As the saying goes what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Recent popularity surveys reveal that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains popular among Filipinos despite his critics’ best efforts to sabotage his government.
Duterte got an “excellent“ net satisfaction rating of +72 in the last three months of 2019, according to emailed results of the pollster’s nationwide survey of 1,200 from December 13 to 16. His rating rose 7 points from the quarter prior, and beat his previous record of +68 set in June last year.
This is a testament to the severely degraded political capital of the Opposition which, amazingly, are now a virtual coalition of sidelined rabble rousers that include the rabid bloc of partisans loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan (the Yellowtards), the communists and their terrorist arm the New People’s Army (NPA), the chi chi community of exclusive private school students under the spell of the Roman Catholic Church, and no less than Big Corporate Media itself.
The most recent Opposition setback is the withdrawal of the case against Duterte filed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) by lawyer Jude Sabio. The case brought forth charges against Duterte for “murder in a bloody anti-drugs crackdown”. Reuters report that Sabio “will no longer pursue the case”. Most important of all, Sabio reportedly pointed out that the Philippine Opposition had used the ICC as a “tool for propaganda” further confirming the dishonesty in how Duterte’s critics conduct themselves.
Duterte has thus far proven to be a true anti-fragile political force — one that not only survives but thrives in the face of adversity. Renowned intellectual and risk management guru Nassim Nicholas Taleb has long espoused the concept of the “antifragile” – people and systems that “gain from disorder”. He goes further to define the concept, saying that “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.” An example of an antifragile system is our immune system. The more our immune systems are exposed to pathogens (viruses and bacteria that cause diseases), the stronger it becomes.
This is what makes Duterte impervious to the traditional political mudslinging of Philippine election campaigns and the potshots taken by today’s diminished Opposition. Being himself muddied enough by his own track record of unapologetic in-your-face misogyny, xenophobic drumbeating, contempt for due process, and the all-around buffoonery in the way he conducts himself (all of which he’s packaged into his campaign platform), any further mud slinged at him by rivals and critics merely adds to the mystique of his character. It’s like how in the movie The Empire Strikes Back, Princess Leia tells Han Solo about the times he actually comes across as charming… “Occasionally, maybe… when you aren’t acting like a scoundrel,” on which Han Solo quizzically reflects, “Scoundrel? … Scoundrel?” Then with a smile confirms to the Princess, “I like the sound of that.”
As to Duterte’s high profile critics — the likes of Antonio Trillanes, Leila De Lima, Leni Robredo, Maria Ressa, and Jim Paredes among others — one’s only gotta ask: Where are they now? We will likely find them gnashing their teeth in the shadow of a persistently popular leader they had failed to topple dishonestly.
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