Who did Duterte quote in his SONA 2019?
MANILA, Philippines – In his midterm State of the Nation Address (SONA), held at the Batasang Pambansa on Monday, July 22, President Rodrigo Duterte borrowed words from a few men to drive his point across. (READ: FULL TEXT: President Duterte’s 2019 State of the Nation Address)
These personalities come from a wide range of backgrounds: National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose, former professional baseball player Pedro Guerrero, and former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Their words were used in relation to corruption, the president's critics, and the remainder of his stay at Malacañang.
Below, we took a look at who these 3 people were and in what context they said the phrases repeated in Duterte's speech.
F. Sionil Jose
To borrow the language of F. Sionil Jose, we have not risen above and beyond the parochial interests.
Duterte first "borrowed the language" of National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose while speaking about the death penalty for people who commit plunder.
"Our warped loyalty to family, friends and tribal kin continue to exact a heavy toll on our programs designed to uplift the poor and reassure our investors, our foreign investors, local, and the business sector in this country," he said.
Jose expressed a similar idea in his essay, "Why are Filipinos so poor?" where he said, "And finally, we are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings. We condone cronyism and corruption and we don’t ostracize or punish the crooks in our midst. Both cronyism and corruption are wasteful but we allow their practice because our loyalty is to family or friend, not to the larger good."
At the end of the same essay, Jose said, "We are our own enemy," which is similar to what Duterte said about corruption in his SONA speech: "I have met the enemy face-to-face and sadly, the enemy is us."
Jose, who was born in 1924, is known for his work about Filipino society, class struggles, and colonial history.
He has written more than 35 books that have been translated into 20 languages and published worldwide.
Aside from becoming a Philippine National Artist in 2001, Jose has won many awards throughout his career, like the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Arts (1980), the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award (2004), and Officer in the French Order of Arts and Letters (2014).
[In the] words of Pedro Guerrero who said, “Sometimes they write what I say and they write – and they write what I say and not what I mean.”
Duterte also quoted Pedro Guerrero, a former professional baseball player, when he referred to corrupt government officials. "It is also exasperating that there are times when I think that perhaps it is blood that we need to cleanse and rinse away the dirt and the muck that stick to the flesh like leeches."
He used Guerrero's quote to clarify that he was not speaking literally: "So ‘yung mga pa-purga-purga lang diyan (So to those who are acting pure), I use similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and other figures of speech every now and then, to prove or stress a point. I am as human as anybody else."
Guerrero's quote is often cited in baseball books with little context, just that he said it in relation to his relationship with the press.
Guerrero, who was from the Dominican Republic, played baseball for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1978 to 1988. He then went on to play for the St Louis Cardinals from 1988 to 1992.
My fellow citizens, to borrow the words of Churchill – akin ‘to, this is mine: We are now entering a period of consequences.
Towards the end of his speech, Duterte pulled a quote from Winston Churchill's speech, "The Locust Years," wherein the late UK prime minister spoke about dictator Adolf Hitler's rise to power and England's failure to respond. Churchill was speaking about the consequences of England's inaction – "the years that the locust hath eaten."
In his SONA, Duterte was referring to the consequences of the first 3 years of his term. "The consequences of what we did and did not do but should have done during my first half of my term. I assume full responsibility for that. As President, I cannot pass it – the blame – to anybody. So it’s on me," he said.
Churchill gave his speech on November 12, 1936 at the House of Commons. Germany later invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, marking the start of World War II.
Duterte also quoted a famous personality, former US President Abraham Lincoln, in closing his 2018 SONA. He said:
In ending, may I quote – I have always quoted but – in my previous talks. One American that I salute, the great Abraham Lincoln. And this has been – I’ve been in government for the last… If I completed my… If I complete my term, Inshallah, God willing, I would have served government for 40 years.
And I came across this statement which has been with me since I was a fiscal in the '70s. And he said: If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop, the presidency, might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is – what has been said against me won’t amount to anything. But if the end brings me out wrong, ten angels of God swearing that I was right would make no difference.
The quote comes from the book "The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White House" by Francis B. Carpenter.
According to Carpenter, Lincoln was responding to an officer, who was the subject of a complaint against Lincoln by the Committee on the Conduct of the War. The officer asked Lincoln if he should send a statement to a newspaper clarifying that the allegation was false. – Rappler.com