Duterte or Idi Amin, what’s the difference?


IT seems lopsided at first glance, to make presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte square with past Uganda strongman Idi Amin. Physically, the former is at a disadvantage with his 5-foot-something, mid-size frame that seems best fit only for evincing notions of machismo. The latter, with 6 feet, 4 inches of a mighty robust physique, at once etches in the air the image of a towering giant made more awesome by medals of gallantry tucked to the left side from the breast to the hem of his military coat.

An accomplished swimmer, soccer forward, and the light heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda in his prime, Amin was the athletic type, to top his own machismo. Coupled with a brilliant military career beginning with his assignment at the King’s African Rifle in World War II all the way to his chiefdom of all Ugandan armed forces upon his ouster of former ally Ugandan Prime Minister Milton Obote in a coup in 1971, his attributes easily made him strut forward as a legendary hero for the oppressed – except that once in power, he opted to turn from hero to oppressor.

Here is an account by Wikipedia on the atrocities recorded under the reign of Idi Amin:

“The killings, motivated by ethnic, political, and financial factors, continued throughout Amin’s eight-year reign. The exact number of people killed is unknown. The International Commission of Jurists puts the death toll at no fewer than 80,000 and more likely around 300,000. An estimate compiled by exile organizations with the help of Amnesty International puts the number killed at 500,000.”

Beginning with the slaughter of Obote supporters in the military, Amin’s killing spree swept through various other groups before long, undertaken in a most indiscriminate manner. The victims included members of dissenting ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, students and intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals.

According to the account, “In this atmosphere of violence, many other people were killed for criminal motives or simply at will. Bodies were often dumped into the River Nile.”

In this light, the choice of Idi Amin as a Duterte look-alike is valid. In the history of Philippine politics, neither has a president nor any other presidential aspirant ever proclaimed killing as a way of government. And most worrisome is that Duterte makes such proclamation without any qualms whatsoever, even admitting having committed those killings in Davao City with impunity.

In the case of the recent killing of kidnappers in Davao City, Duterte unabashedly declared his reason thus: “To show my brutality.”

It is utterances like the one above that have made Duterte a darling to a throng yet unable to shake off the collective psyche of reverence for the kanto boy who subdues every other siga-siga in the neighborhood so that thereby he becomes the supreme siga. Wasn’t this psyche the one single factor that has endeared Fernando Poe, Jr. in his heyday to throngs even in such far-flung places as Mindanao? Give it to Duterte that he is iconized in Davao City. Give it even to his idolizers elsewhere in the country. If they see the Duterte carnage as cause for heroism, let them have the consequences coming to them. They will learn to their cost that glorifying a heartless demented despot is bound to heap upon them the worst. Idi Amin was proclaiming himself hero of all Africa – until he began giving release to his innate barbarous instincts.

One account sees Idi Amin in this light. “Amin’s egotistical behavior and mental health have been the subjects of much speculation throughout his reign and life. He was described as having a quick-change and violent short temper; being charming, happy, and charismatic one minute and then suddenly angry, violent, and brutal the next, with little or no warning. Many have speculated that his behavior was either the result of long-term syphilis of the brain or possibly undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder.”

Pity the Philippines if it had such a president
The thesaurus defines bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder or manic depression, as a mental disorder characterized by periods of elevated mood and periods of depression. The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania depending on the severity or whether there is psychosis.

Another account suggests a suspicion that Idi Amin was a cannibal, judging from the gory mutilation inflicted upon one of his wives. Amin never made any effort to solve the mystery.

In fairness, Duterte has neither eaten human flesh nor mutilated a wife. He has only neglected one, Elizabeth Abellana Zimmerman, who has this to say of him: “Yes, he is really a very good leader. That is all he is. But when it comes to family, he is not capable of taking care of it.” Now, charity begins at home. If you haven’t got charity for your family, how can you have charity for the nation?

