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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Echaves: Definitions

And so it came to pass that the discussion focused on whether President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is a manager or a leader.

We recalled our learnings, like Socrates’ “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”

Why are heads of countries called “world leaders,” not “world managers”? Or is “world leader” just standard for any country head, whether or not he has the full bandwidth?

Manager comes from “manus,” meaning “to handle.” Leader comes from “lithan” or “laedan,” which means “to travel.”

Managers focus on the present and enforce the rules. Leaders focus on the future and promote values.

Duterte’s campaign promise was to stop the drug war in three to six months. That was extended to another six months, and then to another year, and more recently, to the whole nine yards.

His decision about Marawi inspired his followers to say, only PRRD could have been as decisive and resolute; neither Roxas nor Poe and the rest. Some critics even admit that this was one shining moment in PRRD’s presidency.

Intoxicated with his popularity, and bolstered by positive SWS and Pulse Asia ratings, Duterte is not motivated to believe in nor practice good behavior.

He punctuates his speeches with foul language, and cusses come in rapid succession the angrier he gets. To our disbelief, his audience laughs, either oversolicitous or nervous, especially when he takes his mother’s or woman’s name in vain, and shows his old misogynist self.

Expectedly, his spokesperson Harry Roque tries to pooh-pooh these aside as “colorful language.” My eye! It’s a shame Roque comes from UP. Such shallow defense is totally inept and bereft of creativity!

Does Duterte’s behavior in public and in his personal life inspire people to be better than themselves, to rise to a level of respectability, credibility and honor? Think again.

In giving full visibility to his partner, he telegraphs it’s all right to set aside all doubts about extramarital affairs, and elevates philandering into a status symbol, a benefit for people in power.

So, why shouldn’t House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez flaunt his girlfriend in public and call her his “current” wife. And why shouldn’t Senate President Koko Pimentel equally exhibit his partner, even making her chair the social arm of the PDP-Laban with Alvarez’s girlfriend as co-chair?

He promised to eradicate corruption, but his photos with Cong. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, and former presidents Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, either convicted or accused of graft, corruption and plunder, speak volumes.

He lionizes the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, talks about “utang na loob” to Cong. Imee Marcos, and distributes government positions as part of the loot that obedient slaves got from their barbarian warlords.

All such actions do not inspire a people to behave better, to be respectable, credible and honorable.

My former boss once said, “Beware the man whose actions do not match his words; he is a dangerous man.”

Careful now; this talk might be labeled a destabilization plot. Hahaha.
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