Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable — or so writes the Mexican poet Cesar A. Cruz. If this sentiment is to be twisted around, then the Philippines’ president-elect Rodrigo ‘Rody’ Duterte (b. March 28, 1945) is the furthest thing from a work of art; for while he may be succeeding in his quest to disturb the country’s status quo, not many people are comforted by the way he goes about it.
An unconventional way of thinking could be attributed to the man’s age, to being old and senile, although to value solely this explanation would obviously be ageist and prejudiced. Of course, Duterte himself has not been above prejudice, as illustrated in this Bingo scorecard adapted and verified from this Twitter post, and in the annotations below it.
OFFENSIVENESS BINGO: Duterte Edition
LGBT community: President-Elect Rody Duterte called then-presidential opponent Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II ‘bayot‘ (gay), after the latter challenged his campaign promise to wipe out local crime in 3 to 6 months. Rappler
Women: He is continuously, simultaneously a self-proclaimed misogynist, womanizer, and women’s rights advocate. Rappler
Journalists: He essentially promoted open season for journalists, tagging them as corrupt and deserving to be killed. Reuters
Foreign allies: Duterte lamented that he should have been the first to rape an Australian woman who was raped and murdered in a 1989 riot; he consequently threatened to sever ties with Australia and the United States when they reacted to what he claimed was merely a joke. Rappler
Persons with disability (PWDs): As another ‘joke,’ he told a classmate who had been incapacitated by a stroke to snuff it using a barber’s shaving razor. Philippine Daily Inquirer
International organizations: Calling them “sons of bitches,” he slammed the United Nations for being unable to resolve conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and warned the group not to meddle in his ways. Rappler
The poor: Duterte’s generic alibi for many of his unapologetically crude remarks has been his supposed lower class origins, even though obviously there are uncouth members of the upper class and well-mannered citizens of lesser socio-economic status. InterAksyon
The elderly: In the same vein as his remark on PWDs, he made fun of senior citizens who supposedly may be confined to wheelchairs but look up when female joggers pass them by. Philippine Daily Inquirer
Christians: Duterte dismissed the Catholic Church as “the most hypocritical institution” and even complained against Pope Francis impeding traffic when the church leader visited Manila in early 2016. Reuters
Latinos: In a campaign event slanted against drugs and drug trade, he slammed Mexico as a hotbed of kidnappings, killings, and drugs — without realizing that the Ambassador of Mexico to the Philippines was among his audience. GMA News Online
Leni Robredo: After flip-flopping from saying he would not want to work with his Vice President-Elect because she was a woman, to being amenable because she was a “pretty woman,” Duterte finally declined to give her a cabinet position supposedly because he did not want to hurt her electoral rival Bongbong Marcos’s feelings. Rappler
Human rights activists: Not only a vocal supporter of extra-judicial killings and vigilantism, he plans to restore the death penalty, with preference for public hanging over lethal injection. The Guardian
Other Asians: In another form of racial stereotyping, he singled out the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines and requested that Indian nationals refrain from practicing 5/6 (a loan set-up with twenty percent interest) in the country. GMA News Online
Martial law victims: A bosom buddy of Bongbong Marcos, Duterte intends to allow the burial of his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery), despite there still being thousands of human casualties and billions of stolen pesos resulting from the martial law period. Reuters
The environment: Duterte is pro-coal even as he calls for ‘responsible mining,’ which hints that while other dimensions like climate justice and people-centered development are no problem, energy could remain a commercialized matter. Rappler
Sexual abuse victims: He vowed never to apologize for the ‘joke’ about wanting to have been first in the rape of a later murdered Australian woman, citing it as part of his personality. CNN
STEM community: Early on in his campaign, he commented that calculus, trigonometry, and algebra should be removed from the education system, and that simply business mathematics should be taught. Rappler
All of these notes, while culled from respectable news outlets, must be taken with a grain of salt — for President-Elect Duterte is a man who says one thing today and means another tomorrow.
Anyway, while his defenders continue to argue that he will improve in manners and language once he is sworn into office, the fact remains that after June 30, 2016, one heck of a job awaits the man who others claim does not have enough respect for the very office he is to assume. As seen above, what is perhaps the most far-reaching stipulation of this job is to become more sensitive to the numerous walks of life someone of his position is bound to encounter.