Civility in the use of language is a virtue that comes as a result of good breeding and fine education.
It is obvious that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lacks civility. In fact, he is in the habit of using blunt words and expletives even at formal occasions. The most prominent victims of his stinking mouth are Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.
In the Facebook page of Manila Bulletin reporter Ben Rosario, a picture of Obama was posted beside that of Pope Francis. Obama was standing and laughing as he said to the Pope, “Namura ka rin pala ni Duterte. (You were also cursed by Duterte).”
The funny post and similar jokes about Duterte are among the ways many Filipinos are trying to cope with the embarrassment they suffer whenever the Philippine president displays his rude manners in public.
Duterte’s recent unsavory comment about Obama is egregious. He called him “son of a whore” when he was reacting to reports that the American President may ask him about the extra judicial killings when they meet in Laos.
Due to the rude remark by Duterte, Obama cancelled a scheduled meeting between the two leaders.
Later (Sept. 8), the Philippine News Agency reported that Obama said he did not take Duterte’s controversial statement personally.
The US leader indicated to Duterte that their teams should meet, and Duterte’s earlier comments have no impact on America’s broader relationship with the Filipinos.
“I don’t take these comments personally because it seems as if this is a phrase he has used repeatedly, including one directed at the Pope and others. I think it seems to be just a habit, a way of speaking for him,” Obama said.
Obama also said, “It has no impact on our broader relationship with the Philippine people on the wide range of programs and security cooperation.
“It certainly has no impact in terms of power. We interpret our obligations to continue to build on a long standing alliance that we have with the Philippines.”
On the illegal drugs issue, Obama said that the US wants “to make sure that the partnership we have is consistent with international norms and rule of law.”
Afterwards, Duterte was reported as saying that he regretted his utterance of expletive against Obama.
Duterte can learn a lesson or two from the US President in making public statements and understanding people. Obama is not only adept at the use of civil, diplomatic language but also has a broad understanding of human nature.
Unlike the irascible Duterte, Obama does not use combative language in making a point even if he is under attack. He also views issues at a high standpoint and keeping his focus on things that are important.
Unlike Duterte, Obama is not onion-skinned to criticisms. He knows pretty well that if you are the head of a nation, critical comments about you or your actions are part of the teritory. You are always on the spotlight, and that’s why people see clearly what you are doing as a public official. If you are super-sensitive to criticisms, you don’t fit to be president.
I believe, though, that Duterte is still capable of self-reformation. He can still adjust to the exactingly behavioral demands of the presidency.
I believe so because in the innermost chamber of his heart, he is a good man. After he won the presidency, he went to the tomb of her mother and cried unabashedly in front of TV cameras.
He also cried recently when he learned that her daughter, Sarah, lost two of the triplets she was about to give birth. He likewise displayed profound emotion when he embraced a soldier who lost his eyesight in combat.
A man who cries over sad incidents is not a bad guy as he has a soft-heart. Despite recent allegations that he is a cold-blooded murderer, I believe that Duterte is still afraid of God’s wrath and can change his ways for the better.