Coalition of the willing

Ted Aldwin OngExpectations are high regarding the deliverables of Rodrigo Duterte to the people especially in the immediate six months upon his assumption to office. I might be supportive of his presidential bid but it comes without an illusion that the man can purge all the ills that has accumulated through years of neglect and inaction especially by his predecessors.

Action is wanting especially on criminality which has become an epidemic. The people whose collective voice formed the 16-million votes in support of Duterte’s presidential bid are now anticipating how the man will put into action the words that he repeatedly declared over the course of his campaign that he will act on criminality and illegal drugs in six months period.

It sounds simplistic although when fitted in the mold of national governance, it will be complicated to handle especially if there are opposing interests from within his administration. The complexity alone has been used by the Liberal Party to portray an image that only Mar Roxas has the capability to carry out changes because Pnoy has already started it under his term. It was played up as part of continuity while Duterte symbolized disruption from that continuity agenda.

But Duterte has a plan of action and it will not be as random as everybody was anticipating. First, he was well aware that almost all political parties will jump to his side and the PDP-Laban once he sealed victory in the presidential elections.

There was no need to wage total war against LP because the so-called educated, well-mannered, cursing allergic and competent politicians will not mind abandoning LP and its figure heads. I pity Mar Roxas yet I am not hesitant to say that he deserves the party he called home. His colleagues and that of Leni Robredo had now showed support to shape a “super majority” even in the face of its struggling vice-presidential candidate whose bid remains unfinished and with Frank Drilon earning super votes, not against Duterte, but rather (glaringly), against the LP standard bearer Mar Roxas.

As Duterte’s slogan stated, “change is coming” and the best illustration of change is not solving crime but having LP people kiss ass with the candidate that does not represent their interest in the first place. So nobody among the LP in the new “super majority” cringe on the idea of being a crime buster under the Duterte administration or showed even a slight discomfort on the statement by Duterte that he is open to have the dictator Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and having Gloria Arroyo pardoned. Not to mention offering four government agencies to an equally incompetent members of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

For all we know, the new LP will be the new Davao Death Squad in national scale.

Second, Duterte knows that among the necessary input to allow his administration going is to act on criminality and against illegal drugs. Of course, what more can be done aside from acting on those concerns because there are systems in place and there was no need to rub away people of the happiness brought about by the Conditional Cash Transfer and the Buttom-up Budgeting. These mechanisms are not inventions of Duterte, but it can be continued for, after all, the “super majority” is comprised of the LP members who are familiar with these mechanisms and how the administration can make it for its advantage.

Third, Duterte knows that the minority will become the new majority. Who is PDP-Laban to disregard willing converts or perverts from other political parties? It can now enjoy the upperhand in determining whose interest will weigh heavier than the other and who to favor or not. The Liberal Party, and also similar with other political parties, has perfected the art of giving favors. It is ingrained in any ruling political party.

In spite of its dismal support especially in terms of resources and logistics in the campaign, the PDP-Laban is now the new majority after it accepted the alliance of other political parties in the country. This is the reason why everybody wants to become PDP-Laban and those who were from the other political parties has now voiced out that they are the original PDP-Laban members yet are now marginalized. Wrong decision has its consequences in politics.

Change has come? Perhaps for the more 16-million who voted for Duterte as against a status quo candidate; but for politics in the Philippines in general, the system remains. It will depend on Duterte how he will stir it in order to alleviate the frustration of the people.


  1. Is criminality really an epidemic? Surveys of public concerns as late as Jan of this year indicate that it was not a high priority. Is this really a major issue, or is it a bogeyman that has been exaggerated to get people to sacrifice civil liberties and protections? Crime is more a local government issue than a national government issue anyway, hard to see what a President is supposed to do about it…

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