Dan Jerome Barrera


Dan Jerome Barrera is a faculty member of the College of Criminal Justice Education, Negros Oriental State University in Dumaguete City. He finished Bachelor of Science in Criminology cum laude at the Negros Oriental State University – Bais Campus in 2009 and Master of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of Cebu in 2012. He ranked 3rd in the September 2009 Criminologist Licensure Examination. Currently, he is a Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice student at the University of Cebu and published articles on criminal sociology, theory testing, crime science, GIS applications in criminology, and criminal justice education. Lately, his research interests include socio-narratology, especially the interplay of narratives, stories, and harm.


Previous research and commentaries took a rationalist approach in making sense of the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, and his ‘war on drugs.’ An array of descriptors has been assigned to him, which ranged from ‘psychopath’, ‘murderer’ to ‘populist’. This paper places culture at the core of Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’. Drawing from socio-narratology and narrative criminology, the paper presents Duterte as under the ‘hypnotic spell’ of stories he has spun as a storyteller. It shows how these stories worked for and on him. These stories influenced him to embark on a ‘war on drugs,’ while making controversial decisions and actions, and gaining or losing alliances.

The study conducted a dialogical narrative analysis of Duterte’s interviews, speeches, and media pronouncements before the 2016 elections and within his six months in office as president. It argues that Duterte’s stories reflect an ‘apocalyptic genre’ within a ‘heroic saga where Duterte views himself as situated in a continuous array of battles against the ‘dark forces’ of drugs and criminality. In describing the country’s drug situation, he has woven stories containing themes of extreme polarization between characters, ideal motivations, and extraordinary objects of struggle. These stories, in turn, have sustained the violent war on drugs while disconnecting from or affiliating him with new alliances. The presentation shows how narrative resources incite human actions and suggests ways of employing dialogue as a means of thinking about, not just with, stories in the current war on drugs in the country.