The killing of a woman, whose body was recently found in a plastic drum floating in a river in Metro Manila, provides a graphic explanation on why tough-talking Presidential frontrunner Rody Duterte is now the top choice of Filipino voters with less than a month to go before the elections.
The involvement of policemen, led by a police lieutenant, in the killing of the woman identified as Aurora Lazatin and the subsequent theft of her money through ATM withdrawals has resulted in a feeling of helplessness among ordinary citizens.
The sense of helplessness and the anger of the people have led them to look at the man once called by Time magazine as “The Punisher” as the answer to the problems of drugs, criminality and corruption.
From the day the stories about how Duterte successfully handled the campaign against drugs and criminality in his city started spreading nation-wide by word of mouth, interest of people on the Davao City mayor heightened.
In fact, a close look at the ratings of Duterte in the different pre-election surveys would show a continuing increase in his popularity owing to his consistent message of how he would handle drugs, corruption and crime.
With less than a month to go before people choose the next President of the country, Duterte has succeeded in delivering a clear message which people could relate to events happening around them.
Every time the media report incidences of the rape of young girls by drug addicts, the robbery and rape of helpless victims inside taxicabs, killings and corruption, Duterte’s popularity surges.
His political opponents have realised a bit too late that Duterte was delivering a message which people understood.
Independent candidate Grace Poe Llamanzares whose popularity has plummeted in spite of a favourable ruling by the Supreme Court on her citizenship and residency issues, has attempted to change gear in her campaign by copying Duterte’s message in her latest public speeches.
Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas III have adopted a different tact by attacking Duterte’s alleged human rights record and his strong-handed approach in solving crime and drugs.
It is a bit too late for them.
Besides, every time they attack Duterte’s methods in addressing crime and drugs, they only further emphasise one thing – the Davao City Mayor has a proven track record and they don’t.
Poe’s “Galing at Puso,” Binay’s “Nognog at Pandak,” and Roxas “Daang Matuwid” message failed to address the fear and feeling of helplessness of the Filipino people.
No amount of attack on Duterte would help boost their ratings anymore.
The Filipino people have found a champion and his name is Rodrigo Duterte.