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Donald Duterte and Rody Trump

It is eerie, the similarity between Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump. The New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, Britain’s The Guardian and Asian newspapers have contributed to this discussion, which has been going on since late 2016. I googled the subject in preparation for this column (under “trump duterte similarities”), and there were 18.7 million results. So it is safe to say that a great many are aware of the similarities.

So why bring it up again, if it has apparently been discussed to death? Because, just when things seem to be dying down, Donald Duterte or Rody Trump comes up with something new to titillate us.


Consider President Duterte’s latest antic: He wants to put the military in charge of the Bureau of Customs, in complete disregard of the Philippine Constitution, Article XVI, Sec. 5: “No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries.”

Not to be outdone, Trump’s latest antic follows Duterte’s: He wants to deprive the children of immigrants born (the children, that is) in the United States of their citizenship, in complete disregard of Sec. 1 of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution: “All persons born… in the United States… are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside…”


The English in both sections cannot be clearer, even to a sixth grader. So there is no excuse for either Rody or Donald. There is a slightly better chance for Donald to be pardoned, though; he is not a lawyer, while Rody is. That they have legal advisers, unfortunately, cannot be used as an aggravating circumstance, because another similarity they share is the inability to listen to advice.

So this is the latest in the list of similarities between the two presidents. When I first wrote about it in this column in January 2017, I mentioned that they both had narcissistic personality disorders, which I suspect is at the root of most of their other similarities. The Google search brought to the fore these others: penchant for wildly mysoginistic (dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women) remarks; bigotry; egoism; penchant for saying pretty much anything; “tough on crime” platforms, making it a point to praise law enforcement at every turn; Barack Obama-baiting; insulting the Pope; disdain for the press.

Also: their age (they are the oldest presidents of their respective countries); grandiose Islamic State rhetoric (Trump said he’d bomb the shit out of them, Duterte cursed them); their disposition to play fast and loose with the facts; their preference for dictators and authoritarians past and present (e.g. Marcos, Putin).

We cannot end this without mentioning the differences between them: Trump was a political outsider when he campaigned, Duterte was an accomplished politician. Trump was a TV personality, Duterte comes across as a man-of-the-people—rugged and less poised. Trump avoids the media and concentrates on social media, while Duterte cannot resist a microphone. And the biggest difference: Trump obviously hates Muslims (he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States), while Duterte is very pro-Muslim, especially those in the Philippines.

Who is worse (for their respective countries): Trump or Duterte? The jury seems to be split. But I think that, because of the United States’ 120-year advantage over us as a democratic country, Trump can do less harm to it than what Duterte can do to the Philippines. Just saying.

The Bureau of Immigration has ordered Sister Pat Fox to leave by Nov. 3 (today). A Mass and press conference will be held tomorrow at the AV Room of St. Joseph’s College, E. Rodriguez, Quezon City at 10 a.m., followed by a caravan at 1 p.m. to Baclaran, and a caravan at 3 p.m. to the airport.

Let us show our indignation at this terrible insult to the Filipino people, and to this terrible treatment of a beloved sister who has served us so well for 27 years. Join the activities, bring friends as well as signs.  For more information, call 0939-9021617.


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