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August 27, 2016

If you did not know, drug lords actually love the Rule of Law.

And why not?  Just take a look at who are actually doing the fighting for them now in the current war against drugs being instigated by the new government.  Is it some influential lobby groups representing the interest of the drug lords?  Or a party list group of drug users asserting their right of choice?  No.  On the forefront of the battle is no other than a senator of the realm,  Senator Leila de Lima, former Secretary of Justice, and a few other colleagues in the chamber, backed by human rights advocates, lawyers, due process champions, pro-lifers, priests, academics, professionals, civic groups and the like.  Now,  from any angle, that’s a formidable force to reckon with, a force which, for completely disparate reasons and purposes, find themselves curiously, if unwittingly, on the same side with the drug syndicates.  The drug lords need only lie low now, sit back and relax, and watch while the warring forces decimate each other.  When the dust have settled down, it’s back to business.  If a few of them were also bruised, it’s all part of it, it comes with the territory.  In their own way, they will remember to pay tribute to them who cleared the road of obstacles and of unwanted disruption.

Due process.  Who really could quarrel with the principles of due process?  Our legal literature is brimming with discourses for its advocacy and defense.  Any lawyer worth his salt should be able to stand up at any moment’s notice to orate on the topic:  Due process, the foundation of our justice system.  As it is, due process has now  become the  central issue because of this bloody war being waged against illegal drugs,  a war which has so far waylaid hundreds of drug suspects and caused the mass surrender of thousands of drug addicts to authorities.  It’s a violation of human rights,  cry the critics.  It’s murder, wails Senator de Lima.  This is a desecration of the Rule of Law, bewails the civil society.  And, to be sure, strictly speaking, they are correct.

Yet, they too would readily agree that use of illegal drugs has grown to gargantuan proportions and it’s a problem. Ironically, for all their cries,  it is the President’s draconian tactic that exposed the extent of the problem, to the embarrassment of the previous government. You have to ask,  just how did the problem grow?  Was it not under the auspices of so-called due process or rule of law of previous regimes that it grew?  At the Senate hearing, de Lima was at pains to explain that the previous government to which she belonged did everything it could and that it should not be blamed for negligence.  She went on to cite various initiatives from agencies under her watch as Secretary of the Department of Justice in the previous administration.  De Lima should be asked then, what the results were because, obviously, if measured by the results, the initiatives failed grandly.  Why these failed, she should honestly seek why.  Because if she did, she will come to the sad realization that due process is the problem.

Indeed, the tough question to ask: can you fight illegal drugs in a regime of due process?  No one will tell you this, but the answer is NO, no you can’t!  It is either you sacrifice due process and fight illegal drugs in an extrajudicial manner.  Or uphold due process and just give up the fight.  Tough choice to make, but that is the reality on the ground.

In the real world, and I mean, in the real, unembellished world of real, imperfect people, due process is just a beautiful concept, easy to undermine and manipulate if you understand how it works and where the nuts and bolts are. See, when you are awash with money to buy anybody, have weapons of war to employ against those you cannot buy, and  you have an amoral/criminal mind free of any moral/ethical restraint, due process is just that, an ideal for the idealists to idealize!  Everybody has a price.  Cynical though that statement is, it is true.  Some are just more expensive than the others.  And for the very few highly principled men and women who cannot be bought, just how much violence could they really endure when instruments of brute force is turned on them?

Because the Rule of Law does not differentiate the guilty from the innocent, the guilty drug elements could easily take refuge in the same law that protects the innocent.  And because due process requires evidence and witnesses to prove a case in court, all that is needed is to take care of the witnesses and evidence. Also because you need a fiscal to prosecute a case and a judge to decide on it, then the fiscal and the judge must be dealt with too.  By this, you can already identify the personalities who need to be bought, threatened, silenced or killed.  As it helps too to have a wider sphere of influence, why not include influential personalities too as recipients of goodwill?   No wonder why there is no one of consequence in the matrix of drug personalities being sent to the gallows despite harsher laws.

How many law enforcers could really refuse the temptation of riches?  How many witnesses could?  How many fiscals and judges could really forgo the offer of millions?  To the idealist on the outside looking in, he could only see the corruption and rail to heavens against it, but he understands human nature the least.  Luxury and riches in real life have their own lure that not many really could resist.  And for the few who could, how many of them could brave the daily threats of violence on their own lives and their loved ones?

