The people drawn to Duterte » Manila Bulletin News

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By Leandro DD Coronel

Leandro DD Coronel

Why is it that some of the people who gravitate toward President Duterte appear to be a different breed? They tend to be intentionally controversial and, often, obnoxious.

The President doesn’t seem to mind.

Some of his advisers are either comical or screaming KSPs, kulang sa pansin. They like to hog the limelight to attract attention.

Very early on, one in the President’s inner circle dismissed the extrajudicial killings (EJKs) as a “necessary evil.” What kind of responsible official would be so callous as to tell the people that they should just live with summary killings? Some people would say anything just to tickle their boss’ ears.

The President’s spokesman spews words that make very little sense. The guy is an expert in stringing together two sentences that contradict each other. Only he knows the meaning of the words he spouts, like “creative imagination.” His latest gem is “heightened bravado” to explain the President’s latest abominable remark on rape.

In the Senate, the President’s admirers act more like comedians than fonts of wisdom or erudition. The thing is they don’t seem to realize that often they make no sense.

Unfortunately, some of those in the Senate who used to make sense seem to have been bitten by the bug. They, too, speak a lot of nonsense these days.

The Lower House is worse. The President’s defenders there deduct from acquired wisdom whenever they speak.

It’s not hard to decipher why they do it. They’ll say anything that is music to the President’s ears. And they do it even if they make fools of themselves.

And then there are the sundry hangers-on of the President. There’s the sex blogger who defends the President right or wrong. It has done wonders for her because she’s been appointed twice to government positions.

Another groupie is also a KSP who likes to be in the limelight. She goes out of her way to impress the President so she can keep her place in the entourage.

And then there are the Internet trolls who form a phalanx to protect the President from criticism. Without fail they jump on critics with foul and threatening language. Their purpose is to scare the critics enough to make them stop their criticism.

A common denominator among the President’s apologists is the mean and nasty language they use to attack critics. This is especially true among social media trolls. Often they don’t make sense, they just spew vulgar words and not worry whether what they say is within the realm of reason or rationality.

A note here about trolls. There are many trolls who serve as the President’s defenders. But actually many of them aren’t even real people, they’re “bots,” creations of computer programs that simulate human activity, like sending out thousands of messages pretending to be from actual people.

So, the next time you happen to be flooded with nasty messages on Facebook or Twitter, they probably came from just one computer operator. If the messages look or sound the same, that’s an indication they came from just one or two senders.

The bottom line here, therefore, is that while it appears there is a sizable number of people defending the President or the administration, that is likely to be a mirage, an illusion because thousands of messages may just be the creations of a single operator.

The use of nasty, demeaning and uncivilized language seems to be in vogue nowadays. From the President down to his mouthpieces this appears to be the linguistic style of choice. The better to make them sound scary.

But don’t be fooled. Many of those voices come from bots, short for robots.

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Tantrum Ergo. The Department of Tourism’s new flagship turned out to have been copied from South Africa’s PR campaign. Tourism officials initially defended their chosen ad agency, McCann World Group Philippines, and said with a hint of defiance that they wouldn’t change or withdraw the commercial. But the next day they fired the outfit and demanded an apology, and are mothballing the new ad. So, what happened overnight?

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