You are the probinsiyano candidate taking Imperial Manila by storm, one the likes of which we have not seen before. We have been used to the glib-talking, hand-in-the-cookie-jar prototype for so long we have become calloused by it and your arrival on the political firestorm at this time in our country’s history is either a breath of renewed air or cause for great fear by the dregs of our society. Whichever, the polarity is not the kind that ignites revolutions; just repetitive potshots from a few well-greased screwballs.
My questions, therefore, are the following:
- This may be moot and academic now, but still – what is the true state of your health?
The Yellow Cult calls you ‘sick old man from the South’ in an unabashedly derisive manner even as you have assured your supporters that your health is nothing to be worried about. However, you also said that you might not last six years in office. Candidates may not have a legal obligation to disclose the state of their health – whether physical or mental – but they have the moral responsibility to do so if they want their governance to rest on moral grounds.
Why do your detractors insist on calling you sick old man? Are they mocking you because you are sick? Unless they have your medical records in their possession – which no doctor worth their Hippocratic Oath will divulge without the consent of their patient – it is purely conjecture (and malice) on their part. Too, wishing ill of others is not good karma.
So, if you say that you have Buerger’s Disease and Barrett’s Esophagus, who are we to not believe? Even the most physically-fit of individuals running a marathon can just suddenly drop to the ground and expire. You are running a marathon yourself, hopping all over (most of) the country’s 7,100 islands asking for the people’s votes, and just as suddenly could fall from exhaustion. It is your and your doctors’ lookout, isn’t it?
As for being old, so what? One of your opponents is apparently older than you but nobody calls him old (just corrupt). Over at the United States, a 75-year-old gentleman by the name of Senator Bernie Sanders is giving Hillary Clinton fits at the Democratic primaries and attracting America’s very young voters. So, who cares about age? Besides, Filipinos elected a ‘young’ President in 2010, but where did that take us?
- Can your PR handlers, stylists, or what-have-you change your image/personality/character drastically and make you conform to their standards of what a President should be? Or, is it on with the what-you-see-is-what-you-get mindset?
Your ‘vigilante’ stance turns off the conservatives and religious. Your ‘strong arm’ tactics are raising alarm bells. And your ‘dirty mouth’ makes some people shake their head in disgust. Are you willing to tone down your ‘tough guy’ image and be more ‘statesmanlike’? Then again, would mainstream media have paid attention to you if your language was not ‘colorful’?
How are you going to eradicate the drug menace within six months like you said you would? Are you going to take the law into your own hands? In July 2005 at a crime summit in Manila Hotel, you were quoted as saying, “Summary execution of criminals remains the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs”.
How are you going to stamp out smuggling which, according to a recent UN report, more than doubled during the ‘Daang Matuwid’ administration compared to its much-maligned predecessor? During a televised Senate hearing on the arrest of a suspected rice smuggler, you declared without batting an eyelash: “If this guy would go to Davao and starts to unload (smuggled rice)… I will gladly kill him.” I would surmise that the suspected rice smuggler who was sitting not too far away from you nearly peed in his pants.
But does “the mentality of lawlessness and vigilantism” have a place in civilized society? Are you going to “tolerate” the extrajudicial extermination of criminals to keep your self-imposed deadline? Or will you do a Lim Seng and execute a notorious drug lord as a warning to ALL criminals? The public shooting by firing squad of the Chinese trafficker at the onset of Martial Law certainly sent chills down the spine of the citizenry. Would a similar spectacle serve the purpose of wiping out crime without Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International raising an international ruckus?
Before you became a candidate for President, all that Imperial Manila knew about Rodrigo Duterte was that of the pistol-packing, big bike-riding mayor of Davao City with a human rights asterisk attached to his name – the one responsible for making Davao City the fourth safest city in the world. Does that justify your ‘Punisher’ (or is it ‘Duterte Harry’) sobriquet?
- What is your program of government beyond peace and order? How is a Duterte presidency going to be different from the past five administrations?
Your campaign platform is based on the promise of change (pagbabago), starting with giving back to the citizenry their peace of mind and making them feel safe while walking the streets at night. Voters generally look to you as the only candidate for President with the political will to take on the scourge of criminality that seems to envelop the country today like a long, cold sweat.
DUTERTE: Philippine Star Interview (UNCUT Version)DUTERTE PLATFORM and VISION: Philippine Star Interview (UNCUT version they don’t want you to see)Philippine Star deleted this video 1 hour after it went viral Posted by Joanna Allas-Fojas on Sunday, December 13, 2015
You said in a radio interview that you are leftist in ideology with a socialist perspective and that you will put an end to the communist insurgency by inviting the Left to join your administration and giving them Cabinet positions. In another media interview you mentioned agrarian reform, social welfare, and environment and natural resources as the departments which you will give to Sison, Jalandoni, et al. If so, are you not insulating yourself from the Right and the Establishment this early?
