Deconstructing Duterte's diction
A quick thumbnail: Grace Poe sounds like a street evangelist begging public utility commuters for loose change; Roxas, a little boy tugging at the hemline of his mother’s skirt; Miriam, well nobody but same old feisty Miriam; and Binay is, uhm, mukhang guilty (looks guilty)?
To be sure, every candidate can talk the talk, though overall, their rhetorical registers are somewhat sanitized, or affectatious and studied on the safe side. And by sanitized rhetorical register, I mean that kind of self-consciously calculated utterance that smacks of classroom politics where the one who garners the most thunderous claps wins.
Teddy Boy Locsin took some flak for suggesting that the major players of Philippine politics should stop using the (Tagalog) language that’s “so bullshitty, so useless a tongue for debate,” if they want to elevate, or uplift the people’s voting consciousness.
On the basis of that observation alone, the whole presidential debate therefore feeds us nothing but boringness exemplified.
You’ve heard one, you’ve heard all. Excepting the drawing power of their respective celebrity endorsers, the bottomline is always about man’s lust for power and greed.
But while most candidates are taking the safe beaten path when it comes to their semantics or rhetorics, no other candidate except Duterte can say point blank that he can and will kill criminals and drug addicts if the need arises.
If his projection is reliable, within 6 months in office, the whole country will be as peaceful as Eden. Well, 6 months sounds a little whimsical and ambitious, but that is not my concern.
My question is: can all of Metro Manila’s or the country’s key cities’ cemeteries, crematoriums, and columbariums accommodate the carcasses of criminals and drug addicts harvested from his campaign for national peace and order?
I swear, I don’t know how he does what he does, but poll and survey stats seem to indicate that the Filipino is about ready for a leader who can do just that—kill criminals, drug addicts, and the corrupt.
By tongue-in-cheek Simon Cowell standards, Duterte does exude the political gung-ho of somebody who can run the country by dictatorship, if not by mob rule—you know, guns, goons, and gerontological dude guts.
Shooting from the hip
To be honest, I don’t know Duterte like I know opportunist Kris Aquino and Korina Sanchez; and only from those quotes and memes breaking social media do I know that he has effected a shoot from the hip kind of rhetorics, and he has been masterfully wielding it since he was first thrown into the spotlight.
“Si Mar, bayot. Hindi niya kaya. Kaya ko kasi lalaki ako. Hindi ka lalaki Mar, paano ‘yan? Takot kang pumatay, takot kang mamatay. Subukan mo ako. Maghawak ka ng shabu sa harap ko, pasabugin ko sa ulo ko. You try holding shabu in my presence. ‘Pag ‘di kita binaril sa ulo, ‘tangina mo,” he once said.
(Mar is gay. He can’t do it. I can because I am a man. You are not a man, Mar, how is that? You are afraid to kill, afraid to die. Try me... You try holding shabu in my presence, I will blow your head off, you son of a b_tch.)
“Ang hirap sa ‘yo Mar, you are a pretentious leader.” (The trouble with you Mar is you are a pretentious leader.)
“Ito namang isa (si Roxas), ako raw ay diktador, palaaway, mainitin ang ulo. Kaya walang sumusunod sa gobyerno ninyo, kasi ikaw, bakla ka.” (This Roxas here says I am a dictator, a troublemaker, and hot-tempered. The reason nobody follows your orders in your government is because you, you are gay.)
“I have been with government for a long time. There is so much money. Do you know why I don’t want to steal? Because I was a prosecutor before I became mayor. I used to be a special prosecutor of the Tanod Bayan, the body before the Ombudsman. I used to prosecute people all around Mindanao because of embezzlement and malversation.”
“Nakita mo si Binay maglakad? Nakita niyo yung unang debate na di na makahakbang? Ewan ko kung ninenerbiyos o 'yan ang dahilan basta magnakaw ng pera di na hihinto yan...Sa bilangan ng pera? Mahirap kasi ang mag-ano (bilang) ka ng bilyon.”
(Have you seen Binay walk? Did you see during the first debate how he could hardly walk? I don’t know if he was just nervous or if that’s caused by stealing money non-stop...Counting money? It’s tough when you’re counting billions.)
“They say I am a threat to democracy. Really? I’ve been mayor for 22 years in Davao. Cite me a day or a moment when I was a dictator.”
“Ako raw ang berdugo ng bayan. My God, vice president, ikaw ang berdugo ng pera ng tao.” (I am supposedly the national executioner. My God, vice president, you are the executioner of the people’s money.)
Poor Roxas, Binay, et al. are nothing but mere trigger points on which he launches his brand of irreverent irony peppered with a dash of shock factor here and there.
Political mind games
Politics is as much a mind game for Duterte as it is his playing field, his rivals should know that by now, and it bothers just thinking Roxas is clueless, or that Duterte is just provoking him. And it gives Duterte so much sense of triumph and satisfaction just poking fun of Roxas, more so when he sees the latter all roiled.
People believe it’s the shady, murderous shroud about him that makes Duterte the most interesting and convincing in most parts, but I think it’s really the nonchalant attitude that has mostly cemented the prevailing mindset that he could very well be the much awaited savior of the Philippines, a nation whose fate is skidding slowly past the point of redemption.
"The criminals have no place in this city except jails, detention centers, and God forbid, funeral parlors."
"Stop or leave. If you cannot or will not, you will not survive. You can either leave vertically or horizontally."
"I tell you criminals. Don't come to this city."
"A leader must be a terror to the few who are evil to protect the lives and wellbeing of the many who are good."
"I do not care if I burn in hell for as long as the people I serve live in paradise."
"Cut the trees and I will cut your heads."
“The trouble with us in government is that we talk too much, we act too slow, and do too little.”
“God must have been somewhere else or forgot that there was planet Earth.”
“Don’t f_ck with my team. ‘Di ako papayag ng ganyan (I will not allow it). Anarchy?”
A word of advice to Roxas: revenge is a dish best served cold. ‘Nuff said. – Rappler.com
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