OPINION: Duterte’s change has come...like never before

Buddy Gomez

Posted at Jun 08 2016 11:53 PM

Never before has an elected Philippine President wasted so much political capital even before he had taken his inaugural oath. 

Never before has a tin-horn tyrant wannabe been his own worst enemy! And here is why.

Never before has any nation on earth ever elected a President, one who outed himself, all by his silly, nutty self even before his term of office began. Rodrigo R. Duterte is vulgar, arrogant, conceited, shameless, tactless, insensitive, intolerant, offensive, obnoxious, opinionated. Brash, uncouth, raving and ranting, too. All of the above, to the nation’s chagrin. (Bastos na mayabang at barumbado pa!)

Never before have millions of a once-entranced electorate been turned off so fast, executing a U-turn and ruing voting for a winning Presidential candidate even before he has served his first day in office!

Never before has this country elected a President, an individual who turned out not possessing a basic identity with Juan and Maria de la Cruz. The President-elect is a caricature departure from the character of the Filipino. In fact, he is proud to be an outlier. 

Never before, simply symbolic it might be, has an elected President been subjected to a “Resign” petition even before he is inaugurated.

Never before “only in the Philippines.” Never before, an exclusive “one-of-a-kind.”

How about crafting a parlor game, a guessing game listing some more of Duterte “Never Before?” Perhaps, even a new video game…..”Never Before Duterte Never More!" Or, see how smart you are. Answer me this: Why is the incoming President also known as Rodrigo “wrong vagina” Duterte?

Hey, “Duts!” Ever heard of freedom of expression? How about freedom of description?

SCOLDING DUTERTE

Are we being a scold? You betcha! That is because even those who did not vote for Duterte also care, you know. I care. The success of the Duterte administration is the success of the country. I mean no malice. This is tough love. (With apologies to Nanay Soleng--Duterte’s mom--whose counsel for good and sober behavior her son apparently refuses to heed!) 

The President-elect had better listen and listen well. He had better shape up! Mr. Mayor, you have not been nice at all, especially to the ladies. Very much of media mean no malice. We are committed to reporting the truth. It is an inalienable right, along critical, collaborative commentary, with hopes for what is the country’s common good. 

Que lastima, that heretofore Mayor Duterte’s exposure to and relationship with journalists was rather limited. Understandably, that limited exposure may have been confined to those he has admittedly bribed, perhaps to either drumbeat for him or to sweep dirt under the ‘alfombra.’ And, for whom he may always have nursed an unexpressed disrespect and scorn. 

That limitation was obviously breached when he met professionals, the likes of Mariz Umali and Pia Ranada-Robles, and was subjected to coverage by ABS-CB News, GMA Network, TV5 and other myriad legitimates!

(One day, I will share memories of how two female journalists, separately, disconcertingly nettled Don Manuel L. Quezon, before and during the Commonwealth.)

SOBERING STATISTICAL PERSPECTIVES

There were 16,601,997 Filipinos responsible for candidate Rodrigo R. Roa’s victory. There is no available data on how many more claimed to have voted for him, after he was declared winner. Of course, we all know about those who jumped the Liberal Party ship, to feed and satiate themselves from a new gravy trough. 

Neither is there any exact data on the number who have regretted their votes since Duterte unmasked himself, beyond gleaned media reportage, netizens' reactions, street talk, cyberchats, and rumor mills. I guess a more definitive political portrait will appear when Social Weather Stations and/or Pulse Asia share their findings.

Officially, Duterte won by a plurality of 39.01% of total valid votes cast which is 42,522,835. Actually, the number of votes cast was 44,979,151. The Commission on Elections found 2,456,316 votes invalid. The 44,979,151 voter turnout represents 81.51% of the total registered electorate which is 55,739,911.

Duterte’s plurality is reduced to 36.9% when we relate his 16,601,997 to total votes cast. This plurality percentage goes down some more to 29.78% if we reckon his votes against the total number of registered votes. 16,601,997 to 55,739,911.

Let us deem that the entire Philippines and Filipino citizenry wherever they may be found, to also include all unregistered Filipinos, unconcerned adults as wells as non-voting minors and dependents to be the universe from which the national mood can be drawn. It would seem to me, from another perspective, that there is indeed reason for humility to descend upon the President-elect. He, of course, the better for it. Taking the entire country’s most recent headcount which is 102,136,000, those who voted for Duterte become representative of a smaller 16.25% slice of the nation.

From 39.01% to 36.9% to 29.78% and down to 16.25% describes a deflationary descent from euphoria. 

RAH! RAH! RAH! Duterte, Zis Boom Bah!

I am joining this cheering squad. The announced intent to hike infrastructure spending to 7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the current target of 5% is welcome news and must be cheered on. The idea of having a President from Mindanao has always been alluring and pragmatic. It has been a long desired political happening which has finally come. The prospects for Mindanao have never been better. 

Duterte can do no wrong if these earmarked funds were to lay the foundations for the transfer away from Metro Manila of principal military camps, building a new International Airport in Davao City, a trans-Mindanao mass transit/cargo railway system. Mindanao deserves the economic stimulus that precedence in fiscal allocations can bring. New wealth, new employment, new communities will inevitably evolve. 

READ: The greatness of the Duterte presidency....

Let me reiterate: Mindanao’s development will accommodate the organized exodus of all human activity that do not require a Metro Manila presence. Duterte and Mindanao now own the opportunity to save and solve Metro Manila! 

ONE LAST 'NEVER BEFORE'

It is not unusual for a Philippine President to have a running feud with a particular media organization or a journalist (Estrada vs the Inquirer; Marcos vs the Manila Chronicle/Ernie Granada come to mind). But truly, truly never before have the country’s principal professional media associations ever marshalled unison in protesting a President’s behavior. And, he is not even sworn into office yet! 

The National Union of Journalists, the Foreign Correspondents Association, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, the College Editors Guild all have spoken with vigorous protests. International media have likewise taken note and issued uncomplimentary reportage and commentaries. What a way to start! 

Now, the President-elect has created his own ‘boycott’ cocoon. No more interviews, until the end of his term, says he. Yes, he has been stung but did he blink? If we are irretrievably stuck with him, not to worry. He is also stuck with a justly alienated and irritated us! 

Did not President-elect Duterte say that he would rather die than lose his identity? But he also promised a ‘metamorphosis.’ Will he die morphing? It looks like a fun and exciting six years ahead. Let us relax and enjoy him! Maybe we can drive him nuts enough to do the sane thing!

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.