Screen-grab of a President Duterte news conference on TV.
t is now readily
apparent that President Rodrigo Duterte’ management style is a far cry
from that of former President Benigno Aquino III. If Aquino was the
cautious and measured type, Duterte appears to be the stir-up-the-pot
type of guy. And it doesn’t matter if he is mouthing out at a small-town
mayor of some far-flung city in the Philippines, or the president of the
United States. It’s all the same to him. And so far Duterte has managed
to hurl insults at Pope Francis, President Obama, and the EU leadership,
just to name a few.
From his latest
pronouncement, he says he also has no problem cozying up to China and
Russia and turning his back on the West. Duterte says he will be
visiting China soon to ask the Chinese to allow Filipino Fishermen
access to parts of the West Philippine Sea that they now control; which
by the way also happen to fall inside the Philippines’ Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ). According to the UN Arbitral Tribunal in the Hague,
those areas actually belong to the Philippines and not to China.
agencies are beginning to express concern with the Duterte
Administration’s “War on Drugs” and the way it is being implemented.
On the local front,
the president’s supporters have gone after local as well as foreign
members of the media who have said or written things critical of Duterte
or his administration. Opposition senators like Senator Leila De Lima
are also finding that they face stiff opposition at every turn when they
get on the wrong side of the president or members of his administration.
From Duterte’s point
of view, it appears that he is trying his best to stick to the time
schedule he promised during the presidential campaign, to rid the
country of drugs and corruption within three to six months. And the last
thing he needs now is an opposition to slow him down or gum-up the works
and prevent him from accomplishing those lofty goals. Duterte has to
show results—and soon—if he is to retain his high approval rating and
the overwhelming support of his base.
So far it is a tossup.
Or is it? His detractors say Duterte has overstepped the line numerous
times and can be accused of committing human rights violations. Hs
supporters on the other hand say what he is doing exactly what the
country must do if it is ever to rid itself of the twin scourges of
drugs and corruption that have stymied the country’s development, and
institutionalized the great disparity between the few haves and the vast
majority of have nots. So what do you think? Where does President
Duterte stand today? Published