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The Rise and Rise of Rodrigo Duterte

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DAVAO CITY (davaotoday.com) Mayor Rodrigo Duterte likes to regale his guests with the story of how, one time, using a piece of firewood, he crushed the hands of a man accused of stealing hand-held radios. The problem with the story, as the mayor himself would tell his visitors, is that he had actually punished the wrong man.

Duterte laughed out loud when he narrated this story one evening last week, during dinner with friends and journalists. He used the story to drive home the point that he hates thieves and criminals with passion.

The irony was apparently lost on him. To his critics, however, this story illustrates perfectly what is so wrong with Dutertes obsession with ridding the city of criminals using what has been described by the mayors critics as criminal methods. Because he sidesteps due process, they say, he is bound to make mistakes sooner or later.

Indeed, according to the Coalition Against Summary Executions (CASE), an alliance of human rights and child advocates in the city, 12 of the 469 murdered by death squads or hired killers here from 1998 until 2005 had been cases of mistaken identity.

This year has seen the worst so far in the killings that have made this city infamous, with 147 summary executions. CASE said the murders have become even more brazen. They shoot pointblank in broad daylight, even in busy spots like the entrance of a downtown shopping mall, said Ricmar Mapalo, the groups spokesman.

But many of his supporters, mainly law enforcers, businessmen and members of the citys political and economic elite, laud the man and his crime-fighting method. They say of all the mayors this city has had, nobody quite changed it the way Duterte did. Duterte is one leader who can implement the law, said Leo Avila, chair of the Committee on Ethics and Good Governance at the City Council.

My hatred for criminals thats what changed Davao City, Duterte told the editors of davaotoday.com last week. In that interview, Duterte made no bones about his views of criminals, and offered a fascinating if at times disturbing insight into the mind of one of the most controversial and popular political leaders in the Philippines.

Excerpts:

Some say there have been cases of mistaken identity in these killings?
If they have the facts, why dont they file a case in court or come to me and show to me? Why cant they do that?

I remember the case of (human-rights worker Rashid) Manahan. He had received death threats in Cotabato. When he was killed in my city, they say I ordered the killing. Putang ina! Why would I kill a poor guy who was just working for an NGO? If you want, Ill line up all the human-rights commissioners and kill them all.

They say you dont touch the big fish.
Puta… I dont hit the big fish? Hesusmaryosep! I know I cannot get (industrialist Jesus) Ayala and (banana magnate Antonio) Floirendo because they dont use drugs!

How safe is Davao City?
Very safe, I would say, except for the terrorists. But the common crimes like snatching Thats petty. I cannot kill a human being just because he stole small items. Thats too expensive a payment. I deal with kidnappers, especially people who kill, or people who rape and kill.

They make your blood boil.
Im like that. Its my human nature. And you know human nature is part of your character. Thats my persona.

What has changed about you since you first ran for mayor,
since you were a prosecutor?

I hate to mention this because Im not trying to make a big issue out of it. I grew up with politics because my father was governor. So practically I have a good training about how to deal with problems of people.

My hatred of criminals thats what changed Davao. If I have not improved the lot of the poor folk there at Boulevard, its simply because of the economy. But what actually, to me, made the difference is at least the criminals here are afraid of the law. Here, if you are a police officer and you steal from a civilian, putang ina, Im going to kill you. God, I will! Ill M16 you in public.

You know, governance or whatever in public office — it’s all about sense and sensibility. That is all that is needed. I am proud that I walk the extra mile to see to it that this city is peaceful.

Wed like to make this clear: Each time you say youd kill somebody.
That is all talk! (Laughs.)

But isnt that a form of taking the law into your own hands?
No, it’s a form of a threat, instilling fear in the minds of criminals. So, if you are a journalist, if you are an ordinary citizen, why should you be afraid? Unless you believe your mayor is a candidate for a mental asylum. (Laughs.) Why would you be afraid each time I say, You criminals are sons of bitches! Im going to kill all of you!? If youre afraid, then you must be a criminal.

Doesn’t that put you in danger of being implicated if
something happens to these people after you say those things?

You know, guilt is personal. Remember that it’s a principle of criminal law. Guilt is personal. There is no guilt by association just because I’m the mayor talking here nonsense.

Each time I threaten them, theres always a qualification: You terrorists, putang ina, Im going to kill you! As you see, they end up dead. (Laughs.)

What happens if youre no longer mayor? The fear by the criminals could be of you, not the law. What happens if youre no longer there and the person who replaces you is not as strong as —
Putang ina, even if Im asleep, wake me up and Ill deal with it. (Laughs.) Im never afraid of criminals, even when I was not yet a mayor. When I was a prosecutor, I kicked a man in the chest inside the court room.

Were you cited in contempt?
Of course! (Laughs.) I was a prosecutor and I was in jail. (Laughs.)

