PRESIDENTIAL candidate Rodrigo Duterte's campaign battle cry was, “Change is coming.” His campaign promises revolved around fighting criminality and eliminating graft and corruption. He vowed to accomplish these within three to six months in his administration if he won. He did win in the May 9 elections, garnering 16.6 million votes here and in the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) absentee voting.
Tomorrow is the day of reckoning as he assumes as the 16th president and the first Mindanaoan to lead our country. In the next six years of his presidency (that is, if he can survive), the Bisaya president vowed to fulfill what he promised during the campaign regardless of whoever would be affected. “I will stake my honor, my life and the presidency itself,” he said.
So to those involved in shenanigans, you better watch out because “death and chain” are coming. Kun dili mo mapatay, posas o kalabuso mo.
In his speech during the thanksgiving party organized by his supporters here over the weekend and in his farewell speech before Davao City Hall employees last Monday, the incoming president reiterated his stand to be harsh in fighting criminality and corruption. He vowed to wage a “bloody war” against crime and illegal drugs and warned officials of various government agencies where corruption is prevalent to stop their nefarious activities before it is too late.
Duterte's approach in curving criminality and illegal drugs may lead to extrajudicial killings and has raised concerns from various sectors, including the Roman Catholic Church and human rights groups.
Before he could even assume his post, several known drug personalities have been killed, including Cebu-based suspects. Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz and Rowen “Yawa” Secretaria were gunned down in what appears to be legitimate encounters with law enforcers.
Duterte said there is no turning back in his hardline campaign against drugs because he doesn't want the Philippines to become the next to Mexico and Colombia where narco-politics are lording over. He said he pities parents who are working abroad and separated from their families here only to find out that their children are involved in or are hooked to drugs.
Drugs is the cause of criminality. Ordinary citizens have been victims of robbery and women have been raped and killed by drug addicts. This has to be stopped, Duterte noted. He said he will push for the re-imposition of the death penalty, apparently ignoring his critics, especially the conservative Catholic church.
He lectured his critics about the death penalty, saying it is not human rights violation but retribution. If you kill somebody, you should pay for it with your life. Is it human rights violation when due process is observed before suspects are killed, he asked?
When the death penalty was still in effect, it failed in deterring crimes because it was not fully implemented. During Joseph Estrada's term, only few convicts were executed. Death penalty was abolished by Congress under the Arroyo administration as a “gift” to the Pope when she visited Rome.
Duterte said that his government is for the helpless, hopeless and defenseless. He wants to protect the rights of every Filipino against criminals, that is why he is not backing down from the war on crime.
He said he is not afraid to be impeached as long as he will do what is right and good for the majority of the people. He challenged his critics and those who are against his policies to do their worst. Kini nindot ni da ug iya gyud ning tumanon. Pangundang na mo mga kriminal ug mga drug pushers ug addict.
Duterte also reiterated his policy on curving corruption in government. He warned officials of government agencies including local government units not to make the lives of the ordinary people miserable in applying permits or when they are doing transactions with the government by extorting money from them. He wants permit applications to be released 72 hours after the applicant is given a “shopping list” of requirements.
If a chief of office pressures ordinary employee to sign something questionable, he urged that employee to report to him and if he finds that the chief of office had committed wrongdoing, he would promote the employee. He also promised to promote a PO1 to general if he kills a known drug lord. Kun matinuod man gani ni, kuyaw ni, daghang ma-promote ani.
Well, what Duterte promised still remain to be seen. Matod pa lagi nila “let's see the scattered” (makitang katag) kung iya ba gyud ning matuman.