Mar and Digong are only human
FORMER Interior Secretary Mar Roxas started the gutter fight with Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte that would have ended in a gunfight—had Mar accepted the challenge—when he said that the city’s much-vaunted peace and order was a “myth.”
Duterte took offense since he has been jealously guarding Davao City’s reputation as the country’s safest city like a dutiful husband protecting his wife’s honor.
In fact, Duterte’s turf is considered one of the 10 safest urban centers in the world.
Yes, his reaction was out of proportion to Roxas’ taunt; he went beyond the bounds of good manners and right conduct for a public official.
But can you blame the mayor who spent years—and with so much blood and sweat—to make the once violent city a very safe place to live in?
A squeamish, way-too-decent leader couldn’t have done what Duterte, who talks tough and walks the talk, did for Davao City.
* * *
The issue was not whether Roxas is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania—which Duterte claims he isn’t—or if he’s capable of acting like one.
And if I know Digong, the mayor’s “kanto-boy” (street toughie) moniker, he promptly hit back, taunting Mar who got peeved and forgot his supposed good breeding and Wharton manners by going down to his level.
Mar challenged Digong to a fist fight after the latter said he would slap him.
The word war between the former Cabinet member and local warlord became worse when Digong challenged Mar to a gun duel.
Political pundits, real and self-proclaimed, said Roxas and Duterte don’t deserve to be President because of their juvenile behavior.
These pundits say decency in speech and action is the hallmark of a leader.
They are absolutely correct.
But who is the “right” alternative, Binay, who’s been charged with robbing blind his former constituents in Makati City?
Binay is decent in speech but is he trustworthy with the people’s money?
Mar and Digong, for all their bluster and—OK, juvenile behavior—have been very honest in serving the Filipino people.
They have never been tainted with corruption charges.
* * *
I’m not trying to rationalize the unpresidential language and behavior of Mar and Digong.
But we have apparently forgotten that the great Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson, who was being groomed for the presidency but died before he could be nominated, also had a foul mouth like Digong and belonged to a wealthy Negros clan like Mar.
Lacson died a poor man when he could have amassed great wealth as mayor of the then most prosperous city in the country.
* * *
What am I trying to say here?
That Mar and Digong are just human. Digong is not only foul-mouthed but is also a self-confessed womanizer.
* * *
The local Catholic Church says people should vote for leaders with moral rectitude.
C’mon, guys, there are so many priests and bishops who have kept women with whom they have children.
Priests and bishops are also human.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.