COMMENTARY: Threat to shoot people behind presidential push earns takers

NORTH COTABATO (MindaNews/25 September) — Colorful and controversial Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte has a big problem in his hand.

His threat, which was of course said in jest, that he would like to shoot the people behind the move to convince him to run for President has so many takers that he may need a lot of bullets and burial areas.

Writes Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Ramon Tulfo in his column On Target:

“Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte’s threat to shoot anyone who prods him to run for President in 2016 is being taken as a challenge, and there are many takers.

“I dare Duterte to shoot me for publicly prodding him to run for President.

“Actor Edu Manzano sent me a text message, saying, “Can I sign up for the SHOOT ME, DUTERTE! petition?”

“My reply: “Sure you can, dude, but you’ll have to queue up because it’s a long, long line.”

“The “Shoot me, Duterte!” challenge has gone viral. Cemeteries will be full, if the controversial mayor makes good his threat.

“Many Duterte supporters in Davao City will soon be wearing T-shirts with the words, “Pusila ko, Duterte (Shoot me)!” emblazoned on them.”

In an attempt to brush off calls for him to run for President and discourage people from considering him for the presidency, Duterte has tried everything, even putting forward crazy ideas on how to run the Philippines.

“I don’t want to be President because if I become President and I don’t get the reforms in government that I wanted, I will declare a Revolutionary Government,” he once said.

Did that turn off people?

No! In fact, the reaction was: “Yes, it’s about time a President straightens out everything in this country.”

Then he declared: “Don’t force me to be President because I will close down Congress!”

The reaction? “Yes, yes, yes! Most of them do nothing but pocket their pork barrels anyway.”

“I do not like to be President but if I become one, I will shoot every smuggler, especially rice smugglers, drug dealer, and kidnapper,” he also threatened perhaps expecting that the statement would turn off people.

The response? “Yes, yes, yes! That should be done all over the country.”

Duterte has tried all antics and delivered crazy statements in a desperate effort to wave off the calls for him to run for President but he finds himself in deeper trouble.

People who are tired of corruption in government and the rising criminality lap up everything that Duterte says, even his zaniest idea of governance.

“If I become President, I will privatize the GSIS and SSS because they have committed so much injustice to the ordinary Filipino wage earners who after years of hard work would discover that somebody had availed of a loan using their names,” he said.

You think that will discourage people? In your life! People even want Duterte to privatize the Bureau of Customs.

How long can Duterte brush off calls for him to run for President?

It may not take long before he runs out of crazy ideas, threats and excuses.

Soon, the time will come when Duterte will have to ask himself: “Why do people want me to be President?”

When he realizes that the call for him to run for President is not really because he is Rodrigo Duterte but because the Filipinos hunger for a leader who could put things in order, he may stop issuing threats and heed the call.

After all, Duterte, a veteran lawyer and a public prosecutor, understands the Latin maxim: “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” (Emmanuel “Manny” Pinol was governor of North Cotabato from 1998 to 2007 and Vice Governor from 2007 to 2010. He ran for governor in 2010 and 2013 but lost to the incumbent governor. He describes himself as a retired politician).