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Which way, Mr. President?

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By Hector R. R. Villanueva

“A President’s personality is an important shaper of his presidential behavior on vital matters.” — James David Barber

The Filipino people will continue to lionize and support President Rodrigo Roa Duterte if there is (1) substantial suppression of drug trafficking; (2) rapid agro-industrial development and durable peaceful co-existence of all stakeholders in Mindanao, and (3) the materialization of Pernia’s “Golden Age” of infrastructure.

If substantially complied with these objectives will be the legacies and enduring accomplishments of the Duterte Administration.

Though easier said than done, these objectives can be encapsulated into people’s consciousness and become the roadmap for future generations to adopt and pursue.

In the meantime, dvarious sectors of society are bothered and bewildered as to which way the country is headed, and the erratic and unpredictable behavior of President Digong Duterte.

First, it is observed that President Duterte is increasingly becoming autocratic in his impromptu oral pronouncements which are tantamount to official policy and law without the benefit of rational analysis and prior consultations.

These ex-cathedra declarations tend to create uncertainty, mixed signals and criticisms.

President Duterte’s publication of narco-list of public officials and military as well as tirades against the United Sates and alleged coup plotters tend to generate criticisms, resentment and opposition.

Moreover, with the penchant for obscenities and obtuse comments like “talking to God,” the media tends to pick up distaff issues that overshadow the accomplishments and plans of the Cabinet officials and their agencies.

Second, unlike President Noynoy Aquino, and his bloodhounds such as former DOJ Secretary (now Senator) Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and Secretary Butch Abad who not only succeeded in forcing the resignation of Ombudsman Gutierrez, ousted the Chief Justice, incarcerated former President Gloria Arroyo and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile but also destroyed the presidential ambitions of Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Bong Revilla which makes President Aquino smarter and more ruthless than Duterte who cannot silence or force the hibernation of Sen. Leila de Lima.

However, like Noynoy, President Digong Duterte tends to be personal in his vendetta, such as the persecution of Sen. De Lima, the tirades against President Obama and US Ambassador Philip Goldberg and businessman Roberto Ongpin.

Third, for these reasons, owing to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s brutal war against drugs, his soured relations with Washington, and the presence of CPP senior cadres in Duterte’s Cabinet become fodder for destabilization, opposition, mongering and dismay in the business sector all of which President Duterte has brought upon himself which tends to marginalize the accomplishments of the Administration.

As Joseph Conrad had observed, “you shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends.”

You be the judge.

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