Hilbay: Beware of Duterte’s strategy of distraction

Florin Hilbay. Photo from his Facebook page.


Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who is running for senator in the May 2019 elections, showed his keen observation of the desperation of President Duterte about things getting out of control and his resorting to a “policy of distraction.”

Knowing that media are always on the lookout for something out of the ordinary, Duterte has been feeding us with outrageous things – from one fake news to another. From saying that he should have been the first to rape the Australian missionary tocursing the Pope, U.S President Barack Obama and ordering European Union diplomats to leave the country in 24 hours. He keeps media pre-occupied with the avalanche of fake news that he unleashes every time he makes a speech.

In one speech last month, he spewed out nine falsehoods. Not surprising considering that he admitted having made up the fake bank accounts of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV which he showed in a televised interview.

When called out for all these lies, his spokesmen dismiss them as “jokes” and blames media for not being smart enough to distinguish when Duterte is serious and when he is joking.

The past weeks his “jokes” have become more outrageous. There was his allegation that Caloocan City Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, who has spoken strongly against the extrajudicial killings in connection with the administration’s bloody war on drugs, steals the church’s offering collection.

It was so petty, he called onFr. David to account for the “mga offerings, iyong mga pinya, mga avocado, saging” that he parishioners have given him.

He continued his irrational attack on Fr. David after a few days sharing his suspicion that the priest is into illegal drugs because he is always out at night in the streets.

A few days after, during the conferment of Awards on ASEAN National Organizing Council officials and personnel, he revealed that last Asean summit in Singapore where he missed a number of events, he said he took marijuana to stay awake.

Marijuana is considered an illegal substance in the Philippines.

Although Malacañang immediately dismissed it as a joke, the President’s disclosure drew sharp reactions from human rights saying it’s not funny for the tens and thousands who have been killed in Duterte’s drug war.

The Press Office deleted the video of that speech from its website.

His latest appalling utterances was hisordering the killing of bishops. “Itong mga obispo ninyo, patayin ninyo, walang silbi „yang mga g******* „yan. All they do is criticize.” This was said during the awarding ceremonies of the 2017 presidential award for child-friendly municipalities and cities.

It is good that Duterte’s outrageous statements still shock despite their being done frequently. That means our sense of right and wrong has not been distorted. But Hilbay said we should be conscious that there are more important problems that the administrations wants the public to forget like the economy, the increasing prices of goods.

“Katulad na lang no’ng paggamit ng marijuana, pagpugot sa ulo ng isang bishop, at kung ano-ano pang kabalbalan.Kasi parang ‘yong kabalbalan, nada-dampen niya ‘yong impact no’ng real issues na kailangang harapin ng mga mamamayan,” Hilbay said.

It was noted that a day after the marijuana comment, Duterte approved the second round of excise taxes on oil products, which will take effect by 2019.On the same day, the House of Representatives approved on second reading its draft federal charter, which removed term limits and opened the possibility of cancellation of the 2019 elections.

Focus. Focus. Let’s not get distracted.

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