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Opinion

Menacing behavior

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32

Many days after watching the video of President Rodrigo Duterte calling out and threatening Senator Manny Pacquiao concerning his claims of corruption being tripled in the Duterte administration, I still can’t shake off the after effect of how the President conducted himself on national TV as well as how he said: “A-araw-arawin kita” along with threats of exposing Sen. Pacquiao’s personal failings and mistakes in life. I thought that after four years, we would all grow accustomed to Duterte’s four letter words and “cuss for emphasis” style of communications, but this time around it was quite different.

He was not cutting down a “Dilawan” or an unrepentant critic or political enemy. He was not doing it to an official of the International Court that wants to investigate him; the President was putting out grave threats to a partymate, a supporter of longstanding, a national icon, a globally respected Filipino and, last but not least, someone from Mindanao. One out of those five points should have been enough ground for the President to restrain himself publicly.

Perhaps the reason I have difficulty shaking the scene from my head is because it reminded me of “Menacing People” in my life as well as the lives of others. Those Menacing People may have been a father prone to verbal or physical violence, a teacher who physically hurt students with a punch or a stick or a flying eraser followed by cutting remarks intended to diminish our self respect, bullies in schools or fraternity hoodlums in college or bosses and employers who in the past had no problems cussing, cursing and hurling threats at helpless employees who had no choice but to take the abuse because their jobs and income depended on it. Try as anyone might, it is difficult to water down the President’s behavior that evening because he was “Father” of the nation and “Father” of his political party. The sad part is that many Filipinos have bad or barely any good memories of their fathers and what I saw and heard the President do, stirred up that bitter truth.

I can only hope that the President uttered those words “for effect” and not serious intent because as the saying goes: “When you point one accusing finger at someone, remember that the rest of your fingers are pointing your way” or, in short, it could backfire. In his tirade, the President alluded to sins or failings of PacMan and that PRRD would expose them all in the campaign in 2022. Perhaps someone ought to remind the President that Senator Manny Pacquiao is a self-confessed womanizer who nearly lost his wife and children to divorce or separation, that he has publicly admitted gambling away millions, not to mention being a lousy sabungero. He has gone through numerous bottles of expensive booze, sports cars, bling and clearly all that money and success got to his head and heart and nearly ruined him “but for the grace of God”.

PacMan regularly shares this confession to all who would listen to his testimony of how God saved him and helped him to be Born Again. The fact of the matter is that on some occasions, Pacman’s audiences were probably wondering if they were in a meet and greet with the Champ or a Bible revival? My point is that there would be very little to expose as far as “sins” go and if PRRD raised any new ones, chances are PacMan will immediately jump at the chance to confess, repent and give his testimony.

Aside from the possibility of ending up with a dud, is the President really ready to get personal and throw mud at others, especially during the campaign of 2022? In the words of Jesus Christ, “He who is without sin let him cast the first stone” – John 8: 7 What are the chances that in 2022 some of the people the President may have hurt during his term will be “silent no more.” Some of his allies will surely sell him out to insure their political survival and to avoid legal action and it is to be presumed that during the campaign, nothing will be sacred or feared, especially if it happens that the Duterte forces are losing their grip on power. I think the President and his associates have made more than enough enemies by getting personal and the last thing they want to do is to do it with an ally or known supporter because this will have serious consequences.

Fact of the matter is that PacMan has more fans and followers in human form and not just trolls or survey numbers. Many of these are poor, ordinary people who relate to Pacquiao’s beginnings in poverty, are inspired by his rise to fame and fortune. He is one of them. If the President goes on this warpath against PacMan, he might end up alienating millions of poor Filipinos who are already disappointed and desperate because of unemployment, lack of sufficient financial assistance, not to mention the realization that they were practically at the bottom of the list in terms of priority for vaccination. Politics, they say, is about addition, not division, not subtraction. President Duterte will surely profit by reflecting on the lesson in Ephesians 6:4:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

MANNY PACQUIAO RODRIGO DUTERTE
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