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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, September 8, 2016
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with Benjamin Calderon


Benjamin CalderonWatching the newscast wherein Mr. Rody Duterte revealed more of himself when he said: “I do not have any master except the Filipino people, nobody but nobody. You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions. Putangina, I will swear at you in that forum…” in response to the information that Mr. Barrack Obama was going to “lecture” him on extrajudicial killings in relation to the on-going war against drugs.

At that moment I could imagine the President of the Republic of the Philippines so proud of himself, standing tall, and so confident of the love of his adoring supporters and adding a new record to the growing list of living souls he has insulted. Upon release of the insult, I also could imagine the President of the United States of America replying in a very confident and clear manner saying, “same to you”.

On Tuesday, Mr. Duterte expressed regret over the remarks, but the damage was already done.

We have entered a new phase of diplomatic relations with the whole world from the Vatican to Washington whose leaders from the Pope to the President having experienced being insulted by our leader. Change has come transforming the character of the Filipino from being one of being hospitable to that of being dispenser of insults. We feel sad or disappointed that our leader can easily use the privilege of power while seemingly forgetting the corresponding responsibility of leadership.

Hopefully, we do not get into more embarrassing and national character damaging experiences with our current President who needs to learn fast that the whole world does not revolve around him. That he focus more on responsibility rather than privilege to help him control his words and actions. His current regrets or apology should help him become a better leader of the Filipino people.

Let us end with an anecdote that should he help be careful when we think we are smart. B ert o was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really angry. She told him "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!" The next morning he got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up, she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway. Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, brought the box back in the house. She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale. B erto has been missing since Friday.*

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