Where in the world is Rodrigo Duterte during major national events?

September 7, 2018 - 6:08 PM
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Some Filipinos noticed that President Rodrigo was absent in the few major events that occurred in the country. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

President Rodrigo Duterte was out of the country during a few significant events that occurred in the country.

The latest incident is Duterte’s order to revoke Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s amnesty before he left for a “historic” trip in Israel to seek a “stable and secure” friendship with the country.

Marcos’ secret burial 

On November 18, 2016, the nation was surprised when former President Ferdinand Marcos was secretly buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite protests from Filipinos, including Vice President Leni Robredo.

During the burial, Duterte was on his way to Peru for an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting. When reporters asked him about the secret burial in a press conference, Duterte denied knowing any details about it.

“Mr. President, some people are questioning the timing of the burial as it coincided with your foreign trip here in Peru,” a reporter stated.

“In all honesty, I’m telling you, wala akong alam, nagtanong lang sila (the Marcoses), when would be the appropriate time for me. Sabi ko, ‘Bahala kayo.’ And wala ako, wala, wala,” Duterte answered.

President Rodrigo Duterte denied that he knew about Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. (Wikimedia Commons/RJCabagnot)

He also stated that he has never asked the Marcoses about the specific date of the interment. “Hindi rin ako nagtatanong at bakit ako magtanong?”

When he was still campaigning for president, Duterte revealed that he would advocate for Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Martial law in Mindanao

On May 23, 2017, government security forces clashed with militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, including the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf Salafi jihadist groups.

The Marawi siege, also called the Battle of Marawi, became the longest urban battle in the country’s modern history.

During the crisis, Duterte was in Russia for a supposed four-day visit to strengthen the country’s defense and trade partnership.

A building in Marawi is set ablaze by airstrikes carried out by the Philippine Air Force. (Wikimedia Commons/Mark Jhomel)

However, Duterte shortly returned to the Philippines after learning of the conflict in Marawi. He immediately placed the whole region of Mindanao under martial law through a call with then-Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

“The president has called me and asked me to announce that as of 10 p.m., Manila time, he has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao,” Abella said in a press conference.

As of now, Mindanao remains under martial law despite reports of its citizens suffering from alleged military harassment and abuse, particularly the Lumads or the non-Muslim indigenous people.

Trillanes’ amnesty revocation 

Duterte was on a four-day visit in Israel with several businessmen to seek a “stable and secure” friendship with the country.

In the midst of the trip, his office has ordered the revocation of Trillanes’ amnesty through Proclamation 572 that was signed on August 31, two days before he left the country.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV speaking in front of a podium. (The STAR/File photo)

The proclamation aims to void the senator’s amnesty granted to him after he was involved in the coup attempts against then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Mr. Duterte, you’re a coward. You waited until you left before you released your proclamation. This is a clear case of political persecution, but I will not cower. There’s a time for reckoning for you and your minions,” Trillanes said. He is one of most vocal critics of the administration.

Legal experts stressed that Duterte has no power to revoke the amnesty since it was already final and the case of Trillanes, closed. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos