Duterte in Koronadal: “We have to change the government”

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KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews / 10 April) – A huge crowd of supporters of Davao City mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, standard bearer of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) gathered at the Rizal Park here on Saturday afternoon, chanting “Du-ter-te, Du-ter-te” as “the next President of the Philippines” was welcomed onstage.

The 71-year old Duterte, mayor of Davao City for 22 years, is the lone Mindanawon Presidential candidate and the only one among five Presidential candidates who is espousing change in the system of government itself.

“We have to change the government,” Duterte said repeatedly in his 47-minute speech, at times punctuated with expletives.

“I am angry. Galit ako sa gobyerno. Palitan natin ang gobyernong p__nang ito. Mabuhay ang Pilipino…. Papalitan natin, palitan natin ang gobyerno” (I am angry at government, Let’s change this (expletive) government. Long live the Philippines… Let us change, let us change this government,” Duterte said. The crowd cheered.

DIGONG IN KORONADAL. Davao City mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte, also known as “Digong,” shares his insights on federalism during his campaign sortie in Rizal Park, Koronadal City on April 9, 2016. The lone Mindanawon Presidential bet vowed an end to the conflict in Mindanao should he become President. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO DIGONG IN KORONADAL. Davao City mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte, also known as “Digong,” shares his insights on federalism during his campaign sortie in Rizal Park, Koronadal City on April 9, 2016. The lone Mindanawon Presidential bet vowed an end to the conflict in Mindanao should he become President. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO

Duterte has been pushing for an overhaul of the system of government from the Presidential, unitary form where decisions on Mindanao and other parts of the country, including shares in the revenues generated, are made in the national capital, to a federal system of government that will allow for a more equitable power-sharing and wealth-sharing between the central government and the local states.

Mindanao, he said, contributes 54% of the country’s total export earnings but gets little in terms of budget.

He spoke about the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which Duterte wants passed but which Congress did not pass before it adjourned on February 3.

“Nothing short of federalism will appease the Moro people than a federal type of government. Palitan talaga natin ang gobyerno” (we must really change government) even as he also repeatedly said “there must be one nation.”

“I love my country and we must remain one,” Duterte said.

Shifting to a federal form of government, however, requires amending the 1987 Constitution.

He explained to the crowd that changing the system of government will not be through revolution as the New People’s Army is advocating but through political process. “Daanin ito sa politika We will amend the Constitution using the process ..We will amend the Constitution peacefully,” he stressed.

He recalled telling the Moro people, “abandon your fight,” adding “kapag andyan ako I will guarantee na yung gusto ninyong BBL, ibigay natin yan” (when I’m there, I will guarantee that the BBL you want we will give), and we will also reconfigure a place for Nur Misuari… mag-federal tayo”


Duterte, who has repeatedly vowed to end criminality “in three to six months” if he is elected President, did not say what his timeline would be in pursuing federalism within the six-year term of the Presidency.

MindaNews asked Duterte in a press conference on October 9, 2015 at the Marco Polo hotel in Davao City what his federalism timeline would be.

FIRST IN LINE. A young boy removes his shirt as he waits for a team of graphic artists set up their booth for a free t-shirt printing session for supporters of Davao City mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte at Rizal Park, Koronadal City on April 9, 2016. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO FIRST IN LINE. A young boy removes his shirt as he waits for a team of graphic artists set up their booth for a free t-shirt printing session for supporters of Davao City mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte at Rizal Park, Koronadal City on April 9, 2016. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO

His reply: “The next President should not call for a Constitutional Convention right away. Yun man ang gusto ng ibang partido (That’s what other parties want). You’ll be wasting money because the most important thing there, the primary reason why you go for federalism is itong Mindanao. You create a Commission, discuss it and when they’re ready, they go around the Philippines promoting federalism and to tell the Filipino people what it is all about.”

He stressed the need for education. “You have to educate the people (about federalism),” Duterte said.

“But Gloria Arroyo already did that,” MindaNews asked. In August 2005, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued EO 453 creating a Consultative Commission tasked to, among others, conduct consultations and studies and propose amendments and revisions to the 1987 Constitution, principally the proposals to shift from the presidential-unitary system to a parliamentary-federal system of government.”

“It’s not enough,” Duterte said, reiterating the need to “educate the people so that they would know what they are about to vote upon.”

Duterte, who had at the time said the option to run for Presidency was on the table (he would file his certificate of candidacy for Mayor six days later), added: “If I were Mar Roxas, on the fourth or fifth year I should be ready. Then you call for a constitutional convention, start the shifting of powers from up to down.”

He mentioned Roxas, then already proclaimed as Liberal Party standard bearer because at the time of the press conference, speculations were widespread that Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe might be disqualified to run for the Presidency.

Roxas in his campaign rally at the Manila Islamic Center in Quiapo on March 28 said federalism would mean “another layer of taxes.”

“Ang federalism is another layer of taxes. Kung gusto ninyo ng mas dagdag na buwis, federalism ang inyong pipiliin. Bakit? Tignan n’yo lahat ng federal states. US may federal income tax at state income tax. Sa Malaysia (din ay ganun). Lahat ng mga federal systems meron buwis na pang-nasiyonal at meron buwis na pang-lokal,” SunStar Manila quoted Roxas as saying.

Duterte’s spokesperson, Peter Laviña, said Roxas is “wrong (about federalism) and his statement is misleading.”

“It is not about imposing taxes. It is about how taxes are shared and spent,” he said.

In Koronadal on Saturday, Presidential candidate Duterte said: “I cannot fix Mindanao without a federal set-up. .. Hindi ako papayag na magkagulo tayo dito. Masuerte ang taga Mindanao kung ako ang Presidente kasi ma-control ko lahat “ (I will not allow trouble for us here in Mindanao. Mindanawons are lucky if I am President because I can control everything).

Duterte will have served a total of 40 years in government service this year. He served as government prosecutor for 10 years before he was named OIC Vice Mayor in 1986, was Davao City mayor from 1988 to 1998; representative of the first district from 1998 to 2001; mayor again from 2001 to 2010 and vice mayor from 2010 to 2013 to daughter Sara, who substituted for him when he withdrew his COC for mayor and filed his COC for President on November 27.

In 2013, Duterte was elected mayor for the seventh time with son Paolo as vice mayor. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

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    We have self-respect ..there’s no way we will vote for a candidate that
    has no morals ,like Dudirty ,he has plenty of mistress ,his solutions
    to every problem is Bang-Bang patay .His mouth is full of filthy words
    oozing .Dudirty will lead us to war if ever get elected due to his
    diarrhea mouth .I”m ashamed of him “Pinahiya niya ang ambahador ng
    We need a leader like Grace Poe that we can trust ..she is the only untainted candidate..SHE HAS GOBYERNONG MAY PUSO AT TALINO.

    No to berdugo ng Davao ,he is the future dictator of the Philippines
    ,he will lead us to war because he has no control of his motor mouth ,he
    cussed and cussed until the cows came home. poor Ambassador of Mexico
    ,we apologized for for Dudirty’s diarrhea mouth .He is a candidate
    that has poor upbringing .but i can’t understand why people likes him?.

    Paging all people who has decency on their self..let us all vote for a
    candidate who has good morals,honest ,respectful to others sincere
    ,brave ,resilient ,smart and compassionate to others .let us vote for
    Senator Grace Poe.

    Where is Grace Poejuangco’s compassion for the poor Filipino coconut
    farmers who are still battling Danding Cojuangco (the puppet master of
    Grace) about the coco levy funds. Yan ba ang may puso?


    I do not support a candidate that cussed every time he opens his
    mouth ..We are not teaching our kids ,GMRC… Why is it that a lot of
    people laugh if dudirty mention cussed words like put ..in mo .Are we
    going backwards instead of forward …We are in 21 century why Modern
    Filipinos tolerate this kind of words of a candidate? please ,please
    noto Du30 the berdugo ng Davao,he is over rated and liar …he can not
    solve corruption and crimes in a matter of 3-6 months , no to Binay he
    has a lot of corruptions and malversation issues ,no to roxas he is
    supporting the daan palico-lico ,very incompetent .

    For me I will vote for our dear Senator Grace Poe ..she is umble,respectful,honest
    ,brave ,smart ,resilient and sincere . let us vote for Grace Poe in may 9 ,2016

  2. To all voters we need to stop Du30 being our next leader .He is just
    like a hot air balloon that easily burst and nothing inside .He is a
    dangerous leader .He will led us to war once he became a president. He
    has a motor mouth .He has no control of his filthy mouth .I ashamed of
    him .. he is so careless in his words .He belittle the Ambassador of
    Mexico during his rally recently in Metro Manila . .We do not like a
    president that has big big ego .His always uses cussed words in every
    meeting he attended .The people loves his vocabulary they clapped their
    hands and laughed .We as an adult should show/teach to our kids the
    GOOD MANNERS AND RIGHT CONDUCT..Du30’s solutions to all problem of the
    Philippines are killing those Poor defenseless Filipinos without
    respect to human rights ” due process ” We will be vigilant … We
    will not let Mr. urong-sulong Du30 ruin our nation .

    We encourage every voters to vote for untainted candidate …she is
    senator Grace Poe …She is the one that will help us make our country
    prosper . vote ,vote vote for the candidate that is pro change .

    As an ordinary citizen Senator Grace Poe ‘s victory
    over her case regarding citizenship and the 10 years residency
    requirements is an act of God . She won the case FAIR AND SQUARE .The 7
    honorable Justices against 5 is a lot of difference …To me she’ s
    indeed a true Filipino and she met the 10 years residency




    SINCE the peasants’ carnage on Friday, Pres. BS Aquino has let his spokespersons do the talking for him. Isn’t it his paramount duty as Head of State to act on the issue instead of simply conjuring up pro-Left conspiracies behind the legitimate demands of the hungry farmers?

    LAST time I checked, Congress has appropriated P43.3 billion for the Department of Agriculture (DA). Another P19 billion of the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) is supposed to mitigate the long dry-spell as PAG-ASA warned two years ago, plus P2.06 billion more as supplemental budget for the agriculture department.

    YES, the local government units, in particular the drought-inflicted areas, may use 30% of their respective calamity funds to respond to contingencies involving El Nino and in fact many of these LGUs have already withdrawn such funds to address the issue since last month. Yet, we know too these allocations are insufficient, hence the creation of DA’s Quick Response Fund (QRF) amounting to P500 million for the affected farmers in the country.

    BUT why the LACK of response from DA? Folks, there is NO response at all because the agriculture department CANNOT allocate funds which the Aquino government has NOT front-loaded to the concerned department. Any reason? Because DBM Sec. Florencio Abad is YET to look for funding sources out of government savings! I wonder what the aggregate savings under the custody of our national treasury amounting to P700 billion for? Why subject a PRESSING concern of our nation’s farmers to DILATORY machinations of our national government? Or why allocate such item of expenditure in the national budget IF there is NO intent to release it in the first place?

    THE WANTON disregard of the farmers’ plight in Kidapawan City is just symptomatic of the government’s callousness to address the problems of NOT only the agriculture sector BUT land reform in general that the Aquino administration pays lip service to even during the height of the country’s much-hyped democratic icon Pres. Cory Aquino’s regime after the counter-elite revolutionary invention dubbed as EDSA.

    SO is this the kind of anti-peasant government that Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas intends to lead? The rural poor comprise at least 70% of the country’s population and, as an agriculture-based economy, 66% of them belong to the peasantry. This farming sector contributes to at least 10% of the national output or GDP yet the government seems to act CRIMINALLY negligent about the farmers’ heart-wrenching welfare conditions. The Social Weather Survey (SWS) on the nation’s state of hunger couldn’t be truer than what the Kidapawan-based farmers have shown.

