BEHIND THE LINES: Unwarranted PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 July 2011 14:35

Everybody’s talking about Mayor Mary Duterte’s fist of fury —  caught on camera and viewed by millions of people around the world. Her gun-packing father, now the vice mayor of Davao City and feared by almost everybody, especially the drug dealers, smokers, smugglers and the communists, let out his anger, too, by flashing a naughty finger at the media. He is a lawyer and, therefore, presumably knows the limits of the law. His daughter, after all, punched a sheriff four solid times on the face when that officer of the court served an order by the court to demolish hundreds of squatter shanties built near river banks. That was for the purpose of saving lives and not to trample the poor. Any mayor would have taken that opportunity to show to his/her constituents (and the world) that he/she will fight for their rights (and privileges) no matter what the legal consequences. Totally unwarranted. That was purely grandstanding of the first kind.

In 1981, a lawyer who eventually became a judge, corraled a small passageway in Camino Nuevo to stop people from traversing his property. The affected families brought the matter before the fearless Mayor Cesar C. Climaco. Triple C, being a lawyer, did not raise his huge, farmer’s hands against the lawyer in front of the complaining squatters. He politely summoned the lawyer who was at that time an officer of City Hall and in his office dressed him down like a kindergarten pupil in the presence of then head executive assistant Rosauro “Charing” Climaco and City Administrator Rustico Varela. That fence was eventually removed and the squatters were allowed to use the passageway (until now). If only people can talk like educated individuals, violence can be averted. That was the point Climaco was driving at. Otherwise, let’s forget about going to school and be like Manny Pacquiao.

Climaco, as we all know, was “braveheart”. He feared no one (except, perhaps, Julfa, his beloved wife). He drove the streets without a bodyguard. He wouldn’t even allow his friends to ride with him in his worn-out Ford Fierra for fear that they might get caught in the crossfire (collateral damage) in case an attempt on his life was made. When an assassin’s bullet pierced his head as he was inspecting a fire scene in Camino Nuevo, he was alone. In one of my interviews with Duterte, he said that CCC was his idol because of his compassion for the poor and the helpless, and for his courage and bravery during those uncertain times.

Also, in 1981, CCC had a “battle of words” with then LTP Chairman Ulbert Ulama Tugung. The latter was peeved by Climaco’s razor criticism of President Marcos and the “assembled men” of the regional government of which Tugung headed. Tugung was also infuriated by Climaco’s accusation that he (Tugung) was an alter boy of the Claretians. The angry Tugung, who never went beyond law school, challenged Climaco to a duel for questioning his religion. Being a lawyer, Climaco replied that he will only accept the challenge to a duel if the court would allow him. He knew that Tugung’s call was a violation of the law and, therefore, he could not be part of that violation. Tugung would have lost his position had Climaco filed a complaint against him for challenging him to a duel.

The point is that Climaco, unlike the Dutertes, never went beyond the bounds of the law. He, like King Arthur, would apply the law – both of God and men – to everybody. If anybody — rich or poor, civilian or police — did something wrong, Climaco would go after their necks. Climaco never carried a gun. He only had a bag of assorted candies with him for the street children. He did not fill his wallet with money, although he had much. He treated the media only to a loaf of bread and “pansit” when the sale of rubber was good.

Let’s see how P-Noy would handle the Dutertes. Will the father also flash a naughty finger on P-Noy or Secretary Robredo if the verdict for assaulting an officer of the court and for his conduct unbecoming of an elected official is suspension from office? This is more exciting than the Porsche, I promise you. --BOB JALDON