This man must not be President

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HE has insulted the Pope, mocked rape victims, and addressed the official representatives of two of this country’s oldest, most important allies with gutter-level disrespect, all of which his deluded supporters have strived to explain away as “authenticity,” or at worst, “taken out of context.” But the latest savage pronouncement of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte cannot be dismissed so easily.

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Speaking to a late-night rally in Manila about his favorite topic – the bugaboo of ‘rampant crime’ that allows him to play on the public’s fears – Duterte said, “The drug pushers, kidnappers, robbers, find them all and arrest them. If they resist, kill them all.” And to anyone who thinks that Duterte’s disregard for due process is out of line, “Go ahead and charge with me with murder, so I could also kill you,” he added.

In case that is not completely clear to everyone, Duterte has just declared that anyone who disagrees with the Law According to Rod Duterte is an enemy to be destroyed.

“Oh, but if you’re not a criminal you have nothing to worry about,” the Duterte supporters anxiously proclaim in his defense. Who can know if they are a criminal or not, if that definition is left to the mind of one man? The only way they can be sure is to be cowed into silent acceptance of every atrocious word and deed of the would-be dictator, which is exactly what the would-be dictator wants.

But if it works and he cleans up crime and corruption, the method doesn’t matter, some might argue. That argument is senseless, because no one can ever completely eliminate crime and corruption; the best anyone can do is ereduce it to a tolerable level by giving people reasons not to commit crimes in the first place, and making it plain to those who still do that they will suffer swift and severe justices if they are caught. There will always be those who believe they are smarter than the erstwhile “crime busting” politician; we suspect that the more criminals are forming that impression, the more this particular “crime buster” speaks in public.

If one looks back across history, the internal threat that makes a convenient scapegoat for all the country’s ills is a key ingredient of despotism. Note that in Duterte’s statements (even the less outlandish ones) about ‘criminality,’ he isn’t discussing it as a phenomenon, he talks about it in terms of its actors, be they petty criminals or crooked politicians; it simplifies the problem, and gives a target on which the people he stirs to a frenzy can vent their anger. In effect, what Duterte is saying – and what his adoring audience is swallowing hook, line, and sinker – is, “These people (the criminals, the corrupt pols) are standing in the way of a better life for you and your country. Eliminate them, and the problem is solved.”

It is not too far a distance to travel from the realm of “criminals” to “anyone who stands in the way of the Duterte program.” Is there anyone who honestly believes or has any level of confidence at all that the mayor knows where the line is drawn, and has any intention, or even the ability, to stop himself before he crosses it? There shouldn’t be, if anyone has been even casually listening to the incredible things he says.

This man must not be President, because he clearly has no intention of being a President, but rather a dictator. While about 30 percent of the population – if the public opinion polls are to be believed – seem to be enthusiastic about the prospects of giving up their freedom to participate in their government and society, the majority of the country is not. It’s high time we listened to them, and not an anachronism whose attitude and views on leadership went out of style about the time the Marcos family boarded their flight to Hawaii.

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30 Comments

  1. There are too many prophets in this election. Their prophecy: A Duterte Presidency will be very bad. A Roxas, Binay, Poe or Santiago Presidency will be very good. Goodness or badness of a presidency can never be foretold. It will depend on how the PEOPLE will respond to his/her leadership. So, please, stop posing as prophets. Let us work together to heave this country from 26.3% poverty incidence (reference: PSA and NEDA), 6 to 7% unemployment rate (Economic and Social Database) and 300,000+ index crime in top 15 chartered cities (2010-2015 PNP report). We choose a candidate not because we can foretell the future but because we have learned from the past. You fear martial law? Read Philippine Constitution Article VII Section 18.

  2. I will reserve my comments until he becomes Chief Executive. It will be a honeymoon for sure in the first 6 months. But when the funding well starts to dry and other counties withdraw their support to us, then maybe you will wish someone else became president.

  3. So meaning to say you’re perfectly fine with lousy basic services. MRT, NAIA, etc. you’re perfectly fine with APATHETIC LEADERS as demonstrated after the Quirino hostage taking, The botched SAF44 operation, the louse Yolanda relief?

    How can the country progress if we can’t even fix basic problems? Such as crime?

    How can we move forward as a nation if we have leaders who favor the oligarchy’s interests above those of the common people?

    would you prefer a corrupt official? an incompetent and inefficient presidential wannabe? I’m tired of these candidates projecting themselves as “saints,” coz they’re the exact opposite.

    • Dear Author,

      As much as I agree with most of the points you make in the article I must admit you lost me at “addressed the official representatives of two of this country’s oldest, most important allies with gutter-level disrespect”.

      If you are tying to portray patriotism here, this single sentence betrays your heartfelt pledge to other countries than the Philippines. If you are a Filipino it should not matter that the insult was directed to two nations that have pillaged and abused yours, the first over 200 years and the second over the last century. It is unbecoming of a Filipino to represent this truth upside down by calling the two countries his oldest most important “allies”.

      In every other aspect I agree with your point.

  4. This goes to show that he doesn’t pander to anyone or any religious groups unlike most politicians do very much like tito sotto and pretty much everyone else. Most crimes roots from religion

    • Josemakabayan on

      How about Pastor Quiboloy, the self proclaimed son of god, who is mr. Dudirty’s chief patron?????

  5. Duterte is tough on crime? HE IS A CRIMINAL. If it is good to kill suspects without a trial (it’s not), then why doesn’t he work to change the laws? Instead, he has spent decades breaking the law. He has spent decades trashing his marriage covenant, & joking about it. He has spent decades swearing into the ears of children. Now he wants to make homosexual marriage legal. This man is evil.

