fter consistently maintaining
that he had no intentions to seek higher office, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
hinted that he might actually make a run for the presidency.
was no mention of those lofty
intentions that most candidates for president "parrot" when they make that
fateful announcement. Nothing about God, or country or making life better for
future generations. Instead Duterte said he “might” run for president simply because we
was annoyed by the criticisms being leveled against him by Justice Secretary
Leila de Lima and former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales.
Both Ladies denounced Duterte
for his recent admission that he was in some ways connected with the vigilante
group known as the "Davao Death Squad." Human Rights Watch has strongly
denounced that group and attributes more than 1,000 vigilante-style killings
since the late 1990s to it. Duterte backpedaled a few days after making his
admission saying he was actually referring to the “Davao Development System.”
The fact remains that most of
the killings in Davao City attributed to the death squad occurred in the 1990s
during Duterte’s term as mayor. Duterte is often described by as a bully. He may
appear to be on the right side of the law, but the tactics he is often said to
employ border on coercion, and intimidation at best.
Understandably, vast numbers of
Filipinos are sick and tired of the pervasive corruption and lawlessness in the
Philippines today. And they think that a leader who will rule with an “iron
hand” is the answer.
We say be careful what you wish for. In our perspective Duterte is not far removed from tyrants who choose expediency over the rule of law.
Filipinos were forced to give up their freedom during the dictatorial rule of
Ferdinand Marcos. Even today, there are Filipinos living in regions of the
country ruled by despots. They do not have true freedom. While governor of Maguindanao in 2009, Andal Ampatuan Sr.
is accused of ordering the killing
of 58 people. The victims were ambushed and killed in order to prevent Ampatuan’s political opponent from filing his certificate of candidacy thus
preventing him from running for governor.
But despots and tyrants are now an
anachronism and have no place in 21st century democracies. Citizens ruled by
such individuals often display overt devotion to their tyrannical leaders (e.g.
Germans to Adolf Hitler and North Koreans to Kim Jong-un), but in the end, the
are worse-off because of them. The Philippines does not need another tyrant in Malacañang. Published 5/29/2015