Getting-things-done Filipino Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is exhorting the public to reassess his impassioned statements that could be taken out of context because of their rough, sardonic slant. At the same time, the Davao City Mayor demonstrated his remorse for bad-mouthing the Papal visit’s traffic gridlock by agreeing to pay P1000 every time he swears on national television.
In a Facebook post on January 8, 2016, the Davao-based presidential candidate explained his way of “getting the message across” by venting on things that trigger his anger and frustration, or expressing a sarcastic viewpoint. Done with fumbling for excuses, Duterte asked his detractors to read between the lines.
“I’d like to address myself to the people of the Philippines. Listen to my cursing. Listen to it carefully. I invite you to just really look at me and relate those words to my character. Because behind those words is the real tragedy and agony of the Filipino people.”
On getting pilloried by critics for womanizing, he explains the nature of things in the following context. According to the Kicker Daily News, he sees no wrong in attending to his biological prerogatives because he is separated from his current wife, as well as the previous one, a nurse in America.
The crime-busting mayor is widely known for an ultimatum he gave criminal elements to leave Davao City. A February 21 InterAksyon exposé “getting him” on extra-judicial killings that followed, elicited a defensive response from him, trashing the “fallacious things” being said against him. The killings were done in pursuit of criminals and in accordance with the law, Duterte pointed out.
On rival Mar Roxas getting out statistics of Davao having the nation’s fourth highest incidence of crime, including a drug problem and other things unresolved, the mayor lashed back at the former Department of Interior and Local Government (D.I.L.G.) chief. Davao City’s presidential candidate not only accused Roxas of indulging in a smear campaign, but also called him out for the little he’d done as D.I.L.G. prime-mover to curb narcotics. Duterte described his rival as a “failed politician” incapable of running an anti-drug campaign.
Leftist advocacy Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) tried getting Duterte in hot water over an “anti-worker” reference during his Tondo proclamation speech in Manila, on December 1, 2015. He’d mentioned labor fronts scaring away capital during his 1992 “Invest in Davao” campaign. Among other things, KMU charged him with threatening to kill labor agitators, who knowledgeable Marxist-Leninists have called “Trotskyites” or self-serving careerists living off the backs of unsuspecting workers.
Duterte communications officer Peter Laviña said the Davao City mayor was only getting labor to give him a chance to invite capital and create jobs. All things considered, the deal also protected children, women, labor, and the environment from exploitation. According to Philstar, Laviña elaborated further.
“Duterte is a lawyer and is fully aware of the labor’s right to organize, freely redress their grievances and have a share of the fruits of their toil.”
On China getting into the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), he favored working things out rather than resorting to outright war. He expressed his views at a “Forum of Women for Action with Rody Duterte” gathering on Saturday, February 27. He suggested China set aside its ownership claim, in return for his not bringing up “patrimony”. Instead, the table would be open for the Chinese to talk trade or maybe even consider doing a railway project for the Philippines like they’d done for Africa, Duterte said.
According to the Inquirer, he depicted his worst case scenario as getting on a jetski to plant a flag on the runway of a Chinese-dredged reef, before things come to a head, and he is done in by a Chinese missile. In this way, Duterte joked, he becomes a hero like the legendary Lapu-Lapu, the first Malay to fight an imperialist invader.
Getting his point across in the light of all things done to discredit him, Duterte accomplishes his oft-repeated objective. He gives Filipinos a voice for the tragedy and agony they bear daily. As they live with traffic gridlock, thieves in government, and shabu dealers preying on their youth, so does he.
[Image via Facebook]