Critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte are frustrated. They are showing signs of desperation in their bid to get rid of him. An article recently published by blogsite Rappler advocated the ousting of Duterte — a duly-elected President who won without a shadow of a doubt. The author, Herbert Docena, also claims to be advocating for “real” democracy in the same article. The irony in what he wrote seems to fly way over his head.
Docena claims to have tried appealing to Duterte prior to writing his Rappler manifesto — “signed so many petitions, issued so many statements, marched on the streets and called on the other branches of government to intervene” — among other things that he said preoccupied him to alleviate his frustration. But now, he says there is no other alternative than to remove Duterte illegally. In his own words “We are now left with no other option but to assert our inalienable and democratic right to call for his ouster.”
It is not clear who he was referring to when he wrote “we”, but obviously it doesn’t include the 80% of the public who approve of Duterte. Those who voted for Duterte knew what they were getting because Duterte was upfront about his policies, particularly when he announced that he will wage a bloody war on drugs. His supporters accepted his foul-mouth and actually considered it a “breath of fresh air” because he was cursing the ineptitude of the previous administrators on behalf of the people.
The problem with people like Docena is they seem to have low emotional intelligence. They are not patient. Okay, so he doesn’t agree with the current President’s policies. That’s acceptable. What’s not acceptable is him wanting to oust Duterte just because he doesn’t agree with his agenda. It is wrong for Docena to expect things will go his way just because he asked for it. For someone who claims to be a University of the Philippines professor during the day, he is quite naïve. God forbid he teaches his irrational views to his students. If you ask me, he should be sacked for advocating Duterte’s ouster.
Docena is already calling for Duterte’s head to roll in such a short period of time just because he cannot get what he wants. And, mind you, a lot of the things he wants like ending contractualization, higher wages, better benefits, and improved job security, are impossible to be met in just twelve months. It seems he wanted Duterte to grant his request on his first day in office; as if Duterte can tell business owners to stop contractualization just like that. That’s so unrealistic. Does he want Duterte to be a dictator or what? He’s such a dreamer — a confused dreamer. Well, he can keep dreaming about ousting Duterte all he wants because “it ain’t gonna happen” unless he has the military backing his plans.
Docena wants to get what he wants as soon as possible without actually doing all the leg work involved. Take Duterte for example. He was already in his seventies before he managed to climb to the top to do what he wants. Duterte obviously had a vision for the country and the Mindanao region for a long time. He most probably saw what was happening in Manila and elsewhere in the country from where he was sitting in his office in Davao City and could only shake his head in disbelief at how former Presidents like BS Aquino were mismanaging the Philippines.
It was not easy for Duterte – a provincial mayor and someone who was not part of the Manila Polo Club set – to ease his way into the Presidential candidacy. It took guts for him to run against the usual suspects who were so sure they would win because of their name and pedigree. But he made it. Now that he is at the helm, he can implement his policies, like revising the Constitution to allow foreign ownership as well as work on Federalism. Those are things that could actually bring more jobs and create more opportunities under more independent states throughout the country.
If Docena was really smart, he would realise that his ideas are not popular with the public, which is why all his efforts are not getting any traction. His ideas are likewise not solid. He can’t even explain what kind of “democracy” he is espousing. Consider his spiel:
But there is at least one other better possibility they don’t want us to even imagine: a democratic People Power uprising which ushers in a very different, because non-exploitative and truly radically-democratic and participatory system.What exactly this new system is – how it will look like, how it will function, and what transitional steps should be taken for it to be established – should itself be the subject of more democratic debates and discussion: its very conceptualization and creation should itself already seek to practice the kind of radical, participatory democracy it seeks to establish.
What kind of non-sense is he talking about? To begin with, the Philippines already has “participatory democracy”. The representatives in Congress are supposed to discuss whatever it is their constituents want. The only problem is, they don’t. What kind of system is Docena proposing that would compel Congressmen to bring forward the people’s woes to the discussion table? He has no idea, apparently.
In a true democracy, ideas are thrown around in the market place of ideas until it catches on and take a life of its own. The only way for that to happen is for the speaker to speak as loudly as possible. In an age of digital public relations machines and propaganda wars, that is not easy to do. This is why Docena needs to work harder at getting his message across. Now asking people to back his plan to remove Duterte illegally is not going to fly. A people power revolt has been done so many times in the past and the public is sick of it. In the past, it only brought in chaos due to the power vacuum that forms after a head of state was illegally ousted. I suggest Docena and all the other people who agree with his ideas learn from the previous mistakes when Marcos and Erap were removed and stop this call for another revolt. It’s not going to help the poor he is supposed to be fighting for. It will only bring the country further back to the “dark ages”.
Truth be told, Docena and the editors of Rappler should be charged for inciting rebellion against the Philippine government. They are asking people to throw the rule book out the window. Over the six years that I was criticising BS Aquino, I never advocated his ouster or illegal removal. I believe in due process and advocated following the rule of law – something the Liberal Party and people like Docena seem to be against. More importantly, I wanted BS Aquino to finish his term so that people will finally realise that the so-called Aquino legacy was nothing more than a sham.