The Davao City Mayor may not have said “Make my Day” just as Clint Eastwood did in the film “Dirty Harry” but he might as well have uttered the very same phrase for every killing that happened in the southern city of the Philippines. Indeed, Mayor Rudy Duterte who is now running for president has become judge, jury and executioner of drug criminals and has claimed the city that he rules as “drug-free.” Last December, in a “no holds barred”, face-to-face encounter, Mayor Rudy Duterte dropped by the penthouse suites of the DMG building in Mandaluyong to a waiting assembly of concerned citizens, business leaders, and no-nonsense journalists. He made himself available to any and all queries about his record, his qualifications, and his vision.
He actually, openly, and for the record admits ‘putting away’ criminals and undesirables.
He was quick to qualify this admission: only repeat drug dealers or habitual criminals, and only after clear warnings and ultimatums. And he was emphatic in reminding his audience of the success and practicality of this deterrence: “Davao City is drug free, and law abiding.”
According to a Manila newspaper, he has been successful in local and regional politics because “he has bridged the gap between Muslims and Christians with his personal brand of Federalism.”
He displays a practical understanding of the Muslim problem. He says that the national government has no integrated will to be fair to everyone in Mindanao. The region never gets its fair share of the budget, in proportion to the revenues it generates for the government. He sees a strong Federalist approach as the key to a lasting peace, with palpable respect for local autonomy.
It has been reported that Duterte has been mayor of Davao for almost 30 years now. He has his share of campaign anecdotes, caucus give and takes, seasoned reflexes to audience reactions, as well as the fact that this is a formidable, if not insurmountable lode of experience to a gifted, clever, and lifelong candidate determined to get as far as he can with whatever means he finds that works inevitably for his purposes.
He said that an iron hand on corruption can deliver the funds to pay workers to enable them the lifestyles they strive for. The key to attaining this is preventing the debilitating plunder of taxes and allocation, and workers actually benefitting from the lawful and equitable tax collections and disbursements.
Duterte thinks there are too many generals in the Philippine Armed Forces. He has no patience for lifestyle checks. A two-year congressman or BIR collector with no substantiated prior earnings, who suddenly drives around in bright, new Land Cruisers is all the lifestyle check he needs.