‘YoKo Na!

I BEGAN WARNING against Rodrigo Duterte in 2015, when Cham Clowder was a wee voice in the blogosphere, infinitesimal even next to “very minor” PAB, who came on the scene later.

In Short Memories (June 12, 2015), I wrote:

Also a matter of concern is the rising popularity of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as a possible future tenant of Malacañang. While I admire his efficient management of Davao and his no-holds-barred stance against crime, I cannot say the same for his extra-judicial disposition of criminals and his outright admission that he would feed the fishes of Manila Bay with them. Equally disconcerting is his assertion that “if people call me a dictator SO BE IT.”

His supporters’ reasoning is that the Philippines is in a tailspin and needs an iron hand to arrest its descent. “Diktador na kung diktador,” they say. “Ang mga kriminal lang naman ang may ikatatakot. Kung law-abiding ka, walang problema.” So goes the fantasy. I beg to disagree.

I sounded more alarms in the run up to the elections, but in May 2016, 16.6 m Pinoys dominated the thinking majority and voted in Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the 16th president of the country. His fans even hailed the numerology. They insisted we would be the better for Duterte. They were wrong.


We are 20 months into the Duterte presidency and, according to “The Duterte Administration Year-End Report: 2017 Key Accomplishments,” 20,322 Pinoys have died in Duterte’s keystone War on Drugs. That’s a thousand killed a month. That’s way too many deaths for me. Yoko na.

Thankfully, the International Criminal Court is looking into this horror, and I expect probable cause will be found. Perhaps sooner than we imagine. The question is, when the warrant of arrest is issued, will our security forces enforce it? We haven’t a hope with the PNP, but with the AFP? Yes, I believe so. They have convinced me of their allegiance to the Constitution and their professionalism (despite the odd, unavoidable scalawag). More significantly, though, Duterte has failed them big time with his empty promise of doubled salaries across the board. The raises have not come for all, and many of our gallant troops are saying, Yoko na. 

Meanwhile, the Duterte Tax (TRAIN) is wreaking havoc on household budgets and the national economy. The average citizen knows that a higher take home pay is useless when the cost of living is equally high. We wonder why the supposedly erudite legislators missed that, and why they pursue an anti-poor, anti-people agenda at the behest of their corpulent speaker. This is why, despite the pro-Duterte surveys that Malacañang likes to throw at us, they will learn that come the next elections, a fed up electorate will say, Yoko na. 

Duterte’s treasonous flirtation with China, whose usurpation he brazenly welcomes, is the tipping point for many who are now vehemently shouting, YoKoNa!


YoKoNa! is the discharge of a fulminating populace. It is a gripe; it is a rebel yell; it is a scream for justice. Above all, it is a warning.

Philip Lustre, Jr, the dean of political bloggers and our éminence grise, recently explained its essence.

In 1986, we came together, without party or plan, and agreed to protect our freedoms. We were fed up with oppression. We discovered our power and ousted a despot. Sobra na! Tama na! Alis dyan!, we cried.

In the interim, we lapsed into complacency. We failed to follow through. We forgot to teach our children. We are now reaping the whirlwind. We must admit that, we should confess that, and we should never forget.

The next time we trounce a tyrant, we must do it right. When we go to EDSA this weekend, let us think of all our lapses and promise: never again.

Let’s not idolize politicians. Let’s not fixate on colors. Let’s not dwell on divisions. To all that say,  YoKoNa!

Let’s not laugh at obscenity. Let’s not lionize bullies. Let’s not abet thieves. To all that say, YoKoNa!

Let’s not devalue humanity. Let’s not disdain truth. Let’s not obstruct justice. To all that say, YoKoNa!

But instead:

With the force of focused outrage, let us hold Duterte to account.

With the might of our constitutional sovereignty, let us defend our burnished freedoms.

With the power of our righteousness, let us restore morality.

And with a sharp, united keening, let us declare, YoKoNa!


Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. – Galatians 6:7

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