Many ways of understanding Duterte’s words

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips…” (Eclessiastes 10:12, the Holy Bible).


MANY WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING DUTERTE’S WORDS: Indeed, there are many ways of killing a cat, in a manner of speaking. This is not to say, of course, that we should find the many ways of killing a cat. It simply means that there are a thousand and one ways of doing one particular act, or of viewing a particular situation, or of voicing out a particular idea, and so forth and so on.

Which is the same thing to do, when we try to discern the meaning of the statements given out by President Duterte regularly. We can view those statements as truly serious and needing important consideration, or we can also treat them simply as a way of expressing things or of pulling the attention of one’s hearers, to prevent more harm from happening.

Let me use the example of a Davao City Christian preacher who said that, in Filipino, many parents often tell their juvenile children who are suffering from fever or injuries because of too much exposure in the sun or too much exertion in some physical activity that is seen as useless activity, “go ahead, play under the sun some more”, or, “go ahead, stretch your body all the more.”


WHEN ONE’S MEANING IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM HOW HE SAID IT: When a Filipino parent say those things to their children, they do not actually mean that the children should really expose themselves to the heat sun more often, or exert their bodies until they are physically bruised. No, they do not mean that, of course.

What they truly mean is the exact opposite of what their words seem to convey—which is, for the children to be more careful and avoid exposing themselves under the heat of the sun, or avoid physical activities that would hurt their muscles and make their bodies sore.

This, to me, is the way to appropriately discern President Duterte’s oft-the-cuff remarks, like his claim that he didn’t want any corruption in his presidency because when he was mayor of Davao City he already stole much government money but that he had spent all of them by now. We should be able to see the parental twist in his statements to truly understand what he means.


CRITICS ARE ALSO SUBJECT OF ACCUSATIONS OF CORRUPTION: Unfortunately, this does not seem to be understood in this manner by the many critics of President Duterte, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV in particular. The impression these critics give, when they criticize the President with his off-tangent remarks is that, they are not disposed to recognize in any way the possibility that Duterte may actually be talking in jest or in riddles.

It would have been alright if the critics are not themselves the subject of accusations of corruption and wrongdoing. The problem is that, even a mere haphazard search through Google will already yield juicy bits of voluminous information about what a particular critic received as bribe or as grease money, at one time or another.

For example, in a Facebook post of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, it was alleged that Trillanes received money from Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and from Sen. Jinggy Estrada, and was involved in other “transactions” with other big-time politicians. Truly, this can only make me puke!


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