Over a few bottles of beer one night in a friend’s place, as our conversations wandered into Duterte’s war on drugs, I posed this situation to my friend:  Imagine you are a cop, the good, idealistic kind; you are offered a million pesos to let go of a drug case, plus a few thousands more weekly after that;  they say it’s the last offer as there were previous offers before which you adamantly turned down before; they say if still you refuse, your children and  your wife will be kidnapped one by one and killed like a dog… will you accept or not accept the offer?  He stared up thinking deep for a long moment.  Just then, his youngest child came rushing out of their house and sat on his lap.  Our beer talk quickly drifted into other more innocuous topics…

The morning after, I was awakened by the blaring radio of a neighbor.  The news was about a teenager who was gunned down at dawn, the mother swears his son never did drugs at all.



August 14, 2016

Reacting to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines has recently released its study  entitled Why Ferdinand E. Marcos Should Not Be Buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The Executive Summary, as follows:

President Rodrigo R. Duterte proposes to bury Mr. Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) because he “was a Filipino soldier, period.” The NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF THE PHILIPPINES (NHCP) objects to the burial of Mr. Marcos at the LNMB based on his record as a soldier. The NHCP study demonstrates that:

  1. Mr. Marcos lied about receiving U.S. medals: Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Order of the Purple Heart, which he claimed as early as about 1945.
  1. His guerrilla unit, the Ang Mga Maharlika, was never officially recognized and neither was his leadership of it.
  1. U.S. officials did not recognize Mr. Marcos’s rank promotion from Major in 1944 to Lt. Col. By 1947.
  1. Some of Mr. Marcos’s actions as a soldier were officially called into question by upper echelons of the U.S. military, such as his command over the Allas Intelligence Unit (described as “usurpation”), his commissioning of officers (without authority), his abandonment of USAFIP-NL presumably to build an airfield for Gen. Roxas, his collection of money for the airfield (described as “illegal”), and his listing of his name on the roster of different units (called a “malicious criminal act”).

Mr. Marcos’s military record is fraught with myths, factual inconsistencies, and lies. The rule in history is that when a claim is disproven—such as Mr. Marcos’s claims about his medals, rank, and guerrilla unit—it is simply dismissed. When, moreover, a historical matter is under question or grave doubt, as expressed in the military records about Mr. Marcos’s actions and character as a soldier, the matter may not be established or taken as fact. A doubtful record also does not serve as sound, unassailable basis of historical recognition of any sort, let alone burial in a site intended, as its name suggests, for heroes.

For these reasons, the NATIONAL HISTORICAL COMMISSION OF THE PHILIPPINES opposes the plan to bury Mr. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

I suppose that if a study should concern itself on the qualification laid down by the President, which is, “because he was a Filipino soldier, period”,  all that needs to be shown in answer to “why Marcos should not be buried at the Libingan”,  is that Marcos is neither a Filipino nor a soldier.   But, apparently, the research has another purpose.

In any case, I took time to read it, three times in all.  I thought the study was haphazardly done, biased in favor of materials adverse to the former President.

My quick personal comments on the summary:

  1. That Marcos lied about his medals, the study did not present conclusive proof . All that could be gathered is that, at best, the medals are doubtful for lack of corroboration and Marcos’ supposed heroic exploits were too Rambo-like to be true.   If anything, more exhaustive research is warranted.  For instance, if the medals were fake, how and on what basis did he acquire them?  I suppose that as these are meant to recognize exemplary acts of courage and heroism these medals are rare products of special craftsmanship and were not given away by the US Armed Forces like candy.  Or, did he have his medals forged by a forger-craftsman somewhere in Recto?  Yet if NHCP is so convinced his medals are fake, why, it should consider petitioning the US government to disown these.
  2. His supposed guerrilla unit, Ang Mga Maharlika, was not officially recognized by the Americans, true, but the study omits that subsequent appeals for recognition bore the endorsement of prominent Filipinos of the resistance movement.    This should also be taken in the context of the fact that the US government actually  gave recognition to only less than 5,000(?) Filipinos as legitimate guerrilla fighters when in reality more than 200,000 Filipinos fought in the war. The Rescission Act of 1946 should provide more context.  To be sure, even American officials concede to the difficulties of validating claims on account of the chaos of the war.
  3. It had always been Major Marcos, as far as I know. But what’s the point as an issue against his burial at the Libingan?
  4. What is Marcos’ side of the story? As a rule, there are always two sides to a controversy.  There seems to be a predisposition to take the accounts and assertions of the Americans unquestioningly.  Military organizations are often occasioned by  rivalry, intrigues, misunderstanding, disputes, internal bickering, and confusion within and among the ranks.   In this war, the intermix of race and nationality of Filipino and American soldiers must have added color and complications.  If anything,  one could glean that Marcos indeed was too independent-minded and  bullheaded for the Americans, and probably had serious problem following orders from his American superiors.  Bad blood seemed to exist.

