Rodrigo Roa Duterte: The Filipino Soulmate
by Josa Bernadette A. Piñol

This is not the story of a boy and a girl.

This is a story of LOVE.

This is a story of a nation’s search for happiness.

This is the love story of The Republic of The Philippines.

SOULMATE.

We have heard this word a thousand times, entrenched in numerous songs. We’ve written it between the lines of artists whose ink and paper spawned legends. We see it all the time in the media, in those big budget Hollywood romances with sweeping soundtracks and attractive leads. We read about it on social media, along the long list of our friends who post pictures proudly stating to the world, “I have found my soulmate and here he/she is”.

Everyone on this earth is looking for a soulmate. Some have found it. Some have lost it. Some have lost hope looking for it. Others spend their days pining for it. While others continue to search through a thousand lifetimes for theirs.

Among the countless hours I’ve spent scouring dictionaries for the perfect meaning of the word soulmate, only one definition comes to mind; that of author Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of the world famous novel, “Eat, Pray, Love”. She defines a soulmate like this.

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life….

“A soul mate’s purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life.”

Mayor Digong is not perfect.

He never was and never will be. He will never fit the cookie cutter image of what a “proper politician” should be. He is not an otherworldy presence, akin to godliness. He is still just a human being, made of flesh and blood. He juggles within himself his passions, his dreams, his goals, his hurts, his frustrations, his failures, his fears and his weaknesses. Choosing to wear a simple polo shirt, khaki jeans and comfortable shoes, he carries himself with ease and walks with purpose.

But why is this man such a tour de force?

What makes people drop everything and follow him blindly?

What makes hordes of people from all walks of life shun everything and declare their love for him?

How can he gather millions to rally under his banner without asking for reward nor glory?

What is in his words that binds the masses into a spell?

Rodrigo Duterte is a mirror.

He is the mirror that the Filipino looks into each morning. He shows the Filipino everything, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. He is able to show us everything we love and hate about ourselves. In his eyes we are reminded by all the false beliefs we had long believed to be true. He shakes us awake by reminding us of the negative thoughts in our hearts. He reminded us of the bad habits that have taken center stage in our lives.

Thoughts like,

“Palagi talagang may corrupt sa gobyerno,”

“Wala nang pag asa ang Pilipinas,”

“wala nang matinong lider ngayon”,

“Pare-parehas lang silang lahat”, and ,

“Wala na tayong magagawa. Tanggapin na natin tadhana natin.”

By pointing these out to us, he rattled our consciousness by reminding us that these very thoughts were the ones that have been holding us back all this time. These bad habits have caused our undoing. Our complacency. Our acceptance of mistreatment. Our apathy. Our selfishness. Our refusal to stand up. Our self pity. Our habit of playing the victim. Our habit of passiveness. Our refusal to take responsibility for our actions.

We have been a complacent people. We have been used, abused, mistreated, harassed, oppressed for so long that we have started to develop the misconception that this is how things should be. We have lost love for our well being and for our country that we developed the false belief that this is the best we can have. We have become comfortable with our suffering, because we think that this is how we should be treated. We have accepted this because we believed this is what we deserve.

By choosing to accept a government who has ceased to love us, we have ceased to love ourself.

This what Mayor Digong has done to us. He brought us out of the coma of self-loathing. He forced us to look deep within our individual abyss and be aware of the suffering we have been through. He destroyed our ego and challenged everything we believed to be right. He showed us our unhealthy habits and challenged us to rise above them. It’s as if to tell us,

“Hoy Gising, inaabuso kana!

Ginagago kana!

Kinakawawa kana!

Lumaban ka!

Wag kang magpapatalo!

Ipaglaban mo ang karapatan mo!

You deserve better than this!

Tama na!

Panahon na para magbago!”

It is in moments of desperation that we look to the brightest light we can find. And the only light we can find as of now is the small burning flame reflected in Rodrigo Duterte’s eyes. It is his flame that will spread like wildfire and ignite the revolution that has long been overdue.

Hearing him speak, we are able to catch a glimpse of the dreams that we had once abandoned so long ago. In his words he speaks what our minds and hearts have failed to conjure. In his actions he reminds us of the plans we once had, the idealistic goals we once had for a country we loved with all our hearts. He reminds us of the days when we used to dream of a better Philippines for our children. He reminded us how wonderful it was to hope again. He taught us that the true power lies not in the government, but in its people. He taught us that we are stronger than we think.

He has rekindled our passion for change.

He has breathed life back into our souls and reminded us of our full potential. With every passing day he showed us that we hold the power to change our lives. It can be as simple as standing up to abuse, or practicing our right to vote. It can be as simple as being vigilant on corruption. It can be as simple as driving under the speed limit or following the law laid down for us.

Rodrigo Duterte is no hero.

Nor is he a messiah. He is a mirror. He is the man the Philippines deserves right now. He is the heart of every Filipino who dares to dream of change. He is the one true love of every man, woman and child who dares to make a difference.

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He is the one. The Republic of the Philippines has found its soulmate.

On May 9, kakatok siya sa pintuan ng mga puso natin.

Wag na natin siya pakawalan!

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