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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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It is said that desperate situations demand desperate response. This is the case of the large support for the plans of candidate Rodrigo Duterte. He banks on the desperate situation in the country where people are already fed up with promises of traditional politicians like the other candidates, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Mar Roxas and Senator Miriam Santiago. They are the same politicians who had been in office for as long as we can remember, and we are no better now than before. They are part of the national malaise we are in today and their promises are as rehash of old promises.

The popularity of Senator Grace Poe and Duterte expresses the sense of despair of the people. The DaangMatuwid to which Roxas has hitched his star is as punctured as the BagongLipunan of the Marcos regime. The so-called progress of the Philippines is now being laid bare as mere statistics; progress does not go down to improve the lives of the masses. There are as many corrupt officials today as there were under Gloria Arroyo. Mar is being dragged into the MRT graft case. Binay and family are fighting for dear freedom for a variety of corruption charges.

At the point of desperation, many flock to Duterte because he declared immediate action and death to the corrupt that includes drug lords and common criminals. He will cleanse them all in three to six months. This can only be done if he sets aside the constitutional right to presumption of innocence until the courts determine guilt and prescribe penalty. Under Duterte this right will be brushed aside because the judicial process takes long and he wants to impose the penalty immediately.

Duterte's plan to solve the people's despair for the slow pace of justice is to cut it down with a dictatorial power that bypasses the courts with the use of kangaroo courts and juez de cuchillo (judge with a knife) that the guerrillas used against suspected spies during World War II or the hanging judge of the Wild Wild American west. This will become Duterte's system of ridding the country of the corrupt and the criminals within three to six months. No other methods can work except through the dictatorial power. The Constitution must be damned as it will top him. Even with this he is bound to fail.

In desperation people swallow his promise but on more serious thought, we are plunging the nation into chaos that the Duterte solution will unleash.Already some media are calling him Dudirty in parody of the movie “Dirty Harry” who eliminates criminals in ways he thinks are effective – kill them rather than bring them to court where, with expensive lawyers, they could get away.

Is this the kind of life we want? Under his regime we will recede into the jungle worse than Marcos' martial law. The family of the victims of Duterte's totalitarian rule will not sit idly by and wait for their turn on whatever flimsy reason the power holders will decide. We will be like Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia or Mao's China.

We measure the candidates by what they say or promise. So far Dutertehas not promised anything substantive about the economy or poverty. He just kept on repeating he will rid this country of grafters and illegal drugs. It seems he has narrowed the national ills into these two categories because people are angry that nothing i being done enough. They despair and they want the action that Duterte promises, albeit at the price that we and future generations will pay so dearly.

We must prevent Duterte from getting into the presidency. We need that for ourselves and for our children and the future of this country to avoid becominga killing field to servea self-proclaimed dictator. We have heard him many times that he will use force even if illegal to get what he wants.

Duterte's leaders must learn from history. They had a taste of what people around Duterte can do. When Atty. Jesus Hinlo who initiated the support for Duterte expressed his dismay and resigned, he became a liability. They disowned and demeaned him. Read your history and find out what happened to the leaders of good intentions who in despair rallied to make a tyrant their leader. We have in Hinlo a foretaste of a regime under Duterte and his ilk.

We must junk Duterte for self-preservation. *



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