Duterte should abandon Davao



BY that, I mean President Duterte, for the good of the country, should both stop making Davao City his main world—the comfort zone he hasn’t really moved out of—and, more importantly perhaps, to jettison his city-mayor mindset.

In fact, much of his failings in his nearly six months in office are most probably because his world hasn’t become the entire Philippines, but still Davao City. But he is not just President of Davao City, nor just of Mindanao. He is President of the entire country.

I had initially cheered the assumption to the presidency of a political leader whose world had been outside Manila, as this could jar our political and economic leadership’s Manila-centric worldview since the birth of our nation. This resulted in resources being focused mainly on the metropolis, with the poorest of the country, mostly outside the country, trapped in poverty.

But that is appearing to be more and more just wishful thinking, involving theory that doesn’t jibe with reality. Duterte’s “Davao-centrism” could even be his big handicap.

Take Duterte’s war against drugs, the images of which have horrified the world, what with vivid photos of corpses in streets and in morgues in the New York Times and the UK-based Daily Mail.

When he ordered the police, “Slaughter them all,” referring to those involved in the drug trade, I suspect that his mindset was that of his days in Davao City, ordering the 500-strong police force of the city, whose integrity and character—and limits—he would have known. With such a relatively small force, it was easy for him to monitor his order’s implementation, so that it doesn’t get out of control and end up in a bloodbath.

But as President of the Republic, his slaughter-them-all directive was issued to the 160,000 personnel of the entire Philippine National Police in 2,000 regional, provincial, city and municipal commands. To illustrate arithmetically, if only 10 percent of the Davao police were sadist killers, only 50 policemen would have gone on a spree of extra-judicial executions. In fact, Duterte had undertaken such a war against illegal drugs in the 1980s and 1990s, and it hardly merited reportage from the big foreign news outfits

The President commuting from office to home.

The President commuting from office to home.

But if 10 percent of the entire police force were such cold-blooded killers, you’d have a huge number of 16,000 policemen in the country on a killing spree. No wonder not a day has passed since July when tabloids and TV news do not have pictures and videos of poor people in slippers killed in some drug bust, and who apparently had such a surge of audacity to fight policemen that they had to be killed.

Davao Cabinet
About half of Duterte’s Cabinet members, and in crucial posts, are people from Davao or adjacent areas, which would reinforce his Davao-centric view. Other than Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, among them are: Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez II; Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III; Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, another childhood friend; Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno; DILG for Police Matters, Catalino Uy; Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial; Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo; Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza; Immigration and Deportation chief Jaime Hermo Morente, a former Davao City chief of police; National Bureau of Investigation Director Dane Gierran, for a long time NBI Davao head; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency head Isidro Lapeña; Philippine National Police Director-General Ronaldo de la Rosa, a former Davao City police chief; Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol; Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella; Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Duterte’s city administrator; and of course, Duterte’s constant companion, Christopher Go, since 1998 the president’s aide who now heads the Presidential Management Staff .

(The next biggest bloc in Duterte’s Cabinet–the other four are the nominees of the National Democratic Front—are his classmates or room-mates in the dormitories where he lived when he took up law at San Beda in the 1970s. Among those in this group are Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, and information and communications technology chief Rodolfo Salalima.)

Take his style of leadership.

Mayors ever hardly have a real second-in-command, as it has often happened that such subordinates in the short span of the mayor’s term manage to get enough support in the relatively small political arena that they become the main challenger to the post in the next elections.

But because of the huge size of the national bureaucracy that needs to be managed, presidents have no choice but to have their second-in-command, or the “Little President,” i.e., the Executive Secretary whom every other official looks up to as the Cabinet’s primus inter pares. I certainly don’t think that Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Duterte’s childhood buddy, has been a “Little President.”

Sources claim that Duterte always seems bored during Cabinet meetings when issues other than the war vs illegal drugs are discussed, that he fights off sleep by cracking jokes. Other than building new roads, most mayors’ concerns really have been almost solely with peace and order. Can this mayor of what was once a Wild West frontier town be really interested in trade and investment issues?

