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Nonoy Perdon – LINGUA FRANCA –

DDS supporters during Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Cayetano’s visit

It is paradoxical that the administration party in the Philippines the PDP Laban has no front runner in the 2022 election.

PDP Laban once rose to be a super-majority in the Philippine Congress riding on the popularity of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Minions of PDP Laban found supporters once roam the land,  dominating many political conversations in the country.  PDP Laban  established a short of political ideology which advanced Duterte’s policies but strained and tested a number of established democratic institutions.

A strong base of support which buttressed Duterte’s standing in public opinion were the so-called Duterte Die Hards or DDH.

Indeed the popularity of Duterte was embedded in grassroots support. Through social media, a rank of involved and sometimes passionate followers defended Duterte’s unconventional initiatives including the so-called war on drugs which killed thousands of suspected drug traffickers.

The DDS ideology supported President Duterte’s unconventional attacks on democratic institutions. For a time, they have popular following: DDS justified many of President Duterte’s legal maneuverings. Among them were the imprisonment of   Senator Leila de Lima, the ousting of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and many lies against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In 2018  an official delegation of Philippine government officials  led by then Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Trade and Investment Secretary Ramon Lopez visited Sydney. A large group of newly arrived Filipino migrants and Overseas Filipino Workers gravitated into a DDS  core of supporters who prided themselves with the  characteristic Duterte fist bump.

Some of them even turned up later in Malacanang in Manila to receive awards. Back in Sydney they later form a core of  Duterte supporters ready to confront oppositions in public debate,

Recently, with Duterte’s term drawing to a close,  what happen now to this potent force of supporters.

Dutertism is on the wane.

Duterte administration now has no direct face who will promote  administration goals in the 2022 election. Duterte’s daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte refused his father’s blessing as PDP stalwart. She instead decided to slide down as Vice Presidential candidate in tandem with political ally and presidential aspirant Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Duterte’s trusted lieutenants Senator Christopher “Bong” Go and Bato dela Rosa had withdrawn their presidential ambitions.

Suddenly, a partisan  group such as the DDS  is without a revered leader  to help perpetuate their beliefs beyond the 2022 election.

The problem with Dutertism, said one Manila political commentator is that it is found on a sinking sand of a political cultism.

Through streaks of authoritarianism, it  promised  a bright future which appealed to many for a time. But failed in due time.