Last week, exiled leader of the Communist Party of The Philippines and a man proscribed by multiple nations as a terrorist, Joma Sison spread a rumour that Philippine President Duterte was comatose and in incredibly poor health. At the time, I explained how Sison’s strategy of spreading fake news was a further attempt to extract concessions from the government at a time when his party and armed terror group NPA are virtually universally reviled by average Filipinos.
Regarding Sison’s ill conceived ploy I wrote:
“Sison has repeatedly been the source of unfounded rumours surrounding President Duterte which are clearly crafted to sow discord among Filipinos who continue to reject his outdated ideology and the violence committed by the terrorists loyal to Sison’s Communist Party. Indeed, as Sison has proved ineffectual in respect of responding to President Duterte’s offers to negotiate a final settlement to the decades long NPA insurgency, it is becoming increasingly clear that Sison’s untruthful outbursts are little more than vainglorious attempts to extract future concessions from the Philippine government in a desperate attempt to make the Communist party relevant in a age in which its ideology is universally rejected by the majority of Filipinos”.
Now, President Duterte has explained how he tricked Sison into making his outburst. According to Duterte,
“But before I left Malacañang [the presidential palace], I whispered [to a colleague], ‘Say that I flew out and I’m suffering from kidney failure”.
Duterte then stated,
“He played into my hands. I knew he would bite. Just to prove this I said – I was waiting for this announcement. He really played into my hand. I let him in”.
This again proves that Duterte’s remarks which appear to be off the cuff and free flowing are part of a wider strategic endeavour on the President’s part to expose the intellectual and logical shortcomings of his opponents. While Duterte might convey a style that suggests that he speaks before he thinks, in reality, Duterte’s ability to skilfully play with words and his often prose-poetry style of delivery leaves much open to interpretation. But rather than pause to think about the deeper meaning of Duterte’s statements which upon reflection typically becomes incredibly clear, many of his opponents become instinctively ravenous in their ability to trick themselves into thinking they have seen blood. To quote an infamous expression, Duterte’s opponents appear to believe their own bullshit, while Duterte always chooses his words carefully even while fooling the naive into thinking otherwise.
Consequently, Duterte’s opponents are indeed the ones who speak without thinking and on the whole, much of their impetuosity is a direct result of Duterte using the power of his own linguistic skills to fool them into taking poetic remarks literally and his literal marks hysterically.
In this sense, Duterte has been able to readily expose the hypocrisy of his most unhinged opponents whether the delusion and violent Sison or the Liberal Party whose leading Aquino clan have not been able to solve the murder of Ninoy Aquino in 35 years, even while Duterte named those who he believes are trying to kill him before the fact.
While the Liberals and Communists grapple with their inability to decode basic hindsight, Duterte has proved to be a master of political foresight. Rather than learning from their own shortcomings, his domestic opponents continue to fall for all of Duterte’s rhetorical double entendre without being able to see the bigger picture. If anything, this helps to demonstrate how Duterte has been able to stay several steps ahead of his opposition even while they attempt to use every dirty trick in the proverbial political book to try and undermine his popular leadership.