Duterte had justified the hiring of his Davao and San Beda officials by claiming that he had such a “small world” that these are the only people he really knows, whose integrity he can vouch for. But of the 11 presidents of the postwar Republic, it is only Duterte who is relying so much on people from one city.

Is there something in that city–its famous durian?—that produces the most intelligent and most honest Filipinos, the only ones worthy to serve in Duterte’s Cabinet?

Public pronouncements
Take his public pronouncements.

I don’t think any nationwide press would have ever reported on Duterte’s off-color jokes and shocking statements. As Davao mayor, he would have been covered only by a handful or so broadcasters or print journalists covering Davao City. As most mayors do, he would have made these journalists his friends, whom he even socializes with in restaurants and bars in the relatively small city, and most of whom would be extremely supportive of him, even translating his statements into more palatable ones for the public’s sensibilities.

After six months in office though, I don’t think he realizes that his statements are reported verbatim not only in the national press but by foreign news outfits, with even the Filipino correspondents having imbibed (or aped) their superiors’ tight-assed mindsets that cannot distinguish jokes from official policy statements.

And lastly, which may seem a minor matter but really isn’t. We can’t really monitor the President’s schedule, like where he is, because the Presidential Communications Operations Office, headed by Martin Andanar, the former newsreader that former senator Manuel Villar lobbied for him to be given the position, has been so incompetent in its job.

The government’s official website run by an undersecretary, Manuel Quezon, in the past administration, contained so much useful information about the presidency, and regularly had a section “President’s Day”. Now the website contains only the most minimum required of it as the Official Gazette, such as official copies of administrative orders and executive orders.

There’ s no “President’s Day” section now. So we don’t have information on where the President has been spending his time, which we citizens deserve to know.

But based on newspaper reports, Duterte it seems has been spending a lot of his days in Davao City, his comfort zone. Or is he one of those people who really can’t sleep anywhere else but in their own beds?

This of course would eat up a lot of the President’s valuable time, which he could be using to study the huge problems of the country or to consult with his officials. No wonder he often seems sleepy or has had dizzy episodes. To commute to Davao from Manila requires at least three hours, including the rest periods before and after a flight.

That would mean a President not really working full time, but spending hours commuting. From a President spending a lot of his time playing X-Box computer games to a President spending hours on a plane to and from Davao. What a country.

E-mail: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
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  1. When you go to war , do not waver.
    King Saul cast doubt and wavered so he was removed by The Lord as king.
    David was loved by The Lord because he never wavered and never entertained doubts. He annihilated the enemies of Israel , including their animals demolishing everything the enemies possessed , according to the word of The Lord.
    When The Lord was at war through His servant David , the lawlessness of The Lord was at work and pitted against the lawless enemies.

    Those ignorant men of the church and so-called human rights advocates are the real obstacles to the government’s war against the drug menace. They urge the government forces to observe restrictions , and in so doing they want the government and the good citizens of the Republic to lose the war against the evil and lawless elements that have been wreaking havoc to our society.

    They protect the lives and rights of those criminals by shouting “human rights”. They are ignorant of the fact that those criminals do not respect human rights themselves and they absolutely violate the laws , so why treat them as humans!
    The drug lords , corrupt officials and all other lawless entities including private individuals who sapped the blood of every poor man—they loved to cuddle!

    Human rights activists , as well as men and women of the church , you brood of vipers!
    Hear the word of The Lord—how long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?
    Instill in your mind , we are in a state of lawlessness , so why compel the government to observe laws when we are at war with lawless entities?
    When you go to war—DO NOT OBSERVE LAWS , otherwise , you loses the war. Remember the enemies are lawless. They do not observe the laws. So neither should you.
    Let lawlessness destroys lawlessness!

