Duterte is a good shepherd to the eyes of many. He is called “Tatay Digong”. He is seen as a father figure with supreme power. One friend wrote me: “Tatay Digong is a very compassionate man. Do not believe what others say.” He is extremely popular and charismatic. The First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Survey, conducted from March 23-27, 2018, found 70% of adult Filipinos satisfied, 17% undecided, and 14% dissatisfied with President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s performance (SWS latest survey).
This Sunday, I ask: Is he really the savior we have been waiting for? I have been asking this for the last two years.
Jesus: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. And I lay down my life for the sheep.
Duterte: “I will ride a jet ski [to the Spratlys] while bringing the Philippine flag. I will plant the flag on the runway and tell the Chinese authorities, ‘Kill me.’” And it did not happen. But adopted a policy that almost sells out Philippines to China.
Duterte: ““I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful. The mayor should have been first. What a waste.” (Comment on the Australian missionary who was killed by prisoners in 1989).
Jesus: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”
Duterte: “When I said I’ll stop criminality, I’ll stop criminality. If I have to kill you, I will kill you. Yes, of course, I have to admit I have killed. Three month earlier on, I have killed, what, three people?” And it happened.
Jesus: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Duterte: “Forget the laws on human rights. If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I'd kill you, I'll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there.”
The Supreme Court commands the PNP to show all the data on the drug war: “This is a total of 20,322 deaths... an average of 39.46 death every day. This court wants to know why so many deaths happened.”
So, in the end, I continue to ask: Is he really the good shepherd we have been longing for or is he the thief?
St Vincent SchoolofTheology - Adamson University