BBM’s ‘Duterte-phobia’

By Herbert Vego

IN a previous column, I left unanswered the question why Pres. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos appeared afraid to turn over his predecessor, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte to the International Court of Justice (ICC) to face trial for “crimes against humanity”.

Here, let us disprove his statement that the ICC is a “threat to our sovereignty” and has no more jurisdiction over Duterte.

To reiterate what the President himself knows, our Supreme Court (SC) has ruled (voting 15-0) that the ICC can prosecute “government actors” for alleged crimes committed before the country withdrew from the tribunal, thus belying Duterte’s “no jurisdiction” assertion.

The SC ruling — made in March 2021 but published on July 21, 2021 – confirmed the ICC prosecutors’ authority to conduct a full-blown investigation into the role of Duterte and the police in killing thousands of Filipinos in the “war on drugs”.

Duterte — elected in 2016 on a campaign promise to get rid of the country’s drug problem in three to six months – unilaterally withdrew our ICC membership on March 17, 2018.

The ICC heeded his withdrawal petition but insisted that under its rules, such withdrawal would only take effect one full year after on March17, 2019. Meanwhile, the ICC had done a preliminary examination into extra-judicial killings.

The irony of it all is that President Marcos was one of the 17 senator-members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations who ratified Senate Resolution No. 546 dated August 4, 2011, concurring our membership to the ICC.  The others were Loren Legarda (chairperson), Miriam Defensor Santiago, Ed Angara, Francis Escudero, Teopisto Guingona III, Gregorio Honasan, Ralph Recto, Bong Revilla, Migz Zubiri, Manny Villar, Lito Lapid, Jinggoy Estrada, Tito Sotto, Allan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes and Juan Ponce Enrile.

Eight of them are among today’s incumbent senators. But why is Trillanes, no longer incumbent, the only one vocally in favor of ICC “intervention”? Is it because they owe debts of gratitude to Duterte?

Why is Marcos so afraid of the man who asked for his resignation for being “bangag”?  Without saying so, Digong would obviously like his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, to take over the presidency.

Let me further discuss this matter in another column.  Meanwhile, my guess is that, for his own political survival, Marcos would eventually hand over Duterte and cohorts to the ICC.



WE all know how hard it is to get admitted to public hospitals.  There are not enough of them to accommodate the growing number of patients who need immediate attention.  The two public hospitals in Iloilo City, for example, suffer from shortage of free wards.

I remember that in September 2022, Mayor Jerry P. Treñas led the groundbreaking of a P1.2-billion 200-bed, four-story hospital on a 7,135-square meter lot in Barangay San Pedro, Molo to be known as Iloilo City Hospital (ICH). Barring unforeseen circumstances, it could be finished as targeted within this year.

Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, in a press conference before the groundbreaking, said that the hospital would kick off with an initial 70 beds.

“Para ini sa aton indigent Ilonggos,” he said. “Libre ini tanan sa mga pigado.”

At the moment, Iloilo City hosts eight private hospitals and two public hospitals which also attend to patients from all over Panay Island. They have a total capacity of 3,100 beds — 2, 287 in the city and 813 in the province — for the over 2.5 million population.

Those figures, however, indicate a big lack even for the city alone. Since the desired ratio, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is three beds for every 1,000 population, there is a lack of 4,500 beds to meet the desired capacity of 7,500 beds.

The bill providing for the construction of the city-owned hospital was principally authored by former Senator Franklin Drilon and signed into law as Republic Act 11891 by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 29, 2022.

The City Government of Iloilo shall manage the ICH in collaboration with the Department of Health.



“BE MORE informed” is a catchphrase on the Facebook page of MORE Power for the sole purpose of inviting power customers in Iloilo City to avail themselves of round-the-clock service whenever power interruption and other electrical emergencies arise.

The timing is right. These hot summer days when demand for power is abnormally high and supply from power plants is insufficient, all distribution utilities are bombarded with calls for assistance.

There are also 12 power plants running below their capacity to supply the grid. This is the reason for the inadequate or insufficient electricity supply in Visayas.

But as the saying goes, “You can’t please everybody.” This is especially true when the number of “everybody” is more than the service provider can serve.

Here’s a quotation from MORE Power’s Joy Fantilaga:

“We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls, and chats regarding a power interruption affecting several barangays within our franchise area. Please rest assured that we will address all your concerns promptly.

“For immediate assistance, kindly provide the nearest pole number to your house or the pole number of the affected area being reported.”

MORE Power’s hotline numbers are: 327-29-85, 323-6619, 0917-637-5214 and 0919-072-0626.


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