The great majority of Filipinos continue to admire and show support for President Rodrigo Duterte in spite of the rising voice of discontent and dissatisfaction among the nation’s intelligentsia. The discontent and dissatisfaction are brought about by three – among many – of the president’s widely publicized recent bloopers.
- He ogled his lady vice president’s legs and naughtily bragged about it.
In televised remarks to army troops in Zamboanga del Sur on August 10 this year, the president related an incident in which his eyes caught the legs of his vice president, Leni Robredo. Duterte said that he admonished himself “. . . don’t do it!” and added “but I kept staring at her . . . she is beautiful.” The president told his audience, somewhat lewdly, that if he became “unlucky” while travelling and his vice president succeeded him to the presidency, “you would not be listening to her when she speaks but would just keep staring at her because she’s beautiful.”
How much lower and depraved could one get – one who is looked upon to set the proper moral compass for his people? Behavior and speech of the sort demeans the office of the president.
2. He maligned and disparaged United States Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg.
Last August 5, while talking of the recent visit of U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Philippines and about U. S. Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg, Duterte told an audience of soldiers in Cebu City: “Secretary Kerry is okay, but his ambassador – that homosexual son of a whore – he gets my goat.”
While a majority of the Filipino masses cheer Duterte for his boldness, his remarks have nevertheless been rightfully condemned by political and social leaders as despicable.
3. He authorized and continues to encourage the extrajudicial killing of the country’s drug pushers and drug lords.
Duterte has publicly announced the names or identities of what he said were drug pushers and drug lords with the admonition that police and other authorities were free to “kill” those of them that do not “voluntarily surrender.” In less than two months – as of August 9 this year – 513 drug “suspects” have been reported killed by Philippine National Police “for resisting arrest.” Human rights organizations have placed that number at more than 900, with some of the killings described as “execution style.”
Duterte’s actions have been condemned by many of the country’s lawmakers and justices as a violation of due process, the rule of law, and respect for and protection of universal human rights. In return, Duterte has threatened to declare Martial Law in the country if he did not have his way.
President Rodrigo Duterte must mend his ways – and mend them soon – if he wants the Philippines to remain a respectable member of the community of nations, and if he wants his people to learn how to be civil and maintain respect for the law.