Of all the Philippine elected officials that speak outrageous statements, no person you can at least feels less concern other than the President of the Republic. As a matter of fact, as of this time, President Duterte already issued an apology to the Jewish community, though he never really intended the message in the first place to disparage their horrendous experience during the Holocaust. The president is somewhat humble enough to admit his mistakes that he even welcomes the press to criticize him where he is deemed wrong. After all, it’s their job to point out where he made out of bound actions and statements.
However, since his latest statement is arguably the one that received the most negative reactions worldwide, we will address in this article some of the concerns regarding the Hitler issues where many Filipinos including those pro-Duterte who seem to feel now that the president has to stop issuing statements that are divisive. They say he should not burn bridges especially to countries the Philippines will benefit with its ties to them politically, militarily or economically.
- The Hitler remake is a graphic example of his propensity for sarcasm. Vovph here in their video pitted the two versions one is with the full context of the president’s message and the other which was spliced by the media. There is no difference in the manner of delivery between him sarcastically saying he killed a 1,700 rather than 700 — when they raised the issue of the numbers killed by the Davao Death Squad during the campaign period — and when alluded as the Hitler of the Philippines and wanted to kill the 3 million addicts. It’s as if he was saying, “You bring me into that moral domain, I’ll bring it on board and let’s see how you react with my acceptance of your skewed morality.” He was, after all, talking about the hypocrisy of the European nation all too concern about the domestic problem in the Philippines when they themselves are more liable to the international humanitarian issue particularly the refugee problem, where they are guilty of shutting doors at the times of great need. To those who’re more deeply curious about the literal interpretations, the ever meticulous ThinkingPinoy has dissected his statements here.
- An apology is in order. The president knows pretty well his moral boundary. Though he spent decades in Davao as a local executive, he is not ignorant what is going on internationally and still has the recourse to issue a sorry statement where it is fitting. The Jews felt slanted and therefore an apology is required. If anything, the apology would calm our nerves that he remains observant to the effects of his words, regardless whether it is intentional or not.
- The international concern is grossly misplaced! There is no reason to fear that the president would liken himself to Hitler and relish on the killings of criminals. He repeatedly says that you can never build a nation by killing people and in fact, the statistics of three-thousand kills is realistically more of a miracle than a sign of barbarism. Out of the magnitude of drug dependents, there are many lives spared, innocents and would-be victims alike and the volume of surrender is enough testament that the president doesn’t want them all dead by all means.
- The unabated killings are logarithmic, not exponential. Citing authoritarians in history that the killings would not just stop with the criminals alone and the president may not be able to distinguish civilians and other sectors of society apart from the criminals. This is kind of silly. It is clear from the outset that the major problem of the Philippines is the drug problem and there’s no way to stop it other than to deal it with the strong arm of the police forces. Moreover, the Senate hearings on extra-judicial have established so far that there is no reason to suspect the government is into it. What will happen then when the drug problem subsides? Well, if you look at Davao city, the former mayor would have just enjoyed dancing Budot than threatening all his critics as potential kill targets after the number of criminals is reduced.
- His becoming a Hitler lacks historical substance. It didn’t take very long before the US State Department expressed concern about the reference to Hitler after the American authorities read the papers slanting the president with the dreaded figure of Word War II. But is such sordid suspicion warranted? If you look at the bare facts, those who are overly concern that Duterte may become one day tinker of becoming the Nazi dictator should only look at him during the campaign period. He begged not once but multiple times almost every campaign to urge his followers to vote for Alan Cayetano. What happened? Not all of them blindly obliged. In fact, his running mate struggled all the way up to the day of the May Election. Duterte cannot even ask the people to vote a legitimate candidate, how much more asking them to accept one that is so obtuse resuscitating a real authoritarian? Furthermore, the Nazis did not happen overnight. Goering’s father had experimented with the Darwinian superior race long before Hitler tinkered with a superior race as totalitarian head of Nazi Germany. There is no similar mindless conditioning of the people to accept a persona so remote to the contemporary libertarian concept of democracy. The moment the president overstep his boundaries, the sooner his followers want him out. There is no place for him in the world of dictators nor he is contemplating to become one.
- The strong statement of the president is more of a sense of urgency. There can be no other reason apart from the sense of urgency and moral achievements that the president resorts to a fairly strong statement. In fact, the Filipinos particularly those who live in the comfort of their affluence are so used to babysitting criminals that they are now caught off-guard by someone who is so determined to end once and for all the very thing that rob the hope of the Filipinos to move forward. The press is so used to low moral achievement that they treat the incoming one with suspicion and distrust even with the clear evidence he is making clear headway into shelving the drug problem once and for all.