The Strongman of The Philippines

The Strongman of The Philippines, by Jim Goad.

Threatening to kill three million people is one thing, but comparing yourself to Hitler is really pushing it. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (pronounced “Doo-TAIR-tay”) learned this the hard way last week.

On Friday while giving a speech in his hometown of Davao City, the strongman variously known as “The Punisher,” “Duterte Harry,” and “The Donald Trump of the Philippines” renewed his oft-repeated vow to murder his nation’s drug addicts:

Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, what is it, three million drug addicts [in the Philippines]….I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have [me]. You know my victims, I would like [them] to be all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.

The reaction was swift and unflinching: How dare he compare himself to Hitler? And how dare he say Hitler only killed three million? Wait, what—he said something about murdering three million living human beings? Who cares? What about the Hitler thing?

President Duterte has taken anti-PC to a completely new level, almost gratuitously exaggerating it. But maybe that’s what it takes to stop the drug scourge. Ever had a relative or friend succumb to drugs? There’s nothing much you can do…

Last September the hard-knuckled, psychotically tough-on-crime long-time Mayor of Davao City made headlines for stomping into a local bar and forcing a tourist to eat a cigarette after the tourist refused to comply with a local anti-smoking ordinance.

He has justified the murder of any journalist who acts like “a son of a bitch.”

This is a man who, during a publicly televised speech two weeks ago, gave the middle finger to the European Union and said, “Fuck you.” He has publicly stated that he “don’t give a shit” about the United Nations.

Duterte has referred to both UN chief Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry as “fools.” He has slandered Barack Obama as “the son of a whore.” He said exactly the same thing about Pope Francis. He called US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg the son of a whore, too, tossing in a Filipino slang term that roughly translates to “faggot.”

And in this intensely Catholic nation he committed large-scale blasphemy by once stating, “It’s good I didn’t join the priesthood, or else now I would be a homosexual.”

How can anyone in their right mind not love this man? If you want to get anything done in politics, sometimes you have to be a dick.

This is a man who used to prowl Davao City’s streets in sunglasses on a motorcycle, surrounded by police sirens and packs of M16-toting biker thugs aiming to either terrorize the criminal population into submission or murder them in the streets. While campaigning for president, he promised to kill up to 100,000 criminals: “I’ll dump all of you into Manila Bay and fatten all the fish there,” he warned. He told ordinary citizens that if they performed vigilante assassinations of drug addicts, “I’ll give you a medal.” He threatened to kill any policemen who dabbled in drugs or consorted with dealers. He even said that if he found any of his children doing drugs, he’d personally kill them, too.

The response to too much political correctness and moral foolishness is eventually a backlash and a strongman. He was elected by popular vote, first as mayor then as President.