    DURING the first CDO presidential debate, the GMA-7 moderators cited the same survey results which bared that 2.6 million Filipinos are extremely poor. They live a hand-to-mouth existence that is as deplorable as can be imagined possible. Certainly these hungry mouths could be what Sec. Roxas’ running-mate Leni Robredo referred to as the marginal Filipinos who live outside the fringes of our society. These crucial chunk of the population must be truly hungry to demand the most fundamental right of all – FOOD!

    DENIAL of such basic of all human rights truly IMPEL our fellows to commit drastic actions. Former Pres. Erap Estrada’s crude wisdom comes to mind: “A hungry stomach knows no law.” Still, the 6,000-strong Kidapawan farmers observed legal niceties. They had their 3-day permit secured before staging the rally to express their just demands: 15,000 sacks of rice to eat, free vegetable seedlings to tend to in their cracked-out lands, and a little financial subsidy to tide them over until the dry-spell is gone. But the 3-day permit had lapsed; still, the local government units failed to come out any acceptable solutions JUST because the concerned LGU officials couldn’t negotiate personally right in the middle of the picket line.

    WHEN the first burst of live bullets hit the barricading farmers, they scampered like animals sensing mass slaughter. The armed apparatus of the State led the carnage. The much-ballyhooed protectors of the people opened fire. Not even the rules of engagement were considered. These had gone off the window when both the law enforcement and military operatives decided rather SENSELESSLY to waste the lives of unarmed and undoubtedly harmless farmers.

    THE funny thing is, the ruling administration bet is just less than a hundred kilometers away from the scene of massacre. Sec. Roxas was out there in Koronadal City campaigning while the bloodbath started to claim lives and inflict unnecessary wounds to the hungry farmers. And as expected, all he could issue is a PRESS release demanding a thorough probe and re-establishing a semblance of civilized law and order.

    ALL presidential candidates followed suit calling for investigation and denouncing an otherwise free exercise of constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and seek redress for valid grievances. No one, EXCEPT Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, ever thought of resolving the humanitarian side of the crisis. Satiate the hungry farmers’ families first before any negotiations could start. He recently pledged to commit funds from his city government TO BUY rice, the least that he can do to assuage the needy peasants.

    INSTEAD of rebutting incendiary remarks from the feisty mayor and nitpick on his popular socialist leanings, why CAN’T Pres. Aquino level with and apologize, if so warranted, to the Filipino people for his department officials’ BLATANT failures to address the farmers’ issues? Agriculture Sec.Proceso Alcala promised RICE SUFFICIENCY by 2013; yet almost full six years of the president’s term are used up, we are STILL importing rice from other neighboring ASEAN countries! The constitutionally infirm presidential pork barrel called DAP had been discontinued; yet all DBM Sec. Florencio Abad could say, in view of the farmers’ basic demands, is that he is STILL trying to figure out where among items of government savings he can OUTSOURCE to mitigate the drought-laden pleas of the country’s farmers!

    EXACTLY these lapses of fiscal governance are what Mayor Duterte have in mind when he advocated for GREATER devolution of power among the local government units. Being Davao City’s foremost chief executive, he truly knows whereof he speaks. There is too much centralized power that URGENTLY needs to be dispersed. Federalism may yet address this controversial concern of severely INADEQUATE fiscal empowerment among the lower tiers of government. If the national officials are inept and weak, practical policy solutions can HARDLY be implemented. In times like these, there is too much finger-pointing at the top while simple problems create uncalled-for deadlocks below. As the farmers’ lives were wasted in Kidapawan City, Pres. Aquino is nowhere in sight to direct the immediate release of funds IF only to prevent a mole hill from becoming a mountain of irreversibly critical humanitarian concerns.

    THERE had been agrarian unrests before, when our Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, direly predicted a government being run like hell by the Filipinos. Presidents after him TRIED but FAILED to establish a genuine agrarian reform under a governmental STRUCTURE that lodges so much powers in the hands of the president. But let me pose this modest QUESTION: What IF the incumbent president is a BLUNDERING policy moron, a CERTIFIED weakling or just SIMPLY not up to make CRUCIAL executive decisions?

    WILL the rest of the polity take the brunt of suffering -for SIX years! – on account of the HEAD of government’s GROSS incompetence? In our recent history, the Aquino-Cojuangco families often figured out in senseless peasant massacres employing the full security apparatus of the State to carry out the task of quelling agrarian dissent. In January 22, 1987, fresh from the wave of people power, Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino refused to honor her campaign promise to distribute land to the peasants. The farmers marched in protest but the lady president, upon the wise counsel of her land-holding cacique friends in Congress, did not relent an inch. Across Mendiola, proximately near the palace, the protesters were massacred. Thirteen farmers lay dead while 51 others were seriously wounded.

    BUT time never healed the injuries inflicted to the peasantry. Almost 17 years later in November 16, 2004, another massacre of rallying peasants shocked the nation. This time, the blood of violence dripped along the doorsteps of the Aquino-Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita. A dozen farmers, including 2 children, died in the hands of the military operatives while hundreds more were severely wounded.

    HACIENDA Luisita was a prized purchase of the Cojuangco-Aquino’s clan USING public funds on the PRETEXT of social justice. The tenant farmers were supposed to own the lands after 10 years; but then, some legal contract magicians thought it wise introduce amendments to the terms so that when Pres. Ferdinand Marcos demanded for their distribution to the farmer-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquino family JUST told the government that Hacienda Luisita has no tenants at all, hence there is NO ONE to give back the lands to. To date, the CARP which used to be the centerpiece program of the first Aquino government remains hollow – pregnant in noble intent for agrarian reform BUT no FORCE and EFFECT!

    WHAT kind of government have we, as a people, installed that RETURNS hails of bullets when ONLY food on the hungry farmers’ tables is demanded? What kind of president have we, as electorates, chose to wield the reins of power who could SLICE a pittance in the national budget ONLY to take it back when so BADLY needed? What kind of leader MUST we, as voters, elect to breathe TRUE CHANGE and marshal the sordid affairs of our State? IF government FAILS, where can the poor peasants turn to?

