Who’s scared of President Duterte?


With rivals conceding amid the apparent landslide, unofficial President-elect Rodrigo Duterte repeated his pledge to crush crime, drugs and corruption, threatening to kill hoods resisting his campaign against lawlessness. He also plugged his federalism advocacy to devolve powers and resources from the central government to the regions.

So who’s shaking in their shoes now that Davao’s mayor is Malacañang-bound?

Most gleefully point to crooks, from narcotics peddlers, killers and robbers, to grafters preying on ordinary folk, like Manila airport’s bullet-planting extortionists, or customs officials colluding with big-time smugglers.

Crime and contraband tripled under incumbent President Benigno Aquino 3rd. Crime incidents surged since 2010 to more than a million a year starting 2013, according to government statistics.

Those 3 million-plus crimes in the last three years hurt at least 6 million victims with 30 million close relatives and friends—the core of Duterte’s election supporters, along with millions of families with drug addicts.

Contraband skyrocketed too, from $7.9 billion in 2009 to $26.6 billion in 2014, based on International Monetary Fund trade data. That’s not counting the street value of illicit guns and drugs flooding in on uninspected shipping containers.

The crooks will fight back
But are crime and smuggling syndicates and their cohorts in government scared? Maybe, maybe not.

One thing’s for sure: The hoods have been plotting their moves to keep and even boost the clout and cash they’ve built up in six years of Daang Matuwid. They won’t let go without a fierce, bloody fight.

So how would the forces of lawlessness on the streets, at the ports, and in the corridors of power try to keep the gravy flowing?

First, they will search out corruptible people close to the next leader. And there are always venal types hanging around powerful politicians.

With zero scruples, they are ready to do the dirty stuff for the chief, who relies on them precisely because they disregard morals, rules and laws at the boss’s behest and for their self-serving ends.

No doubt, the crooks Duterte is targeting also have their sights on crooked cronies in his coterie of die-hard loyalists.

So if the next President really means to put the lawless out of business, he would do well to clean up his group first, or tell everyone in his dead-serious, dead-or-alive tone that anyone who has dealings with criminal or corrupt elements is history.

The ironclad leader must scrape off the rust before it crumbles him.

Next lawless strategy: crooks will build alliances with defeated parties. Politicians put gaining or regaining power above all else, so there are elements among disempowered parties that are open, if not keen to collaborate with the lawless, to obstruct and weaken the new dispensation as part of their comeback strategy.

Besides criminal and corrupt groups, vested interests wary of moves to clean up government or devolve power through federalism, would also join hands with forces opposed to change. Among them: local leaders and police gorging on jueteng payoffs.

Hence, expect public hearings, open letters, online and protest campaigns, legal challenges, and media attacks against the Duterte administration, which will not have the cozy ties Aquino enjoyed with the top echelons of certain leading newspapers and broadcast networks.

To be sure, many issues and criticisms raised against the next President, especially with his avowedly bloody tactics, may be valid. But that only makes it harder to spot criminal or corrupt entities exploiting legitimate political factions and concerns.

Just as the devil can quote Scripture, the lawless can invoke rule of law.

The political campaign may include ousting Duterte on impeachment charges as flimsy as those lodged against the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. If that happens, Duterte may well have reason to declare a revolutionary government backed by security forces and segments of the populace supporting his anti-crime efforts.

Get ready for blood
Of course, even as syndicates and schemers build connections and alliances among the future opposition and in Duterte’s own camp, they are also locking and loading for the coming war with the law.

As Duterte has warned, the battle will be bloody. If they refuse to be corrupted, law enforcers, investigators, prosecutors, judges, and other key figures in the criminal justice system, plus customs agents as well as Duterte himself—now under increased security—will likely face threats or violence, along with some of their loved ones.

That is how audacious and powerful the lawless have become under Aquino. One can only hope these ruthless criminals can be stopped while upholding due process and the rights of all, even of those undermining law and order.

If and when the bodies pile up, there will be voices and factions crying foul and calling for a slowdown in the enforcement campaign. Expect many in the future opposition to lead or echo calls for truce with the hoods.

Likely to join the chorus against tough measures will be swathes of the public unhappy with stricter enforcement all around, including traffic rules, security protocols, and government regulations. Used to getting around dos and don’ts, many Filipinos will resist discipline.