It is one thing to be doubtful; it is another to summarily allege  fraud and accord malice on the basis of that doubt. As it is, the line of argument goes this way:  it is uncorroborated/lacking in evidence therefore doubtful, doubtful therefore fraudulent.  Worse,  that doubt seems to be taken automatically against Marcos.

Studies of this nature should strive to be more objective and in-depth if it is to be taken more seriously.  The slant of the research is so palpable that even the attempt to make it appear objective only magnify the bias.  It is not scholarly, it is not comprehensive,  it is not compelling.   It was only meant to stop the burial, if it could. You’d think this one would impress Duterte?

Marcos, a hero or heel?  That is better left to future historians.  His haters of course think the jury is out: he is evil, period.

By the way, did the NHCP also ever conduct a study entitled “Why President Cory Aquino’s Dog Should Be Buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani”?

(NOTE: Several revisions have been made since this post was first uploaded.)



July 22, 2016


All you need is a look at the map to see the imperiousness and brazenness by which the red line was drawn across the blue space to mark the claimed territory.   Pushing out as far as possible away from its own shores, it proceeds to graze right through its own neighbors’. Imagine this happening in your own locale, one of the neighbors, Mr. Big Shot, suddenly howling out to all that the entire lake where everyone in the community fishes and takes a swim, is all his, then proceeds building a fence cutting across everyone else’s front yard.   Of course, you and the other neighbors would bristle and protest, because you know that you own part of the lake too. But then as he is the most powerful man in the block, you oppose him only at your own peril.

Anyway one sees it, it is not a pretty sight.  It is a scandalously inconsiderate and arrogant.  It is nothing but a brazen display of Might, where Might makes Right because anyone who would dare pose any challenge would be crushed helplessly.  That is not an act of a good neighbor.

Now, that is just me with my layman’s rather simplistic view of the world.  In the world of global relations and diplomacy,  there are possibly other elements that my analogy could not capture.  Like China’s competition with the world’s superpowers for world domination, for instance.  Still and all, the principles and elements that build a good neighborhood are all and the same at every level.  In an increasingly interconnected world,  we are a community of nations, much a like a community of people who must learn to live with each other.

Is this the best way for China to guard its own dominion in this part of the world and advance its interest?  Be rough and intimidating on its neighbors? Instead of employing persuasive powers,  the terror of brute force?  This is not the way to win allies nor sway enemies.

Now that the ruling on its nine-dash line was dashed by the International Tribunal, China decides to dig in and threatens the Philippines and the rest of the world to lay it aside or else.  After ignoring the jurisdiction of the Tribunal where it could have presented its side with its own evidence, it now uses the international media to broadcast its side of the story while threatening the rest of the world of possible devastating consequences.

The world should engage the citizens of China.  Do they agree to the actions of their government?

China should reconsider its own posture and image.  As a mighty giant, it should not be seen as a bully or an intemperate ogre ready to go on a rampage if offended.   It should assume a more high-minded stance as a world superpower.  The Philippines indeed could be leaning more on its side being a next-door neighbor which could provide plenty of benefits, but is being  pushed away instead into the embrace of another.


July 12, 2016

In the spirit of the times, for whatever it is worth, I am re-publishing a couple of posts about the war against drugs, the first from a year ago, the second, from eight.

