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Duterte: ‘Can’t withdraw because of the money’

That’s a truncated for-the-headline version of what Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said in his April 17 taped interview with media. That, however, was unnoticed because he was mainly explaining what led him to crack his sick, necrophiliac joke regarding the August 1989 Davao hostage crisis.

Duterte’s verbatim quote: “I can lose the elections today. Hindi na lang ako maka-atras, kasi marami na ang nagbigay (ng pera) sa akin ngayon nung tumaas na ang rating ko. Kaya kung tumagal pa ang rating ko tumaas [unintelligible] magbibigay pa sila ng pera.” (I can’t withdraw at this point, because many have given me (money or campaign contributions) since my preference ratings started rising. So, if my rating continues to go up (unintelligible) they will give me (more) money.”

n Duterte in the interview posted on youtube. com , right after he said he couldn’t withdraw from the race because of the money
n Duterte in the interview posted on youtube. com , right after he said he couldn’t withdraw from the race because of the money

You can check for yourself that he, indeed, said this in his April 17 interview posted on youtube.com (www.youtube.com/watch?v=dm835bxNyjk, segment 20:35 to 20:49). Right after he said those revealing words, he rested his palm on his face – his typical gesture when he realizes he has said too much.

The statement could be interpreted to mean that with money coming in, he now has enough funds for his presidential bid. But he didn’t explain if he’d use all those funds for his campaign. In the taped interview, however, he hardly appears enthusiastic over his announcement that more money is coming in to enable him to finance his campaign.
Instead, watch him in his recent interviews and you’d see how he seems to be the choker in this election, as Americans use the term to describe “someone who blows a seemingly insurmountable lead in a competition, due to its pressures.” (Urban dictionary)
One could plausibly read him as someone who at this point wants to withdraw from the presidential race but doesn’t want to piss off those who have given him campaign money, a big part of which he probably has spent.

But what kind of a presidential candidate is this who files a bid for the highest post of the land, then finds it too much of a hassle, or realizes the job is too big for him yet can’t back out because of the money he has received from his backers? Can’t he simply tell his backers the same way he blurts out all his other remarks regardless of the consequences: “Here, this is what is left of your donations. The rest I’ve spent for the campaign, and I don’t have receipts and, really, to hell with you if you ever demand an audit!”?

The most plausible explanation, though, is that in the first place, Duterte joined the presidential race for the money.

Reluctant candidate
Remember that even as these irresponsible Davao businessmen were egging him on for months to run for the presidency, Duterte hewed and hawed to the point he actually didn’t file his candidacy on October 15, the deadline for presidential aspirants. Instead, he filed his papers again as Davao City Mayor, a position he has held for 23 years.

He announced his candidacy for the presidency only on November 21, and to be able to run as such, he had to substitute on November 28 for one Martin Dino, a PDP-Laban member who filed his candidacy within the deadline, although for the mayoralty of Pasay City, a barangay in which he chairs. (The Comelec very strangely approved the substitution on grounds that the PDP-Laban party nominated Duterte as its candidate for President, even though Dino’s candidacy was for mayor.)

It was only more than a week later that we would learn why Duterte decided to run as President: Senator Alan Peter Cayetano made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The Nacionalista Party had rejected Cayetano’s bid as its vice presidential bet despite his intense lobbying, and instead, chose Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. No party wanted the desperate, ambitious Cayetano, and even Duterte had to threaten the PDP-Laban that he would not run as President if the senator would be his running mate.

Duterte had nothing to do with Cayetano in his political life, and I doubt if they had even met before the election season. Duterte has nothing in common – background, pedigree, lifestyle, and political views – with Cayetano, whose upbringing typifies one with a silver spoon in his mouth and who has experienced nothing about personal hardships. Duterte wouldn’t have spent a minute in conversation with this boring mestizo, whom he would have ridiculed as an “Inglis-spokening coño,” as he described those who expressed outrage over his sick, necrophiliac joke.

So why did Duterte decide to run with Cayetano as his running mate?

