CHANGE is definitely coming, but is it for the better or for the worse?

The sudden come-from-national-anonymity victory of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the May 10 elections shows how a candidate can capture the imagination—and votes—of Filipinos by making “big” and “bold” declarations delivered in catchy, savage rhetoric but which might have little or no bearing on reality.

In a desperate move to see change in the country, Filipinos chose an unconventional leader to be their next president. Perhaps Duterte was seen as the most untraditional out of the other politicians who ran for the presidency. Here is a man who claims to have wiped out criminality and drug addiction in the biggest city (in terms of territory) in the Philippines through extra-legal means. Here is a man who claims to have practiced a no-nonsense style of leadership and governance.

Now, with just a few days before his formal inauguration as president, Duterte may be showing his true colors and Filipinos are realizing that they have elected not a president but a pathology into office.

To begin with, Duterte ditched his proclamation by Congress last May 30, saying he had not attended any proclamation in his entire life. He chose to stay in Davao where he had been playing to the gallery of the local and international press, savaging just about everyone except himself apparently to show why the nation was in the supposed deepest pit it was and why it needed a messiah like him.

The virtual boycott was brash, arrogant, and anti-democratic, true to Duterte’s extra-judicial, to-hell-with-democracy posturing.

During the campaign, he had declared he would proclaim a revolutionary government if he was voted into office and would rule by decree to implement radical changes. He was citing the initiative of Cory Aquino who had declared such a government in 1986 after the Edsa Revolution.

It seemed to have escaped Duterte, who claims to be a lawyer, that Cory had proclaimed such a revolutionary government because she had not been proclaimed president under the 1973 Constitution, which had instead proclaimed Ferdinand Marcos the dubious winner of the 1985 snap election.

Catapulted into power by the Edsa Revolt, Cory ruled by her “Freedom Constitution” (FC) until the 1987 Constitution was ratified.

Duterte, who claimed to have taken up law studies in Mendiola, a stone’s throw from Malacañang, seemed to have forgotten that it was the same FC that Cory used to oust elected local officials beholden to Marcos and to put officers in charge in their place, one of them being Duterte himself!

Moreover, Duterte seemed to have forgotten—or did it escape his legal logic?—that the 1987 Constitution enabled him to formalize his OIC position in Davao when he ran and won for mayor in 1987 based on the new charter.

But mind you, it is the same charter that has enabled Duterte to win the presidency and under which Congress has proclaimed him as the winner of the May 10, 2016 elections!

Therefore, Duterte’s boycott of his own proclamation by Congress is an insult to the Constitution.

Saying at one time he would appoint men and women of integrity in key positions regardless of partisan affiliations, Duterte later admitted it never crossed his mind to give a Cabinet position or any position for that matter to Vice-President-elect Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, since it would hurt his alliance with losing vice-presidential candidate and outgoing senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.

The adoring media had played all of this until they got to know blatantly how low Duterte regarded them when the president-elect, asked to comment on the 2009 Maguindanao incident in which more than 30 media persons were killed, said any journalist was not “exempt from assassination… if you are a son of a bitch.” When certain sectors of the press cried foul, he told them, “Don’t fuck with me!”

Generally treated by the media during the campaign with kid-gloves, Duterte after his proclamation has repeatedly displayed his chauvinism, his disdain of women, his scorn of the Catholic Church, his derision of democracy, and his megalomania.

During one press conference, he whistled lewdly at a woman-journalist. When the reporter’s husband protested, he invoked freedom of expression. Earlier in the campaign, he repeated his lewd remark about an Australian missionary who was raped and brutalized by prisoners during a jail revolt in Davao in the 1990’s: “They’ve gotten to her ahead of the mayor. Kill them all!”

He later apologized for the remark, especially to the Australian government, but the fact he repeated roughly the same chauvinistic gesture during the press conference should worry people that he didn’t quite see the point of why his controversial remarks had raised much furor here and abroad

In fact, it was not the first time that he made such statements. During the campaign, he defamed the Catholic Church by calling it as the most “hypocritical institution” and attacked some bishops by calling them “sons of whores.” He even cursed Pope Francis for causing traffic jams Metro Manila during the papal visit in 2015.

Even before his proclamation, Duterte has been holding extended press conferences in which he has harangued the Church, government, police and military, and other sectors of society, and loudly proclaiming changes in policies and programs, which however do not seem to jive with his choices for the Cabinet many of whom have been obviously made to pay off political debts.

Duterte lacks humility and respect. By hogging the limelight and proclaiming this and that change, he seems to have forgotten there’s still an incumbent administration and that rules of courtesy require that he should shut his trap till he’s inaugurated on June 30.

Duterte’s utter lack of urbanity, his predisposition toward vicious, even hate, language, and his unrepentant ways of speech and comportment appear to confirm the psychiatrist’s report to the court during his marriage annulment: that he’s narcissistic and shows no capacity for real remorse and compunction.

The “psychological incapacity” that annulled his marriage now seems set to be transposed to his marriage with the Filipino electorate. The nation has elected not a new presidency, but a regressive pathology.


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