A Nation Bewitched

A phenomenon that never ceases to baffle me is the nation’s adoring love for our new president, Rodrigo Duterte. Since assuming office in June last year until today, the fervor of people’s  adulation has not waned.

Today, we are witnesses to how millions sing him hosannas. 

He laces his speeches here and abroad with expletives never-before-heard behind a presidential podium. “Oh, those are minor fringes. Look at his actions not his words.”

He mounts vitriolic attacks against long-time country allies, the EU, and calls them sons of whores. “Oh, it’s about time someone stood up to these big-wheels who think they can bully small ones like us.” 

He curses the Pope and the Catholic Church for criticizing his war on drugs. “Oh, come on, the Catholic Church is not exactly lily white.” 

He admits he has ordered the killing of criminals and of drug addicts. In fact, he said he had killed some with his own hands.  Statistics show that in his eight months as president, 8,000 drug addicts or pushers (all of them poor) have been slain. “Oh, they deserve to die. Those addicts are not human, they cause us so much grief.”

He allows the burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged the country, at the Cemetery of Heroes. “Oh, move on, the guy has been dead for years; he was a soldier so he deserves to be buried there.”

He fires the elected Vice President from his cabinet. “Oh, you perform, he retains you. You don’t perform, well, he fires you!”

He has not solved crime and corruption which he promised he would in three to six months. “Oh, in six years, that will all be solved; the country is in the right direction.” 

He brags that he had a sexually transmitted disease when he was younger. He has three girlfriends; he is taking Fentanyl for a malingering disease. “Oh, hahaha! [amused laughter]”

He appoints a bold, sexy dancer known to perform lap dances on stage to the Movie and Television Review and classification Board. “Oh . . .”

He can do no wrong. You get lynched if you as much say anything negative about him. He has us all wrapped in his macho fingers. The nation is enraptured, bewitched.

His Christians fans are quick to quote Romans 13:1(NLT), “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.”

Is submission to authority the same as adoring love? For how do we make of this: 

“What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20)

Lord, please give us grace to understand this baffler that has gripped our nation.   

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