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Slayer of sense and sensibility

LOS ANGELES—Rodrigo Duterte’s comment about a Christian missionary from Australia who was gang-raped in 1989 has sparked an international outrage. News of his abhorrent statement, the latest in his long-running caravan of crassness, was picked up by media outlets and resoundingly condemned around the world.

Unsurprisingly, his toadies have passed off his remark as a joke. They would have us believe that Duterte’s brain is not connected to his mouth. The bigger question is obvious: Does he have the mental capacity to lead the Philippines and represent our country and our people in the community of nations?

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A bad joke, yes, but a joke nonetheless, was Sen. Sergio Osmeña III’s defense of his presidential candidate.  The mental short-circuitry continues. Osmeña was quoted in a Cebu newspaper as saying that Duterte should be voted into office because it will be good to have a Cebuano-speaking chief resident at Malacañang.

Being able to speak Cebuano is relevant if this were an election for a chairman of the board of an academy of languages and dialects, if ever there is one. Unfortunately, this is not.

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Is Duterte’s brain fog contagious?

Insulting the intelligence of Filipinos has been the trademark of the Duterte campaign.

Before this he called Pope Francis an SOB and exhorted the latter to pack his bags and return to Rome. His unctuous unapologetic apology came after a series of meandering, mind-bending explanations.

In the early days of his campaign, he bragged about his mistresses. And he has repeatedly promised to kill 100,000 criminals in three to six months.

Yet, a presidential contender who once renounced her Filipino citizenship and lived the American dream as a US citizen, and had the gall to claim that she was just a typical overseas Filipino worker when she lived in the United States with her family, promised to make Duterte her crime czar if she is elected. Clearly, it was an ill-concealed attempt to woo Duterte’s followers, who have put him ahead in one unreliable (too few respondents to be considered representative samples) survey after another.  Her assurance of a top Cabinet position for Duterte in her administration shows her poor judgement as well as a consistent pattern of doing and saying anything to get the vote. It’s no different from her abrogation of her Filipino citizenship for a number of years, and then reacquiring it so she can hold public office.

A crime fighter Duterte is not.  He is the slayer of the Filipinos’ sense and sensibility.  A killer of civility.  The assassin of our collective pride.

A national embarrassment who is standing squarely at the intersection of arrogant and obtuse.

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Duterte should be given by every decent, self-respecting Filipino a one-way ticket on a hot air balloon to his island of illusions, where he can cuss to his heart’s desire without damaging our national pride and identity. He needs help, not our vote.

When he told the ambassador of Australia to shut up when she denounced his remarks about the gang rape of a citizen of her country, he was not being a tough talker.

When he said the same to the American ambassador, who is justifiably outraged by his trivialization of a rape, he was not being pro-Filipino or propoor.

Don’t interfere in Philippine politics, he said.  Where is the “politics” in either of the statements from the top diplomats of our major allies?

When he said that if he becomes president, he will sever our ties with Australia and the United States, from where come the OFW remittances that the Philippine economy relies upon, and where the call centers that have given jobs to thousands of Filipinos are headquartered, he was not being a crime-buster.

He is a psychiatric case.

When it quacks like a duck and wobbles like a duck, don’t call it a peacock.

Fil-Am Therese Marie Anthony is president and CEO of a public relations, marketing and advertising agency in Los Angeles. Her latest distinction is being named one of PR News’ Top Women in PR in December 2015.

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TAGS: Elections 2016, joke, Rape, Rodrigo Duterte
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