MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte’s tough talk and low regard for the Constitution have resulted in dire predictions for the Philippines should he win in the May 9 presidential election.
Alarm bells were rung when Duterte made the irresponsible threat to close down Congress once impeachment charges are filed against him for his undeclared bank accounts and allegedly ill-gotten wealth and property. This showed he wants no accountability at all, that he considers himself untouchable. In other words, he wants to be a tyrant, a no-no under a democratic government.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes had already declared that impeachment charges will be filed against Duterte should he become President. I shudder to think of what would ensue should Duterte make good with his threat to close down Congress. Who will close down Congress? I wonder if soldiers will follow this obviously unconstitutional order. I also doubt if the representatives of the people and the judiciary will meekly allow the closure of the legislature.
If Duterte will merely rely on his rabid followers to try and close down the legislature, I’m afraid his prediction that blood will flow during his administration will come true. Or, will he say later that he was merely joking when he threatened to close down the legislature?
Trillanes said that “it would be easy” to convince soldiers to stage a coup should Duterte win because of Duterte’s known support for the New People’s Army. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has also described Duterte as the NPA candidate and warned of opposition from many sectors against him.
Early on in the campaign, Duterte’s rabid followers had been cursing and wishing ill to those who find fault with him. These rabid followers obviously considered critics as being allied with criminals—and isn’t Duterte urging the vigilante killing of criminals? Sadly, his rough talk had rubbed on them.
His followers, including a supposedly religious leader, are threatening to wage a rebellion should he be “cheated.” They’re convinced that he’ll win—unless he’s cheated. Oh yes, there are also fears that even the NPA would come down from the hills and join Duterte’s rabid followers in wreaking havoc to the country.
Will a victorious Duterte cry “havoc and let slip the dogs of war?” Should he do so, expect his followers to go hammer and tongs against critics, especially in media. I don’t expect media to be cowed, however. Neither will the judiciary and Congress be running for cover. The military, the protector of the people, may not sit idly by and take sides, and generate greater anxiety.
Incidentally, the line “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war” came from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Wikipedia explains that the “dogs of war” refers figuratively to the wild pack of soldiers “let slip” (unleashed) by war’s breakdown of civilized behavior and/or their commanders’ orders to wreak “havoc,” that is, rape, pillage and plunder. Throw in carnage also.
Tension may ease if Duterte will claim he was only joking when he expressed support for the NPA and will deny Joma Sison’s claim that they would form a coalition government. The country won’t accept a coalition with communists, especially the Maoists like Joma Sison. Communism is an outdated ideology and isn’t being followed even in China. Such a coalition could be a recipe for trouble, even for coups, as predicted by Trillanes.
The country can accept a Duterte victory even if he’ll get only 32 percent of the counted votes if he won’t cry “havoc” and unleash his “dogs of war” against critics and political opponents. He may even win over some from the majority who didn’t vote for him if he’ll prove his sincerity in waging war against crime and corruption.
For a starter, Duterte can try to bring to justice the murder of businessman Edgardo Lua last March 16 in Quezon City. Lua reportedly had no known enemy but two days before he was shot in the head by a lone gunman, he had an altercation with a national candidate who wanted to buy some multicabs from him.
Lua and the candidate had a disagreement over the price and Lua returned the down payment. The candidate, according to a certain Joseph Karlo Palomar, called Lua and threatened him. Two days later, he was killed.
“This is not about politics. This is about justice for Mr. Lua,” stressed Palomar in his appeal to media.
For a final note, Duterte partisans were all praises when I wrote columns favorable to Duterte. Now that I’ve dared point out his flaws, I’m called names. This, however, won’t prevent me from writing what I believe to be true and right.