An open letter to President Duterte


FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao

Dear Mr. President,
At the outset I must confess that I did not vote for you in the elections of 2016. I voted for Mar Roxas because at that time I found him to be the most capable of running our country owing to his integrity and experience as a public servant.

But after you won I, along with millions of Cebuanos like me, cheered when you announced your program of government particularly in your desire to rid the country of drugs and end corruption in government.

After five years in office, there are still drugs and corrupt officials around. But you ask any neighborhood and they would tell you that they are safer now because most, if not all, of the drug addicts and pushers in their localities are gone. Some of them must have become the collateral damage to your anti-drug war and some have been sent to rehabilitation centers.

That you have consistently got high trust ratings in surveys is a testament to the effectiveness of your anti-drug campaign. Of course, the drug problem will continue to be problem simply because it is a scourge in society. Even in the United States, the world’s richest country, the proliferation and consumption of drugs is getting worse.

In going after corrupt officials, you have not done badly. Recently a former chief of the Philippine National Police and two immigration lawyers have been convicted by the Sandiganbayan. And cases of plunder have been filed against corrupt officials of PhilHealth.

In world affairs, you have done well. To your detractors, and the are many, they consider your appeasement policy towards China as treason. But I, and I am sure the millions of your kababayans, think that you are doing the right thing simply because to do otherwise would mean war and that is what you have been avoiding.

In the economy, before the pandemic we had averaged from 6 percent to 7 percent GDP growth which was second only to China. But this has been wiped out by the pandemic. Hopefully with the massive vaccine rollout that you have ordered, we would soon be able to revive our economy and this will be another feather in your cap.

Mr. President, I am writing this letter not because I want to ingratiate myself to you or to massage your ego. I am just saying that for the past five years, you have done your part and I am confident that despite the criticisms against you, you will be judged fairly by history.

But as a citizen and fellow Cebuano, I have to warn you not to heed the call of the sycophants and carpet-baggers in your party, the PDP-Laban, who are trying to convince you to run for vice president in next year’s election. This is a trap laid by your own supporters who are selfish and mindful only of their own interests. Instead you should campaign for your daughter, Mayor Inday Sara, to succeed you as president.

Mr. President, may I just remind you of what former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said: “The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

And it is time for you, Mr. President, to keep your promise that you would retire after the end of your term, perhaps to write your memoirs in Davao City and play with your apos.

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