BEFORE some non-Davao-based mediamen give their biased comments on seemingly uncouth remarks and actions of President-elect Duterte, I must hasten to give my own.
I also want to beat to the punch temporary would-be Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo. After all, Panelo is neither a mediaman nor is he from Davao, so he may not be qualified to interpret all of Mr. Duterte’s controversial comments and actions.
Mr. Duterte said newsmen should consult their colleagues in Davao to determine if he was merely joking or exaggerating things rather than report his statements en toto. I’m from Nueva Ecija and I find it difficult to consult media friends in Davao like Carol Arguellas and Edith Regalado. However, there’s little difference between “Davao” and “Danao,” so I might as well qualify myself as unofficial interpreter of the incoming President. Here goes:
Duterte wolf-whistles at a TV reporter
President-elect Duterte has drawn a lot of flak from ignorant newsmen and columnists for wolf-whistling at GMA-7’s Mariz Umali at a presscon. If there’s anything that shows media “bias” against him, this is it.
(The more appropriate term is “prejudice.” One can be biased for but never be biased against a person or thing. However, one may be “prejudiced against. …”)
Ms. Umali is one of the more refreshing faces on TV. She amplifies her winsome looks with her searching questions in interviews. A number of mediamen must be envying Raffy Tima, also of GMA-7, for having such a wife. Now, President-elect Duterte definitely has an eye for beauty so it’s to be expected that the sight of her made him react the way he normally does—wolf-whistle.
A big number of opinion makers immediately pounced on him for this light-hearted action. Wolf-whistles coming from street idlers indicate ill-breeding and utter disrespect for women. This couldn’t be said of Mr. Duterte who’s no idler. One must remember that he just got more than 16 million votes and is about to be sworn in as President. As the saying goes, “It’s the singer, not the song.”
So, a wolf-whistle from Mr. Duterte should be correctly interpreted as a flattery, not as disrespect for women.
His critics should remember that as Davao City mayor, he signed an ordinance imposing heavy sanctions on men who disrespect women, like wolf-whistling at them. Mr. Duterte is a man who’s determined to lead by example, so how could he possibly violate a code of conduct that he wants others to obey? His critics must have blinders, mistaking his playful act as low regard for women.
Many beautiful lady reporters from abroad, especially from the US, should also feel flattered should he give a wolf-whistle while they’re interviewing him. If they don’t appreciate or understand such a playful and harmless action from him, then they should consult reporters from Davao—or a columnist with a “Danao” family name.
In the same vein, women kissed by Mr. Duterte during the campaign should feel not violated but flattered. After all, only a few get kissed in public by a very popular person. These spontaneous acts are what endear him to the people. And did you see him put out his tongue at the sight or mention of some women? Only “biased” persons would take these against him. So what if he puts out his tongue on girls if he’ll cut the tongue of criminals?
If being wolf-whistled at and kissed are flattering, then women who are courted by him should feel more so. We all know that he’s “macho” and never hides the fact that he has many common-law wives. Women in this predominantly Catholic country shouldn’t be offended should he want more common-law wives. He is what he is. Take him for what he is. After all, having many wives isn’t included in his moral doctrine for good governance. This doesn’t matter as long as he makes good his vow to eliminate criminality in six months.
‘Gaga, shut up!’ – President-elect Duterte to a lady reporter
Mr. Duterte is also being scorched, also undeservedly, by “biased” media for his recent flare-up against a lady reporter of a leading broadsheet. What’s wrong with saying “Gaga, shut up!” to a reporter who asks irritating questions?
He should have the right to answer only the questions that he likes. And if things worsen, he could ban from his presscons reporters who ask hard questions for these reveal their “bias.” He can’t be called “Trump of the Philippines” for nothing!
To misinformed readers who might chastise me for this column, let me tell them that like Mr. Duterte, I’m also prone to exaggerations and sarcasm. Readers should consult my editors at The Manila Times for a proper interpretation of my columns.