Would Duterte Make A Great President?

Photo Credit: nicdalic via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: nicdalic via Compfight cc

My good friend, Ernie Abella, seems to think so, as he wrote a piece explaining his case. He has given me permission to share his thoughts on the matter:

Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte would make a great President. He would succeed where Marcos failed – create a truly New Society. Marcos seems the apt benchmark because he used a strong hand to stay in power. Duterte exercises a firm grip to stabilize a city where lawlessness would be rampant if there were no clear vision and the political will to enforce it.

Etta Rosales, current chair of the CHR, called up the Marcos bogey when she was featured in Jessica Soho’s special on Duterte. She claimed it might be Marcos all over again if Duterte became Philippine president. Her refined liberal sensibilities caution her assessment of the man Time magazine labelled, “The Punisher.”

Peter Wallace of the Economist Intelligence Unit, Philippines understands why the masses like him. “In a civilized society, such action (referring to the notorious Dirty Harry reputation of Duterte”) is reprehensible. But in a civilized society, the system of law works. In the Philippines, it very probably (sic) does not…”. (Peter Wallace, Like It Is, Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 28, 2015, pA13).

Rosales invokes the great liberal and democratic ideals, which most college educated Filipinos grew up on – especially those who were around during the First Quarter Storm. However, Wallace says, “…in a society where crime goes mostly unpunished, Duterte’s solution is drastic in the extreme and, in the wrong hands, could be massively abused, as we saw during martial law.

But if you rely on an inutile legal system the society remains at risk from ruthless criminals. So what do you do? Do you stick to the democratic ideal, or accept that the reality calls for a different solution? And the reality is that crime flourishes in the Philippines, but doesn’t in Davao…in a letter to the editor, a visiting German rightly says, “You cannot apply Western ideas in the Philippines.”

What makes this discussion difficult is the fact that our arguments are backed up by personal experience. Rosales herself was a victim of Marcos’ human rights abuses, and resists the “strong hand” solution. The ordinary citizens of the Philippines have also been victimized by “unpunished crime” and an “inutile justice system” and therefore favour a “different solution”.

But the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the tasting. After 3 decades and more of Duterte leading Davao, what has it yielded? Aside from the peace and order, it also has one of the country’s most competitive local government units; and topped NCC’s Cities and Municipalities competitiveness survey of infrastructures (health, education, ICT connection, economic dynamism; most transparent LGU, most active in promoting investments, compliance with national LGU directives and efficient tax collection.

So far, all I have done is present two points of view, Ms. Rosales’ and Mr. Wallace’. But as a former resident of Davao City, I can tell you several reasons why Davao City is different: the firecracker ban, smoking ban, no liquor after 12 a.m. ordinance, curfew for minors, speed limits, and so forth and so on. These would seem petty and irritating, but they were never arbitrary. They were necessary because we had not yet become responsible citizens.

In truth, as a people, we have not yet become full and participating citizens. In fact, our perception of ourselves as one nation only began in 1986 – when we were galvanized by the outrage we had against the dictator. And there was dancing in the streets when they left. Even in Davao. But when the thrill of EDSA faded, the small flames of hope were nurtured in Davao by Rodrigo Duterte. And slowly he turned this frontier town into the reality that all the pioneers from Luzon and the Visayas had hoped for.

I was kidnapped in 1996. I was a pastor then. And I had just inherited a small sum from my parents and was looking for a piece of property. And the real estate dealers led me to this secluded place where 5 ethnic men held me for ransom. As fate would have it, my colleagues went to Mayor Rody. And in a classic response, he called for the MNLF commanders in the city warning them, “If anything happens to that pastor, I will capture 3 of your imams.” (as retold to me later). Within 24 hours, I was released.

I tell this story, not because I am an unquestioning supporter but because I understand that in a society in search for itself, we need a firm hand until such a time we can make difficult decisions for ourselves. Duterte is not a Jeffersonian Democrat and neither was Lee Kuan Yew. But both shared a clear vision of the way things could be.

