THE midterm elections on May 13, 2019 will be a referendum on President Rodrigo Duterte’s performance or lack of it in his first three years in office.
He will be judged by the people on such important issues affecting the economy, foreign relations, rule of law, even his presidential (or unpresidential) behavior, and whether, he has fulfilled his pre-election promise to solve corruption, drugs, and crimes in three to six months.
The Economy. The unchecked increase of fuel primarily due to the Train Law and the world market has caused the spiralling increase in the prices, not of prime commodities.
Rising inflation has contributed to the growing hardships suffered by the great masses of our people.
Foreign Relations. The administration’s so called “independent” foreign policy is independence from the U.S. and Europe but servile dependence on China, with the latter’s creeping intrusion on our territories in the West Philippine Sea.
Visas have been easily issued to millions of Chinese who will be working in the country at the expense of millions of Filipinos who are jobless.
Rule of law. The anguished cries of widows and orphans demand for justice as almost 30,000 Filipinos became victims of extra-judicial killings in the three years that President Duterte launched his brutal war on drugs that victimized mostly the poor.
Presidential (or unpresidential) behavior. In a speech in Iloilo, President Duterte lashed at former Sen. Kit Tatad saying, “Alam ko Tatad, na diabetic ka. Hindi na tumatayo ang otin mo. Mabuti pa ipahiram mo sa akin ang asawa mo!” In Punta Princesa, he boasted about the size of his penis.
Corruption. Corruption is very much prevalent in the government. Solicitor General Jose Calida and the Tulfo siblings, despite their involvement in questionable transactions in the government, remain scot-free.
Corruption in the Customs and other graft-ridden agencies continues unabated.
Drugs. Duterte’s bloody war on drugs has taken a toll on almost 30,000 victims, mostly poor. But the supply of shabu coming from China has increased in intensity with billions worth of shabu being smuggled in the Bureau of Customs through its magnetic lifters.
The exasperated President has practically admitted his failure to solve the drug problem.
Crimes. The culture of impunity has spawned crimes victimizing not only drug suspects but also businessmen, politicians, priests, preachers, students and church workers. Nobody is safe anymore.
The administration’s senatorial bets, endorsed by President Duterte and backed by a formidable machinery and unlimited resources will rise or fall on the issue of whether Duterte has met the people’s expectations. The people will not be swayed by the dubious results of questionable election surveys. (By Democrito C. Barcenas)