1.Why the War on Drugs Will Never be Won 

The case of Maryjane Veloso, the Filipina convicted of drug offense whose execution in Indonesia was temporarily stayed, once more calls attention to the wisdom— or lack of it— of the war against drugs. Maryjane is really just one among the so-many casualties of this war. Indeed, how many thousands have been executed or sentenced to a lifetime in jail since the war started?  How much public funds have since been poured into the effort?  Yet,  illegal drugs trade has steadily flourished over time into a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide, and is growing more robustly than ever.  This alone should compel us to rethink our approach and strategy.

Society, no doubt driven by noble motives, takes it to itself the responsibility to shield its citizens from the menace of drugs. Thus it legislates laws in various degrees of severity in the fulfillment of this assumed responsibility.

The drug user though does not share such society’s concern; he rebels against it.  To him, it is simply his right, he exercising his own free will to satisfy his own cravings.  It is not for society to decide what pleasures he must indulge in or not.  At times, he must be perplexed: what’s the big deal? what wrong is there in his using drugs?  He enjoys the highs and the mind-bending effect it has on himself, why deny it to him?  It is not like he is causing any damage on anyone or anybody’s property that if caught he must be shot to death or be placed in prison for the rest of his life.  If  there be any harm, it is only on himself, but then that is his personal business.  A lot much like smoking or drinking or skydiving… Absent any moral restraint or bother, there being no inherent evil in his vice, he continues to seek the fulfillment of his desires, plays cat and mouse with the police if need be, and pays the price no matter how high— and to hell with the Government playing Big Brother on his life.

Now, where there is a buyer, at the right price, there is always a seller, count on it.   To the seller, it is simply business, no more no less.   The merchandise to him is just that, a thing to sell for profit.   Does a businessman care if his rope is intended for suicide?  Or the knife to kill?   Yet even in case he does and shifts to other wares to sell,  trust that someone will emerge from out of nowhere to take his place to supply the buyer the merchandise, if under the most forbidding circumstances, at the right price.

The thing is, prohibition accomplishes two things: one.  it limits general access of the public to the drug, but, two, it also jacks up the price of the merchandise.   The first is the intended result, the second the unintended.   From the original unintended consequence emerges a chain of undesirable spin-offs.   As prohibition jacks up the price of the product, at times astronomically, peddling drugs becomes an extremely lucrative business.  It’s the Law of Supply and Demand, nothing more. And because it is illegal, the criminal types naturally get to take full charge.  The kind to whom you would otherwise deny access to riches for the evil that they are,  inevitably they get to take control of a business that rakes in cash in overflowing abundance.  What happens when criminal minds have billions at their disposal?  Of course, limitless power to buy or force their way in and out of every nook and cranny of society.  To what extent do they now have control of our society, we could only speculate.  But if  the occasional cocky display of power and hints of incipient influence be any guide, we could only shudder.

Indeed, it is a difficult dilemma but we must make a choice.  Protecting society from the evils of drugs appears to have spawned a greater monster.


2.  An Argument for the Legalization of Drugs

For alcohol prohibition, our US version, it was about 13 years. Between mafia crime, poisonings from adulterated beverages, and the dropping age at which people were becoming alcoholics, Americans decided that the “Noble Experiment” — whether it should actually be regarded as noble or not — was a bad idea. And they ended it. New York State did its part 75 years ago today, ratifying the 21st amendment to repeal the 18th amendment, bringing the Constitution one state closer to being restored. It took another half a year, until December 5th, to get the 36 states on the board that were needed at the time to get the job done. But Americans of the ’30s recognized the failure of the prohibition experiment, and they took action by enacting legalization of alcohol. Industrialist John D. Rockefeller described the evolution of his thinking that led to the recognition of prohibition’s failure, in a famous 1932 letter:

“When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”


The “experiment” with drugs, it appears anywhere you look, is headed for the same devastating failure. In the United States, the trend is going opposite the intended direction: addiction is worsening and the industry is flourishing. This despite the billions of dollars poured into the effort, not to mention thousand deaths and executions littering the path. And surprisingly, figures show higher percentage of users in countries where draconian measures are on employ, like the US.

