Filipinos are such a forgiving people. We have seen this happening in many instances, as we are pacifists and do not really want to engage in an argument if we don’t have to be in one. So, when President Rodrigo Duterte declared that Senator Bongbong Marcos is one of the better qualified leaders to succeed him if ever he resigns or steps down, Filipinos kept a tight lip, and while it is never acceptable to usurp a position from a duly elected official such as the current Vice President Leni Robredo, no one will say anything because they just don’t want the confrontation, unless it smells like a political repression of freedom and liberty. Harry Roque, Duterte’s spokesperson, made this assertion after the President expressed preference for either Marcos or Senator Francis Escudero to take on the country’s top job should he decide to cut short his six-year term that ends in 2022.
Duterte said that he is just making true his word, that he will hand over the presidency to Marcos when he wins the protest. Of course, this is, plain and simple, pushing his agenda to further is and his cronies’ plans to take over the Philippines once again. The whole world is looking at the Philippines through magnifying lenses, screaming, “What? Another Marcos?”
Duterte, expressed frustration over continuing corruption in government as he floated (again!) the possibility of cutting short his term, raising the white towel in defeat. This after close to 10,000 deaths through his program Oplan Tokhang, and who knows what other projects that promised to rid the Philippines of drug dealers and the criminality brought about by the drug business. His cronies forgot to remind him during the presidential elections that he was actually running a country, and not a small city called Davao, and that his Charles Bronson-Death Wish type of rule wasn’t going to work on a drug-riddled, police-corrupted and politician-abused system of government that millions of Filipinos know will never be resolved. His attempts to be popular by his pronouncements of vigilantism, hating and cursing God, appointing a porn star as assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, among others, is now stale and tiring, and people aren’t buying it anymore.
He expressed his aversion to the fact that Robredo is his constitutional successor. It’s like an itch he cannot scratch. He thinks it’s wise to just simply dismiss her, but this move you cannot really do by simply shooting your foot off. That’s a move PM Justin Trudeau has mastered. Not giving the presidency to Robredo if he does resign is another familiar historical event coming – a widow in yellow, Marcos as the enemy – sound familiar?
Leave it to Duterte to justify his choice – belittling Robredo’s leadership ability, saying she could not handle the country’s pressing problems including the drug menace. Look who’s talking – he himself wasn’t very successful at it. A cowardly move. Belittling the enemy to look good.
Duterte should look to 92-year old Mahatir Mohamed for inspiration. The old guy came back to life when he resurrected at a debate whether he was fit to rule again as Prime Minister of Malaysia. He says he’s not yet senile, and dared the debaters to say it in his face.
That was a Charles Bronson move. It was pure, trademark Mahatir.
In an unlikely comeback, he’s switched sides in Malaysian politics, coming out of retirement to unite an opposition that’s seeking to end his former party’s 60-year hold on power and oust his protege, Prime Minister Najib Razak, in May 9 elections.
Unlike Mahatir though, Duterte will not come back into politics the way the Malaysian tiger did. No comparison is fitting. Not even Ferdinand Marcos can do the same, so son Bongbong shouldn’t even try to be like dad. Mahatir’s retirement in 2003 was welcomed by many Malaysians who wanted the country’s progress to be measured more by more than just GDP figures. His goodbye was not a shameful one, but one that was made to make sure Malaysia moved on. His legacy though, although somber and dictatorial in nature, made Malaysia an economically well-sustained country, thus, his comeback may not be impossible. People have even said that Mahathir is now welcomed by many “as a messianic figure, someone who has come back from the past” to redeem the country.
Duterte won’t be able to hold a candle to Mahatir. Once Duterte steps down, he steps down like any other failed politician who promised a miracle, but left the Philippines in shambles the way it was originally in, and worse than before. He’s another political figure that Philippine history has to deal with in shame.