Duterte’s posturing to the media can then be nothing but a grand act of projecting, as in Amin, his “egotistical behavior and mental health.” To repeat, what’s that in Amin? “Syphilis of the brain or possibly undiagnosed and untreated bipolar disorder.”

Of late, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released the result of its latest survey showing Duterte suddenly springing to the top of the field of presidential candidates, at 38%, with Grace Liamanzares and Vice President Jejomar Binay both at 21%.

Regardless of the lack of credibility of the survey (for it was reportedly commissioned by a Duterte supporter), the same Amnesty International which made strong intervention in Idi Amin’s killings in Uganda was alarmed by the publication of its result and has come forward to issue a warning to Duterte. But as Amin ignored the international human rights organization in the past, so does Duterte now.

“Ano ba’ng problema nila?” GMA News Online quotes Duterte’s reaction to the warning.

Proud of having killed 1,700
In a most abhorrent display of conceit and arrogance, Duterte even volunteers the information that Amnesty International’s figure of killings he admits having done in Davao City is wrong.

“Seven hundred daw piñatay ko? Kulang sila sa kuwenta,” Duterte says.

The GMA News Online reports: “Asked for a figure, he replied: ‘Mga 1,700’.”

Against the Davao City population of 1.449 million, that figure is at a ratio of 17 persons killed for every 850 of the population, or 2%. How does this compare with Idi Amin’s ratio? 300,000 killed against Uganda’s population of 11.8 million in 1978, that’s 3 persons killed out of every 39 of the population, or 7%. Evidently Duterte’s record pales in comparison to that of Idi Amin.

But make no mistake. Idi Amin was already dictator of Uganda when he killed those 300,000, with Uganda’s 25,000-strong armed forces completely at his beck and call. In contrast, Duterte is just mayor of Davao City, with not even the local police force under his command but just a private, albeit feared, death squad. And yet he is already scoring 2%.

Imagine if as president Duterte becomes commander in chief of the 150,000-strong Armed Forces of the Philippines and of the 160,000-strong Philippine National Police (the aggregate total of personnel being more than ten times those of Amin when he killed the 300,000) whose awesome killing powers, by virtue of law, are completely under his control.

Imagine the Awful Horror Duterte would be capable of doing once he becomes president. The possible catastrophe to happen is of biblical epic proportion: nothing like it in the past nor will there be anything like it in the future.

For eight years Idi Amin did Armageddon to Uganda. Are we to thank God Duterte will have only six years to do it to the Philippines, just in case?


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  1. Magaling. Kung me nakakakita na kahawig ni Duterte c Donald Trump at Idi Amin at yong sa Indonesia, , aba masasabi natin na me katotohanan e2. Inde bipolar yong sinasabi, psychoath mga yan. Basa basa ng mga artikulo sa mga ganyan e kitang kita na parepareho yong mga sinasabi,,,

  2. MGS Mas Idi Amin ka pa pala kay Idi Amin! Read again what you wrote.

    Why do ladies of the ‘prim, proper and religious’ type, give glimpses of wonder never seen or heard of before, to the ‘obscure’ persona of Duterte? The plight of Duterte is that he cannot easily uproot himself from the situation which taught him about life, poverty. In his younger days, he experienced by the family, demolition as poor squatters, perhaps, the poor condition steeled his resolve to confront life and carry it by the horns.

  3. You have the time to crack an analysis and ratio of Duterte’s joke about killing 1700 people?He was being sarcastic to the question raised during interview. What is the government doing all this time if he had 1700 killing records? Are the PNP,military,Justice system of Philippines so useless and without moral obligation by just sitting there all this years?The readers are not dumb about comparing Amin and putting too much effort on numbers and statistics of 2% for every 850 population to his statement which only requires common sense to be understood?

  4. yourcomparison between our own duterte n amin is out of sync. duterte kills criminals who victmized innocent civilians and to instill descipline. if you are happy with the criminality problems n inefficiency of this administration n roxas just keep ur mouth shut. dutere is d sign for change n descipline! go duterte go for president!

