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DU30 days

THIRTY days since he became president, Rodrigo Duterte has earned the trust of the people, 9 out of 10. Which explains why practically anything he says or does goes, the way he wants.

The 120,000 drug pushers and users who have surrendered make the most dramatic show of fear, compliance, and hope.

Imagine the lazy, crooked, waiting-to-be-bribed clerks in municipal and city halls, examiners in Customs and BIR being similarly afraid of presidential punishment!

In 30 days the “promdi” ex-mayor has learned to temper his language, act the diplomat, shown how he cannot say no to a lady. Tough, rough, minus the urbanity of his high office, he has changed the dress code and dropped the “Excellency” due his position while decreeing the extermination of the “Honorable” that lesser officials had once appropriated for themselves.

He has threatened to build more cemeteries while increasing the clientele of funeral parlors without necessarily improving their profits. He is a fatalist – “Babay na lang” – even if he believes in God, but not religion. Like his predecessor, he won’t stay a day longer in Malacañang.

Without lifting a finger or hiring an ad agency to create a slogan, his city is the latest investment magnet and travel destination of tourists and sycophants. Since voters picked the safety of Davao over the glitz of Makati, he has stuck to the folksy image of the village swain who doesn’t have to marry the mother of his child, whose pastimes include karaoke singing (his favorite songs being “Ikaw”, “You Raise Me Up”, “MacArthur Park”), who sleeps cocooned inside a mosquito net in an airconditioned room, whose comfort zone is anywhere but manic Manila, where his immense powers are centralized.

DU30 is quite the subject of legends (what?, letting Honeylet and Kitty slip out of the Palace to go malling sans security, or, can you believe, “imported” vigilantes volunteering to help Manila cops?). Deadly serious or stand-up-comedian funny, this macho willingly admits that he feels the sorrow and pain of victims: “We have to live with each other.” (Jullie Y. Daza)