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Picking the wrong fight

  • Written by Mario Fetalino Jr.
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 311

SOMETIMES, one picks the wrong fight  because he’s pushed to do so. In many instances, the fight is lost because of wrong intention. 

And so I pity Sen. Leila De Lima because I think she was prodded to pick  the wrong fight with President Rodrigo Duterte. 

What’s even sadder is the fight being perceived as an attempt to destroy a popular leader which happens to be the highest official of the land. 
As a lawyer and former chair of the Human Rights Commission, De Lima must have fought so many battles. I’m sure she could recognize a fight she can’t win and that’s the one she’s fighting now.
So it’s more likely that she was influenced by a bigger force she thought was enough to ruin Duterte. Unfortunately, however, she and the powerful party utterly failed in their sinister plot.
She’s now paying dearly for her mistake. It’s  pretty obvious in her pathetic press conference at the Senate. As I watch her,  I wasn’t sure if  I was listening  to a senator or my brother’s dreaded loud neighbor.
De Lima used to be a witty, confident, strong, brave, and composed warrior. Suddenly, in that press conference, she was not a lawyer anymore. Not even a lawmaker. She was no more a fighter. 
Though she’s denying it, she’s mortally wounded and  raising the white flag. The President knew this and was gentleman enough to prescribe rest for De Lima. 
It’s actually a time-out so De Lima can ponder whether she’ll continue to fight or not. It’s a break for De Lima to decide whether she’ll still follow that dubious force or  do what’s right for her country.
It’s up to her.

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Another case of picking the wrong fight dates back in the 1970s when the United States fought Vietnam.  It was a big mistake for the US.
Interested in Vietnam’s rich natural resources, the US continued the war waged by France against the southeast Asian nation. And just like the French, the Americans lost to Vietnam in a humiliating fashion.   
While the US claimed it was fighting for democracy, there were strong but silent opinions that the Americans fought Vietnam for economic purposes.
With the wrong intention, the US lost a fight worth regretting by the Americans until now. The people of Vietnam had all the reasons to fight and win against the United States at that time. They were fighting for their freedom against foreign intervention.
Although victory was theirs,  the people of Vietnam struggled for so long to recover from the effects of the war.
Progress is now happening in Vietnam  and Duterte, who is presently there for a working visit,  would probably learn a lot why it is even threatening to outperform the Philippines in terms of tourism and foreign investments.
We should further improve our ties with Vietnam because they have been very good to Filipinos.  Vietnam  is the only member in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that quickly threw support for the Philippines when we complained against China over territorial issues before an international court.
She is also one of our very few neighbors that congratulated the Philippines when we triumphed against China in that  legal  battle.
While it can be said that Vietnam is backing up the Philippines because it also has the same problem with China, it is the only one very vocal in supporting us.  The rest, despite also being threatened by China’s expansion thrust, are all playing safe.
Just like the Philippines, Vietnam is blessed with vast natural resources which caught the interest of powerful nations.  And similar to Filipinos, the Vietnamese people are always ready to fight for freedom when it is threatened.
It’s kind of awkward that we were once part of such threat when the Philippines helped the US in the Vietnam war.  But for some reasons, Vietnam appears to ignore that and even continue to regard us highly.
Another similarity is that both countries have plenty of beautiful women who are  subject of admiration worldwide. However, more Filipinas won in global beauty contests.
The Philippines and Vietnam are both victims of war where the common denominator is communism. The only difference is that Vietnam has long been done with it and is  more than recovering while the Philippines is still on the negotiating table for peace. 

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I have no idea how the President plans to fix the war in Mindanao.  Just like in many of his endeavors, Duterte is serious in bringing peace in the region ravaged by war.
But really, how is Duterte going to stop the fighting there when there are so many parties to talk to.  There’s the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front and other militant muslim groups with different proposals to end the war.
Lending an ear to only one party would be futile since the rest would keep on fighting  the government and there would still be bloodshed.
And in the remote possibility that Duterte is able to hear every party and sign peace accords with them, how sure are we that the entire Mindanao is covered when there are always new small armed groups that grow and start to demand the same things from the government in exchange for peace?
When one is dealing with a group of people, he says to them, “Mag-usap muna kayo” or “pwede bang isa lang ang kausap ko?” because it’s really difficult to strike a deal when there are so many parties involved and they’re not united. 
This is not the case with the  peace efforts of the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines. The CPP is well organized and the leadership is clear making it easier for the government to talk with the group.
The result is that there’s progress in the discussion and hopes are high that peace would be reached.

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