Why Not Duterte?
The following series of “Why Not…?” blog posts is a reaction to my many “undecided” acquaintances who, while supposedly “undecided,” still feel the need to bash at particular candidates and even some supporters. To my mind, it’s simple: if you have excluded a candidate from your list of possibilities, then that means you are saying the remaining options are better than the one excluded.
The question is, are they?
And in the end, it’s dishonest, really. They refuse to commit to a candidate, a platform, or even just a philosophy behind their decision-making, yet without batting an eyelash they will attack those who have already put themselves out there and committed to a candidate or a political party or even just an ideal.
There is absolutely no moral ascendancy in that. Period.
So to help them out, I’ve decided to come up with this blog series. I hope this helps.
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So. Why not Duterte?
For me this is one of the easiest questions to answer, and yet because two very good friends and my own wife consider Duterte, then it gets complicated. (Don’t worry, we’ll still be friends after May 9 <deadmahan na lang muna sa politics>, and I’ll most likely still be married to you hon.)
Let’s begin the same way I began my POC article on Roxas: the admissions.
First: I do not mind the swearing. At all. I always had this notion that “swear words” are just expressions, but my position is best captured in a quote that CM Punk said that he, in turn, got from one of his English teachers back in the day: “There is no such thing as a bad word, only a bad intention.”
Second: I do mind his womanizing and objectification of women, but let’s be honest, that isn’t something that has stopped us from electing someone into office before. *coughErapcough* As for what this encourages, though… well that part I discussed below.
Third: I don’t mind his overall demeanor that much. He’s been in power in Davao City for over 22 years, so I have no doubt he knows what he can get away with and when he can get away with it. And right now, he can get away with his antics and his brusko image, but should he ever become President (knock on wood) I think he’ll straighten up. If anything, the past few debates have shown that quite clearly. I stand corrected, yesterday he said, “Bakit ka pa pupunta sa Mexico with all the kidnappings and killings (Why would you go to Mexico, with all those kidnappings and killings)?” in front the the ambassador of Mexico. IN. FRONT. OF. THE. AMBASSADOR. OF. MEXICO. What an absolute tool.
Fourth: Yes, there are many great and positive things in Davao that have been implemented under his lengthy stint as mayor, and those deserve to be lauded. Sana naman, di ba? 22+ years in power, he ought to show something for it. It is nothing special for a mayor who has served as long as Duterte has to have contributed a lot to the city he leads.
With those out of the way, let’s begin with his fundamental platform: peace and order.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting your neighborhood to be safe, to want your village to be drug-free and alcohol-free, to go to work with peace of mind knowing that your kids wll be safe wherever they are.
Primary problem: that’s not the job of the President. That is the job of your respective Mayors.
Short of becoming a police state, there is an upper limit to what law enforcement can do under the law. Nevertheless, mayors have operational control over the police units assigned to their respective local government unit. If you have concerns over your own safety and the safety of your family, the first line of defense is your barangay, followed by local police. At no point does the President ever actually get involved in those operations. To insist on this is silly, bordering on absurd. The President is not Superman, no matter how much you wish him (or her) to be.
Secondary problem: Duterte hasn’t even accomplished that in Davao City after 22+ years in power. What makes him think he can achieve it nationwide, and in 6 months or less?
Sounds like a Ponzi scheme.
Speaking of schemes, how about the Davao Death Squad? This isn’t an urban legend or exaggeration (unlike *ahem* some of Duterte’s claims, according to no less than his VP Cayetano or even his supporters). This is real, this is documented.
Even if the DDS isn’t Duterte’s secret weapon against crime, the fact is that he condoned its operation. What’s to stop him from condoning it again if it goes nationwide?
Or perhaps the NPA might be his secret weapon? He is a self-styled NPA sympathizer, albeit only when they cooperate and stay out of his way. Recently, he said he would never kill an NPA member, while at the same time saying he’ll kill criminals. Last I checked, rebellion is still a crime. So the criminals he likes gets a free pass, while the criminals he doesn’t like die without a chance to prove themselves innocent?
I wonder how he’d handle the AFP if he were to become President. “Hoy putangina ninyo, huwag niyo barilin yang mga NPA! Kapag tinutukan kayo, ibigay niyo lang yung mga armas ninyo!” Generous.
On the topic of criminals Duterte likes, is it coincidence that only small-time petty criminals die under Duterte’s watch, whereas not a single “big fish” in drugs or smuggling are ever caught, much less killed? Where was Duterte’s anger against criminals during the Ampatuan Massacre – aren’t the Ampatuans Davao City residents?
Don’t even get me started on the drugs problem.
It doesn’t help that Duterte can’t seem to make up his mind on anything. He’s wishy-washy. Won’t run/will run. Killed hundreds/haven’t killed a single person. Womanizer with multiple partners/faithful to his wife. Cursed at Pope Francis/didn’t curse at Pope Francis. Will run cuz Poe is American/stays silent on the topic for months. Will fight Roxas mano-a-mano/chickens out, and then wants to see Roxas’ penis. Will end crime in 3-6 months/will suppress crime only. Binay is more qualified, Binay deserves to be President/Binay’s family will be a basketball team of corruption. Will implement Federalism/pag-aaralan muna ang Federalism. Serious/joke/exaggeration/strategy/”bobo ka lang kaya di mo gets.”
Will stop making big promises/proceeds to make unreasonably humongous promises, without a single hint as to how they will be accomplished.
I could go on indefinitely.
But if there is anything that truly disturbs me about Duterte and convinces me that he does not deserve to be our next President, it is that he inspires people to lie about him and about other candidates and their supporters, to threaten non-supporters with murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, etc., and to balk at facts when presented to them annd simply retreat to “Wala kang alam/pumunta ka muna sa Davao” as a generic response. His supporters take his behavior – his swearing, his misogyny, his homophobia, he objectification – as a cue, and so they emulate it thinking it’s okay.
What kind of “leader” does that?
And before you go and say “Eh supporters lang naman yun, hindi naman si Duterte mismo,” recall the case of Stephen Villena. The most Duterte could do was to “urge” his supporters not to bully, even as he said he “understood the sentiments of his supporters.” Last I checked, issuing a death threat is a crime. And here I thought Duterte was angry at criminals. Turns out criminals only anger him if they aren’t on his side; if the are on his side, instead of thuggishly threatening to kill them, he will just “urge” them to stop committing crimes.
So. Why not Duterte?
Because, simply put, he is just another trapo from a different major island, with his own unique quirks, nothing more.
We deserve better than that.