He who doesn’t care to be ousted would remain. He who doesn’t afraid of being killed would live. He who has no concern of losing the presidency would finish his term.
Depending on one’s crystal ball this could describe the fate of Rodrigo Duterte with one caveat: He should continue amusing his Filipino audience of his jokes laced with profanities. Also, he should stoke that imbued nationalistic fervor of his people to keep on burning.
For now, these two things endeared him to the public. Never mind his constant flip-flopping of government policies. His combative belligerent approach to people criticizing his fight against illegal drugs. His fondness of revisiting misdeeds of the past histories to prove no nation nor leader yet had been exemplified as the paragon of virtues.
The question is: Would Duterte can sustain his home-grown people’s appeal, complemented by his avowed disinterest of the trappings of power?
Duterte is a rock star who perform the same repertoire of his speeches in every venue he goes to. For example, telling the qualities of some of his cabinet men as valedictorians, while he, was contented with just the grade of 75 in school. He self-deprecate himself, saying, he finished his high school in seven years. Then come his punch line: Most of them are valedictorian, but they all worked for me now.
His Foreign Secretary, Perfecto Yasay is his favorite. He is telling his audience that he was his roommate when he was studying Law. Yasay speaks like Obama and he would mimic Yasay, to the delight of his audience.
About his Chief Legal Advisor Salvador Panelo who wear shoes that make fly slide; while he, just use toilet tissue to wipe off his shoes.
Then he would have segued his speech with his fight on illegal drugs; that the “narco-politics” already seeped in the country because of the election of Leila de Lima. He would show off one and a half- inch thick of paper, which listed government’s elected officials involved in the drug trade. That he didn’t realize the magnitude of the drug problem till he becomes the president.
Then coming up next are his populist statements about corruption. This, made his audience cheered and clapped. Because, often, people get pissed off the kind services they are getting from the government offices. Duterte advises them, for example, if anyone extorts money from you at the airport, slap him. Tell, it’s Duterte’s order. Be assertive to report of any anomalies happening at the Customs, at the BIR, or at the LTO, through the 888 hotlines. And I’ll take care of it.
If this repertoire is performed in every speaking engagement in every venue, and beamed in combination by the mainstream and the social media, without letting up, soon people will get sick and tired of it. More so, if at the end of the day, this repertoire didn’t deliver.
The Duterte’s appeal would wear out and dissipate.
As this is Duterte’s only shield for now for his detractors outside of the Philippines not to pound on him, he better followed what he said to God.
Duterte said: “I promised God, not to express slang cuss words.” He said this after hearing what God said to him that he will get his plane down on his way back home from Japan.
If Duterte starts hearing things, people would get reminded of Agot Isidro’s recent comment about Duterte.