There are only two kinds of people frightened by Duterte speeches. First, there are criminal elements who fear the hand of justice striking at the heart of their nefarious activities and secondly, there are political observers and journalists who have no sense of humour. Yesterday, Duterte trolled the latter group.
President Rodrigo Duterte is not an actual dictator, rather he is a revolutionary in political thought and action in The Philippines. Duterte was legally elected in a free and fair election and since then, his polling numbers have only gone up. Duterte did not need a military coup or the assistance of a foreign intelligence agency to attain power, he simply relied on the support of the people who were inspired by his message of radical change for the benefit of the entire country.
Since Duterte became President, he has established historically important security, investment related and diplomatic ties with China and Russia, while he has also worked closely with ASEAN partners to establish a constructive and cooperative relationship with nearby countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Duterte has also tackled the notorious drug problem, which is a primary cause of crime and instability and a key funding source for terrorist groups. In tacking the drug problem and the narco-funded Daesh linked Maute group who seized Marawi in 2017, Duterte has proved that his related strategy against drugs, crime and terrorism gets things done.
Economic and bureaucratic reforms look to take power out of the hands of oligarchs and corrupt politicians, while his most wide reaching proposed reform, the federalisation of the country, seeks to rectify long term injustices across many regions.
It was during a speech discussing his federalism proposals where Duterte said the following,
“If you say dictator, I am really a dictator. If I don’t act (like a) dictator, son of a bitch, nothing will happen to this country. That’s true. If I don’t act (like a) dictator, which is my style now, nothing will happen to this country. I had to (act like a dictator). Besides, you have chosen me as your president. Why won’t you follow me when my dreams are all for you?”
While some of Duterte’s more irrational opponents will claim that they finally received the “confession” they’d been waiting for, in reality, Duterte was merely trolling his opponents, provoking his yellow opponents in the mainstream media to come out and state plainly that it is the will of the Filipino people that they oppose.
Due to a severe lack of imagination and intelligence, Duterte’s opponents seem to be unaware of what democracy actually is. The word is simply a hybrid of the Greek word demos meaning people and kratia meaning rule. Thus, dēmokratía in Greek simply means a system where it is the people who rule. Duterte has given the people a better and clearer opportunity for reform on their terms than any leader in modern Philippine history. His continued popularity is a testament to this.
What democracy does not necessarily mean is voting. Suffrage, rather than democracy, is the correct term used to describe political systems where politicians attain power through a vote. Thus, Duterte’s policies are democratic while furthermore, attained power through universal suffrage.
Lastly, democracy is not a system where an unpopular opposition and their cronies in the mainstream media are able to tell a leader who is popular among the demos/people what to do. No one elected Rappler or a gang of yellow lawyers President, they elected Rodrigo Duterte.
The fact that his latest speech will likely lead to his opponents once again exposing their own stupidity and pomposity, is a further sign that if you oppose Duterte and have no sense of humour – you’ll eventually become a laughing stock yourself, which is what most of his opponents already are.