The trouble with the Dutertes are the Dutertards

The writing is on the wall. Brand Duterte is a sinking ship and it is taking down with it the cadre of cling-ons that hitched a ride on it during the previous term of former President Rodrigo Duterte. The Dutertes, if we recall, were disadvantaged from the very beginning. The former president was a “dark horse” candidate back in the campaign lead up to 2016 — a candidate from the Philippines’ deep south up against the Establishment politicos of Imperial Manila.

It helped Duterte at the time that the incumbent Philippine president then was the late Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III. Aquino, we recall, was a bumbling president who, over the course of his presidency, single-handedly squandered the vast political capital of the Yellowtard-Communist Axis which peaked when he was catapulted to power by the death of his mother, former President Cory Aquino in 2009. Duterte, at the time, presented an alternative to the traditional inbred oligarchy that ruled the Philippines since 1946 and a strong case for “change” that won him the presidency.

Duterte, of course, remains a popular figure and his daughter, current Vice President Inday Sara Duterte who herself enjoys a strong cult following, basks under the halo her father casts upon their joint “die hard” fan base. Unfortunately for the Dutertes, popularity matters less in between elections, specially at a time when street parliamentarianism had been rendered obsolete by overuse. In between elections, institutional power wins. This is the sort of power we see today being wielded against the Dutertes — political and financial mutual favours sealed by oligarchs on golf courses in Manila’s chi chi residential enclaves translating to “court rulings” favourable to certain people, inquiries “in aid of legislation” turning into kangaroo courts, and wholesale re-pivots in foreign policy.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

This all should come as no surprise to the Dutertes themselves. They, after all, played the same game back when they were the powers-that-be. Filipinos have a term for that reality that they use to dismiss the shrill whining we now hear about said reality — pana-panahon lang yan (“peoples’ times under the sun come and go”).

The trouble with Brand Duterte is that it is propped up by mediocre “bloggers” and “influencers”, unstatesman-like political allies, and crooked media outlets. To be fair the same could be said of the Yellowtard-Communist Axis; what with the droning repetitive way with which they spin recycled slogans around their obsolete ideologies and elevate idiots like Jover Laurio to sainthood with the blessings of no less than the Ateneo de Manila University. The Dutertes, for their part, kept clowns like Bong Go, Senator Bato dela Rosa, and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy in their court and, while they collectively pushed a consistent messaging around toughness on criminals and terrorists and improved solidarity with the Philippines’ peers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that resonated (and continues to do so today) with ordinary Filipinos, it didn’t help that these people were utter incompetents in the PR game.

In short, the game was played by both the Dutertes and the Yellowtard-Communist Axis and is now being played — so far very well — by what many now see to be the consolidating Marcos-Romualdez political camp of President Bongbong Marcos. People interpret the slide of the Dutertes back “down under” from where they came from as one of a deliberate demolition by today’s powers-that-be. The reality is likely to be less dramatic. The Dutertes are mere collateral damage in what is really just traditional jostling for position and access to resources that is par for the course in Philippine politics.

For the Dutertards, key to their survival (or, at least, ability to remain in the game) is to play well. Try the dramatics, try the antics, try the courts, and try the media, sure. Key, however, is in taking stock of the results of those tactics, analysing the data and, off those, re-evaluating strategy continuously. Key for them winning this round is to be not like the Yellowtards and their commie pals who failed to analyse the data, failed to re-evaluate their trajectory, failed to evolve, and, as a result, lost an entire nation.

13 Replies to “The trouble with the Dutertes are the Dutertards”

  1. Are we about to say that elections are useless? Since institutional power is what’s really operating?
    How does one justify a scarcity based economy where power is derived from capital accumulation?
    What sane society would relinquish authority to a self-serving few?

    1. It’s about who holds the power and how that power is being wielded to the benefit of the majority in the society.

      No true leader can expect the whole of the society to be pleased under his rule but he can rally them behind a common goal that will work for a common good.

      Unity is a fortress. When a president does well, the country does well.

  2. For me, it’s all about doing a good job. If the Dutertes produce fruitful results then the people will reciprocate with support. The Dutertes will continue to solidify their solid support from the people.

      1. Of course, that’s why the people voted for him, he doesn’t need support but the people begged him to run for president back then. Because of that he left a great legacy by just fulfilling his job well.

        1. Paragraph two of the article above presents a more believable, realistic view, a better perspective of why the people chose then presidential-candidate Rodrigo Duterte to be the next Philippine President.

  3. I think the reason why nobody can convincingly define “unity” is because of the way our lives are built upon conflicting concepts. There is enough knowledge to bring about solutions but not enough sense of direction to make things right.
    I guess everybody can say their piece.. If It’s the only way to test anything’s validity or worth.

  4. When you’re dealing with many Filipinos, just assume that you’re dealing with a prime suspect of a serious crime. meaning you should talk to the Filipino like you’re investigating him/her through very deep, straight forward questions and by not falling into their bright face, toothy artificially smily reactions. they’re superb at showing off and being envious of Anglo saxons-wasps. Maybe eating some delicious Filipino food will do the trick…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.