To believe or not to believe President Duterte

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YEN MAKABENTA

YEN MAKABENTA

FIRST READ
The argument between ABS-CBN and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano over the ABS-CBN report, “To believe or not to believe President Duterte,” would not have happened had the senator been discerning enough to notice that the network was merely quoting the report of Agence France-Presse (AFP), the French international news service.

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On December 14, 2016, AFP posted a news feature entitled, “To believe or not to believe the Philippine president.” Note the original title/headline. On its website, ABS-CBN clearly cited AFP as the source of its report.

AFP catalogue of DU30 statements

AFP opened the news feature in this fashion: “Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte frequently makes controversial comments that he or his aides later seek to clarify or quash completely.”

It then proceeded to catalogue some of Duterte’s statements and the subsequent clarifications made by his staff and cabinet, which often left journalists and the public confused about his actual position and thinking.
Among the statements singled out by AFP are the following DU30 quotables:

1. On Journalists as targets for assassination­—Duterte told journalists in June: “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch.”

After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the statement, Duterte’s then spokesman, Salvador Panelo, released a statement blaming the controversy on incorrect news reports. “The president-elect has not endorsed — cannot — and will never endorse extrajudicial killings, they being contrary to law…”

2. Death threat to human rights acrtivists—Duterte threatened in November to kill human rights activists because of their criticism of his crime crackdown that has seen police and vigilantes kill thousands of people:
He said: “Human rights (defenders) say that I kill. I said: ‘Okay, let us stop and let them (criminals) multiply. So when harvest time comes, there will be more who will die.’ I will include you in that because you let them multiply.”

The official explanation: Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar said human rights activists should not fear for their lives. “The President did not mean he would do that. It was just frustration he expressed through language. You know that is how the President talks.”

3. Splitting from the US—In an October address to Chinese businessmen in Beijing, Duterte declared his intent to end the Philippines’ decades-long alliance with the United States in favor of closer ties with China and Russia. He declared: “In this venue, I announce my separation from the United States.

“America has lost. I’ve realigned myself in your (Chinese) ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.”

The explanation: After Duterte said upon returning from China that he would not sever US ties, spokesman Ernesto Abella urged journalists not to take the president literally:

“Let us not be too literal. You’ve seen the way he speaks, so in other words watch and understand the context of what he says, okay?”

4. Leaving the UN—In August, Duterte said the Philippines may withdraw from the United Nations in response to UN criticism of his war on drugs.

“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that disrespectful, son of a whore, then I will just leave you.”

The explanation: Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay quickly insisted the Philippines would remain with the United Nations: “The president was tired, disappointed, hungry when he made the statement. We must give him leeway. He is also human.”

Later, when reporters asked him about the issue, Duterte replied: “Can’t you take a joke?”

5. Warning Barack Obama—Before departing for the September Asean summit in Laos that was projected to include a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama, Duterte used foul language in warning the US president against criticizing his drug war.

“You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum.”

The explanation: Duterte himself quickly released a statement expressing regret, after Obama cancelled their bilateral meeting: “While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the US president.”

6. Chatting with God—Duterte said in October he had spoken with God, who ordered him to stop swearing: “A voice said that you know: ‘If you don’t stop epithets, I will bring this plane down now.’ And I said: ‘Who is this?’ So, of course it’s God. Okay. So I promised God not to express slang, cuss words and everything.”

The explanation: After the story was widely reported in the Philippines and overseas, Duterte said he was only joking and ridiculed journalists for believing him: “Those idiots fell for it. I may not be a (law) bar topnotcher but I am not that stupid.”

Cayetano butts in with hammer and tongs

The AFP report is forthright and well documented; this may be the reason why Cayetano did not attempt to rebut it.

Senator Cayetano, who is not a member of the Duterte administration and only a Duterte ally in the Senate, took umbrage instead at ABS-CBN, and started castigating the network, but without knowing that in fact it was a foreign news service report.

He fired a letter to ABS-CBN and recited his own catalogue of past and future gripes against the network.
He griped about the network’s partiality to the administration of Benigno Aquino III. And he accused it of colluding with opposition moves calling on President Duterte to resign, and efforts to rebuild and unite the opposition.

Killing suspects and health concerns

I think the real point of the administration’s pushback is not to separate President Duterte from his past statements, but to put a distance between him and his most recent statements, which have made everyone nervous.

Among these statements are:

His statement before a business forum in Malacañang that while he was still mayor of Davao mayor of Davao City, he killed some drug and criminal suspects in order to embolden the city police force to kill at their jobs.

