Duterte's ‘jokes’ pushing the limits of civility

Manila— If there's one thing that most Filipinos put up with under the government of President Rodrigo Duterte, it's his jokes and profanities that have shocked them from day one of the campaign period to the May 2016 presidential elections that he won. And up to this day.

His recent graphic anecdote about molesting their housemaid upset Filipinos anew, and his offensive stories don't stop, even when, in early January, he acknowledged his rudeness and seemed to have apologized, but not without giving an excuse.

“I hope I have not offended anybody by my strong words or my jokes,” journalists quoted him as telling a provincial audience. While saying he was trying to “push the limits of civility,” Duterte reasoned out that he intentionally uses harsh words to attack those who had been unfairly criticizing him even before he became president. "I am deliberately being rude because they have been rude to me even during the campaign period," Duterte said.

Journalist Ellen Tordesillas, editor of the online news site Vera Files, said as the president of the Philippines, chief executive, head of state, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Duterte’s powers “are awesome; his words carry the weight of his powerful position.” But in his one year in office alone, "Duterte has shocked, stunned and bewildered not only Filipinos but also the international community with his pronouncements."

Many of his words are offensive to women. Prior to the anecdote about molesting their housemaid, he ordered soldiers, in a speech last year, to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina.