Duterte, the last hope, now a cult
RONY Tobias, a shy, smiling breadmaker, will never be caught wondering about the phenomenal support and adulation the controversial presidential race frontrunner Rodrigo Duterte continues to draw despite hysterical and breathless bombardment from opponents, led by President Aquino himself.
Tobias called up early Friday to ask whether or not Malacañang has ordered for diggings around the Luneta park, where Duterte was scheduled to show up on stage for yesterday’s grand rally, miting de avance, that was expected to draw mammoth attendance. (“Boss, kinakalkal yata yung lupa sa Luneta, akala nila mapipigil pagpunta ng mga tao ni Sir Digong.”)
Also on Friday, my friend Bebs Alvarez, prized television sports program director, reported that Duterte supporters from as far as North Cotabato had started their land trek, via the national highway, expecting to hit Zero Km. in time for the grand rally.
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Objective observers both here and abroad continued to be astonished by the phenomenal groundswell of support for Duterte.
As early as two weeks back, my kumpadre Nandy Charvet, well-admired civic leader in Mandaluyong City, said it would be just a matter of days before Duterte would claim victory.
Nandy, batting for Anthony Suva, lead vice mayoralty aspirant in Mandaluyong, swore that Duterte has remained unshaken due to a charm spiritually assigned on him by believers who desperately cry for change.
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Charvet, citing one seasoned successful politician in the city, swore Duterte is no longer a mere candidate.
Duterte has become a cult.
It’s no exaggeration, Charvet said, to liken the devotion for Duterte to the fanatical faith basketball fans have lavished on the dear old Barangay Ginebra team of Robert Jaworski.
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It won’t be easy to explain. All Rony Tobias remembers was getting up early some five months back to look for a cardboard and make a small poster for Duterte, using an old pentel pen. He plastered the makeshift poster on his rundown motorbike, to show all over town.
Tobias later saved something like P4,000 from his bakery earnings and personally delivered this as contribution to the Duterte campaign fund in its headquarters off Boni Avenue.
Tobias refused to give his full name and address to the desk secretary, who said they would be needing it for future reference.
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There are countless other Duterte devotees like Tobias all over the country.
“Siya na lang talaga huling pag-asa natin,” Tobias explained.
He said there’s no way poor Filipinos—workers, farmers, fishers, diggers, scavengers, etc.—can let this last bullet misfire or miss.
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