WHAT KIND of an animal is the President?
From how people give their ten-cents worth, he’s the feathered or fowl kind.
He may be an ostrich, to begin with, a flightless but fighting bird, which is said to hide its head in the sand. That’s how the President is likened at times when the alarming issue of China’s continued incursion into Philippine territories in the South China Sea is brought to his attention.
Yet, he impressed everyone early on when he threatened China to ride a jet ski across the sea from shining sea and plant the Philippine flag where Xi Ping’s forces were planting theirs. Of course, nearly five years now, it still has to happen. Meantime, China’s expansive moves are getting more aggressive. What are friends for?
Or he may be a lameduck, especially now that his term is on its last lap.
How do you explain his sudden disappearing act when an armada of 200 China militia ships brazenly connected the dots to its real intention about the other unoccupied territories? By the President’s own admission, he did it on purpose. Time will tell why.
The alternatingly famous and infamous Don Juan Ponce Enrile made the line oft-quoted: if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it must be a duck. The President quacks a lot, especially when favorite whipping girls, Sen. Leila de Lima or Vice President Leni Robredo, rub his feathers the wrong way. With China, no quacking, please. Quaking, perhaps: behold a fire-spewing dragon at the doorway of the sea.
Lately, his journalist ally, Ramon Tulfo, a celebrity in his own right (an airport incident proved that martial art is no match against a conjugal act) and one who is not known for pulling his punches, delivered an upper cut to his benefactor. The government, he said, is run by a headless chicken. It’s bad enough to call the highest leader of the land a chicken. To describe him as a headless one is adding insult to injury.
But, first things first. Is the President a rooster or a cockerel?
A cockerel,by definition, is an immature male chicken. But a wag has expanded the definition by specifying any male chicken below one year old or any male chicken of any age, for that matter. Based on these specs, what kind of a president is it when it’s a cockerel and headless at that?
From the point of view of Xi Ping and other Chinese leaders, it must be chicken feed to handle a cockerel of a leader like the Philippines has. And he’s doing it not just to expand China’s territories at the expense of its small and helpless neighbors but to intimidate other nations calling out its expansive ambition as a bullying hegemon.
To kill the chicken, a Chinese saying goes, to scare off the monkeys.
It’s a sworn Constitutional duty of the President to protect the territorial rights of the Philippines. Sadly, the rooster has crowed more times than it did when Peter made its in)famous denial. In the end, Peter wept bitterly. With the Philippine denial king, no apology seems forthcoming.
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the chickens rebelled when they saw something was wrong. In the beginning, Duterte was that breed of a chicken. He thought something must be done about the establishment to change things. The hoi polloi put him on the throne on the basis of the propaganda, only to regret later that they were wrong in buying into it. Caveat emptor. No return, no exchange and no refund.
Fair or fowl, Tulfo’s assessment must be oneculled or collated from facts, not just idle opinions. Having been libeled many times, Tulfo should know whereof he spoke. His badge of courage is his honor. Strangely, the President or his COVID stricken, not once but twice, spokesperson has yet to counter Tulfo’s diatribe with his branded diarrheal narrative.
While Tulfo worries with a straight face about the headless chicken, more Filipinos are going to the dogs, particularly to a drug that is used to treat animal parasites. With no vaccines in sight yet for the majority of the populace, desperation is the name of the game. Ivermectin is a better option than I –bear– and –grin it. Filipinos are known for fatalism, which is not the same as suicide, which is officially encouraged by the Malacanang tenant.
The fix that the Philippines is in now, whether it’s about the pandemic or the South China Sea, is not a chicken or egg question. It’s in our will to fry either or both. The fault my dear Brutus, Cassius said, prior to the stabbing of Julius Ceasar, is not in our stars but in ourselves. “ He bestrides the narrow world like a colossus and we petty men walk under his huge legs”, he went on. In other words, birds may fly over our heads but they cannot build a nest on it, unless we allow them.
Especially, the headless one.