    For everybody’s ramification , let it be known that not only the Philippines is in a state of lawlessness. The whole world , in reality , is under the power of lawlessness.
    This is in fulfillment of the prophetic utterance of John which say : 1 John 5:19 (KJV)
    19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

    Truly , the whole world is under the state of lawlessness because of the lawlessness of the wicked.
    What shall we do now? Shall we restrict ourselves by handcuffing our own police forces through laws and several impositions being made by the coddlers of criminals?
    They want the police to observe the laws while allowing the enemies to go lawless. Unfair play!
    You are the real enemies! Fake human rights adherents and irreligious men of the church—are you so dull to understand that evil has no human rights? You do not understand your bible!

    The subject of human rights as applied to criminals is just an illusion of Satan or the Devil.
    He is just protecting his own interest not the interest of God. He does not want his lawless demons to be annihilated that is why he push for human rights to protect his legions of evildoers.

    In the strictest sense of the word lawlessness , no one should be imprisoned in fighting and annihilating the evil forces. God will not condemned and punished any man who goes out and wage war against evil , and completely destroy the wicked ones.

    But men are so ignorant as beasts , they are quick to condemned those who will stake their lives and their honor for the sake of saving the world from evil.
    Unreasoning animals , damned brood of vipers !
    Do you think you can escape the sentence of hell?

    In biblical terms , what really is the significance of putting the whole world under the state of lawlessness , that is , under the power of the evil one?
    Well , foremost reason is that , come the appointed time of the end when God shall have punished and destroyed the evil world—Satan cannot sue The Lord for human rights violations because the whole world has been declared in the state of lawlessness.
    When the whole world is put under the state of lawlessness—it is only then , that it is no longer unlawful to kill evil. It is time for God to annihilate all evildoers.
    That is the purpose of declaring a state of lawlessness for the whole world—to lawlessly destroy the lawless evil and to save the righteous ones.

  2. I am surprised to you Mr. Tiglao that you change your stand and perception to DU30. I did not vote for DU30, for a personal reason that I found him from the very beginning of his political campaign that he is not meant to be a leader. Hearing DU30 all the time to kill in his speeches during political campaign with a second demotion with Senator Alan Cayetano, I found DU30 unfit to lead a nation. And I am not wronged with my judgment: he is psychologically sick man.

  3. I am anti-Noynoy but at least Noynoy did not order the government forces to kill civilians – even just mere suspects. He also did not advocate “reverse federalism” which is, in reality, balkanization of the country, nor charter change to allow 100% foreign ownership of everything to enable more Chinese to further control our Chinese-controlled economy.

  4. Mr. Tiglao this is a very perceptive essay which touches on the seemingly small town mind set of Duterte. If indeed his main focus is on the so called war on drugs, then he is missing the wood for the trees, and overlooking the major social problems facing the country. There are presently millions of unemployed Filipinos. Add to this figure the 10 or 11 million OFWs, and we can see the massive need for more employment opportunities in the country.

    While the OFWs are doing a great job in helping their families and shoring up the economy, yet for many OFWs this comes with a great social cost, that is separation from their families and loved ones. Just how many criminals and drug addicts can be attributed to the lack of parental guidance and love (due to the father/mother working in a foreign country) is something for the authorities to establish. This is in addition to the often times dangers and demeaning work that many OFWs have to perform.

    The President and his cabinet should therefore make the creation of more jobs its most important objective.. If necessary, the President should create a Commission, headed by a distinguished personality with no personal interests (Mr. Kit Tatad perhaps) to make recommendations on how this massive job creation can be undertaken.

  5. I guess the President should also tackle regional discrimination in the country. Of course Manila would not feel the pressure as they are soo called the “Imperialistic capital of the country” but other cities are looked down upon like in Cebu, Davao and other regional cities. Bisaya speakers are always looked down upon or untreated equally. And the people of the Philippines should also avoid smart shaming or being anti-intellectual to other people are having suggestions, otherwise the Philippines would not progress with that kind of attitude.

  6. Marcus Galleon on

    He wanted the best people without personal interests. But most of them can’t support their families with that amount of salary a gov’t employee gets..

