The ideology of Duterte | Inquirer Opinion

The ideology of Duterte

/ 12:20 AM September 23, 2016

Ideology is a set of values and principles that determine and guide a person’s behavior. The ideology of Rodrigo Duterte as a person and as a president traverses the spectrum from the Left to the Right, learned in the various stages of his life.

The President describes himself as a socialist. The core value/principle of socialism is equality, as liberty is the core value/principle of liberal democracy. Equality and liberty are at the core of liberal social democracy.


The egalitarian streak in him is shown in his “inclusive economic growth program,” which directly improves the lives of the poor, unlike the rightist “trickle down” approach which concentrates on the elites the economic gains reflected in the nation’s gross domestic product.

This is also revealed in his policy of “leveling the playing field” in the context of the interaction among the lower, middle, and upper classes. This policy was first articulated in the context of competition between and among domestic and foreign businesses.


The leftist in Mr. Duterte makes it easy and comfortable for his administration to work toward forging a peace accord with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army and consequently ending the longest-running insurgency in the world. There is also his appointment of a number of leftists to positions in his Cabinet. Having shown in his war on drugs that he means business, he appears to make the antipoverty program substantial and real with the appointment of a leftist to head the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

His position in the center of the ideological spectrum is defined by his anticorruption policy. After nailing multibillionaire Roberto Ongpin, he should compile a list of cronies for “shaming” and prosecution by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who received a Ramon Magsaysay Award last month for her face-on war on corruption.

Being a seasoned prosecutor and having control over a supermajority in Congress, the President can amend the Anti-Plunder Law (Republic Act No. 7080) and the Forfeiture of Ill-Gotten Wealth Law (RA 1379) to make outright confiscation of plundered and ill-gotten wealth the penalty instead of sequestration or forfeiture.

His daring initial major infrastructure projects—at least 10 amounting to P320 billion—solidifies his position in the center. So do his policy to enforce freedom of information in the executive branch and his desire for a federal and parliamentary form of government.

Placing him in the Right is the way his war on drugs is being waged, to the consternation of advocates of human rights, due process, and rule of law. The state’s monopoly of the use of force is being used to the fullest extent, to purge society of the most malignant “social cancer” that could ultimately derogate the very survival of the Philippine nation.

Emmanuel Tiu Santos ([email protected]) is chair-CEO of the International Academy of Management and Economics and cofounder of Lakas ng Bayan and Laban 2-G and the Millennials.

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TAGS: Communist Party of the Philippines, Conchita Carpio-Morales, Ideology, Leftist, National Democratic Front, New People’s Army, Roberto Ongpin, Rodrigo Duterte, socialism
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