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Opinion

It’s joke time!

AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman - The Philippine Star

I started a joke, which started the whole world crying. But I didn’t see, that the joke was on me. Oh no! I started to cry, which started the whole world laughing. Oh, if I’d only see, that the joke was on me.

This Bee Gees’ song came into my mind after the President himself announced that his remarks on his plan to go to the West Philippine Sea on a jet ski, during his 2016 presidential campaign, was a pure campaign joke. He got me there. I believed him. Yes, I guess I was stupid like he said to those who believed him. Then I started recalling all the “bravados” he used to impress things upon us. Here we go...

Joke #1: The jet ski joke: He said, “Panahon sa kampanya iyan, at tsaka iyong biro na iyon, we call it bravado. Iyong bravado ko was just a pure campaign joke.” He even called those who believed “stupid.” He added that he never promised to retake the West Philippine Sea from China.

Joke #2: On shooting female communist rebels in the vagina: In his speech to former communist rebels in Malacañang, he said, “There is a new order coming from the Mayor. We will not kill you. We will shoot you in the vagina.”

Joke #3: On rape cases, he had several sexist jokes which the Palace spokesperson told the public to dismiss. “I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing,” Duterte said. “But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.” This was said during his campaign trail when he brought up a case of an Australian missionary, Jacqueline Hamill, who was gang-raped in Davao and killed in prison. “Rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialized,” the Australian ambassador to Manila Amanda Gorely responded, to which Duterte replied, “This is politics. Stay out. Stay out Australian government. Stay out.”

Joke #4: In 2018, in India, the President joked that if Muslim extremists can lure followers with the promise of “42 virgins” in heaven, he would like to lure tourists to the Philippines with virgins as well. He said, “The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you. If I could just make it a come-on also for those who’d like to go to my country.”

Joke #5: While campaigning for Governor Jun Evasco in Bohol, President Duterte puts the mayor of Garcia Hernandez town on the spot – talking about her beauty and..her panty. He said, “Gwapa gyud ka tinuod (You’re really beautiful). Asa ko makig buwag nimo (Why would I break up with you?) Kapyot gyud ko’s imong panty. Bahala mabugto imong garter diha. Kagwapa nimo (I will really grab and hold on to your panty. Who cares if the garter snaps? You’re so beautiful).”

Duterte’s speeches are often loaded with profanity, threats and jokes about taboo subjects.

Amidst the pandemic in 2019, US News compiled the President’s most controversial quotes. Let’s take a look.

“Hitler massacred three million Jews ... there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Duterte made this comment during a September 2016 press conference where he compared himself to Adolf Hitler.

“Son of a w***e, I will curse you in that forum.” Duterte made this comment in reference to former US President Barack Obama in response to a reporter’s question on how the Philippine President would explain extrajudicial killings to Obama.

“If you are corrupt, I will fetch you using a helicopter to Manila and I will throw you out. I have done this before. Why would I not do it again?” Duterte made this comment in December 2016 while admitting that he once threw a Chinese rape and murder suspect from a helicopter earlier in his career and would do the same to other criminal suspects.

“Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a b***h.” Duterte made this comment in June 2016 in reaction to a journalist’s death in Manila.

“Give me salt and vinegar and I’ll eat his liver.” Duterte made this comment in April 2017 while saying he could be “50 times” more brutal than Muslim militants and describing what he could do to terrorists.

“I was separated from my wife. I’m not impotent. What am I supposed to do? Let this hang forever? When I take Viagra, it stands up.” Duterte made this comment in May 2016 while speaking to business leaders.

“I wanted to call him: ‘Pope, son of a w***e, go home. Do not visit us again.” Duterte made this comment in May 2016 after Pope Francis’ visit to Manila caused traffic jams.

“Please don’t order me around. … Or would you rather that I declare martial law?” Duterte made this comment in August 2016 after a Supreme Court chief justice wrote that only the high court was authorized to discipline judges. Duterte said the court was interfering with his anti-drug campaign.

Amid threats caused by Taal Volcano, President Duterte said it is not a serious concern for now, even joking about putting a cap on the volcano’s crater. “Siguro lagyan ko lang ng cap iyong butas.”

Recently, he lashed out at former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario after the latter claimed that China helped him win the presidency in 2016. In denying the allegation, he accused Del Rosario of treason and asked where he could meet him so that he could pour a cup of coffee on his face. Another joke?

Today, President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of his term as President. He loves to shock his audience with his strong words. But this igniting factor has long worn off in the people who already know his ways. Well, we’ve learned our lesson and now don’t actually find him amusing anymore.

God bless you, Mr. President. In a time when our countrymen have been hard hit with the pandemic, not to mention natural disasters that abound, we honestly don’t need your jokes anymore, sir. What we need is peace of mind.

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