Mr. Duterte should run, but must recast hollowed-out platform


The people pushing Mr. Duterte to run for president say his tough and muscular governance as a big-city mayor is what would propel him to the presidency. His take-no-prisoners predisposition is what excites the electorate. He has made Davao City a peaceful, safe and thriving place and therefore, he can make that happen to the whole country. So goes the pro-Duterte argument.

Given the sense of impunity of criminals in the country (bandits can just overwhelm an island -resort and seize foreigners in high-profile kidnappings), that is probably one of the major planks in a presidential quest. But it should be just one of the many and it should not be the most emphasized point. No one has been elected president of the country on a law-and-order platform, not even Mr. Ramos. The former constabulary chief and armed forces chief of staff had to reinvent himself as a new-age technocrat before getting elected as president with the slimmest margin in modern presidential elections.

Vowing to be tough on criminals will not get Mr. Duterte elected president. So if Mr. Duterte changes his mind and runs for president, he should recast his platform, which is enough for Davao City coffee shop banter but not substantial enough and compelling enough for a presidential run. The Davao-centric success will fall short in an archipelagic campaign.

The other claimed strength of Mr. Duterte – that he will change the culture and the ways of Imperial Manila – is another superficial, hollow argument for running. It will fall flat once subjected to real scrutiny and a rigorous intellectual test.

Giant metropolises, Mr. Duterte’s backers should realize, are really the creation of economic imperatives and they are not by-products of anti-rural and pro-urban diktat of the state. Look at the Davao City of Mr. Duterte. It has grown in increments but at a sustained rate. In the process, it is now host to most of the important educational, economic and cultural forces in that part of Mindanao, including hosting the best tertiary hospitals in the region. No even the combined value of all economic activities in three smaller cities near Davao City can match the economic power of the latter.

So we have an “Imperial Davao” towering over smaller cities and urban areas near it. Just like an “Imperial Manila” that is both a seat of political power and an economic colossus. You cannot artificially balkanize Metro Manila and alter its outsized growth and influence without disrupting the normal functioning of the economy and society.

Across the globe, it is the growth of the traditional big cities at a sustained pace that is accepted as a universal, inexorable development. Even in the US, the “Sun Belt” and “Rust Belt” theory of development of theorist Richard Florida, which was in vogue few years back, has been questioned.

So what should be the compelling agenda in his platform? I am just a typist with limited talent, a zero in that area. He has to get the best economic and political minds to do that. He has to acknowledge, however, that he has to grow intellectually if he wants to run for president.

Oh wait. What about economic injustice?

That depressing findings of a prominent economist, that the top 1 percent sucks up 60 % of GDP, is more depressing than a Yolanda or an Ondoy or a case of genocide in a remote area, given the fact that a vastly unequal society is the worst society human beings can be in. For an official like Mr. Duterte who, according to his supporters, wants the law to be applied to all without fear or favor, there is something patently illegal – criminal rather — about a society that allows the Top 1 percent to gobble up most of the gains while crippling the mobility of those in the 99 percentile and below.

Worst among all the public crimes, what is Mr. Duterte’s take on economic injustice and the stranglehold of the elite over the sweat and toil of a nation. No law-and-order agenda can be more pressing than solving the great divide that cripples mobility and meritocracy, frustrates the rise of a sizable middle class that would help good leaders govern well and serves as society ‘s conscience.

Mr. Duterte should venture into that policy field if he really wants to lead the nation and govern well.

While I am wary of Mr. Duterte’s presidential run and will probably not vote for him, his candidacy will surely bring a gust of fresh air and unorthodox perspectives into the 2016 contest. It should be welcomed. In a sense, his run will be a historic one. No LGU leader has ever attempted to run for president and the most promising one died with the untimely death of Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson.

His candidacy cannot be dismissed as a fool’s errand. He places 4th in the latest survey, just three points behind the anointed, Mr. Roxas. With a “ bump” expected from his formal intention to run. Mr. Duterte can overtake Mr. Roxas easily and compete with Ms. Poe and Mr. Binay.

Should he reconsider his decision to quit and sign-on anew, Mr. Duterte, talking without scripts and improvising along the way, will easily be the most exciting candidate in the campaign. Mr. Binay has been rendered too cautious by the clear media bias against him. Ms. Poe sounds like Mr. Aquino, rigid and too focused on “ integrity.” Mr. Roxas, except for his supreme belief in “daang matuwid” is actually a tabula rasa to ordinary Filipinos.

