Managing Rodrigo Duterte is not exactly a walk in the park as his campaign handlers will no doubt tell you.
He is not good with time limits and this poses a big problem on the campaign trail. Fond of giving one-hour impromptu speeches and eager to show his audience he loves their company, Duterte will often shoo away anyone who tries to hurry him up.
Signalled by his assistant Bong Go to wrap up his speech in a Tarlac sortie for instance, Duterte threatened to kill Go in front of the farmers he was talking to. The threat was a joke of course. Go has been the Davao City mayor’s loyal assistant since 1998.
So what to do with such a stubborn candidate? It seems his campaign team has found a secret weapon: Duterte’s youngest daughter, 12-year-old Veronica.
In Duterte’s sortie in Novaliches, Quezon City last week, the quiet Veronica or Kitty could be seen on the sidelines, listening to her father talk about healthcare and economy with tricycle drivers.
But in the middle of his speech, she walks up to him unannounced and whispers in his ear.
She was reminding her father about the time. He still had a motorcade to do and his speech was getting a tad bit too long for the schedule.
“The Punisher” dare not cross his pre-teen daughter. Instead he tells her, “Anak, sandali lang ha, mga 10 minutes (My daughter, wait a little bit, give me 10 minutes).”
That’s a lot more than his adult campaign team members can get from Duterte even if they ask nicely.
That wasn’t the first time Veronica came to the aid of his campaign team. In his proclamation rally, in front of thousands of supporters and national media, she whispered to his ear onstage so he could turn around. Media had been complaining that Duterte was not facing their cameras.
After some dilly-dallying, Duterte did as told, like any father obedient to his children. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com