Faith in Duterte vs faith in God
This pandemic decimated my workplace. The few of us left work intermittently. Recently, a colleague who is a Diehard Duterte Supporter zealously served us Duterte propaganda at lunchtime. I snapped and blamed the pandemic on President Duterte’s cursing and mocking God. My colleague countered: “Why would God plague the entire country if it was only Duterte who mocked Him?”
Well, God didn’t raise this plague. Mon Tulfo’s oft-mentioned “Law of Attraction” (where positive or negative thoughts attract positive or negative experiences) could be at work here. But simply, I believe our faith can make us well or afflicted depending on where we place it. And it seems we Filipinos overwhelmingly placed our faith in our idol ruler, Mr. Duterte, to deliver us from evil, punish criminals and the corrupt, and bring us prosperity.
So who is this ruler, really? Five years ago, Mr. Duterte presented himself as a forthright, ruthless, vulgar leader willing to bypass our laws and kill many to end crime and corruption. Since then, he has ruled by fear, and his principal tool for governance appears to be the real and relentless threat of killing not just criminals, but also rival politicians, civil servants, journalists, lawyers, judges, doctors, priests, activists, critics, and his perceived enemies. Killing has obviously kept him in power all these years. He has survived by being the bigger monster capable of more evil than his evil enemies. Killing is his avowed solution to “what ails this country.” Death is the centerpiece of his power. It paved his road to Malacañang, and he cannot rule without it.
Mr. Duterte’s symbiotic attachment to death naturally breeds contempt for human life, human rights, and the very source of Life itself—God. His vow to resign if anyone would be able to prove that God exists is a foray to eliminate God and replace eternal life with absolute death in the hearts and minds of people. Many of his supporters already think he is more infallible than God (according to professor Antonio Contreras’ Facebook survey). In his audacious quest to banish God from society, Mr. Duterte belittled the Divine when he boasted of teaching God about justice. He used the story of Adam (the first Muslim) and his wife Hawa (or Eve) to blaspheme God who is also “Allah” and also “Yahweh” with his now infamous “Who is this stupid God? Istupido talaga pala itong p****g ina kung ganun.”
Pope Francis, who once said that anyone who “says a curse word against my mother can expect a punch,” did nothing to rebuke Mr. Duterte, who cursed him, his mother, and his God. The Israeli government even invited Mr. Duterte for a state visit, then gave him weapons of death. In Muslim Mindanao, some Bangsamoro leaders paid homage to Mr. Duterte on his birthday, confirmed his Muslim bloodline, and called him “The Maranao Pride.” And then Filipinos blessed him with a 91-percent trust rating, making Mr. Duterte the most trusted ruler in the world.
All of these after he repeatedly assailed God like no king, tyrant, warlord, or leader in human history has ever done. Do you think Heaven would reward us with wellness and prosperity for enabling and exalting a ruler who despises God, truth, law, human rights, and divine justice, who makes his rich friends richer while the poor get poorer, and who protects the corrupt at the highest levels?
Our faith in Mr. Duterte has surpassed and eclipsed our faith in God. Just look at how fiercely his legions defend him from critics, while only a faithful few defended God from Mr. Duterte. Faith affects our reality. And as long as we keep faith in a ruler who embodies death, hatred, deception, and corruption, a plague will always be upon us.
Place your faith in God instead.
Ernie Lapuz is a company driver who likes reading (especially between the lines).
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