On April Fools’ Day, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte is heard confessing in soliloquy that he is finally a diehard Duterte supporter (DDS). He regrets seeing the light belatedly, but his conversion is complete. Without hesitation, he embraces the Duterte idolatrous canon and he is now emancipated from his constrictive viewpoint of the President.
The new DDS convert is in consummate concurrence with the following controversial utterances and expletives of President Duterte:
On the Covid-19 pandemic
- “I assure you even without the vaccines, it will just die a natural death.” Duterte declared this on Feb. 3, 2020, while downplaying the risk of infection for not banning flights from China.
- “P****g i***ng idyoto na corona [virus] na ito, hinananap ko, gusto kong sampalin ang gago (This son of a b***h coronavirus. I’ll slap this idiot when I find it).” Uttered on Feb. 10 2020 when the Philippines had only 24 confirmed cases. Now the cases are nearing 800,000.
- “My orders to the police and military, if there is trouble and your lives are on the line, shoot them dead.” Ordered on April 1, 2020 against residents “causing trouble” during lockdown, while troublesome VIPs are condoned.
- “If alcohol isn’t available, especially for the poor, just go to a gasoline station and use ‘gas’ to disinfect face masks.” Duterte so advised on July 21, 2020, insisting he was not joking.
- “Kaya natin ito. Itong Covid-19 maliit na bagay lang ito. Wag kayo matakot, hindi ko kayo iiwan. (We can subdue Covid-19, which is a small matter. Don’t be afraid. I will not abandon you).” Duterte assured Filipinos on March 15, 2021 when infections again soared, even as the Philippines was left behind in the vaccine rollout by countries also seriously afflicted by the pandemic.
- “The government cannot guarantee, much less give immune status” to coronavirus disease 2019 vaccine manufacturers and providers when adverse consequences are suffered by those inoculated. Duterte adamantly insisted on March 22, 2021, in a pre-recorded address, embarrassingly forgetting that he sought and signed the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act explicitly granting such immunity, except for “willful misconduct and gross negligence.”
On human rights and Duterte’s war on drugs
- “Human rights cannot be used as a shield or an excuse to destroy the country.” In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, 2016, Duterte branded human rights advocates as enemies of the State, unmindful that the Constitution fully guarantees human rights.
- “Your concern is human rights, mine is human lives.” Duterte claimed in his 2018 SONA, oblivious that his bloody war on drugs has killed thousands extrajudicially.
- “I told military and police that during encounters, if the enemy is holding a gun, kill them. Ignore human rights.” Duterte commanded on March 5, 2021, and two days later, State forces killed nine non-combatant activists in Region 4A (Calabarzon).
- “If you (poor) die, I’m sorry. The rich don’t sell drugs. I did not hear a son of Lucio Tan or Gokongwei sold drugs.” Duterte on March 26, 2017 justified the killing of suspected drug pushers and users, all from poor families.
- “I’d be happy to slaughter them (drug addicts). Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have (me).” On Sept. 30, 2016 Duterte likened himself to Hitler who he claimed massacred “three million Jews”, hinting that he is ready to kill three million addicts.
On ABS-CBN franchise
– “Ang inyong franchise mag-expire (You’re franchise will expire) next year. I will see to it that you’re out.” Duterte made this threat repeatedly. The House of Representatives’ franchise committee finally rejected ABS-CBN Corp.’s franchise renewal on July 10, 2020.
On misogynist remarks
– “Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor (Duterte) muna ang mauna. Sayang (But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first [to rape her]. What a shame).” Duterte on April 17, 2016 joked about the rape by inmates of an Australian missionary and other women in Davao.
- “She is the only bitch na napaniwala ang mundo na (who made the world believe that) she’s a prisoner of conscience.” Duterte on Sen. Leila de Lima who is incarcerated at his behest and honored by Amnesty International as prisoner of conscience.
- “The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you. If I could just make it a come-on also for those who’d like to go to my country.” Duterte in predominantly Hindu India on Jan. 28, 2018 offered 42 Filipino virgins to lure Indian tourists by mimicking IS Muslim fundamentalists.
- “We won’t kill you (female guerrillas). We will just shoot your vaginas so that if there are no vaginas, women would be useless.” Duterte made this brutal misogynist order on Feb. 12, 2018 in Malacañang.
The new DDS continues his monologue by minimizing Duterte’s failure to redeem major campaign promises on eliminating the drug menace, eradicating corruption, solving the traffic mess, concluding a peace pact with the Left, and ending widespread poverty.
Nonetheless, he rationalizes that Duterte is candid by admitting that he cannot control the escalating drug menace; it is impossible to eradicate worsening corruption; the traffic mess is unsolvable and he made Congress the scapegoat for failing to give him “emergency powers” to address the juggernaut, even as no other head of state has sought special powers to solve mundane traffic woes; and the Left was demanding an impossible coalition government. On mass poverty, the President appears ominously silent.
At the end of his confession, the “DDS convert” disdainfully declares: “I salute you, Mr. President, on April Fools’ Day.”
The moral of the story is not to eavesdrop on an April Fool because the joke may be on you.