TURNING POINT: Into a Turbulent Sea?

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NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 20 December) — Rodrigo Roa Duterte was catapulted to political stardom by doing or saying the unthinkable. For instance, at the stretch of the campaign period in 2015, he cursed the Pope for causing a traffic jam at EDSA; admitted he personally killed at least three suspects in a kidnapping and rape case in Davao City; and lamented missing the opportunity to rape ahead of the rioting inmates a beautiful Australian missionary during a hostage-taking incident inside a jailhouse. Instead of losing votes, the maverick Digong collected more than what he needed to claim the May 2016 presidential election.

With his unorthodox bull-headed behavior of not minding the possible consequences of his action, Duterte successfully projected himself as a no nonsense strongman capable of holding right at the horn the wicked monster of corruption, criminality and the illegal drug menace that hounded the country for long. Forget about his morality or its absence, the voters of the only Christian country in the Far East did not bother and care at all, and considered him the long awaited messiah to deliver the land from evil. In defending his apparently “un-Christian” personality, some of his avid followers argued that even God appoints the devil to serve his purpose.

The vote luring and trapping season is long over. One wonders why the mayor who is now the unquestioned President of the land still behaves like he is still courting the votes of the people. He continues to make silly and stupid pronouncements which are highly inappropriate and damaging to his present stature as the leader of the nation and to the nation itself.

Consider this: What political or practical gain would President Duterte get in calling the US President the son of a whore? He was wrong if he thought he earned some pogi points from the Moros in the south for the puerile act of apparently avenging for them on the infamous Bud Dajo massacre, a historic issue he was reviving to counter US and western criticisms on the wanton extra judicial killing in the country under his watch. Duterte is clueless: despite everything, the Moros adored and respected the Americans and remain so to this day in the same breath as their distrust in and hatred to the Filipinos, the Christianized natives.

The succeeding events after the Bud Dajo incident proved this. The Moro leaders of Sulu, Palawan and Mindanao joined hands in petitioning the US to grant them separate independence from the Filipinos or make their land a province of the USA, preferring to remain under the administration of the US Army than to be under or part of the proposed Philippine Republic. The Bacon Bill which championed the Moro political aspirations was unfortunately defeated in the US Congress in 1926, thanks or no thanks to the vehement opposition and lobbying of Filipino independent movement leaders like Sergio Osmeña and Manuel Roxas.

If a poll is conducted in Moroland today to determine their preference, I believe the Bangsamoro will prefer to be run like heaven by Americans rather than to be run like hell by Filipinos, regardless of Duterte’s huge enchanting promise of federalism.

PRRD taunted popularity is slowly but is being consistently eroded by his recent ramblings in various fora and repetitive tactless statements. In its report on Mayor Espinosa’s killing inside his prison cell, the NBI concluded that it was a rubout, a premeditated execution, hence, murder by any account, not a shootout as reported by the CIDG operatives that carried out the operation. Regardless, the President stood pat on earlier pronouncement that the police were doing their job rightly, that he will stand by them and no one will go to prison, the evidence notwithstanding. He dismissed the NBI report, saying ”the NBI is mine “ (under him). Therefore?

During the Wallace Business Forum held in the Palace, with no one asking any question about it the strongman boasted again about his criminal past, that he personally killed suspected criminals while mayor of Davao City, that he accordingly roamed the streets of the City in his big bike looking for troubles, for encounters so he could kill and show to his policemen that it could be done and they too could do it.

The audience in that business forum and those who witnessed in TV reports later had to take the President’s statement at face value. There is no other way because the admission was made in an unequivocal language in a formal gathering of responsible people. This time his apologists found themselves in a hell hole. To rationalize what he said again as another figure of speech is hogwash. Definitely no average English major student would buy it.

Rambling aimlessly far, far away from what is called by the occasion, and deliberately admitting and denying something all over again is one crazy befuddling but shallow way of covering the truth. Such a motion only unmasks and betrays the true character of the person doing it – that the fellow is a cheat, obviously sick, mentally- challenged, thus, utterly unreliable and yet is the sitting President of the Philippine Republic.

So, where are we going to? Are we into a turbulent sea? Are we in state of calm before the coming of a terrible storm? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan is a retired professor and former chancellor of the Mindanao State University Naawan campus in Misamis Oriental).

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