PRESIDENT Duterte has once again mouthed a series of disturbing pronouncements that are undermining the foundation of our democratic ideals. Worse, but not unexpected, he blurted them out of thin air or based on wrong information. Just like the past hyperbolic wonder of Mr. Duterte’s unpredictable and confusing pronouncements, Malacañang did not waste time to immediately iron out the meaning of what had just been said by its chief executive.
In the process of making sense out of the mindless pronouncements of Mr. Duterte, the people in Malacañang always point their finger to the mainstream media or other entities for the gaff but never to Mr. Duterte nor the Malacañang people who are otherwise responsible in providing their boss the right information in raising points, that inevitably become policy pronouncements coming as they did from the mouth of the President of the Republic, everytime he faces the media or the public.
During the relaunching of the Malacañang’s communications office last October 12, Mr. Duterte enjoined the government communicators “to remain committed to your duty of upholding the truth at all times. Never exaggerate, never misinterpret [and] never agitate as you communicate our platform of governance. In other words, do not be arrogant.” He was reading the script that was fed on him which unarguably made it sound like it was not he talking.
Ironically, however, when Mr. Duterte started adlibbing, he began to contradict what he had just enjoined his subordinates regarding the way the government communicators should convey their message to the public. His demeanor began to change with the topics that seemed to pop out of his mind. He was playful when he asked his staff, who chorused with resounding ‘no’, if they want to bear arms and shoot “drug people” in the light of his decision to transfer the operations of anti-drug campaign to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
As Mr. Duterte progressed into the discussion of transferring the responsibility of carrying out the anti-drug campaign to the PDEA, his wrath surfaced as he mentioned the supposed statement of European parliamentarians against the extra-judicial killings wrought by his anti-drug campaign and the possibility that the Philippines maybe expelled from the United Nations.
M. Duterte did not mince words and cussed against the European nations and threatened to cut ties with them and ordered their diplomats to leave the Philippines within 24 hours.
Knowing the extent and serious repercussions of Mr. Duterte’s threat to cut ties with the European nations, Malacañang again blamed the media for misreporting the statement of the visiting foreign parliamentarians, the European Union for not clarifying that the visiting parliamentarians did not represent them, and the group of foreigners for misrepresenting themselves.
It was obvious that Mr. Duterte got the wrong information because those parliamentarians and other foreigners who came to visit on Oct. 8-9 are members of a group called Progressive Alliance from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Australia, and the United States. The last two countries are not members of the European Union. He also got it wrong that the Philippines is threatened with expulsion from the United Nations because of the anti-drug campaign and extra-judicial killings. The fact is, it was the group composed of Karapatan, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Bayan, Desaparecidos and United Church of Christ of the Philippines who called on the expulsion of the Philippines from the United Nations Human Rights Council for not agreeing to 154 of 257 recommendations from the Universal Peer Review.
To the Malacañang people, it is easier to pass the blame on others rather than admit incompetence and take responsibility for lying, which further diminishes their credibility and sense of truthfulness before the bar of public trust and confidence. Malacañang has not even issued an apology for the European Union for its faux pas.