COMMENTARY: Just another day

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 06 October) — What does it take to be a wartime president? That’s what Duterte is, for all intents and purposes, if you still think his juggernaut against illegal drugs doesn’t constitute a full-blown war. I don’t believe any other president, quite simply, had the guts to even think about such a battle.

Every single one of them—from the “revolutionary” Aguinaldo, to Quezon and Osmeña who created their own war cabinets, and even to Marcos, the “macho” dictator feared and loathed for his intellect and his imbecile Army—all of them knew squat about fighting crime.

Duterte is all of a piece. There’s just no stopping this man. Not his mouth. Not his anger. Not his objectives.

“Now is the time to kill correctly,” he booms before a gathering of policemen today. Is that a trick statement or a lapse in semantics? But then again, what’s there to fret, when the man merely articulated the principle behind self-defense, which is, come to think of it, a basic human right? He says it like it is. No frills. And that’s why people love him.

Not since Heneral Luna have we had such a leader livid in anger but sober in judgement. “Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta,” shouts an infuriated Antonio, his temper nearly knocking off the wits of his superior, the meek and pro-American Aguinaldo. Oh, how we adore such cinematic outbursts!

Ang galing! Ganyan ang Pinoy! Di takot kanino man. But when our own president takes Washington to task for its historical anomalies and threatens to reshape foreign relations, we say, Ang bastos naman ng bibig! He should know better than to insult the U.S. of A.!

We’re such sissies.

And now, even this circus over de Lima’s supposed peccadillos is overshadowing the government’s anti-drug campaign, if the sheer number of our top law enforcers busily attending congressional hearings is any indication. I couldn’t care less if the good lady senator was getting banged and stoned inside the Bilibid. But I do care if she was doing all that at my expense, sported the gall to present a laughable witness, and had the compunction to demand retribution after all her failed antics. Hearing these testimonies on nationwide TV alleging her gyrating poses before a dreaded drug lord are funny and sad at the same time, like watching a clown fumbling with a noose around his neck. Poignant, yes. But unlike Etta Rosales, I’m not falling for it.

In the meantime, an eight-year-old was gang-raped, killed, and thrown into a Manila estero tonight.

Our war continues. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaViews. Nikki Gomez is author of “Coffee and Dreams on a Late Afternoon–Tales of Despair and Deliverance in Mindanao,” and “Mindanao on My Mind and Other Musings,” both published by the UP Press).