Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that he will run for president after all got many excited, and quite a few worried, with his entry into the race described by some as “game-changing.”
Certainly Duterte’s decision to join the race has caused shifts in political alliances and some voters to change their minds in his favor.
In my travels this year around the country, and in my surfing on social media, I ask people who their choice is. In Mindanao, resoundingly, it is Duterte. In the Visayas, it is a bit mixed but I gather that Duterte has a great many supporters. It is possible also, I’ve heard, that the Ilonggo vote might be split between Mar Roxas and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. If for whatever reason the latter will not continue her candidacy, her voters could shift to Duterte. In other words, it is quite possible for Duterte to carry VisMin.
As for Luzon, Duterte has been gaining adherents, mostly people who are tired of the same ruling oligarchs in power, the traditional politicians and prominent families and ruling dynasties who, time and again, have furthered their own agendas and vested interests over the good of the Filipino people.
Duterte is perceived as a breath of fresh air, tough on the corrupt, inept, and criminal. It is for this that he received the nickname “Duterte Harry”.
The deplorable issues in Metro Manila that have remained unresolved for years—traffic, public transportation, infrastructure—are issues related to management and administration. What many believe that we need to straighten this out is a good administrator —and Duterte is one. He has made Davao one of the model cities of the country for safety and development.
A self-made man, he projects an image of simplicity. Like Mujica of Peru, “the world’s poorest president,” Duterte has lived in the same modest home for many years.
However, he is also seen as someone who operates outside the law to get things done. The association of his name with the so-called Davao Death Squad and his own fiery tirades and threats against evildoers repel many who might have otherwise chosen him.
What is also counting against him now is his vehement stance against Grace Poe, even declaring that he finally decided to run in order to prevent an “American president” from being elected. It’s too strident and off-putting. But then for many, that describes the mayor in a nutshell.
Anyway. This entire exercise, however, might be rendered moot and academic if the Commission on Elections decides that he cannot run. Duterte said that he left the matter to his lawyers to fix. PDP-Laban president Senator Aquilino Pimentel III has also stated their party’s support for Duterte, saying that the party has already signed a new certificate of nomination for him as their candidate.
Now we wait and see what happens next. The situation will also be altered if Poe is disqualified and if Santiago is scratched from the race; Roxas and Binay seem pretty much on track with their own campaigns.
This is all just another chapter in the telenovela that is Philippine politics. Who is the hero, the villain, the damsel in distress? You decide.
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University of the Philippines womens’ studies professor Sylvia Claudio will launch her new book “And Then She Laughed: Counseling Women” on Dec. 3 at the UP Executive House.
Claudio is a doctor twice over, holding both MD and PhD Psychology degrees. In this book, she covers cases she has handled over the years as a counselor for abused women, discussing issues of rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and depression. It is also a book of healing, with life lessons gleaned from the stories of survivors. Published by Anvil, it is available at major bookstores.
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