During the Senate hearing on ₱6.4-billion shabu shipment, Senator Trillanes started gaining a momentum in his Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte exposé attempt. This attempt left the public and the Senate Hall hungry for a deeper investigation. Meanwhile, Senator Gordon warned Senator Trillanes that Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte exposé claim is a “serious issue”. However serious a claim it is, it cannot quench the thirst of Filipinos to witness the dawning of a true change for the better this time.
Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte Expose Attempt
Chinese Triad is a “business”. It is one of those global crime syndicate business that run and operate underground. Its business is known as the “business of gods”—sacred, magnificent, universal, and above all else thy kingdom come!
Much less expected on how the runnings in the Senate that day would likely be, Senator Trillanes went hardcore. Such brand of personality that Trillanes detractors both trolls and bots too eager to stoop down for it. But that doesn’t offend the senator. Rather, he takes that as sweet compliment.
Senator Trillanes started grilling Vice Mayor Duterte by asking about a tattoo on his back. Duterte answered affirmative. That led Trillanes to anchor his claim about Vice Mayor Duterte’s affiliation with Chinese Triad.
It cannot be figured out easily why Vice Mayor Duterte just simply admitted that he had this tattoo on his back. Then, invoked his right to privacy when asked if he could show it. Wasn’t he caught red-handed by disguise?
This “Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte exposé attempt” strengthens the evidence of guilt against Duterte. It gives a sigh of relief to Trillanes should it be proven. As Senator Trillanes may continue making the Senate of the Philippines a “cockpit of lies”, he may also continue making it as a bulwark of truth.
The Senate hearing on ₱6.4-billion shabu shipment could be a landmark case to slow down illegal trade in the country. This could also help curb the increasing stats of undesirable death—EJK. By making possible to expose members of Chinese Triad is a big leap to making the country succeed against drugs.
Trillanes’ attempt to expose Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte depends on how serious the Senate to help the country drug-free. While others may call the attempt out of parameters, I call it valid on its tactical context. For the Senate to show what is unseen to the public’s naked eye. That is the art of “Senate inquiry in aid of legislation” that is in progress.
However, before the so-called Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte exposé attempt became printable, it died outright in the Senate. It became lame by invoking the constitutional right to privacy. It was a remarkable defeat of the Senate of the Philippines against one’s rights over the public interest!
When Clarifying Questions Are But Probing Questions
The test of a clarifying question lies on the objective. When Senator Trillanes asked Vice Mayor Duterte about a tattoo on his back, the latter answered it affirmative.
Assuming that Vice Mayor Duterte denied it, Senator Trillanes would have likely asked another clarifying question. And that would have likely made the Senator red-faced, caught empty-handed, and left humiliated. But with the affirmative answer to the probing question, Senator Trillanes might never expected for that answer. I never expected that, either.
In his attempt to walk through his clarifying question, which is actually a probing question, President Duterte’s son never gave Senator Trillanes a chance to dance at the Senate Hall laughing out loud. Vice Mayor Duterte invoked his right to privacy. That is, an assertion that not only did Senator Trillanes expect for it but also the public. Invoking the right to privacy is a classic assertion yet legal in that extent. It has become a breastplate of all resource persons appeared in the Senate hearing. They wear it as if a bulletproof vest against self-incrimination.
Did Vice Mayor Duterte succeeded to reclaim his innocence before the public by asserting his vest against self-incrimination? No. It was a tragic, crystal-clear defeat!
Arrogance and the Politics of Lies
Vice Mayor Duterte though succeeded to prevent Senator Trillanes from unveiling him as alleged member of Chinese Triad, he failed the public to continue believing in the “arrogance” of Duterte Administration’s war on drugs. His assertion to his right to privacy left the Dutertes in the quagmire of the “politics of lies”.
Whether Senator Trillanes right or wrong despite his immunity to suit privilege, he still won big league! He succeeded to cast light upon the public that Duterte administration’s war on drugs was either be purely “arrogance of lies” or simplistically an “organized lie”.
As if “though the heavens fall”, Senator Trillanes appeared unperturbed. He continue exposing the intelligence report he gathered. He wanted all the way to pin down Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte on the ₱6.4-billion shabu shipment. He accused him of being a member of Chinese Triad by citing the tattoo as proof. He furthered his inquiry by citing Davao as “transshipment point” for cocaine when President Rodrigo Duterte was a mayor.
Whether or not the tattoo would bear a “sacred digit”, Senator Trillanes even challenged Vice Mayor Duterte to let it be checked. Vice Mayor Duterte quipped, “No way.”
War on Drugs, a Failed State
Senator Trillanes has been one of those vocal critics of President Duterte, especially on the war on drugs. Repeatedly, he denounced war on drugs of President Duterte as something “pretentious”. I called it simply lame.
A number of countries in the past declared war on drugs but failed despite over billions spent each year. A decade later after Felipe Calderon of Mexico declared his war on drugs, there were a close to 150,000 dead and 28,000 missing. Mexico has failed. Colombia has failed. Guatemala, Indonesia, Thailand, even Iran, etcetera, had failed.
The war on drugs of President Richard Nixon in 1971 was introduced to control the illegal drug trade. Yet, America has failed.
As early as 14 months beginning June 30, 2016, President Duterte fails to control the collateral damage of his war on drugs. Death has become the common language of the dailies, in sidewalks, in schools, and in cafeterias. Extrajudicial killing has become the favorite subject to talk about in churches of whatever denomination, in bars, and inside jeepneys. Over thousands of victims of extrajudicial killing are reported.
Philippine Information Agency recorded 3,811 dead as of September 1, 2017. The Philippines failed to articulate its strategy and public security mechanics to guard the public from becoming “victims of undesirable death”.
The Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte expose attempt had made Senator Trillanes the last man standing in the Philippine democracy. As he would continue becoming an “eyesore” in the Philippine Senate, truth always has its own way out. To those who simply didn’t like the way he behaved in the democratic Senate Hall, I guess Trillanes delivered his job so well as to where his job he intended it to go. With his Chinese Triad-Paolo Duterte expose attempt, he might have been burned, grilled, and mocked by people of dissatisfaction and lame perspective. While he is still in the Philippine Senate making it a “cockpit of lies” (courtesy of Senator Gordon), there has always one thing at his disposal—”you burn me; I burn you.” ▲
-  “A Decade of Failure in the War on Drugs” by José Luis Pardo Veirasoct, Op-Ed Contributor, nytimes.com. October 9, 2016.
-  “The UN’s war on drugs is a failure. Is it time for a different approach?”, The Observer. Saturday 2 April 2016 20.30 BST, Last modified on Sunday 7 May 2017 18.52 BST.
-  “Why ‘The War on Drugs’ Has Failed”, by Ray Williams, Wired for Success, psychologytoday.com. June 6, 2011.
-  pia.gov.ph.