Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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FIRING LINE: Tide turning in favor of ICC

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

I used to think I was a voice in the wilderness when it came to my criticism of the bloody and unjust war on drugs by former president and populist leader Digong Duterte. But a new poll by OCTA Research seems to have unleashed a chorus of condemnation, echoing the sentiments of a nation that has finally realized it is fed up with tyranny and terror.

The poll in December showed that 55% of Filipinos want accountability, demanding that the government face the music and cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into Duterte’s reign of terror. With official records logging over 6,000 lives lost and estimates soaring to a chilling 30,000, the blood-stained legacy of his regime can no longer be swept under the rug.

Intriguingly, support for government cooperation with the ICC investigation varied across regions. The highest approval was recorded in the Bicol region at 79%. Well done! But, of course, in Duterte’s home region of Davao, there was the lowest support at only 6%.

Yes, this disparity speaks volumes about the impact of Duterte’s rule on different parts of the country. Initially, that was the tune to which President “Bongbong” Marcos played nice and perhaps even tried to shield his predecessor’s atrocities.

OCTA Research’s study has also revealed that support for rejoining the ICC stood at 59%, indicating that a significant portion of the population favors reengaging with the international community to address human rights abuses. The highest support for rejoining the ICC came from Balance Luzon, with 65%, while Mindanao, Duterte’s stronghold, also came around with even though with the least support at 51%.

These figures underscore a growing recognition among Filipinos of the need for accountability and justice. So, Marcos can now quit many of his previous attempts to downplay the significance of these findings because the message is clear: the Filipino people demand justice, and they will not rest until it is served – even if Duterte himself pays the price.

Soon, the results of this poll will be a snowballing demand for accountability, and even the leaders who today turn a blind eye to the horrors of Duterte’s past may be judged harshly in the next elections.

PDEA boys absolved

A few days after pounding on the leadership of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for a thorough investigation of the drug bust of a charcoal maker in Solsona, Ilocos Norte, a twist unfolds.

The seven agents initially relieved and probed are back in action and absolved of any wrongdoing, according to a rejoinder sent by PDEA Director-General Moro Virgilio M. Lazo.

However, this corner’s airing of an outcry and accusations of evidence planting did not end in the PDEA’s internal probe, which found no irregularities.

Jason Andres Dumlao, the central figure in the case, has been indicted for drug sale and now the responsibility to dispense genuine justice rests in the court. Let the wheels of justice turn.

* * *

SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at

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