ALL hopes for sound diplomatic policies should Rodrigo Duterte become President were dashed to pieces with his latest rants, this time against tried and tested friends Australia and the United States.
Duterte bared his utter inability to think clearly when criticized by threatening to cut diplomatic ties with Australia and the US – all because their envoys had expressed dismay, coaxed in diplomatic words, at his tasteless and shameful comments on the rape of an Australian missionary.
With his unbending belief in his own righteousness, Duterte couldn’t accept any criticism of his acts and pronouncements. Shades of BS Aquino The Last! Oh, I take that back. Duterte might even be a worse version of the present Malacañang tenant.
Now, we may expect PH diplomatic relations to be determined by Duterte’s emotions, however irrational they may be. Once his blood pressure hits the roof, he becomes incapable of making sound decisions. In a moment of pique, he’ll forget all previous assistance willingly given by a foreign country during our time of need. It no longer matters to him that the Philippines can’t exist in isolation and the country might still need continuing alliances with proven friends. What matters to him is what he has said, and to hell with the unbelievers.
What will become of the Philippines once it’s isolated diplomatically from the US and Australia? Is it his intention to be closer with China instead? For sure, the PH can remain friends with China despite territorial disputes, but why threaten to cut ties with other friendly countries? With the intemperate language of Duterte, he’s apt to insult more foreign diplomats should he become President.
His party, the PDP- Laban, correctly concluded that his comment on being first in the gang-rape of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill could pull him down. Thus, it tried some damage control by apologizing in his behalf through a press statement
Alas, Duterte disowned this apology as he saw nothing wrong in what he had said. Doesn’t Duterte ever listen to well-meaning friends who want to point out errors in his ways? What kind of administration will he lead if he’ll remain deaf and blind to contrary views and constructive opposition? Ah, but he might be killing them all while his believers cheer him on!
The PDP-Laban used to pride itself as a party with ideology. I see nothing ideological in its choice of Duterte as official presidential candidate. It tried to put some sense in Duterte’s campaign but got humiliated by his rejection. The PDP-Laban can still salvage what remains of its credibility by disowning Duterte as official party candidate.
The mention of PDP-Laban reminds me of this anecdote. The late Sen. Blas Ople was walking along a Chinese restaurant at the Century Park Sheraton Hotel when he saw Nene Pimentel, Teddyboy Locsin and Jejomar Binay seated at a table.
“It looks like the PDP-Laban is holding a national convention,” Ka Blas quipped.
Now, the PDP-Laban wants to become again a party to reckon with. Well, it will go down with Duterte unless it dumps him fast.