What we can believe of what he says PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 23 August 2018 12:09

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

What statements of Pres. Duterte can we believe in at face value? This past week showed me that none, nada, of his statements can be considered as worth anything.

He was quoted by the media as saying that he is tired, ready to step down from his position as president of this unfortunate country.

It seems that he has been sent to this very low point by two incredibly strong disappointments: the failure to arrest the drug problem after two years of relentless pursuit of this goal, and to free the Philippines of illegal drugs within six months.

Remember, reader, that his term officially began on July 1, 2016. We are now two years and seven months into his term and the drug problem is still very much alive, and we can even say that it has become stronger.

Depending on where you read or hear about it, some 12,000 people have been killed in the war against illegal drugs. Most of the 12,000 are small time drug dealers or users, and the amount of drugs for most of the victims are in the area of two or three sachets of crystal meth, insignificant compared to the national drug trade.

On two occasions during these past two years of the Duterte administration, drugs costing about a little more than 6.4 billion pesos each have managed to pass through Customs. These make a lot of stuffings for itty-bitty sachets.

Is the drug problem in the country such that it has led PRRD to consider stepping down?

There is also his claim that corruption in the government is so rampant, and this too perhaps is a challenge he feels helpless to control. However, instead of clarifying the situation, he has made it even murkier.

He claims that he is tired and would step down from his presidency but only if Marcos Jr. or Escudero takes over. What is he talking about?

Mr. Duterte studied law and he knows how succession to the presidency is defined in this country. He might prefer Marcos Jr. or Escudero to take over but it is not for him to choose who. The constitution has made that very explicit. Unless, of course, Mr. Duterte thinks he is above the constitution. And that is another story altogether.

A TIME magazine cover story has lumped Mr. Duterte as one among the likes of Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan, and Venezuela’s Maduro – today’s dictatorial presidents. He might very well be, but he should not forget that he can only go as far as the people will let him. After all some 30 years ago we showed the world just how far we can let a wannabe dictator go. Mr. Duterte should not forget that, no matter how tempted he might be to do so.