To be clear, the above article comes from a pro-drugs site likely maintained by drug addicts. Yet, while the idea is unpopular, its pitch for legalization makes sense. For ultimately, the economics of the market will force the issue. Prohibition does not and cannot eliminate the twin forces of supply and demand. That much is clear, notwithstanding the nobility of the mission to shield people from the perceived evils of drugs. It can for a time stand in the way but like water seeking its own level the forces of supply and demand eventually adjust to find their equilibrium. Basic economics, pure and simple. Price goes up sky high to reflect the deadly risks involved in the equation. Indeed, the business maxim that risk and profitability are in direct proportion to each other, is just as true here. Which means a more dogged enforcement coupled with laws made more severe would only jack up the price of drugs even more. With a margin of profit two-arm lengths wide, you have an extremely lucrative business opportunity in your midst openly luring all sorts of risk-takers from far and wide, from high and low, from every nook and cranny to cash in quickly real big time. And as it is prohibited by law, business go nowhere but underground, naturally— into the hands of shady characters that very well belong there, people whose reason for being is to kill and die for every piece of action. Over time, wealth overflowing in limitless abundance accumulates in the wrong territory. You have a fountainhead of great power in the hands of Darth Vader. That which has had a humble start paying off and threatening lowly cops, moving gradually up, eventually graduates into bankrolling a presidential campaign. Then they take decisive control of society, these shady characters and their troops of gangsters, with a president as their front.

Follow closely how the P4B shabu haul in Subic will eventually disappear from view. It is instructive. Law enforcement finds its limits where this is said: “take this fortune and get out of the way or you and all the people you love will perish”. Show me one who will dare cross the line and I will show you a fool.


June 30, 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte starts his six-year term today.   I wish him luck and good health, good health most especially because of his advanced age.  I see a strong-willed, damn-all-the-torpedoes kind of leader with a clear—well, more or less— understanding of the nation’s problems.  A natural-born leader, from what I sense, the role of leadership should fit him well, and, at 71, the oldest yet to become Philippine President, he should have the added advantage of the respect and deference normally accorded older people.

Despite all the flak he was getting lately for his roguish ways and wayward mouth, we are hearing enough admiring testimonies about the man from good, reputable people.   He also has a remarkable track record to boot.  These are enough for me for now. But just to be clear, I did not vote for him, well, not for anyone actually, because I skipped the elections altogether.

Let me make some cursory comments on a few things:

I think the China problem will be one of the most intractable and most difficult challenges. But maybe, just maybe–I laughed aloud when this idea came to me–his womanizing ways could actually help him navigate the waters.  If you could balance between three to four women at a time, all of them happy to share between them you, maybe you too have the natural skill to deal with two world superpowers trying to woo you into their side. As it is, we are at a precarious balancing act between two powerful countries, and for the Philippines, the best position is to be able to stay in the middle, friendly in our own terms to both powerful nations, much like being the object of desire of two competing women who are taking care to be in your good favor.  Huh, if Duterte could do that, it would be a great feat in diplomacy.

Poverty, this problem that has been with us for the longest time, should finally get its real solution.  The designated NEDA chief, Dr. Ernesto Pernia, was talking about investment-led growth as the goal.  Finally someone who understands… Most of poverty is actually due to lack of jobs or opportunity to earn enough means to pay for the high cost of living.   So, it’s really all about job creation and job creation is a function of investment.  More investment, more jobs; more jobs, less poverty. It’s an oversimplification in a way, but it helps to make plain one simple underlying science of it that is somehow often lost in too much theorizing and analysis.

I remember Duterte’s novel proposal about offering our numerous uninhabited or sparely populated islands as exclusive autonomous investment havens  to big investors.  I like the idea.

War on drugs?  He will most likely fail in that area because it’s the law of supply and demand.  Tighter drug prohibition would only serve to constrict supply  and up the price of the commodity some more. The higher the price, the more profitable, though more risky, the business becomes. The more profitable the business goes, so do its size and wealth. Bigger and wealthier, more brute power and  influence to battle the government. Like The Prohibition in the 1920s, it will only lead to more blood and violence in the streets but the industry would flourish nonetheless.   The alcohol and cigarette of those years are the equivalent of our prohibited drugs today.  The same social and economic forces are at work, no more, no less, and look at where alcohol and cigarettes are being sold today.   But, hey,  I am willing to be disproved.

