His detractors insist that, yes, the rise of Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine presidency will mark the beginning of the country’s descent to the Dark Ages. What would be the nature of this dark age? That’s also obvious to these detractors. It will be a period marked by a return of the nation into the shadow of authoritarian rule and police abuse. An atmosphere of doom and gloom will envelop Philippine society and choke out any remaining glimmer of hope of a prosperous future.
If we are to believe the legions of Duterte detractors who are spending megabucks on demonisation campaigns delivered via mass media, Duterte represents the Philippines’ single point of failure.
Think of the logic behind that rhetoric for a moment. That is like saying that an entire 100-story high rise building is built upon a single pillar and that, given where these elections elections are headed, Filipinos are on their way to replacing that single pillar with a toothpick. In short, here is the question Filipinos need to ask themselves:
Will President Rodrigo Duterte be the singular cause of the destruction of the Philippines?
The irony that seems to be flying above peoples’ heads here is that it is the very people who worship the family of the late former President Cory Aquino — to whom the current 1987 Constitution is credited — that is now inciting a massive campaign to deflate people’s confidence in the soundness of the democratic institutions built upon that Constitution.
In insisting that the Philippines will fall apart under President Rodrigo Duterte, we are assuming that the democracy and the checks-and-balances baked into it will be completely inutile at keeping the President in order. Then again, perhaps this fear is justified. None other than current President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III has demonstrated how easy it is for a sitting president not only to encroach into but to stomp down the powers vested upon the other two co-equal branches of government. Indeed, the administration of President BS Aquino has exhibited unparalleled abuse of executive power to attack and undermine the Legislative and Judiciary branches of the Philippine government. Aquino, over his term as Chief Executive, has demonstrated a talent for railroading, bullying, bulldozing, blackmailing and, most effective of all, bribing congressmen and judges alike.
Perhaps, then, what the Duterte alarmists are saying is true. The Presidency is, in fact, an insanely powerful office. It has the power to unilaterally effect destructive political and administrative force over the entire country. President BS Aquino proved this assertion right over the last six years. And so, by this logic, Duterte’s detractors insist, it will happen again over the next six years. Duterte’s detractors insist that the Philippines’ Congress and Supreme Court will both be utterly powerless at keeping the president in check. They insist that Filipinos will be powerless at keeping the president in check. They insist that there is no point in continuing to invest in democratic institutions and due process because all of these will be powerless against the “evil” devices of the coming Duterte administration.
Well how about that.
We may as well scrap the 9th of May elections then. Because there is no further point in being a democracy!
One single man, we are told, will wield the atomic capability to sink an entire nation of 100 million.
When it comes down to evaluating the logic of all these social media “activists” running around Twitter shrieking like little girls about the Dark Ages that are at hand following the impending rise to power of Rodrigo Duterte, we get a better idea of the cringe-worthy character of Philippine society. The Philippines, we are seeing now, is the result of a hundred years of consistent failure in thinking — because we’d rather go into girly fits over monsters we imagine are lurking underneath our beds and not apply the courage to actually shine a flashlight into the darkness.
Filipinos need to get a grip and act like men for a change.
[Photo courtesy CNN Philippines.]
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