Change is coming and the transformation will come from incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
On Thursday night, the Davao City mayor said Filipinos, after his oath-taking (June 30), will see on July 1, his first day in office as President, a different Duterte.
“I’m telling you I’m going to behave. I said there’s gonna be a metamorphosis in the mind. Suddenly from a caterpillar, it blossoms into a butterfly,” Duterte told reporters.
He said he will transform from a “foul-mouthed,” “rude” person to a formal official.
“When I become President, when I take my oath of office, if you want, I will conduct [myself]more in keeping with the dignity of the office, ibang storya ‘yan [that’s a different story],” Duterte added.
“It will be a metamorphosis. Ladies and gentlemen of the media who are here, you know, when I get to be President, I have to tone down my own cursing. That would be the past, it’s going to be history. I have to concentrate more on what happens to this country and to develop it and make it progress along the way. And there’s a lot of things which I have to do, to complete,” he said.
“And when I come back, I will address you in a very polite manner,” Duterte added.
But, in the meantime, the mayor said he will enjoy what is left of his “rude” days.
“I am not the President [yet]. Mamaya na, maghintay kayo [Just wait, that will come later]. I’m really a rude person. I am enjoying my time as a rude person,” he added.
Duterte also vented his ire on the United Nations for failing to solve conflicts in other countries.
He launched the tirade in reaction to the call of an international press group on the media to sue him over his statement on media killings.
“Bullshit to them. I am not the president of the community. ‘Yan ang mahirap dito, puro tinatakot ka [That’s the problem, they always sow fear], there was a convention of this, convention of that, the UN,” Duterte said.
“Pu*** ina kang UN. E hindi mo nga ma-solve-solve ‘yang patayan sa Middle East [expletive]UN, they can’t even solve killings in the Middle East] and others, killing people like rejects. You do not even lift a finger in Africa, butchering the black people there,” he added.
“Tumahimik nga kayo [You better shut up].”
Duterte said he did not sign any document requiring him to act in a certain manner.
“Do not force your code of conduct on me. You’re not supposed to do that. I never signed anything which says that I have to behave in such, in this manner or in that manner,” he added.
But a British diplomat said Duterte’s media remarks were uncalled for, noting that the Philippines has a “terrible” record of media violence that should be rectified.
Ambassador Asif Ahmad pointed out that the United Kingdom is “totally committed to the elimination and condemnation” of the killing of journalists.
A report from US-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the Philippines, where at least 75 journalists have been killed since 1992, is the second-deadliest country for journalists.
The UK, according to Ahmad, expects a different tone from Duterte because he represents the whole nation.
“There is a huge responsibility for any office holder to show respect for the office that they hold and respect for the people that they have the privilege to govern for,” he said in a chat during the celebration of Queen Elizabeth 2nd’s 90th birthday at his residence on Thursday night.
“We expect a different tone because everything he says will be on behalf of the nation. This is not an issue where he is speaking personally,” the ambassador added.
Ahmad was also displeased with the wolf whistling of Duterte as well as his rape joke on a slain Australian missionary.
“We have very, very clear unshakeable standards of behavior and we would expect nothing less than that from any leader of this great country,” he said.
“We have a great respect for gender equality and also on people’s sexual orientation. There is no space in our mindset any form of discrimination or any form of abuse,” Ahmad added.
Incoming Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., however, believes that Duterte’s controversial remarks would not harm the Philippines’ ties with other countries if these were not misinterpreted by the media.
“There was a lot of misinterpretation and misunderstanding on what he was trying to say.
Most of his statements were taken out of context and I am sure that our local media plays an important role to make sure that these concerns will not blow out of proportion,” he said.
“This alarm or concern of our friends and allies in the international community will not be there if they fully understand [Duterte’s remarks],” Yasay added.
He noted that Duterte’s statements should be not be taken as policy statements because he is yet to assume office.
“He is just enjoying this time as a mayor to say these things that he has always been free in expressing. But he promised that when he sits down, he will be different because when he speaks at that point, he is already expressing policies,” Yasay said.
Duterte will have relinquished his job as mayor of Davao City in southern Philippines after he takes his oath of office on June 30.