Duterte exempted from no profanity rule in Palace workplace

There is a new no profanity rule among members of the Duterte Cabinet.

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with several Cabinet members in Malacañang on February 22, 2021 (Malacañang)

Only President Duterte can hurl expletives after Cabinet members have been asked to avoid profanity especially in the sensitive field of diplomacy, Malacañang announced Tuesday, May 4.

The latest anti-profanity reminder was issued after the President frowned on rude and disrespectful behavior towards China despite the lingering territorial conflict. The President's remarks came after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. posted an expletive-laced tweet seeking the pullout of Chinese vessels from local waters. Locsin has apologized to the Chinese foreign minister for his tweet.

"Ang mensahe ng Presidente sa larangan ng diplomasya. Wala pong lugar ang pagmumura (The mesage of the President is there is no room for profanity in the area of diplomacy)," Roque said during a televised press briefing Tuesday, May 4.

"At ang sabi po ng mensahe ng Presidente sa lahat ng miyembro ng kanyang Gabinete, ang Presidente lang ang pupuwedeng magmura, wala pong pupuwedeng gumaya sa kanya (The President's message to all members of his Cabinet, only the President can hurl cuss words. No one can follow him)," he added.

The tough-talking former Davao City mayor is known for his vulgar language. He previously spewed out profanity-laced tirades against western nations and critics in his public speeches.

Roque said the President mentioned in a meeting Monday night that "he does not approve of the use of profanities particularly in the field of diplomacy."

On the reason behind the President being exempted from the no profanity rule, Roque said the President served as the "principal" while all Cabinet members are his alter egos. "I guess the guidance being given by the President now is you have no authority to use profanities particularly in the sensitive field of diplomacy," he said.

On the country's territorial conflict with China, Roque maintained that the government would prefer to address the issue through peaceful and diplomatic means.

He said the Duterte administration would continue to assert the country's sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea through bilateral diplomacy with China and multilateral engagements with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), strategic partners, United Nations and the international community.

Roque also explained that diplomacy was "not appeasement" but a a form of warfare where there is no bloodshed.

A peaceful way of resolving a conflict, he added, could also not be considered "a form of subjugation. He said this was actually a dignified approach to defend national interest and uphold international law.

"What I did today was to state for the record, our existing Philippine-Chinese policy that we have agree to disagree on the West Philippine Sea, but we will move forward on areas that we can in fact move forward on," he said.