Criminal Court for his Extra-Judicial Killings to support his war on drugs, both during his term as Davao City Mayor and as President of the Republic of the Philippines. The investigation is over, the evidence against him and others is very strong, and the testimonies of a few members of the Davao Death Squad who voluntarily surrendered to cleanse their conscience leave no room for doubt; thus Duterte knows that the ICC can, at any time, arrest him to give justice to his victims and their families. Even if Marcos Jr. repeatedly claims non-cooperation of his government with ICC, Duterte knows Marcos can, at anytime, change his mind, because the Philippine Supreme Court already ruled that the ICC can investigate Duterte because the Philippines was still a member of ICC when Duterte’s alleged crimes were committed.

These Duterte-led “Prayer Rallies” actually never offered any prayer to the Almighty. What we heard on air were curses against Marcos Jr., calls for his resignation, charges against the proposed economic Constitutional amendment (to attract more foreign investors) which Duterte claimed will only extend Marcos’ term of office, and a bit of praises for Pastor Quiboloy for being a friend, a fighter against insurgents, and lies that made me puke.

If only you, my readers, could only hear the testimonies against Quiboloy (in a Senate Committee on Women & Children hearing) by his former sect-members (or cult-members, to be exact) who were forced to perform night duties of massaging Quiboloy and having sex with the “appointed son of God” (Quiboloy calls himself that); begging for alms and selling things pretending to be working students; and others selling their properties (and giving the money to Quiboloy) believing that the end of the world is near…perhaps you’d feel the same way I do, too.

However, I noticed that Quiboloy’s predicament was only tackled superficially during those “Prayer Rallies.” The intention was clear — The Dutertes and his blind followers wanted Marcos Jr. out of the picture, so that Sara Duterte will become the President of the Philippines. When it happens, there will be no ICC arrests against the Dutertes, no US arrests against Pastor Quiboloy, and of course, China’s rule over our waters and shoals!! Worse, the Philippines could end up being a “province of China,” as Duterte used to joke around when he was still president of this country.

I’d say that former President Rodrigo Duterte has already sold his soul to China. I am pretty sure China poured a lot of money into his presidential candidacy, his daughter’s vice-presidential bid, as well as his political dogs now in the Senate. Why on earth could our leaders love another country that much, that they are willing to give China our waters, the lifeblood of our fishermen, the future of our children with the rich natural resources underneath those waters in our Exclusive Economic Zone?

Why did Duterte want to throw in the wastebasket the Philippines’ Arbitral Award (against China) in 2016, saying it was just a piece of paper that had no value? Duterte accused Marcos Jr. of being a weak president, when it was Duterte who had no balls at all to complain against China’s harassment and bullying tactics in the South China Sea. Marcos Jr. says that he won’t allow even an inch of our country to be taken over by a foreign power, while Duterte was willing to relinquish our waters to China!

Marcos Jr. successfully gained a lot of support from other countries for standing up against China, working hard to modernize and strengthen our military to protect our borders, and building up military cooperation with our allies such as the United States, Japan, Australia, and now, India. We stand strong with our commitment to follow international law such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),  protect freedom of navigation for all nations,  respect other countries’ rights, and protect our land from oppressors.

Recently, President Marcos was on a foreign mission to Germany and  Czech Republic, during which time, Dutertes’ camp again called for Marcos’ resignation; for him to self-exile and vacate the presidency! The reason is just too obvious! Vice President Sara Duterte — who was supposed to be the caretaker of our government in the absence of President Marcos Jr. — was present and spoke during this seven-day rally, obviously hoping that People Power will eventually happen and put her (and her clan)  in Malacanang Palace!

But the Lord works in mysterious ways; the Duterte “Prayer Rally” in Manila’s Liwasang Bonifacio did not get enough people to constitute a real “People Power.” Side interviews of media reporters to some attendees revealed that they were complaining because they were supposed to be paid a thousand pesos each to be attend; but they were given only fifty pesos, not even enough for their transportation expenses. What the …x%@*%&!

I am extremely angry, more so when I heard a blogger based in the U.S. inciting people to gather more and more numbers, march to Malacanang Palace, and call for Marcos Jr. to resign. I am angry because this blogger used to be a friend of the Marcoses and supported Marcos Jr.’s presidential campaign. Unfortunately, she didn’t get a government post after Marcos won, and was extremely bitter. There were a few other similar vocal protesters whose bitterness turned into hatred that drove them to join the Dutertes.

Personal interests among former political friends surely are more important than love of country. The Philippines has so many problems, foremost of which is China and the possibility of war against it. Filipinos need to unite behind our president at this point in time. The Dutertes and their minions just don’t care … because if China wins, they will be in power, perhaps indefinitely.

The majority of us Filipinos, I am sure, will not allow this scenario to happen. Over our dead bodies!

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