The left and right controversies involving President Rodrigo Duterte’s, during the campaigns and now, are intentional and therefore part of his strategy to win the presidency and later to sustain himself as a populist president at this early juncture of his administration. This is not spontaneous. This is orchestrated and planned. He is intelligent, they say, therefore all his actions and words are expected to be calculated.
The first 3 months of any sitting president rest on shaky ground due to criticisms he gets from international community on many issues and concerns foremost of which is his fight against drugs and criminality including his questionable diplomatic policies and his lieutenants’ paranoia over the imminent taking over of what his fanatical supporters refer to as “Yellowtards”. The traditional politicians inside PDP Laban too cannot be trusted. He and those around him who are not party members know that PDP Laban’s ultimate agenda is to gain party advantage and get the majority of the political seats come 2019 onward and put into effect its party line all over the land and pave the way for Koko Pimentel’s presidency after Duterte’s term. The president’s allegiance to his party, aside from the push for Federalism and issues rooted in socialism, is rickety too. Likewise his alliance with the Left which vows to continue their parliamentary struggle specifically those issues incorporated in the People’s Agenda for Change. It is not far-fetched to assume that in the future, these groups will ultimately clash over their opposing principles, issues and advocacies.
Since this administration rests on shaky ground, it needs a mass base that will continue to be attached or relate to, and believe in everything he will say or do. There is no need of ideology or political principles to unite them. Intrigues and rumors are sufficient to band together, say, the internet warriors, and gain grounds. The cyberspace as it was proven during the campaign period is the most bankable and they have to sustain it. The internet is still the best weapon for this connectivity as long the crisis they have projected since day one, which is drugs and criminality, is highlighted by way of controversial statements or any form of verbal stunts to get the attention of the public and the whole world no matter what would be the outcome. Bad publicity, as we say, is publicity still.
Constant media projection will keep you always on the limelight, hence, evading isolation and ultimately test the level of fanaticism of your followers. He needs a group of people who would rally behind him, fair or square, by hook or by crook, in sickness and in health, so to speak. This is a gamble for you might gain more enemies than friends, critics than followers. But that would be easy for an instant apology or rejoinder could patch them up later anyway. Or lambast the journalists for quoting you out of context and throw them all the faults to the fullest. The call of the day is to be consistent with sprinkling garbage juices and let the deodorizers do their things later. What are important at this early point is to coagulate their connectivity to the masses. So every time you face the camera and the scribes, be quotable, and do not think of the consequences. Just connect to the people who thirst for trash no matter what. Their day would not be complete without it, like the telenovela.
Majority of the Filipinos have penchants for tough and rough leaders because they are tough and rough citizens themselves. We are generally tough and rough as bullies in school and over the net, we are tough and rough as public servants involved in corrupt practices, we are tough and rough as religious leaders baptized with hypocrisy, we are tough and rough citizens who do not follow rules and order. Therefore, we want the toughest and the roughest to continue to lead and represent us!
Having such a mass base or a people’s movement, formal or informal, is necessary under this condition. If you are lucky, this will assure political stability in the process until such time that this wide mass movement gain credibility and power over another groups or individuals (specially the butterflies and the turncoats) around him that cannot be trusted until this movement get the needed power to lay compromises and to assert them.
Controversy is significant than plain and simple reporting of your achievements if you want to be always connected with the people. If President Duterte would stop making controversial statements, what would he feed to his social media machine? How could his army of on-line warriors survive without such controversies? It is a waste of time to advise him to watch his language or keep quiet. No mortal could stop him now. Not even the roof of a car. Besides, the president is just speaking his mind, just being our president and being true to himself like what we are told.
Well, positively put, controversies are part of the process of knowing. Controversy can be a beneficial and commanding tool to promote learning. Needless to say, controversy is a double-edged sword. The attention we get from it may hurt us but apparently that is what the new breed of Filipinos want: to get hurt as a nation and to hurt each other as citizens…
(Photo: Stripes. Com)