“If you can bear to hear the
truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make
a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you give
your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up
with worn out tools.”
— From “If” by Rudyard Kipling
You’ll probably ask me why it’s Kipling again. The answer is very simple – he is one of my friends on the level of the heart and the mind; just like Robert and John Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, Zhou-en-Lai, Vladimir Ilyich known as Lenin, David Ben Gurion, Leon Trotsky, Moammar Khadaffi, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Nelson Mandela, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Ho Chi Minh, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra, Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, Vo Nguyen Giap and Moshe Dayan, Andres Bonifacio and Luis Taruc,
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and Robert Frost, Frank Sinatra and Placido Domingo, Sarah Brightman and Barbra Striesand, Evita Peron and Margaret Thatcher, Michael Crawford and, of course, the eternal women – Marilyn Monroe and Maria Sharapova, Winston Churchill and Napoleon, and a lot many more.
Every time I read Kipling, Frost and the Kennedys; hear Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand sing my favorite and undying songs; see Marilyn Monroe in the movies and Maria Sharapova playing exciting tennis, my mind and heart vibrate, and the world vibrates with me, singing hosannas to my dreams and their unfolding realization from Diliman Way to the inevitable gateway of the Philippines of tomorrow.
And now to Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte who is a phenomenon in Philippine national politics. He is fresh wind in an environment of graft and corruption, and uncontrolled stupidity. It is just natural that he would catch national attention. But he would have been a perfect nobody were it not for the fact that he is mayor of Davao City. His followers claim that Davao is the most peaceful city in the Philippines because of his mailed fist policy in running after criminals and they want this brought to the national scene to get rid of criminals in high places.
I did not want to write about Duterte yet because he is a fellow Mindanaoan. Besides that, of what I hear of him in radio and from mouth to mouth, not lips to lips; see of him in television; and read of him in the newspapers, he is just not my idea of a man or a national leader. As a matter of fact, if I permanently decide to settle in the old somnolent home town of my father – Catarman, Camiguin – he is the last person on earth, if I have my say, who could be mayor of the town of my choice.
Besides, writing about Duterte, factually and making analysis that possibly could be interpreted by Duterte and his followers as a lot of negatives, constitutes serious danger to life and limb of the analyst because Duterte is known to be a violent vindictive person. With his death squad which many people in Davao City claim to exist and his gutter, vulgar, and bum brown language, which everybody hears the moment he opens his mouth, certainly almost everyone will be afraid of Duterte. But the fact that one is afraid of him is no reason for one not to write about him, unless one wants to be a monk or an idiot. And I have no desire to be either or both!
In the words of one of my most admired writers, Ernest Hemingway, for the crystal simplicity and beautiful and infectious style of his writings: “Courage is not the absence of fear, it is grace under pressure.” When you are trembling in paroxysms of fear with an almost irresistible desire to run away, courage is what tells your heart and mind to stay and fight. And fight you do! That is courage.
These past few weeks in the papers and in public speeches, Duterte has become a bundle of contradictions.
In page A7, 2015 issue of the Manila Times, there appears this story with the head, “Duterte will not run for president in 2016.” The pertinent part of the story, reported from Cotabato City, Mindanao states: “Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will not seek the presidency in the elections next year…he denied that he is seeking a higher position.”
The story continues: “In an interview, Duterte said he has several reasons to support his answer. He said members of the Duterte family have vehemently opposed his plan to run for president. He also cited old age as one of the reasons saying, ‘ matanda na ako at tapos na ang aking panahon.’ (I am old already and my time is up.) He also said that he doubts whether he can sustain a massive nationwide campaign that entails billions of pesos of expenses.”
The news report further stated: “When Duterte was asked whether there is a chance that he would change his mind, Duterte politely said, ‘No it is final and my official stand I will not be running anymore for president in 2016.’
In a headline of a Manila daily (not the Manila Times) a few days ago, Duterte said he would implement his plan to organize a revolutionary government the moment he gets elected President.
