Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has caused an outrage, amassed a following and encouraged a political discourse unprecedented in the country’s history. As social media posts, news articles and political campaigns become heated, a certain mystery still hovers around Duterte with much of the debate focusing on whether he is really good for the country or not.
Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to controversy and the political ruthlessness in the Philippines. Known to be vocal and straight to the point, a great deal of his statements has caused both an uproar and applause from the people of the island nation.
There’s this rape comment, threats about international ties but also promises to alleviate the common but grave problems of the masses. Some say he is a walking contradiction which begs the question: is he good or evil?
The question is quite difficult to put into context as no politician has ever been truly on the just positive or negative side of things – yet people still continue to discuss about it.
“What I like about him is that he is fearless — he does not care about anyone or anything, he does not say anything to pander to anyone. It’s why he gets in trouble,” the LA Times quoted Gina Lopez whom the publication claims is a person probably not what you expect to be a Duterte supporter.
As the report noted, Lopez is a head of a prominent nonprofit focused on child welfare, education and the environment while her politician is best linked to vigilante death squads, disturbing comments and even vows to kill own kin if they are related to drugs.
“After studying data and meeting everyone, I feel his personality is most suited to lead the country for now,” she said. “In order to make [things] happen, you need more than intelligence. You need a certain gutsiness and willpower and energy to make it happen.”
“This is an electorate that has found its voice in the mayor of Davao City. His movement cuts across class, gender and generation. He is the champion of mothers terrified of kidnappings. He is the savior of the displaced in the war zones of Maguindanao,” Rappler’s piece on the presidential candidate said.
“The tone is indignant, often violent, but it is hopeful nonetheless, and it has energized a citizenry once resigned to politics as usual,” the report added.
However, how things are turning out is also not far from what the Philippines has seen before – suffering people and a man promising to end that suffering. That man being Ferdinand Marcos who once imposed martial law in the Philippines.
This time, if Duterte wins, his dictatorship may not be one he imposed but one that people have chosen for themselves, according to the report.
As Duterte pushes for a hardline approach to criminals, many see him as the best chance to end the crimes and secure the country. Time Magazine once gave him the moniker “The Punisher” as he was constantly linked to extrajudicial killings and a group of vigilantes, according to CNN.
Nonetheless, Duterte still serves as a ray of hope for some as Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, expressed support for the said candidate. Previously, Senator and vice-presidential candidate Antonio Trillanes said that Duterte is hell bent on introducing a revolutionary kind of government with the CPP leader.
The presidential candidate confirmed before that he has been talking with Sison about initial plans for an inclusive governance, as reported by ABS-CBN.
In his conversation with Sison, Duterte said: “I will follow the pattern of socialism.” This may be a conflict of interest to a certain extent as the United States previously classified Sison as a “person supporting terrorism.”
As Duterte remains on top of the poll, there’s also the idea lingering that the negativity surrounding him are only ploys of rivals desperate to take him out of the race as he surges polls but no one can be truly sure on whether he is truly right or not unless the Philippines earns a Duterte presidency.