Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte–The Fast Learner in the Exercise of Power

September 15, 2016

Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte–The Fast Learner in the Exercise of Power

by Dr KJ John

Image result for rodrigo duterte the punisher

AKA Digong

I am amused about the rise of the next newer global gunslinger called the President of the Philippines. He has therefore been labelled the ‘Trump of Asia’. But is force what we need in Asia?

With a history of being ‘a fighter for a good cause’, he has now risen to be the Philippine Official No 1. Rightly so, the people of the Philippines deserve more than they have got all these years. They are a good and hard-working people; and the only Catholic country of Asia. They should lead in the fight against bribery, corruption and drugs. Enter Rodrigo Duterte with that specific agenda.

But somehow, in my analysis of the Philippines, they were not bequeathed good and efficient public services infrastructure, as were British Malaysia and Singapore. The Philippines was an American colony. I will therefore let Wikipedia clarify this phenomenon called the Asian trump card:

“Rodrigo ‘Rody’ Roa Duterte (born March 28, 1945), also known as Digong, is a Filipino lawyer and politician who is the 16th president of the Philippines, in office since 2016. He is the first Mindanaoan to hold the office, and the fourth of Visayan descent.

“Duterte was among the longest-serving mayors in the Philippines and was mayor of Davao City, a highly urbanised city on Mindanao island, for seven terms, totalling more than 22 years. He has also served as vice-mayor and as congressman for the city.

“Nicknamed ‘The Punisher’ by Time, an alleged vigilante group called the Davao Death Squad has been tied to Duterte by human rights organisations and are responsible for the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers. Duterte has drawn criticism from various sources, particularly the press and the Philippine National Police leadership in the Benigno Aquino III government, which contest the effectiveness of his policies.”

Asian insecurity of self-image

Mahathir Mohamad with Shintaro Ishihara wrote a book called, ‘An Asia that can say no!’ The original thesis by a similar title, but about Japan, was co-authored by Ishihara and Akio Morita and called, ‘The Japan that can say NO!’ About the original book, Wikipedia wrote:

“‘The Japan That Can Say No: Why Japan Will Be First Among Equals’ (‘‘No’ to Ieru Nihon’) is a 1989 essay originally co-authored by Shintaro Ishihara, the then-minister of transport and leading LDP figure who would become governor of Tokyo (1999-2012); and Sony co-founder and chairperson Akio Morita, in the climate of Japan’s economic rise. It was famous for its critical examination of United States business practices, and for advocating Japan’s taking a more independent stance on many issues, from business to foreign affairs.

“The title refers to the authors’ vision – Ishihara’s in particular – of a Japanese government that is more than a mere ‘yes man’ to the United States. Many unauthorised translations were made and circulated in the United States. The authorised 1991 Simon & Schuster English translation by Frank Baldwin (out of print) did not include the essays by Morita. The book caused controversy in the United States, and Morita distanced himself from the book.”

Image result for Japan can say No --Shintaro Ishihara

Now, in ASEAN, exit Mahathir Mohamad and welcome Duterte of the Philippines as outspoken spokespersons for ASEAN countries. The Philippine president is simply learning to say NO; in almost the same way. While I do not think that President Duterte can yet equate himself to Dr Mahathir; both are fighters, as Dr Mahathir was side-lined by his own party but then rose to become its President, and only then ruled Malaysia for almost 22 years.

Mahathir’s  legacy was one of ‘forceful leadership’ but one cannot yet determine yet how history will record such successes. All developing countries need strong leadership in the early stages of growth and development. Frankly, a pure democracy with a multiplicity of voices is not good enough for early growth and development of all large systems. Discipline is key in the early stages.

Lee Kuan Yew– A Full Force Leader

Image result for Lee Kuan Yew on Leadership

Image result for Lee Kuan Yew on Leadership

Always Standing Up for Singapore

In early stages of development; all systems need more followers than leaders. Lee Kuan Yew was labelled many names but all clarified him as ‘a force-full leader’: this means he will use force to get his way, as and when needed. Such true leadership defines new directions for any new nation-state but often it is a boulder never seen before and therefore it is leading without a past to rely upon; in the language of white-water rafting.

Covey’s three-step model

Therefore I find Steven Covey’s leadership model as a good and credible internal growth and maturity model for all organic systems. I am not only talking about the ‘7 habits’ which is well-known but rather about his implicit underlying theory of human growth and development. His model builds the maturity dimension found in all human systems.

Image result for Covey’s three-step model

Covey states and argues that all human beings go through and grow through three levels of maturity.


The habits are designed, when you put them into practice, to help you mature as a person. This process of maturing is described below:

We all start out life as babies completely dependent on our parents or other person to take care of us. This is a state of weakness and powerlessness.

As we grow up we work to become independent, moving out of our parent’s home, earning money for ourselves, etc. A person at this level is able to do things for himself and does not need anyone else to survive.

The greatest human achievements come from people working at the third level, interdependence. This is when people work together to achieve a common goal, and is the level of maturity of many people in a mature society or organisation. This is how mankind has achieved things together that no single person could do alone. Interdependence is the state of human development of greatest maturity and power.

As we develop our character as people, we grow in each of the seven areas described by the seven habits. In this process we move up the chart from dependence to independence to interdependence.

