MAYOR Rodrigo Duterte topped the SWS survey of preferences for President in the 2016 elections. But that survey was conducted in the last week of November, way before he presented himself–his real self–to the nation, rambling about himself and his way of doing things, using expletives liberally throughout his long speech. He also heftily cursed Pope Francis and his mother for having inconvenienced commuters and motorists in January when the Holy Father’s visit caused heavy traffic.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte did not mince words at his proclamation as the candidate for President of the PDP-Laban political party.
Some say that Duterte’s remarks at his proclamation was a rant – an angry denunciation of everything that he detests.
We think that the speech is best described as an “in your face” statement to the nation.
This adjective and idiom best describes what Duterte set out to do, and what in the event he accomplished. “In your face” means behavior “blatantly aggressive or provocative; impossible to ignore or avoid” and “shocking and annoying in a way that is done in a bold, defiant, or aggressive manner.”
He did not want a polite response; he wanted an angry reaction.
His speech was not about the art of cursing and obscenity. It was meant mainly to present to us, frankly and honestly, who he is and what he believes in. It was a speech designed to project his character. And he succeeded.
He presented himself honestly, as his supporters have been saying over and over to persuade us that he is the best candidate for President. Because he is honest. The huge irony is that he honestly presented himself to be not a leader but the caricature of a leader–a guy projecting himself macho before his wide-eyed supporters.
A caricature, as people in the newspaper business so well know, is a sketch or a written description of someone in which a certain striking characteristic is exaggerated to create a comic or grotesque effect.
There are caricatures that indulge their subjects, and caricatures that criticize them. But what Duterte presented was his true self – a caricature of real flesh and blood that is truly both ridiculous and frightening.
This man, who seeks the highest office of the land, stood exposed as a man who disrespects all authority – political, ecclesiastical or moral – except his own authority in the office that he holds.
This man, who loudly proclaims himself as being on the side of the citizenry and the masses, stands revealed as a man who disrespects the family by boasting about having four women in his life, and disrespects human life itself by bragging about having killed scores of them as part of his public service. He also disrespects the Catholic Church and the Pope with expletives. He, of course, did an about–face and apologized to a Bishop and promised to change. But no one believes that he can.
Shall we entrust to this caricature of a leader the safety and welfare of our people and our country?
Must we allow him to put his finger on the trigger to keep the peace and defend the nation?
No, we won’t.