President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

NEVER before in the political history of the Philippines that a self-confessed killer of bad people, as well as, self-confessed womanizer ran for president, and received over 15 million votes, which was 6.2 million votes over the closest of four opponents.

Last January, this same candidate, in exasperation due to traffic caused by the Papal visit, cursed Pope Francis (but he apologized in writing and the Pope replied with a three-sentence kindly-worded note forgiving him).

He cracked an unpleasant and inappropriate joke on an Australian lay missionary who was raped and murdered by a gang of prisoners in Davao City where this candidate was mayor.

The uncalled for joke drew pointed comments from the ambassadors of the U.S. and Australia.

In turn, he warned of breaking ties with those two countries if elected.

The joke also made the Filipino Catholic bishops issue a pastoral letter obviously directed against this candidate.

He reacted by throwing foul words against the bishops.

In spite of all the above, the Filipinos gave him the benefit of the doubt and embraced his promise of eliminating criminals, including drug lords, from the face of the country in six months, from day one of his presidency.

He also promised to end corruption in all levels of government.

You all know, I’m referring to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.

The Filipino people, whose love for democratic ideals and practices, are a model to the rest of people in other lands, took a calculated risk and trusted Digong (his nickname) with their votes.

As a first step, the President-elect, while his team starts preparations for a smooth turnover, went on the air and warned the perpetrators of “dagdag-bala” (bullet insertion or addition) at the NAIA to stop their evil practice of inserting bullets (which is illegal in the Philippines) in the luggage of unsuspecting Filipinos (OFWs) for purposes of extortion.

He warned that everyone at the airport security force, including the heads of offices, will be terminated and be made to go if the practice won’t stop.

I’m personally elated by this warning. I wrote in this space last year that I would not go back to the Philippines until this demonic activity at the airport is stopped.  

Why, in spite of all the above, did the Filipinos chose President-elect Duterte?

I have come up with the following reasons:

1) The Filipinos are not happy nor satisfied with President Aquino’s administration.

Otherwise, Mar Roxas, Aquino’s candidate, would have won easily.

There had been economic growth, but the benefits did not trickle down to the citizens, especially the millions who are poor.

(To cite U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders powerful denunciations, the wealth goes only to 1/10 of 1 percent of the population.)

2) Mr. Duterte was able to communicate to all classes of Filipinos what they wanted to hear and what they wanted to see in a leader.

Criminality and corruption must really be widespread that when Mr. Duterte promised to eliminate crime in three to six months, it resonated and they supported him.

3) The Filipinos did not pay negative attention to the foul mouth of Mr. Duterte.

They accepted him hook, line and sinker because he had already accomplished as mayor of Davao City what he was promising to do for the country.

Proven na siya.

Subok na.

4) Mayor Duterte was able to make himself look like the people he was addressing by the simplicity of his appearance (in golf shirt and blue jeans frequently) and, at times, even by his simple-mindedness (Lol).

5) He applied reverse psychology on the Filipinos and it worked.

At first, he said he would not run.

Then, one month after, he joined the race and ran...and won.



Last night, former New Yorker now Las Vegas resident Luz Micabalo texted and asked if I thought Rep. Leni Robredo will be the winner as vice president in the native country.

I answered: “I think she will be the next Vice President. But, whether she will be the winner, I don’t know about that.”

Seriously, I’m inclined to believe, Rep. Robredo, who apparently has adapted to the administration’s manner of politicking, will be a “compromised vice president” as against an elected one.  

If this happens, it’s very wrong and very bad precedent.

We are hoping it won’t end up that way.

As we say in the U.S., “Shame! Shame!”


To use the “now” words of the young, Filipinos are awesome and amazing!

After deciding who to vote for, close to 40 million of them trooped to 369,138 precincts around the country on May 9 and exercised their right to vote in a fairly peaceful and orderly way.

Many from other lands wish they could experience the same freedom and same passion for democracy as Filipinos do.

For some reasons, they can’t.

We will attribute and relate this blessing as “fruit of the spirit” that Filipinos live on.

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