In rant vs ‘call boy’ mayor, Duterte steps into pot-calling-kettle black situation
MANILA, Philippines—In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte had all praises for Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, saying the then newly-elected chief executive of the country’s capital had “better resolve” than him.
But in 2021, less than a year before the general elections in 2022, Duterte ranted about a local chief executive whom he said had the training of a “call boy” and had a past scandalous life that included wearing bikini briefs in photos shown in public.
In his late night address last Monday (Aug. 9), Duterte ranted about a local chief executive in Metro Manila, without naming who it was, for having previous photos in bikini and for having the training of a “call boy.”
While Duterte fell short of naming the official, he was obviously referring to Moreno, the only Metro Manila mayor who had sexy roles as an actor in the 1990s. Moreno started a career in show business in 1993.
READ: ‘Leave it at that’: Palace won’t name ‘mayor’ Duterte hit for inefficient aid distribution, ‘bikini’ photos
“Is that what you want? His training is like being a call boy. Taking his clothes off, taking pictures while wearing a bikini and then removing the garter,” Duterte said in Filipino.
The way Duterte described Moreno was starkly different from how he praised him in 2019, the year Moreno was elected mayor of Manila with a winning margin of 150,000 votes.
“I believe in him […] He is better than me, truth be told. He has better resolve than me,” Duterte said in 2019 of Moreno.
Last Monday, Duterte told Filipinos: “Don’t be fooled by the drama of those who speak […] I saw on Facebook, the fool was in a bikini, and then he has a photo where he is looking at his penis.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque explained that Duterte, when he made the remark, was taking issue with the “moral ascendancy” of those being talked about as candidates for president.
But it could be a case of the pot calling the kettle black as Duterte had engaged in talk considered to be demeaning to women and reeking in sexual innuendoes during the campaign and even after becoming President.
Here is a list of instances where Duterte seemed to have disregarded the need to conform with a standard of “right behavior”:
- ‘Dapat mayor muna ang mauna’
In April 2016, the President made fun of a case where an Australian missionary was raped, saying that the “mayor should have been first.”
“Did I become mad because of the rape? Yes, that’s one. But, she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.”
- Looking at Robredo’s knees
In November 2016, the President described how he and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez once stared at Vice President Leni Robredo’s knees while in a Cabinet meeting.
“You know ma’am Leni would always wear skirts which are shorter than usual. At one time, Dominguez asked me [to] come closer because I was far from them. But I told him, ‘Come here. Look at [her] knees.’”
- ‘Shoot in the vagina’
In February 2018, delivering a message before former rebels, Duterte, who was criticized as a misogynist, told the military to shoot female New People’s Army combatants in the vagina.
“There’s a new order coming from the mayor, ‘We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina’ […] If there is no vagina, it would be useless.”
- ‘I tried to touch what was inside the panty’
In April 2018, Duterte said that when he was in high school, he molested his family’s maid. Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo had dismissed it as remarks that Duterte “made up” in the midst of a confession.
“I went to the room of the maid […] I lifted the blanket […] I tried to touch what was inside the panty […] I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room.”
Duterte continued and said that he went back: “I tried to insert my finger […] There was hair […] It was wet.”
- Kissing an OFW
In June 2018, as he met with the Filipino community in South Korea in the midst of a three-day visit, the President kissed two overseas Filipino workers – one on the cheek and one on the lips.
“Are you single? You’re not separated from him? But you can tell him that this is just for fun?”
- Rape cases in a place with beautiful women
In August 2018, explaining why his hometown has a high incidence of rape, he said that there are rape cases in a place with beautiful women.
“They said there are many rape cases in Davao. As long as there are many beautiful women, there will be more rape cases.”
- Trying to touch woman’s body
In March 2021, the President tried to touch a woman who was one of the individuals who prepared his 76th birthday celebration.
However, Roque said that there was no malice because the woman is the President’s longtime house help and was already used to Duterte’s naughtiness.
For several groups who condemned the “macho-fascist” President, his offensive remarks regarding sexual assaults have real consequences, especially in the Philippines where violence against women is rampant.
Based on data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, from January to December 2019, 2,162 women were raped; 362 were victims of attempted rape; 16,251 were physically injured; and 2,085 were victims of acts of lasciviousness.
Gov’t officials’ past in show business
The scenario of actors becoming government officials is not new in the Philippines—their lives were considered an open book—that is why Defend Jobs Philippines said that Duterte’s attacks against Moreno is “unethical, unnecessary and unbecoming of a President.”
In 2019, at least 35 individuals from the entertainment industry sought government posts, including Richard Gomez, Edu Manzano, and Yul Servo who likewise had sexy roles in the past.
However, they were not attacked by the President.
According to political analyst Ramon Casiple, the government is likely preparing should Moreno decide to make a bid for the presidency.
According to a recent survey by Pulse Asia, Moreno was second most preferred potential candidate for president with a rating of 14 percent. The first was Duterte daughter Sara, currently Davao City mayor, who had a 28 percent rating.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the late dictator’s son, had 13 percent; Senators Grace Poe and Manny Pacquiao got 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively and Vice President Leni Robredo had 6 percent.
Moreno was also second in the most preferred potential candidate for vice president with a rating of 14 percent. He was next to Duterte himself who had a rating of 18 percent.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Marcos both had 10 percent; Pacquiao got 9 percent and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano had 8 percent.
Start of a word war
As he delivered his last State of the Nation Address last July 26, the President condemned a local government that allegedly allowed people waiting for vaccines to fall in line on a flooded street.
Again, he did not identify the local government but he was obviously referring to the city government of Manila after news reports showed people falling in line to receive their vaccines during heavy rains and in the middle of floods.
“It seems that this government is too far away from the people. The real service,” Duterte said.
“I saw the other day, I don’t have to know what place was that, the people were falling in line and they said that they were there at 4 a.m., the rain was intense and they were only shielding themselves with umbrellas,” he said.
A day after, Moreno went on live broadcast and took a swipe at Duterte, saying that “we can manage to sail past waves, storms, other calamities and so on and so forth if we are united. Whatever political party they are from.”
“Anyway, their party consists of politicians from quarreling factions. But us, we, the people, the citizens who rely on government, this is our focus, that is our thrust,” Moreno said, apparently referring to the rift inside the ruling PDP-Laban.
The mayor also took a swipe at the national government’s COVID-19 response, saying that instead of addressing problems, “they resort to saying a lot of things to create smokescreens—by smokescreen, I mean things that distract people, to blind you from the issues.”
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