The last outspoken candidate in contemporary presidential campaigns was Miriam Defensor Santiago and many believed that had it not been for votes from Pangasinan, Pampanga, Cebu and two more provinces, she would have been the winner in 1992.


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    Whatever may his platform in governance still i’m not in favor of his candidacy for president… Kung mag vice siya ni Madam Miriam Santiago. Mapilitan nalang akong bumoto sa kanya dahil may stopper na sa mga mali na maging disisyon niya. Sa Discipline na paraan niya ako talaga hanga….but still he is a very mysterious man pa rin para sa akin…. Kasi kong andiyan si Madam Na isa ring matapang..pwede niya kasing mapagsabihan si Mayor Duterte at ma advisan bilang kasangga niya na ganito ang dapat nilang gawin upang malinis ang mga taong corrupt na di naman masyadong halata sa human rights advocate. hehehe

  2. @Dylan Dipasupil…

    If you are faithfully following Duterte with regards to his statement about Federalism.
    He has ideas and steps on how to implement Federalism.

    In the first the first place, Federalism was not his idea, but from a certain know party that was just passed unto him [Duterte]. Duterte, subscribed to the idea of Federalism as an alternative to BBL because BBL will not be approved definitely.

    He cannot divulge every ideas for now for some reason.

    So my advice to you is… “You Wait”… Okay?

  3. RollsRoys Dadios on

    Why not tries Duterte? For me he is fit, leave him alone because I know he is somebody, you’ll see by the help God how he turn Philippines up side down. Uban diha mga tawanan!

  4. You sounded like Pedro Paterno and Felipe Buencamino.

    You said that the Philippines is not yet ready for a Federal type of government? How do you know that the Philippines is not yet ready for such set up?

    It is about time that we have a federal type. It is a “swim or sink” set up. Your state or region have to be competitive in order to boost its states income.

    It will also teach the voters to elect a responsible leader because if they don’t, their state will suffer while their neighboring state is progressive. It may also declog the traffic congestion in Manila. Manila on the other hand have nothing to lose because they are still competitive because they have already the infrastructures.

    You reminded me of Felipe Buemcamino and Pedro Paterno. Certified Judases of our history that inflict people’s mind with trash and conspiracies and not to give a chance to others.

    I have yet to see a LEADER who can get people’s votes. IMHO, all candidates right now are just candidates waiting to be elected and be like “Aguinaldo” who is just there for power and self interest.

    The Mayor still undecided to run so why bother? Well, if this is publicity, it will surely hit the mark in a week.

    Answer this question :

    Bayan o Sarili?

    • Couldn’t agree more. Perhaps, the attentive thoughts of the writer implies pre-stigma towards Digong. He’s (writer) one of the many Filipinos not ready to accept radical change in my opinion.

  5. mr. writer his platform is not based on law and order alone, try binge watching his interviews on youtube and googling interviews. hehe

  6. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    04 October 2015

    For some 69 years now, the Philippines has had Presidents who have proved to be dismal failures as far as putting the country on a sure, solid, inclusive and enduring path to prosperity and progress, of the kind which its neighbors Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore have achieved, propelling them to their enviable status as “Asian economic tigers” for their phenomenal economic success and their having extirpated widespread and chronic poverty from their societies.

    In contrast, the Philippines has earned for itself the highly pejorative distinction as “The sick man of Asia,” with over-30 million Filipinos [out of a population of around 107 million] now stuck in the quagmire of Poverty, living lives of extreme degradation and dehumanization.

    More and more of the same “rotten banana” will no longer do for the Philippines; it needs to make a clean break with those traditional politicos [“trapos’] who brought the country only to ruin. Those who are now running for President and Vice President–or are all set to do so–are in the mold of these “trapos” who, incidentally, are members of notorious well-entrenched political dynasties.

    Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte does not belong to these “trapos” or to any political dynasty. He is the highly successful Mayor of Davao City, one of the largest in the country. If he decides to make up his mind about being a candidate for President, it is just possible that the country will be able to make a clean break with its dark past, and blaze a new trail that could put it on a completely new path to real and inclusive prosperity and progress. He has some of the exceptional qualities of LEE KWAN YEW.


    • You sure have earned my respect on this one. You pull no punches on your commentaries, yet you hit the right chord at the same time.

  7. To get a first-hand experience about how people feel in Davao feel, stay in Davao for a month. Period. So much talk about arguing because comments in media do not reflect the true picture on the ground. Sana di tayo emotional when it come to TRUTH.