I cannot tell you about the personal morality of Mayor Duterte. I can tell you what he has publicly done – he has turned a backwater city into a global benchmark. And if he had wanted to steal us blind he would have left traces by now. He is not that sophisticated. He is that rarity – a plainspoken man who wants the world to work for everyone. Therein lies his greatness. He is an ordinary man with ordinary dreams – the dream of a better life. What makes him great is his willingness to defend your right to a fair share – your share of a decent life, a happy home and a peaceful nation. I would vote for a man like that. I would persuade others to do so. Ninoy died so we could have that kind of a life. Rody is the kind of a person who will make sure we do.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Send me your thoughts at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

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27 thoughts on “Would Duterte Make A Great President?”

  1. i firmly believe mayor duterte is a last hope for philippines. im begging you mayor please run this coming national election my whole family around the world will support you. god bless….

  2. i hope that all the educated filipinos will vote for digong!…., i am willing to share in his campaign funds…… We need him!!!

  3. Mayor Rody Duterte is a hardworking service man. Everything he did in Davao is remarkable unequal to any leaders I have read in my Sibika at Kultura and The Philippine History books when I was in grade school. We are truly grateful to have him as a Davao City leader.

    Him being our future (praying that he will be) president, he will step in like a lion in a jungle that he knows of his entire life and our country will know that he will remove the”hyenas” and “pigs” who abuses our judicial system. He will make more enemies by drastically change the ways of our government and gain millions of people who will receive justice. For Mayor Duterterte I will definitely pray for protection against his enemies in the air and those who will try to oppose and deceive him,wisdom to lead like David – being wise, strong and faithful in the L*RD, and for our country who believes in and hopes for justice.

  4. I will donate all my savings for a new Philippines with no if’s and but, for the sake of the next generation. This guy will bring us to that level of significance, equal opportunities and no one is above the law. Go RRD for president !!!!

  5. Duterte may be the last option in this generation. He is needed to run and govern our country where much of his passion and commitment should be put to play. The main stumbling block for him to succeed are people and politicians who do not want to see him succeed. Envy and Jealousy. Metro Manila mayors, where the seat of government is situated, will not be easy and willing partners for developmental change. Manila, the hotbed of egoists and self-centered politicians, will resent initiatives like Federalism. Manila is the recipient of the nation’s wealth and would view Federalism as diminishing its hold and supremacy over the country. We pray that God will power-up Duterte in the quest for the Presidency so that we will finally see genuine change in the structure of government. So much of the unitary Presidential form of government. Duterte >>Federalism>>Genuine Change.
    Laus Deo!!

  6. Mayor you don’t need massive campaign funds to win the presidency. Just file your candidacy and the people who believe in your vision will take it from there. Sawa na kami sa mga trapo na ninanakaw lang ang mga taxes namin and the crimes all around us. Naiinggit kami sa mga taga Davao.

  7. if we will continue to support trapos in politics then our future and children’s will continue to suffer poor people will be the first one to suffer by these selfish politicians who put the money on their own pocket instead of putting it to project that would benefit the people as a whole..there is no one amongst Binay, Roxas,and Grace poe can change the present situation of the philippines..we need a new Moses that would lead the Filipinos to a better Philippines and would deliver the filipinos from the bondage of poverty,crimes,drug lords,corruptions and unstable peace and order..we need Duterte to remake the Nation to stand again…. Duterte for a Radical change…

  8. I am from Luzon particularly based in Oriental Mindoro. I’m reading a lot of fits of mayor Duderte. Good or bad reviews of his style in running Davao, I will still give my vote for him because he is the only man that is firm, fair (although brutal sometimes) and with political will to do what is right for this country. On my on way, I will campaign for him without strings attached. Duterte don’t know me anyway. Good luck to you my MAN.

  9. I believe Mayor Duterte have a good heart and will to lead this nation the right way.

    I will campaign… support and vote him to be our next President

  10. count the entire family of not less than 10 voters…the Philippines needs you …Our country is a rich country pero kung corrupt lang ang uupo di baling mailibing ang yaman kaysa mapunta lang sa iilan…I believe you are fair enough to equally distribute wealth…

  11. Been thinking about the same since he finally got in the presidential race.

    Duterte could be a good president, but he will do mistakes in the process too. He could be firm on his decisions but may also appear cruel at times. He may be not be always able to talk the walk, and may sometimes be tagged as a liar. In short, he could be a good president, possibly the best among the candidates. Just don’t expect him to be perfect. There is no perfect president.

