Eliminating the competition

By Artchil B. Fernandez

There is a new flavor of the month.  The previous one was Manny Pacquiao, who was the flavor for three months until Isko Moreno replaced him recently.

Du30’s late night talk now resembles a showbiz gossip show since Isko Moreno became his favorite topic for the month of August. Last week, Du30 slammed Moreno for the chaos in a vaccination site in Manila. This week, Du30’s attack on Moreno is becoming more personal and below the belt.

Stalking Moreno on his Facebook page, Du30 brought up the Manila mayor’s past as a sexy actor. “I just can’t talk about politics here but, you Filipinos. Don’t be fooled by someone who talks dramatically. I saw on Facebook earlier, the fool was in a bikini, and then he has a photo where he is looking at his penis,” Du30 publicly gossiped.

Not contented with commenting on the photos of Moreno during his heydays in the entertainment industry, Du30 also made a snide remark on Moreno’s rumored presidential run. “That’s what you want? Someone trained like a call boy, stripping…,” he told the public. “That’s the training for a president, stripping and having his picture taken, peeking, flaunting their penis,” he added.

It is clear Du30 is questioning the moral fitness of Moreno to occupy the highest post in government due to his show business past. Du30 is the last person to raise the morality red flag in public service. What he did was far, far worse than Moreno’s sexy poses and was not only immoral but criminal.  In April 2018 Du30 publicly bragged what he did to their house help.

“I went to the room of the maid […] I lifted the blanket […] I tried to touch what was inside the panty […] I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room,” Du30 boasted.  Gloating over his dirty talk he continued, “I tried to insert my finger […] There was hair […] It was wet.” This is a confession of a pervert and Du30 had the gall to lecture Moreno on the morality of public officials.

Aside from bringing up Moreno’s past, Du30 also declared he is taking away Manila local government’s participation in the distribution of aid to the people of the metropolis under strict lockdown. “There is a city there that I would not give the power to distribute the cash aid simply because in so many instances, they cannot organize,” he announced, accusing the mayor of having a “disorganized mind.”

These stepped-up attacks of Du30 on Isko Moreno are neither accidental nor coincidental. They are calculated and planned. Du30 had been spending the last three months not on Covid-19 pandemic management but on eliminating the competition especially within his camp in preparation for the 2022 national election.

The first target of this operation was Sen. Manny Pacquiao and it culminated in his removal as party president of the ruling PDP-Laban last month. Now it’s the turn of Isko Moreno who is second to Du30’s daughter in the latest Pulse Asia survey among the possible presidentiables. Moreno is also the second preferred vice presidential candidate closely tailing Du30 in the same poll.

Prior to Du30’s latest swipe against Moreno, highly suspicious moves were made against the Manila mayor. The chaos in one vaccination site in Manila is a case point for Du30 used it not only to discredit the leadership of Moreno but as an excuse to exclude the city government in aid distribution (his order was not carried out).

On the night before the disarray in SM San Lazaro vaccination site, the online registration platform of Manila LGU was swamped with 1.02 million requests, and they were traced to five IP addresses. The intention was to crash the website by overwhelming it with 133 to 200 requests per minute.

Early morning on the day of chaos at the vaccination site, several buses and vans dropped thousands of people in the area. The crowd mostly came from the surrounding provinces of Cavite, Laguna and Rizal. Pandemonium broke out in SM San Lazaro vaccination site forcing the Manila city government to call off the vaccination.

Then Du30 in his late night talk condemned the disorder in the vaccination site. Quite by coincidence, the DILG at the same time issued a show-cause order to Moreno to explain why he “should not be held administratively liable” for failing to address the illegal drug problem in the capital city in 2018. The order was later withdrawn when the public mocked the order and pointed out a glaring mistake – Moreno was elected mayor in 2019. It was not a mistake at all for the order was actually a warning to Moreno.

It is apparent the series of incidents against Moreno – anarchy in vaccination site, DILG show-cause order and Du30’s concerted attacks are well-orchestrated moves.

The latest operation against Moreno was not original but was flagrantly plagiarized or blatantly lifted/stolen from the Nazi playbook. In 1933, the Nazis burned the Reichstag and blamed their opponents for the act. They used the incident not only to persecute their enemies but to seize power in Germany.

Despite the latest surge of infections with the Delta variant of the virus spreading across the country, the pandemic is the farthest and the least concern of Du30. His chief worry is how to cling to power beyond 2022. He is now in panic knowing he will suffer the same fate that befell on all autocrats in history when they were no longer in power. Being dragged into The Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity before the ICC is Du30’s biggest nightmare. He is desperately trying to find ways to stay in power.

Clearing the way for his daughter is Du30’s obsession today and he does not care if thousands of Filipinos will perish in the pandemic. What matters most to him is to eliminate those who stand in his way to stay in power beyond 2022.