Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
Disgraced Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is a billionaire who managed to spout controversial statements and garner supporters enough to get to become the face of a major political party in the U.S. Rodrigo Duterte was the mayor of Davao, won on a platform of state sponsored murder who was actually elected as president in the Philippines.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot that would be similar in their backgrounds except for their habit of putting their foot in their mouth. But the importance of comparing and contrasting their statements, their thoughts and styles why they’re wrong can still benefit the electorate of America.
The many people who have been deceived by Trump’s empty promises will benefit in seeing the effect of electing someone who’s temperamentally unfit to the presidency. Here in the Philippines we have to figure out where we went wrong, would it be possible to avoid doing it again in the future. Now that Duterte is president we must at the very least find out how we can mitigate his many disastrous statements.
And unlike these two we must be able to put our thoughts in the proper context and perspective. The stakes are far higher in the U.S. election as the world’s leading superpower. Choosing the wrong leader could mean an apocalyptic third world war, if not a new nuclear arms race. There are also huge economic and geopolitical implications.
During the VP debates Senator Tim Kaine summarized it best, “If you can’t distinguish between dictatorship and leadership you have to go back to the fifth grade.” Sadly that’s exactly what happened to the Philippine electorate in our previous presidential election, Filipino voters thought that scaring people through a dictatorship is what was needed. Leadership is being able to inspire people to do the right thing. It’s easier to tear the country apart by killing people than it is to unite it under one cause.
Actress Agot Isidro very courageously pointed out the obvious by calling Pres. Duterte a ‘psychopath’ through her facebook page. In spite of her honesty and accuracy she received a wave of criticism from netizens. The reaction and even the high approval rating of Duterte are strong indications that Filipinos have a great need for voter education and political awareness.
Seeing how and why Trump has fallen from grace may be a bigger lesson for Filipinos than the rise to power of Duterte is to the American electorate. Both nations however and other budding democracies can benefit from how and why their thoughts and statements are damaging so here goes.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Trump and Duterte both have a bombshell tape that exposed their worst comments. ‘Worst’ being overtly sexist with overtones of assault if not outright rape (in the case of Duterte). We would also qualify ‘worst’ as statements made so far. As both of them may still make even worse comments in the future. The comparison here is not just from the statements themselves but more importantly how it affected each of their campaigns.
The Access Hollywood video and audio of Trump talking to TV host Billy Bush, is still very much fresh in everyone’s minds. Some of the most interesting ones: ‘grab them by the pussy’, ‘when you’re a star they let you get away with it.’ The tape is from 2005 from Trump’s guest role in a soap opera covered by Access Hollywood. The distinction from Duterte is that Trump’s comment came from what they call a ‘hot mic’. Meaning both Trump and Billy were not aware their conversation was being recorded.
The bombshell tape during Duterte’s campaign was from an actual speech that he gave as Mayor of Davao where he was addressing his constituents. It was in 1989 after a female Australian missionary Jaqueline Hamill was kidnapped, raped and then murdered. The gist of it which he related to the crowd, when he saw the remains of the Australian missionary he quipped that he wished he was the first in line to rape her ahead of the kidnappers.
The video of Duterte giving the speech naturally drew widespread condemnation. Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Ambeth Ocampo added that Duterte’s comment not only hinted of rape but of necrophilia. Different embassies among them the U.S. and Australia outright condemned the candidacy of Duterte.
BOTH of these men made reprehensible comments but without a doubt comparing these two tapes, Duterte’s is far worse. Trump has the excuse of thinking that his was a private conversation while Duterte made his as an actual speech to a crowd. Even so, the rape and necrophilia laced speech of Duterte did nothing to affect his popularity. In spite of that video, he was still deemed by Filipino voters as being the next president.
In Trump’s case it was a turning point in the campaign. The hot mic tape was correctly called by his campaign as a private conversation. In a halfhearted apology Trump dismissed it as mere ‘locker room talk.’ But it was too late. Legendary actor Robert De Niro immediately posted a video online on why he wanted ‘to punch Trump in the face’. On Twitter NBA players Jamaal Crawford, CJ McCollum, NFL Jacob Tamme even CM Punk who spent most of their lives in locker rooms, as collegiate and professional athletes never heard Trump’s brand of ‘locker room talk’.
Robert Deniro on Trump
Prior to the tape Hillary was only 5 points ahead. After the tape was made public by the Washington Post and the subsequent second and third debates Hillary posted her biggest lead 50% to 38%. That gap has since closed with a CNN/ORC Poll dated October 28, 2016 at Hillary 49%, Trump at 44%.
