Duterte is self-destructing


Think before you speak. That is the sage advice people around newly-declared presidential aspirant Rody “Digong” Duterte should keep reminding him. That, however, might be quite difficult for the colorful and controversial Davao City mayor, especially since he’s trying to project a tough guy image to match his anti-crime, anti-drug, and anti-corruption campaign rhetoric. But if he doesn’t tone down his crude and foul-mouthed spiels, his self-destructive strategy will later definitely take a toll on his poll numbers although his survey ratings now are still very good for him.

Already, Duterte faced an angry public backlash for cussing out the Roman Pontiff during his declaration speech last week as the presidential standard-bearer of PDP-Laban. It was an ominous start to what should have been an easy campaign.

Before he started opening his mouth, Duterte was the top choice of Metro Manila voters for president, based on a Pulse Asia presidential preference survey. The privately commissioned survey, conducted weeks before Duterte declared his candidacy, showed that 34 percent of the respondents would vote for him if the elections were held then.

Of course, Metro Manila is not the Philippines. And his poll ratings are not predictive of the final election results. The way we see it, the more crucial survey will be the nationwide poll a month or so from now, after the public has had a chance to scrutinize him more closely. The results will give voters (and potential donors) an idea as to whether the Davao City mayor’s presidential campaign is sustainable over the long term or a flash in the pan.

Look at Senator Grace Poe. Three months ago, her lead seemed insurmountable. But now facing a deluge of legal challenges plus a recent setback before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which had disqualified her for lack of residency, Poe has seen her survey numbers take an alarmingly steep downturn.

There’s no doubt Duterte’s survey numbers will take a hit, too, especially after he makes more mistakes like the Pope Francis fiasco. But whether his ratings will slide remains to be seen – or heard.

But it would be wrong for Duterte’s opponents to ignore what made him so appealing to a lot of Filipinos in the first place. Most politicians nowadays appear so scripted and polished that a candidate like Duterte who blurts out his opinion without seeming regard to what other people think or say appears genuinely authentic, even if what he says goes against most people’s innate sense of morality and justice.

For many voters, the curse-filled rants unleashed by Duterte against an inept government that has failed to stop rampant criminality, corruption and the proliferation of drugs ring true. His expletive-laden response to the needless hardships foisted on our countrymen by an insensitive administration echoes the frustration and sentiments of many Filipinos.

For others, Duterte’s outrageous off-the-cuff remarks make him the Filipino counterpart of Donald Trump, the self-promoting American real estate mogul who has become the top contender for the Republican presidential nomination.

The comparison is not farfetched. Both men seem to speak their mind to the point of crudeness.

Donald Trump once suggested that the face of Carly Fiorina – his opponent in the Republican race – would make her unelectable. Trump also sparked outrage in the Latino community after accusing undocumented Mexicans immigrants of “bringing drugs.” He also said, “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

The presidential bet from Davao, on the other hand, made no bones about his womanizing ways. Even after admitting having two wives and two girlfriends, Duterte says he won’t stop entertaining women if he is elected president. Duterte says, “I will open all the books of Malacañang. If there are beautiful women waiting outside, I will open the door to my room.”

Both Trump and Duterte aren’t shy about proclaiming their successes.

Trump, who treats humility as a weakness, said that “I’ve done an amazing job” as a businessman. He claims he’s qualified to lead America because “Everything I’ve done virtually has been a tremendous success.”

Among Duterte’s oft-repeated lines is how he transformed Davao into a drug-free and crime-free city where “your beautiful wife or beautiful daughter can walk late at night until the wee hours of the morning in any street without being molested or hurt.”

They both offer simplistic solutions to complex problems.

To stem the tide of illegal immigration, Trump wants to put a wall along the southern border and let Mexico pay for it. Duterte, meanwhile, promises to “eliminate” the country’s drug problem, warning that more funeral parlors should be put up to accommodate drug pushers. Duterte’s quick fix to keep our cities safe? “Kill them all (criminals).”

Like Trump, Duterte is clearly feeding on the pervasive disenchantment of voters with politicians who have made a lot of promises but always fail to deliver. As long as they feel that way, many Filipinos are going to be tempted to elect someone who believes that the end justifies the means. And this is what many folks find alarming.

Lyndon Johnson once said: “It’s not doing what is right that’s hard for a President. It’s knowing what is right.”

That discernment, we foresee, will remain a challenge for Duterte, notwithstanding the admonition of Archbishop Romulo Valles last Saturday.


