I want to be hopeful, but…


RODRIGO Duterte is showing the world that he is different from all of his predecessors in the presidency. Filipinos, specifically those who did not vote for him, are struggling to accept the change that he had promised to bring about in government.

When you have a leader who prefers to go against the norms, you have to brace yourself for change. But when change is toward regression, the struggle becomes even harder to hope for better things to come.

Duterte, who will officially become the 16th President of the Philippine Republic on June 30, is far from being perfect. In fact, he is perceived by the majority who had other choices in the May 9 elections to be worse than those who came before him.

When the President sets aside good manners and right conduct even when appearing on national TV broadcast, we think we’re in big trouble. When the President shows disrespect for women, elders, and the disabled, he disconnects from his previous records that show laudable programs promoting their welfare.

Browsing on Facebook a few days ago, I saw this status of a teenage girl: “Hindi ko na alam kung ano ang tama sa mali.” (I can no longer distinguish right from wrong.) She made this comment on news reports that Duterte was not bent on assigning any Cabinet position to Vice President-elect Leni Robredo because it could hurt Bongbong Marcos, Jr., Robredo’s closest rival in the VP contest.

Previous posts of this lady, whose parents have not even met when martial law was declared in 1972, show her understanding of the country’s politics even before she was born. She was born a few years after Marcos, the dictator, was flown to Hawaii in 1986 where he died in 1989. In short, her political awareness is quite high compared with other teeners.

The girl’s post struck me. Change is coming, indeed! But it is change that does not show positivity. The change Duterte espouses seems to be from good to bad, the opposite of what we have grown accustomed to.

We often struggle to hope for a better tomorrow because we don’t know what it might look like. We take some time to try to figure out what awaits us, what future the younger generation would have if they grow up in an environment that we perceive to be far from ideal.

But there is no way that hatred, finger-pointing, labeling, defaming, casting aspersions on one another would help improve the situation.

Before the May 9 elections, I dreaded the probability of a Duterte presidency; it was difficult for me to accept his victory. But what option do I have other than accepting? The abhorrence was difficult to let go in view of the disgusting actions and behavior he had shown weeks before he officially assumes the presidency.

I wanted to give Duterte the chance to prove his worth. I wanted to be hopeful. But he is self-destructing even before he could take over the seat of power. Instead of breaking out of his bad habits in view of the widespread public disgust, he refuses to change his ways. He keeps on taunting his critics and continues to challenge the norms.

The hatred on the outgoing administration and the apparently unrealistic expectations on the incoming dispensation present a worrisome situation. Duterte should be able to narrow the gap to avoid further dividing the people. However, his post-election actions betray our hopes.

For one, his choice for a spokesperson has the reputation that seems unfit for the office he would represent or speak for. Salvador Panelo is disliked not only because of his links to the Ampatuans, the family embroiled in the mass murder of media workers in Maguindanao in 1989.

I won’t forget his nightly presence at the wake for my good friend Chit Estella, whose death in a vehicular accident in May 2011 was well-publicized. He also came early in his obnoxious attire for the funeral mass. It turned out that he tried to make his presence felt because he wanted to handle the criminal case against the bus company and its driver that bumped Chit’s taxi, causing her instant death. Nobody paid attention to him.

Two weeks after Chit was interred, we were shocked to read the news quoting him as the lawyer for the bus driver.

I learned from a Palace insider recently that when Panelo met with outgoing Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. for the transition and turnover of office, he asked if directorships in government-owned and -controlled corporations and other extra income go with the position.

Duterte may be right when he said he was having difficulty recruiting for Cabinet positions because they were concerned over the low pay in the bureaucracy. I would like to be hopeful in some of those who have accepted the challenge to serve under his administration, particularly UP Professors Benjamin Diokno and Leonor Briones.

I would like to be hopeful that by June 30, Duterte would live by his statement that he would behave prim and proper, that he would bring about change, a change that will be meaningful to every Filipino, change that can restore law and order and make us walk with heads up, proud to be Filipinos.

I hope that Duterte will not fail me, and the rest of the Filipinos, particularly those who raised too much expectation on his promise of change.


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  1. What majority are you talking about??…..I say you’re the minority right now …with 16 m+++ who voted for duterte…he is the choice of the Filipino people…. if you don’t like his style just stay on the sidelines as what we did during the term of the worst president the Philippines ever had… you’re judging him and he’s not even officially on board…. what he’s doing right now is putting these people who have lorded for such a long time in their proper places….these people thinks they’re bigger than the president…. we’ll now that you and your class don’t mean a thing to our president and you will be punish for the crimes committed on our people…. just wait till he assumes and just enjoy the ride….

    • tony de leon on

      lol this guy is crazy and unpreditable.lol that’s what we need. the crooks must be nervous by now. wait till he assume office. lolllll

  2. Amnata Pundit on

    “There is no way that hatred ,fingerpointing, labeling, defaming, casting aspersions on one another would help improve the situation.” Cory was guilty of all these things so why do you support her without reservations but you cannot do the same for Duterte? Your prejudice against him shows like a bright yellow flag surrounded by a thousand red banners. Cory was just an ordinary housewife who was filled with hate for the Marcoses, Duterte is a towering genius compared to that ordinary housewife and only hates the criminals and the corrupt. Isn’t your sentiment merely tribalism at its crudest, where Cory is acceptable because she belongs to “us” while objectionable Digong belongs to “them”? I know its hard to be rational all the time but a professional pundit should at least try to think instead of feel only.

  3. Duterte is the mirror image of the 16.5 millions that voted for him. Maybe we are not one of those 16.5 million but majority voted for him. At this time, it does not look good. Our people are instructed to be killers of drug lords, drug pushers . This is the responsibility of the justice dept. , police and the courts. Our country might become a country of assassins where people are paid rewards to kill. As for the 16.5 millions, you asked for it, so you got what you voted for. May God protect our nation.

  4. Rudi Miranda on

    Thank you! If you cannot accept the President elect demeanor, then, you have to examine your norms, for the problem is in you, perhaps, you’ve a problem with reality, because you’re reality is not the only one there is. By the way, there are many realities in what is life?

    • well youre reality is a bad one… dont put us on it and we dont like it.. there are much better ways to address the problems and not like you’re idol yakking about.