• Grotesque quandary: So many to kill, so little time



    First read
    Due to a foul-up in Internet connection between editor and columnist, the Times could not publish the second part of my column last Saturday (“Take your pick: Trump’s “truthful hyperbole” or Duterte’s “in-your- face” expletives, Times, Nov. 12, 2016).

    This left my argument hanging, and cut off entirely the conclusion.

    I reproduce below the missing sections, which deal mainly with President Duterte’s use of expletives and his sometimes disjointed reasoning.

    “In-your-face” expletives
    I describe Duterte‘s expletives as “in your face” because they are insolent and confrontational, and directed invariably at personages in high office.

    Unlike President-elect Donald Trump, President Rodrigo Duterte does not have a problem of ghost authorship in regard to the expletives and vulgarisms that he has issued freely since he acceded to office on June 30.

    To every vulgarism, profanity and curse that has escaped his mouth, he can claim untrammeled paternity. No one in his right mind will contest their DNA.

    Catalogue of Duterte expletives
    In a column I wrote last August (“Time to parse the words of Talk Duterte,” Times, August 18, 2016), I catalogued the expletives and vulgarisms that President Duterte has used since taking office, starting from when the saga began. I wrote then:

    “The Filipino public and the media got their first big helping of Talk Duterte during his proclamation as the presidential candidate of the PDP-Laban political party in November 2015 at Century Park Hotel.

    “What was supposed to be the maiden speech of his campaign turned out to be a tirade of epic dimensions, as he railed against everything and everyone:

    1. He called Pope Francis a “son of a whore”, for causing a traffic gridlock in Manila.

    2. He cursed the rapists and killers of an Australian missionary at the Davao penitentiary in 1989, because he said he as mayor should have been first because she was so pretty.

    That speech shocked many in the country and abroad. But the people were not paying close attention. They found Talk-Duterte refreshing and exhilarating. They elected him with 38 percent of the vote.

    You would think that having won the presidency, he would let up and turn presidential. But no, he kept adding to the lexicon. This is who he is. The world must also hear and listen.

    When the American and Australian ambassadors criticized Duterte for his rape joke, he threatened to break off diplomatic relations with those countries.

    On May 26, 2016, during a press conference in Davao City, then president-elect Duterte launched a series of obscenity-filled attacks on the Catholic Church, branding local bishops corrupt and sons of whores, who are to be blamed for the nation’s fast-growing population. On August 5, 2016, as he addressed troops at the country’s Armed Forces Central Command Headquarters, Duterte recounted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the country, and recalled in Filipino that he was feuding with U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg. He called the US ambassador “a gay son of bitch.”

    “When a United Nations taskforce criticized Duterte for the extrajudicial killings during the war on drugs, he attacked the UN for its failures in the Middle East, and called UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon a fool.” The European Union came next, when its ministers criticized the drug war.

    “When the White House announced that President Obama might take up the human rights issue with Duterte during the Asean summit in Vientiane, Duterte flew off the handle. He called Obama ”a son of a whore” and then attacked the US government for a Moro massacre committed in 1906, while the country was under US colonial control.

    “When Obama cancelled a bilateral meeting with Duterte at the summit, Duterte issued a statement saying that he did not mean to call Obama names. But this seeming retraction was soon retracted also.

    “The rift has not been repaired; instead it has worsened. When Duterte visited Beijing in October, he made his dramatic declaration of ‘his separation from America.’ ”

    So many to kill, so little time
    Apart from freely using expletives to attack critics, Duterte shows disjointed reasoning in making the case for the drug war.

    He frequently cites the figure of three to four million to quantify the number of drug suspects (drug lords, traffickers, pushers, coddlers, and users) in the country. But no government agency – not the Philippine Drug enforcement agency ( PDEA) , and not the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) —has validated this count. It’s unnerving because DU30 has declared that the drug war will not stop until the last suspect is killed. The President has lately taken to bemoaning the fact that there are so many to kill, and he has so little time to do the job.

    Grotesquely, Duterte finds himself here in the same quandary the Nazis faced when they had to implement their final solution – the extermination of Europe’s Jews. The immensity of the task nearly overwhelmed them. The English historian Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote: “It needed something like genius to organize in the middle of war… and in fierce competition for the essential resources, the transport, concentration and murder of millions of people.”

