In May 28, 2018, the The Australian published “The Republic of Fear”, an excerpt from a book by Jonathan Miller. The extract is about the rise of Philippine president Rodrigo R. Duterte. Much of it is familiar, as similar articles had been published. But there is one piece of information that stands out: The predominance of the number 6.
Miller writes that Duterte was a former mayor of Davao City, which has a population of 1.6 million; that he was elected 16th president of the Philippines in May 2016.
“On election day, Duterte won 16.6 million votes, 6.6 million more than his closest rival … Within his first six months in office, more than 7000 people had been gunned down ….”
Moreover, “The president used his allies in both houses to push legislation reintroducing capital punishment ... Duterte announced that he wanted to put ‘five or six’ prisoners to death every day for various ‘heinous crimes’ ….”
Miller also mentioned that Duterte compares himself to Adolf Hitler who had killed 6 million Jews.
Absent in Miller’s article, however, is Duterte’s promise, made in February 2, 2016, to stop crime in three to six months. In Sept. 2016, Duterte admitted his failure, and said, “Just give me a little extension, maybe another six months." Miller’s article also doesn’t mention that six years is the term of a Philippine president.
The successive appearance of the number 6 is apparently unintentional and devoid of religious meaning. The favorite number of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos was 7. He had an Inner Seven of military officers and a yacht marked PT-777, but Duterte does not have an Inner Six or a plane marked 666.
Nevertheless, out of curiosity, I made an online research to see if the same number appears in news reports, outside Miller’s narrative.
1 In April 7, 2016, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused Duterte of having a secret deposit worth P211 million in the Julia Vargas branch of the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI). The bank, however, released a note that showed Duterte's balance was only P17,666.98.
Unconvinced, and claiming to have found P2.4 billion of transactions in Duterte's alleged accounts, Trillanes filed a complaint before the Ombudsman. But the Ombudsman terminated the case in Nov. 2017. The following year, a disappointed Senator Leila de Lima filed Senate Resolution 666 to investigate the Ombudsman and the Anti-Money Laundering Council. "Duterte should never be exempted from investigation and accountability," de Lima said.
2 According to Trillanes, Duterte and his daughter Sara have one joint account in Banco de Oro in Davao and 16 in two BPI branches in Manila.
3 In May 2017, Duterte instructed his Cabinet secretaries to stop using the number 6 plates on their vehicles to prevent the secretaries, their relatives and guards from abusively acquiring right of way during heavy traffic. But Duterte didn't ban the use of other government protocol plates.
4 In May 16, 2017, 604 kilos of methamphetamine (shabu) arrived in Tondo, Manila. After three days it was seized by authorities. The value is P6.4 billion. Weeks later in a senate hearing, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV accused the president’s son Paolo Duterte of being involved in the shipment. Trillanes said Paolo has a dragon tattoo that supposedly proves he is a member of a drug triad.
5 In Dec. 2017, Paolo Duterte and his brother-in-law Manases Carpio lodged a P6.6-million libel case against Trillanes. In a 6-page complaint, Duterte and Carpio said Trillanes had accused them of conspiring with transportation and public works officials to extort money from Uber and other taxi firms.
6 In the same month, Paolo Duterte’s daughter Isabelle held an opulent pre-debut photo session in Malacañang Palace. The prize of her red, glittering, couture gown is P600,000. News stories said she would turn 18. But a research by Raisa Robles on the Davao City government website revealed Isabelle’s birthday to be Jan. 26, 2002. So, she was 16 on Jan. 2018, unless the government record contains an error.
Isabelle wore three other gowns during the shooting, but the gown decked with red crystal petals generated much attention. Several news agencies -- Rappler, Quartz, Manila Times, Manila Today, New York Post, and The Straits Times -- describe the gown as "blood-red", an apparent allusion to the drug war.
7 In July 10, 2018 Rappler published a news report called “Over 6,000 cops, 600 soldiers to secure 2018 SONA [State of the Nation Address].” On July 23, as scheduled, Duterte delivered his 16-page, cuss-free speech. According to ABS-CBN, it started around 5:20 pm and ended at 6:10 pm.
Beyond news, I tried to see other manifestations of 6 and related trivia. Some of these findings are alien. But they might be of interest to linguists, numerologists and Bible students.
Please don’t try these calculations at home:
8 The last presidential election was on May 9, 2016. It was the sixth sextennial election since 1986. Sextennial means “occurring once every six years”.
9 The date of the election can be written as 5-9-16, but this figure is debatable. The winter solstice, the “rebirth of the sun”, starts around Dec. 25, so if December is counted as the first month, like Sunday being first and not seventh, then May becomes 6th and May 9, 2016 would be 6-9-16. We can safely remove 9 because it’s relative; in other parts of the world, day 9 is still 8. So, the birth of the 16th president is 6-16.
10 The Wikipedia entry on “Number of the Beast” presents a new finding: “In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the beast is 666. Papyrus 115 (which is the oldest preserved manuscript of the Revelation as of 2017), as well as other ancient sources like Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, give the Number of the Beast as 616 (χιϛ), not 666 ....”