Why cant you just prosecute these criminals, bring them to justice?
Some of them are dead. The others, were still going to kill them.

Were you frustrated with the legal system?
I began as a prosecutor, right? So take it from me. When I was a prosecutor for 10 years, this thing called guilt thats always an 80-20 proposition and all you have to do is to create doubt. And because of stringent regulations about right to counsel, information, due process and everything these are so limited. What can you get from a terrorist during 36 hours of detention? Lets be frank. What can you get?

The judicial process is too complicated?
Its not just that. Its the law itself. Because government is supposed to be powerful it owns everything but there’s a barrier and that barrier is the Bill of Rights. It protects the citizens from abusive excesses, inordinate exercise of power. The problem is, they abuse it, so the criminals are in and out of prison. Thats what I hate about it.

Lets put it this way. I am not about ready to admit any particular killing here. (Laughs.) I can go to prison. What Im trying to say is that Im trying hard to make everybody realize, both the civilians and criminals, that if you commit a serious crime, you’ll just have to pay for it. Maybe inside the prison or maybe lose your funds or lose your life.

How do you know that your threats against criminals are working?
Look around. Compare it to other places. How could you not see it? Go around the city

Have you given up on due process?
No, I should not waive anything there in the Bill of Rights. I think that we should observe it strictly. But if you do not leave room for me to exercise my discretion of human rights or if you do not give me that space, if you box me in one corner, you do not leave me an elbow room to give you, to afford you that right, in the end, you will lose everything… maybe including your life.

But what about the children? Many of those killed were minors.
(Stammers.) Thats a collateral social problem. It becomes a collater collateral itself. Its not a question of crime anymore. Thats what makes things difficult. Well, that is another problem. I cannot answer that. (davaotoday.com)

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  • somewhere in U.S.A.

    well…it seem that..for him..its ok to kill ..his the mayor why can he create jobs for most of the people who are or if not most them are in below poverty level,as you know poverty creates crime…thats what people driven to crimes,what i see about him is that he create his own style of monarchy,like the king(sound like marcos)….the bill of right is guaranteed to every citizen to every people,that all men and women are created equal..and also those get killed by mistaken identity is that ,one of the reason not to press charge is that there scared….and here in philippines you gotta have lots of mone y to get justice….and if he frustrated to the law itself that doesnt mean not to follow it,you think davao is safe because his the mayor the answer is no instead he created a city in fear and scary…..I still believe the due process of the law…fair and honest government…and obeying the law is not a privilege its a duty to every citizen including the mayor,president,governor,everyone who understand the simple right or wrong….I just hope that someday the rule of law will preveil,and this nonsense killing without due process of the law will stop……peace out…

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  • Please ask the mayor of davao : What will the Mayor do to those big land owner(s) :that oppress the poor – by tearing down their huts illegally ,using hired goons, leaving helpless children without a roof , exposing them to rain and some children encountering fevers and the parents have no where to settle.Children cannot go to school, and their parents cannot find a job, at this time.
    How will he help the oppressed families in this case?
    Location: Buhangin,Davao City 8000,Philippines

  • Haon Alycome

    This killing when it happened to hardened criminal is a must instead of wasting court money and time.But killing children is not right.If Rody really is a good man he should gather all this children and rehabilitate them ,instead of paying this so called death squad for every head they cut.Why not established a a kind of boys town where you teach kids some kind of skill?Carpentry,electricity,etc.
    Drug pusher and supplier should be unmasked and every politician and military behind this should be wipe out instead of drug addicts(kids).Rody should know this guys,he is that kind of guy who knows everything when it comes to bad people.Right Rody.
    The death squad use knives now because they don’t want any ballistic to trace who owns the gun,etc.

  • sam

    its easy to criticise the mayor. Most of his talk is just threats but like any threat some times you have to make good. If he is so bad and ruthless why is he so widely loved in davao city. i live in Davao City and i have seen with my own eyes how the everyday person respects him. Many poor people seek him out to tell thier little problems to. He listens. He digs into his own pocket to give to the poor. i am a american and we have children in the states running around with automatic weapons. you people need to get real.
    sam

  • please reamin as a mayor!ur inddispensable!but if u must leave trein somebdy wd the same blood like u have!mybe ur son!

  • ibyang

    you people talk like as if you have been the reason why your place is already peaceful…

    have you ever been in the midst of gunfire?

    so what if the mayor speaks in the strongest form of words like “kill”
    it doesn’t mean he endorses them… if you have lived in Davao as a good citizen you would never ever think that he endorses killing whenever he says that… you’d feel safe… and like he said when you are a criminal, when you have done wrong, you might as well flee…

    if for any reason that the teens go haywire, i do not think it’s because of duterte… blame the media, blame the parents, blame hollywood promoting all these scenes even blame yourself!

