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What Duterte did right

LOOKING back at the campaign period that resulted in the victory of Rodrigo “Digong” Roa Duterte, the question is: What did he do right, and what did the others do wrong?

In the beginning, Duterte seemed a reluctant candidate. At that time, poll surveys already had United Nationalist Alliance Vice President Jejomar Binay leading the pack. Neophyte senator Grace Poe and administration candidate Mar Roxas were far behind.

And then came a tough-talking mayor from Mindanao who loved expletives and was a self-confessed killer and womanizer. He exuded machismo, and joked about his many conquests.

At the same time, he seemed to live simply. He always wore denims and polo shirts.

He came across as a provinciano tough enough to challenge the elite. He looked like he could bring about change.

He became so popular that when he joked about the rape of an Australian missionary, the people roared with laughter.

This reminds me of the 1998 campaign of former President Joseph Estrada, now mayor of Manila. People laughed at his “carabao English.” Estrada’s public relations guru and I took advantage of this by compiling Erap jokes called “Eraptions.” The book was an instant hit.

Reli and I knew that the “masa,” Erap’s constituency, needed to laugh as relief from their miserable lives. Du-Dirty knew this. This was what made people gravitate towards him.

Meanwhile, his opponents could not relate to the people.

The biggest mistake that administration candidate Mar Roxas made was to become BS Aquino’s clone. He advocated the so-called Daang Matuwid which maintained the status quo—the very thing the people wanted to change.

People knew that the Daang Matuwid was actually the road to perdition. The Liberal Party’s grassroots machinery may have put Mar on second place in the final count, but Du-Dirty’s margin was just too big to overcome.

Grace Poe, I believe, never recovered from the incessant tirades against her citizenship and her lies on her residency, not even with the Supreme Court decision that said she was eligible to run.

People could never accept an American president, and an American First Gentleman living in Malacañang. The fact that Mrs. Llamanzares never had enough experience in government, being a neophyte in the Senate, was a dampener. So many times, I heard people say, “mas-yadong ambisyoso, walang alam.”

Vice President Jojo Binay, while known to be pro-poor and has a deep-rooted constituency, never recovered from the demolition job against him and his family that ruled Makati for decades. People initially doubted the accusations but they saw an alternative in Du-Dirty. This was when Binay’s ratings started to decline.

I am discounting the candidacy of Senator Miriam Santiago, who I believe should have never run in the first place.

* * *

The next question that should be asked of incoming President Duterte is whether or not he can deliver on his promise of real change. The nation now expects much from him. Failure to deliver could be the tipping point of his presidency.

Yesterday I wrote that the first year of the Duterte presidency would be turbulent. How will he achieve all the things he has promised? Will he also be riding the tiger as the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos did, whose only alternative was to go on self-exile? We all know that when somebody rides the tiger, he can’t get off because the tiger will devour him.

That’s a lesson in history that we should never forget.

Just how far can a desperate man like BS Aquino would go to save his skin and prevent himself from going to jail? I think this is best shown with the neck-in-neck battle for the vice presidency between Senator Bongbong Marcos and administration candidate Rep. Leni Robredo. Just when people were going to sleep, Robredo overtook Marcos in the count.

I can believe Bongbong’s claim that “Plan B” of Malacañang went into effect Monday night with BS Aquino directing the LP grassroots machinery to withhold most of the votes from the Solid North, where Bongbong is very strong, while releasing the votes from Bicol and the Visayas where the Mar Roxas-Leni Robredo team is strong.

There is direct evidence of vote shaving, which constitutes the notorious “dagdag bawas” or “bawas dagdag” of past elections. The Marcos camp has come out with proof that in Biliran, the votes for Senator Francis Escudero were reduced and the numbers then went in favor of Robredo. I don’t know if Leni is part of this scheme.

Anything is possible for the desperate.

The problem with BS Aquino’s “Plan B” is Duterte, who had threatened that he will abolish Congress if he is impeached.

Pray, tell, will the Armed Forces of the Philippines just stand by and not follow its mandate under the Constitution as “protector of the State and the people”?

* * *

I mourn the death of former Foreign Affairs secretary Domingo Siazon Jr.

He was one of my most promising students when I was teaching at the Ateneo High School at Loyola Heights. He was an honor student.

I extend my deepest condolences to his family.

* * *

Vice President Jejomar Binay may have lost the presidency but I want to congratulate him nonetheless for making Makati City, where I reside, still Binay country.

I congratulate his daughter Abigail for her election as mayor and son-in-law Luis Campos who won as congressman. They both deserve to win.

Topics: Emil Jurado , What Duterte did right , Rodrigo “Digong” Roa Duterte
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