MANILA, Philippines – A political advertisement that doesn't even show the candidate's face?
Rodrigo Duterte himself may be nowhere in his latest political ad, but its focus on a war against criminality is pure Duterte. (READ: How do you handle a candidate like Rodrigo Duterte?)
The 31-second video, uploaded on Thursday night, January 27, is devoid of dialogue or even a voice-over.
The scene begins with a young female student returning from school at night. She is followed by a man hiding in the shadows. As he takes out a knife, the metal bars of a jail cell fall in front of him.
The girl, unaware of the danger she was in, is welcomed home by an elderly woman. The house's door closes bearing a message: "Sa ligtas na bayan, panatag ang tahanan." (In a safe society, the home is peaceful.)
The clue that it's a political ad is saved for last with the message: "Duterte. Davao City Ranked 9th Safest City in the World."
The ad's pitch is clear: Duterte's transformation of Davao City as its longest-serving mayor speaks for itself.
Many credit Duterte's leadership for turning the country's "Murder Capital" into one of the most liveable cities in the country. His no-nonsense attitude to cracking down on criminals has earned him the nickname "The Punisher" and "Dirty Harry of the South." (READ: 22 things to know about 'Duterte Harry')
Davaoeños boast that from a "warzone," where killings happened in broad daylight, Davao City has become one of the most progressive cities, winning awards for outstanding law enforcement, and its child-friendly and investor-friendly policies.
The label of "9th Safest City in the World" comes from the April 2015 ranking of safest cities on crowd-sourced rating site Numbeo.com.
The site is said to be the largest database of input from users who rank cities and countries on aspects like pollution, quality of life, cost of living, traffic, and health care, and crime.
But he's also been accused of taking his fight against crime too far: by allegedly supporting or allowing vigilante-style killings of petty criminals in Davao City.
Duterte has denied such accusations, challenging critics to show evidence linking him to the so-called Davao Death Squad.
Duterte's ad appeared on the same day as the latest ad of rival presidential candidate Manuel "Mar" Roxas II. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.