By Alex P. Vidal
“There is such a thing as tempting the gods. Talking too much, too soon and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster. The forces of retribution are always listening. They never sleep.”—Meg Greenfield
WHEN he was lording over the Malacañang Palace as president for six years, Rodrigo Roa Duterte was one of the most feared leaders on earth.
Armed with only his bad mouth and a saliva, hot-tempered Duterte, the strong man of Davao City, could attract attention and make news headlines by casting aspersions against famous personalities in the planet like Barack Obama, the Pope in Rome, and by vilifying even the God.
He has cemented a reputation or image of cult leader.
Even if he verbally abused women with terrible sexual expletives in his speeches, Duterte’s admirers and (blind) followers laughed like they were entertained by Charlie Chaplain, and clapped their hands like they were watching a Broadway opera.
He admitted to having ordered or personally killed some “bad” people when he was mayor (but when the International Criminal Court took cognizance of these facts, he backpedaled like a dimwit).
To the chagrin of those who believed in his invincibility, Duterte was actually one of the most insecure politicians we’ve known.
If he couldn’t beat them in reason, common sense, debate, and etiquette, Duterte made sure intrepid and brilliant women were either “impeached” and yanked out from lofty positions like the Supreme Court or arrested and jailed on trumped up charges like the Rappler firebrand, who spoke English like a British demoiselle, and the woman senator enamored with her driver.
How many innocent and criminal souls were delivered to the Kingdom Come by “Tokhang” or summary execution Duterte—including allegedly his daughter and the utak pulbura (trigger-happy) minions—had “authorized” when he was at the height of power? We don’t know, but the ICC probably knows by now based on testimonies of witnesses and investigations.
Now, more than a year after becoming a Citizen Rodrigo, he’s back in the limelight; but this time, he is only a ghost of his old form: disheveled, limping, with a hoarse voice, and, yes, still running berserk with his armalite-like mouth against President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
If it is true Bongbong was in the Narco list as Duterte had insisted, then why didn’t he prevent him from becoming president in 2022? Duterte’s double standard approach and moral judgement are big question marks.
Duterte has also warned the late dictator’s only son he could suffer his father’s fate: being chased out of the Palace and the country by a Cardinal Sin-directed mob.
People who heard his recent vitriol-laced speech in Davao knew what he meant: EDSA Revolution in 1986 where the Marcos family was toppled and ended up in Hawaii, triggering a swift transfer of power from the Marcoses to the Aquinos.
But Duterte is no Cardinal Sin. And he is no longer in power. His illusion of fomenting a people power-inspired uprising all by his lonesome self is not only hogwash but pure phantasm, or a pure and simple sound and fury.
Lest we will be misled anew, and our attention forthwith diverted from real time talk to Duterte’s saber rattling, he is no longer relevant as a political demigod.
He was once an elephant now feeble and emasculated that even frogs can kick him.
In fact, Citizen Rodrigo’s karma, the source of supernatural justice through which actions lead to morally congruent outcomes, within and across lifetimes, has just commenced.
Although karma sometimes may not be about right or wrong, good or evil, revenge or vengeance, but the force of fairness, balance and equanimity that allows unimpeded the eternal flow of love’s infinite creation, but the handwritings are on the wall:
—he can never be back as president again;
—he can never influence the military and PNP;
—he can’t assume the role of modern messiah to secede Mindanao (he lacks the credibility and authority to boot);
—a warrant of arrest for him and his crybaby sidekick for the murder of 6,000 “drug addicts” will soon be issued by the ICC, according to reports and sources;
—the ICC might constitute a formal probe on the daughter’s alleged involvement in “Tokhang”;
—his other children might be investigated for alleged involvement in smuggling and illegal drugs; and
—the most painful part is his beloved Sara can never be president like daddy. No one can defy history. Recent and ongoing events show there will be no daddy-daughter double presidency in the Philippines. Sad but truth hurts.
Citizen Rodrigo’s karma has begun.
WOMEN ‘OUTLIVE’ MEN. Many elderly people can and do have frequent sex: At age 70-73 percent of males are still potent; and 30 percent of women aged 80 or older still have sex.
COMPUTER CHIP IN A MAN’S BRAIN. This is what soothsayers have been fearing since the 80s and 90s. Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink has implanted a computer chip in a person’s brain for the first time, he said in a recent post on his X platform. CNN reported that the embattled billionaire offered few details on the procedure, though he mentioned the operation took place on Sunday and the patient was recovering well. The company had previously received approval to study the safety and functionality of its chip implant and surgical tools to help people who have lost the use of their limbs. If the technology works, brain implants could one day benefit people who are otherwise unable to move or communicate and may have even wider-ranging applications for health.
RAPE BILL IN NY. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on January 30 signed the “Rape is Rape Act,” officially expanding the criminal code to include more forms of sexual violence. “Today is about the survivors. It’s about aligning the letter of the law with the pain in their hearts,” Hochul said. “It’s about calling out vile and horrific acts for what they are, so survivors can reclaim their power and dignity. It’s about backing them with the full force of our justice system so those who commit rape are charged accordingly.”
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)