    FOR justice, there is one potent power that we can assert together. It is lodged freely in us as citizens. It can be sold to the highest bidder under duress of severe necessity. BUT if we can hold on to it no matter the circumstances, THAT power to CHOOSE the next STRONG president may make all the difference between selling our souls for a day’s ration or KEEPING our principles for a life-time of DECENT survival for all. Those peasants who braved the line of fire will be HONORED more in death if we keep the faith and survive to tell their story…


    SEN. Chiz Escudero says it’s impossible to do. It’s too serious. And even deeply rooted. Sen. Antonio Trillanes believes so too. BUT if I may ask them back, how do these plagues thrive and flourish in our society in the first place? The answer to that is plain and simple: BECAUSE good men DO NOTHING!

    SOMEHOW our national leaders have to begin somewhere to cure the prevalent defects that bedevil us for years. We can’t achieve something if we don’t do anything, or if we just leave our hapless fate to those who believe in politics as usual. In our salad days of youth, we are all constantly reminded by an energy drink that to be an achiever, we have to form a credible belief in mind because great things always start from small beginnings. That’s the overriding purpose of strong VISION – the mental map to carry out what our leaders desire to do – and to be – for the country.

    MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte & his runningmate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano appear to be serious about totally eradicating these scourges. Of all candidates in the national polls, they NEVER cease to amaze their MILLIONS of fanatic believers, thinking that the nation has to take a leap of faith to do what most Filipinos consider impossible. So to me, it’s not surprising to hear Sen. Escudero casting doubt about the plan. It just dawned on me now that the reason he won’t be president EVER is because he doesn’t have the heart and the fire in the belly to do it.

    HAD he pushed through with his candidacy for president back in 2010, we Filipinos would never have to endure six years of incompetence, corruption and underachievement under the Aquino presidency. Had he been visionary enough, we Filipinos would never have spared our precious votes to a scurrilous and corrupt vice-president whom Sen. Escudero gladly BUT mistakenly endorsed as the best person to succeed as president. He was wrong in his estimations then. So what makes him think he is right this time around? What makes him believe that his FAILED foresight before will work wonders for us all today?

    CRIMES can be curtailed if we have a president who is tough on criminals. Mayor Duterte proves he can. Is it really necessary to spill the beans on the details? When the mayor says “Stop it. Do not oppress the people!”, must we really doubt about whether he can stand by his words and deliver? Davao City wouldn’t be hailed as one of the world’s safest if criminals roam around freely to hunt for their prey. It appears that crime is pretty widespread in the city because even minor infractions are deemed recorded in the police blotters. Even Pres. BS Aquino knows that. He once stumped out his cigarette when he saw the mayor approaching him, not only out of respect BUT out of obedience as well to the rule of law that the mayor himself STRICTLY enforces without favor or fear.

    BACK during the authoritarian regime of Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos, the drug menace was so terribly rampant. So the government hauled off the small-time pushers to prison, convicted the guilty and set free the innocent. BUT for the drug lords, the certainty of apprehension and conviction cowered them all in fear, not to mention in blasphemous shame! Worse, the prospect of being summarily executed loomed large in the minds of drug syndicates which played fast and loose with the moral fiber -and the future -of the youth. In 1972, Lim Seng was put to death by firing squad. It was publicly televised to achieve its desired deterrent effects to all the criminals. Crimes went down drastically after that.

    AS to CORRUPTION, this too can be stamped out. It’s not at all easy, or a walk in the park, BUT it is not totally impossible to be done. At the height of martial rule, the so-called “great purge” ran after the corrupt officials and employees of government. Thousands of them were incarcerated & some of their loots were recovered. Those who were perceived to be complicit to the squander of public resources were preventively suspended while undergoing thorough probe about their cases. Under our current constitutional order, that too can be done. We have the Office of the Ombudsman to run after the financial miscreants and the corrupt. We have the anti-graft court or Sandiganbayan to try cases involving public sector corruption. The task is made easier because the Aguinaldo doctrine which used to be the shield of the corrupt elective officials has just been abrogated by the Supreme Court.

    THE FIVE pillars of our criminal justice system should be at play in full synergy to attain their maximal effects. The corrupt officials, for instance, cannot be apprehended immediately due to lousy investigations done by the prosecutorial arms of our government. The law enforcement authorities should be managed by no-nonsense officials who can perform their mandate to serve and protect the community. More, the investigative process should be handled by highly capable and honest men in uniform who cannot be swayed by the lure of cash to contaminate vital pieces of evidence. Both investigation and prosecution should truly be in sync to provide sufficient evidentiary grounds for the judicial prosecution and conviction of corrupt public officials. The outdated Revised Penal Code should be amended to hype the penalties, too, as efforts to modify our procurement, anti-graft, forfeiture, bank secrecy and anti-money laundering laws are to be simultaneously initiated in Congress.

    PUBLIC officials often value their good name in society. So most of them unleash their acts of depravity away from the prying eyes of the public. So to ensure that public transactions of financial nature are above-board, the proposed Freedom of Information law must be enacted. That way, both the public and the press can have legal access to vital information concerning the appropriations and disbursement of public resources. Although we have public disclosure policy today, the same remains ineffective due to lack of implementation by most government agencies or instrumentalities. The oversight functions of COA and Congress should be strengthened which necessitates the weeding out of complicit State auditors in cahoots with government officials. And to top it all, the immunity privileges of all impeachable officials should be waived in the interest of transparency and accountability, no matter who gets hurt or is involved. The Ombudsman’s powers are severely limited because of this privilege. It cannot INDICT probably corrupt officials due to such immunity. The classic case in point is Vice-President Jejomar Binay whose magnitude of plunder is rivaled only by pork barrel suspect Janet Lim Napoles.