Only a nincompoop wouldn’t see it, but I had to get a source recently to confirm the obvious: Cayetano offered him money, the kind Duterte never saw in cash in his life – P100 million to run for President, if he took him as his running mate. Not bad for a retirement kitty for the 71-year old mayor, and that would provide better homes for his young mistresses, who, according to him, lived in small apartments. So that Duterte wouldn’t feel guilty that he was being bribed, Cayetano told him the money would be his campaign chest to use as he pleased. Neither Duterte nor Cayetano, nor the PDP-Laban, has denied this allegation.

For Duterte, it was a windfall not much different from the lotto. Cayetano couldn’t set any conditions for his campaign.

So Duterte simply did what he did everyday in Davao: Making speeches as if he was just talking to his Davao subjects in their drinking bouts, hurling curses as freely as he wanted, making sexist jokes. He didn’t even bother to study or plan what he would do as President.

He just said he would do what he did for Davao in his 23 years as mayor. Solve crimes by killing criminals where they stand. “Ano ang mawawala sa Pilipinas kung patayin ko lahat ng mga kriminal? [What would the Philippines lose if I killed all its criminals?],” he said in one speech.

Angry mob
It’s a classic case of an angry, unthinking mob projecting their deepest dismay, wishes and prejudices on a demagogue, hearing what they wanted to hear. “He talks frankly, unlike other politicians. Wow, this is the crime-buster we want as President. Wow, this is our last chance for change!”

Duterte didn’t really want to run for President. That was never really in his mind. So now he keeps saying in his speeches and interviews that he doesn’t care if he loses. “Wow, he really isn’t lusting for power. He just wants to fight for us,” the desperate mob thought.

To Duterte’s surprise, his ratings climbed and he started getting more money, as he said in the interview. His ego puffed up as never before as he began appearing on TV visibly ecstatic that the crowds wherever he went mobbed him, women kissed him and he could even lasciviously kiss them on the mouth without causing a stir. That even a crème de la crème elite lady, Gina Lopez, would pay tribute to him was perhaps more than he expected. For this mayor of a frontier town, the world became his oyster. The big fish in a small pond found his way into the big lake, and to his surprise, he was still a big fish.

But again it’s becoming a classic case of hubris yanking the proud suddenly down. Because he feels like a god with the crowds cheering, hailing him, now he can even take on the Catholic Pope, shocking this Catholic nation: “Putangina mo, Papa. Umuwi ka na lang at grabe ang trapik na ginawa mo dito.”

With that forgotten, he feels like a god before an adoring crowd to make his sick, sick necrophiliac Alpha-Male joke, that seeing the beautiful face of a dead rape victim, he got angry that he as mayor should have been the first in line for a chance to have her.

I think Duterte would deliberately shock people more and more in the coming days, so he could tell his backers and his spineless PDP-Laban: “Kayo nagpilit sa akin tumakbo. Pero tama na, ayoko na. Dyan na kayo.” He knows he won’t be able to take the agony of a defeat, as he has never lost in any elections.

So what?

I nearly fell off my seat when I read my colleague (in the Cabinet and in this newspaper) Ricardo Saludo’s column yesterday entitled, “Duterte is shocking and vulgar. So what?”

I wonder if he invited Duterte to dinner with his mother and daughter, and the mayor said in every sentence, “Putangina, puking-ina,” would he still say, “So what?”

I would have thought that Rick, the staunchest defender of the Catholic Church and its dogmas in this newspaper, would have been the most virulent critic of Duterte, since this candidate openly rejects one of the most cherished tenets of Christianity: respect for human life, so much more than any other religion that it claims that not even the State could snuff this precious gift of God, either from a convicted criminal or an unborn zygote.

And I would have not have thought Rick, whom I’ve never ever heard curse, would be as nonchalant over Duterte’s vulgar and shocking curses. After all, there are over 50 quotes in the Bible, both in the Old and the New, condemning the foul of mouth. Just three examples:

Psalm 109:18 “He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones.”

Colossians 3:8: “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”

Matthew 15:18-20 “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (This verse I think perfectly describes the Davao Mayor.)

But the Gautama Buddha was more poetic, and really had more instructional words on why it can never be a “so what?” to habitual cursers, quoting from Ma. Ceres Doyo’s column yesterday:

“The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care.”

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow. Our life is the creation of our mind.”