• Duterte and Alvarez: What are they teaching our millennials?



    First read
    AFTER ordering US missile strikes against Syria because of its use of chemical weapons against its own people, President Trump called on “all civilized nations” to rally in opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    A foreign diplomat says that the Philippines cannot presume to be one of the civilized nations referred to, because of all the extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in the drug war, and the brazen maltreatment of women by President Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

    Brazen, immoral behavior of public officials, sooner or later, takes a toll on a country’s reputation.

    I thought at first of leaving the issue of serial adultery and sexism in our public life to colleagues who have more insights to share with readers.

    But then I realized that Duterte and Alvarez would succeed by default in silencing all criticism and opposition to their behavior, if their aggressive rhetorical questions—Sino ang walang babae? Sino bang walang kaligayahan? (who does not have a mistress? who does not have pleasure?)—are not taken up by Filipino men who have privately made marriage work and ardently reject their views. These officials will presume that society has waved “the white flag of surrender” to their lifestyle.

    Cynicism vs hope

    It strikes me that the most effective way to answer the President and the Speaker, is to place their negative view of marriage side by side with a positive view of the institution, and to contrast their demeaning view of women with our more normal, protective regard of women, be they mother, wife, sister, or daughter.

    Duterte and Alvarez profit when their views make people feel awkward and hesitant to discuss the marriage vow and commitment and fidelity. They win when scholars write about marriage, only to write about its failings, and to argue the case for divorce.

    Yet the big fact is that marriage matters to the great majority of people—in this country and elsewhere. Most Filipinos will be married for much of their lives. At least 8o percent of Filipino households are households of married people.

    It’s stunning to note that nine out of 10 people in America tell pollsters that they would marry the same person again. Duterte and Alvarez obviously will not; it’s insane to think of them as a model for others to follow.

    What to tell the millennials

    To answer our high officials, I thought it would be good to quote these telling words of one professor in his book on integrity -Integrity, by Stephen l. Carter (Harper Perennial, New York, 1996). He wrote:

    “Marriage is an institution of enormous beauty, even if that beauty is too often marred by fallibility. Whether one believes, as I do, that the institution is God-given and state-encouraged or whether one believes that it is a human invention that has been functional over time, one cannot avoid the simple fact that the great majority of people cling to the ideal of marriage with an almost romantic affection. Surely, we cry at weddings because we can scarcely bear the beauty of the union we are witnessing – and also because hard experience has taught us of its fragility.

    “We marry out of hope, or fear, or desire,or desperation, and certainly out of love, and yet I believe that in every marriage, no matter how begun, there is that kernel of possibility that this is the one for the ages.”

    At this time, when there are millions of millennials among us who still have their lives to live, we have a clear choice of what to offer them:

    Do we offer them the cynicism of President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez?

    Or shall we give them the kernel of possibility that they can have a union for the ages?

    More than a promise, a contract

    To Duterte and Alvarez, marriage, monogamy, fidelity, and perhaps civilization itself, is just hypocrisy. Rules of conduct and behavior for public men are irrelevant.

    The marriage vow is the most important promise we make in our lives. To say otherwise is cheating.

    Carter writes further on in his book: “Marriage is a civilizing institution, a means of curbing desires or inclinations that might otherwise make social stability impossible. The device through which marriage performs this crucial function is the notion of fidelity.”

    The marriage vow is more than a promise not to cheat. It is a promise to stay, to care, to treat with a most profound affection: “to love and to cherish.”

    Then comes the clincher: at the heart of the wedding vow is a central notion of integrity. Fidelity means keeping your word.

    Marriage is more than a promise; it is a contract.

    The moral force does not depend on the sacramental nature of the ceremony. In almost all religions, the formality of the occasion embodies the expectation that the duties and promises will be fulfilled.

    Of course, marital commitment does not last forever. It does not always work. Marriages do end, some parted by death, others by the loss of love.

    A nation of misdirection

    In parading their lives and their treatment of women, President Duterte and Speaker Alvarez compound their betrayal of commitment because they are among the highest officials of the land. They are supposed to be role models, whether they want the responsibility or not. Public office binds them to a rule of conduct and behavior. They are duty-bound to obey the Family Code and the Penal Code.

    I fear that with the flawed officials that inhabit our government, we have become what a social critic called “a nation experienced in misdirection.”

    Our society does not stand by the values it professes to live by.

    Our people are beguiled into looking in one direction while we are busy somewhere else. The public learns to laugh at indiscretions, and dismiss them as peccadilloes. The media culture rewards people who can get away with being bad. Misleading sound bites are more attractive than a principled argument.

    I like the definition of corruption by one lawyer and ethicist. He said, corruption is getting away with things that we know to be wrong.

    Our public life is infected by the everyday spectacle of officials who get away with things that the rules say are wrong, and, worse, that they themselves know to be wrong.

    Secretly, most men probably envy Hugh Hefner, founder and publisher of Playboy, and his gospel of sexual freedom.

    But with the horrifying result of the sexual revolution that Hefner helped unleash—an America plagued by all kinds of venereal diseases—men know now that it is better to learn sexual responsibility, than to envy Hugh Hefner his lifestyle.



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    1. Pres Duterte marriage to his wife has been annulled and if he prefers not to re-marry and instead have a live-in partner, that is his personal business, as long as it doesn’t affect his role running the Presidency, we should not be concern.And with mr Alvarez, that is also his personal business, as long as he is doing his job. Many Filipinos were known to have mistresses for many decades, and its not new.

      • Many Filipinos were known to have mistresses for many decades, and its not new.

        Filipinos are known for their lack of commitment to their promises and vows.
        Sort of like dogs sniffing any female in the area.

        Wife at home taking care of the kids while Daddy is out spending the families money on his girlfriends.

