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Manila Standard : Legacies of Duterte

News & Interviews
7 December 2021

By Emil Jurado | Manila Standard

"The President is indeed so many things."

It is common that when a president of the Philippines is about to step down, people start talking about his legacy - something we can remember him or her by.

Let’s start with Rodrigo Duterte’s failed wars - his war on illegal drugs which the next president will have to continue, and his failed war on government graft and corruption.

My gulay, how can we forget the killings of everybody involved in illegal drugs, even users and addicts, who are victims?

Official records say that over 6,000 were killed, but unofficial estimates place the number at 28,000.

This remains a black mark in his legacy.

Another black mark is the failed war on graft and corruption.

Duterte is also the only president we know who curses in his many speeches. He is the only president who makes indecent jokes about women.

He is the only leader who openly has a common-in-law wife — or a partner as they are euphemistically called. Yes, we have had presidents from the time of Manuel L. Quezon who had girlfriends and mistresses with children, but they do not live with them as Duterte does.

He is also the only president we know who makes a joke about priests and nuns having sexual affairs.

For a Catholic country like the Philippines, this does not sit well with the faithful.

Duterte also pivoted to China despite the frequent incursions of China in the West Philippine Sea.

And yet, despite everything, President Duterte’s trust and satisfaction ratings make him the most popular president we ever had. I have an explanation for this, but, my gulay, it would take another column to explain it.

While we cannot forget the negative aspect of the Duterte presidency, his Build, Build, Build program has brought the Philippines to the Golden Age of Infrastructure. The next President must continue this.

•••

While political analysts claim that the withdrawal of Bong Go from the presidential race can only benefit the Bongbong-Sara tandem in many ways, there are also others who say that it will now open the gates for the President to endorse other candidates.

I believe, however, that if the President were to endorse others except Bongbong Marcos he (Duterte) would be going against his daughter, Sara, who is the teammate of Marcos. That would be illogical and even silly, wouldn’t it?

The question now is if Bongbong, the frontrunner in the presidential race, together with Sara, also the frontrunner in the vice presidential race, still need the endorsement of the President.

Personally, I believe they don’t.

Another follow-up question is, will the BBM-Sara tandem any good to be labelled as the “administration candidates” with the President’s endorsement? Personally, I think it will not make any difference. In any case, the speculated endorsement of the ruling party - Cusi wing, if it hasn’t done so as I write this column, can only benefit the Bongbong-Sara team. The governors of 52 provinces of the ruling party will be a plus for Bongbong and Inday Sara. Note that I added Inday to Sara’s name because in Cebuano, a lady is called Inday.

With the combination of the Solid North of Bongbong, and the Solid South of Sara together with the Cebuano votes and the Waray votes of Eastern Visayas, it’s all but done.

If PDP-Laban endorses the BBM-Sara tandem, together with Lakas-CMB, Federal Party ng Pilipinas, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino of Erap Estrada, and Sara’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago, it’s really game over for the other candidates. Bongbong and Sara don’t really need the President anymore.

•••

I had a good laugh when I read that Bong Go claimed that this withdrawal from the presidential race was for the sake of his boss, the President.

The truth of the matter was that Bong Go knew he did not have any chance of beating Bongbong in the race despite President Duterte’s endorsement. In other words, Go realized that the President was just using him (Go) to hit back at Marcos when Sara teamed up with Marcos without Sara consulting her father.

Bong Go’s withdrawal was more out of self-respect than anything else.

So who will become the administration’s candidate with Bong Go out of the picture, and how will it affect the overall situation of the national elections?

From my point of view, it doesn’t really make any difference. The Bongbong-Sara tandem should be considered the administration team with Sara being BBM’s Vice President candidate.

•••

The possibility of the Omicron variant entering the Philippines, despite all the precautions of the government, can spoil the economic recovery of the Philippines.

And all we can do is just to hope and pray that it will not be so.