If it's a joke, laugh, don't get mad

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - May 19, 2021 - 12:00am

I am not stupid. I got the joke the first time candidate Rodrigo Duterte said it during the 2016 presidential campaign that he would jet ski to the Spratlys and plant the Philippine flag there. I will no longer belabor the point because if until now you still cannot see that Duterte could not have seriously considered doing what he said he would, then there must be something terribly wrong with your perspective of real life.

This is being reinforced by the fact that some people are now mistakenly taking offense at being called stupid by Duterte for not getting his jet ski joke. Stupidity is really a terrible thing when it compounds the madness. Duterte did not call everybody stupid, much less his own supporters who will eat his words regardless of whether they are said in jest or in earnest.

It was his critics, members of the opposition, that Duterte called stupid. I did not actually hear him say it but Philstar columnist Jarius Bondoc had a quote in one of his recent columns: "Panahon yan sa kampanya yan. At saka yung biro na yon, yung bravado ko, it was a pure campaign joke, at kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila, I would say you are really stupid."

That is how Mr. Bondoc quoted Duterte in his column and I have no reason to doubt its veracity, given his stature as a professional and respected journalist. And from that quote, it can be inferred that Duterte did not call just about everybody stupid, much less the 16 million Filipinos who voted for him and have continued to support and trust him to this day in all the relevant and credible surveys.

It was his critics, the members of the opposition, that he called stupid. Go revisit the quote: "...at kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila, I would say you are really stupid." Kayo sa kabila. You on the other side. What could be clearer than that. The problem with many though, especially those who are anti-Duterte, is that they have developed the bad habit of truncating his words, keeping only those they can use to demonize him.

In this particular case, they only picked up the words "it was a pure campaign joke, at kung naniniwala kayo...I would say you are really stupid." They dropped the critical and qualifying phrase "sa kabila" and then attempted to drive a wedge between Duterte and his supporters by claiming it was they he called stupid for believing and voting for him when in fact he was just joking. What a pathetic attempt to twist the facts.

The anti-Duterte forces have even swept under the rug that Duterte, among all candidates, was the only one who asked not to be voted if voters do not trust him. Clearly when the guy jokes, he expects it to be taken as a joke. If he is serious, he really lets you know he means it, as in telling voters not to vote for him if they do not trust him.

But this is not the first time his enemies, including many journalists, have taken the liberty to twist or play around with his words. Remember early on in the drug war, when he told cops that if suspects fight back and it is their own lives that are in danger, they can shoot and kill the suspects? Well, the journalists truncated his words and only "shoot to kill" remained and got played up. Journalism is not a joke. Except for the stupid who don't get it.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with