Rodrigo Duterte: The Dark Knight of Davao?

“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, we’ll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero: He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Knight.”

~Commissioner Gordon, The Dark Knight

I’ve already thought about the idea of having Rodrigo Duterte as a president and I believe I’ve already written an article about that particular subject. However, with all the hullabaloo going on over whether or not he and his vigilantism is what we need is a good question that we should be asking ourselves if we plan on voting him into office. You see, while Benign0 does mention the appeal of such an individual in one of his latest articles, it still nags at me if what he does can be called “justice”.

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Well, I do like him better than De Lima and her lame approach to various crises that have devastated the country over the years. Indeed, I am one of the many who are tired of the “pacifism” espoused by De Lima and her ilk which has time and time again condoned brutal acts of rape and slaughter all because “criminals have rights too”. I was also more than a little amused by Duterte and De Lima’s exchange of insults with the former going as far as to call the latter “gaga” (which is a derogatory word for women) and for the latter to call out the people’s support of the former, saying that Duterte too should also be considered a criminal.

Now, I do support and even laud Duterte’s approach to crime and criminals as I am well aware of how corruption has literally infiltrated every level of our country. Indeed, I would say that it’s about damn time we got around to cleaning up the infrastructure of the Philippines!

However, what doesn’t jive with me is how so many think that Duterte is the answer to all our woes as a nation. First of all, as a metaphor to drive my point home, the Punisher is not a full-time member of the Avengers and for good reason. If you read the comics, you’ll notice that Nick Fury and Tony Stark see the Punisher as a very dangerous man who they only tolerate because he keeps the crime rate down. However, they only consider him as a “sometime” ally just like Deadpool (whom they see as greedy and deranged) and, at best, a loose cannon and, at worst, a liability. Take note too that Batman is generally mistrusted by the Justice League because of his shadowy ways and that some members see him as a criminal as well because vigilantism is also considered a crime.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to vote for Duterte in the coming elections, it is not my place to stop or discourage you from doing so. However, I am more than a little hesitant to support a man who relies on hired death squads to do his dirty work. I do indeed admire the man’s approach and believe that this kind of thinking will get rid of some of the Philippines’ dirtier aspects, but do we really want him to occupy the ultimate seat of power in the country?

I really think this bears a bit of thinking. I have always believed that the salvation of the Filipino people lie in the hands of the people themselves, not in the hands of just one man and the hired guns who serve him. I am sorry, but I don’t want to trade one form of tyranny for another.

God save the Philippines…

55 Replies to “Rodrigo Duterte: The Dark Knight of Davao?”

  1. He is exactly what is needed by a primitive feudalistic society such as the Philippines where laws are simply bypassed

  2. God save the Philippines indeed; but he can’t as long as they reject him. It sickens me how Filipinos proclaim themselves the only Christian country in Asia. Despite spending two years there, I’ve yet to meet more than a half-dozen people there with good Christian morals, nevermind someone who has genuine Christian faith (I’ve met maybe two or three of them).

    Anyway: your post raises the issue, exactly how do you fix a failed state that worships the Lord of the Flies? Is it even possible? In theory you can shoot a few criminals. But what do you do when 95% of the population take ‘Shaft thy neighbour’ as their Golden Rule? Evil is always bigger than your ammo supply.

    I think the case of Rwanda is quite instructive. That country has an awful lot in common, culturally, with the Philippines (including – supposedly – a ‘Christan’ majority). Paul Kagame is an asshole. He doesn’t appear to have organised any death squads, but he does seem to be the zero-tolerance type. He is, by most accounts, a lot smarter than Duterte. Under that sort of leadership, Rwanda is doing better than it otherwise might.

    It’s ridiculous that you have to treat an entire population like naughty 8-year-olds. Unfortunately, when they behave as such, there’s not much point treating them as adults.

    1. If Filipinos are telling you they’re “the only Christian country in Asia,” they’re ignoring the western side (Orthodox countries) and their little neighbor to the south, East Timor (Catholic). But apart from that, sure!

      It’s strange that such a conformist country would boast about being the “only” one anyway.

      I would question their other popular claim of being the most proficient English speakers in Asia too, but the Education First ranking excludes the Philippines for some reason. Feel free to imagine conspiracies.

      1. @Dave

        “I would question their other popular claim of being the most proficient English speakers in Asia too, but the Education First ranking excludes the Philippines for some reason. Feel free to imagine conspiracies.”- Dave

        Here’s why “Education First ranking excludes the Philippines for some reason.”