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  1. I am 66 now. I was a 6 year old girl when i learned that my father who was a bridge foreman was instructed by corrupt engineers to enter ghost bridge workers. I also learned at that age, the fund that should have been spent on roads went to the pockets of local politicians. No wonder after a few rains, the liquidy cement or thin asphalt on the road would just melt away with the soil. I was 21 years old when i decided to vote in Sampaloc. But i was put off by people giving me 50 pesos or a tshirt in return for writing the names of their candidates. I have never voted ever since. The Philippines is a country that only serve the rich and the politically or financially connected. It is a country where leaders do not need knowledge about leading, they just need familiar names, they just need to become popular movie stars or tv celebrities. The Philippines is a country that never helps its people, that only help the rich and the powerful. It is a country even called outside as a nation of servants because poor filipinos could not get jobs at home, so working in foreign countries become the dream of most poor filipinos, to go abroad is equivalent to have education, house and food for those left behind. For the first time in my voting life, i got interested in the candidates aspiring to become president in 2016. What i see is a Philippines where the corrupt do not go unquestioned anymore. This is what the internet age has brought to the Philippines. Everybody is free now to express their ideas and feelings which is good. I believe that a leader that the philippines need is a duterte miriam santiago combination. Brain plus political will are needed if the Philippines could become a proud country, duterte has the political will, santiago has brain, both hate the corrupt and unjust..it is time that filipinos think twice about movie stars and tv celebrities when voting. The Philippines have many brilliant minds, but they are short of name, connections, money. It is time the filipinos think of choosing a leader whose interest is not fame or money, rather, the interest of the nation.

  2. I prefer Any of the 3 over him. He is not a good example to the children. He lacks discretion, respect, and faith.

  3. Ever since there were extra-judicial killings in Metro-Manila, but has one heard of an outrage against it? I have yet to read and hear one vigilante got arrested for salvaging, drug addicts, drug pushers and those who finance or produce it. The genteel and the manicured are plainly surprised and shock with Duterte’s audacity to speak, To these people: it’s foul. But to the less fortunate and poor, it’s great!

  4. Alam ni duterte,na kakaunti na lamang ang totoong sumasampalataya sa mga pari at pope,kaya ganoon siya magsalita laban dito,dahil mismo siya na katoliko,ay Walang, maalala na ginawa na dapat niyang ipasalamat!
    Sa totoo maraming tao ang nasasabing katoliko sila,ngunit di nila ito maramdaman! Kaya halos walang gustong magsimba!
    Siya lamang ang nagpakita na hindi siya basta madidiktahan ng sino man religion at yun ang mabuti!
    May mga taong nakakapagsalita ng hindi kaaya aya!ngunit mabuti naman ang ginagawa!
    Bakit sa US at European ang pagmumura ay walang isyu sa kanila dahil alam nila, salita lang ito at hindi ito ang tunay ng isipanng tao!

  5. Rodrigo Duterte is the Donald Trump of the Philippines in antics and tongue sans a couple of billion dollars. Yes, the Filipino voters wanted Erap Estrada and FPJ to govern as fictional greats in the movies. We saw Estrada imprisoned. We did not see FPJ because he did not make it as we saw him the movies. That is the kind of electorate we have and expect a good government and it is being made into a hereditary property. When shall the Philippines be straightened? Let it not be a mistake too to elect a fast operator or one being afraid of by the Amnesty International for rights infraction.

    • It is the political maturity of the Filipino voters that is the problem. Or maybe the whole mental capacity of the Filipino people is the problem. How can you vote for a person that is a womanizer, a confess criminal killer, a bad mouth politician and more? A very scary person and the most scariest Filipino voters.

  6. lahat ng mga naunang comments ay napakakaganda ng puntos. Syempre lalo na ang columnist. Makakatulong ito sa ating mag-isip. Kaso hindi lahat ng botante ay may panahon o computer para mabasa ang inyong comments. mas malakas ang dating ng may perang iniaabot at yung may track record ng pagiging crime buster. hindi lahat ng mga mangingisda at magsasaka ay may anak na gumagamit ng social media. Pulos nakatutok kina yayadub at iba pang mga sikat sa sine at tv. Kayong mga gising na na naliliwanagan ng ganitong exchanges ng opinion at conviction, makatulong naman kayo na maikalat ang tama at marangal na insights.

  7. Well said sir. Atty. Dulay.Bravo..!

    One thing more, W e don’t need Saddam to lead our country.Period.

    I’d rather select an atheist who has a heart and mind and have good word and action and respect of life and law, than a believer of God that has no heart, mad man, and killer and has no respect of life and law.

