Duterte and the art of swearing

'Isn’t trusting a candidate based on his popularity, method of madness, and characteristics alone traditional enough?'

Archiebald F. Capila

5:48:55am December 8, 2015

5:52:28am December 8, 2015

P******** sino ang iboboto ko?” (Damn, who will I vote for?)

And so the eternal question remains. Whether you are an old-timer when it comes to the knee-swelling process of falling in line before shading the blank circle of your preferred candidate, or that newbie excited to boast your exercise of suffrage on every platform of social media, you cannot help but utter these words and ask.

Don’t worry. It has been the same question Filipinos of the past have been trying to answer. For so many elections now, the Filipino people has been continuously seeking brands of political leadership unorthodox enough to confuse even the very fabric of our own history.

Political history

We have ditched a political system unfavorable to the freedom of expression and other related basic rights only to be disappointed with a democratic system deemed to be incompetent when it comes to local and international standards.

We then eyed an administration which prioritized the value of the nation’s trade industry through a former mutineer, only to hand it to a plunderer whose political background is overshadowed by his gunslinging films and cheap attempts at humor about his accent and diction when it comes to basic English.

So came the time we entrusted the future of a country to bright economist only to be dismayed on how she tolerated insurmountable cases of graft and corruption. After which, we then turned our heads to the son of a so-called saint of democracy who was elected as the highest public official of the land.

The results? The same. We were all made to believe the catchphrase “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” will save us from damnation. But it remained to be just that – a catchphrase we have to stick with until the yellow years come to a dusk.

But of course, we cannot blame ourselves. A pill to cure the cancer that is corruption here in the Philippines is still in the works. Come the fires of May next year, we would then be answering a monumental question now immortalized by history itself: “P******** sino iboboto ko?

CHOICES. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the current frontrunner in the race, but there are still qualms about his position on many issues. Image courtesy of Raffy de Guzman

CHOICES. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the current frontrunner in the race, but there are still qualms about his position on many issues. Image courtesy of Raffy de Guzman

Who gets the vote?

As of today, 5 presidential candidates have offered themselves to be this country’s next big thing – to be the answer to the eternal questions of Filipinos rooting for a breath of fresh air when it comes to politics.

The incumbent Vice President Jejomar Binay has thrown his name to the party along with Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Senator Grace Poe, former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, and the recently announced front-runner of PDP-Laban, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Of all the aspirants, Duterte stands to be the most popular – according to the latest Social Weather Survey – and the most controversial at the same time. The #DuterteSerye has been brought back from the grave of hopelessness.

After declaring that he cannot tolerate an American president in Grace Poe, he has decided to finally run for the 2016 elections. Of course, his believers rejoiced. Those who called on his name to be this country’s new face sunk in a pool of delight. "Finally," they said. "A hero to save us," they said.

The myth and popularity of Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has now reached young and old Filipinos alike. His uncouth style of governance which has been a trademark in a "now-safe-to-live-in" Davao City is now craved by Filipinos itching to have a new political system to lean on.

Labelled as “The Punisher” and “Dirty Harry of the South," Duterte has established an image of a leader whose machismo and brutally frank ways on handling criminality must be tolerated. (READ: 22 things to know about 'Duterte Harry')

For the past few weeks, he has been on the newspapers' headlines, the main story of the news shows, and definitely the center of our politically-related lives.

Duterte's popularity

I have high regards for Duterte both as an enforcer of the law and as a leader who values respect and obedience above all else. His record for public service is a notch above everyone else.

The Women Development Code (City Ordinance 5004) for gender equality and women empowerment, Anti-Discrimination Ordinance for the equality amongst the LGBT community, Muslims, Lumad, and Christians alike, Davao Central 911 – reportedly the only 911 system in Asia – and Smoking and Liquor Ban in the city are only some of the notable rules and regulations implemented under his watch as one of the longest serving mayors in the country.

His legend now stretches far beyond his bailiwick. Most now see him as a messiah now ready to save the Philippines from political damnation.

But amidst all the reforms Duterte has implemented to reverse the then crime-ridden Davao City, his cockiness and cussing on matters of policy implementation stands to be the most loved characteristic of the presidential aspirant.

The moment he discussed his affiliation with the infamous Davao Death Squad, most people surprisingly danced in the rugged tone of elation rather than have themselves disgusted with how the mayor sees things in the perspective of human rights.

Duterte, has always been vocal about his methods and even flaunted the death toll in front of his critics. He said in a speech on May 15 that his approach to fighting crime depended on the killing of suspected criminals. (READ: Duterte, his 6 contradictions and planned dictatorship)

His city, being the 9th safest in the world is then accompanied by how he savours such success – killing people, criminals, to be exact.

Personality politics

Because of the current state of the Philippine justice system, most Filipinos now believe in the illusion that by electing Duterte as president, the tides will shift into everyone’s favor and eventually wipe out and destroy the very fabric of cancer our country is going throughout the past years, which is of course corruption.

But Duterte, as we all know, is an effective and efficient leader on a micro scale. Stories are told where he personally checks the law and order of Davao City by travelling the city riding his big bike by day and through an incognito taxi by night. He kills criminals himself, so he says. He checks on things personally.

But come the time he becomes president (which I assume most Filipinos would like), will he be able to translate such kind of leadership onto the scale as big as the Philippines? If not, will he be able to control his men and appointees to propagate the brand of politics he is accustomed to?

Duterte has always been vocal about enforcing peace and order in the country – but that overshadows some of the major problems our country is facing today. Topics like economic upliftment, employment, foreign trades and investments, are only some of the candidate's untapped issues. (READ: The Leader I Want: Rodrigo Duterte's to-fix list for 2016)

His personality now reigns supreme instead of concrete platforms Filipinos need to base their decisions on come election time. If so, what then has changed in the so-called "traditional politics" we Filipinos are sick of?

Isn’t trusting a candidate based on his popularity, method of madness, and characteristics alone traditional enough?

Let us all bear in mind that, come 2016, we will have another leader to change the course of political history and refabricate the policy implementation of the country. It is only fitting that we think again before considering a man like Duterte.

We need a president of brains and not of balls and bullets alone. But if your belief serves you fitting enough, go ahead, vote for Duterte.

P********. Sino nga ba naman ako para sabihin sa’yo kung sino dapat ang iboto?” (Damn, who am I to tell you who to vote for anyway?) – Rappler.com

Archiebald Capila is a graduate of the Southern Luzon State University and aspires to be a lawyer or politician one day.

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