During the second U.S. Presidential debate there was this exchange:
TRUMP: If I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor… and we’re going to look into it, because you know what? People have been — their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
CLINTON: … Last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so I expect we’ll have millions more fact checking, because, you know, it is — it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.
TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.
[Trump you’d be in jail video]:
In U.S. politics this was almost unheard of save for a very few exceptions. And threats like these were never made so openly. Of course no one is naïve enough to think it never happens where the President doesn’t influence cases indirectly. But the way that Trump said it also revealed his ignorance of the division of the branches of government and their roles: the executive, legislative and judiciary.
CNN political analyst David Gregory called it as “criminalizing political differences”. He explained that kind of talk was fairly common from tyrants and less developed democracies but definitely not in the U.S. Legally speaking there was no recourse for a sitting President to ask a ‘special prosecutor’ to go after political opponents.
The Philippine Situation
Theoretically in the Philippines, we’ve adopted a similar form of government from the U.S. We supposedly have the same separation of functions between branches of government. We’ve also adapted parts of the Constitution and bill of rights; we used to be a U.S. colony after all.
In reality however, the Philippine situation is different especially with a trend of political persecution in the past several Presidential administrations. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo went after and prosecuted ousted President Erap Estrada for corruption. Pres. Noynoy Aquino then went after Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and EVEN Chief Justice Corona. Naturally even during the campaign President Rodrigo Duterte promised to prosecute Vice President Jejomar Binay. This extended even to Binay’s whole family who are accused to be a political dynasty and on corruption charges.
In the case of PNoy and Duterte, they actually made the threats as part of their campaign promise to clean up corruption, almost exactly the way Trump did against Hillary.
Persecution of De Lima
By the time President Duterte assumed his post, he seemed to forget his threats against Binay. There was someone else who got his ire. Senator Leila De Lima, opened up the Senate hearings on extra judicial killings that have risen alarmingly with Duterte’s assumption to power. Duterte promised to have 100,000 drug addicts, drug pushers killed in the first 100 days. By the time the senate hearings began there were already 2,300 in what the Phil National Police called Deaths Under Investigation.
The hearings intended to shed the national spotlight on what was happening in Duterte’s war on drugs. A week or so later after it began, De Lima was ousted as Senate Justice Committee Chair by the pro administration majority in the Senate. The lower house began its own investigation on anomalies in the New Bilibid Prison. The principal suspect just happens to be Leila De Lima who was Department of Justice Secretary previous to her current stint as Senator.
There’s credence to support the theory that the lower house investigation is a witch hunt out to persecute De Lima as the congressmen in the hearing are allied with President Duterte. Presidential appointee and current DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre has taken the lead in the presentation of witnesses against Delima. They are composed mostly of Drug Lords already in custody seeking parole or a chance to cut prison terms.
The congressional hearings have involved a fake sex video supposedly between Delima and her ex lover a former driver and security personnel. The female in the video was later proven as someone other than Senator De Lima. The attacks on Delima’s reputation continue in media by Aguirre including publicizing her cellphone and home address. As consequence Delima has received thousands of death threats via text and calls to her cellphone from Duterte supporters who see her as obstructing the War on Drugs.
In the tyrant talk- persecuting political opponents Duterte has proven to be worse. The Donald has talked a lot of trash but has not really done anything about it.
The tyrant and dictator label doesn’t end in their criminalization of political differences. Ken Burns is a multi-awarded documentary filmmaker. His latest work DEFYING THE NAZIS: THE SHARP’S WAR is about an American couple Waitstill & Martha Sharp who helped Jews escape persecution and death camps in Europe. Christiane Amanpour interviewed him in her show. In it Burns had an important insight with Trump, “Hitler also wanted to make Germany Great Again without backing it up or explaining how he’d do it. There’s this simplistic messaging that has become so popular.” Trump’s racist remarks against Mexicans, African Americans and other minorities also echo somewhat Hitler’s racist doctrine.
Duterte’s campaign also had a simplistic messaging of eliminating all drug lords, drug addicts by killing them as the miracle solution that would solve all the problems of Filipinos. It’s the same ‘effective playbook’ that the Nazi’s employed which Burns was referring to. Duterte also promised this would all be done within 100 days. His on again off again running mate Sen. Peter Cayetano explained that once peace and order was in place economic improvement would follow.
