In a previous post (Why Filipinos must not. . . , Feb. 16, 2016), I suggested that Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte was “an egomaniac who believes himself to be above the law” and whose “delusions of personal greatness will eventually bloat” causing him to “become a dictator.” President-elect Duterte has proven otherwise.
Immediately after having won the Philippine presidential election on May 9, 2016, Rodrigo Duterte toned down his rhetoric and admitted that all his tough talk was campaign ploy, saying that he was going to serve according to law even when he acts “tough on crime, drugs, cigarettes, corruption – and everything else wrong with the country.”
Bravo, president-elect Duterte!
Duterte ran a controversial campaign in which he cursed detractors, bad-mouthed Pope Francis, and promised to personally execute wrong-doers, but he bent down to become humble in victory and sober in his approach to his inauguration.
Rodrigo Duterte won the hearts and minds of folk all across the country’s social and economic strata.
While the out-going Aquino administration associated the country’s problems with graft and corruption and focused on the prosecution and conviction of corrupt officials, Duterte aimed his sights not only at government corruption but largely at the economic problems of the people. Candidate Duterte focused on the plight of the large percentage of Filipinos living in extreme poverty all across the country (While the Philippine economy grows. . ., Sept. 27, 2015), while simultaneously appealing to the economically well-to-do and the wealthy by credibly talking tough against crime, drugs, and tobacco.
The people saw in Duterte’s tough talk and stance a person who could truly deliver on his promises. On the other hand, candidate Mar Roxas – poorly short in personality and charisma – delivered his message of helping the poor with little to no credibility. The rest of the aspirants to the presidency – Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, and Mirriam Santiago – were non-factors. Poe was handicapped by questions on her citizenship, Binay was plagued by plunder and corruption cases filed against him, and Santiago was simply out of touch.
Duterte has promised results in three to six months of his administration. He may very well achieve his goal if he pursues it with what is expected: extra-judicial efficiency.