One tough guy

Published June 25, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Jullie Y. Daza


Jullie Y. Daza

His people describe him as “unconventional,” a “radical.” If he doesn’t mind my saying so, he’s an iconoclast, “one who attacks traditional ideas or institutions; one who destroys sacred images.”
This is one tough guy who caused another toughie, his chief of police, Gen. Vicente Danao, to shed tears and choke on his own words: “I have been with him for 20 years. Thank you for the guidance and support, all the good things (you have done) will not be forgotten. All 225,000 policemen will render our snappiest salute.”

One tough guy, one tough act to follow. The fact alone that the salaries of policemen were raised five times during the last six years will not be easy to repeat, given our current straits. On the other hand, and even if the men and women of the Armed Forces may not appear to be of a similarly sentimental disposition, they’ve received a modern arsenal of weapons, machines, vessels, equipment, plus housing benefits, haven’t they? During one house visit, their Commander in Chief entered one of the two newly built bedrooms and jovially asked, “You have more than one wife?”

The Chief Executive’s jokes are laughable because they strike a familiar chord. But when he “cursed” — not my word but a reporter’s — His Holiness Pope Francis for tying up traffic in Manila while touring and blessing the city, Mr. Tough Guy could not be forgiven by devout Christians. He has publicly eschewed religion, the institutional kind, while reluctantly admitting to the need to call for God’s help, whatever or whoever his God/god is.

For all his tough-talking, easy-going manner, he cannot convince the unvaccinated millions to submit to their vaccinators. He promised to inject these stubborn toughies in their sleep, the syringe going in one ear and out the other, but they, some of them older than he, will not yield. Not even after he warned them, “Siguradong patay, pag walang bakuna” (Without vaccine you die). Who’s tougher, then?
PRRD’s the only SONA speechmaker who loudly, proudly admitted to his audience that he didn’t write the speech, so could he digress from the text?

As of this writing, his only farewell speech is addressed to drug dealers: “See you in hell!”