        Who cares as long as he is doing his job ?
        Wife and kids but then they don’t matter apparently.

        Infidelity is not a lack of love,
        Infidelity is a lack of respect.

    2. Duterte and Alvarez: What are they teaching our millennials?

      They are teaching the same lesson PNoy taught.
      The politicians have a different set of rules.
      The politicians can do whatever they want and they people will accept it or forget about it a week later.

      The pork barrel scam, Congress stole over P10 billion. 4 years later no one from congress has been convicted or even been to trial. Most not even charged.

      The SAF44, Over 2 years ago and no one has been convicted or been to trial. A coverup senate investigation led by deal making Sen. Poe

      The MRT contract scandal. 5 years since Roxas and Abaya cancelled and awarded the contract to a company that did not have any parts for repairing. No convictions or trials.

      Some day the people figure out that all that talk doesn’t lead anywhere and they should stop expecting justice. Justice left the country a long time ago and is not coming back. Just lie down and take it.

      There are two types of people in the world: people who are passionate about things, and people who’ve had their passion beaten out of them.

      A well beaten dog only has to be shown the whip.

      Welcome to the Philippines.

    3. Well it most certainly shows what a hypocrite du30 is. Leila de lima, She had just 1 lover after being separated from her husband for a long time & look how he spoke of her. Then look at his actions, the actions of his male politicians & his total acceptance of that. Now i dont believe in god but i do believe in marriage. I dont like the ways these guys speak about women. I think they think they are superior to them, as do most religious people. In religion its always the male thats in charge. It does make me smile how easy it is to fool so many of you though with religion. It does keep you in check on most things.

    4. Neglecting the fundamentals about marital relationship causes the ill that’s starting to plague us, thanks to the glaring statements from at least two of the country’s top leaders. You’ve pointed it blank, it’s integrity, the basic soul-based principle on which are based the vow and contract pillars of marriage. Without integrity, what does a man’s vow to his wife and vice-versa amount to? Canon Law (in Catholic Church) as well as Civil Law strictly adheres to “no-nonsense YES” in pronouncing the vows, otherwise there’s no marriage ab initio. One’s word is one’s solemn and binding promise. And what does contract (signing one’s name on a public document) to honor one’s promise and responsibility towards each other, offspring, and community) redound to absent the determination and effort to stick to each other “till death do us part?” Have out top two leaders forgotten the fundamentals? If so, what’s their business being at the top?

    5. Only shows many menfolks in this country, exemplified by the likes of Duterte and Alvarez, are juveniles at heart whose little brains reside in their gonads! And these idiots who act more like teenagers than officials of the land say they’re just being honest. Fools! It’s one thing to be engaged in extra-marital affairs, it’s another thing altogether to flaunt it and act like it’s something to be proud of. That adultery is just okay because everybody is doing it anyway! If Duterte, Alvarez and Co. can’t control their carnal urges, can’t they at least try to look for the meaning of ‘discreet’ or ‘private’? But being juveniles, they instead choose to flaunt and advertise it !!! Whew.

    6. Polygamy has never been immoral since the time of prophets. We might have heard about Prophets David and Solomon having many wives. the morale is anchored on the fact that at no time in history when men had outnumbered women but on the contrary. It is because men are more exposed to danger than women not to mention the fact that women have long lifespan as scientific finding proves. Cases of mistresses, illicit relationships, prostitution and streetchildren littered practically in every nook and corner of our busy thoroughfares can be attributed to the restriction of legalized polygamy. Celibacy probably stemmed from the case of Jesus Christ who was not able to find time for family life due to his perilous situation and his early departure at age about 31. In our setting where the wind of policy-making blows in the direction of liberal democracy particularly the West who set the trend for every facet of life, our proud Christian country is not spared. In fact, we are second to none in terms of looking up to the West as our model adopting their culture wholesale. Gradually, our culture is immersing into their culture which is degenerating into animalistic level where immoral becomes moral and vice-versa. I, for one, rationally vouch for the soundness of legalized yet optional polygamy to be able to surmount aforementioned societal ills that have been creeping into our society.

    7. What God has joined together, let no men put asunder. If you cannot be loyal or you have a problem of loyalty, then do not get married. What is right must not be confuse of what is wrong. My suggestion to all single men and women, do not get married if you are not positive that your relationship will last till death do you part. I believe that adultery is a sin. . I have a problem with fornication as a sin.

    8. I was told a big new black SUV and a misstress is a sign of wealth in the PH and one to respect,

    9. The sexual revolution began in America long before Hefner. The birth control pill probably was more of a cause of the revolution than Playboy magazine. When President Clinton said that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky, it probably reflected where America was at the time. It probably was not a factor in leading the youth down a path without morals.

      What does it mean when 14% of girls (15-19 years of age) in the country are either pregnant or already have had a child? What does it mean when 40% of births in the country are illegitimate? Why has the marriage rate plummeted in the country? Why is there a growing incidence of rape and child rape in the country? What does it mean when sex trafficking occurs regularly – with families even trafficking their children on the internet?

      I don’t approve of politicians waving their indiscretions in my face, but the sad reality is that something more serious is happening to the country. And it has been happening for a while now. Go home and watch an evening of soaps and shows on television and think about what that says about the nation.

      • Antonio villanueva on

        I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Makabenta. Government officials can make a mockery of marriage to their heart’s content and what they do in their private lives may not have a direct effect on their peformance in public office. But then again it may only be a matter of time. Because as Mr. Makabenta pointed out, marriage helps the civil stability of the society, this due to the need for fidelity. The practice of fidelity is a function of one’s integrity. Hence a philandering husband is in fact corrupt. And what would prevent him from being corrupt in public office?