Can you embrace the poor and the sick?
This question, according to Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, is the question that has guided him through the years of his political life to explain the reason why he is popular.
In the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN on Sunday, Duterte said the question was first thrown by his father, the late undivided Davao Governor Vicente Duterte, at him and the other Duterte children when they started toying with the idea of entering politics.
The late Duterte, who died in 1988, was widely-known for his pro-poor image, a legacy that Duterte, and now Mayor Sara Duterte, his daughter, continues.
It is sincerity to serve the people that counts, he said.
In a recent popularity survey by the University of Mindanao Institute of Popular Opinion (IPO), Mayor Duterte and the vice mayor netted similar ratings of 99.4 percent. First District Congressman Karlo Nograles got the same score.
But in the trust survey, the Dutertes got 98.8 percent against Nograles’ 94.1 %.
Duterte said the popularity rating was natural to come, public officials being “popular” for being the “face of governance.”
In the program, he spelled out barometers for political success and public acceptability: loyalty to the country, honesty, dedication to public service and sincerity.
And then took a minute to hurl a broadside at a Davao City ‘congressman’ whom he said lacked the elements to explain why he lost in several mayoral elections.
In an edition of the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa two Sundays ago, Duterte said former Speaker Prospero Nograles suffered three defeats in his bid to become city mayor for his lack of connect to the poor.
Nograles has a rich man’s image. Anak-mayaman, he said. He brags about being No. 2 in the bar exams, about being the No. 4 most powerful man in the country (as House Speaker), but he always lost in the mayoral race, said Duterte.
Nograles has lost three times in his bid for the top city post: in 1992 to Duterte, in 1998 to Duterte’s then political ally in 1998, and in the 2010 elections to Mayor Sara Duterte, who defeated him with a vote margin of more than 220,00 votes.