OSLO, Norway — Beyond his “colorful language”, President Rodrigo Duterte is described by a political analyst as a president who is “changing the presidency”.
“At the beginning of the term of office of President Rodrigo Duterte, it was hoped that the presidency would change him, but after a hundred days I think it was apparent that it was Duterte who was changing the Presidency,” said Dr. Julio Teehankee, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the De La Salle University.
Teehankee said Duterte is “repudiating the old order and the traditional way of doing politics, albeit in a way colorful manner.”
“And it might be shocking to some sectors and the international community but you know change is sometimes, change can be messy and not neat. And beyond the colorful languages and the outlandish behavior of the President, one must look beyond that and try to see the strategic objective of what he’s doing,” Teehankee said in an interview with reporters at the Holmenfjord Hotell here Friday morning.
Teehankee is joining the second round of peace talks as a member of the government’s reciprocal working group on the political and constitutional reforms for the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
He listed five major areas of reforms being implemented under the Duterte administration namely the war on drugs, peace process, constitutional reforms, independent foreign relations,
Among these is the controversial war on drugs, which aired criticisms from human rights organizations, US officials and even the United Nations.
However, Teehankee believes Duterte’s administration should not be judged by one issue alone.
“While there are perceptions of over stretch and abuse, the public is calling them out if ever there is abuses on the part of the security forces, but there are other windows of opportunity for change and reforms that are important for the country and the administration should not be judged by one issue alone,” he said.
He said among the issues that must be taken into consideration is the ongoing peace process which the president vowed to pursue.
He also said Duterte’s proposal for a constitutional reform process is “the first time that a sitting president is not suspected of trying to change the constitution in order to extend his term of office but really to address certain basic structural socio-political and economic issues in the country.”
Even before running in the Presidential elections, Duterte has been consulting local leaders in Mindanao to push federalism which he believes would grant peace for the Bangsamoro.
Teehankee also said it’s the first time that the country is prioritizing the national interest with the push for an independent foreign policy.
“Finally we have a president who is serious in addressing this,” he said.
However, Teehankee said Duterte “should learn to be more presidential.”
By that he means, Duterte should refine his statements as “the President is the chief diplomat.”
“But in terms of the substance and his willingness to address tough questions I think I’ll give him a high grade, for me 80-85,” he said. (davaotoday.com)