‘Lame duck’ Digong? Pialago doesn’t see it happening to popular leader

Published March 5, 2021, 2:59 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago finds it unfathomable that President Duterte would ever have a “lame duck” phase, like a normal chief executive would at the tail end of his or her term.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago (MMDA Asec Celine Pialago's office / MANILA BULLETIN)
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago
(Photo courtesy of The Philippine Source Magazine)

Pialago said Friday, March 5 that Duterte is simply too popular to be a lame duck president, or in other words, lose his command or influence as a leader.

“I don’t think President Duterte will have a lame duck phase. His popularity in the latter stages of his presidency is unheard of and speaks of how much he is trusted by Filipinos,” said the MMDA assistant secretary.

“For him to be disobeyed or dismissed by other public officials, even during his last few months as president, would be a huge disrepect to the will of Pinoys,” added Pialago, who was appointed to her current position by Duterte in August 2018.

On Thursday, March 4, Duterte said in a speech that it’s only “natural” that he would become a lame duck president since he just has roughly a year and half left in office.

Incidentally, news headlines have also been giving way to the different personalities that could run for the Palace seat in May 2022, the year Duterte is slated to step down.

But Pialago pointed out that Duterte posted a lofty overall approval rating of 70 percent in December–quite unheard of based on the popularity of past Philippine presidents at this stage in their respective terms.

The President achieved this figure despite the hardships caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which has led to greater scrutiny of government response and actions on the part of the public.

Duterte, a former longtime Davao City Mayor, garnered 16.6 million votes during the 2016 presidential race. He bested second-placed Mar Roxas by nearly seven million votes.