At City Council, Sara shows why she is her father’s daughter

Jul. 12, 2007

I abhor stupidity and mediocre work,” Sara Duterte said in her inaugural speech. “So I respectfully request you to toe the line. Let us not forget that we do not serve at our own pleasure and at our own time.

By Cheryll D. Fiel
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — When the 15th council met for the first time in two weeks ago, there was a marked difference in the way they held their session. It started earlier and on time. Everybody was present and only two were late. The councilors appeared attentive all the time.

Gone were the scenes from the previous session when some councilors would, once in a while, go in and out of the hall. This time, they were nailed to their seats, their eyes on whoever was on the podium.

Or on the new presiding officer.

Vice Mayor Sara Duterte had made the clear right from the very moment she delivered her first ever speech at the City Council — where, as vice mayor, she is the presiding officer after Vice Mayor Louie Bonguyan — that she would be a no-nonsense, efficient, and tough leader. One who, much like here father, would not mince words in expressing her mind.

I abhor stupidity and mediocre work,” Duterte, 28, said in her inaugural speech. “So I respectfully request you to toe the line. Let us not forget that we do not serve at our own pleasure and at our own time.

One Tough Lady. Sara Duterte, shown here being interviewed by the press after her inauguratin, vows to make the bureaucracy work. ( photo by Cheryll D. Fiel)

This early, she’s showing signs that she inherited her father’s tough and uncompromising ways. I know I can only do so much as vice mayor, especially this time, when most politicians opt to play safe and secure their perpetuation in the political arena. So please, if I am wrong, then by all means, call my attention. But if I am right, even though my decision is unpalatable and do not fall on you standards, kindly step back, she said.

Duterte identified transparency and accountability as the cornerstone of her administration at the City Council. For transparency and accountability, I assure you that our council will be clear in all its transactions and that our officials and employees will be held responsible for their actions and decisions, she pointed out.

She siad she expects employees and members of the council to behave as what they are, public servants. She urged them to afford the constituents with simple civil courtesy.

Duterte scoffed at how bureaucracy has become in this country. Bureaucracy in our country has a legacy of connotation. Among others, (that it would take) a million years before papers or documents get done, before bills get passed into laws, she said.

We have repeatedly violated most of its elements such as impartiality and technical competence, she said, quoting from German sociologist Max Weber who once said that bureaucracy is the most rational form of organization.

She promised she will be impartial in dealing with her colleagues and will open her office as an express lane for complaints against employees in the legislative department.

Her colleagues were impressed. She means business and this is just what we need in the council, said Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, when asked about his impressions of the new presiding officer.

Frank and a disciplinarian was how another councilor, Wilmar Al-ag, described her. Councilor Pilar Braga said she thinks the new vice mayor is a strong woman.

She said it from the heart, coming from the heart. And every word that she uttered there I think means a lot to all of us, said Councilor Bonifacio Militar. I can see intelligence and competence in her, Militar said. (Cheryll D. Fiel/

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