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EDITORIAL - No wakeup call for somebody fully awake

The trust and satisfaction ratings of President Duterte have gone down, according to results of the latest Social Weather Stations survey. And while they have not gone down significantly to pull him below "good" overall, they do reflect a continued slide from the time his ratings were tickling the underfoot of stratospheric highs.

As soon as the ratings were out, pundits quickly seized the figures to form individual takes on the development. The more consistent analysis was that the new numbers serve as a wakeup call for the president. There was no consensus, however, on what Duterte was to wake up from. Nevertheless, more people put their fingers on the bloody war the government is waging against illegal drugs.

It is difficult, though, to rouse the president from anything, considering that he was awake all the time. Not only did Duterte know exactly what he was going to do, from as early as the presidential campaign to the get-go of his presidency, he also made no secret about it. In fact he was the only candidate who asked voters not to vote for him if they did not agree with what he was going to do.

And that is precisely what he did and will keep doing. He does not need surveys to tell him directions. To him surveys pale in comparison to election results. And he knows, as well as presumably all Filipinos, that nobody derives any mandate from surveys. Sure, surveys may reflect a change of heart even among the voters who elected him into office. But not only is Duterte too old a tiger to change his stripes, he has also gone too far for any meaningful change to kick in.

The war on drugs, especially, is not a tight pair of pants that one can easily take off and repair or discard. There is no going back once started. Those who think so are either hopelessly naive or incurably romantic. Either way, it regrettably escapes their notice just exactly how sweeping the drug problem has become. If it is a virus, it has invaded every pore of the human body. You have to subdue it completely or you die trying.

So all these surveys that try to measure trust and satisfaction ratings of a man who does not believe in them is a complete waste of anybody's time analyzing. Even if the ratings scrape bottom, Duterte will persist in what he has set out to do the way he understands it from the mandate given him. Unless he is removed, which is perfectly okay with him, as he has said so himself many times. But that presents an ever bigger problem - an unfinished drug war with the vice president driving.

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