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Are you just kidding, Mr. President?

Recently, President Rody admitted that only two out of five of his public statements are true. The rest are just wisecracks.

Coming straight from the horse’s mouth, those words should provide Secretaries Martin Andanar, Ernesto Abella, Salvador Panelo and all other cabinet-level officials who speak in behalf of the President some measure of relief.

From Day One of the President Rody’s administration, Andanar and company have been hard put explaining and making sense of some of the President’s controversial and provocative statements.

How often have we heard them say that was not what the President really meant.

No wonder that Malacanan spokespersons have been collectively dubbed by reporters as D-I-C-E – the Department of Interpretation, Clarification/Contradiction and Explanation.

Recently, I was surprised to find out that even his favorite cuss word – heretofore used only to refer to his pet peeves like former US President Obama, Ban Ki Moon, and the EU – may actually be a term of endearment.

He once admonished Pope Francis for causing heavy traffic in Metro Manila: – “P.I. … Pope … Umuwi ka na!”

But in a recent public forum, he called out to his younger son, whom he had not seen for some time: “P.I…. Baste….

Umuwi ka na…”

In response to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe when Abe questioned his insults towards the United States, President Rody reportedly replied: “I told him they were mere words, why would you give these things any importance?”

I have compiled below some statements attributed directly to President Rody. With the foregoing as guide, let us try to go over them and see if we can determine whether President Rody is really serious or simply pulling our legs.

– God told me to stop swearing.

– God put me here.

– Thank you, President Ramos, for making me President.

– There will be a metamorphosis once I become President.

– I am old … This is my last hurrah — I am not sure if I will still be around by the end of my term.

– No more peace talks with the Reds. Ayoko na. Niloloko lang tayo.

– Once they (Red peace negotiators) arrive here, I have alerted everybody, even the immigration, they will be arrested and they should go back to prison.

– 3 policemen are killed every day by drug syndicates.

– I once pushed a kidnapper off a helicopter.

– In Davao, I used to do it (killing) personally.

– To Senator Leila de Lima: Charge me if I am lying.

– The Philippines will pull out of the UN.

– No need to send an ambassador to the U.S.

– Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there are 3 million addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.

– There will be zero tolerance for drugs.

– I will not allow any of you (referring to cops) to go to jail. Just do your job.

– I can assure you. There will be no corruption.

– I can impose martial law to curb drug abuse.

– No more joint military exercises with the US.

– We will not insist on buying expensive arms from the United States. We can always get them somewhere else. I am ordering the police to cancel it (order for armalite rifles). We don’t need them.

– China is pressing me that the firearms are ready. I will accept them. They rushed these for us.

– To President Xi Jin Ping: I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow, and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin.

– On Vladimir Putin: You know, we have become fast friends.

– On his telephone chat with newly elected President Trump: It left me feeling like a saint.

– On Abu Sayaf and their hostages: [B]omb them. If they cannot be captured, you bomb them. How about the hostages?

Eh, bomb them also.

– On Paris Agreement: Ako ngayon hindi talaga ako kampante. Of course we are now bound if we sign it.

– There is nothing that I can do if Gina (Lopez) closes down mining companies.

– I want fishpens in Laguna de Bay demolished.

– Reference to a beautiful TV host: Delicious!

– To the media: Kung ayaw niyo sa akin, ayaw ko rin sa inyo.

In Davao City, journalists who have covered then Mayor Rody have gotten used to the President’s colorful manner of speech, just like an acquired taste. A broadcast journalist follows one simple rule of thumb: “Alam mo agad kung nagbibiro lang si President Rody. Lumalaki yung butas ng ilong!”

His style has apparently clicked with his 16 million followers who just love and adore him. Only problem is his method’s long term sustainability.

Remember the boy who cried wolf?

* * *

I once heard this anecdote from Monsignor Tom Gonzalez, a former long-time parish priest in our parish in Alabang. Monsignor Tom narrates:

During the marriage renewal of a couple, the officiating priest asked them what they liked in each other.

The man said:
She has a long list of traits, Father.

Priest:
Go on.

Man:
She is A. Adorable.
She is B. Beautiful.
She is C. Charming.
She is D. Delightful.
She is E. Elegant.

Priest:
Go on.

Man:
She is F. Fun.
She is G. Gorgeous.
She is H. Honest

Priest:
Ok. So what do I, J and K stand for?

Man: (Pauses… could not find the right words) replies:
I’m Just Kidding, Father.

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(Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye)

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