Philippine presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte promised a crowd of over 150 supporters that he would clean the country of drugs, criminality, and official corruption in three to six months if he wins the 2016 election. Addressing a rally at the Grand Regal Hotel in Davao City, Philippines, on Tuesday evening, January 5, he reiterated his anti-crime stance while enumerating other to-dos in response to critics calling for a more cohesive plan.
Likened to United States G.O.P. candidate Donald Trump in his support of law enforcement, the Philippine presidential aspirant promised to protect government authorities who kill criminals in the line of duty. Duterte asserted that if officers are charged with criminal behavior while enforcing the law, he would use his presidential powers to pardon them.
While complaining about financial restrictions tying up his Philippine-wide campaign, the presidential aspirant was adamant about refusing donations with strings attached. He said he would not do anything to compromise the presidency, “which is not mine to give.”
As an example, he cited Philippine hotel money-men who approached the presidential aspirant to inquire about his restrictions on liquor after 1 a.m., gambling, and smoking. He said he was doing citizens a favor by keeping the vices under control and sending men home to their families at reasonable times.
Another non-negotiable for him was getting entrapped by narco-politics. He promised not to let up on his vendetta against Philippine drug lords despite their growing clout in urban centers like Cebu City and in rural areas where they’ve gone as far as accepting payments of pigs and chickens from peasants addicted to shabu, or methamphetamines. With shabu slipping past government officials corrupted by drug dealers, the presidential candidate has been called a “Dirty Harry” aspirant for his uncompromising attitude toward narco-politics.
The Philippine presidential hopeful has been drawing his loudest criticism from around the Metro Manila area to the north, where people re-elected a mayoral aspirant once jailed for looting the government treasury, tolerated a vice president linked to fraud, and allowed other openly corrupt politicians to thrive in office. The popular notion is that the citizenry is so accustomed to the trickle-down benefits from rotten politicians, even those suspected of narco-politics, that a house-cleaning would be unacceptable.
There are forces at work to stymie the Davao City mayor’s bid as the Philippine presidential aspirant. For starters, Duterte faces three disqualification cases before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), including a petition by popular broadcaster Ruben Castor.
According to the Philippine Star, the radio personality is questioning Duterte’s substitute role in filling in for party mate Martin Diño, who withdrew as the presidential aspirant for the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan. Diño also messed up his certificate of candidacy (COC) by mistakenly indicating on it that he was running for Pasay City mayor.
Aside from the case involving the bungled candidacy declaration, Rappler lists Duterte’s two other disqualification woes. The Philippine crime-fighting mayor is facing two other cases from “nuisance” filers. One is authored by J.P. Delas Nieves, University Student Council chairperson of the University of the Philippines Diliman. The other is from Rizalito David, who also filed a disqualification case against another presidential aspirant, Senator Grace Poe.
Meanwhile, Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV called a win for Rodrigo Duterte in the upcoming national elections a potential “disaster.” According to the Inquirer, Trillanes, who is seeking the vice presidential post, said that the aspirant crime-buster should be more specific on how he was going to fulfill his promises, including his war on criminality.
As for Duterte’s use of cuss-words in several publicized instances, widely picked on by political pundits, he attributed it to his frustration over the plight of the Philippine poor. The presidential aspirant characterized as “brave and long-suffering” by the dispossessed masses he has rescued from eviction and other forms of injustice, promised to make food available and affordable for poverty-stricken Filipinos. He also promised to kill all criminals who sell them shabu.
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