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If Duterte wins

I like scientifically-run polls. What I do not like is the way the public has been educated about polls. So even as the candidates bewail all the polls going against them and trumpet those that favor them, any serious candidate takes polls seriously.  But because very few candidates do not make use of people's gullibility (thus the wailing or rejoicing), they also throw in unreliable shysters when they have to condition the public mind. 

And yes the public mind can be conditioned, which is why polls are not a great blessing. Any pollster will tell you that polls indicate what people are for a given time period. They are not predictive of what the electorate may think today, Monday, May 9, 2016. So I suggest that if you're reading this, whoever your candidate, go and vote regardless of what the polls say.

But the polls are predicting that Rodrigo Duterte will win. If people read my previous article, they would know he is not my candidate. I cannot understand how women's advocates would support him. In fact, I cannot understand how any woman can. But I am a mature and humble enough activist to know that I do not speak for many women and my approach to women's rights are not the approaches of other women.

But it is also the first day of my renewed commitment to my own political integrity. So consider me part of the opposition today, if the polls prove right. I have no intention of following the trend of suck-ups whenever a new power comes to town. I never have.

In fact, I intend, now that PNoy is no longer president, to write another column about why I prefer the Aquinos over the Marcoses despite the missteps and misadventures of the Cojuangco oligarchs and the two Aquino regimes. But that is for another day.

So here are my fearless predictions if Duterte wins.

1) He will not solve criminality in 3 to 6 months.

Criminality is not mainly a discipline problem. Development studies have shown that huge social factors contribute to it, like poverty, social exclusion (such as when you pathologize millions of people by calling them “bayot”), gender inequity (so that macho man end up killing each other over chicharon), and cultural traits (such as when discredited political blocs like the GMA cronies suddenly become part of the Duterte coalition). These historical, cultural, and economic roots of the problems of criminality will not be resolved in 6 months.

This is not to excuse criminals from personal responsibility. But to achieve crime deterrence through law enforcement, we need due process and the rule of law. These things also need time and patience, not reckless will.

2) His drug war will fail.

At a time when most world governments are rethinking their criminalizing of drugs and the law enforcement approaches to drugs, Duterte will adopt this for the country.

The drug problem, being related to the criminality problem, also has deep social and economic roots.

The United States, which has thrown its vast resources toward a drug war is a prime example. It has not managed to stop or even reduce its drug problem. Instead, syndicates have grown far more powerful across its southern border and even in areas near that border.

Effective strategies, in fact, go in the opposite direction: asoftening of laws that criminalize drugs and the creation of rehabilitation programs.

In this light, instead of solving criminality, the all-out-war will increase it.

3. HIV-AIDS will increase.

The other argument that is causing a rethinking on the part of many governments is the effect of criminalization of drug use to the spread of diseases that can be transmitted by injectable drug use, for example HIV infections.

The Philippines has an increasing number of new cases, again going against worldwide trend. 

At the moment also, a big number of cases are among men having sex with men. Stigmatizing this sector with homophobic slurs is not going to help our efforts to reach out to these most affected sectors.

4. The hatred and vitriol will remain.

My worst case scenario is, within this week, the number of people bullied in cyberspace and in neighborhoods will increase. This trend will raise the level of intimidation that all of us critics have felt during the campaign and that no one, least of all his supporters, seem to have been appalled about.

My fearless prediction is Duterte will not tone down. All previous leaders who have risen to power because of hate speech will continue to use this technique to rally the people. He will perhaps tone down during the short honeymoon period after the election. But the minute he feels threatened by contending social forces, he will return to the demagoguery.

Furthermore, the only thing he can accomplish in 6 months is the summary execution, a la Davao Death Squad, of some poor rugby users in the teeming slums of Metro Manila. This will of course increase criminality because, in my definition, summary executions are criminal. 

Parenthetically, I wonder whether he will impose summary executions on rapists. After all, his encouragement of rape culture will embolden them, and then he will have to kill them because we no longer have the death penalty. Or maybe he will leave them alone, which will add to the crime rate.

5. He will not resign after 6 months even if he does not solve the issue of criminality.

Duh. Gullible if you believe it.

He may perhaps begin to rail against obstructionists (likely, critics who don't agree with him, as this campaign has shown), who are the reason for his failure.

6. He will claim responsibility for all the projects this current administration has put into place.

He has no real plans of running the country, at least from what I see in his platform. As the man keeps saying in debates, “I am good at copying.”

It is, in reality, impossible to solve Metro Manila's traffic problems without long-term solutions, like accessible and affordable mass transportation systems. Without apologizing for the appalling incompetence of Secretary Abaya, it is also true that some of these long-term solutions have been out in place by this administration and will see fruition in the coming years. Any solutions Duterte will put in place have to be similarly long-term and will not likely happen during his term or in the early part of it.

But he needs to show quick results because he has had himself elected on these grandiose promises of immediate and radical change.

7. Unless he moves to the political center he will not be able to accomplish his promise of federalism.

He does not control the Senate. Even if the House of Representatives does its traditional exodus toward the (non-existent) party of the occupant of Malacañang, the Senate is a little less pliable. 

He needs the cooperation of  Congress if he is to accomplish this. Despite his rhetoric, he cannot abolish Congress. He does not have the full support of the military yet.

The police force is even less sympathetic because of his alliance with Jose Maria Sison, the Communist Party of the Philippines, and the New People's Army. This is also the reason his hold on the military is not so strong as to be able to accomplish martial law.

8. Unless he moves to the political center he will be more vulnerable to the recently revealed charges of corruption.

During the campaign he has shown no evidence that the revelations of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV are untrue. He has, in fact, admitted to large portions of the revelations including bank accounts and properties not declared in his SALN.

9. If he moves to the center he will disappoint his Left allies and all those people who listened to his anti-oligarchy rhetoric. But it is the only way he will stabilize his administration and finish his term.

In short, I predict that Duterte will have to eat his words one way or the other, and it could start as early as 6 months from now. – 

Sylvia Estrada-Claudio is a doctor of medicine who also holds a PhD in Psychology. She is Director of the University of the Philippines Center for Womens Studies and Professor of the Department of Women and Development Studies, College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines. She is also co-founder and Chair of the Board of Likhaan Center for Women's Health.