  7. Joe Dela Victoria on

    Mr. R Tiglao have been sitting in your chair wat Jing only main stream media?
    Have you read about Bicol International Airport?
    Linking Visayas Islands Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Neg Or/ Occ proposed road & rail bridges?
    Jolo Sulu road const & schools rehabs? Free irrigation to farmers? Etc?
    It is better when Du30 is in the province because he sees all kinds of Filipinos.
    Unlike other Pres who are too myopic to think the Manila problem is Phil problem.
    Please social media often.


      From wikipedia:

      Bicol International Airport was in planning since early 2006,[1] when officials discussed the feasibility of an international airport in Legazpi. During March 4 and 5, 2006, officials in Daraga, where the airport would be constructed, discussed with the barangay captains of barangays Alobo, Inarado, Kinawitan, Burgos and Mabini over the conversion of agricultural lands into industrial lands for the airport. It is estimated to occupy at least 2 square kilometres of land, and many families could be displaced from the construction.

      It will be the first international airport to be built in Bicolandia and, according to Daraga Mayor Gerry Rodrigueza Jaucian, would be a testament to economic growth in the region and of the dreams of Bicolanos, as shown in the following excerpt from the Manila Times:

      “We’re grateful to the President for fulfilling the Bicolanos’ dream to have an international airport. This is the realization of our quest to become one of the booming regions in the country.”
      On July 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications), to fast-track the paperwork on the planned new airport.[2] President Macapagal-Arroyo released 85 million pesos for its advance engineering study.[3] Tourism secretary Ace Durano has assured the allotment of P250 million for the purchase of land. As of November 2007, pre-construction activities such as the feasibility study and site development plan have been completed. The construction contract has been bid for.[4]

      The airport was originally scheduled for completion in 2014.[5] However, due to a construction delay, the project was expected to be finished at an unspecified date before 2016.[6] In June 2015, it was reported that the construction is 47% done and would be finished in July 2017,[7] but in July 2016 it was reported that the construction would be delayed further and would be finished in August 2018.[8]

      In September 2012, the Budget Department released P4.6 billion to support the public-private partnership (PPP) projects of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC). Of the total, the airport will receive P2 billion to develop and fund the engineering of runways and taxiways.[9]

    • George PalaItot on

      did you just come out from the CAVE my dear and learned that the Bicol airport was build in 5 months by PDutz? oh wait, in 5 moths the Super Super prisidin build everything in 5 months. going back to Tesda and learning more skills could be beneficial for your dormant brain, inday?

  8. This is the problem with many who aspire to be President of this country. They have not taken the time to study the problems and think of solutions and are ill-prepared for the position when they are elected. They not only have no idea what to do, they have no vision for the country whatsoever. Come next election for President in 2022, Pacquiao will be running and will probably win because he has the money and the masa with him. That’s the time to migrate to Somalia, Haiti or Burundi where there are more sensible and intelligent people.

    • You are absolutely right. President needs to be accountable for their actions and should be ousted if found corrupt like the President of South Korea who was involved in corruption. I also agree that Manny Pacquiao was elected because he has the money. He should not be allowed to become President unless he can straighten is English and pay his taxes properly. His promoter Bob Arun and friend Chuavit are both encouraging him to run. For what?? Their own interest. I bet you they know Manny’s dirty closet very well. Stay tune.

  9. Let us pray that the people he pick will do the right thing. Look what happen with Abaya, Abad , and company. A big mess. It is the people that is important not solely the president.

  10. Good morning Mr. Tiglao: ako ay nagtatanong lang… Ang sabi noon ni Sec. V. Aguirre na malakas ang ebidensya laban kay delima at bakit hanggang ngayon ay wala pa ring isinampa na kaso laban kay delima ano pa ba ang inaantay na naman ni Sec. Aguirre at pinayagan na niyang lumabas ng pilipinas. Kaya tuloy na hindi ko maialis sa isipan ko na ano ba ito si Sec. Aguirre hanggang salita lang ba? Or kakampi pa ba siya ni Pangulong Duterte or kakampi siya sa LP. Ako ay naguguluhan na sa kanya. Salamat po! Inuulit ko po na ako ay nagtatanong lang kung bakit……..

