Only Duterte can change his behavior
If he can’t, don’t expect change.
It is more acceptable and understandable had President Duterte told US President Barack Obama, “Puti ang nanay mo”; or Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, “Putin ang ina mo.”
Mr. Duterte’s lapdogs have a mechanism—and are always prepared—to “auto correct” every time Mr. Duterte commits an error of “presidential scale,” so to speak. And sometimes they invoke Mr. Duterte’s bipolar personality (read: lunacy?). And Mr. Duterte’s supporters, among them senators, rationalize: “Masasanay din tayo” (We will get used to this [Mr. Duterte’s foul language]). This is not good as far as long-term relationship with either his people or with the international community is concerned.
The Inquirer reported: “When asked about the cancelation of Mr. Duterte’s meeting with Obama in Laos this week after calling the US leader a ‘son of a bitch,’ [Sen. Koko] Pimentel said: ‘Let this be a learning experience… Everyone learns from his experience…’” (“Koko: Obama rebuff was lesson in diplomacy for Duterte, but…,” News, 9/9/16).
In a presidential and diplomatic manner, Obama calmly and simply replied, “Nothing personal.”
The immediate and long-term impact—particularly on the millions of Filipinos living in the United States, on our national economy, and on our nation’s security vis-à-vis China, the United States, the Asean in relation to the disputed seas—cannot be quantified and qualified.
Mr. Duterte’s political campaign was anchored on change, and he should be a good example of good change. He should change his bad behavior.
—ISIDRO C. VALENCIA, Taguig City
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