People remain ambivalent about Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He wants to jail Vice President Jejomar Binay for plunder; Binay wants to jail him for his “death squad.” Sen. Grace Poe wants to make him crime czar. (Mar Roxas supporters say, Elect him and nail two for the price of one.)
With Duterte’s current lead in the election surveys, however, people should begin considering what a Duterte presidency might mean. Not so easy to do; he has performed as a one-note musician, trumpeting his law-and-order credentials in Davao City.
His political opponents have questioned his record, citing police data (2010-15) documenting Davao as third highest in the number of robbery cases, second in rape cases, and first in murder cases. Then there is the “death squad” issue—that, whatever the achievements, the Duterte approach to controlling crime had come at the high cost of other crimes, involving extrajudicial executions that allow no appeal.
Duterte has repeatedly pledged to end criminality in the country within three to six months, or give up the presidency. Perhaps it’s just empty talk, although his official running mate, Sen. Alan Cayetano, is now echoing the six-month schedule. To be fair, Duterte had warned the public to be careful about what it asked for in “forcing” him to run: Blood will have to flow for him to keep his promise. Continue reading