By Manny Piñol

Many inexplicable and strange things are happening as the Presidential campaign comes to the homestretch.

Following the uproar generated by Presidential frontrunner Rody Duterte’s controversial narrative on the rape and killing of an Australian missionary in the infamous Pugoy hostage taking in Davao City in 1989, I actually expected the readership of this page, MannyPiñol, to plummet as it did after the Papal gaffe in November last year.

In November last year, following Duterte’s decision to run for President, the readership of this page which now has 210,000 Likes was about 4.9-million weekly owing mainly to the posts I made about the Davao City Mayor.

That dropped to about 2-million readers a few days after Duterte cursed the Pope whose visit caused a monstrous traffic in Manila.

I was expecting that to happen again following the Amoranto Stadium event where he made a controversial comment on the rape and killing of the Australian preacher.

But a strange thing happened.

From a weekly average readership of about 1.2-million since I have not been posting articles are often as I used to, the readership suddenly climbed to over 3-million.

As of this writing the readership average was at 3.9-million and I expect it to rise even further.

That was when I realised that people were willing to forgive Duterte for the gaffes and misstatements he made because their anger against this government and the system is real.

That was when I found out that the attacks and criticisms against Duterte did not shake or change people’s decision to elect him as the next President.

Broadcaster Pia Hontiveros also noticed the same trend in Twitter.

But the more dramatic manifestations that people were not affected by the assault on Duterte, including his so-called psychological condition, were the crowds which gathered in Bacolod City and in Iloilo City, areas which were believed to be territories of the administration party.

Why are the people so angry at this government and the system to the point that the President would get a Zero approval rating in Metro Manila?

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Today, I saw four photos posted in the freedom wall by a Facebook user which showed Presidential sister and actress Kris Aquino landing in Dalaguete, Cebu to join a Liberal Party campaign using not one, but five government helicopters.

Immediately, my blood boiled because two weeks earlier, a forest fire broke out in Mt. Apo destroying virgin forests with centuries-old red cedar trees.

The government sent one helicopter to drop water on the firezone to no avail.

But in Dalaguete, Cebu yesterday, Kris Aquino was allowed to use five helicopters to join an LP campaign sortie.

Earlier, an elderly couple en route to the United States so the wife could get a much needed medical treatment was prevented from boarding their plane after they became the newest victims of the Laglag Bala syndicate at the International Airport.

Earlier than that, four policemen, including a lieutenant, were arrested after they confessed involvement in the killing of a businessman whose body was found inside a drum floating in a river in Metro Manila.

Still earlier than that, administration candidate Manuel Roxas’ wife, Korina Sanchez, was seen joining a Department of Agriculture equipment distribution activity in North Cotabato where she was heard asking farmers: “Gusto nyo bang yumaman? Gusto ni Mar yumaman kayo.”

Still earlier than that, victims of Typhoon Yolanda have been asking government why after two years, many of them were still homeless when the Philippine government received almost $2-B in donations from international organisations and foreign governments.

The anger has been building up and it has come to the point that people would rather cast their lot on a Presidential candidate who promises change, never mind if he spews out invectives and profanities.

This explains the unstoppable surge of Duterte in the surveys.

This explains why in spite of the relentless attacks waged by the mainstream media against Duterte and even the negative comments from the ambassadors of Australia and the United States of America, Duterte’s numbers are rising.

The outrage has reached boiling point and it will not cool down until after they have elected Duterte, the man who has promised change.

Unless the administration addresses the source of the anger of the people, there is no way the rise of Duterte could be stopped.

This political phenomenon is now the biggest headache for the other Presidential contenders.



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