editorial.issue.41

President Rodrigo Duterte (2nd from right), U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd from left) and other heads of states pose for a group photo at the ASEAN Summit at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos on Sept. 7.  (King Rodriguez/PPD)


IS President Rodrigo Duterte a Hugo Chavez in the making?

Don’t put meaning to that.

It’s just hyperbole.

The unfortunate cancellation of a scheduled meeting between Presidents Obama and Duterte on Sept. 6 in Laos at the instance of the White House was the second serious consequence of what seems to be an anti-American disposition of the pugnacious Philippine president.

The meeting was unilaterally cancelled (not mutually, as claimed by one of the three spin doctors of Mr. Duterte) after President Obama’s team came up with a conclusion that a meeting with President Duterte at this time was counter-productive.

In diplomatic language, “counter-productive” is tantamount to pointless or insignificant.

Or nothing mutually good would result.

The cancellation was announced by one of Mr. Obama’s assistants less than 24 hours before the scheduled meeting.

It was obviously triggered by another profanity on the part of the foul-mouthed Philippine president, who used “Son of a bitch” against the U.S. President.

In American culture, SOB is an unacceptable expression.

Had Mr. Duterte used “son of a gun,” maybe the meeting would not have been cancelled.

It is acceptable in American dialogue.

But, President Duterte’s latest profanities were more than that.

He also used his habitual curse in Pilipino, “Putang Ina!”

Last month, in the absence of a Filipino ambassador in Washington, D.C., the Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the State Department to explain another foul language hurled by Mr. Duterte against the American ambassador to the Philippines.

In the beginning of his term, President Duterte announced that he would craft a foreign policy that was not dependent on the United States.

President Duterte does not appear to share the fundamental values that his predecessors, as well as America and the rest of the civilized world treasure, such as rule of law, human rights, sanctity of life, good manners and decent language.

A disappointed former Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario made the following observation on the meeting cancellation:

“An invaluable occasion to have our leaders meet for the purpose of discussing how to strengthen our comprehensive areas of cooperation would have been a golden opportunity.”

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Latest comments