• Democracy needs bomb throwers to flourish

    Marlen V. Ronquillo

    Marlen V. Ronquillo

    From a personal realm, I admire Mr. Duterte. He defies tradition, shatters orthodoxies, and he wants to take the country to a path never taken before. Just to untangle the country from its old and deep ties with the liberal global order is an exciting — though risky — one. He has even upped the ante. Recently, in a state of pique, he threatened to pull the country out of the United Nations.

    Frame his pull-out threat from this context: The country was a founding member of the UN and our own Carlos P. Romulo once presided over the UN General Assembly. Our ties to the UN has been one of the sacred givens of our international relationship.

    Even non-believers of the UN want to be part of the UN, in part because their dictator-leaders want a backdoor way of acquiring a visa to the US, and perhaps shop (using illegally amassed dollars) at the Big Apple. Mr. Duterte will have none of that.

    His admonition to the Senate against ratifying the Paris Accord on Climate Change, so as not to rein in his dream to make manufacturing viable, is one big proof that he does not really care about global comity when national interests is impaired by that comity.

    Viewing his leadership through the prism of Mr. Aquino’s orthodoxy and the previous administration’s fixation with the usual GDP growth and credit upgrades, Mr. Duterte is also forcing the nation to take leadership decisions seriously. Ordinary Filipinos used to take their presidents for granted, given the relative orthodoxy of their governance. From Mrs. Aquino to Mr. Aquino, it was the same old, same old pursuit of growth and the dream to make it to “economic tiger status.”

    This time, the president is different.

    President Rodrigo Duterte. AFP PHOTO

    President Rodrigo Duterte. AFP PHOTO

    Mr. Duterte has combined his unorthodox view of our global relationship with a domestic policy never tried before. Law and order issues are first and foremost, and eliminating criminals with extreme prejudice, drug lords first and foremost, is a natural part of that process. From Mrs. Aquino to Mr. Aquino, economics was first and foremost and law and order was always in the back burners of policy priorities. Mr. Aquino, indeed, launched his own war, but it was a one-sided corruption campaign that primarily targeted his political enemies. The proliferation of vice lords — from narco to gambling lords –- never bothered Mr. Aquino a bit, and it was that opening, a nation tired of the chaos and anarchy, that the Duterte campaign deftly recognized and exploited.

    And this is the best part — Mr. Duterte has high approval and appreciation ratings. The nation, on the whole, favors the governing principles of Mr. Duterte.

    The heady mix of unorthodoxy, high approval ratings, and a fresh approach to governance has had the effect of muting all criticisms, partly because Establishment Politics does not know how to react to a president in the mold of Mr. Duterte. The main reason is political cowardice. No one wants to confront an unorthodox and popular president — even on the issue of extrajudicial killings.

    But that should not be the case in a democracy. For democracy to flourish, bomb throwers and dissidents are a must.

    Even the sainted Nelson Mandela had his staunch critics during his term as the post-apartheid leader of South Africa. Even the late Cory Aquino, during the euphoric years after EDSA 1, was not spared from criticisms.

    Enter Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of Mr. Duterte dating back to his Davao City years. As the supposedly brave men of the two chambers of Congress gave Mr. Duterte full governing leeway, Ms. De Lima became the solitary voice in the mainstream political establishment to question aspects of Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. yes she wants to argue the way mr. president run this country but her credibility as a senator or even as an ordinary citizen of this country is highly questionable now. many filipinos no longer believes in her.

    2. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      28 August 2016

      Manila Times columnist MARLEN V. RONQUILLO here seems to give the impression that he idolizes Der Fuhrer Rodrigo Duterte for the latter’s “Law and Order” campaign against drug lords, drug pushers and even drug addicts.

      “Law and Order?” Since when has barbaric EXTRA-JUDICIAL killings qualified under the rubric of “Law and Order?”

      Let me just remind Mr.Ronquillo, gently, that when Der Fuhrer Duterte took his Oath of Office last June 30th, he swore to honor, obey, protect and defend the Constitution with its Bill of Rights. He is also expected to adhere to the Rule of Law, and also to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

      He not only has not done any of these; he has deliberately violated all of these triumphantly. And that explains why he has been roundly criticized by the United Nations; piqued by that criticism, he threatens to take country out of the UN–and that is the typical barbaric and vulgar response of a “kanto boy.”

      I wonder why the country’s legal luminaries, including the Constitution Association of the Philippines, has remained almost completely SILENT about Der Fuhrer’s blatant defiance of the Constitution and also of the Rule of Law. Are they deathly afraid that Mr. Duterte’s “berdugo” Natonal Police Chief De la Rosa will “get” them extra-Judicially? Their silence is “deafening!”