    But why am I voting for Duterte? Simple. He may turn out to be not that good of a president, but he will surely make good Filipinos – disciplined, law-abiding, rational Filipinos. He will show our youth why the law exist and why order is necessary in everything. Ignorance of the law is never an excuse, it is a social responsibility. Eventually, and hopefully, he’ll be able to grow future leaders in his mold and not the usual politikos who only want the power and the money.

  12. My point leaves the finesse, human rights and anything goodies to the next generation. For now, let us elect a man who will protect a generation and give them a better fighting chance. This is not a time for niceties.

  13. Duterte could stand for himself, he is his own man. That is what makes him unique. Unfortunately, some are trying to compare him with a past president, with an intent to discredit one and promote another. Once Duterte was asked regarding late Ferdinand Marcos, he answered that “He (Marcos Sr) is the most brilliant president”. That maybe because Duterte understood that every leader have their respective situation to deal with. As for the Mayor with brilliance and leadership he was able to survive Davao amidst foregoing troubles in the past and the continuing present. Like Marcos Sr, Duterte takes initiative to make his constituent protected and served. Like Marcos Sr, Duterte is human, unable to make things perfect but its the best within each capability. Like Marcos Sr, Duterte also was alleged with some human rights abuses and anything that exceeds to rule of law but denied with proper recognition of saving the greater number of people, of serving democracy with discipline and respect to human life. Duterte with all his might and capability did what suppose a leader must do.

  14. I firmly believe that Mayor Duterte would be a good president in our country and that change would be eminent and evident if it is he who will lead us.

  15. Can someone name just one big time crime lord in Davao that Duterte had put to death….not necesseraly proven even just by the grapevine…then you can count my vote in…am sincere..no sattire or whatsoever is meant here just trying to make sure my vote will not be wasted…

  16. @Leon, can you name someone who is big time crime lord/ druglord in Davao or under Duterte’s jurisdiction?

  17. I like the thought that some personalities bring on issues on human rights but crime goes unpublishable. What an irony. I am now here in Bangkok and the situation is not far from ours. However, I noticed that people have discipline, they do cut lines in traffic but most of all they still obey rules and respect other drivers. That’s what we lack now, discipline because we know that there are always personalities who will always cry human rights whenever we are disciplined. And that’s what’s terribly wrong with the Philippines now. We need a strong hand to instill discipline, fear if necessary. I think I made my decision who to vote for n

  18. I just hope and pray that he delivers when his time has come to be president of the republic our beloved philippines,I pity our country ravaged and rape by corrupt evil politicians over and over and over again

  19. I was hesitant first to think of voting for this guy who is rumored to be a an executioner of criminals…and having studied law and the constitutional rights of even apprehended criminals who are supposedly presumed innocent till proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, I found the rumors about him on this area unpalatable. So this impression of him made me afraid that he may use his power in the future to be above the law and trample human rights in other aspects when it might suit him. However, I just recently read and learned that Duterte had been a Fiscal or a prosecutor for years in Davao….and somehow this newly discovered information on my part somewhat changes my negative impression of him. I think Duterte, having been a fiscal…. is well experienced to weigh facts and prove beyond reasonable doubt that the perpetrator of a crime was really guilty or that he was a recidivist or a habitual delinquent, a drug lord, a rapist very dangerous to society …in other words police characters that are not only bad but ugly to allow them freedom to fester our society with more of their heinous crimes which deserve only capital punishment. I choose to believe now that if Mayor Duterte acted the role of “Judge Dread” he was not indiscriminate but with wisdom and certainty. And who are we to judge him harshly but only our Creator. I believe he has good motives and a good heart to help people and God looks first at the heart before He judges the action. Indeed God must be sending him to save our country from more lawlessness and corrupt politicians who continue to make our country their milking cow year after year. At last I have made up my mind to vote for Rody Duterte as the next President of our nation because he is the man of the hour.

  20. What is to be a great president? Is it not the president is guided by the Constitution where the function of the president is written? And what is our Constitution is just a few words? A president could not be great beyond what the Constitution functioned them to do. Thus, to be a great president depends on what is the constitution says. If the constitution is not great so does the people who are manned and functioned by it. The what makes a constitution not great is another issue to discuss.

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