Opinion: Philippine President Duterte, in Annual State of The Nation, Did Everything Expected of a Mad Emperor

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte addresses thousands of protesters following his state of the nation address outside the Lower House Monday, July 24, 2017 in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Thousands of protesters march towards the Lower House with an effigy of Duterte to demand that he deliver on a wide range of promises he made in his first state of the nation address last year, from pressing peace talks with Marxist guerrillas, which is currently on hold, to upholding human rights and the rule of law. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
 / 05:10 AM July 26, 2017

One image kept recurring in the two-plus hours I spent watching and listening to the second State of the Nation Address of President Digong. And this was a scenario from a movie-in-my-mind born of watching moviesabout mad Roman Emperors.

The scenario involves any one of the many drunken, debauched orgies over which an Emperor like Nero or Caligula would preside. The toga-clad Emperor is perched on a lounger, surrounded by fawning acolytes while all around him Roman senators and officials are frolicking with nubile ladies. In the course of the festivities the Emperor would let go of one outrageous remark or the other, or else order his Praetorian Guard to usher in a hapless prisoner or citizen who for one reason or the other had earned the Emperor’s ire. The hapless subject is flogged, if not killed, outright, while everyone at the party laughs in amusement, cruelty and delight.

I’m sure the Emperor Caligula’s cohorts enthusiastically cheered him on when he lavished honors and luxuries on Incitatus, to whom he gave marble quarters, a jeweled collar and even a house. (There is even a rumor that Caligula married Incitatus.) All par for the course for a self-indulgent ruler, except for the fact that Incitatus was a horse!

Anyway, our dear leader, it seems to me, did everything expected of a mad Emperor during last Monday’s Sona. And if he chose to marry a horse in the course of proceedings, I’m sure the pro-Duterte crowd in and out of the Batasan would have unblinkingly cheered him on. After all, they had sat stoically through his long-winded address, peppered liberally with cuss words that had never, or very rarely, been heard in the august halls of Congress, and even applauded from time to time.

An alert netizen counted the times curse words emanated from the mouth of our fearless leader. He counted five p—– ina, one g–o, two son-of-a-b—h, one s—, one tarantado, one ’ny—, and one gunggong. Another observer said “leche” was also used, while the one word that still managed to shock the public, given how “used” we have become to the stream of garbage flowing out of the President’s mouth, was “lulo” a Visayan vulgarity meaning “masturbation.”

I leaned closer to the TV set whenever the cameras were directed towards the diplomats. US Ambassador Sung Kim kept a straight face through much of the President’s rants, until at one point he yanked out his ear phones. I was wondering if this was a sign of irritation until I realized Mr. Duterte had shifted to English, airing his demand that the States return the bells of Balangiga.

Being diplomats, the ambassadors present at the Sona managed to maintain neutral expressions throughout this two-hour rant. As a Filipino, I was chagrined, wondering what these ambassadors would be reporting to their home offices when they returned from the Batasan. I hope they see the President and his followers as just a portion (although quite substantial) of the populace. That not all of us are like that.

There was only one country towards which Mr. Duterte was reconciliatory, and that is of course the Philippines’ new BFF, China. Jim Paredes, never a friend of the administration, put it sardonically but perfectly: “The U.S. has our bells. China has his balls. Kawawang bayan! (Our poor country!)”

But there were parts of the Sona I did like. One was the aforementioned demand to return the bells of Balangiga. It’s about time, and the American government should start thinking whether the sentiments of a few veterans and soldiers and relatives of the troops who turned Samar into a “howling wilderness” is a fair counterbalance to the historical grievance of generations of Filipinos. We are, after all and despite what the President says, friends.

The other part was President Duterte’s calling out of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to lift the TRO on the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law. Though I have misgivings about this violation of the principle of independence of the three co-equal branches of government, I do hope Sereno and the justices were not just listening but taking the “appeal” to heart.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/105846/like-mad-emperor#ixzz4nw5pqhLF
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Residents and police gather near the blanket-covered body of a man killed, along with four others, in an alleged police anti-drug operation in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Authorities said 3,200 alleged drug personalities have died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

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One Response to “Opinion: Philippine President Duterte, in Annual State of The Nation, Did Everything Expected of a Mad Emperor”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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