"The Filipinos, in voting him to a landslide win, have already given him the mandate to do things that he promised us during the campaign. So how can that be a chilling effect?"
-- Salvador Panelo, president's chief legal counsel, at a news briefing, Aug. 10, 2016
PRESIDENT Duterte got 15.8 million votes in the last elections, beating Noynoy Aquino's record of 15.2 million votes in 2010.
Duterte had a margin of 6.2 million votes over Mar Roxas, beating Ramon Magsaysay's lead of 6.1 million votes over Elpidio Quirino in 1953. But Duterte didn't dislodge Joseph Estrada who was ahead by 6.4 million votes against Jose de Venecia in 1998, the biggest majority in all the races.
Duterte was No. 1 in total number but, experts tell us, consider the increase in voters population and turnout (a historic 81.62% in 2016). And consider the percentage share of the total votes: Cory Aquino in 1986 got 51.74% while Duterte got only 38.5%.
It's on record, Philstar.com said in a post-election report: 1) Cory topped Duterte in votes share, and 2) Erap topped Duterte in lead over rivals.
But Duterte did win by a landslide. That's a fact too.
And that mandate is what's being used -- a carte blanche, a blank check -- to justify potential or actual violations of the Constitution, the laws and one's oath of office. Which raises these questions:
-- Can the president promote or encourage extrajudicial executions, in effect using crimes to rid the country of other crimes?
-- Can he abolish Congress if legislators won't amend the Constitution "properly" or declare martial law if the Supreme Court will tell him what to do?
-- Can he bend the law to allow Marcos's burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani?
If those were allowed, an electoral landslide for a president could be more disastrous than nature's landslide on a hapless populace.