        “Only countries with a minimum of 400 test takers were included in the index. Countries with fewer than 100 test takers on either of the two tests were also excluded, regardless of the total number of test takers.”

        Why was the Philippines not included?

        “We were only able to include countries with a minimum of 400 test takers. Unfortunately not all countries met this requirement, so many of the world’s countries were not included. We added several countries in this report compared to the previous edition, and we hope to be able to continue expanding in subsequent reports so that we can cover more and more parts of the world with this research.”

        Dave, you should have ask yourself first:

        Why are other asians coming to the Philippines to study english? Why are our teachers being hired abroad to teach other nationalities so they may learn the language? Why the boom in call-center business and online english lessons tutorials in the country if wala rin naman tayong binatbat?

        Dave, di pagiging smart yan than others, natural yabang lang yan!

  3. I think Duterte clearly denied the DDS as a criminal group but as a development system instead. Here’s an excerpt from his past statement in various interviews.

    “I told you not to bullshit me. When we talked about it here long before the hearings, I told you that I really don’t do those things (extrajudicial killings). Because I’m a lawyer like you,” Duterte’s response to Delima.

    I admitted I am 100 per cent terrorist but I am terrorizing only the drug pushers, kidnappers, hold-up gangs and other criminals,” he said on TV in 2003.


    Better to kill those criminals than tolerating the endemic corruption in this country. Corruption is not merely a crime; it is a crime against society. BS Aquino already showed being bias on this issue for tolerating, condoning & not prosecuting his corrupt allies.

    Our country needs someone who can manage a proficient government to govern the 100 million Filipinos for a safer, peaceful & develop life all over the country. Many peace seekers Pinoy including me envy the safe & peaceful living in Davao. Duterte is only bad for the criminals, he even don’t care if his soul burn to hell as long as the masses under his unit live in paradise. Let us look unto a wider spectrum & his positive will rather than focusing on his issues related to DDS. We badly need a NO FEAR leader who can strike fear in the hearts of criminals including smugglers, tax evaders, gambling lords, drug lords and police scalawags; can successfully negotiate agreements with the Muslim rebels and the NPA; can maintain a generally peaceful atmosphere in the whole country so that investors will come in to invest in the Philippines thereby creating jobs for the Filipinos especially the youth and contribute to the economic recovery of the Philippines.

    (I apologize for not being word-perfect in English)

    1. what about getting rid of the corrupt politicians that have bankrupted the coutries future,huh? YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

      1. better to get rid of something than to not do anything at all. I do not quite see if the derogatory word exactly fits the receiver. of course, corrupt officials would receive their share if the possible consequences thier actions has brought to them (if duterte’s principle continues). I do not see a hint of idiocracy on the vhein’s statement. What appears to be most “idiot” here is the fact that a potential change is rejected just because one believes that no action againsts the higher end criminals is ever possible.

        1. @ Renhaller,because you are just as big an idiot.Duterte has cops that can enforce the laws, but they don’t! WHY IS THAT? HE is killing his competitors.Get it now?IDIOT.and then he points his finger at them and calls them criminals and idiots like you do not even realize that there are three other fingers on that murdering scumbags hand pointing right back at him,so fuck you and this other guys logic(?) too.
          The criminal justice system is so slow in the Phils. because no politician can ever get put in a jail cell before he gets pardoned by the next 6 year only President,get it now? Probably not, but I keep trying to open at least a few people’s eyes in this beautiful but spiralling down the drain ,fast,country.

  4. Man is an exception, whatever else he is. If he is not the image of God, then he is a disease of the dust. If it is not true that a divine being fell, then we can only say that one of the animals went entirely off its head…Man is always something worse or something better than an animal; and a mere argument from animal perfection never touches him at all. Thus, in sex no animal is either chivalrous or obscene. And thus no animal ever invented anything so bad as drunkenness – or so good as drink.

    The self is more distant than any star. — GK CHESTERTON

    Happy Birthday, GK.

  5. if mayor duterte will run for the office, my 1st vote goes to him. to me, it’s not about the DDS. it’s about discipline and his advocacy for Federalism/Parliamentary.

    in killing for justice, i guess this is the style that will suite our country for now. as what a german tourist said, “you can’t apply western ideas in the philippines.” probably for now. as long as the feudalistic nature of most filipinos remain, this style of governance is needed in the meantime. it will take years to reform once thinking and we can’t just leave it to natural evolution. mabagal kapag ganito. we need to force discipline among filipinos to spark enlightenment in each of us.