    • So do I, I will rather choose an atheist than a communist sympathizer who believes that he is the judge, jury and executioner….. Miriam and Bongbong for 2016….

  8. Well, just want until the die-hard duterte fans arrive from overseas going home for a holiday. They’re active campaigners. Expect instead a rise in the survey results.
    There’s no comparison to Poe who has very passive campaigners.

  9. QualityReality on

    they need to know duterte ..killer,womanizer
    and human rights violator..his stand on NPA (paying revolutionary taxes), China
    (hindi natin kaya ang tsina?), big time druglords and smugglers (only petty
    criminals are eliminated), on violations of human rights (why kill if you can

  10. Claro Apolinar on

    I agree with you, Atty. Dulay. God ble3ss you. MOre power as an incisive Christian-minded columnist.

  11. SThe rampaging herds of criminals all over the country and the untamed city of crimes indeed is the proper venue for Dirty Harry DUTERTE to pound the beat or patrol and eradicate these criminal malaise and undesirable elements of society. Give back the streets all over country to the peace-loving citizens to stroll freely without fear! These lawless elements comprised not only of the unknown poor uneducated and oppressed criminals who cling to robberies, thefts. Drug dealings, carnapping, kidnappings and other killings for hire to hurdle the poverty and hopeless economic condition they are confronted in their day-to-day survival to the danger and sufferings of those law-abiding citizens, and must be truly eliminated to improve the peace and order predicament of the society. But there are also corrupt elements in our community and society who are subtly operating behind the facade clean living when in fact they suck the financial juice of the wealth of the country. These are the corrupt politicians, bureaucratic high officials in position of handling funding government projects, the officials of the Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bu. Of Forestry and Minings, Fisheries and Agriculture, which must be fired, prosecuted and jailed. Duterte must focus not only on the hardened criminals but most of all on corrupt government officials. National discipline on garbage/sanitation, traffic driving behaviour and inter-personal courteous interaction promoting respect of individual rights must be enhanced.
    Duterte must abide and adhere to Constitutional “due process of law” in enforcing his “vigilantes law of the jungle”. Otherwise , he will be just like Dictator Marcos, who became abusive and plundered nation’s wealth for being too powerful and unchecked on his political governmental power.
    Although a benign dictatorship is a welcome political change
    if only to inculcate discipline of the people and eradicate corruption and criminals, these will redound to the welfare and eventual upliftment of the Philippine social behaviour and economic progress and well-being!
    If,this is so, then I recommend DUTERTE for the Presidency!
    But if he renege on this leadership parameters and he evolve as an abusive and corrupt President, then DUTERTE himself must hang and put in jail for fraud and criminal opportunism!
    But after Duterte cursed Pope Francis for his mere traffic exasperation, Duterte lost substantial support for his uncouth manners. What if he becomes President? Duterte will be a dictator and will probably shoot his police escorts for the traffic mess! Duterte’s abusive, unpresidential manners, and mood upswing shows he has. loose screws in his brain and will be a crazy ruler like Idi Amin of Africa who eats human entrails of people he killed. He will be like Duterte who declared same crazy tendencies by saying he needs only salt to eat his victims! Wow! Duterte is a savage animal after all!
    More so his crime-drive on illegal drugs,corruption, poverty did not touch on the drug lords but only the peripheral pushers and users, he has not jail any government official in Davao for corruption. So what realy his substantive political agenda but only to be
    just controversial to be known nationally!
    NO TO DUTERTE, the criminal vigilante!

    • …what makes Duterte attractive to the masa is his track record of looking after the welfare of his constituents in Davao by eliminating criminals. until you, yourself become a victim, it will be difficult to swallow the likes of Duterte but once you or one member of your family has been a victim of any crimes then it will be very easy to accept Duterte as the next president. Majority of Filipinos are tired of the same old national politicians who do nothing for them. Just have a little doubt if his ability to scale up his governance formula in his city to a national scale. But given the lack of choice, voting for him is plain and simple “a protest vote” against families of elites who alternately elected president in this country since time immemorial as if the presidency belongs only to them…why not electing a president w/ a heart & balls that really bleeds for the poor and ordinary citizens of this country… kahit nagmumura! eh ano ngayon? keysa mga bulsang nagmumura sa dami ng pondong ninakaw dahil sa overpriced projects… o kaya, ‘di nga palamura pero wala namang paki-alam sa mga pangangailangan ng mga tao…o kaya isang taong minsan nyang tinalikuran ang pagiging Pilipino?…