    TRUE, the devil in this grand plan are the details. There are legal and policy ramifications involved that should be thoroughly threshed out by our young but highly competent technocrats. BUT no less than Mayor Duterte himself assured the public that upon assumption to office, he’ll convene a study team to look into his desired vision for a crime-free, drug-free and corruption-free nation. The most important part of this whole process is putting the right persons to do the right job. The self-imposed deadline is too short to achieve practical solutions. Still, if the next president has the command and respect among his peers and subordinates, he can very well impose immediate action on ALL his policy initiatives and plans within a reasonable time-frame. Sen. Escudero need not be reminded that the powers of the incumbent president are too vast, if not awesome. Properly exercised by a wise ruler, executive powers may yet grip the entire governmental bureaucracy in frenzied spirit of obedience for TRUE structural change to take place or happen.

    APART from the move to achieve federalism, these are just some of the most pressing policy initiatives that must be done AT ONCE! Drastic change requires equally drastic solutions to our “deeply rooted” problems. They cannot be totally addressed if the next president will just sit back and let palliative policies do the magic for societal transformation. Most of the candidates say that our problems are recurring; they are there even before we are born. But did anyone care to offer lasting solutions? SINCE these governmental dysfunctions and crimes are deemed old, endemic and systemic problems, then all the more that the Filipinos need a RADICAL president who can offer fresher perspectives and cure. FAILED prescriptions must give way to the one that will work!

    SOMETHING indeed has to be done. SOMEONE indeed has to step up and take the bull of criminality and corruption by its horns. NO ONE can DO that if the next president is BEHOLDEN to any vested oligarchic interests, fundamentally WEAK or even psychologically predisposed to STEAL. Mayor Duterte’s good judgment can NEVER be usurped by anyone else because he is NOT a glorified puppet. He is a stickler for DISCIPLINE. And most of all, he is NOT corrupt. If his 22 years as public servant prove anything, it is this: He means what he says and says what he means. He DOES NOT have the predilection to PLEASE as most politicians do BECAUSE the evils to fight against are NOT at all pleasing!

    SO when in doubt, think: Would our nation be in better hands IF the leaders themselves like Sen. Escudero are RESIGNED to the prevailing maladies of the time? Would we as a people TRUST the untried, the untested, and the UNWORTHY? Most critics of Mayor Duterte say that he has YET to make good with his promises since Davao City which he ruled for years is just a small pebble in the edifice of our country. Somehow there is logic to that cynical view of what a driven man can DO. But let me counter by asking them this: Isn’t it more providential to have a leader proven worthy on small things than anyone else who hasn’t been proven yet on anything, let alone the BIGGER things?

    SEN. Escudero works on a traditional premise. His logical deductions may be valid to a point. BUT who says only LOGIC is all that is or may be needed for the mayor’s grand VISIONS to work? TRULY this country is amazing! WORDS – the brilliantly-weaved ones – are given more CREDENCE than VISION. The reason why we can hardly take off as a first world, highly-industrialized nation is because we MISTAKE verbosity with the RIGHTNESS of policy formulations, WHERE everything that is needed is simple but timely ACTION. Thus in my humble view, a DUTERTE presidency CAN DO what the excellently-crafted platforms of the other candidates CANNOT!


    THE SPECTRE of Martial Law yet again resurges. It is a never-flinching ember that stokes public fear for the possible return of the authoritarian regime in the country. The bleeding heart liberals cried ‘never again’ while those with SO MUCH political power base to lose said it’s ‘regretful’.

    A LADY presidential aspirant likewise countered to ‘study it first’ BUT only one man above all dared play the devil’s advocate – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte. If the next president is STRONG enough, then declaring a Martial Law seems downright irrelevant, if not completely necessary.

    THE Filipino voters know we have the next president-in-waiting WHEN the propaganda machines of both the ruling and opposition parties desperately try to whip up public hysteria and revulsion to the once-hated dictatorial government. The unstoppable rise of Mayor in the polls induce them all to be NEEDLESSLY frantic and MINDLESSLY paranoiac.

    THEY have no inkling at all that the harder they hit the mayor, the stronger he becomes. Like a bristling storm, Mayor Duterte will soon hit land fall to OBLITERATE the corrupt, STAMP OUT the inept, and SWEEP OFF the criminals back to their prison cells.

    THE DAWN of justice is coming soon, they say, and those who oppress the Filipino people will soon be made to account and pay. And I couldn’t agree more BECAUSE too much had been STOLEN, too many had been made to SUFFER and only too few had been able to partake in the national banquet of PROSPERITY.

    “SHOULD I begin to worry?” Pres. BS Aquino raised a query. “You may regret it”, VP Jejomar Binay averred, brandishing to one and all his human rights advocacy as a lawyer. A few months back, movie and television actress Kris Quino declared that we “should not allow our freedom to be taken away.” BUT why should the law-abiding citizens in this country be worried about it? Why must we always EQUATE Duterte with the spurned Marcos dictatorship? Why the UNFOUNDED fear?

    PRES. Ferdinand E. Marcos was a legal buff. Vice-President Binay may not admit it BUT like the former head of State he once helped oust from power, he thought that to be above the law, he must have the battery of lawyers around to clean up the mess he left behind. UNLUCKILY for him, his sworn political enemies have the BETTER legal minds than the ones he keep in his dark stable. That’s most probably the reason why he’s publicly spreading TALL TALES in his recent sorties that a Duterte presidency will be highly regrettable. But who wouldn’t regret it, if like him who allegedly FILCHED billions from the public coffer, a public official has something sinister to hide?

    WOE unto him, too, who prevaricates for he shall reap what he sows. Pres. Aquino must be having sleepless nights now and should feel very much worried because sooner than he expects, divine justice will visit him like a plague. He can hide under his bed or even run away off-shore BUT he can NEVER escape the wrath of the fallen and the disgruntled.