    • Diyos ko naman Mang Ernie gusto mo atang madalian na dakpin ni Aguirre si De Lima – mag isip ka nga like a lawyer – ano ang mga ebidensiya against De Lima – are they tight proof – na wala na siyang kawala and she wont be able to get away from her sheer arrogance of being a powerful woman. Well, either Karma will slowly creep on De Lima or she will slowly die a happy death having sex with all those gorgeous at makikisig na mga body guards that she been making tuhog for all her might and using her frailties as a woman – nag bibigay kaagad nang kaligayahan kasi pangit.

      Watch ka lang muna Mang Ernie and hold your horse. Come on – give them the a chance to catch her – I think they know what they are doing. As they say they are doing some self preservation for De Lima we never know what is her state of mind – she could be on the brink of suicide.

  11. Leodegardo Pruna on

    I think that the President is just doing the right thing at this time because of where he come. He had a small world and now that he was catapulted to a much bigger world that he has to pick on men and women of his trust and confidence. We have to wait a little time for him to build his world and to expand his reach with the assistance of his trusted men. We should not deprive him of his comfort zone rather we should make his stay in any place comfortable so he could in the shortest possible time find comfort in all places from north to south. The fact that Du30 has visited almost all of the entire military and police reservations in the country, the soldiers and police being at the forefront in the protection and safety of the nation, which no other president I know have done in six months time is already a show of concern and solidarity for the people. God bless the Philippines.

  12. The Great Defiant on

    that’s why we better put Malacanang in centralized position possibly in the middle of the Philippines away from corrupted, chaotic and imperial manila.
    and also away from war crazed muslim, reds, ASG, MI, MN, BIFF.

    The best location maybe in Iloilo-Bacolod or Cebu.

  13. “I had initially cheered the assumption to the presidency…”

    I’m glad to see columnist Tiglao has the integrity to admit when he is wrong. We can only hope more and more of Duterte’s initial supporters come to see his true colors.

    Mr. Tiglao asks: “Is there something in that city–its famous durian? …”

    Well, there is certainly something or someone in Davao that smells far far worse than durian.

    • By what revelation do we smell Duterte’s color? He was just fulfilling what he has been promising all along during election!!!! WHAT”S NEW?

      IF we voted for Duterrte, we agree on what he has promised.

      Barely under six months he has accomplished so many things that previous administrations will take years to finished. The BS media was only highlighting the deaths.

  14. The nation benefits from PRRD’s hits and misses in Davao. He seeks to scale up to the national level all lessons learned and acquired over 20 years. Staying close to his roots will allow him to remain deeply grounded and close to the l the people he serves.

  15. Subscribe to rtvm in You tube. There’s a video of his whereabouts updated daily. Or like presidential communications facebook page to get live updates. Additional info from fb pages of Manny pinol,judy taguiwalo,arnell Ignacio,Kat de Castro. Durian doesn’t make them intelligent but honest and workaholic.

  16. Regarding the UK-DM posted morgues images is not related to drug of wars.
    Thats from the closed funeral parlor.

  17. Duterte should not abandon Davao.

    He should stay there for good until he gets ousted by whatever means.

    • Take the role of ousting the president, you must know the warning before hand that we will not allow it to happen. Only delusions.
      God bless the president.

  18. One sentence.. ikaw nalang tumakbo pagka president alam mo pala mindset ni president duterte

    Bka sabihibn mo ng bibigay kalang ng opinyon.. sabihin ko rin nagbibigay rin ako ng opinyon sau tumakbo ka president feeling mo ata lagpas mo yata wisdom ni president

  19. I agree, RT.

    The police force in NCR and in other parts of the country are ‘dingos’ compared to Davao’s domesticated police force.

    Manila has and will always be the seat of power. We all feel it and now that you’ve brought this topic up, it’s there that big disconnect – a void really.