    1. Exactly!
      We NEED to change this failure Government into Federal System!

      Many critics are afraid of his “DDS” influence and can’t see beyond that. For those who are afraid of Duterte, I quote this from a movie Frailty:

      “Only demons should fear me… and you’re not a demon are you?”

  6. Duterte is more than a man with hired guns. Sit down and have a conversation with him and you will see that his true powers come from his charm and authoritative demeanor. Anyone around him can’t help but follow his lead. The guy can convince you to do anything. Its just fortunate that a guy who has as much of leadership charm as he is also has messiah complex. The guy can’t help but be a hero. THIS is why I think he can be trusted to lead this country. The only problem is, I don’t trust the rest of the Philippines to be capable of following him adequately.

      1. Yet Davao’s intensive security network, competent police force and world-class rescue system (911) is something other Philippine cities could only dream of.

      2. Also, attributes of Caesar, Alexander, Lee Kuan Yew, etc. It is a great choice. Do you have a better choice? Binay? Bbm? Cayetano? Hahaha.

      3. Bing’t di ka nalang tumakbong Presidenti ng Pilipinas..I bet you know everything.!!!. it would be a pleasure seeing Filipino people criticizes you.

        ikaw na me alam, ikaw na magaling, ikaw na anak ni Lord..hiyang hiya naman ako sayo..

      4. You cannot understand because you’re not a resident of Davao. Sorry but im starting to believe that you really want crimes to happen.
        Discipline in davao means
        No smoking in public, you’ll go to jail if caught
        Speed limit to 30kph in downtown areas and 60kph only in national roads, jail or penalties if caught
        Liquors are sold until 12mn and bars close from 1am to 2am. No minors are allowed to go out and drink at night.
        Fireworks can cause injuries and worst than that so NO fireworks allowed during christmas and new year. If you do so ending up in the hospital, when you get well you will then end up in jail..

    1. If Duterte did get in, at least that could mean Philippine politics getting more international attention and scrutiny. Part of the reason the current president seems to get away with anything could be that no one else in the world knows or cares who he is, since he doesn’t seem to have a personality.

      Even the best American and British satirists who lay into the mad leaders of the world are still stuck making jokes about Imelda Marcos’ shoes when it comes to the Philippines. They would notice this guy.

  7. This guy is a Filipino Politician, or did you idiots all forget? He is as full of shit as the day is long and just as guilty as the rest of the politicians and it is them who belong at the bottom of Manila bay ‘fattening up’ the dead ‘fish’.

    1. I don’t know about thr irrational hatred towards anybody defined by the term “politician,” not to mention the absurd and out-of-context use of derogatory terms, but “being as full of shit as others” doesn’t necessarily root towards the same proffession. Just like other voters who knows where to place their votes aren’t necessarily “as full of shit” as you.

      No offense.

        1. NONE TAKEN, so don’t feel bad when I tell you your a fuckin idiot if you do not realize there is not a single non-corrupt official in the Republic of the Philippines, not one ! That is what that ‘as the rest of them’ meanst,if you now of one politician in that mess of a country,(I have lived there for many years and there may have been one but he ended up in an airplane ,that was past its usage date, at the bottom of the sea of Mindanao,really bloated by the time they got him out of the water !),PLEASE ENLIGHTEN US !!!

    2. So ibig sabihin bah d natin dapat iboto ang Filipino Politician na sinasabi mo? ano bah ang dapat? dapat ba kamo yung American Politician iboto natin sa Pinas? so pwede na ba c Obama dito?lol kagaguhan mo..tanga ka lang nagmamarunong Bing Bong

  8. I think there is over emphasis on the dirty harry aspect of Duterte’s successes at Davao. I think the bigger part of the successes at Davao were due to good governance.

    I think Duterte never really needed DDS to make Davao a model city. Same way that Gordon never needed such death squads to be “successful” at managing SBMA/Olongapo/Red Cross. Nor BF needed those to run Markina / MMDA / DPWH. For me, it’s because they were exceptionally good managers.

  9. A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.

  10. We are not Democracy; We are Feudal Oligarchy. I don’t know how Duterte will deal with those Feudal Oligarchs; those Political Opportunists; those Corrupt Politicians; the MILF, Abu Sayyaf, Al Queda, ISIS…and all vermin that are running around in our country, freely.

    Aquino collaborated with them. He even gave them funding…

    Anybody can run for President…the mentally ill, the mentally retarded, the corrupt, etc..

