MANILA - Rodrigo Duterte, the country's 16th president, is poised to be the most powerful Philippine president of all time.
This was acknowledged by the same person who is asking to lead what appears to be the very lean opposition to the incoming administration.
Quezon Representative-elect Danilo Suarez of the United Nationalist alliance pointed out Duterte has consolidated power without resorting to a dictatorship like Ferdinand Marcos.
"I've never seen a powerful president than President Marcos. Ngayon lang ako nakakita ng pangulo na napaka charismatically popular, respected ngayon… not just powerful, admired, charismatically popular with huge expectation,'' Suarez said.
"Comparing to the late President Marcos, meron pa bang mas powerful kay FM [Ferdinand Marcos] without using an iron hand? Wala akong makita nakapag-consolidate ng power and authority [like Duterte]. Iyun nga lang on the positive side, on a human factor alam niya kaya siya nanalo, sinuportahan siya ng masa, feeling niya dapat gawin niya ang dapat gawin."
Duterte now appears to enjoy a "super majority" in both houses of Congress. By 2019, he would have appointed more than half the justices of the supreme court since that's the number of justices who who would be due for retirement.
Suarez hopes to be minority leader at the lower house and he promised he won't be a "yes" man to Duterte, though he is supportive of the administration.
Suarez vowed he won't be a "company union" type of opposition.
"I'm or a faster implementation of certified measures. Hindi naman magiging rubber stamp ang Kongreso. Naging minority naman ako for a while, we served our purpose. If we will not say no, then we are not minority. We have to raise our own voice…maybe that's one reason why we offer ourselves to be the critical minority; constructive minority, at the same time cooperative," he said.