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Rough Cuts | Building a Duterte legacy

Well, it looks like the more the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte hurl mud at him and his administration the better the result of his acceptance survey.

The latest opinion poll conducted by the Social Weather Station (SWS) last month the President’s trust rating was at 80 percentage points. The rating’s adjectival equivalent is “Very Good.”

Yes, the positive acceptance of the President’s running the country has been consistent since he assumed office last June 30, 2016, or a period of three years already. It is a feat no President before him had ever achieved.

The record acceptance was the result of a survey conducted on 1,200 respondents from across social strata of the country’s population. And it is common knowledge that all surveys by the SWS were done when Duterte’ critics were hurling everything at him including kitchen sinks. And they were not just locals. They include bashers of the administration from some sectors of international organizations that have established units in the country.

Personally, we support every move the President has been taking since his assumption to duty in connection with the implementation of his plans for the country. But we have to admit that we are not in accord with some of the ways he personally communicates it to the people. We have observed that at times when he is baited by media into talking too much and too soon he falls into ambivalence. It is his verbal and body language that often gives his critics ammunition to launch their attacks.
But with the people being able to feel the positive impact of the President’s programs and projects on their lives whether they belong to this and that strata of society, they seem not to care the “reckless” and “unforgiving” President image incessantly painted on him by his local and foreign critics.

After all, most of his critics are “outsiders looking in,” or former government “insiders wanting to be in again” in the fastest possible manner.

Some are also serving the interest of international organizations wanting to justify every dollar spent for their operation in the country, or their desire to have more.

We also believe that there are local Duterte critics who may have seen the good side of the manner the President runs the country. But like the Duterte acceptance rating, they just want to be “consistent” with their desired role.

As to the President, he is comparable to the former US President Bill Clinton. Remember that the former US chief executive was tried by the US Senate after he was impeached over his steamy affairs with White House intern Monica Lewinsky?

The people of the United States didn’t mind to exert pressure on the Senate to convict Clinton for the simple reason that the country’s economy during that time was at its best and its foreign relations policies were acceptable by almost all of the countries in the world.

Simply put, Duterte’s consistent high ratings in opinion surveys indicate that his countrymen feel they have a President who is one among them; one who does not care of what a few think about him but just do his job according to the expectation of the greater majority of the people.

We can only hope that greed for power and money will not get into the President’s mind. Should it happen that will be the beginning of his way down. And he would be wasting an opportunity for leaving a legacy of governance that people would most likely immortalize in their psyche.

Yes, history will not do away with his campaign against illegal drugs that his critics have characterized as “bloody” and “brutal,” they having attributed to the President the killings of every suspected drug personalities.

So certain are their attribution that even victims of the war among drug syndicates fighting for turfs, or exacting revenge on unsettled drug accounts, are passed on as doings of government law enforcers.

But then again, history will also tell us that the existence of good and evil is a continuing battle where “casualties” cannot be avoided.

It is in this light that, we believe, the enormity of the number of people benefiting from the defeat of evil, is the one that has to be reckoned with in the determination of the worthiness of a Duterte administration legacy.

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