He was not my candidate, but I am excited that Rodrigo Duterte won the elections, because – the object of an attempted coalition of the "righteous" determined to block his way to the presidency – he became the totem of everything that the Aquino administration was not.
People liked him talking straight, brusquely and rudely, even, because that was the nation's vicarious participation in a break with the facade of decorum that the past administration had put on, while concealing closets of decaying bones – among those that revulsed us most, the unseating of a chief justice by the alleged bribing of senators through illegally apportioned funds!
As city mayor, the people of Davao had easy access to him. He knew them. They knew him. And that was why they rallied so rancorously to his cause, taking with them huge chunks of Luzon and Visayas as well. But Digong should not lose sight of the fact that the opposition to him was not only borne out of partisanship for other candidates.
There was, in his opponents, real dislike for him, many times justified by his language, his actions and his recklessness. That opprobrium has not, by any means, dissipated, and it would be well for him to tread carefully while delivering on his promises.
I tweeted "Digong is being asked for miracles. That is not fair to him." What I got back was a barrage of angry retorts. In summary: "He promised to deliver. We will hold him to his promise."
Now, of course, he must sincerely acknowledge that the Philippines is a very different affair from Davao, and working with the legislature and being subject to judicial review make matters even more "interesting", in the sense that Chinese speak of "interesting times".
Six months to rid the nation of its ills is something that Cinderella's fairy godmother may be able to do, but not Digong.
This afternoon, I was disturbed to see ominous clouds gathering on the horizon. It was not anything Digong said or did (I think he has had enough of smooching for now, as he has promised to act more "presidentially".)
Rather, it was the fact that in a disappointing continuity with the past, spokespersons were making announcements to the public in behalf of the president-elect.
One spokesman said that henceforth, Digong would be available only by appointment. My, my…that effectively created a gully precisely between Digong and the hopeful multitudes that had propelled him to power.
Of course, it is understood that there will be some kind of system for visitors, but to make a pompous announcement that "he will no longer be available to the public" and that "those who wish to see him must do so with an appointment" casts a dark pall over a landscape of promise.
Then there came the other unctuous announcement that Mayor Rodrigo would take to a retreat center, there to complete his "medication", and when a reckless spokesman realized, albeit too late, that reference to "medication" was prying open a can of worms – in fact, one quick reporter asked what was ailing the president-elect – he said it was just "fatigue".
How could he, in one breath, talk of "medications" and then dismiss the trouble it created as nothing more than fatigue? Stupid!
I will be very direct: the crowd around Rodrigo Duterte is doing him no good. Laying down a cordon sanitaire, making of themselves censors of what Duterte hears and what he does not hear, filtering what he should know – none of this augurs well for an administration elected on the promise of change. I accuse his hangers-on of frustrating his promise by posturing as did the presidential hangers-on in administrations past.
Even all this talk that a select group is now vetting candidates for the cabinet is not good at all. Especially if it comes from those who were supposedly chosen to constitute the group.
It is nothing short of them boasting to the nation: "Look, guys, the next government depends on who we want" – just when the nation thought that by electing Rodrigo Duterte, it had gotten rid of that style of management by cronies and bootlickers.
No, Rodrigo Duterte's close-in circle is doing him most harm now, and the faster he dismantles this caboodle, and sends them to their kennels, the more accessible he becomes once more to the people.
Many of PNoy's faults go back to his failure to talk to the people directly. I pray that Digong does not allow that unlikeable crowd around him to commit the same mistake! – Rappler.com
The author is Dean of the Graduate School of Law, San Beda College.