Duterte: ‘Hoi Poloi president PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 23 July 2016 13:43

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

In a recent executive nemorandum to all government offices in the country, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte requested that he should only be addressed as “President” sans the usual communication protocol of “Your Excellency”. This is indeed a gesture of utmost humility for a man who is the highest official of the country, to deny himself,  to be addressed with a protocol of great respect. In other nations, stepping only the picture of a President or King is a crime, like in Thailand. Indeed, President Duterte is a real “Hoi Poloi” (man of the masses) and the people’s champion.

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Royalties, aside from bowing  in their presence should be called “Your Highness” or “My Lord”, as a gesture of respect. If a commoner or their citizens will not do this, they are branded illiterate and discourteous or to some point possessing a barbaric character. In the Middle East or Arab countries where monarchs or royalties rule the land, citizens have to stop and bow before them in their presence. There is a force respect and obedience. But, citizens see no difference in the treatment, because it is a tradition handed down from generation to generation. For the first time a President of the Philippines does not want to be addressed as “your Excellency”, a tradition rendered to Presidents from  General Emilio Aguinaldo, the First President of the Republic. Only now that the Philippines has a President who considers himself, even if he is the most powerful man in the country, still a “common tao”.

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President Duterte also requested heads of government office to stop being addressed as “Honorable”. This is the most appropriate order, because in the barangays of the country, village chairman or Kagawads have to be called and addressed as “honorables” even if their characters and appearance does not look “honorable”. Worst, in any activity in the barangays, the chairman and the kagawads should be given a seat or place of prominence to show the people that they are the “chief of the village”. Disgusting and President Duterte just ended an era of hypocrisy and arrogance in the barangays and a mockery to public service.

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One typical example, Table Talk wish to relate as a witness to this brouhaha, in a school program in a barangay where a kagawad was representing the barangay chairman but refused to give the message until the master of ceremonies went back to the microphone and addressed him as “honorable kagawad”. Table Talk, being a former national official and a part of the audience seated in the crowd, was restless and either want to laugh or shout at him, but good manners prevailed and let the unfortunate incident have its way and listened to the empty message of the “honorable kagawad”, who was dressed in his Sunday’s best of rubber shoes and unpressed “maong” pants with a contrasting color of “ukay-ukay” shirt. Man should know his limitation and live up to his title of “honorable kagawad”. It is good news that President Duterte wanted the title not to be used, because it is  like looking at a “round object inserted in a square peg”.

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Judging from the Filipino character and love for titles and limelight, like a rebel loves to be called a “commander” even without a following or an IP Datu or Timuay who cannot even serve coffee to a visitor, the President’s order of stopping the use of “Honorable” will not be obeyed. Status in the Philippine society is a treasured commodity and many Filipinos perceive it as a “dishonor”.

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Scoop: Some people who are called “Honorables” are corrupt and murderer. To call them Honorable is like calling a lion a sheep. Agree or disagree.

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 July 2016 14:25