Photo Credit: peripathetic via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: peripathetic via Compfight cc

The latest tit-for-tat between Digong and Mar has left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not particularly happy that the conversation has shifted from issues to personal attacks, mudslinging and juvenile one-upsmanship.

Pambabae yang sampalan, suntukan nalang!

Ah pambabae ha. O barilan nalang!

It reminds me of my elementary and high school days when we would settle arguments with “backfield na lang!” (“backfield” being a euphemism for a fistfight at the soccer fields at the back of the school where authorities were less likely to see you.)

Then there are whole essays devoted to educating us on what “Wharton graduate” means, the difference between graduate and undergraduate, and even the difference in toga colors for each. This prompted one of my former classmates to ask, “Should I now start saying that I undergraduated with BS Physics and BS Computer Engineering degrees from the Ateneo?”

Wharton, Shmarton, Kickout, Dropout — who cares? The real question for me is what have these people actually done? What are their accomplishments? What is their track record in public service?

At a certain age, your degree or lack of it doesn’t really matter anymore. Look at Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

On the one hand, Duterte-apologists are explaining all these as masterful moves:

  1. To show the public that Mar can easily be rattled and can’t handle stress.
  2. To keep himself in the headlines without spending a centavo. As the old marketing adage goes, “bad publicity is still publicity,” and there are a few more months to go for him to correct whatever bad image he projects now to get himself in the limelight.

It’s not a bad strategy at all.

Consider Carlos Celdran, who last week incurred the wrath of Dabawenyos by issuing blanket statements cursing “Dutertards.” Then, with a heartfelt apology and an offer of peaceful level-headed discussions, he won back many people, including me. One thing is sure though, a lot more people are now aware of who Carlos Celdran is, regardless if they bought his apology or not — and sometimes that awareness, that name-recall, is all that matters come election day.

Consider that Karen Davila interview of Alma Moreno, where she practically embarrassed herself by showing how little she knows about issues she is supposedly advocating for. Her preferred birth control method is keeping the lights on and she doesn’t seem to have a clue on what the RH Law is all about.

This week, Pulse Asia reported that she is now in the list of Top 20 senatorial bets.

Someone slap me, please.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at View previous articles at

More Duterte Stories

Photo Credit: Zervas via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Zervas via Compfight cc

We can argue about Rodrigo Duterte’s morality, his philosophy, his proposed policies and so on until we are blue in the face and we would probably not have resolved anything. But we cannot argue about what he has actually done. The results are plain to see. Here are more Duterte stories from the people of Davao (See part 1 here).


A friend of ours had her daughter kidnapped by the nanny and brought to Cotabato. When the mayor was approached, he appointed his most trusted men and said “Hindi sisikatan ng araw, makukuha natin siya. (Before the sun shines, we will have recovered her). True enough, the child was rescued the very next morning in Cotabato. Who doesn’t want a leader like that? Someone who doesn’t go, “We have to make it formal?” — Manolo del Rosario


One night, I rode on a taxi  and instructed the driver to go to Ulas. While on the way, I fell asleep. Upon reaching Bangkal area, the driver woke me up and asked where to proceed because there was an intersection. I remembered that the Mayor had instructed taxi drivers to bring all passengers home safely.  I looked at the taxi meter and read the amount and it was the usual amount I paid.

This is contrary to what I have experienced in Cebu City wherein the driver, upon reaching an intersection, proceeded the other way and deliberately took a longer route.  That is why, I am happy living in this city where Duterte looks after the welfare of the people. I also admire the city councilors who passed ordinances for the city and who share the same vision as that of the good and humble Mayor. — Constancia Calunsod


I was born in Davao City in 1971. One of my unforgettable encounters with our beloved Mayor Duterte was during his term as the OIC vice mayor after EDSA 1.

While he was inside a beauty parlor along Anda St. to have his ingrown nail removed, his driver approached him and whispered in his ear. Immediately, he went out, pulled a screwdriver from the back pocket of his maong pants and started removing the plate number of a vehicle that was illegally parked. While he was doing it, a furious man rushed out cursing him, saying he was vice governor of one of the Davao provinces.

Duterte let him say his piece and then asked the guy, “What is the law?” while pointing at the No Parking sign. But the man continued bragging that he was a government official. All of a sudden Duterte said in a loud voice, “P***** i** mo! Ikaw pay naa sa gobyerno, ikaw pay mag-una una ug suway sa balaod! Kon dili uso sa inyong lugar ang balaod, hala pauli sa inyong probinsya ug didto pagharing buanga ka!”