Image result for rodrigo duterte quotes

No Time for Political Correctness in the Service of The People

I think the new President of the Philippines has learnt very quickly to mature and grow his character because international diplomacy is not simply about dealing with crooks and drug lords, but rather other heads of states who represent millions of citizens. All such character development includes a refined maturity in areas and arenas of personal insecurity.

14 thoughts on “Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte–The Fast Learner in the Exercise of Power

  1. President Dueterte has so far demonstrated,Power and Absolute Power does Not corrupt. It is man’s greed, character and indecency that abuses the people’s power and rights that corrupt and destruct absolutely.

    That is why, Malaysians, regardless of race, religion and political affiliations,must stand up and DEMAND answers, from these leaders and cronies,
    How they could have acquired such enormous UNEXPLAINED wealth in the Billion or Hundreds of millions in such a short lifetime while the majority are suffering,struggling to meet their ends???…and if failing to do so, send them to jail swiftly.

  2. Dato’ Din Merican,

    May I add- Man undergoes the life’s processes of dependence, independence, interdependence and finally becomes dependent.
    Or to put it another way, man as a child is weak, as an adult he is strong and finally at old age, he becomes weak again. There is a verse in the holy Quran to the effect.
    In the end we are all dead. Those who are arrogant, greedy and corrupt like Najib, Rosmah and their followers forget this reality. With all the money in the world she may have, Rosmah remains an ugly blob. Any disagreement on this? Life is full ot irony, CLF.–Din Merican

  3. Rodrigo? He’s a murderer. Perhaps even a serial, genocidal maniac. Go read up the news on the on-going Senate hearings.

    Do you really think he cares about the Filipino peasantry? Nah.., he just wants to look ‘Great’. After all he came from a powerful Cebuan-Visayan political dynasty. He is the epitome of a childish bully.. – like a lot of kids who don’t know Right, Center or Left. In fact PRC under Xi, is his natural ally.

    This bloke is no leader – he lacks integrity, morality, intellect, grace, diplomacy, creativity and empathy. All he knows is ‘hard power’, vigilante like – as if he’s suffering Priapism in Perpetuity! But since 39.1% of Pinoys voted for him, they deserve such a Filthy Immature Leadership.. I’m glad he kicked out the 107 US Special Forces personnel from Mindanao – not that they were of operational significance.

    Who are we to argue?

  4. Dato’ Din

    Your statement is in tandem with the true Muslim’s understanding of life- we live knowing that we will be returned to the Creator when we will have to answer for our deeds.

    The behaviour of the first lady of greed and the cakap tak serupa bikin mo1 (in the pattern of munafeqoon) do not reflect the Muslim concept of living to die (for death is the surest of all certainties).

    It defies logic for one to think that men’s worldly deeds need not be assessed in the afterlife. Only the foolish if not stupid have no qualms about committing sins especially if they are misdeeds of leaders that affect the well being of their rakyat, the rakyat’s children and grandchildren.

    I really wonder whether mo1 and his first lady of greed ever for one moment consider that like everybody else they too will “makan tanah” in the graveyard. They are not young anymore if they think time is sure to be on their side.

    The pm post is something that is not worth keeping if one is prepared to do whatever it takes without seriously considering the do’s and the dont’s spelt out in the holy Quran and Hadith.


  5. He won’t last long. Don’t bite the hand which feeds him: the Yankee hand. He thinks China will give him some favors. Forget it.

  6. Well, it’s his moment of glory. Let’s not spoil it. He’ll soon come to his senses and realise the carnage and damage he has, unwittingly, inflicted upon his country and people. Hopefully, it’s not too late.

    By the same token, Jibby and his cohorts would one day be rudely awaken from their “sapu duit” frenzy and come to terms with reality. Let’s hope by then the country and its citizenry are still on solid grounds.

  7. Fight crime the right way, like doctors cut in order to cure the serious drug problems in Philippines as Rodrigo Duterte’s approval rate soared to over 90% better than Putin.

  8. Quote:- “With all the money in the world she may have, Rosmah remains an ugly blob”

    Your outer self is a reflection of your inner state.

  9. Once you have power there is nothing to learn. You have got it all. Like alcohol the more you consume the more you want until such time it consumes you. The excercise of power without supervision no conscience is labour lost. However if one can excercise it without thinking of yourself then you have a fair chance of being successful. That is indeed a long short. In the meantime we have to excercise it without profiting from our own mistakes and that of others.

  10. “Fight crime the right way, like doctors cut in order to cure the serious drug problems..” wrongways.

    Hahaha.., what an dumb ass..!
    What anatomical part or deeds, do drs actually ‘cut’ (off?) in order to ‘cure’ drug problems?

    Puhleeze lah, if you have the cognitive abilities and mental dexterity of a blind termite, don’t spam this space. Your only claim to fame is producing CO2 and methane from your poor digestion of cellulose and a blog that ends with a ‘-stan’. Remain there in silence, for anywhere else, you will be shown up for the ignoramus and idiot that you really are.

    Yours sincerely, the Ku-Ku.

  11. We keep repeating the same thing. Oh, you cannot take it with you. Have we stopped to think that seven generations will live happily ever after because like your O – Level results it gets better and better the further you are away from the date you got it. To some extent money is also like that. You can have it in your pocket and still protest that you have none.

  12. The Lupus aka CLF…….I only know that Najib will win big in GE14. As for Duterte, what do you expect? If he can’t get help from USA, he will need to get help from China. Perhaps, Donnie can help.

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