At the first presidential debates held in Cagayan de Oro City, you were the only candidate who set a deadline for getting the first item in your agenda through, while the rest just mouthed the usual motherhood statements with no specifics on HOW they are going to get things DONE. When you said that you will make the police and military go after the criminals relentlessly, how are you going to ensure that abuses will not be committed?
Experts say that OFW remittances and BPO revenues are the two pillars that have been keeping our economy stand on solid ground, contributing about $50 billion annually to the country’s coffers. It is said that the BPO industry will soon reach a dead end due to the advent of new technology that will render several jobs in call centers redundant. Meanwhile, many Middle Eastern countries are also cutting down on their imported labor force because of the downturn in their own economies brought about by rapidly falling oil prices. What economic policies are you going to introduce that will generate employment for millions of Filipinos and attract foreign investments to our shores? You talk of “business islands” patterned after Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Would that solve the unemployment problem?
Among the pledges that you made during your campaign sorties, so far, are: ending labor ‘contractualization’, establishing food terminals and putting up economic zones in all regions of the country, improving health services for the poor and opening charity wards in all hospitals, giving indigenous people easy access to education, doubling the salaries of soldiers and policemen so they would not be tempted into corruption, and raising the salaries of teachers. How soon are you going to fulfill those promises?
- Is federalism the solution to the Mindanao problem? How are you going to deal with the Chinese aggression in the South China Sea? What is your stand on climate change?
Among the candidates, you are the only one specifically promoting a change in the form of government – towards federalism where government is decentralized and wealth is redistributed throughout the country. You said that it will correct the mistakes wrought by history upon the Muslim people of Mindanao. Do the people of Mindanao share that view? Would federalism bring peace to the Land of Promise, just like President Aquino believed the unlegislated Bangsamoro Basic Law would?
Would federalism allow the country’s poorest provinces to get out of poverty or would it make them even poorer without ‘aid’ from the national government? Your opponents point out that it will only serve to further entrench political dynasties at the local level. To counter that, would you press for the passage of the Anti-Dynasty bill that has been lying dormant – for obvious reasons – in Congress for a long time now?
As for China’s territorial claims on the disputed islands in the South China Sea, you were quoted as saying that you are willing to conduct bilateral talks with our giant neighbor and explore the option of joint exploration in order to resolve the conflict. However, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was also quoted as saying that a president who would think of sharing the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea with China “will surely be impeached”. How would you reconcile diplomacy and pragmatism against a possible violation of the Constitution? Would sharing be better than going to a war we could not win?
On top of that, the Philippines has been named as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world in terms of natural disasters and climate change. In line with this, will you stop indiscriminate, unregulated mining everywhere? Will you go after big-time exploiters of our country’s minerals, forests and marine resources posing as small-scale miners, loggers and trawlers?
You were among the first to provide aid to victims of Typhoon Yolanda, without media coverage, bringing with you your city’s “cream of the crop” disaster relief team. Stories are now coming out from people who had actual encounters with you in Tacloban vis-a-vis what the DILG secretary did or did not do all the time that he was there. Will you adopt Davao’s 911 emergency number all over the archipelago? Will you institutionalize disaster preparedness at the community level?
- How do you expect to win if you have no sufficient funds to finance a rigorous and expensive campaign, more so since – unlike everyone else – it is said that you do not want to accept contributions from companies who have dealings with the government? What do you mean when you say that you are our ‘last card’?
If you can reach the finish line without accepting money from the oligarchs funding everyone else’s presidential run and win, you would have changed the way elections are done in this country for good. If you are able to attract voters just by being Rodrigo Duterte – sans gimmickry, dole outs, false promises and false pretenses – then there is hope for the Filipino electorate after all.
If you will be true to your word and win, then the Philippines will finally have a President who is not indebted to anyone. Corruption is obviously not an issue with you as can be gleaned from your simple lifestyle. So will you ‘force’ Big Business owners to pay the right taxes and reduce those by the ordinary working class? How are you going to redeem the government’s shameful handling of the $81Million cyber theft that has rocked the banking industry and once again put the country on the spotlight for the ill repute of being a haven for money laundering criminals?
Already, because of your strong showing in ‘unofficial surveys’ – meaning the big crowds that actually flock to your rallies and motorcades everywhere without the usual ‘hakot’ and the number of volunteers cutting across economic classes campaigning for you – there are talks of cases being filed against you for alleged murders and, who knows, trumped-up charges aimed at derailing your surge in the people’s consciousness. Unlike your opponents who are weighed down by issues of corruption, incompetence, inexperience and fraudulence – the only thing that you can offer is leadership, you said, and not “fancy platforms”.
At this point in our country’s existence where we’ve had a succession of jokers as President, Filipinos would prefer a trump card rather than a last card. True leadership rather than pretentious bombast. Remains to be seen whether or not you will fill that bill.