[OPINION] Duterte’s playlist

Marjohara Tucay
[OPINION] Duterte’s playlist
If President Rodrigo Duterte has an 'Efficient Fascist Dictator Wannabe' playlist, what songs would be in it?

These days, almost everyone keeps a playlist. Whether it’s on their smartphones or some nifty digital audio player, people tend to collate not just one, but a set of personalized go-to playlists that they tune in to as they go about their day.

The songs included in these playlists are not only chosen based on the genre or on personal preferences and taste. Most of the time, we create sets of playlists that serve a particular purpose. I, for one, have a “Work” playlist, one for “Daily Commute,” and one labeled as “Songs to Listen to on Rainy Weekends.”

The mood, the tone, the rhythm, and the lyrics of the songs we choose aim not only to blend with the tasks we are doing but to amplify our performance.

But how about our megalomaniac president? As he goes about his day spreading terror and gloom all over the nation, if he listens to music to draw insidious inspiration from, what tunes can these be? If President Rodrigo Duterte has an “Efficient Fascist Dictator Wannabe” playlist, what songs would be in it?

Here are some suggestions: 

1. Perfect Illusion by Lady Gaga

It wasn’t love, it wasn’t love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)
Mistaken for love, it wasn’t love
It was a perfect illusion (perfect illusion)

As Duterte’s popularity subsides and gets replaced by overwhelming hatred from the people, many regret falling for his election promises and voting for him. Duterte is also using endless subterfuge tactics, including the vicious Oplan Tokhang and the recent Oplan Tanggal-Tambay, to mask his real intentions of installing and forging a one-man rule. One can only imagine Duterte waking up, going to the shower, and maniacally singing this tune.

2. Sinta by Aegis

Nananaginip nang gising, nakatulala sa hangin

Remember Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque telling Professor Jose Maria Sison of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines recently, “Gumising ka na, managinip ka na (Wake up, you’re dreaming).” I bet I wasn’t the only one confused with that barb from the apparently flummoxed spokesperson. But who’s really daydreaming, Professor Sison or Roque’s principal? One could only imagine Duterte playing this on repeat before he goes to bed and dream of complete tyrannical domination.

3. Ever since the world began by Survivor

And we’re just another piece of the puzzle
Just another part of the plan
How one life touches the other
Is so hard to understand

Still, we walk this road together
We try and go as far as we can
And we have waited for this moment in time
Ever since the world began

You have to give it to Duterte – he has an elaborate master plan to concentrate state power and tighten his grip on all forces of society. In just about two years in power, he has declared martial law in Mindanao and approved billions in pesos for the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ arsenal (under the so-called Revised AFP Modernization Program) to woo the military, forcibly implemented his “anti-illegal drug” and “anti-vagrancy” campaigns to romance the police force, and now the largest piece in the puzzle – charter change – is being shoved down our throats as a boon for the ruling class. Just as the song states, Duterte is willing to “try and go as far” as he can to establish his dystopian empire.

4. Bboom bboom by Momoland

Just feel it ppumppum
Ne ap-eseo nan ppumppum
Nege julge ppumppum ppumppum eo

Many find it odd that Filipinos are falling head over heels on K-pop songs that we can barely comprehend. It’s the same thing for our president – we can barely understand his moves. One day he says he will resign soon, then the next day he fiercely says he will not resign because his Vice President is not competent enough to replace him. Duterte might have heard this song from his daughter Kitty and heard boom boom repeatedly sang, and decided to play it as background while he orders martial law to be implemented in Mindanao.

5. We’ve only just begun by The Carpenters

We’ve only begun
Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run

Carpenters songs make one wax poetic on weekends. One can only imagine Duterte on odd Sunday mornings, sipping coffee and listening to this song, thinking of his next fascist moves to further increase power. “Who will I attack next?” “What new oplan will I implement?” Duterte is likely to ponder, as his scalding black coffee stings his tongue (we wish).

6. Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay

Oh, I want something just like this
Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo

Who says Duterte isn’t updated on pop culture? This is probably his LSS (last song syndrome) on regular work days, and he most certainly dedicates this song to dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose one-man rule splattered all over history books has become Duterte’s most coveted aspiration.

7. Kalimutan mo na ‘yan by Ex-Battalion

Kalimutan mo na ‘yan, sige sige maglibang
‘Wag kang magpakahibang, dapat ay itawa lang

Duterte most likely also listens to these so-called “hypebeast” songs. Especially ones from Ex-Battalion. He plays this song in full volume while he watches or reads news criticizing or lambasting his policies and plots. “Everyone’s a critic,” he probably exclaims, before singing along.

8. I can’t make you love me by Bonnie Raitt

‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t
Here in the dark in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power

Duterte didn’t want to include this song in his playlist, as he thought he still has popular support. Not until he read the latest SWS survey results.

9. Rehab by Amy Winehouse

They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no no no
Yes, I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know know know
I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine
Just try to make me go to rehab but I won’t go go go

Duterte is most probably smirking as he takes his regular dose of Fentanyl while thinking of the irony of implementing a vicious anti-drug campaign.

10. You want it darker by Leonard Cohen

You want it darker
We kill the flame

People might probably be wrong if they think that Duterte only listens to hit pop music. I imagine him to be eclectic in his music taste (just as he is eclectic in his fascist moves). So to cap his playlist, he has included one of the last songs of the late Leonard Cohen.

The song is actually fit as soundtrack for Duterte’s regime not only because it talks about killing critics, opponents, and all other “flames” that might torch his dictatorship scheme, but also because it contains the words “Hineni, hineni. I’m ready, my Lord” (referring most probably to his readiness to become a full-fledged dictator). – Rappler.com

Marjohara Tucay is the national president of Kabataan Partylist.

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