PHILIPPINES: Duterte Drama Reaches Anticlimactic Conclusion

MARY GRACE COSTA WRITES – In the mood to binge-watch a Filipino TV drama for a long afternoon of frustration, confusion, and catharsis? Look no further than the #DuterteSerye hashtag on Twitter.

Rodrigo Duterte left his supporters on a cliffhanger the week before October 16 as they waited for the Davao City mayor, one of the nation’s longest-serving public officials, to announce his candidacy for president in the 2016 election. In the end, they were disappointed when the tired politician reaffirmed his decision not to run for president.

“I want to retire,” Duterte said in a statement. “Give the presidency to the one who wants it. I don’t.”

Duterte made his plans clear before, but rumors began spreading that he had reversed himself a few days before the deadline when his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, shared a photograph of a signed certificate of candidacy for mayor. Supporters believed that if Sara had plans to replace her father as mayor, then her father might be eyeing a bigger fish as well. In an upsetting plot twist, however, the certificate was never filed.

Dismayed Duterte supporters voiced their opinions online; while some cried, others had a good laugh about the whole situation. The story of the mayor’s decision was filled with more suspense and drama than a Filipino daytime “teleserye,” or soap opera.  Thus, #DuterteSerye was born on Twitter as the result of Duterte’s letdown, a national obsession with “teleserye,” and a Filipino love for wordplay jokes.

The hashtag trended in the Philippines all day on the 16th, the last day for presidential candidates to file their certificates. Still, not everyone thinks this is the end for Duterte. He can still substitute for another member of his party, should any of them drop-out before December 10.

Will Duterte change his mind and embark on the journey to the presidency? Stay tuned, and find out on the next episode of #DuterteSerye.

“On a scale of 1 to Duterte,” a Facebook user says, “How hopeful are you about your crush?”


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