After several months in power, without solving the traffic crisis and other major problems Duterte revised his own 100-day deadline. He asked for 6 more months for Filipinos to feel the ‘effect’ of his magic bullet. He believes the extension is warranted as there are 4 million drug addicts. He believes the number of addicts and menace of the drug problem has been so bad that he HAS TO step up his war on drugs in the next months. Duterte said he would be ‘happy to kill 3 million addicts’. There have already been 3,600 lives lost since his term began.
IF that’s not enough Duterte was also quoted as comparing himself to Hitler. Likening his desire to kill 3 million criminals to the genocide of the Jews. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them…At least if Germany had Hitler the Philippines would have… you know my victims, I would like to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.” He later on apologized for the comments. Ironically the pro Nazi sentiment was also echoed by his appointee to the U.N. Teddy Locsin via twitter.
Who’s worse in the Hitler connection? Although he’s not AS consistently racist as Trump, Duterte’s need to kill more people is a lot closer to the Hitler dogma. So again Duterte is worse in the Hitler Connection.
Duterte on Hitler video
LOVE PUTIN HATE OBAMA
Both Trump and Duterte have been quoted praising Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. They are also very much aligned in their dislike, sometimes violent reaction (in Duterte’s case) to U.S. President Barack Obama. This similarity only reinforces the dictatorial/tyrant tag for Trump and Duterte. Putin was a former Head of the KGB, known for jailing, persecuting and yes, assassinating political rivals. Putin also invaded territories of neighboring Ukraine and annexed Crimea. He continues to influence and meddle in the affairs of Ukraine. Trump has gone so far as to praise him for handling the Syrian crisis by supporting another dictator in Bashar Al Hassad.
Early in the Presidential campaign Putin complimented Trump. Intelligence analysts in the U.S. such as CIA director Michael Morell believe that Putin did this in order to manipulate Trump. Putin’s background as in the KGB has given him experience in exploiting mental weaknesses such as stroking Trump’s ego.
During Duterte’s recent trip to China his host Pres. Xi Jing Ping, including the whole world was shocked to hear extremely loaded statements in his speech. Duterte announced categorically that the Philippines would have a ‘separation of military and economic ties’ with its long time ally the U.S. He added, There are three of us against the world. China, Philippines, Russia.”
China meanwhile was a gracious host talked about numerous investments and new economic projects with Duterte. China however, was wisely silent about his ridiculous pronouncements. Not surprisingly when Duterte went back home, Washington asked for an official clarification to his statements made in Beijing. After some thought and advice from cabinet members, he took those statements back citing the interest of 4 million Filipino Americans working and living in the U.S.
RECOMMENDATIONS for U.S. Voters and Republican Party
The first and most important recommendation is for the American electorate, obviously because of the upcoming elections. There’s no denying that Hillary Clinton has her own issues with the 33,000 emails in a private server, questions on companies or foreign governments paying for meetings with the Clinton Foundation. With that said comparing all the facts, all the insanity and absurdity, Donald Trump is a far, far greater danger not just to the U.S. but also to the whole world if he becomes President.
Calling him temperamentally unfit to become president is a severe understatement. It is THIS danger and threat to world peace, world economic stability etc. that disqualifies him as President more than the hot mic tape. The solution is to make absolutely sure that he doesn’t become president. U.S. voters should come out in droves to absolutely reject him and vote for Hillary Clinton. You can’t waste your vote on Gary Johnson or anyone else. There has to be a strong mandate from the people that you won’t tolerate a sexist, racist and an insane candidate.
For the Republican Party once Trump loses the election, the whole party should be unanimous in kicking him out. There was never a moment when he embodied Republican values OR ideology. On those very grounds he should never have been your candidate in the first place, no matter how popular he is. His rise only divided the party almost irreparably. The hot mic issue and claims that the electoral system is rigged has even threatened your party’s control of the lower house and the Senate.
During the Vice Presidential debates everyone saw how a levelheaded, articulate and true Republican like Mike Pence would have been a far stronger candidate against Hillary. The good news is he can be your next Presidential bet. Choose Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, McCain, ANYONE except Donald Trump. IF he still wants to run as President again let him do so but not as a Republican definitely not with your financing, network and support.
RECOMMENDATIONS for Pres. Duterte
No matter how divisive the previous Presidential elections were here in the Philippines, no Filipino would want you to embarrass yourself in your foreign visits or in any speech. This is because you’re representing us. Whenever you insult or antagonize ANY country we’ve had a long friendship and alliance, the whole nation suffers.
