How to navigate through the devil’s mind


In 1966, just a year into the first term of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, a Hollywood movie shook Manila with the novelty of its concept. A scientist is nearly assassinated. In order to save him, a medical team is reduced to microscopic size and loaded into a submarine similarly shrunken by which they navigate the bloodstream of the patient and seek remedy for the scientist’s injury. Titled “Fantastic Voyage,” the movie was a smash hit and earned critical acclaim worldwide.

I recall the movie now as I wring my cranium in search for a way to understand Rodrigo Duterte.

Of the five protagonists in the current presidential contest, only this creature seems to defy comprehension by even his peers. His flip-flapping on issues is as many a boxer’s sidesteps, twists and turns, maneuvers so unpredictable that even Pacman would just have a hard time catching him with a punch. He announces his candidacy for President only to withdraw it soon after. And then just as his political foes begin to sit back, comfortable in the thought that that’s one opponent down, he springs back to the scene, substituting for the presidential candidacy of a partymate, who has withdrawn from the field.

He cusses the Pope but later claims it’s not the Pope he cussed but the traffic. He admits killing 1,700 then calls it a hyperbole. He declares rage at not having raped an Australian lady first but afterward says he was joking.

Bewilderment is an efficacy nobody beats Duterte in. Now he says one thing, next time he says the opposite. But in any case, his throngs of fanatics sway wherever he directs them. And it is for this reason that I shudder from his avowal about not caring at all if he wins or loses in the presidential fight.

“I won’t die if I don’t become President,” he declares quite arrogantly.

Does not this statement betray an innermost distaste, even aversion, to the huge responsibility intrinsic in the presidency? If, God forbid, he wins the post in the coming elections, what then will the nation be headed to?

No psychoanalyst has yet come up with even an attempt to explain the enigma that Duterte is. In a past article I wrote in this column, “Duterte or Idi Amin: What’s The Difference?” I dared touch on a little psychology by citing a psychoanalysis ascribing Idi Amin’s monstrous killer instinct to syphilis of the brain. Could be the same ailment Duterte is suffering from?

As a rephrase of a line of a song in the movie “Sound of Music,” I venture to ask: “How do you solve a problem like Duterte?”

Truly, I’m at a loss.

But maybe I could try some novelty of my own, like that scifi adventure in “Fantastic Voyage.” Words for sure are reflections of somebody’s inner thoughts. Surfing through Duterte’s utterances can be one method – and an impeccable one – for understanding his real character.

Didn’t he say, after all? “I’d rather lose the election than lose my identity. My identity is my character.”

So Duterte is that kind of person who makes no pretense with his perceivable motives. Those aspects of his life that he must keep very private early on he can take care not to make any betrayal of, like his role in the continuing rice and illegal drug smuggling in Davao City.

But those meant for putting forward a public image, his words out like the ratatat of his Uzi and damn if it gives his identity, his character away.

By browsing through his words, we are able to navigate into what’s going on in his mind.

So, here goes.

On running for President:
“If I could make this sacrifice if only to save this country from being fractured.”

On joking about the dead Australian rape victim:

“Yan eh, salitang kanto – nung binuksan ko, ‘O eto,’ galit ako nun

nagsasalita. ‘Ang ganda-ganda pa mukhang artistang galing America. Putang ina, naunahan pa ako, Patayin mo lahat,”

On running for President again:
“I am not interested in becoming the President, or the Vice President, or even a senator or a secretary of any department. I am not qualified for these positions. I will aspire only for what I can be. I will not dream for what I cannot be.”

On ending criminality:
1.”I say let’s kill five criminals every week so they will be eliminated.”

2. “The criminals have no place in this city except jails, detention centers and, God forbid, funeral parlors.”

3. “ Stop or leave. If you can’t or will not, you will not survive. You can either leave vertically or horizontally.”

4. “I tell you, criminals. Don’t come to this city.”

5. “Barilin kita. Bakit mo ako suntukin? Ako nga ang peace maker para walang bloodshed, tapos suntukin ako. I’ll shoot you.”

On apologizing:
“She is not ready to apologize. She offers no excuses. No apologies. No nothing. So be it. The yakkings of the mouth… Millions of them. You want blood? We will give it to you.”

On criticism:
“ ‘Yang mga bleeding progressive minds, you know how to deal with the problem? You tell us.”

On defense of a child:
“Kung hindi naman kayo tarantado. Anak ko ‘yan eh. I only know one event, ‘yung tatay iniwan ang anak. God the Father allowed his only son to be crucified. The problem is I am not God the Father. But she is my daughter. Period.”

On dealing with notorious criminals

“Pag napatay niyo, doblado, 4 million ako. Ngayon, pag dinala niyo ang ulo ni Ryan Yu dito sa akin, lagyan mo lang ice para hindi mabaho, dadagdag ako ng 1 million. So that’s 5 million.”

On criticism for anarchy:
“Don’t fuck with my team. Hindi ako papayag ng ganyan. Anarchy? Paano tayo makakatulong kung lahat tayo puro aktor?”

“Anarchy eh! Kung pakialaman pa ang medisina eh ano ang silbi ng doktor ko? So they can choose, we can add more casualties by bullets. Nasa kanila ‘yan.”