    The Nazis, of course, found a way.

    Duterte worries that he would have a hard time neutralizing over 3,000 local and police officials as well as judges allegedly involved in drugs, because of the alarm bells that might be raised by human rights groups.

    “If I use the contemporary rules, the Constitution, I really can’t do it. Because you want to kill them all (but) you will not have enough time,” he said.

    “And, you know, if you do that, whether it is justified or not, the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations will always be there.”

    This is why he has lately threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus – so that police can effect warrantless arrests.

    Who will blink first?
    Trump and Duterte are interestingly in a similar quandary. While Duterte frets about the enormous problem of killing some three million drug suspects in his drug war, Trump must confront the analogous challenge of deporting in quick time some three million illegal immigrants in the US.

    What would happen when the truthful hyperbole meets the in-your–face expletive?

    News of Trump‘s resounding victory has sobered President Duterte on his iconoclastic view of Filipino-American relations. He has declared that he will stop quarreling with Washington. He now looks forward to a cooperative relationship with the new tenant at the White House. In a rare show of modesty, DU30 says he is a molecule in comparison with Trump.

    Some have speculated that when Trump and Duterte meet each other eyeball-to- eyeball, it will be like a Manny Pacquiao prizefight.

    That meeting will happen in Manila next year, when the Philippines hosts the 2017 Asean meetings.

    Who do you think will blink first?



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    1. I predicted 2 month ago… du30 means the peso at 55 by next summer… but I have been wrong before it could be higher. Trump will not bother the Philippines unless there is noise there… should du30 make a lot of noise or want out of agreements etc then Trump will act very swiftly (Especially in his first year where he has not learned to be presidential…..). Trump would be happy to accept cancellation of any agreement between the US and Philippines that du30 wants such as our joint military protection. The end result is Trump will also cancel any special Trade rules and tax benefits… that translates directly to loss in BPO leaving… Should Americans tourists be hurt or the US Embassy come under protest again then this will very quick. There is a reasonable chance that Philippines will be on Trumps watch list for terrorism (maybe just because he doesn’t like du30 personality) and that would cancel all deals anyway. Let’s hope and pray all have cooler heads that du30 calms his presentation and that Trump acts like an adult and not a child bully.

    2. MVP is seeing some writings on the walls. And so are the financial and economic whiz’s. It seems the risks are evident both in and out of the country.

      DU30 could go on with his expletives, with his war on drugs, and his quarrels with every sectors critical of his volition. He would remain unmoved. He would remained undaunted. But once the economy spirals down, he would blink and face the world with a black eye. No leader in the world has ever survived a sinking economy.

    3. so, if the Philippines will be bankrupt, we should have a civil war to have a fresh start. the world is on the brink of collapse anyway.

    4. DU30 and Trump will find a lot of common between them. My forecast of the future is that they will form strong bonds and work very well with each other.

    5. Right now’ RP is facing huge problem in economy and not in drugs. BPO will be move to the US per. Overseas news and 3 million Aprrox illegal aliens will be deported. There are a few hundred thousand Pilipinos that are illegals in the US. They will be deported. There will be millions of Pilipinos that will be out of work early next year. Stock prices went down from 7800 to 6900 per PSEI. Dollar is at all time high at 49.20 per dollar. There is a very very big possibility that this country will be bankrupt . Dugong said that he is driving away foreign investment out of the country thinking that nation is rich. Now reality sets in. No slogans can save this country. No putang Ina or SOB can make a difference. The truth of the matter is we have been beggars since the beginning. Our exports will be affècted. I read that even the Internet onnections will be affected per Manny Pangilinan. Trump said that the Philippines does not show any respect to US. Now he will show who is the BOSS.

      • The Philippine BPO industry will not be affected no matter who sits in the white house. These are private companies and the federal government have no iota of control over their business policies.

        Do you really think americans will start working for $1 an hour with no bathroom break(as we do here in PH) just because some reality star is in the white house?

    6. it will be a fair and square meeting neither will blink.. i bet my dollar on it because the philippines has the best hidden military treasure under the philippine deep located in the western philippine sea region.