Resounding echo of servility and sycophancy
Ladies and gentlemen, I sang uninvited upon the orders of the commander in chief of the United States,” said President Duterte in a gala dinner for Asian leaders. Whether it was a joke or not, it was not funny.
There was the resounding echo of servility and sycophancy of the President who once postured himself as a staunch critic of historic American crimes against the Philippines. Defensive of Barack Obama’s criticism of drug-related killings, he went as far as telling the then US president to go to hell and threatened to wind up the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. Whatever happened to the threat that almost won him credit for nationalism remains a bubbling shibboleth coated in promising rhetoric.
Trump’s “order” for him was to sing. He did not refuse. He sang! A metaphor of obeying an order from a supercommander. His resounding voice was like a sonic weapon directed at people protesting at the Asean Summit.
The P15-billion budget to host the Asean must have included an amount for terrorizing and silencing dissent with the overacting presence of a thick number of policemen with their clubs and truncheons, fire trucks and sonic weapons to block ralliers, not to mention the irritating traffic on Nov. 11 before the summit commenced.
A strong society is where people enjoy social and basic services, civil and political rights are respected, and democracy is not just about the demagoguery of a popular leader.
The police action against protesters resembled the serenade of Mr. Duterte who did so because he was ordered to.
Toward the end of the summit, Trump lauded Mr. Duterte: “You are fantastic!”
A patronizing comment, no less.
NORMA P. DOLLAGA, Kapatirang Simbahan Para sa Bayan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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