President Duterte has taken personalities of varied, even opposing, persuasions into his Cabinet.  I am wondering just by what magic could he meld such divergent personalities into one working team, instead of one squabbling bunch.

I am also amazed at how he is taking everybody into the fold:   Joma Sison and the communists,  Nur Misuari and the separatist Muslims, the human rights victims, leftist radicals, the Marcoses… wow!

There’s just so much in one plate: war on drugs, war on criminality, war against corruption, war against poverty, bureaucratic reform, economic reforms, peace talks with the communists, peace talks with the Muslim rebels, constitutional revision, parliamentary form of government, federalism, and more…

But Duterte should be wary of the Yellows.  The Yellows genuinely believe that he was voted into office by a misguided, ignorant minority.  They also believe that they are duty-bound to put things back in order by whatever means necessary. They are the ones who are happy about the way things are and are opposed to change. They are the ones agog over the developments over the last six years.  They are the ones who want continuity and are against the disruption and reordering of things that Duterte had promised to make.   Make no mistake about it, they are the enemies who are lying in wait for his fall…


June 16, 2016

Seen from ordinary eyes, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is quite a complicated character to read.  For that reason I too stayed away from the subject for sometime. For someone who would suddenly rise as the nation’s top leader, I am surprised that even for a news junkie like myself, I actually know so little about him.   It was only when his name cropped up as a possible presidential candidate that I came across bits and pieces which but painted only a blurry, pixelized image of the man.

The electoral campaign of course changed it all.  In no time at all, the man is center of national attention, in full view in the raw, and how shocked the public was with all the obscenities, expletives, the cursing,  cuss words, dirty jokes, death threats and all flowing out from his mouth. After winning the elections, the horrified all the more multiplied.  For now,  the dominant image of him, at least to the prim and proper crowd, is pretty much cemented: he is one rude and uncouth, murderous, immoral, degenerate old man.  The view is that the voters have made one unmitigated, colossal mistake.  Is this the new President?

I have my own seeing eyes.   In my own personal experiences, I have met a few people of this kind.   He’s not the kind you would want your daughter to marry nor would you want to be a neighbor or friend.   But, surprise, as time goes by, you find he’s actually a good man who could be a friend.

What impressed me most about Duterte was the story about how he offered himself to be the hostage in a deadly hostage situation years ago.  Now, that to me is epic.

Beyond the rough, offensive exterior seems to lurk a different man.  He seems to keep a public persona and a private persona.

Even now, I still could not paint a better, more comprehensive picture of him even for my own consumption.  But from the little that I could gather researching over the Internet, perhaps, to know him is to paint an opposite of him.  Certainly, he is not Mr. Refined Rascal or Mr.  Gentlemanly Felon.    He is not The Classy Rogue or The Honorable Hustler.    He is not any of those.  He is just Rude Rod.

I move around ordinary folks as I am among them.  One thing about ordinary folks, what you see is what you get.  Beyond the extremely personal issues, everybody is almost naked.  Pretense is minimal, there is comfort in familiarity even in the most unglamorous form.   You could afford to look stupid with them around, no big deal at all.

In contrast, among the prim and the proper, you could sense a lot of pretense, there is much attention given to looking good, about external appearance.  It takes sometime to learn, beyond the appearance of elegance and refinement,  there’s much of  vile rottenness hiding.

I don’t know, if Duterte is just one of those unpretentious rude mannered men who are in truth good men.  Just a guess on my part too.

But here’s an interesting essay of a former unbeliever turned believer.  She likens him to the durian, that renowned fruit which smells like shit.

Duterte Leadership Guide for Dummies by Julmar Grace

Mayor Duterte’s leadership is like the Durian fruit experience for me. It wasn’t a love at first sight. I wasn’t appreciative of it at first. I looked at him through my religious and perfectionist lenses and wasn’t a fan.

“A leader should be this…”

“I leader should be that.”

“In the eyes of God…”

Blah… blah… blah…

His family life, morality and “association” with the Davao Death Squad were huge stumbling blocks for me. To be honest, I was the number 1 anti-Duterte fan so focused in my own religious judgments that I did not vote for him during the Duterte-De Guzman race for mayorship. I proudly exercised my rights of suffrage against him. I did not believe in his leadership. For me, he was just one plain sinner who shouldn’t be in office because he was a bad example especially to the youth.

