How Duterte should spend his political capital

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2016 06:33 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2016 07:00 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. ABS-CBN News

The Duterte administration should take advantage of the absence of a genuine opposition to push for systemic reforms, an analyst said on Friday.

In an interview with [email protected], University of Sto. Tomas professor Edmund Tayao noted that there is only a "token opposition" because of two possible reasons: absences of programs that they can oppose or a wait-and-see attitude.

For this, he believes President Rodrigo Duterte knows that he should spend his political capital on more reforms outside the war on drugs the government has already launched.

"There are not-so-sexy or not-so-controversial moves or priority of this administration that will still require political capital, which is still part of the agenda," he said.

One of the most urgent points the administration must work on, he said, is political system reform. Tayao said apart from being dragging, bringing this up at the latter part of the administration "becomes controversial."

"You want to do it right now, the first half of his presidency because he’s not only popular at this time, but that also gives it enough time to actually happen," he said.

If the constitutional reform is only pushed at the second half of the Duterte reign, Tayao said, he would deduce that the administration "is not as serious [on it] as [on] the war on drugs."

Tayao is hoping Duterte may speak of his plans for pushing for political systemic reforms in his first State of the Nation Address slated on Monday. He said he also hopes the chief executive will be able to lay down some concrete economic policies as he faces lawmakers.

"I’m also hoping to hear concrete economic, business priority programs and policies. And also, to be clear on the political direction that he is taking," he said.

He is also hoping that Duterte will be able to work with the former presidents much more closely than President Benigno Aquino III did.

"Whether you like it or not, there’s some experience that these previous presidents can share with the incumbent and hopefully, they can do away with their political differences and at the very least come to the table and discuss what’s really good for the country," he said.