(You SOB. You are in government yet you are the first one to break the law! If following the law is not fashionable where you live, then go back there so you can be king there, you fool!)

Then he went back inside the parlor to continue his treatment, bringing along with him the license plates he had removed. — Allan Peter M. Sinco


I belong to an ordinary family, nothing special, no money, no clout.

A few years ago, me and family (mom, 3 sisters and 2 brothers-in-law) were hostaged by an otherwise kind and loyal employee who got temporarily insane because he met some bad company, who introduced him to drugs. The hostage- taker kept his very sharp and very big bolo dangerously close to my mom the whole time. None of us could move in fear of what he might do. My brothers-in-law, who were considerably bigger in size than the crazed man, were helpless because he kept a watchful eye over all of us.

One of the saving graces of that time was that cellphones were not as popular yet as they are now. The employee was not familiar with a cellphone so my sister was able to text for help. A friend of hers worked for the mayor at that time. Digong, at that very moment, was attending a high- profile government function at the Marco Polo Hotel with former president, Gloria Arroyo.

The mayor did not hesitate to leave the function behind when he learned that an entire family was in a dire situation. He took half the SWAT team assigned to the event with him. He asked help from local private security agencies to put in extra security at the Marco Polo Hotel for the president’s safety while he dealt with a local emergency.

Four out of the six SWAT men he brought with him got injured over the course of the rescue mission. My sister was hurt too but we all went out of it alive, including the hostage- taker. Digong went in with his men, gun in his hand, went straight to us while his men tackled the insanely strong perpetrator. He ushered us to safety and went back in to support his men.

He handled the situation with precision and genuine concern for us. My sister told him what led to the man’s insanity and he understood. To this day, that man remains alive. He had some jail time but we made sure that he would not pay unfairly for the insanity he went through because of the drugs. The mayor exited when the media started arriving. No photo ops for the general public to see. No display of traditional politicking. He was there as a soldier providing help and when help was given. He went away without so much as a photo.

If the rest of the Philippines would only think about the dirt, which the media can pull out of Digong, then it’s their loss. Davao is fine and it will only get better even if Digong becomes president or not. Can anyone honestly say it will be better for our nation as a whole? I don’t know, I’m just a Dutertard as Duterte- bashers are so fond of calling us, Dabawenyos, these days.

But know this, I live in a safe, progressive, developing city, with clean water, low crime rate, good policemen, mostly honest taxi drivers, free 911 service, and a local government that actually serves its people. — Lelit (last name withheld)

Still want more? Click here for Even More Duterte Stories.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Do you have your own Duterte Story to share? Email me at View previous articles at

Duterte Stories


A post written by former SEC chairman, Perfecto Yasay Jr. relates how he has known Rody “Digong” Duterte since the time they were roommates at the YMCA dormitory in law school. He was at first startled by the curses that flowed naturally from Digong’s mouth, but later was able to accept him for who he was, just as he accepted many other people in his life with their own failings and shortcomings.

Yasay continues, “But more significant than his frequent foul language that can be annoying to many, I know Rody up close as a person with a big heart and noble vision, who truly respects the dignity in every human being, especially the poor, the needy and oppressed whom he cares, loves and readily helps with devotion, consistency, integrity and sincerity and inspired by the same Christian values that many of us hold dear. I have learned to greatly respect him as a dedicated, honest, brave and decisive leader that our country needs for its survival at this critical time and to make meaningful change and advancement a reality.”

I wonder why some people detest Duterte so much. And I realized that perhaps, like Yasay, they are initially turned off by his brashness, his impropriety, his casual manner of talking about killing criminals, his womanizing, and so on. Unlike Yasay, though, they did not have the opportunity to really know the person, and people tend to fear what they do not know.

I and my fellow Dabawenyos can attest to what Duterte has done, who he really is, and where his heart really lies. Do not judge him based on the flaws that media so loves to hype during these campaign times. Judge him by the stories that Dabawenyos themselves tell. After all, he has been our mayor for most of the past 3 decades. We should know.

I, myself, have a story to tell.

*** ***

One of the store managers of the pharmacy that we operate reported an incident with one of the mayor’s men. He had been instructed to purchase Mayor Duterte’s medicine and wanted to claim the senior citizen’s discount. However, he had forgotten to bring the mayor’s senior citizen’s ID. When he was informed about it, he said, “Naku patay ako kay mayor nito. Sinabi na nga nyang dalhin ko ang requirements eh. Sige, balik ako agad, miss. (Oh no, the mayor did remind me to bring the requirements. I’ll be back quickly, miss).” It was that simple. No power play. No bending the rules.

