Political Columnist Mortz C. Ortigoza asked recently vice presidential aspirant Alan Peter Cayetano on Davao City’s Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, his presidential tandem, bravado on media in ordering the killings of suspected criminals, the mayor’s adherence for federalism, Duterte’s moist eye on bilateral talks with China on the Spratlys, and Cayetano’s stance on the Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) when he attended the reunion of his relatives, the mammoth Cayetanos Clan of Pangasinan held in San Carlos City. Excerpts:
MORTZ: In case Duterte-Cayetano tandem wins, we know Duterte has the propensity to summary execute suspected criminals, do you foresee the backlash from human rights groups, United States, United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Congress, others? Would that backlash a problem in your government?
CAYETANO: Iyong takot sa batas na magiging equal ang tao sa ilalim ng batas at hindi lang ang mahirap ang takot sa alagad ng batas at sa batas kung hinde both mahirap at mayaman ay i-embrace ang batas.
So tama siguro ang word na ginamit mo Mortz na may impression o ang dating na magkakaroon ng massive na human rights abuses o summary killings pag si Mayor Duterte ang president. But actually ito iyong impression na binibigay na maikli lang ang panahon sa news e. Speeches ni Mayor Duterte one hour or one hour- and- a- half so kung pakikinggan mo hinde niya ini-espouse iyon ang sundin na batas. Hinde niya ini-espouse ang summary killings.
Iyong example na binibigay niya pinapatay niya o napatay niya personally pinatay ng Davao police ito iyong lumalaban. So hinde ito summary killing walang human rights abuse dito. And he never evaded ang investigation included din sa CHR (Commission on Human Rights).
Ako paniwala ko titibay ang rule of law under Mayor Duterte at hindi gigiba. Hindi ito magiging shoot out, o maging free-for-all na sabihin mo na criminals basta patayin mo. Hindi ganoon.
M: Supreme Court would be deciding anytime from now the EDCA, what if the Supreme Court dealt EDCA as unconstitutional? Kung ibalik ang EDCA sa Senado to be ratified by the August Body, are you in favour of EDCA?
C: First of all I don’t want to speculate kung ano ang sasabihin ng Supreme Court. Pero sa akin mas pabor sana dinaan sa Senado. Number two, I’m in favour of EDCA but I do believe that we could not negotiate it much better na maraming lugar around the world na mas maganda ang term na nakuha tayo. Gusto ko rin maiklaro na sa mga lugar na may dispute especially with China, automatic na dapat, kasi ng bumisita si President Obama sa Japan klaro niyang sinabi na pagka kinalaban (ang Japan ng China), ang America ay papasok at lalaban. Sa atin generic ang sinabi. We will defend the Philippine ayaw na very specific. Samantala, meron tayong Mutual Defense Treaty. So, ako ay naniniwala na puwede pang i-strenghten at pagandahin ang EDCA at maging transparent.
M: Sir, Mayor Duterte recently has pronouncement that he wanted a bilateral talk with Mainland China if he becomes president, would you think it could intimidate the U.S, Japan and South East Asian countries that the bilateral talk with both Philippines and China would undermine the military cooperation of these countries among each other and prejudice the $5 trillion a year commercial lanes in the Spratlys? Besides, the U.S has been making fly-by and cruise-by of her jets and battle ships at the disputed islands while our country has been doing good on our law suit versus China at the international tribunal in the Hague.