  8. This article is rubbish and shouldn’t be published at all, it can obliterate the integrity of this publishing.

  9. Marlen, Oh Marlen.
    I am surprised by your simplistic assessment of the man Duterte. But you are right in the fact that many people view him, not only you, in such a light. But just like the AlDub phenomena, the people especially the young and jaded have embraced a “70 year-old out of the box non-candidate”. As a good reporter, you should ask yourself why? I would like to implore you to know the man, get to know him more than what you hear & see on TV or the Net. Only then will I take your next article on him in a better light like what I always do.

  10. Do not make Duterte eat his words. He already stated he is not going to run for presidency, then he is not going to run. So be it. This Duterte name came into being because media people kept spinning stories about his entanglements with lawbreakers to lionize his name. Gullible citizens picked this up and equated this for a desirable presidential timber. Maybe so but to put him at the helm of the nation is a big no and will just put the welfare of the country in jeopardy just like Poe or Binay. Besides that the country is not ready yet to become a federated nation to be divided into several self-governing states which Duterte wants to establish.

  11. Certain issues must be brought to light about Duterte’s so-called ‘courage.’ When the Ampatuan committed abuses in Davao (and also brought firearms into the city), nothing was done about them. An Ampatuan killed the grandson of a former city treasurer, while another figure in a sensational slapping incident. City Hall was mum.
    When Baktin, the famous ‘carnapper’ was hunted and reported by Duterte as having fled abroad, nobody mentioned that the hunted is the best friend of his son. When you talk about drug lords and syndicates, as always, ask any taxi diver, and the story leads to City Hall.
    When investigators in the Davao Death Squad killings were tipped off about bones found in a firing range owned by Duterte’s driver, the police official suspected to have discovered it was transferred.
    The Human Rights Watch reported over a thousand summary executions during his administration, but nobody dared to refute it for fear of death. Taxi drivers talk about ‘peace and murder funds’ that is spine-tingling as reason for the assassinations. Want to vote for a person, if ever, who is willing to build a police state? Shades of Marcos regime.
    I was assigned once there for two years and the truth about Duterte was always told in hushed tones in what my friends said was due to ‘psychology of fear.’

  12. Duterte placed a strong second in Manila based on the most recent Pulse Asia survey and of course he is the runaway leader in Mindanao AND HE HAS AT THE LATEST DECLARED THAT HE IS NOT RUNNING!! People from NCR apparently agrees with Duterte that there is such a thing as Imperial Manila and it would be good for them if it is decongested to lessen traffic and other woes that go with urbanization. What is the number platform of Duterte? Peace and order and strong political will!! Does it make sense for him to change his platform when his numbers are doing great??? What he perhaps needs now is to declare his candidacy and choose his VP and catch up with organizing and fielding of candidates when necessary.

  13. Mayor Duterte not only made Davao City the most liveable city in the country, but of the whole world.

    This is not only because of his hardnosed policies on criminals..

    Davao City has the best emergency response unit.. (One of the world’s best with only America and Canada has..)
    Infrastructures were built for business benefits..
    He made Davao a disciplined city.. which I think is what the country needs..

    a disciplined Philippines..

  14. Agueda Kahabagan on

    I think most of the Manila-based opinion writers like Mr. Ronquillo do not really know Rodrigo Duterte. But the man himself may have described what we can expect from a Duterte presidency when he said, “I do not have the brilliance of Marcos, the smartness of Ramos nor the eloquence of Miriam Santiago. All that I can offer the Filipino people is a good heat and common sense. Governance after all is just pure common sense.” Then I remember the great King Solomon in the Bible. He was not perfect but he has a good heart and a common sense and that is why his God made him one of the most unforgettable leaders in history.

  15. “Giant metropolises, Mr. Duterte’s backers should realize, are really the creation of economic imperatives and they are not by-products of anti-rural and pro-urban diktat of the state.”

    By this proposition alone, the writer loses credibility. Trust of the matter is, the political hegemony of manila who wants to maintain control and wealth is the driving force behind its imperialistic control.

  16. We need a strong incorruptible president and DUTERTE is the man!! What good will an intelligent person bring to the presidency if he is corrupt, dishonest, beholden to the party?

