Photo by Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo
No doubt about it, President Rodrigo Duterte likes to joke around. In the case of two shocking remarks he made in the week of January 23, he specified that he meant them as jokes to lighten up the atmosphere.
In front of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors in Tacloban City, Duterte joked that he prayed to God during his visit there days after the storm.
“Tingin ako sa langit, sabi ko, ‘Lord sana ‘yung mga pangit lang ang namatay na. Ang magaganda huwag sana. Sabi ni Lord, ‘Okay lang,’” said Duterte, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
(I looked up to the sky and said, "Lord, I hope only the ugly died. I hope the beautiful ones did not. The Lord said, ‘That’s okay.’")
This was when he awarded new homes to Yolanda survivors on Wednesday, January 25.
The day before, he made other jokes, this time during his dinner with family members of the 44 Special Action Forces who died in the Mamasapano massacre.
In front of an audience that included the small children of the SAF 44, Duterte explained why he prefers Filipinas to women of other nationalities.
“Maski ipakilala ako doon sa lahat ng Miss Universe doon. Kayo na lang. Tiis na lang ako ng mga Filipina, maganda pa, mabango pa,” said Duterte, eliciting laughter.
(Even if they introduced me to all the Miss Universe candidates then, I prefer you. I’ll just make do with a Filipina who is beautiful and fragrant.)
He then proceeded to tell a story involving other congressmen and their search for women during trips abroad.
“‘Sus kung makwento ko lang sa inyo. I am not trying to be derogatory but it’s just fit. It has nothing to do – iyong Filipina lang. Hindi niyo ako nakita. Maski mga congressman, sige magtanong kayo. Iyong pagka-gabi maghanap ng ano – Maghintay na lang ako. Nothing beats the Filipina. Maganda, mabango, lahat na,” said Duterte.
(If I could only tell you the story. I am not trying to be derogatory but it’s just fit. It has nothing to do – just the Filipina. You didn’t see me. Ask the congressmen. Every night when there’s a search for – I just wait. Nothing beats the Filipina. Beautiful, fragrant, everything.)
He then pretended to look around the room.
“Saan na ang magaganda? May nakita ako kanina nawala naman? Biro lang ‘yan ha. Huwag ‘yung biyuda, ayaw ko ‘yan sila. ‘Yung magkapatid na walang ano, walang commitment. Sige magpatawa na lang tayo,” he quipped.
(Where are the beautiful ones? I saw one but she’s gone? That’s just a joke. Not the widows, I don’t want them. The sisters with no commitment. Let’s just make people laugh.)
Priests as target
This was the same speech in which he described the Catholic church as “full of shit.” He didn’t hesitate to give some sordid allusions to the wrongdoing of priests despite the presence of children in the audience.
“Hawak-hawak ng ostiya, ano ba ‘yan, sabihin mo, ‘Yung kamay mo, ba’t iba ang amoy niyan? Kung ano-ano ang pinanghahawakan niyan,” said the President.
(They hold the Host, you should say, "Your hands, why do they smell funny?" They hold all sorts of things.)
These typical Duterte jokes, blending shock factor with humor, insult with compliment, get mixed reactions.
Some laugh loudly, from surprise and genuine appreciation for the refreshing experience of a politician who makes dirty, naughty jokes.
Others fume at his inappropriate behavior, at the kind of example he is setting for other Filipinos, especially young ones.
Then there are those who stay silent, reserving judgment.
Whatever one’s reaction is, only time will tell if Filipinos will ever get used to the President’s brand of humor. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.