Voters and members of mass media should start to be critical of Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promises. Just few weeks before election, we haven’t gone behind his statements, behind the soundbites and witty lines, behind the charisma.

If the Davao City mayor fails to substantiate his plan to quickly rid criminality (6 months?) in a manner allowed by our democratic institutions, however imperfect our system is, his pronouncements are no different than unsubstantiated promises of poverty alleviation from other candidates.

“Babangon muna” in response to a hypothetical early morning foreign attack would be funny coming from him. We all know he would just be kidding. His appeal would allow him to do that. If he was the one who said “you are Romualdez, the president is an Aquino,” it would be a non-issue because he tells things as they are, or so claimed. His appeal would allow him to do that. If it was him who insisted in bringing notes at the recent Cebu debate, all criticism would be directed to the moderator. His appeal would allow him to do that.

Any candidate that would say Binay is the most qualified to become the next president would have lost credibility, but Duterte said it. Stepping down as president after failing to perform against a self-imposed deadline can never be a platform, but his supporters think it is.

Because of frustrations with the government, people are unwittingly measuring Duterte against lower standards.

Duterte held Davao City for a long time. He takes with him the perception of leading a successful city, exaggerated or not. This background is not too different from another mayor in the presidential race. It was Binay’s tale of leading Makati City that brought him to the second seat in our government. He is taking with him the perception of a successful city, exaggerated or not.

But we uncovered what’s behind the public image of Binay who had since lost his front-runner status. In the process, we weighed the meat in his words.

Same should be done to Duterte.