The Political Vision of Contemporary Filipinos: A Ricoeurian Reading of Duterte's Popular Presidency

Social Ethics Society Journal of Applied Philosophy 4 (Special Issue):121-160 (2018)
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President Rodrigo Duterte to this day has continued to enjoy popularity among majority of the Filipinos. And this, even as Duterte himself has continually graced the headlines, not for any outstanding humanitarian achievement, but for his typical but highly controversial personal blunders and braggadocios, outrageous remarks, and penchant for informalities. And this, too, even as no less than the U.S. intelligence department tags him as a “threat to democracy” and no less than some influential bishops in the Catholic Church accuse him of already going beyond the bounds of the ethical. What could be the reasons why Duterte is still this popular among many Filipinos despite the many controversies that continue to hound him? Does this mean that today’s Filipinos have become too politically blasé to care about what’s going on in the political arena of their country? Or, could it be that Duterte’s continuing popularity actually reflects the political vision of contemporary Filipinos? To answer these questions, in this paper, I will do a Ricoeurian reading of Duterte’s popular presidency. By Ricoeurian reading, I mean that I will be using selected elements in Ricoeur’s political philosophy as evaluative tools in analyzing: 1) whether President Duterte is indeed a “threat to democracy”; 2) whether the Duterte government still falls within the ethical; and 3) whether Duterte’s popular presidency actually reflects the political vision of contemporary Filipinos.

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Alexis Deodato Itao
Cebu Normal University


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