Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
Davao City Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has been featured in the news again lately and for the same reason – his fearless handling of criminals.
Then, as mayor, and now as vice-mayor, his mantra to criminals and more especially to drug lords has always been the same – if your intention of staying in Davao is evil, then get out of my realm fast or face serious consequences.
The last time Duterte was in the spotlight was a few months back when he made a swindler eat a piece of document for ripping off some innocent people of their hard earned money by selling them bogus land titles. This con man had a record of victimizing below-middle class workers hoping to own a land of their own. When asked by reporters what the suspected criminal was chewing, Duterte answered, ‘gum’, because the guy had bad breath.
This made me chuckled, appreciating Duterte’s wry sense of humor. In fact, this humor did not sit well with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), as if it bothered the dauntless city official at all.
Quipped one resident about this incident: “mabuti nga hindi siya binigyan ng appointment ni Vice-Mayor kay Lord. (Good thing he wasn’t given an appointment with the Lord by the Vice-Mayor.)”
Suspected car theft syndicate leader Ryan “Baktin” Yu
This time around, Duterte seems to be setting up an appointment with the Lord when he didn’t hide his displeasure and anger in announcing a bounty for the capture, dead or alive, of Ryan “Baktin” Yu, suspected leader of a car theft ring operating in Mindanao.
The enraged Duterte offered P2 million if Yu was brought to him alive; if dead, it’s double the amount.
“And if you can hand over to me his head, preserved in ice, I will shell out an additional P1 million in reward,” he said.
Apparently, Duterte got riled up by reports attempting to link Yu to his son, Paolo, current chair of the Association of Barangay Captains of the city.
Duterte said he received a call from Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas asking about reports that Paolo had brought in untaxed luxury vehicles, including a Hummer, through Yu. Duterte said he confronted his son, who denied the reports.
Yu, according to Duterte, is known to drop the names of local and national officials, using these as “gate pass” for his criminal activity. Yu is also known to have his photograph taken with politicians to pass off the pictures as proof of his influence, said Duterte.
The city has been having problems with car theft and when authorities, recently, searched a warehouse believed to be owned by Yu, they found at least 14 stolen cars from the area.
Duterte claims that Yu enjoys the support of authorities from the Bureau of Customs and the Land Transportation Office.
Other people may find Duterte tyrannical and opprobrious in dealing with criminals, but I don’t.
How I wish we have more provincial and city executives like Davao’s Duterte. In fact, how I wish he is made, and accepts the position of a crime czar for this country.
It takes a public official, like Duterte, to empathize with the victims or families of those victimized by criminals, regardless of the kind of crime committed, to understand how it feels to be at the receiving end of an offense, be it against property or person.
This is the kind of leadership we want in the province and in the cities. It is making the place safe and sound for every law abiding citizen to roam around without fear that danger is lurking somewhere.
Justice for the victims and their families from any atrocious act inflicted on them is worth fighting for. But letting justice take its normal course for criminals who have neither conscience nor qualm in prying at the vulnerabilities of people and doing them evil things deserve the poetic justice, Duterte-style.
Maintaining peace and order in the area is the best way to serve the people and is marked of a responsible leader.
Davao City residents are lucky to find a refuge in Rodrigo Duterte.