    HE can step on the pedal to campaign against Duterte but up to what extent does he need to IF the people themselves find his CHOICES unpalatable and tasteless: A dear anointed (Roxas) and the other bet he publicly denies but continues to keep in the shadows (Poe). If by taking away freedom, as actress Kris suggests, means putting the plunderers in jail and running after the thieves in government, then the Filipino people must heave a sigh of relief since they’ll have one less thing to worry about.

    A PRESIDENT Duterte can then run after the criminals and bust their insidious crimes. He can’t do so without invoking his presidential prerogative to declare Martial Law as Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile recently hypothesized. Much as he hopes Mayor Duterte to succeed, he –of all people – still entertains doubt about the next president’s capacity to rule with iron-fist without summoning the entire military and police organization to suppress lawlessness or any other form of threats to national security. I’m sure Sen. Enrile’s legal views meant no harm to the fight against crime and corruption; nonetheless, I BEG to disagree that a President Duterte can’t DO it without placing the entire polity under the spell of authoritarian rule.

    SEN. Enrile’s formula is rather mathematically simplistic. It’s far too linear and certainly less dynamic. He has conveniently swept under the rug the qualities of the next president. Mayor Duterte may not be the best legal mind around BUT he has the CHARACTER and the soundest proposition to rid the country of its dregs and scourges. With brute singularity of purpose, he can put under his sway the civilian and military authorities to quell all forms of index crimes in the country.

    THE architect of Martial Law has probably forgotten that the president wields the muzzle of the gun both as commander-in-chief (Section 18, Article VII, 1987 Constitution) and chief executive (Section 6, Article XVI, 1987 Constitution). The president CAN therefore dictate how threats to national security as well as law and order should be defined and concomitantly addressed. As a matter of policy, declaring Martial Law is too litigious. An overzealous Congress may spurn it; and, if approved, the Supreme Court may on certiorari rule otherwise.

    THE Filipino people should know that the president nearly has vast, if not absolute, powers that match even the modern royalties. No one in government has the sole executive power (Section 1, Article VII. 1987 Constitution) except that being reposed constitutionally upon the president. The other co-equal branches may exercise oversight only under the guise of separation of powers. Yes, our bicameral legislature crafts laws, including the budget, while the judiciary passively rules upon their validity. But BEYOND doubt, ONLY the president can issue commands on how our laws can and should be faithfully executed.

    WE certainly don’t need a human rights lawyer (Binay) to take the lead nor an investment (Roxas) to be at the helm of power. And since our national sovereignty is at stake, the Philippines may find it less patriotic or even pragmatic to have a president who once sworn absolute loyalty to another foreign power (Poe). As chief executive, the next president should carry out his constitutional mandate WITHOUT fear of the criminals or favor to the corrupt public officials.

    INDEED there’s no sure-fire mathematical formula to face the challenges ahead, since the conditions prevailing PRIOR to the declaration of Martial Law is totally different from what we have today. The country doesn’t have to contend with national democratic elements poised to attack the center of power from the periphery. The national government is less beleaguered nor under siege by the right-wing elements in the military. We don’t have any Cardinal Sin to rouse the people in the middle of the political spectrum to fight the seemingly insurmountable crimes against persons AND national treasury.

    SO yes, we have none of those problems that may yet compel the next head of government to invoke his near-absolute prerogative. What the majority of our people will have is a fighting leader in Mayor Duterte – the King Leonidas of Spartan Greece and the President Andrew Jackson of the US – who knows no fear to battle against State enemies. He is the BRAVEST of all presidential wannabes to storm out the thieves in their comfy lair and to bite the hails of bullets from the drug-addled crime syndicates in the country.

    A FEW bad-asses in government wish he won’t resort to martial rule, YET the silent majority of the educated as well as proletarian classes sincerely wish he would. Pres. Marcos thought of constitutional short-cuts to flesh out the insurgents and the political opposition blocs under his reign as dictator. He was fighting against clear and present danger posed by the progressives all in the name of national solidarity. Sen. Enrile very well knew it. And so as former Sen. Kit Tatad who read the proclamation order of the president. BUT all these ideological justifications are no TRUER today than it was at the height of the First Quarter Storm.

    THE State enemies of our generation are NOT the national democratic rebels nor the parliamentary communists anymore. The Islamic fundamentalist secessionists of the South are NOT EXACTLY the bad guys either. IT IS massive poverty that is imminently causing a social volcano to erupt in our faces. IT IS shameless stealing in government that clearly bedevils our faith in the duly-constituted authorities. IT IS the unabated criminality in practically all nooks and crannies of our society that frustratingly inure us all to become learnedly helpless and submissive to fear.

    LEGALLY, it is groundless to be wary about a President Duterte declaring Martial Law as a Marcosian recourse to instil societal discipline. Doing so would have been easier under the 1935 Constitution. When the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the Philippines, martial rule was invoked twice and since then, it is only in one glaring instance when in 1972 Martial Law was declared again. BUT Pres. Cory Aquino likewise declared a de facto martial rule in the guise of a revolutionary government. Her reign then was absolute that she could have easily – at a flick of her dainty fingers – stamped down crony capitalism, public sector corruption, political dynasty, pervasive poverty, landlessness, and divisive politics. She TRIED but FAILED not because she made bad decisions. She was deemed a lame-duck president because she DIDN’T make STRUCTURAL POLICY decisions that required firmer resolve and tougher leadership.

    WHAT made Pres. Abraham Lincoln legendary in the eyes of the world is NOT his proven ability to rise above the spectre of his numerous failures as a politician. He is hailed as one of the best leaders in the US because he was extra-ordinarily UNFAZED by threats and challenges to his administration. He once declared Martial Law to quell rebellion of the Southern States and began a bloody war that led to national unification. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt had to declare Martial Law, despite the adamant opposition by US Congress, to suppress external threats posed by the incipient war in Europe. Presidents William Jefferson Clinton and Barrack Obama, too, had to issue executive orders to empower them to quash possible threats to national security.

