I am pro-Duterte, but I did not bash that UP student, Stephen Villena, on social media. Like you, I did not enjoy it when other Duterte supporters began to bully him online, to the point of calling him an idiot and putting his name on a tombstone. There was no call to do that to that poor kid who was only being forthright in his questioning (as is well within his rights). Our constitution, after all, guarantees FREE speech, not only polite speech.
I was impressed when he wrote an open letter explaining and defending his side. It was an intelligent, calm and level-headed reply at the many rabid people calling for his head.
So no, I have no problem with him. Even the mayor has no problem with him as he called for his supporters to stop bullying the student. “I was not treated with disrespect. He was just acting according to his age. I was also once a student,” he said.
My problem is with you who would like to lump all Duterte supporters in that #Dutertard tag, implying that one must be a retard or moron to support Duterte. Some of you even expressed dissatisfaction with the official statement of campaign spokesperson, Peter Laviña, when he asked supporters to “take the moral high ground when engaging in any kind of discourse concerning our candidate.”
You implied that he should be clearer in declaring the wrongness of the act because idiots like us (and yes, that is my own interpretation based on how I read several statements to this effect) would not understand what “moral high ground” means.
Now, I take offense at that, and I find it ironic that you would call out bullying by being a bully as well. Sure, you may be all highbrow and intellectual but it is bullying nonetheless to imply that those who do not agree with you must be #Dutertards.
I would readily admit that there are idiots and twits among us, but you would do well to remember that there are idiots and twits in your camp as well — with some even running for office. (Dare I say the highest office?)
But surely, an intelligent person such as yourself is aware of the Pareto Principle which states that for many events, 80% of the effects come from only 20% of the cause. In some businesses, for example, 80% of the sales will come from only 20% of the customers. In a group activity, 80% of the results will be achieved by 20% of the participants. In the same way, it is most probably true that 80% of the noise and nonsense coming from pro-Duterte people is generated by probably only 20% of the crowd.
Oh, but there are a lot of them, you might say, showing screenshot after screenshot of facebook comments and twitter feeds. Well, what do you know? If that’s only 20% of us, then maybe there ARE a lot of us after all, contrary to what those surveys are saying. Oh and yes, we weren’t born yesterday. We know who owns the top two survey firms that are always mentioned in the media.
In truth, I count many in my circle who are pro-Duterte, and not just fellow Davaoeños but Filipinos from other parts of the country as well. They are not the rabid, insane variety that you like to make our poster boys and your punching bags. They are businessmen, teachers, doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, artists, and other professionals, and oh yes, UP graduates (even from UPLB). They are the anti-thesis of your underlying assumption that Duterte supporters are mindless, bloodthirsty goons who will bring the beginning of a Nazi-like regime in the Philippines.
Really now? Do you actually think we’re that stupid?
I cannot speak for others, only for myself, but maybe others will find their reasoning similar to mine. Why do I choose Duterte? Simple. Because of the results. Because of Davao City. You may call the man uncouth, foul-mouthed, contradictory, a cold-blooded killer, and whatnot, but you cannot deny what he has done for the city to be what it is today. You cannot deny his sincerity in helping Tacloban and Bohol even without photo-ops or his name stamped on donated goods. You cannot silence the many voices of common Davaoeños willing to share their Duterte stories, of how the mayor helped them by personally rescuing them or their kin from hostage situations, or by offering financial aid to Bantay Bata victims (where he refused to publicize his help).
And if you say our city isn’t so great, well, good. Stay away. We like our peace and quiet.
The difference between you and I is that I am able to see past the macho, tough-guy facade and into the heart of the man who has tirelessly served Davao for decades, and I know that heart is sincere. I know that he has not been secretly amassing wealth and I personally know people he has rescued in hostage or kidnap situations. Duterte was really there in the thick of battle. How many politicians or leaders do you know who would literally put their lives on the line for their constituents?
Come May 9, I know who I will probably vote for.
“Probably?” You may ask.
Why, of course, I am a thinking person and capable of making intelligent decisions and changing my mind. You can still persuade me why I should vote for a candidate mired in graft and corruption issues too obvious to explain away; or for an inexperienced neophyte senator, who wants to lead a country she once renounced, and whose husband and son cannot even vote for her; or a bumbling credit-grabber shown to be incompetent and unable to handle crisis in several situations; or an intelligent senator whose health is in serious question.
I am a businessman. I look at the bottom line. They may talk well. They may be able to articulate fancy economic jargon. They may promise the moon. But what are their results? What have they actually done?
It is by this measure, that I and others like me, choose Duterte. While I do not, for one second, believe in his fly-me-to-the-moon claim to eradicate crime and drugs in 3 to 6 months, I have no doubt that among all the candidates, he is the only one who will put every fiber in his being in trying to make it happen, without any ulterior motive but to make life better for his fellow Filipinos.
How do I know that? Simple. I live in Davao, and there is no other place in our country where I would rather be.
Originally published in Sunstar Davao.