Diliman Way

With Homobono A. Adaza

“You can fool all the people some of the time,
some of the people all the time but you cannot
fool all the people all the time.” – President
Abraham Lincoln

For me, the sick entertainment in these perilous times of the Xi Jin Ping corona virus is the debate over whether ‘President Duterte’ is sick or not. Why should anybody worry about Duterte being sick or not? Many times President Duterte has admitted he is suffering from some ailments. If that is the case – why debate over his health? He is sick, based on his admission. He says, however, that his ailment is not life threatening.

When former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad wrote in his column in the Manila Times that President Duterte has been going to Xi Jing Ping’s Communist China for treatment of a serious ailment, President Duterte was enraged and said, among others, that Tatad is not a medical doctor and is in no position to say that the President is sick. What was telling were these words of Duterte – “Tell Tatad that I’m healthier than him and I am sure he will die ahead of me.”

Kit Tatad got the message and he retired as a columnist and made a journey to nowhere or as Samuel Butler would have it, to Erewhon. So you see, there is no sense speculating on the health of President Duterte. You can get a dose of the Tatad treatment – and it’s not Sinovac or Astrazeneka or sinopak (in Bisaya, objected to).

From the Palace point of view, it’s all right to be a Malacañang herbolario like Senator Christopher Lawrence Tesoro Go aka Bong Go who like an umalohocan  is shouting at the top of  the roof of the Palace that President Duterte is in perfect health – riding a motorcycle and jogging. 

Common kid, haven’t you read that famous quote at the beginning of this column from President Abraham Lincoln. It’s plain and simple – you don’t have to think on it. Just read it. I suppose you know how to read it – even if it’s not in Chinese characters.

Another herbolario from the Palace, Harry Roque, is echoing your line. He is a lawyer – he should know better. The era of Joseph Goebbels had been cast into the garbage of history just like Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. It is a repudiated era. The Goebbels’ line that a lie told once remains a lie, a lie told several times becomes the truth, does not work anymore with people who use their heads or have a scintilla of education. It works only with morons, simpletons, fanatics and the stupid – and they are diminishing in numbers. Are they?

Evidence: Harry Roque should teach Senator Bong Go the fundamental but simple rule of evidence – that for evidence to be believed, it must be not only come from the mouth of a credible witness but must be credible by itself. The evidence that Senator Go submitted has two strikes against it. First, he and Roque are devotees and propagandists of Duterte – so on this matter they not credible witnesses. As Duterte defenders, they are nothing but propagandists whose genius is to tell untruths or falsehood – as in this particular case. 

Second, the evidence they submitted are not credible by itself. They are pictures with no indication when they were taken.
If President Duterte is really working in Malacañang, why don’t they just call the networks with Duterte speaking to the people – which he does regularly every week? 

The fact that the two herbolarios could not submit that simple evidence proves that they are not telling the truth. 

No relevance: Is it relevant for the country and our people if President Duterte is sick or not? Is it pertinent to Filipinos if the President is visible or invisible? Probably not! Why? Whether President Duterte is sick or not, he will not change. The country will not change. His decision making process will not change. 

The problems will still be there, irrespective of his physical condition. Why? He is not a problem solver as he is a creator of problems – extrajudicial killings, continuing rise of prices of basic commodities, allowing the invasion and taking over of the West Philippine Sea by Communist China, inability to control rampant graft and corruption, failure to eliminate the illegal drug problem, wanton violation of the Constitution and failure to improve the lives of Filipinos, among others.

Many Filipinos say that what exists during the Duterte regime is the sad and unchanging reality in this country. This kind of thinking comes from defeatists and those who do not think and read. The history of the world, ancient or contemporary, does not only show but demonstrate that realities in a country or in the world can change.

Changing realities: It takes a leader of great consequence to change the realities in his country or in the world. Moammar Khadaffi did it in Libya; Napoleon Bonaparte did it in France; Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin did it in Russia and in the other countries in the USSR; Mao Tse Tung, Chou En-Lai and Chu Teh did it China; Fidel Castro and Che Guevara did it Cuba; Ben Bella, Ben Kheda and Houari Boummediene did it Algeria; Ben Gurion and Moshe Dayan did it in Israel; Ho Chi Min and Vo Nguyen Giap did in Vietnam; Sukarno did it in Indonesia; Manuel Luis Quezon did in the Philippines; Winston Churchill did it Great Britain; Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy did it in the United States of America; and many others.

Sick or not, visible or invisible – it takes impossible men to change countries and the world. And President Duterte is not among the impossible men. He is just like the common run of failed Presidents in our country – Cory, Erap, GMA and PNoy.

To quote Napoleon Bonaparte once again, “The word impossible appears only in the dictionary of fools.” And to reiterate my familiar refrain –The impossible is only in the mind.

The problem: Speculating on the health of President Duterte is really a waste of time unless you miss his sick jokes and bullying. If you wish entertainment in this disturbed and disturbing time of the Chinese Communist Xi Jin Ping’s corona virus, looking for President Duterte is a journey into charted territory – it is not entertainment. It is nothing new. Visible or invisible, our lives will not change.

True – he is the problem but there is no solution to this problem for now. The political Opposition is inutile – it is useless, even surpassing the inutility of President Duterte. The military and the police are in his pocket – fattened as they have never been before, not knowing or forgetting their duties under the Constitution. 

The communist rebels are still in the mountain fastnesses or countryside – unable to topple the government for the last fifty years, so in love with their wrong strategy and tactics. They are no less failures than President Duterte.

So what we got? As Lenin would have it – what is to be done? We’ve got some blabbermouth in mainstream and social media who think they can convince the whole country to march behind them. 

Of course, that cannot be true because Filipinos are preoccupied with their morbid fear of Communist Xi Jin Ping’s corona various and the question with Hamlet overtones – to be vaccinated or not to be vaccinated. They are even dying to survive.

To march behind anybody to confront the Duterte government is a lot of hallucination.
The task: The duty of everyone is to prepare for the 2022 elections. To chose a right leader who will bring our country and our people to the Promised – a revolutionary, visionary, brilliant, focused on his plans and execution of his plans for the people and country, disciplined, principled with the right values and character and integrity. 

In short, someone who thinks outside the box with brains in his balls and balls in his brains – may utak sa bayag at may bayag sa utak, in the words of the late ebullient parliamentarian, the legendary Pepito Laurel.

So that’s it while remembering these lines from Henry Wadsworth in his A Psalm of Life:

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! 
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!



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