      • Because there’s no need to condemn the Duterte Admin.. Do you think all of these Crimes are made by Duterte’s Administration? Try to look at the other angle what if they are liquidated by their fellow DRUG Mates or Lords just to jeopardize the investigation of the Government against them. These Drug Lords are also armed and funded by their Financier.. Now what if our president has no Balls to eradicate this Problems what do you think will happen to our Beloved Country decade from now..

    3. DU30 The Brave One….this is the accolade I use to describe our Pres. Nothing of the puritan gimmicks of the elite but full of common sense ( because he is a common tao from the streets and backyards of those who toil ). Numbers are numbers ( GDP, BOP, etc…. ) and gauges beneficial to the rich. The common tao mostly the numbers that count most is their measly budget painstakingly made to last till next salary time. Pogi points were for the oligarchs who ruled malacanang with ECON 101 numbers while the Brave One is making his + points untangling the web of corruptions, and do-good-nothing of his predecessors..I’ll say let the Brave One RULE…

    4. Mr Duterte’s attitude towards the UN and our global responsibilities however small, is – PAROCHIAL AND BARRIOTIC. He believes we can be an isolated island exclusively for ourselves only.

      His attitude towards DeLima, Sereno and critiques – PIKON, RECKLESS and VINDICTIVE !

      About his opinion on issues – Infallible, omnipotent; Nobody is Right except me!

    5. But does democracy work for the poor, ordinary, majority pilipinos?

      Your so-called democracy is used to hoodwink the people thru the paid, irresponsible media to pretend and sell the idea that everyone is free in this country, but actually it is only the thieves and corrupt elites who are free.

      The voice of an unclean, fornicating government official is louder than the cry of the people to clean up the judiciary, or the comelec, for instance. And who is doing the amplification – the shortsighted/paid media.

      Democracy is a bad thing if the leaders and its supposed guardians are unprincipled and for sale, and for what reasons?

      What the country really needs more urgently is discipline and efficiency in order to rise; not a fake democracy which has just become a tool of the evil society to hoodwink the people and do as they wish in complete freedom – which is nothing more than thievery and corruption. That is the brand of democracy we have here in the philippines.

    6. This woman Senator is so much like commercial endorser ( losing luster by the day ) Kris C. Aquino who loves the limelight and being the center of attention.

      People can only take so much, nakakasawa at nakakaumay na.

    7. Its unfortunate your touted Opposition Delima is caught red-handed on video cavorting with drug lords in prison and allegedly receiving payolas to look the other way. Is it any wonder she opposes vehemently the President’s relentless pursuit of criminals in the guise of “human rights abuse” and “ejk”? She is in neck-deep in crap.

    8. Duterte is totally different from our previous presidents. He is very outspoken, very dangerous and very tactless. I thought that his actions were used to be elected but it appears that that is his real self. By and large, he is a real Filipino. What he is is what a Filipino is. Dirty mouth, womanizer, tactless and go for broke attitude.

    9. DeLima is a political hack who was looking for time in the media. Her motive in holding the Senate hearing against the war on drugs was strictly political advancement. Now she regrets it. Instead of gaining positive ground, she has been exposed for what she is.

    10. Silverio Cabellon Jr on

      This is one of the mandates of the Philippibne Commission on Human Rights.

      “The Human Rights Protection program covers the entire complaints and case management process from documentation, investigation, resolution, referral, and case monitoring. It includes all other adjunct services derived from its powers and mandates to provide preventive measures and remedies and protect victims from violations of their rights or from any abuse specially of the disadvantaged, marginalized, and vulnerable. The program is implemented at the national and regional and field operations levels with the following major activities:
      • Documentation and management of complaints of human rights violations – This includes the conduct of special fact finding missions, public inquiries, quick reaction response, the provision of developmental legal services, such as legal aid, alternative dispute resolution and other forms of assistance to complainants, victims, witnesses and their families. It also includes the operation of the National Monitoring Mechanism, a collaboration among the CHR, CSOs, government agencies and the security sector to end impunity.

      We need to hear from them on whether they are doing their duty.

    11. DU30 may be the Philippines knight in shining armor but he has to define his vision in more detailed terms so that the people know and his performance can be measured. What does he intend to achieve in 6 years should be as clearly stated like the war on drugs, i.e., is eliminate drugs in 3 to 6 months. For example, GDP growth of 7%, jueteng eliminated, peace with the Reds and Abu Sayaf, poverty down to X million Filpinos, etc.

    12. The problem with de Lima is that SHE HAS NO CREDIBILITY. She is the worst messenger of human rights simply because she has poor moral values. Morality is an integral part of human rights. The face of or the name of de Lima is counter productive or even ineffective in the promotion of the so called human rights. My five cents, thank you.