On freedom of expression:
“What is wrong if I use my freedom of expression and invoke it now? What does it send you, ‘yang dirty finger? What does it connotate? Sige daw?… Rosales asks the DILG to teach me a lesson? Sila ang pumunta dito, and I will teach them a lesson of the freedom of expression. Lecture-an ko sila with the finer points of the Constitution.”

On God’s existence:
“God must have been somewhere else or forgot that there was planet Earth.”


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  1. Duterte is not in his wits. He is acting crazy, and the crazy believe him. Fools run after fools. Such will be the path of our country, that supposedly belongs to us youths. Help us make our country progress more. Don’t vote or support Duterte. If he wins, we will be set back to the Dark Ages…….

  2. Well, you can spill your spiel about the man Digong but you can not change that the people have committed to his cause. IF Binay is your man, that is yours to partake by all means – Ali Baba and his Forty Thieves fails in comparison to this Midget Tulisan of, excuse me….

    • Duterte is dirty. I’m not saying that there is one that is not. But there are levels of this kind, and he is the dirtiest of them all. Binay (you hate him, right?) at least led Makati from a municipality to a city. How about Duterte, of his 30 years in public service, he doesn’t even know the basics. Now, his son is involved in rice smuggling. Ali Baba? Forget about him. Look at yourself and you will know who is corrupt.

  3. From my point of view, election now is between good and evil. And it seems evil is going to triump in the form of DUTERTE.

    If our presidentiables realy cares for our people and our country as a whole, why they don’t pool their resources… two of them must concede while there is time. anyway their platform are the same..,continuation of TUWID NA DAAN.

    One of them should face Duterte one on one. May GOD BLESS OUR COUNTRY

  4. For those who is going to vote for Duterte, there is going to be blood in your hands on thousands of people who will die during Dutertes reign. I am sure there is no due legal process because our legal system is totally broken. Why go to court, the easiest way is to liquidate them. Is this what we dream of our country ? A country of assassins.

  5. To know the mind of Duterte, know what he do in Davao City and his projects. Just read him between the line of his speech and you will know him.

  6. Amnata Pundit on

    This is nothing but hyperbolic ventilation of Binay’s frustration over the obstacle to his dream of more Haciendas that will rival the Queen’s Windsor Castle. You don’t realize it but its your mind you are exposing to scrutiny by astute observers by writing about political frustrations. Your dreams of a secure sinecure in a Binay administration is going up in smoke…

  7. According to the old man Durano: politics is the game between evils and the most evil of the evils, win. Pragmatism always get the better in leaders. The language of Duterte is not in the mind but in the whole of gut-feel which is immersed in the culture of Mindanao and particularly of Davao. If one grew up in any province, city or barrio in Mindanao, one would understand Duterte with a pinch of salt and chuckle.


    On dealing with notorious criminals. Duterte actually asked for a 4 m reward from the government for Ryan Yu alias “BAKTIN” which was denied, because it was learned that Duterte’s son is involved with BAKTIN. The idea was to silence BAKTIN for good before he spills the beans on his partners in disposing carnapped or stolen/ hot vehicles. DuTERTE put up only 1m reward on his own.

  9. You truly are AT A LOSS for peoples true sentiments, remember your negativity only makes us strong and a great multiplier for people who want change….

    • True,the Philippines will change if Duterte will ever win this coming May elections.From being the country of “Tuwad na Daan” to being a country of “Napatuwad na naglubak-lubak na Daan pa”.The mayor of Davao,having no real platform of government,have no real idea how to run this nation if ever he will become President ! Coming from his foul mouth,his volatile promises of doing or not doing things his team and party espouses to,is a clear sign that he does not know what he is going to do…His supporters dont see this reality because they prefer to listen to the mayors vulgar jokes and Duterte’s cursing and foul mouthing of his critics.The truth,Duterte,other than being controversial,profane and indecent,is no better than Pnoy,who,when ask of what he had done in 6 years,his reply is always,he threaded the straight path.But with Duterte,his answers were always,he will rid this country of corrupt and criminals in6 months…What do you think,do both Pnoy and Duterte have the same thing in common? In short,”Binobola lang ang tao”…

  10. With such kind of public pronouncements, I am pretty sure that Mr. Dee Gong will never get to finish his term if ever he is elected. Admit it publicly or not, the Philippine presidency is still captive to US policies. Once a sitting Philippine president becomes an obstacle to US policies, he/she becomes a KILL to US satellites/drones. He should study and learn the lessons from Philippine history. Mr. Ramon died of a plane crush. Mr. Marcos’ downfall started when he made the declaration in Nairobi in 1977. Mr. Joseph’s career slowly deteriorated when he started to run against US interests. Especially at this time that the geopolitics in the region is very volatile that any miscalculation can cause a prairie fire, Mr. Dee Gong is the least the country can afford at this period in our history. We can never afford a lunatic whose mental and psychiatric state of mind has been documented in a scientifically studied report of a professionally competent doctor in the field. I can not vote but my pronouncement comes from a diligent and practical prognosis of a field where there is practically no choice at all.

    • DUTERTE is insane. Very unstable. He’d crack-up any moment. A few more stressful days will do it. It will make a nice Zarsuela ending it he withdraw now. Please dear GOD, save the remaining sane Pilipinos.
      There’s insanity evident everywhere, money changers all over, i.e.
      Poe, Binay in churches, praying kono. How wicked!…with media in tow.
      Their followers are as wicked as well.