PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte must be amused by the negative reactions to his   dismissal of Vice President Leni Robredo from his cabinet.  

In the first place, he was not eager to invite the vice president to join his administration. It was when they first met and he got captivated by Leni’s  charms that  he offered her a cabinet position.  

What really happened is that many LP leaders wanted to join the Duterte administration even before Digong took his oath.   

They were among those who went on a pilgrimage to Davao City to pay homage to the new messiah. Close to 100 LP solons in the House eagerly joined the supermajority and voted for Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker.  

The LP leaders must have been shell-shocked and disoriented by the phenomenal victory of the maverick Davao city mayor that the party practically folded up and dissolved after the elections.   

As the party with the most number of members in the House, it should have been the minority or opposition party in the Chamber and the logical fiscalizer of the administration.  

But most of its members opted to join the working coalition.   Only 8 were left behind. They were not even recognized as the legitimate minority in the House.  The supermajority installed a loyal opposition.

The bigwigs of the preceding ruling party have abdicated their leadership  and  their role as  the  rightful fiscalizer of the current dispensation. 

In democratic polity, a political opposition is indispensable.  If there is none, they should create one.

The leaders of the Liberal Party must regroup and reunite. They should d put themselves up as the opposition to and fiscalizer of the Duterte administration.   

The need for a credible fiscalizer and critic had become imperative in the light of the terrifying implications of some of the president’s controversial decisions.  

His order to bury the remains of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani has polarized the nation. 

He brushed aside and turned a deaf ear to the cries and anguish of thousands of families whose members were victims of the dictatorial regime. He forgot the colossal spectacle at Edsa which saw Marcos ousted in infamy and shame.

The President’s paradigm shift in foreign policy, his peace talks with the CPP-NPA and the atmosphere of fear created by his brutal war on drugs is getting too chilling and  very disturbing. 

If the President is hardly concerned with the mounting criticisms, it is perhaps because he still enjoys a high performance and trust rating.  But this is illusory and will dissipate once the people feel that their intelligence is being insulted.

His army of trollers, is losing its utility and importance.  Its relentless and profanity-laden demonizing of Dutertes critics is alienating decent citizens.  

Since their idol is now a sitting president, the trolls should be more reconciliatory and courteous rather than arrogant and pompous.  And now the critics of Digong are getting bolder and numerous.  

President Duterte should learn a lesson from his idol Ferdinand Marcos.  

For four years after he imposed martial rule, Marcos ruled the country by himself and alone. He abolished Congress and deliberately did not convene the interim Batasang  Pambansa or parliament as mandated by the 1972 Constitution.  He was ruling the country under a complete political vacuum. 

Awed by his brilliance, proud and enjoying the perks and privileges of their high positions, and eager to please their boss, the factotums of the martial law administration fed Marcos with honey-combed reports and hid from him the deteriorating conditions all over the nation.  

It was only when he realized that he was not being told the truth that he decided to convene the interim parliament and gradually dismantled the coercive apparatus of martial law.

President Duterte like Marcos is making decisions on his own and running the country by himself.  He is not listening to advices.  He is not consulting even his cabinet members. 

He is not bothered by congressional investigations into the extra judicial and summary killings of those involved in or hooked on drugs.   

Digong resents and brings down his ire on those who criticize him or disagree with his decisions. He has become intolerant and doesn’t want to be crossed.

If he persists on trusting only his instincts and self worth, he may find himself inundated by the serious and adverse implications of ill-conceived and wrong decisions.  

Like Marcos, he is being fawned upon and praised to high heavens by favour-seekers, sycophants and subalterns.

Sad that Duterte is squandering his opportunities to be a great president by being a hostage of his own ego.  

The people elected him president and continue to support his administration because he is perceived to be a leader of a different mold:  unorthodox, maverick, street-smart, irreverent, dependable and pugnacious. The electorate was convinced he will bring in genuine changes and reforms.   

Lee Kuan Yew became a respected and venerable leader of Singapore because he was wise and scrupulous. This is the leader Digong should emulate, not Marcos.