Duterte shuns honorifics befitting a god, still prefers to be called 'mayor'

Published May 19, 2021, 11:32 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Simply call him “Mayor” or “President”.

President Duterte delivers a public address on May 17, 2021 (Malacañang)

The latest appeal was made by President Duterte after asking his Cabinet members to avoid honoring him with titles usually suited for a god.

In a meeting with officials Monday, the President frowned on being called “Mahal na Pangulo” and “Ginoong Presidente,” insisting he was no god.

According to the President, while “ginoo” means “mister” in Filipino, it also means “god” in Visayan.

“May request lang ako. Hindi naman — hindi ako nagbibiro pero just to para hindi ako ma-off guard sa — huwag mo na lang gamitin ‘yang ‘Ginoong Presidente’ sir kasi ‘yang ginoo sa amin Diyos sa Bisaya (I have a request. I’m not kidding but just so I won’t be caught off guard, don’t use ‘Ginoong Presidente’ because ‘ginoo’ in Visayan is ‘god),” Duterte said in his remarks aired on government television Tuesday.

“Ang mga Bisaya diyan sa probinsiya, hindi man nila alam kung anong ginoo. Sabi bakit naman tinatawag na ginoo ito? Kailan pa ba ito na — naging Diyos itong y*** na itong Duterte na ‘to (The Visayans in the province don’t know what ‘ginoo’ means here. They may ask, ‘why is he called a god?’ When did Duterte become a god?),” he added.

Duterte issued the comment after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III called him “GInoong Pangulo” during his presentation on the country’s coronavirus situation.

The President is also opposed to being revered as “Mahal ng Pangulo (beloved President)” by the Cabinet members. He told them not to use such term since they all “love each other” anyway.

“Pati minsan si Secretary Galvez ‘yan siya ang naggagamit ng ‘mahal.’ Eh taken na na we all — we love each other and all of us in this country (Even sometimes Secretary Galvez used the term ‘beloved.’ It’s taken that we all love each other and all of us in this country),” he said.

“So ‘Presidente’ na lang diretso or ‘Mayor.’ I’m most comfortable with the appellation mayor. Mas maganda sa tainga ko (So just call me ‘President’ or ‘Mayor. I’m most comfortable with the appellation mayor. It sounds better to my ears),” he said.

Early in his term, the President expressed a preference to be addressed as “mayor” and has dropped honorifics such as “Your Excellency” in official communications.

Duterte, known for his simple and modest lifestyle, is a former mayor of his city of Davao. He previously said he intends to return to his hometown when he ends his six-year term next year.