You’re undoing the efforts of names like Carlos P. Romulo, most recently Albert Del Rosario in increasing the prestige of the Philippines in the world stage of diplomacy and international affairs. Del Rosario fought hard in The Hague, international court to defend our territorial waters from the invasion of China. After a hard fought and long legal battle we won. In one statement you cozied up to the invader and broke ties with the one superpower willing to bolster our armed forces. Last July 27, weeks before your trip to Beijing the U.S. donated 42 million pesos worth of high tech equipment including night vision goggles, bulletproof vests and bomb suits.
The first qualification as President is the ability to THINK FOR and in behalf of the welfare of the whole country. After thinking things through, gathering relevant facts, sage advice that’s when you make a speech or make major decisions. Why is it that your recent statements seem to be without planning or preparation? You have a background as a lawyer and as fiscal. For every case aren’t you supposed to know the facts? Aren’t you obligated to research pertinent laws, regulations similar cases and decisions? Any lawyer should have an obsession with reading, research and basic homework. This particular work ethic should have been ingrained in you long before you became President.
A sensible suggestion would be to have a well-crafted, effective catchphrase that you can use for every ambush interview. The best example is from former Pres. Fidel V Ramos whose catchphrase during his term “Everything is under control.”
It didn’t matter if he was being asked about the power crisis, coup threats or corruption. He would inevitably start or end with ‘everything is under control’. He explains his favorite statement as an assurance to the Filipino people that the government is aware of the problem and is doing the necessary steps to solve whatever it is. More importantly as a speaker, it puts HIM into a certain frame of mind or way of thinking and allows him to expound on the catchphrase and customize it to the current question or concern. And it worked, every single time. He was perceived as one of the most effective/problem solving presidents that we had.
Needless to say FVR also did his homework. He was known to wake up at 5am, just to read the newspapers. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was known to, if not write her own speeches, to constantly edit, re-edit and review them.
Get the best minds not just in government; hire a whole PR agency just to come up with the catchphrase. You can even ask FVR his suggestion for a new catchphrase. Most of all do your homework. You owe it to yourself; you owe it to the Filipino people to prepare conscientiously for each speech, each statement and each word that comes out of your mouth.
Immeasurable Damage of War On Drugs
There’s a reason why ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is one of the Ten Commandments. In his divine wisdom the Lord saw that you cannot make up for it. You can never bring back the life you’ve taken. The numbers are staggering. To think that not one life is taken but thousands and if it were up to you Mr. President could easily reach into the millions. All human lives swept into nothing, they’re all considered less than animals.
Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, David Bowie and Robert Downey Jr. are just some of the names of drug and alcohol dependents who rehabilitated their lives. Bourdain was a dishwasher in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Barely out of his teens he was shooting LSD and Heroin recreationally in the 70s. After cleaning himself up he became a bestselling author and TV host. He promoted his love for cuisines from around the world. His favorite region happens to be Southeast Asia and the Philippines.
David Bowie was a creative genius in music, fashion and art that transformed our whole concept of rock and roll. He was deep into cocaine and alcohol but after his rehabilitation he went on to become an even more prolific musician. As a young actor Robert Downey Jr went into rehab a total of 6 times for his cocaine addiction. After cleaning himself up, he was finally able to prove that he is one of the most talented actors of his generation among them his most iconic role as IRONMAN.
The list is long. If these people were killed summarily just because they were addicts, the world would have lost all their invaluable contributions. You would never have given them the chance to rehabilitate themselves and become productive members of society. That loss in life, the loss in human potential is something that you can’t measure.
The damage and loss doesn’t end with the life taken either. Every so often, a father, a mother, a sister or brother is shot while a young child is present. Even worse kids are shot in the crossfire accidentally. This happens over and over again because the killings frequently happen in the congested slum areas, where whole families live in small shanties. For those children who do live to see a parent, sibling or family member die a violent death, they are scarred for life. How would you expect them to deal with that trauma? In turn their relatives, barangays and whole communities are all traumatized.
Wasn’t this your intention Mr. President, to create an atmosphere of terror and fear where we are all collectively traumatized as a nation? If we do reap the benefits of your idea of law and order how will the country be able to recover from the incredible loss of human life, human potential and collective trauma?
The recommendation here is to emphasize rehabilitation over summary executions with your war on drugs. The immeasurable loss is too steep a price for the Philippines to pay. You end up destroying the lives of people you swore to protect and improve. Different donors come from China, the Catholic Church, trying to donate, raise funds and organize rehabilitation centers. They all want to help solve the problem of the drug menace while minimizing the loss of life. Make this a policy of your government before we go further down a path of destruction we can never come back from.