Duterte’s mar­i­juana joke

ATTY. RUPHIL F. BAÑOC FER­NANDO FAJARDO

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - [email protected]­hoo.com

The first time I heard Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte jok­ing and cussing was in 2008 dur­ing his speech on the open­ing of the Top Level Man­age­ment Con­fer­ence of Ra­dio Min­danao Net­work (RMN) held in Davao City. I was a lit­tle far from where he spoke.

That was the first time I heard an in­for­mal speech de­liv­ered in a for­mal pro­gram. When Duterte, who was the mayor then, left, our host-man­ager ex­plained to us to un­der­stand their mayor, say­ing that it is his style and they are al­ready used to it. In fact, such style has made him closer to the or­di­nary peo­ple as they feel that he be­longs to their group be­cause he speaks their lan­guage.

The sec­ond time I heard him jok­ing was in 2016 dur­ing the sec­ond set of the pres­i­den­tial de­bate that was held at the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines (UP) Cebu City. This time I had the op­por­tu­nity to ob­serve him clearly in­side a room where the de­bate was held as I was one of the pan­elists.

The start of the de­bate was de­layed. My col­league then of TV5 who served as the mod­er­a­tor, Luche CruzValdez, ex­plained to the peo­ple the cause of the de­lay, which was about the rules of the de­bate. VP Je­jo­mar Bi­nay in­sisted to bring with him some doc­u­ments, but Sec. Mar Roxas ve­he­mently ob­jected to it.

The first two can­di­dates who ap­peared on stage were Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe, while Roxas and Bi­nay were still ar­gu­ing back stage on the de­bate’s rules. Sen. Miriam San­ti­ago at that time failed to at­tend the Visayas de­bate be­cause of health rea­sons.

Based on what I ob­served I can re­ally say that Duterte has a great sense of hu­mor and un­com­mon charisma to crack jokes. While the ten­sion was felt in­side the room, he cracked jokes that made every­one laugh. Un­til now, I am still en­ter­tained if I re­view the video of the event which has been posted on YouTube.

Hence, on the l at­est speech of Duterte where he said that he used mar­i­juana to keep him awake dur­ing the Asean sum­mit, I al­ready an­tic­i­pated that it was just a joke. True enough, dur­ing the am­bush in­ter­view he clar­i­fied to re­porters that it was a joke.

Such joke will sup­port his claim that again he was just shak­ing the tree. How can he use mar­i­juana when he is not even smok­ing? How ironic his claim would be when, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, mar­i­juana is not a stimulant that could keep a per­son awake? It’s even the op­po­site. No one from his crit­ics will point this fact out, for it will ex­pose their ut­ter lack of sense of hu­mor.

So what’s the big deal about the lat­est Duterte joke? None. Why do some have it blown out of pro­por­tion? His crit­ics have run out of am­mu­ni­tions – as sim­ple as that.

By the way, if Duterte would be a lit­tle more cir­cum­spect in his jokes, his crit­ics would be left with noth­ing to feast on, but can the Pres­i­dent do it?

Such joke will

sup­port his

claim that again

he was just

shak­ing the tree.

How can he use

mar­i­juana when

he is not even

smok­ing?

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