Friday, April 29, 2016


DAVAO CITY Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “rape joke” is not only tasteless and insensitive; it is more so unpresidential.

His excuse that it was just “gutter language” and was speaking the language of the masses not only betray his lack of sensitivity and empathy; it also speaks ill of the Filipino people for they find insensitivity funny. His loyal supporters have come out in droves to defend the Davao mayor. But in their defense, they not only showed how insensitive they are as a group; they also displayed a na├»ve belief that all of Mr. Duterte’s words and actions would move the country out of the economic quagmire it is in.

Mr. Duterte may be his own man. He may want to do things his way. It would have been alright if he would only be representing himself. But when he aspired for the country’s highest post, he should have understood that he would end up bearing the whole Filipino nation. His pronouncements, anecdotes and speeches have blurred the lines between jokes, seriousness and utter absurdity. His motherhood statements on stopping crime altogether in three to six months is not only unrealistic; it is pretty much deranged. And with the way he explains what he would do, he may end up stopping all crimes in the country by committing the biggest crime by killing all crime suspects without due process.

Right off the bat, Mr. Duterte has been flip-flopping on all issues. He filed his candidacy for President at the last minute after playing out a guessing game on whether he will or won’t. Since then, he has been stating conflicting statements on all issues under the sun.

As disturbing as this, the most alarming situation now is that a lot of people believe him. Surveys have shown Mr. Duterte either on top or near the top. And if this trend continues, he may indeed end up winning the presidential race.

And from all angles, it will not bode well for the country and its people. The fallout from his “rape joke” had the Australian and United States embassies calling for him to be more sensitive. He replied by saying he would cut ties with the two countries if he wins. His recklessness and immaturity in responding to diplomats point to a direction wherein the country may end up severing all ties to all countries that would criticize him should he win.

Yet the biggest danger lies on his inability to listen to others. From his stories, pronouncements and statements, he intends to become judge, jury and executioner. And since he would not be able to inflict his kind of governance on other countries and nationalities, the Filipino people whom he should be leading and uplifting may end up becoming his biggest victims.

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