The Trump-Russia and the Duterte-China connection

The big news, or at least one of the big news, in the US this week is the revelation that the FBI had opened an investigation on whether President Donald Trump was a witting or unwitting agent of Russia.

This is a big deal, and so unthinkable that it brings to mind a classic old movie, The Manchurian Candidate. That film (which was made in 1962 and remade in 2004) had a brainwashed American becoming an agent of the communists (the Soviet Union and China) who then takes part in a conspiracy to take over the US government.

In the case of Mr. Trump, the extreme view does not have him being brainwashed, but rather being blackmailed because Russian leader Vladimir Putin has “something” on him. What that something is has been for the longest time the subject of conjecture as well as late night talk show jokes about a supposed “peepee tape.”

At least in the US, a respected agency is taking a look on what is potentially a deadly serious matter, one that could undermine US democracy to the core. In all likelihood, sooner or later the truth will come out. This is because all the checks and balances that guarantees the stability of the US are all in place.

Not so in the Philippines.

It would be unthinkable for the National Bureau of Investigation – NBI, the Philippine counterpart of the FBI – to initiate an investigation to determine if President Rodrigo Duterte is in fact an agent of China. Yet the proof that Mr. Duterte is under some kind of Chinese influence is strong, stronger the supposed proof that Mr. Trump is under the thumb of the Russians.

With every passing week and month, the Chinese hold on the Philippines gets stronger and stronger. In the last week or so, more proof has come out that shows the Duterte administration allowing Chinese fishing boats in Philippine waters to do what they will. What’s worse, this is being done at the expense of Filipino fishermen, who are being forced out of our waters under threat of bodily harm or worse.

Malacanang’s reaction: The silly presidential spokesman asked, “What’s wrong with that?” They claim the contested waters as theirs, so we just have to live with it.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it has now been revealed that China may soon be taking over (if it hasn’t already) one of the Philippines’ biggest business parks, where tens of thousands of Filipinos are employed. Anyone doubt that soon tens of thousands of Chinese will take their place?

I’ve said it before and I have to  say it again. In the business district of Makati where I live (in a microscopic studio condo) I see on a daily basis some of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals who are working in the country extra-legally.

They deprive Filipinos of jobs, and act as if they own us. This must have been what it was like during the Japanese occupation, except we are not forced to kowtow to them; at least not yet.

Just to be clear, I am not racist. Like most Filipinos, I have Chinese blood and I’m proud of my heritage. I also have a good number of Chinese-Filipino friends. Known as Chinoys, these guys are generally very Filipino at heart. They too have taken note of the Chinese invasion, which happened with the full consent of the Philippine president.

I am aware that because of that oddity known as the electoral college, Mr. Trump is president of the US despite losing by some three million votes to his opponent.

By comparison, Mr. Duterte is a president by plurality. He did not win the majority vote, only the highest number of votes in a field of five candidates for president.

Thus, Messrs. Trump and Duterte are not presidents elected by the majority of the voting population, which the last time I looked was what a democracy was supposed to be about.

Anyway, Mr. Trump’s “admiration” for Russia may actually have a positive effect. Friendlier US-Russia relations cannot be a bad thing. For one, it makes the world a safer place.

As for closer Philippines-China relations, this too can’t be bad, except the current Philippine president is just too enamored with our powerful neighbor to the point that he sees himself as inferior to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

I have no quarrel with Mr. Trump but I do realize that more and more, talk of his being impeached has been picking up steam.

Not so with Mr. Duterte. He is entrenched in the presidency and I expect him to remain in Malacanang to finish his term, unless his secret health issues finally get the better of him.

Or until the ambitious Speaker of the House finds a way to get rid of the president. (Arroyo, not Pelosi, ok?)