Sensing that the 2016 presidential race is increasingly becoming a fight between Senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Jejomar Binay as of late recently launched attacks on the latter, questioning the mayor’s ability to fulfill his campaign promise of getting rid of crime and corruption within a timeframe of 3-6 months, and on the supposed links on extrajudicial killings, which the mayor repeatedly denies.
While Mayor Rody Duterte has expressed his denials that he has never been involved in any case of extrajudicial killings, he has stated that killing criminals must always remain within the rule of law, most especially in cases when the criminal offers a violent resistance or when the law-enforcer’s life is in danger.
Even as far as claiming that only the poor will get killed (as if he wanted to be the first casualty from the ruling class), and minors, women, and the elderly will also get killed based on mere suspicion (of course there is nothing to back up those claims).
May it be remembered that during the second presidential debates held in Cebu City last March 21, we have heard little from VP Binay on Mayor Duterte (except of course the “technical malversation” issue), even expressing admiration for the latter, now that we’re a month before we head to the polls, what’s with the sudden shift?
Well, we can say that it’s because of the surveys. The recent SWS survey conducted on March 30 says that Mayor Duterte and Sen. Poe are on a statistical tie, with 34% of those surveyed stating that they would vote for Poe and 31% said they would go for Duterte (Binay and Roxas tied at 17%), and an MBC-DZRH mock poll conducted on April 2 states that Mayor Duterte is the front-runner with 36% and Poe trailing at 28%, and One Cebu’s dumping of an alliance with UNA in favor of Duterte.
What has Mayor Duterte said so far as the recent Binay attacks are concerned? In an interview, he stated that a “criminal is a criminal, whether rich or poor.”
Now, what’s my take on this?
Why is he taking a big deal out of his hardline stance on crime while he cannot even answer simple questions regarding his bank accounts, overpriced projects, his family’s lavish lifestyle, and properties (and when being brought up, he cries foul just as when Duterte answered his allegations, stating they were “below the belt”. Who started it anyway?)
Will this affect his already poor showing with the majority of the electorate? And could we expect a tougher response from Mayor Duterte in the coming days? Let’s see.