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Ronald Roy — July 27, 2016

Pres. Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte (DU30) is a class all by himself, I once thought, until I learned that he was enjoying an unexpected net trust rating of +79% among respondent-netizens aged 18 to 24. These are the kids, perhaps antisocial like the President, who have the stuff of the age of Aquarius.This purported “national consensus” is therefore deceptive, considering that the rest of the population consisting of their more experienced elders were excluded from the survey.

The survey was therefore hardly a cause for a national celebration. It discomfits that, on critical issues, these hot-blooded kids are usually driven by Draconian instincts — a no-no at times when sobriety is the needed composure to calm troubled socio-political waters.

Maverick quirks
But then, there followed a mind-boggling Pulse Asia trust rating of 91% across-all-ages, so ego-inflating to the President it seemed to condone, if not to encourage even, his nonconformist quirks! Thus, DU30 and his loyal supporters should cautiously abide by the requirements of due process, lest they get into serious trouble.

However, judging by Rody’s character, he appears incapable of changing what he has been all his life: feisty, inconsistent, onion-skinned, inarticulate and dictatorial. If ever, perhaps only his closest kin and allies can be relied on for advising him against taking precipitate actions, although he may yet bawl them out for doing so.

That’s bad; but it’s worse when his co-workers praise him by imitating him in a manner showing him to be what he is: feisty, inconsistent, onion-skinned, inarticulate and dictatorial. Some subalterns even ape his idiolect (one’s unique way of speaking)…and that’s the ultimate danger because their act of aping may instill in him a false sense of infallibility.

Traditions defied
Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a tradition-defying showcase of unfamiliar simplicity that engendered the frugal yet elegant atmosphere he had earlier required for the occasion.The ostentation of glittering jewelry, elitist gowns and sartorially elegant men’s wear was barely visible, ay salamat!

It was obvious from the very start that the SONA had been planned as an event for the hoi polloi as much as for those in higher society, as evidenced initially by his entrance into the building with the cuffs of his nearly un-embroidered barong folded up above his wrists. Likewise planned was the simple native merienda that followed the SONA, along with the President’s mingling with the militants before he returned to the Palace.

Renato Reyes, Secretary General of the leftist Bayan, could only be grateful for the first peaceful rally they had had over the past ten years. A historic first, he likewise recalled, were his group’s being allowed to move within a hundred meters of the Batasan — it used to be 300 meters — and the fraternal behavior of the cops. At times, the demonstrators and the policemen even seemed to applaud and sing together.

Informal colloquy
The SONA, which had been written to last half an hour, ended up around 90 minutes long — thanks to Rody’s penchant for informal colloquy that added a tone of friendliness and candor to his remarks. Peeved by the tele prompters, he often disregarded the same with a preference for ad libs that had his listeners rolling in stitches or clapping or, at best, being plunged into somber reflections on new policies being exposited in struggling Tagalog and home-based Bisaya.

In an oratorical contest among Rody’s SONA and those of the six presidents that preceded him, I would give him a composite grade of 80% for grammar, idiom and delivery, with his predecessors each scoring around 90%. However, as for content marked by boldness, timeliness, and coverage, I’d grade him 95%. Content, after all, is what SONAs are all about.

From start to finish, Rody’s speech was quite comprehensive, beginning and ending with remarks on his ongoing drive against criminality, corruption and prohibited drugs. Relative thereto, he issued a warning to all law enforcers concerned against abusing their authority and offending due process, particularly in connection with drugs-related operations, and added that violators would face criminal and/or administrative charges.

Most powerful address
It was by far the most powerful SONA in living memory. Rody’s poignantly soul-searching sentiments are roughly couched in the following words.

One: If we cannot love each other, then in God’s name let us not hate each other too much.
Two: In any war between Filipinos, medals and monetary benefits cannot assuage the losses suffered by widows and orphans. Three: I stake my very life against illegal drugs.

So much for the promises which only someone with balls can make. We now await results.

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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