If we are to investigate the role Rodrigo Roa Duterte has played and is playing to us as individuals and as a people, we are to probe without a speck of dust in our eye, we have to be honest and sincere with one another, and more importantly to ourselves. Go beyond our biases, beyond our politics. Probe deeper if we were to come face to face with the truth, and reflect the truth, as it is.

To inquire of Duterte’s relevance, we need to examine ourselves and remove the obstacles that have haunted our minds and tainted our sense of what is right and wrong. Only then can we be truly empowered to observe the idea that is Rodrigo Duterte with clarity of vision; only with clarity can we be truly honest to ourselves and to each other.

Rodrigo Duterte won in an election with the most number of votes. He represented hope where indifference and poverty have been prevalent. He represented a brand of leadership that was sincere. To others, he may be the wrong choice, but the people have spoken and the rest is history.

Duterte is the creation of the masses and the middle-class, and of the youth. Their passions and aspirations have carved for him the space and time to move and maneuver, to execute aggressive programs and decisions.

However, there is, as Duterte leads the nation onwards to a direction he deems best for the people, and as the political opposition crumbles severely, another group that shows its head and lends its voice to those who oppose him and his administration. This is the Intelligentsia. So called as it is in its character to oppose, to rebel, to fuel the fire of dissent. Individuals who believe they are members of the intelligentsia hold that their noble role in the society is to serve as the ‘fiscalizer’ – the word, unfortunately, does not exist in the dictionary.

To the intelligentsia, Duterte serves as the potent stage to display their individual intellectual and patriotic prowess, and dismember that which does not emit the mantra of protest. In other words, Duterte has become the confirming ingredient in their imagined role as the (non-existent) fiscalizer.

For the many who remain with him – not only because of his successes, but despite his failures even – Duterte is that all-too-human figure who simply wants to deliver what he deems best for the people the best way he can.

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