His revelation that he is suffering from multiple ailments, and that he wonders whether he can withstand the rigors of his job and finish his six-year term.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella say the public should not be concerned too much about the President’s health. Duterte can still perform tasks that other people his age would find hard or impossible to do.

Before his recent state visits, he was talking about problems and facing challenges.

But their boss was already thinking of something else. Upon returning from Cambodia, Duterte voiced his wish to be cremated after his death. No Libingan ng Mga Bayani for him.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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16 Comments

  1. Go, go digong, confuse these journalists of your words, they will never understand you because they dislike you from the beginning.

  2. 2. Death threat to human rights acrtivists—Duterte threatened in November to kill human rights activists because of their criticism of his crime crackdown that has seen police and vigilantes kill thousands of people:
    He said: “Human rights (defenders) say that I kill. I said: ‘Okay, let us stop and let them (criminals) multiply. So when harvest time comes, there will be more who will die.’ I will include you in that because you let them multiply.”

    ***what the President was saying is true and it is biblically-sound. Whether or not he read the bible , the spirit of Christ in the gospels is very much involved with him.
    Read this excerpt from the gospel which echoed the essence of those words of the president regarding the Parable of the Weeds.
    The weeds are the evil ones or the criminals.

    Matthew 13:24-30 (ESV)
    The Parable of the Weeds
    24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field,
    25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.
    26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.
    27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’
    28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’
    29 But he said, No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
    30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

    To the defenders of the weeds or the evil ones , you human rights advocates , read and understand this.
    The enemy who sowed the weeds is the devil. Human rights advocates are clearly defending the criminals because they believe that evil also has human rights. So they do not want those weeds to be uprooted. So what would happen if these weeds or criminals are not uprooted now? They will multiply until the harvest time.

    Even if Duterte is no longer around come the appointed time—it will be The Lord who will uproot these weeds or criminals together with their benefactors , the human rights defenders. The Lord will burn these criminals along with their defenders and cast them altogether in the furnace of eternal fire.
    So then , what was wrong with the president’s pronouncement?

  3. Mr Duterte has sold the pi to china missle an radar will be installed in manila and Subic will next He want the US out start by stopping all money tranfers see how many more people he can put in the poor house . he only needs help if its FREE

  4. Yes, those writers listening are just playing idiots to jut those statements literally. A more objective writer or editor, before publishing those statements, will try to discern the real intention and what is the idea the person speaking wants to impress. When you write with impartiality, then all honesty is lost totally. Exaggeration is too tempting to ignire.

  5. I’m so much dis appointed that media would highlight anything that will be detrimental to the nation. More so with the Philippine media.

  6. The Bible said, “By their deeds you shall know them.” Judge him by his actions, not his words because after all he is the President of the Republic, not a writer.

  7. “You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum.” said duterte. But, when he got two chances to personally curse Obama in the APEC and in the ASEAN the fearless degong choose to hide under his bed pretending that he had migraine. This proves that poong degong’s mouth is fast and brave but his brain is slow and coward. what a pity

  8. DU30, has the sickest mind among presidents, he is unpresidential, and doing more damage to the country than making it better. Making more enemies among nations, than making more friends. The article above will prove it.

    • Believing in article with full of allegations without basis and substantial proof is merely a sick of mind.

  9. I believe that ab(ia)s-cbn is bias as shown in it’s non-critical stance on the mother and son cory and the noy aquino. The lopezes owes a lot to the aquinos and they are using their station and people when the government is not favorable to their business interests.

  10. It’s clear that until now, many foreign journalists and local ones as well don’t understand and don’t know how to deal with a well-meaning, fearless, but obviously cantankerous Father of the Family who won’t brook the human rights nonsense being spouted by his holier-than-thou detractors in the West and at home. Chill out guys! He was elected by the Filipinos by an astonishing landslide and, despite his iffy and sometimes bizarre ways of saying things, over 2/3 of the Philippine public love and idolize him. Can you say the same of the straitlaced outgoing U.S. President and the evidently exasperating but duly elected character who’ll succeed him this coming January? I say, we Filipinos should count our imperfect blessings rather than rant about it!

  11. Not a glimmer of hope where the writer is concerned. He has chosen to look at this administration from the vantage point of gloom and doom. How depressing.

    • The yellows cannot accept defeat and until now they are still craving for power. The present administration is result oriented and not like the previous of the yellows who are so inefficient in rendering services to the people and most of all are so corrupt.

  12. Don’t mind Cayetano, he is BS. For a while I thought he is bright and promising.

    Little did I know that with the deplorable election of Duterte by the gullible electorate, numbering more or less 16M, Cayetano would be a blind follower. Maybe he’s thinking that Duterte would be his ticket to Malacanang in the near future.

    Young, ambitious, inutile Boy!.