It would be interesting to see if what has been labelled the rape joke of Duterte will affect his big for the Presidency. Already in Social Media there has been an outpouring of opinions that come from unsurprisingly irate voters from all sides. And the teams from the other candidates have been busier than hornets stinging Duterte and his followers. Agsin it will be interesting to see if this will spell doom for the Duterte bid. But lets put this aside for now and try to ask some questions.
First, there is no excuse for a joke about rape but what was more disturbing the joke or the reaction of the audience every time it was said. And given it was said repeatedly over the years that it only caught the attention now just in time to address the surge of Duterte in the poll?
Second, There is no doubt Duterte must be called on this and there is also no doubt that voters may drop him because of this. But does this mean we forget other sins of the other candidates like corruption and incompetence.? Corruption that stole the tax payers monet and the incompetence that led to the traffic from Hell, Trains that behave like rocket ships, brown-outs, Yolanda, the HK bus tragedy, Mamasapano and Kidapawan (to name a few)?
Third, True Duterte may be ill-bred and uncouth, he will cause more social boo-boos and outrage people. Does it mean we also forget the corruption, incompetence, hubris and conspiracy to spin/and cover it up as well if the other candidates are well-bred?
Fourth, Duterte is a self-proclaimed strong man ; A man who gets the job done and this reputation does not sit well with a number of people. But why does it sit well with others? Is it because of the perception that crime is rampant and the government has gone flaccid and dysfunctional i.e. impotent ? A Senate hearing nor a pr gimmick cannot stop a perceived crime wave and neglect of he people
Fifth, Duterte is from Mindanao and not part of political families lording for years at the national level. Does this scare those entrenched and used to playing a rigodon each time an election comes? Is this a vote of anger coming from outside Manila and within?
Sixth, Talking about morality. In this contest when morality issue is thrown around, rather liberally, it comes to mind of the kettle calling the pot black: (i) Government officials and civil servants unabashedly campaigning for a candidate as if their lives deepen on it; (ii) The use of government resources to aid a certain candidates; (iii) Buying opinion to create an illusion of a movement?
Seventh, The amusing way the other candidates and their supporters are caning Duterte serves two purposes (i) to chip at Duterte’s numbers and (ii) transfer these votes to their candidates. But who can predict where the exodus of votes will go? In the end they might go to another candidate they equally hate.
In the end Dutarte did created the controversy he is in. He needs to be schooled and he needs to learn he has lost support because of this. But do not forget there are candidates out there who are guilty of other crimes – equally abhorrent and anathema. And they must also be taught a lesson come election day.