ROUGH CUTS| The pitfall in the Duterte strategy

WE ARE elated to hear that we have some companies in our assertion that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is adopting the so-called “reverse psychology” approach in pushing his possible candidacy for the presidency come 2016 election.

     Yes, for long we had been thinking along that line taking note of how Duterte keeps on telling the people that he is not interested to run but caps his talks with open-ended statement that will leave the listeners pondering on what really is the message he is driving at insofar as his political plan in 2016 is concerned.

     We know that there are several others who believe the same way as we do on that Duterte strategy. Only, they do not have the means to manifest such belief or that they might have thought that their idea may not have significance or worth sharing with others.

     This time however, we have no less than a political science professor of Ateneo de Davao University who is saying that indeed, the Davao City Mayor is using “reverse psychology” in drawing people’s reaction to a Duterte presidential run.

     Ramon Beleno III, being a political science professor, is undeniably an authority on politics. He is not professor for nothing; and at Ateneo at that. Therefore, his credential is enough reason to believe that Duterte is out to come up with some surprises in the weeks before the deadline of the filing of certificate of candidacy in October.

     And didn’t we write about the mayor’s strategy as a way of confusing the enemy and denying them any opportunity to acquire advance ammunition to throw at the mayor like what they are now doing with Vice President Jejomar Binay or even Senator Grace Poe?

     Yes, beyond the generic allegations of violating human rights of known criminals in Davao City, a Commission on Audit red flag findings on the expenditures of the local government, and perpetuating political dynasty which, while prohibited in the 1987 Constitution is not yet backed with an implementing legislation, so far there is no solid dirt that his political enemies including his potential rivals for the presidency, can throw on the mayor’s face.

     In fact, his nemesis would even have to be extremely careful using whatever ammunition they have in their possession, if any, because once they start a fight with a non-declared aspirant they would all the more be enhancing the Davao City mayor’s stock.

     Nonetheless, we are starting to worry about the mayor’s continued denial of interest in the Presidency and his ambivalent pronouncements. We have observed that of late he has been talking a lot on subjects that might not bode well with some sectors of the population, and even in the bureaucracy.

     Note for example the screaming headline of a local newspaper quoting Duterte that “if ever I got to file my certificate of candidacy for President, I am telling the Filipino people not to vote for me because it will be bloody”.

     For certain it will put a huge block of ice on the spines of criminals and law breakers; which is good for society. But such statement could also push the jaws of human rights advocates to gnash their teeth in anger. They might take it to mean that once the mayor is elected President he will take the law into his own hands.

     Another recent pronouncement of Duterte that might have already started some chills on the men and women of the legislative branch of government is the one he made during his visit to the Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial office.

     While presenting his push for a Federal form of government he also mentioned that if elected President he will declare a revolutionary government in order to fast-track the change he desires to have. He added that when the revolutionary government is in effect he will shake up the military and the police and ask the top officials to tender their courtesy resignation so that he will have a free hand in appointing the best and the brightest and most deserving to the leadership positions in the organizations.

     And the mayor, adding that he will do a Cory Aquino, said he will proceed to dissolve Congress. And he promised to use the money for Congress to be spent instead to improve the lot of other government workers.

     Easily, all those to be affected with that Duterte plan will take this to mean that they will be suddenly jobless and that Duterte the President will be both the executive and legislative rolled into one with only the judiciary as the balancing agency.

     With this scenario in mind, Duterte is kind of affirming his statement that if he ever get to file his certificate of candidacy for President, the people should not vote for him. Thus, it is likely that no candidate for senator and congressman will campaign for him because in doing so the bigger the chance of a Duterte Presidency and the earlier they become elected congressman or senator without a Senate and a House to serve on. Imagine getting elected after spending so much and ending up jobless after the dissolution of Congress!

     As for the military and the police, their situation, if Duterte the President will have his way, will even be more volatile. Come to think of it, after having gone a long way, from their study at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), or the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA); reaching where they are now, they suddenly get ordered to submit their courtesy resignation! That could be revolting to the spirit.

     We hope we are wrong with our prognostication. But somehow we are entertaining the notion that such a move might lead to early instability of a Duterte governance.

     Yes, we are afraid that the mayor might have overdone the execution of his own strategy; a thing that could boomerang on his potential presidential run, if at all.

     And this might lead us to lose the only strong possibility of having a Davaoeno President.

                                                                               -30-

Posted in Opinion