Sent as a lamb in the midst of wolves

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - July 20, 2018 - 12:00am

''Wise as a snake, but pure as a dove''. In the gospel of Matthew, 10:16 to 23, Jesus told his disciples: “I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves, to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” I know many will laugh at my column today, but I shall write it just the same. Duterte, by all appearances and utterances, might (most probably) look at himself as a lamb from Davao sent by 16 million voters to the den of wolves in Manila, in the midst of corrupt, graft, plunder, and moral decay. He may be looking at himself as Don Quixote fighting the windmills of crime and corruption. Or as a knight in shining armor saving our country, the lady in distress, from bandits and predators.


To the Church, Duterte might imagine himself as a young Jesus challenging the learned scribes and Pharisees in the temple. And when he was admonished by his loved ones, like Inday Sarah, he would retort: “Why, woman, do you not know that I must be up and about in my Father's House?” He might be looking at today's consecrated persons as desecrating his Father's house and transforming it into a den of merchants and thieves. That is why Jesus overturned their tables. Here is a man from Davao who overturns the hallowed places of the gods and religious leaders. He even earned the ire of civil authorities, making them feel challenged and insulted.

Duterte still behaves and talks as if he is still just a provinciano from Davao (where he became a leader), Leyte (where he was born), and Cebu (the homeland of his father). Jesus was from Bethlemem, a place distant from Jerusalem, the equivalent of Manila. He considers Manila as imperialistic where decisions are made to control the destiny of all men and the nation. Jesus surrounds himself with ordinary folks like his apostles, characters like Bong Go, who like John the beloved, will never abandon him, even when the master is crucified by his enemies. Go will even take a bullet for Duterte. And Peter, who is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, or his Matthew, the rich tax collector in the person of Secretary Carlos Dominguez. Duterte has had a lot of Judases, the frat brods he fired for alleged anomalies and incompetence. He considers incompetence and ineptitude as betrayal.

Duterte looks at Manila as a den of thieves, and the corrupt politicians as the Caiaphases and the Annases. He sees the UN and the US as imperial Rome with its Pontius Pilates. He views the Americans as subjugating his people and sees the Chinese as the good Samaritans and gentle Gentiles. He sees the Church as controlled by scribes and Pharisees who are self-righteous and “holier than thou.” He considers himself as the anointed one to save the people from the excesses of the Church and the State. He is like the probinsyano Coco Martin, shooting the forces of the devilish vice president (who undermines the president) and never stops plotting to capture the seat of power. He is Bagani fighting Sarimao.

To understand Duterte, we have to read his mind and examine his paradigm. He is a very wise man masked as a simpleton from a small town. He is really a lamb disguised as a wolf, only to scare the serpents and impress the doves. Duterte is really a simple guy posing as complicated to protect himself from the vultures in a city he hates filled with people he abhors.

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