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POSTSCRIPT / July 27, 2017 / Thursday

SONA bares other facets of Duterte

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

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WE GAINED valuable insights into the persona of President Rodrigo Duterte last Monday with his folksy ad-libs in his State of the Nation Address at the Batasan followed by his verbal tussle with street marchers protesting outside the gate.

We watched the SONA on TV hoping to catch hints of Mr. Duterte’s state of mind running in the background of his stream-of-consciousness address.

We got more than what we had wanted when the President went down to street-level after his speech and tangled with protesters shouting slogans, waving red banners and burning him in effigy.

Like most Filipinos, we have no personal contact with the colorful character who had leaped from the Davao mayoralty to the presidency. What we know – or think we know – of the 72-year-old executive is culled mostly from his reflection in media.

That was why we were pleasantly surprised, at times entertained, with his light SONA ad-libs, and later impressed with his face-off with the marchers. We caught the Duterte message of concern for the underprivileged and disdain for the filthy rich.

The street encounter must have been a nightmare for the barong-clad security men crowding close to him as he, at some point, even challenged the marchers to lob a grenade if they had one or to start firing if they dared to.

Uniformed police officers deployed in the protest area, who included female members, were under strict orders to exercise maximum tolerance. They did not carry shields, truncheons or firearms.

Some observers opined that the President was reckless in facing the rowdy marchers, while many more said he was brave (“matapang”) to have exposed himself to possible harm. A few critics sniffed that all that was scripted.

To us, Mr. Duterte projected as a fellow traveler who had made it to the top with his ideological roots more or less intact – but who is now growing exasperated with leftists showing impatience for reforms and the fall of the ruling elite.

The street scene was a revelation. To make the protesters understand his predicament, the President revealed some details of a game plan, including his harboring leftists in his Cabinet, and asked the restless crowd to give him time.

Overall, his performance in the SONA and on the street improved our opinion of him.

• Duterte to the Left: Give me time

WE QUOTE below notable remarks of President Duterte during his encounter with the street protesters:

“Meron kayong issue. Naintindihan ko. Alam ninyo ang posisyon ko rin. Alam ninyo ang ginagawa ko ang lahat. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na tinatalikuran ko ‘yan. Eh pati ako ina-ambush pa ninyo. Anong klase ito?

“Walang ganunan. Pag pinuno ninyo ako, eh tatalikod na talaga ako. Ba-bye na lang. O, wala ng peace talk… Ano? Mag-usap tayo ulit? O, di sabihin mo sa kanila, mag-usap tayo ulit, okay lang. Yung martial law, may tatapusin lang ako para sa lahat… Hindi ‘yan forever. Maghintay lang kayo. Iilan na lang ang nandiyan na may kasalanan.

“Bigyan mo akong panahon, isang taon lang ako Presidente ninyo. Bakit ninyo ako ganunin? I promised you land reform. ‘Di tanungin ninyo si Mariano kung anong ginagawa niya. Tanungin muna ninyo ‘yung mga representante niyo nandiyan sa Cabinet.

“…Kung nakinig kayo sa speech, hindi ako Presidente para sa mga mayaman. Kaya yung mina, sinasa….

“Anong bully? Bakit, sino ako mag-bully sa inyo? Kadali ninyo akong patayin. Sinong may granada diyan? Sige, paputukin mo na dito. Sige. O, nandiyan lang banda ang mamatay… Kung ayaw ninyo makinig sa akin kasi tingin ninyo diskompyado kayo.

“Huwag kayo basta-bastang magmadali. Magtanong kayo sa mga representante ninyo diyan kasi nandiyan ‘yung sila left. Nandiyan si Maza, nandiyan si Taguiwalo, nandiyan si Mariano, nandiyan si Briones. Puro left yan.

“Tanungin muna ninyo kung anong ginagawa ko. Hindi na lang kayo basta — Inaapura ninyo ako eh. Huwag ninyo akong — You know, I cannot control everything.

“Hindi ako pwede mag-imprenta ng pera para ibigay ko. Kailangan kong kausapin itong Congress. Ito mahirap ‘to. Bigyan ninyo ako ng panahon. Five years lang naman naiwan ko. Sasabihin ko sa iyo, I will deliver. Naintindihan ninyo?

“Pwede niyo akong sigawan dito, babuyin ninyo ako. But the last time that I will talk to you.Huwag na mag-binastos… I am no different from you. Pareho lang man tayo… May representante kayo. Nandiyan na kayo. In-appoint ko na. Nandiyan na sa loob. Ano pa gusto ninyo?

“Ginagawa ko na magawa ko. Eh p***** i** pati ‘yung convoy ko in-ambush. Pati ako gusto patayin. Di sinong kausapin niyo? Alam ba ninyo nandoon ako? Tapos sabihin, ‘Duterte, mag-usap tayo. Magbigay kayo ng—.’ Tapos pag-uwi ko, maglipad ako ng Marawi, ambushin ninyo ako.

“Ako mismo, Presidente wala akong pinirmahan na allowance, ni singko sentimos. Hanap kayo ng resibo diyan sa COA. Kinukuha ko lang sa gobyerno salary ko. Wala akong representation, wala akong allowance, wala lahat.

But to keep the open line… Hindi ‘to pwede madala ng supladuhan, patapangan. Pilipino, hindi naman ito patayan, hindi naman ‘to away. Usap ang kailangan natin.

“Palayain ko lahat? Maghintay kayo. Ano ‘yan, automatic? Bakit? Papayag kaagad ang militar? Papayag kaagad ang mga korte? Sinabi ko pero ilan na na-release ko sa inyo? Nandiyan sa labas.

“Ano? Hoy, hindi ako may-ari ng gobyerno. Hindi ako basta-basta na pag na-Presidente ako, masusunod lahat ang gusto ninyo. Huwag akong ganunin. Dumaan ako diyan kagaya rin sa inyo.

“Tanungin mo si Sison. Isa rin akong civic… Alam ko yan. Galing ako diyan. Kailangan ko ng tahimik, mag-respetuhan tayo. Huwag ninyo akong i-ambush. Hindi naman kayo lahat pwedeng magpakamatay.

“Hindi kayo nakikinig eh. Sabi ko, si Bello No. 1 left ‘yan. ‘Yan ang gumagawa ng endo. O, hindi ninyo alam. Wala pa kayo sa panahon namin eh. ‘Yan ang hindi niyo alam. Mas marunong kayo kay Bello, beterano ‘yan diyan. Kaya ‘yan pinapakinggan doon sa kabila eh.

“Tiis tayong lahat. Eh pinapatay nga kayo. Yan o, sinong may armas diyan? Sige na. Paputok ka ngayon. Walang armas, wala… Sige na kay saluin ko. Ibalik ko sa inyo, mga buang. Alis na ako….”

 

(First published in The Philippine STAR of July 27, 2017)

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