OPINION: Duterte a Foreign Service graduate?

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Oct 28 2016 02:04 PM

Did you know that President Rodrigo Duterte is a Foreign Service graduate?

That's what he said in his press conference with the foreign correspondents in China last Oct. 19.

He boasted: “Now that I am the President, by the grace of God, I read a lot; I’m a lawyer and I studied geopolitics and all, and also I am a graduate of the Foreign Service so I get to know how to balance this contending (forces).”

Being a “foreign service graduate” is quite a big leap from just having taken up foreign service which was what he said last Aug. 21, in a press conference in Davao City.

Duterte was lambasting the United Nations after U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and two other officials, Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on summary executions, and Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health, expressed concern over the rising number of killings in the wake of his war against illegal drugs.

Speaking like the village braggart, Duterte said he was willing to allow the U.N rapporteurs to come and investigate the killings but on condition that he will also question them afterwards.

He said:”Mayor Duterte would only ask five questions to prove that you are stupid. Only five questions. He will just ask you to answer five questions. I will prove to the world that you are a very stupid expert.”

He said they might not know that he has a background in political science and foreign service.

“Baka akala nito, I took up AB foreign service. Check it out in Lyceum. Political science, then I added another one. I had an accident sa motocross. One of the many, na late ako ng isang semester. So my extra time, I took up foreign service. Consular practice and procedure, geopolitics, world trade, international trade, baka akala ninyo. Putang ina, “ he said, chuckling.

So there, in the short span of two months, the boast of “took up foreign service” became “a graduate of foreign service.”

Since he said he reads a lot, he should update his knowledge of geopolitics. He should realize by now that that the Cold War - when the international political alignment was between Soviet Union and the United States, is over.

There is no more Soviet Union after Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika.

The Berlin Wall has long been taken down.

It’s an interdependent world today. Russia and the United States may be in opposite sides in one conflict and be on the same side on another issue.

Same thing with China and the United States. Despite their issue on Freedom of Navigation in the South China Sea, trade between them is robust.

Duterte loves saying, “I am charting an independent foreign policy,” as if it’s his creation.

In his Beijing talk with foreign correspondents, he said, “At this age, I have now the proper perspective to judge whether the foreign policy is good for us or not. I said a few days ago, a few months ago that I will charter a new course, changing direction of the foreign policy and being with friends with everybody and with no enemies to contend with. No enemies to, no friends to serve."

Pursuing an independent foreign policy is a declared policy in the Constitution. A President is mandated to implement that.

An independent foreign policy is not, using his own words “separating” from the United States and “be dependent” on China “for all time.”

Is he really a Foreign Service graduate?



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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.