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Why Duterte won

By: Stephen D. Capillas May 12,2016 - 09:44 PM

Listened yesterday to dyAB station manager Leo Lastimosa elaborate on the three reasons why Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte achieved that come-from-behind victory over other well-funded, more established — at least in Luzon and the National Capital Region where “Imperial Manila” is located and the concentration of power has resided for decades now — candidates and the explanation is as “yano” or simple as the man who will assume the country’s reins of power more than a month from now.

To reference sports lingo, Duterte’s win is not a come-from-behind victory based on the surveys which saw him compiling double-digit leads over Sen. Grace Poe and Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas.

But it is unexpected at least for these candidates including Vice President Jejomar Binay who has yet to concede defeat after pouring in resources and pump-priming their political machinery only to be dumbfounded over the election results which reflected the survey findings that came out for months leading up to Election Day.

Lastimosa’s explanation finds similar parallels to yesterday’s front page article written by Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Randy David who had a great analysis for Duterte’s victory. Since Roxas’s prediction that the presidential elections had become a “race” between him and the Davao City mayor, which has turned out to be accurate based on the current standings in the election results, allow me to present at least three key events that occurred during the tenure of the outgoing Aquino administration that I believed played a role in the Filipino public’s eventual rejection of the President’s anointed successor.

The first is the 2010 hostage crisis at the Luneta Park by a police officer which ended with all Hong Kong Chinese tourists killed inside a bus despite the deployment of police units and SWAT teams. The incident exposed early the Aquino administration’s seeming incapability to deal with peace and order problems on both the domestic and international fronts and angered the Hong Kong government which demanded an apology from the President.

The second and the most expansive is the devastation caused by Supertyphoon Yolanda in northern Cebu and most parts of Central and Eastern Visayas. Again the Aquino administration was placed in the spotlight and what Filipinos both here and abroad as well as the international community saw, not including the tragic loss of lives and the widespread destruction, was the government’s failure to respond quickly, effectively and substantially in helping the victims.

Instead, the first few days had the President reminding local government units how they were supposed to be the frontliners in helping their constituents during a crisis. What stayed in the minds of Filipinos, however, was the video that had then-Interior and Local Government secretary Roxas requiring Tacloban Mayor Alfredo Rodriguez to sign a document turning over control to the DILG so they can better address the plight of the Tacloban City victims who became the face of Yolanda’s devastation.

It smacked of politics as Roxas himself was overheard citing the age-old political conflict between “an Aquino and a Romualdez (by extension Marcos)” as the reason for the document signing. That Roxas’s wife former broadcaster Korina Sanchez figured in a spat with CNN host Anderson Cooper over the government’s handling of the Yolanda crisis didn’t help the former DILG official any in his and the administration’s efforts in earning public trust and confidence.

The third and the most recent is last year’s Mamasapano massacre that involved more than 40 Special Action Forces (SAF) troopers and resulted not only in the derailment of the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but also catapulted Sen. Grace Poe to center stage and gave her and supporters fuel to launch her own presidential campaign despite the Aquino administration’s appeal for her to join their Liberal Party ticket as Roxas’s running mate.

In the Mamasapano tragedy, Roxas was a non-factor as he was kept in the dark about the operation, further solidifying public perception about his indecisiveness and incompetence in dealing with emergency and crisis situations.

In all three events, President Aquino was shown not only blaming anyone below the hierarchy but himself for how his administration handled these crisis but refusing to apologize for his failures. I understand that apologizing may project him as being a weak leader and further embolden critics but he and Roxas could have handled it better.

In both the Yolanda and Mamasapano cases, Duterte raised his profile enough to show to Filipinos that he not only cared but is unafraid to deal with emergency and crisis situations. And in the months that followed, the mayor earned the public’s trust and confidence enough to have it translated to the overwhelming vote margin that until now has shown no signs of letting up.

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TAGS: campaign, Davao City, Duterte, election, Mar Roxas, President, Visayas, vote, voters

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