Very few Americans knew much about the new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, until he called President Obama a bad name. There’s some dispute as to whether he called him a son-of-a-bitch or a son-of-a-whore but neither is very nice. Neither is Mr. Duterte himself.
The reason for the ill-feeling between the Filipino and American governments is Duterte’s unrepentant campaign of extra-judicial murder against drug dealers and other assorted “bad guys.” In short, it’s justified on the President’s side. Duterte is a tin-pot populist dictator with a big mouth. That’s right, he’s a Filipino Insult Comedian, but unlike Donald Trump he not only talks tough and insulting, he plays rough:
Duterte’s personal aides and the Philippine government often try retroactively to soften comments from the man who frequently insults world leaders and promises bloodbaths to achieve his aims. Late on Tuesday, his communications team said Duterte had been addressing a reporter, not Obama.
But even as his team was conducting damage control, the head of state was making more inflammatory remarks as he arrived at the conference, expecting more bloodletting in the Philippines in his war on drugs.
“More people will be killed, plenty will be killed until the last [drug] pusher is out of the streets,” he said in quotes carried by Agence-France Presse.
He also said he would eat members of Abu Sayyaf, a small Islamist militant group in the country’s southern islands, which claimed a bomb that killed 14 people last week in Duterte’s home city Davao.
“They will pay. When the time comes, I will eat you in front of people,” Duterte said. “If you make me mad, in all honesty, I will eat you alive, raw.”
I guess that makes him an Insult Cannibal as well as a Lethal Insult Comedian. Oy, just oy.
Duterte has even hastened the rehabilitation of the Marcos family as pointed out in a superb op-ed by a Fillipino writer, Miguel Syluco:
How can a plunderer get a hero’s burial while petty criminals are shot and dumped in the streets? Mr. Duterte speaks admiringly of Marcos, and some of his actions are reminiscent of the strongman’s. After a deadly bombing in his home city, Davao, Mr. Duterte declared a national state of emergency, further empowering the police and military. His chief legal counsel later revealed that the declaration was being drafted even before the attack.
Most telling, however, is Mr. Duterte’s relationship with the younger Mr. Marcos. During this year’s election, Mr. Duterte said that if he failed to “get rid of corruption, drugs and criminality” he would cede the presidency to the younger Mr. Marcos, who was running for a rival party. After Mr. Marcos lost the vice-presidential election, Mr. Duterte initially refused the winner a cabinet position typically given to vice presidents, saying, “I don’t want to hurt the feelings of Bongbong Marcos.”
Mr. Duterte claims that burying Marcos, 23 years after he was embalmed and refrigerated under glass, will promote national healing, even though the wound was inflicted by the dictator. The president also says the law mandates that Marcos, a former soldier and president, must be buried in the Cemetery of Heroes, despite a 1992 agreement allowing for the repatriation of his body from Hawaii to the Philippines on the condition it be quickly buried in his home province.
How soon people forget. I remember vividly the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. It was known as the “people power revolution” and Americans watched it live on CNN. That’s right, CNN was once a first-rate news organization. Those days are long gone.
If elected, do I think the Yanqui Insult Comedian would be as bad as his Filipino counterpart? It beats the hell out of me. Trump is capable of ordering illegal and violent things. The rules don’t apply to him. Let’s make sure we never find out. One thing I know for certain is that the misrule of the Lethal Filipino Insult Comedian is no laughing matter.