NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/16 July) – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is truly an amazing persona, a charismatic leader in Philippine horizon beyond compare whose every word on anything is accepted by his rabidly adoring followers as gospel truth, justifying and massaging in fact those that look immoral and unsavory to fit to their belief system. He is a phenomenon that catches not just local or regional but world attention.
Duterte has weathered all controversies from the campaign period to his assumption of the presidency, always pushing his luck or self-confidence to the limits. He never backtracked even if already cornered for his irresponsible and baseless utterances and accusations.
He appeared on top of everything until his savage stupid-God ranting of late, where he cowed, apparently noticing the edge of the precipice. He immediately backpedalled, called for a ceasefire and a dialogue with his self-declared enemy – the Catholic Church.
The church authorities, who are always at the receiving end of the President’s unprovoked wrath, have appeared cool and composed. But no one really knows if such appearance is not deceptive like the proverbial duck in the pool which from the outside looks so cool and graceful but whose unseen feet in the water are kicking so hard like rearing for a flight or a fight. But modern Philippine history has shown the church had not been on flight but was once on the forefront in a fight against a tyranny.
Will history repeat?
The minions who belonged to the Christian faith were shaken by the President’s blasphemy on their God; many retreated to their shells and grow silent.
One by one the Duterte faithful is detaching from the idol.
Already some evangelical churches, who have given their undiscriminating support to the irreverent and irascible president through thick and thin, have also started to distance from him.
PRRD’s popularity sunk to a record low after the God-is-stupid episode.
The political opposition is flexing finally its muscles and rallies around a maligned woman.
A déjà vu it is.
Everyone should be ready for another classic chapter in Philippine history.
Nevertheless, come what may, President Digong has already secured a niche in Philippine history for what he has done, good or bad, to the country. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental)