There is a trail of correspondence linking groups affiliated with the previous administration and based in the United States to plans to seize power from President Rodrigo Duterte. The controversy now goes by the name Lenileaks, for the mere fact that the name of Vice President Leni Robredo is mentioned in the messages.
Many try to make a big deal out of the supposed plot. The reason, it is said, is that Mr. Duterte has not made any progress in his fight against drugs despite the drastic measures—specifically the thousands killed—the administration has taken in the past few months.
This kind of talk has been going on for months. Apparently, even Filipinos living in other countries are dissatisfied with the brazen—abrasive—way Mr. Duterte has run the nation since he took power more than six months ago.
Robredo herself has acknowledged her name was mentioned but denied any participation in the plot. The Vice President quit her Cabinet post after being told she should no longer attend regular meetings. While she was still alter ego of the President, Robredo made pronouncements that countered Mr. Duterte’s stand on various issues, creating a rift between the two top officials of the land.
Meanwhile, Palace officials played down any threats from the supposed plot, confident that the President is much too popular to be ousted any time soon. A Pulse Asia survey last week said 83 percent of Filipinos trusted Duterte and approved of his performance.
Whether or not there is actually a plan, the fact is that this attitude of Filipinos has perhaps been responsible for our lack of continuity and inability to live with the leaders we chose in the first place.
Whatever our sentiments are about Mr. Duterte, he is proof that democracy, however imperfect, still works in this country. He was duly elected by the most number of voters—16 million of them—representing a 38-percent plurality.
Perhaps his voters elected the idea of Duterte rather than the man himself, expecting him to be the nation’s savior. When he showed signs of imperfection, they wanted a change immediately. Those who did not vote for him, on the other hand, did not believe he could do anything right from the beginning. They, too, want him ousted for their own agenda.
These ouster plots are thus a waste of time and resources. Mr. Duterte has not even made a dent in the national issues that should matter most—bringing sustained economic development, narrowing the income gap, eradicating the culture of entitlement and corruption. He has not even started to acknowledge the dangerous excesses to which he is prone— much less do anything about them. Must anyone be thrown out—and must we all start over?