    BINAY …. corrupt, plunderer. a thief
    POE …,,,, dishonest, trapo (INC fiasco), incompetent opportunist.
    ROXAS …beholden to the LP party crooks, indecisive like Aquino, superficial
    (pretending to be pro-poor), elitist.

    Duterte may have a hollowed platform but he has the strength of character and passion to serve with integrity. Platforms with all sorts of promises… peace, prosperity, justice for all, etc….are presented to us by politicians all the time but never implement after getting elected.

  17. Amnata Pundit on

    Binay, Poe and Roxas are the three who have declared their candidacies. Who among them do not have a hollowed-out platform? Who among them is Duterte’s intellectual superior? If you want a full-bodied platform, I suggest you read Bongbong Marcos’ speech that was printed in your newspaper a few weeks ago, and if you can recognize intellect then listen closely to Bongbong every time he speaks and compare to Binay, Poe and Roxas. To be a good president is easier than playing golf, but the problem is if you want to be a good president you must be prepared to make a lot of very powerful enemies, so kailangan yung may dibdib! Sino ang may dibdib sa tingin mo, si Binay, Poe at Roxas o si Duterte?

  18. #Duterte2016
    Rodrigo Duterte is the ONLY candidate qualified, fit and deserving to be the 16th Phil president. He is running truly to serve. Duterte will be a great blessing to country & people.
    While Binay, Mae & Poe-ppet were all running for selfish interest and self-preservation.
    these 3 stooges were evil curses to the Phil.

  19. Veracity Speaks on

    I used to like Binay,Poe and Roxas, that I campaigned for them last election. But as time goes by and truth prevails, I was become aware of whom I should rightfully vote, so I researched them all. I have read both positive and negative articles of all presidentiables including Duterte’s biography- may it be mainstream news or social media. And if you could only allow yourself, Mr. Ronquillo to follow each candidates fan pages, then you can truly understand how miles away Duterte triumphs among them- either experiences, achievements, trust, fairness and firmness. Thus, I say to you to know your facts first sir before publishing bias article.

  20. Mr. Ronquillo clearly you didn’t study your argument,you are one of the minion of imperial manila….try to go outside metro manila and you will awake of your daydreaming… i support duterte not for his personality but for his advocacy which is federalism. name your candidate and sell his advocacy and platforms KUNO to the people of the provinces and let us see who is hollow….

  21. If anybody thinks that Duterte or Binay have a chance at the presidency don’t really know what they are talking about. The 2016 elections is about money, money and more money, at the end of the day only Poe and Roxas will be left standing.

  22. adonis b. rocha on

    Kudos Mr. Marlen Ronquillo on Duterte’s would-be presidential run. Truth to tell it is nothing more than a poor “abridged copy” of Ping Lacson’s advocacy.

    Duterte’s simplistic view is a far cry from Ping Lacson’s visionary view of the problems confronting the 100 million plus country with rotten public administration and government and a corrupt society. A country that is riddled with unabated and deteriorating criminality, peace and order, poor infrastructures, fragile national security from external forces and economic development and growth felt only by a few. Ping Lacson has a viable and do-able solution to mitigate these maladies, lay the foundation, worked on solutions and in time licked the root causes of a sluggish Philippine society.

    Truth to tell, not a Poe, not a Roxas , not a Duterte, more so not a Binay is ready and up for the challenging job of reforming the Philippines but a PING LACSON as president for 2016.

  23. Noora Quaresma on

    What i know is that mayor Duterte is going around the country talking about a Federal/parliamentary form of gov’t.which many believe is good for the country.To give more power to the regions.Parang Singapore style po.Wala po ito sa sinulat ninyo.Only imperial Manila.

    • Dylan Dipasupil on

      Ang kaso, noong tinanong ko personally si Duterte during his listening tour in Baguio City last February on how he will achieve the Federal and Parliamentary systems of government, HINDI NYA MAIPALIWANAG. Sabi lang nya: yan ang gusto ko at gusto ng maraming tao..

      It is nice to hear lofty goals from politicians, but people like me wants to know what road to take in order to get there..

    • george quinne on

      As far as I know, that is the reason why he wants to revolt against his own government. To push through federalism, he cannot attain it through congress because congress are the one who will be affected of it. Thus, He will attain it through CONCON.

      I think you should research of the things he says.

      tsk tsk tsk

  24. Mr. Ronquillo,

    It sounds enough that you are paid for to make such comments. A traditional writer does. But, my opinion is that, you are old enough to understand what this country needs. GO DUTERTE that’s a cry of a young generation.