Philippine presidential candidate Rody “Digong” Duterte is known and liked for his tough-talking persona. He has been known to throw curses even in the presence of media. That’s why he was in hot water during the weekend for his remarks on the kidnapping and rape of an Australian woman more than two decades ago. In an interview, he attributed this personality to his “low class upbringing”. Duterte’s remark reached international news outlets like CNN, BBC, The Independent, Daily Mail and of course ~ that of Australia’s. On Tuesday, he expressed his apology for the remarks he made during the rally. And apparently, that apology was released by his party ~ PDP-Laban. He claimed that those were not his words. He issued another apology and he said it’s final.
The Philippines’ Donald Trump?
On a Korean news portal, Duterte is referred to as the “Philippines’ Donald Trump” ~ after the United States presidential aspirant. Both are tough talkers and their supporters loved them for that character. The article mentioned that this is not the first time that Duterte is caught in a “verbal scandal” as many pointed to his cursing of the Pope when His Holiness visited Manila last year. Also, he was photographed kissing and “fondling” women during his consultation with his supporters. That’s all according to the article.
I’m not a fan of Duterte but I’ve seen him twice in a presidential debate and in a video of a speaking engagement with business leaders in the Philippines. When the occasion calls for it, Duterte would dress like a “president” would. He tones down his speech by speaking in a softer voice such as in the last presidential debate where he carried himself well. He spoke in a calm and direct manner ~ without the fake flowery words the other candidates used. He doesn’t have the verbal acrobatics that Miriam Defensor-Santiago is known for (and that I love to listen to) but his speech is enough for people to take notice and pay attention to. It is possible for him to be “more presidentiable” but it seems that his supporters prefer the more “macho” version of Duterte.
It is most probably that Duterte would win the presidency this May. He has governed the city of Davao effectively and the people are counting on him to do the same nationwide. As a man of influence, he needs to really pay attention to what he does or says. Many of his followers adore him and try to espouse what he preaches in rallies. I had seen “after” photos of the venues of his rallies and they are always clean. He is an effective leader and he could use that magnetism he has with people to really make a change for the better ~ no more “low class upbringing” excuse.
Respect each other’s choice
There has been a lot of “fights” on Facebook with regards to the choice of president. Just a few days ago, an “ex-Korea” Filipino posted that her choice for president is Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo for vice-president. She received a lot of criticisms ~ including expletives ~ for bravely posting about her candidates. She has been called names by people who probably have not even met her. To criticize someone this way is uncalled for. For all you know, that person has done so much more for her less fortunate “kababayan” than any of us could ever hope to do in our lifetime. If a person supports a candidate different from yours, you don’t need to insult or harass them. Instead, look for people who has not decided on who to vote for and try to influence them if you believe that your candidate is the best option. Then let’s all support whoever wins in the election, whether it is your candidate or not.
Last week, I had lunch with three Filipinas in Seoul. While we talked about the presidential candidates, we were able to respect each other’s choices. Well, we had different ideas on who should be president but we all agreed on who shouldn’t be president. Agree to disagree as it says in this post by the FB page “Dick Gordon”:
If we want real change in governance, respect the law. Respect other people’s democratic right.