In page A5 of August 29 of the same Manila Daily, there is a story with the head stating: “Duterte to seek ‘God’s guidance’ on presidential bid.” In the body of the news report, Duterte is quoted to have said before many of his followers: “I have to seek God’s guidance because at the end of the day, it (his presidential bid) will be God’s decision,” the mayor told Dutertistas…”
I was in Camiguin about two weeks ago and I was told by my informant that Duterte was feeling expansive as usual in Bonbon, Catarman, Camiguin, declaring that he would kill and bury the crooks and grafters in the sunken cemetery the moment he becomes President of the Philippines, to the applause of a big crowd of Camiguin voters who have always been voting for the crooks and the grafters in Camiguin. He even mentioned about the certainty of getting elected because he has GOLD BARS WORTH 15 BILLION PESOS which he has yet to liquefy and SENATOR BONGBONG MARCOS HAS EIGHT BILLION PESOS IN CASH.
I do not wish to compound Duterte’s problem. All I can say is res ipsa loquitor – the thing speaks for itself. In a capsule, all these contradictions define Duterte as a possible candidate as President of the Philippines.
Duterte and other presidential wannabes are sources of worry for the citizen.
I am not worried about my analysis of the national situation and the reaction of the presidential wannabes. I am worried about the citizen and this country because the wannabes treat this country as though it is a psychiatric ward and the citizens are a bunch of fools.
Just examine the statements of these presidential wannabes. Not so long ago, Mar Roxas told the mayor of Tacloban City that the mayor should remember that he is only a Romualdez and the President of the Philippines is an Aquino. What distorted thinking so representative of traditional politicians and members of the luxuriating upper classes. To rub wounds of the typhoon victims, Mar Roxas had the effrontery to reply (like his boss BS Aquino) to a complaining Yolanda victim that after all, he should be glad that he is still alive.
This is the kind of thinking that renders Mar Roxas unfit to be President of the Philippines.
Take the case of VP Jojo Binay. He is a lawyer and a UP College of Law graduate yet he had the effrontery to defend political dynasties even it is mandated by the Constitution that political dynasties are anathema to a democratic society and a law should be passed erasing the practice and the concept. Just a few days ago, in an effort to get the support of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) in the coming May 2016 elections, if it comes, he said that the INC members were correct in demonstrating by maintaining that the investigation of the complaint of an INC leader is a case of interference of the State in religious affairs because there is separation of church and state. VP Binay should be grateful that the great comedian, DOLPHY, is dead because if DOLPHY were alive he would tell Jojo Binay straight on his face, “Dassa lot of nonsense!”
On top of these, Jojo Binay has a Mount Everest of charges against him for plunder involving graft and corruption. Of what I have heard and seen of the evidence against him in the Senate hearings, he should be spending his next fifty years in jail.
These render Jojo Binay unfit to be President of the Philippines!
There is Senator Grace Poe. She has admitted she is yet preparing to handle the presidency of the Philippines – meaning she is not prepared but still making the rounds hoping a miracle to be produced by Social Weather Station (owned by her uncle) and Pulse Asia with the aid of mainstream media. Besides, she is not a natural born citizen because she became an American citizen and then acquired Philippine citizenship. There is a world of difference between a natural born citizen and a naturalized citizen. Unfortunately for Grace, the Constitution requires as qualification to run for President is that one must be a natural born Filipino citizen.
Based on her own admissions, she is unfit, for now, to be President of the Philippines. She should undergo a seminar for six years on how to be President.
Let us talk about Senator Bongbong Marcos. He wants to ride to the presidency on the name of his father and on his version of the BBL. Well, Bongbong is not even the shadow of his father and his version of the BBL is nothing new and different from the Buang Buang Law. Bongbong should undergo, like Grace Poe, a seminar for six years on how to become President of the Philippines. But by then, both of them would have become moot and academic.
And going back to Rodrigo Duterte — Well, let the man speak for himself. At the rate he is ranting on a revolutionary government, using vulgar and gangster language, involving himself in a lot of contradictions, except for his fanatical followers, in my assessment, the man, like all the other wannabes, is unfit to be President.
Then, what is the alternative? A Constitutional Transition Government which I will explain in full one of these days. For the moment you are just getting snippets, with my accompanying apology to my readers that I have, for the moment, put aside my continuing column on Ninoy Aquino to give way to more important matters.