Why our country needs to make Duterte president | Inquirer Opinion

Why our country needs to make Duterte president

01:56 AM July 18, 2015

The country and the Filipino people need Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Our country is in a dire situation and would never be able to move forward unless a good leader takes its helm. Despite its abundant natural resources, the Philippines lags far behind other lesser-endowed countries because of weak leadership at the top.

There may never be another person like Duterte who can turn the country around. What he has done in Davao City is a microcosm of what he can do for the country. His leadership would be capable of instituting measures that can effectively deal with what ails the country. Let me sum up these ills.


Firstly, we lack discipline. No country can be progressive unless its citizens are law-abiding and disciplined.

Secondly, the drug problem has become a national menace.


Thirdly, corruption is endemic in all levels of government, including in the barangays.

Finally, criminality is rampant nationwide.

Let me now cite the character traits and sterling qualities that Duterte has and the country needs:

  • He has been in politics for many years but he is not a “trapo” or traditional politician. He speaks candidly without fear of the political consequences of what he says. Case in point: He chided the Catholic hierarchy for their opposition to the Reproductive Health Law and stated that he would abolish Congress once elected.
  • He is a problem solver. He has successfully addressed the problems of illegal drugs, traffic, criminality and the firecracker menace in Davao City.
  • He has balls and is not afraid of anyone.
  • He has a track record of good governance.

Finally let me briefly describe the three frontrunners in the 2016 election. One of them will become president if Duterte does not run and win.

  1. Vice President Jejomar Binay is allegedly involved in massive corruption.
  2. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is honest and intelligent but has done nothing spectacular during his long government service.
  3. Sen. Grace Poe has very little experience in governance. But being honest and intelligent, she might not have the guts for making tough decisions that involve lives and that may have serious consequences. I am reminded of former president Gloria Arroyo who backed out of a US-led coalition when the life of one Filipino driver was threatened by terrorists.

These presidentiables pale in comparison with Duterte. He is an achiever and a transformational leader. He changed the behavior of Davaoeños and made Davao the ninth safest city in the world! That’s an awesome achievement that no other Filipino can possibly duplicate.

I was once the air force commander in Davao in the early 1990s. Mayor Duterte gave our unit full, unconditional support. Hence, I know the mayor up close.

This is his last opportunity to serve our country and people. He has spent many long years in public service and this has amply prepared him for the presidency. Hopefully he will not miss the chance.

—BRIG. GEN. LEONARDO LOPEZ, AFP (Ret.), [email protected]

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TAGS: 2016 Elections, Davao City, presidential candidates, Rodrigo Duterte
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