    UNDER the present constitutional regime, all it takes then is an executive order, not Martial Law as commonly feared, to impose law and order. In Carpio vs. Executive Secretary (1992), the doctrine of executive control was extensively discussed by the highest court; and so as in Mondano vs. Silvosa (1955). These case precedents all point to the power of supervision and control of the president across all the executive apparatus of the State, including the civilian law enforcement as well as the armed military forces.

    IT need not be mentioned that Republic Act No. 6975 or the PNP Law expressly subsumed the national police under a reorganized department of the interior and local government. Pres. Fidel V. Ramos took advantage of these legal weapons to suppress lawlessness by appointing then Vice-President Erap Estrada to lead the fight against crime. The Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) was a Ramos’ brainchild that took VP Esrada to task: From a movie actor fighting hoodlums in the silver screen to a real-life fighting knave battling it out in the sleazy slums of incorrigibly recidivist criminals.

    LIKE US Pres. Lincoln, a President Duterte may rise above the GHOST of Martial Law by enforcing his true mandate to serve and protect the citizens. BUT UNLIKE Pres. Marcos, he won’t definitely do it for ideological ends. He doesn’t have to. The fundamental law has more than enough ways and means to assert the power of the presidency beyond the PALE of juridical or constitutional safeguards that ONLY weak leaders often resort to.

    OTHERWISE, a President Duterte can lead a national constitutional convention to radically alter the failed governmental structures. He can do a George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, who ACTUALLY presided the makings of the US Constitution – the blueprint of the federal government that has gone on to become one of the best models in the world. WE the sovereign Filipino people CAN’T certainly pass up this RARE opportunity of electing the NEXT best leader since Pres. Ramon Magsaysay. To many of us, he is more than just providential. He among candidates is the REAL CHOICE that towers ABOVE all.


    UP PROF. Randy David wrote a PDI article yesterday to express his amazement over the president’s high public satisfaction rating and his candidate’s poor performance in the poll surveys. To me, a highly regarded sociologist like him should not be surprised about this reality on the ground at all. In fact, his conclusion about the current electoral politics as well as the mode of governance in the county speaks a lot about his true political beliefs. What ACTUALLY baffled him is the clear albeit imminent possibility that Sec. Mar Roxas, the ruling party standard bearer, is about to lose BIG-TIME in this presidential elections.

    AT NO point in the presidential race did Roxas ever take the lead. The highest that he has achieved in the poll surveys is second, statistically that is, but NOT first. At least VP Jejomar Binay and Sen. Grace Poe have been there at the top; they swapped places from time to time UNTIL the true FRONTRUNNER Mayor Rodrigo Duterte surges ahead. The Standard’s Laylo Reports (March 26-April 1) places Mayor Duterte at 30% ahead of Sen. Poe’s 27%. Far third is Sec. Roxas at 21%. Dr. Ed Malay’s Issues and Advocacy Center (IAC) surveys reveal almost similar results where Mayor Duterte scores 29% over Sen. Poe’s 24%. This time though, Sec. Roxas is fourth with 19%.

    JUST fresh off the oven is Social Weather Stations (SWS) quarterly survey (March 30-April 2). This particular survey though is unique in at least two significant ways: It doesn’t only take public pulse in a snap as it is a quarterly preferential polling, it likewise covers the two presidential debates where Mayor Duterte is hailed as netizens’ early favorite together with Sec. Roxas and Sen. Poe. More, it seems to argue AGAINST the personal, hence biased, connections of the lady senator to Dr. Mahar Mangahas who is an uncle on her adopted father FPJ’s side. STILL, the seemingly UNSTOPPABLE deluge or momentum goes to Mayor Duterte who, for the FIRST time, snagged out the frontrunnership from Sen. Poe. Both garnered respectable scores at 27% and 23% respectively. In this same survey, Sec. Roxas is undoubtedly the cellar dweller!

    WHAT then could be the most probable reasons for Sec. Roxas’ lame-duck performance? With majority of over 18,000 elective national and local government officials marching behind the administration party, why does he STILL dawdle at the bottom? Are we seeing a repeat of then House Speakers Jose de Venecia (1992-1998/2001-2008) and Ramon Mitra Jr. (1987-1992) who both individually ran for president and at certain points were the favored bets of the incumbent presidents YET ultimately lost in the polls? Prof. David saw the disconnect with Pres. BS Aquino’s high satisfaction rating at the twilight of his term (52%) with the pre-election poll standing of Sec. Roxas. He is definitely correct. But let me take a different tack on his survey performance vis-a-vis the public satisfaction rating of the president:

    FIRST, the aggregate DISSATISFACTION rating of Pres. Aquino is 48%. To the ordinary man in the streets, the number itself speaks volumes about the lack of credible belief to the Aquino government’s accomplishments for the last five or so years. We recall how the Filipino voters gave the president the highest electoral mandate in history. Then, there was so much jubilation for the political victory of democracy icon Cory Aquino’s son who rode upon the wave of sympathy votes owing to her death. Necro-politics worked a lot of wonders at the time, much as the Kennedys did in the U.S.

    BUT getting more than a majority of satisfaction rating doesn’t always mean that ONLY a handful few Filipinos are dissatisfied. VP Binay garnered a relatively high public satisfaction rating, too, but his numbers in the polls leave so much room to be desired. He used to lord it over at the top. NOW he is far becoming more of a whimper than a BANG! This scenario could only tell us a few things BUT strategically prominent is the fact that a QUALIFIED majority of those DISSATISFIED about the president’s performance for the past couple of years are taking it against the administration party’s anointed candidate. Thus political machinery and grassroots connections can only do so much to propel Roxas to the presidency.

