“When an elephant is in trouble even a frog will kick him.”—Hindu Proverb

WHEN he was in power, even the reptiles and serpents feared former Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

As a citizen Rodrigo, even the frogs and squirrels in congress are not only willing to stand toe to toe against the now powerless former strongman of Davao City; they are also willing to kick him like the elephant in the Hindu Proverb.

They didn’t fear him anymore. They have no reason to shake in their boots when they engage him in a word war since they are in power while citizen Rodrigo is not.

And especially if they didn’t cast the first stone.

Citizen Rodrigo didn’t only cast the first stone; he went south of the border when he decided to pick a fight against the Lower House in an apparent act of retaliation after congress had stripped his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, of hundreds of millions of pesos in confidential funds for next year.

Outraged, daddy citizen Rodrigo didn’t take the sally sitting down.

Thus, congress now has a casus belli against the Davao kingpin and the tora torabattle wasn’t totally unexpected.

Calling the Philippine House of Representatives as the “most rotten institution” in the country, citizen Rodrigo said, “there is no limit to their pork barrel.”


He went ballistic after congressmen had stripped several agencies including the Office of the Vice President (OVP) of their confidential funds, transferring P1.23 billion worth of these funds to security agencies amid worsening tensions with China in the West Philippine Sea.

For his part, Speaker Martin Romualdez snapped back in Filipino while presiding over the recent session, “I will stand and fight against anyone who scares us into following what they want. I will – all of us will stand for the welfare of the country.”

“We will also not allow anyone to stop us from accomplishing our mandate for our countrymen,” Romualdez said in his speech. “Nothing personal, just business.”

In slamming the former president, congress showed it wasn’t intimidated with the man who was catapulted into power in 2016 by promising the Filipinos to solve criminalities and eliminate illegal drugs in the Philippine in six months of his administration.

Even if he will continue to use dirty words and threaten those that he perceived to be standing in the way of his daughter’s bid for the presidency in 2028, it seems citizen Rodrigo is no longer the most feared person in the Philippines.


SAVING OUR PLANET. Let’s share water. If we prefer to bathe rather than take a shower, let’s think about sharing water in the family–take it in turns to bathe first, and minimize the soap and shampoo we use. A bathful should be plenty for two children or an adult couple to share.

The words “naked” and “nude” are not the same thing. Naked implies unprotected. Nude means unclothed.

ONE MONTH SINCE TERROR. It’s been a month since Hamas launched surprise cross-border raids from Gaza on October 7, killing 1,400 in Israel and kidnapping more than 240 hostages.

Israel is currently retaliating on Gaza with a constant barrage of airstrikes as it aims to eliminate the militant group. More than 10,000 people have been killed since Israel began its military offensive nearly a month ago, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said Monday, Nov. 6.

Meanwhile, CNN has reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to allow a ceasefire until Hamas releases all the remaining hostages, which includes civilian men, women and children. So far, Hamas has released just four hostages—two elderly Israeli women and an American mother and daughter—while the IDF last week said troops had rescued an Israeli soldier.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)