This post was incited by an online post that a fellow Christian made, and at this point I knew that I had to say something. This is an effort to correct in love, as Paul advised in Galatians 6:1 and 2 Thessolonians 3:15.
As a Filipino and as a Christian, I really, REALLY DO NOT want Duterte to win (the possibility worries me, since he seems to have a good chance of winning, according to recent polls).
First, he’s proud and ignorant. He makes promises he can’t keep (it is not possible to clean up a government in a matter of six months). He is ignorant of policy and the truth (or at least, he doesn’t show he knows policy and law in the debates or his campaigns. I know he served in executive, legislative and judiciary, but the fact that he isn’t showing his knowledge in these fields proves something about his attitude towards them regarding their importance in government procedures. And he hasn’t said ANYTHING concrete about what he plans to do once in his position, aside from slay all the wrongdoers. And he is closed to whatever other truth might come to light, i.e. lack of due process, his ignorance about Mar’s Wharton degree).
He has shown a great level of indecision (as seen in how he keeps promising things and then changing his mind when he was filing for candidacy. When he finally made the absolutely final decision, his reason was so that Grace Poe wouldn’t win. Now in the footage before the second debate aired, we see him sweet-talking her. His conviction isn’t just flawed, it’s inconsistent and flimsy).
Furthermore, he has no respect for women (as seen in the images of him kissing female supporters), and does not honor the sanctity of marriage (he even said he’d bring both his wife and his girlfriend to Malacanang).
But worst of all, he is a murderer, and unashamed of it. He ignores due process. He is without mercy and does not see the capacity of a human being for transformation.
It bothers me that there are so many Filipinos, even Christians, especially some I really look up to, who, despite all these terrible things, in full love for their country, still support this mayor. A mayor who has monopolized a city for two decades, a city which was only VOTED safest city on a non-prestigious site (Anyone could vote for this, and we don’t know the criteria used. And another thing is, people outside of Davao were ignorant of his administration until the “world” recognized us; the funny thing about Filipinos is that we only ever appreciate something about ourselves once a foreigner approves of it).
People believe that what he did in Davao, he can replicate on a national scale. But doing good in one city does not mean that you have the capacity to change an entire nation (much less in six months. He’s been in Davao for 20 years and things still aren’t perfect. It had the 4th highest crime rating in 2014). Didn’t we trust Binay because of what he did in Makati? And there’s proof that he doesn’t know what he’s doing as VP. Duterte is not a thief, but the result will be the same – he won’t know what he’s doing, either. I think Duterte means well – I vouch for the purity and intensity of his intentions. He’s not out there for power or money. I think he genuinely wants to do everything he can to help the Filipino people. But he will fail as a president, because the system does not work the way he’s used to it working. The Philippines is not Davao – the culture is more diverse, the needs are greater, more widespread, and more varied. And the president is not a mayor – the responsibilities are not the same, and the processes are not the same.
Then people would be so disappointed – either because he failed to deliver his full platform within his promised time period or from the suppression of freedom that they feel – and there’d be rallies and disorder. And Duterte being Duterte, he will react by killing off those who oppose his administration.
That’s what vigilante justice is going to end up looking like on a national scale. Isn’t this what he promised, to cut off anyone who comes in his way? Knowing his pride, he’d probably stick to it when things go awry. Slippery slope, maybe? But if you’ve seen how things can go viral, how people can be lit up aflame in excitement, how society can be overturned in a day, then I think you can say I have all the right to fear this.
Returning to Christians being avid supporters of Duterte – they’re entitled to their own opinions, sure, but I really don’t think Duterte should be given the Christian vote for the myriad of reasons I mentioned above (not to mention Duterte even badmouthed the pope in an unnecessary way, which I think shows how little reverence he has for spiritual figures, and perhaps even for God). It’s not something to be advocated. Yet I see these Christians posting Duterte support posts on Facebook. And I’m just like, is this consistent at all with Biblical teaching?
“Thou shalt not murder.” Exodus 20:13
“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14
“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
There are a million other itty bitty verses and character traits I could nitpick on, but let’s stick with those monumental three. And here’s the biggest question of all: where is the mercy? Isn’t that what we are supposed to preach above everything else? Where is the love? We were saved by grace. We were supposed to suffer and die. THAT’S what we deserve, just as much as all the drug dealers and criminals deserve (Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”). But no. Our debt was cancelled. We have been made new. I can’t even begin to reference all the verses that teach this. This is the foundation of our faith.
Are we going to be like the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35? We were given grace, and we should give grace. To do otherwise is to slap away the merciful hand of God when he reached out to us.
The Bible is clear. There is absolutely NOTHING in Duterte that a Christian should find attractive.
But this is what Christians are espousing, and this is what their followers and those in their spheres of influence see. Some people look up to them and rely on them for wise counsel and guidance. Is this really what our Christian brothers and sisters are going to teach them? To honor a murderer by giving him the highest position in the land? To call a man who cheats on his wife without remorse a man of integrity, even when he is unopen to the idea of divorce in the Philippines as seen in the debate last Sunday?
None of the presidential candidates lead quite like Christ leads, granted. Even the person I’m voting for, Mar, doesn’t. But Duterte’s behavior and morals are unacceptable in the Christian community, and I cannot believe that there are even Christian pastors who vouch for him. We are to involve Christ’s love in all that we do, even politics. Even non-believers can see the perils of his possible presidency and the fault of his character, why can’t we?