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Why Does Duterte Remain So Popular with Filipinos?

President Rodrigo Duterte campaigning in 2016. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

n the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy the trust and support of the vast majority of Filipinos. According to the Social Weather Station (SWS), the country’s leading polling entity, their fourth quarter survey, done on December 3-6, 2016, showed that 81% of adult Filipinos gave Duterte much trust, 10% were undecided, and only 9% gave the President little trust. That gave Duterte an “excellent” net trust rating of +72.

So, what explains this phenomenon? We believe two major factors play an important role in Duterte’s popularity.

First, an Impotent Judicial System

The Philippines is a place where justice seems to take forever. In many instances, litigants pass away before verdicts are rendered in their cases. And many are just never are resolved: the Plaza Miranda Bombing; the Ninoy Aquino assassination; and the Dacer-Corbito double murder—to name just three well-known cases. If you’re seeking justice from Philippine courts, chances are you’re in for a very long wait.

Then here comes Duterte who promises to solve the drug epidemic, end corruption, and give the Philippine economy a boost—all in a matter of months, and the public goes ecstatic. To see results in such a short time (or to see results at all) is unprecedented as far as Filipinos are concerned.

So when dead bodies begin piling up in the streets, macabre as that may be, the Philippine population views it as tangible results that Duterte is getting things done.

Unlike people in developed Western countries who have properly functioning legal systems where court cases are promptly adjudicated and thus view extrajudicial killing (EJK) as barbaric and unnecessary, Filipinos instead see it as tangible proof that justice is being served—something Philippine courts and politicians are usually unable to provide.

Second, A Culture of Getting Things Done the Easy Way

Another factor that may explain Duterte’s continuing popularity is our “Juan Tamad” attitude. As a people, we seem to always want to get things done the quick and easy way. Nothing wrong with that except when it impinges on someone else’s rights. In the case of EJKs, law enforcement agents become judge, jury, and executioner, and violate the human rights of their victims who are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa tells the press, his job
will be easier without the writ of habeas corpus.

For example, when Duterte was flirting with suspending the writ habeas corpus in November of last year, PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa stated in a media briefing that such suspension would “make our job easier.” Of course it would! The writ of habeas corpus was created centuries ago precisely to make it difficult for a sovereign to lock up an accused indefinitely. Because of such writ, a king could no longer send an accused to the dungeon and keep him or her there for as long as he pleased.

Thus, today’s civilized world is intentionally complicated because it tries to prevent abuse by the powerful while insuring the rights and privileges of everyone else. It’s called equal rights, and due process, and these impose heavy restrictions on those in authority to insure that that the power they wield is not abused. This is all part of our evolution as a species and what differentiates us from savages.

In closing, we believe the two factors we list above go a long way in explaining Duterte’s consistently high poll numbers. Filipinos however need to realize that when we turn to expedient “extrajudicial” methods to solve things, we trample on other Filipino’s rights and eventually the law of the jungle takes hold… and that would be a bad thing for everyone. Published 1/8/2017

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Supporters of Duterte’s extrajudicial killings (EJK) Violate US Immigration Law

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy the trust and support of the vast majority of Filipinos. According to the Social Weather Station (SWS), the country’s leading polling entity, their fourth quarter survey, done on December 3-6, 2016, showed that 81% of adult Filipinos gave Duterte much trust ... Published 12/28/2016

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When we sincerely seek to do good, when we speak the truth, when we try to prevent evil, when we are kind to people, when we help them, when we seek justice, when we seek a kinder gentler world, there are those who will still hate and harm us, even those whom we are trying to help ... Published 12/17/2016

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The On December 4, President-elect Donald Trump sent out a couple of tweets that the “liberal media” immediately pounced on as “warmongering” by an obviously unqualified diplomatic novice who will soon be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue ... Published 12/11/2016

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The day after Donald Trump won the US presidency in a stunning upset, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared the end of his personal war with the United States. “I don’t want to fight now that Trump’s there. I would like to congratulate President Trump. Mabuhay, Mr. Trump!" ... Published 12/05/2016

Revising History: A Libingan Burial Will Not Change the Truth

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The Good News is that Duterte will not Declare Martial Law

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Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan: Where Did We Go Wrong?

With his campaign pledge on the line, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be pulling out all the stops to make sure the remains of ex-president Ferdinand Marcos get interred in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (hero’s cemetery) as soon as possible ... Published 11/12/2016

Is President Rodrigo Duterte Painting Himself Into a Corner?

With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte digging in his heels and acting even more petulant towards the West in general and the United States in particular, one wonders, where do things go from here? Published 11/5/2016

Philippine-American Relations: Why We See Other Nationalities the Way We Do?

For With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte making it crystal clear where he stands when it comes to choosing allies. Duterte has chosen to cozy up to the Chinese and the Russians while stretching his country’s long-standing ties with the United States to the breaking point. Published 10/29/2016

Siding With China: A Wrong-headed Decision, or Duterte’s Stroke of Genius

For whatever reason, it is now obvious that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not a “fan” of the United States of America. In recent statements, Duterte has pledged closer ties with the People’s Republic of China, and admitted to admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin. Published 10/24/2016

Demonic forces engulfing the Philippines—President Duterte should resign

The world’s good and decent people should force President Rodrigo Duterte to resign. It’s also for his own good. I don’t hate Duterte. But I hate his terrible sins. For his own sake, I hope that he amends his evil ways and saves his soul as his days are numbered. No one is beyond redemption if he turns to our Lord Jesus Christ. Published 10/19/2016

Duterte’s First Hundred Days: What Does It Say About Him?

Since assuming office on June 30, 2016, Rodrigo Duterte has now been in Malacańang for over a hundred days. And for most Filipinos, what a hundred days they have been. Without doubt, Duterte has shaken up the local establishment and ruffled feathers all across the globe. Published 10/15/2016

Dissing God, Cussing Obama, and Praising Hitler—What a Week!

President Duterte’s mouth may have set a world record for traveling the longest distance in the shortest time. In a span of just six days, the mouth went from doubting God in Heaven to condemning Obama to Hell and they were not even the most outrageous remarks uttered that week. Published 10/08/2016

A Final Adieu to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

We are in many ways saddened by the passing away of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. She was the most prolific Philippine senator by far. She has authored over 437, 435 bills and filed 181 resolutions since becoming senator in 1995. Published 10/04/2016

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