  • ? m from Turkey and have been to Davao twice . Big welldone to the mayor. you guys got a big problem with your population .God bless all

  • buloy

    No matter what our opinion is “killing” is upfront WRONG! Duterte knows this in his heart . As we all say “Life is about choices” and that is his choice to lead this city . His method may be look like he’s saving the city from criminals but the truth about it is that he just want to sow fear in the mind of the people of davao for his personal gains. He is a diehard believer of Machiavelli who says “it is better to be feared than to be loved” . NO! he is not loved by the people of Davao , he is only feared . it’s only the media who pictures this guy as being loved . Ikaw ba naman bigyan ng monthly allowance to keep your mouth shut or print to make him pogi? or else you will end up like batman.

  • bugtook

    I never feared Mayor Duterte coz im not a criminal i love him coz of what he did in Davao city. Peace & order can be achieved if you will exterminate criminals. I don’t want to compare to other cities where i could not use my latest cellphone in the street texting my love one anytime, i couldn’t wear my bracelet, original Oakley and leave my car thinking of what happen next in the hands of carnapers. Guys out there have you seen this? Or you have just opposing coz one of your loveones killed by DDS coz he/she is a criminal.

  • frAnk Alipan

    Putang ina yang mga critics ni Mayor! I will be at all times in full support of my Idol, the Hon. Mayor Rody. He haS DONE A LOT OF GREAT THINGS THAT USHER TO THIS CITY’S ECONOMIC BOOM AND PEACE & ORDER STABILITY. THOSE WHO ARE CRITICIZING HIM, WHO ARE YOU TO DO THAT? WHAT ARE YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS CITY? DI BA WLA KAYONG NAGAWA? KAYA WAG KAYONG NGAWA NG NGAWA.. pUTANG INA KAYO! THE DAVAOEOS WILL NEVER ENTRUST DAVAO CITY TO ANYBODY BUT ONLY TO MAYOR RODY..

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  • I neither favor the mayor(DUTERTE) nor the victims but I gLadly be in favor of JUSTICE. I live in Davao City since birth,and for a very long time I often heard that issue of killings…and everyone had their own presumption and drawing out diffrent conclusion some are justifiable and others were not…BUT let me share this you that though “THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS” and never the means justify the end, still there are benefits taken out from it…It is better to sacrifice the lives of some innocent victims than to risks of everyone. It is not right to kill especially the innocent and young one and we better let the justice prevail but how can such Justice prevail…??? Everyone had their own stories in crying out for JUSTICE,..justice for the victims and the justice of those aggraveted by the victim prior to their death. Yes they are minor yet such fact does’t justify their acts. Minors nowadys are proned to most illegal activities for they are wrongly protected by the BILL created by pangilinan. In this case, if they are tolerated would they still be prohibited not to commit any crimes??? Their unjustifiable acts were largely protected with this idiot BILL for the justice cannot run through them….try to look at both sides…do not weigh more on the other, vice versa…everything that brought us better(incldg TECHNOLOGY) had their own risks and benefits.

  • JOEL

    FOR ME DUTERTE’S WAY IS VERY EFFECTIVE, NOW A DAYS U CAN ROAMING AROUND AROUND IN DOWNTOWN AREA EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WITHOUT WORRYING UR VALUABLE ITEMS LIKE CELLPHONE ETC., AND EVEN YOUR LIFE, BCOZ YOU CANT SEE ANY RUGBY BOYS OR BAD ELEMENTS IN THE STREETS.. UNLIKE BEFORE DE GUZMAN ADMIN. THERE ARE SO MANY SNATCHERS, ADDICTS, ROBBERIES.. U CAN FEEL FEAR WHEN YOU GO OUTSIDE IN THE STREETS..

    FOR ME GUSTO KO SI MAYOR RODY DUTERTE NA MAYOR DITO SA DAVAO HABANG BUHAY COZ SECURE AKO AT PAMILYA KO.

    MAYOR RODY DUTERTE FOR PRESIDENT!!!!

  • pwgrand

    I live in Davao and im a foreigner Joe.
    BEfore Davao i was inside the foreign legion..means i saw already bad things.
    Can anyone tell me pls how u want to controll the crime in Davao ? Its sad but it works only with afraid and every pinoy knows that. Remember how your city was before ?? remember that good.
    Yes what Duterte does with the DDS is maybe totally wrong. But i tell you guys again there is no other way to controll the crime otherwise you will have things like in manila. Or do you like that more? I say again its wrong to kill the childs etc!! BUT what you didnt say all these guys got a warning call or message to leave Davao.

  • ….i agree to the comment of ibyang….

  • leubas

    I was touched and moved by the love and admiration of the Davaoenos to Duterte, thats why we are praying and asking the good Lord to let him continue his effective leadership and administration of Davao city….may he continue to be their leader forever and ever!

  • Pinoy Bulls Fan

    Forever and ever in Davao so that he wont aspire for the presidency. is that what you mean? hahahaha!

    Yes, we dont need that lunatic as president!

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