A penchant to pick a fight

Published April 18, 2018, 10:00 PM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Leandro DD Coronel
Leandro DD Coronel

By Leandro DD Coronel


Where does President Duterte’s penchant to pick a fight come from? One of these days his temper will get him in real trouble.

Before leaving for China last week Mr. Duterte threw a temper tantrum at Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. The latter had asked why the solicitor general himself had filed a quo warranto petition at the Supreme Court to have her ousted from office.

Duterte didn’t like the question. So he declared himself an enemy of Sereno.

The President is so thin-skinned, he gets annoyed easily. He takes everything personally.

That’s a trait of a feudal lord. I’ve been saying since the beginning of this administration that Duterte is so feudal, he treats the whole country as his personal domain.

His crude remark about getting ahead of the line to rape an Australian missionary emanates from that mentality. It’s called “droit du seigneur,” French for “right of the lord,” which was the practice of the feudal lord of sleeping first with the bride of his workers.

That’s the kind of mentality that Duterte has brought into the presidency. Which explains his coarse personality. He always wants to get his way. When he doesn’t, he picks a fight.

Frankly, Duterte’s personality isn’t fit for that of an ideal president. A president is a unifier, a consensus-builder, a harmonizer, a healer, and a compassionate leader.

Duterte has chosen to be a parochial, patriarchal boss-type personality that marches to the beat of “father knows best.” That may have worked in Davao City but it’s doubtful that he can make it work until the end of his six-year term.  I’ve written many times that his strong-man, strong-arm style worked in Davao because there, people have no way out. They had to play ball with their mayor otherwise there would be consequences. That’s the feudal nature of Duterte’s rule as mayor in Davao.

Before he officially took over the presidency, Duterte announced he would “metamorphose” into a gentler, kinder leader. But no such thing happened. He remained his snarling, terrifying self, barking, “I will kill you!” whenever he wanted to intimidate someone.

And now he’s trying to intimidate Sereno. But she’s not budging. She pledges to fight to the bitter end. She dares the President to go for the kill and see who will remain standing.

The country is heading toward a constitutional crisis.What we need at this point is a level-headed leader, not one who’s so thin-skinned, he flares up whenever someone dares to speak against him.

What the nation needs at this point is a leader who builds consensus, not destroy everything in his path. What the nation needs is a unifier who beckons all citizens to the fold and together build a robust, viable society. What we need is not a fightmonger but someone who is compassionate toward everybody, not only to those who voted for him.

What a pity that those in power today prefer pugnacious politics over healing politics, exclusionary policies over inclusive policies, and triumphalist swagger over humble leadership.

The poor, the common people, are the ones suffering from these short-sighted policies and misguided principles.


Tantrum Ergo. Soon-to-be in-charge of the Bilibid prison Ronald dela Rosa says he’ll destroy the drug operations there. No one has conquered the drug monster there. What makes him think he can?