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Tasking Duterte

After six years of an Aquino administration improving the economic gains made by his predecessor’s governance, it seems we’ve climbed out of the dark ages amid the Southeast Asian economic storm.

Peering into the future, progress will be dependent on the way the next administration will keep the country’s gains and cradle prospects for investment and trade.

Initial agreements with a number of insurgent groups and drawing them back to the peace negotiating table have begun.

Though efforts to harmoniously merge revolting ideologies have ran out of space in the final stages of PNoy’s term, still a new page with less hate and bloodstains await the next leadership.

All’s well, it seems, when President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III transfers power today to Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, the republic’s 16th president.

All’s well, we hope, when Duterte assumes power from the country’s only bachelor chief executive and fourth youngest person to be elected president.

If ever the outgoing administration ever hit a snag, it came more in the big, dark and hairy images of the crime boss from the underworld and the crook in government office in spite of its anti-corruption drive.

For this reason, a strong anti-crime and anti-graft and corruption policy must be nailed in place. Yes, Duterte promised this and many are confident he can fulfill it. There is no denying that he is a chief enforcer who knows his political will more than the size of his foot.

Grabbing the helm of PNoy’s superman cape of economic reforms were drug and smuggling lords, kidnap-for-ransom gangs, hired guns, large-scale fakers and racketeers… the list goes on.

The crime wave has shredded Aquino’s cape and many a time delivered heavy blows to the country’s trade and investment climate.

Firing Line expects the next president to wield an iron fist against criminal elements and deliver punishment under the Constitution which had long been imposed on convicts of the worst kind yet never executed.

He must have a firm hold on law enforcement agencies, whose habitual mistake is the improper handling of cases against criminal overlords subsequently leading to the dismissal of heavy charges leveled against them.

The same goes for the criminal justice system, which often operates unchecked from beneath the robes of judges and justices.

Finally, no Pare-Pare system, please. Anyway, through his campaign speeches, I measure Duterte as someone who is a buddy to all and in doing so he won’t hold one buddy’s interest – though ugly and oppressive – higher than the interest of the millions of buddies who voted for him.

Let’s give the new president his First 100 days in office to measure his successes and accomplishments.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)