MANILA - A political analyst believes people should stop reading between the lines of President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial statements and just take them as they are.
Speaking on DZMM, Dr. Clarita Carlos, a political science professor from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, said that it is high time for people to accept Duterte for who he is.
"Let us stop apologizing (for Duterte). Tapusin na natin 'yun. Kasi may mga reading between the lines. Don't read between the lines. This person just declares things the way he sees it," she said, adding that at his age, it is highly unlikely for Duterte to change his ways.
Carlos also called Duterte an "iconoclast".
"Lahat ng mga sinasanto natin ay ginigiba niya. 'Yan ang ibig sabihin ng iconoclast. And he's 71 years old. If we're thinking that there's a likelihood that he will change, he will not," she explained.
(He destroys everything we look up to. That's the meaning of iconoclast. And he's 71 years old. If we're thinking that there's a likelihood that he will change, he will not.)
'Hire a linguist'
According to Carlos, she advised an official from the U.S. embassy to hire a linguist to understand the nuances of Duterte's language.
"Let's pay attention to the nuance of his language, and in fact that's what I advice an officer from the U.S. Embassy who came to see me last week, na sabi ko, alam niyo, dapat mag-empleyo kayo ng isang linguist, an expert in language, so you can interpret the cadence, the rhythm, the meanings, the nuances of the word. Hindi 'yung ano eh, literal na kinukuha mo," she explained.
"What we're simply saying, whether it is in Tagalog, Visayan or whatever language, 'yung sinasabi niya kay Obama, if I were to say it as a social historian, there would be basis, isn't it? May basis naman talaga 'yung pag-massacre sa Moro, except that right now, if he were more prudent, because he's now president of the republic, it may not be politically correct," Carlos added.
It is also not surprising for the international audience to misinterpret Duterte's statements because they are not used to the language.
"Ang political leaders dati, dalawa 'yung audience niya, 'yung domestic audience at meron siyang international audience. But because now of the rapidity of technology, wala na talagang domestic audience. The audience, really, is the rest of the world. And because they don't know the context of all this, and hindi nila naiintindihan 'yung lengwahe," Carlos explained.
For Carlos, it is better for Filipinos to accept Duterte and to hope he will be more mindful of his statements next time.
"We'll have this president for the next 2,000 days and let's just accept him for what he is and let's just hope he will be more prudent in his articulations now that he is the president of the republic."
[READ: Duterte 'regrets' comments vs. Obama, hopes to resolve spat ]