  11. With Duterte as President. Will we go to war with China over Spartly Islands? Aquino dived and hide into his Hole, when the Chinese began building “military facilities” on the island…

  12. Murder all the opposition and control all the crime, exactly what the Mafia do.
    So how many millions or billions does Duarte have stashed away?
    Davao poverty stricken 3rd world city.

    1. by Peter Wallace (an excerpt about Davao City)

      We toured his emergency response station. I couldn’t believe I was in the Philippines. I mentioned how impressed (that word kept cropping up) I am with his new fire trucks. “Not new,” he said, “properly maintained.” Not only were they well-maintained, they were also well-equipped. Even helmets and fireproof clothing were on the seats waiting to be put on instantly for rapid response to a fire call.

      There was a pediatric ambulance just for mothers giving birth, which they can do in the ambulance if time runs out. It had an incubator, even cartoon paintings on the wall for a little comfort. It was a maternity hospital on wheels. The other ambulances were similarly well-equipped, and in perfect condition, not like the decrepit vans, inadequately converted and never maintained but emblazoned with the mayor’s name, you see elsewhere. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s name was nowhere to be seen, just the functions of the ambulance or emergency vehicle.
      There were rubber boats, fiberglass boats, even two amphibious vehicles, all carefully stored in working condition, ready for any emergency. Everything stored in a purpose-designed building. And throughout that building, everything was organized, tidily stored, ready for instant use. The only other place I’ve seen like it is my own workshop.
      We headed to the CCTV control center next door; it’s a world first jointly developed with IBM. I thought I was in one of those “CSI” series. There were two rooms full of screens depicting scenes on the roads of Davao from 1,300 CCTV cameras. These were cameras able to circle and zoom down to read a car’s plate number, cameras able to pick up an accident or a crime in full detail, even peek through the window into McDonalds to see what people are eating. “Impressive” is not a sufficient word—but be careful what you do in McDonalds.
      The emergency call center in the same building, like the CCTV monitoring, runs 24 hours. A call to 911 gets instant response. I tried it: Within three rings a girl answered, inquiring about the emergency. This at 1 a.m.

      now tell me if it’s a 3rd world city. LOL!

      1. Philippines is a 3rd world country.
        Davao is a 3rd world city.
        If you think Davao is wealthy or a 1st world city then you are the biggest fucking idiot on the planet.
        A third of the population live on a dollar a day, i suppose they are rich too?

        1. Wow… got intrigued about that excert Andrew posted and I had to read more.

          And the reality is that crime flourishes in the Philippines, but doesn’t in Davao. It is now listed as the 12th safest city in the world, even outranking Tokyo, Dubai, Ottawa, Copenhagen and Reykjavik. Davao was given a crime index of 20.13. According to the Internet site Numbeo, which compiles crime statistics from more than 400 cities worldwide, “crime levels lower than 20 are very low, crime levels between 20 and 40 are low, crime levels between 40 and 60 are moderate and crime levels between 60 and 80 are considered high.” The next Philippine city is Cebu, ranked 236th, with a crime index of 48.88. Manila is ranked 359th, with a crime index of 67.78.

    1. Looks like the man have a lot of hate. But if he does have a better choice, I’m all ears. 2016 is my first time to vote. And if Duterte can do to the whole country what he did to his home turf, just like what Andrew has posted, I cant think of anyone better to give my vote to.

  13. I’m not sure if Duterte will be a good leader. even though he declares that he will be strict and punish people doesn’t prove that he is a great leader. He might be a criminal too for all we know. We need to really pick the best leader calmly for our dying country

      1. lahat ng haters ni Duterte if he won..wala na kayong mggwa free to criticize him.. and yung mga nagsasabi na humanap ng mabuting leader??? sino? saan? meron pa kaya ngayon nun? what i’m saying is vote wisely.. kung sino yung nasa baraha.. examine them well… hndi ako magaling sa englishan..tao lng po ako at hindi perfect.. just sayin’

    1. this is what he has in Davao City:

      1. Central 911 – police, medics, K9 unit, pet rescuers lahat na yan. just dial 911. NOTE: it’s free. in U.S.A / Canada – once they entered your house, you pay 500$. in Davao City, it’s free.