  6. Josemakabayan on

    Pray he doesnt become a dictator, because the only thing that can remove a dictator is a Revolution and it will be Bloody!!???

  7. Juan Bautista on

    @tony.. 30% is not will of the people. If you didn’t lost your math class there’s still 70% left. Don’t they have the ryt to speak as well?

    • Talking about the 70%, add your math. How many candidates are running for Precidency? Which percentage you belong to? I think you need a repaso. Just a comment, no malice.

  8. Rosauro Feliciano on

    The enemies of Duterte will do everything even the impossible especially if they are powered by money. They are blind by hypothesis that Duterte will declare martial law the moment he will be our president. They want to project the remarks or statements of Duterte as factual true to happen. They assume that his statements are true and project that to the electorates without the important consideration about what would logically follow the assumption of his statements. They want to project to the electorates that Duterte’s statement is contrary to hypothesis or contrary to supposition in declaring martial law and engage in killings simply will come true. This is why SOME if not MANY of the politicians want our people to be half baked in terms of education. There are millions of Filipinos just want Duterte to be our next president because they believe that he is the only one who can change the situation where we are all in. The promises of all the presidential candidates except Duterte’s are not achievable because of rampant corruption right deep inside the structure of our government where perpetrators of corruptions are the very people who were elected to represent their constituents and in addition to this are some brainless politically recommended as Managers of government institutions Our people don’t care at all what Duterte says out of his anger. What they care is that he is the right person to go after crooks politicians in putting them behind bars. They want the government to do its job in rescuing poverty by providing jobs so they can survive.

  9. “This man must not be President, April 24, 2016 11:03 pm”
    I’ll keep you comment and I will count the days when this negative article will turn to positive.

  10. Well, I guess the people are pretty much committed to Digong. The vote for Duterte is anti Establishment. You can publish your spiel everyday till May 9. Goodluck.

  11. The problem with this article is that it paints a picture of terror, chaos and martial rule when in fact Duterte has been saying and doing these things in Davao for the longest time. Is Davao not a beautiful, safe, competitive city? Simply put it this way, what duterte did in Davao is something that he will try to replicate in the whole country. Binay may the country to Makati minus the corruption. That is if ever he wins!

  12. Duterte knows the long term solution to crime is economic progress for everyone, not just for Imperial Manila, and short term solution is to haunt, jail drug lords even within the PNP hierarchy, and kill them if they fight it out. That’s upholding existing laws, just in case you’re that ignorant.

    He didn’t insulted the Pope. He knows that the Vatican is rotten to the core, and epitome of hypocrisy. While the mainstream media is full of bias and spewing half-truths at best.

    The people have evolved, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

  13. The Filipino voters that will VOTE for Duterte are fairly educated and intelligent because they can look at Davao City that used to be crime infested city turned into one of the safest city to live. He spent most of his adult life as a public servant and he is still a very poor ex-mayor comparing to Multi-Billionaire Jojo Binay. I would conclude that Duterte can be trusted with people’s money. On women, it’s a different story.

  14. Useless editorial. It is called democracy, for God’s sake. Don’t expect that you are the only smart people here Manilatimes. Go ahead and vote for BINAY or POE and let Duterte supporters vote for him. Giving up your freedom? C’mon it is plain respect for the law. I FEAR more the lies of this editorial than Duterte.

  15. Carding Timuning on

    Duterte must be the next President….he will purge this country of demons and demon lovers…

  16. Laarni Pesigan on

    I think most citizens are just plain pessimists not to see how things have changed. We also always look up to the government for solutions even for the petty things. Traffic? Work near your residence. Want more money? Study hard, look for work and spend less than what you earn. Opportunities are already given; yes much can be changed, but anybody has the ability to live decently. Just look at the rags to riches story of many of our countrymen.

  17. Willam Cartledge on

    That has to be clearly one of the best descriptions ive read. It sums up exactly why Duterte cant be elected. Jetting out on a jetski and planting the flag to show the Chinese whose the boss just doesnt cut the mustard.

  18. James, you like it like Saudi thats fine but still the leaders are the ones who will enjoy not the people, you will never be rich as long as they rule

  19. Mario Arocha on

    The dissertation suffers from anemic erudition and palpable ignorance of the man’s record as a public servant.

    • Because the 1,700 – by his count – people killed by the Davao milicia were all hardened criminals…because he said so! (/sarcasm)

  20. we need Saudi Arabia Rules………mistake , thief we will cut the hand!!! rape Cut the head!!! the people will follow the rules and they afraid of doing wrong!!!! Allah Hoakbar!!!

  21. So, what will this crime busting do, abusive military and police, vigilantes, brutal citizens arrests. IF THEY RESIST KILLTHEM. oh my God lawlessness and anarchy will cover the land. The people will become the very same criminals they are trying to eliminate. Filipinos killing their own countrymen on mere suspicion.

    • Bryan Tagium on

      Why don’t these people see this? It’s so obvious OMG I never thought I’d see huge chunks of the population actually demanding extra judicial killings? This is very sad on a much broader sense and I fear it will hurt trade and tourism in a big way. Who wants to do business with lawless killers? Please people forget about the politicians for a bit think about the message your sending the rest of the world vis a vis your PRINCIPLES!! you blood-thirsting thoughts are going to alienate the rest of the free world.

  22. This is simply leading the country to complete Duterioration, and nothing else. Just my thought!

  23. Who are you and what is your competence to swap your opinion against the will of the people whatever woll it be?