    SPEAKERS De Venecia and Mitra have their own political machineries, too, but their winning opponents were just too popular among the mass voters. It didn’t help that then Defense Sec. Fidel Ramos was Pres. Cory Aquino’s anointed. Ramos had his own campaign organization, the police and the military, doing the ground works for him WHICH ultimately trounced a hugely popular Miriam Defensor-Santiago. But he was elected president on a mere plurality votes UNLIKE Pres. Aquino. In the case of Speaker De Venecia, Pres. Ramos’ endorsement failed to break the momentum for then VP Joseph Estrada who had a resounding victory in the polls.

    PROF. David’s reality of unfulfilled expectations indeed trash Roxas’ survey performances since the start of the election period until weeks before the elections. The Filipinos’ high hopes came down crushing on the Liberal Party candidate, since corruption STILL runs amuck in high places while correlatively, poverty breeds over 26 million more hungry mouths across the country. Pres. Aquino’s much-vaunted and consistent high GDP growth rates ACTUALLY failed to trickle down to the masses. The failure itself breeds mass dissent and the upcoming polls are the most convenient way to take revenge! The Kidapawan farmers’ massacre and the most recent bloodbath in Basilan could be the tipping point for Sec. Roxas’ incipient pull away from the top because the Filipino people can no longer tolerate glaring ineptitude and severe LACK of empathy to the plight of the ordinary people by the president and, in effect, by the ruling party candidate himself.

    SECOND, the lack of a strong party system is a direct consequence of the multi-party structure erected by no less than Pres. Cory Aquino herself. In the guise of democratizing access to power, her hand-picked constitutional framers envisioned a party for all as opposed to Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ party of one – the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL). The evil sought to be prevented is the monolithic concentration of power in the hands of ruling party members.

    IRONICALLY, the new multi-party system FAILED to stamp out the evil of monolithic power by the political and economic elites BECAUSE political dynasty is very much around. Since 1987 up to now, democratic access to political power remains to be a pipe dream for those who have the undoubted TALENT and the political WILL to serve the people. Today, crony capitalism is being eclipsed by crony politics where the most capable candidates are brushed aside in favor of the most popular. The classic example is Sen. Poe. Her popularity alone makes her a natural magnet for CRONY privateers like former Ambassador Danding Cojuangco and of course, Pres. Aquino himself.

    DESPITE having endorsed Sec. Roxas, Pres. Aquino is widely believed to be supporting the lady senator as well. This highly DYSFUNCTIONAL political reality is expected nonetheless. It’s just too treacherous, manipulative and unjust. Pres. Cory Aquino knew she’d fail on this account BUT she did not prevent failure from happening. The son, too, knew what’s causing this failure BUT opted instead to let the next administration rectify the same. He has all the time in the world to AMEND the freedom constitution her mother had proudly bequeathed to the Filipino people but sadly, he DOESN’T have what it takes to be DECISIVE and STRONG, or to rise above the challenge, as usual!

    NOW he is reaping the whirlwind of political storm about to unleash its fury. His well-known bailiwick in Cebu, for instance, is in fact being balkanized by a resurgent Southern mayor. Although more than half of the local officials sport a liberal insignia on their chests, their hearts ACTUALLY belong to another. Mayor Duterte of the revived PDP-Laban is their current flame. It may take more than cash to compel the Liberals in Cebu NOT to cross-over to the other camp. Turn-coatism is the norm there, and Roxas miserably fails to stand as its beneficiary! At the outset, he has the whole of Vizayas at the palm of his hand – but not anymore. Mayor Duterte is taking all the spoils as they slip dramatically out of his firm control. Obviously no one can blame Gov. Junjun Davide for the massive defections to the mayor camp. The blame can be laid at the DOORSTEPS of the presidential palace itself!

    THIRD, the growing disenchantment of politics in the country is this ruling administration’s creation, too. In its Contract with the Filipino People – the blueprint of Tuwid na Daan – the president vowed to pursue a no-nonsense anti-corruption program. It’s popular slogan says it all: “Kung Walang Corrupt, Walang Mahirap!” By and in itself, the contract truly resonated throughout the campaign of Pres. Aquino. It is the same blueprint of governance that Roxas intends to pursue as president.

    IT WOULD be most unfair not to credit Pres. Aquino for the initiative. He in fact made a traction in that department. Some high and mighty lawmakers currently locked up in jail serve as testament to his anti-corruption advocacy. But his initial success is just that – INITIAL. He did not push further. He is practically content with seeing a few of the opposition politicians behind bar WHILE most of his political allies who likewise squandered scarce public funds are out there in the electoral field, running again.

    SELECTIVE justice seems to inflict this present administration. Even the watchdog of government – Ombudsman -is being used as a potent tool for the vilification of some officials, not the least of whom is a man long known dead BUT whose case is exhumed to further derail the chances of some politicians. The Filipino people know legal chicanery when they see one. The revival of the case against former Makati City administrator Nicanor Santiago Jr. is perceived to be an anti-VP Binay stunt to further pull his ratings down WHILE Sen.Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s 10-year old corruption case is likewise being UPGRADED to plunder just to STEM the tide of his rising poll popularity.

    WE commend Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales for doing her job. At least, she is true to her mandate as constitutionally prescribed. Yet, she could have been more circumspect and just in investigating and prosecuting cases being filed. BUT she has overzealously done it to others but continues to shrug off filing legal complaints against the ruling party allies. Pres. Aquino’s drive to weed out the corrupt thus becomes a mockery of his straight path governance. The public saw through it; the ruse is just too palpable to be just swept under the rug.

    NOW even coffee-shop talks are awashed with expletives and curses blaming injustice and impunity that Pres. Aquino and his anointed candidate represent. Consequently then, continuity of Daang Matuwid is far off the public preferential radar. In fact, in the array of presidential choices. ALL, except Mayor Duterte, fail to spark any interest at all to TRY a new leader with an equally new perspective to bring about TRUE CHANGE in our government. So, yes, Prof. David is right: The battle now shifts to the NEW up and coming leader with a raised clenched-fist against a shadow Manchurian candidate of the incumbent president. UNFORTUNATELY for Sec. Roxas, the political wind blows not in his favor!


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