*** ***

Some of my friends and contacts have also shared their Duterte stories in social media. Let me share some of them.

*** ***

My former teacher, Dennis Rivamonte, writes: “Some time ago, in Manila, I met a guy who claimed to be the contractor for the SM City Davao. He told me that he was so amazed and proud of Mayor Duterte. When I asked him why, he told me that unlike in other cities where he built SM Malls, it was only in Davao City where he did not experience being approached by a city official to ask for ‘big personal favors’ from SM management. Worried that the mayor might one day appear to ask for favors, just when mall was about to operate, and when he might find it difficult to say no, this contractor decided to see the mayor personally to ask if the he had any ‘special personal requests’ from the SM management. To his surprise, Mayor Duterte said, ‘Yes! I have one big personal request, a great big favor to ask from the management. When you start to take in applicants for employment, please give priority to the Dabawenyos.’  That was it. He did not ask for anything other than that. And that was enough to amaze this contractor and to declare that our Davao City Mayor is not corrupt.”

*** ***

My friend, Alice Cadao, writes, “I was born in the year 1978 in Davao City and lived just meters away from his home in Bangkal. As a kid, I would hear stories about his generosity but it was not until I was already around 28 years old that I had personally witnessed how genuine this man really is. I had the privilege to work as a Production Officer for ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc. and a correspondent for Bantay Bata 163 Davao. My partner and I would produce material that usually featured an ailing child who either needed an immediate operation or an expensive medical treatment. Through local TV Patrol Davao in the afternoon, the said feature stories were aired for broadcast. The material would run for just around 2 minutes but before it was done, our office would already receive a call. ‘Si Mayor na daw mag-shoulder sa expense sa medication sa bata. (The mayor will shoulder that kid’s expenses).’ This was done without fanfare, without broadcast, without photo-ops or any publicity. Mind you, I cannot anymore count the number of children that he has helped through our program. Also, it was not a requirement that the parents were his constituents or his voters. He did not mind even if the child came from Tagum, Mati, Gensan or Cotabato. The important thing was that he was able to help.

*** ***

Aldwin Dumago, a bank officer, writes, “He is known for his unpopular decisions. Most often we’d hate his orders, but we eventually come to realize he’s right. Why spend so much money on fireworks and firecrackers if only to rush victims to hospitals after? Can we not celebrate Christmas and New Year without emergency cases? Why suffer from second-hand smoke? Why shoo away the indigenous people when they are the original settlers of Davao and Mindanao? Who doesn’t want a taxi ride with Mayor Rody? I don’t feel afraid of Mayor Rody because I’m not doing anything wrong. The moment the plane lands in Davao, I know I am safe. I know that when I take the cab, the driver will bring me to my destination safely and will give me exact change. I know that in case of emergency, I will only have to call 911.”

*** ***

Another good friend, Manolo del Rosario, an executive of Emcor, writes, “We Dabawenyos know him better than the rest of the country. He’s the guy who goes out to do traffic in the rain, drives incognito as a taxi driver at night and commends a traffic enforcer for flagging him down on a traffic violation. He’s the man who cries when he sees cancer-stricken kids, slaps abusive policemen, and has no tolerance for societal scalawags. He’s the man who, despite budget constrictions, managed to convince the private sector to share resources and assets to create the only 911 system in the country. If the rest of the country doesn’t want him, then at least leave to us what is ours — our hard-earned tax revenues. That way Davao can soar as high as we want to, implement our city development plan (yes we have that, first in the country, but we lacked the budget to implement it) and not be hampered by others who do not share in our vision of a safe, clean, modern and progressive environment for our children.”

*** ***

My former student, George Cordero, writes,”Listen, I went to college in Davao. Ever since, I wished the other Filipino cities I lived in were as disciplined and safe as Davao City. All this talk about being afraid of Duterte? What do you have to fear if you aren’t a lawbreaker? I have nothing but respect and admiration for the man and his will and sincerity. In a way, I think it’s good to see that his critics have nothing on him except their ‘moral high ground’, and fears of an imagined dictatorship that is truly such a stupid notion.”

Click here for More Duterte Stories.

And also here fore EVEN MORE Duterte Stories.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Do you have your own Duterte Story to share? Email me at View previous articles at

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