Chel Diokno got a tongue-lashing from the President, propelling him to his instant 15 minutes of fame after a disappointing and regretful run for the Senate under a slate that had high aspirations, but turned out to be an immensely massive flop. The “tooth” of the matter is this is not enough for Diokno to be relevant. Just like what the President said, do not politicize COVID-19.
A dissection of the Twitter activity of Diokno reveals his “tooth”-ful intentions. We recall the public outcry against the summons issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto. The hashtag #ProtectVico became a top trending topic worldwide. Expectedly, the yellows fanned the fire and jumped all-in on the Vico bandwagon. Diokno tried to diversify and expound on the exposure, which eventually sharply bit him hard on the back.
In the same evening of the #ProtectVico hysteria, Diokno tweeted a screenshot of another summons of NBI against an individual whose name and Facebook account address he blocked to protect the person’s identity. We do not need a lawyer to say that this summons has something to do with the anti-fake news provision in the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020. To refresh our memory, this law penalizes individuals who create, perpetrate, or spread false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms, such information having no valid or beneficial effect on the population, and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear or confusion.
If you fell for this ploy of Diokno to gain some attention, then you must be a fool and a sucker for fake news because the entire “tooth” was not revealed. First of all, we have no idea what were the social media activities of this person who sought Diokno’s legal representation. What caused the NBI to summon this person? Surely, the NBI had its own reasons to do so. Remember, the law has to apply equally to everyone.
Next, how can Diokno equate this person to the Pasig City mayor? It is unanimous that Sotto has been doing an outstanding job in combating COVID-19 in his jurisdiction. The public’s call for a liberal implementation of the law on the good mayor has its basis. Why penalize a high-ranking public official for overdoing what is necessary in fighting this deadly disease? Does this anonymous social media rumormonger deserve to be in equal footing as Sotto? Diokno should reveal everything so that the “tooth” shall be known. After all, the “tooth” should set us free.
Fast-forward to President Rodrigo Duterte’s surprise address to the nation on Friday night; Diokno received a scolding he very much deserves. The President did not mince words: “Alam mo Chel Diokno, kayong dilaw, wag niyo ipilit ang pagkatao niyo. Kayo nagpatakbo ng black propaganda kasi malapit na ang eleksyon.” (You know what Diokno, you yellows should not force yourselves. You run the black propaganda because election is nearing.) The President read right through it.
To makes things worse for Diokno, the President fired Presidential Anti-Crime Commissioner Manuelito Luna for criticizing Vice President Leni Robredo for her efforts in helping out the medical frontliners. What this means is that the President has recognized Robredo and her valiant efforts in this whole-of-government approach against COVID-19. This is an instant boost for Robredo, the standard bearer of the Liberal Party in government and possibly their presidential candidate for 2022, and an absolute ostracism of the politicized acts of Diokno.
One may argue that Robredo has been politicking. Difference lies in how they have been representing themselves to the public. The Vice President is mandated to serve the Filipino people. Diokno, a private citizen, has to obey, not mislead the people with his half-“tooths.” A little more, then he will find himself liable under the Bayanihan Law also.
When all is said and done, no one will remember Diokno, except that he was the son of someone famous in Philippine history. He will be a footnote in history as someone who sought to capitalize on the opposition’s lowly backing of purported human rights violations — again, severely insufficient to mount another disheartening run for the Senate or for any public office in that matter. The “tooth” hurts, doesn’t it?