SHAME on presidential candidates Rodrigo Duterte and Mar Roxas for demeaning what few shreds of dignity remain in our electoral processes with their stupid and irrelevant “word war” over Roxas’ academic credentials, and shame on the supporters of Duterte for encouraging him to continue. Even more nauseating is that the two exchanged threats to slap the other!
The issue arose from Duterte’s accusation that Roxas’ claim to have graduated from the Wharton School (formally, its proper name is ‘The Wharton School of the University of Pennylvania) was false, and has since escalated into the two men trading childish barbs including challenges to a slap fight, a brawl, and finally, as just another indication that Duterte doesn’t know when to quit, a challenge to a duel with guns — publicly challenging someone to a duel is a crime under Article 261 of the Revised Penal Code, punishable by up to two years in prison, not that running afoul of the law is something that evidently troubles Duterte in any way.
Roxas, according to a check of the publicly available records, received a BS degree in economics from the Wharton School in 1979. As several Wharton and U. of Pennsylvania alumni have explained, calling oneself “a Wharton grad” is typically reserved for those who have completed a graduate course there and received a Masters degree, so while Roxas did not lie about his academic credentials, exactly, he certainly appears to have misled everyone, which was an immature and avoidable mistake. Duterte, on the other hand, has only demonstrated that he has no bigger priorities than to drag out for an entire week an infantile argument over something that is ultimately irrelevant to national issues.
Neither man is at this point demonstrating even the merest quality of a political leader, and certainly both are rapidly disqualifying themselves, if they haven’t already, from even casual consideration as potential successors to President BS Aquino 3rd (who if nothing else has proved that intellectual depth and academic excellence or credentials are not actually important to most Filipino voters after all).
The entire drama is an embarrassment to the nation, an insult to the intelligence of even the dullest among us, and a complete waste of our time. Since we have very little hope that the two antagonists would do the honorable thing and quietly withdraw from the mockery of democratic process that their respective campaigns now represent, we demand that they cease and desist from this nonsense immediately, and focus on issues that matter.
At the same time we hope that all voters — who appreciate that good character, maturity, and a host of other virtues are necessary to make a good president — remember that these two men do not deserve their vote in 2016.