Barely three months into his 6-year presidency, President Duterte has already achieved what no other Philippine president had ever done: earned the ire of some of the most powerful personages and sectors of our time. First was his tiff with local media on some inane matters we could not even remember, but this resulted with his self- imposed boycott. Before that, the benign Pope Francis was not spared. Before leaving for the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, President Obama caught our President’s wrath with some choice words for his mother which resulted in the cancellation of the meeting between the two Presidents. He has also a running feud with the EU on human rights issue. And now comes his statement about Hitler and the murder of Jews which raised a furor in Germany and among the Jewish community. His running battle with Sen. De Lima is without let-up having reached telenovela proportions with the House of Representatives joining the fray. Unless President DU30 reign in his motormouth, we can expect a lot more to come from his bucket list of targets.
If a leader is measured by the quality of the enemies he make, DU30 has indeed arrived. In less than a few months, the President has established himself as a “disturber of placid assumptions” and a destroyer of today’s icons. This may just be fine with him. But he is now President symbolizing Filipinos everywhere. His every statement becomes policy positions which may affect present and future generations. Nowadays, the President’s press-cons are often awaited not so much for some meaty Presidential pronouncements but for the latest target of his vitriol. One could only sympathize with his Foreign Affairs Secretary who has to decipher and explain most of the President’s foreign policy off- the-cuff broadsides against America, while the Presidential Communications Office has become a virtual Presidential Corrections Office ready to dish out explanations and rejoinders for every DU30 gaffe.
We Filipinos are guilty of many errors and faults in our collective lifetimes. But our worst transgressions, perhaps, is our having the patience of Job in our relations with our leaders. The Spaniards, Americans and the Japanese flourished – and even Martial Law- because it took a long while for Filipinos to get their acts together.
Thank God and our constitutional framers for fixing the term of the President and thus spared the agony of waiting for a long long time. But as promised on the onset of his presidency, DU30 will simply morph into a statesman after he is through solving the country’s drug menace which has occupied all of the President’s waking time. It maybe too early to judge how the President will tweak his Presidency, but for his legions of die hard supporters, we haven’t seen yet the best of President Digong.