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Why people are drawn to Duterte

12:03 AM May 02, 2016

TO ALL my friends who expressed “surprise” and “disappointment” about my choice of Rodrigo Duterte as president, here’s my reason: He is the only candidate who represents real change.

Like many of you, I was in Edsa I and Edsa II. I supported the promise of “daang matuwid” and did my bit to get P-Noy elected.

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While I support Grace Poe’s heart for the people, her lack of experience and over-reliance on a glib partner with questionable character are major concerns.

Jejomar Binay’s executive skills are proven but with his questionable dealings and family, he carries too much baggage.

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Miriam Defensor Santiago’s best years are behind her, though she still has her occasional flashes of brilliance from her good days.

Mar Roxas undoubtedly has the pedigree, the education, the “talk” and the ideal “look” of a president. With his Wharton degree and background, he seems to be the best man to ensure that the economic gains of the current administration won’t be wasted. Like

P-Noy, he has never been accused of stealing. Like P-Noy, he is a consensus builder. Like P-Noy, he is a partyman.

And a partyman is loyal to his partymates. That’s why Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, despite the perennial public demand for his dismissal, because of his department’s many kapalpakan  (e.g., Naia I as the “world’s worst airport,” the problematic MRT), P-Noy still keeps him in his post—one of my biggest disappointments with the Aquino administration. He calls the people his “boss,” but he stands by his buddies whose ouster the public is demanding for their many transgressions. Like he did with former police chief Alan Purisima; it had to take the Mamasapano massacre to finally force this guy to “voluntarily resign.”

In contrast, under a Duterte administration, I see a more decisive leader who will hold everyone in his official family accountable. A President Duterte will help us rediscover national discipline as a way of life. I dream of cleaner streets where motorists obey traffic rules.

Because drugs are now a national menace, no quarter must be given to hoodlums who distribute a poison like these, which kill young lives and destroy families. It will only take a few examples for bad guys to learn that it’s not business as usual, and for the rest of our people to believe that change is actually possible if there is political will. A Duterte administration will attract the best and most qualified people, regardless of political affiliation, to help him run the government.

One more thing, I believe that he is the only candidate who can stand against the Catholic bishops on important issues like family planning and reproductive health.

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That said, I agree that his profanities are unpresidentiable, that some of his ways are uncouth, and that his rape joke was totally reprehensible. But one reason people from all walks of life are drawn to him is, they are tired of all sweet-talking, fork-tongued politicians who are very religious and observe good manners and right conduct when in public, but continue to “rape” Filipinos—men and women, young and old, of all  faiths and ages—through their sneaky corrupt practices.

The people are tired of good intentions and pie-in-the-sky promises. We are tired of show-biz reruns. We want new ideas. We demand action. We want a leader like Gen. Antonio Luna!

I believe that the time calls for a leader like Duterte. I have seen the mayor up close and personal. Beneath the hard exterior is a man with a soft heart. He won’t define the presidency. The presidency will help define him.

And with the aid of a vice president like Leni Robredo providing the counterbalance, and us, the more actively involved citizenry praying for him, the presidency will yet make a better man of him.

And our country will be better off because of it.

—ED DAMES, [email protected]

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TAGS: Duterte, Elections, feedback, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay. Miriam Defensor Santiago, letter, Mar Roxas, opinion, Rodrigo Duterte
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