Duterte’s ‘restraint’ pays off: PH set to get Jordan helicopters

Pia Ranada

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Duterte’s ‘restraint’ pays off: PH set to get Jordan helicopters
After following National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon's advice to 'shut up' about UN rights chief and Jordanian prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President Duterte says Jordan's donation of two choppers is pushing through

MANILA, Philippines – Following the advice of his National Security Advisor seems to have paid off for President Rodrigo Duterte. After restraining himself from letting loose a volley of attacks against Jordanian prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the Philippines is about to formally accept a donation of two helicopters from Jordan.

Zeid is the United Nations (UN) Commissioner for Human Rights who earlier said Duterte needed to see a psychiatrist. Citing past actions taken against UN envoys, Zeid was reported as saying last March, “it makes one believe that the president of the Philippines needs to submit himself to some sort of psychiatric evaluation.”

Duterte said on Tuesday, May 22, that he had just received a copy of a document authorizing National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr to accept the two choppers, said to cost $18 million (P942 million) each.

“On my table before I left, that’s why I was late because I was reviewing it. Jordan is giving us two Cobra helicopters,” he told Philippine Navy officials during their anniversary.

The document comes after he said he followed Esperon’s advice to “shut up” about Zeid, who he had wanted to get back at. Zeid happens to be the cousin of Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Zeid’s remarks in March were in response to the President’s threat to slap UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, who has been critical about the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“I would have wanted to but Esperon said, ‘Do not do it. Maybe, mayor, if you can swallow insults. You are throwing curses, epithets and all, ‘di rin sila makaganti (they can’t get back at you either). This time I am asking you to shut up. Why? That high official there is the brother (sic) of the King of Jordan,’” said Duterte.

The firebrand Duterte, given to foul-mouthed rants even against world leaders, apparently decided to take the advice of Esperon, a former military chief, who had really wanted Jordan’s donation to push through. 

“I prepared a little maybe rebuttal and he said, ‘Please do not do it or else I will lose the – ,’ he is the one who worked for it. I got this electronic copy for his authority to accept it,” said Duterte.  

Will this rare show of restraint be duplicated in the future? – Rappler.com 

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.