After voting for change, we might just throw our hands up when we see its huge cost.

We must be undivided and unyielding
The crooks are banking on us throwing in the towel. Then, not even President Duterte and the full force of our police and armed forces can beat crime and sleaze.

For if we are not with the law enforcers, then we are with the lawbreakers.

If we do not stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our police, prosecutors, investigators, magistrates, and upright leaders, sharing their purpose, peril and pain, and strengthening our collective resolve in the face of threats and violence, then we yield our homes and families to the killers, robbers, rapists, traffickers, and grafters.

If that happens, President Duterte might as well resign after six months. He wouldn’t win against the hoods if we run away from the fight.

The crooks wouldn’t be scared of Duterte if we are not with him.


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  1. Not to worry Pres duterte can do this job because he has the backing of the majority and these majoruty are the masses, military, police, NPA, ndf, mnlf, and milf. In short its all across the board. So u crooks better get out of the country while your still can. Lolll

  2. Sir Rody needs to prepare the PNP for the coming battle against crime and lawlessness. Give everyone a raise. Appoint a military man (not a civilian) to head the DILG. Arm them to the teeth if necessary. Ensure that any member of the PNP who is on the take better think twice now because the man from Davao has arrived and means business. I just wished he didn’t put a deadline to end crime. This problem will take some time — his timeline will be challenging, but doable. Good luck, Mr. President! And God bless. I will pray for your success everyday.

  3. I reported a drug pusher in the neighborhood to the police but nothing happened and when a policeman friend investigated the tip on his own, he mentioned that the pusher is protected by a police officer. Now, what are we to do?

  4. “The crooks wouldn’t be scared of Duterte if we are not with him.” i with your last statement, this is our country and as citizens we must also be held accountable. i hope and pray that minds will be opened that this is not his fight but our fight as the Philippines rises.

  5. I suggest to Presifent Duderte to remove these 9 SC Justices thst bastard our constitution impeach them

  6. This is a fight between good and evil and the greater evil. Pnoy is the greater evil. Now, he is out. Who will be the evil one ? Is it the criminals that has increase 3 folds or is it Duterte ? Unfortunaty, I have not seen any good ones. Maybe Leni Robredo. But as VP , she does not have the power to solve our country’s problem. So she is out too.

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    The Manila Times carried a story quoting American credit rating agency Standard and Poor as saying political uncertainty could hound Duterte if he undertakes reforms that will conflict with the interests of the elite, which of course means the American-led West’s interests. This early, the Americans are already telegraphing what they will do to Duterte if he does not toe the line. Duterte can fight back against this by making sure the people are behind him all the way. Its going to be a battle of communications, or propaganda if you will. Broadly speaking, he must show the people where their real interests lie, which is not going to be an easy task considering how loud the propaganda megaphone of the west is here. Another is to clearly identify to the people the yellow regime as the enemy at the gates, the West’s local proxies who always serve as the front for western interests. The battle is going to be hard but winnable, especially since these enemies of the people have already been exposed as incompetent hypocrites and criminals. Duterte can fire the first shot by jailing these hypocrites without bail, use their favorite tactic against them. This is what the people want to see, all these hypocrites behind bars.

  8. Thank you Mr. Saludo for a fair and well written views about the Duterte presidency. The Aquino’s-Cory and ABNoy administrations suck for their inefficiencies, incompetence and failures to bring about the right solutions and genuine policy reforms that will alleviate poverty, crash graft & corruptions, increase inclusive economic growth, create job opportunities, and provide protections from drugs & crimes. More power to you!

  9. I hope pres d30 will fulfill his promise and if ever there are changes it should be for the better cause the elite of this country are watching. One false move impeachment is not far away and it is a proven fact. That is if leny is going to become vp. Surely, d30 will resist and if that happens there will be chaos but it is premature to see what will happen its just one of a bleak scenario. Lets unite as the saying goes dont ask what the country can do for you but what can you do to help this ailing country.

  10. The elite are scared of president Duterte. That is why Duterte should watch his back. Much more so if Robredo becomes VP. Robredo plays coy, but she is ambitious. And a willing tool of the Liberal Party and the oligarchy.

  11. President Duterte should open a TIP hotline where people can report people, places or events that merits a followup. Siguradong susuko sila sa dami ng tatawag.