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Will it be a Roxas-Duterte team next year?

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As I See It

Will it be a Roxas-Duterte team next year?

/ 02:18 AM June 29, 2015

Is it going to be a Roxas-Duterte team in next year’s presidential election? This possibility cropped up when Interior Secretary Mar Roxas had a second tête-à-tête with Duterte in Davao City last Friday night. Although Secretary Roxas said it was only “chika-chika” between friends and they did not talk politics at all, nobody believes that. It is impossible for two politicians not to talk politics when they get together in private, like Roxas and Duterte have done twice already.

Most likely, Roxas, the presumptive Liberal Parry standard-bearer next year, is toying with the idea of having Duterte as his running mate. Why not? Both Roxas and Duterte rank third in presidential poll surveys.

Sen. Grace Poe is No. 1; Vice President Jejomar Binay is far behind in second place. A

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Roxas-Poe or Poe-Roxas team would have been ideal. But with Poe yet undecided to run for higher public office, it is prudent to make sure of getting the next best vice presidential running mate—Duterte. True, Duterte has said that he definitely is not running for president, but he did not say that he won’t run for vice president.

For a local city mayor to place third in a national survey of voter preference for president is surprising. But Duterte is no ordinary mayor of a hick town. He has made Davao City the ninth safest city in the world, according to an international survey.

The way he did it was to scare criminals into leaving this world prematurely. Many notorious criminals in Davao City, especially drug traffickers, died suddenly during Duterte’s terms as city mayor. The criminals still alive were left with two choices: Leave town or leave this world in a coffin. Many chose the first, so Davao is now almost crime-free.

Some say Duterte has a secret death squad that sends criminals to meet their Maker early. The mayor denies this. He said DDS does not stand for Davao Death Squad but for Davao Development System. Duterte has not explained how his DDS works, but some say part of it is to develop the funeral industry in the city.

Duterte said that when he started touring the country to campaign for a federal system of government similar to that of the United States, some people laughed. But as he made the rounds, his popularity rating rose. That’s because people like the way he talks tough.

I personally like it when he said that along with ordinary criminals, he would feed to the fish in Manila Bay corrupt public officials. Since that may include Vice President Binay, people clapped their hands and explained: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, go man go.”

So a Roxas-Duterte team would definitely continue the Aquino administration’s anticorruption campaign. Roxas is proven to be a squeaky clean public official (he has not been involved in any scandal during his long public career) and Duterte has proven that criminality can be erased.

The people are fed up with crime and corruption. The latter is the No. 1 problem of the Philippines. All other problems emanate from it. People are poor because corrupt public officials steal their tax money. Funds that should go to services for the people end up in the private pockets of corrupt public officials, as witness the billions of pesos in public funds stolen by high-ranking officials in the pork barrel scam.

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Theft and robbery cases increase when people are poor and have no jobs. So do kidnap-for-ransom cases and bank robberies. When poor people have jobs, they don’t have to steal. But corrupt public officials, although they already have good-paying jobs and are already wealthy, still steal the people’s money because they can.

The Aquino administration has done a good job in putting high-ranking public officials before the bar of justice. At no time in the history of the Philippines have so many senators and congressmen, a chief justice, even the incumbent vice president, been charged in court for corruption.

The danger is what would happen when the Aquino administration ends and a new president like Binay takes over. Most certainly, the cases against his partners in the United Nationalist Alliance like Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Jinggoy Estrada would be dropped; and even if they are convicted, Binay would pardon them.

What would happen then to the anticorruption campaign? It would be “tuloy ang ligaya” and “happiness is here again” for corrupt officials. Corruption would spread again like cancer that would eventually kill the Filipino nation. The Filipinos would never be able to extricate themselves from the quagmire of corruption, crime and poverty.

For this reason, corruption would be the No. 1 issue in next year’s elections. We should not vote for any corrupt politician, no matter what position he/she is running for.

So, yes, Roxas-Duterte would make a good team. A Poe-Roxas or Roxas-Poe team may be better, but with Poe not having made up her mind about running for higher public office, a Roxas-Duterte team would be good.

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