  5. How many American presidents were complicit in the massacre of American Indians during the Indian Wars in the West? How about the Popes who tortured thousands to death during the Inquisition? Yet History does not treat them the way it treats Idi Amin now. If Duterte kills all the corrupt in and out of government – never mind the likes of Abu Sayaf, the fake anti-imperialist NPAs and the others although that will be a welcome bonus if he does – do not be surprised if the People declare him the new National Hero in place of Rizal. Vox Populi, Vox Dei, di ba?

  6. Idi Amin has a history that can be narrated…Digong has only his mouth to narrate his history. All air no force that is Digong’s discription at best…Maybe in Davao he can do those callousness he is trumpeting. Let me see how he fares if kaya niyang duruduruin ang mga prominent bigtimers sa Luzon. Eh baka mas pa sina Chavit, Joson, Dumpit sa kanya. It will be Digong’s lithmus test if he wins the 2016 RP Pres election to have Chavit, Joson, Dumpit cowtowed to his callings. Eh yong mga Pineda pa, yong mga bigtimers pa sa Cavite, Caloocan, Isabela, Abra. Masubukan nga ang tigasin na ito.

  7. Mauro, I think you need to a little more research or at least broaden your sources. I believe you only clicked one link and believed in it. I’m talking about the 700 or 1,700 killings which you put an effort to inject some statistics in there. Hey listen, be updated. He retracted that statement and he said it was pure sarcasm. Read: Sarcasm. Research pa more so you won’t be embarrassed, or worse, be mistaken as a paid journalist by who else, hmmmmm LP? Yeah I think so.

  8. Do you believe that? Mr. Duterte killed 1,700 people. Buang pareho kamo ni Sen Trillanes. . . . Eh dapat noon pa naipakilong yan kung totoo. CHR just admitted their incompetence na wala silang magawa. paano kasi its only a hearsay. . Tinatawanan ka lng tuloy sa commentaries at may pumatol pa..whew!

  9. Thank you sir for the enlightening position. Filipinos should be wary and scared of this guy Rodrigo Duterte, for he might just turn this country into a big killing field. And yes, funeral parlors could be his cottage industry once elected as he boasted every now and then. While good leaders sell good life as a platform of governance, Mr. Duterte sell otherwise, suffice it to say that he is a ‘merchant of death’, with no pun intended to that great literary piece.

  10. why the fuck these journalists today are writing without even getting the facts first.
    all they are stating are just merely hearsays and opinions..
    not even one of duterte journalist bashers i have read that presented facts..
    why compare.?
    davao is just located almost 2hrs away from imperial manila by plane..
    go visit davao.. especially during midnight..
    mas matakot pa cguro kau sa aswang kesa sa tao..
    people of davao is not afraid of duterte,
    they respect him.. not just him, but the government of davao..

    “If they see the Duterte carnage as cause for heroism, let them have the consequences coming to them. They will learn to their cost that glorifying a heartless demented despot is bound to heap upon them the worst.”

    for 20 plus years, as a good citizen of davao, we only have positive consequences..
    however, if you are one of those crooked heads, its a negative for you..

    p.s. who do u call “heartless”..
    i say to you, you are an ignorant..

    • Nag aral sa Cambridge at abugado si LKY. Physically, he fought for the rights of the labor sector with brawn but not thru killing people or the communists during the time his country was separating from Malaysia. If its law school we are talking about, di sana ay nag aral sya sa Harvard or sa UP man lang. Ang layo naman ng comparison mo. Ni sa kahibla ng kuko ay napakalayo ni Digong.

    • lee kwan yew did not kill anyone, it took him almost 20 years to bring singapore to where singapore now.

