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Is Duterte a blessing to the Philippines?

Fr. Jerome R. Secillano, MPA

Collection Box


THERE is a chance that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will win the presidency in the May 9 elections. Judging from the number of those supporting and cheering for him, I would like to think the actual presidential election becomes a mere formality before he gets crowned with the highest post in the land.

Why Duterte’s supporters continue to hold the mayor in high esteem after all the hullabaloo involving him is beyond comprehension. Rival candidates must be very envious of this guy because while they are adversely affected by issues thrown at them, the mayor remains unscathed with all the brickbats hurled at him. He remains popular and the more his supporters rally behind him when they sense that he is harassed and persecuted.

This foul-mouthed guy must be very blessed because no amount of issues seems to pull him down or prevent him from finally claiming the presidency. Never mind the cursing, and the disrespect for women and persons with disabilities; never mind his disregard for our country’s allies; never mind his being a womanizer; never mind his killing people, they are a menace to society anyway; never mind the West Philippine Sea, the Chinese will build railways in Mindanao anyway; never mind if he hides from us his true assets or net worth, it’s his anyway; never mind his decision to close both houses of Congress if threatened with impeachment; never mind even if he doesn’t have a sound economic plan for the country. Who cares about these issues, it’s Duterte anyway!

While most candidates took pains to present their platforms, Duterte would regale his listeners with raunchy jokes and controversial heroic tales and anecdotes. Surprisingly, even the more educated ones could not contain their amusement and appreciation while listening to him. Much to the chagrin of those who uphold and believe in decency and ethics in public office, Duterte’s audacious claims and bravado are winning lots of believers. For them, this man is brave enough and has the political will to go after the bad guys and weed out corruption and criminality in three to six months. Such incredible claim has since been replaced by saying that he will simply curtail and not totally put an end to crime and corruption.

Even his self-deprecating claims endeared him even further to the majority of Filipinos. To his supporters, these claims mean he is just “being true”, after all. There is no pretense in him, what you see is what you get, as they often say. Until after Sen. Trillanes dropped the bombshell with claims that the Mayor has funds undeclared in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALN). The mayor flip-flopped on the issue but has since admitted that he indeed owns the account with his daughter Sara. A former Supreme Court Chief Justice, who has since died, lost his job because of the same case. This is not a minor issue. It is an issue that involves honesty and integrity of public officials whose office enjoys public trust. I may be wrong on this, but I strongly believe that this issue should be enough to undermine and unmask the Duterte mystique.

He often brags about the number of persons he killed as well as the number of girlfriends he has. He also has no qualms cursing to the point of being callous, but he certainly has no b_ _ _s keeping his SALN truthful. Clearly, he deceived the government, the people and the nation.

Duterte fanatics will surely frown on this. They will argue, I think, that there are no millions in the account as alleged by Trillanes. They will call the Senator a liar, a fraud, and a rouge element, but the Senator has already proven one thing, whatever the amount is, it is not reflected in Duterte’s SALN.

Few months back, Duterte has set himself apart from the other presidential candidates. While his rivals are guarded and prudent in pronouncing their platforms for the nation, Duterte offered non-political solutions that were practical and populist in scope and strategy. While the other four were not prone to talk about their personal lives, Duterte was more open and hungry for attention. He presented himself as no-nonsense and courageous in fighting criminality and corruption while his rivals were very calculating to the point of being predictable or inutile.

Yes, Duterte remains a strong candidate. Many see him as a blessing capable of lifting our country up from her miserable condition, but he is definitely not a savior. With the many issues he was embroiled in, he may well be considered an abomination or simply a “political anomaly” in these forthcoming elections.

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