General Admission

Patience, my dear

By Al S. Mendoza


President Duterte loves to repeat himself.

“You destroy my country and I will kill you,” he’d tell his audiences in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

As always, poker-faced.

Always, he’d swear to kill the country’s drug addicts.

“I love my country very much that I’m willing to die for it,” he’d also tell his audiences.

The President also keeps saying, in public, here or abroad: “I finished high school in seven years.”

And then follows that up with, “I was never an honor student.”

He keeps mentioning that many of his Cabinet members were “valedictorians, bar topnotchers and magna cum laude graduates.”

“Some of them were my classmates,” he’d say.  “Dominguez, Dureza, Yasay, Panelo, Aguilar—they were always at the top of the class.”

And he’d add: “I was always at the bottom. I could hardly garner the passing grade of 75.”

And then his punch line: “But I am now the President.”

Yes, it is Mr. Duterte’s beloved habit of retelling stories about himself almost whenever he’s asked to speak in public.

He is so used doing that and if, until now, you haven’t memorized every word of his standard narrations, you have a problem.

Not senility, dementia, I pray.

This week, he repeated again in his public appearance in Socorro, Oriental Mindoro, about his stance “to protect and defend my policemen at all times.”

Again, for saying that, he courted the ire of the one-track mind.

“I will grant presidential pardon to policemen involved in the killing of drug addicts,” he said.

For that, Mr. Duterte a.k.a. Digong drew flak.  Again.

But wasn’t he just emphasizing a point he’d mentioned several times already?

And, yes, he does not always mean what he says.

Only the unthinking lot can be goaded into believing every word that Digong says, he means it.

But not to those who have the good fortune of knowing how to read his words between the lines.

In short, if you haven’t noticed it yet, Mr. Duterte is the type that delights in throwing his audiences off-balance.

Definitely, he could not possibly execute pronto a plan on this or that—as in absolving an accused outright.  Against the law.

For, how can Digong pardon a cop who has yet to be haled to court—such as Marvin Marcos et al. still to face trial for the death of former Mayor Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte?

So how then will one properly treat Digong’s pronouncements from here on?

One, don’t take his word at face value.

Two, from his speech, know how to separate the chaff from the grain.

Three, concentrate more on his body language than what he says.

And fourth and last, enjoy his jokes.  It is not every day that we have someone from the Palace that can tickle us every now and then.

And, yes, patience, my dear. After all, he is our President.

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