Why Duterte will win the war on drugs

The war on drugs has come to a halt. The Philippine National Police (PNP) is undergoing internal ranks cleansing because of the killing of a South Korean businessman by rogue police officers. The odds are not for Duterte, but at the end, he will win.

Editorial

The opposition is in full attack mode

The opposition has gained momentum and is unleashing their arsenal to unseat President Duterte. They know that time is on their side. The war on drugs is currently on hold, and Vice-President Robredo is getting more comfortable as the leader of the opposition.

Duterte has tapped the military to assist in the drug war, but its role is not yet well defined. It is also busy fighting the Abu Sayaff and other terrorist groups.

The church is rallying the faithful to stand up against Duterte’s war on drugs and the highly debated death penalty bill. Senator Trillianes is rehashing accusations of Duterte’s hidden billion peso wealth and reviving the mythical Duterte’s Davao Death Squad. Internationally, former Colombian President Gaviria appeals to Duterte to avoid his mistake of taking a violent stance on drugs.

With everything going for the opposition, how will Duterte be the last guy standing?

There are no grounds for impeaching Duterte

For starters, whatever criticism the opposition is hurling against Duterte is not valid for impeachment. Impeachment can only be by culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.

How can going after criminals be a betrayal of public trust? Duterte enjoys massive support on the ground, and he knows how to tap into the minds of the 16 million strong Filipino supporters who voted for him.

He also has a strong political coalition in the House of the Representatives, so an impeachment bill will not prosper.

Duterte has political will unlike predecessors

He will make sure that the PNP ranks be cleansed as soon as possible so that the war on drugs can resume. Even if the war on drugs is paused for a year to ensure a credible PNP, they will make up for the lost time after it.

Since the death penalty is a priority bill, there is a good chance it will be in place already when the PNP ranks are clean already. Both the PNP and the death penalty will be his primary weapons to ensure a victory in this war on drugs. With his strong coalition in the House of Representatives, there will only be some resistance for the bill in the Senate, but eventually, it will become law.

The opposition remains weak

Despite momentum on their side, Duterte’s loudest critic, Senator Leila de Lima will soon to be behind bars. Vice President Robredo remains distracted with Marcos’s contention over the election results. The crowd that the Catholic Church summoned in its latest rally is not enough to topple a popular president. The same voices are criticising Duterte. There are no defections from Duterte’s camp. There is no damning evidence to make his staunchest allies switch camps.

Foreign intervention is unlikely

Senator de Lima herself has admitted in an interview with Guardian that foreign intervention was the only hope of putting an end to the “state-inspired” judicial killings. While international criticism continues to pour in against Duterte’s war on drugs, there are no signs of an impending probe by the International Criminal Court.

The signs are still clearly for Duterte winning the war on drugs.