As the whole country counts down to May 9, we face the strongest of possibilities that Duterte will be our next president and what that will mean for our country’s future.
If Duterte wins the election, his victory will be brought about by millions of Filipinos fed up with corruption at all levels of our society, and frustrated that the gains of the Aquino administration do not translate into their improved welfare and safety. The Duterte vote is the voice of angry Filipinos.
Minus the verbosity, Duterte represents radical change. If he is not sucked into the rotten patronage system as most of our politicians are, or assassinated, he may hasten the implosion which is already in progress, evident in the Duterte phenomenon itself and in the discrediting of so many of our institutions, from the Supreme Court to our churches to Congress.
How he enforces change will determine his success. In which case he must have the total support of our Armed Forces, just as Magsaysay did, if he is to destroy corruption, dismantle the oligarchy and the provincial warlords, resolve the Communist and Moro rebellions, and strengthen the Philippines’ position against China.
For all its weaknesses, the Armed Forces is organized and disciplined, and is composed of patriotic and principled Filipinos. They will die for our poor country yet are often little appreciated by the people themselves.
I have seen from the many times I have spoken with them that our Armed Forces have learned from its martial law experience. They can halt the disintegration of this nation.
Philippine National Artist for Literature F. Sionil José
April 27, 2016