INTERCOURSE | Rhoderick Maquirang Tecson

In one of the most ironic messages Malacanang so far has delivered to the Filipino people, on Christmas eve, it called on everyone to “set aside practices that destroy the country and collectively act as one people and one nation towards peace and progress.”

The message delivered by Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo is on the premise that “The Philippines has long been divided by poisonous, nay, murderous politics that festered decades of indifference, neglect and corruption.”

He narrated further that the Filipino people must “think and care for our fellowmen and usher in a new era of hope, peace and development.”

Such was the Christmas message of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte that Panelo attempted to convey.

While everybody wanted to start a new beginning and perhaps attempt to heal a wounded 2018, the carefully chosen words did not sit well with the realities and events that transpired early on.

Ako Bicol Party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe and his police escort was murdered in broad-daylight while attending a gift-giving activity in Daraga town, Albay. One can only imagine how chilling is the message that the country is no longer that safe since even a member of the House of Representatives is no longer spared of motorcycle-riding hitmen.

Apparently the mode of execution of murder has become the new normal since the police has not actually solved even one cold-bloodied killing of suspected drug personalities or criminals.

Even the crime of murder has become so routine after President Duterte called on anyone to kill or execute criminals they knew and even boldly threatening bishops and priests of the Roman Catholic Church of murder because of their continues call for an end to extra-judicial killings.

A few hours before Batocabe was gunned down, Joelito Talaid, a forner mayor of Kadingilan town, Bukidnon was killed in an ambush in Cagayan de Oro city.

Lawyer Erfe del Castillo survived an ambush in Talisay City, Negros Occidental while a policeman driving her car was killed on the spot.

The president ordered a massive crackdown of the communists and their legal fronts but several lawyers who have been identified to be helping their cause were not spared of death by execution.

On November 6, 2018, lawyer Benjamin Ramos a member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) was murdered by motorcycle riding in tandem assailants. Ramos handles the case of the latest massacre in Sagay City that killed nine farmers who were attempting to squat and plant vegetables on a land owned by a bigtime landlord in Sagay City.

Identified critics and members of the opposition, if ever alive, are either in jail or facing charges.

While I do not wish to argue that the massive murder of those identified to be involved in illegal drugs is entirely wrong, such state-sponsored executions have become the new normal in the country.

Here lies now the problematic call of Malacanang to put and end to the practices that destroy the country and at the same time collectively act as one people and build a nation towards peace and progress.

It may be true that Saint Augustine once said that war is needed to attain peace. In the case however of what the Duterte administration is trying to project, murdering critics and encouraging the people to commit the crime of murder will not promote peace.

The new normal is suspicion and once suspected of a crime by virtue of hearsay, your life is at stake and your days are numbered. Fairness would have saved the statement of Malacanang calling for unity. Unfortunately, Polong Duterte is still alive despite being dragged in a whooping P64-billion shabu mess.

Malacanang is tired of murderous and divisive politics. Amazing!