Just like Durian that I had to look past of the foul smell to enjoy the taste, I also had to look behind Duterte’s toughness and roughness to see that the reason why I am enjoying this “life is here” experience as a Davaoeño is this tough-taking Realist. And just like Durian, the moment I started enjoying the taste; I got addicted.

I became a “Dutertard” (which means a Duterte retard?) and started seeing the benefits of his leadership. My eyes were open and saw that this “Imperfect Man” to many is bringing a close-to-perfect environment of peace, order, safety and progress in my city that couldn’t be experienced anywhere else in the country (as of writing… [because it’s about to change]).

Now that the Mayor is now the President Elect, thousands are skeptics because they don’t understand him as Davaoeños do. They call those who get past of the “foul smell”, fanatics. What they don’t understand is we love Duterte because we look past his imperfections because his close-to-perfect leadership shouts louder.

But I admit… our beloved Mayor is hard to love.

He’s a “long term relationship” kind of man, not a “one night stand”. You have to know him first. You have to spend time with him. You have to be open-minded (in faith that God is sovereign no matter what) to be able to start smiling at his jokes and laughing at his sarcasm.

I admit, I was once also in the same position like many Filipinos now who are lost in figuring out who this President Elect really is. I understand that it can be alarming to put your trust in a Leader who you don’t fully understand. We don’t value what we don’t appreciate right?

So I listed a few insights here from how I know the President Elect as a Davaoeño for 15 years now. This may be limited but I hope this will help everyone in the country get a starting grasp of who our incoming President is.

He is a good man. Duterte may be tough and rude to many but for us who have known him, we can say that he is good. He is passionate and compassionate. He is always for the people. He is willing to die for the poor and the oppressed. Yes, his ways are tough… his words are blunt and dirty… his stance is proud… But these are just coming from a fierce personality who hates injustice and corruption. He’s a lion who wildly roars against criminality and inequality. But know that behind the those fiery eyes and foul words is a heart that aches for a better society. When you need someone to defend you, he’s the man. You just need to go beyond the surface and see the motive of his heart. When you do this, you will see a genuine leader who is authentic, efficient and effective. He is not perfect. But you’ve got to trust that his heart is always good. His 22 years of public service in Davao City can attest to this. He has not done evil to this city. I couldn’t recall any negative issue that nailed him because he’s corrupt and wicked. There were only oppositions when we did not understand the laws and ordinances. But nothing to pin point the Man on any exploitation against any person or entity. And this is because he’s a good person. He has a good heart.

He is a man of principle. He will not bow down to anything or anyone. If you are in the evil side and against the welfare of the people in general; you’re an enemy. May you be the Pope, UN Secretary General, US President, State Ambassador, rich, powerful, or whoever; he doesn’t care. He knows his values and what he stands for. If you’re on the other side… start running!!!

This is unless you change…

Because he is also light-hearted especially to the young, women and the minority.

He has principles. And it is always guided by what is good.

He is wise. Right when you think you got him, you’ll realize that he’s the one who actually got you because he was 3 steps ahead of you! He’s been a public servant for years and have seen it all. He is smart and strategic. He is seasoned. He knows when to expose things and when to submit to wisdom and keep quiet. He’s someone you can’t figure out unless you get to know him and start thinking like him. Most Davaoeños are already good at this. Thus when the nation is whining about a statement, we smile because we know he is just taunting you so you expose your own corruption in your reactions.

He’s a lion. But he’s also an eagle… The Philippine Eagle type who eats monkeys who are foolish and steal people’s food!

He is a simple man. There is no drama in him. He just works. He refused a lot of prestigious nominations as a public servant because for him he’s just doing his job.

And it’s true. He eats with his hands at home, he lives simply, and is not for show. Anyone can approach him anywhere. He doesn’t like prestige. He is real. He doesn’t wear political masks.

He’s the best. He’s not even in Malacañang Palace yet but change is already happening all over the country. This is because he’s the best. He is a genuine leader who lives simply and is efficient and effective in his ways because he’s driven by passion for the nation and compassion for people. We have seen it in Davao City and this nation is about to experience it.




June 15, 2016


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