Now who’s be­ing a hyp­ocrite?

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

TO SAY that some of the things that have come out of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte's mouth have re­ceived flak, here and abroad, is an un­der­state­ment. Not that it should sur­prise the coun­try.

Af­ter all, ev­ery­body, and I mean “ev­ery­body,” even even those who didn't vote for him in last May's elec­tions, knew that the former Davao City mayor had a pen­chant for cussing.

But the fact that he was elected to the coun­try's high­est po­si­tion meant that his pro­fan­ity-laden vo­cab­u­lary did not de­ter 16 mil­lion vot­ers from choos­ing him over a strait-laced speaker.

Again, it shouldn't come as a sur­prise that since Duterte took over Mala­cañang in July, he has made some ene­mies be­cause of his “in­signif­i­cant” mouth. On his war against il­le­gal drugs, he made an anal­ogy to the Holo­caust, or the mas­sacre of six mil­lion Jews in Europe dur­ing World War 2 by Nazi Ger­many.

“I'd be happy to slaugh­ter them,” he said of the es­ti­mated three mil­lion drug ad­dicts in the coun­try. When the world's Jewry re­acted in dis­gust and con­demned his re­marks, the Pres­i­dent quickly apol­o­gized.

It was a good thing they found his apol­ogy to be sin­cere, and gra­ciously ac­cepted it. Even out­go­ing Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and the Euro­pean Union (EU) were not im­mune to Duterte's col­or­ful lan­guage. When the US and the EU crit­i­cized the al­leged il­le­gal killings in the wake of the Philip­pines' cam­paign to wipe out the il­le­gal drug trade, Duterte told both of them to “go to hell.”

In most cases, the ob­jects of his rants, es­pe­cially those abroad, chose not to en­gage him in a repar­tee. Ac­cord­ing to some US of­fi­cials, Wash­ing­ton was do­ing its best “to ig­nore Duterte's rhetoric and not pro­vide him with a pre­text for more out­bursts.”

In Oc­to­ber, Duterte dared both the US and the EU to with­draw their as­sis­tance to the coun­try. “I do not ex­pect the hu­man rights [groups], I do not ex­pect Obama, I do not ex­pect the EU to un­der­stand me.

Do not un­der­stand me. And if you think it's high time for you guys to with­draw your as­sis­tance, go ahead. We will not beg for it.”

So why then would Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fice Sec­re­tary Martin An­da­nar be both­ered when the Lon­don-based news­pa­per The Guardian called for eco­nomic sanc­tions on the Philip­pines af­ter it de­scribed Duterte's

anti-il­le­gal drugs cam­paign as “out of con­trol”? And why would he say that the al­le­ga­tions of Robert Mug­gah, who wrote the ar­ti­cle and who also sug­gested that for­eign gov­ern­ments with­draw their as­sis­tance to the coun­try “if no change of di­rec­tion ma­te­ri­al­izes,” were un­founded? If the Pres­i­dent doesn't care, why should he?

“We hope that other coun­tries will treat the Philip­pines as a sov­er­eign na­tion and with mu­tual re­spect,” An­da­nar added. If for­eign gov­ern­ments do de­cide to with­draw their as­sis­tance to the Philip­pines, they'll be do­ing so as sov­er­eign na­tions and there's re­ally noth­ing An­da­nar or the whole coun­try can do about it.

We can't well tell other coun­tries to mind their own busi­ness and then butt in when that busi­ness af­fects us. As for mu­tual re­spect, who has been do­ing the dis­re­spect­ing?

I have yet to hear An­gela Merkel or Fran­cois Hol­lande or Theresa May hurl in­vec­tive at Duterte in response to the lat­ter's in­sults.

Any­way, this doesn't mean I don't sup­port the gov­ern­ment's bat­tle against all forms of crim­i­nal­ity, par­tic­u­larly those borne out of the il­le­gal drug trade, be­cause I do. 110 per­cent.

But I'm also well aware of the pos­si­ble reper­cus­sions, given Duterte's brand of di­plo­macy, and I'm ready to ac­cept them. Be­cause, at the end of the day, we can't have our cake and then ex­pect to eat it too.

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