SHOULD CHANGE COME WITH ‘UNCOUTH’ PUBLIC BEHAVIOR?
By Pablo A. Tariman
At the rate he is courting controversy even before he can formally assume office, President-elect Rody Duterte is “making history” in the realm of public behavior unheard of in the past presidencies.
Earlier, he “castigated” no less than The Pope for creating that monstrous traffic, he made a sexist joke about a rape victim who happens to be a missionary and of late, TV viewers were shocked to find him wolf-whistling “ala-binatang taring” trying to get the attention of a good-looking lady journalist.
The worst is yet to come.
He made headlines world-wide by telling media not to “f…” with him” and adding some journalists are themselves purveyors of corruption.
His next “victim” was the United Nations which he said could hardly alleviate world suffering.
Meanwhile, the four-letter word uttered by the president-elect made it to the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and one heard CNN had a hard time bleeping utterances peppered with more Filipino curses.
Out of the blue, one is confronted with an election winner making a mess of himself on the global stage.
There is no question that he is a very candid person with public distaste for rituals and the so-called “pakitang tao.” He can see through some churchgoers who he said are nothing but full-time gossips. (National Artist for Film Lino Brocka zeroed in on church-going gossips with a scathing portayal of them in “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang.”)
And suddenly, we are suddenly confronted with a presidency that is now being compared to the possible Donald Trump White House scenario.
I voted for Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Chiz Escudero but two in the family voted for Duterte and I know why.
This country has been battered time and again by an inept and corrupt administration trying to hide everything under the rug of the “Tuwid Na Daan” looking glass.
Crimes are committed in broad daylight, young policemen who happen to be the best in the crop die a senseless death while an inured Commander in Chief profess loyalty “till death do us part” to a former PNP chief (a former presidential guard) now facing facing assorted charges in the office of the Ombudsman.
Indeed, some 16 million Filipinos voting for Duterte has only one message: they are sick and tired of corruption and incompetence.
One noted that the rape joke happened just before the elections and surveys indicated (despite the outrage of assorted women’s groups) they still preferred Duterte to a younger candidate known as coming from “buena familia.”
With Duterte officially declared as the 16th president of the Republic of the Philippines, Filipinos had better brace themselves for a totally unconventional, if, outrageous, governance.
He said he has no intention of becoming a Malacanang tenant, his office hours will begin at 1 p.m. and he might just fly to Davao daily because his turf is his comfort zone.
Sartorially, he will not be associated with barong which he said is fit for those preparing for burial. He will prefer a pick up jeep as presidential vehicle than the customary limousine. His inauguration will not take place in Rizal Park preferring a simple ceremony in Malacanang.
Indeed, this man has been honest about himself and what he is.
Whether this rare candor and honesty led him to be very “uncouth” and downright unpresidential” is beside the point.
The question is: should we just take him for what he is?
Of course I am disturbed that my grandchildren are hearing four-letter words in prime time television, I am disturbed that he can wolf-whistle in the middle of a presidential presscon and then serenade the media lady of his “affection” right there and then.
It looks like we have to muster more public tolerance for his public behaviour just to get the change we are all waiting for and I have no doubt they will come.
Desperate as I am for change, I no longer care if he tweedles with his tootpick in the middle of Malacanang state dinner or publicly pick his nose at a CCP gala night.
Our collective desperation led us to him and indeed it came with a price.
While I still do believe that Sen. Grace Poe is the model of public decorum in this latest national elections, my desperation also led me to turn to this man who obviously can do something and how!
Left with no other choice because of an overwhelming mandate, I will still support Duterte even if I get a nightly dose of expletives from his presscons.
The man is human and vulnerable just like the rest of us.
Now let’s see how far he will go in effecting change in the light of a fast-deteriorating public image.