  11. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. If Duterte wins, this will be the downfall of our country. I hope Filipinos will learn from prior mistake like the Marcos regime. Marcos intention was to remove the communist and criminals in the streets. At first , he was successful but later corruption and greed comes in and the Philippines when on the downward decline. Our country was almost bankrupt . The NPA and the MNLF became stronger.

  12. Sorry, we are doomed as a race. With people’s frustration not only Idi Amin, Kim il Jong, Hitler or demonyo, a sizable number of Filiilpinos believes that these types of “leaders” would lift the people’s lives of their present predicament. The Church failed, the society failed, the family failed with the years of bastard and corrupt governance of the ruling elite. GOD save the Philippines!

  13. Mr Samonte,

    No comparison between the 2 only narrow minded person do such. The simple diff bet them is du30 eliminate known harden criminals while amin kills innocent civilians political enemies against his rule enriching himself just like a leader in north korea does political purging

    Used your common sense!

    • willy buen , I agree with you entirely . Only an absolute Moron would think to compare Duterte with Amin. Samonte should be immediately dismissed for writing such absolute rubbish. The Manila Times is one of my favourite newspapers and I am so disappointed that they would publish such a low class article. !!!

    • Papaano naman yung mga kriminal na inosente tulad ko, na biktima ng isa gago at demonyo huwes o judge , na nagnakaw ng kapiraso lupa namin at sapilitan kami pinalayas at ginawan pa ng gawa gawa kaso at kinonvict kame sa isa krimen na hindi naman namin ginawa nasaan ang hustisya dyan sa ginawa sa amin ng hayup na judge na yan., alam ba ni Mayor duterte na bulok ang hudikatura sa Pilipinas at patunay kami na naakusahan dahil sa kawalanghiyaan ng isa judge na ito, madami lng mga inosente tao mabibitay sa death penalty na yan, ako sa kanya unahin na nya mga gago at demonyo judges na isalang sa death penalty bago nya patupad death penalty sa bansa f magiging president sya para malinis hudikatura d2 sa bansa Pilipinas. T_T

  14. Audie S. Vergara on

    Your comparing Duterte to Idi Amin smacks of fear mongering. I could be wrong but you sound like a huckster of wrecking ball paid to do a demolition job on Duterte.

  15. concerned citizen on

    Yes, we’d be better off electing Binay the Alibaba and his thieves and the Mr Palengke Marred Roxas who be as clueless how to manage a real palengke due to sheer incompetence in management ..Grace Poe is so so.. but she is already a goner not worth mentioning among presidential candidates due to Mar Roxas demolition job. he he he Duterte’s guts, persuasions and the political will to deliver what is due to the people what this country needs. #DuterteCayetano 2016

  16. Daniel B Laurente on

    The most stupid comparison. The reason Philippines will never succeed to its progressive direction because of stupid opinion putting down a Filipino, a crab mentality at it again.

  17. You should not have included your picture. You looks like a little boy pretending to be one of the intelligentsia. Looks like you belong in the world of priesthood. There is still time for you to join the priesthood.

    • He obviously talk more intelligent than you are, read your post again and it will tell you what a dumb person you are.

  18. Why go so far as Africa when Indonesia is so much near both geographically and culturally ?
    How many people were killed when Suharto was put there ? Millions and millions.

  19. You think they will do the killing spree with the law abiding citizenry? If he will do these things to corrupt politicians, rapist, robberers, drug pushers, smugglers, car thieves, murderers and all heinous crimes, it will still be better off than the awful state of the country today where the criminals are the king of the road… you cannot wear a gold earring or necklace in quiapo, sta. cruz, cubao or any part of metro manila, you cannot afford your children to come out from the gate of school without you watching them… it is now unsafe to live in Philippines, you are not even safe inside your house nowadays. why not try your wife wear gold in any place in quiapo vicinity during wee hours. You might pray that there will be 2 dutertes to become president.

    • Think again, killing is done by psychopath despite of the reason. Killers find it entertaining and so does Duterte. proud pa siya