Virgilio Mabag figures there is a good chance that his meth addict brother will become a casualty of President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly campaign against drugs in the Philippines.
“I told him to prepare himself to die,” Mr. Mabag said.
But Mr. Mabag, 54, who runs a neighborhood volunteer association in a sprawling Manila slum, still enthusiastically supports Mr. Duterte, saying that his policies will make the country safer and more orderly.
“I’m delighted,” said Mr. Mabag, who was wearing a Duterte T-shirt. “This is the only time I’ve seen a president like this, who says exactly what he wants to say.”
.. He has compared himself to Hitler (and later apologized), called President Obama a “son of a whore,” and joked after an Australian missionary was raped and killed that “she was so beautiful” he should have been first to rape her. He has lashed out at the pope, despite leading a nation that is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, and cursed the United Nations and the European Union.
No matter. For many Filipinos, Mr. Duterte’s passionate outbursts, however crude and impolitic, are signs of his fearlessness and willingness to act.
.. Lorraine Badoy, a dermatologist and a volunteer at a nongovernmental organization who lives in one of Manila’s gated communities, acknowledges that the president’s outbursts make her cringe. “I just wish he’d shut up sometimes,” she said.
But she says she is more enamored of his social policies than she is concerned about the casualties of the antidrug campaign. In Mr. Duterte, she said: “I see something that I have not seen in a long time in the Philippines, which is that he cares. He cares for the small guy, which is very important to me.”
.. When Mr. Duterte likened himself to Hitler, his supporters rushed to defend him on social media, arguing that the comment was precipitated by a remark by former President Benigno S. Aquino III, who compared Mr. Duterte to Hitler five months earlier.
.. Suddenly, there’s someone who is willing to do something about their problems, and the media is trying to take him down,”
Migo Paladio, 24, stood in a narrow alley and watched the crowds from two wakes spill out. They were for men killed by vigilantes on the presumption that they were drug dealers.
Mr. Paladio, a technician, said they were not dealers.
“Trump speaks from the heart.” For months, Mr. Trump’s supporters have been leaning hard on those words to turn his vengefulness and vigilantism into a virtue.
.. Casting Mr. Trump’s incitements to xenophobia and violence as heartfelt evidently makes them slightly less terrifying. A through-line of the convention has been to set up a powerful antagonism between “political correctness,” the province of the hypocritical, intellectual and weak-willed, and “speaking from the heart,” as a province of … Donald Trump.
.. I’m going to speak from the heart tonight.”
The phrase sounds smarmy. It compromises the Republican Party’s usual claim of hardheadedness over and against the bleeding-heart emotionalism of the other party.
But it’s probably the only possible rhetorical move of the Trump campaign.
.. It’s become impossible for Mr. Trump’s supporters to lend reason or logic to his vendettas, daft misogyny, thoroughgoing racism and bloodlust. Instead, they advertise it as lovable.