Nobody ever expected that President Rodrigo
Duterte would dare publicly say that he has been using marijuana to catch up with his hectic schedules.
While it was said in the context of the grass’ medical benefits, the deadly war against illegal drugs he launched since assuming the presidency, which claimed more than 20000 lives and destroyed several hundreds of thousands of families and reputations, placed the statement out of context and in bad taste. That is without mentioning the President’s statement was entirely wrong since marijuana is a downer and not an upper.
Expectedly, the President retracted his statement the after his speech, saying it was a joke. He added that those who believed his statement are real idiots.
I can’t agree more that only the real idiots will believe the President afterall it was of the same resolve when he declared that if he wins the presidency he will jetski his way to the contested South China Sea and plant the Philippine flag on the island occupied by the Chinese and nothing actually happened.
The only difference now is the passion of the President in his campaign against illegal drugs with which all the problems and policies of the government and its people are being forcibly connected to illegal drugs thus a statement of patronage of any illegal drugs on his part is so off.
Joking as he was, or saying it out of old age and the character that earned him the trust of the 16 million Filipinos last elections, his statement actually rubbed salt to the fresh wounds of the families who lost their loved ones to the staged “nanlaban kasi” script of the authorities in killing suspected drug personalities and those who became victims of drug-crazed criminals.
In many instances, the President made superlative generalizations and statements like his most famous lines, “patayin kita” and “pusila!” and we are all getting used to it but joking about using an illegal drug is simply way too off if he is expecting the people who believed him to take his campaign seriously and not suspect his motives.
The least that the President could do is to observe a little sense of propriety by not making fun of the very problematic campaign that he has started which has seen several failures in terms of deadly police operations where the alleged drug suspects turned out to be innocent victims. Proof is the murder of the young Kian de los Santos that resulted in the conviction of three police personnel. He failed in his campaign promise to end the illegal drug problem in six months time.
Any joke is not and should not be taken seriously. However, there are simply times when cracking it is out of tune no matter how hilarious the context is. How can one laugh with such gross overstatement of the president who said “My God I hate drugs!”?
Given the several eyebrow raising issues related to illegal drugs where several Bureau of Customs officers were allegedly involved, including the son of the President, Paolo Duterte, of which he failed to act with resolve, the presidential joke has actually triggered many questions as to the integrity of the government’s anti-drug campaign.
While we can agree that only idiots will take his joke by the letters, we also need to agree that the reason why he won is simple, there are several million idiots out there.
How the police can redeem itself from the possible idiotic appreciation of the presidential joke is hard to imagine.
I am reminded of a social media post in one of the accounts of Duterte die-hards. It said, “Ang galing ni Tatay Digong dahil for the first time tumaas ang inflation”, and thousands of Dutertards commented and praised the President in agreement.
I am actually awaiting the Dutertards to post, “Ang cool ni Tatay Digong, nagmamarijuana din.”