By Leandro DD Coronel
President Duterte and US President Donald Trump are both brash, overconfident, bullies, and wont to pick a fight. They’re temperamental, egotistical, and megalomaniacal. They always want to get their way in everything they do. One difference: Duterte likes to curse, Trump doesn’t.
Duterte and Trump both like to plunge into things without benefit of deliberation. They like to present themselves as decisive and, therefore, action men. They don’t always consult their own senior officials.
Duterte ordered his “war” on drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of drug suspects. The summary killings — called extra-judicial killings or EJKs — have put Duterte on the spot, earning him several warnings from both world leaders and global organizations like the United Nations and the European Union.
Trump, has moved to ban Muslims from a number of nations, is aching to build a boundary wall to stop illegal migration from neighboring Mexico, and repeal a universal health insurance program put in place by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
But such show of quick action has proven to be precipitate, rushed into motion, but understudied before implementation.
Mr. Duterte’s brutal “war” on drugs was wrong from the start. He ordered police to take a hard stance against suspected drug pushers and users, resulting in the now notorious EJKs. The correct way is to stop the supply of illegal drugs into the country.
Eliminate the supply and you starve users and put pushers and dealers out of business. Leaders of nations that had severe drug problems have told Duterte of the wrongness of his approach, only to earn swear words from him in return.
Trump, too, has been precipitate with his actions and is now having headaches as a consequence. State judges have stopped his ban on Muslim immigrants, putting one of his signature initiatives on indefinite hold. His congressional allies have failed so far to come up with an alternative health plan. And the US-Mexican wall has yet to get its first taste of cement.
And lately Trump has put himself in potentially grave jeopardy. Being a non-lawyer and with not a day of previous political experience, he has committed acts that may result in his impeachment (see my column “Is Trump in trouble?” May 18).
In brief, Trump may have opened himself up to serious charges of obstruction of justice when he told the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the famed FBI, to go easy on Trump’s national security adviser who is currently under investigation for alleged improper links with foreign government officials.
Duterte, too, is under fire for the EJKs, with a case filed against him for “crimes against humanity” before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. An impeachment case had been filed against him too, but that has been summarily dismissed by the House of Representatives.
The way I see it, the media have had a lot to do with why Trump is in trouble. The American media have been tough on Trump since he came onto the political scene. Many parts of the US media see Trump as too inexperienced to be an effective chief executive and they’ve been relentless in going after him. Now he’s making mistakes and the media will continue to rake him over burning coals.
Duterte, too, won by being a demagogue. But, in contrast with the US press, Philippine media appear to have been tamed by Duterte’s bullying style.
While both Trump and Duterte have trained their ire on the media in their respective countries, US media aren’t intimidated by Trump. The major US media outlets have been around long before Trump came into prominence and power. They will not back down.
I’ve written several times that Philippine media will be key — along with the Catholic Church, academe, and the military — in what will happen to our country in the coming months. Right now none of these sectors is doing enough to be a factor for change.
Tantrum Ergo. Traffic authorities should allow texting or calling when the vehicle is stationary, either at a red light or at the curb. Otherwise, too many important calls or messages will be missed, especially among messengers or delivery personnel.
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