As a Christian, I believed that supporting a self-confessed murderer was against the Christian way of life. But in 2016, I was one of the millions of Christians who voted for Rodrigo Duterte as president of the Philippines. I was also happy to learn that 7,000 pastors had endorsed him, comparing him to biblical leaders like Moses and Nehemiah.
Saint Michael Vanquishing Satan, by Raphael (1483–1520). Wikipedia public domain.
What made me choose Duterte? Here are four reasons:
1 I was fed up with the rampant crime and the slow judicial system. I felt insecure and vulnerable in my own country. I wanted a quick and decisive solution, and Duterte seemed to offer that. He was known for his extra-judicial approach to dealing with suspected or convicted criminals in his hometown Davao City. He promised to end crime in the entire country in three to six months, and I believed him.
I knew it was an impossible promise, but I was desperate for change. I thought that Duterte was not perfect, but God was with him and God would make it happen.
2 I saw God as the Old Testament God, the God who destroyed the wicked with floods, plagues, and wars. The God who commanded his chosen people to slay their enemies, including women and children. The God who would not tolerate evil and injustice. This was the God who would help Duterte eliminate the drug lords and other criminals in the land.
3 I was also influenced by a Facebook message about how God can use imperfect people for his purposes:
Jacob was a cheater. Peter had a temper. David had an affair. Noah was a drunk. Jonah ran from God. Paul was a murderer. Gideon was insecure. Miriam was a gossiper. Martha was a worrier. Thomas was a doubter. Sarah was impatient. Elijah was moody. Mary Magdalene was a hooker. Moses stuttered. Zacchaeus was short. Abraham was old. And Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called! Repost if you know you are not perfect but God has a plan for you anyway. Amen.
The message appealed to me because it made me feel that God could use anyone, even someone like Duterte, to accomplish his will. It made me overlook his flaws and focus on his strengths. It made me think that he was God's chosen commander-in-chief who would erase crime and corruption in the Philippines.
4 Many people criticized Duterte for violating the Philippine Constitution and human rights when he was mayor of Davao City, but I did not care much about the Constitution, except for the preamble: “We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God … do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”
To me, this meant that God was above the Constitution. God was superior to human laws. In fact, God created all governments in the world including the national and local governments of the Philippines, and the local government of Davao City. According to Paul in Romans 13, New International Version:
Submission to Governing Authorities
1Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
So, God could unleash his angel of death anytime he saw fit, to cleanse the world and restore order.
The death squad of Davao that Duterte organized, being under the God-established government, was an instrument of God. The members of the squad were judges and executioners. There was no need for them to follow human laws when the Chosen One gave them orders.
Therefore, these were the reasons I voted for Duterte in the 2016 election -- the same reasons I chose Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos for president and Sara Duterte for vice president in 2022.
Bongbong is a liar. He claimed to have graduated from the University of Oxford and built the Bangui Wind Farm. Sara is under scrutiny for spending P125 million of secret funds in 2022.
But, despite their misconduct, God made Bongbong and Sara the top officials of the land.
So, there is no contradiction: Bongbong and Sara are imperfect like everyone else but God qualifies them for his glory. No matter what the self-righteous critics say, God uses flawed individuals because God works in mysterious ways and God has a plan for all of us anyway. Come next election, with God's bountiful blessings, Sara Duterte will surely become the next president of the Philippines.
Why did I not choose Leni Robredo for president in 2022? Because Leni is not bad. She is not a cheater. She does not have a temper. She does not have an affair. She is not drunk. She does not run from God. She is not a murderer. She is not insecure. She is not a gossiper. She is not a worrier. She is not a doubter. She is not impatient. She is not moody. She is not a hooker.
She stutters like Moses, but she is not short like Zacchaeus. She is not old like Abraham, but she is certainly not dead like Lazarus. She is qualified to become president, on her own merits, so God does not qualify her anymore. Repost if you know you are qualified but God has no plan for you anyway. Amen.