Frothing in the mouth

EDITORIAL

February 14, 2018

PRESIDENT Duterte is known for his “colorful language” – a euphemism his apologists constantly invoke as an excuse for their principal’s uncouth lips. But is this just blustering, empty rhetoric and nothing more?

Human rights alliance Karapatan believes what comes out of the President’s mouth can be considered state policy and thus must not be taken lightly. Take it from Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay: “President Duterte has distinguished himself as a frothing-in-the-mouth fascist, who incites the worst violations of international humanitarian law, aside from his exhortations to his State forces to disregard basic human and people’s rights.”

She cited a few examples mostly delivered before soldiers:

* Feb. 9, 2018 in Davao City: “To the Lumad who will be members of the CAFGU, for every NPA you kill, I’ll pay you…you want money? I’ll give you money. I will make it P20,000 per head.”

* Feb. 7, 2018, remarks before alleged rebel-surrenderees in Malacañang, speaking in Visaya: “Are there any women holding guns?…She’s a fighter, an amazon…shoot her in the vagina.”

* March 9, 2017, Duterte ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to use all its assets, including newly acquired jets and drop bombs on NPA rebels: “Go ahead! Flatten the hills! If there’s collateral damage, then sorry.”

* May 26, 2016 before soldiers of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army in Iligan City: “If you go down, I go down. But for this martial law…I and I alone would be responsible. Just do your job, I will take care of the rest…If you had raped three, I will admit it, that’s on me.”

* July 25, 2017 in a press conference after his State of the Nation Address: “Leave. I’m telling those in the Lumad schools now, get out. I’ll bomb you. I’ll include your structures.”

* May 31, 2017, during the Philippine Navy’s anniversary rites in Davao City, referring to negotiators and consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines: “I’m warning the leaders who are talking to representatives of my government. Do not attempt to come home. I will arrest all of you and throw you in the slammer. I will imprison you and all the elderly I will arrest you again. If needed, you will just die there inside the prison. You cannot run anymore…so, stop fucking the government.”

According t Karapatan, these are a “madman’s display of tyranny, lunacy and machismo…Duterte’s pronouncements, considered as orders from a Commander-in-Chief of the military, embolden his soldiers to commit more war crimes and fosters an atmosphere of total impunity.”

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.