OPINION: Conjugating Duterte...as metaphor

Buddy Gomez

Posted at May 12 2017 04:00 AM

The verb is “Duterte.” We have the President and the ‘era’ bearing his imprint of governance to thank for enabling the entry of a new jargon embellishment in our daily conversation. A very apt Duterte metaphor has entered and enriched Filipino contemporary lexicon. It now appears headed for indelibility and posterity.  

Just for the fun of it. Please use the following in intelligible, meaningful sentences:


Variations in the conjugation of the same verb, denoting deception, the common thought of being deceived. “Taken for a ride;”  “pulling the wool before ones eyes;” was fooled; being fooled; getting fooled; fooling; gotten fooled. All sour fruits of political legerdemain, of social media  fake news and of ‘alternatives  facts’ forcibly replacing  truthful reality.  

Ah, how so Duterte !

Or worse--a dark synonym for summary executions, extrajudicial killings, due process be damned. I prefer the former, however.

Ten months plus into his administration, there appears no more need to explain Duterte. His exaggerations, flip-flops, flimflams, brags, bullying and, of course serial verbal exhibits of opinionated ignorance. More and more, the accepted reality is that the nation has been deceived, ‘taken for a ride,’ hijacked! NaDuterte ang Bansa! The nation has been fooled, deceived and suckered!    

Deception and  being fooled, not necessarily by a maddened damn fool but perhaps by a master-manipulator?

Quick! Quick! Who do you blame?

Now, here are  my sample sentences.

Akala ni Cayetano maduDuterte niya ang UN sa Geneva! (Cayetano thought he can fool the UN in Geneva.) Before the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review  in Geneva last Monday, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano in his opening statement claimed that the Commission on Human rights (and the local media) deceived the world by changing “the definition of ‘extrajudicial  killings’ (EJKs) to lead the public and foreign media to believe that there has been a new wave of killings under the Duterte administration.”

CHR very promptly countered, correcting Cayetano. “The CHR has always adhered to international guidelines on the definition of EJKs…….we always anchor our statements and our terms in accordance with international standards,” said Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit, immediately after viewing the live streaming in Manila of the Universal Periodic Review proceedings in Geneva. She also echoed the expressed sentiment of the UN panel that it is time to “see results” if the government is indeed committed to upholding justice and human rights. (Let me add this note: President Duterte has repeatedly bragged that he does not give a damn about human rights!)

It is therefore quite obvious that Cayetano’s presentation was received rather incredulously. 

And so here is another sample sentence: Ayaw magpaDuterte ng United Nations. (The United Nations refuses to be deceived.)

And in fact, at least 48 UN member-states are now calling for the Philippine government to conduct a thorough investigation of the extrajudicial killings in the country and to hold accountable those behind the killings. By the way, Duterte’s new friends--China and Russia--are not among them. You will find the list here :   http://www.rappler.com/nation/169269-united-nations-countries-call-for-end-killings-philippines-drug-war.

As a further seeming rebuke to the Duterte position as represented by Cayetano,  8 other member-states (Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ghana, Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia and Peru) recommended specifically that the Philippine government grant access to Dr. Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on EJKs (whose recent unofficial visit to Manila was made a cause celebre/rauckus by Malacanang operatives) for her to conduct investigations into the EJKs without the objectionable pre-conditions set personally by Duterte. 

(Disclosure: Incumbent Commissioner on Human Rights Ms. Karen Gomez Dumpit happens to be my daughter.) 

A Commendation 

The President’s lucid interval deserves commendation.

The appointment of Nestor Espenilla, Jr. to the governorship of the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas is most welcome. A 36-year Central Bank veteran, Espenilla was deputy governor for banking supervision and examination. He succeeds Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. who steps down in July.   

Espenilla’s appointment is regarded as the triumph of professional careerism and meritocracy over political expediency, considering that outsiders, non-Central Bank   professionals but with heavy political connections were bruited about earlier and reportedly in consideration. Even former President Gloria M. Arroyo was a name spoken of as a potential successor to Tetangco .  

More importantly, it also proof that the much maligned (deservedly?) President Duterte is after all capable of allowing a lucid interval to co-exist with his signature, idiosyncratic demeanor.  

Indeed a refreshing happening. Welcomed and praised by bankers, economists and politicians, by all relevant quarters which is a rarity in a Duterte appointment. The President,  therefore, deserves commendation and wishes for more enlightened senior appointments in the future.

From another viewpoint, the Espenilla appointment manifests the President’s comfortable trust and confidence over his economic team headed by his long time friend, Secretary of Finance  Carlos Dominguez, III. Dominguez is reportedly to have staunchly recommended  and stood by Nestor Espenilla, Jr. Such presidential trust and confidence can only be boon to the economy and the business sector.

Secretary Dominguez and Privatization 

We note with great favor Secretary Sonny Dominguez’ plan to dispose of the government-owned PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) casinos as these represent one glaring conflict of interest. PAGCOR owning-operating casinos while wielding control and supervisory powers over competing privately-owned casinos. That is a correction long overdue.

In fact, we wish for Secretary Dominguez to lead a government exodus out and away from engaging in businesses where private ownership should and can more expertly manage and operate profitably these commercial entities. I speak of Government-Owned and -Operated Corporations (GOCCs). Government, as a matter of principle, must get out of the business of owning businesses and running commercial enterprises. Basically, that is not what government is all about. Over the years, these have been the sources and breeding grounds of corruption and political largesse. In pretty much the same frame, that government is unable to shake off “pork barrel,” such is the GOCC malady!  

Would you believe that the policy and thrust of getting government out of the business of owning and running commercial enterprises (privatization) began as early as the 1920s when the US Government sent two experienced “Philippine hands” in the persons of William Cameron Forbes and Leonard Wood to investigate the financial collapse and bankruptcy of the country. And formulate solutions. 

Hardly anyone even remembers that the center of this national anomaly was the government having gone into the business of banking. The mismanagement and corruption of the country’s most prominent and visible government-owned and -operated corporation caused the bankruptcy of the country. (The Philippine National Bank, not quite five years old, went belly-up and its first Filipino President, a classic ‘political appointee,’ was jailed for embezzlement.)

And so, for Secretary Dominguez, no better wishes than the fortitude to conquer the travails that await him. And may his good counsel always be heeded  by his friend, President!

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