The Myth and Madness of Rody Duterte

Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte wants to be the Philippines’ next strongman

The Punisher,” That was the nickname Time Magazine once gave Rody Duterte. Digong, as Rody Duterte is sometimes called, has an air of Filipino machoism about him. Davao, the city which the Duterte dynasty has had a hand in running for decades is thought of as a city of peace, security, order, and foremost, discipline. Discipline, Safety and Security is the main selling point of Rody Duterte as he embarks on his run for the Presidency. 

Ironically, Duterte’s road to filing his Certificate of Candidacy was marred with his wishy washy, “I’m in, no I’m out” stance. So much for decisive leadership. So much for that air of strong and decisive leadership. Perhaps, it was Duterte’s attempt to create demand; to incite supporters; to create drama. Filipinos, perhaps, Duterte views love their drama. 

Rody Duterte wrote on his Certificate of Candidacy that he plans to put Corruption, and Crime, as well as Federalism as his top thrust.

Davao, according to a recent online poll that the Philippine Daily Inquirer published, readers from the Internet say that city ranked fifth in the world’s safest cities. The post was published as Rody Duterte came out to say he was indeed running for the Presidency.

World's Safest Cities

The Safe Cities Index 2015, an Economist Intelligence Unit report, which is sponsored by NEC published a list of the safest cities in the world.

Davao is not on that list.


There are other lies or half truths going around from Duterte’s supporters. 

Take this obviously photoshopped image that has been shared more than 36,000 times already suggesting that the President of the United States had lent his support for Mayor Duterte.

Screen Shot 2015-11-29 at 3.07.44 PM

“Peace has always been elusive for Mindanao,” began Philippines Graphic. “Many are rooting for you to run for President in 2016 because what you’ve done for Davao City, they say, can also be implemented on a national scope. As for peace, lasting peace, how would you attain it, that is, if you do become President?”

Rody Duterte gave a long reply about the historical context of Mindanao and its conflict. Then finally, “But see, this is where the problem lies,” replied Mayor Duterte. “But we cannot return all the lands or all the things that were absorbed by the migrants. We cannot go back in time. We cannot return to Mindanaoans what was taken from them. All we can now offer is a new set-up: Federalism. I’ve had many a conversation with Nur Misuari. He accepts Federalism.”

@xpeanutgalleryx earlier today tweeted, “Promising mass transpo for Manila when Davao with biggest land area has none and he has been in power since 1988 – like Binay in Makati.”

And so this is who Rody Duterte is— the myth and madness of a supposedly strong, and decisive leadership with wishy-wash stance.

Rappler boss Maria Ressa sat down with Davao Mayor Rody Duterte. “When I said I’ll stop criminality, I’ll stop criminality,” Ressa reported Duterte saying. “If I have to kill you, I’ll kill you. Personally.” 

“I held his gaze to see if he meant what he said,” Maria Ressa wrote. “He did. His track record proves it.”

At the end of the day, Rody Duterte wants to be the Philippines’ next strongman.  Already, Rody Duterte is linked to the so-called, “Davao Death Squad.” New York based Human Rights Watch, wrote, “Davao Mayor Duterte Epitomizes Impunity for Extrajudicial Killings“. One of his supporters is similarly linked to a band of vigilantes that took inspiration from Davao Death Squad.

In 2007, ITV-CNN reported that Davao Death Squads have been killing street kids in Davao

None of that matter to his core supporters. They welcome the violence. 

History is littered with men like Rody Duterte. Dictators throughout history have preyed on people’s fears, and our literature, and pop culture are constant, and ever present reminder of the ills of falling for the dark side. Rody Duterte as his wish-washy stance— and his drama, says— is a study in contrast. This is strange given his supposedly strong, and decisive leadership. It is perhaps more than a bit of irony that a man like Duterte who is pushing for peace in Mindanao through his pet advocacy— Federalism— is also linked to Davao Death Squad. After Ferdinand Marcos, Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte wants to be the Philippines’ next strongman. On May 2016, the Philippines might just elect one Rody Duterte. 


Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.