[Newspoint] One very insecure president
Rodrigo Duterte obviously feels very insecure in his presidency. Enough evidence of that may have shown on just one occasion, a few days ago, at the Integrated Bar convention, after he chucked his written speech and proceeded to extemporize.
The president's problem is that, when he goes off unprompted, he’s unable to deliver a sustained thought, and, when he does that under provocation – a state that, on the other hand, he’s able to sustain on the power of some pathology – he completely loses it. And that was precisely what he did: once he opened his mouth, a digressive, fragmentary, incoherent waterfall of words began spraying forth on his audience.
His listeners should have known they had it coming; they had picked the wrong side and the wrong phrase. They upheld the ombudsman’s power and duty to investigate the president and at the same time counseled him (“counsel” happens to be one word absent in Duterte’s delusionary dictionary) to not be “onion-skinned” (he commands but refuses to take even mild counsel).
Thus, "onion-skinned” became the phrase of the night, the phrase on which the president mounted his every retaliatory salvo – “to the [audience’s]sorrow” (an apparently new favorite phrase of his). Never mind if no rational theme or thought could be gleaned from his speech, the amount of expletives interposed in it alone was medium enough to stand for the message. It must have broken the record for expletives in proportion to the total number of words mouthed. Watching the occasion on the Net, I did try to keep count, but it was easy to be lost; there were simply too many expletives, and in not a few cases the blip censoring an expletive – a practice observed for the prudence demanded for public listening and viewing – ran onto the next, and sometimes that, too, ran onto the next, so that a long blip was heard for more than one expletive.
At any rate, Duterte’s Integrated Bar performance was only one revealing occasion. There have been others, and one featured his own wife extolling his own virtues, tearfully. The performance is just too mushy to bear detailing; enough to say that she vouches for his kindness and gentleness.
Duterte’s sense of insecurity would seem more typically manifest in his attacks on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, a former Supreme Court justice herself. He has threatened them both with impeachment.
In fact, in Sereno’s case, the process has begun in the Duterte Congress, on a complaint from a Duterte partisan. One would think impeachment an overkill against a chief justice who, going by the recent Supreme Court decisions on cases of partisan interest, voted with the minority. In a voting pattern that lumped together justices appointed by then President Gloria Arroyo, justices who by themselves constituted, and still constitute, a majority, the court voted to acquit her of plunder, allow bail for another plunder indictee, Juan Ponce Enrile, and approve a hero's burial for the plundering dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Arroyo, Enrile, and Marcos’ heirs are now principal allies of Duterte.
So, why go yet after a practically harmless chief justice? Insecurity, paranoia – the same reasons as in the case of the ombudsman, who will be out of Duterte's way when her term ends next midyear.
Even now Ombudsman Morales is already out of his way; being an aunt of Duterte's son-in-law, she has inhibited herself in a case filed with her office against Duterte, for hidden and likely unexplainable wealth. But she’s not entirely out of his hair; her office threatened with presidential investigation, she replied that it "shall not be intimidated." And serving notice that her office's inquiry into Duterte's case would go on, she threw back his own words at him, "[One who] has nothing to hide...has nothing to fear."
Duterte's troubles began precisely with allegations that he was hiding something big and smelly. Referring to records in its possession, the ombudsman's office calculates that a billion pesos passed through a network of Duterte family bank accounts. The ombudsman got on the case on the representation of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, whose own estimate of Duterte's secret wealth is double.
Trillanes has been challenging Duterte to back his denial with a waiver allowing full revelation of his family's bank accounts, but Duterte has been dodging. At one point, he tried to get back at Trillanes by concocting a set of numbers and passing it off as corresponding to the bank account hiding Trillanes' own corruption-tainted wealth. Duterte was quickly revealed for his pathetic act of childish folly – the bank itself certified no such account existed – as well as for his inability to do something even mildly impressive to Trillanes.
But in that precise situation Duterte's wife finds a point to be made for her husband. "Trillanes has been hitting us since a week before the election," she says, singling out accusations that Duterte is a killer. "Eh bakit buhay pa siya?"
In other words, it's a testament to Duterte's good nature that Trillanes has all this time remained alive. – Rappler.com