      2. no smoking ordinance is followed.
      3. solid waste management act is followed.

      at eto ang malupit: this is the link eto ung source: – just scroll down until you see Davao City.


      excerpt below:

      Awards & Recognitions:

      One of the 20 Most Livable Cities in Asia
      The Philippine’s Most Livable City (Asiaweek survey in year 1999 – Davao garnered 56 points and ranked 18th)
      One of Only Three Areas in World to have the Integrated Emergency Response System 911
      1st Place in 2004 Cleanest and Greenest Highly-Urbanized City in the Philippines, and 2nd Place in 2001 to 2003
      Davao City was awarded the Cleanest and Greenest City in 1999 for its Clean and Green Program
      Most Child-Friendly City in the Philippines in 1988 and 1999 due to its local government’s programs and initiatives directly benefiting the children
      Davao City recognized as the Most Competitive City to Do Business in the Philippines by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Policy Center and the Department of Trade and Industry
      The Gender Mainstreaming Program of the Davao City Government chosen as one of the Top 10 Most Outstanding Programs in the Galing Pook Awards in 2004
      National Commission on the Rights for Women (NCRFW) Awarded Davao City for Gender Responsive Local Governance in 2005
      Davao City in the “Hall of Fame” winner in “Best Peace and Order Council” in Region XI
      Davao City proclaimed “Best City to Implement a Food Fortification Program” in Region XI in the Neophyte on Food Fortification Program (R.A. 8976) of the Department of Health
      Davao declared as Region XI’s pride for successful implementation of the Food Fortification Program by the Nutrition Division of the City Health Office. It was also chosen as the Best City – The “Melting Pot of the Philippines” – the Food Fortification Program Implementor in Region XI
      Davao City Police Office (DCPO) recognized as the Best City Police Office nationwide
      Most Outstanding Local Government Unit in the 2005 Regional Literacy Awards, and 2nd Place in the 2005 National Literacy Awards
      National Nutrition Council of the Department of Agriculture awarded Davao City the “Green Banner” in recognition of the City Nutrition Committee’s exemplary performance in managing the nutrition program of the city
      Davao City received its 14th consecutive award having the country’s Best City Library within the administration of the City Government, making it the “Most Outstanding City Library in the Philippines”
      Davao City recognized the City Government of Davao for its invaluable support and cooperation towards the tax collection endeavor of this revenue region by ranking “1st in the OVERALL Tax Payments”
      Davao City chosen “Destination of the Year” by the Kalakbay Awards in 1997
      Most Outstanding Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and in the Asia Pacific Region
      Most Outstanding KBP Chapter in the Philippines
      Cleanest Air in the World – Member of the Clean Cities Coalition
      Davao City has won the National Literacy Awards 2013 Hall of Fame under the urbanized city category

  14. I personally believe that Duterte would be better off to run as Senator with a focus on fighting crime and improve our country’s military and police forces.

    I see Duterte as a powerful lawmaker. He doesn’t pretend or even try to be the goody two-shoes, he just has plan and the resolve to do it despite what it could do to his image. He could pass good laws and create committees (that actually work) for improving public safety and military prowess. He could actually be what Miriam Defensor-Santiago could have fully been.

    Duterte has potential to be a true statesman, but I fear that putting him as president send his priorities flying. I have only read what third parties understood of his platforms, he is yet to issue those himself, but they are too encompassing. Even as President with a locked-up Congress, Duterte could only do so much.

    But as a Senator, he could make legal and concrete change through laws and the other (forgotten) powers of the Senate. Heck, with a couple of terms he could build a brand that not even De Lima can deny.

    Just saying.

  15. The present situation of the Philippine govt is very sickly. The effect of a centurys worth of bribery graft and corruption is widespread. The drug problem is wide spread and is killing our future generations and no solution in sight. People in authority that are supposed to arrest and eradicate the drugs are making their living by looking the other way. From the top officials to the lowly laborer are very adept at exploiting these situation. What are the chances of rehabilitating a corrupted population if you don’t have a Duterte kind of leadership in the country? None, nada, zeltz. I’d say let’s give him a chance. Hopefully the next presidents after him will also be a incorruptible disciplinarian and that it may just give hope to the future generations. Because right now the state of the whole nation is practically hopeless. My two cents.

  16. i may disagree with you on focusing instead on the killings by davao death squad or vigilantes, as this is just a small part of what mayor duterte done in his achievements as public servant: why not focus on other bigger aspecs of total human development not only economic development the infrustructures busnisses booming arround the city, personnal touch of how every resident even the lowest citizens residents being taken cared of.
    I do believed what he is doing, the corrupt is 100% right and only bad guys the law breakers, the criminals, the corrupt officials, the opportunist dont like him, his good better best governance… so wether you like him or not, so where are you belong!

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